There’s a common mindset that says bigger, more & better should be the continual pursuit. I say this now because I’m in a camera shop waiting to get some technical help & noticing the spectrum of cameras available in each brand. There are the simple point & shoot kind all the way to the ones that can tie your shoes & microwave popcorn. Ok, not really but kind of.
I wonder if the enemy of our souls doesn’t send us down this rabbit trail to distract us from learning the secret of being content in any & every situation. In the same line of thinking, is Jesus enough for us or do our decisions, time & money say something different?
I’m not buying a better camera today, nor do I want to swallow the deception that more & better need to control my life 🙂
I desperately want to be led by the Holy Spirit, in every area of my life – my decisions, conversations, priorities, relationships, etc. If I’m honest, however, sometimes I’m more driven than directed.
For me, here are some key indicators that I’m being flesh driven rather than Spirit led:
my flesh tends to dictate my actions.
my perspective gets very self-absorbed.
I can be more results oriented than relationship attentive – achievements become more important than connecting with people.
Fear often dilutes any expression of genuine love from me.
I become more consumer minded rather than thinking how to be generous.
Let’s be careful that we stay in Step with the Spirit & not controlled by our flesh 🙂
Be sure to pre-order my newest book about how to stay In Step with the Holy Spirit!
There’s loads of emphasis on making healthy choices, particularly with our eating, exercise & uses of time & money. I’m continually coaching my kids to Mae healthy choices & I’m abundantly clear that God coaches me along these lines as well. Here are some specific areas for making healthy choices:
Advocate or Accuse: let’s be aware that accusing is what the devil does & advocating is what the Holy Spirit does. Which choice is your natural default?
Convict or Condemn: condemning is when there’s a dead end & no hope to change, grown or improve – everything the devil works to accomplish. Conviction happens when the Holy Spirit speaks in our hearts about something that’s wrong, endeavoring to help us change.
Truth Or Lie: Jesus says in John 8:44 that the devil’s natural language is lying but a few chapters later, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. If we tolerate white lies or incremental truths we need to consider if we are listening to the devil more than the Holy Spirit :!
My dad always ordered his eggs over easy & I remember hearing waitresses say to him, “Sunny Side Up!” As a kid, I didn’t understand what they meant, but later learned that this phrase was kind of a synonym for over easy. Now whenever I hear, “sunny side”, everything inside me smiles & I feel warm all over. Maybe this is because I remember my dad sharing his breakfast with me or maybe because the sunny side feels friendly, inviting & open!
I’ve been thinking about this sunny side thing lately because of some plants I’m attempting to keep alive. Even yesterday, I moved a tomatoe plant out of the shade & into the sun – to keep it on the sunny side 🙂
This is pretty cheesy, but we also have to keep ourselves on the “Sonny” side in our thoughts, conversations & decisions for each day. Following Jesus, God’s Son, means that we actively chose to stay on the “Sonny side” of life, sharing encouragement, hope & genuine love with the dark world around us. Indeed, let’s stay bright by letting God’s Son shine through us!
Have you been through difficult seasons when your thoughts turn dark? Lately, it seems like this has been my lot. It’s certainly not as bad as Job in the Bible, but it’s not a smoothy groovy season for me at this time. A few of the challenges that have popped up lately include: a car meltdown, lost my credit card, my husband had a stroke, one of my kids had a crisis at school, some friend challenges and discouraging news from work.
As I’ve been navigating these difficulties, the Holy Spirit spoke to me this morning about how my thoughts were getting dark. It’s like I’ve started to see things in a warped way and I find myself thinking negatively and with grim expectations. This is one of the reasons I so deeply love the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also calls the Spirit of Truth. In my prayer time today, the Holy Spirit reminded me about Phil 4:8 where Paul tells us to dwell on / think about what is: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.
So with the help of the Holy Spirit, I’m re-directing my thoughts away from the dark stuff & onto things that are THRPLGR: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good repute! Anyone care to join me???
I have friends who hate to make decisions. The bigger the decision, the worse the gridlock, to the point that they become virtually paralyzed. I’m sure that some of their struggle with making decisions comes from some past challenges as well as some current insecurities that hide in dark corners of their mind, coming out to haunt at the most inopportune times. So when I read this morning about Lot and Abraham, with Lot’s decision to live in Sodom, I think there could be some practical help available in this story for making decisions:
don’t let circumstances be the fundamental reason for a decision: Lot chose land that looked appealing, but maybe he knew that Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t top grade choices for cities in which to live
discuss conflict before making decisions: the whole reason for Lot to move was partially driven by a conflict between Abraham’s and Lot’s shepherds
consider the choices that are available: from reading this story, it doesn’t seem to me that Lot considered all of the options that were available (exchange some of his cattle wealth for gold, come under Abraham’s leadership, create a partnership, etc).
think about the consequences: I seriously doubt that Lot would have chosen to live in Sodom had he known more about the people who lived there
Pray – when Lot made his decision, there’s no mention of him asking for divine input or guidance; in contrast, God was highly involved with Abraham, maybe because Abraham was obedient and highly esteemed / treasured God’s input
If the truth be known, I’m not so good at waiting & I’m trying to get better at that whole foreign concept. I tend to jump in & ask questions later, often getting WAY OVER MY HEAD & then freaking out. I probably lead with my heart & let my brain come along for the ride from time to time. Clearly, this has gotten me into some hot water & mildly comical situations, more than I’d like to admit. But on the flip side, it’s also made for some really outrageous adventures & results, most of which I totally love 🙂
Thankfully, God has surrounded me with people who have their feet on the ground & keep me from floating away into some dreamy oblivion. But perhaps God has me in the lives of these very grounded people, as well, so they can go & do far beyond their natural thinking. Let’s value how God has made each of us & readily align our lives with faith, which is by definition belief in action 🙂
I’ve been thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mom, and how she had a pretty tough road to walk, being pregnant out of wedlock in a culture that strongly frowned on “that type of thing”. If you think about Mary’s situation, she went through a pretty tricky season.
In different but also similar ways to Mary, we all have lots of challenges & difficulties. So if I look at the what Mary said in her season of unwed pregnancy, it helps me to know how to manage my own struggles. Simply put, Mary said, “My soul magnifies The Lord”. We can magnify the problem or we can magnify The Lord, let’s chose wisely 🙂
Back in the day, I visited Prague when it was under communism and I had an interesting experience there. My friends & I popped into a grocery store in Prague and since I’d never visited a grocery store in a communist country, I was in for a surprise – no choices. I quickly realized that I totally take for granted all of the choices I have at an American grocery store (for example, I can get green beans in a variety of ways: fresh, frozen, canned, low sodium, french cut, etc).
Sometimes, I think we take for granted that we have every day. Some of these choices include:
I recently read about when the Jews left their slavery in Egypt & I came across an interesting verse, when they were being chased by Pharoah. At the end of Ex 14:12, the Jews are complaining to Moses & they say something like, “It would have been better to stay as slaves in Egypt than to die here in the wilderness.” I started thinking about this & it really hit me that they only saw 2 options: slavery or death.
Unfortunately, I think we make the same mistake when we exclude God from His involvement in our lives. Truly, without God’s participation & involvement in our lives, we face the same kinds of options that the Jewish people saw at that time. In contrast, it seems to me that the more we involve God in our lives, the greater the adventures, miracles, shock and awe!! So let’s make sure to include God more & more in our lives 🙂