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Showing posts from March, 2018

Here Comes Easter!

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What comes to your mind at Easter time? I wish I had a more spiritual answer but my first thought today is about those Reese’s peanut butter eggs that only surface during this season. Oh my goodness they are good! I don’t buy them anymore because I can eat an entire package of 6 and, well, I just don’t want to die! My mom likes those colorful little marshmallow birds they call PEEPS. She even likes them best when they are stale! And the song for this season, if I recall, said something about a rabbit named Peter Cottontail who was hopping down a trail for bunnies. It was a sign that Easter was on its way. Better yet, he was bringing every girl and boy, baskets full of Easter joy! Isn’t this what Easter is all about? Seriously, I think we all know that it's not about the bunny. Easter is about Jesus…God’s only son, who died for our sins, so that we could be reconnected with the very One in whose image we were created. It’s about surrendering our lives to Jesus so that they can be al…

Walking Through the Valleys

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Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me
I've been focused on speaking two words each and every time I face uncertain or impending danger…”fear not”. Someone once said that there were at least 365 "fear nots" in the Bible. That's one for every day of the year! For me it's simple and easy to remember when I start to feel uneasy. Since most of us face some seasons of drought and difficulty, we must find a way to survive the “valley” experiences.  In the KJV version of Psalm 23, this verse reads like this: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death". What jumps out at me in that phrase is "through the valley". I take great comfort in knowing that you and I don't get stuck in trouble. We won't stay in the valleys. We are walking THROUGH the valleys! These tough seasons will pass and we will come out better for the wear on the other side because God is with us!
If the path seem…

A Bowlful of Water

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Judges 6:36 Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said."38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Isn't this like most of us... "bargaining" with the Lord? God if you will do this for me, I'll serve you forever! I'll do some things for my church if you will (put your request here). For Gideon, it was a bowlful of water that changed everything...for a minute. He then went on to ask God prove himself again and reverse the process: to make the wool dry and the ground wet! Can't you just see the smile on the face of God? This could have been the first use of the term..."really"? Walking in faith requires you and I to simply trust and obey...l…

Strong, Stable and Resilient

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Isaiah 42:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be burned;  the flames will not set you ablaze. This verse has some great meaning to us as we get ready for Palm Sunday. One of the most notable characteristics of the palm tree is that they have the ability to bend and not break. In fact there are many instances where hurricane type winds have nearly touched the top of the tree to the ground yet it refuses to break.  The words of Isaiah speak to the resiliency of the believer today. Rivers of opposition may come. Floods of difficulty may rise. The heat could get very intense. But never ever forget: the Lord is with you and that means you will never get swept away and you will not be burned.  You were made like the mighty palm. This weekend as you think about those branches during your churches Palm Sunday service, let them remind you of your inner strength and o…

The First Step to Recovery

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1 Samuel 30:4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.  Have you ever had one of those seasons in life when nothing turns out the way you thought it would? You've prayed, you've confessed every good thing and maintained positive thoughts and still...nothing! What do you do when you feel surrounded by discouragement in every way? I go back to read this story of David in 1 Samuel. He came back from doing what God gifted him to do only to find his home burned down and his family kidnapped. Can you imagine that? Expecting a home cooked meal and some great companionship only to find ashes and devastation. And what did David do? What was the first step to recovery? He encouraged himself in the Lord. Think about that for a moment. You cannot always depend on other people. The boss may not have a positive word for you. Your family may not know how to approach you in the state you are in. We need to know how to pick…

The Difficulty of Change

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TRANSITIONS are so difficult. Change can hurt and change CAN help! Transitions are nothing new and they happen ALL the time. Often they are out of your control. Here's a little excerpt from my book, TRANSITIONS: Grace to Navigate the Storms of Change, for all of us that are in the midst of some type of change.


"The fact of the matter is that this transition process began the moment you did! Think about your experience in leaving the womb and entering the world. You did not ask to have that happen at that particular time. God set it up. Youmay have done some kicking and punching during that period but God was in control. He put a nine month timetable together that may not be etched in stone, but gives us a good idea of how long it takes to “get it together”. After that designated time period, the process pushed you out. It was due season. It was yourmoment and the first thing that happened when you were pushed out is that you got slapped! Right there on your tiny behind! In t…

March Gladness

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No it's not a typo! This is not an article about Bracketology and College Basketball. It's my prayer for this spring to be a season of joy and gladness. I must confess that I am a huge College sports fan and I do get joy out of this time of year! As I was reading Philippians 2 in the Message Bible, I began to see some great suggestions for living a life filled with joy. See if you can pick some of them out…
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
So many things to ponder today! Be agreeable, loving, and deeply inve…

