Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lord, I'm waiting

What is it that you are waiting for right now in your life? A child? A wife or a husband? A job? Restored health? Forgiveness? A new beginning? Someone in your family to turn from their sin and come to the Lord? Reconciliation with a family member? Do you sometimes come to the Father and want to know how long or ask Him why he makes the people he loves wait too long? Not everyone handles waiting the same way. Sarah could not wait--she thought the Lord was taking too long and she took matters into her own hands. Do you do that? Peter rebuked Jesus about going to Jerusalem and fulfilling the plan that the Father had for his Son. He did not pick up on the word “resurrection” did he? He had to wait until Christ was crucified to get the full meaning of the reason - and the importance of God’s timeline.
Look at David -- he learned to wait in a beautiful and in a strong way. He shows us how to wait with courage. Psalm 27:13-14 --Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage-yes wait on the Lord. Have you ever felt like the time of waiting will never end and you will not see the goodness of God until you get to heaven? David waited with hope. Psalm 25:5 --Lead me by your truth and teach me for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.. It was not about David’s agenda. While he was in the midst of being delivered from Saul - David was willing to bow to God’s time line. Psalm 31:14-15 --But as for me I trust You O Lord. I say you are my God and my times are in your hand. David is suffering, his strength is decreasing, and he says his body is wasting away. Vs 10-13 -I am forgotten, a dead man, I’m like a broken vessel0-terror is on every side, yet he still was willing to yield and wait upon God. He left the timing of when he would be delivered from his enemies up to God. He opened his hands and heart to God. Are you saying to God “ my time is in your hands- and I bow down to you in my times of waiting?” What do you say to God when He makes you wait? Did you know that when you are willing to bow your times of waiting to the Lord-- this is an act of worship to the Most High God? We grow weary and impatient, but he doesn’t. We lack strength and might--God is full of power. He desires to give His over flowing power to us. When and how do we receive it? It is when we wait upon the Lord. There is the promise that we will gain new strength -- supernatural strength. Isaiah40:28-31 - God has given us a magnificent promise -- “They shall mount up with wings like Eagles, run and not grow weary.” Things get stirred up, we become disappointed, and we become discouraged. Sometimes it means that we have to wait and wait. His arms are wide open to you and you can come to rest in Him. He wants us to wait on Him. He promises to gently carry you until your strength is renewed and you can continue to wait. Think about the person or the thing that God is wanting you to bow to His timeline. He knows what it is that you are waiting for. He is tenderly asking you, “Will you trust me and worship me by saying - my time of waiting is in your hands O Lord?”
Heavenly Father: we get so impatient and do not want to wait for anything. We want what we want now. We do not get to see the big picture of why it is we have to wait, but you do. Forgive us when we get impatient and we lose the bigger view of who you are and you know what we will have to wait for. Father, I am glad that you make us wait--what we fail to see is the times of growth, blessings, and protection that you place over us so that we do not make matters worse.. You are sovereign over time -- help us to be content to just wait in all areas of our life -- so your perfect will-- will be made complete in us. Strengthen us Holy Father. Amen
This week ask God to show you the areas of your life where you are being impatient and then ask Him to show you how to wait. Have a blessed week-- Janice CR Leadership

Guidelines are there for a reason

Anyone who has participated in a Step Study or a small group through Celebrate Recovery has heard the five small-group guidelines. They’re supposed to be read aloud before each meeting starts, just to remind everyone or to inform any newcomers.

Most of the guidelines are obvious and make perfect sense on the first reading. Anonymity is vital and as people who are submitting to God as our Higher Power, we should realize that we are in no more a position to “fix” each other than we are to “fix” ourselves.

There’s one guideline that puzzled and even annoyed me at first, that pesky no. 2.
“There is NO cross talk. Cross talk is when two individuals engage in conversation excluding all others. Each person is free to express his or her feelings without interruptions.”

At first I really didn’t understand the guideline. “Did they seriously need to tell us not to talk to each other while someone was sharing?,” was my thought.

But as the guideline was explained further, I better understood. We aren’t supposed to respond or discuss what someone is sharing as it interrupts their flow and potentially inhibits their sharing. This includes reaching out to offer a supportive touch or even a tissue. “What, we can’t even hand each other a tissue? That’s rude!,” was my next thought.

I decided it would be just “one of those” rules that a person follows for the group’s greater good even if the person doesn’t agree.

As time went on, however, I came to not only understand but appreciate this guideline of no “cross talk.” For one, the obvious reason is that it allows the person to share without interruption. It’s easy for anyone to feel like they can’t share if they fear being interrupted by even a well-meaning group member.

But what about the emotional support? Small groups are divided between men and women. Women tend to be the more touchy-feely type of supporters. I came to realize that it was a comfort that we weren’t allowed to reach out and offer verbal or physical support when a person was sharing. I found this comforting because when there was a time I might have normally wanted the supportive gestures and didn’t receive them, it was because of the guidelines and not because the other people didn’t care. Can you imagine how hurtful it would be to feel the need for such support but not receive it, even as others in the group may have received the support? That’s a breeding ground for worry and negative feelings that are not productive in a recovery environment.

CR Attendee

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flame of fire

Psalm 141:1-10
A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil,
to take part in wicked deeds
with men who are evildoers;
let me not eat of their delicacies.

5 Let a righteous man [a] strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;

6 their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,
and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.

7 They will say, "As one plows and breaks up the earth,
so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave. [b] "

8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD;
in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.

9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
from the traps set by evildoers.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.


