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.

The Sting of Public Opinion

Most of my life I have been concerned with what people think about me. I have worked hard to appear in clothes that wasn’t too uncool, and try not to say uncool things, or have opinions that went against general consensus. Today that has changed in many ways. I still care how I may appear. After spending some time in recovery from alcoholism however, I discovered that it’s not important what you think of me, but what I think of you.
I know that my opinion of you determines my growth as a follower of Christ working to stay clean and sober. I try to look at everyone through these new glasses, look for the good in everyone, and worry less of how they see me. Concern of how we appear to others, how well our family appears to do in life, can be deceitful and deadly if a family member has an addiction, and we are afraid to seek help for them, fearing of what others may think. Fear of opinion can take people into massive debt, for the sake of appearing well off. Coming to grips with who we are, accepting our standing in life, trusting that God can and will improve our position among men, indicates our freedom from people’s approval.
“The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe.” Prov. 29:25 (NIV)
Politicians are often caught by words they say, because they say so many words. One politician was running for office and trying to impress the evangelicals as to his Bible knowledge. When asked his favorite book in the Bible he said, “the book of Noah.” It was funny at the time, but it is fear of not getting the vote that the politician lied rather than just being truthful, and admitting he didn’t know much about the Bible.  This is the case for many of us. Fearing man’s opinion causes dishonesty in everyone at one point.
Think about the times you may have been dishonest, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. It happens often. How do we really free ourselves from the fear of man? Of all worldly fears, I consider the fear of how we “look” to be, the worst of all fears. First of all, pray. Ask God to help you focus on areas to serve. When you get outside of yourself, you pay little attention to what others think. If your busy helping others, you’ll find how little you matter. Second, get rid of the uniqueness you think you own. You are not unique, God didn’t destroy the mold after He designed you. He didn’t think I can’t improve on this one! You are no different from anyone. You will face the same problems, probably experience the same victories, etc. You can be an alcoholic or a drug addict, in spite of your personal goodness. You can be killed in an accident, so wear your seat belt. You can fall down, so watch your step! People really feel that anything bad couldn’t happen to them. (sorry didn’t mean to get off topic)
The third thing to do is read the Word. It is the medicine that builds faith and destroys fears. Don’t let fear of public opinion run your life. Build faith in who you are in Christ! Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all,Keith.

Laws, Freedoms, and Change

I was very frustrated, actually enraged by a recent event, where an Ohio law placed me in a very difficult place. I made a statement on Facebook, which I truly believe is factual, and I emailed the governor’s website, looking for someone to hear my plea. And when I finished my rage…I remembered the Lord my God, and strengthened myself in Him. The advice I give to others, run to God when you get into trouble, don’t run from Him, was the last place I visited.

I took my own advice and looked to Him for help. I will not give you the details of what happened just yet. I can tell you that ever since I finished my upcoming book, there has been such spiritual opposition,such heavy evil opposition, that I could not have continued if God had not given me the grace to do so. I thank Him for bringing me to this point, for all He has done, and for what I see Him doing now.

I haven’t changed my thoughts regarding lost freedoms in this country. Nor do I feel that our voices should be silenced, and we become pacifists in relation to the evils of political actions that cause “we the people” to lose sight of what so many have given their lives for. No, we should, or I should, be more intent on seeing this country restored to our inherent belief, that in God we trust. I’m looking for restoration, not change. Those desiring change may not realize we are a divided people, they want all to change to their way of thinking, sorry, and please return to earth immediately, we need you here. I want to see us restored to having the ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness…you know, like the Constitution says.

This recent event taught me that as a follower of Christ, I am to be in subjection to the law of the land. I am to be a man with integrity, loyalty, and honesty. I feel I hold to these doctrines of liberty, to a point. I do feel that laws that cause a believer to compromise truth, are to be questioned and challenged. In the book of Acts, the religious leaders had ordered the followers of Jesus, to stop preaching this gospel. Peter responded, We must obey God rather than men! Acts 5:29 (NIV) It is only of recent years that our government has stretched and twisted the law to where our tax dollars go to programs that are unjust, and unholy, and destructive to this nation. This was true in Peter’s time as well and they could not adhere to them all, like worshipping Caesar. Paul wrote these words:

Remind the people to be subject to the leaders and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, an to show  true humility toward all men. Titus 3:1 (NIV) 

This is how we are to present Christ to everybody, not shoot abortion drs, not to spew hatred at gays, not to condemn hookers, drug addicts/alcoholics, not to seek the demise of misled people-even politicians, but rather to give the grace shown to us through Christ, to them. God is the judge, He will reward us all by our works in this life. If you are a follower of Christ, take the time to read Paul, John, Peter, James, writings, on how we should conduct our lives. Then do it. Getting results to bring real change for me is in my surrendering my will to God’s will. If I am surrendered, I don’t need to fight, God does that for me. I can re-focus, re-center, and re-fuel on what He has promised as I conform to His will. The results He gets for me are far greater that my results from anger, complaining, and trying to convince others of my correct line of thought. In this recent experience, when I surrendered, strengthened myself in what He is able to do, peace followed. I placed Him in charge.

