First to Worst

I live in Denver & our baseball team, the Rockies, are plummeting by the day from first to worst. It’s disheartening to watch them & I can’t help but wonder if Jesus’ disciples were a little jittery about Him cleansing the Temple, immediately upon His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. The Temple cleaning wouldn’t be the best way to win friends & positively influence key leaders. But this was the first thing Jesus chose to do, upon His wildly popular entrance.
Clearly, there are plenty of gaps comparing Jesus’ triumphal entrance & my baseball team.
But I wonder if Jesus’ disciples didn’t watch Jesus’ crucifixion with shock & awe. “How did we get to this appalling conclusion in such a few short days?” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Bible says that the entire city was stirred up & in less than 5 days, Jesus was hanging on a cross, the most barbaric punishment humans could contrive at that time. How could Jesus go from first to worst?
And then resurrection???
Let’s never take human events as the final conclusion nor permanent solution when we invite the Holy Spirit to join our journey. Indeed, when we walk with the Holy Spirit, the potential for resurrection defies our human perspective & limits!

A Little Extra!

I’ve been around lots of high achievers throughout my life & these great people have inspired me in various ways. I’ve met individuals who’ve overcome educational deficiencies, social disparities, financial impossibilities & physical disabilities. Regardless of these obstacles, these individuals have accomplished seeming impossibilities. Here are a few common things I’ve observed from these individuals:

  • Faith – not so much in themselves but moreso in God’s presence & power working through them
  • Persistence – it’s hard to find “quit” in high achievers
  • A little more – even if it’s s smidgen, iota, millimeter or micro-speck more, high achievers give that extra push.

Whatever the challenges that lay in your path, be sure to see them as opportunities for God to grow you to be bigger than

Win the Race!!!

I’m a very competitive person and that can be really bad.  For example, I used to play in our church’s an annual flag football tournament.  After a few years, I decided to remove myself from playing because I couldn’t find a way to compete with a friendly demeanor.  So when Paul says in 1 Cor 9:24, “. . . , run in such as way as to win the prize, ” I would use this phrase to justify my poor behavior.  Of course I took the verse out of context and this verse can often be misappropriated & rationalized to accommodate personal success rather than transformed redemption.  But as followers of Jesus, winning the prize doesn’t align with the world’s definition of victory & success.  Indeed, consider the recent Olympic illustration of “winning the prize”:  running to win

Let’s enedeavor to be successful by the definition of following Jesus rather than letting our flesh or the world define success for us!

Jesus & Gladiators

  
During Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’ birth & we think of Him as a baby born in a manger. I don’t often think of Jesus as a warrior during Christmas, but He is very much a warrior. Consider a few ways that Jesus fights:

  • Prince of Peace – in a season that can be full of anxiety & pressure, let’s be sure that we embrace Jesus as our Prince of Peace
  • Intercessor – Paul says that Jesus intercedes for us (Rom 8:34), standing in the gap & fighting on our behalf
  • Triumphant over death – Rom 6:5
  • Passes along His victory to us – 1Cor 15:57

Jesus was most certainly a baby in a manger, but He’s also our victorious Gladiator 🙂

storm help

Life has storms, full stop.  Storms can be health challenges, financial mishaps, relational pitfalls, unexpected crisis & lots more.  As much as I’d like to storm-proof my life, this doesn’t seem to be a realistic option for me, despite my best efforts.  So here are some pointers that are helping me & might be useful to you as well:

  • Focus grasshopper – let’s keep our eyes on Jesus because there’s no storm that He cannot calm and disperse
  • Watch the Clock – this too will pass because storms have an end no matter how long it seems
  • Guard the Gates – a storm on the outside doesn’t mean that it has to come into your heart
  • Eat your Spinach – storms are great opportunities to strengthen your faith;  indeed, it seems to me that my faith doesn’t strengthen in serenity as well as it does under stress #selah

Feel free to pass this to your friends & family who might be in a storm & happy Monday to you!

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 🙂

#selah

a fearless tribute to my husband

Have you ever been intimidated, afriad, overwhelmed, in over your head and just simply disheartened?  Sometimes I go through seasons, situations and struggles that could feel really overpowering – dying babies with Saving Moses, evil people masquerading as helpful, discouraging words from close friends and more.  I was recently in some of this kind of quagmire and my husband & I were talking about a few things related to these struggles when I remembered something cool from the New Zealand national Rugby team:  the Haka

I showed my husband a video of the Haka & it stirred up a few things in my heart:

  • nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
  • greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
  • Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)
  • Jesus holds everything together (Col 1:17)
  • this lite & momentary affliction is working in me a far greater weight of glory (2Cor 4:17)