Archive for February, 2013

Are You Walking In the Light of His Presence?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Psalm 89:15: “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.”

To be blessed means to be divinely favored, happy, or contented. I want to be blessed. Don’t you? I don’t want to pass up God’s favor. You probably don’t either.

If we acclaim God, we are blessed. To acclaim him means we applaud him or welcome him with sounds or shouts of approval and joy. You might be thinking, “Now Yvonne, don’t get carried away. You don’t expect me to clap or shout for joy for the Lord, do you?”

Sit with me at a football game, a soccer game, or a car race. I’ll film the reaction of the spectators including yours and will show you the video afterwards. Then you answer that question yourself about acclaiming God.

To be blessed, we will also walk in the light of God’s presence. If we walk in the light, we avoid the darkness of sin with all its consequences. We seek God. We obey him because we know the “exceptions” to our obedience bring heartache.

When we wake up to praise & worship music instead of an alarm clock, we can start the day in the light of the presence of the Lord.

As we read our Bible each morning, we can also walk in the light of his presence. Years ago, I signed a pledge to be part of the BBB Club—the Bible Before Breakfast. The habit of reading the Bible before breakfast places me in the light of the Lord’s presence soon after getting up.

Another way that demonstrates our walk in the light of the Lord’s presence is that we have fellowship with one another. We look forward to going to church and church events. Church attendance is not something we dislike.

 Dear God, the desire of my heart is to be blessed. Amen.

 Application:  How will you proclaim the Lord and walk in the light of his presence this week?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright 2010-2013, 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

God’s Threshing

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

“You will have tribulation in this world.” John 16:33

The word tribulation is very suggestive. It comes from a root which means ‘a flail’. The thresher uses the flail to beat the wheat sheaves, that he may separate the golden wheat from the chaff and straw.

Tribulation is God’s threshing–not to destroy us, but to get what is good, heavenly, and spiritual in us–separated from what is wrong, earthly, and fleshly. Nothing less than blows of pain will do this. The golden wheat of goodness in us, is so closely wrapped up in the strong chaff of sin–that only the heavy flail of suffering can produce the separation!

Many of us would never enter the gates of pearl–were it not for this unwelcome messenger, pain! “We must go through many troubles to enter the kingdom of God!” Acts 14:22

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)

His Love Stands Firm

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Psalm 89:2: “I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”

Most of us have heard the expression, “Puppy love.” We refer to simple infatuation as a crush or puppy love. That love is the romantic feelings that young people in their childhood or adolescence feel.

God’s love for us is not puppy love or a crush. It is not a temporary love, but one that has a firm foundation and is eternal. As Psalm 89:2 says, “[his] love stands firm forever.”

Although God knows us with all our strengths and weaknesses, his love continues to stand firm forever. His love for us is not centered on fantasies and daydreams but is grounded in reality. He knows us as no one else can or ever will.

We may be unfaithful to God, but he is faithful to us. We may let go of his hand or turn our backs on him, but he never lets go of us or turns his back on us. He waits for us and woos us back to himself.

We can’t work to earn God’s love. His faithfulness was established in heaven, and is not dependent on our good works. Unlike our love, God’s love is pure, holy, perfect, eternal, and faithful.

Dear God, help me understand your love and faithfulness. Amen.

Application:  When this week will you accept God’s love and faithfulness and thank him for both?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2010-2013, 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 Past or Future Oriented?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Living life is like driving a car: if you spend all your time looking in the rearview mirror, you’ll run right off the road. The comparative size of the windshield and the rearview mirror shows you that the relative importance of what’s in front of you, compared to what’s behind you is about a 90 to 1 ratio.

Christians are to be future oriented and not past oriented. A past orientation is idolatrous: it is premised on the false notion that total control by man is possible and it denies total control by God.

Reprinted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation.
Copyright 2000-2013 by the Chalcedon Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Copyright 1998-2013 by Christians in Recovery

All rights reserved.

Scrambled: The Unexpected Way God Interrupts Our Plans

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

SCRAMBLED

This isn’t about eggs.

It’s about our schedule, the crazy way opportunities appear, the wonderfully unexpected way God interrupts our plans. Anyone watching would think the whole thing is scrambled.

Have you ever thought God’s work should go smoothly? Ever been seduced into the notion that the church programs should be safe, quiet, and relatively risk-free? Ever thought turbulence signaled God’s displeasure?

