Leading the Drunk to Water

More than likely, you have heard the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” No matter how many times I have heard the adage, and have used it, I sometimes think that I can make it happen. Not the saying above, rather the message of leading others to a life, clean and sober, of following Christ, and serving others selflessly, I try to convince with conviction.

What makes me think I somehow am the measure of what is the right? I am not. What I do know has merit from experience, study, and spiritual practice. What I have experienced isn’t what brings others into a life of sober living, nor convinces an unbeliever to see Jesus as the Savior of the world. It is not my job to argue with others in AA or NA meetings that they have a distorted view of God, when they say something completely unholy regarding Him the way I personally know Him to be. I do not have a degree that makes me a word cop. I also must remember, who’s talking, where they are in recovery, and where they came from in life.

It happened again in a small meeting a couple of nights ago. A man I felt was highly educated, and certainly has a dynamic message of his coming into recovery, with the help of, and by the grace of God, made some false statements regarding the Bible. I didn’t oppose him in the meeting, but tried to “kindly” correct him afterwards. No argument ensued, but neither did I convince him of his error, and the ripple effect on others hearing him tumbling into total disbelief because of his blunder. The reason for no argument…God, I’m sure. To argue with him could kill any future opportunities with the thirsty, wanting to find the water hole.

“The main reason people in recovery do not grasp the message, is they don’t reach for it.”  Author

AA’s Big Book warns members not to play the evangelist to those still actively drinking. Doing so may hinder any chance of helping those you are targeting to share your new life with. I believe that goes for attempts to exhort others in the program to drink deeper, raise their standards of behavior to a greater height around all of those watching them in their recovery.

In other words, maturing in their sobriety, become a real example. That’s change, what we hate the most. Fear of losing friends in recovery is at risk to the ones bold enough to accept and change. Sadly, most get just enough water to make them not want to drink, (booze or use dope). That is, the water being God, and the grace He bestows that leads them to recovery. There is more.

What should I do or say to get the horse to keep drinking? Talk and pray. God didn’t ask me to be His personal sheriff in recovery. If I trust Him, I say what He gives me to say in meetings, or to sponsor-ees, and nothing more. For those spreading a distorted view of God, I am to do two, no, three things: say nothing, love them, and pray God will enlighten them, bringing them into a deeper understanding of the incomprehensible power He has to change lives those no one imagined could ever change.

The warning to me, and to you if you are viewed as a leader in recovery, perplexed by what you hear in meetings, If we truly trust God to use what we give, do not forget His purpose in us is not to judge, but to serve. We only correct, or redirect if asked for help. If I try to play the know-it-all, and believe me, I know little, (that isn’t false humility, I learn as I go, how little I know), I will ruin any chance of influencing others to follow me to the streams of Living Water, the main Message of man’s existence, and living above addictions with God’s help.

Ordering the Miracle

Have you placed your order for the miracle you want? Do you have enough to pay for it? Maybe you didn’t see the price tag when you requested it. Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about…which I’m sure you don’t. Let me explain.

 Miracle defined:
An extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

Everyone wants to see a miracle. None more than those who have tried everything to get clean and sober from addictions. They know nothing short of a miracle can free them from the enslavement. It would have to be a miracle of biblical proportion, an act of God. Alcoholics and drug addicts that land in AA, NA, or CR, often give up way too soon before the miracle happens. Their reason may be they don’t believe in God, or if He does exist, He wouldn’t help them anyway. After all they have done too many wrongs, He would never help them anyhow.

 “If there were no God, there would be no atheist.”
“It isn’t that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot
see the problem.”
G.K. Chesterton

Most who give up aren’t ready recover yet. They haven’t experienced enough pain, nor inflicted enough on others. They will, bank on it. Those who do hang in until “it” happens knew their estate before they arrived broken and beaten by substance abuse, whether the drink, or drugs. They also realized the price to pay for their miracle. I have seen men and women come into AA meetings with their chins on the ground, whipped, hopeless, and even facing consequences enough to choke a horse. They stayed, lingering long enough until the light came on. Then the miracle happened.

