Lately, the US has several movies with religious overtones, like “God’s Not Dead”, “Noah”, “Son of God” & a few more. For those of us who follow Jesus, we get really excited for the general public to see some of things from the Bible with God participating in the human experience. For people who are not followers of Jesus, they can sometimes feel like Jesus’ followers can get dogmatic & judgmental. I find all of these ideas & paradigms interesting in light of what Jesus said about His followers in John 13:35 – people will know that you follow Me because of your love for one another. Seems to me that the defining characteristic of Jesus’ followers from Jesus’ teaching is love 🙂
There’s some good advice that says look before you leap & I used to make fun of that. Now I like that advice because my leaping & then looking has made for some scratchy challenges. But there are times when we can get paralyzed from looking – when we see a seemingly insurmountable challenge, when something looks impossible, when we don’t like what we see & much more. When Noah went in the ark, he’d been looking at that boat for a long time. Maybe he had some doubts or concerns, but he took the leap & saved humanity from being wiped out. Sometimes obeying God feels my like a flying leap 🙂
When Jesus started in His ministry, he would speak to big crowds & sometimes we get really impressed with big crowds (Ukrainian demonstrations, Super Bowl attendance, web users, TV audience, etc). One day, Jesus was speaking to another large crowd from a boat & there were a few fishermen repairing nets on the beach. The size of the crowd could be our focal point, but maybe Jesus was speaking to the crowd with the ultimate goal of connecting with Peter, a smelly, tired & seemingly trivial fisherman who just happened to be fixing his net – Peter who would leave his net & profession to follow Jesus. The crowd was big but possibly the real gold from Jesus’ preaching was His connection with Peter.
In my thinking, crowds were important to Jesus but what I love the most is how Jesus is always zeroed in on individual relationships with Him.
I was helping my son study for his chemistry test & we were learning about atomic weight, atomic numbers, etc. at one point, he told me that some of the stuff I was quizzing him on wasn’t important – which of course made my eyebrows raise.
Knowing what’s important & unimportant in life is really essential & here’s my guiding verse for this concern: Jer 9:23-24. Check it out!!
I think we all want to do things that are meaningful, significant & have impact. I don’t want to waste my life or time doing things that I feel are small & irrelevant. But I find myself doing dishes, getting groceries every week, driving kids to various appointments, doing car maintenance & many such things I could consider petty, small & irrelevant. But here’s an important distinction: how we do things is often more important than what we do.
Mother Teresa said that not all of us can do great things but we can all do small things with great love. How we do things is very important 🙂
I was talking with my friend this morning about charm school & I’m thinking that maybe we all could use some charm school help, but not in the conventional thinking. Perhaps we could all use some charm school help with:
*being more thoughtful with our words and actions, particularly with people who work in service industries (baristas, waiters, police, flight attendants, hair stylists, etc)
*being quick to forgive & slow to judge
*teamwork more than narcissism
*selfless more than selfish
The best teacher for this type of charm school is the Holy Spirit particularly when we endeavor to be cooperative students 🙂
Busy, hectic, demanding, red zone & frantic. Our lives go through seasons where these are the only accurate adjectives & we would like to stop the merry-go-round & have a pause. But I’m remembering that Jesus stayed in the middle of many situations that were frantic, stressful & demanding. Consider Lazarus being raised from the dead, the water into wine miracle & Jesus frequently being mobbed by crowds. Regardless of what’s happening or not happening in your life, Jesus is in the middle with you!
I live in Colorado & I just saw that there’s been another school shooting here at a high school in Denver. While I don’t really know very much about what is currently happening (because I’m writing this as the events are unfolding), these kinds of incidents can make us super anxious & jittery – especially for those of us who remember the columbine high school shooting.
Here are some helpful thoughts:
*praying is extremely important when we have crises happen
*be careful that your mind & worry don’t run away w you
*ask Jesus for peace
Greetings & happy Friday!
I read this yesterday & found it super helpful so I want to pass this along for your weekend thinking 🙂
This is from my pastor friend in CA, Joel Phillips – joelphillips
The Office’s Dwight Schrute enjoyed using the Amish technique of shunning people who were guilty of some kind of infraction. Although I laugh when I watch this clip, something about it reminds of how people in the church treat others who have messed-up or fallen.
We can wrap it with all sorts of holy sounding language, like “holding them accountable,” or “stepping them down,” if we’re honest it’s really just shunning. I once heard a leader use the verse, “godly sorrow produces repentance” to justify being flat-out mean to someone under him who had sinned.
Condemnation, guilt, shame, never produces righteous results. Instead, they push people even further from God. What’s weird is that there is a sick side to our souls that actually likes condemnation. We feel like we deserve it, and as the guilt and shame mount within us, we think that it’s all a part of the process of getting back on track, and reinstating our good standing with God.
That’s not the gospel!
I could quote tons of scriptures that point to the fact that those who are in Christ are fully and permanently justified and declared righteous, but the passage I want to go to is the familiar story of Peter walking on the water, falling, and being rescued by Jesus.
So much has been said, preached, written about this story, but one key part of it is hardly ever referenced. It’s the part when Peter got back in the boat. There was no browbeating. No heavy sighs. No, “You’re all wet!” Here’s all we’re told,
“And when [Jesus and Peter] got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 14:32–33)
I wish the church was more like that. Somebody falls, Jesus saves them, they’re soaking wet from their mistakes, but they’re alive and the storm is over! And as they come on board with us we worship God for how He saved them. It reminds us of how he saved us, after all, we’ve all been wet at one time or another.
Greetings from beautiful Brazil! This is my first time to visit this amazing country & thus far, it’s really lovely. The people are super friendly & the sites are captivating. Today, we are doing some touring & we get to do an outreach to one of the slums in Rio de Janeiro – I’ll keep you posted & try to upload some pix as well.
Brazil was a Portuguese colony for over 300 years & in 1931, the massive statue, Christ the Redeemer, was made & it’s over 100 feet tall. Here’s a pic
I find that whatever I focus on is usually where I wind up or what I begin acquiring. I learned this lesson when I was growing up & playing basketball. If I didn’t keep my eye on the basket, it was 100% certain that I would not score. This lesson continues to be true in the various areas & responsibilities in my life: my kids, marriage, work life, volunteer world & more. With this thought, I always need to check my current results & they can help me to see what I’ve been focusing on. If I’m not keeping my eyes on Jesus, The Way, I can easily get lost & lose the plot. So my dear friends, lets encourage each other to keep Jesus at the center of our focus 🙂
The dreams & visions that God places in our hearts require fertilizer & not poison. You probably are thinking, “No duh, Sarah.” But lets consider the difference between dream poison and dream fertilizer:
Poison has some distinct characteristics:
*it sounds like negativity & pessimism, sometimes masquerading as a “reality check”
*often looks innocuous / harmless until it’s too late
*says “can’t” more than “can”
*procrastination & “analysis paralysis” can be the slow death of any dream, using the words, “I’m waiting for, . . . , it’s not convenient, . . . . ”
In the flip side, fertilizer looks like:
*manure – what seems to already be used up & only waste could actually be the stuff of resurrection
*hard work & smelly: sometimes sweat stinks ,)
*encouragement – can do even when it looks / seems impossible
Lets be sure that we are fertilizing & not poisoning the dreams that God puts in our hearts 🙂
Happy Wed to you (or whenever you read this)! We all have various things that happen on any given day – some good, some bad & some neutral. I find it interesting that many times we derive our contentment (or lack thereof) from the various things that happen to us. We are happy if we get a raise or sad if we have some negative feedback from school or work. It’s easy to get stuck in the cause & effect trap – only being happy based on our circumstances.
Let me challenge you to switch the premise of your happiness off of circumstances & onto God’s love for you, which never fails, decreases nor changes. We can consistently be happy because the Creator of the universe loves us very deeply & personally! 🙂
Happiness can sometimes be an elusive goal & on occasion we can miss some happiness that’s sitting right in front of our nose. With that being said, here are a few ideas that could help us to stay happy:
*dont say everything you think – an obvious morsel of wisdom
*look for good bc we usually find what that for which we look
*keeping a generous mindset prevents the selfish lack deception
*be positive bc complaining can be a severe energy drain
*chose love over apathy w a healthy dose of forgiveness 🙂
*keep a relentless focus in Jesus!
I’ve had some interesting interactions with people of late. Some of these interactions were in the intimidating & bully category. Being on the receiving end of the intimidation efforts, I can’t say that it was a pleasurable experience. And there have been more than a few occasions where I wanted to return some of that bullying.
Nevertheless, I decided with God’s help to look in my mind for some better thoughts & here are a few ideas for better thoughts:
*if God is for me, then who can be against me?
*I am more than a conqueror because of Jesus’ resurrection
*love never fails
*in God’s hands, a temporary affliction can turned into some heavy duty glory
*all things work to my benefit as I
Continue to stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes in my life 🙂
Make the decision with me to choose better thoughts 🙂
We can be guilty of lots of things, but here are some things for which I want to be wholly convicted:
*complementing more than criticizing
*encouraging more than discouraging
*loving more than using
*listening more than impulsive comments
*wisdom more than foolishness
*redeeming more than rehearsing
*faith more than doubt
*progress with www.savingmoses.org more than enumerating problems 🙂
What are some other things you would include??? Thanks for your input & for your time to read this & reply!! Appreciate you 🙂
Sometimes I can get discouraged when I look at things in incremental or small ways. For example, when I’m trying to get in shape, I can easily get discouraged with one workout – it hurts, I wish I were more fit, etc. But when I look at the big picture (no pun intended), I can find some encouragement that I’m trying, growing & on the right path to get better, little by little.
This is also true with God, who sees the overall scheme of our lives with precision clarity & not just the small & seemingly incongruous puzzle pieces that can so easily frustrate us. Ultimately, we can rest in the truth that God is working all things to good as we continue to love God & stay true Their (Trinity) purposes & designs for us!! Be encouraged dear friend! 😀
Something I’ve noticed is that often one of my kids gets sick, that bug can sometimes work it’s way through our family. I’ve also noticed that when I walk down an airplane aisle & smile, people tend to smile back. These observations have caused me to be more aware about how I can be contagious either positively or negatively – but the choice is mine. I can be an agent of positive or negative influence. I can be constructive or I can be hostile or destructive but God has given us, as individuals, the power to make such decisions. So lets be positively contagious, spreading joy, hope & love 🙂
I read this morning about how king David in the Bible took a census at the end of his reign that was displeasing to God. The result of God’s displeasure with David was the death of 70,000 people. There was about to be more deaths but God stopped the carnage at the threshing floor of Araunah. David bought this threshing floor & it later became the place where the first permanent temple in Israel was built.
Our places of disastrous failure can be used by God for Their (Trinity) greatest dwelling place. In my mind, the key to redeeming the failures & shortcomings in our lives is through repenting & acknowledging our need for a greater inclusion of God’s presence into our lives. We need God in our decisions, daily living & throughout all of our lives 🙂
I find myself in a season of life where I have lots & lots of questions & not just about the weather. For me, it feels like many of my questions seem to either have no answers or they have very difficult answers and this can be really challenging. But as simple as it sounds, I’m finding that Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the answer for my need for wisdom, direction, strength, assurance, security & so much more. Jesus is my answer of peace for a troubled heart. Jesus is the answer: full stop 🙂