Have you seen or heard something that was deeply moving or thoroughly enthralling? Over the last 2weeks, my family & did a western US whirlwind road trip vacation where I experienced forests that were entirely enchanting, beaches of supreme serenity, waterfalls with endless energy & rock formations that defy human explanation. In some ways, this road trip was a day to day encounter with masterpieces of divine creation that still swim in my thoughts & mesmerize my imagination.
But here’s the greatest masterpiece of all: YOU! You have been fashioned, shaped & sculpted in the image of God & there’s no one who looks, thinks or talks like you! Because you’re God’s masterpiece & you have the breath of the Almighty in your lungs, please never settle for being a clone or repeat. One of the glorious things about a masterpiece is that it’s one of a kind & any reproduction pales when compared to the original. Be all that God has made you to be with the help of the Holy Spirit!
How does God direct us? What are some practical tips to help us follow God? I’ve been doing some digging into Paul’s life (in Acts & his epistles), listening, watching his life & thinking. Here are some helpful pointers to recognizing God’s direction in our lives:
The Bible: this has to be ground zero & final authority. Anything that disagrees with God’s Word isn’t God’s direction, full stop.
Circumstances: in Acts 16:6ff Paul is experiencing many closed doors, despite his continuous effort;
Divine Input: in Acts 16:9, he has a vision & sets off on a new trajectory with phenomenal results;
Desire: in Rom 15:23, Paul tells the Roman church that he’s wanted to minister to them for many years. Consider that when we ask God to give us desires that complement God’s purpose & will, this seriously happens 🙂
Let’s be sure to let God shape our desires & direct our steps & have an awesome weekend!
My daughter tells me that my Birkenstock sandals are back in style, to which I replied, “Never knew they went out of style.” The bigger question for me is that whole style & fashion topic, which feels like jumping in a swimming pool filled with boomslangs, vipers, piranhas, man of war jellyfish & a host of other deadly & creepy creatures. If I started to have any robust conversations about fashion & style, you’d be assured that it’s sanitarium time for me.
On the flip side, I have friends who are fashion / style divas & I think they’re awesome. Here’s why: everyone is fearfully & wonderfully made, unique in perspective & divinely crafted for their existence. Trying to make someone into who they’re not is offensive on human levels & insulting to our Divine Author.
Let’s live in the identity that God has given us & cheer for others who are walking out their divine DNA. Humans clone but God creates – maybe even a few shockers like flying cows & socks with Birkenstocks ,)
As I grew up, I had the extremely wonderful privilege of getting to visit Israel, Egypt and many places in the middle East begining from the age of 5. Consequently, for many years, I wanted to be an archaeolgist and get in on the ground floor of amazing historical discoveries! Imagine being 7 years old and getting to climb on the pyramids, visit King Tut’s tomb, go to Gethsemane, Golgotha & visit the possible tomb of Jesus. Needless to say, the Bible has always been very alive to me beginning from these young ages.
So here’s something cool to consider: archaeologists think they may have discovered the place where Jesus was tried by Pilate. Regardless of the exact physical location of Jesus’ trial, wherever that may be, let’s remember that in this place:
divine perfection (Jesus) was questioned and judged by human imperfection (Pilate) – Pilate never found Jesus guilty but sentenced the Son of God to death
betrayal and failure showed up in Peter’s behavior (Luke 22:62) – Jesus is always more faithful to us than we are to Him
Jesus’ words of surrender in Gethsemane (not My will but Yours be done) became a reality in Jesus’ behaviors during this trial – decisions influence behavior
You & I have lots of responsibilities & things we have to do. Every day we have the “must do” stuff & even the daily mundane. Sometimes my days don’t seem very divine & yet when I’m attentive, I can see & sense God’s presence. When I ask God to help me in my daily living, I begin to be more aware of God & I see God doing stuff & catch glimmers of God’s influence.
Daily + Divine = Incarnation 🙂
During this Christmas season, I’ve been really thinking about Jesus being a newborn & it’s totally rocking my world. I’ve been thinking about Mary having labor in a room where the sheep, goats, cattle, etc were kept. I’ve been thinking about what it was like for her to go through labor for her first time, not at home and maybe not in a very comfortable place. I’ve been thinking about Jesus being a newborn – what a TOTALLY CRAZY thought. The Son of God, present at the creation of the world, prophesied to Adam & Eve, the Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father (Is 9:6) and eagerly anticipated for thousands of years being a newborn baby.
Having had three newborn babies (I have three kids) and getting to work first hand with babies with Saving Moses, I’m blown away to think about the second person of the Trinity being a newborn baby – it takes my breath away to think of Jesus as a newborn 🙂