Archives for: May 2014


Permalink 08:16:39 am, Step(s): 01 "I can't...", 202 words   English (US)

Power Through Powerlessness

Jesus said, "... The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do... I can of mine own self do nothing... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:19,30). Whenever I read these amazing words of Jesus, I am both humbled and encouraged.

I am humbled to realize that neither can I do anything good without God (John 15:5). It is part of my personality to be a get-it-done kind of guy. That's not a bad thing. But if I do it my way, rather than God's way, I am destined to failure. And, if I try to do things that God is not calling me to do, it profits me nothing -- I'm likely to fail.

I am encouraged to realize that I can experience power in my life, as Jesus did, in spite of my own powerlessness. The apostle Paul once said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13). So then, the question I have to ask myself is, "Will I cooperate with God? Will I be honest about my own powerlessness and choose to trust and obey Him? Or, will I continue to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?"

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


Permalink 08:57:27 am, Step(s): 12 Ministry and Practice, 576 words   English (US)

Practice & Witness

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, as you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

Jesus said, "... Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." (Mark 5:19) A response of Paul: "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; ... And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

I was nearly four years into recovery when I first read though the steps of 12-Step recovery. As I read, I was amazed at how these steps paralleled my own experience, as God had led me through these very same steps! But, one thing was missing. For some time, I had been feeling the need to share what God was doing in my life. However, because of the nature of my primary addiction, I didn't know how to "safely" do that. Christian 12-Step recovery groups provided that "safe" place that I needed. Then, as my recovery process progressed, I began to be able to share more freely. As a result, I have taken advantage of many more witnessing opportunities. This is why I share with you today. I believe that what God is doing in my life, He wants to do for you as well.

Paul: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Some believe that, in the process of recovery/sanctification, our carnal human nature is somehow removed and our default behavior becomes spiritual. However, I haven't found that in scripture, or in my own personal experience. I have, however, found the process to be progressive (Great Controversy 470.1). Those "sins that so easily beset me" no longer control me. They are more easily resisted through my surrender to God. But my Christian walk is still a battle - a battle against my self - "the greatest battle that was ever fought" (Steps to Christ 43). Knowing this helps me to remain focused on my Savior, my friend, and my God, Jesus Christ. For, without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). But, with Him, I can do all things that He wills (Philippians 4:13).

I invite you to join me in my commitment to more closely follow Jesus.

"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)


Permalink 08:40:31 am, Step(s): 11 Prayer and Meditation, 424 words   English (US)

Seeking God

"...he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he rewards them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

For me, it is relatively easy to have faith in the word of God, as expressed in the Bible. I grew up with the Bible and believe that it's writings are inspired by God. But where it's harder to have faith is when the "rubber hits the road", so to speak. When life gets hard; when bad things happen; when my will is crossed; those are the times when faith becomes more of a challenge. Those are the times when my trust in God and His Holy Word is tested.

It is vital for me to diligently seek God. You see, if I have not been improving upon my "conscious contact with God" by regularly spending time in prayer, and Bible study, then my faith becomes weak in challenging times. But, If I have been spending quality time with God, then my faith is stronger. I'm much more likely to trust God when trouble comes. I'm much more likely to hear His promptings and to "die to self", choosing to follow His leading.

There is a lot of talk these days about relationship, and I need a saving relationship with God. But some of the talk in Christian circles tends to minimize the role of the Bible (particularly the Ten Commandments) and denies the existence of satan and his host of evil angels. Of course if there were no tempter, things would be different. But, since there is, it is difficult for me to always know which voice is speaking to me. It could be the voice of God, but it could also be the voice of evil telling me things that sound pleasing. Or, it could also be the voice of my own thoughts and feelings, based on my learning history. Because of this, it is VITAL for me to be grounded in the Word of God. The Bible is the only place I can be sure to find truth. Maybe that's why the apostle Paul said, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).

Continuing in this kind of saving relationship with God involves choices that go against what I want to do or say, but God is faithful to give us what it takes to make good choices (1 Corinthians 10:13). And when we follow through, making those hard decisions to follow God's leading, it is our privilege to enter into the peace that only God can give. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7). And, in times of trouble, what could be better than that?

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." (Step 11)


Permalink 09:07:08 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 330 words   English (US)

Am I Dead?

As I continue to take my personal inventory, I must ask myself, "Am I living as a dead man?" Paul describes this experience in his letter to the Galatians: "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). Do I go to the "cross" when my children, wife, or others irritate me? Do I surrender myself to God in times of these (and other) temptations? Do I always choose to serve God, rather than my own selfish desires? Do I trust that God will deliver me from these things when I die to myself, and choose to obey Him?

When I do what I can, even if it isn't much, I've found that God is always there to do His part. This is one of my favorite quotes: "The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you. 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 332-333}

But, what about when I don't "die" (surrender myself to God), and I fall? Am I willing to promptly admit my mistake to God and to the person I've harmed? Today, It's easy for me to admit it to God, because I've learned to trust Him. But it's usually harder to admit it to people. Yet, it sure makes me feel better about myself when I do. Try it! "It works if you work it, and YOU ARE WORTH IT!"

My prayer for you today is "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:17-21)

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." (Step 10)


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