I grew up eating crawdads / crawfish & I really enjoyed them! There was a canal behind my house where my dad & used a big net to scoop up heaps of crawfish, cart them home & cook them up. Boy were they tasty!
But here’s the rub: crawdads are bottom feeders, so they eat the garbage at the bottom of lakes & canals, making them inherently unhealthy.
Sometimes what is tasty to our flesh is unhealthy to our spirit & we have to make wise choices about what we allow to come into our hearts & minds. Let’s be determined to set our minds above & not allow our minds to become bottom feeding trash consumers 🙂
Jesus told a parable about a rich dude who made an elaborate feast, with abundant food. The dude went to extravagant lengths to prepare, complete with invitations, massive amounts of food & loads of servants to facilitate this magnificent party. When the servants went out to let the invitees know that the party was ready for them to attend, none of the invited peeps showed up. This was very rude because the dude hosting the party had killed several animals to abundantly provide food for his party. Now, he’s stuck with all these provisions & no one to eat them. Rather than letting everything go to waste, the party host sent out his servants to invite anyone & everyone to come to his party.
Here are some important take aways for us from this parable:
God has made an extravagant feast for everyone – there’s more than enough!
As God’s servants, let’s keep inviting people to experience God’s lavish love for them
There’s room at the table for you, your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, . . . .
“Come & Dine!”, the Master calls!
We all find ourselves in busy seasons, when we have loads of things to do, all of them screaming to be accomplished YESTERDAY!!!!
I’m in one of those seasons this week & I heard a very sweet whisper in my prayer time this morning: “Don’t forget to pray!” This was very encouraging to me because when I get in these massively busy seasons, I tend to put my head down & close my focus to everything except getting stuff done. This sweet whisper was more than a little wonderful reminder to ask for divine Help & to remember that the Holy Spirit is with me all the time as my Helper.
Don’t forget to pray 🙂
I’m not alone with feeling that I’m not enough. You & I both have our weak spots for feeling or thinking that we’re inadequate, be that smart enough, cool enough, pretty enough, social enough, rich enough, humble enough, strong enough, etc.
It’s very liberating to embrace the truth that we are NEVER enough, by ourselves. I’ve been in innumerable situations where it was more than obvious that I wasn’t adequate, not enough & in way over my head. In these occasions, it always helps me to remember that I have continuous access to more than abundant & adequate supply – the Holy Spirit, my Heavenly Help!
If you haven’t read my book, Heavenly Help, grab a copy so you can see how the Holy Spirit is more than enough in you for any situation you face!
What areas in your life are needy? It seems that often the quick answer is “money.” But if we pause for a second, our answer might be more along the line of more time, wisdom, discipline, strength, better relationships, genuine love, courage, patience, etc.
This morning I read how Jesus multiplied the fish & bread to meet the hunger needs of thousands of people. His disciples came to Him with the need – too many people & a paltry amount of provision. To this problem, Jesus asked them what they had. After identifying what was there, Jesus blessed the provision rather than cursed the need or lack.
Let’s be sure that we’re grateful for what we have, even if it seems like it’s not enough. Then let’s utilize what we have with thanksgiving & our eyes on Jesus to keep providing & multiplying!
I tend to run in the red zone. This means that I try to squeeze the most out of my time, energy, money, talents & attention. Generally, I’ve thought this has been a good way to do life. If a person wants to achieve a lot, suck out the marrow of life & choke on the bone, maybe even burn out, then FULL CHARGE ON!!!
But I’m beginning to see the importance of margin, or breathing room. Margin gives us space to think, recover, listen & be with the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, Adam’s first day of existence was God’s day of rest. Perhaps it’s in the margins & rest where we can experience the deepest intimacy & fellowship with the Holy Spirit, just maybe 🙂
This is a picture I took while flying home yesterday & it doesn’t do justice to the splendor & majesty I saw from the plane. What interests me today as I look back over these pictures is that the clouds seemed to define the top of the picture even though I know that these clouds aren’t really any kind of a limit.
I think we often do the same thing in our daily living. We see stuff that seems to be limiting or constricting factors. But beyond our perception can be glory, adventure, beauty & mind blowing experiences. Let’s remember that the sky is the limit!!
Many people are removing gluten from their eating for allergy & health reasons so it’s increasingly common to hear from people that they’ve eliminated bread from their diet.
There’s one bread, however, that we would be wise to increase for our daily consumption – the Bread of Life, who is Jesus!
