Alcoholism: Quitting Tomorrow

Selected highlights from this sermon.

Alcoholism is destructive, and anyone can get dragged into its snare—more easily than they realize. And once in the throes of addiction, the cycle continues to create both shame and unfulfilling euphoria. The alcoholic becomes a slave to the fires of desire which can never be quenched. 

Through Jesus and His people, addicts can find forgiveness, acceptance, healing, and accountability. Only God can lift alcoholics out of the pit; only He can give them true joy.

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There is a story about a man who would enter into the bar and always buy four drinks. In fact, he did it ritualistically. The bartender asked him why and he said, “The reason is because I have three brothers in Europe, and we agreed that whenever we go into the bar we would drink one glass of beer for one another. So this went on some time, and then the man came into the bar one day and ordered only three drinks. And the bartender, being very sensitive, assumed, of course, that one of the brothers had died, so he went over to ask the man about his family and asked whether one of his brothers had passed away. The man said, “No, but I decided to order just three drinks because I’ve quit drinking.” (laughter)

Now we smile at this story, but if you know anything about alcoholism you know that there is nothing really to smile about, is there? Everyone who is listening to this message knows people whose lives have been totally destroyed by that curse, the curse of alcoholism. I do not have to go into detail for you, do I, the effect that it has had on people, the number of lives that have been lost, the crimes that have been committed, the traffic accidents that have taken place, and the number of families that have been smashed because of alcoholism?

What I’d like to do is to begin by giving you some myths that need to be exploded about alcoholism. First of all, the first myth is that addiction is limited only to some kinds of people. On the news there are, from time to time, studies being done to show that alcoholism is genetically communicated. There is a disposition toward alcohol if you have parents that have been alcoholics or perhaps because of the genes that have been passed on to you. There could be some truth to that. For example, it’s been noticed that twins whose biological parents are alcoholics, who were adopted and put into other families at birth where there is no drinking, still have a propensity to alcohol. So that could be part of the story, but that’s only a part of the story.

The other part is that if you were brought up in a home where there was abuse, and where there was a lot shame, and where there was a code of silence regarding the chaos that existed in that home, you would have a greater tendency to resort to alcoholism or drugs, or some kind of substance, in order to cover the pain and in order to cope with life as you saw it in all of that chaos.

But there’s still another part of the story, and that is simply that any one of us, even those of us who grew up in good homes, even those of us who do not have the genetic disposition to addiction, could become addicts too. If we are social drinkers it could well be that we might get to love alcohol much more than we should. In fact, there are people who for years have lived without any kind of addiction, but have had casual social drinking, in the end, when difficulties come, have ended up as alcoholics because anyone can be an alcoholic. And that’s why my first myth is simply that it happens to other people but it could never happen to us. Yes, it could happen to you, and it could happen to me. That’s why abstinence is usually the best policy. And there’s no room for self-righteousness here. There’s no room for condemnation or for looking down on others, because when we see their troubles and their addictions, we can say, “Indeed that could be me. It could be me.”

Let me give you a second myth. The second myth is that alcoholics (those people who are addicts) end up on Skid Row. They are the people who stop us on the street and ask for a quarter or for a cup of coffee, hoping that you will give them some money that they can use for a drink. Actually, the fact is that maybe only three or four percent of all those who are alcoholics actually end up homeless somewhere on State Street or in some of the other parts of the city of Chicago.

The fact is that there are doctors who are alcoholics— attorneys, bankers, ministers and people from all walks of life! And many of these people get up in the morning and do a day’s work, and no one even knows their secret addiction. And they are able to function in society quite well.

Many years ago I was preaching somewhere and the children of a rather well-known Christian leader came to me and said, “You know, Dad is an alcoholic.” Now here’s a man who teaches the Word of God, and counsels people, and helps them, and even leads people to Christ. But he would come home, the children said, and every evening after dinner he would have to have his drink, and he would basically get drunk, sleep it off, go to work the next day, and come back and do the very same thing. And no one except his family knew, and he was terrified that anyone else would find out lest his reputation be ruined.

I have talked to students who are at universities, and they say that although they may be sober during the week, they not only get drunk on weekends, but maybe on weekends, in addition to that, they may actually take drugs. And so they might be on this high on the weekend, and oh, how long it seems before the weekend comes. But they’re managing. They’re even passing. They are getting through somehow, maybe muddling through, but they’re doing it, so don’t ever think that the alcoholics are some people who are out there. They are here. They are among us. They are a part of our homes, a part of our society, a part of our churches, so let’s open our eyes and be realistic about this.

Some of you know that this happens be a series of messages titled Seven Snares of the Enemy and today we do talk about alcoholism. Next week it’s pornography. We discussed gambling the last time. What are those snares that we can fall into where we can really become hooked, snares that can so cripple our lives, and not only ruin our lives, but ruin the lives of those who have to live with us? Well, today we’re talking about alcoholism.

Addiction, according to John Bradshaw, is a pathological relationship to any mood altering experience that has life damaging consequences. I gave you a different definition last time, but here’s another, as I mentioned: a pathological relationship to a mood altering experience and you need it to get through.

I’m going to spend a few moments this morning before we do get to the Word of God, and we shall because we shall end up with hope, I can assure you. But before we do that I want to point out that addiction is something that is possible for all of us simply because it is a way that people have found to number one, receive some pleasure in life, and two, avoid pain. But also I’d like to take a few moments to give you what we could call the path of addiction. I’ve labeled it five steps but actually these are not steps in the sense that they take place sequentially. They could happen in random order, or they could happen basically all at the same time.

But here they are because the better you understand addiction, the better you understand your father or your relative or your friends who may have a problem with alcoholism, the better it will be to be able see what the cure really is. So that’s our agenda.

First of all, there is what we could call the experimentation of substance, that experimentation that brings that mood change that we talked about last week, that sense of euphoria, the belief that a whole new world has been created because of drugs and alcohol. And you’re in this world which is kind of detached from reality, but it is a world with pleasurable sensations, a world in which you feel much better. And when you create that world your goal is go to between that world and the real world in such a way that nobody even knows that you’re going from one to the other. And oftentimes those who create these worlds remember exactly the first time they had that first drink that sent them into that high, or had that first crack cocaine, which gave them that lift and that zest and that feeling of euphoria and almost a trance. They remember it exactly because it had such a great impression upon their lives.

As a matter of fact, those who find these addictions so attractive discover that the hours that you have to live until you enter into that world again sometimes go along so slowly. If you do it on the weekends, Monday seems like an eternity away from Friday, and Monday goes so slowly, and Tuesday goes so slowly, and Wednesday goes so slowly that you can hardly stand it. But thank God the weekend will come, but your being is fixed upon that time when you will be able to change your mood again and enter into that private world.

Let me give you a second way to describe it, a second step. There is transference, then a faith to the substance. Now let’s just get into the mind of an addict here for a moment. People have disappointed him. His family has disappointed him. His employer has disappointed him, and God has disappointed him. “Where is God in the midst of all of this? I cried to Him; I asked Him for help and nothing happened, but I found something that I can depend upon, and that is that precious bottle. It will be there when I need it. The drugs will be there when I need them. In fact, I’m going to make sure that they’re going to be there. And that’s why you begin to figure out how to get the money, because now you finally have something that you can depend on. You’ll be able to escape and get out of your reality with all of its difficulties, and you’ll be able to go into that private world whenever you like. Oh, your family doesn’t want you to, but since when have they helped you anyway?

Now, I remember on television a young woman was interviewed who said that she got drunk every weekend and had a sexual relationship with a man (a different man) every weekend, sometimes even not knowing his name. But then she said this. She said, “Because I am so wasted, when I wake up I say to myself, ‘It really doesn’t matter because I can’t be responsible for it because I was drunk.’”

Now where else can you find something that will do that for you–a way to be immoral without even feeling guilty? Now God can’t do that for you. God never would do that for you, so what happens is there is that transfer now, that incredible transfer of trust to that substance that’s going to be there for you to do for you what no person or God has ever done. Now keep in mind you’re breaking the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before you.” And now suddenly this substance becomes your god, and is it therefore not surprising that along with that kind of trance and euphoria also come evil spirits who are going to want to make the very best of the situation and try to exploit your weakness because you are putting the substance in the place of God, and they will come there to make sure that they are a part of the process?

