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.

Visions, Dreams, and Prophets

Peter gave his first message about the risen Christ in Acts 2, citing the book of Joel:

 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see
visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both
men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will
prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18 (Joel 2:28-29) NIV

I had this thought this morning: All people God? How is that possible when all people are not in the household of faith in Christ? I mean, how, without Your Spirit living within them could they prophesy, have visions, or dream dreams of You, and spiritual in nature? I was puzzled to say the least because that goes against my personal belief that God works through those that are in Christ, not unbelievers.

When I entered into recovery, I learned to disregard much of my “religious” thinking. I heard the phrase inside myself, leave your religion at the door Keith. It is all about Jesus, knowing and pleasing God, and living a life full of and directed by the Holy Spirit within you. Religion is worthless when religion is judgmental. Following that holy internal nudge, I began to hear for the first time, God speaking through the broken in recovery meetings.

I sought to understand this Joel/Peter message. My mental boat was rocked into a spiritual reality. As the Gospel went forth following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus; a light came on in the world, bringing salvation to whoever believes and repents to follow Christ, and an outpouring of unexpected favor of God toward all people. The active presence of the Holy Spirit in the world, opened up the darkened minds of mankind to more discovery, invention, and exploration.

The Light, as it was delivered to men through the preaching the Good News of reconciliation to God, came on. Even those rejecting the Truth, benefited from the Creator’s presence in the world in the Holy Spirit.  (I realize this to be arguable, as prior to this time, discovery and invention existed, the pyramids, the gardens of Babylon, the water/sewage systems of cultured cities, the Roman roads throughout their empire, etc.)

Furthermore, the argument of the Dark Ages and lack of anything new but plagues and wars after the light came on. So, these arguments I acknowledge, yet I realize the Light had an enemy that was a sore loser, and did all he could to destroy wipe out the way and darken men’s minds through the religious hoarding Truth from the world. Not all of the religious were in favor of controlling the minds of the unlearned and ignorant.
The monks of Ireland, for example, began universities throughout Europe. Through education and literacy, the age of the Enlightenment, His Light continued to shine into the New World, where the Puritans began public schools we have today so their children could learn to read the Bible. Within a couple of centuries, the people of Europe, and of the now United States becoming literate, slavery was abolished on both continents. That evil which displeased God removed brought an end to clouded ignorance, and much intolerance. God granted favor once again, giving the Spirit freedom to inspire invention and discoveries, which to this day have been off of the charts in number. Mankind is no longer crawling, but racing to the consummation of all things. Time is drawing to an end.
Men and women today are visionaries, they have dreams then find methods to achieve them. Also, people are learning the words they speak are self-fulfilling prophesies. Words that are positive have positive results. Negative words have negative results. It is, I believe, another dimension of the presence of the Holy One in our world. I do not discount Joel/Peter’s words not to mean God’s Spirit bringing God’s will through a special spiritual gift. The point is, these are the days spoken of in scripture.
Don’t doubt that. Man has undeniable abilities to do once impossible feats, yet this does nothing to grant anyone believer-ship. The spill over of those who believe in Jesus has a world-wide ripple effect. The light is on, but many of the people who benefit, many that discover, explore, and achieve, remain personal darkness, denying Christ, and opposing the Gospel. Pride of personal achievement leaves the achievers ungrateful to God, praising self and mentors opposing Christ’s sacrifice.
Here is the message; These days we live in are the days aforementioned in scripture. The evidence is obvious on every level spirituality, mentality, and physically. The warning bell has sounded for the believers to awaken, unite, and live their faith out in word and deed. In Noah’s day, people were living out their daily routine, eating, drinking, getting married, etc. They had no idea what day the rain would start, judgment be executed.
So it is with many of us today. The only thing that matters for us is getting and personal comforts. We have no time to teach and tell our children the Word at the risk of their eternity. Hopefully when you read this you shake yourselves to the reality of the day’s evil, and the promised return of Jesus. To ignore this has a ripple effect opposite of receiving it.
Who, of your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors have you decided to lose to the ages?

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.

