We have introductions in recovery meetings. I woke up this morning with a idea to have a different intro for different meeting types, i.e. Celebrate Recovery, AA, NA, etc. Then I thought; body, soul, spirit...hmmm, made in God's image...Father, Son, Spirit. Why don't I have an introduction for the three of me? This may be a little rough, but here goes....
Body (this is the intro I can use in AA, NA, where so many secular folk attend)
"Hello, I am Keith, a real alcoholic by God's grace." I can do that even with agnostics and alcoholics in attendance. Not offensive since God is mentioned in recovery literature frequently. This is politically correct, yet "higher power" is preferred.
Soul (I can use this intro in meeting people on the outside, thinking, don't overdo it.)
"Hi, I'm Keith." If the conversation works it's way to having a drink I can say; "I am in recovery from drinking so I choose not to drink. I have this allergy to alcohol. If I drink, I break out...in handcuffs normally, but it affects my ability to be human too."
Spirit (This is the real me, my identity in Christ. A great intro at Celebrate Recovery.)
Hello, my name is Keith, a follower of Jesus, a new creation conforming to His image, adopted into His family, part of a royal priesthood, being chased by the blessings and goodness of God. I have been made the head, not the tail, above only and not beneath, and reconciled to God through Christ's blood, walking in the light, free indeed. Oh yeah, I struggle with....
I like the third one best, but have to make it a short list, I could go on a few pages.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
(If this font isn't to your liking, let me know and I'll change it back.)
I happened on to the Science Channel as I surfed for something to watch while I read my email. Not to poke fun at the channel, but I can say, that is the stuff of comedy. Having grown up with "Mad Magazine" and parodies of that era, It has helped me see humor in many things others take serious. Please tell me that people don't seriously believe this stuff...I mean, brilliant minds in 2013, cannot take this serious! Sponge Bob Squarepants is more believable. Before we spend another cent giving grants for research for biological evolution, please lay some real physical proof that it is even possible. If you cannot, then let's send a team of marine biologists to search for Bikini Bottom and Atlantis with the grant money, it's waste either way.
How did this "science" go from theory to fact? If science was so desperate to find a reason for our existence, other than a Creator, come up with physical proof and then teach that science as fact. Start with a moon rock or some kryptonite, something that exists. You have nothing because there is nothing. I can say that you learned well from Vladimir Lenin who said, "if you tell a lie often enough and long enough people will believe it." (Hitler stole that saying from Lenin) Nearly every literate nation that allows this doctrine of man to be taught in schools have whole populations believing it. Often enough, long enough. Since we are like cattle, we basically say, "I'll take your word for it," too lazy or apathetic to research these ideas for ourselves.
What are the facts of man's origin? What do you have for physical evidence to prove it? When I think of great minds refused tenure because they disagreed with this "science," I am sure that you have such evidence. Otherwise, refusing good people with great minds would be a travesty, wouldn't it?
To the followers of this "science," think this, "religion." That is what this particular science is. You take it by faith without proof which makes biological evolution a "faith." I understand that so many brilliant minds have devoted their entire lives to this study only to end their life empty, without answers, but many more questions. Only pride keeps them from admission, as individuals. Fear, and loss of credibility keeps the false teaching alive..."what will we tell the people?...they will have our heads for this!" Not really, people will move on and forget the billions spent on the research that could have been used for useful things like food and clothing for the poor.
As ridiculous as this "science" is to me, to intelligencia, religion is just as ridiculous. "There is nothing on earth that points them to a physical proof of a Creator," they think. Long before Darwin's writings, documents were written, handed down from generation to generation, and carefully copied for preservation. These point to the explanation of man's origin. Secularists have done everything they can do to discredit the possibility that these documents can be valid evidence of a Creator. They have long denied the Bible saying things like, "it's like the children's game telephone, by the time these stories go from generation to generation, the original meanings are scrambled without a possibility of accuracy." Have those making such claims researched their own accusations? Highly doubtful. There is the fear that the may find out it is real, then what?
According to those opposed to the Bible's accuracy, they claim there was no king David, or Solomon. The prophets were not the actual writers of the books named for them, etc. Yet another science, archaeology, has proven most of what they deny. David and Solomon were not folk-stories. They are not hung up as much on the creation as the miracles of the exodus from Egypt, and those of Elijah and Elisha. The resurrection of Jesus, closes the book for them, "these things could not have happened," they say.
