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Living in Despair

A message from Pastor Michael Eleveld

There is a great story in the Bible about a man named Nehemiah. He was living in Babylon and was also the cupbearer of the king. The Jewish people had been back living in Jerusalem for approximately 100 years. Nehemiah heard about the conditions in Jerusalem, that the walls were still down and the temple had still not been rebuilt. So, he began to pray. He prayed that God would allow him to do something about Jerusalem.

God answered his prayer. The king gave him permission to return and gave him a voucher to purchase everything he would need to make the necessary repairs to the walls of Jerusalem. When he got there, he took three days to simply survey the damage and come up with a plan to do the work.

Now, here is where it gets good. He finally met with the leaders in Jerusalem and said, “… You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies in waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem…”Nehemiah 2:17.

Nehemiah had to state the obvious…you are living in despair! They had lived in desolation so long that they had grown used to it, accepted it as their lifestyle, as normal. Nehemiah came in with a fresh pair of eyes and saw what could be done and rallied the people to rebuild.

This is a stirring message of hope and determination. So many times, we live our lives in desolation and despair. We come to accept it as our lot in life and take it as normal. However, God has better plans for us. His eyes see what can be done. He wants to rebuild us!

Our mission at The Treatment Center is to help people in despair to not accept their lot, but to know there is a plan that can and will work for them. Come let us build together!

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How Do I Know If It’s God’s Will? (Video)

In this latest video, you’ll hear from the pastors of The Road to Freedom program as they discuss what it’s like to know if you’re doing God’s will. Early recovery can be a difficult time when trying to adjust to the real world.

How do you know if what you’re doing is God’s will? In recovery literature, there’s an understanding that there is a higher consciousness through the word of God. Dr. Adam Bianchini reveals that, “The more you get to know the character of God, the more you get to know what he’s like.”

So how do you get to know the word of God? How can you start taking more accountability for your actions? How do you know if your actions are following God’s will?

Watch the pastors from The Road to Freedom program explain how in this insightful Q&A video:

For more information about our faith-based treatment program, call us today at (877) 448-5513.To hear more from our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel. Our caring admissions counselors are available to answer your questions 24/7.

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Redemption from a Checkered Past

Redemption from a Checkered Past

A message from Pastor James Exline

Are you an “unlikely”? If you have a “checkered past”, if you’ve done things you’re ashamed of, if you think that there is no way God would ever use you, then congratulations, you are an “unlikely “and God wants to use you!

Many of you have heard that God has plans for you, that God wants to use you, but then you look at yourself, your past, and begin to develop a laundry list of reasons why God wouldn’t use you. You begin to disqualify yourself.

Even the Spiritual Greats Were Flawed

It’s easy to look at the “spiritual greats” and think that God would use them because we are looking at them through the lens of what God is doing through them, what he is using them to do. This, however, is not an accurate portrait of those “spiritual greats.” This lens leaves out the fact that they are imperfect people being used by a perfect God to accomplish his perfect will and perfect plan. The perfect part of the equation comes from God—not the person God is using—and not from you!

Let’s look at some imperfect people God has used; even a partial list is very interesting. God used a mass murderer, of Christians, nonetheless, (the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul) to write over half of the New Testament, start the church, and lead thousands of people to a relationship with Christ. He used a murderer and a stutterer (Moses) to lead his people out of slavery to freedom. He used a man (David) to be king of his people who went on to commit adultery and murder during his reign. Peter, who went on to be a huge part of establishing the church, prior to doing so, denied knowing Jesus. That’s right, the guy God used to establish the church claimed on three separate occasions that he did not even know Jesus!

There is one more example we are going to look at, and this one is from current times. There was a man who had ran from God most of his adult life, who had cussed God out for even having created him. That same man had told his wife that if she ever went to church, he would leave her. He was enslaved to active addiction for years, and along the way did things which many would think had disqualified him from being used by God. He would be first on that list. He would have thought there was no way God would ever use him, after all, just look at the long list of disqualifications!

You Can be Used by God

Some, if not many of you, also have a list of disqualifications, things that you believe are preventing you from being used by God. You look at your past, and come to the conclusion that God will never use you. “You don’t understand,” you might say. “I’ve done…” the list goes on and on, and looking at that list from a human perspective, you may be justified in thinking that God will never use you. The good news, however, is that God does not look at you or your past from a human perspective. He looks at it through the redeeming, saving, and salvaging eyes of perfect love, through the eyes of a savior who died for you to become the very righteousness of God! 2 Corinthians 5.21 says, “For our sake he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God isn’t looking for perfect people to use. He is looking for imperfect people whom he makes perfect through Jesus and then desires to use. So you’re not perfect, congratulations, you qualify! By the way, that guy who had run from God most of his adult life, who told his wife he would leave her if she went to church, that guy is me. That guy is now a pastor at a treatment center! See—God wasn’t looking for a perfect person to do what he is using me to do. He was looking for an imperfect man who has been made perfect in Christ, who was and is willing to be used by God for whatever God wants to use him for!

