Bill’s Book Chapter 1 – My Letter To The Lord
I wrote this book below to have it published but decided to put it on my website instead to share it with anyone interested. May it be a blessing to you as you read it. ~ Bill Greguska
Chapter 1 – My Letter To The Lord
Chapter 2 – It Starts With Me
Chapter 3 – God’s Plan
Chapter 4 – God’s Way
Chapter 5 – God Answers Prayers
Chapter 6 – Faith During Hard Times
Chapter 7 – Relationship With Others
Chapter 8 – Love Is The Answer
Chapter 9 – Victory Over Evil
Chapter 10 – Heaven Is Our Home
Chapter 11 – Emotions Are Interesting
Chapter 12 – Recovery
MY LETTER TO THE LORD
- Answered Prayers
- Basketball Was My God
- Encouraged To Encourage Others
- Fork In the Road
- Life Got Better
- Marriage Or Divorce
- My Parents
- No Time For God
- Problems Disappearing
- Recovery Was Successful
- Trouble Was My Middle Name
1. Answered Prayers
Lord, I have been praying to you for many years, which I know is my only way of talking to you. Yes, I know I have had dry spells in which I have not spoken to you for quite some time in the past, and I am honestly sorry for that; please forgive me! Lord, I am sorry for those times when I was too busy for you because I thought I could run my own life, and I was following after my own desires and flesh.
Lord, I remember when I was in habitual sin and could not even bear to face you. I know you answer all of my prayers, sometimes with the answer yes, sometimes no, and other times wait. When I was younger, I was involved with sin a lot, so I am aware my prayers were not being answered but rather postponed. When I did pray, my prayers were often selfish and self-centered.
Lord, I remember many years ago earnestly praying for myself when I was facing time in prison, and you answered my prayer. Instead of time in prison, you blessed me with what I needed — two years in an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program. You answered my prayer, and I kept my word and continued to follow you.
Lord, you know that (I am so very thankful that since 1986), I have been free from drugs and alcohol. I am so glad that I have been able to talk to you in prayer whenever I want or need your help. I noticed that the more I talk with you and seek your will for my life, the better my life has become.
Reflection: We do not need to do anything except believe in Jesus for our salvation, but with answered prayer, if I am living in sin, my prayers will be hindered.
Action: Ask God to reveal to me and write down what I need to do to change so that my prayers of a righteous man will be answered.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
God answers prayers, but he doesn’t always answer it your way. ~ Lou Holtz, former American football player, coach, and analyst.
2. Basketball Was My God
Lord, thanks for the ability and passion for basketball that you put in me when I was young. Basketball helped me learn to strive after my goals, and not let roadblocks and problems discourage me. It gave me a passion for doing my best with what you have blessed me with. I remember being taller than the other kids, and my mom used basketball as leverage for me to get passing grades and to behave in school. Her plan worked from fifth grade through my sophomore year in high school.
Lord, I practiced and played basketball for two to five hours a day and became very competitive. Looking back, I realize I think that I overdid it. Playing basketball was a huge part of my life until middle age; after age 50, I stopped competing and just watched basketball on TV or went to a Milwaukee Bucks games. When I realized that basketball became my God, I was then motivated to get things into perspective, which I did.
Lord, playing basketball for Pius XI High School was a blessing. But when my best friend Steve died, it was hard for me to cope with the loss, and basketball did nothing to help, I was lost. I got heavily involved with marijuana, and other types of drugs and alcohol, and my life became a roller coaster. It wasn’t until I got the drug and alcohol problem taken care of that I realized that you, Lord, are my one and only God. Basketball is just an interest that I can choose to enjoy appropriately.
Reflection: Is there something in my life that I am paying too much attention to as if it were a God to me? Work, school, money, sports, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.
Action: Decide what you might need to cut out or cut back in my life to have a better and more healthy life. Write these things down and make some plans to change some things.
Proverbs 24:14: Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them to not let that be their only dream. ~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, highest-scoring NBA player by total career regular-season points scored (38,387).
3. Encouraged To Encourage Others
Lord, I have learned that you have allowed everything that happens, both good and bad. When something terrible happens, in due time, you can turn it into something useful. As a result of my divorce, I tried to thank my pastor and his wife for all of their support, which was immense and still continues, 12 years later. When I asked them what I could do to repay them, their advice echoed 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: to encourage others with the encouragement that I received from you, Lord.
Lord, that advice was perfectly timed! I took their suggestion, first starting a phone helpline, and later building my website. Not only could I focus time and energy on encouraging others, but it helped me concentrate on others instead of myself. Rather than having a constant pity party, I became productive for your kingdom, Lord.
Lord, I have learned an insight from all my troubles in life, which is pretty ironic. I learned that to encourage others is, by far, one of the best ways to be encouraged myself. I am thankful to have acquired this wisdom even though it took a divorce to learn this lesson.
Reflection: There is a popular expression that says to pay it forward. Not everything in life needs to receive payment for doing.
Action: Write down a few things that I can do to pay it forward to someone that could use my help today?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference. ~ Zig Ziglar was an American author and motivational speaker.
4. Fork In The Road
Lord, when I say that I know you, that does not mean I have always lived a godly, wholesome life. I was far from you for many years doing my own thing, carousing, and living a wildlife. But I also know that you created me in my mother’s womb and have guided me through life, and you are not done with me yet.
Lord. you are my refuge and strength, my salvation and living water, my creator and provider, my rock and my protector, my comforter and counselor. You have saved me from my sin, and you deliver me from evil. I thank you for your sacrifice on the cross you made for me.
Lord, I am sorry, and I have repented from the choice I made to follow the world, my flesh, and the devil, for a season in my life. I thank you for never leaving me, and for giving me second, third, and fourth chances.
Lord, I thank you for revealing yourself to me. You have always had a very special place in my heart since I was a young boy, even though I was living my life to please me most of the time. Lord, you have given all of us free will to think and do whatever we want. I have always known that you are there, Lord, yet I have not always followed you and your teaching. My flesh has been weak, and sin and temptation have been my enemy.
Reflection: Each one of us are tempted, but when we come to the fork in the road, are we prepared enough with your armor Lord to fight the temptation and have victory?
Action: Think of my forks in the road that might pop up in my life. Write them down and with prayer, make a plan to choose the high road, which is the right road.
Psalm 139:23: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Make mistakes and make bad decisions: you learn from them. ~ Dirk Nowitzki highly regarded NBA power forward.
5. Life Got Better
Lord, it was hard to believe I could actually give up alcohol and drugs and the problems that came with them after all those years of addiction. It was like my life was uprooted and replanted into good soil. I thought I was going to die a drug addict and alcoholic, but you had different plans for my life.
Lord, I believe that help from my mom, counselors, NA, and even my training in basketball had some effect on my life and recovery. In basketball, I learned to battle against the odds, and to dig in and not give in. But ultimately, it was you, Lord, who set me free. I thank you for doing that good work in me, and that I was willing to accept the help I badly needed.
Lord, when I played basketball, I played my best to win. I believe I transferred some of that attitude to my recovery and my relationship with you. Lord, you and I worked things out for good. It was two more years before I could give up cigarettes, but with your help, I did that, too. All my problems did not go away just because I stopped drinking and using drugs, but I was now able to deal with my difficulties with a clear mind for the first time.
Reflection: Think about what ways has the Lord transformed my life from the temptation that I fell victim to?
Action: Brainstorm some ways that you can encourage others to overcome whatever area the Lord has delivered me from?
Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I am simply trying to struggle through life, trying to do God’s bidding. ~ George Lucas, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
6. Marriage Or Divorce
Lord, I must say I do not understand why my marriage and so many others have ended in divorce. I believe you put my wife and me together, yet Satan pulled us apart as he did in so many other marriages. You know I did all I could do to keep us together, yet with the free will you give us all, my wife chose to leave the marriage to find herself.
Lord, it was a devastating blow that took years to recover from, and still, some scars and consequences have resulted from the marriage being torn in two. There is no winner in a divorce except the lawyer, everyone involved pays emotional effects that often last for many years, and the scares continue forever to some degree Lord, I know now why you hate divorce so much.
