How to Improve

I have a child who is in the process of a vertical learning curve related to blame or responsibility. This is a nice way to say that blaming other people facilitates irresponsibility & this is no bueno.
These conversations challenge me to look at areas in my life where I might be blaming people & not taking responsibility for my actions, words & attitudes.
I’m seeing with stark clarity that the attempts to blame others limits my ability to grow & improve.
Are there places in your life where you seem quagmired? Is it possible that you might need to think about being proactive & taking responsibility for the things you can change?
Let’s be sure that we let the Holy Spirit speak truth into our hearts so that we don’t deceive ourselves, limiting how much we grow & improve.

Still Motion

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

Carry some quiet in your heart wherever you go!

Getting Better

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 🙂

Say Yes!!

“I need to think about that.” This is my classic answer to the majority of the things my kids ask from me. If I impulsively say yes or no, I’m likely going to get into some hot water rather quickly.

But with Jesus, I always want to say “yes!” When we say yes to Jesus, it can be saying yes to

  • being kind to a stranger,
  • loving our kids when they get under our skin,
  • being generous with our finances,
  • helping a prostitute look after her baby or toddler,
  • praying for someone who’s sick
  • and lots of other things!

Let’s decide before Jesus asks that we’ll say “Yes!”

Fuel

I have a friend who often forgets to put gas in her car, so it’s not shocking that she runs out of fuel from time to time. We put fuel in our cars to help us get from point A to point B & the same principle applies to the journey of life. We do the things to give us what we need for our journey. But alas, even with our best planning, sometimes the journey can exceed our fuel plans. And there’s always the unexpected hiccups that take some extra energy. Then what?

Last week in Cambodia, there was a day when I hit the wall, ran out of energy & was entirely exhausted, but I didn’t have the luxury to take off a day to rest & rejuvenate, so what to do?
Rather than looking at the entire day for energy, I felt the Holy Spirit coach me to nestle into His presence in smaller increments. In this way, I found strength for one hour at a time. Indeed, not only did I find the energy I needed in smaller bite sized, but there were a few things that were unexpectedly eliminated from the day – go figure 🙂
We can lean into the Holy Spirit for strength, comfort & wisdom for each step, not just for the long journey!

Insulated or Isolated?


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.

Improving!!!!

GUESS WHAT?!?!??? I’m improving – in LOTS of ways & my blog is one of those areas 🙂  Just to keep you posted, over the weekend we’re doing some technical upgrades to make it easier for you to interact with me through the blog as well as sharing stuff & other fun upgrades.  The only catch is that you’ll need to resubscribe on Monday – should be super easy & lots more friendly 🙂

I think life should be about continually improving so of course I haven to look at how I can make this blog better along with lots of other areas in my life as well!  So please don’t forget to resubscribe on Monday 🙂

Thanks boatloads for reading this 🙂

The 2×4

I don’t care for the 2×4 technique: you know, the times when it feels like you smacked upside the head with a massive reality check. I prefer the gentle instruction but alas, sometimes I don’t get subtle. When I come to Cambodia & in lots of my work with Saving Moses, I often have the 2×4 experience- seeing babies in deplorable situations & meeting toddlers who have molested. 
I think Jesus would have us listen & watch to be moved in our hearts because indeed, Jesus is deeply concerned & moved. Jesus is moved & when we are obedient I don’t see how cannot be deeply moved, even with the 2×4 experiences. Let’s be careful in our daily living that we don’t insulate ourselves from the things that move Jesus. 

What Do You See?


Presently I’m in Cambodia & this morning I was meandering around one of the neighborhoods where we provide nightcare with Saving Moses. This is always a tough neighborhood for me because of the immensity of the needs I see & feel. But it’s also a warm place for me because of the people I recognize every time, their kindness & warm acceptance. So this morning I was in this neighborhood and kind of taking in everything again. As I looked down one of the alleyways, I saw a small women & waved at her. She smiled quietly back at me. I felt drawn to her, so I walked closer & greeted her in my limited Khmer language. She was warm but respectful so I kept walking closer until I was standing just outside the opening of the space of her home. She was friendly but not overly welcoming. I peaked my head around the corner & observed a woman trying to get herself into sitting position. I could immediately tell that there was a significant physical ailment by the degree of struggle this women undertook to sit up. No joke, it took her between 2-3min to get herself upright. I kept watching to figure out what was going on with her. Her belly was really distended, so initially I thought she was pregnant, but dismissed this immediately because this was something different. She opened her shirt at her belly, revealing a swollen stomach like I’ve never seen, ever. I forced myself to not pull back from shock & tried to process what was wrong. Because I was by myself there was no help for me with any conversation, so I just stood there for what seemed a long time, unsure what to do. As I got my bearings, I felt in my heart that I was to pray for her and that was extremely helpful because I wasn’t just a helpless spectator to her pain & struggle. I stepped into the room and asked if I could pray (by that time, my translator friend came to help me). I began praying for her & also listening in my heart on how / what to pray. Of course I wanted to see some immediate evidence of healing & she did express that the pain she was experiencing was diminishing. I’ll go back tomorrow & check on her.

Seeing things that are atrocious can shock is into freeze mode or we can look to the Holy Spirit to help us be vessels for healing & divine love. Let’s chose love rather than be repelled by sickness & disease!

Anti-Clone

In Romans 12, Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world but rather transformed by renewing our minds. I really like this verse because I’m not very good at conforming, or so I think. I want to think that I march to the heartbeat of the Holy Spirit & that my decisions are grounded in the love of God. But the key to these goals is living from a transformed mind. Indeed, our thoughts are the battlefield for what comes out of our mouths & the decisions we make with our time, money & energy. 
Being conformed to the world around us isn’t nearly as important as being transformed by Holy Spirit’s presence within us!  

Some questions to consider over this holiday weekend:

  • In what ways have you possibly cloned to the world around you?
  • In what ways do your thoughts need to be transformed?
  • How can we better allow God’s love to influence our decisions, conversations & mindset?

Get Better!

I like to improve in whatever I do. So when I was learning to snowboard, I took lessons to get better. When I was cooking skewers, I wanted my veggies to be as tasty as the meat, so I learned to marinate the veggies & not just the meat. I think life should be an ongoing improvement process & that can be fun!  
And sometimes not. 

Sometimes the process for improving includes correction & that’s a tricky path to navigate. It can be difficult for lots of reasons, but how we receive correction is an essential ingredient for growing & improvement. Here are a few helpful ideas about receiving correction

  • Choose to see the input as an investment rather than a put down
  • Don’t deflect correction – process it & get the best out of it
  • Change – correction without change is wasted energy

Hot Topic:  Gravity Prayers

I like to pray because in my mind, praying is simply conversing with God. Prayer is a dialogue between God & me, not just a monologue shopping list. From time to time, however, I sense God challenging me to make known my requests & not just stay in the listening mode. Over time, I’m learning to take very seriously what these requests can be for the simple reason that God answers our prayers. 
Consider these weighty requests:

  • Patience – when we ask God to help us be more patient, often the resulting journey to that destination can be tumultuous
  • Trust – help me trust You more / better; the places in our lives that need this work can get very uncomfortable from the Holy Spirit answering this request
  • Love – I’ve asked God to help me love better & despite some hotspots, the results are worth the risks

It’s not bad to make weighty prayers, but let’s be prepared to make the changes such prayers require. 

Raise the Tide

Last night my daughter was clocking in some driving time so she can have enough hours to get her drivers license. I was flabbergasted by the quantity of rude drivers even at 8:30pm, unbelievable. I jokingly said to her, “Let that guy who honked at you for driving the speed limit, let him pull up beside us & I’ll do something rude back to him.” Of course I understand that I need to model for my daughter good behavior, so I wasn’t very serious about my comment. 
Nonetheless, I started thinking about my frustrations with other drivers & here’s where it gets dicey: if I mirror back another person’s rude behavior, then I’m making decisions at the lowest common denominator. Living at the lowest common denominator isn’t the life that Jesus describes to His followers in the Beatitudes – specifically as it relates to being merciful & receiving mercy. 

Let’s raise the tide more than we lower our behaviors 🙂

Raise the Tide

Last night my daughter was clocking in some driving time so she can have enough hours to get her drivers license. I was flabbergasted by the quantity of rude drivers even at 8:30pm, unbelievable. I jokingly said to her, “Let that guy who honked at you for driving the speed limit, let him pull up beside us & I’ll do something rude back to him.” Of course I understand that I need to model for my daughter good behavior, so I wasn’t very serious about my comment. 
Nonetheless, I started thinking about my frustrations with other drivers & here’s where it gets dicey: if I mirror back another person’s rude behavior, then I’m making decisions at the lowest common denominator. Living at the lowest common denominator isn’t the life that Jesus describes to His followers in the Beatitudes – specifically as it relates to being merciful & receiving mercy. 

Let’s raise the tide more than we lower our behaviors 🙂

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

testing: 1, 2, 3

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! 🙂

Not the Plan


Have you ever made a plan only to find it go array? I have a friend who set a long term goal, worked diligently toward that goal for many years & now it seems like their efforts have completely unraveled & failed. Of course this can be super discouraging & when this kind of thing happens, we find ourselves on shaky footing & uncertain where to go or what to do. 
So what should we do when our plans go array? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Step back & re-evaluate: sometimes a perspective adjustment can help us see a broader point of view & thereby improve our decisions
  • Seek God: if a crisis makes us seek God more than the crisis is good; if we don’t seek God more in a crisis, then the crisis can get infinitely worse
  • Who am I? A crisis often forces us to look at ourselves with greater clarity & objectivity. In this pause, the Holy Spirit can work on our character & shape us to be more Christ-like
  • Keep going & growing: don’t let detoured plans poison your thinking into quitting. Get up, brush yourself off, learn & keep going. 

Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know that could be going through a course correction season 🙂

New Places

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!

Be Available

Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people on two occasions because of availability. On each occasion, everyone was in dire straights, but Jesus came through with a miracle of plentiful provision based on the simple principle of using what was available. Jesus used a meager few fish & loaves of bread, the provision that they had, along with His disciples as distribution agents. I would speculate that maybe one or two of the disciples thought it was crazy to be sent to feed thousands of people with such a paltry provision & yet because they were available, Jesus worked His miraculous provision through their available hands & feet. Jesus prayed for the provision & then told His disciples to go & give
Seems to me that the same principles apply to us today. Jesus merely asks us to be available & then to go & give. 

Watch this video of some magnificent peeps recently who did exactly what Jesus said & multiplied His love by being available: