Do You Like To Succeed?

I’ve been doing some new projects: trying my hand at making bread & working on getting my YouTube channel up & running! With my attempts, I’ve had lots of bumps along the road. For example, I forgot to turn on the mic & focus the lens for the video stuff & my bread stuff last week wasn’t tasty. But I keep trying & more importantly, I keep improving!
The principle of gradual improvement is a good thing to embrace because it helps us avoid the failure trap. This trap says that the failing as an action becomes failure, the noun. Just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure. Let’s be aware that failing is an integral part of the process for succeeding, when we stay in a state of continual learning. Succeeding is the consequence of learning from both failures & mistakes. So let’s celebrate the bumps along the road because they inch us closer & closer to success!!

Holy Spirit Language

I know it’s weird to admit this but I really like to learn languages. If I didn’t have my family, I think it would be a BLAST to get dropped in a place that spoke no English for like 6weeks so that I could acquire whatever the language is that’s spoken in that place. Some languages that I’d like to get under my belt include: Mandarin, Khmer, Bengali, Swahili & I’m sure there’s several more I’d quickly add to my list.
But my first priority is to learn the language of the Holy Spirit. I appreciate that the underpinnings for this language are rooted in genuine love, so all the subtleties & communication nuances have the flavor & lingering residues of genuine love. I think the Holy Spirit’s language is also infused with intimacy & connection, endeavoring to facilitate & integrate genuine love in every conversation. Finally, I think the Holy Spirit’s language is one of transformation – seeing things that aren’t visible, calling things that aren’t as though they are & exchanging broken & dysfunctional for healthy & redeemed.
Anyone want to learn the Holy Spirit’s language with me?

Whole Healing

Lots of times we think of healing in the terms of physical expressions, such as healing from cancer, scoliosis, ulcers, blind eyes, etc. While I’m wholly supportive of physical healing, I also thoroughly believe that we need God’s healing power to affect the entirety of our lives & not just our bodies.

For example, there are plenty of biblical characters who needed God’s healing touch in their thoughts & points of view. People such as Pharaoh who hardened his heart, Lot who chose the well-watered plains of Sodom & Gomorrah, as well as both Saul’s (OT & NT) are all people who needed God’s healing power to change their thinking & points of view.
I would also suggest that there are not just a few of us who need God’s healing power to touch our emotions. Places in our emotions that are controlled or dominated by excessive fear, grief, depression, etc are all opportunities for God’s healing power to redeem & renovate!
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to heal not only our bodies, but all of us including our thoughts & emotions!

Breathing Room

I tend to run in the red zone. This means that I try to squeeze the most out of my time, energy, money, talents & attention. Generally, I’ve thought this has been a good way to do life. If a person wants to achieve a lot, suck out the marrow of life & choke on the bone, maybe even burn out, then FULL CHARGE ON!!!

But I’m beginning to see the importance of margin, or breathing room. Margin gives us space to think, recover, listen & be with the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, Adam’s first day of existence was God’s day of rest. Perhaps it’s in the margins & rest where we can experience the deepest intimacy & fellowship with the Holy Spirit, just maybe 🙂

Image or Substance

I’m waiting at an airport coffee kiosk to collect my coffee, surrounded by beautiful pictures of mouth watering tea, coffee, hot chocolate, espresso shakes, etc. We all know that they make these pictures so that we’ll buy the drinks, supposing that they’ll taste as good as they look. In my experience, this isn’t true. It seems like we’ve been trained to swallow image like cotton candy and still yearn for tangible substance.

I think the same idea holds true for stuff with Jesus. Let’s be careful that we don’t merely sell the sizzle of Jesus – His benefits, powers, etc but neglect to personify His substance in our daily living. Jesus is way better than images, illusions or elusive cotton candy. His extravagant love, is far more satisfying than words or pictures could describe!

Sunny Side Up!

My dad always ordered his eggs over easy & I remember hearing waitresses say to him, “Sunny Side Up!” As a kid, I didn’t understand what they meant, but later learned that this phrase was kind of a synonym for over easy. Now whenever I hear, “sunny side”, everything inside me smiles & I feel warm all over. Maybe this is because I remember my dad sharing his breakfast with me or maybe because the sunny side feels friendly, inviting & open!
I’ve been thinking about this sunny side thing lately because of some plants I’m attempting to keep alive. Even yesterday, I moved a tomatoe plant out of the shade & into the sun – to keep it on the sunny side 🙂
This is pretty cheesy, but we also have to keep ourselves on the “Sonny” side in our thoughts, conversations & decisions for each day. Following Jesus, God’s Son, means that we actively chose to stay on the “Sonny side” of life, sharing encouragement, hope & genuine love with the dark world around us. Indeed, let’s stay bright by letting God’s Son shine through us!

The Proper ID

“Do you have your ID?” It’s that sinking feeling you get before you begin to frantically recall where you left your driver’s license, or other such identification. This has happened to me more times than I care to remember & I’m hopeful that someday these panic moments will teach me to pay attention & prepare better.

