Make God Your Refuge

I apologize.
This has been sitting in my drafts since we were working on the site move.

I greatly regret the delay!

Although the red flags, which had begun waving before our marriage, started becoming more obvious when we moved in with his parents after six months of marriage, things didn’t blow up for me until he had his first affair (that I knew of) some years later. The experience crushed me.

And that, being crushed, drove me deep into God’s arms.

It’s sad that it so often takes truly horrific experiences to send us to the one place we most need to be! As a pretty typical American Christian, I thought I was doing well. I attended church regularly, served, tithed, read my Bible (some), prayed (fairly often)… All of that was good, and it was a start, but we were created for exactly what Adam had in the garden – an intimate relationship with God, one where we spend regular, quality time with Him as our sole focus.

I had young children, so I was able to keep myself distracted from what my husband was doing during the day, but once the boys went to bed and he was with the other woman, ignoring my repeated calls (which he’d explain away as bad cell signal the next day), it was just me and a waiting God.

I don’t remember how long it took me to wake up and turn completely to Him, but at some point I did. I changed my own actions, choosing to spend those endless hours in prayer, worship, and His Word.

Psalm 91 is fantastic, containing powerful instructions and promises that I and many others pray and declare regularly. It was in this season that I learned the reality of verses 1 and 2.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

In turning my focus entirely on God during those long nights, I opened a door to a whole new relationship with Him. In getting to know Him better and better, developing a truly intimate relationship and learning to more clearly hear and understand His voice, I came to that precious place.

In the midst of the worst days of my life to that point, I was living in God’s secret place, hidden under the shadow of His wings. I had run to Him as my refuge, found myself safe in the fortress that was my God, and I was confident that if everyone else failed me I would always be able to trust Him.

I kept prayer journals at the time and I clearly remember telling Him in both prayer and my prayer journal that I didn’t want to lose what I had found in Him, what we had developed in the middle of the fire I was walking through. I straight up said that, while I wanted out of the fire, I was afraid that I would lose my focus when I left, that I would lose that closeness that was so radically changing me.

In point of fact, I had a group of online friends who knew what was going on and were genuinely worried about me. I emailed them at one point, and shared what would later become a blog post entitled “The View from Inside the Furnace.” I had discovered I had much in common with Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego who, while they obviously hadn’t wanted to be thrown into the fire, abruptly found themselves having private time with Jesus.

Like me, they suddenly were in no hurry to leave. Like me, they probably learned things in that time that changed their lives forever. Like me, they were perfectly safe while in the very midst of the flames. They didn’t leave the furnace until they were commanded to.

Like them, I walked out of that particular fire changed forever, freer than I had been when I was thrown in, and not smelling of smoke.

Admittedly, in years since this hellish season, I’ve had times of being more intentional and less intentional where my relationship with God is concerned, but I have never let myself walk away from my Refuge. It has always been God who has brought me through, and to this day I am grateful that I was driven so deeply into His arms during that time.

Understand that I could just as easily have run in a different direction. I could have stayed buried in the books I loved to read. I could have turned to drink or drugs as so many do. I could have let the fear and pain eat away at me until I landed in a hospital’s psychiatric ward. I didn’t.

I didn’t because I chose
to make God my refuge.

God is not only the only refuge you need, He is the only real refuge. We can try to do it on our own, but we aren’t meant to carry those kinds of burdens. His plan has always been for us to run to Him.

Make God your Refuge.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Like a Bride

A friend’s recent Facebook post reminded me of a conversation I had with God some time back. She had been talking to God about the Rapture, and what He told her was so close to what He said to me that I had to come share, or share again if by some chance I’ve posted on the topic before.

I am excitedly looking forward to the Rapture! I watch as evil and deception grow more prevalent in the world, natural disasters become mind-numbingly common, and we seem to be nearing World War III and, though it pains me on the one hand, on the other hand I know it’s just more indication that Jesus is coming back very soon.

