Archive for September, 2011

The Choice to Live Forever

Friday, September 16th, 2011

1 John 2:17: “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

While in physical rehab in 2009, my mother told my younger brother, “I want to live.” Two weeks later, she passed from this world into eternal life with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

On earth, we can fall into the trap where nothing else matters except work, money, and prestige. Those things “pass away.”

Today’s Scripture says, “The man who does the will of God lives forever.” Romans 12:2 tells us God’s will is “Good, pleasing and perfect.”

What is God’s will? First Thessalonians 4:3 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.” First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In 1 Timothy 2:4, God tells us he “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” In 1 Peter 1:16 God commands us, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Dear God, help me remember “The world and its desires pass away.” Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to be sanctified, thankful, saved, and holy?

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

The Blackness of Hitting Bottom

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

In the movie Apollo 13, Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks) reminisces on an event when he was a military pilot. One night, he was flying a mission from an aircraft carrier near Japan. He was trying to find his ship in order to land. His radios had stopped working. His direction finder signals were being scrambled by a ham radio operator in Japan. And just when he thought that things could not possibly get worse all the instrument lights went out in his cockpit. In addition the aircraft carrier that he was trying to find was running without lights so as not to be detected by the enemy.

He had no communication, no means of knowing in what direction he was going and no way to see the aircraft carrier. Fear gripped him as he sat there in the void of blackness.

Then he noticed something. He could see a faint, eerie blue-green glow in the water below him. He took a closer look and realized it was the phosphorescence in the seawater being activated by the propeller wash of the aircraft carrier. He had found his place to land in the middle of a vast ocean!

This miracle took place only because of the depth of darkness he was in. If there had been only one small light on in the cockpit, he would have never found that aircraft carrier. Sometimes we have to be plummeted into the depths where everything is black and there is nothing but a sucking void before we can see the Light.

Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction for dysfunctional behavior. Or you are hitting bottom in life. Everything about you is black. Look up out of the darkness. Admit that you are powerless and that life has become unmanageable. You will see that glimmer, that Light that can only be perceived in the darkness.

Is it Accountability or Dependability?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Accountability is defined as:  Being obliged to answer to an authority for your actions

Dependability is defined as:  Worthy of reliance or trust

What are you learning about accountability in your own recovery?
What exactly do you need to be accountable for? and to whom do you need to be accountable?

I thought that if I was dependable that was the same as being accountable.
People could depend on me so I was “OK”. Right?
WRONG

I was not accountable. I did not answer to the higher authority of God.I was doing things that were definitely not pleasing to him. Although they were pleasing to myself (self-destructive as they were) it was not until I understood what accountability was that recovery started to become a reality for me.

I fell into the trap of thinking if I just prayed God would fix me. But those prayers went unanswered and recovery was elusive.

That went on for years.

It did not truly assume responsibility until I learned what accountability was all about. I had to become accountable to God for everything that passed my lips: every fork full, every drink, every word I uttered.

I had to think, were these actions glorifying God? or were they just temporarily making me feel better? Of course when I was eating, drinking or saying things for my own pleasure —  the guilt and shame would always follow shortly thereafter. But when I ate and drank and spoke in ways that were pleasing to God — when I was accountable — there was no guilt and shame. And eventually there was a joy that arose from these new behaviors and habits.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

~ Obie
Executive Director, Christians in Recovery

I Sinned and Nothing Happened

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

We have all been taught that God will punish us for our sins: if we sin something bad will happen. And how often have we done something wrong, waited for something terrible to happen as a result and then…  seemingly, there were no repercussions. Then we start to ask ourselves, “Why shouldn’t I do that? It makes no difference.”

We may not pray as we should each day or we swear or we indulge in our addictive behavior, and think nothing of it because nothing dramatic happens (lightning does not strike). But this is where we miss the mark. Nothing outwardly happens, but inner deterioration begins. It is quiet and undetectable (much like cancer– only this is cancer of the soul, a much more serious matter).