I understand, I empathize. It is okay, they are hard to accept.
We definitely have differences, nothing to cause this continuous mud-slinging to continue for another generation. It is a face-off. I cannot convince you, nor you me. I can, however, point to additional evidence you may never accept...changed lives. Biological evolution, nor any wisdom of man can change the heart of an alcoholic like me, to turn me from my addiction and its misery, and begin to really experience life with joy and purpose. It cannot give me meaning or peace when I grieve over loss. It definitely does not present me hope for my eternal existence, and the adventures beyond this life. Only Jesus can, my faith in Him, His creation of this universe, and the constant metamorphosis, conforming me into His image. That particular science does not give me a desire to help the broken like myself, helping them find their way out of trouble. These reasons, plus ten-thousand others, gives me proof of Him, and a reason to follow Him. He never changes, science always does. I'll stick with what works.
Let me know if you agree or disagree.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
I read an interesting article that I found odd for a Christian publication to print. According to Charisma magazine, the president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, apologized to the gay community for the years of judgment and suffering imposed by the church, and by Christian organizations. Exodus International is the oldest Christian ministry dealing with homosexuality and Christianity. Charisma magazine has never been accused of not telling it like it is fairly, and I feel it is a very reliable publication. To this particular article I say; its about time. For too long, Christians have looked at homosexuals with a condescending attitude, and with no desire to have gays in their fellowship. We can let the murderers, the adulterers, or any sinner in, as long as they conform and forsake they way of life. We only want gays when they have already abandoned their way of life. WWJD. We may not cast the first stone at the prostitute, but the gays....
The body of Christ has made its enemies in the past by using the Levitical Law and the first chapter of
Romans to beat the sexually immoral into submission to our will. Why? Because we feel those who live in an immoral lifestyle belong in the downtown missions, not our friendly fellowship. "Our children are in attendance, what if one of those".... Paul didn't stop with the explanation of the sexually immoral. He adds these words for the "highly moral."
"Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done." Romans 2:1-2 MSG
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He died for EVERYONE. You have no idea that the person setting next to you in the church service may be a wife beater, or may be cheating on her husband with several men, but neither should you care how bad they are. Whatever they are, you are no better. You do remember that YOU have sinned don't you? After being in recovery from alcoholism and drug use for several years, I cannot look at the wino that staggers in to our fellowship with disdain. Compassion, we need compassion for everyone! All any believer needs to do is stand in judgment toward another's sin, and then watch the spiral downward in their own spirituality. If you wonder why you struggle at times with your life in Christ, look at how you see others.
I am aware of the battle being waged regarding same-sex marriage. I know that the right has followers that have bumper stickers saying, "God hates fags." I know that there are some in the gay community that claim to be tolerant, and feel that heterosexuals should be tolerant toward them. But they are intolerant of the right's opinions. Both sides claim to be right, the others wrong. We cannot fix each other, or change each other. God doesn't hate gays, he hates sin. He doesn't allow sin in His presence, but He loved mankind so much, He paid the price and banished our sin so we can be in present fellowship with Him again. He also made all believers to be fishers of men. "You catch em', and I'll clean em," is the idea. We can only tell others of His love for them and He will fix the brokenness we all have.
How do I stand? I am against homosexual behavior, but I'm for gays, I'm for alcoholics, addicts, prostitutes, etc. I'm against standing in judgment of gays. I do not believe Jesus expects less of me, for I am no better, just forgiven. What do you think?
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
I wrote pages of thoughts about fathers. What does it mean to be a good dad, a bad dad, or an M.I.A.? The thoughts may have been many, but would they make a father pause and think, maybe make a change? I couldn't really come up with a comfort zone in my thinking, what makes me feel I have the answers? We do have the answer book in scripture. By following what we read about a father's instructions in Proverbs, we can also read through biblical accounts of fathers in the Old Testament, which are examples of how to, or how not to father children to live extraordinary lives. and that is what I suggest, read those accounts. In nearly every account, Bible fathers weren't good at fathering, perhaps lack of knowing "how to," performing the same mistakes of their fathers, expecting different results.
