Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"What Drives Me?"

By Carol Holmstrom, National Assimilation Coach, September 11, 2017


"So many of our prayers are self-centered grocery lists of personal cravings that have no bigger agenda than to make our lives a little more comfortable... They are motivated more by awe of ourselves and our pleasures than by a heart-rattling, satisfaction-producing awe of the Redeemer to whom we are praying."
  -Paul David Trip     

I read this in a book...and it shook me to my core. How many times have I used God in my prayers for this exact thing? How can I approach the creator of the universe with such apathy, such ungratefulness that all I do is ask for stuff? Why do I lose the awe of who He is and what He's done for me? I get to witness miracles every day in myself and others because of who He is...and yet...

Then I read Psalm 145. It was like these words were speaking directly to me and in a way I've never heard them before. I've read this Psalm, several times actually. But this time...this should be my life's grand agenda. It led me to write out my own personal prayer that has nothing to do with what I want and everything to do with who He is.

You are holy. You are worthy. I declare that You are good and I'll praise You more and more. I stand in awe of Your grace and mercy. Your love has no end. I will praise You ever more.

Ultimately, my worship and awe of Him should drive me every day. It should be the reason I get out of bed. The reason I go to work. The reason I smile or cry or laugh. The reason I love my spouse and my kids and my friends and random strangers. The point is, it should be THE reason I live. Too often I lose sight of that. I get bogged down in the struggles or the tears or the things I don't understand. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed or maybe a little ungrateful, take a look at Psalm 145. It just might change your perspective.
Psalm 145:
Great Is the Lord
[a] A Song of Praise. Of David.
145 I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your[b] mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.][c]
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Please click HERE to listen to "You are Holy" by Michael W. Smith

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Never Lose Sight



When you look at this image, what is the first thing that you notice?  The chaos of twigs and branches in the trees?  The calm, smooth surface of the lake?  The little red/orange kayak sitting on the other side of the lake?  This is a picture I took at our local lake.  What I didn't notice until recently, is the cross.  Look to the left side of the picture.  See how the trees and their branches work together to form a cross?  Once you see it, you will always see it.  Sure, you may still see all of the other details, but you will always know that the cross is there.  (By the way, feel free to save it and use it however you wish.  God is a pretty awesome artist! I just snapped the photo.)

Can you think of the times in your life that things seemed pretty chaotic like the trees and branches going every which way, pretty calm like the smooth surface of the water, or relaxed like the kayak on the other side?  God is and always has been there in the midst of it all.  Be encouraged to know that no matter what you've been through, are going through, or what's up ahead, HE KNOWS and will never leave your side.  May we never lose sight of that!  Want to know something else really cool?  Those trees are not chaotic at all.  No, they are in fact leaning on one another, with roots networked TOGETHER.  Pretty neat!  

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, 
I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; 
those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. 
You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them;
 those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; 
it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 41:10-13

They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. 
Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. 
Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:8



Never lose sight of God’s wisdom and knowledge:
    make decisions out of true wisdom, guard your good sense,
And they will be life to your soul
    and fine jewelry around your neck.
Then each one of your steps will land securely on your life journey,
    and you will not trip or fall.

Proverbs 3:21-23


Click HERE to listen to and watch the lyric video to "He Lives" by Chris Tomlin



All for Him,
Kareena Holloway
Fellowship Bible Church
Celebrate Recovery E-Coach​


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Impossible Things


This weeks Fellowship Bible Church Celebrate Recovery Devotional is brought to us by our CR Brother in Christ, Carl K.  Thanks so much Carl!
What are your Impossible Things?
“When I was younger, I did it for a half an hour every day. Sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!” (The Queen from Alice and Wonderland)     

I love this quote from Alice and Wonderland. The movie is strange, the book is strange. Yet it has some quotes and ideas that can easily be applied to life.  Take the quote noted above for example. Believing the impossible is something easily done by a child, but not so much by an adult. Is it because logic takes over and clouds our imagination or our ability to believe? Or is it because we become so jaded by life and its struggles that we can’t see that what seems impossible are really possible?  

During my time visiting prison or mentoring men who have been released from prison, I have heard time and time again them say something like this: “It is impossible for God to love me or change me. My addictions are too strong and my sin too deep. I can’t stop and praying to God won’t help.”  The sad thing for me is I have said this too about myself. Yet, God’s word says it’s not true.  One of the most quoted verses is Matthew 19:26 – “With God, all things are possible”. It’s used anytime someone wants to refute a comment from someone else that their life is in an impossible situation. Yes, it’s true, but what does that verse really mean?

