Clean Clothes

Sometimes you have to be grateful for the little things. Today, I’m grateful for the washer and dryer. I didn’t know this before, but many kids go to school everyday dirty. Their families can’t afford to pay for laundry. Think about it: a family of four can go through 5 or more loads of laundry a week. At about $5 a load, that can quickly add up to $100 per month at the local laundromat. When you throw in sheets, towels, blankets, detergent, fabric softener, the costs just go up from there.

That’s why we’re doing the Laundry Love Project today. We simply go into a local laundromat and give some much needed help to those who don’t have what we have. It’s one of our Passion Projects we enjoy doing. We provide free detergent and fabric softener, build relationship with the patrons and management there, and we’ll share a grilled hot dog or two in the process.

So the next time you hear your washer on its spin cycle, or you pull those soft & warm whites out the dryer, or you slip those cotton socks on your feet, be grateful. Someone doesn’t have what you have.

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2014: The Year of the Amazing

2014 is going to be an amazing year. I can’t put my finger on it, I can’t describe it exactly, but it’s going to be an amazing year. How do I know this? It’s because of my faith. Faith in God has been the key to getting to this point. But let’s not be gullible about this.

God allows life experiences, trials, heartache, and other episodes to build our hope and trust in him. We eventually realize that after using all the knowledge, know how, wit, schemes, and anything else you can think of, we’ve got no one else to rely on but him. But we also can’t be stupid about this either.

Quite often we think that faith is enough. But without the required work, faith dies. Faith becomes useless. It typically starts on January 1st, but usually ends on January 2nd. What good is that?

2014 is going to be an amazing year. I believe it by faith, and the required work by faith will make it happen. A lot of work has gone into getting to this point. Work by faith that is…working the plan, and planning the work. So I have no doubt that 2014 is going to be amazing.

What does Amazing mean? It means something that is astonishing, stunning, surprising, astounding, breathtaking, or shockingly good. I believe this year will be the year of the Amazing. I pray that you’ll decide to have an amazing year too!

You’re Thankful For Who?

Like many of you, it’s this time of year when we start thinking about what we’re thankful and grateful for. Well, we all know that kids can say things that make us really stop and think.

When I asked baby girl (my 4-year old Daughter Samantha) what she was thankful for, what she said was, “I’m thankful for myself, and I’m thankful for…” I missed most of everything else she said, because the first thing she said was that she was thankful for herself. Herself!

That really got me to thinking. Are you thankful for yourself? Not to be selfish, self-absorbed, or self-righteous, but are you thankful for you? How do you see yourself? Do you appreciate you? Too often we focus on how other people, society, peers, or family members see us. How do YOU see YOU?

You can best appreciate yourself when you see yourself the way God sees you. For example, Psalms 139:14 says that when God made us he made us “wonderfully.” After God made you, he stepped back and said “Wow! You’re wonderful!” Your brain, your thoughts, your emotions, your mannerisms, your lips, your nose, and all your toes; wonderful!

We don’t always feel this way. It doesn’t always seem like it when you look in the mirror. You might not sense it when you’ve made some dumb mistakes or bad decisions, or even when no one else seems to appreciate what you have to offer or bring to the table. Without being self-serving or self-promoting, you can look at yourself with confidence, seeing yourself as God sees you and say like Samantha said, “I’m thankful for myself.”

Are you thankful for you?

Love Covers It…

I don’t understand it all the time, but it’s true: love covers it all up. All the ugly, stinky, smelly, dirty stuff in my life; love covers it. All my skeletons, all my revenge, all my attitudes, all my ulterior motives; love covers it. When I lie, when I cheat, when I steal; love covers it.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.(I Peter 4:8)

Want to have success with people? Love on them. Want a person to have a second chance? Love on them. Hung up about a person’s past or present? Love on them. Have an enemy that you can’t defeat? Love on them. Want someone to be comfortable around you? Love on them. Not understanding why a person is acting or thinking the way they are? Love on them. 

And not just any kind of love; love them earnestly. That means I’m going to love you on purpose. I’m going to love you with everything in me. It’s not a surface love; it’s a deep sea diving kind of love. It’s an unconditional love. Sometimes it’s compassionate love. Other times it’s tough love. Whatever the case, don’t stop demonstrating it. Don’t stop showing it. It’s the kind of love that Jesus showed us. It’s the kind of love that so many are looking and needing. It’s the kind that you and I can give to others. 

Let love cover it.

 

 

That’s A Good Question…

My 4-year old daughter asked me recently, “Daddy, where is God?” “That’s a great question!” I told her. “God is everywhere! He’s in our heart and he’s everywhere we are.” “Really Daddy? Oh! Okay!” And back off to playing she went. That question really got me to thinking. Well first, it got me to thinking about what other questions she could come up with that would make me cringe (most of you parents who have had pre-teens or teenagers already know what I’m talking about).

But kids sometimes ask the same questions we do. Where is God, when I’m going through tough times in life? Where is God when I’ve lost my job, when I feel like giving up on life, when nothing seems to be working right, or when it seems like no one else cares? Where is God when I’m all alone, have no hope, or no way out?

I’ve experienced a lot of those feelings. So did others in the Bible. Psalms 139:7-8 says “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” God is everywhere. He’s even with us during the toughest of times. Psalms 23:4 says “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

I may not be able to answer my daughter’s next question so quickly. But at least I know with some assurance that when the going gets tough and life doesn’t seem worth living, God is right there with me to comfort me. May we all realize that he’s there for us too.