He Asked – She Said Yes

“Mawage, dat bwess-ed awaingement, a dweam wif-in a dweam….wuv, twooo wuuuv, wiw fowow you fo-evahhhh….” If you ever watched the movie The Princess Bride, you have immediately been taken back to the movie about romance, pirates and “true love.”

My daughter just got engaged! In her words – level 2. Funny how the last 2 sentences are 10 words, but there has been so much nervous excitement, planning, secret keeping, praying, laughing, crying, and celebrating that surround the engagement. Not only that…there has been an incredible investment of love, time, communication as two people with different lives, merge onto the same track. There is SO MUCH preparation that goes into planning a wedding and a marriage! Will we be on the same wavelength for finances, children, holidays with family, communication, careers, and endeavors, extracurriculars and friends, free time, and hard times….? How do we avoid growing apart through this? My husband and I have prayed for this man since my daughter was a couple of cells making up what was our child!

Our child is marrying someone else’s child. Marriage is an “institution,” implemented by GOD to join two people together into something much more than each individual. It is a merging of hiSTORIES, presents and futures. According to God, the two become one, in Him. It is a 3-fold cord by which each partner is bound to God and each other for ETERNITY. The 3-fold cord is much stronger than two together in and of themselves, and the cord gets stronger the more the man and woman allow God to be the strongest of the 3 strands.

Marriage is also an incredible representation as laid out by God Himself, of His love for His creation. He likens a groom to Jesus, and His church/followers to His bride. He cherishes His bride – us. He has pursued we humans since He created us, only desiring our affection, and has given of Himself to the point of death in our place. He serves. He loves. He waits for the day we will be completely united. We as His bride wait for the day He will come to receive us. Until then, we are ENGAGED! So, let’s be ENGAGED! Engaged represents interaction on a level greater than the superficial. We are constantly involved and getting to know each other – deeper and sweeter every moment. We are consumed with each other yet retaining who we are and all that He has created us to be. We are better IN the relationship. We are becoming more. We are less concerned with the trivialities of life because we stand with someone so on our side that we are stronger and more capable. We feel immune to negativity because someone believes in us, invests in us, gives themselves for us, loves us purely, wholly, and unconditionally, and we thrive in that.

But to quote John Piper, “human marriage is the copy, not the original.” Just as we as Christ followers strive to be more like Him each day, but fall short on every level, so we strive to have a marriage that represents His pure service and love, but we will fall short. That is when we hang on in the 3-fold cord and let Him be the strongest. He is faithful. We will learn, and grow, and fall; and He will help us up, and we will learn and grow more, and fall again, all the while becoming more like Him in a thriving marriage.

One day, the groom will come for us, and we must be ready. We must dig into the knowledge of each other…our spouse to be – Jesus, the Christ! He loved us and gave Himself up for us. As a good spouse, we need to do the same – give up ourselves for Him! It ain’t easy, but it is soooo rewarding!

Submit to ONE ANOTHER out of REVERENCE FOR CHRIST.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.

Ephesians 5: 21-30

Braver than you Believe, Stronger than you Feel, Smarter than you Think

These words “Braver than you Believe, Stronger than you Feel, Smarter than you Think” are on a bracelet that my sister gave me. She gave them to all of her tribe who prayed her son through cancer. She said that it taught her that through Christ, and those with His Holy Spirit who intercede for us, we are all Braver, Stronger and Smarter. She felt the prayers. She felt the answer to those prayers for strength, endurance, wisdom and peace being offered for she and her family because she knew the guts that she had during that time, were not ones she possessed in her own right. I hope you have had an occasion where you FELT the prayers for you…FELT Jesus propping you up.

I have another friend and colleague who was able to “ring the bell” this week as she finished chemo. Her trek through cancer isn’t over as she has a month break before she starts radiation. Her focus on Jesus during this time has been not only inspiring, but also a great reminder that the Lord props us up when we are on journeys that are larger than us. I submit that He also props us up and gives us strength and confidence on the roads where we feel we are handling them on our own. If we dig deep, we know there is no such thing…a journey we handle on our own. There have been people and events in our lives that prepare us for the very thing that we feel we are handling by ourselves with ease. That preparation was no coincidence or random event, but rather the intentional planning of a God who loves us and desires the best for us. And then we have a God who is always with us – through the ease, and through the difficult.

