Friday, August 31, 2018

Prayer Power

Year 6 - Day 243: Today, I am grateful for the power of prayer.

There was another crazy miracle this week in my little world. A friend of mine is an amazing, internationally recognized musical talent. His eardrum burst two weeks ago. Hearing is essential to what he does every day... at work and beyond work hours. He has praying people in his life. 

When he saw the ENT this week, the very rupture that they told him might heal in 6-8 weeks showed that it healed in two. Two! God's timing is so often slow and perfect... I forget to celebrate when he is fast to the rescue. Only divine intervention could have made that happen. 

My friend is able to fulfill his commitments and his story is a testimony to the power of prayer. Prayer is serious business. I wonder how many around him who will be impacted by his miracle. He is so grateful and excited to be restored. He is awed by God's hand in the mix. 

It reminds me of the War Room movie. How I adore the character of Miss Clara. She is bold and on the verge of what the world might call crazy, but get out of her way. The movie is a powerful reminder that prayer is our first line of defense in any war against the enemy. It should never be a last resort. 

" for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. -Ephesians 5:14-15

When God answers our prayers, large or small, do we claim it, name it and proclaim it? Daily gratitude has taught me so much about his faithfulness. He hears and answers those who seek him not with a shopping list, but with a heart seeking to know His will and His way.

 He answers prayers. Not always as we hoped, but always with our best in mind. When His plans line up with our hopes and dreams, we need to celebrate!

Name it. Claim it. Proclaim it! 

We can rise up to fully live in the power of a risen Savior who cares about our every hurt, wound and woe. He longs for us to invite him along for the daily journey. We are never alone when we can pray. We are never stronger than when he comes to our aid. And, we can pray with and for each other. 

He inhabits the praise of those who seek his face and find answers and hope. His ways are not our ways... they are better. When his ways are bold and amazing in earth time, we can't forget to bow our heads in gratitude and lift our hearts, voices and hands in praise.

You become dangerous to the enemy when you are fully awake to God. -Lisa Bevere

Be prayerful. Be dangerous. Name, claim and proclaim the victories. The war is far from over. I love this promise: "Christ will give you light.” Sometimes, the light is a result of answered prayers. 

Today, I am grateful for the power of prayer.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sump Pumps

Year 6 - Day 242: Today, I am grateful for sump pumps.

We've had a hard fast rain yesterday. The kind that comes with flash flood warnings. In the Midwest... the land of tornados... we have basements. Our sump pumps keep them dry when things get wet.

The fresh, cool water is welcome, but when it comes too hard, too fast and too much at once, it is overwhelming and can cause flooding. Sump pumps are another mechanical servant that receive little gratitude. Some of us even have a backup battery for the sump, in case the power fails in the rainstorm. Sump pumps make a difference.

Our goofy dog Sandy was a Cocker Spaniel mix. Did you ever have an aunt that was kind of grumpy but you loved her like crazy because her unique personality was who she was. She called things as she saw them and that was that? If Sandy were a human, she would be just that personality. She wasn't warm and fuzzy, but she was loyal and well mannered around the house. She didn't make messes, but she wasn't a big lover or cuddler. That silly dog was in love with the sump pump. I am not kidding.

Sandy would lay by the sump pump and wait for it to come on during a storm. She didn't like thunder, but the sump pump wooed her to its side. Randy used to think I was kidding, until he witnessed it himself. The dog didn't really care for other dogs or most people, but she was devoted to the sump pump when it would start to sing her a love song. Crazy? That was Sandy.

A working sump takes so much stress out of the storm experience. We trust it to do the job it was created to do.

Trust. It grows as we come through each storm with a dry basement.

Now, our Lord is far greater than a sump pump. We can trust him through the storms. With each storm we walk through, our trust grow. Now, sump pumps can fail... but Jesus never fails. He might not always answer as we wish, but his faithful presence is always with us. We need only seek His face.

