Some Will Not Accept…

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…what you have, and sadly, to say.  They will be lost and it didn’t have to be this way.  Reflect a moment and think how easily you could decide to leave and return to your past ways.  It’s that easy to do just as it is easy to make the decision to want better for yourself.

What makes some decide to desire better and others refuse it?  All are given the same opportunity and grace, but what made you make the decision to stick it out to this point?  If you say, “God”, doesn’t He apply to everyone else?  So, what is the truth regarding your own acceptance versus those who decline the gift?  I think this will remain a mystery but it is certain we should be glad we are in looking out instead of outside looking in.  We have a chance to attain happiness, much more than we’ve ever had.  Once we have accepted clean-living and committed to never returning, “out there” we have a better appreciation of life and the beautiful parts of it.  It may sound a bit corny but now we begin to notice the flowers and smell the fragrance.  We begin to notice people for who they are and not as a target.  Life is so much better and we have it today.

And again, just as easily we can give it all up.  We can throw away everything which has been done for us in a moment and return to an agonizing existence.  I think, too, we have to get past the point of thinking we can combine the foolishness of substance abuse and the nice feeling we get and keep all the blessings of life, too.  We must get past this thinking because it doesn’t exist.  One takes from the other and you have to decide which ultimately must go.

 

If anything must go and deserves to go quickly, it is the life we know which has hurt us and didn’t care anything about us.

And the Others Said, “No”

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Think for a moment how and why you are where you are right now.  What did God have to arrange in order for you to come from, “out there”.  What wheels did He have to begin spinning to ensure when you needed a bed it was available?  Do you know what it takes to run a ministry of recovery to keep you fed, cleaned and comfortable?  Do you know what it takes to instruct you in ways of clean-living and maintenance?  Do you realize the sacrifice others have made upon getting to the point you wish to be, and then for them to remain with you and not return to a world with family, career and success?  All of this is because you said, “yes”.

The very same grace which God used to get you here He has done for others.  Some just flat out refused to accept it while others did but thought it more important to return and have given up.  I’m sure if there were a way to measure grace, some were even given more than you and still decided it was not for them.  Some even were so bold as to say “wait”, not knowing if they will have a chance to make it, but even in their answer was the choice they made and they made it knowing the consequences.

It is important you continue to say “yes” as God takes you from this point forward.  He is doing whatever it takes to get you ready to face the world, but this time, from a position of power and not failure.  We will never know until we are in heaven what God did on our behalf behind the scenes, but the greatest gift of all is to reflect in your mind’s eye on that fateful day when His Son, Christ, was nailed onto a crude cross to give His life for you and me.  Hmm, when I think about that it is enough to make me want to continue saying “yes”.

 

He did this all for me.  For me!

Where Is God When You…

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…think about doing it?  He hasn’t changed His position being with you and loving you and caring for you.  He is still very much interested in all you do; but, are you interested in having Him around you when you are thinking about doing it again? Do you think about the fact He is right here and right now and you are doing your best to put Him behind you because you have no time for Him just now?  Are you growing weak and can’t stand the thought He knows you so well so you will just ignore Him and pretend He isn’t there at the same time you are contemplating your mess?  This is the problem we all face and if you have any type of conscience, it will disturb you.

This is the relationship we have now with Him.  There is a love relationship between you and God which cannot be overlooked.  Every time you are thinking of “stepping out” He knows it and He is doing what is necessary to convince you it doesn’t have to happen.  I’m experiencing a moment of this even as I write, so I know what I am talking about.  Thankfully, it isn’t about substance abuse but another old habit which raises its ugly head from time to time.  Perhaps I’m experiencing it now as I write so I am not only helping you but myself, too, because it is so fresh.

It should now be obvious as long as we keep Him in front of us and dare not ignore Him, we will be much better off.  It’s not like He doesn’t know what you are contemplating.  He does.  If we begin to treat Him as the Best Friend He desires to be in our lives, and recognize the help He brings, doesn’t it make sense to discuss this moment of temptation now with Him instead of praying and asking for repentance later?  Wow, that made so much sense to me, just now.   So, I’m going to take leave now and start my prayer and if you’re in a moment as I am, this is your time to pray, too.

 

Lord, I pray for myself and my friend reading this because we both need strength to overcome what is trying to have rule in our life.  We don’t want it.  We want You.  Amen.

