A Question~August 27~Are You A Cynic?

Are you cynic?

The origins of the word traverse back to long ago Greece. In the 3rd century BC, a group of Greek philosophers founded by Antisthenes, were known for their  ostentatious contempt for ease and pleasure. Today the word usually is used to refer to the person who avoids the silver lining in favor of the dark outline. Cynics display a mix of distrust with doubt. Sometimes cynics are funny…for a little while until others tired of their negativity posing as insightfulness.

Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”
Stephen Colbert

Referencing George Carlin, Ann Voskamp wrote, “Itch the scab of any cynic and what you’ll find is a wounded idealist.”

Is there a part of you that reaches for the bromide of cynicism when confronted with the assault of your world?

You are not alone. It is all to common, and, at least from my vantage point, much easier to utter the negative, the unimpressed, the doubtful expression, than maintain the virtue of grace.

…”Peace be with you!” John 20:19

Oh, sure, it is easy to find quotes from Christ regarding peace and love. But on the timeline of His life, this one stands in significance, because Christ said this to his apostles, afterwards.

After they had grown discouraged. After they had walked away from Him. After their denial of Him.

After His death and resurrection.

…”Peace be with you!”

Christ might have justifiably chosen a cynic’s course, or, worse, a revengeful course…but because of grace, He granted peace instead.

Shalom.

God, I know that you want me to be like salt on the earth, like a candle in the dark, a lighthouse on a hill, so that others will come to you. Cleanse me anew that I will be a witness for you. Show me how you want to penetrate the darkness of my domain with your light. Help me to be a positive influence in the places where I live, work, study, play. Thank you, Lord. ~Os Hillman

 

dare to be strong

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Other Questions

Midweek Question: March 26

Have you ever considered at what point a test becomes so difficult that you decide you can no longer trust in God and you must take over to solve the problem?

For me it is usually the opposite: A test or a trial becomes so difficult that I realize it is only trust in God that will carry me to solution.

Os Hillman wrote the question above and he writes about the faith of Jeremiah to explain. “Jeremiah drew a sharp comparison between the man who trusts in his own effort to solve his problem and the man who trusts in God when he cannot see the outcome. The man who trusts in God bears fruit despite the circumstances in his life. He does not shrivel when the heat comes; in fact, his roots go deeper into God’s grace. He continues to bear fruit in spite of his circumstances,” writes Hillman in his devotional series, Marketplace Believers.

 

blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

 

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more questions

 

Midweek Question~October 30~Purah

Who are the “Purahs” in your life?

“If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp” (Judges 7:11).

To battle the avenging Midianites, God came to Gideon through an angel and addressed him. God called Gideon a “Mighty Warrior” which was quite a stretch of characterization from Gideon’s insecure, timid perspective.

 

Gideon was still not convinced about this battle against the Midianites, especially since God reduces his troop size from 22,000 to 300. God did two more things to help ease Gideon’s anxiety. He told him to go into the camp during the night to eavesdrop on their soldiers. God tells Gideon that what he will hear will encourage him. Gideon is terrified by the whole idea. So, God takes another step in order to use Gideon for His purposes. He sends Gideon’s trusted friend and soldier named Purah with him.

 

We all need “Purahs” in our lives. We need people who are willing to take risks and who can be used by God to bring our faith up to a level of being able to do extraordinary things in His Kingdom.

Has God called you to a daunting assignment? Perhaps He has also placed a “Purah” in your life to encourage you.Or. perhaps, you are being called to be a “Purah” in the life of another who has a daunting assignment to accomplish.

This message abridged and adapted from Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Remembering a Hero on 9/11~Steven Siller

Written by Os Hillman: 

On 9/11/01:

New York City firefighter Stephen Siller had just completed his shift when he heard on his truck’s scanner that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Siller quickly turned his truck around and attempted to drive back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel but found the entrance blocked by abandoned vehicles. Desperate to join his elite Squad One brothers, Siller donned 75 pounds of fire gear and ran a mile-and-a-half through the tunnel, before an emergency vehicle picked him up and dropped him off at Tower Two.

