Tag Archives: Jesus Culture

Replacing Fear With Faith

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster over the last two weeks, some real ups and downs, especially over this last week, but in the end everything turned out fine.

Two weeks ago I was in Swansea, at the request of my friends Paul and Sarah, I was sharing my testimony at the Church they are planting in the city, it was a great day to actually be sharing my story as it was also the day I was celebrating three years of sobriety.

It went really well and I enjoyed every minute of the weekend.  On the way home I was however overcome with emotion.  As I finished my last drink at around 10.30pm 29th March 2012, as soon as that minute passed, I announced that fact to my friends in the car and cheered along with me.  Then a little later I couldn’t hold the emotion in anymore and quietly cried in the back of the car, not tears of pain, but joy and thanks for what had been done for me on that day three years before and for all the great things that God had done in my life in the three years in between.  I’m not sure whether anyone else in the car heard, I’m sure most of them were asleep after the busy weekend we had had helping Paul and Sarah run their fun day on Saturday and Church service on Sunday, but if they did hear, nobody said anything.

Even Monday afternoon I was still feeling all that emotion, I remember walking back from town and once more breaking into tears, thankfully I was nearly home, but by the time I got home I just collapsed onto the settee and continued crying, until I eventually fell asleep.

After taking the week off work and working at home on some drawing for the Architect’s, I went back into work on Saturday morning to be hit with a real bomb shell.

A colleague at work informed me that we were both in trouble over a handful of transactions that had turned out to be fraudulent, even though we had acted in good faith, we had failed to conduct the transactions to company policy, which is design to minimize this type of thing.  Neither of us had anything to hide, but we were to face an inquiry later in the week, which should they take a hard stance, we could both be sacked for our conduct!

My manager wasn’t back in until Tuesday, so I wouldn’t have chance to speak with him until then and find out exactly what I would be facing.  The strange thing was my friend was panicking more than I was, I felt quite calm about the whole situation.  I know I can’t afford to really lose my job, but I didn’t fear losing it either, I had this kind of “what will be, will be” attitude.

Obviously Saturday evening I prayed heavily into this situation for both myself and my colleague.  Come Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, I wasn’t too concerned for the future, I was apprehensive about facing the interview as part of the investigation, but not worried by the consequences, it was a strange feeling to have, but I wasn’t worried.

When Tuesday came, I walked to work and stopped by my Nan’s grave, where I stop most mornings and pray.  Quite often I still have my headphone in as I pray and worship music on in the background, I did that morning and as I prayed about the outcome of the situation, at that very moment the lyrics to the song “Come Away” by Jesus Culture rang out in my ears, louder than I expected….

“I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of Me”

Any fear for the future evaporated at the moment, I felt that no matter what happened on Thursday, whether I still had a job or not, it didn’t really matter, all would be okay, but God has a bigger plan for me anyway, I don’t really know what it is, but I need not worry for the time being, everything is going to be okay.

Later that morning I spoke with my manager, who said not to worry too much, he didn’t think it would come to either of us losing our job, I felt further reassured by that and carried on feeling quite positive despite everything.

The investigation on Thursday went okay, I faced a few questions and was completely honest about what I did and why I had done it, I admitted I knew I had made a mistake and would face the consequences.  Apparently we aren’t the only branch to be caught out this way either, other branches had been taken for a lot more money than we had.

The long and the short of it was the both of us have received a verbal warning for not following procedure, it was accepted that neither of us did anything for our own personal gain or to help anyone defraud the company, we acted on instinct and in good faith, just not to company policy, so we both get a slap on the wrist and it goes on our record for six months and will then be erased.

Throughout all of this though, I still hadn’t really worried about losing my job, I know there was a chance that I could, but I wasn’t actually worried about it, what kept going through my mind was that what happened last time I found myself out of work, was not going to happen again this time.  Last time I lost the ability to deal with life without alcohol, I gave up on life for a while and not until I lost all that was dearest to me, did I look to find a way out of the mess I was making, then and only then did I turn to God for help and He freed me from my addiction and starting the process of putting my life back in order.  This time God already had my back, I knew this time He was with me through it all.

