This is the latest addition or episode from Ken David Stewart’s Biblical podcast called a Christian with an attitude. In this message he talks about some healing versus from the book of Proverbs.
Episode 27 Clarissa Peyton
Clarissa Peyton was a Christian legalist. A legalist is someone who likes to live by laws, rules and regulations. They believe that the laws of the Old Testament are to be followed strictly. The Christian legalist sees the world only in black-and-white terms. There are no grey areas for them and there was no grey in Clarissa’s worldview. It was ironic that some of Clarissa’s beliefs showed a definite similarity with Charles Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. To Clarissa, people fell into distinct categories such as the strong in the weak. Strong people succeeded in this world and the weak simply perished. Clarissa had little, if any, empathy for other people.
She been married to Harold for many years. In the beginning she was attracted by his wit, intelligence and charismatic personality. Early on in their marriage Clarissa had been struggling with an addiction to Valium. Harold Peyton stuck it out with her until she eventually was able to break her addiction for good.
The first four years Haroldand Clarissa’s marriage had displayed some degree of love. Harald loved Clarissa, but he had to admit that after a few years of marriage he was starting to doubt Clarissa’s love for him. There would be signs of her losing affection for him. He hated the way that she was now pushing him away any time he tried to give her a hug.
When they were first married Clarissa and Harold both attended a conservative Baptist church. Clarissa liked the middle-age pastor and admired his strict adherence to Scripture. For a period of time, Harold too appeared to enjoy going to church with Clarissa, but gradually things began to change for him.
One of his fellow teachers was a Charismatic Pentecostal Christian. Charismatics and Pentecostals believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still alive and well in our present age. They often refer to themselves as being full gospel and pursue the spiritual gifts such as speaking in unknown tongues, the experience of being slain in the spirit and the believe that healing is still part of Christ’s atonement.
One afternoon, Harold co- worker, Jim Davidson, invited Harold to a Bible study that met every Wednesday night at Jim and Sarah’s house. Jim told Harold that he was welcome to bring his wife, Clarissa with him.
Harold took Jim up on his offer. Starting to feel there had to be more to Christianity than just being saved and then being told to follow strict laws, rules and regulations to stay on good terms with God. What seemed to appeal to Clarissa in their home Baptist Church was leaving Harold with a feeling of emptiness in his relationship with God. It was coming to the point where Harold was starting to stay at home on Sundays rather than go to church with Clarissa. This issue was causing a great deal of friction in their marriage. Clarissa was now telling Harold she thought she married a godly man, but now worried that Harold was starting to backslide in his walk with the Lord.
The next morning Harold informed Clarissa over breakfast that he would be attending a Bible study at Jim’s Jim Davidson’s house that evening.
“You are welcome to join us Clarissa,” Harold said, taking a sip from his morning cup of coffee.
“What’s the name of the church that Jim attends?” Clarissa asked.
“The House of Faith,” Harold answered.
“I’ve heard about that one. Charles Franklin is the lead pastor that church. I listened to a few of his podcasts. He’s a false prophet. His church is one of those crazy Pentecostal churches. Their theology is way off course Harold. I don’t want to see you exposed to their radical incorrect teachings,” Clarissa said as she angrily slapped her left hand on the kitchen table. I want you to start attending services again at First Baptist Church. It also wouldn’t hurt if you started coming along with me to Thursday night Bible studies at our church. Our meetings are led by our pastor, William Prichard.
“No, I think I’ll go to Jim’s Bible study this evening just to check it out for myself,” Harold replied.
“Sure. Go ahead Harold. You’ve become a backslider and I no longer consider you to be the priest of this home,” was Clarissa’s terse response to her husband.
What’s Up? November 2019 Edition by Ken David Stewart
As a Christian one thing is very apparent to me. When you really start pressing in or basically step up your game for Jesus, the devil will retaliate. This form of retribution appears to be in direct proportion to the degree one attempts to know Jesus intimately and tries to follow his example and teachings. If you are active to any degree in a ministry, it’s like Satan has put a target on your back. The key is not to let him defeat you. If one gets serious about his walk with Jesus expect backlash.
