“It was Just Soup!”

Soup picture

What would you pay for a bowl of soup?

It’s the great exchange.  Business deal gone wrong.  Who would hire him after such a catastrophic blunder?  He was on his way to the top and then he settled, giving in to his cravings.  He knew better, a Field & Stream type of guy who understood strategy; he lived and breathed patience.  He should have calculated the cost.

But, he didn’t.

What was he thinking or was he thinking at all?

Soup!

An estate for a bowl, a moment of weakness left a desperate man wrestling with his soul.

“‘Once when Jacob was cooking some stew (soup), Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”  31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew (soup). He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.”‘ –Genesis 25: 29-34

And in that impulsive decision, Esau lost sight of his goals.  Instead of envisioning his life backwards, he lived for the moment; he never once considered the consequences of his selfishness until later in life.

It wasn’t fair for Esau, but he made the choice;

from the grave, we hear his voice–  “Soup!  It was just soup!”

From our perspective, it is easy to scoff at such a ridiculous decision.  A bowl of soup, a large estate…..  how could he not wait?  But,…..

aren’t we compromising the same?

Even today, Americans are still selling their legacy for a bowl of soup!

We work more to have more…… stuff

we pack it up, we stack it up, but we never give it up.

We buy titles with family time, pleasure with purpose, beauty with dignity, worldly wisdom with faith.

The life we know is a perpetual rat race that leaves us exhausted, famished and returning to our chef, “Would you like more soup?”

Dear friend, how about you and I skip on the appetizer and claim the entrée that only Christ can give?  Let’s make sure our priorities are leading us to where God wants to sustain us.

Blessings!  Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Down, Rest, Breathe!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing — JUST STOP!

Take a moment, and then another, and CHOOSE to be in the moment.

Instead of playing the roles of baker, shopper, cleaner, decorator, gift-wrapper, toy assembler, mother, father, and whatever other….  you get the message –

JUST STOP!

Don’t even slow down, but actually sit down, prop your feet, and relax in His presence.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Rest behind the sidelines and remember why and what you are doing.  Be cautious not to get so caught up in the season that you miss the message and the people in it.  Otherwise, Christmas will come and go, and you and I will be wondering what all the hustle and bustle was about.

Jesus is about simplicity, never anxiety.  Consider our ancestors who celebrated Christmas with family, friends, and of course, God‘s word.  The real gift was and still is Jesus, and the presents were a reminder of His message.

According to MyHeritage list, these were the most commonly requested presents in America in 1913:

  1. Candy
  2. Nuts
  3. Rocking horse
  4. Doll
  5. Mittens/gloves
  6. Toy train
  7. Oranges
  8. Books
  9. Handkerchiefs
  10. Skates

Yes, times have changed, and in place of books, our children want Nooks–

but the Nativity story will forever remain the same!  (Insert Allelujah here!!)

Dear friend, I pray that we will make this a memorable Christmas, one of the greatest Christmas parties that we have ever hosted.  Most importantly, may we remember our parties’ purpose and not forget to invite our most beloved guest — JESUS!

Blessings!  Michelle

“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” –Luke 1:14

Your Greatest Days Are Ahead!

This is your season.  Can you feel it?

God is doing something new and exciting in your life whether you see it or not.

No longer like a leaf attached to its limb, you have been catapulted from comfort to adventure.  The wind is taking you to places where you couldn’t go on your own.

One leaf, one you–

one God.

One word and the earth was formed, one thought and you were born.  The power of one breath to awaken your soul, the influence of one life to alter your goals.

One decision will propel you into your greatest dreams.

One leap of faith, one prayer.

It’s never in the surplus that shapes our destiny, but in the shadow of a moment that cements our steps.

One moment of sudden abandonment, and you glide into the gentle hands of your creator.  His spirit beckons you to a journey; it’s the place where your heart often visits.  No longer grasping for the convenience of your present, you are in His presence.

One surrendered life, one purposeful moment.  Besides, we don’t live life; we live moments–

moments that fuse together as the tapestry of our existence.  And this, my friend, is your moment.  It’s a gift to you to be used through you.

Open it, rejoice in it.  This is your time.  Autumn may be outside your window, but summer is where you are.

Will you let go and trust yourself in the palm of His hand?

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.” —Matthew 24:32

Blessings!  Michelle

Another Man’s Treasure

Three pieces of broken wood piled together as trash–   Worn. Outdated. Forgotten.

Who would want it?

Abandoned to ruin, weathered from the past……   it was made for so much more than this.

Once exchanging its strength for another’s solace, sacrificing its wear for those who are worn.

From the cathedral to the curb, the church pew would soon be thrown into the garbage truck–

Tattered wood, shattered dreams….

Are the remnants of a seasoned pew really trash?  Can broken pieces come together again?

Yes, the Bible assures us!

“Can these bones live?” God asks Ezekiel as he walked among the living- dead, those whose bones were infused with buried dreams.

“O Lord God, You know.”  Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”  –Ezekiel 37:2-4

Have you ever been there?  Alive, but not living?  Moving, but not going?  Dreaming, but not achieving?

–the days pass, the years pass, the house gets larger, the dreams get smaller?

It’s a familiar presence stealing dreams from God’s heroes–  the voice of condemnation.

Moses saw it in his fist; Jonah felt it in the sand; Peter heard it in a rooster; the adulteress watched it in their hands.

Whether Wall Street or your street, people every day are believing a lie– that their mistakes are greater than God’s grace, that their sin can’t be forgiven, that their dreams can never be realized–  the voice of condemnation.

Romans 8:1 promises, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Unlike conviction which prompts us to ask God to forgive our daily sins, condemnation is a gnawing at our spirit leaving us to feel broken, without any hope for repair.

Friend, if you feel guilty for anything, please know that you are carrying a burden that God wants to forgive right now.  Not only will He forgive us of our sins, but He will not even allow Himself to remember them! –Psalm 103:12  The freedom to dream again begins when we are no longer broken from our past.

Will you let the carpenter fix your broken pieces today?

The broken church pew was treasure in the carpenter’s hand.  Isn’t that also true of us?

Blessings!  Michelle

Feeling Lost?

Are you feeling lost today, as if you are unsure and even possibly unsettled about your life’s direction?  If Google Maps were to locate your position, would it find you facing your forgiven past or your purposeful future?  Perhaps, you are standing where the saints before you once stood, somewhere between the sacred and the mundane.  You can see God moving in your life, He has to be, because without Him, you wouldn’t be where you are.  However, your Monday-morning reality appears anything but sacred.  Between counting calories and meeting deadlines, do you wonder if God can connect your present location to your future ministry?

Rest assured, He can and He will!  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Consider the shepherd, David, waking up Monday mornings in the midst of stinky sheep.  Where man saw a shepherd, God saw a king.  “The Lord said to Samuel, “’How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’” –1 Samuel 16:1

And then there was Gideon hiding in a hole from the bullies in his life.  Where man saw a coward, God saw a hero.  “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”’ –Judges 6:12

How about Mephibosheth?  Physically handicapped and feeling rejected, he made his residence in a town of forgotten people.  Where man saw a disability, God saw royalty.  “And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.” —2 Samuel 9:13

What about Paul?  From persecuting Christians to a promotion in tent-making, would anyone dare to believe that God was preparing him for something beyond himself?  Where man saw a wrecked life, God saw an apostle, an author, a missionary.

And the stories continue…..  Moses in the desert, Joseph in prison, Sarah still barren, Noah still building…

the Transition Period

The transition period softens the rat race within our soul; we want more from this life than a larger bank account and a new job title.  We aren’t willing to settle for the temporal vanities of this world.  We crave more God and less stuff.  We want more meaning and less wasting of our time and talents.  We refuse to climb another step on the so-called ladder of success.  We can now see that it is leaning against the wrong wall!  Another day, another dollar…  we will be there when the kids get taller.

It’s the place between where we were and where we are going.  It’s a season of proactively waiting on God to direct our next big step.  What appears as our daily grind is actually God’s greatest training camp for our lives.  It is where God aligns our pasts with our purpose, where our failures and successes are woven into our future ministry.  We may not feel as if anything is happening here, but it is!  God is working behind the scenes, He is orchestrating events for our life’s performance.

Friend, are you currently in transition?  Congratulations, you have been promoted!  God is about to open doors of opportunity for your life, greater than any position the world might offer.

No longer in your past, you are now ready for God’s best in your future.

Are you a Christian feeling somewhat lost on your life’s journey today?  Get excited, it’s the place of new beginnings!  No matter how uncertain you may feel, the good news is that you are still standing in the palm of His hands.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” –Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings! –Michelle

What is Your Dijon-Sized Dream?

What are you trusting with your life today?

Perhaps, it’s the car that escorts you back and forth with your children.  Maybe it’s your cell phone that delivers an urgent message.  Could it be your checking account that assures you another month in your house?  Wherever we find ourselves on this perfectly tilted planet with just enough gravity to keep us attached, one thing is for certain – everyone has faith in something.

Faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  –Hebrews 11:1

God does not merely suggest that we have faith; as a matter of fact, He requires it, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” –Hebrews 11:6

Imagine that!  Even in our daily lives, God is looking to bless us for what we should obviously do, trust Him.  As simple as that reads, why is it that we so often forget that God is in control?  We take matters into our own hands believing that we have the answers, but we soon realize that we are lost and only God can save us.

Would we dare trade places with a pilot maneuvering our plane?  Are our ways really better than God’s ways?  Will we ever regret any decision that we make that is covered in prayer and aligned with God’s word?  Even the complexity of our mere existence far outweighs our greatest life problems; yet, He cares for them as well.  How could we trust ourselves for anything when our need for oxygen to survive depends upon the grace of God?  Not only does He give us life, but He also provides directions to enjoy it.

To understand faith better, it’s important that we also know what it isn’t.  Faith is not believing in anything that we choose while trusting God to bring it to pass.  Psalm 37:4 commands, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  The desires (dreams, goals, ambitions) that we receive from God may or may not be the ones that we have for ourselves.  It is only when we align our hearts with God’s heart that we have pure dreams with pure motivesThese are the dreams for which God promises in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

What God-sized dream are you hiding in your heart?  Is it larger than you?  Does it require a miracle to get the job done?  If so, you are on the right path!  God specializes in big-dream makeovers, and He delights in our obedience to trust Him to completion.

This leads to the questions:  How much effort and how much time do we faithfully commit to a dream that has been placed in our hearts from God?

According to God’s word, we are to have faith the size of a mustard seed, and we are to faithfully commit to our dreams until we reach them or we die believing in them.

Matthew 17:20 –And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.  Please notice that Jesus did NOT state, “If you have faith the size of a mountain, you can move a mustard seed!”  The difference between a mustard seed and a mountain is that the mustard seed grows and multiplies while the mountain remains stuck and eroded.

In addition, we are to keep moving forward in the direction of our dreams until we can’t move anymore.  Consider Joseph who went so far as to arrange for his bones to be brought with the Israelites from Egypt; he kept the faith that God would rescue them, and he dreamt that he would be a part of it.  “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.” –Hebrews 11:22

Friend, have you trusted Jesus with your eternity?  If so, will you also trust Him with your dreams? Trusting Jesus with your eternity will bring you to heaven; trusting Jesus with your dreams will bring heaven to you.

Blessings!  Michelle

One Less Candle

A walk through my neighborhood gifted me with a man’s profound wisdom packaged in a simple statement–

“It’s a spring day in the winter of my life,” said my elderly neighbor while raising his American flag early one April morning.

His words revealed great depth; he recognized the brevity of his life.  Unfair to most, this man had age as his reminder to seize the day.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case; we often stumble through life expecting that we have an approximate amount of time to live.

We fail to believe that we could leave this world before we accomplish our goals; our time seems to replenish itself as each year passes.  Proverbs 27:1 states, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring”; yet, most of us live as if tomorrow will never run out.  Tomorrow we will forgive, tomorrow we will make that call, tomorrow we will play with the kids.  It’s not as if we don’t want to do those things, it’s just that life is too busy to get to them now, so we believe.  It’s easy to imagine all that we will do tomorrow since it is always in surplus.

Tomorrow we will become who God intended, just one more day until—

What remains of our chapter when tomorrow never comes?

If we read our lives as novels, why is it that we assume that our pages never run out?  For now, we are too busy focusing on our to-do lists.  From morning until night, we rush through our minutes as if we are in a marathon.  Another day, another dollar; another year, and the kids get taller.  Winter tiptoes into spring, and spring leaps to summer; summer crawls to fall and fall sprints to winter.  If we could see our time diminishing like sand in an hourglass, would we change how we live each day?

Would we literally stop and smell the roses?  Would we even notice them?

Somehow, in the abundance of time, we can’t seem to decipher the meaningful moments from the frantic pace.  Our days become a blur of monotonous repetition of meaninglessness.  Perhaps, we shouldn’t increase our birthday candles with age.  Wouldn’t it be more realistic if we were given 76 candles at birth only to watch them decrease as the years passed?  Would we make living more meaningful knowing that our time was running out?  Would we exchange our to-do lists for our to-be lists:  to be thankful, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be real in the midst of daily chaos?

Living the abundant life does not mean abandoning the ones that we already have.  Instead, it is an intentional pursuit of seeing God in what appears as the ordinary, the insignificant busyness of our lives.  Deciding to celebrate the little moments throughout the day is the beginning of a meaningful life.  Instead of rushing through traffic, we see the sunrise appearing in the morning sky.  In place of watching shattered lives on television, we ride bikes with our children.  We trade gossip with friends for conversations with Jesus.  We live each day intentionally breathing, thinking, praying.  We don’t stop life as we know it; we pursue it as it ought to be.  We live as if there is no tomorrow, yet believing that there is.

Friend, are you appreciating your surroundings as you race through life?  Is your heart prompting you to notice something or someone, but you keep telling yourself, “tomorrow?”  If today was your last day on this side of eternity, would you leave any area of your life in regret?  If so, now is the time to do it, not tomorrow–nowWill you choose to live before you die?

Let us pray Psalm 39:4-5,

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” Selah             (Selah means to stop and consider)

Blessings! –Michelle