Porcupine Suit

Have you have a few hours, days, weeks, etc when you would like to rent a porcupine suit? These are the times when you feel particularly bristly & not very friendly. As a follower of Jesus, it seems to me that I shouldn’t be like this. But alas, I can be cranky & cantankerous. In these times, I’d like to rent a porcupine suit & I should probably hibernate from social interaction so I don’t stab anyone with my bristly demeanor.

In these times, I need to let the Holy Spirit soothe the needles & console the grumpy. I may have some very good reasons to be cranky, but I must never resist help from the Holy Spirit to be better than my feelings, full stop.

Turkish Get-Ups

This is a picture my friend took last week when I was showing her how to do a Turkish get-up in the local coffee shop. The purposes of this exercise is to improve ability, strengthen the shoulder & probably make a person look super silly. I say this because whenever I do them, I feel not just a little goofy.

Sometimes, our spiritual development can feel to our flesh like a Turkish get-up. Growing spiritually doesn’t always make our flesh feel comfortable & svelte. But growing spiritually helps us to go through life’s ups & downs with more agility & this also helps to strengthen our core self, grounding us in prayer & the Bible.

Don’t minimize the importance of doing the daily disciplines of prayer & Bible time that foster spiritual growth!

Hot Topic: Sometimes No

I really like to tell my kids, “Yes!” I like to tell them yes to eating salad, working out, studying, reading good books & hanging out with constructive friends. All of these get a hearty “yes and AMEN!” from me. But alas, they don’t always ask me for these kinds of things.

Sometimes they ask me:

  • to eat cake when it would be better to have some beets.
  • to sleep in when they need to go to school.
  • to hang out with a shady person when it would be better to do their homework.

Sometimes we ask God for stuff that’s not good for us & we often don’t like God’s answer. We can even deny that God is answering our prayers when we don’t like the answer. But alas, God answers prayer even when we don’t like the answer! Let’s trust that when God says no, it’s in our best interest & there’s a better plan or answer than what we’ve been requesting!

Right Side Up

Looking at this picture, you would likely tell me to fix it & turn it around since it looks like Jesus is upside down. However, sometimes I think the Holy Spirit wants to turn us up on end so we be right side up, based on the Holy Spirit’s perspective. Some areas where we might need some adjusting could include:

  • Money: getting is never as blessed as giving
  • Time: sometimes I need to remember that prayer can be the key for productive rather than staying busy
  • Mercy: being judgmental appealing to our flesh, mercy wins with Jesus!
  • Leadership: serving is the model Jesus gave us if we’re going to be the Jesus-kind of leader

Topsy-Turvy my friends ūüôā

Jesus’ Watch: Small Groups :)

img_0808 img_0809

One of my all time favorite platforms to recognize Jesus is in small groups, Bible studies & prayer groups. And it seems logical that this would be true based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20 when He says, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Some of the things I love about these settings are:

  • Robust conversations about Jesus from various points of view. Different perspectives help me see & experience Jesus in fresh & new ways.
  • Prayer support in the group.
  • Recognizing Jesus words, presence, power, wisdom & loads more, like when Jesus walked along the Emmaus’ road & talked with His followers even though they didn’t recognize Him in those moments.
  • Seeing the Fruits of the Spirit in first person experience because there’s always some kind of conflict or rub whenever you bring people together ūüôā

Let’s be sure to keep some fellowship with other followers of Jesus as part of our essentials routines!

My Chauffeur

My daughter has her driver’s permit, so we are starting the “learning to drive” adventure. The first time I rode with her, I knew that my real-time prayer life would be dramatically increasing. Of course I’m praying immediately for her skills to improve but I’m also praying for peace in my heart and for the people driving on the road with us ūüôā
Recently, I began to think about this adventure in a different way. Rather than being frazzled by this season, I’m choosing to see that she’s a chauffeur in training. Ok, maybe not my chauffeur, but if I appreciate that Jesus never leaves her, then she can be His chauffeur & that perspective helps me a lot!
Taking that a little further, Jesus is always with us as well, no matter what’s happening or not! If we are Jesus’ chauffeur, this means that He gets to tell us where we’re going & we would be wise to solicit His input on how to get to His destinations!
Have an awesome weekend!

Extra & More!

This morning I overslept so I missed my normal Bible prayer time. Sometimes this makes me cranky & my already shady social skills deteriorate.  On these occasions, I try to keep a wide space from people to minimize the offense potential. 
But this morning, I tried a different strategy. Rather than withdraw & be sullen, I decided to attend a moms prayer meeting that I’d never been to before. It was a 50/50 role of the dice & it turned out A-MAZING!! Despite not feeling like it, I went the extra mile & received way MORE than I anticipated. 

Seems like this kind of lines up with what Jesus says about going the extra mile & giving with generosity, no matter how we feel. Let’s lean into the Holy Spirit to help us go the extra mile today ūüôā

Hot Topic:  Gravity Prayers

I like to pray because in my mind, praying is simply conversing with God. Prayer is a dialogue between God & me, not just a monologue shopping list. From time to time, however, I sense God challenging me to make known my requests & not just stay in the listening mode. Over time, I’m learning to take very seriously what these requests can be for the simple reason that God answers our prayers. 
Consider these weighty requests:

  • Patience – when we ask God to help us be more patient, often the resulting journey to that destination can be tumultuous
  • Trust – help me trust You more / better; the places in our lives that need this work can get very uncomfortable from the Holy Spirit answering this request
  • Love – I’ve asked God to help me love better & despite some hotspots, the results are worth the risks

It’s not bad to make weighty prayers, but let’s be prepared to make the changes such prayers require. 

Succeeding in Adversity

All of us face adversity of different sizes, shapes, seasons & intensities. From what I’ve learned, it’s not always possible to avoid adversity, so shat to do? Here are some thoughts to help you have some success in the midst of this stuff

  • Focal point: focusing on the adversity seems to make it bigger, focusing on Jesus helps to keep the adversity in the right perspective
  • Practice: think back over the past struggles you’ve come through & remember that the current adversity is practice ,)
  • Get Help: more than professional help, all of us need divine Help & this is exactly who the Holy Spirit is, so be sure to ask for Help!
  • Time: decide to outlast the adversity, one day at a time
  • Prayer: agree with some friends to prayer for their struggles & that they can pray for you as well – this one helps me boatloads!

Be sure to pass this along to some friends who are going through some tough stuff ūüôā

Hot Topic: Prince Dies

The ultra famous rocker “Prince” died today at the age of 57, of causes yet unknown. ¬†If you ever listened to pop radio in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you heard at least a few of his songs – “1999”, “When Doves Cry” & “Let’s Go Crazy”, to name a few. ¬†Prince was a very private and creative person. ¬†His religious leanings were probably in the Jehovah Witness persuasion & he didn’t really comply with anything institutional nor common. ¬†At one point, he changed his name to a symbol & that’s probably where I lost the plot with him.

While you can find plenty of things in his life that didn’t agree with you, he was nevertheless an innovative creator of a rare breed. ¬†Some of that creativity was bizarre but some of it was sheer genius.

While many of the people who read this blog may not be familiar with Prince, his premature death drives home the point that life is short. ¬†Let’s be certain to live with divine intentionality and pray for the people not only in our daily living but also for the people have platform and influence in today’s culture.

 

Big Changes

Do you need some big changes in your life? Do you know anyone who needs some big changes? This quick blog could be super helpful!
Sometimes, it’s the “small” things that create big changes. For example, I read this morning in Acts 13 about how there was a prayer meeting where the Holy Spirit prompted the participants to lay hands on 2 guys & send them out. The 2 guys were Paul & Barnabas & this prayer meeting was the beginning of their missions ministry. Out of this prayer meeting, thousands of people were reached for Jesus, two continents heard the Gospel & numerous churches were planted. I’d say that from this prayer meeting, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit monumental changes were launched. 

Never belittle the power of prayer nor the leading of the Holy Spirit to affect big changes in your life!

To help you know the Holy Spirit better, grab a copy of my book Heavenly Help!

Baby Steps

In my work with Saving Moses, I get to experience lots of baby steps. This is because we look out for the most urgent needs for babies / toddlers where the care is least available. So I find myself in all kinds of interesting places & situations, looking out to save babies, often in the most literal ways. 
One of the things that we love getting to do with Saving Moses is our nightcare work in third world countries where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. Our nightcare work provides a safe refuge for these babies from experiencing many of the horrible things that happen in brothels & red light districts. But developing the places & relationships to provide nightcare only happens, in my experiences so far, in baby steps. 

This leads me to ask that you would be praying for me & the team with me as we take such baby steps in an extremely important third world country. 

Thanks muchos & have an awesome weekend!!

Baby Steps

In my work with Saving Moses, I get to experience lots of baby steps. This is because we look out for the most urgent needs for babies / toddlers where the care is least available. So I find myself in all kinds of interesting places & situations, looking out to save babies, often in the most literal ways. 
One of the things that we love getting to do with Saving Moses is our nightcare work in third world countries where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. Our nightcare work provides a safe refuge for these babies from experiencing many of the horrible things that happen in brothels & red light districts. But developing the places & relationships to provide nightcare only happens, in my experiences so far, in baby steps. 

This leads me to ask that you would be praying for me & the team with me as we take such baby steps in an extremely important third world country. 

Thanks muchos & have an awesome weekend!!

pre-prayer

Today is an important day for Saving Moses, as we are praying, planning & strategizing for what God wants to do with Saving Moses in 2016. Days like this are important & they are have very massive impact for what we do in 2016, as well as how we do those significant goals.

We have this annual meeting at my house, so there are things that I do to prepare: clean the house, get coffee / tea ready, my husband made fresh biscuits this morning for everyone, I’ve made some good plans for lunch & some other things. Suffice it to say that I’ve prepared for this meeting with logistical foresight, mostly. But the most important thing I can do for this meeting is pre-prayer.

Let’s always remember that prayer is foundation for all of our preparation, so let’s always pre-prayer for each day J

Hot Topic: GOP Debate & the Presidential Election

Last night, the Republican Party held a national debate. ¬†We heard many¬†ideas and opinions about what the Presidential leadership for the US could look like¬†from several¬†candidates. ¬†Some of the ideas expressed last night were thought provoking and some of the ideas felt naive at best. ¬†Whatever you political beliefs or hopes are, let’s keep in mind a few important essentials:

  • prayer: ¬†1 Tim 2:1-4 says that we should pray for our leaders; ¬†let’s make sure that we endeavor to pray for our government and it’s leaders more than we complain or worry about this topic
  • focus: ¬†Prov 21:1 says that the heart of a king is in God’s hands, so let’s trust that ultimately, God is sovereign
  • peacable living: ¬†in Rom 12:18, Paul tells us to live at peace with each other, as much as possible; ¬†with the upcoming elections, it could be very easy to be offensive or be offended by the various political positions across our nation; ¬†let’s be respectful and prayerful
  • love well: ¬†Jesus tells us in John 13:35 that people will recognize we are His followers by our love for one another, so let’s be committed to love well ūüôā

hot topic: Charleston Church Shooting

Waking up this morning, I was horrified to read about a church shooting in Charleston, SC at a Bible Study last night.  From what the news said, there was a Bible Study in the church basement of Emmanuel AME and the shooter just began to shoot people.  At this time, 9 people have died from the shooting and the police are calling this a hate crime.   The police say the shooter is still at large and obviously there are boatloads of unanswered questions.

Here are a few things that we can do, as outside observerers and fellow believers:

  • pray for the families of the victims: ¬†peace, grace, strength, courage and for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be very real to each family member
  • pray for the police as they search for the shooter: ¬†protection, wisdom, clarity, discernment and truth
  • pray for the shooter: ¬†it is a very disturbed individual who walks into a church and randomly shoots innocent people at a Bible Study
  • pray for the church: ¬†Emmanuel AME is a very famous and historic church, founded in the late 1700s. ¬†This church has had it’s share of historic events, including a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr in 1962; ¬†the pastor for Emmanuel AME was shot and killed last night, so our brothers and sisters at Emmanuel AME very much need our prayers

Hot Topic: Bikers, Brawls and Bullets

On Sunday, there was a massive fight among biker gangs in Waco, TX and it became extremely violent in a matter of seconds. ¬†Law enforcement officials are now concerned that gang members from neighboring states and affiliated gang coalitions are now heading toward Texas to pick up the conflict and defend the honor of their gang members and associates. ¬†Clearly, this is a bad situation and without some clear and rational thinking, this situation could deteriorate even further. ¬†So let’s keep in mind a few helpful things:

  • pray: ¬†pray that peace would prevail and that any plans of the devil would be put to confusion
  • conflict: ¬†consider that with the Holy Spirit’s help, conflict can be more constructive than destructive
  • get the word out: ¬†if biker gangs can be highly motivated to defend honor, then let us as followers of Jesus be highly motivated to live our love out loud & not with quiet back room whispers

making decisions

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

hot topic: death in Nepal

I’ve just read about the massive 7.9 earthquake in Nepal. ¬†The destruction & lives lost won’t be fully assessed for several weeks, but so far, more than 970 people have died. ¬†Now, it’s a race against the clock¬†to unbury & rescue probably thousands more before time runs out for them. ¬†There are huge efforts being made to rush aid, support and life to this country, even though there’s concern that the airport in Kathmandu may also be damaged from the quake.

When I watch¬†Jesus in the Gospels, I’ve never seen Him¬†run away from nor ignore pain, suffering and hardship. ¬†Rather, when I look at Jesus in the Gospels, He brought life, freedom, redemption, healing, restoration and much more wherever He went. ¬†Rather than running from & ignoring pain, suffering, loss and hardship, at minimum, let’s run with concern and prayer to this desperately needy plight in Nepal. ¬†I don’t think Jesus suffered from charity fatigue #selah

Managing Surprises

Today has been one of those very crazy & pretty hectic days with some surprises that caught me off guard. Generally, I like surprises & I think it’s fun to have new adventuress & experiences but today was a little tricky. When some things popped up that weren’t so whippy, I found myself getting kind of cranky & reactive – no bueno.
So rather than give free expression to the cranky & reactive feelings, I made a quick prayer & check in with God, “Please HELP!!!”
While I didn’t necessarily see the clouds disappear & suddenly experience a heavenly vision, I did, nevertheless, have a stronger sense of peace & strength so I didn’t rip off somebody’s head, metaphorically.
So all things being considered, I’m really thankful that God is so readily available to help with even the seemingly small stuff in our daily living ūüôā