For the last few years my life has followed a pattern that I want to break. My life has been a series of extreme mountains and valleys. From August to the beginning of November 2019, I felt greatly blessed and highly favoured. I just recovered from a two month period of being so depressed that I could barely function. I was not quite bedridden, but I was definitely couch ridden. About the only time I vacated the couch was to go upstairs to use the bathroom. Now that’s what you call clinical depression. During June and July all I could do was watch television. For the Christian who suffers from depression the battle is also one of intense spiritual nature. The devil loves using major affective disorder or clinical depression as of mighty and effective tool in his arsenal. He wants to keep the Christian down. Once he has you functionally out of commission, you can no longer do him any damage. When I am stranded on the couch, my spiritual life dies. I no longer read the Word, spend time with Jesus, pray for myself, my family and others. In other words, my ministry and spiritual life has been halted dead in its tracks.
Looking back on it, I think I may know part of the reason I fell into such miserable state. But what I’m not sure of is what brought me back to the land of the living once again. Certainly it was nothing that I did because I wasn’t capable of doing much of anything. One day I simply woke up and started to feel a bit better. Within a couple of days, I could feel my depression start to break and I actually felt like doing a few small things. Within a week or two, I was finally back on my feet. What I was not expecting were such great compassion from the Lord. I’m a part-time substitute teacher and I experienced the best season I had ever had up until the beginning of November 2019. I was being very well received by the students and was asked by several teachers if they could request me to substitute in their classrooms. Although I’m still experiencing some pain in my left knee it was manageable and allowed me to keep working.
After many years I found a church that I enjoyed attending. This was quite an experience for me as most of my life I didn’t like attending church. I would only go to a church service on rare occasions.
Overall, I was enjoying every day of my life during this three month period of God’s extreme favour. During this whole time, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was feeling uncomfortable. This felt too good to last much longer. I almost felt high every day for three months.
During this season I was really pressing in with my spiritual life. I started to pray for people in the church that I was now attending.
Aout the second week of November I felt that my overall mood was starting to decline and even get a bit low. I was very afraid that I was starting to go down into another depressive cycle. During this time, I caught a bacterial infection that was very severe. As of this writing, I’m still not fully recovered from it. To make matters worse, the pain in my left leg and the was becoming intense. It seemed that every time I got up and moved around, even a little bit, the pain would start to escalate. How was I going to go to work when I was in constant pain?
During this time I continued to keep up with writing my blogs, and working on my fiction writing and podcasts. During periods of clinical depression,I am usually unable to write all. My writing was going very well for a while until I started running into many technical challenges. My computer was on its last legs and was not functioning properly. I purchased some new video equipment as I was interested in starting up a YouTube video series again. Whatever I tried, I couldn’t seem to get my new camcorder working.
I am now fully aware that I was under spiritual attack. I decided to take some actions. I told myself that I was not going to sink into another severe depression this time. The vicious cycle would need to be broken, once and for all. I began to decree this in Jesus name. I started to read my God’s promises books on my Samsung tablet. I also started listening to my God’s promises audiobooks. I have started to speak the promises out loud and include them in my podcasts. I put God in remembrance of his promises. I made a decision to remain optimistic during this time of spiritual attack.
This audio reading focuses on the topic of sufficiency.
On Monday afternoon Whisper was browsing on Harold’s computer when she found Harold’s Spotify playlists. She noticed that one of the playlists was titled as gospel. On Sunday evening Whisper located Harold’s iTunes audiobook downloads. She was cognizant of how many of Harold’s downloads were of different versions of the Bible.
Shortly after Harold returned with the bags of groceries that he had just purchased at Sobeys.
“Let me carry those bags in the house for you, Harold,” Whisper offered.
Whisper noticed how many pain medications Harold was prescribed when she discreetly went through Harold’s medicine bag.
“Why do you need to take so many pain pills, Harold? Whisper asked as a concerned expression crossed her face.
“For my arthritis, dear. I also suffer periodic bouts and flareups of fibromyalgia,” Harold answered.
“Have you ever considered managing your pain with medical marijuana? Whispered asked.
“I’ve thought about it. My sister, Jamie, has used cannabis for pain management for about two years now. She also has arthritis. I guess it runs in the family.”
“Has it helped her?” Whisper asked.
“It must. She keeps ordering it. Jamie even has a legal cannabis medical card that she obtained from her doctor,” Harold answered.
After Whisper carried Harold’s groceries out of the car and into the house she started placing them in Harold’s refrigerator.
