Step 2, Bible Studies

The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 3Premium Content

See: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

In the second installment, I testified how God's Word -- His Truth -- set me on the road to freedom, not just freedom from alcohol, but also freedom to become the man God wants me to be.

Presumably the story could have ended there. After all, I had hit rock bottom, knew despair and loneliness, hated the person I really was, and all of this ended by the intervention of my Lord Jesus. Not only did He intervene but He showed me truth in His word, and that truth set me free.

End of story. Let the violins swell up to a crescendo while you see me disappearing into a beautiful landscape of life wonderful.

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The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 1Premium Content

My name is Michael the Penguin and I am a Christian in recovery.

I would like to think out loud with the rest of you for a while. One of my favorite verses in Scripture is John 8:32: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. It seems, at first, to be a "no-brainer" in terms of interpretation:
(1) It is Jesus talking;
(2) He is the truth; and
(3) we can find freedom in life through Him.

The application to anyone in recovery is also obvious: in recovery we want to be free of our addictions, but we know we need to find a deeper freedom in order to achieve that. It is one thing to stop drinking, drugging, etc., but it is another thing to remain free and also have a life centered in God. The Steps are the tried and true way of helping any of us to find the freedom to be the person God wants us to be. For us as Christians, Scripture is a big part of those Steps. To me, Scripture is just about the one tried and true source of revelation from God. I can state categorically that Scripture is why I have remained sober for 12 years: the study, absorption and application of God's truths for me.

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What is Hope? Why Do We Need it? Premium Content

We often hear people say, "I hope that... " Sometimes it is a sincere hope, like the hope that the money to pay for the mortgage comes in on time so your cheque does not bounce. Sometimes it is the hope of somebody you love getting better and not passing on. Other times it is futile things that don't really matter like, hoping that your next door neighbour invites you to his party or that the bridge isn't too crowded so you have to wait a simple 5 minutes. There is a true hope and there is a futile hope that really isn't a hope at all, just a desire for instant or even delayed gratification.

The Bible is loaded with examples of the word hope. There are many different meanings for the word hope. As a noun, hope can mean the following: achievement, ambition, anticipation, aspiration, assumption, belief, desire, expectancy, expectation and faith. And as a verb, hope can mean: anticipate, aspire, assume, await, believe, cherish, contemplate, count on, expect, have faith, hold, long for, pray, have faith, hold, and long for.

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God's Focus is On YouPremium Content

Psalm 89:5 NRSV
Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.

I work in a very small, rural community. Often, when my husband and I go to the grocery store, we see students from one of the two school in which we work. The younger students are often amazed that we are there, as if they believe (which I think some do) that we should live our lives only and always at school. That's where they know us; that's where we belong. In their eyes, we are simply teachers with no other roles (such as spouse, parent, or friend) and teachers belong at school. I've even had very young ones run to the nearest aisle and peer out at me, wonderingly, afraid to talk to me outside of my "regular" sphere of influence.

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Do You Know You are Chosen and What it Means?

Psalm 89:3a (NRSV) "I have made a covenant with my chosen one."

There is amazing power in this statement for three reasons. The first is that we -- as God's adopted children -- were chosen by Him! Isn't that wonderful? It's beyond comprehension for me that, at the beginning of creation, even before time began, God looked down at all the souls and chose me! (He chose every person who would respond to His love and His call to salvation). Paul writes:

Just as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6 NRSV

I'm adopted. My birth mom, as I understand it, was an unwed pregnant teen and, with an amazing amount of courage, understood that she was ill prepared to care for a baby. So, my parents who couldn't have children, chose to adopt me. They didn't have to. They could have even come to the hospital, viewed my bald head and tiny feet, and rejected me. But they didn't. Instead, my parents chose me and gave me a wonderful home and childhood.

Do You Know the Meaning of "God's Steadfast Love?"

Psalm 89:1-2 (NRSV)
I will sing of Your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that Your steadfast love is established forever; Your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

There is a great deal wrong with our society and within each person (since social ills begin within the individual heart). As a believer who lives in an extremely secular (and sinful) society (California), I could spend my days focused upon how much is wrong with all around me, bemoaning my fate and wondering what shoe will fall next. Or, I can choose with the psalmist to focus instead upon the Creator and Master of all, trusting that God is going to work out and win out in the long haul.

