Posts Tagged ‘reconciliation’

Whose Truth Is It?

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

truth1I believe in absolute truth.

I also know humans view truth through the imperfect lens of their own experience. As the picture indicates, it’s impossible to consider truth independent of the perspective of the observer.

Truth is a cylinder. From my perspective, it’s a circle. You’re certain it’s a square.

I’ve observed that people of good will who love Jesus with all their hearts can reach different conclusions on many issues. I believe we must listen to one another and accept the reality that we all see through a glass darkly.

We must major in the majors and minor in the minors.

What unites matters more than what divides.

Can you see the benefit of understanding that where you see a circle and the other person sees a square, the reality may be a cylinder?

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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

Do You Agree?

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Recent events got me thinking about today’s word-of-the-week…
AGREE

Monday Wouldn’t it be great if we could all agree on every issue?

Sadly, The Good Ship Lollipop hasn’t sailed down my street recently and I haven’t taken up residence in Fantasyland. Since I don’t live in a bubble, I’m going to encounter people with whom I disagree.

In fact, I’d argue it’s my job to do exactly that, because that’s what Jesus did. He made a point of hanging out with the very people the hyper-religious types avoided. He went to their homes, attended their parties, ate their food…and asked us to follow Him.

Do you think He entered a house and started by saying something like “I want you to know I hate your sinful lifestyle and I’m only here because it’s my duty”? Do you think He felt like He was lowering His standards? Did He send someone else because He didn’t want to associate with some particular class of sinner?

I think He hung out with people because He loved them. He wasn’t worried that the neighborhood (or the country) might lose God’s favor because He honored, reached out to, respected another human being.

Jesus said it’s easy to love those who love you in return. He called us to do the hard thing, to love and serve those who aren’t so easy to love. (Luke 6)

I won’t speak for you. I think others see my faith in how I respond to those with whom I disagree. Honestly, I miss the mark a lot and I’m sorry for that.

I’m trying. I want them to see Jesus.

Your Opportunities in 2016

Monday, January 4th, 2016

For the first Monday of 2016 a perfect word-of-the-week

ENCOURAGEMENT

2016I’m so grateful that you read these words each week, and I’m prompted to begin 2016 with a message of encouragement.

I can’t promise you smooth roads and an easy path. Life doesn’t work like that. I do believe God offers an opportunity to write a remarkable story with the days of 2016. Like any great story, it will include challenges and conflict. You’ll need courage, and faith, and trust, and hope.

“Take courage! I Am. Don’t be afraid.”

I can’t promise God won’t give you more than you can handle. That’s a platitude for posters. I’m confident, though, that He’ll surround you with folks who will share the load, if you’ll let them. And Jesus will always walk beside you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

May you find a cause worth investing in, fighting for, sacrificing for. And please remember that worthwhile investments involve risk, and fights worth fighting often leave a few battle scars. And sacrifice means…sacrificing something.

May you live free of fear. In a world in which many seek to manipulate by manufacturing and magnifying fear, I hope you’ll trust that God’s at work and the message of fear is the enemy’s lie.

May you, whenever possible, seek to think the best of others. Regarding people with mistrust and suspicion causes us to make up untrue stories in our heads and to ascribe bad motives to even good deeds.

May you leave the past in the past and avoid the silliness of tripping over obstacles that are behind you.

May you minimize worry which wastes so much energy and adds nothing to the quality of life.

May you forgive, not because it’s deserved or because you want to or because you feel like forgiving or even because you’re supposed to forgive. I hope you’ll forgive because it’s the only lasting path to peace and freedom.

May you know, with absolute confidence, that God works for good in all circumstances. None of your effort, success, struggle, pain, or failure will be wasted.

May you move forward with hope, the confident expectation that God always keeps His promises.

May you always lead with love. Not because it’s easy or because it makes sense or because it gets the desired short-term results. May you lead with love because it’s the path to Jesus and because, in the end, it’s the way the universe works.

My encouragement, dear friends, to you and to me for 2016.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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

FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel”

Friday, December 18th, 2015

The latest issue of CIR’s FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel” is now available for Download

You are encouraged to download this, print it out or put on a diskette and share it with your loved ones, church, pastor and/or recovery group. It is jam packed with inspiration, tips, resources and information for everyone in recovery

No Christmas Family Reunion for Me!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

“I don’t want to go to the Christmas family reunion, Ms. Ortega,” Julia told me in my counseling office. Her hands trembled as she spoke and unbuttoned her sweater.

“What makes you say that?” I asked as I looked into her blue eyes.

“My mom and dad will argue most of the day. My aunt Mary won’t speak to my aunt Dorothy, and each will act as if the other one isn’t there.”

Julia’s facial muscles tightened as she discussed the family dynamics. I waited to hear what else she might say.

“That’s only half of the story.” Julia sat in silence for a minute and stared out the window. “My sister expects everyone to do what she wants, or she will get angry, curse, and cut them out of her life. My uncle Charlie will get drunk and misbehave.”

In my experience as a counselor, I’ve heard similar stories. Perhaps you feel like Julia and don’t want to go to your Christmas family reunion either.

You can write a list of the pros and cons of attending and then decide. You can consider other ways to spend Christmas day.

If your family members want to know why you won’t attend the family reunion, tell them you want a peaceful Christmas or have other plans.

You can invite good friends and neighbors to your home for a peaceful Christmas dinner.

Psalm 34:14b: “Seek peace and pursue it.”

Dear God, I want Christmas to be peaceful not hostile. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to “seek peace and pursue it”?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

But I need something more!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

But I need something more! I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24-The Message

Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we seem resolute to exhaust all of our personal resources first.

Does the power of sin and unhealed or unresolved life issues ever seem to sabotage your best intentions? More often than I like to admit, they do for me. Any real, transparent or honest follower of the Grace message of Jesus Christ will readily admit to Paul’s dilemma. The very things I truly think are behind me, often jump up, seemingly out of nowhere, and bite my religious butt.

The answer to this is in the giving up-truly coming to the end of our rope. “There is none perfect, no not one!'”

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when He sent His own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In His Son, Jesus, He personally took on the entire human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. Romans 7:25-8:1-3b, The Message.

In our quest to please Him, we long for something more-something that will finally bring hope to our hearts. He is the something more! Total and constant surrender and trustful reliance upon Him, is always the answer. It is only because of Him, (even on the best or worse of days) that our hearts can be pregnant with hope. Besides this hope will never disappoint us because God proves his sustenance by his daily love gift of Holy Spirit in our hearts.

God went for the jugular when He sent His own Son.It will never be because we finally have a perfect religious score or day-we finally get it right…no, we must always let go of our rope and grab onto (by a sheer act of faith) the resurrection power and Grace of Jesus Christ. Something and someone more loves you and me, especially in our frailty and weakness. We cannot do much of anything in our best of intentions. We can do all things through Him. That brings our heart hope!

In the grip of His 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.

Alert Expectancy or Asleep at the Wheel of Life?

Monday, November 16th, 2015

“We continue to shout our praise even when we are hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary-we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.” Romans 5:3-5, (Msg)

There have been times in my journey that I was much less alert than I thought I was. Spiritually; I was just about asleep while thinking myself to be wide awake. In those times, I didn’t just ‘not’ know much, I didn’t even ‘suspect’ much. It’s like being drugged or drunk and thinking you can drive a car better in that state of mind. Wow, what an awakening it takes to again become clear and alert. God is faithful and merciful to wake us up; not necessarily gently, either!

Shouting my praise, still somewhat hemmed in by troubles – I am beginning to see some light through the fog. How about you? I can honestly report: whatever it takes to get us wide awake, sober-minded, thinking more clear, somewhat dressed and in our ‘right’ minds, is worth it. Or should that be in our ‘left’ minds? I am still in the throes of the awakening and hopefully passionate patience and forged virtue are just around the corner.

I am beginning to see, the bigger prize is a fresh expectancy in my relationship with Papa. I am also getting back to first-love childlike simplicity and faith. “Keeping our eyes on the prize”-like Paul, our hearts are again stirred and warmed.

When we are falling asleep at the wheel of life, heart focus seems to be the first thing to go. We start to glance at God and gaze at other things-distractions, lusts, self-pursuits…it can be anything. No matter-the point is getting back to alert expectancy.

With alert and expectant hearts – we are never left feeling like the victim, unfairly treated, short-changed. As the alertness begins to return; we truly do realize (even though it may be for the tenth time) how ‘all things work together for the good.

We can even; like Jeremiah in Lamentations proclaim again, ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end-they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness!’ Jeremiah had just interrupted himself in the midst of a long litany of things to be ‘lamented’. He was suddenly awakened to the truth behind what appeared to be hopeless. He was in alert expectancy – I pray to be there as well.

At this place, there really aren’t enough containers to hold everything God desires to generously (not begrudgingly) pour into our lives. He doesn’t even bring up what got us off track-He simply; daily expresses how thrilled He is that we are again living in ‘alert expectancy.’ It is also here that our capacity is strengthened and His joy is more fulfilled in us. In ‘alert expectancy’, you throw out the welcome mat of your heart to Jesus!

In the grip of Papa’s 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.

Are You Standing Outside the Doorway?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

“Who would, after seeking the King’s palace, be content to stand in the door, when he is invited to dwell in the King’s presence and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life? Certainly, all would assume that no one would so foolishly give up a royal life to merely stand in the doorway, separated from all the pleasures of living in the King’s presence,” adapted from the wisdom of Andrew Murray, from his classic “Abide in Christ.”

Tragically, many who come to Jesus as Savior and Redeemer never go beyond the doorway to abide in Him. They fail to learn the simple spiritual discipline of “Abiding in Christ” and practicing the presence of God. Experiencing the unspeakable joy of dwelling in the presence of God is the birthright of every follower of Jesus.

Is our “imposter” mask blocking the presence of the very one we desire to be closest too As a direct result many Christians feel broken and angry but don’t think they can express these real feelings around others?or to God. So we put on a mask to hide our identity. Feelings of embarrassment and shame make us hide from the One who truly loves us. He is calling and encouraging us to let go of this stressful, unreal impostor lifestyle and freely accept our identity as a child of God

“Take care to live in me (practice my presence daily/hourly), and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.For apart from me you can’t do a thing.But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted…I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.” John 15: 4, 5b, 7, 9, The Living Bible

Life lived in the presence of Jesus is fruitful, powerful, joyful and secure. When we learn to practice His presence we stay connected to the source of all we will ever need. A relationship can’t be maintained in a healthy functional way apart from regular dialogue and fellowship.

“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when trouble comes. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies. Then I will bring him sacrifices and sing his praises with much joy. Listen to my pleading, Lord! Be merciful and send the help I need. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me, O my people.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27: 4-8 The Living Bible)

Is this the cry of your heart? Lord, I am coming!

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 Try to Appease God?

Friday, October 30th, 2015

A word I never use is today’s word-of-the-week…

APPEASE

I heard the word in a sermon, but I’m far too familiar with the concept of trying to appease God.

When you lay it out, it sounds silly. Appeasement means paying God off. If I give God something that pleases Him, He’ll give me something I want in return.

Of course I would first need to have something God wants, and the ability to keep it from Him. The more you pursue the idea the crazier it becomes, and yet…

Of course I know I can’t bargain with God and I’m not blessed for being good. Of course poverty isn’t a curse for bad behavior and wealth isn’t a reward for good behavior. Of course I know my health isn’t contingent on being a “good Christian.”

I know all that stuff, but when things get scary it’s awfully tempting to bargain, just this once. It’s hard to trust, especially when so much of the culture, even so-called Christian media, talks about a health-and-wealth gospel. When you’re scared, that message gets tempting.

It’s okay. Jesus was tempted, too. He saw the appeal of the shortcut, but He knew it wouldn’t work.

So He trusted, and He invites us to trust in a relationship based on grace.

We can stop trying to pay God off.

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

You can’t be lost without first truly belonging!

Monday, October 26th, 2015

You can’t be lost without first truly belonging! Our belonging trumps any lost-ness we have ever experienced! As bearers of the image and likeness of God, we are always invited into the depths of His searching and finding. I desire to fully know and be fully known!

The story of Calvary’s Cross beckons us afresh into knowing Jesus as The Son of Man. As Son of Man he gave His life for the world; establishing for all ages (past, present and future) our life in Him. As Son of Man he finds us in our lost-ness and brings us into the knowing of Him as our Savior, Sacrificial Lamb, Head of the Church, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Great High Priest and Coming Groom!

Our only contribution is to daily embrace the finished work of Jesus. We can only do this by grace through faith!

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages (this very day) he might show (in and through you and me) the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works so that no man can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:4-9, NIV)

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in the hearts of all that love him, Christ in friends, enemies, strangers and all nations, tribes and tongues! (Adapted from St. Patrick)

“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
2 I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
3 You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
4 You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
5 I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence,
coming and going.
6 This is too much, too wonderful –
I can’t take it all in!

7 Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
(Is there any place) to be out of your sight?
8 If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
9 If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon,
10 you’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!
11 Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
12 It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day,
darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul,
I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!
15 You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
16 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
17 Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
18 I couldn’t even begin to count them
– any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!” (Psalm 139: 1-18, Msg.)

All that was lost has found it’s place in Jesus in us!

May we know as we are known, perfectly in His D.N.A. (divine nature added)!

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.