One character was named Eli. He had two sons, and they were priests like Eli. Eli knew his sons were bad, fornicating with the young females who served at the temple, doing as they pleased with the sacrifices, disobedient to the laws. They were what we would consider bullies, using their ministry to please themselves. When Samuel came to live with Eli in the temple, God gave Samuel a dream telling him what would happen to Eli and his sons if they didn't turn from their evil ways. Eli knew about the dream, and asked Samuel to tell him what is was all about:
"What did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!" So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn't hold anything back. "It is the Lord's will," Eli replied. "Let him do what he thinks best," 1 Sam.3:17-18 ( you can read the entire account in 1 Sam.1-2)
Eli refused to discipline his sons. Hearing what God said from Samuel's dream, he responds, "oh well, go ahead God, have at it." I think Eli was fearful of what his sons would do to him if he had them removed from their position. In short, they died, Eli died, and their posterity was removed from the earth. Discipline is a must for a father. Ignoring a child's bad behavior is wronging the child, or children in ways that are nearly un-reversible. You must discipline, but you must do so in love, or out of a heart of love for your child and their future. That is not using physical, or verbal abuse. It is shepherding your child, steering the course of their life.
The Shepherd of our souls, Jesus, gave man a whole different picture of God as Father. The people of his day didn't like Jesus calling God his father, that to them, was blasphemy. But Jesus wanted you and I to see God for what He really is...love. He could have consumed Eli and his sons without warning, but even these bullies, He loved and warned them. The beauty of God as Father, knowing that the Almighty Creator wants to be "Abba" to all people everywhere, is astoundingly unthinkable. This revelation of Him is rejected by even the believers who want to see Father as Judge only, fueled by traditional knowledge, and by our darkened understanding. Abba, (daddy), wants us to crawl into His lap like a child in adoration of His multi-faceted character of grace, mercy, and love. He desires to grant us our needs, even our wants, because we are brought near to Him again by the blood of Christ.
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children." Eph.5:1 NLT
As I stated, I had pages written dads, that may be opinionated, biased by my understanding. Being a good dad may not be easy to "ace." If we take accounts from scripture, real truth, we can improve our ability to father are children with good discipline, not abuse, but by boundaries. Through the Word, we can learn to teach our young, listen to their needs, and lead by example. Devour the scripture, hunger for direction from God in rearing children. above all, thirst for a relationship with Abba, He will direct every step you take in His love.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
It is hard for men to be open about themselves and about their deepest thoughts regarding life and living. Exposing one's thoughts takes courage knowing you become open to criticism, and that strikes fear in a man's heart. Being manly and tough means "keep your thoughts to yourself or be a girlish chump." Nothing could be further from the truth. People who had a communicating father recall his strength of character, how they could tell their dad anything without hearing a lecture, followed by discipline. With a father that is closed minded toward a child's hurts or hang-ups, the child hides their feelings, knowing relating them to him will bring scorn and ridicule, not love and understanding. The ability to communicate to their child is a quality to be desired as a father...and it is learned behavior.
How I have arrived at these conclusions about fathers has come through personal experience, careful observation, and above all, through truths like these:
"My child, listen when your father corrects you, don't neglect your mothers instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace, and be a chain of honor around your neck."
"My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding."
"My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store up my commands within your heart. If you do this, you will live many years and your life will be satisfying," Prov. 1:8-9, 2:1-2, 3:1-2 NLT
When my daughter was in her most crucial time in her life, and needed her dad the most, my mind was closed completely. Her decisions were unguided by good counsel, but by an opinionated alcoholic, that was not mature enough to give G.O.D. to her. (good orderly direction) Fortunately, God had his hand on her life. In time, He worked things together for good, yet for a time, she struggled without dad's help, all alone.
I have personally observed others my age that had an active father in their life. Many of these people were not religious, but had a religious manner of communicating to their children. The behavior of my peers with the active parents, was that of drugs and alcohol is taboo, pre-marital sex is wrong, and college is a must. Those whose parents were religious, most of these, not all, married, had children, and today are still together after all of these years. I had communicating parents, but didn't listen. I was more set on rebellion, the price was costly, and I paid it.
Being a father is being a leader. Communicating with actions is nearly important as words. For a child to see their father bow his head in prayer, shed a tear in sorrow, belly laugh when something goes wrong, can have a heavy impression. Words themselves, reveal the heart of a father. For father to encourage his children by his honest evaluation, without belittlement, will steer the children in the right direction. Encouragement can only be effective with honesty.
To lie to a child by telling them they are better than other kids, to defend their wrong doing by making excuses, are destructive when the child discovers truth...if they ever do. This method is a lazy father's teaching technics. Tearing a child down by comparing them to siblings or other kids their age is even worse.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord." Eph.6:4 NLT
Many young men are fathers way too early in life. Before they have any understanding on how to live themselves, let alone provide for a family, they have one. Society today dictates marriage isn't necessary, commitment can come down the road. A child born into this world with parents having no direction can only cause a new generation of non-communicating, or dysfunctional families. Encourage those soon-to-be dads. Ask them pertinent questions about being dad. Don't aggravate or discourage them with "you knew better" wisdom. They may have known better, being a dad requires understanding and teach-ability, not ridicule. If you feel you failed with fatherhood in the past, communicate that to the new fathers, and amend past errors.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
Father's Day is coming up this Sunday. I wanted to write a little about being a father. Since I am a father, I would like to share my experiences and observances of something I have done poorly at times, and okay at others, but never have done with perfection.
Fatherhood is viewed by people from various sources, many getting their views of "dear old dad" from sitcoms and TV dramas these days. When I was younger, TV made dad somewhat human, respected by the entire family. Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, The Donna Reed Show, and later Cosby, all viewed father as a leader, wise, understanding, and a real household leader. In recent TV shows, dad is the household idiot, kids treat him with disrespect, mom leads the home and has the wisdom and understanding. Family Guy, The Simpsons, and many others, pervert and discount the role of the father in the home, as though the father doesn't matter. Dads really matter.
"America used to live by the motto, "Father Knows Best." Now we're lucky if father knows he has children. We have become a nation of sperm donors and "baby daddies." Stephen Colbert
"Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating...too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living, they forget to make a life." John Wooden
"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland
Fathers lead. They lead by example, by instruction, and by attitude. That responsibility is the greatest of responsibilities for any man who has sired offspring since the dawn of time. The first and most important lesson a father teaches his children is commitment. By being committed to the children's mother brings a sense of great security to a child, knowing mom and dad is there. Being committed to faith in God gives a child a sense of direction in life. Being committed to providing for the household gives the child a sense of obligation to do the same as they reach adulthood, and start their family.
Unfortunately, commitment defined this way seems more like a "pipe dream" of an overly-religious person, but that is not the case at all. Some have actually experienced having a father in their home, that is committed and communicating after this manner. How they reached this understanding was from the instruction in their own home, being taught the importance of teaching their little ones with diligence. From the time a young boy reaches an ability to understand, he should be taught about being a father. Many, if not most of the societal woes we experience in our world come from fathers that know nothing about being a father, and completely unconcerned about learning about this monumental responsibility. Sons become just like their dad, whether dad actually raises their child, or just provides the seed, and disappears. Some never know their father and still turn out like him.
Over the next couple of days, I want to write about my experience as a father, and my observances of fathers that have, or are developing good and bad behaviors, affecting the future of their home, and enhancing or destroying their marriage and children's lives. Over ninety percent of inmates in prison today had no father in their lives. Their sense of right and wrong came from the streets, from media outlets like movies, TV, and gaming. They have little or no sense of spirituality, and every small good they perform, mothers tend to over-praise them to compensate for dad's neglect. With over-inflated egos, and no understanding of a God they have to answer to for evil they do to others, without values about right or wrong living, prison and or substance abuse tends to be the normal way of life. Tragic.
There is a better way. More to come. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
People seem to be interested in the end of world. Many of us remember the "Jupiter Effect," which was supposed to have a major impact in bringing prophetic events into reality. Some think of the writings of Nostradamus, or look to dates like the Y2K threat, the Mayan calendar ending, as well as biblical prophecies. This isn't true for everyone. Some people think nothing of the end of life as we know it, and live as though it will never come to be. "That has been the fear of mankind for centuries, nothing will happen," some people think.
