Saturday, December 31, 2016

Things I've been learning in 2016

The new year will soon be here, and it’s a great time to reflect on lessons learned this past year. Here is a sampling:

A long-held dream can become reality. 

My goal was to write 50 words a day as a way to make progress on the huge undertaking of writing a book. After two years in the making, Life, Love and Loss was published in April, and I am overjoyed with the sense of accomplishment and the wonderful feedback from many who have been inspired by it. 

Love means letting go.

Things can change in an instant and we can never take them for granted. I lost a friend in January, buried my faithful furry companion in March, and walked with several others who experienced a significant loss. I’ve learned to be grateful for the time we had together and to treasure each moment as if it might be the last.

I can adapt.

My workplace transitioned through huge change this year. But there are new people to work with, new disciplines to learn and new opportunities to pursue. I’m learning to better adapt and go with the flow. 

My perception is not always reality.

It’s not accurate to take limited information and run with it. There is more to the story than the side that I see. Before accepting a conclusion, it is better to open dialog. I thought I was being phased out of my job, but I learned it was not true at all.

Discipline is surprisingly good.

I took the Whole Life Challenge and did things I didn’t particularly want to do (exercise more, pass up carbs and sweets, drink more water and get eight hours of sleep). I was pleased to learn that the way I take care of my body is directly related to fewer aches, improved wellbeing, greater energy levels and better-fitting clothes! 

God still loves to answer prayers.

I thank God for many prayers answered in 2016: improved relationships, better decisions, healed bodies and minds, trouble averted, opportunities given, and the continued blessings of friendships, old and new. God loves with an everlasting love. The impossible becomes possible when I abide in Him.

The possibilities are endless.

Prayers are always needed for wise government, peace in war-torn places, the spread of the gospel and homes for the homeless. The world needs solutions to humanitarian issues. Real change begins with prayer. I am a world changer, right where God has placed me.

Gratefulness is amazingly fulfilling.

Gratefulness trains me to look for the positive among the negative. It flips my view, and gets me out of places I could become stuck. Rather than focusing on the dark details, I can be a light that shines in the darkness. My light gets brighter as I thank and praise God for all He has done, and believe in all He is still doing! I’m determined to head into 2017 in a spirit of gratefulness, amazement and worship.

How about you? What were your most inspirational moments in 2016? What have you celebrated? What have you learned from the most difficult days? How are you better today than you were last January?

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Spirit of Christmas

T raveling to be together or
H osting guests,
I ncluding those less fortunate in our preparations;
S erving, giving, doing for others.

W onderful spreads of special foods,
E ating, feasting, celebrating!

P reparing room to
R eflect
O n the Reason for the Season.
C arols and singing…
L ittle children anticipating…
A ngels announcing
I mportant news: holy birth of the long-awaited
M essiah.


E xtraordinary,
M agnificent,
M erciful God who loves us so much
A nd sent His only Son so that
N o one need perish. All He asks is that we
U nderstand His precious gift is free…
E ternity with Him,
L ife for all who believe.

I nspiring awe, impossible to keep quiet,
S haring the good news with all.

G od has come… in the form of a baby… and we’re
O verjoyed…
D o not fear.

W e will walk with Him, abide
I n Him,
T rust in
H im… for all we need.

U nlocking the mystery of all history… Jesus Christ has come,
S avior of the world!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

8 Amazing Promises from Romans 8

As the beauty of the season begins to unfold, I'm in Romans 8, finding several amazing promises around why Jesus came to earth. The interpretations I share have come from reading various versions (NIV, Voice, Message and Phillips). In each of these, Paul's language is richly expressive -- as I'm sure it was in the original text.

1 - There is no condemnation for those who are walking with Jesus. If we've accepted Christ and are doing our best to abide in Him, there's no reason for us to be blaming, guilting or shaming ourselves for any past mistakes.

2 - Since the law wasn't enough, God made things more personal by sending His son to take on the human condition and live among us. Jesus freely took it on, humbling Himself as a helpless baby, limiting Himself to an earthly body to do what needed to be done to set us free from sin.

3 - Then, God sent His Spirit to indwell us, inspire us and intercede for us. What could be more helpful? We are adopted into God's family and get to call Him our daddy.

4 -  That also means we become heirs to all the treasures of His glorious inheritance. With that, God placed within us a deep and abiding hope to experience the true freedom that will be ours one day. In fact, all of creation is practically on tiptoe to see what is to come! We yearn and long for the day when all will be made right, once and for all.

5 -  While we wait as patiently as possible for that day, this time of enduring does not diminish us. No, we are enlarged in the waiting! When the waiting gets hard, the enduring gets long and there are no words, His Spirit prays on our behalf in groans too profound for words.

6 - Meanwhile, we can rest in the knowledge that God works in and through all things to orchestrate good, right and beautiful out of pain, ugliness and ashes.

7 - Paul begins to summarize: If God is for us, who can be against? Who would even try? What would be the point? We have an overwhelming victory in Him.

8 - God is totally for us -- backing us with the full force of the Holy Trinity, in love. He hasn't missed a detail. Nothing can separate us from the love of God... Absolutely nothing.

Heavenly Father, you offer us a love that is beyond anything we've ever known. It is difficult to grasp. Please open our eyes that we may see, our minds that we may believe and our hearts that we may fully receive all that you have given us.