When We Make Another Run…

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…it isn’t because we are not finished.  Mostly it is because we are thinking back with too much pleasure.  When you have reached a point in your life where sin is filled with disgust then you won’t want to return.  However, when you are talking with others and discussing how good a certain product was, who you were with, how things were right, then this is when your experience in clean-living is likely to be disrupted.  Our thoughts become action and this is where we venture upon dangerous ground.  I had an acquaintance who remarked, “Roy, when you talked about it you had too much power.”  I didn’t quite understand what she meant until I was back, “out there” doing it again.

Our very discussions regarding our past life should not have the same power and glee it once held.  People listening to us should see remorse, pain, guilt, shame, disgust and a disturbance in our very bearing.  They shouldn’t hear us joke about it because in truth, there was nothing funny about being, “out there”.  It was a very deathly time for us and we should remember it as such.  If you are putting too much “power” in your discussion about it, sadly to say, you’re not finished yet.  You have not been broken and unfortunately, you might be headed toward another experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

Begin to ask God to remove the desire, taste, and wonderment of the life.  He will do it.  Ask Him to help you to remember the pain and what happened in your life which resulted to where you are right now.  You don’t have to make a return trip just to come back to where you are days, months or even years, as I did.  Healing can be an instantaneous experience, if you’d let it be.  Why do you have a need to return and for what?  There are no bad boys, “out there”.  It beat you up and that’s why you came running inside where it is safe.  So stay as long as you need.

 

If you are having too much excitement talking about it, then you haven’t learned not to appreciate it.

Can I Not Receive Glory?

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This past weekend I had an opportunity of sharing my book with people I care about.  I never really wanted them to know my whole story because I wanted to continue being involved in their lives, and was ashamed of the things I have done and recounted in my story.  I was ashamed.  The words came back to me that day while walking to work, “If you were given the worse category, can I not still receive glory?”

When you share your testimony with others you are not really talking about what you did but what Christ has done for you.  If the focus is on Him then you will be able to hold your head high knowing you are special and not the mess you could have been had you stayed, “out there”.  Sure, some will look at your differently and it is because they haven’t had their own experience yet with Christ, but they will.  Those who draw closer to you have had theirs and are grateful you have made it in before it is too late.  They are the ones who appreciate hearing your story because it reminds them of their own when God stepped in and made their lives what they are today.  So, no longer will I feel the shame of what I did because it was the power of God which saved me.  Why is it we forget the enemy who led us in the lowest levels of disgust we called lives? 

For many, the only identity of coming to God will be you.  They will be able to see for themselves having an opportunity, if you are only willing to let them know you were, “out there”, too, just as they are today.  We cannot be ashamed of sharing the miracle of God’s work in our lives.  Now, I understand when Christ said, “If you are ashamed of God, God cannot honor you.”  If you believe God has brought you through, you have to tell your story.  If you don’t, no one else can.

 

The greatest gospel some will ever know will be the Gospel of (Your Name inserted), until they have their own.

Feeding Myself, Too

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I had an opportunity to take part sharing with others in feeding homeless men.  I was asked to say a few words and offer prayer for the breakfast.  I was honored.  Several years ago, I was one of the men in a shelter and needed others to feed me.  Now, because of being blessed, I was able to give others what was given me.  This is ministry.  My few words letting them know I understood and shared the same story of addiction was received and came back to me in comments.  I identified.  They identified.  I offered or became a picture of “hope”.

My goal was not in offering a picture of the hope that helped me but the picture of Christ Who desires to help us all.  I’m learning to identify with Christ and hope this is what people begin to see in me as I continue along this path of clean-living.  As I looked at some of the men and wondered how could I possibly help further because some of them seem, from appearances, beyond help other than receiving an occasional plate.  It has brought back my own experience and how I felt beyond hope not knowing how I would be able to stand again on my own.  The truth is, it took Christ.  I had a miracle offered me and I accepted and I have to believe many of them have either accepted or quite as easily rejected the miracles offered them.  I don’t know what the answer is for them, but it is certain I know what it has been for me.

Being there reminded me of where I came from.  It is more forceful to remember this setting than the one involving my addiction.  That setting had pleasure and it is easy to enjoy those memories, but the one which is sober in terms of coming to a true understanding of what I really experienced is where men are huddled together, smelly, and needing something to eat.  This is what keeps the memory fresh and the desire strong never to return.

 

 Again, do not dwell on the pleasure of the addiction but on the pain of the result.