People changed overnight in 2001. When we saw the many lives
snuffed out on live TV, our blood boiled with anger and the majority wanted
vengeance. For the months that followed, people had flags on their antennas, in
their front yards, and hanging from their balconies. We were nearly one as a
nation, ready to fight. Twelve years later, though the day has not been
forgotten, the pain for most Americans has subsided and the actual feelings
Coming into recovery, the addict, alcoholic, gambler, sex
addict, etc., are normally weighed down with deep pain from self-abuse and
guilt of how badly they treated loved ones that recovery seems only a dream,
not possible. As days and weeks turn into years and life improves dramatically,
they tend to forget their desperation and hopelessness. Complacency is lurking
with their addiction in it’s back pocket, ready to pounce. Relapse is on long
before the first wager, or drink, or drug is used.
This being Resurrection weekend, we pause to remember something
that changed history, and present, as well as it ultimately changes the future
of us all. This memory is vivid to God, the moment in time that He gave His
final and only necessary offer to His crowned jewel of creation, mankind. He
offered His only begotten to be brutally sacrificed, atoning for man’s rebellion
and separation from Himself. When He sees you, the follower of Christ, bowing in
prayer, in worship at home or church, when you are good, and bad, He remembers
that moment in time as though it happened right now. The reason…when He looks at
us, He sees Christ’s blood applied!
He also forgets. Because of that precious blood, He forgets
every transgression, past, present, and future you and I have committed. That is
not a license to steal, it is a reason to repent. His goodness leads to
repentance, not fear of hell, nor of His
We forget those terrible things invading our lives; at least
most things. We should keep the events of 9/11/2001 fresh in our minds. Not just
the attack, but the reason for unity as a nation. For the recovering from any
addiction; the pain it brought into your life and home should be vivid, and
intense. Not only to help you stay free, but also to be willing to help those
new to recovery.
For the follower of Christ, every time you kneel in
supplication, in fact, every morning you awaken from sleep, what Christ did for
you should be remembered in gratitude. He never forgets, neither should you and
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you
There are certain characters from Bible stories that really get my attention. In the book of Genesis, the one who stands out is Joseph. Why he stands out to me is not the coat of many "colors" Bible story from childhood. It isn't that he was a dreamer of spiritual dreams, or that he could interpret dreams of others. It was what he said to Mrs. Potiphar in Genesis 39. I'll get to that in a sec, but let's look at how he arrived at the Potiphar residence, and became overseer of that families estate.
Joseph had eleven older brothers, and at least one sister. He was daddies favorite son, for that reason alone, his brothers didn't have much for little Joe, their seventeen year underling. Jacob, his father, showed him favoritism by making him a coat of many colors, (a tunic with sleeves...bad translation). And to top it off, he had dreams of leadership over his brothers...they wanted him dead. One day his father sent him to check on his older brothers. When they saw him coming afar off, the plan was down to murder him, what a nice family. His older brother Reuben save him from death. They threw him in a hole then sold him to some merchants as a slave. The merchants sold him to the Potiphar household in Egypt.
The scriptures tell the story in a manner that reveals God's hand and mercy on Joseph.
"The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master SAW that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand." vs. 2-3
What did Mr. P see? I have to really think on this in a meditative way, simply because of all of the spiritual lessons in these two passages. Here's a real kicker:
"So it was, from the time that he made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph's sake"... vs.5
The spiritual implication of these verses is that God caused the young reject from his own home to prosper and have success in all he did, and prospered those around him for his sake. He does the same for you and I through Christ as we live a life of integrity, conducting ourselves in truth, kindness, showing grace to all around us. Do you see that in your life?
The big finish to this segment of Joseph's life is that though everything seemed to be going well for him, evil was busy looking for a counter-attack plan. Mrs. P liked Joseph...really liked him, enough to bed-down with him. She worked on her young prospect daily until one day she caught him alone.
