“That’s DISGUSTING!!!”Lots of people have this reaction when they begin to hear about the daily living of a sex worker in third world countries. I’m in Cambodia this week with our annual Saving Moses team trip & our nightcare work here (feel free to come w me next year).I love to watch God change various perspectives about people & various hardships / experiences these women go through to say nothing about their babies & toddlers.On a more immediate context, maybe you know people who are making bad decisions, going down an awful trajectory or compromising in unthinkable ways.
Do we choose to revile or reconcile?
Regardless of the decisions people make, we can shame & revile them or walk alongside & reconcile them. Jesus is a great example of reconciling rather than reviling 🙂
I wonder how many wonderful experiences & people we miss because we make these 3 C’s our endgame. Presently, I’m riding in a Tuk Tuk in Cambodia & I can decide which filter in my thinking will be my perspective. I can choose the 3C’s & everything will be hot, noisy, smelly, loud, annoying & repulsive. Or I can choose the Adventure filter & my ride will be informative, interactive w the people around me at stoplights, breezy & bright.
So let’s consider how we think & the possible filters that we use to affect our perspective. And above all, let’s love lavishly & authentically since this is how we are loved by our Heavenly Father 🙂
Truth be known, I’m a straggler, as I’m often looking at stuff or enjoying an in-depth conversation. I used to be concerned about being a leader & Stein ahead of everyone.
And then I discovered the glories of being around stragglers – those people who might move at a different cadence, individuals who see life’s pace from a different perspective & others who are injured is n their body or soul who aren’t as nimble, agile or speedy.
I think Jesus digs stragglers as well. I say this bc of a few people with whom Jesus connected deeply:the Samaritan woman at the well, the demoniac who wandered the tombs & His reply to the woman caught in adultery. Let’s have compassion for stragglers & others who are different than ourselves 🙂
It’s easy to get in a rut & mindlessly do the same thing. And it seems to me like we crave routine at the expense of adventure & novelty!
So here’s a fun challenge: try something new!!I say this as I’m catching a bus to the airport to join our team flying to Cambodia for nightcare w Saving Moses!Here are some ideas for trying new things:
Go on a missions trip,
join a new club, small group or workout class,
eat some food from a different culture,
stretch into Holy Spirit for more involvement in your life,
give yourself to more worship,
read a book of the Bible that isn’t to your normal preference.
If you’re feeling dull & lifeless, give yourself some fresh experiences & endeavor to walk w Holy Spirit today!!
“Who ME???” I think Gideon said this several times in Judges 6-9, in the Old Testament. I like Gideon alot because he’s relatable. His dialogue with God and various people around him reveal that he wasn’t a faith giant – anything but!!! Replying to God’s directives, Gideon put out fleeces, questioned God’s participation with Israel, snuck around at night to obey God & eavesdropped at the enemy’s tent to hear of Gideon’s impending victory.
Gideon wasn’t the poster child for supernatural faith and courage in the face of impossibility. But he is the posterchild for all of us who have doubts, fears, frailties and deficiencies. No matter how your faith feels at this moment, robust of ragged, God can do the impossible! More importantly, God isn’t repelled by your questions, doubts nor fears. Be encouraged in your heart, no matter how much fear or faith you may feel at any given moment. We can remain encouraged because God loves us and that love is never dependent on our faith, fear nor frailty!
It’s nice to have friends & acquaintances with various strengths. And there’s downsides to everyone, including you & me! Some of the downsides to being my friend is that I’m quirky & sometimes unreliable.I can also be quiet & unconventional.
But with Jesus, there’s no downside, except that our flesh doesn’t appreciate some of the divine input Jesus has for our lives. Ultimately, our flesh is a downside in any relationship & Jesus is always not just the upside, but even better, the upgrade for doing all of our relationships!Let’s allow Jesus to be part of all of our lives!
Who’s Taller? My sonWho’s Taller? My son can’t wait until he can officially say he’s taller than me. I get some kind of conversation from him on this almost daily. And I know it’s coming, it’s only a matter of time. Do you have things that you’re looking forward to? Maybe a vacation, a good book to read, lunch with a friend, something to check off on your bucket list, . . . . I think it’s good to have stuff to look forward to based on Jesus’ behavior. In Hebrews 12:2, it says that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. No matter what you’re going through in this season, there’s better stuff coming!
I’m sitting in a room with extremely brilliant people & everyone has various areas of expertise. And in this meeting, regardless of what we’re individually good at, we are all working to contribute past just our expertise. The contributions we are making in this meeting require us to be flexible – to go out of our comfort zone & expertise rather than just staying in our niche.
I think this is also how we walk with Holy Spirit in our daily living. Generally, when we are experts in a specific area, we can forget to ask for Help or Divine input. But when we keep a flexible mindset, I think we stay more available for input from Holy Spirit, which we need everyday!
Do you remember having those recess arguments in elementary school when you’d defiantly exclaim, “Prove it!!!”?It seems like we humans have a passion for certainty & evidence helps to prove certainty.
So I find it interesting that James 2:18 says, “ . . . , You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”When I read this verse, it provokes me to look at my actions more than what I say. It’s easy to say that I believe in Jesus & I believe in the Bible. But the real evidence of what I believe is demonstrated by what I do. So let’s endeavor, with God’s Help, to be doers of God’s Word & not merely people who hear or talk a big game. Proof of our faith is in doing & not just speaking 🙂
Each person has unique things that cause stress. Some folk get stressed with job interviews while others get stressed with traveling to new places. Mostly, I don’t get stressed about much, except when I’m meeting heaps of new people. I appreciate that this shouldn’t be something stressful for me, but shouldn’t doesn’t change reality.
No matter what causes you to be stressed, here are some helpful pointers:
peace on the inside can help to mitigate external pressure: Jesus is our Prince of Peace, so it helps me to remember that His leadership in my heart brings peace
perspective: things change, time passes and you grow; rarely is stress a permanent state of being
past inventory: count up some things from the past that have been stressful and consider how God has helped you to overcome & resolve those challenges. God is the same today 🙂
Life can throw lots of awkward & unexpected things at us. Sometimes, we get a random phone call / text that is prickly. Or someone sends us a text that’s cryptic / unclear & easy to misunderstand. Or a co-worker / fellow student says something insensitive or stupid. It’s easy on these occasions to be reactive & do or say something we later regret.
So here are a few tips for awkward:
Pause – I usually wish I could retract my quick retorts.
Pray – a quiet &quick “HELP!!!!” is always a good instinct.
Preview – think about what you say, before you say it, to preview the possible responses / outcomes.
Who knew that a metatarsal was so important?!?!!!For that matter, who even knows what a metatarsal is???
And this is exactly my point. If you’ve ever broken your toe, you’ll know that a metatarsal (toe bone) is super important & helpful for ambulatory ease ,)
Translation: if you want to walk without pain, don’t break your toe!
The same principle holds true in the Body of Christ. Every person is important & plays a vital role, regardless of how visible or invisible they may be. So let’s not compare ourselves to one another because we each play a unique & essential role. Some of us are spleens, eardrums, corneas, colons & clavicles. If you’re a neuron, you’re every bit as vital as a duodenum, albeit entirely different.
Let’s never belittle nor minimize our place or the role others play throughout the Body of Christ!You’re essential!!
Have you seen those gadgets that look like big pocket knives, but they have various configurations of tools? Depending on the size of the tool, these contraptions can have screwdrivers, miniature hammers, awls, scissors, files, corkscrews & stuff that is totally baffling to me. Since I’m not into keeping tools easily accessible, I don’t carry around this kind of thing, although I admit it could be useful.
With this idea, let’s consider that genuine love is the multi-tool perfectly suited for our relationships, regardless of the depth, length or intensity of the relationship. Here are some of the specific applications that we can use everyday with genuine love as our relationship multi-tool:
patience, endurance, stability, faithfulness – these come in handy when you’d rather jet or quit
forgiveness, always hoping, believing the best – these are useful for those sharp exchanges & misunderstandings that happen from time to time
kind, encouraging, celebrating truth – great tools to build up the other person without being fake
selfless, generous – super helpful when we need to go the extra mile
celebrating righteousness & being protective – keeping a relationship clean & clear from fleshly clutter is essential to maintaining healthy interactions
Be sure to keep genuine love as your top priority in your relationships!
