hot topic: dead babies in storage shed

I was absolutely appalled to read about the discovery of 4 babies found dead in Canada yesterday in a storage unit.  The Canadian authorities are obviously doing a thorough investigation into the situation and because they were only found yesterday, there’s not alot of information to answer the host of questions that neither you nor I have at this moment.

When we hear of situations like this, I think it’s extermely important not to get callous nor indifferent to these kinds of atrocities – hence my work with Saving Moses.  Our mission with Saving Moses is to help babies & toddlers where the need is most urgent & the care is least available.  With these parameters, we have a malnutrition program that feeds severely malnourished babies in Angola (very high infant mortality), many of whom would die without our therapeutic formula.  Additionally, we run a really novel program in Cambodia called nightcare, where we take care of the babies of prostitutes at night while they work – so they don’t have the babies with them while they’re working, or abandon them in unsafe care or situations.  We are already setting up plans and funding for 2015 so that we can continue to expand of efforts with our mission to “save Moses.”

If we are not deeply and even primordially disturbed by these atrocities with babies, then perhaps we need to pause & reconsider some basic human values :)

God Makes a Way

Sometimes I get frustrated with God, not so much because I’m not getting my way (that was a problem when I was younger), but moreso because of some struggles I have with God about faith & trust.  As followers of Jesus, we know that we’re supposed to trust God & keep the faith, but sometimes this gets tricky.  It’s in those “sometimes” that I can get frustrated and even mad with God because it can get really difficult and seemingly impossible.  Maybe you’ve had some similar challenges in your walk with God pertaining to a health or relationship situation.  Maybe you’ve struggled with God about some decisions or the direction you’re supposed to go with your career, education or family consideration.

The Bible is full of people who have been in some of the exact same situations with which we may be struggling.  So here are some thoughts that can be helpful:

  • timing:  sometimes God does last minute work that can be really unnerving – consider when Abraham was about to sacrifice Issac in Gen 22
  • bits and pieces:  I often find that even though God knows the beginning & the end of stuff, we frequently find ourselves in the “need to know” zone, a little bit at a time and not the giant picture – consider Moses and the incremental nature of how God used him to liberate the Israelites from slavery in Egypt
  • honesty with commitment is important for intimacy:  you can be honest with God about your frustrations without putting your entire relationship with God at risk – consider Job
  • endurance & persistance:  the Apostle Paul comes to mind when I think about a biblical example of what endurance looks like, even finishing an extremely well run race with getting his head chopped off
  • community:  the Bible is full of examples of people encouraging each other in staying obedient to & passionate for God – consider when Jonathon encouraged David about being the king of Israel in 1 Sam

God makes a way when there seems to be no way so be sure to share this with a friend to spread some encouragement! :)

An Autumn Salute

The Leaves Are Leaving

 Announcing with splendor and display
“Goodbye to our trees,
Our homes we now leave
Farewell to branches, twigs and trunk
We bid you, ‘adieu’
 
Our home we now leave
To nestle away in bugs, dust and decay
Fertilizing and feeding
Investing for resurrection
 
But today we prepare to leave
We pack the green
And exchange for gold
Orange, red, magenta and maroon
We are leaving, the leaves bid ‘adieu’

I don’t know how

There are lots of things I don’t know how to do.  I can’t crochet, knit, sew, decorate, paint, computer program, repair cars or concrete, grow plants, . . . . . There are so many things that I can’t or don’t know how to do, that I could get overwhelmed with my inabilities & deficiencies.  But the bright spot is that I have a unique and perpetual direct line to God Who knows how to do everything & even more.

When you feel frustrated & overwhelemed with inadquecies, look out, look up and look around because God is readily available to help, just for the asking :)

No Thank You to Fear

Fear isn’t cool. We can all probably remember at least a few times when fear was entirely horrifying. For me, I remember some walks home from school that were terrifying, waking up from a nightmare that virtually paralyzed me & the ever so common fear of not being liked. In our world today, people are afraid of Ebola, ISIS, losing their job, not getting married & lots more.
So let’s you & make a pact to say, “no thank you” to fear & then make the active choices to support that pact:
*be attentive to our decisions that we allow to be controlled by fear
*be aware of conversations that magnify fear – change the subject
*watch for places in our lives where we are cozy with fear
*actively choose love over fear because they are mutually exclusive (perfect love casts out fear)
*forward this to your friends to help grow an anti-fear mob!!

hot topic: transformation

I like Autumn because all the transformations and changes that happen:  leaves turning colors, weather cooling off, schedules getting more routine & lots more.  Autumn reminds me that life is continually changing, even if slowly.  Autumn also encourages me that change is possible because sometimes I can get discouraged with myself when I don’t see the changes that I want in my thinking, etc.  If you’re like me, we like to be involved in changes that are improvements, so here’s an opportunity for you to bring transformation and be transformed at the same time:

Saving Moses is hosting a severely space limited team trip to Cambodia in July 2015 & I’m inviting you to check out this transformational possibility for your schedule:  Saving Moses Team Trip 2015

 

quiet prayers

Recently, I’ve had some experiences that have been really tricky:  conversation I didn’t agree with, uncomfortable situations that made me feel insecure, topics being discussed that are WAY outside of anything I know about, etc.  As I’ve been in these situations, it’s been difficult for me to figure out what to do or say because there didn’t seem to be any easy or obvious solutions, answers or escape routes.  In the past, I’ve found myself saying stupid stuff, or just withdrawing to a wall flower status & getting internally frustrated.

