Redemption

Addiction the Sin

Addiction is not just a moral defect of character we wish to be rid of. In the realm of religion, it is a mortal sin.

Do you feel that something is missing deep down in your soul? Do you feel an emptiness that you cannot explain - sometimes loneliness - even among many? Most people with substance abuse problems do.

In moments when we are most thoughtful about the meaning of life, there is a craving for something more. At its core, this is a longing to know or experience something or someone bigger than ourselves - "God", a spiritual being.

Often, people try to fill this emptiness with things that aren't always good for us - like alcohol, drugs, and sins of the flesh. However, none of these can fill this emptiness, or take away the inner loneliness.

What separates you from God? What causes that emptiness in your life? And finally, what causes you to use drugs? Could it be sin? The answer is most likely a "definite yes". In my opinion, drugging and excessive drinking are sins. You may not believe it on one side of the coin; on the other side, you may believe it, but you have trouble accepting it. It makes no difference. When you get high you break God's law, and that is where your life falters.

The Truth Shall Set You Free, part 10

This study was done during the last semester of my teaching career. A lot of things were on my mind. The letter of resignation had been written and accepted. I was starting to have dialogs with different campus constituencies about an orderly exit regarding pension, health plans, etc. I met my successor but stayed out of the process of his selection. I got an early start on cleaning out the office. I wanted an orderly exit so that on the last day of my tenure as a teacher, I would walk out and not return.

The Truth Shall Set You Free, part 9

John 8:31-32 is a conditional statement. Jesus says if we continue in His word, we will be His disciples. We will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. The key words are: “if”, “continue”, “truth”, and “free.”

If we abide in, stay with, live out and proclaim His word through our attitudes and actions, we will know His truth and we will be free.

It's Time for Joel's Perspective: Promises Fulfilled

Our cities (and our personal lives) may seem like those in Canaan, surrounded by walls that reach up to heaven -- walled in by unbelief. But -- let's not forget -- the walls of Jericho fell. The walls of unbelief are beginning to crumble. What is long overdue is the shout of the people of God.

I grew up near the mouth of the river Elbe in North Germany where I used to see huge flat-bottom river barges set fast in the mud banks. No tug or marine engine could shift them. But the tide quietly rippled in, hardly perceptible, creeping higher and higher up the sides of those immovable hulks. Soon those hundreds of tons were floating. From the quay I could move them with the slightest kick.

Can God Help Me? I’m an Alcoholic!

Let's Keep it Simple, and see what God has to say—Looking in the King James Version of the Bible where early AAs looked for answers.

Believe that God is and rewards those who seek Him:

But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.Hebrews 11:6

He will heal all that obey His commandments:

[the LORD]... said, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." Exodus 15:26

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases". Psalm 103:2-3

God's commandments and love summarized:

(1) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

(2) "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17

(3)"Master, which is the great commandment in the law." Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36-40

(4) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3

"I Think You are Wonderful!" (self-esteem)

I recently came across this child's drawing once sent to the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Children often get right to the truthful point.

"I think you are wonderful."

What an astounding thought. Yet, how many of us experience that sentiment?

Yeah.

Most of us struggle with this positive self-image thing. We may have had negative people and experiences in which we were told- and believed- the exact opposite. Coping with that pain, therefore, it's no surprise some of us have turned to our addictions, disorders and any number of "comforting" vices. We want to feel we are wonderful. And the drug, the drink, the food or any other object of our desire supposedly tells us precisely that.
Meanwhile, however, we completely lose sight of a Truth, if we ever knew about it in the first place. God already thinks we're wonderful.

He thinks that…about us… right now. And God isn't short on these kinds of thoughts…

Criticisms of Recovery - Part 1

See: Part 2 | See: Part 3

Let's begin with the obvious. The most argumentative, tenacious, illogical and misguided criticism of recovery comes not from other people but from me. When it comes to my own recovery journey, I am the person who resists the most. Like many of us, I have always been my own worst critic. I can think of 50 reasons, easily, why my recovery is just a pop-psychology, navel-gazing, trusting-the-wisdom-of-men-instead-of-God, self-pity-party.

I do not need any external hostility to recovery in order to remind me of how I should be better by now, of how I should be able to just pray about it and trust God, or of how I should spend more time helping others rather than selfishly focused on my own needs. I have yet to find a criticism of recovery that I haven't already internalized in some way. I have recently finished reading a series of books highly critical of the recovery movement and there were few surprises for my personal Inner Board of Critics. This distinguished panel of Judges has left few stones unturned in criticizing my own recovery. I suppose there are some obvious reasons why we resist our own recovery so tenaciously. Let me mention just three.

Resistance to the Truth
First, of course, we experience denial as having such tangible benefits. Denial has a lot of appeal - it always seems like it's going to be less painful than facing the truth. I've gotten along so far without having to face this, why should I have to deal with it now? The truth, by contrast, always seems like the worst possible thing. So, we resist recovery because it is less appealing than denial. This is, of course, why few of us choose recovery just as a kind of personal enrichment activity - most of us don't begin the recovery journey until our pain becomes so intense that we are forced to take measures that in ordinary circumstances we would resist if at all possible.

Nurtured by the Right Question

Wrong questions are the breeding ground of doubt, despair and unbelief. I know; I've asked the wrong questions for almost sixty years. But, in the midst of those questions mercy, grace, atonement and the answer burst its way into my darkened questions. Tell Me Why is the most foreboding of all wrong questions.

Don't miss-hear me; questions are natural and a part of our God given DNA. But: to end up at Why? That wrong question is not a part of the likeness and image of God that we are all endowed with. It is the epitome of our fallen, darkened condition! So, how do we approach these unanswerable questions?

Before there are answers, there is a relationship you must have your heart opened to. There is a knowing that paves the way for sufficient answers. Here it comes! You must know that God's plan is God; revealed in a "baby wrapped in old dirty clothes", a Son of Man, a life lived exemplary for all generations, on a Cross-disfigured and murdered by His own and in an empty tomb. He is not a program, or an impersonal idea.

As We Understood Him - Taking Step 3

In our 3rd step "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

One very interesting fact of this step is that the amount or degree of our lives and will, we are able to turn over to God, will be determined by the amount or degree of our understanding of Him.

Many of our brothers and sisters came into the program as Atheists or Agnostics. In the 4th chapter of the Big Book of A.A, titled "We Agnostics" we read the following "Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it? We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion."

Uncondemned

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

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