"It came to pass after these things that the master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, 'lie with me." vs.7
This is the reason I love his story above the other great stories in Genesis. He explained to her that his master trusted him and placed everything except her into his hand, having rule over all. But the statement in verse 9 shows where or to Whom his allegiance was:
..."how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin AGAINST GOD?" (Selah)
The story actually gets better as to the outcome, but no greater thing was said in my estimation in the rest of his story. My question to myself is, "would I respond the same way?" Not about the issue of lying with the man's wife, rather, am I that devoted to God that I would not even dream of hurting His feelings, and displease Him? Did I teach my daughter and sons the importance of pleasing God out of their love and devotion to Him? Most of the way we think of sinning is not doing so, not to please God, but so we don't go to hell. Wrong.
I'm not trying to be your Sunday school teacher. But I would like to get this point across; develop your spiritual life and understanding out of devotion to God, having a heart to please Him out of love. Just as Joseph had success, and prospered in all he did, as well as those around him were prospered, so our life will go. When God is place in number one position, ahead of our worry for wants and needs, He takes care of outcomes and what is meant for our evil, He turns it for good.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
The business of recovery from any addictions can be very trying at first, but may continue if you settle in on an attitude or become fixed on a certain mindset that this is all there is. Thinking I can never have certain foods or go places I love because I could relapse into my old ways, or even I will never be able to hang with the "buds" because their influence is not good for me, can have a negative effect on sobriety. This leads to adverse thoughts and actions, and even worse, negative talk out of your mouth constantly. Life is a vapor, time has been wasted in selfish living, and a personal resurrection to the awesome wonder in life needs to happen. Returning to focusing on today, rejecting thoughts of what you cannot do, and being grateful that God has delivered you from a living death, will bring you back to thinking right.
This isn't in range for the newcomer to recovery. They are so focused on the impossibility of rising above their current dwelling place in life, the pain of trying to attain self-control enough to make one day, let alone looking to a better life. They don't think happiness can be found. The good news is, with a little patience, a little effort, a lot of prayer, and looking to others for help, just around the corner they may recover a belief in God, in self, and in living that transcends anything they have ever known.
Just to be able to laugh and enjoy time with family and friends, fellowship with others like themselves, and involvement in their church, giving themselves in service to others, may be an enigma today, but realized tomorrow. God wants you to discover the purpose He has for you. This purpose is packaged up with perks and benefits that will bring you something greater than happiness...joy. Joy will remain, while happiness is only temporary. The newcomer needs to do one other thing...change the way they talk. Talk faith, not fear. Talk belief, not doubt.
One final thought. Get to recovery meetings and just listen. I recommend going to different meetings where you will hear different voices in recovery, other than the same stories you have heard over and over. Seeing and hearing what God has done for others may bring you out of the fog into clear skies, so to speak. Your presence in meetings, whether you talk or remain silent, is a service to others. Any service you and I do seems to benefit us. If a doctor prescribed a medication that would make you feel better, and make life easier, we would take the medication regularly. Meetings and service work is that medication, take it as prescribed, it works.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.." Eph.6:18
To grow spiritually, we need to pray. I have found this to be for me, the hardest spiritual exercise. It isn't praying I find hard at all. What is difficult is to have a set time that belongs to me and "Abba," free from distractions and interruptions. I have no problem praying as I go about my day. I may pray for my family, for social network request, for requests on the churches prayer chain, for those I work with, those I pass as I drive, those I work with in recovery, etc. It is my determination to spend time just talking with God in humility, on my knees, that I find hard to accomplish but necessary to grow into the stature of Christ.
"Every day will I bless You, and I will praise Your name forever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable." Ps.145:2-3
I don't want to come to God in prayer empty-handed. I want to hallow His name, praise His mercy and grace, His steadfast love, and constant watchful eyes to defend and protect me from danger and evil. The book of Psalms reveals so much of God's character. If you are like me, to praise and worship God before asking for anything in prayer, gives me the scriptural understanding that I have His attention. He inhabits my praise...in other words, that's His address.
