It seems to me that most of us like things clean & shiny more than we like the work & effort that goes into making something shiny & clean. Yesterday, my kids & I cleaned out some of our garage. Needless to say, I found lots of undesirable junk (half eaten otter pops, sticks that were used as swords, an ancient waffle iron, wood planks, etc). After lots of sweeping, washing, moving, organizing, etc, part of our garage is not longer a hazardous waste dump :)
Sometimes, I think we need to do the deep cleaning work in our thinking, values, time usage & relationships. Life gets filled with clutter over the course of time & it’s tremendously helpful to declutter our lives from time to time so that we manage our time, money & energies to reinforce our central & timeless priorities – shiny clean :)
I read this morning about some high school seniors pranks in NJ who have been arrested for pranking their high school last night. Now I can’t really say that their behavior would fall into the “civil disobedience” category because it’s May, they’re seniors & might have possibly watched “Ferris Bueller”. With that being said, I also read this morning in Acts 5 about how Peter & some of his friends disobeyed the direct commands of the Jewish leaders by preaching about Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, shortly after Pentecost & Jesus’ resurrection. In verse 29, Peter told these Jewish leaders they he had to obey God rather than man.
There’s a place & time for civil disobedience & some expressions of rebellion are even condoned by the Bible:
It’s not ok to passively watch someone get hurt or bullied.
It’s not ok to follow popular culture when it conflicts with loving God & loving people.
It’s not ok to blindly do what’s popular, trendy or hip.
It’s not ok to compromise your God-given identity to blend in for social acceptance.
Particularly when we are confronted with compromise, social acceptance and even being politically correct, let’s make it our fundamental priority to please God, end of story, full stop.
I’ve made some really dumb mistakes in my life – one of which was overvaluing intelligence. I think it’s almost humorous that I would say that because I’m still a massive advocate for education probably because I love to learn. Nevertheless, here are a few things that could be more important than being intelligent:
*character & integrity – people who are smart but lack character & integrity can be extremely dangerous!
*compassion – intelligence without compassion is very cold & sterile
*hard work – this seems pretty self evident
*forgiveness – when we don’t forgive, our world becomes increasingly smaller & smaller
These are just a few things I’m learning in my journey :)
Holy Cow! That was Jeroboam’s solution to help him stay in power as the king of Israel, even though God had obviously put him in this position. I was reading this morning (1 Kings 7) about how God spoke to Jeroboam through a prophet & told him that he was going to be the king of Israel. When Jeroboam became the king, he got really jittery about keeping his power & decided that his kingdom needed it’s own set of gods, festival days, worship routines, etc that would exclude anything from the Temple in Jerusalem or the worship of the true God, as outlined by Moses.
Jeroboam was put in the position of king by God’s power but he didn’t stay long because he decided to trust in his own methods & efforts rather than trusting in God. In my thinking, there’s no staying power of any lasting value that doesn’t include trusting in our Triune God :)
It’s always a great pleasure to find things that we look for. One time, I lost my wedding ring for like 2years. When we found it, there was MUCH REJOICING!!
Be mindful of the things for which you seek.
If you’re looking for popularity, you’ll find it & probably be disappointed.
If you’re looking to be wealthy, you might discover that money isn’t everything you thought it would be.
If you’re looking for success, you might find that it’s nothing more than a cat-and-mouse chase.
If you’re looking for applause & affirmation, you might discover that it costs more than it’s worth
If you look for God’s kingdom more than anything else, then everything else will fall in your lap :)
I read this morning something important about building a house & considering that I’m not very good at construction stuff, I tried to pay good attention. Sometimes I think we get really zeroed in on things that we can see, at the expense of things that aren’t as obvious. But very often, it is exactly the things that we can’t see that have the biggest affects on our lives (thoughts, emotions, faith, etc).
In Luke 6, Jesus gave a short story about being mindful of digging a very deep & settled foundation well before we ever try to deal with things that are observable. Lets be careful to keep deep foundations in Jesus first before we try to look & be cool :)
I’m laughing as I write this blog because I might possibly be the least prepared person you’ll ever meet. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found some definite disadvantages to the “leap before you look” approach, having gotten myself into all sorts of challenging situations, especially when you consider all of the variables that can go with any kind of international travel. With all that being said, I’m becoming an ever increasing advocate of being prepared & this also applies to the area of my connection with God.
In my experience, I know that God is altogether gracious with me & far exceeds any of my best efforts & I’m crazy grateful for God’s grace to me everyday! While I totally appreciate God’s grace, I’ve also come to the conclusion that my relationship with God seems to have more depth, gravity and fullness when I maintain a few preparation things:
go to bed early so I can get up early & spend time with God
talk with God throughout the day – more inclusion & less exclusion / isolation
understand that God’s connection with me spans the entire spectrum of uber shallow to depths of which I have yet to explore
fresh forgiveness – super important to keep a clean heart
unified prioritites: seeing all of the various responsibilities that I have within the context of God using them to improve & enhance my relationship with God :)
have a prepared mindset that God can do any thing at any time :)
I’m taking my kids to their bank today in an effort to continue their education in fiscal responsibility. They each have their savings accounts & we get to discuss the benefits of saving, the importance of tithing & the value of making informed purchases rather than impulse buying. None of this seems like rocket science, but these excursions always help to remind me of these essential lessons in money management. Which brings me to the point that everyday is filled with opportunities to learn, grow, change & improve – all based on our outlook & cooperation.
Dear Sarah, don’t fight the lessons :)
We probably have fairly similar lives with lots of demands & responsibilities – maybe yours are different than mine, but we usually have lots of things to juggle (kids’ schedules, saving Moses, workload concerns, personal goals, family dynamics, church things, . . . .). You probably have a similar list & I’ve often had people ask me for ideas on how to balance everything. If I’m honest, there are times when I don’t balance everything well & some things get short changed, which I hate.
But lately, I’ve found it really helpful to nestle into “one thing” – the essential & continuous priority that permeates everything (sleeping, eating, cooking, errands, conversations, work, blogging, thinking, planning, . . . . . ). My “one thing” is to know Jesus and I want everything that I do to be infused with this “one thing” – Luke 10:42. “One thing” doesn’t mean that I drop everything, but it means that as I go throughout each day with its diverse demands and responsibilities, my “one thing” continues and remains :)
Sometimes in my life I feel like there’s too much journey and not enough Jesus. I know that life is a journey and that we are encouraged to not grow weary in well doing. I know that hardships and difficulties create strength, endurance and persistence. I know that we’re supposed to encourage and strengthen ourselves in the Lord (like David did at Ziklag in 1 Sam). But if I’m super honest, I also can feel like Elijah in 1 Kings 19, when the angel said that the journey was too much for him – too much journey and not enough Jesus.
But in this phrase, “too much journey and not enough Jesus”, there’s also the answer: more of Jesus. It seems to me that our journey in life doesn’t stop – it’s continual. The quantity of Jesus in my life, however, can fluctuate (understanding that He never leaves us but that my engagement with Him can increase / decrease on any given day). So let’s be sure that we never take a break from Jesus regardless of what’s happening on our journey in life :)