So why was I talking to God about this particular topic? Well, yet another person had said something to imply my focus was on the wrong thing. (Yes, I’m referring to the old slam about being “so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good.”) Keeping my focus on God and doing all He asks me to do is vitally important to me, so I went to Him with the question just to make sure I’m still on track. And do you know what He told me?

It would be unnatural
for a bride not
to look forward excitedly
to being united with her groom.

Needless to say, I stopped being worried about what others thought. I am excited, and I am excited for good reason, but my excitement doesn’t distract me from one of my primary purposes on this earth – telling people about Jesus and helping them grow closer to God. Rather, it drives me forward, especially as I see so many in the church, so many pastors even, completely ignoring the import of the book of Revelation.

Of course, you know my stance on the importance of reading and studying the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. At least you do if you’ve read much of my work. I wrote Experiencing the Bible: A Guide and Journal specifically to help Christians who don’t know how to “get into the Word” come to a greater understanding of the Scriptures and a closer relationship with God. It’s obviously great for more mature Christians too, but the bottom line is that my focus is on expanding the Kingdom of God, which is right where it belongs.

And since I am not unnatural,
my excitement is right in line.

The Bride of Christ, the Church, is destined to be united with Jesus Himself and be with Him forever. This is HUGE! Yet it seems to me that the vast majority of Christians don’t even think about Eternity, much less the glaring neon signs all around us that indicate the church will be taken out of here very soon!

Ok, maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about. A quick web search will probably give you more information on the Rapture (including criticism) than you could imagine, but here’s a super condensed synopsis. In these Last Days, a day will come when those who are in Christ will be taken off the earth. We call it the Rapture. Rapture isn’t a word you’ll find in the Bible, but if you go back to original texts you’ll find the word “harpazo,” which means…

  1. to seize, carry off by force
  2. to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
  3. to snatch out or away

It has also been translated as “to rapture.”

If you do know this, then you probably also know Matthew 24:36 (NET): “But as for that day and hour no one knows it–not even the angels in heaven–except the Father alone.” This verse is another reason people like to avoid thinking about The Rapture. After all, if you can’t know the day or the hour, what’s the use?

The thing is, you CAN know the season, and we are in it.

In Matthew 24 and Luke 21, Jesus tells His disciples the parable of the fig tree. Throughout the Old Testament, the fig tree represents Israel as a nation, so we know this parable is about the nation of Israel. Jerusalem was devastated in 70AD and Israel was ripped apart by invaders, ceasing to be the nation the Jews had always known. The Jews were then scattered throughout the world (which had been prophesied) and Israel became a wasteland that no one wanted because she had nothing to offer.

It wasn’t until May of 1948 that Israel was, in essence, recreated as a nation/state by countries that determined reparation had to be made for the Holocaust, that the Jews must have a home. Last year, Israel celebrated 75 years as a nation. So let’s go back to Matthew 24.

“Learn this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Matthew 24:32-35

No, no man can know the day or the hour; God hadn’t even told Jesus at that point. We can know this, however. My father’s generation saw the budding of the fig tree, the rebirth of the nation of Israel, and right here Jesus says that generation will not pass away. There are various opinions on just how long a generation is. I believe it’s 70 to 80 years, because that’s pretty much the average life span, but at the outside it could only be 70 to 100 years. Go out 100 years from 1948 and you have 2048, which is only 24 years away.

No matter how you look at it that’s not long, and every pre-rapture prophecy has been fulfilled, so the only thing holding Jesus back is The Father. God has a specific plan in mind and will fulfill it in His time. While we wait, we need to be getting ready for the wedding. It’s past time to get excited!

If you want an inexpensive and quick read
that will help you better understand what
I’ve shared today, grab a copy of
Amir Tsarfati’s little book, Any Day Now.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

To My Younger Self

I was at a meeting, recently, where four more mature ladies were each asked to speak for ten minutes on what they would tell their younger selves. Every one of them shared things I could benefit from, and I took mental notes. Some of their thoughts were so valuable that I found myself asking, “Tammy, what would you tell younger Tammy?”

