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Sunday July 15, 2018 Inheritance

July 15, 2018

In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14

It is hard for us to think of our inheritance, because it means our beloved parents and grandparents must die for us to receive whatever they have earmarked to give to us.  In this passage, St Paul points to the gift of Confirmation, the bestowing of Holy Spirit, as the first installment of our inheritance from God.  When I look back to my Confirmation, a young person with not much of a clue as to the real meaning or depth of this sacrament, I know that I was not as happy or grateful as I am now that God was gracious enough to bestow on me that first installment of what eternity would contain.

The Holy Spirit has empowered my faith and given me so many insights to what lies beyond this mortal coil.  So often when I was unable to believe, broken-hearted and alone, HE was my rock.  It is humbling for me to realize now that this part of my inheritance was key in my journey to this place in my life and will be the guiding factor for the rest of my days.  My mother-in-law gave me a ring many years before she died and told me that she wanted to see me wearing it because she would not be able to do so after she was gone.  God can see our whole being across time and space… I think His gift early is to ensure we make it to our destination.

Thank YOU, Father, for loving me so much.  Your first installment of my inheritance has indeed been a blessing that has sustained me in my darkest hours and helped me to see past the ugliness of this world.  Help me to continue on my journey home with a steadfast heart.


Saturday July 14, 2018 Honor

July 14, 2018

There will be glory, honor and peace from God for all who do good.  Romans 2:10

This week I have been surrounded by women who are changing the world.  Wednesday, Karla Radka, spoke at my WEC luncheon.  Karla is the COO of Goodwill of CFL and the co-founder of Hope Now that provides school supplies and Back to School preparation (back packs, haircuts, and medical screenings: eyes, teeth and physicals)  for 10,000 underprivileged youth in Orlando.  On Friday, I was blessed to attend the retirement luncheon for Chief Cornita Riley who has served in corrections for thirty-seven years.  The entire restaurant was filled with people from her church, community officials, friends and family.  The lives that she has touched extended past the 1700 employees who are her current staff or the prisoners for whom she has directed care.  Impact of her caring vision and educational focus has affected families of these people and will extend for many generations.  The good that she has done has steeped her in honor.

I was doubly blessed to sit beside a passionate woman, Jill Bolander-Cohen, who began a non-profit to serve the women who suffer at the hands of human trafficking.  She has worked tirelessly not accepting a paycheck for eight years and now serves on the task force for the UN in this global crisis.  Orlando is a hot bed for this terrible activity because of the huge tourist market and the homelessness that is prevalent because of our warm climate.

I am deeply touched by the passion of these women and honored to spend a couple of hours in their presence.

Doing good is never easy.  St Paul encouraged the Romans and continues to encourage us today to do good even against all odds.  God is faithful and will reward those who have focused their lives on service.  It is crucial that we step forward and do the good work that God has called us to do.  I believe He sets it before us and invites us to get involved.  He never forces our hand because He gave us free will.  The ideas for making a difference float by and if we are paying attention and willing they settle into our heart and minds.  The honor and glory are His way of thanking us for our dedication.  I am sure that those who go through their whole lives doing what is theirs to do with no recognition or fanfare will be the biggest lights in heaven. God is fair and never outdone in generosity.

So today as I contemplate what good I can do… I pray for the women and men who are making such a huge difference in our community.  Maybe that is my job, to pray for them and for you who are fighting big battles every day.  Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.

Friday July 13, 2018 Throw

July 13, 2018

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Hebrews 12:1

There is a lot of talk and focus now on simplifying, downsizing and streamlining our lives.  Or maybe I am the only one that is being regaled with articles and movies on Facebook about the importance of ridding my life of clutter.  I am sure it is a combination of both.  But today when I read this verse, the word that stood out is THROW!  I have read that in China, they view life in twelve-year increments and at 60, a life is deemed complete.  At 61, a person begins anew.  What a great thought!

Now that I have reached that landmark and flown past it, I look at my life and realize that I desire to throw away a lot: limiting beliefs, emotional baggage that weighs me down, even stale relationships that do not revitalize and bring me joy.  I am seeking instead to pray, write, learn new things and embrace the love that surrounds me.  Finding my passions and living them with focus and intention so that I can run the race toward heaven without breaking down under the weight of entanglements that are not mine to do.

I have gifts and talents and want to pour them out on God’s people, giving Him the glory.  I can only do that when I am free from the weight of stuff that is holding me back.  So cleaning out the closets of my mind as well as the ones in my house opens me up to the new life that has arrived in my sixth decade.  I am running slower, but I am lighter now than when I was thirty.  It is good to throw away the stuff that holds me back.

Lord, I am so grateful that I have been given the gift of life.  I embrace every day and look for ways to be more attentive to what You have given me to be, do and have.  Help me throw away the stuff that no longer serves me.  Help me to let go of anything that hinders me and rid myself of the sins that entangle my feet with Your divine grace and love, I can run and not grow weary. 

Thursday July 12, 2018 Yes or No

July 12, 2018

Let your “YES” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “NO.”  Anything more is from the evil one.  Matthew 5:37

I recently attended a class where, Theresa Campbell, the Leader drew two intersecting circles.  In one circle she wrote ‘Hell YES’ and in the other she wrote ‘Hell NO’.  She explained each circle represented the important things that we are called to make decisions on and do with our lives.  In the cross-section is just hell.  I laughed for a minute and then realized that she was right.  When I am doing the stuff that is MINE to do and feel empowered to do: being with people I love, selling, speaking, writing… the Hell Yes Circle, I am feeling great.  When I am able to avoid the stuff that is in the Hell No circle then I am performing at my best.  For me the tedious, mundane, or the mind-numbing fall in this category.  The intersection is where I am doing the stuff that I am NOT good at, that I find boring but must be accomplished, that I am not delegating… that is HELL!

Jesus told His disciples to live and work where they believed and could be confident.  Don’t be wishy washy or uncertain.  Decide and move forward with intention.  I think He would love the circles and would be excited when more people would move completely into the fullness of living in their YES!  It is an important work for each of us to discover our strengths and KNOW ourselves in the giftedness that God has created in us.   There is nothing bad in this world that God has made.  All professions have merit and each of us are called to search out what we are good at so that our talents can be used to enhance the world and contribute to making heaven on earth for as many people as we can.  When we are living in hell… that is NOT attainable.

Dear Father, help me to know myself and the person who YOU created me to be.  Help me move fully into my YES life, where You created me to live and move and have my being! 

Wednesday July 11, 2018 Foreigners

July 11, 2018

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.  The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.  Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.  Leviticus 19:33-34

When I read these verses, I am humbled to recall the many times I have moved and be the foreigner.  In every case, someone opened their home, their heart and offered me friendship.  Sometimes it was a neighbor, sometimes it was a church member, sometimes it was a co-worker, but I felt welcome and began to put down roots.  Eventually because of their love and generosity, I could bloom where I was planted.

Today our country is at a crossroads.  Immigration issues are out of control.  Not only are we not making foreigners not treated as native-born, but they are being persecuted and deported.  There must be a Godlier way to make things equitable for them and for those of us who were blessed to be born here.  I am lucky enough to have memories of family who moved to this country to escape poverty and persecution.  They put down roots and learned the language, created businesses and raised families who did the same.  Nothing has changed.

Those who were here, resented the foreigners… made life hard for them, calling them Spics, Mics, Krauts and much worse.  Our country has only one native born people, and those who came here performed genocide to own this great land.  Let’s never forget that we are all foreigners!  We can do better!  Trusting God to lead us and show us the way, we will absorb and be stronger for the blessing of people who seek a new life.  Who know and appreciate the blessings that we have here that God has given to us to share!

Lord, help our country to begin to look for answers to the issues that face us today.  Help us to always remember Your words that clearly command us to again say “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island

Tuesday July 10, 2018 Perceive

July 10, 2018

The Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19

I love how God always reassures me when one door closes.  These words from Isaiah, give me strength, and assure me that all I need to do is stop dwelling in the past and perceive what He is calling me to do NOW!  Our lives on earth are a brief blink in our eternity.  What seems like incalculable investments of energy into a project or idea, are simply a quick diversion from all that God wants to give.  When I am open, He leads me to new and bigger adventures and often when I don’t think I am ready!

As with any new thing, it must be conceived in the mind before it can be brought forth into existence.  Nothing new has ever been made when comfort and complacency ruled.  There must be some angst or a need that must be fulfilled before something new can be created.  When Edison tried 10,000 times to make a light bulb that worked, he did not stop until he found a filament that would sustain the glow.  There is a light bulb in California that has been lit since 1901.  No one is quite sure why it is still functioning, (it has never been turned off, it is in a Fire Station in Livermore, CA).  Mr. Edison would have been out of business if all his inventions were that effective.   😊

God, what is within me that needs to be created, Today.  Help me to perceive the work that is mine to do.  Open my mind and my heart to plow through the wilderness of diversions.  Help me to ford the streams that are keeping me from all that You would have me be, do and have. 

Sunday July 8, 2018 Discern

July 8, 2018

And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ… Philippians 1:9-10

I have been praying hard all week while on a road trip to be with family and friends back in my old stomping grounds, the Midwest.  I received some very disappointing news right before we left for our trip that my Reinvention Retreat cruises had lost their meeting space and would be relegated to holding sessions in the dining room.  Having experienced this on my first Retreat, I was not ever going to put my speakers or participants through that again.  I had to cancel the Retreats.  I was quite distraught.

The daily prayer for me then has been, God help me to discern the new direction that you want me to go with my life.  Do I hold the retreats at a different location or completely scuttle the idea of an escape from outside influences that allows people to disconnect from life for a while, so they could reconnect with themselves?

I know that God is very good at closing doors tightly so that He can open a window or send me to another floor completely. I just must be alert and listening for His direction.  As I step back and ask Him what He is calling me toward, I recall the other ways that God has redirected my life:

  • When my dad died at 33 leaving five children, I never believed something good could come from that but my mom remarried and our family grew to nine.
  • A car accident that required back surgery allowed me to meet Gary.
  • The loss of my business, FYI, brought me to FL where I have become a Commissioned Lay Minister.
  • My retreats begun because of my own need for reinvention, opened the door to meeting hundreds of people and writing books that have touched hundreds more lives.

I know that God brings me through big hurts to new and better places.  He will help me to discern and start me on a new path that will be His way.

Lord, help me to discern Your directional shifts and be attentive to what is mine to do.  I know that I am Your helper and that You have sent me to earth to be a comfort and a light for others.  Give me the strength to not shut down but instead be open to the new paths You are calling me to walk.