Don’t Miss the Opportunity!

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The volume and energy level in this house is about to increase dramatically.  The grandkids are coming to spend a couple days with Mimi & Poppi.  All the junk that had been thrown in the spare bedrooms has been taken care of.  The snack cupboard has been filled with lots of treats.  More water guns have been added to the pool ammunition.

convertible rideAnd Poppi has the convertible ready to go – one child at a time to a special treat destination of their choice.  And of course, Poppi might get lost along the way causing the ride to be longer.  And for the little ones, Poppi will be sure to point out the flying monkeys that he sees.

Having fun with our grandkids is the best!  I love their laughter. I love hearing their stories and jokes.  I love listening in on their conversations with each other.  I listen for my own enjoyment but I also listen for another reason.  I listen for an opportunity.

I have spent time this week thinking about each grandchild – their likes, their dislikes, their spirit, their personality, their concerns.  I have spent time this week praying for each grandchild.  And now I will listen for an opportunity to share my faith with each grandchild.  I’m not talking about sharing the gospel, or a Bible story or quoting a Bible verse.  I’m talking about a very comfortable, hardly- even noticeable opportunity where I can drop a little idea about doing life with Jesus into their bucket.

Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, had sincere faith that they shared with Timothy.  I want to share my faith with my grandkids.  This can be done a million different ways but one of the best ways is to simply share what God has done for me as I do life with Him.

Moms and grandmoms, the summer has begun.  Diligently look and pray for opportunities to share Jesus with your kids and grandkids.  Shape their thoughts. Make the most of this opportunity!  You’ll blink twice and the summer will be gone.  And if your kids are in school, someone else will be shaping their thoughts.

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I Don’t Know!

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Because I love hearing what little ones are thinking, I asked my little group of 3-5 year olds what they knew about Jesus.  I barely got the question out of my mouth, when little Aliyah said rather loudly and proudly, “Not much!”

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If I asked you what you know about Jesus, what would you say?  Would you list off what you know or would you admit that you don’t know much and have much more to learn?

What if I asked you a different question?  What if I asked you how much grace and peace you are experiencing today?

Do you know that knowledge is directly correlated to the amount of grace and peace in your life?  2 Peter 1:2 explains that our knowledge of God & Jesus multiplies our grace and peace.  The word ‘knowledge’ in this verse is not merely factual knowledge.  It is experiential knowledge.  It is knowledge that is put to use.  It is knowledge that is acted upon.

  • Mere head knowledge produces arrogance.  1 Corinthians 8:1
  • Experiential knowledge produces love.  2 Peter 1:7

We could easily spend a week looking at the first eleven verses of 2 Peter to see how this experiential knowledge unfolds in our daily lives.  Peter explains it so clearly.  Peter, the one who denied Christ, learned how to do life with Jesus.  And he wanted to be sure others knew how to do the same before he died.   2 Peter 1:14

We only choose to do life with Jesus when we realize we ‘don’t know’.  Today, acknowledge you ‘don’t know’. Choose to spend some time learning from God’s word and then put it into practice.  Your life will be richer for it.

Do life with Jesus today!

The Sting of Past Hurts

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Doing life with Jesus every day is so down to earth and practical. That’s one reason it is a must for me.

Yesterday, my husband asked me a question about something. For him, it was just an innocent question. For me, it was a question that brought to mind some past hurts and I felt the sting all over again.

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Past hurts can cause present pain. I wish that was not the case. I wish I was completely over it. And the fact that I’m not completely over it, also bothers me.

I opened the Word of God this morning. I wanted some grace. I needed some grace.

1 Peter 5:5-11 was part of my reading today. It was the very grace I needed. It reminded me to clothe myself in humility and to cast my cares on the One who cares about me and for me. It reminded me to stay firm in believing God has my best interest at heart. It reminded me that God is at work in me. He will perfect me, confirm me, strengthen me and establish me because He is the God of all grace.

So I will do life with Jesus today. I won’t try to do life by myself. I will continue to trust Him with my heart. I will ask Him for His help. I know His grace will be sufficient for me.