The Way of Life

I find hard at times to take orders from anyone. That has plagued me lifelong. After all, I know it all. Those who command me to do anything had better be paying me to follow their orders, or they can take a flying leap into the abyss of eternal darkness. Then, I read this little passage in Proverbs:

“For the commandment is a lamp and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life”… 6:23
…and this one too:
“He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.” 10:17

I repent. I realize part of my recovery from addictions has much to do with my listening to those who have experienced success in recovery, and doing what they instruct. So it goes with my life as a follower of Christ. I hear the instructions from scripture and often taught or preached in a church service, and my faith grows. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Rom.10:17)

But I have to do what is written and heard or I remain as I am, a know-it-all, self-deceived. (Jas 1:22) Doing as I have been instructed to has given me the gift of sobriety, and more importantly, grace for salvation in this life and eternal life with Christ. It is vital that I remember this in every instance in life. I receive favor with God and man when I hear instruction, and am reproved, following orders when commanded, taking advice without regard of thinking I know better.

Chronic relapse individuals have this common problem. They hear instruction and agree entirely, but do not “do” the instruction. Or they may plan to follow such good advice at a later date. Others with a relapse problem disagree entirely thinking, “that may work for you,but not for me, I have my own way of doing things. You aren’t going to tell me how to do anything.” Down the road they see their error…if they survive.

There can never be enough dialog or teaching about compliance and taking action when under the rule of others. This is the way of life as the Proverbs says. Of all topics in recovery or church, we cannot afford to ignore these. 

I recently witnessed a dramatic descent of an individual that refused to hear godly advice from others, venomously criticizing leadership with words that made me cringe. They returned to addiction after being marvelously delivered from impossible situations. May God have mercy and restore them again.

I know it is very difficult to take advice. It goes against our nature, fallen nature that is. Not all of the instruction or orders commanded of us are correct either. But if we are under authority of others we have to do as we are told, even under protest, and without criticism. I’m learning painfully at times, but the reward of obedience and compliance is joy, and peace. 

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

What We Choose to Believe

I happened on to the Science Channel as I surfed for something to watch while I read my email. Not to poke fun at the channel, but I can say, that is the stuff of comedy. Having grown up with “Mad Magazine” and parodies of that era, It has helped me see humor in many things others take serious. Please tell me that people don’t seriously believe this stuff…I mean, brilliant minds in 2013, cannot take this serious! Sponge Bob Squarepants is more believable. Before we spend another cent giving grants for research for biological evolution, please lay some real physical proof that it is even possible. If you cannot, then let’s send a team of marine biologists to search for Bikini Bottom and Atlantis with the grant money, it’s waste either way.

How did this “science” go from theory to fact? If science was so desperate to find a reason for our existence, other than a Creator, come up with physical proof and then teach that science as fact. Start with a moon rock or some kryptonite, something that exists. You have nothing because there is nothing. I can say that you learned well from Vladimir Lenin who said, “if you tell a lie often enough and long enough people will believe it.” (Hitler stole that saying from Lenin) Nearly every literate nation that allows this doctrine of man to be taught in schools have whole populations believing it. Often enough, long enough. Since we are like cattle, we basically say, “I’ll take your word for it,” too lazy or apathetic to research these ideas for ourselves.

What are the facts of man’s origin? What do you have for physical evidence to prove it? When I think of great minds refused tenure because they disagreed with this “science,” I am sure that you have such evidence. Otherwise, refusing good people with great minds would be a travesty, wouldn’t it?

To the followers of this “science,” think this, “religion.” That is what this particular science is. You take it by faith without proof which makes biological evolution a “faith.” I understand that so many brilliant minds have devoted their entire lives to this study only to end their life empty, without answers, but many more questions. Only pride keeps them from admission, as individuals. Fear, and loss of credibility keeps the false teaching alive…”what will we tell the people?…they will have our heads for this!” Not really, people will move on and forget the billions spent on the research that could have been used for useful things like food and clothing for the poor.

