It seems like most of America is going through the seasonal change from Spring & moving into Summer – often one of the more popular seasonal transitions 🙂 My family & I are looking forward to the long & hot days of Summer, playing in water features at various parks, taking walks in the cool of late evenings, the crisp morning greetings and doing all of the sun burn avoidance rigors.
As I think about changes of seasons, it seems to me that life is full of such changes. We go from the season of being school for 12+ years to having a full time job. We go from being single to being married or back to being single. We go from having no kids to being responsible for someone who we love more than we eve thought we possibly could.
Seasons change – and they did for Jesus as well. He changed from being a carpenter to being an “informal” Jewish teacher with thousands of fans. Jesus went from being full blown popular to being one of Jerusalem’s most hated convicts in less than 7 days.
Seasons change & it seems to me that we grow the most as humans during the changing seasons rather than the static seasons 🙂
Have a weekend filled with joy, peace & grace 🙂
Yesterday, I made the mistake of posting a poem that I thought Dr Maya Angelou wrote. I received lots of helpful & gracious feedback so I edited my post at the bottom to acknowledge my mistake. I left the poem, nevertheless, because I think it’s a really good poem & I found it to be very encouraging, no matter who wrote it.
But the topic of mistakes is a tricky topic. We all make mistakes, pretty close to everyday. We make mistakes as we drive, when we cook, saying things we shouldn’t, not speaking up when we should, work / school mistakes, . . . . . So here’s some that help me when I make mistakes (feel free to chime in with your own ideas as well):
**be quick to admit a mistake & apologize
**try to make new mistakes & not the same ones ,)
**the only person with no mistakes is Jesus
**mistakes often have more lessons than successes
**be quick to forgive mistakes even if the person doesn’t ask forgiveness
**if pencils are mistakes, grace is the eraser
**let your mistakes be more constructive than destructive
Today, Maya Angelou passed into eternity. Dr Angelou was 86 years old and achieved so many things that if I were to attempt listing them here, someone would likely be offended that I left out something important. She was a writer, artist, teacher, mother, grand mom, activist and LOTS more! She grew up in a tumultuous time and totally swam against the current, which is one reason why I want to honor her today. As I looked through some of her writing, I thought it would be fitting to share this poem she wrote as encouragement to those who endeavor to walk in Jesus’ footsteps:
I’M A CHRISTIAN By Maya Angelou When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin.” I’m whispering “I was lost,” Now I’m found and forgiven. When I say…”I am a Christian” I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need CHRIST to be my guide. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need HIS strength to carry on. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not claiming to be perfect, My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it. When I say… “I am a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain, I have my share of heartaches So I call upon His name. When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow.
Please forgive me – I was informed that Dr Angelou did not write the preceding poem. Rather, it was written by Carol Wimmer. I’m sorry for making this mistake, but would like to honor Dr Angelou, nonetheless. She was an amazing person & her numerous & diverse achievements will be treasured for decades to come. Again, I apologize for my mistake.
How’s that for a stupid question!?!! I don’t start anything with the intent to fail & I most certainly do not like to fail, full stop. But some of my thinking about success has been changing & I’m becoming more aware that many of my ideas about success have been more influenced by my American culture rather than the Bible. My culture says that success is all about being bigger, better, more, power, stronger, wealthy, popular, image driven, new, hip, trendy & all things glitz & glam. In the American culture, success isn’t about being broken, serving, homely, unpopular or tarnished, some of the things that Jesus personified & taught. The more I think about success from a cultural versus a biblical perspective, I have to conclude that my culture and the Bible don’t always agree. The important part of the disagreement is the side on which I chose to live. If I have to chose between being successful based on the Bible or on my culture, I’m going to side with the biblical definition of success 🙂
Today in America, we remember the military men & women who have served our country along with those who have given their lives to defend liberty & freedom. Today, along with the 4th of July (our Independence Day), are very significant holidays for our country & it is very fitting & appropriate to honor people who serve. Whatever your political affiliations or beliefs may be, if we are devoted to Jesus’ teachings than we share a fundamental value that serving others is important. So happy Memorial Day & lets endeavor to remember to serve others 🙂
I often find myself in the predicament of needing more time & less work. Deadlines, responsibilities, demands, schedules, timelines and the like seem to eat into the 24 hours in each day with nibbles, bites and giant chomps. I used to think that God messed up with the 24 hour thing until I read in Genesis 1:31 about how God said that everything He made (including time) was very good. So here are some helpful thoughts about time being very good:
time is our daily reminder that while we are limited & finite, God is not & God knows the beginning from the end
time helps us to get things done – sometimes pressure is good
there are many people in the Bible who only grew into their destiny because time was an essential ingredient: Joseph, Moses, David, Jacob, Hannah & lots more 🙂
time is an integral part of what God established with the whole Sabbath rest principle
I recently returned from a “quick” trip to Ethiopia, a country that I love for her magnificent people, fabulous coffee & opulent culture! When I do alot of traveling in a short amount of time, I can often feel rather fragile & sometimes overwhelmed. This trip, however, has been an interesting experience. In the past, I’ve taken some time & space to kind of work through the fragile feeling that I experience from the traveling. This trip is different. Upon returning home, I’ve been confronted with MASSIVE amounts of work, pressure and demands – add on the jet lag & it could easily be a recipe for catastrophe, without a blink.
I’ve been praying A WHOLE LOT & I find that God is helping me to be more agile than fragile. Let’s never neglect to ask God for Help, who is the Holy Spirit 🙂
Greetings & happy mid-week to you! I’m working on a message about family & really want your input. Please answer this question (I’m not “grading” any answers & I’m not looking to judge or critique your feedback – I just want your wisdom, thoughts & insights):
I was recently in Ethiopia & on a drive into the countryside, we took a pause to get out & stretch our legs. As I was enjoying the nice weather, beautiful surroundings, listening to new bird sounds and taking in some nice fresh air, I quickly became alert that I needed to watch where I was stepping because of some conveniently deposited refuse from nearby wildlife (translation: cow pies). Nimble is a word that comes to mind as I write this 🙂
Sometimes we can get really focused in on our daily living and endeavoring the various “cow pies” that can unexpectedly jump onto our path. Of course we must be careful where & how we walk (making wise & spiritual choices), but let’s also lift up our eyes & look up. It’s really tempting to go through life looking for ways to avoid cow pies, but that’s never as rewarding as going through life with our eyes on Jesus, our Good Shepherd 🙂
Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a church service in Ethiopia & I had an incredible experience during part of their worship – off the chain! Ok, here’s the deal: I LOVE praise & worship and I’ve been extremely blessed to join in fantastic worship services literally around the world for more than 3decades & what I experienced yesterday was nothing less than OUTRAGEOUS.
There was a really large group that had traditional instruments & dressed in the traditional orthodox attire, starting off with what seemed like a nice cultural presentation & just when I was settling in to enjoy some nice historical Ethiopian tradition, I lost the plot because I could sense the Holy Spirit in such intensity that I still can’t find adequate words, almost 24 hours later.
Yesterday’s experience was completely inundated with God’s presence & it had nothing about it that is modernly familiar or “normal”: no guitars, keyboards or synthesizers. There was 1 ancient calfskin drum played by a girl, no microphones or anyone addressing the audience. Instead, there were probably 50 or so men & women completely & passionately focused on giving praise to God, the Community of love. They sang & danced with 100% commitment no matter what the people watching were doing. As a result, I found myself totally dialed into focusing on God, joining with them to exalt & honor God.
Let me just say that there are many ways & expressions to worshipping God. Don’t fall into the trap that you need lights, cool music, trendy dressed leaders, mixes that appeal to your music preferences, perfectly regulated temperatures & a comfortable seat / environment to exalt our Creator. While these things can be very nice, let’s keep our focus, passion & intent purely devoted to lifting up the Lover of our soul. Clean, pure, intense & totally devoted worship, full stop