You & I have lots of responsibilities & things we have to do. Every day we have the “must do” stuff & even the daily mundane. Sometimes my days don’t seem very divine & yet when I’m attentive, I can see & sense God’s presence. When I ask God to help me in my daily living, I begin to be more aware of God & I see God doing stuff & catch glimmers of God’s influence.
Daily + Divine = Incarnation 🙂
As I write, my kids are doing an amazing job of cleaning the house. We divided up the responsibilities onto various checklists (laundry checklist, kitchen checklist, living / family room checklist, etc) & consequently, no one is thoroughly overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done. Furthermore, each of my kids brings their unique personalities to their jobs so it’s fun to watch them jump in & invest some “sweat equity” to our quality of living 🙂
It’s my responsibility to oversee & quality check against the checklists they’re using to ensure that everything is done well & thoroughly. In some ways, this all reminds me of how God puts us together to bring the Kingdom of God into our daily reality. Some essentail ingredients include:
teamwork: the lone ranger paradigm doesn’t generally fit into kingdom thinking
focus: when my kids are distracted, they’re less effective & everthing takes longer; staying focused on God helps us to be more productive
oversight & integration: God never leaves us to our own devices & efforts to see God’s kingdom realized
mutually beneficial: a clean kitchen, clothes, bathroom and living areas are in everyone’s best interest & God’s kingdom is no different 🙂
It seems to me that most of us like things clean & shiny more than we like the work & effort that goes into making something shiny & clean. Yesterday, my kids & I cleaned out some of our garage. Needless to say, I found lots of undesirable junk (half eaten otter pops, sticks that were used as swords, an ancient waffle iron, wood planks, etc). After lots of sweeping, washing, moving, organizing, etc, part of our garage is not longer a hazardous waste dump 🙂
Sometimes, I think we need to do the deep cleaning work in our thinking, values, time usage & relationships. Life gets filled with clutter over the course of time & it’s tremendously helpful to declutter our lives from time to time so that we manage our time, money & energies to reinforce our central & timeless priorities – shiny clean 🙂
“I’m resigning.” I had someone tell me this last year and it was a really big deal to me because this person was doing lots of great stuff for Saving Moses. When this person quit, I became really discouraged. It was difficult because I already had a pretty hefty workload & now with this person resigning, I didn’t have anyone available to step into this position. How would I get all of this work done? I found myself kind of flailing and floundering, but over the course of a few weeks it became evident that I’d have to just be patient, pray & trust God to fill in this massively important gap. And in the meantime, I gave myself to do the best I could with this gap.
Sometimes, I can get myself really wound up & uptight. But over the course of the last year, God has been teaching me many things, including the valuable lesson of trusting God and not leaning on my own efforts. Keep going my friend, one day at a time and even one step at a time 🙂
Feel free to share this with your friends & family who might be discouraged 🙂
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
Just when we think we have everything planned & locked into place, God will often shake it up baby, causing us to twist & shout, sometimes in glee & sometimes with pout. It seems to me that human planning is the place God starts for divine upheaval. This makes me really appreciate when Isaiah says in 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
Let’s be mindful to keep a tighter grip on God more than our plans 🙂
When I was in high school, I had a photography class where we learned how to process film, back in the “dark ages.” I learned about chemicals, processing time, dark rooms, film, etc. It was a really cool experience to shoot a picture & then go through the process to make a print that I could show everyone – particularly if the picture was really cool. The outcome had the potential to far outweigh the process.
The same is true for us with patience, faithfulness, trusting God, maturity, faith, genuine love & all things that pertain the God. The process can get a little harrowing & tricky, but the outcomes are completely divine 🙂
We’ve all heard the geometry postulate that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. With this premise, it’s logical to think about the things that we want & make a direct beeline toward these desires. For example, if I want to serve a salad for dinner, I need lettuce, so I go to the grocery store to get the lettuce so I can make the salad. Done.
It seems to me that having a close walk with God is an interesting adventure that doesn’t always seem to follow the same “straight line” thinking. It seems to me that being close to God is a daily journey that takes some unexpected twists and turns. Growing close to God isn’t always a straight line journey – so let’s be open to how God leads us to be closer & closer to God day by day.
We’ve all had experiences where we have disappointed someone’s expectations & let someone down. Sometimes we may feel this way about God – that God isn’t measuring up to what we expected or desire. But I’ve been reading about Martha, Mary & Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 & there have been some really helpful things I’ve noticed. If you get a chance, please read this chapter & in the meantime, here are a few things to consider:
*Martha & Mary wanted healing but Jesus was into resurrection. Perhaps we should consider that God has something way more than what we are desiring
*gap management – there was a fair amount of time between Lazarus being sick & Jesus raising him from the dead. In this gap, the relationship Martha & Mary had with Jesus took some very significant quantum leaps!
* Martha & Mary came out of this experience with more faith in Jesus & Jesus came out of this with more glory; may our lives grow & faith & giving glory to Jesus!
*perhaps God would like to exchange some of our murky human thinking for glorious divine illumination 🙂
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.