Did you know that on average a person opens his or her mouth approx 700 times a day to speak. I personally might exceed that number some days. :)
David in the Psalms asks God to keep him from speaking evil. Amazingly enough even under persecution David asks for this to His Father. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ kept silent before his accusers in His last days on this earth. There is great power in the tongue and James even refers to it as a flame of fire. Our prayer needs to be to God, "Lord, please guard our words so we might bring honor to Your name." Remember, evil acts begin with evil desires.
Sometimes we can fall into the belief that it is enough to ask God to keep us away from temptation, make us stronger or change our circumstances, but more importantly it is good to ask for Him to change us on the inside at the level of our desire within our heart.
How do you take criticism? Do you get defensive? Do you come out swinging at any opposition in view point or difference, before even considering the words being given to you? Are you missing an opportunity to grow? Sometimes we can miss the opportunity and become more concerned with looking good than in growing in His wisdom from wise counsel or criticism from a brother or sister. I would rather have a criticism than false flattery as the scripture says. (paraphrased)
David says to be rebuked by a Godly person is a kindness. I, like you and most everyone else don't like criticism, but everyone can benefit from it when it is given wisely and taken in humbly.
David gives us words on how to take criticism.
1. Don't refuse it.
2. Consider it a kindness
3. Keep quiet, don't fight back.

Putting these into practice will help us control how we will react to criticism making it productive rather than destructive no matter how it was originally intended. Consider today how you might put these into action, maybe even one of the three so that you might become a little better in how you receive criticism and not miss an opportunity to grow.
Lord bless you today friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

God Is With Us

The sign: Immanuel here predicted has come to earth, ascended to heaven and will come again. Yet through his spirit, he is continually here - God is with us. At this time of the year, our most wonderful beloved gift of all is Jesus Christ. This has been one my favorite things to read as I think about the precious gift and what the scripture tell about him:
Genesis- Jesus is the ram at Abraham’s altar
Exodus - He is the pass over lamb
Leviticus - He is the High Priest
Numbers - The Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night
Deuteronomy - He is the City of our Refuge
Joshua - The Scarlet Thread out Rehab’s window
Judges - Our Righteous Judge Ruth - Our Kinsman Redeemer
I & II Samuel - Our Trusted Prophet
Kings and Chronicles - He is our Reigning King
Ezra _ The Faithful Scribe
Nehemiah - He is the Rebuilder of everything broken
Esther - Mordecai - Sitting Faithful at the gate
Job - He is our Redeemer that liveth
Psalms - He is the Good Shepherd and I shall never want
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes - He is our wisdom
Song of Solomon - He is the Beautiful Bridegroom
Isaiah - He is the Suffering Servant
Jeremiah, Lamentations - Jesus is the Weeping Prophet
Ezekiel - He is the Wonderful Four Faced Man
Daniel - He is the fourth man in the Fiery Furnace
Hosea - He is My Love that is Forever Faithful
Joel - He Baptizes us with the Holy Spirit
Amos - He is our Burden Bearer
Obadiah - Our Savior Jonah - He is the Great Missionary who took the Word of God into the World
Micah- He is the Messiah with the Beautiful Feet
Nahum - He is the Avenger
Habakkuk - He is the Watchman that is ever Praying for Revival
Zephaniah - He is the Lord Mighty to Save
Haggai - He is the Restorer of our lost Heritage
Zechariah - He is our Fountain Malachi - He is the Son of Righteousness with Healing in His Wings
Matthew - He is the Christ - The Son of the Living God
Mark - He is the Miracle Worker
Luke - He is the Son of Man
John - He is the Door which every man must enter
Acts - He is the Shining Light
Romans - He is our Justifier
I Corinthians - He is Our Resurrection
II Corinthians - He is our Sin Bearer
Galatians - He Redeems us from the Law
Ephesians - He is our Unsearchable Riches
Philippians - He is the Supplier of Our Every Need
Colossians - He is the Fullness of the God Head Body
I & II Thessalonians - He is Our Soon Coming King
I & II Timothy - He is the Mediator between God and Man
Titus - He is our Blessed Hope
Philemon - He is A friend that sticks closer than a Brother
Hebrews - He is The Blood of the Everlasting Covenant
James - He is the Lord who heals the sick
I,II,III John - Jesus is Tenderness of Love
Jude - He is the Lord coming with 10,000 Saints
Revelation - Lift Up Your Eyes Church For Your Redemption Draweth Nigh
HE IS KING OF KINGS LORD OF LORDS

Father: You are Immanuel - you are God Almighty, God with us. As we celebrate this Christmas season, we come and worship you . Let our worship be out of love and adoration for you. Thank you for your precious gift - Your Son Jesus. Help us not to ever forget the true meaning of this wonderful gift. Thank you. Father we honor you because your words are always true, and your promises are sure. They may be along time coming, but we still have Immanuel God with Us. Help us to stay focused on “ The Reason For The Season.” We ask these things in your precious name. Amen;

As you walk on this journey of life : Consider how blessed we are because of Immanuel -- Jesus is always with us and will never leave us or forsake us. Have a Blessed Week and Merry Christmas - Janice- Encourager Coach FBC CR

