Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Tag

“Neither do I condemn thee”   Leave a comment

Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.

And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?”

This they said testing Him, that they might have cause to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.

So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” John 8:1-11

Whether it be the voices of guilt, shame and regret that seem at times torment our every thought, or the accusations and judgments of those around us, we must stand confidently knowing there is only one true and just judge and He has forgiven us of ALL transgressions. So be strong in the Lord and hold your head high, stop letting the regret, guilt and shame of past mistakes and sins steal the joy and peace that are waiting for you in the here and now. When we come into faith of Jesus as our Savior, He washes the slate clean in His eyes; He removes our sins from as far as the East is from the West.

“Though you sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Isaiah 1:18

I urge then friends to look at yourself from this day forward as one marred with the scars of your your past rather, when you remember that pain, say a short prayer of thanks, because now they are medals declaring the Love, Mercy and Grace that He has given to you. Then turn and look forward, and refuse to go back to being “that person”, doing “those things”, because that is NOT who you are anymore.


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Every step forward is one further away from who we were and closer to who He has made us to be! – Keep Going!! 

One breath, One step, One Day at a time,

Gary

Peace Within   Leave a comment

Posted November 7, 2011 by Hope in Recovery in Uncategorized

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He’s Got Your Back!   2 comments

This is quite a simple and I believe straight forward post, but none the less I hope it encourages and inspires you in reading as much as it as me in writing it!

No matter where we are in our lives: Good times, going through the motions and just existing or in the pit of loss and despair, the Lord God Almighty is there with us. “He has our back”. Well I guess that is not quite entirely true, He does not JUST have our back, He has our front, top, bottom, left, right, inside and out! He SURROUNDS us!

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We may be overcome with anxiety and fear or secure in peace and security.

           but He is there!

We may be dining at the finest restaurant or eating out of a trash can.

          but He is there!

We maybe fighting the demons within or singing with the angels.

         but He is there!

We may be warm and comfortable or restless and freezing,

        but He is there!

No matter where we are, the condition of our inside or the condition of our outside –

       He is there!

No matter of our emotional status or our state of mind,

      He is there!

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Psalm 23:4,6

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,

Psalm 91:11-15

11For He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.
12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample underfoot.

14″Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
15He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 139: 1-3,5,7-9

1You have searched me, LORD,
  and you know me.
2You know when I sit and when I rise;
  you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down;
  you are familiar with all my ways.
5You hem me in behind and before,
  and you lay your hand upon me.
7Where can I go from your Spirit?
  Where can I flee from your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
  if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there your hand will guide me,
  your right hand will hold me fast.

Romans 8:35,38-39

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hope and a Future   1 comment

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  JEREMIAH 29:11
It is NOT in our Heavenly Father’s plan for us to have to endure pain and suffering. He does NOT harm us. However, because we are human with a free will to choose and to do what we think is best for us at any given moment in time, and because we live among others with the same free will, we have experienced that same pain and suffering, BUT no matter our past pain and suffering or poor and destructive choices HE declares
“I have a plan for you, you have a purpose, it is for good and not for harm. I have seen you destiny and it full oh hope and I will meet EVERY need that you have along the way”
But how do we get there? Simply – Just like he called the first disciples when he said, “Come follow me.”
 “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name:  ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:2-3

Old things are Passed Away   2 comments

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, allthings have become new.

When we come into faith in Christ we become a NEW person. Christ took ALL of our past, our sin, our pain on the cross and when he was in the grave he left it there. When we accept Him as our Savior and make Him LORD then he gives us His Spirit. There is no darkness in Him so he begins the work of shining the light if TRUTH into every closet and corner of our lives healing and setting us free from all of our hurts and hang-ups. This process is not a painless one. Sometimes we realize for what ever reason that we do not want to let go of a particular hurt or habit because it has comforted us for a long time. But I encourage to consider the alternative. When we choose to abandon these things, what does He do? He blesses us with His healing and the “Peace that passes ALL understanding”

Romans 12:1-2

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

My friends I pray that you surrender completely to him so he can heal you completely.
You shall know the Truth and the Truth will set you FREE!
He who the SON sets free is free INDEED!

