Advent…Morning Has Broken!

My time in recovery from alcoholism and drug use has caused me to be aware of the significance of the morning hours. Here is the time of day where I place myself in the care of God, and petition His help in staying sober one more day. This is vital to the suffering, no matter their addiction, no matter how powerful their hang-up, or how determined their habits, or how deep their hurt. We surrender our will to Him, He lays out the days direction where we walk. As we continue to follow this plan, our path or direction in life becomes evident, for He lights the way.

“The path of the just is like the shining sun that shines brighter unto the perfect day.” Prov.4:18

I have always loved the mornings, but more so today as I follow Christ. I nearly dread to see midday approach. The time of quiet contemplation in solitude, absorbing the ancient text with the determination of a miner panning for gold until at last…He arrives and speaks to me through His Word, a daily advent. He comes to those who search for Him.

And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, says the Lord”…Jer.29:13,14a

That time of the morning is a spiritual time where putting God first in my day, ahead of my need for food or anything centered on me, and enthroning Him in the rightful place of first, brings the awareness of His daily mercies and great faithfulness. This daily advent, His coming to my call, whether in worship, or in need, opens my eyes to the Eternal Presence that thinks only kindness and love toward me, and wants me to linger there waiting His arrival. This special time I can be so intimate with Abba.(Daddy) David knew the importance of the morning when he was in the wilderness of Judah and wrote this psalm:

“O God You are my God: early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water…because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You, thus will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands unto Your name.” Ps. 63:1,3

To experience advent, (defined: the coming or arrival of someone important), I must hunger and thirst for His presence. The best I know how to do so is in praise and in adoration that He sent Christ Jesus to us Emmanuel, God with us. The morning hours are a precious time to experience advent, to realize His omnipresence.

“Morning has broken, like the first morning,
blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word!
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the One Light, Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the first day!
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all

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Pollitics, Conversation, and Electives

Don’t you just love conversations about politics? I like the discussions where each participant shares their solutions on how to fix every crises we face by electing the right candidates. I also get to show my lack of understanding on certain topics, or ignorance from not following the race. The worldviews we carry are often comprised from what others have said, or from people we admire. I get irritated when I hear someone in the conversation say they are not going to vote because they do not know who they should vote for. There is also people who like the heat of argument that do not ever vote. If you don’t vote, don’t complain, nor run down politicians. You are no better than they.

Before finding recovery from alcoholism and drug use, I would tend bar when I had free time. There is a rule in most bars that you do not allow discussions on politics and religion. These two topics are fight inducing for drunkards. Of course, the rule was always broken, giving the nature of excessive drinkers abilities to gradually become brilliant the more we drank. Those little disagreements seem to always get out of hand. It is no different in the workplace, or coffee shop, or even in the church vestibule. People get fired up over these topics, and I’m convinced it is from arrogance that we often take a position. Being right is all that matters, winning the argument shows we are right…doesn’t it?

What about prayer when deciding who you will vote for? Voting may be personal, the smarter people, in my estimation, never say who they vote for. But even the silent should prayerfully consider the candidate they choose. The candidate may be a good politician, say all of the right things, back all of the right programs, but is the candidate right for the job? God knows. God knows what this country will face in the next four years, the running hopeful does not have a clue. We have no idea ourselves, so seeking divine direction should be priority for the follower of Christ.

I can speak from experience, and from historical events, that the president-elect inherits the legacy of the former president, both good and bad. Jimmy Carter was and is a good man, a good governor in Georgia, but was not a good president. Carter inherited some bad times from Gerald Ford, who inherited bad times from Richard Nixon. There was many obstacles Ford faced, and was the brunt on many jokes and one-liners on sitcoms. That aside, he wasn’t a good president. Ronald Reagan entered the picture and in my lifetime was the most loved…and hated president I can recall. The union workers despised him, the businesses, the evangelicals, loved him, and the foreign nations either admired him, or feared him. He was a no-nonsense leader when it came to America’s foes. The Ayatollah of Iran, graciously set free the hostages during the inauguration of Reagan. He knew that Reagan would be all over him…the moment he sat at the oval office desk. The little fellow running that country today would be silent if Reagan was in today, in fact, he would probably be sending Israel gifts, like olive branches, if Reagan was president today.

Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, are all of recent memory, so you should know most of the details, I will not bore you with the memories, though there is volumes in these leaders that many do not know about. Barack Obama, our current president, needs to be looked at, talked about, discussed, dissected, and considered once again. I have been flooded over the past four years with emails about his illegitimate birth certificate, his intention to make America Muslim in faith, and his wife’s extravagance in assistants and vacations. Enough. Everyone that sent me these emails, I have a question for you: How many times in the past four years did you pray for Obama? …or pray about him?

I have to admit my prayers for the man have been fewer than they should have been, to my dismay. I do not agree with ninety percent of what Obama stands for. I did not vote for him in the previous election, mainly because of our differences in values and morals. I do question why he thinks the way he does in spite of historical proof that socialism is a complete failure that ruins nations, and gives angry, evil people leadership without conscience, science without responsibility, and wealth without work. When awards go to those who have not worked to earn position and rank, anarchy will follow. Ask the Soviet Union, the East Germans, the Czechs, etc.

Furthermore, he had no record that could make anyone think he would make a great leader. His now historical apathy as a senator showed he stood for nothing. Or that may have been the design, never show your hand, right? He does give a nice speech. So did Adolph Hitler…not to compare. It is just that we like the flash, we love the sizzle, and bite into charisma instead of character. I can say that I actually have a hard time finding that ten percent I agree with him on. Yet, he is the president.

Romney, is an enigma. No one thinks he has a shot at winning this election, at least in Southern Ohio. The north of our state is, and always has been for democrat candidates. I do not like the way the media bias has done everything possible to skirt the issues and focus on the evangelicals insistence on Mormonism is a cult, and their refusal to accept Romney as a viable opponent. I think he is a good man, and I understand the far rights desire to have a Christian like Paul the apostle leading the nation, but so far in our history, that has not happened. Romney is wealthy, so are the Obamas. The choice should not be based on his beliefs, at least you know what he truly is. Neither should race be an issue, but for some it is. The issue for all of us should be, which of these, as well as those others running for office, will be best for this country, and lead us toward a UNITED States again. Then the bar rooms, and the lunchrooms will fight about other things again.

There are a few weeks to go before the big day. Try to read up on these candidates, as well as all who are running for the various offices, and your local issues. Be prayerful, ask God to direct your decision. Pray for the president, prayer changes things, and people too. My thinking is obvious, I am convinced someone hs to step-up to the plate that knows that we have two choices, to either restore the unity and  re-emphasize the reality of moral values importance in history, or continue to disregard those proven truths and go the way of the fallen empires, giving ourselves to humanistic belief that we, not God,  is the center of all things.

God bless and keep you all.

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.