Lesson 11: Confess

17 Jun

“How many of y’all have done something you regret? All of us, right?! I’ve found that all too often I tend to hang on to those things much longer than I should. In fact, I will even carry them around with me. They are like a backpack that I have to pick up each and every time I move from place to place so that they will always be close by. If I carry them around long enough without taking care of them, the backpack tends to get pretty heavy to lug around and limits the things that I can do.

Max Lucado has a book titled, “God is with You Every Day”. In it he talks about this guilt we tend to carry with us each day and the results of it. He states, “God has the final word on your life, and His word is Grace! According to the Bible, Jesus said, “The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:10).” What he means by this is we allow ourselves to wallow around in our false guilt so that we can feel good and sorry for what we did, or what was done to us! However, the good news is that if you are in Christ, our sin is gone! Scripture tells us that our sin is as far as the east is from the west. (Psalms 103:12). Jesus has done His part by forgiving us of our sins; we have to do ours by giving Him our guilt! We need to tell Jesus what we did without holding anything back. We must go into as much detail as possible because healing happens when the wound is exposed to the cleansing atmosphere of Grace. You see, confession is not punishment for sin; it is an isolation of sin so it can be exposed and extracted.


We must be firm in our prayers since Satan traffics in guilt. So tell his false guilt where to get off and for heaven’s sake, stop tormenting yourself over doing something wrong! Romans states very clearly,“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!” (Romans 3:23). Jesus is strong enough to carry your sin; did He not say He would do so? We need to believe Him! Then to complete Step five, we need to follow the instructions we’ve been given! Step five states: “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” And the scripture that is associated with this is, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) After we admit our on faults, confess to God our specifics, and then we must find our sponsor and tell him/her as well. We will then be out of our isolation where Satan rules and the healing can begin!


I pray each one of you reading this will let loose of that backpack you have been carrying around and lay it at Jesus’ feet and leave it there! Believe Him and allow His healing Grace perfect you into the person He wants you to become!”

In Christ Love!




5 May

Sex, drugs, alcohol…. These used to be some of my favorite things….until I felt so bad!

Then I contemplated the beginning of the solution, get a Sponsor.  There is something about when the dog bites, when the bee stings, and when I’m feeling sad, simply remembering my favorite things was not working for me!  I kept doing the same things over and over.  I knew God, but the drugs and alcohol had killed my spiritual relationship with God, and everything I did was literally physically killing me.  The solution of working the steps with a sponsor sounded worse than a month in rehab! And I certainly wasn’t going to confess any of my mess to any living human.  My goodness gracious!!! Hadn’t I felt enough rejection, and enough of feeling alone?  Just kick me now, I could feel it coming!  I wouldn’t even get to the third strike before I was out the door with a sponsor!  In fact, I expected that after my first pitch sharing what I had done, I’d be out the door! I decided to be a hold out on finding a sponsor as long as I could.

A pending deadline as I was leaving rehab continued to surface: I had to have written verification from my sponsor that he was actually my sponsor in 30 days or less! No way getting around this one!  Don’t they understand who I am, I’ll get one.

I waited until about day 29.  I had been to enough meetings to evaluate whom I would ask to be my sponsor.  It sure would have taken the potential rejection syndrome off if I had been assigned one or someone had said they wanted to, but it was up to me.  I had a couple of men in mind I might ask, however, they seemed they may be on the lame side of being serious about recovery, but at least I could get another signature and another item checked off.  The sponsor thing would be smooth.  I had prayed about this process, and figured that if I openly asked who may be able to be a sponsor, and gave the lame dudes “the look”, they’d say sure man!  But to my surprise, a Marine, the most firm believer in God, walked up to me, stepped between the others and my eyes and said, “I’ll be your temporary sponsor, but you will start from the very beginning of the steps, if I’m going to work with you.”  I took a big swallow, and said thank you sir!  I felt nauseous!  Boot Camp was about to begin.  I cried out to God, this was the only man to offer, surely those lame dudes didn’t see my looks or hear my request, and they would volunteer, this Marine came in at the wrong time, or was it really a miracle he did?

As God was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself, one person serious about recovery came over to me and said, “you mentioned that you couldn’t wait to get back to where you used to be after you complete the steps, do you really want to go back to that miserable lifestyle?” He quoted Romans 12:2 where Paul wrote:”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that the will of God is that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.”

As he walked away, I did have to admit, that even though I was a church member, believed in Jesus Christ as my savior, I had been unwilling to wait upon the Lord, and I wanted a quick fix in sex, drugs, alcohol, and I also later learned I had a problem with over eating, unhealthy co-dependent relationships, and just about anything that gave me instant gratification.

