Getting Built by Encouragement

There is so much to learn.  It comes from deep.  It comes from wide.  Learning comes from choosing compassion, connection and sometimes pain.  It comes from being humble, bold and brave.  I am constantly encouraged and inspired by great men and women around me.  I hope to become more of who I am by God’s truth and by the path others are walking.  I am getting built by Encouragement.

What I Learned as a Friend: It feels like the stars have come out when you share with your closest friend what God puts on your heart for this season of her life.

What I Learned as a Parent: It is essential to treat your kids equally and to teach them the value of equality.  That way, they will know that nothing is impossible by their own experience and by definition.  Inspired by my own mother and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Malala Yousafzai.

Verse:   Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 

Deep Thought: Driving on the expressway a few weeks ago, I pushed back on making a phone call.  I finally made a deal with myself that I would make the call when I got to my exit.  The call stretched me and caused a certain amount of relational tension.  Later, I see that change does not happen without connecting.  Without bringing about a certain amount of tension with the eyes of compassion. Change does not happen without being bold and brave.  Thanks in part to Seth Godin’s keynote message at Leadercast 2015.

Quote: You don’t have to be an extrovert or fearless to be a bold leader.  You don’t have to have a specific gift or talent.  You don’t have to be ultra smart or resourced.  You need clarity around an unreasonable commitment to what should beParaphrase from Andy Stanley’s keynote message at Leadercast 2015.

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: Roarke Denver, US Navy Seal Commander, I love the way he speaks about his family with gentleness, shares his combat experiences with humanity and the way he defines the path to bravery.

My Prayer to You: I pray that we would trust the way God speaks to us and that we would share His insight when He calls us to.  I pray that there would be no sweeter moment than putting words into God’s Book of Remembrance.  I pray that we would remember that all of us are conduits of bravery and capable shaking fear.  I pray that we would remember the call on humanity to equality.  And, that there is no greater cause than laying down your life for your friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

New Thing

This is a piggy back to two blogs back in April of this year – – Busy and Father Time Laughs.  Last April, God showed me that He didn’t ask me to be busy.  I felt challenged to work on my state of mind that was constantly racing time and tasks.  This truth was a personal revelation to me.  It also was a relief for the time clock, or rather time bomb, ticking in my mind.

I really have enjoyed the last six months.  The initial changes I set up for myself and the process of moving in a new direction felt like they made sense.  In an odd way, email was one of the practical ways I began changing.  On the one hand, I spent about an hour a day working on my inbox.  This was absolutely necessary as I needed to rule out the majority of the possibility that I missed a task, reply or important invitation.  So much of my work depends on timeliness and good practice.  The potential unknown (at work) is a source of stress or worry for me . . . streaming into my personal life.  Now that my email is current, deleting, filing and assigning tasks daily has made a great difference in my life.

On the other hand, I also used email to keep me in the head space I was seeking.  I chose a few devotionals or calls to prayer that are emailed to me daily.  I committed to reading them within a short time after they came in.  That means that two or three times a day, I am thinking about spiritual things and others.  When I read, I don’t browse or speed read.  I read slowly, take in the spiritual thought and answer any study questions or calls to action right then.  As I allow the process, my mind is slowing down.  I am able to give more in the way of quality and substance to the tasks that are part of my entire day – –  I think because of this practice.

As the mind slows down.  Something happens.  It has been sort of an evolution for me.  When you slow down, more is able to come into your mind.  For me, it has been more in the way of God’s calling.  I think He has more deeply carved out in me a care and concern for His causes and for His calling globally.

Six months ago, I didn’t have room in my mind or time in my life to step any deeper into some things.  Now I can see that there is a wide open door to walk through.  That doesn’t happen without God.  I thank Him that He is endless, patient, kind and King.  I thank Him that when we let Him in to try something new, He does just that.

FF Oct 20A



Growth and Change

By JMathis

Life is about the continuous handoff between growth and change. Growth begets change. Change begets growth.

It is easy to see this handoff in children, as their daily, weekly and yearly milestones contribute to their transformation from infancy into adulthood. We, as adults, even contribute to this handoff in our children through daily encouragement, support and the minimization or removal of any obstacles which are hurled in their direction.

It is less easy to see this handoff in adults. We often get lost in the weeds, focusing more on our failures rather than our blessings. Our pride brings us into isolation, causing us to steer away from a helping hand. While external obstacles to our growth and change seem to surmount over time, so too, do the obstacles which are created and maintained by our own doing—by the daily limitations we beset upon ourselves.

The Story of Redemption demands and dictates that we are a people who are meant to grow and change.

The Story of Redemption is itself a story of growth and change.

What was meant for the Jews alone, became readily available through grace to the Gentiles.

Growth for the Jews is to see Jesus as the Messiah. Change for the Gentiles is to accept the God of the Jews as the only way to salvation.

The inability of both the Jew and the Gentile to grow and change, tramples the magnanimity of the divine, leaving us all in the morass of sin and shame.

Growth and change. Change and growth. The handoff that allows humanity to experience the life-changing transformation of the Almighty.

Growth and change are even choked within many of us, both Jew and Gentile, who openly acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.

While many of us may call Him the Savior, we don’t search Him out in the day-to-day. Instead of embracing Him as our source for daily growth and change, we seek self-transformation and affirmation through the faulty perceptions of others and the false images perpetuated by the media.

His miraculous saving power remains untapped and hidden within us, because we don’t call upon Him for daily encouragement and support. Because we don’t wait upon Him for the removal of any obstacles which are hurled in our direction.

Our pride beckons us to resolve life’s disasters on our own. Our isolation deepens the chasm between God Almighty and His creation.

Growth and change are strangled, and the handoff is incomplete.

We alienate ourselves from the Helping Hand of the Father, when we focus on our failures rather than our blessings; when we embark upon self-reliance rather than self-sacrifice and dependence upon Him.

We remain in fear, sickness and doubt—obstacles that were lovingly, compassionately and supernaturally removed by our Heavenly Father through the Story of Redemption.

The Story of Redemption demands and dictates growth and change.

Spend time with the Father by reading His Word. Cry out to the Son by calling upon His name. Listen for the whispers of the Holy Spirit and wait to hear His Voice.

The Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation are here, present and alive within you. For your sustenance. For your strength. For your every need.

They are here for your journey towards Growth and Change. Change and Growth.

The Story of Redemption has only one requirement: fear not; only believe.

Let the handoff be complete.