“That’s DISGUSTING!!!”Lots of people have this reaction when they begin to hear about the daily living of a sex worker in third world countries. I’m in Cambodia this week with our annual Saving Moses team trip & our nightcare work here (feel free to come w me next year).I love to watch God change various perspectives about people & various hardships / experiences these women go through to say nothing about their babies & toddlers.On a more immediate context, maybe you know people who are making bad decisions, going down an awful trajectory or compromising in unthinkable ways.
Do we choose to revile or reconcile?
Regardless of the decisions people make, we can shame & revile them or walk alongside & reconcile them. Jesus is a great example of reconciling rather than reviling 🙂
When I go to the grocery store, I expect to find groceries & when I go to my health club, I expect to find weight machines & workout stuff. So people come to church & expect to find Jesus, but here’s an interesting exception for you to consider:
“I don’t see how that’s going to work.” This is a common sentence I hear in lots of different contexts that include stuff with Saving Moses, family challenges, ministry obstacles & even some personal goals.
It seems to me that people often want to know how something is going to work before they ever try to do it. It’s almost like we want the clear path to success before we’ll even set foot on the path. In my life, I’m learning that as I walk toward success or whatever seems to be impossible that my journey ultimately reaches the destination or goal of doing the impossible & succeeding. At the core of me, I know that walking with the Holy Spirit is how the impossible gets done & more often than not, walking with the Holy Spirit is nothing less than an adventure with the impossible. So LETS GO!!!
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been purposely working out to improve my fitness, mental clarity & stamina. It’s been nice this go around for lots of reasons & I’ve experienced some wonderful spiritual lessons:
Beginning is harder than maintaining: starting a spiritual discipline (daily prayer, consistent church attendance, Bible reading, fasting, etc) requires more effort than maintaining the discipline
Social fun: I’ve allowed people to be involved with my exercise & it’s been very enjoyable; the parallel holds true with spiritual growth as well – we need people in our lives on this spiritual maturity journey
Too rigorous: last week, I got a migraine largely because I was too hard on my body; in a similar way, let’s be careful to have a balanced spiritual walk in our daily living
With these suggestions, I pray that you grow spiritually & that your inner man is strengthened with the presence of the Holy Spirit – Eph 3:16 🙂
Abraham’s servant was commissioned to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. There were some very significant criteria for this wife, like she had to move away from her home & family to marry Isaac. From the servants conversation with Abraham & his prayer to God, it seems to me that the servant felt some heavy pressure to find the wife & bring her to Isaac.
In my opinion, the whole wife acquisition challenge was a giant walk of faith. And this happens one step at a time. The servant made this journey by getting together lots of helpful resources & leaving his home. Then he took awhile to get to his destination. Upon arrival, he prayed & asked for God’s input to find the right wife & God totally confirmed the servant’s prayer. The end story is that the servant returned with Rebekah, a beautiful wife & divine provision for Isaac.
When we have needs in our lives, let’s take the faith walk with God, one step at a time 🙂
I’ve taken to riding the bus to the airport & I love it! I really appreciate that someone else does all the navigating through traffic, the seats are cushioned, the temperature is pleasant & I can do my work while I ride! When I would drive myself to the airport, I’d have to be alert, dodge traffic, find a very distant parking space, walk through the cold / heat & hopefully have enough time to get through security, etc.
it seems to me that walking with the Holy Spirit is sometimes like taking the bus to a destination. Although it requires us to trust the Holy Spirit, the journey is much more enjoyable, less stressful & we usually land a lot closer to the destination than if we navigate life all alone.
If you want to learn to walk with the Holy Spirit better, pick up my new book,
This is a bit of a fun pun on the holes in my foot! I’m trying to get rid of some plantar warts on my foot & they’re being rather stubborn as you can see.
While I try to get rid of these warts, it makes walking kind of challenging & sometimes painful. And this would also be true of walking in holiness. In 1Peter 1:15, we are told to be holy as God is holy. It’s painful to our flesh when we make choices to be holy but such daily living fosters long-term health, stability & a deep walk with God.
Let’s be sure that we decide everyday to walk in holiness!
Being rebellious usually gets the thumbs down reaction from the Christian crowd. We tend to find those verses that talk about being respectful, obedient & compliant & there are heaps of Bible verses to support this mindset.
However, being a person who finds herself sometimes at odds with many societal norms, let me highlight some ways that Jesus went the opposite of the culture & society of His day.
Unexpected: Jesus didn’t cater to what people expected from Him. Consider in His first miracle that He told His mom to “chill out” (my slang for “Woman, My time is not yet come”)
Forgiveness: when all the religious leaders of His day wanted Jesus to condemn the woman caught in adultery, Jesus forgave her & the intolerance / judgment evaporated
Genuine Love: one of my favorite quotes from Jesus: “He who has been forgiven much, loves much; but he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Miracles: Jesus defied conventional thinking by frequently doing miracles: multiplying food, cleansing lepers, restoring promiscuous women, healing the unclean & driving out demonic forces, just to name a few.
If we are followers of Jesus, then we must go the opposite of our flesh, religious intolerance, demonic influences & cultural trends. Most of all, let’s personify genuine love because of the Holy Spirit working in our mindsets, conversations & actions!
Following the Holy Spirit means that we allow the Holy Spirit to set the direction & pace regardless of the terrain. So I’m learning that the course navigation isn’t up to me, nor are the seeming detours when I think we are aiming for a particular destination.
