Try to carry the Message!

 

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

I had recently spoken to a man named Quaid.  He is an alcoholic and he was trying to determine why he had recently relapsed.  He told me adamantly that he wasn’t a Christian, but that he was actually far from it – he was a Pagan. He continued to say that he respected my views as a Christian and that all religions, in his view, follow the same viewpoints, just from different perspectives.  I intern, respect his views and only desired to hear his struggle with relapse and possibly offer suggestions.  Being no expert on Paganism, I had to do some careful research in order to offer any suggestion.  I did, however, find myself caring and taking it on personally.  I wanted to ensure I didn’t cause confusion which might add to his relapse struggle.

To start, I had to understand what the definition of Pagan was.  I found that it simply means a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.  The synonyms (heathen, idolater, infidel) stir up negativity to me and interestingly enough, “heathen” has Christian roots.  I don’t like titles like that, so I am going to make myself feel better and say that Quaid just holds different beliefs than myself.  Most people do!

Next, I wanted to know if Quaid had realized what brought on the relapse in the first place; the catalyst.  He responded by telling me about his profession and some of the frustrations he has encountered.  He is a caregiver to the elderly, which I find very honorable.  As many of us follow in our parent’s footsteps, he began as a youth after school, sitting with his Mom who was a nurse and in his own words “interacting” with the residents at a nursing facility. Quaid went on to explain that now, as an adult in the profession, he sees situations of abuse and neglect carried out in his field by other caregivers and he is so passionate about the residents that he courageously reports the instances to his superiors.  That is a valiant thing to do – and the right thing to do.  He goes on to say that nothing gets done about it, his complaints are ignored, and it has brought him to the point of disliking and even changing his career path.  So much so that he said, “Oh Gods, I wish I could this instant”.  Quaid finishes by telling me that when he sees something wrong, He tries everything in his power to do something right. He can’t just sit idle, letting things happen. That has NEVER been him. He speaks up despite the trouble it may lead to, but with his alcoholism, his temper flares. He calls it passion.

I haven’t had a chance to talk more with Quaid and I am glad to have the time to reflect on his issue.  This gives me time to study and hopefully offer a decent response to him.

While telling me the beginning of his story, I found a few details curious.  First that he used the words “interacting, passionate, in his power, and Gods”.  “Gods” in the plural sense.  Everything about his story (besides alcohol) screams love. He loves the residents enough to stand up and fight for them.  He loves them so much that in his confused way of thinking, that he is drinking to quell the anger and frustration of mistreatment of people.  Yes, he is only hurting himself, but we all may be guilty of that charge at times.

Myself being a sinning Christian winced at the plural use of God, but dissecting his story to try and establish a root cause, it dawned on me that love was his motive.  That I can relate to with my God.  God is love, so maybe Quaid can take the “s” off of the gods he believes in.  At a minimum, this will make things less confusing to him.  Secondly, a career change at the reasoning of others wrong doings essentially makes the wrongdoers Quaid’s god.  He would be allowing his gods of neglect and abuse to others win and direct his future.  Ironic.  Alcohol is temporarily one of Quaid’s other gods as well.  That’s a lot of gods to juggle.

My God today is love.  I learned the hard way that I can’t have more than one.  If I continue to love – including myself and others – this will be all I can handle and I won’t have time for a relapse.

Love you, Quaid.

 

Comments welcomed.  Have a great Valentines Day!

Would you give it all up?

Acts 2:45

45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need.

 

 

The book continues…  This exert is following a chapter on suicide (a failed attempt) and dual diagnosis.  I can’t give away the entire book, but the suggestions and emails that I am receiving are encouraging to say the least, so I thought I’d post a little more.  There are solutions.

 

…as I look back, I wonder what it would have taken at that moment, to admit myself into a detox.  Clearly, I needed it.  Clearly, I was spiritually dead.  Or was I?  If someone, a stranger, would have approached me and said to come with them to their church service at that very minute, would have I went?  Probably not, however, I would have wanted to deep inside of me.  What would have stopped me?  A couple of reasons that were very true in my sober mind now, and exaggerated in my drunken mind then:

A perceived judgment from others.  At a church? At a 12 step meeting? Yep.

A perceived judgment from God himself. Definitely.

…and lastly, but most importantly: self-imposed detachment from my vodka – my god.

