We hear the word "empower" regarding children and education. This term is a word of the age, another word that eventually goes to the "out" file. Words like "surreal" have lost popularity and at the end of this year, empowerment will join the words losing popularity. The reason for the use of this word and its meaning, to give authority or power to, is the attempt to improve the attitude and future outlook through positive input.
Does it work? We empower the youth today through programs and activities that will help them rise above their parents, and achieve a higher lifestyle or attain higher goals in life. The government of this country does the same thing through programs designed to help the people receiving their assistance, or through legislation to "improve" public education. It is a term that works for parent-child relationships, but not so well with government intrusion on the life of the people. Making laws to improve behavior reflects failure of the culture, an ignorance of the people, that lawmakers think they must "fix." You cannot legislate behavior, morals, or belief, but the government tries.
It is good for the parent to teach their child that they have the power to say no to drug use, alcohol, pre-marital sex, and to crimes that ensue. However, there must be a basis of belief, and that there is an eternal consequence for our behaviors, both good and bad. We can empower the young with how they were fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator that loves them, and expects them to use their talents and abilities with gusto, and knowledge that wasting their life can ruin their eternity. Not choosing to teach the children allows someone to do that job resulting in their remaining powerless, having no ability to say no to any desire no matter how evil.
"Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that
i may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreaths, and my age as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but a vapor".....Selah. Ps.39:4-5
Powerlessness is our lot from birth. Babies are totally helpless and need constant care. The failed empowered individual is like a baby needing attention anew. This is the danger of trying to empower a child to believe they are just as good as the next person. If they have a friend at school who excels at math, and you tell them they are just as good as their math-wiz friend, you are setting up their failure. To tell the youth that they can become as good as their classmate in math, is different altogether. The first step to success is the understanding of powerlessness. AA, NA. Celebrate Recovery, all of these programs have the same step one in their 12 step program.
Principle one: Realize I'm not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanagable. Celebrate Recovery's version.
We go to great pains to make our children feel special, especially when we ourselves have begun our healing process from addictions. We do not want them to follow our misguided path. The greatest gift you can give your child is honesty. Be honest in every endeavor in life, teach them that they are human, flawed, and need to develop skills and abilities with work and experience. Give them real empowerment by telling them they are powerless in many areas, and need help to improve. This is a great gift to realize that we are not an island, we need God's help, each other's help.
You may be going through some really difficult times, not knowing where or who to turn to. Family life may be off-kilter, no personal time together, or separation. There may be bad news from a doctor, there may be severe depression, addictions, even a consequence your facing from bad actions. No matter what you are facing today, God holds today, He has a wonderful plan for you. You only have to receive his help available by merely asking Him, and realize that you are powerless to fix it. He then can empower you. He may direct you to Celebrate Recovery, or Al-anon, AA, NA, or some other place or person for help. Be willing, forget your pride and don't deny it any longer...that is you trying to control the situation. Freedom is waiting, there is real life for you and I to live.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
There are many things acceptable today that were taboo yesterday. When I was a little kid, TV was our "gaming," so to speak, that absorbed hours of our attention. TV was the first real electronic "baby sitter" in our modern times that allowed moms and dads to move about freely throughout the day without having to constantly watch the children. I was mesmerized by TV and the four or five channels we had to watch. I most remember a certain show that came on past my 9:30 bed time. Shock Theater was a weekend show that played scary movies from the !930's, 40's, and 50's, that I would watch with a pillow close by, so I could cover my face when the music clued me that something bad was about to happen. My memories are vivid, how that for days after watching the "Wolfman," or "Frankenstein's monster," I would not look at the windows at night for fear that one of those fiend's faces would be staring in at me!
Today we laugh at those old flicks, they are so cheesy, nearly comical. Movie makers have progressed in producing terror for modern society, so the ensuing generations may have the experience I loved to hate. As a result of my early fears, I would not allow my 3 children to watch horror movies. I did not want them to have to have a night light in their bedroom, or have to sleep with the bedroom door open or closed out of fear. Even then, I realized we need to "guard the gates" of our heart and mind, to keep fear from getting a foothold in our existence.
Doorway to the Soul
What are the gates? The eyes, ears, the heart, and mind are all places of entry that we need protect from fear gaining that place in us, causing the ripple effect, and producing all sorts of dread, terror, and fright for no apparent reason. Fear enters a gate, finds access eventually to the mind, and works its way to the heart, and out of the mouth fears are expressed and realized. In recovery, people fear relapsed, some even have terror of returning to that way of life. We have to guard the gates of the mind from the "triggers" entry. Those triggers may be something as simple as an old song, or talking about the fun we had while drunk or using, that walk through our gates and will not leave. Recovery meetings are vitally important. This is the place where the suffering hear words of hope, faith, and help. These too, enter those gates and find residence and grow strength to win out over the many fear-based qualities we let in for a lifetime.
As a follower of Christ, as I allow the Word of Truth in my gates, my faith grows in the form of spiritual understanding, and many little fears that took hold in my life leave without a fight. Others may take longer. The important thing for us to know is that we allow access to fear, we guard the gates. Apathy, or complacency, the thought that, "that's silly, that movie isn't that scary, the kids can watch it," is all the enemy of our souls needs to find a foothold. As innocent as it may seem, that little bit of fright gains a place to start its web of phobias throughout that child. Selah. (pause and think about that)
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Ps.27:1
"I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Ps.34:4
There are fears that are healthy. touching a flame, walking the edge of a cliff, or walking across an interstate at rush hour are all things to be wary of. As a parent, we must be cautious of who our children hang-out with, keep them away from trouble, or making sure they are not trouble, or a bully themselves. Fears we develop, allow in the gates, are our enemies when God rules our hearts. Addictions, depression (for no medical reason), hoarding, selfishness, anger, are all fear-based as well as terror and dread. Set your house alarm to guard the gates of your being by putting faith's shield, God's Word, up as a "force field" so to speak. Let it's truth build courage, hope, and trust in God's mercy to keep you from harm. If you have little ones, teach them to be brave in adversity, and that they know to respect healthy fears, and not hide from fears that aren't there.
If you are in recovery from addictions, know your "triggers" and stay clear of telling the old stories of your past with admiration. Ask God to let you never forget what allowing unqualified fears in the gates of your heart got you, and the misery it provided your friends and family. Let determination in, be with people who are determined if you are struggling. Their faith and confidence is contagious.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!
The word slavery causes people to shutter as they think of people bound in chains, beaten, forced into labor. Anti-slavery activists have their hands full in these modern times with a reported 27 million people enslaved. As I read some of the details of this modern day evil; I realized slavery wasn't a dark part of history, it is alive and well on planet Earth. Sadly, much of this slavery is within our own borders; in the inner-cities, young men and women kept against their will, held as prostitutes. How we need to pray for their liberation.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King, Jr
Friday night, the Celebrate Recovery meeting was a reminder to me how that slavery goes far beyond individuals being kept against their will. The 27 million is dwarfed in number when we consider the masses enslaved by their past hurts; abused from childhood, hung-up from being bullied and belittled, and those given to self-will, owning habits that are chains not easily broken. Many are the slave owners, self is enslaved to addictions that are destructive. In the final analysis, our ownership must be admitted, we cannot blame and point our finger at anyone for our remaining chained to any hurt, habit, or hang-up. Freedom is in sight the moment we find our way to recovery, by God's grace. So why do so many stay in their personal slavery?
That question has many answers. Some aren't ready to surrender because they have not experienced enough pain. Some have a fear that freedom is enslavement. Really? Yes, they feel they will never enjoy parties, lose old friends, have to live a morbid existence and follow rules...they find this boring. Others that struggle with depression, past abuse, work-a-holism, etc., are still in denial, "I drink everyday, but never get out of control," they think. Some think because they have tried and failed over and over, it won't ever work. these enjoy times of freedom, but like the dog returning to eat his own vomit, they return to their enslavement. Everyone, yes, everyone has something that binds them. We all need to be liberated. Do not think that worry, pride, gossip, and lying are not enslaving, or that you do not need help to be free of...they are just as deadly. These will kill you spiritually.
Of everything I mentioned above, there is another evil that transcends all of the others, and goes relatively unnoticed. It is the one thing we must be very wary of, once we have accepted truth, and now live in freedom. Selfishness. It is so easy to enjoy release from our bondage that we forget it is a gift that you and I must give. Complacency is the beginning of a whole new way of dying. Not sharing your freedom by giving that freedom away is terribly self-serving. Not wanting to, not feeling like it, too tired, are all mostly love of self deception, keeping you from the real joi de vivre, joy of life. We who have this wonderful gift from God, given from others, can stifle spiritual growth, and replace the chains of past addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups, to serve self, the worst of slave owners.
"The time is always right to do the right thing." Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are liberators, emancipators, we have a gift to give. We may not be able to walk into the inner-city house of prostitution and demand the freedom of the enslaved. We may not be able to go into the third-world countries and tell them to let the slaves go free. We can pray. We can pray en-masse, and in agreement in Jesus name. We must, once free from our chains, free others, serve in some capacity even if it is praying continually. But do not put yourself back into slavery. Joy, peace, love, and freedom awaits you.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
This post is a page from my book "Under The Influence." I wish to thank all of you that have obtained your copy, and thank you for all of the kind remarks. Most importantly, it is helping those struggling to stay clean and sober as they grow in Christ, and oddly enough, those without addictions to substances are using it, and benefitting daily as well. It is a very simple daily guide written by a very simple person, proving God uses simple things and people to achieve His purpose and confound man's wisdom. I feel this work will enhance any recovery program, especially Celebrate Recovery, AA, NA, and the like. Here we go:
Today's verse: "A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart, and good news makes you fit as a fiddle.!" Prov.15:13 MSG
Quote: "A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles." Mignon McLaughlin
I love to laugh. Who doesn't? I love the company of those who love to be jovial all of the time. When I'm around an elderly person that is spry in spirit and has a twinkle in their eyes, I could listen to them talk for hours. What a blessing they are! Whenever we get a chance to, we need to be around laughter and merriment because it edifies us and builds us up.
Remember those times before Christ entered into our hearts. Never forget how addiction to drugs and alcohol stole the joy from our lives. By our keeping those memories alive, we avoid the thoughts of living in that misery ever again. Laugh everyday. Laugh for no reason, just laugh! Life today is glorious, even in trials, because we know where we are going, and the joy that awaits us there.
Prayer: God, You are so awesome! You have given me joy for sorrow and given me a reason to laugh. Thank You, amen.
Today I am grateful for these things:
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all! If you would like to get a copy of "Under The Influence," go to www.tatepublishing.com or you can get it from your local bookstore, order from www.skeithbarnes.com or Amazon, Nook, Kindle. Get it and make it your daily devotion!
Trouble sleeping? You might want to try one of the contour pillows. They range in price from $19.95 to $75. Not a bad deal if it works. Or you may want to look into your local health food store for a supplement that has melatonin in it and promises sleep. Price varies up to $50, depending on the maker. If it works great, but then you have to do the $50 monthly, because the pills run out. You can spend up to $8000...or more for one of those space mattresses and sleep like a baby, they say. We can spend buckets on every new sleep aid that comes down the pike and still toss and turn, no sleep to be had.
One of the problems that a newbie to recovery has is sleeplessness. Reasons vary, some from the type of drugs they were on, or from the amount of booze they ingested nightly. The good news is that they will get better if they are dedicated to working the program and keeping a solid daily prayer and meditation time. Many of them can sleep better as they understand the first three steps, that they are powerless over their addiction, the come to believe that only God can help them, and make the decision to turn their will and life over to His care. They accept that they are alcoholic, or addict, or codependent, and need help. Accepting who we are and what we have become allows surrender of self. We will be able to sleep and rest when we understand this.
"..God was going to be our director...as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow and the hereafter. We were reborn." Big Book of AA, pg.62-63
"I will lie down in peace, and sleep, for You alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Ps. 4:8
Save your money. Before you buy that exspensive mattress, get on sleep aids, or buy pillows, take an inventory of you. Are you still trying to run your life like a movie director? Are you determined to fix your spouse, your children, or your friends? You may need to forgive someone for their crime against you, or stop cheating your employer from not doing work assigned to you. You may hate without thinking you do, hold resentments and say you don't. You could just be full of fear, resentments, anger, and think you are okay. We strive to be like Christ from the time we believe He is Savior and Lord, yet never achieve that goal, but fight on in faith until the time we pass on. The idea is to continue the battle and learn to surrender or die to self. Sleep, peace of mind, and all virtues are found here, the yielded soul.
We all need to see ourselves as we are, but be confident in what we will be as we continue our adventure following Christ and serving others. Keep in mind that an area of surrender doesn't make the problem go away for good. These issues we deal with continue to re-surface periodically, yet if we refuse to give the problem a foothold in our lives, we win battles here and there until we are a major threat to darkness, and become more like Jesus.
Thanks for reading, god bless and keep you all!
I really had intended to lay off the blogs for a time, you know, I was kinda looking at how many hours I spend weekly on these posts, and if it were not for the stats I receive from my web host, I would think I'm talking to myself. Thanks again for those of you who read my blogs, I hope they are helpful to you. A new year has arrived and my intent is to work harder to serve more while staying balanced body, soul, and spirit. I'll need God's strength for that goal to be realized.
I went to the Hope House tonight and told my story to the men living there. The youngest of these was a young man of 18, struggling for hope, reaching his hearing for words of inspiration that may change the direction of his life. There were many others in the room and some listened intently, others were there to maybe just get out of their room. All of these bottomed out from a life of self-serving, or pushed to the bottom from their upbringing. That is a strange word, isn't it. Down-casting may be a better way of describing the lives of some these dear men's lives. Yeah, I know, they had a choice, they chose wrong, you didn't, so it becomes easy to point out how their life went south.
My previous talk to a group was in a golf clubhouse in a neighborhood of which the low end homes were probably a half a mil, easy. I sensed their sincerity and concern for the bottomed out and broken, and in that room as well, there was hurting and brokenness from addictions and co-dependency. The rich, the poor, and the in-between, problems seem insurmountable. All of us need help from our hurts, habits, and hang-ups. We must have direction, leadership, parenting by the godly to return to this country, or heaven help us.
"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Judges 25:21
Do you sense the hurting of the drug and alcohol addicted? the porn addict? the gambler? the co-dependent family and friends? It's their choice, right? I wonder who has the greater addiction, the one using drugs, or the one passing the judgment so easily. I am disturbed in my spirit by my own insensitivity towards the judgmental crowd, their addiction to their opinions and personal haughtiness. And disturbed I should be...I'm in their number. It isn't just the drug user or the alcoholic that do what is right in their own eyes. We all do, thinking we're above reproach. Mercy, humility, concern...where are you?
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.