"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love". - 1 Corinthians 13:13.
ANSWER: God does not need to have FAITH, He is omnipotent, He has all the power to complete His purpose(Job 42:2). But man needs to have faith in God to achieve the impossible.
God does not need to have HOPE. He is omnipresent, He is not anticipating for anything because His presence is continuous throughout all of creation (Psalm 46:1). But man cannot be everywhere at the same time. And needs God to attain greater heights.
One of the major attributes God can share with Man is LOVE. God is love and whoever does not love does not know God (1 John 4:8).
The writing of Turning to God from Idols began around 1997 in Warsaw, Missouri at Opportunity Farm, which is a camp ground owned by City Union Mission in Kansas City, Missouri. Opportunity Farm allows a handful of men to reside on their facility with the possibility of resolving addictions and growing in Christ. It was while I was in the men’s Bible program at in Kansas City that I was asked by a pastor to begin a support group at our church, after I had been off drugs for 6 months. We were both in agreement that the group was to be bible-based. The pastor brought me some literature that was an adaptation of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with the scriptures thrown in. When I told the pastor that I was not comfortable with the literature, he told me to do what I thought would be best. I kept an open mind concerning the literature and prayed to God while meditating on each of the scriptures that were in the writing. When I read the passages, I noticed that the theme of idolatry commonly surfaced. I quickly constructed an outline of my findings and drew up a draft of what the support group would look like. Before we had a chance to begin the support group, I started using crack again.
And so, after living on the street and staying with a friend in another state for a while, I asked to be admitted to Opportunity Farm to get away from the streets. Once on the farm, I was led by God in a more intense study of the outline that I had constructed for the support group. The leading passage that I chose to describe the process of breaking free of addiction through Christ is found in 1 Thes.1:9.
For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God
And so, it was there at Opportunity Farm that the first draft of Turning to God from Idols was constructed. Though we each had work assignments at Opportunity Farm, I spent all my free time writing and studying. It was at this time that God began to show me that the issue of reverence for God is a huge part of sobriety/abstinence. I was amazed over how God had allowed me to construct an outline on reverence years before I even thought about using drugs based a full list of all the occurrences of the fear of the Lord in scripture. I remained at Opportunity Farm for about five months until the first draft was done and went back home to Cleveland, Ohio. The work was originally titled “Idolatry Assassination”.
Shortly after returning to Cleveland, I started using crack again. My next opportunity to seriously pursue my writing began in 1999 while at another Christian facility. I was so serious about Turning to God from Idols that I read thick books on self-publishing and obtained a business license. I made revisions on my draft while looking for references to add to my writing from other writers. For years I had looked for biblical resources on addictions while in various programs (mostly secular). There just was not much available until the late ‘90’s. This is one reason that I was very passionate about offering a bible-based presentation on addictions (even more as the days go by). I even prayed to God at one time that if He did not use my writing of addictions that He would bring someone/many more to reach the masses with a sounder approach than what was being offered at the time. Unfortunately, I was not serious enough to stay off drugs. In the year of 2001, I went back to using crack. I thank God that somehow my files for Turning to God from Idols were preserved. (By that time, I had learned a little bit about computers and my files were stored on floppy disks)
For the next ten years, my life was so unstable that I never had the opportunity to do any serious work on Turning to God from Idols. To be honest, I wasn’t even interested most of the time because I had become more immersed in drug use than ever. Yet and still, God was very gracious towards me in allowing me to discover some of the finest writing that has ever been written on addictions. I became familiar with Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Dr. Edward T. Welch within this period. I was so delight that Dr. Welch’s writing mirror my own that I cried in thanks to God that He had honor my prayer of bringing others with a sounder approach to addictions. I have read Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave no less than six times (with the marking in the book to prove it!). I, also, capitalized off some other writing that were just as sound as Dr. Welch’s. During my intermittent time of sobriety, I began the weave some of my favorite sections from other books into my writing. I was so thrilled that God had began this work that I began to type the highlights from the books that I found to be most relevant. Yet and still, I was not able to do any major work on Turning to God from Idols for some time.
