Archive for the ‘Forgiveness of God’ Category

His Compassions are New Every Morning

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed,
because His [tender] compassions fail not.  Lamentations 3:24 AMP

Each Christian may find in his own case, some peculiar token of God’s providential kindness to him. It is in the details of each man’s personal history that we find the most touching manifestations of God’s providential care. None of us can refuse to acknowledge that we have been the objects of a watchfulness which has never slumbered, and of a benevolence which has never been weary in doing us good.

Were we to attempt an enumeration of all the . . .
blessings which we have received at God’s hand,
deliverances which He has wrought out for us,
snares from which He has preserved us,
manifestations of His long-suffering patience, and tender mercy, of which we ourselves have been the objects–were we to begin with the years of infancy and helplessness, and to trace our progress through the slippery paths of youth, until we reached our present state–we would soon find how impossible it is to reckon up the sum of our innumerable obligations to “the loving-kindness of the Lord.”

For not only has God spared us in life, and upheld us from day to day, by His almighty power; not only has He given us our daily bread, and made our cup to run over–and that, too, notwithstanding all the ingratitude which we have displayed, and the manifold provocations which we have offered; but, in peculiar seasons, in seasons of difficulty and trial–He has often delivered . . .
our eyes from tears,
and our feet from falling,
and our souls from death!

And as often as we have cried to the Lord in our trouble, He has delivered us from our distresses–or supported and comforted us under them. So that each of His redeemed people, on a review of God’s dealings with Him, will be forced to exclaim:
“The Lord has been my Shepherd!”
“I have not lacked any good thing!”
“Hitherto has the Lord helped me!”
“The Lord has done all things well!”
“Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life!”

~ James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837

Breaking Away from Our Past

Monday, May 16th, 2016

“But 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

We have here Paul’s wise theory of life–progress by forgetting, by letting go of the things that are past.

“Forgetting what is behind.” Probably most of us have done things we would much like . . .
to leave behind,
to blot out from memory,
to cut altogether loose from,
to bury in oblivion.

We cannot turn back the hands of the clock, that we may have any day over again. But we may bring to God all the mistakes, the follies, the sins–and He will forgive us, and then use even these poor broken things for good.

A traveler tells of finding a place beside the sea, where many ships were dashed upon the rocks–and a beautiful house built altogether from pieces of wreckage gathered from the shore.

That is about the best many of us can do. We have little else to bring to God but wreckage–disobediences, broken commandments, mistakes, sins. Yet it is a wonderful thought that even with such materials, if we are truly penitent and repentant–our Master will work, helping us to build beauty in our lives. Sins forgiven become lessons for us. Out of a past full of failures, we may make a future full of strength and beauty–through the grace of Christ. We cannot forget our sins, but we may be wiser and better for them.

~ J.R. Miller

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That’s Not What I Expected

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week…

EXPECTED

That’s Not What I Expected

Interesting sermon title, huh? The pastor used an incident from David’s life to illustrate how life with God frequently takes unexpected turns.

Good point. If you’re anything like me, you can look back and see lots of things that turned out a good deal differently than you figured they would. Many turned out much better than we could have imagined. Some were just different, maybe something we wouldn’t have thought of. And some, well, some were pretty tough.

The title of the sermon got me thinking about Jesus. Once in a while I get the chance to explain Jesus to someone–not the political Jesus or the do’s and don’t’s Jesus or the prosperity Jesus or any of the other versions of Jesus people make up, but the just the basics Jesus. And when you tell someone His message is as simple as “Believe in me and you’re forgiven” the response is nearly always something like:

That’s Not What I Expected

If you think about it, Jesus was a surprise from the beginning. The religious folks of His day anticipated a Messiah, but what they got wasn’t at all what they expected.

He’s still surprising us.

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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

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?

FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel”

Friday, December 18th, 2015

The latest issue of CIR’s FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel” is now available for Download

You are encouraged to download this, print it out or put on a diskette and share it with your loved ones, church, pastor and/or recovery group. It is jam packed with inspiration, tips, resources and information for everyone in recovery

Are You Standing Outside the Doorway?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

“Who would, after seeking the King’s palace, be content to stand in the door, when he is invited to dwell in the King’s presence and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life? Certainly, all would assume that no one would so foolishly give up a royal life to merely stand in the doorway, separated from all the pleasures of living in the King’s presence,” adapted from the wisdom of Andrew Murray, from his classic “Abide in Christ.”

Tragically, many who come to Jesus as Savior and Redeemer never go beyond the doorway to abide in Him. They fail to learn the simple spiritual discipline of “Abiding in Christ” and practicing the presence of God. Experiencing the unspeakable joy of dwelling in the presence of God is the birthright of every follower of Jesus.

