Category Archives: Unconditional

LIVING in FREEDOM

This morning, as we sat in our family room, she in her favorite spot on the couch and me in my morning chair, my WW read this to me from JESUS TODAY, by Sarah Young. pg114.

It practically brought me to tears and I asked her to read it again. It described to a T the process God started in me almost 7 years ago. The reading begins:

I came into your life to make you free. The closer you live to me the freer you can be. By spending time alone with me your awareness of my abiding presence grows deeper and stronger. There is healing in my wings in the intimacy of my nearness

Now THIS is the part she read to me that meant so much:

MY HEALING PRESENCE BINDS UP YOUR WOUNDS FROM YOUR PAST SO THEY STOP BLEEDING. The salve of my spirit enhances the healing process. In my holy light you can see things from a new perspective, freeing you from old unhelpful way of thinking. As you lay down baggage from your past you grow increasingly free.”

The reading then continues: I make you free through the truth about who I am and what I have done for you. I also help you face the truth about yourself and the people in your life. If you’re involved in hurtful relationships I will help you change them or break free. If you are trapped in addictions, I will help you take the first step towards freedom – honest confession of the truth. In every situation the truth will set you free.

My WW said as soon as she read the underlined words, she knew she had to share them with me. She recognized the truth of them in the changes she sees happening for us.

The beautiful part of this is that I was able to share these words with a friend this afternoon and they touched his heart as well. I believe we both took one more step into the FREEDOM He provides

YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH AND IT WILL SET YOU FREE
John 8:32 NKJV

 

 

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…”

STUMBLY PATHs

A few months ago, my good friend, Angie posted on FaceBook:

                Someone told me you can know God’s path because it’ll be smooth &
                 filled with certainty. I’m not sure Jesus would agree
.” @John Alan Turner(pastor)

As she’s done before, she set my mind to spinning. She has a very unique way of doing that!

I responded with:

In a recovery meeting today, the topic was “Healing“. As I sat there listening and thinking, I realized that most of the healing in recovery for me has come in my relationships – with myself, with God, and with others. As I am learning to walk in that healing, my life has gotten a lot less hectic and stumbly.

Yes, that’s right, STUMBLY!  I like that word! That’s why I invented it.
It describes my life Pre-Process.

I no longer stumble and fall so hard over the lumps in the carpet I created by the secrets I hid.  My relationship with my past-self is being healed as I have found the safety and courage to stop hiding from it.

I no longer constantly stumble over the things I don’t understand, ’cause I know Somebody who understand everything and He promises to help me understand it when and if I need to.

I no longer stumble so severely over remarks that others say that hurt me, because I’ve come to know it may come from that place deep inside them that hurts like I did(and sometimes still do).

I no longer stumble over my faults. For most (all) of my life, I thought I needed to be better than I was so God would Love me more. As I’ve learned that God.Loves.Me.Just.As.I.Am. I’m amazed at how my faults are just not as important as they used to be. In fact, some of what I thought were my worst character defects have become some of my greatest strengths.

I no longer constantly stumble over people who don’t like me. Or who don’t approve of me. “Hey, this is me… Don’t like it? Let’s see if we can work it out. If we can’t, U go Ur way, I’ll go mine. I refuse to make my life stumbly because U don’t like me“. (I do realize you can’t, and shouldn’t do that with everyone)

I no longer stumble over my relationship with God. Recovery Step 3 says: “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God…”   All my life I was told: “Be careful, God’s watching you“. I understood that to mean “He’s watching so He can catch you when you do something wrong – and punish you“. Now, I KNOW! He’s watching because He loves me. He wants to catch me, yes, but He wants to catch me when I fall. He wants to guide me. He wants to comfort me. I now KNOW He will discipline me when I need it, not to punish me, but to teach me.

I no longer stumble (so much) over all the things left on my To-Do-List. One of the greatest sources of satisfaction for me has always been My.List!  If, at the end of the day I had lots of red stripes on the page, it was a good day. Frustration arose if I got stuck on something. Today, I am getting better at setting aside My.List! in favor of PEOPLE! My life is richer because of it.

Future Stumbles are no longer a huge worry for me. I’ve seen time and time and time again how God has been there for me and mine. I have seen His RELENTLESS FAITHFULNESS. He has used some of my hardest and most painful days to make my life the way it is today. I can therefore trust Him to continue to do that tomorrow, next week, next year.

OF COURSE, I’d like to still pretend my life is perfect and I never stumble and fall in the pit anymore. But that isn’t my reality. (And neither is it yours) But since the day of my “Heart Attack“, God & I (mostly God) have changed my life in ways I never imagined was possible.

7 Things God ALWAYS Says to His Kids

I recently posted “7 Things God NEVER Says…” Now I get to follow up with these…

• 1 – U R LOVED – by Me – in Ways U will / U can Never Understand. Let me Show U How

• 2 – U R more FORGIVEN than U think UR

• 3 – COME! Just as U R. Now! To Me! Today! Just COME! Spend time with Me

• 4 – Don’t change so I will Love U(more), Change BECAUSE U’re Loved – Completely – By ME! 

• 5 – Bring Me Ur Pain, Ur Heartache, Ur Sorrow. Ur Mess. Ur __________ I want to heal it.

• 6 – U don’t have to pay the price (again) – My SON did that! 4U!

• 7 – U can run – but U can’t hide! My eye is upon U. To give U Hope

Bonus # “Who U R is infinitely more important to me than what U do!”



It’s kinda strange, but
I think the NEVER list was easier. I wonder why? I actually had more than 7 of those


Maybe we hear these more often – in our heads, and from others


Maybe we hear these truths more often – in our heads, and from others

Add Ur thoughts… Tell us what God ALWAYS says to U!
or perhaps what U want to hear Him say…

“Be” Holy

Tim Harrison is becoming one of my favorite fellow bloggers. In my reply to him a few days ago, I said: “it’s like Ur heart is beating in my chest and U’re reading my mind. Either that, or we’re both listening to the same Spirit.”

This is in reply to his latest post – U can read it here

Tim – Ur postings are quickly becoming my 2nd favorite morning word.
(maybe 3rd, if my wife wakes up before I read U’re post)

For most of my life, I thought HOLY was something I had to become“.
Unfortunately, my focus was always on what and why I wasn’t.

“I don’t….” “I must stop…” “Why do I keep…” “Why can’t I…” “Will I ever…”

I finally reached the end… I finally admitted I couldn’t!
I’d NEVER measure up.
I’d NEVER become holy enough.
A very dark place was pulling hard.

…And God said:

“FINALLY!!! U’re right where I want U!”
“NOW I can begin to teach U what U already ARE!”

He’s delivering(ed) me from my religion of “performancism
He’s teaching me about His Love and Grace.
I HAD NO IDEA!! I thought I did, but –
I DIDN ‘T HAVE A CLUE!
HOW He Loves me.
HOW UNCONDITIONAL
is His Grace!

7 What If’s?!

Have U seen the movie yet?

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It’s perhaps the biggest What If?” ever debated –
What if God is dead?
What if God (and Heaven) isn’t real?
Personally,  I’ve never seen a need to debate it,
but there are a few other “What If’s” about God I’ve pondered:

WHAT IF –

• …U’re already as Forgiven (by God) as U’re ever going to be?

• …God already Loves U as much right now as He ever will?

• …The only thing God really needs from U is for U to spend time – with His Son?

• …God wants U to work WITH Him instead of FOR Him?

• …God doesn’t remember WHAT He forgave U of – He just remembers WHY?

• …God can use Ur past to touch others at the place of their deepest pain?

• …God wants U to stop trying to get Him to like U?

…Now, share with all of us… Tell us the biggest What If U ponder…

 

 

HOW! GOD Loves me/us

Yesterday I was re-writing part of the testimony I plan to share at our 6 year Celebrate Recovery anniversary dinner. I’m trying to reduce it from 12 minutes into the allotted 5. So far I’m at 8.1/2. How do I reduce a 5.1/2 year journey into 5 minutes? What can I leave out? That’s only 66 seconds per year!

Several times I wrote the phrase “How much God Loves me“, or “How much God Loves us“. After the 4th time, I began to recognize that the word “MUCH” didn’t belong. It’s not HOW MUCH… It’s HOW! God’s Love cannot be quantified. It’s QUALITY,  not QUANTITIY. It’s the WAY He loves us, not How MUCH.

Unconditionally! Unfailingly! Amazingly! Unselfishly! Sacrificially!
Gracefully! Unending!  ___________fillinyourownword

My desire and prayer needs to be: “Lord, teach me HOW you Love!”

My puny human efforts to get God to Love me MORE must make Him laugh.
But first, it probably breaks His Heart.

“I sacrificed My Son to set you free! I can’t do ‘more’.”

“Lord, beginning today, bring me into a deeper understanding of your Love.
Open my heart, my mind and spirit, create in me a greater
capacity to know HOW You Love.”

But What about my sin?

For the past (almost) 4 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with 6 or 7 guys from Teen Challenge every Tuesday at New Life Church, Alamo, Ca.

Several months ago, we started having a time of sharing together each morning as we eat donuts and drink coffee. They enjoy it because of the coffee and donuts, and I get a chance to share my blog posts. Win,Win for all!! Seriously, it’s become a very beneficial time of sharing our hearts in a small group before starting our day.

Last Tuesday, I shared a blog post about God’s Presence. The phrase that became the point of discussion for the morning was:

“Don’t ever allow the awareness of your sin to keep you out of My Presence.”

The Question of the day became:

“If we can’t pick up our sin and carry it into the presence of the Lord,
what are we to do with it?”

Several things were listed:

      • Work harder
      • Pray more
      • Read more scripture
      • Recommit myself
      • Deny it
      • Bury it
      • Blame others
      • Promise – never again!
      • Stop – just stop!
      • Compare mine with yours
      • Pretend I don’t… sin (one’o my personal favorites)
      • Ignore it, maybe it will just go away
      • Do Penance for it
      • Run from it
      • Cry about it
      • Rename it
      • Give in to it. Again. Like before
      • Justify it

For most of my life, I did not know what to do with my sin. Over the years, I’ve tried all the things on this list, and more. I’ve watched others struggle as well. I’ve come to recognize that lots of (most?) people don’t know either. I knew we are saved by Grace, but then what? What if I keep sinning? Didn’t Jesus say: Go – and sin no more?” What do I do with my sin? How can I abide in Him if I keep sinning?

There have been days upon days that I find myself standing in the storm, waiting to get dry enough so I can come “inside”. I’ve had those on the “inside” hand me a towel and say: “Here, dry yourself off so you can join us.” Before I know it, my towel is wet, too.

I finally reached the point I knew all my efforts to atone for my shortcomings (see – I renamed my sin) were never going to allow me to come before Him with the boldness and confidence He promises.

I finally learned (He taught me) that the ONLY thing I can do with my sin is pick it up and carry it into His Presence. It is THERE I find victory. It is THERE I find Love. It is THERE I find acceptance. It is THERE I find forgiveness. It is THERE I find freedom and joy. I can go THERE because HE says: “COME

What are U doing with Ur sin?
How’s that working 4U?
Is Ur towel wet?

Therefore,… we have confidence by His blood,… to draw near to God with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith…   Hebrews 10; 19-22 NIV