Honesty

Twelve Steps to a Better Holiday SeasonPremium Content

1. We admitted that Thanksgiving and Christmas have a deeper meaning than drinking, drugging and overeating.

2. We came to believe that God, a power greater than ourselves, could help us see and celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

3. We came to believe that God could help us appreciate the joyfulness of the season as intended by Him.

4. We made a searching and thorough examination of our relationship with our addictions, obsessions and overindulgences during the holidays.

5. We admitted to God the exact nature of our addictive habits and overindulgences during holiday seasons past.

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Do You Have a Pinocchio Nose?

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

Pinocchio - the adorable little story about a marionette who wants to become a real boy. It touches on this real theme, as well as the power of dreaming and the ability to love.

And yes, there's also the lesson about lying, hence Pinocchio's growing nose every time he tells a fib.

And that reminds me about the often chaotic journey of recovery when it comes to our addictions, compulsions and issues.

A lot of us having growing noses, don't we?

Addiction - related issues are subtle, tricky things which seem to sneak up on us from "out of nowhere." A lot of us may not look "the type." We may not look like such creatures as an alcoholic, a drug addict or a person struggling with eating disorders. We may appear to have "normal" looking noses, so to speak.

Denial: Trying to Disguise the Truth

What Cracker?

He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Denial: it's a ridiculous looking thing.

I once saw a photograph of a mouse, looking straight at the camera, cheeks puffed out to a Saltine's square shape. And the tag line attached was "What cracker?"

It made me think of my own erratic disordered eating behaviors, including stealing my roommates' food and dumpster diving.

"...I thought I was hiding my secret well from the outside world. I replenished the food I'd stolen from my roommates. I played ‘beat the clock' before they came home to notice...

...It became a regular hide and steal, hide and eat, hide and deny game... I knew their schedules by heart. I'd wait for them to leave for class. I'd hurry home, skipping my own classes to ensure enough time alone... I had to eat as much as I could before they came home...

... I'd be first to volunteer among my roommates to take out the trash, because I knew what ‘goodies' I'd thrown out...

...Trips to the dumpster at 2:30 a.m. were not unusual... I'd rummage through other people's trash bags...

...I was caught on more than one occasion. I'd try to play it off, pretending everything was normal as people passed by me scrounging in the dumpster. As I became more desperate, however, I began going to the dumpster frequently in broad daylight while other students were coming and going from class... I tried to convince myself I could ‘just act natural' and disguise the truth..."

I was asking, "What Cracker?"

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal refers to a group of symptoms that may occur from suddenly stopping the use of alcohol after chronic or prolonged ingestion.

Not everyone who stops drinking experiences withdrawal symptoms, but most people who have been drinking for a long period of time, or drinking frequently, or drink heavily when they do drink, will experience some form of withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking suddenly.

I Am an Alcoholic. I Need Help

An Open Letter to My Family
I am an alcoholic. I need help.

Dont allow me to lie to you. If you accept my evasions of the truth, you encourage me to lie. The truth may be painful but try to get at it.

Don't let me outsmart you. This would only allow me to avoid responsibility and would make me lose respect for you at the same time.

Don"t accept my promises. The nature of my illness prevents my keeping them, even though I mean them at the time. Promises are only my way of postponing pain. And, Dont keep switching agreements; if an agreement is made stick to it.

Don't let me exploit you or take advantage of you. If you do, you become an accomplice to my evasion of responsibility.

Integrity: Watching What We Say

Integrity is as much what we say as what we do.

We have tried, in our culture, to separate what we say from what we do. "Do as I say, not as I do" is a phrase I heard periodically growing up. But the fact is, we are what we say. Our words, in fact, are often predictors of our actions and are certainly revealers of our hearts.

Proverbs 19:1 NRSV
Better the poor walking in integrity
than one perverse of speech who is a fool.

This proverb compares two people, one who "walks in integrity" without wealth and one who is "perverse in speech" and a fool. The inference, of course, is that the one who is perverse in speech has more material wealth than the other. The writer tells us that it’s better to be poor and have integrity than to be wealthy and a fool. And what makes a fool? Someone whose speech is perverse.

To be perverse means to turn away from what’s good and right. Think about that. Are our words good? Do they glorify the Lord? Or are they hurtful... or mean... or simply degrading? What are perverse words anyway?

Little Sins

"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same — will be called least in the kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:19

A great many people are careful about breaking large commandments and committing heinous sins — while they commit "little sins" continually and without scruple.

They would not tell a direct lie for the world — but their speech is full of little falsehoods!

They would not steal money from the purse or drawer of another — and yet they continually commit small thefts! For example, by mistake the grocer gives them a penny too much change — and they do not think of returning it. Through the carelessness of a postal worker, the postage stamp on a letter is left uncancelled — and they take it off and use it a second time.

They would not purposely try to blacken a neighbor's name or destroy his character — and yet they repeat to others the evil whispers about him which they have heard, and thus soil his reputation.

They would not swear or curse in the coarse way of the ungodly — but they are continually using such minced oaths such as, Gosh! Gees! Heck! and other mild, timid substitutes for overt swearing.

They would not do flagrant acts of wickedness to disgrace themselves — but their lives are honeycombed with all kinds of little meannesses, impurities, selfishnesses, and bad tempers.

Repentance Secures Freedom from ShamePremium Content

Warning: the following will mess you up. Allow Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into all the truth concerning 'repentance'. This is a critical piece of The Message: that we believe the Gospel of Grace!

"The guilt and shame that is always associated with repentance causes this great gift to be, almost universally, thought of in a negative light and resisted rather than embraced as it should be and will be when seen correctly. " (Clark Whitten, Pure Grace - page 98).

"Repentance is the most mis-translated word in the New Testament" (Broudus). It means to change one's mind in light of new truthful information. This is the process by which believers have our minds transformed. When the truth of the finished work of Christ challenges religious mindsets, repentance allows one to embrace the new and discard the old.

By this process we grow up into the fullness of Christ. The mixture gospel taught by the vast majority of evangelicals reduces the glorious gift of repentance to a tool of behavior modification. Truth embraced will always produce freedom and correct Jesus-like thinking! The truth is--Believers are the righteousness of God (In Christ) or we are not righteous at all.

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The Danger of Complacency and Sin Premium Content

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).

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Addiction the SinPremium Content

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.

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