What if asking for help is okay?

January 28th, 2015

No helpThanks, but I can do it all by myself.

Of course, I know better. There’s no such thing as “all by myself,” but that doesn’t stop me from fighting to maintain the illusion of independence.

I think about “help” a lot. Because of the wheelchair, others ask often how they can offer help without offending when someone seems to need a bit of assistance. My friend Jon Swanson asked yesterday, “What if asking for help is okay?

I think one of the barriers might be the nature of the word “help,” which perhaps implies something about helplessness and the powerful assisting the weak. I’m bigger, stronger, or smarter, and I’m willing to help you. If you’re the person being “helped” you are implicitly inferior. While that may be objectively true, even an unintended superior/inferior connotation perpetuates a feeling of helplessness.

On the other hand, service conveys humility. It’s more of a willingness to partner with another person, to travel beside him on his path. Perhaps it’s a sense that service offers who I am rather than what I can do.

Service involves a relationship, taking time to care for more than just an immediate need. Perhaps when offering to perform a task, the servant also stops to chat for a moment. While it takes more time, this extra step communicates a sense of equality that touches and enriches both people.

Looking through this lens, we’d do better to adopt an attitude of humility on either side of the helping equation. So when we see a perceived need, we offer to serve.

And we drop the notion of “all by myself,” humble ourselves, and allow others to serve by asking for help.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, the servant of all.” (Mark 9)

How have you experienced the difference between help and service?

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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

What Do the “Experts” Know about Jesus?

January 26th, 2015

“People would rather read books written by experts about the bible than the bible itself.”

It’s an interesting notion–why not let someone who knows the intricacies of Hebrew and Greek, the in’s and out’s of ancient culture, figure out all that interpretation stuff? They’re surely more qualified than I am, right?

The class was called BIBLE BASICS, and we gathered to discuss some ideas about using scripture in our small groups. I’d just floated the notion that the basic purpose of the bible is revelation. It’s God telling us who He is, and He wants a relationship.

Relationships require commutation, time, and the investment of getting to know each other. I asked how that would work out in our personal relationships if we tried to outsource the hard work to a third party. Maybe I could hire a marriage expert to get to know my wife, then tell me the highlights.

Of course that’s preposterous, and creepy, but it’s exactly what we’re doing when we trust an expert to tell us what we need to know about Jesus.

Jesus is a person, not a collection of ideas. If I read a book about the bible, I’ll learn about someone else’s relationship with Him.

I think He’d prefer something more intimate.

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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

What’s More Real: Facts, Science or Faith?

January 22nd, 2015

FACTS

“I’m a science guy. I rely on evidence, data, and facts.”

I’ve frequently pondered my friend’s rationale for not believing in God, because I’m a science guy, too. I want bridge designers and architects and physicists—and lots of other folks—to be science guys as well.

I know some folks believe there’s evidence for God, but it’s not the sort of evidence that’ll stand up to scientific scrutiny. It can’t, because science gathers data about the world God created and God exists beyond that world.

Just as God exists outside the realm of science, I believe there’s a level of knowing beyond facts and evidence. We call that level TRUTH.

Aside from my relationship with Jesus, my love for Becky is the singular most powerfully inspiring force in my life. I can provide no evidence, no data, to establish the existence of that love as a scientific fact. But lack of evidence doesn’t mean it’s imaginary.

That love is a baseline Truth in my life. Attempts to reduce it to facts of behavior or brain function or physiologic response couldn’t begin to capture the totality of the Truth.

We know the science that creates a sunset and the music theory behind a symphony, but none of that explains the experiences of viewing or listening or creating.

I think it’s a general principle that whenever we reduce a Truth to mere facts, or even try to express it in words, we diminish it.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

God didn’t explain The Word. He sent it to live among us.

And Jesus wasn’t full of facts.

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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

Running Short of Strength?

January 20th, 2015

“As your days–so shall your strength be!” Deuteronomy 33:25

Strength was not promised in advance–enough for all of life, or even for a year, or for a month. The promise was, that for each day, when it came with its own needs, duties, battles, and griefs–enough strength would be given. As the burden increased–more strength would be imparted. As the night grew darker–the lamps would shine out more brightly.

