Category Archives: COME AS YOU ARE

Safe Harbor


One of my favorite personal recovery Truths is:

“A secret, a burden, a failure, a hurt – shared in a safe place with a safe person becomes less than 1/2 as heavy!”

I’ve experienced it from both sides of the table.

I’ve shared things with others and been set free from the power of the shame

I’ve been able to listen without judgement to the secret pain others carry and witnessed their journey into freedom
IT  IS  A  JOURNEY!! 
DON’T  WALK  ALONE!! 

Ask God to bring that special person into your life who can be “The Safe Harbor.” Establish that safe place BEFORE the storms come. Expect the storm. See it while it is still in the distance. Make your way to the Harbor before it arrives! Resist the urge to stand strong by yourself.

The strongest person is always the one who knows their weakness and has developed plans in advance of the inevitable times of need.
Lord, You are my God.
I will honor you and praise your name.
You have done amazing things.
You have faithfully carried out the
plans you made long ago.
…the hopeless have fled to you
and have been safe in times of trouble
You give them shelter from storms
and shade from the burning heat.
Isaiah 25: 1.4

“How can it get any Worse? / Better?”

Written on Sunday, March 7, 2015

This morning at NewLifeChurch, Alamo, CA, I sat in the Teen Challenge Corner!
N.L.C. Loves Teen Challenge!!During the Friendship Break I had a conversation with Kenny.

I’ve been watching the changes happen in this young man for the past few months. I’ve watched him turn the corner. I’ve seen as he’s had a Divine focal point shift from RECOVERY of the PAST to a new DISCOVERY of what is on the HORIZON for him!

He related Saturday’s experience as he was going door-to-door as part of the Teen Challenge Program. The stated purpose of going door-to-door is fund-raising, but that was not the Only Reason he was there.

He had an opportunity to pray for an elderly man recovering from cancer and then another man who’d had a heart attack and answered the door with his wife.

The elderly man stood in astonishment as Kenny prayed. The couple had tears in their eyes as Kenny finished his prayer. What touched me this morning was the excitement I saw in Kenny as he’s coming to realize God has a Purpose for him.

I mentioned Pastor Doug’s message from a few months ago in which he said that God works FOR us and IN us, and then THROUGH us.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/new-life-podcast/id309386201?mt=2&i=326403149

I’ve listened to other men from T.C. as they tell me with astonishment in their voices: “God is answering EVERY Prayer for me.” I call it their “honeymoon time” with God. It’s like God is proving to them that it “It really is just that simple” – He loves us! And He wants us to know it!

As Pastor Doug was coming to the platform and people were quieting down once again, I told Kenny that “He ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” I told him it keeps getting better and better. I told him about the prayer I wrote in my journal a few months ago: “Lord, NEVER let me lose the amazement of what You’re doing in my life.” (He hasn’t) I told him it just keeps getting better.

Kenny said one of the things that finally brought him to Teen Challenge was this question: “How in the world can my life get any worse than it already is?” But it did, it was – getting worse and worse. Something or someone had to change! So – here he is!! Smack Dab in the middle of where God wants him!

Every time I see Kenny, he’s more excited than the time before. Today he told me he’s staying at TC as an intern – another 6 months of change and growth. And becoming The Man God wants him to be.

I have good news for U, Kenny, U’re already God’s Man! Just keep unwrapping him! And Celebrate the Discoveries!!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue His work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns
.
Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NLT

 Addition #3

I’ve only blogged a couple of times about the addition I’m doing to my house. It’s been a 5-month project. THAT was after all the time I spent drawing the plans and getting the permit.
U might want to go HERE and read about why I’m “doing all the work” myself


As I was sitting in an AA meeting at noon today, it dawned on me that ALMOST ALL of the help I’ve had has been with guys who are attending recovery meetings.

One guy who’s helping, I met through this blog.

