Better

I have been sick recently. I haven’t been blogging, attending recovery meetings, or church services very much. It isn’t just being sick that kept me from doing those important things. We also purchased a home and work has had a few surprises too with overtime that was totally unexpected…la substance de la vie. I am only able to focus on getting better.

Funny how sickness slows you down to think, to resolve, and to change. The first thing that happens as I get better, is looking inside myself for answers on how to NOT experience this illness again, and making life changes to heal those other sick areas in myself.

Here are some things I truly plan to do BETTER in 2014:

  • I want to be a better person
  • … to be a better husband
  • …better father
  • …better son
  • …better sponsor
  • …better employee

…better church member

Body, Soul, Spirit
It takes quite a bit of study and experience to understand la substance de la vie, (the stuff of life), when you are as hard-headed as I am. It was the book of Proverbs that opened my eyes to the true wisdom of living, in simple words.

“The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces”….”people who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray”…”the blessings of the Lord makes a person rich, and He adds no sorrow with it”.  Proverbs 10:11,17,21 NLT

Healing the whole me is real wisdom God reveals in Proverbs. Many people improve themselves through personal determination. In most cases only the mind, or the body, or the spiritual side improves. But in surrendering of self to God’s plan in humility, knowing I cannot fix me, He can and will teach me the “imago Dei,” (image of God), that I am, developing body, soul, and spirit. I could place emphasis on the body, get fit, feel good. Who does that help? Just me.I could be the spiritual know-it-all, and truly help others…then drop dead from ignoring the body. The whole self is a mission only God performs to make me better.

Have you set any goals for 2014? If you have, I suggest commit them to paper and placing them where you see them every day. Don’t allow past failures to stop you from thinking, planning and acting. “If you aim for nothing, you will hit the target.”

Here are my aims at being “Better” in the year ahead. (If I can, I want to expound on some other insights on being better in posts for the next few, so stay tuned.)

2014, Better Spiritually
I am convinced Jesus Christ is Lord, but became a servant and suffered, died, and rose to life for all. I want to be like Him, have the same attitude toward lost humanity, and the body of followers..no matter their denomination. I want to become more acquainted with God as Abba, and friend, and imitate Him. (Eph.5:1)  I want to be better to realize the Holy Spirit is inside me guiding, teaching, warning, me…making the Word reality, and giving me the words to speak, or not to speak at all.

2014, Better Physically
This is a biggie for me. Getting back to walking 4-5 times per week requires real time-balance, setting the time ahead of time and not wavering…just do it. Eat better, drink more water, and exercise.

2014, Better Mentally
The removal of bad habits leaves an empty spot in me, that has to be filled with a good habit. I like to read, and I’m convinced it can be garbage in garbage out, or life in, life out. Whatever I put inside my heart and mind produces the same. The Bible is my fave, but I also read scores of blogs, and other books. There’s no time for wasting so I only want readings that uplift and build, or bios and stories that have a point, or direction. Quiet meditation on good things read is life-changing.

2014, Better Recovery
It can be a paradox. Talking about self-improvement and serving in recovery. That is saying, take better care of yourself you are giving away. Recovery depends on giving back what you have been given…even more than you have been given. It is a balancing act that takes God’s help to achieve. Knowing when to stop and rest, and knowing when to go when you do not feel like moving must come from a power greater than me, or I become of no use to anyone.
I want this to be my way in 2014:

  • work closer with those I sponsor, less texts, more face-to-face, or phone
  • be consistent with meetings
  • arrive earlier, stay later
  • listen more intently
  • be un-controlling, admit it when I don’t have an answer
  • be totally honest, call bad behavior, bad behavior
  • encourage and rebuke…both in love and with empathy
  • give, give, and give Jesus at every opportunity

None of my 2014 hopes can be realized if I try to do these within myself. I need God’s help. I need to seek help from others. 8% of all resolutions are achieved. These are slated for 2014, the reality is they take a lifetime to achieve…one day at a time.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all…happy new life!

