If you are reading this, then you have survived Snowmaggedon 2011, The Snowtorious B.I.G., The White Death and whatever other dramatic phrasing that we have dubbed the great snow storm that hit many of us last night, the 1st day of February.
We scrambled to find shelter and shovels, as 24 estimated inches of accumulated snow swirl around us on its way to slowing our world to a stop. Watching our friends statuses buzz with comments on the joy of snow days today and the gratefulness of safe travels, and a warm fire, brings me inspiration. The busyness of life has been completely simplified and the complexity of choice has been singularly focused to staying indoors.
Unity of struggle against the elements had violence at an all time low and more families connected than any other non-holiday day. Our perspective was redirected from the hustle and bustle of weekday worries to watching the world get covered by God’s winter magic as he creates a wonderland.
I say wonderland, because we were forced to remember the most important things in life. I have not seen as many people more concerned for families and friends, since great tragedies like September 11.
I have yet to hear of great tragedies that occurred in this white washed world yesterday, but do not doubt that they happened. However, something that has been as unifying as this storm without the great tragic outcries of war, is an absolutely wonderful blessing.
Our freedom to get lost in everyday activities was blanketed. Our hearts tossed back on to those most dear. Whether we go to school… not a question. Whether we go to work…not for many a thought. Whether we do…became ‘weather’ we don’t.
We were issued a time out. Enjoy it. This for some is the first sabbath they have observed in years. This is a great opportunity to reset the jets as they cool. Refuel the tank while we hibernate.
Use today to redefine those relationships with those most dear.
Realign your priorities.
Let us acknowledge the lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Thank you God for shutting us down for a while.
Happy Ground Hog Day
Let’s believe that!!!!
Today at work I had the privilege of discovering a big discrepancy in communication of evaluation strategies for our students.
My company is an awesome alternative education program with learning centers throughout the nation. When evaluating students we use an alternative scale as opposed to the A- F that most are familiar with. We evaluate students based on their goals and our expectations for the student, looking at their effort as well as their academic progress. Often times this rating scale is translated into a letter grade so those that are used to that format would see something that they recognize and understand.
Today during my conversations with colleagues I discovered that there were a few regions that were not using the same evaluation pattern. With some regions scoring one way and others scoring another way, there is room for confusion and inconsistencies. Today was a day of realigning our strategies. We needed to get on the same page.
We all had the best for the students in mind, but because we were not following the same plan the students could end up being misevaluated and ultimately pay the price. I had to see our supervisor and the procedure manual that he aided in creating that pointed out the correct evaluating procedure. It was becoming clear that these leaders had yet to review this portion of the manual. It was a very simple mixup to straighten out that will positively impact around 600 students. That’s big impact.
What is the eternal take away today?
I must ask you and myself, what is our life evaluation strategy? What does our supervisor say? Are we using the same evaluation methods that he would have us use?
Jesus and His word are the rubric, the scale, the measure of our success. We have been fashioned too much by a world with a moving rating system that always has us on the bottom rung of the success ladder. Ask around. How much money would you need to feel rich? The answer tends to be 50% increase no matter what income you are at.
God has a rock solid marker for success. WHAT IS SUCCESS? Becoming more like Jesus.
We need to get on the same page with God and his plan for us. He has provided a perfect procedure manual that is never out of date and needs no addendums.
Here’s the real question.
Many of us are well intentioned, and have the best in mind, but don’t know what the plan is. Why? We haven’t checked the manual. Why do we think that living life like common people will bring us extraordinary results. We need to be something “extra”, which simply means allowing the God of the universe into our hearts through prayer and our lives through obedience to what he leads us to do.
I know this is a common thought, but the Bible teaches us how to live. Life won’t be easy, but we are promised it will be worth it, if we do it right.
Psalm 119:35 NIV
Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
Psalm 119:105 NIV
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Proverbs 12:28 NIV
In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
Why do so many of us try to reinvent the wheel?
Why do we feel that we are smarter than every generation before us?
Listen to your supervisor. He has a successful action plan created and is going to evaluate you one day based on your faith in Him as the example. Jesus Christ is not only the supervisor, but He wants you to allow him to be the Cheif Operating Officer, Cheif Financial Officer, and the Cheif Executive Officer of your life.
Is today your day? It’s up to you. It is a simple thing and the most important thing to get straightened out. Get on the same page with Jesus; there can be no decision with greater impact on your life. It saves it!
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Close ALL the windows. Cracks let cold air in, and let the warmth escape.
A week or so ago Lariza and I were having another awesome lil chat in our room. In the middle of the conversation I was shaken by a serious chill that shivered through my body. We complained of freezing cold for weeks in our room and then when the temperature dropped low enough outside we really began looking for the problem. That search started with my shiver. We knew this was not normal to be in our bedroom and shivering.
We had temperature problems in our bedroom every winter, but this was the worst. I had put up with the cold for long enough; something had to change. The first and most obvious place to look were the windows. The base of the window was secure and at first glance the locks apeared to be in place and also secured. However, when I finally peered upward I noticed a small crack. The window wasn’t cracked, but it was slightly opened a crack. This sent me reeling. I could not believe that I had put up with the cold wind blowing over us ever so slightly for half of the winter months. I mean here it is, January, and we dealt with this cold for that long.