Whether I was addressing 36, 26, or 16-year-old Tammy, my answer would be the same.

The most important thing you can do in life
is develop an intimate relationship with God.

My 16-year-old self would have accepted the advice, I hope, but she would have been puzzled. She had enough of a Christian background that she understood the value of having God in her life, or thought she did, but she did not have enough training to know exactly what that entailed. She’d not yet received the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and was only just learning that there were people around her who were actively seeking God on a personal level.

My 26-year old self had a four year old and a one year old. She was filled with the Holy Ghost, growing spiritually, active in church, and definitely seeking God, but she was also tired. Her marriage still appeared to be good (Yes, she was pretty naive), so she had that, but the responsibilities of raising two young men were beginning to dawn on her. She was looking to the future and wondering…a lot of things.

My 36-year old self was facing a marriage in serious trouble, the challenges of teen hormones, and the sure knowledge that God was her only answer. She knew He was the only One who could help her not only make it through days and nights of wondering what was up with her husband, but wondering if everything she was trying to invest in her children was enough.

I’ve written about this season of my life before. You can read pieces of my testimony in
A Different Kind of New Year’s Post,
At Last It All Makes Sense,
And all of my Surviving Narcissism posts.

By this point in my life, I was growing spiritually specifically because my personal battles kept me on my knees. With my husband spending many nights supposedly doing innocent things while I knew for a fact he was in another woman’s arms, I spent hours seeking God’s face. If you’ve read The View from Inside the Furnace, you have some idea what I’m talking about. This season was the one in which I learned what I would tell my younger self.

Younger Self, you will save yourself a lot of struggles and agony down the road if you will do one thing: Seek a personal, intimate relationship with God. I’m not talking about just praying when you need His help. I’m not talking about just going to church every Sunday, or even every time the doors are open. I’m not talking about just reading your Bible on occasion. Those are all great, but they’re not enough. Religion, in and of itself, is not enough.

I’m talking about relationship.

Sixteen-year-old Tammy, you really don’t understand relationships yet. You think the friends you have right now will be there forever. But the me of today, over forty years later, can tell you that exactly one of them is. And actually, she’s the one who will help lead you closer to God. Everyone else? You may talk to them on social media every once in a while, but they’re not the friends you knew back then. People will come and go throughout your life. You’ll lose your parents far too early. You will eventually get married and one day he’ll be gone. You will have children. As they grow they’ll move out and live their own lives. You will have grandchildren, who have their own lives to live too. In the end, only God remains.

God, if you let Him, will be your closest companion not only in this life but in Eternity as well. But…

Relationships don’t just happen. They require time spent in one another’s presence, conversation (which is both speaking and listening), and actively paying attention to what brings the other joy. If you want the intimate relationship with God that I’m urging you to develop starting right now, you need to begin actively reading, studying, devouring His Word, the Bible. As you do, you’ll get to know The Word, who is Jesus Christ. (No, you don’t understand that yet either, but you will.) You also need to set aside time, the more the better, to talk to Him and to listen to what He has to say. He really will talk to you, and it’s wonderful! You also need the Baptism in the Holy Ghost, which will empower you like nothing you’ve ever experienced. You can’t even begin to imagine the impact it will make on your life!

I promise you, if you do this, your life will turn out very different from the one I’ve lived. God has used the hard times in my life to make me the strong woman I am today, but if I’d prepared myself ahead of time, if I’d gone into those battles already a strong woman of God, things would have been very different. They can be for you.

Yes, that’s pretty much it, what I’d say to my younger self.
Sadly, I’m not sure she would have taken me seriously. She really thought she knew what she was doing.

Today? I’m…

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

When God Speaks

I’m popping in quickly. I have to share.

