I just finished a few days in Dubai & it’s very impressive what has been accomplished there in a few decades. Before 1970, the area was a small fishing village & the people there worked hard to squeak out a living in place with abundant heat, sun & sand but not much else. A leader in the area, Sheikh Zayed, had vision for the future that would use the discovery of oil to position this region for abundance, modern developments & opportunity. Today, the United Arab Emirates is highly developed & very impressive.
When we consider what is around us & what the future could be, let’s do some important things:
There’s lots of stuff in the Bible about wisdom, even a whole book, Proverbs, that’s devoted to the topic. It’s also mentioned in the NT a fair amount, like in James 1, where it says that we should ask for wisdom. So given the frequency of this topic, perhaps it would be helpful to think about what it is, along with what it is not.
In the “wisdom is not” column, here are some things to remember. Wisdom is not:
merely information; facts, formulas, information and details
advanced degrees, memorization or books read
In the other column that defines wisdom, based on the Bible, here’s what we can say. Wisdom is:
grounded in “fearing God”; this means that having a healthy and robust respect for God in our lives is the pathway to facilitating wisdom
discerning the times and seasons in our lives
appreciating what is appropriate and helpful in various situations and events
recognizing when to speak and when to listen
Lets always be ready to get more wisdom & let wisdom be active in our daily living!
Welcome to Monday, the start of a work week for some of us, or the start of a school week for those who are students. Wherever you find yourself on this day, there are things in front of you and me that we need to do. Maybe you need to work on a school assignment, write a paper or study for a test. Maybe you need to write some emails, craft a proposal, flip a hamburger, wash a toilet, load the dishwasher, drive to a soccer practice, grade some papers, manage a project, crunch some numbers, etc. No matter what, all of us have stuff we need to do today – do the work.
And this is part of God’s design for each of us. You and I are uniquely designed to participate in and accomplish things. How we do such work is the real issue, even more than what we do. So here are some helpful ideas about how we do our work:
work as unto the Lord and not to man – Colossians 3:23
keep a grateful heart – 1Thessalonians 5:18
stayed focused and eliminate distractions – Proverbs 4:25
My husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this week & that’s a noteworthy achievement! It’s noteworthy for lots of reasons such as:
lots of seasons and changes to navigate: doing hefty careers, an intense baby season, growing in our careers, raising teenagers & a few medical challenges along the road
distinct personalities: we are very different in our personalities, so this requires us to give each other lots of grace, space & affirmation to be unique but complementary rather than combative
prickly insecurities: just because we’re married doesn’t mean our individual insecurities don’t get triggered from time to time; so it’s helpful to recognize such weak spots & decide to nestle into genuine love 🙂
I’m definitely a better person from being married to Reece & there’s no doubt that God has helped us to grow in our relationship over the last 25 years! Let’s remember that being a person who is growing in character, love and strength is a decision we make one day at a time! And be certain to celebrate the milestones along the journey!
When I was growing up, my dad would take me to garage sales, art galleries, museums, estate sales, hospital visits, nursing homes, etc with an occassional stop at Arby’s for a jamocha shake & potatoe cakes – yum!! So during my childhood, I was around lots of people who were very different than me. It helped me a lot that my dad was very personable & never knew a stranger because I was realtively quiet & reflective.
As an adult, I also have the privilege of getting to meet lots of people from all walks of life. I meet poor folk & prosperous folk, educated & uneducated people, polite & rude folk, insightful & obtuse . . . . Some people are alot like me & we see life from a similar perspective. In contrast, I’m also around alot of people who are very different from me & I love this!! What is wonderful about each person that I meet, is that they are deeply valuable, highly esteemed and massively loved by our Heavenly Father. Let’s be intentional that we cultivate connections with people are different from us & make the committment to express genuine love regardless of our commonalities or differences!
I’M SO EXCITED!!!!! We are getting a new bed today & this makes me happy for LOTS of reasons: better sleep, not as stiff, more rest & increased energy. Our old bed is tired, no pun intended. We’ve slept on it for countless years, extending it’s life by flipping & rotating the mattress multiple times. But it’s reached the end of it’s functional life. I know this because I wake up stiff, often tired, it creaks & it’s saggy in the middle.