Lately, I’ve been trying my hand at baking bread with mixed results. But there are four basic steps to letting Jesus, the Bread of life, participate in our daily living:
Assemble ingredients – be sure to always have time in the Bible & prayer everyday
Mix ingredients – keeping prayer & the Bible in isolated compartments will never be as effective as letting them mix throughout our days, activities, relationships, conversations & responsibilities
Proof – time for the rise is essential for bread to have a palatable texture & taste; let’s be careful not to get impatient during the process or proofing
Bake – heat is necessary for the bread to be portable, practical & edible; Jesus helps us through all of life’s hotspots!
Friday, I had a glorious day of snowboarding!! The sun was out, snow was good, runs were empty & there was no wind. Needless to say, I could’ve ridden for endless hours & enjoyed a unique bliss that’s not easily acquired. But alas, I stopped when I could’ve gone for heaps more.
I think it’s very human to want more – more dessert, more sleep, more success, more adrenaline, more chocolate, more vacation, etc. But alas, there’s such a thing as overdose & it’s not just for drugs. We would be wise to quit while we still want more. This principle is a healthy guideline across the entirety of our lives with one exception: Jesus.
We are designed to crave our Creator & our lives will remain unsatisfied until we appreciate that ultimately, we’re only fulfilled through a rich, vibrant & continuous relationship with Jesus!
I really like listening to symphonies and experiencing the music from excellent orchestras. I think I acquired this appreciation from various field trips to the orchestra when I was in elementary school and maybe from a few of those heinous piano lessons in my childhood, maybe. I get extremely excited when I start to hear an orchestra tune for the performance – like a giddy anticipation of the ensuing excitement that is about to unfold. Here’s a brief link to an orchestra tuning & I’d encourage you to focus on the one instrument to which all the others are attempting to match.
I bring up this example today because many of us have pieces & parts to our lives that can feel disjointed & unconnected. Let me encourage you today, to tune your attention to the Holy Spirit to give cohesion, direction and order to what can seem random & chaotic in your life. Sometimes we need to remove some clutter that creates cacophony & disorder. Sometimes, we may need to slow down to hear the Holy Spirit better. And sometimes we may need to have some internal fine-tuning so that our lives express the love of God poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit – Romans 5:5 🙂
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 🙂
At some point, all of us have played Follow the Leader or Simon Says, most likely when we were kids. The first few times, it took me some practice to get the hang of it, but rather quickly, I wanted to be the leader so I could make others do what I said. That felt really powerful ,)
I remember one of my teachers telling me, “Sarah, if you’re going to be a good leader, you have to learn to follow well.” Of course, this wasn’t the advice I was eager to hear, even though it felt right in my heart and I still hear these words bounce around in my heart & thoughts to this day.
I’ve been thinking of these words about following as they relate to Jesus following the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1-2. These verses describe how Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit around in the wilderness for 40 days as He fasted & He was tempted by the devil. When I’ve thought of these verses, they don’t feel particularly alluring nor enticing. I’d prefer to not wander around in a desolate wilderness and fast for 40 days, nor be tested by the devil. Yet that’s exactly what happened as Jesus followed the Holy Spirit. Later in Luke 4, we read about Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit, speaking gracious & powerful words and we see Jesus start to walk in the fullness of His earthly ministry. But all of that came after His committment to follow the Holy Spirit.
When we follow our flesh, it can briefly make us feel good. But following the Holy Spirit has far better & longer lasting results than any flesh adventure we could choose. Let’s be committed every day to following the Holy Spirit.
I’m a reader & I read a wide array of books on a plethora of topics. So here’s a good one that’s uber practical for your body, soul & spirit: 30 Day Faith Detox.
I’m recommending this book because there’s not a single reader of this blog who doesn’t need some help in all three of these areas. I’m also recommending this book because it’s practical, holistic, easy to read & implement. So grab a copy today!
Do you need some big changes in your life? Do you know anyone who needs some big changes? This quick blog could be super helpful!
Sometimes, it’s the “small” things that create big changes. For example, I read this morning in Acts 13 about how there was a prayer meeting where the Holy Spirit prompted the participants to lay hands on 2 guys & send them out. The 2 guys were Paul & Barnabas & this prayer meeting was the beginning of their missions ministry. Out of this prayer meeting, thousands of people were reached for Jesus, two continents heard the Gospel & numerous churches were planted. I’d say that from this prayer meeting, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit monumental changes were launched.
Never belittle the power of prayer nor the leading of the Holy Spirit to affect big changes in your life!
To help you know the Holy Spirit better, grab a copy of my book Heavenly Help!
I totally love this picture. I love looking at everyone’s reactions and of course, I most love seeing this dad shoot his arm out to protect his son from the flying bat about to smash into his son’s head. Of course the photographer who captured this did an amazing job, but the real hero in the picture is the kid’s dad. As I read the back story on this picture, I learned that the kid had his head down & was texting his mom when the baseball player accidently lost his grip on the bat & let it fly out of his hands. While everyone else ducked away, the kid’s dad instinctually protected his son.
This picture makes me think about Good Friday, which is just around the corner. Good Friday is when God the Father sent His only begotten Son to take on the punishment and death that was due to each of us because of the sinful nature passed along to us from Adam’s disobedience to us from Eden. Jesus stepped into our place, received our punishment and redeemed us so we can live a resurrected life with Him. And this resurrected life happens in us because of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Help!
Have you ever waited to acquire something you wanted? It seems to me that waiting & wanting go together like peas & carrots, almost complementary. Things that I’ve waited for & wanted include: a new coat, a camera lense, opening nightcare in India, surgery on my shoulder & lots of other stuff.
Recently, I read about sin waiting for & wanting Cain in Genesis 4, related to the tension between Abel & Cain about their respective sacrifices. God confronted Cain in verse 7 and told him, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Sin was waiting for & wanting Cain but God told him that he needed to master sin & not be mastered by sin.
I honestly think that sin also waits for & wants us as well. Sin wants to control us, creating chaos & destruction in our lives if we cave in to it’s desires. Cain surrendered to sin and lived a vagrant and tormented life. Let’s learn from Cain’s downfall & master sin rather than let sin master us. Indeed, Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” Just because sin is waiting for & wanting you doesn’t mean that you have to be it’s victim. Let the Holy Spirit strengthen you on the inside to overcome the seductions of sin!
When I come home from an Int’l trip, I’m often hungry for a hamburger or a salad – familiar food that are in my home culture. This isn’t to say that I don’t like ethnic food. I TOTALLY love to try new foods in various cultures. Some of the foods I’ve tried were not that tasty when I first tried them, but the more I ate them, the more I liked these different foods.
Sometimes I think spiritual food can be similar. I find that there are some spiritual foods that are tasty & appealing. For example, we like where the Bible says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us in Phil 4:13. But some verses aren’t quite as appealing. For example, James 1:4 says that we should let endurance have its perfect work so that we can be perfect & complete, not lacking anything.
Let’s be certain that we let the Holy Spirit cultivate our appetites so that we eat spiritual food that helps us grow & become mature followers of Jesus 🙂
I’ve been saving this picture because it’s one of my favorites! Whenever I see this picture, I chuckle because it’s funny to me that Jesus would take over the steering wheel & start driving – which in reality would be the best case scenario for me & everyone in my life.
It’s in my best interest for Jesus to have control of my life, full stop.
What this looks like practically is:
Asking for God’s direction / input when I’m making decisions
Letting God control the pace of my life – not being driven to achieve & not stalling to be obedient
Being intentional throughout each day to walk in cadence with the Holy Spirit so I don’t give into fleshy challenges
Currently in Denver we are having a blizzard & some people have lost power in their house. Thankfully, Jesus always has power available to us!
There are always times & seasons in our lives where we are weak, frail, tired, frazzled & infirm. These times & areas aren’t really shocking because these things go with being human. When we integrate Jesus into our daily living, we integrate supernatural power, strength & help!
Jesus gives us power to go through challenges & live in victory & not weakness or frailty!
Sometimes people treat “alone” like a disease that needs a vaccination or a dysfunction that requires a remedy. We tend to fill our minds with music, social media, events, appointments, text messages, books, entertainment and anything we can conveniently grasp to immunize us from this “scary” state of being alone and quiet. It’s a conundrum to me that we’ll tolerate zombies, vampires, ghosts & spooky Halloween stuff with a lite comic wink but what shivers our spine & tweaks our nerves is solitude & the thought of being alone.
Yet being alone is an important ingredient for being human. Consider some of the incredible outcomes Jesus experienced from being alone:
Jesus’ testing in Matthew 4 was initiated by the Holy Spirit leading Him into the wilderness – He came out of that experience with anointing & power.
Jesus went up on a mountain by Himself to pray through the night – when He came down, He chose His 12 disciples who perpetuated Jesus’ ministry.
Gethsemane was an alone time for Jesus – He surrendered His will so that we could live in reconciliation with God
I get that we aren’t Jesus, but maybe some of the things we most desperately need come from what we most ardently avoid 🙂