I’ve been going through some papers and just now stumbled across this. I vaguely remember writing it down a very long time ago. It says…

This is what life should have been all along,
the relationship I desire to have with everyone.
You are no more special than anyone else.
You have merely developed the art of listening
and learned to trust your ability to hear.
–God to me

Apparently I was talking to God about how much I valued our relationship, and He let me know that what we have, and even more than what we had then (Since He draws me closer every day), is exactly what He wants to have with everyone. I mean, think about it. Why did He create Adam? I totally believe it was for fellowship. He longs for us to reach out to Him and accept Him not just as a supplier of our needs, but as the best Friend, best Father, best Brother, best Teacher we could ever have.

A friend texted me today asking for three tips for someone who wants to grow their relationship with God. Here’s my response.

  • Consistently and comprehensively study the Bible – all of it, not just what makes you comfortable.
  • Consistently and intentionally spend time in conversation with God – with listening being a priority.
  • Consistently be watching for ways to make Him happy.

If you think about it, this is essentially the same things you do to develop a strong relationship with anyone. Get to know everything you can about them, spend quality and quantity time with them, and strive to make them happy.

Anyone can have the relationship I have with God, one that is constantly growing as I grow. You just have to decide it’s important to you and do your part to make it happen. As He said to me, develop the art of listening and learn to trust your ability to hear.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

May I Please Get Back to “Normal”?

Actually, if I can just get back to what passes for normal… Yes, that sounds good!

Seriously, it was one month ago today that I posted Why Has Tammy Been Quiet?
It was eleven days ago that I posted, Sometimes You Just Keep Fighting.

It was THIS WEEK that I finally felt RIGHT again. I really was recovering when I made that post on May 6th, but one thing this whole event has taught me is that you don’t recover as quickly at 62 as you do at, say, 42.

I fought and made it through the work weeks, though exhaustion followed me home. Weekend before last my body shut down on me, demanding true recovery time. Last weekend was some better, though I felt like my brain was mush and still didn’t have it in me to think seriously about anything beyond the most basic household chores.

This Monday, while at work, I abruptly realized I was back to thinking totally clearly. I’ve still not been sleeping right, or not consistently, so I was ready to go to bed long before bedtime on Monday, but I was only sleepy rather than exhausted as I had been after work every week for weeks. Also, my brain proved itself to be back in order over the past two days when it let me take some very important training and pass the final exam. YAY!

In “Sometimes You Just Keep Fighting,” I said, “When God gives you an assignment, the devil is going to try to distract you, derail you, stop you.” At that point, I was talking about my calling in the church and the importance of the fundraiser I was working on. Today, however, I realized just how completely the devil managed to derail me where this blog is concerned. This, too, is my calling. I’m here for a reason, to serve a purpose, and for the past month the only word you’ve had from me came in the form of posts I scheduled weeks and, in some cases, months ago.

I’m so sorry.

Yesterday, as I left the office, I actually had a list of “catch up” errands I really need to take care of this weekend, but the Houston area was the recipient of some insane weather yesterday evening that left much of our area without power thanks to straight line winds that left a wide path of destruction. (Thank God our town, to my knowledge, didn’t see the threatened tornadoes!) Yes, we were part of the power outage and downed trees; the power came on at about 6:30 this morning. Praise God, the outside temp had dropped so dramatically that I actually slept ok. Well, as ok as I have been. After all those weeks of interrupted sleep, my body seriously needs to reset.

Anyway, I decided this morning that it doesn’t make sense to run any errands in this tree-and-trash ridden, many-areas-without-power town, so I’ve come to do some important catching up here instead.

I’ve already answered several more questions for my web developer today, so we’re making some progress there. This is your official, rambling update, so yay me…sort of. LOL! Now I have to decide what to do next, and I’m so far behind in all areas that I’m a bit overwhelmed by the number of options, but I’ll get it figured out. More to the point, I’ll look to God and ask for the next step.