As ridiculous as this “science” is to me, to intelligencia, religion is just as ridiculous. “There is nothing on earth that points them to a physical proof of a Creator,” they think. Long before Darwin’s writings, documents were written, handed down from generation to generation, and carefully copied for preservation. These point to the explanation of man’s origin. Secularists have done everything they can do to discredit the possibility that these documents can be valid evidence of a Creator. They have long denied the Bible saying things like, “it’s like the children’s game telephone, by the time these stories go from generation to generation, the original meanings are scrambled without a possibility of accuracy.” Have those making such claims researched their own accusations? Highly doubtful. There is the fear that the may find out it is real, then what?

According to those opposed to the Bible’s accuracy, they claim there was no king David, or Solomon. The prophets were not the actual writers of the books named for them, etc. Yet another science, archaeology, has proven most of what they deny. David and Solomon were not folk-stories. They are not hung up as much on the creation as the miracles of the exodus from Egypt, and those of Elijah and Elisha. The resurrection of Jesus, closes the book for them, “these things could not have happened,” they say.
I understand, I empathize. It is okay, they are hard to accept.

We definitely have differences, nothing to cause this continuous mud-slinging to continue for another generation. It is a face-off. I cannot convince you, nor you me. I can, however, point to additional evidence you may never accept…changed lives. Biological evolution, nor any wisdom of man can change the heart of an alcoholic like me, to turn me from my addiction and its misery, and begin to really experience life with joy and purpose. It cannot give me meaning or peace when I grieve over loss. It definitely does not present me hope for my eternal existence, and the adventures beyond this life. Only Jesus can, my faith in Him, His creation of this universe, and the constant metamorphosis, conforming me into His image. That particular science does not give me a desire to help the broken like myself, helping them find their way out of trouble. These reasons, plus ten-thousand others, gives me proof of Him, and a reason to follow Him. He never changes, science always does. I’ll stick with what works.

Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Disturbing Trends

I do not think it is important to live my life worrying about things that have little probability of happening. Nor do I want to have “conspiracy theories” bouncing around in my head, creating paranoia. As a follower of Christ, I hold to His teaching in the gospel of Matthew:
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matt.6:34 NLT
How do you argue with that logic? Of course, taking this verse in context, Jesus isn’t saying “sha-la-la-la-la, lets live for today,” He is saying don’t WORRY about tomorrow. You can have concern about your future, save for retirement, plan vacations, and so forth. He doesn’t say, “pay no attention to tomorrow.” Tomorrow looks very disturbing to me, and for very good reasons. But I know there is light in the darkness.

I have been reading certain articles, as well as a book I strongly suggest you read, “The Reason for God,” by Tim Keller, in which he addresses questions like, “why does God allow suffering in the world?” “How could a loving God send people to hell? ” Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive?” All of these are legitimate questions of the day we live in. The articles I find interesting are related to trying to convince our dominantly secular society’s young college age, to re-see Christianity, and the Bible, from documented proof. There also needs to be a demand the documented proof for secular theories, such as, biological evolution, and the origin of life they claim as fact. Keller’s book does a great job, explaining so many of secular society’s complaints against Jesus, and against the Bible.

So many of the objections people have are truly a result of viewing Christian’s “life attitudes and actions,” serving God in word only. Plus effectively convincing young minds through crafty educators, unproven philosophies of man’s supposed wisdom taught in our institutions of “higher learning.” The trend I find disturbing, is as we look at the spiritual dumbing down of the young in this nation, though the elimination of the very thought of a God who created this vast universe. There seems to be no resistance put up by the Christian community itself. They could teach that we get all of our cheeses from the man in the moon, without challenge. Why? Do we want our young to follow the teachings of Christ? Of course we do. So why aren’t we horrified that by the time most of college age young people, raised in Christian homes, leave their faith as they enter college or the work-force?

Tomorrow is important enough to start today, not in worry, but in sincerity, turning this disturbing trend of spiritual ignorance away from our youth. We can give them a strong foundation of belief. The reliance we place in the Sunday service to give the young-uns the whole counsel of God is wrong, totally wrong. Trending downward along with the dumbing down of the young is that the parents aren’t wiseing up. As a parent, what do you believe? Is the Bible really God’s Word to man? or is it just bunch of stories that aren’t relative for today? What is the Nicene creed, the Apostle’s creed? Who is Jesus really? Is He the son of God, for real? If you and I don’t know, how do we relate this to the children in an understanding way?

