Why Bother Praying?

If God is God, why doesn’t He just save everyone? Why is it necessary to pray to Him if we aren’t sure He is listening…or if He even exists? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why should I believe in a God that allows so much misery?

These are the normal questions that fuel the fires of disbelief in the unseen. The thing I find curiously interesting is that those questions remain questions because people who ask them seldom try to find out the answer. If they decide one day to research their doubts for answers, they are seldom disappointed.
. Free will, God wants our fellowship, He wants us to trust Him enough that we ask Him, because we have given allegiance to self-will and darkness, are the short, short, incredibly short answers to the questions. Each question would be a 3000 word essay, which you wouldn’t bother to read.
What makes me think you wouldn’t bother to read it?
 It’s too difficult for one asking to read. It is the asking that prevents the discovery of spiritual matters.That is true even with science. Asking requires the individual with questions to cease asking and look for the answers. Looking, by the way, isn’t reading a few pages and saying, “now I know.” (You may actually read a 3000 word essay, but statistically most people seldom read a post longer than 600 words.)
 Do you really want to know if God exists? Keep in mind, if you find that reality, your life today is done for good. You will have a change of perspective on how you view God.
Do you want to know?
Okay, that brings us to this post’s title. Why bother praying? If you do not believe in God, I want you to do something completely stupid, but do it sincerely. Make sure no one is around you. When you are sure you are alone, quietly say these words….
….”God, if You do exist, would You make Yourself known to me?”
I have watched many people’s lives change in recovery meetings by using this simple prayer. Those entering recovery intent on finding hope of freedom from addictions, would do anything to know that there is a transcendent God that cares for them, not angry with them, and will help them. I am one, and have personally witnessed God change others too. No questions to us any longer. We were desperate, and so are you, but maybe for different reasons.
Give it a go. Those questions are waiting for you to find the answers to. Start first by asking God to reveal Himself. You will be contacted.
“When you call to Me and pray to Me, I will listen to you. When you seek Me, you will find Me, provided you seek for Me wholeheartedly, and I will let you find Me, ” says ADONAI.
Jer.29:12-14 (CJB)

Ideas For 2015

This is my first post in 2015. I understand there are a half million bloggers in the US. Thanks if you landed here by accident or on purpose. I’ll try to be brief and give you a few ideas to help you along in 2015.  

For those in recovery from addictions and follow my blog, take your recovery serious this year. Treat recovery like a person with diabetes. If they don’t take insulin, they’re a goner. If you do not pray, get to meetings, help others, and follow Good Orderly Direction (GOD), your recovery is subject to failure.

IDEAS For 2015

1. Hold on loosely. People, places, and things change. Gripping hard leads to disappointment.
2. Tell God thanks for grace and what you have. More comes to the grateful…the truly grateful.
3. Smile, for no reason. Even when you are alone.
4. Trust God only. People fail us. Don’t doubt that.
5. To move up, accept where you are as though you will always be there. That is surrender. Surrender opens doors to change.
6. Pray for your enemies. Do that everyday, pray for them first. Cover your loved ones in prayer. If you don’t…who will?
7. Choose to go second, or be last in line.
8. Finish well, in every endeavor.
9. Serve with fervor.
10. Give. Not just money. Time and effort are more valuable than your money at times, most of the time.
11. Read something worthwhile, no one. Let them feel they are not forgotten.
12. Listen, learn, love, live to know God better. That intention if serious will lead to devotion. That devotion will lead to understanding. That understanding will lead to knowledge of the Holy. That knowledge will lead to God imparting His wisdom to your life, leading to joy, peace, and love.

Daily prayer for 2015, from Psalm 19
Let the words of my mouth, the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. I am grateful to You for everything you have given me, the things both good and bad that You used to teach me, and what You have in store for me today to grow closer to my being like You.

Prediction of the year 2015
I predict that Jesus will be the God-man of the year, as He has been for two millennia plus. He is also prepared to come to your house if invited.

Devotion, Recovery, and 2015

Wow, 2014 flew by! I can hardly believe 2015 is knocking on the door.My thought about 2014 is…goodbye, good riddance. I want to warn 2015, “don’t you come in here thinking you are going to run rough-shod and knocking things over like 2014 did!” That may be how I feel, but I know I cannot talk to a year per se, but I can be prepared.

