There’s some good advice that says look before you leap & I used to make fun of that. Now I like that advice because my leaping & then looking has made for some scratchy challenges. But there are times when we can get paralyzed from looking – when we see a seemingly insurmountable challenge, when something looks impossible, when we don’t like what we see & much more. When Noah went in the ark, he’d been looking at that boat for a long time. Maybe he had some doubts or concerns, but he took the leap & saved humanity from being wiped out. Sometimes obeying God feels my like a flying leap 🙂
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)
Holy Cow! That was Jeroboam’s solution to help him stay in power as the king of Israel, even though God had obviously put him in this position. I was reading this morning (1 Kings 7) about how God spoke to Jeroboam through a prophet & told him that he was going to be the king of Israel. When Jeroboam became the king, he got really jittery about keeping his power & decided that his kingdom needed it’s own set of gods, festival days, worship routines, etc that would exclude anything from the Temple in Jerusalem or the worship of the true God, as outlined by Moses.
Jeroboam was put in the position of king by God’s power but he didn’t stay long because he decided to trust in his own methods & efforts rather than trusting in God. In my thinking, there’s no staying power of any lasting value that doesn’t include trusting in our Triune God 🙂
Flirting is an interesting concept. It can be a playful and teasing way to interact with people, but from personal experience (back in the day), it became tiring really fast. Flirting felt like a game to me, a relational game that had very high stakes. When I look up “flirt”, it means to act amorously without serious intentions. Sometimes, I think we flirt with God: we go to church, sing love songs to God, dress up and act like we love God, but we don’t have any serious intentions of making a long term commitment (except when there’s some appealing benefit or carrot that keeps us engaged). Flirting means that we get to pretend without any promises, chat without any change and be shallow without any sacrifice. Let’s be serious about our relationship with God, keep our promises, change and make sacrifices all with God’s Help working throughout out daily living 🙂
When Jesus started in His ministry, he would speak to big crowds & sometimes we get really impressed with big crowds (Ukrainian demonstrations, Super Bowl attendance, web users, TV audience, etc). One day, Jesus was speaking to another large crowd from a boat & there were a few fishermen repairing nets on the beach. The size of the crowd could be our focal point, but maybe Jesus was speaking to the crowd with the ultimate goal of connecting with Peter, a smelly, tired & seemingly trivial fisherman who just happened to be fixing his net – Peter who would leave his net & profession to follow Jesus. The crowd was big but possibly the real gold from Jesus’ preaching was His connection with Peter.
In my thinking, crowds were important to Jesus but what I love the most is how Jesus is always zeroed in on individual relationships with Him.
One of my favorite guys who did amazing illusion work was Escher. Whenever I look at his work, it always takes me some time to pause and think about what I’m seeing or not seeing. This idea about considering what we are looking at is really important, particularly when we look at people. Jesus was really good at seeing people beyond any optical illusions – He sees directly into our hearts and knows us for who we really are & continues to love us deeply & wholly. Let’s endeavor to see people beyond any optical illusions, filters, false pretensions or misconceptions. Let’s see people through the lense of genuine love 🙂
I was helping my son study for his chemistry test & we were learning about atomic weight, atomic numbers, etc. at one point, he told me that some of the stuff I was quizzing him on wasn’t important – which of course made my eyebrows raise.
Knowing what’s important & unimportant in life is really essential & here’s my guiding verse for this concern: Jer 9:23-24. Check it out!!
I think we all want to do things that are meaningful, significant & have impact. I don’t want to waste my life or time doing things that I feel are small & irrelevant. But I find myself doing dishes, getting groceries every week, driving kids to various appointments, doing car maintenance & many such things I could consider petty, small & irrelevant. But here’s an important distinction: how we do things is often more important than what we do.
Mother Teresa said that not all of us can do great things but we can all do small things with great love. How we do things is very important 🙂
I hear and see lots of situations that need miracles – including stuff in my own life. I was talking with God about this whole topic of needing miracles yesterday and I was expressing some of my own needs in my prayers. It was an interesting time of prayer because I had the distinct impression that God is always doing miracles, even when we’re unaware. Some of God’s miracles are small & we can easily overlook them because of the busy-ness and demands of everyday living. Some of God’s miracles are camouflaged and aren’t as obvious because they’re not very dramatic. Some of God’s miracles are so big that we altogether miss the experience because we can be so easily focused on something that’s relatively minor. And sometimes we miss God’s miracles because we get too focused on our methods rather than leaving the method stuff in God’s hands. So God is always doing miracles because that’s Who God is – miraculous!
Here are some miracles to consider:
- strength to go through a difficult season
- wisdom in areas where we are totally inept
- provisions that come in unexpected ways
- healing from bitterness, hurts, unforgiveness, etc
- nautre – sunrises, sunsets, ocean tides, the immensity of the universe and the minuteness of a quark
I purposely waited to make this post until after Valentines Day, because for some people, Valentines Day is a painful reminder that they’re single. For other people, it’s a day to celebrate love & not just romance. If you think about it, it’s better to be single than hooked up with a yucky person or someone who is evil but pretends to be good.
The choices that we make are very important and how we see our lives and the world around us are very much active choices that we make, whether we realize it or not. And how we see our lives is a direct result of what we allow in our hearts. So the grand conclusion of this meandering blog is that we must be careful what we allow into our hearts and thinking (Proverbs 4:23) because these inputs help to shape the way we see & interact with our world – mental hygiene my friends 🙂