I’ll confess—I sorta figured if we were doing God’s stuff His way, He’d smooth out the road a bit, provide more tailwinds, open the doors in a more logical order.

I’ve decided it might be just the opposite. I’m sensing that God’s work might be inherently messy. Maybe smooth, clean, and neat are human desires.

I wonder if selling out for a God-sized dream means accepting some seasons of scrambled.

Your thoughts?

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Copyright 2008-2013 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

Will You Tolerate Interruptions?

Monday, February 18th, 2013

I’m learning a lot on this tour. One lesson is the difference between interruptions and distractions.

We talk about being willing to let God interrupt our plans, not being so focused on our vision that we won’t allow God’s vision to interrupt.

When we’re seeking speaking opportunities along the route, churches often respond that they’ve already got things planned, there’s just no space for us to tell our story. I’ll confess I’ve been frustrated about that response. Are they so rigid that they’re not willing to let God interrupt?

You see the flaw, right? How do I know my silly project is God’s planned interruption of a church’s plans? Maybe my proposal is simply a distraction.

One man’s spirit-inspired interruption is another’s unwelcome distraction. How can we know the difference?

For me, one key is getting over myself. This isn’t my project, and I’ll do better if I remember that. When I work like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God, I’m more likely to keep things in perspective.

God’s opening doors through special people like Clark Osborn. They’re not the doors I expected. I think God’s telling me something.

Perhaps I need to let God interrupt my plans.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2013 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

He will Keep Your Feet

Friday, February 15th, 2013

He will keep the feet of his saints. (1 Samuel 2:9)

The way is slippery and our feet are feeble, but the Lord will keep our feet. If we give ourselves up by obedient faith to be His holy ones, He will Himself be our guardian. Not only will He charge His angels to keep us, but He Himself will preserve our goings.

He will keep our feet from falling so that we do not defile our garments, wound our souls, and cause the enemy to blaspheme.

He will keep our feet from wandering so that we do not go into paths of error, or ways of folly, or courses of the world’s custom.

He will keep our feet from swelling through weariness, or blistering because of the roughness and length of the way.

He will keep our feet from wounding: our shoes shall be iron and brass so that even though we tread on the edge of the sword, or on deadly serpents, we shall not bleed or be poisoned.

He will also pluck our feet out of the net. We shall not be entangled by the deceit of our malicious and crafty foes.

With such a promise as this, let us run without weariness and walk without fear. He who keeps our feet will do it effectually.

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Copyright 1998-2013 by Christians in Recovery
All rights reserved.

Where is God?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

God never hides His face from us, though often He will wait; stepping back like the loving Father that He is, to see whether or not we can struggle through a problem on our own.

God wants to see us grow, and He often has to let us struggle a bit in order to allow that growth to occur. Even in those times of trial, however, the Lord is never far away, and He will not allow us to be tried beyond our endurance.

Joshua 1:9
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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Copyright 2010-2013, 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

He Restores Our Broken Hearts

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

“While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brotherâ’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped. And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”  Job 1: 8-22 KJV

One of the most tragic and heartbreaking things in life and one of the most difficult burdens we have to bear is when we lose a child. There is more than one way to lose a child. We can lose our children by death, by distance of miles and by their disobedience and rejection of God. For some parents, they have been grieving over their children for many years because their children have strayed away from God.

Then there are parents like myself, who due to circumstances beyond their control, had to place a child for adoption. That is a very painful and heartbreaking decision to make but sometimes it is necessary for the welfare of the child. When someone has to place a child for adoption, please don’t judge them and criticize them; pray for them because only Jesus knows the depths of the pain they have to bear. Only Jesus knows the tears of grief that they shed during the long and lonely nights.

I’m reminded of a pastor friend who said in one of his sermons “If there is a problem, don’t bring it up for discussion unless you are willing to be part of the solution.” I think we do that a lot of times with difficult situations and problems. Instead of being part of the solution, we try to pass the responsibility to someone else. Sometimes it is because there is nothing that we can do about it, but other times it is simply because we don’t want to get involved. Thank God that Jesus didn’t pass our salvation to someone else because nobody else could have satisfied our Heavenly Father’s requirement for our salvation.

