Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Thing…..How do you get free?

From the old movie with Charlton Heston "The Ten Commandments"
You shall have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:3

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

I like movies especially when I can use them as an example in something like this. Here is some dialog from the 1991 movie, “City Slickers”
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean ----
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what *you* have to find out

Disclaimer: I am Not endorsing this movie! They are wrong in their conclusions. Now if they had choose Jesus as their “One thing” that would've worked!

Something that’s been on my mind (as you can see from my posts) is addictions, chains……How do you get free?

Well…..let me first suggest, as I have before; The 12 Steps…Step one is; “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.”

This one is all about honesty (truth), you can’t solve your “problem” if you don’t think you have one! I find this interesting; This is “Step One” and as I said in "You Hypocrite!" the “belt of truth” is the first piece of armor in the Armor of God in Ephesians chapter 6. Jesus even said Himself, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32

What I want to talk about in this blog post, however, is step 2: “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves (Jesus) could restore us to sanity.” and also step 3: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (Jesus Christ)"

This is important because I think that when we become “addicted” to something it becomes larger than life, it becomes our “god”. A great book (I have mentioned before) for “recovering persons” I have is called, “Letting God” by A Philip Parham. Parham says, “A great third-century Christian said, ‘Idolatry is the principal crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole cause of judgment.’….Anything can become an idol, the object of our heart: food, status, success, sex, power, money, fame, gambling, a person, cars, alcohol, drugs, boats, computers, houses, furniture, gardens,-the list is endless….”

The Bible says,
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4 Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 22:37. Now if something is repeated over and over in the Bible (things like: Love, Jesus, Messiah, Peace, Faith, Hope, Joy….) Pay attention! You know these things are important!

Jesus also said, “…Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

.....Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve....As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

How did you become “chained” or addicted to this thing that now consumes you? By “yielding” to it:

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16

Oswald Chambers said, “There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. For example, yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust, and although you may hate yourself for having yielded, you become enslaved to that thing. (Remember what lust is— “I must have it now,” whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.) No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. “. . . He has anointed Me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives . . .” (Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1)….. It is easy to sing, “He will break every fetter,” while at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person’s life. ““My Utmost for His Highest” March 14th

“When we begin to “be restored to sanity”, our moment of truth arrives. It finally dawns upon us: we not only worship idols; we have surrendered our life and will over to the care of lesser gods that enslave us and tear us down. When we decide to bow down to only God the father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are freed from our addictive idols and lifted up.” A. Philip Parham, “Letting God”

So how do we get free? By yielding to God and saying, “No” to the things that enslave you, turn to Him! I know, I’m still continuing to be freed of all my chains, but I know He has the answer, so I press on…Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

So why not yield to the only One Who can break your chains?

This is a song about this very subject- if you are brave: LISTEN: Jimmy Needham- Clear the Stage

About how men's focus on the wrong "One Thing" had disillusioned me: One Thing; Why I Hate/Love Men

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Disease of Sin

Hi, my name is Susan and I am a sinoholic. Although I am in recovery, I will always be a sinoholic. I have gone through these 12 steps. These may sound familiar to you:

1) I have admitted I was powerless over sin and my life had become unmanageable.
2) I believed that Jesus Christ could restore me to sanity.
3) I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to Him 28 years ago and my life has not been the same since. It was the very best decision I have ever made.
4) I continue to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. Mostly, I come up very short but, Praise God, He’s still working on me!
5) I have admitted to God, to myself and to another human being the nature of my wrongs. Mostly, I am too honest, sometimes with people which makes them uncomfortable. Certainly we should all be able to share our weaknesses with God, however, He already knows them anyways!
6) I am entirely ready for God, no one else, OK? :-), to remove all these defects of character.
7) Humbly, I have asked Him to remove my shortcomings. How else could it be, but humbling to give God this LONG list?
8) Making a list of all the persons I have harmed, I was willing to make amends to them all. This one can be overwhelming. It was what Zacchaeus did in Luke 19:8, only fourfold, yikes! I don’t think God would have you overwhelmed but may bring the obvious things to mind first and later may bring more to light. I am sorry for when I was disrespectful to my parents. I didn’t get into any of what you’d call “major” sins, but sin is sin in God’s book and it needs to be dealt with.
9) I have made direct amends to such people whenever possible.
10) I continue to take personal inventory and when I am wrong promptly admit it, for example, I still lose my temper and will go back to my husband or my children and apologize. We all have to “eat crow” sometimes!
11) I seek to know Christ more through reading His word and praying to Him and meeting with a local body of believers, usually twice a week. I truly want to do His will and know He gives me the power to do it.
12) I have had a spiritual awakening as the result of Jesus Christ. I seek to practice these Biblical principles in all of my affairs and carry this message to other SINOHOLICS.

It’s OK with me if you call alcoholism a disease but I chose to call it an addiction instead. It seems to be that most sin IS addictive in nature. To me it is merely a symptom of the great disease of SIN. If I’m addicted to cigarettes is that the disease of tobaccoholism?

I once asked my father-in-law (whose been in AA for many many years) , “Suppose you inherit this disease, and never take a drink, would you still be an alcoholic?” He replied “The disease would manifest itself in a different form.” You know, I am in total agreement with him, although I wouldn't call it alcoholism, I'd call it sin. I had myself in mind, perhaps my children when I asked this question. I don’t drink, although I used to and I hope my children will also choose to abstain from alcohol although the Bible says only “Do not be drunk with wine” (Ephesians 4:18). Perhaps they will drink only in moderation? I don’t know, but I do hope to break this endless(?) cycle of dysfunction and I believe "With God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). My life is no longer “unmanageable” but my sin does still manifest itself from time to time in overindulgence, lust, anger, greed ETC.

In the book of Galatians chapter 5 (verses 19,20&21), Paul lists these SINS, which if we continually practice, keep us from Christ. The next verses are about “The fruit of the Spirit” which we get when we give over our will and our life to Jesus Christ; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.

You may have noticed that I am NARROW (Jesus said to enter by the NARROW gate),yes, if you choose any “god” “as you perceive him” you are in a dangerous position where you make Satan the “god” of your life! I don’t believe in relativism. I believe in absolutes. All gods are not the true God! That is totally ILLOGICAL!

I believe you should worship Christ in a Bible-believing church. You may see some hypocrites there, but don’t worry about them. You may also feel lead to go to AA or a good Christian counselor. Let me tell you about my AA friends whose “Higher Power” is Jesus Christ. John and Rhonda went to church with us many years ago. They were in their mid-forties, at that time. Rhonda had health problems from her prior drinking, she was on dialysis for her kidneys but always had a smile on her face and never voiced a complaint. Reading other books is fine (like AA’s “Big Book”) but Rhonda had her priorities straight! She’d say, “I have my ‘Big book’ too!” meaning her Bible. One day I came to church and I needed to talk to someone and I prayed for God to lead me to someone I could talk to. I went to our church’s gym where we ate before Wednesday night Bible study, Rhonda was sitting there already reading her Bible I felt God was saying “Talk to her, she cares about what I think”. So I did. A few months later Rhonda died. At her funeral they read one of her favorite Psalms; 121, which starts, “ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth….” Yes, our help with the “disease of sin” comes from the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us so much that He died on the cross to save us from our sins.

It is all very beautifully expressed in that old hymn which goes:
‘There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.’

Do you have this disease? The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that we all do! Jesus Christ is the answer!
Are you having trouble with an addictive sin? Why not give these steps a try?

 Here is a poem I wrote about the 12 Steps.

