Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food For Thought

Just thought I would post these....kind of caught my attention and gave me a chuckle.....mb

“If you were to put the federal government in charge of the

Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.”    — Milton Friedman

“Try to comprehend the hypocrisy of a Congress that requires
every citizen to prove that they are insured, but does not require
everyone to prove they are a citizen.” — Unknown author.

Attitude of Gratitude


Psalm 118:29
Give thanks to the LORD...
for He is good.....
for His lovingkindness is everlasting....

First word...."GIVE"..
Give of our own free will....
It isn't a commandment, so to speak...but instruction.
Offer unto God..
Not because you have to, but because you want to.

Second word...."THANKS".
To offer thanks, there must be the realization that something has been offered to you or afforded you.
The reality of the LORD must have been made evident in ones life.
The reality of God's ability to transfer one from the kingdom of darkness over into the kingdom of God has
been made real. That being the case I want to break into an endless chorus of "Thank-ey's"
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you...
Well, you get the idea.

Why all the heavenly directed thank-you's?
Because God is good.
Not "God was good"
or
"God will be good"
But the now-right-here-reality that God IS good.
His nature is goodness.
It is this love and goodness that caused God to rescue us from ourselves and our sin.
He didn't have to do it.
He chose to.
Why?
Because God is good.

The verse from Psalm ends with a promise.
And as you know, God is not a promise breaker.
"His lovingkindness or mercy is everlasting."
Without end.
Never wavering in His ability or power....
Everlasting.
For that I offer a hearty "YOU ARE GOOD GOD AND I PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME!"

Think of this today...
and don't forget your manners...
To say "Thank you" to God.

God on you...
mb

Wednesday, June 29, 2011





"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff. And the that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, sot that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

Strong words from Malachi 3:1.
There is a time set aside that only God knows.
A day that has been appointed for a settling of debt, if you will.
You see, each day we awake, we are surrounded by a "salvation" message.
God is constantly speaking and revealing himself.
His will is that none should perish.
He understands the truth of having given His creation the freedom to choose.
That is why He is constantly speaking the message of salvation.
His will is that none should perish.

How can I write this and what does this have to do with recovery and addiction?
I can only write from what I know.
Back in 1998, there was no such thing as Celebrate Recovery.
There were AA meetings, and NA meetings, but as a whole, the church had nothing to offer those who were trapped in addiction.

After I had started full time ministry, I found myself at Rapha working as a volunteer.
I was stirred ( now I know it was God) to begin a meeting or service or what ever you want to cal it, for people in recovery. A place that was "church" but didn't look like church or sound like church or even act like church. A place where someone struggling with addiction could come and for a brief moment maybe let their guard down and hear the truth of the Gospel.

We began meeting on August 21, 1999. The rest is history.
Over the past 12 years, churches all over the area began to hold meetings.
Some under the auspices of CELEBRATE RECOVERY, and others simply doing what God told them to do. Now, here today, there are many, many meetings that have sprung from churches that are available.
For whatever reason, God has deemed this time, this season to the the time of RECOVERY for those in addiction.

That is why the verses from Malachi are so important.
Celebrate Recovery is more than just having a good time and hanging out.
Meetings of every kind is more than just meetings.
It is about THE RESCUE.
The sharing and telling of the gospel that God (yes, the real deal God) has provided a way out of addiction and sin. Not only provided a way out but transforms those who accept the salvation offer into new, living creations.
The sin debt is canceled by the power of Jesus' death and resurrection.
The power of sin, which is at the heart of every addiction, is broken and that individual is set free.

Jude: verse 23 reads: "Save others, snatching them out of the fire......."
That is the mandate that is given to us as believers.
I hurt with an unbearable pain when I watch those who are under the weight of addiction, reject God's truth and continue in their old lifestyle. If I could I would physically arrest them and force them to believe. That is why I'm glad I'm not God. You can't physically force anyone to accept Jesus. All I can do is love them. Love them as God loves them and pray over them that at some point this truth that they have heard, will drive deep into their very being causing them to awake from the dark slumber of sin and addiction.

I want to leave you today with Hope.
I want to leave with Verse 2 from Malachi 4

"But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall."

God on you.....
mb

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are You In The Right Place?

We talk a lot about recovery and living a clean and sober life.
There is so much more to recovery than the absence of alcohol and drugs.
Meeting and connecting with people who are like minded will aid us as we seek to move from our old lifestyle.
Changes of people, places and things can be hard because the old addictive lifestyle is all we have known.

As we take each day as it comes, to live out the principals of recovery we should be very much aware of something.
Not only is it important to develop our relationship with Jesus, but be obedient.
Being obedient includes being where we are suppose to be, doing what we are suppose to be doing.

In Genesis 22, we read the story of God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Isaac isn't just any child. He is the son of promise.
He is the first child born to Abraham and Sarah and as such, Isaac is the promise from God through which many descendants will come. Now here is God telling (notice this...telling, not asking) Abraham to take Isaac off into the country and sacrifice him. Abraham is obedient.

We are not told what went on in Abraham's mind, which is another story unto itself.
I believe what we learn from this is that God isn't interested in what goes on in our minds as much as he is what goes on in our hearts.

Abraham obeyed.
Completing the journey, he built and altar.....placed the wood on it......and placed his son on the altar.
Knife raised ready to sacrifice Isaac, the Angel of the LORD called to him and said, "Do not lay your hand upon the lad, or do anything to him."
Abraham was shown that nearby, stuck in a thicket, was a ram that was to be used for the sacrifice.
Abraham named the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac  YIREH or The-LORD-will-provide.
When we are occupying the place and life God has called us to, and we are being obedient to God, He will provide for us whatever it is we need.

This isn't some fairy tale or myth, this is the cold hard truth of the Kingdom of God.
Turning from a life that is all we have known, and then walking daily in a new way is scary. IT can be overwhelming at times and we find ourselves being in such fear that the thought of giving up and going back to the darkness is enticing. Don't! Don't give up. Keep walking...keep praying...keep listening....the fear will leave and God's peace will come because you are being obedient.

Every child of God needs to understand the The-LORD-will-provide is still as real today as it was that day for Abraham. Do not be afraid...Be Strong.......Let God guide you through this unknown in your life today.

