Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Revolution

Year 5- Day 201: Today, I am grateful for revolution. 

Revolution. What images does the word evoke? Perhaps it is 1776 and the Star Spangled Banner waving high in the sky, torn and battle scarred. 

There are times one word speaks volumes. 

This image struck me today. Revolution has many meanings. Yes, a revolution is an overthrow by the people governed, but it is so much more. 

One invention can revolutionize transportation and communication. A radical and pervasive change can happen almost overnight. Socially, politically and with technology, changes can happen in a blink of the eye. Society... on our pretty blue planet... makes a single turn.That, too, can be defined as a revolution. 

Indoor plumbing revolutionized life for all. The telegraph, cotton gin and steam engine are others that made a quick difference in how things were done. Electricity and air conditioning work together, giving us reason to pause and give thanks on hot summer days. A revolution means change. 

Revolution doesn't always come with violence, but when humans are passionate. Look at this wonderful discovery. In our English language LOVE is in the word. Backwards, but it is there. In fact, it is perfection that it is backwards. 

Years ago, we did a series with the kids at church called "Flipped". It is a reminder that seeking the heart of Jesus requires flipped thinking. Putting others first. Sharing from our "first fruits" and not our left overs. Intentionally seeking peace, sacrifice, compassion and standing for justice when others look away. Giving voice to the voiceless and the broken places value on all human life. That is a love revolution. It is flipped thinking. 

There is a scripture in Acts reminding us that the public officials were soft stepping what to do with believers in Jesus after the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  Look how that turned out! He was alive. Too many had seen him to deny it. They were grateful when he stopped appearing in public after the ascension to heaven, but they did not want to kill his disciples since they could not ignore lame men walking, blind men seeing, dead people returning to life and the insane change in Saul's/Paul's passion. 

Paul is a great example of how love changes everything... how Jesus changes everything. The hungry, the poor, the enslaved, the widows, the orphans and the outcasts matter to our Lord. Saul/Paul was transformed. He was no longer chasing status in the realm of religious officials. He began seeking Christ and chasing the heart of Jesus. It was a love revolution. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Love the lost. Free the captives. Value the women, widows and orphans. Seek to serve, not to be served. Live in the culture, but do not be taken captive by it. Worshiping God out of love, not obligation or duty. Genuine relationship with Him and each other. 

We don't pay for His love, but we must believe and receive it.  It's like living with electricity for the first time. The light goes on, and our world view changes. It is no longer a world to be conquered, but a mission field that gives us purpose. All souls are precious to the Father. 

Earworm is awake and singing. "This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine." 

Love infuses light. Jesus is the power source. The world can fake it, but it can't quite make it. The world is always hungry for more. His love satisfies like nothing the world can give. 

"Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes."
-Proverbs 27:20

"When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me." -Hosea 13:6

Flipped thinking. Revolutionary living. 

"Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.' " -Hebrews 13:5

Don't love money. Choose to be satisfied. His promise: "I will never fail or abandon you." Revolutionary? Absolutely.  

Today, I am grateful for revolution.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Obstacle Training Course

Year 5- Day 200: Today, I am grateful for obstacles that prepare us. 

"Obstacles do not prevent you from your calling. they prepare you for it. - Lisa Bevere, Without Rival

How do we become truly grateful for the hard stuff? The obstacles that seem to block our way are real at times. This is no smooth ride. 

Life is full of blessings, but we can't ignore the hard times and trials. To truly find gratitude for the tough stuff isn't easy. How do we discuss it without sounding trite?

Many people work out or run daily. Athletes practice and practice some more. Why? They need to be fit and prepared... and ready for that moment when their bodies and mind are stretched to the limit. Discipline and training make all the difference. 

Learning to give thanks when life places obstacles in front of us might seem crazy, but that, my friends, is our training  ground. 

I love questions that make me think. "What if this hard thing in front of me was the first hard thing I had ever encountered?" I would have no frame of reference as to how to handle it. We learn and grow through the hard things. We are never alone. 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13

Whatever hard thing is in front of you, don't forget you are never without a defender and advocate. Our Lord doesn't only have our backs, he is our strength and our shield. Bumps, aches, pains and bruises are part of building strength, confidence and resilience.  

Today, I am grateful for obstacles that prepare us. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Love is an Artform

Year 5- Day 199: Today, I am grateful love is an art form.

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." -Vincent Van Gogh

This quote spurred a new thought this morning. Actually, it evoked a question. How is love art?

Each one of us enters this world as a unique canvas. Blank and ready. When, where, how and to whom we are born is a life shaping force on our blank canvas. 

When an artist decides to create a new work, a medium is chosen. Clay, canvas,paint (watercolor or acrylic), metal, glass, recycled items or fibers. These are a short list. True art knows no limits. 

The medium is not always cooperative. There are imperfections in application because human hands are involved. There is always reassessing and determining the next step. 

When we choose to love... it can become a new artform. We can't love everyone the same way. People are as unique as art. Learning what speaks to an individual's heart is learning their love language. It can be a simple as time together without electronics or as adventurous as whitewater rafting. 


Love pours the message, "You matter to me." into another human. It can be messy and frustrating. It can be exciting and full of new adventures. It breathes fresh life into an ordinary day. Love isn't always reciprocated, but it still is a positive, powerful force. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:13

If love is an artform, it takes practice. We don't always get it right, but we keep trying. We can do our best and still see imperfections, but others may see something and be encouraged and feel good. 

Today, I am grateful love is an art form.




Sunday, July 16, 2017

King Tut Grass

Year 5- Day 198: Today, I am grateful for King Tut grass.

A few years ago, I discovered "King Tut Grass". I purchased some late in the spring season on sale. I liked the spikiness. It would add height to the pots. By the 4th of July, it had one my heart.

The next year, it was gone early in the season. Randy knew how much it made me smile and searched all over until we found it. Now, it is the first purchase of the season.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but it was an easy image to grab from my phone. It looks so "Seussical" with it's tall stalks and poofs that look like fireworks. It reminds me of the 4th of July all summer long.

It is on my list of "once a year" things. It is observed with gratitude for the entire summer season. I'm always a bit sad when the cold sets in and it can no longer flourish.

The plant name reminds me of the Steve Martin's "King Tut" a goofy song that was a big hit in my teen years. (Yes. Earworm is singing "King Tut" this morning. )

It is a simple, summer delight that only requires soil, water and light.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Nature is a wonder. This scripture acknowledges that truth. Everything is beautiful in it's time.

Then, it unveils a mystery. Just at God created nature to unfold in his time, so has he planted the longing for Him in the soul of humans. "He planted eternity in the human heart." It is a longing to know Him and to be with Him. We cannot always see or understand his ways, because we don't see the big picture. Yet, we can know and trust His heart.

We can choose to slow down. We can take notice of the glory in simple grasses. We can look to the ancient redwood trees and know that he keeps his own clock. We can acknowledge and savor that he planted eternity in our hearts. The promise of forever with Him for the ones who choose him back.

Plant the truth. Water often. Seek and savor His light. Be a light.

In other words: "Love me. Love each other."

I look at my King Tut grass and imagine God raising his hand to add a touch of whimsy to the world. He gives us what is necessary. Then, he surprises us with beauty, wonder and things that delight.

Today, I am grateful for King Tut grass.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Second Story Porch





Year 5- Day 197: Today, I am grateful for a second story porch. 

I love the grandeur of old and well loved homes. Within the walls are so many stories, secrets and even a little mystery. The rise of B & B's across America is the reason some regal old homes come to life once again.  

The Inn at 835 in Springfield, IL is one of those homes. One of the great delights is 2nd and 3rd story porches.  Not a balcony, but a porch. What an amazing place to sit, sip, study, pray and start the day. 

"and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord."
-Exodus 16:7a

This image doesn't do full justice to the glory of the porch on this perfect summer morning.  It feels like a tree house. One of our favorite places in any home is the porch. We couldn't resist the room that had one. 

It is a gorgeous day for a young couple to start a marriage.

Summer schedules left little room for a real vacation, so we are taking it where we can. A wedding a short drive away was the perfect opportunity to add a day and take in a few sights. 

We made our wedding destination a vacation moment to celebrate our 30 years. 

Is there a better way to start the day? 
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Today, I am grateful for a second story porch.