THAT is one of the biggest bits of advice I can give you today. When you’re overwhelmed to the point of not even being able to face your To Do list, just ask God, “Sir? What do I do next?” If you let Him, The Holy Spirit will step in and lead you by the hand. If I didn’t already know this truth, I would after the last six weeks or so: As bad as I got mentally, God’s step-by-step leading was what got me through many of my days.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Do the Small Things

Do you remember those stories from the Bible where God asked people to do something relatively simple and then He all-out went supernatural on them?

He’s still in the same business today, and this blog is a great example of Him at work.

You are probably well aware that authors write not only because we are compelled to, but because we want to reach people, share our excitement about new things we’re learning, offer suggestions for life…whatever. In my case in particular, you get a true hodge podge of American History, living with a narcissist, aphantasia, my tiny house, a lot of Jesus, and we – even I – never know what randomness to expect.

But it’s not really totally random. I try to be led by God in all things. I have dreams, and for the most part they’re dreams He has given me. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” I firmly believe that He gives us those desires, meaning He plants them in our hearts, and then He fulfills them. He does that with me on a regular basis. Knowing this is how He operates, I really do consciously go to Him for direction, especially for this blog He has called me to maintain.

So, when he asks me to do the small things, I try to be faithful to do them, and in recent months He’s gone supernatural on – in a huge way.

First, He had me write Understanding Your Aphant. Then, right after I posted it, He had me share it in an aphantasia support group on Facebook to see if there were any ways in which I could improve it. There were some excellent suggestions, and I implemented a few.

I was unaware that someone in that group had contact with Aphantasia.com, and that person brought my blog post to their attention. The result was that they published it as an article on the website and started pushing traffic toward tammycardwell.com. I was blown away by the response. As I said, I write with a heart that desires to help people. And the more people you have reading what you write, the more people you can help!

But that was just a taste of what was to come. I still can’t get over this next one.

I recently joined a Small Spaces group on Facebook to get more ideas for my tiny house. After I’d been there a day or so, at His prompting, I shared about my home and what I’m doing in it. It was a simple post with a few photos, nothing great.

It was a small thing.

The simple post exploded with comments and questions. In answering, I shared the link to this blog, pointing out my Tiny House series, so that anyone who was interested could come read those posts and get far more details than I could offer up in post comments.

Again, I just shared a link. A small thing.

Within a very few minutes, I was getting notifications that I was experiencing “unprecedented traffic.” On that day this blog, which generally gets less than 100 views a day, got almost 9,000 views from nearly 4,000 visitors all over the world. That’s thousands of people seeing my website for the first time, visiting for one topic and hopefully getting some Jesus while they were here. (If you know me at all, you know where my true priorities lie.)

And, vitally important, because of one seemingly insignificant comment I made, I had the opportunity to encourage some women who are dealing with serious issues I’ve dealt with personally. This was a huge honor; one I cannot overemphasize. After all, the greatest thing about coming through trials is being able to help others see hope while they walk that same path.

So yes, I have recently had more reminders that God is our dream keeper, and have seen once again that all I have to do is what He tells me to. He didn’t tell me to do big things. He told me to do small things.

Do the small things.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Reader Review: Experiencing the Bible

Review: Peg Flint
Originally posted on Amazon. Reprinted with permission.

 A great resource for anyone who wants to apply the Bible to their life
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2023

I have enjoyed this book, and I’m sharing some images from pages I haven’t written on to give you an idea of the various entries.

But…let me start with the beginning. Not only does the author take the time to introduce herself, but she also shares about her life as a Christian. Her comments about reading through the WHOLE Bible have inspired me to start reading through the whole Bible, too, because it feels like I tend to reread only certain books. She explains how reading the WHOLE Bible helps you see a bigger picture of what God is doing and how the books come together to tell His Story. She also shares the way she first read through it in 90 days.

I immensely enjoyed the intro; it made me think about how much I read and study the Bible.