“Hey Harold. Did you buy anything that you can actually cook? Whisper asked.
Harold laughed. “What would be the use? I can’t cook a thing.”
Harold’s grocery purchases consisted of pizza pops, yogurt, granola bars, block cheese, cereal and assorted other items that do not require actual culinary skills.
“I’ll teach you how to cook. I’ll start you off with easy things. We’ll start with the baby steps. In the meantime, I’ll do all the cooking for you for now,” Whisper explained.
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Harold responded.
“Let’s get back your pain management. I’ll start you off on one bowl of weed and we’re going to see how you respond,” Whisper said.
“Where are we going to get the marijuana?” Harold asked
“I have some in my backpack,” Whisper answered. Whisper reached into her paisley covered backpack and found the pocket that contained a plastic sandwich bag filled with pink bubba marijuana. She reached into another compartment in her backpack and pulled out a pipe with a pink and white swirly design. Whisper proceeded to place a tiny round screen in the bottom of the pipe and then loaded the bowl with a small amount of weed. Whisper passed the luminescent pot pipe to Harold along with her lighter that displayed a picture of a marijuana leaf.
“Just light up the pipe and take some small puffs. You don’t need to hold the smoke deep in your lungs to get the full effect,” Whisper instructed.
Harold complied and took a few hits off the pipe. Almost immediately he felt some positive sensations.
“I’ve got a question for you Harold. I want you to answer before you smoke anymore dope. I want you to be reasonably lucid and articulate when you respond to my question.”
“Now you got me curious. What’s your damn question anyway?” Harold asked now sitting near the front of his Lazy Boy chair.
“Do you believe in God, Harold?” Whisper asked.
“Why do you ask?” Harold reluctantly placed his pipe in a sudden ceramic ashtray.
“I’ve noticed all the Bible audiobooks you downloaded to your computer,” Whisper said as she took out a pack of Zigzag rolling papers and made a perfect joint. She seated herself comfortably on Harold’s couch, but positioned herself so that she could look directly into Harold’s eyes.
Harold slid back in his Lazy Boy chair. He let out a big sigh.
“You sure like to ask the heavy -duty questions, don’t you? “The simple answer is ‘Yes’. I have believed in God since I was a little child. My family didn’t go to church, but our public school teachers would read to us every morning from a book of Bible stories for children. The book contained modified, paraphrased accounts of famous Bible stories such as Noah and the ark and David and Goliath.
“As little children we lived near the Red River and hung out at the river bank. On a Friday or Saturday night we would often have a wiener roast and discuss the Bible stories that are teachers had read us during the past week. A recurring topic was the future of our own our eternal destinies. The kids in our little gang who gave their parents and teachers a lot of trouble surmised that their eternal fate was almost certainly to be tortured endlessly in hell. You also need to remember that in those days there was only one depiction of the abode of eternal damnation.”
“What was that representation?” Whisper asked.
“The fiery furnace. Your body would burn forever in a state of eternal torment. This, of course, had the predictable effect upon a child’s mind and emotions,” Harold answered.
“That sounds horrible, Harold. Were you given an alternative?” Whisper asked.
“Yes. If you were a model citizen and did everything your parents and teachers told you to do and didn’t say any bad swears, you’d likely end up in heaven with Jesus after you died,” Harold answered while looking longingly at the cannabis pipe sitting comfortably in the ceramic ashtray.
“When you were little boy did you believe this?” Whisper asked.
“Absolutely. Nobody told us anything different. Even if our parents didn’t attend church, they found this teaching to be an effective tool when it came to keeping their kids in line.”
“Now that you’re an adult you still don’t believe the same thing, do you, Harold?” Whisper asked as she reached over to pass the pipe to Harold.
“I still believe in God, but I absolutely think that I was taught the wrong message about God’s character,” Harold answered while gratefully taking the pipe from Whisper.
“So that means you’re still a believer? Whisper asked.
“With all my heart,” Harold responded, “Despite what some of my Christian brothers and sisters may think about my present spiritual condition.”
“Why in the world would your Christian friends doubt your sincerity?” Whisper asked.
Harold hesitated for a few seconds while he picked up Whisper’s marijuana lighter, lit up the bowl of cannabis and took three deep puffs off the swirly ceramic pipe.