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

In my haste yesterday, I got impatient and made the people around me uncomfortable, pricking them with judgmental needles.  It occurred to me, just a little too late, that I would rather be wronged than to harm either of the two I scared away from me by my actions.  I would rather be crippled for them than to blame them for a paper-cut.  Apparently, the destroyer made better plans than I did over these few days of opportunity to amend relationships, because the week ended with those relationships more harmed than helped.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.Romans 7:21-23, The Message Bible




From Today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

What we do have to offer is… a Fellowship in which we find and share the healing power of love.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. ix


The OA fellowship immediately made me feel welcome, included, important, and then as I listened to the stories of a few of them, hopeful.  Since then it has continued to provide these gifts and so many more: encouragement, support, wisdom, guidance, and love.  Perhaps more important, the fellowship gives me opportunity to pass these things along.  As a racer in a relay, I will hand off what was handed to me.  That’s how this works.

From Proverbs Chapter 20:

27 The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man[a]; it searches out his inmost being.

The notation in the New International Version indicates an alternate translation possibility, “The spirit of man is the LORD’s lamp.”  Other versions translate this phrase, “The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit” (New Living Translation), most translations read, “The spirit of man (or person) is the lamp of the Lord (or Yahweh or Jehovah).”  I found one translation that changes the word “spirit” to “breath,” “The breath of man is a lamp of Jehovah,” (Young’s Literal Translation).  One thing is certain, I have nothing but dark despair without the sunlight of the Spirit, and my nature tends to block that light out and hide from it, but then crave it in the darkness, often feeding myself substitutions for that missing warmth.  The various Bible translations point out that God is both the searching light and the power behind the lamp of man.  My spirit is penetrated by God’s light and is itself God’s lamp.  With my life, my breath, I reflect the Light of Life.

The second half of this verse indicates that my “inmost being” (heart, bowels, belly, or motives, according to other translations) are searched out by this light.  What I reflect with my life’s light will reveal what is at the basic core of my being.  Father of Light, may I be so infused with Your power that You are all that is seen.   Clean my lens, polish my mirrors, and straighten out my feeble structure to make me an accurate reflection of Your light.  Help me be Your lamp!


From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Chronicles 34:

Manasseh’s successor was Josiah, and he cleaned house!  He lived according to his understanding of what God wanted from him, and had the Temple repaired and cleaned up.  In the process of the Temple’s reform, the Book of the Law was found, and within it the disparity between the will of God and that of man.  It humbled Josiah, “19 When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes. 20 He gave these orders … 21 ‘Go and inquire of the LORD for me … about what is written in this book that has been found.’”  His concern about disappointing God was confirmed through a prophetess who spelled out the wrath of God that was waiting to be poured out on Judah for its rebellion.  Still, because of his humility, he was to be spared witnessing the plague, but would die in peace before its coming.

Death a blessing?  I was considering that yesterday too.  In my thoughts about preferring to suffer pain than to dispense it, I thought that I would rather be in anguish than to forget, in my comfort, that my status on earth is temporary.  To be delivered from the body is more blessed than to be at home in it.  To have a thorn in the flesh* as a constant reminder of the sufficiency of God’s grace is a blessing not a curse.  If living as a reflector of God’s light were easy, there would be no glory in it.  “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)  “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  for when I am weak then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:10)

When Josiah heard the Word of God he humbled himself and assembled all of the elders of Judah to listen to the reading of the Word for themselves, and this even after judgment had been pronounced on Judah and Jerusalem.  It’s never too late to do the next right thing!

(* The phrase “thorn in the flesh” is a reference to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.)

From The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 83:

The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. Unless one’s family expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought not to urge them. We should not talk incessantly to them about spiritual matters. They will change in time. Our behavior will convince them more than our words.

3 John 2, “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.” – OD@aT