If you are in recovery from any addiction of any kind, gird up your loins, get ready to rumble. That is not having the expectation of bad things in store for 2015. It is all about being ready to battle, if necessary, while eagerly expecting the many good things as we recover, one day at a time. Are you ready? Have you laid out a plan of action?

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Franklin/Hamilton (both old Ben and Alexander are given credit for that quote)

God has a plan for you that is fabulous and exciting, brilliant in design, but hard for the finite mortal mind to accept. People love to quote their favorite passages from scripture. I certainly do. Here is one of them, now popular due to the masses addicted to dope and drink these days. This is a promise of hope:

 “For I know the plans I have in mind for you, says Adonai, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future.” Jer.29:11 (Complete Jewish Bible)

God is not against you and I. He is for us. He is for YOU! But I want to tell you there is more to that scripture than our getting a fuzzy feeling and knowing God is not against us. There is instruction for us to prepare to receive God’s plan:

“When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly; and I will let you find me, says Adonai. THEN I will reverse your exile.” Jer. 29:13 (CJB)

It is wonderful to know God has us in mind, and has plans for us. Do we have Him in mind, and plans for Him? Is God the center of your plans in 2015? He is sure recovery from addictions. He is the Rock we build our spirituality on, Whose plans never fail us, and keep us steady.

2012 was a hard year. 2013 was even harder. 2014…ouch. Through it all, God kept me sober and growing, aware that each trial is a learning experience. Some may have been avoided. I know often my spiritual guard was down, the enemies attacked with glee, I wanted to cry “UNCLE!” dozens of times. That is not in God’s plans or mine.

Think, Act, Plan (TAP)
Think about the year ahead. Act by talking to God as to how you want 2015 to be different for you in relation to Him and your life. Plan by writing down things you want to address and overcome, changes you feel you need to make, and how, a year from now, you want to see yourself body, mind, and spirit. Will you be able to say, “2015 was a great year?”

Watergate’s Gift to Us

The events of 1972’s Watergate scandal left a dark stain on American politics…putting it mildly. The truth is, that incident ruined political careers, sent men with unblemished records to prison, pressured Richard Nixon into retirement. Believe it or not, something wonderful came out of that dastardly affair.

Chuck Colson was one of those men that ended up in prison. He passed from this life in 2012, but not before the second part of his life shook the gates of darkness good, really good. He became a follower of Christ feeling the weight of the scandal, his spirit broken, wanting answers, or wanting to die.

That conversion was followed by his starting prison ministries and angel tree which is a program for the children of prisoners. He authored many books, held a daily radio commentary, began the Colson Center…to name a few of his accomplishments after coming to faith in Jesus. (There is more to say, but I’m trying to shorten posts for readability.)

What Satan meant for evil for Colson, God meant for good. Who knows the mind of God? Like Paul wrote in Romans 11:33; God’s ways are past finding out! And Isaiah 55:8-9, God declares His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Mortal minds could never conceive of a plan like this. Thousands upon thousands of lives have been changed by….Watergate?

It really is not that scandal transforming lives, but rather the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of one willing to give their gift, risking embarrassment and scorn, falling on the grace of God in total surrender.

 How does this relate to recovery from addictions to drink and drugs, or anything else?You can allow your past to entrap you for the rest of your life if you feel God couldn’t or wouldn’t possibly use your story to bring hope to others. Chuck’s story is a lesson of hope for you. God may have used Chuck’s prominence, but throughout church history, God has taken ordinary people and done extraordinary things. Be recklessly willing to give your brokenness for God’s glory and perhaps someone may be writing about you.

Merry Christmas.

What If?

I think about this question every year, so I thought it good to ask you, the reader to think about and answer if you wish. Give it thought, serious thought. See if you know how much our world has been affected by Advent.

 What if Christ never came into the world; what would the holiday season be like?

My thoughts:
There would be no holiday season for one. That means no Santa, Christmas carols, family gatherings, school “winter celebrations,” no shopping or gift giving. There would be no paid days off, no football Christmas Day, no big meal other than the normal daily dinner.

If Jesus had not come to redeem mankind, wipe the slate of our sins clean with the shedding of his blood, there would also be no Easter either. There would be no ACLU fighting to remove religious artifacts from stores, or secular judges ruling that the displaying of the manger scene is unconstitutional, citing the separation of church and state, (which, by the way, does not appear in the constitution).

The words, “do unto others”…would have never been heard, as well as, “For God so loved the world”…and “judge not, lest you be judged.”

