Thursday, February 23, 2023

A Prayer from Psalm 23

Today, I thought maybe I should just sit on today's dates, Psalm. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized it was Psalm 23. A prayer poured out as I read it, and now I share it in hopes that your soul may be refrefreshed in praise and thankfulness, too.

Dear Shepherd, 

Thank you for the beautiful places You have taken me.

Thank you for the still waters or calm you provide for me.

Thank You for how You restore my soul.

Thank you for leading me on paths of righteousness. 

Thank You for Your glorious Name. I love it! I love You.

Thank You that You walk with me and guide me.

Thank You for Your comfort that overflows and pours out.

Thank You that You set the table and the invitations for who I should dine with and love on.

Thank You that You anoint our head with refreshing, life-giving oil, and You let it pour out.

Thank You for goodness and mercy and their continuous work in me everywhere I go.

Thank You that I get to abide with You and dwell in Your home all the days of my life and beyond. 

Hallelujah and Amen! 
(Which means praise the LORD, and so be it!) 2/23/23

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Elijah, What are you doing here?

Have you ever had a holy high and the fell into a unholy crash? 

Ugh. I have. It is the best and then it is the worst.

Then one day I read about Elijah doing the same thing, and I realized I could learn from his story what to do and what not to do.

1. I realized Elijah isolated himself. He separated himself by hiding in a cave and repeating over to himself and then to God all the things that were wrong. Stupid stinking thinking has to go!

2. When God showed up, He reminded Elijah that He is not in the things that knock us down (the wind), the things that shake us up (the earthquake), or the things that burn us up (the fire). He reminded Elijah that Hewass in the whisper. Listen to Him and He will give you the game plan.

3. God also reminded Elijah that there are 7,000 out there doing a good work. You are not the only one. Get over yourself!

4. God also reminded Elijah who to go to, what to do, and how to bless them. You are not done yet and others need to to speak life into them!

5. God then told Elijah to anoint them or said in another way, give them the blessing from your position to carry on the work. You must pass to the next generation the mantle of blessing.

6. God then pointed out that the next generation has the fortitude and strength to handle the battle at hand. Trust them to do the work just as someone else trusted you. 

Hmmmm, these are some pretty good reminders.

So, I find myself asking once again, What are you doing here? 

Maybe, you might need to ask yourself the same question.

Do you struggle with unbelieving prayer?

Have you ever prayed something and not really believed it would happen? Well, you are not alone. As the disciples gathered at Mary's house (the mom of the Sons of Thunder) to pray for Peter's release, Peter showed up at the front door and when the servant girl Rhoda told them Peter was at the door they said she was out of her mind!  It had to be Peter's spirit! It is so easy to go to the LORD in prayer and not really believe in faith that anything will happen. We often do not realize that our prayers are faithless until we are surprised when God answers. Today, at the mission we discovered that Mary's house was the gathering place for prayer even after her son James was killed by Herod. Yet, Peter knew to run to her home to find the disciples. WOW! Isn't that beautiful! And Rhoda a simple servant girl heard Peter's voice and responded when he knocked at the door. What are we consistently known for? Are we a gathering place for prayer?  Do we see and hear the answered prayer before others? Are we willing to persevere even in pain and ridicule? These are things worthy of praying into our lives. I want these in me, don't you? Amen!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Ruth Story Summary

When does a barren, immigrant widow get noticed? 

When her faithfulness and kindness model God's loyal love.

I love the book of Ruth. This morning, as I taught it to a team that had never heard it, their response was so contagious. The women were laughing, and one cried out, "I wish I had a Boaz!"

I love that by the end of the training, another pointed out that Boaz is like Jesus because Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. 

So, yes, my dear, you do have a Boaz! His name is Jesus.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

How do you use symbols to recall a Bible story?

A common question I am asked is, "How do you recall stories that have abstract concepts?""

I created this video to teach recall using symbols. 

I use John 3 as the passage to recall and explain my choice of symbol.

The key is to remember that what I create to help me with my recall is not what you might create. That is okay. This is about you creating what will enable you to remember a chunk of information. It is not about being an artist, and it is not about you using the art with others. However, if it is done simply and intuitively, it will help someone else with recall, but keep in mind they will need your explanation. 

Art has been used through the centuries to help with story recall.  This method is intended for the storyteller that is seeking to remember well. It is not about being a master artist. We will leave the spirit of awe to the Michael Angelo's of the world.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Do you ever struggle with gratitude?

Do you ever struggle with gratitude? I know I do. Sometimes, I want to just grumble and complain. Oh God forgive me! My mom Olive Kathy Warren is blessing me so much as I watch her journey a very difficult season. Literally, she oozes thankfulness and gratitude. She is having to figure out a new norm and when we talk she tells me of the simple joys she had that day. 

This morning as I read 1 Chronicles 23, I read again that the priests were given the task to start the day and end the day with giving praise and thankfulness to the LORD. As I prayed over our family asking God to make us a people that start our day and end our day in praise and thankfulness, I was reminded of how praise and thankfulness are a gift to us mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, and even spiritually.

Did you know that scientists have done research and that patients that give thanks and gratitude release serotonin and dopamine the feel good hormones? Science supports what God has already shown us. 

"Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His love endures forever!" (Psalm 136:1-2).

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16

When I taught at the University of Houston in a lab school, we used to have a saying on really bad days when it seemed like the whole classroom was in complete chaos, "He/she has good bones." No matter how bad it got, we could find something good to say. Even if it was simply someone has good bones. They couldn't do what they were doing if their bones were not functioning well. Lol.

What can you give thanks for today? How can you praise God? Thankfulness and gratitude are gifts of God that give back to you. Give them freely and give them generously. Blessings will over flow inside you because of it! 

By the way, I praise God for you!

Written February 4, 2022