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Advent…Still Waiting

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I feel deep sorrow when I hear of how Israel is troubled on every side by people that want nothing less than her destruction. I feel I understand the reasons from both the biblical view of this chosen-by-God group of people, and from a secular view provided by media sources and personal testimony of the people themselves, (on both sides). My sorrow stems from my belief that they missed the advent of the Messiah and still wait for the Promised One. Why? How can you read Isaiah’s messianic prophecies and not see Jesus? Paul the apostle, explains this quite well in the book of Romans. Being a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin, taught by one of the great teachers of his day, and extremely zealous for Israel’s salvation, quotes repetitively from the book of Isaiah, showing how they missed the advent, and why. I cannot, because of time and length give a complete rundown of Paul’s explanation, but if you take the time to read Romans, from a modern language translation, i.e., the NIV, NASV, HCSB, or even the NKJV, or the paraphrase versions, MSG or TLB, you will gain much insight, (and please do not judge), on the reason Jesus was rejected by them.
Why They Do Not See Jesus
But to Israel He (God) says: “All day long I have spread out My hands to a disobedient and defiant people.” Rom.10:21 …as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that cannot see, and ears that cannot hear, to this day.” Rom.11:21 …as it is written: “Look! I am putting a Stone in Zion to stumble over, and a Rock to trip over, yet the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Rom. 9:33
It may be hard to grasp what Paul is saying from these few passages. He is wanting to convey that God has reached out to Israel all this time, but they refused His fellowship. The Old Testament reveals the cycle-of-sin that Israel fell into after God brought them from Egypt into the land of promise. They chased after the false gods instead of Him. Though the Messiah was promised even before all of these events, because they fell into idolatry and all sorts of lewd iniquity, God allowed them to fall, He did not and does not force anyone to follow Him. In spite of their obstinance and disobedience, (skipping way ahead), when they returned to the land of promise the second time, religious groups eventually formed that attempted to follow hard after God, but pride and “law interpreters” brought their zeal for God to the ground, buried in impossible-to-follow dictates, and misguided directions as to the advent of Messiah. In other words, they were looking for Him though eyes of flesh not spirit.
They expected Him to come and with a mighty hand wipe out the Romans, and set up His kingdom at that time. Jesus came as a sacrificial lamb and His blood to cover their sin, and set His kingdom into being when He didn’t stay dead but rose, and set down at God’s right hand, enthroned forever, a spiritual kingdom, as it is today. When the church, His kingdom began, they rejected it too, resulting in their attempting to undo what Christ did, in order to keep their ritual and religious order intact.  
And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Liberator will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness from Jacob, (Israel). And this will be my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” Rom.11:26 
There was no intent on God’s part for Christ to set up an earthly kingdom.   This one thing needs to be added; the earliest believers were Jews, Peter and they followers of Jesus’ earthly ministry…don’t blame Jews for the churches troubled beginning and subsequent persecutions. Satan, you know, the prince of darkness is to blame, he tried to used every pagan religion to destroy the “Way.” To wrap this up. Judaism rejected Jesus, and still look for their Messiah, blinded by unbelief, and by pride. God allowed this, and Paul adds:
I will call not-My-people, My- people, and she who is unloved, Beloved. And it will be in the place where they were told you are not my people, there, they will be called Sons of the Living God.” Rom.9: 9-10 But I ask, did not Israel understand? First, Moses said: “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that lacks understanding.” Rom.10:19  And again, Isaiah says: “The root of Jesse will appear, the one WHO RISES to rule the Gentiles; in Him the Gentiles will hope.” Rom.15:12
Since Israel still waits, we non-Jews are given a window of opportunity, so to speak. God has mercy on all people, and for us looking backward to advent in celebration, they still look for the first advent. Sad, I agree. But God in mercy will not forget Israel, His beloved. There are many Messianic Jewish believers who are full of joy that even the Gentile converts do not experience. These Jews following Christ have received the promise and are filled with the wonder of the promise they received as a people centuries ago. A last thought, Paul warns not to become boastful that we Gentiles have the promise. If you noticed, we are no different. Our lawmakers and interpreters of our Constitution pervert original meaning purposely. They despise the original purpose, and want that to change but cannot gather support from all politicians, so they in judgment interpret the law to suit their personal morals.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Celebrate Recovery…who needs it?

There are many self-help and 12 step programs that avail themselves to the public free of charge, and in my humble opinion, can do as much or more than rehab and professional counseling. I do not mean to down play the need for professionals, they are vital to many, and these programs like AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery cannot handle certain situations that arise within their meetings, i.e. threats from individuals to end their life. What I feel these programs offer is group help and the understanding that we are not alone in our problems. They also keep individuals problems within the confines of the group, what is heard and happens in these meetings stays there.
I have been somewhat familiar with Celebrate Recovery for the past few years, but now am becoming very familiar with the program because the church I attend has begun this program, a Christ-centered program of recovery. Stratford Heights Church of God has placed this as a priority, realizing the epidemic of alcoholism and drug addiction in our society, as well as the hurts habits and hangups, followers of Christ face in today’s world. What I find somewhat disturbing is that so many believers choose to remain in denial rather than choose to be free from their personal hangups. Why? So many do not want anyone to know that they need help, people may think I am not so spiritual, seems to be the main cause for their denial. Also, many think this program is mainly for drunks and addicts, and others may think they are addicted if they attend.
We already know you have a problem, we all do. If you are human, clothed in flesh, you can use this program. Depression, control issues, codependency, poor self-image, porn, gambling, overeating, smoking, and on and on it goes, and you either deal with one of these, or have family members and friends who do. If you are living “at the foot of the cross” and have no issues whatsoever, you can still attend, and help, you know, be Jesus to the suffering. The fact is that so many people want to be serving in a ministry, but not this, thinking, “I don’t know anything about this.” Some also want the up-front ministries like singing, teaching, or preaching, things that draw attention. Believe me, those people who are in the forefront, have a certain humility that God can use, at least most do. They didn’t necessarily intend to be up front, so God put them there. Be willing to do anything to serve and God will promote you.
But serve, don’t sit. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 “…but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you let him be your slave_just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”_Mat.20:26-28
This is the ministry of Christ to the broken and downcast. I don’t feel most Christians feel they are too good to minister to the lowest, but they really don’t know how. Celebrate Recovery is designed to teach you to teach the, and to reach them who have come to believe that nobody cares for them. Everyone has value in God’s eyes. We need to get a glimpse of what He sees in the creation He loves.The answer to the title of this blog is simply…we all need it, but for different reasons.  And I can say with confidence that every church should have this, or a similar program in place to handle what lies ahead. Do not think for a moment that your family is exempt from issues of the streets and back-alleys of society. Addictions, mental health problems, and sin is a part of our world. But be of good cheer, Christ has overcome this world, and has inspired these programs for all who suffer, that includes you and I. Consider this and get involved. You can make a difference.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all..

Came to Believe

I can be fixed on my personal way of thinking that I cannot see another’s point of view. The way I was raised was the right way. The foods I grew to enjoy were the right foods. The clothes I wore were the right clothes, there was nothing that my family did that was wrong. I’m sure you felt the same about your upbringing. The many things in life that I refused to accept as the right way changed for me and in time, and increased learning, I came to believe that there was other ways of doing things. Today I don’t feel there is much left of my past way of thinking I hold on to.

I have always held onto my belief in God even through years of alcoholism and drug use in which I seldom prayed or thought of God. When i came to the end of myself and began to ask God for help, He then took me places I didn’t expect, to experience things I would have never believed was right earlier in life. I finally made myself attend a meeting of alcoholics Anonymous because I could no longer manage my life. I was powerless over alcohol, the drink had whipped me good.

Step two: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous pg.59

This step puzzled me. A power greater than ourselves…isn’t that God? I thought they should say God could , not a higher power. I later discovered that AA is a program to help everyone, even the atheist or agnostic. Anyone seeking help would get help. All they needed was a desire to stay sober whether they believed in God or not. Many came to faith after they came to sobriety, because they came to believe. In AA/NA, Celebrate Recovery, and many other addiction programs, when people come to, they come to believe in God, at least the majority do.

Sanity needs to be restored for the addict/alcoholic. We have tried to control our drinking and drug use through various methods, switching from hard liquor to beer, drinking six days per week instead of seven, or going to pot smoking to avoid drinking altogether. But none of these methods came close to relieving us of are addiction. What worked for those early pioneers of AA was there same thing that relieved me. It was surrender. The total admission of my powerlessness and need for God’s help was the beginning of a new life, drink and drug free.

