Archive for June, 2013

Does Beauty Die?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

She makes her way with fumbling fingers,
Gnarled, stiff, she smiling lingers,
Touching page in ragged book
Preserving date sweet vows they took.

Salvation Army tossed a line,
Brief reprieve from Father Time,
Wave was nearing, soon would crash,
Solid pew will view her ash.

Soft vibrato gracing hymns,
Quavering with ancient limbs
Engaged in battle, foe unseen,
Ever pulling, pulling seams.

Sermon sends her inward seeking,
Depths of joy, tears are leaking,
Reaper’s scowling seems to lessen,
Scenes recalled of sweet confession.

Traveled she long years of care,
Found a path and bent for prayer,
Chapel rose on humble spirit,
Gift of Grace where none was merit.

To this Fortress now she flies,
Seeking rest her world denies,
Lays her head on lovely lap,
Aches to wake from mortal nap.

Service over, all arise,
Hands firm shaken, cheeks soft kissed,
Salvation lingers, ‘dorns her chapel,
Guide ’til nought her mortal mist.

Copyright 2008-2013 by Roadrunner.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
See more works at Roadrunner’s web site
http://Furtherreaches.com

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Copyright 1998-2013 by Christians in Recovery

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Don’t Look Back

Friday, June 28th, 2013

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:10-12 KJV

Several years ago, I read in the newspaper a statement that someone had made in honor of a friend who had just gone home to be with Jesus. The person said in honor of her friend “She never said an unkind word about anyone.” When I read that statement, I felt ashamed and embarrassed because before I was saved I was guilty of saying unkind things all the time about people and to them.

One day our precious Heavenly Father spoke to my heart and said “Don’t look back.” We read in the Bible: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13, 14)

This is just another sneaky attack from satan because he wants us to live in shame and guilt. However, if we have confessed our sins and asked Jesus to forgive us, He has forgiven us and removed our transgressions from us and He will never hold them against us again. Oh that we would be like Jesus and forgive people from our hearts and never hold what they say to us against them again.

Thank God that He does not give us the punishment that we deserve for our sins. Our precious Saviour as He hung there on the cruel cross of horror in agony took our sins upon Him and paid the price for us. He paid the price for us because we couldn’t pay it ourselves. God can’t look on sin so it took our sinless Saviour to die in our place. Thank You, Jesus, for Your heart of compassionate love and for paying the price for us.

None of us are perfect. You will sin and you will fail Jesus but when you do sin and fail Him don’t allow satan to keep you in bondage. If Jesus has forgiven you, then you are forgiven. Don’t dwell on what you did in the past. Jesus doesn’t hold your past against you so you shouldn’t let satan make you feel ashamed.

If you have sinned and hurt somebody, humble yourself and ask Jesus to forgive you and ask Him to help you when you are tempted to say something unkind to someone. Above all, don’t look back and don’t listen to satan because he is a liar. You have been forgiven through the precious blood of Jesus so don’t look back on your past. Look forward and serve our wonderful Saviour for the rest of your life.

Copyright, Joanne Lowe. All rights reserved
Used by permission

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Copyright 1998-2013 by Christians in Recovery
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Experiencing Everlasting Love

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

“Yes, I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!” Jeremiah 31:3

Christian, think on what Christ has already done for you.

He groaned, bled, and died for you!

You were lost and on your way to Hell–but He found you!
You were His enemy–but He reconciled you!
You were a captive of the devil–but He freed you!
You were blind to your desperate condition–but He cured you!
You were dead in sin–but He quickened you!

As deep as is the mountain of our guilt–deeper, far deeper is that ocean of infinite love in which God has promised to bury it forever, and to remember it no more against us!

Oh! when you reflect how He has watched over you, since He has saved you–how He has…
preserved you from dangers,
supported you in seasons of temptation,
sustained you in times of trial,
nourished you in days of sickness,
comforted you in the hours of despondency!

Surely, you cannot surely imagine that He will now desert you; you cannot believe that He will so mar the work of His own hands–the labor of His own love–as to cast you off, and leave you to perish! If He sought you when His enemy–will He not take care of you when His child?

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!” Ephesians 3:19

~ John MacDuff, “Encouragements to Patient Waiting” 1864

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Easy and Light?

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Matthew 11:30: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“Lynne” told me she was overwhelmed with guilt, shame, and anger. She thought she knew how to make her yoke easy and her burden light.

Unfortunately, everything Lynn tried failed. She said, “That verse sounds good, but I give up.” She stared at me and asked, “What do you think that verse means?”

Over the next few months, I worked with Lynn to help her understand. A yoke serves to couple two things together. According to Vine’s Dictionary, metaphorically it means submission to authority.

The good news is we don’t put on the yoke alone. Jesus shares it with us. It is the yoke of the Christian life lived in obedience to our heavenly Father with grace and strength from Jesus.

We trust God with our lives. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect bodies and imperfect people, but we embrace God’s peace and joy.

Some of us like to feel independent and do things our own way. I know. I’ve done it. We carry the yoke of this world alone with all its heartache, disappointment, discouragement, and at times even despair.

When God forgives us of our sins, the burden is light. We no longer have to carry the burden of guilt and shame. We are free from the bondage of sin and its despair. We are also free from man made traditions and rituals.

Lynn chose to trust the Word of God and share the yoke with Jesus. What will you do?

Dear God, I feel overwhelmed. Please help me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to share your yoke with Jesus and make your burden light?

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Copyright 2010-2013, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVCAll
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

Do You Wonder Which Way to Go?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

A pastor friend used to look around the room and proclaim, “Nobody’s here by accident.”