Dealing with Discouragement

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So is there a way to take COURAGE out of disCOURAGEment? Can the pattern be broken and this disease be cured? Let’s counter the four causes with four remedies that can help us be strong and courageous.
Rest: Combat fatigue with rest…something that calms you. The most spiritual thing you can do when you’re tired is rest. Jesus said, come to me if you are weary and I will give you rest. Rest is not always an end to activity but often an exchange of activities. Exchange the things that weary you with some things that will refresh you.
Reorganize: You can eliminate the frustration of being overwhelmed by putting things in order…first things first…one thing at a time. Discouragement doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing the wrong thing…maybe you are doing the right thing the wrong way. Try another approach…shake things up a bit. Start little, one space at a time, one pile on the desk…and keep going!
Remember: You take the punch out of fear by remembering God and how he has shown up for other…

Discouragement

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Is discouragement a disease? Can it be cured? Discouragement can show up in many ways in our lives. Sometimes it manifests as depression. The question is how can we pull courage out of the discouragement? Let me offer some ways discouragement gets access to our lives so we can begin to close the gaps.
Fatigue: When you are tired and drained emotionally, you are a sure target for the infection known as discouragement. During fatigue your immune system is weakened, your defenses are low and things always look a lot worse than they are. You see this when you get half way through a major project and lose steam. When you feel fatigue, you’ll lose the intrigue. Frustration: There is nothing worse than seeing tasks pile up and having that overwhelmed feeling. It’s natural to feel this way. When trivial things show up and interrupt you and prevent you from accomplishing what you really need to do, your frustration can easily produce discouragement. When there’s frustration, there’s no elation. Fe…

Two is Better

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Sometimes I am guilty of going off by myself to try and figure things out. Especially when I was younger I would alienate myself from other people in hopes that just being by myself could produce the answers that I was seeking. Often what happened was that I stayed confused about the situation and grew lonely in the process. We were not made to be lone rangers! In fact, things will always go better when you team up with others. When Jesus sent out the disciples to do the work of the ministry he sent them in two's. Why? Perhaps this verse in Ecclesiastes can explain... 4:9Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-…

Stay at Home King

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In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.  But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1  David stayed home. Yes, a stay at home King. Kings were supposed to go off and lead their troops in battle during the spring. Kings were supposed to be out in front of trouble. Kings were supposed to be with their troops. King David stayed home. What happened next was devastating. It was during this idle season that David found himself gazing at the neighbors wife and well, the downward spiral was awful. David wrecked himself, the family he betrayed and brought horrific consequences to his own family. There are always consequences for bad behavior.  Today's story makes me think about all of those harmful things that I've experienced in my life when I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being out of balance, out of position and out of line always leads to…

IN5PIRE Me!

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Inspire me! What does it mean to be inspired? It means to be lifted to a higher level. I have an internal desire to be lifted higher in some way each and every day! There are just so many things and people pulling me down that I crave a little lift all the time! I think we all need to find places of inspiration and ways to be inspired. When our spirits are up, our energy and productivity increases too. Finding inspiration can be a challenge. Here's "5" ways that I find a little lift that might be useful for you too.

1-turn on your favorite music and spend a few moments sitting and listening with your eyes closed.
2-write down something that you would like to see in you...maybe a characteristic or an emotion. Sometimes you have to see it to be it.
3-find some folks that do what you want to do and have coffee or lunch together. Being in the presence of folks that are doing what you want to do can energize you and ignite your passion too.

4-take a walk without your headphon…

Joyful, Patient, and Faithful

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Joyful, Patient and Faithful? That's a tall order. And at the same time?

JOYFUL IN HOPE
How can I possibly be joyful- my job is changing and my income is being cut in half. And have you seen the news? How can I be full of joy? You must read the entire phrase…BE JOYFUL IN HOPE. You would never be expected to be thrilled by disappointing news but when you lean into Christ…when you exchange your weakness and humanity for his strength and divinity…there will be a change. It might not be in your circumstances but there will be a change in YOU! Christ IN YOU is the HOPE of glory. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I frame my thinking with the understanding that Christ is in control and no matter what it may look like to me, He is all that I need in the trouble. That empowers me for the next part…
PATIENT IN AFFLICTION Nobody wants pain to last a long time. There isn’t a person I know who prays for more challenges! Since patience is built from the trying…