Friday, February 5, 2016

The Lord is our Shepard

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Those of us who belong to The Lord know we are safe and secure. We know for certain that The Lord is our Shepard and therefore we do not fear the future because our Shepard is already there. He will walk before us every day, leading us to our eternal destination.
Sometimes we have doubts about the future. We wonder whether we will have enough to provide for our essential needs. With childlike certainty, the psalmist then tells us, “I shall not be in want.” You shall not be in want of anything that you truly need and that is good for you. The Lord will hear you when you call, because His love never changes.
Grace for Each Moment
I have go to admit that I am a worrier. Honestly I know where I get it from and it’s something I diligently work at each day. I’ve learned to separate wants versus needs. And as I tell my kids, God always provides what we need. Sometimes it’s not in a form that I would have liked - but I’m not in charge. And the thing I’ve come to appreciate is that my wants have become less for 2 reasons. First, I’ve come to appreciate what truly is needed to live a Godly life. And second, because I really just want more of Him. And that gets me through my day.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Someone To Lean On

Like a needy child, tell God about all your problems and concerns. Share your troubles and anxieties with Him. The Word says “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 

Sometimes life and circumstances can get you down. If you are feeling depressed or pessimistic, it is up to you to refresh your spirit by entering into an intimate relationship with the living Christ through prayer and meditation.
Like a needy child, tell God about all your problems and concerns. Share your troubles and anxieties with Him. The Word says “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 
Do this and you will experience joy and peace like only God can give.
Through God’s immense grace you will find meaning and direction for your life, and your life will be crowned with the success of God.
Grace For Each Moment
I wanted to share why I feel it’s important to have devotions each day and why I share them with you. I personally feel refreshed each day by God’s grace. But it happens intentionally. It happens because I take a moment to pause and read, reflect and then share.
I hope you too pause to reflect on God’s word and what it means to you during your recovery journey. Together, we will overcome!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

God's Redeeming Love

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Colossians 1:27

The wonder and glory of the Christian gospel is that God loved us while we were still sinners. Without such a love, we would indeed have still been lost.

As you become deeply aware of your imperfections and sins, you are also aware that there is a divine and all-powerful Diety who is calling you to a better and nobler life. Because of our sinfulness it is impossible to live life as God intended for us without His help.

So accept God's offer to recreate and transform your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with the strength you need to walk according to God's ways.

Grace for Each Moment

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Freedom from Addiction

Freedom from Addiction by Sarah Phillips
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12: 1-2
Have you ever met someone you thought was beyond God's reach? Someone whose life has sunk to such depths all seems hopeless? Most of us can think of people we've encountered like that. It may even be someone we love.

When we start to lose hope for another's soul, it's good to remind ourselves that some of the greatest Christian Saints were some of the most broken people. This week, in my search for Christian heroes, I encountered the story of one such person that did not resemble the perfect stained-glass images I grew up with. His name was Matthew Talbot, and here's a glimpse into his life.

The second of 13 children, Matthew was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 2, 1856. His family was poor and heavy drinking was the norm among his father and brothers. So from the start, Matthew was predisposed to alcoholism -- and sure enough, his drinking began at age 12.

As Matthew entered his teen years, odd jobs led way to a career working with bricklayers. While the local community considered him excellent at his trade, his drinking became central to his life. By the time his twenties arrived, it was common for Matthew to spend all his earned wages obtaining alcohol.

When that wasn't enough, he began selling his possessions and eventually resorted to credit. Finally, after racking up too much debt, he sunk to an all-time low: stealing.

Not only was Matthew a heavy drinker-turned-thief, but he had a terrible temper and a vulgar tongue. Gripped by his disease and his poor choices, Matthew's life was going nowhere. His mother, Elizabeth, pleaded with him to change his ways. Finally, Matthew's life sunk so low he had no earthly place to turn.

So, in 1884, Matthew's mother received an answer to her prayers. The 28-year-old went to the only place left to go: Church. There, he confessed his sins and took a pledge to avoid drinking for 3 months. He seemed an unlikely candidate to keep the pledge. Yet Matthew had experienced an interior conversion in that church.

Three months passed, and he was still sober. Inspired by his progress, he pledged to avoid drinking for life and also gave up tobacco.

