Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Morning Thought's Fueled By Two Cups Of Coffee

Three days of prep and indulging in the perk's of Thanksgiving.
Time spent with the Bynum side last night in Oneonta.
Great food, great company, great stories and memories.
Home and bed...
Nothing like your own bed...

It just fits the body and comforts the mind and heart, allowing for maximum drift into sleep.

Sun is coming up even as I write this.
Another day...
Another opportunity to get it right.

Don't want to waste it or mess it up.

Thoughts and verses for the day:
Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed. Save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.

Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes. But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

I was created for God's good pleasure.
I was created so that He could will and work into me, and replace all the "Stuff" that the world has embedded in me. 

Attitudes and thoughts...
Behaviors and actions that run contrary to God. Such needs to be taken out, or changed, or removed so that I can be filled with Him.
Truth be known, there isn't any room for " me".

Jesus told me, in Luke chapter 9, that if I wanted any part of Him...then I'd have to give up myself, my will, my desires, my wants, my needs..etc...etc.
Sometimes this really sticks in my craw...
But, after much consideration and contemplation, I discover that it is my old stinky self that has that desire to not give up and over to Jesus.


It's not like Jesus is going to turn me into some sort of automaton, a robot with no will what so ever.
He wants me to discover for myself the life that is waiting for me, with the Holy Spirit as my guide.

Yellow brick roads and wizard's? I don't think so.
There are good times out there...
And there are hard times out there...
There is pain, and suffering...

with copious amounts of grief...
But above all that I want to run away from, stands Jesus.
"We can do this if you'll follow me," He says.
Do what?
Walk through life and face head on whatever comes my way.
Simple as that.
But it requires a vision and ability to see that the world cannot produce or give to me.
Vision that is fueled by faith.
Faith lets me see through the pain and suffering and find the joy of the Lord.

Joy of the Lord?
Yep! The complete,deep down inside, assurance that Jesus is who He claims to be.
Assurance that He is capable of doing what He has promised He would do.

I'm just crazy enough to believe it....

God on you..

mb

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bynum Thanksgiving 2014



Psalm 103:1
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His Holy name!

It I thought about it enough...I could get real "weepy".....
In fact, I kind of walked around in that state yesterday, the state of feeling full.
Not of food...
But of gratitude.

I was assailed on every side by the little things that took place, leaving me with an incredible sense of being grateful for life.
Not just an existence here on planet earth, but a life that, up to this very day, has been full and blessed.

It started with text messages I received from others who attend VRC, wishing Vicki and I a Happy Thanksgiving. Friends are better than diamonds.
Family gathering in our house around our table to share the meal together.
Vicki leading the prayer....
Then the singing of "Bless Be The Tie".....a tradition from Vicki's grandfather, Bishop Walker, the ultimate family man, as well as the epitome of what a Southern Gentleman should be.


Laughter....
Food.....
Stories and memories....
More food...

A whole bunch of "Hey! Do you remember the year when.." that circulated from person to person.
Coffee and pie.....
Then everyone off to find a chair or couch to recuperate on.

Football in the back yard...

Sons....grand son....and me...
Each pass was a Touchdown...
Each route run by the receiver was done so with a fluid and  ease of motion....

Well, maybe it looked that way to us...
More memories that I want Tyler to store away, so they can be taken out for years to come, dusted off and relived.

My grand daughter, Ashley, is the epitome of energy. She is full speed ahead all the time. Throw some pie into the mix, and she becomes this force of nature to be reckoned with.
Witty, quick and eloquent is the thoughts and words that come streaming out of her in machine gun fashion. You just never know what she will say next, but rest assured it will be note worthy.

Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears on TV....
Not the best game...but it was football, wasn't it?
Chad and I off to Wal-mart to buy a Christmas tree.
Chad finds the "All-Christmas / All-the-time" radio station and commences to launch into the next season.
The Full Frontal assault known as Black Friday had not yet commenced at the store, so we made our way in and out with our purchase and experienced no problems or resistance. 
Off to Chad's house to drop the tree off, then back home for round two.

My brother, Wayne, and his wife, Sue, dropped by for coffee and pie.
More stories...
More memories....

Somehow I can't help but see Wayne and I as a couple of kids growing up at Gallant.
That's the beauty of memories....
I still have my mom and dad in my heart and in my thoughts, even though they have been gone for over 29 years.
So Wayne and I share our stories about growing up together.
My sons and my grand children love to hear these tales.
I'm not so sure that each year doesn't bring small changes to these tales...you know what I mean...put a little extra jam on the bread.


Finally after everyone has left....
Josh, Heather, Vicki and I are all in the living room with one last cup of coffee or piece of pie...
Talking and catching up on the latest in each others life.

The weariness sets in and sleep starts to beckon each of us.
"Good-night's" and hugs as we make our way down the hall to our respective bedrooms.
As I settle down into the bed, there is a sense of fullness in my thoughts and in my heart...
A fullness that can only come from God.

A fullness that reveals to me that life indeed has it's ups and downs....
Its mountain tops and its valley's.

And that if we look for the little things and find gratitude for them....
Life can truly be worth living.


Thanks for stopping by the Greene Street Letters this morning....
God on you...

mb

And thank you, Father for family....
For my wife, Vicki...
My mother in law, Betty...
For Josh and Heather...
Chad, Robin, Tyler and Ashley...

For my Brother in law and Sister in law...Larry and Deb Campbell...
For Steve and Peggy Parrish...
For Wayne and Sue Bynum.....

And last but not least...
The canines that joined us for the feast....
Baxter...

And Bitsy...
IT was a good day.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Season Of Gratitude



Excerpts From
Psalm 55

As for me, I will call upon God, 
and the LORD shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
 I will pray and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and He shall sustain you.
He shall never permit the righteous
to be moved.

Life seeks to overwhelm me....
It wants to drag me down and drown me under a flood of negative thoughts, emotions and feelings. Like sirens on the shore, it lures me with promises of peace and contentment. But such cries are empty and hollow, and will only end in death.
But the Lord...............
The Lord God Almighty who stands above the din and roar of life....
Offers His hand to lift me up above noise and clatter.
More than just lift me up, He offers to me a life of abundance...
A Cornucopia or His goodness......
Peace of mind, heart and spirit......
The warmth of His love....
The voice of His Spirit inside me, guiding me....
The firmness and stability of His Word and His promises....
The community of others who have given themselves to Him......
The richness of His grace.....
The fullness of His forgiveness.....
Such are the real things to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving day.

There will be meals to consume....
Conversation to engage in.....
Hugs and handshakes....
Football and afternoon naps....
But I never want to forget who should be the center of my thankfulness.
So.....

Father....
I have been blessed beyond measure by Your hand.
You have taken me, saved me, filled me with Your presence....
And given me a hope that sees beyond this life.

You have loved me with an everlasting love...
And I am keenly aware of such.
You have given to me an incredible family, in spite of my goof's and mess up's.
And through out our lives....
and the 42 years of marriage, You have woven your truth in our days...
And in our very being...

Everything I have....
Everything I am...
Is because of You...
I am truly Yours...
As a friend of mine once told me....
We are coins in Your pocket, God.
So spend me as You desire.

Jesus...
You are the Lord of my life...
You are the Savior of my soul....
I honor and worship You this day...

In Your name I pray...
Amen.

From the "B's" in Attalla, Ala......
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving...

God on you...
mb


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Am A New Creation Of Infinite Worth

Isaiah 43:18-19
Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth. Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
I have spoken with a lot of folks this week who seem to not have anything to be thankful for.
Every story I  have heard is tinged with the power of things that took place in their past.
The past has a stranglehold on them. It chokes out any life that tries to come in. It loudly defines the individual in their mind, to the point that any hope of a future is clearly destroyed by the behaviors of the past.

I have seen men and women who, because of past failures and attempts to be clean and sober, actually sabotage their own recovery when they start having some success. Why? Because in their minds, failure is just around the corner waiting to drop down on them. So if failure is inevitable, then why not go ahead and stop this nonsense about being sober. That is what I refer to as "addict-a-logic".  

Sometimes we have a tendency to focus on the actual steps, at the expense of the One who can make all things possible. We read the steps and can only see them being carried out by our own strength, willpower and effort. They sound good. They seem like they would work, but our past keeps telling us, "It's not use! You can't do this."

What's the answer? 
A simple formula.
Person = Performance + what others think about me

This formula shows how we have a tendency to get our self worth from what we have done in the past (Our performance). We are also heavily influenced by what other people think about us. If our past behavior, or performance, has been one of destruction and addiction, then our self worth is at an all time low. The main thought that invades our thinking and directs our actions is "I am a terrible person----look what I have done in my past."  Any thought of moving on and having something positive in our life is automatically attacked by the "I'm a terrible person" thought. So what is the answer? Simple. Jesus.
Jesus? You mean the guy in the Bible? Yep..that Jesus.

Step # 1 / #2 / and #3 put is into a right relationship with Him.
We are powerless....we are the problem....
He is the Power......He is the answer....
I make a decisions to turn will and life over to His care.
SO, how does that eliminate the view I have of being this terrible creature because of my past behavior?
I have to replace those old thoughts with some new truth.
Hebrews 10:14 -  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
What offering? Jesus. He gave himself as a payment for every bad thing...every bad thought...every bad behavior we ever had, or will have. He died as a payment for my sin. (Sin being the very nature that drives me to be independent from God). He settled my "past" once and for all. Truth be known, Jesus broke the power my past had over me.

The verse goes on to say that "He HAS perfected forever". Not "will perfect", but past tense "Has".  What is it that has been perfected? Why my person.....that question has been settled by Jesus doing for me what I could not do for myself. SO when God looks at me, He sees me as perfect. DO I feel perfect? Do I sense that I have risen above life to a new state of being? Probably not. But hey....it isn't about me feeling something. It's about the truth of God, and the truth is He sees me as perfect. The question about my self worth has been answered once and for all time. So what does that leave?
My performance.
My behavior.
The rest of the journey you will take in the twelve steps addresses your behavior.
It goes to the root of such behavior through Step #6 and #7, the acknowledgement of our character defects and a willingness to have God remove them.

If you don't seem to have anything to be thankful for this holiday season....
Then proclaim the truth that you are no longer a victim tied to your past and defined by what you have done.

Because of Christ's Redemption...
I am a new creation of infinite worth...
I am deeply loved...
I am completely forgiven...
I am fully pleasing....
I am totally accepted by God...
I am absolutely complete in Christ...

God on you....
mb

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's All About Our Charcter


Romans 5:3-4
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope.

Webster's defines character as: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
Synonyms for the word character are: personality, nature, disposition, temperament and mentality.


So what does this have to do with addiction or recovery? Everything. It is the goal and completed work that God brings to us when we apply the steps to our lives. It is an on going process that we cooperate with as God's Holy Spirit works inside to change our world view and the way we approach life. It is about our character.

Step # 6 states that "We were entirely ready for God to remove these defects of character." If I work this step by putting myself in God's hands, and really are ready to change...then would it not stand to reason that the way I have viewed life and based my decisions on how to live would be changed? I think so. Change of character.

I have seen way to many people get all up in "Jesus", so to speak. Thrill to be saved. Overcome with joy and gratitude for what Jesus had done for them and to them. But then never move beyond that point. Never place themselves upon His plans (Romans 12:1) and allow Him to do the deep work needed to start a new way of living. Change of character. If I'm not changed on the inside, then I put myself in a place of repeating the old choices and old ways of my past. Salvation is a complete break with our past. 

The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:12 - 13: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. What does it mean "to work out" our salvation? Well, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I think it means we cooperate with God as He works in us to change us. To change our character. The way we think, determine what is right and then apply it to our lives. We fall under the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Did you notice in the verse from Romans that it would be our problems and circumstances that would be part of the process in this change of our character. Our daily struggles will be the measuring stick to mark our growth. How we approach them. How we deal with them. All figure into the process of showing us God's mercy when it is applied to our lives and then played out through our behavior. God does not waste any event or situation. He is all about us understanding exactly who we are in Him. To see and comprehend our position in Christ as we face the world daily and deal with whatever comes our way. As John Wimber use to say......"I want to grow up before I grow any older". 
Well, John...........
Me too.

In other words, this journey in recovery......
This journey in a relationship with Jesus is all about change. 
Change me on the inside....
The outward behavior will follow.

Food for thought today.....
Let me know what you think.

God on you...
mb

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Beginning And The End Is Love



I Corinthians 13:13
And so faith, hope and love abide]
Faith - conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things.
Hope - joyful and confident expectation or eternal salvation.
Love - true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us
These thre, but the greatest of these is love.

My goodness how we do love to talk about the love of God.
We bandy that phrase about like it was religious currency.
We measure our churches and ourselves by this term, laying hold of it in spite that our definition of what love really is might not be close to what God has declared it to be.

In fact, for me personally, I find that the more I try to love....
the more I realize that I'm kind of in the dark about what love is and how I am called to demonstrate it here in this world. I think maybe I saw some truth concerning it last Saturday night.
Truth about God....
Truth about myself....
And truth about who we are as a community of followers of Jesus.


At our last VRC meeting, we probably had as many "first-timers" as we have ever had. They didn't know what to expect. They later told me that they weren't real sure they wanted to even be there, but it was an opportunity to get away from the daily grind. They ran into something they had not anticipated on finding. The love of God and those who follow Him.
It wasn't that the core leadership had a meeting before hand and made plans to "love them" into the Kingdom. It just kind of happened. This love we have been shown by God, is the fuel that drives the Saturday Night meeting. You see, to me, everything about the meeting is a demonstration of God's love to us, humanity. At least I think this is the way it should operate.  From the table that is spread with coffee and the fixin's, to the cookies and free stuff that we give away. If you want to boil it down to the simplest statements. What took place Saturday night was God loving through us to reach others.

Our worship on Saturday night is a bit different from what you hear at other places. When I say different, I don't mean better........I just mean different. Debbie Handy and I are the worship leaders, but we draw on the other members of the team to come up with what songs we feel like are to be sung on Saturday night. I have a tendency to lean toward what I refer to as "Road house" worship. Blues riffs and chords....even some take-back songs that everyone is familiar with. Debbie is the rocket that takes the worship into the next level where we come into God's presence.  Saturday night everything seemed to connect, as you could hear the group that had gathered singing above the instruments sound. Latching on to such phrases as "Now I'm Free!" the sound was more than singing. It was a declaration of truth in the lives of those who knew this Jesus.

While the teaching of God's word is always important, what's more important to me is what does God want to say about it. I have found over the years that people very seldom remember sermons or lectures or teachings. But within the context of the entire message, there is opportunity for a verse or a thought to strike a heart and make a lasting impression. That is what I want to happen. That something that is shared hits home and penetrates the darkness to bring hope, light and love to someone that might not know Jesus.

We make no pretense about our call on Saturday nights.
We are an entry point into Christ.

We are the pre-church church, so to speak.
We are a place where someone who doesn't understand church can come and be introduced to Jesus.
In the whole Kingdom of God view, we are just one more flavor that appeals to some folks.
So we celebrate our place that God has given to us.

We want to love and be loved by our heavenly Father, and we want to give away everything that He gives to us. I want to leave this old world with a zero balance in my spiritual bank account. To love as God loves. To live as God directs me to. And to embrace this call to those in the darkness of addiction, to direct them to the source of life......real life.

We haven't lost that "loving feeling"......we have found it in Jesus.
Thanks for letting me share.
God on you..

mb

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Best Of The Greene Street Letters

I will be posting some of the "Best" of the Greene Street Letters on Saturday and Sunday. Today's offering comes from December 26, 2011.

The Church at Philadelphia

Revelation 3:10 - 11
Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Verse 8 - For you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name.

What is the message for us today found in the life of this church located in Philadelphia?
1.) The church which recognized its natural weakness, was supplied with supernatural ability through the power of God's Holy Spirit. It is amazing how we find the Twelve Steps hidden through out Scripture. The principals for living a godly life are all the same no matter whether you struggle with addiction or not. Remember the addiction is merely a sign or symptom of a greater problem. A sin problem. You don't have a drug or alcohol problem, you have a living problem. A broken relationship with Christ is at the center of the struggle. But here we see where God recognizes this church in Philadelphia because they have little strength. In other words, they know that as a congregation, they are powerless. 

2.) The church has kept God's word. In other words, the Bible was more than just a book, it became the very voice of God in their midst. They recognized the value in simply doing what God instructed them to do. How simple yet how profound is it to simply do what we read in Scripture.

3.) The kept or did not deny the name of God. Names were important back in Biblical times because a name revealed the character of the person. Keeping God's name would imply a belief in the ability of God. How incredible is this! To trust and rely wholly on God's ability to take care and direct those whose hearts are committed to Him and His kingdom.  Matthew 6:33 -- Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. Holding fast or placing all your trust on the name of God implies a reliance upon God's strength while rejecting your own ability or strength. This is the heart of recovery. "I've tried it my way and my very best thinking has got me in rehab." It's time to put down our way and embrace God's way. 

I guess the lesson for today (for me and hopefully you) is that God empowers those who persevere in the face of adversity. Realize that adversity is a given when you are putting your trust in God to deliver you out of your addiction. Not giving up ....Not giving in....Holding fast to God in the belief that He is truly who He claims to be and will do what He claims He will do is the heart of real life. Having this ongoing spiritual awakening is way to life. 
God bless each of you today....
mb

Friday, November 21, 2014

Countdown


Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.

Number our days?
You mean count them off, or mark them off the calendar?
Not really....
I think the idea is to realize that our time here on earth is short.

To make each day count for eternity.
To realize what a gift this day is, and that He has allowed each of us to possess it.
What I do today will figure into the eternal part of life I don't understand.

Choices I make....
Decisions that must be weighed out and considered carefully....

People I need to see and speak to...
All figure into this day. Am I going to be about Kingdom business of my Father?
Or am I going about doing what I want to, hiding behind His name?


Wisdom comes from the understanding that time is not something we should take for granted. Before I go any farther, let me say this.....I am not advocating that we should all run out fill up every minute of every day with some sort of religious behavior. I am advocating that we should follow the Spirit of God every minute of every day. Number our days as we follow Him and see where it takes us. 

Addiction has the potential of robbing an individual of their perception of time left to them. A person in addiction lives only for the moment. The right now, right here, give me a good feeling - life is to hard, moment. Such an individual can't, and sometimes doesn't want to, look beyond the next high. So the days become wasted as the individual. Falling deeper and deeper into a pit of lies and false belief's, finally giving up with no hope of ever coming out. All of the choices made become colored and tainted by the addiction. It really is a Romans 7 life! That which I want to do (be clean and sober and have a life) I do not do, and the very thing I don't want to do (Use and get high) that is what I do. Paul the Apostle kind of emphasis' this thought with a pretty good exclamation. He says, "Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of sin?" Turns out that Jesus is the answer to the problem.

Don't be mislead by the dark voice of sin/addiction.
Don't be taken down that road to despair and depression. Life is hard enough without signing up for the 3-hour sin tour.

As Larry Norman use to sing.....
"Why don't you check into Jesus---He's got the answers !

God on you...
mb

Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Church Of Wal-Mart


Psalms 116:15
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Wal-Mart yesterday....
Roaming up one isle and down another waiting on a phone call from wife to give me the list of things she needed me to pickup.

Check out the movies....
See what kind of sweat shirts they had.
Up and down the toy isle.....Christmas is just around the corner.
Then my eyes caught sight of someone.
Hadn't seen him in a number of years.
I made my way toward him.
He saw me.
We hugged, slapping each others back as men do.
There were the customary "How are you doing?"
And a few "You look great" thrown in for good measure.
Then there in the isle's of Wal-Mart, the church came together.
Oh, the attendance was only two, but isn't there a verse in Scripture that says wherever two are more are gathered? Yes there is.


He told me that this was the anniversary of the death of his wife. Been four years since she died. As those words rolled around in my brain, I was flooded with images of her. You see, she and I went to school together from the first grade on. She was what some would call a "Gentle Soul".  Smart as a whip, and you knew she would do well in life. Played piano at church and loved Jesus. "Has it really been four years since she died?" I asked. "Yes, and it seems like forty," my friend answered. But then what took place next was what made my day.

Without any show or bravado, my friend spoke openly and honestly about how he has dealt with her death. Hard? Yes. Day's he wants to pull the covers over his head and not go anywhere or do anything? Yes. But He gets up and out every day. He has a deep abiding hope and faith that he will be reunited with her at some point. There were no regrets in his voice or his story as he shared about her last days. She was more concerned about him that her on plight. He assured her that life would be hard without her, but he would carry on and be o.k. 

You know, forty years of marriage forges some pretty strong bonds and beliefs.
I'm talking about a good marriage. One that has a foundation. One where the two truly are one bound in Christ. That was what these two people had. A marriage to each other....a commitment to each other that was bound by God's Holy Spirit. And it was very evident in the things my friend shared with me. My friend told me, "I tried to honor our marriage vows all the way to the end. Not because I had to, but because I just loved her so much." There were no tears as he shared his story because he has embraced the grief and seen it through. Does he miss her? Sure he does. But there in the middle of whatever pain may come.....there in the middle of the memories that come washing over him like the tide.....is the promise..the hope and the assurance that he will see and be with here again. Such is the evidence of a life that has been lived for Christ. One that in the midst of hardship and pain is filled with hope.


We probably talked for 45 minutes. 
More hugs and handshakes, and prayer.
Then we said our "good-bye's" and parted company.
I knew that this had been an appointment that was meant to happen.
A time when two people come together, even if for the briefest of time, to encourage one another.
God....
He is something else, isn't He?


God on you....

mb

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Was Blind ----Now I See



John 9:13
Then they conducted to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind......

John 9:25
....But one thing I do know, that whereas I was blind before, now I see.

Testimony to the love of Jesus, that he would move a person from one state of being to another. To provide for that individual something the individual was incapable of providing for themselves. In this case, it was the ability to see. 

No matter how hard the man wanted to see, he couldn't.
No matter how much effort he put forth, he was still blind.
In fact, society has a way of labeling people who struggle and suffer with such afflictions, don't they?
We read of "Blind" Bartimaeus in Scripture. I'm pretty sure that this was a label that stuck with him all through his life.......
That is, until he met Jesus.

How about Naaman the Leper. Good man...brave man....man of integrity.....leper. That one stripped away everything good that Naaman accomplished. People shunned him. He was an outcast of sorts because he could not do anything about his condition.


How about Rahab the harlot. There's a good one. Do you think her family was proud of that moniker? Do you think that she wore the name "harlot" with pride and dignity? Or maybe she had been beat down her whole life to the point she just didn't care any more. Successful business woman.....everyone knew her.......but she couldn't escape that label.


What label follows you around this morning?
What condition are you living in that you cannot escape?
Is it addiction?
You've heard the names.....
Addict....
Junkie....
Drunkard.......

Meth-head......
Whore........
And the list goes on and on and on.
Each name just beats the very life out of you. Each name pasted to you because of your past.

Well, there is one who has the power and authority to free you from that past.
His name is Jesus....


I chose the verses from John Chapter 9 today for one reason. The simplicity of the statement made by the man Jesus healed.
The religious people are going nuts because Jesus chose to heal this man on the Sabbath.
There was an inquisition, and questioning about the event.
This must have taken place over many hours, and I'm sure the man who was healed had had just about enough.
Finally he makes the ultimate answer to an argument.
"Hey guys!  I only know one thing....I was blind........now I can see. End of story".
That's all you have to know today,  if you want to break free from addiction.
That Jesus has the power, ability and authority to heal you from it.
Simple as that.
Step#1 ---recognize your powerless when it comes to our using, that my life has become unmanageable and out of control.


Step#2 --- Reach a point where you believe that Christ can restore you spirit, soul and body to sanity. That you will be led to a new level of life you could not provide for yourself.


Step#3 --- You confess your past sins (that would be the actions that you did because of your wanting to run your own life. You wanted to free and independent from anything to do with God). You turn will and life over to His care, and let Him drive the bus.


That's all you have to do....
Next will come some discipline that He will help you with. Some daily things you can do to strengthen yourself so that you can move forward with this new life.
Old life is gone....the old labels removed....

The new life has come......new labels put in place.

God on you...

mb

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Salvation


Luke 9:56
For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them from the penalty of eternal death........

(The following is personal opinion)

I never have cared for the term "plan of salvation".
I understand why it is used that way, but to me it seems impersonal.
A "One size fits all" kind of deal.
What I see in Scripture is that Jesus comes from all directions to secure salvation for someone.
He will use any means possible....
The work of the Holy Spirit is as varied as one can imagine when it comes to bringing someone to the point of salvation.

For one, it may take time in jail.
For another, it may take losing everything.
For another, they may receive this salvation before reaching a critical point in their life.
No matter which it may be, salvation is the end result.


Salvation is still about conviction, confession, repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

But the way it is arrived at is different for everyone.
I'm not saying that there are many path's to God, in reference to the world's religion. Jesus is the only way to the Father.
But how we get there......now that is different for each of us.


Me?
I was saved in the fourth grade at Gallant Elementary School. This was back when you could talk about Jesus and (heaven's forbid) even have a daily Bible reading to start the day off. We had a visiting pastor come and do a special program at school, and at the end he began talking to us about who Jesus really was, and how we all needed to give our lives to Him and His kingdom.
There in that little country school house, one Michael Bynum became acutely aware that he was a sinner. Aware that he was a sinner with the potential to do even greater harm and damage if left in this state. So I got up from my desk and went up and told Bro. Lewis Wood that I wanted to be saved.

To me, salvation is the greatest miracle and healing of all of God's work.
Over the past twenty years, I have witnessed thousands of salvation experiences, and without a doubt, it is the ultimate healing.
I've seen lives completely destroyed, left in heaps of rubble and given up for dead, restored under the hand of Christ. I have seen those who thought that addiction would take them to the grave be set free and thrive in the new life that has been given to them by Christ.


Also, salvation is an ongoing experience in this new life given to us by God.
Yesterday, I was saved.
Today, I am being saved.
And tomorrow, I will be saved.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:12, in the amplified Bible:
Work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).

In other words, salvation is a gift that is to be guarded.
It is to be tended to and nurtured as we daily allow the Holy Spirit of God to work in us. This inside work of the Holy Spirit produces a changed outward behavior that should be evident to everyone around us.
Such is the mystery of this incredible gift given by God to fallen humanity.
The gift we refer to as salvation.


God on you....

mb


Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend Recap



Auburn's Loss to Georgia?  Painful.
Sitting out in cold weather at the game? Painful.
Being with the family? Priceless.
Thanks to everyone who carried on with VRC, and allowing us take a night off to be with family.
It was a great weekend and a chance to share some quality time.
Introduced my grand son to the Three Stooges. I just happened to have smuggled a box set of Three Stooges DVDs into the van. I suggested that he might want to watch one just to see if he liked it. Next thing I knew, I was hearing a few "Nuk-nuk-nuk's" from the back. This was quickly followed with "Whoop-whoop-whoop".  Ahhhh...another one converted.

I spoke at North Glencoe Celebrate Recovery last night. Got to see some old familiar faces, and they seemed to be doing well. Lot's of handshakes and hugs. Good stories and prayer requests. I spoke from Mark Chapter 2 and the "need of the one".  Multitudes followed Jesus every where he went. Several Bible commentaries say that when the word "multitude" is used, it means over a thousand. So we have Jesus, in a house, teaching, and he is surrounded by over a thousand individuals. Yet in this whole mass of people, the story comes down to one individual who is paralyzed. Out of this sea of humanity, Jesus focuses on the one. That was the heart of what I was trying to teach. That the room was filled with people, yet don't get lost and feel as though you don't matter. Jesus is after the one. That each person there last night had the potential to be the "one" if they would cry out to Him. There was much healing and forgiveness when ministry time rolled around. Those times are always like payday to me. There is a deep satisfaction in watching people come down to receive from Christ. A satisfaction of knowing that He who has begun a good work, will see it to completion. Such is our God.

Temp's dropping today....
Be safe out there....

Look for opportunities to love on folks.
I will see you tomorrow.
God on you....

mb



Friday, November 14, 2014

Running Blind


Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.

This is the central verse that we used at last night's Bible study.
It is the verse that is associated with Step # 1 of the Twelve Steps.
There is a way.....
There is a direction that seems to be the better choice, but if we travel on it long enough, we find that it ends in death.
There is a way.....

There is a manner or behavior that seems to be the better choice, but if we travel on it  long enough, we find that it ends in death.

But don't we all die at some point?
We sure do.
So what difference does it make in the choices I make if I'm going to die anyway?
Because death isn't the end game.
Death is the transition from this life into eternity.
Death is the seal that closes all the choices we made on this side of eternity.
It seals my fate and my destiny as to where and with whom I will spend eternity.
If I live my days spiritually blind and with thinking that is lead by my sinful nature, without God's intervention and my surrender I will pass over into an eternity separated from God. The one comment I hear over and over from those who have made this transition from spiritual darkness to light is "I can't believe how skewed my thinking was." What seemed like right thinking is now seen as delusional logic. Or as we say..."Addic-ta-logic". A way that seemed right, but if followed long enough will be revealed for what it really is.


Proverbs 16:17 reads: The highway of the upright is to depart from evil. He who keeps his way preserves his soul.  In other words, a life that has turned will and life over to the care of God is being directed and guided by God in a way and manner that will save his soul. The highway or direction of those who have turned from their old ways, always leads away from evil.
But if it leads us away from one thing then it must lead us to another. We find life in Jesus.
Jesus declared that He was the way, so no longer do we labor and stumble around like blind men and women, thinking our way is right. We have a new way who is also real truth and real life.

Psalm 119:105 - Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The Word of God becomes the reality that shows us how to live in this new way....this new life. It gives us the ability to not only see the direction we need to be headed in, but also brings comfort and peace as we can see and understand what is out there ahead of us. The Word of God illuminates my heart and my thoughts so that I can discern which or from God.....which are from me...and those that are being influenced by the devil and the world.

Turn loose of your way and embrace a new one.
One that leads to real life.

Think on these things today.

God on you.

mb


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Over And Out


John 19:30
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.

Mission accomplished.
Jesus had come to earth to model for us what a life directed by God's Holy Spirit would look like. But the main emphasis of His coming was to be a sacrifice. From the manger in Bethlehem at His birth, all the way to the hill outside the walls of Jerusalem the cross cast a long shadow over His life. 

Now here in John 19:30 He proclaims that His earthly mission has been completed. It is finished. What is finished?
Well, for starters, Jesus' death opened the way for sinful man to have relationship with a Holy God. Jesus became the bridge between us and God.
But more than that.....
The penalty for sin had been dealt with once and for all time.
No longer were people born under the shadow of a life of darkness.
No longer were we condemned to march through life all the way to the grave with no hope or way out.

The payment for sin had been made, in God's eyes, once and for all time.

The past would no longer haunt us.
Our past deeds would no longer define us.
IT IS FINISHED!

The power of sin had been broken.
The penalty of sin had been paid for.
And the presence of sin had an enemy in the blood of Jesus that would wash away ever stain sin had created in the life of an individual.


What does it take to be brought under the effects that Jesus' blood has on sin?
First off, listen, with your heart, for God's urging for a change in your life.
This is more than just doing right or acting right.
This is a giving of your will and your life over to His care.
A kind of "Step #5" if you will as you confess your sin to Him.
Then a verbal acknowledgment that you don't have all the answers to what lies ahead, but you are willing to let Jesus be Lord of your life. Your confession and acceptance of this sin-blasting life He is giving you puts Him in the place of being Savior of your life.
Now your daily following of His directions will make Him Lord over your life.
Oh yeah...
One last thing...
With the prayer to receive Jesus' work into your life, He does something really cool.
He fills you up with the Holy Spirit.

I can't explain how all of this works. I just know that in my own life things changed once the Holy Spirit was introduced into me.
Is that cool or what?

Now....
Go do more than exist.
Live!

Why?
Because Jesus has declared your old life to be over and done.
After all, didn't He say "It is Finished" ?