Having tried everything, or thinking we have, there was a constant committee meeting going on in the gray matter. They yak constantly, the majority telling us multiple reasons we could never give it up. A few brain committee folk are saying, think about your spouse, kids and family, your friends and your job. It is maddening.

Yet the individual remained, the committee adjourned, and they faced their consequences, working the program in total surrender of their will to continue self-serving and quit. The impossible happened, their chins were no longer dragging the floor, even their countenance changed. Some go even further and continue meetings giving back what they were given, long after the miracle of sobriety happened.

For these, gratefully remaining to help others, see things return to their life that they thought never to experience again, a home, new car, money in the bank, the return of friends and family, and a deep spiritual relationship, in many cases. There are some side-effects from recovery, too. Laughter, a song in the heart, and return of having feelings and thoughts of how to actually decipher right and wrong, truth and lies, and wow, what a difference. I know, by the grace of God, I am one that stayed for the experience. Life is far from perfect, troubles still come and go. The trade off, however, is worth the price.

You may have given up yourself. Perhaps someone you love threw in the towel long before the miracle arrived. If they swallow pride, or if you do, life will return, finally asking God’s help to do for you what you could never do for yourself. Miracles do happen, God is real, come and find both where hope is really realized.

How to be Grateful…(when you don’t want to)

The question I had to ask myself was, “what in the world has happened to you?” The past two years has been nothing short of a real smack-down of sobrietal reality. Depression? Frustration? What is going on, and furthermore, what did I do to deserve this garbage? All I wanted to do was help others get, and stay clean and sober. Yet, here I am struggling to do the simplest tasks in every area of life.

We alcoholics and addicts tend to look at everything external to find who, or what to blame. Eventually with God’s help, the message is clear…look in the mirror and you’ll see the problem.
It is me. I look at the inward self and see how I am seldom prepared for battles life delivers. The core of this onslaught is ingratitude. If I see gratitude as an action word, then ingratitude is a lack of action, not giving back what I’ve been given.

How can I stay grateful when I don’t feel it? 
It’s words. Not a fake-it-till-u-make-it way. I have to look beyond the veil of deceit that this existence offers through mankind’s fall from grace. That is, count blessings, say words of thanksgiving to God, and DO little actions to cause zeal for service to others to return.

I was so grateful to God early in my recovery that I wanted to give back any way I could. I was willing to clean the men’s room, empty trash, both at church and at AA. When I felt down, or felt old behaviors trying to rule me, I went to the AA meeting place, having a key, and cleaned. I cleaned and prayed. God heard and answered, not because I cleaned, but because I put faith and gratitude into action. Things changed, I was restored and refreshed with those little actions, giving back without anyone knowing but God.

Those early experiences catapulted me to spiritual fitness, hungry to serve, thirsty for knowing more because….this really works! Expressions of gratitude filled my conversations and prayers. I understood what people had said in meetings, how the grateful souls are those who DO gratitude, not merely say it. Those who express gratitude, live with purpose and experience joy, peace, and confidence in God’s ways, that are far beyond human comprehension…I mean, how can being thankful change my situation from distress to feeling fulfilled with purpose? It is a God thing altogether.

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s decree. “For as the skies soar high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, the way I think is beyond the way you think….the words I come out of My mouth will not come back empty handed. They will do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” Is.55:8-9,11. (The Message)

God Does Nothing like humans. Our gratitude is nutty to people’s way of thinking. People think being grateful for anything they cannot eat, spend, possess, etc., is foolish entirely.

Gratitude may be hard when I don’t feel grateful. But if I say what I hear others say; “well, that’s just how I feel, I’m just being honest,” I will not come out of this funk until I stop saying junked-up words from that trashy attitude. To know “this too shall pass,” is a nice saying, and true. When I stand up and thank God when I do not want to, and every thing is going wrong, He is pleased, making changes in me. Those changes lead me from that funk, to a clear and meaningful peace, a joyous way of living.

