In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trust and Thorough

Photo from http://hateandanger.files.wordpress.com
As I was reading the first 13 verses in 2 Timothy 4 this morning, the 5th verse really caught my attention; especially the way Peterson paraphrases it in The Message:

But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

Two words impress upon me this morning as I read this: Trust and Thorough.

I'm captivated by the phrase "accept the hard times along with the good".  I've vented a lot here over the last few months about my disappointment, frustration, anger, and just plain irritation with events at my job this past year.   I've investigated what the Word has to say about hardships in life, and realize more and more how hard times are just a part of the whole picture; even really hard times.  

In his devotional Silent Strength, Lloyd Olgilvie shares his take on it this way: "we back away from the cost of discipleship when the going gets tough because we don't trust Christ to bring good out of difficulties".  I can't help but think of Romans 8:28 when I read that.  Can't help but as myself that same old question that I come back to so often - am I gonna trust God or not?


Photo from http://pinterest.com/thoroughconcept/




Thorough is an interesting word.  Wikipedia dictionary defines it this way:
  1. Complete with regard to every detail; not superficial or partial: "planners need a thorough understanding of the subject".
  2. Performed or written with great care and completeness: "a thorough examination of the wreckage". "
I want that to be able to be said of me - that I do a thorough job as God's  servant!

Last year I got into the idea of picking 1 or 2 words to be the focus or goal for the upcoming year instead of goals per say.  This year I'm thinking that I  want trust and thorough to be my words.

What about you, what words do you see yourself wanting to be your focus for 2013?




















































Saturday, December 22, 2012

Grateful for Grace

One of the things that I adore most about the holidays is that my sons come home for some of the time!  Devon's here from North Carolina, so Daniel came over yesterday to spend time with him and stayed for dinner so we all got some time together.

During dinner Daniel was sharing about a Bible study that a friend has invited him to that he's gone to a couple of times.  He shared that they wanted to put him through this 9-week course with them so he said sure since he wants to have a regular time in his life when he digs into the Word with others of like faith.  But then he told me that he started to become uncomfortable because they keep emphasizing "discipleship" and saying that others aren't "real" Christians unless they are making disciples.  They asked if he felt like he's a real Christian and he said yes; then they went through a study and asked if he still did (in light of the fact that he's not "making disciples" in the way they define it) and he still said yes.  He knows that his salvation and the "realness" of his Christianity are based on Jesus and God's grace extended to him through Jesus, not on any actions of his own.  He told me that he gets that the Word tells him to go make disciples, but that he's not comfortable with the way they are talking. 

Daniel wants everything in his life to be based on what the Word says.  He kind of knows that what these people are saying isn't right, but he wanted some help with where the Bible says what that relates to this.   So this morning I wanted to spend some time in the Word and find some scriptures to share with him, and these are a few that I quickly came up with:

 Titus 3:3-8
This passage makes it so clear that there's no Jesus plus anything; it's all about God's work for us through Jesus that brings us into relationship with Him and makes us right.

John 6:28-29
How much more clear can we get?  The only work that God requires is that we believe, have faith, in Jesus.  It's all about our trust in Him, not in ourselves and our works.

Romans 4:4-5
Our works do not make us right with God, our choice to accept and believe in Jesus' work does.

Ephesians 2:8-10
Now this one's interesting because it speaks to how it is by His grace alone that we're saved, and that the ability to believe in Him is even a gift from Him, but it also brings up the works topic.  It states that He created us to do good works.  So He has plans for us to be about doing good, but it's not the doing good that brings us into right relationship with Him-that's pure grace.

Acts 15:1-11
This is a situation where some people wanted to put some scripture based requirements on the followers of Christ and they are told that the only way one is saved is through faith in Christ.

What I find myself wanting to emphasize is that the more I come to understand on a deep, experiential, level the grace of God, the more I want my life to be filled with doing good things, the more I want to be obedient in every area.  So, it's only His grace that saves me, and then it's the Holy Spirit's power within me that gives me the power to live His kind of lifestyle.

I don't know about what these folks Daniel's met mean by "discipleship", but I do know that I believe our current church culture  in America does not seem to focus enough on relationship.  I don't see the focus on coming along side of others and mentoring them in their faith.  But  I do see so much of this in the apostle Paul's example in the Word, and I do think our lives should be filled with relationship, and helping others in their faith in the ways God's gifted us to  do that.  However, this is not some kind of litmus test for "realness" of Christianity.

What about you, do you have any thoughts on this?  I'd be interested in what others have to say on this topic.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Passionate patience

Photo from .mayanrunningadventure.com
My youngest son is in a challenging living situation; he's living with my mom while attending college since the school he's going to is close to her home and about an hour commute from our house.  My mom isn't the problem; it's my sister who lives there with her daughter.  My sister doesn't really have a life of her own so she's overly involved in those around her and basically doesn't have boundaries.  She's incredibly intrusive and you'd have to see/experience it to realize how over-the-top terrible it can be.

When Daniel came over last night (what a blessing that my 18-year old wants to stop by to visit!) he briefly mentioned that he's been studying in James during his personal time with God and knows that his current challenges are being used by God to make him more who God wants him to be. (Double blessing that in this crazy world that God's goodness has reached into the life of my 18-year old and is holding him steadfast!)

Though he didn't speak of it I know that he's told me in the past that sometimes it's hard because he sees situations around him so differently than his unsaved contemporaries.  He has lots of friends, many of whom don't yet know Jesus, and sometimes he feels alone because his reality differs from most of those around him.

I felt impressed this morning to do some studying about God's working in our lives through hardship and to maybe share a few verses with Daniel.  These are the treasures that I was blessed by:

Romans 5:1-10
I adore the way Peterson paraphrases this passage in The Message, the 2nd part of verse 3-5 reads this way:
We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. 

Romans 8:18-30
There's so much here....perspective-this life is just a very small part of the picture, the fact that the Holy Spirit in us prays when we don't know how, that God turns every single thing around to our good, but most of all....GLORY!!!  His glory, and His working in us to participate in that Glory - WOW!

Ephesians 3:12-14, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8
Sometimes God allows our suffering to be used to help others.  If it weren't for the fact that God's blessed me with children, I'm not sure how well I could understand this.  To be candid, I basically struggle with selfishness; but I'd do anything for my kids.  We have spiritual children too, or people who are watching us and that God uses our hardship and how we let Him empower us to deal with it, to witness of His greatness. Our example might till the soil of their hearts to be able to accept the Word when it comes.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10
It seems that hardship is an expected part of life, and that we can count on the Holy Spirit to see us through and give us joy in the midst of hard times.

2 Timothy 1:7-12
Again there's this thought that suffering is expected.  But that God's grace, and His Holy Spirit in us, is more than enough to see us through.  That our focus, our priorities, are to be on His Kingdom work.


2 Timothy 2:1-10
We've got this thought process going on that shows our desire above all else to please our God and Savior Christ Jesus.  That we'll endure any hardship or suffering by His power in us so that we can participate in His Kingdom work and so that others might become part of this movement.

1 Peter 2:11-12
This is one of my favorite passages because it points out that our lives are not about this world and what we see in front of us.  This passage is not directly about hardship or tribulations, but it's about focus; that our focus is not to be about this world but about His Kingdom.

Gosh, I started looking up these verses for Daniel, and I hope they're a blessing to him, but I know that I'm one who needs to meditate on them.  That I need to keep in the forefront of my mind that my life was bought with a price and what I see in front of me in the day to day is not exactly what its all about.  It's about letting Him re-frame what's in front of me so that I can make the most of every opportunity to advance His kingdom.




Photo from tellerlinks.com

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Interesting Event

Picture from http://www.123rf.com/photo
I've mentioned in prior posts the challenges at my job and complained about my new boss.  But something interesting happened recently.  I was in her office, standing; she was standing too because we were both about to go out onto the floor.  She reached over and grabbed my arm, above the wrist.  I almost pulled back because it seemed so odd.

But then she said to me that she would hug me but she was afraid she'd start crying.  She said that she wanted to touch me to emphasize the point of how very much she appreciates me.

I think God's definitely working here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Reflections

Picture from http://www.vocado.se/en/autumn-leaves/
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I want to take some time to reflect on all the blessings in my life.

At the foundation is the fact that God loves me and gave me the gift of faith to come into a relationship with Him.  That He, by His pure grace, forgave all my sins through Jesus' work in the cross and gave me His holy spirit to live inside me.  That the Holy Spirit encourages me, teaches me, and convicts me when I go astray.  That God's word is so good and relevant and gives me a compass for my life.

I'm grateful that I'm healthy. 

I'm grateful for John.  He knows me and still loves me.  I appreciate so much that he and I can sit up in our room and make stupid jokes about annoying life circumstances or people and laugh together.  I like that we are both readers and can share stuff with each other that we both find interesting but that I've noticed most other people seem to find boring.  I'm grateful that, although when I look in the mirror I'm not the person I once was, he still finds me appealing and wants to be close with me.  I enoy hiking with him.

I'm grateful for three healthy sons all of whom are living productively.  Grateful that they are each indpendent and want to make their own way in life.  Grateful for the times I get to spend with them and grateful that they want to spend time with me.

I'm grateful for my local church.  I'm blessed with friendships with women who range from age 16 to 70.  Just thinking about any of them brings a smile to my lips.  These creative, interesting, fun women who love God and are trying to make thieir faith real in ways that matter, never cease to inspire me.

And I'm grateful for my job.  Although I've spent a lot of time here complaining about events at work, when I step back and gain perspective, I'm grateful.  Grateful in this bad economy that I have a job with decent pay and good benefits.  Grateful that I know each day that I contribute in ways that makes life better for specific detainees, staff, or the medical system at this location.  Grateful that I like many of the people with whom I work.  Grateful that, although I have a 40 minute drive to work, it's on uncrowed country highways and is not a stressful drive.  Grateful that God uses this job to address my character defects.

I'm grateful that I live in Wrightwood and am surrounded by pine trees, mountains, and clean air.  Grateful for our home and all the positive changes God's allowed us to make to this home so that it's becoming better and better as the years pass.  Grateful that we get to experience all the seasons in their beauty.
Picture from http://www.the7thelement.com

May I never cease to appreciate all the many blessings God has given me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Changes

I've been whining and complaining about my job and my new boss.  I've prayed that God would change my want-to with regard to both my boss and job.  Due to my boss' sarcasm, lack of planning, and dumping on me at the last minute, I'm challenged to pray for her and to want to minister to her; but I've been praying that God would change my heart.

Friday when my boss and I were talking we were laughing about how early we fall asleep 'cuz this job kicks our tails. I'd said that I feel like such a loser 'cuz I'm tired at 9:30PM on a Friday night. She made a joke about how she's such a loser that, on a Friday night even if she stayed awake, she's without anybody to do anything with any way. I encouraged her that it's because she just moved here for this job and to give it some time and she'll make friends. She said that no she didn't have any friends where she moved from before this either; that her husband is her only friend (he works out of state and they don't get to see each other all the time).

She grabbed my heart with that one!

A woman without friends - that hurts.  I've been there; I know all too well the hollow ache that creates.  I'm so grateful that today I have a few very close, inner circle friends, as well as a few next ring out friends with whom I could call up and go do something fun.  To be without friends just plain sucks!

I'm beginning to gain a vision that somehow God can use me in this woman's life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Choosing Truth

One of things God's been challenging me with in my life lately is Choosing Truth.  So I figured that I'd share about that at the upcoming women's event where I'll be sharing a devotional.

So, I'm working on my first rough draft here:

In your day to day life, where do some of the prevalent messages that you receive come from?

I'm constantly bombarded with messages from the radio, TV, my family, people at  my work, and those thoughts that come into my head.  The ones in my head are a product of how I was raised, the most prevalent messages around me, my natural inclinations, what I choose to put into my head, and sometimes even the voice of the enemy.

I've noticed a huge correlation in my  life with which messages I allow myself to focus on, and how I experience life. (I'm thinking to hand out the following scriptures to 3 women who I know are comfortable reading out loud and say these few things about the scripture and then have them read it.  Since it's a Craft night I don't think women will bring a Bible so I'll give them the verse and a Bible to read it from.  For for the Proverbs passage I'm going to give a copy of a King James Version for the woman to read from, the Philippians passage a New Living Translation, and the Romans passage The Message paraphrase.)

Proverbs 23:6-8 talks about a type of person to avoid.  The passage also brings up the principle that as we think in our hearts, that's who we are and who we are becoming.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on and fill up our minds with those things which are true, honorable,  right,  pure, lovely, and admirable. To think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Romans 12:1-3 talks about avoiding becoming like the culture around us.  These verses challenge us to sacrifice our lives and our ways of doing things to God.  These verses say that the key to doing this is to choose where we put our focus and to let God change the way we think.

I can choose to spend time in God's Word, to listen to those things that reaffirm His truth, and then to think on those things instead of the other thoughts and messages coming my way. When thoughts and messages that are contrary to what God says come into my mind, I can choose to replace them with the truth or can give into them and get carried away in a direction that takes me away from God. 

Do you have any current stressors in your life?  Maybe in a relationship with a spouse, child, co-worker, neighbor, or boss?  Or do you have a current situation in your life that really is not what you want it to be?

I have a couple; some very difficult situations in my job and some decisions one of my sons has made that I wish he were to have done differently.  These stressors in my life are such that they could make me miserable; even bitter and unhappy if I'd let them.  The stressors at work, since I'm there 5 days a week, could consume me if I'd let them.  Only by God's Word, only by choosing by  His grace and power available through the Holy Spirit in me, can I not let my stressful situations and relationships make me miserable.

When negative thoughts or messages come into my mind about my job or the choices my son has made and the situations those choices have created, I can choose to either go with the negative thoughts or to stop them right there. I've taken the time to sit down and pray and look in the Word and create some truth statements about my two situations.  Sometimes, when negative thoughts or messages come my way, I  choose to say those truth statements in my head, or if I'm alone, to even say them aloud.

But it's God's Spirit that empowers me to do this.

(I'm thinking due to time, since this is just a devotional, and area of focus, to just reference these scriptures verses and not read them aloud)


2 Corinthians 3:15-20 talks about how God is working in the lives of His followers, by the power of His spirit, changing us.

Ephesians 3:16-19 tells me that the Holy Spirit gives me the power to receive God's love and strength.

Galatians 5:22-23 describes how God's Spirit in us produces a different person; that He produces His attributes in us.

It's all about God.  It's all about His work in us.  It's only by His grace and power that we can deal with life's stressors.  He does it all.  But I can yield myself to Him and His work, or I can resist.  I've seen repeatedly in my life that what I allow myself to think on, where I put my attention during my day, either allows God to work in my life or puts me in the center and makes it so I have to go through hard stuff and then repent before I can experience His power.

I want His supernatural power in my life; I need that supernatural power to deal with those 2 stressors, that I've shared about my son and job.  I can't change these situations, I don't get to make them the way that I want them to be.  But what I do want, is God to be big and powerful in me even in these situations.  For God to do things that only He could do.  

Do you want that too?

I want to challenge you to pick 1 or 2 relationships or situations in your life right now that you want to see God work supernaturally in.  Let's spend a few brief moments in individual, silent, prayer regarding those situations and then I'll close us out with a brief prayer.  I want you to pray that God would reveal some ways that choosing His truth will enable Him to work more in your heart and in these situations.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Truth Statements

Picture taken from danceswithfat.wordpress.com
 I've got a couple of challenging situations in my life; stuff at my job, and some choices one of my son's has made and the situations those choices have created in his life.

Both of these situations hit me hard in the heart.  Both of these are situations that I could choose to perseverate on the negatives aspects of and become depressed and even bitter regarding.

Lately the Holy Spirit has been teaching how where I put my focus, what I think on, impacts my response to these challenges.  I can, and have at times chose to, listen to the messages I receive from a myriad of places or the thoughts that come into my head with regard to these challenging situations.  Or I can choose to think on what God says.

I've felt impressed to spend some time in the Word and come up with some Truth statements about my work and about my son.  These are statements that I can choose to think on when the negative thoughts come into my mind.

Here are those Truth Statements (and the scriptures they come from):



Opportunity

Recently I was asked to pray about if I'd give a devotional at an upcoming women's craft event at our church.

I'm not a public speaker.  Don't particularly like being in front of people.  Yet as I prayed about it, I felt like I should say yes.  But I waited a while thinking that maybe the impression to say yes would go away.  It didn't so I agreed to give the devotional.

Figured I'd share about what God's been teaching me lately.  Have to say I'm glad that this is a small event where there probably won't be more than 20 ladies in attendance.  But I  pray that God, in His goodness & mercy, would use what I say to minister what He wants to those women that come out.




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Coincidence?

Some small, but perhaps significant, things have happened yesterday.  I'm wondering if these things are correlated to some other things from the previous night and morning,or if they're just coincidence.

Photo from http://blog.followingtheancientpaths.org
The things from the prior night and morning can be traced back to, ultimately, God; but also to some people who via the written word, God's brought into my life.  Those people would be Priscilla Schirer and Rcubes from Off the Beaten Trek .

Last night I read a scripture that I've read many times before:

"Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4

I didn't think any new thoughts on the verse, but somehow, I felt more deeply impacted by the verse than I have previously.   Priscilla Schirer, in her book about Jonah that I've been reading, asks the question of if you have a messed up "want-to" and I've been thinking about this.  Because the truth is I do have a messed up "want-to".  I want to do what I want to do, my desires don't always line up with God's.   I've been so unhappy and frustrated in my job, I've struggled to overcome this feeling that comes to me frequently that says I hate my job.   Sure I have plenty to be unahppy about but the bottom line is that this is where I'm at for now and being a hater never helps anything, and there are some good things about my job.  So every day I've been trying and trying to remind myself that God is in control of the universe and that He has at least allowed me to be here, to remind myself of what is good about my job, and to try to see how I can be of help or encouragement to the people with whom I come in contact every day.  But it's been a huge struggle; it feels every day like I'm trying to go up a waterfall that is torrentially coming down upon me.  So last night I started praying that God would change my "want-to"; I started asking Him to teach me how to delight in Him and that the desires of my heart would come into alignment with His desires for me.

Rcubes works in a correctional institution as do I.  She's indicated previously at various times that there is more to situations than we can see in the natural, she's spoken about spiritual warfare.  I've got to tell you that spiritual warfare is not one of my favorite topics.  I've mentioned before that previously in my life I was involved in an unhealthy "charismatic" church many years ago and that I, wrongly, threw out much good theology and practice right along with all the bad.  So, due to prior abuses, I've shied away from the whole topic of spiritual warefare.  But scripture is very clear that there is an unseen realm, and that this realm affects the realm we can see.  It's also clear that Believers are involved in a spiritual battle.  In Ephesians 6:11-13 it talks about the armor of God and I felt a desire to pray through that yesterday morning and, metaphorically speaking, to put on that armor.  I prayed God's protection over me, and for Him to send his mighty warrior angels to protect me and asked that He would grant me His favor in the day.

Yesterday was a typical day at work.  One thing after another went wrong, I was pulled a bunch of different directions.  Started the day with an RN with a bad attitude who, when I pulled her aside to let her know that the attitude isn't acceptable, ended up bursting into tears and telling me about how I have it out for her.  Had auditors criticizing our paperwork.  Had a new medical records clerk actually ask me while I was training her if I expect her to remember the training I was providing to her.  Had the psychiatrist ask to speak to me due to serious meical and psychological concerns about one of our detainees, and was without any kind of guidlines on how to respond in the sitution, I had to think and pray and go with what seemed best to me.  The assistant warden came into medical records and decided that we are not organized the way he thinks best and wanted us to change everything - right them. We couldn't find the medical record for a detainee transferred over from our building next door but they said they did not have it (it was finally found that they did). The list goes on and on, but I'm sure you get the point.

But somehow, in the midst of all of this, I didn't feel all frazzeled like I usually do every day.  I didn't hear the words in my head I hate my job. I had a phone conversation with my new boss where we actually laughed and joked together and I felt like we were in it together, where I liked her. Near the end of the day when I was following up on a problem with two security lieutenants one of them commented on how I'm smiling more then I usually do and seem happier and the other emphatically affirmed the comment  (I always go out of my way to be nice to these guys and they recognize that, but I'm never personal with any of them, so it surprised me that they even think about how I feel).  When I got home last night John commented on how it's so good to have the old me back, that he's happy to see me not being so super stressed by my work.

I know this sounds so small, but this is not how I have felt for the past 14 months, and espcially not for the past 2 months since they've brought in this woman to be my boss.

Maybe it's somthing transitory, maybe not; time will tell.  Is my experience related to asking God to enable me and teach me to delight in Him and to change my "want-to?"   Is my experience related to focusing on the armor described in Ephesians 6:11-13 and praying my way though it yesterday morning and praying for His protection and favor?  Or, is it just a coincidence?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Maybe I've been asking the wrong question

Photo from http://www.plasticsurgerystudios.com
I've journaled a lot about my struggles with my job.

I'd been in charge, been the person to work tons of hours creating this program from nothing and then suddenly the company (who gave me nothing in terms of training prior to starting the endeavor and only finally provided a little bit of training after 9 months) brings in another employee over me and makes me her assistant.  To their credit, or at least my good, they kept me at the same pay.  Something that makes it even more challenging is that my new boss is sarcastic, sharp with people, and difficult to work with because she doesn't lead and is unclear about what she wants.  On the good side she's worked for this company for many years and knows their systems well, she's a competent manager, and she's an RN who has more specific medical knowledge than I.

So I've struggled with the whole situation and whined a lot here.

Recently I've started a Bible study in the book of Jonah.  I'm utilizing a companion workbook put together by Priscilla Shirer that looks at Jonah from the perspective of a life interrupted.  I can relate to that theme. I had these career plans to grow this program and, although the program is growing, I'm no longer in charge.  This wasn't how I envisioned things going.

Shirer makes these points in her book that have got me to thinking:

"A life interrupted by a holy God is a privilege"

"God doesn't need us to complete His purposes, yet He still chooses to ask us to partner with Him.  It's unfathomable.  His callinig you means that He has chosen you above anyone else to do what He is asking.  You are the one He singled out and pinpointed as His partner for a particular project."

"Believing that divine interruptions are a privilege not only will cause us to handle them differently but also to await them eagerly.  Knowing that we have an opportunity to participate in God's purposes should cause us to sit on the edge of our seats in anticipation of divine interventions disguised as life's interruptions."

So, I've been spending time looking and looking and looking for another job.  I've been asking why can't I seen to get another job?   But now I'm thinking that I need to be seeking God as to what He wants from me here at this job right now.  I need to be asking what is Your purpose in having me here at this job right now What is it that You want me to do?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The key of trusting God

Photo from http://www.24-7worship.org
I've been struggling a lot at my current job.  Feel like I've been treated poorly, and then had a person brought in who is directly above me.  In all fairness this person has very different strengths and weakness than mine and between the two of us we have a lot of powerful strengths.  If I'm really honest I'm jealous; I don't feel like this person is more valuable or better but she's making 25% more money and is now my boss.  But, it's like my husband John said to me; I'm only meant to follow God's path for me, not to worry about her path or what's happening with her.     I've prayed about getting another job but so far nothing has panned out.  Not to mention that twice now during the past 6 months I've heard a voice that I think might be the Holy Spirit saying but will you trust me in this job?

So in this current set of circumstances I read the following verse this morning that spoke to my heart:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 (NIV)

I want joy, peace, and hope.  I know from experience that it's not something I can manufacture.  I remembered anew as I read these lines that only the Holy Spirit can produce joy, peace and hope in my life.  Saw anew that the key is trust in God.

There's a line in The Cure that I read not long ago: "Where you are right now is the perfect place for you, or the God of all goodness and power would not allow you to be there".

So I'm here.  I'm seeking by His power in me to trust Him.  I'm trying to every day have an attitude that is open to how God would want me to reach out to the people with whom I work and the patients who it's our job to care for.   Because of this change in my perspective I'm finding little things each day to bring me satisfaction and joy:  When two officers commented on how happy I always seen at work and I could tell them that God is good, when a patient thanks me for caring and helping him, when this new boss looks at me in an odd way and comments on how she just doesn't understand why I'm so nice.

Bill Thrall makes the statement that the process of destiny is humility, submission, obedience, and suffering.  So obviously my current situation puts me in a great place to be part of that process. 


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Being a grace giver

There's a book I've been reading, The Cure, that has been quite a journey for me.This is the line of the authors' that captivated me today:

"What if it's less important that anything ever gets fixed than that nothing has to be hidden?"

