Archive for October, 2016

When Doors Won’t Open for Us

Monday, October 31st, 2016

A statement of frustration brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

OPENS

doorway“It feels like even when I’m at the right door it never opens for me.”

“Okay, tell me how it works.”

“It’s like I’m following my dream, doing the thing I think I’m called to do, but the door never opens.”

“So following your dream feels like you’re fighting yourself?”

“Exactly!”

“Well, here’s my theory. I think if you’re following your God-inspired dream, it shouldn’t feel like that. It may not be easy, but it shouldn’t feel like you’re fighting yourself.

“Can we try something?

“Sure.”

“Imagine Jesus is standing on the other side of that door, knocking. Please push the door open and let Him in.”

He reached for the handle. “You mean ‘Pull the door open,’ right? I can’t push it. It doesn’t open that way.”

“No, I’d really like you to push it. I believe that’s the way it’s supposed to happen.”

“But  can’t push it open.”

“Wait, are you telling me that if Jesus Himself was standing on the other side of that door you couldn’t push it open if I told you to?”

“Well, I could try, but that’s not the way it opens.”

“Do you think it’s possible that’s what happens with the doors of your dreams? I think sometimes we decide in advance not only WHAT should happen but EXACTLY HOW it should happen.

“Maybe you’re at the right door, but you’re absolutely certain you should push through it when that’s not the way it opens.”

The popular view says if the door doesn’t open, it wasn’t your door.

Maybe it simply opens the other way.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Gremlins at Your Door?

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

A bunch of cute kids who rang our doorbell last Halloween bring us today’s word-of-the-week…

GREMLINS

They were all over our neighborhood.

We know they’re make-believe as we toss candy in their bags. The superheroes, princesses, goblins, and monsters are just the kids from down the street. It’s all in fun. Nobody’s afraid of them, because they’re not real.

The fear industry constantly knocks at our door dressed in monster masks, but they’re after something a lot more valuable than bite-sized chocolates. They want our principles.

They want us to believe Jesus was wrong, that our fear justifies violence and marginalizing or dismissing those who are different. They gain a great deal of money, power, and control from our fear of those make-believe gremlin masks.

The fear industry is lying, of course, but some of the masks appear awfully real. Even when you know it’s a mask it can still creep you out.

Jesus said, “Take courage. I am. Don’t be afraid.”

It wasn’t about never feeling fear, pretending to be brave when some scary gremlin shows up. He doesn’t want us faking it.

Jesus wants us to “take courage” from Him so we can face the fear rather than being controlled by it.

“I’m afraid” is a powerful, freedom-producing statement, especially if we can figure out what we’re afraid of. If it’s a neighborhood kid in a costume (which it usually is), we can laugh.

If it’s something real, we can choose to face it with courage.

What gremlins in fake masks have you been allowing to control you? Might be a good week to let go.

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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

Love isn’t a feeling

Friday, October 21st, 2016

A conversation from a long time ago prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

FEELING

thing-called-love“Love isn’t a feeling.”

My friend looked at me like I’d just landed from Mars. “Of course love is a feeling. When you fall in love, it’s the greatest feeling in the world!”

“And then you fall out of love and it’s the most horrible feeling in the world, right?” She nodded.

“And you always fall out of love, because that mushy-gushy feeling doesn’t last.

“Real love, the kind of love you can count on, is a decision.”

We had a long discussion that evening. My friend never gave up; it was years later that she quietly told me, a bit sadly, “I think you were right. Love is a decision.”

I’m reminded of this old conversation because a guy told me recently that his faith didn’t feel very strong. He wondered if something was wrong.

“Nothing’s wrong,” I assured him. “Feelings come and go. They are what they are. But…

“Faith isn’t a feeling. Real faith is a decision.”

Feelings matter. A lot. It’s good to understand, talk about, and share your feelings with God. But we need to keep them in their proper place.

Jesus said, “Take courage. I AM. Don’t be afraid.”

He wasn’t telling us to deny normal, natural feelings of fear. Everyone feels afraid at times. He asked us to decide, to choose not to be controlled by those feelings. And to assist, He placed Himself, I AM, in the center.

