God Friended Me

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I’m a TV gal. I grew up watching TV and I still love fall when the new seasons and shows start. I decided to try a few of the new ones. Already deleted a few from my TIVO. However, God Friended Me, surprised me. I really like it. I have no idea where they are going with this but so far, it’s not offensive in any way to my faith and who God is.

The premise of the show is that Miles, an atheist podcaster, gets a friend request from God. He continues to ignore it. When gets suggested friends from God, he pursues those friendships. Lives are changed and hope is returned. This past week (spoiler alert), he had his wallet stolen. Miles get a suggested friend from God for a man who is a private detective. Long story short, the man’s wife, who passed away, was the social worker for the boy who stole the wallet and the man ends up fostering the boy. Sappy? Maybe. Sentimental? Yes. Heartwarming? Definitely. Am I hooked? Yep.

You see, I think God does work this way. We make connections every day. We don’t need a Facebook friend request, we just meet people in circumstances. Those connections sometimes play out to make further connections that help people. For instance, I ran into a mom I hadn’t seen in a while at PTA. She informed me she was home-schooling her high school aged son. My daughter’s piano teacher just started doing the same thing. I immediately texted them both in a group chat and connected them. I know them both well enough to know they can support one another and they would really like each other.

As believers, we are given the opportunity to bring hope to the people we encounter. People who know Jesus, and people who don’t, all have one thing in common, we need reminders of hope. Coincidences or chance meetings – I call those divine appointments. The connections we have in life are purposeful. See what divine appointments you have in your day today. You may offer hope to a hurting friend or initiate a new friendship between strangers.

By the way, God has issued a friend request to each person on this earth. We don’t need Facebook to connect to Him. It’s as simple as just saying “good morning God” and your day is started out fabulously.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

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Measurable Prayers

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I have been enjoying a powerful sermon series on Anxiety from Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock. Yesterday’s sermon discussed a topic I have heard before but his example made the concept sink in deeper. He talked about praying more specifically. Usually we pray generically. When we pray specifically, the outcomes are measurable. God working is measurable.

Generic prayers:

  1. “Lord help me on my test.”
  2. “God I need your confidence to have this conversation with my friend.”
  3. “Open the door for me to get this job.”

Instead, if we get specific we can pray like this.

  1. “Lord help me to recall what I have studied when I take this test. Give me a sense of calm as I begin writing. Allow me to walk away from this test feeling confident.”
  2. “God give me words of gentleness when I speak to my friend. Prepare her heart to receive what I say and to not respond in anger. Allow us both to feel good about the conversation. Let us grow closer as a result of this time together.”
  3. “If this is the job you have for me, allow me to get it. Let me be heard and seen for my abilities by this potential employer. If this isn’t where You want me to work, give me a sense of peace. Let me leave the interview seeing it’s not a good fit for me. Guide my next steps.”

In each of those prayers, you can clearly see answered prayer. In the top, vague prayers, you may be able to assign answers to God. I got an A on my test, thanks God. But in the specific prayer, regardless of your grade, you can say, “I felt a peace while taking the test and I felt confident afterwards. Thanks God.” Huge difference.

Measurable prayers help us grow in faith. We don’t have to look hard to see what God is doing. We see it in the answers. Also, giving God glory comes much easier. “After I talked to my friend, we were so much closer. God did that. We should have been in an argument for a lot longer. God restored my friendship.”

Even when we aren’t happy with the outcome of a situation, we can still praise God. “I didn’t get the job but I know why. I saw this company wasn’t the place for me. God showed me that so clearly in the interview. Where I am going next is unclear. What is clear, God is in this with me step by step.”

Can you see how much easier it is to give God credit (a.k.a. glory) when we pray measurable prayers? Try it today. Be measurable. Be specific. Afterwards, be grateful and grow in your faith because you clearly saw God at work.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

The Hole Truth

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I fell in a hole yesterday. Yep. You read that right. I was mowing the lawn and suddenly I was on the ground. My right leg slipped in and kept on going down. I honestly thought it was a sink hole. I just kept going down. Somehow I fell forward and my leg scraped the edge of the hole when I went down. The feeling of hard ground comforted me because I truly felt I was going to be entirely swallowed up by my backyard. Amazingly I didn’t break or sprain anything. I must have screamed loudly because my son came running out to check on me. The picture looks bad but it’s mostly dirt. I am just a bit tender today. Grateful. (You can see in the before and after picture above.)

