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A Bar

A Bar – Poem by Darren Westbrook

Sometimes it’s called a bar,
A bar to heaven a door to hell.
Whoever named it named it well.

A bar to manliness and wealth;

A door to want and broken health.

A bar to honor, pride and fame.

A door to grief and sin and shame.

A bar to joys that home imparts.

A door to tears and aching hearts.

A bar to heaven a door to hell,

Whoever named it named it well.

 

“Awww, come on Johnny, just one drink won’t hurt. You can take just one. Come on down to the bar with me.” Alfred said.

He had been sober for two years.  He was feeling pretty good about himself, proud of the fact that he had kept his promise to her.

“Why not,” he thought.  “I can handle this, I have done great for two years, just one drink and then I”ll go home.”

She waited and worried.  “What had happened to him.” she thought.”  He had not been late for supper for two years. They had been so happy.

Nin had no idea when she married J.B. that alcoholism would threaten her marriage.  They were in love, he was her prince and she was sure that all would be well.

“Two years, two great years and now this.”  she said to herself.

It was 1:00 when he came home. “Drunk as a skunk”, she told her mother. The nightmare started all over again and it ended many years later in divorce.

Everyone of the “rellies” was affected. All who knew him were saddened that such a nice man could end up like this…no job, no family, no home, homeless and penniless, that is what happened to J.B. because he took just one drink.

 

J.B. was born into what could be described as a moderately wealthy family by comparison to others in the depression era.  His father owned a successful business and the family had a nice home.  They had come to America seeking a better life and had found it.
There were many “strikes” against J.B. The biggest of which was that his mother died when he was at a vulnerable age and his father remarried.  The step-mother and he did not get along so he moved out. He did not finish high school and so his job opportunities were limited.
His dad took him into the business and he learned to weld. He was good at it, so I have been told.  But, he had wanderlust in his soul.
As a young man he “hopped a freight” and headed south. He rode the rails, trying to stay a step ahead of the “dics” who would sometimes beat up the “bums” if they caught them.  If you didn’t have a job you were considered a bum, a good for nothing.
He started hanging around the gyms, watching the boxers as they sparred with one another.  He was scrappy and asked to be considered for Golden Gloves training.  He never went very far, but well into his years he loved a good boxing match.
As a young man, he could handle his liquor, or so he thought.  Many times he would get paid, go to the bar and when he was sober wonder where his money went.
He met Nin when he was 25.  She was not like the other women he kept company with.  She was pure and she was pretty.  He was taken with her.
When she moved to be near him, they went to the bars together.  This was a new world to her. It was exciting at first, but when they married and the children came, she no longer wanted to be part of it.  Her upbringing kicked in.
A mother was to be at home and take care of her children.
It was seven children and many years later when they divorced. They loved each other, but the alcoholism colored their world and she could not do it anymore.
I am the oldest of seven.  As I get close to the end of my sojourn here, I think more seriously about life, love and faith.
I see and I have seen first hand what alcoholism can do to a family.  Like many with my experience, I hate alcohol!
My youngest son has walked my Dad’s path almost exactly.  Each of us makes his own decisions.  In spite of much prayer and the faith of those who pray for us, it is our decisions that dictate our path in life.
My oldest son does not have the “weakness”.  He likes “a cold beer on a hot day after mowing the yard.” He is not addicted.
Why does one become addicted and another does not? I don’t know the answer.
This I do know, without alcohol my Dad was kind, generous and an interesting man. I had the good pleasure of getting to know him for several years before he died.
Alcoholism changes a man into another person. My Dad was a mean drunk. He was stubborn, blasphemous, and a womanizer under the influence of alcohol.
Inhibitions go, walls come down and a man will do things drunk that he would never do sober.
I am happy to tell you that my Dad came to Jesus, reconciled with my Mom, and in general turned from sin to the Lord before he died. Thank you Lord!
Wherever you are in your relation to alcohol, please consider my story.
If you are young, you may be able to “handle it” for awhile. Youth can do many things that age cannot, and you too are aging every day.
Life is a process, everything we do is a process. There is a beginning and there is an end. Often, the beginning determines the end.
Why start something that is detrimental, that does not help you be a better person, or provide a lasting benefit?
Pause and calmly consider is what I am asking.
God loves you and has a great plan for your life. You hold the key in your hand. What is that key for you?

LIfe

This morning I am thinking of Mary. She has been on the hearts of so many people, due to the fact that she almost died. (January 17, 2017) Miraculously she was given the gift of life.

Today Mary goes home from the hospital.  This is how her friend put it on Caring Bridge:

“Mary will be restored to her home (and her children) tomorrow. Yes, HOME!!  We can all share in her joy.  Praise God!!! After her return home (and I am sure countless hugs and kisses) she will be visited by Home Health Care to determine need for level of care. Please continue to pray for Mary’s healing, their family, and God’s blessing on this next big step in Mary’s healing.”

I think so often people get confused about miracles and healing. What Mary experienced at the hospital when she could breathe without the help of a breathing tube was a miracle.  (see previous posts)

The doctors thought she would more than likely die.  The breath in her lungs was instant, the moment the tube came out she could breathe on her own, and she began to recover. That miracle was the beginning of Mary’s healing.

Her lungs began to immediately respond and get better and better. The healing process is still going on, which is why prayer for complete healing is necessary.  Mary has had several treatments of chemotherapy and will continue to do so.  Our continued prayer stand is that Mary be completely delivered from cancer, that “she will not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.” Psalm 118:17

How often do we pray and ask but do not believe we receive.  In the gospel of Mark Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them.”   Mark 11:24 KJV  To see we must believe and receive.

Faith is the necessary ingredient for miracles and healing.  It is not hoping or wishing that the thing you desire is yours because you want it to be.  It is not mental assent to what the Bible says is true, or even that Jesus died for you to have it.

Faith is knowing that healing is part of the new covenant in Jesus blood, that God wants you whole body, soul and spirit; you believe and receive it.

There are times when you must stand in faith to recover. There are times when healing does not manifest right away, then you must know that you have been heard and God will do everything He can do.  Sometimes timing is an issue.

God gave each of us a will.  We can choose.  When a person has been battling against sickness or disease and they are tired and don’t want to fight anymore, your will and prayers will not be imposed upon them. God will give them what they want, He will take them home to Heaven, if they are His children.

In our day in America, every source is embalmed with unbelief and doubt…except one…the Bible.   A person may be strong in the Lord in one area but weak in another because of doubt or unbelief. There is no perfect human being.

The Jewish people have a word that incorporates the wholeness that God wants His people to walk in, it is the word Shalom.  I heard someone say that it means, “nothing missing and nothing broken.”

How do we get to that place of wholeness?  Jesus is the answer.

The Bible says, “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:5 KJV

Jesus taught that we are to be like little children. The hallmark of a child is trust. Implicit in childhood is total trust in their parent. They don’t question where their next meal is coming from, whether they will have clothes or shoes to wear or a place to sleep.  (Yes, I know that there are aberrations)

If a loving parent provides for the needs of his children, how much more will our loving Heavenly Father provide for our needs.  We are His family.

There are some things that come upon all mankind, like rain, natural things, earthly things, but there are some things that are only for family.

Jesus taught that God is Our Father in Heaven, that He loves His children and wants to see us succeed in every area of life.

He wants us to be whole, so much so that He sent The Word made flesh, Jesus, to live here on earth for approximately 30 years to identify with us and pay the price for sin that we could not, so that we could have access to our Father.

When Jesus finished His assignment, He declared: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”  John 17:4 KJV

We can trust our Father in Heaven. We can trust Jesus our advocate and His Spirit our helper, comforter, teacher and guide.

Each of us has been assigned a specific time to be here on planet earth.  For such a time as this we have come. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  It is for us to discover what that plan is.

It is written in Psalm 139:16 KJV “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

Kat Kerr says that we were all little spirits with the Father and when the time came for us to come to earth, He knit our little spirit to that dot of flesh in our mother’s womb and we became a living soul. Your life began at conception.

Mary has been given a new lease on life, a new opportunity.  She has fought, her family has fought, extended family has fought, friends and God’s family have fought against the cancer that the enemy sent to kill her and steal her from her husband and children. He did not win!

In the court of Heaven God the righteous judge sat down on the bench.  The advocate for Mary (Jesus Christ the Righteous) presented His case, the enemy (formerly known as Lucifer) presented his case.

Jesus said, “I paid the price required for Mary to be healed. My blood was shed; I was whipped with a cat of nine tails, my blood flowed out on the ground, the bones in my back could be seen.  Only then did they stop. I did this out of love for Mary, to satisfy the demands of the law. I ask the court for acquittal.”

The enemy arose with great pomp to make his case against Mary.  He dragged up every little thing that she had done from the time she was able to make her own decisions.  It was not a pretty picture.

He said, “Your honor knows that I am nothing if not fair.  I have shown the court that Mary is deserving of death. I ask for conviction.”  He sat down, smugly sure that he had won.  He could not wait to get his hands on her. He had plans.

God stood up.  The enemy trembled, that was not a good sign.  He had seen Him do that before and it did not bode well for him.

Turning to Lucifer, the fallen one, He said, “I have heard you out.  You have accused Mary of heinous crimes.  You have belittled her, you have laid out before me a picture accusing her of things she has not even done.  Fair? no, never since your fall have you ever been fair.  There is no justice in you at all.”

Turning to Jesus He said, “I have heard the case that you have made for Mary.  You have done everything possible to secure her healing.  I have seen that Mary wants to be healed and I have heard the many prayers for her life.  Mary gave me her life when she was 12 years of age.  She is my child.  I have made my decision.”

The gavel went down.  “Decision made for the plaintiff.”  Case dismissed.

Jesus has never lost a case.

What about you friend?  If you stood in the courts of Heaven would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Today is the day of salvation.  Turn from sin and give your heart to Jesus, all of the old life will be washed away in Jesus blood, you will become a new man.  A new life will begin.  Ask Jesus to immerse you in the Holy Spirit and He will bring you power to live that new life.

God loves you, so do I.  Joy