I’m thankful that being a daughter of God doesn’t require a proper identification card. Instead, my behavior reflects my identity according to Romans 8:14. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Let’s be certain to consistently follow the Holy Spirit so our identity & character don’t leave room for any speculation.

Thrill Seeking!!

Things that are exhilarating to me include: snowboarding REALLY fast, exploring new countries, reading adventure books & endorphins after a good workout. On the flip side, I don’t get excited about repetitious dishwashing, being a taxi mom or the mundane working out that precedes an endorphin rush.

Sometimes our walk w God can mirror these contrasting experiences. There are definitely experiences with God that are far beyond exhilarating & spine chilling. However, let’s never minimize the day to day essentials that cultivate that deep, fulfilling & abiding intimacy with Jesus. Thrills & chills are fun, but nothing can sustain us like our walk with Jesus through daily time in the Bible & prayer!

Blowing Life!!

“Don’t blow me OFF!” These were my words to a family member today before we all departed for our busy days. Sometimes, this family member blows me off & it rankles me. So as I was showering, the Holy Spirit reminded me of John 20:22, after Jesus rose from the dead, He blew ON His disciples & said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!” Furthermore, in Genesis 2:7, God formed Adam from the dirt & blew IN his nostrils & man became a living being.
Let’s be careful that we don’t blow off the Holy Spirit, but rather that we allow the Holy Spirit to be infused into all of today, our thoughts, emotions, decisions & focus!
We can blow off the Holy Spirit, let the Holy Spirit breath on us or into our lives through his day! Let’s go for maximum infusion!!

Object, Project or Person?

How we treat people reflects what we think about them on the inside.  So if we treat the barista like an extension of the espresso machine, then we’re thinking of them in terms of an object rather than a living human.  This happens alot when we get in transactional modes of interaction & neglect to see the person with whom we’re interacting.

When we try to change someone:  correcting their attitudes, challenging their political opinions, getting them closer to Jesus, making them “better”;  let’s be careful that we’re not treating them like a “project“.  The exceptions to this concern can be the parent, teacher or mentor roles, all of which are most affective when we perceive the recipient of our input as a human & not merely a project.

I think what made Jesus so entirely irresistable by the masses of humanity, when He walked on the earth, is that He interacted with everyone with authenticity, genuine love and sincere interest.  He engaged with each individual as a person, not as a project nor object.  This is what happens when we interact with others from the place of genuine love rather than manipulation, achievement or domination.  Let’s allow our lives to remain in genuine love so that our interactions with others resound with redemption & reconciliation!

 

Watch & Pray

I appreciate watches that work & these do not. Using an unreliable watch is kind of like driving on a tire that needs air – pretty soon, stuff gets messed up! Schedules go awry, anxiety increases, appointments get missed & people get frustrated, not just a little. But all of these challenges can be avoided with a functional watch.
This goes to my point with prayer. Keeping our prayer life in tune, steady & practiced is essential for our internal stability. When my prayer life goes awry, it’s only a matter of time until life hits the fan.
Who’s up to watch & pray with me?

The Lethal Hangnail

“The devil would kill ya with a hangnail if he could!” My dad had lots of fun quotes like this. From my childhood, I remember people laughing at this quote & I smiled like I understood, but I didn’t get it. Now that I have some life tread under my belt, I get it.

The enemy of your soul is out to rattle your cage, poison your thinking & sideline you with anything possible, even a hangnail.
Don’t let him – full stop.
Some helpful pointers:

  • Keep your eyes in Jesus.
  • Don’t quit.
  • Keep loving wholly.
  • Pray intensely.
  • Feed yourself the Bible everyday.
  • Chose faith & reject doubt.

Never forget that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!

Looking for Good!!

In my efforts to always grow & Improve, sometimes I can get discouraged. This happens when I continue to focus on weaknesses & mistakes at the expense of looking at progress.
The truth is that we are all growing. Sometimes we see massive progress & sometimes the progress is microscopic. But let’s celebrate progress, regardless of the size!
You’ve come a long way, so be encouraged!! And remind yourself that the good work that God has started, He will continue & complete – Philippians 1:6 🙂

Do You Suffer?

Nothing seems to repel us like suffering. Indeed, if we had our way, we’d entirely skip the whole crucifixion thing & leap straight to resurrection.

