Category Archives: JESUS

“I Asked God…”

I Asked God to teach me to Trust. Him
He taught me about His Love. For me

I Asked God to teach me to be better so He c/would Love me more
God said He already Loves me and that He can’t/doesn’t do “More”

I Asked God to help me love my fellowman.
He taught me how to love myself in Him and to let His Love flow through me to others

I Asked God to make me good so I could stay in His Presence more
God said: “My Son, Come. To me. Just Come, as U.R. – Now”

I Asked God to light my path
He said He’s with in the dark and that I can trust Him there. 

I Asked God to help me solve my problems
He used my problems to change me

I told God I needed to preach
He told me He made me a writer

I Asked God to let me see Him more clearly
He taught me He’s (my) God – even in the fog   {I was the one in the fog}

I Asked God; “But what about my sins?”
God said: “My Son already paid the price for that! Come to me – sin and all!”

I Asked God to show me the plan He has for me
He taught me to seek to know more about Him

I Asked God to help me understand
He said if I understood I would not need to trust – Him!

I told God I needed to be strong
He said He is strongest in my weakness

I Asked God
He showed me His Grace

I Asked God – “Where R.U?”
He said: “I am in U, I will be with U… Always!”

I Asked God…
He taught (is teaching) me to Praise – HIM




My Side of the Fence

I was yakking with my friend Jon yesterday afternoon. During our conversation I used a phrase that’s been on my mind lately. Then I remarked: “That sounds like the title to a blogpost! I better write it down before it slips my mind. Well, we continued talking and I didn’t, then last night couldn’t recall what I had said.

Funny, in our conversation, we’d mentioned that both our memories aren’t what they used to be. I like to blame mine on age. lol

Anyway, this morning, it came back to me!!! Yay!! …but I digress. Q – can U get sidetracked before U’re even on track? So, anyway… Moving on….

At Celebrate Recovery, we learned that we are only responsible for cleaning up OUR side of the street. If I hurt someone and need to make amends, I am only responsible for my apology, not for their reaction to that apology. (unless I make it worse by the words or attitude I use) I can choose to make “Living Amends,” which means I learn from their hurt and choose to treat them differently  because of it.

Likewise, If I am hurt by someone, I am only responsible for my reaction. I can choose to forgive their action without any evidence of change on their part. Part of my responsibility may include establishing boundaries to protect myself in the relationship. Learning to set boundaries means I need to understand what is on my side of the street (fence) and what is not.

In so many ways, this has made my life easier. I am powerless to control other people. At the beginning of this understanding, it felt incredibly selfish. “I am only responsible for ME?”?!?!? That was so contrary to how I had always lived.

Hi, my name is Jim. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, but I struggle with co-dependency and compulsive people-pleasing.” 

The C.R. small-group 3rd guideline states: We are here to support one another, not FIX another!” I’m learning the difference between support and fixing. Between influence and control. Between talking and listening. (OK,  I’m still working on that one) I’m learning that I have Influence over other people, but I can lose that influence in direct proportion to the amount of Control I exert.

This understanding is revolutionizing my relationships. With other people. With myself. Even with God! When I first heard the 3rd small-group guideline, my reaction was: Really? REALLY?!? D’ya mean it’s not my God-Given Responsibilty to FIX Problems I see in the lives of Others?” 

Gradually, I’m coming to realize how much I was playing God in the lives of Others.  I’ve seen how much I was focused on what I perceived to be the failures of Others instead of their Value. This new understanding is leading me to be more accepting of where and who they are instead of what and who I suppose they should be, do, say and think. As I release CONTROL, I’m recognizing that I’m having a greater INFLUENCE.

In the words of that great Mayberry philosopher Gomer Pyle, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!

Wow! This is NOT where I thought this was going to go when I started this post. Where’d all THAT come from?!? What I had in mind is perhaps a major result of this process. Perhaps I needed to say all that in order to better understand this:

THIS thought is what has been percolating in this cyclonic mind of mine the past few days –

FROM GOD’s SIDE OF THE FENCE, EVERYTHING HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE

ALL THE CHANGES NEEDED IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM ARE ON MY SIDE OF THE FENCE!

Now comes the Surprise,Surprise,Surprise; 

Just as the veil in the temple was ripped in half from top to bottom when Jesus said from the Cross, It is Finished,” John 13:30

THE FENCE HAS BEEN TORN DOWN!! 

Jesus IS NOT peeking over the fence like a nosy neighbor prying into Ur business.  

He’s pitched a tent in Ur back yard. He’s sitting in Ur living room. He’s sleeping in Ur spare bedroom. He’s sitting in a chair at Ur dinner table. 

But He’s the most gentle and respectful house guest U’ve ever had. He only goes where he’s invited. 

It’s up to YOU! He longs to be more than a guest. He wants to be FAMILY!!

P.S… U don’t have to clean house, U don’t have to make the bed, wash the windows, scrub the floor, do the dishes, paint the walls, clear out the sheds, trim the hedge before U let Him in. 

For most of my life, I did not understand that He could/would live in a broken heart. Then one dark(est) day, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! He began to heal me from the inside out. 

He continues to surprise me. 

A MATTER of the HEART!

As I’ve said before, the problem is not the guns in the hands, but the “stuff” in the hearts. 

Matthew 12:34 states: 

For from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!” (or the hand strikes) parenthesis mine

We’ve all been SO devastated by this latest school shooting in Oregon. It just keeps happening! But it’s good for us to express our sorrow and grief, and yes, even anger and frustration at what seems to be an ever-increasing level of violence.  

There is healing to be found in sharing. We must also have compassion on those involved and their families. My daughter just informed me that over 3/4 MILLION dollars has been go-funded for Chris, the vet that ran TO the danger and as a result was shot 7Xs. I choose to think this generosity is a more accurate reflection of the heart of our nation than the acts reported over and over and over in the news. 

We state our position on either side of the discussion as to what the solution might be, with neither side having much of an affect on the opinions of the other. And yet, we still discuss. Fortunately, I think (and hope) arguing about such things is in my past. If not, I apologize. (But not for being right…) lol

Allow me to take a slightly different slant this morning. 

I am absolutely certain that I will NEVER walk into a church or school, playground or grocery store and commit such a horrible act of violence.

But I’ll wager dollars to donuts that I’ll yell at the guy who cuts me off when I’m driving my family to church this morning. (Oh, wait, my WW drives on Sunday morning…) well, U get my point! 

How many of us go thru life using our mouths and attitudes in ways that damage others? The old “…but words will never hurt me” is as much a lie today as it was when we were in the 4th grade. If we use our middle finger instead of our trigger finger, and we strike with words instead of bullets, if we wound the spirit of a child with our harshness instead of killing the bodies of innocents, is there an ultimate difference? Yes, o’course there is! BUT – also, alas, NO!

Today I need to take time to evaluate my heart. I need to examine my thoughts, listen to my words, both spoken and not, to “see if there be some wicked way in me“! Am I “nice” because society has placed a sign in front of me that says “No ____ allowed” all the while hiding the ugliness inside me?

Am I that much different than the gunman because the wounds I cause are hidden inside my victims and don’t bring blood?? Yes, o’course, BUT… Also, alas, NO

I think there’s a lesson for us all!  Psalms 139:23,24 comes to mind;

 
The ultimate healing of our nation, our college campuses, our families and cities lie not in more laws and the proper enforcement of them, but in the changing of our hearts.

The more I discuss this with friends and on FaceBook, the more I’m realizing the only really helpful response I can have is to examine myself, my heart, my own ways, and change accordingly. 

I’ve been challenged by the Q posed by the shooter and the now popular – #IamAChristian! If faced with the same threat, would I declare the truth? I know in the past, I have not always done so, even when faced with much less a consequence than being shot in the head. 

For too long my Christianity was measured by my ability to refrain from that which I declared was wrong. As a result, I became the judge of others. In that judgement, I lost my ability to love. 

Then I became friends with someone who helped me face some issues in my life over which I had lost control. (U know who UR!) A man whose political and social beliefs were as different from mine as night and day. The more we talked, the more I came to respect his Christianity. 

I’ve been forced to examine and redefine my Christianity. It’s no longer as much a product of my behavior that makes me one, but a relationship with – as AA says, “My Higher Power” whom I call Jesus, The Son of the Living God

     That relationship keeps affecting my behavior in ways I do not expect. 

Do U not believe as I do? Let’s talk it over. I’m finding we are more alike than we are different. Let’s focus on that. And stay together. And treat each other with respect! And Love! 

P.S.  Psalms 139 is an amazing chapter! U can read it HERE

SURRENDER!!…?

I grew up singing: “I surrender, I surrender all!”  We were encouraged to completely commit the rest of our lives to Him – NOW! Today!!

That may have been just my perception, but that’s what I kept trying to do.

Tried, couldn’t do it.  Wanted to. Kept falling down. Didn’t know what to do with my failure. Wanted to quit trying. Did…, for awhile.

Now I know. Now I (am beginning to) understand – Better!

PROCESS!!
BABY STEPS!!

God takes what we can give to Him TODAY and waits patiently until tomorrow becomes today and we get to do it again. And… again, the next day! And…

In the meantime, He asks us to just take a walk.

With Him. With His Son. Jesus. His Holy Spirit goes too.

  • Pay attention, son. I have something important to tell you.

“There is now therefore NO CONDEMNATION, (Anger, Impatience, Rejection) toward us – from Him.”

20 / 20 HINDSIGHT

This morning, my friend DEBRA posted this to FB: 
This was my reply / comment: #SharedWithPermission

I usually just ignore or delete the 

“If U share this with 55 friends within 55 seconds, God will…”

I used to believe, seek for, and be secretly thrilled when people would say to me: “Jim, God is going to REALLY bless you because of all the things you do for…” 

The unfortunate side was that when I didn’t see (or others didn’t tell me about) God’s blessings, it was my fault. “Oh crap, I must’a blown it! Now I gotta start all over! Again!!

Gradually, I have learned that I AM (already) BLESSED! BY GOD!!

I’m also learning that I don’t always recognize God’s blessings. They are sometimes, often (usually?) disguised. Some of my most intense difficulties and struggles have become the times of greatest change in my life for the better. 

  Counting your blessings is best done with the vision of 20/20 hindsight. 

There is a HUGE difference in working / giving “TO BE Blessed” and doing it “BECAUSE U R Blessed!” The first is bondage. The second is freedom.  

P.S. – God’s blessings does not always involve cash!

P.S.s. – I can’t remember when anyone told me: “This Pain, This Struggle, This Conflict in Ur life, Is God Blessing You.” But lots’o times, it was!!

Feel free to share a comment about Ur  blessings that came disguised!

If U share a comment, God will bless U within 33 days…  

…Ok,I’mSorry,IjustCouldn’tResistThat! lol

This post is a thought regarding God’s blessing upon my life:

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2014/04/10/his-tapestry-3/

GRACE #45/50

 •  GRACE is not (only) a lake or reservoir built up behind a dam or a well to which we can go and dip out what is needed.      GRACE is a River that looks for a valley to flow through. As the river flows, it cleanses, purifies, nourishes and deepens in ways that ONLY God can do.       In order for GRACE to complete it’s work, it must Flow Through the valley into the lives of others.

(From #50ShadesofGrace, coming soon)

T.B.T.#8

Thursday Mrng Reminencing

More than 7 years ago, I wrote in my journal – 

          “God, teach me to Trust U more.”

I’d been realizing for a long time that I needed and desired to have a deeper relationship with the Creator of my soul. But I had no idea how to get it. I’d tried being better. I’d tried being less bad. (Did U know there’s a difference?) I’d tried doing all the right things like praying, reading, giving, journaling, etc.etc.etc. But I just didn’t seem to be able to keep it up long enough to achieve “IT”   I kept getting distracted, busy, tired, lazy, feeling guilty!

Seven years ago tomorrow, my Mom passed away after battling cancer. Little did I know what lay ahead. I now realize that God was answering that journaled prayer in the only way I would let Him. I went (He took me?) to the deepest hole I’d ever known. 

It was THERE I found God in a way I’d had only  glimpses of in the past. I now call that place my Gift of Desperation 

It was there I finally came to a greater understanding of His Love for me. As I discovered the Depth of His Love, my response was to LOVE ‘n TRUST Him in return. 

It really is true: I Love Him Because He First Loved Me!    and    We can only Love if we have First Been Loved.  

I first posted the following in March of ’14

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2014/02/23/god-cant-love-me-look-at-me/

TRUST w/o UNDERSTANDING?

I spent 50+ years trying to figure out and UNDERSTAND my life. I could take U to the recovery room, I could show U the light that came on as I read step #3 that said “Turn Ur life and will over to the care of a loving God as U understand Him.”

I thought: “I can never understand God. If I could, I’d be God. He is and I’m not.” 

So I decided to stop trying to understand. 

It was as if I stepped thru a gate that had been locked. That decision set me free in ways that I did not know (understand) I had been bound. 

I discovered that MY UNDERSTANDING was not the important thing. I became able to Trust (God) in ways that had been beyond me. 

In the coming months, I found out it was MY EGO that had been driving my QUEST to understand. 

I’ve said it before, it’s still true: GOD and my EGO are not compatible. I find that strange, because they are roommates. They both live inside of me. 

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2014/01/18/hotel-ego/

 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!?!?