Walnuts and Rice

Here’s a fun exercise to try if you haven’t heard of it before:

walnuts-and-rice

Take a jar, a handful of rice (enough to fill the jar) and a handful of walnuts. If you put the rice in first and then the walnuts, you’ll find that there is not enough room in the jar for both. But if you put the walnuts in the jar first and then the rice, they both fit fine.

What’s the lesson?

The walnuts are our priorities. The things that matter most in life.

The rice is everything else. The small stuff. All of life’s little details.

walnuts-and-rice

When we do what matters most to us first, the rest of life kind of just falls into place. Life always works itself out when we have our priorities in line and we put our walnuts first.

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Imagination and Prayer

As we age, imagination either overtakes logic/memory or logic and memories overtake our imagination. Imagination is the road less traveled but it is the pathway to prayer. Prayer and imagination are directly proportionate. The more you pray, the bigger your imagination becomes.

A good test of your spiritual maturity is whether your imagination is getting larger or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you have experienced more of God’s faithfulness. It’s God’s faithfulness that increases our faith and ultimately, our imagination and dreams.

God wants us to keep on dreaming until the day we die. If we keep praying, we’ll keep dreaming. And vice versa. In fact, praying is a form of dreaming and using our imagination is also a form of prayer.

Grief, Acceptance, and Grace

This past week has been a hard one. Filled with losses that don’t make sense.

A baby left in the car.
A sister’s body found outside an apartment building.
A dear friend who jumped into a lake and never resurfaced.

I think during such times of unexplainable tragedy, it’s natural for us to want to make sense of what happened.

How do you forget your baby in the car for 8 hrs.? How did you not see him on your way to work? How did your sister die? Why was she lying outside of an apartment building? Who was with her that night? How could such a good swimmer dive into a lake and not resurface? Why were there not cuts, bruises, or abrasions on his body?

What happened?
What happened?
What happened?
Why?!

I think of the five stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think that they must have left out the stage of wanting to make sense. Or is it part of denial?

I think about my dear friend in his last moments. About the baby. About the sister. In that moment, just before death, when time is frozen and all is quiet, what was he thinking about? His family? His life experience thus far? Childhood memories? Did he think, “Ok I’m going to die now”? Was he scared? Was he peaceful?

Questions. Questions. Questions.
These are what we’re left with when our loved ones are snatched away from us without warning. Questions to which we likely will never know the answers. “I don’t know,” being the sole answer we must carry forth.

I don’t know why.
I don’t know how.
I don’t know.

I think how as humans it’s against our nature to admit that we don’t know. It’s against our nature to accept that we may never know. That some things will never make sense. That maybe not everything is supposed to. Acceptance.

Acceptance invites faith, freeing the chains of uncertainty that bind us to the dark. Acceptance and faith, I realize, go hand in hand. Together they form the sliver of light in our stormy sea of darkness.

Acceptance is our freedom.
Faith our guiding hand.
And grace our greatest gift.
This much I know.

Highs and Lows

Why is it that when things are going good we worry that at any second they could go bad…yet, when things are going bad, we forget that at any second things could turn good?

Highs and lows are an inherent part of life’s cyclical nature. By now, we’re acutely aware of this. So why are we still trying to change this basic, natural law?

Why would we want to disrupt the flow of life?

There is no cure for highs and lows. We cannot “fix” it. And who are we to say it needs fixing in the first place?

If we can stop trying to escape the inevitable alternation of pleasure and pain, we can simply relax and be fully present for the wonder that is our lives.

Faith

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” – Brene Brown

Never let your fears redefine your faith.

Conversation with God – Hebrews 4:16

It is written, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Precious child, I’m glad to meet you this morning once again. I am always near to you and am pleased when you draw nearer to me. Your confidence in me shows your great faith today. With faith, all things are possible. When you delight yourself in me, I give you the desires of your heart.

Do I not already know the desires of your heart? Yes, in fact, better than even you.

Still, the prayer is for your own benefit. It demonstrates your faith, allows you to practice your faith, and grow closer to me. Every time we commune in quiet stillness, your confidence in me grows. I offer perspective as my gift to you, removing your confining lens of the limited glasses through which you see this world.

Yes, prayer is an exercise of faith, and anything you exercise, grows. Remember that your faith is like a mustard seed? As it grows stronger and stronger, your perspective gets wider and wider, your trust in me deeper and deeper, your capacity to love bigger and bigger. And on it goes until you are so open, free, and willing that my power flows through you, giving you all that your heart desires and achieving all of the plans for which I have prepared you.

Oh child, I want this so much for you. This rich, full, abundant life on Earth which is available to you now and yet is only a glipmse into the richness, fullness, and abundance that awaits you in heaven. Yes, my child, this life on Earth is waiting for you. It’s here and now. And it begins with prayer. I love to watch you grow.

It’s Not Enough to Believe in Jesus

You say that you believe in Jesus. But that’s not enough. Even the demons believe in Jesus.

It is your faith that makes the difference. Surrendering your soul to Him, and clinging to Him for your life.

Belief without such full surrender is demonic faith. And those with demonic faith will end with a demonic fate.

You can only hide from God, by hiding in God.

Conversation with God: Faith Without Action

I often pray for the people in my life who I don’t think know God, to know Him…To experience Him the way that we were designed to.

Recently, God replied to me, “Oh yes, I love those people. You ought to introduce us.”

He reminds me, in His oh so loving manner, that faith without action is useless…