My husband & I were talking this morning about some of the clutter in our house. I’m nowhere close to being a perfectionist since my childhood had the steady tension between my dad with his clutter & the purges my mom would occasionally conduct. So I grew up in a spectrum between clutter & tidy.
Now as an adult, for me the problem with clutter is that it seems to have a creeping nature & before I realize it, there are piles & stacks of clutter that can be easily overlooked.
Sometimes sin is like clutter. It can creep & sneak along the edges of our thoughts & desires leaving little splotches & specks, easy to overlook. But if we allow these specks & splotches of sin to accumulate, then soon our souls become cluttered with sin & we lose of focus on Jesus.
Let’s endeavor to regularly allow the Holy Spirit to work holiness into our souls so that the clutter of sin doesn’t contaminate our affections or attention 🙂
Hebrews 12:1b, “let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
My family made the Thanksgiving meal yesterday & it was a smashing success! I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to acknowledge years of practice that have finally culminated in success – YAHOOOO!! In any given year in the past, I was practicing on how to cook a turkey that wasn’t dry or under-done. I was also practicing a few other dishes to make them not only edible but also tasty! And this year, I’m celebrating success!!!
We all want to be successful, but we don’t often celebrate the practice required to be successful – so let’s take a moment to applaud attempts & failures more than victories 🙂
Here are some things that help us to be successful:
Teamwork: yesterday, my whole family pitched in to make various parts of the meal & no one was unraveled by too much work!
Practice: keep trying!!
Testing: the guests that came to our meal were the testers. It helps immensely to have objective input on our journey to success
There’s a popular tv show out called “The Voice”. The general idea is related to finding vocally talented peeps & putting them on tv to compete for the top prize. There are loads of phenomenal individuals who have amazing voices, but there’s only one Voice that needs our steady attention & the is the voice of our Good Shepherd, from John 10.
When we think about all the voices in our lives (appetites, worries, relationships, things we need to do, etc), we can get overwhelmed with this barrage of input. But alas, there is one Voice who is worthy of our consistent attention. There is one Voice who invites us to experience genuine Love. There is one Voice who leads us along paths of peace & divine productivity & that is the Voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Let’s be sure that the volume is appropriately adjusted for the various voices in our lives so that Jesus’ Voice gets our best attention & obedience!
This weekend, we changed the furnace & vacuum filters. It’s good to change the filters from time to time & the vacuum filter was long overdue – no wonder the carpet has been messy!
Let’s think about this in relation as well to our mental filters. Sometimes we see things through filters that can be dirty, tainted, distorted & ineffective. Consequently, our perspective is messed up & we can make dysfunctional decisions & carry on with messed up conversations / mindsets
Let’s be sure that we follow the Holy Spirit in truth. Maybe it’s time to let the Holy Spirit challenge your mental filters so that life works better & isn’t quite so messy!
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 🙂
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
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!
I like to go fast. In our family, I’m the one who gets speeding tickets, I’m the one who snowboards fast & I tend to make going fast a high priority. While it’s fun to go fast, it also causes problems. For example, there are times when I try to speed through writing a blog & then make grammar & content mistakes :/
There are times when I find myself making speed a higher priority than quality or being present & engaging. That’s a recipe for train wrecks & dysfunctions.
There are times when slowing down & being present have better benefits than going fast or accomplishing stuff. Like with Mary & Martha in Luke 10, Jesus let Martha know that it was better to listen & be still with Him rather than be busy around Him.
So today, I’m telling myself to slow down & be still with Jesus 🙂
I’m totally PUMPED & God is doing spectacular stuff! I’m celebrating today because I’m part of a magnificent team with Saving Moses! Some of my team is in Brazil, exploring some cool opportunities for us there & some of my team is in Cambodia, introducing our nightcare work to some really fun peeps. The reason I’m celebrating today is because I’m in Denver with my family & not flying everywhere on the planet – a great reason to celebrate!!!!
