7 Inspiring Habits for Christians with Anxiety Disorders

Cortni Marrazzo
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer Sept 12, 2019

7 Inspiring Habits for Christians with Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can be a hard topic to talk about in many churches and Christian circles. Some people equate chronic anxiety with a lack of faith and trust in God. However, many Christians who have a close relationship with God—and trust Him deeply—still experience high anxiety.

If you are someone who loves and trusts God, yet still regularly face anxiety, I want to encourage you that you are not alone. Hope is not lost. It’s possible to experience the freedom of Christ in your life, even when anxiety is persistently knocking at your door. I want to share with you, based on my experience with anxiety, seven habits for living well in the midst of struggling with anxiety:

1. Focus on the true freedom of Christ.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. – Romans 8:1-2

To experience true freedom in Christ, it helps to recognize what that freedom really entails. The freedom we have in Christ is freedom from condemnation and freedom from the separation from God. If you struggle with anxiety, it’s likely you face a lot of guilt and shame from not doing enough or not being enough (or both). While this guilt and shame can easily overwhelm you, it’s important to remember that this is not how God sees you.

Experiencing freedom in Christ doesn’t necessarily mean you will ever be free from all the symptoms of anxiety on this side of heaven, but you can be free from being in bondage to that anxiety. Despite how you may feel and what you physically experience, you can always stand on the truth of God’s word that promises that God never condemns you and that you are always loved and accepted by Him.

2. Keep coming to God for help with your anxious feelings.

Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. – Hebrews 4:15-16

My own experience with anxiety has caused me to run to God a lot, because I find myself in desperate need of His peace to overcome anxious feelings. I used to try to numb my anxious thoughts with shopping, food, tv, social media…whatever I could do to temporarily drown it out. This was mostly because I felt shame about my struggles, and didn’t want to take it to God for fear of judgement.

I know in my mind that God doesn’t judge me in my weaknesses, but anxiety tries to convince you of things that aren’t true. Jesus was human and experienced anxiety Himself, so not only does He accept and love us no matter what, He can actually relate to our struggles! He was so anxious before dying on the cross that he actually sweated drops like blood (Luke 22:44).

When you are anxious, you are in need of God’s peace, and God tells you to come bravely to Him when you are in need. He promises that you will be treated with undeserved kindness and that He will help you.

Anxiety can cause us to feel ashamed when we are in need, but God actually created us to need Him!

back view of diverse group of adults linking arms around waists, walking forward together

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages

3. Embrace outside help in dealing with your anxiety.

Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances. – Proverbs 11:14 MSG

It is very important to seek God’s help when struggling with anxiety, and sometimes part of that help may come from outside sources like a professional counselor. When my son was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I found myself struggling with my own anxiety in trying to navigate how to help my son.

I sought out a Christian counselor who has since helped point me back to God’s Word, while also equipping me with tools and actions to help me physically train my brain to do what God had actually made it to do.

Counselors are trained in methods of dealing with anxiety that make changes at a physical level. They can teach us how we can help our brain recover from the fight or flight reactions that kick into overdrive when anxiety shows up.

Healthy habits like journaling, deep breathing, practicing mindfulness, and many others have personally helped (and continue to help) me when I struggle to get past anxious thoughts and feelings in my life.

4. Take care of your body.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Exercise and diet are huge factors in helping anxiety. Running is something that has personally helped me immensely. I actually didn’t realize just how much until recently when my running partner went on vacation and I took a week off from running and found that I struggled with a lot more anxiety that week than I did when I was regularly running.

For me, when I run or do some other form of exercise consistently, it helps me eat less junk and eat more nutrient-dense foods. Exercise and nutrition have a big impact on your brain and can contribute to the levels of anxiety you experience in your day to day life.

5. Follow God’s leading on how best to tend to your unique anxiety needs.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” – Psalm 32:8

There is a wealth of information out there and a lot of people advising those struggling with anxiety. While research, knowledge, and advice are valuable, it’s important to listen to what God is specifically telling you to do. 

