I said yesterday that tonight I teach Spiritual Inventory Part II for the Celebrate Recovery group. I had said that two weeks ago we addressed the negatives in our lives in the Part I lesson. I also said that in tonight’s lesson we would address the positives. Well, the positives are only positive if we obey the necessary steps we are to take.
I’ve been looking for a good story to read along with this lesson. I just hadn’t been able to find one. There is the story of Zachariah which I mentioned yesterday. However, it didn’t seem to fit so last night I’d decided I’d teach the lesson without a story. This morning the Light was given. As I had my Bible reading in the Psalms Joyce Meyers tells a story from her own experiences. It fits like a glove. It is all about Pray and Obey.
This may be true for all people, but for the ones who come to Celebrate Recovery, we pray for God to intervene in whatever brought us. However, obey what we need to do? Well, that may or may not happen. We don’t want to take a step of faith into an area where hurt has been the only experience we’ve known. God is asking us to Pray and Obey. It is the only way we can learn to build our Trust/Faith in Him.
I have needed to take these steps of obedience many times as I’ve addressed my personal recovery. There have been many times I’ve prayed but instead of obeying, I thought the steps I needed to take were too tough or just not needed. I’d recover to the degree I was willing. In God’s faithfulness He didn’t let me stay there and I’m so grateful! I think I’m now ready to teach tonight’s lesson.
About three years ago I began to read Watchman Nee’s book, The Spiritual Man. He said in it that we can know the voice of God through our intuition. He does a nice job separating our emotions from intuition. I’ve been preparing to teach Celebrate Recovery’s lesson tomorrow night on Spiritual Inventory–Part II.
Two weeks ago I taught Part I which addressed the negatives in our life. Tomorrow’s lesson will go into who God made us to be–the positives. As I’ve been grappling with man’s emotions in the Psalms, I’ve been pondering about the gift of intuition God gave man in order to separate His Voice from man’s voice in our emotions. God’s Voice is almost always “a still small voice” which our emotions cloud and hide if we don’t stop long enough to quiet them so we can hear God. The gifts God gives us can be buried in our selfishness and unbelief’s if we aren’t careful.
The Celebrate Recovery bible takes the story of Zechariah as one who didn’t believe God’s message to him through Gabriel the Archangel. Zechariah doubted the message and he became mute. God asks us to take His message/s to us on Faith/Trust. In so doing we show our confidence in the God we say we serve no matter what God is telling us or saying to us.
It has taken me a long time to get to this place in my personal life. I could easily trust God for you, but my past and the emotional voices in my head often kept me from believing the promises God wanted me to know and believe. Today, most of them have been Recognized, Rebuked and Replaced with Self: love, appreciation and confidence. However, if I’m not careful I have a moment like last Sunday morning which I wrote about. The turn around time is faster today, but I want to be a man who doesn’t question God, but tells Him, Yes, I want to follow your lead as I hear Your Voice and never question it.
I’m writing this as I sit for 15 minutes following my second immunization. I am so glad to be able to have this completed. God is good.
I wrote as I started reading Psalms that I have never enjoyed reading them the way I appreciate them now. The emotional expressions are continuous as I had always resented. However now as I read them I’m awake to the truth that man is a highly emotional being and I’ve just been in denial to it. The funny thing is that my own frustration of it has been my personal emotional response!
I love being in a place where I can appreciate much more who man is and more importantly, who our God is who created us.
The blessings of yesterday were truly nice. The recognition given to Celebrate Recovery in both services was deeply appreciated by everyone and it seems the congregation also appreciated it as well.
I go to one of the schools today even though it is President’s Day. They are a 4 day school week so they honor the holidays on the Friday’s rather than the Monday’s. I’m delaying my start due to all of the snow we are getting. It is to be done by mid-morning so I’ll head out then. The roads will be plowed by then.
Today the Psalms are filled with Glory and Honor due to God our Father, Christ our King (even though men did not know about Christ at the time of their writing). I told the men in our step study yesterday morning that reading the Bible with the mindset that God’s Voice is the one I hear as the words are read, gives me a whole new perspective. God is praising Himself and He is telling me I can praise Him too. He delights in our praise of Him. God doesn’t personally struggle with arrogance and conceit like man does. He simply receives praise as our recognition of His Genuine Love, Grace and Mercy. He asks us to live this way. I have much to learn here but I know I’m on the right road.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Yesterday’s marriage focus our church sponsored was a real treat. We loved it and it spoke in many important ways to us as well as to everyone who attended. The beauty of it was seeing that it was all put together by our younger, middle age couples.
Today I’ve needed to face a demon as my journey continues. A few weeks ago our pastor who oversees our Celebrate Recovery ministry told me the church was going to honor CR in the worship services today. He wanted me to know so I could make sure the leadership attended both services. I thought this was a nice idea and thanked him for doing this. As the day has been approaching I’ve needed to squelch my desire to take control of the way we will be “praised”/”thanked”. Finally, this morning when I couldn’t sleep I got up and asked God what I was missing here and why I couldn’t seem to just be appreciative of this? (The voices scream in my mind). As only God’s Holy Spirit can do, while I’ve had my devotional time, He has gently guided me through some tough, intense critical memories of my childhood years. In those years the absence of criticism was praise. I also learned to deflect any type of praise because I’d learned well that I wasn’t worthy of it.
As I have spent the last 1.5 hours working through this I’ve needed to go through the 3-R’s: Recognize, Reject and Replace. It was easy to recognize the lies and to reject them. As I asked God what I should replace it with He reminded me to replace it with TRUST. He asked me to take my eyes off of my past and to look up to my heavenly DAD. It is there I can easily trust and find gratitude. The desire to take control of this morning’s praise is now gone. I’m ready to go and receive whatever is being done. How much I love our Heavenly DAD! He loves praise and He wants us to know we can love it too.
I wrote yesterday about the concerns I had for the day and what was to take place. I praised God (finally) after He reminded me of this need. The day took place as though there were no hitches in it at all. All my concerns were for naught. Praise God! The incredible thing is that there were a couple of unexpected praises which took place in the day I had no idea would happen. God is so good! Praising Him is truly man’s expression of TRUST in HIM!
The snow keeps coming! What was 3-4″ yesterday is now about 7 and it is still snowing as I write. I had to go outside since it is too dark yet to see from the inside. I’m a happy farm boy seeing this summer irrigation falling.
Today Kathy and I are attending a marriage day our church is sponsoring. I have no idea what to expect, except we will spend time I’m sure focusing on God and our relationship. I’m sure this will help her!! Ha! Ha! Everyone knows I am the one needing this! It might seem a little odd having the day while we “social distance”! In all seriousness I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a great day!
Winter has finally come to S. Idaho. It had begun to snow while we were having Celebrate Recovery last night. This morning as I can begin to see outside, there is 3-4 inches on the ground. It truly looks beautiful! We’ve had a fair amount of moisture so far but it has been in the form of rain. This desert climate of Southern Idaho needs snow in our mountains to maintain our irrigation in the summer. So, I praise God for sending it our way!
Today has some critical items taking place for some important people in my life. All of a sudden yesterday things began to happen which directly seemed to interfere with outcomes for today. I awoke during the night a few times praying for outcomes to be healthy and of God’s Leading. However, as I began my journaling this morning I started to write my “worry” to Jesus. I have a post-it note on my lamp which reads PRAISE. It was then I began to readdress Jesus. I had to apologize for my lack of confidence in His Leadership knowing He is already working on plans I just cannot yet see. The weight of my worry left and in its place is an assurance that God is in control. Not only is He in control, He wants to be and He loves each person connected to today’s issues. His Outcomes are always used by Him and so I praised Him for all of this. As I finished journaling I got a nudge from Him telling me that my trust can take root when I Praise Him. Praising God is my tangible part of Trusting God. My new lesson.
Today would be my mom’s 111th birthday. She has been gone for 22 years but I feel as though she was alive with me only yesterday. Her spirit and life inspired each of us kids to live above any problems looking to Jesus where all answers will be found and peace could be also found. Today I asked Jesus to tell her hi for me and as I was going to ask that He hug her. Then I remembered where she is–right with Him! I smiled and thought–this is already happening.
People have always talked about the Psalms being such wonderful scriptures to read. Personally, I’ve always struggled with them. Today I awoke to a major reason why. When one reads them they vacillate from joy to heartache almost by the chapter. My upbringing was so filled with dad’s emotional swings that I hated emotions. I did my best to never let my emotions get out of control. The Psalms are written with such emotional expression that I have read them more out of discipline than out of desire.
As I’ve begun to read them now I see a very different picture. God created us as emotional beings. I readily see my own emotions now. It is our emotions which we often use to express our love and thanks to God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. It is also our emotions we use to express our love to one another. Our passions are defined in emotional terms These are all great uses of emotions. I’ve had such a narrow picture of emotions very skewed by my past. Today I’m reading Psalms with a mind much more open. I’m looking forward to my new learning from them.
As I began my devotional reading this morning I found myself going back to Job and his prosperity. The writer of my devotional was challenging the reader to think about how one honors God in their living while we are blessed. He says man turns to God in their distress and more often turns to himself in the times of blessing. After finishing Job yesterday I thought I was done with it and ready to move on. However, I believe God had one more message to learn. Yes, God wanted Job to know He was with him in the time of his blessings and also in the times of his sorrow.
When I was younger I use to think about living life at the age I am today. I had thought life would be more of a coasting until death at this point. Now that I am here I feel even more compelled to live for God and do all I can to help others do the same. Actually, I also find that God gives us breaks so we can enjoy life too. Taking trips, enjoying leisure, etc. are nice, but they are not nearly as fulfilling as seeing someone find confidence and hope for living in Jesus Christ. The author of my devotional said we dishonor God more in our “blest living” because we turn to ourselves. I hadn’t thought about this very much, but I sure see this as I open my eyes to it.
I use to think I needed to hide all that was inside me so I could appear blest and the world would think I was. Today I know I am blest beyond measure and there are no secrets. I want to be sure others know this too for themselves. Satan definitely tries to destroy us in our times of sorrow and in times of blessing. Lets help one another see God and accomplish His purposes in times of both.
God speaks, Job repents, God instructs Job to pray for his friends, Job prays for his friends, God blesses Job doubly. It takes one chapter at the beginning of Job to describe the instant disaster that falls upon him. It takes 4 chapters at the end to describe God’s confrontation with Job and the three friends. Then it takes one additional chapter to tell how God restores Job and blesses him doubly as far as material wealth is concerned. It takes 36 chapters to tell all the drama of Job and his wife, his three friends and the young man.
As I consider this I am instantly checked about all the drama created in each day for which man creates. So much of life is about the drama of man. Almost all of it is done without considering God’s plan for the day. What I also note is that God had Job pray for his three friends and in so doing, God blesses Job doubly.
Before I retired out of the school district for which I’d worked 33 years, I applied for a couple positions I thought would be a good match for me. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would never be given one of them because the superintendent I had didn’t want me there. He and I had had a couple “disagreements” but I had thought they were worked out. I became bitter towards him and I shared this with a confidant. I was asked by her if I had prayed for him? I was truly taken back by her statement, but I instantly knew that is what I needed to do–so I began to do so. The bitterness disappeared. A couple years later God opened wide the door for all the consulting work I do today. Little did I know the plan God had for me. I’ve loved the past 13 years and I do feel very blessed. What I do know is that God doesn’t want us bitter, He wants us focused on Him and not on man.