That’s where the good news comes in for you. If you are imperfect, if you have a “checkered past”, and if you are willing to allow God to use you to accomplish his plans through you, then you qualify! God wants to use you!

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How Do I Pray to God? (Video)

You may be wondering what does it mean to pray. How do I pray to God? In this video, hear Pastor John and Pastor Phil discuss what it means to communicate to God through prayer and develop an intimate relationship with Him.

Prayer comes from the heart. Whatever is on your heart, you can discuss with God. Pastor John shares a story about how he felt when he took a trip with his dad and how it was similar to the relationship he developed with God.

Pastor Phil goes into depth about what it’s really like to open up to God and have a conversation with Him. So how do you take all your joys and concerns to God with gratitude and endless love? Watch this video below to find out how:

Each week, pastors from the Road to Freedom program provide a Q&A panel for patients to ask any questions they may have. The Road to Freedom is a Christian rehab program that offers spiritual guidance to those suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders.

To hear more from our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel. Admissions counselors are available to answer your questions 24/7. For more information about our Christian recovery program, call us today at (877) 448-5513.

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Jesus Is the Cure Not the Diagnosis

A message from Pastor John Hall

Four months ago, I sprained my ankle playing basketball. I jumped up for a rebound and landed on my brother’s foot twisting my ankle. I will never forget what it feels like to have one of my bones pop. I wasn’t able to walk for days because there was a big bruise from the tips of my toes to three quarters of the way up my shin. I had to go to the doctor for an X-Ray. As they gave me the results, I realized one of my least favorite things in the world is an X-Ray. Because an X-Ray shows a problem (in this case a sprained ankle) but it doesn’t tell you how to fix it.

This is NOT how Christianity works. The Bible does not show us our sin and just tell us to “be better”. It’s not just an explanation of our problems, but it is also a solution to our problems. The Bible is not an MRI or an X-Ray, but it’s a remedy.

Jesus Christ has given us a way to God through his death. He is the solution to our sin. Why is it so important that we realize Jesus is the cure and not a diagnosis? It’s because our primary focus in recovery shouldn’t be our past mistakes, but it should be our future in Christ.

Please understand, I think that it is important to realize that we are sinners. However, I think it’s more important that we realize that Jesus paid for our sin. Think of it as a 1-10 ratio. For every one of our sins, we can take ten looks at the cure for our sin… Jesus.

This is the essence of what it means to be in recovery. None of us can live perfect lives. God knew this, and that’s why Jesus came to live a perfect life for us. He died a death that we should have died and was punished in our place so that we don’t have to live perfect lives. Perfection should not be the goal in recovery; the goal should be dependence on our cure, Jesus.

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The Sacrifice of the Manger

A message from Pastor Mike Eleveld

Christmas is near and dear to all of us. We have images engraved on our hearts of Christmases past, loved ones gathered together, and presents under the tree. However, I am wondering if we think deeply enough as to what the nativity meant to Jesus. There was great sacrifice in being born in that manger.

The Bible indicates that Jesus coming into this world was no small thing. God’s entrance into humanity was brutal, cold, and dangerous. Instead of being born in a palatial palace, He chose to establish His beachhead in a manger, exposed to the elements and ravenous dogs that ventured into town nightly from the desert.

Paul writes to the Philippian believers and reveals the sacrifice of the manger, what Jesus was willing to do to be born into this world.

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being…”

Philippians 2:5-7

The Sacrifice of the Manger involved Jesus voluntarily leaving the splendors of heaven to come into this world of sin. Why would He do this? The answer is clearly because God loves us so. He came into the world as the perfect demonstration of how much God loves us and wants us to be with Him. He came into the world to die for our sins.

“This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10

He loves us all: addicts, alcoholics, and those who are sober… all of us. Please, think of this as you think about Christmas this week.

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I Know What God Expects, but I Keep Messing Up, What’s Wrong With Me? (Video)

Have you been worried about relapsing? Are you wondering what’s wrong? In this video, Dr. Adam Bianchini, Pastor Mike, Pastor James, and Pastor John of the Road to Freedom program discuss what it means to put on the full armor of God and guard your mind from the world’s ills.

Sometimes life can be a battle and the mind can take over and get in the way of progress, so it’s important to have Christ in your life. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says, “… and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”

By letting go of your thoughts, taking accountability, and accepting your powerlessness, you are surrendering to God. God becomes your best advocate to defend against your troubles or any troubling thoughts you may have.

