I'm glad you came by my website. It's dedicated to the God of sobriety, the One who who has made many promises that, if understood and believed, will give us the power to lead sober lives here on earth. Those promises will give us the strength we need for this earthly life and they will carry us all the way to heaven at the end; they are exceedingly great and precious promises.
Joe, age 15
The grinning, sweet-faced boy above is my son Joe. Joe was a wonderful young man, but he died of an accidental drug overdose on October 2, 2004, at age 23, after an increasingly grim 7 year history of drug abuse. Joe sneaked a first cigarette with some buddies when he was just a little guy, and by the time he was 18, was enslaved to an overwhelming desire for the escape provided by alcohol or drugs. That desire was a cruel taskmaster. By the time he was 21 Joe hated the control those desires held over him, and longed for freedom and a normal life. The last two years of his life were a true battleground in my son's mind and soul as he struggled against the grip this addiction seemed to have on his life.
During these years, facing the role I had played in my son's difficulties, I had begun to see that a person may be free from enslaving addictions to alcohol and drugs and yet still lack sobriety. I came to understand that I was such a person. There is a sobriety of the mind and heart that the Scripture calls sober-mindedness; I had failed to attain it and so could not teach it to my children. The answer to addictions, indeed to all forms of mental and spiritual enslavement, is this kind of sobriety. Such freedom from enslavement, such sobriety, comes as we grow in the true knowledge of God (2 Peter 1:3).
Just as someone who is physically drunk can't walk a straight line or think or speak clearly, so we may live life as if we are spiritually inebriated, failing to live and choose well. All may seem well outwardly, but in such a state our understanding is darkened, and we are undiscerning (unwise); we veer from the straight path that God has laid out in His word, and are dull in mind and heart. The Bible says that we are in this state when we don't have the fear of the Lord; when we fail to keep his commands. Have you ever seen an inebriated person insist that they've only had a few? In the same way, a person in a spiritual stupor may believe they are just fine. They can't see their true state because their confused thinking prevents clarity.
To be sober in mind and in body, according to the definition of the Greek word in the Bible, is:
... to be dispassionate--not warped, prejudiced, swerved, or carried away by passion or feeling; judicial; calm; composed;
... to have a moderate estimate of one's self;
... to be circumspect--that is, to pay attention to all circumstances and probable consequences;
... to be sane.
The story of how God taught me to be more sober-minded very much involves the life of my dear son, from whom I learned so much. It's a story with a lot of sorrow in it, most of which came as a consequence of the lack of this kind of sober mind. That's not true for everyone who suffers loss and pain... some people experience grief in a cleaner way, in circumstances that allow them to know that at least they did their best. Not so with us. That's why I want to share this story.
But this story of learning to be more sober-minded isn't all about sadness and loss. There is also a great joy to tell about, as God has made known His mercy and His grace. I suppose that Paul's admonition to the Corinthians to "become sober-minded" implies that the Corinthians fell short. This suggests that the lack of such sobriety, even among God's people, is not such an uncommon thing.
For many years as a professing Christian I lived in a sort of spiritual stupor; I was dull in understanding and slow to respond to the truth, lacking in the true fear of the Lord, unaware of the great gulf that existed between God's perfect holiness and my own sinfulness. I lived life as if in a spiritual fog, not fully comprehending the seriousness of each choice made in life.
This lack of wisdom resulted in actions that brought great pain to the lives of the people I love most in the world. This dullness of my own heart led to an inattention to my son's heart, which surely resulted in his death (Proverbs 19:18).
I speak of these difficult things out of a desire to help someone avoid the tragedies that may come of living with thinking that is not sober. I want to tell about how God showed kindness and mercy to us, and how I came to know Him so much better through the things that happened, as He graciously opened my eyes to His word. Most of all, my desire is that God will be glorified through the story I tell and the things written here. He is truly a God who causes "all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Joseph Emmanuel Pollard at the Alabama State Fair, 1984 (age 3)
Joseph liked to fish
A favorite fishing hole
Joe and Tank, 1998
Joe and Mom (that's me), 2001
Miracle Lake, Etowah, TN 2002
Joe with his sister Rachel, spring 2003
Joe and grandmother (Butta), Christmas 2003
We have a great hope.
Please feel free to look around this website; I hope it will be of some comfort, encouragement or challenge to you. It's a work in process, so you may see changes and additions from time to time. And email me if you'd like: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you.