It is very hard to see my own faults. I think that is another good reason for marriage, your spouse can point out your short comings in some very creative ways. If you give some thought to it, we feel we are right about nearly everything. By the time we reach adulthood, how we eat and dress is determined to be right in our own eyes. When we marry, we think that other has some weird ideas about food, doing laundry, and cleaning, because our mom didn't do it that way. This can be a major reason for arguments early on in marriage. If you're a newlywed...don't compare your beloved to your mom or dad. Getting along with each other is better if we have an open mind about how life is, and how we, and our families way of doing things, may not be perfect.
Working with alcoholics/addicts can be very rewarding, or it can be very sad. Some come into recovery meetings with their jaw set to get well. They see the importance of following directions, getting to as many meetings as possible, working the steps, and returning the favor by helping others get well. They are also aware of their part in their troubled past. They get well in time, and as they continue to do what it takes, stay well. Others look to blame their life's woes on upbringing, being unlucky, bad breaks, or even God. They may stay sober for a time, but their future is bleak. Not admitting you are the one who drank or used, not facing reality that its YOU, will send you back out to the swallow so you can get more of what you have. Keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. That goes for both examples.
There is one other example that is a real heart breaker. This individual wants more than anything to get well. working the steps and working to stay clean and sober isn't an issue to them, they'll do what it takes, admitting their faults. But their families do not participate and help them in any way. They throw the past in their face on a regular basis. The concern is not the person's recovery, but the concern is making sure they inflict hurt, and drive the sword of remorse deep into the one recovering's heart. This person may stay clean and sober, but there is always a struggle. They seem to be walking a razor-thin line between sobriety and drunkeness. Family members may have went through much grief and sorrow from the individuals past abusive drunkeness, but the answer is not to retaliate. To try and pay them back, is to try and get your sorrow back. If they return to drinking and using, it will be worse than before, the sickness is progressive.
Family members and loved ones want the afflicted one to get better, and they want to have their lives to improve. If the individual has admitted their part, rejoice! that is half the battle, your life is getting ready to improve. If you can't be happy with their sobriety, and admission, at least, don't nag. Try hard to restrain your anger and let the individual work on sobriety. This is crucial. If you can't let it go, or give it a rest, seek counsel. Perhaps your hurts are really deep. Seeking help from a professional may be the ticket for you. Or even another believer that will keep confidence would be good. They may be able to help you see your part...that's right, you may have had a part. If you realize your part, that you somhow may have, and admit that you did, healing will follow.
I don't want anyone to think they are responsible for another's way of living. I do want to say that if we live in a way of "being there if you need me," we can have a part in our loved one's finding their way in life. Once they find purpose, and their life improves, our life will improve. If you want a part, play the good part. And have a part in their recovery by praying for them. God hears and will help.
Thanks for reading
"A lie can run around the world before truth can get it's boots on." -James Watt
One of the most perplexing things in life is listening to an intelligent person define truth. They will say things regarding truth as objective, if it's true for you it's true. Is the sky blue? It may be true for you, but not for me. Is it wrong to steal? It is for you, but not for me. Duh. Most often these explanations from the brilliant minds leave the listeners with more questions, which is their agenda, or at least it seems so. Some feel that the questioning of establised truth empowers the one having questions. But I'm quite sure that taking things that aren't yours is wrong, in any society. However, this is what is being taught to children in our schools. We should be very disurbed about that.
I don't have any doubts that truth changes, in regard to science, health care, diet, etc. Truth in lending has changed for the banking industry. How automobiles are designed have changed dramatically, as engineers have learned greater truth regarding aerodynamics. However moral values have not changed, nor will they. To be a friend, be friendly. To acquire financial security, be prudent. To provide food and shelter, work. To stay out of jail, don't break the law. Yet, even these truths, solid, proven, and handed down for milleniae are questioned. Why? To challenge? No, to remove and erase standards we understand that direct out society in a godly and good code for living, and replace those codes with ungodly and unholy humanistic directives. The purpose is to remove the very thought of God and His ways from our minds. Anything we regard as truth, is targeted to bring doubt to the purpose of the truth. Once doubted, then it is targeted to be disregarded completely.
The removal of the 10 Commandments was led by the ACLU in public schools, as a result of people who are anti-religious, normally by one, or two disgrutled individuals. The ACLU's argument was that students seeing these laws may cause students to believe them, and obey them. Of course, they use the Constitution of the United States separation of church and state clause...that doesn't exist, that's right, doesn't exist in the document, to get the job done in spite of the will of the people. Keep in mind that some of our Supreme Court judges are part of the godless group intent on re-writing our moral codes, or eliminating them, and they have a lifetime appointment. They really believe that mankind is better off without any notion of a higher power, that loved man enough to give him codes to live by. Destroy religion and you destroy societal woes. This is the instructions given by many of the "higher learning" institutions in our country.
Should we question truth? By all means. An established truth such as, stealing from others being wrong, to say that is relevant to the individual, can bring a state of anarchy to any society. Those who find religion distasteful, seem to have blinders on the immoral state of our nation. The removal of prayer from schools, the rejection to allow manger scenes during the Christmas season, along with any religious practice in government ran facilities have brought America to a new low. They, by their disregard of God, and snubbing our noses at His given truth, have helped our schools to become like a zoo in inner cities. We have fallen from being in the top ten educational systems in the world to twenty-seventh. School shootings, drug dealing, and educators who have no desire to educate, are the result of teaching that there is no one to answer to, no God, no rules, no recompense for laws that are broken. Ignoring God, denying His existence, have opened the doors to fables, i.e. biological evolution. All are results of moral relativism youth are taught, God help us! There is no proof of God except our faith in what is written in scripture. There is no proof in biological evolution, except what is written in textbooks.
Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the Truth will set you free." (Jn.8:32) The acceptance of truth found in Christ is despicable to the ears of the evil one, and his crowd. There are reasons that those who reject the truth of God's Word, mainly, to accept it's reality, is to accept it's truth, and change their values and actions. To look at drunkeness as sin, or sex outside of marriage as sin, would destroy some of the things that drive their lives. Power, fame, money, are some of the causes for such strong opposition of the gospel, comparing a lawyer who gets a murderer off the hook, knowing he's guilty, but the case would catapult him to fame and fortune. No standard, no truth, no recompense.
Truth remains. It's wrong to steal, to lie, to hate, to have an adulterous affair, and we know it. Question all you want. Society, a century from now, will probably view our questions regarding truth today, and wonder why truths established, was questioned with such fury. Past, present, and future, truth is truth. We must know, make it a point, to understand the truth, and know how to defend it. Know what your children are taught in school. Be ready to correct the moral relativism they're taught in school. Their future depends on it.
I am gravely concerned that we are falling deeper into a pit of doubt in our world today. We are taught to question morals. Let us, as followers of Christ, become the questioners of their reason, and of their purpose. Why do you think that way? should be one of the questions we ask to those telling us to change traditional values and to rebel against the truth taught us. Truths that have guided societies and established nations for centuries. We must ask the questions, they must provide their answer.
Thanks for reading, may the God of all Truth bless and keep you all. Keith
I have a bucket list. Everyone has one, I think. What we want to do before we die. When I was younger, my bucket list included the following: be stinking, filthy rich, have a monstrously large palacial estate, travel the world, and have property in all of those places I like. There was also this thought that I would be reaching down to help the needy and homeless, and be known as a philanthropist, recognized worldwide. That last thought was so that God, looking down on creation, could easily pick me out as one of His favorites and prosper me all the more. I did intend to become a man of great wealth through the Ohio lottery, not from hard work, there wasn't time for that.
