Archive for March, 2009

The Lord is My Sponsor

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

The Lord is my sponsor, I shall not want.
He maketh me go to many meetings.
He leadeth me to sit back, relax and listen with an open mind.
He restoreth my soul, my sanity and health.

He leadeth me in paths of serenity and fellowship for my sake.
He teacheth me to think, take it easy, to live and let live, and
do first things first.
He maketh me honest, humble and grateful.
He teacheth me to accept the things I cannot change,
to change the things I can, and giveth me the wisdom
to know the difference.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of despair, frustration,
guilt and remorse, I will fear no evil.
For thou art with me.
The program, the way of life, the twelve steps, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
enemies – which are rationalization, fear, anxiety, selfpity,
and resentment.

Thou anointest my confused mind and jangled nerves with
knowledge, understanding, and hope.
No longer am I alone, neither am I afraid or sick or hopeless.
Surely serenity shall follow me every day of my life, 25 hours
at a time; as I surrender my will to thee, and carry the
message to others.
I will dwell in the house of the Higher Power, as I understand
Him, daily, forever and ever.

The Beginning of Forgiveness

Monday, March 16th, 2009

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:33-34 King James Version

When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary for our sins that was the beginning of forgiveness. He not only died for our forgiveness; He also set the example for us by showing us how to forgive when He said “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If He could forgive us for hurting Him while hanging on that cross of horror and excruciating pain, how dare you and I not forgive the ones who hurt us.

There are times when we forget that we also hurt people. None of us are perfect and we would do well to remember that when we are tempted to criticize and condemn people. Sometimes we have a “holier than thou” attitude. That attitude stinks in the nostrils of Jesus. We need to understand that there are times when people don’t realize that they have hurt us. There are also times when we misinterpret what they say or do. If we would go to them in a loving manner instead of in an accusing manner and ask them what they meant, we probably wouldn’t get our feelings hurt as much as we do.

Heavenly Father, forgive us for not forgiving the ones who hurt us. Fill our hearts with compassion and unconditional love for others so that we will forgive the ones who hurt us just as You forgive us when we hurt You. Help us to follow the example that Jesus set for us when He forgave us from the old rugged cross. May we be children that bring You happiness instead of children that bring You sadness. Amen.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. www.hesetmefreeforever.blogspot.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Do Something Radical Today

Friday, March 13th, 2009

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot.
So then, because you are lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

Jesus always spoke the truth in love, even though His words often angered His listeners. Of course, He knew before He said them what His listeners’ reactions would be, but He didn’t concern Himself with rephrasing things so He wouldn’t offend anyone. He loved them too much for that.

Jesus hasn’t changed. He still loves us enough today to speak the truth to us—not to hurt or maim us or to justify Himself, but to help us turn to the only Truth that can set us free from ourselves.

I remember the day Jesus set me free with His Truth. It was Friday, July 5, 1974, and I knew at that moment that I would never be the same. Real Truth—Jesus and all He has done for and requires of us—changes those who receive it. The before and after of our lives should never look the same. When we are born again, we have the very Spirit of God living within us, and that, my friends, is a radical change!

I wonder sometimes, if we lose sight of just how radical it is to be a Christian. My earthly father, who was not a believer until the very last days of his life, was famous for telling us to “do all things in moderation.” When it comes to eating chocolate or collecting butterflies, I suppose that’s good advice. When it comes to following Jesus, it doesn’t apply at all.

Jesus was radical, and if we claim to follow Him, then we must be radical too. There is no room in God’s Kingdom for lukewarm believers. In fact, Jesus Himself said that if we are lukewarm in our relationship with Him, He will “spew” (spit/vomit) us out of His mouth. Wow. Not a very “nice” thing to say, is it? In fact, when I was little, if I had said something like that to one of my brothers, my mom would have come after me with a bar of Ivory soap, ready to teach me some manners.

The words of Jesus are different. They are not about living a moderate or politically correct life or preaching a socially acceptable gospel. They are about leaving it all behind—everything that has to do with the all-about-me life that is so natural to us when we don’t truly know Jesus—and following hard after the One who set the bar for a you-first lifestyle in this me-first world. I know we can never achieve the level of perfection that Jesus modeled, but that’s no excuse for accepting or modeling a lukewarm faith. We are called to be radically different from those who have not yet been set free by the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” We are supposed to be swimming upstream, against the current—and that’s no easy task. But oh, the rewards at the end of the journey are worth it all! And the blessed company of Jesus and other believers along the way makes the pilgrimage especially sweet.

Do something radical today, fellow travelers! Refuse to be lukewarm, and then watch in awe as God works wonders in your life.

Macias

Are You Standing and Unmovable?

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13 King James Version

There are a lot of different definitions for the word “standing” in Webster’s Dictionary. The definition that I like the best is “not movable.” When we are anchored securely on our firm foundation, we can not be moved. We read in the Bible “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6: 19, 20).

We also read in the Bible “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Jesus is the foundation on which we must stand if we are going to be able to withstand the vicious attacks of satan. I wonder how many times we have tried to defeat satan in our own strength. It hasn’t worked and it never will work. Only Jesus has the power to defeat satan.

Don’t let satan discourage and defeat you. Cry out to Jesus and ask Him to help you. When we are weak, He is strong. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the armour that You give us for protection.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. www.hesetmefreeforever.blogspot.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Won’t You Listen?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Won’t you listen my friend to the words that we share.
Won’t you open your heart to a power that cares.

For within each of our souls is the spirit of living,
Within each of our hearts is a gift of giving.

Won’t you be free my friend to open your mind,
to know God is with us One day at a time.

