Friday, July 21, 2017

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Having the Light in Times of Darkness

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

Every believer must accept the fact that there are going to be times of darkness in our lives. Jesus did not come and say - follow me and your life will be easy. In fact, he told his followers that there are going to be hard times.

We all go through it. First, we decide that we can't get rid of our addiction on our own and that we need God's mercy and help. And we have those euphoric feelings inside that life is going to get better. It's almost a feeling of being high. And that's good. What a natural feeling produced by hope rather than some substance or habit that gives us that feeling.

Then things in life start to get hard again. And choices have to be made. And the pressures start squeezing in around us. What is this? Where is that feeling of immense joy and why do we feel so heavy?

When that all happens, what can we do? That's when it's time to reconnect with God. Reestablish the truth in your life that God is unchanging. The love that he has for you today is the same love that you once found when you decided to get rid of your habit, addiction or hangup. And He will love you tomorrow when life hands you a weed rather than a pretty flower.

It might seem unfair. Yup, guess what? Life is unfair. Accept that and you are past one hurdle. You can choose to move through this period of your life holding onto God's love (and yes this darkness will end) or you can revert back to old ways and create new problems and new darknesses in your life.  It truly is a choice on how you look at life.

Choose today to remain in God's love and step out of the darkness with a new strength that comes with overcoming. Choose today to walk in God's sunshine again.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I Never Knew That About You

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15

In developing those relationships with your peers (we talked about this 2 days ago) you are letting them into your life and they in return. At first it will be little glimpses and that's OK. It's natural and good to watch who you develop those relationships with. Not everyone has the hope of Jesus Christ.

But here is the thing, (and I know this might seem crazy) but you might find yourself giving hope to someone.  Because you found hope and have decided to take back your life you will display something about yourself that you didn't have in the past. And others WILL notice. You can't help have a life of sobriety and not feel changed which will be reflected on all areas of your life.

And because others will notice, you might find yourself sharing. You don't have to tell others about your addiction. But as the verse says, be ready to share about Jesus. It doesn't have to be sermons, but it can be little comments that might get someone intrigued. Here is an example. When someone gripes about a project and the deadlines and stresses and asks you "How do you handle the stress so well?" You can reply with something like "I take the time each day to center myself and come up with a plan of what can be achieved today." Maybe they might ask about "How you center yourself?" Maybe, maybe not. But you just might open that door to share. And yes, even you as a person overcoming an addiction can become a mentor!!!!

The thing is, don't be frustrated if you miss the opportunity. I was once asked by someone in my family "How do you keep such a positive outlook dealing with all your stuff?"  Oh how the door was opened and I missed it. I wish I could have a do-over on that conversation. And trust me - I've played it out in my head so many times.  But I didn't and so I can't dwell on it.  BUT, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on the missed chance and has sharpened my mind to be able to respond the next time.  So don't beat yourself up on it. We are often clumsy in the mouth and mind when we are early in our faith and just don't know how to respond. Just know that opportunities will arise and be ready.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Investing Time in Others

Nehemiah 6:3-4 I replied by sending this message to them "I am engaged in a great work, so I can't come. Why would I stop working to come and meet with you?" Four times they sent the same message and each time to gave the same reply.

God didn't put us here on earth to be sole individuals. He put us here on earth to develop relationships with others. That's why God made Eve out of Adam. So how do we balance work with people? Many people battling an addiction haven't developed people skills yet and that's one of the reasons for isolation (which we all know is very bad for addiction recovery).

Since we spend so much of our time at work, consider developing healthy relationships at work with your peers. Our employers are not paying us to stand around the water fountain and gossip - besides that not being honest it's also not God honoring.  What I want you to consider is that your work is important and you are being paid for it. So how so you blend the two?

When you go hand someone a report and you notice that they have a picture on their desk of their children, what do you do?  Come on, go ahead and ask their names and ages?  Then next time you see them ask how their children are doing. Then the next time you can ask how they are doing in school.  Or if you see the picture of a significant other on someone's desk and you know they are not married, go ahead and ask who the someone special is.  You might be surprised. Maybe it's a boyfriend..or maybe it's a brother serving in the military and is deployed. You just never know. But you must initiate in order for someone to open up. And you never know if that person just needed someone to care at that moment.

These don't have to be in-depth conversations, but as you invest your time in your peers, you will begin to develop relationships with them. And those relationships just might be the lifeline you need yourself at some time. Since we spend so much time working each day, wouldn't it be nice to have good relationships rather than cut-throat ones? I think I'd rather be known as the person who was genuinely interested in people - the person who took the time to invest -- even if just a few seconds a day. I can guarantee that as times go by, by investing the time with the individuals you work with will produce much fruit both from a professional standpoint as well as a personal.

Living in isolation is no way to have a healthy sober life. It just doesn't work. Isolation actually leads to relapses. It's why have relationships and encounters actually is a green light in the recoveryBox app - I think it's that important.

Have a wonderful day - and don't forget to invest the time in the people you work with.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

I thought that after yesterday's "Musical Monday Press On" post that I'd write about what does that mean to those who are in recovery for an addiction? What are some practical ways that we can make this work so that we win the prize for which God has called us?