 

This morning, I surrendered again to Him, and went to face the giant. I went knowing He is Lord, He is with me, and I mentally blessed everyone I would meet before I met them. I have His favor. The results were completely wonderful, for everyone. I believe that their contact with me this morning changed their entire day for the good. Not because of who I am…because of whose I am. I am not saying that the lesson will never be repeated and I will have no more problems. I did learn to get results to manifest in my life, I have to go through the proper channels. First to God in the spiritual realm, and present the situation to Him, then as I do what’s necessary in the physical realm, He has prepared my way.

 

Thanks for reading everyone,God bless and keep you all. Keith

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.

Slavery Today

I recently heard that there are 27 million people enslaved today thoughout the world. I would have never believed that. In this modern world, how could slavery even exist? It does however. There are more slaves today than there were at any time in history, and there is more need for advocacy groups that press for the freedom of those enslaved. But those countries that allow slavery refuse groups like Amnesty International access to their nation, because of their sovereignty may be challenged. So we must continue to pray God’s help to free people, enslaved by others.
I have news for you, there are more than 27 million slaves in the world today. That number is dwarfed by the number of people who are really enslaved, the people who have placed themselves in personal slavery, by the use of drugs and alcohol. They are taken away from a life of freedom to choose anything other than the choosing how they will feed their addiction one more time. There are other addictions, other forms of slavery as well. People are slaves to food, to debt, to their jobs, to their possessions, to their past, to their religion, to negative thinking, to appearance, and even their children. Yet one points the finger at the other in a condescending way and say, “why don’t you just quit doing that?” Right… go immediately to the mirror and look at yourself. Can you change your appearance? The alcoholic cannot free himself from the slavery of alcoholism by seeing himself as an alcoholic. He must see himself as a powerless alcoholic to be free of his enslavement to alcohol. So it is with drugs, and any addiction. Here is a thought from one of the greatest thinkers of all time:
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves toobey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or obedience leading to righteousness?” Rom.6:16  (NKJV)
Whatever you give yourself to…you belong to that. It is only when we realize our slavery, and admit our powerlessness to be free, before we can be truly free. We die to live. Die to the thought of our control over our addiction, or slavery to it continues. If you think you aren’t a slave, change. See if you can stop feeding yourself heroin if you use daily. Try to stop wearing yourself out pleasing everyone if you constantly seek approval from others. Try to stop talking about others, setting glued to your TV, playing video games, or trying to control your children’s lives. You can’t, you won’t, you are a slave.
There is a freedom offered to you. A new freedom found only in Christ. By accepting your addicted enslavement, asking for Him to come in to your heart….yes, by becoming His slave, only then will you receive this new freedom. When He enters the scene, the light comes on, you see your slavery…and He removes the chains. You will always fight for your freedom, even with Him as your Master, because you are human, humans do get enwrapped in themselves. But He will free you with each challenge as you mature in your walk through life. You will be called a hypocrite, a Bible thumper, and even be disliked by others, but you will be free, and with each challenge, know to go to the Source to remain free. And one more thing. Get into a recovery group if you are on dope, or alcohol. God uses people to help people. No matter your addiction, seek the help from others. Get a person you feel has this relationship to Jesus, let them guide you along, out of slavery, into new freedom. God designed it that way, so we can humble ourselves to get help, and the helper can serve. Are you enslaved by anything?
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Radical Gratitude