Here are some things to think about in your life, possibly worth celebrating:
Teamwork: God puts us on fantastic teams – we never accomplish our divine mandate without teamwork!
Growing – in the past, I’d be all about my independence & doing Saving Moses alone; change is good for me & others 🙂
Capacity – when I’m obedient to God, my capacity to be effective grows
Have you had a busy week? Did you get a lot done this week? Are you frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you think you need to?
Take a deep breath with me for a moment.
There’s a balance that we struggle to maintain: the balance between human being & human doing. With this thinking, our culture makes that balance very tricky. Heaps of stuff all around us tell us to get busy, be productive, don’t be lazy, achievements equal importance & significance is through activity. While there’s some truth is these ideas, the operative word is SOME.
Let’s not forget that God’s first day with Adam was God’s day of rest, affirming the truth that we are foremost human beings, lovingly affirmed by our Creator.
“What are you doing?”
“Driving, driving & then I’ll do some driving. This is my life”
This was a recent conversation with a friend since My kids have started school. Seems like I’ve transitioned into transportation service, possibly considering an uber career – jk ,)
But in all seriousness, I found myself being cranky about all of this running around. Now I’m thankful for an intervention: divine perspective. And here are the things I’ve he found helpful in this new season of life:
It could be worse because sooner than I want, I’ll have 3teenage drivers
Driving affords me the opportunity to listen to my kids & that is altogether golden
I get some high value God time as I drive
Education is a gift so treat it as valuable rather than an imposition ,)
My stellar husband cleaned our home office, which had turned into the dumping zone for hiding clutter when guests would come over. This space in our home is also where our kids practice their instruments & we keep the majority of the books I use from time to time. So be clear that entering this room was a hazardous adventure, using politically correct terminology ,)
My husbands way of organizing is to pull EVERYTHING out & then sort through stuff – this can be kind of messy. My way of organizing is to take small parts & deal with them where they are, putting them where they belong a little bit at a time. So over this past weekend, the tripping hazards were plenteous.
Here’s my takeaway lesson: different isn’t always better or worse, it’s just different. When I think about the differences between Joshua & Moses in the Bible, neither was a better or more effective person, they just had different ways of doing things , largely because they had different divine assignments. Let’s be careful not to evaluate people based on our filter, call or methodology ,)
Different isn’t better or worse, necessarily. It’s often just different 🙂
This morning I read about how Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem & totally flipped everything upside down. He upended the money changers tables & chairs, he compromised the pigeon sales for sacrifices, He made a whip & angrily confronted the religious leaders & all the while, little kids ran around the temple yelling out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” On top of all this chaos, that enraged the temple leaders, Jesus had the audacity to heal the blind & lame in the temple. As I read these verses in Matt 21 this morning, I began to picture the pandemonium that Jesus made & how He “broke” everything that the religious leaders had organized to “facilitate worship & connecting with God”. Jesus’ actions condemned their efforts & He broke what was already dysfunctional.
Sometimes in our lives, we’ve come to accept as normal that which is broken & dysfunctional. Let’s be open to Jesus breaking what is already broken to help us live in greater health & deeper intimacy with Him. Broken needs fixing 🙂
Honest truth, I’ll never be Martha Stewart, no matter how hard I try or how much I pretend (nor do I want to be Martha, but that’s for another blog). But here’s something to think about: sometimes pretending can be a helpful way to start making changes that we want. For example, if I wanted to be more patient, it would help me to think about how that might look in my life. “Sarah, if you pretended that you were more patient with Benji (my 11year old son), you would smile rather than snap when he blurts out something without thinking.” Then I can choose to start acting on that “pretend scenario” to make it more real & concrete.
Or if I wanted to be more physically fit, it would look like I exercised with weekly regularity (rather than yearly) & my eating choices would have fewer “fake” foods. So yesterday, I went jogging outside for the first time in forever.
Consider that our ability to pretend can be a God-given gift to help us along the path of personal progress 🙂
I had a BLAST!! I was recently on Joni Lamb’s tv interview program, Table Talk & had an awesome time with ladies who are every bit as wonderful on as well as off camera. I love these women & was totally honored to engage in this conversation – I know you’ll love it as well! 🙂
Practice is an interesting word: it’s what we do to learn a new skill, it’s how we develop success, it’s how we make mistakes without quitting and practice has lots more benefits! But sometimes I struggle to practice trusting God. I struggle for lots of reasons:
hurts from the past,
my own weaknesses,
I can’t see the future,
I don’t trust people
So for me, trusting God requires practice. In relation to practice, these are a few helpful tips:
form: wrong form can create all kind of dysfunctions; the form of trusting God is actively deciding to lean on nothing or no one more than we lean on God (Prov 3:5-6)
consistency: I find that choosing to trust God is a daily & sometimes hourly decision; when I switch my trust off of God & onto something or someone else, then I’ve stopped practicing
character: it seems like we often trust based on outcomes & because God is sovereign, we don’t always get what we want & so it follows that we can have some resulting challenges to trust God; rather than trusting God based on the outcomes & results which can change in a blink, let’s decide to practice trusting God based on God’s character – Who God is (kind, just, compassionate, loving, righteous, holy, . . . . );
The Bible is such an essential ingredient in trusting God because the Bible frames for us God’s character and helps us recognize God’s presence & fingerprints in our daily living – thereby helping us to practice trusting God 🙂
What suggestions would you offer to help us practice trusting God?
In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”.
How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?
Some people seem really well put together – hair, makeup, matching clothes, nails, etc. Then there are other people who don’t seem well put together. They’re disheveled, messy hair, chipped nails & forget any makeup.
Having grown up as a pastors kid & being around people ALOT, I’ve learned that people aren’t always as they appear. Sometimes those who appear disheveled are better put together in their hearts than those who look the part on the outside & vice versa as well.
Here’s the hope for all of us, dishelved or otherwise: Col 1:17 says that Jesus holds all things together. I find this verse to be super encouraging because there are times & seasons when everything can seem to be falling apart, including me. Let’s never forget that Jesus is our super glue 🙂
The story of Lazarus has a lot to do with resurrection. Lazarus was a really sick dude (infirm as opposed to cool) who had an inside track with Jesus. Despite being a person whom Jesus loved, Lazarus died largely because Jesus procrastinated, if that’s ever really possible in a divine context. So when Jesus finally showed up, Lazarus was already dead for 4days & his body was very ripe – ripe for resurrection rather than decay.
Long story short, Jesus called Lazarus back to life & told them to remove the grave clothes that bound Lazarus’ hands & feet & covered his face.
I believe that Jesus has resurrection for each of us, but sometimes we let our hands, feet & face stay bound in the clothing of death. Let Jesus set free:
*your hands free to do His work
*your feet with walk in His steps
*your face so you can reflect Jesus’ life in our decaying world, desperate for resurrection
Let’s be alive in this day with Jesus’ presence wherever we go & in whatever we do!
When Jesus rose from the dead, there were all kinds of speculations as to what happened to Him. Indeed, the first person to see Him after His resurrection thought He was a common gardener. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, initially they thought He was a scary ghost. On the road to Emmaus, some of His followers thought He was a fellow traveler. It seems to me that we often try to fit Jesus into our known paradigms rather than change our thinking to fit Who Jesus is.
When I think about Who Jesus is & what He did, I’m reminded that He defied the religious conventions of His day:
He purposely healed on the Sabbath in front of the religious leaders, creating havoc & chaos in their doctrinal dogma
He upended the daily temple traffic, displaying anger & hostility at the distorted expression worship had become
He challenged Nicodemus’ thinking about God’s kingdom and sprung on him the crazy idea about being born again
He condemned the religious to forgive the broken and defeated: the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus by the religious leaders whom He forgave
Let’s be careful that our ideas of Jesus conform to the Gospels and not merely man’s religious dogma 🙂