Working with alcoholics and addicts in recovery, I run into many people who are hardened to the idea of a loving God. Most of these folks are broken, some have never even seen the inside of a church, some have only memories from childhood of a strict God of vengeance. In any case, these poor folks can be quite vocal in their disbelief, and state they're doubt because of their condition. "How could God let this happen, if He cared my family wouldn't have left me!" They don't seem to realize their part in their troubles. But as they continue to work toward a sober life, they soften, and start looking to a "higher power" for help. Unfortunately, some never get beyond that small view of God, and don't attempt to know Him in a deeper way. Some do, and find a life of spirituality and learn to pray in faith, and stretch themselves out to others needing help.
My whole experience in recovery was somewhat different. I came in with a belief in God. I also had an understanding of a God who was vengeful, but also my view was that God was some sort of celestial Santa Claus that would give me anything I needed, if my faith was strong enough. I had to lose every thought of how I thought of Him to enter into a relationship with Him. Everything has changed for me spiritually speaking. He is a God of wrath, He is also giving. But that small understanding was just a couple of the many attributes of the God of the Bible. He is grace, mercy, truth, love, kindness, and on and on without end, words can't describe Him. God doesn't exist in time, He is eternal. God doesn't just live in heaven, He is present. God is not getting ready to give you your breakthrough, He doesn't procrastinate. He is triune, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, three in One. Three individual persons in one, like He made me and you, body, soul, and spirit. We are made in His image, (Imago Dei). I know I'm getting confusing to some, insane to others, but in His sight, coming closer to Him.
The Hebrews had many names for God that descibed His many characteristics. Jevovah, (self existent, eternal), is the name we're most familiar with. They, in order to describe a characteristic, may call Him Jehovah Shalom, "the Lord our peace, or, Jehovah Jireh, the Lord provides, Jehovah Rophay, the Lord heals, and many more beautiful names. My favorite is El Shaddai...the Lord is, here you can fill in the blank. He's always whatever the situation calls for. We can go beyond the shallow, "higher power," and move Him to His place of status, enthroned in glory, power, and majesty. He calls us friends? He does, because is our dearest friend. In Christ He is close than any brother. Thanks for reading, El Shaddai bless and keep you all,Keith.
" A good reputation is better than a fat bank account. Your death date tells more than your birth date."
"Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out." Eccl. 7:1,8 (MSG)
A good reputaion is rare is our society. Any one who's anyone, politicians, stars, atheletes, even ministers, are under constant scrutiny with scoop hunters digging into their pasts. Their seems to be no end of bones in their closets. Honesty up front could cost much heartache later on. So many of us who have destroyed our names with drug and drink, in fact anyone who have a bad past can restore their reputation. The key element in re-constructing your name and the way people see you is to focus on doing so, and starting with how you see you. Start seeing yourself as one who can, and will.
Most importantly, those loved ones that still hurt from our debaucherous living shouldn't be placed on a time schedule of accepting your new way of life. Just work hard to help another person every day.
Here's a few suggestions to the re-making of the new you. 1) Be determined, see what your old life got you, the determination to party and live it up on a regular basis, and pursue doing good just as hard. 2) Don't let opportunities pass you by. That will happen if you're not watching diligently. Helping a neighbor with their groceries, raking their leaves, etc., are not things we think to do, but these can be a major help to the elderly or shut-ins. 3) No empty promises are allowed. If you say to a friend, sure I'll help you move... then help them move! Schedule it, write it down. And if you tell someone, "I'll pray for you," then do so. Too often we say that and walk away, forgetting you even had the conversation. 4) To tell your loved ones that you have changed and things will be different from now on, is like telling everyone that fish don't swim. don't forget you've said that, 10,845 times. Show them you've changed, don't say it. 5) Fill your mind with good thoughts each day. Read a chapter of Proverbs, Psalms, or Philippians. Or read a inspiring bio of a noted person that went from nothing to something. You'll find your stories to be similar, or maybe your personalities are alike. Become a walking dictionary picture of enthusiasm!
Of course there's always more you can do. But start here, begin somewhere. Stick to it. Be fixed on ending well. Remember that you are as you see yourself, as you say you are. Include God above everything else in re-building your reputation. He will direct you in your drive to end your time on earth striving to please Him and serve any and all you can. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
The past few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. On my wife's side of the family, two family members have passed away, far too young, leaving questions and heartbreak. Then on top of those two losses, other things happened as well, flooding in the apartment, cut backs on hours at work, and more. You know what I'm saying, you're facing similar situations, or have in the past. No family alive hasn't went through problems that seemed to overwhelm them, things happen, tragedy comes. The difference today is how we deal with these trials of life. Thank God we are learning to give thanks in situations, instead of trying to numb ourselves to ease the pain. I also look to His Word for help. And help comes EVERY time, though a psalm, a passage of Paul's writings, a parable of Christ, or like today a story. This is to me, one of the most inspirational stories in the Old Testament, the story of David and Goliath. I don't need to recount the entire story to you, I'm sure you have read it (or watched a pitiful account of the fight in a movie). There are a couple of things that stand out. King Saul told David he was too young and Goliath was too experienced. David didn't have a sword, didn't have a shield, he didn't have armor, and it bothered everyone except David. He was confident...in His God! He told them all how he yanked a sheep out of the mouth of a lion to save it, and killed the lion when it turned on him. He also killed a bear while tending the sheep. And furthermore, this uncircumcised Philistine will be dealt with in the same manner. Here's how David put it, "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine." Did David pray? No. Did he fast 40 days? No. Did he make a will, call his family to tell them he might no make it? NO! He grabbed 5 stones from the brook and took off to face the giant. When the giant saw David coming, he was mad, their sending this kid? Are you serious? "Hey kid, you're bird food, I'm going to feed you to them."And here in David's response-"you come at me with a sword and a spear, I'm coming at you in the name of the Lord of Host...today The LORD will deliver you to my hands and I WILL strike you down and cut off your head, I WILL feed the carcasses of the Philistine army the birds of the air, and every here will know that it's not by sword or spear that the Lord saves....! Did you get that? He conquered this giant AND his armies in the name of THE LORD. "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.!" Zech.4:6 David was so sure of God that without even an inkling he may lose or that God may not help him, he knew the hand of God was strong to deliver him! And he didn't get into a defensive position, no, he ran right at that old devil, ko'd him with a sling, and whacked off his head, just as he said he would! David wasn't full of fear, he was full of faith! Fill me to God!
So this story I've heard from childhood still has new meaning each time I read it. Now I look, and our problems are just that, giants, I don't have to fear them. When we look to Him, we see that He has never forgot about us, even when we did our own thing and lived outside His grace. He delivers! That giant of sickness...He's bigger! He's bigger than sorrow, He's bigger that financial problems, He's bigger than worries, fear, addictions, or any other giant we face! "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!" 1John 4:4 Now I'm ready for the fight, so come on giants, when I'm weak, He is strong and He's in me! What giants are you facing? He's bigger! Turn to God, get into this story in 1 Sam.17, or find your favorite story or passage. God made sure those stories reached you and I 3000 years later. He wanted you and I to know that he will shut the mouths of lions, deliver from a fiery furnace, bring us out of anything we face, when we turn to Him. Do that today, you will never be the same! Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
I'm sure your children never say, "mom, dad, I'm bored. There's nothing to do!" I know you have, more than you care to hear it. I'm not really sure that what they're saying is in regard to boredom as much as their wanting attention. My memories of growing are vivid as to all of the neighborhood gang, outside if it wasn't pouring the rain or bitterly cold, blizzard-like conditions. Mom or dad always had to call us in for supper and, most of the summer we were out even after dark playing freeze-tag, kick the can, or hide-and-go-seek. When we were stuck inside, I would play with my army men or play fight, mostly by myself, my brother had gotten too old to play little kid games. Things really changed in a short few years, when I was 8, we got a colored TV from Kash D. Amburgy's Big Bargain Barn, in South Lebanon, Oh. For the next year my friends wondered where I was. I was glued to the TV, in living color, 7 stations! That wasn't the beginning