December 11, 2002
How can I hold up under deep treachery in my work and social situation?
Hi, glenn hope I can call you that.
I know you can't probably answer this e-mail but something inside me told me to try anyway so here goes. I've been following your website for quite sometime, very good by the way. Several things love your website very informative. I know you've been through a lot and my sincere condolences. I've just been feeling very down and tired of all the treachery and selfishness of the majority of people around me and who work with me.
I understand that, friend...and we need also to understand that THEY are also discouraged and beaten down and fatigued by the same thing...and they do not have the companionship of the Man of Sorrows...they 'get used to it', by hardening their hearts, like little children in desperate homes also 'shut down' their childlike hopes and dreams...so sad to see the people around us never dream of something better...if only our light could shine a little brighter, and OUR relationship with our good-hearted God be more encouraging to them--perhaps even to inspire them to hope...
…but there is a difference, and that difference is clearly, and only, our precious Jesus...
And in the mist of all that I find someone giving me hope in the truth of Jesus Christ and his Gospel. But sometimes it's very hard to the point of tears. How do you stay strong glenn I've asked Jesus to give me strength but it seems to be getting more unbearable.
I really don't think its a matter of being strong anymore, friend...its about being weak enough to run to our Jesus...several times a week I personally double over in emotional pain about something or other (right now its about my last child leaving home for college in a few days--the mere thought of saying goodbye to him rips me apart), and I go over to the stairs and sit down and simply ask Jesus to sit beside me and hold me while I cry...and I cry and I cry, and His calm and stability seeps into me...but its only by being weak that I can draw upon His strength..."The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe." (proverbs 18.10)...so, sometimes its not a matter of 'standing your ground' but of running into the tower!!!
So let the tears come, friend...pour your heart out to Him at all times: "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." (Ps 62.8)...only He can put us back together each day...
And for the 'unbearable' aspect, start praying for Him to change the situation, or you or 'them'...but YOU stay/get closer to the Lord and start INTERCEEDING for the treacherous and selfish...start asking God to meet their TRUE and DEEPEST needs, matters of family and heart and forgiveness and peace...try to serve them, see what you can do to help them in their HUMAN and REAL lives (obviously I don't know your situation so I don't know how this would look, friend, but ask for God to show you ways to serve and help the 'enemies')...remember, that while WE were enemies, God gave his Son--as a demonstration of His love...look for a way to bring hope and help and peace and calm into THEIR LIVES, and God will honor that heart with increased grace, "I bet" (smile)...
Forgive me just rambling, hope you respond to this e-mail but understand that you're very busy, sorry…God bless and pray for me...thank you
Believe me, I know the difficulty, hurt, and world of discouragement, friend, and i can literally 'feel' your heaviness and despair in your words...and i will begin praying (and probably weeping) for you for the next 30 days or so...be sure and e-mail be back in 3 weeks to let me know how it is going, what you are learning, what is changing in your situation--as I am SURE it will as you 'cast all your cares upon Him' (1 Pet 5.7)...
Keep in touch, though, burdens were meant for sharing--they grow us together, you know...in His love, glenn
A problem with guilt over using "secular" counselors and neuroactive medication
In reading over your pages on the lessons you've learned over the years, you seem to have experienced depression and anxiety throughout your life that is similar to what I'm going through currently. I've recently visited a (non-Christian) psychologist and he has diagnosed me with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). He recommended that I try taking the drug Paxil, and since it isn't addictive and the problem is very intense lately, I started to do so. I have some worries in the following areas:
1. the diagnosis itself - Psychology, in my experience, seems to be less than rigorous...more of a soft science. My shrink didn't exactly measure the chemicals in my brain. Seeing my condition as a disorder makes it less likely that I'll associate my behavior with a spiritual problem, so it seems to me to be very important to find out whether or not this really is such a thing, and I just don't know if psychology even has any of the tools for that.
