The Abundance Factor

Little tweaks can make big impacts & I see evidence of this in lots of ways.  For example, I have a friend who regularly reminds me that gratitude makes everything enough.  She uses everyday examples of how she’s thankful & the impact this attitude makes on her thinking, conversations & decisions.  And she doesn’t just do this at Thanksgiving!

The same can also be true for a little tweak with treats we enjoy!  During this holiday season, I’m doing a #hungerstrike campaign with Saving Moses, asking everyone to forego one treat / indulgence & send that money to Saving Moses to help us feed a malnourished baby. A candy bar in America, or a pumpkin spice latte, or the extra pair of shoes that we forego, could make the difference between life and death for a baby in our malnourishment clinics.

Let’s remember that abundance can be a direct result of gratitude!

Celebrate Genuine Love!

Being that today is Halloween, the last day of October, it’s a great day to celebrate genuine love!  I say this because Halloween was always a scary holiday to me, with all the skeletons, tombstones, ghosts and macabre images.  When I was a kid, this day often left me fearful.  In contrast, 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear.  So instead of accentuating fear, today I choose to celebrate genuine love!

Here are a few suggestions that might help you celebrate genuine love today:

  • Look for people to encourage throughout today – what they’re wearing, nice hair, friendly smile, beautiful eyes, witty wisdom & LOADS more
  • Let Jesus love you throughout today – reject the enemy’s lies that say you’re inadequate, have no hope, going to fail, or that you’re a mutant
  • Smile & watch for gratitude opportunities – clean air, warm sun, nice coffee / tea, clean water, beautiful trees & HEAPS more!!

Happy Genuine Love day to you!!

Lemonade Comes From Lemons :)

We can go through seasons in our lives when there’s an abundance of lemons.  By this, I mean that sometimes life serves up lots of bitter stuff, such as:  a bad medical diagnosis, poor results on a test in school, an unexpected bill when the money isn’t there, emotional struggles, extra responsibilities in an overcrowded life, relationship catastrophes, etc.

So how do we make lemonade from the bitter experiences that can happen in life?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Prayer:  take whatever is bitter & bring it to Jesus for divine input
  • Choose to trust:  after prayer, make the consistent decisions to trust Jesus to bring good from bad, order from chaos, blessing from curse
  • Gratitude:  even though we don’t like hardships, struggles & lemons, James 1:2-4 says that such difficulties can work into a blessing & become lemonade.  So maybe gratitude is some sugar to sweeten the lemons

Here’s to letting God turn lemons into lemonade in our lives!

Being Wasteful

My dad grew up in the Depression, so i was raised with a firm appreciation for not wasting anything.  To this end, he composted kitchen scraps, saved leftover paint remnants in addition to finding bargains at garage sales, etc.  In Matthew 26:8, Jesus’ disciples had the same mindset when they asked Him about a chick wasting expensive oil, since she poured it on Jesus’ head, as an expression of worship.

And worshipping Jesus is never wasteful, regardless of what people may say.

Indeed, let’s be extravagant in how we worship Jesus!  The chick in Matthew 26 was extravagant in worshipping Jesus, using expensive oil.  And in our modern culture, we can be extravagant in worshipping Jesus by:

  • spending time with Jesus, giving Him our attention
  • being generous with our finances in church, with ministries and to the poor
  • choosing to wholeheartedly participate in the worship time at our churches whether we like the songs or not
  • expressing gratitude and worship to God before we go to bed each night

 

What Is Sacrifice?

I’m making my way back home from speaking at a pastor’s conference in Bangledesh. This has been a “quick trip”, considering that getting to Bangledesh can be a 30hour journey with a 12 hour time change – so no travel to Bangledesh is a in reality a “quick trip.” When I was deciding about this trip, I was weighing the cost of the trip, not only financially, but the cost of time, impact to my family & Spring Break time together – sacrifices.
With all these considerations, I felt in my heart that I needed to join this conference – a very unique opportunity to meet Christian leaders in a Muslim country & hopefully encourage & minister to them. And in light of our new nightcare in Bangledesh, I felt that this opportunity would also be strategic & a great way to begin some important relationships for the future.
Before I left for this trip, most of what I felt was a mix of hope, anticipation & sacrifice. Now that I’m returning home, I recognize the sacrifice to be sure. But getting to team up with Holy Spirit to minister to such incredible leaders has left me astounded. Additionally, I experienced some progress on some questions in my heart. And I sense a significant green light from God about Saving Moses growing in our nightcare work throughout this region of the world. Yes this trip was a sacrifice & I’m physically very tired. I’m also very awestruck with God’s generosity that counteracts the sacrifices that we make. I’m very thankful.

Too Much Gratitude

I don’t like cinnamon & this is only a recent development. Maybe I  don’t like cinnamon because at this time year, everything seems to have cinnamon: coffee, ice cream, apple cider, pies, smoothies, etc.
So it’s possible to overdose cinnamon, but I  don’t think it’s possible to overdo gratitude. Maybe we should think in terms of spreading thanksgiving throughout the year & not only a seasonal overdose. Feel free to leave a comment to express something or someone for which you’re grateful!

Let’s Practice

Since we are really close to Halloween, that means that Thanksgiving is fast approaching. So let’s get an early jump on being thankful. By starting to practice gratitude now, we’ll be certain to have maximum proficiency by the time Thanksgiving lands. Another benefit to practicing gratitude now is that we increase our chances of creating a lifestyle of thanksgiving rather than the seasonal experience. Finally, the Bible tells us to be thankful, not only for the obvious & good stuff, but also for things that are difficult. Let’s be sure to practice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Micro & Massive Miracles

I’m so very happy that God does all sizes of miracles! The massive miracles, like healing from cancer or supernaturally providing a job or the forgiveness of a debt or the reconciliation of a long broken relationship. These kinds of massive miracles along with others seem to catch our attention & easily welcome our gratitude.
Let’s be mindful, as well, that the micro miracles are also magnificent! Let’s celebrate those times when the Holy Spirit gives us the self control to not shoot off our mouth. Perhaps you had a small miracle when your schedule went better than you planned. Or maybe it was miraculous that you bumped into someone coincidentally & it turned out to be a divine appointment.
Let’s be committed to give God praise for the micro & massive miracles that happen throughout each day!

Miraculous Provision

What areas in your life are needy? It seems that often the quick answer is “money.” But if we pause for a second, our answer might be more along the line of more time, wisdom, discipline, strength, better relationships, genuine love, courage, patience, etc.
This morning I read how Jesus multiplied the fish & bread to meet the hunger needs of thousands of people. His disciples came to Him with the need – too many people & a paltry amount of provision. To this problem, Jesus asked them what they had. After identifying what was there, Jesus blessed the provision rather than cursed the need or lack.
Let’s be sure that we’re grateful for what we have, even if it seems like it’s not enough. Then let’s utilize what we have with thanksgiving & our eyes on Jesus to keep providing & multiplying!

Hot Topic: Pivot Gratitude

 

Happy Thanksgiving! In the US, we celebrate being thankful today, enumerating our blessings & acknowledging the abundance that we have. But alas, sometimes the mindset that looks for abundance can get disappointed. Indeed, on this day, we often turn a blind eye to the deficiencies we have, choosing to ignore lack or gloss over the absence of things we want.

Let’s pivot this thinking. Today, I’m not only thankful for what I have, but I’m also thankful for what I don’t have.

I’m grateful that God doesn’t give me everything I want because this would be very destructive to my soul. I’m grateful for struggles & hardships because I don’t develop patience & persistence without such struggles (James 1:2-4). And let’s not forget Paul who was thankful for the thorn in his flesh in 2Cor 12:9ff because this thorn cultivated reliance on Jesus like nothing else in his life.
Let’s not only be thankful for abundance but let’s be grateful for some difficulties as well. And of course, let’s always be mindful to encourage & love the people around us! We can’t always understand their decisions but we can always chose to be loving & encouraging!
Be super clear that I’m thankful for you! Feel free to pass this along to friends & family today! It could be really helpful to lots of peeps!

No Cavities!

YAHOOO!!!! I took my kids for their dental checkups today & I’m happy to celebrate that NONE of them have cavities. This is a miracle – approximately 90 teeth & not one cavity!  
So this is a really helpful reminder to me keep a few things front & center with my attention:

  • keep watching: God’s miracles come in lots of different sizes & ways, often unexpected 
  • stay grateful: no matter how big or little a miracle is & no matter the method of the miracle (sometimes God chooses to do things in ways we didn’t want), let’s keep gratitude as one of core values throughout each day

No cavities! 🙂

Black Friday

Black Friday seems to be kind of like the starting gun for the Christmas season – ready, set GO!!!!  So here’s my weird question for today:  why do we call Black Friday “black” and Good Friday “good”?  Good Friday is the day when we acknowledge that Jesus was cruicified and the Friday before Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead.  Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving & supposed to be a day when loads of people “start” shopping for Christmas – the launch of holiday festivities.  Both Fridays have their pluses and minuses – solemn and celebratory.  But on this Black Friday, let’s consider a few things:

  • being thankful didn’t stop yesterday when the dishwasher turned off or the last football seconds ran off the clock
  • Good Friday is good because Jesus took our place on the cross & that news is very good indeed!
  • Black Friday doesn’t mean Debt Friday
  • let’s remind ourselves in this holiday season to keep room in our thoughts, time, actions & priorities for Jesus and His presence 🙂

4 Brief but Insightful Thanksgiving Observations

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be overflowing with joy & peace 🙂
As we think about gratitude today, consider a few thoughts to pass along:
*being grateful increases contentment & likewise being whiny increases dissatisfaction
*if you want to come through difficult seasons well, gratitude is an essential ingredient
*when you begin thanking God for being so good, it quickly becomes difficult to stop
*turkeys are tricky birds to bake #nuffsaid
Happy Thanksgiving dear friend!

waffles for breakfast

I like Saturday mornings for lots of reasons, one of which is getting to “enjoy” my kids’ cooking efforts, kind of and sometimes.  Presently, we have some company staying with us & one of my kids mentioned that he makes some really killer waffles.  Our friend staying with us really likes crispy waffles and voila, a plan was “cooked up.”  The execution of the plan this morning was “sketchy”.  Let’s just say that we almost ruined the waffle iron, the kitchen now needs some deep cleaning attention and there were some nice overtones of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Thankfully our friend who is staying with us slept in and we’ve already organized a Plan B:  no waffles, but crepes area nice alternative.

When life hands you lemons, being thankful can be the sugar you need to make lemonade ,)

a quick secret to stay happy :)

When I woke up my son today to get ready for school, he wasn’t happy by a long shot.  He was cranky & grumpy and unfortunately, by the time he got in the car, he was still in the doldrums – a very yucky way to start off on a Monday morning 🙁

We all have times, seasons, days and moments when we are grumpy & here’s a potential quick fix:  be thankful.  Rather than looking at the grumpy stuff (back to school, bills, tired, physical pain, hardship, emotional stressors, relationship difficulties, job / school challenges . . . . ), take some moments to be thankful.

Thank God:

  • that the sun came up this morning
  • for the oxygen that we breath
  • that God’s love is vast yet personal
  • that God is both faithful and good
  • for a nice blog to give you this helpful reminder ,)

What do you have?

I’ve been thinking about how when God spoke to Moses about leading the Israelites out of slavery, Moses complained about what he lacked: I’m not smart enough, I don’t have favor with the Israelites, I don’t have Pharoah’s ear, etc. In reply, God told Moses to check out his hands & God did some really cool miracles: leprosy on Moses’ hand that God healed & Moses’ staff turned to a snake. While our hands may seem kind of trivial, lets never minimize what God has given us. God’s gifts are always supernatural 🙂

a thought about staying continually happy

Even though this is a short entry, it is really powerful:

I have this habit that I do almost every morning – I thank God for all of the cool things that happened during the previous day.  I love getting to do this because it’s a great way to enter God’s presence (I will enter His courts with thanksgiving in my heart).  But here’s the latest challenge I’ve been sensing from God:  real-time gratitude.  Instead of waiting for my gratitude to expressed during my morning routines, I feel that God is challenging me to be grateful in the moment & not just the morning.  So I find myself being more thankful as an attitude in my day and not just in the morning prayer time “compartment”.  As as result, I feel that I’m more content, happy and buoyant.  As a concluding thought, another idea is to pre-thank the answers, solutions and provisions that God has for us (ahead of time).  Now that would be a total lifestyle of gratitude (past, present & future).  Just a little food for thought 🙂

Thank You!

First of all, thank you heaps & heaps for reading my blog!  Thank you for your very kind comments, thoughts and for the opportunity to connect with some deeper thoughts than a quick tweet or fb post 🙂
I’ve also been thinking about the power of saying “thank you” & being grateful, most of all with God.  I’m also super pumped to post this today because we are no where near Thanksgiving – the stereotypical being thankful post.  Instead, I wanted to share something that is an important part of our daily routines – gratitude.  Everyday I try to take some time to thank God for very specific things – big, medium & small – from the previous day.  I enjoy thanking God for all kinds of things like:  nice coffee, a beautiful sunrise, some progress with Saving Moses, my kids having a good day at school, the nice chat with a friend and boatloads more!  When I start being thankful, it gets hard to stop & best of all, it’s one of the best ways to enter into God’s presence – with thanksgiving in my heart 🙂

Let’s stay thankful!

thank you so much!

Wow!!  I can’t begin to thank everyone for their kind words, support & care after my blog about my dad’s death.  We’ve had such great encouragement, affirming words and love – way beyond my ability to express gratitude.  Thank you again and again!!  While this is a bit of a rough season, it’s also really wonderful to sense Jesus’ love through so many different people and so many different ways.  Thanks loads for letting Jesus use you to bring comfort and care to our family. 

May God reach into your life, open your eyes and increase your sensitivity to the immense and infinite love that God has for you.  Again, thanks so much!!

Thank you!!

I just want to take a brief moment to thank you for reading this blog. I know that you have a never ending list of choices for your reading so I’m particularly grateful that you have taken some time with me. Additionally, I especially want to thank those of you who have left comments, who’ve encouraged me & also for those who have subscribed to receiving this blog.
Thank you for going on this journey with me, for your patience & for being gentle. In our cyber world of social media & relationships over the web, thank you for not being judgmental, harsh nor condemning. Thank you for getting to connect 🙂