He made a comment on a post, I replied, then he did again. I asked him where he was located. (I had just gotten a new subscriber in Australia and one in England, so he could have been anywhere in the world! As it turns out we go to church together. S’prise, S’prise, S’prise! 

He came over and helped yesterday, along with Ralph‘nMarty from Teen ChallengeWe had an OUTSTANDING day. At lunch, we talked about our journeys into recovery. It turned into a patio table small group meeting. 

At the end of the day, I had the following conversation with him: (he’s in blue, I’m in green)

 Him:     Jim, I sure wish I’d been more productive today

 Me:    Jon, I am so pleased with all we accomplished today. I couldn’t have asked for more

Him:     Yeah, Jim, but I wanted to get more done for U

 Me:      Jon, just the fact that we were able to spend the time today working and sharing together was awesome

  Me:     “My friend, I am in NO WAY disappointed in U or Ur work!!  In fact, Jon, very soon, I would like for us to set aside all this work we’re doing and spend some time together, alone, just U’nMe. I’m available anytime UR. Just let me know when!”

Now…, take just one more minute…, replaceJimwithJesus‘ and ‘Jon‘ with Ur name, then read the conversation again!!

D’ya get it!?!?

T.B.T. #7

One of the greatest lies Christians believe is that we have to add to the work of Christ.

In the past, every time that I wanted (needed) to spend time in the Presence of God  I worked harder so he would not turn me away

I knew the presence of God. But it was a place I visited. I longed to dwell there but I never felt like I was good enough long enough to remain.

The final three words that Jesus spoke at the cross was “IT.IS.FINISHED!”

When the Truth of that sentence took the longest journey and moved from my head to my heart and then into my life it changed me! it changed my relationship with God

This link was originally posted on my blog on February 19, 2014. But I wrote it 20+ years ago. I finally learned the truth of it in the deepest part of my being at the absolute blackest, darkest time of my life. I’ve not been the same since.

Please read this post from a year ago and let it invade your heart as it has mine

IT.IS.FINISHED!!!

 

At the end of the day… It’s just Me’nGod

 At the end of the day… It’s just Me’nGod
and I’m standing (naked) in the middle of the bridge
On my journey of Recovery

The other day while working and sharing with a young man I made this statement

Ralph Sponge
“Ralph” – Oakland Teen Challenge

At some point in your recovery it will be just U’n God

It won’t be U’n your wife. It will no longer be U’n and your counselor. It won’t be U’n Ur small group. It won’t be U’n Ur sponsor. It won’t be U, asking God about today’s problem. It will not be U, seeking a better, easier, more productive life. It will be U!, standing stark naked in the middle of the bridge making the journey from There to Here.

And you will be in exactly the place He wants you.

Until you have stood in the presence of God knowing that you are totally unworthy to be there. And you understand beyond any shadow of a doubt that HE loves you anyway.

You’ve never known the Love of God in the way HE wants you to.

That moment will forever change you.

I’m not talking about the place of isolation to which we as The Brokens tend to go. I’m talking about coming to an end of yourself. We ARE NOT designed by our creator to travel our journey alone. I’m not suggesting we do so. But at the end of the day, at some point of the healing, it WILL BE just – U’nGod.

It was the place King David stood when he penned the 139th Psalm:

Search me, Oh God… And know my heart!

Or, in the words of the old southern spiritual –

‘Tis not my brother, nor my sister, but it’s ME, Oh Lord
standing (naked) in the need of
…”

Life changes at that place. Relationships change at that place. *I* changed in that place. Priorities change in that place. How U see God will change in that place.

Lex, my 11 year old grandson just asked me what “stark” means. I’m sure glad he didn’t ask what “naked” means – lol  – So I looked it up. Actually, I asked “Siri”, on my iPhone. She said –

Devoid of any qualifications or disguise or adornments

Stark” naked – before The Lord. That sounds Scary!
Sounds Scary, but in actuality, it’s the best place to be this side of Heaven

Have U been there?
Did He invite U to come and U covered up? Like Adam? Like Eve?
RU afraid to go there?

