My Father

I must preface this entry with first saying that I have a wonderful father. He is my greatest champion and loves me fiercely. He is a father who raised me with very high expectations that I was driven to meet, while somehow at the same time making sure that I knew how great I was. Obviously, he is not perfect and has made mistakes (I’m sure he could tell more of them than I could), but I see the fruit of his and my mother’s constant love, acceptance, and challenges to be better, in the person I am today. I say all this because it impacts my view of God as a father and I understand that many of you may not have had this kind of experience with your father, which ultimately impacts your view of God as well.

As I was reading the story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-13) this morning, I had a new, personal revelation of God as my father. When I stopped and reflected on Him as my father and me as His child, I experienced a feeling of intimacy, love, and loyalty. I instantly felt defensive of Him for all the things that are spoken and done against Him. I felt a deep sense of love and belonging, and such gratefulness for my creation, provision, guidance, acceptance, the list goes on. I realized- He is my family. When the revelation of God as our personal father occurs, it not only changes the way we see Him, but the way we see ourselves as His child. You are someone’s child. You belong. You are loved. You have a father who throws the biggest, most impressive party, sparing no expense, and runs out to meet you with open arms and weeping when you decide to come to Him (or come back to Him) as His child (read Luke 15 for this illustration).

Whether you have a great family or have never experienced what it means to be part of a family. It is a life changing revelation to truly know God as your father. Our actions towards him and in response to Him become actions of love, gratefulness and pride in Him. It gives me a small glimpse of how Jesus was able to spend his time on earth fervently spreading the news about His father. It makes me want to do the same.

Spend some time today asking God to show you how He loves you as your father. How do you love Him as His child? Read Luke 15 replacing the prodigal son with yourself and God as the father.

Considering Others

The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.   -Robert Baden-Powell

A wise man named Paul encouraged his readers to live daily in humility of thought, to consider others better than themselves, and to not only be concerned with one’s own interests but to take care of the interest of others as well.* When I read his instructions, it made me wonder what our current world would look like if we all decided to take this piece of advice and try living that way. What would happen if we gave preference to others in word and actions? Couldn’t this be as simple as stopping and thinking before we speak to make sure our words are encouraging and positive, rather than being used to tear someone down?  How about going one step further and buying the homeless person on the side of the road a sandwich when we purchase our own lunch or our $5 specialty coffee. Is this not looking out for other’s interest while we take care of ourselves?

Perhaps some would consider this idea naïve or question how it is even possible to go through an entire day showing concern for others when we have our own problems to worry about. That’s what I like about this challenge by Paul- he recognizes that we need to take care of ourselves, however he doesn’t stop there. Paul learned that to truly live full, complete, and satisfied lives we must go further than ourselves. It’s amazing what happens when we take our eyes off of our own difficult situation and reach out to help someone else in need. Somehow, our problems don’t seem as dire as we first thought they were.

Go ahead, give it a try!

  • Ask yourself, do I know someone that:
  • Needs a word of encouragement today? Take a minute and send them an email or text.
  • Could use a listening ear? Give them a call or meet for coffee
  • Needs a meal or blanket in this cold weather? Are you willing to take an extra 10 minutes in your errands to bring them one?
  • Is moving and could really use a helping hand to pack or unpack? Will you give up an hour or two of your time to help lighten their load?
  • Is struggling to meet financial obligations? Could you part with the extra spending money that you would use shopping or eating out this weekend?

*Philippians 2:3-4

The Gift of ‘Today’

As I opened my journal to begin this morning’s entry, I wrote down the date in the top corner and looked to the bottom of the page for the daily quote which read, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I was struck by the realization that today is the only June 2, 2014 that I will ever experience. There will never be another Monday, June 02, 2014 as long as I live. So how was I going to use this opportunity I have been given to make the most of today? Every morning, we wake up, having been given the gift of life. The gift of another day here on this earth. We wake up with breath in our lungs and (for most of us) get out of bed with the ability to move about freely. We begin our daily routine of coming and going to school, work, errands, time with friends, etc. and often don’t give it a second thought that we do all of this because this day has been made for us and this life has been given to us. I know that I do this all the time.

But, today was different. Today I realized I have a choice of how I can use this day. I could choose to take advantage of my morning ‘off’ by catching up on work, checking in with friends that are struggling, writing this blog, exercising (no…that one I do enough of already). Or, I could stay in bed enjoying my cup of coffee, maybe catch a show on TV or read a good book. We all have choices every single day of how we use the day we wake up to. I could decide I do not want to go to work today. I could even choose to cancel all my appointments and throw my covers back over my head, forgetting about this day and putting life on hold until tomorrow. This is an option (yes, there would be consequences, but it is always an option) and to be honest, it has been tempting some days… Today is not that day. Today, I have decided to be grateful for this day that has been made for me (and you) and to take advantage of my one and only June 2, 2014.

Could not each day be viewed as an opportunity to help make someone’s life a little better? I can choose to make time to invest in someone else. I can choose to engage in a conversation with a friend who needs a listening ear, rather than hurrying the chat along so that I can get back to ‘work.’ I chose to stop what I was doing this morning and send a note to someone I know that is hurting rather than saying, ‘I’ll get to that later.’ I believe that even if it is through a seemingly small act of kindness, we can help make someone’s day a little brighter. This morning I decided to write down the names of 5 people that I have the opportunity to encourage today. I have taken some time already to reach out to two of them. My challenge would be for you to do the same. Whether it is 1, 2, or 5 people, take some time to make their June 2, 2014 a better day.

Maybe there is something you have been putting off or someone that has been on your mind for awhile to talk to. Don’t let another day go by. Do it today. And while you’re at it, take a moment to appreciate this day you have been given. Be glad for Monday, June 02, 2014. There won’t be another one like it. Take a moment and thank God for the breath in your lungs and the opportunity to live another day. It is a gift.