zombies

August 31, 2013

Jude 1:22-23

English Standard Version (ESV)

22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

On some we should have compassion. That is, we should show a compassionate interest in them and try to guide them out of doubts and disputations into a firm conviction of divine truth.

Then there are those who are on the verge of the precipice, ready to fall over into the flames of apostasy. These we are to save by strong, resolute warning and instruction, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

J. B. Mayor warns, “While it is the duty of the Christian to pity and pray for the sinner, he must view with loathing all that bears traces of the sin.”

In the OT the clothing of a leper was contaminated and had to be burned (Lev. 13:47–52).

It’s hard to imagine running into someone from our daily walk that could be so sinful that their garments are foul and loathsome. Yet when we travel outside our comfort zone we can see those that have fallen farther than most of us can imagine. To the Christian that has wandered that far from the word and from the flock we must gird ourselves and be prepared to be brutally honest and forthright in bringing someone back into the path of right living. 

But there is a danger to ourselves and to them. The insanity of sin can be contagious, their words that of the master of sin, beguiling or whining for false compassion. We are to hate the consequences of sin, and all that is associated with it must be purged from their lives. Few Christians that fall that far into sin are willing to be accountable and surrender their lives to a shepherd who will lead them back.

They will be saved as though smelling of the smoke of Gehenna, you’ve heard of being saved by the skin of your teeth? These are those that wander far from the path and must be confronted strongly. Like the demonic that won’t be delivered without prayer and fasting, you must go the extra mile for the brother or sister, who has stained the fabric of their lives with filth of sin. 

Compassion. Conviction. Constant abiding in the spirit will help you in the fight.

God bless

 

 

August 30, 2013

STEP 12

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these prin­ciples in all our affairs.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

(GAL. 6:1)

Step Twelve is a time for noticing growth. Through God’s grace and our commitment to work the steps, we have had a life-changing spiritual experience. We began this journey as frightened tyrants desperately clinging to control our own little kingdoms. But we end this round of our journey with a new king on the throne: God. We experienced a rebellion that we led against ourselves. With God’s help, we removed our kingdom and established God’s.

This step reminds us that we have not yet completed our journey to wholeness. To continue our process of growth, we need to be aware that we have just begun to learn the principles that will enhance our walk with the Lord. Each of the Twelve Steps is a vital part of fulfilling God’s plan for us. When our daily challenges distract and separate us from God, we can use the steps as tools for coping with our problems and drawing us back to God. Step One reminds us of our powerlessness. Steps Two and Three show us the ongoing need for God’s help. Steps Four through Nine guide us through self-examination and amends making. Steps Ten and Eleven help us minimize our slips and keep us in touch with God. We are blessed through our consci­entious attention to seeking God’s will and to working the steps. Our blessings may include a level of love, acceptance, honesty, selflessness, and peace of mind that we never ex­perienced before. The hardest part of any journey is the beginning, and this step is our milestone. By reaching Step Twelve, we have shown our total commitment to God’s will m our recovery.

Our spiritual awakening is a gift that instills in us a new perspective. It is usually accompanied by a positive and significant change in our value system. Our pursuit of worldly goals has been subdued and redirected. We now look for fulfillment from things with real and lasting value. For most of us, the awakening is subtle and best seen in hindsight. It seldom has a distinct beginning and ending. We also realize it took all of this to get us here-that’s why we were asleep for so long. As we awaken to the presence of God’s love for us, our lives become filled with new purpose and meaning. In Romans 13:11, Paul tells us: “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

God bless and thank you to everyone that has been a part of my 12 step journey that started by my first meeting when I was 15 years old. I pray that this brief look into the 12 steps encourages any one that is seeking help. Lives can be changed and there can be life without addiction of any kind.

To my Dad who has fought addiction and often didn’t win, and has paid the price with loss and prison, but is now sober, God bless.

Prayer requests at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

There is always hope

August 29, 2013

STEP 11

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. (COL. 3:16A)

Understanding Step Eleven

Vital to a healthy relationship is honest communication.

If partners choose not to talk with each other, their rela­tionship will suffer in every area and eventually will fail. On the other hand, when communication exists, relation­ships are strengthened, and broken relationships can be healed and restored.

Our relationship with God is our most important rela­tionship. And relationship with God is impossible without communication. As we draw nearer to God in prayer and meditation, we draw closer to our source of power, serenity, guidance, and healing. To ignore communication with God is to unplug our power source.