For a great Christian 12 Step group check out:  Celebrate Recovery 

Also: Alcoholics Anonymous

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chonda Pierce on Depression

This goes with several of my posts about BiPolar Disorder  ("An Unquiet Mind" -October 2010, "My Southside Story" & "Soap Box"- April 2011 etc.) - Love this woman! See also the article on my website: Brokeness

 My latest post about my BiPolar: The King of Hearts

 2015: get my new book of poetry on Amazon here: The Seven Story Tree 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dr. Peter Marshall on Judgment Day

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:10

I had shared this before on facebook in September 2010:

I’ve had Judgment Day on my mind since a conversation I had a few weeks ago. Someone I thought knew the Bible very well said she thought she would be found innocent of any wrong doing on Judgment Day. But the Bible states “All have sinned…” Then the Mandessa song Amber sang (“Not Guilty”) on Sunday- so appropriate and I remembered this which I read some years ago, from my grandmother’s old book , “A Man Called Peter” by Catherine Marshall. Peter Marshall was chaplain of the Senate when he died in 1949.

So, this is what Dr Peter Marshall had to say about Judgment Day and…..I think he’s right on:

One night a friend questioned (Peter) about whether he really thought we shall ever stand before God on a Judgment day and hear a roll call of all our sins.

“Yes, the Bible makes it quite clear,” Peter answered promptly. “Some day, somewhere, somehow there will be an accounting for each of us”
He paused and seemed lost in thought as he stirred his third cup of tea. “I think I may have to go through the agony of hearing all my sins recited in the presence of God.”

“But I believe it will be like this- Jesus will come over and lay His hand across my shoulders and say to God, ‘Yes all these things are true, but I am here to cover up for Peter. He is sorry for all his sins, and by a transaction made between us, I am now solely responsible for them’”
Suddenly Peter smiled, “And sister, if I’m wrong about that, I’m sunk.”

And if he's wrong...I'm sunk too!


I stand accused, there's a list a mile long
Of all my sins, of everything that I've done wrong
I'm so ashamed, there's nowhere left for me to hide
This is the day, I must answer for my life
My fate is in the Judges hands,
But then he turns to me and says

I know you, I love you
I gave my life, to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict, not guilty

Mandisa- Not Guilty

This goes with what I'm about to post today about Judgement Day....

Friday, March 2, 2012

You Hypocrite!

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Jesus (Matthew 23:15)

Agree with your adversary quickly…Matthew 5:25

I was offended recently…by a ten year old. It was one of our “on the way to” Sequoia conversations. My 11 year old and her friend were talking about us getting our carpets cleaned and Claire coming in after soccer practice in her muddy cleats and getting mud on the stairs. Lydia said, “And she (meaning me) didn’t even get mad!” I replied (proudly), “What good does it do to get mad?” I’m always working on improving myself and trying to be “slow to anger” and I was quite enjoying my family’s astonishment at my progress. But then Lydia said it, “But you’ve gotten angry before over much less!” Then Brooke said it, “You’re a hypocrite!” Then I was dismayed that the subject of me and my journals came up; Lydia had told Brooke about our conversation and what I said to her. No I don’t “cry over spilt milk” or get mad about mud on the clean carpet, but you start talking about my character (or lack thereof) or even just talking about me behind my back, now THAT just ticks me off!

Well, to explain about my journals, I have 37 of them and they are written in to the very LAST PAGE. (Except for the one I’m now filling) I say that because that is what we were talking about; How I told Lydia once that I don’t buy a journal that I’m not going to use. (to the very last page!) I said this because Lydia likes pretty things and included in all her “bling” she likes pretty journals, but she’ll get one, start writing in it, use it a week or so, let it sit around, then rip out the pages she wrote on and say, “Here Mom do you want this?” Argh! When I was going through my Mom’s things I came to the conclusion that she inherited this annoying trait from her names-sake. (Lydia’s middle name is Ellen for my Mom) I kept finding Mom’s pretty journals written in for a few pages and then the rest…BLANK. Mom, come on! All those years of “Eat all the food on your plate…don’t waste any…there’s children in Africa starving” and you are wasting all this paper! So Lydia and I were in my room talking once and I said, “Soon I’ll be done with this (pretty journal with bling on it Lydia gave me for my birthday!) and I can start on this one” (a pretty purple with butterflies on it that I resisted buying the first time I saw it at Barnes & Noble- when I saw it again it was on sale 50% off! So I bought it) Lydia said, “You said you don’t buy any journals unless your gona use them!” I explained to her that I was, I was just finishing the one I was using first, then she gave me that one for my birthday and I used that until it was done. Then I was going to use the one I got at Barnes and Noble.

At the point where I was being accused of being a “Hypocrite” we were to the bank in our after school errands. I admit I was mad, I am NOT a hypocrite! What should I do with these annoying children? I had already said to Lydia again why I hadn’t written in the journal I bought yet and expressed my displeasure that she was telling Brooke all about her hypocritical Mom. So after turning off the car, I turned around, looked Brooke in the eyes and said, “Brooke, I really, really, really love Jesus and calling me a ‘hypocrite’ is like the worst, most hurtful thing you could say to me” Neither did she or Lydia say anything. So I went in the bank. Little did I know that by the end of the evening I’d realize how very badly I responded to this accusation.

Brooke and Lydia were in the middle of trying to get me to let Lydia get her haircut at this place in Byron where Brooke got hers cut, so I thought, “If they’re smart, the apology will be forthcoming.” But it wasn’t. Lydia that same day got a check in the mail from her grandma for her birthday. They were still going on about the haircut and I had an idea, I thought was brilliant: the price of the haircut was only 1 dollar off from the amount of the check, so I’d say, “OK, you still want the haircut? Pay for it with your birthday check.” Well, Lydia “called my bluff” and said, “OK” So I took her to get her haircut. What?! I didn’t even want to. I had planned on going home and making Chicken Parmesan for Sarah (and everyone) to eat before she went to work @ 6:15 pm. Now I was stuck at the hairdressers. Lydia didn’t have an appointment, so we had to wait while someone who had an appointment got their hair cut. So I asked if I could leave them there and go home to cook my chicken and come back and get them. And I had told Brooke’s dad I would bring Brooke home when we were done, when he offered to come get her and I should have said, “Yes!” Now I went home with the sequoia, started cooking my chicken and when Bob came home I sent him to get Brooke and Lydia. There was one problem though: Brooke’s book bag was still in the sequoia! So then I had to call Tracey (Brooke’s mom) to come by and get that on her way home. Brooke’s dad was annoyed that I didn’t just have him come get her in the first place, that’s why I didn’t call him about the book bag. Bob was annoyed that I let Lydia get the haircut. Sarah was annoyed that her dinner wasn’t ready on time. I was annoyed that I let them talk me into this haircut---Why? I was mad at them anyways! The “straw that broke the camels back” came when Bob saw the water on the wood floor that I forgot to wipe up after watering my plant; He hates it when water sits there on the wood floor- it’s bad for it- but I had had it. I had a “melt-down”, I screamed, “Seriously! Your worried about a little water?! Have you looked at the wood floor!?” I went out for a walk. When I came back Lydia had unloaded AND loaded the dishwasher,put the food away, washed the pans and cleaned up the whole kitchen! Wow! maybe I should have these meltdowns more often? lol

This evening was a perfect example for me; Don’t be a “People pleaser”! It’ll only make you miserable! How many times do I need to learn this lesson, God? Haven’t I even wrote about this? Numerous times? “What am I Pursuing?” (August 2010) And why didn’t I “Pray About Everything”? (August 2010) Am I being, “Light” (September 2011)? No. Oswald Chambers said, “Ultimately, God will allow nothing to escape; every detail of our lives is under His scrutiny. God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And He never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson, because His purpose is to produce the finished product.” “My Utmost for His Highest” (July 31st)

