Archive for June, 2012

He Wasn’t One Of The Popular Kids

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Are there situations or people you avoid because they violate “God’s rules”?

Cornelius wasn’t one of the popular kids. Nobody wanted to sit at his table. Imagine the shock when he invited the most popular kid to eat with him.

Cornelius wasn’t a Jew; worse than that, he was a high-ranking officer in the occupying Roman army. Jewish law proclaimed Cornelius unclean, unacceptable. Jews were forbidden to even associate with him, and certainly would never enter the house of such a degenerate low-life.

Cornelius sent a delegation to invite Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends, to his home. He may have expected a rejection because “good Jews” wanted nothing to do with men like Cornelius.

Right before the delegation arrived, Peter had a vision in which he was told to eat ritually forbidden animals. He was sure the instruction was a mistake. “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

Peter wanted God to know he was a “good Jew” because he followed the rules. The response was pretty convicting.

“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Acts 10:9-16

In The Message translation Peter hears, “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.”

Peter got the point. He accepted Cornelius’ invitation, shared the gospel with the gentiles, and baptized them.

Peter took a risk. He sat at the lunchroom table with the unpopular kids.

I wonder how often I decide in God’s name who’s okay. I wonder how often I use God’s authority to designate my personal “in crowd.”

I don’t extend my circle as often as I could. I hang out with those with whom I feel comfortable, my own version of the popular kids.

Jesus didn’t hang out with the popular kids. Following Jesus doesn’t mean doing what’s politically or socially or even religiously okay.

Following Jesus means doing what’s God-okay.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 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

“Doing Your Own Thing” does not Lead to Victory

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

“…the leaders led in Israel,…the people volunteered” (Judges 5:2, NASB).

After a great victory, Deborah and Barak sang a song that included the above words. I find it significant that in reference to victory, they mentioned the leaders leading and the people volunteering, don’t you? I believe it’s a concept that would serve us well today.

Whether in the local church, a social organization, or a family, leaders leading implies strength of conviction. It also provides safety for those who seek wisdom and guidance from their leaders. When followers feel secure with leadership, they will also feel free to volunteer whatever they may have to offer—time, talent, devotion—regardless of personal cost.

When any organization operates under these guidelines, chances of victory are greatly increased. Of course, that premise works best when the leaders who are leading are submitted to the One who fought for Israel and enabled them to prevail. That same One fights for us today when our leaders are submitted to Him and leading accordingly, and the followers are selflessly volunteering whatever they have to offer in the cause.

Conversely, those who consider themselves leaders and yet are “doing their own thing” instead of pursuing God’s heart and purposes are not truly leading at all. The followers will then be led astray and lose confidence in their leaders, therefore holding back on volunteering and giving their best. Ultimately, failure and defeat are sure to follow.

Heeding the words of Deborah and Barak, may we as leaders truly lead as God directs us, and as followers commit to freely give our best in whatever trials or battles come our way. For we all follow a God who has promised to fight for us and to bring us to that place of complete victory.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 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”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

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

Dearly Loved

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

As Christians, people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we are God’s chosen people. We are holy, and God dearly loves us.

As Christians, we are part of the family of God. No wonder he loves us so much.

Now our part is to live as God’s chosen people who are holy. We are to be compassionate. We can start with widows and orphans in our church and community. We can work together to meet their needs.

God also wants us to be kind. A hurting, dying world longs for kindness. Can we take a minute to be kind with the grocery store clerk, the doctor’s receptionist, co-workers, and others we interact with on a daily basis?

Humility will cause us to think of others rather than be focused on ourselves all the time. We all know sick people who need a card, a visit, or a meal.

Can we approach the grieving with gentleness rather than telling them to stop grieving and be thankful their loved one is in heaven?

What about patience with prodigal children and aging parents? What about patience with God when he doesn’t answer our prayers right away or the way we expected him to answer?

Our homes would be heaven on earth if we practiced compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience with each other. So would our churches.

Yes, we are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, but as Christians we have the privilege to treat others according to today’s Bible verse.

Dear God, help me understand how much you love me. Amen.