This concept reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses from Proverbs 28:13 (NASV) that says:

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

Yet sometimes people find that the local gathering of Believers, the church, is the hardest place to be real.  Sometimes in our communities of faith there exists an unspoken message that everyone has this list of stuff wrong that they need to get their act together regarding.

I'm grateful beyond words for those very few people in my life who are not that way.  My husband John, and those few friends that I can count on one hand, with whom I can be totally honest.  Because these people in my life understand that Christ did not die on the cross so that we could get into heaven by the skin of our teeth, but while still here on earth we need to work really hard to get it right.  These people show me by their friendship toward me that they know that Christ's work is already completed, and that our life here on earth is about loving each other as we mature into that completed work He has already accomplished in us.  And along the way we, as John would say, give each other a lot of grace.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Forgiveness is only easy in Theory

First off, I'm grateful.
Taken from comefillyourcup.com

When I saw my doctor yesterday she wrote me off for 10 days.  I think my new boss and employer may be upset, but since I've got a physician's off work order, there is nothing they can do.  Since I've never used any of my sick time in the 13 months I've been on this job, I've got more than sufficient days to take these 10 days off with pay.  And I need them!

After a brief time in the Word I took a hike with John this morning, made us a wonderful brunch, and then settled in to to read the next chapter in The Cure . Can't express enough how incredible it is to not be exprierencing constant calls from work and to be able to engage in my life.

 Not surprisingly, God must have had this chapter just waiting for me today.  There's a lot in this chapter about forgiveness and, much to my surprise, the Holy Spirit convicted me about my need to repent and to forgive my employer.  Wow-here I've been feeling like the victim and then I'm hit with the fact that I need to do some repenting!  Although I may have been victimized, for my own health (not to mention the fact that I'm supposed to be a person who reflects God's love in my workplace) I need to both forgive my work and repent of the sins I've committed in the midst of all this.

Isn't that annoying?!  I don't know about you, but I'm much more comfortable with self righteous indignation than with humility.

One of the truths the authors brought to my attention is that my struggle with forgiveness is related to my trust in God.  If I believe that He is control of everything, and that anything that occurs in my life is because He has allowed it, then I will trust that these tough situations are going to be used for my good and that God will see me through them.  (Obviously one of my sins has been my failure to trust God, my self will.)

I'm grateful for this book because the authors reminded me that the repentance is not something I can work up on my own. 2 Timothy 2:25 makes it clear that God gives us the gift of repentance.  So it was no big dramatic thing; I just asked God to give me the gift of repentance and spent some time letting the Holy Spirit bring to my mind my sins.  I asked God to forgive me, thanked Him, and then asked Him to empower me to not fall into these any more.

Interestingly enough, repentance of wrong doing on my part in all of this, makes it easier to forgive my employer.

Have you ever had a situation where you had difficulty forgiving?  What did God teach you through it?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stressed and exhausted

This is a vent post. One of those it's better to write it out then sit here with heartburn from all the thoughts and feelings.

I'm letting my job really get to me and I don't know how, can't seem to, stop it.  I wake up just about every night with thoughts of stuff that needs to get done at work or things that could go wrong and I'm awake thinking about a new plan to fix a problem. John says he can tell that I'm having nightmares a lot too because he hears me cry out in my sleep.   I have this fantasy of just going to bed and sleeping until I want to get up; maybe like for 2 days straight.

It feels like every day that I go in to work it's just one problem after another after another coming my way.  Sometimes I choose the wrong problem to work on fixing and then some problem that I didn't fix blows up in my face.  This happens about twice a week.  Each time the customer, ICE, is mad at me.  Then my boss the warden is mad at me.  Hopefully this new woman who they are bringing in to be over me will help.  There's been more on my plate then any one person can do and I'm tired.

If I'm honest I feel resentful because she'll come in not exhausted (I've been at this for a year now; a year of loss of sleep and working an enormous number of hours).  She's also coming in and making 25% more money.  But the truth is that God is in control of my life and I need to practice contentment.

I feel guilty for feeling the way I do.  I feel like if I were a better Christian, better able to trust God, that I would be like Paul when he was in prison and just be praising God through all this hard stuff.  Instead I'm frustrated and exhausted, and here complaining.  My only consolation is that it's better to write and complain, so that I can hopefully be more positive around others.

I keep applying for other jobs but the economy is bad here and the job market is depressed.  For every job there are many, many, applicants.  So I stay where I'm at and try to do the best I can, yet I can see that I burned out.  I go to the Kaiser doctor on Tuesday and am hoping he'll write me an off work order for a few days; I've got lots of unused PTO time on the books.  Maybe if a doctor writes me off I'll really get the time off.  When I tried to take vacation days in June I still had to handle things while on vacation and they made me end it a day early and come back in on a Friday and then work the entire weekend. I made them credit back those 2 weekend days to me since I didn't really get a vacation.  I think the business manager did me a solid and just credited it all back to me because he knows I didn't totally get off.  But I did have some fun times with John.

Poor John.  I'm such a dud lately.  Wish I had a turn off switch and could just turn work off.   It would be easier to do if I wasn't on the phone so much with work when I'm not at work.  There are constant calls and crisis and situations.  I think it would help if I could get away from it all for a few days, totally away, and get a bunch of sleep and then start to enjoy other things in life again and become physically refreshed.  I feel like I need about 4 days just to sleep and detox and then about another 4 to start to have a life again and to think about all the other things that have nothing to do with work (it's like I've started not knowing what to do with myself outside of work since I'm just so exhausted).  Then a couple more days for a time of seeking God and spiritual renewal.  Then I could go back to work with a new perspective.  So, I'm praying that the Kaiser doctor will write me off work for 10 days.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The oxymoron of "sin management"

When I read the third chapter in The Cure this morning it struck a deep chord in my heart.

Picture from mongrelhorde.blogspot.com
The main theme of the chapter is that sometimes we don't really see God for who He is because we're looking at Him through our shame instead of through the truth of His grace and love.  When we're looking at God through our shame we live in a world of good intentions, a world where we work hard and, in a sense, try to engage in sin management.  When we see God for who He is, we accept His love and grace, live in that love and grace and trust Him to mature us into the new creation He has made in us.

Gotta tell you; I can barely explain the love and grace way.  I've got the shame way down pat.

I know about disciplines, and working hard to focus, trying so hard to please and "get it right".  I know the despair that comes from feeling like I never measure up.  If I totally pull my covers; the truth is that I feel rather numb when it comes to knowing in my deepest being that I'm a new creation and that He will complete His work in me (Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 5:15-18 ), that He will cause me to mature in His time.  I will say that for my current job - it is totally getting me in touch with my feelings of inadequacy!

As I'm writing this I'm reminded of one of my favorite scriptures from Matthew 5:3; I adore the way Peterson paraphrases it in The Message:

You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

These current trying situations at work leave me just wishing God would help me get another job. I don't see any other way out. But He's not opening any doors and, as much as I hate to admit it, even though I want to leave my current job, I don't feel a release in my heart. Gotta admit to feeling a bit lost and a lot tired.

I'm not finished thinking on these concepts of seeing God through my shame vrs through His grace and love and work in me.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Isn't that just like God?!

Perhaps a week ago I was writing about my inner struggle and pain regarding the issue of if God was pleased with me.

Then God, in His grace and goodness, brought some new thoughts on this topic into my life.

It seemed like an accident.  One day I was just reading facebook and saw where Jefferson Bethke had posted how much he enjoyed the book The Cure.  On impulse I got the book and started reading it as well as going through the companion website.

The authors of this book and website are causing me to reflect on some of the things I believe about myself and God; to ask more questions.

In their first chapter they put forth the question of if you want to please God or trust Him.  They propose that life is to be about trusting God.  Although I've always believed in trusting God, I've also obviously seen pleasing Him as important.  But as my brother in Christ Mike from Christian Cognition commented the other day, there's no way I can ever please God and I need to get that settled in my mind once and for all. It's only by trusting in His love and acceptance of me, that I can experience what he has for me - not by doing all the right things.  Perhaps that's why I read in Hebrews 11 that without faith it's impossible to please God. Isn't faith another word for trust? Like I said yesterday, Ephesians 2:8-9, tells me that He'll give me the faith to believe in Him. So right now I'm trying to look more at trusting God and put my focus there instead of on pleasing Him.

Trusting God isn't easy for me; especially when things don't appear to be going well.  Truth be told I guess I'm selfish; I want things my way.  But life doesn't work that way and I've got to mature in my faith to where I trust God no matter what.

Do you find trusting God easy or difficult?  Why?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Executive secretaries and the voice of God

Something interesting happened at work today.

To put the event into context: I've been struggling at work since since that Terrible Tuesday meeting. I've struggled to get myself in to work in the morning and I've struggled with my attitude and emotions. But I've always become caught up in the tasks that comprise my day and given myself over to the completion of the seemingly unending tasks set before me to run the current program, work on audit corrections, see to it that our processes become entrenched, ensure that the new staff are trained, and pull together all the pieces that make up the opening of the new program next door.

 At the end of 11 hour days I find myself exhausted and nodding off to sleep by around 9PM in the evening. Only to wake up around 2AM with thoughts swirling around in my head. I've tried to put into practice Philippians 4:6-7 and not worry about all that there is to be unhappy about my unfair treatment at work; to trust and praise God instead. But in the very early hours of this morning I just couldn't seem to do it. I'd started reading The Cure this week and have decided to read and think on a chapter each week. Although I can't say that I've found the book well written so far, I was deeply moved by the theme of choosing to trust God that dominated the first chapter. In those angst filled pre-dawn morning hours today I talked with God about how I want to trust Him but just can't seem to do it. It seemed as if the Holy Spirit brought Ephesians 2:8-9 to my mind; that it is God who, by His grace, gives us the gift of the ability to have faith, or trust, in Him.

So it is in this context that I drug myself in to work this morning. All the while wanting desperately to stay home.

Then God spoke to me.

And He did it through the warden's executive secretary.

I don't even know that she's a follower of God. She's a delightful person and she and I have always gotten along well but she's never indicated any faith to me so far in the almost year that we've worked together. But today she came to my office for some documents and she came in. She'd just found out about my demotion and began to speak to me. I expressed how much this has hurt me and voiced feelings of failure even though on another level I don't' feel like I've done anything wrong. She told me to look at her; then she said that I have done nothing wrong. She said that because that detainee died 3 weeks after we sent him to the acute hospital, everyone was looking for someone on whom to blame the death.  She said that, unfortunately, that someone ended up being myself and the former warden. She told me that I'm a lot like the former warden in that we both give everything we've got, put our entire hearts into our jobs, which is why my heart is now broken. But she told me that she wants me to know that she knows I've done right and respects me tremendously and wants to make sure that I know that several people in "high positions" respect me as well. Then she went off into how this is bad company to work for because they treat their people wrong. After she left my spirit felt encouraged. The despair with which I'd been struggling was lifted. It was as if God spoke through her right to my heart and said the words I so needed to hear.  

Have you ever experienced a time when it seemed like God spoke through someone else directly to you?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tears and Friendship

From eachdrop.wordpress.com
I have a friend named Paula.

Paula is the one who, outside of John, knows me best and still loves me.  In an  earlier post I related the account of a Terrible Tuesday meeting at work.  Following that meeting I had to attend a daily exit from our pre-occupancy audit for the expansion at work and act like all was well.  Then I got into my car and started driving home.

Of course I called John first and, although John is supportive and wonderful, he's still a man.  We're wired different.  Then I called Paula. Paula let me cry and cry and cry on the phone without feeling guilty for crying or like my feelings were wrong.  Paula let me be heard.  Paula was there with me in the pain.

What a blessing her friendship is!

A couple of my favorite Bible verses are found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV):

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

From 60yearsyoungwithitsy.com
I want to be a friend like Paula.  God has truly, not just this one time, but many times, used her to be His own comfort with skin on.

There's a sister in my church who I've loved from the moment I met her.  This woman and I have some things in common, yet we're separated in age by around 25 years.  Because I'm fortunately not part of any rumor mills I don't know any details about anything going on in this sister's life but I've kind of known that she must be going through some tough circumstances in her life.  So I've prayed for her, but never had the opportunity to reach out in any way.

I'd invited her to join another friend and I to go to a play yesterday and out for an early dinner following.  Over the meal she began to open up and share about some of the pains and struggles she's been experiencing lately.  I just listened and validated her feelings.  The other friend and I  let her cry and talk. I was grateful to get to be there for her.  I know how much it means, when all the tough things happen in life, to have people there who love you and choose to be with you in your pain.




