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?

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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

Are You Living Your Life Splendidly?

July 27th, 2015

Life really is what this journey is all about. Our part is always to come running to Him. He is the only life source-the Bread of Life. Hunger and thirst will no longer drive your bus after you align with Him. Once we align our self with Him, He holds on and will never let go!

You can become absolutely certain of His ability to complete the Father’s will concerning you. Not a single detail missed: put together, upright and whole. “This, in a nutshell, is that will,” that you be completed. I want to call our daily walk toward that completion, “splendid living”. Our part is to embrace what He is doing: to co-operate with Him each and every day.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.”

“This, in a nutshell, is that will, that everyone handed over to me by the Father be completed–not a single detail missed–and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” John 6:35-40, The Message.

Let me give you one example of splendid living. Liu Wei is a 23 year old piano player in China. He started playing at age 19-only 4 years ago. He plays splendidly. He has no arms! He plays the piano with His feet and he is a concert pianist. While being interviewed on China’s Got Talent (after a spectacular performance with his feet) he was asked this question: “what is your secret to this accomplishment?” His answer: “either quickly die or live your life splendidly.”

Spiritually, you may think you have no arms or that somehow the deck is stacked against you. You may only be focused on what you can’t yet do or what is not yet finished or completed in your life. Others may even cruelly point out your seeming contradictions or imperfections. You can be sure ‘the accuser of the brethren’ will be telling you there is not enough time to work through all your problems, flaws and issues.

What are your options? You can live in agreement with the enemy’s report. Or, you can eat daily of the Bread of Life. You can embrace Him and leave the completion to Him. You can focus on Him and not on yourself. You can daily choose to “either quickly die or live your life splendidly!” Jesus will enable and empower you for splendid living. He said, ‘My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.’ Be nurtured while living splendidly in Him!

In the grip of His splendid grace for splendid living,

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.

When You Say or Do the Wrong Thing

July 24th, 2015

After the legal separation, I never wanted to say anything against my estranged husband in our son’s presence. After all, my husband was still his father.

So much for my good intentions not to say anything against his father in front of my son. I let my tongue rip loose until I saw the hurt look on his face. I stopped immediately.

No matter what, my husband was still his father. My son needed both of us, and I learned to keep my mouth shut—not an easy lesson for a woman who likes to talk and hear herself think out loud.

I didn’t see that incident as one poor choice. Instead I saw it as a failure. My friends helped me distinguish between the two.

You won’t get it right every time either. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. When that happens, I encourage you not to see your setback as a failure. The only failure is to let a setback cause you to give up.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Dear God, when I say or do the wrong thing, give me strength to get back up and move forward. Amen.

Application: What will you do the next time you say or do the wrong thing?

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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

A Sense of Brotherhood in Recovery

July 22nd, 2015

A friend’s graduation inspired today’s word-of-the-week…

WE


My friend Melvin completed a year-long rehab program.

At his graduation the other guys spoke about Melvin’s time with them. I was struck by how often they used the word “we.”

These men arrived from big cities and small towns. Most had tough roads marked by a good deal of adversity, some self-inflicted and much not. Along the way they learned not to trust or even to let others get close.

And at this place, through months of hard work and tears, they discovered a sense of community and brotherhood. A bunch of guys who didn’t trust anyone learned to trust each other and discovered the incredible power of we.

A year ago Melvin was another addict. These guys wouldn’t have turned their heads to give him a second look.

Now–he’s a part of we, and the conversation was about how we can support him and make sure he succeeds.

We is the way we’re wired, the way God created us in His image. We is how we share hope.

We is how we love.

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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

Are You at the End of Your Rope?

July 20th, 2015

“But I need something more! I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?” Romans 7:17a and 24, (Msg)

Can you identify with Paul’s gut wrenching cry? I can!

Does the power of sin and unhealed or unresolved issues ever seem to sabotage your best intentions? More often than I like to admit, they do for me. Any real or honest follower of the Grace Message of Jesus Christ will readily admit to Paul’s dilemma. For me, the very things I truly think are behind me, often jump up, seemingly out of nowhere, and bite my religious butt.

Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament; we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and impressive as the State of Texas is wide- we too must exhaust all of our personal resources. Our complete heart orientation and mindset has to land squarely where Paul’s did.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20, KJV)

The answer to this is in the giving up-truly coming to the end of our rope. ‘There is none perfect, no not one!’ “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled be the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (Romans 7:25, Msg)

Jesus is the something more! Total and constant surrender and trustful reliance upon Him, is always the answer. The only way that any moment of any day (even the best or worse of days) can be pregnant with hope, is because of our moment by moment total reliance on Him alone.

It will never be because we finally have a perfect score or day-we finally get it right…no, we must always let go of our rope and grab onto (by a sheer act of risky faith) the resurrection power and Grace of Jesus Christ. Something and Someone more loves you and me, even in our frailty and weakness. We cannot do anything in our own good intentions. But, we can do all things through Him who loved us!

The question never changes; it’s not can I please others, myself and Jesus? It’s do I truly believe the following confession of faith? 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Phil. 4:13, Amp.)

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.

Where’s The Bible Centered?

July 18th, 2015

old bibleI’ve been reading about different traditions when it comes to interpreting the bible.

Without trying to explain all of the different options, it’s interesting to realize that I see scripture almost exclusively from a Christ-centered perspective. I’d never really considered that other options existed, but I’ve learned that they do.

As our small group studies the life of Abraham, we encountered an incident in Genesis 13-14. Abraham and Lot have to separate because their flocks and herds have grown too large.

Abraham’s the leader and the elder. He’s entitled to choose his portion of the land, but he defers to his younger nephew. He allows Lot to choose first.

Reflecting on Abraham’s character, I see a foreshadowing of Jesus’ model of servant leadership. Rather than demanding his rights, he trusted God’s promise and allowed Lot to take the best land.

Jesus’ teaching shouldn’t have been a surprise. God planted hints all through the story–they just needed to look through the proper lens.

I think that’s still true.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Who will define your life experiences today?

July 14th, 2015

Who will define your life experiences today? Jesus prayed to His Father that our lives would no longer be defined by the world.

“They are no more defined by the world, than I am defined by the world. Make them Holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your Word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I am consecrating myself for their sakes-So they will be truth consecrated in their mission.” John 17:17-19 The Message


I remember my life before-it definitely was defined by the world. As such, my life just kind of blended in with whatever worldly crowd or expression I was into at the moment. The pop culture defined me. In the early 70’s, right before I gave my life to Jesus-I was a street hippie. Not distinct, just one of that crowd-wandering around the country with no distinct definition or purpose.

Now, and for the last 42 years, whatever He (Jesus) has to say about me is what gives my life definition. Today, I will be defined by God’s opinion about me. I will not be defined by the old, self-disgusting voices in my head. I will be Holy (set apart-distinct) by His truth about me. I will be consecrated in and with that truth.

I will have and share in an awesome mission in the world today with my special Jesus definition. Truth, real and pure truth, is whatever He has to say about any and everything! Well, what is He saying about you and me today? Here are just a few: beloved, child and son or daughter of God, forgiven, not ashamed, redeemed, gifted, empowered…you add some more!

You have a high and holy mission in the world today. You are not brought down to the level of being defined by the world-no more than Jesus is defined by the world. You are defined by the opinion of Almighty Heavenly Father! Think on His definition of you today and be nurtured with those truths.

Set Apart by Truth: 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.

Turning the Other Cheek…. a Choice?

July 10th, 2015

“So I guess you’re gonna tell us we have to turn the other cheek.”

The sarcasm puddled on the table. A guy who’s lived on lobster boats doesn’t easily buy the notion of non-violnece.

We were talking about fear, and I said “He hit me” doesn’t mean “I have to hit him back.”

The guy kept going. “So I’m supposed to just let people assault me and my family, right?”

“That’s not what I said. This isn’t about ‘turn the other cheek’ at all.

“It’s about the words ‘have to.’ I ‘have to’ hit him back is a lie. You don’t ‘have to’ do anything.”

“Okay,” he replied, “what’s the alternative?”

“It’s simple. You choose.”

The room got quiet. Another guy chuckled. “So can I choose to hit back?”

I had them, and they knew it. Finally somebody said, “Sure. But you gotta take responsibility for it.”

I asked him to elaborate.

“I can’t be like a little kid…he made me do it. I choose to fight, or not. I choose to drink, or not.”

The first man wasn’t giving up. “In real life, it’s not that easy…”

“You’re right. Life ain’t about bein’ easy.

“But either you choose, or someone else chooses for you.”

Then I turn to the original question. “Turn the other cheek or defend yourself–your choice. You listen to Jesus and learn what He really meant. Then you decide and take responsibility for your decision.”

Simple. Not easy.

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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

A Burden We Are Not Supposed To Carry

July 6th, 2015

balance-scale-unbalancedI like to think I don’t judge people.

Problem is, I like to think a lot of things that aren’t true. Sadly, not-judging is one of them.

I’m thinking about this because our small group is doing a study of the life of Abraham, and I find myself frequently being sure the guy was an idiot. He did all this really dumb stuff, made stupid decisions, didn’t learn from his mistakes…

Like I said, I like to think I don’t judge people.

Ever wonder why Jesus told us to avoid playing judge? I suppose there are a lot of reasons, but right now I’m thinking He wanted to remove an enormous burden from our shoulders.

A fallible, imperfect, human judge carries a huge responsibility. We can’t know all the facts and circumstances, and we certainly can’t see into someone’s heart. We’ll always be wrong.

That’s not a burden God wants us to bear. Judging is God’s job.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

You and I get the chance to live without the horrible responsibility of dispensing justice for everyone else.

Rest. Easy. Light. Free.

Kind of a cool gift, huh?

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