Archive for March, 2014

Are You Serving or Shaming?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I feel compelled to comment on today’s word-of-the-week…

SERVE

MondayJesus told a story we know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s about a man who’s attacked, beaten, robbed, and left half-dead by the side of the road.

A priest and a Levite (the religious good guys) passed by without stopping to help. Then a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, bandaged his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for his care.

The Samaritan served a man who most likely hated him. At the end of the story Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.”

Another time, Jesus spent time at a well with a Samaritan woman. According to religious rules and traditions, He shouldn’t have even been there. The woman herself expresses shock when he asks her for a drink.

Jesus came to serve the world, not to shame it. He washed the feet of those whose sins He carried to the cross a few hours later. He said crazy things like, “Love your enemies” and “When you did it to the least of these you did it to me.”

He said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles,” extending an oppressive Roman law which allowed a soldier to demand that a stranger carry his heavy pack up to one mile. Jesus told his followers to serve beyond the minimum requirements and walk two miles.

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)

And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:47)

Over and over Jesus welcomed, associated with, and served those rejected by organized religion. And He reserved His strongest condemnation for religious leaders.

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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

How Big Is Grace?

Friday, March 7th, 2014

grace

Do you think you “get” grace?

I’ve been hanging out in a workshop with some guys who are trying to find their way out of addiction. Today one of them said he felt really blessed and wanted to know what God wanted in return.

Grace is a hard concept, isn’t it? We receive a priceless gift for which we’re required to pay nothing. We’re saved and forgiven simply by faith.

The guy who asked the question—he’s heard the words plenty of times. He’s been told over and over that nothing he can do can make God love him any more or any less.

He knows it’s true. He just doesn’t KNOW it. Does that make sense?

I’ll bet it does, because if we’re honest we all get there at some point. No matter how many times we say the words, we all get caught in the trap of feeling like we need to do a little more to pay God back. Or we get a little comfortable and believe we’ve earned a bit of extra favor.

My guess? Grace is really bigger than we can imagine. It’s probably good, at least for me, to always retain a sense of awe around it and to have people remind me that it makes no sense. If we turn it into a nice, simple theological idea we risk making it small.

It isn’t.

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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

Obsticals in Our Path: Is Anything Too Hard for the LORD?

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Genesis 18:14: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”

The blue sky, the bright sun, and the graceful palm trees in Florida invited me to feast on God’s creation.

I struggled to believe the weather forecast of snow and ice on the East coast. I boarded the plane and arrived in Atlanta on time.

When I reached the gate for my flight to VA, the agent said, “The flight was canceled because of snow and sleet in VA.”

I shrugged and reached for my new boarding pass on a flight four hours later. I called the neighbor who would pick me up at the airport. She expected my call and said snow covered the grass and it continued to snow.

A remembrance of Genesis 18:14 gave me hope God would get me home that day. I wouldn’t spend the night in the airport.

However, every time I looked at the billboard, more flights were delayed or canceled.

A flight was scheduled to leave at 1:42 pm. I could go standby, but it was delayed. I checked on the status of my rescheduled flight. It too was delayed.

How could I be certain I would arrive home that evening? God’s gentle whisper assured me I would.

After a day in the Atlanta airport, I flew home standby and shared my cancer story with a woman who sat next to me. She starts radiation treatment next week.

My luggage arrived half an hour later on a different flight, and my neighbor greeted me with homemade soup and banana pudding for dinner.

Dear God, help me remember nothing is too hard for you. Amen.

Application: What trial or obstacle will you trust God to handle this week?

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!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

Has suffering crushed you? Does God even care?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

When I look at the devastation of this world, at the suffering of others and the pain of my own life, I ask, Where is God?  Does He even notice?  Does He even care?

My first step in this journey of seeking answers to these questions began when I realized that earth is not my true home.  I am just visiting here.  I am just passing through.

…having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13, 16 NASB

God did create a perfect world, and mankind shattered that perfection with our sin.
Pain runs rampant, seemingly unchecked.  But we don’t belong here! We are built for eternity!  We are strangers, aliens, foreigners here!  Our citizenship is in heaven.

Okay… so then why are we still here?  Why don’t we just head on up to our true home?  If God loves us so much, why does He leave us down here groaning with all of creation?

I believe the answers to these questions are uniquely tailored for each one of us.  I think the answers may come as we seek to know God more and grow in our relationship with Him.

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~ * ~

Celeste Li, M. D. is the author of
Triumph Over Suffering: A Spiritual Guide To Conquering Adversity
She is active member of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens Florida.
Celeste teaches a course in Triumph Over Suffering and serves in Christ Fellowship’s Ministry for the Suffering.

Do You Appreciate the Radical Claims of Christ?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

My friend invited me to speak to a group of young adults last week. As we talked prior to the event he said, almost matter-of-factly, “I never stop being surprised by just how incredibly radical Jesus’ message really was.”

He paused for a moment, then corrected himself. “Not was… is.”

That’s a pretty good pre-game pep talk for a speaker.

I think I’m like my friend. I suspect I don’t really appreciate the radical nature of His claims.

Or perhaps I do, but I also know following radicals–really following them, not just pretending–isn’t always the safest choice.

Have a great week!

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!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