What’s your dance with God?

Special Olympics Symbol - 1 (1)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:7-11

I had the pleasure of attending a Special Olympics host town event this week. I greeted the Olympians with a cowboy hat and offered a bandana in the color of their choice.

As I placed a cowboy hat on an athlete in line, another athlete stepped up to my right. I turned and asked her if she would like a hat. She shook her head, “Yes,” and bowed her head for me to put it on her.

“Take a bandana; choose your color.”

“Purple.”

“I’m sorry, there aren’t any more purple bandanas. How about orange; that will look great on you?”

“Purple.”

“I’m sorry.”

She tugged on the bandana around my neck.

“You want my bandana?”

A yes nod.

I untied my bandana, lifted it up around her neck and tied it. She smiled and walked away.

Later that night, I led a young man by the arm in the Cupid Shuffle. She came up to my left. I took her arm and pulled her three steps to the right. Young man on my right, purple lover on the left, me in the middle pulling to the right, pushing to the left, kick, kick, kick; turn, turn, turn. Threesome fumbling and smiling.

I had a blast! It gave me pleasure to take off that silly bandana and encircle the young woman with color.

She wouldn’t have received the purple bandana if she hadn’t tugged on the one around my neck. She persisted in asking, and it was my pleasure to give it to her.

How much more is it God’s pleasure to give us the color we desire, the things that are good for us, the good things?

It gave me even greater pleasure to dance with her and the young man. How many times do I approach the Father and indicate that I want to spend time with Him?

He always has a hand to take me and lead me in a dance with Him. I may fumble and stumble, but as He pushes and pulls me, the Cupid Shuffle becomes the Blessed Shuffle.

My prayer

Thank You, Father for the lessons you show us through our experiences with others. Thank You for the Special Olympics athletes You sent my way this week. Bless them with Your outpouring of love. Please continue to show me Your truths in my everyday encounters and give me the boldness to persist in my requests for blessings just as this young woman persisted.

What’s your dance with God?

Where do you find your joy?

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At an event, I had the pleasure of hosting a table that focused on joy. I asked passersby to write on a flipchart where they found their joy.

To my delight, the first person stopped, smiled, and wrote “Jesus.” Most wrote, “grandchildren” and “family.”

Some struggled to think of something that brought them joy.

I watched men and women take the pen, smile, and write about their joy. Some giggled and hugged their friends or spouses. Children grabbed the pen from their mothers and proudly noted their joy.

They pointed to the hearts and scribbles that others had written and smiled at each other.

There was something special about writing on this communal memorial to joy.

My prayer

Father, thank You that You have set joy before Your children in abundance. Help us to spread Your joy to others and to revel in the joy in Your hand and the joy set before us. We love You, Lord.

Where do you find your joy?

Are you resting in peace?

Lavendar

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

Jesus gives us peace with God, a peace that is not dependent on our actions or others’ actions. This peace was bought with His blood and His flesh. Jesus paid the price for our sins and wiped away all that separated us from God.

Jesus breathes His peace upon us, all we have to do is take it in, live, move, and rest in His glorious peace.

His lovingkindness brings peace!

My prayer

My Jesus, breathe Your peace upon Your followers. Even in the middle of our struggles, our pains, and our sorrows, pour out Your peace upon us and empower us to trust that You are in control of our lives. Thank You for Your peace and show us how to rest in that peace. Praise You, Jesus!

Where is God’s lovingkindness leading you?

Colored RoseAll the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth

It is a great and awesome thing that God gave Himself, so that men and women would be able to live with Him forever.

Declare His lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness by night!

The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalm 145:8-13

Lovingkindness leads us to the manger.
Lovingkindness leads us to the foot of the cross.
Lovingkindness leads us to repentance.
Lovingkindness leads us to thanksgiving.
Lovingkindness leads us to proclaim His mighty works.
Lovingkindness leads us to say, “Come, Lord, Jesus.”
Lovingkindness endures forever.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

My prayer:

May you be filled with His love to overflowing; may you abound in His peace that passes all understanding; may you bless others widely as you live out the hope that is in you.

Thanksgiving … Remembering God at work

GethsemaneAn olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane old enough to have given shade to Jesus

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
    make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
    tell of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
    seek His presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that He has done,
    His miracles and the judgments He uttered, 1 Chronicles 16:8-12

This Thanksgiving, as I give thanks for my beautiful family, the abundant food on the table, and the past year, I’ll also be thanking God for His great works in my life, in the lives of my family and friends, and America the Beautiful.

David and the nation of Israel praised the Lord after they brought the ark of the covenant to the City of David. They remembered how God brought them out of Egypt, the promise that He had given them, and how He had fulfilled it.

Harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets led Asaph and his brothers as they called upon all creation to praise the Lord.

God’s presence in the City of David.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34

Jesus rehearsed His love in action in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night Judas betrayed Him. He cried to God:

Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36

Jesus knew the cost of the promise of salvation: my sins and the sins of the world seared onto His body as He hung on the cursed cross. He felt the spittle, the punches, the lashing, the pieces of flesh tearing away from His back, and the nails piercing His hands and feet on the cross.

As He rehearsed the future, Jesus heard the cry of His greatest sacrifice:

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

The ultimate sacrifice to fulfill a promise to you and me … a way to the throne room of God … a way into the presence of God.

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:36

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for?

My prayer

Father, thank You for the abundant blessings You have poured out upon Your people. Let all creation sing its praise to You. Let Your people from every nation rise up and sing Your praises at the top of their lungs, for You are greatly to be praised. Blessed be Your name from everlasting to everlasting! You are our Thanksgiving! Amen

 

Have you chosen a hard life? 3 steps to the good life

Israel

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them. Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I had lunch with a new high school graduate. He told me his immediate plans for the future: get a tattoo, stretch his earlobes, and get a job. There are long-term plans as well. No plans for Jesus. I told him that his plans for his body will limit the type of job he will be able to get. He acknowledged that.

He chose the hard life.

The Israelites listened to the blessings of following God and the curses of disobedience. Blessings brought life and prosperity. Curses brought death and adversity.

3 steps to the good life

  1. Loving the LORD. “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
  2. Obeying His voice. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.'” 1 Samuel 15:22
  3. Holding fast to Him. “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,” Hebrews 3:14

Blessing

Dwelling in the promised land. For the Israelites, the promised land flowed with milk and honey. God had given it to them; they just needed to possess it. For Christians, the promised land is eternal life through following Jesus.

The Israelites took the three steps for awhile and enjoyed the blessing. They turned away and returned many times; each time, experiencing curses or blessings. Ultimately, a remnant will return to the Lord, loving Him, obeying Him, and holding fast to Him. They chose a hard life, but they will enter the good life at the end of this world.

I’m trusting that in this young man’s wanderings, he will find the path to eternal life by becoming a follower of Jesus and learn how to take the three steps that lead to the good life.

Prayer is powerful.

My prayer for you

Father, You have set before us life and death, blessings and curses. Help us to understand how deeply You love us. Your lovingkindness leads us to repentence. Obedience follows. Increase our ability to hold fast to You. Increase our desire for You and Your fellowship. Thank You, Lord. In the nature and name of Jesus, we pray. Amen

What path have you chosen?