But here’s the problem. You already know what the problem is. You put all of the faith that you have into these substances, but the substances break their promises. They can only give you that euphoria for a little time, and then afterwards there is depression and there is despair, and there is guilt and there is shame, and that shame begins to build, and to build and to build, and all of the promises are illusionary, and you know that that world is a world of delusion. It is not a world of reality. And now the question is, what is it that you are going to do? There’s only one thing to do, and that is to turn to your substance again to deaden the pain of the shame and the loneliness and the emptiness. So what do people do? They drink in order to solve the problems that drink has created, and on and on it goes. That’s number two.

Number three, there’s the development of the protective shell. Now let’s just enter that world for a moment. Here you are with your own private little experience of euphoria, and it is the one that allows you to escape, and the people around you don’t like what is happening. They don’t like it at all, so what do you do? You begin to cut out other people, and you become anti-social for one reason. Number one, you do not want the shame revealed because that is very painful. That is more painful than physical disability to have all of that hurt come out. And so that has to be confidentially stuffed into your soul and protected. That’s a part of it.

But there’s another part of it as well, and that is that you do not want people to come inside so that you can go and retreat into your own little world and be there. And you say to yourself, “People say, ‘Well, look at this alcoholic. Doesn’t he care about his kids?’” The answer is, “No, he doesn’t care about his kids because all that he can think about is that escape into that euphoric experience, and there is nothing else to think about. And after all, when were his kids ever good anyway?

Let me give you a fourth, and that is the development of the addictive personality. Some of you who live with addicts know what this is about, because remember now, your whole world is going to revolve around this question of how can you sustain the trance? So, what happens is you become very manipulative, incredibly manipulative. Cunning! You begin to be able to get money. You begin to tell lies. The lies do not bother you because soon they are going to be drowned out in the experience anyway. You begin to use people. You lie, and you expect your family to lie, and you hope that your friends will lie. When they don’t, all that they are is people who need to be blamed because they are standing in the way of the only thing that is going to get you away from your pain, you think, and give you just a little bit of pleasure that you deserve. And so on and on it goes, and if you are rich enough to sustain the habit so that you don’t resort to theft, what you will do is begin to lie even when you don’t have to lie. It simply erodes your character to such an extent that no matter what you do its okay now, because everything has to be poured through the bent lens of the way in which you see the world. And it may permanently alter the way in which you see reality.

What a tragedy! The addictive personality! The narcissism is unbelievable where every remark, every event is filtered through this experience as to how it relates to you. There can be no genuine caring for other people because your whole life revolves around yourself.

Finally, there is what we could call a cycle that develops, because in the midst of this the protective shell sometimes is broken. Those who are on drugs or alcohol wake up some morning and they are so sick and tired of what they have done, and losing their families and losing their jobs that they say, “This is the last time. I’m never going to touch another drop.” And sometimes they don’t for several months. And they begin to say to themselves, “See, I’m not an addict. I just proved it. I did without a drink for 12 weeks. That proves I am master. I can quit whenever I want.” And so what do they do? Well, you know what they do. They take another drink, and the fire of desire is twice as hot as it once was, and the whole cycle begins over again.

How accurate the Scriptures are when they say in Proverbs 5: “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him.” That’s why we called it the seven snares that we’re talking about. “The cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” What a tragedy!

Well, the answer, of course, is what does the Bible say about this? Now, you know what the Bible says, though I’m going to read some passages to you, but I need to underline something. First of all, the Bible gives incredible warnings about alcoholism and drunkenness. As a matter of fact, these warnings are very clearly given, and sometimes they are even spoken of as judgments. But I need to say this to those of you who are struggling with substance abuse, whether alcohol or drugs. Listen to me carefully. I’m not reading these passages to condemn you because you already feel that deep sense of shame and condemnation. I’m reading these passages for the many people who have not begun these pathways to warn them, to plead them to stay away from that which debilitates and ruins. And that’s why I’m reading them.

For you who are struggling, in a few moments I’m going to give you some Scriptural encouragement and show you the path out, but for now, the warnings. Listen to this, found, for example, in Isaiah 5: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands. Therefore, my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry,
and their multitude is parched with thirst.” Wow!

