Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! In the US, today is a national holiday to honor Dr Martin Luther King Jr, a great leader in the Civil Rights Movement who was tragically assasinated in the prime of his life. He’s famous for lots of things, but one of the things I love most about what we know of Dr King today is his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Despite facing atrocious, violent & barbaric opposition, Dr King persevered and overcame racial hatred, not with escalated violence, barbaric behavior & atrocious activism, but rather through exposing hatred, acrimony and injustice by contrasting behaviors and examples. I think in each of us, God has placed a dream for something far greater and more powerful than our current living. The dream that God has put in each of us is the beginning of something thoroughly divine, powerful and revolutionary. If you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible – full stop.
There are lots of things that I wonder if they’re possible. Is it possible to:
*see things in new ways?
*ride peacefully in a crowded car with my kids?
*open nightcare with Saving Moses in India?
*trust God better than I have in the past?
Just last week we celebrated Jesus’ virgin birth & in Luke 1:37, we read that Gabriel told Mary that nothing is impossible. So let’s decide to live in the truth this year that all things are possible with God
I read this morning about how Moses explained to the Israelites what mannah was in Exodus 16:15. One morning, the Israelites saw some weird stuff on the ground & couldn’t figure out what it was, but they absolutely had a need for food, so Moses explained to them about what mannah was, how it could meet their need for food and how to collect it six days a week.
As I read this, I thought about how sometimes we need someone to explain how God’s provisions work for us. The Israelites didn’t see mannah for what it was supposed to be for them. It looked weird and foreign to them – they’d never seen anything like it before. Sometimes I think that God’s provisions are the same for us today – we don’t always recognize the various ways, mediums or methods that God uses to provide for us. Consider a few ideas:
we think we need money but God gives us a creative idea that helps us cut our expenses to better align with our income
we think we need more time in our weekly schedule, but God gives us some cancelled appointments and increased efficiencies
we think we need more God and God gives us the opportunity to plug into church, a small group or Bible study more consistently
At the end of the day, don’t forget Jesus’ super essential ingredient for divine provisions in Matt 6:33, “Seek first God’s kingdom & all these things will be added to you.” God knows what we need, when & how we need it, so go after God & be wide open for the various ways and methods that God will meet those needs
PS – don’t forget the help Saving Moses with our ebola orphans campaign!
It seems like I spend a massive amount of energy, focus & time for Christmas: food, parties, gifts, cleaning, prep, wrapping, cooking, concerts, etc all squeezed into 2-3 weeks of seemingly frenzied activities. By the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to sing Handel Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus, kind of
Having come through another Christmas season, on the other side, I find myself in recovery mode: less food, less activities, no wrapping, less cooking & lots of delightful cold, snow, quiet & still. But in my own way, I’m also in prep mode because I’m praying for 2015 and continuing to listen and be attentive with what God has for the upcoming year. We are on the cusp of turning the page on 2014 to begin a new chapter for 2015. Let’s not enter 2015 as a leftover, wrung out rag from 2014. Let’s seize the time, space and pause to not only nourish our souls but also to prepare us for the adventures that God has for us in 2015
Some prep ideas:
make a list of gratitudes from 2014 – reflecting on God’s amazing work & presence in your life over 2014
consider some places, situations, experiences that need some active forgiveness work (shortcomings, failures, idols, disobedience, etc)
take some time to maybe take a walk & listen to God – not only for what God has in store for 2015, but more importantly to be together
ask for the Holy Spirit to help you know the Helper better in 2015 than you have known in 2014
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate lots of things & in lots of ways. We lavishly spend time, money, people interactions, parties, etc and revel in the celebrations of the season, opulence and abundance. Then there’s the day after, today, when we might be groggy, overstuffed and possibly fatigued. On this day, I find my heart longing to recover a sense of balance, desiring some still and quiet, centering into what’s really important, the One Thing that Jesus spoke about with Martha at her dinner party in Luke 10:42. Sometimes it helps us regain our core when we sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, waiting, listening, watching and paying attention to Who is the most Essential in our lives, Jesus
I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet & a few years ago, I didn’t wrap any until 11pm on Christmas Eve – what was the point in that?!??? I don’t think I’m generally a procrastinator, it’s just tricky to remember & find time. Maybe this year, I’ll wrap our presents soon, maybe. One question worth a little consideration is what will you & I be giving Jesus this year, to celebrate His birthday. It seems kind of counterintuitive to give everyone but Jesus a present on Christmas, the day when we celebrate His birth
So going with the 5 Love Languages idea, here are some gift suggestions for Jesus:
affirmation – take some moments to sing one of your favorite praise / worship songs directly to Jesus or make a brief list of reasons why you love Jesus and tell Him
touch – consider giving someone a hug that would appreciate that; sometimes when we touch someone with genuine love it’s a nice way to communicate genuine love to Jesus (when you do this to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me – Matt 25:40)
gifts – think about giving a coat, hats, mittens, socks, etc to a homeless shelter or discretely helping a needy family in your church, maybe make an extra donation to a charity (Saving Moses is awesome – smile)
service – every church has extra services, usually, to support the Christmas season: consider volunteering a little extra to share some love
quality time – consider dropping by a park and taking a brief walk with Jesus or waking up maybe 10min earlier just to give Jesus your presence, which is possibly the ultimate present He desires
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!