Hungry Shopper

Weekly grocery shopping when I’m hungry is tricky, particularly when the store has samples. What happens is that regardless of my list, I can impulse buy & come home with some random stuff.

Sometimes, I think we do the same thing with stuff that’s not just food related. There are times when I can be struggling with some emotional stuff or various pressures & I’ll divert my attention with some sports thing or pick up an interesting book.
What usually works the best for me when I find myself struggling is to let my heart settle deeply into God’s love for me. Rather than being impulsive, let’s train our appetites to crave Jesus, the greatest fulfillment & solution in our lives 🙂

Let’s Keep the Plot

“Go back to sleep!” I can imagine Eli’s impatience with Samuel in the middle of the night when the little guy kept waking up Eli. “You called & I’m here!”

It’s easy to be critical of Eli, observing that he was the high priest & should’ve recognized the Lord calling Samuel much sooner than he did. But Eli didn’t & I think that sometimes we can all be a little bit like Eli.
I wholly believe that God continually beckons us to converse, observe & engage with the Trinity but we miss the plot, ignore the invitation & dismiss the coincidence.
Let’s train ourselves to be more sensitive & attentive to that still small voice & those ever so sweet & alluring invitations throughout this day!
“Speak Lord, Your servants listens!”

On Time

My husband and I have different perspectives about what it means to be “on time” for an appointment.  He thinks that being “on time” for an appointment is sitting in a chair at the appointment 5minutes before that scheduled time.  I think that being “on time” means that I’m in the parking lot of the building or near vacinity at the scheduled time.  This discrepancy in opinions has created just a little tension in our 20+ years of marriage – ok, maybe more than just a little tension, say I with a wink.

Generally, I get myself to places I need to be mostly around the right time but this strategy doesn’t always work out so well for me, of course.  There have been occassions when being late has caused me to miss important things, created unnecessary angst and I’ve burned a few meals because I haven’t paid attention to the time.

I’m thankful that God is always “on time.”  While we might think that God is late or last minute, let’s be abundantly clear that God is in charge of time, so maybe “late” is only a human experience.  Indeed, Martha & Mary thought that Jesus was too late to heal their brother Lazarus when he died.  In one sense, Jesus was too late for healing, but in another sense Jesus was right on time for resurrection.  Let’s be certain that we keep our plans adaptable to God’s schedule!

In the meantime, I’m endeavoring to work on that “on time” thing.

Improving Some More

I’m sitting down to eat lunch as I write this & enjoying a tasty lunch. My lunch is comprised of Swiss cheese, triscuits & leftovers from last night’s delicious stew. As I’m eating this stew, I notice that it tastes better than it did last night, which is often the case with leftovers.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t much of a leftover fan until I had an epiphany. One day, I suddenly understood that when something is given a bit of time to culminate, it often turns out better than the initial product.
So when we want to grow & Improve, consider what it says in James 1:4, “Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing.”
Never underestimate the important ingredient of time when it comes to the final product of growth & improvement 🙂

How to Improve

I have a child who is in the process of a vertical learning curve related to blame or responsibility. This is a nice way to say that blaming other people facilitates irresponsibility & this is no bueno.
These conversations challenge me to look at areas in my life where I might be blaming people & not taking responsibility for my actions, words & attitudes.
I’m seeing with stark clarity that the attempts to blame others limits my ability to grow & improve.
Are there places in your life where you seem quagmired? Is it possible that you might need to think about being proactive & taking responsibility for the things you can change?
Let’s be sure that we let the Holy Spirit speak truth into our hearts so that we don’t deceive ourselves, limiting how much we grow & improve.

Asking Questions

Questions express curiosity & questions are the starting point for learning. Indeed, were taught in basic English classes about the five main questions we should answer: who, what, where, when & why. As we age, however, I think that sometimes our curious edge wanes & gets stifled. Maybe we erroneously think we know more than we do so we stop asking questions. Maybe we received too many bad answers so we learned the dangerous lesson to stop asking questions. Maybe we haven’t received answers to some questions we deem important. Maybe we’ve been taught that questions are disrespectful or intrusive

Let’s be careful when we stop asking questions. Indeed, I think that part of why we exist is to learn about the intimate relationship that’s available to us with our Heavenly Father through Jesus. Let’s also remember that learning isn’t merely a cerebral activity, but when it comes to a deep abiding relationship with God, learning exceeds our mental limits & frailties. Let’s be lifelong learners as we grow daily in our intimacy with the Trinity!

Hot Topic: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton

Last night, I had a friend who tried to give me an earful about one of these presidential candidates. This person asked me for my opinion & I said, “I am choosing not to express my thoughts on either of these candidates because I’ve watched so many friendships burn up from the conflicts ignited by this political inferno. The only thing I’ll say about this topic is that our nation needs prayer like we’ve never needed it before.”

My friend tried to keep talking about the various candidates & I didn’t take the bait, nor will I.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have an opinion about the upcoming election & who should be our president. But let’s keep three things at the front of our conversations on this topic:
1 – Are your friendships worth torching because you might disagree about politics?
2 – What happens to your friendships when the election is over?
3 – God is on the throne in heaven no matter who wins or loses in this election

Finally, let’s agree to pray more than worry or fight 🙂

Still Motion

It seems of late that I’m always going somewhere – AZ, CA, NC, PA etc & it feels like I’m in perpetual motion. This is good because I get to share about the daily & supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit. On the other side, I find myself desiring that peace from being still & knowing that God is. With all of the traveling & stresses of work, home, schedules, family etc, we would be wise to learn about carrying peace on the inside.  In Job 20:20 it says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires.”
Here are some ideas about carrying some quiet in our heads wherever we go:

  • remember to give your anxieties to God
    turn to God as a habit & not just in overwhelm mode
  • let those unexpected cancelled events give you some pause space – don’t fill your schedule to the gills
  • life has seasons, ebb & flow & we would be wise to go with the flow
  • it helps me, on occasion, to sit in my car for a few minutes, with no phone or music & just be still

Carry some quiet in your heart wherever you go!

pass / fail

I’m not a fan of tests but we all got through tests. Sometimes we get to chose from a few options & sometimes we have to chose between two options, like true or false.
Thankfully, we always have help with various tests because the Holy Spirit is or heavenly Help! Additionally, let’s remember that tests usually last for a season & then we can some breathing room after the test.
If you’re going through a test, I pray that the Holy Spirit would help you, give you peace in your heart & some helpful answers / solutions!

Getting Better

I was recently ministering at a seriously great women’s retreat & one of the ladies confronted me after one of my messages. She challenged me about a story I told about Gladys, a church lady from my childhood. In my story, I treated Gladys with disrespect & made her an example for mocking & scorn. The chick who confronted me was totally on the money – she was gentle, firm & biblical. At first, I tried to deflect her attempts to correct me, but I knew she was right.

That afternoon, I took some time to write & pray, asking God to forgive me & help me to love better.
Regardless of how a person behaves, genuine love doesn’t qualify the recipient. Just because it’s easy for me to love some rough people doesn’t give me a pass to be unloving with cranky peeps 🙂

Brush, Floss, Repeat

Visiting the dentist isn’t in my favorite destinations list, but alas it’s a necessity. When I didn’t visit the dentist for several years in a row, that first time back was a killer. I’ve learned than an hour twice a year with consistent daily hygiene is the key to a happy mouth.
Keeping a happy & clean mouth seems to be related not only brushing & flossing but also to what we put in our hearts, thoughts & emotions. Proverbs says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Let’s be sure that our dental hygiene is every bit as important as our spiritual hygiene!

I Like to Practice!

Proficient is a consequence of practice & it seems to me that practice gives us the space to make mistakes, learn, improve & grow into proficiency. So these are the things that I am continually practicing:

  • Gratitude – I’m not sure that we can ever be fully proficient with being thankful, so let’s keep practicing
  • Forgiveness – it’s hard to forgive, particularly when a person who is very close to us causes us pain, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean we should quit trying; indeed, the person who gets the most benefit from is the forgiver more than the recipient
  • Learning – let’s be curious about beneficial things & not stuff that’s meaningless or hurtful
  • Patience – uggggh, this one can really get under my skin, which means I desperately need to practice it more so it’s not such a weak spot

So what would be good for you to start practicing more over this weekend?

Finding Stuff

In my family, it seems like we lose things a lot. It’s one thing to lose a pen or maybe a shirt, but it’s a different story when I lose a credit card, drivers license, car title or some other such important item. 
I don’t like to lose stuff. I don’t like the stress it causes, I don’t like the time spent to find what’s lost & it’s just a hassle when I lose stuff. 

Sometimes I think we lose ourselves in lots of different stuff. Maybe you’ve been lost in the pursuit of being important or looking beautiful. It can be easy to get lost in the entertainment or political world & sometimes we can lose ourselves in trying to be good Christians. 

Let’s be very clear that God never loses us. Indeed, we are the most found & find our greatest identity in the loving intimacy or Heavenly Father wants with us everyday! Keep being found in God’s presence!

Grace for Dingbats

Sometimes I’m smart, but more times I’m a dingbat. I forget stuff, don’t pay attention well, I’m insensitive & definitely say dumb stuff from time to time. But I deeply appreciate God’s grace. 
Indeed, God’s face redeems my dingbat & makes it into something good & helpful! When I try to camouflage my dingbat actions, it usually backfires & makes things worse. So i figures that I have a divine treasure in this earthen vessel (2Cor 4;7), being conformed to the image of Jesus through God’s grace & the redeeming help of the Holy Spirit!

Try It!!

One of the things from my parents that I deeply cherish, is the “try it!” attitude. So when I was growing up, I tried heaps of stuff: lacrosse, blue corn tortillas, clarinet, softball, Perry Mason tv mysteries, eating crawdads, swimming in canals, classical music, basketball, viola & loads more! Of course I wasn’t proficient in most of these things but my parents were always super encouraging, even when I miserably flopped. So to this day, I’m a “try it” kind of person & I love this mindset!
Indeed, I’d rather try & fail, then not try & succeed at not trying. Peter was like this with Jesus when he walked on the water. He tried it & had some failure, but it seems to me that he was the first human water walker just because he tried!

Going to the Dentist

I’ve got my kids at the dentist for their regular checkup. We’re all hopeful for a no-cavity report, but that’s a stretch with 3kids & 96 total teeth (I think). We do this wonderful appointment twice a year & we cross our fingers, hoping for good outcomes. 
Sometimes, people treat church like the dentist – a twice yearly visit, hoping for painless, quick & uplifting. Alas, dental hygiene is kind of like spiritual hygiene. Weekly visits, daily Bible time & occasional retreats often yield healthy spiritual growth. If plaque is like sin, then steady prayer & Bible time would be like daily flossing & brushing. Let’s stay the course until Christ be formed within us – Galatians 4:19!

Internal Balance

At the end of the last ski season, I had a really bad fall, sustained a concussion & have had subsequent balance problems. I’m doing some ongoing therapy so it’s getting better, but this makes me think about injuries in new ways. 
I think that we can get hurt in various ways, like from a bad experience in a church, a hurtful conversation with our mate or friend, a bad interaction with a teacher & lots more. From these injuries, our internal balance can get misaligned & we may have some unhealthy ways to compensate for that imbalance. 

An external imbalance often indicates an internal injury. 

This is another reason we so desperately need the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Help, to bring healing into our souls so we can keep a healthy balance in our lives. Be sure to read my book Heavenly Help to have a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Get Lost

Yesterday, I was in a prayer meeting and this lady prayed, “Father, please help us not to get lost in the words of the enemy.” This prayer totally arrested my attention & echoed in my thoughts for the rest of the day. 
How many times have I gotten lost in the accusing, degrading, deceptive & condemning words of the enemy? Even worse, how many times have I let the enemy influence a conversation with someone when I’ve been snarky, judgmental, sarcastic & condescending?  

Talk about a wake up call!!!

Let’s be certain that our thoughts stay centered on Jesus & that we allow the Holy Spirit to pour God’s love into our hearts. Making these choices will help us not to get so lost in the words of the enemy of our soul! 

bright thinking!

Have you been through difficult seasons when your thoughts turn dark?  Lately, it seems like this has been my lot.  It’s certainly not as bad as Job in the Bible, but it’s not a smoothy groovy season for me at this time.  A few of the challenges that have popped up lately include:  a car meltdown, lost my credit card, my husband had a stroke, one of my kids had a crisis at school, some friend challenges and discouraging news from work.

As I’ve been navigating these difficulties, the Holy Spirit spoke to me this morning about how my thoughts were getting dark.  It’s like I’ve started to see things in a warped way and I find myself thinking negatively and with grim expectations.  This is one of the reasons I so deeply love the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also calls the Spirit of Truth.  In my prayer time today, the Holy Spirit reminded me about Phil 4:8 where Paul tells us to dwell on / think about what is:  true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.

So with the help of the Holy Spirit, I’m re-directing my thoughts away from the dark stuff & onto things that are THRPLGR:  true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good repute!  Anyone care to join me???

Managing Crisis

This weekend, my husband had a medical emergency that was very disturbing. Long story short, he’s ok. When I get some distance from the experience, I’ll likely do a blog on this & give me more details. 
In the meantime, here are some things I’ve learned from this emergency:

  • Do what’s immediately required – stay focused & don’t panic
  • Keep praying – this helped me keep my emotions from getting the best of me
  • Let people help – I’m likely the strange ranger on this one, but my hyper-independence was a liability more than an asset in this experience
  • Keep the Bible in your brain – this helped me keep my feet on the ground & not entirely lose it. 

Thanks to the great friends around us for all their support, prayers & encouragement!