THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 29, 2022

Yesterday I wrote about Paul and his obedience to Christ and how well this is expressed in the Passion Bible I’m reading. Today as I was having my time with God and His Word, I found a repeated message that ties to yesterday. The message is that it is now time for me to make a firm commitment to “take every thought captive…” 2 Corinthians 10:5; and “I believe, help my unbelief….” Mark 9:24.

My thoughts can lead me down a path of unrighteousness which in the past led to the use of porn. It also can lead me to think one way about a person which isn’t true or to quickly think one way about a situation when I haven’t completely gotten the big picture. Today, God is pointing out that to do His Will with this ministry of counseling I need to not only take every thought captive, but to also believe that with Jesus and His Holy Spirit within me, I can do this.

My past had taught me to go “so far” in a venture but to stop at some point because I’m getting to close to being “found out”. Always fearing that my past would kill my future if it were known, I’d only go so far in a career path or in a volunteer setting. Today, God is helping me to step beyond these fears and put into place the confidence Paul demonstrates in his writings. God put his writings in the Bible to help us BELIEVE He will do the same for each of us if we will take our thoughts captive and believe.

I know this is what a new creation is to do and so I’m stepping into this today.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 28, 2022

There is so much I love and enjoy about summer. The garden produce is great and the flowers throughout the season bring much joy and satisfaction to my heart. What I don’t enjoy so much is the heat. I love being outside anytime of year, but it loses some of the joy when the temperatures are reaching over 100 degrees. Well, with that said, I’d best get this written so I can pick the blackberries and help my daughter pick her bean crop before the temp gets to 100+.

Much more importantly, I’m truly appreciating reading through Paul’s books in my Passion Bible. For some reason, maybe it’s my own walk with God, the person of Paul is coming out so much more as I read this time. His messages are always packed with insights for his listeners and readers. His confidence and assurances are firm and as solid as Christ is solid. I love his confidence. As I continue to grow in my daily living as a new creation, I find my own confidence growing. It is not at all what my dad would label as arrogant, but its much more like a quiet assurance that this is exactly what God is wanting me to be doing. Yes, I do come up against my own doubts now and then about this counseling endeavor, but I am confident God is moving this forward with purpose and intent. I’m so fortunate to be part of it. Thank you Jesus!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 27, 2022

This morning was one of those where I awoke at 4:00 am and knew I’m to get up. God had so much He was wanting me to address and there is no better time for me than early morning. Actually, there were several items I hadn’t completed involving some guys at Celebrate Recovery and some for my kids. Well, it didn’t take any time at all to get them organized and going. I just needed to do my part and now it is done.

Last night at our men’s step study class, one of the men used a quote I’d heard before, but, I needed to hear it last night for it fit a couple situations forthcoming with the counseling. The quote was something like, “We judge others by their actions and we judge ourselves by our intentions.” I’m meeting with a couple of our folks during dinner time at Celebrate Recovery tomorrow. I was unsure how to address each of them, but this quote was exactly what I needed to hear and use.

This morning as I was journaling and asking God for His Wisdom, He instantly brought to mind this quote from last night. God is so amazing with His timing and His Grace. How fortunate we are to serve this Loving Abba Father!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 26, 2022

Yesterday I wrote about the truth in scripture and believing it even when nothing tangible is known or felt. Living as a new creation causes me to realize that FAITH is the key to this living. Faith is the tangible element in new creation living. In the spiritual world, in which we are part, faith has substance. (I write this knowing it is true, but, most of all, believing it is true).

When I was younger in our Celebrate Recovery work I use to say the Serenity Prayer several times a day in order to remind myself that I needed to take my recovery “…one day at a time, one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” Today I’m finding that new creation living is the same. I need to take it one day at a time and one moment at a time also. Every time I step into the day and what it has in store, known or unknown, I want to do so as a new creation. I want to address what is in it just as Christ wants me to.

FAITH is truly a key element to new creation living. Add the ingredients of BELIEF and TRUST and one has Christ’s ingredients for the day. Each day I need to renew these ingredients. Slowly, but surely, I am learning to live the new creation way.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 25, 2022

Today’s devotion opens the eyes of my heart once again. In fact, it may not be once again, but for the first time. I don’t know about any other man, but when I try to bring scripture into tangible understanding I often have to quit at some point. The wording of my devotional this morning said it nicely, “…I am reviving you so you can believe again. Release the frustration. Relinquish the right to try and understand spiritual matters with your mind. They must be embraced from a much deeper place. They are light and life and truth. They are not confined by earthly measures. Faith is outside the limits of time and space. Faith stands in contrast to natural laws, doctors’ prognoses, and demonic attacks….”

I have been learning a lot this present year about living as a new creation. I didn’t expect this to be part of it. I just wanted to live as a new creation so I’d be free of the bondage of sinfulness. What I’m finding however, is a whole new way of living and thinking. It hadn’t struck me that God’s way of living was far beyond anything I had in mind. Living by faith, believing, trusting is the “common way to live” as a new creation. I am young in this so these frequent reminders are always needed to keep me focused. God is so faithful and I want to be too.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 24, 2022

July has several birthdays in it for our family, both Kathy and me. Yesterday was Kathy’s, today is my oldest living sis in California and it was also the birthday of one of my brothers who is gone now. Tomorrow will be my youngest granddaughter’s birthday and it was also the birthday of my oldest brother-in-law who passed a few years ago. It was a great day yesterday with the family reunion for my wife. They are a large family just as my own is. Lots of laughter and fun and tremendously good food!

