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Belief in God Testimonies Trials and temptations

My drug addiction story

How I got addicted

About 15 years ago I started to develop leg pains. I sought medical help and after much investigation the doctors could not diagnose the cause. In the early years with this developing pain I started taking the over-the-counter paracetamol as a reasonably effective pain-killer but I became tolerant of the paracetamol and the pain developed to the point I needed to find something else for relief. Doctors suggested various drugs and even acupuncture without success.

Chemical structure of codeine.  Credit: Wikipedia

About 6 years ago my doctor started me on prescription pain-killers, where each tablet contains 500 mg paracetamol with 30 mg of codeine. Codeine is an opiate, a morphine derivative; it, in fact, is converted to morphine by the liver. Codeine is a drug of dependency, but no doctor told me about the downside of taking this medication long-term. More on that later.

Initially I’d only take one or two tablets per day and it was reasonably effective. Also I took up walking a lot as that seemed to alleviate that pain, while I was walking at least. But as time passed the effectiveness of the codeine reduced and I increased the number of pills per day. By 2014 I was taking 4 per day and by 2016 it was 6 per day and even some times 8 pills.

Chemical structure of morphine. Credit: Wikipedia

In 2013 a new doctor diagnosed the cause of the pain as peripheral neuropathy resulting from untreated coeliac disease, which I have apparently had my whole life but only started to manifest symptoms about 15 years ago. About 6 years ago I was formally diagnosed with coeliac disease and have been on a gluten-free diet ever since. But the damage to my nerve fibres was done and I was told I could only mask the symptoms with strong pain-killers.

For the most part I was able to manage with the daily pain and some relief using the codeine pills. However in the last 4 years there were times where I started to develop unexplained symptoms like headaches, digestive problems (even though on a strict gluten-free diet) and a very unwell feeling, but they would come and go.

Pain goes to my head

Then on my last trip to Japan in March/April 2017 I started to feel ill almost daily, and by early April headaches started to develop. I developed not only what you would call tension headaches but something like ‘brain fog’, which was very disconcerting.  I noticed myself taking the codeine pills just to try to relieve those bad headaches. The headaches developed into migraines and it became difficult to do my job there, working at a national research facility AIST in Tsukuba.

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Testimonies Witnessing

Street evangelism in Adelaide

Rundle mall 1

The Apostle Paul argued daily in the market place, and preached the gospel of Christ.

Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Acts 17:17.

He spoke at Mars Hill and disputed with the intellectuals of Athens.

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Testimonies Trials and temptations

Walk by faith and not by sight

In 2006 I was attending a theoretical physics conference in Madrid, Spain, when I started to experience some very strange, and I admit, very scary symptoms. On the second last day of the conference, after the lunch, served as a 3-course meal with a glass of wine, I started to feel dizzy and quite unwell. So I returned to my hotel and rested, as most people would under those circumstances, and by the morning I felt ok again. Then on the last day after the final lunch I started to feel much worse than the previous day, weak and fatigued, and dizzy with cold sweats. I managed to walk back to my hotel with great effort in taking each step. I remember the great difficulty in even walking up a few steps. I was really worried, especially when one of the servers at the lunch said to me that I looked terrible, that I was ‘white as a ghost’.

DSCF1590
Me at the ancient street level along the wall of the Temple mount in Jerusalem.

As I laid there on my bed, in the hotel room, I thought about whether I should go to an emergency hospital in Madrid or try to survive (literally) long enough to get to Israel the next day as this was planned on my itinerary. I decided that I’d rather be in hospital in Israel than Spain. Even though I also had chest pains I believed that that was gastric reflux aggravated by the spicy food at the conference lunch. After the previous night the symptoms had subsided by resting and so I decided to just rest and get to the airport the next day.

At the airport, I recall, as I walked towards the departure gate, the cold sweat was just rolling off me and I did my best not to fall over from dizziness. I was still totally fatigued and it was so hard to pull my suitcase on wheels, but I tried to not look unwell as I wanted to get on that flight.

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Testimonies Trials and temptations

What? A miracle, or, What a miracle!

