Bouncing off the bottom of life?

In the economy of the Roaring 20’s he was a new breed of stock investor, a true analyst. His reports caught the attention of some key financiers, valued by those investing on Wall Street and he started to build his wealth. Under the cover of his financial acumen, Bill had a secret. He loved alcohol.  It took over his life and he was broke and dying.  His doctors told him to stop drinking or die, but the addiction was so strong.

On his third trip to a hospital, Bill Wilson finally reached up and asked for help. “If there is a God, let Him show Himself now.”  God found him and Bill Wilson, along with “Dr. Bob” Smith, founded a movement that has helped millions get sober and stay that way:  Alcoholics Anonymous.

One of the cornerstones of the AA way is that a person needs to ‘bottom out’ before they will be ready to lay the foundations of a new life. It’s a paradox. Strength is born in a moment of utter desperation. Step One says “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”   

I do not mean to suggest that we ought to give ourselves to self-destructive behaviors to try to find meaning or change. It is true that coming to the end of ourselves, through choices that destroy our illusions of mastery or because of circumstances that are simply beyond our control, provides the opportunity to discover the grace of God; a whole new way to live.

Are you bouncing off the bottom of life? 

Perhaps this last year has wrecked you emotionally.
It might be the ruins of your marriage.
It may be an addiction that has eaten away at you from the inside out.
It might be the approach of mid-life and the realization that nothing you have done seems to matter.
It may be a crushing sense of guilt or shame over wrong and/or sinful choices that lays heavily on you. 

I know it sounds like a cliché but I want to invite you to LOOK UP and ASK GOD for hope.  Not all crises produce great transformation. They can but some people refuse faith and become one of the ‘living dead,’ without hope, their lives a steep spiral into oblivion.

God loves you, dear friend, and will help you find a new life, giving you a new heart!

One of the ‘big lies’ of life is wrapped around the idea that it is ‘too late.’  The Devil will whisper that you are too guilty, too broken, too weak … to change. In one sense that is true. WE are ‘slaves to sin’ and destined for destruction except for the fact of God’s amazing grace. In Luke 15, we find Jesus’ story of renewal. 

A wayward son, who had squandered his father’s wealth and broken relationship, bottomed out. He found himself far from home, hungry.  “About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.” (Luke 15:14-16, NLT)  Broke, starving, alone, and ashamed- sounds desperate to me. How about you?

Jesus went on “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.”  (Luke 15:17-19, NLT)  He was still thinking that maybe he could negotiate his way out of desperation by making a deal with Dad. 

He went home and what did he discover? “So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:20-24, NIV)  Really, for the first time, he began to understand the depth of his father’s love!

How I pray that you know the depth of your Father’s love today. God is not interested in ‘making a deal’ with you. He does not want you to grovel in shame. He invites you to ‘come home.’ God’s grace is scandalous, dear friend. We cannot earn it and to attempt to do so becomes a hindrance to experiencing His love in all its fullness. God does not do probation, does not ask the impossible of us. He loves us, weeps over us, and waits for us to return to His embrace.

If you’re feeling broken today, if life is out of control, if the way ahead is hidden in darkness there is HOPE. So, what can you do? Look up and ask Christ Jesus to make you alive again to the Spirit.  He promised this to His wayward people of long ago: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20, NIV)  The promise remains.

Oh yes, the road to restoration is sometimes long, often hard.  Ask any recovering alcoholic! Step One is just that, the first step.  God gives strength, hope, and renewal and asks us to walk with Him, led by His Spirit into a new life as disciples (devoted followers) of Jesus.

Here is a word from the Word. This passage finds its way into my CoffeeBreak blog often because in these words I find so much joy, such strength for life. May you find the same. 
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:4-10, NIV)


Lord I Need You

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher© 2011 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)Sweater Weather Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Valley Of Songs Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

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