Am I Better Off?

20 Nov

Last night I had the opportunity to share with a Celebrate Recovery group in a series called; “The road to VICTORY-Am I better off now than I was a year ago?” Following is an excerpt from the lesson I wanted to share:

With that, I have been, for the last month, asking myself that question and it has caused me to do some soul searching. And, as is always the case, whenever I am asked to speak on any topic, God starts working on that area of my life in a big way! Or, maybe it’s that that God is always working on that part of my life and since I am focused on that topic, I just recognize it! The general assumption would be that since we are here, in a program of recovery, we must be better off! Right? That’s not always the case though and if we are sincere about our recovery, we must take a hard look at that question. And, we have to look at it through the same lens that we look at our recovery-One day at a time! So, to break it down further, am I better off today than I was yesterday? When asked about Providence Home, one of the things that I tell people is that we want to provide an environment where men can build a foundation and leave better off than when they arrived. One of my prayers is that I would be better off today than I was yesterday and that I would live my life so that everyone I come into contact with would leave better off than when we met. I pray tonight that we all leave here better off than when we arrived.  It is all about growth, it’s all about moving forward, and it’s all about being drawn closer to our Creator and closer to the center of His Will for us! Now, I don’t profess to know what God’s will for you or anyone else is. But, I do know that it consists of living a life that glorifies God and not ourselves. It is about being examples of 2 Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” We should look and act differently than we used to. There is no standing still in our recovery, we are either moving closer to God or we are moving away from Him. And as long as we are moving closer, we can answer “yes, we are better off”. If people see more of God and less of me, I can answer “yes”. When it gets right down to it, it’s not about me and what I can do anyway. It’s not about what I have or don’t have. It’s not about my problems, my anxieties or circumstances. We get so caught up in the circumstances, worries, and trials that we are experiencing right now that we lose our focus on what it truly is about.  It is ALL about who He is and what He’s done. In fact, we ask God to change our circumstances and He wants to use them to change us. The ultimate barometer for whether we are better off today than we were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago is the level to which our lives bring Glory to God! When we can stand in the middle of the storms that come (and they will come) and stay focused on Him (not the storm) while God draws us to Himself, we can truly answer “Yes, I am better off!”

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AS CLOSE TO A POLITICAL POST AS YOU’RE GONNA GET FROM ME

11 Nov

Leading up to, during, and now following the election, I have chosen to abstain from any politically related posts on Facebook or Twitter. I have managed to stay clear of debates and arguments and I have not made a made a public statement of my allegiance to one candidate or another (Not that anybody was waiting on the edge of their seat to find out who I endorsed) I did post one status expressing my concern regarding the  general lack of respect being shown towards each other (and their political views) You have to admit…Things got nasty:-(

Maybe this is a good place to reiterate that these are simply my opinions, observations, and beliefs.

Rather than people coming together for an election, the election has divided the people! I have heard people questioning whether or not the outcome could truly be Gods will. I don’t profess to know what Gods will for other people is and certainly don’t know for over 300 million americans. I don’t know whether or not the outcome was pleasing to God. But, I can’t help but believe the process and division certainly is NOT! According to Proverbs 6:16 & 19, one of the “seven (things) that are an abomination to Him” (v16) is “one who sows discord among his brothers” (v19) When I reference this scripture, I am not talking about any candidate. I am talking about us…anyone who has contributed to this division. We have separated ourselves from one another and further separated ourselves from God. The only winner in our separation is the enemy we all have in common-satan. And, he is revelling in our discord!

So, all votes are counted, there are no more ads on tv, and Facebook is beginning to get back to everyday drama, what do we do now? As for me and my house we will serve the Lord! Neither the councilman, mayor, governor, nor president hold the keys to my future. None of them have authored the story of the next four years of my (and my families) life. We, as a people, have become more worried about who represents our interests here on earth that we have forgotten that God always has our best interest in mind for eternity. We have become so consumed with our physical, financial, and earthly happiness that we are sacrificing our eternal joy. We are so adamant about being right and getting what we deserve that we have forgotten the fact that we are filled with sin and, by the Grace of God, haven’t gotten what we deserve.

Of all the pictures that floated around social media during the election, my favorite said; “No matter who is president, Jesus is King” That is the best news we could get and it is definitely cause to rejoice. He is still King, He is still on His throne, He is still soveriegn, and He still loves us! God knew the outcome of this election and when it gets down to it, we shouldn’t be worried about the next four (or forty) years because He is already there. We will all deal with tough times, we will all struggle, and we will all experience suffering.  But, we have the promise of a Savior as a way of escape! Whether we are struggling with the election, the results, people in general, or a litany of other issues, God will use any and all of our struggles to bring Glory to Himself. We tend to pray for God to change our circumstances when He may be using our circumstances to change us.

We are commanded to love God and love others. And, if we love Jesus, we will keep these commandments. I choose to do everything I can to keep these commandments. I choose to rest in the promise of eternity with Him and not play into the enemies hand by being devisive and sowing discord.

I have rambled longer than I intended to get to this point-Jesus is King and our future is in Him, not any man! The only other choice we need to be concerned with is that we were chosen by Him to be joint heirs to His Kingdom!

The Way Of Escape

29 Oct

As we rush through this life, we’re all dealing with all sorts of issues, problems, and pain! We then try to hide or mask these issues with other things; alcohol, drugs, pornography, adultery, idolatry, eating, gambling, and the list goes on. When we realize that these things only make the original issues worse, we try to figure out how to quit our self destructive behaviors. Most times, however, we have gone too far and there is no self-help book or human power that can help us! The real problem is that our actions, behaviors, addictions, and issues are all merely symptoms of a much bigger problem. And, that is a problem not uncommon to anyone in the universe.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

The problem…sin!

The Solution…JESUS!

I believe that no matter what we are struggling with, the Solution is (always) a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. He is “the way of escape” that we are provided! The stronger our relationship with Our Savior, the greater our ability to endure the temptation that we WILL face. The flip side is the weaker our relationship or the more we worship self and stuff, the less likely we are able to withstand the temptation! The bottom line for me is (and this hurts), when I choose sin, I love myself more than I love my Savior!

This is why it is so important that we, at the Providence Home, provide an environment that promotes, encourages, and nurtures that necessary intimate relationship with Jesus. We will be overtaken by sin and temptation and the only solution or “Way of escape” is Jesus Christ!

Men of Providence Home (Lost Now Found)

29 Oct
For the last week, we have been working on testimonies at the Providence Home. I am so blessed to be able to share life with these men, but this was an extra special blessing. We all have a story and it MATTERS! The most powerful testimonies can often be the shortest. In John 9:25, the blind mans response to the pharisees was short, yet powerful! When asked about Jesus, he says “One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see.” What I hear is “I was blind, I met Jesus, Now I see!!!” For any one of us that has experienced the transforming Grace of Jesus, this is our story too.
My friends have shared their short testimonies in the attached video. First you see their “I was blind” statements followed by their “Now I see” statements. What is important is the in between-The Transformation! The only power sufficient to bring about that change is the Grace of Jesus Christ!

Hello world!

28 Oct

Okay, Here goes my venture into the blogging world! This ones gonna be short and sweet! I hope to, via this site, keep everyone up to date on whats happenning in my life, the Providence Home, and any other ministries we happen to be involved with at the time. Love you all (If theres even anyone reading this) and God Bless.

In His Service,

Jimmy