A Lifetime?

We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime.  Alcoholics Anonymous  pg 84

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”   declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

 I thank you, Father God, for my sobriety. I pray, Father, that you would grant me your wisdom that I would rely on you and not on my own reasoning.  I pray for the right thought or action that I will know exactly what to do and what to say in every situation today. I thank you that I am victorious because of who I am in Christ Jesus. In Jesus Name, Amen.


Fast Food Recovery

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people coming into the program these days want to put in minimal effort and expect maximum results.  It’s almost as if they want drive thru service from AA.  They want to know how to stay sober in under 10 minutes.

I remember coming into the program and spending time getting well and learning about the disease and how to live and apply this design for living that AA offers.  Sure, I wanted 20 years yesterday BUT I was willing to go to any length to get it.  I was committed to doing what it took even if it was inconvenient.  I set up and chaired meetings, I washed ash trays.  I served coffee.  I stacked chairs and tables. I answered phone calls.  I got involved in the service structure.  I jumped into the program and all that it offered because I wanted a way out of the misery I was in. I was 16 years old when I came into AA and a junior in high school.  I still had responsibilities outside of the doors of AA BUT I made my AA responsibilities a priority.  They came first because I knew if I wasn’t sober, I would fail in school, lose my relationships with my family and lose my job. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I wanted to feel better.  I was willing to do whatever it took to stay sober and I was committed for the long haul.

   I believe there is a lack of commitment in this new generation of AA’s.  Nowadays people don’t take the responsibility to chair meetings or get involved because they say they don’t have time; let someone else do it.  Most people coming into the rooms today will not go to any lengths to achieve sobriety they will only do what is convenient for them and what feels good at the time.  The result is more relapse and less long term sobriety. 

Does it mean that the program of AA doesn’t work or that it’s stopped working?  No.  It means that it isn’t being worked and taught like it used to be.  Instead of placing sobriety first in lifes’ priority list, sobriety gets squeezed into the empty spots of life.  I’ve seen so many people come into the program get a little better and give nothing back.  It really makes me sad to hear them say that “they have a life now”.  I guess they forgot why and how they have that new life.  They forgot all the time people took with them to show them and help them when they were new.  They forgot all the meetings they attended and how there were people there to chair the meetings so they could attend.  Now they have a life. I guess all the people that were there when they came in never had a life. I’m so glad that Bill and Bob never had that attitude or this society of Alcoholics Anonymous would never have been born.  They knew that only by giving away what they had could they keep it.  They were committed to sobriety for the long haul. They weren’t just trying it out to see if it would work.  They had to find a way to live life sober and there very lives depended on it. 

 Today I have a life because I came to AA.  There I was taught to find a God of my understanding that would solve my problem.  In order to keep what I have I need to give it away.  If I fail to give it away then I’m in danger of not keeping it.  I’m not in this program for drive thru service quick and easy.  I’m committed to recovery and am willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay well.  I don’t want drive thru service that will only temporarily cover up my sore spots.  This program has given me a design for living that works to not only clean them up but heal them as well. Today I am whole and am comfortable in my own skin.  I no longer am reaching outside of myself to make myself feel better and this is all because I took the time to allow God and this program to work on me.

You KNOW what?

Knowledge alone will not produce the results we need to live in victory on this earth. Having the knowledge that it’s going to rain tomorrow will not keep the water from falling in your convertible if the top is down.  In order to keep the water out you must act on the knowledge that it’s going to rain and put the top up. It’s the same with God and His Word.  Just knowing the Bible and memorizing scriptures will not get them to work in your life. 

 Luke 6:46-49   “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.  It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.  But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

 A wise man will take what he learns from the Word and from God and apply it to his life.  He will build his life on it.  The Word will become the foundation of his life and the Word is the rock that cannot fail.  Remember he told Peter upon this Rock I will build my church.  What rock?  The Word.  And if we build our lives acting on and believing God’s Word, we will be victorious and still standing when the storms of life come to bowl us over.  Jesus says a wise man hears and obeys and a foolish man hears and won’t obey.  Are we building on rock or on sand?  Are we hearing and obeying?  Are we foolish or are we wise?

The Pharisees and Sadducees were very knowledgeable about the Word but their knowledge didn’t and couldn’t save them.

Matthew 3:7-10  But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.  Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.  Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

 Knowing that Jesus died for everyone’s sins will not get everyone in to heaven.  Each and every person must decide for themselves whether they will receive Jesus as their Savior.  They have to act on the knowledge that He paid the penalty for their sin.  Hear and then do.  Jesus spent time with the disciples training and teaching them and then told them to act on what they knew.   Be a doer of what He’s said.  Act like Jesus on this earth.   Dare to believe that we can do the same and mightier works than the master.  In Mark it says that God worked with them confirming His word with signs following.    Be a Doer not just a hearer.  Hear the word, allow faith to come and then act on what you’ve learned and put it into practice in your life.  Faith is an Act.

NO Excuse

Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there.    Alcoholics Anonymous pg 55

For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.     Romans 1:19-20 NLT

I thank you Father God for revealing yourself to me.  I thank you that I know you are the Living God.  I pray Lord that I may help others to see you and to know you.  Bring people across my path today that I may bear witness to them about your love and saving grace.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Can I ask God about Money Part 2

Yesterday we talked about how the widow woman in the Old Testament went to the man of God to ask what to do about creditors banging on her door threatening to take her kids.  Let’s see what Jesus had to say about helping us with our financial needs.  Did you know that Jesus had need of money?  Jesus was questioned about  paying his temple taxes.

Matthew 17:24-27

24 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”   “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?”   26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.    “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

Peter was approached by a tax collector about he and Jesus not paying their temple tax.  Just like the widow woman in the Old Testament a creditor came knocking.   They know what it’s like to have people trying to collect from them too.  How did Peter respond?  Just like the widow woman he went to the Lord.  Jesus gave him the means to get the money.  He didn’t tell Peter that it was Gods will for him to not have enough. He didn’t say to ignore the old tax collector.  In fact, He told Peter how to get enough money to pay for Both of their taxes.  God wants us to be able to pay our bills…even our taxes.  Just like the widow woman in the Old Ttestament she was given the solution and more than enough.   I think it’s also worth noting that in both of these occasions they were asked to use resources that they had experience with.  It wasn’t a new thing that they had to go out and do for them to be able to pay the debt.  They weren’t told to work longer or get a 2nd job.   The woman was asked what she had in the house and told to use the oil.  Peter who was a commercial fisherman before He was called by God was told to go fishing.  He knew how to fish but instead of selling his catch and collecting money from his work,  Jesus was teaching him how to rely on God has his source…go fishing but get your money out of the fishes mouth. 

God is our source.  Neither solution that God gave them to pay off the debt was too hard for them to accomplish but it did take faith.  The widow woman had to act in faith to go and borrow several jars to put the oil in and she had to believe that the oil would keep producing.  Peter had to act in faith that when he opened the mouth of the fish that he would find a coin.  In both accounts it shows God’s concern for our financial situation.   There was a need and God gave them the solution to have their need met.  We can ask God about our financial situation.  He is the one with the solution we need.

Father God, I thank you for your Word for it is the truth and the truth sets us free.  Father I thank you that you care about the financial situation of everyone that is reading this message today.  We turn to you as our Source and we thank you that you have the solution to our money problem. I pray Father God that you would give your people wisdom.  That as they come to you for help that you would provide them with a plan of action.  I pray Father God that you would give your people a willing heart to be quick and obedient to what you would tell them to do and like Peter and the widow they would have more than enough.  I thank you Lord that you are a Good God and you supply all our needs according to your riches in glory and you fill our cup to overflowing.  In Jesus Name, Amen!!

Can I ask God about Money Part 1

Can I ask God about money? Part 1

Yes, God cares about your finances. He has plans for you to prosper. He wants you to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others. Our God is a more than enough God. He doesn’t just want to meet your needs, He wants to exceed them. He’s not worried about cleaning up spilled milk. In Psalm 23 He talks about how He fills our cup to overflowing! Let’s not let the world and our friends shape the way we believe God wants our finances to be. Let’s look to the Bible and learn from God what He has to say about it. God has always had something to say about our finances from the Old Testament to the New Testament. For today let’s look at a story in the Old Testament.

 2 Kings 4:1-7 1 One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the LORD. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” 2 “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. 3 And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. 4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut he door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” 5 So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6 Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. 7 When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

Here is a widow, a single mother, who has a creditor banging on her door demanding payment. Sound familiar? They may not be knocking at the door but they sure do ring the phone night and day. Dealing with creditors is still as stressful to deal with now as it was then. We may not have creditors threatening to take our children into slavery but we do have them threatening to take our houses, our cars and our posssessions.

I think it’s important to notice how she responded. She didn’t call up her friends and tell them she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t call her children in and tell them they were going to be slaves. She responded by going to the Lord through the prophet Elisha. She went to God for help and God heard her and answered her through Elisha. He gives her a solution that not only pays her debts but gives her enough so that she and her sons could live their lives on it. Now that’s abundance.

Why are we told that we can’t ask the Lord for guidance in paying our debts. Is God still the same today? Today we don’t have to go to the Lord through a prophet. Jesus is our Intercessor today. He is at God’s right hand pleading on our behalf. Today we go to God through Jesus and in His name. When we ask God for guidance in paying our debts He will help us. God cares about our financial needs. He cared about this widow woman who was being hounded by creditors and He cares about us today when we are being hounded by creditors and debt also. God didn’t ask her to do something that was impossible for her to do. He asked her what she had in the house and then asked her to borrow some jars so that she could use what she already had. He didn’t tell her to go learn a new skill but instead blessed what she already had and the blessing caused the oil to flow until there was no more jars to fill. We do our part and God will do His part. She borrowed those jars and started pouring in faith that God would supply and He did.

God has the solution to your money problem. He cares about your finances. God will answer when you call out to Him, just like He responded to the widow. There is nothing impossible for Him. Have faith and believe that He wants to help, ask Him and then be obedient to His word. Paying off debt was not too hard to accomplish but it did take faith. So, can you ask God about money? The widow did and she paid off her debt and had money left over to live her life. What about you?