Father God's love is steadfast. The Hebrew word checed translated thus is interesting. Vine's expounded on its meaning:

    "In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: 'strength,' 'steadfastness,' and 'love.' Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. 'Love' by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet 'strength' or 'steadfastness' suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation.

Who Are You Serving?

Then Samuel told the whole house of Israel, "If you're returning to the Lord with all your heart, then remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, direct your hearts back to the Lord, and serve him only. Then he will deliver you from the control of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:3, NET Bible

I have to look seriously at who – or what – I am serving. For I can be easily deceived if I am not regularly submitting myself to the Lord my God.

There are many things I can serve in this world, none of which honour Jesus: I can serve money, other people, addictions to various substances or activities – I can even serve an addiction to people if what they think of me, or if their opinion, is more important to me than His opinion or what the Lord thinks of me.

Something else that I can become a servant to is my emotions. It is so easy for me to become overwhelmed by my feelings, and when I do, I can begin to quickly bow down to them. When anger rears its ugly head in me, it is all too natural for me to lash out at my husband or the nearest loved one to me. However, the Lord says in His Word:

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1, NIV84

When I feel discouraged and overwhelmed by a task that is before me, it is simple for me to say, "I just can't do this!" But the Word of the Lord speaks differently:

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus – Not the Logs!Premium Content

Sometimes I fail to take time to just stop and be still with the Lord, meditating on just what it means that, "I was sanctified, I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:1-11 NIV


It is truly amazing to know that Almighty, holy God set me apart for Himself, which is what it means to be sanctified. I am holy – set apart – separated from those who do not know Him; set apart from those who have not been washed clean in and by the shed blood of Jesus.

Why have I been set apart? Not because of anything that I have done or could ever do, but because of the finished work of Jesus on Calvary's cross. When Jesus gave His very life up for me, He had faith that His sacrifice of Himself would pay the price, the penalty, for my sins – past, present, and future! And because someone told me about His amazing atoning sacrifice for me and I believed in this Good News through the God-given gift of faith, I have been justified: I have had my sins washed away by the blood of Jesus! For to be justified means that it is the same as if I had never sinned. To be justified means that I am just, no longer guilty of the wrongs that I have committed; I am innocent before the throne of God! In His eyes, it is as if I had never sinned!

Praise be to God in Christ Jesus our Lord! My Abba! Father loved me so much that He allowed His only Son to suffer an excruciating death for me, for you, for all of humanity, that we might believe and be washed clean in His blood and saved from the eternal death that is the penalty of our sin! And when I accept Jesus' gift of perfect atonement for me by faith, I am granted eternal life, a life that is meant to be lived with abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and, self-control. I cannot help but think of Psalm 27:1:

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Can Jesus save... that person, that situation, that problem?Premium Content

Hebrews 7:21-22, 24-25 NRSV
"The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,‘You are a priest forever' " -- accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant. . . . He holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently He is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Can Jesus save... that person, that situation, that problem, that illness, that sin? Can Jesus save? I think the answer ("yes") is something I believe intellectually, but not always something I believe in faith. I do have the choice of trusting (having faith) or observing (looking at what I believe are the facts) and often I choose the "facts" over faith.

I like optical illusions. But I have to admit, sometimes I don't get them. I look and look and just can't see what it is I'm supposed to see. It's the same with jokes. Often I listen to them and then... nothing. I just didn't hear the humor (while my husband is bent over laughing). Both are, in a sense, illusions for a reason. They take "fact" and twist it for a purpose (to amuse). So, I think, facts are not static. Facts are not, then, the same as truth because facts can obviously be manipulated.

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God IS our Spiritual Counsel and Protector (Part 1)Premium Content

If our marriage is in trouble the first place we should go is to the Words of Our Loving Father. We should seek Him with our heart and with our minds and with our soul. We should do NOTHING else, nor say NOTHING else without first asking our Father what it is we should do.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my father will love him, and will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me and not keepeth my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father which sent me. John 14: 23-24

Starting today, I will go to my Creator for the spiritual guidance and counsel that my marriage really needs! What did Jesus Christ say about marriage again? Let's take a look at some very important principles for loving one another "in the LORD".

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