Last night I taught the lesson for our Celebrate Recovery group. It was lesson 20–Daily Inventory. The lesson focuses on the importance of daily journaling to identify the “good of the day” and the “bad of the day”. It allows one to make amends quickly for the wrongs done and it also allows one to see patterns of behaviors we miss when we don’t take the time of identify them. We begin to see the real “me” that others see and we have been blind to. This all ties to Principle 7 and Step 10 of the recovery guidelines. Principle 7 reads: “Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.”
As I was teaching the lesson I was just emphasizing the importance of the third benefit–“gain the power to follow His will”. It has taken me a very long time to grasp the truth of this statement. I have tried for most of my life to overcome my obstacles on my own strength thinking God would make me stronger rather than learning to surrender all of my efforts and become “helpless” so God would be seen and known by me as my strength. HIs Holy Spirit has been within me waiting for me to access Him.
This morning’s devotional read in part: “All that I am is inside of you. My power is not diminished because it has found a home in a temple of flesh. I am vast enough to fill all of creation, yet wise enough to fit my Spirit within vessels of humanity. Never limit the greatness of my glory within you. My strength is not limited by the weakness of its surroundings….” God is truly wanting to awaken in me (each of us) the truth in this promise. His Power (Holy Spirit) is within us waiting for us to realize how much He wants to use us for His Glory purposes.
Today I once again ponder (struggle) with writing this entry. I am deeply into learning about biblical counseling. I’m taking an online class which challenges so many of my human beliefs. These are things like, secular counseling leaves God out of the picture as God being the One Great Healer. In no way do I not believe this. However, my own counselors I’ve had (3 total) have used “what is called secular counseling tools” and used them as Christians. These tools worked for me for I didn’t find God’s healing otherwise. Yes, I knew God was my Great Healer, but the tools provided helped me find God in my lifetime distress. I see God using tools which man creates all the time in all walks of life. I don’t write this to condemn this process of counseling. The greater part of it is excellent as it demonstrates helping a counselee see God in the midst of their storm and seek Him as their Healer.
Man has always questioned man and his wisdom. I don’t want to question God and His Wisdom. I want to sort through all of this so I find myself simply ready. Somehow I know this connects directly to God’s Holy Spirit. He is the provider of God’s Wisdom and God’s Word is the final authority. Somehow this will all come together–I Trust and I Believe!
Stepping into this area of counseling has me thinking/processing what I hear differently than ever before. Last night I was meeting early with a young man who is in our step study class. He had missed a lesson and I was catching him up. He is in his late 20’s and his responses were reawakening in me how I thought at that age about God and His care/lack of care for “me”. As I heard this it instantly brought to mind the question–“How would I counsel someone in this?” Of course, now that I look at this I remember that the Holy Spirit helps us at the time we need it. Instead of trying to answer the question from my own thinking, I need to be prepared to hear God’s voice when the comments are made and wanting counsel. I could easily give my response, but instead, I want to give the guidance the Holy Spirit provides.
I use to think that God’s Wisdom was something some people just had. I’m beginning to better understand that those with God’s Wisdom are those who listen well to God’s Spirit within them. The Holy Spirit is always ready to lead us as we surrender our own spirit to Him and let Him lead. These are lessons where I want to get better and better.
Welcome to summer! It has been such a cool start to summer that I haven’t opened the swimming pool. Today, however, I have 3 grandsons coming so we can get it cleaned and ready. The joys of being a grandpa!
I’ve been wanting to visit a church in Oregon that has the same counseling program in operation that we are starting here. Yesterday I was finally able to schedule a visit with them for next Tuesday. I’m excited for this to take place. To see one that has been in operation for several years will help me a great deal. The added benefit to this is getting to stay with my wife’s brother and his wife. This brother-in-law is the very one who got me connected with Celebrate Recovery 15 years ago, helped me focus on the restoration classes we now offer and even this counseling work. God has used him in my life over and over. It will be a great opportunity to visit this church and to talk with someone who is doing the counseling presently.
Every day God helps me grow in Him and in my faith in Him. I exposed yesterday what He is teaching me. Today was no different. I had journaled with Him about my humanness and my sin nature and how I wanted to do this counseling well, but what about this nature of mine? His response was in my devotional which read, “Never doubt my power to fulfill your destiny and to make your dreams come true. I am the Father of fulfilled dreams and the God of sovereign power. Nothing can defeat my plan for your life, except for your fear and passivity. Arise now, my child, and place your feet upon the promises; make them yours, see them fulfilled, and go out to conquer. I am your God, and I will never leave you nor abandon you. Shout with victorious joy over these truths!”
As I begin today I want to call it the start of the new journey. Yes, it is a continuation of my life’s journey, but it is also the first time I’ve started something new committed to believing and knowing it is a “new creation” who is doing it. All through my years in education’s employment I was one in hiding. Through the past 15 years of consulting and working with recovery ministries I’ve grown through the time of hiding into full disclosure–but, I was still owned (I thought) by the debt of sin done to me and that which I’d done. Today, as I begin this week, with only the counseling before me, I go into it knowing the past no longer owns me. It is my past. The memories of it are used for ministry purposes. I am still the person I was and have been, but I know a freedom promised to me I’ve not known before.
As I awoke this morning and even as I went to bed last night I was sensing a responsibility far beyond my capability to accomplish. Getting a counseling program up and running and equipping myself to “be a counselor”? What in the world was I thinking saying yes to this? This type of thinking has been part of me for as long as I’ve lived. I realize now it is not connected to anything other than my human makeup. I committed it to Jesus last night and I’ve done so again this morning.