Friday, December 18, 2009

Giving: defined by Jesus

From Monica- Encourager Coach-
As Believers, We Are God’s Gift to Jesus – What a Blessed Thought!!!
In my study of the apostle John this year in Bible Study Fellowship, I was amazed when I learned that I’m actually a gift from Father God to my Lord, His Son, Jesus… In this “season of giving” I thought how appropriate to dwell on that idea. Just like faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a gift to us, we’re also gifts to Him … gifts that are far more precious than gold, or silver, and sweeter than honey (like it says in Psalm 19). Below is an excerpt of some really excellent commentary taken from www.biblegateway.com. It also speaks of how we are always working out our salvation. I love knowing that He who sovereign to save us is certainly sovereign over our sanctification, too… Thank the good Lord for His work in us, Amen! He IS our perfect model of discipleship. Hope you enjoy reading this…
John 6:35-40 (New International Version)
Jesus the Bread of Life
35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Commentary (taken from www.Biblegateway.com):
The Father is the God who wills salvation, and Jesus is the agent of that will (vv. 37-40). Jesus begins with God's grace, that is, his act of giving: All that the Father gives me will come to me (v. 37). We just heard of the Father as the one giving them true bread from heaven (v. 32), and now the Father gives disciples to Jesus (cf. 17:2, 6, 9, 24). We are the Father's gift to his Son (cf. Loyd 1936:89)! Again the Father is seen to be the source of all. In one sense believers come to the Father through the Son (cf. 14:6), but in another sense they were already the Father's before they became disciples of Jesus. At this point we are at the edge of a great mystery, peering into the ineffable realms of eternity. Here we have a clear affirmation of divine sovereignty. If this text were all we had in this Gospel on this topic, then we would be confronted with pure and simple determinism. We have already noted, however, that the teaching in John's Gospel is more complex than that.
This text also affirms that no one who is to come to the Son will fail to do so. Yet deeper comfort is conveyed when Jesus adds, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away (v. 37). The combination of all in the first part of the verse and will never drive away in the second part of the verse (very emphatic in the Greek; cf. Wallace 1996:468) has made this text the source of great comfort to many believers. Some, however, have misused it, as though a someone's one-time decision for Jesus guarantees a ticket into heaven, assuring salvation no matter how ungodly a life one then lives. We are not to sin that grace may abound (Rom 6:1)! Salvation is a matter of sharing in God's life through an intimate relationship with him. The one who has such a relationship will not live a life characterized by contempt and rebellion, even though we all have pockets of resistance as we live out the war between flesh and Spirit (Gal 5). Our assurance is not in our decision to follow Jesus, but in the graciousness and faithfulness of the Father and the Son who hold fast to those who are of God.
But how do I know whether or not I am one of those who are of God? Any number of people have been driven to despair by this question. The teaching of the Bible on assurance is many sided, but at the end of the day it comes down to trusting God for our salvation. Since we know he wills all to be saved we can be sure that we are included. The only way for that salvation to be effectual in a person's life is by God's grace. So we trust him for that grace, and we live our lives accordingly. In this way our assurance is complete because our confidence is entirely in him. Our job is to receive, trusting him for both the ability to receive and the obedience that is part of the life of salvation. The Christian life is both a resting in God and a supreme effort.
The reason Jesus will not drive away any that the Father gives him is because he has not come to do his own will but the will of him who sent him (v. 38). Jesus' complete obedience is fundamental to his relationship with the Father. In this he is the model of true discipleship.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Praying the Scriptures

Has your heart been heavy this week? Some have lost a job, some have been ill and some have been laid off their job, some are struggling financially and are having other issues in their lives. Last week it broke my heart to hear some of the things that people had told me. All I could think about was encouraging them to stand firm in their faith and lay it before the feet of the Lord. I encouraged them to take a chapter of scripture and to pray it back to the Lord as worship to him. It is sometimes hard to worship when there are so many tough things going on. I followed my own advice and looked at Psalm 119. When you worship the Most High God, we thank him for who he is and what he has done for us. It also reaffirms his promises and loving care for us. I just wanted to share with you what I came up with - God is Mighty--thank him for helping us, giving us his word and walking with us through whatever it is we are going through today. He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. He preserves our lives according to his word. He gives us wisdom and knowledge in understanding his word. He never backs down or forgets his promises and his love is never ending. We are always on his mind. He gives us peace when everything looks like it will never get better. He is our portion all the time. He is patient, gracious and sustains us with his love. He upholds us with his Righteous right hand. He is good and what he does is good. He sees the big picture and knows what is best for us. Thank him for by his hands we were formed. Thank him for being faithful when sometimes we are not. He is trustworthy. His word is eternal. Thank him that you belong to him. Tell him how sweet his words are to you. His words will be a light unto your feet and a light on your path. He is our sustainer and does not leave us or forsake us. Thank him for acting and giving us just what we need at the right time. He is worth more than silver or gold. His face shines upon his servants. He offers and gives us hope. He is our deliver and redeemer. Thank him that he keeps your feet from stumbling. His hand is always ready to help us. Are you asking him that you may live to praise him? Are you telling him that he alone is worthy of all of your praise and worship? There are not adequate enough words to describe him -- give it your best try. Worship him in the peaceful times and in the difficult times. Recognize him for who he is, Almighty, Most Holy, Perfect and Sovereign Lord. Thank him--he is Eternal, Powerful and we seem so frail compared to him. So I am asking you go with a grateful heart--he already knows all about what it is that you need, what your circumstances are, and how you are feeling. Thank him for who he is and all that he does for you. This is your spiritual act of worship. The things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. Go to his word and pray it back in worship to the Most Awesome God. It may not change your circumstances, but it will be a little easier to bear and it will help you to remember all the things, promises and help that our God is so able to do for us.
Father, When we get pinned to the wall of life through no fault of our own -- there are times we are not able to do anything about it. Only you can help. I thank you that when we cry out to you, that you are quick to respond. As we search in your word, as an act of worship to you, may we take your word and say it back to you, and with thankful hearts, give us ears to hear and eyes to see your love and gentle care for us during these times. It is in your name we ask these things. Amen
Sometimes it is hard just to live life. Go to God’s holy word. Meditate on it. Look for who he is and what he does for us. Then offer it back to him in the form of worship.. It will be a sweet aroma to God, and you will have a different out look on your troubles. Have a blessed week. Janice- Encourager Coach

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How does unbelief contribute to the need I feel for pornography?

