Archive for February, 2016

Whose Choice Is It?

Monday, February 29th, 2016

A favorite quote inspires today’s word-of-the-week…

MENU

Monday“It’s always easier to order off the menu.” ~ Seth Godin

Let someone else decide what choices are available–and acceptable–and choose from their list. Much less risk. Just sit in the chairs somebody else already set up.

Jesus advised us to toss out man-made menus. He said we’re free to listen to our hearts and follow our own God-inspired dreams. He said we’re free to arrange the chairs differently, or to sit on the floor if that’s what it takes to follow Him.

Takes courage. It’s risky. Harder than ordering off someone else’s menu.

Is it supposed to be about safe and easy?

It’s Monday! Might be a good day to set aside the menu and follow my own dream.

Where have you chosen the easy route of accepting the choices on the menu?

The Challenge of 30

Friday, February 26th, 2016

A sermon challenge prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

THIRTY

Our pastor challenged us to pray for our city for 30 days.

The number rattled in my head, and I wonder what choices I’ll make in the next 30 seconds that will change someone’s path for the next 30 years? A decision, a comment, a choice. Saying yes or saying no. Walking toward or walking from.

Do we realize how we spend the next 30 seconds, 30 minutes, or 30 days will guide us toward the next 30 weeks and months and years? That number won’t leave my mind. I guess because so often I’ve failed to realize the importance of what one choice or one month can do to many lives.

Of course, pray for your city for the next 30 days if you can muster that much discipline. But also pray for and pay attention to the next 30 seconds as well. They’re the beginning of the rest of your life.

It might be a good week to pay attention.

Have a great week!

What Are You Doing Here?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Have you ever felt led to change jobs or a career path? If you have, I understand. I have too.

After a successful teaching career, I sensed a divine leading to become a counselor. I was happy and settled as a teacher, but cancer led me to follow that leading. Does it take a major crisis for you to follow that call?

Within a short time, I was as happy and settled as a substance abuse counselor as I had been as a teacher. Years later, after the loss of my only child, it was time for reflection again.

I had dreamed of becoming a professional speaker and a freelance writer. After retirement I would do that. I wanted my perfect time and circumstances.

My son often said he would buy me a house and travel wherever he wanted after his retirement. He didn’t get to retire. What guarantee did I have? What guarantee do you have?

Thoughts of Elijah came to mind. God called him to serve the Israelites. When Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him, he ran and hid in a cave. Would I hide in the security of my job or step out in faith to follow the dream God gave me?

1 Kings 19:9: “He went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”

Dear God, help me be where you want me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to follow God’s leading?

What Would You Ask For?

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Pretend someone said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” What would you ask for?

Perhaps you or a loved one suffers from a life-threatening disease. Would you ask for healing?

When you lost your job, you found a new one. However, it pays you half of what you used to make. Would you ask for a job with benefits that pays you more than what you used to make and will keep you until you retire?

What if you lost your home in the recession? Would you ask for the home of your dreams with paperwork that says it’s paid for?

In Gibeon, the Lord appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Imagine God’s delight when Solomon answered, “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties . . . So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:7 and 9).

God was so pleased with Solomon’s answer, that he not only gave him a discerning heart but also wealth and honor so that no other king would have what he had. God even promised him a long life if he would obey him.

In view of God’s answer to Solomon, what will you ask God for?

I Kings 3:5: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Dear God, help me to ask according to your good, acceptable, and perfect will. Amen.

Application: What day this week will you spend time with God to pray over your request?

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by 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
“Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward”
Download her One Sheet at http://www.yvonneortega.com.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Why Is The Other Guy So Unreasonable?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

It’s awfully easy to say, “You’re wrong. You’re an idiot. You’re a loser.”

Not all that yelluseful, though. Shouting at the guy on the other side (who thinks you’re wrong) isn’t likely to close the gap.

If your only goal is to sound cool to your own team by belittling the losers on the other side, I guess finding clever ways to highlight their mistakes makes sense. Otherwise, it only makes a difficult situation worse.

Here’s an uncomfortable fact: people make decisions for a reason. Folks with similar backgrounds and similar perceived options usually make similar choices. So if you want to know why someone made a particular decision, you must take the time to listen and understand their story.

That’s called empathy. Doesn’t mean you agree, only that you make the effort to understand and communicate your understanding.

There are two ways to close the gap.

The short path of violence. Get a bigger club (physical, economic, verbal, political, social), beat the other guy over the head, and force him to your side. Immediate gratification, almost no opportunity for long-term reconciliation.

The long path of nonviolence. Choose relationship, of empathy, of humility, of service, of love. Little possibility of immediate gratification, the only path to long-term reconciliation.

Arc Universe

Jesus spent much of His time with the folks on the other side. They were the losers of His day, and He showed us what might happen when we let go of power and choose empathy and humility.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Prevent the Valentine’s Day Blues

Friday, February 12th, 2016

At one time I dreaded Valentine’s Day. You may feel the same way right now.