of the tech age, but from my memories, the world changed then, and those playing outside days were numbered. They weren't numbered for me and my outside generation, but for the generations that followed as well. These memories are pleasant, but we can honestly say, devastating too. Today, kids still play outside, but normally at their parents urging. They have DVD players, Wii games, Xbox kinect, cell phones, mp3 players, ipads, Kings Island passes....why bother outside unless you have a pool? Do you think they may have a tad too much? I know not all kids have all of these things, but most kids have at least some of these. But if all they have is cable TV, with 200+ stations, at least they have all they need to learn about life and living, and remain BORED. Really, they're bored. Watch them surf the channels. And there is an added bonus, they also teach YOUR KIDS, how to think, act, tolerate, accept, and believe. Your kids learn about science, how to have safe sex, how to be in the know with the lives of the stars, and rappers and rockers, (if they're out of jail), and everything you and I don't have the time to teach them. And they're still bored, but also infected.
People may think this is just too much, maybe I'm trying to live in the past, not accepting the change. If you feel that way I understand. I understand that many people's children, and the numbers are growing, come chin on the ground into AA and NA meetings, hopeless, addicted, and still longing for what they didn't properly get growing up....attention and instruction from parents, or loved ones. They had everything they could wish for, but not what they truly needed, time with mommy and daddy. I'm as guilty as the next person, the TV was a great sitter, I could take care of my needs while they focused on MTV, etc. Instead of instilling values and wisdom for living, we figure they'll turn out ok, they're good kids, besides I don't want to bore them...and I turned out okay, right.
" There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother." Prov.30:11
Well we're in that generation. Many who come into sobriety hold many strong resentments toward their parents. They got the attention they always wanted from the bar tender, or the dope dealer...and some other side effects, porn addiction, gambling uncontrollably, along with losses of families, friends, and goods. It's not too late, ever. See the importance of time with the kids, working daily to improve yourself to give quality time and attention to your children. If you have a child, even if they're older and in to their middle -ages, spend time with them as well, talk about now what you didn't talk about then,you won't bore them. You'll see your part in their lives. And pray, ask God for help to show you what to do. He will answer you, maybe through a friend, a book, any means are possible. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
Cynical views of religion is something that always puzzled me. People that make such remarks normally have never had any type of spiritual experience, and their understanding comes from others who have had no spiritual experience. They only know religion from what they see in the lives of those who practice their beliefs in their particular religion. When I hear cynical remarks directed toward God or the Church, His body, I think how do you criticize something you don't know? Puzzling. I then can think of many things I never really thought to be true, most of which I cannot experience, like biological evolution. Here are a few comments made by noted people in regards to religion.
'Praying is like a rocking chair. It'll give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere.' Gypsy Rose Lee
'To profess to be doing God's will is a form of megalomania.' Joseph Prescott
'Life begins when a Babtist you've never met says it begins.' (reference to life of an human) Bill Maher
'Religions are all the same. Religion is basically guilt, with different holidays." Cathy Ledman
Is that how these folks really feel, or their mentors? Perhaps Gypsy Rose Lee, prayed earnestly for something that never happened, so her belief was lost. Or, maybe God didn't answer the way she wanted, knowing what's best for her. That statement is troublesome for an unbeliever. "I know what's best for me! How could he not give me my desire!" Then you have the "megalomania" comment. How is it that knowing and doing God's will is delutions of greatness, visions of grandeur? God's will is that we love Him with our entire being, and our neighbors as ourselves, that we live humbly for Him, and show mercy. I can see this man has no spiritual experience. I know all of these statements are made to pierce our hearts because we pierced theirs. The cynics, their mentors, and those who despise religion, depise what religious people have said and done. Let me clarify that. It would be wrong to think that everyone that is cynical is that way because of the Christian's conduct they've witnessed, but it's true for some. We have, by our lack of Christian character harmed, and caused many to think of us as hypocrites, and deny God's existence. But the times of our "playing off" the remarks should be at an end, and we should not be angry at these remarks, but seek to win those who make them. How?
