Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

O God of the highest heaven,
occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine forever.

Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.

Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favored, clothed,
adorned me,
when I was a worthless, vile soiled, polluted.

I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
no ears to hear thee,
no taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee;
But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a
new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide, solace, joy.

Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me from thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.

O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.

Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That I may be salt of the earth
and a blessing to all.

(text from “The Valley of Vision” devotional)

Sometimes you scare me by what you cause me to see,
and I’m afraid of knowing who I am.

Though you’ve changed me,
there’s still a whole lot of old wineskin.

And to open up would destroy the me I’m afraid to show.
One part of me doesn’t want to grow.

But I’m tired of this lingering winter.
Tired of ground so hard and cold.
Plow your way through – I’m asking you to, oh, Jesus.

Lord, you’re my only hope.

Without you, I can’t face myself.
Without you, I can’t face myself.
Without you, I can’t face myself.
Without you.

My pride wants me to hide inside myself.
But I love you, Lord,
I don’t want our love put on the shelf.

I’m tired of fighting to be who I am,
Jesus, make me what you want me to be.
Because of you, I desire reality.

A love for you is what I’m dying to receive.
Though I hate what I am,
I understand that you promised me.

You’ve promised me freedom in your truth.
But I can only face myself
when I face you.

Without you,
I can’t face myself,
Without you,
Lord,
I can’t face myself,

And I’ll be ready, ready to face myself
when I face you.


(lyrics and music from the Resurrection Band Album “Colours”  © 1980)

O God Most High, Most Glorious,
The thought of thine infinite serenity cheers me,

For I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed,
but thou art for ever at perfect peace.

Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfilment,
they stand fast as the eternal hills.

Thy power knows no bond, thy goodness no stint.

Thou bringest order out of confusion,
and my defeats are thy victories:
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

I come to thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows,
to leave every concern entirely to thee,
every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood;

Revive deep spirituality in my heart;
Let me live near to the great Shepherd,
hear his voice, know its tones, follow its calls.

Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth,
from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit.

Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities,
burning into me by experience the things I know;
Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel,
that I may bear its reproach,
vindicate it,
see Jesus as its essence,
know in it the power of the Spirit.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill;
unbelief mars my confidence,
sin makes me forget thee.

Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots;

Grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to thee,
that all else is trifling.

Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout,
strong and happy.

Abide in me, gracious God.

(from “The Valley of Vision” devotional)

Lord Jesus,
I am blind, be thou my light,
ignorant, be thou my wisdom,
self-willed, be thou my mind.

Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,
and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;
Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;
When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,
and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into
the green pastures of thy Word,
and cause me to lie down beside the rivers
of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
Thy name is my property to save me,
By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.

I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
but thy cross has brought me near,
has softened my heart,
has made me thy Father’s child,
has admitted me to thy family,
has made me joint-heir with thyself.

O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,
that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.

May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,
for unless he move mightily in me
no inward fire will be kindled.

(text from “The Valley of Vision” devotional)

God of the Publican,
be merciful to me a sinner;
this I am by nature and practice,
this thy Word proclaims me to be,
this I hope I feel myself to be;

Yet thou hast not left me to despair,
for there is no ‘peradventure’ in thy grace;
I have all the assurance I need
that with thee is plenteous redemption.

In spite of the number and heinousness of my sins
thou hast given me a token for good;

The golden sceptre is held out,
and thou hast said ‘Touch it and live’.

May I encourage myself by a sense of thy all-sufficiency,
by faith in thy promises,
by views of the experience of others.

To that dear refuge in which so many have sheltered
from every storm
may I repair,

In that fountain always freely open for sin
may I be cleansed from every defilement.

Sin is that abominable thing which thy soul hates,
and this alone separates thee and me.

Thou canst not contradict the essential perfections
of thy nature;

Thou canst not make me happy with thyself,
till thou hast made me holy like thyself.

O holy God, make me such a creature as thou canst take pleasure in,
and such a being that I can take pleasure in thee.

May I consent to and delight in thy law after the inner man,
never complain over the strictness of thy demands,
but mourn over my want of conformity to them;
never question thy commandments,
but esteem them to be right.

By thy Spirit within me
may my practice spring from principle, and
my dispositions be conformable with duty.

(from “The Valley of Vision” devotional)

O Spirit of God,
Help my infirmities;

When I am pressed down with a load of sorrow,
perplexed and knowing not what to do, slandered and persecuted,
made to feel the weight of the cross,
help me, I pray thee.

If thou seest in me
any wrong thing encouraged,
any evil desire cherished,
any delight that is not thy delight,
any habit that grieves thee,
any nest of sin in my heart,
then grant me the kiss of thy forgiveness,
and teach my feet to walk the way of
thy commandments.