My next revision for Turning to God from Idols took place in 2012 after a year of sobriety and moving to the city of Memphis, Tennessee from Cleveland, Ohio. I was blessed to have a friend who gave me a computer during my move to Memphis. I was amazed how God had arranged for the previous tenant of my apartment to leave behind a computer console. And so, with my files from the past, I began some serious writing, all the while studying books from other writers. In 2015, I decided that even if Turning to God from Idols was never presented in a book, I could at least offer my writings on Facebook for those who were interested. All the while, I work of refining Turning to God from Idols along with some of my other writing projects. In the winter of 2017, I decided that I would solely concentrate on completing Turning to God from Idols while setting all my other projects aside.
It was just around that time (as God would have it), that I began to see a lot of advertisements on T.V. for self-publishing Christian writing. After investigating the potential of using the services of the company that was advertised, I decided to work towards financing. Around the same time, I discovered that the Salvation Army was taking writing submissions for their magazine (War Cry) online. I decided to submit an article from my files titled “Clean and Sober for the Right Reasons”. Much to my surprise the article was accepted. This became my first writing accepted by a major publisher as well as the first writing I was ever paid for. My wife and I were so thrill that we dropped everything and headed for the Credit Union to cash the check and celebrate.
All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The next thing that I know, the Credit Union was having a contest which I reluctantly inquire of. The contest was for a credit union member to post a video on Facebook of why they liked the credit union. The contestant with the most Facebook engagement would be the winner of the grand prize of $1000 after a five-week period with weekly winners earning $100. My heart was set on using half of our earning on financing publication of Turning to God from Idols and using the other half on a vacation for my wife and I. We didn’t get the $1000, but I got so much more! One of the benefits of the contest was in connecting with some of my Facebook friends who knew some information on self-publishing. It was through their advice, as well as the advice I received from an online Christian writer’s group that I decided to use CreateSpace as a method of presenting paperback copies of Turning to God from Idols and Amazon for an e-book until I could gain enough revenue to make use of a paid publisher (because of the advantages they have to offer).
After submitting my book to CreateSpace I started thinking of the possibility of hiring a printing press outside of CreateSpace to manufacture Turning to God from Idols. This required the expense of a fund that I had set aside for relocating to Atlanta, Georgia when the time was right. The process of submitting my files to the printing press was so difficult that it took two weeks to get everything in order. The contract negotiation before rearranging my files had took some time as well. In the mean time I was telling everyone about my book but the only place that they could obtain it was through CreateSpace or Amazon. My wife and I were forced to send most of our ‘personal’ expenses to obtain
a short run of copies of Turning to God from Idols from CreateSpace (they offer good service minus printing the back cover and spine of your book) since we had people waiting for copies.
The Israelite were thirsty so the Lord told Moses to speak to the rock but he struck the rock twice, although water gushed out, the Lord said; "because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelite, you will not bring this community into the land I give them"(Numbers 20:11-12).
Moses saw the Lord's glory. He experienced the flash and the bang of the Divine but character stopped him from going into the promise land. Those who make the Forbes list, are those with integrity. As long as you lack integrity, you will touch money but will never attain greatness. WHOSE HANDS CAN LABOUR AND RETAIN ABUNDANCE?
It is commonly said that results cancel insults. So in order to prove your value to another you work hard to shine out. However, its the trick of the devil when your motivation is channeled at self approval or proving a point to people. No result can be more evidential than the one Jesus did at the cross. How can you prove success to the enemy if Christ Himself has granted you success? Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:10;"Obviously 1'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant. He also called himself; 'a bound servant'(Romans 1:1).' Bound servant is the translation of a Greek word doulos, which means 'at the disposal of his master, a slave'. Since we are children of God, Apostle Paul in the biblical context meant total subjection to God in Christ Jesus. Metaphorically to someone absolutely devoted to Jesus.
In the new testament Jesus said many will come in my name and say; 'we prophesy in your name, we performed a lot of miracles in your name but Jesus replied, I know you not, you wicked generation. Therefore, a man's accomplishment is not determined by how many real estates he has acquired or the multitude of his congregation. Even night clubs, cinema and beer palours are occupied with a large crowd of people. Am not against hard work because it is written; a lazy man should not eat but it should not be channeled to proving a point to anyone. Let your work be your passion but let the joy of the Lord be your motivation. Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it because he was frustrated by the people. But he lost the vision when the people became his motivation not God. He was supposed to be responsible to God above man.
Life is not centered on self recognition, it is centered on pleasing God. Our role model is Jesus and He can out give whatever a thief steals.
