I realized in writing the above date that today would have been my parents 93th wedding anniversary. That alone ought to let someone know they are getting old!
I have mentioned several times the book, I Give You Authority. I awoke last night and couldn’t sleep. It seemed I needed to get up and address some lingering, deep issues. The chapter is entitled, Past, Present, Future; which my friend and I will be addressing this coming week. By now I can so easily see what the author is talking about when he addresses the secret places within us and how these places are homes to an evil spirit or to more than one. God has been showing me through this time of reading that some beliefs I’ve had do not need to be held onto any longer. I’ve already address the belief of unworthiness recently. It was time to address some of intimacy. I know what I’m writing can be controversial to folks living in a culture as our own where things like evil spirits are poo-pooed. I believe that alone is one of Satan’s biggest lies he wants man to believe.
Intimacy is a huge topic and SO personal. However, the three things my prayer warrior told me are huge in this topic: self-love, self-appreciation and self-confidence. It is time for me to be intimate with myself so I can be intimate with others the way Christ modeled–“…to love others as I love myself”. All I know is this is where God has me. I thanked Him for this as I had my devotions this morning. I trust HIM and will obey HIM.
Yesterday ended a 3 day marathon of on-line meetings. Yes, these meetings are a nice way to get information out to folks eliminating the need to be face to face, but it is still a lot of sitting. Now that I write this, I recall thinking how much I had to sit when I’m in a face to face meeting. It isn’t about the on-line, it is all about the number of meetings and the length of them. OK, I have this squared away now!
Yesterday afternoon when the meetings were done I had a message in messenger from a student I had several years ago. He wanted to know if I’d share my phone number which I did. He called me last night and we talked for almost an hour. I found it amazing and saddening that he is going through a tough time. When I told him I relate to his hurt he asked me how I’d know? I briefly told him my background and why I am so involved in recovery ministry. He said he was afraid to share his story for fear it would be told to others. I assured him that in the 12 years of working with recovery I’d never heard once of someone sharing another’s story. The agreement that “what’s shared in the room stays in the room” is kept. No man shares his story with the hope it gets told publicly. He will hopefully come to tomorrow’s step study class. God is always working with us. How grateful I am to be a part of His Kingdom. I now pray this young man will follow through and will face his fears tomorrow and come. To God be the GLORY!
Self-love, self-appreciation, self-confidence. With so much self in these three terms, I would cringe writing this only a couple weeks ago. However, when you write these terms from God’s perspective, He wants us to know these three are a strong definition of what is meant by Christ’s words in Mark 12:30-31: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” If we truly love ourselves as Christ says, we have these three characteristics. It is not arrogant to possess these unless this is interpreted through the lens of man thinking all of this is about man. I have struggled all of my live trying to avoid ever thinking about these characteristics because of the condemnation I received from my dad any time I received an honor from doing something well. However, I’m now learning these characteristics are a natural state when we are obedient to God’s nudges through His Holy Spirit within us. When we see the good which comes from obedience it is not arrogant to sense the gratification. The confidence isn’t arrogant, but instead, it is knowing well the God we serve and trusting fully in Him to be the power to accomplish what He has put before us.
The inner voice of condemnation is gone. I haven’t heard it for over a week now and yet I’ve seen God working through efforts He puts before me. The kickoff of our Celebrate Recovery last night was a good example. One man told me that my passion to serve God has motivated him to do the same. He desires now to serve God passionately. He said he use to think that was “dumb”, but not anymore.
God is so AMAZING! What an honor and a gift it is to serve Him.
Yesterday was just one of those days when everything in it seemed to click nicely together from the very start of the day to the time I climbed into bed. I had a 5 hour zoom mtg with the other ones in the state who do the same I as I. We had a national speaker with us for a couple of those hours which was most insightful. There were several details I was able to attend to and then the time with the birthday grandson began. I had gotten him a gift I was pretty sure he’d love. When he opened it he laid his head on my shoulder and said, “I love you grandpa!” Every since he was a very little tyke, he’s laid his head on my shoulder and hugged. Now that he is 17, he still does this. Of course now he is 6’2” and I’m still 5’6″‘s so it’s a little more awkward, but still as precious.
