hands of the DelivererAbstinent Today:

I am a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time.  †

Palm Sunday was yesterday, and I found myself living in the one-word call with which the Jews hailed Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, “Hosanna!” which literally means “save us now” but which turned into a term of praise reflecting more of a tone of “the Lord saves!”  It was the cry of Israel in bondage to Egypt in the time of Moses, it was the cry of the Jews oppressed under the Caesars of Rome, it has been the cry of sinful man since Adam’s exile from Eden, and it has been my cry all week.  It is a plea for deliverance and a hail of the Deliverer all in one.

“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9)

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Our heartfelt concept of God wasn’t working…” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 16

Our heartfelt cravings for food, or chemical or behavioral thrills, weren’t working either!  Our feelings had betrayed us to the bondage of self, to lives spent in darkness and despair.  What is more likely to be wrong: God, or my understanding of Him?  When I demote myself from God’s throne and accept that my conceptions of God might be off, I finally allow Him to show me exactly who He is and what He can do.  God doesn’t try to bend Himself around our will; He waits for us to surrender our will so He can be His true self with us when we are ready to receive Him.

From Proverbs 25 (NRSV):

13 Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
are faithful messengers to those who send them;
they refresh the spirit of their masters.

Oh, how I would like to know that the Spirit of God is blessed in some small way by my faithfulness to His message!  I am not saying I have, can, or will, but it is something to which I aspire.

Lord, by my life and my words, be glorified!

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Acts 1 (NRSV):

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

In John 16:7, Jesus promised His disciples that it was for their good that He was going away, that unless He did, the Counselor (or Advocate) could not come to them.  In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on them and prayed for their receipt of the Holy Spirit.  As He ascended to the Father, He promised this was about to come.  It seems reasonable to me that the Spirit of Christ could not be dispersed among men and women while still living in the human form of Jesus Christ.  As evidence that the Spirit of Truth had not yet enlightened them, the disciples asked Jesus if the time had come for Him to restore the kingdom to Israel (v. 6).  (They were still looking for an earthly kingdom!)  As frustrating as it must have been to hear they still did not understand even as He was leaving them, Jesus spoke words of promise and grace.  I can imagine Him saying, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they are saying.”

God came in human form to do the work that was necessary to pay for sin: to bleed and die as the Lamb of God, a sacrifice for the sin of all mankind; and to draw all to Himself.  As God in human form returned to Heaven, He promised to arrive with us in Spirit.  His angelic messengers explained that He will return again as human in a cloud on the Day of the Lord (v. 11).  Until then, we have the promise of Emmanuel (God with us) to instruct, empower, and intercede.  At the pouring out of this Spirit, we are vessels, not to contain but to share, to bear witness of the goodness and saving power of God to the ends of the earth.

Holy Spirit, come.  Descend on me and make Your home in me; empower me to do the Father’s will, and create in me a clean heart.  Integrate me into Kingdom purpose, even as You integrate Kingdom power into my life.  May I live in that integrity, and may I not grieve You by my duplicity any longer, but live by one Power, for one purpose, with one priority – the glory of God.

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

  One morning, after a sleepless night worrying over what I could do to straighten myself out, I went to my room alone – took my Bible in hand and asked Him, the One Power, that I might open to a good place to read – and I read. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?”

That was enough for me-I started to understand. Here were the words of Paul a great teacher. What then if I had slipped? Now, I could understand.

From that day years ago, I gave, still give and always will give time every day to read the word of God and let Him do all the caring. Who am I to try to run myself or anyone else?

Footnotes:

*Abstinence began for me on May 11th, 2010.

For the sake of accountability, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.

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