BTW, if you read this blog with ANY regularity, go ahead an mark yourself a Follower, OK? Gives me encouragement.
I just read four unrelated news articles, two of which personally affected people I know and care about.
First, a 'family friend' of Nancy's called with some bad news. His roommate died four days ago. We were schocked and looked up the details on the web, as it was reported. Seems a heroin dealer gave him some product - maybe for the first time - and it killed him. Here's the article and the picture of the dealer: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110729/news/707299848 .
Investigation is pending, but with 38 other packets, I doubt Malcolm will be coming home for Christmas - for a decade or two. Anyway, I hope he repents and realizes what he's done.
Secondly, in another drug-related tale, our favorite Mexican restaurant La Playa Cantina, in Glen Ellyn right next to Trader Joe's, has been closed. Yeah, it seems business was so bad the owner decided selling drugs was the way out. Funny thing is, I never saw it as a hopping place, but we both liked it, Nancy and I. Article here: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110729/news/707299876 .
That was so interesting on the Daily Herald page, that I had to investigate the double homicide listed - of a mother and a prostitute. What I read was so dark and violent and foolish and stupid and cruel I nearly threw up. Still drinking Kool-Aid and eating popcorn to ease my stomach and my nervousness. Long Story short: evil man-child goes clubbing, comes home, stoned/drunk/whatever and decides to take out anger on mom - who had him when she was 12. Yeah. Look at the ages.
Stabs her so many times and is so violent he nearly decapitates her. Decides deed is done and calls some hookers. First two call girls have no trouble, then the third sees something she shouldn't, gets concerned, calls her pimp. This gets ire of man-child who then stabs HER to death. VICIOUSLY.
Here's the article: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110727/news/707279868 .
After all that, I did find one POSITIVE story: The lady Senator Giffords [D.] who was so brutally shot through the head, recovered and came back to the House to vote today amid thunderous applause! Article here: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-debt-giffords-20110802,0,4910712.story
What's Your Point? Joy Takes Time
Now what makes all these disparate articles so enticing to me is that tonight I was teaching on John 11 in the DuPage County jail. About Jesus WAITING until Lazarus is dead BEFORE raising him up. How he did it so they would KNOW experientially that HE was 'the Resurrection and the Life', i.e. it wasn't just going to be some event - it was Him Who Had That Power.
In other words, Jesus Recycles!
We are the material. And because there IS a resurrection, because we have a compassionate Lord who WILL let death happen, weep painfully over it, and then go beat the snot out of it - death cannot stop Him - we can stop being crushed by this world.
Still confused? OK - why DO you need drugs? Or fat cash? Or random sex?
To feel better. To feel secure. To live As We See Fit.
But Frankly, Dear, The Consequences Suck
When we place our faith in drugs, we become drug dependent, if not simply addicted.
The drug may be illegal, like heroin or cocaine. It may be legal, like nicotine or alcohol or caffeine. But if you cannot 'be nice' unless you have 'your fix' something needs to change. It is ruling your emotions and your personality. It may kill you, too.
When we place our faith in people, if we do not receive the love or care we demand of them, we turn on them. We gossip or lie or simply write them off of our invitations. We demand what they cannot give far too often.
If sex is our god, we will pay to have it, worship/vilify those who give it/withhold it, and basically destroy ourselves to have it. From same-sex unions to simple fornication, we hear the horrors of "love" [really lust] gone bad.
But when we place our faith in the Person of Jesus Christ, we have relationship, love and fulfillment. We don't just have a 'Get Out of Hell Free' card. We have more. We own Boardwalk. We own Railroads and Utilities. Heck, we own the entire board!
You see, we all want to be happy - but Jesus Christ has the ultimate monopoly on true eternal happiness.
We don't want death; we want life. But real life can take time to arrive. There are no shortcuts. Half of our struggle with 'faith' is simply adjusting to life here and saying 'God is here and everything will be OK.'
According to John 11
Martha and Mary knew Jesus loved them and Lazarus, but "He stayed where He was three more days."
He wasn't trying to be cruel, but He had a higher calling: to make them believe and trust in Him for everything.
When we DON'T trust Jesus or our heavenly Father, you know what we do? We find some way to fill in the God-gap - and THAT ends up being poisonous to our souls.
Before you get so desperate as to either sell drugs or sell your body, do yourself a favor, OK?
Ask Jesus to help you, heal you and save you.
And if you don't know Him yet, at least sit down and ask God to show you what the truth is. Amen.