Archives for: January 2014


Permalink 06:51:12 am, Step(s): 07 Purification, 224 words   English (US)

His Ways are True and Faithful

"A man’s goings are established of Jehovah; And he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For Jehovah upholdeth him with his hand." (Psalms 37:23,24)

I have been acquainted with many people who, like me, have begged God to remove their shortcomings, to no avail. Some have become quite bitter because they are still plagued by these sins that so easily beset us. We claim the text, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13). But we tend to assume more than was likely intended, expecting God to work in us without our cooperation. Let's look at it again, in context:

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." (Philippians 2:9-16).

This passage speaks of worship, humility, and striving -- through fear and trembling -- to obey God through Jesus Christ our savior. It seems to me that, when I cooperate with God, He then works in me according to His good pleasure, in His way, which is in my best interest. Of course I can't see the "end from the beginning", as He does. But, I've seen enough of His positive working in my life to trust that He is making all things new, and that His ways are true and faithful (Rev 21:5).

God says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; Whose trappings must be bit and bridle to hold them in, Else they will not come near unto thee." (Psalms 32:8,9). In my humble opinion, it's all about cooperating with God, in humility. I don't expect (or even want) Him to force me to go His way as the rider forces his horse with bit and bridle. What about you? Have you been expecting God to change you, without your cooperation, as I, and many others, have?

"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." (Step 7)


Permalink 08:02:41 am, Step(s): 06 Repentance, 307 words   English (US)

Ready to be Healed

Now that I've identified my major issues in my introspective inventory, and confessed them, I must decide whether I am willing to let these things go. It's not a question as to whether I am able to turn away from my destructive behavior, because I CAN NOT.

My understanding of the question posed to me in 1994, was something like this: "If it were possible for you to stop doing those destructive behaviors that you have identified and confessed, would you? Or, do you want to continue to do things that bring you temporary pleasure, at the cost of lasting pain?" After 25 years of pain, I was ready for something better.

I knew that, of myself, I could do nothing (John 5:19,30). I knew that without God's help I would continue to fail (John 15:5). But would I have faith enough to believe that, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)? Here are some quotes that brought (and continue to bring) me great hope:

"Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God." (Ministry of Healing page 176)

"As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings." (Christ's Object Lessons, page 333)

Even now, as God prompts me to change, I must make a conscience decision to allow God to "will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13) in my life, so that He can continue to remove my defects of character.

"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." (Step 6)


Permalink 07:17:29 am, Step(s): 05 Confession, 322 words   English (US)

How Are You -- Really?

"How are you? => Oh, I'm fine. How are you doing? => I'm doing good..." That dialog often ends with each person thinking, "I'm glad they have it all together, but I'm a mess".

Have you ever wished that you could break out of that routine and just be honest about how you really feel? Do you realize that these feelings are Biblical? The Bible says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16).

Many Christians tend to shy away from confession. After-all, some believe in confessing our sins to a priest to receive forgiveness from God. And we know that forgiveness of sin can only come from God, which He gives freely (1 John 1:9). But does that negate James 5:16? Certainly not!

When we confess our faults to another person, we don't do it to receive Heaven's forgiveness. We do it because we truly are only as sick as our secrets. We don't do it because that other person needs to know (even though that other person often benefits from it). We do it because it is part of our healing process. It helps us to come out (and to stay out) of denial when we hear ourselves saying it. It helps to make us accountable, because now someone else knows... Even if we stopped there, this would be powerful medicine to aid in our healing.

But James 5:16 invites us to take it a step further. When we confess our faults to a trusted Christian and that person prays for us, the power of God is unleashed on our behalf, and for our healing. And that is even more powerful medicine!

Do you participate in this ancient Christian tradition of Biblical confession? Do you have a safe person that you can trust, or trusted small group where you can practice the power of confession? If not, I encourage you to plead with God to bring you to the right person/group where your healing can be accelerated, through the power of God.

"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." (Step 5)


Permalink 05:26:00 am, Step(s): 04 Introspection, 202 words   English (US)

Besetting Sins

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," (Heb 12:1)

I've been thinking about why it is that I need to make a "searching and fearless moral inventory" of myself. And what is it that I hope to accomplish by doing this?

If I really believe and am practicing the first three steps, then it seems that I need to do what I can (no matter how little that may be) to understand and deal with those things that are preventing God (my Higher Power) from restoring me to sanity (Step 2). The Bible tells us that it is sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). But what is sin? It seems to me that there is only one definition of sin in the Bible. Here it is: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4).

Therefore, as part of my moral inventory, I need to confess all my known sins. By so doing, God restores that union between me and Him (1 John 1:9). I also need to consider what my besetting sins (Heb 12:1) are -- those things that regularly cause me to fall to temptation. I need to understand these things so that I can continue in this recovery process -- so that I can cooperate with God as He works to change me to be more like Him.

"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." (Step 4)


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