Yesterday’s Celebrate Recovery Summit was powerful and impacting. It was different of course, but the messages were so up to date and the reality of God’s Work continues to be evident. At the end of the day we had our own CR as it was Thursday. I was impressed that we had two new comers.
What hit me over and over during the Summit’s many presentations was the message that sobriety and recovery have different meanings. Sobriety tends to mean stopping a bad habit. This can be done through man’s willpower or from God’s transforming power. If it is man’s strength alone it often fails to maintain itself. Recovery on the other hand has the purpose of sobriety, but it means discovering the need for our relationship with God so that our reliance doesn’t come from our own strength for which we know fails. The closer we get to God, the more frequently we turn to Him and the more we create a daily time to commune with Him. This then leads to eventually finding sobriety which lasts.
The reason this was so important for me to hear was my own personal recovery. I came to Celebrate Recovery to find sobriety from the use of porn. However, after a year of failure I was told I needed to address the hurt in my life rather than the habit. The hurt was driving the habit’s use. In so doing I began the recovery walk which has eventually led to finding sobriety. Man emphasizes a higher power in secular recovery. Celebrate Recovery emphasizes Jesus Christ alone as the higher power. As we build this relationship genuine recovery begins and sobriety falls into place. Yes, it still takes work, but the work is no longer in isolation, for it becomes a team effort of God’s Power and man’s surrender. The work is brought into the open. Not only do we benefit from this, but others do to as we share each week and hear the sharing from others.
During this perplexing time of this pandemic, reading Revelation only intensifies the sense of unrest. In fact, reading it makes me realize that what our world is facing presently doesn’t hardly touch the destruction and torture of what’s to come. It takes me back to the stages of focusing our attention on God rather than on man. I believe these days are preparation days for the coming doom written in Revelation. If nothing else, our present state does show me what happens to man when he looks only to himself for answers rather than to our Almighty God Himself.
Today begins the Celebrate Recovery virtual Summit. There are 16 of us gathering at our church to attend it together. I’m eager to simply take part. I want to learn what I can from the leaders of CR to see what God has shown them for this ministry during our present time. It is timely to have it now and know that attendees are present throughout our world.
Each day of late I need to bring myself back to the foundation of who I am and what I am to do. The simple side of this is that I am a new creation given the Holy Spirit to lead me one day at a time. I am to surrender me each and every day to the Power of The Holy Spirit. The future planning I’ve always done this time of year is something I cannot do for now and it is obvious I’m not suppose to. Waiting on God to see just what He has in store is my job. Also then, waiting in real anticipation is my real job rather than waiting in worry and anxiety. God is still on the throne and I don’t want to lose sight of this!
The mini-camp is done and the campers have gone home. We did start yesterday morning with the devotion that had been planned for the previous night. The message from John 3:16 & 17 was the focus of the devotion for them. All of them knew 3:16 but didn’t know the significance of verse 17. The idea that Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it, but to save it can easily get lost. I was nudged to help my grandsons know that once we have Jesus in our own hearts, it is important to help others know this truth about Jesus. Satan is so good at helping us see our ugly humanness and in so doing keeping us focused on Jesus judging us by it. The truth of God’s Word to us is that Christ came to save us. Yes, He will judge but today is not the day of judgment, this is the day to save.
I’ve been troubled of late regarding steps to take for our restoration classes. I appreciated what my devotional had to say this morning. Oswald Chambers writes, “When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait.” This I will do–wait. There are a few readiness steps I know to take, but, the rest, I will wait. God is still on the throne of this universe, I needed to be reminded to let Him take the rightful place on the throne of my life for this present time. It is so easy to take this place in our lives. Today was a good reminder for me. Waiting is sometimes the right action.
Did I say there was a mini-camp happening at our home? Well, almost everything planned didn’t happen, but the three grandsons are here. The important thing seems to be that they get to be together. These three cousins do get along very well so supporting this time for them is important.