Saturday, July 21, 2012

When the rubber meets the road

I can't say that I'm righteous because in and of myself I'm not.  But I'm sure grateful that Jesus' righteousness has been given to me; 2 Corinthians 5:21 proclaims the deal I got, my sin for his righteousness.

Then this morning during my time with God I come across these verses in Psalm 34:18-22(MSG):

18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;
   if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath.

 19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
   still, God is there every time.

 20 He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
   not even a finger gets broken.

 21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
   they waste their lives hating the good.

 22 God pays for each slave's freedom;
   no one who runs to him loses out.

I need to think on these verses today because it's been an over the top bad week.

At work the customer for my department (a commander with ICE Health Services Corp) who is an RN has been giving me grief for months.  I've tried everything to appease her, anything that she says she wants or that we should be doing, I go and do.  I've been working 10-13 hour days, 6 days a week and being on the phone with work a lot of times when I'm not at work.  My heart has longed to make everything so perfect.

One of the issues has been that she's an RN who thinks only RNs or mid levels or physicians can really understand and ensure correct services, and I'm an administrator not a provider.  The company knew exactly who they were hiring when they got me and they know that my team and I have pulled off an incredible feat pulling this all together without any support from the company.  But I've basically compensated by just working really hard and doing whatever it takes.

To make things even more difficult, the company has in response to all this been sending in auditor after auditor from within the company every week.  Most of these are new to the company people who want to make a name for themselves so they've shared their vast knowledge by picking various and sometimes contradicting, things on which to focus.  Areas that in some job they came from they once found was a real issue; it's as if they want to show how they have some very valuable knowledge that no one else has ever heard about to show what an asset they are.  Most weeks for the past two months I've had to deal with auditors and then stay even later to get my actual work done as well as any follow up necessary from their findings.


So when this commander came to audit on Monday I believed it would finally go well because we've got all our systems in place, our services are great, and our charting looks immaculate.  But it didn't exactly go well.  She couldn't find any real problems so she brought up things that no one expects, things that are silliness and not community standard.  During her exit the warden assured her that we'd get on everything that she brought up but asked for an affirmation from her that she knows we're good to go on our expansion plans that are set to go into effect August 1 since, at best, all her concerns are very minor (only he said this in the most polite of ways), but she hedged and acted uncomfortable.

Then on Tuesday the warden called me into his office where I came upon my boss on both the medical side and the warden, plus the VP of medical services for the company, and the regional director of operations.  Just men in suits and me.  Bottom line is that they've brought in an RN to take my job and demoted me to her assistant. I'll only get 6% of the 12% increase in pay that I was supposed to get.  This person won't be here until August 13 so I'll still end up doing all of the hard work associated with an opening.  Because of some contract problems with the customer, the company would not give the go ahead to hire the staff we've got waiting in the wings, so I'll be short staffed.  Over the past few weeks I've written a few emails to both my bosses and the regional HR manager about the staffing situation because I can't ensure patient safety without enough medical staff coverage but I've been blown off.  They are finally responding and by August 13 those new hires will be in place.  I've put together a training program for all of these new hires so that everyone will be ready to go.  Then this new person will walk in and reap all the rewards.

But it seems that the company is counting on the fact that once an RN is in place this RN commander will be satisfied.  Everyone is happy.  Every one except for me; I feel used and betrayed.  This RN is moving from Colorado to take the job and they had to offer her 25% more than I'm currently making; this didn't just happen this has been in the works for months to make happen.  To make things worse I've got way more breadth and depth than her but she does have a correctional background and this is my first time in corrections - it really is a different world in some ways.  Basically both my bosses have admitted that I've been done wrong but this is just how it is.

So, with all this going on, I come to these verses.  So what do these verses say to me?

I am not alone.

God is here with me.

He is my shield.  Even if it looks like I'm getting the raw end of things, I can still count on Him.  I can trust Him.

I'm not a very spiritual person.  I mess up lots of times.  I'm not even always sure when God is talking to me.  My experience has been that God's voice is a thought in my head like all the other thoughts.  Only sometimes I am certain that one came from God and at other times I'm not so sure.  A couple of months ago when I was crying out to God about all this crud at work and how no other work doors were opening (I've been taking some time once a week to look and apply for other jobs during most weeks) I thought I might have heard God say: But will you trust Me here in this job? I thought I heard those words again when I was driving home on Tuesday night.  So my un-spiritual response was - what else am I gonna do Lord?!  You're God and I'm not and I can't change anything-it's all in your hands, Please help me have a good attitude and do what it right regardless of what is going on around me.

So here I am today trying to focus on these truths - I am not alone, God is here with me, He is my shield and I can count on Him, I can trust Him.  These are the things that I need to keep deep in my heart and let my actions stem from.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Faith and Doubt - The struggle

This morning as I emailed my weekly update to my son Devon who's serving our country in Afghanistan I found myself telling about my work, how much I long to make everything perfect and have someone in authority  recognize how hard I work and express that they are pleased with me and my performance.

As I came into my time with God those thoughts lingered in the back of my mind.  I found myself asking why I have this intense need to please.

It hit me - because I was created to please God.

That driving inner desire to please is not wrong, but I'm working to please the wrong ones.  God is the only One who matters. But then I started crying because I know I'm such a mess up, I fall so very short of God's ways.  I had to remind myself that this is why Jesus came and died in the first place, because no one is good enough.  I reminded myself that His grace is so much bigger than my mess ups.  His love is all consuming.

So I know that He loves me.

But I struggle with if God's pleased with me.

Does anybody else ever have these struggles?
                   I believe that in order for faith to be real, it can not only withstand all my doubts and questions, but grows through them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Figuring this thing out

Rucube, from over at Off the Beaten Track, made a point about how perhaps that passage in Matthew 11:28-29 was not referring to God making it so that we would not be physically tired, but was saying that religion put extra stuff on us that relationship with Him does not. In Him we have life, hope, power, and peace.

To be candid, I don't always experience that hope, power, and peace. But I want to.

Lately it seems like God's bringing situations into my life that cause me to think back to other times in my life when I've been exhausted.  I don't know if His message to me is that physical exhaustion is just part of life, or if He's telling me something else.

I was captivated this morning by something I read by Francois de Fenelon:

"Should we feel at times disheartened and discouraged, a simple movement of heart toward God will renew our powers.  Whatever He may demand of us, He will give us at the moment the strength and courage that we need."

I appreciate Fenelon's point about a simple movement; not some big, hard, thing-just movement toward God.

Have you ever experienced a time when you just moved toward God and it caused changes in your life?

Friday, May 18, 2012

See the Word be Real in my Life

I am absolutely exhaused!!!

So my mind remembers Matthew 11:28-29 (NASB):

28 “ Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

[Footnotes: a.Matthew 11:28 Or who work to exhaustion]

I read this verse, I choose to believe the Bible, but I don't see this in my life.
 
I want to be a person who takes God at His word and expriences what the Bible talks about in her life.  So I'm going to be pursuing this.  I want to explore this and find out why I'm not able to connect with God and find that rest that I so need.  Maybe I'm not really understanding the verse, maybe I'm expecting the wrong thing, or perhaps I'm not coming to Him and really taking His yoke and learning - I don't know.  But I do know that I'm both physicially and emotionally over-the-top exhausted. 
 
Have any suggestions?  Have you had any experiences that would shed light on these verses and how to appropriate them into your life?   Has God taught you anything in this area?  I'd adore hearing what you have to say.
 
Another verse that comes to mind is Ephesians 1:17-19 (MSG):
 
I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

I've been led by the Holy Spirit to share this verse with Devon, my oldest son, and to pray this verse over him, numerous times.  But I don't see it in my own life.   So I want to change, to learn how to allow God to work in my life and make this part of His Word real in me.

Again, any experiences or wisdom that you have pertaining to this would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What now?

This passage from James 4:7-10, the way Peterson paraphrases it in The Message, is one I come back to repeatedly:

7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

This is where I'm at right now in my life. I tried and tried to get a better job and finally landed what I thought was a career future job and now for the last 8 months that I've been there it's like I lost my life. I've worked all kinds of crazy hours and been tired and confused and it's felt like it never ends...

But my life is not about my work. My life is first and foremost about seeking to see what God is doing and what He wants from me, what He wants to do through me. My life is about letting Him use me in the relationships in my day to day life.

I feel the need for more time away with just God and I right now, to allow Him to make some changes in me so that He can make me more useable.

What about you, what new things is God doing in your life?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Integrity

I want to be a great leader.

So as I was thinking about the qualities that make my current boss, Warden Gilkey, a great leader, I felt impressed to do some study on those qualities.

The first one is integrity.

Right away I'm reminded of Proverbs 10:9 (NIV):

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

Thefreedictionary.com defines integrity this way:

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

So, how does that look in my specific life? What challenges do I personally experience routinely to practicing integrity?

This whole concept of wholeness, completeness; following an ethical code and not just partly following it - that's a hard one for me. These are the situations in which I find myself tempted to do that which comes easily, naturally, or feeds an inner desire in me, instead of pursing wholeness and consistently doing what I believe is ethical:
  • At work I get stressed, there's lots of pressure and the intense onslaught of crisis situations. I feel the deep desire to talk/vent - but often that could end up meaning talking about others. Yet I believe that it is wrong to gossip.
  • I believe that I should put my husband before myself, yet I struggle because I want to look out for me, and please myself first.
  • I believe that I should always do my best in everything I do, that quality matters, whether anyone else notices it or not. Yet at work I'm constantly bombarded with such a huge volume of tasks that I struggle against not just doing things "good enough" (or sometimes haphazardly just to be quick).
  • I believe that it is right to see things through, to not give up . Yet so frequently I become discouraged with the many problems of my family of origin, or with my middle son, or with situations that I don't see how to make right at work. I'm tempted to give up in these things.

These are some of my most persistent challenges to my integrity, what are yours?

In his book Forgotten God Francis Chan talks about having a life where you do things that you know you couldn't do by yourself; where you know it will take the Holy Spirit's power to make it happen. I know that I'm not capable of meeting these challenges in my own strength. Left to my own devices, it's not a life of integrity that I'll live. But with the power of God in me all things are possible.

It is only by God's power that I can live with integrity.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Know any great leaders?


What do you think makes a great leader?

I'm thinking about this because I received an email yesterday from our warden, my direct day to day boss, that he is leaving. He's leaving for personal/health related reasons. He'll be here until the middle of April. Upon reading that I found myself thinking - I put up with all this nonsense here because of him; he's a great leader and I adore working together with him. I'm not so sure it would be worth it with someone else.

Of course that got me to thinking about why he's a great leader. There are many reasons but the ones that stand out most for me are:

  • He's a man of integrity in every way.
  • He would never throw me or anyone else under the bus. He does what is right and lets the chips fall where they may. He takes responsibility for everything in this place; even if I mess up, since he's my boss.
  • His word is gold.
  • He's phenomenally knowledgeable and smart.
  • He has a total sense of passion and urgency about him that motivates me.
  • He sincerely cares about both staff and the individuals in our custody.
  • He is willing to do any task and doesn't see anything as beneath him.
  • He works hard and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

I want to be this kind of a leader.

What about you, what do you think makes a great leader? Have you ever worked with a great leader in your professional or personal life? I'd be interested in hearing about that experience, this topic interests me a lot.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

What do you think?

My oldest son Devon facebooked me these two youtubes:

http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY

http://youtu.be/Ru_tC4fv6FE

He suggested that I first view the first and then the second.

What are your thoughts on these?

Since Devon sent them, added to fact that Devon converted to Catholicism a couple of years ago, makes it apparant that he agrees with the second video.

I love my son more than words can express. I respect the man he's become.

But I can't really agree with the second video. I do not think the rock upon which Christ proclaimed He'd build His church was referring to the local church or religion; I think it was referring to faith in Christ.

If you know me at all you know that I love the local body. I participate faithfully in my local church and raised all three of my sons in church. So I appreciate Devon's love for the church as well. I know that God wants to work through His local body of Belivers in all the locations at which they meet, and I think He ordained the local church to teach and encourage in the faith. But, since the local church and religion are made up of people - it is indeed imperfect at best. Religion and church membership can not make you right with God - only Jesus can!

I'd be very interested in your responses to these two videos.
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