Actually, I wouldn't worry about this aspect...symptoms are symptoms, and most of medical science (not just the personality-related aspects) is surprisingly imprecise...accordingly, their imprecise diagnosis can still solve an 'imprecise amount' of the problem, but you shouldn't stop there...God made the body to reveal spiritual problems (over time) anyway, so it doesn't take a spiritual-discernment expert to notice that there is a 'generalized' problem...so the Paxil may/will help correct the physiological consequences of a (perhaps) sustained spiritual problem, but you will need a Christian counselor or very gifted pastor to get to the bottom of any spiritual issue.
In my opinion, even gifted secular therapists can find basic problems--common to all humans--if the difficulties lie in this area...so, stay with the treatment but be sure to seek spiritual help to find the basic root cause of the problem...you have to deal with the source of the chemical imbalance, but you need the quick supplement/fix to 'pause' the symptoms so you CAN deal with/find the root cause...
2. the Biblical command to be sober - Sometimes I feel very much *altered* on this drug - even somewhat unlike myself. I find that currently it makes me short-tempered and very apathetic. Sometimes my vision is blurred, head is cloudy, I can't read properly, etc. My thinking overall just seems to be less clear. These are all perhaps side-effects that I'll eventually overcome, but since taking drugs and drinking alcohol seem to be doing no more than altering your mind in different ways, I'm wondering to what extent taking this prescribed drug is any different.
I actually agree with you about sobriety, but think you are applying it wrong...the epileptic, for example, without their Tegritol drug, is NOT 'sober'...in other words, with the chemical imbalance (which is correctable with these chemicals), you are NOT actually 'sober'...so, your only short-term path to 'sobriety' is THROUGH the use of these chemicals (to correct unnatural, abnormal chemical imbalances that affect your judgment)...I realize this is terse, but hopefully you can see what I mean...
A couple of my children, at one time or another, have been on such drugs for a period--Paxil itself made a MASSIVE difference for my Britt's last year of life...so, I consider them critical (in some cases) to regaining enough self-control and thinking-balance SO THAT you CAN get cooking on finding/resolving the real issue.
3. guilt in general - Often I feel as though I'm being unfaithful to God in turning to a materialist/pragmatist psychologist for this kind of help. I'm praying to Him as well and consistently studying the Bible lately, but its just very hard not to feel guilty when you know a large part of the joy in your life is due to chemicals that you're ingesting.
Don't worry about this...you go to secular doctors for colds, its no different for chemical issues in the brain...God gave wisdom to craftsmen of ALL religious persuasions...smile...don't make too much out of this...it's JUST a physical treatment of a physical set of symptoms...but again, don't stop there...take advantage of God's common grace solutions everywhere, but get His spiritual resources involved as well--especially in this mixed-case...
And you will develop the ability to differentiate between chemical-"joy" and holistic-joy...just be thankful to God for the help and support of the chemicals in the interim...make sure you keep your thanks-focus on His leading during this time...
I realize that you aren't a psychologist and that you don't have all the answers on these issues but, in reading your pages, I have come to see you as one of the most Godly/Christ-like Christians I know of - a man acquainted with suffering. I guess I would just like to know what your opinion is on matters like this - how you personally feel about Christians and the use of drugs like this, which I'm sure are very much overprescribed in this day and age.
I suspect that they are over-prescribed, but I have no data on that--but I fear that they are depended on to solve the whole problem, rather than as a 'temporary patch' to allow true problem resolution processes to be begun (e.g., counseling).
I have hurriedly written this, friend, but I hope you can make sense out of it...let me know if its not clear, and go ahead and thank the Lord that He will lead you through this time...happy Thanksgiving, and keep me posted on how its going--I'll be praying for you over the next month or two about this...
in his love, glenn
A question about 'after-effects' after being rescued by God from demonic-oriented cults
Here is my question/problem: I was abducted when I was about X yrs old from my parents and reared in a satanic cult where I was very much abused. During the course of this I was 'given' into the service of several demonic beings and made to serve as their high priestess. My only choice was do it or die. Now, after 33 years of being abused and forced to (at least on the surface) worship these evil beings, I have escaped and am relatively safe. I believe in God, but I wonder does He believe in me, as in, am I now an abomination to Him and what can I do to make myself acceptable. I know I am still open to the influence of these entities although I reject them. How can I be truly free when I was given to them? I pray, I read the Bible, but I feel like there is something preventing me from reaching God. Hope this makes some sense and you can offer some ideas.
"Thanks for your honest and sincere question, friend...I don't have time to write my typical long-winded reply (smile), but I DID want to give you some ideas to start mulling over:
1. first, I am assuming that you are a real Christian at this point, that you understand and have acted on the stuff in these articles:
2. Then, work through this material, explaining the triumph over those powers by our Lord:
3. Although the reality of lingering hassles seems to be common, they seem to lose power over time--with the right kind of walk with God...make sure all material objects associated with the old practices (e.g., books, ornaments, etc) are removed TOTALLY from your home
4. A struggle with reading the bible can actually be overcome by just doing that repeatedly...the more you read (even with difficulty), the easier it will become (it works on your heart and the influences that are part of your history)...I recommend taking a WHOLE MORNING or AFTERNOON and reading the first two chapters of Colossians OVER AND OVER AND OVER again...read those two chapters at least 50 times--as much as possible 'non-stop'...this will greatly help the Holy Spirit within you to 'chase away' many of the shadows of the past...the Word of God is alive and can 'warm and thaw' us...
5. You might consider memorizing some of the verses at the beginning of that piece (above) on the Triumph of the powers.
6. Be sure to grow in your celebration of God's heart and in your freedom...remember, "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1.13) What I suggest you do is fill your mind with good things...learn of His warm and kindness and comfort...you might work through the Lessons section (http://www.Christianthinktank.com/lesxx.html) and if you want to LISTEN to these instead of READ the material, some of them are recorded in MP3's at the Audio-Visual Menu
7. As a Christian, you belong ONLY to God (you have been 'bought with a price'--YES!! I cor 6.19)...no matter whose you might have been before, the death of Jesus BOUGHT YOU FOR GOD! ("Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood". Acts 20.28)--this is what the word 'redemption' means
(see http://www.Christianthinktank.com/cross04nt.pdf)...the main tool the evil ones have now is DECEPTION --they will try over and over again to convince you that you STILL belong to 'them'--but you don't, and you never will...the Word of God, which they know, is your confidence...
That's all I can think of off the top of my head--I have to get back to work now...but let me know how it goes, friend...can you try some of this and simply send me a 'progress status report' every week for a month or so? would that be too much trouble to ask? maybe I can think of some other things as we go through this the next couple of months...
And I will be praying for you, also, to help with building new habits of thinking, new experience of freedom, and greater understanding of who you are as one of His Children!
Do I have to obey my husband when he commands me to sin?
I am perplexed with a difference that and friend of mine and I are having with regard to a particular aspect of the "submit" passages that are issued in the New Testament.
Now, let me qualify this by stating that if the Spirit within me leaned to the theory that I have to obey my husband even if he asks me to disobey God, then I would have to accept that. But, either the Spirit is not leaning that way, or I am to numbed by my cultural influences to feel it.
My friend and I both agree that in general, if there is a disagreement between wife and husband, then the word states that we (women) should submit to our husbands that they may be won over by our quiet compliance.(paraphrase)
However, were we can not come to agreement is when your husband asks you to do something that is a sin, or asks you to break a vow that you made to God. For instance, if you had made a promise to God to tithe and your husband insists that you stop; or, if you become pregnant and a new baby isn't in his 5-year plan and your husband insists that you have an abortion.
I believe that women are not required to obey their husbands when he asks them to do something that is direct opposition with God or asks you to do something that you know is a sin. My friend believes "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:24)
It is hard for me to believe that "everything" includes sin. I mean I can understand if your husband wants to uproot and move to a strange place and you don't agree but submit. Or, if you save for 3 years to go on vacation and then your husband decides that now is the right time, then submit.
Now Glenn, if I was a woman who did not "know the law" or know the Word" I could understand relying on a learned husband. But I believe that once Christ broke the chains of denying "open access" to God for woman, we can not possibly be expected to be shielded from judgment by "submitting" even in sin. I believe that this is scripturally supported by the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. She submitted in lying about the field and received the same punishment. She was not excused just because her husband had made the decision for the 2 of them.
