Tag Archives: Christianity

Azusa Now

Azusa Now is today! Over 100,000 of multiple ethnicities and denominations will gather to worship the Lord and call upon Him for revival. If you can make it to the LA Memorial Coliseum get there! Worship has already started and will continue until 10pm. If you can’t make it the whole event is live streamed on god.tv(http://god.tv)

Why did Jesus come?

I’ve often heard the gospel constricted or depleted down to only being a gospel of sin management.  Sadly this keeps many believers from entering into all that God has for them.  Yes, Adam sinned and man fell away from right standing with God and so something had to be done to save the world.  God knew all along that man would sin.  Jesus was not his plan B, He was the plan from the get go.  He has always been the only plan.  God is appalled by sin because it is harmful to those that He loves—us.  Purely out of love He sent His son Jesus to redeem humanity.  This was not to satisfy His anger and wrath but it was compelled by His pure love.  He wanted to be with us and with sin in the way that couldn’t happen until we were redeemed.

So why did He do it?

Compelled by love with the purpose of redemption He came for the result of being in union with you.  He came for the result.  The veil has been torn, the door has been opened and the invitation has been sent out.  Now all that’s left is a response from us.  We respond through faith.  This is what we give God in return.  Through faith we stop hanging around in the outer court and go boldly into the holy of holies.  This is why He came—to be with you and for you to be with Him.  So this Christmas stop calling yourself unworthy and give God the gift of your faith.  Go boldly before the throne of grace and simply enjoy the presence of His love for you.

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 7

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. -John 15:12

It is a choice to pick up an offense.  There is a certain man who came and joined us in treatment recently.  It is not my intent to bad mouth anyone but I must do some “flushing” here.  This man has pushed my patience.  I have not yet expressed my feelings to him but I have been tempted.

It’s interesting that today in group we were talking about confrontation and the avoidance of it.  This man has an entirely different worldview than mine and I’m fine with that.  Many of us here have different worldviews but we focus on the similarities that we have – one of them being addiction.

I am not in a Christian recovery center and in many ways I am glad about that.  This is where God has placed me.  There are some Christians here and many who are not.  Some of these have asked me questions and I’ve been able to share with them.  I see that as the appropriate time to talk.  I’m not threatened by different worldviews and am quite interested in the way others view the world.  But what has irritated me with this guy is the inappropriate times he finds it necessary to “preach” his worldview.

We will be in group talking about recovery skills, or something else recovery related, and somehow multiple times he has switched the subject and begins talking about his new age philosophies.  He will talk about the universe and “the divine” who speaks to him while on drugs.

It has tested my patience!  I find it quite annoying, disruptive and distracting but I humbly ask God for His love towards this person.  It’s hard to love some people but God certainly loves everyone of us no matter how screwy our view of Him may be.  Tonight I pray for compassion and love towards this man and that His eyes may be opened to the love of the Father.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

The Manifestation of Hope

One attribute to the presence of God is the manifestation of hope.  When I am aware of His presence, hope becomes alive to me.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. -Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

He is always faithful to His promises.  The word of God is immovable and indestructible.   I cannot live off bread alone but by every word that proceeds (and is proceeding) from the mouth of God.  His word gives me life.  His promises give me hope.  His righteousness gives me comfort.  His compassion and thoughts toward me, give me love.  In Him my soul finds the rest it is always looking for.

So God has given both his promise and his oath.  These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.  Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. -Hebrews 6:18 (NLT)

Return to your rest, oh my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountiful with you. -Psalm 116:7


New Wine of the Spirit – Post 6

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:15

Yesterday in group we talked about resentments.  It is said that resentment is the number one offender.  It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.  I realized I hold a lot of resentment towards myself because of my past actions.  I also realized I have some family related resentments of people not living up to the expectations I put in place for them.

The Holy Spirit led me to Matthew 6:15.  I read it in a different light this time.  I’ve known it’s important to forgive others to free ourselves but I also must forgive myself.   Not forgiving myself when Jesus already has is futile.  It’s actually bondage, and if I might say a sin of disobedience.  Seeing ourselves as different than how the Father sees us is like locking ourselves up in prison and trying to hide the key somewhere in the cell.  God wants us to live in freedom.  It’s time to let the resentments go!

God grant me the power to forgive others and myself.  Allow me to grasp the redeeming power of the cross and live in freedom as the new man which you have already told me I am.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 5

Last night I got to thinking that one of my biggest problems with getting sober is denial.  I deny that I have a true addiction.  I justify my drinking by pointing out others I know that are worse.  I deny that drinking is a sin.. “Jesus drank wine.”

My greatest threat to relapse is lying to myself saying, “I can just have a couple drinks.”  The truth is that I’m an alcoholic and I cannot just have a couple drinks.  The truth is that I have setup alcohol as an idol.  I push God aside and get drunk.  Drinking drives me away from Him in my relationship because in my heart I feel guilt.

I know that God loves me beyond any mistake I could ever make, but when I drink I push Him away.  Much like Adam in the garden I hide.  I ignore Him and put alcohol first.

I’ve asked God to give me a heart of repentance.  This morning in meditation I read Lamentations.

The Lord is righteous for I rebelled against His commandment.  Hear now all peoples and behold my sorrow… -Lamentations 1:18

See O Lord, that I am in distress, my soul is troubled, my heart is overturned within me, for I have been very rebellious.  Outside the sword bereaves, at home it is like death. -Lamentations 1:20

I am distressed, my soul is troubled, I have been rebellious, I am filled with sorrow, and at home – where I would do the majority of my drinking – it has been like death.

At an AA meeting last week someone who had been sober for over four years said that he feels like he’s finally living.  That’s what I want.  I want to live life the way God intended it to be for me.  I do not want to be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 4

Today was my first day involved in the daily activities.  Praise God my detox has gone extremely well.  We do open meditation each morning and I decided to do scripture meditation.  The Lord led me to Psalm 27.  Immediately I felt His gracious and healing presence.  The verse that really spoke to me was Psalm 27:5.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion.

This verse reassured me that I am in the right place for my recovery.  His overwhelming presence comforted me.  I have been in trouble, a lot of trouble.  I asked God for help and He responded.  He brought me to a safe place where I can recoup and of course He came with me.

A couple tears started to roll down my cheek and I gently opened my hands up to Him as an act of worship and gratitude.  He truly cares for me and wants the best for me.  He never gives up on me, and is always there when I humbly ask for help.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life, of who shall I be afraid? -Psalm 27:1

Shall I fear addiction? No because the Lord is my deliverer.

Shall I fear guilt and shame? No because the Lord is my redeemer.

Shall I fear a lack of trust in myself and the potential of relapse? No because the Lord is my strength and Christ lives in me.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**


New Wine of the Spirit – Post 3

There’s a single painting hanging on the wall of my room.  The picture is a view from the shoreline looking out into the ocean.  A single small fishing boat is in the calm waters not far from the shore.  At the bottom of the painting is a caption with the word, “BREATHE.”

I’ve found myself looking at this painting and reflecting a lot.  It reminds me of a time I felt God’s presence and complete peace while floating in the calm waters of San Clemente Beach.  From that memory it reminds me of the day I was baptized years later at that same exact beach.

The overall scene reminds me of God’s beauty in nature and the many times I’ve gazed into the sky with awe.  The word “breathe” I receive as a word from the Lord and it takes me to Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God.

In the stillness we are just breathing.  We are breathing in His life.  When we are still we are not anxious, worried, distressed or angry.  We are simply still in the presence of God and all the life around us that He created.

I will accept this word of the Lord today and be still and breathe.  I will cast my burdens away in His presence and accept His healing grace.  It’s in the stillness when we slow down and breathe that we feel His presence.  It’s in the stillness that we know He is God.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 2

Day one of sobriety.  Sleeping last night was a little tough.  I fell asleep easily but woke up around 3:30am and found myself with racing thoughts and restlessness.  I opened my bible and was led to two scriptures:

So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Brith their god.  Thus the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies… -Judges 9:33-34

The Israelites returned to idolatry.  They returned once they forgot what the LORD had done for them.

Alcohol is my enemy and my idol.  It is out to destroy me.  A few years back one of the first dreams the Lord gave me as an adult believer was of the Apostle Paul coming to me and saying, Lest you forget!”  God soon after delivered me from my enemy alcohol and I remained sober for a good 9 months or so.  I believe in the dream I was being warned to remember the deliverance the Lord would give me, and in that to remember the goodness and providence He would provide me.

Towards the end of my 9 month sobriety streak I started struggling with extreme doubt and unbelief which ultimately led to depression.  I do believe now this was spiritual warfare and I was under attack badly.  I told myself lies, that I had gotten sober by my own strength.  Pride and anger crept in and I felt I had been deceived.  In an intellectual sense I almost lost my faith entirely.  But my heart did not give up.  Though intellectually I was denying the existence of God my heart held strong to the truth.

In our hearts I believe we all know the truth.  It is our limited understanding that conflicts and drives us to ignore our heart.  Today I humbly push aside my own understanding and listen to my heart.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5

Yes, it’s easier said than done.  We are intellectual beings and have a hunger for knowledge and understanding.  But if we are honest with ourselves there is a whole lot in this life that we will never fully understand.  I’m being honest with myself and accepting that I don’t have all the answers.  I never did and never will.  But I have no doubt that my heart knows the Truth.

The next verse the Lord showed me was John 15:5.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

In the past couple months I’ve told myself a few times that I would go sober.  These attempts never lasted more than a day or two.  They didn’t last because I was trying to do it on my own, through my own strength.  But my own strength does not have the power to overcome my addiction.  By my own strength I fail again and again.  The only lasting sobriety I have ever found was when I was abiding in Christ.  It is then that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  I cannot do this without Him, and so to Him I ask: “Lord help me!”

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. -John 14:26

Holy Spirit help me, fill me and remind me of the goodness and deliverance of the Lord my God!

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 1

Today I find myself in rehab.  My emotions are mixed – positive and negative.

Negative:  I feel guilt, like I messed up.  I feel disappointed in myself.  I feel upset that I have to leave my wife at home by herself.

Positive:  I am glad I have taken a drastic step towards sobriety.  I know I have a problem and ignoring it as I have does nothing.  I am ready for a change!

My problem frustrates me.  I wish I did not have it.  Part of me says, “You’re better than this.  You shouldn’t have to be here.”  But I know that is a lie.  I am not better than this, I have an addiction and I need to come to this realization.   Today I set my hope in God’s help.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9 

More mixed emotions: I find comfort in this verse and at the same time I find it unsettling.  I love the idea that His strength is perfect in my weakness but I find it hard to fully believe.  Who should I believe?  God’s word or my doubt?

Lord I believe, help my unbelief. -Mark 9:24

Today I choose to have faith!

I will simplify this verse and say, “God I believe you can help me and I want you to help me.  I accept your help.  I accept your grace.”

Abide in Me and I in you. -John 15:4

Yes Lord, I accept your commandment.  We will abide in each other and your perfect strength will overcome my weakness.  I believe you are with me now and thank you for your presence.

The best is yet to come!


**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**