Doing More

In our culture, more seems to always be something to pursue & an optimum priority. But I’m not sure that more is always better. When I think of more work, more exercise, more results, more time, more friends, more traveling, more of everything, I suddenly want to take a nap 🙂
There are definitely things that always need more: wisdom, discernment, worshipping God, prayer & awareness of God’s presence in our lives.

So let’s keep the essentials in the “more” category & let’s make sure that what could be good & helpful is supportive to those core essentials.
Let’s keep the main thing, the main thing!

Inspired By Billy Graham

No doubt that heaven rejoices to welcome Billy Graham & earth looses a longstanding hero. The reasons that Billy Graham is such a hero are innumerable, but some of the standouts include: moral integrity, consistency & letting Jesus be the rallying cry of his life.
The things that Billy Graham accomplished across the span of his life, will be accentuated & applauded for quite awhile. And his epitaph is extremely powerful!
Let’s live each day as if we’re writing our epitaph so that when we die, the world around us has been improved & Jesus is exalted!

Growing or Stagnant?

I have the opportunity to grow and I’m not sure that I want this, maybe.  There’s an annual convention on the calendar that’s around the corner and I’m considering going this year, even though it makes me sweaty just thinking about it.

In my mind, I’ve got ironclad rationale to justify not going, but maybe if I go I’ll grow, maybe if I stay, I’ll stagnant.  I’m reminded about Saul and Jonathon in 1 Samuel 14.  Saul stayed under a tree with 600 men, while Jonathon took his buddy and started a skirmish that turned into a major military victory.

Sometimes that growth that God asks from us can be unsettling and outright scary.  But let’s chose to grow rather than stagnant 🙂

God’s Resources

“Plan your work & work your plan.”

Oftentimes I’ll ask God to give me the finances to do stuff that’s on my heart. And sometimes the money comes, but more often God gives me creatives ideas, time, relationships & solutions that help me to make progress on various plans. I’m also learning that God gives me wisdom & / or endurance.
Let’s be certain to recognize that God absolutely supplies our needs, often in ways that we don’t anticipate. Sometimes, God can even change a need so that it can align with the provisions that we have!

Lovin’ the Road Trip!!

This summer, my family took a road trip to the west coast in a minivan. It’s was a lovely experience & I learned a lot about teenagers as we were together almost nonstop for 12 consecutive days 🙂
So traveling with people helps you get to know them in deeper ways than the occasional lunch or coffee. Here’s a link to my new series, road tripping with Jesus 🙂

Quick to Love

We are quick to love stuff that’s easy:  people who are nice to us, soft blankets, space heaters in Winter, chocolate, snowboarding, etc.  But when we see people who different, let’s pre-decide to be loving.  For example, you might prefer a more polished or professional appearance and thereby find the people with the same image easier to love.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Maybe you’re less polished and only match or when there’s a solar eclipse.  So maybe you find it easier to love people who have a more “eclectic” approach to their image or style.

And I’d say for all of us, it’s much easier to love people who are kind, respectful and gracious.  Those individuals who are sullen, grumpy, surly & even combative can be tricky to navigate.  So let’s not make Valentine’s Day a once a year holiday to celebrate love.  Let’s decide that everyday is our day to love, because we are loving people, regardless of who the recipient may be!

Celebrating LOVE!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Maybe you like the chocolate that is often associated with this day, or the candy hearts with little messages on them, or perhaps the romance possibility is appealing for you today.  On the flip side, for many people, Valentine’s Day can be a discouraging reminder of an unfulfilled or broken relationship.

Regardless of your feelings about this day, let’s choose together to celebrate genuine love!!  And maybe today can be more about genuine love than about the romance, cards, candy, chocolate or flowers.  Maybe we can choose to make today about expressing genuine love not only to people that we know & love, but also to the people we don’t know or maybe don’t love so much.  I’m learning an interesting lesson with genuine love:  the more I genuinely love, the more I feel genuinely loved 🙂

Feel free to send this to your friends and family today, as you celebrate genuine love!!

What’s Your Game?

In various sports, there’s the concept of short game versus the long game.  For example, the short game in basketball could be the shots close to the basket in contrast to the longer distance, 3 point shots.  Additionally, a coach has to keep in mind the immediate events (short game) happening, while being aware of having the resources necessary for the end of the game (long game).

I think the same holds true for our walk with God – both the short and long games.  The long game could be our life in eternity with God & the short game could be our time here on earth.  The short game could be the immediate gratification of desires and the long game could be the death of our flesh so that we have spiritual results.  I think that both the short & long games are important.  The best way to navigate the balance between these is to stay

In Step with the Holy Spirit!

Over My Head

I woke up today, thought about what’s happening throughout this day & maybe I considered, for a few minutes, going back to bed because of all of today’s stuff. Then I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that nothing will happen today that isn’t already in His mind & He will be with me in all of this day. So I prayed & asked the Holy Spirit to direct all of today’s schedule, events & demands.
As I’m in very important meetings, watching my daughters theatrical performance, praying with a friend, preparing for a speaking engagement along a few more things, I’m keeping my focus on the Holy Spirit to help & keep me settled.
When the Holy Spirit is my life preserver, He keeps my head above water!

Are You a Planner?

I have lots of friends who are good at planning.  They think through a journey, a project or responsibility with focused attention for:

  • needed resources,
  • timelines,
  • possible hazards,
  • preparing for the unexpected, as best as they can

Me, not so much.  And that’s one of my shortfalls.  If I told you of all the times when I’ve forgotten things (makeup, clothes, money, etc), shown up at the wrong time, been unprepared or shocked, maybe you’d smirk with a playful laugh. And hopefully you wouldn’t shame me with the normal, “You should know better, Sarah” because I already do that to myself enough 🙂

No matter if you’re a planner or prefer a more “spontaneous” approach, let’s be certain to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps and navigate the various destinations and outcomes.  If you’re a planner, be careful that you don’t try to stay in control of the journey with the Holy Spirit.  If you’re the spontaneous type, be sure to listen to the Holy Spirit for those gentle nudges / reminders about bringing stuff & keeping appointments 🙂

Nail Biting

“Jehoshaphat was afraid & turned his attention to see the Lord & proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”  2Chron 20:3

Being afraid is a universal experience to every human & maybe there are times when we have more or less fear.  But fear is not a rare emotion in our human living.  What we do with fear is more important, in my opinion, than the actual fear.  So when I read about Jehoshaphat being afraid & turning his attention to the Lord, it gives me some good input on what to do with fear.  I’m thinking also that this could be helpful for you too!

Rather than biting your nails, fretting, getting jittery, nervous eating, etc, when we have times or experiences with fear, let’s be certain that our default instinct is to turn our attention to God, remembering that nothing causes God to “bite His nails.”

Back to School :)

I’m sitting in an English class of one of my kids & learning about gerunds, infinitives & participles. Maybe I’ll learn about these sentence parts this time around, possibly. It’s fun to watch a teacher who is excited not only about their content but also about their students!
In a similar way, I think that God gets excited about teaching us!!  It seems to me that God takes us through various classes to help us grow & do better.  Such classes include patience, endurance, truth with love & discretion to name a few. As much as I want to think that I’ll graduate & never need these classes, that will likely only happen in heaven. So today, I’m learning & growing one decision at a time, leaning into the Holy Spirit for supernatural help!

Un-Conditioning

Conditioning has lots of different usages such as: air conditioning, conditioning for health purposes and conditioning to acclimate to various climates or humidities, to name a few.  But I think we should also consider that we have been conditioned through the human experience to think of love in very transactional ways.  In our childhood, it’s likely that you received positive affirmation for good behavior & achievements and negative feedback for things you did that weren’t so whippy.  Maybe such inputs have shaped your perceptions of what love is & is not.  While cause and affect are definitely part of the human experience, I think we should sit and think about God’s “unconditional” love for us.

There’s a good possibility that we both struggle to receive and sit in unconditional love, given the conditioning we have lived in through human transactions.  Let’s take some time this weekend to reflect on God’s unconditional love for us, appreciating that this genuine love can never be increased or decreased by our behaviors 🙂

Who Is Sitting With You?

Feeling unsettled or lifeless? Are there places in your thoughts or emotions that are restless or even numb? There have been a few things for me lately that have left me feeling not so peaceful nor lively. I was talking with Holy Spirit about these issues in my prayer time & He reminded me about Romans 8:6 wheee the mind set on Holy Spirit is life & peace.
So I’m inviting Holy Spirit to sit with me in those areas of my thoughts & emotions that are rattled & lifeless. Because I know that God’s Word is true, I anticipate that I’ll have more peace & life in these places of my soul because of the Holy Spirit’s presence 🙂
You’re welcome to let Holy Spirit sit with you!

Room at the Table

Whenever we have company for dinner, everyone has a chair & place at the table. No one sits on any ones lap & we even save a place for someone when they’re running late. Everyone has a place.
And the same is true for us with God’s banqueting table. Everyone has a place at the table & is invited to pull up their chair & feast, no matter what they look like, no matter their past failures, regardless of their flaws or deficiencies, Jesus says “Come & dine!”
So when you feel left out, inadequate or insecure, recognize the enemy’s voice & stick with Jesus who welcomes you with eager & open arms!

Weightlifting

I used to despise weight training, particularly in high school when it was gross to be in a weight room with bulked out guys who were dripping sweat and grunting all the time.  That was super disgusting to me & so it wasn’t until my forties when I even considered the possibility of doing weights again.  On this go around, I began to enjoy weight training because I had a friend who trained with me & we had some expert coaching.  Then I got really excited about the idea because my clothes started to fit better!  I also learned some helpful principles:

  • Form is important:  the wrong form can result in harmful injuries and weights that are too heavy are counterproductive.  This reminds me to cast my burdens on Jesus because He’s strong enough to carry the heavy weights in my life
  • Strength grows with consistency:  when I’m consistent with weights, my strength improves.  And with Jesus, being steady in my daily quiet times helps to strengthen my interior life
  • Weakness can be changed to strength:  at the end of doing a rep, my muscles are often tired & that’s when it’s the weight most difficult but also beneficial.  Leaning into Jesus in our weakness is where we can have the most strength!

What’s the Endgame???

Happy Friday to you!  Have you ever started a project and then been distracted to forget what you set out to do in the first place?  SQUIRREL!!

Here’s something that might help:

The Grateful Solution

Whenever you might feel sad or unsettled it can be very helpful to start being thankful. This is also useful sometimes when a friend or relative might be discouraged.
Being thankful can start with the stuff that’s always steady: God’s continuous love for you, a beautiful sunrise o sunset, chirping birds and lots more!
I’d also suggest that you consider some personal things in your life for which you could be grateful – a car that runs, an enjoyable book, an enjoyable conversation.
Let’s decide to stay grateful!

Discourage or Encourage?

It’s interesting that the root for the words, “discourage” and “encourage” is the word courage, which traces to the Latin root for “heart.”  So when we are discouraged, this literally means, “away from the heart”.  And encourage, by contrast, means “into the heart”.  But the common ingredient for both of the words, encourage & discourage, has to do with the heart.

So let’s think about this:  what happens in my heart is only known between God and me.  People can observe the external results of that internal status, but the state of my heart and what happens there is known most clearly by God.  Maybe this is why Solomon said, in Proverbs 4:23, that we should guard our hearts, since this is where the wellspring of life starts.  With this verse in mind, let’s be certain that we are keeping our hearts wide open to God’s presence because this is how we can live in a state of encouragement rather than being discouraged by experiences, conversations and various other challenges that can arise.  Choose to live with God’s presence in your heart, encouraged and deeply loved!

A Helpful Inventory

Take a quick minute to remember a few of the ways God has shown up in your life, met various needs & resolved things that seemed impossible. I’ve been looking over the last several years today & seeing God’s hand throughout the years in so many magnificent & unexpected ways! As I look back, not only do I see God’s faithful provisions, but I’m astounded at the perfect timing of His work, weaving random experiences into a gorgeous tapestry of grace & genuine love.
Whenever you get discouraged or begin to question God’s input in your life, take a few minutes to look at what God has done in your past. Most assuredly this will encourage your heart that God is very present & engaged in your life!