What about the book of Jeremiah? Listen to this judgment that God pronounces: “This is what the Lord says, ‘I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests and the prophets, and those living in Jerusalem. I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them’” God says, “I want you to understand that when I fill people with drunkenness it is a sign of my judgment.”

Now listen to this accurate description. Again, we admire the Scriptures. We admire God’s Word for its accurate description of what alcoholism is like. Just listen to this. “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Who will linger over wine? Who will go to sample bowls of mixed wine? Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. In the end, it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. ‘They hit me,’ you will say, ‘but I’m not hurt. They beat me but I don’t feel it.’ And when I wake up I will ask where can I find another drink?” Wow!

I think of Mel Trotter who walked into a funeral parlor and saw there the dead body of his little daughter. And he gently pulled back the blankets when no one was watching and slipped off her shoes and put them into his pocket so that he could go sell them for a few cents just to get another drink. You wake up and say, “Where can I find another drink?” (Proverbs, chapter 23)

Why these warnings? I say this to those of you who struggle in a culture where drinking is so common, where everybody does it, where everybody in the office thinks it should be done. I know that the Bible does not condemn drinking wine, as such. It was drunk during the time of Christ. Some of us from time to time might have a sip of wine at a wedding when we’re having a toast to the bride. But I say to you that abstinence undoubtedly is the best policy because there’s one way to make sure you will never be an alcoholic. Don’t drink! Don’t drink!

It’s wonderful for some of us to be able to walk past alcoholism and drugs and not even feel a twinge of desire, to know what kind of a euphoric experience we can have, because, you see, reality with God is manageable. It’s manageable! And you don’t need that stuff. Those are the warnings.

But now, warnings don’t deliver you, do they? Some of you are struggling with alcoholism, and I know that there are many among us here who do because some of you have come to me and said, “I can hardly wait until you preach on my snare—alcoholism and drugs.” What is the means of deliverance? It’s one thing to condemn, but how do you help? How do you get through? How do you minister? What does the Bible have to say to those who struggle with addiction?

Well, I want you to know today that I believe that the Scriptures have help, because the Scriptures have God. Take, for example, and we could turn to many passages… Even last night I was debating what passage to turn to, because I had three or four that would have accomplished what I intend to, but take, for example, Psalm 40. And if you wish to, you may turn to that Psalm where the psalmist is talking about God’s deliverance. And it won’t be the only passage I use, but what a marvelous, marvelous Psalm of deliverance.

The pathway for help involves two words or two phrases, and at this point they are so simple. You’ve heard all of this before. You don’t even have to take notes. If you haven’t been taking notes up to this point don’t take notes now. You don’t need to. You’re going to remember this. The first word is God. Do you think you can remember that? I think you can.

Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Blessed is the person who doesn’t turn to his substance. That’s far enough.

When the psalmist said he came to the Lord and He heard his cry, what do you think the psalmist cried? I wish he’d have told us, but the text doesn’t tell us. But I have some very good suspicions as to what he cried to God about.

I’ll tell you why you need God to get out of your addiction. I know that Alcoholics Anonymous has success, and I’ll comment on that in a moment, even though they talk just simply about the higher power because they don’t want to get too specific theologically. But I want you to know that when you talk about the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, you have an awesome power that you can access that is not just any higher power. It is God!

Why do you need God so desperately, those of you who are hiding drink from your families and your co-workers, and you still take drugs on weekends? First of all, I believe that the psalmist’s cry must have involved a cry for forgiveness. It involved a cry: “Oh God, I am in this miry clay. In am in the slimy pit, the muck and the mire. God, forgive me,” because, you see, unless you are forgiven it stands as a great barrier between you and your deliverance. For obvious reasons, the guilt is killing you, and you need that substance to deaden the pain.

A chaplain was making his rounds in the hospital. He came to a young man who was just destroying himself from drugs. And he said, “Why are you doing that? You know that you are absolutely just ruining your life, and you are destroying your mind.” And the kid looked at the chaplain and said, “You ought to know the answer to your question.” He said, “I shouldn’t even have to tell you what the answer is.” He said, “I am so guilty because of what I have done I can’t live with myself, and even if I destroy myself, that’s okay because I can’t stand the pain of guilt.”

