In many ways, gory seems to be the antonym of glory and I don’t commonly associate these words together besides the rhyming sound they make. But there’s a stark and startling place where these words converge into one place and that would be Jesus when He was crucified.
If you saw the movie by Mel Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ”, it showed with disturbing clarity the gory nature of Jesus’ death on the cross. I’ll never forget how deeply moved I was to the core of my soul when I saw this movie the first time. As I watched, I found myself repeatedly thinking, “please stop, that’s enough!” And at the end of the movie, I was entirely unraveled because I couldn’t escape the reality that Jesus endured this excrutiating experience entirely on the pure motivation of genuine love, full stop.
Jesus was glorified in the gory mess of human suffering, sin and sacrifice. And this continues to give me the assurance that Jesus can redeem human gore and transform it into divine glory, a truth that we would be wise to ponder throughout this weekend 🙂
“You’re not going to North Korea are you?” I was driving my kids to school this morning & made a phone call to another ministry about some cool opportunities in North Korea. My kids immediately asked this question when I hung up & I assured them that I’m not going there this year. But it still sounds like an incredible opportunity to me!
Alas, not everyone thinks like I do & that’s altogether fantastic! Seems to me that God has uniquely created us for distinct purposes & designs. Some people are attracted to stable, predictable & familiar. Some folk have a little wanderlust in their souls. Some of us are pioneers & more than a little maverick-y. But each follower of Jesus has valid contributions to make to His kingdom!
Just because I’m different than you doesn’t make me superior or inferior any more than you are superior or inferior to me! Let’s remember that we are essential parts of one Body & we desperately need each other to fulfill our unique & divine purposes! I’m celebrating you today!!
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 🙂
Sometimes I think these terms get mixed up in our lives & we don’t realize it. Insulation is to keep out unwanted things, like cold weather or extreme heat. We can also insulate ourselves from painful experiences or uncomfortable feelings. But without being careful, insulation can become isolation when we chose to withdraw & not engage.
I could easily justify insulating myself from seeing & hearing someone’s pain or struggles that I find repugnant. But when I do this, I isolate myself & restrict the Holy Spirit from moving through me, to touch & heal the world around me. Let’s be careful not to insulate ourselves with our wealth & ability to chose our focus from the suffering around us. Thankfully, Jesus didn’t insulate Himself when He lives among us.
This is a test of the emergency services with this blog ,)
Recently, there was a glitch with some web stuff, causing some stress but not weeping or gnashing of teeth 🙂
Seems that when we go through test seasons, hopefully they’re short, it’s a chance for us to do some depth charge work. Tests can reveal weakspots where we need to get better at trusting God. Tests can be encouraging to us when they show us how much we’ve grown. Tests can also show us where we need to get better at teamwork or being more independent, whichever can be more natural or fleshly to us. I don’t like tests, but they certainly show me some essential information and they help me lean into the Holy Spirit better, which is good for everyone most of all, me!
So testing 1, 2, 3 – let’s go through the test and relish the outcomes! 🙂
I’m deeply in love with Jesus, full stop. There are times, however, that I’m not so whippy on some of the things Jesus says & does. This used to rankle me, until I started thinking about Peter. One day in my prayer time, the Holy Spirit walked me through the various times & ways that Peter disagreed with Jesus:
At the very beginning when he told Jesus to leave him because he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8, after Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach a sermon to a crowd along the lakeshore).
A little later, even though Peter walked on the water to Jesus in Matt 14:30-31, Jesus reprimanded Peter for his doubt from watching the winds & waves & sinking into the water.
In Matt 16:22, Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about His upcoming death. This seems pretty audacious to me, considering that Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ / Messiah.
Peter again argues with Jesus on the whole betrayal thing at the last supper in Matt 26:33-35.
Peter disagrees with God with the heavenly vision in Acts 10:11-19 about eating unclean animals & preaching Jesus to the Gentiles.
