Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What if...things just aren't going as planned?

I just posted this on one of my other blogs, "What If...".

Well, my week progressed much better than it began last week.  (See the Part 1 post from last week for more on that)

My son’s health improved.

I drove safely to work in New Orleans.

I am now stopped for a break from driving for a few minutes while I am on my way back home from New Orleans.

I just finished a phone conversation with someone from work regarding the project we just launched this past week.  Seems to go along very well with this issue of planning not always panning out as hoped.

You see, I work with healthcare computer systems.

Myself and a couple of other co-workers recently developed and launched an innovative, cutting-edge computerized nursing documentation tool which intuitively guides nurses in more accurately assigning a stage (level) to a patient’s pressure ulcer.  They stage them in order to track their progression of healing or worsening as well as to know better how to treat the ulcer based on evidence proven to help in the healing process.

This new tool is so innovative and needed in this field that it has recently been presented in a national Wound Nurse Conference and has even more recently been awarded first place in our hospital’s annual nursing poster/project competition which was judged by an external panel of nursing school professors.

Now, with all of that said, there is no amount of planning and programming that can replace the human mind and its ability to make decisions.

Now that this tool is in use, we are finding some flaws in it, which we expected, but are also seeing errors based on poor judgment due to lack of knowledge.

My point?

We can guide and direct and suggest and even offer additional resources for accurate and informed decision-making, but ultimately the choice is up to the individual.

In spite of the thorough, extensive planning involved in this project, we cannot force people to make accurate decisions 100% of the time.

Life is very similar.

Our God has given us tools, evidence, support, direction, suggestions, and even examples from previous wrong choices made by individuals.

We, however, still often choose to go our own way, try out our own ideas, ignore the resources available to us, and just flat out refuse to trust the One who has a specific plan for us.

The difference here is that our God is not faulty in His planning and preparation and orchestration of the day-to-day events, big and small.  He is in no way weak or powerless in spite of the fact that we often choose to ignore His guidance.  Even that, He has a plan for.  He lets us choose our way, but He can and will intervene when necessary in order to work out His perfect will in our lives and for the sake of His glory.
Even if you’ve been ignoring and/or avoiding Him for a very long time, it is never too late.  His guidance is always there.  His Word is our Resource.  He will even send people along to help us understand things a bit better so that we can choose to make better decisions.  No matter how many bad decisions you or I have made, the next one can be the right one.

Don’t throw in the towel just because you’ve messed up in the past…even in the past few minutes.

Trust our Divine Planner, our Creator, our Father, our God.

Admit you don’t have it all figured out, and trust His guidance today!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

"Our common concern gave us a common song.  

This was Jesus' plan all along.  None of us can do what all of us can do."

"He teaches us the vocabulary of distant lands, the dialect of the discouraged neighbor, the vernacular of the lonely heart, and the idiom of the young student.  God outfits His followers to cross cultures and touch hearts."

These are quotes from a challenging, transforming, and inspiring book by Max Lucado called Out Live Your Life.  I know I have mentioned this book before, even before it was officially released to the public.  I just gave you a snippet of my opinion then, but I am sure you could tell how much I was impressed by it.  Not to mention that I have had the video trailer of it at the top of my blog for a while now.

As Max & some of his friends are currently touring the States on their Make a Difference Tour to benefit World Vision, I felt now was the time to share just a bit more about this book with you.

In Out Live Your Life, Max gets on-the-level with us and clearly guides us on why and how we need to all realize that we are each called to take up our part in the world wide Hope Revolution.  We often think, "I am just one person with very little influence or ability, so what can I do?"  Additionally, as I recently asked Max myself while he was visiting the Max Lucado Community, "How can I 'outlive my life' when I can barely 'live' my life? Considering constant financial struggles, work/family/health issues, busy schedules, etc..."  His answer to me in that forum was,
"It is important to serve within your giftedness and realities. Analyze your strengths and passions, balance those with your prior commitments and see if you don't discover a good game plan. You may be at a stage of life where your plate is full. If so, be patient. At the right time God will slow things down and you can ramp things up."
Not only did he answer that question for me directly in the discussion that evening, but he also very thoroughly gives direction and inspiration in this book regarding the various questions and thoughts we may all have related to stepping up and Out Living Our Lives.

