Friday, February 24, 2017

Believe


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 55: Today, I am grateful we can choose what we believe.

This image is a fun Pinterest find. It is someone's "Field notes". There is some good stuff here. Some of them are new quotes for my collection. 

Believe. What we believe in our heart changes daily decisions. I was struck by this Francis Chan quote:

"We need to stop believing everything we think.". 

Pause. Think. Repeat.

"We need to stop believing everything we think.". Stop it! 

It this world of mixed messages from media, music and social media, truth can be lost or worse... twisted and altered. There are severe consequence for altering God's truth. Some call those who twist the word of God "Truth Twisters". It is the very reason we must study and learn for ourselves... so we will know when the truth is being altered for comfort or convenience. 

The good news is that most things we wrestle with are made clear again and again. My Dad used to say, "God doesn't stutter." He repeats himself because he is the ultimate communicator. Dr. David Kale taught us people need to hear something 3 times to get the message and retain it. 

"Tell them. Tell them, again. Tell them you told them." Not too hard, right? 

Now, the creative communicator does it in three different ways. The brilliant marketing person makes us laugh, grabs our heart... or both!  Have you seen the commercial where the single Dad is teaching his teenage daughter to shave her legs? Brilliant. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwR9ddhRGls  

In that commercial, that Father believes that it is more important to be present, with his daughter and teacher her what she needs to know, that to be concerned with his own "manhood". That guy is more than a man... he is a father. 

How will we present ourselves before God? Were we fans, who thought him really cool or amazing, or will we stand before him believers who let his word mold and shape our lives as a response to the love he poured out blood red on the cross. 

The cross...our debt paid. Relationship restored. No longer Him and me... but a we. Yes, our crown is reserved when we become the children of God. Even the thief on the cross, who never dreamed the day of his death would be the day he would be saved, found new life in the last moments of his broken one. Crazy love.  

We need to stop hoping and start knowing. He is always true to his word.  

Believe. Then, pass along the good news of the gospel. Work to get it right, but know the scriptures will confirm and correct. 

Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately. -1 Timothy 2:15

This scripture reminds us to be accountable. 

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. -Hebrews 4:12-14

This scripture explains how God's word will take care of itself and will reveal our hearts. 

Now... not just the act of believing, but behaving in a way that shows what we believe. 

Someone once said: "Your life may be the only Bible some people ever read." Make it count. 

Today, I am grateful we can choose what we believe... and God can transform the tiniest faith into a mighty adventure.  


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Field Notes



Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 54: Today, I am grateful for "field notes".

A life is so much richer when we go out and live it. 

I'm a safety girl, always looking for the dangers and fearing failure. It is the curse of the first born and type A personalities. Is it so wrong to want excellence? 

The problem is, there is a sense of flying reserved for those who aren't afraid of failure. My best learning... the stuff that sticks... often is accompanied with what appears to be failure. 

Again... I am relishing the concept that it is merely a plot twist. 

How do we get through these day with confidence and courage?

I like to take notes, read notes and share notes. At my current position, I use a data base for student information. I have a precious note book. Not a little thing... it is a 3 inch, 3 ring binder. It is what I go to when I am stuck or can't remember how to do something. 

My "PowerSchool" queens have created a document that is in my binder... I love those girls... with basic instructions for different tasks. Then, I have my pages of notes and example printouts. They are highlighted with additional notes and post-it notes (things change). No one else would understand much of what is in the binder, as it is personal and it is how I learn and understand. 

Some tasks are only a few times a year and my memory is limited to about "three sleeps". My field notes help me remember, reduce frustration and lesson my stressin'. Of course, my queens are but a phone call away. That is good to know. Still, there is a sense of accomplishment when I can figure it out with their instructions and my notes. 

Hmmm... is it any wonder that I love Bible journaling? I've been using colored highlighters and making notes since the 70's. My Bible from my days at ONU is still a favorite. It is large print NIV with not one fancy feature except Jesus words are in red and there is room to make notes with the large print format. It is still one I go to for comfort reading and insight. The notes in the back include some of my favorite verses. 

The New Testament is full of letters shared between believers who had witnessed the miracle of the cross and new life. They were persecuted, hunted at times and mocked. The letters Paul wrote... some from prison ...  have became "field notes"... and they still are.  

Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. -Job 4:4

Yes... more wisdom from the pages of Job. Who new better how tough life can get? His knowledge of who God was sustained him when literally everything else fell apart. 

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.-Psalm 119:11

What notes will we take today. Enjoy your day in the field. Take a risk and write down what you learn. Even if it doesn't come out the way exactly as planned. Embrace the plot twists and turns. 

Today, I am grateful for "field notes".

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Joy Fuel

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 53: Today, I am grateful for joy fuel.




"Figure out what fuels your joy and do a lot of that." -Bob Goff


I hope you aren't tired of my Bob quotes. I am learning so much. I am SLOWLY reading "Love Does" because I don't want to miss a morsel of the sweetness and any learning I might find between the pages. 

Joy fuel yields a joyful heart!  What fuels your joy? 

