This morning, I read a verse that hit me between the eyes – 2Kings 17:41, “So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; . . .” This verse really spoke to me about my passion to follow Jesus.
I think that we generally have respect for God, but all too often we serve idols. No one sets out, usually, to be an idolator but there are lots of subtle idols that can allure our attention. Greed seems to be the most obvious idol & it has certainly a firm foothold in our culture & values! Another subtle idol is image & vanity. Of course sports & fitness can be an distraction from serving Jesus & so can consumption & food. Comfort & convenience have also become significant values that often sway our priorities.
Let’s be sure that we respect & serve God with both feet!
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 🙂
Every year we take a day to remember Veterans & Military service folk who have & continue to serve our country. We can look back over the history of our nation & find heaps of heroes whose sacrifices have contributed to making a great nation. Such sacrifices have included laying down their lives, spending time away from families, doing hard work in awful situations & lots more. I’m altogether grateful for such sacrifices because I live in the freedoms & benefits these hardships earned.
Let’s remember these individuals today with honor & gratitude, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, our ultimate hero.
This morning I read how Joseph resisted the invitations of Potipher’s wife. Potipher was Joseph’s employer & Joseph didn’t want to dishonor his employer nor sin against God by giving into the wife’s seductions. In some respects, it might have been easy for Joseph to cave: Joseph was away from his family, he was a slave, maybe they could’ve kept their trist a secret & maybe there was some appeal to his flesh, on the most basic level. Nonetheless, Joseph kept his integrity & consistently rejected the wife’s efforts.
In my thinking, Joseph should have been rewarded for holding the high ground but instead, he was lied about & then thrown into prison. So now he’s not a slave but maybe worse, he’s a “convict”. God rewarded Joseph in prison & previously under Potipher by giving Joseph favor & leadership positions.
But the immediate imprisonment result wasn’t the optimum outcome for maintaining a high level of integrity.
Here are a few things to consider:
Do the right thing even if the immediate results seem to backfire
Keep pure motives to serve & be a blessing
Make sure your forgiveness stays fresh
I think all of this was practice for the real work of keeping a nation from being eradicated from a severe 7 years famine along with rescuing his entire family from starving to death 🙂
My mom, Marilyn Hickey, is receiving a very honoring & fitting award from ORU. She’s receiving the Lifetime Global Achievement Award, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She served on the Board of Regents for ORU for more than 20 years and has made numerous contributions, tangible and intangible, to the success of this university. For almost 20 years, she was the Chairman of the Board of Regents and faithfully served to promote the vision and purpose of ORU. I’m super proud of her everyday and today in particular.
I’m also proud of my mom for her continuing pursuit of learning, improving and growing! She continues to inspire me to love the Bible and walk with the Holy Spirit. May God continue to work through her life to make the Bible vibrant & engaging around the world!
I had a BLAST!! I was recently on Joni Lamb’s tv interview program, Table Talk & had an awesome time with ladies who are every bit as wonderful on as well as off camera. I love these women & was totally honored to engage in this conversation – I know you’ll love it as well! 🙂
Happy Monday morning! Did you know that March is the “official” Women’s History Month? I think that’s totally awesome largely because of my recently released book on Jesus Chicks. If you haven’t picked up a few copies yet, click the link and grab a few before we run out – it’s the best thing I’ve written so far!!
With that being said, here are a few quotes from women that are worthy of some reflection:
“Blessed is she who believes that there would be a fulfillment of has been spoken to her by the Lord” – Elizabeth to Mary in Luke 1:45
“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” — Rosa Parks
“Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth to Naomi in Ruth 1:16
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” — Mother Teresa
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Mordecai to Esther in Esther 4:14
Someone famous once said that the highest form of praise is imitation so when Paul says in 1Cor 11 that we should follow him as he follow him as he follows Christ, he uses the Greek word for “imitate” rather than the word “follow”. I see this whole idea play out in a really sweet & awesome way with my son & husband. Many years ago, I was a pretty central priority in my kids lives & my husband was important for sure but maybe not quite as central. Over time, this has kind of shifted the other way, particularly with one of my sons. The other night at dinner, my husband was teasing my daughter & my son completely followed in his steps & started reading his sister in the same way. This particular son thinks that my husband almost walks on water at this time so whatever my husband does, my son does to imitate him – it’s usually a really sweet thing to watch, usually 🙂
With all of that being said, let’s be sure that the hero we most worship & imitate is Jesus! Let’s be copies of Christ 🙂
In the US, today is Veterans Day and this is a day when we remind ourselves of men and women who have served in the military and made small to ultimate sacrifices. This is a day when we remember people for being their best: selfless, noble, sacrificial, honorable, generous, humble and more. We honor the men and women who fought in trenches and deserts, lost limbs and lives, bandaged wounds and bruises, gave their energies, talents, time and even lives as a sacrifice.