Today I will head home with a grandson who is here in the valley for his own reunion on his dad’s side of the family. It will be enjoyable having a few hours on the road with him. He and I have always been close.

Today’s devotional message is striking. It said that the Word of God is tangible. Lay our hands on it and believe it to be true for us. As I began to read Ephesians 3 I read it just that way. The unfathomable love of God is just as real for us Gentiles as it is for the Jews. We are adopted into God’s family with full member rights! In these last few months, God has been increasingly helping me to believe and trust all that His Word says for it is genuinely true for each one of us. All of the lies that were in my head can be let go forever. As long as we are in the flesh, God is present giving us the opportunity to rely on His Spirit within us to squelch these lies. How I love Him for this!

The Journey Continues: July 23, 2022

Today is my wife’s birthday. I won’t say the number for that’s her stats to tell. She has been my wife for almost 40 years and I cannot begin to write here just how much of a blessing she has been to me. When God said he made woman to complete man He wasn’t kidding! I’m am most grateful!

I’m keeping this short because it’s early and my sis in law isn’t up and we’re at her place in Joseph Oregon for their family reunion. My computer needs a code for the internet so I’m writing using my phone. I’ll do better tomorrow.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 22, 2022

I was amazed this morning as I was journaling and asking Jesus what He wanted me to know from Him for today. Without hesitation He was asking me what was on my mind (already knowing what was on my mind). Today my wife and I are leaving at noontime for her family reunion. We will be gone for the weekend. With the Celebrate Recovery Summit taking place through today and all of the nighttime activities of the week, I haven’t even been able to pack, line up help for the watering in my yard and garden, etc. It only takes a little bit of time to get all of this done, but my mind this morning was consumed with these details. Jesus quickly reminded me that I didn’t need to fret about these, He already has them in His Hands. I can let the stress within me go and TRUST.

As long as I have been on life’s journey I still have embedded in me that need to ensure myself that details are not left hanging. I truly do know that Jesus is the Master of details, yet I have to have a reminder of this. When I got His message this morning I quickly thought that I would have no problem helping someone else know to trust Jesus, but for myself, the trust is not as well rooted as my advice would be. I’m still on the trek of learning!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 21, 2022

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that the Celebrate Recovery Summit began and a few of us were attending it virtually at our church. During the day, the leader who heads the lessons and testimonies told me the person who was to teach the lesson tonight wouldn’t be able to do it. Even though I didn’t really have time to study the lesson I volunteered to teach it since I’ve taught it in previous years. I didn’t get home last night until 9 pm because I was helping my oldest daughter use her new pressure cooker to can beans for her first time. When I got home I took out the lesson so I could prep for it this early morning. Little did I know how God was going to use my daily devotional learning to reinforce this lesson.

Gratitude is the lesson for tonight’s CR. As I simply began to read through it I first of all noticed that the Principle is 7 which is the same one from a couple weeks ago when I taught Daily Inventory. The Principle tells us to take the time each day to assess the day seeing how we have done and if we allowed God to be the center of the day. Gratitude is the outcome of learning to do this well as we learn to surrender ourselves to God ahead of a struggle so we don’t fall into a relapse of whatever sinful nature we struggle with.

The Principle ends with the statement “…to gain the power to follow His Will.” This has been a huge focus of late for me since I like so many others tend to rely quickly on my own strength and then fail again. God is wanting me to learn to surrender to Him allowing His Holy Spirit to become my strength. This step of surrender opens the door for a new reason to have gratitude. Evil has no power in the presence of God and His Holy Spirit. I’m not done learning and applying all I need to in this arena, but I am much more awake than ever before. God s so Faithful and I am so GRATEFUL!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 20, 2022

Today starts the annual Summit for Celebrate Recovery. There are 8 of us attending it virtually at our church. This will be our 2nd year to do this. It makes gleaning from the Summit so much more profitable and affordable when we can attend this way.

Yesterday was quite the day. My brother came to help with a little project I couldn’t do on my own. Before that I had a meeting with a former administrator I mentored for her first few years of admin. Today she is a very successful admin for our state. What was totally unexpected for me was to find that a grandchild I have can attend her school. This grandchild has struggled for a couple of years and no matter what we tried, it hasn’t worked. I thanked God for opening this door.

I loved a statement which came from my devotional today. It says, “Beloved, give me your reasons for holding on to the pain. Surrendering doesn’t make you weak. It makes you brave.” There are a host of reasons we hang onto pain when God patiently waits for us to give it to Him. I’ve always, in my flesh, felt like I was just another example of what my dad would say, “Good night, give that to me. I don’t want you ruining that.” I have never been good at mechanical things. Yet, since my years of opening up and sharing my story, I often hear, “Wow, you are very brave to be able to share your story with us.” Surrender is a key action in spirit-living as a new creation. It doesn’t make us weak, it makes us able to find the miracles of God. God is so amazing in how He works!