Encouragement

I was Scared Half to Death Not Knowing What to Expect

For my birthday I bought and drank a bottle of wine. I ended up in a christian chat room where there was a young lady that had drug problems someone in there had told her about CIR and I took down the site wondering if it wasn't also a message for me to reach out for help.

I ended up coming to CIR I was scared half to death not knowing what to expect. I attended a few online meetings before I had the courage to share. I started to share and found out I wasn't as different as I had suspected. I posted soon after for a sponsor and luckily got one. She's been a blessing to my recovery and has supported me threw my first year.

My first six months of sobriety I was sick and spent a lot of time in the doctor's office. It was one thing after another. In February I started to get into some bad things my thoughts were far from walking with God I was walking and praying Lord show me your will for me. I looked up and saw a man walking ahead of me with a picture of Jesus and his head in thorns and a cross on his t shirt. I said OK Lord. I knew He was saying that He wanted me to follow Him and not be going in the direction I was.

Remaining Happy in the Face of Adversity

Relationships are built on the quality of our conceitedness to God.

People can be so quick to judge. I sometimes am guilty of this. It is an issue that I struggle with. Maybe it is because I so badly need to affirm my fragile righteousness, I don't know. What I do know is that Jesus wasn't like that and I need to acquire this knowledge quickly.

Jesus is always gentle with anyone who seeks His help. That person might not receive the help neatly wrapped in a predictable way; that is in a way they perceive.

Practicing Patience and Addiction

What a mysterious thing is this enemy of ours - as mysterious as life itself.

Addiction is sometimes without explanation. However, we are aware of its presence and how miserable it makes us feel. How little we like to speak of it, discuss it, or consider its importance! When cornered, we discuss the thought as quickly as possible. That being said, doesn't it seem strange that we spend so much time feeding our addictions? Furthermore, when we have finally had enough, why do we not spend an equal amount of time and energy trying to recover from those same addictions.

Trying to Find Your Way Back?

Every so often the familiar and even somewhat predictable "amnesia scenario" is resurrected for another made-for-TV-movie or sitcom. The actor stares blankly into once-loved faces and professes no recognition whatsoever. Places, sounds, smells, even names--nothing seems familiar. Memory has been lost; hence, a sense of identity has been lost as well.

And that is exactly what has happened to us--all of us. We have lost our memory. Like the prodigal son's older brother who toiled endlessly and joyously in the fields, we have forgotten who we are and where we came from. But the forgetting goes beyond the pigsty from which the Father has rescued the prodigals. It extends back to the beginning--to a time when our identity was secure in our fellowship with the Father.
Before the rebellion...
Before the fall...
Before the exile.

As a result, our world is in the midst of an ongoing identity crisis. We walk around, day after day, year after year, generation after generation, trying to find our way back to....somewhere.... hoping that when we get there, someone will recognize us and tell us who we are.

The problem is, even if we figure out where that "somewhere" is, we cannot get ourselves back there, contrary to a song that was popular in the late '60s and early '70s that proclaimed the need to get ourselves back to the Garden.

God Chooses the Improbable

"You did not choose me, but I chose you..."John 15:16a

I know what you're thinking: "God chooses others, but not me."

You think it's because of your secret, don't you? The awful thing in your past — that abortion or that affair; your divorce; the rape; the sexual abuse; the shameful business failure; your drug usage; alcoholism; criminal past. etc. Like the clumsy, nearsighted child no one picks for playground sports, you want God's favor, His grace, but it seems beyond your wildest dreams. It's not.The poem "The Chosen Vessel" tells how God picks a vessel to use: "Take me," cried the gold one. "I'm shiny and bright,"I'm of great value and I do things just right." But God passes by the gold, silver, brass, crystal, and wooden urns, and chooses the vessel of clay. The poem explains why:

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken, it helplessly lay.

No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
to cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.
"Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all mine."

Are You a Shining Light? or Are you Living in the Shadows?

Vere after verse, the New Testament tells us that Jesus is the Light of the world. He came into this darkened world that is so full of sin, as a righteous, spotless Lamb, who would become the eternal Lamb and final sacrifice for all sins. No longer would lambs' blood have to be offered for the sins of the people. And this Light would be for all people, not for the Jews alone.

For those who have accepted the Light, Jesus, have the Light liviing in them. Therefore, they shine a mighty glow when they walk in God's ways.

Easter: The Big Event, and then—what?

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

SunriseNow what?

Remember the feeling of December 26th? The big buildup, the anticipation, and the excitement of The Big Event, and then—what?

Disappointment? Disillusionment? What do you do when the day after the big day is just like any other day?

Easter always feels like that for me. The full parking lot and the overflow crowd at church, the incredible music, a special sunrise experience, a wonderful meal.

Christos Anesti (Christ is risen!)

Alithos Anesti (He is risen indeed!)

And then suddenly it’s Monday, and the traffic’s congested and my friend’s grandpa dies and my talk for next week isn’t coming together. Nothing’s changed.

Now what?

It’s so easy to get excited by the “mountaintop experiences” that transport me to another world.

Let it All Go: Hurts, Anger, Resentment, Frustration

...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.Romans 10:9


Some days I am just tired. Some days I have a difficult time with letting go and giving my worries to God. Some days I have the full confidence I can let God be God and other days I want to wrestle control back into my grip. Do you ever feel this way?

Listen and Encourage

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 25:11, 12: 25, 13:12, 15:23, King James Version

Something very exciting and wonderful happened to me last night and I felt like I was going to explode with happiness but there was nobody around that I could share it with so I lost some of the joy and excitement that I was feeling. It was like someone had taken a pin and pricked a balloon and some of the air went out of the balloon.

While it is important that we listen to people when they are hurting, I believe it is just as important, if not more important to listen to them when they are excited. If we stay on the mountain tops of happiness, excitement and joy, we will spend far less time down in the valleys of despair, hopelessness, depression and discouragement.

Don't let anyone tell you that it is impossible to stay on the mountain tops because that is a lie straight from the pits of hell! Yes, we will have times of discouragement, loneliness and despair due to difficult circumstances, heartaches, criticism, ridicule, scorn and sarcasm. However if Jesus lives in our hearts, He will be faithful to once again refresh our hearts with His understanding, joy, unconditional love, happiness, mercy, grace and kindness. Indeed, Jesus is able to keep us on the mountain tops.

Two years ago, I received an email from a pastor who was very discouraged and hurting. He told me "I preach my heart out and nobody says "Amen," smiles or laughs at the humorous points in my sermons." He said that he had been the pastor at this church for five years and no one had ever invited him and his wife to dinner. The pastor told me "I love God and it is my desire to serve Him, but I am human and sometimes I get very discouraged. Would you please pray for me?" How my heart went out to Him!

The Past is Over: Do Not Let It Define You Today

The Past is Gone
Once I learned to trust God with my life and my wills, my trust for others began to increase. I no longer allowed my past to define me. I stopped allowing the people of my past to define the trustworthiness of those closest to me.

I understand now, trusting God to love me despite my past also means I trust Him with my future. It means to believe He is starting something new within me as I rise each morning. This is a process that began with surrender, but that is not the end of the journey for me. I must also turn away from the mistakes of my past and turn toward God’s will.

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