Think today of what you are not grateful for, write them down. Think today of what you are grateful for, write them down too. Then thank God for both for one week. See how the things you were not grateful for change,or ratherhow you view them. Will you be grateful for bad things? Will you see them as lessons in life? Maybe, maybe not. You will feel differently, I’m sure. For me, I know gratitude changes me from the inside out. I am grateful. Time to express it with action, and be healed.

The Fix That Will Work

An important lesson God has led me to believe is the importance of combining recovery principles with spiritual truths. This has expanded of late to a radical belief that will be foreign to those having no belief in God, and insane to many those who follow Christ. The following are some things I see that may be what the massive influx of people entering recovery may need to change their direction and of this epidemic’s stronghold on our society’s youth.

The Sickness of Addiction
Medically, addictions to alcohol and drugs, of gambling and over-eating, of anger, depression, and all habits we call addictions, are regarded as a sickness. To the Christian circles, most of these are regarded as sin, transgressions against God. I believe when an individual first uses illegal drugs or drinks to get sloshed, sin is the correct term. However, when the use turns into addiction, sickness is the reality. At that point, the user wants free to never use again, but are incapable without help.

…”they will lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:18b
“His (Publius) father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in
to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had
happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.” Acts 28:8-10

Laying on of Hands
Some churches practice healing by having the sick come forward during services, and have leaders and laypersons lay hands on them to be healed. Why not include the addicted? Admittedly, many if not most return to their pew still sick. Why? I believe it is, as scripture says, ” the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up.” Jas. 5: 15 

“Prayer without faith is a wish.” Anon

We who follow Christ and His teachings should follow that teaching to pray in faith, believing we receive as Jesus taught. The one who is sick would appreciate that. When one is sick, their body is weak, and so is their faith. Don’t bother laying hands on anyone for healing if you don’t believe their healing will happen that moment.

Because of past experiences of practicing this, and success rate being dramatically low, most often the practice is merely a ritual. If you want to use the reason for failure as, “maybe it’s not God’s will to heal them at that time,” then you must believe God wants them sick. Christ took stripes on His back in vain, or redemption doesn’t cover our healing just our new birth. Granted, some healing for some believers may be in the form of an apology they owe someone, or forgiving a suffered wrong. Un-forgiveness stifles the redemptive work of Jesus, and the enemy knows it and takes advantage of a resentful spirit.

The Fix is Faith in..
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to Him must believe that Heexists and            rewards those who seek Him.” Heb.11:6

I say if you believe addictions to be a sickness, then treat the sickness with spiritual fervor in faith that when you lay hands on the sick, Jesus is laying His hands on them through you. Believe it. I want to add this crazy, radical thought. What I feel will bring the constant barrage of new inventions to bring methods of getting high that’s unending, would be a demonstration of God’s power in and among our people.

…The God of the Impossible

          “In the last days, says God, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”…Acts 2:17
That is in the wings, I believe. Even if by now you think that will never happen, try asking for it. We need the reality of the risen Christ, the healer, the deliverer, as much today as they did in the first century. Naysayers, disbelievers, and many theologians do not believe in that possibility. But God will get our attention His way because of His unending love for mankind.
It isn’t disasters He brings, that is the enemy’s work. God uses it to draw people, however. Ask in faith for a personal visitation along with other praying believers. He hears and answers…and visits the expectant.

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.

It IS About You

Before I dig into these thoughts I want to make a brief statement or two. First, thank all of you that follow my posts. I am truly humbled and grateful that anyone would take the time to read what I write. I hope they help you. If so, give what you get from them to someone else. Second, I have been inconsistent writing posts of late and unfortunately that is out of my control. When I post, I try to keep it short, under 600 words so they are easy to read. This post may not be one. Of all I have written in the past, this may be  the most important. If you cannot read all of this in one reading, bookmark it and read when it is more convenient. 
Also, I covet your prayers. Tremendous attacks from darkness are weighing heavy, but through the prayer in faith, God is able and will deliver me.

