The Danger of Self-talk

August 31st, 2015

What mental destinations do you visit most often? Or maybe this would be an easier way for you to measure. Where does your “self” talk invite you to go? Self talk captures more of our attention than we realize: conservatively, maybe forty percent. Self talk can be like a governor on an engine–capping your potential.

The insidious danger of this “self-talk” governor capping our potential is that we tend to lower our expectations and thus hope-less!

We can never re-visit the continuous fact of God’s love for us and the eternal hope that springs from that seed thought enough! Paul put it like this:

“think about things that are pure and lovely, thing about things that are right and true, dwell on the fine good things in others and think about all you can praise God for.” And be glad about it, and sing for joy! Do you suppose that would land you at better destinations and increase your hope potential?

“In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:5 The Message)

“And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (NKJV)

Just the seed thoughts in this one verse of scripture are enough to radically alter where you spend your daily mental energy allotment. We only have so much mental energy to spend each moment of each new day. Has yours been spilling out on the ground of despair, disappointments or deception?

We are being called to live at a higher hope-filled place of alert expectancy! This daily destination has only one flight plan, the constant love of God shed abroad in our hearts through the precious Holy Spirit! Here you will never be left feeling short-changed. You will find yourself totally consumed with rounding up enough containers to hold the endless outpouring of His love! And what’s even cooler is that you will have a continuous overflow of Papa’s love to pour back on Him, yourself, your significant others, your friends and the world around you. Take that self-talk!

In the grip of Papa’s hopeful expectancy!

Ron Ross

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

Fact or Opinion?

August 28th, 2015

A philosophy question prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

FACT

I always told my students it was wrong to cheat on a test.

More than just against the rules, cheating was intrinsically, morally wrong in all circumstances. In 35 years I don’t think anyone ever questioned that assertion. I guess I assumed it was a fact, a moral truth.

Recently I saw these two definitions:

Fact: Something that is true and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

So is my statement about cheating a fact or simply a shared opinion? Can I test or prove that cheating is morally wrong?

I say Yes. I say moral truths exist, and I rely on Jesus as my expert witness.

For those who claim faith in the bible is a matter of opinion, I say:

The truth is true, even if you don’t believe it.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Have You Seen God’s Loving Eyes?

August 26th, 2015

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV

Father’s eyes are continually scanning the horizons of the entire earth; searching for the heart of even one of His children that He has won to His love. Just the slightest detection or hint of one totally committed heart, evokes an eruption of color from His eyes that rival the Northern Lights dancing and swirling gleefully like a “love drunk” schoolgirl.

I know–I have seen the Northern Lights on a number of northern trans-Atlantic flights. They must reflect His eyes, as they lock in on even one of His children fully committing their heart to His heart. Why do I believe this to be true? Because they explode, dance and twirl all the way across the horizon with the sharpest and broadest display of color imaginable! That is the only way I can begin to capture or describe the experience of looking into His eyes.

Phil Whickam, in his song “You’re Beautiful,” wonderfully proclaims that “The colors of the morning are inside His eyes.? There is no color spectrum or palate known to man that could provide adequate definition to the colors of the morning. They are beyond description, yet Father’s eyes contain them all.

All it takes is one glance into His eyes; when your eyes catch His loving gaze, you see the dancing light and color — and for that moment you are certain His gaze has always been fixed on you. In that moment all of life comes into perspective. For that exhilarating moment; in the loving reflection of His eyes, you see yourself: your history, your family of origin, every relational experience — the good and the bad — and for that moment your life’s journey is okay.

The sum total of your life: the joys, the pain, the ups and downs, the struggles, the failures, the successes and victories, the infirmities, the shameful and knowingly sinful acts of rebellion, the insane and addictive behaviors, the confusion, the doubts, the fears, the deepest-yet untold secrets, the sincere good intentioned attempts at changes and reconciliation, the previously unknown or miss-understood divine interventions, every moment of your history fades into the pure light of His non-shaming, non-judgmental, all-consuming loving gaze.

Every glance into His eyes becomes a divine, romantic encounter of intimacy (into-me-see). And in that moment you recapture the deep knowing of childlike simplicity. You are restored to the sweet innocence of perfect Holy Communion with Him! In this loving exchange you are only aware of Father’s joy and complete delight to be with you! You are arrested by His joyous approval and pleasure. And you become a prisoner of love!

You are confronted in this sacred moment, with His great plan for you and the wondrous place of significance you have in His will and purpose! In this same moment you recapture destiny and calling. You finally fit. Everything has meaning — there is nothing in life that has been without reason — nothing wasted. Even your sorrows aren’t wasted — you see their redemptive value! Grief and loss is finally acquainted with Father’s loving plan. All of life’s divine purpose comes into clearer focus — in the perfect light and color of Father’s heart piercing glance.

