I’m in Pittsburgh & the older gentleman driving me to the airport has blue eyes like my dad. He’s also kind like my dad was so this drive brings back fond memories. When I think about my dad, I often reflect on the Holy Spirit & how the Helper works in my life. In Romans 8, I learn that the Holy Spirit helps me know God as my Heavenly Father. In John 14, I understand that the Holy Spirit is my Heavenly Help throughout each day. I also understand, from John 14, that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, leading me into truth & away from deception.
My earthly dad was a big proponent of the Holy Spirit so it’s nice to have this gentle reminder as a whisper as I ride in the car with this nice older gentleman wth blue eyes.
Yesterday, I listened to one of my kids rant about their school, the wicked teachers, awful students & deplorable work. I don’t mind listening and sometimes I’m good at listening, which is good because my kid needed a listening ear. After about 30-45min of this content, I felt it was time for some objectivity so we had an interesting chat. I applauded their willingness to acknowledge a few of their shortfalls, but I also pointed out that from this child’s perspective, the lion’s share of the problems belonged to everyone else. This kind of thinking was allowing my kid to frame themselves as the victim & that’s no bueno. Being a victim often leaves us powerless & inert, wallowing in self pity. Seems to me that this kind of thinking runs contrary to how God has designed us, back in the Garden of Eden with power & dominion.
At the minimum, we have authority & power over our attitude & the choices we make about our perspective. Let’s be careful about how we think because our thoughts affect our words, attitudes & actions!
I don’t care for the 2×4 technique: you know, the times when it feels like you smacked upside the head with a massive reality check. I prefer the gentle instruction but alas, sometimes I don’t get subtle. When I come to Cambodia & in lots of my work with Saving Moses, I often have the 2×4 experience- seeing babies in deplorable situations & meeting toddlers who have molested.
I think Jesus would have us listen & watch to be moved in our hearts because indeed, Jesus is deeply concerned & moved. Jesus is moved & when we are obedient I don’t see how cannot be deeply moved, even with the 2×4 experiences. Let’s be careful in our daily living that we don’t insulate ourselves from the things that move Jesus.
Presently I’m in Cambodia & this morning I was meandering around one of the neighborhoods where we provide nightcare with Saving Moses. This is always a tough neighborhood for me because of the immensity of the needs I see & feel. But it’s also a warm place for me because of the people I recognize every time, their kindness & warm acceptance. So this morning I was in this neighborhood and kind of taking in everything again. As I looked down one of the alleyways, I saw a small women & waved at her. She smiled quietly back at me. I felt drawn to her, so I walked closer & greeted her in my limited Khmer language. She was warm but respectful so I kept walking closer until I was standing just outside the opening of the space of her home. She was friendly but not overly welcoming. I peaked my head around the corner & observed a woman trying to get herself into sitting position. I could immediately tell that there was a significant physical ailment by the degree of struggle this women undertook to sit up. No joke, it took her between 2-3min to get herself upright. I kept watching to figure out what was going on with her. Her belly was really distended, so initially I thought she was pregnant, but dismissed this immediately because this was something different. She opened her shirt at her belly, revealing a swollen stomach like I’ve never seen, ever. I forced myself to not pull back from shock & tried to process what was wrong. Because I was by myself there was no help for me with any conversation, so I just stood there for what seemed a long time, unsure what to do. As I got my bearings, I felt in my heart that I was to pray for her and that was extremely helpful because I wasn’t just a helpless spectator to her pain & struggle. I stepped into the room and asked if I could pray (by that time, my translator friend came to help me). I began praying for her & also listening in my heart on how / what to pray. Of course I wanted to see some immediate evidence of healing & she did express that the pain she was experiencing was diminishing. I’ll go back tomorrow & check on her.
Seeing things that are atrocious can shock is into freeze mode or we can look to the Holy Spirit to help us be vessels for healing & divine love. Let’s chose love rather than be repelled by sickness & disease!
We recently had some work done on our kitchen that included replacing the countertops with granite. While the granite is very beautiful, it’s SUPER heavy. Imagine the shock when it started to become unglued & fall off the support wall! Thankfully, no one was hurt but it brought to light some interesting thoughts. The glue wasn’t strong enough to keep the granite attached, so we not only re-glued the granite but now we’re also installing corbels (a fancy architectural term for bracket).