I can’t help but equate this loving relationship between my grandson and me to the loving relationship growing between God and me. More and more I am learning just how much God has desired this trusting, loving relationship to be known and experienced. I’m into my 7th decade of living, but it is never too late to start into this opportunity to know God, experience God, believe God and surrender all to Him. How I do love Him!
Today is my second oldest grandson’s birthday. He is 17. I’ve been amazed watching him mature. He took a part-time job this summer working for a friend of mine who couldn’t quit giving him kudos for the great work he does and the great worker he is. This work ethic is a gift I’ve watched him develop in the past couple years. It makes grandpa proud!
I’m rather amazed (can’t find a better word than amazed) how great it is to arrive at yesterday’s meeting with much unknown about it, but simply be relaxed knowing any input I’m to give will be nudged. I don’t have to create something so I can be of good use. No condemning voices at all. God’s healing touch, miraculous work is nothing but amazing. It is also well worth the effort to stay the course of overcoming with Him.
Last night’s Celebrate Recovery meeting had one of the men saying he wanted/needed to build a stronger relationship with God. He had grown much closer to God in his recovery journey, but the intimate relationship is something he doesn’t know yet. It has taken me a long time to get to this place of much greater trust and belief, and I’m so grateful to be here seeing and believing God to be just as He has always said–Faithful to the end!
Hebrews 3:14 says: “For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
I have never in my entire life been so acutely aware of living life surrendered to Jesus Christ as I am this very day. Living life each day in obedience to Jesus and His Gift, The Holy Spirit, is a new phenomena. What makes it so new is the absence of doubt. The doubt for me has always been driven by that inner voice of incapability or worthiness. It was also fed by the doubt that even though God promised each of us The Holy Spirit, I just was incapable of fulfilling what He wanted to do through me. Today, all of this doubt is gone. However, the new message of self-love, self-appreciation and self-confidence has not taken root. I don’t want to hide myself writing this as always in the past, but I don’t seem to have a hook to hang them to. Yet, just in writing this I realize the first hook I have is the promise of God. One example is Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I am going into a meeting this morning with one of the school districts for which I serve. I’ve always walked into these meetings with a good deal of doubt hidden behind a hope that all would go well and I’d give it repeatedly to God to take charge. This meeting is a new approach the superintendent is taking and I’m there to add insights into this new approach. I’m trying to describe what it is like to have the doubt gone. I don’t find a confidence but I do sense a freedom to walk into this knowing God’s Holy Spirit will reveal His Leadership in His timing and in His Way. How amazing it is to realize this is our God at work in us as we learn to surrender fully and believe fully. It is day 2!
Today is day one. I need to put meaning to this first sentence. Before I do I want to praise God for opening the door for this lady I mentioned yesterday to get the firewood she needs. It’s fun to be able to be an instrument of service for God in this way. Secondly, it was so good to be back with the step study men. There were 7 of us who met yesterday and there will likely be 3 more who will be coming next week. The door is open for new ones for the next 4 weeks so I leave this in the hands of God to prompt those He wants there. It is a step of obedience and a risk for each one of them.
Back to day one–I had contacted my prayer warrior Saturday asking if we could meet Sunday afternoon. This was fine with her. I really wanted to talk deeply with her about the content of the book study I’ve mention often. It is all about worthiness for me. I opened up to her telling her about the meeting I’d had with the book study partner last Friday. From there to yesterday I’d noticed that the condemning voice in my head from dad was gone. I still had my own self-doubt, but that voice was no longer present. This I shared. My prayer warrior got teary and said we will praise God for the gift of removing that condemning voice. She had told me about the 3-R’s: rebuke, replace and rejoice. Rebuke the lies used against you, replace with the truth of worthiness and rejoice even now for what God has done, is doing and is going to do. I had rebuked and the spirit of unworthiness was gone (the voice in my head). Where I was lost was in replace. How does one replace this voice and what does it even sound like? This was my question to my prayer warrior. She said, “Lets pray right now!” As she did she thanked God for removing this evil voice and message. She then asked God to replace this message with self-love, self-appreciation and self-confidence. I simply began to weep. Could all of this be true for me?! She praised and rejoiced that God is doing this and will continue to do this.
