Monday, April 30, 2018

Speak Truth In Love

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 120: Today, I am grateful we can speak the truth in love. 

Sometimes, things have to be said. Hard things. Unpopular things. Counter culture things. 

It can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially for those who are not confrontational or wave makers by nature. I fall into this category. I prefer harmony. Honestly, by the time I am in a position to where I must speak up... I have an arsenal of words that are building steam and pressure and I must be even more careful to temper my words with love. 

Easier said than done. 

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ," -Ephesians 4:15

What a perfect scripture to remind us why we must temper our words with love. When we do... it is evidence we are "we are to grow up in every way into him" . How we behave in the ugly moments of life matters. 

We don't have to say everything we think. In fact, love requires we don't. There are times we bite our tongues and hold back, because, although it would feel good in the moment to puke it out, there would be wounds and scars. The backlash is often wounded relationships. 

James is tough on the tongue and addresses it with little grace. With our words, we can build bridges or start wars. This scripture from "The Message" is so rich in today's language. 

"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life." -James 1:19-21

Lead with your ears. Follow with your tongue. Such great wisdom! When the tongue must be engaged, doing so prayerfully makes all the difference. There are times to speak up and times to be silent. 

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." - Robin Williams 

Good morning, Earworm. He is singing in my ear and not it will be stuck there all day.

"Like a blinding light in the dead of night, it's the Gospel... the Gospel that makes the way." 

We can speak the truth in love and the gospel will make the way! 

Today, I am grateful we can speak the truth in love. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Chosen & Appointed

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 119: Today, I am grateful to be chosen and appointed. 

I don't think I was scarred for life by PE, but let's just say that in most cases, I was not picked first, second or even third if a ball was involved in the sport. I thanked God for Judy Prior who threw some dance activities into the PE exercises. She only asked that we try and do our best... and she wanted us to be kind to each other. 

I can't help but smile when I remember her. Cancer took her at a young age, but she was one of the big influences in my middle school years.She was positive and always smiling. I thought she was beautiful... and she was. There was a glow about her. She could light up a room. She wanted no child to feel unimportant or rejected.  

Being chosen feels good. It is affirming. Being rejected causes deep hurts. Our Heavenly Father never wants us to doubt our value in his eyes.  

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." -John 15:16

I chose you! 

Like a groom chooses his bride... thoughtfully and carefully. Knowing the strengths and struggles she brings to the marriage. Loved, chosen, treasured and full of potential through their union in marriage. In truth, the bride chooses him back. Even in arranged marriages, I've heard it said and seen first hand, that when there is commitment and choosing on both sides, hearts open and what was once arranged transcends into a very real, deep love match. 

Many of us have very real struggles, not knowing why the God of the Universe would have any interest in man, but the truth began in Genesis. "In His image", we were made. He longs for a relationship to be built. One that is real and deep. 

Knowing Him and being known... is their anything sweeter? Savor the moment. Savor the wonder. 

Today, I am grateful to be chosen and appointed.

Road Signs

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 118: Today, I am grateful for road signs. 

GPS is great - but good old fashioned road signs are never unwelcome or out of style. In fact, when GPS fails... road signs can guide the way. The past few days I have been very aware that real signs are really helpful. 

Whenever we find ourselves in an unfamiliar spot, we look for signs. Airports, hospitals, cities and even in government buildings, signs reduces stress and frustration. Signs help simplify a process and direct a path.

The night Jesus was born, there were signs. The star and the child wrapped in the swaddling clothes and laying in a manger were signs. 

They were signs so that those seeking the Messiah might find him. As Jesus grew and began His ministry, he offered signs, but some refused to trust, accept and embrace his way. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6

I like clear signs. Follow them and be rest assured you are on the right path. 

Today, I am grateful for road signs.


Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 117: Today, I am grateful for tulips.
This year, spring has been sluggish. Today, the tulips are blooming with grandeur. What a glorious bloom that bursts forth to declare winter is finally over. Let your soul sing and your face break a smile.
I can’t help but feel the hope that comes with these cheery little flowers. Even their leaves are a spring green.
It is good to stop and take in the flowers of spring. They are brave, bright and they make me smile.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “the earth laughs is flowers”. I think that is perfectly stated. When winters sleep is over, the bulb flowers are some of the first to break soil and reach for the sun and the sky.
God gave us two eyes to wonder at the glory of his creation. He gave us two lips 😉 to sing his praises.
Keeping it simple today.

Today, I am grateful for tulips.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wounds Heal

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 116: Today, I grateful wounds heal when we stop touching them. 

"To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it." 

I can hear Mama Ina Mae in this quote as if she were in the next room. Why is it that when we have a wound, just as it begins to heal, we start picking at it? Next thing you know, it is bleeding again. Why does that surprise us? 

Human nature is a funny thing. By the time a wound is healing, you are past most of the pain and discomfort. Healing takes time, but the process is more patience than pain... until we continue to touch it and impair the healing process. I remember Mama saying, "The more you mess with it, the worse it will scar. Leave it alone!" Touching it over and over leads to infection and other problems. 

Could it be, this is as much the way it goes with emotional wounds and relationship struggles? Now, I am not saying ignore or deny a serious mental health issues, but when resolution is desired, we have to "stop touching it" to allow healing. 

One of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes is his definition of insanity: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". Narcotics anonymous printed it in an 1981 pamphlet and it is still quoted often in circles of those trying to break addiction cycles. To get different results, we have to do something different. 

If we want a wound to heal, it can't become our identity. It is simply part of our story. This is one of the reasons I support Dressember and the International Justice Mission. 

Our scars should remind us that we have faced trials and pain and have overcome. Stretchmarks and C-section scars are reminders of the wonder of an amazing body that can stretch enough to grow a new life inside and deliver it safely into the world. It is a miracle every time, not something to bring shame or feelings of disgust. 

Jesus led us down the path of healing through forgiveness when he taught us to pray. He didn't intend for it to be a secret, but so often we miss the point. Look at his prayers: 

"Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us." -Luke 11:4  

These words should be carefully prayed. Our portion of forgiveness impacts how we are forgiven. I've often said this is the scariest line in the Lord's prayer. 

But look at our Jesus. This is his prayer on the cross: 

He prayed for the men nailing him to the cross.  "When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross... Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice." -Luke 23:33-34

He didn't wait to forgive until he was ready. He did it in the moment... and as they laughed, mocked and threw dice of his clothing. Wow! Another reminder I have such a long way to go to truly be like him. He was ready to forgive the thieves who hung beside him, in the midst of his own misery and exhaustion. 

Forgiveness doesn't change that we've been wounded. Forgiveness allows us to set free the burdens of hurt, disappointment, pain and anger. Forgiveness lightens our souls. The truth is, the unforgiveness we carry around like it is something precious only weighs us down. Letting it go frees us, but we might have to do something different with the time and energy we spent "picking at the wound". That requires doing something different to get different results. 

Are you struggling with a wound? Do you find  you can't to leave alone. Give it to Jesus. He will carry it for you and intercede on your behalf. 

I wasn't looking for a third scripture this morning, but the "boss of me" perfectly picked this one as my verse of the day. 

"Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf."  -Hebrews 7:25

"Let it go"... such a powerful, soulful Disney tune that Earworm has chosen to sing this morning... and it fits. To forgive, we must open our hands and let the burden go. We must stop touching the wound. 

Today, I grateful wounds heal when we stop touching them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 115: Today, I will choose to be grateful for interruptions.

There is nothing more empowering than a reasonable task list and a enough time to do it. The day in front of you is well planned and you are the director orchestrating the "to-do" list with every intention of the day unfolding like a beautiful symphony. You might even have a piece of "fun" scheduled into the day. 

Then it happens. The interruption is real. Sometimes it is big. Sometimes it is small. It is always a place of choices, decision and response. When will I ever learn? 

"Sometimes the interruption is the assignment." 

Friends, this powerful message is hits home with a power that humbles me to my knees. I spend my days in a pattern of unknown and constant interruptions. I do not always look at them with my God goggles to discern the assignment. I need this reminder daily. 