For me, I see this granite adventure kind of like the Holy Spirit working in my daily living. Not only do I need the Holy Spirit to keep me glued together, but I need all of the Holy Spirit support that’s possible to keep me in a functional mindset & to prevent me from falling apart. My flesh is like gravity – pulls me to the lowest level possible. The Holy Spirit keeps me upright, living in truth & holds me together 🙂
I like to go fast – snowboarding, quick flights & speedy travel. In the last two weeks, however, our family has taken a “slower” vacation. We’ve driven from Denver, stopping to see relatives & friends, all the way to Washington DC. We are now driving back to Denver from DC. I’ve done the round trip flight from Denver to DC more times than I can count & it takes about 7hours total (including driving & airport security) to fly one way. In contrast, it will take us 2.5 days to drive from DC to Denver, with minimal stops.
Along this vacation, I’ve noticed some significant advantages to this slower travel stuff:
More time to think, pray & explore – rather than focusing on the travel, slowing down allows me the space to pray & process
Beauty in various forms – from flat farmlands to the Smokey Mountains & rolling forested hills of West Virginia, there’s beauty everywhere. Being on the ground let’s me experience this beauty & appreciate Gods immense creativity.
Deeper conversations – getting to chat with my relatives & friends face to face has been a great benefit to this slow down approach to travel.
There’s some good wisdom to the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Feeling Groovy”
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
I pray that you can slow down & enjoy your weekend with the Holy Spirit!
My daughter was meeting some new people & she was coaching me about my social etiquette, endeavoring to be helpful 🙂
At the end of her coaching efforts, she concluded with, “Mom, don’t wear your porcupine suit – smile!” While some people might be put off by her input, I was grateful. She wasn’t being disrespectful or belittling. She was sincerely trying to help me & I figure help is generally a good thing. And on that note, it’s also really good to be helpful!
In John 14:16, Jesus says that He will ask the Father to send us the Helper, aka Holy Spirit. Seems to me that Help is kind of like the Holy Spirit’s nickname – so receiving & giving help can be like cooperating with the Holy Spirit in our daily living. Let’s endeavor to both give & receive help, as we stay in synch with the Holy Spirit throughout this day!
I’m deeply in love with Jesus, full stop. There are times, however, that I’m not so whippy on some of the things Jesus says & does. This used to rankle me, until I started thinking about Peter. One day in my prayer time, the Holy Spirit walked me through the various times & ways that Peter disagreed with Jesus:
At the very beginning when he told Jesus to leave him because he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8, after Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach a sermon to a crowd along the lakeshore).
A little later, even though Peter walked on the water to Jesus in Matt 14:30-31, Jesus reprimanded Peter for his doubt from watching the winds & waves & sinking into the water.
In Matt 16:22, Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about His upcoming death. This seems pretty audacious to me, considering that Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ / Messiah.
Peter again argues with Jesus on the whole betrayal thing at the last supper in Matt 26:33-35.
Peter disagrees with God with the heavenly vision in Acts 10:11-19 about eating unclean animals & preaching Jesus to the Gentiles.
Seems to me that it doesn’t make Jesus bite His nails when we disagree with Him, but let’s be abundantly clear that no matter what our opinion may be, Jesus has the final say, full stop. So let’s keep loving Jesus, even when we disagree with Him, from time to time 🙂
I like to go new places, so I’m currently enjoying our family vacation, driving from Denver to Washington DC & then back home next week. Presently, were visiting relatives in Missouri & Arkansas, so it’s an efficient road trip, seeing sights, exploring new places & enjoying some fun conversations with family. This idea about visiting new places is right in my wheelhouse: I like going places I’ve never visited before, full stop.
I think this idea is also relevant to our walk with Jesus. Sometimes it can be easy to get in a rut or even become complacent in our spiritual journey. So maybe it’s worth some time to think about how to freshen up your relationship with Jesus. Here are some possible ideas:
Consider taking a few hours this weekend to take a hike with a journal & take some time to listen
Think about some possible ways to serve others – soup kitchen, homeless outreach, take a missions trip
Slowly read a pet of the Bible that you’re not very familiar with, keeping a pen & paper close for observations
Look into joining a Bible study or small group to talk about some of Jesus’ life
Let’s be careful that we keep growing in our walk with God!
