Selfishness the Root of the Problem


It’s amazing to see that after years of sobriety people in these rooms can be so easily decieved into believing they are doing just fine.  Their lives are on track, their defects not as glaring but the selfishness is still firmly rooted in them and they don’t see it.  Most of their time is now focused on their new good life and they have tricked their hearts and minds into believing that this is not selfishness but self-love.  Now don’t get me wrong there is a time when we must learn how to love ourselves but this is not what I’m referring to.  What I’m referring to is the lack of selflessness that comes from reaching out to help others out of the alcoholic pit.  It seems that many AA’s are satisfied with their lives after working the steps, making amends and having restored relationships that they forget about the true message of AA.  That its because many people shared sobriety with them that they can now have a restored life. They forget that the message of Alcoholics Anonymous is to be carried to those still suffering.  Their sobriety is maintained at a mediocre level because they lack the joy and faith that comes from working with others.  I have many people tell me that they want what I have but they never get it.  Its because they lack the one thing that I refuse to give up and that is working with others.  I’ve actually had them turn down people and tell them to call me instead.  They aren’t realizing that they are turning down an opportunity for growth and handing it off to me which I gladly accept.  I’m so grateful that people were there to answer the phone when I called.  I’m glad that the meeting was always open and that there was always someone to chair the meetings I attended.  I understand that when I first came in that I need d to accept help and soak it all in but there comes a time in sobriety when we must step up and start giving back.  This is a sign of true maturity, the ability to let go of self so that someone else might be helped.  To continue to be a taker and hang on to our selfish nature is not a sign of spiritual growth.  We grow spiritually when we reach out and help others.    Am I still rooted in selfishness?  Am I still mainly concerned with myself and my life or am I concerned about others and how I may be a blessing to them?

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Any lengths?


Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.  BB pg 79

 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 NLT

 Father God, thank you for my sobriety and my life.  Father, I pray that you would give me strength and direction to do the right thing and not shrink back when it gets hard. Help me to remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I thank you Father for the harvest of blessing that is on the way.  In Jesus Name, Amen.


2 Kingdoms and 2 Fathers

~ Where are You?

There are only 2 Kingdoms. The kingdom of God ,which is light, and the Kingdom of darkness ruled by satan.

2 Corinthians 4:3-7

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Scripture clearly states that Satan is the god of this world and he is actively blinding people from seeing the light of Gods Good News. When people are not born again they are wandering in darkness because Satan has blinded their minds to the truth of God. They can’t understand the salvation message of Jesus because their hearts are hardened.

John 8:39-44 (New Living Translation)

39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.[a] 40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. 41 No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” 42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The world says that all people are children of God. Jesus says there are two fathers and not all are children of God but some are children of their father, the devil. There are two kingdoms and two fathers. If you don’t choose to believe in Jesus then you are by default in the kingdom of satan. You have to take action to come out of his kingdom and that is to be born again and to believe on God’s Son, Jesus. The greatest miracle of all is when God transfers us out of the kingdom of darkness and puts us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.

Colossians 1:12-13

He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,

God wants ALL people to come to Him and be saved. Does that mean everyone will be saved? No. God has given everyone free will and we must choose to believe and put our faith in Jesus.

Ephesians 2:1-2

1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

Before we get born again we are all spiritually dead. When we receive Jesus we awaken unto God and our spirit is renewed and reborn.

Acts 26:15-18

15 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. 17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

When Jesus spoke to Paul he told him that God was sending him to open the peoples’ eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from Satans kingdom to Gods kingdom. Notice, He sent Paul to open their eyes. How many people had prayed for our eyes to be opened before we gave our hearts to Jesus. We were walking dead… how did our eyes open? It’s the light of the good News. Jesus is the light. We can pray this for people that we know that aren’t born again.

 

 

John 3:18-21

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[a]”

People who love the darkness will not come to Jesus because they love the darkness. They like to sin and eat the fruit of it and they know that they can’t do those things if they are in the light. Pray that God will draw people to the light of the Good News about Jesus.

God sent the light of the World, Jesus, to give life to EVERYONE. There are ONLY 2 Kingdoms and only ONE way to heaven. Don’t be deceived by satan into believing that hell is not real. Hell and heaven are real places and we will spend eternity in one of them. The question is where are you? There are 2 Kingdoms and 2 Fathers. Where do you belong? Are you in the right Kingdom? Do you want to change sides?


Worry—Wasted Time: Missed Opportunity

As I was reliving some irritations of the past few days and reveling in my irritation, the Lord spoke to my heart and said “What about today?” “What about what I have for you today?” I stopped cold. I was so busy thinking about past days and thinks past that I was wasting the new day God had given me and not living in the present moment. What about what God had for me today? I wasn’t even there. I was missing it.

As I sat down to read His Word, this is where I was.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus was teaching his disciples not to worry. He pointed out to them that worrying about things wouldn’t add anything to their life. We actually now know that worry and stress has the power to subtract years from our life. Can worrying about what someone said or what someone did change it? The moment has already past, it’s done. Today is a new day.

Also in Luke 12:25-26 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

Those days that I was stewing about were stealing the time that God had for me in the present moment. I wasn’t enjoying the moment because I was too caught up in yesterdays. Everyday is a new day and God has a plan for every one of them. If I’m focused on the past and worrying about the future then I’m missing God’s plan for the present. I need to keep my heart in the moment and be led by His Spirit. Notice that He said worry dominates the thoughts of unbelievers. As believers we should know that God knows are needs and will provide for us. We are God’s children and as we seek Him, He will provide all our needs.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

What do we do when the temptation comes to worry? We roll it over on the Lord and Know that He will care for it. As parents we take our children to babysitters and turn them over into their care. We know that they will be cared for. That’s the way it is with our Father. We cast our cares and worries on Him and He will care for them for us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

As Christians, we need not to worry but actively stand firm against the temptation and resist it. Our Heavenly Father will never let us down as we seek Him. Worrying can not only cause me to miss it but it can cause others to be affected as well. What if God needs me to speak a word to someone in need and I’m so caught up in yesterday and tomorrow that God can’t use me. I remind myself to live in the moment and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. What is it that God wants me to do in this moment…in this day? Who does He want me to encourage and pray for? Who does He want me to help?


My Journey with God…
From Religion to Spirituality to Relationship

 

I was raised in a Catholic home until the 3rd grade when my mom got in a disagreement with the priest and we never went back. I thought God hated me because I knew I had done things he said not to do. My mother always told me that God had more important things like war and famine to worry about than my little problems. So, I believed her and thought God didn’t really care about me that everything else was more important to him than me.

I was quick to abandon what I could remember of this teaching when I came into AA because I wanted a God that would care about me and I heard people share about this in meetings. They would always say this was not religion and I liked that because I could reject what I thought I knew about religion. In AA they told me to find my own conception of God. I heard of people having stereos, chairs and doorknobs as higher powers and I thought that was crazy but I did like the fact that they didn’t talk about God but said Higher Power instead. I went to a lot of meetings where people talked about the characteristics of their Higher Power. He was all loving, all powerful, etc… I would pick and choose the ones I liked and formed my own conception of a Higher Power, which I did call God. I prayed to him for about 15 years asking him to help me stay sober, help my friends etc… I didn’t get too in depth.

When people would talk about religious views and mention the name of Jesus in meetings, I would instantly get mad. I remember how arrogant I would become when I heard His name mentioned. I would always loudly proclaim how spiritual I was and that this was not a religious program. I would not so silently sit in judgment and think I was so much better than those proclaiming his name. I remember someone saying we were all sinners and I thought -speak for yourself. I’m not a sinner anymore. I’m sober now. My pride had shut the door on any thing that reminded me of religion.

But, if anyone would’ve asked I would have said I was a Christian because I believed in God. At the time, I belonged to an email AA group and the discussion was about God and an old timer said that she wasn’t a Christian and I remember getting really mad. I thought how can she not believe in God and have 21 years sober. The steps talk about having to believe in a Higher Power, I didn’t understand. I thought everyone who believed in God was a Christian. I emailed her and asked her. She kindly told me that she practiced Native American Religion and not God. A few days later two men came to my door and asked me if I thought I would go to heaven if I died. I said “I hope so” and they said there was a way that I could know for sure. That Jesus was the way. I told them to have a nice day and closed the door. I was fuming mad!!!!! I called my husband at work and told him about how arrogant these men were.

I had been taught about Jesus since I was very small. I knew that He was the son of God. I knew that He was born in a manger, died on a cross and rose again on Easter morning. I knew all these things as part of history and I believed they really happened but I didn’t understand how that had anything to do with me and my life. It wasn’t until I was 32 years old that someone told me that everything Jesus did was for me and that He did it because God sent Him to save me because he loved me so much. I remember thinking when I first heard, “Why hasn’t anyone every told me this?” I mean I knew that I had broken Gods laws. I knew that I had gone against Him and I would face a penalty. What I didn’t know was that the penalty had already been paid and God wasn’t mad at me anymore. WOW! All this time I had been avoiding God because I didn’t want to face judgment and my sins had already been paid for by Jesus. It was then that I got a glimpse of the love that my Father in heaven has for me. Yep, me. I wasn’t too small of a grain of sand for him to care about. He sent Jesus to die for me because He loves me that much. He gave His best for me by sending His one and only son to take my punishment. The price for my sin had already been paid in full. That’s why the Gospel is such Good News! The veil had been taken away from my eyes and I finally saw Jesus as he was for the first time. I became a Christian. I received Jesus into my heart and into my life as my personal Lord and Savior and I have a relationship with Him today.

