Free Indeed!

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” —1 John 4:4

Before I became a Christian, my goal when I drank alcohol was never to get tipsy. It was always to get drunk. I was not an alcoholic. I only drank on the weekends when I was out with friends, but I drank excessively when I did drink. I had a drinking problem because I could never stop after one or two drinks. I made poor decisions when I was drinking, and those choices really damaged relationships with the ones I loved.

Shortly after I became a Christian, I felt like I should give up drinking since I could not do it in moderation. I wrote a contract promising God I would not drink. I kept the contract perfectly for years, but then I began to backslide and would sometimes drink. However, it was not the same as before. God had done something amazing in me over those years when I did not drink. He gave me the ability to drink in moderation and not become drunk.

Shortly thereafter, God delivered me from my backsliding ways. I decided to give up drinking again. This time it was not because I had a drinking problem, but it was because I know I make the best decisions for myself and my family when I am completely sober. My relationship to God seems so much closer to Him when there is nothing between us. I feel truly grateful to God for delivering me from the cycle of a drinking problem as well as the negative consequences such as destroyed relationships with loved ones. Thanks to God—I am free!

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Strength to Quit

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” —Philippians 4:13

I had been smoking for twenty years. I hated the bad habit, but I did not have the power to stop on my own. Then I saw an advertisement for a smoking cessation pill and decided to give it a try. After a few days, I had not even cut back on my smoking. It did not seem to be working on me. I tried combining the pill with a nicotine patch. Nothing decreased my desire to smoke.  Although the pill had failed, it was causing some frightening side effects. I started suffering from intense panic attacks. I wanted to quit so bad that I continued taking the pills. After three weeks, I was still a smoker.

Then one day my heart started racing. I felt like I could not breathe. I told myself it was just a panic attack and tried to relax. After about 30 minutes, the panic attack was still going strong. In desperation, I cried out to God and begged Him to make the anxiety attack stop. Then I heard the Lord. He said, “I will do this if you will stop smoking.” My heart must have agreed because it stopped in that second. Oddly, the desire to smoke was also completely gone. The Lord took away my desire for cigarettes, and I never smoked again. That is the strength of our Almighty God.