Archive for the ‘Things to Ponder’ Category

Prevent the Valentine’s Day Blues

Friday, February 12th, 2016

At one time I dreaded Valentine’s Day. You may feel the same way right now.

Perhaps you’re married to someone who doesn’t remember special days like your wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day. Have you taped reminders to the dashboard of his car?

Have you called him at work, sent him an email or a text to remind him? If you fix breakfast for him or pack his lunch for work, have you put a sticky note with a reminder on his napkin? At dinner, place a reminder near his plate.

Maybe you’re legally separated, divorced, or a widow. You still have options. I’ve learned from mentors that I can buy my own flowers and candy. That way I select the kind of flowers and dark chocolate I prefer.

Go ahead and buy your own flowers and candy. You’re worth the time and money.

My mentors also taught me to invite friends to breakfast or lunch that day. I can pick our favorite restaurant and enjoy my friends and the meal.

If I’m busy that day and would prefer dinner from a restaurant, I can call ahead of time and have a take-out order ready to pick up. Once I’m home, I can set the table with my best china, silver, and crystal.

Decide whether breakfast or lunch at a restaurant or a take-out dinner works better for you. Then move forward with your plans. Maybe you’d like to do both a meal at a restaurant earlier in the day and a take-out dinner. Why not?

I’ve scheduled a massage or bought a new outfit on sale on Valentine’s Day.

Several times in the past I invited girlfriends to my home for a potluck dinner or we chipped in for pizza and watched a movie.

Make a list of friends you can invite and send them an email, a text or call them.

If you have young children living at home, consider a single parents’ night in your home. If you live in a townhouse or a small home, invite only one or two single parents and their children to your home.

You can play games or watch a kid-friendly movie.

In short, regardless of your marital status, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Here’s to your Happy Valentine’s Day.

Whose Truth Is It?

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

truth1I believe in absolute truth.

I also know humans view truth through the imperfect lens of their own experience. As the picture indicates, it’s impossible to consider truth independent of the perspective of the observer.

Truth is a cylinder. From my perspective, it’s a circle. You’re certain it’s a square.

I’ve observed that people of good will who love Jesus with all their hearts can reach different conclusions on many issues. I believe we must listen to one another and accept the reality that we all see through a glass darkly.

We must major in the majors and minor in the minors.

What unites matters more than what divides.

Can you see the benefit of understanding that where you see a circle and the other person sees a square, the reality may be a cylinder?

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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

Ever heard of a “slow watch“?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

A cool new product inspired today’s word-of-the-week…

SLOW

Ever heard of a “slow watch“?slow

It’s a real thing. Basically it’s a 24-hour watch with a single hand. The idea is that we don’t need to know the time down to the minute and second. So if we wear a watch that doesn’t measure life in small increments, perhaps we’ll slow down and make time for important things.

It’s kind of a a cool idea, and I suspect that a slow watch would be a great conversation starter. However, since I don’t wear a watch I don’t think I’ll spend a few hundred dollars for a high-tech sun dial.

The slow watch raises a question. What do we lose by chopping our lives up into tiny segments and accounting for every moment?

How often are we too busy for a conversation?

How often do we fill the time with urgent and miss important?

Do we hurry to somewhere that doesn’t really matter and neglect somewhere that does?

Do we pretend that quality time is a substitute for time?

Is God an appointment on our morning calendar rather than a partner throughout our day?

A slow watch won’t trick you or me into re-prioritizing our time. At best it’s a silly reminder that life wasn’t meant to be divided into smaller and smaller chunks in the name of a false sense of efficiency.

Jesus didn’t use a watch or a calendar. He was fully present with the people and tasks before Him. We probably need to learn from His example.

Let’s find some time this week that would be best measured by a “slow watch.”

 

Do You Shine Or Reflect?

Friday, January 29th, 2016

EarthForty-seven years ago, two humans first stood on the moon.

July 20, 1969 offered an historic opportunity for perspective. Many folks saw an opportunity to look toward the stars. Others turned and gazed homeward.

The shining blue Earth reminded me of a curious bit of advice I saw recently. The author suggested if you want to grow and learn you must “Get out of your own light.”

Sounds sort of profound, huh? There’s only one teeny, tiny flaw in the logic. You and I are just like that bright blue Earth… we have no light of our own. The Earth only reflects the sun’s light.

We only reflect the light of Jesus.

We can’t “get out of our own light.” We can, however, turn toward the Light.

If we reflect Jesus’ light, we become a beacon shining in the darkness. We show people the way as surely as that small reflective disc guided explorers home.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Religion stifles imagination?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

I surprised someone in a conversation about today’s word-of-the-week…

IMAGINATION

A lady said religion stifles imagination.

I agreed, which surprised her. “But,” I continued, “religion isn’t necessarily the same thing as following Jesus.”

We had a cool, though brief, discussion about human-created religion with its often burdensome rules and constraints. She didn’t know anything else existed, so I explained that Jesus essentially spent three years poking at established religion. I encouraged her not to confuse Jesus with His followers.

I proposed that there is nothing stifling about Jesus.

J.R.R Tolken… Lord Of The Rings. C.S. Lewis… Chronicles of Narnia. Are those enough imagination?

To me, God is infinitely creative and we’re made in His image. How can imagination NOT be integral to who we are?

I suspect my friend was telling me that the “religious folks” she knows don’t show a lot of imagination. So perhaps she just hangs out with the wrong crowd.

Or… maybe we’ve allowed ourselves to become a little too predictable, a little too safe.

Where can you and I demonstrate this week that Jesus was anything but safe and predictable?

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

Every new beginning is just a first step away!

Monday, January 11th, 2016

‘Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.’ Isaiah 43:19

The day of our birth is actually the start of our own individual new year.

I often send birthday greetings to loved ones that reflect my wishes for their coming year to be filled with many blessings of health and happiness.

That makes the first day of January, the commencement of our collective new year, which, when taken as a whole, seems like a long stretch of time.

Newly begun, it is equated with new beginnings, with the promise of the future, as it becomes the new days of our lives.

There is no denying that we are living in times of upheaval and unprecedented change that is being experienced around the world. We can consciously close the media out and yet, somehow, we are still aware of
the tumult and energetic dissonance that is present.

Indeed, in dark times, it is often the chance to begin
again which helps us to make it through.
We take each day, each step, each breath,
one at a time, in order to survive.
Remembering that each new beginning
holds the potential to change things for the better:
To lighten the darkness;
To ease the load
To heal the wound
To forgive and love again ~Wayne Visser

Every new beginning is just a first step away. And so we begin 2016 with anticipation of what is promised in faith and what may be actualized in our trust of the peace that surpasses all understanding.

~*~
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

New Years: Taking Stock

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Happy New Year!

When someone says, “Happy New Year,” do you think of a party with hats, streamers, noisemakers, food, and music? I used to connect the two.

Now I schedule time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to sit with my calendar, my Bible, and my journal. I go back over the year to see what I’ve accomplished of lasting value. I look at what I’ve done in terms of the legacy I will leave behind. What about you?

After that time of reflection, I prayerfully consider what one word I’ll place on a sticky note on a kitchen cupboard, my bathroom mirror, and my desk and what Scripture I’ll claim for the New Year. Have you done something similar in the past? If you haven’t, try it for a year and let me know how it goes.

On New Year’s Eve if not sooner, I again sit with my journal, my Bible, and my calendar to think about goals and dreams for the coming year. Do I have a new book on my heart to write? What about a speaking topic to explore? What speakers’ conference would I like to attend? What about a writers’ conference or retreat? I ask God about those things to see what his will is.

My book, Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward, came about in 2015 because of my quiet time in 2014 pondering the New Year.

Those of you with children might consider activities and travels with your children. I still remember the year I took my son to Mexico for a six-week study program. We stayed with a pre-screened family in their lovely home.

My son wasn’t interested in learning Spanish until he spotted a cute little Mexican girl at the college café. Then he learned whole sentences one after another.

I urge you to plan for 2016 to be better than 2015. Look forward to it with joy.

Happy New Year!

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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

Begin Where You Can

Monday, December 28th, 2015

“I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be perfect.” Genesis 17:1

“Perfection is impossible!” we are in the habit of saying; and therefore we do not try to reach perfection. But it is better for us always to keep our aim high, although we cannot hope to reach it. If we have low ideals and aims–our attainments will be low. We cannot look with approval upon anything lower than the perfect beauty of God Himself–and not have the beauty of our own life dimmed thereby. We should always keep perfection before us–as our aim. We should keep our eyes ever fixed upon the perfect model, Jesus Christ!

He Himself taught, “Be perfect, therefore–as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. We are always to seek to model our life upon the divine pattern. Of course we cannot reach this lofty standard in a day–but the way to Christlikeness, is to strive toward it.

When a child begins to write, his scrawling lines fall far short of the beauty of the original at the top of the page. Book after book he fills with his scribble–but if he is diligent, each new page shows a little improvement, and by and by–his writing rivals the original. We can learn to live holy and sweetly, only in the same way. Begin where you can, no matter how imperfect or faulty your life–but strive always toward perfection, and at last you shall be like Christ! That is the hope which shines before us: when we shall see Him as He is–and shall be like Him!

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)

Are You Spiritually Ready for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Have you asked your extended family, friends, and coworkers if they are ready for Christmas? I have more than once.

Perhaps people have asked you if you’re ready. They’ve asked me.

When you think about being ready for Christmas, do you think about Christmas presents, mailing cards, and stockings hanging over the fireplace? I used to think if I finished those things, I was ready.

Now I think in terms of spiritual readiness for Christmas. Is my conscience clear? Do I hold anger, bitterness, or resentment toward anyone? Do I need to sit with my journal and Bible to forgive someone?

So how did I turn from material readiness to a spiritual one? I thought about God sending his only Son to earth for the forgiveness of my sins. I accepted God’s gift and wanted to show my gratitude.

God’s Word in John 15:14 says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

I wanted God to include me as one of his friends. One of his commands is to forgive. He tells us that in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Will you be spiritually ready for Christmas? It’s not easy. I struggled for years to get through my list of people I needed to forgive. Without friends, coworkers, and mentors, I couldn’t have succeeded.

It’s not too late to get spiritually ready for Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

The Mystery of Christmas

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Happy Monday!

Christmas week brings me to today’s word-of-the-week…

MYSTERY

christmas am chaosEveryone else seems to have a sense about Christmas.

For some, it’s politically correct Happy Holidays! For others it’s Merry Christmas and the reason for the season. Some see profits, others fear family gatherings that open old wounds. There’s vacations, celebrations, and decorations.

To me, it all a mystery, and the more I understand the deeper the mystery becomes.

A baby’s born, just like every other baby and unlike any other. His birth was the culmination of an eternal plan, events orchestrated from the beginning of time leading to a stable and a manger in a backwater town. God gave up being God, except He didn’t, and accepted the limitations of a mother’s womb and a baby’s helplessness.

How did it work? I believe it, and still it’s wrapped in a wonderful mystery.

Shepherds and Magi heard the message and came to worship. How much did they comprehend? How many nights did they lay awake pondering, wondering?

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

What was she thinking? She knew, but how much did she really understand?

I love the mystery of this familiar story. It’s a story the smallest child can know , but I’ll never really understand the depths of what happened that night.

One thing’s for sure. I’m grateful.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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