…I once walked into a random church (on a Friday evening) straight from a detox hospital. This particular church had started a “movie night” and I literally had nothing else to do.  I was going to sleep outside that night. I had no food, no alcohol, and no money.  I was in a city that I was completely unfamiliar with.  I had never been there before.  My backpack with everything I owned on my shoulder – and I just kept telling myself that people would think I was a student of some sort. Right! 40 something years old with a 5 o’clock shadow and I could smell myself – a student! I recall walking through the enormous parking lot that had just begun receiving cars.  I told myself that once I got closer to the building, people wouldn’t realize that I had walked.  They would believe I had a car just like everyone else.  I remember being impressed that the church had the city police directing traffic and there were members of the church holding up signs to help point people in the right direction.

I walked in and proceeded down an escalator!  Yep, this place had an escalator.  I had never seen that before.  I continued to follow the crowd and couldn’t believe my eyes, when, near the entrance to the sanctuary (or auditorium) were coolers full of soda, coffee pots lined up with fancy cups (with lids!) and more “members” handing out bags of popcorn and candy!

How did they know I was hungry?  I couldn’t show any eagerness and take these snacks and drinks – could I?  Nope, that would make me appear homeless.  I did get a cup of coffee and thought: this will numb my stomach hunger pangs and get me through.

I entered the massive auditorium and found a seat in the nosebleeds, away from everyone else.  The music started.  There was live music with real instruments.  There were laser lights and smoke machines.  The soundboard was as large as a dining room table and there were professional movie cameras everywhere – one of which was on a telescoping boom that looked like it should be at a professional football stadium.  The music boomed.  The singer’s voices were incredible and sent waves of shivers down my spine.  God was there.  No doubt, no disputes, God himself was sitting right next to me and tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably.

If only the church knew what was going on with me.

Would they help me?

They didn’t ask.

I won’t tell them – and I didn’t.

…What did the 12 Apostles do and say at their brand new churches to convince sinners that Jesus saved them?  Why can’t I feel this way? If I did feel this way, would I stop (or try to stop) drinking? How did they persuade thousands of people to feel the mercy and grace of our Lord?  I had to know.  I don’t want to hang my head down anymore, but people and shame hindered my every move.  Do I quake in fear of being identified with Jesus?  Yes, but why?  Probably in part due to the fear of the same persecution that they encountered.  Maybe the same reason the “big book” added later “as we understood Him” to simply God.  Fear and self will…

Comments and emails invited 🙂

He wept, and I was causing it…

Another exerpt from the book:

 

John 11:35

35 Jesus wept.

…I have walked many miles.  I slept very little last night and I was cold.  One eye open for the most part of the extremely long night. Once the vodka wore off and the night set in, I was scared to death.  The only peace I felt was that I gathered 7 or 8 half cigarettes and I protected those with my life – well, those and my cell phone. Finally, daybreak.  I’ve got to sneak out of this hiding spot and blend in with the city.  I won’t need to use the restroom – I’ve got nothing in me.  First thing’s first, gotta find a cigarette and get my phone charged where there is WiFi.  Now is when I begin to realize how dirty I am – and it is getting hot.  My socks are literally sticking to my feet and I begin to wonder if my feet are medically okay, however, I must keep walking.  To where I have no idea.  I haven’t eaten today and I think yesterday neither. I need a real cigarette.  A whole one – not someone else’s half-smoked butt.  I have too much pride to bum one from a stranger, but if I could just have a whole one, and some vodka, I would be great!  Ahhh, a Mcdonalds.  WiFi and an outlet, maybe a half cigarette.  I can feel the eyes on me.  Am I that rough looking?  Will the manager let me loiter?  Man, the food smells good, will someone please take pity on me and buy me a sausage biscuit?  I won’t dare ask…