I challenge you today to get a copy of this book (if you haven't already), read it, and trust the Lord to guide you in knowing what your part is in this great mission we all have in life as His representatives on this earth.  And...there's another part to that trust thing... remember to obey!

Trust and obey.  

He will show you what to do and when.  He will facilitate the means for you to do it.  You must then do it.

This world needs us...this world needs YOU!  

Bring His hope to all whom He places in your path.  Our mission is here and now - not just that glorious day when we get to heaven!

Now, the spotlight is on you---tell me---what are you being led to do to Out Live YOUR Life?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Picture this...

Picture this...

The man who had first introduced Him to the world in the flesh - one of His best friends, His cousin - was just beheaded.  He had just heard the news.  Imagine how he was feeling.  Just picture it...feel it.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

"Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.  (Matthew 14:13-21)
 My Savior and Friend cares that much for me...and for you.

Not only does He have compassion so much as to put aside His own grief, but He also has the power to do for me what I cannot fathom. 

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," and I am only one person. 

"The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children."  The amount of tasks I need to complete and bills I need to pay and people I need to spend quality time with are upwards in the number of this crowd Jesus fed that day - that's five thousand MEN...PLUS women and children, mind you!

Again, I say, ""We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," and I am only one person with very little resources.  The tasks before me are humanly impossible.  As was supper for the crowd that day.


My Jesus is the same Jesus who welcomed the crowd, had compassion on them, healed their sick, and fed them so much out of a young boy's scraps of lunch that there were twelve basketfuls left over.

That's my story.  That's my Jesus.

Is He your Jesus, too?

He can be.  He wants to be.

Come to Him and He will welcome you with loving arms.  He has already made the way.

And if you, like me, already know my Jesus, don't forget Who He is.

Do you have only five loaves of bread and two fish today...or less?  Is your refrigerator bare?  Is your gas tank on empty, literally and figuratively?  Is there more month left at the end of your money---more bills than you can conceptualize how or when to pay?

He is the same Jesus today for you and me that He was so many suppers ago for that crowd and His disciples.

Trust Him.  He will carry you through---with leftovers.

And to top it all off, do you know what He did next?

Hint:  Go read Matthew 14:22-36 and come back here and share your thoughts with us in light of what I have shared here today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review of My Take Along Bible by Alice Joyce Davidson

Recently I caved and joined the Twitter world.  Yes, I know...some of you are saying, "What took you so long?"  Others are saying, 'Why?  It's pointless to me."  And still other are wondering, "What is Twitter?"

As I delve more into this writing thing, I have learned that the Twitter I once found no point in and utterly avoided is actually a bit of a necessity and an asset for those who hope to eventually have a book or two published. 

What does all of that have to do with this precious Bible?

I attended a Twitter Party!!!  Yes, a Twitter Party! 

My husband was working late one night, so I jumped in and figured it out as I went.  It was F-U-N.  Even moreso, because I W-O-N this precious Children's Bible! 

The "My Take Along Bible" by Alice Joyce Davidson is a precious board-book style Children's Bible with a few essential, foundational Bible stories each told on two very colorful, well-illustrated pages.  Each has a precious nugget of truth at the end as well.  Additionally, it has a nice, colorful, *sturdy* plastic handle on it so the child can carry it around with them wherever they wish.

I read this to my son over the course of a couple of evenings before bed, and we very much enjoyed it.  Then, we were so excited to be able to give it to his little cousin this past weekend for her one-year-old birthday.  He even looks forward to reading it to her sometimes.  (He is only five, but is quite the advanced reader for his age.)  Really, it doesn't get any more priceless than that!

Thank you, New Leaf Publishing Group and Master Books for this precious gift in the form of a Twitter Party prize.  It is truly the gift that keeps on giving! 

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.