Recovery Killers, 5 Things to Watch Out For

If you are recovering from addictions and attend meetings on a regular basis, you are aware of triggers that lead many to relapse. Most of the effort used to help those in danger of relapse is focused on individuals new to recovery, or perhaps those going through difficult times at present. For any and all in recovery, relapse is a real threat. Whether that relapse returns us to actually using what ensnared us, or to returning to old thinking and self-service. Recovery is getting your life free from addiction. Sobriety is living life, personal growth, having ambitions to strive for, seeing life with a sense of purpose.

We have all experienced shock when someone with many years in recovery suddenly fell and returned to using, boozing, and doing what landed them in recovery originally. We were sure they were cognizant of what to watch out for, so why did they relapse?

There are many considerations as to why that were obvious, or not so obvious, and some not even considered. Here are a few to give pause and consider…and they are killers.

1. Forgetfulness
I’m forgetful, you’re forgetful, all God’s children are forgetful…that’s not a song. Forgetting how you felt when you first landed in recovery meetings can do great damage to ones sobriety. Remember that first meeting? Remember those first few weeks, months and learning how to accept what you became. From what may have started innocently, brought you to the bottom. That memory can keep sober living fresh, and you enthusiastic about sharing “how to” with others. To forget is saying to self, I’m really not as bad as I thought, having a drink or two won’t do me harm…I am not a foolish teen any longer.
2. Remorse
No matter how many meetings some people attend, or rehab, or church attendance, they never seem to get over what could have been. They had aspirations, perhaps were well-known athletes, musicians, or brilliant academically, but became addicted, and hit their bottom in shame. They cannot forgive themselves even years later. They dwell on their lot in life until they just give up trying to recover.
3. Personal Pride
This is something everyone needs to be aware of in recovery. Somehow, as time passes, we learn how to speak well in meetings, newbies and others look up to us as knowing our stuff about clean and sober living. Getting free of addiction then having a lack of humility, to a realization that we are leaders, with the most sober- time in the room, is a fall in process. Never take the “what you need to do is”....as though we have every answer to every problem.
There are many unique situations, i. e. mental disorders, difficult upbringings, some grieving from personal loss, etc. Though twelve-step recovery works for all that have the mental capacity, none of us unique, there are unique situations. Have enough humility to listen before suggesting.
4. Criticism 
This is a recovery killer we all may struggle with. I nearly quit attending meetings early on, criticizing, and over-analyzing every thing I heard in meetings. On one occasion, I had enough of hearing one individual’s story in every meeting. The same story took ten precious meeting minutes that I could have used to speak, though nothing I said had value. I knew little.
At the boiling point I told a friend I have had it with this guy, when another came to join our conversation saying, “wow, did you hear that dude’s story…that was awesome! I slowly learned to stop criticizing and to listen with the heart as well as the ears. The change was dramatic. That experience also helped me stop the gossip of others in recovery.
5. Ingratitude
To a point, we all have gratitude, or maybe a sense of relief that led us to be grateful for finding our way to the sober life. When in the depth of addictions, we are grateful for little, and have a sense of entitlement that makes us obnoxious for the most part. Learning the importance of gratefulness for every little thing is a addiction-breaker.
Taking a hot shower with a clean towel, clean clothes to put on, water to drink, food to eat, things we never gave thought to be thankful for become a point of grace to us. In time, we may go from feelings of that’s all behind me now, it comes natural to stop being grateful, feel entitled, after all, we may think, I worked to have these things. But without recovery, help from God and others, you and I wouldn’t have a job to afford the food, clothing, and roof over our heads.

These killers may not top the list in our thinking. Be aware, they are real, and the list not nearly complete. There are many others not mentioned here or in meetings. The idea is to keep the principles and process fresh in your thinking. Don’t allow people, places, and things to be more important than personal growth through sober living, service to God and others. Stay small in your own eyes with gratitude for everything. Forgive yourself because you are forgiven. If you cannot jump that hurdle, seek professional help.