I know that I am really not answering these questions. My intent is to provoke thought. Working with young people in recovery, mainly from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as my own personal struggles, has caused me to want to know how “churched” people end up on skidrow, in prisons, or in the graveyard from these insane addictions. Furthermore, many of these struggling to recover, grew up in Christian homes, and know nearly nothing about their faith. They have no hope, thinking they just can’t live the “Christian life” that they know so little about. When challenged by secular thought, they have no answer. Nobody gave them solid evidence of their faith. Is this the future of your children? Is sports, fame, material goods more important than their life with Christ, their eternity?

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

The Famine, the Fire, the Answer

How long do we live by two opinions? Who do we really believe has the answers? I believe sincerely and entirely, that we have arrived at the crucial place in time as a nation, that Israel faced three thousand years ago. Elijah, a man of God and known also as the “prophet of fire,” had spoken the word from God that famine was coming to the land. Famine came for seven years, no rain. When the time for the famine to end, the prophet stood before Ahab the king and the people of Israel, and asked an important question we must ask ourselves. Our refusal to ask this important question is to say “we are happy with the denial we dwell in, nothing bad will happen, don’t take the Bible literally, Bill Maher said only a fool would do so.” Taking the Bible literally, or thinking it is not really God’s Word, but merely a old document with interesting stories, as our president believes.

Don’t think for a minute that you are in good company by disbelief. If you find out in the end that it is not only truth, but the way you were designed to live and the path to walk on, the consequences will have an eternal impact. The question Elijah asked was:
“How long will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God,follow Him, but if Baal is god, then follow him.”
Their response: “But the people were completely silent.” 1 Kings 18:21 NLT

To tell you what happened in case you do not read the whole story. He made the people a deal. We will build two altars, and place a sacrifice on both. Then we will pray, you to baal, me to God. The God that answers with sending fire down to consume their sacrifice, that is the God we will serve. The people agreed.There were 450 false prophets of baal, one man, Elijah, stood for God. He let them go first. From morning until evening they cried to their god to no avail, cutting themselves with knives to show their dedication so baal and the crowd could see. Then Elijah’s turn came, he had four pots of water poured on his sacrifice two times, until the water flowed into the trench below the altar. He said a simple prayer, the fire from God fell, ans consumed the sacrifice, the altar, even the water in the trench! Then the people fell on their faces, and said “The Lord, He is God!” Then Elijah had the false prophets seized, and he killed everyone of them.

“That’s cruel, he killed the prophets!” That is what the false prophets of our day say. They only see what scriptures say that reflectt the Lord, merciful, gracious, and kind, as an evil ogre that wreaks vengeance on mankind. They do not know the cruelty and evil done to the people by these false prophets. The evils are similar to the evils in our society removing God from the minds of the people, moving Him to the back of the bus.The men and women of our day, that have the courage to stand and say that we are judged as a nation for transgressions and social evils condoned by, even paid for by our government, are made out to be foolish, backwoodsy types. Their accusers pass themselves off as the intelligent, educated in truth, humanitarians. that refuse to pass judgment on evil, but condemn good. Laws are passed to protect the guilty, and punish the victims.

This is not a call to do what Elijah did to the prophets to be done to the humanists and secularist of the day. That is not my purpose. We should lay the challenge on the table, the questions asked back then, asked now; “how long will you, America, waver, hobbling between two opinions? Tell intelligencia, prove to us their gods exist, or remove them from our land, destroy the false teaching.

Give us absolute proof that your dating methods, namely carbon dating are 100% acurate, or declare it to be a religion that takes faith to believe. Give us absolute proof that man evolved from ape, that life began from a single cell, or call it a religion, get it out of our schools where you have said religion does not belong. Take a thousand year-old skull, and date it along side of those “neanderthal” skulls you find, and give the people proof of your truth, or admit theory, an “educated guess” is all you have. You can’t do that. But you, O intelligent ones, poison the minds of our youth decade after decade, from your bitter hatred of God. You have helped produce a spiritual famine in this land, in this world.

You and I that claim to be followers of Christ need to look around us, see the fruit of these false teachings. Immoral living, our people are consumed with self-service, loving pleasure, blind to addictions and the hopelessness of our generation. We like what we see on the modern prophets of baal’s TV talk shows, how we find their doctrines of acceptance and tolerance of evil behavior as good. They are blind guides that have lead us into a ditch. We have been set-up. You and I must make a decision to choose between the two opinions. Either God is God, or He is as they say, not the Creator and we do not have to follow biblical teachings as truth. If God is truly God, and we turn to Him in repentance for our self-seeking, sorrowful for accepting their teachings as truth, and questioning His moral law.  spiritual famine will end, the latter rain will fall and refresh us again. We can be the answer to the masses, by challenging them to prove their god’s existence.

Archaeologist continue to prove the validity of scripture, mostly those that the secular historians guaranteed didn’t happen. According to them, David’s kingdom, nor Solomon’s ever existed, now proven. Since they cannot deny Jesus was an actual person, they work very hard to disprove his resurrection by finding his true tomb, with bones and all. Save your time brilliant minds. Take it from this uneducated man, He is risen. The proof is in my heart, with the joy, peace, I did not know before I by faith, accepted Him as Savior and Lord for real. I hope every scientist and professor that have no hope but this life comes to the same reality, coming to Christ for the real answers.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

About Midnight: Expect the Supernatural

I sometimes think how negative my posts are. You probably agree, writing constantly about addictions and/or related social problems and loss can drag one down emotionally. The intention is to bring readers to an awareness of the problem we see in society, and be active either by prayer or getting involved with some area of recovery. I realize it is hard for the individual when we work forty hours, have children to attend to, or perhaps involved in other areas of ministry or service. There is no need to feel guilty for your lack of involvement if you know you cannot. Do what you can where you are planted, and trust God will fill areas. Jesus told us to pray for God to send laborers into the harvest.

I too, become downcast at times. God knows, and always knows how to give me that pick-me-up needed. This morning, after having a major personal disappointment over the weekend, (by the way, this was my own presumption that led to this heartbreak), God did it again, rocking my pity-party with spiritual revelation from the Word. The story from Acts 16, where Paul and Silas were spreading the gospel, and a young girl with a familiar spirit kept following them, and apparently telling all these men were from God, in a mocking manner. Paul had enough, told the demon to leave the girl, and it departed. The men that sponsored her fortune telling lost their share of income. They took the two preachers to the courts, where they were beaten and chained and thrown into prison.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundation. All of the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! Acts 16: 25-26 NLT

Here is the good news
We may be in the darkness of midnight in our society. Many are chained to addictions,  wrapped up in deep hurts from their pasts, tied up in bad relationships, bound by fears, and it seems things couldn’t be darker. And our lives are imprisoned in denial and codependency. But if you and I begin to pray, and sing praises to God every day, as we rise in the morning, throughout the day, before we lie down to sleep…the chains are going to fall off, and the prison we have built will be shaken to its foundation, and the doorss will swing open to freedom. Supernatural things are going to happen, as we focus on the One who set the captives free!

The miraculous
I have seen impossible situations myself and others have been in since I entered into recovery, suddenly reversed, as prayer was offered to God, expectantly, and taking Him for what He said He would do if we asked. I remember being so blue and downcast from things going on and looking at the mountain of problems instead of the problem solver, the One who makes mountains a flat plain with a word. When I turned and focused on Him, and gave Him praise for His ablility, and strength given to me in my weaknesses, thanking Him in gratitude for His goodness and mercy, love, and kindness…my blue feelings left immediately, and joy returned. Prayer, thanksgiving, and praise to God, to Abba, Adonai, Elohim…El Shaddai, the Triune, self-existent Almighty Father Who is more than enough, the One that a single name cannot describe, roars into my situation, and the enemies seige is broken and scattered! He does not like His kids bullied by the evil one, and like you would defend your children, He defends us but with the power that know no boundary.

Look for supernatural results in times of trouble, in hopeless situations, where all seems lost. Like Paul and Silas, He hears your petitions, He listens for your praise and thanksgiving, and He reacts for you! Thanks for reading, God bless and keep and defend, and free you and yours!

A Recipe for Spiritual Growth

The Seed
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance  and supplication for all the saints..” Eph.6:18
To grow spiritually, we need to pray. I have found this to be for me, the hardest spiritual exercise. It isn’t praying I find hard at all. What is difficult is to have a set time that belongs to me and “Abba,” free from distractions and interruptions. I have no problem praying as I go about my day. I may pray for my family, for social network request, for requests on the churches prayer chain, for those I work with, those I pass as I drive, those I work with in recovery, etc. It is my determination to spend time just talking with God in humility, on my knees, that I find hard to accomplish but necessary to grow into the stature of Christ.

The Fertilizer
“Every day will I bless You, and I will praise Your name forever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” Ps.145:2-3
I don’t want to come to God in prayer empty-handed. I want to hallow His name, praise His mercy and grace, His steadfast love, and constant watchful eyes to defend and protect me from danger and evil. The book of Psalms reveals so much of God’s character. If you are like me, to praise and worship God before asking for anything in prayer, gives me the scriptural understanding that I have His attention. He inhabits my praise…in other words, that’s His address.

Add Water
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed in accordance to Your Word.” Ps.119:9
This is my bread…daily. I love the Word more than anything in life. If you want to know God better, or at all, grab a Bible and devour it. I often hear others say,” I don’t understand it, so I have no interest in it.” There are several new paraphrase versions, the Message, Good News, NLT, etc., that anyone mentally competent can understand. It is spiritual competence that is the problem, in truth.

Putting these together, prayer is like a seed, fertilized by our praise and adoration to God, watered by the living Truth of His Word. Though I find a set prayer time difficult, I find it much easier after I fertilize the soil of spirituality with praise, and realize the goodness and purity of the One I am addressing. Reading the Word creates the environment to praise and honor God, and like a cycle, prayer makes me grow in my understanding of the Word.

If you struggle with any of these, ask God in sincerity to open your spiritual understanding, He will. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Be Careful Little Mouth

Please Lord, make my words today sweet and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them,” -anon
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling

The children playground saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” was originated by a person who obviously had skin made of steel. The saying is actually attributed by some from slaves that were talked down to, and called every unholy name by their overseers. The reality is that words effect go far beyond the ear and into the brain. Words go into the very depth of a person’s soul, and there, take residence, Words break up homes, friendships, split churches and civic groups, and words can shut down corporations. With all of the high tech being used as media outlets, words can end a political career by someone’s cell phone footage used on the evening news.

Words can have the opposite effect as well. Encouragement expressed to another, down on themselves and needing confidence, can turn their life’s situation completely around, and turn the misfortunate one onto the pathway of a positive existence. Words from a coach to his team at halftime may motivate players to overcome a mistake ridden first half, into a flawless performance in the second. The right word from an AA, NA, CR sponsor, can cause the one struggling minute to minute to make it one day to the next. A pastor delivers his sermon, maybe the one word he says from scripture lands in the heart of someone that becomes the next Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Augustine, or Francis of Assisi.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Ps.19:14
“A man has joy by the answer from his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” Prov.15:23

How do you talk? Are your words a healing balm to someone that has been badly beaten by life? If not, you have the power to change that. You have the ability to inspire, motivate, and cause those around you to create an environment of achievement. People love being around charismatic, smiling people that encourage them. They feel just the opposite of the negative ones that are only interesting if they are spreading dirt on others.

If your memory serves you well, think back through your recent conversations with others. What did they say? How did you respond? If you are completely honest, and can see that you may not be the person you hold so highly above reproach, you can change your way of speaking from negative to positive. Ask God to help you, and make you aware of what you plan to say, whether it edifies or tears down. Be a life-changer with the way you speak.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.