Here’s a link to the best Father’s Day post I’ve ever read, seriously – a must-read:
Here’s a link to the best Father’s Day post I’ve ever read, seriously – a must-read:
Memories are important ingredients for learning & sometimes the lessons we apply from various memories aren’t very helpful. For example, I remember an occasion as a kid when my dad came home from a later afternoon walk with our new puppy & my dad was sobbing & totally busted up. I could barely figure out through his broken words & tears that our new puppy had been run over by a car & was dead. My dad explained that our puppy had darted in front of a car into a busy street during rush hour traffic and was run over.
To this day, the place where my dog was hit still has negative associations for me & I find myself subconsciously avoiding that intersection. That negative memory has shaped my behavior & I’d venture to guess that you may have some similar memories that shape your current behaviors & values.
I think it’s super important that our experiences and memories teach us valuable take aways, but let’s be sure that we choose the right lessons.
Some important memory lessons could include:
I love to win & I hate to lose – in pretty much everything. So I automatically like all of the Bible verses that talk about me winning, being victorious, more than a conqueror, etc. On the opposite end, the Bible verses that talk about sacrifice, losing my life, crucifixion, pain, . . . . these aren’t nearly as appealing to me as the winning verses. But life seems to have both the winning and losing experiences wrapped into each day: driving, competing at work / school, controversial conversations, competing against myself, etc.
I think that it can feel much better to win than lose, but let me throw out a few perks that can happen from losing:
Please don’t take this blog to mean that losing is everything. On the flipside, winning isn’t everything either. Maybe “everything” boils down to genuine love 🙂
There are lots of things in our lives that we should affirm. It’s super great to be positive and optimistic. It’s also really helpful to say, “yes” to job promotions, good grades at school, kind offers from friends and unexpected blessings from random sources.
There are, nevertheless, several things that need to always require a “NO” reply. Here are a few ideas:
What else should we be saying “no” to in our lives? I’d love to read your thoughts & wisdom 🙂
If you live in America, the deadline for filing our taxes is next week. Maybe that’s kind of stressful for you. If you’re a pastor or highly committed church volunteer, you probably just survived a stressful season called Easter. Some of the upcoming events and holidays might have some stress potential for you – Mother’s Day & Graduation / Commencement. Despite our best efforts, I don’t think that any of us can immunize ourselves from stress. But how we deal with stress is a different issue & there’s some potential for good outcomes with stress. Here are a few suggestions:
I know that Valentine’s Day was Sunday, but I’ve been musing about love & what that means for us with God. So here are a few things for your consideration:
*Measure – in our human experience, we unknowingly measure everything, maybe because we are finite. But genuine love has no measures – no start, no stop, no ground, no lid, no wall nor limit. Genuine love is immeasurable
*Pleasure – genuine love is very pleasing to not only the recipient but also the Giver; we bring God great pleasure because we are God’s treasure
*Treasure – you are God’s supreme treasure; you are so highly valuable to God, that He sent His one & only son to die in your place so that you & I could walk in daily sweet communion & fellowship, reminiscent even of the Garden of Eden God taking a stroll with Adam.
You are God’s pleasure & treasure with no measure 🙂
Last night, the Grammys were awarded to lots of very talented people who have achieved some incredible things, some admirable & noteworthy. Despite all of these accomplishments, let’s remember what’s even more important than achievements – people. People are important because they’re people and not only for what they can achieve. So here are some ideas to affirm & encourage people in your life today:
Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! In the US, today is a national holiday to honor Dr Martin Luther King Jr, a great leader in the Civil Rights Movement who was tragically assasinated in the prime of his life. He’s famous for lots of things, but one of the things I love most about what we know of Dr King today is his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Despite facing atrocious, violent & barbaric opposition, Dr King persevered and overcame racial hatred, not with escalated violence, barbaric behavior & atrocious activism, but rather through exposing hatred, acrimony and injustice by contrasting behaviors and examples. I think in each of us, God has placed a dream for something far greater and more powerful than our current living. The dream that God has put in each of us is the beginning of something thoroughly divine, powerful and revolutionary. If you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible – full stop.
I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet & a few years ago, I didn’t wrap any until 11pm on Christmas Eve – what was the point in that?!??? I don’t think I’m generally a procrastinator, it’s just tricky to remember & find time. Maybe this year, I’ll wrap our presents soon, maybe. One question worth a little consideration is what will you & I be giving Jesus this year, to celebrate His birthday. It seems kind of counterintuitive to give everyone but Jesus a present on Christmas, the day when we celebrate His birth 🙂
So going with the 5 Love Languages idea, here are some gift suggestions for Jesus:
Most of us are familiar with the story of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The grinch was an evil villain and the antithesis of Christmas – no one wants to be a grinch, particularly at Christmas, bleck! But there is a very ugly, mean, destructive and abhorrent grinch doing it’s level best to ruin Christmas for no one less than helpless & vulnerable babies. This grinch is what the disease ebola is doing in three countries in West Africa (Guine, Liberia & Sierra Leone). What makes this grinch so wholly abhorrent is how it has stolen the lives of moms & dads in these nations, stranding their babies often with no care, support, protection or food.