These words by the apostle Paul are used at weddings, and heard by nearly everyone at some time or other. 1Cor.13 is known as the "love chapter." This is the characteristics of love found in verses 4-8:
Love endures long and is patient and kind, love is never envious or boils over with jealousy, is not
boastful or haughty. It is not conceited or arrogant, it is not rude and doesn't act unbecomingly. Love
doesn't insist on its own rights or way, it isn't self-seeking, touchy or fretful, it takes no account of evil
done to it-pays no attention to a suffered wrong. It does not rejoice at injustice or unrighteousness, but
rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under any and everything that comes, is ever ready
to believe the very best of EVERY person. It's hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and endures
everything without weakening, LOVE NEVER FAILS. (Ampl)
I can hear it, read it, say it. Do I live it? This is the way to cause the cynic or the simple to understand Christ's love in us. Arguments will not, knowledge or wisdom will not, miracles will not. Love unconditionally, and if you struggle to do so, read this passage aloud for 30 days. Everything will change. You won't see others as you do today, God will open your eyes to their brokeness. It will work in your home, if you and your spouse are having difficulty with one another, try it.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
Living a life of sobriety is living a life of constant change. This is not good, its great! Before I came into recovery, I can honestly say that my life was predictable. Wake up, go to work, and drink until I fell asleep, or passed out. In recovery, seldom is one day like the day before. And when you enter into a clean and sober life, you really learn how wonderful change can be. In NA or AA meetings you hear this statement, "hope is found here." Well now, thats a real change right out of the gate, I had little hope that I would ever change. Then you hear, "you only have to change one thing, everything." And now they have my attention, that's exactly what I want! I didn't know that when they said everything that they meant it literally, but they did. That meant the old hang outs, old friends, family functions where drugs or alcohol may show up, all of these had to exclude me. This was hard, but necessary. These changes weren't permanent, I can see my old friends when I want, even if they're drinking, as long as I'm spiritually fit. Sadly, too many people I have met in sobriety wouldn't dream of giving up friends, even temporarily, to experience real life, and they paid, and are still paying the high cost of low living. Refusing change kills addicts and alcoholics. Accepting change, really pursuing growth is a true adventure in living. I am very grateful to be an alcoholic, I am serious about that statement. Because of that, I'm growing in every area of life, nothing even close to perfect, but that's what I strive for.
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)
"But as you abound in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in diligence, and in your love for us- see that you abound in this grace also." 2Cor.8:7 (NKJV)
Constant change is not just for those in sobriety. As a follower of Christ, I need to continue growth and constant change as well. Many give themselves to Christ and stop right there. I mean they go no further than believing in Jesus as Savior and fully convinced that He is, yet they stop. As in recovery, many fall away. You have to change the old scene, friends, and attitudes in the same manner as if you were recovering, because you are. We never really understand how great life can be as a believer if we straddle the fence between the two worlds. Living half way is why many say things like,"I just can't seem to pray, I don't think God hears me." Or, "I don't read the Bible, it puts me to sleep, and besides, I'm not a reader." And I hear that often. But if you put a TV guide in their hand, or a Cosmopolitan mag, or a Sports Illustrated, they can burn it up. Or if we find that house we've always wanted we can sure pray then, "Oh, please, God help us find a way to get that home!" I'm not any different, and I'm not putting anyone down, but it is true. And we can and should look to change these patterns in our lives if we want to have an effect on others, and experience joy and peace. Okay, joy and peace sounds like a Christmas carol, how about if we want to experience BANG and POW!