I really like the portions of scripture she has chosen for this book because, with each one, she shares from sermons, study notes, and her own experiences. Half of the page is blank for you to write your own study notes, cross-references, or whatever you choose to do with the page. It’s there for you to interact with the scriptures and comments on that page.

I hope she does more books, but I wish she would do them on whole books of the Bible. For instance, I’d love to see a book on just the book of Ephesians or James (probably the two books I read the most).

However, whatever she writes – I will read it because I find her notes thought-provoking, and they encourage me to learn more.

Experiencing the Bible by Tammy M Cardwell – available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. Ebook also available at your favorite online shops.

The Word is Soar

Photo Credit: Barry Hatch

It is common among Christians to have a word or a verse for the year. I have had either or both many times, but I don’t generally pick them out myself. At least, I can’t remember ever having chosen one. If I have a word for the year, it’s because God says, “It’s _____.” In 2023 the word was FREEDOM, and if you know my story you understand why.

My word for 2024, according to God, is SOAR.

Believe me, had I been doing the choosing I would specifically have NOT chosen this word because of the cliche sound of “Soar in ’24.” I know God, though, and I understand full well that He has a plan in everything he does, a purpose for even the smallest moves He makes. So, I accepted the word as my own and started talking to Him about it.

He will likely reveal more as we move along through the year, but recently He drew me up short with a question. I don’t remember the exact way He phrased it, but His point was that I need to pay attention to what an eagle is doing when it soars. I started really thinking about it, and my jaw dropped open. Seriously, while driving down the road a fly could have flown in before I snapped my mouth shut.

What does an eagle do when it soars?

Not much.

Seriously! Eagles, airplanes, whatever… Getting off the ground takes work. Reaching the right altitude requires energy. But when they get up there? Once an eagle is at the right altitude and in that mode, once they’re soaring, the heavy lifting is done. To oversimplify it, all they need to do at that point is set their wings and ride the wind.

Am I saying God is promising to make 2024 easy for me? Not even. I do believe, however, that He is saying I’ve worked hard in some areas, and in those areas I’m about to hit the right altitude and soar, only having to put out the effort required to stay in the air while I glide and enjoy the view.

I’m seeing hints of such in the stats for this blog. They’re more promising than they have been in years and let me tell you, if you pour yourself into something like this it makes a huge difference when you start seeing certain signs. In this case, I’ve had a definite uptick in search engines bringing new readers my way. If you know you know!

Anyway, that’s my word, and I look forward to learning more about it, about what God intends it to mean for me. I’d love to hear about your word, or verse, or quote, and how you anticipate it affecting your walk in 2024.

In meantime, I’m preparing to set my wings and ride the wind.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Keeping Busy & Exciting News

What progress looks like.

I have multiple projects running simultaneously today, so my bed has officially become part of my desk.

I’m particularly excited about what’s on the bed, because it represents a definite start on my next book. I’ve been asked repeatedly if I would write something else, and I’ve had a few ideas I wanted to pursue, but none were quite right.

Until now.

Those of you who appreciate my reactions to scripture in Experiencing the Bible will be happy to know this is going to be similar. Note: Not the same, but similar. At this point it’s looking like it might be a devotional, though it’s too early to know that for sure.

I’m so excited about it that I’m seriously considering starting a newsletter so I can keep those who are interested up to date on the progress. If you would like to receive it, probably twice a month at most, email me at tammymcardwell@gmail.com so I can notify you when I open subscriptions.

And now I need to get back to work. I pray you have an amazing day!

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Hitting the Hard Stuff

“Tammy, what are you doing? You know this is a topic best avoided.”

Perhaps, but drinking alcohol is a subject that comes up often among Christians, one I occasionally get asked about, which means fellow believers are honestly wondering where I stand. I’m not afraid to answer the question.

