The gift of grace Sunday, Sep 16 2012 

If I could, I would take charge of my life and make it turn out just right. I can’t. I have tried and failed repeatedly.

Fully functional people are organized, disciplined and able to get what they want out of life. Organization is out of the question for me; the very idea of discipline makes me feel guilty. I have broken virtually every resolution I ever made. And as for getting what I want out of life, what I want most is love, and love comes only as a gift. All I can “do” is be willingly, actively open to receiving the gift.

I know love is a gift because I have experienced more love in my life than I could ever have deserved or earned. I cannot take credit for any of it. It is all grace. I have no doubt that a loving prescence has abided with me over the years, mysteriously weaving love’s presence through my aspirations and failures.

Still, I cannot shake the feeling that I should have done it all by myself. Some tight, addicted voice inside me keeps saying, “You should be on top of things, in control” it is a cop-out to depend on grace.” The voice is old and empty’ I know it is not from my living heart. But it is powerful. For every failure in my life, I feel either guilt or shame, and sometimes both. And it is all right.

It is better than all right, for it has been more my failures than my successes that have opened me to love. When I find myself being overconcerned with efficiency, I turn my attention to the mysterious, amazing grace that has seen me through all my dysfunctions. Sometimes I turn there because I need help. Sometimes I turn in gratitude. But mostly, my turning toward grace is a simple, wordless act of love.

Prayer: God, help me to loosen my compulive grip on myself, and teach me to receive your grace.

-Gerald G. May- excerpt taken from Galatians 2:20-21,  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible


An Encouraging Word Tuesday, Jan 31 2012 

If we watch the sheep in a pasture, we will see them do an interesting thing. Sometime during the day, each sheep, entirely on its own, leaves the flock and trots over to the shepherd, one at a time. The shepherd tenderly caresses the nose and ears, rubs the neck and head, and whispers in its ear. Calmed, encouraged and reassured, the sheep goes back to graze with the rest.

We also need such daily affirmation and reassurance from God. When our souls are restored, they are revived and stimulated. We need the caress, the rub, the “pep talk” from our shepherd. Unless we hear an “encouraging word,” we become fearful and frantic.

Recovery is a place to find assurance and acceptance. Our new life of health doesn’t happen automatically. We need the constant and daily support of our group, the continual uplift of our meetings and the encouragement of our fellow members and sponsors. We simply cannot make it alone, and we must have the concrete “pat on the back.” We need to know we are safe, that we are doing well and that we can count on the encouragement of our entire “recovering flock.” Without this reassurance, we are lost sheep.

Prayer: Good Shepherd, thank you for your loving words of reassurance and restoration.

-A. Philip Parham- excerpt taken from Psalms 23  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible