Blue Chip – Surrender

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered twelve step program designed to help believers cope with their hurts, habits and hang-ups.  It’s not just recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, although it is for those that need it to be.  I have met people there who come for help with eating disorders, depression, or control issues.  It is a recovery program for any area of your life that is out of contol.

As part of Celebrate Recovery we surrender an area of our life that has gone out of control.  We realize that we are helpless to control it, so we surrender to the will of God.  We leave it at the cross.  As a symbol of this surrender we accept a blue chip.  If I were a current member of a Celebrate Recovery group, I would receive this chip among believers who support my recovery.

Since I have moved to California, I have not found another Celebrate Recovery group that feels safe.  There are some great programs here, but none that feel right to me, the way it did back home.  So to simulate the support of fellow believers I am taking a virtual blue chip.  Tonight I am surrendering an area of my life that is out of control.

If you feel there is an area of your life that is out of control, please try the following link.  Get connected to a Celebrate Recovery ministry group in your area.  No one is beyond salvation.  No one is beyond God’s love.  No one has committed a sin that cannot be forgiven.

Repentance

For the last couple of weeks I have been watching the show Friday Night Lights.  The show is filmed in Texas and it is like a soothing balm to a homesick heart.  The landscape is very similar to the terrain found in Oklahoma.  I love the accents, the simple homes, the rapidly changing weather, and the country people in the show.  However, there is one part of the show that I find intriguing enough to discuss on a blog.

In an earlier season the lead running back, Smash, decides to experiment with steroid use.  He knowingly begins injecting himself with illegal narcotics and keeps it secret from his family.  Eventually his mother finds out and confronts the coach.  The coach then threatens to report Smash to the proper authorities.  All of this is typical television drama.  When all of the characters hopes of a NFL career and a scholarship to college seem to be disappearing he comes at his mother.  The character accuses his mother of destroying his future.  Now who destroyed his future?  His concerned mother or his decision to use drugs illegally? 

In Season 3, the coach and his wife witness a parent beating up his son in the parking lot.  They run to help and provide shelter to the wife and child.  However, both the coach and his wife are educators and are required by law to report the incident to Child Protective Services (CPS).  They consider not reporting it, but as it happened in the parking lot of a crowded restaurant in view of dozens of families, that simply is not an option.  Eventually the coach and the wife have to come to terms with the family.  The friendship between the two women involved is destroyed.  The wife of the abuser says that she wants nothing more to do with the coach’s wife.  She is angry about the parenting classes and the unnanounced visits by CPS.  Who is really to blame for the visits and the classes, the coach and his wife or the father beating his son in the parking lot?  Who should she really have trouble forgiving, the woman that provided shelter and comfort to her and her son or the man who was beating her child?

This is a scenario that is usually repeated in popular television drama?  The question of accountability is just not popular in current societal views.  The idea of blaming a stranger or a relative for your problems is considered the norm.  However, scripture doesn’t speak of it.  David is a man after God’s own heart, and what kind of behavior does he model?  Was he sinless?  Absolutely not.  When David was caught in his sin with Bathsheba he fell before the Lord in repentance.  He took the sin as his own and repented.

The Bible tells us that we need to acknowledge our sin and repent before God to be forgiven.  We cannot blame those around us for our bad choices and expect resolution.  We all feel convicted for the sins in our life, but it is only by confessing those sins to a loving God that we can ever be resolved.  Otherwise we continue to be covered in it.  We cannot be washed clean in the blood of Christ until we repent of our sinful life and turn towards Him with an open heart.  Repentance cannot occur until we own and acknowledge our sins.

Matthew 4:17 NIV
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 

Acts 2:38 NIV
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Acts 3:19 NIV
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

In the show a football player makes a choice that results in the death of another person.  Justifiable or not, the man died.  Led astray by some bad advice and the writing of television drama, the boy does not call the police.  They hide the body.  The body may be hidden but the sin remained.  The boy becomes tormented by his sin to the extent where he can find no rest.  He speaks to a Christian teen minster who tells him of the peace of Christ, and how the truth will set him free.  The boy’s torment is resolved when he confesses of his sin and repents.  He confesses to the authorities ready to accept punishment, because the torment is worse.  So is our torment when we deny our sins and try to hide them.

God is perfect and merciful.  He wants His children to turn from sin and embrace Him.  He loved us so much that he sacrificed Himself for the forgiveness of sin.  We are washed clean in the blood of Christ, but only if we can acknowledge that we have sinned and repent. 

Revelations 3:19 NIV
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Crippling Fear

A miracle, in the form of my retirement fund, saved us from having to make the tough choice.  It bought me time.  The time I need to make this work for us.  The time I need to fulfill God’s plan for us.  The time I need to be patient and listen to God’s words, and be obedient to His will. 

Patience at a time like this is hard.  There is money in the bank, and we should be fine for awhile.  I am making ends meet, and I am getting it done with baby steps.  I try to focus on today, and make the choices that I can for the moment I am living in. 

The bible says that we should only worry about today, and not tomorrow.  It tells us to be faithful to God’s promises and not worry as the heathens worry.  So each day I get up and I do what I can do.  I want to be faithful to my savior.

Matthew 6:34 NIV
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

I continue to do what I can do, which means applying for job after job online and reading rejection letter after rejection letter.  This week I went and tested for a secretarial position.  There were over 500 applicants, and 100 of them were chosen to test.  So I went from having a 0.2% chance to having a 1% chance of getting the job.  This week I have two more tests of a similar nature.  Each day I make a choice to do whatever I can, and I leave the rest to God.

Sometimes being faithful and patience is harder than I can manage.  Sometimes I sit in front of my computer frozen by fear.  Unable to consider how to proceed.  Today while vacuuming the carpet I had a panic attack.  My adrenaline shot through the roof, and I started having chest pains.  This might sound terrible, but I think that it is at times like this when it is easy to despair that it is more important to turn to Christ.

Some might say that I have been foolish and naive.  Some might say that I was selfish to put my desire for a life with my child ahead of what is practical.  As I lay on my bed this morning trying to slow my breathing, I listened instead to my Father.  I put aside doubts and fear.  I put aside the nagging voices in my head that tell me that I am foolish, and I trust in the Lord.

I am reminded of Job, who lost everything.  He lost more than anything I have had to sacrifice in my entire lifetime.  He lost his home, his family, and even his children.  He became diseased and desolate sitting alone in sack cloth.  At the same time, he was faithful to God.  He was obedient to God.  The devil tried to turn his heart, but it could not be turned.  

I don’t know what the road ahead has in store for me, but God does and I trust Him.  So now, I live with fear and I praise God.  Right now I live with panic attacks and I praise God. 

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.