Saturday, July 26, 2014

To Be Young and Enjoy It

Ecclesiastes 11:9

New International Version (NIV)
You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
    and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
    God will bring you into judgment.

I love this verse. I love that it tells us to enjoy life. I love that it tells us to follow our heart. But I worry that we misunderstand this scripture and ignore the last part - that God will bring you into judgement. 

In no way is this meant to be a scare tactic but rather a warning to remind us that our actions have consequences. If you live in the world of addiction and are working on staying sober, chances are that you are already at the point where you see how your past actions caused negative consequences to you and others in your life. 

I tell my kids often to just be kids. Don't worry about wanting the latest gadgets or needing to have the trendy clothes. Those gadgets will break or become outdated and clothes will come and go fashion-wise. What's more important is what you do with your time.  I tell them life is so short and the time you have with no responsibilities is short as well - go outside and just run around, play a game of pick-up softball, just have fun. But I do warn them to be nice to each other because how they treat people also has consequences.

Many youth of today don't like the "faith" because they say there are too many rules.  But I wonder what type of lives they really live. I personally feel that my faith actually frees me from the burdens and consequences of life as long as I strive to be like Jesus I clearly understand what is honoring to him - and so my playground is really easy to understand.

Regardless, go outside today and take a breath of fresh air. And enjoy "life"!




Friday, July 25, 2014

Planning Our Days

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Now this is a good one. I am a planner. I'm getting better at trying to go by the seat of my pants but I used to try and plan for every situation. Then reality struck and my world came crashing down and I realized I was so not in control. Because that is what planning is right? A form of being in control.

And I learned that the more I planned the more I was trying to control a situation that was well, out of my control. Sometimes we need to step back and check our motives for planning so much.
  • Are we planning because we want to prevent failure?
  • Prevent getting hurt?
  • Do we plan because we want to achieve something? 
  • Or maybe because we feel we have to?
The more we plan and see that life doesn't always work out that way the more we should be seeing the signs that "hey, I'm not in control"!

God really is the creator and the ultimate planner. We can decide that we want to do something but let God work out the details. I don't mean say "Let's go to the beach" and then sit down and think your towels and swimsuits and lotion will fly into the car for you. I mean don't plan on every little detail working out just right.

For someone having an addiction, one step is to make amends to those who you hurt or you hurt. Yes, it's OK to plan to talk with them and have planned out what you need to say. But don't try to anticipate their reaction or comments back and then plan on how you will react. That's ridiculous. We all need to learn to cope with life. And life is really a journey with twists and turns and stops unknown until we reach our final destination -  heaven.

Have a great day and - to use a familiar phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff."




Thursday, July 24, 2014

Celebrating our Victories

Let Everything Praise the Lord - Psalm 150:1-6

150 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens![a]
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Today is my son's birthday and I was thinking this morning about all the celebration plans that go into a birthday for a pre-teen. And funny thing - he did nothing but turn 13.  Yes, it is a big thing, please don't get me wrong. But it's a birthday - the day would come and go regardless.

But how about celebrating our victories. Those are the things that we have had to overcome. Not everyone beats an addiction. Not everyone can say they went 60 days, or 6 years or yes even 60 years sober. When those days come - they should be celebrated and not minimized because of what others will think.

And to me these verses tell us to make a loud noise!! Yes, crank up the radio and sing a wonderful worship song. Stand up and put your arms in the arm and shout "Praise the Lord because with your help I have overcome!" 

For those of you who use recoveryBox, the iPhone Addiction App, please post your sobriety awards on Facebook or Twitter or email it to me (support@recoveryboxapp.com); I WANT to celebrate with you!  Flood my inbox!

Have a wonderful day and yes, you can even celebrate today even if it's not your sobriety anniversary! Just celebrate being alive!!





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How We Treat Others Is a Big Sign of Who We Are

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. James 2:13

This one seems straight forward right? I mean, you want to be respected, loved, forgiven, accepted, desired to be with, and more. And that's natural because God really did design is to be that way. He truly wanted us to be social creatures.

So what's the big deal? People should treat you that way. I tell my kids ALL the time on a DAILY basis, "Treat others the way you want to be treated. It's the Golden Rule!" As children, we have to teach them this often because their brains have not formed yet and the impulsiveness and inner drive to satisify the self always comes first. And it's out job as parents to open their eyes to the world around them.

