What’s your excuse? When you feel like GOD just can’t work with you, please remember…
It’s not your ABILITIES that count, It’s your AVAILABILITY!
Among the great men & women in the Bible,
Noah was a drunk! (Genesis 9:21) He made his own wine.
Abraham thought he was too old! (Genesis 17:17) Sara and I are too old to have children
Isaac was a liar, just like his Dad! (Genesis 26:7, 20:2) Told them his wife Rebekah was his sister
Jacob was a liar & a schemer! (Genesis 27:19 and many more!) Stole his brothers birthright
Leah was plain (ugly?)! (Genesis 29:17) She had weak eyes and was not as beautiful as Rachael
Joseph was abused! (Genesis 37:18f and many more!) His brothers did not like him
Moses had a speach problem! (Exodus 4:10) He stuttered and had difficulty speaking
Gideon was afraid! (Judges 6:27) Went to fight by night fearful he couldn’t win in the daytime
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer! (Judges 16:17, 14:2, 16:1)
Rahab was a prostitute! (Joshua 2:1, 6:17) used by God to protect the spies
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young! (Jeremiah 1:6, I can’t speak I am just a child 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, flee youthful lust
David was an adulterer and a murderer! (2 Samuel 12:9) Bathsheba and Uriah
Elijah was suicidal! (1 Kings 19:4) I am the only one left- after all the miracles- fire from heaven- defeating Jezebelle
Isaiah preached naked! (Isaiah 20:2-3) A sign of what will happen to the enemies of God
Jonah ran from God! (Jonah 1:3) The first submarine with no lights.
Naomi was a bitter widow! (Ruth 1:20) The Lord has dealt bitterly with me- I went out full and came back empty- Ruth brought out
Job went bankrupt! (Job 1:13-19) His story is the encouragement to so many today
Peter denied Christ! (Matthew 26:69-74) But chosen to be the preacher on the day of Pentecost
The Disciples fell asleep while praying! (Matthew 26:40-43) But chosen by Jesus to begin His 3 year earthly ministry
Martha worried about everything! (Luke 10:40-41) Jesus rebuked her
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once! (John 4:18) Became a witness that won her whole town to Jesus
Zaccheus was too small! (Luke 19:3) What a recovery
Paul was too religious! (Philippians 3:4-6) became a persecutor of Christians and then turned from religion to Christ and became a church planter
Timothy had an ulcer! (1 Timothy 5:23) Had stomach problems
*AND* Lazarus was dead! Loose him and let him go!!! (John 11:1-44)
Borrowed from Dr. Lou at Dunklin
Letters to a Disciple
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep” (John 21:17).
It is difficult for many of us to love Jesus. We accept His death on the cross; we are grateful for that. We worship Him because He is seated at the right hand of the Father; we realize He is Lord, and deserving of our worship. But do we love Him? Do some of us fabricate a love for Jesus that we really don’t feel, but believe we should have in order to be good Christians?
What is our perception of Jesus? Is it based upon the knowledge acquired by listening to others, or has a relationship been established? Have we witnessed the experiences and heard the testimonies of our friends, yet harbored doubt in our hearts because we have had no exciting experience of our own?
What do we lack? Why are we unable to experience something we so desperately want? Why can’t we love Jesus with the fervor we see in others? Is there something within us that prohibits us from reaching out to our Lord with all our heart?
Jesus told us to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength! We know that to love God, we must love Jesus because no one can come to the Father except through Jesus. So we’re back to square one. We must love Jesus.
Perhaps we should define love. Simply stated, love is the preference of one person for another person. It carries with it the desire and ability to surrender self in favor of that other one. Because of this, true love is unnatural to the flesh.
Love we manufacture is always conditional, and can turn into lust at any moment. We may have affection for someone, but affection doesn’t have the true nature of love in it.
Actually, the love we’re looking for, pure and unconditional love, comes from one source only, “….the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). Does this mean we are unable to love unconditionally, on our own? Yes, it means just that.
We must let this Scripture soak in:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
We love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:15-19).
Unless we open ourselves to receive God’s love, we can try all we want, but never be able to love Jesus with the intensity He requires. We can pray for Him to increase our ability to love Him, but it will never happen until we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to “pour it out”, or to “shed it abroad” in our hearts. (Romans 5:5)
The Holy Spirit must first reveal who Jesus is. The raising of Lazarus was not simply Jesus performing the act of raising the dead. Instead, He said, “I AM the resurrection!” It is not that He gives us life, HE IS the life! It is not that He gives us bread, HE IS the bread! The testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus is what Jesus IS Himself! And we are thrust into the center of that magnificence by the sovereign act of God, because we have agreed to believe.
nderstanding this can never be acquired by listening to teaching, it becomes a reality by accepting what Paul talks about in Romans 6, then carried out by living in union with Christ. That unbroken fellowship produces a rich, wonderful life, filled with tremendous spiritual results.
We are so filled with His love, that we can love Him as He wishes, and we can properly tend His sheep. The living water, vitally and inseparably linked with Jesus, flows from us to others with virtually no effort on our part. Jesus is Life, Light, and Love, and our union with Him reflects all that.
How do we accomplish this? How do we acquire a love for Jesus that results in our being able to tend His sheep? Let’s go over it once again. Love must be personal to be anything at all; therefore, we must establish a personal relationship with Jesus. This is accomplished by talking to Him, by laying out our lives before Him and inviting Him to help Himself.
He builds the relationship by degrees, bringing our lives into oneness with Him. We focus our attention with every ounce of energy upon that relationship. When we commit to Jesus with that kind of determination, He meets us at the commitment point and guides us into the relationship we both desire.
