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Belong

I have now finished college and am working as counselor for people with chemical dependency issues. My many years of personal recovery, my education, and now my new professional experiences have highlighted one important thing: people need a sense of belonging more than anything. Abraham Maslow listed this need as basic; only to be exceeded by basic physiological needs. However, I am a person and have known others who need love more than food, clothing, or shelter. I personally believe that the lack of a sense of belonging is what differentiates those who can access personal power and those who are literally powerless.

My education helped me to understand that 12-step programs are as important as I had believed; but not for the reasons I had believed. In 12-step programs, a legalistic movement has put great emphasis on following directions and working the steps. Teaching others to change their thinking and to practice new behaviors is very important, but not as important as loving the newcomer until they can love themselves. It is love that motivates and inspires the powerless to believe that they can change. In “Notes to Myself,” Hugh Prather said, “It’s not that we fear the place of darkness, but that we don’t think we are worth the effort to find the place of light.” I know in my heart of hearts that this is the truth. Our primary responsibility to others is to affirm to them that they are worth the effort.

It has now been 27 years since I began this journey. I am a person who was paralyzed with fear, self-loathing, and an utter sense of hopelessness. It took a miraculous intervention by God Himself to lead me to the place where I would find my sense of belonging: A.A. I did not keep going back because a taskmaster sponsor told me so or because I was following the rules. I went back because the people there loved me and tolerated me, even though I was unlovable and intolerable: and I hope to always be motivated to return the favor.  

I still believe that Jesus is the reason that grace is available to us on this earth, but I do not believe that anyone needs to believe a certain doctrine to receive His help. My experience has convinced me that when anyone, anywhere, cries out to the very notion of a Higher Power, the Spirit of the Risen Christ comes to save; not to condemn. I have not forgotten my first Love or the very first words that He said to me, “You are loved. It is not too late to change the path you are on, but you must turn and go the other way. But do not be afraid for I am with you always; even until the end of time.” His promise has been true; and this promise is true for all who need to belong before they can believe.

September, 2012

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YOU CRY TO ME TO SEE MY FACE; TO EXPERIENCE ME IN EXTREME AND SPECTACULAR WAYS. LET ME REMIND YOU THAT YOU HAVE HAD MANY SUCH EXPERIENCES. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE MANY TIMES USED THEM TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF FROM OTHERS AND, THEREFORE, TO DIVIDE AND SEPARATE. I NOW CHARGE YOU WITH THE GREATEST CHALLENGE, WHICH WILL ALSO BE THE FULFILLMENT OF YOUR HEART’S CRY TO SEE ME AND TO KNOW ME. I AM EVERYWHERE! EXPOSE ME. SEE ME. KNOW ME. UNMASK ME IN EVERYONE YOU ENCOUNTER.

Holy Spirit Download 

Unmasked Excerpt 

This week I heard a preacher say that who we are in Heaven is contingent on how well we respond to the onslaught of hell that comes against our lives. Someone else said that we bow to the enemy when we succumb to judgment, fear, doubt, etc.… This was very important because the Holy Spirit then reminded me that what He is able to do through me is contingent with what He is able to do in me. I sometimes (a lot of times) get distracted with impatience in waiting for Him to move the circumstances of my life when, in reality, He is waiting on me to move out of the way as He perfects that which is within me.  

Unmasked Excerpt

Lead

I am starting to understand the real issues and pressures of being a leader; leadership is definitely more than just being in charge. One of the hardest aspects of leadership is making decisions for the whole that disturb the few. Let’s face it; you cannot please all of the people anytime! But that’s the point; it is not about “pleasing” people, but about making sound decisions that edify the whole. Upsetting the few is not fun to walk through, though. Leaders definitely have to have a good balance between the courage of their own convictions and their willingness to listen to others. I definitely need to work on listening to others and counting to at least 10 (maybe 1000) until I respond.

Unmasked Excerpt

Receive 

Jack Hayford said that prophecies say that God’s children will help in establishing His Kingdom. He said that it is not that God “could not” do it Himself, but that He “won’t” without the invocation from others; He does not go where He is not invited. That makes me think of “God could and would if He were sought.” 

Michael Usef said that “falling from grace” is falling into legalism: in other words, trying to do it yourself. These are great things to consider.  

Hayford also said that our prayers are put on our hearts as a promise. All of these teachings give me great hope because the prayer of my heart is that all may know that Jesus is Lord and that they may receive His love and mercy.

Unmasked Excerpt

Christianity has always aggravated me because it seemed that the Gospel insinuated that a loving God will smite us to hell if we don’t accept Jesus: but the Bible says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already.” (John 3:17-18)  

We are already condemned without Jesus! The “accuser” is holding us hostage; telling us that we are nothing, that we don’t matter, that the world is not safe, etc. Condemnation itself is the captor!  

A lot of people cannot accept Jesus as Savior because they do not really understand that they are in bondage. It reminds me of the movie, The Matrix. We are all being held captive in a situation that is so deceptive that we are not consciously aware of it. At certain times, we get the creepy feeling that something is not quite right, but we just can’t figure it out. In the movie, the ones who have broken free offer the “red pill” to the ones who want to know the real truth. The red pill is like accepting Jesus. Hey everybody, take the red pill so we can get out of the matrix!

Unmasked Excerpt

In regard to Christian doctrine, the big mystery seems to be how evil could exist if God created everything; why does He allow it? I believe that we had to be expelled from the Garden in order to understand the folly of self-will and to be able to live there as mature children of God instead of nursing babies. Like Augustine said, “For were it not good that evil things should also exist, the omnipotent God would almost certainly not allow evil to be, since beyond doubt it is just as easy for Him not to allow what He does not will, as for Him to do what He will.”

Sin is similar to homeopathic medicine. It was allowed into our spirits for us to learn to overwhelming it. Our identity as being created in the image and likeness of God was allowed to be corrupted by self in order for us to understand our absolute need for total dependence on God. The Spirit of God incarnated as a human, demonstrated true surrender and forgiveness, rose from the dead, and sends His Spirit to all who believe in order to restore our identities.

Unmasked Excerpt

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