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!

Setbacks

As much as I’d like to avoid or prevent setbacks, they happen. Sometimes we have setbacks with our kids, in relationships, health challenges, work or school stuff & many other areas. The setbacks can be big, medium or minor, but no setback is something we relish, usually. So what to do?
Here are some thoughts that can help:

  • Opposition can create resilience – there’s lots to be said in favor of persistence, determination & tenacity. 
  • Course correction – sometimes a setback can help us reevaluate our path & we sometimes see a shortcut or a more efficient route
  • Building faith – some setbacks put us in a place of utter dependence on God & that isn’t bad, even though this can make us feel uncomfortable. 
  • Nothing is impossible – God specializes in impossible so let’s always keep our confidence & focus on the Holy Spirit who can do supernatural & amazing things!

Travel Advice


This summer, it seems like people are traveling more than usual – by airplane, car, train, bike, etc. While I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert traveler, I’ve had enough mistakes & mishaps to give advice from what a person shouldn’t do 🙂
Consider a few helpful tips:

  • Know where you’re going, or at least get the general direction clear – this relates to setting goals & achieving things as well
  • Patience & flexibility – enjoy the journey rather than bite your nails, you could likely have some fun experiences & meet some awesome peeps 
  • Rest – Jesus napped on the boats when He traveled, so it seems wise to grab some winks along the way
  • Pay attention – listen & watch for the Holy Spirit because traveling can be an incredible opportunity to get closer to Heavenly Help

Enjoy some travel this summer!

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 🙂

too smart

I used to think it was impossible to be too smart.  Now I don’t think this for a few reasons:

  • I’ve met people who think they’re “the smartest person in the room” and more often than not, such people are neither personable nor pleasant, despite being so smart
  • people often get smart in a particular field / topic at the expense of being “smart” in other areas, thereby creating imbalance, which is not so bueno:  think Steve Jobs
  • being smart isn’t always the same as being wise

When we think about being smart, let’s keep the mindset that empowers us to always be learning and growing.  Let’s posture our intelligence in humility and service more than superiority and supremacy.  And let’s continuously acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom, a dramatic upgrade to just being smart 🙂

Lessons in Resting

Springtime always seems to ramp up the activity level.  There’s fresh air outside that’s not too cold, the trees bloom with fragrant life, the hibernation of winter dissipates and of course there are all of the activities that go with school, Easter, graduations, weddings, showers, etc.

More often than not, Springtime wears me out with the hustle and bustle of demanding activities.  So this Sping, I’m endeavoring to strike a better balance, integrating some rest into the mix.  Here are some ideas that might help you with finding rest in a busy Spring:

  • be careful not to fall in the “value in achievement” trap – you’re valuable because God loves you, full stop
  • consider Spring cleaning your calendar / schedule and not just your house
  • be sure the way you use your time accurately reflects your priorities
  • don’t ditch church 🙂

Of course I’m always keen to recommend reading a good book as a form of relaxing & a great book to read in preparation for Pentecost in a few weeks is Heavenly Help

Lessons from Airport Meltdowns

I’ve had my share of airport meltdowns. I still feel sorry for the poor flight agent who got an earful from me about my luggage being small enough to fit in the overhead bin. Then there was the recent dude who wanted to weigh my carry on luggage – no need to give much animation to that exchange. And yesterday, I was hostile with the guy who made my salad because he gave me the wrong salad dressing. As much as I’d like to explain & justify my behavior, it is neither excusable not justified, full stop. 
So here are my lessons that you might find helpful sometime:

  • With the Holy Spirits help, there’s always more patience than pressure.
  • Check your attitude – it’s too expense nowadays to bring extra luggage
  • Keep grace & poise in good form: practice, practice, practice 
  • Watch the monitors: keep alert to your thoughts & anxieties, sometimes they can seep out
  • Get in the right line: bypass those cranky conversations & opt to bring peace & abundant forgiveness. 

Traveling these days affords me ample opportunities to walk the talk 🙂

Get some Heavenly Help no matter where you are in your journey!

Hot Topic: Get HELP!!

Changing a tire, smoke alarms, sermon advice, editing with writing, parenting struggles, matching clothes, staying patient, . . . . these things barely scratch the surface of areas where I need help.  Admitting that I need help is a very big struggle for me.  So when Jesus said in John 14, that He would send His followers another Helper, I always thought, “That’s nice.  I hope some folk benefit from that help.”  I never really thought I needed “help” until I began digging into Jesus’ words to His disciples at the Last Supper in John 14-16.

