Salvation

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.

Do You Know You are Chosen and What it Means?

Psalm 89:3a (NRSV) "I have made a covenant with my chosen one."

There is amazing power in this statement for three reasons. The first is that we -- as God's adopted children -- were chosen by Him! Isn't that wonderful? It's beyond comprehension for me that, at the beginning of creation, even before time began, God looked down at all the souls and chose me! (He chose every person who would respond to His love and His call to salvation). Paul writes:

Just as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6 NRSV

I'm adopted. My birth mom, as I understand it, was an unwed pregnant teen and, with an amazing amount of courage, understood that she was ill prepared to care for a baby. So, my parents who couldn't have children, chose to adopt me. They didn't have to. They could have even come to the hospital, viewed my bald head and tiny feet, and rejected me. But they didn't. Instead, my parents chose me and gave me a wonderful home and childhood.

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.

Why is Faith Important?

Faith

    1. DEFINITION: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

Why is faith so important? Some leaders of the Christian life say that faith is the foundation of our beliefs and life.

Faith has the power to heal us when we ask Jesus and trust Him.

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.

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus – Not the Logs!

Sometimes I fail to take time to just stop and be still with the Lord, meditating on just what it means that, "I was sanctified, I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:1-11 NIV


It is truly amazing to know that Almighty, holy God set me apart for Himself, which is what it means to be sanctified. I am holy – set apart – separated from those who do not know Him; set apart from those who have not been washed clean in and by the shed blood of Jesus.

Why have I been set apart? Not because of anything that I have done or could ever do, but because of the finished work of Jesus on Calvary's cross. When Jesus gave His very life up for me, He had faith that His sacrifice of Himself would pay the price, the penalty, for my sins – past, present, and future! And because someone told me about His amazing atoning sacrifice for me and I believed in this Good News through the God-given gift of faith, I have been justified: I have had my sins washed away by the blood of Jesus! For to be justified means that it is the same as if I had never sinned. To be justified means that I am just, no longer guilty of the wrongs that I have committed; I am innocent before the throne of God! In His eyes, it is as if I had never sinned!

Praise be to God in Christ Jesus our Lord! My Abba! Father loved me so much that He allowed His only Son to suffer an excruciating death for me, for you, for all of humanity, that we might believe and be washed clean in His blood and saved from the eternal death that is the penalty of our sin! And when I accept Jesus' gift of perfect atonement for me by faith, I am granted eternal life, a life that is meant to be lived with abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and, self-control. I cannot help but think of Psalm 27:1:

How Do I Say Good-Bye?

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. Isaiah 43:2 NIV84

The tears ran down my cheeks in never-ending rivers, as congestion choked off my breathing and and rage threatened to overwhelm me. "Why can't I just be calm?" I cried out to Jesus!

I thought I had peace in my heart about my impending Mom's death before she was gone, but now that it had become a reality and the Lord had called her Home, there seemed to be no end to the waves of anxiety, depression, rage, despair, agitation, frustration, and every other emotion but calm that seemed to be rushing at me. I could not understand why, with so much faith in God, and knowing that I had not wanted my beloved mother to suffer, I was so angry now. Then my pastor called to ask me how I was doing, and I honestly shared with him the truth. He prayed that I would allow the Holy Spirit to comfort me in my grieving, and that I would find the acceptance of the Truth that my mother is now in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is when it hit me: I was angry at God because I wanted Mom to stop suffering, but I had wanted her to stop suffering here! The Lord had not done things my way, and so I was not accepting her death. And because I was in denial, the rage I was experiencing was preventing me from entering into the loving arms of my Saviour to surrender my emotions to Him. Without that surrender, I could not find peace.

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.

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