The Bible contains numerous, obvious warnings against drinking to excess, so let’s take that off the table entirely. Yes, I firmly believe that drinking to excess is wrong on many levels and is, indeed, sin. Having lived with alcoholics (and an abusive alcoholic at that), I had strong feelings on this topic long before I found confirmation in the Bible.

So today we’re talking about casual drinking, occasional drinking, social drinking.

And my simple answer is this: I’m not your Holy Ghost. If you are honestly and sincerely seeking God and a deeper relationship with Him, if you are asking the Holy Spirit for guidance with a heart that beats to please your Lord, you will get your answer straight from the Source. This is true about anything; you can take all things to God and get answers from Him. 

The fact is that God meets each of us as individuals, giving us many instructions about things to do and not to do that may or may not be clearly indicated in the Bible. Sometimes there is a concrete reason, like God telling me to back off the sodas because the addiction was harming my body. Yes, I said addiction, and giving in to addictions is a huge mistake: If you obey an addiction over God’s instruction, you are making the addiction an idol. Idol worship is sin.

Sometimes God instructs us to do, or not do, things simply so that we can practice obedience. I have literally had a conversation with God in which He asked me, “Will you give up ____?” It took me a minute, but I said, “Yes, if You want me to I will.” He then told me I didn’t need to, that He was asking to find out where my heart really was, and so that I could see where my heart really was.

Again, anything that is more important to us than God is an idol, and where there are idols there is sin.

I know, a lot of words for a simple answer.

So, here’s my personal response.

Alcohol has never been a real draw for me, even on those rare occasions when I did drink. However, I’ve sought God on the topic a lot since I actively started serving Him, because I know it is a major issue for many others. I have God-loving Christian friends who think drinking is of the devil, and equally God-loving Christian friends who see no problem with it at all as long as it’s not to excess, as long as they’re not giving control over to the alcohol. (Yes, that’s a fine line to draw since you often do not recognize the point at which you lose control.)

For years, I’ve considered it best not to drink simply because I don’t want to set an example that causes anyone else to stumble. Jesus and Paul were both pretty firm on this point, a fact that was enough for me to choose not to drink just in case there was anyone watching who would be hurt. Then I saw something else several years ago while reading the book of Leviticus. In Leviticus 10:9-10, God commanded Aaron to ensure that none of the priests drank wine or strong drink when going into the Tabernacle.

There was no place for wine or strong drink, or one who was being influenced by such things, in the Tabernacle. Yes, that’s Old Testament; I get it. But here’s this.

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT – NOTE: New Testament

There it is: The connection. Tabernacle…temple…essentially the same thing.

You can look at this two ways. The first way I saw it was that I am essentially a priest who, 24/7, ministers in the temple that is my body. In that case, I have no business bringing wine or strong drink into the temple. Then there is the fact that my body IS the temple and, whether or not you think of me as a priest ministering in the temple, I have no business bringing alcohol inside.

Again, to make myself abundantly clear, I am not your Holy Ghost. I am merely sharing what God has shown me. I’m not judging anyone. Shoot, when I was visiting a friend’s church and accidently took communion from the cup that held real wine, I didn’t feel like I had done wrong and needed to repent. (It felt more like making a sacrifice, actually. To my tastebuds there is no good wine.)

 And yes, the tabernacle/temple analogy holds true in a lot of ways. I have great responsibility to take care of my body specifically because it is the temple of the Holy Ghost. That’s why I hardly drink any sodas anymore and have cut way back on sugar yet again.

“Yet again?” you ask? Right: Addiction is real. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up sodas, how many times I’ve cut back on sugar. I have to regulate my intake carefully because it’s far too easy to slip right back into that addiction. This is actually why I recently wrote my post entitled “Thankful for the Hard Things.” I am genuinely thankful that now, when those temptations arise, I can remind myself that I’ve already had a TIA and don’t want to do anything that might lead to another. I’ve had my wake up call. I will heed it.

So there it is. I’ve dared tackle one of the most controversial issues in Christianity. Feel free to disagree with me; many do.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C