These are a few of my favorite things: peaches, pho, fresh coffee, clean sheets, snuggling with my kids, a good read, a heartfelt conversation, prayer, . . . . . And one generality that holds true for all of these things is “staying fresh”. For example, I recently bought like two boxes of peaches because I know that we are coming to the end of peach season & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE peaches. But the problem is that these peaches are getting “tired” – not as good as when they’re at the peak of freshness & season. Pho is another example of keeping stuff fresh – whenever I bring home leftover pho & it sits in the refrigerator, it gets gross.
I think this is also true in our relationship with Jesus. A stale, old and tired walk with Jesus can get pretty ugly. So here are a few ideas that could be helpful in keeping fresh with Jesus:
Bible reading: change your translation from time to time
spiritual conversations: talk with a friend about Jesus and what you like about Him
take a bath: sometimes we need to wash off some dirt & road wear;
fasting / prayer: periodically, it helps me to do something extra (fast a meal or a few days, take a lunch to pray, look for someone for whom to pray
time: it always takes my breath away when I consider that God considers my presence to be a present ,)
I’ve been reading recently about how many Christians have been under very severe persecution in Iraq from the ISIS (or IS) expansion & attacks. According to the news, Christians in certain areas of Iraq are being given the choice to leave their homes, convert to Islam or die. I find this to be very troubling for Iraq given it’s long & strong history of Christian & Jewish presence in this area. From a broader perspective, Christianity has always faced varying degrees of persecution throughout the world at various times. For example, currently North Korea, is a very dangerous place for a Christian to try & survive without denying their faith. For that matter, it seems like sometimes Christians are the best at eating their own – being judgmental, exclusive, elitist and capricious, but that’s for a different blog ,)
Here are a few things to consider:
pray for our brothers and sisters – Paul talks about bearing each others burdens in Gal 6:2; As the body of Christ, let’s be very prayerful for our fellow members who are in such difficult situations
persecution grows the church – hardship forces us to clarify our priorities & the right choices help our roots to go deep; deep roots create great strength & healthy fruit
Gal 5:15 talks about being careful not to bite & devour each other – there’s enough external persecution that we don’t need to tear each other down; let’s build up more than we cut down 🙂
“Chill out!” It seemed to me during my prayer time this morn that this was what God was saying to me. Probably both of us (you & me) have plenary of activities, demands, responsibilities & stuff going on & I can easily get pretty tense with everything. Sometimes my prayer times can be jam packed with lots of requests, venting & pressures. Today, I feel like God is challenging me to chill out & enjoy God’s company & put the stresses, pressures, demands, responsibilities, etc on pause & take a deep breath.
Let’s remember that God is in control, has a plan & loves us more than anyone else. May today’s blog be your weekend “chill pill” ,)
Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who’s stressed 🙂
This weekend in America, we celebrate Father’s Day. It’s a day when we honor our fathers & express our appreciation for their sacrifices & input in our lives. Not everyone, however, grew up with warm fuzzies for their dads & there are many people who don’t like their dads & many who don’t even know who their dads are or were. So sometimes, we’re conflicted with the premise of honoring our dads & acknowleding the reality of who they are or are not. Holidays like Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc when we’re around our family, can be a little tricky. So perhaps these ideas can be helpful:
honoring our parents is important based on the Ten Commandments; even if you have parents who are dishonorable, choosing to honor them is the high road & ultimately a more healthy decision than dishonor (an internal decision versus an external achievement)
all humans are flawed, full stop
remember that ultimately God is your Heavenly Father & that you’re fearfully & wonderfully made in the image of your Heavenly Father
Help: holidays that have tricky family navigation challenges for us will often cause us to pray and ask God for help – which is always good; doing life without God’s Help isn’t good 🙂
I was just looking up the news & saw that there’s been a school shooting at Reynolds High School in Oregon. The situation at the high school has been stablized but not without bloodshed. Understandably, the parents, students & community is shook up and probably in a state of shock. Because I live in Denver, CO the city where the Columbine HS shooting happened, along with the shooting last fall at Arapahoe HS, my heart & prayers go out to the people at Reynolds HS, just outside of Portland, OR. I understand what it feels like to live in a city that has had its fair share of school shootings and because of this, I want to encourage you to pray for the students, parents, teachers and administration. The journey in front of this community is challenging and Jesus gives us the best hope in these kinds of situations and many more. Let’s be praying for Reynolds HS!!
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.
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 🙂
I really like basketball & the recent racial disgrace with the NBA Clippers & Mr Sterling has been disturbing. Adding more fuel, there’s been some public comments about Magic Johnson & then Magic replying about these comments. The nature of the banter gives us a place to look into ourselves & consider our own actions & words.
Some things to consider:
*If someone verbally attacks you, do you attack back? Magic Johnson replied that he would pray for Mr Sterling after Mr Sterling made some questionable comments.
*If we expect perfection from public figures, we are indeed naive & perhaps our focus is misplaced
*Whats the high ground? It seems to me that all high ground almost universally includes forgiveness.
*If you’re looking for someone after whom to model your behavior & to idolize, pick Jesus 🙂
Last month, my son randomly got a metal splinter in his finger & we’ve had some difficulties trying to get it out. After he tried & I tried, we prayed & gave the dr a chance & the only result was that his finger became infected 😦
During our 2nd visit to the dr, she did an xray & we discovered that he still had some of the splinter in his finger. After lots of medical advice, we decided that we had to get rid of the infection as our first priority.
Long story short, my son got the splinter out last night & here’s the picture we took of it!! Prayer works!!
I posted a pic of my arm yesterday on FB with the request for prayer so I thought I’d make a quick followup explanation of the ugliness: I have really fair skin & recently found something that looked irregular. I popped into the dr’s office & he cut it out for a biopsy & concluded that it was basal cell something or another (the “good” kind of skin cancer). I returned a 2nd time to the dr because they didn’t get it all out the 1st time so the picture yesterday was the latest round of excitement & this time it hurts, so that’s why I’m asking for prayer. I totally get that on the grand scheme of things, this is way on the whimpy side (having held dying babies with Saving Moses & seeing toddlers playing in the same room where their prostitute mom works at the same time) – this is a blip in comparison to many atrocious things in our world, including gov’t shut downs. But let’s also remember that Jesus said that our Father knows when we lose a hair on our head so our Father is very engaged with our daily living in a very personal way, even with frustrations that can be a small as skin difficulties, so let’s continue to pray for & encourage each other 🙂
I’m learning that prayer is a bit of a learning adventure. Some things that I used to think about prayer (viable components, to be sure)
prayer is about asking God for stuff
prayer was about dumping all my problems on God
prayer is about making me feel better
There have been times that I’ve been disappointed with prayer because I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t get an answer, or I didn’t hear something – I even felt like my prayer time was “flat”. But here are some cool things that I’m learning:
prayer can simply be the space & time of our presence that we give to God – keeping company with God
sometimes the closest relationships require the smallest communications
prayer can be the simple act of “letting my hair down” – being vulnerable & available to God
as I grow in prayer, I’m learning that prayer opens the door for me to cooperate with God more fully & wholly with fewer boundaries & “compartments” (giving God more access & fewer limits in my life)