Willingness

Casting off the Burden of Self-Indulgence

Proverbs 18:1 NRSV
The one who lives alone is self-indulgent,
showing contempt for all who have sound judgment.

"Prayer opens a whole planet to a man's activities. I can as really be touching hearts for God in far away India or China through prayer, as though I were there. Prayer puts us into direct dynamic touch with a world. A man may go aside today, and shut his door, and as really spend a half-hour in India -- I am thinking of my words as I say them, it seems so much to say, and yet it is true -- as really spend a half hour of his life in India for God as though he were there in person. Is that true ? If it be true, surely you and I must get more half-hours for this secret service. No matter where you are you do more through your praying than through your personality." ~ S. D. Gordon

There is living and then there is living. In other words, there is existing, having our physical bodies be in a certain space and time, and then there is the purpose and focus for our living where our thoughts and priorities dwell. One can live alone physically and be in touch with the world at large through prayer and focus and concern. And one can live in the midst of the largest metropolis and be solely centered on her own agenda and concerns.

Do You Want to Be Righteous or Right?

Do we want to be righteous... or do we want to be right? It seems, these days, that many people have difficulties taking constructive criticism. The fact is, our egos are so sensitive (so self-centered) that we want everyone to approve of us all the time, rather than accepting the kind of sacrificial love that comes from a friend who wants us to be right with God. And, oh my goodness, what turmoil wells up inside us when we are rebuked! We take it as a personal offense, rather than quietly wondering if perhaps it's really true and we should do something about it.

    A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.Proverbs 17:10 NRSV

Friends don't let friends sin. That's the simple fact about Christianity. If we are true to our faith, we understand that everything here is temporal and our focus should be on the eternal. And the eternal is concerned with pleasing God.

"Whosoever Will" is God’s Christmas Gift to the World

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.

Opening Our Souls to God - The 4th Step

Psalm 139:23-24 KJV
Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if [there be any] wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

The 4th Step, taking one's own inventory, can be quite intimidating. But like many other things in our lives as Christians, it should be approached first and foremost in prayer.

By literally getting down on our knees and praying, much in the same way as the Psalmist did above, several things happen.

Are You Willing to do What is Right?

Isaiah 5:20 (NRSV).
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Over the years, I have learned to try to analyze my thoughts and actions, to discover why I think the way I do or act the way I choose. I say "try" because I’m not always successful at doing it. I am greatly influenced by the society around me, a society which isn’t trustworthy and which, if I were wise, I would ignore when it comes to making choices.

I look back over my life and see many places where I should have made different decisions, where I could have made better choices. I see so many times when I have been (and still am) self-indulgent rather than obedient to God's will. Just this morning, I read a snippet written by a dear Christian sister. It said, "Will I cooperate [with God’s plan] despite emotional pain?" Will I take the hard road?

How You Can Get Sober and Stay Sober For Good

Have you ever tried to quit drinking only to go back to it again and again? When you get sober are you getting sober for you or for someone else? It is my firm belief that the alcoholic must "want" to stop drinking and get their life back together for themselves BEFORE true sobriety will ever happen. When we are not convicted in our heart and mind to give up the addiction for ourselves we will have a difficult time staying sober.

Let me tell you a little bit about my situation when I first quit drinking and then you can decide for yourself. When I first got sober, about 16-years ago, I did it for my husband. I thought I wanted to quit so I could save my marriage, but I realized later, when reality hit, that I really didn’t want to quit drinking, but only wanted to appease husband and extended family.

New Year's Resolutions

written January 1st but applicable to any new beginning

Today is traditionally a day of resolutions: I will eat more healthy. I will exercise more. I will spend more time with my family. To be honest, I’m just horrible with resolutions. Even if I make just one, I can do that one thing regularly... for a while... and then life comes crashing in and I find that my resolution (and all my good intentions) go right out the window. I just can’t handle looking at life over a long period of time. Too many things happen that make demands upon me... demands on my time, on my emotions, on my energy, on my focus.

Rebuilding Your Old Ruins in Christ Jesus

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:4, NKJV

This Scripture really spoke to me this morning as I thought of how so many of us come from places of brokenness, of loss, of deep wounding. We can sometimes wonder if wholeness is a real possibility for us again, or is it just a pipe dream?

I do not believe Jesus is the Author of pipe dreams. Nor is He the author of confusion and the chaos that comes from our addictions and sin and life-controlling problems. But He is the Author of Life, the Author of the rich, eternal, abundant Life that flows forth from within His Spirit and up into our hearts and spirits as He pours His Love and Hope into our hearts:

The Decisions You Make are Important

Some people are indecisive, their favorite color is plaid! You ask them if they have trouble making decisions, and their response is ? Well, yes and no."

I think our outcomes in life reflect-- to a significant degree -- our self concept. To put it in a simpler way, life generally delivers what we confidently expect. And those expectations flow from our decisions.

So, in a way, your decisions define you. They show how you really view yourself, your self concept, at a subconscious level. Think about it, each decision provides a way for you to express who you are to the world.

Applying "Old School" A.A. in Today's 12-Step Fellowships

What the First, Original, Akron A.A. Program Was and Did

The way the first three AAs-Bill W., Dr. Bob, Bill D.-got sober before there was a "Big Book." See The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010, pp. 57-59.

    1. There were no Steps;

    2. There were no Traditions;

    3. There was no "Big Book";

    4. There were no "drunkalogs" (of the kind seen today); and

    5. There were no meetings (of the kinds seen today).

Instead, each of the first three AAs:

    1. believed in God;

    2. was a Christian;

    3. asked God for deliverance; and

    4. received the requested deliverance from God.

The Summary by Frank Amos, Published in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131.

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