“And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.” 2 Kings 4:34-35
When I read these verses about Elisha raising this boy from the dead, what Elisha did sounds really strange to me, but I certainly celebrate the outcome! Weird actions in contrast to resurrection outcomes cause me to pause & reflect. Far too often, I’m quick to dismiss or reject stuff that makes me squeamish just to concentrate on the cool outcomes that I like. Do you ever find yourself making the same kind of decision?
Regardless of your answer, I’m entirely certain that the mother of the boy who was raised from the dead didn’t mind the method Elisha used to resurrect her son. Sometimes God’s methods can make us squeamish, but let’s never belittle nor dismiss God’s motives (genuine love) nor the outcomes, for the sake of being more comfortable & less squeamish 🙂
Recently, I went snowboarding with the men in my family and had a wonderful time, minus the crowded lift lines. The sun was out, snow was pretty good, it wasn’t too cold and I stayed warm throughout the day (except for getting some snow down my pants). The toxic desire part, however, happens for me when I want to keep the same speed as my teenage sons. They have been skiing for more than ten years and they’re very proficient and fast. The problem is that I also like to go really fastand watching them jet ahead of me, is like throwing down the gauntlet with an irresistable challenge. But alas, from innumerable injuries that need no details here, I’ve concluded that snowboarding as fast as my teenage sons isn’t good for my health, regardless of what I want.
So let’s remember that not all of our desires come from God (Ps 37:4) and let’s stay mindful not to allow the toxic desires to override common sense and obedience to God’s Word 🙂
We’re rapidly coming to the end of this year & I’m sure this year has had some ups & downs for you – hopefully more ups than downs. Something I’d strongly encourage you to consider is saying goodbye to some things that are not helpful. There’s no sense in bringing unnecessary & unhelpful luggage into 2018. So this weekend is the prime opportunity to say goodbye & begin a fresh start. Here are some ideas for goodbyes:
hurts by forgiving,
unhealthy routines (replace w something constructive),
spending money / time in non-constructive ways,
negative mindsets / perspectives.
The only way that I can see me making these changes is by letting the Holy Spirit help me. Maybe that’s also true for you!! Feel free to pick up my newest book on the Holy Spirit to help you make a fresh start in 2018!
As much as I don’t want to admit this, I’m concerned that I have a disturbing pattern in my life: leaving things half done :/
While I don’t leave everything half done, there are definitely things that I don’t finish, such as: not completing my bookshelf project, starting innumerable books but not finishing them, doing half of the ironing, writing part of a story, etc. Of course this could be very discouraging if I let myself quagmire in this awareness, but I have a fail-safe solution: God doesn’t quit!
In Philippians 1:6 it says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Be encouraged that you’re a masterpiece in the making & the Holy Spirit is continuing to shape & grow you, never quitting, getting discouraged or giving up on you! God’s not finished!
Hard circumstances, unknown terrain, impossible journeys – these are all things in which God specializes. As you read this, maybe you’re in a financial crisis & Christmas looks impossible; maybe you’ve received a medical report that’s disturbing; maybe you have some toxic relational challenges that seem to be never ending; maybe you’re discouraged or depressed; maybe you have some work or school difficulties that are bigger than your abilities, time or energy.
Be encouraged today, that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Remind yourself of how God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt:
providing a leader, Moses, who was educated & committed to their freedom
supernatural signs & wonders (10 Plagues) to break the slavery bondage
Passover to establish the relationship between God & the nation of Israel
plundering the Egyptians when the Israelites walked out of Egypt
split the Red Sea & drowning the enemies who were intent on dragging the Israelites back into slavery
God did lots more when He liberated the Israelites, so be encouraged that you’re not in a situation that exceeds God’s ability to transform nor redeem! Feel free to share this with your friends to encouage them as well!
Tis The season for the flu vaccine – not like I’m on board for more needling. And this is because I stay super current with my vaccinations due to my international work with Saving Moses – yellow fever, typhus, hepatitis, malaria, etc.
Let’s think in terms, however, of truth being our vaccination against deception. It’s the truth on the inside that will protect us from the lies & distortion on the outside. This is true except for a giant intrusion: when we allow deception to creep in our thoughts, emotions & attention. And without following the Holy Spirit into truth, we will have the deadly affects of deception rampant in our lives. Let’s stay vaccinated with the Spirit of Truth, so we don’t fall victim to the enemy, who is the father of lies!
It’s easy to be a spectator, watching from the sideline, making comments & suggestions. It’s an entirely different experience to participate rather than spectate. This principle rings true in all kinds of contexts:
attending church in contrast to being an active participant,
watching people struggle with problems in contrast to helping people with prayer & presence,
only reading the Bible rather than applying what the Bible says.
Let’s never forget that God put skin in the game for humanity by letting Jesus become God in the flesh. So let’s be sure that we continue to imitate Jesus in our daily living by being active conduits for God’s presence wherever we go & in whatever we do!
Today, I had a conflict with a TSA agent, on my journey to California. I’d like to give him a piece of my mind & I still find myself rather cranky with the people around me, as residual fallout from the interaction with the TSA dude. This is troubling to me because it shows me that there’s stuff inside me that’s not pretty. So even if I wear nice clothes, fix my hair, accessorize & beautify with makeup, there’s still ugly on the inside.
The Ugly inside me includes impatience, unforgiveness, pride, . . . .
So I’m choosing to let the Holy Spirit confront me as I wait in this long line & I’m confident that things will get better in my thoughts, attitudes & conversations. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit is the way my flesh gets deflated & genuine love gets energized 🙂
be sure to grab my best book, In Step with the Spirit! It’s really helpful in the daily walk with the Hrlper!
