Archive for July, 2012

Have you ever felt like you missed important lessons?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Have you ever felt like you missed important lessons?

After a significant experience like the IJM Freedom Tour, it’s important to review, look back, and see what you learned. That’s what I’m doing this week.

It’s not good to dwell too long on the past. You can’t live in the rear view mirror, so at some point you have to put the past in the closet and move forward.

But I think we miss a lot when we don’t take proper time to review. In the intensity of the moment, it’s easy to miss important lessons. Sometimes specific moments assume added significance when viewed in the context of the overall experience.

In Isaiah 43, God says He’s doing a new thing. I believe God did many new things during the ride that’ll become apparent as I review. I don’t want to miss them.

God’s doing important new things in your life this week. Don’t miss them.

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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

It’s Not About Me

Monday, July 30th, 2012

“He delivered me, because He delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:20).

I’ve been reading about David’s many battles and relating to the ongoing battles of our own lives as believers. It seems we no sooner get through one than another “or two or three” hits us head-on. And yet, like David, we make it through. Why? Certainly not because of our own battle strategies or fighting prowess, but simply because our Commander-in-Chief has already won the war.

That in itself is no surprise. God is all powerful, and if we’ve read the end of the Book, we know how it all turns out. We also know that it’s all because of Him that we are on the winning side. He delivers us from sinner to saint, from darkness to light, from death to life. I’ve walked with God for nearly 35 years now, and I know without doubt the truth of that statement.

What I find stunning, awe-inspiring, and nearly impossible to fathom is that He delivered me because He delights in me. God delights in me! What a revelation, and one I need to remind myself of daily. God considers me delightful! I must confess that I often don’t share his opinion of me, simply because I know me so well. I live in this skin and know my failures and foibles, my ever-present propensity to seek a me-first life, rather than willingly and wholeheartedly serving God and others.

But you know what? It’s not about me. And it’s not about you either! God didn’t deliver us because we’re great or wonderful or sweet or special. He delivered us because He delights in us. He loves us and wants to spend time with us. He delights in being with us – frail, fragile, finite humans that we are.

Today, dear readers, if you do nothing else, pause for a moment and thank God that He delights in you. And while you’re at it, take time to delight in His glorious presence as well. There really is nothing more precious or rewarding that we can do in this life.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
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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

Trapped by Addiction & Dysfunctional Behavior

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

When I was deep into my addiction and dysfunctional behavior, I was caught and felt trapped. It felt as if there was no way out. I did not see any way but down. Just the thought of a turn around was impossible. I was very frightened and intimidated by the prospect of change.

But it got to the point where I was more terrified of the hell that had been created by my addiction and behaviors and my giving into them.

It was as if I was faced with two fiery pits. But when I looked closer I saw the addiction pit was orchestrated by Satan. The other option which I perceived of as a pit and of which I perceived as something to fear, was administered by my LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So which one should I be afraid of really??

Even though I knew in my heart which way to turn I was still paralyzed with fear.

I had always been a Christian. I thought I knew all about Jesus and what He had done for me. But the reality was I was not living it — it was not part of my daily life.

So what happened? I ran into some Christians who were in recovery and they told me that change was possible (of course I did not believe them). But the more I hung around with them, and listened to what they said, the more sense it all made. My faith provided tools to help me overcome my addictive and dysfunctional behaviors. I needed to pick up and use those tools. And everything I was told, like:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NASB)

Jesus did for me what I could not do for myself. I only had to allow Him work in my life. I had to be willing to let Christ in so that He could work a miracle. I also had to do the footwork of recovery in order to turn around.

I also had do do a lot of work, soul searching and I had to be willing to change.

Miracles can happen. They do happen. Your miracle will happen!

Ephesians 6:12-18
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

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Is Addiction a Sin?

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

As Christians, we have to be very careful how we look at things. This is often referred to as one’s world view (how reality is interpreted). How we look at things, this world view, directly influences our values, the way we think and how we act. The world tells us to look at things through secular or humanistic eyes. But the Word tells us we must look at things through the eyes of Christ.

Secular eyes see everything as relative and dependent on circumstances. Moral decisions and actions are made as circumstances dictate and directed by human reasoning, wisdom and emotions. Everything is subjective, temporal and localized (nothing is universal). We are accountable to no one but ourselves.