My dear friend, there is a God who pardons iniquity. There is a God. We receive letters, you know, from prisoners all the time because of our radio ministries. In fact, this message will be listened to by prisoners, and they’re going to write to us. I can tell you that in advance. And they tell terrible stories about lives who they’ve ruined because of their sins. But what does the Scripture say? “He has not regarded our sins, and He can take those sins, and He can cast them into the depths of the sea.” He can forgive you even though you have ruined your family. He can forgive you. He can make up for the years that the substances that you have taken have eaten and destroyed. God can forgive you. It’s a great barrier to your deliverance, but God is there to pronounce you forgiven.

That’s one barrier, but there’s a second barrier that is just as important, and that is the barrier of shame. Shame is an incredibly powerful emotion. Shames tells us that we are fundamentally flawed. We are defective. We are haunted by a sense of loneliness and emptiness, a sense of absence, a sense of feeling so ashamed. And we begin to think that the shame I feel has no cure. Some of you feel that way. And there’s that sense of helplessness. In fact, this shame is so important that fundamentally it can cause some people to become criminals because they are overcoming their own sense of shame. That’s a whole other story that I will not get into today, except that you can take it. For other people, they are driven into all kinds of perfectionism to try to make up and to assure themselves that they will never be ashamed again. Now, what does God do? God says, “Your sin can be taken away through forgiveness, and your shame can be taken away by My acceptance of you, My fundamental acceptance of you.”

Now, let’s get this business of self-image straight. Okay? God doesn’t love you because you are valuable. That’s where many of the people of the world go wrong. “I am so valuable; God has to love me.” No, no, no! Your friends know better than that. You don’t, but they do. No, but you are valuable because God loves you. You are valuable because God loves you, because He set His face and His love upon you, and therefore He accepts you. And the value that you have is God-conferred value because His love is toward His children who accept His Blessed Son. And as a result of that, you see, this whole sense of hopelessness, the shame, the sense of darkness and oblivion that you developed in that world of trance, that world of delusion, can be taken away. You can look God in the eye and He accepts you. You see, without an answer for guilt, without an answer for shame, where are you going to go but back to that cursed substance?

There’s a third barrier that God will help you to overcome and that is a sense of replacement. What are you going to put in the place of your drink? What’s going to be there for me when things go wrong? What’s going to be there when I have financial pressures? What’s going to be there when I am rejected? What’s going to be there when I am evilly spoken about? What’s going to be there when I don’t have a job?

I’ll tell you what’s going to be there. The book of Ephesians tells us this. It says: “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation.” (And you know dissipation means chaos, and some of you know what chaos is.), but be filled with the Spirit.” God says, “You need something to rely on because reality is too harsh for you. Reality is harsh but I will walk with you through that, and you can be filled with the Spirit, singing to yourselves with psalms and praises and hymns and spiritual songs, just like the man here in the fortieth chapter of the Psalms. He says, “He has put a new song in my mouth and a hymn of praise to God.”

So you need God to overcome guilt, to overcome shame, to overcome that need for something else, that replacement for your addiction. You need God.

You know, that’s the big hang-up, isn’t it, with addicts, because they won’t admit the depth of their need? And it’s not until they say, “I am hopeless, I am an addict, I can’t do anything,” and they surrender to God that He hears their cry and lifts them out of the slimy pit.

Mel Trotter, the man that I told you about a moment ago, was delivered instantly from alcohol when he accepted Christ as Savior. Now that doesn’t happen to everybody because some of you are Christians and you struggle. But I’m talking about what God sometimes does. He picks them up from the slimy pit. He cleans them up and He sets their feet upon a rock, and He establishes their going, and they can sing again.

You need God, and that’s not all that you need. You say, “Well, you know, I always thought that God and me was enough—just me and my God.” Well, that’s not the way the Scriptures teach it. You see, the average addict thinks to himself, “My addiction is secret, therefore, I can take care of this in secret—just God and I.” I doubt that you can.

The second thing that you need is the Body of Christ, because what really has to happen is that you must come out of the closet. Let me put it that way. Your secret must be exposed. Your shame must be exposed because as long as it grows there in the darkness of your soul it will stay there and debilitate you until finally it is brought into the light. And that can only happen in the presence of other people.

Alcoholics Anonymous may have a weak theology, but we need to admit the fact that they are quite successful in helping millions perhaps, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, because they are based on two very important scriptural principles, namely that what an addict really needs is an environment that is not shame-based. All he’s ever lived with is shame, and if he shares his need in the presence of some Christians, all that he gets is more shame and more condemnation, the very thing that he doesn’t need. He’s already stuffed with it. What he needs is a group that can say, “We love you and we accept you despite what you have done.” And therefore I am told that in these Alcoholic Anonymous circles, you know, they go around and they say, “My name is…” and then they say, “I am an alcoholic, or I’m an addict.” There is wisdom in that. And there’s nobody there to point fingers because what they’re doing is they are all saying the same thing because they are all struggling with the same thing.

Secondly, you need the Body of Christ for accountability to
be able to look into your eyes and say, “Have you fallen this week? Give me the circumstances and be sure to call me when the temptation is overwhelming and when it seems as if the desire to enter into that delusional world is so strong that you can’t take it. Call me and I will help you.” That’s what the Body of Jesus Christ is for. That’s the way we’re supposed to function, so you need to tell significant people who are able to help you and hold you accountable. Whether your join AA or not, you need the Body of Christ.

John Bradshaw, in one of his books, tells the story of a man who was in a cave and he was sentenced to die. And the agreement was that he would be fed for 30 days through a hole at the top of the cave, and after that no more food. But he was also told that there was a way out of the cave if only he were to find it. And if he could find his way out he would be free.

So what this man did is he looked at the top of the cave and he noticed that that was the one little peephole where the food was brought through every day. It was too small for him to crawl through but he thought this was the only way out and he was going to try, so he began to lift all of the stones and all of the dirt and to try to build a pile so that he could make it. But the problem was that even after the pile was six feet, to build another foot meant that there would be so many more stones and things that were needed that eventually he was running out of things that he could possibly use to build his pile with. And the thirtieth day was on its way. And one day he was standing up there wondering if he could at least touch the hole, which he wasn’t able to do. And the 30th day came and he fell over in weakness and died.

The problem was that when the cave was exposed to the light, right there beneath the hole there was a tunnel, and if he had taken that tunnel he could have crawled maybe a hundred feet and been in the sunlight and been free. But the reason he didn’t see the tunnel was, you see, it was in the darkness. And he thought that this was the way out. It never dawned on him that there might be an easier way out, even though it would be less visible.

Some of you, bless you, you’ve been spending your whole life gathering those stones to find a way out of your cave. You’ve dragged those stones. You’ve brought all of that dirt in, and what you want to do is to say, “I see a little peephole, but it is so far away and so high, and I am weary.”

I want you to know today that there is a tunnel. There is a way out, and it’s accessible. It’s accessible. “Come unto Me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It’s an accessible tunnel and it may lead you through the darkness in the sense that there is going to be a tremendous amount of struggle with the sin and the addiction and the spirits of this world, but in Jesus Christ there is a hand that comes to deliver you. And in Him there is light and life and forgiveness, and if we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

“I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and He heard my cry.” Some of you have to cry up to God and say, “I’m helpless. Deliver me. Save me.”

“He came along and He lifted me out of that slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire, and He set my feet on a rock. And He gave me a firm place to stand, and He put a song in my mouth.”

Listen, to you, alcoholics, you addicts who don’t want to admit that you are, but you are. Stuart Hamblen used to sing that song,

It is no secret what God can do.
What He’s done for others, He can do for you.
With arms wide open He can pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.

What God did for the Mel Trotters of this world He can do for you—God overcoming guilt and shame and the emptiness, and the Body of Christ helping you as you come to the light.

Our Father, we ask in the name of Jesus that You might do a work in the lives of all those who have heard this message. We pray especially, Father, for some of the people who we know about who struggle with alcoholism and drugs. Oh Father, would You hear their cry? Would You bring deliverance, Lord? We pray, Father, that You might set them free. Today we pray that they may make significant steps for help, to cry to You and to go to others. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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