The Lion is not the largest, smartest or tallest animal in the jungle but he is the king of the beast. Why are other animals afraid of this small cat because he believes he can devour any animal.
The Lion's confidence can be displayed in his tremendous roar that can be heard miles across the Savannah. He is not frightened by the shouts of other animals.
When the Lion sees the Elephant despite its size, he says to himself I can eat this thing. And he acts the way he thinks. Though the Elephant is bigger, larger and huger with big horns but when he sees the Lion one word comes to mind - 'eater', attitude is a product of belief.
David's victory over Goliath did not come because he fought well but because he believed well.
Jesus could teach the multitude without a microphone because He believed.
We walked down a shattered hallway through a door. The door opened into the middle of a bustling open-air market. Jack walked up to a vendor and ordered two cups of strong tea.
He handed me one and said, “I figured you might need a drink?”
I replied, “Yes, I do, but where did you get the money?”
“Have faith” he replied.
As we sat down, he started to explain again.
“The entire world was falling apart. Yet, one country shined in the cascading darkness.”
He looked around and turned to me saying, “Welcome to Israel!
“Welcome to the old city of Jerusalem, its capital.
“Thousands of years ago, God dispersed the Jewish people throughout the world, as He said He would. God also promised to bring them back to the land. In nineteen forty-eight God fulfilled His obligation as the nation of Israel was created in one day.
Because of God’s timing, the Jewish people were driven out of every country on the planet. Israel became the only haven left for them to go. Once He brought them home, He promised the country would bloom like a rose in the desert.
Although the Jews faced many hardships in the beginning, out of necessity, they worked together turning the desert into fertile land.
As Israel grew into a nation, they excelled in technology, science, medicine, and agriculture. In addition, Israel found within its borders huge deposits of natural gas and oil. As God promised, Israel bloomed in the desert and became the most prosperous and per capita the wealthiest country in the world. This current generation would become the Hebrew generation.
“While, drought, famine, and economic hardship became common place throughout the rest of the world, Israel prospered. Israel tried to help others, but their efforts had little effect. Every nation on the planet secretly hated them for it. Clearly, it appeared to be unfair to the rest of the world.
“Since its beginning, Israel was attacked several times by the neighboring Muslim nations. Many of them wanted Israel’s resources. Others unreasonably hated the Jewish People.
After Israel discovered one of the largest natural gas and oil deposits in the world, those same resources being depleted in many other countries, made this small nation an irresistible target.
Every time Israel was attacked, they miraculously defeated their attackers. The futility of picking a fight with Israel further angered those who hated them.
“To add insult to injury, Israel developed a fertilizer made from minerals found only in the Dead Sea, which further enhanced their ability to grow food, and further increased the resentment of those who hated them.
There wasn’t a spot in Israel where one might put a mound of dirt, add the fertilizer, and grow a crop which was like poking their enemies in the eye.
We stood up and were promptly standing behind a rock wall on a hill overlooking miles of farms and orchards. Jack reached up grabbed a fig from a nearby tree and handed it to me.
I objected, “I don’t like figs.”
“I know,” he replied, “I didn’t either until I ate one of these.”
So, I tried eat it. It was horrible. “Well, I still don’t like them.”
He laughed, “Ya, me either.”
As we were peering over the Jezreel Valley Jack continued,
“Israel’s growth at such a time even aroused the big boys on the block. Russia had taken notice, along with the larger Muslim nations such as Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan and others. These nations not only wanted to eradicate the Jews for defeating the Islamic nations surrounding them, they desperately wanted Israel’s fertile land along with its natural resources to divide among themselves.
Russia and the other contentious nations formed a coalition, establishing a blueprint to subdue Israel with the sole purpose of evicting the Jews from the face of the earth”.
When he said that, a black cloud appeared in the distance. It grew bigger until it covered the whole horizon.
All the while, Jack continued speaking, “When the group of nations moved to carry out their plan, God intervened and it ended in an unfortunate catastrophe. Also, because the different invading armies did not get along for more than a couple minutes, each group started fighting and killing each other.”
As he spoke, I saw tents materialize in the valley below us. Men were exiting the tents. They were fighting each other and making a lot of noise. I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying.
Jack kept speaking over the noise, “Israel took a defensive position but ended up sitting back watching as the Russians and the different factions of Islam turned on each other.”