So I chose to work with my Marine sponsor Bill, and it wasn’t like a grueling physical boot camp, but a healthy spiritual boot camp.  The first thing I asked Bill was:  ” I’m about to begin working the steps with you, even though I had done through step 3, I’ll begin again, but please tell me one thing, above all that you do with the steps, what gives you such clarity of mind and spiritual connection to God.”  He answered that he begins every day with a reading from scripture, or something he may pray with God about, but then he literally gets on his knees in prayer.  Not just hitting the snooze alarm and saying a few foggy words to God.  But he actually was transforming his mind, repenting of the wrongs he had done, and in doing so was forming a life changing relationship with God through Christ by getting on his knees before God!

I began to listen to Bill as we went through the steps, he had actually done them many times, and he continually took a daily inventory.  Many of my questions led to the answers in steps I would later study.  He never told me I had to do anything.  He freely offered what he did to stay healthy.

I did ultimately realize that this tough Marine was full of God’s love, acceptance, mercy, and grace. … So long as I did things in a God honoring way.  After 16 years, I now have not only a sponsor, but a most dear and trusted friend, and I am most blessed that he took the time to demonstrate God’s love from the very beginning and though this day.

Two passages in the Bible confirm our relationship with Bill as my sponsor:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us, “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively.  If one of them falls down, the other can help him up.  But if someone is alone….there is no one to help him….Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone.”

And the second passage is:

Proverbs 27:17  “as iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man.

Thank you God, thank you Bill, and thank you for each and everyone for your prayers.  Bill and I are alive, and alive in our relationship with God because you have prayed for us.




22 Mar

This week in Celebrate Recovery we will be learning about action.  The acrostic for ACTION is as follows:

A – Accept Jesus Christ as your Higher Power and Savior

C – Commit to asking God’s will for your life

T – Turn everything over to Christ, little and big things

I – It is only the beginning, you have steps to go through to end your hurt, habit, or hang-up

O – One day at a time, trust Jesus that He’s going to set you free from your hurt, habit or hang up

N – Next step is to ask Jesus as your Higher Power into your life, if you have not done so

If you have not taken the N-the Next step, I suggest that this is the day that you trust everything to Him.

  • All of us are sinners
  • Wages of sin is death
  • The gift from God is eternal life through Christ Jesus
    • Jesus suffered and died for you
    • He replaced His life for your sins so you have forgiveness
    • Believe with all your being that He is Master of your life
    • He was raised on the third day to prepare a place in heaven for you
    • Trust in Him and confess He is your Lord and the only way to heaven
  • Accept His forgiveness for your sins
  • Lean on Him moment by moment
  • Talk to Him without ceasing, He wants a relationship with you

I accepted Jesus as my Savior over twenty years ago, and one of the hardest things for me to do, is to take one day at a time. The bible tells us to be anxious for nothing.  I came to Celebrate Recovery because depression and anxiety were my main hang-ups at that time.  Praise the Lord that He had helped me to conquer drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity previously!

I could not drive down the road without thinking I was going to die in a car accident, so much that I had to take anxiety medication. I couldn’t sleep because of all my worrying about the future, so I was on sleeping medication.  Through Celebrate Recovery, within one year, I was free of my anxiety and sleeping meds, and even though I still struggle through one day at a time at times, it is not to the extent of needing medication. Thank you Jesus!

Now, when I cannot sleep, I find peace in God’s word, journaling, and praying. I am at a different stage in my life where I want to know His will for my life now!  God does not work that way, He gives us what we can handle when He knows we can handle the next step(s).  I dealt with my depression and anxiety, and now He is helping me with my weight issues.  I did not get this way overnight, and we are a work in progress for those in Christ Jesus. God’s ways and will are better than our wills and ways. Because of this I learn to wait on Him daily.

I know that Isaiah 9:6 is usually quoted at Christmas, but with Easter coming up this is a great reminder of the precious attributes of Jesus:

“For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


My prayer for you is that you come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and that you take one day at a time and find peace in Him today.  Amen.




10 Mar

This week, our lesson is “TURN”.  This falls under principle 3, and step 3 in our recovery.

 Principle 3:  Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Matthew 5:5 “Happy are the meek.”