Waiting patiently for God’s leadership in what has been our restoration ministry work is not easy for me. I know this present time isn’t easy for anyone. I keep thinking there should be more one can do, but what is it? These are the things which want to bombard my mind and emotions. I read over and over in my devotional time about “do not worry”, “God is in control”, and so many more healthy quotes from God’s Word. Yet, the minute I get away from them I find myself questioning and wondering. I’m in a lesson of life we all go through many times. I will keep surrendering what I know is not of God. He tells me to keep my eyes onto Him rather than onto the circumstances of the day. Trust what I know about Him is my assignment.
Today will hopefully be one to remember. Three of our grandsons were to go to church camp last week. It was the only year they could all go at the same time due to their ages. Then, the camp was cancelled due to the pandemic. They are all 3 coming tonight to do a mini-camp over night in our yard. Kathy and the moms are putting together a dinner for them and I’m getting a “chapel experience” together. They’ll sleep in a tent in our yard and I’ll shut the zone of sprinklers off so they don’t get drenched about 2:00 am!
I’ve been waiting for things to come together so we will be able to have our classes this fall as in the past couple years. It is looking less likely this will happen by mid-September as far as our church houses the classes. I’ve quit looking for “things to normalize” and have begun to ask God how He wants this to happen if He this is part of His Kingdom plan for the fall? I’ve felt nudged to consider different locations for the classes other than the church. This seems almost like a no-brainer in some ways. There are those who won’t come to the church for the topics we address even if they’d like because the church is a place where they might be recognized.
I do love this God we serve. I’m still working on The Seven Spirits of God. The 7 seems to refer to perfection for God has used 7 multiple times throughout the Bible and our world’s creation. Revelation refers to the number 7 multiple times, but there is little about the 7 Spirits of God except that God consists of them. It will sure be fun to have all of these answers when heaven’s door opens for each one of us.
I’m into Revelation in my bible reading. What a mysterious and yet revealing book. I can’t fathom John’s experience of being taken in spirit and seeing/experiencing all that is written here. The book already mentions twice the 7 Spirits of God which are The Holy Spirit. Yet, no definition is given that I can find for these 7 Spirits. I know that The Holy Spirit is Christ’s Gift to each of us when we accept Him in our hearts. Yet, to know The Holy Spirit is 7 Spirits is yet another mysterious element I’d sure like to know more about.
To think that this flesh of ours is so dominant here on earth and it will die allowing our spirit to then reign forever is something I look forward to with much anticipation. It is incredible to me how much flesh dominates our world. God has become less dominate and man’s ways are fighting to be known as “the best”. How sad our present state is. I know this is all predicted in God’s Word and here we see it with our own eyes.
The present journey has me in a state of mind which saddens. I know God wants me to know our world’s present state and to also know it is a temporary one. He ultimately wins! I will love to see the day when all of man worships our God forever and ever!
July is filled with family birthdays starting with mine on the 1st. Today is another example. I had a brother-in-law with a birthday today. A cousin is today and my youngest granddaughter’s birthday is today. She is turning 3 and a very happy 3 it is! We are celebrating her birthday next Tuesday at our home. Her requests I’m told are chicken and to sit by grandpa! No problem there!!
GOD is LOVE. This was emphasized again in my devotional. We are to be love too both by our actions and our being. This is so easy to do when one is with their grandkids or friends. However, God reminds me that He wants me to love everyone. I do this by being patient and kind, forgiving and self-controlled. I show compassion when it is needed and tend to the one hurting. It is very easy to see these traits in others, or not see them in some. But, taking time to self-assess is what God is asking me to do and I’m sure each one of us needs to do this.
There was a time in my life when I thought I’d reach a stage when all of this would come more naturally and I’d be able to rest in life because I’d accomplished what God wanted as far as becoming the man He created me to be. Well, now that I’m at the age I am, I see that this human flesh never lets up. We always have a bent towards selfishness and it comes out in ways that never pleases God. But, His Holy Spirit is faithful to nudge when this happens so it can be corrected. It is taking the time to listen and reflect asking the Holy Spirit to speak. And, He does. He never stops directing us towards the One in whom we were all created originally to be like. I will never reach perfection I know, but then, the Holy Spirit will never quit guiding me towards the relationship with Him that helps me to stay on track.
