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04/29/16

Permalink 08:15:44 am, Step(s): 03 "I will co-operate...", 342 words   English (US)

The "If Only's"

"If only my children would do what I tell them, I wouldn't yell at them." "If only my wife would be reasonable, I wouldn't be so grumpy." "If only women would dress modestly, I wouldn't have these impure thoughts." "If only I was stronger, I could deal with all these temptations." "If only God would take these temptations away, I could be good."

Does this sound familiar? Is it true that what we really need is deliverance from the problems of this life? If so, then why did James say, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4 ). Listen to what Paul says about the "if onlys": "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 ). If these words of Scripture are true, then maybe we need to look for a different cause of our behaviors that bring us (and others) pain...

Could it be that it is more important how we handle temptation, than what we are being tempted by? Could it also be true that temptations could actually be a tool to strengthen our moral character, if they are handled appropriately? And, is it true that God really does prevent us from being tempted beyond what we are able to deal with, when we surrender our will to Him? Based on Scripture, and my own personal experience, I believe the answers to all these questions to be true.

Without a Higher Power to help us, we have no chance of fully dealing with our issues. But, as we learn to cooperate with the loving God of creation, we can become the kind of persons that He created us to be. I totally agree with Paul, when he said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13 ). In the moment of temptation, when I realize my powerlessness, accept His all-powerfulness, and surrender to Him, asking, Lord what would you have me to do (Acts 9:6 ), He really does deliver me from evil, in the presence of my "enemies" (Psalms 23:1-6 ). And, I believe, He strengthens my character, in that process.

So, what about counting it all joy when we're tempted (James 1:2-4 )? I'm not quite there but, I'm getting closer... How about you?

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." (Step 3)

04/22/16

Permalink 08:24:36 am, Step(s): 02 "God can...", 105 words   English (US)

Can I believe?

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13 )

For many this is a very difficult step. Often, this is because of the way we were treated as a child. But, Jesus said that "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23 ). But, I must ask myself, "Can I believe?". Many times, I must pray, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24 ). I believe that Jesus will never leave us, nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5 ) and that He will continue to be with us till "the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20 ).

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." (Step 2)

04/15/16

Permalink 08:52:33 am, Step(s): 01 "I can't...", 191 words   English (US)

Dependent

Jesus was a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 53:3 ). Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30 ). He also said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5 )

It is good for me to remember that I don't have all the answers and that I am powerless over many things in my life. And, it is comforting to realize that Jesus too was totally dependent on His Father, just as I am.

My carnal nature wants to take control of my life and live it MY WAY. But experience has taught me that this attitude only brings me, and others, more pain. Peace comes in recognizing my dependency, choosing to continually ask God for guidance, then choosing to follow as He leads (Steps 1-3). When I do this, life is always worth living :-)

Often, it helps to talk these things through in a safe environment with others, who also are able and willing to be honest about themselves and their faults. We confess our sins to God (1John 1:9 ) but we also confess our faults to each other (James 5:16 ).

Small, 12-Step group meetings are safe places to be honest. Come to see what I mean. Come for healing...

Local Meeting Information

"We admitted we were powerless over our problems, that our lives had become unmanageable." (Step 1)

04/08/16

Permalink 08:07:04 am, Step(s): 01 "I can't...", 210 words   English (US)

I Am Powerless

In my carnal nature, I was powerless over those behaviors that brought myself and others great pain. But during many of my 25 years of destructive behaviors, I didn't think I was powerless. I figured I could stop whenever I wanted to. I guess I did have a sense that I would need some help from God, but I thought I could control His power in using it to do whatever I wanted in MY time and in MY way. I believed in Jesus as my Savior and friend, and I said that He was my Lord. But, I was Lord of my life. I was in control (at least I tried to be), not God.

"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:19,30 ). "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5 )

My recovery process did not start until I began to admit that, of mine own self, I could do nothing to stop those destructive behaviors that were in control of my life. Without this admission, I see now that I would never have been able to believe that God could restore me to sanity (Step 2), or enter into the progressive ("work of a lifetime") process of becoming a man of God (Steps 3-12). I praise God for getting through to this stubborn, willful man that I am, that I am powerless without Him.

"We admitted we were powerless over our problems, that our lives had become unmanageable." (Step 1)

04/01/16

Permalink 08:47:27 am, Step(s): 12 Ministry and Practice, 165 words   English (US)

The Best Part

Because of the pain we face, many of us enter into the process of recovery to find victory over those sins that most easily beset us, and this is good. But what we discover, as we get deeper into the recovery (sanctification) process, is that we are having a profound spiritual awakening, and this is the best part.

After the difficult work of becoming more honest, learning to trust more, and consecrating ourselves to God, we can now begin to rejoice with the Psalmist, for "IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD, AND TO SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH:" (Psalm 92:1 ). Our joy becomes unrestrained, for we desire "To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands." (Psalm 92:2,4 ). "Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day." (Psalm 96:2 ).

More and more, as I practice these principles of sanctification in all areas of my life, I find not only healing for myself but healing in those around me as well. My relationships with God and with people continue to improve. No, these relationships are not perfect, but as I grow, by the grace and power of God, I rejoice in the increasing peace and happiness I find.

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:15-17 )

"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." (Step 12)

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