Archives for: May 2015


Permalink 08:51:01 am, Step(s): 05 Confession, 307 words   English (US)

Benefits of Confession

After taking an honest inventory of my life, the conviction to accept the truth and honestly confess these things was huge!

  • I must be honest with myself. How can I participate in God's healing process for me if I don't admit my sick condition to myself.
  • I must be honest with God because "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).
  • I need to confess to at least one trusted person, so that I can continue in this healing process (Matthew 3:6)(Acts 19:18)(James 5:16).

The forces of evil desire to hold us in isolation, with the deep, dark secrets of our lives hidden. Why?

  • No accountability.
  • To cause us to think we are the only one with these problems, leading to a greater load of shame.
  • To cause us to think there is no help for us, even that God has abandoned us.
  • To cause us to think that we may as well continue in our dysfunction.

The ancient Christian tradition of confession encourages us to come out of isolation and into the light of God's immeasurable grace by being honest about our true condition.

Being honest is often hard. I don't want to look like I'm a bad person. I want to have a good reputation. But, I've found that the benefits of practicing confession far outweigh the risk of looking bad. Why?

  • My shame is reduced. I experience a tremendous relief once it's over. It's a peace that I cannot experience without confession.
  • There is something about confession that reduces my tendency to make the same mistakes again. I think it has something to do with accountability...
  • I feel like I'm closer to God. I am able to communicate with Him more freely and it seems like His answers are more understandable.

"People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)

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


Permalink 07:50:39 am, Step(s): 04 Introspection, 200 words   English (US)

Search me...

"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." (Psalm 139:23-24)

Even though the results are often painful, I need to search my own heart regularly, asking my Creator to show me where I am failing. Without His assistance, It would be easy for me to say, "I'm OK. It's everyone else that's the problem." But, I have to keep reminding myself that it's not my job to take other people's inventory. I need God to search my heart -- to take MY inventory. I need to listen to His evaluation of my life and I need to honestly own my weaknesses and my mistakes.

Yeah, it can be hard, but the alternative is a lot harder. It may seem easier to just stuff my garbage -- pretend it doesn't exist. But, when I do, sooner or later it comes out in destructive ways that damages myself and others. I don't want to do that anymore. I want to take responsibility for my mistakes, deal with them, and move on to a better life.

"Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)

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


Permalink 08:23:39 am, Step(s): 03 "I will co-operate...", 597 words   English (US)

Why Surrender to a God Who Lets Bad Things Happen?

The Bible teaches that all things work together for good for those who follow God (Romans 8:28). It also says that we should glory in tribulations (Romans 5:3). So, how does that work when a loved one is murdered? How does a person, who was molested daily as a child for years, glory in that kind of tribulation? When a person is raped, how does that work together for good? Is God sadistic, or what?

It appears to me that there is a lot of anger towards God in a lot of people, for seemingly good reasons. In Christians, this anger is often hidden -- stuffed down deep inside. It's just not cool to be angry with God, when you're a Christian. But whenever we stuff things that are troubling us, rather than dealing with them, it's like cancer. Those hidden malignant cells grow and grow until we are no longer able to function normally. Eventually, it becomes excruciatingly painful.

We don't want to deal with it, because it's painful to talk about it. But the pain of not dealing with it will eventually overwhelm us. So, why not talk about it? Why not be honest about our relationship with God? My God is big enough to handle being yelled at. When we talk things out with each other, and pray for one another, we come out of isolation. The enemy hates it when that happens because that's when he begins to lose his fiendish grip on us (James 5:16).

So, what about a God who lets bad things happen? Why is that? Why doesn't He just zap those murderers, rapists, and pedophiles? Those people are soooo sinful!! What about a God who lets sin happen? Why doesn't He just zap all those sinners? Why doesn't He give them all (Romans 3:23) (including you and me) what they deserve -- death -- right now?! (Romans 6:23). Why did Jesus humble Himself to become flesh and bones in this sinful world -- forever giving up some of His Divine attributes? Why did He risk His eternal life and die the second death to pay the penalty for my sins, instead of giving me the eternal death that I deserve? Why did He allow sin to raise its ugly head in the first place? And, why, when the great controversy is ended, will sin NEVER EVER raise its ugly head again?

May I suggest that the answer to all of these questions can be summed up in one word? IMHO, the reason is "LOVE". God loves us so much that He values our freedom of choice more than He values His own life.

It is freedom of choice that that allows the rapist, murder, and pedophile to do all their dastardly deeds. It is freedom of choice that has brought all pain and suffering into this world. But, when tribulations come, and God's will is restricted by the evil will of humans and fallen angels, we can be assured that God is suffering right along with us (Matthew 25:40). We can be assured that God will do everything He can to bring us out of that tribulation. We can be assured that, if we allow Him, He will deliver us from those sins that so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1). Let us never forget that it is freedom of choice that can bring us out of this world and into Heavenly places. That, my friend, is why I choose to surrender my will to a God who lets bad things happen. My God not only loves, but His character is what defines love. That's my God!!

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


Permalink 08:01:17 am, Step(s): 02 "God can...", 355 words   English (US)


Having been in recovery since 1994, I have to wonder if God has restored me to sanity yet. What exactly does it mean to be sane? Albert Einstein once defined insanity as, "Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results." I sure did a lot of that while practicing my addictions, but am I still living my life like that? By God's grace and power, I no longer practice my addictions, but does that make me sane?

Is there anyone that is sane that I can compare my life to? Well, there may be others, but the only person I know for sure that is sane is Jesus. And, when I compare my life with His, I come up wanting... So, does this mean that God hasn't restored me to sanity, as I hoped for?

I don't think sanity is like a light switch that's either on or off, but more like a light control that God turns (with our cooperation) from darkness to more and more light. When I look at it that way, I can honestly say that God is restoring me to sanity, and this is greatly encouraging :-) But, unlike the light control on my wall, God's "light control" has no limit as to the brightness of light (sanity) that can be dialed up.

So, am I sane or not? Maybe that's the wrong question. Maybe a better question would be, "Am I continually allowing God to turn up the "light" of my sanity?" When I look at it that way, I see that it's really about my own choices. God isn't the limiting factor. He's cranking that "light control" up, giving me as much "light" as I will accept. It's me that that limits the "light" of God's sanity in my life, by my poor choices. And it's me that allows God to improve my saneness, as I choose to trust and obey Him.

Even when I don't have the power to trust and obey, somehow God makes it all possible, as I choose to trust and obey Him. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2Corinthians 4:6). "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

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

Permalink 07:59:32 am, Step(s): 01 "I can't...", 482 words   English (US)

Powerless Honesty

I'm a pretty healthy guy. I eat well, like to hike the mountains, and often do tasks around the our one-acre home that require a good deal of muscle power. But, a few years ago, due to over-confidence in my power, I pulled a muscle in my lower-back. All of a sudden, I realized just how fragile my "power" is. Even the simplest of tasks became difficult. Working out at the gym became impossible. Walking was slow and arduous. Even the simple task of tying my shoes was barely possible. I had to admit my powerlessness and ask my family and my chiropractor for help. This sudden change from power to powerlessness resulted from overconfidence in my ability. I'm thankful that my body healed, but it took at least a month.

Have you ever been over confident in your power to do the right thing, or to not do the wrong thing then, all of a sudden, find yourself failing and falling? I have. Have you ever been over confident in your ability to control people or things and then all of a sudden find those people rebel against your control and/or find things falling apart. I have. I think it's human nature (especially for men) to want to be in control of people around us, of things, and of our behaviors. But, in our over confidence, we often find our "kingdom" slipping out of our control.

Jesus said, "... without Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

The irony is that as long as we hold on to that allusion of power our lives tend to become more and more out of control. And, at some point, we sink so low that we begin to admit just how fragile and powerless we really are. We begin to realize that our lives have become unmanageable. Just as my pulled muscle disabled my whole body, the realization of my true condition of powerlessness can disable my whole emotional being.

"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results" (James 5:16). "if we confess our sins to [God], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9). "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

For some, who haven't found this hope, the realization of powerlessness can lead to physical self-destruction. But there IS hope. When we learn to be honest about our problems and we admit our powerlessness over them, we are then able to reach out to God and trusted friends for help. That's how our healing begins. It takes time. Be patient with yourself. I've been in recovery since 1994 and I wouldn't trade my recovery experience for anything. "It works if you work it, and YOU ARE WORTH IT!"

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


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