And one last thought, don’t gossip or criticize. Talk others up, especially those who get under your skin. Say good things and compliment them with sincerity will help you mature to see them in a different light. Stay critical and you will face from others what you gave to them.

Laugh as much as you can and enjoy everyday of your recovery, and sober life, remembering your first visit.

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Dads…and Being One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Being Dad: Communication

It is hard for men to be open about themselves and about their deepest thoughts regarding life and living. Exposing one’s thoughts takes courage knowing you become open to criticism, and that strikes fear in a man’s heart. Being manly and tough means “keep your thoughts to yourself or be a girlish chump.” Nothing could be further from the truth. People who had a communicating father recall his strength of character, how they could tell their dad anything without hearing a lecture, followed by discipline. With a father that is closed minded toward a child’s hurts or hang-ups, the child hides their feelings, knowing relating them to him will bring scorn and ridicule, not love and understanding. The ability to communicate to their child is a quality to be desired as a father…and it is learned behavior.

How I have arrived at these conclusions about fathers has come through personal experience, careful observation, and above all, through truths like these:
“My child, listen when your father corrects you, don’t neglect your mothers instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace, and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding.”
“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store up my commands within your heart. If you do this, you will live many years and your life will be satisfying,” Prov. 1:8-9, 2:1-2, 3:1-2 NLT

When my daughter was in her most crucial time in her life, and needed her dad the most, my mind was closed completely. Her decisions were unguided by good counsel, but by an opinionated alcoholic, that was not mature enough to give G.O.D. to her. (good orderly direction) Fortunately, God had his hand on her life. In time, He worked things together for good, yet for a time, she struggled without dad’s help, all alone.

I have personally observed others my age that had an active father in their life. Many of these people were not religious, but had a religious manner of communicating to their children. The behavior of my peers with the active parents, was that of drugs and alcohol is taboo, pre-marital sex is wrong, and college is a must. Those whose parents were religious, most of these, not all, married, had children, and today are still together after all of these years. I had communicating parents, but didn’t listen. I was more set on rebellion, the price was costly, and I paid it.

Being a father is being a leader. Communicating with actions is nearly important as words. For a child to see their father bow his head in prayer, shed a tear in sorrow, belly laugh when something goes wrong, can have a heavy impression. Words themselves, reveal the heart of a father. For father to encourage his children by his honest evaluation, without belittlement, will steer the children in the right direction. Encouragement can only be effective with honesty.

To lie to a child by telling them they are better than other kids, to defend their wrong doing by making excuses, are destructive when the child discovers truth…if they ever do. This method is a lazy father’s teaching technics. Tearing a child down by comparing them to siblings or other kids their age is even worse.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Eph.6:4 NLT

Many young men are fathers way too early in life. Before they have any understanding on how to live themselves, let alone provide for a family, they have one. Society today dictates marriage isn’t necessary, commitment can come down the road. A child born into this world with parents having no direction can only cause a new generation of non-communicating, or dysfunctional families. Encourage those soon-to-be dads. Ask them pertinent questions about being dad. Don’t aggravate or discourage them with “you knew better” wisdom. They may have known better, being a dad requires understanding and teach-ability, not ridicule. If you feel you failed with fatherhood in the past, communicate that to the new fathers, and amend past errors.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Being Dad

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I wanted to write a little about being a father. Since I am a father, I would like to share my experiences and observances of something I have done poorly at times, and okay at others, but never have done with perfection.

Fatherhood is viewed by people from various sources, many getting their views of “dear old dad” from sitcoms and TV dramas these days. When I was younger, TV made dad somewhat human, respected by the entire family. Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, The Donna Reed Show, and later Cosby, all viewed father as a leader, wise, understanding, and a real household leader. In recent TV shows, dad is the household idiot, kids treat him with disrespect, mom leads the home and has the wisdom and understanding. Family Guy, The Simpsons, and many others, pervert and discount the role of the father in the home, as though the father doesn’t matter. Dads really matter.

