New Wine of the Spirit – Post 5

Last night I got to thinking that one of my biggest problems with getting sober is denial.  I deny that I have a true addiction.  I justify my drinking by pointing out others I know that are worse.  I deny that drinking is a sin.. “Jesus drank wine.”

My greatest threat to relapse is lying to myself saying, “I can just have a couple drinks.”  The truth is that I’m an alcoholic and I cannot just have a couple drinks.  The truth is that I have setup alcohol as an idol.  I push God aside and get drunk.  Drinking drives me away from Him in my relationship because in my heart I feel guilt.

I know that God loves me beyond any mistake I could ever make, but when I drink I push Him away.  Much like Adam in the garden I hide.  I ignore Him and put alcohol first.

I’ve asked God to give me a heart of repentance.  This morning in meditation I read Lamentations.

The Lord is righteous for I rebelled against His commandment.  Hear now all peoples and behold my sorrow… -Lamentations 1:18

See O Lord, that I am in distress, my soul is troubled, my heart is overturned within me, for I have been very rebellious.  Outside the sword bereaves, at home it is like death. -Lamentations 1:20

I am distressed, my soul is troubled, I have been rebellious, I am filled with sorrow, and at home – where I would do the majority of my drinking – it has been like death.

At an AA meeting last week someone who had been sober for over four years said that he feels like he’s finally living.  That’s what I want.  I want to live life the way God intended it to be for me.  I do not want to be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 4

Today was my first day involved in the daily activities.  Praise God my detox has gone extremely well.  We do open meditation each morning and I decided to do scripture meditation.  The Lord led me to Psalm 27.  Immediately I felt His gracious and healing presence.  The verse that really spoke to me was Psalm 27:5.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion.

This verse reassured me that I am in the right place for my recovery.  His overwhelming presence comforted me.  I have been in trouble, a lot of trouble.  I asked God for help and He responded.  He brought me to a safe place where I can recoup and of course He came with me.

A couple tears started to roll down my cheek and I gently opened my hands up to Him as an act of worship and gratitude.  He truly cares for me and wants the best for me.  He never gives up on me, and is always there when I humbly ask for help.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life, of who shall I be afraid? -Psalm 27:1

Shall I fear addiction? No because the Lord is my deliverer.

Shall I fear guilt and shame? No because the Lord is my redeemer.

Shall I fear a lack of trust in myself and the potential of relapse? No because the Lord is my strength and Christ lives in me.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

 

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 3

There’s a single painting hanging on the wall of my room.  The picture is a view from the shoreline looking out into the ocean.  A single small fishing boat is in the calm waters not far from the shore.  At the bottom of the painting is a caption with the word, “BREATHE.”

I’ve found myself looking at this painting and reflecting a lot.  It reminds me of a time I felt God’s presence and complete peace while floating in the calm waters of San Clemente Beach.  From that memory it reminds me of the day I was baptized years later at that same exact beach.

The overall scene reminds me of God’s beauty in nature and the many times I’ve gazed into the sky with awe.  The word “breathe” I receive as a word from the Lord and it takes me to Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God.

In the stillness we are just breathing.  We are breathing in His life.  When we are still we are not anxious, worried, distressed or angry.  We are simply still in the presence of God and all the life around us that He created.

I will accept this word of the Lord today and be still and breathe.  I will cast my burdens away in His presence and accept His healing grace.  It’s in the stillness when we slow down and breathe that we feel His presence.  It’s in the stillness that we know He is God.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 2

Day one of sobriety.  Sleeping last night was a little tough.  I fell asleep easily but woke up around 3:30am and found myself with racing thoughts and restlessness.  I opened my bible and was led to two scriptures:

So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Brith their god.  Thus the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies… -Judges 9:33-34

The Israelites returned to idolatry.  They returned once they forgot what the LORD had done for them.

Alcohol is my enemy and my idol.  It is out to destroy me.  A few years back one of the first dreams the Lord gave me as an adult believer was of the Apostle Paul coming to me and saying, Lest you forget!”  God soon after delivered me from my enemy alcohol and I remained sober for a good 9 months or so.  I believe in the dream I was being warned to remember the deliverance the Lord would give me, and in that to remember the goodness and providence He would provide me.

Towards the end of my 9 month sobriety streak I started struggling with extreme doubt and unbelief which ultimately led to depression.  I do believe now this was spiritual warfare and I was under attack badly.  I told myself lies, that I had gotten sober by my own strength.  Pride and anger crept in and I felt I had been deceived.  In an intellectual sense I almost lost my faith entirely.  But my heart did not give up.  Though intellectually I was denying the existence of God my heart held strong to the truth.

In our hearts I believe we all know the truth.  It is our limited understanding that conflicts and drives us to ignore our heart.  Today I humbly push aside my own understanding and listen to my heart.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5

Yes, it’s easier said than done.  We are intellectual beings and have a hunger for knowledge and understanding.  But if we are honest with ourselves there is a whole lot in this life that we will never fully understand.  I’m being honest with myself and accepting that I don’t have all the answers.  I never did and never will.  But I have no doubt that my heart knows the Truth.

The next verse the Lord showed me was John 15:5.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

In the past couple months I’ve told myself a few times that I would go sober.  These attempts never lasted more than a day or two.  They didn’t last because I was trying to do it on my own, through my own strength.  But my own strength does not have the power to overcome my addiction.  By my own strength I fail again and again.  The only lasting sobriety I have ever found was when I was abiding in Christ.  It is then that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  I cannot do this without Him, and so to Him I ask: “Lord help me!”

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. -John 14:26

Holy Spirit help me, fill me and remind me of the goodness and deliverance of the Lord my God!

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

Holy Ghost movie free for 48 hours

Originally posted on In My Father's House:

Holy-Ghost-Home-Page-DesignHey, quick post. If you like Darren Wilson’s movies (Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights), you can see his newest offering online for free for 48 hours on iBethel.tv (starting Sept.6th, 11 AM PST). But even if you haven’t heard of him at all, check it out! You don’t have to be a subscriber to get it.

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New Wine of the Spirit – Post 1

Today I find myself in rehab.  My emotions are mixed – positive and negative.

Negative:  I feel guilt, like I messed up.  I feel disappointed in myself.  I feel upset that I have to leave my wife at home by herself.

Positive:  I am glad I have taken a drastic step towards sobriety.  I know I have a problem and ignoring it as I have does nothing.  I am ready for a change!

My problem frustrates me.  I wish I did not have it.  Part of me says, “You’re better than this.  You shouldn’t have to be here.”  But I know that is a lie.  I am not better than this, I have an addiction and I need to come to this realization.   Today I set my hope in God’s help.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9 

More mixed emotions: I find comfort in this verse and at the same time I find it unsettling.  I love the idea that His strength is perfect in my weakness but I find it hard to fully believe.  Who should I believe?  God’s word or my doubt?

Lord I believe, help my unbelief. -Mark 9:24

Today I choose to have faith!

I will simplify this verse and say, “God I believe you can help me and I want you to help me.  I accept your help.  I accept your grace.”

Abide in Me and I in you. -John 15:4

Yes Lord, I accept your commandment.  We will abide in each other and your perfect strength will overcome my weakness.  I believe you are with me now and thank you for your presence.

The best is yet to come!

 

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Introduction

For the past 44 days (July 22nd – Sept 4th 2014) I have been in a rehabilitation treatment center for alcohol.  I am now home and my heart is overflowing with a new hope, peace and gratitude.  This is the launch of a blog series where I will post daily my different journal entries I wrote while there.  In them I talk about whatever God was teaching or showing me and the different encounters I had with Him.

I will update this page with links to past posts so that any new readers may go back and read previous entries if desired.  I invite you to follow along with my journey to sobriety in a story of God’s grace and deliverance.

-Justin

 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. -Ephesians 5:18