Application: What specific things can you do this week for your family and church?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2010-2012, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVCAll 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.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Doing Or Done?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Are you doing? Or are you trying to get done?

There’s a saying among writers that nearly everyone likes having written but few actually enjoy writing.

Surveys indicate as many as 80% of people claiming they’d like to write a book. I’ll bet that’s really not true. Most of those folks want to have written a book. They like the idea of being a published author. It’s the distinction between doing and having done.

I suspect most endeavors are similar. Lots of folks want to have lost weight. Most of us wouldn’t mind having gotten rich.

Do you really want to start a business, with all the work and risk and grimy details? Or do you simply want the result, the nice, clean feeling of having started a business? Do you really want to serve, or are you willing to endure serving to get to the feeling of having served?

What about your God-sized dream? Do you want to follow it, wherever it leads? Or would you rather have the experience of having followed?

Having done is the glamorous part where you get the rewards, the attention and praise. It’s where everyone pats you on the back and tells you how great you are while you pretend to be overwhelmed by undeserved accolades. Nobody’s immune from being tempted by the glory of having done, but it’s the wrong reason to follow a dream.

Whatever the dream, do you seek the warm-fuzzy glow of having done it? Are you after some version of an attaboy? Will you be secretly disappointed if nobody notices? Is there some spot, deep inside where you don’t want to go, where you imagine God will be just a little bit impressed once you’ve done this thing?

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the good feelings from having done something worthwhile. I absolutely like having done RICH’S RIDE, but that’s not why I did it. Having done it earns me only the opportunity to learn from our efforts, leverage them, and continue.

I think you have to follow the dream. A dream is a story waiting to be written; follow inspires you to write the story. Follow engages and creates a shared journey. I suspect you’ll struggle if you seek the experience of having followed.

God doesn’t call us to be people who’ve done things so we can sit on the front porch in a rocking chair and recount the glory days. He invites us to do big things, to dream big dreams and follow them.

But be prepared, because following God-sized dreams takes you through some stretches that aren’t roses and sunshine.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 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

A Planter’s Patience

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I think God’s kingdom must work more like farming than manufacturing.

As I write about the experience of RICH’S RIDE I’m struck by how frequently Jesus talked about planting.

This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain … Mark 4:26-28

The Unseen Story relates an amazing incident in which God scattered seeds. I was entirely unaware of what He was doing, but it didn’t matter. The seeds sprouted without any action on my part. I got to experience the fruits of a harvest I didn’t plant.

Most of our culture has a manufacturing mentality. We expect to see results—our results—right now. We expect to see what we’ve accomplished at the end of the day, but farming doesn’t work like that.

I wonder how many opportunities we miss by insisting on our own notions of worthwhile outcomes. Do I destroy a “weed” that might have become a beautiful flower because it doesn’t conform to my expectations?

I wonder how often we quit when seeds don’t germinate immediately. Do I destroy new seedlings by digging them up to see how they’re doing?

Mostly we never fully appreciate the effects of our actions. Persevering, doing what’s right, keeping commitments, and following the path—those are hard things when we can’t see any immediate fruits from the effort and sacrifice. The important things don’t happen overnight. Maybe that’s why Jesus used planting analogies.

God used RICH’S RIDE to scatter seeds. He placed those seeds in the right lives and added fertilizer and water. Results from the ride sprouted and matured in places and ways I’ll never see. We needed to proceed with faith, hope, and love, trusting God to use our efforts even when we didn’t understand the specifics.

Knowing God’s at work, and knowing He always works for good, means being patient enough to allow the seeds to grow. And it means keeping my eyes open for opportunities to harvest.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 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

Time for Boundaries

Friday, June 8th, 2012

What is a boundary? It is a limit or edge. It is where you begin and the other person ends. A boundary will help you take care of yourself and not settle for anything except a healthy relationship.

For example, your physical body is yours. No one has the right to slap you, punch you, kick you, push you, or physically hurt you in any way.

If someone does, you need to leave immediately, call the police, and press charges. Take pictures of any bruises, cuts, and the like.

