Posts Tagged ‘self-will’

Do I really Have To?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Most guys know our wives are a lot smarter than we are.

This morning I was working on an interesting project, a video to promote Florida Hope Tour 2013. I’m enjoying the challenge, but I’m not exactly a skilled video editor. I have to learn the software as I go, so it’s taking a lot of time. It doesn’t help that I get sidetracked by playing with all sorts of fun little features I’ll never use.

So while I was in the middle of figuring out how to create a really cool—and completely unnecessary—video effect, Becky asked a question. I, of course, acted like she’d interrupted the creation of an epic masterpiece.

“Why are you so impatient?”

“I have to get this finished.”

“No, you don’t. You don’t have to do anything.”

Like I said, my wife’s smarter than I am.

She’s absolutely right. I’m not Bob Cratchit, with Ebenezer Scrooge standing over my shoulder. I decided to make the video in the first place. I’m doing it because it’s interesting, because it’ll be helpful to others. I don’t have to do it. I want to do this project.

In fact, I get to do it.

It’s not a silly distinction. I’ll bet we all fall into the trap of have-to at least occasionally.

Have-to is all about drudgery and compulsion. The boss is making me do it—whatever “it” is, whoever “the boss” is. I do it all the time: I have-to do my devotions, I have-to take the dog running…

Get-to is completely different. Get-to is about gratitude and freedom.

Do you really have-to go to work, or make dinner, or attend your kid’s soccer game? Before you answer, consider how many folks would love to have your job or your family.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).

I know Paul was writing about a different issue, but I think the principle’s similar. We’re all free to choose gratitude. We all get to pick between have-to and get-to.

What’s one of your have-to obligations? Does it seem different if you choose gratitude and turn it into a get-to?

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

Faith, Hope, And Courage

Friday, September 7th, 2012

For me, following Jesus is mostly a process of learning what I already know. I think I’m a perpetual beginner when it comes to integrating what I know into what I do.

Yesterday I asked a question: Ever Feel Discouraged? As so often happens, one of those daily, ordinary, almost unnoticed events reminded me of a basic principle.

This is the week for my annual physical. As part of that process, I need to figure out how much I weigh. For most folks, that’s as simple as stepping on any scale. Most “simple” stuff isn’t simple in a wheelchair.

I have to go to one of a few places in town that have special wheelchair scales. I wheel on, they record the weight of me and chair, then I slide off and they weigh the empty chair. Subtraction reveals my body weight.

So yesterday I went to the hospital’s rehab unit. While I waited for someone to help, I looked across the hall into the room where I once spent 147 days recovering from my accident. The room was empty, so I rolled to the door and looked inside. As I glanced around a room that frankly evokes few pleasant memories, I think God reminded me about the important connection between faith and hope.

Faith primarily looks back, at my own story and God’s story throughout history. Faith reminds me that God’s always kept His promises. I remembered the day—nearly twenty-five years ago—I sat in that same hallway, unable to push my first wheelchair ten feet. Now I rolled effortlessly up and down the corridor, a few hours after cranking a handcycle eleven miles in an hour on a morning training ride.

Faith tells me when I’ve trusted God, He’s been faithful. And since faith allows me to look back with trust, it allows me to look forward with hope—a confident expectation that God will keep His promises.

TAKECOURAGEIAMDON’TBEAFRAID

Jesus’ new word doesn’t tell us we shouldn’t feel fear. He says we can face fear and move forward, not through the force of our own will, but because of who He is.

He didn’t say, “Take courage. Be tough. Man up!”

“Take courage.” It’s the opposite of dis-courage.

TAKECOURAGEIAMDON’TBEAFRAID

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

The Way It Spozed To Be

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

How much of the Olympics have you watched?

Earlier this week a commentator made a curious statement. He said the Olympics allow us to suspend reality for a couple of weeks.

It’s an interesting assumption. For two weeks we concentrate on stories of courage and inspiration and sportsmanship. For two weeks, stories of cheating and scandal are relegated to the shadows while we focus on celebration and accomplishment.

In 1968, James Herndon published a groundbreaking book based on his experiences in an inner city school. When he tried to change an established culture of failure the kids were mystified. They said he just didn’t get it, because this was The Way It Spozed To Be.

That commentator’s observation implied that next week we’ll get back to reality, to partisan bickering and divisive rhetoric and news centered on violence, death, scandal, abuse, and every other imaginable negative event. That’s “reality.” That’s The Way It Spozed To Be.

But what if it isn’t? What if we’re being sold a lie by politicians and media types with a vested interest in fostering anger fear and discontent? What if that small group is afraid we’ll peek behind the curtain and see that their version of “reality” is really concocted with smoke and mirrors?

What if reality is really closer to Haitian-American triple-jumper Samyr Laine. Laine’s a world-class athlete, a medal contender, and a Harvard-educated lawyer who roomed with Mark Zuckerberg (he’s FB user #14!). He could have joined the US team and cashed in on his ability. Instead, he chose to compete for Haiti because he believes he can offer inspiration and hope to a country badly in need of both.

What if that’s “reality”? What if that’s The Way It Spozed To Be?

I keep thinking about a quote I heard from founder Gary Hougen at International Justice Mission (IJM) headquarters in DC:

“I was inspired to establish IJM when I met Christians who actually believed that what Jesus said was true.”

If I really believe that what Jesus said was true, then Samyr Laine’s version of reality is pretty close to The Way It Spozed To Be.

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

Are You Pursuing Your Own Plans and not God’s?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans”? I’m not sure if God laughs when we outline our plans to Him, but I do know He doesn’t change His plans to fit ours. And seriously, aren’t we glad of that?

When I look back on my life (and trust me, there’s a lot to look back on these days!) I find that my greatest regrets came about as a result of trying to pursue my own plans instead of God’s. Conversely, when I chose to walk in His ways — even if they didn’t make sense to me at the time — I always ended up in a place of blessing and peace.

So why do I still try to make my own plans and go my own way — and then, almost as an after-thought, ask God to bless the outcome? Okay, I know, I know. Even after nearly forty years of walking with Him, I’m still trapped in this imperfect physical existence and living on a broken planet. Hence, the call to serve self still echoes in my heart, despite the fact that I know better than to heed such a deceitful siren song.

You can relate, can’t you? You too are trapped in an imperfect physical existence and living on a broken planet. It won’t always be so, and that’s something to anticipate with joy. Until then, however, let’s continue to pray for one another and to commit our hearts to follow hard after Him, rejoicing that He is directing our steps, that His plans for us are good (see Jeremiah 29:11), and that He will never lead us down the wrong path.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
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Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Where Are We Going?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

One day Jesus took a walk on the beach and saw two brothers named Simon and Andrew working as fishermen.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

I would have asked where we were going. If you’re asked to take a trip, isn’t it fair to know at least the general path you’re going to follow? Shouldn’t you get to know what’s going to happen, what’s going to be expected from you, before you commit?

I think God’s answer is, “No.”

I’ve spent the last eighteen months or so immersed in this notion of chasing dreams, and if I’ve learned one thing it’s that God isn’t usually going to show me the entire course before I begin. Even when I think I know what’s supposed to happen or what He wants, I’m likely to be wrong.

It’s up to me to prepare as much as possible, but at some point I have to take a step without knowing much more than the next step along the path. There has to be a certain amount of trust that God will show me what I need to know when I need to know it.

Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t claim to know exactly how that works, and I certainly don’t claim that it’s easy or comfortable to commit to a process when you don’t know where it’s leading. And I don’t claim some heroic sense of faith about stepping into the unknown.

But I’m pretty sure that God’s not about easy or comfortable. I think He values character over comfort and motives over results or even specific purposes. And I think He totally understands how hard it is to do something completely on faith, especially when it’s scary. That’s why He offers to journey with us.

He didn’t say, “Go.” He said, Come, follow me.”

I once read a survey that claimed that more than 90% of the respondents wanted to write a book and fewer than 1% actually wrote one. So what distinguished the 1%? Was it talent? Vision? Purpose? God’s guidance?

I don’t think it was any of those. I think what distinguished the 1% was that at some point they actually sat down and wrote. They started.

A dream is the God-inspired desire to share your unique gifts and passions to serve others and make a difference in the world.

That “God-inspired desire” is present in every person.

To every one of us He says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18)

To every one of us He says, “Come, follow me.”

I think He’s still saying those things. Right now.

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

Drop Everything

Friday, February 24th, 2012

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18

So here comes Jesus walking on the beach. He sees Simon and Andrew working at their trade.

The Bible doesn’t tell us whether there was any small talk or whether they knew of Jesus before this meeting. I guess that means it doesn’t really matter.

And Jesus suddenly invites them to leave their equipment and their business, to drop everything, and follow Him. I doubt if they really understood what Jesus meant by “fishing for people.”

Do you have a hard time understanding how they could simply walk away from everything for an invitation that wasn’t entirely clear? No time to put stuff away or even pack supplies. No goodbyes to family—Simon, at least, was married (verse 30). How could they do that?

I don’t understand that kind of trust. I want to think that I wouldn’t hesitate if He walked by and asked me to drop everything. I want to imagine that I wouldn’t ask if I could leave a note or lock the door or at least pack some spare underwear.

But I’m not so sure.

You?

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

Have you ever experienced a divine appointment?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Some of us are old enough to recall Apollo 13 as something besides a movie. The mission launched on April 11, 1970 to complete the third manned moon landing. To outside observers, spaceflight had become almost commonplace. This appeared to be just another routine mission, but Apollo 13 reminded everyone that space exploration was anything but “routine.”

We all know the disaster that occurred when an oxygen tank explosion ripped a gaping hole in the spacecraft. Critical systems were crippled, the moon landing was aborted. I remember watching with everyone else during the following days as an army of engineers and support personnel did about a million things at once to save three astronauts and figure out how to get them safely back to Earth.

Apollo missions included planned course corrections necessary to hit precise navigation targets. Computer guidance normally accomplished these complex adjustments automatically, but the explosion damaged those systems. As the crew rounded the moon and began their return trip, their fragile ship drifted off course. They would have to manually alter their path. Using untested methods and calculations relayed from ground controllers, three men had to hit a tiny moving target more than a hundred thousand miles away.

To save their lives they had to set their ship in a trajectory that would bring them and the target to precisely the same point. Even a minor error would send them to their deaths.

I can’t imagine how impossible it must have seemed to hit a moving re-entry window less than thirty miles across from tens of thousands of miles away. The astronauts had to establish a curved trajectory that anticipated numerous variables and aimed at an empty spot in space. Their skill brought them and their target to exactly the same point at the same time.

I think that’s how God works most of the time. He makes seemingly small course corrections (one-degree miracles) that sometimes send us in directions that don’t make sense. It’s as if we’re headed into empty space.

I think that’s what happens as we do our best to listen and follow. He gently re-directs us and sets us on trajectories that bring us to places He can use us.

The problem, of course, is that we can’t possibly see what He sees. We try to draw straight lines and make simplistic cause-effect conclusions, but it’s not that simple or immediate.

Think of a time when you’ve found yourself in just the right place with just the right people in a setting no one could’ve anticipated, a time when something powerful happened that changed lives in a powerful way. And if you believe in God you know it didn’t happen by accident. It was a “divine appointment.”

Now imagine all that went into bringing those folks to that point, all the small decisions and twists and mistakes that placed people on trajectories that intersected in that tiny window of time. Imagine the endless course corrections, one small moment of each life building on thousands of others, all leading to that divine appointment.

What are your thoughts about trajectories and divine appointments?

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

Play It Safe Or Go For It?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Do you ever fumble tough questions?

I’ve told you before that my a favorite part of speaking is the Q&A sessions. It’s not because I do well.

Frequently someone asks a question that catches me completely by surprise. That happened last weekend at a church in a neighboring community. I told them about RICH’S RIDE and we had some time to talk about dogs and dreams and bike rides. A guy in the back raised his hand.

“I’ve always dreamed of doing a cross-country ride, but I have a traumatic brain injury. Would you advise me to play it safe or go for it?”

Now there’s a seemingly no-win question. If I tell him to play it safe I completely destroy my “live your God-sized dream” message. And you just know that if I tell him to go for it he’s going to crash and it’s going to be my fault.

I don’t know exactly what I said. Becky says it was good, so I won’t second-guess myself too much. But there are a few things I hope I’d say about tackling God-sized dreams.

There’s a difference between trust and recklessness. Some guys might be able to jump on a bike one morning and take off, trusting that they’ll handle whatever happens. A quadriplegic, or a guy with a traumatic brain injury, probably needs a bit more support.

Preparation doesn’t indicate a lack of faith. Scripture is filled with stories in which God prepared people, often for long periods, for specific purposes. Preparation is a good thing, because it allows us to be flexible once we begin the journey.

Some affirmation might be in order. I’m not sure this is universal, but I’ve found that I tend to resist and push away my dreams. It’s taken some gentle prompting and assurance from trusted friends to help me make a commitment.

Make sure it’s YOUR dream.I think it’s sad when someone does a mission trip or a triathlon to impress someone else or because they somehow believe they’ll earn God’s approval.

How can you know if it’s your dream? One test is to examine the preparation. In my case, I love riding and writing. I’d rather ride my bike and write than just about anything else. So training for the ride wasn’t a sacrifice at all—it was mostly just more fun.

You can’t remove all the risk. I wouldn’t trade the exhilaration I felt in this photo for all the safety in the world.

So, on balance, I’d say, “Go for it.”

That’s a partial list. What would you add?
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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

Why Humility?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Humble yourselves. That sounds obscene. At least to the culture of self-promotion and “get ahead at all cost” and “don’t look back, the competition is gaining on you” it sounds obscene.

Humility is a forgotten virtue. Often confused with weakness or timidity, humility is about knowing our proper place in the world without flaunting it. Only God can exalt in a permanent way, so the key is to know our place before him and let him put us in the place he chooses to honor him.

A humble heart is tender towards God, and He responds when it cries out to Him. And that may be why He sometimes allows hard things into our lives – to bring forth the fruit of humility.

As God does great things in our midst, we don’t ever want to forget what He’s brought us through. We can do nothing without His intervention. But as we keep humble, contrite, tender hearts, there is no end to what He can accomplish not merely in our own lives, but for our children’s children.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, Chaplain Michael Clark

All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Chaplain Clark is a Speaker and Writer,
Addiction Counselor/Professional

as well as a Recovery Support Specialist

Shadows of the Cross Ministries, Prison and Recovery Ministry

How to Make God Laugh

Friday, January 20th, 2012

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.
I’m thinking I might amend this adage. Perhaps another way to make God chuckle is to claim that I understand the details of His plans.

Yesterday I shared a story over at Rich’s Ride about a Divine Appointment.

I believe that particular encounter in that context was a God-ordained moment. But I feel like I need to curb my enthusiastic certainty. It’s easy to get carried away with trusting my own limited perceptions.

It’s awfully tempting to assume that I know more than I do. If I’m not careful I can imagine that I understand how every occurrence fits into God’s plan. And from there it’s a small step to pretending I can know God’s will in every situation.

I can’t and I don’t and I need to remember that. He’s God, I’m not.

I can’t see from God’s infinite, eternal perspective. I can’t see past my selfish biases and desires. I don’t know how God’s omnipotence meshes with human freedom of choice. I don’t know how He incorporates my mistakes and resistance and feeble attempts at obedience into His promise to work for good in all circumstances.

I cannot possibly perceive the infinite calculations involved in God’s cosmic calculus. I delude myself whenever I pretend I know how specific short-term events fit into God’s eternal vision.

It’s not our job to shape events to conform to God’s plans. He’s already got that covered, and His mission will be accomplished with or without our cooperation. He doesn’t need us.

But His desire always involves relationship. He wants us to experience the joy of walking along and being involved in building His kingdom. He chooses to allow us to work with Him and experience the fullness of fellowship with Him.

Someone once said that God doesn’t usually place answers to prayers directly in our hands. Instead, He places them within our reach and offers to walk along with us.

I don’t know how that works, either. But Jesus knows.

Maybe understanding how God works isn’t my job. Maybe I should spend my time getting to know the One person who gets it.

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