Archive for November, 2011

Good Luck or Good Gift

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Years ago, I used this verse to make my own birth announcements for my son. He was a good gift from the Father. Now he is home with his heavenly Father, but I can thank God for the years he gave my son to me.

When I shop or eat in a restaurant, I hear people talk about good luck or a good deal. Seldom do I hear someone talk about a good gift from the Father.

As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s remember all the good gifts from the Father. When we wake up and get out of bed alone, let’s thank God for that ability.

When we eat our meals, let’s thank the Father for the gift of food.

As we get into the car, let’s thank the Father for a driver’s license and a car.

Let’s not forget to appreciate the gift of not having to use an outhouse in the dark during the winter.

Best of all, let’s thank the Father that he doesn’t change and won’t take the perfect gift of his son away from us.

Dear God, thank you for all your good and perfect gifts.

Application: What gifts will you thank the Father for 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 It Worthwhile to Help an A.A. Newcomer? Try it and smile!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Every time I read of some new person’s lambasting Alcoholics Anonymous, it cuts. Every time I hear a few Christian writers incessantly claiming you are on your way to hell if you help someone in Alcoholics Anonymous, it hurts. Every time, I see the new creations made by writers who insist on claiming you can choose your own god, or no god, or just go to meetings, It causes the zeal to flag.

Maybe the royal law in James has some relevance.

Maybe the selflessness of Jesus Christ and of Paul and the other Apostles has some relevance.

Maybe their commitment to daily fellowship with God, His Son, and other believers has relevance.

Maybe God’s will has lots of relevance.

But all the relevance in the world means little if you are not in the trenches loving, serving, helping, laughing, encouraging, and all the rest that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and Paul’s 1 Corinthians 13 suggest.

Then comes a day like today. Someone comes all the way to Maui and asks if he can pay us a visit. He’s new. He’s about to lose it all. He looks back on a life of horrible mistakes. And he looks like he’s licked. In fact, you can even help him see how near the end of the road might be without change.

If so, why did he come to visit? Did God have a role? Did God present us with a new opportunity? Did God offer us another chance to give substantial help and comfort to someone who still suffers?

If He didn’t, it’s no coincidence that we were talking about this very thing yesterday.

I can only say that all the doubt, discouragement, concern, and even disgust go out the window when the newcomer comes in the door. You shake his hand. You give him a hug. You listen to his story. You explain that there’s a way out if he’s had enough. You talk to him about God. You talk to him about becoming one of God’s kids. And you talk to him about recovery being the same kind of daily daily daily love and service to others that you received. And that the First Century Christians gave.

And you’re up and at em again. Is it worthwhile? You bet it is. And all the critics and charges in the world are no substitute for the great joy that inevitably follows every moment showing the newcomer what God can do for him that he isn’t doing for himself.

Then you ask him to call you every day while he’s here and get on the daily choo choo train of love and service the moment he gets back. It is worthwhile? You bet it is. I’ve enjoyed it all for quite some time, and I’m not leaving now. In fact, I can hardly wait for the next visit. And wouldn’t you know it, an email just arrived telling me another recovered believer and his wife will be here in February. Well so will I.

Sometimes it’s easier to listen to the debates on TV than to hear the negatives spewed out about A.A.

It would be easy at 25, almost 26 years of sobriety, to chuck it. To say, I’ve got mine; let him get his. Or to say, this is a selfish program, and I’m here for myself and only to keep from taking a drink today.

I’ve heard it all. I’ve read it all. Maybe the first chapter of James on temptation has some relevance.

~ * ~
Copyright 2009-2011 by Richard G. Burns, J.D.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Dick B. is a writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student,
CDAAC, and an active and recovered member of the A.A. fellowship.
He has published 42 titles and over 500 articles on the history
of Alcoholics Anonymous and on the Christian recovery movement
Contact Dick B.
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837

When We Come to the End of Ourselves

Friday, November 11th, 2011

There are times when we face problems, and life gets a bit tough. But we gut it out, get back up, brush ourselves off, and feel pretty proud of ourselves for conquering whatever knocked us down.

But there are other times when there is no way out. Our self-sufficiency blows away like so much dust in the wind.

These are the times when we must fall down on our knees and cry out “Please, God, save me!” And these are the times when God can bring true and lasting change in our lives.

Sometimes God allows you to be placed in a position where there is nowhere left to turn but to him. In the middle of a struggle, it’s tough to admit you can’t handle it by yourself.

Yet one of the greatest and most liberating moments in life occurs when you stop, reach out to God, and say the words, “I can’t do this on my own.”

Then you are in a position to receive God’s care and give him the glory for his work

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2011, Chaplain Michael Clark

All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Chaplain Clark is a Speaker and Writer,
Addiction Counselor/Professional

as well as a Recovery Support Specialist

Shadows of the Cross Ministries, Prison and Recovery Ministry

Follow Him, Keep the FAITH and Die to Self

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

As followers of Christ and believers of His promises we often fail to focus on JESUS and focus instead on our present circumstances. We want to walk in faith but this can become a long and narrow path that makes us feel blind, vulnerable and lost. However, all that is required of us to have FAITH!

I recently lost my home when the Bank took it over and sold it at an auction. I had three days to move out and dear friends of mine in Ramona offered me their home for a temporary stay. God gave me PEACE (which is the spirit of JESUS) and I have been living one day at a time. I have learned not to focus on my present circumstances and focus instead on JESUS.This has been a period of greater intimacy with Him! I don’t know all the details but after the Bank sold my home it took it back from the buyer, reduced the amount of my mortgage, modified my loan and is now telling me to move back. I remembered giving my appliances and most furniture away, instead of selling them, because even in the midst of my poverty I wanted to bless others but I never imagined how great was going to be my blessing. I earned $100.00 last month but I blessed a missionary from South Africa and another one from Australia with it and the LORD abundantly multiplied that seed.

We don’t need to know how the LORD is going to move in our lives, we simply need to follow Him, keep the FAITH and die to self! Life is never about us, it is always about Him.  The important thing is not to find a purpose for our life; it is to find His purpose for our life as we serve in His Kingdom. May He be increased as we are decreased!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 KJV).

~ Cynthia Alcantara

Give It Just One More Day

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

I don’t know what kind of disappointments you might be facing right now. But I do know that sometimes all you can do is get through one more day, then another, and another after that, believing God is teaching you, strengthening you, and doing something in you that will make you more complete.

It might take you eight weeks or eight years.

But often the only difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is flat-out perseverance and giving it just one more day.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !


Copyright 2011, Chaplain Michael Clark
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Chaplain Clark is a Speaker and Writer,
Addiction Counselor/Professional
as well as a Recovery Support Specialist
Shadows of the Cross Ministries, Prison and Recovery Ministry

A Promise Kept

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

If you’ve been following along the past few weeks you know that I’ve been pondering one particular scripture as I crank along the Mississippi River.

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’m finding that I see more deeply as I continue to reflect upon these words. A couple of days ago I noticed something in the last two lines. Read them and then consider these words of Jesus.

I am the way… John 14:6a

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Do you see it?

Several centuries after Isaiah recorded God’s promise to make “a way” in the wilderness and “streams” in the wasteland, He sent Jesus—the way, the living water.

What are your thoughts?

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

Step 4 and Prayer

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Psalm 139:23-24 KJV
Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if [there be any] wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.


The 4th Step, taking one’s own inventory, can be quite intimidating.  But like many other things in our lives as Christians, it should be approached first and foremost in prayer.

By literally getting down on our knees and praying, much in the same way as the Psalmist did above, several things happen.

First we open ourselves up to God. Like opening up a book, we open our souls to Him–exposing all the contents of all the pages from beginning to end. We ask Him to search us and know our hearts and thoughts. We ask Him to examine our hidden motives, our fantasies, our personalities and our deepest hidden secrets.

