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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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Biblical doctrines Christianity Trials and temptations

Two Evangelists Charged. Tried. Convicted.

The U.K., like Australia, has laws against preaching the truth. These two street evangelist were prosecuted for preaching Christ in the U.K.. Christ said He is “the way, the truth and the life”. There is no other!

ThePreachersWord

street-preachers

Yesterday a Bristol Magistrates’ Court in Great Britain convicted two men, Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell on “public order offences.”

What did they do that resulted in their arrest and conviction?

Was it public indecency? Disturbing the peace? Inciting a riot? Sexual harassment? Discharging a firearm? Disorderly conduct?

No. It was none of the above. I had to fact check this story, because it almost sounded like something from Babylon Bee.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines hermeneutics Trials and temptations

Can saved Christians be overcome by Satan and lose their salvation?

Some erroneously teach, in my opinion, that a saved regenerated believer in Christ can lose his salvation and become un-born-again, unregenerate, through some action on his or her own part. While discussing this one day with a Christian brother, who believes such is possible, I asked him for a biblical text in support of the idea. He gave me 2 Peter 2:19 and 20.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants [slaves] of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage [enslaved]. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Reading that passage it does almost seem to support such a notion, except when you put it in its original context. And also it brings up a concept centred on the meaning of the word ‘overcome’ as used in the Bible. Since we are admonished (2 Timothy 2:15) to rightly handle the word of truth, let’s look into this matter a little more. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

opening-teaser

2 Timothy 2:15 Study [Be diligent] to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The Authorized version uses the word ‘dividing’ which I believe captures the point very precisely. We need to divide truth from error.

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God Islam Trials and temptations

A very brief history of Muhammad and Islam

Muhammad: Among Muslims, imagery of Muhammad is widely considered idolatry. Credit: Conservapedia.
Muhammad: Among Muslims, imagery of Muhammad is widely considered idolatry. Credit: Conservapedia.

Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al-Muttalib was born in Mecca April 20, 570 AD and died in 632 AD. His youth was marked by poverty and rejection.  His father died soon after he was born. His mother gave him up for adoption at the age of 2 years old. His foster-mother raised him in the highlands south-east of Mecca, in a poor shepherd’s family.  Muhammad started having visions and fits at age 5.  The shepherds that he lived with were afraid he was possessed by the devil and returned him to his mother.  Some medical experts today believe he had epilepsy.  Orphaned at age 6. At age 8 he was cared for by an uncle, who hired him out as a shepherd and at age 10 as a guard and caravan camel driver.  He was probably illiterate.

Age 25: Married his first wife Khadija, a 40-year-old wealthy older widow.

Age 40: Received his first revelation. Khadija and a cousin of hers became his first disciples.

Mohammed_receiving_revelation_from_the_angel_Gabriel
A depiction of Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. From the manuscript Jami’ al-tawarikh by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, 1307, Ilkhanate period. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Co-opts the moon-god Allah.  By picking, for the god of Islam, the name of the moon-god Allah, particularly revered by Muhammad’s own tribe, the Quraysh, Muhammad helped assure the early success of Islam by avoiding any too radical innovations.

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Christianity Trials and temptations

Die to yourself

When Paul wrote “I die daily” what did he mean? (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

Die Daily

Paul was discussing the sacrifices we as Christ’s disciples must make in serving Him. In the verses before this Paul is discussing that ultimately Christ will put His enemies under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25, quoting Psalms 110:1). This cannot be finally fulfilled until the resurrection at Christ’s Second Coming, because Christ sits with the Father, on His right hand until all His enemies are put under His feet. Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-31.

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

In the meantime, we labour for God, with the hope of the resurrection, else our labours are in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?

This is not teaching baptism for those who are dead yet unsaved, like some pagan Roman Catholic doctrine, but Paul is saying if those who are dead now, who were saved in life, but died in service to God, are not raised from the dead in the resurrection, then life is futile. So it would seem some people were baptized on their behalf, possibly because they died in the Lord before they could be baptised (by water) while alive. Death is extinguished in them because they were baptised into Christ. So in baptism (the outward sign of salvation) those dead have a remedy against death itself because baptism is symbolic of the resurrection to come. Their salvation was assured without the water though, like the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43).