Such heroic choices and actions cause me to see Jesus as my ultimate Veteran and Victor – giving His life as my sacrifice but being raised from the dead so we can be victorious in life because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let’s honor our nation’s veterans and remember to honor the Savior of our soul – hail to the Ultimate Veteran and Victor!
One of my favorite people in the Bible is Jacob, Isaac’s son & Abraham’s grandson. I like Jacob for lots of reasons:
he’s very human: his mistakes, flaws, shortcomings aren’t hidden nor minimized
he’s God conscientious, even when it’s hindsight
he learns and grows: working for Laban was a long & vertical learning curve, moves to Egypt at the end of his life, etc
he’s wise in how he handles Esau when he returns from serving Laban – a very touchy situation
Jacob was certainly a schemer and manipulator, but he was also repaid for his deceptions (Laban & the Rachel / Leah fiasco; Jacob’s sons trick him about Joseph). But Jacob was also attentive to God – at Bethel he built an altar, he paid attention to the God-given dream about Laban’s flocks as well as the dream to move to Egypt. And possibly one of my absolute favorites of all times, Jacob wrestled with God’s angel after he left Laban & before he crossed into his homeland, acquiring a new name from that wrestling match. While Jacob certainly didn’t do it all right, he learned, grew, changed and honored God 🙂
The Founder of Check-fil-A died yesterday at the age of 93 and I’m choosing (thanks Robert Bowman for the grammar help!!) to blog on him today since I blogged last week about Joan River’s death. Please don’t get nervous & think that all of my hot topic blogs are now going to turn into obituaries – not so 🙂
But in all fairness, it seems appropriate to honor a man who achieved many commendable accomplishments. Mr Cathy is probably most well known for being the founder of the fast food chain Chick-fil-A and he also was a man of deep convictions, generosity and noteworthy business acumen. Here’s a cool quote from Mr Truett,
“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”
If you’d like to know more about him, there’s plenty of web links to explore, but here’s one for starting: Truett Cathy
One of the lessons I learned last week from my Joan Rivers blog is to request any comments to be respectful and not hostile or combative, please and thank you 🙂
With that being said, please be very free to leave your polite feedback and share this blog with your friends 🙂
Yesterday, Joan Rivers died and this was big news for various circles. Honestly, I didn’t really know much about Joan Rivers until her death. Thankfully, my husband knows a little something about everything, so he quickly brought me up to speed. Having looked through some of her style of comedy, it’s not what appeals to me, except on one very important level. She maintained an element of truth in her comedy, despite being coarse, biting and even degrading. While I don’t appreciate humor that degrades others, I do appreciate truth and in that way, I choose to give honor to Joan for this part of how she presented her comedy.
It’s always easy to find bad things about people, but with her passing, let’s find the things that were valuable to honor their memory moreso than maximizing their failures, shortcomings and flaws 🙂
Yesterday, my daughter & I had an interesting conversation while driving for groceries. She let me know that girls are more emotional than boys. While she’s telling me this, my two sons are in the back seat hitting, poking, pinching and generally harassing each other. In the conversation with my daughter, I explained that girls aren’t necessarily more emotional than boys, but their emotional expressions are often different than boys – not bad or good, just different. And that’s the rub: when someone is different than ourselves, let’s be careful not to throw them in the “weirdo” category and outrightly dismiss them. God has taught me a lot through all kinds of people, most of whom are very different than myself.