What did I learn from the hole?

I posted this picture on Facebook. I got a ton of responses.  Mostly “oh my.” It was rather sweet how many people were concerned. I even got two phone calls to make sure I really was OK. My kids were laughing at the incident (once they knew I was OK). I thought maybe my Facebook friends would find it humorous too. A few did but most expressed concerned. I learned that my Facebook friends are caring individuals. I am sure the humor hit them at some point once they too knew I wasn’t hurt badly. I will be more careful what I post to not alarm those who are tender-hearted. I appreciate you.

I learned that life can change in an instant. The lawnmower could have injured me too. The hole could have been deeper, or more narrow, which would have led to extreme injuries. I didn’t plan to get hurt. I was mowing the lawn. No one plans for an accident. Hence the name – accident – “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” Thanks google. I need to value every day because I don’t know what that day holds.

I learned that my dog loves me. When I fell, all he wanted to do was lick me. He was by my side the rest of the day. Sweet and a bit irritating too. Cooper is a loyal, loving pooch.

I learned that I need to not put off things I need to do. I had planned to teach my son to mow the lawn and make it his chore. Unfortunately, due to a rain forecast (rare in California) I wanted the lawn shorter before it got soaked. I didn’t take the time to train my son. Had I done so, I hope the hole incident wouldn’t have happened at all. I guess it could have happened to him – hmmm – maybe it’s better I procrastinated on that one.

I just wanted to share my wild adventure from yesterday and encourage you to value each moment.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

 

 

 

 

Snow Day

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I have never had a Snow Day. A day where you miss school because of snow. I live in Southern California. I have had a Heat Day. We got to miss school because it was too hot. Now, they only do that if the school doesn’t have air conditioning. We actually had a few Wind Days too when we had a wind storm that knocked out power in our city for several days and downed trees blocked roads. Yet, never a Snow Day. Having never had one, I still understand the concept, you wake up to a blanket of snow outside and get notice that there is no school. Yippee!

This past weekend I heard a speaker, Lance Witt, author of Replenish, share about a Snow Day when he was a kid. He lived in New Mexico and it rarely snowed. But once in a while, they would get a covering of white and no school. He said the best part was that his mom let them do whatever they wanted that day. A day of just pure delight. He then equated us observing the Sabbath as a Snow Day.

For me, the Sabbath has connotations of quiet, mediation, reading the Bible, and honestly, being a bit bored. However, when I think of Sabbath as a Snow Day, I get excited. You see, the Sabbath is a day to replenish and restore your soul. Lance Witt says his Sabbath usually consists of time with his grandkids, a meal with a good friend and extended time in God’s word. He gave an example of a family with children where the husband gets the morning to ride his bike, meet with friends, etc. The wife gets the afternoon for her time of replenishment and the evening is shared as a family. The Sabbath is a time to do the things that fill your soul and revive your spirit. Time with God is definitely a huge component of this day. Time with His people, your close friends and family, is part of it as well.

With this definition of Sabbath, I could actually start observing a Sabbath. I want to make it a part of my rhythm. It is what God intended. When we rush from thing to thing and don’t stop to revive ourselves, we will burn out. Taking a Sabbath means a healthier you – spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. I encourage you to consider this fresh view on the Sabbath. If you can’t do an entire day, start with a few hours or a half day. Spend it without any electronics. Dust off your Bible to read, if you normally use your Bible app. Plan time with a dear friend who is fulfilling. Go to your favorite destination. Do exercise you enjoy. I encourage you to take that Snow Day. It’s a gift from God.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

 

 

The Lamp

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Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. ~ Psalm 119:105 NIV

I recently heard Beth Moore teach on this subject. She focused on God’s Word, the Bible, being our lamp to guide our path. It inspired me. At one point, she said a lamp is made up of light and heat. My mind ran off on a tangent and I thought of the following verse.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

We are also referred to a lamp. We shine our light, Christ in us, to the world. But then there is the heat part. That intrigued me. Does my lamp give off heat?

Heat is my passion. My desire for Christ. My desire to share Christ with others. My desire for the things that Christ desires. That is my heat. Do I have heat? Am I seeking Him daily to keep my passion for Him and the things of God alive? Do I want to shine from the stand and light the house? Can my light be seen from the top of a hill?

