Grace Seasoning

Edgy, sharp, cranky, churlish, frustrated. These adjectives can describe us at various times. Maybe you’re short on sleep. Maybe you’re stressed about money. Maybe you have a conflict with your spouse or friend. Maybe there’s a lot of pressure at work or school. Regardless of the reason, let’s be careful about our words & attitudes in these challenging times.
Here are some helpful ideas to keep our attitudes, actions & words seasoned with grace:

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you
  • Chose self control over reactionary behavior
  • Take a 30second pause & look for stuff to be grateful for
  • Remember that we often prefer the consequences of grace rather than the outcomes of expressing frustration or crankiness 🙂

Old Technology

As technology improves, I find myself becoming increasingly impatient. It I think about using a modem to connect to the web, it brings back the memories of that static sound before the connection tone. And then I think about the phones we used & how I’d stretch the cord too far & rip it off the wall. And rotary phones, well, that’s like the ultimate triceratops dinosaur!
So maybe your walk with the Holy Spirit could use some renovation & even upgrades! Please pop over to Amazon & buy new new book,

In Step With The Holy Spirit,

just launching today! Let’s be sure our walk with the Holy Spirit isn’t stuck in the glorious past nor overlooked in perfunctory acknowledgment!

When Plans Change

Yesterday, the transmission in our rental van broke causing us to adjust our plans for an entire day of our family vacation. My husband was a major champion working with the rental company to get a replacement van & this was no small task. In the meantime, the kids took some time to relax, do a bit of school reading & we caught a movie at the local theatre. For me, I had the immense pleasure of catching up with a friend from high school. We talking deeply about the Bible & God’s work in our lives.
If we give our lives to Jesus, then it’s essential to hold loosely to our plans & goals, so that we can have some adventures that are led by the Holy Spirit & not just our human agendas & strategies. God’s surprises far exceed our best plans!
This is a picture from an incredible waterfall in Yellowstone, as well as a strolling bison 🙂

Keys to the Supernatural & Revelation

I’ve been reading about Peter in the gospel of Matthew. It seems like his interactions with Jesus go from correction to correction, with some accompanying “atta boy’s”.
For example, despite walking in the water to Jesus, he gets corrected by Jesus for his “little faith” when he gets afraid.
Then, when he identifies Jesus as God’s Son, on the heels of Jesus’ applause, he tries to change Jesus’ mind about going to the cross. Peter gets reprimanded for having his mind on the human rather than divine.
Finally, in Jesus’ transfiguration, Peter suggests making 3 tents to honor Jesus, Elijah & Moses. The voice from the cloud tells him to quit talking & listen to Jesus, Sarah paraphrase.
With great revelation comes the equal quantity / quality of correction. If we aren’t teachable, perhaps that’s why we don’t have great revelation or supernatural experiences. Something to consider over this Father’s Day weekend!

dysfunctional thinking

There was a chick in the Bible who I really admire & her name is Abigail.  I like her because she stood as a beacon of functional thinking contrary to lots of dysfunction swirling around her.  Nabal, her husband, was a foolish man & was treating David with dishonor & dysfunction.  David, for his part, was really amped up about how Nabal was treating him, so he decided to get revenge on Nabal.  Everyone around Abigail had dysfunctional thinking that was creating dysfunctional behavior that could ultimately lead to destructive outcomes.

But Abigail saves the day with her functional thinking and behavior:  She interrupts David’s plans & dissuades his anger.  She then returns to Nabal and waits until he gets un-drunk to honestly tell him what she’d done.  The outcome from all of these events is that Nabal died & Abigail married David, an upgrade from her former foolish husband.

Let’s be mindful that we don’t let dysfunctional thinking seep into our thoughts.  Let’s take captive every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ!  If we’ve made these bad choices (dysfunctional thinking & behavior), then let’s repent and ask the Holy Spirit to help us in our thoughts & actions to be more healthy & constructive!

a secret for transformation

Seems like all of us want to grow & improve in at least a few ways.  We want to be more skinny or more muscular.  We want to be smarter, more athletic, less impatient, . . . . . .  All of us have things in our lives that we want to improve.  If there was a magic wand that we could wave to make the wanted improvement appear, we’d go to great lengths to get that wand & ultimately the improvement that we want.  But alas, there is no magic wand.

But here’s the golden ticket for the improvements that we want:  routine.  Yep, the nitty, gritty and daily incremental efforts that we can integrate into our daily routines can produce life changing transformation.  Diets, fads, trends, cool & swanky techniques and mental gyrations often lack the power to improve that comes from just the daily, small decisions that we incorporate into routine living:  

  • A deeper walk with God:  plan to go to bed 30min earlier everyday for two weeks, so you can get up 15min early to read your Bible & pray – spend some time training your body & soul to make spiritual investments
  • being more healthy:  chose to decrease or eliminate a cup of coffee (gasp), the afternoon treat, the evening snack for two weeks;  
  • physical fitness:  chose to walk more (rather than the drive for that close errand, park in less conveninet places that require more walking, take a walk in the evening rather than watch the 30min of TV that turns into 2hours, . . . .)
  • be smarter:  reading is a great path to help us with the smart stuff;  consider joining a book club, get a library card – check out a book;  read something that you don’t agree with or isn’t in the normal interest list (broaden your horizon)

Small but steady changes often create the sustained improvements that can seem elusive.  You can do it!! 🙂

would you like an upgrade?

 When I was growing up, my parents did a great job of helping me to try out new things & to look for possible talents and interests that I might have.  One area that we explored quite a bit was piano playing.  I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old and over the course of several years, I had the privilege of taking lessons from a local family who was reknowned for their piano skills & abilities.  In this family, the father, mother & a few of the kids gave piano lessons.  They were all concert pianists and did their level best to improve my skills, with a minimal effort of cooperation on my part.  And that was the key problem.  I was settling for mediocre when they were striving for excellence.  As a result, everyone was frustrated:  my parents, this concert pianist family & myself.  

With this contrast between excellence & mediocrity, I think that there can be many areas in our lives where we settle for average when we could have extraordinary.  Let’s not allow our faith to be one of these areas.  I don’t want my relationship with God to be average – I want to be like Moses in Ex 33, a friend with whom God speaks face to face.  To me, this is an extraordinary relationship w God & Moses’ example stirs me up such that I won’t settle for an average walk w God.  How about you???