Jesus made this comment to explain to his disciples that while the heart of man made it impossible for them to get to heaven on their own, all was not hopeless. Because, with God, Jesus noted anything and all things are possible. You see, the rich young man had just come to Jesus seeking to justify himself. He wanted to show that he followed the law and was a “good person”. Jesus saw right through this to his heart. He told him in the previous verses to give away his riches, follow Him, and he would have riches in heaven. But this made the young man sad because he was rich and loved the life his money gave him.  So he walked away from Jesus. After he left, Jesus went on to give the analogy that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. I don’t believe He was saying being rich was evil. I think He was saying those who value their wealth above all else would struggle to accept Christ as Savior.

This was the rich young man’s problem – He wanted to be self-justified. He did not want God’s Grace to be his justification.  He could not give up his love of his wealth and put God in first place. His “addiction” to his wealth was the “impossible thing” for him to change in his life. So he turned his back on God’s Grace and walked away to his eternity, a separation from God forever.

For those with any kind of addiction, freedom from them seems like an “impossible thing”.  That is where Celebrate Recovery comes in.  It is a place where people can come together to find fellow strugglers who have come to believe the “impossible things” are possible.
Here, people find hope, love acceptance, and biblically based truths that help them to see that the impossible things are possible! These truths are derived in part from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and focus on our spirituality, God’s Mercy, and God’s Compassion. At CR they hear testimonies of life-change brought about by a relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is where God’s Grace and God’s love is evident. It is where the seemingly impossible dream of freedom from addiction becomes a reality.

  • What’s your impossible dream?
  • What freedom from hurts and addictions will never come true?

If you have these impossible dreams, it is time to see them come true.

Join a Celebrate Recovery Group and believe in the impossible. For “With God, all things are possible”. Come join CR and “Don’t leave till your miracle happens.”

Thanks again Carl!  Click HERE to listen to Impossible Things by Chris Tomlin, featuring Danny Gokey.

All for Him,
Kareena Holloway
Fellowship Bible Church
Celebrate Recovery E-Coach
In the desert, He was there.  On the mountain, He was there.
In the valley deep He was there.  
Everywhere I look, my God is there.  --"He Was There" --Crowder

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Character


Have you ever been to a sermon or a motivational meeting where you feel like the person who is speaking must have been getting some inside information on YOU to know what to talk about?  No?  Just me?  Okay, well, I'll tell you what happened in my case then!  Last week, at a meeting my husband and I were at, the speaker began talking about the importance of displaying God's Character in every situation.  Did you catch that?  EVERY situation!  The speaker even used examples such as getting frustrated with other drivers on the road, disappointed at a sports game, angry at a bad decision made, etc etc!  




As God's Word says in Colossians 3:17, "Whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  WOW, so there was a reality check I needed!  

In every situation, I need to ask myself: 
  • Am I displaying God's character of grace, patience, truth, mercy, love, kindness, sacrifice,  forgiveness, and generosity..just to name a few?

"..Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:30-31

God is so good all of the time.  Being human, I know that I'm going to mess up and not show God's character when I should.  I am so thankful for those characteristics of God that He will show me in those times.  
  • Which characteristics do you think you could show more of?

Click HERE to listen to Jesus This is You --by Chris Tomlin

Have a great week, Forever Family!

All for Him,
Kareena Holloway
Fellowship Bible Church
Celebrate Recovery Encourager Coach

Monday, August 21, 2017

Am I Listening?

My husband and I got our Amateur Radio (otherwise known as HAM Radio) Licences over 20 years ago. One of the most important benefits to having a HAM Radio is that if cell phones and landlines ever stop working, HAM Radio's can be used to make phone calls and for general communication. In order to communicate in any situation, I need to be able to LISTEN. If I am pressing the Transmit button constantly, I cannot HEAR anything the other side is saying!!

So how can I relate this to my prayer time with God and even in my relationships with others? It's a question that I must ask myself often, and maybe you can ask yourself the same thing:


  • Am I listening?
  • Am I slowing down and quieting myself to hear God's answer?
  • Am I a good listener, or am I doing most of the talking in my relationships with others??


Click HERE to listen to Word of God Speak by Mercyme

All for Him,
Kareena Holloway
Fellowship Bible Church
Celebrate Recovery Encourager Coach


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Uncomfortable Growth


I knew I was going to fall eventually. It was inevitable. The combination of tennis shoes, snow, and a steep upward slope just didn’t look promising.

My husband, Kevin, and I were on a belated honeymoon in Estes Park, Colorado for a week of hiking in the mountains. When planning the trip, I had envisioned perfect spring weather -- 65 degrees and clear skies for all the trails we wanted to explore in Rocky Mountain National Park. I couldn’t wait to get away from the hustle and bustle of life to reflect on God’s beautiful creation; after all, the mountains of Colorado had always held a special place in my heart as a place of spiritual retreat and healing.

But as we approached our first trail (comfortingly named “Glacier Gorge” -- what were we thinking?) two things became clear: snow still covers the Rocky Mountains in May, and Kevin had overestimated my hiking abilities. To him, the snowy 1000-foot elevation climb looked exciting. To me, it looked… not exciting.