Now my friend says that it was heart that was judged and not the fact that she submitted into sin with her husband. In other words, she must have somehow had an evil heart and that that is why she was killed; not the fact that she was in submission with her husband in lying.
My friend believes that the correct example as to why we should submit even in sin is Abraham and Sarah. She believes that in the New Testament, Peter condones the fact that Sarah submitted and told the Pharoah that she was Abraham's sister and was willing to give herself in adultery because of Abraham's fear. Now I am not sure that Sarah had a great dealm of choice in this matter, but even if she did, is there any indication that this was to be admired in Scripture?
Please help. I don't want to be believing the wrong thing because of my own cultural influence, but just as well, I don't want to be believing the wrong thing because for centuries some people have been preaching "wife slavery" either.
· First of all--MAJOR POINT: We are also supposed to submit to ruling authorities (Rom 13), but NOT when they CLEARLY contradict God (Acts 5.29 and 4.19). Whatever 'submission' is, therefore, it does NOT extend to obvious acts of sin. This alone should answer the question for you/your friend.
· Secondly, you need to realize that 'submission' and 'obedience' might not be the same thing at all--especially in the husband/wife relationship--see http://www.Christianthinktank.com/not2obey.html
· Thirdly, some issues of joint property (perhaps the tithe-ing example?), are NOT actions that can be undertaken by one member of a marriage without the other's consent--the cases of fathers/husbands nullifying women's vows in the OT need to be studied to see WHEN such vows/commitments are 'clear' and when they are not: see http://www.Christianthinktank.com/fem02b.html. You have to be REALLY CLEAR that some of these actions are TRULY anti-biblical, and not just "cultural" values.
· In the case of household servants (1 Pet 3.17ff--the passage right before the 'wives' passage you refer to), it is expected that they will be persecuted for doing 'good'--in other words, they 'disobeyed orders to sin in some way'...again, authority is to be respected, but in cases of abuse of authority--as in commands to perform obvious sins (not 'semi-obvious', but CLEARLY SIN)--morality and commitment to God takes clear priority...
Sorry so hasty, but I wanted to get these ideas to you quickly, for you to examine for yourself--I hope it helps,
A question from a teenager, being hassled for not knowing the 'lingo'…
"I am 14 and my parents are atheist and I know I'm not because I believe in God and Jesus, but I don't know what type of Christian I am... I get asked about what I am and I don't know how to answer. I don't go to church because of my parents but I have read the bible and I believe in some of it but in some other parts I'm not so sure.. I don't know what each kind of Christianity is, like what beliefs are involved (Baptist, Lutheran, etc.) I they're all so different and is there such a thing as just being Christian? I have no idea what to do except say that I'm Christian because I believe in God and Jesus, and one of my friends has gotten distant from me because I couldn't explain to him all that I believe and I couldn't tell him that my parents are atheist and I couldn't tell him that I don't know what kind of Christian I am. It makes me so sad every time it gets mentioned because I cant give a straight answer on what Christian I am and I cant explain everything I believe... It makes me so sad every time I start to cry.. I just want to know what the different types of Christianity are.. thank you for listening. I'm very sorry for this being so long. thank you"
"The proper answer to your question is that you are a "non-denominational Christian" (like me!)...non-denoms are not members of any particular denomination (e.g., Baptist, Lutheran, etc), but hold to the 'basics' of the faith, and can attend almost any bible-honoring church to worship and learn of God. Most non-denoms would not even CARE about what 'mode of baptism' is 'correct' (for example)--they hold that ANY baptism is fine with God, as long as the heart is correct.
"Also, NO Christian knows ALL of what they believe--ALL of us are learning and re-learning and un-learning(!) the beauty of God's truth and world. So, just because you can't explain to your friends all that you believe, is not a bad thing at all...just tell them that you are working on the more "basic issues first", and that other issues you will get to as you grow in your relationship to God.
"There were NO 'denominations' in the days of the New Testament, so you are in good company with Paul and Peter and Timothy!
"Focus more on being a 'loving' and 'honest' and 'celebrating' Christian, than on any 'brand name'!
"I hope this helps, young friend,
"warmly, glenn miller