“America used to live by the motto, “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if father knows he has children. We have become a nation of sperm donors and “baby daddies.” Stephen Colbert

“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living, they forget to make a life.” John Wooden

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland

Fathers lead. They lead by example, by instruction, and by attitude. That responsibility is the greatest of responsibilities for any man who has sired offspring since the dawn of time. The first and most important lesson a father teaches his children is commitment. By being committed to the children’s mother brings a sense of great security to a child, knowing mom and dad is there. Being committed to faith in God gives a child a sense of direction in life. Being committed to providing for the household gives the child a sense of obligation to do the same as they reach adulthood, and start their family.

Unfortunately, commitment defined this way seems more like a “pipe dream” of an overly-religious person, but that is not the case at all. Some have actually experienced having a father in their home, that is committed and communicating after this manner. How they reached this understanding was from the instruction in their own home, being taught the importance of teaching their little ones with diligence. From the time a young boy reaches an ability to understand, he should be taught about being a father. Many, if not most of the societal woes we experience in our world come from fathers that know nothing about being a father, and completely unconcerned about learning about this monumental responsibility. Sons become just like their dad, whether dad actually raises their child, or just provides the seed, and disappears. Some never know their father and still turn out like him.

Over the next couple of days, I want to write about my experience as a father, and my observances of fathers that have, or are developing good and bad behaviors, affecting the future of their home, and enhancing or destroying their marriage and children’s lives. Over ninety percent of inmates in prison today had no father in their lives. Their sense of right and wrong came from the streets, from media outlets like movies, TV, and gaming. They have little or no sense of spirituality, and every small good they perform, mothers tend to over-praise them to compensate for dad’s neglect. With over-inflated egos, and no understanding of a God they have to answer to for evil they do to others, without values about right or wrong living, prison and or substance abuse tends to be the normal way of life. Tragic.

There is a better way. More to come. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

NDP, Some Considerations

I  do not want to make this a long post of the history of the” NDP”, nor of it’s recent neglect and finger pointing with all of the recent, “can you believe that” accusations. I would like for you and me to give the “NDP” some thought as to its purpose, and how we should approach God in petition for this annual event. Oh, by the way, “NDP” is the “National Day of Prayer.” Don’t stop reading since you now know what that means. I will try to be brief.

Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, outside of Chicago, wrote a book called, “Too Busy NOT to Pray,” some twenty years ago. It is a very good book on the topic of prayer that I recommend for everyone I work with in recovery to read. The reason is for it’s simplicity and direction on how to pray, and what to pray. Bill uses a memorable formula in bringing our requests to God. A.C.T.S.

A- adoration. This is approaching God in praise of His, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence, as Lord God Almighty
C- confession. Asking for forgiveness for our personal sins and neglect, for selfish living, etc.
T- thanksgiving. Thanking God for all of His manifold blessings, and for answering us when we pray.
S- supplication. We then ask Him for our needs and requests.

Using this little formula does not make wishes come true. God is not a celestial Santa, a genie popping out of a bottle, or Bill Gates spreading out his wealth. No, He is our loving Father, desiring to grant us our requests as we ask in faith, and according to His will, which is His Word. I will not ask you to take my word on that, nor do I have the time to go through passages, giving Word-based prayer. (I am not being arrogant, I want to keep this readably short.)

The National Day of Prayer
Some things we should pray about as a body of believers and for our nation are:
1) Unity. We are a divided nation. Left and right, multicultural, evangelical and secularists, devout and post-modern in worship. In all of these separating titles, we have lost our way as a people. Our origins were intended to end tyranny, we have a government today that has become tyrannical, and think they know what is best for the people, which omits God and removes rights guaranteed by our constitution. Pray that God will draw our hearts as a people back to Him, loving each other regardless of our differences in belief, or in culture. We cannot expect the unbeliever to pray at all. If the believers pray for God to unite us as the body of Christ, and help us lay aside petty differences that have nothing to do with redemption, there will be unprecedented unity, and a harvest of those desiring to be in the light.

