HOPE For These Troubled Times

This year has been a year of great change, confusion, frustration, fear and uncertainty for the future. Every year has its challenges for us… whether personal, familial, financial or a host of other possibilities. However, 2020 has heaped challenge upon challenge on each of us, which at the very least, is exhausting. 

What if I said I had the answer to these questions and that there is hope in that answer… but, I didn’t share the answer? I wouldn’t be a good friend, would I? I am sure you are thinking, how can I be so prideful as to say I have the answer?! Well, let me rephrase the first part of that sentence.  – What if I said I thought I had the answer to these questions and that there is hope in that answer? The response is still the same, isn’t it? I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t share what I thought was the answer.

I know that many, or even most, of you who read my blog are Christians, but the Lord has laid this on my heart and so, in this post I am going to share, as graciously as I can, the reason for the hope I have within me. Do you know what being a Christian really means? I doesn’t mean I am better than you, or that I think I am better than you. It doesn’t mean that I have to follow a list of do’s and don’ts. AND, it definitely doesn’t mean that I live perfectly – not even close! What it does mean is that I have believed what the Bible says about who Christ was and is, and that I have made a decision to live my life as a follower of Christ.

The “plan of salvation” are some scripture verses that explain who God is, who Jesus Christ was/is, who we are to God and how we can be saved unto eternal life by simply believing that Jesus is who the Bible says he was. Here are those verses.

John 3:16 “For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift.  So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”

John 14:6 “Jesus explained, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Fatherexcept through union with me.”

Romans 3:23 “…for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “For sin’s meager wages is death, but God’s lavish gift is life eternal, found in your union with our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.”

Ephesians 2:8,9 “For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!

Romans 10:9,10 “And what is God’s “living message”? It is the revelation of faith for salvation, which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth gives thanksto salvation.”

John 1:12 “But those who embraced him and took hold of his namewere given authority to become the children of God!”

I too have had many times of feeling hopeless and fearful of what is ahead of us as a nation and world during this time. I am not immune or somehow exempt from these feelings because of my faith. However, what I do have is a hope that I can draw back to each time I feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances.

I do not want to alienate you or offend you. My sole purpose is for this post is to share what I feel is the most important thing I have ever shared with you. I will joyously answer questions if you want to ask me more about this “plan of salvation”.

I am praying for each of you who read this because, in this uncertain time, we can all use some prayer.

What is Presumptuous Sin?

Several weeks ago I was reading in the 19th chapter of Psalms and came to verse 13 which reads “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” -ESV

In the King James version this term is “willing sin” versus “presumptuous sin” but both are accurate regarding how we live our lives as Christians. I will look at willing sin at the end of the post, but want to concentrate on presumptuous sin for the moment.

Because I was taken with the unfamiliarity of the word presumptuous, I looked up the definition. It means “failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.”

How does this relate to sin? Let me disclose something about myself to help you understand. I have had some sort of a dietary restriction since the mid-90’s for health reasons. These restrictions have been quite extensive and are even more extensive in the past three years. If find myself craving things that I should not have but often succumb to the temptation and go ahead and eat the “forbidden food(s)”. I had long wondered if this was sin for me, but couldn’t really explain why I thought it might be. It isn’t sin for others and it isn’t gluttony, so… ? This 12-letter word convicted me that it IS sin for me and here is why. If I know something is harmful to me but I chose to do it anyway, I am not treating my body as the temple of God. That is what Paul says my body is in I Corinthians 3:16. I am choosing to not observe the limits of what is appropriate for me to keep my body functioning optimally.

Now let me move outside the scope of my personal body and look at how what I do that affects others can be presumptuous sin. At times I choose to do things that could be a stumbling block to someone else. This could be in terms of my behavior, habits or negligence. In I Corinthians 8:9 we are admonished to think about what we do based on what those around us believe sin is. “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” -ESV

Note that Paul specifically points out our liberty because his passion was teaching that Christians live in freedom from the law of sin and death because of choosing Christ’s penalty for us on the cross. We ARE indeed free! However, if that freedom causes us to act in such a way as to cause an unbeliever to question anything about our faith it becomes presumptuous sin.

This one word has become a revelation of how God desires me, as an individual, to live. I have repented and will continue to repent for it was Martin Luther who said “…All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

Your revelation will most likely be different from mine… but, it is nonetheless just as important to repent of. Perhaps you are far from being a drunkard but your drink is more important to you than it should, be causing you to shirk your duty in areas regarding being a parent or employee. Or, it might be that you are choosing to dress in somewhat seductive ways that could cause a stranger to lust after you. The list is endless.

Ask God what might be your presumptuous sin and then repent. Not because of guilt or trying to please God but because you desire to live in the freedom he has given you through salvation. We cannot be entangled in presumptuous sin and be fully free.

Remember that the King James version calls presumptuous sin willful sin? Here is the difference and the similarity between the two words.

Willful sin means that we are fully aware something is wrong and yet choose to do the deed anyway because afterward we can ask God to forgive us because he DOES forgive. The problem with that thinking is that this not a sign of a repentant heart. It is like telling a small child to say they are sorry to their sibling, but the tone of their voice gives away that they are not sorry at all… they just said the words to get out of a sticky situation.

Presumptuous sin means that we may not know it is sin until the Lord convicts us. But once we have been convicted, if we choose to do the deed anyway it is failing to observe what is permitted or appropriate.

Let me end by reminding you that each time I challenge you in a post, I am also challenging myself. We are all sinful creatures, but PRAISE GOD, because of Jesus – we are forgiven and forever accepted and loved unconditionally by our Heavenly Father!

LAVISH… What Does It Mean?

For many years I have been intrigued by the word lavish. It is not a word that is widely used, yet it has a beautiful meaning.

As an adjective it means: sumptuously rich, elaborate, or luxurious.
As a verb it means: bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities

I even found the meaning of the word as it relates to the Bible on www.definitions.net
Verb: To expend or bestow with profusion; to use with prodigality; to squander
Adjective: Superabundant; excessive

In I John 3:1 the apostle John writes “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
-NIV

Say it out loud with me right now… “LAVISH”
Doesn’t it rather gush out? It is a bit of a messy word when spoken, producing a lot of spit between the “v” and the “ish”.

And that is exactly what it should do, because these definitions could be translated “to gush” and in the verse, “to gush with LOVE”.

Doesn’t that give new meaning to the way in which God has loved us? It is excessive, extravagant, even to the point of squandering it on us because oft-times we don’t appreciate the level and depth of this love He gushes on us.

I find it interesting that the words “prodigality” and “squander” are used in the definition, considering these are the very words used by Jesus in the parable of the Prodigal Son. The younger son asked for his inheritance early and leaves home where he frivolously squanders away his inheritance on the things in life that do not satisfy nor last. He soon finds himself with nothing and, in desperation, decides to return home to beg his father to allow him to work alongside the other hired servants in order to earn room and board. However, upon returning home his father sees him from “afar off” and comes running to meet him. The son doesn’t even get to his plea to be able to work as a hired hand. As he begins asking for forgiveness, his father refuses anything less than that his son be completely restored to his former place in the family.

The son who lavishly spent everything receives his father’s lavish love upon returning home!

And, that is what the Lord does ongoing for us. He lavishes His love upon us, as children of God. …in generous and extravagant quantities, that are sumptuously and luxuriously rich!

Remember – this word gushes. It continuously spills out completely covering what it gushes onto. That is us, you and me. We are soaked in the love God lavishes upon us!

What a beautiful word indeed. LAVISH!

To Do or Not to Do… that is the question

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How many of you find yourself asking this question of yourself far too often? There is no doubt we live in a world that demands much of us … but how do we determine when we do stop taking on more things?