Copyright 1997, by Neil Wright San Francisco, CA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
wright55 @ pacbell.net

Replaying the Tapes in My Head

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

I turn back my “alcoholic life tape” often because it helps me to help others. I don’t particularly enjoy reliving my alcoholic days but I know that I am now a new person in God, who saved me from the clutches of addiction fifteen-years ago. Sometimes I wish that I would have known then what I know now about alcoholism – it would have saved me a few headaches along the way. But I believe it was not in God’s plans for me to know then what I know now, because if it had been, I would not have had the chance to endure and overcome my addiction through him in the way that I did. Everything would have been different.

When we look back on our “alcoholic life tape” we are replaying over and over a recording of our life and what pitfalls and troubles we endured while trapped within the depths of our addictions. We can stop the recording whenever we want but if we stop the recording how would we be helping and encouraging others who are trapped within their own addictions or that are newly sober? We need to replay our tape over and over again simply if not to just encourage others.

I struggled with alcoholism and feelings of resentment for several years before I finally conquered my addiction and heavy laden emotions. I can pretty much say for a fact that God wants us to struggle through our diversities so we will learn and become stronger people because of our afflictions in life? Quick fixes in life such as getting a divorce rather than working on our marriage problems, or having the attitude “I wish I would have known then what I know now” does not make us stronger people nor help us to learn and grow through our mistakes. I think God wants us to seek Him and learn from our past and overcome any and all obstacles that get in our path and become better people because of our diversities so we can help others.


The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:25)


Copyright 2009 by Angie Lewis. All rights reserved. Used by Permission
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I Have No Idea Where I Am Going

Monday, March 9th, 2009

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

— Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude

To Practice This Today: This is one of the most famous and quoted of Merton’s prayers. It speaks of not knowing the future, the desire to please God, trust, and not being afraid. As you contemplate this prayer today, see which parts of it you connect with most strongly at this point in your life. Choose some lines of the prayer to repeat silently every hour as a simple practice.

Are You Lost in an Identity Crisis?

Friday, March 6th, 2009

But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and His grace toward me was not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10).

The Apostle Paul understood who he was—and why. Sadly, many haven’t figured that out yet. As a result, lives are wasted and lost in identity crisis.

Before his conversion, the apostle we now call Paul was known among the Jews and Gentiles as Saul, a fanatical Pharisee who was fully committed to his religion, even if that meant persecuting followers of the Way (as Christians were then known) to the death. But the moment Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his identity as a child of God was established, and he no longer had the need to run full-tilt in the wrong direction in an effort to find himself.

This week I had the privilege of meeting a young man named Jason who, though he is mentally challenged and suffers from epilepsy, knows his identity, and that it was established by the grace of God. Jason speaks of Jesus naturally and continually, and he rests in the peace and truth of being a born-again child of his heavenly Father. Jason is in his thirties and was born when his parents were in their late forties. He lives with his aging parents, who are concerned for their son’s well-being after they pass on. After meeting this precious family and learning of their situation, I began to pray that God would provide someone to care for Jason when he is alone on this earth. As I did so, I realized that despite the challenges Jason has faced throughout his life and will continue to face until he goes home to be with the Lord, he is secure in his identity and, therefore, in his eternal future.

Not so for many others—and that is the real tragedy. The majority of people who walk this earth have no idea who they are or why they are here. As a result, their lives will be wasted in the worldwide epidemic of identity crisis. These are the people with whom we should be most concerned and for whom we should be laboring in prayer. They, like Saul on the Damascus road, need to come face-to-face with Jesus Christ and yield their lives to Him. Then, like the Apostle Paul and my new friend Jason, they will be able to rest assured in their temporal purpose here—and their eternal destiny when they breathe their last.

May we walk in the assurance that by the grace of God, we are who we are—and God’s grace is never given in vain! Paul knew it; Jason knows it; I pray you do as well.

Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 26 books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Hug Your Children

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

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

If children live with acceptance
They learn to find love in the world

If children live with recognition
They learn to have a goal

If children live with sharing
They learn to be generous

If children live with honesty and fairness
They learn what truth and justice are

If children live with security
They learn to have faith in themselves and in those around them

If children live with friendliness
They learn that the world is a nice place in which to live

If children live with serenity
They learn to have peace of mind.

Give your kids a hug

–Author Unknown

Alcoholics are Special

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Do you know why alcoholics are special? They are special because they have an uncanny ability to keep drinking alcohol even after the last person has left the party. You might be thinking, “That’s not special, that’s downright unhealthy.” Well, what do you think alcoholism is? Alcoholism is unhealthy in every form imaginable – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

Alcoholics have always been a minority of misfits, drinking all night long, hardly able to manage the next morning, until the next drink, and then starting all over again. I’m talking about myself here – I can’t speak for all alcoholics. I literally felt like a misfit when I was in the depths of addiction. Anyway, the repetition or vicious cycle is what makes an alcoholic an alcoholic. If he or she could stop at one or two drinks they wouldn’t be alcoholic, right?

Actually what makes an alcoholic special is the sensitivity of their hearts when they are sober. Notice I said, when they are sober. Through my own research, and asking former alcoholics, I’ve come to the conclusion that alcoholic’s have a high sensitivity level towards people and their feelings that exceeds that of non-alcoholics, in general. This is why sober alcoholics and drug addicts almost always find themselves in a serving type profession helping other people combat their addictions and personal problems.

Former alcoholics make exceptional caregivers counselors, advisers, nurses, and other health care providers. And to me, that is special because the world could always use more good, caring people to teach others what they know and to help them overcome what has trapped them from within. If you ever need addiction help – the first and foremost aspect to look for in the qualifications is if they were former addicts. Rest assured, they will know more about what you are going through than someone that has never been addicted before.

Copyright 2009 by Angie Lewis. All rights reserved. Used by Permission
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