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 😀

chasing

I’ve been thinking lately about some things that I want – not cars, clothes or temporary stuff.  Sometimes I think we can get trapped in our desires for popularity, wealth & achievements.  If we aren’t careful, we can easily make this mistake:

  • popularity = importance
  • wealth = value
  • achievements = significance

Unfortunately, I think it’s easy to get focused on the wrong goals (popularity, wealth & achievements) and never really understand that we are already important, valuable & significant because of Jesus’ love for us.

You are valuable.  You are important.  You are significant.  All because Jesus loves you, full stop.

I’m hungry

The guy at Starbucks just did a good job encouraging me to buy some food to go w my coffee, telling me that the latest research proves that we need to eat 5 small meals a day for optimum health – of course my mind immediately goes to Angola with saving Moses and the hunger that I often see there.
But I think that all of us are fundamentally hungry for God. I think if we strip away all of our achievements, relationships, wealth, looks, etc, when we are just ourselves, we are designed to crave our Creator. Yes, I’m hungry but I understand that the hunger of my heart isn’t to look better, to increase my popularity, nor expand my wealth of achievements. At ground zero, we are all hungry for God & His presence in our lives. Recognizing this hunger will increase our potential to live a very fulfilling life 🙂

the path of progress

As we finish up 2011, many of us will take a few minutes to reflect on the events of this year & possibly consider some plans / thoughts for 2012.  Sometimes its easy to get stuck on the past, but something that helps me to keep moving forward is to be thankful – thankful for the events that have helped me grow, thankful for the relationships that have encouraged me to love more genuinely, thankful for the achievements that couldn’t have happened without God’s help & more! 

Another thing that helps me to grow is to not always think of the massive projects that I want to accomplish, but to rather think of things in smaller sizes.  I most certainly have REALLY BIG DREAMS in my heart & if I’m not careful, the size of these dreams can be overwhelming.  But when I consider these dreams on a day-by-day basis, making little steps toward these dreams on a daily basis, they’re not so overpowering.  Indeed, perhaps the journey is equally as important to God as the destination.  Happy New Year!!

whooops!

I’ve never been too afraid of adventures – my normal way of living goes as follows:  if i’ve never done something before, let’s give it a try & see what happens!  Because of this strategy, i’ve tried my hand at making bread, generally learned to bake a chix (yes, I’ve made progress from my last blog),  paragliding in China, picked up snowboarding in my late 30s, learned some basic NT Greek, honed my crossing guard skills, spoken in more than 30 different countries & I even enjoy eating durian (google for more info), among many other things. 

Some of these things may sound pretty cool to you, but let me tell you the mistakes that went with these adventures:

  • burned countless bread attempts
  • more than 10 yrs of baked chix attempts,
  • dislocated my shoulder while paragliding,
  • got a concussion through my helmet while learning to snowboard
  • Greek – lets just say i’m still learning
  • i didn’t tell you about the parents who have almost hit me while doing traffic, despite wearing my bright orange safety vest  😉
  • learning to speak w a translator has had more than a few comical & embarassing moments
  • durian – that’s altogether its own topic

Here’s my point:  take some risks, make mistakes, learn & grow.  Life can be full of “whoops”, but they usually precede some really cool things if you just stick w it!!! 

skiing_benji_bell