Is our “imposter” mask blocking the presence of the very one we desire to be closest too As a direct result many Christians feel broken and angry but don’t think they can express these real feelings around others?or to God. So we put on a mask to hide our identity. Feelings of embarrassment and shame make us hide from the One who truly loves us. He is calling and encouraging us to let go of this stressful, unreal impostor lifestyle and freely accept our identity as a child of God

“Take care to live in me (practice my presence daily/hourly), and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.For apart from me you can’t do a thing.But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted…I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.” John 15: 4, 5b, 7, 9, The Living Bible

Life lived in the presence of Jesus is fruitful, powerful, joyful and secure. When we learn to practice His presence we stay connected to the source of all we will ever need. A relationship can’t be maintained in a healthy functional way apart from regular dialogue and fellowship.

“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when trouble comes. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies. Then I will bring him sacrifices and sing his praises with much joy. Listen to my pleading, Lord! Be merciful and send the help I need. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me, O my people.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27: 4-8 The Living Bible)

Is this the cry of your heart? Lord, I am coming!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

You can’t be lost without first truly belonging!

Monday, October 26th, 2015

You can’t be lost without first truly belonging! Our belonging trumps any lost-ness we have ever experienced! As bearers of the image and likeness of God, we are always invited into the depths of His searching and finding. I desire to fully know and be fully known!

The story of Calvary’s Cross beckons us afresh into knowing Jesus as The Son of Man. As Son of Man he gave His life for the world; establishing for all ages (past, present and future) our life in Him. As Son of Man he finds us in our lost-ness and brings us into the knowing of Him as our Savior, Sacrificial Lamb, Head of the Church, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Great High Priest and Coming Groom!

Our only contribution is to daily embrace the finished work of Jesus. We can only do this by grace through faith!

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages (this very day) he might show (in and through you and me) the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works so that no man can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:4-9, NIV)

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in the hearts of all that love him, Christ in friends, enemies, strangers and all nations, tribes and tongues! (Adapted from St. Patrick)

“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
2 I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
3 You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
4 You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
5 I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence,
coming and going.
6 This is too much, too wonderful –
I can’t take it all in!

7 Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
(Is there any place) to be out of your sight?
8 If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
9 If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon,
10 you’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!
11 Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
12 It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day,
darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul,
I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!
15 You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
16 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
17 Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
18 I couldn’t even begin to count them
– any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!” (Psalm 139: 1-18, Msg.)

All that was lost has found it’s place in Jesus in us!

May we know as we are known, perfectly in His D.N.A. (divine nature added)!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

Calvary is our Homecoming

Monday, September 7th, 2015

“Christ brought us together through His death on the Cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:16-18, Msg.)

In a sense Calvary is our homecoming. It is the one place we become real, vulnerable and transparent. We come home to God, ourselves and significant others. For us the Cross is safe and inviting. Jesus took our place there, so that we could become all that He says we are!

There aren’t enough words to adequately express all that was accomplished by Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross. Let’s consider a few of them: relational reality, peace, and equality.

Relational Reality: Authentic, UN-pretentious relationships are at best; difficult apart from Calvary. The Cross; symbolically and literally enables us to embrace our own relational brokenness. Painful and even life-long hostilities can be overcome by the blood of the Lamb! It is called forgiveness and reconciliation. The love displayed on Calvary provides the only power source for this relational reality.

Peace: What a pregnant and powerful word! Peace starts with God and is sustained by God. The peace of God invades our drama and the wars we have fought or will fight on every front. God’s peace provides the strategic edge for winning every battle we will ever face. The peace of God and with God is a direct result of Calvary. Jesus imparts His peace into our lives continuously. Through us, His peace kisses our unsettled and anxious world.

Equality: The Cross pronounces death to comparisons, differences, and division. It raises us up to the Royal Law of loving unity! You have heard it proclaimed, “The ground at the foot of the Cross is level.” It truly is. Living and walking in equality is a lifelong struggle with the prejudiced and judgmental voices of our own flesh. Scripture goes so far as to warn that ‘comparing ourselves to another is unwise.’ Boy that kicks the competition to the curb!

As we share the same Spirit and equal access to the Father, we blaze a path of equality for all others to follow. Embracing the Father’s heart and responding to the continuous promptings, nudges, and still, small, inner voice of Holy Spirit is our only hope of maintaining equal footing on which to travel.

The Cross of Christ will daily nurture our relational reality, peace and equal ground for life’s journey.

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

“You Will Be Rebuilt”

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Holidays, loss of a loved one, a life-threatening illness, financial problems, a major move, building a new home, or a family crisis can leave us worried or emotionally drained.

Earlier today, a woman talked to me about the death of her seventeen-year-old daughter. I grieved for her and her husband in the loss of their child at a tender age. Since I lost my only child, I could identify with that mother and her pain.

A friend shared recently about her diagnosis of breast cancer. As a fourteen-year breast cancer survivor, I recalled the days of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation and prayed for her.

A month ago, another woman told me she struggles with an upcoming divorce. She needs a job and worries about the children.

What about you? Are you in the midst of an illness, a loss, a major move, or a family crisis? How are you coping?

Will you turn to food, shopping, alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, or another form of self-medication? Will you withdraw or give up?

Your heavenly Father loves you and longs to rebuild your life. Give him a chance.

Jeremiah 31:4: “I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt . . . Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.”

Dear God, taking up a tambourine and dancing again sound impossible. Please help me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to allow God to rebuild your life?

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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 Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Have You Seen God’s Loving Eyes?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV

Father’s eyes are continually scanning the horizons of the entire earth; searching for the heart of even one of His children that He has won to His love. Just the slightest detection or hint of one totally committed heart, evokes an eruption of color from His eyes that rival the Northern Lights dancing and swirling gleefully like a “love drunk” schoolgirl.

I know–I have seen the Northern Lights on a number of northern trans-Atlantic flights. They must reflect His eyes, as they lock in on even one of His children fully committing their heart to His heart. Why do I believe this to be true? Because they explode, dance and twirl all the way across the horizon with the sharpest and broadest display of color imaginable! That is the only way I can begin to capture or describe the experience of looking into His eyes.

Phil Whickam, in his song “You’re Beautiful,” wonderfully proclaims that “The colors of the morning are inside His eyes.? There is no color spectrum or palate known to man that could provide adequate definition to the colors of the morning. They are beyond description, yet Father’s eyes contain them all.

All it takes is one glance into His eyes; when your eyes catch His loving gaze, you see the dancing light and color — and for that moment you are certain His gaze has always been fixed on you. In that moment all of life comes into perspective. For that exhilarating moment; in the loving reflection of His eyes, you see yourself: your history, your family of origin, every relational experience — the good and the bad — and for that moment your life’s journey is okay.

The sum total of your life: the joys, the pain, the ups and downs, the struggles, the failures, the successes and victories, the infirmities, the shameful and knowingly sinful acts of rebellion, the insane and addictive behaviors, the confusion, the doubts, the fears, the deepest-yet untold secrets, the sincere good intentioned attempts at changes and reconciliation, the previously unknown or miss-understood divine interventions, every moment of your history fades into the pure light of His non-shaming, non-judgmental, all-consuming loving gaze.

Every glance into His eyes becomes a divine, romantic encounter of intimacy (into-me-see). And in that moment you recapture the deep knowing of childlike simplicity. You are restored to the sweet innocence of perfect Holy Communion with Him! In this loving exchange you are only aware of Father’s joy and complete delight to be with you! You are arrested by His joyous approval and pleasure. And you become a prisoner of love!

You are confronted in this sacred moment, with His great plan for you and the wondrous place of significance you have in His will and purpose! In this same moment you recapture destiny and calling. You finally fit. Everything has meaning — there is nothing in life that has been without reason — nothing wasted. Even your sorrows aren’t wasted — you see their redemptive value! Grief and loss is finally acquainted with Father’s loving plan. All of life’s divine purpose comes into clearer focus — in the perfect light and color of Father’s heart piercing glance.

Our Lord Jesus knew that revelation of Father’s love changes everything. No Cross is unbearable. In Father’s eyes we see that every test refines our faith like gold! The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to keep our eyes on Jesus…He began and finished the race of life we are in…He set the pattern for us to follow. We are to study how He did it.

He never lost sight of the goal or the prize. He always kept his Father’s will before Him. And Jesus always knew He was headed for an exhilarating finish — in and with His Father. Jesus always kept the Father’s loving glance in view. He only did what He saw His Father doing and because of that, He could put up with anything along the way — even the Cross, with all its shame! The only proof we need is that He is now seated at the place of highest honor; His Father’s right hand. Thus, we can see in His eyes (no matter what is happening around us) that we are also seated with Him in Heavenly places.

The climax of discovery in Father’s eyes is the passionate love of Jesus. His fiery love trumps everything else! Let the love of Christ be your life! Stir the embers in your heart by always remembering how he abandoned himself to/for us. His love is contagious, not reluctant but extravagant. His love calls the prodigals home to his heart; and at the same moment it unstops the ears of all the elder brothers.

There is no place for rules or law in His loving gaze! The moment you replace the spontaneity released through his eyes you lose the edge of romance! And the romance we discover in his eyes is scandalous, undisputable, un-diluted, pure loving grace!
In the grip of Papa’s loving gaze!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.