Driven or Directed?

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 ūüôā
Be sure to pre-order my newest book about how to stay In Step with the Holy Spirit!

Happy 4th of July!

I love America!  I love our heritage, roots and history.  I love the way we celebrate our nation on this day with hot dogs, barbecues, baseball, fireworks, watermelon, grilling, swimming and the stars and stripes.  We live in a wonderful country!

I know this because I am extremely fortunate to get to travel around the world and I see nations that are very different than ours.  I go to nations where the absence of freedom is normal.  I visit nations where it can be dangerous to express a dissident opinion.  I visit regions where being a woman is a burden of survival in the most depolorable conditions.

We live in a very great nation and today we celebrate freedom, one of the core values on which our nation was founded.  May we also recognize that freedom is tethered to responsibility.  Without maintinaing responsibility, our freedoms will erode and become an elusive memory.  We are a great nation today because of the sacrifices made in the past.  This makes me pause to consider if we are making sacrifices today that will keep us great in the future.

Let’s be sure that we continue to pray for America ūüôā

Memorial Day

Every year we take a day to remember Veterans & Military service folk who have & continue to serve our country. We can look back over the history of our nation & find heaps of heroes whose sacrifices have contributed to making a great nation. Such sacrifices have included laying down their lives, spending time away from families, doing hard work in awful situations & lots more. I’m altogether grateful for such sacrifices because I live in the freedoms & benefits these hardships earned. 
Let’s remember these individuals today with honor & gratitude, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, our ultimate hero. 

Looking for Love

  
I think it’s part of our human experience to have a desire to be loved. We want to be valued, appreciated, recognized, affirmed . . . . not only for what we do, our looks, our talents, achievements & more. We went to be loved for who we are.  
While I’m more than grateful for the many wonderful people who have been in my life from infancy until today, let’s be very certain that we’ll never find anyone who loves us with such purity & holiness as our Heavenly Father. 

Today being Good Friday, this reminds us more than other day that the Triune God loves us. Today, we honor Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross for us, a brutal, gruesome & barbaric death in contrast to the most pure & undefiled love ever expressed throughout the entirety of human history. 

It is indeed a Good Friday to know that God loves us all the way through human depravity & death. You don’t have to keep looking for love. Let the Holy Spirit pour love into your heart, Romans 5:5

Looking for Love

  
I think it’s part of our human experience to have a desire to be loved. We want to be valued, appreciated, recognized, affirmed . . . . not only for what we do, our looks, our talents, achievements & more. We went to be loved for who we are.  
While I’m more than grateful for the many wonderful people who have been in my life from infancy until today, let’s be very certain that we’ll never find anyone who loves us with such purity & holiness as our Heavenly Father. 

Today being Good Friday, this reminds us more than other day that the Triune God loves us. Today, we honor Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross for us, a brutal, gruesome & barbaric death in contrast to the most pure & undefiled love ever expressed throughout the entirety of human history. 

It is indeed a Good Friday to know that God loves us all the way through human depravity & death. You don’t have to keep looking for love. Let the Holy Spirit pour love into your heart, Romans 5:5

honoring Veterans

220px-Joshua-chamberlain¬†I recently read a story about Joshua Chamberlain, a commander of 80 Union soldiers who were the defining force that captured 4,000 Confederate troops at the Civil War battle in Gettysburg. ¬†Despite being outmanned, out gunned and out of time, Chamberlain’s troops were victorious, against all odds. ¬†When Chamberlain was later interviewed about how could continue to face such impossibility and find the wherewithal to continue fighting. ¬†He replied,

“I had deep within me the inability to do nothing.”

When I read this story, I was deeply inspired not to let external opposition & hardship overcome the guts inside of me.  Many of the Veterans that live among us today & have valiantly sacrificed their lives for our freedom found within themselves the same as Joshua Chamberlain, the inability to do nothing.

Let’s be as inspired to make a difference in our world!

Hot Topic: Ala Carte

“Extra pickles & no onions” – my burger, my way ala Burger King’s mantra: have it your way. So much of our daily living is structured around being a satisfied customer. This is true to the point that we can almost be conditioned to believe that we get to have everything our own way, including our spirituality. 
But alas, such a perspective in relation to following Jesus is inherently dysfunctional. Jesus said that whoever would follow Him must lay down their life & take up their cross. While there is tremendous satisfaction in following Jesus, walking with Jesus is also the path of total sacrifice. Maybe we can start our relationship with Jesus in ala carte mode, getting to pick & choose what we like, but becoming increasingly mature in Jesus is more about being consumed than being a consumer ūüôā  

#selah

winning

FinishLine¬† ¬†I love to win & I hate to lose – in pretty much everything. ¬†So I automatically like all of the Bible verses that talk about me winning, being victorious, more than a conqueror, etc. ¬†On the opposite end, the Bible verses that talk about sacrifice, losing my life, crucifixion, pain, . . . . these aren’t nearly as appealing to me as the winning verses. ¬†But life seems to have both the winning and losing experiences wrapped into each day: ¬†driving, competing at work / school, controversial conversations, competing against myself, etc.

I think that it can feel much better to win than lose, but let me throw out a few perks that can happen from losing:

  • losing can reveal our¬†character when we might be at our lowest
  • empathy seems to grow better when we lose rather than win
  • winning can be sometimes be an impediment to connecting with someone
  • losing can be a place where strength, endurance and roots can grow
  • sometimes humility grows better in the soil of losing more than winning

Please don’t take this blog to mean that losing is everything. ¬†On the flipside, winning isn’t everything either. ¬†Maybe “everything” boils down to genuine love ūüôā

#selah

Thinking about Good Friday

TGIF takes on an entirely new meaning when I think about it in light of Good Friday. ¬†This day marks not only the conclusion of a workweek, but more importantly, Jesus’ crucifixion which was humanity’s windfall. ¬†Jesus’ death on the cross was:

  • the defining moment for humanity’s reconciliation with Heaven.
  • the conclusion of approximately 2,000 years of Law with human shortcoming & failure.
  • the ultimate expression of Genuine Love for an unworthy planet
  • the fertilzer for resurrection
  • the place where our lives receive ultimate freedom, redemption and acceptance

Truly, Good Friday is good and God’s ultimate expression of Genuine Love & I find myself in a state of awe, wonder, gratitude and overwhelming astonishment at such extravagant love. ¬†May Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection work redemption into our hearts, through our lives and reconcile the world in which we live to our loving Heavenly Father. ¬†Today is truly a Good Friday.

Consumer Grade Christianity

We do alot of our shopping at Walmart because it’s cheap, close and convenient. ¬†The quality, however, can sometimes be a little questionable. ¬†For example, when I buy socks for my boys, I’ve learned that if I buy them from Walmart, I’ll usually have to buy 2-3 times the number of socks (holes, rips, etc) as if I buy a higher quality & little costlier brand from a different store. ¬†Consumer grade socks for my boys from Walmart usually have a pretty short lifespan in the world of boy socks ūüôā

Unfortuanately, I think we sometimes¬†treat Christianity with the same level of function. ¬†We want cheap, close and convenient: ¬†Jesus in the manger, candle light service in less than an hour, the cross, tomb, July 4th and the next thing. ¬†With this kind of thinking, it’s not a surprise that someone could easily be disillusioned, misled and / disappointed with the consumer grade version of Christianity, if such a thing really exists.

So here are some thoughts to consider:

  • does your faith facilitate more function from or attachment with Jesus?
  • is your faith in Jesus based on consumption, sacrifice and / or transformation?
  • is Jesus an accessory or a necessity in your life?
  • maybe consumer grade Christianity is only a Satan contrived deception to the authentic, daily and life-changing relationship with Jesus that will most certainly include sacrifice, fertilizer and resurrection ūüôā

Honor to our Veterans

In the US, today is Veterans Day and this is a day when we remind ourselves of men and women who have served in the military and made small to ultimate sacrifices.  This is a day when we remember people for being their best:  selfless, noble, sacrificial, honorable, generous, humble and more.  We honor the men and women who fought in trenches and deserts, lost limbs and lives, bandaged wounds and bruises, gave their energies, talents, time and even lives as a sacrifice.

Such heroic choices and actions cause me to see Jesus as my ultimate Veteran and Victor – giving His life as my sacrifice but being raised from the dead so we can be victorious in life because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. ¬†Let’s honor our nation’s veterans and remember to honor the Savior of our soul – hail to the Ultimate Veteran and Victor!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

provision

!!!!!MORE!!!!!!

Our culture tells us that “more” isn’t enough. ¬†We need more money, more time, more status, more popularity, more followers, more friends, more activities, more education, more clothes, more muscles, more fitness, more image, more contacts, more influence, . . . . . . . I’ve been thinking about “more” in light of what the Bible says about the demands of our culture for more & increased provisions.

In the Bible, God is revealed as God our Provider / Provision in Genesis 22, when Abraham discovers the “ram in the thicket” as he’s about to sacrifice his son Isaac. ¬†Our culture thoroughly affirms the truth that¬†God is our Provider and we revel in experiencing God’s provisions (in an already abundant country). ¬†But Abraham’s journey to experience God as his Provider was on the path of sacrifice. ¬†The whole journey that ended up with Abraham experiencing God’s provisions was the preparation and journey of obedience & sacrifice. ¬†Maybe what we really need is more sacrifice ūüôā

selah

“Good” Friday

Generally, I like Fridays and they usually tend to all be “good.” ¬†But today we celebrate “Good Friday”, the day when we remember that when God became flesh as Jesus, dwelt among us and¬†was crucified. ¬†People treated Jesus with the normal human fickle behavior, heralding Him as King one day and then crucifying Him a few days later – the most brutal form of corporal punishment that humans could achieve at that time. ¬†And Jesus came to earth, connected with humanity is very vibrant and real ways, knowing full well how we would brutally murder Him, the only innocent man to live among us. ¬†And all of His decisions came from such genuine and authentic love that we continue to have difficulty grasping and appreciating this genuine love to us. ¬†So today we celebrate “Good Friday”, the day on which we can observe genuine love expressed in the most pure demonstration. ¬†Happy Good Friday, my friend ūüôā

The demonstration of genuine love

Love is an interesting word in our modern world. This word can conjure up everything from chocolate to movies, from sex to coffee & a wide range of many other things.
I think that genuine has more depth than the best chocolate. I think that genuine love is better than your favorite movie or video game. I think that genuine love exceeds your best efforts & intentions. I think that genuine love is defined & displayed best by Jesus & His words & actions toward us. Genuine love, as expressed by Jesus, is grounded on who Jesus is & not based on our behavior. Genuine love, as Jesus expresses it to us, is nothing short of irresistable.
I pray that you would experience & know Jesus deep, transforming & powerful love for you. His love is without limit. His love is without qualification. His love is sacrificial & His love is ever present.
Jesus displays His love or us that while we were yet sinners He died for us & lives today to express His love to you. Ask Him to help you see, know & experience Jesus’ love. It’s the only genuine love that exists.