Siller had been orphaned at the age of 10 and raised by his much older brothers and sisters. Siller died that day trying to save others. He left behind a wife and five children.

His story proved so inspirational that it became a legend in the newsrooms and firehouses of New York City. His six siblings – who in many ways viewed Siller as a son, as well as a brother – found themselves grappling with a dilemma: should they allow the tragic circumstances of their brother’s death to paralyze and embitter them or use it as a catalyst to help others and preserve his memory?

The Siller family chose the latter.

Once they made that decision, and armed with no extraordinary wealth or political clout, the siblings combined forces to convince New York officials to close down the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel the last Sunday morning of each September and stage the “Tunnel to Towers Run” to commemorate their brother’s heroic last run.

Each year since 9/11 tens of thousands of runners have retraced the steps of a hero. As part of the event 343 New York City firefighters, each representing a fallen comrade and holding an American flag, stand throughout the length of the tunnel. They are joined by firefighters from across the United States, each holding a poster-size picture of a firefighter who perished on 9/11.

The Siller family has raised more than $1 million and donated the money to charities that benefit families of those affected by the 9/11 attacks.

This is a tribute to one heartbroken family who opted to channel its energy into triumph out of tragedy. By Os Hillman

“So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Cor 4:12).

This Weekend~Jettison

This weekend I am going to be on the lookout for opportunities to “jettison” limiting beliefs  that I carry around or the limiting beliefs that others hoist on to me.

jettison

“Jettison” means “to abandon as worthless, to discard, to eliminate, to get rid of.” Paul says if you want to enjoy life, there are some things you’ve got to get rid of because they are wearing you down and overburdening your life. ~Rick Warren

It is a vintage word with immense meaning. My friend G. helped me to jettison some defeating thoughts that crept in over the last two weeks/months/years. It is insidious how a single thought can start a thought cavalcade that becomes a thought-cancer.

“One thing I do is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead” Philippians 3:13 (Good News).

A Prayer from Os Hillman

Oh Lord, Help me be strong and courageous. Empower, lift up, and encourage me that I will not be terrified of any thing, person nor circumstance, neither let me be discouraged, for You, the Lord my God will be with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). No matter what I face today, I know that You are with me and Your Holy Spirit lives within me and has sealed me unto the day of redemption. I know that the blood of Jesus has covered my sin and washed me white as snow, that I may be righteous in Him and live unto Him. I praise You and thank You Lord Almighty for Your strength, power, grace, mercy, and love. May You be glorified in all the earth, and through my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Other weekend activities

May you have an Ephraim Day~Monday words for the soul

Joseph named his second son Ephraim. Ephraim was given to him after he had been delivered from his suffering of 13 years. Joseph said that he named him this because God had made him fruitful in the land of his suffering. Ephraim means “twice fruitful.”

Pink Flowers with Catcus

Joseph was fruitful in two instances. He was fruitful during his time of adversity and in his prosperity. When God brings us into a time of suffering, it can be a fruitful time. It’s rare for us to see the fruit during the suffering period. But know that the roots are going deep into the spiritual soil of our soul because of our pressing in to God during our time of suffering. This is producing a work in our character that cannot be seen until it finishes the process. Such was the case for Joseph.

If you find yourself in a time of suffering, now is the time to press into God. Let your roots grow deeper. Whenever there is a famine, tree roots are forced to drive deeper into the soil to find water. These times are designed to create such a deep-rooted faith that our natures will be changed forever. ~Os Hillman

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More Monday Words for the Soul

A Word from The Sponsor~October 28

We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. ~Psalm 66:12b

We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:12b

The verse today~Psalm 66:12b~has a little “b” at the end. It is the “b” that provides the happy ending that makes great movies and great stories.

To get the full story, it is important to read the entire Psalm.

Psalm 66:10-12a: “For you, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”

Os Hillman explained, “God’s economy of abundance often has little to do with material blessing. In God’s economy, abundance is often measured in wisdom and knowledge of Himself. It is then that we are truly blessed. Wisdom cannot be gained through intellectual pursuits. Wisdom comes only through experience. Real wisdom comes from the kinds of experiences that come only through the deepest tests. Lessons of refinement, including prison accompanied by burdens, lead us through the fire and water. This is the territory that must be traveled to reach that place of abundance.”

Stay strong and thankful if you, like me, find yourself in the Remaining Place. The darkest hour is just before daybreak.

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See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!

Monday Words for the Soul~August 27

Back to School


Dear God, today I lift up all teachers to you. I pray for your anointing upon their lives, their work, their ministry. I pray you will give them wisdom, knowledge, guidance, patience, love, protection, understanding, insight and everything they need to be a positive life-changing influence upon those they teach. I pray you will keep them safe from all harm and evil. I pray you will bring to their minds the lessons and information they need to teach and the ability and skills to do what is good, right, and best in every situation. I pray that each one will not see their profession and standing as just a job, but as an opportunity to make a difference in lives and show your love to others. May they be salt and light in this world. May they rely on your strength and grace each and every day to accomplish that which you would have them do. Bless them, father, as your servants and children. And may they be a blessing to others with whom they work and teach. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. A Prayer by Os Hillman for teachers~

Would you pray for a teacher today (and slow down in crosswalks?)

Other posts featuring Os Hillman

Mid-week Question of the Week~Darkness

What unchartered places call to you?
Are you afraid of the dark?

The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. ~ Exodus 20:21

We do not need to fear entering the presence of God even if it means entering through a period of darkness. Above all else we must believe that God is a God of love. If He calls us into darkness in order to enter His presence, then that darkness will become an entry to new levels of relationship with a God who longs for fellowship with you and me. ~Os Hillman

brilliant moon

When you’re confronted by a difficult task, what are the effects of considering it an opportunity for God to stretch your faith? ~Jon Walker

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Previous Questions to Consider
Other thoughts from Os Hillman
Other thoughts from Jon Walker

Image Source: VegaStar Carpentier

A Word from The Sponsor~August 19

…”Everything is all right”…. 2 Kings 4:26

Faith looks at situations through God’s eyes, not the eyes of our limited understanding.
~Os Hillman

book by the sea

Smile by faith when you can’t smile by feelings. You have a future full of hope. Promise. ~Tony Evans

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Additional Words from The Sponsor

Monday Words for the Soul~Remain Vertical

remain verticalRemaining Vertical With God
by Os Hillman

When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to The One who judges justly. ~1 Peter 2:23

Have you ever been wrongfully accused? Oh, the need to defend and justify becomes so great. “What will people think if they believe these things are true?” we reason. Imagine what Jesus thought as they hurled insults and threats upon Him. The God of the universe had visited planet earth only to be slandered and accused of blasphemy.

Jesus could have done two things in response. He could have used His power to put the people in their place. He could have responded “horizontally.” He could have fixed the problem right then. However, He chose to respond in a different way. He chose to “entrust Himself to Him who judges justly.” It requires great faith to entrust ourselves to God in the midst of personal assault. However, if we can do this, we will discover a level of grace and wisdom that will be birthed from this experience that we never thought possible. We will discover a freedom in God we never knew before. Whenever we suffer for righteousness without seeking to protect our reputation and rights, we are placing our total faith in the one who can redeem us. This activates God’s grace in our lives and enables us to experience God’s presence like never before.

Ask God to give you the grace to stay vertical with Him. Avoid the temptation of responding horizontally each time some event comes into your life that you want to “fix.” Entrust yourself to the one who judges justly. It may be a divine appointment for your growth to another level in grace.