Our Lord Jesus knew that revelation of Father’s love changes everything. No Cross is unbearable. In Father’s eyes we see that every test refines our faith like gold! The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to keep our eyes on Jesus…He began and finished the race of life we are in…He set the pattern for us to follow. We are to study how He did it.

He never lost sight of the goal or the prize. He always kept his Father’s will before Him. And Jesus always knew He was headed for an exhilarating finish — in and with His Father. Jesus always kept the Father’s loving glance in view. He only did what He saw His Father doing and because of that, He could put up with anything along the way — even the Cross, with all its shame! The only proof we need is that He is now seated at the place of highest honor; His Father’s right hand. Thus, we can see in His eyes (no matter what is happening around us) that we are also seated with Him in Heavenly places.

The climax of discovery in Father’s eyes is the passionate love of Jesus. His fiery love trumps everything else! Let the love of Christ be your life! Stir the embers in your heart by always remembering how he abandoned himself to/for us. His love is contagious, not reluctant but extravagant. His love calls the prodigals home to his heart; and at the same moment it unstops the ears of all the elder brothers.

There is no place for rules or law in His loving gaze! The moment you replace the spontaneity released through his eyes you lose the edge of romance! And the romance we discover in his eyes is scandalous, undisputable, un-diluted, pure loving grace!
In the grip of Papa’s loving gaze!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

Conditional Faith?

August 24th, 2015

fog“Your family and their descendants will be enslaved and abused for four hundred years, but then everything will be okay.”

Imagine receiving THAT email. How would you respond?

That’s exactly the message God delivered to Abram in Genesis 15. Among all His lofty promises, God assured Abram that he’d be fine but his family would endure four centuries of slavery in a foreign land.

It’s all so clinical as we read it in our safe, warm homes. Decades and centuries and suffering and death all sort of lose their meaning in the sweep of history. We forget that these were individuals with lives and feelings and spouses and kids–just like us.

I wonder…what would happen to my faith if God announced that everyone I love was about to be carted off into exile for a couple of centuries, and that there really was a big plan behind all of it?

Would I stay faithful, as Abram did, despite my doubts and questions? Would I keep moving forward in faith even when I couldn’t see beyond the next step?

Or would I chuck it all and make up my own plan?

Before you think this is about some guy who lived four thousand years ago, stop and look around. How often do we demand solutions to complex issues that have persisted forever–like, for a few decades. So we decide God’s not listening, and we give up His ways (love, non-violence, sacrifice) and resort to anger, political partisanship, and violence.

God looks at a big picture and a long timeline. Even when I think I see His plan, I probably don’t. Faith asks us, in Dr. King’s words, to take the next step when we can’t see the entire staircase.

The answer to our prayer may not be the result we want on our schedule. The answer may be the faith to take the next step.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!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 web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Are You Anchored in Faith?

August 20th, 2015

Is your faith anchored in a greater persuasion and opinion than your present afflictions, sufferings, and/or struggles? That’s the “64” dollar question! Even though it sometimes feels like we are trapped in this flesh-suit and its crazy senses; our greater reality is quite the opposite. But that “greater reality” must be seen through the eyes of faith.

Our faith heroes received the testimony of their hope in faith. It was faith that made their hopes tangible. And faith alone explains what is not apparent to the natural eye. Only faith in the finished work of Jesus will carry us all the way home. In the meantime we have some potholes in the road to navigate.

We are fully engaged in an exceeding superior reality; the extent and weight of this glory makes any degree of suffering vanish into insignificance! The suffering is fleeting and ever so slight by comparison to the weight and enduring effect of this glory we participate in for all eternity.

We are not keeping any score of what seems so obvious to the senses in the natural realm, it is fleeting and irrelevant; it is the unseen eternal realm within us that has our full attention and captivates our gaze! In this present age; “Christ in you,” must have your full attention and captivate your gaze!

Our skin bodies have a “sell by” date; our spirit bodies are eternal. The same God who fashioned these skin bodies in our mother’s womb, engineered our spirit bodies to be our permanent dwelling.

Facing pressure times the way we often do, makes us sigh with longing to exchange the skin-suit with the permanent splendor of the heavenly suit.

In the meantime, whatever challenges we are facing in this meat-box, we know that we shall never be found naked; since we are already fully clothed with our heavenly identity in Christ in our inner person…God wired us this way; His Spirit already confirms within us the present evidence of eternity. We are eternal beings by design.

We are (therefore) cheerfully courageous; knowing (beyond a shadow of doubt) that our immediate address in our earthly bodies cannot distance us from the Lord, since we originate from Him.

Faith is to our spirit what our senses are to our bodies; while the one engages with the fading and the fragile, the other celebrates (completion) perfection! Our confidence stems from knowing that even though it might feel at times that we are merely reduced to flesh; our greater reality is that we are entwined in the Lord. He is our permanent abode!” (Adapted from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 and 5:1-8.)

“When we step into eternity and look back on our earthly afflictions, we will view them as “light” and “momentary.” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). When we are finally standing in the glory of eternity, we will realize that the degree of the glory in that age is disproportionate to the severity of the sufferings we endured in this age.

We will wonder”, “How could such a small amount of temporary suffering produce such a huge amount of everlasting glory?” We know we will view it that way once we’re in eternity. The thing is, we want this eternal perspective now.” (Jim Clanton and Bob Sorge) We have a sufficient down-payment of grace to carry us all the way through to the Glorious Age to come!

Living with the eyes of faith,
Ron

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

Do You Know What an Epiphany is?

August 11th, 2015

It is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love him.” (Isaiah 64:4) But God has shown it to us through his Spirit. The Spirit understands all things. He understands even the deep things of God.

Who can know the thoughts of another person? Only a person’s own spirit can know them. In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows God’s thoughts.

The Spirit helps us understand what God has freely given us. That is what we speak about. We don’t use words taught to us by people. We use words taught to us by the Holy Spirit. We use the words of the Spirit to teach the truths of the Spirit.

Some people don’t have the Holy Spirit. They don’t accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. Things like that are foolish to them. They can’t understand them. In fact, such things can’t be understood without the Spirit’s help. (1 Corinthians 1:9-17 NIRV)

Much of life is a mystery awaiting an epiphany; a sudden spontaneous leap of understanding. By way of epiphany God is redemptively re-writing our stories. The Bible calls this “gaining understanding”. But there is a huge distinction between learned understanding and the sudden spontaneous understanding of epiphany. The first is processed in the intellect and the second from the heart.

Only the new heart Jesus gives us can process the nuances of epiphany. Why is this so critical? Because it awakens the possibility of living life surprised by Holy Spirit! Apart from the spontaneous understanding Holy Spirit brings we remain stuck in the futility of our on thinking.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21, NIV)

“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” (Ephesians 4:18) This renders us vulnerable, weakened and interpreting our life from tainted mindsets. Holy Spirit helps us see life from God’s perspective and awakened understanding.

“In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. God, who looks into our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. And the Spirit prays for God’s people just as God wants him to pray.” (Romans 8:26-27, NIRV)

By way of heart epiphanies Holy Spirit keeps our hearts open and teachable-which sensitizes us to being surprised and molded by Him. It is amazing how He uses the simple experiences and occurrences of our life to teach us a truth we couldn’t get otherwise. A word from Dr. Larry Crabb, in 66 Love Letters: A conversation with God that invites you into His story…which helps you to accurately unpack your new story.

“God says you are living between two epiphanies. You have no higher calling in this life than to reveal the beauty of My Grace until the beauty of my glory fills your heart with joy forever.

My High calling, the vision I am about to set before you, corresponds perfectly to your deepest desire…which releases the power you need to live into My calling, to live the way you most want to live.”

May we have a fresh heart epiphany!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

What Do You Do When Stress Strikes?

August 5th, 2015

Have you ever had one of those days when you didn’t know whether to scream or to cry? Did you feel you could do both?

Perhaps a crisis surfaced at home with the children or your spouse. Maybe the challenge occurred at work or with your own health. Regardless of the situation, you felt you couldn’t take any more stress.

You may have wished the kids would eat dinner out and go to bed early. You may have wished you could take a week’s vacation alone to a deserted island.

I understand. This past week, I went through several of those days as I pushed to finish the edits on my new book before sending it out for endorsements. My left shoulder ached. My eyes hurt from all the time at the computer, and I longed to do anything but write another word.

I had no choice but to finish. So I took short breaks, posted a prayer request on a prayer loop and on Facebook, and asked God for mercy and multiplied time. At one point, I fell to my knees and said, “Lord, this problem is yours. Thank you in advance for your help.”

The Lord did answer my prayer, and joy swept over me when I sent the manuscript to my professional editor.

What about you? What will you do when stress strikes?

When anxiety was great within me,?your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

Dear God, I’m overcome with anxiety today. Please console me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to receive God’s consolation and joy?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
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.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Disillusioned?

August 3rd, 2015

An odd word prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

DISILLUSIONED


Do you think it’s a bad thing to be “disillusioned”?

I’ve always thought the word had a negative connotation, sort of like disappointment, but I actually think Jesus came to disillusion us.

Dis-illusion: to remove illusions…that’s what Jesus was all about. He came to reveal the truth.

Do you want to operate under a bunch of illusions?

It’s Monday. Maybe today’s a good day to grab some truth and shed a few illusions.

Have A Great Week!

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!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 web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Feeling Overwhelmed or Downcast?

July 31st, 2015

Are you feeling overwhelmed or downcast? Is the drama of those around you drowning out your own? Do you feel that the narrative of your life story is unfair and unheard? If you are anything like me, many voices; both good and bad are screaming for your attention. Is your worldview and system of belief causing you to interpret your reality through the lens of hopelessness? Sounds; well… kind of desperate! Are you listening? Because I have good news for you!

The entire revealed history of God’s love affair with his people has carefully and patiently waited for this moment in your life! This is the moment you are awakened to his message. The sum total of your life experiences has prepared you to receive his great news.

This may sound strange at first…but let it sink in, all the way from your mind to your heart. God loves you prophetically! Wow! What in the world does that mean or have to do with my present reality? It means that God wants to make his own thoughts about you known to you! Here are two examples among many…

17 God, your thoughts about me are priceless.
No one can possibly add them all up.
18 If I could count them,
they would be more than the grains of sand.
If I were to fall asleep counting and then wake up,
you would still be there with me. Psalm 139:17-18, NIRV

“11For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.
13 If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.
14 I will be found by you,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 29:11-14a, NLT

Armed with the assurance of God’s constant attention literally fixed on us, what will our response look like? We are invited to come boldly to Father’s Throne of Grace; throwing our entire history, present reality/needs, and future hopes, humbly into the Mercy and Love of Father. He resists the proud while overwhelming the humble with a daily baptism of his great love and all that it brings to our aide. Following is his (Prophetic Love) word to us at the start of each new day.

Today is the day of Salvation! Today, if you hear my voice of fresh revelation, dive heart-first into the oceans of my power and provision. I am bound by my own love to speak GOOD NEWS into your heart continuously.

“My word takes over the action; what I spoke to you in the incarnation,
My final Word through Jesus; radiating my image and likeness, powerfully impacts
Your whole being; body, soul and spirit are impacted by what He-Jesus speaks and it becomes a living and
Powerful influence in you, cutting like a doctor’s scalpel, sharper than a
Soldier’s sword, piercing to the deepest core of your human conscience, to the
Division of soul and spirit, ending the dominance of the sense realm of the
Soul and its neutralizing effect upon the human spirit; thus freeing the spirit
To be the ruling influence again in the thoughts and intentions of your heart”
(A paraphrased Mirror Word version of Hebrews 1:1-3 and 4:2)

Tuned in to the voice of hope!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

Are You Efficient?

July 29th, 2015

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. Henry Van Dyke

calendar

Have you ever considered the limited time Jesus had on Earth?

The central figure in all of history lived only thirty-three years, and thirty of those were spent in obscurity and preparation. Three years, about one thousand days—that’s all the time He had.

This was a guy who needed a PDA, an efficiency consultant, and a scheduling secretary. He came to communicate God’s eternal message of grace and forgiveness, the most important message in the universe, and His time was limited. He knew, as no other human has ever known, exactly what He needed to accomplish and how much time He’d been given.

He needed to use those days effectively, reach as many people as possible. Limited personal access could be granted only to key influencers. Large audiences, tight schedules, no wasted minutes, no frivolous interruptions, no unnecessary travel—He needed to squeeze maximum impact from every precious second.

So what did Jesus do with His thousand days? He wandered among small, isolated villages and stayed with outcasts. He spent much of His time with a small band of uneducated followers. He often consciously avoided the influential leaders and large population centers.

He acted as if He could change the world through personal relationships, one life at a time. Instead of parading “common people” like props at a speech, He went to their homes and got to know them. When He met the woman at the well, He spent an entire day with her and several more with her neighbors.

A modern high-profile political, religious, or business leader would never consider managing time as Jesus did. Large-scale influence is the goal, delegation is the means, and controlled access is the necessary strategy.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)

Jesus seemed to see things through a different lens. Instead of parceling His time into carefully managed appointments and “quality moments,” each individual He encountered got His undivided attention. Rather than trying to expand His personal brand through broad exposure, He taught, encouraged, and cared for inconsequential individuals.

Someone should have told Him about efficient use of limited time. Imagine how much He could have affected the world, the organization He could have created, and the legacy He might have left if He had only used those thousand days more effectively.

What can you learn about managing your time from Jesus’ example?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!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 web site www.relentlessgrace.com