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Taking Inventory and Steps

Over the months I’ve talked every once in a while about how 12 Step thinking and process echoes basics of true spirituality.

Even after the specific language of the Bible has been removed to make the Steps “accessible” to those who come with an aversion to the “religion” of their past, real wisdom remains.

Step 4 of the 12, for instance, calls for a repeated “fearless moral inventory” that together with the other 11 are designed to help us stop losing ourselves in momentary self-destructive behavior, and to be begin living an “examined life.”

Have been impressed with the way the Apostle Peter does something similar in his 2nd New Testament letter. After spending 3 years with Jesus, and after learning the hard way what “works” and what doesn’t, Peter says he is determined to keep reminding followers of Christ of “the basics” of Christ-centered spirituality even though they have heard him say it before (2Peter 1:12-13).

The fisherman-turned-disicple’s approach begins with a reminder that those who are in Christ have the Spiritual power and promises we need to overcome the misdirected and confused desires that keep tripping us up (1:1-4). What we need is to go back to what we know… over… and over… putting one foot in front of the other until we get “the feel of it.”

Knowing, however, that at any point in our lives we can “forget what we know” the Apostle shows us how to…

Take inventory (1:5-7)…

With the same faith that introduced us to Christ, Peter urges all due diligence to see the necessary relationships between Christ-centered,

Step 1. Faith to virtue— When we’ve entrusted ourselves to Christ, we have reason to want to be the kind of person he can help us to become.

Step 2. Virtue to knowledge— Wanting to be that kind of person requires us to want to know how he thinks (not as an omniscient God—but rather as Jesus thought when he was here among us– about his purpose in life, his relationship to the Father, and his relationship to others).

Step 3. Knowledge to self-control—Thinking the way Christ thought (i.e. in the face of temptation) is the secret to self-control.

Step 4. Self-control to endurance—Self-control (based on the kind of trust, desire, and thinking that produces it) over, and over, leads to enduring adverse conditions.

Step 5. Endurance to godliness—Giving God time to show himself faithful deepens our confidence in him— and our character as well…

Step 6. Godliness to family affection—The more we understand about how much the Father cares about us, the more we will be willing to take the risks of giving ourselves to one another.

Step 7. Family affection to real love— Only when we have learned to love our own family (with the kind of love that reflects the character of God) will we be able to show the same kind of love… even for an enemy.

I know many of us have worked through this in the past. But whenever I second-guess myself about the value of raising it again… I am reminded that this is no less than a Christ-based logic that caused one of his disciples to say,

“The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Peter 1:8-11)

Am hoping that taking such inventory of ourselves again today won’t seem like a waste of any of our time…

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79 Responses to “Taking Inventory and Steps”

  1. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Mart has change topic today, as I was typing, God’s timing is perfect,Please read my comment at the end of “what we can do or cannot do”

    Mart said this today!
    “Step 5. Endurance to godliness— Giving God time to show himself faithful deepens our confidence in him— and our character as well…

    If you wait for God’s timing things will work out for you and you shall be renewed in strength and faith.

    I will study around your new topic and get back.


  2. Carpenters-Helper says:

    This really resonates with me today, especially the paraphrase or alternate translation of “brotherly kindness” as “family affection.” I have been through 12 step programs, a lot of counseling and support groups, and personal devotional study, and still the biggest challenge is to be a Christian at home with my wife, children, and now grandchildren. It is sometimes easier to love our enemies, or to make excuses for not loving our best friends. Yet this is a litmus test for our growth in God’s love.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, thank you once again for a study of attitude in our lives.

    Following the 7 steps outlined it is obvious that step #1 is faith in Jesus Christ, that beginning leads leads us to step #7…love.

    After the acceptance of Jesus as Saviour, we can develop all kinds of Bible knowledge and sound very holy, but unless we learn the real meaning of love. We know nothing. And nothing we say has any power other than the sounding of brass and the tinkling of cymbals spoken to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.

    Love never condems another, but rather has compassion and sympathy.

    We have about 3 inches of new snow and they are calling for 8, heavy snow coming down here at the top of the Allegheny’s in West Virginia.


  4. foreverblessed says:

    Yes Steve, the first step is faith, and the last love. If we do not have any of these fruits, says Peter in verse 9, go back to step one, faith: he has forgotten that he has been forgiven of his sins, and that is through faith in Christ’s redemption.

  5. foreverblessed says:

    While we ended with Abraham and Job, Abraham was recommended for his faith, Job was not. But then we forget where Job was recommended for: patience, James 5:11
    Behold, we count them happy who endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord, how the Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy.
    ANd how severe the trial of Job was, and then the silence of God, while sitting there on the heap of ashes. What endurance he learned, and longsuffering. Suffering long, and waiting for God to intervene. Because without God’s mercy nobody would be anywhere but lost.

  6. Loretta Beavis says:

    Wow! This topic is an answer to my prayers this week. I have been waiting on God for help. When I think about trying to do this fearless moral self-inventory-the only idea I get is that witch character from Snow White saying “mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” and hoping to see my reflection! Well, it ain’t me and I desire to get rid the garbage in my moral inventory. Lost some sleep over it last night too. I’m overjoyed at God’s response!

    In addition to the Bible, I’ve been rereading “When We Don’t Measure Up Escaping The Grip of Guilt” (Olson-RBC) and “When We Just Can’t Stop”(Jackson, et. al.) because of now I’m seeing the origins of the 12 step process in the Light there too.

    Time for the a pruning and winepress for me (ouch)! Am looking forward to the conversation from my brothers and sisters! He says wherever two or more are gathered in His name, He is with us, in our midst – Hallelujah.

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Thought about the end of the last discussion centering around Job and Abraham. I am reminded that from Adam to Christ, the men and women God chose to showcase were broken and not always seen in a very good light.

    Abraham was a coward and liar, yet showed great courage when it was needed. Afraid for his own life, even placing his wife in an extreemly unthinkable position.

    Is this someone I want to be like? Not me! Not in that light.

    But he is remembered for believing God (faith)

    Job…poor Job didn’t see it coming. He was on top of the world and everything was going great. He was also behaving exactly as God wanted him to, as God Himself bragged about Job’s behavior.

    But Satan wanted to show God that the only reason Job was so good was because God blessed him in everthing he did… Take away the blessings and Job’s holyness will fade away into curses against God, was the accusation from Satan.

    Jod did not curse God. He cursed the day he was born, he cursed his terrible suffering and the misery of a broken heart. He defended his actions as not being worthy of God’s wrath by saying he did nothing to bring this calamity on himself. But he did not curse God. God honored Job by saying “spoken..the thing which is right, like my servant Job.”

    Job was innocent, and spoke well concerning God. I would rather be like Job, only in the light that no matter what the circumstance life throws at me, I will speak right concerning God.

    I could take the full journey from Adam to Jesus and show that God used weak, and flawed people to show us, who are also weak and flawed, that God can do all He desires and change the lives of all in the doing of it. That only Jesus was the perfect man, that only by being like Jesus can we be on a course of being pleasing to God.

    Again as Mart stated above, step one is belief and acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth, as the promised Savior and surrender to Him, as Lord of our lives.


  8. poohpity says:

    One of the translations I have says; 2Peter1:5-9 “But to obtain these gifts (Jesus’s own character and blessings), you need more faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what He wants you to do. Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have His way with you. This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply. The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ. But anyone who fails to go after these additions to faith is blind indeed, or at least very shortsighted, and has forgotten that God delivered him from the old life of sin so that now he can live a strong, good life for the Lord.

    It seems like more often then not I forget where I came from in my relationship with the Lord that is when I choose to take other people’s inventory. When I remember what all the Lord bought me from and the Love He showed me it is so amazing but even today as I walk with Him I still have those areas that trip me up and find my eyes go from myself to others. This topic is something that really needs to take hold of believers so we are reminded of the Love we have been shown. I guess it is hard for those that consider their sin is less than others or when they accepted Christ they came from a Christian family background and do not realize that sin is sin. I believe we all have to remember and build own the humble beginnings of our faith and the process we all go through to let go of our own desires and do the will of God.

