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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)

01/15/16

Permalink 07:40:18 am, Step(s): 02 "God can...", 391 words   English (US)

Who is my Higher Power?

Since I realize my own powerlessness to deal with those sins which so easily beset me (Hebrews 12:1 ), it is imperative for me to find a power greater than myself that can (and is willing to) deliver me from these things. Without that Higher Power, I would have no hope -- no reason for living -- because my sins bring me so much pain.

Being raised in a Christian home, I've always given the God of the Bible credit for being the Creator and sovereign Lord of the universe. I knew too that Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sins. But it's been a gradual process for me to come to understand His unlimited love for me, and just how to co-operate with His loving power as He works to "restore me to sanity".

For many it is difficult to trust the God of our understanding because our understanding of God came from our experience with the "higher powers" that ruled over us during our childhood. Even though I had relatively good parents, it has been helpful for me to make a "disconnect" between God, as I now understand Him, and the "higher powers" of my childhood. Today, because of my growing relationship with the God of the Bible, I realize that He really is the Higher Power that loves me without measure and would never do anything to me that is not in my best interest.

Today I believe that, if I could see the end from the beginning, I would not choose to be lead (or ruled over) by any other god or by any other means. And, I believe that nothing can happen to me without His permission.

" And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:28,38,39 )

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

10/30/15

Permalink 09:20:38 am, Step(s): 01 "I can't...", 02 "God can...", 03 "I will co-operate...", 345 words   English (US)

The Secret of Death

The apostle Paul said, "... I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31 ) and, "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 ).

Death to self is counter-intuitive in the me-centered world we live in today. Death to self is counter-intuitive to me because I want to be the center of my world. However, I am finding that I am unable to see into the future in order to make the best decisions for today. In fact, I can do nothing without God. Why would I think that? Look at the words of Jesus: "The Son can do nothing of Himself... I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:19,30 ) and "... without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5 ). So, who am I to think I can do what Jesus said He can't do?

Look at what Isaiah said, "The Lord will always lead you. He will meet the needs of your soul in the dry times and give strength to your body. You will be like a garden that has enough water, like a well of water that never dries up" (Isaiah 58:11 ).

A wise person once said, "God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him." (Ministry of Healing 479). and, "... this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." (Colossians 1:37 )

As I consider this evidence and my own anecdotal experiences of God's leading in the past, I can't help but choose to continually invite God/Christ/the Holy Spirit to live in me. I choose death to self that I may experience the secret of death: Christ in me, the hope of glory for the future, peace in the present, with acceptance and forgiveness for my past failure.

What about you?

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

10/23/15

Permalink 08:02:15 am, Step(s): 02 "God can...", 508 words   English (US)

Bit or Yoke?

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18 ).

This is the power greater than myself that I choose to believe is restoring me to sanity. This is the God who gives me hope of a better future. This is the God who invites us to come and be with Him. But for some, because of their history, this god is seen as a controlling god. The god of many people's understanding might be symbolized by a cowboy who rides us and controls us with the bit he puts in our mouth. But that's a tactic of the enemy. My God is different than that. "The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." (Psalms 32:8,9 ). My God is not a god of force. He honors our freedom of choice even more than His own life.

Jesus says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 ).

I have a friend who lives near a wilderness area. He and his wife obtained a permit to harvest some trees in an area where vehicles were not allowed off-road. Somehow they found a human yoke, which is very different from those used for oxen. There was no strapping into this yoke. It was designed for two people who would push against it with their chest. In the middle was a rope that connected to a metal clamp used to drag a log. This required a lot of communication, cooperation and trust between my friend and his wife. If one chose to turn right while the other chose to turn left, they would simply fall out of the yoke. So, one of them had to lead and the other had the choice to either follow intently, or lose their connection, through the yoke, to their spouse. I think it works much the same way with the yoke that Christ asks us to wear. He is always available to us, waiting to yoke us with Him. He longs to help us carry our load of responsibilities. All we need to do is to cooperate, listening intently to His "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12 ). Then, as we choose to follow Him in His yoke, He makes the impossible possible. His yoke truly is easy.

Since I believe that Christ would never lead me in any way I would not choose to be led, if I could see the future as He can, I want to yoke up with Him. Then, as we share the load in that yoke, I know that He is well able to take us through any trouble that might get in our way. And, since He never makes mistakes, I trust Him to take the lead in His yoke. As He promised, I find rest for my soul in His yoke.

Jesus says, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5 ) "and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20 ) What is your response today?

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

08/07/15

Permalink 07:43:16 am, Step(s): 02 "God can...", 423 words   English (US)

Disconnect

In our early years, the only God we knew was our parents. Ideally, parents are servants of God and are godly role models for their children. But, all too often, this is not the case. Many children are seriously abused, even by parents who are professed Christians. As children, we could not readily discern whether our parents were following God, or not, in the way they treated us. In fact, our parents were as gods to us, when we were very young.

As a result, many have grown up with a skewed view of God. But it didn't end there. As we became older, we've seen other professed Christians acting in ways that that just didn't seem right. They may have even been abusive toward us. With all this evil coming at us from role-models that have largely formed our view of God, is it any wonder that so many have turned to gods other than the God of the Bible?

Many spend a lifetime searching for peace and joy in all the wrong places, because of a skewed view of the one and only God who can give them peace, joy, and a life of fulfillment -- the God of the Bible -- the God of true Christianity.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 ). He says, "... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5 ). "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-13 ). "... and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20 ).

With a God like that, maybe it is time to make a disconnect between the behavior of our former (maybe even present) "role-models" and the character of the God of the Bible -- the God of the Universe. The character of this God is what defines the word 'Love'. Like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:10-24 ), maybe it is time for us to come home to our loving Father who is waiting patiently to see us turn toward Him, so that He can run to us with arms open wide. He longs to envelop us in His love and to cover us with the robe of Christ's righteousness (1 John 1:9 ).

"I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
or a bride with her jewels.
The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
with plants springing up everywhere."
(Isaiah 61:10-11 )

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

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