I turned my head to see an old man walking our way, slowly, bearing a cane. It made a slight tapping sound each time he took a step which was odd because of the loud noise coming from the valley below us. He wore a robe and a vest with diverse kinds of stones attached. I imagined he was a high priest.
He walked up to us, looked over the valley pointed his cane and said, “Those silly Russians! When will they ever learn?”
Directly, out of the sky came great hailstones and fire raining down on the camps below us. I saw men falling as their bodies were burning. It smelled like sulfur. Men tried to run, but it made no difference. Almost the whole army was wiped out. I could not turn away from what I was watching below, what was happening to the men and their camp.
Afterward, the old man turned to leave. He left walking back in the same direction he came from, slowly. Of course, I had an extraordinary sense about him. I stood there staring at him as he left, bearing the slight rhythmic sound of a tapping cane.
Jack remarked, “You catching flies?”
I closed my mouth as he continued, “The foreign armies barely made it to the walls surrounding Jerusalem. In the end, the invaders were doomed.”
How evident, as the bodies and tents lay burning below us.
He continued, “Israel was left with the gruesome task of burying the dead, as decomposing bodies littered the countryside, right outside Jerusalem. The enemy carried so many weapons Israel needed to figure out a way to dispose of them. As a sign of the state’s disdain for war, they developed a practical way to use them for heating fuel. They didn’t need the fuel, but as it turned out it was economical, environmentally sound, and helped to clean up the mess, at the same time making an important statement to the world.
Because of the growing prominence of Israel, it became the focus of many old and new emerging world leaders, who either had a platform of hatred or one of flatteries. A majority declared themselves favorably towards Israel in public. All of them hated the small country.
Regardless, Israel was always a topic of discussion. Many of these hopeful world leaders gained a following. Suspiciously, many of them mysteriously disappeared or were murdered in the middle of the night. Conspiracy theories abound as to why this one died or who’s next.
One specifically, who spoke kindly of Israel, emerged out of Europe. He called himself Mr. Smith. He said his name represented the common man, wanting to lead the world for the average man.
As we turned to walk away, we were among a throng of people surrounding a man and shaking his hand.
He walked up to me, seized my hand, and said, “Hello, I am Mr. Smith.”
As soon as he grabbed it, I looked up, but I could not make out his face. Instantly, I sensed death, a deep dark sensation as if a terrible evil had danced atop of my grave. It hurt deep within my chest as if my breath was taken away, or my heart stopped momentarily.
Jack shouting to be heard, “Mr. Smith made things happen. He prospered and caused everyone around him to flourish. The world spoke well of him, particularly Israel.”
Every person in the crowd was holding fists full of currency, each shouting, staring with fevered glossy eyes, and smiling with wide greedy smiles. The crowd faded into long dark unnatural shadows as we walked away.
Next, I found myself back in the small library in the log cabin. As I sat looking at the book, I realized I had been reading that as Jack was speaking. Wow! This notebook is Magic.
I paused to make a sandwich.
Afterward, I continued reading, “Mr. Smith rose to power and entered a peace treaty with Israel to protect them from any remaining hateful nations, expecting in return a cheap price for their natural gas and produce. He placed security forces on the outskirts of the country as a sign of his intent to defend the country from any hostile nations.
China was not happy with the treaty, being angry because it wanted the resources for itself. The treaties the Chinese presented to Israel in the past didn’t gain the support of the Jewish people. China needed to support a tremendous military and desired Israel’s commodities to power its military vehicles and feed its troops.
Unrest grew in the streets throughout Asia, tension which spawned massive riots in every major Asian city over the grievances brought on by the conditions of Smith’s treaty. The Chinese government instigated most of the unrest. China wanted to stir the people up against Mr. Smith and directly against Israel. It was not safe any longer to be a Jew and visit Asia.
Meanwhile, Mr. Smith remained best friends with Israel, who involved him in all of their important celebrations. He became a regular guest of the state.
One day he was asked to visit the rebuilt temple. One of the provisions of the treaty offered by Mr. Smith allowed for the Jews to rebuild their holy temple. China had refused to do so because of Indonesia’s substantial Muslim population. The Dome of the Rock was destroyed during a conflict with one of the surrounding Islamic countries. But, according to Jewish law, Israel could not rebuild, replacing the Dome. Afterward, as a condition of the treaty, the law was repealed in face of public outcry for the holy temple. So, the temple was built within six months of signing the treaty.