Oswald Chambers

This horrible, rotten, no good day haunted me, and I prayed, “Lord WHAT should I have said to Brooke and Lydia when they called me a ‘hypocrite’?” I’ve already described the many ways God speaks to me. The most often though and the most important way is through His Word, the Bible. I thank God for what I know, especially of the Bible! It says in the Bible that, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6 God is all about TRUTH. Heck HE is the TRUTH. (John 14:6, John 8:32) So He said to me, “Tell them the TRUTH Susan” I said, “Oh…duh” I was studying the armor of God in Ephesians 6, the other day and was thinking about the first piece mentioned; the belt of TRUTH and I was thinking that the first thing we need to do is confess our sins and ask for God's forgiveness. In the Bible the Devil is called, "the accuser of the brethren" and it's not that he accuses us of things we haven't done (sometimes perhaps), like we haven't sinned, it's that we all have sinned. What we need to do is agree with our adversary, "Yeah Satan I'm a sinner but Jesus died on the cross to save me from the penalty of sin, and I've repented and He's cleansed me, so leave me alone!" "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7

So God asks me, “Who are you?”
I said, “I’m a Christian, I’m Your child, I go to church, read my Bible, I know a lot of Bible verses, wana hear one? And I am NOT a hypocrite!
God: “Who are you?”
Me: “God, I told You, I’m a good mother, a good wife, I don’t “Smoke, drink or chew or hang with those who do” As Audrey Hepburn said, “I’m a good girl, I am!” (My Fair Lady) And I am NOT a hypocrite!
God: “Who are you?”
Me: Sigh...“You know me, Lord, I’m a sinner (Romans 3:23), I’m nothing and can do nothing without You (John 15) The good I want to do I don’t and the things I hate, that’s what I do! Help Lord! (Romans 7) I AM a HYPOCRITE! (Romans 2:1) Nothing can save me but Your grace and mercy. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
God: “That’s my girl! I know all about you, Susan (Psalm 139) and I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) Quit beating yourself up over the past! (Romans 8:1) Press on! (Philippians 3:12) Keep being real (Psalm 51:6) and feeding my sheep (John 21:17) When you admit your weakness, it’s THEN that I can make you strong (II Corinthians 12:10)”

Me to Brooke and Lydia: “I’m sorry I got so mad when you said I was a hypocrite, everyone’s a hypocrite now and then and I shouldn’t have gotten so mad.” (I did go into it a little deeper than just this- like explaining that we have high standards as Christians- therefore it is harder to always live up to them ETC....)
They said, “That’s OK” :- )

You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? Romans 2:21-23

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. Romans 2:1

Today on K-Love I heard this awesome little message by Francis Anfuso:
We once conducted a survey asking people who had church wounds what hurt them the most. Hypocrisy was at the very top of the list. In my own life I became an atheist for seven years because of the blatant hypocrisy of those who claimed to know God.
The Bible says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) None of us want to be “Pretend Christians,” attempting to impress others by pretending to be something we’re not.
If I can’t be honest with myself, I’ll never be honest with others. The truth is, I’m a sinner in need of a Savior—my sin problem was so great the God of the Universe had to come to Earth to die in my place. That’s a truth I can live with.

And here’s another from him, along the same lines. I found this @ Francis Anfuso's website
I have the privilege of ministering each month to forty young women with emotional scars. From within a wonderful restorative community, they were asked to describe someone beautiful and tell what makes him or her beautiful.
They each agreed that true beauty is seen in someone willing to be authentic. One young lady said, “What makes people beautiful is that they’re always real. They’re not afraid to be who they are—sharing their real emotions, feelings, thoughts, and ideas. They are confident and uncomplicated. They never play mind games and are always honest and candid. When I see a person living her life in this way, it makes me yearn to live my life that way also, and gives me the confidence to believe I can do so.”
“Jesus, make me that kind of person!” Amen to that!

 2015: My book of poems is out! You can purchase it here: The Seven Story Tree

Read more about this subject in the Bible:
Matthew chapter 23
Luke 18:9-14
OR just go to Biblegateway and put the word, "hypocrite" into the "keyword search"