Step 12

Beyond the 12 StepsPremium Content

note: there is a worksheet at the bottom of this article

I have spent a lot of years struggling with drug addiction and alcohol abuse. At one point the drug addiction had completely taken me over. I began trying desperately to stay clean but every time I got a little taste of sanity the world would come crashing in and I would crumble under the weight of it all. Before I knew it I was escaping the pain or responsibility of life by using drugs. I had been through the court system, rehabs, 12 step programs, counseling (behavioral and substance abuse), and many psychiatric visits for medications. Nothing seemed to stick very long. Most of the people trying to help me eventually threw their hands up in defeat and passed me off as a hopeless case. I got to a point I started to agree with them. Nothing seemed to work for me. I was living in constant commendation from the world and in my own mind. Every mistake seemed magnified. I would beat myself up in my head over and over until my only relief was escape.

Through divine intervention I was given a book named "Freedom From Addiction." It captivated my attention because it was such an honest account of the thoughts bombarding an alcoholics mind. Not only an alcoholic but a Christian. Now I have to say that believing Jesus Christ died for my sins did not automatically make me Christ like. I was continually going against God. The shame I felt about knowing what was right but not being able to live it was more shame than I could bear. But then this book was placed in my path. As I read it something started to stir deep within me. There was a message of hope written on those pages that spoke to my innermost heart. The message was not about what I have done as a sinner (that already plagued my mind enough) but a message of who God says I am as his child. I started hearing a message telling me he doesn’t see what the world sees when he looks at me.

When I looked at myself and compared myself to the world’s expectations of me I saw all of the bad things I’ve done and how I just didn’t measure up. I owned my bad behavior as my identity but that’s not the truth. God says I am precious,

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Help My UnbeliefPremium Content

Our beliefs can either work for or against us.

Years ago, a life altering point in both my eating disorder recovery and my relationship with God involved the scripture, Mark 9:24:

"Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief."


It punctuated the state of my life. I didn’t think I could believe in who I was, in life and in God. My faith wasn’t "enough."

Through my eating disorders, be it anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, I believed God hated me and was going to send me to hell. My perfectionistic thoughts had obliterated His grace. Increasing amounts of shame from my behaviors, which included theft and lying, made me reach a point of no return. I was "un-save-able."

So, when I encountered Mark 9:24, it validated my struggles with doubt. That ninth chapter in Mark, uttered by a man, centuries earlier, sent the reassurance I needed. I was not the only person to ever think this way. And before Mark 9:24’s zinger, there was the set up scripture of the twenty-third verse:

Jesus said unto him, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Ordinarily, this would have caused me to despair. If Jesus was telling me it was solely up to me to "believe right," then, let’s face it, I’m a goner.

But again, centuries ago, He responded to another doubting person. Mark 9:24 was this man’s only comeback.

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Each of Us is that 100th SheepPremium Content

"My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace." Jeremiah 50:6

Most of us are familiar with the parable of the lost sheep and the passage about the good shepherd.

Flock of sheep. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Luke 15:3-7

"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." John 10:11

And most of us have seen the matching artwork, the depiction of a loving, attentive Jesus holding a lamb in His arms.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart... Isaiah 40:11

Yet, there seems to be a disconnection. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jesus loves us; He's our good shepherd. But do we REALLY personalize it? And what exactly would that mean to us?

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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?

What If Christmas Isn’t Merry?


What pops into your mind when you think of Christmas?

Colored lights, tinsel, festive decorations? Familiar music, parties, family gatherings? Joy, the promise of a Savior, God with us?

How about death, loss, and grief? That’s probably not what you expected.

Christmas is a time for glad tidings of great joy, but we also must be sensitive to those for whom the holiday invokes painful memories and highlights difficult circumstances. This isn’t the cheeriest of holiday greetings. I hope you’ll forgive me for reminding us that we’re likely to encounter folks that can’t quite share our holly-jolly spirit.

Are You Living From a Place of Gratitude?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G. K. Chesterton


Intentional awareness of our countless blessings will always provide fuel for a wildfire of gratitude in our soul! A fitting starting point in our quest for gratitude is to take special note of the Jesus experiences of each day. They will become kindling for that wildfire of thanksgiving. These awesome experiences continually stoke the embers of past experience into the blaze of present blessings and grandeur in Him!

Jesus did not just solve our problems by waving a magic wand from afar. He entered into the middle of the conflict, stepped into the domain of contradiction, entered our hell, faced death itself and from there He conquered. If this doesn't warm your heart and evoke gratitude, it's not likely anything will! As we consciously meditate each day upon the wonder and grandeur of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus our hearts will remain 'strangely warmed'.

Then, as we live from that place of gratitude, we also become enraptured by the moment by moment revelation of Father that Jesus brings. The masses of the world will never be converted by a second rate Christian version of itself. And neither will you or I! They will however, flock to places that give them what nothing else can; a life that won't leave them fatherless and thus thankless.

Geese - This is what Christian Recovery is all about

This is what Christians in Recovery is all about:

Next fall, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in 'V' formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in 'V' formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone - and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If Children Live with _______. They Learn.

If children live with criticism
They learn to condemn

If children live with hostility
They learn to fight

If children live with fear
They learn to be apprehensive

If children live with pity
They learn to feel sorry for themselves

If children live with jealousy
They learn what envy is

If children live with ridicule
They learn to be shy

If children live with shame
They learn to feel guilt.

If children live with tolerance
They learn to be patient

If children live with encouragement
They learn to be confident

If children live with praise
They learn to appreciate

If children live with approval
They learn to like themselves

Are You Living on the Bridge of Grace?

Is your life a bridge of Grace to the world you encounter each day? The same grace that is saving, growing and changing you is also intended to draw those around you to Jesus. How so? His awesome grace works from the inside out in our lives; changing us from glory to glory and wooing all whose lives we touch. Here are some of the incredible ways that his grace works in and through our lives.

The Bible portrays God’s Grace as the Manifold Grace of God. That simply means His Grace has many facets. It’s like looking at a fine diamond with many sides or facets. As such, grace has innumerable expressions to and through those who have placed their faith in Christ. Another way of understanding this great Grace is seeing it as a bridge that God builds toward and out from those who believe the Gospel of Grace.

Each facet of His Grace expressed in our lives is another plank of that bridge. He builds this bridge of Grace to ensure that we successfully walk out the Christian journey. As we walk in Grace others are drawn to that very same Grace. What a wonderful and gracious God! Let’s examine some of the planks on this Bridge of Grace. First, consider with me some of what the Grace of God means in our lives.

True Friendship or Playing at Friendship?Premium Content

Proverbs 18:24 NRSV
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.


I think that, on the whole, we don't really know how to be friends these days. In fact, our idea of friendship is often quite skewed because we either liken it to some kind of party (albeit an informal gathering down at the local pub over a brew) or we see it as something that makes us feel better. I think, all in all, we are more likely the first—someone who plays at friendship—than the latter—someone who sticks closer than a brother.

Understand that, when Proverbs was written, families lived together in one compound. Thus, there was a bond—heightened by financial intertwining—that existed between brothers. Sons (and daughters) didn't grow up to maturity and move away, but rather grew up to become part of the family's industry (whatever that was). Brothers were interconnected to such an extent that it was difficult to exist apart. So not only were they related physically (by blood), but there was a geographic and financial relationship that never ended.

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