Working Step Eleven

We work Step Eleven through the practice of prayer and meditation. Through prayer we talk to God and through meditation we listen to him. Many of us, however, struggle with prayer. We know prayers, but we don’t know how to pray. Step Eleven is communicating with God. It is the process of learning the intimacy and power of prayer and meditation. It is the act of drawing near God

Preparing for Step Eleven

We prepare for Step Eleven by taking prayer and medi­tation seriously. There is a tendency to put prayer and meditation on the second shelf, to treat both as nonim­portant. We need to prepare for this step by developing an appreciation for prayer and meditation. If we struggle in this area, we might counsel with a minister, talk with an experienced program member, or otherwise seek help and insight.

Steps Ten and Eleven are the tools that help us trust God more fully and sustain the progress we have made in Steps One through Nine. In the first three steps, we recognized the seriousness of our condition and established the foundation for dealing with our problems. In Steps Four through Nine, we experienced a process similar to that of taking our car to the garage for a long overdue, major overhaul. We devoted the time and energy required to make the necessary repairs and restore our “engine” to its proper running condition. In Steps Ten and Eleven, we have the opportunity to keep ourselves in tune by devoting time to regular service and maintenance. As we continue in this direction, we learn to recognize problems, to correct them promptly, and to continually seek God’s guidance. This enhances our ability to improve our new skills for living life to the fullest. If we provide the required maintenance, we will find that our lives will run smoothly.

Prior to Step Eleven, we made contact with God in Steps Three, Five, and Seven. In Step Three, we made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to his care. In Step Five, we admitted our wrongs to him. In Step Seven, we humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings. And now in Step Eleven, we use prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God and to become more sensitive and responsive to his guidance.

Through the progress we have made in working the steps, we are learning more about what we want to achieve in the program. To protect what we have learned, we must continually seek to know God’s will for us. A daily regimen of prayer and meditation makes it clear that relief from pain of the past is just a day-to-day reprieve. We must relentlessly seek to know God’s will for us and how we are to live our lives. Those of us who have experienced the hell and chaos caused by our willful acts realize that we worshiped false gods such as drugs, sex, money, or addictiv­e relationships. Surrendering to the Twelve-Step process is not the step that led us to heaven, but was, in fact, the step that led us out of the hell that our lives had become.

Spiritual growth and development occur slowly and only through discipline and reliance upon God. The best example of the discipline of prayer is that of Jesus as he prayed frequently to know his Father’s will. In the Lord’s Pray: the singularly most important petition is “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This might be interpreted as “May your will be realized throughout all of space, time and creation. God, if it is to be done, it is for you to bring it about.” As our self-esteem increases and our Higher Power then becomes a trusted friend, we grow more confident that He is ever present with us when we pray. And we grow more confident that his will is what we want for our lives.

Meditation is an important way of seeking God’s will for us, of setting aside our own intentions, and of receiving God’s guidance. Meditation on Scripture is our best way to know God’s will. Other forms of meditating can clear our minds and remove the barriers of our conscious thoughts. When properly done, this process will calm us emotionally and relax us physically. We will release the energy we normally expend keeping our emotions in high gear and our bodies tense with anxiety.

Our approach to Step Eleven will vary in intensity, but the discipline of regularity  shows our commitment to a prayerful life. We are communicating with God, his joy will infuse our fellowship and friendship with others. We will reap rich benefits. Ideally, we should practice this step through, the day. The Apostle Paul encouraged believers to “pray without ceasing.” But until we reach that goal, we should practice Step Eleven upon awakening and retiring. The ­discipline at the beginning and end of each day reminds us that we sincerely want god’s will for our lives.

Tomorrow step 12, and then we will resume our regular devotions, I again hope that this look at the steps has been a blessing and will encourage some to engage in seeking out a 12 step group for continued well-being.

God bless

August 28, 2013

STEP 10

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. (1 COR. 10:12)

THIS IS THE REMINDER STEP THAT YOU CAN’T QUIT DOING ALL THE STEPS OR YOU WILL FALL.

We are now in the maintenance phase of our journey. In this time spent briefly introducing you the power of the 12 step program I hope you will pursue this, either by attending a group or more study into the possibilities this program offers to help you in personal growth.

A personal inventory is to remind us that our getting well, connected, growing, whatever term you use is it’s not about us, it’s about others.

Spot check inventory is the frequently daily, often inventory to check on our motives, feelings and actions through the day.

We are in the process of recovery, not just from addictions, but unhealthy thoughts, emotions, shame, anger, low self-esteem, abuse, the list goes on; but God wants us to experience His Grace, Power and forgiveness. We all need accountability, at least one person in our life that we can tell everything that truly goes through our head.

God bless

 

August 27, 2013

STEP 9

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (MATT. 5:23-24)

HORIZONTAL VS. VERTICAL

We don’t think about this much but God is concerned about our relationships with other people, so concerned that he says earthly relationships can take priority over spiritual relations.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying; “they’re so spiritually minded they’re no earthly good.”

