Freedom from Addictions – Murrays Story

Deliverance from Addictions!
promises ower

Col 1: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

I remember counselling Murray, who had smoked for 30 years, that the power to quit smoking was in the word of God, not in himself, for he clearly could not quit. Knowing God loves us, and has a sense of humor, I told Mr. Murr, (as the youth group affectionatly nick named him), that there was pleasure in sin for a season, so I wanted him to enjoy his cigarettes, but that if he wanted to quit to do this:

Each morning, when you get up, and have your coffee,, and light that first cigarette of the day, hold it up before the Lord, and say, Lord, I thank you that you are Lord of my life, not this cigarette. Your Word says that you have delivered me from the power of darkness, and surely that includes this cigarette, so I am going to enjoy this smoke, knowing that you have already delivered me from its power. I instructed him, that every time he took a puff, to laugh and SAY, Thank you Jesus that I am delivered from the power of this cigarette.
He too had a sense of humor, and he began this childlike journey of faith with me, laughingly talking to his cigarette as he smoked: ‘I have been delivered from the power of darkness, and Jesus is greater than you.’

While he walked in child-like faith, the mighty machinery of heaven began to roll. Why? Behind every promise, sits an almighty, holy God, who has chosen to obligate Himself to perform His word, because of the precious shed blood of His Son, Jesus our Lord. Each time Murray declared that he was delivered, the “Yes” of heaven, met the “Amen” of a believing heart and voice here in the earth, and power was provided to perform that very promise on behalf of Murray!

A couple of weeks went by, then one morning when he woke up, and picked up his pack of smokes, he decided to get himself a cup of coffee before lighting up. He made his coffee, finished it, and realized that he had not had his morning smoke yet. So, he went to work, and forgot about it. Well, no cravings, no struggle, and he has never had another cigarette, again!

So, how about you. What is your struggle? If we could beat it in our own strength, we wouldn’t need Jesus. When we put His Word in our mouths, He obligates Himself to perform that Word, by His power.

You too, have already been delivered from the power of darkness. Believe it, receive it, and walk free from your struggle, in His time.
Let’s pray:

Lets pray
‘Father, I thank you that I have been delivered from the power of darkness. Now! Help me to confess this, each time I struggle, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’

The Pig Pen or the Big Pen?

The Prodigal Son: Pig Pen, or the Big Pen?

prodigal pigs
I remember when we first started our church up in Ottawa, we had no place to meet, so we met in a football change house in Debra Dynes community. At the time, Debra Dynes, was one of the illicit drug capitals of the city, and as we would leave our little Bible studies, there would be gang bangers hanging around smoking dope, high as a kite, and initially, they nick named me ‘Preach’.
“ Hey Preach, they would taunt, what’s the Word of the day?”
My wife, who had never been involved in the drug scene, would encourage me to walk away from these mockers, but I would always stop, get in the midst of the 30 or so tweaking and bouncing freaks, and preach to them the love of Jesus.
This went on for awhile, so they changed my nickname from ‘Preach’ to ‘Jesus’, and it got kind of comical hearing them, ‘Hey Jesus! What’s the Word of the Day?’

word of the day
They thought they were pretty smart, laughing at me in my suit with my Bible. I remember one bold gang member trying to put a joint to my lips saying: ‘Here preach, take a hit, looks like you had a pretty tough week.” I saw in this teen actual compassion, he was so messed up, he thought he was seriously trying to help me!
One night, I felt the Holy Spirit come upon me, and I proclaimed: ‘Hey guys, I got a word for you, straight outta the good Book’
At that time, one of my friends who served as the prison chaplain, was on a six week sabbatical, and had asked me to cover services for him in the youth detention block of the local prison. I spent a most of the day each Thursday going from cell block to cell block holding a series of youth services, preaching, praying, and referring for counseling the youth that had been arrested that week.
As these gangsters were cutting up and trying to blow dope smoke in my face, I read them the story of the prodical son. Made it plain: How the young man in the story couldn’t wait until his dad died to get his inheiratance, but wanted his money now. Basically saying to his dad, ‘I wish you were dead’, and his wise, and heartbroken father, actually gave him his money, and the boy went on a spending spree of wine, women and song. Yet, the money ran out, and there came a recession in the country, and his so called friends all left him high and dry. The only thing the boy knew was farming, so he got himself a job slopping hogs, working on a pig farm,that paid so little, that he was so hungry he thought about eating the pig slop. Finally, the young man came to himself in the pig pen, and realized that even the hired hands at his fathers ranch were paid better, and treated better, and then he realized he had sinned against God and his father. He decided that if he was going to have to work for someone, that his father was a better boss than this pig farmer, and he decided to go home. His father saw him coming,


