Thank you for stopping by today. I messed up. I thought my devotion, When Your Mess Becomes Your Message, was going to run on Thursday. It ran yesterday. I apologise. But I don’t want you to miss my interview with my brother, Barry, so I’ve posted it early. I hope you find some comfort and direction as you read. Mostly, we hope you find freedom.
1.) Barry, what was your life like apart from Christ?
Miserable, lonely, alone, afraid, exhausted, hungry, homeless, in and out of jail, in and out of hospital emergency room, beat down, …I might as well have been dead….was no good to myself or my family…I wasn’t there…I was stuck on stupid.
2.) What would you say the stronghold was that held you bound to drugs?
Sin…it started when I was a teenager….selfish…only cared about me, myself…fear… I’m afraid of everything….at some point…I’m not sure when, the enemy brought a stronghold of fear. When it came upon me it was terrifying and it came upon me often. Like a phobia but everything caused it. The only time I felt comfortable or safe was when I was covered up in football uniform from head to toe where nobody could see me, the real me, the me I didn’t even know. I then as a teenager I tried to cover it up with drugs and alcohol and all it did was enhance the fear and make it worse but now I’m hooked.
3.) What is your life like now with Christ?
In the Bible, God says in Hosea 4:4, “MY people perish for lack of knowledge” and now I know the truth has made me free.”God also says that He didn’t give me the spirit of fear but power, love and a sound mind. 1 Timothy. And when I first got saved I memorized other similar scriptures about why I shouldn’t be afraid but I was still afraid and I couldn’t understand why the God who created Heaven and earth and everything in it wouldn’t deliver me from this terrifying fear….I fasted, I prayed, I memorized, I found something for my hands to do in the church, I made myself available, I obeyed God’s word then one day I shared my story with Elder Jerry and he said that terrifying feeling will never go away ….. the lying voices I hear-won’t either….. he said it’s not about how I feel, or about what the devil whispers in my ear but it’s about what God says and He says He didn’t give me the spirit of fear but power, love and a sound mind.
Instantly I got a revelation.
Today I’m honored to teach in the same Spiritual Growth Center where I was taught. Every time before I teach I still feel that terrifying feeling of fear. I still hear the devil in my ear whispering, “You’re dumb. You’re stupid. You’re good for nothing and if you go in there and teach they’re all gonna know it.” But I always remember my revelation that it’s not how I feel or what the devil whispers in my ear. So I walk on in. Every time I teach I take a step of faith, mount the pulpit with tremendous fear, evil voices in my ear but as soon as I open my mouth and begin to teach the fear and the voices leave and the Holy Spirit takes over! Today, I’ve been teaching now for 3 years and God continually takes me from faith to faith, glory to glory, from confidence to confidence in Him. So today the fear’s not so great and the whispers in my ear are merely whispers because now I know when I am weak then I am strong because greater is He, Jesus, that is in me than he, enemy, that’s in the world.
4.) How do you keep from returning to your old lifestyle?
Deliverance from drugs and alcohol and just plain being mean is a daily deliverance. Every morning I when I wake up I have a choice to make….pray or not pray. Delivered or not delivered. So I start my day with prayer. I pray and read my Bible. Today I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We’re not acquaintances. He’s not someone I just talk to occasionally. We have a relationship….a daily relationship. After all how to you get to know someone without spending time with them? God says that He has given everyone a gift and that He’ll make room for it. So through a prayer life and finding something for my hands to do in the house of God, making myself available, all in obedience to the Word, God has shown me my gift – teaching, and has made room for it. So I have a daily relationship with Jesus Christ. I found something for my hands to do in the house of God. I’m at church every time the doors are open. I’m in Monday night Leadership class. And every chance I get I share my testimony. The preached word got me saved. The taught word keeps me saved. The Bible says that we are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The long and the short of it is…that I’ve learned to take God at His word and obey.
5.) What encouragement can you give to parents whose children are addicted?
Pray. Prayer is powerful. After all there were lots of people praying for me! A lady I once knew gave me a compliment before I got saved she said, “Barry sure does fall a lot but he always gets right back up.” Now I realize that’s Biblical. The Bible says,”a just man falls seven times and gets up seven times.” So don’t get weary when your loved one or family member keeps falling into sin just keep praying and encouraging them to get back up. We’ve all heard the saying it gets worse before it gets better. That’s Biblical too. Because when you pray God begins to move and so does the enemy. But we all know the end of the story. It’s written in the script. We win! God prevails.
6.) What encouragement can you give to those who struggle with addiction?
Get saved! Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior! Pray! Find a good church. Get involved.Deliverance is a slow process sometimes. It’s a slow process but a for sure process as long as you continue your relationship with Jesus. . Find something for your hands to do. And no matter how many times you fall get up. Dust yourself off. Keep pressing toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus which just simply means be pleasing to God. For me and my addiction I needed time away from the world. Most people with addictions do.
Here in San Antonio, TX six years ago I enrolled myself into the Spiritual Growth Center of Victory Gospel Chapel. This is where I finally accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and savior COMPLETELY…not just part of me but all of me I gave to him. The Spiritual Growth Center is a place where we teach the Word of God which causes change and you can stay up to a year or longer depending on how long it takes to get your life in order.
We provide food and clothing. All your needs are met and it’s FREE! Just like salvation….all we have to do is accept it.
Victory Gospel Chapel’s Spiritual Growth Center
San Antonio, TX 78202
Thank you, Barry! I love you!
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving all of your children, especially those who stray far from the path. Lord, please free our children from the power of the addictions that bind their hearts and bodies. Grant us as mothers of wayward children the perseverance and hope to stay on our knees praying for our kids until they acknowledge You as Lord of their lives. Give us Your peace, the peace that passes understanding. In Jesus Name, Amen.”