Scripture tells us bunches of times that God is with us, will never leave us, nor leave us in a poop-pile alone. Here are just a few of those verses: Genesis 28:15, Deuteronomy 4:31, Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Joshua 1:5, Joshua 1:9, I Chronicles 28:20, Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5.

Here are my favorite verses concerning our continual attention from God:

Isaiah 41:6 – 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

When I was young there was a TV show called the 6 Million Dollar Man. He was USAF Colonel and a NASA astronaut that crashed. He survived, but barely, and a team of bioengineers and doctors rebuilt him to be better, stronger, faster. Our Father can do that for us without technology! It is through His mere presence in our lives and the power of His Holy Spirit that we gain the minute we accept Him as our Savior and make Him our Lord that makes us MORE. He strengthens us to be STRONGER, He upholds us to be BRAVER, He guides us by our right hand so we are SMARTER in our decision-making. What a marvelous benefit package we receive by clinging to God!

RIP Yukon Cornelius _____ – Sept. 19, 2021

My betta fish died. To most who hear that, they immediately hear a toilet flush in their head and they move on. I’m sad. Kids get me. I’ve heard about family funerals for pet fish who died. I buried Yukon in a cute box under my roses. There is sadness in loss, even little ones. Kids grieve and then seem to move on. I will move on. But here are some things that endeared him to me: I believe he knew me. When I would come to the tank, eating time or not, Yukon would come flutter his fins and “greet me”. He would swim up and down in short little excited dance bursts that he never did when I wasn’t there speaking to him. He always ate better when I stayed there while he ate. Funny side note, he actually chewed his food. Who knew the little critters chewed?! If I touched the side of the tank, instead of backing up, he would bump up against where my finger was, then back up and flutter his fins. If I slid my finger down the tank, he would follow it and dance for me again. His personality emotionally charged me.

To say I was changed by a fish may be a stretch, but it did make me more aware of how it feels to be known. Being near Yukon made me feel good because he made me feel special when I paid him attention, and I like to think that I made him happy, too. Most of us get emotionally charged when we are around people that make us feel special and that we matter – all the more when we boost them up too by their knowing how much they matter to us. We have someone greater, stronger, more powerful, more loving, more wonderful than any thing or any human on the face of the earth, who thinks we matter A LOT. The Lord Jesus, our Creator, KNOWS us!

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

The way Jesus KNOWS us is encompassed in a Greek word that Jesus uses when talking of His love/knowledge/relationship with His Father AND with us: ginosko (pronounced gi-KNOW-sko). It is a prolonged form of the verb “to know absolutely” – to follow, to be aware of, to perceive, to understand mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Peter tells the resurrected Jesus the first time they see each other after Peter denied Him, “Lord you ginosko all things, you KNOW that I love you.’ He was telling Jesus, you know more about my being than I do myself, check it- I love you!

That is how Jesus knows you. And me. In that “don’t have to explain a thing” kind of way. And when someone knows and is filled with joy in our presence, it makes us flutter our fins and do the excited dance. And He desires that kind of love from us. John 10: 11 and 14 says “I am the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. I ginosko my sheep and my sheep ginosko me.” We can love Jesus, and follow Jesus, but we don’t go full monte until we giKNOWsko Jesus. And that takes spending time to develop this intimate relationship with the lover of our souls – which makes Him flutter His fins and do the excited dance.

Wait For It

Waiting. Not fun for anyone. Whether it is waiting for something great, or something less than ideal, or something that you have no idea on which side of the line it will fall…waiting is hard.

