Several years ago a dear friend of mine (we have been friends for nearly 50 years) asked me: “If you had one word to describe your New Year, what would it be?” That is a great question for anyone to consider. How would you describe your New Year with one word? I told him my word for the New Year was Shalom.
If you have read any of my work, you notice that I sign everything with Shalom. It became my word that year and I have kept it ever since. Some people see that and assume I am Jewish. I am not. I am Christian, but I love the word and what it embodies. Some people think Shalom means peace…and it does, but it means so much more.
Shalom means complete peace, complete health, complete wealth, and freedom from stress, and more. Who does not want THAT in their lives? Everyone I know would love to experience that on a daily basis. We live in a world that is stressed to the max, do we not?
Shalom is more than just a word, it is a person as well. Jesus is our peace. He is the one who gives us that anchor in the midst of the storms of life. There is a saying I like: Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace.
I do realize there are other ways to peace outside of Jesus, but the peace that Jesus brings is the peace that passes understanding. It is truly remarkable what peace you can experience daily just letting Jesus lead the way. For many people is it “My way or the highway” mentality. I have changed that to “Not my way, but a higher way.”
My prayer for you as we wind down 2017 is that you find that type of peace in your life. May 2018 bring you the desires of your heart, and may your heart be turned to serve Him above all. God bless you and your family throughout the New Year.
“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” Christine Caine
It has been a weird week. I am reminded that Christmas is not a merry time for everyone. Here is a list of things that happened to friends of mine this past week:
One friend’s wife passed away from a long bout with cancer.
Another friend told me her child was doing drugs and involved sexually with her boyfriend.
Another friend told me his child found out their spouse was cheating on them and living a double life.
Another friend texted me that one of the people I met on the mission trip to Guatemala was in a terrible accident last Friday and was on life support!
Another close friend told us that their pet died this week.
My head is spinning and my heart is breaking from the news. I feel like I have been on a rollercoaster and am emotionally exhausted from all of it. Whether you are personally going through tough times or know someone that is, my thoughts and prayer are with all who are suffering this Christmas.
May the Lord be with you and your families. May He give you peace in the storms you are facing, and wisdom in the decisions you must make. May He give you courage to face the day and faith to sustain you. May He be your light in the darkness. Amen.
I was blindsided the other day when someone I knew just casually threw a sarcastic remark at me in front of my peers. I was shocked. I barely knew this person, so I did not know what to say.
What I did say was,“What???” Then I casually changed the conversation in a civil tone. I could have responded with a sarcastic remark of my own, but how mature would that have been?
Next time I will say, “Wow, that was rude. Did you intend to say that?” 99% of the time people will say, “I was just kidding….sorry.” At least you let them know they can’t get away with doing this to you in the future. There is the 1% chance that they will say, “I meant it!” If they do, you just say, “Thanks for letting me know how you really feel.” Then let it go. Further conversation with them at that point will just escalate and the outcome won’t be good for either of you.
I would rather know how someone honestly feels than have them smile to my face and stab me in the back. Haters are hard to deal with and cause people heartburn every day. They like to throw verbal grenades in the room and then look off like nothing happened. They do this online too.
Here is what I have learned about haters:
They come in every color and seem to be evident everywhere…even in religious circles.
Haters are made, not born that way. Look at small children and how they accept everyone regardless of how they look…clowns and Santa excluded. LOL.
There are three responses to a hater: ignore them, react to them, or respond to them. I suggest that choice number three is the best. If you ignore them, you are likely to get more sarcasm or hatred coming your way. If you react to them, you may be in a heated confrontation that won’t end well. If you respond to them, you let them know that what they said was inappropriate and give them the opportunity to do the right thing…apologize.
There is a TV show that my wife and I have come to love: The Good Doctor. Freddie Highmore plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, a very talented young intern who happens to have Autism. Nicholas Gonzales plays Dr. Neil Melendez, the Chief of Surgery at the hospital.
One episode had an African woman who came to America with her dying son to find a Dr. who could help them. Dr. Melendez was totally against operating on the kid because he felt like there was no way it could succeed. Dr. Murphy, however, came up with a slim but worthwhile option to try. When Dr. Melendez dismissed the idea, Dr. Murphy asked him: “Is the potential to fail a reason not to try?” Dr. Melendez admitted that it was not a good reason.
It was a great question and worthy of digesting. They started collaborating and came up with a few viable options. They went into surgery and through trial and error, found the way to help the boy’s heart keep beating.
Here are some takeaways:
Almost everything you face has options. There are probably a few exceptions, but most of the time you do have options; you just have not thought of them yet.
There are options within options. When you face one obstacle that does not mean it is the end of the road, just a detour. Look for other ways to make it happen, then determine: What is the best way?
Just because everyone says, “It won’t work,” does not mean they are right. If you have a dream for something you want to be or do, don’t let anyone steal your dream. Get creative, collaborate, and search for options.
Options give us two things: hope and choices. We need both in order to have any meaning to life. If there is no hope, then life is pointless, but….there is always hope. Hope is there when you can’t see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, or taste it. Even if you don’t believe it, hope is there. You just might have to be reminded of it.
Faith takes hope to the next level.
Whatever obstacles you might be facing today, don’t lose hope.