Perhaps you’re married to someone who doesn’t remember special days like your wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day. Have you taped reminders to the dashboard of his car?

Have you called him at work, sent him an email or a text to remind him? If you fix breakfast for him or pack his lunch for work, have you put a sticky note with a reminder on his napkin? At dinner, place a reminder near his plate.

Maybe you’re legally separated, divorced, or a widow. You still have options. I’ve learned from mentors that I can buy my own flowers and candy. That way I select the kind of flowers and dark chocolate I prefer.

Go ahead and buy your own flowers and candy. You’re worth the time and money.

My mentors also taught me to invite friends to breakfast or lunch that day. I can pick our favorite restaurant and enjoy my friends and the meal.

If I’m busy that day and would prefer dinner from a restaurant, I can call ahead of time and have a take-out order ready to pick up. Once I’m home, I can set the table with my best china, silver, and crystal.

Decide whether breakfast or lunch at a restaurant or a take-out dinner works better for you. Then move forward with your plans. Maybe you’d like to do both a meal at a restaurant earlier in the day and a take-out dinner. Why not?

I’ve scheduled a massage or bought a new outfit on sale on Valentine’s Day.

Several times in the past I invited girlfriends to my home for a potluck dinner or we chipped in for pizza and watched a movie.

Make a list of friends you can invite and send them an email, a text or call them.

If you have young children living at home, consider a single parents’ night in your home. If you live in a townhouse or a small home, invite only one or two single parents and their children to your home.

You can play games or watch a kid-friendly movie.

In short, regardless of your marital status, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Here’s to your Happy Valentine’s Day.

Whose Truth Is It?

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

truth1I believe in absolute truth.

I also know humans view truth through the imperfect lens of their own experience. As the picture indicates, it’s impossible to consider truth independent of the perspective of the observer.

Truth is a cylinder. From my perspective, it’s a circle. You’re certain it’s a square.

I’ve observed that people of good will who love Jesus with all their hearts can reach different conclusions on many issues. I believe we must listen to one another and accept the reality that we all see through a glass darkly.

We must major in the majors and minor in the minors.

What unites matters more than what divides.

Can you see the benefit of understanding that where you see a circle and the other person sees a square, the reality may be a cylinder?

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 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

Ever heard of a “slow watch“?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

A cool new product inspired today’s word-of-the-week…

SLOW

Ever heard of a “slow watch“?slow

It’s a real thing. Basically it’s a 24-hour watch with a single hand. The idea is that we don’t need to know the time down to the minute and second. So if we wear a watch that doesn’t measure life in small increments, perhaps we’ll slow down and make time for important things.

It’s kind of a a cool idea, and I suspect that a slow watch would be a great conversation starter. However, since I don’t wear a watch I don’t think I’ll spend a few hundred dollars for a high-tech sun dial.

The slow watch raises a question. What do we lose by chopping our lives up into tiny segments and accounting for every moment?

How often are we too busy for a conversation?

How often do we fill the time with urgent and miss important?

Do we hurry to somewhere that doesn’t really matter and neglect somewhere that does?

Do we pretend that quality time is a substitute for time?

Is God an appointment on our morning calendar rather than a partner throughout our day?

A slow watch won’t trick you or me into re-prioritizing our time. At best it’s a silly reminder that life wasn’t meant to be divided into smaller and smaller chunks in the name of a false sense of efficiency.

Jesus didn’t use a watch or a calendar. He was fully present with the people and tasks before Him. We probably need to learn from His example.

Let’s find some time this week that would be best measured by a “slow watch.”

 

From Pieces to Something Beautiful

Monday, February 1st, 2016

My doorbell rang, and I dashed to the door. The garage door technician arrived with my new garage door.

I stared at his pickup truck and asked, “Where’s the garage door?”

“On the floor of the truck in boxes.”

On my tiptoes, I looked into the truck and saw the boxes. I could hardly wait for him to tear down the old garage door and install the new one. Have you ever experienced that anticipation over something new?

Like a child waiting for a present, I opened my kitchen door every forty-five minutes or so to check the technician’s progress.

I cheered when he removed the old door. He said, “Besides being noisy, the door had two cracks in it. It wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”

I swept my hand across my forehead. “I’m relieved I had the door removed before serious trouble occurred.”

When I saw the beautiful new door in place, a smile spread across my face.

Next the technician mounted the light, the keypad, and other wonderful features.

As I looked at the pile of pieces from the old door and admired the new one, I thought of how God takes the pieces of our broken lives and makes us beautiful through his Son Jesus Christ.

Have you experienced that new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Dear God, I don’t want a life full of broken pieces. Amen.

Application: What day this week will you allow God to make you a new creation?