My Bible Study right now is a walk through the New Testament in chronological order. It will take a year. Right now, we are at the crucifixion part of Jesus time on earth. We have thumbed back and forth through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This quote is glaring after spending these first four months of the year walking with Jesus. His ministry was nothing but interruptions. 

Yes, Jesus would choose where they would go next, and he did it at times with urgency. Other times, he surprised the disciples with the odd times he would pause to engage the least likely person in the crowd. The children. The sick. The women. People of questionable ethnicity and morality. 

The longest recorded conversation with Jesus happens with the Samaritan woman at the well. She had many husbands and her current live in arrangement did not include marriage. The Jews saw her as unclean. Even the people in her village raised their eyebrows at her current circumstance, even if they understood that she had experienced a hard and less than perfect life. 

Jesus saw her hurt and met her need. She gave him water from the well, and he gave her the living water of forgiveness, restoration and new life. 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” -John 4:13-14

What she gave him was a temporary fix for his thirst. He gave her redemption, hope and the promise of never being the same. The interruption was the assignment. A gentile woman with a past... but a kind, open heart. He saw her heart and her potential. She started a revival in her town.

"The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him." - Luke 4:28-30

Our plan fo the day may be beautiful, but His is always better. How we adjust for the God-assignments is a choice. Do embrace them and do the work of the Kingdom? Or, do we reject them and proceed with our own plans for the day? Which will bring more joy?

"To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ." -Colossians 1:27-28

Read Luke 4 and savor that Christ declares to the Samaritan woman that he is the Messiah and that he came for all people, not just the Jews. The new covenant would soon be sealed in blood, orchestrated by the church leaders and carried out by the government in charge. 

Again... the interruption was the assignment.  

Today, I will look at interruptions with new eyes and choose gratitude.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Power Portals

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 114: Today, I am grateful for unusual power portals. 

Isn't portal a great word? We don't use it often in general conversation. My mind always goes to science fiction or grand architecture when I hear the word. 

Here is what Mirriam-Webster has to say:
PORTAL: 1) a door, especially a grand or imposing one.2)the whole architectural composition surround and including the doorways an porches of a church 3)the approach or entrance to a bridge or tunnel 4) a communicating part or area of an organism, specifically the point at which something enters the body. 5) a website serving as a guide or pot of entry to the World Wide Web 

I guess portal is used more often than I realized. Look at this great quote:

"You keep thinking that God is going to use you through your strengths, but the portal to His power is your weakness." - Steven Furtick

Just for kicks... read that quote again. Did it take your breath away the second time? It did mine. Because it is a perfect translation for one of my favorite verses:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12:8-10

One of the great struggles for man is reconciling God's goodness with the suffering in this world. Sometimes, God says no to earthly healings when they would interfere with a greater work and His big picture. Sometimes the bad things that happen are sin echoes we didn't cause or control, but as long as we live in this life, we are not exempt from troubles. 

Our Father in heaven loves us as we love our children... and even more. It is a deep, strong, tenacious love that will not give up. In free will, sin happens and consequences arise on this earth. His loved and cherished children will experience trials and sufferings, just as Jesus did in his time here in human flesh. But, this is what he did to reverse, conquer and perhaps even taunt Satan in his efforts to discourage believers who face troubles. He gave us this promise:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   

Today is the third time a scripture has been put before me in one week's time. I've learned that there is usually a reason; I need to pause and consider it. How did Jesus go to the cross, understanding human fear and pain? I don't know that I can truly understand it, but this passage connects so well:

"And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him." -Luke 22:41-43

When we surrender in our weakness, there is a supernatural, mighty God waiting to strengthen us in our weakness. He commands the angels. The same angels who could have rescued him from the cross, strengthened him to endure the suffering, as he fulfilled His mission to rescue us. Talk about "Special Forces". Nails didn't hold him to the cross. Obedience, trust and love kept him there. 

The cross became our portal. Our way to enter into a new reality and new life. A life walking with Him and not running from and rejecting him. The cross is our portal home. Anything that happens in our time here is part of the journey, but it is not our destination. 

Chin up. Adjust your crown or tiara... you are a child of the King. Never forget who you are through him and because of His grace. Our trials and weaknesses on this journey home are power portals. Prayer activates them. Use them often. 

Today, I am grateful for unusual power portals. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Blessings

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 113: Today, I am grateful for a Monday blessing.

Nothing like a blessing to start the week off right. 

"May God give you a burst of energy to tackle the tasks that you need to get done. May He inspire you to turn up the radio and dance in your kitchen. May He fill you with such joy that you suddenly realize just how rich you really are. May He connect you with an old friend and bless you with a new friend. And, may He use you in surprising ways to be a blessing to everyone you meet today. Have a bursting-with-joy day today. -Susan Larson

Some days we simply need to remember we are covered in God's goodness daily. It is in the simple things. 

Bursts of energy... like the kind we have on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons.

Radio... free music with no downloads required or monthly fees. What a concept! Of course, many of our Christian radio stations are listener funded, so don't forget about them when considering where you will tithe this month.  

The ability to dance with joy... not necessarily grace or expertise. What you wear is between you and God. 

"And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod." - 2 Samuel 6:14 

This is a priceless word picture of David. His garment, more like a diaper or underwear, allowed him freedom to move in His dance. He put aside his royal robes and was dancing in delight in the presence of God and the Ark of the Covenant to music. Perhaps it was something he had written. He wasn't dancing naked before the Lord, but it was close. David was expressing his love, delight and humility before God, because he knew God was good. 

When we choose joy, suddenly our vision clears. We see more blessings than trials. We can find the blessings in the trials as they sharpen us for what comes next. This world isn't going to be a cake walk... or even a cookie exchange. No, it is a training ground and a mission field. We are called to go... to love... to make disciples and to seek His heart above our own agendas and desires. 

Who knew it could be an adventure? The answer: The one who chooses joy. To be thankful in ALL circumstances. 

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

Connect with old friends. There is something about old friends. I have been blessed over my lifetime with some of the most precious friends. And, in the past 10 years, I have been given some amazing new friends. Both are precious and add joy to every day. On the days I want to be done with social media and never return, I am reminded that I have reconnected with some childhood favorites and made some amazing new friends. Like anything, it is how we use it or abuse it. 

If Monday seems hard to face, make a decision to seek out and be an unexpected blessing to another soul. It can be as simple as sharing a cup of coffee, a story or a prayer. 

Have a joy filled day. 

One of my favorite quotes of all time embraces choosing joy:

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Live each day as if it were your last.

See you are blessed and be a blessing. 

Today, I am grateful for a Monday blessing.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Invisible Qualities of God

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 112: Today, I am grateful for the invisible qualities of God. 

This week, one of the big stories of the week was Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 making an emergency landing with retired Naval jet fighter pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, piloting the crippled plane to a safe landing. 

The story caught my eye or obvious reasons, but then... they noted that she was a graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene College in Olathe, Kansas. I wanted to know more about her. They noted that she had been on campus in the past year speaking to students about having the courage to break gender barriers and reach for their goals. She certainly did.  

MidAmerica Nazarene's director of alumni relations, Kevin Garber, described her in one article as "solid woman of faith". She served in times of war and peace. She continued to serve in the reserves after leaving active duty. She was known for being well prepared and doing any job she did with excellence. As one paper put it, Tammie Jo Shultz was a hero long before Tuesday's landing of the crippled airplane Southwest flight. 

On Tuesday, when one engine blew, the 737 airplane rolled 41 degrees, and the hole in the cabin created more challenges, including injuring one of the passengers resulting in her death. This from NBC news:

"Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference Wednesday that when the engine failed, the plane began a "rapid, uncommanded left roll" as steep as 41 degrees. The typical maximum is only about 20 degrees, he said, so "it would be alarming."


One article I read had part of the recording of her conversation with the tower in Philadelphia, requesting the emergency landing. I couldn't find it this morning, but last night I listened to it a couple of times. If will leave you speechless. 

Her calm in the midst of the crisis was astounding, but more than that, it was the peace and hope she was able to pour out on the terrified passengers and crew in the midst of the crisis that was extraordinary. Passengers and crew acted heroically to help the injured. The videos passengers posted from the cabin showed courage and again... an otherworldly calm.

Her calm, I believe, was supernatural. She had the best training the US government could provide, but in the moment... she carried the weight of he crisis on her shoulders. Her co-pilot, the crew and the lives of her passengers she held in her hands. I am pretty sure she was counting on the invisible qualities of a mighty God. 

Here is what Captain Shults brother-in-law, Gary Shults, was quoted as saying, "My brother says she's the best pilot he knows. She's a very caring, giving person who takes care of lots of people," he said.

He conversation with the tower, once permission to land was given, turned to injured passengers. She was very clear with the tower that she needed emergency medical help on the plane as soon as they touched down. She spoke with a confidence that never wavered as to whether or not she would safely land the plane. Her first concern were those in need of medical attention. Passengers said Captain Shults walked through hugging and speaking to passengers before they exited.  

The NYTimes had a good article with evidence of the people of faith on board, beyond the pilot. A few prayers were quoted. Wow! Right? 

"It landed gently at around 11:20, and with whoops and applause, the passengers pulled out their cellphones to text and call their families to report that they were all right." 

Many passengers prayed that day. Some prayed in surrender,,  "Thy will be done." Again, the calmness in the cabin was not of this world. People holding hands, praying, preparing, sending last messages to loved ones, but the panic I expected to see is not there. Those tending the injured did CPR until they landed. 

When reflecting on the story, Tammie Jo Shults, she reminded me of Esther. She was "born for such a time as this". God lead her down a path, prepared the way, went before her and was ultimately with her every step of the way. He was her calm. 

"Be still and know I am God." Psalm 46:10

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." - Romans 1:20

The interior of that plane was for a moment... a piece of holy ground, saturated with the prayers and faith of those inside. There were angels unseen and humans loving their neighbors. Yes... I think it was holy ground. 

Today, I am grateful for the invisible qualities of God. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Simple Acts of Obedience

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 111: Today. I am grateful for the life changing power in simple acts of obedience.

When God breathed into Adam... what I like to call the "soul breath" ... he brought to life this amazing creation that was different from the others. Humans... made in His image ... would not be ruled by biological design alone. 

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27

This new creation would be able to intentionally act outside of what was human nature with great intention. This creation could choose to love and be loved. Man could choose to NOT do what came naturally... self denial for a greater purpose. Think about it.  

What comes naturally? To love ourselves, to want what we want .. and to seek our own elevation, fortune and fame in this world. With the gift of free will came choice and responsibility. 

Accompanying our choice was the invitation to walk with God, talk with God and to know him with a naked intimacy that would be amazing and terrifying all at the same time. God gifted it to Adam and then Eve... and every soul He knit has together in the secret place of a mother's womb to grow, know and hunger for Him. 

It is why believers might appear kind of weird, crazy and not quite right. We've tasted the fresh, soul cleansing breath of God's great grace and gift of a new heart and a new life. When Christ fills in the missing piece in our souls, we are whole again. There is a peace and contentment this world cannot really understand. 

What comes next... is entirely our move. We can be saved... but when we surrender in obedience to the will of God ( I grew up calling it sanctification), we never know where "His will" will lead us.

"Great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience." - Steven Furtick

Simple acts of obedience. Not as easy as they sound. Small acts of disobedience can echo beyond the initial wrongdoing and have an echoing impact into future generations. Sin has consequences... even when forgiven. 

One of the things that stands out about Jesus was his unshakeable obedience to the Father's will. His tenacious faithfulness to the heartbeat of the scriptures. Those who hated him constantly tried to "catch him" breaking Old Testament laws, but he would trump their accusations with appropriately applied truths, consistent with scripture, and the nature of God. He did it again and again. Some recognized the Messiah and believed. Others plotted to kill him. He came for a purpose and nothing would interfere keep the will of God from unfolding. 

"God positions you, not according to your preference, but according to His purpose." -Steven Furtick

The night in Gethsemane, Jesus asked if there is another way, but the answer was "no". 

"He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
  Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?  Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[a] unless I drink it, your will be done.”Matthew 26:38-42 (NLT)

So, he knelt in submission, praying "Thy will be done." What would come next would challenge and change everything man had known before and there would be a new covenant sealed in Christ's blood. Talk about obedience. Obedience out of love for God... for you... and for me. 

When God doesn't answer our prayers in the ways we have requested, it does not mean he wasn't listening. He instructs us to ask in Jesus name and we will receive, but we are called to ask according to His will. We must seek Him with our whole hearts. That means prayers can be answered in the oddest way... and at the strangest times. 

God loves to surprise his children. I am sure He smiles when we are struck with awe by the magnitude of his blessings in unexpected ways.  

Do we chase after His heart in the same way we search for the latest and greatest in cell phones, children's toy at Christmas or whatever is currently "on trend"? God isn't a trend. He is the Alpha and Omega.. the beginning, the present and the end. He is timeless and not limited by time. He is awesome in every way. He is so much more than I can begin to find the right words to say. 

Do we savor Him?

Breathe Him in. Read His word. Listen for His voice.Be filled with His Spirit.  Be still and He speaks. But, fasten your seatbelts my friends... it could be a wild and crazy ride. Love and the Outcome sings "The God I Know": 

Until the moment, the second I met Your Love (Oh-oh-ohhh) And then I threw my hands up, worries down. I remember when He showed me how. To break up with my doubt. Once I was lost, but now I'm found. No strings attached, when He saved my soul. I want you to know, the God I know. (Yes... there is a boombox in the video. :) )

Obedience isn't always easy, but it is always worth it. And suddenly, our vision clears and we can see that it was God all along. He never wavered on His promises, ignored or left a prayer unanswered. In obedience, we learn to trust His goodness and his timing. 

Today. I am grateful for the life changing power in simple acts of obedience.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Peace Seekers & Peace Keepers

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 110: Today. I am grateful for the peace seekers and peace keepers.

"Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war." -MLK, Jr.

This is one of the many great quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that we have to help us remember his work, his mission and his heart for peaceful change.

What if the media spent as much time stirring our emotional souls to compassionate acts, selfless helping and elevating those who are doing the right thing... as much as it gives time to what is ugly in the world a platform? Then, we might see the change our hearts long to see.

For every act of hate, there are a thousand acts of kindness. 

Every week children are packing "snack packs" for other children might not have food over the weekend because their friends are caught in homes where poverty and sometimes addiction make life hard and leave their bellies empty. 

Every week there are people who help elderly neighbors and visit shut ins. Some will over cook so they have leftovers to share.

Every week, there are cancer survivors like my sweet friend Marcia who uses her survivorship to take others fighting the battle to treatments. She is a ride, a hug, a beautiful smile and heart full of hope, simply because she is lit from within with Christ's love. 

Every Christmas, children pack shoeboxes to send to children who have almost nothing. What do the send? Here are gift box suggestions: "Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies." 
Yes,  school supplies and hygiene items with a toy for a little joy... will be the best gift ever. Children delight in giving, but they have to be taught.

Every day, there are social workers, health care providers, teachers, foster parents, adoption agencies and social justice organizations that are working with the faith community to serve "the least of these." 

Jesus said... and this is paraphrased:  "Love the Lord, your God with all your might. Love your neighbors.. all of them... at your kitchen table, next door, across town and around the world. Especially, the children, widows and orphans." 

Love God. Love each other. 

Perhaps, peace is a by-product, not an end goal. Don't just "choose peace". Be peace. Be "Commissioners of Peace" who carry the Good News as we seek his face and his way. Serve and protect... and love people so "they might know you are my disciples." 

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” -John 13:35

His love and his peace bring healing and hope to a broken world. What if we turned off the media the minute it turned negative? 

Today. I am grateful for the peace seekers and peace keepers.