Hold On

Bible Book: Psalms  34 : 18-19
Subject: Substance Abuse; Alcoholism; Drugs; Deliverence; God's Healing

On any give day, over one million who suffer from addictions to drugs or alcohol in the America will enter in treatment center. We need to realize that no one suffers alone. Think about family members. There are family members sitting in this worship service right now who has someone very close to you who is addicted to some substance that is, not only destroying the individual, but affects you in  so many ways. Add to that the family members of those who are dealing with a stinging hurt or stifling hang up and the numbers are staggering. So many people need strength and support.

Two of my favorite verses in the bible are found in psalm 34. These verses tell us where the Lord is when you are broken-hearted or crushed in spirit. You may not be able to feel him, but he is there. What does God say to you who are family members?

I. You Are Not Alone

Loneliness is huge when you are facing a situation that breaks your heart or strikes fear at the very core of your being. You can sit in this church among hundreds of people and feel very lonely. You may feel as if there is no one else who shares the pain you are experiencing. Psalm 38:11 reads, "My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off." Part of the reason for this series is to let you know you are not alone.

II. You Are Loved By God

When storms come into your life it is tempting to ask, "Where is God?" What have I done wrong that has brought this storm into my life? God hasn't forgotten you. He sees and he understands. Isaiah 54:10 states, "For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but my loving kindness will not be removed from you, and my covenant of peace will not be shaken, says the Lord who has compassion on you." God sees your pain, and he understands. You are a valuable part of the church.

I am a "24" fan! Jack is back. One of the things that intrigues me is the technology they use to track  the bad guys. I got into it the other night, so afterwards I pulled up this web site called googleearth.com. You can actually pull your house up off satellite photographs. When it comes to our lives we don't like for people to get a close up view of us, because they may see all the imperfections and hurts and things we hide well.

We all look good at church. Dressed in our finest. There are some stains, etc. The church is a place where you should be loved and cared for and encouraged when you are going through tough times. You can encourage without enabling.

What about your role with the person who is addicted? Let the person know you will help him or her. At the same time you will not enable the addiction.

III. Remember You Cannot Fix Anyone

God can, you and I can't. The individual must choose to accept the help offered. You can set boundaries. You can set boundaries about behaviors that are acceptable or not acceptable. Jesus teaches us that throughout the scripture. Prayerfully ask God to help you to set limitations that are in the best interest of all who are involved.

IV. Take Time For Yourself

You cannot focus totally on the person who is addicted. You have to have time for yourself for renewal and focus. I see people who are totally consumed by the family member who is dealing with an addiction. This is unhealthy for everyone.

V. Find A Support System

This is very important. Not only does the person who is dealing with an issue need support, but so  do family members. It is tough to take off the nice looking clothing and get real, but it is a huge part of healing. Listen to the testimony of someone who has been where many of you are today.

(A testimony was shared in this service at this point, and then the invitation was given.)