Wonderweird

It’s Christmas, or just about, the most ‘wonderweirdfilled’ time of the year.

This is the time of year where we are reminded of all the wonderful things that we can be thankful for and all the screwed-up messes we would like to forget.

Oh, how I wish that all was calm and all is bright.

I referred to it before, but Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly (Prudently) with your God.” (NIV) along with Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)

These passages relay a humbly, tenaciously, cautiously lived life. That is what we are called to. Regardless of acceptance or reprisal, ours is to live these words out in worship before our God who sees all and knows all. It’s not complicated, but oh boy, sometimes it’s quite difficult.

I have discovered that I am responsible for no one else but myself when it comes to the things that I can change.

So change, I will.

What you do and how you respond, is entirely up to you.

Joseph Series: Forget About It.

To my knowledge, there were no counsellors or emotional support groups when Joseph needed them most.

And yet, Joseph managed to process his stuff and come through in an emotional healthy condition.

Remember:

Rejected

Beaten

Stripped of identity

Discarded

Sold

Purchased like a commodity

Given a break (of sorts) ‘Minor’ success, perspective

Lured trapped and accused

Left identity once again

Stripped again of identity

Plunged deeper

Prisoner

Dream Catcher

Dream interpreter

2nd in command

Joseph did something in his day that clearly spoke to his mental health and showed that he properly and thoroughly processed.

He had two sons and spoke of his life through their names.

1) Manasseh – forget – “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” (Genesis 41:51, NIV)

2) Ephraim – twice fruitful – “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:52, NIV)

He had this figured out still years before he met his family again.

I find this story amazing and an abundant source of hope.

How about you?

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The Upside is Fantastic!

Reality Check.

God? Who needs him?

Measuring against God is risky business. I would rather measure myself against someone else. (Previous two blogs.)

The problem? If I accept God, I have to take his standard and be subject to his rules and authority. This immediately puts me at a deficit of magnanimous proportions. If I am standing on my own accomplishments and pride, I need to find another way, any other way out of such a standard. In all reality, that is the issue. Unmasked, unpopular, and undone pretty much sum up the feelings connected with such vulnerability, so why would I engage in such a journey?

Why would I go through such a feeling of smallness and weakness?

Rather, I want something that affirms my prowess. I want someone who affirms me and lifts me up. I want my personal graph to move up and to the right. I don’t want to talk about an accurate reading, and accurate emotional GPS especially when it includes words like; deficit, deficient, shortfall, need, help, or weakness.

So, why? The upside is fantastic!

The provision that God makes for those who fall short (of his standard, not ours) is unbelievably generous. He has known all along that we do not measure up. We cannot. He has just been waiting for us to realize and recognize it. Nothing in our life changes, nothing can be appropriated, nothing will genuinely transform until we do.

It is that simple. Recognize our need and receive un-proportional grace (God’s own enablement) to help.

Hello God, my name is Phil, I am so bent on doing my own thing, my own way on my own terms. I need help.

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Use the Right Guide

I don’t measure the amount of water I drink in metres or feet, neither do I build my house by quarts or litres. The right quantifier, measuring stick, is imperative. It makes all the difference and gets the job done.

We need to discover our personal, emotional, GPS. Who we measure against is most revealing.

Already in the previous blog, I tried to discuss the futility of comparing ourselves with someone else. It just produces a false reading.

However, if we compare ourselves with the ultimate source, with God, we get an accurate, though maybe uncomfortable reading, every time.

There is a huge advantage here.

An accurate attitudinal positioning makes for a great foundation in life. It provides for admitting our lack humbly, but at the same time to fully embrace our strengths. The playing field is levelled, we are humanly equal, and both the rose-coloured glasses and the dark shades of shame are eliminated. We no longer need to prove ourselves to anyone. We can breathe deeply once more.

Why?

Because the one we measure against has demonstrated in abundance His acceptance and love for us regardless of where we fall on the scale. He gave us Christmas.

Maybe this Christmas you can find His peace.

Measure accurately and just ask.

Merry Christmas!

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Frazzled

I’ve seen frazzled from quite a few different angles and vantage points this last week to 10 days as our city of 88,000 had to flee their homes and jobs to save their lives.

As I sit here to write, I find my focus and concentration are somewhat challenged. Things have changed.

I saw my role as ‘Helper’, and so I did. I started helping from where I was.

We weren’t in the evacuation because we had already left a few days earlier, but our son was, we felt helpless and watched as the stories and reports came in. My family was displaced and scattered. I wanted them together with hugs. So, I started doing what I could with Facebook, email and texting, tracking other people’s safety. More than a few onlookers immediately responded as I confirmed their loved one’s safe exodus. Everyone was on pins and needles. Conversations, phone calls, words of encouragement, all flowed from heart, phone and keyboard wherever I could.

Then the second night it hit. I lay down at the end of a long day and all of a sudden it dawned on me, “I am a refuge.” I was ready to help others and see perspective for them, but I wasn’t prepared to be one who himself wondered worried or needed help.

Now several days later, in the hub of activity, I have spent the last few days helping connect people and resources. Tomorrow I’m leaving. I’ve been called back to work so I have to help once again from a distance.

Life has been big for a lot of people this past week. No. Life has been huge for people. It’s been huge for those who have lost and are displaced; it’s been huge for those who have realigned their schedules to take them in. Life has been huge for those who help. Everyone is trying to cope and help.

So? Pray. Pray for those around you. Pray for those you know here and at a distance. Pray for their situations and challenges. But, don’t forget to pray for yourself. Don’t just cope, pray. Frazzle starts to dissipate and settle when you pray.

Let me help you start. “Lord I’m frazzled, I need your peace…”

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