How does unbelief contribute to the need I feel for pornography?
Feeling the need for sexual titillation is like getting hungry when you haven't had anything to eat for a day. It's as natural as the day is long.

Sex is a desire that rises up within the body and is there. We're just wired for it, men and women (women differently, but not without it). And it wasn't belief or unbelief that made that desire happen. It was hormones that made that happen.

So the first answer to the question, "How does unbelief relate to my sense of need?" is that it doesn't have anything to do with the sense of want or desire. Those desires are just there like your hunger for a steak or your tiredness and desire for sleep.

Now when the question is, What do you do with it?, there unbelief has everything to do with whether you need pornography. I said "titillation" earlier, referring to some kind of sexual feeling—that's natural. But now, if you go towards pornography to do that, that is an issue of sin.

Because pornography is the abuse of women, first of all. And, secondly, it is the illegitimate stoking of a legitimate desire. And God has other ways for that to be satisfied.

Unbelief relates like this: my understanding of faith is that you don't just believe that Jesus as the Son of God died for your sins, rose again, reigns in heaven, is coming again, and forgives my sin. That's only factual. It's also a being satisfied with that, treasuring that. Faith is not just an intellectual assent to doctrines. Faith is an affectional embrace of the Savior for my deepest longings.

Unbelief, on the other hand, is a failure to be satisfied in Jesus. It's a failure to go to him as the living water and the bread from heaven and the light of the world. It's a failure to go to him as a satisfaction that's deep enough and strong enough to satisfy me when I am tempted to go in a sinful direction to indulge an appetite—say, an appetite for companionship or food or sex. The satisfaction of Jesus—that is, belief in Jesus, embracing Jesus, loving Jesus, being content in Jesus—is going to be the power that severs the root of that impulse.

I believe with all my heart that the main way we're sanctified in life is that we conquer the power of the promises of sin with the power of a superior promise, such as Jesus saying, "I'll be with you. I'll love you. I'll take care of you. I'll reward you. You'll know a fellowship with me if you conquer this that you wouldn't have known otherwise."

And who of us has not tasted that, right? We've either yielded and gone into some sexual thing that has made us feel yucky and dirty, and we have to repent and hope we won't do it again; or we've conquered. We've walked into some path of light and holiness and purity, and everything in us is saying, "Yes! O, that I could do that every single time, because it is so much richer and fuller and deeper than the other way!"

If belief includes an affectional embrace of Christ as your deepest satisfaction, then it's going to have a huge effect on whether you embrace pornography.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are you spiritually hungry?

If you're not choosing to spend regular time with God, then you're choosing to die spiritually.
In many cultures, life is centered around food. Very few people in the western world would go for more than 10 or 12 hours without food or drink. Besides the fact that food is built into culture, doing so would make one very hungry.

Many people wouldn't dare going physically hungry; yet they starve themselves spiritually. If you ate food only once a week, you'd certainly die of starvation and malnutrition. Yet countless Christians do exactly that in their spiritual lives.

It is no wonder that Jesus called himself the bread of life (John 6:35). In order to grow spiritually, you must feed on spiritual food -- God's word.

Have the attitude found in Isaiah 26:8: Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. Make it your desire to know God better.

When you regularly spend time with God -- praying, seeking him, and studying his word -- you will thrive spiritually. Take some advice from the psalmist: Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always (Psalm 105:4).

Make time with God a priority in your live. If you made being well fed spiritually as important as be well fed physically, your relationship with God would thrive.

From "Weekly Wisdom Christ Notes"