I have stopped thinking that my way is the right way. I have given up running the universe, that got me a seat in AA and was very expensive. Not money only, but broken relationships, loss of property, and letting down people who looked up to me. How about you? Have you surrendered your will and life over to God’s care? Maybe you are not an alcoholic or drug addict, but a family member is, and you are codepedent. Surrender is a must for you too. God is waiting, come back to the land of the living, you won’t be sorry.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

The Vote Ahead

It is that very special time of year! No, not Christmas, it is voting season. In less than two months, we will re-elect Mr Obama, or bring in Mr Romney for the next four years. Four years seems like an eternity when you are young, but as you get older four years seems like four months. That may be a good thing if your pick loses, but for all of us, it is bad. The reason is, is we get to hear the constant harang of political commercials and rhetoric that does not cease to amaze me. How do we as Americans  not threatened the makers of these ads with prison time…or capital punishment is beyond me. Of course, capital punishment to advertisers is making them watch their own commercials 24/7 365, for however long their sentence may be.
Here is a question for you. Did those you cast your ballot for, fulfill your expectations? Did they do as they said they would? If not, think about that Senator, Representative, Mayor, President, etc., that you placed your faith in, he is going to tell you that he needs 2 more years, or four more, to finish the job he/she started. I don’t buy a minute of their moment of wasted air-time that they spend a fortune on. We have, in the part few decades, watched as our nation breaks right down the middle. We are divided.
” …Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them; ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Mt.12:25
I realize that many people do not take the religious view of life as their worldview, and have more of an eclectic way of seeing things. so Christ’s words here are meaningless. The quote here is the understanding people had in those days, and we are more educated and have progressed since the time of Christ, His words don’t apply to our time. Except for the fact that before His time, these words applied, during His time they applied, and up to about a minute ago, they still do.
The worldviews of the American people are as far apart as they could be, or ever will be. When G.W. Bush was president, no self-respecting liberal could even think of agreeing with him. During B. Obama’s reign, the conservatives have buried their heads in the sand…not to ignore him, but in fear of national judgment they expect God to pour out on us.
My thoughts are that having two sides is dangerous, and on every level of our government we are two- dimensional. I know we have ultra conservative and people who belong to conspiracy believing groups. And I am aware that the far left have similar groups that have the conspiracy beliefs. I also believe their are times when “we the people” are conspired against by our leaders, for various reasons. But  the point is not just the two dimensional way media outlets portrays this government, but that the real problem to me is how the people themselves vote along the same lines traditionally, and fall headlong for anything one of their parties candidates say. “Our family has always been Republican,” is the line of thinking so many have in our day. I think that is absurd.
You hear that the dems are for the working man, right? Tell me how that is. The working man pays taxes. Tax money goes for things that a normal person disagrees with. The money it takes to run this massive government is insane! We have a budget that, is volumns thick, and nobody understands. And I guess the dems had nothing to do with it.  That is the way some, actually many think. The rich are evil. The poor are lazy. The middle-class is the heart of this land. What middle class? These are the thoughts of the voters flamed by the media through films, newscasts, variety talk shows, and even sitcoms. The reps and dems know they have to play up to the expectations, and say what the people want to hear to get elected, then do what they want to do. EPA, FCC, FDA, and many other programs, though well-intentioned, mainly waste our money, and both parties point the finger at the other as to who originated them.
Now it is going to be easy to vote with my help, isn’t it. I would not tell anyone how to vote, but to think about your motivation for voting as you do. It isn’t easy to see the other side’s view regarding any matter. I will never agree with legislation in matters of morals and values. I will never, with God’s help, judge either side for how they vote. All of the politics aside, we all should remove the media’s input from our decision making. I do not mean one should not read a paper, or watch a newscast. I do feel that an article in a paper that gets my attention should be seconded by the political hopeful’s history as a person, and a politician. Though I hope never to be judgmental or dislike someone for who they vote for, I think when any nation places moral values second in importance for the people of their land, like all other kingdoms, they fail, miserably.
This is a rant,to some, and a word of advice to others, and I think before this election, I would like to take more of your time with this topic.
And the next time I am going meddle. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