Lord, the divorce had an impact on my life, similar to the issues I had in high school, removing my desire to live. Life became dark, and depression set in heavily; every day, I wished I were dead, which was crippling. How could I start my life over after a divorce when I was not convinced that I wanted to keep living? But Lord, you never gave up on me. I was very depressed and lost hope for some time, leading me to take anti-depressant medication temporarily. Thank you, Lord, that you supplied support for me. Otherwise, literally, I might not have made it.
Reflection: If I am married, be content in my marriage. If I am single, be content in my singleness. The grass is not greener on the other side.
Action: What are some things I can think of to deter me from even thinking of divorce. Write down the benefits of marriage and focus on them.
Matthew 19:8, Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there’s less of you. ~ Margaret Atwood Canadian poet, novelist, teacher, and environmental activist
7. My Parents
Lord, thank you for giving me the parents that you did, they loved me, provided for me, protected and comforted me, they were almost too good to me. My mom was always by my side, helping me or defending me. My dad was a great guy, too, very patient, and wise. You equipped my mom to handle the problems I created, tenderly, and with the patience of a saint. Most of the time, I tried to honor my mother and father as they taught. Other times, to my disgrace, I did not honor them, but lied, stole, talked back, and deceived and disrespected them during my years of alcohol and drug abuse.
Lord, the forgiveness and patience of my parents were nearly compatible with your ways, but in reality, far from it, for a reason being is that I did not deserve how well they treated me so unconditionally. You, Lord, not only forgave me but restored me and saved me from my sins and hell while always loving me more than anyone could. How amazing to think about that!
Lord, besides you, my mom was my most significant support, helping me stay out of trouble, comforting me when I got into trouble and helping me find the way out of trouble.
Lord, my mom, and dad visited me at drug and alcohol treatment centers when I was in my teens and twenties. Even when I was in long-term treatment, they drove 180 miles round trip to see me each weekend for two years. Because of her faithfulness to me, and your faithfulness to us, I was able to fulfill my mom’s biggest request that I did not put her in a nursing home, but was able to care for her at home the last eight years of her life. I thank you, Lord, for being able to do that.
Reflection: Often, in life, we take people and things for granted. Have I taken my parents for granted? In the areas that my parents have so-called failed me, have I been loving enough to forgive them?
Action: Take time to write down things that my parents did to show their love for me, even if my relationship with them was not the best.
Ephesians 6:1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
My mom has always been kind of my backbone. She keeps me strong. ~ Aerin Lauder, style and image director for The Estée Lauder Companies.
8. No Time For God
Lord, fortunately, I have heard and known about you since I was a small boy but, I didn’t understand my need for you until my life hit a dark point due to drugs and alcohol. It took me 26 years to seriously commit my life to you, Lord. Even though my parents instilled good morals in me, I traded those good morals for the sinful promises of this world and followed my fleshly desires.
Lord, eventually, though, when I hit bottom and had nowhere to go, I turned to you. You were faithful to restore me and give me the hope and direction I needed. I am a testimony to the fact that you allow U-turns in life! You are a God of second chances, and you want us all to be saved.
Lord, I am so thankful I have accepted you as my Lord and my Savior! I also thank you for allowing me to be a dad because that has made me understand you in a new way. I loved my children and cared for them, provided for them, reasoned with them, walked with them, plus much more — but not to the degree that you do Lord, for you are the ultimate Father and no one compares to you.
Reflection: How much weight does my faith in you, Lord, affect the way I live my life?
Action: What can I do to make you a higher priority in my life? Help me to write down some thoughts to get me on a better path.
Matthew 7:11: If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living and a home in Heaven. ~ Rick Warren, an evangelical pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more than 30 million copies
9. Problems Disappearing
Lord, you have told me not to worry when burdens come my way, but rather to trust that you will help me carry them. I remember that though I may be weak, you are always strong. You love me and want to help me when I reach out to you with humility and reverence, praying based on your promises. I thank you, Lord, for all you have done for me.
Lord, when I was homeless and messed up on drugs and alcohol, my life was very challenging. I was even thinking of taking my life. I know I did it to myself; just like with Adam and Eve, I was tempted and fell flat on my face. I thought it would never end, but Lord, your grace was sufficient for me, and you provided me the strength I needed. You put the right people in my life, and I came to them with a teachable spirit.
Lord, may I always remember to take my concerns to you instead of wrestling with them on my own. May I continue to flee from sin and grow closer to you each day. When I look through your eyes, I can see more clearly that you want the best for me. I know I have foolishly tried to handle things on my own. Help me realize once and for all that you want me to take all my cares to you. Please help me stay under your umbrella of protection and grace.
Reflection: I need to remember that seasons in life change. I may be heading into a storm, I may be in a storm, or I may be getting out of a storm.
Action: Help me write down ways of how I can learn from my past not to repeat it.
Matthew 11:29: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
We all have burdens, and we need to learn to carry each other’s burdens, lighten each other’s load. ~ Ann Romney, wife of American businessman and politician, U. S. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah
10. Recovery Was Successful
Lord, you have given me free will, and with that freedom, I made costly mistakes. By your grace, you have forgiven me, redeemed me, and set me back on the right path. That path was not always easy, yet it was worth all the effort, and knowing you were always with me made the struggle easier. I went to Alcoholics Anonymous, and later to Narcotics Anonymous, I consider them the start of my recovery. After that, I focused on you and going to church for my support, wisdom, and strength.
Lord, it was a blessing to slowly see how you have taken me out and matured me to began to grow out of my addiction. Lord, using that same free will you blessed me with, I chose to become alcohol and drug-free. I went to 30-day treatment centers many different times, but I needed more than 30 days of treatment to fix me.
Lord, I am so thankful that I got long term treatment,
spending two years at the Gemini house in Winnebago, WI. That is when things fell into place. It was a lot of work, but it was worth all the positive results. Looking back, it was not a hard choice to make since I could see what my addictions did to me, and the option of not straightening out and the consequences was not something I was willing to endure anymore.
Lord, after you led me to long-term recovery, I tapered off of N.A, which I attended for about ten years. I found Elmbrook church in 1989, and I eventually turned to you. Elmbrook Church and a Wednesday night Bible study led by my friend Pastor Mark Mallwitz were my main supports. Lord, you have been a gentleman with me, never forcing me to do anything. You have not made me a robot. Although I made many wrong choices, you always somehow got me back on track as I have learned to take the high road and narrow path.
Reflection: When I walk with you, Lord, there are sometimes hard times to endure, yet with you, Lord, all things are possible.
Action: When I think back in my life, help me write down some things that I thought I would never get through but still did.
Matthew 7:14: But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Openness is the first step toward recovery, addiction remains a secret because of the overwhelming shame associated with it. ~ David Sheff is an American author
11. Trouble Was My Middle Name
Lord, you know that I tried my best to stay out of trouble; behaving right was very hard for me when I was growing up. I was always full of energy and pretty hyper, and it was hard to contain myself. Being the youngest of four siblings, I always seem to desire to get attention from others. All of this, with the addition of alcohol and drugs, what a combination that got me in trouble quite often. I tended to be the class clown and didn’t possess the spiritual fruit of self-control. Lord, looking back, I see that I was very impulsive, with a great desire to laugh and draw attention to myself, which was fun, but you know that it lead me into a lot of trouble.
Lord, I was a good guy deep down, and most people liked me,
yet trouble seemed to find me very easily. For a while, it seemed as though my middle name was trouble. Lord, I have learned that sin has consequences that sometimes linger even after you forgive me, but that does not mean I am not forgiven.
Lord, I was not a mean kid while growing up — I just loved taking dares and getting attention. I was a little bit on the wild side, you knew I had a good heart. I watched over those who were disabled, shunned, or picked on by other kids since I was always one of the biggest and strongest kids. Lord, thank you for making me physically strong, but the energy I had was hard to contain, and I am glad those years are over.
Reflection: Being a good person is not enough to make it into heaven. It is by God’s grace that we are saved from our sins. There is a little good in the worst of us, and a little bad in the best of us.
Action: Think of some ways to do acts of kindness to others. Write them down and do them throughout the week and month.
1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you, except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
I don’t think of myself as giving interviews. I just have conversations. That gets me in trouble. ~ Charles Barkley retired professional basketball player and current analyst on Inside the NBA.