This morning as I began to journal first thing in my devotional time, I wrote thank you to God for the time yesterday with my prayer warrior and all she addressed with me. It was then He said, “This is day one for to not only rebuke, but to replace and then rejoice.” I was amazed to realize I’m not the condemned son of dad, I am the redeemed son of God through Jesus Christ! I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to have moved from knowing this to now believing this. It is day one of living out the life of being a new creation! Praise be to God!
Today is a big day. It not only is my oldest living brother’s 84th birthday, it is also the day we restart the step study we had to discontinue last March. At that time there were 9 of us in the group of men. I’ve had 3 who have said they want to start in addition to the original ones and I’ve invited a couple more. I have no idea who will actually be present, but I’m so glad the door has finally opened for this to happen. God is wanting these men to know His Righteousness is what He sees when these men stand before Him if they have accepted Christ in their lives. Right now all they see is their pasts and present standing before God. This bondage is exactly what Jesus Christ shattered when He rose again so many years ago. I pray this study will allow each one of these men to find the freedom Christ offers and that the chains of bondage are shattered! Thanks be to God!
A fairly new attendee to our Celebrate Recovery needs firewood for the upcoming winter. Her son had been the one to help her in the past, but he is gone now. She expressed this need to my wife who mentioned it to me. Yesterday morning at a men’s breakfast our church was sponsoring a man stood up and said he had firewood to give away if anyone needs it. I immediately went to him and told of this lady’s need. This afternoon I’m taking it to her. The beauty is there is much more where this came from. I love how God is so concerned about the needs of His kids. I also love that He lets us be part of it–that in and of itself is a reward.
Today would be my parents 93rd wedding anniversary. They were married on 9/12/27. As I took a moment to reflect on this it caused me to ponder about the impact we leave during our earthly life. Yesterday afternoon the 4 Lewis brothers still living and our spouses got together for our monthly luncheon and afternoon. (We do this thanks to our wives). Three of us are still married, one is a widower. We don’t sit and talk all afternoon about our good and bad memories of family members, but there are tidbits which come up. The ones about dad are almost never kind and thankful. The ones about mom are nothing but that–kind and thankful.
First thing yesterday morning, once my devotions were done and this blog was written, the man I’m doing the book study with arrived. This is the book, I Give You Authority. The chapter went deeply into what we know about God and what we believe about God which is demonstrated by the way we live each day. I’ve truly appreciated being more awakened to this void in my daily living. I know so much more than I daily live. God has created each and every one of us with purpose and with a gift or with gifts. Only sometimes do I live as though I believe this. We are worthy of all God has given us because of Who God Is–not for whom I am. I’m finally coming around to this.
Someday I will be gone and my kids and grandkids will have their own conversations as my brothers and I did yesterday. The legacy that is left for them will hopefully be one of believing and showing it in the way life is lived out. Knowing is only the start of believing. It is running the race of life which will show if I do more than know.
Writing this date this morning as I began my journaling instantly caught me off guard. I suddenly had the awful memories of that day not so many years ago. I’m sure any reader has their own memories of this horrific day. In it however, God used the tragedies for many personal touches on people’s lives. I well recall the Sunday following this event, there were more Americans in church than had been in decades. It is a genuine truth that man does turn to God–seek God when crisis hits.
I had a young man talk for almost an hour with me last night after Celebrate Recovery ended. The darkness of sin was clouding his belief of God and man himself. He knows God and knows a lot about God, but, it is one thing to know and another thing to believe. He is coming to the step study we had to stop last March and will resume this coming Sunday. I told him this darkness will be addressed one item at a time as we go through the lessons. However, it was nice to tell him that he is already working ahead of the lessons. He is not keeping darkness in denial. He sees it for what it is. He struggles that the darkness is his identity (I sure relate to this). We prayed for God’s Pure Light to penetrate all of this darkness in the days ahead. I also prayed that last night’s talk began to crack open the door of darkness Satan has wanted kept locked for him.
Our God is such an Amazing God. Lets serve Him well.