My most recent waiting game was at a football game. With 32 seconds left in the second quarter, just before the half, a lightening delay was implemented. All 75,000 of us were told to leave the seating area and take cover for at least 30 minutes, but we were instructed to stay tuned. We ended up waiting almost two hours to come back into the stadium to watch the rest of the game. During that time, we waited. We did get periodic updates about the extension of the delay, and how they would handle half-time. (They melded the 32 seconds into the 3rd quarter.) An already long day extended into 12 hours where we had fun, friends, heat, humidity, rain, anxiety (score was CLOSE), laughter and now we have something to talk about! But while we were waiting, we had no idea what to expect. Isn’t that they way it often is with our prayers?

We pray for things, then we must wait for the answers. I am always reminded that when my prayers are praise, or thanks to the Lord, there is no waiting! Those are my immediate reminders that I serve a Sovereign God who is Able to do anything and everything. But the requests….. Those require PATIENCE.

A friend, in a genius moment, told her son who asked her what patience was that it was “happy waiting.” People joke about not praying for patience because God sends us things to help us exercise that muscle so that it builds up and becomes stronger. Truthfully, however, we all wait for many things each day. We wait for our morning coffee to brew, we wait to hear from loved ones, or colleagues, or clients. We wait for test scores, or test results. We wait for red lights to turn green or for someone in front of us to move so that we can proceed. Sometimes the things we wait for are much larger. We wait for an addicted loved one to find sobriety; we wait for a proposal; we wait for a bride to come down the aisle; we wait to hear if a loved one survived something terrible. We wait to hear if we got the job, or if we have lost a job. We wait on a house or a car. We wait to see if the treatment worked. And so on.

Waiting at a football game is nothing compared to some of life’s waits, but it is part of the sum. In all of the waits, God is sovereign. He knows the outcomes. He wastes nothing. The waiting makes us stronger, in our relationship with, and in our reliance on, Him.

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

As Christians, our ultimate “wait” is for Jesus to return to gather His followers and to take us to be with Him. It could come at any day and at any time. Because of the length of time it has been since Jesus walked the earth, it is easy to get lax about anticipating Him. Much like our leaning into the things we wait for each day, we should eagerly look for the 2nd coming of our King!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 

So encourage each other with these words. I Thessalonians 4:16-18

The wait will be worth it! And all the other waits will lose their hold on us.

Do You Remember?

I have some amazing memories of my childhood. As a swimmer, many of those memories revolve around the swimming pool, meets, my teammates or my family headed to practice or meets. My brother and I swam together, and my mom carted us all around the southeast. She would run laps in the parking lot while we practiced, and make special memories of meals, snacks, sewing patches on warm-up jackets, and rubbing Icy Hot on our sore shoulders. Dad would stand on diving boards in the summer, and balconies in the winter, videotaping us with camcorders that were the size of a bazooka launcher hoisted on his shoulder. We have hours of swims recorded for posterity.

Recording things for posterity is something that the people of God did in the Old Testament by building altars and monuments to the Lord in order to remember times when He impacted His people in a big way. Noah built an altar to the Lord when he and his family finally disembarked the ark. I’m sure Noah had some mixed feelings about all that transpired with the ark – it took him at least 120 years to build, all the while hearing the jeers of his neighbor and family, then all of humanity and every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out except what God had allowed on the boat. Then they were on that boat for about a YEAR. Talk about cabin fever! When they finally were allowed off the boat, there wasn’t a house ready for occupancy, no garden already planted, and the animals they used to sacrifice and eat had been on the boat with them for that whole year (Genesis 8). Sometimes, when we recognize the bigness of God and the Sovereignty of who He is and what His plans are, it isn’t only joy that we feel. We are simply trusting what Romans 5:8 says: “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The focal word here is HIS purpose. I don’t pretend to understand what that is. As a matter of fact, there are LOTS that I have questions about. Some of the big things I have questions about are the holocaust, and 9/11.

Regarding both of these tragic things, yes, there have been stories of good coming from each. But there is/was LOTS of hurt and pain, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual that happened in association. Some are yet unresolved. There are several memorials to the holocaust victims: one in Berlin, Washington, DC, and even 3 in the metro Atlanta area.