Jesus is better than a sump pump. Sump pumps can fail. Jesus never fails.
Psalm 63:8 says:

I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. -Psalm 63:8

He doesn't fail or run out of power.

Still, every time the storm passes, I am grateful for a dry basement... and the sump pump that holds back the waters.

Today, I am grateful for sump pumps.

Still, every time the storm passes with a dry basement...

Today, I am grateful for sump pumps.


Year 6 - Day 241: Today, I am grateful for paperclips!

Every once in awhile, my gratitude turns to office supplies. Those who know me best are well aware of my joy when I enter a creative place like Michaels, Joanns or Hobby Lobby. When my Jill was alive, she always gladly went with me to any of "my stores" them without complaint. There were two places she drew the line. Book stores... and office supply stores like Office Max. If we did go, it was on a strict time limit with children pick up times hanging in the balance. 

Yes... office supply stores are a place I can wander with wonder for hours. Pens... papers... cardstock... adhesives and paperclips! 

Pens we have celebrated... but what about the humble, reliable paperclip? It keeps my stuff together without any holes or damage to the item. When school starts and ends, I go through boxes! 
My favorites are the ones with the protective color coating, but the inexpensive ones around the office are perfect partners in organization when items need to be sorted, stacked and kept together. 

A paperclip has the ability to hold a few pieces of paper, but it adjusts when the pile grows. There is always the opportunity to move to a bigger clip when needed. 

In the joyful, creative, worshipful world of Bible Journaling, we use them to bookmark pages. They are adorable with a little fabric ribbon. Who knew the ordinary could be so extraordinary?

I checked... this is a FIRST time gratitude. We are two-thirds of the way through the sixth year and I've neglected this faithful office supply. 

I am reminded of the many times our Lord is faithful, even when we neglect the ways he holds are days together. When we are a mess, He is is the order. When we are falling apart, He holds us together. I've never compared His goodness to a paperclip, but I have been remiss. It is an easy analogy. 

His faithful ways are like a paperclip. Now what scripture works with that? I didn't have a clue! That is when I always pray, "Give me what you've got..."... and then look up my verse of the day. Ready for this? I wasn't. You are going to get chills, too. 

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:28

It is Christ that holds us together. We are different... like the many things I might gather and hold together with my paperclips. We are all one in Christ. He wins, again! I won't add a thing. 

Today, I am grateful for paperclips!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Simple Wisdom

Year 6 - Day 240: Today, I am grateful for simple wisdom. 

Growing up with quips and quotes was a part of my childhood. My roots are a mixture of immigrant Swedish farmers mixed in with some German determination and a sprinkle of this and that. 

With ethnicity, often comes a certain view of the world or way of bringing into focus to a particular situation. Accurate or inaccurate, it is what we believe. With maturity comes the ability to step back and adjust the view with less emotion and more information. Simple wisdoms become more clear.

These old sayings are rich in simple wisdom that helped us cope, persist, press on and grow. There was a saying, quip or quote for so many life situations. It was a precious part of my education that started before the more formal experience of school. 

"The early bird gets the worm." "Don't dish it out if you can't take it." 
"Cicadas are humming... 6 weeks to frost."
“When the dew is on the grass, Rain will never come to pass. When grass is dry at morning light, Look for rain before the night.” 
“Red sky in morning, sailors give warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight.” 

Many were weather related, because my people farmed and back then, we didn't have much for predicting the weather that was accurate, except watching nature's signals. Simple wisdom was in the wind. 

I love simple wisdoms applied to living with others. 

Here is a simple truth, perfectly spoken: "If your belief allows you to mistreat, you are guilty of misbelieving as well as misbehaving." - Andy Stanley 

Such a great quote. What we believe allows us to mistreat others.. we have missed the message of the gospel.  Love God the most and everybody else, always. That is the gospel. Jesus is our advocate, our redeemer and the Holy Spirit encourages and guides. 

"Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”Luke 10:26-28

Does what I believe allow me to mistreat? Do I put up walls of judgement and draw a circle that shuts out those sincerely seeking Christ. I hope not, but it happens. I love Andy Stanley's quote. It is a great measuring stick of our faith, love and grace. 

