Kipling on Books

Kipling once wrote, “If we pay no attention to words whatever, we may become like the isolated gentleman who invents a new perpetual-motion machine on old lines in ignorance of all previous plans, and then is surprised that it doesn’t work. If we confine our attention entirely to the slang of the day-that is to say, if we devote ourselves exclusively to modern literature-we get to think the world is progressing when it is only repeating itself. It is only when one reads what men wrote long ago that one realizes how absolutely modern the best of the old things are.”

Some older books I have thoroughly enjoyed:

The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
1984, by George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck
The Stranger, by Albert Camus
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote
The World According to Garp, by John Irving
Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh
The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck
The Magus, by John Fowles

Rowers on the Schuykill

Let us be early medieval or late Renaissance,
spike-featured Norman Christ
or bone-faced Dureresque peasant,
skeleton staining the flesh.

Let us descend the granite steps
and gather at at the river’s edge
for today is an Eakin’s day on the Schuykill:
boat races, festive crowds, spontaneous celebration.
See the strong young men lift their sculls
from the racks and carry them overhead
like slender varnished beetles
to the murky and opaque waterway.
See the girls sleek and oiled cheer them on,
the losers as well as the winners.
See the geese that summer and winter here
spring up over the island. See them sport
with one another in raucous feathery
gaggles and announce to the daily horde
the absence of human frailty.

For all seems well under the cutting sun:
Joan of Arc is heroically bronzed
though even she cannot halt traffic along the drive
and Mad Anthony Wayne rears on his horse
with the famed golden testicles.
How miraculous we seem to ourselves on this fair mountain
as cyclists weave round us, in and out
of joggers and skater and strawberry mansions.

There is more: deep in the earth
an orchestra plays something lush,
romantic, called back and tempered
by the limping Hungarian.
And there on the bank I see
an old black man-
fishing for catfish, stepped from a genre painting.

But remember, we have come to watch the boat races-
the crews in their sculls on the Schuykill,
2-man, 4-man, 8-man and coxswain,
barking his rubbery lips stretched
over a frightening oracular beak:
Stroke! Stroke! Stroke!
And the coach puttering around
effortlessly in his motor boat,
looping lazy figure-eights about them
as they rain sweat, snap ligaments, and groan.
But this is only practice,
the race is soon to run.
Only then will these young oarsmen show
an old and tired Charon the ropes-
how to run his ferry faster
on this one of many rivers,
stroke by stroke by stroke.

By Leonard Kress (1987)
From the anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania

 

“I Need to Get High”

I stopped at my local Christian bookstore this evening to say hello. The owner knows I am a Christian in recovery and that I am preparing for a career as an addictions counselor, so she handed me a photocopy of “I Need to Get High,” by an anonymous drug addict. I find it to be sad, haunting, and very revealing. As you read it, think of how easy it can be for a loved one to enable the addict. The two become enmeshed.

I am not your child or spouse or friend. I’ve changed. I don’t belong to you anymore. I don’t care about you. Not in the way you want me to. I care only about getting high. I want to get high. I will do anything to get high. I love getting high. I need to get high, and I will step over you to do it. When I look at you, I don’t see you. I see a means to an end. You have money. I want it. End of story. I don’t care if you can’t pay the rent. I don’t care if you need groceries. I don’t care if you promised you wouldn’t give me money again. I don’t care if you lie to Dad. I don’t care if you’re broke. Sell your rings, take a loan, sell your electronics, max out your credit cards, borrow the money from someone else. If you don’t, I will steal it. I will find a way to get high.

You think you can change me or save me. You are wrong! Something cold and dead slithers within me. I no longer respond to love or truth. You can cry all you want. I don’t care. I have no integrity or values. My morals are a thing of the past. I will say anything, do anything, and hurt anyone to get my next fix. Although I may play the game with you, make no mistake. I don’t play it because I love you. I play it because I want my dope. I will say whatever you want to hear. I will promise you the world. I will look you in the eye and I will break your heart. Over and over again. I don’t have a heart anymore.