I’m not sure what the future will hold for me, that isn’t clear, but what is clear is that God has a bigger plan for my life, it may not include continuing to work where I am now, there may be a change in the future, but for now, I continue on the path I am on for the time being, until He makes it clear to me what me next move is.

COME AWAY by JESUS CULTURE
Come away with me, Come away with me
It’s never too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late for you

I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in

At The Quiet Place

At The Quiet Place (Isaiah 41:13)

In the cold of the morning
With my feet surrounded
By frost covered grass
In my quiet place
Trapped in an uncertain future
I called to You
I felt Your hand grasping mine
And in my heart
I heard You say
“I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of Me”
In that moment
My fear was lifted
I felt You there

Note:
This reflects what happened this morning, as I was praying about a situation I face later this week, at the moment I asked for help, I heard the lyrics to Come Away by Jesus Culture and these four lines…

“I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of Me”

At that moment I knew I need fear no more, He has it all in hand.

Isaiah 41:13

Isaiah 41:13

The Story So Far – Chapter 8 – Breaking The Chains

CHAPTER 8 – BREAKING THE CHAINS

That last dregs of the bottle of wine remained on top of the fridge all week, I never had urge to drink it after I put it there, instead I began to talk to it.  No don’t get me wrong here, I wasn’t losing the plot and having mad conversations with an inanimate object, well I was, but for me the bottle represented that monster within.  Every time I walked past it I would point a finger at it and tell it that it couldn’t have me, I wasn’t going to drink it and it wasn’t going to win, I told the bottle I had a plan for it and that I wasn’t drinking it, I had this big plan to carry out on Sunday morning and this bottle was part of it, I told it that every time I walked by it.  I was in control now, I had a strength I couldn’t understand, but I was fighting back and I was determined to win and I was determined to let this bottle know who was in charge, I was and it was going to lose the battle now.

So when I woke the next morning, I got ready and headed off into town to carry out the first part of my plan.

The big plan was to pack my life away, get rid of everything that tied me to the alcoholic slob I had become, all of it to be symbolically put into a box and put in the place where all the other unwanted rubbish goes.

I wasn’t ready for Church yet, deep inside I wanted to go, but I had things to do before I made that step, I know I had found God, I knew He had heard my prayer and was answering them, but in my mind I still had things to do, I had to be clean before I walked into Church, I had to rid myself of some the dirt that was clinging to me, I wanted to be in control and this old me well and truly part of my past and a new start in Church was part of the future, I didn’t want to mix the two.

So I took myself into town, I brought the biggest plastic box I could carry and a marker pen.  Although my watch worked perfectly, the strap was caked in stale sweat and the odour of my alcoholic life, the watch was a past Christmas present from Victoria so I didn’t want to get rid of it totally either, so I brought the exact same watch, I had a plan for the other one.  I purchased a set of new pillows and pillowcases, my old ones also had that odour, that stale smell to them, there was no way I was ever going to wash that smell from them, it would be a constant reminder of the me that used to lay his head upon them, they had to go, so I purchased new ones.

I also grab a notebook and a decent pen.  One of the suggestions Gareth had made when we met was to journal.  He talked about how he empties his mind before bed by writing it all down, in that way he didn’t have to keep carrying it, he could write it down where it could be re read when needed and that way he found it easier to sleep.  I had never kept a journal or a dairy before, in all honesty I had really written anything since I was at school, apart from the odd letter at work, which were all based on standard templates, I had really never written anything of value.  But I decided I was going to take on this piece of advice and start from that very evening keeping a note of everything that was to happen to me.

When I got home, I took the old pillows and placed them carefully in the bottom of the plastic box, then I grabbed all the old clothes that I used to lounge around the house in, the ones I did the majority of my drinking in, the ones I spent days on end wearing, I took all the worn out clothes and underwear and put them carefully on top of the pillows in the box.  Then I took off the old watch and placed it carefully onto of the clothes.

Then I went into the kitchen and took down the third of a bottle of wine that was sat on the top of the fridge, I took it to the box and carefully positioned it up on the clothes in the centre of the box, then I closed the lid.  I took the marker I had purchased and on the box I wrote the message…

I DON’T NEED THESE
ANYMORE , TO BE PUT IN CELLAR
WITH THE OTHER RUBBISH

“THIS IS WHERE THE HEALING HAS BEGINS”

WAYNE, SUNDAY 25th MARCH 2012

Then once I was happy that I had put in the box everything that I could that reminded me of my old self, I took the box and put it in the cellar.  Our cellar contains everything that we no longer need, most of it is old paperwork and kids stuff, stuff that could be got rid of, but somehow we never actually have, one day it will be cleared out and all will be consigned to the rubbish bin forever.

The Forgotten Box

The Forgotten Box

When everything was in place I set off for karate and once more followed that old pattern, yes I did go to the pub again and yes I did drink, but once more I was content with two and set off for home when I had drank the second.  There was no detour on the way home, I simply got home, picked up the book I had brought earlier in the day and began to write about the last week, I back dated the book to the day I met Gareth, that was day my life restarted, it was as though a big part of me died when Sunday 18th March 2012 ended and the me that woke that next day was a fighter, ready to break free of the chains of sin that had held me.

On Tuesday morning I had a bit of a setback of sorts, I had to attend the Doctor’s for a prescription review for my Blood Pressure medication, when I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure, my blood pressure had been somewhere around 200 over 118, which is very high, for a then 26 year old, exceptionally high, after a few tests and some medication trials, my blood pressure failed to come down, so the Doctor at the time referred me to a heart specialist.

For a number of months I was under the specialist, he performed all sorts of tests, but couldn’t get to the route of the problem, he tried combinations of various medicines and gradually it came down to normal levels, the specialist was happy with that, he came to the conclusion that as heart disease and high blood pressure ran deep in both my mother and father’s families that is was an hereditary problem, but if I kept on the medication then it should stay under control.

Since that time I had been taking three tablets a day to keep it under control.  I knew that when I didn’t take any medication for a period of time, that the blood pressure steadily went back to it’s normally high levels.  But over the last few years I hadn’t missed my tablets for any significant period of time, each time I had been checked over the few years it was at normal levels, the tablets were doing their job, keeping it under control, all despite my excessive drinking and my lying to the Doctor’s about it.

So when on this morning my blood pressure had shot right back up to excessively high levels, I was shocked.  I explained to the Doctor everything that was happening and that I had realised I had a problem and I was trying to deal with it.  He asked if I wanted help with that, but I declined, he schedule another appoint for a few weeks time and scheduled me for a number of tests in the mean time.

This result came as a big shock, every other time it had been fairly normal, slightly higher than normal, but ever since I had been on the medication it had been that way and that was considered acceptable by both the specialist and my Doctors.  Now it had shot back up, even though I had been on the medication for some time, it put me on a real downer for a moment, in the midst of all this optimism, I was knocked right back.  But then I became convinced that had I not got this under control sooner, there would be no later, I became convinced that had I continued with my drinking, I was heading for a heart attack that I may not make it back from, I became convinced that I would not make it to the end of the year had I not taken steps, yes this was a knock back, but it’s also a wake up call.  I knew that this disease was going to kill me, I believed that I would have been either taken by the heart attack I was heading for or taken my own life!  But after a little soul searching through the day, I began to realise that I was actually doing the right thing, cutting down, trying to stop, getting my life in order, making a new start, there was a future, a future that would see me beyond this year, I just had to hold on, trust in God and let him guide my life now, he hadn’t save me just to let me die again, I had a way forward.

As the next few days went by I made a decision that each day I would try to change just one thing, to make a change in myself that I wasn’t happy with.  It’s impossible to change everything in one go, it has to be a process of gradual change.  So one day at a time, I changed one thing about myself, these changes ranged from having breakfast, to walking with my head up.  Now that was a hard one, I was known for walking fast, I guess it came from being short, when I was young I had to walk faster than everyone else to keep up, even though I have grown a little since then, I still move the legs at the same speed as I always had and therefore now walk faster then everyone else, even my old squad coach, who was well over six foot, wouldn’t walk with me, even though I am only five foot four & half inches (believe me the half an inch is very important), but when I walked, I got my head down and just went for it, never noticing what was around me, this change I couldn’t do in one day, it took day after day of trying to be so deliberate about keeping my head up, I wouldn’t take on another change until I had achieved this one, it took some time, but I did it.

Another one of those changes wasn’t easy either, this one took more than a day too.  In fact I still find myself failing with this one from time to time, especially on the bad days, but also on the good ones too.  I had this habit of responding to people who asked how I was with the phrase “not too bad”, well I decided that this was a get out clause.  What does “not too bad” actually mean, before it may have been quite accurate, I was bad, but not too bad, yet not good either.  But now things were different, okay things weren’t great, but they were getting better, they were so much better than they had been just over a week before, but was I that bad anymore, no, in truth I wasn’t.  So I decided I was to respond with “yes, I’m good thanks”, to have that air of positivity, to proclaim that I was actually okay and I was happy to say that.  Again this wasn’t easy and still isn’t, this one took so much longer and in all honesty I never really mastered it, at times I still catch myself saying “I’m not too bad”, I have to remind myself and pull myself up on it and then the next time to remember, life is good now I’m free.

On the Tuesday evening I went to the pub again after karate, from the night that Gareth came round I hadn’t had any drink at home, I had only drank in the pub after karate and never more than two pints, I had set that as a limit and I was keeping to it, I had gained control.  But this night I realised there wasn’t really any enjoyment in it anymore, I didn’t get that ahh feeling after the first mouthful, to be truthful it was hard to drink now and I actually began to dislike the taste, it wasn’t a bad pint, it didn’t taste any different to any time before, but something inside was saying you don’t like this anymore, you don’t need this anymore.

So when Thursday evening came around and karate had finished, I was walking across to the pub with a friend and as I walked I said to him that “if I didn’t like the taste of this first pint, then that was it, it was to be my last one and I wouldn’t drink again!”  As I walked in and ordered that first pint, there was this feeling inside that I was almost wishing myself not to like it, I didn’t want to like it anymore, I wanted to let it go, forever!  I sat down with my drink and took the first mouthful and it tasted absolutely awful, again it didn’t taste any different to before, but I hated it, totally hated it. So I decided I would finish the pint, but after that I would order a soft drink and that was it, no more, so when I went to the bar again, I ordered myself a lime and soda.

That was the last alcohol that I have ever consumed, since I finished that last pint at 10.30pm, Thursday 29th March 2012.  That day is forever etched in my memory, I have counted every day since that day, that was the day the Lord truly set me free, gave me the strength to say NO MORE, it wasn’t my strength, I knew I didn’t have any, I fell each time before that, it wasn’t until Gareth came into my life, bringing with him the keys to the door to a life with God, all I had to do was have the courage to open the door.  Once that door was opened, a strength came upon we that allowed me to fight back, to get control, to fight an addiction which had taken the best of my life away from me, all by the strength the Lord had placed within me.

In my weakness, He is strong.

