Sunday, August 18, 2019

Need motivation to get more exercise?


Come on now.... you know it's true. Most people need a motivation to get healthier and to exercise. Some people are a little strange -- they actually love it and have lifetime habits. But for the rest of us, we need a motivation other than taking care of ourselves or we would always do it!

As you can probably tell, the #Doit4theKidsDay5K has been that motivation for me. This is the 3rd time that I've participated in the fundraiser, and each time it has been motivating.

The first time I posted everything I ate and every time that I worked out. I know that it annoyed many of you to the point of unfollowing me. The second time, I was trying to go 143 days without stopping but on day 110 our lives fell apart and all the progress I made disappeared.

But I decided to try again. And I decided to do 100 days starting on May 7th. Several people agreed to be part of the challenge, but to my knowledge only 4 of us have prevailed (please correct me if I'm wrong. 

So I'm on day 70 and I have just 30 days to go. So how about joining me for the #best30daychallenge? Here's how it works:

Exercise 20 minutes and then take a selfie or a picture of what you're doing and mention what day it is. If you start today you have 48 days to exercise 30 of them. Not hard, right?

But here's the trick -- or the trap. One of the four people who have kept up with this came up with it after she got behind. She said "I'm going to donate $10.00 for every day short of 100 days I end up when it ends on October 5th"

Isn't that brilliant motivation? So who is up for this challenge? The penalty is a donation to a great cause so it's a win win. You exercise 30 days and you can let everyone else bear the responsibility of supporting this cause. If you miss a day then a $10 donation comes to help with the Vision at PHFS.

And the bonus? The satisfaction of helping me get to day 100 AND knowing you've exercised for 30 days is going to be a great feeling. Let's do this together. 

Everyone understand?

Or maybe you'd just rather donate and skip all this.  That's ok too.  :-). 




Friday, August 16, 2019

Running out the Darkness


Have you ever noticed that utter darkness is not possible if there is even a glimpse of light?  No matter how deep and cold darkness is, one single light, even one match or one candle, can change it.

That is why Jesus says to us, His people, “You are the light of the world” because each time one of us let’s our light shine, darkness is an impossibility.

As you have probably noticed, I have been consumed for years with the desire to see each believer recognize their responsibility when it comes to dispelling the darkness for those kids who are in foster care or those children who are marginalized and at risk of being separated for their families.   Jesus never had a plan B.  He said that we are His body, we are His hands and feet.  If we don’t do it, He can’t do it.   We are the solution.


I love this section of the song “Power” by “We are Messengers”.  May this be what you and I are doing in our communities, in this city, in this region, in our homes, in the schools our children and grandchildren attend, in our neighborhoods, and every place we go.  And may we be a constant reminder to others around us that WE ARE THE LIGHT…. no point cursing the darkness unless we are willing to shine.

Yeah, we're running out the darkness
Chasing down the dead of night
We're bringing hope to the streets
There's a new way, a better life



Thursday, August 15, 2019

And the Lord Looked at Him


This may be one of the saddest moments in the New Testament.   The verse is Luke 22:61 and this is what happened immediately after the rooster crowed.   Peter had denied Jesus three times, even though earlier he had promised he wouldn’t, and then Jesus looks it at and it hit him.  He had totally blown it.  And as soon as he realized it, he left the courtyard and “wept bitterly.”

Have you had one of those moments?  Caught up in your humanity have you found yourself forgetting what God had asked of you and plunging ahead in something you knew you shouldn’t do?  Have you then, at one point or another,  even while trying your hardest to avoid His gaze, felt like the Lord has turned at looked at you?  What was your response?

The beauty of Jesus is that that gaze was simply a reminder to Peter of how far away he had drifted.  It wasn't a look of anger or frustration it was just a knowing glance.  And it led him to repentance which eventually led to Jesus reminding Peter three times at the end of the book of John that He loved him.

The whole point of the gospel is not based on a theory that we never screw up.  It is based on the fact that no matter how many times we do, God will forgive if we repent and come to him in humility.    It’s not God’s anger or fear of Him that leads us to repentance, but His kindness.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Do you have a BUT?

In 2nd Chronicles 20, we read a summary of the life and reign of King Jehosophat.  It ends with these words:

32 Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. 33 During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.

Ouch.   He did everything BUT one thing.  He failed to remove the shrines.

When my life is summarized, I wonder if there will be a BUT.   Will you have one?  Will people say, “Yeah s/he did everything God asked him/her to do BUT…..

I notice that there are two sad things about those verses.  The first is that there was only one thing that Jehosaphat missed… He almost got it right.  It’s sad to be so close.  But the most heart breaking thing is that the one thing that he missed is what made others around him never fully commit to following God.

It is my prayer today that God will convict me of whatever it is I am not doing to fully please Him …. not only because it robs me of the satisfaction of a job done completely — but because I don’t want anything that I do to keep others from committing themselves fully to Him.

In my opinion, No other Christian artist has written more convincing lyrics that Keith Green.  As a teenager he had a huge impact on my life.

Let’s go back to 1978 and have him sing a song (with a lengthy introduction, if you want just the song go to minute marker 2:10.   

In 2nd Chronicles 20, we read a summary of the life and reign of King Jehosophat.  It ends with these words:

32 Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. 33 During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.

Ouch.   He did everything BUT one thing.  He failed to remove the shrines.

When my life is summarized, I wonder if there will be a BUT.   Will you have one?  Will people say, “Yeah s/he did everything God asked him/her to do BUT…..

