“Be joyful always;  pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”-1 Thessalonians  5:16-18*

Friday night lights.  The band is playing, cheerleaders are psyching up the crowd, and then the high school football team takes the field.  For the next two hours, you have the fans and students cheering for their team, yelling their heads off.  The electricity and excitement you feel in the air is passion, for their home team, and for the win.

I would love to be able to bottle the passion released in a high school football game.  It starts with the players who have the intensity and drive to play the game.  Students who exemplify commitment by listening to the coaches, running the drills, working on strength and agility and focusing on their grades so they can be on the field.

Then there are the fans.  The enthusiastic crowd is made up of proud parents, talented band members, graceful dancers, spirited cheerleaders, and the animated student body. They all participate by singing, cheering, clapping, and demonstrating true team spirit. The passionate crowd is positive their team will take the win and spell victory at the end of the game.

What if I could wake up every morning, excited and enthusiastic to greet the day like a peppy fan at a football game?  You know what, I can.

I will choose to be excited and passionate about every day.

I know it is easier said than done, but it is by choice.

The first thing I do before my feet hit the ground is whisper a simple prayer.  “God, thank you for today and make it a great one to glorify You.”  Now I will be honest, I am not a morning person.  So, I have found if I get up before anyone else, drink my first cup of coffee and wake up, I am much more pleasant to be around.  While I am waking up, I make a choice to read something around God’s word.  It could be a devotional, actual bible verses or some passage reading for my bible study.  No news, no social media, no games.  I try to put my focus where it counts for me and this would be developing my relationship with Jesus.

As my day unfolds, there are many choices to be made.  One of my daily challenges is driving in traffic and choosing to extend grace to the other drivers who may not drive fast enough, DO NOT use their turn signals to alert others of their intentions, or pull out in front of me because obviously, I am so stealth like and invisible!  Believe me, this is my struggle and I work on it EVERYDAY.  I passionately want to react better to others, so I choose to try to behave better than the day before.

I know there will be the failure of my attempts, but I have to continue to try and be better than I was the day before.  I think back to how I felt during a Friday night football game.  The excitement of the unknown, the love for my team, and the positive vibes felt throughout the crowd.  I have a strong desire to choose to be as positive as I can be in all aspects of my life and to improve on my shortcomings.   I believe with this type of focus and passion in my life, I definitely will score the win for God’s team and be a fan for life.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Living Out Passion (1)

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:  Who should I send?  Who will go for Us?  I said:  Here I am.  Send me.”  Isaiah 6:8*

It is exciting to start a new year!  No goals for me, but a new intention.  I have selected the word “devotion” and I am applying it all facets of my life; my time with God, my relationships, and my writing.  I have decided to take twelve synonyms of the word “devotion” and apply it to my writing calendar.  For the month of January, I have chosen “passion” as my word of the month.

PASSION-Strong liking or desire for some activity, object, or concept**

Growing up I regularly noticed my father with his nose in a book.  I would ask him what he was reading and he would show me the front of the book with a whimsical title of “Quantum Mechanics, the most exciting theory using mathematical interpretation”.  I would try to hide my puzzlement with a poker face, but there was no fooling dad.  He knew I was clueless.

My dad grew up in a small community in Ohio.  He learned early on his love of learning would open up opportunities for his future.  My dad used his passion for knowledge to gain several bachelor’s degrees in mechanical, petroleum, and chemical engineering along with a master’s degree.  When he passed away in September 2014 at the age of seventy-four, he was taking online courses to complete another degree in electrical engineering.  His thirst for knowledge was evident not only in formal education but in everyday activities.

When computers became a way of life, my dad taught himself how to use a computer, how to write code, and how to build one from parts.   He also learned how to work on cars and rebuild them, how to tackle plumbing issues, and later how to build furniture out of wood and scroll pictures into wooden keepsakes for the family.  My dad had a passion for learning, growing, and challenging himself.

Later in life, dad began to pour his passion for learning into his bible.  He would read, discuss with his bible study class, and share his thoughts with family and friends.  His favorite book was Isaiah which documents how God reveals His judgment and salvation.   When we are willing to learn about Him, accept Him as our Lord and Savior, and repent of our sins, we are extended God’s grace and forgiveness.  Isaiah showed his passion in a proclaimed message of repentance from sin and hopeful expectation of God’s deliverance of Judah in the future.***  I am thankful my dad was able to be open about his personal relationship with God because it assured his family where he would be for eternity.

My father led by example in following his passion to learn until his last breath.  I am inspired to follow in his footsteps, not so much about engineering, but pushing myself to learn about the subjects which interest me, like writing.  I look at learning as an opportunity to challenge my brain and discover and develop my God-given talents to witness to others of God’s love and grace.  I want to thank you, dad, for living out your passion and leaving the legacy for your family to carry forward.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


***The Study Bible for Women Copyright 2014 by Holman Bible Publishers Nashville, TN