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One of the most popular verses of the Bible is John 3:16. Some of us remember the guy with the rainbow wig holding a John 3:16 sign in the end zone at professional football games. Until I became a believer and read the Bible, I didn’t know what the sign meant but then found out that it is this somewhat famous verse:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, emphasis added).
I am emphasizing the connection between love and giving that is evident in this verse and many others, including this: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2).
True love will involve giving, which seems plain enough. The problem comes from my tendency to pair giving with another word: receiving. Giving and receiving. When I give, what will I receive? This...
When working the steps in 12-Step programs, we do a lot of writing. The first step requires us to write about our sordid past (and often current) behaviors in order to drive home the concept of powerlessness. Step 4 requires a written inventory of our past and current resentments and character defects so we can surrender them to God. In step 8, we make a list of all of the people we have harmed—and that can require a lot of writing—to prepare to make amends to them.
These are very valuable exercises with great outcomes, but it occurred to me that not much writing is done about the future. What are my desired outcomes and what kind of a person do I want to be? I know where I have been, where I am now, but where am I going? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to become?
I am particularly concerned about this because I am aware of the stalled progress I sometimes see in my 12-Step program. There are people with decades of recovery that still seem to be stuck and give the...
My friend Tim recently posted on Facebook and concluded with this: “The final chapter of your life has not yet been written.” I like this very much and believe it is a good thing to live by. It helps me to understand that the race is not finished and there is much more to be done in us and by us.
It is easy to lose sight of the bias we have for positive change. Many of us know the verse that says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). But it is directly connected to the following verse:
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
I think we can agree that we each have a ways to go before we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. But that is exactly what God has in mind for us that are His children. These two verses together...
In Identity - Part 1, I talked about the importance of “I am” statements and how they relate to personal identity and behavior. I have given a lot of thought to my own identity and what is really true about me.
For me as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, it has to start with my identity in Christ and how God sees me. If you aren’t born again spiritually, this approach may not make sense to you, and I suggest that you read the posts on salvation.
Most of these are personalizations of scriptural statements that I have written in my journal. Because of the power of “I am” statements, I have tried to phrase them that way. The idea isn’t necessarily for you to take my statements as your own, but just to give you an example of what I see as my true identity. However, these things are as true for any believer as they are for me.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in...
NOTE: While this is not an official 12-step site and is not endorsed by any 12-step program, I am going to give a disclaimer about this post. This is the first post where I am going to openly question some 12-step dogma. This is not to question the way 12-step programs operate in this particular area, nor am I suggesting that you try to change things in your own group. I am only relating an important part of my own journey. The views expressed here are my own.
“Hi, I am Rick and I am a sexaholic.”
This is the way I have introduced myself in a lot of 12-step meetings since 2016 (I still attend two meetings a week). “I am” is a statement of identity. It tells me who I am, or at least how I see myself.
“I am” statements are significant in the Bible. The Lord Jesus Christ used them throughout the gospel of John to establish who He was (and is). Here are just three:
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me...
There are certain words in the Bible that travel together. Glory and grace are such a pair and can often be seen in close proximity to each other. Paul uses the grace, mercy, and peace triplets in introducing his letters. Mercy and truth sometimes meet together and righteousness and peace have been seen kissing each other (see Psalm 85:10).
I like to call words like this “companions” to each other. Noticing these patterns can help amplify the meaning and significance of each individual word. They can give a sense of balance to each characteristic that the word describes.
I have a good friend that is kind. She describes herself as kind and I can definitely see that about her. I am thankful for the kindness she has shown to me. Because her kindness is such a beautiful characteristic, I have been thinking a lot about how to have more of it my life.
Here is a definition of kindness from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition...
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