Today with Chris and Tracey – Working the Program

Geographical change – moving 900 miles from home, wow. Have to admit, we did not see this coming. Truly trusting God is a ride that if harnessed and placed in a theme park would really be a head thrower! We absolutely know (after much prayer, talking to our sponsors and our families) that when we accepted the offer that was made to us it was indeed God’s will for us. Because of that we figured that all would be “automatically” wonderful when we got here – not the case. Anger, resentments and fears were waiting in force when we arrived. “Welcome to the wonderful Gulf Coast!” Actually, the Gulf Coast is wonderful – life is life and people are people wherever you go.

Anger, resentments and fears were a very real possibility because things were not the way “we expected” or the way “we wanted.” Yes, we were led to believe some things that did not take place. We were told some things that are not happening as fast as we anticipated. It would have been very easy for us to succumb to the anger, resentments and fear. It would have been easy for us to pack-up and go back home. Fact is, it would have been easy for us to lose our faith and quit.

We both say and believe that “courage is simply fear that has said its prayers.” This is what we did – we prayed. Not only did we pray but we applied what we have learned along our path of recovery, we took the suggestions. We talked to our sponsors and our spiritual advisors. We went to meetings – shared and listened. We got involved in service work – we put feet to our prayers, trusted our programs of recovery and gave it over to God. A dear friend with several years under his belt ask me if “we were certain that we were where God wanted us?” I emphatically answered “yes.” He looked at me, smiled and asked “what’s the problem then?” He then pointed out that as long as we are where God wants us it does not matter what anyone else says, does or thinks. That is their business and none of ours. All we have to do is the “next right thing” and the “next thing right.”

We are so blessed today. We are both in love with God and each other. We both have and work a strong program of recovery. We both have AWESOME sponsors who are sticking with us until we find the sponsors God has for us each down here. We have peace and we have serenity and let us not forget – today’s forecast is sunny and 73! Today, we are walking the path as new Gulf Coasters!

Chris and Tracey

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Today with Chris and Tracey – We Moved!

It has been about 2 weeks since we posted. We have gone through a big change – we moved from North Carolina to the Mississippi Gulf Coast! We have been concentrating on the move, getting settled and building our new networks! A fresh 90 in 90 in a fresh area! Exciting time for sure! Your prayers will be greatly appreciated as we eagerly await what is around the corner in this most recent bend in the path. Tracey is already volunteering at a local mission and I am adjusting to actually being at the facility I write for as apposed to writing from a remote home office.

Perhaps this will help someone – this is the process we went through before we decided to accept the offer that was made. First, we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. We had been praying for a few very specific things and the offer that was made certainly looked like an answer to our prayers. We were definitely not looking to leave NC. God does answer prayers in ways that we do not expect!

Next, we each talked to our sponsors. There is no way I could stay on this path without my sponsor and I know that Tracey feels the same. Obviously, both of our sponsors were excited to see what God was doing for us as a couple and as individuals. There is nothing like a real and amazing relationship with your sponsor!

After we talked to our sponsors we began to talk to our families. Again, there was the obvious excitement for what God was doing in our lives. Tracey’s Grandfather is one of the most Godly men I have ever met and I believe he would have driven to Greensboro to help us pack! When Tracey’s daughters were excited for us there was no question.

We certainly miss all of the wonderful friends we left in Greensboro but we are rapidly making new friends. We are being helped by others and are now able to help others. Recovery is recovery. the rooms have certainly not let us down! We took what we had in Greensboro and brought it with us to the Gulf Coast – well, except for the cold weather!

Please pray for us as we settle into life as “Gulf Coasters!”

Chris and Tracey

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Today with Chris and Tracey – What Has God Revealed about Himself?

  • What Has God Revealed About Himself?

I am a Christian and as such I believe and accept the Bible. I am not writing this as an apologetic for Christianity. I am writing this to share what my personal experience has taught me concerning God. It may be a help – it may not. I do know this – I am an alcoholic who is in the middle of a wonderful God-centered life of recovery.

There is no single book or chapter in the Bible devoted to the description of God. Fact is, no matter what we believe, we get to know God the same way that we get to know each other. Once we have been introduced, we become acquainted by repeated contact and this in turn builds into a relationship. When we meet someone we begin to recognize their face and their speech. We begin to associate their name with their face and their speech. Eventually, through enough contact, we learn a little about their personality. We begin to learn each other’s personalities. We learn each other’s characteristics as a result of our association with each other.

