Smile! (or not)

 

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:

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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.

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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.

Book smarts:

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!

Morning Bible Studies 1/24/18

Topic: How’d You Do It?     A MUST Read, Cont…

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

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.

Morning Bible Studies 1/22/18

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Topic: “Urban Camo”

Have you ever walked into a courtroom and faced the Judge for something you’ve done wrong? I have and it is not an enjoyable experience.  I noticed that the Judge was much less tolerant of one person in particular who was wearing a ball cap, shorts, and a tank top – than he was with me.  The Judge instantly corrected the hat situation and then went on to reprimand the guy for his choice in attire.  I wasn’t dressed extremely fancy  I had on a pair of khaki pants and a button-down, collared shirt in all blue – no tie.  When I stood before him, I responded with “yes sir” or “no sir” and kept my facial expression as if he were teaching me something.  He was, in fact, teaching me something; don’t do it again!  My point is that we all experience situations where the manner in which we present ourselves in public matters and I believe the same for presenting ourselves to God.

I wouldn’t accept a cardiologist that was about to operate on my son’s heart, to be dressed in coveralls, workboots, and a hardhat, however that same fella I would gladly accept (or at least listen to) to build a retaining wall alongside my driveway.

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Would you hire a man smelling strongly of cologne, wearing a 3 piece suit, not looking you in the eye, and shaking your hand with the strength of a child to operate a crane in the steel mill?  Possibly not.

This morning in Bible study, we wondered why lately God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers.  Well, the question is:  How are we approaching Him?  We turn to the Bible.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:12-16)

First, we see that we need to come boldly before the Lord.

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Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalms 100:4-5)

Next, we see that we need to thank Him, acknowledge him and He promises us His love and faithfulness.

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10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:10)

And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

 

He always answers our prayers, just maybe not when we want, or how we want.  We must be earnest with ourselves and then be earnest (confident) when we talk to Him, having faith that He is a great Father.

 

Maybe you (the reader) thought this may lead to the bashing of people’s style when entering a church.  It is not.  It is not our place to judge others, but to interpret for ourselves from the instructions in the Bible how we approach God – If this helps, it probably wouldn’t hurt to approach the Judge this way neither 🙂

Pray today, talk to God – He is waiting!

Please feel free to comment and have a great Monday!

Verse to “chew on”:

 

Daniel 2:21

21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.

 

Morning Bible Studies 1/21/18

Topic: Meat and potatoes…

We are going to buy this church!  Not figuratively, not wishful thinking, and not by financing – literally.  It has an address and it is not a “pipe dream”. We have the vision and the means, so we are going to step out in faith. Yep, you’ve read that correctly!  Meat.

That picture is our hope.  Sound strange?  Well, we wanted to base our bible study this morning on hope.  During the previous week, we focused our topics on the ever-changing struggles that we are facing.  The tools and instruction that we apply to each struggle we find in the Bible and we like to pass them along to you, in order to help. So this morning (and for the following Sundays) we are going to entertain hope.

We did this in a tangible, realistic and faith-based way.  We wanted this Sunday’s bible study to be positive and encouraging and any other adjective you can imagine that would create a spark!  We had many smiles on our faces this morning when we talked about this picture.

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We “get through” our days around here, with some, but little hope.  Yes, of course, we try to look forward to something – such as one day last week, we made the decision that after work,  we would shut the phones off, put our pajamas on, grab some blankets and watch a movie.  We did that.  We watched “August Rush”.  Great movie, great decision and it was enjoyable for two hours.  We also look forward to going to church and during busy times, we live stream sermons in our living room.  But those little things that get us through our day and therefore weeks, are what I call potatoes.  Kind of correlative to making a roast and leaving out the meat – still edible, however missing something. We can do more.

Personally, during my week (and some of the Bible studies), I have thought about what I have been writing on this blog site.  I love my mission and will stay true to it.  I pray about it often each day.

If I’ve got your attention thus far (thanks), this is where it may get a little boring, but hang in there!

This brings me to a few things I have noticed and learned and we talked about these three words this morning in our Bible study (including reading scriptures related to them) and we discovered their definitions.  While doing so, we came to an interesting fact.  Each of these three words is being used less and less in our day-to-day (current society) vocabulary.  Why is this?  The bible hasn’t changed!  Please click on each word and it will link you to a graph that shows the frequency/usage of each word (on a timeline).  I believe that people are drifting away from spirituality and the Bible itself.

Righteousness

Faith 

Mercy

I also found it interesting that people donate to some strange causes.  While learning how to blog, I found a website that individuals can use to promote anything (yes, anything) and it has a “button” you can click on and donate to a particular cause.  In one instance, an individual asks for donations to “Help fund my writing and my daily cups of coffee – I really need that”.  True story!  Amazingly, this fund receives hundreds of dollars each month!  Very clever I think, and I at times am guilty of donating to bizarre reasons.  I would flip the person a dollar for a coffee – just because I might believe – good for you for being so bold.  I have definitely spent my money on much worse things.  We currently don’t need donations and will buy the church ourselves, but looking forward, if we ever need a “button”, I can promise you that it won’t be for coffee.

Reading through another blog, I discovered tips on finding the right church.  His tip:

Tip 5: Look For The Gospel, Clearly And Articulately Delivered.

We are going to buy that building in the picture and if God’s plan is for us to use it as a church, that “tip” will be our mission.  Keeping things simple, the Apostle Paul has already given us step by step directions – no need to figure out “the space shuttle launch codes”.  It is unnecessary to create a doctrine that promotes personal authority.  Paul was instructed by the best and shared it – it’s already been done for us.

At a minimum, we will own a building.  A building that was built in the 1800’s – when the words “Faith, Mercy, and Righteousness” were being used frequently.  A building that could host many people looking for the Gospel clearly and accurately delivered.  Hope.

Have a great Sunday and as always, comments are very welcome.

Todays Bible verse to “chew on”:

 

Romans 5:2-5

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 

Morning Bible Studies 1/20/18

Topic: We Think Too Much!

11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit (Mark 13:11)

Ever looked back at a situation or conversation and thought, “Man! I should’ve said this, or did that?”.  We can come up with some pretty clever “stuff” sometimes.  We can be crafty, sinister and even contemplate retribution!

I have in the past, been so driven to create my own form of justice, that it will consume me and I will actually go so far as to be proud of myself.  I will justify to the ends of the earth that I am right and “they” are wrong. Each time we do that, it seems to inevitably evolve into ANGER and resentment, guilt – and really, an overall bad feeling inside of us. This is definitely a trigger in my struggle with alcoholism.

The confidence (or maybe slight reassurance) we feel when we “re-play” the situations and fire back in the air – is provided to us by the devil himself.  Shouldn’t we realize that the Devil is establishing his foothold?  We are not only “playing God”, but wasting valuable time and energy at playing something we are not – God.

 

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:25-28)

 

First, I think we have to take the “30-second rule”.  This rule is what my better half came up with after she figured out that I invariably jump to conclusions when faced with something that doesn’t go my way.  Funny, in the verse above, it explains that it IS okay for me to be angry, however, NOT okay for me to sin because of it.  If I sin, (or even contemplate it) I have given the opportunity to the devil that he is looking for.  During those 30 seconds, while the devil is tempting, taunting, and agitating us,  we must turn our thoughts back to God.  He is standing there waiting for us to do so.

 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)

But the LordGod called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)

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We played out a scenario this morning that originated on Facebook (of course!).  There is a posting going around that shows a picture of a popular television evangelist and his home.

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Not utilizing the 30-second rule, each of our instincts after looking at this picture was negative at best.  Each of us said things like: “How could he be so arrogant?”, or  “He’s a hypocrite!”, and  “I will never listen to him again!”, “That money could help so many people”,  and so on.  We instantly judged this man because of his possessions.  We fell into the devil’s trap – his foothold.  We spent roughly 15 minutes being God and we got pretty “hot” on this topic while doing so!  The devil was laughing at us.

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The bible says to guard your heart.  God made us in His image.  When we played God in the above example, we did not guard our heart.  We gave in to the foothold that the devil wanted us to (like grabbing the fruit off the tree in Eden).

Suppose we re-play the scenario using the 30-second rule and instruction from God’s word.  Here’s how that may look:

We are envious of his house and the money he has and shouldn’t be – wouldn’t we want those things too?  Even Job and Solomon had a massive inventory of belongings.  We really don’t know how many people he has or has not helped. We do not know the purpose that God has for him.  We took a look at the bible and saw the example of Jesus and the righteous rich man;

 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:20-21)

If Jesus Himself asked this very question to the Evangelist in the example, do we know what his answer would be?  God does.  We don’t, so why do we waste so much time and energy?  I’m as guilty as anyone of doing this.

 

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27)

We must guard our own hearts and look straight ahead.  We must listen to God when He calls us and turn away from the foothold of the devil.

We played out a few other interesting scenarios, like in-laws opinions of our lives, and they all played out similarly.  Think about it (but not too much) and have a great Saturday!  Feel free to comment!

Today’s verse to “chew on”:

 

 

John 10:3-6

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

 

Thanks!

