General Recovery

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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What is Wisdom and How do We Acquire it?Premium Content

We know there are a lot of broken, miserable, angry, sad, frustrated, married couples who are not living their marriage in the "ways of the Lord". Every day they trudge in their daily routine barely able to take another day. When we are going through such issues in our marriage, such as being married to an abusive alcoholic, or married to a unfaithful man or woman we only see as clear as our feelings will let us see. This is not enough to repair damage done to the marriage.

We have to go beyond our feelings and emotions and try to understand what is happening in our marriage so we can do something about it in the spiritual way and not through how we are feeling about it. It's difficult to do but it is what NEEDS to be done. If we continue in our own perspective by "how we are feeling" we truly do not grow spiritually and we stay within our own private little world of emotions.

This is where wisdom comes into the picture. As scripture says, we have to throw off everything that hinders us or lay aside every weight that is keeping us from seeing clearly so we can win the race; this includes how we are feeling, which may be ill will and resentment towards our spiritually sick spouse and other loved ones. Feelings are ok to have, we need to experience our feelings, but we also need to recognize when our feelings become stumbling blocks in our growth with God.

    …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

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I Am GratefulPremium Content

Abba, You know our hearts. These past few days of reflecting upon where I am in my relationship with You has left me recognizing that I have SO, SO far to go!

I am very grateful that You are merciful in addition to being righteous.

I am grateful that You love us so much that You were willing to pay the price to keep us from being separated from You forever.

I am grateful that You are faithful to forgive us our sins when we ask with repentant hearts.

I am grateful that You give us the ability to turn from our sins.

I am grateful that You never allow us to be tempted without providing a way of escape.

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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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God Chases RunawaysPremium Content

Study of Jonah 1:1-5


Jonah 1:1-2
The word of the LORD came to Jonah ...
But Jonah ran away from the LORD.

Do you remember the TV series, “The Fugitive” (and then the movie version in 1993? It was about Dr. Richard Kimble’s efforts to find the one-armed man who had killed his wife.
Police thought he had done it, so he was on the run.
He was a fugitive.

The Bible tells us we’re fugitives from God.
That’s because we’re sinners, and have broken His laws.
Unlike Dr. Kimble, though, we are guilty.
As fugitives, we are running away from Him.

We don’t like to think of ourselves that way.

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Are You Rejoicing in What is Wrong?

1 Corinthians 13:6 RSV
[Love] does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

When I was growing up, going to jail was a terrible shame, not only for the person in jail, but the entire family. No one wanted to have a family member serving time, no less become that person themselves.

Now, I have children in my classroom who are intimately familiar with prison (to the point of having been there many times to visit family and friends). And sadly, these children have told me that they would like to go to prison themselves. They like having a bad "rep" and being in the position of being a bully, of having power over others.

Remember, I'm talking about elementary school aged children.

Motivating Addiction Recovery Program Participants (Part 2)Premium Content

See: Part 1 | Part 3

When I came to Kansas City in 1990 and my focus turned from direct involvement to training people to become addition counselors and helping them to manage more effective programs. However, I’ve stayed in touch with the "hands on" dimension of recovery work by volunteering at local rescue missions and for other organizations that help addicts and their families. Conducting chapel services for program participants and interacting with them is something I always look forward to doing.

One local mission, the Kansas City Rescue Mission, where Joe Colaizzi serves as executive director, is an example of a rescue mission recovery program that is doing a lot of things right. Their recent follow-up efforts reveal that for three years running, 70% of their graduates are still sober for year or more after leaving the mission. This is a very good rate of success. So, what are some of the things they are doing to promote such success?

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Motivating Addiction Recovery Program Participants (Part 1)Premium Content

The more time I spend with rescue mission recovery programs, the more I’ve become convinced that the most important “gift” we can give homeless addicts is community, a place to belong. Homelessness is a state of complete disaffiliation—being cut off from all meaningful and supportive human relationships. Suc­cessful mission residential programs actually provide a supportive “family” environment where homeless addicts can examine their lives and take the difficult initial steps toward a new, sober, and productive life.

There are two other important communities that program participants must become involved with so the process of change begun at the mission continues after they leave. The first is the Church, the Body of Christ, where program graduates experi­ence fellowship with other believers and spiritual nurture.

The second is the recovering community where involvement with support groups for recovering addicts give them a place to continue personal growth through mutual sharing and encour­agement with others who have overcome addiction.

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A Christian Philosophy of Addiction and RecoveryPremium Content

There's a long standing debate in Christian Counseling circle as to whether addiction is a sin or a disease. I have addressed this issue in a previous article. What I want to say here is simply, any rescue mission, Salvation Army ARC or other Christian ministry that works with alcoholics and drug addicts must establish an official philosophy of addiction. This is best done at the level of the board of directors. How we approach addicts from a philosophical and theological perspective will ultimately guide everything we do. Certainly, it will serve as the framework for our counseling approach. But it will also influence whom we hire, the curriculum we develop, and the expectations we have for the people in our programs.

For potential use with your program, and to serve as a framework for developing your philosophy, I offer the Philosophy of Addiction and Recovery I developed for New Creation Center, the residential treatment program I led in Atlantic Mine, Michigan for over ten years. Feel free to use as much of it as you wish.

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We Must Have Grown Up In Our Sleep (reflection on Wisdom & Aging)

It seemed to mark the end of summer,
The school bell rang and it was gone.
So many friends to share the moment,
How the days drug oil and on!
     We didn't know that we were changing.
     We thought today was ours to keep.
     Lord, what happened to tomorrow.
     We must have grown up in our sleep.

Mary smiled, and my heart fluttered,
So many things I never said.
But the kisses that I dreamed of
Were for someone else instead.
     Puppy love may be for children,
     But the hurt goes just as deep.

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