“Umm, Kevin?” I said as he forged ahead towards the trailhead. “I’m not sure I can do this.”
“Oh yes you can,” he said. “You can’t be afraid. Gotta trust yourself. Just plant your feet in my footsteps. You’ll be fine. And if you fall, where are you going? I’m right here.”

I rolled my eyes. This may be the beginning of a newlywed spat, I thought. And the Colorado guidebook we got from Barnes and Noble definitely didn’t say anything about snow in May.

But my grumbling wasn’t going to get me anywhere, and there were hikers coming up behind us (with hiking boots, cleats, and hiking poles, I noted). I had to attempt the climb, unprepared as I was. “Okay, but I’m going to need help,” I told Kevin. Maybe these people behind me will help us if I fall and bust my head open and we have to call for emergency help and I have to be airlifted back to Arkansas, all because I was too stupid to bring hiking boots.
“You’re worrying too much,” Kevin said. “I’m right here.”

Taking the first step up, I knew I was in over my head. I could barely put my foot down without feeling shaky, unsteady, and generally as though I was going to fall and crash into a tree at any moment. We had climbed less than 100 feet before I gave in. “Kevin, it’s too much,” I said. “I want to turn around.”

We may still be newlyweds, but Kevin has learned enough after eight months of marriage to know not to argue with his wife when it comes to my fear of falling. We turned around and headed back down.

“Okay,” he sighed. “Plant your feet sideways, and use your heels to dig into the snow when you’re coming back down the slope. I’ll go ahead of you, but I can’t just hold your hand the entire way, or we’ll both fall.”

Great, I thought. Not exactly what I was picturing when we booked the resort. I took my first shaky step downwards. I was easily taking 30 or 40 seconds to make sure my foot was planted correctly for each step; I was determined to do it right. A slip would mean I failed. And after maybe five minutes of inching my way down the slope and making almost zero progress forwards, I had become “that hiker” who was testing all the other tourists’ patience. By the fifth step, I was on my rear end in the snow.

“You okay back there?” Kevin called. Nope, nope, not okay. Making sure I wasn’t hurt, he asked, “What happened? Katelin, just put your feet in my footsteps. You can get up. You’re okay.”

I was hurt, though perhaps it was just my pride. Unfortunately, I had no choice. I had to get up and keep going, unless I wanted to spend the rest of our honeymoon on Glacier Gorge, and I was pretty sick of snow at this point.

After plenty of more trembling steps downward, we found ourselves back at the start of the trailhead. “I’ll just remind you that I was the one that suggested Hawaii,” Kevin said on the seemingly-endless drive back to the resort.

Thinking back on the experience later that day, I saw that I was so terrified of slipping and falling that I almost couldn’t move. I was determined to do it perfectly. I may have found myself in an unexpected circumstance with the snow, but that fact alone didn’t have to prevent me from moving forward. It was my own fear that held me back.

The reality was that I had plenty of people around me. I was on a well-traveled path and I could follow in the footsteps of those who had gone before me. Most importantly, I had someone -- Kevin -- to guide me and help me up if I slipped. And when I did fall, he was there to help me back up and get me moving forward again until I felt more confident in my own abilities.

Have you ever felt like that in recovery? We find ourselves on a steep climb, not exactly sure how to take the next step. We know we don’t want to fall back into our old hurts, habits, and hang-ups, but the fear of moving forward -- whether it be starting or completing our inventories, offering forgiveness, or making amends -- can stall our progress. Fortunately for us, recovery is a well-traveled path. We are surrounded by those who have gone before us and can guide us as we take the next steps towards healing. Our sponsors and accountability teams can offer support and encouragement if we begin to feel fearful, and can be there to help us if we slip. Slips are not infrequent in the recovery process and can actually be a catalyst for change when they grant us a fresh perspective on how to move forward in following God’s will for our lives. It’s progress -- not perfection.

 
Two days after that first attempt at Glacier Gorge, I found myself at the trailhead of Deer Mountain (it should be noted that Kevin let me pick the next trail out of our Colorado guidebook, which explicitly stated that the trail was one with “very little snow year-round”). Okay, Lord, I prayed. I’m getting up this mountain one way or another, but I can’t do it without Your help. Perhaps the Lord knew I needed a challenge mixed with His grace; there were still patches of snow on the trail, but only enough to present some mild difficulty. I’ve already slipped once; it’s not like I’m going to die if I fall on my rear again, I thought. Six miles later, my husband and I had completed our first summit hike together.

If you’ve found that your recovery has stalled, don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Recovery is a process, and sometimes our Heavenly Father lets us slip and fall in the proverbial snow to learn how to navigate uncomfortable situations. You are surrounded by others who have gone before you and will help you get back on your feet. So keep going. The view from the top is beautiful.

 
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. --Habakkuk 3:19

 

 
Katelin