While Matthew's first several years of sobriety consisted of intense, interior battles, he lived the rest of his life with unwavering devotion to God. The once angry, vulgar Irishman became kind to those he encountered, and he paid back all his debts. He lived simply, prayed daily, and served those in need, eventually taking monastic vows.

Mathew Talbot died at age 69 while walking to church. He had been sober for 41 years.
Matthew's story is a testament to God's transforming power as well as our participation in that transformation. A tearful mother pleaded, a broken young man made a decision to change, and God poured out His graces.

 It's also worth noting that Matthew, with the help of his pastor, employed many of the same steps later incorporated into the Alcoholic's Anonymous 12-Step program. While he wasn't healed overnight, Matthew Talbot eventually experienced new life, giving hope to those battling addictions and the people who love them.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Days When Things Go Wrong

There’s a common practice in bicycle riding known as drafting that provides a perfect picture of what I mean. When you are drafting, you are following only inches behind the lead biker’s tires (yes, this can be a disaster with one wrong move by either of you—which, of course, is a Truth Nugget topic for another time). The lead biker faces the resistance, allowing you to keep up while exerting only a fraction of energy.

The godly offer good counsel;
They teach right from wrong.
They have made God’s laws their own,
So they will never slip from his path.
Psalm 37:30-31

—ok, first I am also a huge biker so this devotion hit home. And I use my biking as a form of exercise to keep me feeling well in my be able to make good choices.
But the concept got me to thinking about how learning to ride a road cycle paralleled my recovery. I had no clue what I was doing at first. All I know is what I wanted ride a kick CoDependency. But in both cases I had not a clue how to go about it.
And so I found someone to teach me- to mentor me - in both cases. By watching, I learned invaluable lessons. In listening I picked up even more. But in following (drafting) I was able to practice and stay the course and be successful.
The great thing about drafting is that there are times when it’s your turn to lead. This is a scary time because you have to prove what you learned. But I honestly found it to be an experience that I needed during my recovery to prove to myself..well to prove lots of things.
The author ends by writing :
When the winds are blowing hard in your life, many high achievers try to face it alone. How often do you let someone block the headwind for you? Allow someone the privilege of helping you face your adversity- you’ll both be better for the experience.
One Year Book of Inspiration

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Assess Yourself

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. Romans 12:3

Many people have a poor opinion of themselves and their abilities. Such people lead unhappy and frustrated lives, because that which you believe of yourself is inevitably reflected in your way of life.
Before I continue with the authors Devo I’m pausing for us to reflect. If we think of ourselves as addicts then we are, and all our actions will be dictated by that thinking. If we think of ourselves as in recovery AND believe that then our actions will align themselves with that thinking. Makes sense? Sure, but do we truly believe it? And do we live like we believe it?
The author continues: As a Christian disciple, sooner or later you must assess yourself in the light of God’s Holy Spirit. This could be a humbling experience or it could reveal a revelation, and you will begin to see who you can become through God’s strength, wisdom, and inspiration.
Stop disparaging yourself and convincing yourself that you will never achieve anything worthwhile. [Stop convincing yourself that you are not capable of remaining sober]. You were created in the image of God and in His eyes you are invaluable. If you embrace this truth, the honest assessment of your life is about to begin.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. Romans 12:3
As I pondered today’s Devo, I think it’s important to remember that we are created in His image and He doesn’t make mistakes. He made us for His purpose and to fight him in our thoughts of ourselves is telling Him he’s wrong. I don’t know about you but I’ve tried life my way and it hasn’t worked out to well. So now I think of myself through His eye’s and all that he made me to do.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Say "Yes" to Life

I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

The year ahead is a time of boundless opportunities to do good and to grow spiritually and intellectually. Remember, the future belongs to you and you can do with it whatever you want to because God has given you freedom of choice.
God, by His grace, gave you life with a sublime purpose. Every day is a gift from the loving hand of God, but you can only live life to the full when you subject yourself to His purpose.
The abundant life belongs to God and even though He is generous with this gift, He can only give it to those who are willing to receive it and use it. So say “Yes” to life: it is your privilege as well as your responsibility.
I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
—honestly this is something I have adopted in my life with everything, I’ve come to realize life is so short and I’ve been given a second chance and I’m NOT going to waste one drop.