Seems to me that it doesn’t make Jesus bite His nails when we disagree with Him, but let’s be abundantly clear that no matter what our opinion may be, Jesus has the final say, full stop. So let’s keep loving Jesus, even when we disagree with Him, from time to time 🙂
I like to go new places, so I’m currently enjoying our family vacation, driving from Denver to Washington DC & then back home next week. Presently, were visiting relatives in Missouri & Arkansas, so it’s an efficient road trip, seeing sights, exploring new places & enjoying some fun conversations with family. This idea about visiting new places is right in my wheelhouse: I like going places I’ve never visited before, full stop.
I think this idea is also relevant to our walk with Jesus. Sometimes it can be easy to get in a rut or even become complacent in our spiritual journey. So maybe it’s worth some time to think about how to freshen up your relationship with Jesus. Here are some possible ideas:
Consider taking a few hours this weekend to take a hike with a journal & take some time to listen
Think about some possible ways to serve others – soup kitchen, homeless outreach, take a missions trip
Slowly read a pet of the Bible that you’re not very familiar with, keeping a pen & paper close for observations
Look into joining a Bible study or small group to talk about some of Jesus’ life
Let’s be careful that we keep growing in our walk with God!
It’s time to come home. I’m in Cambodia w Saving Moses & a totally incredible team, but I’m ready to come home. I’m ready to see my husband & kids, sleep in my own bed, eat some peaches, drive my car, wear clean clothes & speak English really fast.
Sometimes I think we feel this way about our earthly living. It’s definitely an adventure to live the human experience with lots of learning, some challenges & many bright spots. But we are made for heaven & it’s ok to get homesick from time to time. Let’s remember, however, that there are heaps of peeps in our lives who need to have heaven as their home. Let’s remember to share Jesus’ love & truth with the people in our lives so heaven’s population grows. Let’s be sure to take lots of people home with us!
Nobody likes bad news, including me. I don’t want to hear things that disrupt my bliss & when I’m super honest, I don’t want to face stuff that’s uncomfortable or disturbing. It’s ok to watch an occasional YouTube video that’s not good or to see a FB post that’s distressing, but I get to choose when, how & in what quantities I see / hear stuff that I don’t like. Just because I choose to ignore something bad doesn’t mean it’s not there – indeed I think bad stuff gets all the worse when we pretend it’s not there.
Sometimes, however, we need a wake up call – the proverbial 2X4 to the head. Yesterday I had one of these experiences here in Cambodia w Saving Moses. I saw something that wasn’t merely deflating but it was borderline demoralizing. As I woke up this morning, I still had a pit in my stomach from what I experienced yesterday & maybe that’s good. I think it’s good, from time to time, to have a wake up call about our lives. Otherwise, it can be too easy to live in distractions or denials about what’s happening not only around us but also what’s happening inside us. Sometimes it takes some bad news to shake us up, stir us to action & compel us to compassion. Let bad news be a catalyst!
I have a friend in Cambodia & he has a heart of gold. Vimean is his name & he always provokes me to love well. He lives on the outskirts of a massive garbage dump & he’s always generous, super encouraging, positive & eager to share about Jesus. Vimean’s heart is golden. I was thinking about him in contrast to some other folk who have gold in their hands. Sometimes wealth in our hands can be really helpful but let’s always be sure that our hearts are full of gold no matter if our hands have money or not. Money in the hands doesn’t guarantee that a person has a heart of gold.
It seems to me that much of life is about doing stuff that’s not always super exciting. Even though we may like exciting stuff, our days are more often about driving kids to their various events, going to work, washing dishes, changing the oil in our car, folding laundry, etc. As much as I like adventure & exciting stuff, it’s most important that we look for the Holy Spirit in what can seem to be the daily mundane. Let’s not allow ourselves to get dulled into a zombie existence by what can seem so familiar & common.
Indeed, we can experience the Holy Spirit in:
Let’s stay alert to the Holy Spirit in our daily living!
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!
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!
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!
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!!!
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 🙂
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 ,)
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 🙂
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