The master plan: Somehow, once again, I have to swindle my sister to wire $20 to the nearest Western Union.  This will be after a psychotic amount of texts and phone calls. I am so mad at her for not responding quickly to my texts!  My cell phone battery is about to run out and the only hope I have is that I have bothered her enough or laid on enough of a guilt trip that she will surprise me with a confirmation code.  Maybe she’ll send more than $20 I think.  Doesn’t she realize what a great guy I am for only asking for $20?  Doesn’t she realize how hungry I am!  She must feel sorry for me.  I promise her that I will buy food with the money – and I mean it this time because I am so hungry.  I know; I’ll tell her how much I love her!  That always does the trick.  “Kill her with kindness.”  My phone dings!  My heart races and I am somewhat afraid to look at the text because it’s a rejection.  How could she reject me!  I am her blood brother and I would do the same for her!  The last time (two days ago) that I got money from her, she gave me a sermon about getting my life together.  She yelled and yelled.  I kept my responses meek and humble.  What right does she have to yell at me! She does wrong things all the time.  Oh, the hunger pangs.  Where am I anyway?  She responds with a confirmation code!  Life is okay.  I check maps on my phone for the Western Union and it’s only a 4-mile walk, but I now have the energy I need to get there.  It’s located in a little mini-mart gas station about a mile from Wal-mart.  I’ll get the $20 and walk to Walmart, buy some food, snap some pictures and text them to my sister.  This will prove how responsible I was with her money and she will be so happy.  I should get a pack of cigarettes while I’m here.  Maybe one tall can of beer. The rest I’ll spend on food.  I buy vodka, beer and a pack of cigarettes. Life is good.  Two dollars left.  That’s enough for a coffee and a sausage sandwich – tomorrow morning…

 

I received a lot of feedback from yesterday’s post, thanks!  Feel free to keep the comments coming, or send me an email.  Have a great Tuesday.

Alcoholics Regrets:

Jeremiah 6:15

15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions?
    Not at allthey don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
    They will be brought down when I punish them,”
    says the Lord.

The shame, remorse, guilt, sorrow, and pain of my regrets have many a time led me straight to the liquor store (or gas station)!  In the past, I have “played the tape” over and over and the result was always the same: I am a failure.

  • People don’t need me.
  • Employers don’t want me.
  • And there’s no way that God can love me.
  • Better drink.  I’ll feel better and forget about that sh*t.  That works, we all know it or we wouldn’t do it.

But wait a second…  If I read the Bible verse above, isn’t God Himself angry at these people (referring to the people of Judah who won’t listen to God’s repeated warnings) for NOT being ashamed?

In fact, they were hard headed and spent 40 years wandering around the desert instead of just listening to God in the first place.  How long am I going to “wander around in the desert” before I listen? It is important to know that their decision killed some of them, but at the end of the day (when they decided to change) God redeemed them!

The old me firmly believed that alcohol (and sometimes money) was the only solution for soothing my terrible emotions brought on by regretful actions AND this is important:  Those regrets were caused by my solution!

Hmmm…

 

Being that I am fairly new in sobriety “this time around” and that I don’t know everything there is to know about the Bible, I have two choices:

Plan A: Drink.

Plan B: Verify this new solution, and CHANGE my old ways.

I am ready to minimize my possible future regrets, so I choose B.

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do19 For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Wow!  And…

2 Corinthians 7:10

10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

 

Even better!!  Getting excited.

Philippians 3:13-14

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Kind of makes me regret never taking the time to surrender to change years ago.  I’m guessing some of the Judeans thought the same thing.

 

Well, here I am now and I know that I don’t want to drink again.  I’d like to respect myself.  I know that I’d like my family, friends, and employers to do the same and I need God in my life.

 

I know that it is a sin to continue to do or even entertain doing the same things that caused most of my regrets.  Also, at the root of most of my regrets is the failure to love.  The failure to love myself, my God, my family, friends, and others.

Here is an experiment that I am going to present you with to give an idea of that love:

Fill in the blank with any description or title you’d like: Alcoholic, Addict, Gay, Lesbian, Angry, etc., etc.

“When you claim you’re a(n) ________, do you mean that you embrace something good and God like?  Or, do you view that as something to resist and by participating in it you will develop future regrets?”

Just for today, I will look ahead at my alcoholism as something to resist and I will stay sober and grow in Christ.

I will not regret the time wasted on entertaining regret and instead, I will reflect and be comforted by the lessons learned.  That comfort will propel me forward instead of backwards.

Sorry, this came out so late today.  I hope it helps someone.  Comments are welcomed.

Today’s verse to “chew on”:

2 Samuel 12:13-17

13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.

The Devil’s always knocking…

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It’s Wednesday.  For most of us, the positive spin we put on Wednesday is: “It’s Hump Day”.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t put a spark in me.  Most just put on a half smile when someone else reminds us that we are in the middle of the week.

Recovery can be monotonous at best.  It’s almost at times like I am a robot.  The talk around the kitchen coffee pot this morning was scattered. There was little talk about God. We were running way behind.  I knew that I wanted to write this morning, however, I had no topic. No Bible study prepared…  Uhhhggg.

Once the pace quickened and I finally sat down to start writing, and upon opening the laptop, I saw that there was a comment on a previous blog post of mine on a different social media site.  As of yet, I hadn’t received anything negative, so I was excited to view the message.  It wasn’t from a follower.  Part of their username had the acronym “LGBT” and some numbers.  At first, I had little idea of what that stood for.  The comment stated simply: “This is just incoherent rambling”.  Nothing followed.

cropped-images-6 Hmmm…. (yep, had to pull out this pic)

So, I immediately went to the blog post that they were referring to and read it myself.  You can find the post here.  I found nothing wrong with it.  I even “jerked a tear” watching the video again.  I then looked at the comments at the bottom (in an effort to lick my wounds) and they seemed positive enough.

“This is just incoherent rambling” 

I replied to the comment and tried my best to stay “Christian like”.  I learned what LBGT stands for and my reply probably hit the mark.  I typed:  “So is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, but I’m for ya!  Thanks for the revelation on the post.”

Now for anyone who knows me personally; this was about as Christian like as I can sometimes muster.  Work in progress, I guess.  I thank God I don’t have an acronym to describe me, however, I do care about that person and I would help that person if needed.  I will pray for that person.  I will do an inventory and at the end of this post, I will apologize to that person for being cynical towards them, But I will not be defeated!

The comment did give me a powerful reminder to watch the things that I say to others.

1 John 4:19-20

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen can not love God whom he has not seen.

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Then it dawned on me!  Why is one comment bothering me so much?  The comment almost “took the wind out of my sails” and stopped my forward progress for the day.  I realized also that my character defects were instantly shining through.  Anger, resentment, hate, etc., etc!  All over one comment.  Dangerous place to be (as some of you may be aware).

I have to remember that the devil will jump in wherever I allow it.  I opened the door and he came in.  I don’t care to start controversy.  I care to get through my day as the Lord directs and I care to do that sober.  I suppose all of my posts can’t be uplifting because we all deal with these issues daily and I want to keep it real.

The video below is very helpful to me; if any of you have time.

Have a great Wednesday and comments are welcome!

Today’s verse to “chew on”:

Leviticus 19:18

18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Part of Something… (Bible study 1/30/18)

Galatians 6:2-3

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

 

 

Tough morning to write.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe because I’ve got a cold and my stomach is in knots, I do know that I am struggling.  I’ve gotta do it though because there are followers out there that seem to be counting on it and I’m not going to let them down.

I had one instance yesterday that pulled at my “heart strings”.  It was an email that I received from a stranger, but a follower, and in it, she asked the following question:  “If I don’t feel like I am worthy to go to Heaven, and I don’t want to go to Hell; can’t I just stop existing altogether?”.  Great (but disheartening) question!  Of course, I can’t answer it, however, I can relate.

I have experience with those same thoughts.  I recall laying in a hospital bed in a detox facility for hours praying to God that my heart would just stop beating.  I purposely slowed my breathing as slow as I could and “meditated” on my heart rhythm wishing it would stop.  When I gave up on that plan, I changed it up to thinking “I’ll just not eat for a week or so, that will do the trick!” I thought that just maybe there is a chance that I would go to heaven, so I asked for forgiveness just in case but had no confidence that I would get my wishes.  How could I?

I think we both were lacking Hope.  Big word; and not where I am going with this post.

I’m going to suggest that acting on Empathy breeds hope and therefore a purpose to exist!  In fact, most of my previous posts touch on empathy in one way or another and the Bible touches on synonymous words throughout.  I am going to confidently say that empathy is the theme.

then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:2-4)

 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)

A week ago, as I was selfishly chasing the goal of getting the most views and the most followers,  I accepted a follower who is also a blogger.  This particular blogger suffers from true diagnosed severe mental disorders.  Once I accepted, I started to get numerous notifications of their posts and emails as well.  Honestly – I was annoyed!  I came very close to blocking that person.  I couldn’t do it.  I had to put myself in their shoes.  So I actually read what they were writing and my heart sunk.  Reading between the lines, they are struggling (and not with just an upset stomach and a cold).  Now I read every one of their posts.  Most I can’t understand at all, but my raw sympathy is present and I wish they only had my struggles.

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John 11:35

35 Jesus wept.

My lengthy blog post can be summed up by the shortest verse in the Bible.  Two words.

Among other things, Jesus wept because He felt compassion for Lazarus’s grieving sisters (Mary and Martha) and their loss.  He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but He was troubled by their grief.

There is power in empathy.  At a minimum, it may serve us well to find out that we aren’t alone in our struggles.  At its grandest, we can take comfort in knowing that in practice it fulfills, in part, the greatest commandment!

14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

We’ve got work to do: great work, great purpose – and it will keep me sober today!  I don’t want my heart to stop any longer and I don’t want my dear blog follower to suffer.

Thanks for reading.  Comments are welcome!  Have a blessed Tuesday!

Today’s verse to “chew on”:

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

“Real knows Real”… Bible study 1/29/18

Have you ever been in the presence of someone, a stranger, and “sensed” evil? They didn’t do anything, didn’t say anything, but something was “off”.

And then that person speaks and what (or how) they speak confirms your intuition.  What then?  I must say that personally it invariably draws me in!  I say this in the context (and it’s difficult to explain) that I start to feel hatred.  They do not create pleasant emotions.  I start to “wish” for God to strike them down.  Culturally, the leader of North Korea is a great example of this, however this “hits home” as well.  This could happen at a gas station, a store, at rehab, or yes, even at church.

I’ve thought maybe it’s just me, however, I have asked others and turns out that isn’t the case.

The reason I am writing about this today is that I often reflect back to statements made to me that are almost a revelation (or revealing – to dull it down).  In a past rehabilitation setting, a young man and current friend in his twenties looked me in the eye and told me “real knows real”.  He said this in a very matter of fact manner and it has stuck with me ever since.

During the active phase in our addictions, we probably are at most times unaware of this “evil” that I’m writing about, although when thinking back there were brief moments of clarity.  Thank God for that, amen?

When their actions, or words, don’t necessarily even involve me, I become resentful.  In the world of recovery, most know that resentment is dangerous at a minimum.

What do we do about it?  For one, we stay away from those people! Simple right?  In the 12 step world, we say to change our “people, places, and things”, but the people variable is present no matter what we do or where we go.  This video is helpful in explaining some of what I’m talking about.

1 Corinthians 15:33  Says that “bad company corrupts good character”.  Corrupts!!  How so?  By interfering, or bumping us out of our path towards righteous, or virtuous goals. In the case of addiction or disorders, it is especially important and we must not allow it.

So, “Run Forest, Run”?  The Apostle Paul says in 15:34, essentially just that!  Break off the “leg braces” that have been holding you back for so long and you will experience freedom.

200w_d

Ezekiel 3:19  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.”

Romans 16:17“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.”

What then if it’s less sinister?  I have experienced family members and friends who don’t seem to be aware of the damage that they are causing by their words and actions.  I’m not asking for enabling conduct from them, but I don’t need to feel less than or be criticised neither.  I pray for them; along with patience, tolerance, acceptance, blah, blah, blah.   No offense God, but my alcoholic tendencies require instant gratification.  I am trying to do the best I can in my walk with the Lord, but should I run?  Not exactly.

10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11)

My father has always told me to “stick with the winners”.  We know who they are (as my friend pointed out).  Our Father has given us this ability.  Let’s apply it and walk with Him today.

As always, thanks for reading and comments are welcomed.

Today’s verse to “chew on”:

Matthew 18:15-17

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Do Words Produce? (Bible Study 1/28/18)

What are we listening to?…

 

I’ve got to confess, I have caught myself questioning the Apostle Paul (and others) while reading his instructions in the Bible – Yep, I said it – and there might be a few of you gasping for air right now, or maybe a few of you do it as well.  I have thought to myself: “What did Jesus say?” or, “What does God say about that?”  I want my information directly from the source.  To be completely honest, usually, it’s to justify something I’ve thought or done wrong.

Timothy 4:3-4

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 

cropped-images-6 Hmmm.  Often,  this verse describes me…  Can’t be so!?

Invariably, when I look back and “check” their instructions, I can find that indeed God and/or Jesus Christ verifies “their story”:

Jeremiah 23:16

16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:  “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes.  They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.

Words are powerful!

Yesterday, I “promoted” a post on social media with the pure intent of sharing a deep “connection” with people, strangers – and I found myself watching the promotion with my heart racing.  We were excited and had visions of thousands of families sitting around reading the script and watching the seven-minute embedded clip.

The anticipation was greater than watching the Buckeye’s play for the National Championship!  The hopes were diminished pretty quickly.  When the promotion was over, it wasn’t thousands – nor hundreds – it was 18.  I caught a resentment. I just couldn’t understand how that many thousands of people liked, reposted, and commented on “one- liners” about politics or what someone ate for lunch when my post shared the Gospel and hope.

