For then you shall delight in the Almighty and you shall lift up your face toward God. Job 22:26
Magnifying glasses are always a hit no matter what grade I teach. There is just something fun about looking at something regular in a new way. Even ordinary things like paper clips and the human tongue can become fascinating when seen with magnified detail. In the spirit of close inspection, I have a thought for you today compliments of Deacon Ralph Poyo. He was a presenter at the conference I attended last week and I could write a dozen posts with all the ideas he shared but today I have one word he explained in a whole new way.
The word is intimacy. Most of us would define the word as extreme closeness and that would be correct but we don’t often think of it in a Godly way. Deacon Ralph made sure everyone listening Wednesday night would think of it as a way to describe our relationship with God the Father. He said intimacy means IN-TO-ME-SEE. Talk about making a word come to life! So, grab your magnifying glass and head down to the next paragraph and let’s see what we discover.
God desires intimacy with each of us so if we stand before God in prayer and accept his invitation to see in to him; what would we see? I think we would see compassion, forgiveness, understanding, mercy, pride, delight and unfathomable love. That’s what he’s made of and that’s what he shows us. When we see him we see truth, justice, and everything right; not judgment, punishment or shame. I think he wants us to see that we are made in his image so we should see the same things in ourselves that we see in him. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and saw those things in your reflection? If we are intimate with him, we will begin to mirror what’s in him. I think the world could use a whole lot more of that image what do you think? He’s inviting us to see into him and loose ourselves in his goodness; he’s desperate for us to grow so close to him that we will move past things like guilt, shame, disappointment and greed. Seeing him closely will make us long for nothing else.
If I imagine seeing the face of God I often imagine myself turning or bowing my head in the presence of his greatness but he loves us so much he’s inviting us to get closer…so close we can experience IN-TO-ME-SEE!
A Seed To Plant: Write today’s word down the Deacon Ralph way and give it a lot of prayerful thought…let it draw you closer to the Father.
Blessings on your day!
Hello everyone! I will be attending a conference this week so I'm taking a little time out from the blog. I will have much to share next week. Until then...be well and blessings on your day!
Amen, Amen I say to you…John 5:24
The word amen appears in the New Testament more than 50 times. Its translation roughly means to support, agree or confirm. When I was growing up I was taught that amen meant “Yes! I believe!” If Jesus lived for us and died for us all out of love then my response sure should be AMEN or YES! It’s absolutely the least I can do!
This Tuesday, November 18 is “The Grace of Yes Day” or #graceofyes. The idea of saying yes to God’s plan for your life is an idea that author Lisa Hendy and her friends at Ave Maria Press hope will take social media by storm and go viral! Lisa is the author of a fabulous new book called The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living. Lisa is the founder of CatholicMom.com. The website she started is now viewed worldwide and keeps central its focus to spread the Gospel and draw people to Jesus. Lisa is a speaker, teacher, writer, mom and beautiful Daughter of God. Her life has given her never-ending opportunities to say Yes to God and thousands and thousands have been blessed by the Grace of God that has poured forth from her YES. The book is full of beautiful stories of real people just like you and me trying hard every day to say YES and serve the God who loves us. It’s a true book of blessings for your heart and your life. She opens her heart and pours it out in absolutely life changing fashion. It’s a must have book!
The purpose of Grace of Yes day isn’t to sell books; it’s to create awareness and a desire to seek the places in our own lives where God is waiting for our YES! On Tuesday you are invited to share your story of YES! God is just waiting with abundant grace to hear our yes. He’s waiting to bless us and draw us tight to his side when we give him our yes or amen. It means we believe he knows what’s best for us; it means we support the plan he has for us by simply saying yes and allowing him to control it all; it means we confirm the fact that we adore him, we will be faithful to him and we surrender completely with a gigantic YES to the wonder and goodness and blessing he has in store for us! Join us on Tuesday and post #graceofyes on social media with a message of how you say Yes to God. If ice buckets, cartoons and pictures of movie stars can go viral don’t you think the power of saying Yes to God would be something positive to take the internet by storm? Go ahead, be brave, do a little faith sharing on your social media page…say YES to loving him out loud!
Happy Grace of Yes Day!
A Seed To Plant: #graceofyes…tell everyone what happened when you said YES to God. If you don’t do it on social media, please find a friend today and share the story of your YES…and get Lisa’s book…it’s awesome!
Blessings on your day!
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
If someone asked you what holiness was could you give a good answer? I thought I could, but then something changed! Before this thing happened I would have told them holiness was going to church, saying prayers, doing good deeds, SEEING and BEING Christ to others…that’s what I thought. But then…I read something that stopped me in my holiness seeking little tracks!
Holiness is dying to self! What? I read those words again and promptly shut the book and put it down because I didn’t like that. I pouted about it for the rest of the day and then came back to those words later that night. I like going to mass, I like praying, I like doing sweet, thoughtful things for others, isn’t that enough? After some feet dragging, silent temper tantrum throwing and finally a very ungraceful surrender, I realized how true those words really were. I can add and do all I want but it’s about the subtracting; the dying.
As eerie as it sounds, each prayer journal entry this week has started with the words, Lord, help me die a little more today. No, I’m not loopy and I haven’t been sniffing the ink in the ditto machine I’m serious and it’s a lesson that’s HARD! Holiness is all about being close to Christ; so close I’m hidden in him and I can’t do that if I have my own stuff in the way. If you’re anything like me it’s a daily objective to make things easier and more comfortable for myself. I call it efficiency sometimes. I say I’ve earned it sometimes. I think its standing up for what I’m entitled to sometimes. The bottom line is this…I want what’s best for me, what’s most convenient for me, what’s easiest for me and I need to die a little because getting my way isn’t making me holy.
So how do I need to die? (That just sounds weird doesn’t it?) I need to die to my desire to be appreciated and recognized for everything. I need to die to my desire to eat anything I want because I like it and think it’s yummy. I need to die to my desire to be right all the time. I need to die to my desire to make comparisons and judgments. I need to die to my desire to tell God what I need and what he needs to take care of. I need to die to complaining because that is the greatest form of selfishness. I need to die to my desire to offer my opinion and perspective all the time. I need to die to impatience and worry. And I really need to die to my desire to organize, plan and evaluate everything. All of these things minimize the amount of room God has to work in my mind and my heart. All of these things separate me from God when what I really want is to grow in holiness. My sacrifices in dying to self in these ways are what God is inviting me to do…wanna join me and do a little dying?
A Seed To Plant: Write down the ways you need to die to self and then get busy growing in holiness.
Blessings on your day!
Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly. John 7:24
How do you measure your goodness? How can you label your value or your worth? Society has lots of ways to do that for us and I’m here to tell you they’ve got it all wrong! Switching from little to middle lovelies has brought lots of challenges and even more blessings. When people ask if I think I made the right choice I can say there are little lovely things I miss but overall I LOVE the middle lovelies! However my first “What was I thinking” experience came last week as I was preparing report cards. YUCK! First of all, adding and dividing all those numbers was awful, second; summing up an entire quarter of work in a two digit number was a lousy thing to have to do and thirdly; I realized how little that number or letter really says about the person it was assigned to! The whole experience left my brain bubblin, so I took it to prayer and out popped a post!
Thursday afternoon I watched kids look at a collection of letters and begin to make assessments and judgments about themselves and their classmates. I saw confidence soar and plummet. I saw joy and I saw frustration…all because of a letter in a box and I wanted to scream. After some thought I realized it’s not just students that do it…we all do it. We look at a scale that measures one specific part of who we are and we apply it to our entire being. I think to some degree we have all been affected by a letter or a number assigned to us by someone else. Some people look at their age and let it dictate how they should act or what they should do. Some people look at the number on the scale or on their tag and instantly feel pride or shame. Some folks look at a test score or an income to determine their station in life. What about the people who use the age of someone’s house or car to judge their worth or value. Oh yeah and the almighty judgments made based on income or address. How quickly we forget they are just numbers that reflect a piece of information about one part of our life…they don’t define us! We worry about IQ’s and ACT scores and Credit ratings. We stress about interest rates and debt tallies and gas prices.
How about we look at another judgment scale! What if we used the letter and number scale below to judge our greatness and importance instead…
WP – wonderfully and perfectly made (that’s all of us…ALL of us…flaws, sins and all)
100% - that’s the amount of minutes in each day God watches, protects and loves us; that’s also the amount of minutes each day he asks us to do the same with each other
HS – humble service…that’s our true measure of goodness and it was demonstrated by the washing of 12 men’s dirty feet
QP – quiet prayer…that’s the letter combination to make us all winners
12 – seems like a small number but 12 uneducated, common men spread the Gospel in an astounding fashion; how often do you spread the Gospel like they did
3/1 – the perfect number…the essential number…the lifesaving mystery number Father, Son, Holy Spirit 3 in 1…the answer to everything no matter how large or how small
I’ll bet if you really thought about it a little while, you could come up with more to add to the list. I’d love to get a piece of paper giving me a HS for the day…that’s a good mark on the scale of Christian goodness don’t you think. It’s time we start looking beyond the scales and measures our culture sets up and look for the things that really matter!
A Seed To Plant: Which label or measure above are you going to work on this week? Pick one and take it to prayer then make sure you look for that measure in others while you try to amplify it in yourself.
Blessings on your day!
Save me, O God, for the waters have risen to my neck. Psalm 69:2
Ok…it’s been quite a week and I’m still hangin on to the same verse I was clinging to on Monday. As it turns out, it’s a jewel! Since Monday I think it’s fair to say that the water rose from my neck to my nose! As I was thinking about it this afternoon I remembered back to swimming lessons when I was a little girl. Just for the record, I HATED swimming lessons. I remember the required trip into the deep end and that feeling of complete helplessness when I realized my feet couldn’t touch bottom and I had nothing to grab on to. The instructor would yell, relax, close your mouth and tip your head back so the water won’t go up your nose. I didn’t enjoy anything about that feeling.
That feeling has been a familiar one this week but I discovered something I never learned in swimming lessons. When you close your mouth and tip your head back so you can breathe, you are automatically looking up. Quietly looking up is always a good idea and this week it’s a practice that has meant survival and surprisingly, great joy! I’ve crammed way too much into the past two weeks but as the waters rose, I kept asking God to keep me from drowning. Not only did he answer but he blessed me with lots of little surprises along the way. He arranged every detail, every time table and every event. Things may not have been completed as early or fast as I wanted but it all got finished. I had help when I didn’t expect it, laughter when it was most needed and great friends along the way. I even managed to score front row parking a couple of times when I’d peeled into the parking lot at the last minute.
I’ve had to reach out and ask for help and my family has had to eat left-overs a couple nights this week but it all fell in place. I’m in awe of the way God can swoop in and put things in order if we just close our mouth, tip our head back and look up to the giver of life and the master of all time and tasks. Perhaps I should try that more often!
A Seed To Plant: Tip your head back, close your mouth and look up to the giver of life and enjoy your day!
Blessings on your day!
Save me, O God, for the waters have risen to my neck. Psalm 69:2
How many times in a week do you tell somebody how busy you are? Its report card season and I’ll be the first to admit I’m feeling overwhelmed. I was sitting in prayer Friday morning and I was offering up my to do list to my Father, the ultimate time manager. I made a promise to him a couple years ago when I started writing and my ministry work began to blossom that I would go wherever he sent me and do whatever he asked me as long as he gave me the words and the energy. It’s become abundantly clear that he’s often a little overconfident in my abilities! Nonetheless, I promised so in my “overwhelmed-ness” I spoke out loud, “God do you know how I feel? I opened my prayer book and the verse above was the opening line in the Psalm for the morning. I think he not only knew how I felt but he was telling me how to solve the problem!
As I pondered that verse all day the word I kept coming up with was grateful! Strange word I thought at first but the more I let it wash over me, the more I understood. I was reminded of the verse from Luke 12 that says to him whom much is given, much will be required. I was reminded that being busy is a great exercise in humility. The world doesn’t need to know how busy I am or how much my daily schedule entails. If I truly am honoring my promise and using my gifts and talents for the Glory of God then my reward will be in heaven not on earth. If I can make all my tasks a service to the giver of all gifts, then everything becomes a prayerful offering; even report cards and laundry. I am as guilty as the next person of engaging in the “who is busiest” contest as if trying to gain approval, sympathy or respect. It stems from our human weakness, satan’s ploy to keep us so stinking busy we forget our focus and simply forgetting that we can make anything into an opportunity to serve God.
As I approach my task list with gratefulness I will realize how blessed I am to have those tasks. I’m grateful I have a beautiful family to create a mountain of dirty laundry; the world is full of lonely people. I’m grateful I have report cards to do; it means I am surrounded by middle lovelies who are the job I love. I’m grateful for the blogs I have to write at midnight or dawn; it builds my trust that the Holy Spirit will speak exactly the words someone needs to hear and he chooses me to type them. I’m grateful for speeches to give and classes to teach; it means people are hungry for the fire of Christ and he picks me to help start the blaze. I’m grateful for ball games and concerts and meetings; too many people feel they have no place to belong. I’m grateful for errands and shopping and cleaning; many are confined to a bed or wheel chair unable to move or see and do the things I selfishly view as burdens. Mostly I'm grateful that he has great expectations for me because it means he has given me much!
God gives us a hundred situations a day to help us grow in holiness. I may feel like the water is up to my neck but if I call out for help, he will first ask me to spend time loving him and putting my focus in perspective and then he’ll ALWAYS keep my head above water!
A Seed To Plant: With a grateful heart, list your tasks for the day and ask God to make you aware of the ways they can help you grow in holiness. Thank him for the expectations he has for you!
Blessings on your day!
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