Why is this Battle so hard – The Spiritual Connection   3 comments

Have you ever asked yourself, “ Why is it so hard for someone to get and stay clean/sober? You may have asked it in the past about yourself or a loved one. You may be asking it now. What I am about to share will I am sure surprise some, but others will be saying, “I knew it!”

 Simply put, the war that we fight against addiction, is MORE than just an emotional and physical condition, Addiction reach is in and touches us at the deepest part of our being – the Spirit.

 It is the Spirit that separates Man from all other creatures.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ….And God created Man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:26-27 (Darby)  

And Jehovah Elohim formed Man, dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and Man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 (Darby)

We are not in His image, in that we “look like Him” we are in His image as we are Spiritual beings. I am going to go out on a limb and share a personal belief, and ask you to process it for yourself.

We are spiritual beings that temporarily reside in earthly physical bodies. The Spirit is the key component of who we are.

  • All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils Job 27:3
  •  Answer me speedily, O Jehovah; my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, or I shall be like unto them that go down into the pit.Psalm 143:7
  •  Man’s spirit is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the inner parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:27
  • He that hath no rule over his own spirit is [as] a city broken down, without walls. Proverbs 25:28

So if we are “spirit” and our spirit is from God, then what happened? Why are we all so messed up? That is where the being human part comes in. Yes, we are spirit, BUT we are also flesh and bone, carnal and earthly, animals. We are designed to have the Spirit to be the guide of the rest of our being, but because we are natural beings and God gave us a free will, we can choose whether we follow the lead of the spirit, or seek our own fleshly desires. It started in Eden, and we continue the same battle on a daily basis. In Jewish thought is the battle between the good inclination and evil one.

 (Imagine the cartoons from childhood where there was a character trying to decide on whether to do a given act. This battle was often portrayed as a a white angel on one shoulder and a red demon sitting on the other.)

 Now it is not quite that simple, but it does give us a general idea of what is going in inside.

That being said, how does this apply to recovery?

Is it not true that this description explains what is going on in our hearts and minds as we fight this battle.

 Alcohol comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl” which was the name of a body-eating spirit. In fact, the English “ghoul” comes from the same word.

When Arab alchemists’ ingested alcohol their senses deadened and they named the substance according to its “body-taking” qualities. Knowing this, European speakers who understood its etymology coined the use of the term “spirits” for alcohol.

The use of the term spirits for alcohol goes very far back so it’s impossible to know for sure due the lack of written evidence, but this is the simplest answer to the question, and, in my opinion, the most likely to be true

 This is EXACTLY why the first three steps are SO important. Without a power GREATER than ourselves we are unable to win this battles for it is not just about flesh and blood, cravings and will power it IS a spiritual WAR!

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

 Is it wonder that when people talk about their past and their issues, the call it their “demons”. I believe that it is not a coincidence that such a term has been used.

 This battle is more than just a physical one; it is a spiritual one. We can’t dismiss this as an imaginary battle or as an irrelevant struggle. We must take this war battle seriously.

David just before he charged forward in his battle against Goliath declared, “the battle is the LORD’S….”

1 Samuel 17:47

The battles that we fight with mental illness and/or addiction can definitely feel like we are fighting a “Goliath”. Here again why recognition and surrender to The Higher Power is the MOST important part of recovery. That is not to say that life will suddenly be easy just by turning our ‘lives and our wills” over to Him, but it will be easier. In fact, as I have said before, I personally do not believe that true recovery is possible without reliance on God.

So my friends, I urge you to choose today, for yourself, will you continue to fight alone or call for the ultimate in reinforcements?

I choose to not fight alone.

One breath, one step, one day at a time!

Be Still, Be Silent…   Leave a comment

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.Psalm 46:10-11 (KJV)

I grew up in what at the time was referred to as a “microwave” society, the 1980’s. Of course, at the  time computers were just coming on to the market and a “web” was still something that spiders made and you cleaned them out of the corners of your house.

We just thought that was a time of “instant gratification”. Compared to today with the internet, social media, text messaging, 24/7 cable news coverage. It is VERY easy to get pulled into information and activity OVERLOAD.

It seems that we are always GOING to do SOMETHING somewhere.  Community Meetings, school functions, sports activities, church, social gatherings, etc. We are so BUSY, we have minimal time to relate and interact with those living breathing souls that we live with, much less, setting a side to spend in relationship with our God and Father.

Because of this, we get more and more stressed, anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. For many of we are not “addicts”, but our lives have “become unmanageable”. We make decisions on the fly and react to situations rather than thinking them through completely. Then we are often faced with negative consequences as a result of these poor choices.

We appear to all those around us to be “super-human”, accomplishing so much and ALWAYS having a smile on our face. Yet, just below the surface, we are shattered to pieces and no one could ever imagine just how weak we feel and how much we are hurting. But, in the world we are strong and confident. Our world feels like it is literally falling apart around us, and we are drowning in the undertow of our circumstances.

This reminds me of a story that I heard many years ago about recognizing the hand and voice of God in our circumstances.

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The Flood Story
A flood threatens a town, forcing everyone to evacuate, But Joe thinks,
“I’m a devout man, God will save me,” and stays put. As the waters rise, Joe’s neighbor comes by and says, “Joe come with me, we’ve got to go.” Joe declines,
“I’m a devout man; God will save me.”

The waters keeps rising, Joe scrambles to his second floor. A firefighter in a rowboat comes by. “Get in the boat or you’ll drown,” he says. Joe again declines, saying, “God will save me.”
Finally, the flood waters force Joe to his roof. A police helicopter comes by and throws down a rope. “Climb up or you’ll drown,” the policeman yells. “No, I’m a devout man, God will save me,” Joe replies.

Soon, Joe drowns.
He arrives in heaven and challenges God.
“Why didn’t you help me?”

“What do you mean?” God says.

“I did help. I sent a neighbor, a firefighter and a helicopter.”

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“He has promised that He will not let us be tempted with more than we can handle. In the words of the story, He won’t let you drown.  Even in the midst of the storm, and there WILL be storms and trials, He will provide an escape. We just can not be like Joe and refuse his Hans when he stretches it out to us.” I Corinthians 10:13

But, how in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us day in and day out are we suppose to recognize His hand and voice? We learn to recognize His hand and voice just like we do anyone else’s. Spending time together. The instance we were born, we recognized our parents’ voices, why because even without seeing them we listened to them for the first 9 months of our existence. Despite not seeing Him if we WILL listen he speaks to us everyday.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, Romans 1:20

 

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.  1 Kings 19:11-13

Whether it be His hand at work in His creation, or the “Still small voice” of His spirit speaking to us from within, He IS speaking.

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

And the LORD said to Samuel…..  I Samuel 3:8-11

He calls each of us by name, but we are to busy filling our ears with the things of this world or our minds with worries and fears.

STOP – LOOK – LISTEN

We all remember that simple reminder don’t we?

Stop – Don’t take another step

Look– Pay attention to situation around you.  Look at the BIG picture.

Listen – CLOSE your mouth… and open your ears and more               importantly your heart.

This brings me back to where we began; we must SLOW down, Be STILL, Be SILENT, and LISTEN!

We have long forgotten that prayer is not a one way street of communication. It is not just to tell him what we need and how “terrible” our life is”.

In the midst of ALL our crisis he is there is watching. He strengthens in our time of weakness.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40: 28-31

Also remember when you feel your weakest remember, that HIS strength is made perfect/complete in our weakness.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  ‎2 Corinthians 12:9

 I know I have been a little all over the place but I hope that you have been able to follow, my frenetic thoughts. Summing up:

 STOP –

Much of our difficulties or stress is SELF-IMPOSED due to being over committed.

Insure that you have time to take care of yourself.

Finally and most importantly, MAKE time to sit and be quiet in prayer and meditation.

LOOK –

Look at the BIG picture, not just on the circumstances at this moment.

Look at your life and situations from God’s point of view.

Look for His hand at work in even the “small stuff”. He is JUST as interested in your “small tuff” as He is the “BIG.”

LISTEN –

Be quiet, open your heart and ears.

Be willing to listen to the advice of Godly counsel.

Listen with your eyes by reading His Word.

EVERY traveler has to stop at a rest stop ever now and then. We have to have time to “refuel” and get “the oil changed” sometimes.  If we don’t we will burn out and blow up the engine.

It is OK to take a break.  Just don’t stay in the pits!

Be blessed and may your eyes, ears and hearts be open as the Lord speaks to and guides you each and every day!

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