Archive for August, 2013

Dealing with Change

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV).


Life happens, as they say. Plans made today could easily fall apart tomorrow. Someone once said that the only thing we can count on is change. That leaves us in a very precarious position, doesn’t it?

The Scriptures, however, paint a very different picture. We see a God who never changes, whose love endures forever, whose character is 100 percent dependable, and whose Word is rock solid. Hebrews 13:8 sums it up this way: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

I remember when, as a relatively new Christian, I first read that verse. It was painted above the altar at the church I’d started attending. Each time I read it, my heart was encouraged and my faith grew—until some things in my personal life fell apart. Then I began to question God’s faithfulness. How could such a thing happen to me? Why would a faithful Father allow it?

Thankfully I had a close friend, much more mature in the Lord than I, who reminded me that God didn’t promise we would never have difficulties or hardships or even changes in our lives. In fact, she explained, we could count on such things regularly, so long as we live on this sin-damaged earth. However, she also explained that we could choose to allow those things to damage our faith and drive a wedge between us and God—or we could choose to hand those very difficulties and heartaches and incomprehensible changes over to a loving, unchanging God who has promised to bring good even out of those things that seem so bad.

It has taken many years for me to come to the place of unshakable faith that says, “Regardless of what the world or the enemy throws at me, I know my God is good and that He never changes.” I also know that place of faith will continue to be challenged until the end of my earthly days. But I know above all else that Hebrews 13:8 is true, and I have chosen to cling to that truth until I am released to soar into His presence. My prayer is that you too have made that same choice, and that you will encourage others to do so as well.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here2
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2013 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

Making Plans, Asking the Right Questions

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Our pastor asked a great question yesterday.

“Are we asking God to bless our plans, or are we seeking God’s plans and asking if we can play?”

Today over at RICH’S RIDE we unveiled our next project, TAOS TO TUCSON 2013. As I think about cranking across the desert in October, that question’s weighing on my mind.

How do I know for sure if this is God’s thing or mine? I’m trying harder than ever to distinguish my stuff from God’s stuff, and I’m less certain than ever what goes in which pile.

God and I are talking a lot lately. Or I’m talking and I believe He’s talking and I’m trying to listen. But I’m honest enough to know “I want to do this” can sound a lot like “God wants me to do this” when it gets filtered through my biases and blind spots.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I don’t want God to bless my plans. I want Him to bless my efforts to be part of His plans.

And I want to know which is which.

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

What Will You Be Prepared to Do?

Monday, August 12th, 2013

2 Timothy 2:21: “If a man cleanses himself from the latter [ignoble purposes], he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

Anna sat before me in tears and said, “ I don’t think God wants to use me.”

I assured her that God wants to use all of us. I handed Anna my Bible and asked her to read 2 Timothy 2:21 aloud. She did.

I said her first step would be to cleanse herself from ignoble purposes. Afterwards God promised some glorious results. He would make her an instrument for noble purposes.

God also promised to make her holy. That meant to be separated from sin, to become more like Jesus Christ in character, and devoted to God. That could mean a struggle for her to choose between good and evil at home, at work, and everywhere else.

Anna stared at me and asked if I believed that verse. I told her I did and explained how God is working that verse in my life.

I asked Anna if she really wanted to be “useful to the Master.” She nodded and smiled.

I said God would prepare her to “do any good work.” Sometimes we have an idea of what that good work is, but God has a different one. With a laugh, I told her I thought I would speak to teenagers, but God wants me to speak to adults.

Have you asked God to make you useful to him?

Dear God, help me cleanse myself from ignoble purposes. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to cooperate with God to be holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work?

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

Who is driving the bus of your life?

Friday, August 9th, 2013

“My times are in Your hands!” Psalm 31:15

Have you ever ridden on a school bus as a child? Or a bus for public transportation as an adult? Probably, when you got on the bus you climbed aboard, tossed your money into the basket and sat down on a seat and give it no more thought. You did not wonder if the driver was a drunk or drug addict. Did it occur to you that perhaps he was filled with rage, severely depressed, had his mind on other things or was otherwise impaired from doing his job 100%? Did you worry about how sound the bus was or whether it had been maintained properly? Did you question the integrity of the breaks? Did you ever doubt that the bus would take you to your destination? Probably not.

Who is driving the bus of your life? Is it God? Do you say to Him, “I don’t think this is the correct route. There is a smoother, shorter and safer way.” Do you wonder if His attention is elsewhere and perhaps He has forgotten about you? Do you question His ability to get you to your proper destination?

Think about this! You put your life in the hands of a perfect stranger driving a public transportation bus and do not give it a second thought. Yet, when the bus of your life encounters steep hills, winding roads or has sheer cliffs on either side you almost leap at the chance to question God, wonder about His wisdom, doubt His abilities.