I have a hunger. It’s calculating and manipulative, and it owns me. In a strange way I am thankful for this hunger, because when I feel it coming on I find you quick. Then, when I’ve gotten what I want from you, I leave. You’re anxious without me. You offer to buy my food and pay my rent. I can’t stay sick without you. You can’t breathe without me. You think you’re helping me. You believe you’re making a difference, but what you’re really helping is my addiction.

I won’t tell you this, but you know it deep down. If we keep going like this, one or both of us will die; me from an overdose which you paid for, and you from a heart attack or stroke. You’ll wait years for me to change, or, you’ll see the light, and I will take full advantage of this for as long as possible. You keep my secrets and protect my lies. You clean up my messes and bail me out. You love me to the exclusion of everyone else. You are bitter and resentful. You hide from your friends and isolate. You hate. Your world revolves around one thing only. Me.

But will your love ever become greater than your fear? Will you be strong enough to reach out for help? Will you learn to say no? Will you allow me to experience the consequences of my actions? Will you love me enough to feel your own discomfort and stop enabling my addiction? I lay trapped within the confines of this cold, dark addiction, and I am dying.

Monarch Butterfly

I unwittingly published this post before final editing. I should know better. Here is the final draft. I hope you enjoy it. I had fun writing it.

The Accidental Poet

I am a Monarch Butterfly. I was a mere larvae a few days ago. Just hatched from my chrysalis this morning. I looked up toward the tree top and started climbing.
I climbed and climbed, finally reaching the top of the giant tree.
The sunlight was bright and overwhelming.

When I first saw the others, there were more than a dozen, and my enthusiasm grew with their numbers. It took a few minutes to realize the extent of what I was seeing. One hundred of my fellow cousins fluttering against a blue sky, wing tips touching. Simply breathtaking.

Seeing one million Monarchs swerving and soaring above me,
Realizing there were more in the trees waiting for the right moment
to open their wings and join us,
Felt like nothing short of a miracle.

I looked below as a woman cocked her head to the sky, cupping her hands
behind her…

View original post 140 more words

The Forgiveness and Compassion Exercise

In addition to completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology online at Colorado Christian University, I am also working diligently to prepare myself for work as an addictions counselor. Part of that work includes increasing my acceptance of others, increasing my level of compassion, and improving my spiritual condition. That also includes letting go of hurts, disappointments and offenses.

I picked up a photocopy today of something called The Forgiveness and Compassion Exercise by Harry Palmer. This exercise can be done with someone in mind whom you resent, or for anyone anywhere. It should be done in a way where no one notices.

Try to do all five steps (listed below) on the same person. Concentrate on that person and repeat each of the following to yourself:

  1. Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness in their life.
  2. Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in their life.
  3. Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.
  4. Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill their needs.
  5. Just like me, this person is learning about life.

Substance Abuse Concerns: Heroin and Prescription Drug Use on the Rise Among Teens

Curriculum Review,  Jan. 2016, Vol. 55 Issue 5, p6-7. 2p.

It seems as though some teenagers have always dabbled in drugs, but with increasing access to dangerous prescription opioids and cheap heroin, the problem is especially acute. For some students, drug experimentation will lead to addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), after marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly abused drugs for Americans aged 14 years and older. In 2012, nearly 20 percent of American 12th graders said they had abused prescription pills at some point in their lives.

NIDA reports that heroin use has been rising since 2007. Though use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is at less than one percent, NIDA emphasizes that heroin use is reported as the biggest drug abuse issue in rural and urban areas. The rate of teens using heroin soared by 80 percent between 1999 and 2009. Twenty-three percent of those who try heroin will become addicted. The New York Times collected statistics about the heroin epidemic that has garnering attention from concerned citizens, politicians, and the media. There has been a 39% increase in heroin related deaths from 2012 to 2013. Ninety percent of first-time users are white. Increasing numbers of first-time users are middle or upper class. Seventy-five percent of heroin users used prescription painkillers before using heroin, with 40 percent of those individuals abusing opioid painkillers.

NIDA has found that some teenagers start taking heroin because it is much cheaper than prescription pills. Serious health problems involved with heroin include infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis, collapsed veins and infection of the heart lining and valves, death by overdose, and liver and kidney disease. Signs that a teen could be addicted to heroin include acting slow and sedated, then intensely hyperactive, extreme sleepiness, cold and clammy skin, runny nose, pin-sized pupils, disinterest in extracurricular activities and academics, inattention to cleanliness, nausea, unexplained changes in friends, hangouts, and hobbies, weight loss, and an inability to pay attention or problem solve.

Drug overdoses cause more deaths every day than car accidents. Forty-four people per day die of opioid medication overdose. Approximately 1,600 teens begin abusing prescription drugs each day. Children and teens age 1 2 to 1 7 abuse prescription pills more than ecstasy, heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamines combined. Twenty percent of teens who abuse prescription pills did so before they turned 14. These statistics are obviously very alarming.

Does Your Life Reflect What You Say You Believe?

Many of us call ourselves Christians (which by definition means “Christ followers”). Sometimes, when we honestly evaluate our relationship with Jesus, we realize we are not following Him. We are more like “fans” than followers. Though I believe in the assurance of our salvation, I also believe that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12) When it comes to where we will spend eternity, we can’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and take an honest look at the answers that our lives offer. Is it possible that when asked, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” you quickly respond, “Yes,” only to be exposed as nothing more than a fan on that final day when we face the Lord.

Many people take the wrong road in life. Only few find the narrow path. If that’s true, then wouldn’t it make sense for us to slow down? Shouldn’t we hit the brakes, pull over to the side, and make sure that we are on the road that leads to life? This teaching of Jesus is the conclusion of his sermon known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” which is a message about raising the bar of the commitment for those who would follow Him. It’s a narrow road, but it’s a road that leads to life.

I can’t help but wonder if it’s possible to think we’re on the narrow road when we’re actually on the broad road. What if we’ve set the cruise control, turned up the volume on our favorite Christian radio station, and are traveling down the road of destruction with a Jesus fish on our bumper and a small wooden cross hanging from the rear view mirror. Perhaps we should slow down and look at some of the signs and ask ourselves what road we’re on. Is it possible that we can be wrong about being right with God?

Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

It would not have surprised me if Jesus said a few will stand before God on judgment day convinced that everything is fine only to find out otherwise. But He doesn’t say few. He doesn’t say some, He says many. Many who assumed they were on the path to heaven will find out that heaven is not their destination. I know this sounds harsh, but it is an extremely important matter.

So, does your life reflect what you say you believe? For many Christians the concept of denying themselves was not considered part of the deal. They grew up with the message that such a radical decision really isn’t necessary. So they signed up to follow Jesus, but if denying themselves was part of  following the Lord it was definitely in the fine print. This seems especially true of Christians in the United States. I might get some negative feedback for this, but I believe it has a lot to do with the collision of  Christianity with American capitalism.

Many churches have become companies that measure success by the number of customers they have attracted. And how do we get more customers? By trying to make the customers feel comfortable, important and happy. We want the product (in this case following Jesus) to come off as appealing and as comfortable as possible. So when someone comes in “church shopping,” we try to show them what we have to offer. This actually undermines the invitation of Jesus to deny ourselves. The church sends the message, “Whatever you want you can get it here.” The invitation of Jesus is, “Give up everything.” The message of the church sounds less like “Deny yourself,” and more like Burger King’s slogan, “Have it your way.” This is what creates a church full of raving fans, but not many followers.

The obvious superstar in the so-called prosperity Gospel is Joel Osteen. As of 2012, Osteen’s net worth was reportedly $56,508,500. He lives with his family in a $10,500,000 home. He tells his congregation that God is a loving and giving God who rewards believers with wealth and happiness. It’s the centerpiece of all of his sermons. Osteen says he chooses to focus more on the goodness of God and on living an obedient life rather than on sin. He says that he tries to teach Biblical principles in a simple way, emphasizing the power of love and a positive attitude. This sounds a lot like do good things and God will reward you. During an interview on Larry King Live, Osteen said, “I don’t come at it from a theological point of view, and I think that’s part of my success in that I’m not trying to just explain Scriptures.” Osteen said a lot of what he teaches is simply how to live a great life. He avoids Scriptures like Romans 6:23, which says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Many Christians are being deceived today by charismatic and theatrical preaching because it tickles the ear and satisfies their desire to be entertained. They don’t want to be corrected, admonished, or be told they are living a life of sin. If your pastor relies on theatrics, philosophical illustrations, or the Holy Spirit to “fall” during service to the point where he can’t even preach because the glory is so heavy, then he is not preaching or teaching. Rather, he is entertaining his congregation. Many people are deceived by the easy going and welcoming demeanor of Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. These guys barely ruffle a feather when they preach, but they sure do reel you in by motivating you to live your best life now or to be driven by your purpose. They often quote a Bible verse to use as a basis for promoting their personal philosophy.

