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#365202 - 06/30/11 07:55 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 11:19

God promises us a heart transplant. God promises to change us. Our stone hearts will be removed and in their place will be put a heart of flesh.

A heart of stone is a dead heart. It is closed to honest, intimate relationships. A heart of stone is unmerciful with itself and with others. But we do become attached to our hearts of stone. And we find ourselves fearing God's promised transplant. Our stone hearts have one thing in their favor - they allow us to feel strong and to appear strong to others. A stone heart is a protected heart. It seems invulnerable. You cannot wound a heart of stone.

God's offer of a heart transplant is a promise of life. A heart of flesh is alive. Only a flesh heart can feel joy. Only a flesh heart can celebrate. Only a heart of flesh can give and receive love. But, the vulnerability of a heart of flesh scares us. A flesh heart does not seem as well protected as a heart of stone. It can feel joy, but it can also feel pain. You can wound a heart of flesh.

God promises to change us. God will remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh.

I like the safety of my stone heart, Lord.
But it is hard, cold, dead.
It is a heartless heart, bloodless, lifeless.
Remove it from me.
I want a heart of flesh, Lord.
I want life.
But I am afraid.
Give me the courage to say 'yes'
to your promise of life today.
Remove my heart of stone and
give me a heart of flesh.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365262 - 07/01/11 07:42 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
The Lord replied, 'My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.' Then Moses said to him, 'If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.'
Exodus 33:14-15

God promised to be with Moses and to provide him with rest. But no doubt other people had made promises to Moses that were like God's promise. People had promised to be with him but had later abandoned him. So, Moses' fears were not completely vanquished when God promised to be present and to provide rest.

We are like Moses. We are facing a difficult journey. If God goes on ahead and waits for us at the destination, we will never make it. We need God to make the journey with us. We will need God every day. If God does not come, it would better not to go. The dangers are too great. The pain, too overwhelming. We will surely lose our way unless God comes as our guide.

Moses' prayer to God is a good model for us. It is not a sign of doubt or faithlessness to pray for what we need, even if our needs are things which God has already promised to provide. Praying for what we need is good communication. If we are afraid that God will not be faithful, we can share this with God. God will not be shocked. God will not punish. God understands that our capacity for trust has been damaged.

Honestly communicating our fears to God, will build our capacity for trusting God's promises. God has promised to be present with us. And God has promised to provide rest. We will need both to survive the transitions and changes that come with recovery.

Thank you, Lord, for the promise of your presence today.
If you will not go with me,
please don't send me.
Because I can't make it on my own.
The journey is a difficult one.
The path leads through deep valleys.
And, I am sure to lose my way
without your presence to comfort and guide.
Help me to rest today in your promises.
Help me to rest in your loving presence.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365338 - 07/03/11 01:41 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
Hey All! Sorry I didn't post this earlier today! Was up early and just got back from Creation Fest. 2011!! Rockin Good Time!


Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will
not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

Mountains shake. Hills are removed. That's how it feels sometimes during the process of recovery. Our lives seem to be in constant upheaval as we change and stretch and grow. In the midst of these changes, the Lord has compassion on us. God's love and commitment are reaffirmed. We may feel shaken. We may change. Things may look different. But we can count on God's love. It is unfailing love - love that cannot be shaken.

God's promise of unfailing love for us and God's covenant of peace with us can provide the safety we need today. In the storm of change that recovery brings, God's love provides an anchor of safety and security. God's love can provide a peace and serenity that will not be removed.

Lord, I am shaken.
down to my foundations.
Sometimes I am afraid
of all the changes.
Will anything remain?
Will there be enough left to build on?
I need a foundation for my life, Lord.