The Adversary

Have you ever been involved in doing something, when all of a sudden something pops into your head and you think” where did that come from.? Or have you ever started thinking about certain things in your life or things that have recently happened to you and those voices in your head start saying, worthless, stupid, dumb, unlovable, I am not good enough or there is nothing in me that God or anyone else finds good about me?” What about a subtle thought that gets you to thinking and you know it is not right thinking and it leads you to do something you will be deeply sorry for or regret? I Peter 5:8-9--your adversary the Devil is as a roaring lion walking about, seeking those whom he may devour. Over the past weeks I have been more aware of this than usual. As I have visited with several friends this week, they have spoken things about themselves to me that are out and out lies about themselves. The evil one has been prowling around in the dark looking for ways to use his wiles to disclaim God’s perfect love for us, His forgiveness, mercy and grace. His game plan is to come and steal and take away from us, to torment us and to make us miserable. He is trying his best to divert our attention away from God. He wants to tempt our faith, to make God look less loving, less fair, unkind, unmerciful and take away our hope. Are you aware of his lies? How many times do you find yourself in a self condemning conversation with yourself? Many of us struggle with it and some still struggle with it all the time. Have you told yourself, “ God could never love me, my sins are too horrible to be forgiven, I will never be good enough, there are other people more worthy than me, and so on.” The one I have heard most often this week and has just broken my heart is --” I am not good enough and God just doesn’t love me.” When you stop listening to God and only listen to Satan’s lies-- then what happens is you begin to perceive what he says about you is the truth. What happens then, Satan stands back and laughs at you. You are emotionally hurt, spiritually deceived, you are left with a sense of worthlessness, a feeling of less than, and the inability to see yourself as a child of the Most High God. A child who has been bought with a price, redeemed, saved, justified, loved by The Most Holy God. We can’t stop the adversary from whispering in our ears, but we can refuse to listen. Don’t believe his lies. How quickly we forget that God has given the tools we need to use against this wicked one. Are you in the word daily so that you won’t be fooled? God has given us His Spirit to empower us and His word to strengthen us. James 4:7 --submit yourselves to the Lord, resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Are you comparing all that negativism that you feel to the word of God? We all have had encounters of this kind, but why do we sometimes go back to that “ stinkin thinkin?” When we have stinkin thinkin we are actually saying what God has given us and does for us is of no value. God is perfect and all that he does is perfect. If you think about it, from the very beginning Satan wanted everything that God had-he was selfish, deceitful, and all the ugly things that you can think about. He still wants what belongs to God. As a child of the Most High God you belong to Him. Why do you think that Satan is trying so hard to get at us --he still wants what God has! We cannot physically see him, but he is here. He is still as real today as he was real with Christ in the wilderness. I Peter 5:8 -he is looking for anyone he can devour, II Corinthians 2:11-we are told to be warned against his devices. James 4:7- says to resist him and he will flee. Have you thought about how he is affecting you today? I pray that you begin to recognize those “lies” that he tries to get you to believe. The Most High God has given you the power and authority to rebuke Satan. Don’t let him cause you to take your eyes off God. Be bold, speak with authority to him, call him what he is to his face, liar, deceiver, destroyer, thief, Stop him in his tracks. Take all thoughts captive to the Lord. Tell Satan to leave you alone and to leave in the power of Jesus’ name. Do not be afraid of him or let him destroy with his wiles. We have The Most High, The All Powerful God backing us. Also Satan thinks he is so smart -- the obvious has escaped him -- God is in control and Satan is still going to the pit of eternal fire. Look for the different ways he is affecting you and then do something about it -- act on what you know about God, be in the word, whether your heart and head are together or not about God’s love for and you being good enough, go with your heart, because sometimes your head will deceive you.
Most High God: we are weak and you are strong. Everyday you are faithful to us. Everyday you love us and call us your beloved. Glorious One, help us not to be deceived, Help us to see the deceiver clearly when he comes to call. Help us to submit to you and to resist the evil one, the liar who has come to steal, kill and destroy. Help us to remember your love, goodness mercy and grace. Help us to look past him so that we may see your glorious face. We ask these things in your precious name. Amen.

Fellow believers - my brothers and sisters: as you walk on this journey called life, be sober, be vigilant, your adversary the Devil is walking around watching you, waiting for you to have a moment of weakness to come and visit with you. Have a blessed week. Janice- CR Encourager Coach

Friday, December 4, 2009

Life is not a jar of pickles

Have you ever tried to open a new jar of pickles (or peanut butter!) by yourself only to get frustrated, irritated and defeated?

If you’re anything like me, you try opening the jar using all so-called home remedies. First, your bare hands then with a towel or one of those rubber grippers that are designed for such a purpose. I usually then try running the neck of the glass jar under hot water to help it pop off easier (no idea why this supposedly works, sometimes it’s a miracle cure, sometimes it’s not).

When all the known tricks fail, we usually hand over the offending jar to our spouse or even child to attempt to open. “I give up, you try,” is what I usually say. Then when the other person manages to open the jar, we are grateful but also can’t help but feel like it was a team effort. “I loosened it for you!”

In lesson 15 of the Step Study, we talk about VICTORY:

Voluntarily submit (to every change God wants to make)
Identify which character defects need worked on first
Change your mindset to match your new nature
Turn over your character defects to Christ
One day at a time—that’s how recovery comes, not in one magical moment
Recovery is a process and we should rejoice in steady progress-not strive for perfection
You must change by humbling yourself and asking GOD to remove all your shortcomings.

Something that hit me during this lesson is that life is not a jar of pickles. It really doesn’t work when we try to solve issues ourselves, get worked up, screw it up—then decide to give God a try. Those of us in recovery have a history of doing that, even if we learn to give something over to God we often try to “loosen it for him first.” It’s only when things get completely out of hand that we realize letting God take care of it is a good idea.

Well, life is not a jar of pickles (or peanut butter for that matter). God doesn’t need our help to loosen it and it would be a lot less painful and frustrating for us if we don’t try to deal with it first.

One definition of humility is realizing we can’t manage our lives at all, that we are God’s tool for doing the “hands and feet” work in our lives. To me, true humility means turning to God first instead of taking the opportunity to screw things up on my own first.

