2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.3 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.
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:2-4)
8 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.
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”:
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.
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.
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). OurFather 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”:
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.
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.
3 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.4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
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”:
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”:
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.
“Newton’s third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects.” Newton
Our Bible study started out this morning in a lull as it sometimes does when we are still wiping the sleep out of our eyes and waiting for the coffee pot to do its job. We thought we would take the easy approach and read the summary page that begins each book (at least in our Bible). We got through Matthew, Mark, and came to Luke. Included in the summary of Luke is the fact that he was a physician and that he contributed more words to the Bible than any other author, including Paul (who wrote the most books). Luke stressed Jesus’ compassion more than any other Gospel writers did.
And there the Bible study took its direction. Compassion. Where in the world does that come from? In an effort not to “preach”, I’d like to just offer thoughts. I had to take a shower before writing this morning. Some people sing – I solve the world’s problems. Ha!
Originally, I was gonna go off the deep end and bring Newton’s laws and Buck’s strange philosophy together and ramble on about theory or concept, such as: if every action has an equal but opposite reaction, then the action of drinking causes homelessness and isolation? Or the action of gambling causes the reaction of being broke and the wife to leave? I asked myself if the action of not eating or overeating causes the reaction of health and emotional issues… and so on. There’s living proof of all of those theories. Probably not scientific, however, maybe?
“Scientific” also wouldn’t describe my personal interpretation of the Holy Trinity. I explain it (to myself) as being like the sun; yes, I can physically see the sun (Jesus in human form), but I can’t see the warmth or touch the light given off – however, I know it’s there!!! Three “things” in one.
Some of you have possibly fallen off at this point. If you are still reading, great!! I would like you to watch the video below and not jump and read ahead. I have a point that I hope one person grasps. Take your time with this video. If you don’t have the time now, please come back when you do and share this with your family or friends.
If you are anything like me (or the crowd in the video), tears are falling down your face. It’s called compassion. Dare I say – love…
Where did that come from?
What scientific law explains it?
I can’t believe that it was put in me from the quagmire that I crawled up on when I was just a microorganism millions of years ago and evolved into the tear I just lost.
I just know it is there – just like I know the warmth and light are there – and just like I know the Holy Spirit is inside of us.
I’m sober today and I’ll take God’s advice from His word:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
“ If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” –Sir Isaac Newton
Feel free to comment and share! Have a great Friday!
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels”
How about when you realized on your own that you needed treatment in the first place? The people in your past who have hurt you and made you feel unworthy didn’t “will” that realization into you. That’s the Holy Spirit whispering into your soul “I love you. You are worthy. Get help.”
I have often wondered: am I worthy of recovery? Is the effort and time involved in recovery worth it?
Let’s say, I have (for the majority of my life) felt feelings that induce negative behaviors and thoughts – such as low self-worth and esteem, and produced addiction(s), then what? What am I recovering? What have I lost?
I should explain that I am not trained in any form of psychology, nor am I ordained. I just write a blog with the intent of helping one person – sometimes that may only be myself, but I would hope that all treatment program clients, patients, etc., would get something from this as well.
The following is a conversation between myself and a “ranking official” at a recovery program. It is actual and did occur. It may not make much sense, but after (or if) you read it, I will make a point.
Jonathan writes:Hello! How can I help you today? I’m available to answer any questions you may have.
7:12 Good morning! I am trying to determine a link between attachment theory and the Bible. If there is “muscle memory” in the brain similar to the physical muscle memory. Meaning if a basketball player can (over time) be trained to hit foul shots every time, can he/she be trained the reverse? How that relates to attachment (say disoriented) in an adult, is the repeated negative behaviors associated with… say neglect in the form of non-physical inattention to childhood emotional needs, can they be reversed and is there an answer for that (hope) in the Bible? Deep, I know.
7:20 Perhaps not deep for someone of the clergy with training in attachment theory, but for me yes – Too much to consider without a background in Bible
7:21 Okay. Thanks anyway Jonathan.
7:21 Sorry I wasn’t more helpful!
7:22 That’s okay. Maybe you can help: I was once told that it is okay to say I don’t know, however, better to say I don’t know, but I might be able to find someone who does?