Prescription medicines for anxiety disorders can be a controversial choice for some people, but I believe each person should follow God’s leading on this decision. Because an anxiety disorder is a medical diagnosis that stems from the way your brain is wired—and can be genetic—it is highly possible that you may benefit from a medication to help you. This is especially applicable if you’ve found that counseling, diet, exercise, and even prayer just don’t seem to be relieving your anxiety.

If you feel like you could possibly benefit from the help of medication, pray for God’s guidance in this matter, and don’t let fear stop you from at least talking to a counselor and/or your doctor about your options. God may lead to you this resource as a way to help you.

There have been a few times in my life where I’ve taken medication to help me through some particularly rough seasons. Before making that decision, I prayed about it and when I sensed His peace about it, I continued to trust that God would help the medication work in my brain.

I continued to seek God and use other strategies to help myself while taking medication, but I believe God used the medication to help me quiet my brain down enough to make those positive choices every day. More importantly, it helped me connect with Him on a daily basis. My hope wasn’t in the medication, but my hope was in God using it for good in my life.

a woman with her eyes closed and a grateful expression

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages

6. Give yourself grace when you feel anxiety.

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:22

One of the worst things about anxiety is the guilt and shame that often accompany it. It’s easy to blame yourself for how you feel or feel guilty about it, yet experiencing anxiety about your anxiety is very easy to slip into. Have you ever struggled with any of these thoughts?

“If I trusted God enough, I wouldn’t be anxious.”

“Why do I keep struggling with this?”

“I’m just not good enough to get past this.”

Anxiety isn’t something anyone chooses, but it is something many struggle with. There are many different reasons someone may experience more anxiety than the next person: genetics, how your brain is wired, previous trauma, perfectionism, and many others.

The point is, it’s not your fault. You are not less than others, or less than God wants you to be because you struggle with this.

You are human and your struggle is part of your humanity.

7. See the good in your struggle with anxiety.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Even though we don’t know for sure what Paul’s particular thorn was, we know it was something he struggled with. I don’t know about you, but anxiety sure feels like a thorn in the flesh to me because it’s definitely a struggle! But when I struggle, I run to God because I know He is the only one who can ultimately help me. This keeps me coming to God a lot, and as a result, I am growing closer to Him and growing in my faith.

Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy or fun, but it keeps you aware of your need for God and helps you continue to see just how much His power works through your weaknesses. And when you experience God and His strength more powerfully, you are able to share your experiences with and encourage others who are also struggling.

Truth is, even when you have to consistently face the monster of anxiety, you can still freely live out the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave: to love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31)


Cortni Marrazzo is the Communication Director at ONE* Church in Spokane, WA.  She and her husband Jason have two elementary-age sons, one of which has special needs. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for ministry and encouraging the body of Christ. You can contact her at Cortni.Marrazzo@gmail.com or on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CortniMarrazzo)

https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/depression-suicide/inspiring-habits-for-christians-with-anxiety-disorders.html

Advertisements

Life with Christ shouldn’t be shallow

What does it mean when we say we want to “go deeper” in our faith? What should we go deeper into?

 

by Godinterest

 

The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

2 Timothy 2:19.

Pray for the impartation of the Holy Spirit and believe that it is for you. Search your own hearts, and prepare your mind for the reception of the Holy Spirit. Do not be satisfied with your present experience. Sincere Christians universally want to “go deeper” in faith and knowledge of the Scripture.

Prayer should be the natural outflow of the soul – you should pray because you must pray, not because the set time for praying has arrived — but because your heart must cry unto your Lord.