"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed in accordance to Your Word." Ps.119:9
This is my bread...daily. I love the Word more than anything in life. If you want to know God better, or at all, grab a Bible and devour it. I often hear others say," I don't understand it, so I have no interest in it." There are several new paraphrase versions, the Message, Good News, NLT, etc., that anyone mentally competent can understand. It is spiritual competence that is the problem, in truth.
Putting these together, prayer is like a seed, fertilized by our praise and adoration to God, watered by the living Truth of His Word. Though I find a set prayer time difficult, I find it much easier after I fertilize the soil of spirituality with praise, and realize the goodness and purity of the One I am addressing. Reading the Word creates the environment to praise and honor God, and like a cycle, prayer makes me grow in my understanding of the Word.
If you struggle with any of these, ask God in sincerity to open your spiritual understanding, He will. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
"Please Lord, make my words today sweet and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them," -anon
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." - Rudyard Kipling
The children playground saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," was originated by a person who obviously had skin made of steel. The saying is actually attributed by some from slaves that were talked down to, and called every unholy name by their overseers. The reality is that words effect go far beyond the ear and into the brain. Words go into the very depth of a person's soul, and there, take residence, Words break up homes, friendships, split churches and civic groups, and words can shut down corporations. With all of the high tech being used as media outlets, words can end a political career by someone's cell phone footage used on the evening news.
Words can have the opposite effect as well. Encouragement expressed to another, down on themselves and needing confidence, can turn their life's situation completely around, and turn the misfortunate one onto the pathway of a positive existence. Words from a coach to his team at halftime may motivate players to overcome a mistake ridden first half, into a flawless performance in the second. The right word from an AA, NA, CR sponsor, can cause the one struggling minute to minute to make it one day to the next. A pastor delivers his sermon, maybe the one word he says from scripture lands in the heart of someone that becomes the next Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Augustine, or Francis of Assisi.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Ps.19:14
"A man has joy by the answer from his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!" Prov.15:23
How do you talk? Are your words a healing balm to someone that has been badly beaten by life? If not, you have the power to change that. You have the ability to inspire, motivate, and cause those around you to create an environment of achievement. People love being around charismatic, smiling people that encourage them. They feel just the opposite of the negative ones that are only interesting if they are spreading dirt on others. If your memory serves you well, think back through your recent conversations with others. What did they say? How did you respond? If you are completely honest, and can see that you may not be the person you hold so highly above reproach, you can change your way of speaking from negative to positive. Ask God to help you, and make you aware of what you plan to say, whether it edifies or tears down. Be a life-changer with the way you speak.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
Sir Winston Churchill was a voice crying in the wilderness. Prior to WWII, he warned the people of Great Britain of the danger that Adolph Hitler posed. Then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, met with Hitler in Europe and returned with cheers from the Brits, having obtained Hitler's word and signed agreement of no further aggression in Europe. Churchill knew better, Hitler could not be trusted, and within a short time, the aggression began. Churchill was right, but few believed him.
In the Old Testament, from Isaiah to Malachi, the warnings to Israel and Judah from these prophets fell on deaf ears. Actually, their ears heard, but the people would not heed them. People do not want to believe their world would possibly change, or that anything they are doing needs to be altered and that may bring judgment. Israel and Judah were stripped from the land God promised them, carried off to be enslaved by a pagan nation. Every warning was ignored. In Deuteronomy 28, Moses declared the blessing of keeping the laws of God, and the cursing. In the children of Israel's history, they experienced the blessing, and the cursing to their entirety. Yes, the worst of the curse that would come if they refused to obey the law happened. They did eat the flesh of their own children.
