Why is March Important?

Lots of great things happen in March:  Spring Break, NCAA basketball tournament, my brother’s birthday, Spring Equinox & lots more!  So here’s something super fun for everyone who has a birthday in March!  Please check out the link here to see how your birthday could give genuine love & even life without making a giant dent in your time or budget:  heaps of fun!

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Hot Topic:  Snow-zilla, Super Bowl & Zika

We live in interesting times with the recent monster snow storm on the East Coast & with the Denver Broncos going to the Super Bowl (I live in Denver so for us Colorado folks, that’s a big deal). Obviously, these things are newsworthy. 
But here’s something to watch & pray about that’s really important: medical professionals have began to spread an alert about a new disease, Zika. This disease affects the brain development of infants & is a very big concern. In my work with Saving Moses, we are always alert to the most urgent needs of babies & toddlers where the care is least available. Let’s be sure to pray for this important challenge, for God’s intervention & wisdom for these innocent babies!

Steep & Deep

  

Sometimes life feels steep & deep. When I snowboard sometimes I feel like this – the run is too steep & the snow is too deep so I get intimidated & I want to change my mind. But more often than not, I’m already committed & I have to make the best way I can. And truth be known, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

This is also true for me with God. I want my relationship to be supremely deep & steep:

  • Deep in that I want to know God’s presence in depths & contexts that exceed any human relationship
  • Steep in the sense of vertical awareness – God’s presence spanning any level of my thinking & attention. 

Who’s with me in the adventure of having a deep & steep relationship with God? Let’s commit such that there’s no turning back!!!

Being Hungry

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 🙂

Remote Control

  
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 ,)

hot topic: loving Muslims

If you’ve kept up on the news, you’re probably aware of the ISIS attacks in Paris over the weekend, leaving almost 130 dead, along with massive numbers injured, a city badly shaken & many of us outraged.  Truthfully, I find myself very conflicted with topic.  Not only have there been attacks in Paris, but recently, a Russian plane crashed in Egypt from a terrorist attack & there’s also been an attack in Beirut leaving 43 dead & 239 injured.  To make these atrocities even more barbaric, the ISIS propaganda machinery applauds these attacks and wants a bloodbath across the world, taking aim & great pleasure in particular against “Christian” nations.

My initial reaction to this crazy is to support equal if not escalated retribution & I can make a really reasonable case to neutralize this kind of crazy, with whatever means necessary.  And revenge, according to Alfred Hitchcock, is sweet and not fattening.  But revenge is not the path of following Jesus.  Indeed, Jesus told us to turn the other cheek to our enemies, to repay evil with good and to bless when we receive cursing.  Revenge is the level playing field, but as a follower of Jesus, we get to walk in a higher plane and make choices that are grounded in genuine love.  Let’s pray for, bless and love well, with the help of the Holy Spirit 🙂

pre-prayer

Today is an important day for Saving Moses, as we are praying, planning & strategizing for what God wants to do with Saving Moses in 2016. Days like this are important & they are have very massive impact for what we do in 2016, as well as how we do those significant goals.

We have this annual meeting at my house, so there are things that I do to prepare: clean the house, get coffee / tea ready, my husband made fresh biscuits this morning for everyone, I’ve made some good plans for lunch & some other things. Suffice it to say that I’ve prepared for this meeting with logistical foresight, mostly. But the most important thing I can do for this meeting is pre-prayer.

Let’s always remember that prayer is foundation for all of our preparation, so let’s always pre-prayer for each day J

honoring Veterans

220px-Joshua-chamberlain I recently read a story about Joshua Chamberlain, a commander of 80 Union soldiers who were the defining force that captured 4,000 Confederate troops at the Civil War battle in Gettysburg.  Despite being outmanned, out gunned and out of time, Chamberlain’s troops were victorious, against all odds.  When Chamberlain was later interviewed about how could continue to face such impossibility and find the wherewithal to continue fighting.  He replied,

“I had deep within me the inability to do nothing.”

When I read this story, I was deeply inspired not to let external opposition & hardship overcome the guts inside of me.  Many of the Veterans that live among us today & have valiantly sacrificed their lives for our freedom found within themselves the same as Joshua Chamberlain, the inability to do nothing.

Let’s be as inspired to make a difference in our world!

Celebrating Ordinary

   
 
I’m on the long journey home today, flying from Singapore & landing a mere 5hours after the departure of my first flight (it’s the time change thing that turns today into a 37hour day). I have seriously enjoyed my time in Singapore, making new friends, ministering in new churches, exploring & learning – all things I enjoy. 
But I have an ache in my heart for home, what’s familiar & ordinary. I’m looking forward to opening my refrigerator to make a grocery list for the week. I want to be with my church friends on Wed night, worshipping with them & nestling into God’s Word together. I’m eager to be with my family, hold hands, make goofy faces & hear about their weekend. I’m looking forward to finding my car in the airport parking lot & hoping the alarm doesn’t inadvertently go off when I open the door. And a hamburger with double pickles, no onions would be nice as well ,)

Jesus, the Son of God, came into our ordinary living, did the skin thing with us & didn’t just live for the next surge, thrill or rush. Seems like Jesus probably liked the ordinary in human living & not just the exciting 🙂

Hot Topic: Ala Carte

“Extra pickles & no onions” – my burger, my way ala Burger King’s mantra: have it your way. So much of our daily living is structured around being a satisfied customer. This is true to the point that we can almost be conditioned to believe that we get to have everything our own way, including our spirituality. 
But alas, such a perspective in relation to following Jesus is inherently dysfunctional. Jesus said that whoever would follow Him must lay down their life & take up their cross. While there is tremendous satisfaction in following Jesus, walking with Jesus is also the path of total sacrifice. Maybe we can start our relationship with Jesus in ala carte mode, getting to pick & choose what we like, but becoming increasingly mature in Jesus is more about being consumed than being a consumer 🙂  

#selah

Puke Bags

On my flight from Taiwan yesterday, my seat mate who didn’t speak any English, started puking after we landed in Los Angeles. She filled up her first bag, pronto & I quietly slipped her my bag, trying not to squirm out of my skin. Truth be known, I was super sympathetic because of an AWFUL experience I had earlier this year on a flight out of Africa. 
It seems to me that it’s much easier to be sympathetic when we’ve walked a similar road. I could’ve easily chosen to be repelled & revolted by this lady’s condition or I could choose to do my best to help her. 

What I thoroughly love about Jesus is that He chose to come into the human experience & walk among us, passing out puke bags & more importantly healing our broken condition. Let’s actively choose to be compassionate & helpful rather than revolted & repelled with the people around us 🙂

secrets for making progress

I like progress, improvement and growing.  I like being better today than I was a few months ago – and this is in every area of my life:  physical health, intimacy with God, quality relationships, effectiveness with Saving Moses and LOTS more!  I don’t like to be stagnant or stationary and I totaly LOATHE going backwards.  So here are a few things I’m learning of late about progress:

  • sometimes progress is incremental and gradual rather than gigantic and massive
  • progress can happen in different contexts:  doing PT with a recent shoulder surgery, I’m learning that progress happens in several ways (getting stronger, more flexible, getter ability to use, etc)
  • progress requires committment to change – if you don’t want to change, don’t expect to make progress
  • celebrate progress no matter the size or context:  acknowledging progress breeds more progress
  • sometimes what seems like a step backwards is actually progress moving forward – don’t get discouraged
  • encourage others who are trying to get better
  • keep going:  sometimes progress seems to be stagnant, but often these seasons of pause are nothing more than plateau set ups for greater progress if you’ll just keep going
  • progress requires truth;  deception is the enemy of genuine growth & development 🙂

A Zombie or Lazarus?

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!

A really cool miracle!

I’ve just been in Cambodia with Saving Moses & heard this extremely powerful testimony that will be super encouraging. A mom who was coming out of the prostitution industry had contracted gonerea (or however you spell it) & became pregnant. Instead of delivering her baby by c-section to protect him from the gonerea, she delivered him normally. From the birthing process, he also caught the disease in his eyes, for which there’s no cure in Cambodia. The prognosis for this baby boy was that he would be blind & the disease would likely spread to his brain with severe consequences. My friend went to pray healing for this little boy & over the course of time, he is totally healed, can see normally & is developing at a normal & healthy rate without any health concerns – how cool is that?!?!!!
I love that God is our healer, including healing for the babies of prostitutes. No one is too small, insignificant nor trivial for God to touch, heal & transform 🙂

Blessed are the flexible

Ok I’m totally adapting from Jesus’ beatitudes so don’t think I’ve suddenly become a heretic – I just think there’s a boatload of value in staying flexible. I think it’s important to be flexi in lots of ways: time, our talents & how we use them, relationships, various foods & even how we use our money. Being flexible is easier in life than rigidity & the unavoidable breaking that goes with being inflexible.
Some things, however, aren’t up for the agility treatment, things like Jesus staying number 1, loving well, forgiving proficiently & keeping a generous heart – all of these are deep pier non/negotiables
So how to stay flexi? Here are a few ideas:
*be up to try new things (foods, experiences, meeting new people, reading different books, etc) without a negative predisposition
*think of mistakes & failures as practice rather than options to quit
*consider some ways that you could do things a little different than what’s common or normal (fasting, come to Cambodia with Saving Moses this July, volunteer in a way that you can’t be repaid)
This picture is my breakfast 🙂

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un-grinch Christmas

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  The grinch was an evil villain and the antithesis of Christmas – no one wants to be a grinch, particularly at Christmas, bleck!  But there is a very ugly, mean, destructive and abhorrent grinch doing it’s level best to ruin Christmas for no one less than helpless & vulnerable babies.  This grinch is what the disease ebola is doing in three countries in West Africa (Guine, Liberia & Sierra Leone).  What makes this grinch so wholly abhorrent is how it has stolen the lives of moms & dads in these nations, stranding their babies often with no care, support, protection or food.

Saving Moses is conducting a campaign throughout December to raise anti-grinch funds to provide food, nurture, medical care & protection to these abandoned babies.  Please consider joining our anti-grinch campaign & give these babies genuine love, a chance to survive another day & thrive into the future.  Thanks so much for your prayers & consideration!

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 🙂

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

 

enjoying now

Do you ever get frustrated with yourself?

I recently returned from leading our first team trip for Saving Moses and it’s been a little tricky  getting back in the groove.  A few things that I’m presently working through include the regular jet lag sleep challenges, the normal digestion excitement and catching up on missed sleep.  Additionally, I’m trying to process some of my experiences and this has proven to be rather difficult.

When I get in these kinds of mindsets, I often get impatient with myself and frustrated that I can’t seem to get back to my regular groove, which only makes things more frustrating & difficult.  Thankfully, God had a nice chat with me this morning and reminded me of a few helpful things:

  • temporary – life can change is big & dramatic ways, but more often, our current situations are temporary & are changing incrementally, even when we don’t know it
  • be gentle – I can often be harsh & impatient with myself, which often makes things worse;  when I’m gentle, gracious and forgiving with myself, I seem to adapt and grow more easily
  • now –  being present today, in Denver, Colorado with my kids, husband & church family is very good