Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Buying Lies

The return policy on all the lies you've bought has not expired.  

You can give them right back to that sleazy salesman who sold them to you.  

If he asks why you're returning them, you don't have to give reasons like, "I have no room for your lies" or, "They taste really bitter coming out of my mouth".  

you just tell that sleaze-ball that Jesus has purchased too much truth for you to buy any more lies.

I bought a lie.  I believed that quitting smoking would be too hard and even if I quit, I would still crave cigarettes for the rest of my life. I had tried to quit a few times before.  Each time I quit I would give up with in a few days and then find myself smoking on my back porch.  I felt like a huge failure. Just another thing I couldn't follow through with or successfully complete. 

I was up to 2 packs a day.  That's 40 cigarettes a day! There's only 24 hours in a day.  60 minutes in an hour. For roughly 8 of those hours I'm asleep. Oh, and I kept my smoking a secret, so for the few hours I was out of the house everyday I didn't smoke. It takes approximately 5 minutes to smoke 1 cigarette. So, when I was home with no one around I was smoking almost 5 cigarettes an hour. So, here's my point, all I thought about was cigarettes. 

Smoking ruled over me.

One day, I picked up a book called All In by Mark Guzzardo.  I never finished the book.  I read all the up to the part where God said, "Crissy, this is you.  If you will let go of cigarettes and grab on to my hand, you'll see that I have a promise for you." But in the book it read like this:

"To experience Jesus, we must relinquish our right of control in every area of life. As much as we may want it to work another way, it won’t. Luke 16:13 clearly states, “No servant can serve two masters.”
Thankfully, when we forfeit control, we are giving control to a loving, all-powerful God who will do a much better job than we ever could. If we are going to gain Him and His abundant life, we must let go.
It reminds me of watching Tarzan as a kid. Do you remember him — the human raised by monkeys? He lived in the jungle and got around by swinging from one vine to the next. Imagine Tarzan’s journey through the jungle being similar to how God wants to guide us through life. Just as Tarzan would swing from vine to vine on the way to his destination, God wants to lead us from experience to experience on the way to our destination.
At the beginning of our faith journey, we are hanging on with both hands to a single vine. This vine could represent our life. We can’t make any progress while both hands are clasped tightly to our lives, but there is a feeling of familiarity and control as we cling to our little vine.
Jesus then shows us a series of vines in front of us that represent the path He desires to guide us down. We know we want to follow Him, so we begin. We swing over a little bit and when we are close enough, we let go with one hand and grab the second vine. Jesus says, 'Good! Now let go of your life completely, grab the next vine, and we’ll be off on our journey together.;"
I read that and decided right then and there that I would quit the next day.  This is an excerpt from my journal on October 5, 2011:
"I've thought about smoking about 10 times already.  About to get in the shower." 
"Went to story time.  And I don't smoke when we do kid things so I didn't really think about it anyway.  But I yelled at Tucker in the car on the way home. That might be because I've had a strong cup of coffee and a monster.  I'm a little edgy. Also, I've had a little congestion.  Thought not smoking would prevent it from turning into a cough.  No such luck."
"Well I smoked. I've yelled at Tucker all day.  I don't feel like my body is screaming at me to smoke but my brain sure is.  I feel like a failure. Smoking really is all I think about."
I prayed. I asked God to just show me how to do it.  "How do I let go of this? I want you to be my all consuming fire...not cigarettes." 
Four days later I went to a class at our church called "Journey".  The Pastor that teaches the class spoke about "keeping nothing off limits to God".  Jesus had his finger on my heart that day.  As the pastor taught I felt like Jesus was sitting next to me with his hand on my back, nodding his head, "Yes." He was smiling of course.  He always smiles. The Pastor also talked about scales representing sin and when we let go of the things we keep off limits we are shedding scales. "Eventually" he said, "the scales will be gone and we'll stand before the lord pink and raw." Pink and raw. That was my desire.  Suddenly I desired nothing more than to stand before the Lord pink and raw.
Here is where he spoke plainly to me in His Word:
Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gently and humble at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 
Matthew 22:37-40
"Jesus replied:  'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the law and the prophets hang on these 2 commandments."
There was a shift.  I put on a patch the next day and I haven't smoked since. 
So you're probably wondering about my promise? The one God said he had for me.... 
Well, he gave me photography.  I love it so much and I can use it for his glory.  I have a purpose and an identity.  I didn't have an identity when I spent all my time smoking.  I was  a smoker and everything else happened when I wasn't smoking. Although I don't like to hug it's still nice to be able to hug someone without worrying that I may smell like cigarettes.  
And, that sleazy lie salesmen, well his sales are down. Satan has one less thing to make me feel shameful about. 
What are you keeping off limits to God? What is your all consuming fire? Ask him to reveal what your scales look like. He will remove them very gently.  It's hurts a little. Any time you remove a piece of flesh it hurts but the Father has a way of soothing hurts better than anything else. 
Love you. 

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