Motivational speakers need to have personal charisma. They typically have huge egos. Biblical preachers should be humble in order to be anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. They are a conduit through which God delivers His message. Charisma influences emotions in the direction of self-actualization. The Holy Spirit influences the soul in the direction of godliness. Biblical preaching lifts up Jesus Christ. Motivational speaking tends to exalt man’s ability to fix his own issues. Biblical preaching proclaims the Gospel message of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. It talks about salvation. It does not steer the congregation away from the existence of Hell. We must repent. Turn away from our former sin-filled life. We are sanctified by the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. This is something I never hear Osteen talk about in his sermons or in his books. Motivational speaking might tack on the sinner’s prayer at the end of a how-to message, but that’s as close as they get. They display no real evidence that they are followers of Christ. Quite the opposite, they are marketing Jesus for profit. Osteen’s church averages $32 million in tithes every year.

Self-esteem is sought by those who have not yet “died to self” and risen to live for Christ. Healthy believers, on the other hand, hunger for God’s Word like a baby hungers for food. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2,3) Jesus never seeks to build up a person’s self-esteem. That is a dead end street as far as God is concerned. Paul said it best in Galatians 2:20, which states, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” That experience is a far cry from a life of self-esteem that needs to be constantly propped up by a motivational speaker. Such a person needs constant validation and ego stroking.

As humans, we tend to attribute worldly success, good works, ministry size, popularity, and number of followers with godly success. Therefore, the bigger the church, the more popular or successful a preacher, the more success we think a person or organization has. We even credit these successes to God’s blessings. This is particularly true with Osteen, who repeatedly tells his congregation that God wants to bless them richly. But worldly success, good works, the size of your church building, or even a large number of followers, is not necessarily the measure of godly success. A person can have all these, yet not be godly. This is what creates a church full of raving fans, but not many followers. Christ tells us to follow Him. Serve Him. Be His hands. Minister to His children from the Word of God. Only when a pastor does this can members of his congregation become true followers of Christ.

Are You New?

Most people want to be someone new. This is why seemingly every cover of the most popular magazines and books, the topics of the most popular radio and TV shows, and the most trafficked blogs and websites are about one thing. Becoming a new you. Most everyone, even if they don’t use the biblical language of sin and redemption, knows something is wrong, that we’re not entirely who we could or should be, and that making changes would be a good thing. Using biblical language, we want to be “saved” from the consequences of our sin. We want to be “justified” or declared good by whomever or whatever we worship, which can range from Jesus to a false deity. We want our friends and co-workers to have a high opinion of us. We want approval from our parents, or even ourselves.

As humans, we are religious by fallen nature, which means we think we can be justified in one of four ways. First, loosely religious people assume they’re good enough and that no spiritual devotion or extra effort is required for God to be pleased with them. Such people make moderate life corrections and learn occasional new life lessons, but for the most part they believe that only really bad people (and not themselves) need to be made new. Basically, they’re already saved and justified in their own minds. Isaiah 64:6 says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

Second, secular religious people work very hard at social causes because they think they’re good and need to overcome evil with their goodness. These people tend to see others’ problems more than their own and smugly think they’re God’s gift to the world, here to change it and make it new. They justify themselves by saving the rest of us.

Third, non-Christian spiritual people try to change themselves with vaguely spiritual self-help books and programs, wanting to become new but not understanding how to achieve that in Christ. They follow the trendy books and ideas about loving oneself as the means by which they can unleash their potential and change their life. For them, God provided principles to save and justify ourselves. They add something you will not find in the Bible: God only helps those who help themselves.

Fourth, devoutly religious people work hard at keeping the rules of a particular religion in an effort to justify themselves as good and obedient people in God’s sight. Such people try very hard to do the right thing so God will love them and be pleased with them. This thinking is pernicious, and likely most common for the kind of people who would read books by Christian authors rather than seeking a relationship with Christ.

