Posts Tagged ‘reconciliation’

Where’s Your Focus?

Friday, September 25th, 2015

“What was Jesus’ primary focus during His three years of public ministry?”

It’s a trick question. I’m always a bit suspicious of single correct answers to complex questions.

Thomas wasn’t around when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection. When his friends told him what happened, Doubting Thomas earned his forever nickname. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, Jesus showed up again. Rather than scolding, Jesus gently invited Thomas to “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas proclaims, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus might have been indignant about Thomas’ lack of faith. He might have wondered if these guys learned anything in three years.

Jesus never focused on himself. For Him it was always about God and the needs (not wants) of others.

In that moment Jesus gave Thomas what he needed to fulfill the specific role to which he’d been called.

Re-read the last sentence. Isn’t that the promise?

Makes me think. As a follower, what if I looked at my own circles–family, church, workplace. What if I took the focus off me and looked at each person in the circle.

What if I asked What does that person need? Rather than advancing my agenda and achieving my goals, what if I asked myself what I could do to advance theirs?

Here’s my answer to the opening question: His focus was on God and on other people. Jesus would be the guy offering to take pictures of folks.

Jesus’ life wasn’t a selfie.

Have You Seen God’s Loving Eyes?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV

Father’s eyes are continually scanning the horizons of the entire earth; searching for the heart of even one of His children that He has won to His love. Just the slightest detection or hint of one totally committed heart, evokes an eruption of color from His eyes that rival the Northern Lights dancing and swirling gleefully like a “love drunk” schoolgirl.

I know–I have seen the Northern Lights on a number of northern trans-Atlantic flights. They must reflect His eyes, as they lock in on even one of His children fully committing their heart to His heart. Why do I believe this to be true? Because they explode, dance and twirl all the way across the horizon with the sharpest and broadest display of color imaginable! That is the only way I can begin to capture or describe the experience of looking into His eyes.

Phil Whickam, in his song “You’re Beautiful,” wonderfully proclaims that “The colors of the morning are inside His eyes.? There is no color spectrum or palate known to man that could provide adequate definition to the colors of the morning. They are beyond description, yet Father’s eyes contain them all.

All it takes is one glance into His eyes; when your eyes catch His loving gaze, you see the dancing light and color — and for that moment you are certain His gaze has always been fixed on you. In that moment all of life comes into perspective. For that exhilarating moment; in the loving reflection of His eyes, you see yourself: your history, your family of origin, every relational experience — the good and the bad — and for that moment your life’s journey is okay.

The sum total of your life: the joys, the pain, the ups and downs, the struggles, the failures, the successes and victories, the infirmities, the shameful and knowingly sinful acts of rebellion, the insane and addictive behaviors, the confusion, the doubts, the fears, the deepest-yet untold secrets, the sincere good intentioned attempts at changes and reconciliation, the previously unknown or miss-understood divine interventions, every moment of your history fades into the pure light of His non-shaming, non-judgmental, all-consuming loving gaze.

Every glance into His eyes becomes a divine, romantic encounter of intimacy (into-me-see). And in that moment you recapture the deep knowing of childlike simplicity. You are restored to the sweet innocence of perfect Holy Communion with Him! In this loving exchange you are only aware of Father’s joy and complete delight to be with you! You are arrested by His joyous approval and pleasure. And you become a prisoner of love!

You are confronted in this sacred moment, with His great plan for you and the wondrous place of significance you have in His will and purpose! In this same moment you recapture destiny and calling. You finally fit. Everything has meaning — there is nothing in life that has been without reason — nothing wasted. Even your sorrows aren’t wasted — you see their redemptive value! Grief and loss is finally acquainted with Father’s loving plan. All of life’s divine purpose comes into clearer focus — in the perfect light and color of Father’s heart piercing glance.

Our Lord Jesus knew that revelation of Father’s love changes everything. No Cross is unbearable. In Father’s eyes we see that every test refines our faith like gold! The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to keep our eyes on Jesus…He began and finished the race of life we are in…He set the pattern for us to follow. We are to study how He did it.

He never lost sight of the goal or the prize. He always kept his Father’s will before Him. And Jesus always knew He was headed for an exhilarating finish — in and with His Father. Jesus always kept the Father’s loving glance in view. He only did what He saw His Father doing and because of that, He could put up with anything along the way — even the Cross, with all its shame! The only proof we need is that He is now seated at the place of highest honor; His Father’s right hand. Thus, we can see in His eyes (no matter what is happening around us) that we are also seated with Him in Heavenly places.

The climax of discovery in Father’s eyes is the passionate love of Jesus. His fiery love trumps everything else! Let the love of Christ be your life! Stir the embers in your heart by always remembering how he abandoned himself to/for us. His love is contagious, not reluctant but extravagant. His love calls the prodigals home to his heart; and at the same moment it unstops the ears of all the elder brothers.

There is no place for rules or law in His loving gaze! The moment you replace the spontaneity released through his eyes you lose the edge of romance! And the romance we discover in his eyes is scandalous, undisputable, un-diluted, pure loving grace!
In the grip of Papa’s loving gaze!

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 Anchored in Faith?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Is your faith anchored in a greater persuasion and opinion than your present afflictions, sufferings, and/or struggles? That’s the “64” dollar question! Even though it sometimes feels like we are trapped in this flesh-suit and its crazy senses; our greater reality is quite the opposite. But that “greater reality” must be seen through the eyes of faith.

Our faith heroes received the testimony of their hope in faith. It was faith that made their hopes tangible. And faith alone explains what is not apparent to the natural eye. Only faith in the finished work of Jesus will carry us all the way home. In the meantime we have some potholes in the road to navigate.

We are fully engaged in an exceeding superior reality; the extent and weight of this glory makes any degree of suffering vanish into insignificance! The suffering is fleeting and ever so slight by comparison to the weight and enduring effect of this glory we participate in for all eternity.

We are not keeping any score of what seems so obvious to the senses in the natural realm, it is fleeting and irrelevant; it is the unseen eternal realm within us that has our full attention and captivates our gaze! In this present age; “Christ in you,” must have your full attention and captivate your gaze!

Our skin bodies have a “sell by” date; our spirit bodies are eternal. The same God who fashioned these skin bodies in our mother’s womb, engineered our spirit bodies to be our permanent dwelling.

Facing pressure times the way we often do, makes us sigh with longing to exchange the skin-suit with the permanent splendor of the heavenly suit.

In the meantime, whatever challenges we are facing in this meat-box, we know that we shall never be found naked; since we are already fully clothed with our heavenly identity in Christ in our inner person…God wired us this way; His Spirit already confirms within us the present evidence of eternity. We are eternal beings by design.

We are (therefore) cheerfully courageous; knowing (beyond a shadow of doubt) that our immediate address in our earthly bodies cannot distance us from the Lord, since we originate from Him.

Faith is to our spirit what our senses are to our bodies; while the one engages with the fading and the fragile, the other celebrates (completion) perfection! Our confidence stems from knowing that even though it might feel at times that we are merely reduced to flesh; our greater reality is that we are entwined in the Lord. He is our permanent abode!” (Adapted from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 and 5:1-8.)

“When we step into eternity and look back on our earthly afflictions, we will view them as “light” and “momentary.” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). When we are finally standing in the glory of eternity, we will realize that the degree of the glory in that age is disproportionate to the severity of the sufferings we endured in this age.

We will wonder”, “How could such a small amount of temporary suffering produce such a huge amount of everlasting glory?” We know we will view it that way once we’re in eternity. The thing is, we want this eternal perspective now.” (Jim Clanton and Bob Sorge) We have a sufficient down-payment of grace to carry us all the way through to the Glorious Age to come!

Living with the eyes of faith,
Ron

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 Living Your Life Splendidly?

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Life really is what this journey is all about. Our part is always to come running to Him. He is the only life source-the Bread of Life. Hunger and thirst will no longer drive your bus after you align with Him. Once we align our self with Him, He holds on and will never let go!

You can become absolutely certain of His ability to complete the Father’s will concerning you. Not a single detail missed: put together, upright and whole. “This, in a nutshell, is that will,” that you be completed. I want to call our daily walk toward that completion, “splendid living”. Our part is to embrace what He is doing: to co-operate with Him each and every day.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.”

“This, in a nutshell, is that will, that everyone handed over to me by the Father be completed–not a single detail missed–and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” John 6:35-40, The Message.

Let me give you one example of splendid living. Liu Wei is a 23 year old piano player in China. He started playing at age 19-only 4 years ago. He plays splendidly. He has no arms! He plays the piano with His feet and he is a concert pianist. While being interviewed on China’s Got Talent (after a spectacular performance with his feet) he was asked this question: “what is your secret to this accomplishment?” His answer: “either quickly die or live your life splendidly.”

Spiritually, you may think you have no arms or that somehow the deck is stacked against you. You may only be focused on what you can’t yet do or what is not yet finished or completed in your life. Others may even cruelly point out your seeming contradictions or imperfections. You can be sure ‘the accuser of the brethren’ will be telling you there is not enough time to work through all your problems, flaws and issues.

What are your options? You can live in agreement with the enemy’s report. Or, you can eat daily of the Bread of Life. You can embrace Him and leave the completion to Him. You can focus on Him and not on yourself. You can daily choose to “either quickly die or live your life splendidly!” Jesus will enable and empower you for splendid living. He said, ‘My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.’ Be nurtured while living splendidly in Him!

In the grip of His splendid grace for splendid living,

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.

When You Say or Do the Wrong Thing

Friday, July 24th, 2015

After the legal separation, I never wanted to say anything against my estranged husband in our son’s presence. After all, my husband was still his father.

So much for my good intentions not to say anything against his father in front of my son. I let my tongue rip loose until I saw the hurt look on his face. I stopped immediately.

No matter what, my husband was still his father. My son needed both of us, and I learned to keep my mouth shut—not an easy lesson for a woman who likes to talk and hear herself think out loud.

I didn’t see that incident as one poor choice. Instead I saw it as a failure. My friends helped me distinguish between the two.

You won’t get it right every time either. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. When that happens, I encourage you not to see your setback as a failure. The only failure is to let a setback cause you to give up.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Dear God, when I say or do the wrong thing, give me strength to get back up and move forward. Amen.

Application: What will you do the next time you say or do the wrong thing?

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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 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

It’s Your Fault Not Mine!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Margaret sat down in my office and said, “No matter what happens in our marriage, my husband says, ‘It’s your fault not mine.’”

I sat in silence and waited for her to say more. Her dark brown curly hair touched her shoulders, and her light brown eyes moistened with tears.

“Last night he cursed and screamed at me, ‘It’s your fault not mine. If you had served a better dinner and on time, I wouldn’t be angry.’” Margaret sighed, shook her head, and said, “Are all men like mine?”

“No, some are but not all of them.” I thought of similar incidents on my caseload, but I didn’t share those with Margaret. Instead I told her about a man named Aaron who was left in charge of a group of people and led them into doing wrong. When the leader returned, Aaron blamed the people.

Margaret laughed and said, “That sounds familiar.”

“What’s sad is that Aaron told the people to take off their gold jewelry.”

He told the leader, Moses, “Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

After we both laughed, I said, “Imagine that. An idol came out of the fire, but it wasn’t Aaron’s fault.”

“Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughing stock to their enemies” (Exodus 32:25).

Dear God, when I’m wrong, help me admit it. When I’m not, help me admit that too. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week not to enable someone to get out of control and blame you?

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!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 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

How Critical is Your Value to Jesus?

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Can you indulge me a moment of what may seem to be a hyperbolas overstatement? Okay, here goes. You cannot exaggerate how critical your value is to Jesus. His Message hinges on you and me believing the Gospel for ourselves in every moment of every day! Apart from faith, believing and trusting His Message we have no hope of truly knowing or sustaining our accurate value and worth.

Our value is not measured by our performance, intellect, position, titles or pedigree. Thank God it isn’t! Instead, our value is revealed in the exchange rate of our purchase! In Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father exchanged equivalent value to redeem us to himself.

Their act of redemption and reconciliation is the mandate of our worth and ministry. (The word, ‘katalasso’ translates as reconciliation; a mutual exchange of equal value.) That makes our value the same as Jesus’! Hold on, before you declare that statement of fact as blasphemous-remember that is God’s opinion and declaration.

“This is radical! No label that could possibly previously define someone carries any further significance! Even our pet doctrines of Christ are redefined. Whatever we knew about him historically or sentimentally is challenged by this conclusion. By discovering Christ from God’s point of view we discover ourselves and every other human life from God’s point of view!

In the light of your co-inclusion in his death and resurrection, whoever you thought you were before; in Christ you are a brand new person! The old ways of seeing yourself and everyone else are over. Acquaint yourself with the new!

Jesus did not reveal a “potential” you, he revealed the truth about you so that you may know and believe the truth about yourself and be free indeed!

Too now see everything as new is to simply see what God has always known in Christ; we are not debating man’s experience, opinion, or his contribution; this is 100% God’s belief and his doing. In Jesus Christ, God exchanged equivalent value to redeem us to himself.” 2 Cor. 5:16-18, The Mirror Bible

(Again, the word ‘katalasso’ translates as reconciliation; a mutual exchange of equal value.)

This is the divine exchange: he who knew no sin embraced our distortion. Even though He appeared to be without form; this was the mystery of God’s prophetic poetry. He was disguised in our distorted image, marred with our iniquities; he took our sorrows, our pain, and our shame to his grave and birthed his righteousness in us. He took our sins and we became his innocence. 2 Corinthians 5:21, The Mirror Bible

Just what is the exchange rate of our value to God? Isaiah hit the nail on the head of our genuine value:

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10

Just as many were astonished at you — so was he marred in his appearance, more than any human, and his form beyond that of human semblance — so will he startle many nations. Kings will shut their mouths because of him; for what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand. Isaiah 52:14-15

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But surely he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we ourselves are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

He was not bruised by God but by the very humanity he was about to redeem! Romans 8:30

Jesus reveals that man pre-existed in God; he defines us. He justified us and also glorified us. He redeemed our innocence and restored the glory we lost in Adam. The fundamental question is can you and I walk by faith in our redeemed innocence while we are feeling the sting, failure, shame and stain of our vain attempts at self-improvement?

Faith the Divine Exchange,

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.

God’s Finishing School

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Holy scrutiny is both, unavoidable and awesome. The closer we get to the piercing light of His love, the more exposed we feel. An instant after exposure comes the covering of Grace and the sublime sense and knowing of acceptance via unconditional love! Holy Scrutiny is what I call “finishing school.” And Love is the under-girding lesson of all the courses of life in Jesus

For years I had the mistaken notion that I was finished with school… not by a long shot. Not finished. Nope; still in finishing school instead! My experience with God is that He, Holy Spirit, is a teacher, “par excellant” and will not be dissuaded by any of my growth issues.

Let’ see how Scripture ways in on this?

And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.Philippians 1:6

He doesn’t stop pursuing us. I thought only young women and aspiring debutantes went to finishing school. You know, where you are trained in cultural-social graces and activities. Granted, my cultural and social graces are somewhat limited-well, okay, very limited. But, come on Papa-“finishing school?” Yes Son, finishing school.

So, I asked the obvious question… What exactly do you mean by “finishing school?” Of course, true to form… I got much more of an answer than I bargained for. I can imagine that your experience with Papa is just as surprising-no, serendipitous as mine. Don’t ever ask God a question that you aren’t ready for a big answer for. Son, I desire for you to finish the race complete, whole, and strong-with a unified heart. I had no idea how fractured my heart was. David asked for the same thing in his prayer recorded in Psalm 86:11.

Teach me your way, O Lord;
and I will walk in your truth;
Unite my heart to fear your name.

There are four distinct problems with that prayer. Learning His ways, walking in His truth, having your heart united and fearing His name are all challenging to our comfort zone-to say the least. Most of us have the mistaken notion that we know His ways. Nothing could be further from reality. I have walked with Jesus for forty+ years and am just now beginning to have understanding about His ways. I am learning that His way involves shaking and baking. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken and what remains will be purified in the furnace of His loving correction. I must add that His ways are best and bring Him the most Glory.

This “finishing school” process also includes getting acquainted with “truth and wisdom in the inner parts” The “inner parts” are often clouded with unresolved and unhealed issues. The longer we walk with Him the more light is shed on our inner parts. Holy scrutiny is both, unavoidable and awesome. The closer we get to the piercing light of His love, the more exposed we feel. An instant after exposure comes the covering of Grace.

Learning the truth about our self is always balanced by what my friend Alan Smith calls… LOVE, the truth that trumps all other truth. Eugene Peterson puts it this way in The Message.

We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know that troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert to 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).

Got It? We will!

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.

When Mother’s Day Isn’t a Happy One

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Do you cringe when you see TV commercials that remind the viewers to buy their mother flowers, chocolates, or jewelry for Mother’s Day?

Do you avoid a church service on Mother’s Day because you don’t want to hear people say, “Happy Mother’s Day” to dozens of women or watch as the pastor asks the mothers to stand?

I understand. Six years ago, I lost my mother before Mother’s Day. Like you, I won’t be able to contact her.

The same year I lost my mother, my only child passed away three days after Mother’s Day. Like many of you, I won’t receive a Mother’s Day gift, a phone call, or a visit from my child.

Perhaps you have a mother addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Because of her substance use, she has failed to be the mother you needed. You may not know where she is.

Perhaps you never had a child.

Three years ago on Mother’s Day, I went outside to enjoy the sunshine. A woman rushed out of the neighbor’s home, got into her car and drove away.

The adult daughter later told me they had an argument and her mother left before they sat for dinner. The daughter had cleaned house and prepared a gourmet meal for her mother to no avail.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Dear God, please help me get through Mother’s Day. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to weep and mourn your losses?

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!

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 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

The Importance of Affirming One Another

Monday, April 6th, 2015

A visit to a wonderful community brings today’s word-of-the-week…

AFFIRMATION

In September we were honored to speak to a group of folks at a homeless shelter in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. We gathered in a circle before the meeting began and read the following affirmation in unison.

We gather as family and as friends.

We make this space safe, caring, and welcoming.

We listen to each other with unconditional acceptance.

We lift each other up; we do not hold each other down.

Life is a struggle, and we are here to help each other through it.

We cannot control others but we can control ourselves.

We are not homeless, for there is a place in this world for us.

We will get where we are going, even if we do not yet know where that is.

Each moment is another chance, and we can always begin again.

We will fail and make mistakes, but that is how we grow and understand.

We are here, and we are worthy of love and belonging.

So let us own our own stories.

And in owning our stories, let us find the courage to share our stories.

And in sharing our stories realize we are never alone.

This was a circle of people with lots of reasons to complain and mistrust society. Yet they sat in a circle and affirmed each other. In a community with very little, they had a lot. They were being Jesus for each other.

I can’t help believing that some other communities would benefit from taking this kind of affirmation seriously.

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