Courage to change the things I can…

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I haven’t been able to write for a few days due to the fact that we’ve been traveling. During our travels, we encountered an animal rescue.  We have been on the search for a dog or puppy lately and we refuse to buy one when there are so many  “free” or discarded dogs already available.  We passed the rescue and went about our daily plans, but we couldn’t stop thinking and talking about the rescue and maybe we could find the pup we’ve been looking for finally.  We decided that we would make time to go back there and look around.  There began the problem.  We noticed that almost all of the dogs were malnourished and unhappy.  I am not a dog whisper, bud they all seemed sad.  It would make sense if a couple of them were skinny, but not most of them!   When I enquired about the condition of the animals, I was not given any suitable reasoning, and in fact, the fella in charge seemed to not care at all.  We left angry.  In my drinking days, this anger would cause more drinking!  Today, I don’t, but I still have the fierce determination to make things right.

We recite the Serenity Prayer at most 12 step meetings.  Do we ever break it down and reflect on what it means to us?  What do we do when we need to stay sober and a major personal issue affects us so deeply?  Let it go? Fix it?  Can we?

Breaking down a problem and solving it sober, politically correct, Christian like and not self-serving:  Tough one.

Our Bible study topic this morning:  Doing the right thing when you feel that your attempt might cause unjust consequences.   But if by doing what is right fixes injustice and provides truth we would essentially be “…doers of the word and not hearers only…” (James 1:22) 

 

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A small mouse crept up to a sleeping lion. The mouse admired
the lion’s ears, his long whiskers and his great mane. 

“Since he’s sleeping,” thought the mouse, “he’ll never suspect I’m here!” 

With that, the little mouse climbed up onto the lion’s tail, ran across its back,
slid down its leg and jumped off of its paw. The lion awoke and quickly caught
the mouse between its claws. 

“Please,” said the mouse, “let me go and I’ll come back and help you 
 someday.” 

The lion laughed, “You are so small! How could ever help me?” 

The lion laughed so hard he had to hold his belly! The mouse jumped to freedom
and ran until she was far, far away. 

The next day, two hunters came to the jungle. They went to the lion’s lair. 
They set a huge rope snare. When the lion came home that night, he stepped into the
trap. 

He roared! He wept! But he couldn’t pull himself free. 

The mouse heard the lion’s pitiful roar and came back to help him. 

The mouse eyed the trap and noticed the one thick rope that held it together. 
She began nibbling and nibbling until the rope broke. The lion was able to shake
off the other ropes that held him tight. He stood up free again! 

The lion turned to the mouse and said, “Dear friend, I was foolish to ridicule
you for being small. You helped me by saving my life after all!” 

Moral of the story: No matter the size, everyone can help, and be just as important!

What happens if the mighty lion instead turns and eats the mouse?

 

I think inaction is out of the question, but the lion can sometimes be very intimidating.  Maybe wisdom tells us that many mice would have a better chance?  We thought that maybe by donating money that it would, in turn, help the animals.  We only needed to recall the fella in charge’s demeanor and realized that wouldn’t help. We also thought about volunteering, but the rescue was too far away.  Should we have faith that there must be a reason God is allowing this to happen?  We don’t think so.  God is love.

Today’s Bible study is more of reflection than a possible solution.  Doing the right thing takes courage, prayer, and faith.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments if you have time.

Todays verse to “chew on”:

Isaiah 1:17

17 Learn to do good.
    Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
    Defend the cause of orphans.
    Fight for the rights of widows.

 

Keywords: learn, seek, help, defend, and fight.

 

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.

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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.

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