Getting Strong

“Time to get up,” I whispered gently to my very tired daughter this morning. Mornings tend to be a weakspot for her. So helping her to get moving & be strong in the morning is an ongoing challenge.

With that said, strength is the antidote to weakness, so how we can be strong is important for all of us, no matter our age, situation or season in life. Here’s a good example for for getting strong: David

  • Friends help us to be strong: in 1 Sam 23:16, it says that Jonathon encouraged / strengthened David in the Lord. Let’s remember to encourage our friends & let them encourage us! This helps us to be strong:)
  • Strengthen ourselves: in 1 Sam 30:6, it says that David strengthened himself in the Lord. In this chapter, David was really squashed to the wall & very discouraged, but he chose to find his strength & encouragement in the Lord.

Let’s lean into the Holy Spirit to gain strength & be encouraged :)Getting

Liability or Strength?

What are your strengths?  Do you ever feel like your strengths are also your greatest liabilities?

I have a friend who says that I fire & then aim, or I leap & then look.  It’s true.  I tend to jump in with both feet & then cry about what I’ve gotten myself into.  I admire the people who are more methodical and take things a step at a time & I’ve sincerely tried to do this better.  But alas, I’m still learning, still.

In my thinking, this “all in” mindset has been a significant liability for me & I’ve berated myself repeatedly about not learning from my mistakes.  Except last night, I had a wonderful epiphany.

This “all in” strategy serves me really well in walking with God because I’m not half-hearted & I’m quick to turn up the heat if I feel like I’m being luke warm.

All of us are fearfully & wonderfully made!  We have definite strengths & with God’s help, the downside of these strength can be continually worked on so that we grow!   The enemy of our soul would have us minimize the gifts that God has given us, causing us to be less than the full person of God’s design!

Let’s be thankful that God made us with such careful & creative design, while remaining committed to the continual pruning and sculpting the Holy Spirit does with us every day!  You are AWESOME!

#heavenlyhelpmoment

Fuel

I have a friend who often forgets to put gas in her car, so it’s not shocking that she runs out of fuel from time to time. We put fuel in our cars to help us get from point A to point B & the same principle applies to the journey of life. We do the things to give us what we need for our journey. But alas, even with our best planning, sometimes the journey can exceed our fuel plans. And there’s always the unexpected hiccups that take some extra energy. Then what?

Last week in Cambodia, there was a day when I hit the wall, ran out of energy & was entirely exhausted, but I didn’t have the luxury to take off a day to rest & rejuvenate, so what to do?
Rather than looking at the entire day for energy, I felt the Holy Spirit coach me to nestle into His presence in smaller increments. In this way, I found strength for one hour at a time. Indeed, not only did I find the energy I needed in smaller bite sized, but there were a few things that were unexpectedly eliminated from the day – go figure 🙂
We can lean into the Holy Spirit for strength, comfort & wisdom for each step, not just for the long journey!

Feeling Deficient

Do you ever feel like you’re not enough? Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough energy, wisdom, stamina, etc? Sometimes I feel like Bilbo Baggins when he says , “. . . like butter scraped over too much bread.” We all have stuff for which we’re responsible, but sometimes all of these responsibilities can seem overwhelming. So what should we do on the days when we feel spread too thin? 
Here are some ideas that might help:

  • Pray & ask for divine help, then watch for the ways that the Holy Spirit will give you help with strength & wisdom or even eliminate some of the demands of that day
  • Pause – take a step back & consider if you can let a few things go to make life more manageable & less insane
  • Play – the last thing I feel like doing when I’m stressed & max’ed out is playing & yet sometimes being playful is the exact stress reliever I need to stay the course & not disappear into a mountain hideaway. 

Let’s remember that we always have access to Heavenly Help for wisdom, strength & divine help 🙂

Rest for a Weary Soul

I was talking with a friend today & we were discussing the various responsibilities that we have, along with navigating these while avoiding any catastrophes. We had a very nice bonding moment in the conversation, sharing with vulnerability some of our individual struggles. It was a very refreshing chat & it reminded me of something I read from Jesus’ words this morning:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary & heavy laden & I will give you rest . . . For I am gentle & humble in heart & you will find rest for your soul”. Matt 11:28-29

We all have stresses, pressures & responsibilities. We want to do well in these things, so sometimes we can get overwhelmed. Let’s remember to continually come to Jesus to give our soul the rest it needs. 

Here are a few more helpful verses:

  • Surely I’ve composed my soul within me, like a weaned child against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me – Ps 133:2
  • Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me – John 14:1

Let your soul rest in the loving & totally able presence of the Holy Spirit

Birds, Flowers & the Future

Do you ever worry about stuff? Some people say they never worry & I’m happy for them. Other people, like me, we can sometimes get worried about various things. Seems like some common stuff that gets worried about includes finances, job / education things, relationships & health issues. Of course there are more things, but my point in bringing up the worry stuff is related to Jesus’ teaching about worry in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says that the birds have food provided for them & the flowers are beautifully appointed in their various displays. Furthermore, each day has enough challenges to keep us attentive to the present rather than borrowing worry for the future.  

Jesus tells us to look around & see how well our Heavenly Father manages the world in which we live. We can certainly trust our loving Heavenly Father to take very good care of us, as His children. Nestle into the Holy Spirit when you get tempted to worry 🙂

Hot Topic: The Downsides to Upsides

“Play to your strengths!” When I played basketball, I wasn’t very fast & I couldn’t jump high. So my coaches encouraged me to play to my strengths – I was kind of smart & I could make some good passes. This advice of playing to my strengths always seemed like sound wisdom. But there’s a weakness in this advice. Hidden in our strengths, we can often find our weaknesses as well. For example, I have a child who is very persistent & has tremendous endurance. The downside is that this child can also be stubborn. Here’s another example, I’m an extremely independent person & this strength can easily turn into a weakness when I isolate myself from help or healthy relationships. A few other strengths / weaknesses that might fit into your DNA could be:

  • Disciplined – inflexible
  • Smart – arrogant
  • Insightful – critical
  • Adaptable – uncommitted
  • Humble – insecure

Let’s give the Holy Spirit the freedom to manage the strengths we have so they don’t become debilitating weaknesses 🙂

Hot Topic: The Downsides to Upsides

“Play go your strengths!” When I played basketball, I wasn’t very fast & I couldn’t jump high. So my coaches encouraged me to play to my strengths – I was kind of smart & I could make some good passes. This advice of playing to my strengths always seemed like sound wisdom. But there’s a weakness in this advice. Hidden in our strengths, we can often find our weaknesses as well. For example, I have a child who is very persistent & has tremendous endurance. The downside is that this child can also be stubborn. Here’s another example, I’m an extremely independent person & this strength can easily turn into a weakness when I isolate myself from help or healthy relationships. A few other strengths / weaknesses that might fit into your DNA could be:

  • Disciplined – inflexible
  • Smart – arrogant
  • Insightful – critical
  • Adaptable – uncommitted
  • Humble – insecure

Let’s give the Holy Spirit the freedom to manage the strengths we have so they don’t become debilitating weaknesses 🙂

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 🙂

A God Smile

The other day I surprisingly arrived early for a party & was waiting on the fringes for the festivities to begin. There weren’t many people there yet, which was good for me, so I could get my introvert self in socializing mode. As I was prepping myself, this random dude walked over & was super friendly. Initially, I don’t think I was very cordial, doing that introvert porcupine thing. But as we talked, I learned that the guy had studied Biblical Greek – YAHOOO!!!! Furthermore, as we talked, I learned that he’d also studied Biblical Hebrew – an added boon!!!! He was WAY smarter than me & I totally enjoyed talking with him & learning new stuff. 
The party turned out to be totally enjoyable &

when I finally left, I felt God wink at me with a pleasing smile. 

Seems to me that God enjoys blessing us with stuff He knows that we will uniquely enjoy – making a deep connection with us not only in big things but also in seemingly small perks along the way. 

Remember that God smiles on you this day!

I Got the Power!

 
Currently in Denver we are having a blizzard & some people have lost power in their house. Thankfully, Jesus always has power available to us! 

There are always times & seasons in our lives where we are weak, frail, tired, frazzled & infirm. These times & areas aren’t really shocking because these things go with being human. When we integrate Jesus into our daily living, we integrate supernatural power, strength & help!  

Jesus gives us power to go through challenges & live in victory & not weakness or frailty!

A Weekend in Singapore

 Seems to me that if we get away for a weekend, we tend to stay close to home. For me, I’ve spent this weekend in Singapore & it’s been an amazing trip in many different ways:

  • Sleep – yea, not so much
  • Food – so MUCH FUN!! I seriously love trying new stuff & no I don’t ask what it is 🙂
  • People – what an total honor getting to minister in this totally incredible country; I love how open & receptive the people are to jump into the Bible!!! I spoke 4times in about 2days so it was intense but FUN!

Singapore is one of the most melting pot & blending cultures that I’ve ever visited & I LOVE IT!!!!! A couple interesting facts:
Singapore received its independence from being a British colony 50 years ago in August. This country is an incredible example of blending diversity for completing strengths rather than competing division. During this visit, the Premiers of China & Taiwan came to Singapore to make an historic conversation between these nations that have been virtual enemies for many decades. 

Of course I totally love Asia & I find myself totally falling in love with the Singaporeans even more than I have in the past. Love this place & the people here!!

Waiting for Coffee

Coffee is important to me. I like the taste, it’s nice to have the little wake it gives me & sometimes it’s like a security blanket when I’m nervous or insecure. So waiting for coffee in the morning is kind of like a daily ritual, along with the exhale the accompanies my first sip 🙂
Sometimes coffee reminds me of the Holy Spirit, who comforts me, gives me power / energy & whose flavor infuses my life with delightful taste & aroma. 

Because Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t have to wait for supernatural Help. Rather, let’s pray to recognize & increase our sensitivity to Heavenly Help throughout today 🙂

are you excited?!??

Thrills, chills, spills and frills – we all love being excited, inspired, encouraged & sometimes, even schmoozed.  Perhaps we can even be “excitement junkies”, from time to time, living for the next thrill or rush.  I don’t think, however, God designed our lives to be a continual roller coaster, going from peak to valley and curve to corkscrew.  There’s huge value in stability even when it seems boring.  If the truth be known, you can predict with fair accuracy a person’s future success by their daily routines & disciplines.

While it can be lots of fun to get excited, never resent the importance of stability.  Here are a few quick perks from stability:

  • strength improves with stability
  • value grows with stability
  • trust flourishes with stability
  • roots deepend with stability
  • nightcare with Saving Moses is genuine love expressed in stability

Selah 🙂

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

quiet prayers

Recently, I’ve had some experiences that have been really tricky:  conversation I didn’t agree with, uncomfortable situations that made me feel insecure, topics being discussed that are WAY outside of anything I know about, etc.  As I’ve been in these situations, it’s been difficult for me to figure out what to do or say because there didn’t seem to be any easy or obvious solutions, answers or escape routes.  In the past, I’ve found myself saying stupid stuff, or just withdrawing to a wall flower status & getting internally frustrated.

But I think I’ve found some help with these types of problems:  quiet prayer.  In the last few days as I’ve been in these challenges, I’ve stayed quiet, but quietly in my heart asked God for help and that’s exactly what’s happened.  God has answered my quiet prayers in several different ways by giving me:

  • insight & wisdom into the situations & conversations
  • patience & strength not to say something stupid or that I’d later regret
  • discernment on how God was leading the discussion or situation
  • awareness that God has purposes for stuff that doesn’t always make me feel good

There’s a boatload of value in long & loud prayers, but also in short & quiet prayers:  the full truth is that prayer is very good 🙂

from and through

If you’re like me, I often pray that God would deliver me from stuff (hardship, struggles, etc).  But often, I experience that God brings me through stuff (hardships, struggles, etc).  While I prefer to not have to go through stuff, I’m grateful that God helps me regardless of how – from or through.

The value of through is that I often get stronger, learn more about God, deepen in my faith, understand who I am better & become more grateful for God’s help and moment by moment presence 🙂 – Noah went through the flood, Paul went through the storm

The value of from is that I often stand amazed at God’s power, preservation & wisdom 🙂 –  God delivered Daniel from the lions, God delivered Israel from Pharaoh, but through the Red Sea 🙂

From & Through – both are important ways that God participates in our lives!

drinking from a fire hydrant

Have you ever had seasons in your life where you feel very overwhelmed?  Sometimes we go through times where it seems like everything is broken & sometimes we go through seasons that just have lots of demands.  Last week, I had one of those weeks – it was the kids last week of school, I had a couple of sermons to prepare, some work deadlines and a few other spinning plates.  I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant on full open :/

gushing-hydrant-2

Thankfully, this week has a little more breathing room.  Regardless of the demands & pressures on our lives, it always helps me to remember that God is in charge & that I don’t have to be an “expert” on water pressure, time management, resource allocation, solution provision, energy distribution, etc.  While I may have a few talents & skills, God is an expert at everything – most of all, God is an expert at loving us & helping us in our daily living, with or without fire hydrants ,)

Rocks & Hard Places

Sometimes I get in situations that seem “tricky” – like being squeezed between a rock & a hard place. I can’t say that I find these experiences to be very enjoyable nor pleasant. In fact, if I had a vote, I’d take alterior routes to avoid the rock & hard place spots. Nevertheless, we all have these kinds of situations & “opportunities” – so what do we do with & in them? Here are a few ideas:
*pray a lot & ask for God’s intervention
*work hard & keep you eyes on God (helps the attitude)
*work out / exercise because it helps to burn off some stress
*drink a lot of water (less caffeine & sugar)
*snag a few Bible verses to memorize so that if your thinking gets whacky, you have some healthy fall back thought replacements 🙂

Remember that God made rocks, rivers & erosion ,)

getting stronger

This has been a fairly crazy year for me with travel, particularly during the 1st half of the year.  As a result, it has come to my attention that I’ve put on a few pounds (did you like how I suddenly got formal? smile).  Thankfully, no one has made any overtly rude comments or observations, but I can most definitely tell a difference with my clothes.  So I’m getting my rear in gear to see what great things can happen from endeavoring to get back into shape 🙂

In order to be more fit, to be stronger & more healthy, I have to put some work into these areas – a truth that can apply to every area in our lives.  Discipline, effort, work & committment can have some very glorious results in our lives, particularly when we join with God’s grace & power working in our lives.  Without some effort & engagement I can quickly get flabby – just a little food for thought ,)