If someone is “different” from you, here are a few helpful ideas:
respect – be respectful even if you disagree & remember that treating someone with respect & dignity is based on your decisions more than their behaviors 🙂
listen – I like what Stephen Covey said: seek first to understand & then to be understood
enjoy – differences are perhaps the greatest evidence of how creative God is & perhaps part of how God continues to capture our curiosity 🙂
This weekend in America, we celebrate Father’s Day. It’s a day when we honor our fathers & express our appreciation for their sacrifices & input in our lives. Not everyone, however, grew up with warm fuzzies for their dads & there are many people who don’t like their dads & many who don’t even know who their dads are or were. So sometimes, we’re conflicted with the premise of honoring our dads & acknowleding the reality of who they are or are not. Holidays like Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc when we’re around our family, can be a little tricky. So perhaps these ideas can be helpful:
honoring our parents is important based on the Ten Commandments; even if you have parents who are dishonorable, choosing to honor them is the high road & ultimately a more healthy decision than dishonor (an internal decision versus an external achievement)
all humans are flawed, full stop
remember that ultimately God is your Heavenly Father & that you’re fearfully & wonderfully made in the image of your Heavenly Father
Help: holidays that have tricky family navigation challenges for us will often cause us to pray and ask God for help – which is always good; doing life without God’s Help isn’t good 🙂
Today, Maya Angelou passed into eternity. Dr Angelou was 86 years old and achieved so many things that if I were to attempt listing them here, someone would likely be offended that I left out something important. She was a writer, artist, teacher, mother, grand mom, activist and LOTS more! She grew up in a tumultuous time and totally swam against the current, which is one reason why I want to honor her today. As I looked through some of her writing, I thought it would be fitting to share this poem she wrote as encouragement to those who endeavor to walk in Jesus’ footsteps:
I’M A CHRISTIAN By Maya Angelou When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin.” I’m whispering “I was lost,” Now I’m found and forgiven. When I say…”I am a Christian” I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need CHRIST to be my guide. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need HIS strength to carry on. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not claiming to be perfect, My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it. When I say… “I am a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain, I have my share of heartaches So I call upon His name. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow.
Please forgive me – I was informed that Dr Angelou did not write the preceding poem. Rather, it was written by Carol Wimmer. I’m sorry for making this mistake, but would like to honor Dr Angelou, nonetheless. She was an amazing person & her numerous & diverse achievements will be treasured for decades to come. Again, I apologize for my mistake.
YAHOOOOO!!! Today is Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May (after the official Star Wars May the 4th be with you). This is a day when we commemorate the history of freedom and democracy, along with celebrating Hispanic culture, achievements and heritage. Having grown up in Denver, Colorado and making innumerable vacations with my parents in New Mexico, I particularly enjoy this holiday and honor the achievements of my latin amigos!
When I think about cultural diversity on a more universal scale, I think that heaven will be a completely OUTRAGEOUS celebration of diversity, blending of cultural strengths and honoring the amazing diverse beauty that our Creator has designed into the fabric of humanity throughout all time. Today, we honor our latin friends and we are also reminded that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God – such breathtaking beauty, captivating and consuming!
I read this morning about how King Saul was chasing David to kill him & how he stepped into cave to relieve himself. Unknowingly, David was hiding in the very same cave & even cut off a piece of King Saul’s robe! Although David could’ve easily killed Saul, David had more respect for God’s anointing on Saul than fear for his own life.
When we get in really, really difficult situations, it’s important that we act like David, honor God & stay out of fear 🙂
I have some amazing friends who could take virtually anything & make it beautiful. They’re amazingly creative, resourceful & have the most beautiful way or decorating & arranging things. Me, not so much. When I paint at our house or try to do something “craft-ish”, there just aren’t words to describe how bad it usually turns out. But I do have some things that I’m pretty good at – I enjoy cooking & I’m pretty good at picking up different languages (and a few other things).
But here’s what’s totally amazing & fantastic about you (and its not just about your talents or abilities): you are intensely, deeply & infinitely loved by the Creator of the universe, Who knows you better than anyone else & Who loves you more authentically than anyone. You are important, valuable & significant because your Creator loves you & this is what makes you TOTALLY cool!!!
I’ve been reading about how King David in the Bible wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant (God’s presence) up to Jerusalem. His first attempt to move the Ark was disastrous – a guy was killed. In David’s second attempt, he made sure that everyone followed God’s directions on how to transport the Ark.
My take away from this story is that we must always treat God with respect & reverence, never thinking that we can do things our way & ignore God’s directives, presence or preferences. We can revel in God’s presence but not at the expense of reverence 🙂