What else? How about anytime since the church of Jesus began, the flood of giving aid to victims of disasters? How would education be affected? Slavery? The arts? Literature? Science? Invention? Even Christians have no idea how Christ’s birth affected these.

Think about that as we all enjoy the blessings and benefits of His atoning grace this season. And just so you know…there is more, much, much more.

Thing One and Thing Two

Two things, and I’ll keep this short. Quick thoughts for the quickened. Long post get likes but aren’t seldom read.

Thing One:
This is Thursday, Dec.11, 2014. It is 5:23 in the afternoon. Here is a couple of questions for you to ask yourself:
1. What have I done for my recovery from addiction(s)?
2. There are 86,400 seconds in today.

Have I used one second to say thanks?

Thing Two:
From this moment through what is left of today, stop and think of what may help turn your day around if you answered the above questions no.
1. Say thanks to God for your recovery, for keeping you alive, that you can read this…how grateful are you? If you’re not “feeling it” right now, say thanks anyway, and add as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for.
2. Are you planning to go to a meeting tonight? If you can’t because of work, prior engagement, or you are bed-ridden, that’s good reasons. I’m sure there are more. If you are just too busy with cleaning or cooking, watching your favorite shows on the boob-tube, or maybe inundated with emails and blogs you have to clean up, like me…stop, hit the meeting instead. Else you are on thin ice. Maybe not to the point of using, or getting drunk, but in the danger zone, heading that direction.

It is a busy season, with shopping and all that stuff. Use your head. If you aren’t moving toward recovery, you’re moving away from it.

“First comes pride, then disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.” Prov. 11:2

The Mighty Fall

We think one person has developed to the place in recovery that they are above temptation’s ability to deceive them. Our admiration of such a person places them as heroic in our minds. Then, this mountain of stability takes a major tumble into relapse. Some of us are quick to point out why, in a judgmental pose from our own perch. Others say, what’s my chance to stay clean and sober when someone with their knowledge of sober living comes  to this? They go ahead and give up, and relapse. “What’s the use?” they ask.

We cannot be deceived to think we are too full of recovery smarts that we cannot fall. Relapse can come from many sources, in ways unexpected. The first way is pride. The thought that we do not need to go to meetings regularly.

Never think that you have paid the price and can’t see the need to get to meetings. Prideful people are very fast to judge other’s sobriety. I really feel pride has such a negative impact on an individual that it’s presence affects the spiritual plane of our existence, causing one to face the weaknesses they see in others.

Another biggie is complacency. This little booger is closely related to pride. The difference is the complacent individual is awareness they aren’t above relapse. Their issue is not “feeling” like going, not feeling like reading positive materials, or praying, or helping others. This kills most people’s recovery about a year, more or less, ahead of the actual fall back into their addiction.

Procrastination, the five syllables of death has ruined the recovery of many. Putting off working the steps to recovery, or doing the next right thing because they are so loaded down with other tasks they cannot see a meeting, calling their sponsor, or helping a neighbor, etc.

Also, some are laden with consequences from the past. They try too hard to “fix” or undo their past by taking on the bigger problems. If unsuccessful, they just quit. Do little things first, the big ones will become easier as each little problem solved builds confidence.

Religion can be a bad thing for a person choosing to go the church attendance route instead of AA, NA, GA, CR, etc. I am all for church attendance for aiding recovery. Keep this in mind; Recovery meetings teach you how to recover from your addictions, help you understand and accept and surrender what you have become, and help you learn to deal with consequences.

Church meetings can reinforce and help with these problems, but it is highly doubtful the weekly sermon will be about your recovery. Many take this route because of pride, not wanting anyone to know they are anything other than a sinner, not a weak, out-of-control addict or drunk.

There are other things that bring down the mightiest of recovering individuals. For your information, I don’t have these thoughts from just observing others. I have, and still do face many of these issues personally. My enemy, or addiction is me. Self- serving is my real problem, addictions to anything are side effects.

For all of us working our recovery, don’t get too smart. Don’t be dishonest of where you are when things are awry. Total honesty is an admission that may save us from pride, complacency, and putting off recovery. The season of joy is here when we celebrate the birth of Christ, and welcome the new year. Humbly ask God’s help for understanding the purpose of Christ’s coming, and the purpose He has for you today, the upcoming year, and direction to keep you from falling.

What do you think? What would you add as a reason for relapse?