Paul was a man just like this until he became a Christian. He put off his old religious identity and put on his new identity in Christ. Paul lists his “religious” credentials in Philippians 3:5-6. Paul’s point was that he had a perfect record. By the religious rules of his people, he would’ve been considered nearly perfect. Of course, inwardly he was filled with the sins of pride and self-righteousness. What exactly is self-righteousness? It means being convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others. This type of person is narrow mindedly moralistic. They are not willing to accept opinions, beliefs, or behaviors that are unusual or different from their own. They are completely confident of their own righteousness, especially regarding morals. A selfrighteous person acts superior to his peers because he believes his moral standards are perfect.

Though Paul looked perfect on the outside, he believed that his noble birth, impeccable education, tireless work ethic, clean lifestyle, and unprecedented religious devotion to be rubbish compared to his new identity. Having been made new, Paul had righteousness through faith in Christ. The Greek word for rubbish (skubala) means refuse, dregs, or dung. This tells us exactly what Paul thought about his former life. After having a new identity in Christ, Paul found every previous effort and accomplishment to be as worthless as stinky trash, and as disgusting as a steaming pile of dog dung.

Speaking from his own experience and identity in Christ, Paul explains how we live out our new identity in Ephesians 4:14-24, which says, “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus, and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Holy Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God; truly righteous and holy.” (NLT) Repentance is explained in terms of walking down a different path than we have been, by putting off our old self and putting on our new self. One way to define repentance is a turning away from what was.

Practically, this means we no longer think, desire, or act according to our old identity as someone disconnected from Jesus Christ. Instead, we have a new identity in Jesus, and we become a new person, created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. Of course, we have to learn to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Paul says this new identity has to be put on like clothing. Therefore, it is a good idea every day as we dress ourselves physically to also pray that God would dress us spiritually to live out our identity in Christ as we go through our day. But how do we put off our old self and put on our new self? The answer is found in the effects of Christ’s work on the cross. He made justification, regeneration, and glorification possible for us. Justification makes us externally new. Regeneration makes us internally new. Glorification makes us eternally new in Christ.

While we’re genuinely new in Christ, we’re not yet completely new in Christ. There is still a seed of rebellion in us. There are temptations all around us, and the snares of the devil have been set. In this life, we continually grow to live out of our new identity as new people in Christ through a process called sanctification. In this process, we learn more about Jesus and become more and more like Him by the power of the Holy Spirit as we believe the Bible truths I’ve talked about in this blog post.

One day, we will die. If we die in Christ, we’re made fully, completely, unchangingly, and eternally new. This is called glorification. On that day, your faith will be rewarded as you see the risen and reigning Jesus face-to-face. On that day, everyone in Christ will be made completely perfect as together we rise like Jesus to be like Him forever. In Christ, you are new.

Life Skills Training Shields Teens From Prescription Opioid Misuse

NIDA Notes, December 3, 2015, By Eric Sarlin, M.Ed., M.A., NIDA Notes Contributing Writer, National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Life Skills Training (LST) prevention intervention, delivered in 7th grade classrooms, helps children avoid misusing prescription opioids throughout their teen years, NIDA-supported researchers report. Coupling LST with the Strengthening Families Program: for Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP) enhances this protection. Dr. D. Max Crowley from Duke University, with colleagues from Pennsylvania State University, evaluated the impacts of LST and two other school-based interventions, All Stars (AS) and Project Alert (PA), on teens’ prescription opioid misuse. The researchers drew the data for the evaluation from a recent trial of the PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) prevention program. PROSPER is led jointly by Richard Spoth at Iowa State University and Mark Greenberg at Penn State University, with research funding from NIDA.

The new evaluation also disclosed that communities that implemented LST in the PROSPER trial more than recouped its cost in reduced health, social, and other expenditures related to teen prescription opioid misuse. The researchers recommend that communities consider implementing LST plus SFP to help control the ongoing epidemic of youth prescription opioid misuse. LST was the only intervention of the three tested that was effective by itself, and it was most effective when the interventions were combined with SFP.

