Unlimited Supplies of What We Really Need

November 21st, 2014

We attended a going-away party for dear friends yesterday.

As I looked around the room I realized how God surrounds us with the things we need most…in unlimited supplies.

Grace, love, hope, courage, faith, smiles, forgiveness–they’re everywhere. It’s as though we were made of them, which is cool because we  can give them away any time we want to people who need them.

And we might as well give them away like they’re unlimited because, well, they are.

Cool, huh?

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Rescued and Transferred

November 20th, 2014

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins!” Colossians 1:13-14

The true believer hates and resists those sins which once he loved–and renounces that world which once so much enamored him.

How divinely glorious is the religion of Jesus!
Old things pass away–and behold, all things become new!
It turns the lion, into the lamb.
it turns the desert heart, into the garden of the Lord.
It converts the impure and savage heart, into a habitation fit for the mild and holy Dove.
It restores the Hell-bent sinner to the divine favor.
It transforms him into the divine image.
It redeems him from the depths of damnation.
It raises him to the highest seats in glory!

What tongue can speak, or what heart conceive, the richness and extent of divine redemption!

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace which He lavished on us!” Ephesians 1:7-8

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

~ Thomas Reade

Does Your Spouse Love You?

November 18th, 2014

 “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:28

You probably know a domestic violence victim, or you may be one yourself.

Unfortunately, domestic violence occurs in so called “Christian” homes. Batterers use “submission” as their excuse to abuse their spouses. Domestic violence can be verbal, emotional, physical, or financial.

As today’s Bible verse says, “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.”

If a man loves his wife as his own body, he has neither reason nor excuse to punch, kick, spit on, curse, threaten, humiliate, or hurt his wife in any way.

A woman, who loves and respects her husband and herself, cannot allow her husband to be abusive. That gives him permission to sin against her and God.

In addition to sinning, the abusive spouse also breaks the law and commits a crime.

If you want a Christian home, you teach your children by your example how to love and respect each other. That way, little boys won’t grow up thinking it’s all right to batter women to get their way. Little girls won’t grow up thinking it’s all right for men to humiliate and hurt them.

Dear God, help me love and respect others and myself. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to be a role model of love and respect?

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All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
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serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
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This is to follow the Lamb wherever He goes

November 13th, 2014

“These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes!” Revelation 14:4

A believer follows the Lamb TRULY, without hypocrisy. Many follow the Lamb, as beggars follow a rich man–only for his money. They prize the wages of religion–above the works of religion! “I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me… because you ate the loaves and had your fill!” John 6:26.

God abhors a hypocrite more than a Sodomite! Hell is provided on purpose for hypocrites, “He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!” Matthew 24:51

Following the Lamb fully, is to have the heart fixed and resolved for God, “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You!” says David in Psalm 63:8. “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God!” Psalm 42:1-2

A believer follows the Lamb CONSTANTLY, without apostasy. A true believer never stops following the Lamb.

He does not follow the Lamb wherever He goes–who follows the Lamb earnestly for a while–but afterwards forsakes Him, when the storm arises! “Since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the Word–he quickly falls away!” Matthew 13:21

He does not follow the Lamb wherever He goes–who follows the Lamb in some things, and the Beast in other things! “They worshiped the Lord–but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.” 2 Kings 17:33

He does not follow the Lamb wherever He goes–who follows the Lord in a dull heavy manner, and lukewarm temper. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth!” Revelation 3:15-16. Oh! this is not following the Lamb!

Those who follow the Lamb–abide in the Lamb, and cleave to the Lamb, and continue constantly in the Lamb’s ways, unto the end of their days. “Yet the righteous person will hold to his way!” Job 17:9. The righteous man follows the Lamb wherever He goes. “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know Him!” Hosea 6:3

This is to follow the Lamb wherever He goes:
1. Speedily
2. Sincerely
3. Whole-heartedly
4. Zealously
5. Humbly
6. Cheerfully
7. Diligently
8. Constantly
9. Faithfully
10. Supremely

(William Dyer, “Follow the Lamb”)

Are You an “Insider” or “Outsider?”

November 10th, 2014

Yall comeA few years back my friend Tim talked about a church strategy he called Y’ALL COME.

The notion seemed simple. Open the doors wide, put up a sign, have people at the doors with big smiles, and we’ve done our part, right?

Not so much.

Tim claimed Y’ALL COME wasn’t good enough. He said we can’t wait for folks to show up, that it’s our responsibility to go get ‘em. He said we have to reach out and bring people into the church. (I described Tim’s creative response in Who’s Special?)

I think that’s a great first step, but it’s only a band-aid. The people we “bring in” are always going to feel like outsiders, because that’s in fact exactly what they are. There’s “them” and there’s “us” and we’re inviting “them” to become part of “us.” Obviously “us” is superior to “them” because we’re asking them to assimilate.

In Ephesians 2:11-18, Paul explains that Jesus’ death reconciled BOTH Jew and Gentile to God. The Jews wanted to believe they were the original in-crowd and now the Gentiles were being invited to join and become some sort of second-class Jews. But Paul writes, “His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross…”

This is about a lot more than skin color or lifestyle. I experience it when people make assumptions about me and attempt to marginalize me in subtle and not-so-subtle ways because I sit in a wheelchair.

This is about anyone who’s perceived as different from us because they feel that perception. We can call them special and create all the ministries we want for them, but as long as they’re “them,” they’re never really part of us.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

My guess—and maybe I’m wrong—is we mostly don’t believe we’re all the same—especially if we’re part of the privileged majority.

Justice means the ground at the foot of the cross really is level, and if we’re honest we’d rather have the illusion of occupying slightly higher ground.

Until we acknowledge our bias, we can’t let it go. And until we let it go, justice and reconciliation will be nice words.

The ground in my own heart’s not as level as I’d like. Jesus and I have a bit of excavating to do.

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Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his website www.relentlessgrace.com

When You Jump To Conclusions

November 6th, 2014

jumpI have this terrible tendency to form on-the-spot judgments.

I don’t always engage with grace and an open mind before instantly staking out a position. I believe that’s what they call “being judgmental.”

A while back we met a young, energetic leader. In the course of our conversation he made what seemed to be a curious statement.

We’re called to make disciples. That’s my primary responsibility. Whether people actually come to Christ or not isn’t my concern, as long as I’m faithful to my call of making disciples.

You tell me—what’s your reaction?

Personally, I bristled at “Whether people actually come to Christ or not isn’t my concern.” It came across as though he didn’t care much about the individuals he was “discipling.”

Then I wrote this post about Farming and listened to Jesus’ words.

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  (Mark 4:26-28)

So…it’s not my job to grow the seeds. I sow, God’s in charge of the sprouting and growing.

I guess I’d still phrase it differently, because I’m really concerned about whether people come to Christ. But I certainly agree that the result is beyond my control.

We do our best to sow the right seeds, and we trust God for the outcome.

And maybe we learn to jump a bit less quickly to that sad place called Premature Conclusions.

 

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of: Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Look Around You!

November 5th, 2014

“Be kind and compassionate to one another” Ephesians 4:32 

Look around you, first in your own family, then among your friends and neighbors, and see whether there is not someone you can show kindness to–someone…
whose little burden you can lighten,
whose little cares you may lessen,
whose little pleasures you can promote,
whose little wants and wishes you can gratify.

Cheerfully giving up our own pleasures to minister to others, is one of the little kindnesses and self-denials of Christian living. Doing little things that nobody likes to do, but which must be done by someone, is another.

It may seem to many, that if they avoid little unkindnesses, they must necessarily be doing all that is required. But it is not enough to abstain from sharp words, sneering tones, petty contradictions, or daily little irritations. We must be active and earnest in kindness–not merely passive and inoffensive.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12, 14

Help! I Need Peace!

November 4th, 2014

Psalm 29:11: “The LORD blesses his people with peace.”

“The pianist has to work Saturday and can’t play for the conference.” That was not an email I wanted to see. The conference is in five days. I prayed, “Lord, please intervene. Keep us calm, and send us a pianist.”

The next email didn’t help. “The soundman said he will try to be there.” Try? I prayed again, “Lord, please work this out and bless us with peace.” God answered that prayer request immediately. The soundman will be there.

“Another pianist is looking at the music to see if she can be ready to play on Saturday.” I prayed again, “Lord, get her ready fast or get someone else for the conference as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, I’m trying to practice my presentations. “God, multiply my time and bless me with peace.”

The latest email arrived. The pianist is ready, and the praise & worship team will practice with the pianist on Thursday evening. Hallelujah.

Do you think to ask God for peace when your circumstances look dismal? What situation tests your faith to believe God will answer your prayer?

Dear God, I believe you bless me with your peace. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to show you believe “The LORD blesses his people with peace”?

Feel as if you are wandering in the wilderness?

November 3rd, 2014
 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea… And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night (Exodus 13:18, 21, NKJV).


We often speak of the Israelites as having “wandered” in the desert for 40 years after being delivered from slavery in Egypt, but is that an accurate term to use for their experience?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “wander” like this: “to move around or go to different places usually without having a particular purpose or direction.” When you consider that the Jewish nation did not escape Egypt in some willy-nilly, unplanned fashion but rather “in orderly ranks” (see v. 18), is it even reasonable to imagine that God, who delivered them from slavery, would then abandon them to wander aimlessly, “without having a particular purpose or direction”? True, the people themselves may not have realized where they were going or why, but God knew exactly their purpose and direction, and He saw to it that His plans and purposes for them were fulfilled.

That same God, who delivered Israel from bondage and led them through the wilderness for forty years in order to accomplish His purposes for their lives and their nation, is the same God who delivers us from the bondage of sin. It is therefore completely reasonable to believe that He will also faithfully lead us through what may seem like wilderness in order to fulfill His purposes for us.

We all experience times when we feel we are wandering aimlessly, with no purpose or direction, and we are tempted to wonder if God has indeed forgotten us. Be assured, beloved, that He has not. As surely as He led Israel, He will also lead us until we are at last home with Him, where we belong.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV).

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ
(Philippians 1:6, NKJV).

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today! Copyright 2009-2013 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

“There is nothing too hard for You!”

November 2nd, 2014

“There is nothing too hard for You!” Jeremiah 32:17

There is nothing too hard for God to EFFECT.
“I know that You can do everything.”
“Is anything too hard for Me, says the Lord?”
“He does according to His will among the armies of Heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth.”

“He works all things after the counsel of His own will.”

Nothing is too hard for God–no change in providence, however it may appear improbable, or impossible to us. He could bring water out of the flinty rock. He could supply quail to satisfy the wants, and gratify the lusts of His people in the desert. He could feed Elijah for twelve months by ravens, and for two years and a half more by a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in the widow’s cruse. He could inundate Samaria with plenty–in the midst of famine and fearful desolation. If He wills it . . .
the fire shall not burn the three Hebrew youth,
nor the lions injure Daniel,
nor death hold Lazarus in the tomb.

What He has done–He can do; for He is immutable. And if necessary for the glory of His name–He will do it, for He will not allow His name to be polluted.

“Providence” is simply God at work–at work for . . .
the accomplishment of His decrees,
the fulfillment of His promises,
the manifestation of His character, and
the present and eternal welfare of His people.
He can . . .
give whatever we need,
do whatever we need, and
glorify Himself in giving to us, and working for us!

(James Smith, “Nothing Too Hard for God!” 1864)