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