on loving welL

Loving well can have lots of different expressions:  taking someone for coffee, doing grocery shopping for a person, spending time listening, sharing about your thoughts / feelings, having someone over for dinner, giving therapeutic formula for starving babies, giving someone a kind word, staying positive and optimistic in a difficult season, giving a hug or a pat on the shoulder, encouraging someone about their talents or efforts, paying a bill for someone who’s struggling,  . . . . .

I think there are a BOATLOAD of ways to love well and when we make it a priority, I think that we can all love well because of how we are so well loved by our heavenly Father 🙂

Do you have some more helpful suggestions of how we can love well?  Please share!! 🙂

Work hard, believe strong!

In my mind, working hard & believing strong are an essential winning combination. I have some friends who are hard workers but kind of weak believers & it seems like they just can’t get a break & have some results that exceed their hard work. On the flip side, I have some friends who are strong believers but lame workers – they can be ethereal but impractical. The worst arrangement is when a person is a weak believer & a lame worker – that’s lethal! So my friend lets cheer for each other to be strong believers & hard workers!! 🙂

dealing with concerns

I totally get that Jesus says not to worry about what we eat, wear or what’s going to happen tomorrow and I totally want to align myself with His instructions.  And I’d also venture to say that from time to time, we both have a little bit of a challenge in the “concern” area.  Here are some ideas / thoughts that may be useful:

  • break big issues into smaller pieces or components and they might not seems as overwhelming
  • memorize some verses from the Bible that you can lean into when you feel like you’re drowning in the “worry” zone – Ps 55:22 is a great resource, as a starter
  • health upkeep – here’s the normal nagging of drinking lots of water & maintaining an consistent exercise routine
  • worship tunes that lift up Jesus always help me to put any problems or worries into a better perspective
  • It always helps me to remember to put my trust in God & to lift up my soul to God (Ps 25:1)

These are a few ideas that have been useful to me.  What helps you?  Please share 🙂

don’t quit

When I was recently in Angola with Saving Moses I had an experience that has really been haunting me.  If I understood the situation correctly, I met a mom who had seemed to give up hope on her baby surviving and I’m deeply affected by this – so much that this experience is really starting to challenge some of my thinking.  I think that there are situations where I quit too easily for various reasons (disappointment, discouragement, lack of progress, bad reports, setbacks, etc).  Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean that I should quit or give up.  And even if I’m only making microscopic progress, I’m challenging myself not to quit.

So my encouragement to you is don’t quit!

  • Don’t give up on yourself.
  • Don’t quit on God
  • Don’t quit growing
  • Don’t quit trying
  • Don’t quit on your kids
  • Don’t give up on your potential
  • Don’t quit

a thought about staying continually happy

Even though this is a short entry, it is really powerful:

I have this habit that I do almost every morning – I thank God for all of the cool things that happened during the previous day.  I love getting to do this because it’s a great way to enter God’s presence (I will enter His courts with thanksgiving in my heart).  But here’s the latest challenge I’ve been sensing from God:  real-time gratitude.  Instead of waiting for my gratitude to expressed during my morning routines, I feel that God is challenging me to be grateful in the moment & not just the morning.  So I find myself being more thankful as an attitude in my day and not just in the morning prayer time “compartment”.  As as result, I feel that I’m more content, happy and buoyant.  As a concluding thought, another idea is to pre-thank the answers, solutions and provisions that God has for us (ahead of time).  Now that would be a total lifestyle of gratitude (past, present & future).  Just a little food for thought 🙂

A fond memory from my dad

I had a friend remind me recently about a fond memory I have of my dad that might be fun for you to read about. When I was in elementary school, my dad bought a REALLY bright yellow jumpsuit & totally enjoyed it. He liked it so much that he took it on a family vacation trip to Italy. It was pretty humorous to watch this tall American man with total white hair in a BRIGHT yellow jumpsuit with white tube socks & black shoes. As he walked down the street probably the best entertainment value was to watch the Italians look at him with envy over his yellow jumpsuit ,)
Dad liked this jumpsuit so much that he pretty much wore it wherever he went or doing whatever – hospital visits, furniture refinishing, craw dad hunting, office attire & more. Thankfully, I don’t remember that he preached in the top banana ,)

Pressure exposes trust

There are some really great worship songs that talk about trusting in Jesus & how wonderful it is to trust Him. In theory, I agree with these songs & I appreciate their melodic & soothing tune & words. In practice, however, I’m not very convinced that trusting in Jesus is a really smoothy & groovy road. For me, the challenge to trust in Jesus often exposes areas in my life where I’m not trusting in Jesus well. Furthermore, the adjustments I need to make in those areas to trust Jesus better can be difficult. But at the end of the day, I am wholly convinced that it is truly better to trust in Jesus more than anyone or anything else. Don’t let various pressures tempt you to not trust Jesus 🙂

When God seems quiet

I was reading in Job this morning & I read a verse about when God is silent. This kind of started me thinking about the times when God doesn’t seem to be talking. These times can be really frustrating or let me suggest that these times can be really rich in getting to know God better. Here are some things that could really help you in those times / seasons when God seems silent:
*sometimes God may seem quiet because we don’t give Them (Trinity) the chance to speak – we do all the talking
*for me, I know that God is sometimes quiet, because They (Trinity) are waiting for me to talk
*sometimes I think God is quiet because They want us to lean in & get closer
*sometimes quiet can be an indication of displeasure – is there something I’ve done or said that has been displeasing to God that I need to adjust? This can be a good exploratory question with God
*quiet in a relationship can be an indication of closeness & intimacy: I feel comfortable being quiet with some of my closest friends

pause

When I was growing up, we used the Big Chief red note pads to learn how to write.  I still remember that dingy paper & the giant lines in which I was supposed to keep my writing (good luck).  When I started using the regular white lined paper, I remember thinking that it seemed like they wasted alot of space on the sides because the Big Chief paper didn’t have the red line on the left – margin.  As I continued to refine my writing skills, I started writing smaller & smaller so that I could get more stuff on the page – at one point, my teacher probably needed a microscope to read my writing.

So here are some thoughts on space & time:

  • margins create clarity – when we try to squeeze everything into a small space or time, everything can get blurry and confusing really fast
  • while we are designed to be productive and to achieve things, it’s important to maintain balance between workload and breathing room
  • rest and escape aren’t the same thing
  • rest can be a form of trusting God 🙂

whooops!

When I was in Angola last week with Saving Moses, I was trying to say goodbye to some of my new friends, the moms of the malnourished babies that we help to feed.  In Angola, the official language is Portugese & it can sometimes be similar to Spanish (a language in which I’m kind of comfortable).  As I was leaving, I was explaining in my mixed Portugese and Spanish efforts that we are leaving in the morning to go back home.  The moms seemed to get REALLY excited & I thought they were just being very polite & friendly.  After I kept telling lots of different moms about us going home the next day (in the Portugese / Spanish mix), our translator overhead me talking & quickly jumped in with lots of Portugese & explained something.  Later he told me that I was telling everyone that we all, including each mom with whom I was speaking, were going to fly home – implying that I was going to bring all of them with me back to America.  That was a BIG WHOOOPS!!!  Thankfully, the moms understood that my language skills in Portugese are still in the developmental phase :/

I say all of this to ask you to think about letting the Holy Spirit be the translator for your life, rather than trying to understand life without His Help.  Bad translation can lead to some very dangerous misunderstandings 🙂