In recovery meetings and from pulpits, you hear this popular phrase:
“It’s not about you.” 
I understand the meaning to not be so egocentric in life, stop taking everything personally. But I also disagree. People tend to react to the saying as to mean live and let live, don’t get involved, don’t do what is needed to personally grow so you are ready to help when called on. Or in other words, go on your merry way and let God take care of others problems. Also, some tend to use that adage to say, stay out yourself and the drama around you. After all, you can’t fix it. 

No matter how you take the meaning please consider that everything you experience, every good thing, every bad thing in life…is about you. You don’t anything for others until you learn how yourself. Can you show someone how to find bread if you don’t know where it is? Is there anything in life you automatically know the answer to? 

I say no, I had to learn by study or experience everything I know today, including understanding my need for salvation.
I could not possibly help another in recovery from drinking and drugging without being taught myself.

   “God uses everything for His glory, even my sin.” Anon

How is it about me? 
You and I have to realize our purpose, and why that knowledge is important. God did not cause me to fall into alcoholism. He did not condone any sin I have committed. If I have surrendered to Him in full realization of my brokenness and inability to fix myself, He removes the sin and the guilt attached, burns up the embarrassment of admission, replacing what held me in the place of silence to boldly proclaim there is hope to others. I am able to help the broken because I am. It is all about me. My willingness to be free of the facade of perfection, exposing my flaws that are many, that God says in effect, “Now I have something to work with.”

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Pet. 5:6

It is about our making the decision to improve our lives by using the spiritual as key to fixing the mental as fallen and deceived. Our minds, geared to self-absorption, diluted from years of self-service and delusions that this is the way we are built, and there is no reason to try and fix that, must change. It is about ME. I have to see myself in the light of becoming able to do, not fixated on the myriad of reasons I cannot change. Having the moment of clarity, an epiphany of the possibility of accomplishment in life come more often than we think. But knowing “I never could” in the past darkens any thought of rising above my shattered self to reign in life as a king. The words coming from the depths of my heart are polluted by wrong thinking.

Well, that’s the way I have always felt.
I’m not good at that. 
I never could get into doing this.

These words, hold us hostage to the gene-pool we flowed from.  One man told me his father said to him, “son, don’t try to go above yer raisin in life.” When you accept Christ as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you. everything about YOU dies. That moment, changes you, though completely invisible to the eyes of flesh, but alive to the eyes of the spirit by faith. The acceptance of what occurred can move you into brilliant light, a new heritage, a new understanding, if you continue in Christ and refuse to just hang out as a spectator. God will take the willing heart and develop a new you. That is about YOU, allowing Him to re-mold you.

In recovery from addictions, there is a similar occurrence. You listen and learn you can have the moment of clarity revealing your powerlessness and un-managebility over…everything in life. That is, not just powerlessness over your addiction. Every one entering recovery doesn’t get it. Many hear, even agree with what is said, but walk away, returning to their misery. That doesn’t make sense to those determined to stay. But that is about THEM too. They realize to recover means giving up their identity they worked hard to develop. Having to re-think, to change friends, hang-outs, or doing what they “love” to do has to go away. The price is too high. Or they feel they won’t make it from the many failures in the past, and have nowhere to go but back to their old neighborhood and family. That is tragic.

It is about you. What I have stressed above is mainly geared at recovery from addictions and following Christ. There are other things to consider that are about you.
What type of student are you?
How good of a parent are you? Do you take education seriously?
What type of parent are you? Are you just a buddy to your children? Or do you teach them right from wrong, good and bad behaviors, discipline and reward?
Are you a good employee, diligent on the job, faithful in attendance and on time?
Who are your friends? Does the friendship create a desire to be a better you, or are they gossip opportunities when you are together?
How are you with your immediate family? When you all come together, are you still involved in sibling rivalries?

It is ALL about YOU. You can disregard this post, and say, that was a waste of ten minutes I’ll never get back. Or you can ponder what I’m trying to convey. What is about you is everything necessary to giving yourself away to find joy, peace, and love. People would give all they have for this. Robin Williams had it all many thought. Why would he end his life? I don’t know, nor may never.

I do know that many who end their life don’t realize just how much this existence here is about them. They have a false notion it is about their wants and needs and learning how to get what they want. It is about themselves. Had they learned it is about YOU, perhaps they may have taken the ME approach in life and grew to understand it being about ME is learning to be about learning to be about YOU, bringing God glory. Don’t let that statement confuse you. The point is we have to see without the blinders of self. That takes effort, and thought, and prayer. It is all about YOU, and your making a choice to develop a you committed to change and service, or about YOU that sees only its needs, thinks every moment, every conversation, every event is because of their existence.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Prosperity Gospel

There are many controversies of late within the Christian faith. One major issue is the so-called “prosperity gospel,” and those opposed to it. The opposition view that message as anti-gospel, apostacy among believers. Their war against the name it and claim it teachers are reasonable, but not entirely correct. You see, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of prosperity for the body, soul, and spirit of all who believe.

Sadly, the real truth of their argument seems to be that the popularity of the prosperity message is more popular than the message those opposed to it preach, and they don’t like it. They seem to be envious more than concerned about believers falling into folly.

As a follower of Jesus, I realize that not every day is a zip-adee-do-dah day. I realize that those that live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution, and to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection is also to share in His sufferings. But I also realize the joy, peace, and love fills my life by following Jesus far out-weighs the suffering. According to the Peter, the man who walked and talked to Jesus on a daily basis, belief in Jesus is very profitable.

In 1 Peter 2, Peter gives us a brief look of the prosperity message he preached:

  • we are living stones built into a spiritual house
  • we are a chosen generation
  • a royal priesthood
  • a holy nation
  • God’s own special people, called from darkness into light

(vs.5, 9-10)

Sure, he speaks of hardships we go through as we live for Christ. So does Paul the apostle, who goes even further speaking of such hardships he personally suffered. But Paul too, expressed the glory of God in the life of the believer when he said in Ephesians 2:1, we are made ALIVE in Christ! The writer of Hebrews also brings our attention that as a result of the sacrifice of Christ, shedding His innocent blood for our sin, we are reconciled to God and may walk right into His throne room and boldly ask to have our needs met. Does this sound anything like a gospel of poverty?

I know that everything we experience in our life of serving Christ is not so glorious on the surface. But in the realm of the spirit it is. Jesus said there is nothing that we give, money, land, goods, even ourselves that isn’t repaid a hundred times in this life and a bonus of eternal life beyond. But the real clincher is this; by our belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit supernaturally comes into, and abides in our hearts…forever! Think on that. A member of the Great Holy Trinity…in our hearts! True prosperity.

All of these things are foreign and totally impossible to the unbeliever. No MRI, x-ray, or CT scan can see into the spirit of man. Sorrowfully, the unbeliever has no conception of man having a spirit and any of what is written above is only fantasy. Even more tragic is that we who are called into this life of prosperity refuse to accept its reality. Some say the gifts of the Spirit passed with the apostles. Others argue that our power is only in the written Word. We divide on issues of grace, free to all. With the division we keep the unbeliever in unbelief, and stifle and grieve the Holy Spirit.

You can bet there are charlatans preaching a different Christ, an unscathed life for those who follow Jesus. And they do it for money…your money. But if you think the Gospel is anything less than a message of prosperity, read what the Word says without allowing the nay-saying unbelieving “minister” to tell you how to believe. Read it and believe it is for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open the truth to you and keep you from falling into folly.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep, and prosper you all.

Dads…and Being One

“I miss my kids. My ex won’t let me see em’ since we’re split. I was a good dad, I just messed up one time too many. My “best friend” and the ex hooked up…I shoulda never trusted him. But I’ll get even, you can bet on that. I’m a good dad.”

Those words, and words similar, I’ve heard many times in recovery meetings. I don’t question those young, and not so young men saying such. If I sponsor someone that is separated from their offspring, I offer what advice I can to help them. The recovering young men want to get straight so they can be involved in their children’s lives. In my humble opinion is that they have a vague conception of what fatherhood means.

Even “straight” men know little about being a dad, often taking what they see on TV and movie dads as the proper way of rearing children. Some have a twisted notion of fatherhood from what their father did, or didn’t do in their upbringing. You know that story, my father gave me nothing so I’ll make sure my kids get everything. Or, my dad gave me what I wanted, so I have to do the same. In both cases, things take priority, purpose and virtuous living has no place in their thoughts of how to raise children.

I am no genius. I see horrific mistakes I made in rearing my three children. I had many of these same ideas. I really thought keeping the kids active covered a multitude of sin opportunities. Entertainment, sports, and the like were priorities…I thought. There was one right thing their mother and I did. We TOOK them to church regularly in their adolescence, when they are the most teachable. The failure, I think, is my thinking that fifty-two plus hours at church yearly would teach them all there is to know about God. If they turned out bad, at least I did my part. How ignorant.

The public school system has over a thousand hours each year to convince our children otherwise. Biological evolution, random chance, meaninglessness, have become the tenets of disbelief we now fight to undo today. Sadly, from what they learn in society and not from their parents, young men and women in recovery rooms worldwide grow up thinking there is no one to answer to for their lives, no principles to guide, no committment to uphold….if it feels good, do it.

Well, it felt good, they did it, they sit in rehabs, jails, recovery groups, and in total confusion of why they are there, how it came to this, and why they cannot see their children. After all, “I’m a better dad than Homer Simpson,” some of them think.

So what should we do? How can I be a better dad? 
(Look in the Book, the Manufacturer’s manual. For the best results, follow the directions.)
“Hear my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Prov.1:8-9

There is more to say than what I can put here in trying to keep this post short and readable. I will do my best to post again some thoughts I have learned as a parent, both good and bad. For now, think about this; what are you teaching your kids? They will be what you and their other parent are,…is that a good thing? Do you really believe you give enough time in training and teaching them right and wrong? Do YOU know right from wrong?

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Time for Tearing Your Clothes

In my last entry, I wrote about mixed messages people hear from Christian leaders. The war within the body of Christ is raging, while the world is spiraling downward. Christian leaders want to throw stones at Joel Osteen and the “prosperity message” as though that message is destroying people’s salvation, and they are the holy hammer intent on stopping this heresy. Poppycock. Before I entered into recovery from drug use and alcoholism, I stumbled onto a TV show, (Joel), and heard the message that God loved me, He wasn’t angry with me, and I wept, and repented.

I shortly thereafter went to recovery and returned to the Father like the prodigal I was. I also heard someone at my home praying the “sinner’s prayer” while watching that program, and gave their heart to Christ. Many I have talked to have done likewise. Like Joel O or hate him, people come to Christ through his ministry, and he does not talk against his accusers.

My message to these men who feel they have the whole council of God and feel “led” to steer us away from prosperity preachers is…just preach the Gospel, not your gospel.

I also receive dozens of emails that point out America’s fall from grace. These emails want to correct this country spiritually, steer us back to the way it began, godly and moral. I see the point and truly believe God directed the founding and the morality of the countries fathers. The problem is that they were not all godly and some owned slaves, and we don’t want to return to that way, ask any African-American.

These emails also end with the fear of what will happen to you on judgment day if you don’t forward the email…“if you are not ashamed of Christ, you’ll forward this,” they warn. I delete them. My salvation is not based on passing emails nor am I ashamed of Jesus. Many are, so the emails continue on.

