Tag Archives: 12 Steps

Hinged or Unhinged?

-Terri Fornear

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26

I was looking out the window when a red bird flew by. It landed on a branch, and began staring at me through the window. At first, I laughed because it was so intentional in watching me. Then I got curious and looked up the word “cardinal.”

I couldn’t believe what I read. The word comes from the Latin word, “cardo,” which means hinge; “that on which something turns or depends.” The first thing I read about the spiritual meaning of red birds is they symbolize the “blood of Christ.”

So as I sat and obeyed God’s command in Matthew 6:26 by “looking at the birds of the air.” (I just had to let you all know I was obeying God. I love how HIS commands are not burdensome – 1 John 5:3). I heard God’s voice for me on …

  • The “hinge” word was loud – everything rides on the blood of Christ!
  • Jesus finished work on the cross is the hinge to LIFE.
  • His blood cleansed my sin – forever (Hebrews 10:10).
  • His body broken, buried, and raised for me so that my “Adam” life (Romans 5) was put to death and HIS resurrected LIFE was united to me (Romans 6).
  • I take up His cross today and say, “His finished work is enough for me to rest in.”

Staying hinged as I look at Mr. Red Bird staring at me …

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Check out our video describing the benefits of Stronghold’s Stepping Into Christ Groups. 

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Never Separated From Birth

– Terri Fornear

Step 11 – We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.dove - Presence - 4-29-15

I love this step! This step is the cross in action NOW! My conscious contact with God began the day He reached down to me through the death and resurrection of Christ. He first came to me. I did not make my way to Him. He came and found me. Even now I don’t have to earn or devote my way to Him.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus… Let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised. – Hebrews 10:19 & 22

I can draw near NOW! No manipulation, no formula, no rituals, no devotion can make me any closer than I already am. His work did it!

  • He changed my heart to a heart that receives and wants to follow Him. (Hebrews 8:6-13; Ezekiel 36:25-28)
  • He cleaned my conscience from evil and feeling guilty all the time. (Hebrews 10:22)
  • He gave me His Spirit to lead me. (Romans 8:12-14)
  • He continually desires me to be aware of the depths of His love for me and His world! (Ephesians 3:14-21)

I am okay! He wants me to know this throughout the day when the enemy tells me lies that make me feel separated from Him. Yet the Lord wants me to be more conscious of His work for me than my weaknesses, sins and failures! Conscious contact is enjoying Him – NOW!
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He Completed Me

– Terri Fornear

Step 10 – Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admit it.Complete in Christ - 2-20-15

Step 10 reminds me that freedom is a daily process. My personal daily inventory always starts with the Gift of Righteousness which was once for all given to me, and Jesus is at the right hand of the Father “loving me out loud” to the Father:

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7:25

Then peace, courage, patience, love, joy spring daily from His life within me.

In Your presence is fullness of joy; This is where my pleasure is today and forever. – Psalm 16:11

For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them. – Galatians 6:15

Step 10 helps me tune in to those moments when this peace of Christ is disturbed in me. Contrary feelings that perk up are insecurity, fear, resentments, loneliness, self-pity. These feelings may stem from the inventory I took in step 4. I might have received a message from a person or a situation that made me feel incomplete. I stepped out of my completeness in Christ – though He never left me.

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone complete in Christ. Colossians 1:28

When I step out of completeness, my flesh or self-centered part, becomes demanding and compulsive about getting what I need in unhealthy ways. This opens me up to hurting others who are “in the way.”

Step 10 wakes me up each day to being aware of my source of Life, whether flesh or Spirit. The Spirit actually leads me to love myself first – by receiving Christ’s view of me. Then loving others comes easier as I’m living out of completeness and fullness, not out of need or duty. Then I can go to anyone I’ve hurt and apologize without losing the truth about myself.

My job in Step 10 is to “keep myself in the love of God” (Jude 1:21) and to love others – in freedom.

Find out how Terri applies God’s Word to “situations” in her life. Her book, Dealing with Feelings, is part of our Free gift basket to cancer patients.

