Change the Filters

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!

Old and Mature

Does age equal maturity?

I was talking with a friend this weekend about being mature.  He made a comment that settled into my mind for lots of thinking.  He made the statement that being an “older Christian” was the same as being a “mature Christian”.  This is where I paused to think.  I started to think about what it means to be a mature Christian and I thought about this in light of knowing lots of folk who have been Christians for multiple decades.  Does time equal maturity?

If time and age don’t equal mature, what does it mean to be a mature follower of Jesus?  Here’s a short answer: a person who is more & more Christlike is an increasingly mature follower of Jesus.  If you’d like to ruminate on some sturdy ruffage on this topic, consider taking some time to read & digest Hebrew 5:11-6:8 🙂

Let’s endeavor to be not only aged followers of Jesus, but more importantly mature believers, full of Christlike fruit in our daily living 🙂

What Trumps Judgment?

 

I’ve been around the church world for most of my life, so I’ve met some very interesting people, seen unusual things and experienced a plethora of human and supernatural events.  Many people in the church world are nothing less than pure pleasure and altogether phenomenal.  Some people, not so much and that’s the rub.

It seems that we want Christians to be consistently kind, loving and prefect.  When we get to heaven, I’m sure our flaws and foibles will be smoothed out, along with our dysfunctions, shortfalls and sins.  In the meantime, how should we deal with being judgmental, hostility & intolerance, not only in the church, but also in the world where we live?

This morning, I read James 2:15 and the end of the verse was a sobering confrontation for me in how I deal with the judgmental stuff:  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Of course I want all the mercy I can get, but I would be wise to be liberal with mercy because judgment has a way of coming back like an abrasive and hurtful boomerang 🙂

Some food for thought in the middle of our week 🙂

hot topic: gun control

Last week, a gunman killed more than 10 people at a small community college in Oregon & there’s been a  renewed outcry for greater gun control in the US.  For Americans, this is a difficult quandary for lots of reasons, including something about the right to bear arms, somewhere in our Bill of Rights.

Whether you agree or disagree with gun control, I think that it’s worthwhile to consider that the gun user is most likely more dangerous than the gun.  And for that matter, let’s take an even bigger step back & think about how frequently we might use our mouths to shoot up another person’s character, mock their personality or magnify their mistakes.

It’s easy to point the gun, so to speak, at someone else.  But let’s be sure that our words, character and actions reflect Jesus, if we claim to be His follower 🙂

Fools Gold

When I was growing up, I learned about the Gold Rush & how some people were tricked by “Fools Gold”, thinking they’d found gold only to be disappointed that the shiny metal was nothing more than shiny metal. 

This lesson is speaking to me again here in Angola, where Saving Moses has 6 malnutrition clinics.   Two of our clinics are less than an hour apart. The first clinic is very rustic, seemingly primitive & seems to lack even the bare essentials. The electricity has only been added in the last few years & whenever I hang out there, it almost feels like I’m camping, but our moms will live with their babies in this place for an average of 3-4 weeks in what we would consider primitive & seemingly uncivilized conditions at first glance. Some of the staff are frequently high school graduates interested in going into medical school so they get their feet wet, literally, starting at this malnutrition clinic. 
The second clinic, about an hours drive away, is a seemingly sharp contrast. It’s definitely a more modern building, adjacent to a medical school & staffed with medical students & health professionals running around in white lab coats. On the outside, it looks like it’s far more developed & we would often conclude more effective than the first clinic. 
But the reality is the opposite. The first clinic, albeit rustic, is highly regarded & well renowned for specializing in malnutrition. With our therapeutic milk, 80% of the babies in this clinic survive & grow to be healthy kids. In this seemingly backwater clinic, people will travel for literally hundreds of miles to get their babies to what they consider the best possible care to survive the ravages of malnutrition – all in a place that barely has running water. While the second clinic looks better appointed, it’s not as effective nor well regarded for its malnutrition work. 
Just because something looks shiny & bright on the outside doesn’t mean that it’s golden, effective & even healthy on the inside. Paul tells us in the New Testament not to be deceived by the external & what we see but rather to be led by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, attentive to the Spirit of Truth 🙂

contaminated water bottles

My husband went skiing this morning & just before he left, he asked if we had any un-contaminated water bottles.  The backstory on this is that I’ve had a cough for more than a week and have germified all of our water bottles.  I did some quick hygiene work (soap & boiling water) so he could take a few water bottles with him, contamination free ,)

All that is to say that sometimes we drink out of contaminated water bottles, figuratively speaking, when we pick up garbage from other people.  Here are some examples:

  • when someone is having a bad day & they do / say something rude to you, when you dish back their cranky there’s a good chance you drank from a contaminated water bottle
  • if you pick up a friend’s offense from a situation or conversation they describe to you, there’s a good chance you drank from a contaminated water bottle
  • if you bring a failure expectation into a current opportunity, there’s a good chance you drank from a contaminated water bottle
  • if you secretly hope that a person fails because you’re jealous, there’s a good chance you drank from a contaminated water bottle

There are lots of other examples for consideration, but let’s always remember to daily practice Prov 4:23, guarding our hearts, so we don’t let contamination get into our bloodstream or life 🙂

hot topic: get ready!

It seems like I spend a massive amount of energy, focus & time for Christmas:  food, parties, gifts, cleaning, prep, wrapping, cooking, concerts, etc all squeezed into 2-3 weeks of seemingly frenzied activities.  By the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to sing Handel Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus, kind of 🙂

Having come through another Christmas season, on the other side, I find myself in recovery mode:  less food, less activities, no wrapping, less cooking & lots of delightful cold, snow, quiet & still.  But in my own way, I’m also in prep mode because I’m praying for 2015 and continuing to listen and be attentive with what God has for the upcoming year.  We are on the cusp of turning the page on 2014 to begin a new chapter for 2015.  Let’s not enter 2015 as a leftover, wrung out rag from 2014.  Let’s seize the time, space and pause to not only nourish our souls but also to prepare us for the adventures that God has for us in 2015 🙂

Some prep ideas:

  • make a list of gratitudes from 2014 – reflecting on God’s amazing work & presence in your life over 2014
  • consider some places, situations, experiences that need some active forgiveness work (shortcomings, failures, idols, disobedience, etc)
  • take some time to maybe take a walk & listen to God – not only for what God has in store for 2015, but more importantly to be together
  • ask for the Holy Spirit to help you know the Helper better in 2015 than you have known in 2014 🙂

Happy New Year prep! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

More than meets the eye

I would venture to say that all of us have more to us than what a quick intro would reveal.  I have friends who are petite, gentle and gracious but you’d never know that they love to mash an opponent on the boards in the hockey rink.  I have other friends who look like they are the most physically fit person you’d ever meet but they are slowly ebbing into oblivion because of their heart is filled with unforgiveness, pain, bitterness and revenge – tragic beyond words.

When I think about Jesus, I’m always discovering more than meets the eye.  With Jesus, consider that when He was hanging on the cross, He appeared to be a poster child for loser & failure, but there’s so much more than what meets the eye.  Consider that Jesus does these things in our lives:

  • touches our heart
  • guides our steps
  • stengthens our hands
  • invigorates the lifeless
  • illuminates our mind
  • stirs our soul
  • makes boldness out of timidity
  • quickens mortality
  • fuels the future
  • empowers what was hopeless

Consider that with Jesus, there is always more than what meets the eye 🙂

Slow Down

We live in a world that applauds speed – fast wifi, speedy cars, quick thinking, hasty travel & lots more. But consider that some of the best things take time:
*slower cars frequently get fewer tickets ,)
*deep friendships: it’s been my experience that the fast friendships usually are the shortest
*coffee – brewed versus instant: nuff said
*books: for me, quick reads rarely stick to my ribs as well as a long & slow read that requires my attention & presence

Sometimes, slow is better 🙂

masterpiece

picasso-blue-room-phillips

There’s been some interesting news lately about Pablo Picasso & one of his famous paintings, Blue Room.  In this painting, Picasso painted a woman, but art experts have found another painting behind the surface painting.  The image behind the woman is a portrait of a bearded man & experts are trying to figure out who the man was, along with many other mysterious & important details.  It appears that Picasso used his canvass for more than one painting (not an uncommon practice with artists).

Perhaps this is also true with the greatest Artist of all, our Creator.  Perhaps God has not only made the external masterpiece that we can all see on the outside of each other & maybe there’s also an internal masterpiece inside of us that God has also created.  Let’s be careful that we don’t get stuck in looking at the outside of people, but let’s allow God to show us the masterpiece inside someone & not merely the external painting 🙂