Regeneration

Do You Have a Diligently Kept Heart?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23

Recently, I caught a documentary about the Japanese film director and animator, Hayeo Miyazaki. He's creator of anime feature films including, "My Neighbor Totoro" and "The Wind Rises."

Anyway, during this documentary, Miyazaki talked about his father and the impact he had on his world view:

"Being welcomed instead of being chased out probably shaped the way this man looked at the world."
~Hayao Miyazaki

The power of this statement hit me. Looking at this man's countenance, his joyful and peacefully optimistic demeanor shouts the sentiment loud and clear.

As I've been in recovery from both my disordered eating/image and abuse issues, I've had to look long and hard at the state of my heart. It's unflattering and painful to do so, yet quite necessary.

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. Psalms 139:23-24

Alcoholics Anonymous & Bill Wilson's Bible Witnessing

Fragment Number Eight

The Bill Wilson that many do not know became an "evangelist" almost immediately after he was discharged from Towns Hospital, having had a spiritual experience. For example, Lois Wilson's biographer wrote:

    The doctor [Dr. Silkworth] always allowed Bill to share his God-experience with some patients, hoping somehow it might help... Dr. Shoemaker [the Episcopal rector at Calvary Church] encouraged Bill to spread the message of change and spiritual recovery to others like himself. Bill took the preacher at his word. With Lois's full support, he was soon walking through the gutters of the Bowery, into the nut ward at Bellevue Hospital, down the slimy corridors of fleabag hotels, and into the detox unit at Towns with a Bible under his arm. He was promising sobriety to every drunk he could corner, if they, like he, would only turn their lives over to God. [See William G. Borchert, The Lois Wilson Story: When Love Is Not Enough: A Biography of the Cofounder of Al-Anon (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2005), 170.]

In fact, Rev. Sam Shoemaker wrote to Bill on January 22, 1935, commending Bill for his witnessing to Frederick E. Breithut who became known as the "chemistry professor." Shoemaker wrote:

What does "Pray Without Ceasing" Mean?

Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 declares that God's will for us is that we

[p]ray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.

To pray unceasingly does not mean spending twenty-four hours daily in prayer. >b>Rather, it means being open continually to God, sharing our thoughts and hopes with Him in mental prayer, and so on. It means, as we face a problem, praying, in a sentence, "Lord, help me with this problem"; or, "Give me patience as I talk with this trying person"; or, "Thank you for seeing me through that mess," and similar prayers.

O. Hallesby years ago wrote, "We cannot breathe in the early morning in such a way that it will be sufficient until noon. Likewise, we cannot pray in the morning so as to suffice until noon."

Continual sentence prayers are simply Christian breathing. They keep us alive and strong.

Laying Firm Foundations in Recovery

Jesus says:
Matthew 7:24-27
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

Matthew 7:24-27 speaks to everyone who is in recovery. At one time or another, we all have built our houses on sand. That sand could be alcohol, riches, drugs, sex, food, another person, gambling, anger, abuse, depression, the list is endless. And just like sand, these God-substitutes slip through our fingers, leaving no trace as we desperately grasp at them looking for something firm to cling to. None of these sand-gods provide a firm foundation. Only God Almighty provides a foundation that is unshakable. No matter how bad things get, God is always there. He never fails. Yes, at times we may feel He is distant, but that is a FEELING. The reality is that He is always present and He holds you firmly in His grip, if you let Him.

When the Past Haunts Us

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

Is it Possible to Actually Seek Rejection?

"Actors search for rejection. If they don't get it, they reject themselves."
~Charlie Chaplin


As someone with a theater background, I've often encountered rejection.

I've endured many auditions and have heard my fair share of no. I didn't look the part, sound the part, I couldn't get a handle on a certain accent or I simply was not "good enough."

Ah, yes, "good enough." For many of us perfectionists and/or recovering addicts, this little phrase cuts right to the core.

In one way or another, we are recovering from something in life. And yes, it's often fueled by rejection.

What are you willing to change?

We're in the middle of cold and flu season; sickness abounds.

And, it's at this time of year, I think about healing. It's one thing to be flu-ridden, queasy, achy, possessing a high fever and wish to be well.

However, it's another thing if we struggle with addictions and compulsions; they are also referred to as "disease." With that situation, we're often conflicted at best and resistant and unhealthy at worst. What is our response to the question, "Do you want to get well?"

Hey, even Jesus asked the question.

The Christian, Stress and Alcohol

We are living in an age where stress pushes at us from all sides. We live with a real threat of nuclear war. There is armed conflict in parts of our world. Famine, natural disasters, inflation and unemployment are nationwide. Things are going from bad to worse.

Apart from the pressure in the world, each one of us face stress and tension in our daily lives and situations. Underemployment and unemployment are very real problems that hurt us not only financially, but threaten us with feelings of inadequacy and loss of self-esteem.

Another cause of stress can be attributed to a simple lack of communication - on the job, between husband and wife, or between parent and child. We have the young mother with a thousand seemingly endless duties at home. There is the husband at work with pressure to meet deadlines. At day's end, when the husband comes home, there can be real conflict unless there is an attempt to honest communication.

There is stress in the life of the single person who may have feelings of loneliness or rejection. There is the ministry whose life may become a seemingly endless cycle of handling one counseling crisis after another, while still expected to be an outstanding church leader, perfect husband, and loving father. There is the worker in the factory saddled with what seems to be a boring, dead-end job.

The point is, all of us face stress and tension in our lives. To a certain degree, everyone also experiences occasional feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy stemming from an improper self-image. 0 r self-image also tends to change somewhat as our circumstances change.

Prayer: Lord we come to YOU

Thank You Lord that You have been with us all year and that we have seen many things and also have had our trials and our struggles. We look to You for new life Lord and we know Your promises.

We are glad that when we are not faithful... You Are
and that we can come to You this day and grow in all that You are, learn new things every day and walk in Your Spirit which is life to us.

The life You have for us is full of power and peace. We cannot even imagine peace on our own Lord too many things in our lives and relationships with our passions and anxieties.

You are God -- Lord God Almighty God and Your make a way into our hearts and our lives. You reach Lord where we don t even know what is there and You bring life from it.
Nothing is beyond YOU.
We cannot hide from YOU.
No where can we go from Your spirit

So Lord we come to YOU.
Teach us.
Root out those places where we hold pain
where disease can settle
and where fears can develop.

Are You in Passionate Pursuit?

So I got up, went out and roved the city, hunting through streets and down Alleys. I wanted my lover in the worst way! I looked high and low, and didn't find him. And then the night watchmen found me as they patrolled the darkened city. "Have you seen my dear lost love?" I asked. No sooner had I left them than I found Him, found my dear lost love. I threw my arms around Him and held Him tight, wouldn't let Him go until I had Him home again, safe at home beside the fire. Song of Songs 3:2-4, (The Message)

There is always a passionate pursuit in our relationship with Jesus. It begins with Jesus wooing our hearts-without time constraint or performance clauses. It continues by our daily searching and seeking for He who is constantly romancing our heart. The word picture King Solomon portrays in this passage depicts the wholehearted devotion that must accompany authentic relationship with Jesus. Nothing less will do.

The biggest mistake of my life is when I fall away from first-love devotional desire for Jesus. It is the mistake that gives rise to any and all others. Insidious and slowly, it happens almost undetectable over a period of years. I replace my love affair with Jesus with a professional relationship with Him. How does this happen?

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