Upon this discovery I quickly got about the business of closing and locking it tightly. I then decided to check all the windows. Another of the four windows in our room was cracked as well. This led me to step up my search and check Leila’s room. Turns out that one of her two windows were cracked open as well.
In life, we all have seasons. the Bible tells us that there is a time for everything.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:”
If you are anything like me, then the winter is not your best time. You search for warmth and treasure it. Winter’s cold tends to signify death and my family just let that death sneak into our house and in turn let the warmth escape.
In many ways, Our lives are these rooms. We decorate them with luxurious items like flatscreen tv’s, Blue ray players, and such. We cover ourselves with blankets and snuggies for comfort. The usefulness of the luxury fades as we freeze without heat. The comforters do little to keep us warm if the window is left open.
Your life might be decorated with luxury and covered in blankets, but have you left windows open. Our windows are little doorways of sin. Sin that we are aware of and ignore and often times sin that we are unaware of. The damage of sin will sometimes go undetected for a time. It will slip in unnoticed amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy life. We often only take notice of the problem when our life is blowing up around us, or when we are catching death of cold because a slight frigid breeze has blown on us as we sleep for long enough.
We let evil in with sin and it takes the place of the warmth of God’s word. Stay warm this winter season of your life. Winterize your life, like you should your life. Many seal the windows and we should seal our lives. Don’t give sin a crack to slip through.
We try to stay busy and active to stay warm. We can even be wise and cover ourselves with God’s word to defeat the cold breeze, escaping under his blanket of protection.
However, if we dont check the windows we let warmth creep out and cold creep in almost completely undetected. If you find yourself troubled and freezing, it might be time for a window check. Don’t just look in and out, but take a glance up and you will find it.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Wake up each day seeking the cracks and SEAL THEM!
Otherwise you will wake up one morning sick and blame it on the builders, when all you needed to do was close the window. Last night I fell asleep with no shirt on, because my house was filled with the warmth that comes from sealing the cracks.
Last week Leila had a rough time. She was constantly dealing with pain in her mouth every time something bumped or rubbed against one of her front teeth. She has had this tooth bothering her for a while. It seemed to be a bit too much for her to bear this night.
Leila had decided that she wanted to battle this loose, bothersome tooth. One big problem: this meant causing more pain. In order to get it out, she had to touch it. To look at this tooth, it was a small, dangling lil thing, but she would not let us get near it. We pleaded with her as she examined it in the mirror, “let us get it out.” “It will be over before you know it.” She wanted nothing near her tooth and wanted us to stay out of her mouth.
Leila was determined to handle this one. She stared down her mouth in the mirror, making tough faces and looking serious. I decided not to push myself on her and force the issue, but I wanted to help anyway I could. So I prayed over her and her tooth. I called on Jesus for healing and strength for Leila for a while and then my five year old made what I believe was her first heart felt prayer.
“Jesus can you help me.”
Then she went back to work carefully wiggling. Her persistence to the issue was encouraging. It was great to see her not having a defeatist attitude and choosing to stick with it. However, she still refused to let me do more than coach and pray. Eventually exhaustion set in and she called it a night.
The next night was a beautiful thing. As my wife Lariza and I sat with Leila on the couch, she turned and looked at us with a look of concern and a frown. She complained of her tooth pain. She decided that she would let us get a little closer to the trouble. She allowed her Mama to take a look. The pain had clearly become so great and annoying that she told her Mama that she could try to get it out.
In one quick motion, using some tissue and forceful fingers, Mama reached in there and yanked that ugly little sucker out. Leila was in shock and so was Lariza. It was OVER! Lariza was surprised that Leila wasn’t screaming her head off. Leila was surprised that it didn’t really hurt. I was suprised at the inspiration that this gave me.
This reveals a clear truth about how many of us live our lives.
We deal with pain, troubles, aggravation, stress, depression, sickness, and on…and on…. Too often we react to these like Leila. We start off complaining. Then we attack the pain; we go at the problem.
Worldly wisdom says this is the way to success and prosperity. But look, like Leila, the struggle wages on. She refused outside assistance, stared the problem down, and even eventually prayed about the concern.
This only ended in an exhausted spirit. She felt like she had failed and felt that God had failed her in her time of need. I mean she prayed and really meant it.
However, she had the answer to her problem and the cure to her pain right next to her all along. All she needed to do was to trust that pain, that concern to her father who never left her but wouldn’t force his way into her issue. Sometimes we have to get exhausted in our own efforts, before we trust in the help that the Lord offers. She had enough of the pain, when she finally gave her pain over to someone she trusted. Her prayers as heart felt as they might have been, didn’t accompany surrendering that issue to the Lord.
When she finally surrendered it, she was suprised at how little it hurt and how good she felt. On top of that relieved and painfree sleep received, she got a tooth fairy bonus.
So how do you react to your pain, hurt, concerns, issues and everything that weighs you down?
Do you simply stare them down and put on your battle face?
Do you offer up a prayer for assistance, but deny the God sent help that is there?
Dont wait til you exhaust your spirit, let your Heavenly Father get in there and yank that sucker out.
He can only heal the pain that you surrender to Him.
Is it harder to trust a perfect God, or deal with a perfect storm?