7:23 “I don’t know” is a key to humility and as such a benefit, not a deficit. It leads to growth and further knowledge if you seek it
7:24 Possibly someone associated with your facility there in FL? Was that response a “no”?
7:25 We are not a “religious” program, in that we accept any and all opinions and beliefs, however, we do not push one or another, therefore we do not have any opinions when it comes to religion or any text associated with one. So, I suppose my answer is no
7:27 Perhaps asking for an “answer” was incorrect. Take away the Bible and you are left with religion. The Bible is relationship. Religion is authority. Your programs offered – twelve-step programs are an example of religion (based originally Biblically). Good talking Jonathan. Have a great day!
This part is important (to me as a Christian)!! He continues in an email 21 minutes later! This gives me the impression that he may be curious…
7:51 12 Step programs are often mistaken for religion, and that misperception carries into the public view. It is NOT religious, but spiritual in nature
8:01 The misconception is in the use or definition of the word. The definition being an institutional system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. You are aware that AA was founded on a belief in God and the 12 steps that eventually followed are the practice of that belief, yes? No other way around that.
My original question may have baffled you, but it really relates to recovery – and being “worthy” of it. To recover is to get back. If you’ve never had feelings of self-worth, then there is nothing to return to. That could be a beautiful thing for patients in treatment to understand. That thought basically says everything is new and what we need to return to is the original state that God designed us for – why we were born. Kind of a simple philosophy.
8:12 Yes, however the idea of a “God of ones own understanding” leads to a spiritual bent for the program, rather than to any specific dogma.
It is the basis of my earlier point, where some find the fact that God (which represents many, many different things) is mentioned means their God as opposed to a higher power which means something quite different
8:29 Read the history, my friend. Review the statistics of recovery rates from the beginning where the success rates were much greater. The roots had nothing to do with a “higher power” nor were the words “of my own understanding” present. We may have “re-invented the wheel” by changing the words to “appease people. We took the cliche “Keep it Simple” and ignored the suggestion.
In Alcoholics Anonymous(“the Big Book”), the “basic text” of A.A. (the first edition of which was published in April 1939), A.A. cofounder Bill W. wrote: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” [Big Book, 4th ed., 58]. What is usually unfamiliar to the A.A. Fellowship is Bill W.’s inspiring declaration in the personal story of AA Number Three (Bill D.) found in the second edition (published in 1955), the third edition (published in 1976), and the fourth edition (published in 2001) of the “basic text”:
“. . . [T]he Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” [Big Book, 4th ed., 191]
A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob said in his last major talk to AAs:
It wasn’t until 1938 that the teachings and efforts and stories that had been going on were crystallized in the form of the Twelve Steps. I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. . . We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them, as I said, as a result of our study of the Good Book
An effort that began with the founding of A.A. in June 1935 in Akron, Ohio. And Dr. Bob concluded his own personal story in the Big Book by voicing the same emphasis that Bill W. gave when he spoke of his having been cured of alcoholism by the Lord. Dr. Bob stated:
Your Heavenly Father will never let you down! [Big Book, 4th ed., 181]
The problem is that neither I nor most AAs nor most other people in the recovery arena know or even seem to want to know exactly what occurred that put A.A. on the map. Or that generated sales of over 40 million Big Books. Or that brought the worldwide Society of Alcoholics Anonymous to a membership level of about 2 million people. Yet A.A. had produced a wide variety of solid, reliable, spiritual tools between its founding in June 1935 and the publication of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (“the Big Book”) in April 1939. And we want to be sure that desperate, “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable” alcoholics hear the whole story. Better stated, that they know “the rest of the story” about their cherished Fellowship. And the option of placing their recovery in God’s hands today.
You have a great day sir! Please feel free to contact me anytime. God Bless.
Whether or not this entire conversation thread makes any sense to you the reader, I personally feel that the mere fact that I am searching for worthiness – makes me worthy. I need to go through my day believing and confident that God is looking down smiling!
To recover something we once had: what did we once have? Early childhood and young adult years of pain and neglect – criticism and insult, by people: causing us to believe we aren’t worth anything?? Other people and situations created our value or worthiness? NOPE!!