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 just passed. There are some 500 recorded memorials to that tragic day. The largest 9/11 memorial located in New York City, is a somber remembrance of the 2,977 victims killed in New York, including 344 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 8 EMTs/paramedics. The memorials for the 184 victims killed at the Pentagon on that day are located adjacent to the Pentagon and another at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In Somerset County, Pennsylvania stands the 9/11 memorial for the 40 victims of United flight 93 that, due to civilians, crashed in a rural area sparing what was likely going to be an iconic spot in Washington, DC.

These memorials are built so that we remember. God says through Moses in Joshua 4 that memorials are so that when our children ask what they mean, we can tell them. As a believer, we can use memorials to teach future generations about the best and worst of humanity. As we remember, we can

  1. reflect on what our part is to make sure to build on the triumphs
  2. strive to study what went wrong so that we do not repeat the failures
  3. mourn those who were victims of the historic markers.

In tragedy, there are always heroes. Some live to tell about it, some give all. So many such occurrences make no sense. I am so grateful for a God who understands, who wastes NOTHING, and who will reveal His purpose to all of us when we meet at His throne (Romans 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10 and Revelation 11:18).

In memory of those who died, lost loved ones, and were affected by the events of 9/11.

None Of Us Escape Alive

This week I attended a funeral/celebration of life of a dear friend of my family. Oddly, I spoke to several friends in the last couple of days who were also going to funerals this week. However tragic or expected death is, it happens for everyone. None of us escape this world alive. So what do we do as we face that eventuality?

My friend approached life with an incredible sense of humor and silliness, but also with depth and genuineness. He and his beautiful wife have 6 kids, 17 grandkids, 14 in-laws and 11 great-grands! One of his daughters commented to me at the celebration of his life that he was often asked if he was Catholic due to the number of children he had. He said, “no, we’re just sexy Protestants.” 😜

His passing and celebration were 5 months apart due to Covid and other circumstances. As his service approached, I contemplated several things.

One of these things is this:

Jesus was able to relate to rich and poor, young and old, women and men. Race, disease or public opinion held no barrier for His love and attention. My friend modeled these traits well. Early in his life, he resigned from the pastorship of a church because he fought against their racial segregation policies and the church disagreed. Instead of complying in order to rest in the security of provision for his family, he took a courageous step. My friend knew God would take care of him/them. And He did.

Another thing I pondered was that through my friend’s life that was riddled with life’s challenges, he remained connected to the vine and filled with humor in the way he viewed it all. A while back, My friend lost one of his feet due to arterial problems. He told me it was his way of dieting without changing his eating habits. He said of people with developmental disabilities, one of whom is his oldest daughter: “I think they are the normal ones.”

He saw this life as preparation for the big show – our eternal audience with the King of kings, so He didn’t take much here on earth too seriously. Having an artistic bent, one of his daughters alluded to his ability to see the “color” in everything. He certainly added color to everything! He also helped others to see the way God colored life. He would ask daily, “Where did you see God today?”

My friend will be missed, even though his imprints will remain. BUT I’ll see him again! Because He and I share the knowledge of how to make that happen: our common faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior- the One who died for us, and then rose from the dead to cement the hope that this life is just the precursor to the main event! We don’t get out of here alive, but through faith in Jesus, we live on forever! He also promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes, anxiety from our head, and hurt from our heart. While we are here, let’s look for God daily. He is present. When we’re done, I would love to meet you at Jesus’s throne!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:3-5

*In memory of Dr. Denny Spear. 💜

Take Me Away

There is an old commercial where people are going about their daily lives and the stressors of the day, (work, bills, family urgencies, vehicle problems, inclement weather, etc.) all mount on top of one another until the noise and chaos bring the person to a breaking point, and they yell “Calgon, take me away!” The next scene is them in a delightful deep bathtub with bubbles, lit candles, a little jazz music playing in the background, and them serenely letting every care go away. Calgon was a powdered bath product and the slogan was genius. It is one of the most remembered ad slogans from the 80s and 90s. I would submit that at this point in history, in addition to the already listed troubles, we have the additions of: Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida hitting a storm-battered gulf coast, Covid, political and social tensions, and… Calgon, take us away!