“Bow down to me & I’ll give you all that you see.” This was the final temptation the devil tried against Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. I’ve been thinking about the 3 ways the devil tried to tempt Jesus – against His flesh, worship & power / authority.
It seems to me that the devil uses the same schemes on us. He tries to tempt us with flesh stuff. He tries to sabotage our worship of God using alluring idols (money, image, pride, intellect, etc). And the devil endeavors to undermine the authority God has given us, telling us that we are frail, powerless, disabled & incapacitated. I think the devil’s number one tool is deception. This is reason alone to snuggle into the Holy Spirit, our Spirit of Truth, so we don’t fall prey to the devils’ efforts & schemes.
Be sure to read my book, Heavenly Help, so you can stay in synch with the Holy Spirit & out of synch with the devil, the enemy of your soul!
I want to be sure to mention that today is the National Day of Prayer & I hope that we don’t stop with one day 🙂 Our nation needs sustained & daily prayer so let’s keep praying for our nation tomorrow, the next and work this habit into our daily routines 🙂
With that shameless plug to pray, here’s something really fun! I recently had the great honor to be with Joni Lamb on her Table Talk program! I had such a great time!
I rarely ever do this, but here’s a video link so you can join this helpful and engaging discussion!
Here’s a quote on friendship by the famous CS Lewis. The quote is classic Lewis, insightful & inspiring. But alas, there’s a downside to this warm & engaging quote above Lewis’ picture. The quote doesn’t scratch the surface of who CS Lewis was, nor the immensity of his thoughts, wisdom, writing nor influence. He was truly a giant among men. So let’s be careful that we don’t think we know the man by looking at his picture & reading an inspiring quote.
In the same way, let’s consider that we can often treat God with the same shabby quip and blip method. I’ve definitely been guilty of taking a quick verse and letting that suffice for my understanding of who God is. To really know a person means to spend time with them in lots of scenarios and to listen and watch them with an open heart. How much more true is this for the lifetime adventure of knowing and walking with God. Let’s leave the quips and blips strategy for politics and shallow journalism.
Let’s allow Heavenly Help to teach us the lifestyle of Jeremiah 9:23-24.
Before there were planes, trains & automobiles, people used camels, donkeys & the sandal express to resolve their transportation needs. So once upon a time there were a couple of guys walking from one town to another and a random stranger joined their pedestrian ambulation. There ensued a heated conversation about the current events of that time: something about a very magnetic man getting brutally murdered by the key religious leaders of the region & supposedy this murdered but magnetic guy had risen from the dead, according to the rumor on the street. The stranger seemed unaware of these current events, but somehow started a religious conversation that caused a holy heart burn in these fellow travellers. Long story short, these guys came to understand after Jesus disappeared that He was talking with them along their journey, even though they didn’t recognize Him. Luke 24
Just because we know about Jesus doesn’t mean that we always recognize Him in the events or journey of our daily living. I think that part of our Path to Pentecost is letting the Holy Spirit help us recognize Jesus better in our day to day existence.
Most often, life feels like it happens in the middle of a chapter with some slow plot development, an occasional conflict & some mundane pick & shovel daily living. Then there are seasons when God turns the page & begins a new chapter. When the chapter turns, we can be sad to say goodbye to the preceding season & excited to embrace something new.
No matter where you’re at in life’s journey, the best part is knowing that the Holy Spirit is always with us, in the ups & downs, twists, mundane & majestic. So let’s keep our focus on the Helper regardless of the season in which we find ourselves. This fellowship makes any journey vibrant, bearable & fruitful 🙂
“Mom!” When my kids call for me, I often reply, “I’m listening.” When I say this, rather than “yes”, it seems to give them a micro pause & I find that the quality of our chat improves. I think that when I say, “I’m listening”, there’s a sense that I’m giving them a better quality of attention than a perfunctory “yea”. And getting to have some quality interaction with my kids is always platinum for me.
I was thinking about this as I read Genesis 22 this morning where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Three times in this chapter Abraham says, “Here I am” – once to God, once to Isaac & the last time to the angel getting his attention for divine provision. In my thinking, when Abraham said “Here I am”, he was saying my version, “I’m listening”.
Seems to me from Gen 22 that the quality of our listening just might have an affect the abundance of God’s provision in our lives. This is important not only for us as individuals, but also for the succeeding generation. Selah
I like to go fast. In our family, I’m the one who gets speeding tickets, I’m the one who snowboards fast & I tend to make going fast a high priority. While it’s fun to go fast, it also causes problems. For example, there are times when I try to speed through writing a blog & then make grammar & content mistakes :/
There are times when I find myself making speed a higher priority than quality or being present & engaging. That’s a recipe for train wrecks & dysfunctions.
There are times when slowing down & being present have better benefits than going fast or accomplishing stuff. Like with Mary & Martha in Luke 10, Jesus let Martha know that it was better to listen & be still with Him rather than be busy around Him.
So today, I’m telling myself to slow down & be still with Jesus 🙂
Three members of my family lean toward the loud side of volume & two of us not as much. Of course when I was a teenager, there were the normal moments of loud & intense but as I age, I find that often what I most relish is found not in noisy & frenzied. Instead, it’s entirely astounding what a person can experience walking alone at night in some rain or gentle snowfall. I also find that the moments of quiet that I give to God during any given day have great volume & application in my day to day living.
In a season that has the potential to be full of high octane demands, full on loud & overflowing with busy, let’s pay attention to keeping some quiet & still in our daily living. Doing this can help us to hear the gentle, affirming & inviting words of Jesus, whispering into our hearts & throughout each day. Let’s turn up the volume on Jesus’ voice by turning down the volume on the demands of a potentially frenzied holiday season 🙂
How does God direct us? What are some practical tips to help us follow God? I’ve been doing some digging into Paul’s life (in Acts & his epistles), listening, watching his life & thinking. Here are some helpful pointers to recognizing God’s direction in our lives:
The Bible: this has to be ground zero & final authority. Anything that disagrees with God’s Word isn’t God’s direction, full stop.
Circumstances: in Acts 16:6ff Paul is experiencing many closed doors, despite his continuous effort;
Divine Input: in Acts 16:9, he has a vision & sets off on a new trajectory with phenomenal results;
Desire: in Rom 15:23, Paul tells the Roman church that he’s wanted to minister to them for many years. Consider that when we ask God to give us desires that complement God’s purpose & will, this seriously happens 🙂
Let’s be sure to let God shape our desires & direct our steps & have an awesome weekend!
Seems to me that if we get away for a weekend, we tend to stay close to home. For me, I’ve spent this weekend in Singapore & it’s been an amazing trip in many different ways:
Sleep – yea, not so much
Food – so MUCH FUN!! I seriously love trying new stuff & no I don’t ask what it is 🙂
People – what an total honor getting to minister in this totally incredible country; I love how open & receptive the people are to jump into the Bible!!! I spoke 4times in about 2days so it was intense but FUN!
Singapore is one of the most melting pot & blending cultures that I’ve ever visited & I LOVE IT!!!!! A couple interesting facts:
Singapore received its independence from being a British colony 50 years ago in August. This country is an incredible example of blending diversity for completing strengths rather than competing division. During this visit, the Premiers of China & Taiwan came to Singapore to make an historic conversation between these nations that have been virtual enemies for many decades.
Of course I totally love Asia & I find myself totally falling in love with the Singaporeans even more than I have in the past. Love this place & the people here!!
My boys are on Fall Break & they’re watching a classic Tom & Jerry cartoon, where the cat gets killed in a thousand different ways & manages to come back for more. I remember watching these cartoons when I was little & I was perplexed how that cat could stay alive & then be so stupid to keep coming back for more. I guess I missed the point & sometimes I still do.
There are other points that we can sometimes miss:
How is it that we sometimes miss the point that God loves us because God is love & not because of our pristine behavior?
How is it that we miss the point that forgiveness is supposed to be a continuous action in both receiving & giving?
How is it that we miss the point that life is more rich from being generous rather than from consuming & hoarding?
How do I miss the point that Jesus is God’s selfie & Christmas affords me the yearly chance to celebrate such divine extravagance?
Maybe the volume is too loud with Tom & Jerry or the white noise in our lives to catch these seemingly finer points ,)