Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Light on Your Way

When we look back along the road we have traveled, we tend to focus only on the negative things. Because the past had its share of problems, many people expect the same from the future.

But this is a negative way of looking at life. The prayers of your heart every day should be, "Lead me, O Light of the world!" Jesus Christ is still the Light of the world and He has promised that those who follow Him will never walk in darkness. Take His hand in faith and trust and experience Him as the light of your life.

God said , "Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:3

-- It's so very hard to try and be positive in the midst of battling an addiction, but this is when we need to stay positive the most. Because of past behaviors it's very hard to trust ourselves to make the right choices for the future and we might even be very cynical that we can. But the great thing is that we don't have to be the one leading the charge. God does. We just need to follow Him. If I allow myself to make decisions through the lens of His redemption of me, I know I'll make better choices. Don't forget about all the tools that are available for you - He created those. Use them.  The Bible, 12 step meetings or Celebrate Recovery Meetings, accountability partners or sponsors, counselors, friends, Bible studies, devotions, prayer and yes, even aids like technology apps are all things available to you from Him to help you reframe your perspective on life.

Grace for Each Moment

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Little Lump of Clay

Jeremiah 18:1-6

At the Potter’s House

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Ever think, "There is no way God can change me!" Or what about "I just can't change, I'm such a failure." You (and I) am thinking about addiction in terms of human eyes and human limitations - our personal limitations.

In this verse, the message is clear. God is like the potter who takes the marred clay pot and reshapes it into something else. Our lives filled with addiction, hurts, hang-ups, habits, and sin are that marred pot and God simply reshapes us.

When we finally decide to allow God to mold us and stop living in doubt or trying to control the outcome, our attitude of humility allows us to finally accept that our Creator can do anything. Anything! He may remold our lives into something that looks similar to the one before we gave up control, or he may mold it into something completely different.  It may be scary, but it will be something beautiful. Just hold still and let Him mold us.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

God, Please Remember Me

Psalm 38

A psalm of David, asking God to remember him.

Many of my readers or followers on Twitter know that I am a musician. Music brings healing to me during so many hard times in my life. Did you know that worship music often comes straight from the Bible?  The more I read and study the Bible, the more I catch those references when listening to music. Often when I get stuck not finding the right words to pray (as I am not one who is good with words), I search out a good song to help me get started with my prayer to God.

King David, who had his share of troubles in life, was a man after God's heart. And he was a musician and for me I can so relate to his Psalms because of his genuine openness about his failures. Below is Psalm 38 where David is crying out to God for help.  I can relate to David in so many ways - I've made such bad choices, have hard decisions to make, want so desperately to please God, and fall short over and over again, oh yeah, did I mention he was a musician.

My point, is that when we need to pray and can't find the words, it's OK to look to other sources for help - the Bible for scripture, worship music, printed prayers, or just ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you on your behalf.

Psalm 38
O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your rage!
Your arrows have struck deep,
    and your blows are crushing me.
Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
    my health is broken because of my sins.
My guilt overwhelms me—
    it is a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and stink
    because of my foolish sins.
I am bent over and racked with pain.
    All day long I walk around filled with grief.
A raging fever burns within me,
    and my health is broken.
I am exhausted and completely crushed.
    My groans come from an anguished heart.
You know what I long for, Lord;
    you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
    and I am going blind.
11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
    Even my own family stands at a distance.
12 Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me.
    Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me.
    All day long they plan their treachery.
13 But I am deaf to all their threats.
    I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
14 I choose to hear nothing,
    and I make no reply.
15 For I am waiting for you, O Lord.
    You must answer for me, O Lord my God.
16 I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me
    or rejoice at my downfall.”
17 I am on the verge of collapse,
    facing constant pain.
18 But I confess my sins;
    I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
19 I have many aggressive enemies;
    they hate me without reason.
20 They repay me evil for good
    and oppose me for pursuing good.
21 Do not abandon me, O Lord.
    Do not stand at a distance, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    O Lord my savior.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Let's Praise Him With Thanksgiving

    Psalm 95:1-6
    "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." (KJV)
    This time of year , in the United States, we celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving. I wish everyone would stop and give thanksgiving each day for all the blessings that we have been given, but it just doesn't happen unless we make a decision to incorporate that type of thinking into our daily lives and prayers. The more we search out our blessings each day, the more our eyes are opened to how God truly is working in our lives in ways we never could have imagined.
    Those who suffer from addictions or habits, hang-ups, etc and are in recovery because of making that important decision to end the insanity truly understand the blessing of a new day to paint a new picture. 
    And while I'm very thankful to have this day to spend with my family, I want us to all take a moment each day and thank God for something he has done in our lives. Have a wonderful holiday and make a joyful noise to the Lord in thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Confessing Our Sins As They Occur

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John: 8-9

When we are living in our worlds of addictions, habits, hurts, hang-ups, etc we are living in what verse 8 says "we claim to be without sin". It's where we might say something like "I can kick this anytime I want", when the truth of the matter is we can't. Perhaps it's because we just don't want to admit the truth -- which is that we have a problem and need help.

But once we move past that piece of denial, and confess our sins, we can begin to heal. Verse nine says that our sins will be forgiven and we will be purified from all unrighteousness. The "he" referred to in these verse is the Lord, God Almighty. And only He has the power to truly free us as this verse says.

To "confess our sins" is telling God that we agree with him that our actions are wrong. Now the key to really moving on and having that relationship with God is to be able to confess as our sins occur - (even if it's the tenth or one-hundredth time). And in order for that to happen, we must be vigilant about analyzing our lives. Each time we confess our sins, he forgives us. He wipes our slate clean (as my mom used to say). 

For those going through a Celebrate Recovery program or a traditional 12 step program, having an accountability partner is a way to help us recognize when our actions are unhealthy and help keep us accountable. No, these sponsors and accountability partners are not a substitute for our relationship with God, but they can help by having someone to talk your actions over with.

Going to God and asking forgiveness should not be something that's awkward. In fact, it's something that the Lord wants us to do in order to maintain a relationship with him. He already died for our sins and wants you to reap the benefits. Let's not deny him the satisfaction of his sacrifice and his gift of redemption freely given.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

When There's a Hole in Your Soul

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

"So what is a hole in your soul? It is a deep, dark well that resides in the core of your being. And the harder you work to fill it with stuff, the bigger the doggone thing gets!"

The author goes on to talk about filling it with stuff - like clothes, romance, status, etc.  but what about alcohol, drugs, food, pornography - get the drift. We have a hole and we are trying to fill it with things or actions -  basically filling it with a god.  With things that make us feel good - or at least temporarily  But not THE God who will fill us with good things eternally.

Try trusting in God and letting Him fill that hole. As humans we choose wrong waaaayyyy to many times - but He will always choose right. ANd I don't know about you but an eternity of good sounds so much better than an earthly good.

One Year Book of Inspiration

Friday, November 24, 2017

What Time Is It?

What Time Is It? - Our Daily Bread