Archive for the ‘Step 12’ Category

The Third Chapter of Life

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~Anatole France

Frequently the inspiration for what I write comes from a particular word on phrase that swims around in the sea of my consciousness.
‘Chapter Three’ kept floating to the surface of tangible awareness and so it became the focus for a bit of research and led me to ‘The Third Chapter’, a book by sociologist, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.

Ten thousand baby boomers turn sixty each day. A newly identified developmental stage, the ‘third chapter’, focuses specifically on the years from 50 to 75. Recognizing that this cultural change can result in a deeper, richer understanding of the aging process, the author notes that society often offers a murky view of this phase, unsure how to view a population that is “neither young nor old.”

“We must develop a compelling vision of later life:
one that does not assume a trajectory of decline
after fifty, but one that recognizes it as a time
of change, growth, and new learning; a time when
our courage gives us hope.” from The Third Chapter

Challenging the idea that people over fifty enter a period of diminishing opportunities, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot brings a rejuvenating new perspective to these debates. As people move from one developmental stage to the next, they are likely to experience the twin emotions of loss and liberation, despair and hope, pessimism and optimism. It is difficult to let go of the familiar, the routine, the proven, the daily rituals; so hard to relinquish your solidity, your expertise, your status and station and take the risk of embracing the new, the unproven, and the unfamiliar.

This requires the willingness to take risks, experience vulnerability and uncertainty, learn from experimentation and failure, seek guidance and counsel from younger generations and develop new relationships of support and intimacy.

This book includes and shares the insights of courageous souls from all walks of life who redefined “work,” reinvented themselves, and tapped their emotional resources in creative new ways. The result is a revolutionary yet realistic challenge to all who are living in the Third Chapter, providing a gateway to liberation and greater meaning as each day unfolds.

In Biblical understanding, the elderly are to be venerated and identified with wisdom and closeness to God. Indeed the word ‘elder’ and ‘overseer’ are
used interchangeably.

“Let the elders that rule well be counted
worthy of double honour,
especially they who labour in the word and doctrine..”
1 Timothy 5:17

Here’s to a creative and fulfilling Chapter Three for all of us who have turned that page!

~*~
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

How Well Do You Wait?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

I don’t like to wait in line at the grocery store or anywhere else. How about you?

Inevitably, I end up behind a person who forgot one item at the other end of the store or a customer who buys something without a price on it.

When it comes to my prayer requests, I want God to answer immediately. Sometimes he does. Other times I wait for years for his answer.

In 1 Samuel 10:3, the prophet Samuel told Saul, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

Saul waited seven days. Samuel didn’t come, and Saul’s soldiers “began to scatter.” Saul sacrificed the offerings to the Lord. Samuel arrived shortly after that and asked him what he had done.

Notice Saul’s response in 1 Samuel 13:11-12, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,I thought, Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

In verse 13, Samuel said, “You have done a foolish thing . . . You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.”

Did Saul learn his lesson? Look at 1 Samuel 28. After Samuel’s death, he saw the Philistines coming and panicked. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord didn’t answer him.

Rather than wait for an answer, Saul asked a medium for advice. He ignored God’s command against that practice and his own law against mediums in Israel.

The medium brought up the late Samuel, who told him in I Samuel 28:19, “The LORD will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”

As I read those chapters, I reflected on the importance of obedience and waiting on God. His timing may not be mine, but he loves me and wants what’s best for me.

I don’t want to take matters into my own hands and suffer the consequences the way Saul did.

God loves you and wants what’s best for you too. Will you wait for his perfect timing?

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!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

Following Jesus Is Like Training

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

training indiv

Training always begins with individual growth.

Might sound selfish, but that’s how it has to be. Training, initially, is an individual deal.

Only strong, skilled individuals can comprise a strong, skilled team. So whether you’re training for an individual activity or something intrinsically team-oriented, you’re have to focus first on what you can do to get better.

Training Isn’t Selfish

Training means getting better, faster, or stronger. It’s learning, reading, or listening. It’s growing in your faith, following Jesus a bit more closely. Whatever the goal or activity, training is the focused set of activities designed to get you more prepared to do it well.

Nothing inherently selfish about any of that. Growing, learning, getting closer to Jesus—all good things.

The real issue is the purpose of the training.

You might train for self-improvement. A better body because you want a better body. Run a marathon because you want to run a marathon. Get a seminary degree because you want to know more theology. Self-improvement trainers focus on themselves, their desires, their improvement.

You might train as a way to get ahead of others. You want to be faster than the other guy, have more money or a bigger house. You want a bigger audience or more followers. Getting ahead is about comparing.

Folks who do get-ahead training believe life is a zero sum affair. Get-ahead trainers focus on the scoreboard and on winning. Which, of course, means they must make sure someone loses.

That’s what’s sad about get-ahead trainers. They need losers.

You might train as way to give to others. This sort of training asks, “How can I develop my gifts so I have more to give?” As characters in a story bigger than themselves, stewardship trainers know they’re responsible for the best use of their physical, financial, and spiritual gifts.

