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 ,)
Today, my husband and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage and I’m happy to say that our marriage has far exceeded my expectations and hopes. My husband is an absolutely amazing man and I love how God uses our marriage to bless others & also to help me grow. In the last 21 years, here are just a few things I’ve learned:
marriage isn’t a 50/50 bargain – it’s all in, with both feet 🙂
conflicts are opportunities to know each other better and to improve our communication
respect is an essential requirement a wife must be committed to give – disrespect undermines a healthy marriage
learn to complement rather than compete
make time for your marriage, particularly when you have children
be friends and pray together
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful man, Reece Bowling!!
Happy Monday to you! So you don’t think I’ve taken up cussing as my side hobby, a boomslang is a poisonous snake in Africa. When it bites it’s victim, it’s venom is highly toxic and disables any blood clotting. As a result, if a boomslang bites you, unless you receive a healthy dose of anti venom, you’ll die from bleeding out within probably 24-48 hours – gory & gruesome!
In my thinking, the devil is alot like a boomslang – slithery, slippery, sneaky & cunning. I think that one of the primary “bites” the devil uses to poison us isn’t like the overt attack of a lion or a bear making an outright offensive leap. Instead, I think the devil more often attempts to use a boomslang poison on us, someone offending us.
People can say / do things that can be very offensive (both intentionally & unintentionally). What people say & do to us isn’t nearly as important as our reaction. Ingesting unforgiveness is like letting the boomslang venom pump through our veins without any anti-venom. Eventually, we bleedout & our relationships fall apart. Forgivness is the anti-venom that we need to readily & generously apply. Don’t let the venom of unforgiveness settle into your heart!
When I think about forgiveness, you don’t have to convince me that I need to forgive – I’m already on board with that. The tricky part for me is the actual forgiving. Here are some tips that might help you:
forgiveness isn’t a feeling. Consider the Corrie Ten Boom quote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
forgiveness in the greek means “to let go or release”: when we forgive, we release the hurt, bitterness, judgment & pain
proficient forgiveness requires practice
forgiveness must be kept fresh – stale forgiveness can grow putrid in our emotions and thoughts
Here’s a cool & short video that could be helpful: forgiveness
I’m a sucker for compliments and maybe you are as well. I like to be told that I preached a powerful message, that I’m a great mom, I’m an excellent wife and I could keep going with a really long list. Compliments are frequently really helpful, unless you get them from someone who you know isn’t a friend. Compliments from people who are not your friends can be poisonous because the compliments are often insincere. If you think about it, people who don’t have your best interests at heart can and will say anything nice to you because they don’t have any “skin in the game”.
In contrast, people who are genuinely your friend will tell you things that could be difficult to hear:
your zipper is unzipped,
you’ve been really cranky lately,
your thinking is really messed up,
that’s not a good color on you, etc
In Prov 27:6 it says that the wounds of a friend are faithful but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Don’t fall for deceitful kisses!
I was reading this morning about how Jesus hung out with tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes and disreputable people. In their best moments, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought that His choices for social interactions was weird. More often, the religious leaders were “unhappy” with Jesus’ social choices. Clearly, Jesus didn’t fit in with the religious leaders & was weird by their estimation.
On the flip side, it seems to me that Jesus was more accepted & fit in better with the people who were more obviously broken (sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc). Maybe these disreputable people liked Jesus because He was weird. He was different from them, offering them genuine love that they had possibly never experienced.
When Jesus lived on earth, He modeled for us how to be good in a weird way – loving people genuinely. In my thinking, the work we do with Saving Moses and nightcare is wonderfully different & even weird because it’s an overtly tangible expression of genuine love 🙂
Unimportant, irrelevant, insignificant and altogether meaningless. Sometimes I have conversations and interactions with people where I try to figure out where we might have some common ground and find something about which we can both enjoy discussing. When I talk with my friends whose kids attend the same school with my kids, we often find the common ground related to school stuff. When I’m speaking in a church or at a conference and connecting with people in these environments, we often talk about God and the Bible. But not everyone wants to talk about school stuff, or Bible stuff, knitting, or how to get in better shape, snowboarding, or Soren Kierkegaard or God or prostitutes having babies that need safety and protection, . . . . We all have things that we are passionate about that aren’t interesting or meaningful to other people. But here’s the totally cool piece:
All of you is meaningful to God. God is altogether interested in your life and everything in which you’re interested. God has the capacity to be fully engaged, interested and participatory in every area and interest of your life! All of you is meaningful!!
How many ways can I love Brazil? Well, that could be really difficult to count because every day that I’m here, I find new things that I love about this country. Here are a few in my top 10 so far:
people: I’m not sure that I’ve found people in the world so far who are more fun & easy to connect with than here in Brazil. I know that they have jiu jitsu here and that can be pretty intense, but from my experiences so far, Brazilian people are gracious, warm, kind, friendly, helpful, engaging and genuinely hospitable. Brazilians are awesome!!
Son, Fun & Spirit! Getting to minister here isn’t like anywhere else! The people are super responsive, really engaged and hungry for the Bible and the Holy Spirit! And can I say that the worship here is a BLAST!!?!
of course the food, weather and environs are totally WONDERFUL – especially when you consider that it’s supposed to be snowing when I get home
beach – I live in mountains so whenever I get a little beach time, it’s way beyond a double bonus!! 🙂
I could keep going, but I think you get the picture – Brazil is fantastico! 🙂
I’m a big fan of having adventures. I like adventures with food, travel, sports, reading & lots more. There is, however, one area with adventure that I’m not very bold nor risky & that’s the area of relationships. When it comes to food, travel, sports, etc, whenever an adventure in these areas gets a little over the top, I know how to manage the risks & how to back off or resolve most of the difficulties. With relationships, those adventures are more tricky for me to manage. But here’s something that I’m discovering & learning: a vibrant relationship with God is the most extreme adventure for which I could ever join. Indeed, genuine love is bold, risky, thrilling, scary, extreme and audacious! And jumping into genuine love is like swimming in God’s presence. So let’s say yes to this adventure and living in an ever deepening & growing relationship with God – the Ultimate Extreme Adventure 🙂
I’m trying to spell out the Bill Crystal line in Princess Bride about “marriage is what brings us together” & you probably think my computers spell check went funky ,)
I’m writing on marriage today as my husband & I are celebrating our 20th anniversary today & I think that’s some noteworthy evidence of God’s grace 🙂
Here are some things I’m learning about marriage along the way:
*lots of grace, patience & flexibility is a foundational necessity toward both myself & my husband
*dont say everything you think – it’s often better to think through my thoughts & feelings before I just let it rip
*relationships have ebb & flow so take off the pressure of expectations & performance & enjoy the moments for what they are
*speak life, hope, honor, grace & affirmation – these words help keep our relationship strong
*when there’s conflict, be mindful to discuss behaviors rather than attacking the person
*pray alot & understand that God is using your mate to help you grow in intimacy & as a person
*love is a choice more than a feeling 🙂