Inspire – Day 257 – Nori

Have you been to Nori Asian Fusion Cuisine in Fort Wayne?

If not – stop what you are doing and go! Phil and I went a week ago Sunday after church and loved it so much we went back for lunch on Thursday with our office.

The food delicious and beautifully presented. Nori’s decor is the typical red and black you would expect – but it is sleek, contemporary and stylish.

The owners are kind and extremely gifted. He is from Indonesia and she is from the Philippines. They hand painted the flowers on the wall tiles as well as the decorative paper flowers adorning the walls. What a time and labor intensive project.

When the owner discovered we were celebrating a birthday, she surprised us with Ube – a purple yam dessert. They go to Chicago to purchase the Ube at a large Chinese market. I never would have guessed purple yam was such a yummy, refreshing treat.

People like these restauranteurs inspire me to use my gifts to make our world a more beautiful, kinder place. They’ve worked hard to get where they are and they pour their lives into excellence in their trade.

God has placed within each of us gifts and abilities to be used to bless our world. No one can say they don’t have a gift. Put your hand on your heart? Do you feel it beating? If so, you have a gift to share. Maybe it is encouraging a neighbor with a kind word or building a pillow fort with your kids. Possibly it is baking a pie for an elderly friend or babysitting kids so a single mom can have a few hours on her own. Maybe it is phoning a friend who can’t get out or offering your vacation home to a struggling family. Are you using your gifts to make our world better, kinder, gentler?

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” I Corinthians 12:27-31

There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” 1 Cor. 12:4-5

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Romans 12:4-6a

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
May we use our gifts to show Jesus’ love to others. May we inspire others to make our world a little more like “heaven on earth”.  In Jesus’ name.
 
Cheering you on.

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Inspire – Day 256 – Dry

Has anyone ever described the Arizona heat to you as a “dry” heat?

It is 106 today. But it is a dry heat. Ha! I mean it’s dry but it is still like sticking my head in an electric oven.

My husband says my comfort zone is pretty narrow. He’s right. It’s somewhere between 75 to 80 degrees. Any colder or hotter and I’m uncomfortable. I prefer the desert’s dry heat over our midwest humidity – as long as it is under 90.

We were at our grandson Trey’s 10 a.m. football game on Saturday. Our daughter brought a pop-up shelter which protected us from the direct sun. We drank lots of water to stay hydrated. Our daughter’s mother-in-law brought a spray bottle filled with water – and let me tell you – it felt so good when she sprayed us with the cooling mist. I know the players are much y0unger but I don’t know how they didn’t pass out in the heat – they have to be tough.

Trey’s Fan Club a/k/a family photo after the West Jets victory

When we got into our car after the game, Phil and I said at the same time, “it is hot”. We shared a bottle of water but I continued to feel parched and dry. I needed more water – more than I typically drink.

I’ve felt that way at various times in my spiritual life when I’ve needed more of Jesus. I’ve needed more and more of Him. In fact, the more I get to know Him, the more of Him I need. I don’t like feeling “dry” but I know we all will experience dry, desert moments in our walk. What’s worked for me in the dry seasons of my faith has been to drink more of the Living Water – and how do I do that? There are a variety of quenchers that work for me. I’ll listen to worship music or podcasts. I’ll read the Psalms (the psalmists had their share of dry seasons, too). I’ll force myself to do a Bible study even when I don’t feel like it. I’ll pray. I’ll go to church – or if I am out of town – I’ll watch our church service live on Facebook. Those things help to quench my thirst.

but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

My friend, are you in a dry spell? Do you need more of the Living Water? Drink up! His supply of refreshing, living water never runs dry.

Inspire – Day 255 – Brand

Do you look for a particular brand when you make a purchase?

Phil and I stayed in a hotel in Indianapolis on Thursday night. We got in late and had to be at the airport for our early Friday morning flight to Phoenix. We booked our hotel through ParkSleepRide. It was a great deal*** – hotel, parking and shuttle to and from the airport – and it was less expensive than parking at the airport or the cost of Uber to/from our son’s house in Indy. I will not mention the hotel in this post but it is a group brand that we have chosen over the years.