I remember like it happened today, the pain and heartache I felt the day I signed the adoption papers for my beloved daughter, April Dawn. It took four people to get her out of my arms after I signed those papers. They were supposed to have placed her in another room so that I would not see her when I left the agency. However, when I started to open the door to leave, somebody had put her stroller right by the door. I walked out that door backwards looking at her precious face. I went to a department store and stood there for two hours in the infant department holding a beautiful red dress. It’s a wonder that they didn’t have me locked up because I’m sure that I looked suspicious.

There has not been one day go by that I haven’t missed my precious daughter and prayed that she will come to know Jesus and to accept Him as her personal Saviour. I pray that her adoptive parents raised her to love Jesus. That is what keeps me going; to know that if she has accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour, then we will be reunited in Heaven and will be together for all eternity.

It is very painful for me to write about this, but I do it so others will know that Jesus does understand when it feels like we can’t take another step or give another smile. He does care when our hearts are breaking. When we are sad and hurting, His heart is also sad and He hurts with us because He not only is our Saviour; He is our compassionate friend, a friend who never leaves us, not even for one minute. He gently and tenderly wipes the tears from our eyes and from our hearts with His kisses of understanding, unconditional love and compassion.

If you will read the book of Job, you will see that Job lost his children but he didn’t blame God. How often do we hear about marriages breaking up because of the death of a child? Instead of encouraging each other, the husband and wife accuse each other. If ever we needed to hold on to one another like glue, it is when we lose a child. We should take hold of our husband or wife’s hand and pray for each other. Above everything, we should never blame God because our children belong to Him. He gives them to us in trust to raise for Him, but they are His and He misses them when they go astray a lot more than we miss them.

Thank God for the restorer of broken hearts, our precious Saviour, Jesus! Not only does Jesus restore our broken hearts, He can restore our broken marriages, our broken families and our broken lives. If we will put our trust in Him and ask Him to help us, He will be faithful to put the pieces of our broken lives back together again. However, we have to go to Him in faith believing that He will restore them.

There is nothing too hard for Jesus! He will bring us through every heartache and trial victoriously if we will keep our hearts in right standing with Him. We can’t expect Him to, and indeed it is very arrogant of us to ask Him to help us if we have something in our hearts that displeases Him. We must confess anything that we have in our heart that brings disgrace and shame to Him.

If your heart is broken today, run into the outstretched arms of Jesus. He is eagerly waiting for you because He longs to take away the sadness and hurt from your heart and replace it with His understanding, tenderness and compassion. There is no one like Jesus! No one loves us like Jesus loves us. He is a friend beyond compare!

Thank You, Jesus, for loving us and for dying for us. Thank You that You cared enough to walk that long and lonely road to Calvary and there allow them to crucify You. He took your place on the cross. He suffered and bled and died so that you may be forgiven, saved, redeemed and cleansed in His precious atoning blood. Have you said “yes” to Jesus? If so, have you given Him all of your heart, all of your time and everything that you have?

~ Joanne Lowe

Life Is But a Breath

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Psalm 39:5: “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.”

Last week several of us women talked about how the years seem to pass by faster as we get older. As children, life seemed to be at a standstill. Now life seems to rush on by.

Scripture says God has made our “days a mere handbreadth.” A handbreadth is a linear measurement about the width of the palm of the hand and ranges from 2 ½ to 4 inches. No wonder the word, “mere” is used. With such a small range, what will we do on earth? How will we live with meaning and joy?

What dreams and goals do you have? What is your plan to reach them?

My son often said, “When I retire, I’ll . . . “ or “When I don’t work anymore, I’ll . . . “ Those days never came for him, and not one of us is promised a long life on earth.

As Psalm 39:5 says, “Each man’s life is but a breath.” If you hope to spend more time with your children, do it now. If you’re going to enjoy the companionship of your spouse, don’t wait for tomorrow. If you want to read a book a week, start reading today. If you live in danger, provide for your safety now before it is too late.

If you belong to the procrastinator’s club, remember you don’t have to renew your membership. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Don’t wait for retirement to take care of it.

Sit with your Bible in a quiet spot and listen to what God would have you do. Take notes in your journal and pray over each of your activities, your email subscriptions, your magazine subscriptions, and your commitments.

Dear God, help me understand my life is but a breath. Amen.

Application:  What will you do this week to make your life more meaningful?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2010-2013, 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