This is a picture of South Park in Colorado. My son & I are grabbing a day over Christmas break to get some skiing / snowboarding & today I decided to try a new route to get up to the mountains & man was it GORGEOUS!! The views on the drive were entirely enchanting, serene & ethereal – almost like driving in a picture!
I’m really glad that I tried this new route even though there were some icy patches & a few parts were a little touch & go.
Seems like this could be a good mindset for starting out 2017! Let’s be determined to try some new stuff, even if some parts might be a little tricky to navigate. I find that often the rewards of new things can be better than the risks! Let’s GO!!
Another Christmas has concluded & we will soon close the chapter on 2016. Sometimes it’s difficult to say goodbye & sometimes we say with great enthusiasm, “Good riddance!”
No matter what your perspective is on the goodbyes for this year & season, let’s keep in mind that Jesus is always with us, so we never have to say goodbye to Jesus! But maybe we should say goodbye to a few things for 2017:
Would Jesus have you say goodbye to some habits that encumber your walk with Him?
Would Jesus have us say goodbye to the not so deep walk we had with Him in 2016 to grow deeper & closer with Him in 2017?
Would Jesus have us say goodbye to some disorderly priorities that perpetuate unhealthy mindsets & dysfunctional behaviors?
Let’s remember that Jesus is God’s greatest present to us & that He’s always present with us! With the Holy Spirit’s help, let’s determine to be present with Jesus in 2017 more than we were this year!
I was climbing up a ladder at 2am today, attempting to replace the dying battery on the blasted chirping smoke alarm. Needless to say, this wasn’t my ideal middle of the night wake up experience & for that matter, I don’t think there’s any ideal middle of the night wake up experience!
So how do I relate this to Jesus?
Jesus keeps us safe in unexpected situations – I don’t normally plan for ladder climbing & balance at 2am
Jesus gives us wisdom when we can’t figure out what to do – groggy thinking at 2am
Jesus restores us when we feel depleted – getting back to sleep wasn’t impossible
Because Jesus was a Jew when He lived on earth, I firmly believe that bacon wasn’t in His eating repertoire. However, bacon seems to be more than a little popular for the 21st century palate. Our appetites & eating habits have dramatically changed, some for the good & some not so much.
Which brings me to the question related to our appetites. What tastes good & what do you like to eat? Some of the things we like to eat aren’t good for our bodies just as much as some of the desires that we have aren’t good for our souls.
Let’s be sure to cultivate not only healthy appetites for our bodies but let’s also feed our souls sturdy, life-giving sustenance found through daily Bible & prayer time! Since we’re on the cusp of turning the calendar, let’s not wait for a New Year’s resolution to foster these appetites. Start now & you’ll likely keep a better routine going into the New Year than depending on a date change to facilitate a change in routines.
Some helpful tips could include:
set your alarm & get up rather than snooze it endlessly;
find a friend that can encourage & partner with some accountability;
keep track of the positives from staying disciplined;
“I know I’m supposed to be the King.” I think David thought this innumerable times in the 10+ years he ran from Saul. He was anointed by Samuel to be king & even Saul’s son Jonathan told David that he would be king. But the years kept passing & David kept running, just to stay alive. At one point, it looks like David gives up on the king thing when he moves to Philistine territory & begins serving that king. And it gets worse when David & his men return to their town, Ziklag, having been rejected by the Philistine leaders, to find their town burned & everyone carried away. Even Davids men talked of killing him, at this point. But David encouraged himself in the Lord, 1 Sam 30:6.
Through a quick series of events after this extremely low point, David was firmly on the path to becoming the King of Judah & ultimately Israel.
Sometimes when we know something from God in our hearts:
We can get impatient to make it happen.
We can get frustrated with the delays.
We may even want to quit, move away & change our name, a little bit like David.
But let’s keep walking the path that God sets in front of us, in faithful obedience & yielding to the process that will transform us in the ways we desperately need but frequently fight.
This collage of pictures is from several weeks ago when my husband was in ICU recovering from a stroke. He’s fine now, thank ya Jesus! During those days, however, you can rest assured that I was seriously looking for Jesus & finding Him everywhere!
I found Jesus when He helped us by providing one of the best ICU nurses. Ever.
I found Jesus giving me deep peace & comfort when the neurologist was examining my husband & not finding any evidence of the stroke.
I found Jesus when I would randomly meander the hallways praying, asking for help & strength.
I found Jesus when my husband was released earlier than expected with no permanent damage.
We can find Jesus, even in the times that are filled with crisis & stress!!
Looking at this picture, you would likely tell me to fix it & turn it around since it looks like Jesus is upside down. However, sometimes I think the Holy Spirit wants to turn us up on end so we be right side up, based on the Holy Spirit’s perspective. Some areas where we might need some adjusting could include:
Money: getting is never as blessed as giving
Time: sometimes I need to remember that prayer can be the key for productive rather than staying busy
Mercy: being judgmental appealing to our flesh, mercy wins with Jesus!
Leadership: serving is the model Jesus gave us if we’re going to be the Jesus-kind of leader
“Well, that was different!” All of us have had those times when we thought something would be different than what actually happened. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised & sometimes we are bitterly disappointed. Thankfully, nothing catches the Holy Spirit by surprise & when I remember this, I’m always deeply encouraged in my soul. Furthermore, I’m increasingly convinced that the Holy Spirit uses all kinds of experiences, people & even uncertainties to help me walk more closely with Him.
So the key take away I’d suggest for today is that we stay in love with God & true to how God has designed us. When we do these things, no matter what happens God will work out things to be beneficial to us, based on Romans 8:28 🙂
Feel free to share this with anyone who could be going through some unexpected challenges!
When my kids were younger, we used to sing a song about the wheels on the bus going round & round, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish, . . . etc. you get the gist.
Let’s be certain that we allow Jesus to hold our daily lives together. Indeed, we would be wise to come to Jesus everyday for maintainable, schedule tuning, workload help & of course regular oil changes with the Holy Spirit!
I woke up this morning to -7degree temperature. Thankfully our heater works well but my body definitely felt the chill, which compelled me to keep my heart warm. Sometimes it’s easy in the hustle & bustle of this season to get cold hearted, detached & insensitive. Regardless of the external temperature or the demands that we have, let’s endeavor to remain warm hearted.
As for our brains, part of my Bible reading this morning was in Colossians 3:2 where Paul tells us to set our minds above. To me, this means that i keep my thoughts out of the low things & stuff that’s fleshy.
I want to actively chose to set my mind in things above & keep my heart warm regardless of what’s happening around me. Who’s on board with that plan??
One of my all time favorite platforms to recognize Jesus is in small groups, Bible studies & prayer groups. And it seems logical that this would be true based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20 when He says, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Some of the things I love about these settings are:
Robust conversations about Jesus from various points of view. Different perspectives help me see & experience Jesus in fresh & new ways.
Prayer support in the group.
Recognizing Jesus words, presence, power, wisdom & loads more, like when Jesus walked along the Emmaus’ road & talked with His followers even though they didn’t recognize Him in those moments.
Seeing the Fruits of the Spirit in first person experience because there’s always some kind of conflict or rub whenever you bring people together 🙂
Let’s be sure to keep some fellowship with other followers of Jesus as part of our essentials routines!
Every year, I make the Christmas season super fun by posting pictures & writing blogs about finding Jesus. I do this because I think it’s far too easy to lose track of why we celebrate Christmas with all of the festivities, hustle & bustle of the season. So I’m continuing my tradition this year & hopefully, these blogs will help you look for Jesus in places & times you’d not normally think of.
Let’s be sure to find Jesus everyday of this Christmas season no matter how busy we get or the responsibilities that we carry! Looking for Jesus in quotidian living!
I saw a mini-Jesus today & it was a nice reminder that Jesus isn’t limited to any size. Sometimes in the Christmas season we see Jesus as a baby in a manger & we can think that He’s small. On Good Friday, we see Jesus hanging on a cross & dying. Let’s remember that Jesus rose from the dead & His presence fills the earth, regardless of His humble birth.
Here are some possible applications for us today:
There’s no situation in our lives that Jesus cannot resolve
There’s no lack that Jesus cannot fill
There’s no death that Jesus cannot resurrect
Jesus comes in all sizes, so let’s not allow our expectations to limit His engagement throughout our lives!
Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, when humanity began a new trajectory with God’s love expressed to us through Jesus’ life. It always takes my breath away when I consider that God became flesh & started His journey like every single human, as a newborn baby. Furthermore, despite being the Son of God, Jesus’ first bed was an animal feeding trough & His mom was a teenage girl, unwed & common, except for her trust & faith in God.
I pray that your day is overflowing with God’s love & Jesus’ presence! Merry Christmas to you, a Savior is born to us today!
We are on the homestretch with this lovely Christmas season & this makes me happy, today. There have been years when I found myself wrapping packages at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, on the verge of an emotional meltdown, feeling overwhelmed with the work I still had to do and no time. Sometimes I can struggle with some procrastination challenges – hmmmmmm
Final countdown modes can help us be hyper-productive. But I think there’s better value in steady and consistent work than massive bursts of energy with stress and pressure.
Here are some things to think about for steady and consistent:
Let’s be consistent with love, particularly with the people who get on our nerves
Let’s be steady with healthy daily routines: eating, working out, drinking water, etc
Let’s stay consistent with growing and improving ourselves in wisdom
The most important thing for our consistency is maintaining our daily Bible & prayer time – nothing keeps us from drowning or being a victim to devotion than this discipline
There were a few years when my parents bought a fresh tree for Christmas. Unfortunately, we didn’t stick the stump in a bucket of water so it quickly became a fire hazard, a delight to my dad & me, since we were both pyromaniacs ,)
By the grace of God & only God, we never burned down our house, with a few close calls.
So keeping things fresh is important & here are some suggestions:
Keep your mistakes fresh & new – stale & repeat mistakes aren’t helpful
Forgiveness needs to stay fresh – crusty forgiveness usually becomes brittle & broken
Love Jesus with fresh ideas – routines can help us be consistent but fresh & present love keeps us intimate with Jesus & sometimes the best way to love Jesus is to love people well
Fresh thinking is helpful for resolving old problems – consider reading some books that you don’t normally read
Fun friends – meeting new people can be challenging & rewarding; consider some extra listening & open heart to make fresh connections with new friends 🙂
During Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’ birth & we think of Him as a baby born in a manger. I don’t often think of Jesus as a warrior during Christmas, but He is very much a warrior. Consider a few ways that Jesus fights:
Prince of Peace – in a season that can be full of anxiety & pressure, let’s be sure that we embrace Jesus as our Prince of Peace
Intercessor – Paul says that Jesus intercedes for us (Rom 8:34), standing in the gap & fighting on our behalf
Triumphant over death – Rom 6:5
Passes along His victory to us – 1Cor 15:57
Jesus was most certainly a baby in a manger, but He’s also our victorious Gladiator 🙂
You probably don’t think that Jesus would be behind a catcher’s mask – seems very random. However, there can be some fun parallels to think about as the Christmas season possibly heads into frenzy mode for some of us.
A catcher’s mask is protective gear that a baseball catcher wears so he can safely catch whatever a pitcher throws – very helpful with wild pitches to be sure.
No matter what we throw at Jesus, He doesn’t duck away in fear or shame
A catcher’s mask let’s the catcher keep focused on the ball without getting smashed in the face.
I’m grateful that Jesus stays focused on what’s important in my life & can handle all kinds of pitches & prayers that I throw out to Him
Something interesting to think about, a catcher tells the pitcher what to throw, based on the batter at the plate.
Let’s be sure to let Jesus guide our steps for each occasion & not just fall into mindless ruts & routines. A pitcher & catcher working in synch together can be an unbeatable combination.
When we have to pitch, let’s be sure that Jesus is our catcher & guides what we do: sinker, slider, fastball, curve & change up ,)
When my husband & I watch tv together, it’s an interesting adventure. If he drives, it seems that we wind up watching nothing to a conclusion. If I drive, we see too many commercials. Thankfully, we both enjoy watching sports & this helps us find some middle ground that we both enjoy 🙂
But before there were remote controls for changing the volume & channels on TV, we used to physically get up & turn the knob to adjust the volume or watch something different – a more tactile & active exercise than the modern remote control evolution.
Let’s be sure, however, that we give Jesus “remote control” in our lives. Indeed, let’s allow Jesus to work in our lives so that we watch & focus on the things that are most pleasing to Him. Let’s allow Jesus to drive ,)