I feel like quoting the words of the once popular song "Love Train"....people all over the world join hands....yes that is what I'm feeling right about now after reading a passage of scripture that blew my mind this morning!
"When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men" Ephesians 4:8 and Psalm 68:18
Train? There were no trains back then. Did the translators from the Greek make a mis-translation? There are only two trains I know of, one rides on tracks and the other is what describes what flows along the ground behind a wedding dress. However, both are connected from the locomotive to the caboose. (Use your imagination for a moment please!)
In all the commentaries I read no one wants to tackle that word train. But the KJV never mentions a train, only "he led the captivity captive". I'm gonna go with train for this blog because it has a really good point. Let's start with God is the engineer that drives the locomotive of our lives which means we are the caboose behind Him. And in that passage what propels the train is grace which fills out all the cars (seasons of life) in between.
As the bride (us) gives herself in marriage to the groom (Christ), grace is that beautiful dress followed by that flowing train that follows the Brides presence at the altar of salvation. Boom!
Maybe the translators were thinking the same thing I am. Let's get on board the Grace Train and write a whole new song!
I can tell it's getting to be that time of year by the FB posts and words getting slung back and forth between fans of these two great institutions, Georgia and Alabama. It is especially heightened by the fact that the Dawgs knocked Bama off the proverbial perch of their throne into runner up land.
Coach Nick Saban who is undoubtedly the GOAT of college coaches said these words after the game to Georgia Coach Kirby Smart, You kicked our #$@ in the 4th quarter. Somehow since then, the revenge and excuses level has ramped up beyond anything normal. Truth is Bama has won many Dawgs have one a couple, much is left to be proven on the field.
I say this to remind us that addiction is full of revenge and excuses that lead us to point the finger at everyone else but ourselves. We must make a change and remind ourselves that this addiction has kicked our #$@ and no matter how good we were before it did, we are not that way now. Not until we sober up not until we prove we can beat this can we really talk with any confidence.
On first glance, on paper as they say, we look real good, we can be loaded with talent, but come up short because we are not honest in our assessment of what the problem is. It is us, it's always us, and until we are ready to admit that we are not ready to quit. Someone told me last night that there are four refrigerated trailers of bodies of overdose victims in a town in south Georgia of people who never admitted their problem to themselves. That is frightening.
Not sure if this analogy hits home with anyone, but just because we have done well before does not guarantee any success once this thing we call addiction has kicked our #$@. We have no control unless we put it in the hands of the God who understands us and has the power to heal us, after all he is the original GOAT.
As for the Dawgs & Bama I look forward to this season with great anticipation, but this is all about games. Addiction on the other hand, that is about life and death, let's make sure we are ready to play in the 4th Quarter!
What gets you excited about living? What takes you out of the mundane and sends you into an absolute frenzy about the next moment? The Braves, the Dawgs, the birth of a child, answered prayer, an encounter with the Holy Spirit? What takes your foot off the brakes and makes you push down on the accelerator?
Recently we began a new program within the framework of ATB that we call Xcelerate! It is based on our desire to do more planting of the seeds of faith throughout what we do to help accelerate the faith and recovery of those we serve. It is designed to lift up above the normal and send folks into a better way of life. It is also based on this scripture:
But just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us - see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7
There is no doubt that God designed us to thrive, even in adverse conditions. As Paul so eloquently said "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation". Content is good but what Paul and the other Apostles did was spectacular. They helped change the world and gave back to society the absolute best of what God made them to be. They excelled in all they did and expected the converts to Christ to do the same.
Why should we be any different? Is it enough just to be enough or should we be more than enough because we have been given such grace that is way more than enough? Right now Xcelerate is just a once a month event that celebrates our faith and recovery where we feed folks, have live music, a testimony and a message of hope but soon it will evolve into every aspect of ATB.
We don't ever just stand still, we don't ever just want be be comfortable for too long, we always want to be a critical moving part of the accelerator of our faith, Jesus Christ, who puts us in motion in the lives of those who need the boost that only He can give. He is the "X" factor, the multiplier of a complete life.
Are you ready? Let's Xcelerate together!
There's no way to sugarcoat this - THEY whoever they are, the drug dealers and traffickers, the middle men and women or the "manufacturers" are not out to help you live a better life, they are out to kill you and make you feel like you deserve it. Strong words, how about these:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
You can define the thief as those mentioned above or the devil himself but you can define nothing if you are dead. This week we lost a couple of folks to overdose deaths both involved fentanyl which is now laced in virtually every illegal drug and pill. These were parents, sons and daughters, like the ones in your family - here's a warning, and this is not a joke - any illegal drug bought off the street can kill you.
It's Pure Poison now, worse than it has ever been. But there is an alternative as mentioned in John 10:10. If you are struggling with your identity, your self-esteem, being in this crazy world, being lost and alone, there is a solution and it is not in getting drugs from a dealer you trust, it's in getting life from a source that provides real power to satisfy and live your life to it's full potential.
Here's what I am talking about: If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36. Bondage, slavery, addiction, all the chains will be broken not with one more hit, one more needle or another line, just by finding a relationship with the Son, and his name is Jesus.
In Him there is no higher feeling, no greater purpose or identity, and the lost and found department is always open. Don't believe it, ask the millions of us still alive that found out just in time!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.