Don’t stick around for more physical abuse. Don’t try to talk to the person. Don’t think you can change that person. Don’t let your family think it is OK to beat up a person to get one’s own way or to make a point.

Your goal is to set a boundary and keep it. Period.

You are a child of God. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and your heavenly Father never intended for you to become a punching bag for anyone.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, 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.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

He says what He means and means what He says

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

“Not one thing has failed of all the good things which the your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you;
not one word of them has failed.”
(Joshua 23:14, NKJV)


One of the things my late father taught me was the importance of keeping your word. If you made a promise to someone, you must do everything possible to follow through. That was such an important concept in my parents’ generation (and those previous) that a handshake was enough to seal an agreement.

Times have changed, though, haven’t they? We sign multi-page contracts when we buy a house, a car — even a cell phone. And still we sometimes look for ways to break our contracts and renege on our promises.

Aren’t you glad God isn’t like that? When He makes a promise, you can not only “take it to the bank,” you can rest the destiny of your very soul on it. When Joshua, like Moses before him, had led and served the Jewish people for many years and was approaching the time of his death, he found it important to remind them of the faithfulness of God’s promises, using God’s faithfulness in the past as an illustration: “Not one word of them [God’s words/promises] has failed.”

I wish people could say that about me; sadly they can’t, though I hope I’m doing better at keeping my word as I grow and mature in the Lord. I also wish I could say that about the people closest to me — and most of the time, I can. But we humans aren’t as faithful as God, are we? There really is no one besides Him who can be counted on to fulfill His every word… all the time.

Isn’t that amazing and comforting? We serve a God who says what He means and means what He says. Furthermore, He follows through on His word and makes sure his promises are fulfilled in the lives of His people. He is the only One we can depend on, no matter the worst attacks from the enemy of our souls, the dire circumstances of our lives, or the failings of our own character. No wonder the Prophet Isaiah declares to God, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)

If we will just remember to trust in the One who keeps His word and fulfills His promises in our lives, we won’t need to worry about loopholes and litigation to break contracts, for God will keep us in perfect peace.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 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”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

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

What Do You Say When You Mess Up?

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

You missed a deadline. You didn’t complete the assignment. The blog post didn’t get finished.

Do you offer a litany of reasons/excuses to explain it away? Do you fake the adult equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”?

Do you waste more time feeling guilty?

Or do you just admit you messed up, apologize, and move on?

Sometimes the worst mistake is not to make any mistakes at all.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 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 Want My Way!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

2 Kings 5:11: “But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.”

I had my own ideas of how God would heal me from cancer and expand my ministry. I was like Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, but God had his plan.

According to chapter five, Naaman went to the king of Israel with a letter from the king of Aram, silver, gold, and clothing. He expected the king would heal him because of his position, impressive letter of recommendation and riches. Don’t we think that way sometimes?

The prophet Elisha told the king of Israel to send Naaman to him. Naaman went with his horses and chariots, but Elisha didn’t answer the door. He sent a messenger instead.

Naaman felt insulted especially when Elisha’s message was to wash seven times in the Jordan River. After all, the rivers of Damacus were better than any of the waters of Israel. Don’t we sometimes act haughty too?

Naaman returned home but went again to Israel and obeyed God. Verse 14 says, “His flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

Like Naaman, I had to follow God’s plan, tolerate cancer treatment, and watch God enlarge my ministry his way.

 Dear God, help me rely on you for results and not on my possessions or position. Amen.

Application: What preconceived ideas does God want you to surrender this week for him to work in your life?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, 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.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Are You Abused by Others?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Mat 5:45  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. ” Matthew 5:43-45 ESV

God is at work in a much bigger way than one person’s outlandish agenda.

Pray for your accuser, serve and love them for Christ’s sake. They are probably unaware of the harm they are inflicting on themselves and those around them.

Value the relationship though you do not feel valued.

In prayer and forgiveness you release the feelings of anger and defensiveness. Unjust charges will come when you follow hard after Jesus, so die to your need to be right, and trust God to work out His will — His way — in His time.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, 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