For your love, Lord,
love that cannot be shaken,
I give you thanks.
For your covenant of peace, Lord,
peace that will not be removed,
I give you thanks.
Help me to build on the foundation
of your love and peace
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365362 - 07/03/11 01:23 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
Isaiah 54:4

Experiences of shame lead to fear. When shame causes us to be afraid we make extra efforts to protect ourselves against future experiences of shame. We try hard, for example, to look good. We focus on controlling external appearances. We also try hard to anesthetize our feelings because of our fear of shame. We focus on controlling our feelings so that other people won't get to know us. If they did they might discover the shame we are trying to hide. In this way shame traps us in a cycle of fear and emotional numbing and covering up.

But if we hide our shame, it can never be healed. Our shame heals when we reveal our inner being to people who accept us rather than shame us. This is not an easy process for us because we expect to be shamed. We do not expect to be accepted.

What a remarkably grace-full experience it is when God says "you don't need to be afraid, you will not suffer shame." We can open our hearts to God and find acceptance rather than shaming. God sees our fear. God knows that we want to run and hide. But it is God's desire to heal our deep wound of shame. "You don't have to be afraid," God says to us, "you will not suffer shame or disgrace or humiliation with me."

I have experienced so much shame, Lord.
So much disgrace.
So much humiliation.
Sometimes I want to hide myself from life.
And sometimes I want to numb myself to life.
Sometimes I want to disappear completely.

Thank you for your promise.
It calms my fears and helps me to stop hiding.
It helps me to stop covering up.
Thank you that I can open my heart to you and not suffer shame.
Thank you for the people in my life who accept me and do not shame me.
Protect me, Lord, from shame.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365387 - 07/03/11 09:40 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
I don't know who all follows this thread, but I'll be away for some time. Just got a call from my sister followed not too long thereafter by a family friend.

My father passed away not too long long ago today.


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#365475 - 07/05/11 07:28 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
Sitting in NJ with the family, getting thigns done and I find myself viewing here on the wife's laptop, so I'll keep up with this on days that I'm sitting around!

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

There are many ways to become an orphan. Some children become orphans when their parents die. Others become functional orphans when their parents divorce. Other people become orphans as a result of their parent's emotional unavailability. Anyone who has been neglected, abandoned, or abused by people who were important in their life will appreciate what it is like to be an orphan. It is a painful and lonely experience. Orphans doubt their ability to sustain intimate relationships and find it difficult to trust others. Experiences of abandonment leave us full of loneliness, fear and self-loathing.

Jesus understood the acute pain that orphans experience. In this text he responds to that deep pain with a promise of relationship. "I will not leave you as orphans," Jesus says, "I will not abandon you. You will not be without family because I will come to you."

In Jesus we see most clearly that God is attentive and available to us when we feel abandoned or neglected. God respects our needs and responds to our desires for relationship. God calls us out of the brokenness and dysfunction of our very personal orphanage into the community and fellowship of God's family. We are no longer orphans. We are God's children.

Lord, I know about being an orphan.
I know about abandonment.
Thank you for understanding my fear of separation.
Thank you for understanding my need for your presence.
Come.
Be present today with me.
I want to spend time with you.

Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365476 - 07/05/11 07:29 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4

There are times in recovery when we feel totally immobilized - times when we cannot 'walk' at all. In times like this, God promises to carry us. When we are weary or burdened or disabled, God will pick us up gently and carry us. There are also times of exhaustion during recovery - times when we can still move but we don't know where we will get the energy for the next step. When we are on long and difficult journeys that require endurance, God promises to sustain us. God will give us strength and patience and hope so that we can keep going. And there are times of great danger in recovery - times when the risks seem overwhelming. When we are in danger, trapped and overwhelmed, God promises to rescue us. God will pull us out of danger and bring us to a safe place.

God's promised help is attentive to and informed by our specific needs. God will not 'rescue' us when what we really need is strength to continue. God will not give us strength when what we really need is to be carried for a time.

Notice that God's promised help has no time limits. God is not going to grow weary and regret having made these promises. God will be with us today, and tomorrow, and each one-day-at-a-time day throughout our lives even to our 'old age and gray hairs'.