I was having a difficult time getting into the website this morning so I could write today’s entry. I had given up on doing so with my laptop and thought I’d try to do it with my phone. Everything was slow but I did get into the writing portion of the website on my phone. As I was going to close down my laptop I saw that it was finally at the right page so I can now do the writing on it. That is much easier.
Kathy’s special day was a fun one. Kathy and Mary had come across a gentleman from North Carolina who was traveling across country with his pickup and travel trailer. He is a single man, airline pilot, on his maiden voyage. They invited him to put his trailer on the property as he was searching for a way to lengthen his time in Wallowa County and enjoy the scenery. He was just another added bonus to the day. Mary was well prepared for all the company and the addition of two more dogs.
Being love, accepting love and giving love are good topics and easy to see in others. It’s a tough topic for self analysis (at least for me). I watch these two sisters and they don’t seem to struggle with this at all. The gentleman here told me last night the second half of his childhood was in foster care and he’s had a good deal of therapy in order to accept life. This opened the door for me to mention a little of my own background. It was a busy night so we agreed we’d talk more when it was convenient.
God is always opening new doors of opportunity. I want to be ready and let His Light so shine.
Today is Kathy’s birthday–my wife of almost 38 years. She left last Sunday for Wallowa, OR to be with her sis and to be in her old stomping ground. One “friend” who heard that she had done that and I wasn’t going up until today said that my absence was my gift to her–5 days without me! I think we know that a good spouse completes us in so many ways. This has been my truth with Kathy throughout our years together. She and her family have taught me so much about love and loving. All I knew about love from my childhood is what I wouldn’t do when I could make my own choices. Little did I know about what I was to do. Then there is all I’ve been writing about “believing” that I have a love nature just as God is Love. I’ve deeply loved God and thanked Him so many times for giving me the gift of Kathy.
Today I head to Wallowa along with our youngest daughter and her family. It is always nice to get away for a while. I think the test will be on Mary, Kathy’s sis where everyone is staying! I’ll give you a little report on this tomorrow! The journey today–Wallowa!
Today the message of Love still dominates. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with my prayer warrior. I talked with her about “being love”. God is Love the word says. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” I John 4:16. He created us in His own image making us to be love too. All of this takes me back to a counseling session when I was asked to define who I am. I said I was an educator, a singer and a gardener. I was told these are what I do, but who is the person who does them? I was thrown for a loop with this question. I was to ask Kathy and a couple other trusted friends who they say I am for the next session. I was also to bring Kathy to this session. I didn’t talk to her about the why she was coming until we were driving in. I couldn’t bring myself to ask the question of even her for fear of what I’d hear.
During the counseling session the counselor asked Kathy to tell me who she saw me to be. She said some complimentary things for which I was suppose to agree that they were true. Towards the end of the session I was told we were going to perform surgery and cut the “umbilical cord” tied to my false beliefs of who I am. I am more than a doer, I am a being. This left me so insecure that the next day I went to the lead of our quartet and said I couldn’t sing with them any longer. I am not a singer I said as I wept. Finally I was able to tell my friend what this was all about and he then told me he never sang with me because I was a singer, he sang with me because of who I am–the being, not the doer.
To be love is a created part of us–each of us. I can easily see how man, selfish man, has perverted love in so many ways due to our selfish nature. But, the reality is that we are created to be love just as God is Love. The loving things we do stem from this nature. My prayer warrior yesterday helped so much. She even said, “Look at all the garden produce you brought me. That is love!”
Satan wants us believing the lies we were taught from life. God, however, is relentless in continuing to show us His Nature and helping us to live His Nature through our own living. We do this because He created us this way, not to earn the right to be called His children as I have lived for so long. What a wonderful God we get to serve!