Watch out!

I recently read in Genesis how Jacob did some creative things with sticks being stripped & spotted around the goats, sheep & livestock for which he was responsible. Jacob put these decorated sticks in the feeding troughs for the animals that were particularly robust but removed the sticks when the sickly animals came to feed. The result was that he acquired boatloads of speckled, spotted & striped livestock who were really sturdy :)
While, we now have scientific evidence about genetics with dominant & recessive traits passed along family lines, I still think it’s important to consider our focus. 

I find that the longer I focus on something, the more absorbed I become in that focus. The more I’m absorbed, the more influenced I become & eventually, my behaviors & attitudes get shaped by that focus. 

So let’s be mindful about where we focus :)

Getting Good Out of Pain

I don’t like pain & I don’t know anyone who does. When I think about pain, it brings to mind various times in my life:
*when my basketball team lost our final game when I was a Sr in high school

*friendships gone sour

*when I was learning to snowboard & got a concussion through my helmet

*hurtful words ripping into tender heart spots

*watching one of my kids getting hurt
So how can we get some good out of pain? Here are a few ideas:

*pain is good because it tells us that something is wrong – consider how much more injury happens when you can’t feel something

*growing pains – sometimes it hurts to learn but it’s far more painful to remain ignorant

*sometimes pain develops strength, perseverance & character: these are benefits that yield more dividends than the investments 

*pain is destructive when we quagmire, ruminate & stagnant in it; 

*look up, look ahead & keep going if you want to get some good stuff out of pain!

Hot Topic: I have a dream!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day!  In the US, today is a national holiday to honor Dr Martin Luther King Jr, a great leader in the Civil Rights Movement who was tragically assasinated in the prime of his life.  He’s famous for lots of things, but one of the things I love most about what we know of Dr King today is his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Despite facing atrocious, violent & barbaric opposition, Dr King persevered and overcame racial hatred, not with escalated violence, barbaric behavior & atrocious activism, but rather through exposing hatred, acrimony and injustice by contrasting behaviors and examples.  I think in each of us, God has placed a dream for something far greater and more powerful than our current living.  The dream that God has put in each of us is the beginning of something thoroughly divine, powerful and revolutionary.  If you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible – full stop.

internal conversations

It’s important to consider / take an inventory of the thoughts that we allow to run around in our minds.  Such thoughts can have a significant impact on our decisions & behaviors.  For example, there have been many occassions where I’ve been in situations that were way beyond my skill set & I was in way over my head (sometimes in various leadership roles, sometimes in athletic competitions & often in my role as a mom).  There have also been situations where I’ve felt entirely confident, secure & proficient, to the point of being over-confident, cocky & even arrogant.

What we think in our minds is extremely important & I was reminded of this lesson from reading about the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9:21. In this verse it says, “. . . . ‘she said in herself, if I can touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed.'”  The outcome of the story is that she was healed, but her mindset was an important ingredient for her healing.  Some take aways from her internal conversation:

  • keep your eyes on Jesus more than fear, inabilty or even talent
  • nothing is impossible with Jesus
  • don’t quit / give up :)

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

look up

I was recently in Ethiopia & on a drive into the countryside, we took a pause to get out & stretch our legs.  As I was enjoying the nice weather, beautiful surroundings, listening to new bird sounds and taking in some nice fresh air, I quickly became alert that I needed to watch where I was stepping because of some conveniently deposited refuse from nearby wildlife (translation:  cow pies).  Nimble is a word that comes to mind as I write this :)

Sometimes we can get really focused in on our daily living and endeavoring the various “cow pies” that can unexpectedly jump onto our path.  Of course we must be careful where & how we walk (making wise & spiritual choices), but let’s also lift up our eyes & look up.  It’s really tempting to go through life looking for ways to avoid cow pies, but that’s never as rewarding as going through life with our eyes on Jesus, our Good Shepherd :)

X-ray Vision

I’ve always thought it was cool how superman could see through stuff like walls, metal chests & more. He could see through things that had substance.
In a similar way, I’d like to see through the immediate to the ultimate. Sometimes I get fixated on the temporal: budgets, pressure, bad grades, trying to get in shape & more. I’ve found it immensely helpful to look beyond the immediate struggles & keep my eyes on Jesus my ultimate passion. Yes, there are deadlines, struggles, pressures, disappointments & more. But if we ask God to help us see through the immediate to the ultimate, then the immediate can receive the proper perspective adjustment & become less overwhelming :)

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staying power

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 :)