Tuesday’s Torch 509
November 6, 2018
Bobby Stewart (in honor of Tim Sader)
Tim was a best friend to me. He devoted himself to this Torch and now it has been passed to me. I have been spending a lot of time pondering this and thinking about how to proceed. My anxiety as well as the adversary keep trying to tell me that I can’t do it, that nobody wants to hear what I have to talk about, that you don’t know me, or that you DO know me and simply see my efforts as those of a hypocrite trying to make myself appear to be something I’m not.
So to counter that I want to take a little time to introduce myself, as even people who have known me for a long time seem to not fully know who I am anymore.
Similar to my friend Tim, I have a form of muscular dystrophy. His form of the disease is the harsh form known as Duchenne which is what caused him to run the gauntlet as I tend to describe it. Duchenne is very aggressive and takes away physical abilities at a rapid pace. Tim fought that disease admirably.
The form I have is Becker. It is sort of the kid brother version of Duchenne, it does the same exact thing but has a slower progression. Barring a possible cure being discovered and if I live long enough, I’ll go through the same progression that Tim did, I’m already on that path. I pray to handle it with half as much grace and poise as Tim did. Tim kinda kept it to himself a lot of the time because he wasn’t a downer, I’m gonna be honest with you: it’s terrible to lose ability after ability and to never fully be able to find a new normal before whatever goes away next. It is beyond difficult to deal with physical pain as a result of doing normal everyday activities, and even worse when a task that should be so freaking easy requires help. I’ve got a jar of pickles in the fridge that’ll stay there until someone can open those dang things for me, sheesh!
Let’s just say that if you want to know what it’s like, next time you decide to roll over in the bed to sleep facing a different direction or decide to flip your pillow over to the cool side. What if that were difficult? What if you required another person to do it for you. I only bring it up for perspective. Please know that I don’t say any of this to get pity, I feel this information is needed to know where the words I will be sharing are coming from. To even further know where Tim’s words were coming from. We all have struggles, but we don’t have to let them define us. Tim didn’t and I hope none of us will as well.
Physical limitations have actually impacted my life far less than other issues I’ve dealt with. My primary difficulty is that I am recovering from addiction that in many ways has ruined my life. Terrible choices that I’ve made throughout my life helped to rob me of some of my free agency with these neuropathways in my mind being hardwired to isolate myself from those I love and care about and to delve farther and farther into addict behavior. I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m sorry to those who were hurt by my choices. And to anyone who may have any form of addiction, please get help. A true addiction will often take more than will power alone to fix. Get help. There are programs and professionals who can help. And God will bless you as you try to retake control of your life.
My life isn’t all doom and gloom though. I saved the good news to brighten this message back up. I have a wonderful family that I love very much. While my situation is complicated in a lot of ways that I’m not gonna get into, I have two amazing children, a sweet little girl and a great little dude that I spend as much quality time with as possible, and they have the absolute best mother that loves them to no end. I could not have picked a better one for them. They are amazing. I’ll always do all that I can for them no matter what.
But let me get back to the reason you are here. Motivation and bible study, I’m sorry for taking that winding road to basically say I will not be preaching at y’all from a place of superiority or thinking I’m in any way better than you. In fact, many of the topics I will be covering are things I myself will need to hear. I hope they can be of help to all of us.
So let’s find comfort in the scriptures. For anyone in a similar situation as me who has lived a life full of regrets, anyone who has made mistake after mistake or has been caught up in their chosen sin or addiction, whatever it may be, let’s view the story of Paul.
Before his conversion from Saul of Tarsus to become Paul the Apostle in the Bible he describes his treatment of the early Christians this way in Acts 22: “And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.” Later in the chapter he states this example: “Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.”
Yet despite the fact that he had persecuted even unto death the early followers, the Lord still turned him into a stalwart champion for the Gospel. The letters he wrote and the words he preached make up a tremendous portion of the New Testament. If this type of miracle was possible then with this type of transformation then it is possible now for us!
How do we do it? First off we repent. The scriptures clearly point out that repentance is acknowledging our faults and asking forgiveness. And then we embrace the power of the Atonement and do better. We stop making those mistakes and we keep striving knowing that because of the Savior we are forgiven. Those past sins are wiped away.
What things can we do to help stay on this straight and narrow path now that we have entered it? There are many examples in the New Testament where Christ gives direction for this. I will highlight a couple. First is his response in Matthew 22 to this question.
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
And if we love the Lord what do we do? He tells us that if we love Him we will keep his commandments. And if we love Him we will feed his sheep.
Do we think our sins have made it impossible for us to do that? Consider the line spoken after the sinner was brought before the Savior to which we all know the line “let He who is without sin cast the first stone.” The accusers all left. Christ asks the woman, “where are thine accusers, hath no man condemned thee?” And upon her pointing out no, Christ says then neither does He condemn her.
But he’s not done. He doesn’t stop there, He gives her the counsel to “Go, and sin no more.” Therein lies how we are to fully repent, the Lord does not condemn us because of our past mistakes but He does expect us to leave them behind. Get whatever help you need for anything holding you back from being your best self, from being righteous and pure. And if we aren’t to throw stones at others for their sins, then why should so many of us pull stones down upon our own heads? Never again should we beat ourselves down or limit our potential because we messed up in the past!
Rise up. Be who God put you on this earth to be. Live the Gospel, believe in Jesus Christ, believe in yourself. He believes in you. Let’s all make this week better than the last. Let’s all take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ long ago paid the price so that we can be forgiven completely by our Father in Heaven. So don’t hold those sins over your own head. Forgive yourself so you can be free to live a righteous life. So you can be free to hope again. So you can be free to live. Eternal life starts now. This very moment. I leave this with you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16