27 “His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’ 29 If this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol made by men from gold or silver or chipped from stone. 30 God tolerated man’s past ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone to put away idols and worship only him. 31 For he has set a day for justly judging the world by the man he has appointed and has pointed him out by bringing him back to life again.” (Acts 17:27-31)
10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus, and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. (Ephesians 2:10)
I have let people and not God create my feelings of worthlessness. Those people will have to figure their own lives out from now on and I wouldn’t want to be in thier shoes when it comes time to answer for it.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
I wish them the best, but I am worthy of God’s love, so I’ll take it and love Him in return. I will love Him because he loves me. I will fight this affliction because I am worthy of recovery – to what His purpose was originally intended.
5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Thanks for the time you took to read this. Comments are welcomed. Have a great Thursday!
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Colossians 3:18-4:1 In this section, Paul gives insight to how Christians should behave in the major personal relationships of daily life. In 3:18-19, he speaks of husbands and wives, in 3:20-21 he speaks of parents and children, and from 3:22-4:1, masters and slaves, or today we would say employers and employees. If you think about […]
Well, it happens to all of us. No toilet paper. Doesn’t sound like an inspirational lead into a story? Wait for it. I’m writing this blog story about common sense (and my lack of it sometimes) and the theme just came to me! Don’t ask how. Many times, I have been guilty of not checking first and many times I have also been guilty of not replacing after! Where does common sense and Christianity come into play you ask? I’ll get there, but on the bright side, someone came up with a clever use (Christian too!) for those empty roles:
Is common sense learned from reading books? No, it comes from life, but common sense does tell us that books are available and are very helpful when the “duct tape and hammer” approach doesn’t work.
I was once told by a former Supervisor at a steel mill, that when he asks me a question, don’t tell him I don’t know; tell him I don’t know, but I can find out. I have loved that saying ever since and I’ve quoted him several times in talking with others. BUT – do I heed his advise? Sometimes.
This morning I decided that I was finally going to figure out social media and what a “hashtag” was. I learned. Similar to toilet paper rolls, laziness combined with frustration has been my “thorn” – or excuse previously.
I also learned a small lesson from a BIG mistake that I made early this morning. At home, we were discussing career changes and resumes. To set the stage: this was immediately following our brief Bible study at 5:30 a.m. My better half had asked if I would help her to create her resume and I thought to myself that it would be an easy task. I was glad that she asked me.
I knew most of her personal and professional information, however, I was unaware of any accomplishments that she had achieved over the many years at the same company. When I impatiently asked her to name them off, she struggled to recall them. I fired away in rapid succession questions: if she had perfect attendance?, perfect safety record?, letters of commendation?, successful projects?, awards?, etc., As she stammered to answer, it never dawned on me that I was being a bully! No other way around it. This is where I did not use common sense, nor Christian values. Looking back, not only did I need to apologize, but reflect on my actions.
“in purity, understanding, patience, and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;” (2 Corinthians 6:6)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
“and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:7)
Book smarts and Common Sense:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12)
So, I’m sorry babe and I will try to remember to change the roll next time too!
I went to bed last night praying for yesterdays Bible study to reach the world. I asked my girlfriend to pray for me that the post would hit 100 visitors. She was just as excited as I was. The topic was so personal to me that I thought “this is groundbreaking stuff!” There can’t be any other answer to life’s afflictions than what I wrote.
Then it dawned on me! This isn’t groundbreaking stuff! Everything I wrote has been clearly said to us in His word. It’s already reached the world long ago. I stopped the pity party and asked her what she thought I should do. The response was to continue the topic today. In efforts not to bore anyone, I won’t torture you with redundancy and you can read yesterdays here.
We spent 10 minutes – 15 tops reading random scriptures on our phones. Faith without works (James 2:14-26) was a standout. Not our typical morning and nothing stood out; except that the more we study – and the more we apply – miracles (we call them signs at home) happen. We don’t sit back and wait for them neither!
So, I could’ve sulked and not posted today, but that won’t help anyone. Works.
Have a great Wednesday!
Todays Bible verse to “chew on”:
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 I find that I am often confused when I listen to or […]