Encouragement

The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 5

In searching for, and living in the truth that can set us free, the first thing we need to do is replace the old with the new. Last time I shared about this verse:

Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


I see this verse as telling us to change a negative to a positive. The ruler of this world is Satan. If we just live in that sphere, we are under his influence, and this becomes a part of us. That is the negative. The positive is the ruler of the larger Kingdom, God, and His teachings, which are in Scripture. In so doing, the mind is renewed and we are changed. The negative grid system formed by our past, and pricked at by Satan and his demonic imps is replaced by the positive truth of the application of God's word.

The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 2

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

We all want to be free. The desire to be free is part of our make-up, and that means God gave us that desire. In my case, I want to be free to be the man God wants me to be. I have always wanted that. Wanting and achieving are two different things, however.

I have fears. These fears weigh me down. What caused them? I have ideas, theories, and sometimes even valid reasons why these fears exist. But, what matters is how I have handled these fears. Some people grow out of them. I didn't. I took them with me into adulthood. And, in doing that I thought maybe I could use them in my favor. The best thing to do was to plan, anticipate, scheme, and prepare. The overall plan for the day was to control, control, control. That took a lot of thought. In the process I became an insomniac.

And, over time, I became an alcoholic.

Why? Because as life happened, it got more complex and there were too many loose ends. The pain of seeing these dangling ends was too much. Alcohol took care of that and, in an odd way, it helped. I could sit up at night and plan, anticipate, scheme, and prepare and be energized by the alcohol.

The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 1

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.

God's Focus is On You

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.

Are You Being Forced to Wait?

"I'm sorry, but you're fired," Pete's boss told him. "You've missed too many days, and you've come in drunk or high just as many."

Pete cringed, gathered his tools, and left. The bills continued to come. He heard plenty from his wife about the lack of money and the other jobs he lost.

He had to stop drinking and drugging. He couldn't go through this agony again. He couldn't go to the same places or hang around the same people. He'd give in to the pressure and drink or use again.

Pete told almost everyone he knew he needed a job. Hopefully one of them could help him obtain one. He and his wife prayed and waited.

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.

Quilter from Texas

Quilter from Texas

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

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.

How You Can Get Sober and Stay Sober For Good

Have you ever tried to quit drinking only to go back to it again and again? When you get sober are you getting sober for you or for someone else? It is my firm belief that the alcoholic must "want" to stop drinking and get their life back together for themselves BEFORE true sobriety will ever happen. When we are not convicted in our heart and mind to give up the addiction for ourselves we will have a difficult time staying sober.

Let me tell you a little bit about my situation when I first quit drinking and then you can decide for yourself. When I first got sober, about 16-years ago, I did it for my husband. I thought I wanted to quit so I could save my marriage, but I realized later, when reality hit, that I really didn’t want to quit drinking, but only wanted to appease husband and extended family.

Resting in His Righteousness

Have you been struggling with feelings of despair, fear, and anxiety? Do you think you let God down so He cannot possibly love you anymore?

I remember when I was so paralyzed by fear that I could not get out of bed in the morning. What seemed like endless nights tormented me as I lay awake through torturous hours filled with anxiety and loneliness. Yet the shafts of early morning light were only painful reminders to me that another long, empty day was ahead of me. I had lost the ability to look at anything through a positive lens, and my incessant negativity had driven away the few friends that I had known. I longed to be near the Lord, but I did not know how to reach Him. For I had given up on the promise of God found in Hebrews 13:5 Amplified Bible:

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!].

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