I am abstinent by the grace of God, one more day at a time.



From Today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

If abstinence is a gift, then who is the giver?  Obviously, it is my loving Higher Power.


I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the gift of abstinence.  He loves me enough to bring me to this place in my life, gently shows me my need for it, supplies me with the tools and fellowship to help maintain it, and walks me down the path of recovery to which abstinence opens the door.  In order to honor the Giver, I will faithfully steward the gift. 



From Proverbs Chapter 27:

18 He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,

   and he who looks after his master will be honored.


Imagine God giving me a verse on stewardship after a statement like the one I just wrote!  I often ask Him to make His word for me obvious, and He does.


The words “tends” and “looks after” in this verse infer a faithful caregiving, or watching as a custodian.  Scholars* consider the first half of this verse to lay a contemplative foundation for the second half by metaphor.  As a custodian of a fruit tree gets a share of the produce, so will the faithful attendant of his master be given honor.  I like to take the two pieces apart and together.  I am reminded that when God assigns me a tree, it is my responsibility to look after it.  The reward of my faithfulness is that I get to enjoy the fruit of that tree.  If He assigns me the nobler task of ministering to His very Presence, I will similarly benefit of the fruit of that relationship.  Now I combine the two parts and see that His mixture of the truths come together to form a bigger one.  As I faithfully tend even the common garden trees of my Master, He will honor me with His goodness by blessing the work of my hands and bestowing on me the fruit of my work.  It is He who gives the responsibility, the ability to meet it, and the rewards of it; and it is the relationship with my Master that is built by my faithful adherence to the duty He assigns.


And so it is with abstinence – my blessing from Him, my resource for recovery from Him, my responsibility from Him.



From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Chronicles 9:


This chapter parallels 1 Kings 10, which I read on December 1st.   Each chapter describes Solomon’s visit from Egypt’s Queen Sheba, and her awe at the wisdom and glory which God had bestowed upon him.  I recall being struck by the measurement of Solomon’s annual gold receipts as “666 talents,” and of the praise of Almighty God evoked by the awe of the neighbors of the blessed king.  There was a verse in Proverbs today on which I did not comment, but it bears citing as I look at this reference to praise, gold, and neighbors.  It was Proverbs 27:21, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.”  As I understand it, the crucible and furnace are the instruments of testing and purifying precious metals by intense heat.  As the heat increases, the impurities rise to the surface of the liquid metal.  A skilled refiner then scrapes away these impurities, the “dross” of the metal.  Similarly, the praise I receive tends to heat up my self-centered character defects, bringing them right to the top.  Solomon showed by his lifestyle later on that he too suffered from the tendency to serve self when folks laid themselves at his feet. “23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”  It is said that a refiner knows that his work is complete when he can see his own reflection in the molten metal.  I seek and strive for that day when my impurities are so completely removed that the Great Refiner of mortal men will see Himself in me!


I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.”  (from the “Seventh Step Prayer,” AA, p.76)


Note: See also “Faith Refined by Fire” entered October 4th, 2011.



From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 133:

Now about health: A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. But we have seen remarkable transformations in our bodies.”



Have a blessed day (OD@aT)

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2)


* My use of the word “scholars” refers to authoritative commentaries on this verse, such as Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, and Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament.