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What produces or gives your heart sustained and real Hope? Can you do anything that produces Hope?
But I need something more! I've tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24, The Message
Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we must exhaust all of our personal resources.
I. What Temptation Is
A. Something that tempts or entices
- 1. James 1: 14 - When we are drawn away from by own lusts
B. A spiritual test
- 1. James 1 :2 - Count it joy when you have temptations
2. James 1:3 - Trying of faith works patience
II. What Temptation Is Not
- A. Not sin
B. Not from God
III. Who is the Tempter
- A. He is ...
- 1. Matthew 4: 1 - The Devil
2. I Peter 5:8 -Adversary, the devil
3. II Corinthians 11: 14 - Satan transformed into an angel of light
4. Revelation 12:10 - Accuser of the brethren
B. What he does ...
- 1. Revelation 12: 1 0 - Accuses
2. Genesis 3:1 - Is subtle
Addictions - A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel is a book for every Christian. Usually when we hear the word "addiction," our thoughts immediately leap to illegal drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. As the author correctly points out in this book, every Christian faces the temptation of addiction. The difference is some addictions are more acceptable than others. I can be addicted to books for example. Others can be addicted to food, credit cards, a beautiful yard, a hobby, work, or a multitude of other items in God's created order.
Welch rightly calls addictions sin. Addictions reveal a love of self and thus are idolatry. In the practice of them we put ourselves above God. Addictions are sin. This diagnosis will not be acceptable to many in our culture. But it is what we need to hear.
The author shows the pathway by which one can become addicted. More importantly he shows the only true way that slaves to addictions can be freed. Thus this volume is filled with hope for those who are tempted to or are already feasting on a "banquet in the grave."
Dishonesty becomes a way of life for most people with addictions...of any kind.
And when they swear off the use of drug or the repeating of the act, whatever that may be, the tendency to shape the truth doesn't just disappear. In fact, I would be willing to bet that most addicts/alcoholics resort to lying throughout the stages of addiction. Traditionally, the steps are labeled misuse, abuse, dependence, and full-blown addiction. These stages are the cornerstones of our secrets.
This, the initial stage, is where people begin to experience negative happenings in their relationships at home and at work. A pattern of deception of is born.
When people continue using a substance in spite of negative consequences, it is considered abuse. They are not only deceiving others, now they are deceiving themselves as well.
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin... The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie. ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Matthew 23:26 NASB
You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
God is always ready to forgive -
but we must never become complacent about sin and think it doesn’t matter. Rather, we must do whatever we can to avoid temptation and deal with sin when it happens.
God does not want us to take a neutral attitude toward sin.
Though He loves the sinner, He does not love sin. It is sin that separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), yet He does not desire that any perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
We celebrate our nation's freedom yet there are so many people who are still in bondage. They are in bondage to schedules, deadlines, television, sports, alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, and all the other things that come before Jesus and keep them from serving Him and spending time with Him as He has commanded us to do. He has told us that we should have no other gods before Him. However all too often we allow things that will one day mean nothing come before Him and our service to Him.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:24-26, 33-34 King James Version
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.
Millions are sick and dying of alcoholism and drug addiction, and many of them fail to realize the healing power that comes through the son of the living God.
As all Christians know, the way back to God is through the lamb, Jesus Christ. It is not an intellectual way. Nor is it a moral way.
You cannot think your way back because human thought will not coordinate with divine thought.
You cannot worship your way back because man is essentially a spiritual rebel from God's will.
You cannot moralize your way back because human character is prone to sin naturally.
Jesus said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
As we all travel on this journey called life, we all have offended someone or we ourselves have been offended. Many hang onto to these offenses, as one would cling onto a priceless gem. They will quickly proclaim to all "I have the right to be mad, for you don't know, what that person did to me." And in a sense they are correct, they do have the right to hang unto the offense.
In the book of 1 Corinthians 10:23 we are told, "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify."
You see we all have the legal right to be unforgiving, angry, or even bitter at the people who have done us wrong. But as the scripture says, "Not all things are profitable" In fact, an unforgiving heart is very unprofitable (disadvantaged) and does not edify, which means to be built up in faith, belief or knowledge.
Signs of needing Recovery
- Behavior that sabotages successful management of our lives
- Feeling the necessity to shut down feelings and to keep everything inside. (As children we learned that expressing our own wants and needs resulted in rejection. This in turn fueled intense feelings of inadequacy. No matter how hard we tried things only got worse). When we express our needs we risk being rejected.
- low self esteem
- insecurity, anxiety
- Trying to save face rather than to acknowledge reality and accept the consequences of our actions. Hiding from our true feelings by staying "busy." By staying busy we allow ourselves to ignore our true feelings and thus deny them.
- Tendency to isolate
- Need to be approved of by others. Being loyal to others even when loyalty is not deserved or warranted.
- Easily intimidated by others.
- confusing pity with love
- giving in to others rather than taking care of our own wants and needs.