There’s lots to be said about sleep & rest. Indeed, we spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping / resting, so it’s an essential ingredient God has baked into our practical existence. Here are some things to consider about rest as we head into this weekend:
proper alignment: our backs need to be properly aligned so that we walk without pain & distortion. In the same say, when we rest in God, we can walk in our daily living, with less pain & distortion. Sleep & rest is when our backs & walk have the chance to settle into proper alignment
better mobility: with our old bed, I wake up stiff and sore everyday & it takes some time for my muscles to relax in the morning. When we consistently rest in God, we can have better agility to flow with Holy Spirit throughout the day. Better rest can mean increased agility 🙂
clearer thinking: when I wake up tired, this tells me that my sleep wasn’t restful & this affects my ability to think clearly on any given day. When my thinking is murky, everything takes more work, my emotions are more challenging, I’m more prone to make bad decisions and my perceptions can be whacky. But when I’m well rested in my body, mind and heart, everything is more clear & I’m better able to perceive truth, which is an essential ingredient for effective living 🙂
So here’s to getting a new bed! I’m also hopeful that you’ll make some time this weekend to be at rest 🙂
I’ve never met a person who enjoys failing & most of us avoid stuff that has a high risk for failing. But there are LOADS of people in the Bible who failed, took risks and some had tremendous successes – usually after they had overcome some significant failure hurdles. Some examples would include:
Jacob’s son, Joseph: failed with his brothers, but became 2nd in command to Pharoah in Egypt & rescued his family from famine
Jacob: tricked his brother & father, but went on to become “Israel” and the founder of the Twelve Tribes
Saul / Paul: gave hearty approval at Stephen’s martyrdom & became the largest contributing author to the New Testament in addition to founding the majority of early churches on two continents
When you fail, keep in mind some helpful perspectives:
failing is a verb, but failure is a noun: one can change but the other is more permanent
the greatest lessons often come from failing more than succeeding
failing can the essential fertilizer for redemption
no failure is beyond God’s power & love to transform into beauty, resurrection, abundance and divine success!
“We only have two fish & five loaves of bread. It’s not enough for such a big crowd!!” These were the disciples’ words to Jesus about feeding a crowd of more than 5,000 people. And the observation is valid when we think about the provision in contrast to the need.
I see this mindset in many perspectives in my life. My needs for energy, time, resources, friendships, favor, wisdom, etc often seem to dwarf whatever provision may be available at the time. And as I read today about Jesus multiplying the fish and bread, I was challenged by this whole stark contrast between provision and need. I can belittle and grieve what is lacking or I can give Jesus whatever provision I have, let Him bless it and live in the resulting abundance.
In Jesus’ hands, little provisions can become multiplied abundance!
More than 50,000 soldiers dead all triggered by a concubine running away from her husband. I’m reading the last few chapters of Judges in the OT & these events leave me baffled & cold. They baffle me because even though Israel obeyed God’s directives, they still lost two battles and 40,000 soldiers died.
These events leave me cold because of the human ability to be barbaric: the concubines husband cut her up into 12 pieces and sent her body parts throughout the 12 Tribes of Israel. Clearly, this is a very dark time in Israel’s history.
And there are times / events in our lives when we don’t understand God. Why does an omnipotent God allow atrocities and deplorable behaviors? And how does
God’s loving character reconcile with His judgment? Making these questions get even more personal, why doesn’t God heal various ailments & terminal illness?
Or why does a cheater co-worker get the promotion & we get bypassed, again?
I’m grateful that God is abundantly able to handle our questions, doubts, fears, uncertainties & pain.
While we wrestle with these questions, or different ones, let’s stay in fellowship with God for the simple reason that He holds us together because of His infinite love for us!
“That’s awkward!”I’ve said this in various contexts: social, athletic, ministry, cultural & lots more. If you’re like me, we tend to avoid what’s awkward & uncomfortable, but sometimes this is detrimental.
When I look at Jesus’ disciples, they seemed to follow Jesus into lots of uncomfortable, inconvenient & awkward scenarios, such as sinking boats, conversations with demon possessed people, massive throw downs with religious leaders & not just a few baffling teaching moments / parables.
Here’s some truth that could be helpful:uncomfortable is often when we grow the most. And maybe we need to grow & mature more than we need comfort & convenience 🙂
“Wakey Wakey,” said my body at 4am this morning. When I looked at the clock, my brain said, “Sleepy! Sleepy!”And that’s the challenge with jet lag: you wake up at crazy hours & you want to sleep when it’s time to be awake. I’m just back from Cambodia, so it takes a little time to reset ones clock & let the body catch up to the proper time zone. Getting upset won’t help the reset.
Sometimes, we also need to reset our focus & priorities to what is best aligned with genuine love. Instead of managing to the culture around us or pursuing creature comforts, let’s upset the mundane & conventional to go after what’s exceptional & revolutionary.And we can start today by doing the quote from Mother Teresa, “Do little things with great love”
I wonder how many wonderful experiences & people we miss because we make these 3 C’s our endgame. Presently, I’m riding in a Tuk Tuk in Cambodia & I can decide which filter in my thinking will be my perspective. I can choose the 3C’s & everything will be hot, noisy, smelly, loud, annoying & repulsive. Or I can choose the Adventure filter & my ride will be informative, interactive w the people around me at stoplights, breezy & bright.
