Really: Just Keep Going

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Just keep going.

Winston Churchill is often quoted as having said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”  I looked it up, and there is no real proof that he actually said that. But it’s a pretty good quote anyway. The nearest quote I could find was this:  “Someone once asked a man how he was. He replied, “I’m going through hell!” Said his friend: “Well, keep on going. That is no place to stop!”  Good advice.

Winston Churchill actually said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing great or small, large or petty—never give in.” Also good advice (in terms of working towards getting clean and sober. Maybe not the best relationship advice ;P )

The month of January is filled with many good resolutions, goals, intentions, whatever you want to call them. It does seem like a good time to start- at the beginning of the year. New year, new goals and all that. But as many (most) of us have experienced however, by the third week in January most of our resolutions, goals or intentions have fallen by the wayside often never to be revisited again until next January. I certainly fell into that category for most of my adult life. And surprisingly enough, I actually never changed. I basically stayed the same person for many, many years. I WANTED to change. I PLANNED to change, I HOPED to change, I ENVIED those who were able to change, but just didn’t seem to have the “oooomph” I needed to actually effect a change.  And then my alcoholism and drug abuse spiraled out of control. So it was time. It wasn’t January. But it was time to do something different. I went to rehab. I went to AA, I went to NA, I went to therapy. And I was able to get clean and sober. That was 25 years ago. And you know what? I STILL work my program like it is day ONE. Because to me, that is what it means to “keep going”.

So now, it’s February. How are you coming on your New Year Resolutions/Goals?  If you are still plugging away at them- GOOD!  YAY!!!  WOOT!!!!  If you have hit a road block, and maybe need some support in getting back on track, Celebrate Recovery can help.  We meet every Wednesday night to work on our hurts, habits, and hang-ups in a SAFE and NON-judgmental community.

Whatever you struggle with: finances, drugs, relationships, alcohol, depression, pornography, overeating, spending, gambling, loneliness– Celebrate Recovery can help you start, and more importantly, keep going on the road to recovery and a good life.  You don’t have to wait until Monday, the first of the month, the first of the year, summer, spring, fall, you name it. You can start right now.  We meet every Wednesday night, offer FREE child care, provide a very low cost delicious dinner ($3.00 can’t beat that!), and connect you with a compassionate and caring community of people who have kept going and are experiencing the freedom you may be looking for. To participate, all you need to do is show up!  Dinner is at 6:00, the main program starts at 7:00.  Come on by and check us out!

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the Landing

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Come join us THIS Wednesday (January 11th) for our New Year kick off meeting!

We meet from 7-8:30 with dinner at 6:00.

We’d LOVE to meet you!

Information or questions:
Tammy Bollinger (510.912.2533) tammy.bollinger@gmail.com
David Armstrong (510.500.2778) Itanewf@mac.com

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Grace

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Grace

God’s Grace

One of my favorite Psalms in the Bible is Psalm 103.  When I was teaching 4th grade at a Christian school, this Psalm was one that all 4th graders were expected to learn.  In fact, my class recited it to their parents at a special parent’s night.  Since I required them to learn it, I realized that I also needed to memorize it.  That is when I really understood the meaning of this chapter.  So often I can quickly read something and not fully absorb what I’ve read.  This is true in general reading and also in reading God’s Word.

The verses that powerfully spoke to me were verses 9 – 14, “He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear (reverence) him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

These verses reminded me of how much God loves me. When I admitted my sins to Him and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, my sins were totally wiped out, never to be held against me again.  That is grace.  I should have paid the penalty for my sin, but Jesus paid that price for me when He died on the cross.  Why? Because He loved me.  The same is true for anyone else who realizes that they cannot be good enough or do enough to earn God’s approval.  His approval, acceptance and love can only come by acceptance of God’s gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Step 3 of the CR principles says: “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” This is a critical step in recovery.  In conclusion, Ephesians 2:8 sums it all up, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

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Inner Strength

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Inner Strength

Inner Strength

Steps 3 and 4 in recovery state, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”, and “We make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.”  In CR Principle 3 says, “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control”.  Specifically, Jesus is the one who enables us to recover from our hurts, habits and hang-ups.

One of my favorite writers is Sarah Young.  Her devotionals come from the perspective of God speaking directly to you. In her book, “Jesus Today – Experience Hope Through His Presence”, she very clearly shares where our inner strength comes from as we deal with our struggles.

“I empower you – infusing inner strength into you so that you are ready for anything and equal to anything.  It’s essential to remember that this inner strength comes though Me, through your connection with Me.  It comes to you as you  need it – as you take trusting steps of dependence, moving forward with your eyes on Me.  This promise is a powerful antidote to fear – especially your fear of being overwhelmed by circumstances you see looming ahead.  They may look daunting, but in Me you are indeed ready for anything and equal to anything.

