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Archives for: March 2016

03/25/16

Permalink 08:48:47 am, Step(s): 12 Ministry and Practice, 269 words   English (US)

Progressive Perceptions of God

"For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." (Isaiah 54:10 )

When we begin on our road to recovery, we may have some serious reservations about God, often because of people in authority who have let us down, or even abused us. They may have even been people who should have been Godly examples to us. And so it becomes easy to see God in the same light. But as we progress through the recovery process and begin to experience positive results, the God of our understanding gradually changes. We come to know and love Him as the God of infinite love and compassion.

Instead of dwelling on questions like, "Why did God allow these bad things to happen to me?" we become thankful that He is always present with us, especially when bad things happen, protecting us from even worse things, and holding us in His arms of loving kindness. We begin to dwell more on questions like, "How could God love me so much that He would risk His eternal life by dying on a cruel cross to save a wretch like me?" Instead of seeing God as a tyrant, through those who have abused us, we begin to see Him more as the God who loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3 ), who will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5 ). We begin to see Him as the one who will ultimately take us out of this world of sin and death, and give us eternal life with him.

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Jeremiah 31:3 ). "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." (Isaiah 54:10 ). "In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." (Zephaniah 3:16-17 )

With a God like this, why wouldn't we want to pursue recovery? Why wouldn't we want to share this Good News with others?

"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)

03/18/16

Permalink 08:34:33 am, Step(s): 11 Prayer and Meditation, 216 words   English (US)

Going Deeper With God

"Lord, what would you have me to do?" (Acts 9:6 )

Early in our recovery process, we tend to rely heavily on our group, our sponsor and/or trusted friends. But as we progress, be begin to become more comfortable with God, understanding that He truly is the loving Heavenly Father that we long to be with.

More and more, we choose special time with God, getting to know and love Him more deeply. We progressively learn that He can be trusted to be the ruler of our lives. As He gives us direction, we realize that He has our best interest in mind. As we trust Him more fully, we pray more for wisdom and understanding (James 1:5,6 ) of His will for us (Acts 9:6 ), realizing that He will provide a way for us to do what He asks (1 Cor 10:13 ).

Often, through prayer and meditation, I ask for God's will concerning decisions I need to make, problems I need to solve, or directions for my life. Often, it takes some time to understand His leading, but He always comes through. Sometimes, I don't know how I will be able to do it, but I trust that "Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings. {Christ's Object Lessons 333.1}

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor 12:9 )

"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)

03/11/16

Permalink 08:11:13 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 173 words   English (US)

Peace or Folly?

"I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land."
(Psalms 85:8-9 )

With God's promise of peace, comes a condition. As I progress through these healing steps, I must not become complacent with my progress, but continue to evaluate my direction in life. I must remember that I am but dust (Ps 103:14 ), and continually ask myself, "Am I still following, still surrendering to God? Or, am I beginning to return to my folly?".

Without a continuing self-evaluation it is easy to fall into the lie that we can manage our own lives, now God has worked to bring us to a better place. It would be easy to slip back into denial of our true human condition. And, in so doing, lose sight of God as being our only source of power to continue in our progressive healing process.

"God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect." (2 Samuel 22:33 ). "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Romans 15:13 ).

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

03/04/16

Permalink 08:31:35 am, Step(s): 09 Making Amends, 265 words   English (US)

What's in it for me?

Choosing to make amends, assumes that we have already confessed these things to God, who has consequently forgiven us. That forgiveness, as well as loving acceptance is assured (1 John 1:9 ). So, when we confess/apologize those whom we've wronged, we tend to expect that same acceptance and forgiveness that we have received of God. But these expectations are sometimes frustrated because these are sinful humans, just like us.

I have come to have low expectations of the response that my amends will generate in others. I realize that they may not be ready to make amends or even to forgive me. After all, at one time, I wasn't ready either. So, why should I expect them to be?

Since God has already forgiven me, and the person (whom I need to make amends to) may not forgive me or even acknowledge that they too need to make amends, then what could it possibly benefit me (or them) to follow through with this amends?! Maybe there is a clue here: "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:" (Luke 6:31,37 ). "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14,15 ).

Forgiveness... It looks like I need to forgive before I can really make amends. But once I have forgiven, then my amends becomes a gift to that person. The acceptance of that gift is not my goal nor expectation. The benefit to me is mostly in my giving. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Lk 6:38 )

So, what's in it for me? Peace, the peace of God, and the good gifts of God. It's another step in my recovery process. It's about furthering my personal character development. That's what's in it for me. And, personally, I think it's worth whatever it takes!

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." (Step 9)

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