..."Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Hear me O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe His prophets and you shall prosper." 2Chron.20:20 NKJV
The New Testament has equal warnings, but not just to Israel. These warnings came from Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John. Matthew 24, Jesus tells the signs for the disciples to watch for. In 2Tim.3, Paul, under inspiration, told of the last days and what people would be like. Take a few moments and read these two passages. If you don't see how these passages reflect our day, think hard and read it again. People have said, those events have happened throughout the ages, our times are no different. That is saying, "I don't believe that." Many people don't believe it. Six plus billion people in this world, and few believe it. "The majority can't be wrong." people say. Friends, the majority is normally wrong.
We have fallen into a deeper hole from years of ignoring warnings of the few bold enough to say "STOP." The inability of people to say no to their desires and cravings have led millions into addictions to drugs and alcohol, as well as pornography, gambling, etc. The schools systems have beaten biological evolution into the minds of people, that even the most brilliant minds believe it. Now that this demonic doctrine is falling apart, many are scrambling for a new explanation of how we came to be. The government has decided that it knows what's best for the people and enact laws that force behaviors and denounce God's ways on every platform. Truth is objective. We have arrived. The warnings have been ignored.
The main thing for you and I to remember to do is, keep praying for all people. Our failure to do so has a horrendous effect on ourselves and those near and dear to us. Pray for your neighbors, for the leaders, for the churches. Then, take a look at those passages, they are earth shaking and revealing of this time. When you see this, then see you. What controls your thinking? Your actions? If you see personal need of change, pray for yourself too.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
Coming to, after years of living the party life opens new realities of the person I was, I became, and now am. It's hard to look at. Seeing the early years of innocence turn into a long period of self-centeredness may be difficult. What I could have been, should have done, can dominate our thinking to the point we live full of remorse. In recovery from alcoholism and drug use, my eyes have been opened to the fact that no action I performed, good or bad, is wasted if I am bent on using both for serving others. God uses every detail of our lives to His glory through us. This glory He receives graces our lives, for everything we give to Him, He returns to us in untold, innumerable ways.
As a child we see things through rose colored glasses. Mommy and Daddy are the best people in the world. Our view of God is obscure and normally directed by parents, or grandparents views. This may be a shock to you but that strongly affects our future. Parents teaching their children views about God as a storybook, sitting in heaven too busy to answer our small problems, is a major problem. Or the parents may pass their religion that they are faithful to, on to the child. That belief has God waiting to pounce on them the moment they do something sinful, and they will. "You have to walk the walk if you talk the talk," is how they present God to their children, as though the individual has all to do with their salvation.
The problem here, is that after multiple failures, and asking for forgiveness, and salvation over and over, the young person gives up and considers themselves hell bound. The years of self-service begins. The individual figures, "what's the use, I can't live it." They're off to the races, living for themselves, along with the multitudes of those who didn't think God had time for them. Sadly, addiction to drugs, and alcoholism, along with many other character flaws, lie in their path...no one told them the truth. The child becomes a parent, the views of God and religion continue. There are thousands upon thousands of children here in the USA that have never darkened the doors of a church.
What's the right vi
"He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ becomes a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2Cor.5:15-17 NLT
This may shock you. It is nearly a blessing for some that they get into problems from committing crimes, incarcerated, or sentenced to recovery meetings. That may be their opportunity to hear the gospel, and see that God cares, that He is concerned about every detail in their life. in their desperation they hear the good news about Jesus and His great love for them, and many choose Him. The beauty of this decision is that it brings a new view of self, cleansed from the rags of the past. Having this new understanding of God, that He is love, and that there is someone to answer to when they sin that readily forgives them, without a new babtism, or return to church and performing rituals for forgiveness. Self-discovery follows and becomes the central focus of their recovery as they for the first time see purpose. God used the broken vessel, lovingly putting it back together again.
Don't fail to give your child the real Jesus based on the Word. If you don't know Him, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He will, and you will have eternity with God to pass on to your children. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
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
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
So My heavenly Father will do to
you if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
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
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith