A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Drug Wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drug Wars. Show all posts

June 24, 2022

Pharmakeia & The Fentanyl Epidemic: The Devil's Weapon Against Our Youth

 There is no denying it ... America's youth are dying in increasing numbers from a prescription opioid epidemic. The nightly news is flooded with photos of innocent looking youths who have died from Fentanyl, the drug that is streaming across our southern border in uncontrollable quantities. We witness grieving parents telling the sad tale that their son or daughter was able to purchase what they mistakenly thought was some "party drug" through a Snap Chat or Facebook contact. The single pill was delivered to their child at their front door in the middle of the night, when the parents were asleep. They awake the next morning to find that child, as one parent described it, "in the Fentanyl death pose". Their child had no idea that the pill they ordered was laced with Fentanyl, and now they are part of the alarming statistic which lists drug overdoses of Fentanyl as the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. Furthermore, China is the primary exporter of Fentanyl to our country, and this epidemic is now being labeled by Congressional leaders as "an issue of national security"!

But it's not just Fentanyl that is being consumed by this generation. Drugs like Adderall, OxyContin, Percocet, and Hydrocodone have joined together to become the drugs of choice among Millennials. For decades our politicians have touted their "solutions" to stop the illegal sale and use of drugs, even though they have often been complicit in the drug trade. We have seen little to no success in the physical realm. Is it because there is really no will by our leaders to see it defeated? Or is there a spiritual component that, as Christians, we need to recognize and learn how to battle against? 

If you have not heard it before, I want to introduce you to the Greek word pharmakeia. It appears in Galatians 5:20 and Revelation 18:23, as the word sorcery. In Strong's Concordance, pharmakeia is defined as "the use of medicine, drugs or spells; drug-related sorcery", and is where we get the English word pharmacy. We also get a more disturbing picture of how harmful pharmakeia can be from Revelation 9:20-21 ... the rest of mankind who are not killed by the plagues of the Sixth Trumpet, "did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries (drugs, intoxications) nor of their [sexual] immorality nor of their thefts". In another perspective, Greek philosopher Plato likened sorceries to poisoning.  

What we need to understand is that these drugs are "mind-altering"; they affect the brain. Kids today are taking them because they are numbing the pain in their lives and these drugs induce states of euphoria; all in an attempt to escape reality. Millennials have been subjected to technology since their birth, and much of it having no basis in reality. They have been allowed to escape into online fantasies instead of receiving the hard knocks that toughen you up to teach you how to endure and persevere through this journey called life. Unless they are blessed to be raised by Christian parents, they may not even know God, the lack of whom makes this life even more scary and terrifying. [But that's no guarantee -- I have known some raised in the Christian faith who were still enticed to try pharmakeia's seductive promises]. 

We have been at war for most, if not all, of Millennial's lives, and they have been subjected to the very real possibility that this nation has seen its better days. So, they lament their lack of a bright future and many have lost hope that they will be better off than their parents, who they now see fighting inflation, loss of jobs, and depleted savings. So, they turn to a pill that promises an escape from their pain and despair. 

But we need to move beyond the physical ramifications of these mind-altering drugs and see the spiritual side. It is far too easy for young people (or anyone, for that matter) to find a website that will introduce you to the supernatural; sites that promise you ways to gain supernatural power and energy to overcome whatever troubles you are experiencing in this life. But here is the underlying agenda of these sites ... in reality, you are circumventing God, the Creator of your life. What is not understood is that God has established boundaries between the natural and the supernatural to protect us. Remember when He told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? That sin opened the door these 2000 years later to the temptation of pharmakeia, and now our kids are dying in record numbers because they have been tempted to "open their minds" with these drugs that are a combination of science (developed in pharmaceutical labs), magical arts, the occult, the demonic realm, medicines, potions, or herbs ... all in the name of pharmakeia/sorcery.

These drugs open portals into other spiritual dimensions ... some good, as when YHWH revealed the portal to Heaven in Jacob's dream of the ladder on which angels ascended and descended ... some bad, as when the witch of Endor summoned the dead in 1 Samuel 28, and the slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination in Acts 16. Fentanyl and other opioids remove that protective barrier in our minds and open us up to the influence of evil sources in the spiritual dimensions. I'm not saying that every person who tries Fentanyl is seeking contact with evil spirits; many use it for recreation and, as I said, an escape from an unsatisfactory or hopeless life. But I am saying that a by-product of these opioids can be the opening of a door to oppression and torment by spirits of fear, anger, self-rejection, self-hatred, and unworthiness. If you're lucky enough to survive that ingestion of Fentanyl, you may have just signed on to a sentence of addiction and/or suicide.

So, these drugs are a perfect weapon of the Devil for this generation of young Americans. They are the perfect escape for those that feel their lives are not under their control; or they feel like they are drifting with no purpose. Many are filled with anxiety, a loss of hope, and they are desperate to numb the pain. But once that portal or gateway is opened to the spiritual realms, you are a target for the enemy of God. And he just wants to steal, kill, or destroy your life. The drugs that he whispers will "take away the pain" serve nothing more than to separate you from God. 

At the bottom line, pharmakeia or sorcery, was understood by both Paul and John when they wrote Galatians and Revelation, respectively, to be connected to pagan rituals and ungodly spiritual practices. The early Church considered it rebellion against God and the boundaries He set up to protect us in the spiritual realms. To the ancient Greeks, pharmakeia meant everything from medicines, to psychoactive drugs (causing euphoria and hallucinations, as well as violence, anxiety, panic, and paranoia). Ancient societies and cultures were familiar with mind and conscious-altering chemicals in their pagan religious practices. So, the existence of pharmakeia is not new. God has always hated its hold on people and its destructive and idolatrous uses. And our kids think they are indestructible.

Sadly, with the advancement of science and with the influence of the demonic in our current culture, these drugs have been designed to be hundreds of thousands times more powerful than say, natural opium. And users are dying at an alarming rate. According to the CDC, "Over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like Fentanyl". The problem seems overwhelming! How do we reach our youth? How do we convince them that altering the state of their mind removes them from God's protection and opens them to spiritual attack? How do we show them that the presence of God in them far surpasses any "high" or perceived "escape" they get from their involvement with this form of sorcery? 

We are losing a generation to this opioid crisis, and unfortunately it is just a sign of how far our culture has fallen away from recognizing who we are in Christ. Proverbs 17:22 says, A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. The hearts of far too many Millennials are not happy, their minds cannot fathom joy, and their spirits are broken ... they are unable to receive the healing their hearts, minds, and spirits need from God, so they turn to a counterfeit, man-made alternative that the devil whispers will ease their pain and hopelessness. They see no physical inheritance in their future, and they are unaware that there is a spiritual inheritance awaiting them in their Heavenly Father's Kingdom. We have to ask ourselves ... how did we, as the Body of Christ, who are to be caretakers of God's Kingdom on earth, let this happen?

1 Corinthians 6:19-22   Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.





April 11, 2014

The Meaning of "Asparagus" and The Demand for Accountability

     By now you have heard of the rancorous exchange between the Attorney General of the United States and a sitting member of Congress.  During a House Judiciary Committee Hearing, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert dared to point out that Attorney General Eric Holder seemed not to take his "held in contempt" status very seriously.  “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our Attorney General, but it is important that we have proper oversight."
     In case you've forgotten, considerable time has elapsed since Eric Holder was held in contempt of court for not complying with the House's request for documents concerning the Fast and Furious gun debacle --- two years to be exact.  So Gohmert's assertion is not without merit.
     You could almost see the sparks fly from Holders eyes!  “You don’t want to go there, buddy!” Holder responded. “You don’t want to go there, OK?”  Now, I ask you, does this remark sound appropriate coming from the chief law enforcement officer, and chief lawyer, of the United States government?  Or does it sound like someone who views himself above reproach?
     Because I would like to remind Mr. Holder, that while he serves at the discretion of the President, he  is also under the purview of Congress, and subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors." In other words, he ultimately answers to Mr. Gohmert, and the Representative is due his respect.
     Instead, Holder chided Gohmert for his opinion regarding his lack of attentiveness to the Fast and Furious scandal.  He then proceeded to let Louie know that he thought the contempt charge was both inappropriate and unjust; it was indeed a big deal to him.  (But I think we should consider the reason he thought it was a big deal.  Was it because he held a high opinion of Congress and their oversight?  Or was it because it offended his ego?)
     Gohmert was undeterred.  He reminded the Attorney General that his comment was justified in that the Justice Department has still not produced the documents related to that specific contempt charge.  “I’m just looking for evidence, and normally we [Congress] are known by our fruits and there’s been no indications that it was a big deal because your department still has not been forthcoming in producing the documents that were the subject of the contempt."
     Shortly after, Representative Gohmert's time was up in the hearing, but Holder managed to slide in one more derogatory comment:  "Good luck with your asparagus."  Now, many in the media were only too happy to point out this reference to what they thought was Gohmert's verbal stumble back during the 2013 conflict with Holder, in which he said,  "The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus!"  That comment got lots of attention on the late night comedy shows and across the MSM.  But the joke is on them ... and the Attorney General.
     Gohmert has since explained that he was quoting a formidable Texas criminal defense attorney, by the name of Percy Foreman.  “Percy was a very, very liberal criminal defense attorney, but he was incredible in the courtroom,” Gohmert said. “When somebody started attacking his integrity, he stood up and said, ‘I object, he’s casting aspersions on my asparagus!’ And people would scratch their heads, but it brought down the level of the rancor.  I was using a Percy Foreman line from criminal trials back probably 50 years ago.”
     In other words, Representative Gohmert was showing that he would not be intimidated or ridiculed; nor would he allow anyone to goad him into an argument that would disgrace or cheapen a Congressional oversight committee hearing.  In effect, he was defusing a potentially explosive situation, and above all, doing his job --- the job that we, here in Texas, sent him to Washington to do.  Yet, AG Holder held on to that comment for a year, waiting to throw it back at the Representative!
      I think it is evident that the AG's response was not only way off the mark, but a sign of his character; his level of anger and desire for revenge; and his lack of respect for anyone but himself.  Appointed officials of the government must be held accountable for their actions.  Yet, in a speech following his dust-up with Gohmert, Holder remained adamant that congressional critics had launched “unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive” attacks on him and the Obama administration.
     But here is what he doesn't get ... the members of the various committees he has appeared before, and the American people, simply want the truth.  Why won't he provide the documents?  What are they afraid of?  There have been some serious allegations about complicity with known terrorist affiliated groups, and Representative Gohmert and the Judicial Oversight Committee are acting on our behalf in trying to get the answers.
     So the AG can rail about the pressure and the frustration he feels, but that does not excuse him from maintaining his stall tactics and refusing to answer the questions.  He is required and expected to justify his actions as Attorney General!  Yet he has not done that.
     In fact, testifying on the Hill about his prosecutorial duties in upholding the law, Holder said, "There is a vast amount of discretion that a president has - and, more specifically, that an attorney general has."  I would hate to assume that he means he can do whatever he wants, regardless of Congress or the law.
     I applaud Representative Louie Gohmert for his fearlessness and his respect for the American people.  He boldly proclaims that the Executive Branch of the Government must be held accountable, because we are at a "tipping point" in this country. Will we able to keep the republic, as Benjamin Franklin warned us?  When told by Glenn Beck, during a radio interview, that the country is praying for him, he humbly replied, "If anyone is tempted to pray for me ... I don't need courage. My problem is Wisdom.  Pray that I will have wisdom, and know when to fight and when to back off."  Mr. Gohmert, you keep on fighting, and we will keep on praying for you.  Thank you for standing up for us!

Ephesians 5:15-17    "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."