Dear readers, what is your brand? Is it Christian? And if so, does it match with God’s brand? Do people know by your life that you wear the name/the brand of Christ follower?

I am going to contact the hotel’s management to let them know of our disappointment.  I can’t imagine corporate headquarters would be pleased with their brand on the building.  In the same vein, would God be pleased with us wearing His brand?  Would He say, “Don’t wear the Christian t-shirt or bumper sticker if you don’t live like it”? – or – Would he be pleased to say, “They are wearing my brand”?  

May our lives match our brand. May we represent Christ well by the way we live and love others. May our Father smile on us as we wear His brand no matter where we are.

”By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

***My daughter said I should have known better because of the price of the deal. So, in all fairness to the hotel – yes, I got what I paid for. And yes, I knew by the price that it was not a 5-star hotel – BUT – I contend there are standards that should be met to carry the brand. I will up my budget the next time.

Inspire – Day 254 – Unbelievable

Has there ever been anything more unbelievable?

November 22, 1963 and September 11, 2001

Both were unbelievable days – I remember exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was doing.

The grassy knoll/Dealey Plaza in Dallas TX
World Trade Centers in NYC
The Pentagon in Arlington, VA
Flight 93 in Shanksville

Even typing the names and places evokes the same feelings of 1963 and 2001. Did it really happen? Was this a bad nightmare? How could this happen?

John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 was devastating. Our 35th president was shot and killed in broad daylight. How could this happen? Unbelievable.

The four terrorist attacks in 2001 wracked our entire world. Again, how could this happen? Unbelievable.

We must never forget. Never. We must remember what has happened and work toward it never happening again. Evil cannot win. Evil cannot reign.

There is something even more unbelievable – – – what Christ has done for us. He gave His life on our behalf. He went to the cross for us – for those who love Him and for those who do not. Unbelievable! Who does that? Only Jesus.

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8

May God we never forget that Jesus gave His life for us – so that we may have life forever – with Him. Unbelievable!  But I do believe.  I hope you do, too. I don’t ever want to forget what He’s done for me. And for you. Never forget. Never.  

Inspire – Day 253 – Direction

Which way should I go?

My husband made this sign post for me. It points to where pieces of our hearts are and how many miles to get there.

The concrete survey marker was in our front yard long before we moved here in 2009. Phil has talked for quite some time about doing something with it. And last weekend he planned, cut, sanded, painted, lettered and sealed the boards. Monday night he nailed the arrows in place. I love it! Every time I exit and enter our driveway, I am reminded of where our five children and their families live (Greenwich CT, Litchfield Park AZ (x2), Indianapolis IN and Brookfield, IL) as well as where we raised them and still go to church (LaOtto) and where we serve with IMPACTO (Guatemala). He made a couple of blank arrows for future locations.

Our family is scattered across the USA but this momma’s heart has every one of them close to her heart. I love my family. But more importantly, I love knowing they know the Way. The way to life – abundant life – eternal life. I have no guarantee they will go in the right direction but I pray they will – all of them – kids, spouses, grandkids and their future kids. This is my heart: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

God has given us accurate directions to Him in John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Clear. Direct. No confusion.

I John 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

Acts 4:12: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

May the words of our Savior and the followers John and Paul point you to Him. May my words inspire you to evaluate and/or correct where you are headed. May you go His direction, my friend.

Inspire – Day 252 – Kingdom

How is your kingdom doing?

I’ve been listening to Emily P. Freeman’s podcasts. She is one of the founders of Hope*Writers and the author of several books including The Next Right Thing. Her soothing voice speaks truth, comfort and a calmness into my soul.

Podcast #86 Decision-Making with guest James Bryan Smith is one I will probably listen to more than twice.

One of Mr. Smith’s statements is definitely cross-stitch worthy – oh, wait – it’s definitely Pinterest worthy. “The kingdom is not in trouble and neither are you.” Boom! I was mowing the lawn when I heard this quote and I stopped to rewind to listen to that portion again. What a powerful statement!

Often we worry, we wring our hands, acting like the kingdom of God is in trouble so, therefore, we must be in trouble, too. This is so far from the truth, my friends. God’s Kingdom is not out of control by any means. He is and has always been and will always be in control. He is the Almighty. The Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End. He is the Creator. The Sustainer. Above Him there is NO other. His Kingdom is unshakeable. U.N.S.H.A.K.E.A.B.L.E.

We sang All the Poor and Powerless by All Sons and Daughters this past week at church. This part tears me up every time:

“Shout it
Go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God”

That is definitely worth shouting about! Thank you, James Bryan Smith and Emily P. Freeman for reminding me of this truth.

How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:3

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.” Psalm 45:6

Jesus followers, may we live like we believe He is God – even when circumstances don’t feel like He is in control. God’s Kingdom is alive and well!

Inspire – Day 251 – Results

Can you guess the results of my August 27th email question?

Drum roll please…Here are the top three responses:

#3 Uplifting with 9 responses

#2 Encouraging with 16 responses

#1 Inspiring with 32 responses

Inspiring comes in at number one – exactly what I hoped for since my blog is entitled InspirebyKathyTroyer. My prayer is to inspire my readers to love and serve God and His people.

I appreciate all who responded. I enjoyed reading and tallying the 76 unique words. A special shout out to my Ben Davis High School classmate Judi Pinkston for sending the most interesting word. Epigrammatic. That’s the first time anyone has described my writing using that word. It sounded impressive but I wasn’t sure of its meaning so I consulted Webster-Merriam. Here’s what I found. Epigrammatic: an adjective – “of the nature or in the style of an epigram; concise, clever, and amusing”. I like that. So, thanks, Judi. You made my day!

Several of you answered with these three words: honest, relatable and thought-provoking. My aim is to be honest, relatable and thought-provoking. It’s not easy opening my life up for scrutiny since I am not perfect. I don’t claim to have all of the answers but I do know and trust in the One who does. I believe with every fiber of my being that if He (Jesus Christ) could change my life – He can change anyone.

I want to close today using Psalm 19:14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Inspire – Day 250 – Tox-Away

Does your community have a Tox-Away Day?

Ours does. We can dispose of batteries, paint, chemicals, light bulbs, etc. four times a year on a Saturday for a very reasonable cost. We found out yesterday that they are open on Tuesdays year round. For years, we have been saving our toxic “stuff” up for a Saturday drop off. This is great news – we can get rid of harmful products weekly.

We took in twelve 4′ fluorescent bulbs that came from who knows where, garden chemicals that we stopped using years ago, and multiple containers of creepy substances with weathered, unreadable labels. It felt so good to get it rid of it.

While waiting in line for our truck to be unloaded (you have to stay in your vehicle), I observed the employees wore gloves and cover-alls to protect themselves from harmful substances. Great idea. I also noticed one employee off to the side — eating his lunch. Eating a sandwich in a building filled with harmful, disgusting chemicals! Wouldn’t the better, safer choice be to eat somewhere else? I held my tongue and verbal judgment. But these thoughts swirled in my brain – surely they know better – how could they do this – don’t they understand the danger?

I’m sure God thinks the same about me. “Hey, Kathy, you are standing in the midst of toxic thoughts, toxic attitudes, toxic places – get out! Get rid of them”! Because He allows free will – I can choose to live my life as I please. Therefore, He also allows me to reap the consequences. I wonder if He’s wanting me to make better choices. Hoping I’ll notice the need to Tox-Away certain attitudes and reactions – to get rid of what is harmful or not good for me.

We have the opportunity – 24/7 – to Tox-Away. We can ask God for help – we can ask for forgiveness – we can ask to start over. We don’t have to wait for church on Christmas or Easter or a regular Sunday. We have access to Him – all day – every day.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

May He Tox-Away anything in us that is – harmful – damaging – disgusting – demeaning. Getting rid of the “bad stuff” feels so good.