2) Repentance.
We have national sins. Not only our neglecting God, but continuance of humanistic thought in the family from not teaching our children biblical truth because we’re too busy, allowing their minds to be defiled by man’s wisdom. I know we have the constant fight to end abortion, to define the family, along with many laws we consider ungodly. However, if we do not teach our young foundational truths, giving them a platform to denounce these sins, the ungodly laws will stand. We need to repent for not teaching the young, and learning about what we say we believe ourselves.

3) Being Jesus.
We want to conform to the image of Christ, but hang on to personal prejudices. Pray that God helps us as followers of Jesus, to live lives of integrity and eliminate our dislikes and looking down our noses at those in darkness. Quit saying “hate the sin, love the sinner,” and start doing so. The drug addict, the prostitute, the greedy, gluttonous, atheist, the homosexual need Jesus…and so do you. We must stop looking down, look across at those  we think we are superior to.

I really tried to make this short, oops, didn’t work. There are many things we need to ask God to save us from. We are fallen. We want godly leaders, nice neighborhoods, beautiful cities. We want prosperity, good health, and plenty to eat. But we also want these things on our terms, excluding others. God forgive us. We want good jobs, but we want the foreigners removed, “they don’t belong here,” we say. We want marriage to be a man and a woman, yet we have a 50% divorce rate. We don’t know how to commit to anything, but we know what we hate, God forgive us, forgive our arrogance. Please consider these thoughts, pray today for the nation. Pray first for those you despise.

“In those days, Israel had no king, all of the people did WHAT SEEMED RIGHT IN THEIR OWN EYES.” Judges 21:25 NLT

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!

Ms. Tubman’s Prophecy

February gives us pause to reflect on our historical past  failures as a nation. Yes, America the beautiful has a tainted past that we should never forget. The dark present, however, is what my focus is on, and how it is affecting our future. Harriet Tubman was a woman of great courage that helped many slaves find their way to freedom in the nineteenth century. The following words she spoke of and what could have been, as she reflected on the ones she lead to freedom, and the slaves she wanted to help but could not help.
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if they only knew they were slaves.”
Interesting. She knew something about the slaves having no understanding of their plight, how they were generations into slavery, unaware they were anything different than what the “owners” told them they were. Brain-washed and uneducated to believe they were nothing more than property of the superior white folk. The travesty, and the indignity suffered by these poor innocent people, was not overlooked in the eyes of Justice. The price to be paid by the high and mighty white superiors, who were mostly apathetic in the north, and ignorant in the south, came in the 1860’s Civil War, where over 600,000 Americans lost their lives. There is always a recompense for evil. Write that down and review it daily. Don’t think for one second that you can commit any act, good or bad, that will not return to you with payment.
Why I think her words are prophetic is that today, millions of our young are enslaved to alcohol, drugs, porn, and to everything we have once considered to be immoral. Our country is full of me-gotists, doing their own thing, because it feels right to them; and they have no idea that they are slaves of darkness, headed for their reward unwittingly, thinking there is nobody to answer to. This is not exclusively the young people, all age groups have fallen prey to self-indulgent living. Our leaders, those who are devising curriculum in public education on every level have no moral compass it seems. They have omitted any reference to values and principles, replacing those with subjective/objective truth; if it is right for you, it is right. Really? In California, they ask seven year old children, what do you think you are, male or female? (gender orientation) Victims of crime are ignored throughout the country, a Presidential sexual act performed in the place many prayerful decisions were made in the past, is lauded in the work-place, “I don’t blame him,” was heard by workers. Those seeking justice, and a return to morality are looked at with disdain. May God have mercy on us. We call good evil, and evil good.
This month is National Recovery Month as well as Black History Month. I can only propose that we honor the past by changing the direction of our future. In Ms. Tubman’s words, we don’t know we are slaves. We must pray and repent as a people, that is, for those in this country who follow Christ. I cannot speak for other religions, I only know that in Christianity, some still believe in this passage:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2Chron.7:14
No direction of man’s good intention, no legislation, no attempted explanation of the “educated,” will improve the method of turning a people away from eminent judgment. The historians would argue my point, and stand by the succession of the southern states had little to do with slavery, but the blood of those who died has an uncanny historical echo of the price paid for unjust action by a nation too arrogant and greedy to repent. Today, in this month of reflection, take note that we need to see Christ abolished slavery of every sort 2000 years ago. One day, if we observe and do what the passage above says, February may be called, “Freedom Month.”
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