The Bible in Proverbs 16:25 tells us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

The eyes of Christ see things in absolutes: good and bad, black and white. Moral decisions and actions are made on the basis of what God says is good, true, honorable, noble and right. God’s values are unchanging. Human morals shift as quickly as the sands in the sea. Our moral duty to God is rock solid. It never changes. We are accountable to God.

The world blames addiction and dysfunctional behavior on “genes,” our circumstances, things that happened to us in our youth and on and on. It is not our fault. The blame always lands on anyone but “me.” In the Bible, God calls addiction and dysfunctional behavior “sin.” No if’s, and’s or but’s. The words “addiction” and “dysfunctional behavior” are secular terminology. They are not found anywhere in the Bible.

If we are just “born that way” or are made that way by our circumstances (as secular humanists would have us believe) we are simply helpless victims. There is no hope for us. Relapse is inevitable. True recovery is impossible. If we choose to believe this, that we are weak slaves of substances and circumstances, then recovery is a lost cause.

But if we choose to look at things through the eyes of God, we see addiction as a sin; We see dysfunctional behaviors as sin. We realize we are not helpless victims of circumstances but we have fallen into sin. Now there is hope! Why? Because we have a Savior, a Redeemer who can do for us what we could not do for ourselves.

If we sin we can confess that sin to God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We can repent…
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19)

We can change…
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7)

We will be forgiven…
“Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven…” (Luke 7:47)

We will be healed…
“Your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)

We will be renewed…
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:23-24)

We will become a new creation in Christ.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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The way to recovery is through accountability

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The way to recovery is through accountability. When we blow it, we have to admit it. By admitting we make ourselves accountable for our behavior.

By admitting and confessing we place a marker down. We stand on that marker and use it as a place to move forward from. If we do not admit (or confess), no marker is in place and we cannot move forward.

12 Steps of Christians in Recovery

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and dysfunctional behaviors and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that God, a Power greater than ourselves, could restore us to sanity and stability.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as revealed in the Bible.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as revealed in the Bible, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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Patience Secures a Plan

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Situational control may provide temporary satisfaction, but it also often makes a situation worse. Patience is a willing temporary dissatisfaction, but it puts your emotions under control and God in control. It might make a situation feel like it’s not getting better, but the solution can only be miraculous with it as part of the equation.

Patience prevents rash judgment, and judgmentalism. It secures a plan. It is a beautiful paradox of being a non-action and yet a conscious exercise of free will. It is the basis for the merciful ways the Lord deals with us.

Patience provides the path in proper time, and promises that faith will be rewarded

James 1:4-8
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the LORD. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

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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

Depending on God, Not Others

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel (1 Samuel 8:4-6, NKJV).

In an election year, with campaign ads hitting us from every side, it would be wise to consider the above scripture verses. Samuel was not happy when the leaders of Israel demanded a king so they could be “like all the nations.”

Samuel knew Israel was not meant to be like the other nations. God was to be their Sovereign Leader. But the Israelites weren’t content with that provision. They wanted to look to human leadership for direction. Samuel realized they were asking for trouble.

Now it’s true that none of us lives in a theocracy these days, as did the Israelites of old. Still, the principle holds true that if we place our dependence on human leadership rather than God, we are asking for trouble — regardless of whether that leadership leans left or right, supports our personal beliefs or rejects them entirely. People are just that — people. Fallible. Weak. Sinners. There are no exceptions. We live in a broken world, inhabited by broken people — and that includes us. True, we hope for the most godly human leaders possible, and hopefully we vote accordingly (assuming we live in a country where we are indeed blessed to vote).

Regardless, as Election Day approaches, we would be wise to remember Samuel’s concerns about putting our confidence in humanity, rather than God. If we claim Christ as Lord and Savior, we have no excuse for not being in prayer for our country, particularly now as election day looms. I don’t pretend to know God’s precise plan or purpose for America (or any other country, for that matter), so far as elections or political leadership goes. I do know, however, that He has promised that if those who are called by His name “will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,” that He “will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).

That’s where our focus and energy needs to be at this crucial time in history. May we stand together, in unity and humility, seeking God’s face and imploring Him to heal our land!

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

Be Still

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

With smart phones, iPods, iPads, netbooks, Skype, and social media, how can we be still and know that God is God?

I have witnessed men and women text on their cellphones during Sunday school and church services. They seem obsessed with their cellphones.

One man answered his cellphone while the preacher delivered his sermon. The man carried on a conversation as if nothing else was going on and no one else was there.

Recently, I attended a conference at a hotel where one room was transformed into a prayer room. The room was semi-dark, and a picture of the Last Supper hung on a wall. The table in front of that picture had bread and grape juice to allow the conferees to partake in a remembrance of the Last Supper.

Kneelers, chairs, pillows on the floor and boxes of tissue were available. That prayer room became my favorite place at the conference.

One woman told me her family argued about which programs to watch on TV. She got rid of the TV and made a prayer room out of the room where they previously quarreled. Now the room has good memories for the family.

My Florida room is my prayer room. I struggle to be still and know that God is God. It’s easy to be caught up in activity. However, each time I see that room, God reminds me of his command to be still and know that he is God.

In a world that offers one distraction after another, we need to choose our activities with God’s wisdom. We can’t say, “Yes” to every request. A need is not necessarily our calling. If we fill that need, we will deny the right person of the blessing of obedience.

We may decide to get up earlier in the morning before other family members do. Since school is out for the summer, some mothers admit they lock themselves in the bathroom to be still before the Lord.

One woman told me she likes to stay up late, so she is still with God after everyone goes to bed.

Once we find a way to be still, we will want to guard it and be consistent. Blessings will be ours when we obey God.

 Dear God, help me be still and know you are God. Amen.

Application: When will you be still this week and know that God is God?

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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

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Did you see the TV show Friday Night Lights?

The show traced several characters through the craziness of Texas high school football. The team’s rallying cry was, “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.”

I love that expression. I’ve been thinking a lot about it as I ride.

Clear Eyes

To me, clear eyes is about how you look at the person in the mirror. For much of my life I couldn’t look at the guy in the mirror with clear eyes. Too many bad choices, justified even though I knew better, kept us from making direct eye contact.

I’ve learned that you can fool others, but the person in the mirror always knows. When you lie to yourself, you can’t look in the mirror with clear eyes.

Clear eyes means you know you’ve given your best, done what you know is right. It doesn’t mean perfect. Clear eyes means you’ve got nothing to hide.

Full Hearts

Full hearts is about love. It means you’re connected to your colleagues, friends, family, team mates. It means you’re willing to sacrifice for their benefit, for some goal that’s bigger than self-interest.

When you have a full heart, you know it’s not about you. You’ve got your buddies’ backs, and they’ve got yours.

The point, for me, is that the scoreboard is only numbers. Most of what ends up there is beyond your control.

But if you live with clear eyes and a full heart, you win.

Rich’s Ride has all sorts of flaws. I’ll make mistakes I can’t even imagine. But here’s what’s cool about taking a God-sized risk and chasing a dream.

You hit the pillow each night with clear eyes and a full heart.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, Al

Recovery is Active, Not Passive

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I used to want to be passive. I wanted God to fix me. I wanted other people to fix me. I felt inanimate and unconscious. But that the same time I rejected what God was trying to tell me and what he was trying to do in my life. I just would not listen. I just would not obey.

“The grace of God, in renewing us, engages and employs us.We are not like inanimate, unconscious wood that is sawn or passive stone that is chiseled. God does not work on us, but *in* us to *will* and to *do* His good pleasure. He is the author of repentance, by enabling *us* to exercise repentance. He is the giver of faith, as he teaches and aids *us* to believe.” — William Jay [Paraphrase]

It is so true that God does not work on us, but in us to will and to do His good pleasure. I have to be open and receptive to Him. I have to be willing to change and try new things. Part of this is learning what repentance really is and exercising repentance.

There was a Christians in Recovery Thought the other day that talked about repentance too:

The word translated as “repentance” in the New Testament is “metanoia.” It refers to a complete change of mind, a total reversal of life values and purpose and life. Repentance is not just an understanding of sin but also an *anticipation* of God’s mercy and grace.

On a daily basis we need to anticipate and expect God’s mercy and grace in my life. Repent, anticipate and expect are all active verbs. There is nothing passive about recovery or being a Christian!

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