How Should We Relate to One Another?

August 29th, 2016

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;
as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
John 13:34


Frequently, the title for what I will write comes to me through inspiration. Typically, I will do further research as well as search my own heart for the words to express what has inspired me, being mindful that the root word of inspiration, ‘inspiros’ is Greek for ‘breath of God’.

There are over 50 references in the New Testament regarding how we are to relate to one another. Most of the passages address our behavior, not just our attitudes. Fortunately, the directions include helpful guidelines.

More than once, we are commanded to love one another. We are encouraged to be of one mind with one another, to live in harmony. We are reminded that with humility, gentleness and patience we may bear with one another.

To further encourage one another, we find that the Greek word for encourage is ‘parakaleo’ which translates as ‘comfort’ ‘to summon or call to one’s side to give aid, strength and courage’.

In community and fellowship, we come together with one another for the purpose of observing and sharing so that we might more fully understand each others needs and pains.

The command to greet one another with a holy kiss is found four times in the New Testament. The Greek word that is translated ‘greet’ means ‘to greet or to welcome,’ but the basic idea seemed to be ‘to embrace’. In the New Testament epistles ‘a holy kiss’ was a sign of love, affection, and genuine interest in others. ‘A holy kiss’ is different within each culture. Here in the U.S., it would be a warm hand shake, an arm around the shoulder, or a hug. However we may extend ‘a holy kiss’ today, we are encouraged to greet one another warmly and genuinely.

Though we are imperfect beings, what an incredible comfort to find that our creator has provided, in the Holy Bible, a detailed instruction manual that provides endless wisdom and guidance meant for our benefit.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving
one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10

~*~
Becky and Jim Gabriel

Since 1980, Jim and Becky Gabriel have helped multiple numbers
of patients in Georgia and Sarasota and graduated a thousand
massage therapists from ASHA, the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts,
their Atlanta massage school.Their mission is to provide innovative, effective health care services,
educational materials and classes as well as holistic health and wellness
products for the entire community. They may be contacted via:
The Gabriel Center for Massage Therapy

Our True Relationship with Him

August 23rd, 2016

We should observe, how our Lord speaks of the relation between Himself and true believers. He
says, “Henceforth I call you not servants but I have called you friends.”

14You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:14:-17 MKJV

This is indeed a glorious privilege. To know Christ, serve Christ, follow Christ, obey Christ, work in Christ’s vineyard, fight Christ’s battles, all this is no small matter. But for sinful men and women like ourselves to be called “friends of Christ,” is something that our weak minds can hardly grasp and take in. The King of kings and Lord of lords not only pities and saves all them that believe in Him, but actually calls them His “friends.”

We need not wonder, in the face of such language as this, that St. Paul should say, the” love of Christ passeth knowledge.” (Ephesian 3:19.)

Let the expression before us encourage Christians to deal familiarly with Christ in prayer. Why should we be afraid to pour out all our hearts, and unbosom all our secrets, in speaking to one who calls us His “friends”? Let it cheer us in all the troubles and Borrows of life, and increase our confidence in our Lord.

“He that hath friends,” says Solomon, “will show himself friendly.” (Prov. xviii. 24.) Certainly our great Master in heaven will never forsake His “friends.”

Poor and unworthy as we are, He will not cast us off, but will stand by us and keep us to the end. David never forgot Jonathan; and the Son of David will never forget His people. None so rich, so strong, so independent, so well off, so thoroughly provided for, as the man of whom Christ says, “This is my friend!”

~ J. C. Ryle, <a href=”http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?event=AFF&p=1015079&item_no=971084″>“Daily Readings from All Four Gospels”</a>“Daily Readings from All Four Gospels”

 

The key of Death is in the Savior’s hands!

August 20th, 2016

“Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, the Ever-living One! I died–but see, I am alive forevermore! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead).” Revelation 1:17-18

When it is affirmed that Jesus holds “the key of DEATH,” it is plainly implied that none can pass out of this present world without His appointment. And, more generally, that He is lord of the living not less than of the dead, and has a thorough control over everything that can in any way affect the lives of men. An absolute power over death, necessarily presupposes a corresponding power over life and its affairs. And it is by the exercise of His providence in sustaining life–that He fulfills His purpose as to the time and mode of their departure hence.

Has the Redeemer the keys of death? Then this should mitigate the anxiety which often preys upon the mind when we look forward into futurity, and contemplate the prospect of our own death. We should remember, that as the Redeemer alone has the keys of death–nothing can happen to send us forth from the world before the time which He has appointed for our departure. Neither man nor devils can abridge the term of probation assigned to us by our gracious Master. Nor, until He is pleased to call us away, shall any power on earth or in Hell prevail against us. The Redeemer is possessed of absolute power over the course of our lives on earth–and over the time and manner of our departure out of the world.

No accident, no hostile violence, no insidious snare, no dark conspiracy–can touch our life–but by His command. And surely, when we reflect on the numerous dangers to which human life is exposed–the frailty of our frame–the diseases to which it is subject–our constant exposure to fatal accidents–the malice of open or concealed enemies–it must be consolatory to know, that the key of Death is in the Savior’s hands, and that, come what may, we cannot be forced out of the world, until He opens the door and bids us to come to Him.

More especially, when we are visited with disease, and threatened with a speedy termination of life–the Savior’s power over the keys of death should repress or assuage those violent anxieties as to the probability of death or of recovery–and those disquieting speculations as to the outcome of disease, and the mode of its treatment. For disease cannot kill, nor can medicine cure–without the appointment of Him who holds in His own hands the keys of life and of death! And if He has fixed the outcome of this disease–then why should we be anxious? If death is in our cup–that cup has been put into our hands at the time fixed by unerring wisdom and infinite love!

(James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837)

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!

Have a Gunpowder Heart?

August 18th, 2016

“Avoid every kind of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Be careful to guard against all occasions of sin and evil. There is no safety without setting a watch against all that is likely to prove a stumbling-block.

I read one day of the remarkable precautions which are taken to avoid danger in a gunpowder manufactory. The walls are all of stone, and no wood is allowed to be in the place. Anyone who walks through has to take off his shoes, lest the nails in them should strike a spark. Then, if he has any metal on him, he must leave it at the door. The danger is so great, that everything must be done to avoid any approach to it.

Oh that Christians would take heed in a similar way to keep from the peril of sin! Keep far away from any approach to temptation. You have gunpowder hearts–so ready to ignite from the least spark! A look, a word, an evil example, a sentence in a book, a suggestion from a bad companion–any of these may be the cause of a world of mischief.

Therefore, make it your firm resolve to keep out of harm’s way.
Beware of all places, and scenes, and people–that may turn you from the right course.
Don’t imagine you are strong enough to go, and get no harm.
Better to keep far from the edge of the precipice.
Better to keep out of the lion’s reach!
Better to keep from the long grass where the viper is coiled up!
Stop while you can–or you may go so far that it may be impossible to escape.

Be careful to guard well the various gates of access to the heart–and of egress into the world.

Guard well the eye. Keep it from vanity. Remember that one look cost Achan his life–and a lustful look embittered the whole of David’s years. Let the eye look straight onward, and right upward to the throne.

Guard well the ear. Receive nothing that will pollute or defile you. Hearken to no voice of flattery or persuasion to evil. Welcome every message of the word of truth.

Guard well the memory and imagination. Let no vision or image tarry there, which will chain and enthrall the soul. If unclean birds fly over your head–do not let them settle in your hair!

Nor be less mindful . . .
to curb the tongue,
to guide the foot,
to use the hand,
according to God’s holy will.

The words you utter,
the paths you go,
the deeds you perform,
tell mightily on yourself and on others. And none should be permitted to act except under the control of the fear and love of God.

Yet always remember, that it is not your careful walking, but Christ’s careful keeping–which will ensure your final victory!
Your enemies are legion,
your strength is nothing,
your resolutions soon fail,
your heart is easily beguiled and turned aside–
but the good Shepherd will keep His own redeemed people.
He will point out your danger–and enable you to flee from it.
He will uphold you in perilous places–and lift you up when you fall.
He will keep you from falling–and save you even to the uttermost!

(George Everard, “Mind Your Steps!” 1884)

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!

The Third Chapter of Life

August 16th, 2016

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~Anatole France

Frequently the inspiration for what I write comes from a particular word on phrase that swims around in the sea of my consciousness.
‘Chapter Three’ kept floating to the surface of tangible awareness and so it became the focus for a bit of research and led me to ‘The Third Chapter’, a book by sociologist, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.

Ten thousand baby boomers turn sixty each day. A newly identified developmental stage, the ‘third chapter’, focuses specifically on the years from 50 to 75. Recognizing that this cultural change can result in a deeper, richer understanding of the aging process, the author notes that society often offers a murky view of this phase, unsure how to view a population that is “neither young nor old.”

“We must develop a compelling vision of later life:
one that does not assume a trajectory of decline
after fifty, but one that recognizes it as a time
of change, growth, and new learning; a time when
our courage gives us hope.” from The Third Chapter

Challenging the idea that people over fifty enter a period of diminishing opportunities, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot brings a rejuvenating new perspective to these debates. As people move from one developmental stage to the next, they are likely to experience the twin emotions of loss and liberation, despair and hope, pessimism and optimism. It is difficult to let go of the familiar, the routine, the proven, the daily rituals; so hard to relinquish your solidity, your expertise, your status and station and take the risk of embracing the new, the unproven, and the unfamiliar.

This requires the willingness to take risks, experience vulnerability and uncertainty, learn from experimentation and failure, seek guidance and counsel from younger generations and develop new relationships of support and intimacy.

This book includes and shares the insights of courageous souls from all walks of life who redefined “work,” reinvented themselves, and tapped their emotional resources in creative new ways. The result is a revolutionary yet realistic challenge to all who are living in the Third Chapter, providing a gateway to liberation and greater meaning as each day unfolds.

In Biblical understanding, the elderly are to be venerated and identified with wisdom and closeness to God. Indeed the word ‘elder’ and ‘overseer’ are
used interchangeably.

“Let the elders that rule well be counted
worthy of double honour,
especially they who labour in the word and doctrine..”
1 Timothy 5:17

Here’s to a creative and fulfilling Chapter Three for all of us who have turned that page!

~*~
Becky and Jim Gabriel

Since 1980, Jim and Becky Gabriel have helped multiple numbers
of patients in Georgia and Sarasota and graduated a thousand
massage therapists from ASHA, the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts,
their Atlanta massage school.Their mission is to provide innovative, effective health care services,
educational materials and classes as well as holistic health and wellness
products for the entire community. They may be contacted via:
The Gabriel Center for Massage Therapy

Can Affliction Be Good?

August 13th, 2016

Some years ago I heard an allegory which I have never forgotten. It often comes back to me when I think of the way in which the Lord leads His people.

The fable runs that a few ears of wheat were growing in the corner of a field, and it was promised to this wheat that it would one day be brought before the Queen. But by-and-by the mower came with his sharp scythe and cut the wheat, and feeling the sharpness of the scythe, it said, “I shall never stand before the Queen!” Presently it was laid in the wagon, and pressed and borne down by the other sheaves, and again arose the cry of distress and despair. But, more than this, it was laid on the threshing-floor, and the heavy flail came down upon it. It was taken to the mill, and cut and cut and cut; then it was kneaded into bread; and at last it was placed in the hot burning oven. Again and again was heard the cry of utter, hopeless despair. But at length the promise was fulfilled, and the bread was placed on the Queen’s table!

There is a great spiritual truth beneath the fable. Christians are God’s wheat, sprung from the incorruptible seed of His Word, and from the precious seed of the crucified, buried body of our Lord–and He purposes that one day they shall stand before Him! But there needs much preparation.

There comes the sharp scythe of bereavement–the loss of child or parent or spouse.

There comes the oppressive burden of care.

There comes the severe tribulation (the very word signifies threshing), seasons of adversity and disappointment.

There comes the mill, the trial that utterly breaks us down, and fills the whole spirit with distress.

There comes the hot furnace of agonizing pain or fear.

All these are doing their appointed work, stirring up faith and prayer, humbling to the very dust–and yet lifting up the Christian, by leading him nearer to God, and enabling him at length to say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted!”

~ George Everard, “The Home of Bethany” 1873

How Well Do You Wait?

August 1st, 2016

I don’t like to wait in line at the grocery store or anywhere else. How about you?

Inevitably, I end up behind a person who forgot one item at the other end of the store or a customer who buys something without a price on it.

When it comes to my prayer requests, I want God to answer immediately. Sometimes he does. Other times I wait for years for his answer.

In 1 Samuel 10:3, the prophet Samuel told Saul, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

Saul waited seven days. Samuel didn’t come, and Saul’s soldiers “began to scatter.” Saul sacrificed the offerings to the Lord. Samuel arrived shortly after that and asked him what he had done.

Notice Saul’s response in 1 Samuel 13:11-12, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,I thought, Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

In verse 13, Samuel said, “You have done a foolish thing . . . You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.”

Did Saul learn his lesson? Look at 1 Samuel 28. After Samuel’s death, he saw the Philistines coming and panicked. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord didn’t answer him.

Rather than wait for an answer, Saul asked a medium for advice. He ignored God’s command against that practice and his own law against mediums in Israel.

The medium brought up the late Samuel, who told him in I Samuel 28:19, “The LORD will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”

As I read those chapters, I reflected on the importance of obedience and waiting on God. His timing may not be mine, but he loves me and wants what’s best for me.

I don’t want to take matters into my own hands and suffer the consequences the way Saul did.

God loves you and wants what’s best for you too. Will you wait for his perfect timing?

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
“Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward”
Download her One Sheet at http://www.yvonneortega.com.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Following Jesus Is Like Training

July 27th, 2016

training indiv

Training always begins with individual growth.

Might sound selfish, but that’s how it has to be. Training, initially, is an individual deal.

Only strong, skilled individuals can comprise a strong, skilled team. So whether you’re training for an individual activity or something intrinsically team-oriented, you’re have to focus first on what you can do to get better.

Training Isn’t Selfish

Training means getting better, faster, or stronger. It’s learning, reading, or listening. It’s growing in your faith, following Jesus a bit more closely. Whatever the goal or activity, training is the focused set of activities designed to get you more prepared to do it well.

Nothing inherently selfish about any of that. Growing, learning, getting closer to Jesus—all good things.

The real issue is the purpose of the training.

You might train for self-improvement. A better body because you want a better body. Run a marathon because you want to run a marathon. Get a seminary degree because you want to know more theology. Self-improvement trainers focus on themselves, their desires, their improvement.

You might train as a way to get ahead of others. You want to be faster than the other guy, have more money or a bigger house. You want a bigger audience or more followers. Getting ahead is about comparing.

Folks who do get-ahead training believe life is a zero sum affair. Get-ahead trainers focus on the scoreboard and on winning. Which, of course, means they must make sure someone loses.

That’s what’s sad about get-ahead trainers. They need losers.

You might train as way to give to others. This sort of training asks, “How can I develop my gifts so I have more to give?” As characters in a story bigger than themselves, stewardship trainers know they’re responsible for the best use of their physical, financial, and spiritual gifts.

Stewardship training is simply the ongoing process of acquiring the knowledge and skills of a responsible steward. Stewardship trainers are better prepared to serve. They’re better prepared for tough questions and tough situations.

Stewardship trainers are ultimately better prepared to be–and to help–disciples.

Training, self-improvement, whatever you call it—those are good things. It’s good to grow and learn, get healthier, simplify, read your bible more, all those New Year sorts of things.

Why you’re training matters, too. Likely more than the training itself.

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

Hunting Wealth Too Eagerly?

July 25th, 2016

He who loses godliness to gain gold–is a great cheater of himself.

Keep yourselves entirely for Christ. Live above the world. Its goods will come to you–when you do not bid too high for them. If you hunt the butterfly of wealth too eagerly–you may spoil it by the grasp with which you secure it!

When earthly things are sought for as the main object, they are degraded into rubbish, and the seeker of them has fallen to be like Bunyan’s man with a muck-rake, turning over a dunghill to find nothing. Set your heart on nobler things than lucre! Let us so live that it will be safe for God to add to us the blessings of the present life; but that can only be done with safety, when we have learned to keep the world under our feet.

Charles Spurgeon, “A Good Start!”

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!

Is it a “Need” or “Desire?”

July 22nd, 2016

“My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!” Philippians 4:19

We have here the promise that every possible need will be provided for. The Lord of earth and Heaven has such boundless treasures at His command, that it is impossible that we can expect too much. Not all we wish, not all that we may think pleasant or desirable–but all that the only-wise God discerns to be truly needful and profitable for us–that will He give.

The supply assured to the believer, comprises that which is needful for all that concerns our present life–and all that is essential for the support and growth of spiritual life in the soul.

As to this present life, God supplies our needs. And yet by withholding much that is for our comfort, He humbles and proves His children. He often keeps them on very slender fare!

What then have the people of God a right to expect?

Sometimes He may bestow a rich abundance of temporal blessings. He did so in the case of Job, and Abraham, and Joseph, and Solomon, and many others.

Still more frequently He will give His children amply enough for their daily need. He blesses their basket and their store. He gives a sufficiency, so that they can live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.

Yet sometimes it is otherwise. He is training His children, and He puts them in the school of affliction. He sends them thorns and briars, and sharp trials. And this often in the shape of need, or insufficient means for meeting the requirements of themselves or their families.

Ah, do not repine if this is so! There is a purpose beneath it. There is divine love, though there is the lack of food or money.

“Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face!”

A soldier in a foreign campaign does not murmur because he has to rough it, and perhaps for many a week has coarse and insufficient fare. Nor should you be surprised if this is your case. Now is the conflict; by-and-by the crown will be won, and you will be at rest in your Father’s house!

“My God shall supply all your needs.” This goes far beyond temporal blessings. It opens wide to us the treasury of divine grace–it tells me to go in and take all that my soul desires.

You may imagine a cabinet with fifty or a hundred drawers and each of these labeled with some valuable article–and you are permitted to go in and open each drawer and take out what you will. It is so in God’s house. Christ is the Treasury of all spiritual gifts and graces. In Him are found wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, peace, power, preserving grace, restoring grace, consolation in sorrow, and effectual help and support in every season of adversity. And by faith and prayer, we are to go continually, and ask and receive abundantly, according to our need.

Do not limit God’s free and rich supply of grace in Christ by the thought of your own demerits. It is not on account of any works or worthiness of yours–but for the sake of Christ’s work and Christ’s worthiness, that God is ever willing to bestow on you all needful grace.

The LORD gives grace and glory. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly!” Psalm 84:11

“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

George Everard, “Follow the Leader!” 1882

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!