Hope Described

October 20th, 2014

Hope…

Knows there’s light when all that’s visible is darkness.

Believes in possibility when confronted by impossibility.

Expects order to emerge from chaos.

Reaches out in the presence of isolation.

Seeks joy when surrounded by despair.

Accepts freedom even when buried by guilt.

Moves forward despite fear.

Perceives a remarkable future beyond the immediate obstacle.

Clings confidently to love when surrounded by hatred.

Trusts God to redeem struggle and pain and use all things for good.

Depends on God to keep His promises.

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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:

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

A Sense of Responsibility – It Surprised Me!

October 15th, 2014

Becky asked how I felt after speaking to a group of men at a county detention center.

I realized I felt a huge sense of responsibility. My response surprised me, but as I reflected it made more sense.

I spoke to guys desperate for a glimmer of hope, some basis to believe in dreams of life beyond bars and orange jump suits. Their eyes searched my face to see if my story of redemption really could be their story as well.

I told them “Hope is a confident expectation that God keeps His promises” and “Hope changes what’s possible.” I told them “Following Jesus is the way to find authentic hope.”

These weren’t theological niceties for these guys…this was life-and-death stuff. As we talked, I recalled the prayer Becky always says quietly before I speak. “Jesus, speak through Rich’s words.”

God uses messed-up people like me, and you, to change hearts. We’re loved so we can reflect that love into a world that desperately needs to see it. He asks us to be Jesus’ hands and feet.

It’s not about me. But telling people about hope isn’t something to mess with.

Following Jesus, taken seriously, is a big responsibility.

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Copyright 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 GiveHope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Who are You Looking To?

October 13th, 2014

“Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”—Isaiah 45:22

It is not “Look to yourself”… But it is “Look unto me.”

You say, “I do not repent enough.” That is looking to yourself.

“I do not believe enough.” That is looking to yourself.

“I am too unworthy.” That is looking to yourself.

“I cannot discover,” says another, “that I have any righteousness.” It is quite right to say that you have not any righteousness; but it is quite wrong to look for any. It is, “Look unto me.”

God will have you turn your eye off yourself and look unto him. The hardest thing in the world is to turn a man’s eye off himself; as long as he lives, he always has a predilection to turn his eyes inside, and look at himself; whereas God says, “Look unto me.”

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Sovereignty and Salvation

Problems? God is working them out!

October 11th, 2014

“Many times God works in opposite ways to worldly probabilities. When the requirement for bricks to be made was doubled for the Hebrew slaves–who would look for deliverance? Just as the sun going back ten degrees on the sundial was a sign of Hezekiah’s recovery–so divine providence is to be read backward. Joseph was made a slave–so that he would become the deliverer of the Hebrew people.”

Thus have we found that sickness works for our spiritual health–and poverty promotes our spiritual wealth. Our worst days, have turned out to be our best days; and our low estate has lifted us on high. When storms come, we may welcome them–for they bring blessing on their wings. But when our calm is long and deep, we must be on watch, to prevent stagnation and disease result from it!

Our Redeemer bends all things to His gracious purpose! To judge His wise ways, is folly and ingratitude. What can we know? Especially what can we know of His design and purpose–while His work is yet on the anvil? Our judgments at their best, are only moderated foolishness.

We are neither prophets nor sons of prophets; and if we were wise, we would not speculate about the results of His divine operations–but firmly believe and patiently wait until His providence comes to bloom, and God becomes His own interpreter!

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:28 

~ Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883 {Adapted}

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God’s Timing, Not Our Timing

October 6th, 2014

God’s timing is not our timing, nor is our children’s timing comparable to ours. We want things when we feel their need, and, like children we can’t understand His delays.

In Hebrews 4:16, we are told, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” “Time of need” in Greek is eukairon. It means a fitting time or opportunity.

The same word, eukairon, also appears in the Greek version of the Psalms in the Septuagint, in Psalm 104:27, which tells us, “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.” This makes the meaning very clear. The help God promises and gives is not in terms of when we want it but in terms of His determination of the “due season.”

This does not sit well with us. We may be old and white haired, but in relation to the Lord, we are often like spoiled children. We want things when we ask for them. God’s Word tells us, in due season.

Scripture tells us that God’s gifts are very real to those “that wait upon the LORD” (Isa. 40:31, etc.). God assesses all our needs, and He determines the timing of all things. He is not our personal valet or maid to serve us when we demand it, but our Heavenly Father to give us what He determines we need, in due season.

Moreover, what Hebrews 4:16 tells us is that we are to go boldly to the throne of grace primarily for mercy and grace. We usually have a long shopping list when we pray, but how often are mercy and grace on that list, or high on that list?

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Taken from the newly released
A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Vol. 5.
Copyright Chalcedon Foundation. All rights reserved.
Used by Permission.

Are You Looking Straight Ahead?

October 2nd, 2014

Proverbs 4:25: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.”

Have you set goals for the school year even if you don’t go to school? Do you have dreams for the school year? Do you realize God has “a future and a hope for you” that might be the reason for your goals and dreams?

Kathleen, a young brunette told me, “I want to become a speaker. Where do I start?”

I smiled and said, “What are you passionate about? Start there.”

Then we discussed distractions, discouragement and disappointments that can sidetrack us from our goals and dreams. I thought of this Bible passage and said, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.”

One week later, Kathleen called and said, “I’m home sick with a bad cold. This is one of those distractions, disappointments, and discouragements we talked about.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.” I paused to say a quick silent prayer for her and continued, “God can talk to you when you are home resting. He can give you clarity on your goal and dreams, and you can read a book or articles online about speaking.”

“You mean this cold can be a good thing?”

I nodded. “It can be as long as you ‘fix your gaze directly before you.’”

Dear God, help me “fix [my] gaze directly before [me]” no matter what happens. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to “let your eyes look straight ahead”?

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<imgsrc=”http://christians-in-recovery.org/attach/graphics/peopleYvonneOrtega-sm.jpg”/>

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 Christian 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

What Makes a Church?

October 1st, 2014

Today’s word-of-the-week…

CHURCH

We spoke at a church yesterday—at least they said it was a church.

It used to be a house, before it was an office. The address? First building south of the gas station. We had to ask for directions.

No pews, no stage, no fancy sign. They outgrew the main room, so they ripped out a counter to make room for more chairs in the entry/adjoining room.

The pastor, who works a regular full-time job, jokingly said he didn’t mind all that, but he’d always sort of wanted a church building with a steeple. A couple of weeks ago a guy stopped by and said the building needed a steeple and offered to build one. He took that as a sign that God wanted him to keep going.

Still, it didn’t look much like a normal church.

Except that the 50 or 60 folks who showed up acted like it was a church. They seemed to think they were enough to make it church.

I forget sometimes. I forget that church isn’t the building, the programs, the staff, or any of the paraphernalia I associate with it. Church isn’t complicated.

Church is people gathered in Jesus’ name. If that happens in the first building south of the gas station, I suspect Jesus won’t need directions.

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DixonRich 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

Subtle Sin

September 25th, 2014

Had

I become
so preoccupied

with
major sin

from deep
within

that
in the
darkened
night

I lost sight

of
my need

to deal
for real

with
the more

subtle
sins?

Does
the
subtle
sin of worry

still
tell a
lingering
story?

Or anxiety
that
menace

of society?

More so
that

subtle sin
of
irritability,

unthankfulness?

Or
that harsh
word,

demanding
to
be heard?

Need
I now
revisit

the
unloving
actions
of a

critical
spirit?

Oh, my goodness,
Father

What
A wake up
call

I am

guilty

of them
all!

~*~

Copyright: Rev.Bola Animashaun – all rights reserved.
Rev. Animashaun is the Pastor of Christians Victorios Fellowship – Int., UK
and a Member of Christians in Recovery.

Experiencing Long and Continuing Trials?

September 24th, 2014

“We could be quickly relieved of our troubles–but God does not think it fit to grant our request. Showers that come by drops and soak into the earth, are better than those which come in a tempest and hurricane!”

The gradual and long continuing of a trial, which are its sharpness and bitterness–are also, to a large extent, the reason for its usefulness. If the sharp affliction came and left with a rush–we would be rather swept away by it, than softened and saturated by its influence. To push a crucible among the glowing coals and snatch it out again, would not provide refining–the metal must spend time in the furnace until the fire has done its work.

Perhaps you have lived in the perpetual grip of affliction, and now feel quite weary of the endless torture. Do not faint under the long process–the highest degree of benefit is adding up, because of  the continuance of your adversity!

In the later part of a trial, every stroke brings a tenfold result, and operates with greatly increased efficacy. It would be a pity for the Lord to hold back His hand, when it is working with such special and marked result. All the preceding affliction has worked the heart into a fit condition to receive the master-strokes of the Divine Artist! The foundational colors have been laid on–but the second and finishing touch is now being given! Therefore, do not ask God’s hand to stop, but rather pray that its work may be carried on with power, and the Lord’s glory be seen in it all.

It will not cease raining yet–and why should it, so long as the soil is being softened, saturated, and fertilized by the falling drops? Let patience have her perfect work–and how can that be, unless the tribulation runs its full course?

Lord, make me ready to wait for the vision, however long it may be delayed. Your way of trying me is the best. I would not hurry Your hand, if I could!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883 – adapted)

“Why Do You Write?”

September 22nd, 2014

A game of tag prompted today’s word-of-the-week…

WRITE


Jon Swanson explained why he writes. Then he said, “Tag, you’re ‘it’” and asked me to consider the same question. So I took a couple of long bike rides, which is where I think about stuff, and wondered why I write.

I’d like to say I write to follow some noble calling, to teach or serve or help. I’d like to say that, but at about mile ten I understood that’s not why I write. Not really.

I write because I whisper in the fog and I know, deep inside, that no one but Jesus will whisper back. I write because it’s my way of bringing some measure of clarity to inner chaos.

RELENTLESS GRACE began as a journal, a meandering attempt to make sense of the senseless nightmare screaming within me following my injury. After literally years of shapeless, chaotic verbal vomiting, I noticed two remarkable changes. First, I felt a sense of peace and connection with Jesus when I wrote. Second, the words actually started to make sense and communicate a story.

I shared the story and people said it would help others who had experienced adversity. So I published a book and started this blog. In a roundabout way, that led to a dream called RICH’S RIDE—and more writing, another book, and another blog.

I hope all of this serves, teaches, and helps. I hope it inspires. I hope it brings people a bit closer to Jesus and encourages them to dream God-sized dreams and live remarkable stories.

I love it when you comment, when you take time to say the words touched you in some way. I appreciate “Likes” and especially “Shares” that show the ideas are worth spreading around.

But those are why I publish the writing. They’re why I share, why I speak, and those reasons mean a lot to me.

They’re not why I write.

I write because sometimes the fog clears a little and I hear Jesus’ voice saying, “Follow me. I’ve been here, and I know the way out.”

Writing, for me, is prayer. That’s why I write.

How about you? Have you considered writing? Should you write more>

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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 web site www.relentlessgrace.com