Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Giving Your Life, The Good and The Bad

I personally feel that the third step of AA is also one of the foundations of Christianity. God wants us to turn our will and our lives over to his care so that his will, not ours, will be done. In order for me to do this and complete the third step, I had to forget everything else. I can’t tell you the exact moment it happened, the process of enlightenment was slow and in God’s speed. I did know when it occurred......you see, I had forgotten about my freedom, my ex-girlfriend, and my recovery. My heart was, at one point in time, completely empty. I allowed Jesus to refill my heart with his love and his will. Already I have accomplished things I never dreamed of and I look forward to working on the 4th step.

Few of us would think that we are entirely evil inside and that God needs to replace everything in our heart. This makes the process of giving our lives over difficult, because we think some things in our lives are good. For me, my recovery and ex-girlfriend were good, so why would I give them up? You must, but by doing this you allow God to return to you what is truly good. God did this with me and my recovery and I didn’t even miss a beat. As for the girlfriend, God put a completely different woman in my life. A woman that I respect deeply. God gave me these things. I had completely given up on everything. My life was without direction, but when the time was right God led me back to a pathway of prosperity and happiness. For this I am thankful, I am grateful, and I am completely amazed....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rebuilding My Spirit

In jail, I forgot all about AA. I was blessed with good cell mates who read from the Bible daily...aloud. It was very soothing and peaceful. I began to read with them. I went to court and received five more years of imprisonment. I was crushed. A few days later, I was transferred to another facility---another county jail in a small town. AA and the Bible seemed miles away, but once again I was blessed with a God fearing cell mate. This new facility in Brazil, Indiana had Church services four days a week and a Christ based recovery program founded on the 12 steps of AA. At first, I didn’t think the recovery program was for me. I did think the Church was pretty cool and I enjoyed the services.

I eventually gave my life to Jesus, took up the study of the bible, and started this blog.....all done here at this Brazil facility. Yesterday was my day of realization and reconciliation. I went to the recovery meeting and was awarded the class text. The book is awarded through attendance to the weekly meetings. Our first lesson, where I was able to participate, is step 4. Right where I left off! Someone who does not believe and follow Christ could easily say that this is nothing more than coincidence, but I know better.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Prayer Granted by God

My spiritual journey actually began in Alcoholics Anonymous. The program requires a belief in a “higher power as you understand him”. I had only been sober 60 days when I began working the third step of the program which states:

“Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
understand him.” AA Handbook page 54

I was having difficulty knowing if I had completed this step. Of course, I had prayed that God would help me turn my will and my life over to Him, but I didn’t feel complete. It was one of those things where I knew it couldn’t be that easy.

Worldly Answers?
I decided to research the topic a little bit. I spoke with my current Alcohol counselor and tried to explain my difficulties. He gave me a couple of suggestions, but no concrete solutions......nothing tangible at least. I called my former drug and alcohol counselor. He and I have more of a friendship now. I asked him about my troubles and all he could do was chuckle. He told me, my troubles were natural and the third step was a big step. In not so many words, he told me it took time and that I would just “know”.

Everyday I would pray for God to help me turn my life over to his care. In a period of two weeks, I lost a lot. The first loss, and I thought my biggest, was a girlfriend I cared for deeply. I fought it, hard. I prayed more. Finally, I stood on the bank of a small pond in our city park after an AA meeting. I really had nothing in my life I was proud of......except a 60 day sobriety token/coin from AA. I was in work release, hated my job, felt friendless, and was facing another 9 years in prison. I stood there for awhile with my new AA token and prayed for God’s help. I finished my prayer and tossed my old 30 day token into the water, as if it were some eternal wishing well. The very next day, when the clock struck noon........I LOST IT ALL, including my freedom.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

True Followers

I would venture to guess that more people ‘believe’ in God, then actually follow Him. When stopping the average person on a street corner and asking if them if they believe in God. I think, most would probably shrug and say, “Sure”. This would give one the impression that to them, God is just a ‘matter of fact’. That they go and visit God all the time, ask questions, and just ‘hang out’ with Him on a daily basis. Geez, that would be nice if it were only true. However; every once in a while, you will run across a ‘true’ follower of Jesus Christ. The difference between the ‘ casual believer’ and the ‘true follower’ of Christ is astounding to me.

Being a ‘casual believer’ is kind of like being a window shopper. You have nothing to offer to the clerk inside the store. The window shopper may admire the items in the store and wish they owned such things themselves. But still, the window shopper refuses to go into the store and take part in the actual experience, I might say...life changing experience, of investing in the items located within the store. To be a ‘true follower’ of Jesus Christ, is to stop window shopping and boldly enter the store to make a purchase. Only then can the ‘clerk’ help you to achieve your goals.

As you can see, being a window shopper and being a customer are two different things. It is the same with being a casual believer of Jesus Christ as compared to being a true follower of Jesus Christ.

As I stated before, I am a new believer of Jesus Christ, but I am trying to become a true follower of Jesus Christ. This has not been and still is not an easy journey for me. Sure, I do the basics. I pray, I attend services, and I do actually read the Bible. I have already found out there is so much more to it than that. For example, the difference between just reading a book and actually studying a book. I guess all I can say at this point is that I am trying my best to follow God’s word. When I study the Bible, I don’t understand everything I read. Thankfully, our God is a Loving and Forgiving God. I think He understands that I am truly a ‘work in progress’. I know that He will continue to work with me as long as I keep putting forth the effort. So, at long last, the ‘window shopper’ has come in from the cold and......into the store.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Finding God......

Finding God.......HA! As if He could get lost. Never the less, that is what I entitled this blog. Not because He was ever lost, but because I am lost and I am still finding my way. If you are to know anything about me, then know that I am currently incarcerated in the state of Indiana. Now, I think I may know what some of my readers are thinking....... You are thinking that this is just another story by some inmate “finding God” in an effort to obtain a “get out of jail FREE card”. I beg to differ. I have already served a 3 year sentence and though I did not avoid religion during that time.....I certainly didn’t search for answers either. My point is that I’m not prone to jumping off religious cliffs for any reason and my search for a higher power is profoundly sincere. I hope this blog can help others find faith in the Lord and I hope my readers will help me as I continue to develop a relationship with Jesus. I was not raised in a church, but I originally gave my life to Jesus about 10 years ago. I became involved in a youth group by invitation from one of my friends. After about 6 months, the Youth Pastor moved on and I found myself without a spiritual mentor and lost faith in Jesus. The next ten years of my life have been filled with strife. A life of drugs, alcohol, and finally prison. I also fathered a child whom, in the past, I refused to allow into my life. I’m finding my way, but I’m still really confused and overwhelmed and as much as I hate to say it LOST!

I have always felt that blessed are those who God corrects It took me a long time to understand that I am not being punished for my actions, so much as God is “correcting me” to stay the path.

As my readers, I encourage you to ask questions and offer advice. I am currently blessed with an array of services. The institution I am being held in offers a service five times a week. It has truly been interesting. One good thing about being incarcerated, it allows me all the time I need to study His Word throughout the day. With all this said, God Bless and we will shall see where this journey leads........