So what is the way to change? I'm absolutely tired of not knowing excitement as a believer, what can I do to reverse that direction? This is where recovery and my walk with Christ meet. We must first recognize we are powerless in ourselves to change, our spiritual life is out of whack. Then take a few minutes, get alone with God, and turn your will and life over to Him....and that's it! Seriously, do that. I won't question your sincerity if you don't leave that quiet place and become the next apostle with miraculous power and faith. Or make reservations for a plane bound to Calcutta so you can take over Mother Teresa's ministry. All you need to be is sincere with God when you give Him your life anew. Nothing may happen right away, but write it down somewhere, the changes are coming, and your life is going change. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all! Keith
"For a lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisors." Prov.11:14
I make it a point to read a chapter from the book of Proverbs nearly every day, and have for some time. The more I read them, the better and wiser they seem to get. This morning as I read, this one really made me pause and think. Not necessarily about our government, but about leadership in every area. I see that at every level how leadership really needs leaders in our world today. There are hardly any visible. Most all of the current leaders are consensus leaders that are swayed but public opinion instead of principle. And to add insult to injury, we the people go for flash, popularity, instead of record. God help us! The "trickle down effect" of politics, from the President to State, then local governments leaves us wondering why even bother going to the polls. The media, and the lobbyists have more to do with enacting laws, and getting people elected than those in and running for office. When things are good, the Representatives and Senators all pat each other on the back and tell how their party "made it happen." In reality, they little or nothing to do with it. The lobbyist made sure the other side got the "old political treatment," tickets to the Potomic two-step dance somewhere on the Carribean. I personally have no faith at all in polititians. I feel that Americans listen but fail to really hear the message. It's the record, how they have voted if in the House or Senate, and how they governed if a former governor. We need to know the facts..or at least know the facts before elections. Now, having said all of those wonderful thoughts out loud, hear this, once elected they're our leaders. Okay, got that? Our duty as followers of Christ is to pray for them. You can cool it with the Obama emails, I don't read them, nor forward them. What's the point? If the man's not an American, not Christian, lied about something in his book, its too bad, he's YOUR pres. I don't agree with him, but I'm supposed to do the prayer thing for him.
As I said, this isn't about our government only. Leaders in local businesses are scrambling for answers to the economic mess we're in. Of course, they're looking down and across, maybe in the mirror. They really need to look up from a kneeling position. 'Let's cut costs, unload some people, c'mon, somebody think!" And they're panic creates chaos down through the company, the innocent are made examples of, the guilty smirk, and the workforce demoralized. I once thought," if the upper management knew how the lower management treated employees, heads would roll." Not so, the lower management is a direct reflection of the upper management. Don't try to heal wounds, don't attempt to put confidence in the work force, without guidance the business falls just like a nation.
Wow, sorry to get off on such a tangent, I wanted not to get into my views so much, rather to give ideas on how to see leadership as mere men and women. When any of us get into positions of leadership, we need to understand that having help and leaning on others is vital to the job. The first one we need to look for help from is God. Ask Him to guide our steps, to be a leader with grit, but with an understanding heart as well. Then we need to look for support from others who've lead in similar fashion, get what they have. Then if you're in the lead, don't dodge decisions. You have God, you have help, now lead. Whether you are a pastor of a church, run a small business, or a group of scouts, a city, or a nation, get in with your sleeves up, lead by example. People will follow if you guide with God's help. Thanks for reading, Keith.
I heard a man say that a polling company called him and asked, "What do you think the greatest problem in America is today, Ignorance or Apathy?" His response..."I don't know and I don't care." I got a big laugh out of that, and have retold the story to get laughs. I'm rethinking the comedy of the story. Maybe its not so funny, maybe a sad truth, because it is true. Add to ignorance and apathy one more word, complacent. I have learned that recovering from addictions, I cannot be complacent, and just go to recovery groups. I must not be ignorant about my sickness, nor apathetic, and not really care. No, I have to stay active, knowing how stay sober, and working with others. There is no guarantee that anyone will stay sober, but those who learn it, work it, and care about it, make it.
In America, our ignorance seems to stem more from our laziness, and business. Too busy or lazy to know about the topics we hear through the media, and really, many of us don't care until we directly affected. And we are affected. What we don't understand is that we have allowed PBS to guide our understanding in science, Oprah to give us our logic, Dr.Phil to direct our relationships, CSI to teach us medicine, and on the story goes. We are guided through life by some one's ideas of how life is. We should all have at least a little knowledge of what our kids are taught in schools, but most of us don't have a clue. Our court systems are in chaos, people are running our judicial system without being thoughtful in judgement. But I've heard we have the best system in the world. Who said that? The media...of course. Involvement, understanding, and really giving a hoot, just like we work on sobriety, will make a difference in the nation.
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Eph.5:15-17 (NKJV)
As Christians, ignorance, apathy, and complacency, should be discussed more than an AA meeting. What we seem to know as Believers is, Christ died for all, for us personally. But what eludes us is why that had to be the price to redeem man. Do you know? "Well the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it." That's not the answer the world wants to hear Narcissus. Do you care? That neighbor living next to you, what's their name? Do they know you follow Christ? Maybe you can say yes to that. Or, "I really don't know their names, but they see us leave for church on Sunday morning, we wave to them as we pass their house." Strike two...that covers ignorance and apathy. Miss complacency, and you're back on the bench, wanna try? Are you serving? I'll let you answer that yourself, I'm sure you are even if not in a church setting. All of these things are not designed to make you feel unworthy, condemned, convicted, etc. But to think. Your children and grandchildren, do they know, care, or help? Someone has to tell them too. If we believe in a heaven, or a literal hell, don't you think we should say or do something? Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Ke
No parent likes to hear those two words "I can't" come out of their child's mouth. "Yes you can honey," is our response to God's little blessing, well that's what comes out of mommies mouth. Daddy may say it much differently, and with more emphasis, you know what I mean. We all have high aspirations for our children to grow and become a person like, us, or in many cases, better than us. Parents can put their kids in many awkward positions trying to get them up the latter of success in life. Our intentions may be noble, or may be our desire to live our lives over again through our children, that's not good. We also tend to believe whatever comes from their mouth, even when there is evidence to the contrary. That is a parent's love in a perverse way, I guess. But it may be our way of saying "I support you no matter if you're wrong." Here is the problem, we try too hard to make up for our lack of teaching and directing children's lives by making them feel we believe them even when our mind is a tempest of doubt. Okay, you see what I mean, I'm no child psycologist, but a parent of 3 that observes how bad you all raise your kids, but not me, my kids are perfect...right. Here is what I really want to get at. "Train up a child in the way he SHOULD go, and when he is OLD he will not depart from it." Prov.22:6 "Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right." Prov.20:11 (NKJV)
I made so many errors in rearing my children, stupid things, bad actions that could have changed their belief in my being a good father. I think we all have as parents, and parents always will. But no matter what, pursue teaching them how to speak. Bring them up in a atmosphere of "CAN." God has designed us with abilities that are directly in coordination with our beliefs. Achievement or underachievement is accomplised with what we think of ourselves, or, how we see ourselves. That's where you and I come in. We can, we must help our children understand how to see themselves in the light of achievement, if we truly understand achievement. Achievement is not amassing things, nor is it fame, or money. If you think that, you need to pay closer attention to the ruins of the rich and famous. If not for money, their rap sheet would read like the annual U.S. budget. Not all, just kidding. Real achievement is living a life of integrity, willing to give of yourself, seeing yourself as peer to all. (this is probably very hurtful to hear for many middle mgmt where I work) Teaching them how to speak is a starter to how to think. Can't should be eliminated from their little mouth. "Be careful little mouth what you say," that little Sunday school ditty has more truth than not talking with a potty-mouth, but change that to mean, be careful little mouth not to talk down about yourself. If you teach attitude, a belief that they can accomplish as much as the next person, and enough people follow your lead, the next generation of leaders may actually keep their word, do for the nation not themselves. Your and my example is key. We must talk positively about ourselves and of others, children follow mom and dad's lead, they'll become like you as an adult, is that a good thing?