Secondly, by coming to God in prayer we make ourselves available to Him. By doing this we not only ask Him to look at us but we also offer ourselves to Him as children who are willing and eager to learn.
We open ourselves up to receive the fullness of His power.

Thirdly, we ask for His guidance, His help. We ask him if f there is any wickedness in us and to help us to find it. On our own we are quite blind. But the Lord can remove the scales from our eyes, just as He did for Paul on the road to Damascus. Instead of seeing things through human eyes we will start seeing them through the eyes of God. We will not be judging ourselves by human standards, but by God’s standards. Lastly, we become willing to change. We ask that He guide us in His everlasting ways instead of our own crooked paths. We become willing to look in new directions–His directions; at new possibilities–His possibilities; with renewed spirits infilled with His incredible Holy Spirit.

When you sit down to take your inventory (whether it is for the first time or for the zillionth time) start out with a prayer. If you are having trouble praying, then repeat verbatim the Psalmist’s words. You will find a sense of freedom, purpose and renewal as you proceed with your own inventory.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

~ Obie

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One Soul

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Occasionally someone asks how I know I’m making a difference.

The short answer … mostly I don’t. I receive significant feedback that encourages me, but often I can’t really know the ultimate impact of my words.

As a teacher I learned to accept that uncertainty. You do your best and then you have to let it go and move on.

But once in a while something happens that makes it all worthwhile. One such event occurred earlier this week. Please read about it here.

I believe God uses my words to help change lives. How many people do you have to touch to justify the effort?

Here’s my answer:

The Master’s Hand

’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To spend much time with the old violin
But he held it up with a smile.

“How much am I bid, good folks?” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?
A dollar? A dollar! Now who’ll make it two?
Two dollars! Now who’ll make it three?

“Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three?” But no!
From the back of the room a gray haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow. 

Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the worn old strings,
He played a tune as sweet and pure
As a caroling angel sings. 

The music ceased, and the auctioneer
In a voice that was quiet and low, said,
“Now what am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.

“A thousand dollars? Now who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! Now who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going, and gone,” said he.

The people cheered, and some of them cried,
“We really do not understand.
What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply,
“The touch of a master’s hand.”

“There’s many a man, with his life out of tune,
Battered and scarred by sin.
He’s auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.

“A look, a touch, a glass of wine,
A game, and they travel on.
They’re going once, they’re going twice,
They’re going, and almost gone.

“Then the master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought
By the touch of The Master’s hand.”

– – Myra Brooks Welch

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 You Can?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Mark 9:22: “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

A man took his son who had an evil spirit to Jesus. He said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” In Mark 9:22-23, he said the evil spirit often threw his son into fire or water to kill him since childhood.

Jesus said in verse 23, “If you can?… Everything is possible for him who believes.”

When we face challenges, how do we approach Jesus? Like the father at first, we can tell Jesus about our problems and in doubt say, “If you can do anything, take pity on [me] and help [me].”

Our second choice is to believe “Everything is possible for him who believes.” We can say as the son’s father later did, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”

Dear God, “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Amen.

Application: What seemingly impossible situation will you believe Jesus can 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

Complete

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

It’s the final week of Rich’s Ride, the perfect time for this word-of-the-week…

Complete

Complete—the verb. This week is about completing what we’ve started.

To me, completing involves more than just getting done. Completing means ending well, making the final days the best. It’s about using everything we’ve learned to take full advantage of each moment.

At a speaking event this weekend someone commented, “I bet it feels good to be so close to your goal so you can take the last week a little easier.”

I understand the sentiment, but “easing up” isn’t the way I want to end this amazing opportunity. I hope we can touch more people, spread the message wider, and impact more hearts than in previous weeks. And if that doesn’t happen I want to know we tried our best.

When you’re doing something important, you don’t try to just get through it, because that means you want to get on to something else.

If you care about what you’re doing, you want to complete the work before you.

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