Don’t feel like forgiving? That’s likely pretty normal, but authentic forgiveness is a conscious decision. I choose to forgive despite my feelings, and when I slide into a desire for vengeance I lean on grace and forgive again.

Most of following Jesus isn’t nice, flowery, gooey feelings. It’s simple obedience and basic daily choices and messing up and starting again.

That’s all Jesus did, except for the messing up part. It’s what He asked of his friends.

And us.

What simple choices can you reaffirm? Might be a good week to accept your feelings without allowing them to take over. 

Adding Fuel to the Fire

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Isaiah 53:7 KJV


One of the hardest things for us to do is to be quiet when someone is attacking us with cruel and harsh words. In fact, it is impossible for us to be quiet because all of us are human. It takes the power of Jesus to control our tongues. It is only by allowing Him to work in our hearts and asking Him to please help us not to say anything harsh in return that we are able to be quiet.
When a fire in a fireplace starts going out and we add more logs to the fire, the flames shoot up and it starts burning brightly again and warms the room. Every time that we say something harsh back to someone who is saying criticizing and sarcastic words to us we are adding fuel to the fire of disharmony.

We read in the Bible:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (James 3: 8-10)

It makes satan very happy when he can cause disharmony and chaos. When we say something unkind to someone, we are making him happy. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to make satan happy. Of course, just like you do, I sometimes lose my temper and say things that are unkind when someone attacks me. However, as soon as I realize what I have said, I ask Jesus to forgive me.

Several years ago, there was someone in my family that was constantly criticizing me and saying cruel and harsh words to me. I was devastated and I spent a lot of time crying. I also said very harsh and criticizing words back to this person. At that time, I had not surrendered everything to Jesus. I was saved but I hadntt given Him my life and everything that I said or did. I hadntt asked Him to please help me control my tongue.

I went to my pastor and shared how this person was constantly saying unkind and harsh words to me. I was honest and told my pastor that many times I lost my temper and I said unkind and harsh words back to this person. My pastor told me that Jesus has said that we are to be peacemakers but that He never told us that we had to be doormats for someone to walk all over us.

My pastor advised me that the next time this person starting yelling at me and saying cruel words to immediately leave the room. The pastor said “When you say cruel words back to this person, you are only adding fuel to the fire.” My pastor then told me that I needed to pray and ask God to help me keep my mouth shut when someone said unkind things to me.

It has taken God many years to give me an unconditional love for people.
I had a terrible temper and would even curse people. Thank God for His mercy and forgiveness! If someone is criticizing you and saying harsh and unkind things to you, ask God to please help you keep quiet. It is only as you give your tongue to Him and allow Him to help you that you will be able to be quiet when someone attacks you.

If ever someone had a right to say unkind, harsh and critical words to someone, it was Jesus. When He was here on earth, He was criticized, cursed, ridiculed and rejected yet He never cursed them back or yelled at them. He really does understand how much it hurts us and how it devastates us when someone attacks us with harsh and unkind words. Give Jesus control of your tongue and you will live a much more peaceful life.

Joanne Lowe

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When Should You Seek Justice?

Monday, October 17th, 2016

roman jailPaul and Silas were beaten and tossed into prison illegally.

God intervened and used the opportunity to convert the jailer and his household. It’s a cool story until the following morning when the city officials try to get Paul and Silas to leave without making a fuss about their unlawful punishment.

Why not leave well enough alone? They’ve already been flogged and thrown into a dungeon. Why risk embarrassing the city leaders again?

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” (Acts 16:37)

Paul wasn’t after retribution or vengeance. He didn’t demand a public beating or some sort of punishment for the officials who’d broken the law. But he also knew he needed to confront his persecutors.

Paul decided to set things right. He decided to seek justice, even at the risk of his personal safety.

The bible says the magistrates were alarmed when they learned Paul and Silas were Roman citizens and they came to appease them. Perhaps Paul used the opportunity, as he did earlier with the jailer, to demonstrate grace and forgiveness. I don’t know.

What’s certain is that it’s always the right time to seek justice, to balance the scales and set things right.

The trick, at least for me, is to make sure I’m balancing God’s scales rather than mine. It’s awfully tempting to get self-righteous about my personal USAmerican sense of justice which is usually about punishment or some version of getting even and doesn’t have much to do with what Jesus had in mind.

ALWAYS SEEK JUSTICE

Now all I have to do is be aware of injustice, understand what it means to correct it, and summon the courage to act regardless of risk.

That’s all. Sure glad Jesus is along in case I miss a step or two.

Your thoughts?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Have You Given up?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

A renowned international speaker said, “Yvonne, it took me 20 years to become an overnight success.”

I think of those words often and use them to encourage other speakers and myself. Have you given up on your dreams? Have you pushed your goals aside?

Go back in time with me to a fisherman named Simon. He and another fisherman had fished all night but caught nothing. They left their boats at the water’s edge and were washing their nets. They were done trying to catch fish.

Jesus got into Simon’s boat, sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he finished, he told Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).

Simon said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

If you had been Simon, would you have tried one more time? Would you have trusted the Lord enough not to give up?

Sometimes I work hard on goals and dreams my way and want results in my time rather than God’s. Can you identify with me?

Luke 5:6-7 says, “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”

Talk about results. I will wait, let the Lord direct me to the deep water, and haul in his overflowing blessings. What about you?

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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!

Finding a Sense of Personal Amity

Monday, October 10th, 2016
“Where the roses bloom forever
And where separation comes no more
If we never meet again,this side of heaven
I will meet you on that beautiful shore.”
~Johnny Cash

I have come to believe that in the face of the chaos and destruction that confronts us in ever more fateful ways, the most powerful thing that we can do is to find a sense of personal amity and share it with the world.

Much of the media that swirls like a tornado is about turmoil and tragedy. For today, I want to focus on the good that exists and in fact, far outshines that which is not.

Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise
think about these things.   Philippians 4:8

The sun is bright and its light apportioned, freely, everywhere. I sit in the warmth of its glow and feel the Gulf breeze upon my face and body.

This truly is paradise.  Thank you God.

Fall brings cooler weather and renewed energy. We look forward to our friends and family, visitors and snowbirds returning to Florida for this season which is essential to the economy of our lovely little piece of heaven.

Thank you God.

The last frontier standing may be having the courage to show how much you care or as my insightful husband opines in this era of political correctness, “Caring is the only Daring”.  It is concern anchored in hope and faith that brings the peace that surpasses all understanding.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear,
but of power, of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

Remember to count your blessings.

~*~
Becky and Jim Gabriel

Since 1980, Jim and Becky Gabriel have helped multiple numbers
of patients in Georgia and Sarasota and graduated a thousand
massage therapists from ASHA, the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts,
their Atlanta massage school.Their mission is to provide innovative, effective health care services,
educational materials and classes as well as holistic health and wellness
products for the entire community. They may be contacted via:
The Gabriel Center for Massage Therapy

Hope With Fingers Crossed?

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

hope stoneI heard someone speak about hope as an invitation to disappointment.

“I’m hoping for something to happen when I know the odds are stacked against it. So when I say I hope it goes well, I really mean I’m worried it won’t.”

We’ve all hoped that sort of hope. I hope my friend recovers from cancer. I hope she finds a new job….

We hope those things happen, but perhaps, like the ambivalent speaker, we’re also prepared for disappointment.

That’s not hope, not the hope described by Paul in Romans 15:13:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The God of hope is not a God of disappointment. He’s the God who always keeps His promises.

HOPE is a confident expectation based on faith that God always keeps His promises.

So I’m confident my friend will be safe, cared for, and at peace in Jesus’ arms regardless of his physical condition. 

I’m confident she can search for a new job calmly and peacefully, keeping the big picture in mind, regardless of short-term obstacles.

I’m confident God will guide the right people to the FREEDOM TOUR and give us direction, even when it seems chaotic from my perspective.

That’s hope. Those are God’s promises.

He never promised it would be easy or that He’d fulfill our short-term (or long-term) wishes. The prayer says “…thy will be done…”

We wish with fingers crossed. We move forward with confident hope in God’s promises into changed lives. We move forward in impossible circumstances.

HOPE changes what’s POSSIBLE.

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