My better half had to “draw the reigns” on me.  What she pointed out quickly shut me up and brought reasoning and warmth to my hardening heart.  She reminded me that my goal was to help one person – not thousands!

One person sent an email to me about that post and said that the post “changed her life!”  I smiled.  That instantly made it all better.  That was worth the $50.  I remembered the “mission” that I pray about daily.

 

Words are indeed productive or devastatingly destructive.  If I look back at the past week and the posts that I have not only written but also reading other authors posts as well, there is a theme.  Words produce.  They produce feelings and feelings produce actions.  Where we get those words are up to us.

That’s all I’ve got this Sunday morning.  Please feel free to comment or share.  Have a great day!

Todays verse to “chew on”:

Matthew 12:36-37

36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned.”

Some interesting statistics:

  • There are over 5,000 professional speakers that tour the United States every year.
  • A top motivational speaker or self-help guru can command a $50,000 fee for a live presentation.
  • The focus within this industry has shifted more from a spiritual sense to a practical sense – people want real skills to develop that they can use to better their own lives.

 

 

 

 

Morning Bible Studies 1/23/18

Topic: How’d You Do It?     A MUST Read.

Ever been to rehab?  I have. Many.  Upon graduation or completion, I’ve been asked: “how did you do it?”.  I remember my answer: “I didn’t pick up a bottle and I didn’t leave”.  But was it that simple?        Nope.

This song above (hope you’re listening to it loudly) was played in my last rehab (along with others) but, the louder volume of the congregation’s voices was obvious and at times sent chills down my spine.  God was there.

Are you still suffering?  I know that many are struggling and my heart truly goes out to you.  I want to be completely honest with you this morning – I am no expert in recovery and I “only” have 7 months of sobriety as of Sunday, however, bear with me please and hopefully the summary of today’s Bible study makes some sense, or helps one person.  That is my “mission” and it relates to today more than any other blog post I have written.

Any rehab, and I personally think it really doesn’t matter what disorder or addiction that we suffer from; the “clinical” help available seems to be similarly structured, but one theme (at least in my experience of over 7 rehabs) stands out each time – spirituality and lack thereof – in one form/definition or another.  Deep word, I know.  I have heard many a person talk about their search for their purpose.

We wanted to take a deeper look into that “spirituality” and see if we could relate it to our afflictions and our Bible study this morning.  The initial Bible scripture we focused on was Philippians 2:3 and then we looked at the other “Big Book” and after you read the following excerpts, you may notice the theme.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

 

This verse alone is very powerful. In my mind, it is one of the most powerful verses written by the Epistle Paul and I would want nothing more than to always practice its principal.  However, I do not and when I haven’t; it associates in one way or another, with relapse EVERY time.

 

The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 was Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. AA’s stated “primary purpose” (Mission) is to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety”.  It is important to note that Christian principals were the foundation of their goals.  The 12th step is an important one.  It is the last step to follow – meaning there is nothing that follows. We are suggested to help others by carrying this message to others as a result of a “spiritual awakening”.

 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

**A.A. “Big Book” Doctor’s Opinion

“We work out our solution on the spiritual as well as an altruistic plane”

 

 

“To cultivate altruistic love, we must first become fully aware of our own desire to be free from suffering and to experience well-being. This step is especially important for those who have a negative image of themselves or have suffered so much that they feel that they are not made for happiness. We must thus generate warm, tolerant and benevolent attitude towards ourselves and resolve to achieve what is truly good for ourselves.”  …Matthew Ricard

Think about the following statements:

  • If your mission as a Leader is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Follower is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Family Member is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Friend is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Church is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission in Recovery is to help only Yourself: you will fail.

If Jesus’s mission in love was to help only Himself: He would have failed.

  • Paul did not help only himself.
  • Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson did not only help themselves.
  • God does not only help Himself.

As long as I keep helping and loving others, I will stay sober.  Simple and that is the only way that I can explain the question “How do you do it?” or how am I going to “do it” today.

A Pastor and Counselor at the Salvation Army once told me that it is important to read the before and after of individual Bible verses, so let’s take his advice and see what we get out of the rest of what Paul was saying in Philippians:

 

Philippians 2:1-14 

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Wow!!   Enough said for today.

 

As always, I encourage comments and please share it, but more so, I hope and pray that someone reads this post today and something clicks.  Have a great Tuesday.

Todays’s verse to “chew on”:

 

1 John 4:21

21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

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