It's not an exhaustive list but rather some ideas that we can incorporate into our lives...
  • Attend 12 Step Meetings or  Celebrate Recovery Meetings
  • Do step studies
  • Be accountable to someone
  • Look at our lives and figure out that which seems to trigger our addictions
  • Make amends to those we have hurt
  • Talk with others about our addiction
  • Pray 
  • Read the Bible
  • Get good sleep
  • Eat Well
  • Detach from that which will lead us back into old habits (people, places or things)
  • Track your sobriety date
  • Pray
  • Attend counseling
  • Attend group counseling
  • Take medicine if it's prescribed
  • Read the Bible
  • Pray
  • Make short term goals and meet them
  • Make long term goals and plan steps to make them happen
  • Reward yourself for making progress
  • Read about addiction to understand
  • Journal
  • Exercise
  • Attend Church
  • Get connected with support groups
  • Identify warning signs that you might be spiraling
  • Allow yourself time to grieve about how you wronged others but don't dwell on it
  • Pray
  • Do daily devotions from multiple sources
  • Be an accountability partner or sponsor for someone else 
  • Use an app like recoveryBox to track your addiction progress
  • Pray
I hope this list gives you some ideas.  Sometimes the problem is so huge that we have just no idea of what we can do. If you are looking for your first step - my advice would be to pray to God for his help. He's been waiting for you.  The next step is to attend a 12 Step meeting or Celebrate Recovery meeting and get help there. You might need to consider checking into a facility that specializes in breaking addictions.

Regardless of where you are on your Addiction recovery journey - Press On!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Musical Mondays - Press On

Here is a different type of genre of music. Rap! In fact, I'm using this song for  an event I'm photographing as their theme is Phil 3:13 ~ Press On  If you want the song, they allow you to download it for free from their site at Time To Shine Music.

Have a great day and Press on In your addiction recovery.

Chorus: Press on, forgetting what lies behind I wanna lay hold of the upward call of God 
Press On, Press On, Press On, Press On 
Press on, forgetting what lies behind I wanna lay hold of the upward call of God 
Press On, Press On, Press On, to Jesus Christ 

A-Cee Verse: So low, I was going for the base things. God picked me up out of the dirt and showed me great things; Gospel of Christ the grace king, went from nothing to everything. I was singing His praises even though I can’t sing. Went from lifeless to being credited as righteous; now I write this, what I call a victory song. Coming so strong, spent so long living complacent; now the power I’m bringing is Jesus in my place man. Making haste man, don’t want to waste my life! I’m here for a minute and I’m a bring it for Christ! Livin’ it moment by moment and hoping in the atonement and even if they don’t want it I’m a spit it because He told me. Not the old me, this is the new me, the true me; made in His image, created fearfully truly. Set apart for a purpose, that’s higher than my self, it’s higher than my rights, it’s higher than my wealth; it’s the highest of highs, He lit a fire inside of me to bring praise to the glory of His grace in the Messiah. Steadily under attack by the liar but I’m packing heat; got crucifixion of Christ bearing my penalty. The resurrection of Christ, meaning death is defeated and the Word of God, by which Satan will be deleted; he’s no match for Christ in me see, when He’s coming on the clouds everything will be completed. Hallelujah! But until that day, while the sun is still shining, I’m a I’m a be making hay! God is shaping me into His image like a potter with clay and I’m hearing Him say “My grace is sufficient”. I’m needing Jesus Christ with nothing in addition. But one thing I do is keep my eyes off of the rear view, but I got em’ on the prize of the upward call of God; and press on, I press on! 

Sound Doctrine Verse: We pressing higher Messiah and now our spirits on fire/we living zealous and we jealous cuz he bled and he died uh/for the depraved in the grave living hopeless in shame/now we reaping and stepping for the knowledge of Jesus name/all to know Him, we counting it loss to daily show em/cuz yo we are the light of the world, we tryna glow em/ a fire in our bones/ Jeremiah, yeah you know/cant keep it inside, cuz our minds about to blow/so, we pressing pressing steady watching what we repping/and our boast in Christ, and its salvation that we getting/what’s the mark of the high call/yo it’s the glory of Christ shining bright when all the lights off/there aint nothing that is higher man/pressing for anything else will leave you living in the fire man/Ya little accolades and ya fame/we gotta lay them aside and live for the Name, ya heard/we wanna know Him both in power and suffering/its only by grace and thru faith that He is coming in/this is a race, better yet this a marathon/engine revving, room room, like a cheveron/ I mean a chevy yo, the matters heavy yo/we went from death to life and now we pressing for/the high call, going up but we stoop low/cuz its humility that we is truly suited fo’/ya know, we want the likeness of Christ/yall can have the low things like the likeness of Mike/we was made in His image, now im saved and envision/seeing face to face that He is risen yeah/im pressing on just to walk as he walked man/1 John 1:7 is a mark man/of my new life, and that I’m one of His/and I’ll steady be pressing until im getting Him