Deliver me from carking care,
and make me a happy, holy person;

Help me to walk the separated life with firm and brave step,
and to wrestle successfully against weakness;

Teach me to laud, adore,
and magnify thee,
with the music of heaven,

And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude
to thee.

I do not crouch at thy feet as a slave before a tyrant,
but exult before thee as a son with a father.

Give me power to live as thy child in all my actions,
and to exercise sonship by conquering self.

Preserve me from the intoxication that comes
of prosperity;

Sober me when I am glad with a joy that comes
not from thee.

Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom,
not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.

I request only to see the face of him I love,
to be content with bread to eat,
with raiment to put on,
if I can be brought to thy house in peace.

(from “The Valley of Vision” devotional)

by Fred W. Anson
A recovery parable
The story is told of an accused man whose guilt or innocence was difficult to determine.

In this culture they had a strange form of justice for such cases. Near the town there was a subterranean cave that the accused was lowered into via a rope. After the prisoner was there a week’s worth of food and water was also lowered down in a basket and the rope pulled back up. The accused was then left to contemplate these words, “There is a way of escape from this prison.  Should you indeed escape you will be welcomed back into society and given a full pardon. However, we will not return for you, check on you or help you in any way. Your future is before you and your fate is in your hands – life or death, guilt or redemption. In this way, and this way only will our justice be served.” And with those words they left.

After his eyes adjusted to the darkness – for the cave was very deep – the prisoner noted that the hole in the ceiling that he had been lowered through was too high to reach.  Further the walls were rough and probably impossible to climb. Yet the only world he knew was outside that hole so he knew he must reach it somehow and pull himself through to freedom, redemption, and justice!  His heart yearned for justice and home.

In the ensuing days dirt was piled high, so were rocks. But there simply wasn’t enough dirt and rocks to reach the hole. When he tried to scale the cave walls after great exertion and pain he would merely get as high as the smooth, slick, unyielding ceiling before falling hard onto the floor. This progressively caused more and more pain and injury with each failed attempt. All the while the sheen of the sun, the chirping of birds and the song of wind above the hole at first teased him then tortured him with thoughts of what a new life of freedom could be “out there!”

He jumped. He yelled. He cried. He sobbed. But no one came to his aid. He raged and stormed at the hole. Still no rescue came. He was alone with only pain and regret as his constant companions.

Then his food and water began to get low. “Rationing and time! Surely, that’s the answer – this is a test of wills I will simply wait them out. They will see my determined resolve, my regret, repentance, and humble state if just enough time passes. In the end they will surely have mercy and come back and save me!” So he carefully measured and extended his supplies well beyond the one week period. But to his shock and horror, still no help appeared. He was alone. And though he barely had the energy to do so, he wept again.

Finally, weak from hunger, thirst and fatigue the prisoner succumbed to the inevitability of a slow, lingering, pain filled death. In his final moments as he lay staring at the hole he quietly whispered, “They lied! The whole world is a lie! Life is a lie! There is no escape from this hell – the hole mocks me while this cold, dark, empty cave consumes me! I am lost.” And with those words he died.

A few days later from the back of the cave in the deep, deep darkness came the quiet sound of crawling men. They squeezed through a hole in the back of the cave just large enough for a man to get through. Finding the body they pulled it through the hole, which lead to another even darker, colder cave that led to a tunnel which lead to a large dimly lit cave which opened to a vast, open forest. It was there where the road back home could be seen past a thick thicket of ripe berry bushes and a rippling creek. Ironically had the prisoner been less fixated on returning by the same means that he had come in he might have found the way out (though hard, complex, and difficult) was there all along.

The former prisoners of that very same cave who now carried this lifeless body had ultimately discovered the answer that others had who died slow painful deaths desperately tried to find. For both the living and the dead the answer was the same: The way out is through.

. . . And so dear reader should you ever find yourself in that dark cave please remember these words, “The way out is through!”

(Adapted with profound thanks and appreciation from “Healing the Shame that Binds You” by John Bradshaw)

I had been in Alcoholics Anonymous for some time before I discovered that the Serenity Prayer used there and in other 12-Step Groups is actually a faint shadow of the powerful prayer that was originally included in a sermon by Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943.[1]

So, for your edification (and for mine, for it never gets old) is that original prayer:[2]

The Serenity Prayer
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

NOTES:
[1] While there is much I would like to say about how the potent source of the original movement (the power of Jesus Christ to seek out, save, redeem, and restore lost sinners ensnared in sin) has slowly leaked out  and left AA a hollow, less efficacious shell of what once was, I will save it for a later blog.

[2] Source: Serenity Prayer Wikipedia article . Please note that the prayer was not originally untitled.  I have added the title that it was later added by Bill Wilson and AA for the sake of aesthetics.