Weekly Word Devotion

Religion

I read a story about a little girl who was frightened during a thunderstorm at night. She ran to her parents and jumped into their bed. Her father said, “Don’t worry Honey, the Lord will protect you.” She responded, “I know Daddy, but right now, I need someone with skin on.” Because Jesus is God with skin on, we can run to Him when sudden storms hit hard. One day we will see Him with skin on, including scars; until then His Holy Spirit lives within us to protect and comfort us. Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-First United Church of the Southeastern Conference

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

On Wednesday I stopped by one of the local rec departments to iron out some details for an upcoming event that Team FYN Sports plans to cover. As often happens in small towns where time seems to move a little slower, you can’t go into a place where people are as close as a rec department and just have your meeting and leave. You end up talking about something like, in this case sports, that leads into one topic after another. Add a couple more people into the mix that you haven’t seen in a while and soon enough you glance down at your watch and you’ve been there for two hours with no idea where the time went. Southerners especially know what I mean.

Anyway, naturally with this being SEC country we had to talk about college football. And even more so when one of the people in the conversation was a Tennessee fan (you know who you are!)

Eventually our conversation turned to memories of our first college football games. The memories spanned years and were entwined with heartfelt stories of family, friends and Sanford stadium. There were tales of witnessing games where records were set and broken, of firsts and lasts. A couple of us could even recall games with rivalries so bitter that a rowdy fan from the opposing team was either physically injured or injured with glares.

Ah the glorious Sanford Stadium! And during a Georgia/Tennessee game, too!

For each of us that was sitting in the room we had a look of wonder in our eye. We were recalling memories that were so precious to us that we wouldn’t trade them for all the University of Florida defeats in the world. Especially the ones were loved ones were involved. Those are always the most precious.

Hearing those glorious tales took me back to my own first University of Georgia game. I couldn’t tell you who they were playing, but I remember watching the team run out with the big Georgia flag and feeling a since of pride I hadn’t felt before. I was with my mom and my grandparents. I had never seen my Nana get so rowdy. And my Papa Skip was especially proud to have the three most important women in his life with him and dressed in red and black. And a new love was born for me.

As a side note, my brother would later commit the ultimate sin in that side of the family and declare himself to be a Florida fan. I’m sure it broke Papa’s heart at the time, but he soon got over it when he had someone to accompany him to the Georgia/Florida game besides my Nana. Such is the seriousness of rivalries in the Southeastern Conference.

Here is a gem of a picture featuring my brother Devin, wearing a Florida shirt, and I with Governor Brian Kemp, who is a UGA alum. Even the governor gave Devin a hard time for being a Florida fan!

I know I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I firmly believe that nothing besides religion brings people together like a football game. Which is probably why it’s so common to refer to football as a religion in the South. You may hate someone during the week, but come Saturday morning if you’re both wearing red and black you’re going to at least be cordial.

I know that it may be more intense in other college towns, but in Athens people will arrive a full day early to claim their tailgating spots. Red and black tents flood the streets of downtown on every plot of grass that grows. Women (including myself) will go to get their nails and hair done ahead of time, and dress to the nine in ninety degree weather. There is no telling how many hundreds of thousands of dollars get spent on food and drinks for one weekend of tailgating alone.

I was recently watching an old episode of the show Designing Women. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s about four women running an interior design firm in Atlanta. In one scene Julia Sugarbaker, who is the sharp-tongued primary owner of the firm, is leaving for a football game with one of her co-workers. Sadly, she was going to a Georgia Tech game, but we’ll overlook that part for now.

As the two characters are heading out the door, Julia says that she and her husband used to plan their weekends around the Georgia Tech games. She quips, “In the East, football is a cultural exercise. In the Midwest, it’s cannibalism. In the West, it’s a tourist attraction. But in the South, it’s a religion!”

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The Devil’s Masterpiece

Religion

One day while ministering in the jail system, I was doing what you would call, one- on- one, with an inmate. He had filled out a card requesting to see a minister. This nice looking young man, about thirty years of age, came to me wanting prayer. He had been arrested for drugs and was scared that he might be going off to prison. He looked so nice and innocent. I said, maybe the judge would give you a break; is this your first time? He said,” no it is my thirty-first time.” This young man was caught out in a make-believe world that just doesn’t work. This type of world is like living on a merry-go-round. It will just keep spinning you until you fall off.

As I began to seek the Lord about the drug problem, I ask the Lord why law enforcement has not brought it under control? It had now been a problem for years, and truckloads of money had been spent enforcing the law. I believe New York State, at that time, was spending more money building prisons than on the school system. I heard very clearly, by the Spirit, the Law cannot control it because it is of the wicked one.

The devil owns and operates the drug industry. It is controlled by spiritual wickedness in high places:darkness, evil powers ruling principalities. It cannot be won with flesh and blood. Illegal drugs are designed to do three things, kill,steal, and to destroy. We probably couldn’t count the moms and dads that are suffering, and grieving as they watch their hopes, and dreams for their sons and daughters go up in smoke. It seems nowadays, good, clean living, hard-working parents are spending a lot of time visiting their children in jails or prisons. The parents are watching their children’s education and their future as it goes down the drain. The parents should never have to be put through this kind of suffering or pay this kind of price.

The devil is no respecter of persons. Multitudes of rebellious, young children are out there on the streets because of not being properly parented. In many cases, their parents are in jail, or drugged up, and messed up.These young people are hurting. They are struggling and making decisions that a young person should never have to make on his own.They look around and see” properly parented-kids,” and they say to themselves I don’t fit here, so they move on over to the wrong street where they can find like-kind.

At any given time, today in America, many mothers and dads are locked away; not knowing for sure where their kids are or who is taking care of them. In many cases, they are left with a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. Like everyone else who is hooked , mothers, and dads will choose the drug, and ignore the cries of their own. Many will tell us how our bodies crave it, and now we just can’t function without it. That is not true. God says, “ We are fearfully, and wonderfully made.” (Psalms 139:1 ) We need nothing more than him.

When you use drugs, the spirit which is attached to that drug now sets up in your mind and places the demand on your body. I have also noticed when the iron bars slam behind a person; the drug problem takes second place. The problem is now, how do I get out of this place? I have seen many, many people set free in minutes by getting that demonic spirit cast out of their mind. Please remember, no matter how it seems, the need for the drug is one big lie from the evil one. We have power over the deceiver any time we choose to use it. You can choose to walk free by listening to what I am saying right now. If your child is in lockdown, don’t give up hope! Some of the best ministers I know came out of the lockdown system. Many of them are better than seminary graduates. They lived out the bad, and now they see the good. They now say God is good. They can now preach the Good News from the evil trap that they came out of.

Parents , listen to me. Drugs are the work of the devil, and he hates family. He is out to destroy yours.He will destroy your children just to devastate your life. Drugs are a whole tool chest for him; all he needs to do is get them hooked. The devil uses people who are already operating by his spirit, but they don’t know it, It could even be a friend. The provider makes you think, if you take this, you will feel better or different , or something more than you are now. Once you reach out for it, the spirit that is attached to the drug, which is of the devil, is now attached to you, because you gave him the authority. Just one hit, and now the devil can put power behind that drug and keep driving you for more. Your life can now be owned , operated, and controlled by one big lie of the devil. I have seen many abandon their families, rob their parents, and steal anything they could get their hands on. I have noticed, one will risk everything because he thinks he can’t survive without the drug.

I don’t believe the Church, as a whole,has ever seen the hand of the devil in the drug industry like I am talking about today. It seems as thou ,the best work the Church has done is to help find a rehabilitation center, after the “Crash.” Many churches are offering an afterburner type program to those coming out of jail or rehab, which is good.If we, the people of God, the Church, will listen to what the Lord is speaking here today, and every ministry enters into spiritual warfare; teaching their people about the power they have when they put the Word, the Spirit and the power of prayer together. We must let the Lord know that we trust Him for help. When he hears us crying out to Him for help, He will fight for us. The Lord has a much larger tool chest than the devil. If you know the depth of the Lord’s love for you and know who you are in Him, you’ve got it. You won’t need anything else to prop you up. That living water from the Lord will satisfy you. Get It, and you will want nothing else. If we put God’s power behind law enforcement, they can clean this mess up.