Thank you, Lord, for understanding
that I need different things
at different times.
Carry me when I cannot walk.
Sustain me when I need to endure.
Rescue me when I am in danger.

Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365545 - 07/06/11 10:19 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-4

Children are naturally curious about life. They look at everything, hear everything, want to know about everything. They are ready for growth and responsive to life. But, childhood dies for many people because of neglect, abuse and losses experienced during early vulnerable years. The eagerness and engagement are poisoned. The responsiveness to life yields to fear and shame.

It is possible, however, to reclaim a lost childhood. It is possible to change in ways that allow us to experience the wonder, the awe, the engagement in life that God intended for us in childhood.

God invites us to experience this kind of change. God invites us to become like little children. Children are humble - they have a straightforward honesty about their feelings and needs. This humility makes childlike awe and engagement in life possible. It is a vulnerable, humble thing to be a child. Children get tired and need naps. Children need other people. Children have more questions than answers.

Jesus invites us to change and become like little children. It is an invitation to true humility which leads to spontaneity, curiosity and engagement in life.

Lord, I want to reclaim
the wonder and delight of childhood.
I want to be eager to learn again.
I want to be ready to love and be loved again.
Give me, Lord, the security and safety I need
to be vulnerable and humble.
Help me to be ready for surprises.

Amen

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365593 - 07/07/11 07:44 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
He who ignores discipline despises himself,
but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
Proverbs 15:32

None of us enjoy it when people point out that we need to change. We don't like being told that we have switched from one addiction to another. Or, that we are allowing someone's addiction to control our lives. Or that we are running from intimacy. Or that we are behaving in ways that are destructive to ourselves or to others. We don't like hearing these things.

But we need this kind of honesty. We are not 'wired' for honest self-assesment. At the first sight of a problem we experience shame. And our defenses go up. We put our hands over our ears and stop listening.

We need other people to keep us honest and to help us see what we cannot see about ourselves. Honest feedback is one of our best hopes for initiating change. As this text puts it, if we 'heed correction', we can gain a lot of understanding. So, it is good to pay attention to the 'correction' and 'discipline' we get from others. We are not helped, of course, by judgmentalism and shame - we have enough of that to last us a lifetime. But we need to cultivate relationships with people who will - with love and kindness - tell us the truth about ourselves. This information can be the starting point for change in our lives.

Lord, help me to build relationships that sustain honesty.
Give me friends who will love me enough to tell me the truth.

Help me to pay attention to correction.
Give me the courage to see myself clearly.
Keep me from shame and self-loathing.
Give me the openness to correction that makes change possible.

Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#365662 - 07/08/11 11:10 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2575
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handled down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
1 Peter 1:19

Change is not easy. It is a fierce battle. It can be difficult and discouraging.

Change often requires us to challenge the perspectives and rules which have sustained our family system for generations. The 'empty way of life' we are attempting to change was handed down from our parents and their parents before them and their parents before them. In a family committed to the 'don't talk' rule, for example, saying even a simple sentence may require overcoming distracting behaviors or other avoidance behaviors which have been refined over hundreds of years!. Talking honestly to a parent or sibling may be breaking family rules that have lasted for generations.

The Good News is that we have been redeemed from the empty way of life handed down by our forefathers. Jesus redeemed us so that we can be free from this kind of bondage. We can learn to talk honestly . We can learn to experience our emotions. We can learn to trust genuinely. We can engage in life. We can love and be loved.

We live in a battle between the empty way of life passed down to us and the new life that has been provided for us. Living in solidarity with our new life in Christ is a daily struggle, but as we practice this way of life we break the vicious cycle of family dysfunction.

Lord, it isn't just me that I am trying to change.
I am up against generations of dysfunction.
An empty way of life has dominated my family for a long time.
It has been passed down to me.
No wonder it seems so hard to change.
I need your help, Lord.
Help me to find hope in your understanding of my struggle.
Help me to find hope in your gift of redemption.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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