Archive for the ‘Things to Ponder’ Category

Love isn’t a feeling

Friday, October 21st, 2016

A conversation from a long time ago prompts today’s word-of-the-week…


thing-called-love“Love isn’t a feeling.”

My friend looked at me like I’d just landed from Mars. “Of course love is a feeling. When you fall in love, it’s the greatest feeling in the world!”

“And then you fall out of love and it’s the most horrible feeling in the world, right?” She nodded.

“And you always fall out of love, because that mushy-gushy feeling doesn’t last.

“Real love, the kind of love you can count on, is a decision.”

We had a long discussion that evening. My friend never gave up; it was years later that she quietly told me, a bit sadly, “I think you were right. Love is a decision.”

I’m reminded of this old conversation because a guy told me recently that his faith didn’t feel very strong. He wondered if something was wrong.

“Nothing’s wrong,” I assured him. “Feelings come and go. They are what they are. But…

“Faith isn’t a feeling. Real faith is a decision.”

Feelings matter. A lot. It’s good to understand, talk about, and share your feelings with God. But we need to keep them in their proper place.

Jesus said, “Take courage. I AM. Don’t be afraid.”

He wasn’t telling us to deny normal, natural feelings of fear. Everyone feels afraid at times. He asked us to decide, to choose not to be controlled by those feelings. And to assist, He placed Himself, I AM, in the center.

Don’t feel like forgiving? That’s likely pretty normal, but authentic forgiveness is a conscious decision. I choose to forgive despite my feelings, and when I slide into a desire for vengeance I lean on grace and forgive again.

Most of following Jesus isn’t nice, flowery, gooey feelings. It’s simple obedience and basic daily choices and messing up and starting again.

That’s all Jesus did, except for the messing up part. It’s what He asked of his friends.

And us.

What simple choices can you reaffirm? Might be a good week to accept your feelings without allowing them to take over. 

Finding a Sense of Personal Amity

Monday, October 10th, 2016
“Where the roses bloom forever
And where separation comes no more
If we never meet again,this side of heaven
I will meet you on that beautiful shore.”
~Johnny Cash

I have come to believe that in the face of the chaos and destruction that confronts us in ever more fateful ways, the most powerful thing that we can do is to find a sense of personal amity and share it with the world.

Much of the media that swirls like a tornado is about turmoil and tragedy. For today, I want to focus on the good that exists and in fact, far outshines that which is not.

Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise
think about these things.   Philippians 4:8

The sun is bright and its light apportioned, freely, everywhere. I sit in the warmth of its glow and feel the Gulf breeze upon my face and body.

This truly is paradise.  Thank you God.

Fall brings cooler weather and renewed energy. We look forward to our friends and family, visitors and snowbirds returning to Florida for this season which is essential to the economy of our lovely little piece of heaven.

Thank you God.

The last frontier standing may be having the courage to show how much you care or as my insightful husband opines in this era of political correctness, “Caring is the only Daring”.  It is concern anchored in hope and faith that brings the peace that surpasses all understanding.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear,
but of power, of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

Remember to count your blessings.

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

It’s okay to say, “I’m not sure.”

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The current political “discussion” inspires today’s word-of-the-week…


imageSome folks seem to know just about everything.

The wisest people I know, the ones I trust the most, seem to be full of doubt. Where others see black-and-white, they see all sorts of nuance and shades of gray. They’re more likely to ask tough questions than to provide easy answers.

The people I describe aren’t stupid or wishy-washy. They know what they know. They aren’t afraid to speak the truth.

They also aren’t afraid of, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure how that works.”

Our culture tries to tell us we’re supposed to know.

What’s God’s plan for your life? You’re supposed to know.

Where do I find forgiveness? What does grace mean to me?

What did Jesus mean in that story? How does it apply to your life?

What’s the best way to read the bible?

You’re supposed to know. And some folks do know, and they’ll tell you the right answer, for them and for you.

I’ve noticed the wise people don’t know the answers to those kinds of questions. They’ll share their experience and help you discover your own meaning.

It’s easy to be intimidated or impressed by those with all the answers.

Me? I want to be a bit more like the wise folks I described. It makes life a whole lot less stressful.

How about making it okay to say, “I’m not sure”?

That Master Key!

Monday, September 19th, 2016

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart! Hebrews 4:12

I see more and more in Holy Scripture, a perfect adaptability to the various ills of mankind.

A friend went into one of our lock factories, and he was shown upwards of a hundred locks. He was told that none of the keys would open any of the locks, except the particular one for which it was made.

But then a master-key was shown to him, and this would open any of the hundred locks.

I believe Holy Scripture is like that master-key! There are myriads of human hearts, with various sins, temptations, sorrows, cares, and fears–but the Bible is fitted alike to each and all. It points out the remedy for every form of misery and evil–it leaves no heart and no trouble without some balm suited for its need.

Holy Scripture is our Father’s love letter to His redeemed children. We may trace the handwriting. The spirit of truth, holiness, and love is seen all through. We mark that He knows and provides for the needs of every one in His large family. There are warnings to caution us against every form of sin, however subtle. There is consolation provided for every one of the manifold varieties of human woe.

Pain and suffering, anxieties about the future, disappointments, losses, bereavements–not one of these evils, or any other… we find some appropriate solace, some heavenly promise, that can lift the heart of the believer above it. Who could so completely have provided for every need–but He who made man and knows the hearts of those whom He has made?

~George Everard, “Strong and Free, A Book for Young Men” 1882

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Listening to Your Gut

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.’ (Ascribed to Albert Einstein)    
Recently in doing research on digestion, I came across a remarkable web resource that was comprehensive and helpful in a multitude of practical ways.  A central theme emphasized was to become contemplative and allow the intuitive process to occur. This would bring forth a positive connection between the mind and body.
If you are dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Diverticulitis, Crohn’s Disease, Spastic Colon, Constipation, Diarrhea, Prolapse, Leaky Gut  or other more serious digestive issues, please check out the information available at Listen To Your Gut.

 Being reminded to ‘listen to my gut’ led me to consider the role of intuition in overall health and I found information shared by Eugene Sadler-Smith to be helpful.

 He concludes: ‘We all have intuition, we’ve all experienced its effects, and we’ve all lived with the consequences of listening to it or of ignoring it. It works in parallel with the analytical mind and both minds are needed if we are to perform, profit and grow in our professional and personal lives.
Unfortunately the intuitive mind cannot communicate directly with us in the normal language of our conscious awareness – words. To get its message across it speaks a different language – that of ‘gut feeling’ or ‘hunch’.  It is a biologically ancient body-mind system but as is the case with even the most advanced digital technology, one of its drawbacks is that it isn’t 100% reliable. The intuitive blip that we sense on the screen of consciousness can be misunderstood and misinterpreted, overlooked or ignored. Sometimes its predictions can take us to the wrong place and we may, at our peril, confuse its voice with other more feeble but potentially dangerous voices such as logical errors, bias, prejudice and wishful thinking.
There are four distinctive features of the intuitive mind, namely that it speaks in the language of feelings; it’s fast and spontaneous in its operation; it’s a holistic ‘pattern-recognition enabled system’; and it offers hypotheses rather than certainties.’
Intuition is intrinsic to our survival on a personal level and is frequently used
for business decisions as well, even in mega corporations.
Machines and computers cannot be creative in themselves because creativity requires something more than the processing of existing information. It requires human thought, spontaneous intuition and a lot of courage. ~Akio Morita  (SONY)
Finally, I found the following quotes that further clarify the power of intuition and its influence on our decision making.
Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way. ~Florence Scovel Shinn

The invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you. ~Wayne Dyer

It is my  hope that you have found something useful and beneficial for your own well-being in this article.

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

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=”″>“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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The Third Chapter of Life

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~Anatole France

Frequently the inspiration for what I write comes from a particular word on phrase that swims around in the sea of my consciousness.
‘Chapter Three’ kept floating to the surface of tangible awareness and so it became the focus for a bit of research and led me to ‘The Third Chapter’, a book by sociologist, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.

Ten thousand baby boomers turn sixty each day. A newly identified developmental stage, the ‘third chapter’, focuses specifically on the years from 50 to 75. Recognizing that this cultural change can result in a deeper, richer understanding of the aging process, the author notes that society often offers a murky view of this phase, unsure how to view a population that is “neither young nor old.”

“We must develop a compelling vision of later life:
one that does not assume a trajectory of decline
after fifty, but one that recognizes it as a time
of change, growth, and new learning; a time when
our courage gives us hope.” from The Third Chapter

Challenging the idea that people over fifty enter a period of diminishing opportunities, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot brings a rejuvenating new perspective to these debates. As people move from one developmental stage to the next, they are likely to experience the twin emotions of loss and liberation, despair and hope, pessimism and optimism. It is difficult to let go of the familiar, the routine, the proven, the daily rituals; so hard to relinquish your solidity, your expertise, your status and station and take the risk of embracing the new, the unproven, and the unfamiliar.

This requires the willingness to take risks, experience vulnerability and uncertainty, learn from experimentation and failure, seek guidance and counsel from younger generations and develop new relationships of support and intimacy.

This book includes and shares the insights of courageous souls from all walks of life who redefined “work,” reinvented themselves, and tapped their emotional resources in creative new ways. The result is a revolutionary yet realistic challenge to all who are living in the Third Chapter, providing a gateway to liberation and greater meaning as each day unfolds.

In Biblical understanding, the elderly are to be venerated and identified with wisdom and closeness to God. Indeed the word ‘elder’ and ‘overseer’ are
used interchangeably.

“Let the elders that rule well be counted
worthy of double honour,
especially they who labour in the word and doctrine..”
1 Timothy 5:17

Here’s to a creative and fulfilling Chapter Three for all of us who have turned that page!

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

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

Are Assumptions Being Made?

Monday, June 27th, 2016


The assumptions people make about you, your story, and your experiences disclose a great deal.

They disclose a great deal about the person making the assumptions, and you may wish to pay attention to what that person is telling you about himself.

But those assumptions disclose nothing about you.

We spend far too much time and energy trying to meet or refute assumptions made by others. Wasted time, wasted energy.

Your identity, my identity, they’re based on what God sees through Jesus. A person worthy of love, worthy of a second chance.

A person worthy of Jesus and His sacrifice.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That’s the assumption God made about you, and me.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to stop listening to the assumptions made by others and start listening to those made by God.

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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