CR Attendee

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sandpaper People

I bet that almost everyone has used a sheet of sandpaper at one time or another. Sandpaper has that grit on it that is used to remove small amounts of material on surfaces that usually take something off or make it smoother. I have had difficult people in my life and I call them my “sandpaper people.” I bet you all have at least have one or encountered one. They are the “self righteous ones”, “the criticizer”, “the sherman tank- they run right over you”, “the know it all, “ the instigator”, “the entrapper,” “the bully,” “ fault finding critics,” “ the excuse giver,” and “ the blabber mouths.” Any of these sound familiar to you? I once heard an old wives tale -- the things that you find so abrasive about these people may be some of the same traits that you might have. How do you respond and react to these people? This week I have pondered on why we encounter them. Does God use these people to “grate” on us for a reason? One of the things that I thought about was Eph.6:18 -- pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying. Phil. 2:13 --it is God who is at work within you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Prov. 15:23 - Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
God made all people --even the “sandpaper ones.” He did not promise that we would not encounter them. Not everyone is going to like everybody and we will find those that can get along with everyone but you. Most of the time it is not you -- it is them. They blame everyone else for all their problems, they are nit-pickers, unhappy with themselves or they are hurting people. Sometimes they are so impossible and these are the things they do well. How do your handle these people? What is it that God wants you to do? Stay calm--do not use angry words and for heaven’s sake girls -- don’t cry. This only encourages them to act worse than they already have. Jesus was calm with all the sandpaper people he encountered. You can not deal with them the same way you deal with other people. Do you remind yourself that this person’s opinion may not be the truth? Did everyone who knew the truth even believe Jesus? You do not have to defend yourself --Jesus didn’t.. He knew that no matter what he said or did it would not matter. Learn to be a manager of yourself. Trust God with the situation and the person. The “ sandpaper” person will never take responsibility for “ their part” because they do not have any flaws and they are unable to recognize them. Can your actions and the way you live your life in any way be a witness to them? God has placed them in our path watching us and how we deal with them. I want to be an example of tolerance, patience, humility and kindness. I don’t want them to see me at all. I want them to see the one living in me --the one who is in control of me. Most of the time, these are things that sandpaper people are not good at. Can I be understanding? It certainly won’t change the way the sandpaper people are, but it will help you deal with them. God is using them in our lives to show us things about ourselves and is sanding away at us to take all those little nicks and hard edges on us to make us smooth. It may be than you are one of those “sandpaper” people and you do not even realize it. Take time to check to see how you are reacting to people. Look at the expressions on their faces, listen to the words that come out of your mouth and the tone of your voice. Are people avoiding you so they don’t have to have any type of discussion with you? Or ask yourself this question--if Jesus was standing right beside you when you talk to others, would he be embarrassed or pleased by your words and actions? Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable to you Lord. Psalm 19:14.
Heavenly Father: You are the creator of all people. We are not able to see into their heart like you do. We cannot discern why they do the things that they do. Hurting people hurt people. Give us gracious loving hearts to deal with these people. Father we have discovered that life is more satisfying and people feel better about themselves when they show love rather than judge, when they care instead of criticize. Give us tender hearts and show us what we can learn about and from these “ sandpaper people.” Father if we find that we are one of these “sandpaper” people ourselves, show us so that we can change our ways. If we are --let us go to those people we have offended and ask for their forgiveness. We ask these things in your name--Amen
Leadership: as you go about your week take a look at your “sandpaper people” in a different light “God’s light.” Have a blessed week. Janice Encourager Coach-Team

Saturday, November 28, 2009

God Wants You To Know

On this day, God wants you to know...
... that faith is exactly what it takes to get through uncertainty. Faith is not necessary when you know how things are going to work out, - that's knowledge. It's in the time of unknowing that having faith is what sees you through to the other side. Faith is what gives you strength. Faith is that light in your heart that keeps on shining even when it's all darkness outside. Now is the time to keep that faith alive!
From "God Wants You To Know"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WWJD

I have heard the phrase WWJD (What would Jesus do) and while on the surface that is a good model to keep us on the right track, if we do it just as a modification of our behavior we are going to slip back into old ways. When we look at the hope of the return of Christ, it should motivsate us to live for Him. This means being mentally alert, thinking clearly in our recovery walk, maintain disipline, exercising self control regularly, and stay focused and looking forward.
I have to constantly ask myself, am I ready to meet Christ? Am I living as His obedient child? or am I doing it Rodney's way?
Isnt it great to know He is a God of mercy and justice who cares personally for each of His followers. He does expect us to imitate Him by following His high moral standards and by being both merciful and just. Peter's words from the book of 1 Peter 1 means that all parts of our lives and character should be in the process of becoming conformed both inwardly and outwardly to God's standards. After we have committed our life to Him and changed as a result of drawing near to Him, we can sometimes feel a pull and a temptation to want back into our old dysfunctional ways of thinking, thought patterns and habits. Peter tells us we should be like Christ, holy in everything we do. Holiness means being totally dedicated and commited to God. To be set aside for His special use and purpose here on earth and set apart from sin and its influence. We are called to be differnet and set apart, not blending in with the crowd, yet not just for the sake of being different. His qualities inside us make us different and should naturally overflow from what is happening inside of us. Our focus and priorities must be His focus and His priorities. This is in direct contrast to our old ways. We cannot become holy on our own (thank goodness) but He gives us His Holy Sprit to help us obey and gives us power to overcome the sin and battles in our life. We sometimes can fall into the excuses and justify slipping back into sin cause "we can't help it". But we need to instead rely on His power to free us from sins grip in our life.
It is not about looking the part or looking perfect or healthyi, but it is about being the part and being so that we can do as a natural overflow of what He has made us to be. Maybe it should read WWJCMIFHG. What will Jesus change me into for His glory. Not as catchy though I guess. :)
CR Ministries FBC

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Lord: Thank You!

Thanksgiving is that time when families get together, there is plenty of food, football and naps. The women have a great time of visiting and then comes the cleanup. Then comes that feeling of “ Oh I ate too much, and I don’t want to see any turkey for a long time.” In most homes this is usually a tradition. Exodus 12:14, speaks of a tradition of the Passover that was to be held every year. Don’t you think that God endorses traditions especially if they have spiritual significance? Traditions promote togetherness and help us to remember all that God has done for us. One of the greatest traditions ( inheritance) that we can leave our family and succeeding generations is a tradition of frequently reminding them of God’s blessings, care, provision, and presence in our lives. Duet. 4:9 - Watch out be very careful never forget what you have seen what the Lord has done for you -- do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live. Pass them on to your children and your grand children.
Why should we give thanks to the Lord? I Chron. 16:34--Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever. I Corn. 15:57--He has given us victory over death through Jesus Christ. For answered prayer. I Chron. 16:18 - give thanks and proclaim God’s greatness. Psalm 111:1-2 - Praise the Lord. I will thank the Lord with all my heart. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Col. 2:7 - Let your lives over flow with thanksgiving for all he has done.
How do you show your thankfulness? Are you singing praises to the Lord? When you come before him are you coming with thanksgiving and praise. It is good to proclaim the goodness of the Lord. Do you find yourself in a constant state of thankfulness or do you complain, find fault? Only you can do it -- expressing gratitude to God and to others. Are you taking the time to do it? Are you finding it hard to do because you are so wrapped up in what God is not doing for you, so that you fail to see the gifts that God has given you? Life, food, a family, friends, health and work? I Chron. 16:7-36 - Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name - make known his deeds among the people. Do you remember all that God has done for you -- do you tell others? Are you thankful to God for his love, forgiveness, salvation, patience, tenderness and kindness, and for him not giving us what we deserve? You can always think of something to be thankful about. My grandfather ( who was blind ) - got up each morning and thanked his God for the beautiful sunshine that he felt. He thanked God for the beautiful day -- he used to tease us and say another day above ground was a beautiful day. Are you thankful for a warm place to sleep, running water in your house, a refrigerator you can go to, that first cup of coffee, a child’s sticky kiss, a hug, or a phone call from an friend, an encouraging word, your personal relationship with Christ, how about living forever with your heavenly Father. Take time everyday to thank God for something. You can’t learn to be thankful if you are always complaining. If you begin to practice today, tomorrow and the next day, who knows it may become a natural thing for you to do.
Janice- Female CR Encourager Coach

Friday, November 20, 2009

Watch...

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. - Frank Outlaw

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankfulness

I AM THANKFUL:
FOR THE WIFE
WHO SAYS IT'S HOT DOGS TONIGHT, BECAUSE SHE IS HOME WITH ME,
AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

FOR THE HUSBAND
WHO IS ON THE SOFA BEING A COUCH POTATO, BECAUSE HE IS HOME WITH ME
AND NOT OUT AT THE BARS.

FOR THE TEENAGER
WHO IS COMPLAINING ABOUT DOING DISHES BECAUSE IT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME, NOT ON THE STREETS.

FOR THE TAXES I PAY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM EMPLOYED .

FOR THE MESS TO CLEAN AFTER A PARTY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.

FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.

FOR MY SHADOW THAT WATCHES ME WORK
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE

FOR A LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING,
WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING,
AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME

FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING
I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT
BECAUSE IT MEANS WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

FOR THE PARKING SPOT
I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING
AND I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH TRANSPORTATION .

FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM WARM.

FOR THE LADY BEHIND ME IN CHURCH
WHO SINGS OFF KEY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I CAN HEAR.

FOR THE PILE OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.

FOR WEARINESS AND ACHING MUSCLES
AT THE END OF THE DAY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.

FOR THE ALARM THAT GOES OFF
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM ALIVE.

AND I AM THANKFUL:
FOR THE crazy people I work with
BECAUSE they make work interesting and fun!

Who made this river?

There are prophecies dealing with Egypt's judgement in the Old Testament. Egypt had great gifts and blessings. The Nile was their pride and joy and rather than thanking God for what they had been given, they claimed "the Nile is mine, I made it." Now before we judge the Egyptians for such silliness, we have to think about what we do in our life. We might say things like, "This house is mine", I built this church, ministry, business, organization or reputation from the ground up". OR "I brought myself to the place I am today on my own." "I raised my kids the right way and put them through college" Yikes!
Sometimes we take for granted what God has blessed us with thinking we did it ourselves. These kind of statements reveal our pride and where our heart is. There is no denying that we put forth a lot of hard work and effort as we should in life, but God provided the resources, abilities, energy, and opportunities to make it all happen. Instead of conveying what we perceive to be our own greatness, we should display and shout His greatness for what He is doing and give Him the credit. From Ez 29:3
Thank You Father for what You have created in Celebrate Recovery and may we never forget that You are the one that has built this globally.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Key Chain of Recovery

A few months ago, I picked up two more Celebrate Recovery chips. One was a 30-day chip for my original issue and the other was for a secondary issue that I discovered in my life during the initial stages of my recovery.

I choose to keep my CR chips on my key chain, both as a reminder but also, quite frankly, so I don't lose them. When I tried to put these two new chips on my chain, they simply wouldn't go on. I started to feel a small amount of despair but I was determined to keep the chips and keep them in that spot. That's when I started analyzing why they wouldn't go on. It wasn't because I couldn't figure it out, it was because I had too many things on the chain.

So I started looking at what all I had on there. What I found surprised me. I had: two keys to where I used to live; a key to my parents' house two states away (that don’t even work anymore because the locks have been changed); a key to some friends’ house that again, don’t work because they have recently changed the locks; one key to where we live now, two keys to a master lock, a key to my old mailbox and my car key. WHEW! I started evaluating what I really needed or didn't need. At first I just took off the key to my old place that I knew for sure was for that apartment (the other key I was pretty sure was for that apartment but I waited to test it at my new place to make sure it wasn’t for the new back door).