Strength Despite All the Broken Pieces

The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
~1 Samuel 2:4

When we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength. Then, new strength emerges that God uses mightily. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Do not fear brokenness, for it may be the missing ingredient to a life that emerges with a new kind of strength and experience not known before. Pray for a broken and contrite heart that God can bless. ~Os Hillman

(I love the New Living Translation of 1 Samuel 2:4)

The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong.
May you grow stronger with each stumble… :)… Because of Grace

You are amazing just the way you are

Overcoming Our Pests

ritzy readersBeen getting acquainted with growing degrees of increasing strength in one area of my life: my reading glasses…

At this half-decade point of life, I reluctantly bid farewell to the cute, fashionable “Readers” and moved on to the “sensible shoes” of the glasses world: reading glasses. It has been a trial-and-error of deciding when I want to see and when I want to see clearly. During a recent talk, I almost had an aerobic workout bobbing my glasses on/off and on/off as I desperately tried to decide if I wanted to, you know, see the beautiful faces of my audience or speak from a blurred mesh of outline notes.

Sometimes I also mistype words. It is comical at best, glaringly mistaken at worst.

Sunday night, emancipated from my glasses, I wrote to my (married) friend Jon and typed an “H” in his name instead.

 “Hi Jon” morphed in to “Hi Hon”…I gasped so loud I woke the dog.

Because of Grace there is “ctrl/z”.
In a techno-spin on royal taste-testers, I need a royal proofreader.glasses on book

Today, in a pre-dawn, pre-coffee, pre-glasses haze, I misread one of Os Hillman’s email devotionals titles. The blog post title Hillman intended as “Overcoming Our Past” I misread as “Overcoming Our Pests”.

My initial confusion yielded to God’s Grace-filled silent nudge: there are pests to swat away…

little foxes that destroy the vine  …little time-wasters, thought-intruders, rabbit holes of redundancy…that steer me away from God

and Grace

In addition to the “big” deals of illness, trauma, addiction, parenting, work, etc… there are little pest annoyances that multiply into a swarm of distraction/busyness/worry/doubt/dread/play/trivia.

For me, it begins as a single thought, then a recurrence, then a growing pursuit or an increasingly dark feeling of dread.

True to Hillman’s misread title, my daily pests must be disciplined and overcome.

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

In awareness and willingness to reverse, Because of Grace, God taps me to see with spiritual Readers.

butterflyIt is said that if we were to help the butterfly remove itself from the cocoon, the butterfly would not be strong enough to survive. It is the struggle that prepares the butterfly to become strong enough to fly. Without the struggle in the cocoon, it could not survive as a butterfly.

The Lord prepares each of us in similar ways. He does make all things beautiful in His time if we are willing to be patient. ~Os Hillman

Do you ever notice annoying pests? Do you ever need your spiritual Readers? What spiritual pest-swatter works for you?

Are You My Mother? Another as Mother?

A major corporation conducted a study on the flight of geese. In their study they found that geese fly in a “V” formation with one goose in the lead. After a period of time, this goose relinquishes the lead to another goose. During flight they noticed head movements of the leader that seem to give signals to the other geese flying, perhaps to let the others know how he was doing. They estimate that the formation flight pattern reduces wind drag due to the lift the other birds receive and believe it increases their performance by up to 70 percent. Whenever one goose drops out, another goes with it. These two geese do not catch up to the original pack, but join another group later. (from a devotional by Os Hillman)

Another
Perhaps, Because of Grace, Another is the Holy Spir’s Love.
Like a Mother’s Love…Maybe in the cycle we have many Anothers

Maybe the lessons for me are:

Sometimes is it ok to drop out
Another is Love and the Holy Spirit
Another is a faithful friend
I can watch when another drops out and fly alongside with them for awhile
I can not worry about catching up to the original pack
I can fly with Another for awhile
I can join a new group later

Perhaps these cycles continue at long and short intervals throughout life. (Is this also the cycle of motherhood… of personhood?)

Maybe in the cycle we have many Anothers

Wondering…

Your comments, wonderings, and thoughts are always welcome!

The Soil of His Grace

leading into the desert

Quote by Os Hillman

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