Say My Name

In Your name I rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness I am exalted. For You are the glory of my strength, and in Your favor my horn is exalted.
–Psalm 89:16-17

Here’s a parenting or mentoring assignment. For parents or mentors of young people of all ages–but particularly pre-teens, teens and college students, please give your young charges a late summer assignment. Continue reading “Say My Name”

GO DEEP, BE STRONG IN 2014

It’s that time. Once again.  (Wait, no, I’m not complaining. I’m really, really glad to be present, alive!)

The last vestiges of 2013 have washed away.  Each new wave.  Each surge of the tide. Each twist, turn and bend in the road ahead may be somewhat of a mystery, but it is God’s gift to us … to see a fresh path and to receive where it leads us.

Last year was great. So many wonderful things happened. New projects were born. Yet, ahead is a brand new year, full of opportunities. Stretching out before us, like the winding yellow brick road of Oz, is the wonderful miracle of 2014.

This could be your year.  The year that is full of untold potential. The year when all access is cleared and any obstacles that have blocked your progress are moved out of the way.

I was surprised to learn that Sheryl Sandberg is “Leaning In” to the women of China and they are hearing her message.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and author of “Lean In:  Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” gave a speech last fall in Beijing. She was there to promote the Chinese translation of her book, which has been selling briskly in China and is particularly appealing to the still minute numbers of Chinese businesswomen.

If we are to heed the voices of those who have been world changers in the past, I feel it is critical to do these things in 2014:

1.  Transform lives. Make your ideas work for others.  Like Sheryl Sandberg, don’t be reticent about sharing what you have discovered.

2.  Disconnect from the grid of being ordinary and of repeating the same old thing. Go deep, be strong, do something different.

3.  Love what you do. In fact, love your life and what  you give way, way  more than you ever have in the past. Start from where you are and build upon what matters most to you—your school, your team, your business, your friends, your family, your church, your community.

4.  Be fearless. Approach this new year, rich with things you have never seen, sprinkled with places you have never visited, and filled with tasks you never dreamed you could accomplish.

No matter what promises this year holds, know that possibilities are a part of it.

Vision is just the shape your dreams take in those moments before your faith kicks in.  Vision is how you describe the future just before you’re ready to move ahead with real conviction. And it’s okay if you approach 2014 one vision at a time

You be the solution to a problem the world has. You be that one with the key.  You be the agent of change.  Inspire trust and hope in others, then help pass it on.  You be the visionary, the achiever.

#Betheinspiration.

 

When You Open Your Eyes, What Do You See?

“…I will guide You with My eye.”  Psalm 32:8 NKJV

Got healthy eyes?  If so, that is a reason to be thankful. Scientists tell us that nearly 4.2 million Americans are blind or visually impaired. Experimental therapies and modern technologies are opening up incredible doors for solving our vision problems. New treatments involve gene therapy, stem cell therapy and even modified versions of Vitamin A.

Not long ago, I panicked when I saw a small pool of shadowy spots drift across one eye. When I had my eyes examined by a young doctor—who, by the way, looked young enough to be a recent high school graduate—she assured me that “floaters” are not at all uncommon. The solution she proposed:  “Come back if they get worse.” Later, in the drug store, I was surprised to find an entire section of vitamins just for eye health. I bought some.

Each morning, when I open my eyes, one thing I am thankful for is vision. If I could not see, what would I miss? How would I work?

The eye has an infinite ability to express many emotions—what we feel, how we love, how we instruct, what we think. The eye speaks many languages. Just ask the mother of a young child how she uses an expressive look to speak a loud but voiceless, “No!” The strange and lovely words written by the psalmist remind us of God’s compassion, His gentleness. How remarkable to think that God has His eye on you.

What do you see when you look at God? What does God see when He looks at you? The greatest level of communication might well be those moments when we have eye-to-eye contact with God. If faith is our inner eye, in that contact, two become one. You and God.

In heaven, we have been promised to see Him face-to-face. Yet, for today, clear your vision and focus your gaze on God. Don’t miss His guidance. Prayer clears the vision. Meditating on Him adds light and focus. More prayer means that more light streams in and the brightness illuminates your day.

0.3 seconds. That is the time it takes for one blink. We lubricate our eyes with every blink. Each day, those 0.3 second blinks total thirty minutes. Thirty minutes of your waking time with eyes closed; you see nothing. In the spiritual context, fix your vision on God; try not to blink! Keep your eyes open.

Meeting God, eye-to-eye, opens the way for you to receive the message He has for you today. God is looking at you, individually. He focuses on your eyes in a sea of other faces. The mind of God shines through His gaze, caring for you. Look back. You’ll like what you see.

Everyone Needs A Stone

Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.~

Genesis 35:13 (New International Version)

I have a stone. It is small and nondescript, smooth to the touch and primarily colorless.  It is my stone of remembrance.  It reminds me that, no matter what is going on in my life at any speck of time, God still appears in the middle of my situation. And He speaks.

I call it my quiet stone. Quiet because it diminishes my flagrant urge to gush and tell God all about something He already knows. The secret to effective Godly communications, for me, is listening. But don’t just take my word for it; let’s ask Jacob.  Jacob had that kind of encounter at a place he named Bethel, “house of God.”

Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.~ Verse 15

Let me be clear. When I say God speaks I mean He actually does talk to us.  The One Who is Creator of the universe will show up.  Often because I ask Him to.  Periodically I find myself saying, out loud:  “Lord, I just need you to come down here and see about me.”  I need Him to weigh in on my situation.  Then, occasionally He shows up just because.

I’ve learned that having a brief memory lapse is a typical human frailty.  It is easy to forget what God just did yesterday.   I need a stone to remind me that God is adequate.  He is enough.  He has everything that I need.  My stone reminds me that God is sufficiently able to do everything He has promised.  I’ll need that stone tomorrow—when I may not hear His voice so clearly.

My stone is a reminder of God’s presence whenever there are flashes of distraction, anguish or pangs of sheer perplexity, when I ask, “What was that? What just happened to me?”

Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him…  Verse 14

I’m getting ready to walk around the house and yard to find the place that I will name my Bethel.  It shall be the place where I place my stone.  A place where I meet God and visit with Him.  We all need a stone.

God’s vision for Jacob was of him producing kings, procreating millions and generating a nation. God’s vision for us is possible, but it is not inevitable.  It materializes if we yield to His will . You will be great; you will do great things.  Your stone reminds you that God is with you and that He has a vision for your success far greater than anything you have imagined.

 (iStock Photo, Steve Gray)

Living Everyday Joy

Three Things you can do today:

1)        Leap forward in faith. Then stretch. Be bold enough to dream a ridiculous, almost-unachievable, very-nearly unattainable, you-never-thought-you-could-reach-this dream.

2)      Getting to everyday joy has a great deal to do with the words you speak.  Answer strong; never waiver in speaking your highest goals.

3)      Envision it. See yourself coming into your destiny. Promotion, increase, Divine favor—they are all yours.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.~Psalm 37:4 NIV