Archive for October, 2011

Carrying the Message

Monday, October 31st, 2011
Acts 8:26-31, 35-39 (NRSV)
“Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him… Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’s He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philipt baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.”

Many of us have family members who are not saved. I know that I do—some who are very dear to me and for whom I pray daily. Day after day prayers… after awhile it is sometimes difficult to know what to pray. So the other day I began to pray for those Christians around my family members, that the Christians would have the courage the wisdom to speak boldly to those I love.
And suddenly it hit me! I am “those Christians” around someone else’s family members. You know, I take the offices of the Church very seriously. Ephesians 4 talks about the five offices (some churches believe in four offices): “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (v. 11-12 NRSV). And I know that I am clearly not an evangelist (someone who tells others about the Lord). If I lean in any direction, it may be as a prophet or teacher. But I also know that all of us are commanded to be witnesses to the gospel. And now I need to take that admonition even more seriously.
Paul told us, in Ephesians to “bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2 NRSV). I believe that when we go out of our way to minister to the unsaved around us, we are bearing the burdens of the Christians who are praying for those people. We all know that those closest to us usually don’t listen to us. I never cease to be amazed at my husband in this regard. I can talk to him about something over and over again and he often ignores it.But let someone else tell him, and he thinks it’s the greatest idea in the world! I think there is some of that in all of us. And if that is true, then we likely have the least amount of influence on those for whom we care the most! Of course, we can—and should—pray for those dear ones daily. But it may be that anything we say will fall on deaf eyes. But we can pray that God will send other believers in their path and we can become those “other believers” to the unsaved that cross our paths each day.
~ * ~
Copyright 2008-2011 by Robin L. O’Hare.
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Permission granted for nonprofit and church groups
to use this article in its entirety (including this notice).

When Passion and Purpose Collide

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4, NKJV).

I was talking with a friend the other day and mentioned how much I enjoyed my job and how blessed I was to be able to use God’s gift of writing and communicating. She responded, “That’s what happens when passion and purpose collide.”

Wow. What a profound statement! I’ve been thinking about it ever since and realized it lines up perfectly with Psalm 37:4. When we take our delight, our joy, from spending time with and belonging to the Lord, He brings to fruition the very seeds of desire He has planted in our heart. As He wove us together in our mother’s womb, He gifted us for His purpose; those gifts become our passion as we grow and explore and venture out into various activities. But when we submit those passions to God’s purpose, explosive things happen. Fruit begins to blossom and bud and ripen to an extent we could never have achieved or even imagined in our own efforts.

Every individual born on this earth is stamped with the image of almighty God, and each is gifted with a passion and ability to fulfill God’s purpose for our existence. We can choose to ignore God and waste our gifts and passions on our own pleasure…or allow God to direct us in the way He wants us to go, the things He wants us to do, the people He wishes us to touch. That choice will determine not only our personal fulfillment here on earth, but also our ability to lay an offering at the feet of our Lord when we cross the threshold into heaven.

And it’s all about what happens when passion and purpose collide.

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 tha

Rights? or Responsibility?

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

So much emphasis is put on rights these days.  “I want my rights!” “Give me my rights!!”

When was the last time you heard anyone say “I want my responsibilities!” “Give me my responsibilities!!”

An interesting thing occurred to me as I was writing this blog. Most blogging software has what are known as “Word Clouds.” The key words used most often appear in bigger print and the words used less often are in smaller print. After a period of time I noticed these two words right next to one another:

This blog is about being a Christian in recovery. It is obvious from the word cloud that here we talk a lot more about responsibility than we do rights. Then I started thinking about the Bible. What does it talk more about: our rights? no…. Scripture emphasizes our responsibilities!

In your recovery which word is larger? What carries more weight: your rights? or your responsibilities? Why do you think this is so?

How does this affect your recovery? your faith?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

~ Obie

Like a Fire

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Jeremiah 20:9 “But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

Football season is here. Fans wear their favorite team’s Tee shirt, jacket or cap. They travel to watch the games. Regardless of the ticket cost, they want the best seats. They hang the flag of their favorite team in front of their home.

Do we have that same enthusiasm for God’s Word? How far will we travel to attend a church service or Bible study?

Can we say like Jeremiah that we cannot hold God’s Word in? Do our friends and neighbors know we are Christians?

What temperature is our fire?

Dear God, light the fire of my heart for your Word. Amen.

Application: What day this week will you share God’s Word with unsaved friends and neighbors?

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

Angry At God?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Have you ever been angry with God?

Last week I spoke to an amazing group of kids. Reality Youth Center serves young people from tough environments. Poverty, abuse, neglect, absent parents—nearly every member of the audience has experienced a challenging childhood.

After I told them about my injury, I confessed that I spent a lot of time being angry at the world, at my friends, and at God. Then I asked, “Do you guys think it’s okay to be mad at God?”

Almost universally, they shook their heads or quietly said, “No.”

Their response surprised me. How about you?

I stopped for a moment. In a different setting I would have asked for some discussion to understand their thinking, but with 100 kids in a worship time that didn’t seem practical.

What would you have done at that point?

I chose honesty. I repeated that I felt anger toward God and that I thought it was okay. Since that wasn’t the main point of my message, I moved forward.

I wondered, though, where they got the message that it’s wrong to be mad at God.

I’ve always figured that God wants authenticity. After all, what’s the point of pretending when He knows what I’m thinking anyway? So when I talk to Him, I try to be as honest as possible.

I think God’s okay with me expressing my true feelings. I think He understands, because He’s been there.

I’m not claiming that being angry with God is a good thing or that it accomplishes anything worthwhile. Like most anger, it’s wasted energy aimed in the wrong direction.

But when I do feel angry, I think He wants me to talk to Him about it.

What do you think?

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

What is Your Story?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I’m constantly amazed by the individual stories we hear from people as we talk about hope. I think there’s a lesson for us in the depth and variety of experiences.

It’s easy to divide the world into two groups—those who face some kind of challenge, and those who don’t. It’s pointless—there’s nobody in the second group.

Everybody’s got a story of confronting adversity. Some struggles are visible, most aren’t.

We’ve heard from folks who dismiss their personal issues because “they’re not as bad as yours.” Some have trouble admitting their hidden dilemmas because they are afraid of appearing like they lack faith. Often they’ve adopted a tough exterior shell to hide their vulnerability.

One amazing aspect of telling my story is that it seems to open doors and break down walls. It’s as though one person’s vulnerability makes it a bit easier to lower carefully-maintained barriers.

I believe that’s one of many incredible facets of a relationship with Jesus. He’s been there; He’s felt the pain, disappointment, and discouragement. He freely and willingly exposed Himself to ridicule and suffering, refusing to hide behind His identity as God.

He knows that everybody’s got a story. He knows those stories, and walks through every messy moment with us. And He loves us anyway.

That’s a story worth telling.

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

Outlived your usefulness? Too Marred or Too Flawed?

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1, NIV).

I’ve been traveling a lot lately—more than I care to, actually, though I’ve so enjoyed reconnecting with existing friends and making new ones. Still, it’s good to be home, isn’t it? But one thing I noticed, as I crisscrossed the United States several times in the last few months: Regardless of where I was, when I looked up into the sky, I knew God was there, sitting on His throne, sovereign and kind and faithful.

The psalmist wrote that the heavens “declare” God’s glory and the skies “proclaim” His handiwork. The very fact that stars have been hung in place, and the sun and moon continue to rise on schedule, reminds us of God’s unchanging love for us. Whether we are standing in our own backyard or looking up from a hotel terrace thousands of miles away, God is as close to us as our own heartbeat.

That gives me great comfort. At times, during my travels and the busy schedules they entail, I grow weary—more so the older I get. But God has promised that if I will cling tightly to Him, He will use me to honor His name and to bless others, even in my old age and regardless of where I am or the circumstances that surround me.

The next time you find yourself thinking that perhaps you’ve outlived your usefulness or that you’re just too marred and flawed to be a worthy vessel in God’s hands, stop where you are and look up, and then remember the words of the psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” You see, it isn’t who we are but who He is that matters. Therefore, we can move forward with confidence into all that He has called and gifted us to do—right up until our very last breath on earth.

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

Why?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Habakkuk 1:3: “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me: there is strife, and conflict abounds.”

We see people disrespect their parents and spouses and get away with it.

Domestic violence is rampant in our country, especially under the guise of submission. Destruction and violence in schools and universities traumatize students.

We face a dire economy. Government officials made promises they haven’t kept.

Like Habakkuk, we ask, “Why?” We may also ask, “God, where are you? Don’t you see what’s going on? When will you do something?”

This is where faith enters. We know from Scripture “the LORD is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18). In his time, God will make things right. In Psalm 94, David called the Lord, “a God of vengeance.”  Nahum 1:3 says, “The LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”

God is not a liar. He will keep his word. So we wait in faith and trust him.

Dear God, help me believe you are a God of justice. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to avoid strife and conflict?

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

DAILY

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

…as in “daily bread.”

We’ve tried everything to plan ahead even a few days, but we’re discovering that this project seems to unfold one day at a time.

Each time we think we have a handle on the next few days, some amazing opportunity pops up that tosses our plans in the trash. Frankly, it’s uncomfortable and disconcerting. I wonder if that’s an important lesson we’re supposed to learn from this journey.

Nearly every remarkable moment of the trip has been unplanned. Whenever we wonder about a lack of speaking opportunities, something appears from an unexpected source. People we’ve never met become our staunchest advocates.

God provides. Why is that so difficult to remember?

“Give us THIS day our DAILY bread.”

Jesus told us to live daily with trust.

It’s hard. It works.

Have a great week.

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

Never Give Up? Really?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Is it ever good to quit?

I spoke to kids today at Trinity Christian HS in Carbondale. When I finished I asked them what message they got from my ramblings. They had lots of great responses—I think they actually listened.

But one boy said something that’s had me thinking. He said, “Never give up.”

That’s definitely the message for kids in a culture that encourages quitting at the first sign of struggle. But I wonder—is “never give up” really a good life motto?

I’m  thinking that there are times to change course, turn around, or just decide you’re on the wrong path. Surely we need persistence; we should honor promises and commitments. Giving up shouldn’t be the first option.

But aren’t there times when giving up is exactly the right thing?

I think maybe the hard thing is discerning when you’re quitting and when you’re just recognizing that there’s a better path.

What are your thoughts about “never give up”?

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