I learned to start reading the Bible for myself and stop taking everybody’s word for what was in there. I found out that Testament means will. The program teaches that we are to do God’s will and I never could figure out what that was exactly but now I could read Gods Will by reading the Bible. As I read the New Testament all I could see was God’s love for me. Today He is my heavenly Father and He cares about every detail of my life and He wants the best for me.

I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to know all of this when I first got sober but more than that I’m grateful that I know this now and that I have a relationship with God today not a religion, not spirituality but relationship.

Cheryl O.

DOS Sept 18, 1985


Don’t Doubt; Follow Instructions!

Have you ever asked someone you know for directions? Did you get right in the middle of them and think “Is this really right? This doesn’t look right, maybe I should go back where I started.”? I’m pretty sure we’ve all had an experience or two like this. We don’t set out to doubt our friend, but the unfamiliar surroundings invite fear and fear always causes doubt. What if they’re wrong? What if I don’t find it? Etc.. The next thing you know we doubt the words of the very person that we’ve asked for help. The trust we had in the beginning when we asked them has quickly been drowned out by the fear of all the things we can see around us. Maybe we didn’t see the thing they pointed out or maybe it seems to take longer than we thought it would. The more we look around, the more fearful we become and the more we lose track of what the directions actually were. We start putting more faith in what see than on the directions given to us in the beginning.

Matthew 14:25-33 NLT

About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost.” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed. Matthew 14:22-33

Peter tested Jesus by asking IF it’s really you then tell me to come to you by walking on the water. Jesus of course said “Come”. I was taught that Peter just stepped out of the boat and stood on the water and began to sink but that’s not what the scriptures say. It says Peter walked on the water toward Jesus. Jesus gave him directions and Peter followed. BUT Peter started looking around. He saw all the wind and the waves and fear entered his heart and down he went. Jesus immediately asked Peter why he had doubted Him. Jesus gave him a direction and Peter had faith to start out much like us in our example in the beginning. Everything was fine until he started looking around at his surroundings and he started to doubt the direction given to him by Jesus. The waves and wind became more real to him than the word “come”. “But maybe Jesus didn’t know that the waves would be this tall?” Maybe He didn’t really know that the wind was blowing so hard.” “Maybe He didn’t really mean to walk on the water?” These could’ve been some of the questions going on in Peters mind. He didn’t set out to doubt Jesus but he got his mind on his surroundings instead of on his instructions and suddenly the instructions seemed to be wrong. Jesus was fully aware of everything when He told Peter to come. He knew Peter had all the ability he needed to come to Him. Jesus said that by doubting His Word, Peter doubted Him and this was little faith..

In Contrast lets look at someone who Jesus said had great faith.

Matthew 8:5-10 NKJV

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

This Centurion believed that Jesus’ words had power. He knew that all Jesus had to do was speak a word and his servant would be healed. Jesus said it so it must be true. There was no doubt in this centurion’s mind and heart. He knew that Jesus could carry out His Word and that His Word would be obeyed. Jesus called that GREAT faith.

How is our faith today? Do we take God at His word and believe it or do we think it’s out dated or doesn’t apply to us? Do we read His instructions in the word and then get side tracked with the circumstances and surroundings of this world and forget His instructions to us? Do our circumstances let fear into our lives so that it drowns out the Word? Maybe we don’t see the answers to our prayers in our time or maybe we are standing on a promise in the Word and we aren’t seeing it come to pass and we get weary and allow our surroundings to get us in doubt about His Word. Maybe this won’t work for me? Maybe God doesn’t want me to have this? STOP! We are so blessed to be able to read the Word of God and actually own a bible. We don’t have to guess what God’s will for our lives is because He has had it written down for us. He has given us life’s instruction manual and our part is to read it and apply it to our lives. If God said it, then He has the ability to carry it out. If He said we can do it, then He has given us the grace and ability to get the job done. Read His instructions and follow them for a successful and happy life here and the hereafter. Don’t let your circumstances affect your belief in His Word. Let His Word affect your circumstances. Have faith in God! By having faith in God, we can trust and believe His Word and all things are possible to us who believe!

 

 

 

Forgiveness


We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.” Alcoholics Anonymous pg 66-67

 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:12-13 NLT

 Father I thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to make allowance for others faults and forgive them as you have forgiven me. Help me to clothe myself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Show me how to be helpful to people today. In Jesus Name, Amen.