Posts Tagged ‘rebellion’

Can Our Rights Be Wrong?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

bill of rights“I have the right to ______.”

You fill in the blank—the possibilities are nearly endless. We’re all about defending and demanding our rights.

A few days ago I read an article about human trafficking in which the author cited compelling data linking prostitution, pornography, and the meteoric increase in internet trafficking of minors. In a comment, one guy angrily defended his constitutional right to view pornography, affirmed by THE SUPREME COURT! (his caps.) He went on to express his anger at “self-righteous Christians” trying to take away his right to do whatever he wanted in his private life.

Personally, I’ve no interest in limiting anyone’s rights. Passing a law might make us feel better, but it’s actually an extremely ineffective way to change “moral” behavior. Want examples?

  • Prostitution is illegal in every state. Does anyone believe those laws stop paid sexual activity or its horrible side effects
  • Slavery and human trafficking are illegal in every country. Nearly 30 million people live in modern-day slavery, and human trafficking is the second largest worldwide organized crime activity (behind drugs).
  • Illegal street drugs proliferate in every community despite massive law enforcement campaigns and billions of dollars wasted on a virtual revolving door of incarceration involving a huge portion of our population.

Jesus refused to deploy power or fear to control behavior. Paul frequently deferred his rights as a Roman citizen, accepting illegal beatings and imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. He wasn’t interested in his rights, but in God’s notion of what’s right.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christand be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:7-9)

Just wondering how different things would look if every follower of Jesus surrendered our “right” to judge those who disagree. What if we gave up our right to fight back, to shout for our political beliefs, to edit the truth to fit our version of reality?

What if knowing Jesus mattered more than getting our way? What if loving our enemies was really more important than winning? Would things look any different?

Do you think we could change the world if justice—setting things right, from God’s perspective—was more important to us than our rights?

Jesus gave His life for that principle.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)

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Copyright 2008-2013 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

Whose Plan are You Following?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

,I think sometimes we forget that only the Potter knows how to fashion us to suit His purposes. We think we know our purposes here on this earth, and what we need to fulfill them. But the Lord says in Jeremiah “I know the plans I have for you” (emphasis on the “I”) (Jer 29:11).

Or maybe we get some great ideas and plans, run off to implement them, and then ask God to bless them. But Corinthians says that the thoughts of the wise are futile (1 Cor 3:20).

Or perhaps God has revealed some of His plans for us, and we think we know how to bring them to fruition. But He says in Isaiah His ways are higher than our ways (Isa 55:9).

I think that we rarely know what God is up to. Only He knows the intimate details of the plans, the step by step journey that He has planned for us. Only He knows the upcoming battles we will face. Only He knows the current state of our heart, and His desired state of our heart. Only He knows what equipping will be required.

He loves us so much, He is so fiercely protective of us, He will not send us into battle unprepared. The battle is the Lord’s, and His plan is victory. Our equipping is critical if we want to partner with Him in victory.

Does it frustrate you, or bring you comfort, that God is the only omniscient One who knows how to shape us to fit the plan?

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~ * ~

Celeste Li, M. D. is the author of
Triumph Over Suffering: A Spiritual Guide To Conquering Adversity
She is active member of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens Florida.
Celeste teaches a course in Triumph Over Suffering and serves in Christ Fellowship’s Ministry for the Suffering.

Which way will you go?

Monday, November 4th, 2013

We are always moving closer
Or not
To people, to dreams, to God

Standing still is not an option

Mindlessly repeating society’s overarching mantras
Some move along a path
Deeper and deeper in world of consumption, entertainment
Big Macs

Corporate ladder invites
Road to success brightly lit
Millions aching to get launched

All moving away
Losing sight of star eclipsed by flash
Running past streams with healing powers
Missing signs for way of salvation, forgiveness, renewal

Yertle the Turtle’s got nothing on these

It’s moving day
Which way will you go?

~ Roadrunner

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Copyright 2000-2013 by Roadrunner
Used by Permission
See more at:http://furtherreaches.com

Trying to Open Closed Doors

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Suppose someone knocks on your front door.

You go to the door and try to PUSH it open. You sweat and strain and shove with all your might. You really want to open that door, but despite your best effort you’re unable to force it open.

Your front door is designed to open inward.

I think we live a lot of life like this. We try to push through doors that just aren’t going to open, no matter what we do. Maybe they’re locked, but perhaps we’re insisting on doing it our way when our way isn’t God’s way.

I’m thinking I should make sure I find the right doors. And once I find them, it’s worth a few minutes figuring out how they were designed to open.

Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

How sad to imagine Him standing right there on the other side of the door. I struggle to get to Him, frustrated when my best efforts fail to push past the barrier.

It’s simple. Respect the design.

Step aside, turn the knob, and gently pull the door open.

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Copyright 2008-2013 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 Do You Do When You Are Broken Down?

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Nehemiah 1:4: “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

“I’m in great trouble and disgrace,” Kevin said as he looked out my office window.

As I pulled my chair closer to Kevin, I asked what happened.

“I’ve wasted a lot of money on alcohol.” He paused for a moment and continued, “My marriage is broken down, and my family no longer trusts me.”

The book of Nehemiah came to mind. I suggested that Kevin could do what Nehemiah did when he realized the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and its gates had been burned with fire. I read Nehemiah 1:4 to him.

With a nod, Kevin said he mourned, but he never fasted and prayed.

In verses 6-7, Nehemiah also confessed his sins, the sins of his father’s house, and the sins of the people. Nehemiah confessed their disobedience to the “commands, decrees and laws [God] gave [his] servant Moses.”

I asked Kevin if he was ready to confess his sins.

At first, Kevin blamed his wife, the children, neighbors, his boss, and co-workers. Eventually he admitted his own disobedience to God’s commandments.

I asked Kevin if he would confess his sins, revere God’s name, and ask him for favor.

With another nod, Kevin said he had tried everything else and failed. He would try God’s way now.

Are you in great trouble and disgrace? What needs rebuilding in your life? Nehemiah asked God for success. Will you ask also?

Dear God, please help me rebuild my life and give me success. Amen.

Application: When will you pray, fast, and confess your sins to God this week?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright 2010-2013, 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 Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

 

Hidden Wisdom

Saturday, July 20th, 2013


Is wisdom hidden
Or just overlooked

It can’t be bought or sold
Traded up
Collected
Shown off

Once it becomes a source of pride
It ceases to exist.

~ Roadrunner
Copyright 2000-2013 by Roadrunner
Used by Permission
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Are You Tempted to Complain?

Monday, July 8th, 2013

“Why should any living man complain?” Lamentations 3:39

Occasionally, I am tempted to complain of my hard lot–and think myself harshly dealt with. Ingratitude rises and works in my heart. This always makes me wretched. I then find it profitable to look down into Hell–and realize its horrors and agonies as my just deservings.

If anyone ever deserved to go to Hell–I did!

If justice was ever honored in a sinner’s damnation–it would have been in mine!

If anyone was ever saved by grace alone–I am the man!

Shall I then, who deserve to be in Hell–but am not;
shall I, who am an heir of Heavenly glory–though no one ever deserved it less;
shall I, because of a few trials, troubles, and disappointments, or because I have rather a heavy cross to carry–
shall I dare to murmur, or fret, or complain, or think myself harshly dealt with?

Shocking inconsistency!

What are my present pains or sufferings–compared with the Hell that I deserve!

All the afflictions that I am called to endure here on earth–cannot be compared with only twenty-four hours in Hell! And yet my desert is, not to be in Hell for a few hours–but forever! Surely every lost soul, every damned spirit–will be ready to upbraid me–if I complain of my present lot! What base gratitude–if I do not praise the Lord with joyful lips, for His rich, free, and sovereign grace!

O my soul, whenever I am tempted to complain of my difficult lot–think of my deservings! Think of what would have been my eternal doom–if God had not saved me by His sovereign grace!

Yes, I do find that looking down into Hell . . .
silences my complaints,
awakens my gratitude, and
humbles me in the dust before my God!

~ James Smith, “ANTIDOTES!” 1858

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Copyright 1998-2013 by Christians in Recovery
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Do You Want a Heart Set Free?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Psalm 119:32: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”

An acquaintance of mine planned to leave for a year in Europe to be free from everything and everyone at home. She said she had saved her money for that trip and could hardly wait to leave.

When a friend of mine turned forty, she bought a convertible sports car. She said she felt free with the top down and the wind blowing through her blonde hair.

A man convinced his wife to sell their home and furniture and buy a houseboat. He wanted to be free of home and yard responsibilities and relax on the water.

A heart set free sounds fabulous. Who wouldn’t want that freedom? We may attempt different methods to be set free, but God shows us how in this Bible verse. It’s called obedience.

When the psalmist says, “I run in the path of your commands,” he shows an eagerness to obey God. Obedience is not his last resort, but his first plan of action.

Contrary to the belief of many, money, clothes, travel, and possessions or lack of them won’t set our heart free.

Following the latest fad won’t set our heart free either. Some consider suicide, but that is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Let’s get back to the basics. Our heavenly Father loves us and asks that we obey his commands for our own good. The psalmist learned that lesson.

We can decide to run our own way into financial chaos or some other trouble, or we can decide to run in the path of God’s commands. Our choice determines the resuls.

Dear God, help me run in the path of your commands. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to let God set your heart free?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2010-2013, 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 Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Sensual Pleasure’s Promises

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

“I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:1-2.

Solomon’s question bids a challenge to all the masters of mirth, to produce any one satisfactory fruit which it affords, if they could.

The hearts of young men usually are much given up to pleasure. Sensual pleasures are only seeming and apparent pleasures–but the pains which attend them are true and real. He who delights in sensual pleasures, shall find his greatest pleasures become his bitterest pains. Pleasures pass away as soon as they have wearied out the body, and leave it as a bunch of grapes whose juice has been pressed out.

Xerxes, being weary of all pleasures, promised rewards to the inventors of new pleasures, which being invented, he nevertheless remained unsatisfied.

As a bee flies from flower to flower and is not satisfied, and as a sick man moves from one bed to another for ease, and finds none; so men given up to sensual pleasures go from one pleasure to another, but can find no contentment, no satisfaction in their pleasures. “Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content!” Ecclesiastes 1:8.

There is a curse of unsatisfiableness, which lies upon the creature. Honors cannot satisfy the ambitious man, nor riches the covetous man, nor pleasures the voluptuous man. Man cannot take off the weariness of one pleasure, by engaging inanother pleasure.

Pleasures seem solid in their pursuit; but are mere clouds in the enjoyment.
Pleasure is a beautiful harlot sitting in her chariot

The four wheels are pride, gluttony, lust and foolishness.
The two horses are prosperity and abundance.
The two drivers are idleness and security.
Her attendants and followers are guilt, grief, shame,  and often death and damnation!

Many great men, and many strong men, and many rich men, and many hopeful men, and many young men–have come to their damnation by her; but never any enjoyed full satisfaction and contentment in her.
Ah! Avoid this harlot–‘pleasure’, and come not near the door of her house!

Augustine, before his conversion, could not live without those pleasures which he much delighted in. But after his nature was changed, and his heart graciously turned to the Lord, he said, “Oh! how sweet it is–to be without those sweet delights!”

And as for lawful pleasures, let me only say this–it is your wisdom only to touch them, to taste them, and to use them as you use medicines–to occasionally fortify yourselves against maladies.

There are no pleasures so delighting, so satisfying, so ravishing, so engaging, and so abiding–as those which spring from union and communion with God–as those which flow from a from a humble and holy walking with God.

(Thomas Brooks, “Apples of Gold” 1660)

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Are You Behaving In a Manner Worthy of the Gospel?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Philippians 1:27: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

The four-letter words came one after another from a woman in the mall. I turned to see what the commotion was. Sadness swept over me as I recognized a Christian woman from a local church.

I spoke to a new friend about the Good News of Jesus Christ. She asked me where I attended church, and I told her. She rolled her eyes and said, “ Jim goes to that church, and I know what he’s like. She shook her head and said, “I won’t go there. I’d rather stay home than go where Jim goes to church.”

Although I asked the woman to give us a chance, she was adamant about not going.

When I returned home, I sat alone with my Bible and prayed. I know no one is perfect except God. I felt sad about the incident at the mall. I wondered who else might have heard the woman curse at the mall.

I prayed for that woman and Jim. I know no one is perfect except God, and we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Yet the command in Philippians 1:27 is in the Bible. God doesn’t list exceptions for our behavior. He says, “Whatever happens.” I recalled times I didn’t conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ and asked God to forgive me. Can you identify with me?

What comes out of your mouth when you stub your toe? How do you conduct yourself when a reckless driver almost hits your car? What do you do when your children break one of your treasures at home?

Dear God, help me live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Amen.

Application: When will you sit down this week to talk to God about your conduct?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
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Copyright 2010-2012, 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 Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com