That first test of my sobriety came a couple of nights later, one of my work colleagues was transferring to another branch and a leaving do had been arranged, with a meal at a Chinese restaurant in town and then a pub crawl afterwards.  So just two days after I vowed I would never drink again, I found myself the first to arrive at the pub next to the restaurant, I looked around and everyone was drinking alcohol and I had a big choice to make, stand strong or be weak and join in, so I ordered a Coke, the others began to arrive shortly after and each one ordered an alcoholic drink.  I had let everyone at work know what had been going off and that I had decided to stop drinking, no one pressured me, they left me to it as I ordered further cokes as they carried on with the alcohol.  Once the meal was over they all decided to carry on drinking in the pubs around town, I told them I was going home and left.  I was never one for pub crawls, I didn’t actually like drinking in town, I liked the pub I usually drank at, mainly because it was fairly quiet and I could chat with my friends, we would take part in the quizzes, something which I was particularly good at, I enjoyed that, but not the pub crawl atmosphere in crowded pubs with loud music, so doing something you really don’t enjoy when in all honesty you are struggling with not drinking, just didn’t appeal to me so I went home.

The whole night was full of mixed feelings, at times I felt comfortable, I could laugh along with things and at other times, I hated being there, I wanted out, I didn’t want to drink, I wasn’t going to drink, but being there was excruciating, the monster inside was stirring and I was doing everything I could to keep it down, I managed, but it was making me really uncomfortable.  When I got out it was such a relief, the fresh air was so inviting after being locked inside with your worst enemy parading it’s self in front of you.

When I got home I watched a bit of TV with my son, filled in my journal, then put my headphones in, listened to Healing Begins, then prayed, listened to Healing Begins once again then went to sleep, I had a big day ahead in the morning.

Since that night that I got the message to listen to Healing Begins, I had taken to listening to it when I woke in the morning, wherever I walked I listened to it and the last thing I listened to before I went to sleep was this song.  It was my inspiration, at times it still had me in tears and even now when it comes on my iPod, on a random shuffle, it brings a tear to my eye.  It was such an important thing for me in those early weeks, gradually more and more songs spoke to me, but this one was the one that was speaking to me above all others.  At the time I don’t think I really appreciated where the need to listen to that song came from on that Tuesday night, that repeated message, that feeling that I must listen to this, it took some time to come to the conclusion that it was God speaking to me, God telling me to listen to that song, he spoke to me through that song.  Music has always played a big part in my life, all sorts of music, everywhere I went I had music with me, when I worked, I had music on in the background, music was a big thing for me, so it was natural that this was used by the Lord to speak into my life, now when I look back to all the music I had been listening to over the previous four years, it was not by chance, there was no coincidence that I was listening to Christian music during the worst moments of my life, none at all.

FREEDOM REIGNS by JESUS CULTURE
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

Lift Your eyes to heaven
There is freedom
Lift Your eyes to heaven
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If You’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom
If You’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom

Give Your all to Jesus
Give him all, there is freedom
Give Your all to Jesus
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If your burden’s heavy
He brings freedom
If your burden’s heavy
He brings freedom

If you’re hurt and broken
He brings freedom
If you’re hurt and broken
He brings freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

Great is Your faithfulness
Great is Your faithfulness

Verse of the Day – Psalm 145:8-9

Psalm 145:8-9

Psalm 145:8-9

I know there are times we all feel alone, as though there is nobody on our side as we fight each day, but know that we are never alone, the Father’s love for us is so great He never leaves us, He will be there with you in every battle.

UNSTOPPABLE LOVE by JESUS CULTURE & KIM WALKER-SMITH
Try to stop Your love, and You would wage a war
Try to take the very thing, You gave Your life for
And You would come running, tear down every wall
All the while shouting, “My love you’re worth it all!”

God, You pursue me, with power and glory
Unstoppable love that never ends
You’re unrelenting, with passion and mercy
Unstoppable love that never ends

You broke into the silence, and sang a song of hope
A melody resounding, in the deep of my soul
You have come running, You tore down every wall
All the while shouting, “My love you’re worth it all!”