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Remember the old Christmas lights we all had? You know, those big big bulb ones that we put outside and even on our tree. They were a pain because they were wired in series. If one burned out, they all burned out. Also, they were hot!!!!! Tree fires were no joke back in the day. I want to be an old Christmas light. I want to light up all those wired into my life. I want to burn with passion for Christ and His people. I want to be a beautiful, yet dangerous, multi-color display.

Maybe I took the analogy a bit far, but it truly is what I want. I want to be a lamp with light and heat. I have always focused on being a light. Rarely have I focused on heat. Let’s see how things change when I turn it up a notch. I hope the heat of my lamp lights many other lamps and sets them ablaze as well. Hope you turn up the heat a bit too.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Thank you notes

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It is truly a lost art. Thank you notes are a thing of the past for most people. Not our family. My kids still write thank you cards for birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and other gifts or kind gestures through the year. I do the same. I recently had my 50th birthday. I shared on this blog how amazing that day was for me. I personally hand wrote over 40 thank you cards. Some I hand delivered (to save postage) and the rest I put on a stamp and sent it via snail mail.

Think of the last thank you note you received via snail mail. How did it make you feel? How did you react when you saw a personalized card addressed to you? Did you save the card? Did it remind you to send a card or two of your own?

I receive so few thank you cards these days. It breaks my heart. The ones I do get, I often save. Usually for the pretty stationary. Sometimes I save the card for the heartfelt sentiment inside. I even show them to my kids to bring home the point that they aren’t the only ones who write thank you cards.

As I was pondering our lack of thank you cards on earth, I realized how much God loves to receive our thanks. He deserve a huge thank you card.

Psalm 136:1 NIV says

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.

The entire Psalm is a giant thank you card. I think we need to give God a few more thank you cards. For being a writer, I am not a journaler. If you like to journal, use that to actually write out your gratefulness. I often pray my thanks to God. I recently got a true gift from Him and I keep thanking Him in prayer. I also thanked Him by telling others what He did for me. I am giving Him glory and praise. I thank Him by remembering what He has done and trusting Him in the future.

“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!” ~ Revelation 7:12 NIV

Let’s give God a thank you card today. Maybe write a card to someone on earth too. Just a simple, “Hello, thanks for being my friend.” It’ll make her day.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Commune

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Commune as a verb means “to communicate intimately.”

Community is a “unified body of individuals.”

Communion means “an act or instance of sharing.”

Webster’s Dictionary is one of my favorite places to bring clarity in my life. The definitions help me understand what I am writing or saying. This past weekend I went to the Propel Activate conference by Christine Caine. It got me thinking and brought up some questions to seek answers to in my life.

Lisa Harper, a hysterically funny, godly woman, said “Community with others is not communion with God.” This phrase hasn’t left me. I often consider my powerful time of community with friends who love Jesus as communion with God. Before I even looked up the definition of commune, I knew that it meant intimacy. I am developing intimacy with my friends I fellowship with. I have community. I am with a unified body of individuals. I am not, however, connecting with God in this same way.

Communion with God is to commune with God. To be sharing intimacy with Him. To communicate intimately with Him. I do that daily. I just don’t do it as much as I do with my friends. I can spend hours chatting without running out of topics with my friends. I spend five minutes in prayer and I am often at a loss. What else can I say? Who can I pray for? There are also times when I am in prayer or studying God’s word that I lose track of time. However, those times are less frequent.

My desire is to increase my communion with God. (I am not talking the partaking of the bread and  wine, by the way. That is one definition of the word communion. I am referring to my act of sharing intimately with God.) How can I do this?

  • Set a timer and spend time in prayer. Each week increase the time by 5 minutes.
  • Read God’s word every day and spend time listening for his response.
  • Cut one of my sitcoms from my watch list and replace that time with intentional time pursuing God.
  • When I want to call a friend for help, spend at least a few minutes talking to God about it first.
  • Look for ways each day to connect with Him in new and unique circumstances.

As I work on this intentional pursuit for communion with God, new ideas will form. I will share them as they do. I encourage you to find more time to commune with God this week. Increase your time of intimacy with Him.

“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10 NIV

Dream Big! Pray Big!