A Month of History and Help

I am convinced that people who have never had the grand pleasure of being addicted to drug use, alcohol, gambling, porn, overeating, etc., or have had mental health issues, or have had no family or friends with any of these issues…yet, could care less that February is National Recovery Month. In the same respect, people outside of the African-American community, have little interest in Black History month, unless they are history-buffs. There are many other months that the government recognizes for people of various heritages, Irish, Hispanic, Jewish, Filipino, et al, that I had no idea existed. This is the way we Americans celebrate various cultures in our country, ignoring them. Awareness has become, and is becoming more important to me as I grow in recovery, and in Christ. The reasons for their importance is the three tenses, past, present, and future.
Past
Study the past if you would define the future.” – Confucius “Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.” Lemony Snicket, The End
I love history. There is little of the past that doesn’t intrigue me. Americans have this tendency to be so busy racing to the end of life from the time of their adolescence, until in their late forties, when sensing their mortality, and slamming on the brakes of time, and calculating how fast things happened. Just a few years ago, when the kids were little…we pause in reflection of how good the past was, those warming memories of loved ones passed, prices in grocers and restaurants, old TV shows, and the like. If we can look at the importance of the past to teach us the treasure of living one day at a time, we would never be in the zoom-zoom mode, and see the past for what it truly is…a professor of now, and tomorrow.
Black history is important. As a society, we should never want to see happen to a race of people that happened to them. The history of how slavery of African peoples came to be, must  be viewed as diabolical, the greed and treachery of men, never to repeated at all cost. But my view today is not to remember the how, but the why, and look how this culture has risen out of their low estate, to prominence. The focus today should  be on the history and the admiration of a people’s rise from ashes. The contributions of  African-Americans, both noted and unknown, can help every American see that all people, all cultures are important to society.
One more quote:
“I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” -Morgan Freeman 
Present
To believe that slavery ended in the nineteenth century is error. I am not referring to the 27 million slaves in the world today, but the millions of Americans addicted to substance abuse, those chained to fears and mental illness, and to love of self, desiring more and more things that have everything but happiness included. Recovery month is obscure to most Americans, mainly because of apathy, some ignorance too. We don’t know, and we don’t care, until directly affected. Get involved, don’t wait for others. Find ways to be a part today, and if nothing else, pray daily for the nation.
The actions I take today has a great effect on my tomorrows. Making decisions early each day to give God the first acknowledgement ahead of what I want to do, has a profound influence on the rest of the day. Each one of us who have been graced with the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus, as well as those of us with the gift of sobriety, should be deeply aware of the danger of ignoring the past, get our spiritual battle gear on, and fight the good fight against slavery to addictions in the realms unseen, the real battlefield. Now, today, the present is the day of salvation. Time is short and even Jesus said we should pray for laborers to enter and work.
“In an acceptable time I have heard you. and in the day of salvation I have helped you,” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2Cor.6:2 “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into HIS harvest.” Matt.9:37-38
Brighter Future
We all want the future to be an improvement. The Black history month, Irish, Hispanic, Jewish months, are months we reflect on the past of suppressed peoples, living and contributing in our society today. Through prayer, awareness of this new slavery to substance abuse, and the old ploys of the enemy, using fears to drive greed, hatred, racism, and all other forms of evil, these can be shaken, and strongholds he has built up into the minds of individuals, even entire communities can be toppled.
Forgiveness is key, allowing the light of God’s Word to infiltrate those dark areas we have placed bitterness, and allowed it to fester, rejecting other cultures and their contributions, can be banished. We must make the conscience decision to love. It is Christ alone that can bring us as a people, to accept and unite. The government cannot, secular education will not. It is spiritual in nature, only by understanding the plan and purpose of God can we say, “I once was blind but now I see.”
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep us all.

