Seems to me that we look for lots of things: lost keys, missing makeup, acceptance, value, library cards, significance, love & a host of other things, some that are important & some that aren’t. In my line of work, I get to watch people & listen to some of their struggles. Some have told me about their struggles to be beautiful. Some have expressed frustration over their achievements at work & others have told me about various relational challenges that never seem to get resolved.
With all of these things, I like what CS Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.” Lets be certain that the default pursuit of our life is Jesus, full stop.
I’ve been watching the news & updates on the horrible weather on the East Coast & I’m really praying for everyone who is enduring this catastrophe. As I was thinking about this, I remembered a storm that Paul endured in Acts 27 & this was a storm of massive proportions: lasted 14 days, they couldn’t tell night from day, they threw over the boat all of their cargo & tackle gear, along with not eating for several days. For all practical purposes, everyone on the boat had given up hope for staying alive, except for Paul. Here were a few things Paul did in the middle of this awful storm:
*he stayed practical, advising everyone to eat some food to keep up their strength
*he kept his confidence & focus on Jesus more than anything else
*he encouraged the people in the boat with him, giving them hope that things would get better
Paul is a good role model for us when we go through storms!
My dad was a collector & where other people saw trash, my dad could see treasure – that’s one of the reasons that he was a great pastor. The Sunday after he died, my mom did a message that’s been extremely practical for me. She talked about how we have “this treasure in earthen vessels.” It’s been super helpful for me because sometimes I can get frustrated with people for various reasons. But from mom’s message I was challenged to consider if I tend to focus more on the crack pot & less on the treasure. Furthermore, it’s been my experience that when I treat people as worthwhile & valuable (treasures), they often act less foolish & more valuable.
So here’s my challenge for us: look more for the treasure & less for the trash 🙂
I was reading this morning about how Jacob in the bible married Leah & Rachel. The Bible says that Leah was hated but Rachel was loved. There’s lots to be said about these marriages, but I love that Leah looked to God for strength & help – naming her 1st 4 sons: Reuben (God sees me), Simeon (God hears me), Levi (attached) & Judah (I praise God).
Regardless of what’s happening in your life:
*God sees you & has compassion on you
*God is listening with ears of lovingkindness
*attached – let yourself be completely attached to God
*never neglect to praise & give honor to God 🙂
There are lots of things that I think I need but what I continue to experience in almost a daily way is that God’s provisions are perfectly timed for my exact needs. I have been seeing this reality for several months now – from things related to having more time, achieving things really efficiently, financial provisions & strategic wisdom, just to name a few examples. So I feel that God is really challenging me in a couple of ways:
*trust God more & better
*maybe if there’s something that I think I need that I’m not getting, maybe I don’t really need that “something”
*provision has lots of different expressions & aren’t just financial (wisdom, efficiency, time, etc)
*God’s provisions are perfectly crafted & timed for each need in our lives 🙂
My dad died over this past weekend and it’s been an interesting journey over the last few days with lots of emotions, kind & gentle people along with some rough spots. If you’ve lost someone who is close to you, or have a friend in this situation, here are a few things that have been helpful to me so far:
- be gentle with yourself and others: losing someone who is important in your life is hard so being tender and gentle is a necessary counter-point for this hardness
- grief is illogical & doesn’t need to be justified: the “why” questions and appropriate answers don’t help, at least not for me up to this point
- time versus busy: some people need activity and to be occupied with doing things while others need some space, but too much time or activity can lead to some bad results
- presence: what I’ve found helpful is together-ness, someone being present (but not necessarily chatty – smile)
- encouragement: let everyone’s encouragement, kind words and supportive efforts come into your heart;
- God: involve God at all levels; grief and death are not the times to pull away from God
Are there more things that you’ve found helpful? I’d be keen for your input
Wow!! I can’t begin to thank everyone for their kind words, support & care after my blog about my dad’s death. We’ve had such great encouragement, affirming words and love – way beyond my ability to express gratitude. Thank you again and again!! While this is a bit of a rough season, it’s also really wonderful to sense Jesus’ love through so many different people and so many different ways. Thanks loads for letting Jesus use you to bring comfort and care to our family.
May God reach into your life, open your eyes and increase your sensitivity to the immense and infinite love that God has for you. Again, thanks so much!!
My dad died on Friday evening, having struggled with Alzheimers for a few years. Here are some great things in my life because of my dad:
- a love and respect for the Holy Spirit: my dad has always been super keen to be around the Holy Spirit and had tremendous respect and honor for what the Holy Spirit does and Who the Holy Spirit is
- a love for beauty and creativity: my dad has always been super creative & loved art and creative expressions in almost all ways. To this day, my house is decorated with art that he passed on to me
- respect for people: my dad has always loved people and could chat for hours with all kinds of people – people at garage sales, people who would refinish furniture, people in restaurants, at stores, etc; even if people were grumpy or mean, it didn’t phase my dad because he just liked people
- hope for the future: my dad has always been optimistic and had killer strong faith regardless of what he saw or experienced; he confronted fear in my life when he saw that it was going to debilitate me & he challenged me to not let fear control me or my decisions
There’s TONS more to my dad – way more than a simple blog could express. But this is a really small glimpse of a really great man. Thanks heaps and heaps to my church family for being so supportive, gentle and kind to us through this experience. If you’d like to join us when we celebrate his life, we’ll be having a celebration service on Nov 11 around 6pm at Orchard Road Christian Center
I’ve read lots of things that encourage us to persevere, don’t quit, endure & keep going. The Bible applauds faithfulness & endurance on multiple occasions. But I think that we have to be careful that we don’t let the “endurance” trait to justify being stubborn & refusing to change.
I want to endure & be faithful to Jesus & Give Him the total freedom to change & shape me to be more & more like Him. For me, it’s cool to be stubborn in keeping my relationship with Jesus vibrant but it’s not ok to be stubborn & refuse to change or grow – that kind of stubborn is brittle & very susceptible to being broken 🙂
I recently made a lemon cake for one of my kid’s birthdays & it didn’t turn out well. Of course, some of the failure was my fault because I didn’t totally follow the directions (the cake didn’t come out of the pan very well). Thankfully, the flavor was ok, but I was still not very happy with the overall outcome – a cake mistake.
When I was thinking about mistakes, I was reading this morning about how God has fearfully & wonderfully made us. When I thought about this, it began to sink into my thinking about how God doesn’t bake or make mistakes. When God does work, His work work is done perfectly, without failures or flaws. Now I’m not saying that we don’t make mistakes but I am saying that we must understand that God has made us & we are not mistakes or failures. Thankfully, God redeems our mistakes but God did not make a mistake when God made you 🙂