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Roman Catholic Church Trials and temptations

Revelation 7

Colosseum_in_Rome,_Italy_-_April_2007
Roman Colosseum Credit: Wikipedia

We saw that the opening of the sixth seal in chapter 6 refers to the overthrow of the old Pagan religions of pagan Rome. The seventh seal is not opened until chapter 8, verse 1.

All the symbolism of chapter 7 is therefore under the sixth seal. At the end of the 3rd century Paganism was dominant, persecuting, seeking to “abolish the Christian name.” But by the end of the 4th century the civilized world had become Christian. 

Four angels (v.1) standing on the four ‘corners’ of the earth holding back ‘four winds’ that it ‘should not blow on the earth’. These winds symbolise four destructive agencies were restrained by the Holy Spirit until the Holy Spirit’s work of the spreading the gospel was accomplished, by taking advantage of this opportunity.

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Biblical doctrines Trials and temptations worldview

Return to Paganism?

Abortion1In the Greco-Roman world the use of ‘medicine men’ (pharmakai) was common for the poisoning of your political opponents, inducement of paranormal experiences and obtaining toxic herbs to induce abortions.

Poisonous herbs were used to induce abortions. Such a practice, in part, led to the downfall of the Roman Empire

“Abortion may not have been easy or safe for a woman in ancient times, but it was nevertheless widely practiced… The declines in population of the Roman Empire at the time of Augustus and again after Hadrian were probably due in part to such action by both rich and poor.” — Michael J. Gorman, Abortion & the Early Church (1982)

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines salvation testimony Trials and temptations

The Hem of His Garment

by Virginia Brandt Berg

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Renowned evangelist, revivalist, and author Virginia Brandt Berg (1886-1968) is best known as one of the early radio evangelists through her radio program Meditation Moments, which ran for 15 years starting in the early 1930s, and resumed in the late 1950s.

The riveting story of her journey from agnosticism to faith, and from crippling life-threatening illness to miraculous healing touched the lives of many and led many to faith in Christ.

Table of Contents

  1. In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
  2. Christmas Morning
  3. Memories
  4. A Far Country and Husks
  5. College Days
  6. Modernism in Action
  7. A Discarded Bible
  8. A Church that Jesus Never Attended
  9. Romance
  10. Darkness and Despair
  11. The End of the Trail
  12. The Light Breaks In
  13. The Bank of Heaven
  14. In the Sanhedrin
  15. The Appointed Day; and Disappointment
  16. The Still, Small Voice
  17. From Death Bed to Pulpit Over Night
  18. The Hem of His Garment
  19. It Is for You
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Belief in God Trials and temptations

Even unto the end of the world

Have you started the day discouraged wondering what you are on Earth for? Have you felt alone and lost? Maybe you have forgotten (even momentarily) what great value knowing Christ is. That is how I felt waking up this morning. I woke feeling sick and with chest pains that have still not been diagnosed. Then I opened my copy of Daily Remembrancer and God gave me a spiritual jolt in the arm to wake me up.

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice” Philippians 4:4

“THE LORD IS AT HAND.” He has promised, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” In Him we rejoice alway. Without Him, this is a very difficult precept; sometimes the Lord hides His face; we fear and doubt our interest in His love; we are almost bewildered through the powerful workings of corruption within us; we are bowed down by Satan’s sore temptations; and the dispensations of providence are so perplexing that we are ready to cry out, “All things are against us.” But we are not bidden to rejoice in persons and feelings, or in the dispensations of providence, but in the Lord. He has loved us with an everlasting love, and His love is immutably the same; He is our God in Jesus, and has promised to be unto us, to do for us, and freely give us, all that our circumstances require, or that will be for our good and His glory. In weakness we may rejoice in His power; in darkness we may rejoice that He knows our path; in sickness and sorrow, that He cares for us; and under any circumstances, in His covenant relations; for He is always our Father, Friend, and God. We should rejoice in His free grace, rich mercy, omnipotent power, faithful promises, special providence, and unchangeable love. —Daily Remembrancer May 11 Morning

One thing I know, by faith, that no matter what happens to us God will see us through to the end. The end is His design. He has our best interests at heart, so we should always rejoice even when circumstances around us look worst.

Rejoice in glorious hope!
Jesus, the Judge, shall come,
And take His servants up
To their eternal home;
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice-
The trump of God shall sound, “Rejoice!”

Categories
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.