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 🙂