February 21, 2014

Mexico's Conundrum

     This is a fascinating, terrifying, and unpredictable story all rolled into one.  Those of us who live along our nation's southern border are well aware of the violence attached to the Mexican drug cartels.  After the demise of the Columbian cartels in the 1990s, the Mexican cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market, and in 2007 controlled 90% of the cocaine entering the United States.  Although there have been arrests of key cartel leaders, particularly in the Tijuana and Gulf cartels, there is an increase in drug violence as cartels fight for control of the trafficking routes into the United States. With annual wholesale earnings ranging from $13.6 to $49.4 billion, that's quite a business to protect, and the Mexican people have paid the price.
     Between 2006 and 2012, the Mexican government sets the official loss of life at 60,000; but it is more likely that the real death toll is closer to 100,000, if you include the disappearances of citizens.  The extreme violence against the people of Mexico has taken a toll.  Graphic executions on YouTube, tossed body parts into crowded nightclubs, hand grenade tosses into crowded public places have only added to the extortion, kidnappings and intimidations felt by all citizens.  Add to that the fact that, in Mexico, regular citizens were not allowed to own firearms, and the failed policies of the government to protect its citizens, and you had a recipe for hopelessness.
States in red show where the most violence has occurred.
All that changed when the citizens rose up, formed armed vigilante groups, and started taking responsibility for their own safety.  As reported by World.Time.com, vigilante groups have been spreading rapidly across Mexico’s southwestern mountains this year as crime-weary residents decide to take justice into their own hands. They now claim thousands of adherents, and have emerged in at least seven other Mexican states.  The militias are made up of farmers, mechanics, shopkeepers and taxi drivers, who set up check points, patrol streets and drag alleged criminals into makeshift prisons. While they have handed over most detainees to state prosecutors, they have put some on public trials, shot others dead and come under fire themselves.
      It seems that government officials are worried that the vigilante groups have gotten out of control.  CNN reports some locals view the vigilantes as heroes. Others see them as villains and have responded to their arrival by destroying property and setting vehicles ablaze to create fiery road blockades to stop them.  It seems that federal officials have been "schizophrenic" about how they approach the groups, sometimes cracking down on them and other times describing them as allies.  
     Alfredo Castillo, appointed by the Mexican federal government as Commissioner of Public Safety in the state of Michoacan, issues this warning:  "The newly formed self-defense groups could become as ruthless as the cartels they claim to oppose.  You can start out with a genuine purpose.  But when you start taking control, making decisions and feeling authority ... you run the risk of reaching that point [of not return]."
     The militias now constitute a third force in Mexico’s drug war ... cartel squads of gunmen, state security forces and these groups of armed citizens.  And in order to control them, the government of the state of Michoacan has reached a deal with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps. Since vigilante groups estimate their numbers at 20,000 men under arms, that's a considerable force to be reckoned with.  (I have yet to see any article addressing the question of where these citizens retained their arms.)
     But why did it take the rise of the people to convince the government that maybe they needed to combine forces to fight the cartels?  Why wasn't the government working their own plan?  Could it be that corruption and bribes were the way business was conducted; allowing the cartels free rein?  So what makes the armed citizens groups think that is going to change?  
     And here is where warning bells start going off for me --- Vigilante leaders will have to submit a list of their members to the Defense Department, and the army will apparently oversee the groups, which the government said “will be temporary.” They will be allowed to keep their weapons as long as they register them with the army.  
     If you were a Mexican citizen in these circumstances, would you trust your government?  The very government that had proven it could not, or would not, defend you against the violent cartels?  How could you trust that some corrupt official wouldn't hand over the names of citizen group members, resulting in more guns falling into the hands of the cartels?
     There are those who see the legalizations of self-defense groups as a positive step, both to return the rule of law to the state of avocado and lime farmers, and to give protection to the vigilantes.  They feel that it's not good for the rule of law to have armed groups that are outside the control of the state.  So now the question becomes this:  will the government adopt this rule of law, which they have so far failed to implement?
     Ernesto Lopez Portillo, of Mexico’s Institute for Security and Democracy, agrees that the militias need to be brought under some form of control. “The government needs to commit to making an unprecedented effort to invest in these communities and reduce crime,” Lopez Portillo said. “We have to understand that these self defense groups are not the cause of the violence in Mexico, but a consequence. They are a response to the failure of the government to administer justice and stop the growth of organized crime.”
     Since a lot of this violence has spilled over into our country, this development requires close scrutiny. While I hope and pray that the Mexican government will prove themselves moral, and that the citizen groups will not become corrupted themselves, we cannot ignore the fact that the sins of this nation and its addiction for illicit drugs is at the heart of this tragedy.  Tens of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, and there seems to be no curbing our appetite for numbing our pain.  There is no denying that lots of holes in the souls of Americans are fueling the violence in Mexico.  But I'm afraid that until The Lost recognize that there's only one fix for their empty souls, they will continue to feed this deadly habit.  And the death toll will rise.

1 Timothy 6:10    "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."