The important thought here is, that strength is not emptied into our hearts in bulk–a supply for years to come–but is kept in reserve, and divinely given day by day, just as the day’s needs require.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

“On the day I called, You answered me; You increased strength within me!” Psalm 138:3

(J.R. Miller, “The Shining Light” 1911)

What Kind of Medicine Do You Take?

January 19th, 2015

Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Sunday after the church service, five of us friends went to a local restaurant to eat lunch together and celebrate a mutual friend’s birthday. She had her teenage son with her.

We talked and laughed most of the time. I really don’t know how we managed to eat our lunch with all the chatter and laughter.

Our waiter laughed every time he came to our table. One friend told him, “I hope you survive all of us women.”

He smiled and said, “A woman raised me, and I’m almost married to another one.”

We laughed again and continued the birthday celebration.

When one of the five friends showed us the cracked screen on her cell phone, we burst into laughter. However, we offered her solutions for that screen and laughed some more.

Each of us at that birthday celebration faces life’s difficulties and challenges, but we have a cheerful heart.

We take “good medicine” not an inferior ineffective one.

What kind of medicine do you take? When was the last time you laughed?

In a conversation with a friend, how would you describe your heart? Do you have a cheerful heart or a crushed spirit? “A crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Dear God, help me choose a cheerful heart instead of a crushed spirit. Amen.

Application: When will you take “good medicine” this week?

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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

How Could I Do That?

January 14th, 2015

Henry, a man in his 40s, sat in my office and hung his head. “How could I have a relationship with another woman?” He continued to look at the floor. “How could I be unfaithful to the only woman who has ever loved me?”

I waited a couple of minutes. “Perhaps you fell for the serpent’s cunning lies. He appealed to your pride that your wife doesn’t understand you and doesn’t appreciate you.”

At that statement, he looked up at me and said, “That’s exactly what I thought.”

“And did you fall for the lie that you work hard and deserve another woman?”

His eyes widened, and he said, “How did you know that?” He stared at me as if I were a mind reader.

After clearing my throat, I said, “Jesus called Satan ‘a liar and the father of lies’ for a reason (John 8:44). The devil hasn’t changed his tactics.” I paused to let him think about that truth. “As he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, so he deceives us. He appeals to our pride and a sense of entitlement.”

Henry nodded and said, “I believed the lies, hurt my wife, and sinned against God and her.” He hit himself on the head, and said, “That didn’t help my marriage or my children either.”

2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Dear God, please help me not to be deceived by the serpent’s lies. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to have a sincere and pure devotion to Christ?

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

Is the Past Haunting You?

January 12th, 2015

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

I picture in my mind a big pot of oatmeal boiling away, starting to rise in the pot as it starts to boil over and finally it does boil over and what a mess it makes!!!!!!

I have to see the pot…. realize that it is starting to boil over… and then realize it is too much heat creating the problem… take to pot off of the fire. How to do that? Take all this boiling mess to Christ and not allow Satan to continue turning up the heat on the pot.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

Remember that….

No matter what is going on in my life God can and will bring peace…..
healing…..
serenity….
and he will return the joy to my life.

But I have to turn to Him….
not the pot….
not the heat…..
not the oatmeal…..

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Copyright by S. O. Brennan.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S.O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and Alcoholics Victorious

What if Jesus Came to Spend the Night?

January 9th, 2015

Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Matthew 8: 18 – 20 KJV


One day Jesus is coming back for us. What a glorious day of rejoicing and victory that will be for some people! The sad thing about it is that for some people it will be a day of sorrow and embarrassment. What if Jesus came back to spend the night with us, would our homes and our hearts be clean? Would we be ready for Him to spend the night with us or would we have to ask Him to come back when our homes and our hearts are clean?

Do we have a bed where He could sleep? If not, would we be willing to give up our bed for Him? If we will read this verse with our hearts instead of just reading it with our minds, we would understand and realize that He felt rejected because nobody invited Him to live with them. How my heart breaks when I read what He said “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

I receive a lot of emails from people who tell me that they feel all alone and that they don’t believe anybody loves them. I believe with all of my heart that our Saviour sometimes felt the same way. I think that He felt like nobody cared about Him because of the way they rejected Him, doubted Him and criticized Him. I think that He felt lonely many times while He was here on earth.

Would we have to call people and tell them that we couldn’t go to those places with them? Would He be offended because of the people we have as our close friends? We are to witness to people but we are to be very selective about our close friends. It is very important that we only form close friendships with people who love Jesus. A person can be a Christian and not love Him. It only takes one person to pull us down and discourage us but it only takes one person to encourage us and say “You can do it.” We should be that kind of person to our family, our loved ones and to the world. We need to be encouraging people, not discouraging them.

Would we be embarrassed for Him to see the magazines and books we are reading? Would He be hurt and upset to hear the kind of music that we are listening to and to see the program that we have on the television set when He comes to spend the night with us? What about the things we are doing when He comes to spend the night with us? Are the things we are doing pleasing to Him or do they bring shame and disgrace to Him?

If we can’t go to places and read books and magazines and watch things when Jesus is spending the night with us, then we should never read them, listen to them or go to those places. We may hide these things from our families and our friends, but we ca’t hide from Jesus. He knows everything and He sees everything.

Is your heart ready if Jesus were to ask you if He could spend the night with you? Is it filled with unconditional love for others as He has commanded us to love others or is your heart filled with resentment and anger? If He were to look into your heart right this minute, would it be filled with the light of His joy, peace and happiness or would it be full of criticism and hatred?

Thank God that when He does return for us, He is taking us home to be with Him for all eternity. Are you going to go with Him when He comes back for us? Have you been washed in the cleansing atoning blood of Jesus? If not, you will not go with Him, instead you will go to live with Satan forever. Please don’t miss out on spending eternity with our precious Saviour. Give your heart and life to Him now before it is too late!

— Joanne Lowe
heavenwardbound.com

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“It doesn’t hurt anyone else so it is OK.”

January 7th, 2015

It is very easy for me to get swept up with the crowd, do what everyone else is doing, agree with what everyone else is saying. I think this has its roots in my people pleasing and codependent tendencies. But because I am a child of God I know in my heart of hearts that following the crowd rarely leads to anything good. People are just lemmings heading over the cliff.

God has provided me with His Standard and it is found in Scripture. He makes it quite clear what his direction is and what His desires for me are. It is up to me to continue to be aware of His directions and to apply His desires to my life.

It is easy to become desensitized. The news media keeps telling us smoking pot is harmless. Homosexuality is “normal.” It is OK to bend the rules. Situational ethics are what matter, not what God says. It is OK to steal just as long as you are not caught.

How often have we heard “This doesn’t hurt anyone else so it is OK.”

WRONG!

It does affect me (if I am doing the wrong thing). It affects my loved ones when they see me doing the wrong thing. It affects my relationship with God. So I have to work at remaining very sensitive to what God says — and desensitizing myself to what the world says.

If someone says something loud enough and often enough it can start sounding like the truth. But there is only one Truth. I have to remember that.

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

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Copyright by S. O. Brennan.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S.O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and Alcoholics Victorious

How to Avoid Disaster

January 5th, 2015

I do a lot of long distance driving and there are many things I have learned to keep me alert. It is important for me to realize just how quickly things can go horrifically wrong if I take my eyes off of the road or “zone out” for just a second or two.

Recovery has parallels to that. I can think I am sailing along just fine, been in recovery for years. No problem…..
I start zoning out….
and not paying attention to the details…..
life is good…..

W-H-A-M !!!!!!

I think I have been blind sided but I have not. I have taken my eye of the prize. The fault is squarely mine. Not God’s. Not anybody else. Not circumstances. It is so easy to blame other people, circumstances and God. But I am the culprit.

It is essential to always remain sensitive to the Lord’s leading. But how to do that?

So often life is like being on the thruway….a little bit boring. Then something catches my eye and my focus is on that and not on the road and then all heck breaks loose.For me, it is a matter of keeping the lens of the Scriptures front and center, to always see things through that lens, never taking those Gospel Glasses off.

I take the Gospel Glasses off, everything becomes fuzzy. I can’t see or think with clarity.

It is not a matter of thinking about God all the time but having those lenses on to keep things in proper perspective — always seeing through the eyes of Christ.

I cannot be in prayer 100% of the time or working the 12 Steps 100% of the time but I can have my Gospel Glasses on — even while I am sleeping.

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Copyright by S. O. Brennan.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S.O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and Alcoholics Victorious