Saving Moses is conducting a campaign throughout December to raise anti-grinch funds to provide food, nurture, medical care & protection to these abandoned babies. Please consider joining our anti-grinch campaign & give these babies genuine love, a chance to survive another day & thrive into the future. Thanks so much for your prayers & consideration!
At Christmas, we don’t often think about Jesus dying, but rather about His birth. But let’s not forget that Herod looked for Jesus to kill Him as a baby but Herod’s plans were divinely interrupted when Joseph had a warning dream about Herod’s plans. Herod looked for Jesus with evil intent.
One of the reasons I’m so very keen about Saving Moses is because we are all about helping & saving babies where the needs are most urgent & the care is least available. When Jesus was a baby, despite being divine, He was vulnerable to Herod’s evil intentions but was divinely protected. With Saving Moses, I believe that we are God’s tangible hands to protect & preserve God’s most important creation, one baby at a time. Small & vulnerable doesn’t mean unimportant nor unvaluable #lookforJesus
Happy December 1! The beginning of every December, I remind myself that while I’m about to enter an extermely busy season, the whole point of all of these festivities, parties, frenzy & busy-ness is Jesus, full stop. So I want to look for Jesus every day this month:
Jesus said that if we ask we’ll get answers, if we seek we’ll find & if we knock the door will be opened to us. So let’s decide to look for Jesus everyday during this season – let’s streamline our focus with the help of the Holy Spirit to look & watch for Jesus, who is daily with us 🙂
I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important. When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise 🙂
I think this is also true with our daily living. When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:
Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life 🙂
In the last few weeks, I’ve had some interesting challenges, most of which have been around taking a stand for some convictions that run deep in my soul. Taking a stand can be kind of tricky – there’s a Japanese proverb that says, “the nail that stands up gets hammered down.” Nevertheless, I think it’s important to take a stand and not just blend into the average, mediocre and mundane. Here are a few things to consider:
Thinking about these things, consider a few videos & lyrics that could be worthy of some reflection:
Our modern culture applauds tolerance with great conviction. We are strongly encouraged to tolerate all kinds of diversity (spicy food, GF diets, people with different ideas, age diversity, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicity, religion etc). In general, I think that tolerance is a nice idea but sometimes it’s application can get hazy. For example:
While I think that tolerance is a nice idea, let’s not think that it should be the guiding principle nor conviction for our daily living. Tolerance should never replace genuine love 🙂
“I’m resigning.” I had someone tell me this last year and it was a really big deal to me because this person was doing lots of great stuff for Saving Moses. When this person quit, I became really discouraged. It was difficult because I already had a pretty hefty workload & now with this person resigning, I didn’t have anyone available to step into this position. How would I get all of this work done? I found myself kind of flailing and floundering, but over the course of a few weeks it became evident that I’d have to just be patient, pray & trust God to fill in this massively important gap. And in the meantime, I gave myself to do the best I could with this gap.
Sometimes, I can get myself really wound up & uptight. But over the course of the last year, God has been teaching me many things, including the valuable lesson of trusting God and not leaning on my own efforts. Keep going my friend, one day at a time and even one step at a time 🙂
Feel free to share this with your friends & family who might be discouraged 🙂
I’ve made some really dumb mistakes in my life – one of which was overvaluing intelligence. I think it’s almost humorous that I would say that because I’m still a massive advocate for education probably because I love to learn. Nevertheless, here are a few things that could be more important than being intelligent:
*character & integrity – people who are smart but lack character & integrity can be extremely dangerous!
*compassion – intelligence without compassion is very cold & sterile
*hard work – this seems pretty self evident
*forgiveness – when we don’t forgive, our world becomes increasingly smaller & smaller
These are just a few things I’m learning in my journey 🙂
Jesus had some interesting ideas about popularity & fame – He was, of course, quite famous when He walked on the earth for lots of different reasons:
Jesus was famous for lots of reasons but His popularity was a different story. Jesus knew that His popularity with the crowds was at best fickle & fleeting. When I watch how Jesus behaved & what He talked about when He lived among us, it’s very clear to me that He lived His life on earth to be “popular” solely with His heavenly Father. He lived to make His heavenly Father known & attractive. For our lives today, let’s understand that we are always “popular” with our heavenly Father 🙂
Packaging & image are important ingredients in the modern world. It seems to me that we frequently make lots of snap decisions about situations & people based on our “first impressions.” The tragedy of this mindset is that we can easily overlook people and things that have great substance & investment. Perhaps the religious leaders in Jesus’ day made this mistake & didn’t take the effort to know Jesus beyond the superficial assessment they made of His ministry (not including Nicodemus).
What’s in our hearts has more lasting value than transitory & superficial images.
It’s always a great pleasure to find things that we look for. One time, I lost my wedding ring for like 2years. When we found it, there was MUCH REJOICING!!
Be mindful of the things for which you seek.
If you’re looking for popularity, you’ll find it & probably be disappointed.
If you’re looking to be wealthy, you might discover that money isn’t everything you thought it would be.
If you’re looking for success, you might find that it’s nothing more than a cat-and-mouse chase.
If you’re looking for applause & affirmation, you might discover that it costs more than it’s worth
If you look for God’s kingdom more than anything else, then everything else will fall in your lap 🙂