But I think I’ve found some help with these types of problems:  quiet prayer.  In the last few days as I’ve been in these challenges, I’ve stayed quiet, but quietly in my heart asked God for help and that’s exactly what’s happened.  God has answered my quiet prayers in several different ways by giving me:

  • insight & wisdom into the situations & conversations
  • patience & strength not to say something stupid or that I’d later regret
  • discernment on how God was leading the discussion or situation
  • awareness that God has purposes for stuff that doesn’t always make me feel good

There’s a boatload of value in long & loud prayers, but also in short & quiet prayers:  the full truth is that prayer is very good :)

margin

I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important.  When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise :)

I think this is also true with our daily living.  When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:

  • see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
  • rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
  • listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
  • be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
  • remain healthy

Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life :)

sit down but stand up

In the last few weeks, I’ve had some interesting challenges, most of which have been around taking a stand for some convictions that run deep in my soul.  Taking a stand can be kind of tricky – there’s a Japanese proverb that says, “the nail that stands up gets hammered down.”  Nevertheless, I think it’s important to take a stand and not just blend into the average, mediocre and mundane.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • be mindful of what you take a stand for:  sometimes I think we spend all of our time, energy, voice & equity on things that don’t really matter;  keep in mind eternity and the big picture when you stand up for something
  • be mindful of how you take a stand:  diplomacy and tact are helpful ingredients for taking a stand about one’s convictions;  be friendly and firm :)

Thinking about these things, consider a few videos & lyrics that could be worthy of some reflection:

street-babies

stand up lyrics

Hot topic: IS, blood moon, Ebola & end times

We live in a very interesting time. There are people chopping off heads & think that’s entirely acceptable & even praiseworthy – weird. This week had the 2nd blood moon in a year – also unusual. Furthermore, Ebola is now being compared to AIDS for its potential devastation to humanity value – yikes! And then lots of people think we are in the end times of the world – that God is wrapping up the human experience to move into a new era of life.
I think we live in strange times, for sure. But with that being said, there are some important things to keep in mind:
*God is still in control & God is love (a very good combination)
*lets be sure to stay fresh & intense with our prayer life
*be careful not to let fear control your thinking or outlook

God awareness

I really like to study languages.  Thus far, I’ve studied probably half a dozen & it always fascinates me when I get to explore a language and how a culture communicates through it’s language.  It also fascinates me to consider that anywhere from 40%-80% of the way we communicate is non-verbal.  Furthermore, I would suggest that the better you know someone, the fewer words you need to communicate with them.

With these ideas in mind, it’s been my experience that God communicates with me in lots of different ways:

  • Bible:  ground zero, full stop
  • a soft whisper or witness in my heart that’s difficult for me to ignore (1Kings 19)
  • desires (Ps 37:4) – I ask God to guide me by giving me desires that affirm God’s plan, will and kingdom
  • conversations – there are many times that God will speak to me through someone in some kind of seemingly common discussion, but something very uncommon stands out to me in that chat (Emmaus Road – Luke)
  •  very often, I don’t sense God speaking to me in words or verbally, but rather I sense God’s presence and I just enjoy keeping company with God

How do you sense and hear God?  Please share with us! :)

God talk

unnamed Today, I was driving and having a God chat.  We talked about some of my concerns and frustrations and I tried to not do all of the talking, but this is a tricky balance.  Conversations that facilitate a deepening relationship go both ways – both parties listen and both talk, hopefully not at the same time.  To get to know the other person in a relationship, we need to be present, attentive and available.  In the same way, for the other person to get to know us, we need to be present, sincere and forthcoming.

We all have relationships where we play our cards really close to the vest – we don’t openly share about painful areas, hotspots or vulnerabilities.  But if we are going to have a deepening relationship with God, then we need to put our cards on the table and equally listen, pay attention and value the feedback and input that God gives us, not only to solve problems but moreso for the purpose of connecting and attaching.  God talk is a two-way street :)

 

Intolerant

Our modern culture applauds tolerance with great conviction. We are strongly encouraged to tolerate all kinds of diversity (spicy food, GF diets, people with different ideas, age diversity, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicity, religion etc). In general, I think that tolerance is a nice idea but sometimes it’s application can get hazy. For example:

  • truth will never tolerate deception & vice versa (antonyms are inherently intolerant)
  • intimacy will never tolerate violence
  • genuine love will never tolerate indifference or apathy

While I think that tolerance is a nice idea, let’s not think that it should be the guiding principle nor conviction for our daily living. Tolerance should never replace genuine love :)