The no-brainer, quick answer is: Jesus. Okay, he is the source, but what is the fuel? What crazy (yes, still on that theme) little things fill your heart with whimsy and a smile. Life is too short to miss any opportunity to make a day, a minute or a moment extraordinary. 

The people we encounter may only get one opportunity to be loved today... you and me. That, my friend, is a purpose. 

When I was in junior high and high school, I  volunteered at "Exceptional Children's Camp" each summer. (It is now called "Everyone Cares Camp".) Our Chicago Central Church of the Nazarene hosted this camp each summer. Back then... it was in Aroma Park, IL. It was my favorite week of the summer. 

The campers were special needs people. Our youngest campers were junior high aged... and the oldest in their sixties. It was a one-on-one buddy system. The teens were the "counselors".  The campers came from all over. If campers came once... most came back. It was at that camp... through one special camper with Down's Syndrome named Stevie... that I came to understand "God vision" and His love. Many of us  went to "serve" but ended up being changed by the "least of these". 

At ECC camp... surrounded by those so often rejected by society (It was the 70's and 80's.)... that I discovered joy fuel. 

One camper... Julie Hasselbring... became "mine". She was in a wheelchair and was few years older than me. She was a young woman when I was a teen. She communicated with her fingers pointing to a communication board. She was witty and her big, full laugh touched my soul. We spent several summers together at camp. Her mind was locked in a body that limited her, but she didn't let that stop her joy. 

At ECC... I learned that tying your own shoes we worth a victory dance... every time. 
At ECC... I learned that anyone can do a Native American dance with respect and seriousness. 
At ECC... I discovered it is good to know the Heimlich maneuver for choking. 
At ECC... best friends could be made in a week and kept for a lifetime. (counselors & campers)
At ECC... I learned that the world is far more handicapped than most people with disabilities.
At ECC... I relished unconditional love and the joy fuel of serving "the least of these." 
At ECC... I learned some people are not called to such service and that is okay. There is plenty of kingdom work to be done in other places. 

The truth is... I gained far more than I gave. I think that might be how joy fuel works. 

In my cedar chest, I have a graduation card that Julie sent me. She must have seen a picture in the paper and her family helped her get a card and find the address. She signed it herself and that was hard for her. It is a treasure. Pure love. One card... sent in 1987... still makes me smile and remember sweet Julie and so many more. 

This day is full of potential. Love takes courage... and time. But, it is time well spent. 

The smallest act of love can change someone's day. I know... sometimes... the smallest act of love changes mine. 

Today, I am grateful for joy fuel.






Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Little Dose of Crazy



Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 52: Today, I am grateful for a little dose of crazy.

I love this little snippet from Alice in Wonderland. 

"Have I gone mad?"

"I'm afraid so, you're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret... all the best people are." -Lewis Carroll

My favorite doctor... Dr. Seuss... asked this life changing question:

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

It is the that little touch of inspiration, passion and drive that the world views as crazy that leads to amazing. 

"It's good to be weird." is what my sweet friend Kelly Cawthon Berry taught me in high school. I wrote that quote with her name on it on a favorite LA folder. 

I've been reading Bob Goff's "Love Does". The guy is nuts! In the best possible way. Who camps out on the College Dean's bench campaigning for law school admission so he can make a difference in the world... after not passing the LSAT... begging to get in? Bob does. I think the dean figured he'd flunk out faster than he would give up his "sit in" spot on the bench outside of his office. After several days...the dean let him in... and Bob did not flunk out of law school. He even passed the California bar exam. The lesson was that sometimes God doesn't close doors and open windows, sometimes he wants us to build or passion... our dose of crazy... for something more than what we initially see in the mirror. 

We see shortcomings and inadequacy... God sees places we will call on him for help. He created us with the ability to chose and do things on our own. His purpose in creating us was the hope that we would seek a relationship with him in spite of our amazing powers. Capable on our own. Better together. 

There is this amazing song by Matthew West. I am pretty sure he has found his lyrical spot calling writing songs that speak God's hope and truth to the broken. "Mended" is great example. Here are some of the lyrics:

I see my child, my beloved
The new creation you're becoming
You see the scars from when you fell
But I see the stories they will tell

You see worthless, I see priceless
You see pain, but I see a purpose
You see unworthy, undeserving
But I see you through eyes of mercy

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
You're not too far gone
You're one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I'm not finished yet, no
When you see wounded, I see mended


You see wounded, I see mended. Don't you love it! 

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Otg-5p7qug  

Okay, so perhaps it seems like that is God's dose of crazy. We are made in his image, right? His love never gives up on us. He simply wants us to love him back and trust his heart... and that "little thing" about going and loving your neighbor which is really the first step in fulfilling "The Great Commission". 

What feeds your dose of crazy today? Crazy love will change the world. It already has. More than 2000 years ago God refused to give up and made a way. That dose of stubborn isn't a uniquely human... we received it as part of being created "in His image". 

God acting outside of the science rules He created... that is a miracle.
Love that rescues souls... a love so deep it changes lives... that is a miracle.
A God who would step out of heaven to be our rescuer... a dose of madness!
He is mad about us. 
That crazy love brings me to my knees. 

Today, I am grateful for a little dose of crazy.







Monday, February 20, 2017

Heartbeat


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 51: Today, I am grateful for the life that comes with a heartbeat. 

As the "Love month" marches on past Valentine's Day... I am reminded that love is so much more. Paper hearts... represent relationship and romance... but it is the heartbeat that gives life to humans.

Our one heart pumps the blood that to the whole body. There is nothing as soothing as the lullaby of a steady heartbeat. It is the first lullaby a child hears while growing in a womb. It is the heartbeat that soothes a child to sleep when we hold them to our chests. Our one heart is kind of amazing. 


One heart beating in time with another... that is love.  
One heart seeking another... that is passion.
One heart remaining faithful... that is commitment.

We have two eyes. Two ears. Two hand. Two feet. 
We have troublesome one mouth and one tongue... that is plenty... or too many.
We have but one heart. Protecting it takes effort. 

Our heartbeat is the first sign of life... and the last on this gravity limiting planet. A heartbeat is precious... for as long as it endures... a soul can still seek the Savior. 

Once we find him, the purpose and the value of the heartbeat changes. It is still vital to earthly life, but how we start, end spend our days changes. 

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist; -Acts 17:27-28a

How shall we spend out today's precious gift of each heartbeat? Inhale his scent. Breathe out his spirit. Listen to his heartbeat. I says, "Love me. Love each other."

Today, I am grateful for the life that comes with a heartbeat. 





Sunday, February 19, 2017

Worship is a Kiss


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 50: Today, I am grateful worship is a kiss.

Being from the USA, I don't have a true reference for royalty. Our leaders are elected and supposed to be public servants. 

Probably the closest thing we have to royalty here are athletes, musicians and other celebrities... for better or for worse. That popular television show, "American Idol", says it all in the name. An idol is something or someone we worship. Funny, that has never struck me until just this moment... that the name had "idol" in it. 

Whom or what do we worship?

What is worship? We think of praise songs, prayer, study and words of praise. I just read recently about one of the words used in the scriptures in the Greek. The word for worship used here is "proskuneo". 

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:24

Proskuneo (Greek-Proskyneo): 
1. To kiss the hand (moving toward) in a token of reverence. 
2.  In Asian cultures, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence.
3.  By kneeling or prostration to do homage or show superior rank.

The scholars suggest that it is like a dog licking his master's hand. At first, this struck me as odd... kind of strange. Really? Like dog kisses? But, then I let it sit a bit longer. Wow! That is true worship. 

If you have ever experienced pet kisses, it creates a sense of being love and cherished like few other experiences. There is a complete adoration, trust and joy in simply being close enough to touch. The lick... "the kiss"... is intimate and full of devotion. It is a gift. Humble. Pure devotion...and from the heart. Yes, this is worship. 

Perhaps, God granted us the loving relationships we have with our pets to teach us how to love him better. Does our spirit long to be with Him? Are we happy to be in his presence, no matter what we are doing? Does our worship look like devotion? Do we kiss the Master's hand? Do we love others as he loved us? Are we "love broken" and "love trained"?

Love broken means that we understand all that love did for us, and the love we pour out is from him. It shouldn't hurt. It takes more effort with some people, but His Word is full of training and help for the mission. 

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. - 1 John 4:11-12

We are loved. How we love him and how we love others are the evidence we have been changed by love. 

The John 4:24 scripture is from the passage where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. His knowledge of her... the ugly, intimate stuff... took her breath away. Then, she knew. She knew Jesus was the love she had been seeking. She couldn't help but want to share it. 

This image is of our Harley...the hybrid (a nice word for mutt)... at the window waiting for his Randy. He taught us so much about love, devotion... and worship. 12 years wasn't long enough. He has been gone a year, but we still miss his welcome home kisses... and just being with him. Without being told, he would go to the window at the time he sensed Randy would return... and wait... and wait.

Do I make God wait? Do I wait on him with patience and excitement?

Today, I am grateful worship is a kiss.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hey Mountain...



Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 49: Today, I am grateful I can tell my mountain about my God!

Somedays the mountains look really big and I feel really small.  Sometimes, I bite off more than I can chew... but my God never fails and always comes through. 

Mountains, missions, my agendas and the Mighty Majesty of God... it is all pretty overwhelming at times. Then, I remember. I am not in charge of the universe. That job is filled and He never fails. I have to learn to trust the God who moves mountains, parts seas and allows us to walk on water. 

Trust is the key. Do I keep the key hidden in my pocket for fear it won't unlock the door, or do I courageously pull it out and try? What feels and looks like failure in my eyes, may be simply be a detour. My God is King and if he directs a detour... I will walk the path. 


Lauren Daigle's song "I Will Trust In You" is pretty powerful. 

"When you don't move the mountains
I'm needing you to move
When you don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don't give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you"

What a great prayer that is to pray. With trust comes rest...peace... and hope. 

Today, I am grateful I can tell my mountain about my God!