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March 2021

mountain lakeSpringtime Harvest! Thank you for sharing with me how you’ve been blessed by the site. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know, nor be able to respond with joy.

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” 1

An Inspired Youngster…

“I read your story and found it inspiring how you were able to turn your life around.

“I’m writing to you in hopes I can get some prayers, words of encouragement and some advice. I’m 20 years old, born and raised in California. Like a younger version of yourself while in college, I was looking for love, validation and sort of a direction in life. By 18, I started drinking and smoking a bit more, but by 19, I was drinking half liters of vodka, smoking pot and hash, taking LSD, and even went as far as snorting coke.

“While indulging, I was going to school and working long shifts as an usher at a cinema near my house. By March 2020, corona hit, and we closed, plus my college classes moved online, so I dropped out. I have dreams of being a star and bracing the silver screen, plus two thousand dollars for a video chat with a teacher online isn’t worth it.

“A few months into the pandemic, I went to the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco and lived the sort of free love lifestyle. At the time, it was the most beautiful thing in the world. While there, I sort of managed to kick a few bad habits; no more cigarettes, hard drugs, nor constant drinking. I still smoke pot and hash, which I have a hard time letting go of because of the withdrawals. But every day I am growing and maturing!

“Thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter. I’m sorry for the poor penmanship of an old man or doctor, haha. I hope you are staying safe and healthy during these rough times, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Kind regards, Joseph, CA.”

Let’s Cut to the Chase…

It’s always great to receive letters confirming my calling and purpose in life, but it’s evident that God was at work in Joseph’s life long before he heard my story. I’m glad he did and grateful that he could identify himself as a “younger version” of me, now reaching out for help!

I could blame a number of things for my downward spiral in the 60s, but it was solely my own self-deception while being disobedient to God and to my parents. I chased after the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 2

Living with Regrets…

For some, the 60s were an exciting time, or at least, others see them that way. For me, I battle regrets for taking the lives, and for living without God in my life. Dr. Charles Stanley wrote, “Although it’s natural to regret the sin, we don’t have to wallow in it.” The secret is to not wallow in sin, so we don’t have to regret it later. But nonetheless, we learn as believers to overcome our past in Christ Jesus, “…because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 3

Regretful thinking is wallowing in sin consciousness, “the spirit who lives in the world,” and if not overcome in Christ, will result in loneliness, producing a vicious cycle of sin and death. But Jesus promised to turn our loneliness into peace through believing in Him. He told His disciples, “…you will be scattered [alone], each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.  I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 4

Overcoming Regrets & Loneliness…

Jesus overcame our world of regrets by His blood at the cross, cleansing us from all unrighteousness, and giving us a righteous consciousness. He gave us the ability to stand in God’s presence, without any sense of fear, guilt, condemnation, shame or inferiority. The apostle Paul wrote: “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” 5

Without the blood of Jesus Christ, it is humanly impossible to pay the price for our sins. There is no redemptive hope, no resurrected power to overcome regrets and loneliness on our own. Jesus proclaimed, “I am not alone because the Father is with me.” As born-again Christians, we have “Christ in us the hope of glory.” 6 We are saved solely by grace through faith in His righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 7 Remember, no sinful habit, painful past, pr present struggle is too difficult for Jesus to overcome. Won’t you receive the finished work of Jesus today?

A Prayer for You…

Jesus, I confess You are my Lord, Savior and Righteousness. I believe in my heart that God raised You from the dead. By faith in Your word of reconciliation, I receive salvation now. Thank You for saving my soul! Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive Your power right now. Thank You for baptizing me. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life. Show me my identity, meaning and purpose in life. Amen!

Scripture References (NLT)

1) Phil. 1:9,10
2) 1 John 2:16
3) 1 John 4:4b
4) John 16:32b, 33
5) Rom 3:24, 25a
6) Col. 1:27; John 14:17
7) Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 14:17