So what’s the best way to stay faithful to God, protect your heart, mind and spirit, and persevere in recovery? Find out more by watching the video below:

Each week, pastors from the Road to Freedom program provide a Q&A panel for patients to ask any questions they may have. The Road to Freedom is a Christian rehab program that offers spiritual guidance to those suffering from addiction.

Admissions counselors are available to answer your questions 24/7. For more information about our faith-based treatment program, call us today at (877) 448-5513. To hear more from our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

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Bringing Your Troubles to God

A message by pastor James Exline

So, you’ve started the journey of recovery and have surrendered your will and the care of your life to God. As stated in Step Three, you’ve chosen to make a decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand Him.

You’re doing the right thing. You’ve got a sponsor, you’re working the steps, going to church, and maintaining a conscious contact with God. As a result and at this point, you might expect things to be “smooth sailing.” After all, you’ve surrendered your life to God who is all powerful, loving, and is a good God.

I mean, we expect problems while in active addiction, right? You have probably felt like you deserved those problems—that they were consequences of your actions, or possibly even that God is punishing you or at the very least, withholding blessings based upon your actions.

Great Expectations

Fast forward to the present, you are working on making amends, on doing the right things, and have changed your life for the better. It should be blue skies, the wind at your back, and blessings falling into your lap. That may be how you believe things should be, but in reality, you still are overwhelmed with problems.

But why? After all, you expected them when you were doing the wrong things; conversely, when you are doing the right things, you may expect life to be all roses and blue skies. When that is not the case (which will often be true), we tend to think that we have done something wrong or that there is something wrong with us. “If only I would… then God would bless me and life would be wonderful.”

The problem here is not that you are doing something wrong or even that you aren’t doing enough right things; the problem is life happens. (Another statement says it better, but I’ll leave that to your imagination). The problem is that we live in a world that is far from perfect, in which we will have struggles and problems, regardless of how many “right” things we do.

When Life Happens, What Should You Do?

In John 16.33a, Jesus says this about life on this earth, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” Notice Jesus didn’t say that those trials and sorrows would end once you turned your life over to Him, once you were doing the right things. He said the duration for those problems was “in this life.”

This may seem like bad news, and indeed, it does warn us that difficult times are ahead. In the end of that same scripture, Jesus says, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” This is the same Jesus who in Matthew 11.28 says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

The same one who lived life in this world on life’s terms lived a life not free from struggles and problems. He overcame them and wants you to know that you will have struggles, problems and heartaches too. Jesus has been there, done that. He understands, and He’s here to help you in the midst of your struggles. Jesus is saying come to me—bring your troubles to me, and I will strengthen, comfort, and help you.

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The Power of Thanksgiving

The Power of Thanksgiving - Autumn Trees

A message from pastor Michael Eleveld

This is the week of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving embraces a mindset of gratitude, and it’s a powerful thing. One of the essential tools of recovery from addiction is changing the way we think about life and circumstances. Embracing an attitude of gratitude helps addicts break from the victim mentality where everyone and everything is to blame for their addiction.

The Bible places a great deal of emphasis on right thinking. This essential tool of gratitude is extremely biblical in its application.

In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Paul exhorts believers to “…destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” In a nutshell, Paul is encouraging us to tear down wrong thinking and replace it with right thinking.

One of the best ways to do this is to work daily on a gratitude list. Survey your life and circumstances and intentionally look for the good things in the way God is blessing you. They are there if you just look. We have a tendency to see only the bad; sure, bad things happen, but if we are not careful we can get myopic and see only the bad. Purposefully looking for the good and dwelling on it will encourage our hearts and fuel our recovery.

Notice how Paul addresses that very subject in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is pure, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Think about these things with purposeful intent and grateful hearts this Thanksgiving and every day that follows.

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Is It Okay to Just Make Amends with God? (Video)

In this video, hear Pastor James and the director of medicine for The Road to Freedom program, Dr. Adam Bianchini, explain how to make amends with God.

In the Bible, Matthew 5:24 says, “leave your gift at the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer him your gift.” Often, prayer and forgiveness is what it takes to heal your relationships with loved ones while in your sobriety.

Just the same, confession of your sins and prayer is the strength you need to amend your relationship with God. To find out more, watch the video below:

Each week the Road to Freedom program hosts a Q&A panel to help patients gain more understanding and spiritual guidance. To watch more helpful discussions, subscribe to the Road to Freedom’s YouTube channel and check out our other videos.

To learn more about Road to Freedom, our Christian rehab program at The Treatment Center, please feel free to call 877-448-5513. Admissions counselors are available to answer your questions 24/7.

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