Amending Fences

 

-Terri Fornear

Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.picket fence

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

I love this verse because God is telling us to say sorry to each other because we have the gift of “right-ness” in us so we do not need to defend or hide. We are okay all day long, even when we have hurt ourselves and others. Jesus’ blood is so loud over us all day long – when we are doing it right and when we are doing it wrong.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense— Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. – 1 John 2:1-2

Doing Step 9

My work in Step 5 in naming my EXACT wrong will help me with Step 9. It’s so easy for me to have a false humility that says I am sorry for anything and everything so I can have a false peace in the situation. Sometimes I’d rather be wrong than honest! The exact wrong helps me to look at what my flesh has done to hurt another person.

For an example, I will use a situation with my husband, Joe, when I corrected him abruptly during a meeting. In this case, because of walking in fear or anxiety (my #1 flesh issue), I cut him off and blamed him for something that wasn’t right. I could tell it bothered him. So what was the exact nature of the wrong that I did to him? I was judgmental, critical, short and disrespectful.

Making a Direct Amend

Now while it is good for me to know the roots of my hurtful actions, this is not the time to explain to Joe why I disrespected him. So I want to go to him and simply say, “I’m sorry for rudely correcting you in that meeting. That was unkind of me. Will you forgive me?” Then I should listen to his hurt and feelings about how I treated him.

Making a sincere direct amends is my part in experiencing freedom and building bridges with those I hurt.

Find out how Terri applies God’s Word to “situations” in life. Her book, Dealing with Feelings, is part of our free gift basket to cancer patients.

Mending Fences

– Terri Fornearbandaid on broken heart - square - 8-21-14

Step 8 – We made a list of all the persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13

What is my heart’s need in relationships? For me it is being known, understood and accepted. How often after being hurt by someone I just wanted a simple recognition of my pain and a simple “I am sorry.” I didn’t even need them to change, just see my hurt, and reaffirm they did not want to hurt me. Oh, that seems so simple, yet I do not always give that to others.

Step 8 gives me a chance to list those I have hurt and become willing or courageous to “love” them – whether they receive it or not. This step opens the door for me to see the pain I’ve caused others and set me free from making my pain master over my feelings and thoughts about myself.

How to Get Started:

I start this list with those who have hurt me. The reason I start here is because we often hurt others when we’ve been hurt. In my flesh, I may have erected hurtful barriers to protect myself. This list will help me consider if I’m holding a grudge against anyone. Am I avoiding them to protect myself or because that is a love action towards both of us? Am I trying to change them or manipulate them to see that they hurt me? Am I judging them for their faults which caused me pain? This list helps me see my wrongs and become willing to let go and forgive the other person’s actions – to let Christ’s Love into this relationship. His grace begins to wash away the hurt I think is owed me.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  – Hebrews 12:1-2

His love for me compels me to love in the face of my imperfections. I become willing through His love to say I am sorry… I am wrong.

The columns for each person on your list may look like this:

1) Person who hurt me
2) The exact wrong
3) Feelings produced
4) Self-protection – how I hurt them

Now you’ll be willing to do Step 9!

Lighten Your Load

– Terri Fornear

Step 7  – We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.weight while racing - 7-25-14

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1

In the 6th and 7th steps, we become willing to let go of our defects, issues, behaviors, old feelings, unresolved grief, and beliefs that keep us weighed down.

My initial problem was my old nature – which was dead toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). I couldn’t change it; train it; or make it “devoted” or pleasing enough for God.

I love how Paul says in Romans 6:3-5, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death… burial (v. 4) … and resurrection (v. 5)?”  There’s something here that we must first know or see; then believe; and then be willing to wear as our LIFE – our union with Christ on the cross. All of His work and none of our work.

No shortcuts… no self-help programs… no religious devotion plans. Just the LIFE of Christ in me and the new heart He has given me in the New Covenant. Walking by faith in His provision, which bears fruit in due season.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. – Hebrews 8:10

I wish I could say that I do not deal with anxiety and worry after Joe’s cancer battle! But no, these two enemies sneak into my life in many ways, tempting me to take over the reins of my life. Step 7 allows me to HUMBLY ask God to remove my shortcomings.

I love this step! It puts Jesus finished work center stage! I either believe His work works or I continue practicing religion without Him!

And in Him you have been made complete, … and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the circumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him. – Colossians 2:10

My true self is already as it should be. It is not something that I whip into shape – as it is the seed of Christ in Me!!!! That seed takes over where my powerlessness ends. His work becomes bigger as my eyes are open to God’s will – which WAS done on the cross!

Ready Or Not?

-Terri Fornear

Step 6 – We are entirely ready to have God remove the root of all these character defects.

This is an interesting step to me. Though this step credits God as the One who actually changes me, my role is to be entirely ready to receive His way of removing the root of my problem.ready - Step 6- 5-27-14 I love what Paul wrote:

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13-14

It is tempting to think we must change on our own so that God will be pleased with us. It is also tempting to think that we can change on our own. Yet we know Paul had become so frustrated that he gave up trying to change. Can you relate to Paul?

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? – Romans 7:22-24

He tried and tried to do it himself, but eventually he was ready for change – God’s type of change. This “simple” step is so hard, yet so freeing. Are you tired of trying to change yourself? Are you finally ready for change?

Into the Light

-Terri Fornear

Step 5 – Admit to God to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. drop mask - 3-27-14

Here’s the step that helps me let go of… my false identities, false securities, false masks, and any lies which are keeping me from “believing” all of the inheritance I have in Jesus.

Fear is my first hurdle. Fear of man. Opening up to another human being is tricky. Humans are not God, not perfect, and not the answer, but the right person can be the very vehicle to deliver God’s grace and gift of righteousness.

Things I look for when choosing that person: Are they “human” and humble? Can they admit to you their own journey with their faults and shortcomings? Do they see you in Christ by faith? Are they secure in Christ’s righteousness, or are they building their own? Will that person pray with you? I ask God to lead me to that person and trust His wisdom through that person.

James 5:15-16 – And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Confessing is a healing step in itself. I love the prayer of a righteous person (one that sees righteousness is the gift of Christ, not their own). It has great power because they are standing and declaring Jesus’ finished work over us.

Step 5 takes courage, but the payoff is amazing!

Find Courage from Total Acceptance

– By Terri Fornear

Step 4 – Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.Rock climbing - courage - 1-30-14

Step 4 is the step that brings “fear” to my heart. How can I face my weaknesses, sins and defects with courage, when I am “trying” so hard to be perfect and desiring to keep my reputation under control? I work so hard to be lovable to God, others, and myself, and now I am going to look at things that seem to make me unlovable?

It’s the step of real faith in action. If I can’t be real with God, then my god is made in my own image, and is really powerless. Oh, this is the step that tells me if I really believe that Jesus’ work on the cross means something. Did He truly accomplish something for my time on this side of heaven, or am I to wait for heaven to enjoy righteousness?

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:17

In order for me to do a fearless moral inventory, I must embrace the gift of righteousness and face my lack of goodness. I am covered in His “rightness.” He is my guilt offering. There is no other way to be right with God. Even if I clean up today’s messes, I still need His gift tomorrow and yesterday.

Humility must be the air I breathe. If there is defensiveness, excuses or shame, then I am blind to the truth about myself apart from God. I would still be trying to prove to myself, God and others. My worth has been declared on the Cross and has nothing to do with my performance — whether good or bad.

Go ahead — make your moral inventory, without fear. Jesus is your cloak of righteousness. You’re okay. You’re complete in His work. Step 4 offers a chance to let go of your way of doing life to be somebody who is complete in Him. You’re letting go of false ways to make life work. You’ll have more space to receive His love and live out of a well of a river of Life in you.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

– By Terri Fornear

Step 3 – We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

As a Christian, my first thought about this step is to “give my life to Jesus as Savior.” A one-time event! I did that and now I’m good. (More on how to know if you’re going to heaven). The second part of this step is to look at the God of our understanding! Wow! Take a peek at the “Jesus” of whom I’m letting go:to do list

  • He needs me to serve Him.
  • He needs me to be holy and perfect.
  • He needs me to save the world.
  • He needs me to be devoted.
  • He needs ME…

Religion is all over this Jesus! I am so important in “doing” whatever is needed to get His approval! I have His acceptance because of the cross, but gaining His approval is now my job if I’m to be totally right with Him. Yuk!!! Wait a minute – who is God in this scenario?

As I grow in knowing the real Jesus, I detach from religion and attach to the God who speaks His love into my understanding! He promises I will reign in this life if I decide to be a “receiver.”

Much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:17

So I must daily decide to “receive” two gifts– “the gift of righteousness,” and, “His abundance of grace!”

Sounds easy! It’s a surrender that let’s go of my own righteousness, my own looking good, my own ways of pleasing Him — and man! This step is the cornerstone that makes the rest of the steps of life possible.

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:7

Paul had to let go of “the God of his understanding” too. He let go of religion and trying to make himself righteous. Only then did He begin to know the real Jesus. I’m deciding to give my will and life over to Him, to His “gift of righteousness” and “His abundance of grace.” Don’t let religion steal Jesus from you!

 

Letting GO… of Being God

– By Terri Fornear

Jesus made a great impact in my life when I first met Him personally about 40 years ago. I got into ministry, church life, and then cancer hit. I soon needed more than Bible Study to keep me going!power - sun thru hands - Dec 6, 13

I needed Power. I needed to see differently! I believed a lot of theology about Him, read about Him, talked about Him, prayed to Him, hoping to bump into Him enough to get through a day. Most of the time only believing what I could see and do to prove His reality — just enough to make me think I’m in charge … INSANITY CAPITALIZED!!

Step 2 takes me out of “thinking” about Him and into His Power:

“I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

“Came to believe” is like saying I’m “waking up” (Ephesians 5:14). I am “coming to” reality. I am coming to SANITY!  The POWER in my life is not an idea or a thought or a teaching… He is a real PERSON who wants to restore me to sanity. He wants me to KNOW and experience His Power.

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:16

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. – Ephesians 3:16-20

Step 2 puts me in an interesting position… I am in awe; I am amazed; I am excited; I am hopeful … Enjoy this step – “let go of being God.” I do not have to be in control of my life. I do not have to make God real.

Now make a list of how you are seeing Jesus in your moments, His power! Open your eyes and enjoy HIS love all around you. He is speaking — everywhere — and His voice is a loud, “I LOVE YOU!”

Easier Way

– By Terri Fornear

In a way, fighting with Joe against Stage IV cancer was easier for me. It was obvious we were powerless. I had the hearts and support of many. I allowed myself and others to be powerless. I admitted I was powerless over “cancer, Joe, kids, life itself, and that my life had become unmanageable!” Step 1 had come TO me… fast and furious.

Then Joe got well and I slowly felt responsible to live “my life” again!footprints - 11-12-13

  • I gained 40 pounds and counting!
  • I became addicted to “worry and fear” and that wasn’t stopping!
  • I was enslaved to people’s opinions of me!
  • I was addicted to bitterness toward a false view of God!

My ways weren’t working very well. So three years ago, I decided to get help. I cried out to God for my own life! I admitted I was powerless over myself and others and that I could not manage my own life!

I had known Jesus as the TRUTH and the LIFE, but I needed Him to show me on a daily basis how He is the “WAY.”  (John 14:6). He broke down a way to follow Him into steps. It started with looking at myself first – to admit just how powerless I really am.

Do you have a list of things, people, places, experiences which bring out your powerlessness? I invite you to walk with me through the 12 steps to recovery! Make your list and enter into your powerlessness. This first step is the only step without God, yet it is okay to see how you do life without Him in your own strength! If you are ready to let his power in, He will show up in step 2! After all, He says that His yoke is easier and His burden is lighter (Matthew 11:30). Next month, I will discuss Step 2 with you!

Jesus, I love how You woo us into Your WAY of doing Your LIFE!