It is the privilege of every believer in Christ to possess Christ’s nature, a nature far above that which Adam forfeited by transgression. He who sees the Son by faith and believes in Him, is obedient to the commandments of God, and in this obedience he finds everlasting life. You will not have a firm religious experience unless you dig deep, and build your house upon the Rock. But spiritual depth isn’t simply about knowledge (a common misconception), but about everyday life and relationships. And where better to begin than reflecting on how to have deeper joy in Christ?

Satan works through many who will be worked, blinding the perceptive faculties, paralyzing the senses with selfish ease and love of the world, and unless a special message direct from heaven comes to them they will not discern their peril.

Many believers waver between different opinions and actions showing feelings of hesitancy when studying the word of God. Many grasp the truth with their perceptive powers, but they sometimes refuse to separate themselves from the world.

Many will not consent to be God’s peculiar people. They know the truth of the Bible, but they do not want to obey, and they turn from the truth. They act out their unbelief, and darkness comes upon their souls. Choosing their own way they are left to be filled with their own devices. Truth is insulted, Christ ignored, and perdition will be their portion unless they turn and repent in the name of Jesus.

While these opposing influences are at work to lead away from the truth, away from conviction, away from heaven into the broad path of self-gratification, the agents of God are to work to save souls that are ready to perish.

Prayer to Seek Truth

Lord, help me to seek truth today
To find it in places and people I wouldn’t otherwise notice.
Teach me that in truth there is wisdom and understanding.
May seeking truth help me overcome my fears and frustrations.

Lord, help me to strive for truth in all that I do today –
That my thoughts, words, and actions may reflect Your goodness.
Show me that only in truth will I be free –
To live honestly and courageously,
To love wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

Lord, help me to cherish truth –
Knowing that You are the author of all that is beautiful, good, and true.
May truth reign in my heart, no matter what I encounter today –
Lies, mockery, confusion, or betrayal.
Your truth gives me clarity and peace.

Lord, You created truth.
You are Truth.
Help me to know truth when I see it;
Learn truth when I am taught it;
Love truth,
Live truth.

Help me to share truth with others today –
Those who are lost and lonely,
The brokenhearted and weary,
Anyone who is suffering from visible or invisible pain.

When I am a son or daughter of truth, I am free to be
Fully alive
Fully myself
And an honest reflection of You.

Truth leads to greater knowledge
Compassion
Understanding
Respect
Charity
And excellence in all virtues.

Truth strengthens me
Guides me
Leads me
Protects me
Keeps me.
I am constant when I dwell in Your truth.
I am unafraid of what I may face.
I am vigilant and poised for speaking
The witness of who You are in truth.

Your Word is truth – may the truth of Your Word ring in the ears of all who are perishing and bring many perishing people to salvation in Jesus name we pray,

Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/09/08/life-with-christ-shouldnt-be-shallow/

5 Truths about God’s Design for Sex in Marriage

by Bonny

Living in an over-sexualized culture, we hear messages about sex, wrong messages.   These messages become more a part of us than God’s truth because we hear them repetitively and churches are scared to address sexuality.

For too long, I believed the world’s message about sex.   That it’s a superficial, feel-good avenue to self-satisfaction.   Wrong, partly.   God did design sex to feel good!

But, there is more than that.   He designed it for profound spiritual, physical, and emotional connection.   It is just a shadow of things to come.

God’s design of sex is too amazing to keep silent about.

Here are five truths about God’s design of sex in marriage.

God designed sex to be bonding.

Not only spiritually bonding, but emotionally and physically.   When the two become one flesh, biochemicals are released in our bodies like oxytocin and dopamine.   Oxytocin, especially, is a bonding chemical.   When I embraced this truth and started engaging in the marriage bed more, the tone of our marriage completely changed.

“This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh,” Genesis 2:24 (NIV).

God designed sex for both husband and wife to experience pleasure.

It’s an equal opportunity activity.   Why else would there be a clitoris?   It’s only function is for pleasure.   The Song of Solomon is full of beautiful poetic language about the pleasures of physical love for both spouses.

