THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM
Do you remember when you first counted to 100? Or, the first time you finally got your ABC’s figured out? I remember the excitement and thrill of finally getting it, while my mother clapped and cheered because I understood something that I didn’t before. How about when you first learned to ride a bike, or when you first got behind the wheel and learned how to drive a car. There is a wondrous feeling in finally getting it. Hopefully after reading my article, you will learn something new and exciting that will change the direction of your life forever! The direction of my life changed from chaos to peace that passes all understanding. Once I was a drug addict and alcoholic with a foul mouth that cursed God. I watched porn and slept with various women, who I didn’t care about. I was always angry and frustrated when things didn’t go my way. I became selfish and unhappy with my lonely, ungodly life.
I am none of these things anymore! In fact, I’ve been changed since I started to fear God! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 I never used to fear God because I didn’t believe in God, which was a foolish thing. The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Psalm 14:1 There was always something deep inside of me that wanted to know the truth about whether God was real. After all, I like you started out as a single cell divided into two cells, then four, then eight and so on. I thought about the biology of the human system and all the various parts that work together. I am amazed at the complexity of our brains and emotions. Did you know that there are 125 million photo-receptor cells in your eyes? Did you know that your heart beats over 100,000 times a day? Your heart also pumps all the blood in your body every 4 minutes. Actually, the list of amazing things is endless when you really begin to look into it. If you’re interested in finding God, like I was, then you will find Him in His creation. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 We have no excuses when we go before God to be judged. We are all given the ability to know right from wrong, good from evil, early in our lives as young children. As time went on, we’ve allowed good to be called evil and evil to be called good. There’s no sin left that hasn’t been given a pass except for the sin of pedophilia. It’s literally the last sin that is detestable and shameful, while the rest are openly celebrated! We have become an ungodly generation because of not believing in, or fearing God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus said And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 The end of the age is upon us and the day of the Lord is about to dawn. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’Revelation 6:15-17 Who is able to stand when that day comes? Read the last book in the Bible and remember that it is about to unfold just as it is written. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him! Amos 5:19 If this truly concerns you and you fear the thought of being judged and sent into utter darkness forever, then this is the beginning of wisdom. It means you have a chance to be saved from the eternal separation of God and the punishment of hell.
My first part of this article, you could say, was the bad news. The good news is that you can be forgiven and saved once you repent and believe in the life, sacrificial death and rising of Jesus! I always heard the sayings “Jesus died for me” or “Jesus died for my sins” and I never really understood what that meant. It just went over my head. So let me take a moment to thoroughly explain exactly what this means, so you can better understand His sacrificial death. God the Father is holy, pure and just. Because of this, “all” sin has to be punished and cannot go without being punished. This is why there is a place called hell. God sent His Son who was exactly like His Father, to be an example for us in His perfect life. He was also a sacrificial lamb for our sins. The punishment for every sin you have committed OR will commit have been laid on Jesus at the cross. This is why He said “it is finished”. John 19:30 All the wrath of a holy God was laid on Him to punish Him instead of you, only when you believe. If you don’t believe in Jesus and that He paid for your sins, then you’ll have to pay for them yourself. It really does revolve around belief. If you don’t believe then you won’t receive, it’s just that simple. To not believe, is to be condemned. Mark 16:16 You can say “sorry Lord for all my sins, I believe in what Jesus did for me on the cross. I believe He shed His precious blood for me and rose from the grave on the third day just as it is recorded in the Bible.” You could say all of that and it would mean nothing unless you meant it with all your heart and you turned from all your sin’s and began living a holy and good life for God. This is called true repentance. Have you ever hurt someone, and felt bad? This is the attitude of true repentance because you’ve offended God in all your sinful ways and you need to feel sorrow for all of your sin’s as they are brought to your memory. True repentance will entirely change you! Then you will delight in God, in Jesus, in keeping the commandments of Christ and in His people by going to church. When you truly repent, God sends his Holy Spirit to be in you and with you, to guide you in all truth. Before long, you notice your old sinful desires vanish away only to be left with the desire to please God. This is the regeneration of your soul, and is the work of the Holy Spirit. He cleans you up and sin’s that offend God, offend you as well. When someone takes His name in vain around you, it feels like a knife being plunged in your heart. That’s the way God feels as well. We don’t become sinless, we just sin-less because we are bothered when we do sin as the Holy Spirit convicts us. He also convicts unbelievers of their sin, remember we know right from wrong and we have no excuse before a holy God.
In closing, be aware that everything you have ever said, thought or done has been recorded in the book of life. Even reading this article, guiding you in the way of truth and eternal life, will be a part of your judgement on that day if you continue in your sinful ways. There’s no going to heaven by following the road to hell. Admit your a sinner and run to God in repentance as fast and direct as you can. Read the Bible, pray and seek God with all your heart and you will find Him waiting for you with open arms!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
The Case For Christ
This movie I watched called The Case For Christ is a true story about Lee Strobel who tried to disprove the Christian faith but ended up becoming a Christian himself. He even became a Pastor of a church and wrote many books pointing people to the truth about Jesus.
There are thousands of people throughout history who’ve tried to stop or discredit Christianity. Most of them have concluded that it is the way, the truth, and the life! I have three favorite proofs myself that I would like to share with some that don’t believe so that you may have your eyes opened.
My first proof is the Apostle Paul who hunted down Christians to imprison and kill them only to become a powerful Christian leader himself and even wrote 13 books in the Bible. In the end, he was killed for his Christian faith by having his head cut off. This would be like a Nazi who hated and hunted Jews, only to become a Jew and willingly die to help the Jews. Something pretty powerful changed Paul from hating, to loving Christians and dying for the faith. You can find the story of Paul (formerly Saul) in the book of Acts chapter 9 where Jesus appeared to him in a dramatic way. The rest of Acts details Paul’s triumphs and struggles sharing the good news to all who would listen.
My second proof is the brothers of Jesus; James and Jude. They became powerful church leaders after Jesus was resurrected and even wrote their own books in the Bible. It is recorded in the Gospel of John 7:5, that the brothers of Jesus did not believe in Him. But all of that changed when he rose from the grave and visited his brothers to show He was alive. Again, we have people who didn’t believe but were converted to powerful church leaders. They also were killed for believing in the good news about Jesus being the savior.
My third proof is that many millions of Christians have been put to death in the last 2000 years for simply believing that Jesus died for our sins, was put in a tomb and rose from the dead on the third day. You can read about some of these Christian martyrs in Foxes Book Of Martyrs or you can listen to all 11 volumes on YouTube. It is a horrific account of simple harmless Christians being tortured, burned alive, or thrown to lions. This is a largely hidden part of our history because most of the killing was done by the Roman Catholic Church. They have some beliefs that are not biblical like praying to Mary or the Saints. Christians who would not follow the false teachings of the Roman Catholics were given a chance to change their mind, or recant. If they didn’t then they were horribly tortured to death or burned alive. These martyrs went to their death holding on to the true teachings of Jesus and did not worship idols, even to their death. Even to this very second, there are countless Christians who are being persecuted and put to death just for having a belief in the peaceful and loving teachings of Jesus, mostly in Arab or communist countries nowadays.
Whether it be the Apostle Paul, the brothers of Jesus, the twelve disciples or the millions of Christians who followed Jesus to their death, Jesus said “the gates of hell would not prevail against His church” and this is true! So, that was my case for Christ and I hope it helped open your eyes to see the truth and that you would be made free!
Helpful Advice for Trauma Survivors
Sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, vulnerability, embarrassment, disappointment and frustration are the eight unpleasant feelings that prevent us from having a happier life according to Dr. Joan Rosenberg.
Whatever trauma you have been through, let me first congratulate you because you have made it through! All trauma is unique for each situation, however, the “after effects” are most, or all, of these unpleasant feelings. Holding on to them holds you back from happiness.
I know for me, I felt completely helpless and vulnerable, which led to me hiding away in my house to play video games all day. I became lazy and overweight. I ate whatever I wanted, drank beer and smoked pot everyday to deal with my sadness and shame. Many things about my trauma, and how it was handled by the military, caused great disappointment, frustration and even anger.
This anger symptom was the first one I recognized and dealt with a few years ago. Simply put, anger is one letter away from danger! Over time, I have managed to change my life for the better by dealing with these unpleasant feelings in a productive way, rather than a destructive way. I eat healthy, non-processed food and drink fresh lemon water and do 22 push-ups a day. I have gone from 240 lbs down to 170 lbs. I used to wear a size 42 pant and am down to a size 32. My blood pressure was 166/111 and now it is down to 120/80. I am much happier now! Up until 2019, I was still holding onto disappointment and frustration from my military career. I was advised by a good friend to go see Veterans Affairs to see if they could help me. It was very difficult for me to be vulnerable and to ask for help, but I am glad that I did. Just as McDonald’s had terrible coffee and changed it to great coffee, so it is with Veterans Affairs. They had a reputation of not really caring and I thought it might be a waste of my time, but I was very wrong. I was met with love and compassion and I felt like my concerns were finally being addressed. This has allowed me to start to heal that part of my life. I realize it is not this way for everyone, but I had a good case manager.
If you’re like most trauma survivors and feel anxiety often, then listen closely:
You have two different nervous systems. One is called sympathetic and the other is parasympathetic. Parasympathetic is when you are calm and at peace, just like before you fall asleep. Your body heals while you sleep and when you are calm during the times you are awake. On the other hand, the sympathetic state kicks in when you see a bear with her cubs 10 feet away. Your heart rate and blood pressure go into survival mode and you are prevented from healing. Staying in this state is harmful to your health.
I spent years always anxious and worried, as a blood pressure of 166/111 would tell you, but over time I changed my habits and I have learned that the most important person to take care of in your life is YOU. In order to take care of yourself, you must deal with past negatives to make room for the positives.
This is indeed different for every person, depending on your circumstances, but for me, I found classical music, warm salt baths, and having a personal relationship with Jesus to be most helpful. Whatever brings you to that place of calm and peace, should be your direction in life from now on. Not talking about meditation here, just a natural state of calm. Also, deal with every unpleasant feeling or situation that comes along as positively as you can so you can quickly go back to your healing state of peace.
In 2016, I saw a statistic that said 22 military members take their life everyday and that shook me to the core. I had also heard of a group of former military personnel that do 22 push-ups a day to bring awareness, and also, in some weird way, to put our collective energy into combating this tragedy. This was the very beginning of my healing journey that has brought me this far.
If you are ever considering now or in the future to end your life for whatever reason, please understand that you have a real purpose for the life that you have been given. There are countless people, including myself, who have been at the bottom of a hopeless pit wanting to just die, but I am here to tell you that no matter how bad things get, they will always get better! I am living proof of that, so please never ever allow yourself to feel that way again. Keep breathing!
My definition of confidence is: the deep sense that you can handle the emotional outcome of whatever you face or pursue in life. I hope this article brings you understanding and confidence to handle whatever you face or pursue in your journey from trauma to peace.