Have an awesome weekend!
Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years. I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality. So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work? Then what?
In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e, the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing. It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question: why plan?
When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:
plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams. No planning = no progress
planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
Take a minute to order a copy of my newest book that can help you to stay
Our church building is in the process of moving locations & it’s an interesting experience living in this “half-way between” place. I feel like I’m in limbo a little bit because of the new place not being entirely settled & some of my stuff is still in the old place. Furthermore, I have lots of memories associated with the old building & no memories or notable experiences yet with the new building. We are also still having services in the old building, but the new building now houses all of our offices, so that’s where we do the day to day work during the weekdays.
This reminds me of what Paul says in 2Cor 5:17 about being in Christ & a new creature with the old things having passed away and new things have come. There are times and experiences when I find myself living in my old, flesh nature, even though I know in my heart that I’m a new creation in Christ. Let’s continue to move into and occupy our new nature that Jesus has purchased for us. Here are a few possibly helpful ideas to consider:
don’t bring the old furnishings to the new creation: stuff that’s broken & dysfunctional doesn’t need to continue in our new nature living.
celebrate and embrace: be sure to celebrate & honor the past, but wholly & fully embrace the new creation / nature that Jesus has for you now!
keep moving into the new creation: there were a few weeks when I procrastinated moving stuff out of the old building for various reasons. From this lesson, I’m learning that it’s important to keep looking & moving toward the new creation that Jesus has made me to be.
Feel free to pass this along to your friends / family who are navigating this journey to be more & more like Jesus!
PS – here’s my latest youtube video that’s short, fun & encouraging!
Jesus left a crowd of people where He was appreciated and valued so He could help a raving lunatic. In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a man who was completely undone and thoroughly tormented by loads of demons. He was demon possessed and was living a very tortured, painful and isolated life. When he was described in these verses, I was deeply moved by his tragic existence. He would roam the tombs & mountains with no human contact, gashing himself, screaming and unclothed with no hope of reprieve or help – until Jesus came.
When we come across people in our lives who are broken, hurting, dysfunctional, crazy, hostile, erratic and even barbaric, let’s be willing to see past these descriptions and difficulties to see a human in need of love and redemption. Let’s remember that the enemy of humanity is seeking to torture, deceive and destroy humans in any way possible. On the other side, Jesus wants to work through us to bring love, healing and redemption! Let’s make sure we stay on Jesus’ side 🙂
I’ve come to realize that the stuff God asks me to do requires God’s help. Whenever I try to do God’s assignments without God’s help, I fall short. In this learning adventure, I’m also realizing that when I say, “I can’t”, it’s usually rooted in, “I won’t”. The difference between can’t & won’t relates to both ability & willingness.
So when God asks us to do something that we lack the ability to accomplish, let’s be careful not to be unwilling. The right answer to God is, “With Your help, I’m willing & I’ll try!” Let’s have a willing heart to walk in the Spirit!
We spend our days in limited & concrete terms. We live by schedules, deadlines, physical boundaries & financial constraints to say nothing of the limits in our thoughts & emotions.
But I keep sensing the Holy Spirit challenging my thoughts & limits – most of all in my perspective. I am coming to see that lots of my thinking reflects stuff from my past that I’ve perceived through faulty & flawed filters. What I keep experiencing is open doors in ways that I never anticipated & they’re wonderfully surprising! Let’s keep these verses in the front of our thoughts & emotions:
1 Cor 2:9-10, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”
Yesterday, the transmission in our rental van broke causing us to adjust our plans for an entire day of our family vacation. My husband was a major champion working with the rental company to get a replacement van & this was no small task. In the meantime, the kids took some time to relax, do a bit of school reading & we caught a movie at the local theatre. For me, I had the immense pleasure of catching up with a friend from high school. We talking deeply about the Bible & God’s work in our lives.
If we give our lives to Jesus, then it’s essential to hold loosely to our plans & goals, so that we can have some adventures that are led by the Holy Spirit & not just our human agendas & strategies. God’s surprises far exceed our best plans!
This is a picture from an incredible waterfall in Yellowstone, as well as a strolling bison 🙂
I’ve been reading about Peter in the gospel of Matthew. It seems like his interactions with Jesus go from correction to correction, with some accompanying “atta boy’s”.
For example, despite walking in the water to Jesus, he gets corrected by Jesus for his “little faith” when he gets afraid.
Then, when he identifies Jesus as God’s Son, on the heels of Jesus’ applause, he tries to change Jesus’ mind about going to the cross. Peter gets reprimanded for having his mind on the human rather than divine.
Finally, in Jesus’ transfiguration, Peter suggests making 3 tents to honor Jesus, Elijah & Moses. The voice from the cloud tells him to quit talking & listen to Jesus, Sarah paraphrase.
With great revelation comes the equal quantity / quality of correction. If we aren’t teachable, perhaps that’s why we don’t have great revelation or supernatural experiences. Something to consider over this Father’s Day weekend!
HELP!!!! I have three children & from time to time, I get these texts, calls & messages. Most of the time, they need me to drive them somewhere, buy them something or listen for venting purposes. One of the things I’m learning is to think about solutions that are internal rather than external.
It seems to me that it’s a common perception that our needs & struggles are externally resolved when the real solution lies on the inside with how we see & think about things.
Here are some things to consider:
Do I not like my neighbor because they look successful or because I’m insecure?
Is that co-worker really that obnoxious or are my internal judgements looking for reasons to justify my cold disdain?
Does that person get under your skin because they touch the internal hotspots that need divine attention & healing?
Before we think in terms of external solutions, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to adjust our internal assumptions.
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.”
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!!