Stewardship training is simply the ongoing process of acquiring the knowledge and skills of a responsible steward. Stewardship trainers are better prepared to serve. They’re better prepared for tough questions and tough situations.

Stewardship trainers are ultimately better prepared to be–and to help–disciples.

Training, self-improvement, whatever you call it—those are good things. It’s good to grow and learn, get healthier, simplify, read your bible more, all those New Year sorts of things.

Why you’re training matters, too. Likely more than the training itself.

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

Are You Feeling Tested?

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week…

TESTS

We all learned to study for tests.

School was easy, really. You learned the lessons, then took the test. Good teachers explained the material well. Good students studied and prepared for the test.

The purpose of the test was to see if you learned the lesson.

If life worked like school it might go something like this:

TEST NEXT TUESDAY.

Covers: Advanced Relationship Challenges (see textbook chapters 5-7)

Study Group: Wednesday & Saturday

Life, it turns out, doesn’t work like school. You’re never completely prepared for the real tests.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)

Did you catch that? The testing produces perseverance.

In Life, The Tests Teach The Lessons

You can study all you want, but following Jesus is a learn-by-doing deal. We’re invited to walk a path on which we can’t know the right steps. We’ll make mistakes, and we’re supposed to learn from them.

So as followers of Jesus we turn the school paradigm on its head. We take the test and do our best. Then, in humility, we ask the Spirit to help us learn the lesson.

Everyone takes the tests of life. They aren’t announced, and they show up whether we’re prepared or not. The choice is whether or not to learn their lessons.

The tragedy isn’t struggling with tests or making mistakes. We all do that. The tragedy is failing to acknowledge mistakes, failing to approach God with humility, failing to learn the lessons.

Let’s take the tests, make the mistakes, and ask God to help us learn the lessons.

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

If We Directed Our Own Lives

Friday, July 15th, 2016

We often think we could do better–if we were directing the affairs of our own lives.
We think we could get more happiness and greater good out of life–if things were in our hands.
We would at once eliminate all that is painful and unpleasant in our lot.
We would have only prosperities, with no adversities; only joys, with no sorrows.
We would exclude all pain and trouble from our life.
Our days would all be sunny, with blue skies–and no clouds or storms.
Our paths would all be soft and easy, and strewn with flowers–without thorns or any rough places.
Would we not be happier–if we could direct our own affairs, and leave out the painful, the bitter, the adverse, and the sorrowful?

So most of us would probably say at first, before we have thought of the question deeply and looked on to the end. But really the greatest misfortune that could come to us in this world–would be to have the direction of the affairs, and the shaping of the experiences of our lives, put into our own hands!

We have no wisdom to know what is best for ourselves. Today is not all of life–there is a long future, perhaps many years in this world, and then immortality hereafter. What would give us greatest pleasure today–might work us harm in days to come. Present gratification might cost us untold loss and hurt in the future.

We want pleasure, plenty, and prosperity–but perhaps we need pain, self-denial, and the giving up of things that we greatly prize.

We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, from struggle–but perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most good for us, which will best mature our Christian graces, which will fit us for the largest service to God and man.

We should always remember that the object of living in this present world, is not merely . . .
to have unlimited pleasure and comfort,
to get along with the least trouble,
to gather the most we can of the world’s treasures,
to win the brightest fame.
We are here to grow into the beauty of Christ, and to do the portion of God’s will that belongs to us!

There is something wonderfully inspiring in the thought, that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, for each life. We do not come drifting into this world–and do not drift through it like waves on the ocean. We are sent from God, each one of us with a divine plan for his life–something God wants us to do, some place He wants us to fill. All through our lives, we are in the hands of God, who chooses our place and orders our circumstances, and makes all things work together for our good–and His glory.

It is the highest honor that could be conferred upon us, to occupy such a place in the thought of God. We cannot doubt that His way for us is better than ours–since He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves us so. It may be painful and hard–but in the pain and the hardness, there is blessing.

Of course we may not know all the reasons there are in the divine mind, for the pains and sufferings that come into our lives, or what God’s design for us in these trials is. Yet without discovering any reasons at all, however, we may still trust God, who loves us with an infinite loveand whose wisdom also is infinite!

When we get to heaven, we shall know that God has made no mistake in anything He has done for us, however He may have broken into our plans–and spoiled our pleasant dreams!

It should be reason for measureless gratitude, that our lives are not in our own poor foolish hands–but in the hands of our infinitely wise and loving Father!

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

(J.R. Miller, “The Lesson of Love” 1903)

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“The good old days?”

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Can you imagine Jesus pointing us back to “the good old days”?

I can’t. The idea of striving for a return to an imaginary past in which everything was somehow better doesn’t fit at all with following Jesus as I understand Him.

Jesus is about moving forward, about taking risks. He’s about an unfolding story of justice that can’t be written in an imagined, idealized past.

I can only picture following Jesus on a road leading into a future filled with hope. I can’t imagine turning back in fear.

