Archive for the ‘Step 4’ Category

“It doesn’t hurt anyone else so it is OK.”

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

It is very easy for me to get swept up with the crowd, do what everyone else is doing, agree with what everyone else is saying. I think this has its roots in my people pleasing and codependent tendencies. But because I am a child of God I know in my heart of hearts that following the crowd rarely leads to anything good. People are just lemmings heading over the cliff.

God has provided me with His Standard and it is found in Scripture. He makes it quite clear what his direction is and what His desires for me are. It is up to me to continue to be aware of His directions and to apply His desires to my life.

It is easy to become desensitized. The news media keeps telling us smoking pot is harmless. Homosexuality is “normal.” It is OK to bend the rules. Situational ethics are what matter, not what God says. It is OK to steal just as long as you are not caught.

How often have we heard “This doesn’t hurt anyone else so it is OK.”

WRONG!

It does affect me (if I am doing the wrong thing). It affects my loved ones when they see me doing the wrong thing. It affects my relationship with God. So I have to work at remaining very sensitive to what God says — and desensitizing myself to what the world says.

If someone says something loud enough and often enough it can start sounding like the truth. But there is only one Truth. I have to remember that.

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

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~ * ~
Copyright by S. O. Brennan.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S.O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and Alcoholics Victorious

Taking Stock: The Past Year, The New Year

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

This is the last evening of the year! I am trying to sum up my year’s life. The days have come to me like clean, white pages–and I have tried to put upon each something beautiful to keep for me when the eternal books shall be opened.

It has been a year of opportunities. I am conscious of not having embraced them all. I have neglected duties of love, not always doing the things I should have done. I have not grown in heart-culture and spiritual life as I ought to have done. These neglects and all my sins, I humbly confess.

Yet I thank God for the past year. I cannot now change anything in it. But I want to learn lessons of experience from my failures and mistakes, and carry them forward into the new year.

I would forget the good things I have done, and try to do better things next year. No year’s life, however beautiful, is beautiful enough to simply repeat–it must be improved upon. So I leave my year, with all its blots and blessings, with God, who will forget nothing worthy, and will look graciously upon my mistakes.

“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13-14

(J.R. Miller, December 31, 1907)

Are You Trudging Through the Wilderness?

Friday, October 24th, 2014
“For the Lord your God has blessed you
in all the work of your hand.
He knows your trudging through this great wilderness.
These forty years the Lord your God has been with you;
you have lacked nothing.”
(Deuteronomy 2:7)

I have been a believer for just over forty years now, and like most believers I’ve had lots of mountaintop experiences, but I’ve also spent some time in the valleys. At other times during those forty years, however, I felt as if I were trudging through the wilderness, wandering aimlessly and getting nowhere fast. But that’s simply not true. Regardless of whether I was on the mountaintop, down in the valley, or just walking along, putting one foot in front of another, God was with me. He has promised never to leave or forsake me, and He has been faithful to keep that promise. If at times I didn’t sense His presence, that doesn’t mean He abandoned me.

That promise serves to pull me back into proper perspective. I meditate on scripture verses such as Deuteronomy 2:7, and I realize how God has blessed the work of my hands, most often beyond my wildest imaginings. I realize too that even when it seemed I was trudging through a great wilderness, I lacked nothing. Why? Because the Lord my God was with me—and He is all I need.

That’s true for you as well, beloved. If you have received Christ as your personal Savior and been born into God’s family, then you can cling to the promise that God is always with you, regardless of the circumstances of your life. He has promised never to leave or forsake His children—and that’s truly all any of us need as we walk this earthly pilgrimage on our way home to the Father’s heart.

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Copyright 2009-2014 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who as authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:
Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award)

and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Following Ezra

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra 7:10

If I would be like Ezra the scribe, bringing things new and old out of a full treasury, and guiding the feet of the perplexed into the ways of peace–I must look in four directions:

1. First, I shall turn my gaze inwards upon my HEART. “Ezra had prepared his heart to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord.” Ezra had prepared his heart, and so must I. I must understand that vital religion is deeper . . .
than external observance of religious rituals,
than a valiant confession of the lips,
than an ordered theological belief system.
It is the soul convinced of sin, confiding the Savior, filled from above with penitence and faith and peacefulness and power.

He alone can plead with others and can prevail–who has undergone this most radical change, and whose heart is prepared for his work by its simple trust in the redeeming and quickening mercy of his Good Physician.

2. Then I shall give attention to my MIND. For “Ezra had prepared his heart to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord.” He was a pupil in the school of the heavenly oracles. He hungered and thirsted for clearer and profounder and more adequate conceptions of that wisdom which is eternal and divine.

To the last of my life, I must be a disciple and student of God’s Word. He has more light and truth to break forth from His holy Word; but He reveals them to those alone who search and dig for them as for hidden treasure. How can I feed my fellows with the bread of the soul, unless I am busy appropriating and enjoying it myself?

3. And I shall be watchful over my LIFE. “Ezra had prepared his heart to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord.” Ezra was careful not merely to study the Word, but to DO it. He was saint as well as scholar! Day after day, the purifying Word kept him from staining his garments, and made his character gracious and godly. The sermon I preach by what I AM–is more eloquent than the sermon I preach by what I SAY!

4. And, finally, I shall guard and train and hallow my LIPS. It was Ezra’s ambition to teach God’s decrees and laws in Israel–to speak . . .
when the fitting opportunity presents itself;
with no affectation, but naturally and sincerely;
as a dying man to dying men;
the unyielding truth in love and pity and tears;
to the glory of God.

May I tread in the wake of Ezra the scribe!

(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

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Subtle Sin

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Had

I become
so preoccupied

with
major sin

from deep
within

that
in the
darkened
night

I lost sight

of
my need

to deal
for real

with
the more

subtle
sins?

Does
the
subtle
sin of worry

still
tell a
lingering
story?

Or anxiety
that
menace

of society?

More so
that

subtle sin
of
irritability,

unthankfulness?

Or
that harsh
word,

demanding
to
be heard?

Need
I now
revisit

the
unloving
actions
of a

critical
spirit?

Oh, my goodness,
Father

What
A wake up
call

I am

guilty

of them
all!

~*~

Copyright: Rev.Bola Animashaun – all rights reserved.
Rev. Animashaun is the Pastor of Christians Victorios Fellowship – Int., UK
and a Member of Christians in Recovery.

“Why Do You Write?”

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

A game of tag prompted today’s word-of-the-week…

WRITE


Jon Swanson explained why he writes. Then he said, “Tag, you’re ‘it’” and asked me to consider the same question. So I took a couple of long bike rides, which is where I think about stuff, and wondered why I write.

I’d like to say I write to follow some noble calling, to teach or serve or help. I’d like to say that, but at about mile ten I understood that’s not why I write. Not really.

I write because I whisper in the fog and I know, deep inside, that no one but Jesus will whisper back. I write because it’s my way of bringing some measure of clarity to inner chaos.

RELENTLESS GRACE began as a journal, a meandering attempt to make sense of the senseless nightmare screaming within me following my injury. After literally years of shapeless, chaotic verbal vomiting, I noticed two remarkable changes. First, I felt a sense of peace and connection with Jesus when I wrote. Second, the words actually started to make sense and communicate a story.

I shared the story and people said it would help others who had experienced adversity. So I published a book and started this blog. In a roundabout way, that led to a dream called RICH’S RIDE—and more writing, another book, and another blog.

I hope all of this serves, teaches, and helps. I hope it inspires. I hope it brings people a bit closer to Jesus and encourages them to dream God-sized dreams and live remarkable stories.

I love it when you comment, when you take time to say the words touched you in some way. I appreciate “Likes” and especially “Shares” that show the ideas are worth spreading around.

But those are why I publish the writing. They’re why I share, why I speak, and those reasons mean a lot to me.

They’re not why I write.

I write because sometimes the fog clears a little and I hear Jesus’ voice saying, “Follow me. I’ve been here, and I know the way out.”

Writing, for me, is prayer. That’s why I write.

How about you? Have you considered writing? Should you write more>

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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

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?

Does Culture Matter More than Vision?

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The eve of a big project has me thinking a lot about today’s word-of-the-wee…

CULTURE

I’ve envisioned for months how I want our team to operate. But all the vision in the world won’t matter if we don’t establish the proper culture.

Culture is everything. Culture matters more than vision.

Culture is vision with boots on the ground. It’s how things operate, what people see.

Every church has a great vision, but too frequently people get immersed in petty squabbles, bureaucratic blockades, or political battles. Minor theological differences and turf wars cause major divisions, and the actual culture looks nothing like Jesus’ vision.

I want our team culture to be about sacrificial love and servant leadership, but saying it won’t make it happen. It’s up to Becky and me to model it and put processes in place that foster it—then trust our teammates and God for the result.

I’ve said before that I don’t believe you can manage people effectively. You inspire and lead people—you manage processes. So that’s what we’ll try to do.

We all contribute to the culture in our family, our church, our workplace, our neighborhood. It’s not about our words, it’s about what we do.

This week let’s do something that builds a culture of love and service.

Have a great week.

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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

Why Are THOSE PEOPLE So Difficult?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

communityI used to joke that a school would be a great place to work if it weren’t for all those pesky kids.

Same thing’s true of serving in communities—it would be easy, if it weren’t for all those messed-up people. The problem is that God seems to like using messed-up people to accomplish His work.

Or perhaps that’s the only kind of people He has to choose from.

I’ll confess that lately I’ve been a bit frustrated. No need for details, but I’m clearly looking through a different set of lenses than some folks I want to support. No matter what I try, it seems I encounter a taller, thicker brick wall.

Ever been there?

Here’s some of what I’m trying. Can’t say it’s successful, at least in terms of breaching barriers or reducing frustration levels.

Note to self: It’s not about me! I know what I want to accomplish, but perhaps my goals aren’t others’ goals…or God’s goals.

Talk to God about things like patience, grace, and a bigger perspective.

Check my attitude to make sure this isn’t about me wanting to sit with the popular kids.

Note #2 to self: I’m one of the messed-up people that makes working together so difficult.

BTW—in case you’re wondering if I’ve tried direct communication with the people involved, of course I have. So far, there are several indentations in those brick walls that match the curvature of my bald head.

I’m not seeking magic answers. In fact, the whole point of this post is that there aren’t any of those.

The point is that working in communities is hard, and we need to be prepared for that.

Unless…we find a community without all those messed-up people, like you and me.

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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

What’s Your Image Of Jesus?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

jesusWhat do you picture when you think about Jesus?

Seriously, what just popped into your head?

Me? I actually think about this quite a bit. I just picture walking along a quiet path together. Yeah, walking—no wheelchair. Just walking, and sometimes there’s talking but it’s okay if it’s quiet. It’s the being there together that matters.

There are smiles and laughter. And He wants to walk slowly and stop and look at stuff I don’t even notice.

I know this—I NEVER imagine talking theology, the kind of stuff Christians argue about and get divided about. I imagine questions, but they’re always really basic, stuff like, “What was it like for you when I fell off the roof?”

Mostly I imagine He likes hanging out with me. Of course He loves me—that’s part of the job description, right? But knowing, believing, He likes me, was a big step.

I suppose my internal picture will offend someone—not religious enough or reverent enough or whatever. Sorry for that. My point wasn’t so much to share my notion as to prompt you to consider your own.

That was part of the point, after all, the WORD made flesh so we could identify a bit better. So, back to the original question.

What do you picture when you think about Jesus?

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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