The Great Provocation
Why America is on a moral downward trend has more to do with Christians than our godless government. Christians have arrived at the same place Israel arrived at when the spies returned from the land of promised and made this statement:

“But the men that went up with him (Caleb) said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” Numbers 13:29 KJV

Okay, God had delivered Israel out of Egypt with showing His power. God opened up the Red Sea and drowned the pursuing army trying to return them to slavery. So they are afraid of those people in Canaan? They must have decided that God was leaving the rest up to them, no longer helping them.

I want to tear my clothes in grief over how we provoke God by doubting He has become limited with age. He no longer heals or prospers. Confessing the Word is heresy and will not bring you favor. The gifts of the Spirit passed with the apostles, we have the Bible today. God is neatly packaged and very predictable. Paul wrote for us to covet earnestly the best gifts, but rather that we prophesy. But that is over. I wonder, if God withdrew these gifts, did He withdrawal salvation too? I really wish He could make up His mind.

I want to respect everyone’s beliefs. Sorry if I sound cynical, I don’t know it all. I have had it with our chasing after prosperity ministers and uppity know-it-all preachers. We only need to see Jesus, love Him, serve people He died for. I choose to believe nothing is too small or too great for God. I certainly do not want to provoke His anger by saying He can’t or He no longer will.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Mixed Messages

Bear with me a moment. This post is moving away from recovery to address new followers of Christ regarding messages they may hear among the “warring tribes” in Christendom. Please read with an open heart and mind. I would love to say something to steer you clear of the foolish way “leaders” tend to pick seeds off of the strawberries.

Some of these leaders have used the truth, even twisted it, to play an age-old game of “I’m right, and you are the devil.” They claim to be protecting you from false doctrines because they are right, having God boxed neatly into their doctrinal truths, how He works, how He thinks, and what He is doing. The truth is, these “protectors” divide the body of Christ, and make a killing doing so.

Paul had a problem dealing with “Judaizers” that infiltrated the early days of the church. According to Paul, they were teaching a different gospel…no gospel at all. In fact, their gospel was to take followers of Christ and make them Jews instead.
“You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.” Gal.1:7-8 (NLT)
The grace received from Christ was being distorted by certain Jews telling the new believers they had to follow the law of Moses, including male circumcision, or their faith is false. Paul was broken by this deception. And wrote the Galatians to try to correct them.
Jesus had the same issues with those who Pharisees who were constantly following Him around trying to fix Jesus’ doctrines to agree with theirs. Neither Jesus, nor Paul wrote a best-selling book to protest these “word cops” opposition to them. They didn’t have a website to expose the evil beliefs. But had that been possible in their day, the Pharisees and the Judaizers would have such.
Listening to the “Bible Answer Man” (BAM) on my XM station, a man called in saying he didn’t know who was right or how to believe. He said he thought Joel Osteen was a good man, but the BAM says Joel perverts the gospel with his message. BAM even wrote a book in an attempt to “warn” believers how evil Joel, and other ministers are, i.e. Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, etc. BAM doesn’t see what God sees…not even close. Dividing the family isn’t what Jesus prayed for in the garden before His death. The spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well.
Leave Joel alone. I don’t know how many have come to Christ under Joel’s ministry. If you feel the way BAM does, check your heart. I am not endorsing any ministry, just Christ. I want us as a group to not play into the hands of the enemy, bringing reproach on Jesus, and driving the lost away. I have heard every argument. I found the best approach to questionable ministers is praying for them. Has BAM got to his knees for Osteen? Has he missed a meal or two to seek God’s direction regarding him?
 I have noticed Joel nor others under attack by their brethren, do not bother responding…cudos. That is how Jesus reacted. They just go forward doing what they feel God wants them to do.
If you want a proper Biblical response go to Acts 5, read what Gamaliel, a Pharisee and teacher told the others, determined to kill the disciples spreading the gospel:
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if this is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourself fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39 (NLT)
I don’t expect the BAM to even know this post exists. If he did I would have to ask this question: If you want to attack evil, why not write a book about addictions? That is evil personified in our society, but in truth, those books don’t sell really well.
Are you tired of the war within the body of Christ? Say what you think, make a comment.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.