Today I celebrate 5 years of abstinence. Glory to God! I am merely a passenger, and He is the pilot.
Here are some highlights from today’s reading from The One Year Bible:
At that time the Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. (1 Samuel 10:6 NLT)
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63 NLT)
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalms 107:9 NLT)
I finally understand what it is to be a new creation, born again into new life. I had always been a professor of the Truth, but resisted His authority in things I determined to my my business and not His. Now that my whole life, right down to the last bite, belong to God, and I seek Him for every morsel of every meal and everything in between, I have no cause for worry and no need for control. That makes any day a blessed day, even if it is the 1,827th one in a row.
Holy Father, today, I celebrate the good things You give me and the good thing into which You are making me. Thank You!
Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation. (Proverbs 14:9 NLT)
Friends of Earth make sport of children of Heaven who make introspection a habit and holiness a goal. “Nobody likes a saint,” mockers say. Just yesterday I was ridiculed by one of my childhood mentors who tried to tell me that “self-flagellation,” which was his word to describe my practice of living Twelve-Step life surrendered to God, was unnecessary and unproductive. I have to remember that the broken world will resist my amends-making, because disorder does not well tolerate order. It goes against the current.
Holy Father, today, accept this broken offering and transfigure it into a useful beacon to You. Give me grace to continue on the upstream path You have set before me. Never let me forget what waits ahead: more perfect unity with You.
“But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed.” (Luke 23:23 NLT)
The voices we permit to prevail direct our thoughts, our rationale, and finally our actions. Pilate succumbed to a crowd manipulated by fear and greed and so sent our Lord to the cross. We are perpetrators of Pilate’s corruption when we, filled with worry or regret, demand our addictions be set free while we give up the King of our Sunday to satisfy a Thursday night whim.
Holy Father, today, I quiet the voices of my worry and shame, and I turn to You, seeking Your still, soft voice. Let Your quiet whisper call my every fiber to attention and make my actions Your own design. You who gave me ears to hear, let me know Your voice, and call me like a favored lamb into Your strong and protective embrace.
There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” (Luke 22:40 NLT)
What a great prayer, to rely on the One who can hold us and rescue us even in mid fall! It is not so arrogant as the toddler who insists he can do a grown up task “all by myself.” On my own, I can neither breathe nor stand, let alone resist the chemical and biological signals and triggers of a body so long abused by indulgence and the manipulation of a greedy marketplace. Many have asked me, “What should I pray?” Toddler pilgrim, here is a good place to start; seasoned traveler, here too is a good place to return. Pray that you will not give in to temptation.
Holy Father, today, lead me not into temptation; but if Your will is that I should walk through the valley, be my rod and staff to comfort me; lead me through by Your grace to greener pastures and make me lie beside still waters. The turbulence of this world we will shortly endure. Grant me grace to know I’m never outside Your care. Keep me from falling into self-service while I seek to follow You.
“But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (Luke 22:26 NLT)
The service structure of a Twelve-Step Fellowship is modeled after this Kingdom rule. Service is bottom-up, not condescending. The invisible honor that results is contrary to Earth’s understanding, and looks upside-down, but it isn’t. The things of Heaven are unseen (Colossians 1:16), and so it is with spiritual living while on Earth. We are blessed for the purpose of service, and I am only content when I am giving myself in worship of my Creator by serving His other creations.
“A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise him.” (Proverbs 14:1-2 NLT)
I believe either of these verses could stand alone, but together they pose a parallel that amplifies the meaning of the second one by the word picture of the first. Failure for me to follow Lord Jesus Christ is the same folly as if I were to rip apart my own house in a violent fit. The use of a woman in the first picture demonstrates the social expectation of stewardship. It isn’t just any resident of the house going all Tazmanian Devil on it, but the housekeeper herself! I am my own life’s housekeeper, and so the choice to build or destroy, to follow or despise, is mine.
Holy Father, today, I choose to follow Your lead to love sacrificially, to serve others and, by extension, You. You are my motivation to breathe, move, fuel, plan, and act. Save me from selfish reaction today, and guide me under Your grace to peace. Cause my living to reflect Your loving care, and brighten my light so others will know You. In Christ Jesus’ name, amen!