Archive for July, 2014

Do You Believe God Will Hear You?

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Micah 7:7: “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

“Oh my God,” I whispered and then sobbed as I looked at the crypt with my son’s name on it. It had been two and a half years since my last visit to San Diego.

I stood alone as the sun shone over the military cemetery, and the breeze blew through my hair. Such a beautiful day, and yet my heart ached to see my son. I placed a patriotic red, white, and blue arrangement of flowers in a wheelbarrow at the foot of the crypt and took pictures of it.

“God, I’ve asked you before and I’m asking you again, don’t let my son’s death be in vain. Use it for good in my life and the lives of others. Let it be for your honor and glory and for furthering your kingdom here on earth.”

“I [watched] in hope for the LORD” and said, “My God will hear me.” I sensed God’s presence and comfort. God reminded me of how he has answered that prayer in the past and assured me he will continue to do so.

That day and for the next few days of my San Diego visit, God allowed me to minister to others. I understood their pain because of the pain I have had. My God did hear me.

What about you? Do you believe God will hear you? How often do you watch in hope for him?

Dear God, help me watch in hope for you. Amen.

Application: When will you wait for God to hear you?

Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega July 7, 2014

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Does Your Worship Matter?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

On our recent tour, our teammate Doug was fond of the greeting “Gloria a Dios” (glory to God).

Even when he received a nasty gash on his leg from a stray piece of glass in a trash bag, he limped to our starting circle with a hearty Gloria a Dios.

I thought it was a great alternative to “How ya doing?” I liked being reminded of our shared commitment, but I found myself asking what might seem like an odd question.

Why should God care whether we glorify Him or not?

I don’t intend to be disrespectful. Quite the opposite—He’s God. Why does it matter to Him whether I even acknowledge Him, much less offer Him the glory for my meager efforts?

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

This isn’t a new question for me. I suspect it bubbles to the surface when I’m feeling especially vulnerable or uncomfortable. I suppose a diminished sense of self-worth leads to the notion that my worship won’t matter to God.

Ever been there?

It’s a lie, of course, but I think I get the reasoning twisted around. Maybe you do as well.

It’s certainly true that God doesn’t need me to give Him glory. In fact, He doesn’t need anything from me, you, or anyone else. He’s God.

So why does it matter? The secret is in the second paragraph above—“I liked being reminded…”

Gloria a Dios isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s for mine. Each time Doug repeated the greeting I remembered my connection to the Creator, my dependence on Him. I remembered that the ride was about justice, and that we were letting God use us to set things right for a handful of kids.

God doesn’t need me to glorify Him, but He knows I’m more at peace, more aware, more grounded, when I do.

In the midst of a hectic week when it was so easy to lose focus, Doug’s greeting took me home. I’m grateful.

Gloria a Dios indeed!

Copyright by Rich Dixon. All rights reserved.

Are You Uncomfortable?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

I’m stating the obvious with today’s word-of-the-week…

UNCOMFORTABLE

I’m acutely aware today that I don’t like being uncomfortable.

It’s awfully easy to write about stepping out of the comfort zone and trusting God, but this morning I feel like retreating. I want a big, wide safety net. I want someone else to take the risks.

It’s all about fear—of failure, of rejection, of looking foolish. And today, the fear’s winning.

I suspect we’ve all felt this at some point. Perhaps not, but for me it’s very real today. I’m hearing the lie that says “It’s not worth the risk.”

What do I do?

I talk to God. I fall back on the truth I know. And I allow myself the space and grace to admit my fear.

If you’re in a similar place, I hope you’ll join me in being gentle with yourself. We don’t have to live in fear, but we don’t have to deny it, either.

Have a great week.

Copyright by Rich Dixon

Where’s the Milk?

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

milkThere’s a story of a mom who (back in the days when such a thing was considered safe) gave her little boy some money and asked him to ride his bike to the corner store (when there still were such things) to buy a half-gallon of milk.

“I want you to ride straight to the store, buy the milk, and ride right back home,” said Mom.

“Okay, Mommy,” replied the boy. And off he rode.

It was a glorious summer afternoon, filled with the sort of things that interest little boys more than errands and half-gallons of milk. He investigated a few bugs, played with a dog, chatted with the old man down the street, and watched some older boys shoot baskets in a driveway.

After a couple of blocks and several mental detours, his mom’s complicated instructions sort of faded into the warmth of the afternoon. All he could recall was “…ride right back home.” He knew that part was important.

So he turned and pedaled as fast as possible for home. Bounding into the kitchen he announced, “Mom, I’m home.”

“Honey,” she asked, “where’s the milk?”

The little boy looked dejected. “But Mom, I came right home, just like you said.”

The boy completed the ride, but he forgot the milk. The milk was the whole reason for the trip.

What’s the “milk” for you on this tour? What’s the ultimate purpose, that essential element that makes it all worthwhile? What’s at the center, so critical that reaching the goal without it would render everything else meaningless?

What if They Don’t Want Help?

Friday, July 4th, 2014

No helpPLEASE DON’T HELP!

Suppose you noticed someone in obvious distress holding this sign. What would you do? WWJD?

My dog Monte’s official title is “service dog,” though many folks call him a “helper dog.” I don’t think the difference is one of semantics. Serving is different than helping.

The strong help the weak, the big help the small, the able help the disabled. The superior help the inferior. Those who can help those who can’t.

Service turns this around. Servants are humble, invisible, and lowly. Servants do the tasks deemed unfit for the masters. In Jesus’ words, “A servant is not greater than his master.”

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, the servant of all.”

How might a servant approach the person in distress with the “PLEASE DON’T HELP” sign?

How might an attitude of service impact or alter the interaction?

How would the person with the sign be involved?

What have you learned or observed about service?

We’re attempting to operate as a team of “servant leaders.” Is that a platitude or a reality? How does one fulfill both roles?

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Copyright 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

Where Are You Supposed To Go?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send?
 And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I.
 Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

question-marks1Who, me?

And where, exactly, am I supposed to go?

Pretty good questions—I’ll bet you’ve asked them a time or two. I know I have.

I’m asking them a lot this week on the eve of our 500-mile bike tour. I don’t claim to have “right” answers, but here’s what I’m thinking today.

Who, me? Yes, you.

And where, exactly, am I supposed to go? That’s not so important. What matters is that you get started, pay attention, and Follow Me.

Do you suppose it’s that simple?

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Dixon
Copyright 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