The Privilege of Prayer

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament has a passage that puts into perspective what Christ truly accomplished when He came and gave His life’s blood for all, and then rose from the dead. This may be considered a little extreme to the masses in other beliefs, and this is exclusive to Christianity in that the Creator God, would send a part of Himself, His only begotten to die for His creation, man, so that He could fellowship with man once again. That is how much God loved mankind. He even loves man enough to give Him the choice of serving Him, or rejecting Him.
This passage in Hebrews refers to the completed work of Christ. He came to earth, born of a virgin, so no one could say He was born in sin. He grew up like every man does, and faced every temptation like every man, so no one can say that He does not understand the temptation to sin. And in His perfect purity, without sin, without fault, He willingly paid for all of man’s sins. He took our place entirely, and when He rose, He ascended into the heavens and set down at the right hand of God where He makes intercession for all who follow Him. Here, at last the passage:
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. LET US THEREFORE COME BOLDLY to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb.6: 14-16
Jesus restored us, who follow Him into the fellowship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden before their fall. We can now talk to God everyday, all day, throughout our lives without Him saying, “you cannot come in here,” because we have the rights as sons daughters. We can ask Him for help, or for any need we have, or just hang around and talk to Him. Prayer is an act of faith, prayer changes things, prayer affects nations, prayer keeps people with addictions clean and sober, and we can open and close doors spiritually with prayer.
Many of us have the problem of entering into prayer. What do I say, how can I remember to pray, does God really listen, does He really answer? All of these questions are questions evryone has  in regard to prayer. The place we go find the answers to these type of questions is the Bible. I have put together a new ebook called, “How to Pray Constantly,” that may help a person that has a hard time with prayer. The book springs from my own struggle praying, even though I understand the concept of Biblical praying, there are many unseen attacks from behind enemy lines that interfere with my time with God.  Take a look at www.amazon.com/author/skeithbarnes if you’re struggling, this will help you.
 I am more and more convinced that the times we live in now may well be the last days. So many of our friends and neighbors have addictions, and with constant bad news on the economic front, the job markets being down, the nation is in spiritual denial, and now worship science as God, running off every sign of Jesus from government property telling Him that He is not welcome there. So we watch education of our youth flushed down the drain of humanistic idealism, placing man on the throne as creator. The violence, the immorality, even wars and catastrophic storm systems sound the warnings of the end of days. We must pray! When we do pray, we need to pray with purpose and have faith for answers.
Give thought to this need we have to petition God for our confused nation, and the global problems. If you have children, elderly parents, and you are weighed down financially and spiritually, you need to be a person who prays daily for all of these needs. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Blessing For All

If you’re a sports fan, you often hear atheletes say “I’m blessed,” normally after they win. People talk about their children and use the word “blessed.” At the dinner table many call the prayer over their food the “blessing.” There are many uses of the word “bless.” The word is defined: to request of God the bestowal of divine favor on, to guard from evil, to make or pronounce as holy.
There was a time when the head of the family would pronounce blessing upon his children before his death. In Genesis 27, Isaac blesses Jacob before he passes, and his blessing over Jacob was for both he and his descendants. The same goes for Jacob as he passes. Genesis 48-49, Jacob blesses his 12 sons. If you read these blessings placed on the sons, the fathers of Israel’s 12 tribes and know of their history, you will not only see the importance of the patriarch’s blessing, but also see the fulfillment throughout scripture. Jacob, (Israel), blessed his 12 sons, and God stood behind his blessing to their fulfillment. Jacob bestowed divine favor on his children.
There are many examples throughout scriptures of blessings, and knowing this, it is very apparent that by blessing another, we bring divine favor on that person. We can and do bless, or curse our own children. We bless or curse our spouses, our employers, and friends by our words over them. Telling a child they won’t amount to anything if they don’t apply themselves may be true, but wrong in it’s presentation. Comparing one child to another is terribly wrong. Those things you’re saying to them is prophetic whether you believe it or not. Just think of the things your parents said to you, and tell me differently if you can.
We must say words of blessing and encouragement over our children, spouses, friends, co-workers, and really everyone we meet. By blessing our children, placing the favor of God on them, things will begin to change in their lives in dramatic fashion. So how do you bless them? What words do you say to bless others? Let’s look at Numbers 6:22-27
And the Lord spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons saying, this is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace.So they shall put My Name on the children of Israel, and I WILL BLESS THEM.
You may have heard these words at church or at your synagogue quite often, and they may have lost or have no meaning to you. But think on these words in the passage. God said that when this blessing is pronounced over the people, His Name is placed upon the people. The Eternal Self-Existing Creator of everything created, stands behind these words.
His name encompasses everything needed for a person to live a life of blessing.  And the scriptures are full of examples of blessings to others, even to bless God, set Him apart as holy in our lives. My purpose in this blog is that we learn to bless others, not curse them by wishing evil to happen to them. Don’t even think those thoughts of “I hope they get what they deserve.” You may get what you deserve with those thoughts. No, let’s think good toward others, let’s place blessings on others.
Let’s go to our churches and recovery meetings to be a blessing instead of going to get a blessing. And bless each other, our homes, our families, even strangers we meet everyday. God bless and keep you. God grant you the prayers you ask of Him. May God prosper you, and keep you in health.