Today, I am grateful for simple wisdom.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Stand Up

Year 6 - Day 239: Today, I am grateful for for those who stand up for others. 

"Laying down our lives means standing up for someone else's." - Bob Goff

The world is full of bullies. Some are intentional and others are simply used to getting their way and intend to keep it that way. Some are the face of evil that is alive and busy in our global community. 

Slavery has never been completely eradicated from the planet.  Human trafficking is something we are more concerned with because of recent awareness campaigns and organizations seeking to rescue, recover and restore the lives of those caught up in the trade. 

Bob Goff (author of Love Does and Love, Always) is active with mission work in Uganda and has seen first hand what it means to lay down one's life for another. Along with young people wrongly imprisoned on false accusations, the human trafficking is another real problem. Still, we don't have to go to Uganda.

In our communities, we have our police officers, firefighters and military reserve posts always ready to jump in to serve when a situation develops where injustice shows its ugly face. We don't have to go to a far away place to find opportunities to lay down our lives for another. 

One of the things I loved about growing up "country"... is that when a neighbor had a crisis, the entire community jumped in to help. If a farm family received a cancer diagnosis, neighbors would make sure the crop was planted or harvested. We knew our neighbors and they knew us. Help was never far away. 

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.-John 5:13 

Our military families face separation and danger to protect and serve.  Our community peacekeepers walk a dangerous line every day. Domestic disputes are without a doubt the most dangerous house calls for our police. Our firefighters run in when everyone else runs out of a burning building. The anniversary of 9/11 is close. 

Today, I am grateful for for those who stand up for others. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Plans & Purpose

Year 6 - Day 238: Today, I am grateful for plans and a purpose.

You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail. -Proverbs 19:21

Today marks 23 years since that last breath on earth and first breath of heaven for my little sister, April. She was not quite 28. She died 14 days before her wedding day... in her sleep... from an undiagnosed heart defect while stationed at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa. That is the short story version.

I will never forget our last phone conversation. Mama, Missy and I had found the bridesmaids dresses and the coolest hats to go with them. The wedding was going to take place on the farm. The only home she ever knew before leaving home. It was a special place, and after so many months away in the Air Force... it seemed the perfect place to get married. Our family farm was her roots, her safe place, faith building and the place where she grew her wings.

I remember our last conversation. I just happened to be at Mom and Dad's when April called from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa. The story makes me smile.

Mama Ina Mae loves "Gone With The Wind" era clothing. She was thrilled that April wanted to wear her wedding dress... the same one worn by Grandma Opal Maxine. April would have been the third generation to wear its simple, elegant lines in satin.

Mama decided she would "fluff it up a bit". Now, there were some poofy wedding gowns in the mid-1990's, but Scarlett O'Hara was Mama's vision and not April's style. I remember Mama's sketch of the updates on the dining room table. "Just a few alterations.", she said. I remember pleading, "Please, do not touch that dress until you talk to April." Then, April called. Serendipity or God wink? (I know what I know.) His hand is in the details.

We talked. We laughed. We caught up. We declared Mama's gown perfect "as is" with minor age repairs... and then we shared our last words...  "I love you. See you soon." For her... in heaven's time... that may be true, but for me, 23 years feels like a long time.

There are some things that make no sense from our earthly perspective. I know that losing her gave me new eyes on sibling grief for my days at St. Jude. I know that it was the biggest test of my faith in the first 30 years of my life. I know that her big heart, painted art, beautiful smile, twinkling eyes and generous, loving spirit are woven into the fabric of the lives of all who knew her. Those who knew her best remember her tendencies to forget things, to be late and her messy ways, too. The things once a source of irritation, now make us smile.

Love never dies or is replaced... it just lives in a different space.

Just recently, I heard a new simple definition of grief. "Grief is love with nowhere to go." So, when grief is directed and turned into something positive, there is healing. Let me be clear. When faced with big losses in life, we don't get over it... we get through it. The process is unique to every person... in response to their personal loss. There are some similarities in the process, but each one feels loss uniquely. On the other side of the darkest days, there is hope, light and even new laughter.

When we can't understand His hand weaving the tapestry of our days... we step out in faith to trust his heart. We don't know the impact of April's short life, but God does. We did hear some special stories of her "salt and light" while far away from home. She was fearless in loving others... even when it left some wounds. She tended others who were hurting.

"We can make many plans... but the Lord's purpose will prevail". Perhaps, the best way to live by making plans, but in pencil... so that we can offer our days up to his purpose. We can live our lives as a daily, living sacrifice.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.12:1bOr This is your spiritual worship; or This is your reasonable service.

As I reflect... 23 years later... I still miss her. But the longing is more for the reunion than a lament that it happened. Her loss reshaped my heart. It grew my sense of empathy and compassion for others who are grieving. I know that the reunion will be sweet.

Today, I will picture her in heaven... in a big kitchen with a big, farmhouse table. Uncle Mel has recently arrived. She is serving up shortbread cookies, chocolate chip, Grandma's Pride of Iowa (maybe Jill is helping with these, as she loved making them, too) and whatever warm beverage is preferred. In heaven... I am pretty sure there are no burnt cookies or baking fails.

On this August 26th... we still may not completely understand his plan, but we are confident in His purpose. It is a promise to work all things work together for good. He is a big picture God and our stories are a part of his big story of love and redemption.

Today, I am grateful for His plans with a purpose.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Air Conditioning

Year 6 - Day 237: Today, I am grateful for air-conditioning. 

This is on my once a year list. I skip it some years, but this weekend as the temperatures heat up again to the nineties... I find I am done with summer. I long for the crisp evenings of autumn and we had a little teaser the other night. 

The muggy feeling is thick. The kind where you stick to your seat and the heat is rising in tomorrows forecast. In my heart, I know that in winter I will long for these hot days, but today, I am done with summer. 

Like the Israelites in the desert years, I want comfort and what I perceive to be safety. Like them, I might jump on the complain train if it goes by. I might even start it heading down the track. I try not to be that person, but some days... I am. 

Here is one of my favorite passages from "The Desert Years". Moses is frustrated with the people who after crossing the Red Sea on dry land, watching the Egyptian Army drown and being fed manna from heaven... they find reason to complain. They want meat. Moses's response to God is priceless. 

And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? 12 Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? 13 Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ -Numbers 11:11-13 

"Did I give birth to them?" In other words, "They are your whining, complaining children. Not mine!" That Moses has a close enough relationship with God to speak to him that way is priceless; he isn't struck dead. 

I should be grateful for the extended summer, that the furnace isn't necessary and the grass is still green. 

Today, I am grateful for air-conditioning. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Flipped Thinking

Year 6 - Day 236: Today, I am grateful for flipped thinking. 

Wrapping our heads around the hard thing in front of us is not always easy. Everyone faces something tough if they take enough turns around our pretty blue planet. Life is full of trials and woes.

Not every hard thing we face is life threatening... but most of them demand a choice with regards to fear. Fear is crippling. When we step out in faith, fear loses its grip. Its power wanes. 

"People don't choose to be courageous, the just decide not to be afraid any more." -Bob Goff 

Is it really that simple? I know it is easier when you know that God is with you. Trust and faith go together. They are love in action. 

Jesus flipped our thinking when he spoke of children as valuable, wise examples of faith. He spoke value into the life of a penniless widow. He praised Mary for choosing to learn at the rabbi's feet, a place traditionally for men only. He said, "Come" and Peter walked on water. He spoke and the storm settled, with the winds and waves obeying his command. He made death a door. He made an instrument of torture... designed for death... a symbol of love, forgiveness, hope and life. Flipped thinking!