My devotional’s message today read the following in part: “Take my promises today and possess all that I give to you. The promises I gave to Joshua are promises that I give to you. Step out in faith and put your feet upon my promises. Claim them as your own. Do not be timid or shrink back when you are surrounded by your giants, but see your giants as opportunities for my power and might to win your battles. Many see the giants and hide in fear, but I have called you to hide in me and my promises….”
SO, Here we go!
Happy Father’s Day! I love the quiet of the mornings. I hear the birds outside and see the beginning of the sun’s morning light. This makes Father’s Day start with a smile. After all of the prep for my grandson’s party yesterday, and enjoying the day with him and all who came, I’m greatly enjoying this morning’s solitude for a short while. The details God reminded me yesterday to give to Him were all in place. Why I don’t remember this ahead of time is another one of those human flaws.
Our God is Amazing. I use this word often, I know. However, it is the first one that comes to mind when I write about God. As I was journaling this morning earlier I wished Him a Happy Father’s Day, however, I addressed it to my Abba Father–He is everything powerful, but yet, He is Daddy too in love and compassion. How grateful I am to be one of His kids.
Today is my grandson’s graduation party at our home. As I began to journal in starting my devotions, I knew I was a little anxious that all the details making his party special were in place. Then, I asked my question of Jesus wanting to know what He wanted me to see for today–His instant response was to look beyond silly details so I could see the rewards of the day. Enjoying the ones who come to celebrate Hayden is the biggest priority of the day. It is so easy to lose sight of this. Then, as I opened my devotional, the title for today was: “Take a Vacation from Worry Today”. My word, God is the God of infinite detail and He wants me to recognize this and simply do my part allowing me to also enjoy the purpose of today. How often I forget this.
The second thing I noticed from today’s devotions was brought out from my reading in I Corinthians 3, which had a subheading: “A Call to Spiritual Maturity”. Paul is calling the believers of Corinth to accountability for the factions they had dividing them. Our Celebrate Recovery group is always looking for leadership help. One of the first things we know to look for is sobriety in at least one area of one’s life. My own was the commitment to keep my need for recovery from my past’s hurts in front of me and not jumping into “denial” as soon as I walked away from the CR meeting. The next big important piece for leadership is seeing oneself as a part of a bigger whole rather than seeing oneself only. Paul was helping the Corinthians notice how their factions were dividing them. God wants us working together appreciating one another’s strengths and working with them. As I read all of this I thought this is a good next training for our group. We always need to become more mature in our walk with Christ and His Spirit within us.
God’s lessons for living each day are ever before us and even within us as we awaken more and more to His Spirit living within. I love this reality!
Yesterday’s graduation for my grandson was a time to cherish. I had forgotten that this would be his high school’s first graduating class. It is a new charter Jr/Sr High School so Hayden’s class was first to graduate. A group of about 80 students. The facility used to host the graduation held 1500 people and there was standing room only. It seemed every parent, grandparent, friend and relative was present. The people sitting behind me asked if I remembered them? They had been students of mine 40 years ago. Yes, I remembered them. I was a very proud grandpa. The graduation party will be at our home tomorrow afternoon. I’m doing my “getting the yard ready” today.
I’ve written the past two mornings about my rummy mind. Today it is clear and I have this sense of urgency to get every detail of the counseling program in order! My emotions remind me of starting every school year and what I felt each late summer as I’d head to the office. I know God is wanting me to take a look at this characteristic to find His Spirit’s leadership. I truly want to take each step in God’s timing and not from my emotional state. I don’t think this sense is necessarily wrong, but I do know for sure that it is wrong if I don’t bring each step before God to anchor it in God’s Light/Wisdom. This level of patience with a project is new for me but I know it is the right lesson God wants me learning at this time in my life. I humbly thank God for this opportunity to begin a work for Him as a new creation. Wow, this is AMAZING!
Well, if I thought I was rummy yesterday, it was just because I hadn’t experienced this morning yet. Yesterday was a beautiful day, the weather being perfect. I got yard work done in the morning, ran grandkids around in the early afternoon for their appointments and ended the day getting my lawn mowed and grass clippings delivered to our kid’s goats. By 8:45 last night I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I went to bed. I sure wasn’t expecting to sleep 10 hours, but I did. I can’t remember when I’ve slept that long.
Today is my 2nd grandson’s graduation. He has been my buddy since birth. He is the one who was a childhood cowboy. Every year I’d take him to the local rodeo where his eyes wouldn’t leave the arena and the events taking place in it. When he was about 10, he told me when he was older he would take me to the rodeo rather than me always taking him. He said, “I will pay for everything just like you do.” Well, today he graduates. He is a gift.
I found it interesting that today’s devotional message was–to be Kind. Kindness is one of the Fruits of God’s Spirit. I am overly focused in my mind trying to get myself equipped for the counseling next step. Yet, God is wanting me to not forget to first live in His Spirit and reflect His Spirit’s leading. Kindness has been at the forefront of God’s Work all along. I don’t want to step ahead of it either, but to live within it so I too reflect it.
The journey of today starts with a rather rummy head! Yesterday’s closure to the work in Montana ended well. The legs of flight home were good and on time. The weather patterns we flew through did allow for some roller coaster experiences, but I sort of enjoy them. This morning however, getting to bed at 1:00 am, has me knowing I may be done with 50 years of educational service, but I best wait a day to let my head clear before stepping into the next leg of life.
I do need to say that what I sense most of all is gratitude. When my educational years began in 1972 I was a very young man in hiding. No one knew I was hiding except for me. Satan had me in a tight grip of fear and shame. I look at what God has done “one day at a time, one moment at a time, taking hardship and turning it into a pathway to peace” (excerpt from The Serenity Prayer) and just shake my head. How God takes a path of hiding and turns it into a path of LIGHT and service is just one of His Mighty Miracles. I love Him for this!