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



From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

I can learn that not only are there other views than mine, but that they may be right.


Very shortly before I came in to the rooms of recovery, I confessed to my wife, “My way is not the only way.”  Her response was to welcome me into adulthood.  I have to admit there is something childish about a disease characterized by emotional fits revolving around the ideas of “Me!” “Mine!” and “More!”  As we are freed from the bondage of self, we get to see more clearly the prison self is as we take steps to distance ourselves from it.  We are freed to mature!

From Proverbs Chapter 27:

9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.

I admit that I enjoy the use of scented candles and burners on occasion.  The olfactory sense does seem to be closely connected to the emotional part of the brain!  As pleasing as these aromatic appliances are, I cannot remember feeling so warmed and soothed by someone else telling me what I should do or pointing out what is wrong with me.  Maybe that is not what “earnest counsel” is all about.  Yesterday I attended a session of a video seminar series that encouraged developing intimacy in relationships by being honest in love, applying patience, truthfulness and forgiveness, always to benefit the beloved hearer over oneself.  This lesson came after I read, reflected, and wrote on the dangers of meddling in affairs not our own, which was a good couch to set such a topic.  It kept me in a cautious, discerning posture.

This verse describes the counsel of one’s “friend,” which reminds me that without relationship, counsel is out of place.  The seminar pointed out that truthfulness can cause major harm if not administered in love, with patience and forgiveness.  It occurred to our group that, similarly, patience and forgiveness can mistakenly be turned into permissiveness and perpetual victimization if mishandled.  The three seem to need each other in order to have the desired effect of deepening the intimacy of a relationship.

These questions pose themselves in meditation on this verse: Am I being a good friend?  Does my counsel serve me or my friend?  Am I being earnest in my counsel, or serving my own popularity?  Am I avoiding difficult conversations just because it is easier to absorb pain than to stop it?  How can I develop a plan to lovingly address those harms that relationship requires?  Sounds like Steps Four through Nine!

Lion of Judah and Lamb of God, help me to love like You love, with everybody else first and me second!


From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezra 7:

Imagine approaching the throne room of a great king and laying at his feet many bags and chests of treasure, boasting about the grandness of your gift, then turning to the pile and helping yourself to some of it as you leave, with the king and all his attendants watching you as you apologetically stuff your pockets.  This was the picture I got of the so-called submission I have practiced with God, as I read the following statement in today’s chapter:

22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’  23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

 Ezra was mounting his expedition to leave Babylon with the remaining Israelites, to go on his mission to return to Judah and install a system of justice and teach the Law of God.  In his preparation, he experienced something that has happened to me on several occasions: wishing for something that was contrary to that for which he had trusted God.  What he knew was that God could protect them, and would if He were sought.  What he wanted was the visible protection of a military escort.  When I have wished I could pass up on an opportunity to be helpful to someone who stood in the way of my schedule or plan, I remembered my prayer to be helpful and, like Ezra, “I was ashamed.”  When I have felt like ranting and raging about some disappointment I have experienced, I remember (sometimes just a little too late) my prayer not to do anyone harm and “I was ashamed.”  When I lay a burden at God’s feet then take a little back, I should be ashamed!   Royal Father, help me to leave at Your feet what I lay at Your feet.

I saw in this chapter a fascinating parallel of the spiritual children of God, declared by Ezra concerning the literal Israel, “28 I said to them, ‘You as well as these articles are consecrated to the LORD. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers. 29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem before the leading priests and the Levites and the family heads of Israel.’”  I, as a grafted in, adoptee into the family of God, am consecrated, set apart for holy purpose; and am guarded carefully, as a precious treasure, for the day of deliverance into God’s presence.  1 Peter 2:5 says, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 also promises, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  What value and security there is in knowing that God treasures me, protects me, provides for me, trusts me to do my special part, and is looking forward to my arrival in His house!

1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

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

We ought to sit down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, being very careful not to criticize them. Their defects may be glaring, but the chances are that our own actions are partly responsible. So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.”

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