Everything I hoped for in these visions of grandeur, was for me to be fulfilled and completely satisfied with wealth. Me. The universe had yours truly at dead center, and you all would know me as a wonderful person that deserved everything he had. Reality, I wouldn't have lasted 5 years. I would have wasted every bit of those winnings on things...like the majority of lotto winners. If you didn't know this I'll tell you, it didn't work out. I missed my "ME" goals. It was all about me.
After living the prodigal life for many years, God, for reasons I don't fully understand, brought me out of that insanity. Living for my pleasure had zero rewards, but had become rich with remorse. In time realized that happiness could never be found by anything this world affords. Houses, lands, untold wealth and fame, all are the deceptions I had been geared to think would bring me happiness. Fully resigned to forget wealth and the aquisition of things, I asked God to let me live life in service to Him by serving others, especially others with addictions. He graciously has met that request, and my understanding of joy and success in life has dramatically changed. No thought I had about fulfillment was correct, my bucket list was useless.
Jesus really messed things up for the religious crowd. He made these outrageous claims that the greatest would be the servant. He brought these ideas that were off-the-chart weird to the wealthy, but struck a chord in the hearts of the poor and simple by saying to give all and find everything. If I am to follow Him, I had to give up this notion that anything, other than He, could satisfy.
"...whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever
desires to be first among you, let him be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come
to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransome for many." Matt.20:26-28 (NKJV)
So back to the bucket list. I have, but no means have attained perfection, and now have no desire for achievement, notoriety, or to live as a pauper. But I have changed that list of to-dos to becoming willing to give up all to attain Christ, and help where needed. The list is no longer grasping for the tangibles in life and getting. Now the list is becoming and reaching for the intangible and eternal by giving away my life to service. What I feel really matters, is that I strive to become what God intended by giving of myself, not doing for myself, not caring how people see me. The bucket of "gold" isn't at the end of the rainbow, it's at the end of life. Did I do all I could, for all I could, for as long as I could?
I hope you take this message for what it's worth. I used myself as an example, not trying to be bragadocious by any means. I paid a very high price to learn what brings purpose and fulfillment. But this story is not mine alone, but also belongs to the multitudes I have met on life's journey. Their impressions have left a sign for me to see along the path. I just attempt to return the favor.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
If you're familiar with the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, you know the song. In the song, a man is messing with another man's wife. When the husband prepares to shoot him, he asks for just three steps head start, and he will get gone for good! Cute song with a lesson. I had a lesson in life that required three steps to get me out, three steps to get my mind right, three steps into get my relationships healed, and three to live a normal life. Those twelve steps helped me walk the road of recovery and restored to me a purpose for living. It wasn't an angry husband I was running from, rather, I was running from an angry me. I didn't want to face myself, and see all of those character defects that were evident to everyone but me. I really thought I had no defects when I drank, but when I was alone, I would have rather faced that husband in the song than myself.
There was a moment of clarity when I realized a hopelessness that I hadn't experienced before. I came out of the fog of self-deceit and my delusional state of the "king of the universe." I needed help. Thank God that I got the help I needed. He led me to AA, AA led me to Him. I knew God from my youth from attending church and actually serving Him as a young man in my twenties, but through my personal pride, I walked away to pursue personal desires. I could have went to a church for help, but that could not have helped me. I had to be among people like myself, with the same problem. This is where I learned that recovery, real sobriety, would come in steps, not in one leap.