Prospective leaders prey on our desire for the imaginary safety of the good old days, when everybody got along and kids always behaved. Of course, everybody didn’t get along and kids didn’t always behave. Also might be good to remember that, depending on which good old days we’re recalling, some of our parents or grandparents experienced Great Depression and Jim Crow.

In an uncertain world, it’s tempting to believe the lie that the promise lies in a return to the good old days. Jesus invites us to the path of hope

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

“Not My Job”

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

hugIt’s not my job to manage or control another person.

It’s my place to listen, patiently, and try to understand.

It’s not my job to tell another person what to do.

It’s my place to hear his dilemma and help him clarify the options.

It’s not my job to be certain what I’d do if I were in her shoes.

It’s my place to understand I can never know what it means to be in her shoes.

It’s not my job to provide the simplistic answer that makes me more comfortable.

It’s my place to be okay with the discomfort of hard questions that don’t have easy answers.

It’s not my job to always fill the space with words.

It’s my place, sometimes, to just let silence be okay, because that’s how authentic relationships work.

It’s not my job to judge.

It’s my place to offer grace.

It’s not my job to demand sacrifice.

It’s my place to demonstrate agape; unconditional, sacrificial love.

It’s not my job to shout my truth.

It’s my place to live my truth.

When you hang around people who are struggling, you wonder about these sorts of issues. It’s important to know what’s not your job.

Jesus spent a lot of His time with hurting people. Do you think He meant for us to follow His example?

I do.

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

What Is Your Gift?

Friday, July 1st, 2016

“I don’t have anything to offer,” Beth told the group of women at a social gathering in my home.

I couldn’t believe what she said. She was an excellent cook and baker. She could turn ground chicken into a gourmet meal. I said nothing but waited to see what the other women would say.

“I don’t either,” Jennifer said. “I never went to college.”

She blushed and looked at the floor as she said that.

As if a college degree determined what one could offer. Jesus and his apostles changed the world without one.

Holly chimed in and said, “I’m too young. No one will listen to me.”

Look at what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Angie said, “At least you’re young and can look forward to making a contribution to society.” She paused, scanned the group, and said, “I’m too old. It’s too late for me.”

At age 66, Kay Coles James serves on the NASA Advisory Council and is the founder and president of the Gloucester Institute, a leadership-training center for young African Americans. At age 72, Joyce Meyer speaks, writes, and travels. In her early 80s, Kay Arthur does too.

Can you identify with Beth, Jennifer, Holly, or Angie? Have you said something similar? Perhaps you’ve given a different excuse. I call it an excuse because of what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7:7: “Each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”

Add to the list 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

If those two verses aren’t enough, look at Romans 11:29: “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

Get going. Use the gift you have.

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!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

Are Assumptions Being Made?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

ASSUMPTIONS

The assumptions people make about you, your story, and your experiences disclose a great deal.

They disclose a great deal about the person making the assumptions, and you may wish to pay attention to what that person is telling you about himself.

But those assumptions disclose nothing about you.

We spend far too much time and energy trying to meet or refute assumptions made by others. Wasted time, wasted energy.

Your identity, my identity, they’re based on what God sees through Jesus. A person worthy of love, worthy of a second chance.

A person worthy of Jesus and His sacrifice.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That’s the assumption God made about you, and me.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to stop listening to the assumptions made by others and start listening to those made by God.

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

Why We Need To STOP

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

stopI’ve been thinking a lot about STOP.

That’s odd for me. I want to focus on moving forward, dreaming big dreams, taking risks. And lately, for some reason I don’t understand, I seem to hear STOP.

I don’t think it’s about the big things. So I’ve wondered about STOP as it relates to the ordinary, everyday stuff. I think I might have noticed something interesting.

STOP is nearly always useful advice when I’m uncertain.

Are you lost? STOP. Don’t keep wandering, compounding the problem. Get your bearings. Ask for help. (Hint: Works for more than driving.)

Not sure about that next sentence? STOP. Let it breathe. You won’t have to try to take back words you don’t say.

Someone pressuring you? STOP. Take a step back. Look at the big picture. Make a phone call if necessary.

Tempted to live in fear? STOP. Ask yourself if the message aligns with your trust in God. (Hint: If it’s about living in fear, it’s not about God.)

Was somebody nasty on the Internet? STOP. If it rises to the level of bullying or threats, report it. Otherwise, move on. Don’t give trolls your time and energy.

Someone using a bible verse out of context to “prove a point”? STOP. You know that’s a trick. You don’t have to react. Best response: “I’d like some time to research that verse.”

Wonder where God went? STOP. If you need to talk, or cry, or scream, go ahead. STOP. As often as it takes and as long as it takes.

Absolutely sure you know what’s best for someone else? STOP. You probably don’t, and even if you do you’re not going to be helpful by telling someone else how to live her life. The best you can do is listen and be a friend. It’s a lot harder than giving advice.

There’s one time I won’t stop, at least on purpose.

Whatever I’m doing, moving or not, I want to always follow Jesus.

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