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 🙂

how do you feel?

I’ve been thinking about this question because it’s another nice way to ask someone how they’re doing – how ya feelin?  But here’s an interesting tweak on this question.  Consider the idea that we could ask ourselves how do we feel in the sense of being sensitive, aware and attentive to what’s happening around us.  Sometimes I can be downright insensitive, uncaring & inattentive not only to what’s happening around me but also to what the Holy Spirit may be trying to communicate with me.  When I get in this mode, it’s easy to grieve the Holy Spirit by being insensitive.  Consequently, it’s a good question to ask ourselves, “How ya feelin?”

Something to consider for your happy Monday 🙂

agile or fragile

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.

BUT

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 🙂

jetlag

Oh the glories of waking up at midnight with complete alertness!  I’m currently in Ethiopia & it seems like this is a great opportunity for me to catch up with blogging, since my schedule presently is “unbooked” ,)  My internal clock says it’s around 4pm but the external clock here says its about 1am, or something like that.

With that being said, this trip to Ethiopia has really big personal significance for me.  It was here in Ethiopia about 5 years ago that God began to stir in my heart Saving Moses, having met twin newborn girls that had been abandoned on a field.  It has also been my experience that getting to minister in Ethiopia is an extremely unique privilege for me.  There’s something here that is deeply spiritual & personal for me so that whenever I get to visit here, I always seem to come away with greater awareness of God & God’s presence in my life.  So far, this trip has been very engaging & deepening for me with God.

I’ll try to keep you posted on what’s happening here, as the time & sleep allows, but in the meantime, as you read this, I pray that you will sense God’s deep and full love for you! 🙂

cheering!!!!

With some maternal encouragement (always the sports enthusiast that I am), my daughter decided to play soccer this Spring for the 1st time & she has really come to enjoy the experience.  While her first game was absolutely traumatic, it’s been an awesome learning curve for both of us.  Possibly her greatest take-away so far (we might be in the playoffs), is to not quit.  There’s lots to say about that, but that’s her story 🙂

For me, probably the greatest take-away is to stay positive.  My sideline role is to cheer, be encouraging, stay positive & upbeat, even when it seems discouraging.  Another take-away that I TOTALLY love is that while I’m limited to a sideline role of cheering, the Holy Spirit in our lives doesn’t have to stay on the sidelines, but can have an active & integrated role in helping us with our daily living.  Of course the Holy Spirit cheers for us, but let’s know that there’s lots more that the Holy Spirit can do in our lives, particularly when we let down our preconceptions, guards and boundaries 🙂

hot topic: sherpa people

sherpa-everest-trek-nepal

Sherpas are an ethnic people group in Nepal who are often hired by mountaineers to help with the ascent of various mountains including Mount Everest.  At the end of last week, there was a terrible avalanche in Nepal at the base of Mt Everest & 16 sherpas were killed.  Sherpas are amazing people & are often the unsung heroes of the Himalays (to quote a famous sherpa).  Sherpas do lots of work & help people achieve really amazing & super-human feats.  They’ve been doing this for many decades but are often overlooked or even unheard of.

In some ways, the sherpas kind of remind me of the Holy Spirit, our Helper Whom Jesus said would never leave us & Who helps us, even when we don’t know it.  Perhaps it might be a good idea to take a minute now to thank the Helper for being our constant guide & help in the journey of our life.  Maybe the Holy Spirit is kind of like our supernatural sherpa  ,)

volatile

Ok friends, I’m writing this blog knowing that I’m stepping into some very serious controversy.  In the past several weeks there have been lots of feedback on John MacArthur’s book, “Strange Fire”, a book that takes a critical position of the Charismatic movement in today’s world.  There are more than enough brilliant people taking sides on Mr MacArthur’s position – in both opposition and support.  Whatever your thoughts or opinions are about Charistmatics or Mr MacArthur’s beliefs, let’s keep in mind what Paul says about the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.  Such works include not only immorality and idolatry, but the works of the flesh also include:  enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions and factions.  Let’s remember that Jesus prayed that we, His followers, would be one like He is one with the Father, John 17:21-22.

No matter if you agree or disagree with Mr MacArthur, if we are followers of Jesus, then we don’t need to be disagreeable with a fellow follower of Jesus – smile 🙂

something to cheer for

Now that the Superbowl is over, we get to look forward to March Madness and the NCAA tournament, with MLB right on the heels of March Madness.  For me, I totally love March Madness – I even got engaged during half time of one of the games during the tournie.  So when this time of year rolls around, I get a little excited.

What is getting me more excited, lately, is something that I’m feeling in my heart with God.  To me, it feels like God is working on something behind the scenes and is displaying smatterings of His glory in various locations and at various times.  While I can get semi-excited about sports, I get CRAZY EXCITED about God and what He’s doing in our world!!  If you watch and listen for God, I think that you can find Him moving all around us & even in our lives!! 😀

i love summer fruit :)

 I totally love the fruits that we get during the Summer – I love peaches, strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, apricots, figs, blueberries, . . . . I LOVE these fruits!!  I love to use them in pies, tortes, grilled, fresh, with cream, . . . . .  There have even been a few occasions when I’ve eaten so many of these that I’ve gotten sick :/  Nevertheless, Summer fruits are delicious!!  These are season fruits that can be harvested in the Summer.  So I try to eat as many of them as I can while they’re available.

But I also think about these fruits in relation to the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Paul discusses in Galatians 5 – fruits like patience, love, peace, self-control, joy, gentleness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness.  I LOVE it when I have these fruits in my life – seems like life is more enjoyable & effective.  But here’s my challenge, I’ve tried to make myself be patient & boy was that a disaster!  I’ve tried to be more loving, only to find myself venting on someone who was undeserving of such wrath.  I’ve tried to be gentle, only to find myself bumbling through emotional land mines.  I’ve come to this conclusion – these things are the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of Sarah.  With this flash of brilliance, my main objective now, is to live increasingly sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  You see, the more I’m around the Holy Spirit, the more these consequences / fruits become observable in my life and the Fruit of the Spirit far surpasses any peach, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, blueberry, apricot or fig ,)