Enough about me. Are you in a similar situation? It doesn't have to be a drug addiction, or alcoholism. Everyone has some sort of addiction, everyone. Fear, that leads to worry, talking about others, working constantly, shopping, surfing the web, playing video games, having to be a board member in every program you involve yourself in, trying to control everything, all of these can be an addiction. Exercise can be an addiction. And there are twelve step programs for overeating, smoking, sex and pornography, and gambling. If you fit into any of these, you can get help. Unless you have the addiction, or fear, that someone will find out you have a problem, you can get help. Don't allow what others think keep you from living a life of freedom through surrender. There is nothing like it. Having your habits shared with others with like habits is liberating, to say the least. Here is how:
First of all, pray. Ask God to help you be willing to get help. Ask Him to guide you to the right person or program. Then make a decision to get to that meeting or make that call, take the advice you're given, and pray even more for God to help you to accomplish freedom. Depending on your problem, some can receive help through a spiritual mentor, if that problem has no twelve step program. An example would be gossip, I don't know of a twelve step program for that. By asking a person with spiritual integrity to help you, and give you someone to hold you responsible for your actions, will start you on the road to freedom. Here are three steps for you:
These are borrowed from AA's twelve steps and used by NA, OA, and most other programs:
1) Admit you are powerless. Because of your addiction, you are unable to manage
2) Come to believe you need God's power to help you.
3) Make the decision to turn your will and life over to His power.
These steps, along with prayer and a mentor's experience, will give you hope and you will see daylight in overcoming the addiction that holds you hostage. It's three steps toward the door of liberty.
As you truly accept the fact that you're flawed, as we all are, then take these small steps, you must do one more thing; be willing to help others with similar problems. Give what you've been given. This will ensure your freedom. God's grace will help you every step of the way.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
In recovery meetings I often hear people say, "I didn't want to end up like my parents, but I did. I have the same bad habits, and attitudes. I yell at the kids like my mom, I isolate like my dad...I'm just like they were." Each time I hear this, (keep in mind these are recovering alcoholics and drug addicts), there is remorse, and expressed self-disdain by the speaker. The common denominator that runs from speaker to speaker is that the parents all seemed to be unprepared to parent. It's as though children are raising children. I think I have been paying much attention to this lately since my grandson Christian (Becka) made me a great-grandfather at 55, my step-son John (Bayleigh) brought a child into the world, and my son Jake (Lauren) is expecting any day. This goes along with the 6 bundles of joy we already have. (Judy is a great- granny at 40!) We are really blessed and grateful to God for each child.
I noticed that with these gifts from God that the parents of each spent alot of time in choosing names that they felt were unique for their child. Of course, I did the same, spending days thinking about how to set my children apart from other kids, and make them special with their names. As it turned out, by the time they were born, there was dozens of Sara's, Aaron's, and Jacob's. Wow, I thought taking their names from the Bible would be something no one else thought of...naive huh? My thoughts today is not directed toward giving children a name, though this is important, but teaching them to make a name.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather
than siver or gold. Prov.22:1
Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart
from it. Prov.22:6 (NKJV)
If I would have had the smallest inkling that choosing a name was secondary to learning something about parenting, it may have made a huge difference in the children's future. But I didn't. So I think, I'll just make sure that I pass this information on to my children so they will take my DEEP understanding, and raise their kids with a understanding of what is important...not so. Our own children have the tendency to believe someone's words, though they may not even know that person, rather than their wise old parents. All of the experience we have, the knowledge we have gained, is useless when passing that wisdom onto our own children. That is if...we waited until they were adults to pass that knowledge to them. If we begin teaching them about life and living from their early childhood, they will accept those valued lessons we have learned as great treasure. We can make a difference in their future that is positive, and fruitful.
It takes effort to train up a child. You have to learn how to parent first. Parenting is not screaming, yelling, threatening, or bossing. Parenting is patience, understanding, listening, learning, and really loving. Teaching a child integrity, prudence, giving them a basis for faith in God, is what really matters. Teaching them how to play baseball, soccer, and golf are things that are fun and we enjoy watching them become good atheletes, but living skills are far more important. Mothers and fathers can teach children by never arguing in front of them. We can all learn to be better spouses. So how do we learn?
Two things are vital to the follower of Christ. Prayer and Proverbs. Asking God for wisdom to raise your children, for wisdom to be a better spouse, is the first step in bettering ourselves. Reading the Proverbs brings godly knowledge into parenting...if you read it, believe it, and apply it. Look at the book of Proverbs as though God, your Father, is teaching you directly. Many times in Proverbs, they start with, listen to my words, hear what I'm saying to you, apply your heart to understand. Seek wisdom, get knowledge, ask for understanding, and really taking these words of wisdom as truth and the way to live, changes your desire to force what you think is the way to parent, into the way God wants you to parent.
Now back to what I was saying at the beginning. Do you want your children to turn out like you? Do you want to steer them away from a life of addictions? Those dear recovering addicts/alcoholics trying to stay sober have a major road block in doing so from their upbringing in a dysfunctional home. Don't allow that to happen. Take the time to learn and study parenting, ask God for wisdom. Family movie night is great, but mommy talking to daughter about being a woman is better. Daddy taking his little boy to fish is marvelous, daddy showing his son how to kneel and pray is far better. Doing these things, doing them with regularity, will change their life and their ability to raise your grandchildren.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
I have witnessed many wonderful transformations in recovery programs. Nothing is comparable to watching individuals finally realizing their powerlessness and surrendering control of their lives. It happened to me, and quite honestly, I thought I may be at the hopeless stage and would live as an active alcoholic until I died. But I gave it a shot, and began to see a little light, until the light became like a sunny day. I had an epiphany, and realized my unmanagability to stop doing those things that kept me from living anything that resembled a good life.
That epiphany revealed a paradox. I must lose to win. I had to lose every thought of trying to control drinking or drugging. I know that not everyone who reads these blogs have had a drinking/drug use problem, so I'll give you an example. In a broken relationship, one of the two may have the notion of returning the relationship to being a couple again. So they call their partner and express their desire to get back together. Unfortunately, the other party doesn't feel the same. So the one calls the other many times daily, follows the other everywhere they go, relentlessly in pursuit of making the other agree to getting back together...all in vain. The pursuee now detests the pursuer, and never will desire to being with this controlling monster again. Had the first party not called after the initial call, saying they wanted to get back together, and just went on in pain, the second party may have had time to think, and desire to get back together as well.
It's our ego-centric notion of controlling the other, thinking we will win by our own power, or our will power, that takes us to utter defeat. When we surrender, we can receive the needed help. When we surrender, our broken life becomes repairable because we want to be fixed and listen to advice, taking necessary actions to get well. When we're surrendered, we give God something to work with. He can re-work us into a vessel to refill. Surrender is losing, it's dying to self, it's losing to win. This is where the broken, defeated alcoholic/addict starts to recover. This is where the light comes on.
People come into churches with the notion of getting their life together. Sometimes these folks have been beaten up in life by addictions, divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, and a host of other reasons. Nonetheless, here, as in AA/NA, people come in to see what's inside, if this is real. Once they hear and believe, then surrender their control over to God, their lives are transformed. As in recovery, they lose to win. Why does this have to be the way for us to truly succeed in recovery, or in the transformation from darkness in light? Why can't I have a role in controlling my own life?
"You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)
We don't want to hear of anything that takes away our position of running our universe. The secular world says its puritanical to think we cannot make decisions in our own lives without prayer. It's our life, we shouldn't have to consult an unseen force to make us do the right thing. What feels good to you is the right thing. And the notion that a God would actually concern him/herself with you, if there even were such a deity, is absurd. This is the way of thinking in our world today that have helped us reach the point of epidemic, where drugs are concerned. These thoughts control our education, our courts, the movie industry, and nearly all media outlets. And look where we are. We have controlled our environment into chaos, placing ourselves in the position of God. We may not worship statues, we do worship other gods...ourselves. This first of ten commandments wasn't given to enslave our lives. This law was given to protect us from our own misguided drives to rule everything and everyone. When we recognized there is no god to before the only God, we experience the broken chains of self-will that enslave us. Freedom comes when we die to selfish desire, and become desirous of putting others ahead of us, under God's leadership. His rule brings joy and peace, not tyrranny.
People who have gotten free of their addictions are well aware of this truth. You cannot convince them that they have control of their life. The proof is in their control led them into complete ruin. If you look around in your own life and see areas of struggle, maybe your children won't hear anything you say, your spouse lives at the local saloon, your boss doesn't see your worth, etc. Just give up, surrender, forget about it, tell God...this is your problem now. I give up. If you want my success or failure, I'm okay with that. Now you have given Him a vessel He can use. He will do extrordinary things, you will know complete victory. Or leave things as they are, keep trying your way. Keep doing what you're doing, and you'll keep getting what you're getting.
The transformation is real, it's lasting, but we must know it is not a one time action. Daily surrender to Him. He in turn will rule and orchestrate a beautiful life for you. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
What is fashionable draws people. We all want to be considered, "chic," or hep to what's "in." Our apparel, the way we talk, the way we wear our hair, are all important to our attraction to others. That's only true for you and I if we care what others think about us. There are those who don't care anything about others opinion of themselves and it shows in their lifestyles and appearance. And there are some who are oblivious about their looks, or their manner in the presence of others. All of these factors are okay, for the most part. These differences are what make our world tolerable to dwell in. It would be a dull place if we all thought, acted, and looked alike.
I have noticed a disturbing trend in our places of worship. It appears that we have come to the conclusion that we must take measures to be sure everyone is comfortable, and attend services regularly. We want growth, and having new ideas seem to draw the masses. Copying the success of others is okay, but there is a missing element, uniqueness. Today we have coffee, snacks, libraries, worship teams, and nurseries. We have home groups, special ministries, and a staff that pastors each special group. I don't think any of these are bad, many are good and create fellowship, and that is pleasing to God. Churches really need change from the mundane or boring norms and expected. But where has the uniqueness gone to? Furthermore, where is the electricity of restoration?
I have memories from childhood that are engraved on my heart. I remember the churches we attended having a "revival" that were scheduled for a week or two, but lasted for a month or longer. I remember mom and dad taking us to people's homes after church, and all of us kids playing in the basement of the friends home, and when I went upstairs for what ever reason, seeing my parents, my aunt and uncle, and the friends, all on their knees crying out to God. They were hungry for God's presence.
That may be foreign to you. You may think that people were dogmatic, or overly religious, but they got what they prayed for. God's presence was real to them...and to me too. It was only my desire to run with the "herd," that took my heart and mind away from that real hunger to know God's reality. I chose to try for man's acceptance rather than God's.
"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me
with all your heart. And I will be found by you, says the Lord"...
"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for
you O God." Ps.42:1 (NKJV)
Charles Finney was a revivalist a couple of centuries ago. When he went into a city to hold a revival, entire villages came to Christ. Back in the 1800's, if a circus came to town, everyone attended, this was a major event. People didn't have the daily distraction of things to do we have today so a circus was highly anticipated. A circus came to a city where Finney was holding services. After a couple of days, they took their tents down and moved on...nobody attended. The people didn't care about the circus, they were hungry for God's presence. Isn't that unique?
The key to Finney's success was a man named "Father" Nash. He would arrive at the city Finney was heading to a couple of weeks early, and intercede in prayer for that community. The whole community converted, bars closed down, churches ignored their doctrinal differences, and God arrived in power. We cannot discount the need of unity wrought by prayer for our communities and nation. Our lack of prayer for the nation and it's people, have led us into a state of apathy in regard to spirituality, and we have replaced our desire for God's powerful presence for the acceptance of everyone, especially the secularist and it's "herd" worldview.
We can run with the "herd" if we want. We will drawl with programs and people will come to be a part , and some will even come to accept Christ. But if we're really wanting to see a real drawl, let's repent for trying to be the Holy Spirit and drawl the crowd. Let's repent for living and talking like the herd. Let's determine to see God return to our churches and return Sunday Schools that teach kids about God, and ground them in biblical precepts. Let's be seriously concerned for the lost, our neighbors, the elderly, and orphans. If we do, prayer will return to the home, and the schools. God will forgive the nation's sins, and restore us to spiritual health.
