Happy New Year, one day early! When I was growing up, my dad always had the same breakfast: 2 eggs over easy, patty saugsage, whole wheat toast & hash browns with a continuous coffee IV drip. We can all get easily stuck in a rut, but New Year’s is a great time to shake it up a little. Think about a few changes that could be helpful for the upcoming year:
more consistent church attendance
healthier eating decisions
more water & less coffee
relationships that have healthy boundaries & constructive influences
increased Bible digestion – more reading, more memorizing, more studying, . . . . just more
become a Saving Moses hero and save babies where the need is most urgent & the care is least available
pursue truth & reject deception
Let’s turn the page on 2013 & celebrate change with a new beginning!
Out of the frying pan and into the fire: I was reading about how David was trying to stay away from King Saul in 1 Samuel because Saul was trying to kill David. It’s really interesting to me that God sent David a prophet in 1 Sam 22 & told David to leave the stronghold where he was staying & go back to Judah, where he was more vulnerable to Saul’s attempts to kill him – out of the frying pan and into the fire.
No one likes to be uncomfortable or in difficult situations. If you’re like me, we often look for the paths of least resistance & opposition, along with the areas of greatest safety and comfort. But clearly, this wasn’t how God was directing David in 1 Sam 22. It seems to me that we often trust God the least when we are the most comfortable ,)
We have a joke in our family about my cooking – when the smoke alarm goes off in our house, it’s a good sign that we’re going to have a great meal and the more smoke alarms that go off, the better the meal. It’s become kind of humorous among all of us and we’ve become somewhat accustomed to a dinner time smoke alarm – which can be a little scary. Alarms are meant to alert us that something is amiss and should be immediately checked upon. When we get dull to alarms, things can become severely dangerous and God forbid that we should sleep through such alarms!
I wonder if there could be some alarms in our lives that alert us to spiritual lethargy, passivity and languor. I wonder if we don’t sometimes become so comfortable, settled, cozy and tucked into our daily routines that our spiritual lives become dull, shallow and even moribund. Perhaps God is making a clarion call to our hearts to shake off the allure of comfort that can unknowingly poison us with a sleeping sickness that deadens our senses to God’s alarms
The enemy of great is good, the adversary of excellent is average and the foe of extraordinary is moderate. Let’s love God with great sincerity, excellent pursuit and extraordinary passion.
I wanted to write up a quick post yesterday but I had more work than time – sorry!
I’m particularly fond of the few days immediately following Christmas because they feel like an exhale to me. The days leading up to Christmas can sometimes be a frenzied collection of meal preparation, last minute wrapping, gifts, holiday bustle and manic hustle. But the days after Christmas seem to be more peaceful to me. Everything seems to get more calm, peaceful and manageable. Let me encourage you to take some time in these days to pause, reflect and rejuvenate. Drink deeply of God’s presence and nestle into God’s unlimited love for you. Jesus was born for us out of no other motivation than genuine love 🙂
On a quickie side note, please remember to pray for South Sudan – they’ve had close to 2 weeks of intense conflict and thousands have been killed there in the last 10 days.
During Christmas, it seems like we are frequently aware of the whole gift thing & sometimes that can be kind of tricky. Here are some ideas for gifts that could be really useful:
encouragement: Christmas is a great time to put into words (even on a card) how important someone is to you, to let someone know how wonderful they are or what you admire / respect about them
hugs: some people really appreciate a genuine hug during Christmas without getting sketchy 🙂
time: I took one of my kids skiing yesterday & we totally enjoyed lots of time together, without phones, email, FB, etc – just being together
extra effort: doing something nice for someone (bring them a cup of coffee, offer to clean their garage, run errands, etc) can be super meaningful – even creating coupons for work can be a nice gift
gift: gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful
The ideas listed above are from Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book – a super helpful way to express love in ways that are meaningful to the person receiving the gift & not just the person giving the gift 🙂
Once upon a time, there was a master painter whose works were without equal. Whenever he had a canvas and paint available, he would create masterpieces of such magnificence that no words could be found to describe the beauty, extravagance, grace and splendor of his work. He lived to paint and anyone who had the privilege of seeing his work was immediately captivated by his craft and talent. One day, he found himself thoroughly engrossed in one of his paintings, so much that he found himself walking around inside the painting, limited to the world that he had painted! As he strolled through his painting, he met the people that he had painted. They were dressed with nice clothes and had bright smiles, but as he talked with them, he came to see that they were broken and lacked the vibrant life to which he was accustomed outside of the painting. As he thought about this dilemma, he decided to go the extra mile and give them some of his life. As he breathed his life on them, the individuals who received his breath became whole and well, even three dimensional!
The painter was well pleased that he could enjoy the company of his creation 🙂
Last month, my son randomly got a metal splinter in his finger & we’ve had some difficulties trying to get it out. After he tried & I tried, we prayed & gave the dr a chance & the only result was that his finger became infected 😦
During our 2nd visit to the dr, she did an xray & we discovered that he still had some of the splinter in his finger. After lots of medical advice, we decided that we had to get rid of the infection as our first priority.
Long story short, my son got the splinter out last night & here’s the picture we took of it!! Prayer works!!
I was reading this morning about how Jesus hung out with tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes and disreputable people. In their best moments, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought that His choices for social interactions was weird. More often, the religious leaders were “unhappy” with Jesus’ social choices. Clearly, Jesus didn’t fit in with the religious leaders & was weird by their estimation.
On the flip side, it seems to me that Jesus was more accepted & fit in better with the people who were more obviously broken (sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc). Maybe these disreputable people liked Jesus because He was weird. He was different from them, offering them genuine love that they had possibly never experienced.
When Jesus lived on earth, He modeled for us how to be good in a weird way – loving people genuinely. In my thinking, the work we do with Saving Moses and nightcare is wonderfully different & even weird because it’s an overtly tangible expression of genuine love 🙂
My kids have been working on their Christmas wish lists & I asked one of them yesterday if world peace was on his list – he chuckled 🙂
When I was growing up, I always wondered about the whole thing of Santa coming down the chimney & how he stayed so clean coming down so many dirty chimneys. Maybe he wore a haz-mat suit for the chimney dives 🙂
But when I’ve been thinking about what might be on God’s wish list, if God has such a thing. Perhaps God would like the inside of our lives to be clean, of course with God’s help. It seems to me that particularly during this season, we often dress up, fix our hair to be pretty & look good on the outside, but let’s not forget to let God help us to clean & fix up the inside of our lives as well. Cleaning out bitterness, strife, unforgiveness, animosity, impatience, . . . . cleaning out some junk in our hearts so that Jesus has room & space to maneuver in our lives without alot of clutter or interference 🙂
Sometimes I think that comfort can be debilitating. Comfort can be the path of least resistance, the lack of stretching and sometimes the lack of growing. It’s definitely possible that when Jesus, the Son of God, was a newborn that He was uncomfortable – but all to our benefit!
I find that when I get in uncomfortable situations, if I lean into the Holy Spirit, I’m not nearly as uncomfortable. I may be stretched, pushed to grow, improve and get stronger. But ultimately if I have to make a choice, I’d rather grow, get stronger, improve and mature than remain comfortable, even in this busy Christmas season 🙂