What do you do when you go to the bathroom?

Last week, I got to spend several days in a Jewish day school.  As you can imagine, the experience was fascinating, enlightening, and rewarding both personally and professionally.  Being surrounded by others’ outer expressions and declarations of faith really had me reflecting on my own.

One observation in particular has continued to lead to more reflection since leaving…

The first day I spent at the school, I started in the kindergarten class.  They start their day with davening, which are specific prayers that reminded me very much of hymns, but with a more specific purpose.  So, these little kids are learning the special prayers that they will use to worship for the rest of their lives.

paperOne that they learned was a prayer that they were learning to say after each time they went to the bathroom, a prayer of thankfulness that their bodies were working.

Every time they go to the bathroom, they take time to thank God for keeping their bodies working. I don’t know about you, but God doesn’t typically come into my mind when going to the bathroom.

But why not? Isn’t He my Creator?  My Keeper?  My ultimate “maintenance guy?”

Every single thing I do should not just be done in, but preceded and followed by gratitude and praise!

What a difference it would make to our attitudes and lives if we looked at ALL of our experiences as a gift from God – if we recognized his majesty and power in everything – give thanks for everything always.

I learned so much and am still processing my visit to this school.  But I do know that those four and five year old Jewish boys and girls humbled my heart. They pushed me to contemplate all the ways that God’s hands reach into my life and be grateful for His many blessings He shows me everyday –  not just subliminally thankful, but intentionally and explicitly grateful.

– S

And Yet We Fail

As I read through the early books of the New Testament, Jesus love for His disciples is so apparent.  He knew them deeply, recognized their flaws, but still loved them beyond measure.  And yet, in John 13, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him three times, and Peter does.

Just like Peter, Jesus knows we will fail in big ways.

We can love God, devote huge parts of ourselves and our lives to Him, and we will still fail.

And Jesus will still love us. God will still shower us with mercy.

blog2We are not asked to be perfect, but to continuously see Him, draw closer to Him.  Allow our souls to be touched and moved by Holy Spirit.

Then, maybe, we can catch ourselves sometimes before we stumble and fall…

But, even if not, we will be able to rise from our own ashes to walk beside Him once more

….and every other time that God already knows we will fail, we can kneel in humility under His grace.

How blessed I am to be known and loved so deeply with the full knowledge of my failing humanity.

His Piece, His Time

I like puzzles.  Chaos turned into order. Each piece in its spot.

But, have you ever done a puzzle and found a piece that seems like it should fit?  So, you shove and push, maybe manipulate the edges a little to try to make it fit because for some reason you’ve decided it is the one?

a6f91adb68e4a0bcc523c94cc3aa7897I find myself doing this to my life.  Sometimes forgetting that God has the perfect piece He is preparing and holding for the perfect moment.
My job isn’t to try to find something else to fit a spot, but to wait for God to show me that perfect piece at just the right moment and then act in obedience.

I don’t need to try to strong arm things into working that He doesn’t intend for me.  His piece, his plan is so much better than the ways I try to make something work.

  • S

Please Be Ridiculous!

What is faith?  Hebrews 11 describes it as” confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  I like to think of it as belief in action.

Like Joseph (as in Jesus’ earthly dad, not technicolor dream coat).

Joseph responded repeatedly in obedience every time God directs him…and these are crazy  directions by all earthly understanding!

“Mary, though pregnant, is a virgin.  Marry her!”

“The king of all the land wants to kill your baby.  Leave!”

The king has died go back to Israel…oh wait, there is a bad ruler there. Go to Nazareth!”

do-itThese are NOT normal commands.  Yet, Joseph obeyed.

God would have ensured Jesus’ success as a perfect sacrifice regardless of Joseph – because His love for us is too great.  BUT, Joseph listened and followed God.  He played his part to bring God’s perfect will of how Jesus would come to us.

I want faith that responds to the seemingly ridiculous…

because often the seemingly ridiculous leads to the mirculous!

  • S

 

Let’s Celebrate!!

6ffc87d6fc501dbbb19237aacc5656d7Celebrate good times, come on!

…and bad, and easy,and hard – because God is to be glorified  in everything.

This is what God has been commanding my heart so far in 2017.  Celebrate!  And there is so much to celebrate.

God is good always.  Our salvation is secure.  My hope and joy should rest in Him.  Life ebbs and flows, but He is constant!  He never changes,never leaves.  So, there is always reason to celebrate.

Jesus came not only to give believers life that lasts forever, He intends for us to experience this eternal quality of life right now.” (my BFS notes from this week)

That is not to say He promises an easy life full of only rainbows and sunshine, but that there is always reason to celebrate Him.  Joy always comes in the morning.

That is what celebrate has come to mean to me so far this year – worshiping God in joy over specific things, events, or people.  I often started a day thanking God for blessings, which resulted in a grateful and humble heart.  As I’ve been celebrating things with God in the morning over the last two weeks, I am still grateful, but I am overwhelmed with joy.

Some early celebrations this year:

  • I celebrate the sunshine.
  • I celebrate softly falling fat snowflakes.
  • I celebrate Scooby Doo with littles that can only be watched in TiTi’s bedroom.
  • I celebrate a family who cries with and delights in one another.
  • I celebrate a body designed be broken and cut open, and, heal again.
  • I celebrate recognized competency leading to responsibility (okay I had to talk myself into celebrating that one).
  • I celebrate that the depths of despair grow empathy and stronger searches for light.
  • I celebrate a God that knows me, loves me, and wants me.
  • I celebrate new beginnings.
  • I celebrate that my identity is rooted in God.
  • I celebrate that this is not my home.
  • I celebrate His air that fills my lungs.

And so, with each breath in, I will marvel at His majesty.

And with each exhale, I will celebrate his bountiful blessings.

  • S

A Prayer for today and everyday…

A decision has been made. Half of us are happy (and relieved), and half of us are angry (and frightened).

My prayer today is the same as it was yesterday morning.

I pray for our leaders, for our new president elect. I pray for wisdom, perspective, and ears for hearing.

I pray for good, wise counsel. i pray that voices are heard.

14962656_10207667694391113_8661302653781604361_nI pray that the dialogue is filled with words of unity.

I pray for us, the American citizens.

I pray that we can put down our swords and come together after one of the most divisive elections in grace and humility.  Boasting and finger pointing are not only unnecessary, but detrimental.

Ultimately, no matter which side of the political fence you sit on, the same is true today as yesterday –

God is sovereign regardless of who sits in the White House.

-S

His Works and Ours

“For the works of the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.” Jesus in John 5:36

We know Jesus is the Messiah.  His truth, His being spoke to our heart.  But His works (and words) pointed to His undeniable identity about all – His divinity and fulfillment of prophesy.

We are saved through faith.  Period.  End of story.  None of us will ever be good enough.

adfgHowever, our works do point to the master of our soul.  We proclaim to the world our love and devotion to Him by how we act.  We have the amazing potential to point others to Him through our words, our hands, our feet, our attitude.

The healing of hearts, of our world, only comes from salvation, which is only possible through faith.  Through the way we walk through this world, we can help others see the grace and mercy that meet us daily.

So, we must live our lives authentically.  We must live our relationship with Christ out loud.  We must live openly and in love.

  • S