“God is still on the throne and prayer changes things.”–Virginia Brandt Berg, The Promises of God Are Streams That Never Run Dry

On Friday morning of April 10, 2015, I went to my doctor at a local GP clinic because I was experiencing some chest pains. I had had them for a few days but because I have recurrent gastric reflux, and had experienced this sort of thing before, I was not too worried. However, I had some pain on my left side, which was new, so I thought, to be safe, I should get myself in there to get checked out. (In fact, I had planned another meeting a few hours after my visit to the GP clinic, and was not expecting anything out of the ordinary.)

The doctor sent me down to their nurse, who did an ECG scan. I expected this as routine for someone presenting with chest pains. Then I went back to and waited at the doctor’s door. When he was ready he called me in and he said that I have had a heart attack. He said the ECG scan shows that I have had a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) in the past. It could have been just recently, and I should get down to an ER hospital as soon as possible.

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Belief in God New Age religions Testimonies Trials and temptations

Delusions of Reprieve

Ryan12by Ryan Eamer

I wrote the following piece called Delusions of Reprieve in late 2008 in a mental hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. The place served as a revolving door for me from 2007 through to 2013, sometimes seeing me admitted for months at a time. At this stage the only diagnosis of my condition was major depressive disorder with chronic insomnia. Ironically, I wrote this piece sitting up in bed on my laptop at 4 am.

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Testimonies Trials and temptations

We can return to Jesus

Psalms 116:7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

There is no rest for the Christian but at the feet of Jesus; when we live near Him, and exercise our faith upon Him, we are at rest. Conscience is silent or commends us. The law has nothing to say against us. Walking close to the Lord, the world has but little influence over us; and Satan is powerless to do us harm. But if we wander away, we become weak and lose courage; and darkness, perplexity, and trouble fill our minds. But we may return, for Jesus is still inviting us; we must return or we cannot enjoy peace; let us therefore return unto our rest this morning.  –Daily Remembrancer November 30 Morning

In 1974 I left off further education, deciding not to continue to do a PhD then but rather to follow God. See From a saved Christian to disciple of Christ–my testimony Part II.

I remember the feeling at the time of utter exhilaration of finding the Lord’s path, to follow and serve Him; to go out into the world with essentially nothing but Christ.

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Testimonies Trials and temptations Witnessing

All that God does is for our good

Every mercy should be thankfully acknowledged. Whatever does us good comes from God. He is the only source of all good and to Him our praises should daily ascend. The Lord has brought us through many dangers; He has delivered us out of many difficulties; He has bestowed on us many favours; let us therefore … thank God and take courage. — Daily Remembrancer November 7th Evening

MY_BORX

We arrived in Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak, East Malaysia, in September 1978.  We had taken a boat from Miri in the north down to Kuching. We had to get settled quickly because we knew our second child would be born within only a matter of several weeks.

Here I was alone now in a strange city, with a very pregnant wife, and a 21 month old daughter, with no place to go. But God did not fail us.

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Testimonies Trials and temptations Witnessing

Go forward!

“The Lord shall fight for you.” (Exodus 14:14) With God victory is never in doubt. But we must be on the move. In the Lord’s army, there is no standing still. Our Captain’s command is, “Go forward.” (Exodus 14:15) This is our direction. “Go forward” in the Lord’s way, in the Lord’s work, in the Lord’s kingdom. — Daily Remembrancer November 7th Morning

In March 1978, after nearly one year in Singapore, the Lord called my wife and I to ‘go forward.’  Teaming up with another young married couple, we went to the island of Borneo.

Years before (in 1974) God had spoken to me through what I thought was a vision and He had said to me that I would one day go to those islands in the north of Australia, for Him, which I believed at that time to be Indonesia. Well, at this time, we were headed there. Borneo comprises three countries; Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

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Testimonies Witnessing

What are you willing to do to witness for Christ?

Jesus Christ said unto his disciples (you who believe),

Mark 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

What means or methods should we use? Use your talents as the Lord has given you. I know back in 1976 (in Perth, Western Australia) we were willing to do crazy stuff like dress up and do skits to both attract people to hear the message as well as illustrate it.