Posts Tagged ‘humility’

Thanks is not Just for Thanksgiving Day

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving should never be lacking in a Christian life. It is not enough to observe one day in the year for ‘Thanksgiving’ although that is a beautiful thing to do. Nor is it enough to put a sentence of thanksgiving into our daily prayers, although that, also, is proper.

It is the grateful spirit which pleases God, the spirit that is always full of praise. There should be a note of thanksgiving running through all our life.

Too many of us go to God only with . . .
our requests,
our burdens,
our worries,
our troubles
–while we but rarely go to Him with any word of thanks.

We are not to be thankful only for the pleasant and agreeable things that come into our days–we are to be thankful, too, for the things that appear to us to be adversities. “Give thanks in everything” That means . . .
in the sad days–as well as in the glad days,
when clouds are in the sky–as well as when the sunshine is pouring everywhere.

It is said here that this is the will of God for us. The Christliest life is the one that is always keyed to the note of praise and thanksgiving.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful!” Hebrews 12:28

“Overflowing with thankfulness!” Colossians 2:7

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father!” Ephesians 5:20 

(J.R. Miller, “Christian Essentials”)

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When Doors Won’t Open for Us

Monday, October 31st, 2016

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

OPENS

doorway“It feels like even when I’m at the right door it never opens for me.”

“Okay, tell me how it works.”

“It’s like I’m following my dream, doing the thing I think I’m called to do, but the door never opens.”

“So following your dream feels like you’re fighting yourself?”

“Exactly!”

“Well, here’s my theory. I think if you’re following your God-inspired dream, it shouldn’t feel like that. It may not be easy, but it shouldn’t feel like you’re fighting yourself.

“Can we try something?

“Sure.”

“Imagine Jesus is standing on the other side of that door, knocking. Please push the door open and let Him in.”

He reached for the handle. “You mean ‘Pull the door open,’ right? I can’t push it. It doesn’t open that way.”

“No, I’d really like you to push it. I believe that’s the way it’s supposed to happen.”

“But  can’t push it open.”

“Wait, are you telling me that if Jesus Himself was standing on the other side of that door you couldn’t push it open if I told you to?”

“Well, I could try, but that’s not the way it opens.”

“Do you think it’s possible that’s what happens with the doors of your dreams? I think sometimes we decide in advance not only WHAT should happen but EXACTLY HOW it should happen.

“Maybe you’re at the right door, but you’re absolutely certain you should push through it when that’s not the way it opens.”

The popular view says if the door doesn’t open, it wasn’t your door.

Maybe it simply opens the other way.

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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

It’s okay to say, “I’m not sure.”

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

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

KNOW

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”?

Are Assumptions Being Made?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

ASSUMPTIONS

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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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

The Holy Spirit isn’t a bureaucrat

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

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

BUREAUCRAT

The Holy Spirit isn’t a bureaucrat.

That may be the strangest statement you’ve ever read, but think for a moment about how we expect God to operate. How often have we heard It’s not fair? Even when we know better, don’t we think some folks–mass murderers, terrorists, child molesters–are just plain worse sinners than others?

Don’t we make rules? This is how you get baptized. This is how you become a member. These are the qualifications to be a preacher. You need to do ___ before you can do ___.

That’s bureaucracy. Not saying it’s bad, just calling it what it is. And saying the Holy Spirit sometimes steps outside our lines.

Saul was a terrorist, a mass murderer, the worst of the worst when it came to persecuting the early church. We would expect God to strike down this terrible enemy.

Instead, He chooses this Saul, this terrorist, to become His chosen Apostle to the gentiles. Saul becomes Paul, plants churches all over the known world, and writes nearly half of the New Testament.

It makes no sense, if you’re a bureaucrat. The Holy Spirit isn’t a bureaucrat.

The Holy Spirit sees each heart as an individual, special person formed in God’s image. He sees each of us for what we can become, not for what we’ve been or what we’ve done.

Bureaucrats categorize people based on external factors. Next time I’m tempted to do that I hope I’ll remember that God’s Kingdom isn’t a bureaucracy. God makes plans that don’t make sense.

God’s Spirit calls each of us to something special based on potential, not past. Might be a good week to listen and start moving.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Jesus isn’t a weapon

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week:   WEAPON

Jesus isn’t a weapon.

He didn’t show up to give you and me the trump card in an argument. He didn’t give His life so I could make someone feel guilty for what I perceive as a lack of generosity. He didn’t offer His stories, or His life, as weapons to be deployed in a cultural war of words.

In case you haven’t noticed, the tactic of hitting people over the head with Jesus doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because only the Holy Spirit change a heart.

Violence, physical or emotional, in the name of peace is irrational.

I can be as sarcastic as anyone, and I’ll admit to having a bit of fun with some of the late-night comedy and the Facebook memes. I want to say it’s just a joke, but perhaps I’m really trying to look a bit superior. Maybe I’m only assigning myself to a slightly better class of sinner than those people.

I seem to recall something about getting the 2×4 out of my own eye before I correct another’s vision.

Jesus doesn’t want another culture war of words. He doesn’t want any war at all. Remember that “Prince of Peace” thing?

So I ask His forgiveness, and yours as well, if I’ve used Him as a weapon.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to get on with the work in front of us.

Do You Make Things Complicated?

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Recent experience has me re-visiting a previous word-of-the week…

SIMPLE

What Jesus asked of us is simple.

I need to remember that today. Maybe you do too.

He asked us to love with no strings. Sacrificially. Love God. Love others. Love ourselves.

That’s it.

Of course, it’s not easy. Or safe. Or cheap.

But when we make it complicated, when we act like you can’t be involved without some sort of advanced training, we need to stop.

Following Jesus might be the hardest thing in the world, but it’s simple.

Love. God. Others. Self.

It’s Monday! Maybe it’s a good week to give yourself a break. Don’t make it so complicated.

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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 I Assume About You…

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

What I assume about you, doesn’t tell me much about you.

I’ve bumped into the notion of assumptions a lot lately. And whenever I encounter the same idea a bunch of times, I figure perhaps God’s trying to get my attention.

What I assume about you tells me a little about the manner in which I view the world. It tells me something about the category into which I place you and about my laziness, because it’s easier to simply assume you’re like all the people who share the single characteristic I used to categorize you.

People who use wheelchairs-they’re helpless, right? Or perhaps they should all be able to ride a handcycle 1500 miles?

What I assume about you reveals a lot about me, but absolutely nothing about you.

I wrote about this a while back (The Problem Of Them). I called it otherizing: the process of discerning and accentuating differences between people so it’s apparent one group is clearly not like us.

Categorizing, otherizing, whatever we call it, it’s the first step to dehumanizing individuals so we can discount them.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor.” One person at a time. I love Dick Foth’s suggestion for avoiding the tendency to otherize.

The next time someone asks, “What do you think about those people?” try this simple response:

“Which one?”

I have a dear friend who’s a committed atheist. Because I write a lot about my faith, I think he wonders if I view him as one of the others.

I hope he knows that when I think of him I never think of a category. I always think of an individual about whom I care a great deal.

People aren’t their ideas, languages, skin colors, cultures, accomplishments, mistakes, beliefs, bank accounts, or nationalities. Jesus sees none of those. When He’s asked what He thinks of all those categories that matter so much to us, He smiles and looks at individuals.

“Which one?”

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

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

Are You Real Or A Poser?

Monday, April 11th, 2016

POSEREver hear the term “poser”?

Occasionally you’ll see someone with a $10,000 bike, outfitted head-to-toe in the latest gear, with almost no wear-and tear on their equipment and little desire to climb even the smallest hill. They look the part, but apparently the fancy getup is all for show. They want to fit in, look the part, without doing the work and making the sacrifice.

In Acts 5 members of the early church community generously sold possessions and donated the proceeds to those in need, not out of obligation but a spirit of love and concern. That’s important–this donating wasn’t required.

Ananias and Sapphira sold a field and made a donation. All good, except they lied. They kept part of the proceeds but told everyone, including God, they’d donated the entire amount. As punishment, they died.

It’s a tough story, but let’s not lose the lesson.

Don’t Be A Poser

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t have to donate anything. They didn’t even have to sell their field. But they wanted to impress, to appear more generous than they were.

God doesn’t want us to be posers. Jesus came to relieve us of the burden of trying to be someone we can’t be anyway. He told us we’re free.

God’s likely not going to strike us down for posing, but we pay in other ways. Hiding behind made-up identities, creating masks that allow us to fake it and pretend we’re someone we’re not, all that is a lot of work that keeps people away.

It goes both ways. If we really want others to be vulnerable and authentic, we need to stop judging, condemning, and categorizing. Every time we draw a line and decide that sin is unacceptable we encourage someone to become a poser.

That’s not biblical, and it’s not what God wants.

The notion of a poser-free community is a bit scary for most of us. It takes courage to truly encounter people where they are, free of expectations.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone.

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