If one spouse struggles with the ultimate moment, there are Christian resources available to help the couple understand how to achieve mutual enjoyment.

“The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved,” Song of Solomon 7:13 (NIV).

God designed sex so that we would know yearning.

Before you were married, you yearned for your fianc.   Not only did you crave your fiance’s touch, you craved his/her presence and knowing him/her better.  Even after years of marriage, it is good to remember this yearning.  It mirrors how God desires us to yearn for him.   I believe this is one reason he frequently uses the marriage as a symbol of his relationship with us throughout the Bible.

“Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?” James 4:5 (NIV).

God designed the marriage bed to be a place to show the fruit of the Spirit.

Peace, patience, love, joy, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control are the foundation of all Christian life, especially the marriage bed.   All conflict surrounding the marriage bed can be managed through employing these key traits.

My own marriage endured a long season of mismatched sex drives.   It was through these qualities and some wise communication tools that we overcame our conflict.

God designed sex as a powerful mystery.

Biblical stories of sex often confused me when I was young.   There was some nasty stuff in the old testament, the rape of Dinah, Lot and his daughters, the men of Gibeah  clammering for the male visitor, Leviticus 20.   And yet, there is the beautiful Song of Solomon.   The New Testament seemed to prefer celibacy, to be honest.   As a teenager, I couldn’t understand why I liked thinking about sex if it was disgraceful and violent.

But, as an adult, I realized the stories were teaching me that sexual intimacy is powerful and mysterious.   It’s OK not to have it all figured out, as long as you respect the power it holds to do good when it is aligned with God’s perfect design.

“For my thoughts  are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the  Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways  and my thoughts than your thoughts,” Isaiah 55:8-9.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the world’s message of cheap sex destroy the meaningful sex in your marriage.   Sex may only be a small portion of the whole of your marriage.   However, sex matters.   It especially matters if one spouse is more interested than the other.   When we ignore its power and importance in marriage, the relationship suffers.

Now, granted chronic health issues can affect sexual function and that’s a more complicated story.

https://godinterest.com/2018/03/29/5-truths-about-gods-design-for-sex-in-marriage/

Love Your Enemies

AUGUST 30, 2019 BY FRANCES ROGERS

 

“O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.”
2 Kings 6:17

The king of Syria is perplexed as to how the king of Israel is evading him and his army. When he learns that the prophet Elisha is foiling his attacks, he sends his horses, a great army, and chariots at night to surround the city of Dothan, where he plans to capture Elisha.

The next morning, when Elisha’s servant saw what was happening, he said to Elisha, “Alas, my master, what shall we do?”

Elisha is not bothered at all by the situation and answers his servant with assurance, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” 2 Kings 6:15-16

Elisha then prayed the prayer that revealed God’s presence and power. He said, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.”

The Lord answered Elisha’s prayer and opened the servant’s eyes so that he saw a “mountain full of horses and chariots of fire” around them.

Elisha prayed again, but this time for the Lord to blind the army. When the Lord answered this prayer, Elisha led them to Samaria.

Again, Elisha prays – this time for their eyes to be opened. When this happens, they see that Elisha has brought them to the king of Israel, who could have killed them; but Elisha tells the king to give them food and water.

“So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.”
2 Kings 6:23

This story reminds me of three references in the New Testament. The first is of Paul’s words in Romans 12:20.

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Then the words of John come to mind, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

But, more than these, we have an example of Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5 and Luke 6 to “love your enemies.” (See related article and sermon links below.)

We do not have prophets like Elisha in the world today. The prayers he prayed were for a different time. Now we have the Spirit of Christ to assure us of His love, His protection, and His wisdom. We don’t see the supernatural work of our heavenly Father with human eyes, but our eyes are opened spiritually to see and to know that He is always with us and how He works through us to respond to our enemies.

Before leaving His disciples, Jesus said to them:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

Throughout the Old and the New Testaments, God promises to be with us. Elisha’s first words to his servant are, “Fear not.” Many of the books of the Bible quote these words from the Lord. In Isaiah 41:10, KJV, we read,

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the prayer you gave Elisha so that his servant could see your marvelous work on their behalf. Give us faith to believe, and not fear what man may do to us. Thank you for bringing us into your presence, and opening our eyes to see the King of kings – not to receive your wrath upon us, but heavenly food and drink, and eternal blessings. Keep our eyes focused on the wonders of your great salvation in and through your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And enable us to love our enemies as you  have loved us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran (Excerpt from PRAYERS That Bring the House Down)

Love Your Enemies

Reality Check List for all Husbands – Reignite your Marriage

HOW TO REKINDLE YOUR MARRIAGE

The Key to a Happy Wife:

Husbands should understand the importance of emotional intimacy in marriage. This is the key to living with a happy wife. It is a well known fact that women are emotional beings, if you’re an emotionally unavailable man, your marriage will suffers from all directions. I know that maintaining emotional intimacy requires hard work due to the fact that men are not that emotional. But restoring emotional intimacy after it is lost can be a lot tougher than working hard to preserve it along the way. As a matter of fact, this is where all divorce process begins.

Validate your Wife’s Feelings:

To your wife, being understood means having her feelings validated and accepted. I know women can get overly emotional, which makes them hard to understand. But it helps to just bite your tongue and actively listen to her. “Pretend if you have to.”  It will magically calm things down and give you some breathing space. In return, she will feel loved, valued, and safe enough to allow emotional intimacy.

Marriage is Work in Progress:

Having strong emotional bond in your marriage relationship is important and worth the effort. When you take steps in the direction of strengthening this area it demonstrates your commitment to a long, strong and happy marriage. And that helps you become a better father and man, as well as being an amazing husband. If your wife is happy, it’s guaranteed that she will always desire you.

Photo by Lubov’ Birina on unsplash

Spend Time Together:

Your wife probably has a lower priority with marital intimacy than you. If you commit to meeting her other needs and desires, things will change. When you approach her for deeper intimacy, she wants to get together with compassion, not with someone who simply shares her mailing address. If you’re not spending time having fun together in all kinds of settings, she’s going to be less motivated with being intimate with you. Commit to spending at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with her. If you have kids, wait until they are in bed.

Put Away Devices and Take Her Out:

Making time to focus on each other without the kids or other distractions is critical to maintaining the sparks in your marriage. Deep intimacy in a relationship depends on the quality of human interaction. Electronic devices has greatly interfered with human one-on-one interaction. When you spend time with your wife, consider turning them off, look each other  in the eyes when talking. It creates deeper connection. Avoid the boring marriage spells by visiting different places together.

Spending time in pursuits you enjoy together can build good memories and experiences. Consider the things you did when you were dating, the ones that made you look forward to the next time you spend together. Remember those fan activities strengthened the bond between the  two of you. They played a huge role in your decision to put a ring on her. For this reason, you need to reintroduce them back.

Spend Time Away From each Other:

Although making time for each other in important,  time away from each other is just as important. Strong marriage relationships have two interdependent partners. Each one has a professional life or social life, they come together to invest in the marriage. Too much togetherness can be a bad thing if it deprives the marriage of the energy and experiences of interdependence. Take time to engage in some good self-care as a husband and allow your wife to do the same, and then come together as a secure and trusting partners. It is absolutely healthy to spend some time with other men. Time away allows you to appreciate your spouse more.

Make Her feel Safe in your Arms:

Your wife needs a safe and secure relationship. In order for her to engage with you from her heart, mind and body, she needs assurance that you will be there for her, that you are committed to her. There’s no short cut to this, for your wife, any physical intimacy has to be in full alignment with her emotional feelings. If you repeatedly do things that make her feel insecure, she will not allow herself to be intimate with you.