The Governor of the State of New York is a real piece of work.This guy recently approved full term abortions. A couple of weeks ago (early 2019} he approved the sale of marijuana. I wonder if the Governor has thought about how many lives will be messed up or killed because of his terrible decision. I heard him say he can make three hundred million dollars a year just on marijuana. Boy, that tells you the hunger America has for the stuff. If the sales tax, would be three hundred million, what would the total amount that New Yorkers would spend on the stuff? I wonder now how many Governors have listened to him and is giving some thought to that tax money. They all need more funds, and that would, more than, pay to run the average police department. I say Oh! Lead me not into temptation! The good Governor of New York will do it.

Americans spent about a trillion dollars on illegal drugs in the last decade. Think about this, people have worked hard for that money, stolen for that money, and sold their possessions for it. Most of that money goes out of our country to people we don’t even know. A lot of that money was robbed from hard-working parents, and much of it was from the government by way of the welfare system money. Many who can least afford it are the devil’s best customers. The devil sticks his hand out, and the people just bring in the money.Young girls and young men will sell their bodies for money in order to run to the drug dealer. Illegal drugs are one of America’s largest industries with multi-millions of sales made every day. Our net return is death, destruction, pain , suffering, and sorrow. It is like a leech to our nation. The mighty United States of America cannot control the drug industry, but the Church could if it would.

The NDIC estimates that the annual cost of drug-related crime in the United States is more than $61 billion. The Criminal Justice System costs making up $56 billion of that cost. Folks, this problem is draining our nation, and if you are a taxpayer, you have to pay up.

From 63 to 83 percent of all arrestees test positive for illicit substances at the time of their arrest. According to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM II), which monitors arrestees? In 10 cities across the U.S., 12 percent to 50 percent of arrestees test positive for more than one drug in their system when arrested. We have 2.3 million in jail or prison at any given time and 3.7 million on probation. We have over 6 million weighing down the system at any given time. The largest population is for drugs; 56% of the women incarcerated are for drugs. Our great Christian nation has more people locked down than any nation in the world. The evil one is working harder than the Church.

More than 70,200 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. Illegal drugs cause 250,000 global deaths yearly. Fifty thousand men were killed in that long-lasting Vietnam War.Twenty-two hundred have been killed in the last 18 years in Afghanistan. The drug war is our biggest killer today. All the people of God need to join in the fight and take it down.

Drug abuse costs the nation more than $120 billion per year in lost productivity, according to The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Included in that lost productivity are reduced labor participation, incarceration, premature mortality, hospitalization, and participation in treatment programs.

The NDIC reports the annual drug-related healthcare cost in

America is more than $11 billion, That figure includes both direct, and indirect costs. The NDIC estimates that the annual costs of emergency department visits related to drug abuse are $161 million, with an additional $5.5 million in costs for those who have to be hospitalized.

The Treatment Industry is, according to Forbes Magazine $35 billion a year. rehabilitation can be big business.
The total of illegal drug costs for 2018 was about $ 506 billion. In comparison,

McDonalds sales 2018, 37,639 billion

Burger King Sales 2018 $9,644 billion.

Wendy’s sales 2018 9,310

Total 56,594 billion this is worldwide sales

If the Body of Christ, the Church, ever needed to come together,it is now. We need to see that we are in the greatest spiritual battle the Church has ever known. I make this statement based on the facts that I have presented to you. If you cannot believe them, then open your eyes. The devil has used drugs to change the culture of America. We are not the people or the great nation that we once were. The devil took the first lie he told Eve and repackaged it, and we are living with the fruit of it today.

The devil said to the woman has God said? If you will just reach out and take this, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God. In other words, you will be more than you are now. The devil brought the whole world under sin with three words, “ HAS GOD SAID”. Jesus beat the devil and broke the power of sin with three words “ IT IS WRITTEN”! If you trust what the Lord Jesus said in His three words and give your life to Him, your eyes will truly be opened. You will be of the God kind. You will no longer want anything that comes from the wicked one,the devil. You can reach out and take The Word, which is Spirit and Life, the Fruit of the Spirit that will satisfy you. You will be on your way to becoming like Him.

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