The Lord works in mysterious ways. Back in January, 2018 I met a woman who cried out to me for help with her drug problem. She got clean in two months after struggling with drug abuse for 30 years, but her past abuse with drugs and maybe cigarettes created a time bomb to go off three months later and cause heart failure. After God called her home, I connected with Conquering Life Prison & Recovery Ministries (CLPRM). This led me to a network of faith-based initiatives to help people conquer the voluntary slavery of addiction.
After seeing the dark world of drugs, and how God helped Rose have victory over her addiction it became clear to me that faith-based inititatives help people engaged in this sin have victory. Rose told me that her accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior was the only way she was able to kick the habit.
Recently, at a coffeehouse given by CLPRM, two guys gave a presentation for their meetings, "No Stones in Our Hands." This name reflects the parable where Jesus told the pharisies who dragged a woman caught in the act of adultery to a stoning: "those who are without sin throw the first stone." The stoning was canceled as the self-righteous sinners walked away. I was looking for the right meeting to take a friend with a drug problem to. What impressed me with this program was that the meetings are interactive, with participants not only sharing struggles and victories, but that each one in the group takes turns reading a passage of scripture. "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend". -Proverbs 27:17 I also liked that No Stones in Our Hands uses the 12 Steps in the Recovery Bible, which emulates the ideas found in the 20th Century Christian Men's Fellowship Group, later called The Oxford Group. This is more Biblical that other programs, which use a carbon copy of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, created more than a decade after The Oxford Group. AA greatly diminishes the power of God. For example, one AA step speaks of "God as we understand him." With this idea, one could very well think that a tree is God. Talk about tree huggers! The 12 steps of the Recovery Bible are underwritten by the fidelity of scripture. The guy I take to the meetings remarked that this group "is real." Just outside the meeting place, in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, PA, the Frankford Elevated, known as "the El", hangs overhead. I could hear the trains clatter by while at the meeting. Kensington is a major drug center, an epicenter of the drug epidemic. The El is sort of a symbol; its tribes of homeless people, mostly drug addicts, live underneath it. This meeting, along with other faith inititatives in Kensington, is taking the spiritual war to the front lines! The leaders at No Stones in Our Hands encourage participants to continually read the Bible and have a personal relationship with Jesus, through prayer and other means of grace as well as reading the Word. Decades ago, when I worked part time at a methadone clinic one of the counselors tried to get me interested in being a counselor there. The counselor talked with me and showed me counseling material, which dismissed the doctrine of sin and the total depravity of man. For that reason, I didn't follow up on the opportunity. At the No Stones meeting it is preached that even as Christians we still sin. Therefore, we need to continually be working on our walk with God, as He keeps working in us. This is known as progressive santification. We are a work in progress. Although I don't do drugs, I still have problems caused by various idols in life, and the program is helping me. In a sense, I am no different that the drug abusers. We are all sinners and need God's grace and we need Him to work in us throughout our lives.