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#368045 - 08/13/11 11:20 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: Mountainous Buck]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
No Problem at all. They give me some encouragment, seems even on really bad days, so I like to pass it on!


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#368046 - 08/13/11 11:21 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.
Rev. 3:20

Some people enter without knocking. It happens. Our boundaries have not always been respected. As a result, we have built some significant defenses. Our doors have multiple locks. When needed, they can be latched, barred, bolted, double bolted and sealed securely.

As we begin the healing process, however, we begin to experiment with allowing our defenses to come down. We unlatch one lock at a time.

Nothing is more helpful in this process than having people who respect our boundaries - people who will knock and wait patiently for an answer. So, this picture of Jesus is full of good news for us. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. It is pure invitation. God does not invade. God does not demand. God does not manipulate. God gently, persistently knocks. God says 'here I am, I would like to spend time with you'.

Recovery is a process of learning to trust God. Trust grows slowly. We can't do that all at once. But perhaps today we can listen carefully for a knock. Tomorrow we may be able to manage a "who is there?". And, with persistence, we will some day sit at table with God and enjoy God's loving presence.

Lord, thank you for knocking.
Thank you for respecting my boundaries.
And, thank you for knocking persistently.
It takes me a while to respond
because my doors have so many latches.
Give me courage this day
to open the doors of my life to you.

Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368119 - 08/14/11 12:08 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:1

Most of us have spent a lot of money and a lot of effort on things that do not satisfy. When our efforts do not result in serenity, we become more and more confused and more and more frantic. Into the middle of this chaos and desperation comes an invitation. God invites us to receive 'food' which is designed to delight our souls.

God's invitation is to people who are thirsty or hungry. It is to people who are working hard but finding little satisfaction. The invitation extends to those who have no money or assets of any kind. God is not sparing or stingy. God is an extravagant giver of good things. God wants us to delight in the richest of fare.

The nourishment at God's feast does more than please our taste-buds. This meal is more than mere esthetic pleasure. The nourishment from God's table feeds our souls with delight. It is nourishment that sinks down to the deepest places of our being. God seeds delight in the foundations of our soul. And from these seeds come serenity, peace and the courage to continue.

God, I'm thirsty.
I have spent my money and energy
on things that have not satisfied.
God, my soul is hungry.
I need food for my soul.

Help me to come to you, Lord.
You know my hesitation.
You know how suspicious I am
of such an extravagant invitation.
Help me to come as an eager child
to receive good things from you.
Feed my soul, Lord,
until it is full of delight.

Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368167 - 08/15/11 06:28 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

There are three common but unhelpful ways of dealing with our failures and sins. First, there is denial. We tell ourselves that everybody has problems, so it doesn't really matter. Nothing of any value comes from this effort to cover-up. A second unhelpful strategy is to blame others for what has happened. This can range from different versions of 'the-devil-made-me-do-it' to 'I'm just a product of my environment'. Nothing of any value comes from this effort to cover-up. Thirdly, instead of turning the emotional energy outwards in blame we can turn it against ourselves as self-loathing. We see ourselves as monsters and what we have done as unforgivable. Nothing of value comes from this effort to atone for our own sins.

God invites us to another path. God invites us to be transformed. God invites us to stop denying, blaming and catastrophisizing about our lives. In order to change and grow we need to face the reality of our actions and attitudes. We need to understand that our sins are like scarlet, like crimson. They are life-draining. Destructive. But we are forgivable. We are invited to receive forgiveness. And we are invited to change. The life-draining behaviors that we have pursued can be changed. Changed from bright red to snow white. We do not have to let denial, blame and shame lock us into destructive, hurtful patterns. We can be clean and sober. White as snow. Forgiven.

Lord, free me from denial.
The pretense is choking me to death.
Lord, free me from blame.
It's not working for me anymore.
Lord, free me from self-loathing
The shame is killing me.
Help me to face the truth.
Help me to accept your offer of forgiveness and change.
Make me white as snow.
Make me as clean and pure as new wool.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368219 - 08/16/11 07:26 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Many of us find it very difficult to feel confident in intimate relationships. If we learned early in life that the people most important to us were unapproachable, then confidently approaching others as adults may be difficult. There are many ways to learn that approaching other people is dangerous. It can come from abuse, or criticism, or disinterest.

One result of experiences of this kind is that we find it difficult to be confident when we approach God. This is particularly true when we are feeling fragile, weak or needy. The last thing we expect is mercy and grace in our time of need. We expect to be criticized. We expect God to say 'why are you still so needy?'. We expect to be abandoned. We expect God to say 'I'm busy now.' We expect to be rejected. We expect God to say 'If only you had more faith or prayed more or read the Bible more or trusted me more.' With expectations like this, it is no surprise that we lack confidence when approaching God.

But God offers us an invitation we long to hear. He invites us to approach. And, God invites us to come with confidence. God will pay attention. God will hear us. God will be interested in our well-being. God will respond with mercy, grace and help.

I don't have much confidence, Lord.
I don't trust other people very much .
I don't trust you very much.
I don't expect mercy and grace
from anybody, especially in times when I'm this needy.
I expect criticism, abandonment, and rejection.

Thank you for inviting me to come to you.
Thank you for providing good reasons to have confidence in you.
You are full of mercy and grace.

This is a time of need for me, Lord.
Give me confidence to approach you today.
I need your mercy and grace.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368315 - 08/17/11 07:07 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

We can hang on to our attempts to control ourselves and others and stay anxious. Or we can let go and let God.

We are anxious because we think we have to take care of everything and everybody. We are anxious because we believe we cannot be happy unless we can control the people we love. We are anxious because life's problems are more than we can handle, but we try to handle them on our own anyway.

God invites us to give up our anxious way of life. We do not have to take care of everything and everybody. We can, instead, let God take care of us. We can bring our anxious hearts and our long lists of concerns to God.

Responding to this invitation requires a great deal of us. It requires that we acknowledge that we cannot do what we have been trying to do. We are powerless. It requires that we turn to God. It requires that we release our control, our anxiety, our very lives into God's care.

God invites us to serenity. "Give up your anxiety," God says "bring the concerns of your heart to me."

I am anxious, Lord.
And I feel guilty about feeling anxious.
And I feel anxious about feeling guilty.
And I feel anxious about feeling guilty about feeling anxious.
Help!
I am overwhelmed by all I am trying to do.
I need your invitation to serenity.
I bring you my requests today, Lord.
I bring them to you.
I admit that I do not have the power to solve these problems.
I acknowledge that you are Powerful.
I ask you to take care of me today.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368387 - 08/18/11 07:04 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. "
1 Corinthians 11:24

People in the recovery process are people with painful memories. We remember our losses. We remember our sins. We remember the sins which have been committed against us. It is part of the hard work of recovery to face these memories, to grieve them and to come to terms with them. But sometimes the painful memories become so powerful that it seems like nothing will be able to compete with them for our attention. The memory of pain consumes us. In times like this we need a powerful new memory that can challenge the dominance of our painful memories.

Jesus invites us to receive a new and startling memory. "Remember me," Jesus says, "Eat the bread and drink the wine and remember that I gave my life for you. I gave my life because I love you. Take this new memory. Allow it to shape the way you think about yourself and about life and about me. Allow yourself to remember me."

It is not that the memory of Jesus' sacrificial love erases all of our painful memories. Painful memories still have to be faced and grieved if healing is to come. But God offers us in Jesus a memory powerful enough to compete with the most powerful of painful memories. The death-grip which painful memories have on our attention can be broken by the powerful memory of God's love.

Help me to remember you, Lord.
Help me to find a place
in my mind and heart
for the memory of your love for me.
I want the memory of your love, Lord,
to be the most powerful of my memories.
I want it to be
The Memory
that shapes me.
Help me to remember you.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368451 - 08/19/11 07:08 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.
1 John 1:8-9

Few people will be so overt as to say 'I am without sin'. Self-deceit is rarely that obvious. It often comes masked in socially acceptable and socially rewarded forms of behavior.

Perfectionism, for example, is a common expression of self deceit. We try very hard to look good. Sometimes we work so hard to look perfect, ('without sin'), that we nearly convince ourselves that it's true. Then, in the moments when we suddenly remember our human condition, we feel shame and self-contempt. And this often makes us want to work even harder to cover over reality with more layers of self deceit.

But self-deceit will never lead to change and growth. Only honesty can bring change. Recovery begins as we face our failures, our wrong-doing, and our self-destructive choices.

For people like us, who have tried very, very hard to be very, very good, facing reality can be painful work. The courage to pursue taking an honest inventory of our lives is not possible without some source of compassion and forgiveness that can replace our shame and self contempt. The good news is that God is compassionate and forgiving. God freely, joyfully, completely pardons. Because of this hope, we can look honestly at ourselves. Because we can turn to God and find mercy and pardon, we can make a fearless inventory of our lives.

Dear God, I have tried hard.
I have tried harder.
I have tried my hardest.
But it has only led to self-deceit.
Help me, God, I need you.
I need your compassion to overpower my self contempt.
I need your forgiveness to overpower my self condemnation.
Rid me of self-deceit, God.
And build in me a capacity for honesty.
Not so that I can be perfect, but so that I can genuinely change.
And, so that I can rejoice in your love for me.
Amen

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#368453 - 08/19/11 07:34 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
Mountainous Buck Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1627
Loc: Minnesota
That is just what I needed this morning

Thank you

_________________________
We have to take responsibility for what we're not responsible for.

�It doesn't matter where you've come from,
It matters where you go" Frank Turner

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#368533 - 08/20/11 12:50 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: Mountainous Buck]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2605
"So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled"
1 Thessalonians 5:6

The first step toward honesty is to pay attention. In the words of this text, the choices we face are either to sleep or to be alert and self-controlled.

There are days when we would rather 'sleep'. There are days when the emotional numbness of denial seems less painful then the alertness required by recovery. Couldn't we just 'let it ride' for a day? Couldn't we just 'sleep' for a while?

Sometimes people encourage us to 'sleep'. "Why are you still paying attention to that? It was a long time ago!" Or "Why are you still 'holding on' to that? Just forgive and get it behind you." Wouldn't it be great to get this over with quickly and not have to pay attention to it anymore?

There is a rest, a serenity, that comes from God. But it comes from 'alertness' not from 'sleep'. God's peace is not like the 'sleep' in this text. This sleep is denial, it is avoidance, it is distraction, it is pretending, it is death. Being alert means that we allow ourselves to see and hear, to use our senses and mind and heart. It means that we pay attention to what is happening inside of us and around us. The text urges us to be alert, to pay attention. Pay attention, it urges, even if life is painful, even if it is not what we want it to be.

Lord, help me to pay attention today!
Help me not to put my feelings to sleep.
I want to be aware of my thoughts and feelings, Lord.
I want to be able to experience both the pain and joy of life today.
Help me to pay attention.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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