Holy Week

Garden Tomb by J. Kirk Richards

Garden Tomb  by J. Kirk Richards

Happy Easter week everyone!

Most of the Christian world refers to the week preceding Easter Sunday as Holy Week.  I concur.  Scan back through time 1983 years, and you will find Jesus in his final week upon this earth. It is a solemn time.  A holy time in which he is spending his last days teaching his disciples everything they must know to lead His church. Their task of spreading the gospel message to all the world is just beginning.  Christ’s earthly mission, however, is coming to an end.  Continue reading

Chocolate Made Me Cry

“Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get.”
– Forrest Gump

Last month was super stressful, I’m not going to lie.

I had been working on paper after paper, assignment after assignment with no downtime for 3 weeks straight. I was losing sleep over all that I had to do – the whole thing was a nightmare.

Ophelia.jpg

I feel ya Ophelia.

All the strain culminated on a particular Wednesday when I had my big Shakespeare presentation – a presentation that was freaking me out on for the several days preceding (it was on Hamlet, which I am sure was half the problem right there: not a happy play).

I had good stuff, I was just worried about pulling it all together. Working on it late into the night for a few nights in a row, I could hardly do anything else without dread following me everywhere like an attention-starved puppydog. I even prayed to Heavenly Father that if only ONE THING were to work out the next day, please let it be the presentation. Everything else could go wrong, but please let the presentation go well. Continue reading

Omit “Overwhelmed” from Your Vocabulary

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“I’ve got my country’s five hundredth anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.”
Prince Humperdinck, The Princess Bride

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of Overwhelming obstacles.”
Christopher Reeve

Yeah, I know. ‘Tis the season…for BUSY. Am I right?  Your plate is full.  The lists, the planning, the work, the assignments.

Then…it gets fuller.

Expectations, duties, obligations, requirements, want-tos, have-tos. Then comes the proverbial curve-ball and things get officially wack-a-doodle. And you are tempted to say, because you have every right to, that you are honestly and truly “Overwhelmed.” But don’t. Continue reading

Giving Thanks

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“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Maya Angelou

Ah, the season of Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it’s an American holiday, but the world could benefit from gathering and breaking bread and reminiscing on things for which they are most thankful. The great thing about gratitude is that you don’t need a feast to inspire you, just an open heart and observant eyes.

We touched on this subject in a lesson for one of our investigators here in France. The topic: Faith in God can shift our perspective to see struggles as actual blessings. Continue reading

This is Why We Practice

Training Wheels

 

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.”
Sun Tzu

“Practice makes the master.”
Patrick Rothfuss

 

True story:  There was a gal who made a spiritual journey to India to meet the Dalai Lama. The timing of her visit was an interesting one because a week before she and her friends arrived, tragedy struck among the otherwise peaceful Buddhist community. Some monks had been brutally murdered – alarmingly, by fellow monks!

The disturbing news of course couldn’t help but undertone the trip, so when this gal and her small group found themselves in a private audience with The Dalai Lama, their first words to him were ones of sympathy. His response was stunning. Continue reading

My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

Healing

 

“We all struggle with struggles. But did you ever think that perhaps God may be using your struggles to change you?
To shape you?
Even to heal you?”
Max Lucado

 

I think Max may be right. For over a decade I have been asking God to remove the pain in my head. I have chronic headaches. Even as I write these words, my thoughts pass through the fog of pain and try to come out coherent and uplifting. Doctors discovered at least part of the problem: deteriorated discs in my neck that shoot pain across my shoulders, up the back of my head, and to my temples. The lupus only muddies the issue, which makes my soldiering through the day sometimes, well, a battle.

Oh, put the tissues away, this isn’t a sob story. We all deal with struggles. This just happens to be mine.

So, what do I do with it?  I do my part. Stay active. Exercise. Stretch. Eat right. Think positively (after all, I don’t want to become anyone else’s headache). But mostly I pray. Continue reading

Under Construction

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Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

We are his workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10

 

I have officially reached the halfway mark of my mission. Gosh, where has the time gone? Feels like I just got here.

Regardless of how many people have or have not listened to our message, the reality of my service is that a huge transformation is taking place – and that change is within me.

Caution: Under Construction
At some point in service, every missionary hits the hard hat zone. In the last few weeks, I’ve hit mine. This is when you find the Lord beginning demolition so he can rebuild you. Funny, before his ministry, Jesus was a carpenter, and he seems to be continuing his trade (this time on my heart). Continue reading