Author Archives: Isaac

Celebrate Recovery Blog – The Only Way Out is Through


Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us – 2 Cor 7:8-9

Right now i’m writing this lying on my back with my laptop on top of the couch, usb keyboard on my thighs, mouse on the coffee table, because I hurt my back in a pretty major way and sitting is probably the most painful position for me.

I don’t mean to be melodramatic, and I’m not looking for sympathy (though I’ll always take prayer), and I know many others who have suffered much more severely, but I haven’t been in this much pain, for such an extended period of time ever in my life. But God is speaking to me so much through it, and I love Him so much for that! He is such a good God!

And it’s funny, but God spoke to me through my chiropractor numerous times through this.

He told me to stop taking the anti-inflammatories that I had from a previous time because i needed to feel all the pain so I wouldn’t keep hurting myself. He told me that pain was my guardian. Just like how we don’t touch the element of the stove because it will hurt us.

I knew instantly that God was telling me that the same thing applies to emotional or spiritual pain. As difficult as it is to accept, emotional pain can be a Guardian. Just like with touching the stove, emotional pain can keep us from hurting ourselves much more severely by getting us to stop doing something destructive.

He also made it clear that I’ll be in pain for a number of weeks, but if I re-aggravate it, I start right back at the beginning again, and that’s why I need to feel all my pain.

So if you put those two together, my reality is that the only way out of my pain is through it.

Even as I write this, I’m getting the sense of how big this message is as I know for certain that that concept applies to emotional pain.

Anyone I’ve ever gotten to know on a deeper level has, or is currently medicating an emotional pain to try to get by. and this is certainly the story of anyone who’s ever come into Overcomers in Christ (soon to be Celebrate Recovery®) including myself. They experienced some massive pain or heartbreak, probably many in fact, and instead of feeling the full pain of it, they began medicating to avoid the pain, and instead only prolonged the pain and hurt many other people in the process.

And the medication is also usually specific to the hurt. For me, for instance, my major hurts were all around a sense of feeling unwanted, and my addiction was pornography, which gives a false sense of feeling wanted. Some alcoholics were neglected, but when they were drunk they were the life of the party and got lots of attention so they kept drinking. Most codependants were denied affirmation, so they seek it to the destruction of their own health.

From personal experience,I know that in both he physical and spiritual/emotional worlds that the only way to finally completely get out of our pain, is to be brave enough to go through it.

And I can tell you personally, since I’ve been brave enough to go through certain emotional pain, things that used to provoke either anger or tears in me, now don’t provoke me at all, and I can talk about them easily. Those years of dull pain are over, and I no longer need to medicate because the pain is gone in those areas. (still have other areas to work on though)

But we absolutely cannot muster the bravery to go through our pain alone. We need the intimacy of Christ, and the fellowship of other believers to walk along side of us.

So my hope is that you will take the courage to go through your pain, so that you can finally, once and for all be out of it.

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Celebrate Recovery Blog – The McDonald’s effect


It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. – Revelations 10:10b

I bet you didn’t know that the Bible prophesied McDonald’s 1900 years before their creation. 🙂 

If you are anything like me you’ve done this:  you’ve been hungry, and you think, “a big mac will be good.” So you go through the drive-thru, get your big mac, and anticipate the great taste. You enjoy the first couple bites, but quickly realize how garbage the food really is, yet finish it because you paid for it. Very quickly you start feeling gross, and say to yourself, “that’s the last time I’m going to McDonald’s”. But not too long later, you find yourself going to McDonald’s again, and having the same regret.

I’ve realized that this is how is seems to work with sin too.

Sin (like McDonald’s food) leads to death (Romans 6:23). For example, we know that porn destroys relationships, purity, trust, intimacy, marriages, not to mention the women and men in the industry. And yet many still use it, even habitually.

It’s because we go through the McDonald’s effect; we believe the lie that this will somehow satisfy us, we think it’s going to be great, so we use, and only slightly enjoy it, then feel completely disgusting, and more unsatisfied then ever, and say to ourselves, and possibly to God or our mate that we’ll never do that again, only to be tempted a short time later.

That was only one example, but it happens with every sin. I think of co-dependants going from relationship to relationship, and keep getting destroyed. Or gambling addicts having the delusion that gambling can make them rich, then loosing everything again, only to be back the next payday. Or obese people thinking McDonald’s will satisfy them, when it never does.

The core of the problem is a forgetfulness that borders on delusion that can happen to us all.

There’s not a quick fix solution or we’d all be living perfectly, but recognizing this part of the problem is the beginning of the solution.