Inspire – Day 249 – Lemons

Do you order fresh lemon wedges with your water?

I usually do because I like lemons.

Lemons are not only beautiful when arranged in a pretty bowl – they are full of flavor and zest. Lemon shake-ups at the Indiana State Fair are especially refreshing when it’s hot and I’m tired. I also like lemon drops, lemon gelato, lemon pie, and lemon Skittles. If we are having salmon for dinner and I don’t have a fresh lemon, I’ll drizzle a few drops of ReaLemon juice in our water.

Yesterday, our three grandsons (10, 7-3/4 and 3 years old) set up a Lemonade Stand in their not-very-busy-Indianapolis neighborhood. Their mom bought the start up supplies and the boys made signs. They sold out in 3.5 hours and after paying their mom back, cleared $67. Not a bad morning for these ambitious entrepreneurs.

The key to their success on a low traffic street? Generosity. Very generous neighbors. Very generous complete strangers. One guy paid $10 for a cup of lemonade. Another paid $5.

You’ve undoubtedly heard a variation of the adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade“. A lemonade stand is an opportunity to witness the generosity of complete strangers. So, here’s my saying, “When you see a lemonade stand, make someone’s day”. Seriously, when we see a lemonade stand in our neighborhoods – stop – give generously – make someone’s day. No, it’s not worth $5 or $10 a cup – but so what? Seeing the joy and excitement on the face of a young entrepreneur is worth far more than that. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a $5 or $10 tucked in our pocket or purse to use for such an event?

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

May we use something as simple as the purchase of lemonade to sweeten someone else’s day. May we bring zest to someone’s life. May we live generously. May we choose to bless – and the sweet thing is – we are often blessed in the blessing.

Inspire – Day 248 – Gravel

Have you ever had a gravel driveway?

Our office/house driveway in Fort Wayne is gravel. It is long and wide at the parking area. We could have it paved but we don’t want to invest the money to do so. We would rather use our resources for mission trips, travel and family gatherings. Phil grew up in the country so gravel drives were not uncommon. My parent’s home like many others in the Pinecrest addition have gravel drives, as well. So we are okay witb it.

But – there are two times when gravel really annoys me:

#1 Snow season. No matter how hard one tries when plowing or shoveling – gravel ends up in the yard and must be removed before mowing season. Talk about a pain in the. booty.

#2 Bike season. I am not as steady as I once was – so riding my bike down our driveway to the paved road is tricky. I hold my breath until I am on the solid pavement because there have been a few close calls when I’ve tumbled on loose gravel. We rode our bikes on the Towpath Trail Thursday night before our watercolor class at the IWU Fort Wayne Campus. We entered the trail near the Boy Scouts Building — on a gravel connector path — it was bumpy and rocky and fortunately I didn’t wipe out.

We can learn from gravel, my dear readers.

#1 Gravel is useful. It is a great base – keeping us from walking or driving on dirt or sinking in mud.

#2 Gravel can be painful. Have you ever picked gravel from your skin after a fall while biking or walking? It is not pleasant.

#3 Gravel forces us to consider our steps. We have to be aware of where we are walking and be intentional in our path so we don’t slip, trip or fall.

Our spiritual walk is much like walking on gravel. It is important to have a solid footing – we need to consider our steps – and admit that life is sometimes painful.

Are we walking on solid ground? Are we building our faith – our hope – our future – in our jobs or our good health or our spouse or our children or our wealth? If our faith is built on Christ, we have a sure foundation. Nothing else will suffice. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

Consider our steps – where are we walking? Where are we headed? Are we in places/spaces that are not good for us? Should we change where our steps are headed? Are there healthier, better places/spaces we could be walking toward? “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

Life is painful – but not all of the time. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we trip up. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we hurt. Sometimes we succeed and life is good. The more we live in confidence that Jesus is walking with us, the less we will focus on the pain. We can choose to not allow the pain to drag us down.

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Psalm 18:2: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

May we walk on solid ground – trusting Him for each step. May we not get bogged down by the worries of this world. May we place our trust in God – our solid rock.