Additionally, for pace, there are times when the Holy Spirit seems to move slower than molasses in Winter. At other times, it feels like I’m on the Aerosmith rollercoaster at Universal Studios, going from 0-60mph in 4seconds. Exhilarating!!!
And then there’s the terrain part of following the Holy Spirit – bumpy, hilly, rocky, smooth, dusty, pristine, raucous & serene.
To be sure, following the Holy Spirit is a lifelong journey in which we get to know the Holy Spirit better & better one step at a time!
Before there were planes, trains & automobiles, people used camels, donkeys & the sandal express to resolve their transportation needs. So once upon a time there were a couple of guys walking from one town to another and a random stranger joined their pedestrian ambulation. There ensued a heated conversation about the current events of that time: something about a very magnetic man getting brutally murdered by the key religious leaders of the region & supposedy this murdered but magnetic guy had risen from the dead, according to the rumor on the street. The stranger seemed unaware of these current events, but somehow started a religious conversation that caused a holy heart burn in these fellow travellers. Long story short, these guys came to understand after Jesus disappeared that He was talking with them along their journey, even though they didn’t recognize Him. Luke 24
Just because we know about Jesus doesn’t mean that we always recognize Him in the events or journey of our daily living. I think that part of our Path to Pentecost is letting the Holy Spirit help us recognize Jesus better in our day to day existence.
Most often, life feels like it happens in the middle of a chapter with some slow plot development, an occasional conflict & some mundane pick & shovel daily living. Then there are seasons when God turns the page & begins a new chapter. When the chapter turns, we can be sad to say goodbye to the preceding season & excited to embrace something new.
No matter where you’re at in life’s journey, the best part is knowing that the Holy Spirit is always with us, in the ups & downs, twists, mundane & majestic. So let’s keep our focus on the Helper regardless of the season in which we find ourselves. This fellowship makes any journey vibrant, bearable & fruitful 🙂
I’ve frequently thought of faith being this clean, powerful, superhero, handsome, supernatural ideal. Like if faith was a person, it would be stylish, muscular, manicured, well appointed, organized & timely – maybe like Captain America in The Avengers. Indeed, when I read about the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, they all seem powerful, competent, effective & generally great role models, mostly.
In actual truth, when I look at these heroes more deeply as well as my daily attempts to live a faithful & faith-filled life, it often feels messy, murky & muddy. The outcomes of faith are very appealing but the walk & work of faith isn’t quite as pristine & manicured. It seems to me that faith is both a walk & a process. We love the results but sometimes we want to escape the work, uncertainty, mess & process that precede the outcomes.
Just because faith can be messy, murky & muddy doesn’t mean we should quit. Indeed, the process is worth the results 🙂
Sometimes I find myself in situations that are far beyond my skill set & often I get jittery, intimidated & overwhelmed. It’s precisely in these moments that I find the most fulfilling & richest relationship with the Holy Spirit. This is my experience because when I take a pause to catch my breath & reflect, I sense the Holy Spirit by my side, helping & telling me that it’s going to be ok.
Furthermore, it feels to me like the Holy Spirit invites me to take a walk together, something I love & relish. I like to take walks because there often seems to be boatloads of challenges that get worked out in my conversation with the Holy Spirit on these walks. I also appreciate that the Helper invites me on these strolls for a few helpful pointers:
more often than not, I have no clue where walking with the Holy Spirit will lead me & truth be known, I’m an adventure junkie – usually I love to go to new destinations & experiences, particularly when the Holy Spirit is leading the journey;
I don’t have to know the destination to enjoy the company – I’m learning this lesson across a wide swath of experiences & adventures;
Walking with the Holy Spirit is an adventure not only in the various experiences along the journey but also in the pace of the whole walk – sometimes at lightning speed & sometimes at a pace that is slower than molasses in winter, stationary at best & seemingly regressive sometimes;
Let’s walk together with the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:16 & 25, for not only the pace & direction but for the outcomes & most importantly for the company & fellowship! Take a walk & see what fun ensues 🙂
I had an interesting conversation with a friend last week about how she felt like some Christians didn’t accept her because of some of her questions, doubts and frustrations. She explained how that in the past she’d expressed some doubts or struggles in her faith in a small group and some of the members of the group were unkind, dismissive and disdainful.
Seems to me that if we are going to sincerely love each other, as Jesus instructs, that we need to walk the journey together more than criticize, critique or exclude. Jesus knew that Peter would struggle in his faith, deny and abandon Jesus, but that didn’t detour Jesus from staying Peter’s friend. In fact, Jesus closed the loop on any questions about His love for Peter in John 21 with His questions about Peter’s love for Him.
Jesus love us, full stop. I pray that I wholly let Jesus love others well & authentically through me 🙂
Do you have some decisions to make or concerns about the future that are a struggle? If you or someone you know has this challenge, then these next few words, with Jesus’ help, will be valuable
This morning, I read about how Abraham’s servant set off on a journey to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. This servant was tasked by Abraham with clear & precise instructions to find a wife for Isaac & the servant was rightfully jittery with such heavy duty responsibility. Nevertheless, the servant moved forward & found exactly God’s provision for Isaac’s wife.
Here are a few helpful points:
*take one step at a time – sometimes the big picture can get overwhelming, so decide to take one nibble at a time
*test the waters – Abraham’s servant asked Rebekah for a drink of water to open the possibility of discussing her future; he didn’t jump in the deep end with his initial words
*trust God – Abraham’s servant relied on Gods loving kindness to Abraham to find Isaac’s wife; God has a good track record & God is faithful!
*follow through – keep taking one step at a time until the final completion; don’t quit before the end 🙂