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My goal (or mission) when I started this website a little over a week ago was simple.  I told myself, God, and my girlfriend that I wanted to help one person.  I prayed to God earnestly and searched my soul to ensure that I didn’t have any ulterior motives.  I could not find one.

“If I can just help one person,” I said to her, I have accomplished something great!   It seems that I have helped not only one, but also myself tremendously in recovery and spirituality.

I have received many emails and messages –  from complete strangers that have encouraged me to continue on.  I have heard some very tragic stories in the brief week and also some inspiring stories!  My heart is overwhelmed joy.

Pretty neat to see visitors from as far away as Australia and Alaska – and they return.  So, it may not seem like much, but 129 people following out there so far means the world to me.  Thank you!

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, (Philippians 1:3-5)

Relationship vs. Authority

Topic: Authority

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC1p9v7uZRc

Being a control freak myself – which in my twelve step group is labeled a character defect, and in a church can be considered a sin, I found this mornings bible study interesting at minimum.  A key to finding sobriety in A.A. is the elusive “spiritual awakening”.  One of the greatest reasons to attend A.A. is for the fellowship.  Should this not be the case when attending church?  Don’t get me wrong, I have felt welcomed at many churches (where I seek spiritual guidance), however, I have also felt judged and almost shunned (if) when I speak my personal issues.  I once thought “I sure would love to have my Pastor’s phone number on speed dial, like I do my sponsor’s!”  Have some churches forgotten that we are all sinners?  A.A. hasn’t forgotten, but I am a devout Christian as well.

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I have recently been blessed by having the opportunity to experience and participate in church services at many varying Christian denominations facilities in multiple geographic locations.  I have taken a message from each service and in each instance, the gift that I’ve received is the relationships with people that I have formed.  This hasn’t been necessarily true in every occasion with the leaders of each establishment.  The congregations were warm, friendly and curious. On the contrary – most (not all) of the time the leaders were the opposite – cold, impersonal, and unattentive to my needs or even my presence!

I have, on more than one occasion visited churches where the sermons “blew me away”.  They were sermons that not only kept me awake and focused but filled me with empowerment and I looked at those Pastors, Priests, Clergy, Reverands, Elders, etc., with great admiration and respect.  In each experience, I put aside my personal social anxieties and made the attempt to meet them and introduce myself.  The result?  As I explained above; cold, unattentive, etc., and I also noticed a few who went into the category of arrogant and downright demeaning.

I was in attendance at a service where I distinctly noticed that not one person was holding hands or putting their arm around there husbands, or wives or children!  This was in a relatively small congregation of approximately 400.  I felt like I was in the “Twilight Zone” literally!

I purposefully reached down and grabbed my girlfriend’s hand.

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Initially, at another service (at a different denomination), the entire congregation were warm, inviting and very friendly.  When the service began I couldn’t help but notice that many in attendance uttered shoosh in almost one loud voice when the Minister walked in.  You could hear a pin drop in that building.  People (and families) were individually singled out to move their seating positions!  The worship (or lack thereof) reflected this seemingly intimidating aura.

I once thought “I sure would love to have my Pastor’s phone number on speed dial, like I do my sponsor’s!”

13 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (Isaiah 29:13)

How does this all relate as far as a bible study and alcoholism (or any affliction)?  Well, we looked at what Jesus taught.  Relationship! We looked at what is God’s will for us, and how that plays a role in our lives today.  We have authority all around us (and with good cause), but is that fact supposed to scare us?  This is where we turned to the bible for answers.

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Jesus sums it up in the book of Mark:

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 9:35-45)

Our understanding or perception of this story is that some of today’s authorities seek vanity and selfish desires for their own status (such as James and John asking to be at His right and left hand) and forget their “mission” in its entirety.

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My previous 10 years of experience of leading people at a large manufacturing facility taught me many lessons.  I managed departments where, honestly, I had no idea what they really did.  I learned that to lead those people successfully – to understand those people – I needed to do what they do.  I would actually take off the “white shirt” and put on the blue; get dirty and perform their job in its entirety with no “stage” set. One of those lessons is that by serving, I not only gained knowledge but earned respect and thereby accomplished goals.  I have “sat where they sat”.

Many of you (if you’ve made it this far, thanks!) may not have time to watch the following video, however, I hope that you do.  Keep in mind that I am not promoting the church or Pastor in the video, nor do I work there, but the message is most definitely worth listening to.

At the end of our Bible study today, we know that we need to pray for and love our leaders and have faith that God is using them either to teach us or to learn something themselves.  Either way, He has a purpose! We are going to practice relationship, and love wins every time!

 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…(! Timothy 2:1-3)

Today’s verse “to chew on”:

Mark 9:50

50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

Thank you so much for reading, Please feel free to comment and have a great day!

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