The finishing touches took three more years. Well, Mr. Smith was invited to the temple when it was finally complete.
Mr. Smith was personally frustrated with Israel’s defiance to come into his world courts establishing the Jews under his control. He held secret meetings which were effective in turning the rest of the world against them. He did so without Israel’s knowledge. What an evil man.
So, he was invited as a special guest by the Jewish government to the dedication of the temple, publicly thanking him for his humanitarian efforts and friendly attitude towards the Jewish people, particularly for the last three and one-half years.
Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, according to Jewish law he was not allowed in restricted areas of the temple because he was a gentile and not a Cohen, Priest. When he headed for the holy of holies, the priests stopped him and told him he was not allowed to enter as gentiles were not authorized. That deeply angered him because it publicly embarrassed him. With the world watching, and being advertised as a major media event, he accepted the invite to help him promote his self-importance.
It humiliated him so much he cursed Israel, cursed their God, and used his security guards to force his way into the holy of holies.
He proclaimed once inside, “Where is your God now?”
“Even though he had secretly planned to take over Israel, this particular affront to his ego forced his hand at the time.
In an act of defiance, an unplanned coincidence, a Jewish Rabbi struck Mr. Smith upside the head with an ornamental sword he was carrying. The world saw Mr. Smith die from that wound, but after three days in intensive care in an Israeli hospital he appeared to rise from the dead.
At once, the armies he had placed around the country attacked the Jewish people. Jews living in Jerusalem had to flee for their lives. Jerusalem became empty of all Jews.
The Jewish people took up residence in Petra, Jorden, which seemed to be the only defensible piece of real estate available to them. Mr. Smith could have wiped Petra off the map with a couple of bombs. No one could explain why he didn’t. Perhaps, God was protecting them. He protected them for the next three years. For whatever reason, Mr. Smith along with his minions could only force them to leave Jerusalem. Unfortunately, the rest of Israel did not fare well under Smith either.
Three years following Smith’s despicable act, after his resurrection, China, along with the rest of Asia, was too desperate and unable to contain their anger regarding Israel falling into Mr. Smith’s hands. All of Asia went on a death march through the Middle East, hoping to possess Israel’s resources.
Mr. Smith forced other nations to follow him by joining forces with the hope of intercepting the Chinese, who on their march to Jerusalem had already killed over two billion people.
Nations were not only afraid of Mr. Smith. Every one of them being afraid of what China might continue doing after taking Israel. Would the Chinese decide to turn on them should their campaign be successful? It was a catch twenty-two for world leaders because Mr. Smith, who being a dictatorial psychopath had to be stopped as well as China.
Many innocent people died under Smith’s evil rule. There was no reason to like him. Yet, one after another each nation capitulated to Mr. Smith out of fear.
Now for the second time in eight years, a major war was perpetrated upon the land of Israel.
Six months after the Chinese launched their campaign, China reached the Jezreel Valley. Mr. Smith with the rest of the world’s armies assembled to confront the Asian countries there.
During the first stages of the battle, a miraculous thing happened. Out of heaven came a great army. The leader of that army defeated the Chinese as well as Mr. Smith and the other international militaries.”
Instantly, the ceiling opened above me and saw a countless number of people falling from the sky, all of them riding white horses. The first rider was carrying a magnificent sword. It was like watching a movie on an oversized movie screen mounted to the ceiling.
“No one knew whose army came from the sky. Combatants who faced that army first hand did not survive to tell their story, nor did the world understand. Only, many of their young men and young women had died in a horrendous battle.”
I hesitated again for a moment to gather myself. So, I got up to retrieve another glass of orange juice and walked out to the front porch.
It was a wonderful day. I took a seat on the front steps to take in the heat from the sun as I drank my juice. I enjoyed the scenery. Yet, my emotions were complex, feeling wonderful and disturbed at the same time.
I took my time to finish the juice before I headed back to the library to continue reading.
The chapter finished with, “Following the second war, The Great War, a new government was set up in Jerusalem. The Jews returned to their homeland and the whole world came under a single government. God’s new government brought peace throughout the world. The kingdoms of the world had finally become the Kingdoms of our God.”