Changing a tire, smoke alarms, sermon advice, editing with writing, parenting struggles, matching clothes, staying patient, . . . . these things barely scratch the surface of areas where I need help. Admitting that I need help is a very big struggle for me. So when Jesus said in John 14, that He would send His followers another Helper, I always thought, “That’s nice. I hope some folk benefit from that help.” I never really thought I needed “help” until I began digging into Jesus’ words to His disciples at the Last Supper in John 14-16.
Having studied and prayed about Jesus’ words in these chapters, I have become unraveled and undone, full stop. So I wrote a book about this & you should buy it, now (pre-order) before it becomes back-ordered. Actually, order at least 5 books because it’s awesome for small group discussions, book clubs and giving away as gifts 🙂
This morning, I read in Luke 24 about how a few of Jesus’ followers didn’t recognize Him as He was walking on the road to Emmaus with them. For awhile, they didn’t recognize Jesus, but once Jesus broke bread with them at a meal, they recognized Jesus for Who He was & they exclaimed, “Were not our hearts burning within us as He explained the Scriptures?!” Sometimes I don’t think we recognize Jesus’ daily presence with us. Consider the following:
A conversation with a friend & she says something that completely speaks to a need that you’ve been praying about – Jesus’ presence with answers
An unexpected delay that gives some extra time for breathing & even praying – Jesus’ provision for time
A person reaches out to you with some love and encouragement, without any expected reciprocity nor agenda – Jesus’ love relationship with you
Waking up in the middle of the night with the desire to pray – keeping company with Jesus
Someone invites you to serve, volunteer or lead – Jesus’ opportunity to grow and explore new terrain with Him
What are some more ways that we can recognize Jesus in our daily living? 🙂
As I write, my kids are doing an amazing job of cleaning the house. We divided up the responsibilities onto various checklists (laundry checklist, kitchen checklist, living / family room checklist, etc) & consequently, no one is thoroughly overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done. Furthermore, each of my kids brings their unique personalities to their jobs so it’s fun to watch them jump in & invest some “sweat equity” to our quality of living 🙂
It’s my responsibility to oversee & quality check against the checklists they’re using to ensure that everything is done well & thoroughly. In some ways, this all reminds me of how God puts us together to bring the Kingdom of God into our daily reality. Some essentail ingredients include:
teamwork: the lone ranger paradigm doesn’t generally fit into kingdom thinking
focus: when my kids are distracted, they’re less effective & everthing takes longer; staying focused on God helps us to be more productive
oversight & integration: God never leaves us to our own devices & efforts to see God’s kingdom realized
mutually beneficial: a clean kitchen, clothes, bathroom and living areas are in everyone’s best interest & God’s kingdom is no different 🙂
Easter is a wonderful celebration of life, victory and genuine love!! And it seems to me that there is often a little bit of a “let down” after Easter. – kind of like, “Whew! Jesus rose from the dead, glad that He conquered death, let’s move on.” This year, however, is a little different for me.
I’m reminded what Jesus told His disciples in John 16:7 that it was to their advantage for Jesus to go away so that the Helper could come & give us HELP. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He breathed on His followers in John 20:22 and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!”
So here’s the overwhelmingly GREAT NEWS about Jesus raising from the dead – not only did Jesus conquer death but we now have the great Helper with us in our daily living! Let’s never minimize the importance of the Helper being with us!!
I’ve been thinking about what genuine love likes & acts like & I’m stealing some thoughts from The Five Love Languages about expressing genuine love. So here are some ideas about what love is. Love is:
*gifts – not only for Christmas & birthdays, but random gifts that are meaningful to the recipient
*affirmation – specific applause & recognition can be a hugely impactful experience for the one who hears such words
*touch – a gentle hug, a kind touch on the shoulder, a warm hand shake can be very affirming to a person who appreciates this expression of love
*time – for some folk, time is a deeply meaningful experience because it cannot ever be increased. It is the most finite resource that we have
*serving – helping others is an excellent way to give love for others.
The real meaning of love is more about the recipient than the person who is giving. In genuine love, the giver tries to be as present as possible & meaningful to the recipient.
What are some of your thoughts about genuine love?
Over the last few days, I’ve done a little bit of traveling – specifically to Dallas & Phoenix. Why I went to some of the hottest cities in America in August is still somewhat comical to me, but I had a great time in both places & enjoyed the people immensely 🙂
With that being said, it helps to know some traveling tips from people who travel alot – you know the stuff like:
if you bring alot of books your luggage will be really heavy,
don’t forget deodrant when you go to places with high temperatures,
put your toothbrush in one of those toothbrush covers so when the shampoo explodes you won’t be foaming at the mouth when you brush,
be nice to the TSA people, they’ve already had their quota of complaints & harassments for the day
Here’s some travel tips for the journey called, “life”:
enjoy the journey – love your kids & husband / wife all along each day of the journey so your life will be rich
be generous with kind words & encouragement, even to strangers for the selfish reason that giving to others always leaves you with a contentment that exceeds words
the various paths & directions that you life take aren’t as important as the people on the journey with you
the presence of Jesus on any path is always better than the destination or achievement – maybe that’s the whole point of the journey of life: getting to know Jesus 🙂
So here’s the sequel to yesterday with the Greek mid-term. With God’s help, I stopped complaining & griping, studied hard (I found myself to be more productive w my studying when I stopped complaining) and thanks be to God, I got an 88% on my Greek mid-term. For some of you, that may be disappointing – thinking I should have gotten at least an A. But please realize that this B+ was extremely miraculous (the best grade I’d earned in the class all semester).
So here’s my conclusion, complaining & griping don’t usually bring the results we want. I find that when I gripe, argue with & complain to God (or anyone else):
my attitude goes down the toilet,
I have a hard time getting myself into being constructive & productive
I become an unhappy person
I bring others down around me.
I don’t want or need these results in my life & I’d venture to say that you don’t either. 😉
Check back later for some cool stuff on the Lord’s Prayer & the existence of evil!