Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

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.

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

What’s Behind the Domestic Violence?

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

“Why is he angry all the time?” Janelle asked me over a cup of tea. “He explodes over nothing.”

“What do you mean?”

“He screamed, cursed, stormed out of the house, slammed the door behind him, and screeched out of the driveway. His excuse was that I didn’t peel the cucumbers in the salad.”

I asked Janelle if he treated his boss and co-workers that way. She assured me he didn’t. I also asked if he treated the waitress at the restaurant, the cashier at the grocery store, or the salesman in the department store that way. Once again, Janelle said he didn’t.

“Have you considered the possibility that he gets angry or violent on purpose to intimidate you and get you to do what he wants?”

As Janelle brushed her tears away, she sighed. “Everything has to be his way, or else he gets verbally and physically abusive with me and the children.”

I asked her what her husband’s father was like. Janelle related incident after incident of how her father-in-law treated his wife and children. She said, “I wish I had seen all that before I got married. I wouldn’t have married my husband.”

I explained that batterers have low self-esteem and unrealistic expectations. They expect their wife and children to make them feel better about themselves. When their wife and children don’t, the batterers feel helpless, vulnerable, and outraged. So they turn to aggression, gambling, substance abuse, and other reckless behaviors.

What do you think Janelle should do?

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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

Spiritual Abuse by Spouses or Partners

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Spiritual abuse is one form of abuse a spouse or partner uses to exercise power and control over his wife or partner.

If she works outside of the home, he refuses to let her tithe on her own income.

He makes fun of her if she reads the Bible or another spiritual book.

When his wife reads the Bible to the children or prays with them, he enters the room, repeatedly distracts them, and laughs about it.

If she plays a Christian hymn or chorus on the piano, he screams at her to stop. He tells her she can’t play “that type of music” when he’s home.

He uses foul language and takes God’s name in vain in front of her and the children.

He talks about other Christians and says he doesn’t know a single Christian who is fun to be with including his wife. He says they’re all hypocrites anyway, and that’s why he won’t go to church.

He claims his right to say and do what he wants because he is the head of the household. He then quotes Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

It seems strange that the abuser who knows Ephesians 5:22 so well avoids Ephesians 5:21 that says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

The batterer also ignores Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” He selects one verse to justify his abuse and ignores the rest of the Bible. He treats the Bible as if it were a buffet where he can pick and choose what he wants and leave the rest.

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
“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

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
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

When We Try To Be God

Friday, March 18th, 2016

graceYou and I would never try to take God’s place, right?

Except I’ve noticed I do it a lot, and I suspect I’m not alone. It’s not on purpose–I don’t have a throne in my back yard or anything like that.

It happened most recently when a friend got in some trouble and I wanted very much to fix him, heal him, and save him from his own bad choices. After wrestling with myself for a few days I realized I was stepping into a role for which I wasn’t designed.

Jesus asked us to love each other, and ourselves. He never said anything about saving or fixing.

That’s His job.

I’m realizing that love, without the saving or fixing part, makes it easier to hold myself, my loved ones, my relationships–in open hands. Love says I care sacrificially, but I trust God for the outcome.

A guy asked me in class last week how I learned to trust so much. I laughed, because mostly I’ve only learned to write and talk easily about trusting. I struggle to release the illusion of control that comes with playing God.

I’m trying to pry open those hands, and I hope you’ll join me. We can change the world, the people in it, and ourselves, if we stop trying to fix it or save it.

We can change the world with our love.

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

Take Courage!

Friday, March 11th, 2016

A frustrating truth prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

SERIES


The important matters in life are a series of repeated choices.

We don’t choose to love someone and then forget it. We must repeat the choice over and over, because loving is difficult, we change, and people change.

We may forgive a horrible wrong, but we’ll likely need to forgive it again and again, perhaps daily, perhaps even hourly.

It’s easy to get discouraged. I already chose not to be controlled by that fear yesterday, and it’s back today. But that’s how it works, I think.

A series of repeated choices.

The good news is that things like love, forgiveness, and courage can become habits. If we train for them, practice them, they can get a bit easier. But in the really tough times we still have to choose them, day by day.

The REALLY good news, though, is that we’re not in it alone.

Take Courage. I Am. Don’t Be Afraid.

Jesus, I Am, puts Himself in the middle of the struggle, between the courage and the fear. I get to lean on Him.

When I mess up, that’s good to remember.

What repeated choice would you like to begin making?

Where Did They (We) Go Wrong?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. (Matthew 22:15)

It’s not an isolated incident. Religious leaders were always seeking opportunities to twist Jesus’ words, catch Him breaking a rule–anything to discredit Him and diminish His increasing influence among the people. We’ve read the stories so often, maybe we take them for granted.three four

The religious leaders are the bad guys, right? Except, they’re not. Not really. The Pharisees were folks who tried really hard to get it right, but somewhere along the way they got lost.

Ever wonder what might have happened if they approached Jesus differently?

What would have happened if they assumed the best rather than the worst?

What if they started from a place of trust instead of suspicion? What if they assumed He meant well instead of harm? What if they assumed He had everyone’s best interest at heart?

What would have happened if they asked before they judged or condemned?

What if they assumed they didn’t know the whole story? What if they genuinely desired to understand before deciding?

You and I can’t change the interactions between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. But every day I (and I’ll bet you) encounter situations, discussions, teachings, and decisions that don’t make sense. It’s so tempting to jump to a conclusion, judgement, condemnation based on my perspective.

What if I always assumed best intentions?

What if I make sure I understand before I decide?

What if I always lead with love and grace?

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

The Challenge of 30

Friday, February 26th, 2016

A sermon challenge prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

THIRTY

Our pastor challenged us to pray for our city for 30 days.

The number rattled in my head, and I wonder what choices I’ll make in the next 30 seconds that will change someone’s path for the next 30 years? A decision, a comment, a choice. Saying yes or saying no. Walking toward or walking from.

Do we realize how we spend the next 30 seconds, 30 minutes, or 30 days will guide us toward the next 30 weeks and months and years? That number won’t leave my mind. I guess because so often I’ve failed to realize the importance of what one choice or one month can do to many lives.

Of course, pray for your city for the next 30 days if you can muster that much discipline. But also pray for and pay attention to the next 30 seconds as well. They’re the beginning of the rest of your life.

It might be a good week to pay attention.

Have a great week!

Why Is The Other Guy So Unreasonable?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

It’s awfully easy to say, “You’re wrong. You’re an idiot. You’re a loser.”

Not all that yelluseful, though. Shouting at the guy on the other side (who thinks you’re wrong) isn’t likely to close the gap.

If your only goal is to sound cool to your own team by belittling the losers on the other side, I guess finding clever ways to highlight their mistakes makes sense. Otherwise, it only makes a difficult situation worse.

Here’s an uncomfortable fact: people make decisions for a reason. Folks with similar backgrounds and similar perceived options usually make similar choices. So if you want to know why someone made a particular decision, you must take the time to listen and understand their story.

That’s called empathy. Doesn’t mean you agree, only that you make the effort to understand and communicate your understanding.

There are two ways to close the gap.

The short path of violence. Get a bigger club (physical, economic, verbal, political, social), beat the other guy over the head, and force him to your side. Immediate gratification, almost no opportunity for long-term reconciliation.

The long path of nonviolence. Choose relationship, of empathy, of humility, of service, of love. Little possibility of immediate gratification, the only path to long-term reconciliation.

Arc Universe

Jesus spent much of His time with the folks on the other side. They were the losers of His day, and He showed us what might happen when we let go of power and choose empathy and humility.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
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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

Prevent the Valentine’s Day Blues

Friday, February 12th, 2016

At one time I dreaded Valentine’s Day. You may feel the same way right now.

Perhaps you’re married to someone who doesn’t remember special days like your wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day. Have you taped reminders to the dashboard of his car?

Have you called him at work, sent him an email or a text to remind him? If you fix breakfast for him or pack his lunch for work, have you put a sticky note with a reminder on his napkin? At dinner, place a reminder near his plate.

Maybe you’re legally separated, divorced, or a widow. You still have options. I’ve learned from mentors that I can buy my own flowers and candy. That way I select the kind of flowers and dark chocolate I prefer.

Go ahead and buy your own flowers and candy. You’re worth the time and money.

My mentors also taught me to invite friends to breakfast or lunch that day. I can pick our favorite restaurant and enjoy my friends and the meal.

If I’m busy that day and would prefer dinner from a restaurant, I can call ahead of time and have a take-out order ready to pick up. Once I’m home, I can set the table with my best china, silver, and crystal.

Decide whether breakfast or lunch at a restaurant or a take-out dinner works better for you. Then move forward with your plans. Maybe you’d like to do both a meal at a restaurant earlier in the day and a take-out dinner. Why not?

I’ve scheduled a massage or bought a new outfit on sale on Valentine’s Day.

Several times in the past I invited girlfriends to my home for a potluck dinner or we chipped in for pizza and watched a movie.

Make a list of friends you can invite and send them an email, a text or call them.

If you have young children living at home, consider a single parents’ night in your home. If you live in a townhouse or a small home, invite only one or two single parents and their children to your home.

You can play games or watch a kid-friendly movie.

In short, regardless of your marital status, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Here’s to your Happy Valentine’s Day.