Archive for November, 2009

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ ……

Monday, November 30th, 2009

When I say that ‘I am a Christian’, I am not shouting that ‘I am clean living.
I’m whispering ‘I was lost, but now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain..
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow!

The School of Pain

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Everyone has sorrow. Being a Christian does not exempt anyone from grief. But faith in Christ brings a transformation of sorrow. Not only are we taught to endure the sorrows that come to us patiently and submissively–but we are assured that there is a blessing in them for us, if we accept them with love and trust.

One of the deepest truths taught in the Bible–is that earthly sorrow has a mission in the sanctifying of life. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. God disciplines us for our good–that we may share in His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10-11

We dread pain! And yet the person who has not experienced pain–has not yet touched the deepest and most precious meanings of life. There are things we never can learn–except in the school of pain! There are heights of life we never can attain–except in the bitterness of sorrow. There are joys we never can have–until we have walked in the dark ways of sorrow. Not to have sorrow, in some form, is to miss one of life’s holiest opportunities. We get our best things–out of affliction! “I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!” Isaiah 48:10

J. R. Miller, “Life’s Byways and Waysides”

Jesus And Courageous Leadership

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Courage is the single most decisive trait in a leader. Gus Lee

Welcome to part four of our discussion about courage, inspired by Gus Lee’s wonderful book titled Courage: The Backbone Of Leadership.

I’ve been thinking about Gus’s analysis of courageous leadership in light of Jesus’ model for us. Entire books have been written about Jesus’ leadership. My goal is to list a few attributes of courageous leadership that are apparent in His life.

* Courageous leaders act for what’s right, regardless of risk.
* Courageous leaders resist short-term temptation. They make decisions from a long-term perspective.
* Courageous leaders demonstrate integrity. Their actions and decisions match their words.
* Courageous leaders confront problems. They don’t take the easy path.
* Courageous leaders stand firm in their principles under pressure.
* Courageous leaders motivate “by ethically modeling, and inspiring others to be, their best selves and to act courageously for what is right.” (Gus Lee)

As a follower of Jesus, I want to lead in my circles of influence according to His example. These seem like a good start.

What did I miss? What other attributes of courageous leadership do you see in Jesus?

Leadership is character and competence. If you can have only one, opt for character. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

I just released a new free ebook. I hope you’ll download your copy and pass it along if it seems worthwhile.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2009 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

You Are Loved

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 King James Version

Many times during my teenage years, I was told that I was no good. I was also told that I was fat, stupid and ugly and didn’t have any right to live. After hearing these things for so many years, I began to believe them. I have received a lot of emails through the years from people who are heartbroken because these things were also said to them.

One person told me “I believe that I’m stupid and will never amount to anything because I have been told that by so many people.” If someone has told you that you are stupid, ugly or fat and that you don’t have a right to be happy or loved, I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that you do have a right to be happy and loved.

Don’t listen to satan because he is a liar. The truth is that you are loved by our precious Saviour. He loves you so much that He died for you. What a comfort it is to our weary battle scarred hearts to know that we are loved by the Master Himself! If you are hurting today, allow Jesus to comfort you as only He can. If you will listen with your spiritual ears, you will hear Him say to you over and over “I love you.”

What a privilege it is to be loved by the Saviour of the world. We know that He loves us because He proved His love for us when He died for us. The question we need to ask ourselves is “Do I love Jesus? If I do love Him, what am I doing to prove to Him that I love Him?” Remember, the level of our service to Jesus depends on our level of love for Him.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Risk And Courage

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Courage is facing fear rather than denying it; it is rushing forward to face the problem, to confront the giant whose shadow looms larger in our imagination than in reality. Gus Lee

This is part three of our discussion about courage, inspired by Gus Lee’s wonderful book titled Courage: The Backbone Of Leadership.

Last week I had the opportunity to hear Gus speak to a group of business and civic leaders. During the Q&A, one listener asked what seemed to me to be an odd question. “I hear what you’re saying about the need for courageous leadership. But how do we do that without the risk of losing our jobs?”

How would you respond?

My take: courage is acting for right, regardless of risk to self. No risk, no courage required. So how does one act courageously without risk?

You don’t.

It seems a little like Jesus’ comments about loving our enemies.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” [Matthew 5:43-47]

It’s easy to love the lovable and be kind to those who treat us kindly. But He says there’s not much reward for doing what everyone else does.

I think courage is like that. It’s easy to do the right thing when everyone else is doing it. Following the crowd and doing good is a good thing to do, but it doesn’t require much courage.

Courage manifests—or doesn’t—when the crowd’s going one direction and you know it’s not right. That’s what Gus calls a Point of Decision. That’s where you decide to go along and get along, or to act for what you know is right.

I haven’t always acted courageously. I identify numerous Points of Decision in my life when I allowed fear to dictate choices I knew to be wrong. Without exception, those are also Points of Regret. Short-term expediency at the expense of core values simply doesn’t produce actions of which I’m proud.

I can point to far fewer times when I’ve faced the fear and acted for right even when it involved risk. Most turned out well, some didn’t. But even the struggles are not cause for regret. I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Courage isn’t easy; it is was it wouldn’t be in such short supply. I don’t like risk, and I don’t like fear. But I also don’t like regret, realizing that I’ve allowed fear to direct me away from truth.

I’m certainly not consistently courageous, but I’m trying to do better.

What are your thoughts about courage and risk?

Character is the result of sustained integrity and courage. It is possessed by a person with fixed habits of moral firmness and excellence who acts spontaneously for what is right. Gus Lee

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2009 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

Your Faithfulness

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27 King James Version

Thomas Obediah Chisholm, a Methodist minister, wrote twelve hundred poems. One of my favorite poems that he wrote and was set to music is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. The words are so true. “Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided; great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

It doesn’t matter what we need in our lives, we can trust Him to provide for us. Our precious Saviour not only saves our souls; He also protects us from danger. He calms the winds and the waves during hurricanes and tropical storms. He also calms the storms that are raging in our hearts. What a Saviour, this Jesus of Nazareth! Thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness to us.

Jesus has proved His faithfulness to us over and over. Every day He gives us new mercies. He is not only faithful to protect us but He also forgives us for hurting Him. Are we being faithful to Him? Are we making Him happy or are we making Him sad by our service to Him? Do we give Him all of our time and our talents or do we just give Him a few hours a day? After all that He has done for us, how can we do less than give Him all of our time and everything we have?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Will You Launch Out into the Deep?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).

This particular “fishing story” in Luke 5 is one of my favorites, perhaps because I can so relate to the frustrated fishermen. How like me they were! I have my own self-imposed routines and comfortable formats to enable me to get through my daily to-do lists, don’t you? But I also have a Lord and Savior who is quite adept at “rocking my boat.”

These fishermen had been following the norm of fishing at night but had caught nothing. They had fished in all the best spots—still nothing. Then here comes Jesus and tells them to “launch out into the deep.” Not only was He instructing them to venture beyond their comfort zone, but he was telling them to do so at a time when no one else was throwing out their nets. And yet, His instructions implied that if they would obey Him and fish according to His direction rather than the generally accepted wisdom of the day, they would land a sizeable catch.

How many times have we found ourselves frustrated, just like those fishermen, because we’ve done all the “right” things and yet produced no results? Then along comes Jesus and says, “Try something different. Forget what the world tells you is the wise or prudent thing to do, and follow my instructions instead.”

“But Lord, Your instructions don’t make sense!”

“No one’s ever caught anything that way before!”

“All the polls and pundits say it won’t work!”

“I don’t think I’m capable of doing that, Lord!”

We’ve all responded in similar ways at one time or another, haven’t we? But the bottom line is, we’re scared. Launching out into the deep when nearly everyone else is staying safely on shore is not an appealing scenario. But the alternative is that we can remain on shore with those who insist on following their own way and producing nothing—or we can take a chance and obey the instructions of the Master Fisherman.

It all comes down to one thing: Are we hear to catch fish…or to spend time on the shoreline, inventing new and better ways to fish and discussing how best to implement them? If we choose the latter, we may be the best-equipped fishermen around, but we have no fish to show for it.

I, for one, plan to launch out into the deep and do some serious fishing. How about you?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Macias
Copyright 2009 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 26 books. Her newest books are:
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”


and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”
(New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Wait on God

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 King James Version

I receive a lot of emails from people who ask me what they should do when they have to make an important decision. I tell all of them to wait on God. When we don’t know what we should do and we are confused, we need to understand that God is not the author of confusion. We shouldn’t make any decision unless we first hear from God.

There have been several times in my life when I did things that I wanted to do without first asking God if He wanted me to do these things. Needless to say, when I did these things there was confusion. Then there were times when I did ask God what He wanted me to do but because I wanted to do them, I went ahead and did them knowing in my heart that He did not say yes.

When are we ever going to learn to wait on God? He sees the end and He knows all things. What we want to do even if it is a good thing may not be what He wants us to do. We can trust our Heavenly Father to lead us in the right path, the path He wants for our lives. I have learned the hard way that if I don’t have peace in my heart about something, I had better not do it.

Are you asking God what He wants you to do concerning a decision you need to make? Are you waiting on Him to answer you before doing the things you want to do? Be sure that it is God that has said it’s okay to do the things and not just you wanting to do them. It is so important that we don’t do anything unless God has first said yes to what we want to do.

There are times when we try to do so many different things that we get burnt out. We get involved with so many different projects that we neglect what God originally gave us as our mission. It is very important that we don’t take on so many different things that we fail to do what He has already told us to do. It is only as we learn to wait on God that we will have peace in our hearts and not confusion.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Our Guiding Light

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 King James Version

I think if we will be honest with ourselves that there are times when all of us have been in the darkness of discouragement. If ever someone understands how we felt, it is our precious Saviour. He was ridiculed and rejected countless times when He was here on earth. The tragic thing about that is that He is still being ridiculed and rejected.

Yes, Jesus understands how it hurts when people reject us and ridicule us. He knows how devastating it is when someone who claims to be a friend stops being a friend. How comforting it is to know that He not only understands how we feel; He also cares when we are hurting and heartbroken.

The Saviour of the world cares enough about us to weep when we cry and rejoice when we laugh. No matter how many dark valleys we go through, He will not only light our way; He will also pick us up and hold us close to His compassionate and loving heart until the hurt goes away. What a Saviour we have, this Jesus of Nazareth. There is no one like Jesus!

No one loves us like He loves us. Thank You, Jesus, for not only being the light in our hearts but also for lighting our way in the darkness of discouragement and despair. You are the great I AM, the lily of the valley and the fairest of ten thousand to my soul. O how I love You, Jesus. Thank You for coming to me when I couldn’t come to You.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Red Bishops: Learning to Change

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Does any one remember the little Red Bishops I wrote about that came to eat outside my window. I have a feeding tray for the small seed eaters ?

Most of them have changed colour, all ready for the mating season.

But there are still a few that do not have the full new plumes and some have just began (late bloomers). And I seem to be like these always changing never coming to any kind of conclusion or completion.

Don’t want to remain in the old plumes they are too drab and painful.

Don’t want to change to the new ones because that requires responsibility and bringing up a new generation.

Plus if I am a bit of both…. great !!!! don’t have to make a choice to be either or…..????

On studying the feathers I have discovered that they change into soft velvet tufts rather then fully developed feathers. One other very important observation is that the wing feathers and tail feathers never change. These are the two most important types of feathers used in flight.

I felt Father was saying something very personal to me here, ”Noreen I only want to change what is not really you. You need to learn who you really are, and you need to accept who you really are. Don’t be afraid to find out who you are! I never have and never will create a person that I don’t love. I enjoyed finding all the unique bits of you and mixing them in a unique way and that no one else has the same mix or pattern. Know that when I challenge you to change it is not for your destruction. Although at the time it is at this point where you need to take up your cross and lay down your life and follow me.”

Prayer

Father I stand where Judas stood,
realizing my rebellion and mistakes and self will.
But Father I choose not to remain
in rebellion and remorse for bad choices.
Father I choose Life !
Forgive me of my deep seated rebellion towards You.
Jesus teach me !
Your promised that You would.
I look to You for salvation and redemption.
You promised to write Your Laws on my heart
and to give me a new heart by Your Holy Spirit.
Forgive me Father and cleanse me….
I do love you Lord
You are all I have.
AMEN

Noreen