The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery

The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery

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by Stephen Arterburn, David Stoop
     
 

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Inspired by the Life Recovery Bible, The Life Recovery Devotional takes readers on a devotional journey through the Twelve Steps, with thirty inspiring and encouraging meditations from Scripture for each step along the road to recovery. Opens with a complete listing of the Twelve Steps. Also features helpful and encouraging Bible verses from the New LivingSee more details below

Overview

Inspired by the Life Recovery Bible, The Life Recovery Devotional takes readers on a devotional journey through the Twelve Steps, with thirty inspiring and encouraging meditations from Scripture for each step along the road to recovery. Opens with a complete listing of the Twelve Steps. Also features helpful and encouraging Bible verses from the New Living Translation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781414370934
Publisher:
Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
01/27/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
433,106
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt


THE Life Recovery DEVOTIONAL

Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery



By STEPHEN ARTERBURN DAVID STOOP
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.
Copyright © 1991

Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-1-4143-3004-4



Chapter One STEP ONE

We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15).

Day 1

Like Little Children Bible Reading: Mark 10:13-16

We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

For many of us in recovery, memories of childhood are memories of the terrors associated with being powerless. If we were raised in families that were out of control, where we were neglected, abused, or exposed to domestic violence and family dysfunction, the thought of being powerless might be unreasonably frightening. We may have silently vowed never again to feel as vulnerable as we did when we were children.

Jesus tells us that the first step into the Kingdom of God is to become like a little child, and this involves being powerless. He said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15).

In any society, children are the most dependent members. They have no inherent power for self-protection; no means to insure that their lives will be safe, comfortable, or fulfilling. Little children are singularly reliant on the love, care, and nurture of others for their most basic needs. They must cry out even though they may not know exactly what they need. They must trust their lives to someone who is more powerful than they, and hopefully, they will be heard and lovingly cared for.

We, too, must dare to admit that we are truly powerless if our lives are to become healthy. This doesn't mean we have to become victims again. Admitting our powerlessness is an honest appraisal of our situation in life and a positive step toward recovery.

* * *

Discovering our powerlessness is the first step toward wholeness.

Day 2

A Humble Beginning Bible Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-15

We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

It can be very humiliating to admit that we are powerless, especially if we are used to being in control. We may be powerful in some areas of our lives, but out of control in terms of our addictive/ compulsive behaviors. If we refuse to admit our powerlessness, we may lose everything. That one unmanageable part of our lives may infect and soon destroy everything else.

The experiences of a man named Naaman illustrate how this is true (2 Kings 5:1-15). He was a powerful military and political figure, a man of wealth, position, and power. He also had leprosy, which promised to bring about the loss of everything he held dear. Lepers were made outcasts from their families and society. Ultimately, they faced a slow, painful, and disgraceful death.

Naaman heard that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him. He found the prophet and was told that in order to be healed he needed to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River. He went away outraged, having expected his power to buy him an instant and easy cure. In the end, however, he acknowledged his powerlessness, followed the instructions, and recovered completely.

Our "disease" is as life threatening as the leprosy in Naaman's day. It slowly separates us from our families and leads toward the destruction of everything important to us. There is no instant or easy cure. The only answer is to admit our powerlessness, humble ourselves, and submit to the process that will eventually bring us recovery.

* * *

We must let go in order to hold on to the things dear to us.

Chapter Two STEP TWO

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Day 1

Grandiose Thinking Bible Reading: Daniel 4:19-33

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

When we're caught up in our addiction, it's common for us to deceive ourselves with grandiose thinking. We may believe that we're above it all, a god unto ourselves, accountable to no one.

In his day, Nebuchadnezzar, king of ancient Babylon, was the most powerful ruler on earth. He believed himself to be a god and demanded worship as such. God said to him, "The Most High has declared ... [that] you will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals ... until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses" (Daniel 4:24-25).

All this happened just as predicted. At the end of the king's time in exile he said "I looked up to heaven My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.... When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom ... with even greater honor than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud" (Daniel 4:34, 36-37).

We must remember that we are not God. We're accountable to a higher Power who can remedy our "madness" and restore our lives to be even better than before our season of insanity.

* * *

God is not going to shape our lives until we acknowledge him as God.

Day 2

Healing Faith Bible Reading: Luke 8:43-48

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Faith is a key to successfully working the second step. For some of us faith comes easily. For others, especially if we have experienced betrayal, it may be more difficult. Sometimes we must exhaust all of our own resources in trying to overcome our addictive "disease" before we will risk believing in a higher Power.

When Jesus was on earth he was renowned for his healing power. Crowds of sick people constantly pressed in on him. One day there was "a woman in the crowd [who] had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped." Jesus realized that someone had deliberately touched him because he felt the healing power go out from him. When the woman confessed that she was the one who had been healed, Jesus said, "Your faith has made you well. Go in peace" (Luke 8:43-48).

In order to recover we need to follow the example of this woman. We cannot afford to stand back, hoping for a "cure," and avoid deliberate action because of our lack of faith. We may have lived with our condition for many years, spending our resources on promising "cures" without success. When we can come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves and have the faith to take hold of our own recovery, we will find the healing power we've been looking for.

* * *

What a difference between knowing about Jesus and reaching out to touch him!

Chapter Three STEP THREE

We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Day 1

Submission and Rest Bible Reading: Matthew 11:27-30

We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

When our burdens become heavy and we see that our way of life is leading us toward death, we may finally become willing to let someone else do the driving. We've probably worked hard at trying to get our lives on the right track, but still feel like we always end up on a dead-end street.

Proverbs tells us, "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death" (Proverbs 14:12). When we began our addictive behaviors we were probably seeking a way to find pleasure or to overcome the pain of living. The way seemed right at first, but it became clear that we were on the wrong track. But then we were unable to turn around on our own. Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest Take my yoke upon you Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

To take on a yoke implies being united to another in order to work together. Those who are yoked together must go in the same direction, but by doing so, their work is made considerably easier. Jesus is saying that when we finally decide to submit our lives and our will to his direction, our burdens will become manageable. When we let him do the driving, we will be able to "find rest" for our souls. He knows the way and has the strength to turn us around and get us on the road toward life.

* * *

We all wear a yoke on our shoulders; the trick is in finding the right master.

Day 2

Releasing Worry Bible Reading: Matthew 6:25-34

We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

It is often our worries about the small details of life that lead to our undoing. Life's daily demands can be overwhelming. Perhaps, our "acting out" is a way of escaping. When we are sober, we are once again faced with the pressures of life. Learning to manage these in a new way is a key to maintaining our sobriety.

Jesus said, "I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

"And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing.... And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you....

"So don't worry at about these things.... Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:25-34).

Since God cares deeply for us, we can choose to live one day at a time and turn the details of our lives over to him.

* * *

God calls us to live one day at a time.

Chapter Four STEP FOUR

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Jesus said, "Why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? ... First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5).

Day 1

Facing the Sadness Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8:7-10

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Most of us falter at the prospect of making an honest personal inventory. The rationalizations and excuses abound for avoiding this step. The bottom line is, we know that there is an enormous amount of sadness awaiting us. And we fear the pain that facing the sadness will bring.

The Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon had lost touch with God. During the exile, they hadn't been taught his laws; so naturally, they hadn't practiced them either. After rebuilding the city walls and the temple, the priests gathered the people together to read the Book of the Law. The people were overwhelmed with grief and began sobbing, because their lives in no way measured up. The priests said to them, "Don't mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the LORD your God.... Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared ... for the joy of the Lord is your strength!" (Nehemiah 8:9-10).

That day marked the beginning of the Festival of Tabernacles, a required Jewish feast which celebrated their escape from bondage in Egypt and God's care for them while they wandered in the wilderness.

When we set out to face the pain and sadness of making a moral inventory, we will need the "joy of the Lord" to give us strength. This joy comes from recognizing, even celebrating, God's ability to bring us out of bondage and to care for us as we pass through the sadness toward new way of life.

* * *

Our joy in the Lord helps us to face the sadness within ourselves.

Day 2

God's Standard Bible Reading: James 1:21-25

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

When making an inventory, some kind of list is usually used to help take stock of what's on hand. If we've lived our lives with dysfunctional influences, our idea of what's "normal" probably won't be a very good measuring stick for evaluating our lives. We'll need another standard to help us take account of where we are.

The Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem had grown up in captivity. They started their inventory by finding a new standard. "They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the LORD their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins" (Nehemiah 9:3).

The apostle Paul ridiculed the idea that we could measure our lives by the people around us He said this of the Corinthian believers: "They are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! ... We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us" (2 Corinthians 10:12-13).

James wrote, "Humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.... But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it" (James 1:21, 25).

In doing our moral inventory, we will get better results if we use God's Word as a measuring stick. This should give us the perspective we need as we seek to sort out our lives.

* * *

Our recovery involves coming to terms with ourselves as we really are.

Chapter Five STEP FIVE

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

"If we confess our sins to him [God], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9).

Day 1

Freedom through Confession Bible Reading: Romans 2:14-15

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

All of us struggle with our conscience, trying to make peace within ourselves. We may try to deny what we've done, find excuses, try to squirm out from beneath the full weight of our conduct. We may work hard to be "good," trying to counteract our wrongs. We do everything we can to even out the internal score. In order to put the past to rest, we must stop rationalizing and admit the truth.

We are all born with a built-in buzzer that alerts us to what is wrong. God holds everyone accountable. "They know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right" (Romans 2:14-15) right 15).

Part of Step Five is to stop this internal struggle and admit that wrong is wrong. It's a time to agree with God and our own conscience about our cover-up and the exact nature of our wrongs. We're like people who have been accused of crimes which they actually committed. We may have spent years constructing alibis, coming up with excuses, and trying to plea-bargain. It's time to come clean. It's time to admit what we know deep down inside to be true: "Yes, I'm guilty as charged."

There is no real freedom without confession. What a relief it is to finally give up the weight of our lies and excuses. When we do confess, we will find the internal peace that we lost so long ago. We will also be one step closer to full recovery.

* * *

Admitting our failures is an essential step to forgiveness and healing.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from THE Life Recovery DEVOTIONAL by STEPHEN ARTERBURN DAVID STOOP Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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