For Christians, they have always wanted to project when Christ would return, using the prophetic writings. It is true that since Jesus ascended and promised He would come back, each generation has expectantly looked for Him to return. If you take a few minutes and read Matthew 24, you can read what those closest to Jesus recorded from Christ's words, what to look for regarding His coming again. 2 Timothy 3, has Paul the apostle's prophetic statement of what people of the end times will be like. That can make you shutter. It is on the money of how people are living in our times...even Christians.
How do you see the end? Maybe you don't. I for one, already have my ticket stamped and paid for, so I keep an eye on the sky, but try to stay busy, occupying myself with the "King's business." I have this hope that before He returns, that we who claim to belong to Him would really live like we are His. I pray that we live what we say we believe, not worrying ourselves with being accepted, or popular. I want to see believer's stop disagreeing on silly doctrinal differences, and trying to be politically right. I want to see us find the common ground of caring for the lost, the broken, the elderly, the orphan, the foreigner, the hungry, the homeless.
I want to see the followers of Jesus know what they believe, and teach their children to know God's will by knowing God...by example. I want Christ to be the center of our lives, that meeting together with other believers be more important than the ball tournament every weekend. I hope to see believers live in a way that doesn't bring reproach on Christ, living others-minded, not self-centered, slothful, apathetic.
Though I have that passage ticket paid for, I still have many things that I have to rely on God's grace to help me improve, I can't fix these on my own. Those things I can improve on, I really work to do so. If I merely look at the direction the world is heading, via the media, the days that remain are few. In fact, today may be the day. There is nothing scripturally that must occur before Christ comes to rescue those belonging to Him. His grace has given us one more day. How will you use today? A suggestion: request your ticket, compel your family, friends, those around you to do the same.
I have often thought that He would return for a group of people that were stronger than the people he made the promise to. If you look in Acts, the recording of how the church began, you'll see followers of Jesus that had no regard for their lives, only for promoting the kingdom of God in the Earth. Will we become that hungry to do the same? God knows.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
I really could not tell you how many times I have had my size nine foot in my mouth. I'm can't remember what crow tastes like, but I have partaken in this bitter bird more than I care to recall. Words of scorn, criticism, and gossip has no place in either my life in Christ, nor my recovery from alcoholism. Too many times I have been critical in an attempt to be funny, not to put down, but this is totally unbecoming for a follower of Jesus. Words can tear down, they can build up. What rolls off of the tongue can be a curse, or a blessing...literally. Also, my words can put me in chains to others.
"You are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth." Prov.6:2 NKJV
It is important to see character defects in myself. Yes, they are repugnant, reminding me of the heavy hurts and personal pain experienced from the cutting remarks from others. Words have carved me into a work of art you would say looks like a Picasso, "what is that ugly thing?" How did I respond to put-downs? I put someone else down. Maybe it was a morbid desire to share my pain with others.
Thank God for the gift of understanding how important it is to eliminate bad behaviors, sins that separate me from blessings, and from serving others. I desire to heal with what comes from my mouth, to pick up the broken person no one has ever been kind to. They are everywhere. So many coming into recovery carry the pain from words, inflicted on them by parents, siblings, and acquaintances that have been treated in the same manner.
It is easy to hurt with words, but words can also trap you, place you into bondage. Making promises can be a curse from allowing your mouth to write checks your abilities cannot cash. Once you have committed you are snared, the person you promised, owns you. "Why didn't I keep my big mouth shut?" you ask. The same reason we all do. We insist on self promotion, not honesty. Saying you will do this or that, and then not keeping your word, reflects you lack integrity and cannot be trusted. If you are in that situation, the passage above and read a little further.
"...do this,...deliver yourself, for you have come into the hand of your friend: go and humble yourself; plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes...deliver yourself..Prov.6 :3-4
Admission is embarrassing, but freeing. If you don't do this, expect the cutting, hurtful words to come from others. Maybe you learn a lesson; don't use your words to make impossible promises, don't open your mouth in critical words or gossip. Let your words be a healing balm that brings God glory, promise what your talents can deliver. Here's a great use for your words, pray for those who have cut you with comments, ask God to open their eyes to the way their mouth works to snare them, or free them.
Heal with you words, keep yourself free from criticism, not saying, doing what you promise. Use the wonderful gift of language and communication to speak kindness, mercy, hope. Build each other up, blessing and filling all with faith. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!