Archive for September, 2011

The Right Rear View

Friday, September 30th, 2011

I snapped this photo on a beautiful stretch of road between La Crosse and Prairie du Chien.

I intended to show you the wonderful view over the front wheel of my hand cycle. It was an amazing day on an amazing journey.

When I looked at the photo, I noticed the tiny mirror—I circled it to help you find it. It struck me that the rear-view mirror occupied about the right amount of space.

When you’re cycling, you need a rear-view mirror. It pays to be able to see what’s behind. Life’s like that as well.

But that mirror shouldn’t be too large, because life isn’t about the stuff behind you.

This Scripture passage has become my focus for the first part of Rich’s Ride. I’ve been returning to it, re-reading, pondering. Sometimes that’s a good way to study Scripture, by digging into a single story or passage.

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

I don’t think God literally wants me to “forget” the past. His entire relationship with Israel involved calling them back to their history. He’s not a God of not remembering history.

The key lies in the second line—“do not dwell on the past.” It’s not about not-remembering, but about not living in the past.

It’s important to know what’s back there, but the new thing God’s doing in our lives isn’t found in the rear-view mirror.

God’s new thing is perceived in the broad expanse of open road ahead. That’s where you find your dream.

You don’t pursue a dream by looking backward.

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

The Final Years of My Life

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV).


The seasons are changing again, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. In some parts of the country, the change is drastic; in others, gradual. Where we live, in the Southern California desert, we’re thrilled that we’ve dropped 25 degrees from the triple digits that plagued us just last month.

A few days ago I was strolling with friends through the botanical gardens in St. Louis, and in the background I heard the loveliest harp music imaginable. I focused so I could make out the song, and it was “Autumn Leaves.” Autumn. The time when the song writer proclaims that he misses his beloved most of all.

I can relate, not so much because I’ve recently lost my mom or because my dad died in the fall twelve years ago, but because I truly miss my Beloved most of all this time of year. Though I walk closely to my Savior throughout all the seasons, there is something about falling leaves that tugs at my heart and makes me homesick for heaven. I suppose part of it is that I am yet another year older and that much closer to my eventual home-going. The thing that struck me most, however, as I enjoyed the splendid scenery at those botanical gardens, is that it wasn’t that long ago that fall reminded me that I was no longer young; I was middle-aged. Now that’s no longer true (unless I expect to live to be at least 125!). No, now fall reminds me that my own autumn season, my middle-aged years, are at an end and I will be soon living in winter—truly the final years of my life here on earth. And that, fellow pilgrims, is a joyous thought!

Seriously, if we actually believe what we say we believe, then each passing year, every falling leaf of autumn, brings us that much closer to being reunited, face-to-face, with our Beloved, in a place where we will never again have to deal with the nostalgic or even frightening reminders of changing seasons. We will instead dwell in everlasting Light, basking in the warmth of the Son, in an eternal season of pure joy. Until then, fellow travelers, rejoice with me as autumn leaves fall at your feet. Resurrection Spring is right around the corner!

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

Are You a Complaining Christian?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

“Do you have a father?” Genesis 44:19

Standing at my window one day, while the cholera was raging in London, I saw two corpses carried by, followed by one little child, walking alone next the coffins, with a few neighbors behind. That child was now an orphan. Both parents had been carried off by the pestilence. The sight of that child produced deep emotions, and awakened painful sympathy in my heart.

I was led to think of the sorrows and privations of orphanhood, and then of the happiness of the Lord’s people to whom Jesus has said, “I will not leave you as orphans.” A believer can never be an orphan! He has an ever-living, ever-loving, ever-present Father! But many of the Lord’s people do not realize this, therefore they do not live and act under its influence.

There are believers who are always complaining of their circumstances:
They are worked too hard.
They are tried more than others.
They have such a vexing family.
They have such a demanding job.
They have such financial losses.
They have no end of things to vex, harass, and distress them!

Complaining Christian, “Do you have a father?”

If so, had your Father anything to do with fixing your lot?

Did He place you where you are?

Is He wise?

Is He good?

Has He ever told you, that all things shall work together for your good?

Does He know what is best for you?

Has He left things to ‘chance’–or has He arranged all in His own infinite mind, and does He work all by His unerring providence? If He does–then are you justified in complaining?

Have you any real cause to complain?

Will it better your circumstances?

Will it please your Father?

Will it any way help you?

If not, leave off complaining, and “having food and clothing, let us be content with these!”

Seek grace from God, that you may . . .
do all that is required,
bear all that is sent, and
endure all that is to be suffered–to His glory!

~James Smith, “Bread from Heaven!” 1857

A Man Plans His Course

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Proverbs 16:9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

In kindergarten, I wanted to become a teacher. I did and taught school for years.

I never thought I would leave teaching and become a substance abuse counselor, much less in a men’s prison.

My plans vanished, and the LORD determined my steps.

Do you live or work to please other people, seek their approval, or keep peace at any price?

Have you planned your course without consulting the LORD? Are you doing things your way without prayer and Bible study?

I understand because I’ve tried to arm wrestle God. He always wins.

Dear God, help me accept your steps. Amen.

Application: In which situation will you surrender your course to the LORD?

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

A Turning Point is Not a Dead End

Monday, September 26th, 2011

There are turning points in life. Before that point things were going along nicely. Life was just one day following the next with no bumps in the road. And then suddenly and unexpectedly there is a left turn. No options to go right or continue straight. Just left.

I had one of those turning points in my life this week. It was as if someone punched me in the stomach knocking all the wind out of my lungs — I could not catch my breath for a couple of days. My thoughts raced. I could not figure out what to do — not that there was anything for me to do. I could do nothing about the events. I was powerless! …Caught in the current and I was forced to just go with the flow.

The Lord spoke powerfully to me through two blogs in CIR. From Kathy Macias:

Lay it Down….. All of It.

And then from Rich Dixon

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Feels like God’s reminding me that He’s not interested in “same-old-same-old.” He’s doing a new thing in my life, right before my eyes.

And then He says, “Open your eyes! It’s happening right now, right here. Can’t you see it?”

Yes, I can see it. I am going left now. You have prepared the way for me. I will not look back but rather look forward with excited anticipation of what lies before me.

Exodus 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.

Do you view turning points as dead ends when they are actually new beginnings?


Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

~ Obie

A New Thing

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

It feels like God’s speaking to me on this trip.

I’ve seen some stuff in familiar scriptures that eluded me before. Today I spoke to some kids about this passage:

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Feels like God’s reminding me that He’s not interested in “same-old-same-old.” He’s doing a new thing in my life, right before my eyes.

And then He says, “Open your eyes! It’s happening right now, right here. Can’t you see it?”

Following Jesus isn’t more of the same. It’s a new thing.

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

Lay it Down….. All of It

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8, NKJV).

There’s nothing better than a serendipitous encounter with the Lord that you realize afterward was a watershed moment in your life. In addition to the obvious one where we meet Christ for the first time in repentance and conversion, we have others along the journey. I had one recently that has brought both excitement and peace, though I have no idea yet where it will lead me.

I was lying in bed, just about to drift off, when I realized God was speaking to me. “Lay it down,” He said. “All of it.”

All of it? All of what?

All of it. That’s what He said; that’s what He meant.

Hanging on to anything in this life—relationships, job, ministry, dreams, possessions, anything—will keep us from clinging solely to Him. You know that; I know that. I knew that when He spoke to me, and yet I resisted by trying to qualify His command.

Have you ever tried to arm wrestle God? Really? How did that work out for you? I’ve tried it several times and haven’t won yet. Still, I looked for a way to make all mean…well, anything but all. But that’s exactly what it means, isn’t it? And so, at last, I agreed. Anything, everything that I might be clinging to instead of Jesus has been laid at His feet—again. (Anyone besides me have to do this periodically?) As a result, I have great peace and a sense of excitement for what may come of it. Most of all, I’m pleased that it brings a deepened awareness and appreciation of His presence.

Lay it down; all of it. He’s the only thing that matters anyway. In light of eternity, everything else is just fluff.

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

Together On This Journey

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Yesterday I was privileged to speak to about 800 students at North Central University in Minneapolis. It was an awesome experience with a wonderful group of young people.

As I prepared for my talk I got a new perspective on a familiar Scripture story. You can read the entire passage (The Sheep And The Goats), but here’s the portion that struck me:

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Honestly, this story has always seemed designed to induce guilt. Because He goes on to speak about those who ignored Him.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Oops—that’s me. Guilty as charged.

But today I had a different thought.

I know Jesus isn’t about guilt. So what if He wasn’t trying to make me feel guilty?

What if He was reminding me that we’re all doing life together? What if He was telling us to take care of each other because every single person matters to Him?

I think maybe Jesus was saying that you and I are Together—On A Journey Of Hope.

I know Jesus isn’t about guilt. So what if He wasn’t trying to make me feel guilty?

What if He was reminding me that we’re all doing life together? What if He was telling us to take care of each other because every single person matters to Him?

I think maybe Jesus was saying that you and I are Together—On A Journey Of Hope.

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 Captain of Your Ship? Is it Sinking?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

2 Chronicles 20:12: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

Many of us like to be the independent person who can manage alone. Some people claim to be “the captain of [their] ship.” It may be going down, but they’re still the captain of it.

When we face hardships or challenges, we can do as King Jehoshaphat did in the Old Testament. He told God in verse 12, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

You may not face a vast army. However, you may struggle with anger or face the loss of a job, home or car. Perhaps your marriage is in jeopardy or your children are prodigals. Perhaps you fight illness or the battle of overspending, alcohol or other drugs.

I laugh when I hear myself or another person say, “I’ve tried everything. The only thing left to do is pray.” That should have been our first step.

With our eyes on the Lord, one day we will “see the deliverance the LORD will give [us]” (2 Chronicles 20:17).  Meanwhile, we will follow God’s advice in verse 17, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Dear God, help me. I don’t know what to do. Amen.

Application: In which situation will you turn your eyes upon the Lord?

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

Continue

Monday, September 19th, 2011

When you’re in the middle of an adventure, sometimes you just need to continue.

The excitement of beginning has faded, the conclusion’s far off. You didn’t think much about the time in the middle when you planned and created the vision, but it’s part of the journey.

If you want to reach the goal, you gotta continue.

I think the trick is to remember that the journey matters. It’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Life is a journey, not a destination.

I’m already realizing that this incredible project will end much too quickly, and I don’t want to miss a moment. I don’t want to wish away this precious time.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us … Hebrews 12:1b

We seek not only to finish well, but to travel well. So we’ll keep going and do our best to capture the flavor and spirit of each day. We seek to be open the opportunities God offers along the way.

We’ll continue.

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