Archive for the ‘Step 3’ Category

Do You Fully Recognize the Hand of God?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

We are to fully recognize the hand of God in whatever trials and sorrows may be appointed for us. And if we see God’s hand in them, we shall . . .
find that our cares and sorrows give us fresh errands to the throne of grace;
see redeeming love in them all;
be assured that Divine wisdom has ordered all for good;
believe that a Fatherly discipline and a tender regard for our highest welfare, have in some way seen them to be needful. So we shall trust and not be afraid.

One day a mother’s hand brings to a child a present of a toy.
At another time, the same hand gives the necessary food.
At another time, the same kind hand dries the child’s tear, and lifts it up when it has fallen.
At another time, the mother brings to the child, a cup of bitter medicine.
All of her dealings with the child are ways of showing her love, and perhaps the last in giving the medicine manifests her love the most.

Is it not so with our Father above? With far more than a mother’s love, He cares for His children.
Sometimes He bestows a temporal gift that greatly adds to our happiness.
Sometimes He gives the necessary provision for our life.
Sometimes He raises us up when we have fallen, and dries the tear of penitence or sorrow.
But it is equal love–yes, perhaps greater love–when He sends to us some distressing providence, or appoints some bitter cup of suffering or bereavement. It is for our highest good. It is the healing medicine which is to overcome some sinful propensity, or to preserve us from some temptation.

Let us believe this, and trust our Father’s love. Let us believe that He cares for us, and that He will remove the trial when its work is done. Let us commit our way unto Him, and roll upon Him the burden which oppresses us.

(George Everard, “Christian Living!” 1881)

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

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 !
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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
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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

Need a New Perspective?

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

A fifth grader’s comment brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

PERSPECTIVE

The young lady told me she loved the idea of perspective.

I just spoke to her class and she was escorting me to the office. “Why is perspective so interesting to you?”

She stopped and gazed right into my eyes. “Because,” she explained, “it means I get to control how I look at things. It’s like choosing my attitude instead of letting my attitude choose me.”

I love listening to kids.

Can I be honest, just between you and me? Once in a while this thing of living in a wheelchair still gets a bit discouraging. You would think after nearly twenty-eight years I’d be over that feeling, but I still hit an occasional stretch in which all I can see is how difficult life is and all the things I wish I could do.

Then a young lady reminds me God gave me the ability to decide whether I’ll see darkness or light. It’s not easy, but with the Spirit’s help I can choose hope rather than despair. I’m not a victim of circumstances.

As my young friend said, “Perspective means I get to control how I look at things.”

Is there some situation that requires a new perspective?

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

Our True Relationship with Him

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

We should observe, how our Lord speaks of the relation between Himself and true believers. He
says, “Henceforth I call you not servants but I have called you friends.”

14You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:14:-17 MKJV

This is indeed a glorious privilege. To know Christ, serve Christ, follow Christ, obey Christ, work in Christ’s vineyard, fight Christ’s battles, all this is no small matter. But for sinful men and women like ourselves to be called “friends of Christ,” is something that our weak minds can hardly grasp and take in. The King of kings and Lord of lords not only pities and saves all them that believe in Him, but actually calls them His “friends.”

We need not wonder, in the face of such language as this, that St. Paul should say, the” love of Christ passeth knowledge.” (Ephesian 3:19.)

Let the expression before us encourage Christians to deal familiarly with Christ in prayer. Why should we be afraid to pour out all our hearts, and unbosom all our secrets, in speaking to one who calls us His “friends”? Let it cheer us in all the troubles and Borrows of life, and increase our confidence in our Lord.

“He that hath friends,” says Solomon, “will show himself friendly.” (Prov. xviii. 24.) Certainly our great Master in heaven will never forsake His “friends.”

Poor and unworthy as we are, He will not cast us off, but will stand by us and keep us to the end. David never forgot Jonathan; and the Son of David will never forget His people. None so rich, so strong, so independent, so well off, so thoroughly provided for, as the man of whom Christ says, “This is my friend!”

~ J. C. Ryle, <a href=”http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?event=AFF&p=1015079&item_no=971084″>“Daily Readings from All Four Gospels”</a>“Daily Readings from All Four Gospels”

 

The key of Death is in the Savior’s hands!

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

“Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, the Ever-living One! I died–but see, I am alive forevermore! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead).” Revelation 1:17-18

When it is affirmed that Jesus holds “the key of DEATH,” it is plainly implied that none can pass out of this present world without His appointment. And, more generally, that He is lord of the living not less than of the dead, and has a thorough control over everything that can in any way affect the lives of men. An absolute power over death, necessarily presupposes a corresponding power over life and its affairs. And it is by the exercise of His providence in sustaining life–that He fulfills His purpose as to the time and mode of their departure hence.

Has the Redeemer the keys of death? Then this should mitigate the anxiety which often preys upon the mind when we look forward into futurity, and contemplate the prospect of our own death. We should remember, that as the Redeemer alone has the keys of death–nothing can happen to send us forth from the world before the time which He has appointed for our departure. Neither man nor devils can abridge the term of probation assigned to us by our gracious Master. Nor, until He is pleased to call us away, shall any power on earth or in Hell prevail against us. The Redeemer is possessed of absolute power over the course of our lives on earth–and over the time and manner of our departure out of the world.

