Posted in Faith, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Pain, Progress, Relationships, Resurrection, Trust, Truth

The resurrection and the life

Easter Sunday is a day that we enjoy hearing about the resurrection. We enjoy the story of Jesus’ resurrection as well as others whom he saved from death. This power is always an attention grabber because it goes far beyond our human abilities.

Jesus made this statement to Martha in the Gospel of St. John: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”. I know, at face value the statement doesn’t make sense. Give Martha a break because we know the rest of the story, but she lived it. She saw her brother wake up from the “death sleep” and walk among them as if nothing happened. We don’t read where Lazarus laments about being dead or that the experience was even horrible. He just takes his place among the living. I’m sure he was thankful for what happened. The question I have is that if you die once like Lazarus and you get a second chance, are you afraid of the death the second time?Image

I mean the fear of death has to not bother you as much. For those who survived Hurricane Katrina a few years back, would they be as worried about the next big hurricane? If you have been shot before should the sound of gunfire bother you as much? If you were about to walk away from a deadly car crash, should you be afraid to drive a car or ride in a car again?

I want to attempt to crack open this scripture for everyone to have a better taste of its fruit. If Jesus is the resurrection and the life (and he is), then this ability would work on everything, not just death. This understanding was given to us under the death category, but I contend that this verse is more like the master key — it fits every lock!

So, If I lose my job, I am dead to the job that I lost and I can surrender this dead to the resurrection and the life (A.K.A Jesus Christ) and he will raise up (resurrect) a new job for me that I may dwell (live) in. If I lose my marriage, home, money, self respect, or mind, the Jesus who resurrects will replace the old with something new for me. You see, it was difficult for Mary, Martha and the others to fully understand the power of the resurrection. We struggle with it today as well.

Let’s not limit the resurrection and life to just a wonderful biblical story. Let’s not limit God’s power to only the measure we understand. Let’s surrender everything in our lives that is dead and allow him to breathe life into it again because he truly is the resurrection and the life. 

Posted in Beauty, Children, God, Love, Relationships, The Family

Birthdays are bigger than we think

I think we all know people who, when asked about their birthday, say that they don’t celebrate it anymore or that it’s just not a big deal.

What are we really saying about ourselves when we make these statements?

One of the things I love about spring is that in addition to the season in the Midwest beginning to change, I have two lovely daughters who celebrate birthdays in March and in April.

My girls are special to me. They know that they are special, but on their birthdays, I have an extra opportunity to celebrate the fact that they exist.

This is a fact of life that is often overlooked in childrearing.

The stability, security and self-esteem for any daughter are wrapped up in her daddy. A father is the first man that a daughter should be in love with. The number one reason is because this would be the daughter’s first taste of TRUE love – unconditional, never-ending, God-like love.

Codependent women, for the most part, did not experience a strong interpersonal relationship with their fathers.

I have counseled a variety of women who have said that even when their father was there, he really wasn’t there. He lived at the house, they ate dinner together sometimes and he was a great provider of physical things.

But how often they exchanged intimacy was in question.

There were no tender moments. They would say things like. “I know my Dad loved me, he just doesn’t express himself that way.” Or, “Dad loves me, he’s just very busy.”

The effects are devastating.

The daughter that doesn’t have the strong interpersonal relationship with her dad will always struggle with her relationships with men. The codependent part comes in her defining moments. She will always wonder is she beautiful, does she matter, who loves her.

And she will look for a male to supply her with these answers.

Just imagine the teenage boys willing to tell these girls that they are beautiful, they are important and they are loved.

What do you think these codependent girls will do in return for these simply words that should have come from her dad?

If you have ever wondered how some guys ended up with these very beautiful and intelligent women – you guessed it, codependency.

The point here is this: Every little girl needs to know that she is loved and that she matters. In fact all of us do. These two things are directly attached to her inner conscious which she will then use to fight off the voice that tell her no one loves her or she’s ugly.

This is why birthdays are especially important to all of us. They should be used as a tool to express love and to celebrate the life of a person we love. Everyone should have at least one day a year where people make a fuss, go out of their way and express their love all because of the birth of that special someone.

It is also for this reason that my two little girls will always know that they matter, that I love them more than life itself and that they are smart and talented enough to do whatever they put their little minds to. They need to understand that our spirits are forever connected and death can’t even separate us. That our love is everlasting – which means from the day they were conceived, it was in love and that their life and death will be spent in love.

Make sure the people you love know it. This must be demonstrated and said out loud often enough to make it a habit. This is how we live with no regret.

Posted in Uncategorized

The wonder of second chances

20131025-232823.jpg

I loved every Rocky movie. The dialog, the training, the fights — I was always inspired even if at times the movie got a little corny.

Something about the underdog touches my heart. Rocky was about taking the hits and continuing to move forward. What a great lesson. But it seems there are too many people who have not learned this lesson. We go through life blaming other people and wishing for things we don’t have.

We’ll say things like, “I wish I had this”; “I wish I had done that”; or “if that didn’t happen I could have done such and such!” People are slow to recognize and seize the second chance. A second chance is an opportunity or a pause during the hits of life. It’s the time you get to regroup and go at it again. It is true that the things that don’t kill us, make us strong. There is a moment in every battle that is lost where you have a chance to go again. Second chances are all about believing a bigger picture and refocusing. It’s about digging deeper in places in your heart you didn’t know existed and then exploding out of the gate for another round.

With each failure comes a second chance. Some of us use the period of second chance for rehashing failures. We are stuck and can’t get over the loss. If you believe you are a winner, then no matter what the odds or failures, you will rise to fight again. If you question whether you’re a winner or not; if you are unsure of your abilities; or you are waiting to hear if someone else believes in you, then you are destined for failure. And this my friends is actually a choice. You are what you believe. Don’t let anyone change your positive outlook.

Step into the hits and keep moving forward. The war is yours to win and you need not worry about a few lost battles. Take the second chance!

20131025-233133.jpg

Posted in Accountability, Change, Discipleship, Faith, Giving, God, Mind Power, Relationships, Sharing, Taking Responsibility

Gratitude vs. Thanks

image

I was unaware of the symbol for gratitude. Of course, Eastern culture exhibits the symbol as much a we see stop signs here.

Gratefulness and thankfulness each have its purpose, but have you ever viewed these words as levels of maturity? What I mean is a child will mimic what you say to him, but there will be no emotion behind it and that’s because there is not much intellect behind it. Imitation is what children do and it seems that some people never grow past mimicking.

We are taught by our parents to say thank you when someone does something for us. We say thank you as a sign of respect. We do it because it’s the “right” thing to do.

We grow up and understand thankfulness in the context that we learned it as a child. Thankful means to be glad or relieved that someone did something for us. That is a great thing to understand — when you are a kid.

Gratitude seems to be the next level because it means that you understand what has been done for you and you want to express an inward feeling outwardly. You want to do something because you are moved by what someone else has done for you.

Wow! That is different!

image

So ultimately our faith must do better than rest at thankfulness because faith without works is dead. So if we understand what God has done for us, then our actions should speak for us.

So if I am grateful for God’s unconditional love then I will give it to someone else. If I am grateful that God has forgiven me, then there is no way I don’t forgive. If I am grateful that God’s grace saves me from a state where I could not save myself, then why would I not be so grateful as to learn of him and shout from the roof top telling others about him?

Thankful appreciates. Grateful expresses the appreciation. Thankful shines with a smile. Grateful is a call to action.

Therefore, I need to be grateful instead of thankful. I need to be more of a doer and not just a hearer that my faith and trust in God may be displayed before the world.

I give God my thanks regularly, but I need to let him and everyone else know that I am grateful.