The chips still didn't fit.

So I looked at the keychain more closely. That's when it hit me. I don't need the key to my friends’ house because for one thing, it doesn’t even work. But quite frankly, part of my recovery has involved greatly loosening the ties I have with them so having a key to their home no longer seemed appropriate. So I took that off. I then saw the key to my parents’ house and thought, why keep a key to a house that I only visit once a year? So I took off that key. The other keys to my old apartment were easy so I took them off too.

I looked at what I had in my hand and somehow it all became symbolic to me. In my hand I was holding keys to the past. Keys to a past where many good things happened, but also many painful things. By holding on to those specific pasts, I was holding on to the pain.

So I threw them away. All of them. The only keys that are on my keychain now are for our current home, my car and the master lock.

Oh, and now not only is my keychain a ton lighter, all my recovery chips fit just fine...with room for more.
CR attendee

Milky Toast?

I read this passage by John Eldredge from his book Fathered by God in one of my devotional readings today. It has challenged my, what might be called my milk-toasty, view of God today, thought I would pass it on… Male Encourager Coach CR NWA

The Spirit Of The Lord Came Upon Him
11/08/2009

The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?” “We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.” Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.” They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.” “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.” (Judg. 15:9–16 NIV)

A Sunday school story? Perhaps. Though I have never heard the lesson explained, “And this, children, is what happens when the Spirit of God comes upon a man.” Yet that is clearly the lesson of the passage. Samson becomes a great and terrible warrior when, and only when, the Spirit of God comes upon him. The rest of the time he’s just short of an idiot. What does this story tell us about the God who the Spirit is? And it’s not just Samson, my friends. “So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon,” and Gideon went to war (Judg. 6:34 NASB). “Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah,” and he went to war (Judg. 11:29 NASB). “And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David,” and one of the first things he did was kill Goliath (1 Sam. 16:13 NASB). I repeat my question: What does that tell us about the God who the Spirit is?

Fighting the pleasure of sin

How do you fight the pleasure of sin? I'll tell you: with another pleasure. Holiness is not attained, at least not in any lasting, life-changing way, merely through prohibitions, threats, fear, or shame-based appeals. Holiness is attained by believing in, trusting, banking on, resting in, savoring, and cherishing God's promise of a superior happiness that comes only by falling in love with Jesus. The power that the pleasures of sin exert on the human soul will ultimately be overcome only by the superior power of the pleasures of knowing and being known, loving and being loved by God in Christ. (Sam Storms, Pleasures Evermore, p. 20)

I love my job!

Have you ever heard or have you ever been responsible for saying, “ I LOVE MY JOB .’
Do you like your job? Do you do your job well because your heart belongs to Jesus?
Is your work your worship? Do you have a high view of your work? Have your ever thought of your work an act of worship to the Most High God? Do you look at work as trivial and insignificant? Romans 12:1, Colossians 3:22-24 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, for the Lord and not for man.
A woman walked into a store and was looking for some jeans. She was approached by a young man with a goatee, several visible tattoos , and purple streaks in his hair. She thought “ oh man.” The young man was pleasant, helpful, kind and patient. He brought her several pairs of jeans to try on, hung up all the jeans that she tried on, and did whatever he could to serve her. His behavior indicated that he liked his job and he enjoyed serving others no matter what their opinion was of him. He was not worried about what people perceived or how they saw him -- he did his job with excellence. Do you do your job with excellence?
What are you like when you are working? Do you dump your work on others when you could have done it yourself? Do you complain about everything? Everyone? Do you really see the big picture? Are you negative? Do you make sure that EVERONE knows how much you hate your job? Do you make other people uncomfortable by not doing what is right--acting like you are the boss? Do people avoid you because they don’t want to deal with you?
If you bow your work before Jesus, it is an act of worship. Every detail of our work can be worship -- if we bow it down to the One we love. Doing your job in such a way and to the best of our ability so that He may be glorified. Are we not called to be worshippers first and workers second? Aren’t we supposed to work cheerfully and diligently? Are we not “ employed” by Christ first and then the company that we work for? I Corinthians 4:2 -- Are you being found faithful in your work? God’s standards are different than ours. God plainly says, “that if we are faithful in our work, we will be significant in his sight.” He did not specifically say what types of work -- he said “ faithful in your work.”
Every detail of our work can be as worship -- if we bow it to the One whom we love. Doing each thing we do at work, to the best of our ability so that He may be glorified. Are you saying to God each morning “ Help me to do my work to the best of my ability so that You may be glorified.” It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, sit at a computer all day, work at McDonalds, work in a nursing home, work as a cashier, an executive, a person who changes oil in a car, day care worker, or a warehouse worker--offer all of your work as an act of worship to the Most High God. This is taking the part of your life “work” and placing it on the altar as an offering to our God because we love Him. To work is to worship and to worship is to work. Wouldn’t it make a big difference at work? Maybe it could be contagious!

Father: you are alone are worthy of all our worship and praise. Sometimes we don’t even think about the things that may bring praise and worship to you. Work does matter to you. How many opportunities have we missed out on by not making our work a sacrifice to you --laying it on the altar. Help us not to feel discouraged before we walk into the door of our work. Help us each day to say-- I want to work from my heart for you God. You are the one I am truly working to please and my lasting reward comes from you. Please help me so that I may do my best to bring praise and honor to you, so that not only may I serve you well, but also the ones that I have been entrusted to work for. Let all that I do worship you.
We ask this in your most precious name. Amen.
From Janice- CR Encourager Coach