Fear is a human, gut level response. Faith is a Jesus toting, tempest taming adventure. Did Bob get it just right? Courage isn't a valiant choice... it is a firm, faith-founded decision to no be afraid. I like his flipped thinking. 

Satan wants us to live on the edge of fear. Jesus promises us he is with us. If we go over the edge, he will be our wings.  He is our enough. We can savor the knowledge that he hears our prayers and his hand holds us.

"I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!"-Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)  

Because he bends down to listen... we can choose to not be afraid. We can love without fear of rejection. We can stand with the oppressed. We can raise from the ashes with hope. I cannot get that Nicole Nordeman song "Burnin'" out of my head. (Earworm keeps singing it.)

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.  By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. -Hebrews 11:32-36 (NLT) 

It goes back to a saying I once heard. "The question isn't "How big is your battle?" The question is "How big is your God?" It is the flip without the flop, because he never fails to walk with us, when we invite him along.

Today, I am grateful for flipped thinking. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Non-Slip Shoes

Year 6 - Day 235: Today, I am grateful for non-slip shoes.

I love shoes. I always have. I remember some favorite pairs from childhood like old friends. Some are cute. Some are comfortable. The best ones are both. When the weather is wet, I am always reminded of the value of non-slip shoes. Tile and other smooth, glossy surfaces can be dangerous when you add unexpected patches of water.

For those who hike on steep terrains, the value of non-slip shoes is not lost. An excellent day can depend on the right pair of comfortable, non-slip shoes. 

Life is full of slick floors and steep terrains, but we have a God who is close when danger is near. 
"I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." - Psalm 94:18-19 (NLT)

Supported by His love, we can take on the day. He gave us freedom, the power and the good sense to choose the right pair shoes. His love wraps us in comfort and renews our hope and cheer. We can be fearless.

Today, I am grateful for non-slip shoes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Picture Perfect

Year 6 - Day 234: Today, I am grateful for the perfect picture. 

I've shared this quote before, but I love it so much, you will see it repeated. I love it because it comes from one of my favorite memories of Jesus captured in the gospels. 

Any time He calms a storm or walks on water, I cannot help but smile and be reassured that this God who loves us ... and longs for us to love Him back...  is very real and very close. 

Peace doesn’t come from  finding a lake with no storms. It comes from having Jesus in the boat. -John Ortberg

Our nephew, niece and great-nephew live on Maui. Melinda loves taking pictures, too. She sees with an artist's eye. LOOK at this image she captured. The light shining through the clouds. The tiny sailboat dwarfed by what I believe is a US Navy ship. What an amazing capture Melinda, and she always shares when I ask. 

It is as if the light of love is shining down. It doesn't matter how big the waves are when the big ship goes by... our God has us covered. His Spirit is with us. No matter what. No matter when. No matter where. 

That big ship is out there to protect and serve in the big picture story, oblivious to the waves it creates for the smaller vessel in shared waters. There is a big picture story, but when our little chapters are full of rocking and thrashing at sea, it is easy to let fear take over. 

Jesus always whispers "Peace. Be still." We can sleep, because we have Jesus in the boat. 

Today, I am grateful for the perfect picture. (Thanks, Melinda for sharing!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Choice Of What To Wear

Year 6 - Day 233: Today, I am grateful for the choice of "what to wear".

Do I have too many choices in my closet? Probably. I have abundance, but frequently have "nothing to wear". Have you been there? 

I am reminded of the importance of choosing what we put on each day in our attitudes and actions. 

"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace." -Ephesians 4:2-3

What do we chose? Can we wear them all. Some days it is a battle, as human desires try to surface and strangle the Spirit led walk with Christ. Jesus disciples knew the struggle. Are we any different. 

On Sunday, I had the pure pleasure of morning coffee with my little brother and then my niece joined us, too. We are morning people. We didn't solve the world's problems, but the discussion is always enjoyable. While turning over the state of the culture, the state of the world and this moment in time, we agreed that times change with the culture and trends, but people are people. The basic needs don't really change. 

We need food, shelter, clothing... and for Jesus to fill the missing piece in our hearts that gives us peace in even the toughest times. Power, fortune, money and fame don't fit. So many reject Him, fearing what they will "have to give up" if they choose Christ. Peter, James, John and Andrew walked away from thriving businesses. Others saw the price as "too high". Others, Jesus used as they worked their trade. He made their profession their mission field. His call is as unique on each of our lives. 

We can learn to listen and choose "what to wear." 



Against these things, the world has no complaint. We can live in it, but not be owned by the cultural whims of this time and place. Our citizenship is elsewhere. On the tough days, remember.. we are only passing through. Dress for the day.. but the feast is ahead. Stay focused. 

Today, I am grateful for the choice of "what to wear".

Monday, August 20, 2018

Blooms After The Wait

Year 6 - Day 232: Today, I am grateful for the blooms that come after the waiting.

Fresh flowers are abundant right now. The summer is nearly spent... or at least that is what the calendar says. Are you drawn to flowers, too. 

"Perhaps the reason you are dawn to flowers is not only for their outer beauty, but because they remind you that beautiful thing swill bloom after seasons of waiting." -Morgan Harper Nichols

The best garders have flowers that bloom at different times to keep their garden "in bloom" from spring's first buds to summer's last kiss of color. They are the ones who keep watering and nurturing when others grow weary or bored with the battle against the heat, critters and other threats to the flower that has not yet bloomed.I admire these gardeners. I am not one of them. 

Patience and persistence are a part of gardening. Some find it soul food and relaxing. I appreciate the work of their hands. I savor every bouquet that ends up on the table. Fresh flowers lift our spirits. When we purchase them at the height of their glory, we forget that they endured the waiting season. 

When Jesus spoke it was always interesting. Sometimes he told stories to make his point or used things in nature to drive his point home. Look at this verse: 

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! -Luke 12:27-28

It is a verse to remind us not to worry or fret. It reminds us to look at the flowers and see His hand. It reminds us to trust God's timing and his ways. It challenges us to trust his heart. Yes... I love this verse for it's poetic beauty and for the way it points to a God who cares about the tiniest details in our lives. He is good. Even when none of it makes sense from Earth's vantage point... He is still good.

The flowers trust Him. So can we. 

Today, I am grateful for the blooms that come after the waiting. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Power Passages

Year 6 - Day 231: Today, I am grateful power passages.

Some passages in the scriptures pack a punch. They are simple, clear and help us sort through the chaos of daily living. 

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8

The prophet, in this passage, is giving fair warning about the consequences of right and wrong. He lays out their previous sins and poor choices; he prophesied some of the trials ahead, if they continue to do what they want, instead of what is good and right in the eyes of God. 

Do the right thing. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. Sounds easy, but there are so many things that get in the way. Simple, powerful reminders help us find and keep "the ancient path." 

Make a quick list of your favorite power passages. Write them on your heart and keep them close. They are the good stuff. 

Today, I am grateful power passages.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

People Who Care

Year 6 - Day 230: Today, I am grateful for people who care "a whole awful lot." 

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. " - The Lorax

My cousin Larry... one we adore... posted this image today, and it seemed perfect for this late Saturday post. Things get better when people care. Care enough to listen... to pause and take in the whole picture... and then move when it is time to move. 

It is easy to watch the news and be saddened by the state of the world. It is reflective to say, "I wish I could do something." It is God honoring when we look for the places we can go and begin to make a difference. 

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." - James 1:29

Caring for orphans and widows is an instruction to look for the good we can do and do it. It is amazing how good it feels to be in the middle of a movement or even part of a team packing school kits that will be sent around the world for students who would have no school supplies. There is good that can be done right here and right now. 

Someone far wiser than me once said, "If you aren't a part of the solution, you are part of the problem." Apathy is real. I am blessed to know so many who do their best to be part of the solution. Not just in big, public ways... but in their daily walk with Christ. 

Today, I am grateful for people who care "a whole awful lot."