Step 3:  We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”

This lesson brings to my mind a scripture in the book of Acts that I would like to comment on.    Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” New International Version (NIV)

Peter is preaching to those who are not following God, and he says to “Repent”.  This means to “think differently”.  That thinking is not just something to ponder in your mind, but a change in thinking, that leads to a change of direction (behavior).  The direction then is to “turn toward God”.  Our actions, outside of God’s will for our lives, lead us away from God.  Those actions bring guilt, alienation, estrangement, hardship and heart ache.    Repentance, then, leads us to God. This results in the release of guilt and the returning of joy.  As we do this, our offence, or sin, is obliterated, blotted out, and wiped away.  This in ancient times referred to the wiping away of ink.  This enables God to do what He wants for every individual- “refreshing”!  Literally, this is a recovery of breath, i.e. (figuratively) revival.  This is a returning of peace in our lives, and of satisfaction in our lives.  These verses refer to showers of blessing in Ezekiel 34:26, Isaiah 44:3, Joel 2:26.  This comes from the Lord.  That is from God, Our Lord, Master, our supreme authority.

God brings about an abundance of refreshing to those who recognize their sin, and waywardness, and change their minds and behavior to embrace God and His ways.  My prayer for you is that you would realize the goodness of God, and His ability to give you an abundant life, and that you would repent, and return in order that God may give you His BEST!




17 Feb

Living Step 2 in the twelve step recovery journey is believing that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity. In order to accomplish this, we must believe that our God cares enough to help.

We have spent a few weeks at First Dallas understanding Principal 1, which tells us we have a problem we can’t fix on our own. It’s challenges us to ask ourselves if “our life is working and if it has become unmanageable.”

If this is indeed the case Principle 2 tells us there is a solution, a different way.

As a result of admitting our powerlessness in Principle 1, we can move from chaos to hope in Principle 2. Hope comes when we believe that a power greater than ourselves, Jesus Christ, can and will restore us! Jesus can provide that power where we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors.

I remember the insanity and chaos of my life back in 2012. I was going through a divorce, being swindled by my ministry partner, and struggling at work. Things were totally out of control and instead of turning to God, I turned to alcohol, prescription drugs, and finally, and almost fatally, cocaine.

Psalm 30:3 says, ”O Lord, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me!”; When I finally cried out to God, he directed me to 1st Dallas. Through Celebrate Recovery, I have been healed and restored by the great Physician. Not only that, He continues to show me other areas of my life that I need to surrender to Him.

Sanity has been defined as “wholeness of mind; making decisions based on the truth.” Jesus is the only higher power who offers the truth, the power, the way, and the life!

Some define insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. In my opinion, that is actually the effect of buying into the meaning of insanity. I believe the best explanation of insanity should simply be the opposite sanity, which would be defined as making decision based on lies.

We know the father of all lies is Satan. So, when we continue to buy the lie, so to speak, we are powerless to change, we have lost our way, and on the road, not to life, but destruction.

But Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh! This is why it is vital that we have a daily dose of Bible intake in order to dispel the lies that we are relentlessly bombarded with.

For example:

The lie tells us that if we look at that pornographic image again, this time it will satisfy us. Or, I can view it, this time, but it won’t result in sinful behavior. And, of course, “I can always quit tomorrow. “

But the Truth tells us in Exodus 20:4, “Do not bow down to any image or worship it, because I am the Lord your God, I tolerate no rivals.”; And James 1:14-15 tells us, “we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Another lie tells us we have to look like the air brushed and perfected pictures we see on magazine covers or the images that come out of Hollywood.

But the Truth tells us “we are fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 138:14)

Here is one I bought for many, many years. If I drink this, it will get rid of my fears and anxieties, and certainly this time will make me content.

But God says cast your cares on Him and He will sustain you. (Psalm 55:2) and, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit”. (Ephesians 5:18)

So, here is your homework for the week:

Take whatever you are struggling with and apply this scriptural prescription.

The lie is “____________”

The truth is, “___________” (fill in the blank with Scripture)

Incorporate this in your prayers daily; and remember that verse or verses when you are tempted.

Recovery is a daily program, and we need a Power greater than ourselves – a Power that will provide us with strength, acceptance, new life, integrity, and trust – to allow us to make sane decisions based on His truth!



Kanye West

P.O.W. – E.R. – LESS: Starting Your Road to Recovery

20 Jan

Once we accept our denial and come to realize that our problems and issues are larger than us, we also have to realize how truly POWERFUL our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ really is.

Not long ago, I heard a well-known teacher at First Baptist Dallas talking to a young man who was describing the problems he had got himself into. After trying, to no avail, to get this young man to describe his spiritual life, the teacher finally asked the man, “Please tell me, on a scale of one to ten, how big is your God?”

If we’re to get past step one in our recovery, we must all ask ourselves this same question,. Let me explain a little of my story and how I came to Celebrate Recovery (CR).

For months, my wife was on my case to come with her to CR, but I kept blowing her off by saying, “I don’t have an addiction. The 12 steps may have been good for my brothers and sister, but I am ok.”

“You don’t believe me,” I’d say, “just look at all I’ve accomplished in my Marine Corps career, running the trucking company my dad had started,” etc., etc.

The Marine Corps slogan that comes to mind is, “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” And, boy, was I proud!

How could I ever make time to participate in another ministry program, when I was already working in nine other ministries around the church at the same time? I was too busy to make time for CR. Sound familiar?

Well, four years ago last November, I broke down and came to CR to appease my wife. After I got here, and saw all the issues others were struggling with, the light came on for me. I began to realize that, all along, I had been playing God – trying to fix the problems I had with forgiveness, anger and control, by myself. And, for the record, I was making a total mess of it.

The title of this blog is intended to help you understand your situation, the same way God helped me understand my situation almost four years ago.

What I first realized was that the time I’d spent in denial, trying to fix my problems by myself, was really setting me up for a daily dose of defeat. My prayer life was not what it should have been, my Bible study was almost non-existent, and my pride was preventing me from reaching out to the only Higher Power, Jesus Christ, and asking for Him to do His work in me. I was locked in a P.O.W. camp, where I was the warden. I had to break the chains I’d wrapped around myself and surrender my life, will, time, energy and problems over to Him.

Once I got out of that P.O.W. camp, the next place I needed to visit was the E.R. I needed time to reflect on all I’d been struggling with, and allow Jesus the time to heal me from my hurts, habits and hang-ups. Christ is the Great Physician, so who better to turn my condition over to but to Him? I simply had to remember (sometimes daily, sometimes hourly) that I had turned my problems over to Him, and then leave them there, trusting that He would make all things right.

Next, I began reading a daily devotional, to train myself on praising my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and allow His intercession on my behalf. In other words, I started thinking LESS of me, and MORE of Him.

Friend, you can do this, as well. It isn’t difficult. Simply begin today. Then, tomorrow, begin again. And then, again the next day.

“Do not lay up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for you treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Matthew 6:19-21.

Turn your energy and focus towards God, and He will do a work in you. Surrender your pursuit of His Power, and let true healing begin.




Kim Kardashian 

Denial: Playing Pretend

6 Jan

Did you ever play pretend as a child? Most of us still play pretend as adults, whether we realize it or not. We pretend that something doesn’t hurt us or scare us, that a particular situation doesn’t need our attention, that a relationship is fine so we can avoid confrontation, or that things will just work out if we ignore them. Maybe some of these statements sound familiar:

If I don’t talk about it, it will go away.

 He really doesn’t drink that much.

 I can stop any time I want to.


What I have mentioned above can only be described by one word: Denial.

Denial is defined as a “false system of beliefs that are not based on reality” and “a self-protecting behavior that keeps us from honestly facing the truth.”

Before we can find freedom from our hurts, habits or hang-ups, we must first face and admit our denial.  God says in Jeremiah 6:14: You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there.

 For me, I was in denial big time when it came to my codependent relationship with my daughters. It was easy for me to pinpoint my codependency and unhealthy behavior with my ex-husband, but it never occurred to me that many aspects of my relationship with my daughters was unhealthy.

I was quick to jump to their rescue when they encountered a problem. I always had a solution for them. I would intervene in their squabbles, trying to broker the peace between them. And, when their dad did something to hurt them, I would explain it away, minimizing it to try to make it appear something other than what it was. I did all this thinking I was helping them. I was in denial as to the harmful effects this had on them.

First of all, by solving all their problems, I was not allowing them to learn from their mistakes and learn to solve their own problems.  They became resentful of me when I would intervene in their arguments. And, by minimizing the hurt from their dad, I was hurting them even more.

But the most damaging thing I did to my daughters through this was not allowing God to work in their lives and through their lives, because I intervened. The times I have learned the most, have heard God’s voice the clearest, was through complete failure or heartache. By trying to shield my daughters from the pain and hurts of this sinful world, I was actually hurting them even more. It took an accountability partner in Celebrate Recovery to help me recognize that and step out of the darkness of my denial and into the light.

I still remember the first time I experienced the awareness of interacting with my daughters in a healthier way. They were having an argument, and instead of intervening, I just let them work through it. It was like watching a play, but instead of being the director and part of the drama, I was in the audience watching it all play out.

Stepping out of denial is not easy. Everything in you says, “don’t do it!” Satan will whisper in your ear, “it’s not safe.” But it is safe at Celebrate Recovery. People there care about you and will love you for who you are and where you are. They will stand beside you, as Truth becomes a way of life.

Hang on to God’s hand and let Him take the lead. Join us at First Baptist Dallas for Celebrate Recovery on Wednesday nights. True change comes only when we die to ourselves and allow Christ to set the pace. And, it starts one step at a time.