I recently received some copies of Stormie Omartians new book, “Choose Love” and I’ve been keen to give it a read since Stormie has been such an iconic writer with her books on the power of prayer. Furthermore, on a very personal level, God has really been dealing in my heart about genuine love for more than a year so the topic seemed to be right in the groove of some work that God’s been doing in me.
In “Choose Love”, I like that Stormie breaks down her book into three main ideas and then does some interesting exploring in each of these three main ideas. I also appreciate that she endeavors to ground the reader in God’s love for them in various ways throughout the book. She provides some very helpful insights about God’s love through many personal examples and of course I’m super happy to see that she has included Bible verses throughout the book! The book is very polished and I’m sure will help many people connect with God’s love in a deeper way.
Yesterday, my daughter & I had an interesting conversation while driving for groceries. She let me know that girls are more emotional than boys. While she’s telling me this, my two sons are in the back seat hitting, poking, pinching and generally harassing each other. In the conversation with my daughter, I explained that girls aren’t necessarily more emotional than boys, but their emotional expressions are often different than boys – not bad or good, just different. And that’s the rub: when someone is different than ourselves, let’s be careful not to throw them in the “weirdo” category and outrightly dismiss them. God has taught me a lot through all kinds of people, most of whom are very different than myself.
If someone is “different” from you, here are a few helpful ideas:
respect – be respectful even if you disagree & remember that treating someone with respect & dignity is based on your decisions more than their behaviors 🙂
listen – I like what Stephen Covey said: seek first to understand & then to be understood
enjoy – differences are perhaps the greatest evidence of how creative God is & perhaps part of how God continues to capture our curiosity 🙂
“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 🙂
Today, we walked through a few red light districts in India, doing some research for our nightcare program with Saving Moses. We’re coming to the end of our day & I find myself having some very mixed emotions. The women in these red light districts ranged in age from very young to very old, some with a seemingly sweet innocence & some very hardened, detached & icy cold. We happened upon a preschool community centre that looks after toddlers & preschoolers for a few hours a day – sweet, rambunctious & vivacious kids.
Exploring these red light areas is a very eye opening experience & I find myself needing to process some of the days sights, experiences & feelings. More to follow
In the last several days, there’s been a massive uproar about the recent racial slurs from the owner of the NBA Clippers, Donald Sterling . There is national outrage at Mr Sterling’s comments & he has been banned for life from the NBA. What Mr Sterling said was totally unacceptable, despite his comments being made in a private setting.
The idea of a private setting is very relevant for those of us who follow Jesus, based on what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Our external actions and words reflect what’s happening in our thoughts & heart. What we allow our mind to think about & our emotions to dwell on is very important – these are the parts that Jesus totally attacked the religious leaders of His day. What Mr Sterling said was totally wrong, but let’s be careful about the thoughts & emotions that we allow in our daily living. Let’s keep our hearts full of Jesus’ love so there’s no place for unforgiveness, bigotry, apathy nor passive hatred. As a follower of Jesus, our defining characteristic from John 13:35 is our love for one another, so please don’t forget to pray for Mr Sterling 🙂
Palm Sunday is possibly my favorite Sunday on the calendar. It’s the day when we celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week. It’s the day when Jerusalem turned out to hail with great exuberance Jesus’ arrival. Everyone was shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” (rejoice, hail to the Savior, celebrate, honor & revere), throwing down coats. cloaks and palm leaves on the road Jesus was traveling. Boatloads of celebration, excitement, anticipation and eager jubilation were the order of the day when Jesus came into Jerusalem. These are some possibilities that were going on that day:
some people thought Jesus would set the Jews free from Roman oppression
some people thought Jesus would upend the religious leaders who preyed on their already overcome countrymen
some people thought that Jesus would do His cool miracle stuff with free food, healings and cool special effects
It seems to me that everyone on Palm Sunday isn’t that much different than many of us today who expect Jesus to conform to our narrow needs & viewpoints. Nevertheless, Jesus knew that despite this great outpouring of celebration & honor that human depravity would murder Him with barbaric savagery in a few short days.
Palm Sunday is when we see the greatest contrast between our ever faithful Jesus & the ever fickle humanity. Hosanna in the highest, our God is consistent, loving and ever faithful!!
Lately, the US has several movies with religious overtones, like “God’s Not Dead”, “Noah”, “Son of God” & a few more. For those of us who follow Jesus, we get really excited for the general public to see some of things from the Bible with God participating in the human experience. For people who are not followers of Jesus, they can sometimes feel like Jesus’ followers can get dogmatic & judgmental. I find all of these ideas & paradigms interesting in light of what Jesus said about His followers in John 13:35 – people will know that you follow Me because of your love for one another. Seems to me that the defining characteristic of Jesus’ followers from Jesus’ teaching is love 🙂
I do like walking through garbage dumps in Cambodia to find helpless babies, but I don’t like figuring out stuff about makeup (mascara, blush, etc)
I do like studying biblical Greek and Hebrew but I don’t like office administrative work
I do like dreaming about helping babies in Somalia and the DRC with Saving Moses, but I don’t like the stupid hoops we have to jump through to get visas to help these babies
I do like giving the babies of prostitues a safe, clean and loving place to sleep (nightcare) while their moms work but I don’t like getting criticized for empowering prostitution
If you’re like me, our lives are mixed up with lots of things we enjoy and lots of things, not so much. I find that if I embrace the things I don’t like as much (makeup, administrative work, visa applications, criticism), I will often get to see and experience things about God that I never knew. Don’t miss the chance to know God better by rejecting things that might be inconvenient or uncomfortable 🙂
Jesus had some interesting ideas about popularity & fame – He was, of course, quite famous when He walked on the earth for lots of different reasons:
healing sick people,
making religious leaders foam at the mouth with anger,
saying things that caused people to pause & think,
raising dead people to life,
giving thousands of people free lunch
Jesus was famous for lots of reasons but His popularity was a different story. Jesus knew that His popularity with the crowds was at best fickle & fleeting. When I watch how Jesus behaved & what He talked about when He lived among us, it’s very clear to me that He lived His life on earth to be “popular” solely with His heavenly Father. He lived to make His heavenly Father known & attractive. For our lives today, let’s understand that we are always “popular” with our heavenly Father 🙂
I just returned last night from Cambodia, celebrating the grand opening of our second nightcare – so much goodness! Nightcare is our initiative with www.savingmoses.org
where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. Without nightcare, these babies & toddlers are at work with their moms – every horror you can imagine & more. The hopeless part is that I can get overwhelmed by the needs, atrocities & unimaginable devastation occurring every night in these neighborhoods without nightcare.
Hopeless happens in our lives when we stop moving forward, when we fixate on what is dark & evil. Hope is taking a step, doing something positive & loving genuinely. Love rescues us from being hopeless. Genuine love gives the escape