Acceptance

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I am watching a weekly video series called “Goliath Must Fall” by Louie Giglio. It’s been a powerful study on facing giants in our life. This week he dealt with rejection. Did you know that David (who ultimately kills Goliath) wasn’t presented by his father for consideration to be king?

I Samuel 16: 10-11 – Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

David didn’t hold high standing in his family. He held a lowly position of being a shepherd. He served his brothers and father. He didn’t have acceptance in his family. He lived with rejection.

Louie asks in his video, “do you live for acceptance or from acceptance?”

David, who had a heart for God, lived from acceptance. He trusted God. He knew God intimately. He had so much free time alone in the wilderness and used that time to talk to God and develop a close relationship with Him. He owned that he was loved and fully accepted by God. When he fought Goliath, it wasn’t to earn his brothers approval. He didn’t do his job well to earn his father’s approval. He did his job well because that is what God asks of us – to do our best.

If David lived for acceptance, he would have fought Goliath with Saul’s armor and taken powerful weapons. He probably would have made sure everyone saw him and made some proud statements before the fight. Yet, David lived from acceptance so he took his staff, 5 smooth stones and a sling shot.

How different our lives would be if we lived from acceptance (the knowledge that we are fully loved and accepted). We wouldn’t second guess when our friend didn’t reply to our text immediately. We wouldn’t feel embarrassed when our kid throws a fit in public. We wouldn’t be jealous when our friend gets something good in her life and we don’t. We wouldn’t be anxious, nervous, angry, frustrated, etc. but instead would be content and see the lovely, pure and good.

Stop striving for acceptance in your life. Live from acceptance. Let the knowledge that you are fully loved wash over every area of your life. God doesn’t promise a problem free life. He does promise to never leave or forsake you and to be near to the brokenhearted. He’s accepted us. We are fully loved as we are today. What else could we need?

Dream Big! Pray Big!

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Healthy Eating

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I saw a great video on Facebook called the Time Travel Dietician. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ua-WVg1SsA). There is a husband and wife in the 70s eating breakfast. A dietician from the future arrives and says, “don’t eat the eggs. They are bad for you. The cholesterol will kill you.” The dietician leaves then reappears and says, “we were wrong about the eggs. It’s OK to eat the whites not the yolks.” The dietician leaves again then reappears and says, “don’t eat the steak. Red meat increases your change of a heart attack.” And on and on. (Watch it. It’s funny.)

I bring this up because I am on a search for a healthy eating plan for me. I’m not 20 anymore and my body needs a change in diet. However, that video is the definition of my frustration. Don’t you feel like the rules for healthy eating changes often? Eat eggs, don’t eat eggs. Use coconut oil, don’t use coconut oil. I saw a clip from Dr. Oz who says, “legumes are great for you.” Another meal plan I looked at encouraged eating no legumes (or dairy or sugar or …) Or as the dietician said in a healthy eating and cooking class I took, “fat is fat is fat. There is no good fat or bad fat. Eating an 1/8 of an avocado is the same as eating a pat of butter.” OK – then I’ll eat a pat of butter. Let’s just say I left the class near tears. I don’t know who to listen to. I just want to give up.

Before you start sending me comments on your opinions, let me share a scripture with you that encouraged me today.

Colossians 2:20-22 – “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. ” (Bold faced type from me.)

Why am I searching the world for answers to healthy eating? Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch! This sounds just like all the people out there giving us advice on how to eat. Don’t!!!!!! It’s all confusing.

What I plan to do is ask God which eating plan should I follow? What is best for me? What nutrients does my body, that God created, need? Guess what? I’m confident He’ll direct me. He’ll guide me out of the confusion of human rules based on their knowledge. These meal plans aren’t all bad. One will work for me. One will work for you. They may not be the same one though. For those who have found success and what makes their body thrive, congratulations. I will continue my search with my missing piece – asking the creator of my body what my body needs. He knows.

Don’t expect me to share my newly acquired eating plan when I find it. If I did, I would be no different from those shouting DON’T! I will tell you that God will direct me. Frustration is not how I’m supposed to live. I plan to seek God’s path for me and my health. Hope you find yours too.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

 

 

Praying the News

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I woke up to news of the horrific Las Vegas massacre. My heart is heavy. My mind can’t release it. I am in constant prayer. I shared with my kids at breakfast what happened. I wanted them to be prayerful today. Facebook is full of people saying “pray for Las Vegas.” What does that look like? How do we effectively pray for this tragedy? How can we help from far away?

Pray for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones. At least 50 people died. The numbers may increase as surgeries and attempted recovery happens. We can pray that those grieving will draw near to God. If they don’t know God, we can pray they will find Him through this painful time. We can pray the following verse for them.

Psalm 34:18 says The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Pray for those who are physically wounded and fighting for their lives. There are many who were shot and had surgery to save their lives. We can pray for God to heal them.

Psalm 6:2 says Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.

Pray for those who were there and survived. Their hearts will be troubled for a long time.

Psalm 25:17 saysRelieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.”

Pray for the first responders. They had to witness some horrific things.

Psalm 18:6 says In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Pray for God to be real to anyone impacted by this. We are all shaken today. We are scared. We are mad. We are confused. We are reeling. We need an anchor. We need hope. We need something, someone to cling to. We need God. He’s there for us. He’s there for those who don’t yet know Him. He’s there for the lady you talk to in the grocery store about this. He’s there for the man cursing God’s name today for allowing this to happen. He’s there for the child who witnessed death at a concert. He’s there. How can we give God and His hope to others?

Be bold today. Don’t just shake your head and say this is overwhelming. Speak truth. Speak love. Speak healing. Speak hope. Share one of the verses above with someone. Pray with the lady in line at the grocery store. Tell her you are overwhelmed but God provided you with peace this morning as you turned to Him in prayer. Tell someone God loves them, He sent His son to die on the cross for their disobedience to God but rose again to life and to give them eternal life. Jesus is our way to peace in chaos.

Our world is chaos. Evil reigns in the hearts of men and women. The man who did this had evil in him. So do I. So do you. We aren’t slaves to it anymore. We can live rightly because of God’s presence in our life.

Romans 6:18 – You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Today, spend time reading God’s word, the Bible. Let it bring you peace. The Psalms are a great place to find comfort. If you want to know more about how to know God deeper, email me. Let’s talk. I can’t handle what happened in Vegas. I am grateful I have a source of hope and help because I am intimately connected to the God of the universe who can comfort me, guide me, and keep my heart in prayer all day.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Choices

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I am in the process of renewing my passport. Unfortunately, the picture I sent was rejected due to a shadow on my face. I had it taken at an official passport processing facility. My first thought was to demand my money back when I had them retake it. I wasn’t happy about having to drive to their location again and take another picture. I called, explained what happened, and they gave me an early appointment today. My frustration subsided overnight and the woman in the office couldn’t have been nicer.

After my appointment, I walked to my car but my eye caught a bench across the street. I don’t know why but I wanted to go sit on that bench. I crossed the street and sat down. After sitting, I began to tear up. I felt overwhelmed by God’s presence. I looked ahead of me and saw the view in the picture above. Before I took the picture, I watched a hawk circle over the mountains. I soaked in His beauty. I cried out in my heart with praise, asking forgiveness and to find guidance. God and I sat and absorbed the morning. I didn’t stay for a long time, maybe twenty minutes. I’m so glad I sat.

Had I kept my anger, I would have missed this moment with God. I would have demanded my money back because they caused me extra time out of my day to get another picture taken. I would have started my day rather grumpy. The tone of my day all came down to my choice in a relatively unimportant decision. Which college I go to and which house to buy, carry much more weight in our lives than do I respond in frustration or grace. However, our daily lives are impacted by those seemingly insignificant choices. The phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” comes to mind but that devalues my feelings in things that may bother me even if they are small. I’d rather say what Paul says in Romans 12:18,

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

If I can choose a peaceful solution, I will. If I can be at peace with minor setbacks, I will. If I can find peace sitting on a bench watching a hawk fly over the foothills, I will. Choose peace.

Dream Big!

Ineffective and Unproductive

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Those are four-letter words to me. You see I am an Arranger and Achiever and Maximizer according to Gallop Strengths Training. I strive to make every day effective and productive. I am a type-A personality. You know what they mean by A, right? Awesome!!!!  I like to accomplish goals and tasks. These days my to do list can be rather long. I do remember a season when I created a one item to do list each day. When my kids were little, productivity was difficult. However, my personality is one that needs to finish something daily. If I could do one thing, even if it consisted of completing one load of laundry, it gave me satisfaction.

Knowing this about me, you can imagine my surprise when I read the following scripture in Chuck Swindoll’s weekly devotional.

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I love many things in this passage. First off, it says if we “possess these qualities in increasing measure.” I don’t have to have them all or have them all right now. I should be growing in these qualities. As I increase in my goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love, I will be effective and productive. What will I be effective and productive in? My knowledge of Jesus.

I strive to spend time daily in God’s word. I strive to pray daily. I strive to apply what I learn in my readings, sermon listening and other sources of knowledge. These are all ways I know Jesus better. Yet if I am not growing in my faith in goodness, knowledge, …, these efforts are futile. My actions and interaction with others needs to reflect what I’m learning. Follow me here: If I learn about Jesus but don’t live it, my knowledge is ineffective and unproductive. If I learn about Jesus and my faith grows and shows in my daily life, my knowledge is effective and productive.

That’s so cool. I have a way to measure if I am truly growing in my knowledge of God. If I’m growing in the qualities listed above, so is my faith and knowledge of Jesus. For one who likes to be productive, this spoke to me. For you A-type personalities out there, rejoice. This verse supports our drive to excel. For you non-A-type personalities, you can be equally effective and productive, if you are growing with Jesus. However, we were created, to crave accomplishing tasks or to accomplish tasks out of necessity, we both grow in faith.

I hope you followed my logic in this one. If not, my take away is this, know Jesus.

Dream Big!

Phil

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You may be asking yourself who is Phil? I’m referencing Philippians in the Bible which is a letter to those living in Philippi. Recently I have been reflecting on chapter 4 verse 7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I craved peace. Not peace and quiet, even though that is nice too. I sought a deep abiding peace. A calm in the midst of whatever. A solace. An oasis. A place of calm. A quietness in my mind. You know those days, or weeks, when you can’t let it go? Your thoughts keep returning to concerns and/or fears.

I asked my prayer group to pray for me. I prayed myself. When I awoke the next morning, overwhelmed by the presence of peace, I freaked out.

Why was I so calm? The calm before the storm? I must feel good because something bad is coming.

I asked for it but when I got it, I couldn’t accept it. I questioned it for a large part of my morning, then I remembered Phil 4:7.

My prayer was answered and I was missing it. When something transcends understanding, it means it is beyond comprehension. You can receive it. You can accept it. You can sit in it. You can thank God for it. Yet, you can’t quite figure it out.

When I was pregnant with my first-born, I woke up without morning sickness one day. I didn’t celebrate the lack of a queasy tummy but freaked out and called my doctor. What’s wrong with the baby? I don’t feel sick today. The doctor assured me all was well and I should enjoy the day. I didn’t. I worried all day. When I woke up the next morning, feeling sick again, I finally let the worry go. However, I had missed a day where I physically felt great because I couldn’t let go of the concern that something was wrong.

Just like when I felt peace the other day, I nearly missed it. I finally understood peace that you can’t understand. It means, just accept it. Go with it. Have a good day where your cares are lifted and your burden is light. You see, that is a promise from God.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden in light.”

My day was easy and my burden was light. He answered my prayer. He honored His promise. Once I realized it, I relaxed into it. I stopped striving for understanding and just let myself have a good day. When my thoughts crowded my mind again the next day, I sought the same peace. He provided it again and again. I just had to ask and receive.

Stop trying to understand. Come to the one who lifts our burdens to find rest and peace. Transcend, by definition, means to rise above. So let’s rise above our burdens and busy minds and accept peace, His peace.

Dream Big!

Quiet Waters

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I learned something significant this week. I am a sheep. Not literally though (unless you believe Webster’s definition that literally can mean figuratively now). I digress. You see, sheep are dependent on their shepherd for everything. I am on a daily journey to rely on my Good Shepherd, Jesus, every day. They are defenseless, a bit clueless and totally reliant on another to guide them through life. I think I may be tough, smart and self-sufficient but I don’t want to go it alone. This weekend, I read Psalm 23 while sitting in my car waiting for the start of my daughter’s soccer game. Here are the first 3 verses from the NIV Bible translation.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he refreshes my soul.

I needed some soul refreshing this weekend. The transition back to school is tough even for the parents, or maybe, especially for the parents. We have had some health issues in our family that have weighed us down. If you live in Southern California, you know the past 2 weeks have had triple digit temperatures non-stop. I’m tired physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. Psalm 23 refreshed me. Most of us know it. We have read it many times before or had it read to us. The part that hit me was He leads me beside quiet waters.

I did some sheep research. Sheep are afraid of rushing water and refuse to drink from a stream. They are afraid of the noise, the movement, and they are afraid of drowning. Sheep can’t swim well and if they have a full coat of wool, they’d be so heavy with water, they would drown. In order to provide water, shepherds need to get creative. Shepherds will divert water using rocks and digging a ditch to the side of the stream, thus creating a pool. It’s the pool of quiet, still water. The sheep will drink from there.

The love of a shepherd for his sheep is visible in the tiny things he/she does to keep the sheep healthy and safe. The love my Shepherd, Jesus, has for me is even deeper. He wouldn’t think twice about creating a pool of quiet water to satisfy my thirst. You see, Him leading me beside quiet waters is to refresh my soul. What do quiet waters look like for humans?

  • Reading God’s Word
  • Listening to God
  • Praying
  • Crying out to God in honest emotion
  • Casting all my cares on Him
  • Admitting my fears and asking for peace
  • Connecting to God’s people a.k.a. my friends
  • A nap

I hope this week you find yourself by quiet waters being refreshed. It’s the only place to be.

Dream Big!

P.S. Here is the whole Psalm is you want to read it all.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.