Whenever I travel to Africa, I’m reminded about the benefits of stability for the sake of progress. At the same time, let’s be careful not to get so comfortable with stability & equilibrium such that we stop growing.
Jesus often upset the Apple cart / status quo. He literally overturned the money changers tables in the temple. He defied the religious leaders of His day. He loved with an extravagance that was unnerving to many observers.
Here are some ideas to consider that you could consider personally with Apple cart upsetting:
Pursue Spiritual Gifts to be integrated into your daily living.
Love when its inconvenient.
Consider being generous with words / finances that isn’t within your normal scheme.
“ . . . . just as also I have been fully known.”1 Cor 13:12
When I think about who I am & who I present myself to be, I want to think that there’s no discrepancy. But sometimes there is. It’s not uncommon for us to be in a situation & moderate ourselves to be situation appropriate. There’s some wisdom with these kinds of choices.
But I appreciate that we Jesus / Genuine Love, there’s no need to modify or regulate who we are. Indeed, no one knows us better than Jesus & being anything less than fully transparent w Him is a tragic distortion of intimacy. And even worse, we miss experiencing genuine love. And in full truth, we are made for genuine love – to be loved & fully known, as well as knowing & fully loving Jesus.
“If I’m smart, I’ll be important.”When I was growing up, I used to think this. Consequently, I thought that college degrees where the golden ticket to being valuable & respected. And then I met some college professors who were nothing short of thoroughly brilliant, but didn’t have much voice nor impact.
Sometimes, I don’t think we stop to think about what we want & when we get our desires, we can be disappointed or unfulfilled. For this reason, we would be wise to pray that God would direct our desires & Help is to walk in truth. Such praying can help us to not pursue futile goals nor disappointing outcomes!
I’m presently riding through what seems to be a desert in Arizona, disappointed that there’s no In-n-Out burger stand anywhere on the horizon. It looks barren & desolate with little tufts of gray foliage scraggling it’s way on the endless sand, to the end of the horizon.
For some folk, this vista is austere beauty in perfection. For others, the seeming absence of life & vacancy is nothing but unattractive.
And I’m grateful that God has made not only this austere beauty along with rainforests & snowcapped mountains. Equally true is that God has made you beautiful & you’re highly desirable to Him, regardless of how your look, your talents or inadequacies, etc. You are never ugly nor repulsive to God!!
I recently watched the NBA championship series between the Cavaliers & Warriors. Both teams have very different styles & it’s easy to find strong proponents for each style. There are heaps of folk who rightfully admire LeBron James, for the Cavs & heaps of folk who like the point spread among several players for the Warriors.
Personally, I tend to admire the teamwork style of play over more of the superstar style.With that said, I’ve been thinking about my distaste for styles that are different than my preference. And I’ve come to this conclusion: God has made each of us in unique & wonderful ways. Some individuals are wired up for massive individual achievements & some are wired up for the team approach. Being hostile & acrimonious against styles we don’t like can show not just a bias but also the refusal to grow & respect others who are different than ourselves.
With this line of thinking, I would suggest that Paul is a phenomenal NT example of a massively high achiever, who valued Help along his various journeys. Maybe Barnabas would be an example of a team player, looking to include as many teammates as he possibly could throughout his life. Both men had unique gifts, contributions & value to add to God’s kingdom. Let’s be careful to respect others who have different giftings rather than belittle & deride them for not being like us 🙂
This is a common phrase that I hearwhen someone wants to acknowledge a difference & not be excessively hostile. In general, I like the premise of this phrase, but it unravels quickly when the other person oversteps their personhood & begins trampling on you.
For example, even though Joseph had expressed clear limits to Potiphar’s wife, she exceeded his boundary & tried to force him to have sex with her. This turned out bad for Joseph, even though he did the right thing. While we may try to be respectful & do the right thing, not everyone follows those same convictions. And if things go south for you, like they did for Joseph, you can rest assured that God works everything to our good, as we keep loving God & stay true to His purposes. Just some food for thought for your wonderful weekend 🙂