What We say We Believe

What drives you more than anything else? With technology today, and through the use of the internet, you have access to nearly data on nearly any topic under the sun. There is little need for newspapers, magazines, bookstores, and libraries. You can make money from home and with just a few clicks, see videos and browse through photos of your favorite stars, fill hours with gaming, and the possibilities are endless of what you may discover, with this information explosion. No more need for bookshelves in your home, stacks of useless old newspapers, mags will never pile up in your home. I find this terrifying!
I may be alone in this line of thinking, and I do not feel this way because I authored a book. My concern is just that you and I will not have newspapers for the next BSA paper drive either.  But I am concerned that with all of the knowledge available, we have become dumb and dumber, and are developing new sicknesses, and sloth is not just a person to lazy to take a breath. I have noticed that I have changed dramatically since I started blogging on a regular basis. Prior to being a regular blogger, I was quite active physically, seldom missed a recovery meeting, and though I am not totally drawn to the net to find my info to blog with, and still love books, I have seen many of my good habits flushed down the toilet, so to speak. As you get older, it becomes more difficult to create good habits.
My prayer life has suffered,  too busy focusing on writing the post, then checking the stats to see how many people were viewing the post. When those numbers grew, then the element of pride became an issue. No more, I have nothing to be proud of, it is all God’s grace. I developed dis-grace. What about those things I believe? They became a victim of my drive to please the readers and develop my following. I neglected the important to build the unneccessary.
“Do you not know that whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Rom. 6:16
I say I believe God hears and answers, but how much do I believe that? Do I really want to become legalistic, or puritanical in my personal tenets, and exist in religious morbidity? No. I do, however, want to practice what I say I believe by observing prayer, time with God, and in reading the Word of Life, and serving others. Others include those around me. If my nose is in the computer, I may not see my wife is troubled and needs to talk. If I am rapt in research to see how my stats look in Google, I’m oblivious to the needs of others. I can become a slave to these needless things.
This dumbing-down effect is not that the info we get fom the net is bad. It is more a numb-down of priorities importance. Not going to a library because of having a universe of data right in my laptop is not a terrible thing, but the laziness can enslave me, enslave us. We can become ill from being indoors, away from sunshine and fresh air, and miss so much of life when we give ourselves to gaming and non-stop surfing web pages.
There is a new sickness effecting adolescent and early teens called “nature deficit disorder,” where these young people are becoming ill from not being outdoors, and their immune system has not developed antibodies to fight sicknesses the outdoors can cause humans. Really? I am also concerned that youth today will not be as likely to know how to interact with their peers, and will lose their ability to be creative, when the thing they may have sought to create is buried under the desire to play the newest game, or read what their idol is doing today in their tweet. We must not allow the youth to be mastered by the information super highway…there is a dead end ahead that they will not see.
What I say I believe is evident to all by the action I put into doing and not just saying. I am determined to continue growing in Christ, becoming a slave to righteous living. So I am going to end here, close the laptop, find a meeting to go to, and get busy practicing grace in deed, not just words… one of my beliefs. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