Each time we choose to ignore God or shut him out of our lives, this inner cancer blooms and grows. We start to experience inner chaos and conflict, lack of self respect and before we know it, we are in a black abyss.

The little sins do matter just as much as the big ones.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

~ Obie

God Loves Movement

Monday, September 12th, 2011


God loves movement
Beating hearts
Surging seas
Tides of affection

God loves stillness
Quiet minds
Sleeping babes
Pure, unspoilt reflection

God’s love moves
Incessant hounds
Constant beams
Pointing luminescence

God’s love stills
Solid rock
Broken bread
A place to rest, in essence

~ RoadRunner
http://furtherreaches.com

I Can Do Everything

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Can a promise mean something bigger than you imagined?

Becky and I were honored to speak a few days ago at a local church’s “family movie night.” We told them about Rich’s Ride after we all watched the powerful movie SOUL SURFER.

If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. It’s the true story of a young lady with two passions: God and surfing. Both are tested when a shark bites off her left arm.

As she’s recovering in her hospital room, her dad encourages her (and himself) with a familiar scripture:

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Later, as she begins to comprehend the reality of her injury and the adjustments it requires, she screams in frustration, “WHAT HAPPENED TO “I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH CHRIST’? WHERE’S THE STRENGTH HE PROMISED WHEN I NEED IT?”

It’s a fair question, one I imagine we’ve all asked at some point. She believed with all her heart that God would help her get her life back, but she couldn’t even put on a swim suit with one hand. How could she ever hope to surf again? What did everything matter without the one thing that mattered most?

What’s the meaning of the promise that “…I can do everything through Christ …”?

I don’t think God’s assuring me that I’ll be able to dunk a basketball from my wheelchair if I try really hard and really, really believe. I have a feeling that “everything” involves something bigger than the physical functions I’d like to perform.

As I read Philippians 4:13 in context, I see an assurance that Jesus will give me the strength to endure whatever I encounter. He’s not telling me I’ll be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. He’s promising that He’ll help me face and overcome any obstacle.

When I was injured, all I wanted was to walk again. I still want that.

God showed me that I don’t need to walk to have a purpose, to accomplish a big dream, perhaps even bring together a circle of folks that can change the world. He showed me that there are other ways to get where He wants me to go.

Does my inability to walk represent a broken promise because Jesus didn’t give me the strength to do “everything”?

What do you think?

“All I want is to be happy”

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

“You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy”(Leviticus 19:2, NKJV).

I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard people—Christians included—say, “All I want is to be happy” or “I just want my children to be happy.” But how many times have I heard people say, “I just want to be holy” or “I just want my children to be holy”? Not nearly as often, I’m afraid.

I expect that mindset from unbelievers, but as Christians we really have no right to say it, as it flies straight in the face of God’s purpose for His people. True, there’s nothing wrong with being happy if it’s a byproduct of serving God and living in the middle of His will. And really, there is no other way to be truly happy. Any other sort of happiness is fleeting at best. But to say that our primary focus or desire is happiness is to show how very shallow we truly are. It confirms the sad fact that we still think life is all about us.

God says otherwise. God is holy, and He desires that we would be holy as well. The problem comes when we think holiness is something we can achieve by doing or not doing certain things. Being holy means being set apart by and for God. By definition, that makes us different from the rest of the world.

One of the biggest threats to seeking holiness in our own lives or others’ is the misconception of unconditional love. Yes, God loves everyone unconditionally. But that love didn’t wipe out the need for a horrible, bloody sacrifice to restore sinners (as in you and me!) to relationship with God. Jesus didn’t willingly go to the Cross simply to set a selfless example for us to follow; He went there because nothing less would satisfy a just God and provide forgiveness for our sins.

Jesus may not have been happy when He hung on the Cross, but He was holy. That’s the example we are to follow—and that is NOT legalism. That is God’s Word to us, His call to us, and the work that only He can do in us. Our part is to have a paradigm shift that says, “Yes, I will allow God to set me apart from the world and do a work of holiness in me—even if I don’t always feel happy about it.”
Ultimately, we will find ourselves overflowing with joy as a result, and that joy will spill over onto others. May we heed God’s Word to be holy…even as He is holy.

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

How Shall I Honor Jesus Today?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

How shall I honor Jesus today?

First, I must DEDICATE myself anew unto Him.

Second, I must look to Him for all I NEED through the day.

Third, I must IMITATE Jesus in all I do.
He is proposed to us in His Word as our great example;
we should therefore strive to imitate Him.
My object should be . . .
to think as Jesus thought,
to speak as Jesus spoke,
to feel as Jesus felt, and
to act as Jesus acted.

Often, very often, should we pause to ask,
“Is this like Jesus?
Would He indulge such a temper?
Would He employ such language?
Would He encourage such thoughts?
Would He do–as I am doing?”

Or, if at a loss what to do at any time, we should ask,
What would Jesus do?
How would Jesus act in this case?
What would Jesus do under these circumstances?
What would Jesus say?
What temper would Jesus display?”

This would often send us to His Word.
We should become familiar with His life.
We should be well acquainted with His character.
And what a preservative it would be!
What humility it would produce!

Jesus wishes us to be like Himself. He has left us an
example–that we should follow in His steps. He says,
“Do as I have done!”

If, therefore, I would honor Jesus–I must make it my
study, and I must daily seek grace–that I may imitate
Him in all that I do, at all times and in all places.
O to be like Jesus . . .
in my family,
in my business,
in the church, and
when alone with God!

“Whoever claims to live in Him–must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

James Smith, “How Shall I Honor Jesus Today?” 1857

Not What I Deserved

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Am I the only one who feels like I don’t get what I deserve?

I showed up for a speaking gig this morning with a totally negative attitude.

We spoke at a church last evening. The conversation afterward was great, but it lasted longer than I planned. I got to bed too late to be excited about speaking to a 6:30 am breakfast group.

Plus, it was a really small audience. And they didn’t have the technology setup I needed for my presentation. And I’m so busy with last-minute preparations for my bike ride. And I didn’t want to miss my training ride.

As I drove into the parking lot, I hoped nobody would show up so I could go home.

Like I said, I showed up with a terrible attitude.

And we enjoyed a terrific conversation. We sat around a table and I shared my dream. They totally got it. They understood the heart behind the project. They were engaged and encouraging. They asked meaningful questions and offered some great ideas.

I left feeling energized and inspired.

That’s not how it’s supposed to work. I’m supposed to be the guy with the inspirational message, the guy who talks about hope and courage. I’m supposed to energize them!

I didn’t deserve the outcome I received. My crummy attitude should have earned me a terrible experience. If my audience had known my thoughts, they would’ve tossed me out.

Life really isn’t fair. So many times I don’t get what I rightfully deserve.

I’m grateful for that.

When have you been grateful that life didn’t give you what you deserve?

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 Guy Who Doesn’t Belong

Monday, September 5th, 2011

I’ve been doing a lot of speaking as we get closer to the beginning of Rich’s Ride. I’ll share a secret with you—talking about God and hope and dreams often leaves me feeling like a fraud.

See, I know how messed up I am on the inside. I’m pretty good at telling my story and leaving folks feeling a bit more hopeful, but the inspirational guy they see isn’t what God sees.

I’m absolutely not qualified. I fail and give up multiple times every day. Who am I to speak about confronting adversity when I do it so badly?

That question, that conviction that I don’t belong, the urge to stop telling my story—those don’t come from God. They’re the lies of an enemy.

Here’s the point—none of us has any place in God’s presence. On our own merits, we simply don’t belong.

The Gospel—the Good News—is that I get that place anyway because of Jesus.

It’s an interesting paradox. As long as I understand that I don’t belong I can tell my story with a full heart. As soon as I begin to believe I’m someone special, I feel empty.

I’m not sure I’ll ever completely understand.

I guess that’s why I need Jesus.

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