I changed my plans for today at the last minute. I was going to go snowboarding, but decided that there are more pressing needs at home than my snowboarding interests.
In 1Samuel 13, Saul changed his plans as well. He & Samuel made a plan to make a sacrifice together but he got scared & offered the sacrifice without Samuel. This was a major downfall for Saul & Samuel explained shortly after Saul’s fearful decision, that God had sought out a different leader for Israel, a man after His heart (1San 13:14).
Saul changed the plan he had made with Samuel because he was afraid of his enemy, the Philistines, & saw the Israelite’ support of his leadership rapidly eroding.
While I’m a massive advocate of flexible planning, I’m growing to appreciate the importance of keeping God’s goals as unchanging piers to anchor my soul, regardless of my environs, feelings or selfish preferences.
God’s goals always related to genuine love & connecting humanity to God’s heart in deep intimacy. Let’s be sure that we keep God’s plans more central to our choices rather than our selfish interests, including my snowboarding plans 🙂
My husband & I use different routes for driving our kids to their various activities. Normally, I think my way is better: faster, less traffic, etc. Today, I see that I’m wrong. The route he uses is far superior to my way & I could’ve learned this much sooner had I not been so obstinate.
This seems to ring true between the Holy Spirit & me as well. How many times have I stayed glued to my methods & plans only to learn the hard way that the Holy Spirit always has better ways than me. Let’s live in the reality of Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s ways are always the upgrade!!
What are you planning for your vacation this year? Are you going to do the regular stuff: pools, driving, sunburns, etc? Why not try something new?
Here’s a cool idea: come with me to Cambodia & make a vacation that you’ll never FORGET! I’m taking a small group with Saving Moses to help with our nightcare work in Phnom Penh. The cool stuff you’ll get to do includes:
experiencing a new & incredible culture,
meet babies & toddlers who will steal you heart,
do some cleaning, painting & renovating with our centers,
meet Jesus in the faces of desperate people
Let’s make your vacation this year something fresh, unique & possibly life changing!!
“I know I’m supposed to be the King.” I think David thought this innumerable times in the 10+ years he ran from Saul. He was anointed by Samuel to be king & even Saul’s son Jonathan told David that he would be king. But the years kept passing & David kept running, just to stay alive. At one point, it looks like David gives up on the king thing when he moves to Philistine territory & begins serving that king. And it gets worse when David & his men return to their town, Ziklag, having been rejected by the Philistine leaders, to find their town burned & everyone carried away. Even Davids men talked of killing him, at this point. But David encouraged himself in the Lord, 1 Sam 30:6.
Through a quick series of events after this extremely low point, David was firmly on the path to becoming the King of Judah & ultimately Israel.
Sometimes when we know something from God in our hearts:
We can get impatient to make it happen.
We can get frustrated with the delays.
We may even want to quit, move away & change our name, a little bit like David.
But let’s keep walking the path that God sets in front of us, in faithful obedience & yielding to the process that will transform us in the ways we desperately need but frequently fight.
Looking at this picture, you would likely tell me to fix it & turn it around since it looks like Jesus is upside down. However, sometimes I think the Holy Spirit wants to turn us up on end so we be right side up, based on the Holy Spirit’s perspective. Some areas where we might need some adjusting could include:
Money: getting is never as blessed as giving
Time: sometimes I need to remember that prayer can be the key for productive rather than staying busy
Mercy: being judgmental appealing to our flesh, mercy wins with Jesus!
Leadership: serving is the model Jesus gave us if we’re going to be the Jesus-kind of leader
Normally, the day before Thanksgiving our family goes skiing since we live fairly close to some epic vertical. But alas, today we are electing for the flatland because there’s almost no snow & the few runs that are open don’t tempt us enough to take the plunge.
Seems to me that change can be challenging to navigate but we need to change for lots of reasons:
Change indicates that we’re alive & not moribund in static rigamortis
We don’t grow if we’re unwilling to change
Change affords new adventures, delights, joys & discoveries
Our souls stay supple when we are willing to change, letting God love through us more thoroughly
This is a picture of my new snowboard & the old one that I was using when I got the concussion. The old one still has the bindings on it l, waiting for me to canabalize it for my new lovely. My new snowboard & of course a new helmet are thoroughly fabulous & I’m eager to rip some runs with my new gear that has a concussion free guarantee. But alas, no such thing exists because everyone knows that the gear isn’t as essential as the user. If the user is reckless, then no gear can make the user invincible.
This point rings true across many mediums. We often want to blame a tool or inanimate object for our dysfunctions. We blame guns for killing people & not the people using the guns. We blame alcohol rather than the addict abusing the alcohol. We blame food for an eating disorder rather than face the broken person in the mirror. We try to earn more money or gain more success, erroneously thinking such acquisitions will assuage our insatiable appetite for significance & genuine love.
Let’s take a pause & consider: when we let the Holy Spirit lead us into truth, then we can live free from deception & destruction.
How I ride my snowboard is the defining factor more than the gear I use. And how I chose to ride speaks to who I am. Let’s be mindful to let the Holy Spirit change us on the inside so we stop being externally abusive 🙂
This weekend, we changed the furnace & vacuum filters. It’s good to change the filters from time to time & the vacuum filter was long overdue – no wonder the carpet has been messy!
Let’s think about this in relation as well to our mental filters. Sometimes we see things through filters that can be dirty, tainted, distorted & ineffective. Consequently, our perspective is messed up & we can make dysfunctional decisions & carry on with messed up conversations / mindsets
Let’s be sure that we follow the Holy Spirit in truth. Maybe it’s time to let the Holy Spirit challenge your mental filters so that life works better & isn’t quite so messy!
Sometimes I’m smart, but more times I’m a dingbat. I forget stuff, don’t pay attention well, I’m insensitive & definitely say dumb stuff from time to time. But I deeply appreciate God’s grace.
Indeed, God’s face redeems my dingbat & makes it into something good & helpful! When I try to camouflage my dingbat actions, it usually backfires & makes things worse. So i figures that I have a divine treasure in this earthen vessel (2Cor 4;7), being conformed to the image of Jesus through God’s grace & the redeeming help of the Holy Spirit!
In Romans 12, Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world but rather transformed by renewing our minds. I really like this verse because I’m not very good at conforming, or so I think. I want to think that I march to the heartbeat of the Holy Spirit & that my decisions are grounded in the love of God. But the key to these goals is living from a transformed mind. Indeed, our thoughts are the battlefield for what comes out of our mouths & the decisions we make with our time, money & energy.
Being conformed to the world around us isn’t nearly as important as being transformed by Holy Spirit’s presence within us!
Some questions to consider over this holiday weekend:
In what ways have you possibly cloned to the world around you?
In what ways do your thoughts need to be transformed?
How can we better allow God’s love to influence our decisions, conversations & mindset?
I like to improve in whatever I do. So when I was learning to snowboard, I took lessons to get better. When I was cooking skewers, I wanted my veggies to be as tasty as the meat, so I learned to marinate the veggies & not just the meat. I think life should be an ongoing improvement process & that can be fun!
And sometimes not.
Sometimes the process for improving includes correction & that’s a tricky path to navigate. It can be difficult for lots of reasons, but how we receive correction is an essential ingredient for growing & improvement. Here are a few helpful ideas about receiving correction
Choose to see the input as an investment rather than a put down
Don’t deflect correction – process it & get the best out of it
Change – correction without change is wasted energy
“Where is Jo-Jo?” I’d circled through the stark malnutrition clinic in Angola with Saving Moses, looking for the struggling little baby that I’d met just before we took a break for lunch. I remembered seeing Jo-Jo’s mom: she was extremely tired and her nerves were obviously frayed. But I was hopeful for Jo-Jo, since she was in our clinic now and could receive some medical care and a steady supply of the malnutrition formula that has kept literally thousands of babies from dying.
I talked with my friends about Jo-Jo over lunch and I was eager return to the clinic and encourage her mom that we would do our level best to help her frail daughter to survive and even thrive. I walked through our clinic again, slower this time, looking for little Jo-Jo in her bright red shirt. I couldn’t find her so I asked our translator to check in with the nurse to see where Jo-Jo was. “Her mom took her and left,” was the nurse’s reply. “We have to find her! She doesn’t stand a chance of surviving without our help! Where’s her file, find her address, call the phone number, let’s go to her house, let DO SOMETHING!!!” I was really upset and I could tell the nurse was also very disturbed. We looked at Jo-Jo’s chart, found a phone number and only the name of the neighborhood where she lived, since Angola doesn’t use an address system like we do in the US. There was no chance of finding her in the neighborhood listed, it was HUGE. When we called the number listed on the chart, there was no answer. So how could we keep trying to find Jo-Jo? Could we send someone to her neighborhood in the very remote chance we’d find her?
We did this and we kept calling the phone number, but we never found Jo-Jo and given the extremely frail state of her little body, I would suppose that she died. This has really bothered me for a very long time because Jo-Jo’s mom seemed to have given up all hope for her daughter to live. What kind of hell does a mom go through to get to the point of giving up hope for her baby to live? Could I have been more sensitive to the mom’s exhausted state? What would I do differently in this situation for the future?
Some things are deeply disturbing and this is probably a good thing because such experiences can interrupt our comfortable living and provoke us to bring genuine love and life to the world in which we live. Let’s keep looking for ways to let God love the world through us.
Do you know someone in a transition time or find yourself in a season of change? Maybe you’re experiencing a transition in your job, your kids might be going back to school so, you might be starting school yourself or you could be experiencing a variety of other changes. Seems to me that life is more about change than not changing – the goal is to navigate change to be good & not harmful. Here are some ideas that could help:
Focus: keep your eyes on Jesus full stop; change can be overwhelming when we don’t keep our heart set on knowing Jesus more no matter what we might be going through
Flexible: sometimes changes force us to reshuffle our priorities & adapt to new situations & ways. Being rigid doesn’t help facilitate the adapting we might have to do
Fun: keep some levity around you; a healthy sense of humor can help change be less traumatic
My dad always said, “Every change with Jesus is a change for the better.” Sometimes in the middle of change its difficult to feel like it’s positive, but let’s trust that Jesus is the author & perfecter of our faith, helping us in every change!
Have you ever made a plan only to find it go array? I have a friend who set a long term goal, worked diligently toward that goal for many years & now it seems like their efforts have completely unraveled & failed. Of course this can be super discouraging & when this kind of thing happens, we find ourselves on shaky footing & uncertain where to go or what to do.
So what should we do when our plans go array? Here are a few suggestions:
Step back & re-evaluate: sometimes a perspective adjustment can help us see a broader point of view & thereby improve our decisions
Seek God: if a crisis makes us seek God more than the crisis is good; if we don’t seek God more in a crisis, then the crisis can get infinitely worse
Who am I? A crisis often forces us to look at ourselves with greater clarity & objectivity. In this pause, the Holy Spirit can work on our character & shape us to be more Christ-like
Keep going & growing: don’t let detoured plans poison your thinking into quitting. Get up, brush yourself off, learn & keep going.
Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know that could be going through a course correction season 🙂
I’m deeply in love with Jesus, full stop. There are times, however, that I’m not so whippy on some of the things Jesus says & does. This used to rankle me, until I started thinking about Peter. One day in my prayer time, the Holy Spirit walked me through the various times & ways that Peter disagreed with Jesus:
At the very beginning when he told Jesus to leave him because he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8, after Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach a sermon to a crowd along the lakeshore).
A little later, even though Peter walked on the water to Jesus in Matt 14:30-31, Jesus reprimanded Peter for his doubt from watching the winds & waves & sinking into the water.
In Matt 16:22, Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about His upcoming death. This seems pretty audacious to me, considering that Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ / Messiah.
Peter again argues with Jesus on the whole betrayal thing at the last supper in Matt 26:33-35.
Peter disagrees with God with the heavenly vision in Acts 10:11-19 about eating unclean animals & preaching Jesus to the Gentiles.
Seems to me that it doesn’t make Jesus bite His nails when we disagree with Him, but let’s be abundantly clear that no matter what our opinion may be, Jesus has the final say, full stop. So let’s keep loving Jesus, even when we disagree with Him, from time to time 🙂
“I am the greatest!” I heard Muhammed Ali say this when I was a little girl & I was really put off by his words. I remember thinking, “Why would a person be so obviously prideful? Did he really say that?” Then I watched him on TV and sure enough, he said it all the time with total conviction. Someone explained to me at that time that he was using his words to intimidate his opponents and a winning mindset creates winning outcomes. Once I understood the reasons Muhammed Ali said, “I am the greatest” then it made sense why he would make such a bold claim.