You Have My Word on It

Everyone seems to know that prolonged use of drugs and alcohol can have deadly consequences. That is, everyone but the one using. In their minds they are timeless, unique, special. Many people are sent to recovery meetings as a result of a court order. It may be that this is their first legal consequence, or it may be that the judge has sent them in regularly from their continued violations. Too often they come thinking they just had too many, I’m not an alcoholic/addict like these people in the meetings, they think. It is this mentality, and lack of honesty from friends and family, that leads this type to the next level of trouble…you have my word on that.
Others come in with that identical line of thought, thinking that AA will teach them how to drink responsibly, but almost immediately, they see they have a problem. These listen and learn that their lives are unmanageable, alcohol and/or drugs has them beaten, they must find the way out. In time, anyone, actually everyone who is serious about getting free from the chains of addictions, will be liberated…you have my word. You also have this promise in AA’s Big Book:
“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone-even alcohol. By this time sanity will have returned…seldom interested in liquor…we’re not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation…the problem has been removed…It no longer exists for us…we are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react as long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg 84-85 ( read the full paragragh at AA.com)
The last words of the paragraph, “fit spiritual condition,” is obscure to people who do not practice any sort of prayer, or have no religious foundation. This has become more common in our world today. This spirirtual conditioning, is promised in The Bigger Book…The Bible. Thousands of promises are found throughout its pages. Every word is on the money, and these promises are not always in our favor. We love to focus our attention toward those promises of blessings, the rewards of the righteous, but not the promise of the recompense of obstinance and disobedience. (people despise the word obedience…wonder why?) You don’t need my word on this…you have God’s Word on it.
People come to God as they do to recovery meetings very often. They come as an order from their spouse, or from hearing bad news from their Dr, or from feeling its important to take your children to church. That’s fine, hopefully where they go to find God, and His Word is given in truth. Often things improve in their life and they find fault until the spouse says for them to stay home. Others get the message and fall headlong in love with Christ. For these, a promise is waiting they should all know. This promise is key to understanding that all of God’s promises are infallible…if you take them in faith.
…for You have magnified Your Word above ALL Your Name.” Ps. 138:2
According to scripture, the Name(s) of God were so sacred to the Hebrews that they would never speak it directly. They would speak God’s Name in other ways, referring to Him as the Almighty, Shepherd, our Banner, our Healer, etc. God says that He has elevated His Word above His Name in the passage,(read the whole chapter, this is in context of the chapter), meaning, every word, every promise is true.
AA/NA really works if you work what it says. Your life improves when you apply the steps to recovery. God’s Word works without our help, but only works for us when we place our faith in it. What are you facing? Are you waiting to hear news from tests, have children that are living outside of God’s grace, are buried in a mountain of debt? Look to God, trust that His Name is above all others. Sickness, disease, debt, depression are all names. His Name is above every name…His Word is above His name. You have His Word on it!
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Hard Choices

People in recovery from addictions have many obstacles to overcome, mostly of their own actions before getting clean and sober. I have noticed a large number of the recovering have children that follow in their steps, becoming just like mom or pop. It seems impossible to think that after all they were put through that they would consider trying to top their parents performance, but they do.
Many of us know that it isn’t environment that brings young people to follow their parents, although that is what we’re force fed by “leading minds” and “scientific research.” The problem is as bad in upper middle class society, and wealthy society, even in Amish communities, watching National Geographic’s series on drug abuse, and on the Amish, is revealing, proving the point. But even if you believe the opposite we need to focus on rescue and restoration.
What solutions can the average Joe recovering from addictions give his children to keep them from following his destructive path? If the offspring is already involved with drinking and drug use, how can they be swayed from that lifestyle? Much of what the parent says is ignored by the wayward child, and those who haven’t indulged in use have the auto-reply button on that says, well you did it, I may as well too!  Be that as it may, the best way to direct them at this point is to show them the good life you discovered without boozin’ and usin’.
These are perilous times. If we want to help the young, or if you are elderly and have a son or daughter middle-aged or older that cannot seem to stay clean and sober, you have to make some really tough choices. And if they live in your home, it is even tougher. Don’t be co-dependent, don’t share in their addiction, cut the cord. You can help them by letting them go. Your giving them a place to live, paying off their debts, even giving them money, food and clothing, allows their addiction to worsen and there is only two chances they will get sober…slim and none.
I don’t recommend you do anything wihout prayer and further council, but consider this…boot them. You’ve given them chance after chance and heard promise after promise from them, but no action at all. If you tell them their lack of action, other than draining your bank account, is finally all you can take, they may react by doing something about their life. But you have to mean it. Kicking them to the curb may be the reality check that saves their life and your 401k. If you don’t have it in you to say ta-ta, then stop giving them money for anything. If they want a few bucks to get gas and job hunt, go with them to the gas station and buy them some gas. They come up with ingenious ideas to squeeze some cash out of you. You stay a step ahead.
If that son or daughter has not began to follow your past examples, but they are leaning that way, then you should talk, and talk often. I know that many teens have deep resentments toward their parents even if you have lived an exemplar life with no apparent addiction. So the task you have is to ask God to give you favor and a heart of love toward your child. Then ask them about their day, ask them their opinion about things, how they feel about living. Your attention and kindness is probably all they really want. In the past you may have been demanding and walked in the door screaming about the messy home, but if they wind up on the street doping and drinking, that messy house will have meant nothing. What do you think is the best way?
Choices we make may be tough. We may not want to do anything out of fear of losing the battle. If you prayerfully approach these choices, God will direct you. thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.