Father.....
I come to you this morning asking that you manifest yourself in our lives today.
Give us ears to hear you this morning. Give us eyes to see your hand on us as we walk through this day.
Help us Lord to find the place of provision and let us not grow weary at the journey, but that you would strengthen our feet. Grant us your grace today and for anyone who reads this posting and is without hope, would you break off the darkness of this world from their mind and heart and allow your healing grace to flood over them. Draw them to yourself and bring healing to them.
Thank you Father....
In Jesus Name....
Amen..

God on you.....

mb

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm Back In The Saddle Again....

Week off. Trip to Panama City Beach with the entire Bynum clan. Seafood......SEE food.....The beach...the ocean.....games at night (Scrabble and Rook)....Much laughter. Grand kids in the pool with snorkels and fins. Whew! Very tired but very happy.

Genesis 26:24 - ......"Do not fear, for I am with you."
As believers, we say we know this.
We know that God is with us.
God's Holy Spirit inhabits us and gives us direction and teaching on what to do.
We say we know it, but when trouble comes or when situations arise that come against what we believe, are we really going to bear into the truth we lay claim to, or will we allow our "flesh" to rise up and bring fear to us?

I'm not sure that I can fully articulate what is in my head but I am going to try.
We are God's creation.....fallen, but still God's creation.
He knows that we are creatures of emotion. That our real weakness is living by our feelings and emotions, rather than being lead by His Holy Spirit.
As addicts, the idea of living by emotion and feeling is what drove them to use.
Hurting? Get high and make it go away.
Depressed? Get drunk and you'll feel better.
That promise soon faded (the promise of feeling better) and was replaced with the idea of using simply to feel "normal".
So, God understands our nature. It isn't that we will ever escape having feelings, or be flooded with a perpetual state of giddy happiness, but I do believe that God empowers us to make the right decision when we feel overwhelmed by our emotions. God's Holy Spirit, living inside of each believer, draws our attention away from "what we are feeling" and focuses us on "What is true."

In other words, we turn our attention toward God.
We remember the truth that He has spoken in His word and over us as His children.
The devil uses our emotions to work against us.
How many of you actually were strengthened spiritually when you were afraid or depressed?
None.
The devil knows that if he can keep you focused on your emotional state, he can keep you from hearing God.
Not hearing from God only heightens the turmoil and fear and dread, which in turns draws us deeper into this vicious cycle of emotion.
"God isn't here."
"God doesn't love me."
"God doesn't hear my prayers."
What is the truth?
God is here. Didn't Jesus say He would never leave us nor forsake us? Yes! He did say that.
God does love us. Didn't God say in John 3:16 that He loved the world? Yes! He did say that.
"God doesn't hear my prayers."
If we confess our sins.........
He is faithful to forgive us our sins.....

God does hear our prayers.

Don't be lead astray by your emotions today.
If you find yourself being overwhelmed, stop......turn your mind to Jesus and read Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

You can take that promise to the bank.
God on you....

mb

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ta Da!

After a brief vacation, I am back.
I will be posting the Saturday message in a few moments.
Seth Barber spoke on the reality of living a life of sobriety by following God.

Good stuff....
Also, I'll resume the daily posting starting tomorrow.

God on you....

mb

Monday, June 20, 2011

TIME OUT

Well, it is time for a break. Once a year I try to step back and rest a little from the blog. Not that it's physically demanding or back breaking.....it isn't. But I like to take a sabbatical, if you will, and rest.

I will be back this coming Sunday, June 26th.
Until then, feel free to read through some of the back postings.
Thanks again for coming by daily and reading the Greene Street Letters.


God on you.....
mb

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

To Father's:

Be the man God created you to be.
Be the model of your Heavenly Father's heart. Let your children see an example of how much God loves them.
Pray over your family.
Love your wife and be an encourager to her.
Tell her of her beauty.
Discipline your children in love. They are your children....not your friends.
Teach you children the word of God. It isn't the churches place to do that. Church is to reinforce what you have taught at home.
Pray with your children.
Be the man.
Be the Dad....
IF you Dad is living, tell him how much you love him and appreciate him.

Happy Father's Day

God on you...
mb

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My King...Do you Know Him?




He's my King. Do you know Him?
I pray that you do. If not now, then soon.
Time is something that we do not have an abundance of.
God on you...
mb

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sitting In The Balcony

Philippians 2:8
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Looking upon Jesus, you would think Him one of the lowly few who's lot in life always seem to run contrary to what society deemed is successful.
Scripture says that there was nothing physically attractive about Him that would cause you to think of Him as a great leader or a statesman.
The form that Jesus took when He entered out time and space is a reflection of the heart of God.

In II Samuel 16, we read where God has sent Samuel the priest to the house of Jesse. There Samuel is to anoint the new king of Israel. Jesse has many sons and they parade through one by one so Samuel can see them. At one point, Eliab comes in and Samuel remarks, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him?" I mean this guy, Eliab, he had "king" written all over him. Tall, good looking, great hair, unblemished complexion, cut and ripped in his physique. In verse 7, God replies to Samuel's remark. But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

This flies in the face of what our society today thinks is most important about a person. God looks to the heart. The character and nature of a man. Is he teachable? Is he humble so that he can receive from God? Is he selfish or will he totally give of himself for the service of others?

Jesus came to model for us the dynamics of a man after Father's God's heart. To reveal to us that we are servants and as such, spend ourselves on the Kingdom of God and on others.
Do what God tells us to do. (then that would involve "listening")
Go where God tells us to go (that would involve obedient)
Be the person God created us to be (that would involve surrender of our will)
But the benefits of living a life like this is beyond comparison to anything this world has to offer.

Humbling ourselves is a choice we have to make. IT puts us in a place where we can receive from God.
To be humble means that we are teachable.
It means that I am agreeing with God simply who God says I am.
It enables me to be in a crowd and by this attitude, be in a crowd. That means that I don't have to stick out or be center of attention. If God desires to lift me up or exalt me, that is His business. I am not in the business of self-promotion.

Read all of Philippians 2 today. See what God would reveal to your heart.
Until tomorrow....
God on you...
mb

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Order Of The Day

Each day is a gift given to me by God.
It isn't that it is a "do over" day to make up for what I did wrong yesterday, but another chance to become more like the man He created me to be.

I like what David wrote in I Chronicles 16.
He has just completed bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. Hasn't been easy. Uzzah was killed in the first attempt when the ark, seated on an ox cart, toppled. Uzzah reached out to steady it and was killed instantly. Moral of the story? You don't handle the things of God in any old way.

David was mad at God and also a bit afraid. He left the Ark parked at the home of Obed-edom. Obed must of been a pretty smart fellow because Scripture says that during the Ark's stay, his home prospered. Kind of like the neighbors would walk by and see his garden. "My what big squash you have and look at your tomato plants. How do you do it?" "Oh it's just the Ark of the Covenant."

David finally sought God's help on how to return the Ark and the journey was on.
Once they arrived at Jerusalem, David wrote down a Psalm. He was a Psalm writing fellow you know.
I Chronicles 16:8 reads:
Give thanks unto the Lord, Call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

1.) Begin your day with "THANKS". Draw up a "Thank You" List. Say it out loud as you pour your first cup of coffee. Run down the list while you are taking your shower. Expound on your list as you drive to work. Whatever and however you want to do it............Be thankful. Don't just say, "I'm thankful Lord." Tell Him what you are thankful for. It is amazing how depression and gloom will move away because you turn your mind and heart over to focusing on the things God has done in you and for you.

2.) Call upon His name. "JEEEEESUSSSSS!" No. that's not what we are talking about. Call upon His name is recognizing that He is your provision. Whatever it is you need. Whatever situation you are facing. He is who you call upon. There is power in the name of Jesus. Scriptures says that "by no other name can man be saved." In Exodus God told Moses that His name was "I AM".  Not "I WILL BE" or "I WAS", but "I AM."
A current God. A "Now" God. Call upon His name.

3.) Last, but not least, "Make known His deeds among the people."  Tell your story. Tell what God has done for you. Share! You know...people out there who don't know Jesus are hungry to know that this stuff works. That God can be trusted and He can make a difference in your life. They really need to hear your story. Go! Tell someone.

Simple.
Yes.
But boy what a difference these three things will make in your life.
Think on these things.
Until tomorrow.

God on you...
mb

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Batten Down The Hatches

II Peter 1:3
As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.

You have been trapped in a life of darkness and addiction.
You want out but lack strength and will power.
You have become a slave to the very thing you thought you controlled.
There doesn't seem to be an escape from this life of darkness and hell.
Now you want out.

You have tried different things.
You went to multiple rehab's.
You even went to AA meetings or NA meetings.
Nothing changed.
You prayed.
You cried.
You used again.
You hated yourself.
The cycle went on and on and on.
Each trip around, you grew weaker and weaker.
You quit caring and you may have even accepted you lot in life as the way it will be to the end.
But that thought......
That idea that seemed to settle down in your brain and heart, was straight from the pit of hell.
We call it False Belief #4 --- I am what I am and I cannot change.
When a person falls into this belief and lifestyle, it is a dangerous place.

But there is One who can do for you what you are unable to do for yourself.
He is known by many names.
Wonderful.........Counselor.......Mighty God.......Prince of Peace........The Everlasting God......The Lamb who took away the sins of the world........The Lion of the tribe of Judah......Messiah.....The Christ........The Deliverer.
Who would ever have these names associated to himself unless he possessed the power, character and authority...to free the lives of people trapped under the death penalty of sin?
For those who are addicted, the idea of Jesus being able to free them seen as almost a fairy tale.
How do you reconcile Jesus of Scripture into the life of someone addicted? Because the shed blood of Jesus at Calvary is the answer to every sin problem that plagues our life. In other words, the way has been opened for anyone under the curse of sin to be free.

Jesus, being the answer to our sin problem, in our minds, seems so out of touch with our society that we discount the idea that He is the answer we have been looking for.
We turn to psychology.
We turn to Eastern mysticism.
We look to ancient religions and claim that there are many paths to enlightenment.
In other words, we wallow in the vomit of the world trying to clean ourselves in an effort to free ourselves from our addiction.

We must realize that our problem lies within. Our addiction is a symptom of our living problem. What living problem? We have a broken relationship with Jesus.
That relationship was broken in Genesis 3 (Garden of Eden where woman and man disobeyed God).
Sin became the barrier that separated us from God.
Separated from God, we turned to our own desires and wants. We fed that nature inside of ourselves everything it demanded. We worshipped the sin nature by giving it whatever it wanted.
IF it demanded drugs, we got drugs no matter what it took. If it demanded sex, we found someone to fulfill that desire. We served the god of "ME". I had a god created in the image of me. Where has my god left me? Broken..........loaded under guilt and shame.........everything around me destroyed or broken.

What's the answer?
Jesus.
I know it sounds too simple.
Maybe it even sounds like a fairy tale or some kind of science fiction story.
But it is truth.
Romans 10:9 -  That if you confess with your mouth, the LORD Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I can write these things because of what Jesus has done for me.
I know my history and how my life has changed since I was saved.

I have seen my marriage restored when it stood at the brink of divorce. Jesus saves.
I have seen every area of my life touched and changed. Jesus saves.
I have been given purpose where, in the past, I wandered from job to job. Jesus saves.
I have two wonderful godly sons. Jesus saves.
I have two beautiful daughters-in-law. Jesus saves
My grand children.......I love them beyond belief. Jesus saves.
My destiny has been sealed. No matter what happens in this life, heaven is my home. Jesus saves.
I want to close with some verses from I John Chapter 1:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the Word of Life---
The life was manifested and we have seen and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us......

The things I share with you, I do so because of Jesus who has been manifested in my own life.
Thanks for stopping by Greene Street Letters, and may the God of peace lead you into the saving knowledge of His son, Jesus.

God on you....
mb

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Truth...The Whole Truth....And Nothing But The Truth!

I taught from Psalms 51 yesterday. In case you haven't read it or maybe you have but forgotten it.....here is a refresher course.
Principal Player: King David.
Reason of Psalm: David has been busted. Found out about. Dragged into the light.
King David has committed Adultery with Bathsheba who happens to be married to a man who is in King David's army.
After the deed, Bathsheba comes up pregnant. David, being the wise dude he thinks he is, tries to hide what has been done.
Long story short, David has Bathsheba's husband killed.
Now here in Psalm 51, David's closest friend or confidant, a guy name Nathan the prophet uncovers David.
Sidebar-  Don't you just love that name? Nathan the prophet. I mean David should have gotten a clue of who he was dealing with. It wasn't as if he were Nathan the butcher. Or Nathan the horseman. Or even Nathan the garbage collector. No! It was Nathan the prophet. Back to the story.

David opens Psalm 51 with these words:
"Have mercy on me, O God. according to Your lovingkindness. According to the multitude of Your tender mercies."
Translated: I am without excuse. I admit to everything I have done and I throw myself on Your mercy. I deserve everything that You might want to do to me.
Wow! Isn't that a great place to be. No wiggle room. Caught. Undone. No more games. For it is from this place that you can receive healing. It is from this mindset and heart set that you can be forgiven.

David goes on to say in Verse 1;
"Blot out my transgressions"
Take them away. David truly believes that God possesses the power to forgive and remove. You know what? I believe that too. My life is living proof of the power of God. I know me better than any of you do. I know what I am capable of doing if I were to surrender to the flesh (sinful nature). Praise God! He has the power to keep me. I do deny that part of me daily, refusing to allow it to have control of my life. I do take up my cross and follow after Jesus.
Jesus will put something on you that even soap can't take away....

What is it?
Forgiveness...His Holy Spirit.......and a new life.

Verse 3 and 4 read:
"For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is always before me.
Against You and You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight."

You don't hear that much any more.
"What?" You ask.

Full blown confession and repentance. Accepting full responsibility for his actions.
Think about this....
This is the King we are talking about.
Wonder how many politicians would conduct themselves in this manner today, let alone a sitting President of the United States. Now days, you do spin control, put out misinformation and to put it bluntly....deny, deny, deny.
Not King David.
He knew who he was dealing with. The real deal God. He knew that his only hope was to confess and accept God's discipline for what he had done.
Wow....
I think maybe this is the way to be free from not only drugs or alcohol, but sin as a whole.
Confess....
Repent....
Accept forgiveness....
Be filled with the Holy Spirit...
Follow in what God is telling you to do....
Life.
Abundant life.
With Jesus, this is natural and normal.

God on you....
mb

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday--zzzzzzzzz!

Notice: The message from Saturday night is now downloaded in the pod cast section of the blog)
"Hunker Down"....James 1:4

Glorious day yesterday.
My son and his family came over for lunch. I had bought a slip and slide for the grand kids, so we spent the afternoon soaked and full of laughter.
It was a memory kind of day. One that you put back so you can think on it later. One that will bring laughter and peace to your soul.
Thank you Jesus for grand kids, and "Slip and Slides"....
Thank you for ice cold watermelon.
Thank you for good conversation and family love.

I Peter 4:4
They (your old friends) think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

One of the hardest things to wrap your head and heart around as you find sobriety and recovery in Jesus, is that you feel like you are in an "in between" kind of life.
You don't really have any new friends, simply because this life is new to you.
Yet your old friends are still there and sometimes trying to make contact with you.
First off, we need to be totally honest with ourselves.
Were they really friends?
Or were they simply people we knew when we were using?
In your old relationships, how many of your friends would come around if there wasn't any drugs or alcohol available. You see, the entire relationship was built on the substance itself. It defined the friendship. It was what held any connection between the two of you together. So they really weren't your friends.

They find it weird that you would be clean and sober.
They look at you as some kind of traitor to the cause (the cause of getting high and wasted).
They totally do not understand why you have taken these steps in your life.
I have seen women, users themselves, who brought their husbands or boyfriends out to Rapha to get them clean and sober.
The man goes through the program.
He works a really good 7 weeks on his recovery. Goes back home and she kicks him out because he has changed. He isn't fun to be around anymore (Words I have heard these women say). The drugs and alcohol were the reason that the relationship was held together. Old adage of "Misery Loves Company."

Did you catch the first part of the verse from I Peter?
"They think it strange".......their reasoning under the influence has deluded their ability to see truth and the reality of their own life. Their thought processes are under the control of the devil. Their hearts, completely blackened and hardened by sin, have shut them off from truth. As it says in Romans 1:22 - Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. Not that they were fools to start with, but through the process of rejecting the truth of God, slowly and surely they became fools.
All sin leads downward.

All sin causes a person to spiral downward in thought, deed and behavior.
It's end is death.
I know of no one who has lived a life of sin and at the end of their days, received a wonderful reward from God.
As Paul writes in Romans 1:16 -  I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the POWER of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. First for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

I need such power in my life.
How about you?

God on you....
mb

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Memories




Time: Early 70's.
I had given up all my music. Records, 8 - tracks (remember those?). Given them all away.
Why? God told me to.
It was as real a command as I have ever heard in my life.
You see my music collection had become my god. Not an easy thing to say because we don't view such things as being gods. Trust me, they are.
So here I was with an incredible stereo system and no music.
I would be less than honest if I said I wasn't mad at God. I was obedient, but mad.

You know...God wasn't punishing me. He was showing me my heart.
It wasn't that the records or tapes were evil, it was my heart.
God was number 2 (or lower) in my life.
Slowly He began to replace my music.
Little by little we began to hear of other groups and individuals who were recording what we called "Jesus Music" or "Journey Music."
One of the groups that I feel in love with was named BETHLEHEM. Country rock sound, good instrumentation and great vocals.

Now, I am acquainted the lead singer of Bethlehem............Danny Daniels.
He is still recording and teaching on Worship. Traveling and sharing and living his life for God.
His love or fire for God has not dimmed or gone out.
I am grateful for Him and the music he recorded. It helped fill a spot that God created in me.
Thanks Danny!

God on you...
mb

Ahhh! Made It

Saturday....What a wonderful day.
We have our gathering / meeting / church tonight at Rapha.
The day will be spent in preparation for it.
Equipment hauled over to the chapel. Setting up. Finishing the music for worship.
Finalizing the message.
Much prayer over it all because none of this matters unless God manifests in our midst.
That may sound strange to some, but for us it is very much the heart of what we do.