Does it sound too simple? It is too simple for our intellect. But our intellect is not to be confused with God’s wisdom. Every facet of our relationship with God depends upon our step of faith in His wisdom. We must remember, faith always precedes understanding. If that were not the case, there would be no need for faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God!
What are you doing of eternal value?
How much do I Love Jesus?
The Road to Recovery Based on the Beatitudes
1. I realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Step 1) “Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor”.
2. I earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2 “Happy are those how mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
3. I consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step 3) “Happy are the meek”.
4-5. I openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps 4 and 5) “Happy are the pure in heart”.
6-7. I voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7) “Happy are those whose’ greatest desire is to do what God requires”
8-9. I evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps 8 and 9) “Happy are the merciful.” “Happy are the peacemakers”
10-11. I reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)
12. I yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step 12)“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”
Addiction and Recovery
A Christian View
(Borrowed: Author Unknown)
Drug, alcohol, any addiction by a member of the fellowship of a church is a heartbreaking experience for individuals, their families, and churches.
No one intentionally sets out to become a full-fledged drug addict or alcoholic. Yet despite all the warnings millions of people become addicts. Why?
Because prior to that first puff, snort, or drink, the mind has already been self deceived by thinking: “I won’t become addicted, I know when to stop or I can handle a few drinks or getting high a few times.”
But, God’s Word, the Bible, gets right to the heart of the problem by telling us what mind-altering substances do to the heart. Why? God cares about the chemical dependant person and wants the best for them.
Alcohol and drugs do more harm to an individual than what meets the eye. Hosea 4:11 says, “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.”
Our heart is where natural God-given emotions reside. To have ones heart taken away is to take away our desire for natural things that God has given us; like family, healthy relationships, good work, and moral ethics.
For example; a person can and will leave their family for the bottle or drugs. This is not natural; its mind boggling to say the least. If the heart was not taken away, you couldn’t pay a person enough money to leave their loved ones just so they can get drunk or high repeatedly.
God instilled in the heart of each person to love and to be loved. For example, little girls pretend to be mommies as young as three years of age because nurturing was instilled in their hearts by God. It brings pleasure to the heart to nurture a baby, but if the heart has been taken away, then nurturing becomes a burden.
It’s very difficult to reason with someone who has had their heart changed to unnatural thinking. You can point out that God, family, and work is important and that drinking or drugging is destroying their relationship in all these areas, but you will encounter friction and excuses.
Before addiction takes place, that same person would admit that drinking and drugs destroys, but after addiction takes place it’s very hard for them to see the destruction that is taking place in their life.
Since drug addiction begins in the heart, the heart is what needs to be fixed. Only God can fix an addicted heart.
Human reasoning can only go so far, but God’s Word can judge the attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
In other words, the Word of God can reveal things in the heart that we aren’t even aware of. God’s Word is spirit and truth and if our hearts have been deceived, only the truth of God’s world can undeceive it.
If a person could foresee the unnatural change that takes place in their heart before substance abuse, most people would stay far away from this heart-altering substance.
God warns us because we cannot outsmart addiction. It will change our hearts! God designed the heart, therefore He knows far above what doctors, psychiatrist, substance abuse counselors and the media know about the damage that happens to an addicted heart.
Without God, we are no match for peer pressure and the media’s constant bombardment of how it’s cool to get high.
God Loves the Addict. Someone has written “I worked in a chemical dependency program for four years and watched addict after addict try to pull their lives back together only to find that it’s much harder than they could have imagined.
No one wants to be a drug addict or alcoholic, but when we dabble in what God warns against, the inevitable will happen. Our hearts will be taken away (changed) and by the time we come to the realization of this, we are addicted and much damage has been done.
God loves the addict and wants to set them free because He desires the very best for them. He can restore the heart and bring healing to the life of the addict if the addict will turn to Him.
How does He do this? He does it through His Word. His Word is life and peace, wisdom and healing, sound and powerful. It is full of love and compassion for everyone who will run to Him.
God is into restoration and no one can restore like God. The Creator of all things can restore. He will fill the heart with what is right and good because He is the standard.
He is greater than all our problems, doubts, and fears. He is love, He doesn’t have love, He is love, and He doesn’t love us a little or a lot.
He loves with all His being. 1 John 4:8 says, ‘…God is love.’
Recognize that as human beings — addict or not — we need God because we cannot make it without Him. Find support. We all need to get involved in a Bible-teaching church and the addict is no exception.
Find a group of people to support you in your recovery — both physically and through prayer support.
Some churches have Bible-based Christian drug addiction recovery programs that can catapult the addict into a life of healing, meaning, and purpose.
If your church does not have a program such as this, consider a Christian drug treatment center or Christian drug rehab program.
Proverbs 4:20-23 encourages us, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
We are always in need of passionate, willing volunteers to help us carry out our mission and vision. Christian 12 Step Ministry depends on over 100 volunteers to:
Please contact our office at (352) 732-0877 if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.
Each day, we receive lessons for our Correspondence Course to be reviewed. Along with these lessons, many individuals share with us how our study, “Walking the 12 Steps with Jesus Christ”, has helped them in their recovery. We’d like to share their thoughts with you.
What are the benefits of participating in a support group? In a support group we can experience true acceptance regardless of what we have done to others or what others have done to us. We are able to gain a sense of what unconditional love is all about as we receive Christ’s grace, forgiveness, and healing. Our group is a safe setting in which to express struggles, thoughts, ideas, and feelings with neither judgment nor rejection. We can share our life-stories which include similar struggles, traumas, and pain—as well as victories in Christ for encouragement.
Because addiction wreaks havoc on our relationships with others, a support group is a place to practice connecting with others in healthier ways. Our participation in a “family” type atmosphere can stimulate hope in Christ for our transformation and spiritual growth and the accountability there helps us persevere in the process of overcoming our stumbling blocks.