Having studied and prayed about Jesus’ words in these chapters, I have become unraveled and undone, full stop.  So I wrote a book about this & you should buy it, now (pre-order) before it becomes back-ordered.  Actually, order at least 5 books because it’s awesome for small group discussions, book clubs and giving away as gifts 🙂

Here’s some helpful resources to look at:  Heavenly Help

Bumble & Fumble

My daughter really likes fashion & style, me not so much. Truth be known, if my clothes match on any given day it’s evidence of divine intervention. But for my daughter, matching & style are as easy for her as breathing – almost mindless. This leads me to appreciate that what is easy for her seems almost impossible for me. And this is every bit as true for you as well because I have no doubt that you are agile & gifted in stuff that is totally baffling to me. 
So rather than berating someone for an inability, let’s find & celebrate their strengths. Bumbling & fumbling is just evidence that God has gifted us in ways beautifully distinct & creatively unique. Thanks to a great friend who helped me see this today 🙂

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!

Very Alarming

Alarms are helpful even if they’re disturbing. Alarms tell us: it’s time to get up, there’s a fire, someone is trying to break into our car & lots more. Alarms alert us to something amiss & wake us from foggy & hazy living. 
Sometimes, however, we might resent alarms. We might resent an alarming doctors report that tells us to change our eating or exercise habits. We might resent the red light alarm in the car about a low oil problem & lots of other examples. And there are other alarms that we probably don’t like, even though we need them. 

I find that God uses alarms in my life:

  • to get my attention
  • to help me get moving in more healthy directions 
  • to make choices with more wisdom 

Don’t be unsettled by alarms, let them be helpful motivators for good adjustments & tweaks ,)

Peace or Piece

The other day, one of my kids accidentally shot me in the eye with a rubber band. I wasn’t injured but I was most definitely not happy & immediately proceeded to give this offspring a piece of my mind – not a high quality piece, to be sure. I gave this person a piece of my mind but I had no peace of mind. 
Sometimes there’s good value to venting some thoughts & emotions. But let’s be clear that the peace we often seek is more often a consequence of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit rather than an outpouring of our fleshly feelings & words. Have a happy Wednesday!

Changing Plans

  

Ever make plans only to see everything hit the fan & splatter in messy chaos? This is why I’m eating spicy pizza at the Los Angeles airport at 10:15am – not exactly what I’d planned for this moment. Nevertheless, the pizza is fantastic & I had a very lovely chat with Giovanni who made my pizza. He’s born & raised in LA but would like to travel & experience a wider cross section of cultures. 
Anyways, my point is that in the middle of changing plans & with uncertainly aplenty, let’s be sure that we hold more tightly to God than our plans, trusting that God works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with God & surrendered to His purposes & will 😉

Please be sure to stay tuned to my blog – I’m doing some really fun travel in the next week with Saving Moses & I want you to come with me so we can have fun together on this adventure! Remember as well that you can easily subscribe to my blog – some kind of button things in the right & it’s easy ,)

hot topic: same sex marriage

It’s been a week since the Supreme Court made their decision on the extremely controversial topic of same sex marriage.  The subsequent reaction to this ruling has been interesting to watch.  I’ve listened to conversations where people think the Supreme Court’s ruling is the most awesome evidence to show that America is progressive and modern.  I’ve also listened to conversations where people think that America will be swallowed up in hellfire and brimstone like Sodom and Gomorrah.  I like to listen and watch how people react with controversial topics like this because their reactions say alot about who they are and what they really believe.  I also like what Bishop TD Jakes had to say about this ruling – he’s a very wise man.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court ruling from last week, one of the defining hallmarks of being a follower of Jesus is our love for one another, based on Jesus’ words in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The question I keep in the forefront of my mind is this:  Am I loving well?

The definition of loving well is 1 Cor 13:4-7, ” 4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Happy Fourth of July weekend 🙂

 

Just say NO!!!

There are lots of things in our lives that we should affirm.  It’s super great to be positive and optimistic.  It’s also really helpful to say, “yes” to job promotions, good grades at school, kind offers from friends and unexpected blessings from random sources.

There are, nevertheless, several things that need to always require a “NO” reply.  Here are a few ideas:

  • doubt:  pre-decide that doubt always gets a “no” answer and faith always gets a “yes” answer
  • unforgiveness:  meditating about hurtful words and actions done by others should get a consistent “no”
  • mean actions & words:  give yourself “no” permission to react hatefully or with snarky words to someone else’s mean behaviors or libel
  • insecurity:  sometimes a simple mental “no” is enough to jolt us out of that destructive thinking pattern laced with the poison of insecurity
  • destructive behaviors:  let’s be certain that we’re consistently saying “no” to addictive patterns, an undisciplined lifestyle, debilitating relationships, poor eating habits and unproductive usage of time, to name a few suggestions

What else should we be saying “no” to in our lives?  I’d love to read your thoughts & wisdom 🙂

face value

YIKES!!!!!!  I just saw this woman wheel her elderly husband up to the deep end of a swimming pool in his wheelchair, she threw him in the pool & walked away.  This was extremely startling & unsettling to me, so I leaped up to check on him, hoping he wasn’t gasping or drowning.  Thankfully, he was paddling around & seemed to be enjoying the swim.  I just checked again & he’s happily floating & enjoying some sun.

At face value, it seemed like this wife was irresponsible at best & abusive at worst, but alas, things aren’t always as they appear.  And this is an easy mistake to make in our daily living.  We are often forced to make a decision with only a partial quantity of information & we often don’t have the luxury of getting more time or info for a possibly better decision.   And here’s the golden ticket:  the Bible tells us in James that if we God to give us wisdom, He will liberally & lavishly give us wisdom.  Wisdom gives us insight into stuff at a deeper level than face value & thankfully with God’s help, we can make wise observations and decisions that are better than what we know at face value 🙂

She just helped him out of the pool & back into his wheelchair 🙂

Help to Succeed

 I don’t like to fail. Actually, I LOATH failing so much that I sometimes refuse to try something altogether to avoid the failure experience & feeling, but that’s a different blog. Here are a few things that help me with success:

*eliminate distractions: as I type this, I’m in an airport with my husband with as river of people, noise & activities flowing by me. I’m focused because I’ve got my headphones in & I’m actively disciplining my attention to write something that will help both of us 🙂
*maintain routines in whatever area you want success: writing, exercise, cooking, friendships, Bible time, church, etc; routines are fertilizers for success 😉
*frame failures, weaknesses, flaws & shortfalls in the grid of practice lest you be tempted to quit altogether
*pray & play – asking for God’s help & add some balance with a little bit of “play”
*dont quit, ’nuff said on that ,)
What are some different pointers that have helped you with success?  Feel free to share your constructive thoughts 🙂
 

bang, smash, crunch

Presently, I’m trying to work on researching & writing a few sermons in the middle of the roofers at our house almost crashing through the ceiling – at least that’s how it sounds, even with noise cancelling headphones on!!!  Holy BUCKETS!  So much for the concept of listening to the “still, small voice”!!!!  And this is precisely what I totally LOVE about God: God knows exactly what it takes to get our attention & the appropriate volume that will be effective.  So thanks to our lovely roofers replacing our hail damaged roof, I’m getting to practice my focus & discipline, paying high grade attention to what God wants to say through me and with the Helper’s assistance, I get to tune in to God’s voice & presence with great intensity and focus.  The truth be known, I need this discipline & exercise not only today with the roofers at my house, but also in my everyday, common living.  This discipline plus coffee can yield some really awesome divine fruit ,)

Hot Topic: Stress – the Good & Bad

If you live in America, the deadline for filing our taxes is next week.  Maybe that’s kind of stressful for you.  If you’re a pastor or highly committed church volunteer, you probably just survived a stressful season called Easter.  Some of the upcoming events and holidays might have some stress potential for you – Mother’s Day & Graduation / Commencement.  Despite our best efforts, I don’t think that any of us can immunize ourselves from stress.  But how we deal with stress is a different issue & there’s some potential for good outcomes with stress.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • relax & take a deep breath:  I’m learning from my physical therapy from shoulder surgery that getting tense & uptight doesn’t help my muscles.  When I relax & trust the therapist (aka Helper), we make better progress
  • let stress put some fuel and motivation in your efforts:  Sometimes I need deadlines and pressure to help me be more productive – smile 🙂
  • the lifestyle question:  stress as a lifestyle is entirely unhealthy and can cause us to make poor decisions in our health, relationships, priorities and time management;  consider that you might be addicted to stress and maybe it’s time to actively choose peace over stress  #selah