Monday, January 2, 2017

Changes For 2017

I had a speaking engagement at Northside Baptist church yesterday morning, and as I was making my way there, I came upon a scene that is all too familiar. Two police cars, lights flashing had pulled over another car. All the doors to the vehicle were open, trunk up as the officers were going through the belongings. There standing next to the police cars was a young girl.....probably 20 years old, fear on her face....crying. Not far from her was a young man ,he too in his twenties, handcuffed. But the look on his face was defiance. a "you can't break me-I'm not afraid of you" kind of look. It didn't matter, but what came to my mind was, "What a way to start 2017."

I don't know what their story is.....
Probably the same as I've heard from countless others....
Bad choices.....
Bad relationships....
Bad upbringing.....
I don't know....
All I know is that on January 1st....they were standing by the side of the road, handcuffed, with the dark cloud hanging over them that this years was not going to turn out well unless some changes were made in their lives.

I love what King David wrote in Psalm 32.
V.1- Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
You see, this even that happened to these two young people could be the catalyst that leads them to cry out to God. I do believe that God is still in the healing business. If it took getting arrested for these two to have their lives changed, then that can't be a bad thing, can it?

V.2- Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
God expunges the sin-record when we give ourselves to Christ as we confess our guilt and rid ourselves of every dark secret. We live in rigorous honesty. Living a life of secrets only becomes a breeding ground for the devil to work. Honesty at all costs is the way to freedom.

V.3- When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
Living in denial only brings guilt and shame. Guilt and shame only fuel the addiction as we seek to dull the pain by getting high. Unfortunately this only creates more guilt and shame, which leads to more using. God brings to conviction to our hearts in order to move us to confess our sins. Conviction is not like condemnation. Conviction always leads us to Christ, and way out of our old lifestyle. Condemnation only heaps more guilt and shame on you. Ain't no way out of condemnation.

V.4- Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
What is the one aspect that the devil bring to a life that is being lived outside of God's salvation? Chaos. Everything about the addictive lifestyle is found in that one word...chaos. We my try to being discipline into the mix, but we are incapable of pulling it off. But God is there to help us, even when we wanted nothing to do with God. We fought against Him. We turned away at ever encounter with Him. But his love for us never stopped. He never relented from calling us back to Himself.

V.5- Finally, I confessed ALL my sins to You, and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the Lord." And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
You see, recovery isn't about you cleaning up the outside. It isn't about making a promises to "do better" walk the straight and narrow. Real recovery is about letting God clean up the inside...the heart and soul of who we truly are. If I allow God to change my inside, the outside will follow. My decisions will change and become more in line with where my heart is being led daily as I follow this Jesus.

V.8- The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life, I will advise you and watch over you."
To me, those twelve steps are a part of this "best pathway" David wrote about. The steps give my purpose and direction as a part of me moving from a chaotic life, to a life of discipline. Learning how to simply follow directions.

I don't know how life is going to turn out for that young couple I saw yesterday morning. But I know that I will be praying for them, that they have a life-changing encounter with the Living God.

God on you...


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