I lost a good friend to the battle of addiction

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Today his parents and I were talking and even prayed that he would be ok and be victorious over this addiction. We prayed that we would hear from him soon as I had not heard from him in over a week and his parents had not heard from him since Sunday.

 

Concerned about him, they went to his apartment. When, after a half hour of knocking, with no response, they contacted the police to get in. They finally were able to get the door open and found that he had died about 4-5 days ago.

 

This man was a good friend of mine that I had lost contact with for almost 10 years when God brought him back into my life. We had first met in Bible College.

 

He had struggles even then. I knew that he suffered from schizophrenia because he told me, but, it was under control with meds. He was on fire for The Lord and asked many questions and really wanted to learn about how he could serve Jesus. He did not have a place where he could serve continuously because of his struggles.

 

He would try to get his work done. He had difficulty with writing papers because of his struggle with his illness. He would try though. After some time,  the president of the school met with his professors and the board of the school, he was asked to take some writing classes at CNM to improve his writing skills before returning to Bible College. He took this hard.

 

Before this meeting transpired, we would spend time after class talking about what we learned. We would discuss the scriptures that were brought up and had become close. He was one of the ones who encouraged me when I first stepped out into ministry on my own.

 

One time, he asked me how he could help me. He didn’t feel like he could go on the streets with me to evangelize or to invite others from the motels we ministered in. He wanted to do something that would help him feel like he was serving. When I asked if he would be willing to pass out some flyers, he agreed. He did require encouragement to continue because he felt shy.

 

It was shortly after this, I lost contact with him. I had met my then, future wife, and we were courting. About this time, I was also assisting with planting a different church. I felt bad because my time was consumed elsewhere and we were unable to continue to meet like we used to after class. Over the time we had been out of contact, I had wondered what had become of him from time to time.

 

When we moved our present church to where we are now, I realized that we were not that far from his parents’ house. I would drive up and down the street trying to remember which house was theirs because I wanted to see what became of him. I was in prayer that God would open the door for us to reconnect.

 

Last fall, we were holding a carwash to help someone raise money with her father’s funeral. (Her dad was someone who had also become a supporter of our ministry through prayer. I know that someday I will get to meet him.) My friend had walked up to the church because he wanted to see what was going on.

 

When I saw him, at first I didn’t recognize him. He had chosen to go back to using meth. Something I was not aware that he struggled with because he had been in recovery when I knew him in Bible College. He looked like the walking dead, literally. When I did recognize him, I said, “Do you remember me?” He acknowledged he did. We spent some time talking and I invited him to church.

 

After he had been coming for a little while, he finally told me his addiction to meth. We prayed together, spent time in The Word and he even went to 2 different recovery houses here. Sadly, he would return back to his addiction.

 

Just recently, he seemed to be using less and less. During this time, we talked about the drugs that are out there that are potential hazards. He would ask me about how God felt about his addiction and if he would be still saved. We would explore scripture together.

 

He would do well during the month, but, when he got paid in the beginning of the month, he was back out there. I would not hear from him for a week, sometimes 2 and then he would reach out and ask if we could meet.

 

I believe that he really wanted to be victorious over his addiction. Even this morning his mom told me that he didn’t want to suffer anymore. He really wanted to have that close Relationship with Christ.

 

Now you may be asking why I am sharing all this. Addictions, no matter what they are, can kill you. They can kill your relationships with family, friends and even God. They can take your life physically as well. They require much time and money to continue to keep up.

 

DON”T SUBCOMB TO THEM!!! If you need help, if you need encouragement, if you need someone to talk to as you overcome them, I’m here as well as others. Something I have learned as I overcame my addictions, we need to have people surrounding us who will lift us up and keep us accountable.

 

Losing my friend is a tragedy. I do look at there are others who have been victorious and have lived their lives successfully. They were successful even up until they died of natural causes.

 

Please pray for my friend’s family as they grieve over this horrible lose.

 

I want to end this with this song because it is so true:

Victory In Jesus

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

Chorus
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow’r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and bro’t
To me the victory.

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory.
Words and Music by E.M. Bartlett
© 1939 – Administrated by Integrated Copyright Group, Inc.
All rights reserved

 

Until next time:

Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NKJV): 

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”

 

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Mark is a US Army Veteran and has called Albuquerque home since 1997. He earned degrees at Albuquerque Bible College, and Faith Evangelical Seminary before attending the Shepherd’s School at Cross Christian Fellowship. He has felt a calling to start a church along Route 66, in Albuquerque to reach others for Christ. Mark has had struggles with addictions, drugs, alcohol and other things, in the past. He has recovered from them, with Christ and has a desire to help others with them as well. He has a desire to setup a recovery home in Albuquerque, or nearby, to help others in the recovery process as well as help them gain some job skills and learn to have personal interactions with others. Mark grew up in traditional churches. He did not find the true meaning of having a Relationship with Jesus. At the age of 31, after hearing a Pastor talk about this Relationship, he rededicated his life to Jesus and started on a path for ministry. You can check out Recovery In Action Ministries FaceBook Page for more info on Recovery issues. Mark has been married to his wife Rebecca since 2005. Together they have four boys between them. They minister together to help others grow in their relationships with their spouses, children and family. In his free time, Mark likes to ride motorcycles, shooting and building things.

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