Stuff to know

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to suffer well

It is a Good Friday, Indeed. This morning I was a bit umm... unawake. Have any

 of you caught on to the fact that I’m not really a morning chick? Anyway since 

it was taking me a while to get it together, I decide to sip coffee a bit longer and 

read a devotional in my inbox from Sheloves.

 It spoke of heaving our burdens on to the Cross. The author was writing from 

an abandon concentration camp, where there were unimaginable burdens. One 

sentence in particular caught my attention. She wrote " And even here , in my 

own life , when I don’t suffer well, and I don’t give thanks.. This place is 

marked by His holy fire too."  That phrase “suffer well” stayed with me. 
No one wants to suffer. 

Yet it’s inevitable if you’re a believer or not. Everyone has a certain amount of suffering in life. As believers we can actually expect a certain amount of suffering just because we choose Jesus. We are also called to enter into someone else’s suffering. I know crazy right? But true. "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 There are times when you are not suffering and entering the suffering of someone else can ease theirs. This is how Jesus lived. He didn’t offer advice and walk away. He didn’t give you “the answer” and arrogantly walk off hoping you’d get “right” with God. No He showed you.  He came and entered our suffering. Stepped down form heaven’s throne to hang out with the sinning, stinky, obstinate people of earth. He lived and walked among this imperfect world. He experienced temptation and physical pain. He got tired, He had his heart broken, and He was hungry, dirty and homeless. And in all this He loved by demonstration. He entered into our life and loved us.  And he didn’t leave it there.  

He decided He loved us so much that He wanted to be together with us always. In order to do that He had to enter a suffering and carry a burden that as meant for us. He didn’t just share it, He took that whole mess. We may experience pain and suffering here on earth in which He shares that suffering with us, alongside us.  He is present. But the suffering of the Cross paid our guilt and the price for our sins, all of them. We are not going to share that burden. We are going to be exempt from it because He took it ALL, all by Himself. He didn’t just enter into our suffering, He opted us out. There is no merger or buy out in the history of humanity that is that good.With that Good News, with that freedom we can freely enter into another’s suffering as so fulfill the law of Christ. As we have been loved, let us so love

We have some friends that our middle daughter babysits for that have a child with leukemia. Those two words in the same sentence child and leukemia give me shudders just like they do you. But this family is a shining example of how to “suffer well”. They have chosen the route of giving all trust to God. They refuse to have anything but life spoken over them. They ask for prayers and extend the privilege of entering into their suffering to watch God act. You can follow their story on Facebook at Warrior Shepard.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

One Grateful Year: The 30 for 30 Plan

One Grateful Year: The 30 for 30 Plan: It is almost April! It time to demand SPRING!! Many of us will take on the big "Spring Clean" We are ready to shake...

One Grateful Year: The 30 for 30 Plan

One Grateful Year: The 30 for 30 Plan: It is almost April! It time to demand SPRING!! Many of us will take on the big "Spring Clean" We are ready to shake...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Not Right, Just Real

In the Jewish Talmud there is a reference that states  “greater than one who does mitzvah, is one who causes others to do mitzvah"

In Luke 17 Jesus talks about sin coming into the world but woe to the man whom they come.
He goes on to say  that it would be better for a milstone to be hung around the neck
and drown in  the sea than to cause one of these little ones to sin. 

This scares me  -
For any teacher, mother, father, or mentor this is scary --they are watching you – 
they want to be like you ,
you have a rare window of opportunity to shape, mold, teach, preach and
have a trusting relationship with your children and then its gone. 

Then in verse 3 Jesus says “Pay attention to yourselves”- this is self introspection –
I wonder if we could review a video tape of ourselves at the end of everyday with our key moment’s in it
Would we like what we see?
Would we be pleased with  how our children reacted to what we said and did?
Would we be pleased?  or Horrified? 

Probably a mix of both.

I know I wish I would have slowed down to SEE
Our behavior and poor choices can cause another to accept
our sin as okay and  then follow suit.  