I notice that there are two sad things about those verses.  The first is that there was only one thing that Jehosaphat missed… He almost got it right.  It’s sad to be so close.  But the most heart breaking thing is that the one thing that he missed is what made others around him never fully commit to following God.

It is my prayer today that God will convict me of whatever it is I am not doing to fully please Him …. not only because it robs me of the satisfaction of a job done completely — but because I don’t want anything that I do to keep others from committing themselves fully to Him.

In my opinion, No other Christian artist has written more convincing lyrics that Keith Green.  As a teenager he had a huge impact on my life.

Let’s go back to 1978 and have him sing a song (with a lengthy introduction, if you want just the song go to minute marker 2:10.   

https://youtu.be/TzWyZxlwGKI

Monday, July 22, 2019

What have you got to offer?



Have you ever found yourself feeling like you’re making an awful lot of sacrifices in order to please God?  Well I’m here to tell you today that that’s how it’s supposed to be.  God is asking us to offer Him things that cost us something.  That is what makes them gifts that please Him.

In 1 Chronicles 21, David screwed up (seems to be a theme with David, huh?)  He ordered that a census be taken and God was not happen.   However, David was repentant (also a theme) and an angel told him to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  

So when he approaches this threshing floor here is what happens:

21Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”
23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

What if one of my kids adult kids came to you and said, “Hey, I really appreciate you.  I’d like you to have this $100.”   Of course, you would be shocked (as would I because this is highly unlikely).   And of course you would say, “I can’t take that.  Keep it and use it for the things you need.”  And then imagine that they say, “Oh, it’s fine.  It’s my Dad’s money.”  

Does your thinking immediately change from “What a great kid!” to “REALLLY???????

That’s what happens when we come to God acting as though we are making great sacrifices when we are actually giving him things that don’t cost us much.   God’s probably a bit kinder than you or I but I wonder if sometimes He thinks, “REALLLY?????”

As you go about your day, if you are doing something for God, do something that costs you.   That’s where the blessing lies.

I just love this song.... and think if it often.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Self-Differentiation

Big word huh?  I only know what it means because my husband has been trying to teach me about it for decades.  He is the king of it, and I, frankly, am not good at it at all. 

The definition is this:

an act or instance of differentiating the self a setting apart of oneself as distinct from others (such as one's family or classmates)

Differentiate means to:  identify differences between (two or more things or people).

In other words, to self-differentiate means to know who you are and only own your stuff and not the baggage of everyone else— to see your part in a situation and how you can fix yourself  but not try and own the mistakes, accusations, challenges and frustrations of everyone else.   

NOT EASY.

Jesus was such a great model of self-differentiation.  He is often an example of all kinds of good things, but you may have never considered the fact that he modeled healthy self-differentiation.

But in Luke 11 we read a story of how he cast out a demon and the response of the people was either to accuse him of being the prince of demons.   They were suggesting that if he was able to cast out the demons then He himself must be Satan.  

The ones who weren’t going quite that far asked him for a sign from heaven.

In the midst of this, Jesus remains calm.  I’m pretty sure that that would not have been my response in that situation.  But he remains calm and rationally explained things to the people.  He knew who He was and He wasn’t threatened or alarmed by their hatred or questioning.

As you go through today, be encouraged.  You are who GOD says you are.  You do not need to define yourself by what others think — you can simply relax in knowing who you are and WHOSE you are.   

You are God’s masterpiece and everything else that is said or done by anyone else doesn’t count as much as that fact.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Got Godly Parents?


I grew up with amazing godly parents. And I know that some of you do too because I know your parents!

My dad went to heaven 6 years ago at the age of 90 and my mom is currently 90 and going strong at a nursing home in Minnesota. They were incredible people. If you are really interested in hearing more, an old blog entry can give you details about them

When I ask myself the question, “What did your parents teach you?” many things come to mind. My mom taught me about remaining positive and hopeful no matter what and how to be resilient. My dad taught me how to find humor in everything and how to remain humble and kind. They also taught me a lot about money and what it is and isn’t for. They both taught me to obey God and follow Jesus to places unknown because life is an adventure.

Both of them were impressionable young people during the depression, so they were FRUGAL. Money was not to be spent on anything extra, and nothing that could be reused should ever be thrown away. They consistently had this approach to bills:

The paychecks came in and they paid their tithe.

Then they sent checks to support the missionaries they had committed to support.

Then they paid bills.

Whatever was left we had for groceries. Period. Some weeks we didn’t have meet to eat because the grocery budget was small, but we always supported the missionaries.  As I indicate more than once, they never hesitated to help others in need.

Some of you absolutely cannot donate to this fundraiser because of your financial situation yet your heart is really all about kids from hard places. And there is no criticism or shame on my part.

And I know that some of you who have given, have done so sacrificially — as you can see if you look through the history of those who have given, most have given a small gift.

Today I donated $25 to a fundraiser for some friends. A few days ago I gave $10. Last week I gave $25 to something else. A little bit is an encouragement and it helps. And, as i learned from my parents, giving, even when you don’t have an abundance of money, is a privilege and a blessing …. not just for the receiver but for the giver. 

So you know how this ends…. Did you have godly parents? What did they teach you? How about giving in honor of them to benefit children who don’t have the same blessings you did growing up?

Kids safe. Families strengthened and restored. A community of faithful relationships. That is my heartbeat and the heartbeat of our organization.

Think about giving .... if you want more information on the fundraiser click here.