Of course, you’re not currently ready for every imaginable situation.  I carefully control what happens in your life.  I am constantly protecting you from both known and unknown dangers.  And I provide strength, just when you need it, for everything I allow to touch your life.  Many of the future things you anxiously anticipate will not actually reach you.  My promise is for things you face in the present, and it is sufficient.  So when you are feeling the strain of an uphill journey, tell yourself  the truth:  ‘I have strength for all things through Christ who empowers me!’ (Philippians 4:13).”

When I am facing a difficult situation I have learned to bring my fears and concerns to Christ. Because it is through Him that I have the inner strength do what I need to do, even when it is hard. ~Marion

 

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The Power of Forgiveness

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The Power of Forgiveness

Who’s Really Hurting?

I think one of the most difficult steps of recovery is the need to forgive…a difficult concept to fully embrace. Sometimes we can get caught up in the idea that if we forgive someone who has hurt us deeply we are letting them off the hook. But the fact of the matter is that the act of forgiveness is for us, not for them.

In my quiet time I have been reading about the need for forgiveness. In the book of Matthew Jesus teaches about prayer. Part of that teaching is the well known “Lord’s Prayer” – Matthew 6:9 – 13, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Colossians 3:13 says in the New Living Translation, “You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

So the study I am going through…”Living Beyond Yourself” by Beth Moore…gave me an interesting insight into the idea of ‘biblical forgiveness’. The Greek word for forgive is “aphiemi” which means “to let go from one’s power, possession, to let go free, let escape”. Quoting from the study…”The intent of biblical forgiveness is to cut someone loose. The word picture drawn by the Greek terms for unforgiveness is one in which the “unforgiven” is roped to the back of the back of the unforgiving (person). How ironic. Unforgiveness is the means by which we securely bind ourselves to that which we hate most. Therefore, the Greek meaning of forgiveness might best be demonstrated as the practice of cutting loose the person roped on your back.” This explanation clearly showed me why unforgiveness is so damaging. By not forgiving those who hurt us, we continue to drag them around with us wherever we go. That’s a lot of baggage to carry around. I understand why God wants us to forgive…it’s for our good. ~Marion

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Where is Your Focus?

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Storms of Life

Storms of Life

I was reading today in the book of Matthew about Jesus walking on water. You can read the story in Matthew 14:22-23. Jesus had sent the disciples by boat across the Sea of Galilee. He went off to pray while the disciples were traveling to the other side of the lake. However, the sea was very rough and for hours the waves tossed the boat about. I’m sure they were terrified, thinking they were going to drown. They became even more terrified when they saw someone walking on the water. They thought it was a ghost. Jesus immediately called out to them saying that it was Him, and not to be afraid. The enthusiastic, impulsive Peter called to Jesus and asked if he could come out on the water and meet Him. Jesus simply said, ‘Come.’ Peter stepped out and began walking on the water towards Jesus, but then he started looking at the waves around him and started to sink. Jesus immediately came to him and saved him, asking him, “Why did you doubt?” Peter had taken his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. That is true of us, too. When in difficult and challenging circumstances we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin looking at the circumstances, we begin to sink…we become fearful, we try to figure out how to get out of the mess, and totally forget that God is in control. Why we do this to ourselves, I’ll never know. God loves us and can and will give us the courage to deal with all of the hard things in life if we ask Him to. We just need to keep our eyes on Him and stay focused. ~ Marion

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Search My Heart

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A Reprint from last year:

January 8, 2015

Thots

A couple of verses that have become at part of my daily prayer life are Psalms 139:23-24 (NLT), “Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Sometimes in my self assurance, I think that I have finally gotten it all together…I really have a handle on my life.  On one particular morning a few weeks ago, I prayed the above verses to the Lord…probably without thinking about what I was praying, read my Bible and then went on with my day.  One of my personal struggles is feeling the need to be right, and some of the reason for feeling this way is because I feel I need to be in control of situations…bad thinking on my  part.  The Lord has helped my a great deal in this area, but when I am not consciously asking God to be in control of my life, situations arise.

About 2 hours after I prayed these verses I was in a discussion with someone.  At some point we disagreed on a particular fact…something trivial.  I kept insisting that I was right, nicely of course because that’s what I do.  Suddenly those verses that I had prayed earlier came to my mind again.  God showed me that what I was doing was wrong.  I wanted to be right so that I could be in control of the situation.  I quickly asked God to forgive me for trying to take back control of my life and thanked Him for pointing out what had offended Him.  His forgiveness was immediate.  Then I asked the other person to forgive me for being so pushy.  I was forgiven.  By the way, the other person was right.

I am grateful that when we pray God’s Word, even when we may not be fully focused on it, He is faithful to remind us of what we ask of Him. God’s love and mercy are never failing, and He loves those who are flawed and broken.

 

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