Satan is the father of lies, and lying is his native language (John 8:44). He is the one who originates the McDonald’s effect. That initial thought that the sin will be good, or satisfying, or will stop the pain comes from Satan, either directly or indirectly. It is never true. Giving in to the sin never satisfies deeply, never brings life or any real deep lasting joy. It always brings destruction in some way.

So to start to break the McDonald’s effect, we need to immediately recognize the lie as a lie. But more than that, we need to do battle.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

The powerful weapon God has given us won’t use itself, we have to wield it. So this is how we practically do this:

When a temptation comes, when the lie starts bouncing around in your head, immediately stop, recognize that it is a lie and renounce it. Say out loud, “it is a lie that _____ ” and then if you remember a verse or at least the concept of scripture that reveals the truth say it. For example “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman (Job 31:1)” if it were lusting bothering you. And usually there’s multiple lies/excuses, so do this will all of them. Common lies are “you need this, you deserve that, it’s not normal to go without _____” Reject them all as lies and find the scripture.

But to make this even more powerful, share this struggle with someone you can trust. Another of the big lies we believe is that we’re the only one dealing with _____, or at least the only one in church. That is a lie we need to disbelieve, and the scripture for that is 1 Cor 10:13. Often we don’t even recognize the lie, so others can help us, but beyond that, there is real comfort you’re not alone in your struggle.

And then of course, embrace the truth, and pursue Christ, Who is Truth (John 14:6) and only then will the truth start setting you free (John 8:32) from the McDonald’s effect.

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Celebrate Recovery Blog – No Longer Paralyzed

Luke 5:18-25 – Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Friend, your sins are forgiven. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…. He said to the paralyzed man, I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home. Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.(NIV)

This scripture has had huge impact on my life. Late 2008, early 2009, God was working on me to finally deal with my porn addiction. This scripture jumped out at me, stopped me in my tracks. Christ was showing me that I was the paralyzed man. I have this scripture on a 3×5 card written as follows:

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to (Isaac) the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Christ knew that I needed to admit that I was paralyzed. I had to admit that I was absolutely stuck. I was unable to get over my addiction by my own efforts. I was unable to get a new way of living; I was unable to defeat all the root causes of my addiction and insecurity. The only way I was going to be able to get free was to let some people carry me to Jesus. He had to heal me, then it would be up to me to get up and walk out my healing.

Some of you are paralyzed and need to admit it. You might be paralyzed with an addiction like I was. You might be paralyzed by fear. You might be paralyzed by guilt, or worry, or insecurity, or any number of things.

Search your hearts, and let Christ stop you in your tracks like He did for me. Put your name into the verse the way I did and realize that you are paralyzed, but you don’t have to stay that way! Christ WANTS to heal you. Like with the paralyzed man in this story, He wants to let you know that you are forgiven, (Friend, your sins are forgiven) and he wants to set you free.

Good chance you might need friends like the paralyzed man did to bring you to Jesus. I found those friends in my close friends, some of you guys, and my Overcomer’s in Christ group at church.

Christ delights in us being fully complete, completely secure, and absolutely sure of who we are in Him. There is nothing noble or humble in living less than what we’re called to which is  life to the full (John 10:10). So He rejoices when we stop the crazy train, and acknowledge our need and our paralysis, and let Him heal us. A few verses later Christ says another amazing thing which we can personalize:

 Jesus answered them, It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (us) to repentance. – Luke 5:31-32 (my parentheses)

When we are sick, Christ longs to restore us. But we have to let Him. 

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Overcomers: The Next Right Choice

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live – Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

Recovery groups (like Overcomers) have lots of sayings and clichés, but you know what, most of them are actually true and that’s why they become clichés. My favourite one is “Make the next right choice.”

 A lot of people, Christian or otherwise might argue whether or not we actually have real free choice, but the simple fact that we are commanded to choose by God indicates that God thinks we have a free choice, and personally I’ll go with God’s opinion on this one. And knowing that God actually respects us enough to allow us a completely free choice humbles me because I  realize how much nobility and respect God has imbued on us.

And so this free choice is beautiful, but it also opens us up to being able to make bad choices. And if we’ve made a lot of bad choices, especially where we have an addiction or destructive habit, it can feel overwhelming trying to get out of it. The first thought is usually, “How can I  go the rest of my life without _____ (porn, drugs, relationships, etc)?” Most people feel so overwhelmed that they usually don’t even make an attempt. But what they miss is that they don’t have to go the rest of their lives without, they just have to go one day.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

All we have to do is live one day at a time, today. But even today, all we are responsible for is the next right choice. And Jesus teaches us to choose well through grace.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. – Titus 2:11-14

So make simple good choices and even if you’ve made a wrong choice, still make the next one a right one.

It is absolutely freeing to know that we are only responsible for one choice at a time, that God wants us to make good choices, and He helps us do just that.


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