Not at all what God intended, He wants us to have healthy relations with everyone we come in contact with; and to repair the damages we’ve done to our relations. Unless there are people that our very presence would send them over the edge.  It happens, like the rape victim that could never see her attacker without going catatonic. An extreme example but it does happen.

In step 9 we begin to take action in restoring or making amends to people we’ve hurt.

AMENDS TO OTHERS GUIDELINES

This is a summary of ideas and procedures that have been useful in preparing for and making the amends in Step Nine. To align yourself with God’s will, ask God to give you the correct attitude of heart so that you will be able to do the following.

Attitude

·Be willing to love and forgive yourself and the person to whom an amend is to be made.

·Know what you want to say and be careful not to blame the person with whom you are communicating.

·Take responsibility for what you are going to say.

·Be willing to accept the consequences.

·Resist the desire for a specific response from the other person.

·Be willing to turn your anxieties over to God.

Preparation

•Devote time to prayer and meditation.

•delay the amend if you are angry or upset and do more Step Four inventory work.

•Keep it simple. Details and explanations aren’t necessary.

•Remember that the amend does not focus on the other person’s part in the situation.

•Express your desire or ask permission to make the amend.

For example: I am involved in a program that requires me to be aware of the harm I have done to others and to take responsibility for my actions. I’d like to make amends to you. Are you willing to receive them?

The hardest character trait to develop is a humble spirit, people working the 12 steps are probably closer to accomplishing this than any group of people I know. When you are actually working step 9 the greatest reward for working through this step will be the beginning of genuine humility.

God bless

Give us a shout at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 26, 2013

STEP 8

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (LUKE 6:31)

It may seem obvious, but let me restate this, we are only making a list, no more no less. It is a literal written list, it should have names, what you did to them, and the results of your actions, the emotion or effect it caused in you and what emotion/effect it may have caused in them. Although most don’t mention it, I personally include the date, mainly because it always amazes me how long I have neglected to set things right.

The gravest danger while making this list is it will cause us to also remember the wrongs done to us.  If we let our anger take over at this point we will not be thinking of forgiveness or humility and our pride will take over and sabotage the whole experience.

Don’t think beyond the list, it is only an exercise to help you complete a step. Go easy on yourself, if you feel overwhelmed by guilt or anger, take a pause, focus, and relax. We’ve mentioned before about being alone or as a part of a retreat as being the perfect time to work on these latter steps.

Many religious organizations have places especially for meditation and reflection, places that have reminders of what God has done for us and purposely have quiet and peaceful settings. I highly recommend such places to attend, or great scenery that helps you see the mighty hand of God.  

Solitude, silence, solace, all will help in making this list.

God bless

Prayer requests at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

7

August 25, 2013

STEP 7

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (l JOHN 1:9)

The difference in this step from the previous step; is this is the plea of a desperately sick soul, you are on your death bed, so ill you can’t move, you can’t get a sip of water, you can’t scratch that itch, you must have a nurse or someone do these simplest things for you because you can’t do a thing, you are totally helpless.

By completing steps 1-6 with all honesty and sincerity, your pain and weakness and humbleness have brought you to this step. It is the step of Kneelogy, no such word actually and I’m not the first to use it, it is about kneeling before God and and specifically asking him to remove not general things or vague ideas but the real nitty gritty parts of our lives that are destroying us, those we love and all around us. The secret is out we can no longer hide, we’ve been discovered.

I couldn’t be more serious about the fact that you have to be on your knees, literally. Pray standing up, walking, driving your car, on the treadmill, whatever and you know how quickly you mind wanders, drifts to other topics, thoughts. There is something about the defenselessness of kneeling, the surrender, the adoption of the very image of our Savior kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying where he sweated blood, knowing his death was before him and he asked that this event would pass, but if it couldn’t he would be obedient even unto death.

Could you, would you, be kneeling, confessing it all, asking for the very specific things you want removed and if God told you what it would take; could you, would you do it?

Ah that’s a trick question, because there is nothing you can do, remember that patient scenario above. If we still think there is something in our own strength that we can do we are not ready for step seven. He does all the work. He removes the sin, the weakness, the deformity of character, the addiction.

Kneeling before him it’s so easy and yet so hard to wait for Him to do all the work.

 

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!

            that calls me from a world of care,

            and bids me at my Father’s throne

            make all my wants and wishes known.

            In seasons of distress and grief,

            my soul has often found relief,

            and oft escaped the tempter’s snare

            by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

 

2.        Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!

            the joys I feel, the bliss I share

            of those whose anxious spirits burn

            with strong desires for thy return!

            With such I hasten to the place

            where God my Savior shows his face,

            and gladly take my station there,

            and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

 

3.        Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!

            thy wings shall my petition bear

            to him whose truth and faithfulness

            engage the waiting soul to bless.