What are you struggling with today? Don’t try to do life in your own strength. Do life with Jesus today.

It’s Not about You!

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My life is not turning out the way I thought it was going to.  Is yours?

Yes, I make choices that impact my life.  But as an almost ’60something’, I realize so much of this crazy thing called ‘life’ is beyond my control.  Sometimes things turn out the way I expect and other times, I’m completely baffled.

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Psalm 139 clearly states that God has a specific plan for my life. He knows my beginning, my ending and everything in between.  He knows my thoughts and my words even before I say them.  He knows where I am going and what I am doing.  He knows what I am planning to do today and He knows what He has planned for me today.  And somehow in His Godness, He takes my choices and writes the story of my life – the very life He designed for me even before I was born.

We see this same principle in the life of so many Bible characters.  They made choices. Others made choices that impacted them.  And God used it all to write His story!

  • Joseph and his brothers
  • Moses and his parents
  • Rahab and the spies
  • Esther and her people

And the list could go on and on.

God is writing His own story!  He is the main character in each and every story!

It’s not about me.  It’s not about you. It’s about Him!

Some might say this diminishes our life story.  I would argue that it elevates it. We are all part of something bigger and grander than ourselves. We are part of His amazing story. The more we embrace this truth, the more we experience rich meaning and lasting purpose in life.

So when my life doesn’t turn out the way I thought it was going to, I remember I am part of His story.  He is the Author.  He is writing His story and I’m honored to be part of it.

 

Hearts Before Hands

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Photo taken by my son, Matthew Rockwell, after the Nepal earthquake.  His compassion has moved him to form Nepal Grassroots Recovery.  Check it out on Facebook.

You have a tender heart. You see a need and take action.  You have compassion.

You have a closed heart. You see a need BUT take no action.  You lack compassion.

Why do you lack compassion?

  1. You don’t have enough time.
  2. You don’t have enough resources.
  3. You don’t know where or how to begin.
  4. You don’t want someone to take advantage of you.
  5. You don’t want to enable bad choices.

Are these valid reasons or mere excuses?

  1. The Good Samaritan stopped what he was doing and made time to help.
  2. The Good Samaritan used the resources he had available at the time.
  3. The Good Samaritan took the first step, and then another and then another.
  4. The Good Samaritan gave without thought of repayment.
  5. The Good Samaritan gave without thought of worthiness.

Compassion is first a matter of the heart.  Is your heart tender or hard?  When you see a need, do you desire to help?

You cannot meet every need you see.  If you think you can, you are not really seeing the people around you.  You have limited amounts of time, energy and resources at your disposal.  But that is not an excuse to do nothing.

Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you do have.  Are you generous with your time?  Are you generous with your resources?  or do you spend all your time and resources on yourself and your family?  If you’re not generous with what you do have, you’ll never be generous with what you hope to have.

An open heart leads to open hands.

It is never convenient to serve others.  It always takes time and resources.

So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12

Compassion is a Choice

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A life of compassion begins with seeing.  But seeing isn’t compassion.

Seeing forces choice.

  • See and be moved vs. see and be unmoved.

Jesus saw the distressed people and was moved to provide.  Matthew 9:36

  • See and open your heart vs. see and close your heart.

The Good Samaritan saw the half dead man and went to him.  In sharp contrast, the priest and the Levite also saw the half dead man but they chose to pass by on the other side. Luke 10:32-34

  • See and run toward vs. see and run from.

 The father of the prodigal son saw him and ran to him.  But the brother of the prodigal son was not willing to go to the house and join the celebration.  Luke 15:25-28 

Once we see, we are forced to choose.  We can open our hearts or we can close our hearts. But choose, we will.  Choose wisely today.  Ignoring what we see is a choice in and of itself.

 

 

I Desire Compassion

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I was recently asked to speak at Good News Bible Church about compassion.  As I contemplated what to say, I realized my concept of compassion was a little fuzzy.

Compassion feels like a warm fuzzy kind of word.  But what does the Bible teach about compassion?  Is it a feeling?  Is it an action?

Compassion matters to Jesus.  He would rather have your compassion than your sacrifice.  Jesus said, “But go and learn what this means:  I desire compassion and not sacrifice,”  Matthew 9:13

Seeing Precedes Compassion

  • Jesus saw

Seeing the people, Jesus felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew 9:36

  • The Good Samaritan saw

But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion.  Luke 10:33

  • The father of the Prodigal Son saw

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

The first step toward a life of compassion is seeing.  Are you too busy to see?

Let me encourage you today to see the people who are all around you.  Lift your eyes up and look – really look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Been Praying for Years!

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I’ve been praying for my loved one for a very long time.  Sometimes I wonder if my prayer will ever be answered.  I get discouraged and lose heart.  And then I don’t pray with the same intensity.

Discouragement comes from faulty thinking that says “God isn’t answering my prayer”.

Faith thinking says:

  • God is love.
  • God is fully aware.
  • God is able.
  • God hears my prayer.
  • God is at work.
  • God’s ways are not my ways.
  • God draws people to Himself.

I take comfort in the fact that God loves my loved one even more than I do.  God understands the innermost thoughts and motives of my loved one.  God knows exactly how to draw my loved one to Himself.

I take comfort in the fact that God loves me even more than I do.  God understands the innermost thoughts and motives of my heart.  God knows exactly how to draw me to Himself.

So I will keep on praying, entrusting my deepest concerns to my faithful Father.

So I will keep on praying, taking the weight off me and giving it to the One who can handle it.

So I will keep on praying!  I will bring delight to my Father’s heart!  Proverbs 15:8

 

Do you even know what you want?

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I hear myself say things like:

  • I want to eat healthy, exercise, and lose some weight.
  • I want to have close relationships with my children and grandchildren.
  • I want to be a speaker at Christian women’s events.
  • I want to have a clean organized home.
  • I want to enjoy time with my husband.
  • I want to encourage my friends.
  • I want to rest.

And so on and so on…..

When I look at my complete list of what I want to do (and no, the list above is not a complete list), it doesn’t take me long to figure out I can’t do everything I want to do.  If I did everything, there is no way I would ever feel rested  and I want that, too. LOL

I am in a time of transition.  It is causing me to redefine my priorities and expectations.  It is causing me to let go of some things and reach for new things.  It is unsettling and exciting at the same time.

Life constantly changes. If we are not intentionally mindful, we end up being carried along with the rushing flow of life – doing way too much and being unsure of where we are even going.

Let me encourage you to take time for reflection.  Are you directing your days or are the days directing you?  Better yet, are you allowing God to direct your days?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do  not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

When God Takes It Away

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So God took the thing you most loved and you’re never going to get it back.

Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died; and she was left with her two sons.  Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.  Ruth 1:3-5

Bereft goes beyond grief-stricken. Bereft includes a deep sense of deprivation and irreparable loss.  (Paraphrased from vocabulary.com)

I started playing the piano in third grade and fell in love with it. It was soul-satisfying.  It became part of me.  As opportunities came my way, playing the piano became my God-given ministry. It was a way I loved God and gave of myself to encourage others to love God.  I felt God’s pleasure as I played.

But then God took it away.  I was bereft.

Seven years later, I still don’t understand why God allowed this to happen. It has been a long difficult journey for me as I have grieved this loss and come to accept it as from the hand of God. But God has been with me every step of the journey.  And because of the journey, I am more in love with God today than I ever have been. I enjoy Him more deeply. Perhaps this alone is reason enough.

If you are grieving, seek refuge under the wings of God Almighty. He will love you through your grief.  Ruth 2:12  Do not lose hope. God is with you. God is for you. Nothing can separate you from His love.  Romans 8:31-39

We cannot see the end of our journey but we can see the end of Naomi’s journey. God gave Naomi a son.  Ruth 4:17  He may give me another opportunity to play the piano for His glory and only He knows what He has planned for you!