God, You pursue me, with power and glory
Unstoppable love that never ends
You’re unrelenting, with passion and mercy
Unstoppable love that never ends

No sin, no shame, no past, no pain
Can separate me from Your love
No height, no depth, no fear, no death
Can separate me from Your love

No sin, no shame, no past, no pain
Can separate me from Your love
No height, no depth, no fear, no death
Can separate me from Your love

God, You pursue me, with power and glory
Unstoppable love that never ends
You’re unrelenting, with passion and mercy
Unstoppable love that never ends

No sin, no shame, no past, no pain
Can separate me from Your love
No height, no depth, no fear, no death
Can separate me from Your love

No sin, no shame, no past, no pain
Can separate me from Your love
No height, no depth, no fear, no death
Can separate me from Your love

No sin, no shame, no past, no pain
Can separate me from Your love
No height, no depth, no fear, no death
Can separate me from Your love

No sin, no shame, no past, no pain
Can separate me from Your love
No height, no depth, no fear, no death
Can separate me from Your love

Verse of the Day – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

The Father is faithful, His promise to us He will fulfill, for our part we have to be just as faithful and patient.

NO OTHER LIKE YOU (WE WILL EXALT YOU) by JESUS CULTURE
You were innocent and condemned
Broken and You bore our sins
Laid Your life down
Through the sacrifice of Your son
The power of death was overcome
Laid Your life down on the cross

There’s no other like You, nothing compares to Your great Love
Highly exalted, forever seated on the throne

We stand in awe of You, We stand in awe of You
Nothing else compares God
We stand in awe of You

By the blood of Christ, we boldly come
All of heaven welcomes us
Lord we thank You for the cross

There’s no other like You, nothing compares to Your great Love
Highly exalted, forever seated on the throne

There’s no other like You, nothing compares to Your great Love
Highly exalted, forever seated on the throne

We stand in awe of You, We stand in awe of You
Nothing can compare God
We stand in awe of You

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

We will exalt You
Forever, forever
We will worship
Forever, forever

 

999 Not Out!!!

So here we are, I’ve made to 999 SoberDay’s but there was a point today where there was a big temptation to go and get hammered!  Fortunately the feeling was just there for a moment and was soon gone.

It’s been a testing few weeks at work, a member of our staff was dismissed a few weeks ago, in his defence at his appeal today he has brought into question a few of the procedures at the branch, mainly as a smokescreen to divert the focus from his own indiscretions, all of which puts the spotlight onto the manager and other members of staff, including myself, although we have done nothing wrong and certainly nothing anywhere near the severity of his own actions.  For now his dismissal has been upheld pending a review by the Area Manager, which may include further investigation on his allegations, which certainly put a downer on things this afternoon and lowered the Christmas spirit for a while.  In the midst of all this I will admit the temptation to just go and get hammered did rise within me, but gladly it disappeared as quickly as it arrived.

The stress this afternoon just added to the normal stress from this time of year, money once again being the main factor.  I’ve done a lot of work for the Architect’s over the last three months, payment for which I was promised at the end of last week, having said that I’ve been getting that promise for the last few weeks, I still without payment which does not seem to be coming before Christmas.  Once again it looks like my kids will be getting their main presents in the New Year, they are used to hitting the sales like that and I know it’s not the end of the world, but for once I was just hoping everything would fall into place for Christmas Day, oh well maybe next year.

My uncle Andrew had his operation yesterday, my Dad spoke with Sue his wife last night, he came through the surgery fine, although last night he was very groggy.  Hopefully I will find out more later as to whether the operation was completely successful or not.  I thank you all once again for your prayers, as so far things look good, let’s hope and pray that it has been a success.

It has been a testing few days, with a definite low spot this afternoon, but at the end of the day, when I compare not only where I was not only 1000 days ago, but also this time last year, when I was deep in a battle with depression, this stress is just a passing phase and the celebration’s can start tomorrow in earnest with the passing of the 1000 days sober milestone, when I can give thanks for waking each of the last 1000 days free from the chains of addiction, a freedom which the grace of God has granted me.

BREAK EVERY CHAIN by JESUS CULTURE
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
Bought our redemption
Heaven’s gates swing wide

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

Verse of the Day – Psalm 118:13-14

Psalm 118:13-14

Psalm 118:13-14

My strength to recover and overcome comes only from the Lord, there was no way I could make it this far without that amazing gift.  SoberDay 998 and counting.

WHERE YOU GO I GO by JESUS CULTURE
Where You go I go
What You say I say
What You pray I pray
What You pray I pray [repeat]

Jesus only did what He saw You do
He would only say what he heard You speak
He would only move when He felt You lead
Following Your heart, following Your spirit

How could I expect to walk without You
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I will not begin to live without You
For You only are worthy, You are always good

You are always good

Where You go I go
What You say I say God
What You pray I pray
What You pray I pray

Though the world sees and soon forgets
We will not forget who you are
And what you’ve done for us,
what you’ve done for us

Verse of the Day – Proverbs 4:18

Proverbs 4:18

Proverbs 4:18

Having once spent my days hiding in the shadows, I am forever thankful to see the morning sun.

YOU MADE A WAY by JESUS CULTURE
You’ve made a way for me
To enter the Holy Place
You’ve made a way for me
To enter the Holy Place

I am Yours
You are mine
And we’ll be
Together, forever

You’ve made a way for me
To enter the Holy Place
You’ve made a way for me
To enter the Holy Place

I am Yours
You are mine
And we’ll be
Together, forever

Verse of the Day – Psalm 34:19

Psalm 34:19

Psalm 34:19

Our troubles will come and go, but know that the Lord will be there with us through them all, He will deliver us, just keep holding on to Him.

HOW HE LOVES by KIM WALKER-SMITH & JESUS CULTURE
He is jealous for me
Love’s like a hurricane, and I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.

And oh
How He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us
how He loves us oh

He is jealous for me
Love’s like a hurricane, and I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.

And oh
How He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us
how He loves us oh

Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking (ha ha)
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way

He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves yeah yeah

hey yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves yeah yeah
Yeah He loves us
He loves us
He loves us (ha)

[Kim Walker speaks]
Yeah
His presence. His love.
Is so thick and tangible in this room tonight.
And there are some of you here that have not encountered the love of God.
And tonight God wants to encounter you.
And wants you to feel His love.
His amazing love.
Without it these are just songs.
These are just words.
These are just instruments.
Without the love of God, it’s just like we’re just up here just making noise.
But the love of God changes us,
And we’re never the same,
We’re never the same
After we encounter the love of God
We’re never the same after we encounter the love of God
And right now if you haven’t encountered the love of God,
And you would know,
Because you wouldn’t be the same.
You would never be the same again.
And if you, if you, want to encounter the love of God right now,
You better just brace yourself because He’s about to just blow in this place
And we’re gonna encounter the love of God right now.
So God I speak to all the hearts
And I ask God that every heart be open right now
Every heart be open.
Every spirit be opened up
To you God. To You.
And a love encounter
A love encounter from you tonight
A love encounter from you tonight God.

Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
Let it go deep go deep go deep

He loves us
Oh how he loves us
oh how he loves us
oh how he loves
His love is going deep
His love is going deep tonight
His love is going deep tonight
See the Father
Behold the Father
Behold the Father (ha)

The Trouble With Bottles

There are a few things in life that spook me, that make me completely uncomfortable within myself.  A couple of them relate to drinking.

Firstly if I ever dream that I have been drinking, always within the dream I get this overwhelming feeling of guilt, a guilt so deep that it feels like I could never live with myself again.  Then I wake up from the dream and it’s like I don’t know where I am, I don’t know what is real, was it a dream, if so why have I woke with the same guilt I was feeling within the dream.  I always wake from these with a heavy heart beat and a cold sweat, it take time to work out the truth, that this was all a dream and I’m still sober, I’m still able to count my days, I won’t have to start again and I haven’t failed.  That feeling of guilt within the dreams is enough to know I can never drink again.

The other was something that happened again on Wednesday evening, for only the second time, but it drove me mad for a short while, but it was something I couldn’t deal with.

I was on my way to a friends house for our Connect group social, we were having a meal which Ally was cooking, so I took along a couple of bottles of fruit juice.  These were only fruit juice, nothing alcoholic, just juice, yet they were in glass bottles, I chose them because they don’t resemble bottles of wine, my old nemesis, the last time I experienced this problem the bottles in question looked like wine bottles.

So I put the two bottles in a carrier bag and set off to walk to Ally’s house, just around the corner from mine.  I had no sooner got to my gate and I was feeling uncomfortable, like the whole world was watching me suspiciously.

Why?

I was just walking, with a carrier bag, with a couple of bottles of fruit juice, just on the way to a friends, so where’s the problem?

The problem for me lies in the fact that bottles in carrier bags make noises when they bang together.  Every time they made that clanging sound, I felt uncomfortable, anxious, guilty.

Memories of my dark past resurfaced, a past I try to put behind me, but every now and again memories rise that can shake me.

My choice of drink when at home was Rose Wine, I would fetch two bottles every night I was at home, together with cans of beer, the nights in between I would be out drinking anyway, but more often that not, five nights a week I would go buy two bottles of wine from the shop around the corner and do everything I could to sneak them into the house without making it obvious what I had brought.

I don’t know why I tried so hard to hide them, as I would leave the empties on the side the next morning anyway, but in my crazy mixed up mind, I would try to get these in the house without making a sound and hide them down the side of the settee, if they made a noise, I would rush in quickly with a sense of guilt, yet it never stopped me drinking and after all I left the empties for all to see anyway, but an addicted mind does what an addicted mind does.

So why now, why two and half years later, last time it was just a couple of months from my sobriety date of 29th March 2012, this time though, it was so far back in the past, yet these guilty feelings still arose.

As I walked the bottles continued to bang together, it seemed in my mind to get louder and I found myself looking around to make sure no one else was on the street and would see me.  I know this sounds so stupid, but to me it was so real, I’m not sure others can relate to it, but maybe some can.

Eventually, after even telling the bottles to shut up, I took one out of the bag and carried it in my hand, the bag in one hand and the bottle in the other, now that stopped them banging together and eased my guilt.

I walked the rest of the way with one bottle in each hand, the funny thing was I wasn’t bothered how it looked that I had one bottle in a bag and the other out in the open, the guilt was in the noise, that echoed through the mind like a painful memory.

When I got there, I didn’t expand on why, I just put the bottles down on the table and carried on as if nothing had happened.  I didn’t mention it, I’m not sure any one could fully understand how I felt about it or why I would feel that way about it.

I must say, I’ve avoided this sort of situation for almost two years, I thought it would be okay this time, but obviously it wasn’t.  The thing is I still don’t want to drink, none of this was about having an urge to drink, far from it.  It’s about the guilt of the past, the memories of the darkest parts of who I was.  I know I’m free from that past, yet these feelings of guilt, they keep it real, a real reminder that I am never going back to who I was.

I know I have been set free from the addiction by the Grace of God and the immense sense of freedom that brings. I know I have come so far in the last two and half years, although I know there is still work to be done.

The guilt of who I was still runs deep, the shame can be brought to the surface so easily, yet each time I come to this and conquer it, I am strengthened, the best lessons in life come through the trials and tests, from the failures and defeats, they’re the best lessons.

I know there is little to learn in just winning, sometimes we have to face the defeat to learn how to win.

FREEDOM REIGNS by JESUS CULTURE
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

Lift Your eyes to heaven
There is freedom
Lift Your eyes to heaven
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If You’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom
If You’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom

Give Your all to Jesus
Give him all, there is freedom
Give Your all to Jesus
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If your burden’s heavy
He brings freedom
If your burden’s heavy
He brings freedom

If you’re hurt and broken
He brings freedom
If you’re hurt and broken
He brings freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

Great is Your faithfulness
Great is Your faithfulness