God on you.
mb

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Waiting


Luke 24:49
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you.....But tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

The word tarry is defined as "To linger in expectation".
I would say that would be waiting with a purpose.
Not something I'm good at........this whole waiting business.
But something God is teaching me.
Teaching me that it is a benefit of following Him.
Don't know why waiting comes so hard. When I was in the military it was always  "Hurry up and wait". You would rush like the wind to get to a location and then once there you'd wait.


In the case of the Scripture from Luke 24, Jesus is ascending back to heaven. He is giving His disciples last minute instructions to return to Jerusalem and wait.
If you go to the book of Acts, Chapter 1, you'll find in verse 14 that the company gathered together in a room. There were 120 gathered in that room waiting. So how did they pass the time? Funny you should ask.


They all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.
Supplication means that they were asking specifically as they prayed. For ten days, this was the behavior of this group. They didn't just sit in silence. They didn't pass the time with conversation or chit chat. They were praying. How foreign would such a thing be to us today.
If truth be known, our entire existence is built on the idea of waiting for God.
We follow Him....if he moves and instructs us, we move.

We live out our days with one eye in the here and now, and one on the heavens looking for His return. (That's my agenda....carry out today's instructions with a view that He could return at any moment).

When I'm not focused on Jesus, my mind has a tendency to entertain thoughts that have no place being there.
Maybe waiting is a discipline God has given to us to improve out conscious contact with Him.

Maybe waiting is the ultimate exercise in Step # 11.
What is Step # 11?
Sought through prayer and mediation to improve my conscious contact with God,as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.
Maybe waiting is a little slice of God telling me to think on Him.
Maybe waiting is God's way of stopping me so I can reset my compass, so to speak, and my heart before the next big thing I have to confront.

Maybe I should pay more attention to Him when I find myself having to wait, be it at a courthouse or cafe. Whether it takes place at a Doctor's office or the Department of motor vehicles. 

I think waiting is a God-given exercise to teach me patience and perseverance. To not rely on my self will or strength, but take the time and learn to rest in Him.

I think I'll fix me a second cup of coffee and wait on God.

God on you..
mb

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Two's Day-Cloudy-Muddled-Kind-Of-Logic-Thinking





Revelation 19:11
After that I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse appeared. The One who was riding it is called Faithful, Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady, and True, and He passes Judgment and wages war in righteousness, holiness, justice and uprightness.

Jesus is love....
Jesus has a hatred....
A hatred for sin...for the kingdom of our enemy, the devil.
He recognizes that everything in creation has been tainted, twisted, warped and soiled by the mind and handiwork of Satan. Jesus not only knows this, He has experienced it on a cross. Just as Jesus has a hatred for sin....the devil has a hatred for anything holy and pure. He seeks to corrupt and soil as much of God's creation as he can.

But Jesus also knows a plan has been, and is being carried out  ever since the fall in the garden of Eden. That History, if looked at with natural vision, appears to be one failure after another as mankind has sought to devour each other. Those of us who are followers of Jesus know this to be far from the truth. God is always at work, saving and redeeming that which was lost.

So why write about God's plan and Jesus' hatred for sin?
Because it is here all around us today. In fact, we have been invited to join in the plan. We have been extended an invitation to be a part of something that is changing the world one soul at a time. That is why I get up every morning and churn out another posting for this blog. I want to share with you an incredible truth that has changed me and my family. 

TRUTH 101

1.) God does love you
Oh we say the words....We may even sing the words. But have you ever felt the words? I mean, really feel the love of God enfolding you and flooding your very soul. The devil wants to flood your heart and mind with doubts and fears. Fill you with questions and emotion. Why? Because if he can do this, he will keep your focus away from God.
Try this....
Even though you may be going through some terrible times and seem not to have any answers, close your eyes.
Now say this simple sentence...
"God loves me".
Put the emphasis, as you say it, on the word "GOD"
Now, say it again only this time put the emphasis on "LOVES"
Now, one more time, but this time put the emphasis on "ME"
DO this three times.
I know...I know...you feel stupid.
Well, that's o.k.   I felt stupid the first time I did this...
But you know, the emotional turmoil I had found myself in seemed to go away as I let the truth of how God feels about me soak in.

2.) God will provide for you
God will meet your physical needs. I have witnessed this in my own life and marriage over the past 34 years.
Matthew 6:33 - But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His Kingdom (God's rule and reign in your heart and in your life) and His righteousness (His ways of doing and being right) And then all these things (food, shelter, job..your physical necessities) taken together will be given you besides.

When I put God first....
I mean really first, not just in my mind...
Then I am in a place to receive the blessing of God.
May not mean you'll dine on gourmet food, or drive a Rolls Royce...
But it does mean that God will move on your behalf to provide.

Thanks for stopping by GSL...
Hope you find God today.
He's already found you.

God on you...
mb








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