Friday, August 18, 2017

Always An Upgrade

Always An Upgrade

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Shannon Culpepper - I Am Second ~ Abandonment Reflecting Who I am


The Story - Shannon Culpepper from iamsecond.com

As a young girl, Shannon Culpepper grew up confused, chasing after the approval that only a father could give and one that she never received.  She thought she found it chasing after love in a man whose manipulative controlling ways left her gasping for breath. All she wanted was a trophy of distinction – for someone to love her and tell her who she was. It was in those dark moments where she found the greatest peace, the most fulfilling joy.

Her story kindles an excitement in the lives of those who feel as if their abandonment is somehow reflective of who they are as individuals. When it looked like she would never receive that validation, it was given to her in the unlikeliest of ways. So, now as she chases after life, she no longer runs with uncertainty, but with the gleaming light of self-assurance.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is God’s Strength Still Available for Me?

Is God’s Strength Still Available for Me?

from Proverbs 31.org
 “‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NIV)
Strength is an appealing characteristic. Strong wills. Strong arms. Strong jaws. Strong emotions. We admire them all.
We love movies with strong heroes.
We watch sports with strong athletes.
We look up to strong leaders.

Yet it’s easy to compare our own motivations, muscles and minds with others who appear strong, and feel quite insignificant and weak in the comparison. We whisper things in our hearts that no one hears. Things like:
If only I were that strong …
… I’d say no to the temptations that no one sees.
… I’d follow my dream to change careers.
… I’d go to college.
… I’d be the mother or employee I KNOW I could be.

Then reality washes over us like a splash of ice water, waking us from our daydream with an unpleasant start. Back to our weaknesses that seem destined to chain us to a resigned life. Bad habits, damaged relationships, unfulfilled dreams … that’s my life … our despairing hearts sigh.
Oh how I know those thoughts. For most of my life, I’ve battled feeling weak in certain areas, while strong in others. And my inconsistencies frustrate me. I could be brave when facing a huge project at work, but the thought of sharing my faith with my unbelieving father made me feel weak. I feel strong saying no to many obvious sins, but then weak when I don’t say no to over-eating in the privacy of my home.

And then I read stories like the one told of Hezekiah, king of Judah in 2 Chronicles 32. The story is worth reading in its entirety, but verses 7 and 8 speak truth that’s worth repeating today: “‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”

It’s so easy for me to forget there is a source of strength available to me every moment of every day. It’s free of charge. There is no “closed” sign in the window of heaven. And I don’t get a recording when I call for help.

For those who have chosen to follow Jesus, God’s strength is available. That doesn’t mean tomorrow I’ll be able to run a marathon; it’s not that kind of strength. But as I ponder the type of strength God promises, a clue is found in the word “confidence.” Confidence not in myself, but in God’s ability to effectively deal with any challenge I’m currently facing.

As I’ve learned to turn to God for His strength, I’ve experienced the courage to press on in situations when my flesh wants to give up. I’ve experienced hope when relationships seem dead. I’ve experienced peace when fear threatens to overtake me.

We serve a God of unlimited power, and yet it’s so easy to forget and rely on our own imperfect strength. What if we accepted that God’s life-changing power was really for us? What kind of difference would that make in our lives?

Let’s make this personal. What kind of difference would it make if you truly believed God’s power was available … to you?



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We All Need Mentors

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9

Having a mentor in our lives is something that is a tool for everyone. Yes, those with addictions especially needs an accountability partner or sponsor..it's the premise behind how recoveryBox, the iPhone Addiction Recovery tool was built.

We all need someone who can give us valuable insight into situations because they have been there - done that! Sometimes we get so caught up in the turmoil of life that we just can't sort out what's real and what's just smoke. But someone who can literally say "Been there - Done that!" can help give us guidance during these times.

And sometimes we need someone to call our own bluff and hold us accountable. There is no doubt that we are going to make mistakes. But having the wisdom of others will help us minimize  the effects from those mistakes (pain, frustration, disappointment and more) and perhaps help us shape the outcome so that we choose wiser in the future.

Mentors are not just for those who are in recovery for an addiction. Having an older, wiser person involved in our lives that can counsel us is a blessing. I urge you to find that trusted person and ask for their wisdom.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Love Must Be Sincere

Love must be sincere. Romans 12:9

Has anyone ever told you that they love you but you wondered if it was sincere? Or someone said "I'm praying for you or thinking about you" in the midst of a trial..and you wonder "Really?"  I know I've heard both of these things. What  made me pause and ask myself if it was true was that their actions didn't seem to reflect God's love. But then again, perhaps it's my insecurity that makes me second guess people's motives - or perhaps I'm being judgmental. Either way, for whatever reason it's left me feeling down.

But then I fill myself with this simple verse. Love must be sincere. And I reflect on who loves me no matter what!!  I don't need to doubt His sincerity. Jesus came in human form to die a horrible death to take away my sins. His words and actions clearly tell me that He loves me so much that I don't have any doubt. I am filled with belief and satisfaction.

But how can I apply that to my life? I don't want to be one of those people who I myself don't believe. First, I try and live like Jesus. He IS my example. He really did pray for people. He truly did help the sick, hungry, lame. I want to be like that. And so when I say I am "going to do something" like that - I follow through. I live by actions speak louder than words. And so, if I commit to helping at the food bank, I can't find an excuse at the last minute. Or when I say 'Is there anything I can do for you?' I must prepare myself that it might be something hard or time consuming.

Perhaps others have or continue to show you what I call fake love. Just empty words. Don't dispair. Jesus loves you and will fill you up with His love. And so, in return, let's only have sincere love for others and ourself.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Are You Stealing from People?

He renews my strength, He guides me along right paths bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:3

Are you stealing from people? I'm not talking about office items here either (even though that's a conversation that could be had).  What I mean is are you giving of yourself in so many areas, especially your recovery for your addiction, that there is nothing left in the tank for others?

Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in "our little world" - whatever that looks like, that we don't see the big picture. Could your work be better for your employer .. you don't know why it's in a slump because you are giving it all you have?! Or do you feel disconnected with your kids? You take off when they are sick showing them you care right?  Or what about your spouse? You have given up the porn and that shows to him/her that you are serious - yet something isn't coming back to your marriage?

Sometimes, it's as simple as take a day off. Renew your self as the verse says. When we step away and rest from what we have been so focusing on .. we often lose our creativity or our way to connect with others because we have been so super focused on ourselves.

Now is the time to take a day off of work and spend a day with your spouse.  Or take each child out and do something special that they like -- connect with them. Spending time with those we love will build relationships to allow conversations to freely happen when they really need to. It's sorta like practicing. Or what about start an exercise routine? Sometimes we have amazing thoughts pop into our minds when we are "away" from the situation.

When you take the time to invest in people you are giving to them (and sometime that investment takes the form of doing something for yourself). When you constantly fail to do so and only think about your success you are stealing from them.  Now do you see why I ask the question?  Take time today to invest in others and see how your life will improve.



Saturday, August 12, 2017

Home Run ~ the movie ~ a must see for those struggling with an addiction



Published on Feb 20, 2013
HOME RUN
Freedom is Possible
http://www.homerunthemovie.com/

Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.

Hoping to save her client's career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory's agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can't wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.

As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future ... and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Based on thousands of true stories, HOME RUN is a powerful reminder that with God, it's never too late ... because freedom is possible.