What Are You Saying?

Yesterday, I listened to one of my kids rant about their school, the wicked teachers, awful students & deplorable work. I don’t mind listening and sometimes I’m good at listening, which is good because my kid needed a listening ear. After about 30-45min of this content, I felt it was time for some objectivity so we had an interesting chat. I applauded their willingness to acknowledge a few of their shortfalls, but I also pointed out that from this child’s perspective, the lion’s share of the problems belonged to everyone else. This kind of thinking was allowing my kid to frame themselves as the victim & that’s no bueno. Being a victim often leaves us powerless & inert, wallowing in self pity. Seems to me that this kind of thinking runs contrary to how God has designed us, back in the Garden of Eden with power & dominion. 

At the minimum, we have authority & power over our attitude & the choices we make about our perspective. Let’s be careful about how we think because our thoughts affect our words, attitudes & actions!

Always Practicing

It seems to me that life is more about practice than perfect. When I keep this in my thinking, I don’t get so easily discouraged. Indeed, it seems to me that the journey to success are various sizes of incremental improvements. Some increments are big & some improvements seem infinitesimal. Furthermore, I often learn more from my failures than success, particularly when I think of failing as a verb & not just a noun. 

So things that I continue to practice on include:

  • Encouraging words
  • Listening to understand more than reply or argue
  • Trusting God
  • Paying attention to the Holy Spirit

What More?

I’m currently sitting in the Angola consulate to finish my visa application & this is always a jittery experience. It’s stressful in lots of ways because it’s a really complicated process & even when I’ve done everything right, there has been an occasion when my application was denied. 
So I can get stressed out as I wait or I can chose to trust God. These words, “trust God” are easier said than done. But when there’s nothing more that I can do, then I need to actively chose, even moment by moment, to trust God. 

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to coach our mental game & help us get better at trusting God 🙂

Let’s Practice

“That was practice,” I said with a smile to the Post Office guy when I swiped my credit card too soon. I was shipping a book to someone & was in hurry because of all the things I needed to accomplish that day. The Post Office guy chuckled & I was glad he saw the humor in my weak explanation for being impatient. 
There are lots of things I’m not good at such as being patient, planning, follow through and loads of other stuff. 

I’m not ok with just accepting these shortfalls, nor can I afford to dismiss them as irrelevant. The other way I try to let myself off the hook sometimes is by rationalizing that these weaknesses are too big for me to overcome. 

Maybe you have some weaknesses that might seem insurmountable to you as well. Here are two things for your encouragement:  

  1. Think in terms of practice – the way we get better, even in small ways, is by practice, a process of continual improvement. 
  2. With the Holy Spirit living in us, nothing is impossible!

Let’s keep focused on the Helper & keep practicing!

Grace to Grow

I just had the privilege to catch up w an old friend & it was delightful to chat over coffee & remember some fun times together. It was also interesting to see how each of us has changed, grown and matured.
In all of or relationships, there are things that can bug us about the other person & clearly we have plenty of our own weakspots that can be very bothersome.
Let’s give each other grace to grow & then enjoy the journey. Only Jesus is the completed human masterpiece. The rest of us are works in progress 🙂

meeting expectations

There are alot of things in our lives that have expectations:  job descriptions, social behaviors, standardized tests, . . . . We put alot of expectations on ourselves about how a person should act, look, dress, speak, etc and I think that sometimes, Christianity or religion can be a really tricky “filter”.    Looking like a Christian, talking like a Christian, dressing like a Christian doesn’t make a person a follower of Jesus.  We can match up to all of the external expectations but in our hearts, we can be a million miles away from the reason Jesus died for us.  The reason Jesus died for us was not merely to make our external image appealing, but moreseo to transform what’s on the inside of us.  The defining distinctive Jesus identifies as being His follower is our love for each other (John 13:35).  Loving well is very important 🙂

so much FUN!!!!

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Please note that we have a really limited suppy, so first come, first serve 🙂

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savingmoses.org

I don’t get it

Sometimes I think that we mistakenly wait to do something until we understand it better.  There can be good wisdom with understanding stuff, but  if we aren’t careful, our efforts to understand can undermine our obedience to God.  For example, in Genesis 12 God told Abram to go to a land that God would show him & Abram set out.  I’m not entirely sure that Abram knew the destination that God had in mind, but he was obedient to get moving, nonetheless.  We don’t always have to understand to obey 🙂

some help with opposition

I’m currently reading the book of Nehemiah & I was encouraged this morning when I read about Nehemiah’s reaction to his enemies (Sanballat & Tobia) when they severaly opposed Nehemiah & the Jews.  Instead of quitting, Nehemiah split up the people & let half of them keeping working to repair the wall & posted the other half to protect those who were working on the wall.  By splitting up his work force into 2 groups, he probably lengthened the time it took to finish the project, but my point is that he didn’t quit.  They kept working, even though their progress slowed down, but they didn’t quit.

Slow progress is better than no progress 😀

hot topic: ebola

Puking blood, bleeding through the eyes, ears and other areas, coughing, fever, headache and some delirium – these are all symptoms of a person who could have the ebola virus.  As I’ve read up on the current outbreak, here are a few important things to note:

  • there’s no known medical cure nor vaccination
  • the current strain is killing between 50-60% of those who catch it
  • it’s spread through bodily fluid (blood, saliva, etc)
  • the World Health Organization thinks that this outbreak could kill 20,000 people before they can get it under control
  • it’s presently in these African nations:  Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria & Congo (DRC)
  • two US healthcare providers with the ebola virus were medically evacuated from Africa & have recovered & been released
  • this outbreak probably started with the orginal victim in December 2013 – a two year old in Guinea  #SavingMoses

Please be praying for Africa with this outbreak.  While I know that there are many deadly diseases that are dramtically more common than ebola, let’s pray nevertheless for protection for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines fighting this awful virus and let’s pray that the leadership for each country will have wisdom in how they communicate and the decisions that they make for their citizens.