Reading to your kids is powerful, especially reading to them about achievers who started with nothing. Of course, I would direct you to the Bible, 1Samuel and 2Samuel, the story of David's life. His self-confidence was reflective of his God-confidence. He wasn't afraid to face the giant, the invading armies all around them, but he was afraid...of displeasing God, and he did, more than once. His story teaches living full of confidence in God, leading wisely, serving relentlessly, knowing how to accept blame for personal wrongs, yet staying humble before God and man. Words he spoke like, "For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall!" Ps.18:29 (NKJV) No fear there, he can fight an army alone with God. There are many other stories both in the Bible and biographies of many who had nothing and achieved greatness. But the bad news is, it takes effort on your part. Turn the TV off, limit video games. You motivate them and those games and shows will mean little to them no matter how much their friends get to. You give them what they want, your attention, be consistent, and their friends will want what they have! Now get out there and make it happen! Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith ( that's my grandson Ethan in the pic, handsome feller, I'm sure you agree)
My small mind concerns itself with things it has no control of. But there is one thing of grave importance, being a recovering alcoholic, and a follower of Christ is, did I reach out and make contact to another who suffers? Did I even try? Step 12 of AA's 12 steps to sobriety says to "carry the message to those still suffering." When someone I know, enters into recovery but then decides to return to their old way of life, I think..."maybe I should have done this or that, reached a little further, tried even more"....but didn't. When the reality of this comes in to full play in my head is when, like yesterday, another person close to me in life passes away. His death wasn't from drinking, but nonetheless it gives me pause to think, did I do anything to make his life better. God knows.
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all which have the potential to turn a life around." Leo Buscaglia
I am learning that each time I see an aquaintance, a dear friend, family member, or anyone, it may be the last time I see them on this Earth. Reaching out is paramount for a person in recovery, and off-the-chart important for a person who is a follower of Christ. I do not mean to beat people over the head with my personal belief system, trying to convert them, but after living a life before them that reflects my values and actions. Watching how I talk and not gossiping, or belittling anyone for any reason. Being an honest, hard working employee, not cheating the company I work for, and always looking to help another find their way, this is the real stuff of life. Living in a way that pleases God, showing mercy and remaining small, does give those watching a reason to ask you about the hope you have beyond this life. Then you can say why and perhaps their life will never be the same. In your potential last visit, you may be sharing the thing they've looked for life-long.
" precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalm 116:15 (NKJV)
I've had it with seeing people's lives be lost to drugs and alcohol. Every time I look into the obituary section of the newspaper, I'm taken back seeing so many young pass away. And to me, anyone under 75 is too young. Anyone in the obits that's under 60, makes me wonder if drugs or alcohol played a part in their death. In that verse above, that word "precious" doesn't mean soft and cuddly. It means "costly." I cost God when people pass, one less to spread the good news, one less to reflect Him in the world. It cost us too. Right now, their is a young man who is hurting badly, his dad is gone! There is a mom and dad, broken from the loss of their son, their only son. There are dear friends in deep distress because their best friend won't be around. A daughter and nieces that may have long term sorrow and regrets. Don't run from God now, but run to Him, He is hurt by this too, and also loved him dearly, but He will still give peace to all who ask. For all of us, think, did I make any difference in his life? Many reading this today won't feel as this family does, everything is well with you now. But still think each time you run into someone, will it be the last? For the Collins family, my condolences, for Jeff...RIP, hope to see you again. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.