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Welcome To The Learner III

 Addiction Recovery 

Chapter One: Recognizing Our Brokenness

Welcome To The Learner III

Addiction Recovery

Chapter One Recognizing Our Brokenness

Chapter Two  Having Faith In God

Chapter Three God Is In Charge

Chapter Four Making A Self Examination

Chapter Five Confession Follows Examination

Chapter Six Repentance: The Way To Forgiveness

Chapter Seven God Is Able To Cleanse Us

Chapter Eight Examine Our Relationships

Chapter Nine          Pressing Forward

Chapter Ten Move To Reconcile

Chapter Eleven Draw Near To God

Chapter Twelve Shine Your Light

 

Chapter Nine: Pressing Forward!

PRESSING FORWARD

"Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Joseph is made a slave

Moses is chased in the desert

Sampson was captured by the Philistines

David was pursued by Saul

Eli's sons were put to death

Solomon turned from God

Elijah was chased by Jezebel

Daniel was thrown into the lions den

Shadrack, Mishack, and Abednego was thrown into a fiery furnace

Jesus was hunted by HerodSteven was stoned to death

John the Baptist was beheaded

John the revelator was sent to the Island of Patmos

On and on, the gospel continues, it has pressed on despite adversity. Tonight there may be some sitting among us that are going through hard times. You may be asking, how can I continue having all this trouble slowing me down almost to a stopping point? How can I keep going?

2Kings 20:1-11

"In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, " Remember, O Lord how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him.

Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, " This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will

deliver you and this city from the hands of the King of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.

Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a Poultice of figs. They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, "What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?

Isaiah answered, "This is the Lord's sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps or shall it go back ten steps?

It's a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps." said Hezekiah. "Rather have it go back ten steps."

Then the prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down the stairway of Ahaz.

Here we find Hezekiah coming to his end, he does not want to die, but he has been told his time was up. He was told to get his house in order because he was going to die. Now notice what Hezekiah does!

Hezekiah turned and prayed to God saying remember Lord how I have walked before you faithfully, (not perfect but faithful) and with whole hearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.

Hezekiah doesn't want to die; he wants to keep going so he cries out to God. God hears him and adds years to his life.

So how do we press on? We cry out to God!

Some of us just need to cry out to God, we are often too busy looking for a way out ourselves and stay stuck. Until we cry out we will stay this way.

Jeremiah 33:3

"Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

Because King Hezekiah called unto the Lord, he was given more time, fifteen years more! The first thing that we need to do is call unto the Lord!

Friend, our life is but a shadow, daily I deal with those whose time is in question, so life is short for all of us, we need to learn to number our days! As we read,

"For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all of our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." 1Chronicles 29:15

And again, "(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow;) Job 8:9

When we read this story of Hezekiah we see that Hezekiah asks for a sign that he will live, and the we see Isaiah telling him, saying, "This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?" 2Kings 20:8,9

When we consider shadows, they either go up or down, likewise so it was with the dial of Ahaz, it went up or down by degree. The answer given to Hezekiah is given by this measurement. The answer from God is based upon the shadow going backward or up giving Hezekiah more time.

Now the question is, Shall we press on? Will we go backward in time to what we once were and live again? Live a clean life and turn away from this destruction and turn to Jesus? If so, our shadow will not go down, it will go up and light will come to our life again. Freedom from addiction, freedom to live!

Friend it is easy to give up, it is easy to quit trying, and it is easy for our shadow to go down, but not so easy to back to where it is the beginning where there was no struggle with these things. Yes! You can! You can start over clean!

Hezekiah’s story tells us it is easy to go forward to the grave, but it is a hard thing to stay and continue to press forward.

So let’s talk from the table here, often it is one thing to read a text and another to imagine a friend sitting at the table and talking with us. This pressing forward isn’t easy, let’s keep it real, each person’s situation is different, and their life’s experiences are not the same, so when someone says, "I understand" do they really understand? How can they when their life is different, or their addiction is different?

Well maybe they say this because, even though there may be extreme differences, there is also similarities, the similarities that make us friends that can sit together at the table and talk, and help each other, is "Fellowship of Suffering" You see, while the addiction might be different, the lives may be different, the support may be different, still what is the same is always the suffering!

And what is the same is always the loss, the pain, and to continue on with what is the same, it is the same God that healeth all! Jesus! And because he is the same always, we too can be the same in that we look for similarities rather than our differences. Let us meet each other to discuss at the table what we have as the same and not our differences. Has anyone abandoned you? Has anyone persecuted you? What has helped you until now?

These are just a few of the things that we can ask each other to strike up table talk so that we can help each other to press forward, you see, it is so much easier to press forward when we have a friend to help us through by confiding in each other the difficulties that we share and the ways that we deal with them. Now since Jesus is always the same, never changing, as it is written, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8

He heals every day, he is a friend every day, and he desires that we become like him every day, never pushing us away from his table when we desire to talk to him, but always lending an ear to hear us when we call.

What do we share with Jesus that is similar? "We are created in his image and likeness" Genesis 1:26 "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness:" You see, we share with God similarities, now since we see here how we were originally created to be, like Jesus! Now we can also see how far we have strayed from this, but although we have strayed from the person that God created us to be, we can come back to this by his grace. This is why we press forward, because it’s not always how you start, nor is it always how you are now, but instead it is how we finish that matters!

Because it matters how we finish, God encourages us to press on and he gives us the grace to live, and grace to heal, and grace to return back to that original image and likeness, his image and likeness as we have read.

NEVER QUIT! NEVER GIVE UP!

ALWAYS PRESS ON TOWARDS VICTORY!

Chapter Ten Move To Reconcile