Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

                                                                                                CELEBRATE RECOVERY          
                                                                                              Changing Lives All Over the World 



Greetings Partners & Friends,

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

I hope this letter finds you keenly aware of the treasures in your life and therefore experiencing life to the full. Most of us are incredibly blessed yet we find reasons to complain.
H.U. Westermayer wrote, "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
“You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." ~ Charles Spurgeon
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." ~ Cicero
Melodie Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

This holiday season I share with you these thoughts in regard to gratitude and then I’d like to ask you to do something.
The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Don’t worry about anything. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing. Worry is a learned response, you learned it from your parents, peers or experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can be unlearned. Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”(Mt 6:34 NLT)

Pray about everything. Use the time you’ve spent worrying for praying. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a whole lot less to worry about. God is interested in every detail of your life so pray about everything.

Thank God in all things. Always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love, but gratitude. It actually increases your immunities; it makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied; it’s never good enough. So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful in everything, it reduces stress and increases happiness.

Think about the right things. So if you want to reduce stress in your life and raise the barometer of happiness, you must change the way you think. The way you think determines how you feel, and the way you feel determines how you act. This involves a deliberate, conscious choice where you change the channels. You choose to think about the right things: focus on the positive and on God’s Word. When we no longer worry, when we pray about everything, when we give thanks, when we focus on the right things, the apostle Paul tells us the result is, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NLT).

What a guarantee! He is guaranteeing peace of mind.

So if gratitude is as important and powerful as these folks seem to think, I am asking you to do something that can be a huge blessing in your life. I want you to make a list. We make all sorts of lists all the time, grocery lists, to-do lists, prayer lists, and especially in CR, inventory lists, amends lists, lists of things we have done wrong, things we have done right, people we have hurt, those who have hurt us, those we need to forgive and those we need to make amends too. There are all kinds of lists in our lives. I am asking you to make a gratitude list, things you are thankful for! Make a list write it down it is the most important list you will ever make. Keep it close, look at it often and add to it frequently. I believe this simple exercise has the potential to literally change your life! Try it for thirty days just see what happens.
  
I believe that if you will do what I am asking, you will be radically blessed. I believe it, but more importantly God guarantees it! How about that! I am going to do it myself and my list starts like this;

 “Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,,, (Rom 1:8NLT).

We have many treasures in our lives; you are one of them, thank you!
Jim & Pam

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Celebrate Recovery Principle 5

Hey Partners & Friends,
Celebrate Recovery Principle 5 says, “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.”
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” Mt 5:6 GNT
There is a lot packed into that seemingly simple statement. Let’s break it down.
Voluntarily- I choose to submit, God doesn’t force me, he gives me the opportunity to choose Him, and it is His passionate desire that I do so. He lets me make choices right or wrong. I must voluntarily make that choice.
Submit-This word submit can’t be over emphasized. Because that is the last thing we want to do, submit to anybody or anything. We want to control our lives, and that’s exactly how we got into the mess we are in. Surrender to the Lord, ironically it seems, leads to victory. Victory that we have been unable to attain no matter how hard we try. This idea is contrary to our thinking, submit to win, and surrender to have victory? How does that work?
 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ Isa 55:8-9 NLT
Every change- not just the changes that we want to make but the changes God wants to make in our lives. We must not try to pick and choose which character defects we want to keep and which ones we are willing to let go.
Then we must humbly ask- sincerely, earnestly ask for God’s help, understanding that we can’t do this on our own. If we could we would have already done so. We need our higher power Jesus Christ to enable us to get past the destructive behaviors and allow Him to remove our character defects. We’ve got to come to God honestly, wholly, and earnestly asking for his help to remove our character defects. We are looking for change, deep change in our lives, more than just changing behaviors (which we must change to get different outcomes) but change in our character which causes us to become more like Christ. “And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”      2 Pet 1:4NLT
Who does not want victory in their life? At Celebrate Recovery we learn how to volunteer for it! God doesn’t force us to turn to him, He loves us with a passion and He wants us to choose to love him back. Many times we turn to God as a last ditch effort, we are at the end of our rope, nowhere else to go. Basically we give up trying to do it our way and say God, HELP!
Thanks for volunteering with us in this ministry!
Jim & Pam
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