In equal measure  our good choices or our “mitzvah” can cause others to do well.

We can inspire rather than degrade

We can encourage rather discourage

We can be light and not darkness.

But either way we pay it forward,
plant something somewhere in each other with every action and choice.

It can be overwhelming yet
This isn’t about doing it “right” -it’s about doing it real.

We are thinking, wonderfully ,fearfully created beings by an all knowing and all loving God.  

We can as Jesus says “Pay attention to ourselves,"
Not in pride or self absorption but in SEEING ---
Pay attention to what you say, what you do.

And prior to doing that it is advisable to pay attention to what you hear,
what you look at,
what you read,
what you allow to get into your soul via your time, schedule, money and environment
The old adage garbage in, garbage out has been proven over and over.
And to that we might add garbage picked up.
Feed yourself with trash, vomit that trash up and watch others pick it up and make it their own.

But the opposite is also true
Feed yourself with goodness, and give goodness to others
and they will pick it up and make it their own, and they will give it away.
And light will give light
While Mitzvah means commandment it  has a secondary meaning of doing  acts of human kindness.
Want to be great?  Give kindness.

Want to be greater? Be one who causes others to be kind.

Isn’t that how God starts with us?
He is kind, so kind.

His loving kindness has no bounds.
He, the greatest of all, gives us His kindness and when we receive it we are kind to others.
May I add here to also be kind to yourself...
Self loathing and guilt have no place in forwarding the gift of kindness you have been given. (but that’s another story for another day) 

You do not have to earn God’s kindness over and over.

He just gives it to you – moment after moment
May we do the same with others, because we are His.

Don’t make people earn your kindness,
don’t let your circumstances dictate weather kindness makes and appearance or not. 
God is kind to you –
 You be kind to you
 You be kind to others,
 So kind that you cause others to do mitzvah too.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

LOVE is spelled TIME

I do not like to be bored. 
"Idle hands are the devils workshop."
"Necessity is the mother of invention."

These two proverbs have proven their wisdom time and again.
I have been both the criminal and the genius with my time.

I like to get stuff done. I do. I’m a huge list maker. 
It helps me get my thoughts in order and I like the feeling
 I get when I cross and item off!!
 Yeah accomplishments!!
But in my pursuit of conquering said list I get tunnelvisioned  into tackling the tasks, 
and before I know it I missed life in real time. 

What will fill my time?

Wanting so badly to get the dishwasher unloaded I dismissed a little one who wanted to help mama.
Wanting it done just so that I lost the opportunity to make a new friend.
Crossing it all off only to look up and see the day has passed me by.

Trying to get to a state of “doneness” so I could get on with life bit me in the bum. 

Because, life, REAL LIFE, was happening all around me .
important times

 The items on any daily list should  be worked into the main event, not be the main event.
How often are we guilty of the reversal?  Working our families, our marriages, our friendships into sidebars as we plow through our “to do’s”.
crazy time

time well spent
Time’s ticking can neither be slowed nor halted, but it can be gathered.
Gathered into poignant moments that lead to precious memories.
Even in the midst of our daily deeds.

Don’t let time tick away without purpose.
Take back your time from meaningless tasks,
mindless entertainment and unproductive thoughts.

Refuse to have an attitude of tackling time because you might just get sacked.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I wrote a bunch of stuff yesterday  on thinking, 
and  before you get preconceived notions
That I’m some kind of  “think good –good always happens”
or some name it and claim it theology.
Let me be clear about my process. 

Any thought worth thinking has to meet certain criteria for me.
So you might want to think on that a bit.
What standards are you  going to set for your  thinking?

You get to decide
You get to be the gatekeeper to the door of your mind.
That is a gift.
Use it wisely.

For me the standards of my mind have to meet 3 criteria:

  1. It must be true
  2. It must be positive
  3. It has to teach me.

 For a thought to be  true some would say is subjective.
So pick your subject of truth.

I am lover of God and follower of Jesus.
Every word that God has spoken is true.
If the thoughts about the situation don’t match God's  thoughts
They shouldn't make it into my thoughts.

Can we really just decide not to think our way
and trust His even when there seems  to be no visible evidence to do so?

Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.’
Isaiah 55 says yes.

You can forsake your own thoughts!!
 Yeah this is good news!

I can reject that thought of popping my child’s head off like a Pez dispenser
when she rolls her eyes at me.

 Or the random thought of
“Why are we married?’ when my husbands tracks mud
 all over the newly mopped floor.

Yes this is good news indeed!!  For all concerned.
( And if your concerned that in the above scripture You would be the unrighteous,
just get over it – because that’s all of us)

At the very least even if the thought made it into the foyer of my mind-
the brakes of forsaking were applied and it never became cemented in the basement,
( which by the way is next to the front door of the mouth- more on that later.)

So today’s assignment: FORSAKE AWAY

Don’t want that thought- Forsake it

Untrue thought  coming your way -Forsake it

If you live in Jersey – Forget About it
You see my point.

You do not have to entertain every thought that comes into your mental realm
Weather you thought it , read it , or heard it. You get to decide weather or not to keep it

 Take it from a person with OCD this is a huge.
 Hard but Huge.

According to Webster forsake means to renounce or turn away form entirely.
 Another definition is to abandon. 

That doesn't leave ANY wiggle room to keep that thought hanging around in the back of your mind.

This isn't a stiff upper lip thing.
I’ll  make the best of it.
I’ll just  keep this dung heap of a thought but put a glittery bow on it.

NO its got to go.
Abandon it
Forsake it and Forge ahead.

Because there are better thoughts to think.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I've Been Thinking

I have been thinking lately a lot about thinking.
  It seems everywhere I turn I am receiving messages about thinking.
 Messages of hope and encouragement.
And messages of rebuke and action. 
 I have OCD and I suspect a touch of ADD,
ask any friend of mine they will whole heartedly affirm this! J

And at the risk of sounding prideful or crazy
I have at one time or another thought I could be a genius or a lunatic.
See I have the gift/curse of being able to have two or more thoughts at once.
 Not just half a thought or scattered thoughts but complete thoughts at the same time.

No there are no audible voices or multiple personalities (that’s just my hormones).
And at times it’s great I am free flowing with creativity.
I can’t write an idea fast enough or get my hands on something as quick as possible.
 I often can not express a thought without stuttering because I’m already onto the next one. Other times it is just maddening.

 Especially when the thoughts are negative, uncomfortable and untrue. 
You know which ones.
 We have all had them .
 Insecure thoughts.
Unkind thoughts.
Fearful thoughts.
 And when those thoughts run wild and pile one on top of another I just want to scream . It is a mental wrestling match.

And at that point taking a nap is my best ally. 
I literally want to be unconscious and NOT THINK.
  Maybe this is a reason why some turn to the bottle or the drug or anything else that deconstructs them as a person.
I can see the temptation for escape.
 I just nap and while its not heroine.
 Its still an idol.

Sleep helps my exhausted mind-
heck if my body would workout as much as my mind
I would be the best paid supermodel and most decorated Olympian all in one.

So  I want to begin a series on the topic of thinking.
Since not thinking is not an option ( and who really wants that option anyway)
  Logically (there goes that thinking again) it makes sense to deal with the content of thinking and the control we have been given over that.

What shapes our thinking?
 Why do we think the way we do and should we?
Why do we think a certain way and why do we continue to do so?
Can I change my thinking?
 And what will that look like in my life?

The answer to the last questions I have  answers in the form of a proverb

As a man (women) thinks, so he is.
Prov 23:7

Let’s paraphrase this for ourselves

As a woman thinks, so she is.

Let’s personalize this

As I think, so I am,
As you think, so you are

Now put your name here

As_______thinks, so she is.

Yes lets get started thinking ourselves into who we are.
If your not there yet, no problem.

You are about to think yourself into who you want to be.