Posts Tagged ‘serenity’

Why We Need To STOP

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

stopI’ve been thinking a lot about STOP.

That’s odd for me. I want to focus on moving forward, dreaming big dreams, taking risks. And lately, for some reason I don’t understand, I seem to hear STOP.

I don’t think it’s about the big things. So I’ve wondered about STOP as it relates to the ordinary, everyday stuff. I think I might have noticed something interesting.

STOP is nearly always useful advice when I’m uncertain.

Are you lost? STOP. Don’t keep wandering, compounding the problem. Get your bearings. Ask for help. (Hint: Works for more than driving.)

Not sure about that next sentence? STOP. Let it breathe. You won’t have to try to take back words you don’t say.

Someone pressuring you? STOP. Take a step back. Look at the big picture. Make a phone call if necessary.

Tempted to live in fear? STOP. Ask yourself if the message aligns with your trust in God. (Hint: If it’s about living in fear, it’s not about God.)

Was somebody nasty on the Internet? STOP. If it rises to the level of bullying or threats, report it. Otherwise, move on. Don’t give trolls your time and energy.

Someone using a bible verse out of context to “prove a point”? STOP. You know that’s a trick. You don’t have to react. Best response: “I’d like some time to research that verse.”

Wonder where God went? STOP. If you need to talk, or cry, or scream, go ahead. STOP. As often as it takes and as long as it takes.

Absolutely sure you know what’s best for someone else? STOP. You probably don’t, and even if you do you’re not going to be helpful by telling someone else how to live her life. The best you can do is listen and be a friend. It’s a lot harder than giving advice.

There’s one time I won’t stop, at least on purpose.

Whatever I’m doing, moving or not, I want to always follow Jesus.

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

Want to try an experiment?

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week…

SPACE

Gratitude occupies a lot of space.

Gratitude crowds out most other emotions. When you focus on the things for which you’re thankful, it’s difficult to find space for things like anger, hate, competitiveness, or greed.

Want to try an experiment? Next time you’re feeling resentful or bitter, don’t try to “shut off” the negative emotions with willpower. Instead, turn your attention to a gratitude list. I’ll bet you’ll find that thankfulness expands until there’s not much space for the negative emotions.

This isn’t some magical, new age trick. When we express gratitude we’re aligning with God’s will. We’re doing life the way it was designed.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Our hearts were shaped for thankfulness. I think that’s why they conform so naturally to it.

So many opportunities right now to be angry, to be fearful. So many opportunities to hate, to divide. And maybe it’s just me, but willpower alone isn’t enough to keep those enemy emotions at bay.

I’m grateful for so much. I’m especially grateful for the space occupied by gratitude.

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

His Compassions are New Every Morning

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed,
because His [tender] compassions fail not.  Lamentations 3:24 AMP

Each Christian may find in his own case, some peculiar token of God’s providential kindness to him. It is in the details of each man’s personal history that we find the most touching manifestations of God’s providential care. None of us can refuse to acknowledge that we have been the objects of a watchfulness which has never slumbered, and of a benevolence which has never been weary in doing us good.

Were we to attempt an enumeration of all the . . .
blessings which we have received at God’s hand,
deliverances which He has wrought out for us,
snares from which He has preserved us,
manifestations of His long-suffering patience, and tender mercy, of which we ourselves have been the objects–were we to begin with the years of infancy and helplessness, and to trace our progress through the slippery paths of youth, until we reached our present state–we would soon find how impossible it is to reckon up the sum of our innumerable obligations to “the loving-kindness of the Lord.”

For not only has God spared us in life, and upheld us from day to day, by His almighty power; not only has He given us our daily bread, and made our cup to run over–and that, too, notwithstanding all the ingratitude which we have displayed, and the manifold provocations which we have offered; but, in peculiar seasons, in seasons of difficulty and trial–He has often delivered . . .
our eyes from tears,
and our feet from falling,
and our souls from death!

And as often as we have cried to the Lord in our trouble, He has delivered us from our distresses–or supported and comforted us under them. So that each of His redeemed people, on a review of God’s dealings with Him, will be forced to exclaim:
“The Lord has been my Shepherd!”
“I have not lacked any good thing!”
“Hitherto has the Lord helped me!”
“The Lord has done all things well!”
“Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life!”

~ James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837

How Should I Respond?

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Difficult current events prompt today’s word-of-the-week…

RESPOND

Of course we’re sad.

Confused. Afraid. Angry. Hopeless.

God’s not surprised by events that we find beyond comprehension. And He’s not offended by the range of emotions that rush over us.

Jesus came, not so we would deny our feelings, but so we could face them, deal with them, and move forward with confidence.

Feeling confused because events just don’t fit your notion of how things ought to work? What if our response is to trust that God really is in control, that He sees from a broader perspective, that His kingdom is at hand?

Feeling afraid? What If we respond to Jesus’ words (Matthew 14:27), “Take courage. I am. Don’t be afraid.” What if we decided not to live in fear?

Feeling hopeless? What if we ask ourselves if this is an opportunity? What if this is a chance to respond by believing that God keeps His promises. That’s what hope is–a confident expectation that God will keep His promises.

Angry? As Stephen was about to die as the church’s first martyr, he refused to seek vengeance. Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60)

What if our response is trust, courage, hope, and forgiveness?

What would it look like if we choose to shine that kind of light into the darkness?

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Maybe it is a good week to refuse to let feelings rule.

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

Breaking Away from Our Past

Monday, May 16th, 2016

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13-14

We have here Paul’s wise theory of life–progress by forgetting, by letting go of the things that are past.

“Forgetting what is behind.” Probably most of us have done things we would much like . . .
to leave behind,
to blot out from memory,
to cut altogether loose from,
to bury in oblivion.

We cannot turn back the hands of the clock, that we may have any day over again. But we may bring to God all the mistakes, the follies, the sins–and He will forgive us, and then use even these poor broken things for good.

A traveler tells of finding a place beside the sea, where many ships were dashed upon the rocks–and a beautiful house built altogether from pieces of wreckage gathered from the shore.

That is about the best many of us can do. We have little else to bring to God but wreckage–disobediences, broken commandments, mistakes, sins. Yet it is a wonderful thought that even with such materials, if we are truly penitent and repentant–our Master will work, helping us to build beauty in our lives. Sins forgiven become lessons for us. Out of a past full of failures, we may make a future full of strength and beauty–through the grace of Christ. We cannot forget our sins, but we may be wiser and better for them.

~ J.R. Miller

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Seeing God’s Hand in Our Trials

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

We must see our heavenly Father’s hand in our lesser trials and cares, as much as in the greater ones.

David recognized the hand of God, in Absalom rising against him in rebellion–but he saw it no less in Shimei throwing stones and dust and casting bitter words at him.

Just so, let us see God’s hand in everything. These petty troubles and vexations are a part of our schooling for Heaven. They are just as much sent from above, as the fierce storm that wrecks our home and leaves us desolate in a cold world. They all come . . .
to prove us,
to humble us,
to draw out the grace which God has given us,
to break the tie that binds us too closely to earth,
to knit the tie that draws us nearer to Heaven.

Let us ever fix this in our minds. Let us say to ourselves,
“My Father has sent this trial!
Not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him.
The very hairs of my head are numbered by Him.
So I will trust His heart, where I cannot trace His hand.
He is too wise to be mistaken–and too good to be unkind!”

~ George Everard, “Little Foxes, and How to Catch Them!” 1878

Carrying a Heavy Burden?

Friday, March 25th, 2016

A favorite verse inspires today’s word-of-the-week…

YOKE

I feel like I’ve encountered a lot of folks lately who seem like they’re carrying a lot of weight around.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

In Jesus’ time, a rabbi’s “yoke” was his teaching, the doctrine and rules his followers were required to accept. So Jesus was telling people to let go of the burdens imposed by the religious leaders–that’s not what He was about.

I love the way this passage is phrased in The Message:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

If you’re one of those folks who’s lugging around something heavy or ill-fitting, I invite you to take a moment and listen to Jesus’ words. Consider the possibility that, even in the midst of struggle, He wants you to experience the unforced rhythms of grace.

I felt prompted to write this, maybe for you…perhaps this is the week for you to let yourself live just a bit more “freely and lightly.”

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

In Search of Rest?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

“But the dove could find no resting place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth. So it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark.” Genesis 8:9

This passage has been beautifully applied to the condition of a Christian wandering over earth in search of rest–and disappointed, returning at length to his Savior–glad to be received again into His bosom, where alone there is peace. Surely he who has been accustomed to drink at the pure fountain of spiritual joy, can never find rest for the soul in this polluted world.

How true is it, that to one whose affections have been directed to things above–earthly pleasures seem to have lost their usual relish. No prospect however beautiful–no pleasures however tantalizing can be enjoyed–without the associated presence and blessing of God. Yet when God is recognized in them, and the heart is properly affected towards Him–then do even earthly scenes acquire an additional interest.

But let the Christian lose sight for a season of his heavenly inheritance, and wander over earth’s surface in search of worldly good–how soon will he find an unsatisfying vacuity, where not even an olive leaf shall be found to greet his eye or to cheer his heart. The Christian may so far backslide, as to wish to explore anew the world which he professes to have forsaken–and God may allow him to do so. But O how soon his wing will tire, and his prospect become gloomy! Glad will he be to return and flutter around the ark, longing to be taken in, where he can once more feel himself happy and at home. And Jesus kindly extends His hand to take us in–even when we have sinfully wandered from His loving arms.

Why is it that we can be so often deceived? Have we not tried the world–and have we not been disappointed in the pursuit? Never again then let us leave the sacred ark–never again wander from our Lord.

PRAYER.
Ever blessed God, You have taught us to find our supreme felicity in You–for You are an all-sufficient portion. But O how prone are we to wander from You–to forsake “You, the fountain of living waters, and hew out cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

But away from You, how can we he happy? How soon does sadness invade our hearts, and sorrow sit upon our eye-lids! The creature cannot make us blessed. We have tried the creature–and found all on earth to be but vanity. Wander where we will–from place to place, from pleasure to pleasure–all is unsatisfying, if you O God are absent.

We are like that dove, when out of the ark, which saw itself surrounded by one wide waste of waters. How glad was she to get back within her sacred retreat! Just so, O Savior, would we gladly flee into Your loving arms. We will search no longer for happiness here below. Henceforth, let us repose on Your kind bosom. Let us feel a holy indifference to the attractions of this deceitful world. May it be our privilege to be taken at last unto that secure ark–that glorious Heaven where no storms can come, and no temptations allure our souls away from you. Amen.

(Jared Waterbury, “Meditations and Prayers” 1840)

How Can I Finish on Time?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

At 4:27 am, I bounced out of bed. For some of you that might be normal, but I’m not a morning person. I had to be at a meeting almost an hour from home by 7:00 am.

The night before I had my clothes ready and everything at the door that needed to go with me. I had even washed and cut the fruits and vegetables for my morning drink.

At the meeting, I couldn’t believe how wide-awake, cheerful, and humorous the members of that club were. All the early birds must flock there.

After the meeting, I had to drive to the car dealer for a regular maintenance check for my car and the state safety inspection. While I waited, I completed a Bible lesson and worked on other projects.

From there, I picked up my mail, came home, ate lunch, and did paperwork. As I did, my mind was spinning with thoughts of the take-home final exam with a deadline of September 26, an upcoming radio interview, and a speaking engagement to name a few.

Would I finish on time? Could I finish on time? Fear and worry crept in. I called a friend to ask her a question and told her about my feelings about the take-home exam and my other deadlines.

She said, “Yvonne, you can do this. You’re anointed.”

As soon as she said that, God’s peace flowed through me, and I remembered a Bible verse in which God told me not to be fearful and promised to help me. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? Why had I needlessly fretted?

When you think of all you need to do, do you become fearful or dismayed?

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Dear God, I have so much to do today. Please help me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to allow God to strengthen and help you?

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?