How Will I Ever Get It Done?

March 27th, 2015

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Yesterday afternoon I thought about four major projects I need to finish in addition to every day tasks. I asked myself, “How will I ever get done?”

Maybe I can’t get done. Maybe I’ve taken on more than I can do.

As I stared out the window, I thought about running away but laughed. That was not an option. I considered dropping one of my goals. Sadness and disappointment set in. That wasn’t an option either.

Finally I pleaded, “God, help me. What can I do?”

The answer came. I looked at the project that is due first. As I read the guidelines, I noticed the project consisted of five steps. I sat at the computer and put in two dates on my calendar to work on that first step.

With wisdom from above, I realized I could focus on the first project and dedicate time weekly to work on it. The second project is due by the end of June. I can work on that afterward.

After the completion of the second project, I can tackle my third and fourth projects, which are similar. I can work on them at the same time.

What do you do when you worry about getting a job or a project done?

Psalm 107:6: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”

Dear God, I cry out to you in my troubles, and they are many. Amen.

Application: When will you allow the Lord to deliver you from your distress?

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All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
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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What is it to follow the Lamb?

March 23rd, 2015

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

What is it to follow the Lamb?

To follow the Lamb wherever He goes–is to follow Him in four things:

1st, We follow the Lamb in His COMMANDMENTS. “If you love Me–you will keep My commandments!” John 14:15. “You are My friends–if you do what I command you.” John 15:14. Oh, beloved, we cannot follow the Lamb wherever He goes, unless we follow Him in His commandments! True Christians take as much delight in those precepts that enjoin holiness–as in those promises that assure happiness.

2ndly, We follow the Lamb in His TEACHING. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me! But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:5, 27

3rdly, We follow the Lamb in His PROVIDENCE. Through all afflictions, all straits, all discouragements and sorrows whatever, though it is the way of death! We must forsake all to follow a crucified Christ, a condemned Christ, in bloody paths of sufferings–if He calls us to it! “For,” says Paul, “I am ready not to be bound only–but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!” We must be willing to venture the loss of all for Him: our liberty, our estates, our relations, and our life itself! “We have forsaken all–and followed You!” Matthew 19:27

4thly, We follow the Lamb in His EXAMPLE. “I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.” John 13:15. “Christ has suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. To follow in Christ’s steps–is to take Him for our example. We must not follow wicked men’s example, who walk in the broad way that leads to death, for “They are the children of their father the Devil, and they love to do the evil things he does!” John 8:44. But we must follow our head Christ, who went about doing good, Acts 10:38.

Now this is to follow the Lamb, wherever He goes:
in His commands,
in His teaching,
in His providences,
in His examples.
~William Dyer, “Follow the Lamb”

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New Life – Available to You

March 20th, 2015

A visit this morning to an amazing place inspires today’s word-of-the-week…

BRAND-NEW

We’re headed to the Teen Challenge Ranch in Phoenix this morning. If you want to see a real, tangible, living-breathing-right-in-front-of-you example of the “new life” described in scripture, this is a great place to go.

At the Ranch you meet men who’ve come from the toughest backgrounds imaginable. Homelessness, incarceration, violence, addiction, anger, hopelessness—these guys arrive from places and experiences most of us, by God’s grace, haven’t encountered.

And at the Ranch you’d really have little clue of the circumstances that hammered these men to the point of surrender. You’d notice tattoos and a few weathered faces, but mostly you’d meet men who’ve found a new life. You’d wonder how these individuals could have been in those places because, well, they’re not the same people any longer.

These guys got a two-for-one. Jesus came so we all could be re-born spiritually.  But because of the work of His followers, these men got a brand-new life in this world as well.

Same thing’s available to each of us, no matter where we’ve been.

Pretty cool.

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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

Do You Lose yourself in Him?

March 19th, 2015

Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God! Psalm 90:2

Seek to fill yourself with thoughts of the Almighty. Lose yourself in the impenetrable tracts of His Glory!

“Can you by searching find out God?”
Can the insect fathom the ocean?
Can the worm scale the skies?
Can the finite comprehend the Infinite?
Can the mortal grasp Immortality?
We can do no more than stand on the brink of the shoreless sea, and cry, “Oh the depth!”

“From everlasting to everlasting, You are God!”
Shrouded in the great and amazing mystery of eternity,
before one star revolved in its sphere,
before one angel moved his wing–God was!

His own infinite presence filling all space. All time, to Him, is but as the heaving of a breath–the beat of a pulse–the twinkling of an eye! He was as infinitely glorious when He inhabited the solitudes of immensity alone–as He is now with the songs of angel and archangel sounding in His ear!

This is the Being to whom I can look up with sweetest confidence, and call “My Father!”

This is the Infinite One, whom “the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain,” whom I call “My God!”

“This God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even until death!” Psalm 48:14

John MacDuff, “The Night Watches”

Is Your Relationship with Jesus Scandalous?

March 16th, 2015

Would you dare characterize your relationship with Jesus as scandalous? Wait a minute before you reject this seeming crazy notion. We live in a culture that continually tries to pull us down to its level of immaturity. iEveryday, world media outlets report on the latest scandalous acts of politicians, entertainers, etc. And yet, Jesus still calls and ‘woos’ our hearts to an abandoned, seeming ‘scandalous’ love affair. It would be helpful to define what is meant by scandalous?

Scandalous: improper display of affection or behavior in public…

Who gets to establish the ‘norm’ that defines improper? To be sure, the ‘accuser’ of the brethren (Satan) and his most devilish minions (religious spirits) will gladly continue to put forth their dark and debilitating definition. Their only agenda is to suppress your affection for Jesus!

Their strategy is to ‘steal’, ‘kill’ and ‘destroy’ the incredible potential of our love affair with Jesus. Robbing you and me of ever grasping the width, length, height and depth of the love of Jesus is their intended target. Satan is the ‘father of lies’ and his biggest lie is to convince you and me that it is somehow ‘improper’ to enter the Eternal domain of the passion of Jesus.

“My response is to get down on my knees before the (true and only) Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit–not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength–that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its lengths! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 (Message)

The essence of His ‘scandalous’ love is about to play out for His disciples in the moments before His ultimate Passion on Calvary! His example becomes the model for all time. Servitude, sacrifice, and abandoned trust to His Father become the standard for all who will follow Him.

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (John 13:1)

Do we dare explore the full extent of His love? Open your heart and ‘take in with all Christians of all time the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love’!!! “Reach out and experience the breadth! Tests its lengths! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights!”

To be in love with Jesus is to join Him on the Divine journey to the loving heart of Father. It is to be in love with love…He is love–His very essence is love. It is His ‘scandalous’ extravagant love that will take all of Eternity to fathom! Be enraptured by His love as you listen to “I’m in Love with You” by Kari Jobe

Surrendering to His Will

March 11th, 2015

Resignation to the divine will is one of the last and highest attainments of the Christian life. It is what is ultimately to be aimed at, as essential to comfort here–and happiness hereafter.

The Scriptures, daily meditated on, will supply us with instruction.

When we have genuine love to God, we shall be led to such an acquiescence in His wisdom and goodness–that we shall choose His will to take place, rather than ours. And the thought of how soon all things shall be set right in eternity, and that He will make all things work together for our good in this life–will reconcile the mind to anything that God pleases.

You will not mistake me, I hope, as if I suppose all true Christians have learned all this lesson completely. Far from it! These things are learned but in measure, and not without much conflict and opposition from sinful nature all along, and much imperfection.

And though it is not easy to confine the Spirit’s operations by rules–yet this seems the general order of Christian virtues:

1. repentance
2. faith
3. love
4. sweet resignation to God’s will.

In Christ Himself, this resignation was perfect, “Not My will, but may Your will be done!” (Luke 22:42), and as far as we can trust in Him for grace–so far we may receive grace out of His fullness.

Oh, let us beg for grace to lie as clay in the hands of Infinite Wisdom, who knows how . . .
to humble our pride,
to bend our proud wills, and
to conform us to the likeness of His beloved Son.

~Joseph Milner, 1780

Are You a Fretting Worrier?

March 6th, 2015
 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:33-34).

If we wanted to sum up Jesus’ teachings on how to live, how to exercise faith, and how to please God, we could do so by quoting the sixth chapter of Matthew. What a marvelous and amazing chapter it is! From start to finish, Jesus outlines the image of a successful Christian, one who wholly places faith in God—and lives accordingly.
In addition to telling us how to live, Jesus cautions against something very dangerous and destructive: worry. Oh, I know, if you’re like me you joke that you “have to worry” because it’s “my job” (as a parent, grandparent, whatever). But chronic worry is no joking matter; Jesus, in fact, tells us not to do it.
Is He expecting the impossible? Yes and no. It is impossible in our own strength simply to stop worrying. The harder we try, the more we will fail—and the more we will worry about our failure to stop worrying. But despite the fact we cannot in our own strength stop worrying, God can certainly change us from fretting worriers to victorious warriors. But we must cooperate with Him in the process.
How do we do that? By paying attention to all the positive things Jesus mentions in that chapter: how to give, how to pray, how to fast, how to lay up treasures in heaven—all of which find their culmination in trusting God to supply our needs. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This tells us that if we will spend our time focusing and concentrating on God and His righteousness and what He’s called us to do for His Kingdom, then He will make sure we have everything we need for our daily lives.
What does that look like? It looks like a humble believer who puts relationship with God above all else—prayer and praise time, Bible reading and memorization, fasting, giving, serving. When we are doing those things as He directs us to do, we will soon find that we have no time or energy left to waste on worry. And that, after all, is the abundant life Jesus died to give us. All we have to do is choose to live it.
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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

Feeling Far from God?

March 5th, 2015

“Surely I am with you always–to the very end of the age!” Matthew 28:20

In our natural state… we conceive of God as being at a distance.

But when the heart is awakened, we begin to make Jacob’s reflection, “Surely the Lord is in this place–and I knew it not!” (Genesis 28:16) Yes, though we cannot see Him–He sees us, He is nearer to us than we are to ourselves!

And when we are saved, we begin to know this ever-present Christ; that the government of Heaven and earth, the dispensations of the kingdom of nature, providence, and grace–are in His hands; that it is He with whom we have to do–who once suffered agony and death for our redemption, and whose compassion and tenderness are the same as when He conversed among men in the days of His humiliation.

Thus Jesus is made known to us by the gospel, in the endearing views of a Shepherd, a Husband, a Friend. With humble confidence, we may enter into the holiest of all, and repose all our cares and concerns upon the strength of that everlasting arm which upholds Heaven and earth, and upon that infinite love which submitted to the shame, pain, and death of the cross–to redeem sinners from wrath and misery!

There is a height, a breadth, a length, and a depth, in this mystery of redeeming love, exceeding the comprehension of all finite minds!

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!” Ephesians 3:19

~Letters of John Newton (adapted)

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Dealing with Self-righteous People

March 2nd, 2015

Self-righteous people are just comparing.

I never thought about it like that until Don Miller pointed out that self-righteousness is really just a way of building myself up by tearing others down. It’s not about being truly righteous, only appearing to be in a bit better class of sinner than the next guy.

That’s why self-righteous folks are so concerned with rules. Man-made rules are nearly always designed to distinguish who’s doing it better, even if the distinctions are artificial.

I started thinking about Jesus’ principles and realized they’re never like that. You can’t rank people based on how much they love. You just love, as much as possible, and there’s always more where that came from. Same for grace, hope, truth, mercy, compassion, forgiveness—you start trying to measure and compare that stuff and you start looking pretty silly.

You can’t force people to do the things that matter to Jesus—love, forgive, and all the rest—and you can’t make rules about them. Jesus reserved his harshest condemnation for the Pharisees who substituted their own burdensome rules for the freedom of following His principles.

I learning that God doesn’t care much if I love right, or forgive right, or do compassion right. He doesn’t grade on a curve—in fact, He doesn’t grade at all.

I think He celebrates when we try our best to do those things and forget about keeping score.

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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

Do You Suppose Jesus Was Serious?

February 25th, 2015

Peace“Peace be with you.”

Jesus said those exact words at least three times in John 20.

The other night during our small group study a random thought popped into my head: Do you suppose He really meant it?

What if He was serious? What if He really intended for us be at peace?

It’s a fair question, if only because so many of Jesus’ most visible, dedicated, vocal followers seem dedicated to anything but a peaceful life. Observers could be excused for concluding that following Jesus involves a good deal of anger, strife, and fighting with “the other side.” (Don’t believe me…take a look at what passes for political “discourse” as the election approaches.)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

What if He cares more about the peace in my heart than what I accomplish or who I impress or how many Facebook friends I have?

What if He doesn’t care who gets elected, but He cares enough to die for the person I’m sure is going to ruin the nation? And what if He wants me to let go of the nasty, judgmental attitude that hardens my heart?

“Peace be with you.”

Do you suppose He expected us to actually live it?

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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