Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How Do I Plan?

So that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. I Corinthians 2:5

Have you ever experienced the disappointment of carefully made plans? You really think that you thought through every situation only to find out that "it" just didn't end up the way you thought it would (or should).

Many of us just quit. It's so much easier to throw our hands up and say "I'm done! I tried!" and then not want to take on any more risks.  As an addict, or someone with a bad habit this is just not an option unless we want to return to our old habits or ways that were literally killing us.

We have a wonderful life and God has plans for us to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). And that's the ticket. If we trust Him, and believe in Him, why do we feel so depressed that our plans failed? It's because we are relying on plans and not God's plans. We need to be patient as perhaps God's plans are going to move slower than we want them to. And we need to be listening. Sometimes God's plans are not the same as our plans.

Let God be in control and rest in that peace. Until then do some practical things to deal with your disappointment. Some ideas include praying to God and asking for discernment. Ask Him to help you figure out if indeed your plan is God's plan. Surround yourself with those who can encourage you during disappointing times (and be careful because many folks will take the "I told you so approach"), read scripture to find peace for the disappointments.  Take a break from the "plans". Do some physical exercise.

But no matter the approach - don't give up. God does have something planned.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Light - When in Times of Darkness

Even in the darkness, light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Psalm 112:4

I have witnessed (and lived through) the beginning stages of breaking free from an addiction (bad habit, hurt, hangup) and the euphoria from finally realizing the brokenness and just admitting the problem. Acceptance that something has to change. And so we come up with a plan and attend our meetings and life is good for a while.

And then something happen in our lives. We lose a child or a spouse. Our house gets destroyed by fire or we lose a job. In other words, disaster strikes. As a believer, we have accepted that there are going to be dark times in our lives. Either caused by us - or caused by situations in life that we don't control. But rest assured, dark times will happen.

But what do we do with these dark clouds? Yes at first we might cling to the glorious reality and joy that floods our life because we are believing God will walk us through it- but times goes by - and then what? How will you react when your sick child dies, or you can't find work for 10 months, or you find out the insurance on the house was lapsed?

When these times come and you find yourself starting to go down a dark and dangerous road of questioning God and ultimately giving into your addiction, it is then that you must take pause and reestablish your connection to God. It is then that you must remember that God is unchanging. The circumstances might be hard to accept and seem unfair, but cling to the fact that God loves you and cares for you.

Dark times will end. The clouds will move away and light will return. The question is,will you be standing in the light when it returns?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Last Days

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2nd Timothy 3:1-5

I often wonder, are we the "last days"? You read this and think that yes all of these are true now - today - in our present world! And how horrible they sound, right?

But they I begin to think about each one individually and realize that in the world of addictions, all of these are present, albeit some strongly more than others - but they are there. And the part about have nothing to do with these people - wow!

But I remembered something I heard a pastor say a few years ago about this passage.  He wrote that "Christ sends none away empty - only those that are full of themselves". How amazing is it that with all of these horrible traits - as an addict - as a sinner - that as long as we fall on our knees and ask him to be the center of our lives that He will be there with us.

Even as we accept this gift of grace there is a message here to be heeded. We are warned to not have anything to do with these people.  It is very true that those with an addiction are often weak to fall back into the old habits. And so we must distance ourselves from those things or people that were part of our past. It might be painful, but it is healthy to do so.

I wrote about this on the main blog as a series about "people, places and things " and "support systems" (and which is why I put them as yellows in the recoveryBox app - I feel so strongly about this, especially when I have scripture to back up my feelings).  To read the series, visit this link to the articles there.  http://www.recoveryboxapp.blogspot.com/search/label/support%20system

It might be hard to separate from those items/people - but you are not alone. Jesus is there waiting for you. He was waiting for you even before you knew you needed help from your addiction.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our Role Model

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. Ephesians 5:1

Do you remember back to when you were a kid and you had to write a paper in school about who was your role model? Maybe it was a teacher, or a parent, or even a friend, perhaps a sports figure or someone in the community.

Now, fast forward years later. Is that person still your role model? For some yes, and many others the answer might be no. You might have learned something about that person that has left you wondering about their lives. Or perhaps you have just grown up and realized that not everyone is perfect - perhaps you learned they have and addiction, cheated on wives, embezzled money from the company they worked for.

The thing is, there is a much better role model for us - someone who IS perfect for both you and me. Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth and endured the same tests that we as humans do. Infact, he endured so much more. And he never tried to find the easy, painless way out. If you read the Bible you will see he endured the same feelings and emotions as we do - joy, love, frustrations, temptations, sadness, rejection, etc.

Ask the Lord to transform us into His image more each day - fill us with the Holy Spirit so that our behavior and choices and thoughts and words are more like Jesus each day.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Musical Devotionals - City on the Hill from Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns - City on the Hill

Did you hear of the city on the hill?
Said one old man to the other
It once shined bright and it would be shining still
But they all started turning on each other

You see, the poets thought the dancers were shallow
And the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the elders saw the young ones as foolish
And the rich man never heard the poor man speak

And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

Each one thought that they knew better
That they were different by design
Instead of standing strong together
They let their differences divide

And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

And the world is searching still
But it was the rhythm of the dancers
That gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets
That gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones
It was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man
That needed to be told

It is the rhythm of the dancers
That gives the poets life
It is the spirit of the poets
That gives the soldiers strength to fight
It is the fire of the young ones
It is the wisdom of the old
It is the story of the poor man
That's needing to be told

One by one, will we run away
With our made up minds to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

One by one, will we run away
With our made up minds, to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

Come home
To the city on the hill
Come home 
To the city on the hill 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Debtor

A Debtor - from Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Am Second - Alex Kendrick

Alex Kendrick - The Story (from I am Second)

(this video is a little long - but well worth the watch..esp starting at minute 7:30)
I can personally say that we did the Love Dare in our marriage during counseling due to our issues with addictions in our lives..and God spoke to us in so many ways. 
Alex Kendrick is living proof that God can use obedient people to accomplish the seemingly impossible. How can he and the pastors of a small Georgia church produce, direct and market one movie-much less four theatrical released films- that keep impacting the lives of millions of people.
In this I am Second film Alex details the incredible story of how God worked to create and distribute the movies. He also reveals how God was convicting him in many of the same areas as the movie topics. His dilemma-if he could be obedient in making movies for God, could he also be obedient in making changes in his life, too?
Movies I recommend watching, Facing the Giants, Fire Proof and Courageous