I could go on, but I think you get what I'm saying. I really don't want to run with the herd, I want to be in the "flock", and be led. It is only the direction I see the herd heading that causes my concern, because I'm in the herd. We are in trouble and need help. Let's pray for God's help today.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
One of the most interesting parables Jesus gave was in response to a question from Peter. It's found in Matthew 18:21-35. I'm going to paraphrase the passage so I don't have to type 14 verses. Peter asks Jesus, how many times do I forgive a trespass? Do I forgive up to 7 times? Jesus answered, 70 times 7. Now that's 490 times in anyone's math, but not in Jesus'. The number Jesus was telling Peter was an infinite number of times. Interesting. Now my first thought would be that if I'm wronged by you once, shame on you. Wrong me twice, shame on me for being a dope. In myself, I'm incapable of forgiving someone over and over for the same offense, or any offense.
Jesus goes on with his story, telling how this CEO was settling accounts with his workers. One of the workers debts got way out of hand. He owed the boss 10,000 talents..well, how about 10,000,000 dollars, that's today's equivalent. Well he gave the boss a sob story, begged the boss not to give him the axe, and he would repay him every cent. The boss had compassion on the worker and forgave him...every cent of what he owed. Well, the worker slithered out of the bosses office and ran into a guy that owed him $10.00. The guy begged his forgiveness, and told the man he'd pay the ten clams as fast as he could. He said no,and put his buddy at work into a place called debtors prison, until every cent was paid. Now his fellow workers saw what happened. They were so mad they went and told the boss. The boss was infuriated and said, you wicked servant, I forgave your huge debt, but you wouldn't forgive a small debt. So off to prison the worker went for the rest of his life, or the $10 mil was repaid. Justice.
Here's how Jesus ends the story: So My heavenly Father will do to you if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. Matt.18:35 (NKJV)
This passage is not only interesting, it's also convicting...to me. I know that I was shown compassion, more than dozens of times when I was drinking, and as much living clean and sober. I have no right to not forgive anyone. Who do I think I am? If you and I don't forgive a wrong, we don't realize the scope of what we have been forgiven of. We place ourselves in a debtor's prison, so to speak. We put a huge barrier between ourselves and God. I receive forgiveness, but turn around and sin by not forgiving. Then wonder why God doesn't answer prayers for me.
Think about the ones that have harmed you in the past. Maybe it's a spouse who can't come home from the bar. Maybe it's a co-worker always taking the credit for things you have done. Maybe it's the pastor of your church that won't let you sing a song. Now think about the way you yelled at your kids when you came home in a crappy mood, and they forgave you. Think about how you stole money from a friend and the friend forgave you. Think about how you've lied to your parents, and they forgave you. I could go on but you catch my drift.
Let go of unforgiveness. Grudges turn into bitterness that can affect every aspect of your existence, even over to physical and mental illness, that can destroy you, or twist you into insanity. Forgive. Ask God to help you love...His way. He will come to your aid and place a whole new light on your way of living and forgiving.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
When working with addicts/alcoholics, you should always remember the importance of help you are giving. For one, is it effective? Am I sugar coating so I don't offend? or am I being too harsh, they're beaten bad enough? For each success, there are failures. I have often felt as though it were my fault when someone I work with has a relapse...and their death if they do not survive. I do really know better. Nonetheless, it still leaves you wondering. It is my responsibility to give them what I've been given. I am responsible to stick my hand out in fellowship, to instruct them to follow the steps to sobriety, to show them gratitude in action by serving wherever possible.
I have seen many successfully complete the 12 steps, then relapse. None of us have a guaranteed sobriety. Prayer, serving, and meetings are the glue that holds sobriey's steps together. Those steps cannot be altered or ignored. You can either work the 12 steps, or your addiction will work you over, until you're finished. Know this, it is up to the individual to accept do what is necessary to stay clean and sober.
When I came into the AA fellowship, I wanted to do my program. I soon realized that I needed to work the program the right way. I got a sponsor and began to work the program. The sponsor didn't call me, he didn't make sure I was doing ok, he didn't shove me through the steps, no, that was my job. I asked him to sponsor me. It was my duty to call him, to ask his help working the steps, to ask for advice and help when I needed it. The same goes for help from God. If you ask Him for nothing, that's what you get from Him. It is our responsibility to ask for help in life, from God, from parents or family members, from mentors, and pastors. Silent pride is fear, fear of rejection.
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give what is good to those who ask Him?" Matt.7:11 (NAS)
I am responsible for my prayers to God. I am to pray asking for help, for my needs, for direction, without thinking God is too busy for me. I'm responsible to know that, not thinking that He may feel really sorry for me and eventually get around to my request. Where is that "Bible verse, the Lord helps them who helps themselves?"
It's NOT IN THE BIBLE! I'm responsible for knowing that too. Twinkle, twinkle little star is not a prayer. A stitch in time saves nine is not in Proverbs. I'm reponsible to know these things.
When the pastor gives the sermon, it's for the hearer to live the message out. When the high school gives me my diploma, it's up to me to take that education and use it to make a living, or further my education. When the mentor gives the follower every bit of knowedge, it's up to the follower to apply and develop that knowledge further. We must see our responsibility in everything. If we do not, the government will be glad to be responsible for you...at a high price, your soul. They will fill your soul with their belief system...I mean unbelief system, that will teach you to rely on uncle Sam for help with addiction, child rearing, religious education, religious de-programming, medicine, etc, etc. Just ask China, N. Korea, or any socialist nation, they know government control.
Ok, I could really go with a thousand directions with this topic. I still struggle with responsibility. Today I understand the importance of being responsible, and passing that understanding to my children, or those I help in recovery. Give this some thought, see if you are responsible, and if you are passing it forward.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
The late John Wayne said the definition of courage is: "being terrified, but saddling up anyway." Going into battle for the bravest of hearts can be horrifying, knowing you may die, and never see your home again, or your loved ones again. What we don't realize is, each day we leave our home, we may not see it again. We may never lay eyes on our little ones, our spouse, or our parents. Of course we come and go each day without thought of this day may be the last day.
We need courage to live, and courage to take action. What I mean by taking action is, the courage to show love to those near to us before we walk out the door, before we lie down to sleep, or anytime we part company. Most of us don't show affection toward loved one from the fear of showing weakness, being lessened in the eyes of others. Or we may not show love because we don't "feel" love. We need courage to say, and more importantly, to show affection. Men especially don't feel it's manly to show affection, nor to bow their head to pray in gratitude over their food, not to mention bowing their knees to God for protection and guidance over themselves and their family. It wasn't always this way.
It takes courage to live. I takes courage to face the daily struggles in life. We fight to earn a living on the job, fight traffic to get there, fight for positions at work, fight an egocentric boss, and even fight to defend our benefits of lunch, or getting breaks. We fight to pay our bills, and to feed our children. We fight to resist drugs and alcohol addictions. The fight is unending and we need courage of divine quality.
"Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning
him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for
his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord
his God." 1Sam.30:6 (NKJV)
In this story, David strengthened himself in God. How? He knew God's abilities, he knew how to pray, he wasn't ashamed to do so. He was a fierce man of war, unaffraid in battle, but could humble himself face down before people because his devotion to God far exceeded his worry over what people may say. David had great courage.
Consider your courage. I know my concern throughout life has been being accepted by others, I want to be part of "the in-crowd." But why? What has that gotten me? Fear is what I received for my trouble. Today, I have began, slowly, to reject the need of the "status quo," and give my life to the courage of living in Christ. I can show affection, I can bow my head in prayer, and even admit I'm wrong. God is making me courageous, and I am grateful. Ask him to help you to be fearless to standfast for His truth. Strengthen yourself in God.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith