Above all else, guard your heart,for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
All too often we look in a mirror and think things like, I wish my legs were longer or my nose was smaller. Maybe we notice our eyes or shoulders and don’t even get me started on the hips and thighs! We’re pretty quick to point out which body parts we would like to change but when was the last time you looked in a mirror and recited the list of body parts we really do like? A good friend shared a story with me this week that really made me stop and think about the best body part of all.
My friend and her kindergarten son were outside playing catch with a football. She threw a pass that slipped through his little hands and thunked him square in the chest. His reply was priceless. He grabbed his chest, looked at his mom and said, “Mom, you hit me right where Jesus lives.” Not quite comprehending what he said she asked him to say it again and he matter of factly looked her in the eyes and said, “Yeah mom, you hit me in the heart, you know, right where Jesus lives!” Out of the mouths of babes! His comment just melted my heart!
Every time I saw this little guy walking through the halls the rest of the week I just smiled and thought, now there’s a kid who has learned something really important! He also made me realize how important our heart is. It’s far more than a blood pumping, life sustaining organ, it’s the home of Jesus and I should probably give it a little more thought and honor! So, what is my heart like? Is it a suitable home for the Son of God? Is it tender and open or is it cold and guarded? I suppose if I paid a little more attention to the importance of that body part everyone might benefit.
How’s your heart? Does it give Jesus a great place to hang out or could it use a little re-modeling? It stands to reason that if Jesus goes into our heart and dwells there, the feelings, emotions and actions it stimulates should mirror the one who dwells there.
A Seed To Plant: Take some time in prayer today to examine your heart. Can people tell who lives there?
Blessings on your day!
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. Philemon 1:7
When you work in an elementary school the word “contagious” doesn’t have a positive meaning. The first reaction is to grab the Clorox wipes and start wiping down every flat surface that doesn’t move. It turns into a near olympic event to conquer the germs that could take out half of the front row in one swift swoop. But Saturday night I got a different look at the word and I liked it.
Saturday I was traveling home from a beautiful trip to Charles City Iowa. I spent the day with a hall full of beautiful women who had strong faith, easy laughter and hearts that were willing to love and serve the Lord. It was a great day! On my way home, I had a two hour layover at O’Hare airport in Chicago and I chose to sit in an open hallway rather than a cramped boarding area where I had a little more room to work. After a few minutes I realized I was near the Cubs Bar. I love baseball but since my two favorite teams; the Tigers and the Royals are out, I hadn’t been paying much attention to the playoffs. I learned in a hurry that the Cubs were still in the hunt.
One of the big screen tv’s in the bar was angled out a bit so folks passing by could stop for a bit and catch the score even if they didn’t have time to sit down for a burger and a beer. About the time the Cubs scored their first run, the atmosphere became contagiously enthusiastic. I’m sure all those who stopped to cheer on the Cubs weren’t all die hard fans, but they got drawn into the spirit and the contagious energy. I watched police officers and TSA agents and custodians and traveling executives share conversation like they were long lost friends. I saw fist bumps and high fives and even a hug or two. The only people who didn’t walk away smiling were the folks wearing Dodgers shirts.
I watched for more than an hour and I was delighted to see the events unfold. I truly believe that the power of that hour wasn’t in the game but rather in the human connection itself. It usually started with a simple question; “who’s ahead?” or “how’s the game?” What followed next was great! There were no barriers; no financial or status divisions. There was no color, no religion, no political party…it was just folks cheering for something good, something simple, something fun. It didn’t take an education or a policy or an act of congress; it just took a wee little bit of contagious cheerfulness and camaraderie.
Make no mistake, this isn’t a post about baseball; it’s a post about how calculated our thinking has become on some days. We can become so concerned with each others credentials and points of view we forget we are so easily able to connect at the heart over the simplest things in life. I tried really hard to soak up some of that contagious energy and whatever “germs” caused it so I could bring it home. I think we could all use a little dose of that fever. I think maybe we should call it the “love your neighbor” epidemic. So, go on…get out there and spread some of those germs around and lets see if we can’t brighten things up today!
A Seed To Plant: Smile and say hello to 5 random people today, if you’re feeling especially contagious ask them how their day is!
Blessings on your day!
And we know that all things work together for good of those who love God, who are the called according to purpose. Romans 8:28
Sometimes things happen that just make me stop and say, “Wow God…that’s amazing”. I’ve had a couple of those events lately so I thought I’d splash a big ole ray of light into everybody's day and share them. The very best part of traveling and speaking is, hands down, the people I meet and the things I see God doing in their lives. The joy in those experiences so far outweighs the time, energy and travel it hardly seems fair.
When I do a Catholic Hospitality training one of the components of the day is teaching people to pray together with another person. The prayer is spontaneous and heartfelt and that type of prayer usually scares most folks half to death. It makes us very vulnerable and that simply isn’t a feeling lots of folks enjoy. During the training I teach participants the process, give them the basic steps and model the process. I even provide a script in case they need a back up plan. The final step is to tell them they can’t pray with anyone at their table or anyone they know or came to the conference with. We say a prayer to the Holy Spirit to help match up the prayer partners in such a way that they can connect and truly reap the power and benefit of this type of prayer. From where I stand the whole process is absolutely amazing. What begins as nervous laughter turns to a heart pouring, story sharing and very often life changing experience. I’m always amazed at the power that swallows the room and the peace that blankets the participants. God always does amazing work but there have been three extremely powerful stories from this fall that I got permission to share with all of you.
The first story happened when two young women found each others gaze from across a crowd of more than 75 people. They sat together and introduced themselves, and as instructed, they talked about the things going on in their life that they needed prayer for. These two women soon drifted into a world all of their own. I could tell something beautiful was happening and they shared with me later that they couldn’t believe what God had done for them. Each of these two women had very recently suffered the pain and heartbreak of a miscarriage. They prayed with each other and drew each other to the comfort of Jesus in a way nobody else in the room could have done. They left that day with a beautiful sister in Christ to support them along the way of this difficult journey and they made plans to call each other twice a week to pray together and check up on the other. How does that happen?
The second story was the tale of two grandmas. These two strangers came together to pray and in a very short time discovered that they shared the same birthday, the same number of children and grandkids, and the same first name. As they began talking about their prayer needs they found those as identical as the other details they’d discussed. They prayed together with the closeness of long lost sisters and vowed that day to pray not only for their own kids and grandkids but they agreed to pray for the others kids and grandkids by name as well. What are the odds?
The third story involves something almost too amazing to believe. In a crowd of more than 100 people God did something truly powerful. After most of the crowd had settled in with their partner to pray, I noticed a woman all alone at a table in the back of the room on her phone. It turns out she had been in the rest room during the instructions so she just slipped back into the room and sat down hoping nobody would notice her. There happened to be a gentlemen still looking for a partner in the corner of the room and he spotted her, and sat down next to her and asked if they could pray together. At the end of the conference she came up in tears to tell me her story and explain why it had been such a tremendous blessing. She shared that two years ago she was going through a really rough time. During this rough time she was in a car accident and didn’t have the means to repair her car so she purchased a “hunk of junk on 4 wheels” to get her by. One morning the car just stopped in the middle of heavy Detroit morning traffic and everyone who sped by just yelled and honked at her but nobody offered to help. Finally as she was just about to fall to pieces a man approached her car and offered to help. He pushed her car off the road and drove her to work. She was so touched and blessed by his kindness and helpfulness but never really got to properly thank him and let him know how much his actions were appreciated at that really low spot in her life. In a way only God can manage, the man who was the last person to find a partner; the man who tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to pray was the same man who had stopped to help her two years earlier. How does that happen?
If you are going through something tough and you wonder if God is really listening and noticing; I hope these stories give you a blast of sunny hope because he is busy doing things only he can do…and believe me; you just can’t make this stuff up!
A Seed To Plant: Take some time to reach out to someone today and ask them if there is anything they need prayer for.
Blessings on your day!
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