Posts Tagged ‘bondage’

Have You Given up?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

A renowned international speaker said, “Yvonne, it took me 20 years to become an overnight success.”

I think of those words often and use them to encourage other speakers and myself. Have you given up on your dreams? Have you pushed your goals aside?

Go back in time with me to a fisherman named Simon. He and another fisherman had fished all night but caught nothing. They left their boats at the water’s edge and were washing their nets. They were done trying to catch fish.

Jesus got into Simon’s boat, sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he finished, he told Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).

Simon said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

If you had been Simon, would you have tried one more time? Would you have trusted the Lord enough not to give up?

Sometimes I work hard on goals and dreams my way and want results in my time rather than God’s. Can you identify with me?

Luke 5:6-7 says, “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”

Talk about results. I will wait, let the Lord direct me to the deep water, and haul in his overflowing blessings. What about you?

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Hope With Fingers Crossed?

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

hope stoneI heard someone speak about hope as an invitation to disappointment.

“I’m hoping for something to happen when I know the odds are stacked against it. So when I say I hope it goes well, I really mean I’m worried it won’t.”

We’ve all hoped that sort of hope. I hope my friend recovers from cancer. I hope she finds a new job….

We hope those things happen, but perhaps, like the ambivalent speaker, we’re also prepared for disappointment.

That’s not hope, not the hope described by Paul in Romans 15:13:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The God of hope is not a God of disappointment. He’s the God who always keeps His promises.

HOPE is a confident expectation based on faith that God always keeps His promises.

So I’m confident my friend will be safe, cared for, and at peace in Jesus’ arms regardless of his physical condition. 

I’m confident she can search for a new job calmly and peacefully, keeping the big picture in mind, regardless of short-term obstacles.

I’m confident God will guide the right people to the FREEDOM TOUR and give us direction, even when it seems chaotic from my perspective.

That’s hope. Those are God’s promises.

He never promised it would be easy or that He’d fulfill our short-term (or long-term) wishes. The prayer says “…thy will be done…”

We wish with fingers crossed. We move forward with confident hope in God’s promises into changed lives. We move forward in impossible circumstances.

HOPE changes what’s POSSIBLE.

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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

Need a Fresh Start?

Friday, September 16th, 2016

A friend brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

FRESH START

startMy friend needs a fresh start today.

In fact, given his circumstances he may need a few fresh starts in the near future. In the past lots of us gave up something, or started something. It’s cool to have a nice, neat time when everyone has permission to do something new that gets us a little closer to God. We make starting over the “in thing to do” on that one particular day.

Someone who’s struggling, like my friend, might get the wrong idea. He might think there’s something magic about that day and, if you miss it, you missed your chance.

God, of course, cares a lot about second chances and fresh starts. He loves it when someone makes and keeps a commitment for the forty days of Lent, but He’ll be thrilled if my friend gets a fresh start today. Or tomorrow.

If you know someone who gave something up, maybe you can take a moment to ask how it’s going. If he’s struggling, encourage him. If she slipped, remind her that perfection isn’t the goal.

If you know someone like my friend, make sure they know it’s always a good day to start over. As many times as it takes.

God offers you and me a fresh start. Let’s use it well!

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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

Need a New Perspective?

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

A fifth grader’s comment brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

PERSPECTIVE

The young lady told me she loved the idea of perspective.

I just spoke to her class and she was escorting me to the office. “Why is perspective so interesting to you?”

She stopped and gazed right into my eyes. “Because,” she explained, “it means I get to control how I look at things. It’s like choosing my attitude instead of letting my attitude choose me.”

I love listening to kids.

Can I be honest, just between you and me? Once in a while this thing of living in a wheelchair still gets a bit discouraging. You would think after nearly twenty-eight years I’d be over that feeling, but I still hit an occasional stretch in which all I can see is how difficult life is and all the things I wish I could do.

Then a young lady reminds me God gave me the ability to decide whether I’ll see darkness or light. It’s not easy, but with the Spirit’s help I can choose hope rather than despair. I’m not a victim of circumstances.

As my young friend said, “Perspective means I get to control how I look at things.”

Is there some situation that requires a new perspective?

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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

Hunting Wealth Too Eagerly?

Monday, July 25th, 2016

He who loses godliness to gain gold–is a great cheater of himself.

Keep yourselves entirely for Christ. Live above the world. Its goods will come to you–when you do not bid too high for them. If you hunt the butterfly of wealth too eagerly–you may spoil it by the grasp with which you secure it!

When earthly things are sought for as the main object, they are degraded into rubbish, and the seeker of them has fallen to be like Bunyan’s man with a muck-rake, turning over a dunghill to find nothing. Set your heart on nobler things than lucre! Let us so live that it will be safe for God to add to us the blessings of the present life; but that can only be done with safety, when we have learned to keep the world under our feet.

Charles Spurgeon, “A Good Start!”

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If We Directed Our Own Lives

Friday, July 15th, 2016

We often think we could do better–if we were directing the affairs of our own lives.
We think we could get more happiness and greater good out of life–if things were in our hands.
We would at once eliminate all that is painful and unpleasant in our lot.
We would have only prosperities, with no adversities; only joys, with no sorrows.
We would exclude all pain and trouble from our life.
Our days would all be sunny, with blue skies–and no clouds or storms.
Our paths would all be soft and easy, and strewn with flowers–without thorns or any rough places.
Would we not be happier–if we could direct our own affairs, and leave out the painful, the bitter, the adverse, and the sorrowful?

So most of us would probably say at first, before we have thought of the question deeply and looked on to the end. But really the greatest misfortune that could come to us in this world–would be to have the direction of the affairs, and the shaping of the experiences of our lives, put into our own hands!

We have no wisdom to know what is best for ourselves. Today is not all of life–there is a long future, perhaps many years in this world, and then immortality hereafter. What would give us greatest pleasure today–might work us harm in days to come. Present gratification might cost us untold loss and hurt in the future.

We want pleasure, plenty, and prosperity–but perhaps we need pain, self-denial, and the giving up of things that we greatly prize.

We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, from struggle–but perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most good for us, which will best mature our Christian graces, which will fit us for the largest service to God and man.

We should always remember that the object of living in this present world, is not merely . . .
to have unlimited pleasure and comfort,
to get along with the least trouble,
to gather the most we can of the world’s treasures,
to win the brightest fame.
We are here to grow into the beauty of Christ, and to do the portion of God’s will that belongs to us!

There is something wonderfully inspiring in the thought, that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, for each life. We do not come drifting into this world–and do not drift through it like waves on the ocean. We are sent from God, each one of us with a divine plan for his life–something God wants us to do, some place He wants us to fill. All through our lives, we are in the hands of God, who chooses our place and orders our circumstances, and makes all things work together for our good–and His glory.

It is the highest honor that could be conferred upon us, to occupy such a place in the thought of God. We cannot doubt that His way for us is better than ours–since He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves us so. It may be painful and hard–but in the pain and the hardness, there is blessing.

Of course we may not know all the reasons there are in the divine mind, for the pains and sufferings that come into our lives, or what God’s design for us in these trials is. Yet without discovering any reasons at all, however, we may still trust God, who loves us with an infinite loveand whose wisdom also is infinite!

When we get to heaven, we shall know that God has made no mistake in anything He has done for us, however He may have broken into our plans–and spoiled our pleasant dreams!

It should be reason for measureless gratitude, that our lives are not in our own poor foolish hands–but in the hands of our infinitely wise and loving Father!

“My times are in Your hands!” Psalm 31:15

(J.R. Miller, “The Lesson of Love” 1903)

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What Is Your Gift?

Friday, July 1st, 2016

“I don’t have anything to offer,” Beth told the group of women at a social gathering in my home.

I couldn’t believe what she said. She was an excellent cook and baker. She could turn ground chicken into a gourmet meal. I said nothing but waited to see what the other women would say.

“I don’t either,” Jennifer said. “I never went to college.”

She blushed and looked at the floor as she said that.

As if a college degree determined what one could offer. Jesus and his apostles changed the world without one.

Holly chimed in and said, “I’m too young. No one will listen to me.”

Look at what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Angie said, “At least you’re young and can look forward to making a contribution to society.” She paused, scanned the group, and said, “I’m too old. It’s too late for me.”

At age 66, Kay Coles James serves on the NASA Advisory Council and is the founder and president of the Gloucester Institute, a leadership-training center for young African Americans. At age 72, Joyce Meyer speaks, writes, and travels. In her early 80s, Kay Arthur does too.

Can you identify with Beth, Jennifer, Holly, or Angie? Have you said something similar? Perhaps you’ve given a different excuse. I call it an excuse because of what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7:7: “Each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”

Add to the list 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

If those two verses aren’t enough, look at Romans 11:29: “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

Get going. Use the gift you have.

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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
“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

How Should I Respond?

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Difficult current events prompt today’s word-of-the-week…

RESPOND

Of course we’re sad.

Confused. Afraid. Angry. Hopeless.

God’s not surprised by events that we find beyond comprehension. And He’s not offended by the range of emotions that rush over us.

Jesus came, not so we would deny our feelings, but so we could face them, deal with them, and move forward with confidence.

Feeling confused because events just don’t fit your notion of how things ought to work? What if our response is to trust that God really is in control, that He sees from a broader perspective, that His kingdom is at hand?

Feeling afraid? What If we respond to Jesus’ words (Matthew 14:27), “Take courage. I am. Don’t be afraid.” What if we decided not to live in fear?

Feeling hopeless? What if we ask ourselves if this is an opportunity? What if this is a chance to respond by believing that God keeps His promises. That’s what hope is–a confident expectation that God will keep His promises.

Angry? As Stephen was about to die as the church’s first martyr, he refused to seek vengeance. Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60)

What if our response is trust, courage, hope, and forgiveness?

What would it look like if we choose to shine that kind of light into the darkness?

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Maybe it is a good week to refuse to let feelings rule.

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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

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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Let There Be Light!

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

In most of our homes, you simply flip a switch and light fills a dark room. Pretty incredible, really. Let There Be Light!

Now follow me in a thought experiment. Imagine it’s high noon on a bright, sunny day. Could someone invent a “dark bulb” so we could flip a switch and the room would suddenly be dark?

Nope. You can’t pump dark into a room when light’s present, because darkness isn’t a real thing. It’s only the absence of a thing.

The only way to make a room dark is to eliminate the light.

It’s such an obvious truth that it sounds a bit silly to even talk about it. But take a hard look at a lot of what passes for current public discourse and debate. Basically, it’s a series of personal attacks designed to diminish or extinguish others’ lights.
Blowing out the other guy’s candle won’t make yours burn any brighter.

“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. (Matthew 5:14-15)

We’re supposed to add  light, not eliminate it. We need to spend our time taking the light of Jesus into the dark corners.

Want to eliminate racism? Eradicate poverty? Stop human trafficking? Unify the church?

Don’t ask me. I’m not that smart. But I do know this.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s not our job to run around turning off the lights.

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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