I am too, EVERY TIME! 

But He keeps asking. 

He keeps inviting. Me. 

He keeps Loving. Me 

He keeps healing. Me 

In that place

AMMESTY / GRACE

I WAS DOING IT!!!
It was going so well.
Until yesterday
Then I blew it
[:<{
#NowWhat?

Let’s see – What are my choices?

1) “Oh Well, I didn’t really think I’d make it to the end, anyway”
2) “OhNo! I blew it. I feel so stupid!! Why did I even try!”
3) “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. Now I can just go on like nothing happened. I hope nobody finds out. Oh, wait – my wife knows, so I can’t just cover it up – but she loves me, so it doesn’t really matter”
4) “Well, I guess I learned something, I’ll just have to try harder next time”
5) “My brother’n his wife came to town and we had lunch with them so I ran out of time. No wonder I didn’t get a chance to make a post!!
6) “Awh, it’s not that big-a-deal, who cares”
7) “I should have committed myself to just 7 days. Or 14. Hey, I did make it to 14, I’ll just tell everybody that was the plan all along”

OKI!! OK!! I HEAR YOU… WHAT DID I DO THAT WAS SO BAD???!?

If U’ve been reading my last few posts, U might have noticed the “#15/21 day challenge” at the bottom of the page. Some 3 weeks ago, pastor Doug of New Life Church in Alamo, Ca challenged us to a fast. It was our choice to do a 7 day, 14 day, or 21 day challenge. We could also choose what to fast – either a meal per day, a certain type of food, or a digital fast of some sort. iPhone, iPad, Facebook, Twitter. After about a week of thought I decided to challenge myself to post on my blog for 21 days in a row.

I was doing great! UNTIL YESTERDAY!! I MISSED THE DAY!! yeah, yeah –  I hear you – you’re saying:

Oh is that all?”

 SONOW WHAT??? Excuses?? Blaming?? Lower the expectations?? Try again? Harder?? Just give up?? Start over again – from the beginning?? I think there’s something deeper, more important, crucial even, that I need to see in this.

It was discovered recently that some of the students in a classroom were doing things that they shouldn’t be. It was discovered when one of them was caught.

His response was “But what about the others?” And he began to name names.

So the announcement was made to the class. “If you confess you will be offered AMNESTY.” Some came forward – some did not. Those who did received GRACE. Those who did not were or will be disciplined.

So Now – the important Q! The main point of this post –

WHAT DOES MY CONFESSION HAVE TO DO WITH GOD’S GRACE??

 
1) GRACE is a gift. It cannot be earned, but it must be accepted, each time
2) CONFESSION of my faults is primarily for MY benefit, not God’s
3) CONSEQUENCES for my actions are intended to discipline me, not to punish me
4) CONFESSION changes the consequences into a lesson
5) CONFESSION clears the record and allows the training to move forward to the next step
6) (RIGOROUS) HONESTY really IS the best policy!!
7) If I had not missed a day, I would not know this part of GRACE

OK, I missed a day. I confess. No excuses, no explanations, no blaming. I’ll just start again – from where I failed, not from the beginning. I won’t try harder, I’ll just take the next step.

When I post this, I will place “#16/21 day challenge” at the bottom of the page
AND BE THANKFUL FOR HIS GRACE.
IT REALLY IS AMAZING

#16/21 day challenge

I KEPT COMING BACK

Always before – I came back – with a promise in my hand

This time I came back – holding nothing but a broken heart

And found, Again, The Love I’d always thought I had to earn

I’ve made so many promises. To Him

But time after time, again and again, I’d fail

Those broken promises finally caused my heart to break

And I came back – holding nothing but a broken heart

What  astounds me every morning is the many times He takes me back,
KNOWING FULL WELL there will be more broken promises.

And it was There. It was There. In that dark, broken place. I’m Finally Being Healed

LORD, Keep me Broken!
May I never get so Healed that I forget

When You’ve dressed me in your finest robe
When you’ve killed the fattest calf
When we join the others at the party
When You’ve cried:
Welcome Home, My Son, Welcome Home!”
May I Never Forget! Keep me Broken!

A Broken Heart, Lord, You will not turn away.”
Psalm 51:17

The FAITHFUL FATHER
aka – The Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-32

#14/21 day challenge

POST #100!!!

GOD is BRUISING my EGO

Every morning, my friend “Doña” sends out a daily scripture. This morning it was:

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:7,9

I replied:

But that’s hard on my EGO!!”
(I wanna be the one to do it)

Doña:

Have a little talk with Jesus makes it right

Me:

When I spend time with Jesus He keeps walloping my ego Over’nOver’nOver.”
Tells me “It’s for my own good.” Says it “Hurt Him more than it hurts me.”

Doña:

Hard as it is to believe…. it is true

Later in the morning, I mentioned the messages to my WW and made the comment that I’m beginning to realize that much of the turmoil I go through in life has come as a result of my EGO.
I wanna do it myself! ThkQVeryMuch

EGO has been a major theme as I’ve started blogging about this journey of recovery. I did a search and it’s mentioned in at least 10 of the 90 or so posts . God hammering on my EGO seems to be one of His Major Themes in my life as well.

He keeps reminding me it’s because He Loves me and because one day I prayed for Him to change me. I suppose it’s too late now to change my mind. He promised to never leave me. Kinda like “Lord, give me patience!” RIGHT NOW!!!

O’course, when I prayed that prayer, I was at the end of my ability to affect any change in me on my own. I now see it was His Love that brought me to the point of that prayer.

One of my fav posts is this one: HOTEL EGO

If Ur interested, go to the search box and type in EGO (or click on the blue links)

Let me know what U think!!
(but be careful, U might feed my ego)

Friday Mrng FaceBook Inspiration

My FB Friend Angie posted the following this morning:

It was the LOVE I felt that made me WANT to follow,
fall down and keep following,
not the threat of hell

After “liking” the post, I commented with this:

More than 5, less than 6, years ago, God said:

 “Jim, I want to begin teaching U how much I Love U

I HAD NO IDEA!! I thought I did, but… WOW, was I misinformed!
(I refrain from saying “dumb”)

One lesson eliminated the word “MUCH
God’s Love cannot be quantified
It’s not “how much”, it’s “HOW”!
God doesn’t do “MORE”
He just Loves!:

Unconditionally!
Gracefully!
Unfailingly!
Faithfully!
Unchanging!
Without Regret!
Unswerving!
Sacrificially!

That was the post’n comment, but Now I find I must continue:

God won’t Love me more tomorrow when(if) I get better

If I am better tomorrow, it will be because I’ve learned (He’s taught me) to Love HIM more
(If I’m not better tomorrow, He still Loves!)

The best part is that He will teach me how to Love Him
One of the ways He wants me to Love Him is to write about it
So I do. Here. On this blog
He’s pleased with me when I write
Hmmm, WOW! I like to journal. I like to write!
Who knew that GOD LIKES it when I do it

So, the way He wants me to Love Him is to do something I like to do?
That’s radical!

Yeah, it’s so radical it’s changed(ing) my life
His Love will do that

For more years than I care to remember, I looked at how other people were Loving God and attempted to copy them so He would Love me the way He Loved them. Then, God said:
Jim, I want to begin teaching YOU how I want YOU to Love Me.”

The way God wants ME to Love Him is not the way He wants others to Love Him
The way He wants YOU to Love Him will be unique to YOU
He WILL teach you
Ask Him

It REALLY IS just that simple!
BUT – it ain’t easy

I’ve stopped working FOR His love and am now working FROM His Love.
Well, to be rigorously honest, I must say:
More than I used to…”