You all may have heard the story of Job from the Bible. Job lost everything in one day. Family, property, everything gone, just like that. I have read it, but missed Job’s reaction to his personal loss, and grief that he experienced in a day’s time. Losing all of your property is a terrible thought. Losing all of your children in one day, is grief beyond my imaginings. The thought of losing a child is enough to bring you to tears, and if you’ve experienced this, you know the hurt and the brokeness. Shortly after this, during his time of grief, he was afflicted head to toe with oozing boils, incredible pain! As I read this in the past, I thought how terrible! Why did You allow this God?
Upon receiving the news, here’s what Job did:  Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head: and he fell to the ground…and WORSHIPPED! And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.” In all of this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Job 1:20-22 (NKJV) Seriously? I don’t know that I could have done that. I can say, I want to aspire to having that attitude, reacting to trouble full of confidence in God. And to worship, to give God glory in affliction…how powerful!
His wife’s reaction was to tell Job to curse God and die. Her reaction is the reaction of our world today. Give up on your foolish religion, God, if he exists, certainly don’t care for us. Get rid of every thought of God, is the plan of God’s enemy, and all of those who hate Him in our world today. Job said to his wife….even if God kills me, I will trust Him!
I have witnessed many people enter into recovery meetings, beaten down by their life of personal abuse, living as alcoholics and drug addicts. None of these, including myself, came with adoration of God, or praise on our lips. Most all came kicking and screaming, pointing blame at everyone except ourselves. It took us time to be thankful. I can honestly say, I am grateful to be an alcoholic. God took my sinful past and replaced it with purpose, giving myself and countless others a reason to live.
Are you thankful, really thankful? Half of the world’s population don’t have electricity, and live off of less than $2.00 per day. If their children are born with sickness or deformities, that’s how they live and die. Be thankful, live in gratitude, show it by your life of giving, and in service. Take time on your knees, in surrender and in deep appreciation for all you have. Another thing you can be grateful for is; you have Someone to be grateful to. Many think we’re to be grateful to the spirits of the natives, grateful to our ancestry long dead and buried, and to some, the universe, that believe how Carl Sagan put it, “seem to know we were coming,” giving the universe motherly properties, conscious, and living.
In 1871, Horatio Spafford lost a fortune from the great fire in Chicago. His only son had died from scarlet fever. Later on he was in New York waiting on the arrival of his wife and 4 daughters. He received a telegram from his wife that read, “saved alone.” His 4 daughters, along with 222 others had perished while en route to New York, drowned when their ferry-boat sank. Imagine, all gone. Yet, he was steadfast in his love for God. He later wrote these words.
When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well! It is well! With my soul.
This is one of the great hymns of all time. I don’t know about you, for me, it is well! God bless and keep you all, God make His face to shine on you. God lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Keith

Giving and Asking for Help

When working with addicts/alcoholics, you should always remember the importance of help you are giving. For one, is it effective? Am I sugar coating so I don’t offend? or am I being too harsh, they’re beaten bad enough? For each success, there are failures. I have often felt as though it were my fault when someone I work with has a  relapse…and their death if they do not survive.
I really know better. Nonetheless, it still leaves you wondering. It is my responsibility to give them what I’ve been given. I am responsible to stick my hand out in fellowship, to instruct them to follow the steps to sobriety, to show them gratitude in action by serving wherever possible. I have known many who successfully complete the 12 steps, then relapse. None of us have a guaranteed sobriety.
Prayer, serving, and meetings are the glue that holds sobriey’s steps together. Those steps cannot be altered or ignored. You can either work the 12 steps, or your addiction will work you over, until you’re finished. Know this, it is up to the individual to accept do what is necessary to stay clean and sober.
When I came into the AA fellowship, I wanted to do my program. I soon realized that I needed to work the program the right way. I got a sponsor and began to work the program. The sponsor didn’t call me, he didn’t make sure I was doing ok, he didn’t shove me through the steps, no, that was my job. I asked him to sponsor me. It was my duty to call him, to ask his help working the steps, to ask for advice and help when I needed it. The same goes for help from God. If you ask Him for nothing, that’s what you get from Him. It is our responsibility to ask for help in life, from God, from parents or family members, from mentors, and pastors.
Silent pride is fear, fear of rejection.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?”  Matt.7:11 (NAS)
I am responsible for my prayers to God. I am to pray asking for help, for my needs, for direction, without thinking God is too busy for me. I’m responsible to know that, not thinking that He may feel really sorry for me and eventually get around to my request. Where is that “Bible verse, the Lord helps them who helps themselves?” It’s NOT IN THE BIBLE! I’m responsible for knowing that too. Twinkle, twinkle little star is not a prayer. A stitch in time saves nine is not in Proverbs. I’m reponsible to know these things.
When the pastor gives the sermon, it’s for the hearer to live the message. When the high school gives my diploma to me, it’s up to me to take that education and use it to make a living, or further my education. When the mentor gives the follower every bit of knowedge, it’s up to the follower to apply and develop that knowledge further. We must see our responsibility in everything. If we do not, the government will be glad to be responsible for you…at a high price, your soul. The government will fill your soul with their belief system…I mean unbelief system, that will teach you to rely on uncle Sam for help with addiction, child rearing, religious education, religious de-programming, medicine, etc, etc. Just ask China, N. Korea, or any socialist nation, they know government control.
Ok, I could really go with a thousand directions with this topic. I still struggle with responsibility. Today however, I understand the importance of being responsible, and passing that understanding to my children, or those I help in recovery. Give this some thought, see if you are responsible, and if you are, pass it forward.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