            And since he bids me seek his face,

            believe his word, and trust his grace,

            I’ll cast on him my every care,

            and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer

 

God bless

August 24, 2013

STEP SIX

We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. JAMES 4: 10

 

The poem Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my friend.

But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.

At last, I snatched them back and cried, “How can you be so slow?”

“My child,” He said, “What could I do?

“You never did let go.”

-Author unknown

Step six is the ‘we do nothing step’, and God does it all step. Most refer to this step as “letting go and letting God”

Steps 1-5 we do all the work, with prayer and belief, but step six is a step of faith we have to believe that all the things we did before in the earlier steps now begin to have fruition.

This step is about believing God will bring true change to our lives. We are for the first time maybe truly asking God to change us. We may have cried out this prayer before, but it was often from guilt and shame; after we’ve been caught or embarrassed. But now it’s different, the soil has been prepared, a seed planted, watered, we can do no more but wait and believe that God will do his work in us.

This is a great time to make a plan to be alone, no distractions, just your bible and God. We often don’t let ourselves be alone because we haven’t really liked ourselves, or we keep a lot of noise in life so we don’t hear the screaming in our head, all the negative self-talk and lies we tell ourselves.

Now is when we pray, “God, I release all my faults to you, truly change me.”

It’s not just a cliché, ‘let go and let God.” It is one of the greatest choices we will ever truly make.

God bless.

five

August 23, 2013

STEP FIVE

Admitted to God, and to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. GAMES 5:16

In step four we completed an inventory of our strengths and weaknesses, the things we’ve been in denial about. We do an honest and searching inventory of our mental, emotional, spiritual, physical wants, needs and addictions, poor behaviors, coping mechanisms, relations and most importantly how we hurt ourselves.

Now in step 5 we prayerfully ask God to give us someone we can fully and completely share that inventory. A daunting task, and we usually choke, fearful that when we tell someone we will be rejected, ridiculed or scorned. Because of that when we first tell someone we either go for shock value or we water it down so we don’t look so bad.

Honesty, openness, boldness, all the things we need to pray about and that we are 100% open with whom we share. The problem is this inventory caused shame, anger, resentment and depression; and now we are vulnerable and we are supposed to trust someone with all this vital information.

The hurdle here is our pride, it’s bad enough we carry all this around inside us. First share this list with God, if we have a poor concept of God most of us will expect judgment or rejection from God.   That’s why I tell people during this phase to read only the ‘happy’ parts of the bible; it’s to easy to heap judgment on ourselves and only see the judgment part of the bible and not the blessings.  

Remember in telling someone you are not asking for advice, you are only asking someone to listen.

Make sure you share the positives as well as the negatives. Congratulate yourself on having the courage to make this step. The other person you tell this to should be a mature Christian, with a grateful spirit and qualities you admire in someone. I recommend you pick someone of the same gender.

Telling someone all this should be a cleansing experience and you’ll be surprised once you start how much will come out; like a dam bursting. Make sure the time and place is appropriate.

I know it seems daunting but it will be worth it, take the step. We are all praying you find the right person to share with.

God bless.

Speaking of prayer, prayer requests at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

four

August 22, 2013

STEP FOUR

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. (LAM. 3:40)

 

IN STEP FOUR WE REALIZE THAT THERE ARE AREAS OF OUR LIVES THAT NEED ATTENTION.

By praying and being in the Word, the Holy Spirit will bring to our attention the parts of our lives that need to change and align themselves with the Will of God.

This is the step that brings us to confront ourselves about the areas of our lives that we are in denial.

You know it’s not me, it’s the other guy, or I don’t have a problem with that, or how about, you think I have a problem with anger you’re nuts. The blinders we have in our lives about bad habits, short comings, sins.

I knew a dear sweet saint that would pray for hours each day and I asked her what  she prayed about for so long a period, her response, “I’m praying the hornets on (name that relative) someone that wouldn’t turn their life around or was really carnal.

They would eventually call her and beg her to stop, as it seems God was really working in their lives, much to their chagrin.

Kind of like where the Lord spoke to Paul of Tarsus, “why do you kick against the prod?”

Same deal, God wants us to change, imagine any cop movie, that bad guys are barricaded inside and there is a huge force of cops outside and they have a megaphone and the message is always the same; “this can go easy or hard it’s your choice.”

Wow, truer words ever spoken, we can let God work his will in us the easy way or we can choose the hard way. Trust me the hard way is tough, and yet we have his word that declares;

 

Matthew 11:29

New International Version (NIV)

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Easy or hard, kind of like eggs, if you choose the hard way your life will get scrambled.

God bless