In much the same way I have come to know God – through contact with Him and with His Word. I have come into an intimate relationship with God through His Word – the Bible. For me, intimate knowledge of God does not come from nature, reason or conscience though God is clearly seen in these places. For me, intimate knowledge of God comes through the Bible. This is why daily reading of my Bible is paramount to my recovery, if even just a little bit each day. This is how I have learned, over time, the characteristics of God.

As in any relationship, I need to know about the one I wish to have a  relationship with. So, if in order to enter into a relationship with God, I need to know about God. Let me share with you what God has revealed to me concerning Himself in the Bible. I am going to look at four (4) areas that God has revealed Himself in the Bible, as a way to get to know Him better. Remembering that the better I know God the better the relationship and the better the relationship the better chance I will have at maintaining my recovery. These four (4) areas are:

1)    The Nature of God

2)    The Attributes of God

3)    The Fatherhood of God

4)    The Sovereignty of God

Tomorrow, I will look at the Nature of God as I understand Him. My understanding is be based on my study of the Bible and my personal experience. Again, my goal is not to make you a Christian. My goal is to help myself and perhaps someone else enjoy “one more day in the sunlight of the Spirit.”

Chris and Tracey

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Today with Chris and Tracey – Has God Communicated with Us?

Has God Communicated With Us?

The answer to this question is “yes, He has.” There are two (2) main ways that God has communicated with man: by General Revelation and by Special Revelation. First let’s look at General Revelation and note that there are three (3) aspects to General Revelation: history, nature and conscience.

  • History shows that there is a Divine Ruler and a divine plan. God does indeed reveal His power and authority through His work in the plans and the accomplishments of man. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

The first example is taken from the Bible and is found in Genesis. This example of God working in history is seen in the story or account of the Tower of Babel.

Key Verses – Genesis 11:4, 8 “And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.”

In the account of the Tower of Babel, God directly intervened in the affairs of mankind to diverge and dissipate man across the face of the earth. God told mankind to go and replenish the earth but man decided to do what he wanted to do instead. God saw to it that what He (God) wanted was done. This is strangely what happened too many of us. We well knew that God’s plan (whether or not we expressed it as such) was not for us to become a drug addict or an alcoholic – but we decided to do what we wanted and admit it or not God has intervened in our life. It is very rarely expressed as such but whatever happens in our life God at least allows to happen. When we get blessed or lucky – God intervenes. We very well might be dead right now had it not been for the intervention of God in our lives and affairs. We have at the very least been spared many great hardships by God’s intervention in our lives. We may not be willing to admit that our being alive is the result of God’s intervening in our life but be assured that it is. In a very real sense many of us if not all of us are here as the direct result of somebody’s answered prayer for us.

The second example we are going to look at is the nation of Israel. There is absolutely no logical explanation for the existence of the nation of Israel or even the existence of the Jews today. The Jews have been enslaved, scattered and persecuted for thousands of years, yet they retain their own culture and religion. Other nations throughout history have been rapidly assimilated, but the Jews remain distinct. It is absolutely amazing that a country barely the size of New Jersey has been and remains the focal point of all world history, the center for philosophical and ethical discussion and a pool of scientific and mathematical intelligence. The Jews prove not only the existence of God but also reveal an aspect of God’s nature.

In conclusion, as we reflect on history, we should realize a purpose and a goal to all human endeavors. There are patterns of rising and falling, movement and direction, that consistently and at every turn point to a greater power than simple random chance. Again, it is no accident that we are here and it is time that we accept this fact.

  • Nature also shows us that there is a divine ruler and a divine plan. All we have to do is look around and see the majesty of the world we live in and know that this created world speaks clearly of a Creator. The fact is this – design demands an intelligent designer. Order indeed suggests “Orderer.” When these things are observed , we can see and understand these things about God (He is powerful, He is intelligent, He is ordered, etc.)

Key Verse – Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

Paul tells us that none will be without excuse. Because of the things seen in nature alone all should know that there is and seek God. There is enough in nature for a man to realize that there is a God. There is also enough for man to realize that He must be an all powerful God and therefore, man must be accountable to Him. If we are willing to see, accept and believe that there is an all powerful God then, by default, we have to believe that He can take us down the road of recovery. If God can order the universe, the world we live in, then indeed He can be trusted to order our lives. We must come to a point of reliance on God if we ever want  true recovery.

  • Conscience also shows us that there is a divine ruler and a divine plan. The fact that we know right from wrong (whether we choose to do right or not) points to a Divine Lawgiver. How else could it be that man, no matter where he lives, no matter when he lives or has lived, or how he lives knows that certain things are wrong? Murder and stealing are wrong – no matter whom you ask or when throughout history you ask them. There is only one plausible explanation for this – because God has built within us all a conscience that to some degree reflects the holiness of God.

God has revealed Himself to man through the conscience. This revelation can obviously be diminished or heightened through man’s experiences, but at some level, man knows who God is because man unconsciously reflects a knowledge of God’s holiness. We can sit here and lie to ourselves if we want to – that is entirely up to us but we know when we are doing right and we know when we are not. This is no accident.

God, indeed has revealed Himself to man on a “general” basis. God has done this through history, nature and the conscience. The second way that God has revealed Himself to man is through “Special Revelation.” Tomorrow, we will look at “Special Revelation.” Again, I am not pointing to any “religion.” I do not believe in religion – I believe in a healthy relationship with God.

Chris and Tracey

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Today with Chris and Tracey – “Who is God?”

Who Is God?

          Men have been asking this question from the dawn of time. To find the answer, to even search for this answer is called “theology.” Theology is simply the study of God. “Theo” is the Greek word for “God” and “logy” is the Greek word for “the study of something.” With this having been said let’s look at “theology” and come to some definite answers concerning God.

          It is certain that without God in our life our recovery is not going to be possible. We have to come to a point where we are completely willing to turn our will and our life (this absolutely includes our alcoholism and or addiction) over to God as you understand Him. If we are expected to turn our life over to God then we need to have an understanding (as far as we can understand) of God. With this said let’s answer three (3) very important questions:

1)    How do I know God exists?

2)    Has He communicated with us?

3)    What has He revealed about Himself?

Does God Exist?

  • The official answer to this question would have to be “no comment.” God makes or offers no argument for His existence. If God had to argue for His existence then He would not be that much of a God. Fact is, a God that has to argue for His own existence is not going to be able to help us as we struggle with our own existence.

Key Verse – Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Key Verse – Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

As seen in the first verse above which is the first verse in the Bible – God simply assumes His existence and in doing so expects us to do the same. There is no explanation of God given. It is by faith that we have to come to God, as seen in the second verse above. It takes faith, a great faith to accept and to believe in God. It takes this same faith to please God and the first way that we need to be pleasing God is with our sobriety and recovery.

We, as people, do not have to prove our existence to each other. We assume each other’s existence because of our interaction with each other. Want to know that God is really there in your life? Interact with Him.

  • How do we KNOW that God exists?

Key Verse – Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

It is a strange person that outright denies the existence of God. Let’s take a few minutes and look at three ways that everyone should know that God does indeed exist.

  • Intuition

“Intuition” is defined as “the state of being aware of or knowing something without having to discover or perceive it, or the ability to do this.” There is, in all men, whether they are willing to admit it or not, an inner witness to the existence of God. Intuition is different from instinct. Instinct is the inborn tendency to behave a certain way. Intuition is more of perception without reasoning. It is “knowing without learning.” It is a natural thing to believe in the existence of God. Most, if not all of us, have been in that drunken or drugged up state when we said, “God, if you get me through this I will never do it again!” Of course, we did not really mean it or if we did we did – we quickly forgot it. It is a natural thing to believe in the existence of God and, the fact is that, not to believe in the existence of God is abnormal and unnatural. You very well may be one who has made the decision not to believe in God. Know this – that is exactly what it is to not believe in God – a decision. Atheism is a conscious decision. The atheist must make the decision to not believe in God. At some point he has said, “I will not believe in God.” The appropriate question then to ask the “atheist” is when did you decide to not believe in God? Want proof that belief in God is intuitive? The two (2) places today on this planet with the most dynamic and growing churches (I am not promoting or even suggesting going to church) are the former Soviet Union and China. In both these places atheism was and is taught and enforced. People are being martyred and yet they are unable to get rid of the concept of God. I offer this as just a proof of an intuitive knowledge of God.

Humans want to believe in God. We need to believe in God and intuitively we know that there is a God. Let’s move to the second way that we all know that God does indeed exist – reason.

  • Reason

Reason can be defined as “the power of being able to think in a logical and rational manner.” Logical and rational – not exactly what we are used to but if we employ reason then we will have to admit that we do believe in the existence of God. By simply looking around it seems obvious and reasonable that Someone with intelligence created, ordered and organized the wonderful universe that we all live in.

Key Verse – Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Key Verse – Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”

Man (and that does include us all) is and will be without excuse for not seeking God. The very majesty of the night sky should be enough for us to acknowledge that there is indeed a God. The amazing and ordered universe that we live in did not just happen. Think of the most wonderful thing that you can imagine and ask yourself, with all honesty, if you believe that it is just happened by accident. A child’s laughter, tears of joy, emotion, rainbows and waterfalls are not things that just came into being on accident. If we apply simple reason we almost have to agree at least that there is a Divine Creator behind the universe. A truism of nature tells us that for every effect there must be an equal and adequate cause. Intelligence was/is required to create and to order this world. Simply put – design demands a designer.  Again, when we were at our worst, when we had no one else to turn to, whether or not we admit it now or not, we have turned to God when everything else in our life was gone. The sad thing is that if we had turned to God first everything in our life would not have disappeared. But, no matter when we turn to God He is there waiting with loving arms ready and more than willing to help in time of need.

  • Tradition

Tradition is defined as “a long-established action or pattern of behavior in a community or group of people, often one that has been handed down from generation to generation.” Peoples throughout the history of man have had a belief in God. It is inside all men to look for his Creator – we are no different. There is an undeniable universal acceptance of God’s existence. This is the single most common characteristic of all peoples throughout history – to believe that there is a God and that there is a life after death. Every culture that has ever existed did not by accident look for the same thing – God. It is likewise no accident that we, when at our worst, looked for God whether we looked for Him in the past or are looking for Him now.

How do we know that God exists? Three ways have been looked at; intuition, reason and tradition. If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that God must exist somehow and in some way. The next logical question then must be if God does exist, has He communicated with us?

Tomorrow we will look at the answer to the above question – Has God Communicated with Us? Let me here say that I am promoting no religion, denomination or sect. I use the Bible because I happen to believe it. The concept and understanding of God you have or get is your own. We all need God as we understand Him in our recovery or our recovery will not work. Have a wonderful day!

Chris and Tracey

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Today with Chris and Tracey

In praying this morning and seeking guidance from God, a thought occurred.  I am a very visual person so seeing something makes it easier to understand.  Have you ever tried to lead a horse that was not willing to follow?  I have and the more I pulled on the lead the harder that horse pulled back.  The horse would side step and even rare up.  But when the horse took it easy and realized there was nothing to fear, he followed the lead and walked freely and smoothly.  Today, this is my relationship with God as I understand him.  For years God wanted me to follow his lead but I wanted to control where I went.  I pulled back, sidestepped and bucked for dear life.  When I finally let go and sought out The Divine Spirit, life became a little easier.  Today, I have faith and trust in His lead.  Today, I am willing to follow without resistance; not jumping in front or lagging behind.  Today I am walking hand in hand with my Creator and that walk is easier than ever before.  I thank God for the ability to be able to sit still, talk with Him and listen.  Now it’s time to put feet to my prayers because “Faith without works is dead”.  Hope everyone walks happily and peacefully today.

Chris and Tracey

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Today with Chris and Tracey

Today, as I sit here and contemplate all that I am thankful for I realize that I have nothing “not” to be thankful for. My past, my experiences, my pain; serve me today to make me who I am. Today, I draw strength from the past, the experience and the pain. Today I can take all that I have learned, good and bad, and be strong in the fact that today, I am better equipped to help others. God has allowed me to become the person I am today. Today, I choose to turn my past, my experiences and my pain into something good. Today I am better equipped, more so than ever before, to help others who cry out. Today, through God, I am thankful for who I am. Today I can and will help. Today I am truly thankful. Today

Chris and Tracey Continue reading

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