If you watch pornography or stare at other women, in her presence, you are being unfaithful. You don’t need to have an affair to be an unfaithful husband. The bible makes it clear that any lust for a woman who is not your wife is adultery.
Proverbs 5:18-19, TLB. “Let your manhood be a blessing; rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone fill you with delight.”

“Thought for the Soul”

Often, couples don’t realize the signs of emotional intimacy withdrawal. One spouse may be blindsided when their partner announces that they want to leave the marriage. If emotional withdrawal can be avoided, then the worldwide divorce rate can decrease.

Original here

Breathing And Other Luxuries

AUG 23, 2019  by Bill Sweeney

Most people don’t think of breathing as a luxury, after all, even the poorest among us can breathe. They wouldn’t be among us otherwise.

Luxury: a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort.

After almost twenty-three years with ALS, which greatly affects my ability to breathe, I believe the above definition of luxury perfectly fits being able to breathe in ease and comfort. But maybe only those who’ve had breathing problems view breathing as a luxury. I hope this simple post will give readers a new appreciation for the ability to just breathe. I think this is important because, if we learn not to take breathing for granted, we’ll begin to view material luxuries for what they really are – just stuff!

Regardless of location, status, race, religion, politics, or anything else that divides people, taking a breath is the first thing we do when entering this world and the last thing we’ll do when exiting this world.

Breathing is a great equalizer.

The ability to breathe was also the first gift that God gave to mankind:

“And the LORD God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person.” (Genesis 2:7).

Even though I don’t have the ability to use or the money to spend on the latest gadgets, I am fascinated by technology. I am literally surrounded by incredible machines that add to my quality of life. My wheelchair reclines and is very comfortable. It even has headlights and taillights for cruising around at night. This wheelchair cost as much as a new car. It was donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) after the original owner died from ALS. I am borrowing it from them.

In front of me, attached to the wheelchair with a bar, is my eye-tracking computer. This special computer enables me to communicate, type this post, and do so much more.

To the right of my wheelchair is a little pump mounted on an I.V. pole. This pump is connected to my feeding tube, and for twelve hours a day, its slowly pumping a lab concocted formula into my stomach.

Finally, to my left, is a ventilator that breathes for me through a little breathing mask that’s plugged into my nose.

Now that I think about it, I might be more machine than human.

Because ALS also weakens the muscles needed to breathe, I’ve been relying on a breathing machine when I sleep for the last twenty years. Increasingly over the last few years, I’ve also had to use this ventilator during the daytime. When fighting for every breath, it’s such a relief when Mary puts the breathing mask on me. I am finally able to relax. That’s a luxury.

A few weeks ago, I was watching a television show called “American Pickers.” This is a show about two men who travel America in a van looking for old items to buy and resell for a profit. In the episode I was watching, these two men were in Florida trying to buy old luxury cars from a wealthy man who lived in a mansion near the ocean.

This elderly man owned several once-beautiful and very expensive cars, but because he lived near the ocean, these cars were just rusting away in the salty air. When I was a boy, while playing with my Matchbox Cars, I dreamed about one day owning some of the very cars that this man was letting sit in his garage and rust away. That little boy in me and the adult me were in total agreement; they both had the same thought – WHAT A WASTE!

The “Pickers” made offers to buy some of the cars, but the man refused to let go of his rusting luxuries.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

In the years following my diagnoses with ALS, I’ve learned to place a higher value on my many blessings. Apart from the rare visits from that little boy inside of me, my definitions of treasures and luxuries are not the same as they once were.

Breathing is a great luxury.

No matter how bad things look to you, there is hope for a better tomorrow if you’re breathing today.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Original here

VIDEO Muslim Trades Uncertainty for A Life of Peace

“Nobody knows: ‘Am I doing enough?’ There is no guarantee, there is no assurance. Limbo is always, always is in your mind as a Muslim.” Born in Iran, raised in a strict Shia family, Mohamad Faridi was taught he had one purpose in life. He says, “My goal as a Muslim was to satisfy a god that I didn’t know. A god that I couldn’t get to know. So, everything I did, everything I read, studied. It was about to fulfill that particular goal, to keep him satisfied with me. To have his approval.” From childhood he prayed and fasted and memorize the Quran. He says, “Because the belief is that if you memorize the Quran, you cannot be burnt in hell, because the verses of the Quran eternal and they are pure, when it’s in your mind, the mind cannot be burnt in hell. I was always in constant fear.”

Then as a teenager he started ritual flagellations to earn Allah’s approval. He recalls, “We have chains, we have uh swords that we beat ourself with it. And to punish ourself in order to uh pay for our sins, to show how sorrowful we are.” But there was only one way he could secure his place in paradise. Mohamad says, “The only guarantee, according to Chapter 5 of the Quran is Jihad and being a slay – or slaying for the cause of Islam, that’s the only guarantee you will find in the doctrine of Islam.”

Mohamad hoped to get his chance in battle when he served his two years of mandatory military service after high school. But war never broke out and when his army career came to an end, Mohamad grew frustrated and depressed. He recalls, “I knew as a Muslim if I commit suicide, I will definitely end up in Hell. At this time, I’m living in Hell, if I kill myself, I’m end up in Hell. So, I had this dilemma. I was a stuck. I really was a stuck.”

Then one day, he met up with a friend that he hadn’t seen since high school. Right away, Mohamad noticed something different about him. He recalls, “He was very mellow, very peaceful. And it bothered me to the point that I said, ‘What is going on with you today? There’s something very different with you today.’ And then he said that he became a Christian. And he started explaining about the goodness of God. He talked about the love of God. And how his relationship with God that is through Jesus Christ has changed their lives.”

Mohamad continues, “And I tried to defend myself. I tried to prove him wrong.  But after two hours of intense argument, I was an echo of what the Imam in the mosque told me. I had nothing that I could stand on as a Muslim. Because I didn’t know God. But the way my friend was talking about Jesus, it was like talking about a friend of him, a personal God that he actually knew.  And out of desperation I fell on my knees and I asked him, ‘What do I need to do, to receive Him?’ Everything that I had to do on my own as a Muslim, to beat myself, to bruise myself, to shed my own blood, to become a sacrifice, he said, ‘It’s already done in the person of Jesus Christ. And if you believe in Him, you will have eternal life.’ And it was simple, but it was the most amazing good news, the true good news, I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Finally, Mohamad discovered the personal relationship with God that he had always desired. He recalls, “Something within me that was always in war with me, always restless, it was like a cancer that always bothered me, never was satisfied. That moment when I made that commitment, when I prayed that prayer, it was like yanked out of me, and for the first time in my life I felt peace.”

Mohamad was excited, but worried about telling his family. According to Sharia law, they would have every right to kill him.  He says, “So, I had to choose between my family and my Heavenly family. And at that time I counted the cost and I said, “I will chose my Heavenly family, regardless of what’s gonna happen.” When he did eventually tell them, his family tried to persuade him back to Islam, but Mohamad was convinced that Jesus was the one true God. He says, “The more I read this New Testament, the Gospels, the more it connected to me. The more it spoke to me. And the Gospels show the hypocrisy of Islam to me.”

For the next two years he attended underground churches and grew in his faith. Eventually, he fled to Turkey fearing for his life. After three years of interviews and waiting, he was granted religious asylum in the United States. He says, “God is a good God, and what He has done through Jesus Christ for us will change our lives for good and for eternity to put us in the right standing with God in a relationship with our Heavenly Father.” Today, Mohamad never misses a chance to share the personal relationship he has with God. He says, “I was a very uncertain person as a Muslim. But when I came to the knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for me, that love, that hope, you cannot find it in any other places. Especially in Islam.”

https://www1.cbn.com/muslim-trades-uncertainty-life-peace