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For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7
I like to play with words and phrases. A particular one recently popped up in my mind: "the benefit of the doubt."
We've heard this expression before. It denotes largesse, a generosity to not write off a person or circumstance so quickly. As it rolled around in my spirit, its opposite phrase sprung to life: the detriment of certainty.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
A businessman was plagued with distractions. At the end of the day, he faced a pile of unfinished work and felt like a failure.
The businessman hired a consultant who charged him a cool million then gave him a piece of organizational advice solving all his problems. "Set goals," said the consultant, "and put them on your calendar. Each day, list mini-goals you need to accomplish to meet your main goals. Everything else comes second."
Ever felt like this businessman? I have. We all fight an uphill battle and it is easy to burn out.
We cannot call our worrying, anxiety, and fretfulness a sign of godly concern and faith
without at the same time implying that our Lord is a liar.1 ~ R. J. Rushdoony
It’s interesting that the modern world struggles with worry and anxiety as much as any other time in history. It’s interesting only because civilization, industry, and technology are so highly advanced so that modern man needn’t concern himself with “What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Matt. 6:31). So, why are we so worried and anxious?
I have a friend who insists on never saying "goodbye." Instead, she utters, "Later" at the end of our conversations.
This word started me thinking. And the first thing which popped up was another word, procrastination. Its definition being...
"... the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the "last minute" before a deadline."
...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
I find myself looking forward to the year to come. Appropriately, I've been rereading the story of the Israelites' escape from Egypt and their "wilderness wanderings" on the way to the Promised Land. The Scriptures tell us that everything recorded in the Old Testament is there for our learning, and the amazing story of the Exodus is no exception.
Most of us know that this epic story is a picture of our being delivered from a life of sin into new life with Christ, and if we've had that very personal experience, we "get it," the Exodus part, at least.But do we get the rest of it? Do we understand that we were "brought out" so we could be "brought in?" God didn't simply send His only Son so we could escape death and hell (which is mercy, because we all deserve death and hell!) but so that we could experience the joy of a new life in Him (which none of us deserves, and that, my friends, is grace!).
I wonder how many of us miss out on so
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit?.
Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:18, 20
I know I've mentioned this saying before, but I was thinking of it this morning and decided it bears repeating. It is actually a question, and it goes something like this: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill—lots of activity, not much progress?
One of my big personal issues is confusing busyness and productivity. I often reach the end of the day and realize that I’ve done a lot, but not much has gotten done. Am I the only one?
I also recognize that passionate productivity energizes me while busyness wears me out. I’m trying to do better at setting goals to direct my efforts, but I’m also recognizing that a number of personal attitudes contribute to the energy-draining side of my activities.
I know that you can jump the hurdle of addiction and live a content filled peaceful life because I did, and I am. In my marriage and life I went through a lot of terrible emotions and marital issues during my bout with alcohol addiction. I have been sober for fourteen-years now, and I have never craved a drink, nor have I ever wanted to have a drink, socially or otherwise.
Addiction, like any adversity we face in life is just another hurdle we need to overcome. It’s not the end of your life because you have a problem with drinking today. It’s the beginning of a learning experience for tomorrow, and not just for the alcoholic, but for the loved one of the alcoholic as well. Adversity definitely makes people stronger. I cannot say that I am stronger because of my own doing but because of what God has done for me in my life. There is a difference. After spending years enveloped within an addiction, I came to realize that I was powerless to stop drinking and remain sober on my own. It is not our own strength but God’s strength within us.
What do you want to do with your addiction?
St. Augustine once uttered this powerful statement:
"Hope has two beautiful daughters: anger, at the way things are and courage, to work for change."
Upon reading it, my mind went first to the Serenity Prayer and then to how hope plays its role in addiction and recovery.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."
Indeed, hope is not a neutral word. We have feelings about it, be they negative or positive.
And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66 King James Version
Two days ago when I was at the store, I saw a precious little baby who was probably one month old. When I looked at him, he immediately started smiling at me, clapped his hands, kicked his feet and started laughing. He got excited and happy because someone was paying attention to him. How sad and tragic it is that when children grow older, we stop paying as much attention to them as we did when they were little. Sometimes we turn on the television and let the television become our babysitters so that we can do the things we want to do and not be bothered all day with the children. The thought came to me “This little baby is already acting like a missionary because I see the kindness of Jesus in his face”.
What Transforms Tender Hearts to Hard Hearts?
What happens to make these precious tender hearted and sweet babies turn into people who end up with hard hearts, become criminals and possibly even end up on death row? There has to be a reason that they stop loving people and start hating people. I believe it is because as they grow older and people begin to criticize them for everything that they do and say harsh and sarcastic things to them that their confidence begins to fade. They become suspicious of everyone and they stop trying to do nice things for others. I believe that they think what is the use of trying anymore as I will just be criticized again.
WhenDiscouragement Sets In