The disciples struggled with several angsty moments, but the one that resonates with my bathtub example is when the disciples are in a boat with Jesus and there is a raging storm. The disciples are frantically trying to navigate the list of things included in “how not to sink in a severe storm”. All of the sudden, they remember Jesus. You know, the guy who has been healing crazy diseases, casting out demons, bringing a dead person to life, teaching about the power of God, teaching that He is the Son of God, so by proxy, possesses all of God’s power. When they locate Jesus, He is figuratively in the Calgon bathtub. He is so relaxed that He is sleeping! And He chastises them for not also being relaxed, knowing that Jesus was with them.

Now, in fairness to the disciples, they had seen Him have control over disease, and demons, and even death…but never nature (I guess 157 fish jumping into their fishing nets was too far off to parlay to a storm). So perhaps they were still a little unclear about the fact that EVERYTHING was under the authority of Jesus. That is until 5 minutes later when they were on a calm sea due to the fact that Jesus SPOKE to the storm! He told the storm to “CHILL OUT!” (OK, my interpretation), and it DID!

A couple of things I take away from this anecdote:

  1. I shouldn’t call on Jesus AFTER I have exhausted myself from fighting the storm without Him.
  2. He has authority over ALL. All means all.
  3. If I am to reflect on Jesus best, I need to be relaxed in life’s storms, KNOWING that He is in control.

Instead of “Calgon, take me away!”, my mantra should be more of “Jesus, take the wheel!” However, I should do this upon waking each morning, not after the storm is raging (see takeaway #1).

When we belong to Jesus, we bear the fruit of that relationship. There are 9 parts to this fruit that is listed in Galatians 5, but I will hone in on peace. When we have Jesus’s peace, it shows.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Cor 3:18

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Prov 27:19

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

To translate these verses into a catch-phrase, I’ll quote Mary Glynn Peeples,

“What’s down in the well, comes up in the bucket.”

People who don’t have the Jesus-peace that is pouring out of our buckets will wonder about it. They may mock us for it, or be angry at us because we have what they don’t, or they may ask us about it. When they ask, we are ON! GO! We get to tell them where we get that peace – and how they can have it, too.

Take It All Off

You be you. I have heard this phrase 3 times just today. I sort of used that fact as an affirmation of what to write about. But what does “you be you” really mean?

In today’s culture, these 3 words are used as both permission and an encouragement to live in any way that expresses your inner depths with honesty. But in order to BE ourself, we must first KNOW ourself.

So do you? Know yourself? I think it is more difficult than we each claim. I know I wear a mask for many situations. As a result, I become so accustomed to wearing it, that I forget the real me that lies beneath.

Revealing exactly who I am is often embarrassing, or humbling, or I truly don’t even know how I feel or how I should act in certain situations or in certain companies. For example, when I am with people who are smarter than me, I try to act and speak more intelligently. When I am with people who are more wealthy than me, I can find myself trying to be “more than” I am. When I am with people who live more worldly or culturally connected than me, I try to act knowledgeable and “in touch” (although I’m pretty sure I’m not fooling anyone!).

So If I am to be “me”, my first step is to know “me”. It is difficult, in many ways, to have a pure perspective since I switch the masks around a lot. My best bet is to go to someone who knows me best and in the purest of ways…the One who created me, the Great God Almighty!

King David, the man whom God describes as a “man after my own heart” penned these words to God in Psalm 139:

“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
You watched me as I was being formed… as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.”

God sees us beautifully and wholly and completely, naked and laid bare, and loves us just like that! So when we try to put on airs, we are actually being LESS than the magnificent that He created us to be! Humble, and honest, and authentic are what He desires of us. Being all that He created us to be, is the absolute best for us, and for His glory. So if Me being Me brings glory to the God of the Universe, THAT is the ME that I need to be! We can take off all of the masks with no fear of shame or judgment or disrespect from the One who matters most.

Take it all off and revel in the One who says “you be you” because despite what you or others see or perceive, I created you intentionally, and specially, and perfectly.

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a Mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness…He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

 

Lῐve Lῑve

Enjoying music, sporting events, ocean sounds, mountain vistas, fireworks, for me, is a beautiful pastime. For me, however, experiencing any of those things LIVE and in person, takes it to the next level. There is nothing better than experiencing joyful things in a multi-sensory way. The sounds, the smells, the emotions, the companionship, perhaps the accompanying foods, all cumulatively spark a greater joy. When I am able to worship Jesus, something that makes my heart full, in a space with others, that is a bliss that is indescribable!

We are urged in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” For me, this says “go to the live concert!” We can be adamant Jesus followers, we can study and know His Word, we can speak with Him throughout each and every day, but there is something about doing it corporately that makes a full bucket overflow.

A fellowship gathering with others who love Jesus augments any way that we commune with God. Discussing God’s Word with friends gives us perspectives that we may not even consider until we hear someone else say it. Hearing music that speaks to us blesses our inner being, but singing, and hearing the music reverberate in our body as well as our mind, and hearing others sing with us from their heart, lets our souls sing along. Participating as someone near us speaks or sings to God, in His Name, heightens the awareness of His presence in our midst.

There are reasons for the Biblical encouragement to gather in His name. There is strength in numbers. Joy is multiplied. Burdens are lessened because they are carried on more shoulders. Even the early church experienced greater joy when they met together:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Covid has hamstrung us a bit with respect to our live gatherings, but when we have the opportunity, it increases the health of our heart, soul, mind, and strength to physically unite in Jesus’s name!

Free Hot Dog

I love baseball. It hasn’t always been that way. When I was younger, I would make myself scarce when my dad would put it on tv because it seemed like the longest way to spend 3ish hours. Golf was in that same category. Then I met a man who loves the game and had a son who could have gone pro (ok, maybe that is a little mom-talk 😉). I have converted. I am a fan.

I recently went to watch my Atlanta Braves play live. That is SO fun for me…laughing and cutting up with the people you went with, and the people sitting around you, because let’s face it, after 3 hours, you are either friends, or you look for other seats!

Being at the game gave me a nice break from work and responsibilities that are taking up more of my time, lately. It was so nice to leave that all behind for a day and just enjoy the fun and funny activities of a live sporting event.

We all need to take breaks from the rat race. It gives us sanity. A time to work a different part of our brain that lies latent during the push to address the urgent. It increases the amount of the happy hormone, serotonin, floating around in our brains.

Jesus knew the value of pushing away from the normal and enjoying Himself for some restoration. He seemed to have a special connection with kids, and that is one group that won’t put up with fake friends or those who put on airs with children. When Jesus was around, the kids didn’t want to leave, even when the other disciples tried to shoo them away. Jesus basically said, “lay off, I like hanging with them, and will do so even in heaven!” Jesus also enjoyed hanging out with friends and considered Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to be in that special group (John 11:5).

Similarly, Jesus was often the last to leave the church, too. You know these people…or you are one. The socializing after the teaching and worship is the favorite part. Jesus sent His disciples on ahead of Him on a couple of occasions so that He could hang out with the people before departing (Mark 6:45). He invited Himself to a dinner party on several occasions, as well (Luke 19:5, Mark 2:14-15). This is my kind of guy!! It seemed that Jesus enjoyed communion with His creation, humans, in all kinds of formats. This kept Him stimulated and in touch with the hearts of the audiences, and individuals, that He loves and wanted to reach.

I don’t know if Jesus ever went to a baseball game when He was here on earth, but I feel He gives us the joy to enjoy such things. I was there with my most favorite person, watching my most favorite team, and even got to enjoy the sweetness of victory…oh, and a free hotdog at the end! Bonus!

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19