Posts Tagged ‘self-will’

What Would You Ask For?

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Pretend someone said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” What would you ask for?

Perhaps you or a loved one suffers from a life-threatening disease. Would you ask for healing?

When you lost your job, you found a new one. However, it pays you half of what you used to make. Would you ask for a job with benefits that pays you more than what you used to make and will keep you until you retire?

What if you lost your home in the recession? Would you ask for the home of your dreams with paperwork that says it’s paid for?

In Gibeon, the Lord appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Imagine God’s delight when Solomon answered, “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties . . . So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:7 and 9).

God was so pleased with Solomon’s answer, that he not only gave him a discerning heart but also wealth and honor so that no other king would have what he had. God even promised him a long life if he would obey him.

In view of God’s answer to Solomon, what will you ask God for?

I Kings 3:5: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Dear God, help me to ask according to your good, acceptable, and perfect will. Amen.

Application: What day this week will you spend time with God to pray over your request?

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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

A Lesson Learned from Actors

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Life is determined by what we rehearse.

An actor reads the lines once and they’re words on a page. Great actors rehearse until they become the character represented by the words.

One person looks at a long bike ride and says, “I could never do that.” He practices that speech enough times until it becomes part of his identity. He’s the person who could never do a long bike ride. Doesn’t matter if he really could, or even if he wants to. He’s rehearsed himself into being the guy who knows he can’t do it.

Another says, “I wonder if I could do that.” The wonder leads to questions and choices. Whatever the decision, this is the person who decided about the ride.

See the difference? One rehearses I can’t; the other I wonder if I could.

I think we rehearse all sorts of things, but today I’m focused on fear and courage.

I’m afraid confronts the fear, names it, allows me to lean on Jesus and move forward. I’m afraid is an act of courage, a way of not allowing fear to control me.

Rehearsing the fear is different. Rehearsing makes fear part of me and gives me an excuse to avoid moving forward.

One incidence of courage…nice. Repeat it a few dozen times, and courage becomes a way of life.

I find some aspects of life terribly frightening. I really don’t want to rehearse those fears, and I’m grateful I don’t have to get there on my own.

How about you?

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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 if asking for help is okay?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

No helpThanks, but I can do it all by myself.

Of course, I know better. There’s no such thing as “all by myself,” but that doesn’t stop me from fighting to maintain the illusion of independence.

I think about “help” a lot. Because of the wheelchair, others ask often how they can offer help without offending when someone seems to need a bit of assistance. My friend Jon Swanson asked yesterday, “What if asking for help is okay?

I think one of the barriers might be the nature of the word “help,” which perhaps implies something about helplessness and the powerful assisting the weak. I’m bigger, stronger, or smarter, and I’m willing to help you. If you’re the person being “helped” you are implicitly inferior. While that may be objectively true, even an unintended superior/inferior connotation perpetuates a feeling of helplessness.

On the other hand, service conveys humility. It’s more of a willingness to partner with another person, to travel beside him on his path. Perhaps it’s a sense that service offers who I am rather than what I can do.

Service involves a relationship, taking time to care for more than just an immediate need. Perhaps when offering to perform a task, the servant also stops to chat for a moment. While it takes more time, this extra step communicates a sense of equality that touches and enriches both people.

Looking through this lens, we’d do better to adopt an attitude of humility on either side of the helping equation. So when we see a perceived need, we offer to serve.

And we drop the notion of “all by myself,” humble ourselves, and allow others to serve by asking for help.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, the servant of all.” (Mark 9)

How have you experienced the difference between help and service?

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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 are Your *Real* Motives for Prayer?

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

After reading a daily devotional from Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” I have come to ask myself some important questions.

Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer.

What is my motive for prayer?

Do I pray because I want something from God?

Or because I desire to draw closer to Him and have the Truth revealed to me?

Am I praying because I long to be in His will, crave to learn what He has to say (His truths)?

What is more important to me:
What I am saying and wanting?
Or what He has to say and His desires?

Is my prayer about my will or His will?

When praying, what am I hoping or trusting God will do?

That is a burning question I really should ask myself every time I pray. Just exactly WHY am I praying?

What are my motives? What am I expecting to get out of my time of prayer?

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~ * ~
Copyright by S. O. Brennan.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S.O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and Alcoholics Victorious

Are You Wrestling with God’s Sovereignty?

Monday, March 31st, 2014

As I wrestle once again with His sovereignty, I realize the deepest question my heart is asking:  Can I really trust that He knows what is best for me?

When life is smooth, it is easy to give lip service to believing that He knows what is best.  But our commitment to God and His plan is challenged when life is not so smooth.

So what exactly does “smooth” mean?  Smooth means life is going according to my plan.  And that’s the crux of it.  Deep down in the darkest corner of my heart, the place I don’t want to admit exists — much less allow God to penetrate it with His Light and Truth — deep down in that horrid corner I see what I really want is life according to my plan.

Control, rebellion, and pride all wrapped up into one big mess.

Bowing to His sovereignty means that I surrender my “good” plan for my life (and the lives of those I love), to His perfect plan.  It means humbly acknowledging that He knows best, that He is the only One who is infinite and eternal and knows all — the past, present, and future.  It means realizing that I certainly cannot predict the future, much less control it.

I can bow to His sovereignty kicking and screaming . . . or, I can come to more deeply know the One who died so I could live.  In knowing the depth of that love, I cannot help but to trust that His perfect plan, His plan that is colliding with my plan, does indeed have my best interests at heart.

Are you wrestling?

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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.

What’s The Most Difficult Thing?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

“I didn’t know it would be this hard.”

He’s a tough guy. Lived on the streets, sold drugs, survived and in many ways thrived in a harsh, violent world.

To me, THAT sounds hard, always looking over your shoulder and sleeping with one eye open, never knowing who to trust, literally fighting your way through every day. I can’t really imagine what that would be like, but it seems like it would be about the most difficult life possible.

He walked away, gave it all up. He put down the weapons, left the addictions, turned away from the violence. He dropped the defenses, the armor, the force field that surrounded him. He decided to try to trust and believe in something bigger than himself.

He decided to follow Jesus.

He didn’t expect easy. But he didn’t expect it to be this hard.

I asked, “What’s so hard?”

“Loving people. Letting them love me.”

Does that surprise you? Who would’ve imagined love would be harder than guns and violence and drugs and death, harder than guarding every move and suspecting every motive?

Love means vulnerability. It means sacrifice. It means commitment to what’s right rather than my rights.

Love means the other guy might win, because it’s not about winning. It means listening and understanding before speaking.

Love means a priority on relationships and processes, not short-term results. It means valuing and practicing gratitude, abundance, and service.

He’s right—love is really hard.

I’m glad we don’t have to do it alone.

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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

“I Couldn’t Do That.”

Monday, July 15th, 2013

One common thread through the story of RICH’S RIDE is the people who say, “I could never do something like that.”

You know what? They’re right.

It’s much too difficult. There’s no way an ordinary human being could possibly accomplish a task this big.

In the middle of an ancient desert God spoke to Moses from a burning bush and said, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

And Moses essentially replied, “I could never do something like that.”

God agrees. He doesn’t tell Moses how tough and brave he is or how special he is. He doesn’t list all the character traits that make Moses uniquely qualified for this apparently impossible task. Instead, God tells Moses the one thing that will allow him to succeed.

And God said, “I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12)

The implication’s clear. Without God, neither Moses nor any other person could deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh’s iron grip.

Moses knew all about Pharaoh’s power and his own weakness. He compared his ability to the magnitude of the task before him and rightly concluded he was over his head.

God didn’t make Moses stronger, wiser, or more powerful. He simply said, “So now, go. I will be with you.” Apparently that was enough.

God’s presence changes everything.

The world’s obstacles are always bigger than our capacity to overcome them. When we worship the world’s power we’ll always be engaged in a search for smaller, safer challenges.

Do we really believe what we believe?

God says, “So now, go. I will be with you.”

It’s not about whether we think we’re capable. We’re not.

It’s about the size of our God.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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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

Submission isn’t Stupidity

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another.”

“Her husband is having an affair, and she knows it,” one of the ladies in Sunday school said. “He told his wife she can’t have her name on any of their accounts any longer, and she has to give him all the money.”

I sat in shock as I listened to that conversation.

The woman continued, “The Bible says she is supposed to submit to her husband.” She looked around at us and asked, “What is she supposed to do?”

“Submission isn’t stupidity,” I said. “She shouldn’t help her husband to sin by helping him to continue his affair and forget his marriage vows to her.”

Now the woman who talked to us about that situation raised her brows and stared at me. The others remained silent.

I explained that Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

“What about verse 21?” I asked. “Had the woman forgotten about that verse too? And verse 28, ‘In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.’”

“That is the problem with taking a verse out of context to plead one’s case or satisfy one’s selfish desires.”

“Daily Bible study of a book or chapter with a Bible dictionary and concordance help me look at the context.”

Dear God, help me read the Bible in context daily. Amen.

Application:
  In what situation will you search the context of a Bible verse this week before you make a decision?

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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

Hopelessness is a Lie – Always

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Cranking a bike in the garage on a stationary trainer feels hopeless.

It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how much you sweat. The scenery never changes, you don’t move, and there’s no sense of progress or arrival.

Riding outside, effort changes the outcome. Ride harder, move faster, go farther, get back quicker. But inside, none of that matters. Lots of effort, little effort, it all gets you the same place—nowhere.

Outside, you can lean on personal experience. When a hill’s really tough, you remember when you climbed a tougher one. If you feel like you can’t crank another mile you remember other times when you felt the same way and kept going.

That’s how hope works. Faith looks back at milestones, experiences, stories, and promises fulfilled. Hope lets you move confidently forward, based on that faith.

But in the garage, there’s no horizon and no milestones. There’s just endless cranking with no apparent reason or result.

I think life seems sometimes like a bike on a trainer in a garage. No horizon. No sense of progress. No destination. Hopeless.

Except—hopeless is a lie. Always.

It’s true that the garage contains no milestones. But I look back a little farther to springs and summers when my winter training’s been rewarded with improved riding. I remember that training isn’t all about immediate comfort and reward. I see milestones, experiences, stories, and promises fulfilled.

It doesn’t make the garage magically less dreary. It does foster hope, and hope can sustain me through a lot of boring winter training sessions.

Life’s long-term because God’s long-term. We read the Bible, remember the stories, and recall the milestones as reminders of God’s promises faithfully kept.

Then, on dreary days in the garage or the doctor’s office or wherever we confront fear and uncertainty, we can look forward with hope based on faith in those promises.

I think we work pretty hard at remembering what we ought to forget.

Maybe, in the process, we forget what we desperately need to remember.

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Copyright 2008-2012 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

A Brush With Fame

Friday, January 4th, 2013

How Donald Miller Changed My Life

Okay, that’s probably a little extreme.

I admire Don’s writing. He’s the writer I want to be when I grow up. My friends might question the “growing-up” part, but let’s not quibble over details.

Now, about the life-changing thing.

I don’t believe much in coincidences. When remarkable circumstances collide to create outrageous opportunity, I tend to believe God’s involved. I think He orchestrates something resembling a complex series of long-term, converging trajectories that don’t make much sense until they intersect. If we’re honest, we almost never see these moments coming. When we’re observant and open-minded and perhaps a bit lucky, we might notice when a convergence of circumstances creates a unique opportunity.

I don’t pretend to understand how this works, how God meshes His work with our choices and mistakes. I think it involves His answers to prayers, His ultimate plan for creation, and how He uses us in ways we’ll probably never comprehend. He’s patient and relentless, and He uses everything for good, working through the relationships and events of our everyday world. I’m pretty sure it’s more complex than I can imagine. That’s okay.

I’ve heard God chuckles when we tell Him our plans. If so, I suspect He laughs out loud when we claim to fully comprehend the details of His plans. It’s my job to do what I can, where I am, with what I have. I trust Him to fit the pieces together with love.

Anyway, I experienced a confluence of three events several months back. The first was the movie The Bucket List, a story of two old guys who survive cancer and realize they don’t have forever to realize their dreams. The second was my approaching 60th birthday, my personal reminder of a limited time frame in which to address a dream I’d been resisting for more than ten years.

Those two events, by themselves, wouldn’t have tipped the balance. That’s where Don Miller enters the equation.

Don wrote a book titled A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. He talked about analyzing his life as a story, realizing it wasn’t as interesting as it might be, and resolving to write a better story going forward.

The context for Million Miles was Don’s cross-country bike ride. As I read, I felt like he was personally challenging me. Remember that ten-year-old dream I referenced? For a decade I’d dreamed of doing…a cross-country bike ride.

But that’s just crazy, because guys in wheelchairs don’t do cross-country bike rides. After a quarter-century as a quadriplegic, I knew my limits. This dream was impossible—right?

And when I finished reading Million Miles, I told my wife it was time to stop making excuses and start writing a better story.

Don said an interesting story involves a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. And since we tend to avoid conflict, the story requires an inciting incident, an event that forces the character to change or move.

In story lingo, Don’s book was the final inciting incident in the story of RICH’S RIDE and our 1500-mile handcycle journey along the Mississippi River. Million Miles tipped the balance, forced me to confront the fear and the self-imposed limits. The dream’s invitation sat squarely before me, and I could no longer ignore it. I had to say Yes or No.

So, in a way, Don Miller did change my life.

Once I said Yes, a bunch of folks surrounded Becky and me (and Monte, my service dog) with support. That’s how God woorks, through relationships and other people. In eight weeks I cranked the entire Mississippi River, from Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to New Orleans. We spoke to more than 4000 people about hope and dreams and God’s promises. Generous people along the route got the opportunity to donate nearly $60,000 to feed hungry kids through the worldwide feeding initiative of Convoy Of Hope.

The ride was about hope, a confident expectation that God keeps His promises. Hope allowed me to challenge what I “knew” was impossible. Hope allowed me to sit at the bottom of a hill I couldn’t climb…and then crank to the top. Quite literally, hope changes what’s possible.

It’s a better, more interesting story than “paralyzed guys can’t do stuff like this,” don’t you think? Here’s a video version:

I’ve learned one thing about good stories. Continued interest means seeking new opportunities and confronting new challenges. It also means finding new ways to share your story, because that’s the only reason for writing it in the first place.

So I wrote a book, creatively titled RICH’S RIDE: Hope Changes What’s Possible. The video you just watched allowed us to collaborate with Kristin Orphan and her Finally Home Foundation. FHF supports a broad spectrum of adoption services, helping orphans and their new forever families adapt successfully to challenging new circumstances. I hope you’ll visit their site, check out their CD, and support their important work.

On January 28th, we’ll kick off FLORIDA HOPE TOUR 2013, the latest chapter in this unlikely story. I’ll crank 1000 miles around the perimeter of Florida. We’ll speak to groups, hear some great stories about overcoming adversity, and offer the chance to support our great partners at Convoy Of Hope.

So that’s how Don Miller changed my life. Except, of course, he really didn’t.

I did. I changed my life, because I chose to stop believing in impossible and say Yes to the opportunity God presented to write a better story with the remaining years of my life. And the cool thing is—you have the same option.

If an old, bald, crippled guy can crank a handcycle the entire length of the Mississippi River, what can you do?

What’s the story you want to write live?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 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