As a new believer, that drove me crazy. I figured everybody else knew exactly why they were there, and I had no clue.

Now I know better. I watch people frozen by a lack of direction. “Just tell me what you want,” they cry to God. ”I’ll do whatever You say.”

And then they sit and wait.

I think it works differently. I think God’s happy to direct our steps, but I believe it works something like this.

Jesus says, “Get to work. Work hard. Be passionate. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.

“And keep talking to Me. As we journey together, I’ll show you why you’re here.”

I don’t get a map with route and destination all neatly marked out before I begin. Instead, I get a compass and a guide. I’m supposed to trust the guide to provide for the journey.

Almost as though He’s God and I’m not.

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

Do You Have Enough Fuel?

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Last week I started out on a great bike ride with a plan.

Miles disappeared behind me as I cranked along, lost in the beauty of a Colorado summer morning. Exuberance got the better of me, and I decided to extend my ride. Everything was perfect until I approached a hill a few miles from home. As I increased pedal speed for the climb I felt my body’s engine room calling for more fuel.

Except—the tank was empty.

Dumb move. I have enough experience to know how long I can ride without additional food. Extending my ride without proper fuel is just like ignoring the “low fuel” light in my car, and the result’s the same. I limped home on an empty tank.

This experience got me thinking about how we fuel our spiritual journey. I wonder if we pay attention to keeping the spiritual gas tank properly filled.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)

When I ride my bike, suitable food matters. Eating junk food is like “spending money on what is not bread.”

It’s a new week. The journey begins once again. God invites us to spend our money and labor on things that satisfy our souls.

Let’s resolve to live the week by eating and drinking the spiritual stuff that will keep the tank filled.

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

Are You Persevering?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

James 5:11: “We consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

Perseverance is hard work. It is a test of our faith.

As I worked with “Christy,” she told me the man she had dated for a year was dating someone else. She sobbed and admitted she still loved him, but he was going to marry the other woman.

Her pain was real. The loss seemed more than she could bear. She felt alone, rejected, and hopeless. I listened to her and asked her to journal about her feelings and talk to God about them.

The following week, Christy and I discussed her journal notes. Afterward, I asked Christy a few questions: “Could she trust God in this crisis? Did she remember how Job lost everything, but God gave him double for what he lost? Would God give her the grace to persevere? Did she believe ‘the Lord is full of compassion and mercy’?”

I told Christy to write down the questions and spend time alone with the Lord to answer them. Christy did the assignment and persevered.

The Lord gave her a fantastic job opportunity and blessed her beyond her wildest dreams. The last time we talked, she told me she would have never grown as a person and as a Christian if she hadn’t lost the man she thought she couldn’t live without.

What about you?

Dear God, sometimes I feel alone, rejected, and hopeless too. Help me persevere. Amen.

Application: How will you live differently this week to show that you believe “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy”?

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

What Would Change?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about What if___?

The idea was to consider opportunities by pondering their implications.

  • What if … I read a book per month?
  • What if … I made the effort to meet all of my neighbors?

The notion is to think about what might change in my life.

Yesterday I was cranking my bike and for some reason a couple of What-if’s popped into my head.

What if … Jesus is exactly who He says He is?

What if … He was serious and meant everything He said?

Of course I absolutely believe He is precisely who He claimed to be and meant everything He said.

But when I thought about it that way, in terms of implications and what would have to change if someone really believed, I stopped my bike at the top of a hill and stared across a field.

What … if … I really believed what I believe?

Are You Digging A Well?

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

One advantage of my injury is a healthy dose of humility. I’m constantly reminded of my relative dependence on others.

Yesterday during my bike ride I spent a lot of time thinking about this passage from Deuteronomy 6.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

It’s intended as a reminder to the people of the Exodus of God’s provision as they entered the Promised Land. But there’s a broader principle.

I drink from wells I did not dig.

I live in a wonderful city I didn’t build. I ride on roads and trails for which I didn’t pay. I live in a beautiful state explored and settled by others, in a country whose relative liberty was secured by others’ vision and sacrifice.

I drink from wells I did not dig. So how am I to respond?

I’m grateful, to God and to the people whose efforts allow me to enjoy so much of what I take for granted.

And I’m responsible, I think, to leave something behind, to build something with all I’ve been given by God. It’s not enough to say thank-you and take all I can for myself. I need to leave a legacy.

I eat the fruit of trees I didn’t plant because others planted trees they might never enjoy.

My bike ride was a good time to reflect on the wells I dig and the  trees I plant.

How about you?

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

Pulling Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps?

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

BOOTSTRAPS

We’re supposed to pull ourselves up by them, right? Work hard, be persistent, do whatever it takes, but the message is clear—your success is yours, and yours alone.

I remember wondering as a kid, in that stage where you take such things literally, how you were supposed to pull yourself up by tugging on your own clothing. It’s physically impossible, of course—even a child knows that.

Pulling yourself up requires a lot more than one’s own bootstraps. Of course you need strength, balance, and determination, and it’s a lot easier if you develop skills required to generate leverage and momentum. That’s all the stuff you bring to the game with hard work, training, and perseverance.

But none of it will do you a bit of good without a place to stand.

No matter how much we pretend, none of us stands independently. We’re all wherever we are because countless individuals worked to provide a place for us to stand.

Sometimes we can identify them specifically—parents, grandparents, teachers, or mentors. More often they’re nameless, the folks we never meet who sacrificed to build the communities in which we live.

To paraphrase the idea in Deuteronomy 6:11, we drink from wells we did not dig and sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.

We stand in the light of salvation we didn’t, and can’t, earn.

Might be a good thing to remember the next time we’re tempted to claim we pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

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