Thursday, November 26, 2015

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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Time Is It?

What Time Is It? - Our Daily Bread 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Believing without Seeing

Therefore we are always confident. We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinth 5:6-7

When you are facing problems, difficulties or tough decisions, do you trust God sufficiently to put yourself and your future in His hands?

Jesus came to confirm that God loves you unconditionally. His care, help and compassion are unquestionable. You are precious in His sight. Therefore, Christ will not allow anything to harm you.

With this assurance, you can trust God unconditionally in everything. Then you will walk along His path, doing His will.

If you do this, you will experience peace and tranquility of mind. Even if you cannot see the complete road ahead, faith will carry you through.

-- Let's face it, we are creatures that just have a hard time believing without seeing the proof. In fact these days, we as a people are so cynical about just about anything. Think about it..ever see something on facebook and immediately go to snoops to check out if it's real? I do it all the time myself.

However, I don't do that with my faith in God. My life is too important to risk filling my head with bad garbage. When I need to do a litmus test on something, I head on over to the Bible. Following that practice has never failed me. When you hear the devil speaking to you (and yes he does), don't listen to him. Go snoop in the Bible! Are you worried that you might not be reading scripture correctly - ask your pastor, or sponsor, or accountability partner.

Remember we recently talked about how God has a plan for us and it is to do good!  Whatever you are contemplating..taking a quick drink, placing that bet, just taking a look at that Victoria's Secret catalogue...ask yourself if that makes sense with God's good plan for you.

Have a great day!!  Remember to take care of those basic needs to make some good choices today.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Do You Crave?

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:1-3

At my church this weekend, the service was about getting rid of the ugliness about us. For those who are in addiction recovery, we know this list is kinda long and extends past just the actual addiction.

Our pastor pointed out something in the passage that I really never noticed was the word "crave". The passage does not say "drink" the spiritual milk, but rather that we need to crave it. When I first became a Christian, a friend remarked that I was so "hungry" for the Word of God. And only later did I realize what she was referring to.

When we crave something, it's our brain saying that we have to have "it", that we can't control the impulse and that it's almost impossible to resist. Umm...sound familiar? Just have to have that drink? Just one more? Just have to watch that porn on the computer? Just have to always be right? Just have to shoot up? Just have to buy those pants even though I have 12 other pairs at home? Can't resist it, huh? 

Once we have tasted the goodness of the Lord, it's what we need to crave. It's the spiritual milk that is going to heal us and help us move on from the world of addiction. I'm not perfect at all and I too need to work on this craving of the Lord in everything I do. And I'm also learning that when the temptation comes for my addiction, that I have to have a plan in place to handle the physical crave.  We can still have the end reward (the feelings we got from the addiction), but we need to replace the bad habit with a new habit.  

Practical applications - replace the addiction with reading the Bible, talking to a friend, going to the gym, attending a Celebrate Recovery meeting or a traditional 12 step meeting, any Green Light recoveryBox light!!

And so I ask you to think about this today. "What do you crave?"

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Healing By Confessing

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

About ten years ago I got into my minivan that was parked on the street (we live on a hill), put it into reverse (by mistake) and drove it right into my husband's car - which then popped his car out of gear and rolled down the hill.  I had no idea how bad it was until I got out of the minivan. I saw my sweet husband running down the road after his car before it smashed it into someone's house. And what did I say? "Oh my gosh - I think there is something wrong with the minivan because I know I put it in drive and it just felt like it slipped."

After I said those words I almost slapped myself but I kept with my story. This is not one of my prouder moments. I stuck with it until later that week we went to church and was about to receive communion. And then it hit me - how awful a thing it was that I did. I made a mistake and then lied about it  (and really stuck to my story too).

It is so hard to admit when we are wrong. Sometimes, I think I might die before I admit I was wrong. And I've wondered, why should I do that in front of others? I tell my kids all the time it's OK to say that "I was wrong and I'm sorry" but then when it comes to me - my pride rears it's ugly head.

Let's all agree that admitting we are wrong is hard. If it wasn't, then I think the admission step of recovery would just be a bunch of words. And, I think it's easier to admit to God when we are wrong - (and this is my opinion) because we are not face to face. I have considered this before actually. If I was before God, would it be as easy to say "I screwed up!"?  

James is telling us to confess our sins to another righteous person. He's not saying to go out and look for the holiest person you can find. But rather, he is saying someone that is doing what God and man wants. 

It's why in Celebrate Recovery and a traditional 12 Step program, the 5th step involves that we admit to not only God and ourselves AND another being that we are wrong.  If we can find this type of person (and often it's someone who has gone before us such as a sponsor) usually that kind of righteous person isn't going to judge you - but rather understand your journey.

Personally, when I admit my sins I tend to feel a whole lot lighter - almost with a spring in my step because I know the ugliness is behind me. I'm not going to look back and dwell on it but look ahead and learn, knowing that I've admitted I was wrong.

I hope that I don't have anymore runaway minivans in my life and my prayer is that you too go get the "minivan" in your life and admit to someone so that you can embrace God's healing power.

recoveryBox can help be a daily accountability tool during your recovery journey.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What's Your Plan When Your Triggers Happen?

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me that God really does have amazing plans for me and that I need to let go of my agendas and submit to his.

BUT, this does not mean that there should be no planning going on in our lives. This verse refers to long term - where the direction of your life is going. When in recovery from an addiction, habit, hurt or hang-up, you must plan because part of recovery is identifying your triggers. And that's great - but then what?

We must then figure out what we will do when trigger occurs - and that takes planning! If we continue to do what we have always done then we get the same results. If we say "God will handle it now that I've admitted to him I'm a sinner" then we are being foolish.  God wants us to make our own choices not because he makes us or says so - but because he wants a relationship with us. And by making the right choices on our own we are declaring that we have let the old ways past and desire a new life.

So what do we do to combat our triggers? I can't tell you that because everyone's lives and circumstances are different.

Perhaps think about the yellow lights in the recoveryBox app and how they connect to triggers.

Yellow lights are based on being with a person who can lead us to acting out, a place that can lead us to acting out or a thing that can lead to acting out.

For example, if you know that going to a mall will tempt you to overspend, then don't go there. Perhaps in the past you would go to the mall when you got stressed out at work. The trigger of stress in our lives won't go away - so substitute where you will go when you feel that stress. Instead of the mall, perhaps go work out or go for a walk. Change the routine. Make a plan to handle the trigger of stress.

It's Friday night and you feel so alone at your apartment by yourself. In the past you would turn on the computer and start surfing for porn. What can you do? We aren't meant to be alone in life (which is why God created Eve for Adam). Find something to do in place of the computer to combat the isolation. Enroll in a cooking class or find a group that meets that has similar hobby interests to yours.

Planning is not something that we evaluate once and then say - OK, I'm good. This is what I'll do. No, planning to change what we do when we face triggers is a life long exercise that must be evaluated for it's effectiveness. And that's where your sponsor or accountability partner can help.

Recovery from an addiction is not easy - but with some planning and support we can succeed.