Into the Unknown

Two of my granddaughters share a toy which, when pressed in just the right spot, exclaims, “Ah-Ah, oh-oh! Ah-Ah, oh-oh! Into the unknoooooon!” And, yes, it’s Elsa, aka Idina, belting it out. Both girls love to sing along as they twirl around.

I’m not really a Frozen fanatic, but the song intrigues me. If you look up the lyrics, you’ll find lines about

  • ignoring whispers and blocking them out.
  • deciding that life has already had enough adventure.
  • fearing the risk of following the voice.

Okay, I’ll stop there, since none of us can conjure ice. However, the song has caused me to ask these questions: averse

  • Do we block out God’s voice when he asks us to do something difficult or uncertain?
  • Are we adventure averse, when (cue Stephen Curtis Chapman) following the Lord can be a great adventure?
  • Are we afraid to follow His voice?

To all of the above, I hope the answer is, or can become, a resounding “No!!” We all face uncertainty from time to time. In every single case, if the Lord asks us to do it, then he will take us through it. How could it be otherwise? We do not serve some cosmic prankster. He equips, directs, blesses.

So, if you ever hear him calling you into the unknown, say, “Yes!” and rely on him.

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“Sophie’s Heart”

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My super sharp 90-year-old neighbor is an insatiable reader. She gives me her finished books by the sackful.

(Lesson one: Reading is probably better for all of us than watching the “idiot box.”)

(Request one: It can be hard to find great books to read. Share your discoveries, please!)

The latest collection delivered to my door included an older novel by Lori Wick entitled “Sophie’s Heart.” It’s the story of a young woman who makes her way from Czechoslovakia to the States and pours her heart into helping a family in need. One particular line, almost unrelated to the plot, stood out to me and has become unforgettable:

“She had written to her grandmother, but she knew the only thing she would hear back from her was encouragement.”

Are you a grandmother (or grandfather, or aunt, or uncle or…)

(Lesson two: Become a voice of encouragement in the lives of young people in your family!)

Chances are you will be tempted at times to guide, discipline, or re-direct. Perhaps on rare occasions that will be appropriate. But, for the most part, that is the job of their parents. You are in an enviable position. You can assume the delightful and oh-so-important role of indefatigable encourager. (But only if you keep in touch with them!)

This takes effort and thought and prayer. What else, though, could be a more important use of your time?

Have you read to this point and asked yourself, “What good is this? I’m not a grandparent at all.” Here is my simple answer: Find someone—I’m thinking someone young, but really any age will do—and make them the recipient of your encouragement. And once you begin, keep it up! You’ll be changing a life and, most likely, cheering yourself up in the process.

“Therefore, encourage one another and build up each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).

Seven Million Miles

I read this quote in an recent issue of “Imprimis Magazine.”

“We have spun 7,000,000 miles since last year, and in our orbiting have sailed an unthinkable 568 million miles through space.”

We did not spin out of orbit or hit anything as we hurled through space. Let that be a reminder to us that we serve a very big God. Whatever we face today, he is facing it with us. He loves us more than we love the most precious people in our lives.

And so… NO WORRIES!

And if you need more convincing, take a look at this: Don’t Worry. Be Healthy. | Smoother Sailing (wordpress.com) or this: Don’t Worry. Be Happy! | Smoother Sailing (wordpress.com)

Coming to You from Started at 50 by Becky Heptig

My friend Becky Heptig blogs at https://startedat50.com/ . Her subscribers (like me) received this helpful email in their inbox this week:

It’s time for those dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. Do you make resolutions? If you do, how long do you stick to them?

I don’t exactly do resolutions…But I do use this time of year to evaluate, improve, tweak or even eliminate. I like to evaluate my habits, attitudes and generosity. I look for ways to improve or optimize, and if something is not of value or is a time waster, then I try to subtract it from my life. I’m not an over-achiever, but I am a little ADD, so I have a lot of things going at once. Sometimes I have to remind myself that being busy is not always the same as being efficient or effective.

Here’s what I’ll be looking at over the next couple of weeks.

My numbers: Stephen and I will update 2022 year-end financials and do some planning for 2023.

My travel schedule: We already have a lot of potential travel on our plate for 2023. We need to determine what fits our budget and what fits our calendar.

My daily habits: I’d like to be more consistent in my habits. This covers exercise, reading my Bible, connecting with friends and eating healthier***.

My calling: What is it God has called me to do? I want to spend time on what’s important to Him and not just what appears urgent in front of me.

Give yourself a quiet hour sometime this next week to think through these topics. These might not all apply to you. Make your own list of what you’d like to evaluate and improve. And remember…you are not meant to be everything to everybody. Really look at what your impact can be on your family and community. Spend your time and effort on what brings you value.

***And here are Becky’s latest thoughts about healthy choices:

I am personally doing a modified Whole30 eating plan for at least the first 2 weeks of January. That means I will be eating mostly plants, meat, eggs and a small amount of dairy. No bread, pasta, or sugar. I did a no-sugar month in January last year. It really helped reset my body and my attitude, so I’m doing it again this year. Doing this is always easier when you do it with friends! Please join me in giving your body a healthy reset for the New Year. Pick whatever eating plan works for you and try to do it for at least 2 weeks. We can share our struggles and our wins. I will be there to encourage you to stay the course when it gets tough! We can all do this together.

Let’s do this!

I’m in Becky! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

Quoting a wise young missionary…

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While these are not my original words, they are certainly my thoughts and sentiments today…

May the Lord directly make it known afresh to you through His Spirit, and indirectly through the people around you, that you genuinely belong to Him.

Remind the people God has put in your life of that truth.

And may you have a joyful Christmas.

(Thanks for sharing, Josh.)

Flipping Pages

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I bought my current Bible in a college bookstore at the beginning of my freshman year, so it has had a bit of use. (It’s only been rebound once.) Sometimes, instead of reading a particular set of chapters, I sit and flip the pages, rereading the passages that have struck me over the years. Here’s what I landed on today:

2 Chronicles 32(Hezekiah speaking):  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

If you are fighting a battle today, I hope you will use this passage to be reminded that the God of heaven is on your side. My college president often repeated this verse from 1 John 4, Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.”

Keep up the fight, doing whatever you know is right and all that you sense the Holy Spirit calling you to do. Nehemiah 3:9 says, “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

Pray, my friends, about everything! And please let me know how I can pray for you.