What do we turn to when we are dazed and confused about the complex aspects of our lives? Whether it is our health, wealth, or situations which baffle us, we usually find out about what our reliance is on when the rubber meets the road. At that moment of personal confrontation we may discover we headed toward the immediate relief rather than the Divine Guidance for the actual solution.
It goes without saying that addiction certainly lends itself toward the quick fix, but when faced with using a band aid or surgery, we often choose the band aid just because it is so much easier. How will it make us feel now rather than later. Technology and the advances in communication have made it even more now, a word that defines the new normal - I want it now!
While walking the treadmill in the fitness center to help rehabilitate my back and leg situation, I saw a young man go a couple minutes on another treadmill, check his phone for a few minutes, do some exercises for a few minutes and then repeat the process several times. It challenged me also to think of how valuable the phone has become that we can't even let it down for more than a few minutes without checking it.
What would our lives be like if God were consulted as often as we check our phone? You see it is a mindset of immediacy and quickness that has turned our society into permanent ADHD. And in turn, it is turning us into that immediate answer type of folk instead of people who need to think before we react.
In Psalm 42 David does just that. He is up and down about what is going on in his life, how he was revered, yet how he has fallen. Whether he was depressed or remembering the good old days he was always seeking Divine Guidance. If he had had a cell phone who knows what that Psalm might have looked like?
But instead we see the answer in verse 8, which gives us confidence that whatever the problem is, however difficult life may be, God is waiting for us to seek his guidance, 24-7.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life!
But if we are still having problems with putting that cell phone down, remember there is an APP for Bible, and that is how we we can get answers now, in places just like Psalm 42. Problem solved!
Pain - It is the great depressor, the ultimate judge of how much one can do, and it is one of the things we share in common so often in life. How do we handle pain? How can we adjust our lives to be positive when either our physical or mental pain is at a peak? To those who can, I take my hat off to you and salute your courage. To those who are struggling to sort this out, we may offer some help.
Throughout this last year I have been battling back pain, a hamstring pull and now some sort of pinched nerve/sciatica. Every time I walk there is immense Pain. And then when we do these meetings that involve recovery we see just as much immense Pain of a different kind. Either way, this week has brought this topic to the forefront of my mind.
I think of others who are alive around me and just what they have been through, and how many people I see just limping, in wheel chairs or in those motorized carts in Walmart. In fact, I tried one out the other night and nearly ran down several people, to whom I would have also caused pain. What I see is a majority of sad, painful faces who are struggling.
Then, every so often, I see one smiling, and I think, "that's what I want to be like" even though the Pain causes an almost instantaneous opposite reaction. Then I think of all the pain and suffering I would have had I not met the Lord, and that smile becomes a little easier to develop. The 23rd Psalm comes to mind as does Jeremiah 29:11.
What I really use for inspiration is this: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
That tells me God understands both the physical and mental aspect of Pain. It can cause someone with a great heart to shut down. It can cause a loss that has no replacement, except for the love of a God who is always with us to lift us up in our darkest moments. And even when we may accidentally run someone down in a cart in Walmart, he has an answer.
He helps us with both!
Most of us had a dream once, or maybe more than once, of how life would be for us. As children we see stories like Cinderella, Snow White, and others that depict Prince Charming coming along, the white knight saving the day or happily ever after endings that are so positive and wonderful, but life itself proves to be so much more complicated and confusing.
Circumstances send us on a roller coaster ride that often makes us want to throw up from all the motion of events. Life is a journey where detours take us into many dark places that have gremlins and ghouls hiding there that are not out for our best interests. At some point, we must come to believe that a power greater than ourselves knows this and provides a way to sanity and the ultimate happy ending.
Thus we are beginning a new series on Sunday's at ATB that is based on the book The Life You've Always Wanted by noted author John Ortberg. In it he speaks about how we can navigate this complicated journey of life by applying spiritual principles to experience the life God intended for us. In other words, a treasure map to Treasure Island. We remember that one, right? Only difference is that His treasure is worth so much more than silver and gold!
This Sunday, highly acclaimed* preacher Dusty Rush leads us to another clue of how The Practice Of Prayer brings us closer to that treasure. In most other class topics we are led closer and closer in a journey of excitement that unveils the mystery of what a good life can be and how to deal with those detours that pop up from time oi time.
Join us on Sundays at 9 AM or on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 PM for our 12 Step meetings where we continue to offer solutions to The Life You've Always Wanted!
Why waste all that time going the wrong way when we have the treasure map?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.