So let’s consider how we think & the possible filters that we use to affect our perspective. And above all, let’s love lavishly & authentically since this is how we are loved by our Heavenly Father 🙂
Each person has unique things that cause stress. Some folk get stressed with job interviews while others get stressed with traveling to new places. Mostly, I don’t get stressed about much, except when I’m meeting heaps of new people. I appreciate that this shouldn’t be something stressful for me, but shouldn’t doesn’t change reality.
No matter what causes you to be stressed, here are some helpful pointers:
peace on the inside can help to mitigate external pressure: Jesus is our Prince of Peace, so it helps me to remember that His leadership in my heart brings peace
perspective: things change, time passes and you grow; rarely is stress a permanent state of being
past inventory: count up some things from the past that have been stressful and consider how God has helped you to overcome & resolve those challenges. God is the same today 🙂
I recently watched the NBA championship series between the Cavaliers & Warriors. Both teams have very different styles & it’s easy to find strong proponents for each style. There are heaps of folk who rightfully admire LeBron James, for the Cavs & heaps of folk who like the point spread among several players for the Warriors.
Personally, I tend to admire the teamwork style of play over more of the superstar style.With that said, I’ve been thinking about my distaste for styles that are different than my preference. And I’ve come to this conclusion: God has made each of us in unique & wonderful ways. Some individuals are wired up for massive individual achievements & some are wired up for the team approach. Being hostile & acrimonious against styles we don’t like can show not just a bias but also the refusal to grow & respect others who are different than ourselves.
With this line of thinking, I would suggest that Paul is a phenomenal NT example of a massively high achiever, who valued Help along his various journeys. Maybe Barnabas would be an example of a team player, looking to include as many teammates as he possibly could throughout his life. Both men had unique gifts, contributions & value to add to God’s kingdom. Let’s be careful to respect others who have different giftings rather than belittle & deride them for not being like us 🙂
As I parent my own teenagers, I am increasingly recognizing the boatloads of magnificent stuff my parents invested in me when I was growing up & I’m massively grateful! Much of my appreciation for the Bible, beauty & creativity, as well as Holy Spirit can largely be attributed to my parents & their influence on me. Additionally, my parents taught me heaps about doing what’s difficult, rather than shying away.
Do you have difficult things in your life? Difficult things can include: internal mindsets, challenging work situations, relationships, school classes, bad habits, etc. Here are some verses that you could pray to help you do what’s difficult:
Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengths me
1John 4:4, Greater is He Who is in you than he that is in the world
2Cor 2:14, God leads us into triumph
Rom 5:5, God’s love is poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit
James 1:5, Ask God for wisdom & He’ll give it to you liberally
Feel free to send this to anyone you know who could be struggling to do difficult things!
My three teenage kids have learning curves with lots of stuff, as do I.And part of what means to be human is learning. I think that it’s good to always be learning because this helps us to continually grow. So here are some helpful ideas for daily learning:
No shame – don’t belittle yourself or others for what is not known or the lack of proficiency.
Celebrate progress – don’t let “perfect” sabotage progress.
Learning differences – everyone learns in unique ways.
Committed to learn – may there never be a day when we don’t learn
Be gentle – we learn better with grace rather than harsh 🙂
“Here ya go!” As I was standing on the sidewalk on cold winter day, my friend flung me a seriously AWESOME winter cap that she had made me. I caught the cap with utter shock, checked it out & beamed from ear to ear. She had knit me this thoroughly magnificnet blue & white cap that has been my favorite for years. She later explained that she had to figure out a creative way to get the cap into my hands because of my difficulty to receive gifts.
Each of us have quirky hangups that can create obstacles for connecting in healthy ways with others. Maybe you have a sense of superiority over others & feel the need to help them improve – that’s an obstacle for connecting. Perhaps you see yourself as a victim from a past trauma or abuse, so it’s difficult for you to trust, another obstacle. I could endlessly list all kinds of obstacles we may have for connecting with others, but let’s be thankful that God has already overcome all of our obstacles and quirks because of genuine love. While there may be hindrances and obstacles along our horizontal journey, our vertical relationship with God is never in peril nor compromised – for the simple reason that God never stops loving us. His lovingkindness is everlasting!
Last night, I got to play on the softball team w my church & it was LOTS of fun!!However, I felt not just a little awkward because I was the pitcher & I’ve never pitched before. So it was a vertical learning curve for me & some parts were just flat out ugly.
And sometimes following God doesn’t feel smooth or suave.Indeed, a lot of times when I follow God, I feel uncomfortable & awkward. But I’d prefer to follow God & feel awkward rather than not follow God & feel suave. And maybe that’s the whole point:following God isn’t about our feelings but rather about obedience, full stop. Following God will likely make your flesh feel awkward & uncomfortable, but follow God nonetheless. I’d rather follow God & have my flesh be uncomfortable rather than not follow God & have my flesh be comfortable 🙂
Recently, I acquired a traffic ticket for not having a license plate on my front bumper. As much as I’d like to argue the stupidity of such a fine, an administrative detail to fund the tax base from trivial oversights, I’m guilty. So I paid the fine.
Hopefully, you & I are guilty of more important things such as:
gentle & constructive truth,
supernatural patience &
Take a quick moment now to text someone a sincere complement so that we’re both guilty of living out genuine love.
And I now have a license plate on my front bumper 🙂
Because I live in Colorado, swimming in lakes & reservoirs can be an arctic experience. I’m not a polar bear & an igloo is not my residential preference.Nonetheless, last Summer I tried two open water swims & despite being a relatively proficient swimmer, I thought I was going to freeze & drown, until I tried a wetsuit. Then everything changed.
The wetsuit insulated my skin & internal organs from the chilly water, it made me more buoyant & I could actually swim without hyperventilating
Maybe walking w Holy Spirit is kind of like wearing a daily wetsuit that helps us navigate daily living without getting frozen in impossibilities or drowning in fear. Indeed, walking with Holy Spirit everyday helps us to do what is impossible in our natural abilities. Walking with Holy Spirit is comforting & encouraging. And walking with Holy Spirit keeps us moving forward w God’s divine purpose & design in our individual lives!
Let’s wear Holy Spirit like our favorite snuggly hoodie 🙂
I hate this word & I’m learning to appreciate it at the same time. When I hear the word, “recalculating” it’s usually when my phone is giving me driving directions & I’ve missed a turn or I’m lost. More honestly, it means that I wasn’t listening or paying attention to the instructions, which happens more than I want to admit.
This makes me wonder how often Holy Spirit recalculates our journey together.And some questions begin to circulate in my thoughts:Are we walking toward the same goal?Do I want what Holy Spirit wants? Am I walking in step with Holy Spirit?Am I listening to the directions throughout any given day?
Not only do I want Holy Spirit to recalculate my journey so that I stay in step together, but I need Holy Spirit to recalibrate my attention so there’s less recalculating 🙂
Theoretically, I like to learn. In practicality, sometimes it’s difficult for me to learn. In full disclosure, I struggle to learn to trust God & I have a difficult time learning patience & being steadfast, along with many other things.
But it’s interesting that Jesus’ disciples were called “learners”. So when I follow Jesus, my mindset needs to be that of a learner & to live in a continuous state of learning. I want to encourage you to keep a learning mindset, so that our following Jesus keeps getting better & closer everyday! With the help of Holy Spirit, we learn to be better parents, mates, students, employees & humans. So what are you learning?
In church life, it’s pretty common for people to have great ideas but not much elbow grease to do the great ideas. I wish I had a nickel for every time some has said, “Hey! Y’all should do . . . [insert great idea]”
In the early days of the church, there was a problem related to the food distribution & the apostles’ answer was to tell the congregation to find men who had a good reputation & filled with the Holy Spirit to take over the food distribution.
Rather than take over the problem, the apostles used the challenge as a way to increase the ministry. They continued to pray & preach while adding on a hugely helpful component of humanitarian ministry.
Maybe the things that get you frustrated, angry or upset could possibly be the places where God would have you roll up your sleeves & invest some elbow grease 🙂
It’s something to think about today!
I make a pretty good roast chicken, but this hasn’t always been true. Indeed, for countless years, my roast chickens were “dry & tasteless”, to quote one of my offspring. I tried lots of different things to make it taste better: stuffing the cavity w herbs, water in the pot w a lid & lots of other stuff. Alas, I almost quit trying, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to try getting better even just by little steps.
I’m the type of person who wants to see big steps of progress & when I only see millimeters, I can get discouraged. So I want this blog to encourage you on little bits of better if you’re discouraged w the absence of giant leaps of progress. And remember that a little better can apply to heaps of areas in your life: exercise, discipline, Bible reading, relationships, school grades, etc. Gal 6:9 🙂
And my giant leap progress for doing an awesome roast chicken happened when I cut out the backbone, seasoned both sides w salt / pepper & broiled it on the bottom rack 🙂
I no longer make dry & tasteless roast chicken 🙂