But as a little girl, even though I could understand the reasoning for such audacity, I always thought to myself, “No one but Jesus is the greatest.”
Being an amazing boxer doesn’t make a person the greatest.
Being crazy intelligent doesn’t make a person the greatest.
Being hyper rich doesn’t make a person the greatest.
Being drop dead gorgeous doesn’t make a person the greatest.
According to Jesus, the greatest person is the servant of all. Let’s align our lives with Jesus’ teachings and not fall for flesh fallacies.
Several weeks ago, I sustained a concussion from a snowboarding accident. I’m learning that a concussion is an entirely different recovery process than the dislocated shoulder problem from last year’s snowboarding fun. In the grand scheme of things, the shoulder thing seemed to get fixed faster than this concussion stuff. When you think about it, that makes sense because a concussion is an injury to the brain & most of us use our brains a lot, even when we don’t realize it. This is all to say that I’m a quick fix kind of person & I don’t relish a slow nor tedious recovery process. I think most of us can often think in quick fix terms: We want a quick resolution to our finances, an overnight solution to an addiction we might struggle with, or a fast answer to the summer swim suit challenge.
While I totally know that Jesus can do the quick fix miracle, there’s immeasurable value in settling into a mindset of following Jesus as a lifestyle. Jesus wants us to be disciples & not merely converts or consumers. Seems to me that being a follower of Jesus is a steady diet of daily surrender more than an erratic transaction for consumer purposes. Maybe we start out with Jesus in a quick fix relationship, but let’s commit to growing deeper & in love with Jesus more & more 🙂
I love this quote from a dad who was asking Jesus to heal his son. Jesus says to the dad that all things are possible to him who believes. The dad’s reply sounds like something I’d say, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
For me, believing is often easier said than done. I can talk all day about believing God, trusting in God, having faith, etc, but when the rubber hits the road, sometimes I struggle with the believing thing. Of course I want to believe, so the desire is solid. But the actual believing is often where I fall short. When I think about why I struggle with believing, it’s mostly because of either past experiences or my brain goes into skeptical mode. So I deeply appreciate this dad’s honest words with Jesus, “Help my unbelief”. Like me, he’s saying that he wants to believe, but it’s a hurdle and he needs help to overcome this hurdle.
Here are some pointers for overcoming unbelief:
be truthful: hiding or cloaking unbelief is counterproductive, but bringing our weaknesses to Jesus is where strength starts
ask for Help! Since the Holy Spirit is our Helper, seems like a good idea to give the Helper access to the places of unbelief with which we struggle.
Jude 20 says that we build up our faith when we pray in the Spirit #selah
let’s remember that faith works by love, so the absence of love could be the catalyst for our unbelief #selah
Let’s decide that there is no unbelief in our lives that cannot be transformed into a place of strong faith!
Do you need some big changes in your life? Do you know anyone who needs some big changes? This quick blog could be super helpful!
Sometimes, it’s the “small” things that create big changes. For example, I read this morning in Acts 13 about how there was a prayer meeting where the Holy Spirit prompted the participants to lay hands on 2 guys & send them out. The 2 guys were Paul & Barnabas & this prayer meeting was the beginning of their missions ministry. Out of this prayer meeting, thousands of people were reached for Jesus, two continents heard the Gospel & numerous churches were planted. I’d say that from this prayer meeting, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit monumental changes were launched.
Never belittle the power of prayer nor the leading of the Holy Spirit to affect big changes in your life!
To help you know the Holy Spirit better, grab a copy of my book Heavenly Help!
Most often, life feels like it happens in the middle of a chapter with some slow plot development, an occasional conflict & some mundane pick & shovel daily living. Then there are seasons when God turns the page & begins a new chapter. When the chapter turns, we can be sad to say goodbye to the preceding season & excited to embrace something new.
No matter where you’re at in life’s journey, the best part is knowing that the Holy Spirit is always with us, in the ups & downs, twists, mundane & majestic. So let’s keep our focus on the Helper regardless of the season in which we find ourselves. This fellowship makes any journey vibrant, bearable & fruitful 🙂