Anger

I discover new things about myself on a regular basis. Just when I’m sure that I am really growing and mature, emotionally speaking, my self-awareness brings a new character flaw into view. Anger is one of those things I feel above, but I am not. I was looking through some of my un-published posts, and I have three posts that I nearly finished for the fourth of July, but posted none because they didn’t feel right. I am angry about this country and lost freedoms. Americans continue to fight for what they believe from either side of the aisle, left and right actually believe they are right regarding freedom, law, and what is good for this nation. We are divided, a house divided cannot stand.
 Then there were other thoughts that began to surface about my view of me. I am not very tolerant about certain issues, many are not life altering, but some are off-the-chart wrong. But wait a minute…I am in recovery, I have worked on myself for quite a long time now, I know I’m right about this stuff! I have the wisdom of years, I have witnessed historically, and consider myself well read on issues facing this nation, families, and experienced personally the right and wrong way to live as an individual. I have biblical understanding! What is wrong with everyone?
My anger stems from a greater problem PRIDE
Thinking that I have enough tome in sobriety, and now have the answers to everything, shows how I am far from fixing myself, rather allowing God to fix me. It takes total surrender, it is humility, and memories of what I had become through prideful living, that I must keep in plain view daily, lest pride returns me to debaucherous thinking, and living.
“The ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” Prov. 6:21-23
 
I can honestly say that youand I do not have to accept or be tolerant of things that are opposite of what we believe. We can speak against those things, blog about them, and use whatever means to express our beliefs…but not in anger, not in an arrogant condescending manner. I feel that Paul the apostle, Peter and John, disciples of Jesus, expressed themselves fervently, zealously, but in the Spirit-led conviction, not in anger or pride. We should have our personal convictions, call things that are wrong, wrong and right, right. But do this in love and concern.
Do not become entrapped by arrogance and go astray from truth because of the way of surrounding generations ideals and methods of expression. Stay focused on your purpose, on praying for leaders and those about us, and for yourself, that God would bring to mind that you are as broken as those you want fixed.
There are friends I know, that have a relative who nightly, year round, goes out into his backyard and lights up his little homemade fireplace, sits down with his Bible, and cooler full of beer, and contemplates the world’s problems…and does this alone. He, according to them, hates everyone, all ethnic groups, especially those of other beliefs, and does this using the Bible and booze. The truth he reads becomes twisted by the booze he drinks, and the hatred inside.
This can be you and I if we don’t see our need to look deep into ourselves, and desiring God to re-arrange our bad thoughts and ideas, conforming us to the image of Christ. I want to be free as an American, but not as much as I want freedom from self-serving, the self-induced slavery. Politicians can legislate freedoms we enjoy away, but only I can give away the liberty I experience in sober living, and in my journey with Christ, from refusing to see myself in a prideful way, always right about everything. I prefer change, even though it is painful.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith.

Precious Possession

Hanging around meetings for recovering alcoholics and addicts, has brought affirmation to the truth of those ancient words found in the book of Proverbs. The practice of reading one chapter each day has a two-fold effect. One, if it is wisdom and understanding regarding life, and knowledge of how to conduct yourself on life’s way, this is the book for you. Two, the book’s practical teachings are simple and you see these proverbs unfold before your very eyes, through others…and yourself.
There are 31 chapters in the book, one for each day of the month, if you want to see it that way. In months with 30 days, or in February, I only read the number of proverbs for that month. Chapter 12 is a good teaching example. Three things stand out. The chapter begins with this: “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” This verse is very relevant for people suffering from addictions. We must be willing to go to any length to stay sober. Any length means, take instruction from those who have worked the steps and want to help you. This is very important because nearly every one seeking help want help on their terms, which will not work.
The second thing that stands out in chapter 12 is scattered throughout the chapter. How you speak is how you heal, how you conduct yourself, and how you see yourself. “A man (woman) will be satisfied with the good fruit of his mouth. The tongue of the wise promotes health. The wicked are ensnared by the transgression of their lips. The truthful lip shall be established forever, but the lying tongue is but for a moment.”
Each of these verses warn and promise good by what comes out of our mouth. My mouth has caused me many problems in life, not knowing when to stifle it. I hear people new in recovery talk, and I can see, rather hear their pain, whether they have had enough or not. Choose your words wisely.
Finally the chapter has these words: “DILIGENCE is a man’s precious possession.” If you are a persistent person, that don’t quit, be very grateful for that. Diligence is a precious possession, not just in things you love to do, but in those things you would rather not do. In recovering from addictions, there are things you must do to stay clean and sober, and as you complete each step you wonder what the fuss was about. Diligent people are destined for success. The truth is, everyone is diligent and will stick with things they like to do. Diligence in what you don’t like shows spiritual fortitude.
Now look at your past, and where you had success. You had to work at it, little by little, to accomplish becoming an ace. So it is with working the recovery programs. Putting these three outstanding features together, being teachable, (taking instruction), watching your words, and speaking life positively, and working diligently on your sobriety, will get you through any bump in the road. Make the decision to practice  these precepts, and you will stay on the recovery road.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith