Archive for the ‘Things to Ponder’ Category

Are You Nurtured by the Victory Parade?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

“In Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way to salvation–an aroma redolent with life.” 2 Cor. 2:14-15a, The Message.

There is a method to this seeming madness. Everything we have gone through and will go through today, whet the spiritual whistle of all around us. Our day to day life produces a testimony of perpetual victory. Yes, I know it is a process-but; ultimately, in Christ it will be tomorrow’s testimony of the grace, love and mercy of God!

The key — the beginning words in this passage…’In Christ, God leads us…’ He really is in charge. Things have not run amuck. All is not for naught. There really is a purpose for everything. I question this as much as the next person. But; I always end up going full circle; praising God for the new, fresh and powerful testimony that today’s tests produce tomorrow.

The kicker — you have to continually rest in His leading. I’m sure none of you have ever argued with Papa about what He has allowed in your life. As Paul put it, ‘you never kick against the prick.’ The difference will be whether our lives emanate with the fragrance and visible evidence of the Gospel of Grace or not.

The most powerful, tangible, and authentic evidence of the Gospel is our testimony! Will you co-operate with His lead today? If so, He will take you from place to place as a perpetual victory parade? Victory parades are a lot more fun than continual defeats. This is the essence of revival and revolution! Go start a Gospel revolution today with your fragrant testimony.

In the grip of Papa’s victorious grace, Ron Ross

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.

Do You Toy with Sin?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

“If we play around the viper’s hole–it no wonder that we are bitten!”

An old proverb advises us not to play with sharp-edged tools, lest we cut our fingers.

It is a sin to trifle with sin! If we must play, we had better find harmless toys! That evil which caused Christ a bloody death, is no fit theme for any man’s sport.

Playing with wickedness is a hazardous game! Sooner or later, we will pluck the lion of sin by the beard, and we shall be torn in pieces!

This is true of indulgence in strong drink: “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper!”

This is equally true of all other forms of evil, especially of the lusts of the flesh. Lewd words, soon lead to foul deeds. Yet such is the folly of men, that they run dreadful risks in sheer wantonness, as though vipers and cobras were fine playmates, and devils were merry-makers!

“Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Do not let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” Psalm 19:13

Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883

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The Devil’s Chessboard

Friday, August 15th, 2014

So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes! 2 Corinthians 2:11

“Be watchful; the world is the devil’s chessboard! You can hardly move backward or forward, but he is ready to attack you with some temptation!”

Those who play at the game of chess know that great caution is needed. Your opponent is working toward a design of which you know nothing; and while you imagine that you are doing exceedingly well, he is entrapping you!

The game of life
, as against Satan, is one in which . . .
his maneuvers and artifice,
his long practice and stratagems,
his superior skill and deceptiveness,
and his unscrupulousness–
give him an immense advantage over our poor self-conceited folly!

Lord, help us! You know our adversary; be pleased to deliver us out of his hand.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes!” Ephesians 6:11

~ Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883

When God gazes on Gaza, What does He see?

Monday, August 4th, 2014

When God gazes on Gaza
What does He see,
Political divisions, Levitical pleas?
Impoverished citizens
Cowed by a wall,
A nation entombed,
Loves He them all?

Would genocide sanctified
Enter His plan,
By rocket’s red glare
Would He scorch all the land?
Might He prefer blood flow
To honey or milk,
Dance as the innocents
Fall in their filth?

The God who called Abraham,
Gave him two sons,
Watched while the two streams diverged
Each one
Powered by passion to destiny fill,
Would God will a bloodbath
Where He’d life instilled?

World is now watching
As battle unfolds,
Prophets in history
These clashes foretold,
But I ponder peace as I
Switch on T.V.
And note the short distance
From there to Dead Sea.

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Copyright by Roadrunner. All rights Reserved.

 

Does Your Worship Matter?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

On our recent tour, our teammate Doug was fond of the greeting “Gloria a Dios” (glory to God).

Even when he received a nasty gash on his leg from a stray piece of glass in a trash bag, he limped to our starting circle with a hearty Gloria a Dios.

I thought it was a great alternative to “How ya doing?” I liked being reminded of our shared commitment, but I found myself asking what might seem like an odd question.

Why should God care whether we glorify Him or not?

I don’t intend to be disrespectful. Quite the opposite—He’s God. Why does it matter to Him whether I even acknowledge Him, much less offer Him the glory for my meager efforts?

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

This isn’t a new question for me. I suspect it bubbles to the surface when I’m feeling especially vulnerable or uncomfortable. I suppose a diminished sense of self-worth leads to the notion that my worship won’t matter to God.

Ever been there?

It’s a lie, of course, but I think I get the reasoning twisted around. Maybe you do as well.

It’s certainly true that God doesn’t need me to give Him glory. In fact, He doesn’t need anything from me, you, or anyone else. He’s God.

So why does it matter? The secret is in the second paragraph above—“I liked being reminded…”

Gloria a Dios isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s for mine. Each time Doug repeated the greeting I remembered my connection to the Creator, my dependence on Him. I remembered that the ride was about justice, and that we were letting God use us to set things right for a handful of kids.

God doesn’t need me to glorify Him, but He knows I’m more at peace, more aware, more grounded, when I do.

In the midst of a hectic week when it was so easy to lose focus, Doug’s greeting took me home. I’m grateful.

Gloria a Dios indeed!

Copyright by Rich Dixon. All rights reserved.

What if They Don’t Want Help?

Friday, July 4th, 2014

No helpPLEASE DON’T HELP!

Suppose you noticed someone in obvious distress holding this sign. What would you do? WWJD?

My dog Monte’s official title is “service dog,” though many folks call him a “helper dog.” I don’t think the difference is one of semantics. Serving is different than helping.

The strong help the weak, the big help the small, the able help the disabled. The superior help the inferior. Those who can help those who can’t.

Service turns this around. Servants are humble, invisible, and lowly. Servants do the tasks deemed unfit for the masters. In Jesus’ words, “A servant is not greater than his master.”

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, the servant of all.”

How might a servant approach the person in distress with the “PLEASE DON’T HELP” sign?

How might an attitude of service impact or alter the interaction?

How would the person with the sign be involved?

What have you learned or observed about service?

We’re attempting to operate as a team of “servant leaders.” Is that a platitude or a reality? How does one fulfill both roles?

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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

Does Your Heart Have Eyes?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

“The only way this works is if I see with my heart.”

We were talking about knowing God’s plan when this gem stopped the discussion. I asked him to elaborate.

“I’ve always thought it wasn’t real unless I could evaluate it, touch it, taste, smell, hear, or see it. But now I believe the only things that really matter are those I can see with my heart. That’s the only way the world makes sense.”

As I drove home I thought about people who would scoff at the notion of “seeing with my heart.” I felt sad for them.

A lot of amazing things can be experienced by the five senses, but I agree with my wise friend.

The things that truly matter, the things worth living and dying for, can only be seen with the heart.

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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

Do You Think Old Stuff is Irrelevant?

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The holiday sparks today’s word-of-the-week…

MEMORIAL

MondayToday’s Memorial Day in the U.S.

It’s a day for remembering, but memorials are also about traditions, markers, and monuments. Many of us will travel today to special places, either physically or in spirit, to pay our respects and remember loved ones.

In Joshua 4, God told Joshua to create a special memorial to commemorate His people’s entry into the Promised Land. After the work was finished, Joshua gave this command.

“In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

It’s easy to forget. When life gets busy and NOW seems so pressing, old stuff can seem, well, old and irrelevant. It’s tempting to move forward and pretend the old stuff doesn’t matter.

That’s a mistake. Just like that alter of stones, we need to remember those who came before. Before we fire up the grill we need to stop and honor their sacrifices, their wisdom, and their hard work.

Happy Memorial Day!

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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

This Is What A Gift Looks Like

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

gift in open handsThis weekend I watched a man receive a gift.

The gift had a good deal of sentimental, emotional value to the giver. He’d held it as a reminder of a special time and place. It was cared for and kept safe for a very long time.

The gift meant something quite different to the man who received it. It meant freedom, trust, a chance to begin a new chapter. It was something the man couldn’t have bought for himself.

These two men had never met until the morning this gift changed hands. The giver handed his prized item to a total stranger, no strings attached. He doesn’t know if it’ll be treated well or trashed.

That’s true generosity. No conditions. Risk. Sacrifice.

I felt like I witnessed a holy moment, something we see all too rarely in our conditional, what’s-in-it-for-me culture. A man gave, from his heart, something he valued to another man who needed it, and asked nothing in return.

I’m pretty sure I felt Jesus smile.

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