Lessons That Stick

In the PROSPER trial, 14 communities in Iowa and Pennsylvania each selected the intervention they felt best fit their resources and their youth’ risk profile for drug use and other unhealthy and delinquent behaviors. The interventions are all “universal,” meaning that they are delivered to all children, not just those who are judged to have elevated risk for problems.

All the interventions involve multiple sessions of classroom instruction addressing the social and psychological factors that lead to experimentation with drugs and other undesirable behaviors. In addition, through games, discussion, role-playing, and other exercises, students practice refusing drugs, communicating with peers and adults, making choices in problem situations, and confronting peer pressure. The programs’ curricula focus on helping students to develop practical skills they can apply to resist drug use. Materials such as worksheets, online content, posters, and videos augment all three programs.

Each intervention was delivered to all 7th graders in the schools of the PROSPER communities that selected it. Most of the children and their families also received the SFP program during the prior year, when the children were in 6th grade. In SFP, families gather together to watch videos providing advice and instruction toward enhancing family relationships and communication, fostering parenting skills, improving academic performance, and preventing risky behaviors. Group leaders then conduct follow-up lessons and practice exercises.

Dr. Crowley and colleagues previously reported that smaller percentages of children from the 14 PROSPER communities reported illicit drug use and problematic alcohol use in annual follow-up visits conducted through 11th grade, compared to children from 14 matched control communities that did not use any evidence-based prevention program. As well, fewer PROSPER children reported marijuana use in 12th grade.

Win-Win

Dr. Crowley and colleagues determined that LST’s impact on teens’ prescription opioid misuse made it a good financial, as well as health, investment for PROSPER communities. They reached this conclusion by:

  • Estimating the cost to prevent each case of prescription opioid misuse (by dividing the total cost of LST materials, training, etc., by the number of cases prevented).
  • Comparing that number to $7,500, which they estimated, based on previously established figures, is the average expenditure incurred by communities for each single case of teen prescription opioid misuse.

These calculations indicated that PROSPER communities that implemented LST laid out $613 and saved $6,887 for each child that the program prevented from misusing prescription opioids. The corresponding estimates for LST plus SFP indicated expenditures of $3,959 and savings of $3,541 per case averted. Even though communities saved less per benefited child with LST alone, the researchers note, their health benefits were greater and their total savings may have been greater with LST plus SFP, because more cases were prevented.

Dr. Crowley says, “This work illustrates that not only can existing universal prevention programs effectively prevent prescription drug misuse, they can also do so in a cost-effective manner. Our research demonstrates the unique opportunities to combine prevention across school and family settings to augment the larger prevention impact.”

We Cannot Live by the Old Covenant

Living by the old covenant of law requires a “performance based life,” which depends upon man’s sufficiency. This produces spiritual bondage. Living by the new covenant of grace provides a “relationship based life,” which depends upon God’s sufficiency. This results in spiritual liberty.

Moses was a great servant of the Lord. He is a wonderful example to us in many ways. However, in our present verses, we see him living by His own sufficiency, thereby exemplifying life under the law. As Moses met with the Lord for the giving of the law, his face would shine. For the benefit of the people, he would place a veil over this shining glory: “Moses, who put a veil over his face.” When this glory began to fade away (as it was designed to do), Moses kept the veil on “so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.” In this, Moses was caught in a bondage of secrecy. He did not want others to see the glory fade. He wanted others to think that his face was still aglow.

All of us are tempted at times to hide behind a veil of secrecy. This is particularly the case when we are trusting in our own sufficiency. When drawing upon our insufficient resources, we generally sense that we are not doing as well as we should be: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves” (2 Corinthians 3:5). So, we try to hide it. We want others to think that our spiritual walk is more glorious than it actually is. So we put on veils of pretense, self-righteousness, or self-justification. The remedy for this bondage of secrecy is living by new covenant grace.

We are new covenant servants: “God, who also made us sufficient as ministers [servants] of the new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). God makes us sufficient by sharing His fully adequate resources with us. “Our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5). This is our effective hope for avoiding the bondage of secrecy that overtook Moses. “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-unlike Moses.” Those who live by the grace of God have such great hope. Their expectations are anchored in the Lord, not in self. Thus, they can be bold, open, candid. If they fail, they humbly confess their insufficiency. If they succeed, they openly credit His adequacy.