and ran out to meet him, and he said ‘Father, I have sinned against God and you, please hire me as a servant in your house.” Yet, the boy had no idea how much his father loved him, and his father brought the best robe, shoes, and placed the family ring again on his finger, and said, ‘My son who was dead,prodigal father is now alive, he has come home’ and he killed the fatted calfand threw a big party for him.
It had gotten quiet in that circle for a minute, and I looked these hardened criminals in the eyes and said: ‘Boys, God loves you, and you have a Father in heaven that has a wonderful plan for your life. He wants you to come home. Though you may not see it yet, right now, you are in the pig pen, partying, thinking there are no consequences for your actions. Tonight, I pray you listen to me, and give your life to Jesus, but if you do not, know this: Every Thursday this summer, I will be holding services in the youth detention block of the jail, if you will not hear me here, in the pig pen, maybe you will listen to me downtown, in the big pen.’
Uproarious laughter! To their drug induced minds, this was the funniest story they ever heard!
“Give me five preach! Pig pen or Big Pen!, preach got lines!” they said, thinking I was joking.
Yet, one week later, I guess narcotics officers raided one of their crack houses, and when I went in to the prison, there they all were, looking like lost puppies, heads hung low, broken.
So, I laughed and said:
“Come on boys, to chapel. I still have good news for you. God still loves you, and Jesus is still the way out of this place. You wouldn’t listen to me in the pig pen, and here we are together, in the big pen.’
To the glory of God, all of those boys accepted Jesus that day, and many were set free of addictions, healed in their bodies, and some were filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.’
Over the next year or so, I was able to work with their families, foster care, the chaplain and the courts, to get many of these help they desperately needed to make a clean break with a life of crime. To God be the glory!
Let’s Pray:
‘Father, help me to be unafraid of reaching out in love to people that look scary, or who are obviously criminals. Give me special faith, to love them in the midst of their mess, out of the pig pen, big pen, and back into your house of grace, honor, and mercy. Show them your love, power, and plan for their lives, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’

Wisdom of the Elders


The Wisdom of the Elders

Some years ago, up in Canada, I was driving to work, and happened to tune the radio into CBC to catch the morning news. Instead, I heard a wonderful interview with an Ojibwa elder, an older women who was being interviewed, about some of the high suicide, alcohol, and abuse rates that were being reported on the ‘Grassy Narrow’s’ reservation. Seems that a social worker had reported that eight infants, had been literally dropped in the snow, in sub-zero temperatures, on ‘check-day’ on the reservation, while their mothers and fathers, were getting drunk and high at some party.

The interviewer was trying, with some degree of compassion, to understand the dynamics that would cause such behavior, and had quoted some serious statistics regarding alcohol, drug abuse, domestic violence, and suicide and substance abuse related deaths on the reservation.

The interviewer asked: ‘With so much money, and resource available to help your people, why is this so?’

The reply of this wise woman, has stayed with me all these years, and as a minister, I have used her story, several times over the years. She replied:

“Let me tell you a story. There were four Canadians who had travelled all the way to the Pacific ocean, to walk the beach. There was a black man, a Chinese man, a white man, and a native American Indian. It was the time of Spring solstice, when the moon is full, and tides are great, and this particular afternoon, the tides were especially low, exposing miles and miles of tide pools, as far as the eye could see along this great beach. They decided to take advantage of this, and each grabbed a bucket, and headed out on the beach to attempt to catch crabs for an evening meal. Several hours later, they came together again, and the white, black and Chinese Canadians had empty buckets, while the Indian had a full pail! The white guy immediately exclaimed: ‘I don’t believe it! How did you catch so many crabs? Seems every time I caught one, and then turned around, it quickly climbed up the side of the bucket, and escaped to freedom, hiding under a rock before I could re-catch it!’ The black and Chinese men nodded with understanding, having had a similar experience, when the Indian exclaimed: ‘Well, I only catch Indian crabs.”

“Indian crabs? What on earth is an Indian crab? They all look the same to me!”

“Well,” the Indian continued, “All I do, is catch two crabs at once, and put them in the bucket together. When the first one tries to climb out to freedom, the other one grabs his back legs, and pulls him back into the pail!”
Wisdom of the Elders
This elder then went on to say, that this was the plight of her people. Yes, there was great poverty, substance abuse, and heartbreak on the reservation, but when a young person decided to try to escape, and to get a job off the reservation, or go away to school, that when they came home, they were usually called ‘a disgrace to the race, a red apple, red on the outside, but white on the inside,’ That unless that person was exceptionally strong, they were rarely if ever able to escape the peer pressure and ostracization of family and friends, and usually fell back into the cycle of partying and substance abuse.

I have used this illustration over the years, as I taught an alcohol drug rehabilitation course.

In the Bible, we learn that close relationships have the power to either promote, drag us back into our horrible habits. That it is important to make a clean break with people, places and things, that would bring us down, and until we are strong and healed enough, certain people needed to leave our lives, whether friends or family, in order that we get free of our addictive and destructive lifestyles.

Yet, over the past year, I have been studying intensely, the history of the North American First Nations peoples, and it is a story that needs to be told. Horrible atrocities have occurred in terms of broken treaties, genocides, forced removals from tribal lands on to reservations, and children placed in boarding or residential schools, where dehumanizing things occurred.

As I listened to Ivan Doxstator speak, an Iroquois counselor to First Nations people’s, he made a statement, that is a far deeper answer to that question that many white people ask, with respect to suffering Indians living in dire circumstances upon reservations. “Why don’t the leave the reservations?” Ivan replied: ‘Because they feel that the government will take their land.”

This is no nebulous fear, if you understand the history of broken treaties, in the occupation of traditional Indian lands by treachery or the power of the cavalry across North America, and one that needs to be addressed adequately by both the church, and the US and Canadian governments, if we are to see justice, healing, and true reconciliation come to the Indian reservations of North America.

Let’s pray:
‘Father, forgive us for destroying our lives away from You. Where we need to leave unhealthy relationships, places, or spaces that are destroying us, give us strength, courage, wisdom, direction, and provision to get to where we need to be. Deliver us from our fears, and grant to us healing, true justice, grace, and protection. We choose to forgive those who have lied to us, stolen from us, and tried to steal our destiny, language, culture, lands, and identity in You. If there be any real danger, of predatory businesses, or corrupt governments still attempting to steal from me, my family, or my people, STOP them, in the name and authority of Jesus I pray, Amen.’