A fourteen hour day can feel kind of overwhelming & sometimes we have long days, overflowing with demands & activities. Modern living pressures us to stuff our days to the gills so that the more we get done, the better we feel and the more significant we are. Consequently, the idea of a Sabbath flies in the face of the modern lifestyle.
Nevertheless, God instituted a day of rest in each week as one of the 10 Commandments, so it’s on the same level of importance as not murdering, loving God, etc. And I’m writing this blog, maybe to myself more than anyone else because I’m on a gerbil wheel with overflowing days and more work than time. When we keep time and fellowship with God as our top priority, then the speed of life won’t result in a trainwreck 🙂
Did you make some resolutions for 2017? How’re doing on keeping them? It takes some definite commitment to hold onto these resolutions & seem them become reality. Indeed, sometimes we can fall short on our resolutions. But here’s something that can be helpful: celebrate the incremental victories to keep up some momentum & continue making progress!
Consider what David said to Saul in relation to killing Goliath: I killed a bear & I killed a lion, so this giant will be like those vanquished foes! David strung together seemingly smaller victories to encourage himself about conquering Goliath!
Let’s remember to applaud the steps & not just the destination, lest we get discouraged on the journey & quit.
Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who’s made some resolutions for this year to encourage & applaud each victory, no matter how small it may seem!
Last night, the Grammys were awarded to lots of very talented people who have achieved some incredible things, some admirable & noteworthy. Despite all of these accomplishments, let’s remember what’s even more important than achievements – people. People are important because they’re people and not only for what they can achieve. So here are some ideas to affirm & encourage people in your life today:
tell someone why you like them in relation to their character – I like that you’re: compassionate, patient, passionate, creative, fun, thoughtful, etc
be liberal with compliments & stingy with criticisms
look for ways to encourage someone: I saw that you went the extra mile; I see that you’re trying to improve in this area, I appreciate your creativity, etc
affirm differences rather than shaming for conformity 🙂
let the Holy Spirit encourage you today & this can help us encourage people around us!
I’m currently reading the book of Nehemiah & I was encouraged this morning when I read about Nehemiah’s reaction to his enemies (Sanballat & Tobia) when they severaly opposed Nehemiah & the Jews. Instead of quitting, Nehemiah split up the people & let half of them keeping working to repair the wall & posted the other half to protect those who were working on the wall. By splitting up his work force into 2 groups, he probably lengthened the time it took to finish the project, but my point is that he didn’t quit. They kept working, even though their progress slowed down, but they didn’t quit.
I’ve been thinking lately about some things that I want – not cars, clothes or temporary stuff. Sometimes I think we can get trapped in our desires for popularity, wealth & achievements. If we aren’t careful, we can easily make this mistake:
popularity = importance
wealth = value
achievements = significance
Unfortunately, I think it’s easy to get focused on the wrong goals (popularity, wealth & achievements) and never really understand that we are already important, valuable & significant because of Jesus’ love for us.
You are valuable. You are important. You are significant. All because Jesus loves you, full stop.
The guy at Starbucks just did a good job encouraging me to buy some food to go w my coffee, telling me that the latest research proves that we need to eat 5 small meals a day for optimum health – of course my mind immediately goes to Angola with saving Moses and the hunger that I often see there.
But I think that all of us are fundamentally hungry for God. I think if we strip away all of our achievements, relationships, wealth, looks, etc, when we are just ourselves, we are designed to crave our Creator. Yes, I’m hungry but I understand that the hunger of my heart isn’t to look better, to increase my popularity, nor expand my wealth of achievements. At ground zero, we are all hungry for God & His presence in our lives. Recognizing this hunger will increase our potential to live a very fulfilling life 🙂
As we finish up 2011, many of us will take a few minutes to reflect on the events of this year & possibly consider some plans / thoughts for 2012. Sometimes its easy to get stuck on the past, but something that helps me to keep moving forward is to be thankful – thankful for the events that have helped me grow, thankful for the relationships that have encouraged me to love more genuinely, thankful for the achievements that couldn’t have happened without God’s help & more!
Another thing that helps me to grow is to not always think of the massive projects that I want to accomplish, but to rather think of things in smaller sizes. I most certainly have REALLY BIG DREAMS in my heart & if I’m not careful, the size of these dreams can be overwhelming. But when I consider these dreams on a day-by-day basis, making little steps toward these dreams on a daily basis, they’re not so overpowering. Indeed, perhaps the journey is equally as important to God as the destination. Happy New Year!!
I’ve never been too afraid of adventures – my normal way of living goes as follows: if i’ve never done something before, let’s give it a try & see what happens! Because of this strategy, i’ve tried my hand at making bread, generally learned to bake a chix (yes, I’ve made progress from my last blog), paragliding in China, picked up snowboarding in my late 30s, learned some basic NT Greek, honed my crossing guard skills, spoken in more than 30 different countries & I even enjoy eating durian (google for more info), among many other things.
Some of these things may sound pretty cool to you, but let me tell you the mistakes that went with these adventures:
burned countless bread attempts
more than 10 yrs of baked chix attempts,
dislocated my shoulder while paragliding,
got a concussion through my helmet while learning to snowboard
Greek – lets just say i’m still learning
i didn’t tell you about the parents who have almost hit me while doing traffic, despite wearing my bright orange safety vest 😉
learning to speak w a translator has had more than a few comical & embarassing moments
durian – that’s altogether its own topic
Here’s my point: take some risks, make mistakes, learn & grow. Life can be full of “whoops”, but they usually precede some really cool things if you just stick w it!!!