Odd Man Out

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logo_transparent_bgThe Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts. You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 32:18-19

Some of us when realizing we were addicts wanted to retreat from society. It felt better to avoid others and drink on our own. The odd man out syndrome appealed. In group meetings, we prefer to remain silent, choosing not to share too much about ourselves. Preferring not to learn too much about our problem selves. The less others know about us, the better. It’s like burying our heads in the sand. Loners, ill-at-ease in company.  Yet being shut up alone with our own thoughts and feeling is a wintry experience.

God announced, way back in Eden “It’s not good for man to be alone.”  He has invited us to keep company with Him. But too often we choose to turn our back on Him. When we learn to relate to Him properly it helps us to relate to others.

Recovery requires steering away from old habits. This too can lead to us having to accept the ‘Odd Man Out’ stigma. Moving away from old acquaintances and meeting places is sure to earn criticism and loss of popularity votes. We will suffer in some way; a cost that is inevitably worthwhile.

“COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, SAYS THE LORD. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU.” “I WILL BE A FATHER TO YOU, AND YOU SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY.”
2 Corinthians 6:17-18

We cannot stand alone in the process of recovery. We need to latch onto all that God is able to provide for our well-being. How far are we willing to go?

 

Jesus Knows Everything

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meProverbs 15:11 Death and the Grave lie open in front of the Lord. So human hearts certainly lie open to him!
God knows all about me. He understands my strengths and my weaknesses. He knows if I lie, cheat, steal or do anything He disapproves of.
One of the best clichés I have ever heard in recovery is “The mind is like a parachute. It works better when it is open.”
Open-mindedness in recovery is not an option. It is a necessity. We are all going to have to accept things we don’t want to accept. We are all going to do things we don’t want to do.
The ‘Good News’ in that is Jesus knows all about me so I can be completely honest with Him.
– How honest are you really?

 

 

Prayer: Jesus help me to be open and honest with You about my list, my feelings and my difficulties in accepting some of the things I need to do in recovery

“I Will Give You Rest”

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You have created us for Yourself,
and our heart cannot be stilled till it finds rest in You.

logo_transparent_bgEverybody needs recovery. But recovery for us all looks different to that of other people. Some of us find it in Alcoholics Anonymous, some in Narcotics Anonymous. others in Celebrate Recovery some of us through other support groups. The bottom line, however, is “All groups lead to a relationship with God”

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Proverbs 16:9 says “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
Proverbs 20:24  says “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

The Message Bible in Matthew 11:28-30 says “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I have heard people over many years of recovery use Matthew 11:28 like it’s a get out of jail free card. But it isn’t. Jesus is pretty clear when He says “I will show you how to do it.” “Walk with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Everyone needs recovery and many people get it in many different ways but if you want real rest through the process there is one way I know to get it and its found in John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

  • Rest is important to maintaining life balance
  • Rest is an important part of God’s ultimate plan
  • Rest is a gift from God

Hebrews 4:9-11 There is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

Willing to go to any lengths

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logo_transparent_bg1 John 3:4,8 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 

Life for most of us falls short of our intentions. It is not easy to fail successfully or accept frustration without bitterness and sorrow. When we entered recovery we found companions or acquaintances well established in the process. Some rejoicing in what they are now enjoyably achieving.  Did we allow that to prolong our bid for freedom from our problems? Or did we rejoice with them and do what we needed to do to achieve recovery at any cost?

Recovery is personal. No one can achieve it for us and we cannot achieve it for anyone else. It takes hard work. It requires faith in God and total commitment to the process. Are you willing to go to any lengths to achieve it?

 

 

Change What You Say

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logo_transparent_bgMatthew 12:35 A good man says good things. These come from the good that is put away inside him. An evil man says evil things. These come from the evil that is put away inside him.
A good man says good things! What we say should please God. When you speak to others would you speak differently if you thought God was examining every word you said? Would He approve of your words and your thoughts?
As we progress in recovery we need to change the way we think and the way we speak. I used to swear a lot. I don’t know why I just did. And I used to think all the wrong thoughts. Until I came into a relationship with the Holy Spirit, started to check myself and ask myself the question: “Would God approve?” We change what we say when we allow God’s love to guide our day.”
 
 
Prayer: Lord today let me speak to others as I would to You and to only use the word that You approve.

Soul Destroying Recollections

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Psalms 42:11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again–my Savior and my God!

Bad memories. They can haunt us. The memory of a broken relationship, a childhood hurt, loss of a family member or a friend or other painful experiences. Often leaving unforgettable impressions on our minds and affecting our innermost being. Memories that have led us to lives of addiction or other problems in our lives. Must we suffer for the rest of our lives? The answer is a definite NO! They may take time to overcome, but God can heal whatever is holding us back or separating us from all He has in store for us.  Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26

Many of us hold ourselves back in the process of spiritual growth by continually dwelling on bad memories.

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again–my Savior and my God! Psalms 42:11 We must disqualify the potency of bad memories and dwelling on old wounds by “putting our hope in God and praising Him again and again.” Denounce the enemy, dismiss past memories when they enter your thinking (Stinking Thinking Leads to drinking) Prayerfully turn to God, delve into His Word, meditate on it and let Him reshape your bad memories with new memories.

Settle Your Differences Quickly

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BibleYou have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone [without cause], you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.  Matthew 5:21-26

Jesus shows us anger is far too powerful for us to handle on our own.
The path to victory in the recovery process is admitting we are powerless
and turning to Him for help.

 

 

God is Interested In Our Actions

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Wicked borrows and never returns; Righteous gives and gives. Psalms 37:21

STEP 8: We made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became
willing to make amends to them all.
“Do to others as you would like them to do to you” Luke 6:31B

logo_transparent_bgMaking amends is essential to making things right

  • Making amends can help to ease the pain we have caused others.
  • Making amends can help others understand and be more forgiving.
  • Making amends can help you avoid making the same mistakes again.

 

Making amends is essential to forgiveness

When we have wronged others we need to do more than apologise. We should do all that we can make things right, make restitution where we can and leave those we have harmed better than when we harmed them.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people–men or women–betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged.  Numbers 5:5-7

 

The purpose of making amends is ‘RESTORATION’

Restoration is part of the healing process

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.  Ephesians 4:15-16

It is one thing to talk about making amends, it is another to actually make them.
GOD IS INTERESTED IN OUR ACTIONS