Archive for August, 2011

The Fear Of Missing Out

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Are you ever paralyzed by the fear of missing out?

One of my good friends loves sunsets. He goes absolutely bonkers at the sight of a gorgeous sunset. When you live in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains provide almost daily opportunities to savor this special sort of beauty.

One evening we were at Coors Field in Denver for a baseball game. The stadium offers a great view of the mountains over the left field bleachers. We were enjoying the game and suddenly my buddy jumped up and exclaimed, “That’s the most amazing sunset ever!”

I’m not sure I would have ranked it as “best of all time,” but it was a beautiful sight. The sun was about halfway concealed behind a snow-capped peak, with just enough clouds to reflect a wonderful assortment of colors.

My friend pointed to the third deck. “I’m going up there to get a better view.” And he turned his back to the mountains and sprinted up the aisle and out of sight.

By the time he returned the sun had disappeared and the colors had pretty much faded. “How was it?” I asked.

“Don’t know,” he replied. “By the time I ran up three flights of stairs and got through the crowd, it was gone.”

He was so afraid he’d miss out on a better view that he failed to enjoy what was right in front of him.

God gives us moments.

I wonder how many of them we neglect because we fear we’re passing on something better. How much do we miss in fear of missing out?

I’m preparing to spend two months cranking my bike along the Mississippi River. I’m certain I’ll encounter interesting people and remarkable stories. I believe God will place amazing opportunities on the journey.

I hope I don’t fail to perceive or appreciate His gifts because I think I might find something better around the next corner.

I hope I don’t miss what’s right in front of me because I’m afraid of missing out.

How do you avoid falling prey to the fear of missing out?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 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

Sing Praises to Our God Instead of Worrying

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Psalm 147:1: “Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Hurricane Irene would hit Virginia in a few days. I checked my hurricane supply list twice to be sure I had such items as batteries, a weather radio, hurricane lanterns, bottled water, and nonperishable food.

The day of the hurricane, it started before I awoke. Torrential rain and wind pounded us from morning until late at night.

My Sunday school teacher, Linda, and I prayed, read Scripture, and praised the Lord. We sang praises to God rather than worry about the hurricane.

When the power and phone service went, we continued to praise the Lord. It was pleasant and fitting to praise him. We trusted him to care for us.

The next day, we walked through the neighborhood and saw minimal damage. We praised the Lord for sparing us, our homes, and cars. We greeted my neighbors with praises to our God for electricity, cable, internet, and phone service.

Dear God, I want to praise you and trust you when disaster comes. Amen.

Application: In what challenge can you sing praises to God this week?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2011, 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.

Visit her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Is God Risk-Free?

Monday, August 29th, 2011

If you’re not doing something that scares you, you’re not living life to its fullest.

Do you agree with the statement above?

I do. It’s a new perspective for me.

I always figured God was about being careful, safe, and secure. The Christians I knew seemed to be the most conservative, cautious, risk-averse folks around. Seemed to me that the church functioned as a sort of protective cocoon.

I’m beginning to understand that following Jesus isn’t risk-free. The sanitized version of religion that often passes for modern Christianity doesn’t have much in common with the call to “…take up your cross and follow me.”

A cross tends to be a scary place.

I’m thinking that whenever I need every possible contingency covered before I start, I’m not trusting God much. Who needs God if I’ve got everything under control?

I don’t think I’m called to be reckless. I’ve taken my share of dumb risks, made more than my share of thoughtless choices. I’ve hurt others with my recklessness, and I don’t think that’s God’s idea. He doesn’t want my life to be an endless string of spiritual and emotional x-games stunts.

But He’s also not asking me to sit safely on the sidelines, either.

Someone told me recently that if I do Rich’s Ride in God’s will, He’ll cover the project with His blessing. I absolutely believe that, but I don’t think it’s any guarantee of success.

Godly enterprises and Godly people experience pain and failure in a broken world. The guarantee is that we don’t walk alone and that He never wastes our struggle. It’s never pointless.

The closer Rich’s Ride gets, the more frightened I become. It’s by far the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, and I have no idea what’s going to happen.

I think this is where God wants me—dreaming a God-sized dream I can’t possibly accomplish on my own. I think He wants me to step out in faith. I think He wants me to trust Him for the outcome.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m rolling over the edge with very little idea what’s waiting.

It’s scary.

Do you sense that God’s leading you in scary directions? How do you handle it?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 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

“If Only I Had….”

Friday, August 26th, 2011

to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, NKJV).

The “if-onlys” of life haunt us, don’t they? And we all have them.

If only I’d turned right instead of left….

If only I’d said yes instead of no….

If only I’d been kinder…braver…wiser….

But despite the fact that we all have “if-onlys,” none of us gets a “do-over.” What’s past is past, and though we may need to apologize or try to set right what we did wrong, we cannot change our original choices.

I was pondering some of my own “if-onlys” this morning when God said, “Give them to me—all your ‘if-onlys’—and then I can use them to fulfill My purposes.”

Wow. I hadn’t thought of that before. I understood that holding on to and dwelling on my “if-onlys” was self-destructive, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I was preventing God from redeeming them as only He can.

Death, divorce, illness, financial or health challenges—they all carry the potential of “if-onlys,” and once the choices are made, we can’t change them. But we can choose to turn loose of them, to admit our inability to fix them and hand them over to God, who stands waiting—His nail-scarred hands outstretched—to take them from us and bring good out of evil, healing from pain.

It’s time to forget the things that are behind and press forward to the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Please join me in answering that call today.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2011 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels: 

No Greater Love

More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Don’t Lose Your Passion

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Have you ever asked yourself why in the world you volunteered for something?

Once upon a time there was a guy who found incredible joy in a simple activity. He loved riding his bike. He felt more freedom and peace while cranking along than in anything else he did.

So the guy decided to turn his passion into a project that would serve others.

Everything went great. His friends were incredibly supportive, and the project grew into more than he could have imagined.

But then something strange began to happen. The project involved a whole bunch of details and processes that had little to do with riding the bike. It was all good stuff, but suddenly he was spending much of his time on tasks demanded by the project.

And one day he realized that he didn’t have time to ride his bike. He was so busy doing stuff for his bike riding project that he felt guilty taking time to ride. He found himself spending less and less time riding and feeling like he had to cut his workouts short. He began to see bike riding as an obligation. He had to train so the project would succeed; he couldn’t let all those people down.

It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Good intentions and a big vision had overtaken his simple passion.

So he went out one morning and just rode for fun. He reminded himself why the whole thing started in the first place. Beneath all the plans and details and arrangements was something so simple—he wanted to ride his bike.

The project was still important. The goals mattered. He appreciated and respected all the folks who were trying to help. He wanted to do his best to make the project a huge success.

But he realized that the heart of the project mattered, too. If he lost that, if riding became only a job, then the project would lose its soul.
How about you?

Has something like this happened to you? You begin with an activity that brings out your passion and joy, but you push it to the point that it’s no fun anymore?

I think this happens a lot when we volunteer to do something we love. Suddenly we’re buried in a system and we forget what we loved that led us to get involved in the first place.

The systems and processes and details are part of life. No worthwhile endeavor is always fun and games.

But don’t lose the simple joy that got you there. Don’t forget to retain the sense of passion that inspired you in the first place.

I’m going for a ride this morning. I’m training, and it’s important to ride well.

But I’m going to have fun and enjoy the ride.

That’s important, too.

What’s the simple passion you might need to rediscover?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 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

How do you know if you’re receiving God’s blessing?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Do you ever think about being blessed?

Last night I had the opportunity to share the vision of RICH’S RIDE with a group that included  a lot of hurting folks. More than half of the audience was either “living  outside” (their term) or finding shelter day-to-day. Many came simply for the  free meal.

These folks needed to hear about hope.

Afterward, a number of people said encouraging things about  the ride. I especially noticed how many times someone assured me that God would bless this project.

I appreciated their reassurance, but it never really occurred to me that He wouldn’t bless our efforts. So of course I started wondering what they meant.

Surprised … and not

Yesterday I explained how God Surprised Me with a response to prayer. I felt a clear sense  that He was encouraging me and reminding me that I wasn’t alone.

It was a powerful experience, but I was equally impacted by  what He didn’t say. I didn’t hear: It’s  all going to happen like you plan it. I’ll make sure everything goes smoothly and you accomplish everything you want.

So here’s the question: if something goes wrong, or if the whole thing falls apart, is that a signal that we lack God’s blessing?

I don’t think so. I go back to my foundational scripture passage  (Romans 8:28):

God causes everything to work together for good.

I absolutely believe that, but my interpretation adds two clarifiers. God uses His definition of “good” and operates on His schedule.

Short-sighted

I’m thinking that the silliest prayer I might offer is for God to adopt my vision for this project. Perhaps I’d do better to seek a better understanding of His vision.

I don’t know how this project will unfold. I do know I’ll get frustrated and angry when something doesn’t happen according to my plans.

But I won’t interpret problems, obstacles, or failures as signs that God’s not “blessing” our efforts.

Those folks who love Jesus and find themselves “living outside”—I think God blesses them, too. He blessed them with a community that cared enough to provide a meal, fellowship, and a message of hope.

We’re not blessed so things will go smoothly. We’re blessed so we can be a blessing to those we encounter. (Gen 12:2)

Of course I want the ride to go smoothly. But my prayer is that God will use the project to touch hearts.

If that happens—and I believe it will—we’ll be blessed.

How do you know if you’re receiving God’s blessing?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 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

I’ll Pay That Man Back

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Proverbs 24:29: “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.’”

We can’t get through life without being hurt by someone. At some point in our lives, someone may abuse or exploit us, a family member, or a friend.

Our natural inclination is to seek revenge. That person will be sorry.

The world tells us, “Don’t get mad. Get even.” We may consider that advice.

However, God has another plan. He sets a higher standard for us. He doesn’t want us to get even. He never appointed us to be judge or jury. That’s his job (Romans 12:19).

Infidelity and abuse cause a person to scream for vengeance. Injustice occurs at work and elsewhere, and again we long for vengeance.

God loves us too much to abandon us to our own devices. He avenges the situation in his time, and we’re free to go on with our lives.

Dear God, thank you that I don’t have to worry about vengeance. Amen.

Application: What injustice in your life will you let God handle?
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2011, 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.

Visit her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Looking unto Jesus

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

”Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us–and let us run with patience the race that is set before us–looking unto Jesus! Hebrews 12:1-2

The world is a race-course,
life is a race, and
every one of us are racers!
A mark is set up, at which we are to aim;
and a prize is promised to every overcomer.

But there are many difficulties in the way, and we have many weights hanging about us. Those difficulties must be mastered, and those weights must be laid aside.

We must run the race set before us with patience–keeping our eye on Jesus.
Jesus is our Example–we must copy Him.
Jesus is our Leader–we must follow Him.
Jesus is our Sovereign–we must submit to Him.
Jesus is our Savior–we must trust alone in Him.
We must look . . .
to His blood–for pardon,
to His righteousness–for justification,
to His Spirit–for strength, and
to His fullness–for all our supplies.

We must make use of Jesus . . .
every day,
every hour,
every minute!

Christian, look to Jesus!
When discouraged–He will animate you!
When timid–He will embolden you!
When feeble–He will strengthen you!
When weary–He will stimulate you!
When dying–He will give you the victory!
Let your last look–be a look at Jesus!

No one ever looked to Him in vain. As every one who looked to the brazen serpent was healed–so is every one saved, sanctified, and sustained–who looks to Jesus! Look to Him for all you need–and from all you fear.

Keep the eye fixed on Jesus; doing so, you will . . .
conquer the world,
overcome Satan,
reach the mark,
obtain the prize!

”Those who look to Him for help–will be radiant with joy.” Psalm 34:5

~ James Smith, “God, the Portion of His People

God Surprised Me

Friday, August 19th, 2011

He does that occasionally.

Just when I think I have the infinite creator of the universe figured out, He does something other than what I expected.

My eyes popped open at about 4:45 this morning. My brain immediately began swirling with about a million things I need to be doing at once to get ready for RICH’S RIDE. Articles to write, web site to update, gotta get the itinerary and route nailed down. Need to work on speaking gigs, meet with folks who are doing press stuff, and prepare for two presentations.

And, oh yeah, there’s that whole “training to ride 1500 miles” thing.

So I looked out the window. In the pre-dawn darkness I could see the outline of a big locust tree just standing there peacefully. So I watched it and, before sliding out of bed and into the day, I talked to God.

I told Him about all this stuff and how much I enjoyed it but I couldn’t see how to get it all done. I told Him I was thankful for the opportunities and for this project that seems like the culmination of so many things that have happened over the last twenty years. And I told Him I feared that I wouldn’t get it all done.

Then I just watched the tree and listened. I expected Him to tell me it was okay, that I could give myself a break. I figured I’d get the sense that I could relax and lighten up, that this stuff wasn’t a big deal. I thought I’d hear something about peace and rest.

But that’s not what I got. As the morning lightened and the tree stood quietly, leaves shimmering in the breeze, I heard or felt or sensed something very different.

You can do it.

Huh?

What I really expected was an escape. I wanted Him to make things easier, to tip the scales a little in my favor.

I do that a lot. Instead of asking for the courage and strength to face my circumstances, I ask for easier circumstances. And this time I got a pretty clear sense that God wanted me to know I didn’t need different circumstances.

This is, after all, what I’ve been dreaming about for more than a decade. It’s coming together in amazing ways with a remarkable circle of support and love from people like you. And I truly believe God’s been guiding and preparing me for this time.

And now He’s asking me to trust Him, to believe that He’s putting this together in just the right way. He’s telling me that this isn’t the season to rest.

I think He’s telling me that some very powerful lessons and opportunities await and that I should anticipate them rather than trying to avoid the work they require.

I think He’s telling me one other thing.

Don’t forget; we’re in this together.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Are You Committed to Finishing the Race?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  Hebrews 12:1, NKJV

Hebrews 11, that great chapter sometimes referred to as the “Hall of Faith,” gets a lot of attention—and rightfully so. Not only do those powerful verses summarize the lives of many who lived by their faith but also those who died for it, which I believe is something we needed to be reminded of often. However, if we stop there we miss the application of those great examples of faith.

Chapter 12 of Hebrews begins with that famous “call to action” word, THEREFORE. The word ties the previous verses to the ones that are to come. In other words, take those dynamic words you just read and do something with them! Hebrews 12:1 wants us to understand that all those who lived in faith before us did not do so in vain. Not only did they triumph in their own faith, whether they lived victorious lives or suffered heroic deaths, but they did so as examples for us.

THEREFORE we too must live and die by faith in the One who went before us and now lives within us. That type of victorious, faith-filled life and death is epitomized by the words “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Each of us runs a different race but with the same Finish Line in sight—to cross from this temporal, broken world into the presence of the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ. May it be said of us, as of those heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, that we “finished well,” as endurance runners and not as sprinters who break out of the gates to the sounds of a cheering crowd, only to drop out when we become tired or exhausted or tempted.

Only God can carry us safely to that eternal Finish Line, but like the saints of old, we must commit to finish the race at any cost.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2011 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”


and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:
No Greater Love
More than Conquerors
The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com