Forgiveness of God

"Whosoever Will" is God’s Christmas Gift to the World

John 3:16-18 NRSV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Those who believe in Him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Today is Christmas, the day traditionally that Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord. Surrounding this tradition are such things as nativities, Christmas pageants, Christmas carols, family celebrations, gift giving, and the like. But as a Christian, I believe that it’s very important that I not so focus on the Child in the manger that I fail to see either the Savior on the cross or the King returning in the clouds.

The Christmas story is one of amazement and wonder. Music and stories sometimes reduce to the story to actually less than it is (and was):

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head:
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay;
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

God Chases Runaways

Study of Jonah 1:1-5


Jonah 1:1-2
The word of the LORD came to Jonah ...
But Jonah ran away from the LORD.

Do you remember the TV series, “The Fugitive” (and then the movie version in 1993? It was about Dr. Richard Kimble’s efforts to find the one-armed man who had killed his wife.
Police thought he had done it, so he was on the run.
He was a fugitive.

The Bible tells us we’re fugitives from God.
That’s because we’re sinners, and have broken His laws.
Unlike Dr. Kimble, though, we are guilty.
As fugitives, we are running away from Him.

We don’t like to think of ourselves that way.

Helping Recovering Addicts Reconnect With Themselves

Previously, we discussed the addict's need to reconnect with God. Now, we turn to another important issue, the addict's need to reconnect with himself. By this I mean gaining a new level of self-awareness that leads to positive change. This means knowing how he feels and why. And, importantly, it means recognizing his own needs. There are four essential areas of self-awareness that all who wish to succeed in living sober and healthy lives must have:

A. I am powerless over alcohol and/or drugs – This does not mean, "I am unable to avoid using alcohol or drugs." This recognition focuses on what happens when the addict uses his/her drug of choice (which may be ethyl alcohol). This is the clinical definition of powerlessness -- the admission (both intellectually and emotionally) that even in the most limited use of alcohol or drugs results in an outcome that the addict cannot predict. They need to see drinking or drugging as playing Russian Roulette with a gun. Just as every chamber does not contain a bullet, not that every using experience ends up in days of out-of-control use and behavior. But, eventually they will lose control.

A Christian Philosophy of Addiction and Recovery

There's a long standing debate in Christian Counseling circle as to whether addiction is a sin or a disease. I have addressed this issue in a previous article. What I want to say here is simply, any rescue mission, Salvation Army ARC or other Christian ministry that works with alcoholics and drug addicts must establish an official philosophy of addiction. This is best done at the level of the board of directors. How we approach addicts from a philosophical and theological perspective will ultimately guide everything we do. Certainly, it will serve as the framework for our counseling approach. But it will also influence whom we hire, the curriculum we develop, and the expectations we have for the people in our programs.

For potential use with your program, and to serve as a framework for developing your philosophy, I offer the Philosophy of Addiction and Recovery I developed for New Creation Center, the residential treatment program I led in Atlantic Mine, Michigan for over ten years. Feel free to use as much of it as you wish.

Opening Our Souls to God - The 4th Step

Psalm 139:23-24 KJV
Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if [there be any] wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

The 4th Step, taking one's own inventory, can be quite intimidating. But like many other things in our lives as Christians, it should be approached first and foremost in prayer.

By literally getting down on our knees and praying, much in the same way as the Psalmist did above, several things happen.

Strength through Confession (a Prayer)

Father….

I come to You this day with my head down. I claim You as Father because You created me in Your image (Genesis 1:26). I claim You as my Daddy (Romans 8:15). And I claim You as Savior (Jude 1:25) and as Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

I come to Your Throne boldly because I know grace is there (Hebrews 4:16). And right now Lord, I really need Your grace (John 4:6). It comes to me free from You (Ephesians 2:8,9) and I sense the stirrings of that grace within me. That grace makes me want to put on the attributes of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) in a way that others can see You in me (Matt 5:16).

I have asked God for forgiveness, do I have to ask my spouse too?

Question:If you have asked God for forgiveness do you still need to ask your spouse for forgiveness?

Marriage Guidance: Let's take a closer look at some of the issues that are involved with repentance and seeking forgiveness so we can better understand what to do in this situation.

Seeking Christ's Forgiveness

When we go to Christ with our sin(s) or perhaps our "sinful lifestyle" it means we have a heart-felt sorrow for what we did or for how we had been living and are "now" ready to TURN away from our sins (that lifestyle) and become a new person (transformed) in God through Jesus Christ.

Remnants

I've destroyed everything that was good in my life.
I've broken each vow that I made.
I've disgraced my two children, my friends, and my wife
For this mindless, relentless charade.

Think of the worst person you've ever known,
And I'll wager he's better than me.
Hell is a place I would hate to call home,
And yet it's where I ought to be.

As a youth, I was favored, a virgin to sin,
A light to the wavering soul.
My thoughts were perverted and wrong now and then,
But I kept them in constant control.

In bad times, they'd soothe me and take me away
Like a Heroin dose to my brain.
I'd yield to their lure more and more everyday,
And my heart grew more selfish and vain.

When You Have Nothing Left

"We have nothing left," the woman told me. "Absolutely nothing." She looked at the floor and shook her head.

Her husband, Chip gambled at the horse races and bought countless lottery tickets. He blew his paycheck, their money in the checkbook, and their retirement fund.

"My parents lent us money, but he gambled that away too."

She dabbed her eyes and continued, "Chip returned to the horse races to win back his losses, but of course, he didn't." She held her hand to her forehead and sobbed.

"We're going to lose the house."

When I asked if her husband would see me, she said she would ask him. "He probably won't come."

Surrender

Driving down the freeway your left rear tire explodes.You gently pull to the side of the road to exit and see what happened. You begin to check to see why it popped.

STOP.

The problem with most of humanity is that reason right there. In the end, it doesn't matter what popped the tire. It doesn't matter that if you were in the other lane, you could of avoided it. It doesn't matter that you will now be late. And it doesn't matter when you say, " I knew I should of called in". Why? Because none of those things actually happened.

Work on the solution. Take it off, and fix it. There is nothing in this world that is good, nor bad that you can prevent. For there is only rules one can live by, for which when done, makes you accept when the unpreventable happens.

How many of you would go back and change an event in your life? Let's say one would change their academic career. For which the only reason I can think of would be to have a better job, and obtain more money. They are not living by the rules given. Money is absolutely nothing. It buys fake rules for which leads people to think it is something. Money creates man to believe you can prevent. Money can not make one go back and prevent your flat tire. It can only buy you a new one. It can not make you sober, only get you into places that try to help get you sober. False: money controls people places and things. Fact: people places and things allow money to control them. Other examples are such; I would of not married that person, I would have said bye to my father before he died. I would of never used. I would of answered the phone. I would of been kinder. Would, should, could. Words I will never understand.

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