No accident, no hostile violence, no insidious snare, no dark conspiracy–can touch our life–but by His command. And surely, when we reflect on the numerous dangers to which human life is exposed–the frailty of our frame–the diseases to which it is subject–our constant exposure to fatal accidents–the malice of open or concealed enemies–it must be consolatory to know, that the key of Death is in the Savior’s hands, and that, come what may, we cannot be forced out of the world, until He opens the door and bids us to come to Him.

More especially, when we are visited with disease, and threatened with a speedy termination of life–the Savior’s power over the keys of death should repress or assuage those violent anxieties as to the probability of death or of recovery–and those disquieting speculations as to the outcome of disease, and the mode of its treatment. For disease cannot kill, nor can medicine cure–without the appointment of Him who holds in His own hands the keys of life and of death! And if He has fixed the outcome of this disease–then why should we be anxious? If death is in our cup–that cup has been put into our hands at the time fixed by unerring wisdom and infinite love!

(James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837)

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Have a Gunpowder Heart?

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

“Avoid every kind of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Be careful to guard against all occasions of sin and evil. There is no safety without setting a watch against all that is likely to prove a stumbling-block.

I read one day of the remarkable precautions which are taken to avoid danger in a gunpowder manufactory. The walls are all of stone, and no wood is allowed to be in the place. Anyone who walks through has to take off his shoes, lest the nails in them should strike a spark. Then, if he has any metal on him, he must leave it at the door. The danger is so great, that everything must be done to avoid any approach to it.

Oh that Christians would take heed in a similar way to keep from the peril of sin! Keep far away from any approach to temptation. You have gunpowder hearts–so ready to ignite from the least spark! A look, a word, an evil example, a sentence in a book, a suggestion from a bad companion–any of these may be the cause of a world of mischief.

Therefore, make it your firm resolve to keep out of harm’s way.
Beware of all places, and scenes, and people–that may turn you from the right course.
Don’t imagine you are strong enough to go, and get no harm.
Better to keep far from the edge of the precipice.
Better to keep out of the lion’s reach!
Better to keep from the long grass where the viper is coiled up!
Stop while you can–or you may go so far that it may be impossible to escape.

Be careful to guard well the various gates of access to the heart–and of egress into the world.

Guard well the eye. Keep it from vanity. Remember that one look cost Achan his life–and a lustful look embittered the whole of David’s years. Let the eye look straight onward, and right upward to the throne.

Guard well the ear. Receive nothing that will pollute or defile you. Hearken to no voice of flattery or persuasion to evil. Welcome every message of the word of truth.

Guard well the memory and imagination. Let no vision or image tarry there, which will chain and enthrall the soul. If unclean birds fly over your head–do not let them settle in your hair!

Nor be less mindful . . .
to curb the tongue,
to guide the foot,
to use the hand,
according to God’s holy will.

The words you utter,
the paths you go,
the deeds you perform,
tell mightily on yourself and on others. And none should be permitted to act except under the control of the fear and love of God.

Yet always remember, that it is not your careful walking, but Christ’s careful keeping–which will ensure your final victory!
Your enemies are legion,
your strength is nothing,
your resolutions soon fail,
your heart is easily beguiled and turned aside–
but the good Shepherd will keep His own redeemed people.
He will point out your danger–and enable you to flee from it.
He will uphold you in perilous places–and lift you up when you fall.
He will keep you from falling–and save you even to the uttermost!

(George Everard, “Mind Your Steps!” 1884)

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Can Affliction Be Good?

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

Some years ago I heard an allegory which I have never forgotten. It often comes back to me when I think of the way in which the Lord leads His people.

The fable runs that a few ears of wheat were growing in the corner of a field, and it was promised to this wheat that it would one day be brought before the Queen. But by-and-by the mower came with his sharp scythe and cut the wheat, and feeling the sharpness of the scythe, it said, “I shall never stand before the Queen!” Presently it was laid in the wagon, and pressed and borne down by the other sheaves, and again arose the cry of distress and despair. But, more than this, it was laid on the threshing-floor, and the heavy flail came down upon it. It was taken to the mill, and cut and cut and cut; then it was kneaded into bread; and at last it was placed in the hot burning oven. Again and again was heard the cry of utter, hopeless despair. But at length the promise was fulfilled, and the bread was placed on the Queen’s table!

There is a great spiritual truth beneath the fable. Christians are God’s wheat, sprung from the incorruptible seed of His Word, and from the precious seed of the crucified, buried body of our Lord–and He purposes that one day they shall stand before Him! But there needs much preparation.

There comes the sharp scythe of bereavement–the loss of child or parent or spouse.

There comes the oppressive burden of care.

There comes the severe tribulation (the very word signifies threshing), seasons of adversity and disappointment.

There comes the mill, the trial that utterly breaks us down, and fills the whole spirit with distress.

There comes the hot furnace of agonizing pain or fear.

All these are doing their appointed work, stirring up faith and prayer, humbling to the very dust–and yet lifting up the Christian, by leading him nearer to God, and enabling him at length to say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted!”

~ George Everard, “The Home of Bethany” 1873