Happy Fourth of July!

Today, is Independence Day for the United States. This is a day when we remember the foundations of our country, the sacrifices that have been made & we express gratitude for our freedoms & blessings. It’s indisputable that America has flaws & failings. But on this day, let’s choose to focus on these things:

  • Unity with diversity can be a strength when respect is kept as a core value
  • Freedom from tyranny was the premise on which our nation was founded – let’s not be tyrants nor bullies ūüôā
  • Pray for our nation & its leaders – this day reminds me of the importance of continually praying for my country
  • Jesus says that greatness is grounded in humility, so let’s endeavor to serve & bless the world!

Happy Fourth!

When Control Is Good

“Control” is a loaded word. ¬†It can evoke a visceral reaction in various individuals, in negative or positive ways. ¬†And as Americans, we cherish our freedom sometimes to the point of demonizing any form of control. ¬†We don’t want people to infringe on our rights, we want to speak freely without consequences and we want to the freedom to make decisions often without the complementary¬†responsibilities.

If we are followers of Jesus, however, there’s an alarming verse that recently arrested my attention: 2Cor 5:14a, “For the love of Christ¬†controls us, . . . ” ¬†When I read this, I tried to find some wiggle room in the Greek for the word “control”. ¬†But alas, I had no luck. ¬†I’m supposed to be controlled by Jesus’ love.

So if we identify as a follower of Jesus, this means that His love:

  • influences my¬†conversations to make them edifying rather than snarky
  • priorities my resources to be less selfish & to consider others
  • applauds those random acts of kindness that run contrary to my fleshy instincts
  • filters my thoughts & emotions to remove unforgivness, judgment, condescension, etc

Let’s allow Jesus’ love to be the controlling & defining essential in our lives!

Happy 4th of July!

I love America!  I love our heritage, roots and history.  I love the way we celebrate our nation on this day with hot dogs, barbecues, baseball, fireworks, watermelon, grilling, swimming and the stars and stripes.  We live in a wonderful country!

I know this because I am extremely fortunate to get to travel around the world and I see nations that are very different than ours.  I go to nations where the absence of freedom is normal.  I visit nations where it can be dangerous to express a dissident opinion.  I visit regions where being a woman is a burden of survival in the most depolorable conditions.

We live in a very great nation and today we celebrate freedom, one of the core values on which our nation was founded.  May we also recognize that freedom is tethered to responsibility.  Without maintinaing responsibility, our freedoms will erode and become an elusive memory.  We are a great nation today because of the sacrifices made in the past.  This makes me pause to consider if we are making sacrifices today that will keep us great in the future.

Let’s be sure that we continue to pray for America ūüôā

Changing Everything

I read this morning about how Jesus helped a man who was demon possessed. Because of the demons who tormented him, this man:

  • lived isolated among the tombs
  • couldn’t be chained or contained
  • lived naked

He was clearly deranged & without hope. 

After meeting Jesus & receiving His freedom from the demons, the man was dramatically changed – so much that when the townspeople came out to see what was happening, they found the former tormented lunatic:

  • interacting with Jesus & His disciples
  • seated & serene
  • clothed

It never ceases to astound me that the townspeople ran off Jesus because they were afraid of His power to change everything. They seemed to have become more comfortable with demons than Jesus who brought freedom from all things demonic.  

Let’s fully welcome Jesus into every area of our lives to restore order, serenity, salvation & the ability to engage & connect with others in healthy ways!

Jesus changes everything!

3 cheers for freedom!

Happy Freedom Day! ¬†Here’s an interesting experience I had that was an eye-opener: ¬†During the Cold War, I went on a Summer missions trip to Eastern Europe & it was still heavily under communist control. ¬†Before we crossed from West Germany into the Eastern Bloc, we went through all of our luggage to make sure that we didn’t have any kind of “contraband” that would be considered anti-communist. ¬†At the time, I was taking a correspondence course on US History & my leadership informed me that I wouldn’t be able to take my text nor course work with me because it presented a different view of history than what was politically acceptable in Communist nations. ¬†Of course this threw me for a loop because I had to hurry up, finish everything & mail it back to the States. ¬†This experience gave me some unique insight into the significance & power of freedom that we celebrate in the US every year on the 4th of July.

Here’s another thought about freedom: ¬†everyday we get to celebrate freedom in our choices & decisions. ¬†Consider what Viktor Frankl had to say about freedom: ¬†Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ¬†Viktor Frankl was a concentration camp survivor. ¬†His thoughts about freedom can be very insightful – we carry with us everyday the freedom to chose our actions & attitudes ūüôā

tips to help with forgiveness

¬†I’m a big fan of being proficient with forgiveness – after all, we get to practice almost everyday! ,)

There are LOADS of benefits that go with maintaining a lifestyle of forgiveness, but the point¬†for this blog is to refresh a few tips & to give you an opportunity to share some effective tips you’ve learned as well. ¬†So here’s a quickie sarah forgiveness primer:

  • be ready to forgive more than you’re ready to take an offense – sometimes it helps to have a forgiveness mindset
  • fast forgiving is easier than elongated forgiving: ¬†anytime I’ve nursed a hurt, the forgiving process gets quagmired & almost moribund before I know it :/
  • some people require more forgiveness than others; ¬†some of us are proned to the foot-in-mouth syndrome so please don’t make us squirm as we try to get better
  • forgiveness is about personal liberty: for those of us who are Americans, its hard for me to understand why we are so adamant about our external freedom, but we can be virtually oblivious to our internal incarceration
  • I want to be super generous with forgiveness because Lord knows He gives me more than I can comprehend; ¬†people who are stingy with forgiveness are usually mean & lonely ūüôĀ
What are some more suggestions?

4th of July

Last year was the 1st year that any of our kids got to stay up late to watch the fireworks – it was more fun to watch & listen to Isabell’s reactions than to see the fireworks themselves!¬† 4th of July is classic summer – grilling, hot, family, fireworks, freedom, punks, barefoot, watermelon, relaxing . . . .¬† it’s good to be in summer.¬† On this day we celebrate the founding of our nation – a great nation.

What are your fav memories from the 4th of July?  What things do you most like about our country on this 4th of July?

Does anyone have a good smokey gazpacho recipe?¬† Also, we finally got benji’s passport after going to the post office 2x, acquiring his birth certificate from the safety deposit box in the bank, filling out the new forms¬†since the others were old & expired, paying $85, and unfortunately being grumpy at the 1st post office worker.¬† There are times I wish I would be a nicer person.