Hope

The Hamster Wheel: Are You Doing the Same Thing Over and Over?Premium Content

The famous phrase, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result" can probably best be depicted by the hamster on the hamster wheel.

Ever had a hamster as a pet? When I was eleven, I had one by the name of Mitsy. The concept of having a hamster didn't quite measure up to the actual reality. For one, I could never pick her up and cuddle her. One attempt at doing so, Mitsy whipped her head around and sunk those two long front teeth into my finger. Here's a helpful factoid: hamster bites HUR-R-R-R-T!!!

And then there was that hamster smell, emanating from her cage. I don't think I need to elaborate.

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Jairus' Daughter - a Bible Story that Sparked My Eating Disorder RecoveryPremium Content

Could a simple Bible story spark eating disorder recovery? Well, for me, it did. The account of Jairus' daughter, found in Mark 5:35-43, became the catalyst to hope, life, freedom, and yes, my recovery. I chronicle my eating disorder odyssey, recovery included, in my book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder." From this scriptural passage, I encountered tangible proof that God's Word was relevant and applicable. I learned some good news, all right.

Nothing's too difficult; no one's too impossible for God.
I saw that in Jairus' daughter. I have, likewise, seen it in my own life, as well as the lives of others. And this simple Bible story is now a declaration of hope to all young girls and women, dealing with eating disorders, food, weight and body image issues. You, too, can arise!

    "Little girl, I say unto you, arise." Mark 5:41

I had done and been so many horrible things. As far as I was concerned, I was on my way to hell. But I couldn't shake the thoughts of this story. Was there hope that I wasn't doomed after all?

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When Things Look Bleak, Do You Still Trust God?

Genesis 50:10-20a NRSV
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."

The story of Joseph is always amazing to me. I keep coming back, again and again, during different experiences in my life, to this particular verse and to the reality that was Joseph’s. You see, I’ve heard many preachers extol the honors that Joseph received, how he went from a slave to becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But that’s not quite the entire story.

Work Therapy in Recovery ProgramsPremium Content

Rescue missions, Salvation Army centers and other types of recovery programs depend on labor provided by people in their facilities to do a variety of tasks that are essential to their operations. Men and women in recovery programs can be found in kitchens, performing housekeeping and maintenance tasks, providing office support, and driving trucks to pick up donations. Certainly, we value the services they provide. Equally important, though, is the need to give additional meaning to their efforts by creatively using their work assignments to invest in their lives. What follows is a list of some ways this can be accomplished:

A. Develop a purpose statement for work projects -- We need to have a definite philosophical basis for every activity in which we involve program participants that is both spiritually sound and "therapeutic." In other words, we need an official statement that establishes the fact that we are not just looking for free labor, but rather that the work they do really is intended to help them. If people in our programs feel used, they are certain to shut themselves down to the recovery process. The mission is there for the clients, they are not there for the mission!

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Has God Abandoned You? Premium Content

Has God Abandoned You? Do you believe that He no longer loves you or cares about you? Have circumstances become so dire that there is no hope at all? I have been there too - in that dark night of the soul. The pit is so deep, so black, the walls so steep and slick that there seems to be no way out.

The times I have felt so lost, alone and totally abandoned by God were so dark I believed there was no hope. I honestly thought that God no longer cared about me. But looking back I can see that I was like a 3 year old whose mother had gone out of the room I was in. There I was all alone. It was as if I spilled milk all over myself and did not know what to do. Where was mommy?

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"Whosoever Will" is God’s Christmas Gift to the WorldPremium Content

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.

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Eight Ways to Help the HomelessPremium Content

What do you do when you see someone holding up a sign, “Will Work for Food”? Do you roll down your window and give them money? Do you pretend you didn’t see them?

Nobody likes to be confronted by the homeless – their needs often seem too overwhelming – but we all want to treat them fairly and justly. Here are some simple guidelines to equip you to truly help the homeless people you meet:

1. Never give cash to a homeless person
Too often, well intended gifts are converted to drugs or alcohol – even when the “hard luck” stories they tell are true. If the person is hungry, buy them a sandwich and a beverage.

2. Talk to the person with respect
Taking time to talk to a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of civility and dignity. And besides being just neighborly, it gives the person a weapon to fight the isolation, depression and paranoia that many homeless people face.

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The Answer To All My Prayers

I asked God for strength that I might achieve
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey...

I asked for health that I might do greater things
I was given infirmity that I might do better things...

I asked for riches that I might be happy
I was given poverty that I might be wise...

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life
I was given life that I might enjoy all things...

I got nothing I asked for
I got all things I hoped for...

Despite myself my prayers were answered
I among all people are most richly blessed...

Prayer of an unknown Civil War soldier

Creating Hope in Our ClientsPremium Content

I have often said that the residential recovery program’s first goal is to create hope in our clients. What are some ways we can accomplish this?

Before people can begin the process of change they must fully understand two basic truths;

1) that change is needed in a certain area of their lives and

2) that change is possible.

In previous articles, I have discussed strategies of breaking through the addict’s denial system, which is the starting point for his or her accepting the need for change. But if we only convince people that their lives are a mess we may leave them in a place of despair. We must create an environment full of hope where they can catch a vision for how their lives could be in Christ, along with giving the tools to build a life of faith and recovery.

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I am God!

My children, I am the Creator of ALL, and ALL power originates with ME!

There is no power in heaven or on earth that is able to thwart My purposes for your life as you yield to Me. NONE!

Have I not promised that as you seek Me, you will find Me, when you seek Me with all of your heart? Have I not said to ask, and you will receive? Ask then, and let your hearts run wild and your imagination run vagabond, for you cannot plumb the depths of My planning and provision for My own.

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