J.R. Miller wrote “When the Song Begins” (1905):

    Not only does God love us and desire our good–but His wisdom is infinite. He knows what is best for us, what things will do us the good we need. We ourselves do not know. The things we think would bring us blessing–perhaps would bring us irreparable harm! The things we dread as evil, and shrink from–perhaps are the bearers to us of divinest good! We would make pitiful work of our lives–if we had the ordering of our affairs in our own hands. If for but one day we could take matters into our own hands, out of God’s hands–we would wreck everything!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8 NASB

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Copyright 1992-2013 by S.O. BrennanAll rights reserved.

The Silent Sermon

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.

Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The Pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave; he slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon.” I shall be back in church next Sunday.”

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Copyright, 2000-2013 by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

What Do You Do When You Are Broken Down?

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Nehemiah 1:4: “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

“I’m in great trouble and disgrace,” Kevin said as he looked out my office window.

As I pulled my chair closer to Kevin, I asked what happened.

“I’ve wasted a lot of money on alcohol.” He paused for a moment and continued, “My marriage is broken down, and my family no longer trusts me.”

The book of Nehemiah came to mind. I suggested that Kevin could do what Nehemiah did when he realized the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and its gates had been burned with fire. I read Nehemiah 1:4 to him.

With a nod, Kevin said he mourned, but he never fasted and prayed.

In verses 6-7, Nehemiah also confessed his sins, the sins of his father’s house, and the sins of the people. Nehemiah confessed their disobedience to the “commands, decrees and laws [God] gave [his] servant Moses.”

I asked Kevin if he was ready to confess his sins.

At first, Kevin blamed his wife, the children, neighbors, his boss, and co-workers. Eventually he admitted his own disobedience to God’s commandments.

I asked Kevin if he would confess his sins, revere God’s name, and ask him for favor.

With another nod, Kevin said he had tried everything else and failed. He would try God’s way now.

Are you in great trouble and disgrace? What needs rebuilding in your life? Nehemiah asked God for success. Will you ask also?

Dear God, please help me rebuild my life and give me success. Amen.

Application: When will you pray, fast, and confess your sins to God this week?

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

 

Why Do Your Believe?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Worship songs, books, articles, blogs—seems like everywhere I turn in the past couple of weeks I’ve encountered this “word.”

Okay, technically it’s two words, but separately they mean something very different.

At the burning bush, Moses asked God for His name. He might have provided some Hebrew name with deep theological or cultural meaning. He might have written His name across the sky with fire for all to see. Instead, He offered what must have been an unsatisfying reply (Exodus 3:14).

“I am who I am.”

Ever wonder why God doesn’t do a burning bush moment today? A voice from flaming, non-consumed shrubbery would go viral, and then everyone would believe, right?

Except, they probably wouldn’t. The bible’s filled with stories of folks who witnessed miracles and still couldn’t follow.

In Exodus 15, it’s three days after the parting of the Red Sea. Seventy-two hours after this incredible demonstration of God’s provision, the Israelites griped about the lack of water. Freed from Egyptian slavery and passed over by the angel of death, they were certain God would now let them die of thirst.

I am who I am.

The One who simply Is.

The self-evident One.

If you believe, the evidence is everywhere. If not, you ignore or forget or explain it away. I don’t think it’s about evidence. It’s about faith.

I think that’s exactly how He wants it.

When someone asks why you believe, maybe the best answer comes from God Himself.

“Because He Is.”

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 Hunger?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

“Blessed are the hungry, for they shall be filled.” Jesus Christ

Hunger is an escort into the deeper things (sustenance and nature) of God. (Misty Edwards)

Maintaining hunger is a spiritual discipline that is directly connected to desire and desperation for God Himself.

Hunger ignites the release of a passion that is born in the basic-core need for His presence and His personal attributes. We simply feast on Him, who He truly is!

As hunger is satisfied, we are spiritually nourished with Father’s Heart, His gifts, and His fruit. It is there that we can impart and impact those in our daily sphere of influence with Holy Spirit.

We no longer do the “religious shuffle” of throwing memorized scripture “crackers” or “pseudo/pop caloric empty” principles at the starving world around us! We are instead full to running over with the Actual Person of Jesus! He splashes out of us with sustenance and Joy not known to the ‘religious’ crowd! We feed the thousands with baskets full of “Heavenly bread-Jesus” and still have leftovers for the myriads yet to feed!

Go and share the nourishing Gospel of Jesus Christ! Make disciples, teaching them the truths of Kingdom life. They will become “chefs” and “servers” of Holy Spirit’s abundance!

A servant at the Banquet table of Jesus!

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Copyright, 2000-2013 by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.