We gather to worship Him. Why? Because of our very lives being changed, we simply want to gather as a group and praise Him, thank Him and well....worship Him.
I have had services where I had worked on a message for hours, studying and reading, praying and preparing myself. I would stand up to deliver it and God would clearly and distinctly say, "Not tonight...don't do this message." To which I would simply shut my notes, open my Bible and ask Him to show me what it was He wanted to do. I have learned over these past 17 years that it is better to look foolish and follow God than it is to try and save your own image in front of others.

Tonight we will continue in our teaching from the book of James.
If you remember, I told you that A.A. was built on 3 things.
1.) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
2) I Corinthians 13 (the love chapter0
3.) The book of James

Tonight we will be looking at James 1: 5-8 (unless God has different plans)
I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to attend  one of our services.
We meet each Saturday @ 7 p.m. (There are some times we don't meet due to invitations where the men in the program go to another church).
While I'm on the subject, we will not be meeting next weekend ( 6 / 18).

James 1:5-9 deals with God's favor to give us wisdom (if we ask) to deal with the problems that life throws at us. Wisdom that helps us to understand whether this problem is something God is going to deliver us from or take us through.

V.5
If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
This verse is addressed to believers.
I need wisdom? I ask God.

He gives and not only gives, but gives generously.
To who?
All!
Who falls under the category of "all"?
Everyone who has been saved.
Sounds to me like we don't take advantage of this blessing.
Maybe my life would reflect differently if I quit trying to figure out everything on my own and simply ask God for His wisdom to work through my situations.
I think maybe I will try this.

God on you....
mb

Friday, June 10, 2011

The One And Only

Isaiah 40:25
"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" Says the Holy One.

Been parked here for a few days.
The statement by God reveals that He is unlike anyone or anything else...period.
The uniqueness of who He is reveals that His understanding goes far beyond my ability to reason or comprehend.
In this rarefied air, I bring my faith to bear.
Faith that He is who He claims to be.
Faith that He will do what He claims He will do.


I do not want a small God.
I want a God that is beyond my understanding.
I do not want to create a god in my image.

I want to fall to my knees in worship before the one who created me.
I want the words of my mouth and the quiet thoughts of my heart to be acceptable to God.


Sometimes I think we forget who we are talking about.
Not that we forget God, we just loose sight of the majesty and awesomeness of His presence.

I have been in meetings and prayer groups where the presence of God was so thick and heavy, you couldn't speak. You just sat there in silence bathed in His glory.
You were totally aware that God had manifested Himself and you were in His presence.
Being God, I think He deserves to be worshipped and praised.
I know that we have been shown certain ways to worship and behaviors that were acceptable when we gather.
I'm not so sure that I know all there is about worship.

I guess I'm coming from a place where I feel like "There must be more!"
I don't know all there is about how to worship God.
Before you think I'm leading you down a Pentecostal/ Charismatic highway of emotion. I'm not.

I believe that first and foremost, worship is a lifestyle.
It is 31!
That's 24/7 (get it? 31).
Everything I do reflects worship unto God.
My words (Ouch! I think I need to work on this one)
How I interact with others (do they see Jesus in me)
My quiet time (Am I listening for you, LORD?)

I want to grow and mature in my ability to worship.
I don't want to "Learn" an agenda or program on how to worship.
I want a heart that is tuned to God and from that, worship that is spontaneous and bursts forth in praise from my lips.

Think on these things.....

God on you...
mb

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rest-----








Hills and Mountains.Heights and depths.
Ups and downs.
Life.
Life is hard enough without drugs and alcohol. Throw these two in the mix and those hills and mountains become the Alps and the Andes times 100.
Yet we keep trying to get around them. We plot and we plan (or at least we think we're planning) only to find out we are simply going round in circles.
Expending our energy and strength in vast amounts, yet never getting anywhere.
When we realize that we aren't getting anywhere, we try even harder.
On and on.
At some point, we simply give up and quit.
Mentally, we are drowning in shame and guilt.
Physically we have aged beyond our years.
Spiritually we are trapped in darkness, a prisoner to our addiction.
It isn't that we don't want to quit. We can't.

Here in this darkness, an incredible thing happens.
In the story of the prodigal son, it is described this way....."He came to his senses."
There is this lucid moment where truth comes into our hearts.
It comes in the form of a promise....
God speaks to us from His promises.
God communicates to us through His promises.

Matthew 11:28 ------"COME!"
What an incredible word, "come".
An invitation to arise from where we are and make our way to where the invitation came from.
"Come unto me!" Who would be offering this to us? Do they not see our current lot in life? Do they not understand how much destruction we have caused? Surely this invitation is for someone else. No! it is for you and for me.
"Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden."
We laboured. We sold our soul to the devil's company store in order to get what we thought we truly wanted. To get that which we believed we could not live without. Heavy Laden? That was us. Bent under the condemnation and guilt and shame that was a part of our addiction. Added to that weight was the inescapable knowledge that we were sinners. Heavy Laden? You bet.

That is the qualification for the invitation. The realization that we are under the weight of sin and have no way to free ourselves. There in the stark reality of our lot in life, comes the most incredible promise ever spoken...."And---I---Will---give---you---rest!" Six little words that carry more power than all the bombs in the world. Who could make such an offer except the one who was capable of doing so? The Lord Jesus Christ stands ready, always inviting those who are bent under addiction and sin.

There is no person so far gone that this invitation isn't extended to. The only ones who cannot partake of God's promise are the ones who choose not to. In this case, who is at fault for not being free? God or them?
First three steps of the Twelve Steps say this.
1.) I'm powerless
2.) There is a POWER greater than me.
3.) Turn my will and life over to the care of this Power (Jesus Christ).
This isn't game.
It isn't self-help, pop psychology.
It is the eternal truth spoken by God to a creation that is drowning and dying in their sin.
Today is the day for you to step from your addiction.
Trade with God.
Give Him your life and all your past and accept His future, His love and the life He has planned for you.

Hey....
When you do business with God...
You never trade down....
You always trade up....

God on you...
mb

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Best Is Yet To Come

At Rapha, we recite a declaration at the end of each class. It is designed to confirm our position in Jesus as believers. It gives a list of different attributes that are ours because of Christ's redemptive work.
I am fully pleasing----I am completely forgiven -----I am absolutely complete in Christ. And the one that always strikes my heart.....I am deeply loved

It isn't the fact that I am loved. I am taken by "who" loves me. God! He loves me.
We sometimes think of ourselves as being unlovable because of what we have done in the past.
We let what we've done define who we are and that is so not right.
But God looks at us and sees us in a different light. He sees us, as believers, through the shed blood of Jesus.
His love for us is pure and undefiled.
A love that is unlike anything the world has to offer.
For God so loved the world.....
It was his love for his creation that spurred him to carry through with his plan to restore everything that was lost when man sinned in the garden.

In Jeremiah 31:3, we read where God is speaking to Jeremiah concerning the people of Israel.
"The LORD has appeared of old unto me, saying, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
In spite of Israel's repeated turning away from God.
In spite of Israel replacing God with the pagan gods of their neighbors....
In spite of Israel rejecting God's prophets sent to warn them of coming judgements unless they repent....
God still says that he has loved them with an everlasting love.
That kind of love is hard for me to comprehend, yet my Father in heaven has a heart that burns with such a love.
It is for this reason that I desire to lay down my will and my life to follow after him.

God on you....
mb

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smartie Pants

I would like to think of myself as somewhat of an educated man. In some ways, I am, in other ways my "redneck-edness" comes out. I do read a lot and try to stay current with what is going on in the world, but so much of what I see today runs contrary to the Word of God. So much of what I hear today from others is far removed from Scripture. One of the things that God has shown me in my own life, is that the greatest revelation concerning a heart, is found in the way a person lives. The heart directs the behavior. If the heart is pure and longing for God, then the behavior will reflect this truth.

I find it amazing the power of the human mind to convince itself that it is truly alright, in spite of behavior that says differently. Working with people in addiction, we come across some who refuse to be broken. By that, I mean that they are very prideful and in spite of all the destruction they have brought about in their own life, they refuse to admit that they have a problem. Usually such people as this have gone to multiple rehabs. They have become so astute at what is taught in rehab, we refer to them as being "rehab" smart. They know recovery programs backwards and forwards. They can recite the Twelve Steps from memory. They know the Twelve Traditions. They just can't live sober. But somehow in the midst of all this recovery knowledge, they have deluded themselves with the idea that they really don't have as bad a problem as others around them have been telling them.

They come to Rapha and suddenly find themselves thrown into a recovery program that proclaims that the reason for their addiction is because they have a living problem. They are suffering from a broken relationship with Jesus the Christ. That is a hard truth to wrap a brain around when all you've ever done is excuse your own behavior or blame it on others. It takes the power of God's Holy Spirit to break through all the defenses their mind has concocted. In other words, a person who operates from this kind of lifestyle is spiritually blind.

We find that the person who is rehab smart usually likes to debate what they are being taught. They question everything, not in an effort to understand but to intellectually mark their territory and let you know that they are going to defend themselves. The rail against the idea that they may, in fact, have a sin nature and that it is this nature that is demanding to be fed with drugs and alcohol. They usually also suffer from rebellion and hatred for anyone in authority. In other words, they are covered, shrouded under a dark spiritual cloud produced by the devil and his minions. Bring up any mention of Jesus and you've got a debate on your hands. Sometimes they try to twist the truth.
Sometimes they come at you head on with full blown denial of anything Jesus would say or stand for.
But they never triumph.
They never are able to demolish the truth of God. The truth of God is an anvil that has worn out many a hammer.
Maybe this is why Paul wrote in I Corinthians: "For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing, foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Please pray that I do not let my own words become intermingled with what God is trying to say.
I want, in no way, for me to stand or elevate myself in any way above what God is trying to do in our midst.
I merely want to shepherd and make sure that everyone has had God's truth and offer of salvation made available to them. That no man leave Rapha without having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 2:1-4
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
That your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

God on you.....
mb

Monday, June 6, 2011

Teach --- Learn---- Do

Ezekiel 44:23   (Concerning the priests)
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Old Testament instruction. Hard core. Not much wiggle room when it come to following God.
Do or don't do. But whichever one you chose to follow, there were blessings or curses depending on your choice.

God makes it clear that the people need to be taught....instructed...shown to recognize the difference between holy and profane.
Holy (from Strongs Concordance) means: apartness /  sacredness /  separateness /  This is related to the apartness of God /  the sacredness of God . It also applies to places and things.
In other words, the people were instructed into a new way of looking at life and of living it.

Profane (from Strongs Concordance) means: that which is impure both ethically and religiously. That which would denigrate the name and person of God.

So we have all this instruction. Old Testament instruction. For this very reason, that it is found in the Old Testament, I think somehow we New Testament believers loose track of God's expectations for us as a people.
I know that we are under a new covenant that Jesus ushered in with His death and resurrection.
I know that we are under grace.
But I think we are getting lost in the simple fact that this new covenant does not allow for subjective discernment of what we can and cannot do. In other words, some are using their belief in ways that are self-centered and have no regard for others. The thought is, "I'm saved....I'm free...Now my behavior isn't the real issue."I'm not talking about open, blatant sin...but the sin that comes the way it's described in James 4:17 ...."Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it..it is sin." Did you catch that? Knowing that I am suppose to do something and that it fall under the "good" category (as given by God)...I don't do it (Wilful disobedience) therefore it is sin.

Let me assure you that I am not holding a stone in my hand, anxious to cast it at anyone and cry out "heretic!"
But what I am beginning to see is that this freedom that I have found in Jesus....
This new life that is ongoing and changing as God works in me and through me....
Turns my focus outward in every area of my life.
No more navel-gazing. No more "Bless me and forget about the others" mentality.
No longer do I have the right of assumption that I come first.
I no longer live to please myself, but to please God.

Romans 14:13
Therefore, let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
V.19
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

In other words, don't use your liberty in Christ to do something or act in a way that would cause others to stumble ( a.k.a sin or, even worse...loose their faith and trust in Jesus because of something they saw me do or heard me say.)
Christ did not die and give us His liberty to be selfish and forsake others.
To me, this me-first attitude would be the most profane thing we could bring into our sanctuaries.
In some ways, the Church has become a big-grace-filled-free-for-all-anything-goes-in-Jesus-name.
I have heard several ministers and speakers make the statement that we have been "taught to death." I've even made that statement in some of my messages years ago. And now, I am having to repent for saying such a thing.
The real trouble is, we may have been taught to death, but we haven't learned anything. We don't even study the Word any more. We may read it. We may do a daily devotion, but have we actually done a study?Relationship with Christ is not a pick and choose or make it up life. It is a life of following. We simply follow. We don't lead. We don't direct. We don't call the shots. We follow. And if we aren't following, then we are in error and we are wrong. For me and my own life, it's very simple. I'm either following God, or I have managed to someway take back over control of my life and am calling the shots. Scary part is I can live in this manner and actually think I am following God. That is why I need to be taught. Taught the Word of God. Not pop-psychology or social gospel. I told you God was really dealing with me about how much of my time, not to mention His, I waste by not following His directive.

We may be taught to death, but our lives reflect a spiritual vacuum that needs to be filled.
We cry out for God to bless us.....
We hold tight our money and keep it from Him because we don't trust Him enough to meet our needs.
"Michael! That's harsh!" Sorry. It's the truth. How can I say that? Because I have been there and done that.
It wasn't until I was lead to place where there wasn't any money that I found the value of trusting God.
We like receiving, but how we hate to turn loose and give. God's heart is to free us from the fear of not having. But to trust Him in every area of our lives.

You want to see Christ really move in your church?
Start giving! Start helping the poor with more than some crackers and beannie weenines (not that they don't need those, they do!). 
Unless I realize, under the direction of my pastor and God's Holy Spirit, the difference between that which is holy and that which is profane, I don't know that I'll ever grow. I will continue to live and breath in a diluted, made up kind of Christianity that makes me feel good.

God on you.....
mb

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blue Prints To Real Life

Hosea 14 --  Repentance to bring blessing.
V.1 -  Return, O Israel to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall.
God's cry to the people he has chosen to reveal himself to. He has protected them, delivered them out of slavery, fed them, gave them water, established them as a nation. Gave them a King even though he warned them about what would happen. Now, once again, Israel has turned their back on God to pursue the gods of the nations around them. "Your sins have been your downfall." We discount the effects sin plays in our daily lives. Psychologists reject the notion of sin (at least that is what I have been told). The idea of late has been that all we need to be successful is to feel good about ourselves. Have a positive image of "self". Take my word on this (not to mention the Word of God...a.k.a. the Bible) that only Jesus can break the power of my sin.  Scrubbing Bubbles ain't got nothing on Jesus. I'm talking divine clean.

I think every problem that mankind has faced as a species and as individuals can be traced back to a sin nature. Murder, greed, immorality, jealousy, you name it........all originates from the bent in our nature that we can thank Adam for. "Don't eat the fruit!".....oops...too late.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23...."Hey anyone out there who wants to follow me......(The emphasis is on "anyone"). This is an invitation to leave the place you currently occupy, not only physically, but spiritually and mentally,and go with him. Go where? With Jesus. He leads.......we follow. Pretty simple, but I want to complicate it, which reveals that very nature he wants to remove from me. Selfish....what's in it for me.....kind of attitude.

Jesus continues in the Luke 9:23 passage...."Deny yourself and daily take up your cross."
Deny myself?
"Myself" is what gets me in trouble.
I have worshipped at the altar of "Great Me!"
"Me" was the god I worshipped.
I gave "Me" whatever it desired, even if it meant breaking the law sometimes.
I fed it.
I nurtured it.
And all it did was cry out for more.
Pretty soon it became more about "ME" and less about myself.
This is the nature or attitude I have been talking about when I referred to the sin nature.
For the most part, we would not carve a graven image out of stone or wood and worship it.
But boy howdy do we bend the knee to "ME".
"ME" usurps the rightful place that God should occupy in my heart and in my life.
I reject the directions of God to embrace the demands of "ME".
This very  notion of what I have just written about, is why I am in such a great need for a Savior.
That is why I turned away from sin and gave myself wholly unto Jesus.

I celebrate the death of "ME" and the inclusion of God's Holy Spirit into my life.
I celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus because it was the act that broke the power of "ME" and allowed me to triumph over "ME".
He is a great God......

God on you...
mb

Friday, June 3, 2011

Once Upon A Time

So how did I end up at Rapha?
Well, once upon a time......

The year...1998 / August.
I had just started full time ministry with Gadsden Vineyard Church.
I was clueless about what to expect being at the church every day. It was the first time in Gadsden Vineyard's history that the church had two full time ministers. We were just kind of hanging out around the church praying and waiting for direction.
I received a call from a friend who asked me to join him for a worship meeting at a place called RAPHA. Aha! A mission.
He explained it was a drug and alcohol rehab but the focus of the program was Christian.
Asking where this Rapha was located, I was surprised to find out that it was only about 2 miles from where I lived. In fact, I had driven by the place for a number of years, but never knew that it even existed.

It was a Monday morning, as I turned off of Highway 77 to make my way to Rapha.
At one point the paved road ended and turned to dirt. I'm thinking to myself, "They could kill me and no one would find the body until the spring thaw." Eventually rounding a curve, there before me lay the compound. I was impressed by it's look. Very peaceful and serene, it looked like a place where someone could recover from addiction.

My history with addiction, at this point, was ZERO.
I knew nothing about addiction. I had been around plenty of drugs and alcohol during my "band" days. I was usually the designated driver that got all the members of the band home safe and sound. But my own personal experience with drugs was zero.
In fact, I had developed a cold-hearted attitude about people who used drugs. To me the use of drugs / alcohol was a 'choice' a person makes. You either choose to use or don't use. I was ignorant to the truth about addiction. God was fixing to turn my little world upside down.

We made our way into the chapel to set up. Guys began to come in and take their places among the rows of chairs. These were kind of hard-core looking men. I tell people that my first impression of them was that they had killed their parents.
My friend began to speak and we began to play. It was terrible! We played, the guys just sat there staring at us. We played, they didn't sing. We played, they sat with arms folded. I told myself, "When I finish, I'm leaving and I ain't coming back." I was fully satisfied that I had done the "Christian" thing and gave of my time to help the poor addict and alcoholic. Talk about Pharisee......I was number one with a bullet. God was about to rip off all my religious robes and notions.

I was packing up my gear when one of the men walked up to speak to me.
Big man...
Red hair....
Huge hands. He stuck one out for me to shake and he said, "Thanks for coming out."
I responded with, "My pleasure."
He looked at me and said, "I guess you wonder why we didn't sing, didn't you?"
To be honest, I lied to him.
"No...I didn't give it one thought."
What he said next was God speaking to me. No one will ever convince me other wise.
"You see, we get all these people coming out here. They do programs and teach and all manner of stuff. But no one ever takes the time to know us. Know our names. Know a bit of our history. They blow in here and then blow out. We just kind of figure if they don't have time to get to know us, then why should we participate in what they are doing. Seems like they do it to make themselves feel better. Anyway, I hope you come back."

There were those words....."I hope you come back".
I knew that I knew that God had laid before me something He desired for me to do. God has literally spoken through this man and now direction was laid out as to what I was to do. I had to come back.
I shook the man's hand and smiled.
"I think I'll be back." And I did return.
I was to return day after day to Rapha for the next 6 years as a volunteer.
I did whatever they needed to be done.
Taught morning classes. Taught afternoon classes. Taught night time classes. Drove out to the camp just to hang out with the guys. To get to know their names and their stories.
Started a church service at the Vineyard specifically for the Rapha guys and anyone else in addiction.
The focal point of God's call on my life was directed to Rapha on that day in August of 1998.

Have a great weekend....
Stay cool....
God on you....
mb

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Miracle-Gro~

James 1:4
So let it grow (faith) for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

Let it grow?
My faith?

That means that faith must be a living, changing, spiritual part of my relationship with Jesus.
It also means that the faith I possess today could be greater, larger, more in touch tomorrow if I exercise it.

I don't think this is a "works" issue. By that, I mean that I don't believe it is simply me doing a whole bunch of "God" stuff and in return He grants me a greater measure of faith.
It is a "Being" issue. You see, God created us to be human "beings" not human "doings".
If I walk out my daily life trusting in God and the work of Jesus on the cross, I am being who I was created to be.
Jesus, my Savior, intercedes or speaks to the Father on my behalf, daily, constantly (It's a mystery, I don't  know how he can do that for everyone, but he can). The Father has given to me His Holy Spirit as a "voice" to guide me and to offer to me the best decisions for situations I face.
By relinquishing my control in order to embrace His guidance, I am exercising my faith.
The longer I live in this behavior, the more I grow........the more my character is changed and I become more and more like my Savior, Jesus.

If you read the book of Revelation, you'll find an interesting term.
Rev. 2:7
Rev. 2:12
Rev. 2:17
Rev. 2:26
Rev. 3:12
We read, "To him who overcomes."
To me, when I read the word "overcomes", I have the sense that it is people who have not given up.
People who have dug their heels in against the winds of this world and said, "I will not surrender....I will not give up." In other words, we are to "spiritually" outlast the attacks of this world.

Praise God! We don't have to do this in our own strength, but have the complete favor of heaven covering us.

I want my faith to grow as I endure to the end.
I don't know how many days I have left here before my life ends.
I pray that God grant me many more years because my work for the kingdom is not complete.
But if He chooses to bring me home today....I won't to be faithful and believing right up till I draw my last breath.

I know that life is hard these days.
I know that the world is trying to fling 'fear' over us and draw us away from the assurance that God has given.
Don't let it happen.
Endure.
Cry out to God.
Surround yourself with others who are on this journey.
There truly is strength in numbers, especially when Jesus is at the center and is the focus of the people you are moving with.

God on you....
mb

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hope In The Lord's Faithfulness

He sat there in the streets with destruction all around him.
Houses empty.
Streets strewn with the remains of possessions dropped by people in a hurry.
Smoke billowed from some of the houses.
The walls and gates of the city now lay in ruins.
The ravens had already begun to descend into the streets looking through the carnage for something to eat.
An entire town had fled.
Hustled and strong armed into captivity by a ruthless country bent on domination.
He sat there in the streets weeping.
Then within his heart he felt a stirring as words began to form in his mind.
With no one around to hear these words he spoke.

"The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this....The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness. His mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, ' The LORD is my inheritance therefore, I will hope in Him.' "   ( Lamentations 3:19 - 23 )

A person trapped in addiction finds themselves in this same place that Jeremiah spoke from.
Sitting there in the ruins of a lifestyle that took everything from them, they are overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what they have done.
The thought of what they have lost is overpowering and almost crippling.
It weighs them down with toxic shame, guilt and depression.
They can't see any farther than the destruction they have created through their using.
I like what Jeremiah said though......"Yet I still dare to hope."
That is the point at which recovery begins. I have not given up. I will not quit. I know that God has kept me for a reason, therefore, I will pursue this new life that always seems to be out of reach to me.
Recovery begins when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Filled with the knowledge and understanding that the unfailing love of God never ends is the fuel I use to begin with Step # 1.
Knowing that God sees me differently than I see myself.
He loves me, even if I don't at this time. In fact, He has given me great mercy. How do I know this? Because what I see as destruction in my own life is never as bad as it could have been. God tempers every thing that comes against me with his mercy. That is a God of love.

So no matter what your life looks like this morning.
No matter how much destruction you may have brought on yourself
Dare to hope.
Dare to stretch out your faith, your belief that the mercies of God are made new each morning.
Give yourself to this God who loves you.
Let today be a new day.
It is for me.
Today, as I start out to face whatever is out there, I place myself in the hands of God to be used and directed as He sees fit.
What better place to be than in the hands of God.........

God on you.......
mb

Kingdom Work Doesn't Always Look Like What We Think It Does

Parking lot was crowded yesterday. It was near noon and people were taking care of their business, hurrying in and out of the building. I...