Wishes, Wants, and Choice

I regret not continuing blogging about advent, but after the recent tragic event I felt it important to add my personal thoughts on the matter, for what they are worth. We must continuing in prayer for these victimized families, and for all of the people involved, that they may be able to heal in every way.

I Wish

I wish we lived in a time like the one my parents grew up in. People were polite, children were mannerly. Families, for the most part, stayed together. If you were in need of a job, you went to the company and applied for a position, not the internet. You could call to check on your application and talk to a person without listening to the entire menu because options have changed…I think they must change daily. Times were different then, no cell phones, wiis, Gameboys, no wide-screen, microwaves, and all of the modern items that make life so convenient we actually forget how to live. They experienced nature much more than we do today, every time they had to go…you had to visit the little building outdoors. Well, that may not be a good old days feature I wish to return to.

I Want
I want to see my children to have opportunities that I have had in life. They may, or at least have been able to up to this point. A job, a home, cars, and all of the things I have enjoyed in life may get out of reach in their lifetime, certainly their children will not experience those things without a complete change in political thought and fiscal responsibility. The outlook is extremely dark for generations ahead, depending from where you are looking. I have heard that if you do not like what you see from where you stand…move.

This past week has been very trying for us as a nation. The tragedy in which 28 people, including 20 little children were murdered, has left us stunned once again. Our people are looking for answers and the government is trying to respond for they feel they must do something so we, the people, know they are in charge and really care. the debate on removing fire arms, and amending the 2nd amendment to the constitution is what they feel will do the trick. And the people, on the left agree. On the right however, anger is setting in again. The government takes, they are saying. They took away prayer from our schools and began this ripple effect of societal woes springing from our schools as God takes vengeance on us for removing Him, and the 10 Commandments, and anything related to the biblical God from our schools.

I do agree somewhat with how the people think. But the reality is this, He was dismissed from education long before prayer was removed from public schools. He was given His walking papers when we added the view of biological evolution to the textbooks. It was impossible to think that in 6 days everything made was created by a Deity by speaking it to be that way, so we traded one impossible for an even more impossible way to believe we exist. God, You can go, we can handle this. What disturbs me more is not that secularist and humanistic thought has invaded every aspect of society, but what has me really perturbed is that Christians do not see their part in this mess. Prayer was removed from the home long before it was removed from our schools. If petition to God does not return home first, forget it ever from returning to public anything. If your children know how to pray, they can pray in the school and the law cannot legally stop that.

We, the body of Christ, have been asleep at the wheel with every step toward the eventual downhill slide we remain on. We elect men and women who do everything to remove God, offending Him, and do it quietly as possible. Christians do a better job than they do to offend Him. Nowadays, 74% of Christians do NOT take the Bible literally, and do NOT believe it is the inspired Word from God. Many Christians believe that 6 days to create everything IS impossible, even for God, until they are in desperate need for His help…then we tell Him, God all things are possible with you! The reason for their doubt is that the mind hears much more about man’s evolving than man’s creation. Even atheistic scientist have been jumping off of the evolution bandwagon with so much being discovered about the human cell.

Our Choice

We must be concerned that God has taken a back-seat to government. The many tragedies we have already experienced with school shootings, postal rages, and all of the insane behavior to get attention, will continue, likely worsen. Laws are passed by lawmakers that submit bills that are for their personal promotion through mainstream media, or their foundational beliefs, or because lobbyist play to their personal greed, not laws that improve us and guard our core values. If the church, (the entire body, protestant and catholic, and anyone who claims Christ as the head and Lord), does not repent and unify, teaching prayer in the home, and foundational truths to their children, rejecting secular science and fully accepting the Word as Truth, we can only look to see more of what we are getting, and history proves it.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

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.