What makes this not so simple is that when dealing with an addiction, your world has become so self centered that seeing the value in others and respecting that and honoring it is not your first instinct. Most addicts will say that we needed that high no matter what the cost. And so, if that meant hurting someone else to get what we needed, then so be it.

But when we wake up and start to battle our addiction, our eyes become open to the real world and we often find that our social skills are very lacking. Very!  And so we must relearn this Golden Rule. But now as an adult and a follower of Jesus - there is a second part attached to this verse. See the part about "God judges you". Hey, my mom and dad never told me about that. So if doing the right thing isn't enough to motivate you then knowing that judgement will come should kinda help push you on your way to changing how you treat people.

Besides, ever notice that the people you want to hang out with (and I mean post-addiction) really seem to have a good handle on life, smile, interact well, laugh, open doors for others, want to get together?

So, today, challenge yourself to be nice to everyone. If you find it too hard to be nice to everyone, then pick one person who you struggle with for whatever reason. Usually we struggle with those who have treated us poorly in the past (hmm...see a trend here) and do something nice to or for them. Hold the door open. Ask if they need help. Say hi. If it's your spouse, then offer to do something nice for them - get flowers, offer to do the dishes or fold laundry, run to the dry cleaners for them. I don't know what that something is - but I bet you do!

Try being nice to someone today and see how it makes you feel. You may not get the red carpet rolled out for you - in fact, you might even get hurt. But keep trying and slowly the walls will come tumbling down and you will do nice things to and for people without even thinking about it. It will become second nature to not think about yourself first.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Musical Devotionals ~ I Won't Run Away by Ashes Remain



"I Won't Run Away" ~ by Ashes Remain
I don’t wanna fall and throw it all away
I don’t wanna burn through another day
I’ve been searching for a better way
And I’ll keep fighting until it’s over

[CHORUS:]
I’m not running away
when everything is falling down around me
Take me to the place I found You
I’m so lost without You
I’ll be here as long as it takes
I won’t run away

I don’t wanna fade and drift away
I don’t wanna drown underneath the weight
I can feel You
everytime I break
And I’m still fighting
cause it’s not over

[CHORUS]

This world’s so lonely
You’re my only
hope to break away

[CHORUS]





Monday, July 21, 2014

Arrogance and Pride - Our Daily Bread


Arrogance And Pride - Our Daily Bread


In The Screwtape Letters written by C.S. Lewis, a senior devil urges his young protégé to divert a Christian’s thoughts away from God and focus instead on the faults of the people around him at church.
During a Sunday service, I found myself distracted and somewhat annoyed by a person near me who sang loudly off key and was out of sync during the unison readings. But when we bowed our heads for a time of silent prayer, it struck me that the Lord must surely be more pleased with that other person’s heart than with the judgmental feelings He saw in mine.
A few days later I happened to read Proverbs 8 and was struck by verse 13: “Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Throughout this chapter, wisdom calls to us to gain an understanding heart (v.5) and to find life and obtain favor from the Lord (v.35). The alternative is to go through life with a superior attitude while dying inside in the process (v.36).
Pride is a sword that wounds the person who uses it along with those against whom it is used. Arrogance robs us of all God longs to give us, but “by humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life” (22:4).
Oh, just a bit of Thy meekness, my Savior,
To be the least when of self I would boast;
Finding my glory and strength in Thy favor,
Know in my weakness Thy grace can do most. —Bosch

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I am Second® - Scott Hamilton, Truly Amazing!!




The Story - Scott Hamilton


Olympic Gold Medalist and figure skating commentator Scott Hamilton knows a thing or two about preparation and dedication. His sport demands that a competitor come as close to perfect as possible. No break or fault goes unpunished by the judges. Scott mastered the sport and its nuances to become the world’s best.
Yet as good as he was, he could not on his own handle some of life’s biggest challenges to his health. Cancer. A re-occuring brain tumor. In the times that he needed someone by his side, there was always Someone there. Someone he has grown to know, to love,. The one who introduced him to his wife and who has made having children possible. In this film he recalls a journey that many others are also traveling, and its telling never gets old.