Archive for December, 2009

It’s a New Day

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.  To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.  Psalm 95: 7-8 King James Version

Have you ever had a day when it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong?  I had a day like that yesterday and I’m so grateful to God for giving me today to serve Him.  Yesterday, I was unable to log in to my website to edit it.  Also, my computer was acting crazy and I had to do two complete system recoveries on my computer.

Yesterday was a very frustrating and discouraging day for me.  However, as usual, Jesus won over satan.  Jesus defeated satan at the cross and the war has already been won.  However, as long as we are in this world, we will have battles.  What an assurance it is to our hearts to know that Jesus will always bring us through every battle victoriously.

For some of you, Jesus has been knocking at the door of your heart for many years to let Him come in.  Yesterday is gone but it’s a new day.  Jesus said “Harden not your heart”.  Please don’t hurt Him any longer by refusing to let Him come into your heart.

Will you swallow your pride today and humble yourself?  Admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins, ask God to forgive you and invite the Christ of Calvary into your heart to be your personal Saviour before it is too late.  Jesus is waiting for you with a heart filled with unconditional love and compassion.  Let Him come into your heart today.

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

Thank God for the Promise

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.” Jude 1: 24- 25 King James Version

Sometimes I feel discouraged like Paul did when he said “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Romans 7: 15).  I used to have a terrible temper before I was saved on August 14, 1980.  Jesus has been working in my heart for twenty nine years concerning my temper.

I rarely loose my temper now.  However, yesterday I lost my temper and I was very upset with myself.  Of course, satan is just waiting to attack us where we are the weakest.  I actually yelled at my eight week old puppy because he was doing something he should not have been doing.  I told him that I was sorry for yelling but it didn’t take the hurt look from his eyes.

I tried saying “No, Stop!” but it didn’t work so I changed the tone of my voice so I sounded stern.  That didn’t help either and I lost my temper and yelled at Prince.  I am so thankful that God doesn’t yell at us when we are being disobedient to Him.  Thank God for the promise that Jesus is going to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.

Heavenly Father, we give You thanks for the promise that one day we will be presented faultless before the presence of Your glory with exceeding joy.  May we be children You can be proud of, children who do things and say things that make You happy instead of children who make You sad.  Amen.

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

The River (Relentless Grace excerpt #11)

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

This is an excerpt from:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
.

One day I was riding my hand cycle on a bike trail. I stopped for a drink, and as I looked around I experienced a sense of peace and tranquility. I surveyed a location that could serve as the image for my place of center. Mentally re-creating these calm, serene surroundings might help me to visualize and express in more concrete terms what it means to become closer to God and to what He intended for me.

I imagined my mental “center” next to a path along a river. I could sit in the warm sunshine, or in the cool shade beneath a dense canopy of trees, solitary and isolated from the world around. Simply being in such placid surroundings prompted me to reflect, slow down, and become more aware.

The path disappeared into the woods. I could not see the approach from either direction. People appeared on the path, biking, skating, running, or walking. They traveled slowly or pushed their pace to extremes. Some seemed immersed in the beauty of this place; others focused on the path, their workout or their destination. Some traveled alone, some in pairs or groups; they were friendly, or indifferent, or even rude.

I realized that the path and the people were not about me. They were not mine to control; it was not my job to figure out why they were here or whether they were traveling the proper route. I was free to greet each person without judgment, secure in the knowledge that God had created the path and the people on it.

The river assumed different forms. Sometimes it churned with anger and danger, sweeping away anything in its path. At other times it babbled pleasantly and invited me to listen and become absorbed in its kindness and peace. Sometimes it dwindled to a slow, dried-up trickle, barely alive among rocks and mud.

I realized that the river is what it is. I could fear the torrent, worry about being carried off, wonder about flooding and destruction here or elsewhere. I could fret when the flow diminished, imagining drought and hunger, emptiness and despair, certain that it would never change. I could become mesmerized by the pleasant bubbling sounds on a lazy summer day and forget the danger and fear. None of this impacted the river.

I thought this changing state of the river had something important to teach me. I wrote some of my observations about the river:

    The river is what it is and goes where it goes, as God is who he is and does what he does. Nothing I say or think or do changes it. God, like the river, just is.

    I am paralyzed with fear that I might be engulfed, as though the fear will somehow protect me or change the river’s impact. I worry about its course after it passes, as though the worry will alter the river’s direction.

    I lose hope when the flow diminishes, certain that there will never again be enough. I complain that it’s not fair, that the same river destroys some and nourishes others with no seeming regard for merit.

    I cry to the heavens, as though on my advice God ought to change the nature and destination of the river He created. I’m certain that I know the very best state for the river. I question God’s wisdom and purpose when the river flows in such obviously “wrong” ways.

    The river originates beyond my understanding and travels beyond my understanding. It is infinite, created by infinite God. I know that the river is what it is, and will go where it will go, and that it was created for and works for good.

    The river just is, yet I struggle to accept it.

    As I sit quietly in this place, I can gradually stop trying to change what I cannot change. As I allow myself to more fully BE in this place, I become more aware. I can watch and listen to the river in whatever state it exists, learning while asking nothing of it. I can trust that God who created it knows its proper path. Fear and worry diminish.

    The river is what it is. I am detached from it, feeling no desire to alter it, aware that the river is not me, that I am not determined by its state or responsible for its course. The goals become awareness and acceptance rather than control and a self-centered need to know WHY.

I began to believe that this mental place of center could impact my perspective on nearly every important aspect of my life. I wondered about the character of the metaphor that made it speak so directly to my heart. I identified three aspects to this image, each representing a fundamental element of my identity.

    I am fully functioning, “centered,” when I am in relationship: with others, with myself, with God. I am enriched to the extent that those relationships are open, honest, agenda-free encounters.

    This is what I experience mentally in my place of center. Those traveling on the path represent the people that enter my life, my relationships with others. The place where I sit in solitude signifies my relationship with myself. The river concretely characterizes my relationship with infinite God.

    This place by the river and the path speaks to my identity, who I AM as a creature created by God in his image. I am centered, whole and at peace when I am in relationship because that is who I am and how I was created.

    Being centered means being here, right now, with another, with myself, with God. When I remind myself to “sit by the river” I’m remembering to claim the identity inherent in my nature as a person created in the image of God who values relationship.

This notion of center dominated my thinking and writing for a considerable time. The image spoke about every facet of my existence. I became immersed in its implications and applications. I experienced a wonderful sense of peace as I envisioned myself in this mystical place of center.

The metaphor offered a structure that brought order to a previously chaotic jumble as I wandered through a lifetime of thoughts and feelings. This process of reading, analyzing, and writing had an amazing settling effect. I felt free to trust that this was exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t concerned with destination or outcome. I didn’t consider how my ideas or activities might appear to. I felt clearly that my exploration was guided by God’s Spirit; that was sufficient.

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

Better Than You Planned

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Plans are useless; planning is indispensable. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Have you ever planned and dreamed about something until you were certain that you had it all figured out–and then watched as things unraveled?

I didn’t write the following story, but I share it with the hope that you’ll join me in seeking a bigger perspective.

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a great treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with an intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”

The second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. People will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”

Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill, look up to my branches, and think of I am to the heavens and God. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees.

When one came to the first tree he said, “This looks like a strong tree. I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter.” He began cutting it down. The tree was happy because he knew the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree. I will be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

The third tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the men said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree, I’ll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenter, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. His friends woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it carried the King of Kings.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree realized that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as possible.

When things don’t seem to be going your way, remember that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.

We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

What’s a dream that you need to leave in God’s hands?

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

Do You Believe?

Friday, December 25th, 2009

“This is the work of God,
that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29).

A woman once went to the late Rev. E.V. Hill and asked him to pray for her because the devil was after her. The kind but wise pastor told her that the devil was not after her, as she hadn’t done enough for God to get the devil’s attention.

Interesting statement, in light of the fact that Jesus told us that the only thing we are really called to DO as Christians is to believe in Jesus, the One sent by God.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? However, the truth is that many people claim to believe in Jesus when, in fact, they don’t. Oh, they may believe He came as a Babe, born in a manger. They may go so far as to believe that His Father is God. They may believe He was crucified and even that He rose from the dead. But is that enough? Is that the sort of faith Jesus was talking about when He explained the “work of God” that is required of those who call themselves believers?

No. It’s not enough, for the Scriptures tell us in James 2:19 that “even the demons believe” that much—and more, for unlike many of us, they at least tremble at the thought!

Rev. Hill no doubt wanted this woman to understand what we all need to grasp—that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). In other words, if what we SAY we believe does not govern how we actually live, then perhaps we don’t really believe it.

Jesus came to earth to do more than set a good example for us; He came to pay the required price to restore mankind to relationship with God. The birth, death, and resurrection of Christ are necessarily joined together. Christmas and Easter are forever intertwined. That is the kind of faith that God calls us to as we remember and celebrate the birth of His Son during this Christmas season. It is the kind of faith that puts the devil on alert and makes him nervous. He doesn’t care how much we spout off about what we believe unless, indeed, we actually live out that faith, just as our Savior who went before us, living out His connection to the Father as He willingly hung on the cross. It’s the kind of faith that goes beyond the manger and tomb, climaxing in Resurrection.

And when we walk in that kind of faith, there will be nothing the devil—or anyone/anything else—can do to derail us, for the victory has already been won.

Merry Christmas, beloved, and may you celebrate in such a way that the devil trembles…and all heaven rejoices!

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

God’s Love and Our Forgiveness

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 King James Version

God loves us so much that He sent His beloved Son into the world to die for us so that we might be saved. Our precious Saviour willingly walked that long and lonely road to Calvary to die for us. What kind of love is this? This is a compassionate, forgiving and unconditional love that flows from the hearts of our Heavenly Father and Jesus for us.

If we would be compassionate and forgive each other and have unconditional love in our hearts for others, we would have a lot less stress and heartaches in our lives. We will be celebrating the birthday of Jesus in two days. There is no better gift we can give Jesus for His birthday than to love one another unconditionally as He loves us.

Heavenly Father, we ask that You would please put a desire in our hearts to love unconditionally as You want us to love each other. Melt our hardened hearts. Help us to forgive those who have hurt us. Thank You for being compassionate and forgiving and for loving us unconditionally. Amen.

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

Love is Forgiveness

Monday, December 21st, 2009

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26 King James Version

I asked God why He laid it on my heart to write so much about forgiveness. I said “I know why You have me write so much about love but why do You want me to write so much about forgiveness?” God spoke to my heart and said “Unless and until you forgive people from your heart, there is no love.”

We can tell people that we love them but if we haven’t forgiven them from ur hearts for hurting us, we don’t really love them. Real love is unconditional. Real love doesn’t hold bitterness, resentment, criticism and unforgiveness in our hearts for those who have hurt us. How dare we ask God to forgive us when we aren’t willing to forgive those who have hurt us.

Just think where we would be today if God hadn’t forgiven us and loved us much that He sent His only beloved Son into the world to die on a cross of horror and excruciating pain for you and for me. We would be on our way to hell for all eternity. Thank God for His forgiveness, compassion and unconditional love!

We tell our spouses and children that we love them but we haven’t forgiven them from our hearts. God says that we don’t really love them. I am so glad that God really does love us. He proved His love for us when He sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins. God said that we are to forgive everybody. Can we honestly say we have forgiven everyone who has hurt us? If not, may God have mercy on us.

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

How Is Your Relationship With God?

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Why are some people afraid to get close to God or have a meaningful relationship with him? I think it is because when we sin, or when we commit habitual sin in our lives, we feel guilty over it. God has equipped every one of us with a conscience for this very reason. A guilty conscience is a warning signal that goes off in the mind, letting us know that we have done wrong. The problem is people try to eradicate those guilty feelings without eradicating the cause of it. But this is like taking painkillers instead of treating the disease.

God wants us to get to the root of why we sin so we can eliminate it from our lives. We ought to be thankful to God that most of us can discern when we sin and be aware of right and wrong, so we can finally ask for God’s forgiveness and correct the wrong doing in our life. But what happens when we do not have a relationship with God?

I believe that without a relationship with God, we’ll sin even more, and maybe even do things that we know we shouldn’t. By not having a connection with the Living God we actually think we can hide from God when we fail Him. But since God is omnipotent it doesn’t quite work like that. We can never hide ourselves from God. Some of us are afraid to show ourselves to God because we think we are not worthy of His love. But you are! Know that you were made special and are a very special and unique person in the eyes of God.

God’s Son, Jesus Christ opens the way for us to have a special relationship with Him. But our natural responses to getting to know Jesus are fear because we feel we cannot live up to God’s standards of living. But this is what’s so magnificent about God’s unconditional love for us; He “really” does love us regardless of our faults! Let’s show God how much we love Him and get to know Him better. Our connection to God will be as strong as our willingness to give up whatever is holding us back now. We can have a strong and growing relationship with Jesus Christ because He loves us no matter what, and we are worth it!

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Lewis
Copyright 2009 by Angie Lewis. All rights reserved. Used by Permission
Ministry: http://www.heavenministries.com
Books: http://www.lulu.com/angielewis

Mirror Your Love for Christ

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The two disciples heard him [John the Baptist] speak,
and they followed Jesus (John 1:37).

I belong to several writers/speakers loops/groups, and I learn from all of them. I also take advantage of seminars, webinars, conferences, and other books/resources that promise to help me in my chosen profession/ministry of writing and speaking. But ultimately, what is it I’m trying to gain from all these pursuits?

As a writer, I’d like to think that my investments of time and money will eventually impact my book sales. As a speaker, it would be nice to discover that the return on my investments includes being invited to more speaking venues. But how is any of that different from writing or speaking about secular topics? Why stick to writing and speaking from a biblical standpoint?

The answer is summed up in the above verse: When John the Baptist spoke, his listeners chose to follow Jesus.

Isn’t that what we all want, if indeed we ourselves are followers of Christ? Not everyone is called to write or speak full time, but whether you’re a truck driver, a cook, a bank teller, or a public official, if you are also a follower of the Savior, you are called to speak and live in such a way that others are challenged to follow Jesus. Sadly, not all will make that choice, but may it never be said that someone witnessed our life and never realized that we follow the risen Lord.

Christmas is a busy time, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and busy events and activities surrounding this special season. How sad it would be if, during the very time we claim to celebrate our Savior’s birth, our lives reflect anything but a committed following of Jesus Christ!

My prayer for you all this Christmas is that everything you say and do will so mirror your love for Jesus that those around you will find themselves called to a closer walk with Him, for there is no other path to the Father….

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

I don’t Remember (Learning to Forgive Myself)

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25 King James Version

A couple of months ago, I received a letter through the mail. The person who wrote the letter told me “I have learned to forgive others but it’s very hard to forgive myself.” I understand how this person feels because it took me years to learn that if I don’t forgive myself then I still have unforgiveness in my heart.

One day, God spoke to my heart and said “I have forgiven you and you must forgive yourself.” Not only are we disobeying God when we refuse to forgive ourselves, we are also saying that we don’t really believe He has forgiven us. He not only tells us that He forgives us when we sin; He also promises us that He will not remember our sins.

It is time that we forgive ourselves and forget about our past sins and mistakes. Don’t let satan lie to you and tell you that God hasn’t forgiven you. That is a lie straight from the pits of hell. If you have confessed your sins, He has forgiven you. However, just because we know that He is faithful to forgive us does not give us permission to sin knowing that we will be forgiven.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being a loving, compassionate and forgiving Father. Thank You for Your promise that You will not remember our sins. Help us to walk in the forgiveness that Jesus gave us when He died for our sins. May our thoughts, our words and our actions be pleasing to You. Amen.

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