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Stop me running from the things that could save my life …

Normally I would not share what has occurred in my day at work. But today I felt God prompting me to do so. On the way to work this morning I received a call saying there was a client out the front who had been severely beaten. He was taken to hospital and discharged himself. He is a chronic alcoholic. Who from his hospital admission could have begun his recovery journey through referral to detox. Another guy, long-term homeless. Mother and sister secured a unit for him, offered accommodation at sisters for a couple of days whilst securing of the unit was finalised. He intentionally fell out with mum and sister in order to go back to the street (another chronic alcoholic). A woman who has almost killed herself three times through drug overdose by mistake. The last time admitted to hospital and offered opportunity to go into detox and then to programme. Her response  ‘I’m not ready to go today’ instead she moved back to the street.

Why am I sharing this? All of them ‘RAN’ because they were afraid of the unknown and were more comfortable in the ‘mess they know’.

The song ‘RUN’ by the Paul Colman Trio has such a powerful message in it. We do not know what is going to happen to us, but God does. If we put our faith and trust in Him He will hold on to us and won’t let us fall.

There is another line in the song. “Stop me running from the things that could save my life” . I don’t know what will happen with my three friends above but it is my prayer that each of them will learn this prayer and put their faith in the ‘One True Higher Power’

Living a life of purpose..

Why do you do what you do? An important question for us all. One which I have been asked a number of times and only just this week. It took me a couple of minutes to think about the answer. Because I hadn’t considered ot for a while. The answer I gave is this “my life has a God-given purpose, it is present in my job, present in my ministry, present in my relationships, present in all I say and do” it is this. ‘To use my life experience to glorify God and encourage others to get to know Him’. Simple but not always easy.

I then asked the person who posed the question this question. ‘Are you homeless because you are an addict or are you an addict because you are homeless?’ They couldn’t answer the question because they had never considered it. It is a question we all need to ask ourselves, regularly ‘What drives my life?’ Is it guilt? shame? anger and resentment? fear? materialism? the need or approval? or something else?

Knowing God’s purpose fo my life, makes my life simple. Everything I do is measured against it. When I was the State Manager of Family Stores in Adelaide I used to have a plaque on the wall of my office which read ‘Is what I am now doing or about to do in line with God’s purpose for my life?’  If it wasn’t then I didn’t get involved with it and I still try today to measure my actions against that question.

The answer to the question I asked the homeless person was important because it defines for them how they move forward. Are they dealing with homelessness or are they dealing with addiction? The way you resolve both is very different.

For each person reading this today I challenge you to ask yourself the question from the plaque on the wall of my office in Adelaide. When you get the answer  start looking at ways to apply your daily activity to Living God’s Purpose for you.

Are you washed in the blood?

Last night in Twitter I read this “If you get paid it’s not real ministry”. Never paid attention to wh0 said it but it did make me think. ‘How could anybody really believe that?’

In the dictionary ministry as defined as – the work of a minister. Minister is defined as – a person authorised to conduct religious worship – attend the wants and needs of others.

Ministry has nothing to do with whether you get paid or not. It is a calling by God to represent Him in the world. Jesus called His twelve disciples. He didn’t draft them, force them or ask them to volunteer and He didn’t offer to pay them He chose them to serve Him in a special way. And,  He calls us today. He doesn’t twist our arm to make us do something we don’t want to do. Ministry is a choice. He chooses us and we have to choose to follow Him.

God can use anyone, paid or unpaid in ministry, no matter what our circumstances are. He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things and He wants to use YOU!

A pay cheque doesn’t affect the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.

What do you want?

We come to recovery with a list of what we want to achieve as a result of it. As we grow in faith our list changes and we realise that what we wanted was things that would make us comfortable, things that would make us feel good. Our priorities change in recovery. I remember when I started attending the Salvation Army meeting a lot of happy people. Happy because of their faith in God and fellowship with each other. I decided there and then what I wanted was to ‘be happy’.

John Calvin says “Complete happiness is knowing God”

I decided happiness was what I wanted and I heard people talking about, finding God’s purpose will make you happy. So I asked the questions ‘if God has a purpose for me, why am I so unfulfilled? What is His purpose for me? If I look back on my life, when was the last time I was truly happy? What do I need to do to accomplish God’s will in my life?” Taking a hard look at my life I realised happiness was much more than a feeling. Happiness was about hope, joy and being free from the things that had restricted my relationship with God in the past. So I set out to find happiness by consciously making a decision to get to know God! You can too…..

Our actions follow our affections

I am not a hugger. Never have been, probably never will be. Not big on affection. Don’t get me wrong. I love my wife and children dearly but I am not into the huggy, huggy, kissy, kissy stuff. My mum is, my sister is. Every time you see them (which isn’t too often these days, the live in W.A. I live in Victoria) they give you a kiss. And it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

Any way back to ‘our actions follow our affections’. I was at Belgrave South Baptist Church a few weeks back and the guest speaker was Paul Colman. Before he had to speak was looking for a seat in the congregation an came to sit next to me. I put out my hand to greet him and Paul (a hugger) said ‘Give us a hug’. Again the old feeling of uncomfortable came upon me, but I never let on, I like Paul, he’s a good guy. I gave some thought to it later and began looking in the Bible to see what it says about hugging. What I found was the verse above, where Paul  suggests the way we should greet each other is with an embrace (a hug), a special affection usually reserved for family members or formal greetings.

I then went on to look at the subject of  Proverbs 4:23  says ‘Above all else guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life’.

Our heart – feelings of love and desire dictate to a large degree how we live, because we always find time to do what we enjoy. Solomon tells us to concentrate on the things that keep us on the right path, push us in the right direction. We all put personal boundaries around ourselves and keep them guarded. In recovery we need to let down our guard and allow others to get close to us. We need to learn to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Which may mean letting others hug us now and again as an expression of their affection towards us and to God.

Opportunities for growth

Everything we experience in recovery is opportunity for spiritual growth. When we take our first steps in obedience in following God we discover God is both good and kind. Coming into recovery our knowledge of God is limited. As we trust Him daily and our knowledge increases His goodness becomes more and more apparent.

Selfish lust brings terrible consequences

Our futures can be detroyed by others actions and our actions can destroy theirs. Living with guilt has consequences. Our feelings whilst addicted are driven by selfish desire and sel-centred love. It can be normal for us to hate and despise what we do but keep doing it anyway. That is the insanity of addiction. The only way to break the insanity is to learn and live God’s way.

Self-talk

Each of us use self-talk to motivate ourselves. It determines our attitudes and actions, our values and beliefs.

When I was addicted to alcohol and a drug user my driving self-talk was “Give it a miss and hit the p_ _ _”. Today my self talk says “Get involved until it’s solved”. What about you?

The consequences of disobedience

Disobeying God does not only effect us, it also effect our family, friends, work colleagues, school mates etc. Recovery is an opportunity to get our lives back on track. The way back is to open our hearts to God for help and healing. This requires we have faith in Him and His capabilities.

God’s goodness

God is all knowing and all powerful. For that reason He doesn’t always act in ways we think He should. At times He does things that contradict His justice in the world. In the book of Job we read how Job suffered and his friends believed it was because of something he had done wrong. Job knew that was not true, but he did wonder why he had to endure so much pain. It would have been easy for Job to reject God, but He didn’t. He still knew that God is good and despite what suffering we go through He will always deal with us fairly.

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