    It is hard to say not my will but Yours be done in every area of life. Those that use the twelve steps are usually more aware of their own unworthiness and keep reminding themselves of where they come from to move forward, it really keeps one humble.

  9. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mart, thank you for reminding us of Apostle Peter’s admonishment to develop our virtues! Love is indeed the greatest of all Christian virtues!

    God is the source of true Love. His pure love is truly made complete in His children only when we obey God’s word (1 John 2:5). Paul reminds us of the command to “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5)

    ‘Faith’ in Christ enables us to possess true ‘knowledge’ of God’s love that proves itself faithful in all circumstances… first to my biological family, then to my spiritual family and then to others outside the fold.

    As we grow in our faith to increase in our knowledge of God’s love, it is His divine Holy nature developing within us that empowers us to love and pray for our enemies and do good to them that hate us.

    And it is so appropriate to learn about God’s true and holy love from the very disciple who was severely tested for his faith and love for the Lord. I’m sure Peter never forgot the lesson of love he learned from the resurrected Lord after a long night of fruitless fishing in the world!

    If anyone loves the world and its sinful cravings, the love of the Father is not in him. Our human love is false and short-sighted. It is able to love only when loved.

    If one really knows what God’s love is, then a marriage will not fail, a home will not break, a society will not become valueless, a country will not be spoiled and a civilization will not be destroyed.

    It is no surprise that when we turn away from the love of God our love for others will be also lost. In Matt 24, Jesus predicted that in the last days when lawlessness becomes rampant, even Christians who were cleansed from their old life of sin will turn back to their vomit. As a result the love of many will grow cold.

    Jesus prefers His followers be either hot or cold and tells us that many Christians who will stumble and fall away in the Church “will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”

    To prove that we are really among those whom God has called and chosen “let us remain in the anointing that is real, not counterfeit…so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming”. 1 Jn 2: 27-28

    So, though completely clueless about the elaborate 12 step thinking process, I am confident of the one small step that will bring us back to God—to diligently repent and turn back to God, our First love!

  10. poohpity says:

    Here you go dmg if you are interested these are the twelve steps.

    * Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
    * Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
    * Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
    * Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
    * Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
    * Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
    * Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
    * Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
    * Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
    * Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
    * Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
    * Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

  11. daisymarygoldr says:

    poohpity, sorry if I was not clear in my comment. No, I did not express a desire to know or go to the 12-step thing. God’s grace is always sufficient for me… addiction or no addiction. Thank you though for your loving thoughts for me. You are also greatly loved!

  12. Grace48 says:

    Again a good and timely topic and thanks Mart. I’ll be studying the steps a lot and trying to do them prayerfully. Sort of reminds me of that place in Jeremiah where God says that He is the potter and we are the clay. (wish I had memorized that verse.)

    Again will be praying for those who write in commentary. I’ll especially be praying for you Kingsdaughter. One of the many difficult things God has taken me through was the loss of my oldest daughter. To read what you wrote of how you feel is like reading my own entries in my prayer diary from 18 years ago. God will take you through even if you feel like He’s far away. He is not. There’s a book I read called “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23”. In it there’s a chapter on when the sheep of Jesus’ flock become cast down and how tenderly and lovingly He restores them. It’s a good,short book to read if you get a chance to.

    Got to get some rest. God’s blessings to all.

  13. poohpity says:

    If you will look closely at them they may allow you to see that the person who created the 12 steps was opened to the light and from past troubles of those who were a letter of the law type, legalistic, pushed many away from the Lord. The steps are completely biblical so replace addiction with the word sin it is all the same. Those who follow those steps usually do not look at the sin in others but to that which is in oneself. If we close our mines to all mankind and the struggles that all face we are not loving our brothers which refers to all mankind.

    I have found that God is in everything especially when it points people to Him it does not matter from what venue. It is a shame you have no desire to learn them you might learn something new. I read the bible before I went to school to learn counseling and found that all the theorists had a part of the bible without even knowing it. If we close our minds to different folks with different problems in essence we are then saying we are superior and to go back to the topic for the day we need to be taking an inventory of ourselves everyday if we ever want to confront sin in any form. I would agree we are on a different plane than those who do not believe but not superior to anyone, all are in need of a savior who displays grace, mercy and compassion. This alone as the bible says there is good in many counselors.

  14. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I know I come from a totally non religious family, but I have never heard of these 12 steps before. I just thought I loved Jesus(except him as saviour etc.)and then it all kicks in from there.
    Steve, Pooh, Daisy and anyone, will you help me out here by explaining this concept. You talk like you were weened on this.

  15. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    You are always welcome here and I pray that Our Father will help you to leave your burdens with Him.
    My friend Joyce is also praying for you.


  16. foreverblessed says:

    Kings daughter, I believe this verse is meant for us here on the blog:
    Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
    So please do go on expressing yourself, it is no small thing what happened to you, and the Psalms are full of whining by David, God knows the secret of our hearts, when there is trouble He rather wants us to be honoust about it, and express it, lay the burden on Him, and we stand beside you, hold up your arm that reaches out to God.

  17. foreverblessed says:

    Grace48. thanks for sharing, so you have had a great burden already in your life! We may read these steps,making inventory.
    We will not stretch ourselves to such limits as God had done with Abraham and Job.
    It is more appropriate to say God is the director of our lives. He makes things happen, and stretches us to uttermost limits, so He sees in us grow, more faith, more patience. To Abraham He saw to it that a lot of faith grew, to Job He saw that a lot of patience grew.
    God is the potter, (try Biblegateway, it is quite easy to find it there, Jeremiah 18:6. and Isaiah 64:8) we are the clay.
    This thought, God already planned the works we would be having, the fruits we would have. Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    God prepared faith for Abraham, and patience for Job.
    I do not mean to say that we should not make inventory, but remember our limits in this.

  18. poohpity says:

    You got it right BinC accept Jesus as Savior. The knowledge of who He is and how He works comes from spending time in His Word, prayer and experiencing His faithfulness which takes time. That is what one would term being taught by the Holy Spirit or discipled.

    The 12 step program is for alcoholism which some have found beneficial for their recovery. I am not calling attention to the program but just that it has helped some folks get and stay sober. The steps are helpful for one to recognize that there is a problem then to trust God for the ability to overcome. They are not specific about naming Jesus which is where the problem lies for me but the principles are some of the same things we do with our propensity to sin.

    When we first recognized ourselves as sinners we then had to ask the Lord to come into our lives and forgive us and restore a right relationship with God through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Understanding that Jesus is God in human form.

    But back to topic is the need for us to look really closely at ourselves and check how we are doing with our relationship with God is something that would be beneficial for us to do always. Even though this is the type of self examination that happened to us when we first accepted Christ it is something we need to do continually so we do not go off track. Essentially we need to keep a good watch when we sin to ask for forgiveness it is sort of like keeping a clean slate to write on if there is a bunch of muck on it we can not write new stuff.

  19. daisymarygoldr says:

    Bob:), I’m in the same boat as you. Have no idea whatsoever about the 12 steps… looks very complicated to my simple mind. Guess it is an ultra-modern American way of doing certain things without having to acknowledge our true and living God. I’m sure our friends here will help you understand this strange concept.

    Was raised in a simple Christian family and just like you I was taught that in order to be saved from my sins I needed to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. And by faith when I asked Him to come into my heart His Holy Spirit began to live within me.

    Therefore, it is not me but the Holy Spirit who constantly examines me and takes a moral inventory of my sins. When convicted I simply take one small step of faith… to immediately repent and turn away from my sin/addiction. Not in my strength but God’s grace alone enables me to overcome every sin that causes me to stumble in my faith.

    It also doesn’t happen overnight but His grace helps me to be obedient to His Word and wait patiently for the Lord to work out His righteousness in my life.

    So Bob, actually to be ignorant of those 12 long steps I do not feel less privileged or as though I am missing something very precious and promising. Nothing can ever measure up to the blessing we have to belong to our loving Heavenly father and enjoy the highest privilege of His eternal love, mercy and grace!

    God is good and always faithful to forgive me of all my sins. All I ever do is to simply believe that God’s grace is greater than all of our sins!

  20. kingsdaughter says:

    I don’t know the 12 steps either, Bob and I am an American…I believe totally in the grace of God and only mankiind has made our doctrines so confounded and burdensome…that some of us should feel tremendous guilt and never be happy over what to believe…and it ALL comes from the same book….the Bible. The following is an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s “In Defense of Calvinism.” It is food for thought if one has not really examined Grace. None of us are worthy…no not one. If we have to be worthy then Calvary is a sham…God’s will for us to be His is conditional…

    “First, let me ask, must we not all of us admit an over-ruling Providence, and the appointment of Jehovah’s hand, as to the means whereby we came into this world? Those men who think that, afterwards, we are left to our own free-will to choose this one or the other to direct our steps, must admit that our entrance into the world was not of our own will, but that God had then to choose for us. What circumstances were those in our power which led us to elect certain persons to be our parents? Had we anything to do with it? Did not God Himself appoint our parents, native place, and friends? Could He not have caused me to be born with the skin of the Hottentot, brought forth by a filthy mother who would nurse me in her “kraal,” and teach me to bow down to Pagan gods, quite as easily as to have given me a pious mother, who would each morning and night bend her knee in prayer on my behalf? Or, might He not, if He had pleased, have given me some profligate to have been my parent, from whose lips I might have early heard fearful, filthy, and obscene language? Might He not have placed me where I should have had a drunken father, who would have immured me in a very dungeon of ignorance, and brought me up in the chains of crime? Was it not God’s Providence that I had so happy a lot, that both my parents were His children, and endeavoured to train me up in the fear of the Lord?” Charles Spurgeon

    When you truly think about others…think of just where God placed them when he had them born…I for one had an alcoholic abuser for a father. But here I am, searching for all the Grace I can find…(an irony in terms)…

  21. poohpity says:

    Wow, dmg, but are you open to listening to the Holy Spirit? You have mentioned before you have never heard the Lord speak to you, so how does the Holy Spirit convict you of sin if you can not hear the voice of God? When you are typing your posts do you not feel superior to some of us? That is the exact reason that some people had to start AA or NA because they felt as if going to church they would be rejected by those who felt that their wrongs were not as bad as someone else’s. The exact place where one goes to get help they were not comfortable or accepted. How sad is that!!!

  22. kingsdaughter says:

    another thought, (from Pooh)”When we first recognized ourselves as sinners we then had to ask the Lord to come into our lives and forgive us and restore a right relationship with God through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Understanding that Jesus is God in human form.”

    It would seem to me that in order for us to “recognize ourselves as sinners” we must at least have some kind of concept of righteousness to comprehend our predicament, and that can only come from God…so, I’m thinking He is already there…it is then that we have the ability..the conscience to realize our condition. GRACE. Beautiful Grace.

    I’m just taking inventory….

    In Christ,

  23. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Sorry Pooh, I disagree with you.
    I feel much more akin to Dale and Daisy.
    The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us, not some 12 steps to who knows where. I agree it is good to take stock, but an acoholic needs a buddy to help him/her to keep to “the plan” we have the Holy Spirit!
    Jesus said “I send you another me (comforter)(Buddy) who will teach you all things” The Spirit of Truth.
    Dale…. Thank you for sharing and giving out to me and others here. If we look to helping others our own problems start to diminish.
    Bob :-)

  24. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Bed time for me
    1:00am Sunday here and I have to be up for work at 6am.
    Take care and have a good Sunday, and yes!, I am going to my church again today. :-))

  25. poohpity says:

    It is fine to disagree with me.

    It would seem that you may have misunderstood what I have said as pointing others to 12 steps rather than to God if that is what you think I have been saying that is wrong. I will always point folks to Christ and not anyone or anything else period.

    I would try to explain what I have written but I do not have the energy. I would ask you to forgive me if I have made you in anyway veer from the topic at hand which it seems is what has happened.

  26. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Sorry Pooh

    I do see the princible as you laid out the 12 steps above but I just find this whole topic too confusing and rather strange.
    I must lack understanding here and will pray about it.
    I can’t seem to follow Marts gist at all, but that may be just a language problem on my part.

  27. daisymarygoldr says:

    “While we ended with Abraham and Job, Abraham was recommended for his faith, Job was not. But then we forget where Job was recommended for: patience, James 5:11”- foreverblessed.

    Patience alone will never help a Christian to walk by faith. It is both faith and patience. Testing of our faith produces patience (James 1:2-3). Job’s patience was an outcome of much suffering whereas by a simple step of faith…

    “Abraham, having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God had promised him.” And so, I choose to “imitate those who through ‘faith and patience’ inherit what has been promised (Heb 6:15, 14)!

  28. SFDBWV says:

    Mart has layed out 7 steps from the Epistle of second Peter, that is an overview of self examination of our faith. Where are we now in respects to growing in Christ. Are we still on the right path? (2Peter1:1-12)

    Taking time to stop and self examine ourselves, is not only a good idea, but recomended by scripture. The concept that we just go on believing that we are right about everything that comes out of our mouth or by the work of our hands; without stoping to see if these things line up with scripture, is dangerous.

    The 12 steps aforementioned concerning alcoholic programs as well as drug rehabilitation, have helped millions of people get off addiction and so begin anew in their life. The 12 step program starts in aknowledgement of God.

    Drug addicts and alcolholics can’t get help in most churches because of self rightious pious people who make them feel unwelcome and ashamed of their position in life.

    But there are many excellent people who minister to addicted people and so lead them to the Lord. These wondeful people out there in the trenches of life, take the fight to the devil.

    But it is not through the doorway of condemnation but through the doorway of love and paitence…the 7th step outlined by Mart above. That people can see, the face of Christ in we His followers.

    If you think that you have no need of a friend that can come and spend a night with you, when you are alone and feeling weak. I am happy for you. But there are many people who need a shoulder to cry on or a hug from or sometimes just someone to listen to their pain, while they are considering backsliding into the dark abyss they just escaped from.

    Sometimes this is the purpose of that “buddy” to just be a friend. To show love. To help someone weaker. To carry their load, just for a while. Is this not being Christlike? Are we not to follow in Christ’s example, and do as He would, for our fellow man?

    Compassion, Love, helping thoes who need help, these things need to be shown to an unbelieving world, as being the nature of Christ, shown through us.


  29. saled says:

    I’m glad for this reminder about the importance of self-examination. The lack of this explains a lot of the inconsistencies that I see in myself and other Christians. I live in a county where alcoholism is rampant, and my observation is that it is sometimes caused by trying to escape the physical pain of a life spent in logging, or lobstering, or truck driving, and often is rooted in trying to avoid the self-examination that we are talking about. The 12 step program and the group support offered in the meetings have indeed, as Steve and Pooh have said, helped millions of people find their way back to where they have the courage for self-examination. I think this is an example of how God works outside the visible church.

  30. foreverblessed says:

    Where are we in our state of being, if none of these mentioned virtues are part of our lives, then go back to step one: faith.
    Faith is the beginning, and our connection with Christ. Without faith it is impossible to grow in godliness, in any of these further steps.
    SO what I meant was not or faith or patience as some seem to believe, faith is the first and must always stay! If no goodness is there, no knowledge (that means studying Gods Word) then check your faith. Do you really believe you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ?

  31. foreverblessed says:

    Today in church the story of Naomi was read, it is found in the book of Ruth. I thought of Kingsdaughter and Grace48. Naomi lost her husband, then her 2 sons, so she says: my life is bitter Ruth 1:13, 20-21 do not call me Naomi, meaning pleasant, call me Mara, meaning bitter.
    God was not fixing her situation immediately, He took His time.
    But God gave new life, a grandchild for Naomi through Ruth, Ruth 4:14-15, the grandfather of king David.
    “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

  32. SFDBWV says:

    Yes, foreverblessed, God uses the broken and damaged people of this world to demonstrate His love and perfect plan.

    The “Holy” men of Israel couldn’t imagine the Messiah being born in such a low estate.

    It seems God likes using us, normal broken people over thoes who are, in their minds, in no need of a savior. because they use the “Law” to save them.

    Saled, Lobsters and logging, sounds like Maine. Alcoholism is an epidemic here in the mountains of West Virginia also, but now drug addiction is accompaning it. The mix is disasterous to people and families. The lack of employment adds to their struggle and places people in desperate situations.

    Only God can change a heart, but the road from a changed heart to a better life, is most often a struggle and filled with the danger of abandoning hope. The suicide rate in this state is among one of the highest in America.

    Before I try to show another the “right” road to take I had better be on the right road myself.


  33. kingsdaughter says:

    My husband and I are on different waves according to faith. He is of a simple faith. In his own words, “I believe in Jesus and that our son is in Heaven.” And me, I look deeper…in fact so much so that I become discouraged many times by reading the Bible. That in turn, discourages my husband from reading it…He will not study the Bible. We are in our grief and nothing is helping us through the Word. My argument with him about reading the Bible is if it is just a matter of that simple faith…that one statement “I believe”– then why is the Bible filled with so many books? Of course, I know it probably takes all of that evidence and summation to convince the “jury” of that one simple thing…faith.

    I have read Matthew 25:30-46 this morning….I am frightened by that passage and I KNOW I have faith. But I STILL wonder if I am in “right standing with God” (Matt. 25:46) Was my son? I do know he was in a backslidden condition….but under the influence of an anti-depressant he was not himself, either.

    To keep things in check is what I try to do all of the time just by being in a study..on a forum..in discourse with other believers…are we not doing that here? I am struggling in this wicked flesh so much so that I wonder where the Holy Spirit fits in…where is He in me? I love Him and want to please Him but I don’t feel that I add up to the “check list of things.”

  34. rokdude5 says:

    Sometimes as I take inventory, I treat myself too harshly somewhat like Martin Luther but without the physical scourgings. In fact, I had a load of firewood brought in late afternoon yesterday and we are expecting about 18 inches of snow tomorrow. Today is Sunday. Am I dishonoring God’s day by stacking the firewood today? (BTW, I missed reading MtMan’s blogs. I trust that all is well with him.)

    One thing I like to add about the 12 steps program. To me this is added evidence of the canonicity of Scriptures. These 12 steps are taken from teachings of the Bible and not any where else – neither the Koran, Buddist, Hindu or any other religion.

    Lastly, one time as I was noting my personal inventory, I shared here that I felt weak in my walk with God as others have about themselves too. In just a few hours of that posting, I felt my walk strengthening. I think it was due to you fellow bloggers praying for me to which I say – thank you. “RJ”

  35. daisymarygoldr says:

    kingsdaughter, “I love Him and want to please Him” is the very evidence that God’s Holy Spirit is living right within you. If He were not in you then you would be considered as spiritually dead.

    Have you ever seen or heard of a corpse squirming or struggling? No! Death is marked by a deadly stillness and silence. And the very fact that you are struggling is proof that you are spiritually alive…that you are the temple of God and His Spirit is living in you!

    “I don’t feel …” Remember what Mart had taught in the last topic? Do not trust your feelings. Feelings are fleeting and are dictated by our emotions. Faith and feelings make strange bedfellows.

    Faith is to believe in our spirit without having seen, felt or heard and does not depend on our physical, mental or emotional senses. Wisdom therefore, is …to simply believe!

    Believe in God. Believe His Word. And what does God’s Word say? “Whoever believes in Jesus Christ will not perish (to eternal death) but have eternal life.” Death is due to sin and it is the thief (the devil) who comes to steal and destroy our lives and snatch away the lives of our loved ones.

    You are right, the Bible is full of books. The books are filled with so many promises and this is the promise of Jesus Messiah for you, your son and for all of us who believe:

    “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10: 27-29

    kingsdaughter, your husband is right! As you said your son was not in his right mind when he took his life under the influence of anti-depressants. So, you should also believe that Jesus who has overcome satan, sin and death has also by grace through simple faith saved you and your son for eternity!

    With all the love of Christ…praying that the Lord may continue to comfort you with His peace…as you take this simple step of faith—to believe!

  36. foreverblessed says:

    Dear Kingsdaughter, listen to your husband, why is the bible such a long book? Because for man it is so difficult to grasp this simple faith.
    The bible is full of God calling people to Him. We are all like sheep going astray.
    If you believe in Christ, then you are on the first step, so you are going. Hold on to that! I urge you to hold on to that first step! These thoughts you have are a bit negative, look at Matthew 25, are you not willing to help others? I guess you are, so these thoughts you have are nagging, they you are hunting you. Throw them out!
    I had a hard time reading the bible 12 years ago, every time I read it it would be as a condemnation to me.
    Instead I read books about the bible explaining the simple faith in Jesus Christ. Come back to the life Christ meant for us, Christ gives us His life through faith in His blood, through grace. The lifeline we have to Jesus is faith, then His life starts to flow to us, keep holding on through faith, and more Life will flow to you.

  37. pegramsdell says:

    Much study makes us weary. The bible tells us that. Sometimes going back to simpler beginnings is necessary. Maybe just one devotion a day, or a proverb a day. Go back to when God was new to you and fresh. Remember when being born again was everything and so exciting. Go through it together, one step at a time. :)

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Rokdude, thanks to God! I have noticed that too, that God would strengthen me and that it was through prayer from you people on this blog! So, yes we are one Body, God blesses us, by us praying for each other! Like Steve said, God told Job to pray for his friends. I wish everybody here will find a church to go to. (Bob how was your day at church?). A church which puts Christ central. A church where everybody bows to Jesus, I vision it as this: we all stand in a circle around Jesus, and bowing to Jesus.
    God is with me, He is before me, around me, under me. But it was a strugle for me to grasp it. The thoughts of condemnation would come back and back again, the inventory is to look at yourself to see if you are holding on the line of faith, not to condemnation:
    Romans 8: 1-4 but just read on
    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

    2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

    3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,

    4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

    So Rokdude5 (why 5?), if your Rest is in Christ you have fulfilled the law of the Sabbath.

  39. kingsdaughter says:

    Oh I am so truly blessed DMG, PEG, 4ever,Rok….all on this forum…I DO KNOW CHRIST. I am so exasperated with myself for this twisting and turning. Yes, I know that I know that I know. I have even said the same things to others that have been said here to uplift me. And yes, I do have a heart for others and a willingness to help. Christ resides here.

    I shared these posts with my husband and he smiled knowingly. Of course, I cried as I read aloud to him these affirmations from each of you. I don’t know why I am so amazed how God works in my life. He is Holy and Wonderful. I think I should change my screen name here to EternallyGrateful ;)…because I am..grateful to God and to each of you here. (I hope in sharing my distress that I don’t cause the topic to go astray from its original intent.)

    Love to all,

  40. kingsdaughter says:

    and yes Peg, much study does make us weary…I read that just the other day…of course, I was studying…. :)

  41. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    Thanks for asking about church today, it was good this morning but I did not go this evening due to being invited out to lunch by some friends who have just moved into the village.

    I am amazed how quickly everyone here responded to your comments about how you and your husband feel.
    God really does care for you so much!
    Cast all these doubts and confusing thoughts on Jesus and simply trust that He has already done it and thank Him for it. You cannot change the past, but Jesus is the past and the future and the now. Alpha and Omega, the begining and the end. The I AM God.

    As for me, I can see the reason to take stock and have met a few people who have benifitted from the so called 12 point plan in relation to addictions.
    I wish I was Intellectual enough to be able to reason through it, but I am not. So I must take it all on board by faith and will watch with great interest as this debate unfolds and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
    Love you all.
    Many blessings

  42. plumbape says:

    Please see the 8 Principles below:

    (based on the Beatitudes)

    1. Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
    “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor”
    2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover.
    “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”
    3. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
    “Happy are the meek”
    4. Openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to another person whom I trust.
    “Happy are the pure in heart”
    5. Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life. “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires”
    6. Evaluate all my relationships; Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, without expecting any reward.
    “Happy are the merciful” “Happy are the peacemakers”
    7. Reserve a daily time with God for prayer, Bible reading, and self-examination in order to know God and his will for my life and to gain the power to follow his will.
    8. Yield myself to be used by God to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.
    “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires”

  43. kaliko88 says:

    No, this posting was definitely not a waste of time. Back to the basics is a thought that keeps cropping up so I guess I’ll take it as a very pointed hint from God. I find the timing somewhat amusing considering how I’ve been feeling. Even many of the new songs I’ve been hearing on Air1 seem to be poking at me; BarlowGirl’s “Beautiful Ending” and Switchfoot’s “Mess of Me.” I particularly like the chorus, “I’ve made a mess of me, I wanna get back the rest of me.” So I guess I’ll be getting back to the basics for a while.

    Kingsdaughter, I think your user name is just fine. and in a way, I understand a little of what you are going through. My husband and I are seperated because of my faith. My brother deeply questioned his beliefs after the death of his 9 month-old daughter, and still does a little, I think, after two years. But he is making it through because of those who surround him with love and caring, just as I think you’ve just been surrounded here.

    The 12-step program actually started in 1939 and though it has undergone some modern transitions, it’s basics remain rooted in the bible. I think some of what we are doing here is being each other’s “buddies” to deal with our “addictions” to the things of this world.

    I am much calmer tonight, as I usually am on Sundays, my one true day off to rest. There is a very light drizzle of snow starting, with 4-8 inches coming by Tuesday. As much as I dread the cold, there is one thing about winter that always gets to me that I thought I’d share. The other night as I came home, late at night as always, the moon was out, the stars were clear and abundant, and what few clouds there were had been thinned out high above by the wind, brightly illuminated and looking like moon feathers. And I looked up at a sound and saw a small group of geese flying over, visible only because of the city lights below catching them slightly. It was sharply cold, but I could not move or stop looking. The sound of geese is such a stark contrast to the deep stillness of winter night. It is not a beautiful sound when there is a large group as there often is during the day at some of the small ponds. At night though, alone in the dark quiet, when it’s a small number of them, and it’s the only sound, it’s exquisitely beautiful. To me anyway.

  44. marma says:

    foreverblessed: Thanks for sharing concerning Abraham and Job; it really helps me with the “steps” to tie examples from God’s Word to them. What a terrific handle to each of these steps. Then, to go further and read about the life of Christ and see his response in various situations demonstrating them as well.

    I seem to learn better through examples then lists!

    Excellent topic–I read this section not to long ago, thought it was wonderful…but definitely needed help in understanding what I was reading. What a blessing to see the Holy Spirit speak through the body of Christ as we bless and build each other up in God’s Word and in the faith. Thank you…and Thank the Lord for His Gift to us of each other and His Spirit.

  45. marma says:

    (I meant “than lists” –oops.)

  46. kingsdaughter says:

    Kaliko88, yes I have most definitely been tried from this loss. I know about the pain of divorce, too…but I am being surrounded only because I have been led to certain places and people. God’s hand is on all of my healing. I am very receptive to all the support I can get. I will do anything to get out of this pain but only with God’s help. I miss my son so very much and wish I could be with him. Christmas will be very very sad. I am thankful for my new found friends here who have been so very understanding…sometimes I feel I’ve disrupted the flow of the topic here…my apologies… but you all have demonstrated to me the real action of Christian love and concern. I hope to be able to contribute to the forums here as I heal and in turn help others. BTW..love the description of the geese…so peaceful and free.

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Dale, goodmorning sister, I have had the displeasure of being in the middle of many sad events. I wear a great many hats and one is caretaker at our local cemetery.

    I have helped in the burial of many old friends and the families of many. The death of someones child, no matter their age, is always sad. But the saddest of all burials is that when there is no faith.

    Believe what the scripture bears out, once saved always saved. Nothing nor no one can seperate your son from the love of God.

    Be at peace daughter, do not let the agents of the devil steal your joy or rob you of your faith. Your son is safe now with Christ.

    Our friend, Frank (Wretch-like-me) mentioned a movie he and I enjoyed called “The Princes Bride”. In it some of the characters were told, if you get lost…go back to the beginning…Good advice for us all.

    It is ok to mourn the loss of your son, and I wish I could say your pain will go away. But it won’t. Bear it and endure it with Christ, whom, as todays “Daily Bread” stated “Gives us peace that surpasses understanding.”

    Kaliko88, your talking to the choir when you speak of the peace that can be found and seen in nature. I am glad for you that you can see it and be able to see the beauty that God created for us to enjoy.

    14 degrees this morning, we ended up with 8>5 inches of snow from the last storm and as said above, more on the way.


  48. SFDBWV says:

    8.5 inches…oops

  49. phpatato says:

    Steve, still no snow on the ground but the call is for about 5 cm (2.5 inches) by this evening which will help sharpen up the driving skills for a “big one” coming on Wed (they call those storms a Colorado low here)with between 20 – 30 cm (30 cm is equal to a school ruler). These storms intensify by picking up moisture as it travels over the great lakes. Often times the storm fails to track as far north as predicted and we end up with lesser amounts where I live.

    I just received this in an email. It sort of falls in line with the topic of getting back to basics…

    Noah’s Ark: Important lessons to learn from Noah’s Ark.

    ONE: Don’t miss the boat.
    TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat!
    THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
    FOUR: Stay fit. When you’re 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
    FIVE: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
    SIX: Build your future on HIGH ground.
    SEVEN: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
    EIGHT: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
    NINE: When you’re stressed, float awhile.
    TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
    ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting. (I thought of you Bob :-))


  50. Grace48 says:

    Been reading all the comments here and thinking on all that this topic means in my life at the present time too. Mart mentioned that we need to go back to what we know over and over. So true.

    I thought I’d learned enough in faith about God not to ask Him why when things get really rough,but here I am in these difficult circumstances right back at that first step again. My youngest adult daughter is struggling through health problems and she loves God so much and it’s hard not to ask God, why her, why now? My older daughter and I got into a car accident a while back and, though we’re thankful to have made it through with our lives, well, it’s something else to work through too.

    In doing these steps, I,too, don’t want to be too hard on myself.I’ve been fighting through feelings of such inadequacy in both faith and life. How easy sometimes it can be to forget all those treasures of faith that Jesus was and still is to this remnant of a family.

    Self control to endurance. Putting one foot in front of the other until we get used to the feel of it. God help us all to be getting used to the feel of it. God’s peace to you all.

  51. SFDBWV says:

    Pat, I liked your Noah’s ark connection. there is a great many lessons to be learned, from the story of Noah.

    I would also like to have Al Gore here this winter to shovel my snow….

    We get Lake Erie snow effects. There is nothing between Lake Erie and us to shelter us from storms, so when the weather comes down accross the Lakes it slams smack into us here at the top of West Virginia.

    If you watch the Weather Channel, you will see all winter, this little comma (,) that comes down the Appalachian Mountains from snow that is present in western Pennsylvania and western New York. That’s where we are, right in that little tail about 3500 ft up.

    We average 108″ of snow a year but I have seen it as high as 240″ in a single year.

    I know it doesn’t compare to thoes Rocky Mountain snows, but its plenty enough for me.


  52. xrgarza says:

    From what little I understand of the 12-step program I tip my hat to the founder. Yes it does not mention Christ for several reasons. One, I believe that in some cases the program is funded by some sort of government program, I could be wrong.

    The other, often times people who are in these programs have never been introduced to any kind of religion or faith, The important thing to remember is that the program is there to help the individual to modify his/her way of thinking and behavior so that it would not be destructive to him/her.

    If I saw a person drowning, and before I offered this person any kind of assistance I said to them I can’t throw you this life ring until I teach you about Jesus Christ and you accept Him as your Savior, then my efforts would be defeated. People in 12-step programs are people that are drowning. The Bible say’s that when “you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.”

    When Jesus walked this earth, he found himself around hurting people that were drowning He often said to them “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” I think that’s where we need to start. Otherwise we get the other extreme and that is what has virtually happened in our churches today they have virtually become “Spiritual Orphanages” Baby Christians are being abandoned in our churches and no one is there to disciple them, they are left up to the pastor to raise.

    I have mentioned this before the fellow that taught me a lot of the principles that I live by today to this day he has never been a Christian. Now I ask if he had that much influence on my life not being a Christian how much more of an impact can I have on a person’s life if I just go prayed up?

    For those of us Christians that are aware of the 12-step programs that exist, we should be praying for them daily so that the Holy Spirit can intervene.

    When I was younger the teens began wearing a bracelet that read “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do) honestly, most of the time I had no idea what Jesus would do, interesting enough my mentor’s name was Jerry, I knew what Jerry would do.


  53. SFDBWV says:

    Grace48, When all the calamities came to my family, 10 years ago. I experianced stunning supernatural experiances. At the same time, doctors and even some clergy, kept casting doubts in my mind.

    I also was torturing myself with asking why and thinking that somehow I was to blame for all the bad things that were happening to my family.

    I was reminded about the Exodus. Here, these people witnessed undeniable miracles from God. Time and time again. Yet they still ask when, why, and doubted God. Amazing, how like them we still are.

    I have learned that God has the answers to why, and someday we will fully understand and agree.

    That when I come up against a wall that seems unaproachable, I need to look back and see how I got over the last wall.

    I pray for your family and for your peace.


  54. Grace48 says:

    Both my daughters love God very much and for this I,m so very thankful to God and for them.

    Got over the last walls by depending deeply and fully on God even when doubts in me and from some others around me said otherwise. Went one day at a time and even sometimes even one moment at a time. Still reached out to others to love and care for them; neighbors, family, friends.

    In writing of these things in response to Steve’s commentary, I’m suddenly struck by how maybe we sound like two veterans of a battle remembering the battle plans and how to win through. Thanks.

  55. poohpity says:

    Rocky, AA and NA are self supporting no help from the government.

    I heard a couple of interesting things this weekend that fit with our topic. One was that if we truly say we trust God then we Know that all things will work out. To take a spiritual inventory and go back to consider if you truly do trust the Lord with our lives then we will know that asking why may show we lack trust.

    Asking the hard questions of ourselves will truly reveal what one believes. If I am hanging on to thoughts of why me it may be motivated by self pity but one has to really look within to answer those tough questions. Am I truly trusting God in this area? Do I truly believe that God will work everything out or am I trusting in my own abilities? Do I trust God with my life? Do I trust God in these circumstances? Do I truly believe in God’s ultimate power to take care of me? When we are in any circumstance if we do not take a self inventory then we may not be asking yourself what do we truly believe. Do I truly believe God?

    When we are having a hard time reading the bible everyday and spending time with God is that of God or is that someone keeping me away from what God wants. God wants us to desire to Know Him and that information He has given us in scripture. If we are doing a self inventory then we could ask, “What is keeping me away from spending time with God?”. Usually one may find that it is reliance on self or the evil one. The darkness does not want the light.

    Another self inventory could be, “What am I thinking about all day?”. What has consumed my mind? What has consumed my heart? What has consumed my soul? If anything has taken over those areas then we will not be able to love the Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls. It is very important to take a self inventory. If we are taking our own inventory it will hinder us from taking someone else’s. So what is my response to God? Do I fully trust Him with all that I am and will be or do I trust myself or something else?

  56. poohpity says:

    plumbape, thank you for sharing the “Celebrate Recovery” steps. How are you? I guess I know you are out there reading. Sometimes silence is golden but I miss your humor. Love Deborah

  57. jjhis says:

    Pat, Yes, my mom does like bluegrass if it is gospel bluegrass. We have had a very difficult weekend with her as her pain has worsened. Thanks for your prayers.
    On the topic of Taking Inventory, I agree with Pooh and the others of the importance of examining ourselves in light of Paul’s exhortation in 2Cor.13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test.” The Holy Spirit has convicted me of a specific sin in my life just this weekend (not like there was only one sin which I committed). He has granted me repentance and has covered me and forgiven me with the blood of Jesus. He is faithful and just to forgive me and all who confess, praise His Name!
    DMG, while it is the Holy Spirit who examines us and leads us to repentance(see today’s My Utmost for His Highest on repentance), the verse in 2Cor.13:5 is directed toward us. Are we in agreement that there is need of a “conscious repentance” which is followed by an “unconscious holiness” as O. Chambers said?
    On the topic of the 12 step process, I began a similar session on co-dependency with a former pastor only to find out that I was being led into a dependency on him and not on Christ. The Holy Spirit led me back to the Bible and finally to another church where He has helped me find the Truth which does set me free.

  58. jjhis says:

    I am not saying that the codependency material, which was Christ and Bible-centered, was in error. Just that we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in trusting Jesus as our helper and counselor and to beware of unwise counselors. Is the motivation to truly share the love of Christ and faith in Him? If so, then the goal in 2Peter1:10-12 will be attained.

  59. kingsdaughter says:

    Thank you Steve, for your encouragement. I soak up the words “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37…..And I rest assured that my son is with God. Grief does a number on you, as you know. I have done much soul searching…and in trying to find my son’s soul…I have found mine again. Others who know me and the struggle I have had have said that Brandon’s death has also showed them the grace of God. I, too, have tortured myself with questions I cannot possibly know the answers to …yet.

    I like the idea of starting over…go back to the beginning when I was just a child…a childlike faith ..that is when I first came to the Lord, also my 3 children. I don’t remember any expectations other than being with Jesus one day. You mentioned “The Princess Bride, “…I get much comfort from the “Trilogy of The Lord of the Rings” and of course, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” All reminders of our conflicts and battles and the ever present spiritual warfare going on every single day in our lives. And going Home and our rewards and God’s sacrifice…all told for an audience of any age but pointed at a younger…more innocent group. Knowing the Good News is helpful when watching these movies and knowing the true message behind the stories.

    Deb: “When we are having a hard time reading the Bible everyday and spending time with God is that of God or is that someone keeping me away from what God wants.”

    In my case, it has been the shock of my grief..and the way Satan wanted to handle this whole situation (after all he is the author of confusion)…but, even on my worst days in the beginning, I was held up by God and sought out the answers because I had to….begging for peace. My mantra when I could not say or think anything but cry and envision my poor son dying (even though I was not there, I imagined the horrific scene…poisoned with it every minute of the day) was this “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” And it worked. God bathed and redirected my tortured mind. But there are times that I feel the pull of Satan… back into the abyss of “whys”…but as I have read on another post, “doubt can be good for us..that doubt is not a sin” but can help reveal all the things we need to know. I doubted God’s love for me and my son. I just knew He did not answer my prayers for my child. His thoughts are not my thoughts..His ways are not my ways….I am so thankful for that.

    Grace 48, our children are our jewels. We will always be oversensitive to our children and take things very personally when something happens to them. I have been reminded that they were God’s before they were ours. I feel your pain. It is hard to watch them suffer or to be gone from us. God bless you as you endure being a mom.

    In Christ,

  60. jasam says:

    Hello all I am jasam. I have been following your blog for awhile now and want to share after this one. Mart it was written for me. I needed the word about something I have been struggling with. After I read it I noticed a picture of a view from the bottom of a tree. And Wow!!! Not only was I once again aware that He was talking to me, but this picture is my favorite picture!!! In fact it sits next to me on my desk..I wanted you to know this Mart so you will never again second guess the work of the Holy Spirit…I love you all in Jesus Christ….J

  61. kaliko88 says:

    Interesting enough, most of the troubles my family has experienced came right after I recommitted myself to Christ. Next thing I know, one by one my family was hit by a big problem. And it hasn’t stopped. I remember when I first listened to Air1 I heard one girl’s story about growing up in a crime-ridden neighborhood and around gangs. She couldn’t understand how there could be a God and all this evil. Then one day she realized, “Duh, if there’s a God, there’s also a Devil.” And for me, the Devil knew my weak spot was my family. I remember last year praying, “God, next time, let the problem fall on me. My family has had enough.” He called me on it, I guess, considering my marriage problems.

    My point is, I don’t ask “Why me?” anymore. I shrug and say, “Why not me?” And I deal. Not always well, but I get through it. There were times I prayed, “Why not me instead of them?” I’d have given anything to take their pain and ease it. But we dealt with it all together. Because if the Devil hates us that much, if his capacity for hate and evil is so great, how much bigger is God’s love in answer to it? That sounds braver than I usually feel. Still, knowing that kind of love is shielding me gives me courage. That was actually one of the first basics I learned.

  62. xrgarza says:

    Thanks Deborah, I just didn’t know.

    Are you having a snow day in AZ?

    I was hoping I would have to chain up my 18 wheeler today but I was told there was no work Darn! oh I mean Praise God!

    Have a great day

  63. poohpity says:

    It would be nice if during our walk with the Lord there would be no more doubt but He understands that there will be all kinds of things that come against us especially the closer we get to Him. It is like God says, “are you truly trusting me well how about if this or that happens?”. We are all in process and if we listen to feelings and not on the knowledge of what has been revealed to us about the Lord then it is so much easier to fall down but KNOW that He will pick you up and dust you off and start again. Remember His mercies are new every morning and I would add every minute or hour.

    Although trails happen remember it is not the Lord who tempts us to not trust Him. The horrible things that Jesus suffered for us as His mother watched. His body was unrecognizable as human flesh when He was nailed to that wooden tree and it was done because of love to restore us with a right relationship to the Father. If there are times that there is not anything else to cling to, we can cling to that His love is above anything we can ever imagine. Back to the basics!!

  64. poohpity says:

    In this past year, I have had to watch my mom who was my best friend die of cancer, had my hip replaced which resulted in my leg being deformed then to try and correct it the doc operated on my knee which did not work. All the while I was the only one to help my mom. No one called me from my church to offer any help nor did my family and the list can go on and on.My family stole things and treated me horrible.

    However my relationship to the Lord has become even closer than it has ever been because I had only Him to lean on. So I have learned He is truly all I needed to go on. The folks on this blog prayed for me when my faith was so weak but it always turned out for good. I have learned the best lessons I could have ever learned about God’s faithfulness and the KNOWING that He is all I need.

  65. poohpity says:

    One more thing. I read the word of God every single day no matter what because there is always something there that He speaks to me through. In that reading I am able to look at my behaviors and realize that I still sin and need someone to forgive me many, many times through out the day.

  66. kingsdaughter says:

    One thing that stands out the most when I read the Bible is how horrible I am…yes, indeed. There is really no way to be reconciled except through His blood. I am guarded now as I read…as one person suggested, I read verses with devotionals that accompany the text that is specific to my greater need.

    Narnia is on Disney as I write..(what a Godcidence) and Aslan is about to be sacrificed. Thanks be to God.

  67. poohpity says:

    kingsdaughter, you are not horrible it is the things we do. God loves you so much you are a percious gem to Him. He loves you so much that He sent His Son to the Cross for you. Your greater need is to know the One who loves you so very much.

  68. daisymarygoldr says:

    jjhis, appreciate your question but I’m afraid it is not very clear as to what you are asking. In today’s My Utmost for His Highest, the scriptures mentioned are: “Godly sorrow produces ‘repentance’ leading to salvation” 2 Cor7:10, “Holy Spirit convicts people of sin” Jn 16:8 and also forms Jesus Christ in a person’s life (Gal 4:19)…

    This is exactly what I have emphasized in my comments above …to “Repent” is the only step that turns me away from my sin/addiction and brings me back to God. Oswald Chambers rightly said “The foundation of Christianity is repentance” and concludes with “Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.” emphasis is on “truly repentant”.

    ‘False repentance’ merely seeks ‘steps’ to admit and confess sins to a higher power/God or to a priest or to a group of fellow sinners struggling with the same sin/addiction.

    As a result there is no turning away from sins but the person hopelessly struggles with sins for the rest of his life. On the contrary, ‘true repentance’ is only possible when in the light of God’s Word, as I said above “it is not me but the Holy Spirit who constantly examines me and takes a moral inventory of my sins.”

    jjhis, unlike you or the others here, I do admit that I cannot examine myself because I can never trust my imperfect sinful self. Hence, I know that the inventory list of my sins is also going to be imperfect. I’m well aware of the deception of my sinful nature that effectively distorts even a right understanding of my own sins.

    It is also because I firmly believe God who says “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jer 17:9. So, like King David I always ask God to “Search me and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me” Ps 139:23-24.

    And as I read His Word and pray for His help, it is the Holy Spirit that guides me to turn away from such sins which may not be necessarily considered as sin by my own conscious or the sinful culture that exists around me! 2 Peter 1:3 says that God has already provided all that is necessary for to overcome my sin.

    It is therefore my responsibility to “not let sin reign in my mortal body and to not offer the parts of my body to sin rather to offer the parts of my body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin is not my master, because I no longer live under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14. So, again I totally depend on the power of the Holy Spirit and make a deliberate choice to not sin.

    jjhis, when it was never me but always the Holy Spirit that convicts and also helps me overcome my sins, can I ever take credit for Holiness?

    To answer your question: Yes, we are in agreement that there is need of a “conscious repentance” which is followed by an “unconscious holiness” as O. Chambers said! Sorry, I do not see any mention of 2 Cor 13:5. Hope this has rightly answered your question…

  69. daisymarygoldr says:

    On second thoughts since 2 Cor 13:5 was quoted, I must point out that Paul is telling the Church at Corinth to examine and see if their faith is genuine…to test if Jesus Christ is actually in them. He is not telling them to examine their sins.

    If you consider that verse in its context, Paul rebukes Corinthian Christians who had compared Paul’s teachings with the deceptive teachings of some “super Apostles” (2 Cor 11).

    So it is in response to their allegations that Paul was not “redeemed by Christ” or does not have or hear the “Holy Spirit”, the Apostle tells them to double check and see if indeed “Jesus Christ is in you”… if Jesus was living among them in that church then they will know for sure that the gospel Paul preached came from Christ.

    And jjhis, it is a good thing you brought up that verse… because it should convict us the Church to see if Jesus is indeed living among us. In 1 Cor 11:28 Paul tells us to examine ourselves both individually and corporately before eating the bread and drinking the cup.

    Don’t intend to criticize but honestly to my knowledge I do not see this being practised every week in churches here in this country.

    The so-called “Communion” that is actually observed once in a while or on a monthly basis is just a mere ritual during which all close their eyes while the Pastor quotes 1 Cor 11 or Matt 26 or Luke 22 and then together we all chew on a tiny cracker and wash it down with a thimble of juice.

    As a result, with no self-examination, the yeast of malice and wickedness are not condemned but mercifully allowed to proliferate within the church and eventually the presence of unrepentant sin evicts Christ out of the Church.

    So, when the His Holy Spirit is no longer abiding in the church, it leads to spiritual barrenness and a spiritually impoverished people sin to produce bad fruits of the flesh. God is not mocked, what we sow we also reap. Sin hurts and as a consequence, Christians are afflicted with all kinds of physical, emotional and spiritual diseases.

  70. daisymarygoldr says:

    As people in church sin amongst themselves and harbor hatred against one another, prayers are also not being answered because it is only the earnest prayer of a person living right with God that has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:11

    When the cries of hurting people become unbearable the Church without the power of the Holy Spirit frantically resorts to 8 steps, 12 steps and every other possible steps to relieve the pain and restore recovery. It is an undeniable fact that without Christ inside the church none of that will ever work… it is just blind leaders leading the blind.

    Today, this is the sad state of the church that I see right here… of a Christianity that did not remember the Creator in the days of their youth but carelessly whored after material abundance. And now in order to cover their exposed nakedness we are shamelessly fornicating with strange steps according to the wisdom of an unregenerate world!

    Jesus lovingly invites the spiritually poor, naked and blind church of this age… as He patiently stands outside the door, knocking and seeking to have a restored intimate fellowship with us. The one step that He emphasizes over and over again is to repent!

    If we would take an inventory to examine ourselves and are diligent to condemn sin in the body, we would not be judged by God (1 Cor 11:31). The axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of trees that do not produce good fruits. “He who has an ear, let him hear”. . .

  71. kingsdaughter says:

    DMG: said “Faith is to believe in our spirit without having seen, felt or heard and does not depend on our physical, mental or emotional senses. Wisdom therefore, is …to simply believe!

    Believe in God. Believe His Word. And what does God’s Word say? “Whoever believes in Jesus Christ will not perish (to eternal death) but have eternal life.” Death is due to sin and it is the thief (the devil) who comes to steal and destroy our lives and snatch away the lives of our loved ones.”

    My question is this: Is TRUE repentance followed by a feeling? What should we rely on…head knowledge, heart feelings, step-following? Is it mere confession? When we are inundated with inventory taking one will come to the conclusion that one is not EVER going to live up to all of the standards set before us or we would be perfect. So, when I said that when I read the Bible all I FEEL is condemned( after all..the language of the Bible is harsh and so as a sinner I FEEL that condemnation so I can repent)…that is part of the inventory, I guess. If I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to repent. The following may answer my own question but it also is contrary to each other…

    “Do not trust your feelings. Feelings are fleeting and are dictated by our emotions. Faith and feelings make strange bedfellows.”

    DMG:“Godly sorrow produces ‘repentance’ leading to salvation” 2 Cor7:10,

    My dear friends. SORROW is a feeling. So, I would think that feeling repentance is a TRUE repentance preempted by another feeling: guilt.

    Earlier I posted: “It would seem to me that in order for us to “recognize ourselves as sinners” we must at least have some kind of concept of righteousness to comprehend our predicament, and that can only come from God…so, I’m thinking He is already there…it is then that we have the ability..the conscience to realize our condition. GRACE. Beautiful Grace.”

    I am sticking with HIS abundant, wonderful, loving, magnificent GRACE. Isn’t that what His love is all about?

    Deb: I do know His love but I also know He lets me know when I am sinning…right from wrong…conscience…that wee small voice…but in my grief after having to think my son committed suicide…I am oversensitive to the condemnation and harsher admonishments in the Bible. It is just what it is. I FEEL punished. I FEEL loss. I FEEL like I could have done more for my son’s failing spirit. I can’t apologize for my FEELINGS.. God gave me these feelings. Sorrow is one of the worst. I have never in my entire life felt sorrow before now.

    The template for righteous living comes from that innate sense of knowing put there by the Holy Spirit.

    Just my humble observation.

  72. Loretta Beavis says:

    I heard part of a song while driving yesterday- “Lord take me out of the shallow water, where I can stand on my own and carry me over the deep water … ”

    It made me think I could start my self-examinations with that attitude and depend on God to bring an accurate inventory to mind.

    DMG I agree with you about how communion has become just a ritual in too many churches for me, at least. I have been to two that spent the time before the communion actually talking about the self-examination and spending silent time before going up (or passing around) and more than just a few seconds. It was so cool, because long silence is very uncomfortable in groups (in the U.S.) isn’t it? It has been a great blessing and relief for me on those occasions when the church would be still long enough for God to speak to our hearts.

    You’re all in my prayers; I’m grateful for the fellowship here.

    ps I attend Al-Anon because there is acceptance and a fellowship there. Yes, it is also a way that God works “outside” the church.

  73. poohpity says:

    There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I feel bad for you kingsdaughter because it seems that you are laying an awful heavy load on your shoulders that really does not need to be there. There are people out there that you can talk to for help.

    Rocky, it is snowing up north but it is just raining here in the valley.

  74. daisymarygoldr says:

    kingsdaughter, I agree with everything you have shared about sorrow for our sins and just wanted to clarify that my comment is not intended for you or anyone else on this blog.

    In response to jjhis’s Q am talking about allowing the Holy Spirit to taking inventory of ‘my’ sins. As I said before, you are a grieving mother and grieving is not a sin. I did not say repentance but faith to believe on God…is not based on feelings.

    So, at this point when you are overwhelmed with feelings of grief I had told you to not be led by them and doubt the presence of God’s spirit in you.

    Also, from the Bible I had reminded you of the hope of God’s promises that when we believe in Jesus Christ we are saved for eternity. There is a time for everything and right now in your life ’tis the time to mourn.

    Please allow yourself time to grieve over the tragic death of your son…i.e. to grieve with hope… it is not a sin rather it will do you a lot of good when you let yourself to be ministered by the love, mercy, grace and peace of God! May God bless you and you are in my prayers…

    Loretta Beavis, I’m glad you found a fellowship that has blessed you greatly. My prayers echo yours for the church. God’s judgment must begin first with us inside the church and if it begins with us what will be the end of those that are outside the church? 1 Peter 4: 17

    Don’t know about the fellowship and acceptance found “outside” the church but do know that my heart is much burdened, as I pray and hope for the backslidden bride of Christ, to take heed of God’s Word and repent of our sins.

    So when divine order is restored, the glorious presence of God’s Spirit may return to move in our midst… for His mighty power to revive our sick spirits so that we may become a true blessing to those who are truly lost forever “outside” the church!

  75. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    phpatato (Pat)

    Thank you for:

    “No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting. (I thought of you Bob :-))”

    I have a dilema about work etc. at the moment and did not get to bed ’till 01:30(from a late shift) this morning and now up at 06:30 to go to another job. I was praying for God’s will to be done, as I will loose any state benifits if I continue to work longer hours (for poor pay etc.)
    Sometimes I see a rainbow and know God is talking to me.
    Thanks for the rainbow this morning. Only God could give me such a sign of reassurance when it is still dark outside.
    Thank you Jesus!

  76. SFDBWV says:

    Dale, Love is something you “FEEL”

    If one has no feelings, then how can we have sympathy, compassion, or “Love” for another.


  77. SFDBWV says:

    Intuition, is that “feeling” you get in your stomach. That is your spirit talking to you.

    When the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart it is felt and understood t the same time. “Felt”

    You stick with the full senses God has given you, and see. hear, taste,”FEEL”.

    Don’t let someone who does not know how to feel tell you otherwise.


  78. kingsdaughter says:

    Feeling is a two edged sword for me right now..a convoluted mess for me in this storm. God has brought to my attention my weaknesses and strengths and I am healing slowly…very slowly. It is the Year of Firsts…those of you who have lost someone close know that dread. I insist that it is He who has brought me among you…and I will recover from my own (perhaps unjustified) guilt…it is the natural course of grief, so I am told and have read about in many of the books I now possess on the subject. It is a FEELing I would never have chosen for myself. If you think about it Feelings come on…they are inflicted, for lack of another word, upon us. It is much like a thought…it just comes….a result from an outer force not usually in our control: unintentional ….I will stop with this…it is way off course from the intended topic….I try to stay mindful of that but sometimes this blog takes on a life of its own. Much love to you all. I am always bless by your thoughtful comments and love of each other.

  79. pegramsdell says:

    Love you too, Dale. You know deep calls to deep, and I am with you. Praying for you, listening to you, and sharing your pain. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing and allowing us to minister to you. I may need to lean on you next time. :) Peg

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