Maybe that’s why Peter, James & John slept in Gethsemane when Jesus told them to watch & pray, while He travailed in prayer with sweat like drops of blood. I would likely chose to sleep as well rather than watch my Invincible Hero suffer & appear frail & unraveled.
But here’s the best kept secret: there’s tremendous intimacy potential in sharing with suffering. While we follow & admire strength, nothing connects us with someone more than seeing & even sharing in weakness & pain. Some of my best friends have been through the most abysmal experiences with me – we’ve shared in suffering & the bond between us from those experiences has been immensely strengthened.
In Holy Week, today is Maunday Thursday. This is the day when Jesus shared the last supper with His disciples, washed their feet & travailed in Gethsemane. Jesus understands suffering & wants to connect deeply with us, not only in resurrection life, but also in struggles & suffering – the fellowship of suffering: Philippians 3:10-11

Less Arrogant

A year ago, I had a really bad concussion & couldn’t think straight for quite awhile. It was so bad, that I started bringing my husband to my dr appointments because I didn’t trust my cognitive abilities & my memory wasn’t reliable. Normally, I’m uber independent & I don’t care to ask for help, so this was a humbling experience.
Now a year later, I’m much improved in the cognitive & memory areas, as well as more humble & willing to ask for help.
Injuries can have a way of working some tough, but necessary, lessons into our souls. Humility seems to be a tough lesson because we can often be blind to our own pride. Not asking for help & being highly independent was something I was proud about in the past. Now, although it’s not easy, I’m willing to admit that I need help & far quicker to ask for it.
When I let God work in my soul, injuries can have tremendous redemptive results!

I’m A Wannabe

I’m a wannabe basketball player. Having watched the NCAA men’s basketball championship last night, I’m all the more convinced that I’m a mere wannabe when it comes to playing basketball.

I also wannabe other things, but nothing more than a genuine follower of Jesus, full stop. And for this goal, I have endless hope for the sole reason that Jesus has given me the Holy Spirit, as my Helper, in this supreme goal. Indeed, the closer I draw to the Holy Spirit:

  • the more I make choices that reflect Jesus,
  • my conversations are filled with truth & love,
  • my perspective changes to a divine outlook rather than filtered by my flesh.

Would you join me in this adventure to be a Jesus wannabe?
Gal 4:19, ” . . . until Christ be formed in you.”

The Sky Is the Limit!!

This is a picture I took while flying home yesterday & it doesn’t do justice to the splendor & majesty I saw from the plane. What interests me today as I look back over these pictures is that the clouds seemed to define the top of the picture even though I know that these clouds aren’t really any kind of a limit.
I think we often do the same thing in our daily living. We see stuff that seems to be limiting or constricting factors. But beyond our perception can be glory, adventure, beauty & mind blowing experiences. Let’s remember that the sky is the limit!!

Going Opposite

Being rebellious usually gets the thumbs down reaction from the Christian crowd. We tend to find those verses that talk about being respectful, obedient & compliant & there are heaps of Bible verses to support this mindset.

However, being a person who finds herself sometimes at odds with many societal norms, let me highlight some ways that Jesus went the opposite of the culture & society of His day.

  • Unexpected: Jesus didn’t cater to what people expected from Him. Consider in His first miracle that He told His mom to “chill out” (my slang for “Woman, My time is not yet come”)
  • Forgiveness: when all the religious leaders of His day wanted Jesus to condemn the woman caught in adultery, Jesus forgave her & the intolerance / judgment evaporated
  • Genuine Love: one of my favorite quotes from Jesus: “He who has been forgiven much, loves much; but he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
  • Miracles: Jesus defied conventional thinking by frequently doing miracles: multiplying food, cleansing lepers, restoring promiscuous women, healing the unclean & driving out demonic forces, just to name a few.

If we are followers of Jesus, then we must go the opposite of our flesh, religious intolerance, demonic influences & cultural trends. Most of all, let’s personify genuine love because of the Holy Spirit working in our mindsets, conversations & actions!

Getting Strong

“Time to get up,” I whispered gently to my very tired daughter this morning. Mornings tend to be a weakspot for her. So helping her to get moving & be strong in the morning is an ongoing challenge.

With that said, strength is the antidote to weakness, so how we can be strong is important for all of us, no matter our age, situation or season in life. Here’s a good example for for getting strong: David

  • Friends help us to be strong: in 1 Sam 23:16, it says that Jonathon encouraged / strengthened David in the Lord. Let’s remember to encourage our friends & let them encourage us! This helps us to be strong:)
  • Strengthen ourselves: in 1 Sam 30:6, it says that David strengthened himself in the Lord. In this chapter, David was really squashed to the wall & very discouraged, but he chose to find his strength & encouragement in the Lord.

Let’s lean into the Holy Spirit to gain strength & be encouraged :)Getting

What Are You Thinking?

“A penny for your thoughts?”

This is a question people often ask when someone seems deep in thought or reflective.  It’s a good question to ask when you’re getting to know someone or when a person seems unusually quiet.  But it’s also a good question to ask ourselves from time to time, forcing us to take a thought inventory.

Taking an inventory of our thoughts is important because it lets us see places in our thinking where we can make some helpful adjustments.   Indeed, consider some of the things Paul says about our thoughts:

  • 2 Cor 10:5, “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”
  • Phil 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”
  • Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”

Let’s be attentive to our thoughts because they influence our lives in very powerful but subtle ways!