This question has haunted me for most of my adult life. I am a go-getter and generally have a lot of energy to do that go-getting! That personality trait readily side-steps me when asked to consider new opportunities. Saying “yes” or offering to do more is far too easy for me. I am ashamed to admit, that often I don’t even think to ask the Lord whether I should commit to a new opportunity or not.

That life-long tendency to do more and more is partly because of my disposition and partly because of my gift of helps… but that doesn’t mean that since God made me this way it is OK to pack my minutes, hours, days, weeks and months full of “doing”.

On the other hand, we are here on this earth to be used, encourage, help and guide. I do not want to waste a minute that I could be doing something for the “family business”,  the business I am a part of because I am a daughter of the King – the God of the universe. (Our pastor talked about being part of THE family business earlier this year and I just loved it! I hope you don’t mind me borrowing it, Pastor Shaun.)

Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions

As with so many things in our lives, balance is a key word. I tend to be like a teeter totter…and I am sure many of you do too. AND, of course, that is the opposite of living with balance. So, where does balance come from? It comes from prayer and meditation on scripture. In fact, I will so bold as to say, I believe that is the ONLY place balance comes from. Praying with an open mind and spirit asking what significance/obligation I am to have in any situation is key to living my daily Christian life out with purpose and balance.

Significance: the quality of being worthy of attention; importance

Until just a few years ago, I pretty much defaulted to believing that any new task or obligation presented to me held significance for me. That was actually very haughty of me… thinking I was somehow gifted and well-suited enough to need to give attention and/or bring importance to everything and anything that came across my path. However, there ARE some things that I AM to bring significance to. The Lord is the only one that can reveal that me as I pray and ask for guidance and then chew on His Word. God promises wisdom to those who ask in James 1:5-6 “ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” -ESV

All that is required of me is to ask, and listen for the answer. Colossians 3:23 says that whatever I do, I am to “do heartily as until the Lord and not as unto men.” Note, if does not say that that I am to do everything! It says that out of everything I could do… the things I actually do should be done heartily (with my full-heart, soul and strength). It is impossible to do that if I am over-committed, over-worked and thus exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Once I know if I am to have any significance in something, the next prayer should be, what then is my obligation to be?

Obligation: an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment

When the Lord answers my prayer of “should I any significance in this?” with a “Yes”, it may not mean I am take on the full obligation. Or, perhaps it does. That is why I must go back to the Lord and ask what amount of commitment and involvement I am to obligate myself to. This is very freeing, because when I know the Lord is directing me, I am released to be who He desires me to be… not who someone else wants me to be, or who I think I need to be. Guilt cannot glom onto me because I know I am doing, or not doing, exacting what my Jesus has led me to do.

Just like me, all of you are faced with opportunities. Prayer and scripture can direct us in the way we should go, keeping balance and JOY in our lives as we serve our Lord. That never-ending question “To Do or Not To Do?” loses it haunting power when we let Jesus direct our paths

Euonia

I ran across this word several months ago and jotted it and its meaning down. Since then I have come back to it many times because I believe it is a delightful sounding word with an even more delightful meaning. Pronounced: you on’ ya
It’s origin is most likely Spanish and is a medical term for someone with a healthy mind. Literally translated it means a “well mind” or “beautiful thinking”.

I am quite certain you have never heard a doctor use this word, nor have I. …AND, as much as it would be a good word to hear from a doctor about my physical mind, especially as I get older – I would far rather hear that about my mind spiritually.

God’s word talks quite a bit about what leads to a healthy mind.

Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – ESV

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – ESV

Isaiah 26:3 ” You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” – ESV

This last verse promises us that if our mind is focused/meditating on God, and the things of God, it will be a healthy mind spiritually. Trusting God is a side-effect of spending time thinking on Him and thus it produces peace …peace despite the storms of life that may be swirling all around us.

Colorado has moved into the top five states that have the ominous title for the most damaging hail storms. Living in the suburbs of Denver I have seen some unbelievable storms the past few years along with incredible lightning shows and roars of thunder. We also get blizzards during the winter with wind whipping snow-ladened trees around in frantic rhythms. I think we can compare these weather conditions to “things on the earth” spoken of in Colossians 3:2.

In contrast Philippians 4:8 points to the things that we should think on… things that bring solace, things that make our minds spiritually healthy.

I have spent a few sessions with our church’s counselling pastor, Ken Kelly, when the storms in my life are tumultuous and I need to talk with someone with clear thoughts and encouraging words. Much of what he has said has stuck with me, but one thought in particular I believe is the prescription for euonia.
Whatever you Think on… will lead to your
Emotions… will lead to your
Feelings… will lead to your
Actions

Thinking on God and the things of God will give you peace and joy. Feelings of satisfaction, contentment will follow resulting in the ability to see other perspectives than our own and thus act perceptively.

My mind doesn’t naturally go down this path. It wants to go down a self-serving path thinking about how I have been mistreated or put-upon… and that does NOT produce euonia. However, as I spend more time with God and in His word it becomes less about me, more about Him and my emotions, feelings and actions take the healthy mind path.

Praise God.. it is HIS work in me!


Boundaries OR Compassion Fatigue?

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Recently I have been dealing with something called compassion fatigue. I had never heard of it and when a friend first told me that was what I was experiencing, I wasn’t even sure it was a real condition… but trust me, it is! A situation arose out of a very challenging relationship about six weeks ago and I found myself in a state of frustration, anger and panic. I didn’t lash out at the woman, but after the conversation ended I found myself saying and acting in ways that were not God honoring. I was so frustrated that after investing nearly a decade trying to help her, she preferred to continue living with a victim’s mentality. I was angry that I was now in the same pot as many others she has spoken unfairly and maliciously about. …and, I was panicked because this was such a foreign place for me to be in.

Much of where this relationship ended up was my own fault because I had never set any boundaries. In an attempt to be there for her any time and in any way she needed me, I had let myself be taken advantage of… only to find she didn’t want my help. But what happened next was nothing I had ever experienced before. Although I felt bad to how I responded to the situation, after I prayed  – confessing it all to God I felt almost a state of euphoria. I had been released!

As a people-pleaser, I generally won’t allow myself to be released even when God is saying “step away”. But that day, I knew I had been released! However, I was also in the midst of compassion fatigue. There was simply nothing more in me to give her. God was saying that was OK, and in my then state of euphoria, believed that would be the end of it.

However, once the state of euphoria ended, I became aware that my normally optimistic outlook as a high-energy, “fix-it” person was gone! Exhaustion both physically and emotionally had taken their place. It felt as if there was no compassion left in me for her or anyone else. Within a couple of weeks I was on the verge of depression. The friend who first spoke the words “compassion fatigue” to me, wisely explained that unless I went to God and dealt with this it could turn into deep depression.

I had prayed when it first happened. And I was praying each day during daily devotions and throughout the day. But I had thought this was not that big of a deal and I would soon be the same person I had been prior to my compassion fatigue. When she shared that with me, I went to the Lord in prayer and cried out for mercy and grace in a situation that I had perhaps not created, but had allowed to get to the place it had because of not setting boundaries. I assumed it would take some considerable time before I was able to reach out in compassion toward anyone again. Instead, there was an immediate change in me! God heard and He answered loud and clear. “This is your gift I gave you. Go help others, but in my strength. Pray… set boundaries and I will do the rest.”

I wrote a letter to this woman explaining why I could not talk to her anymore about the things in her past. I also apologized for letting the relationship come to the place it did because of not setting boundaries – and then I set the boundaries that should have been there all along.

I wish I could say everything is fine between her and I, but it isn’t. She has chosen to be push me away because I have had to end several conversations prematurely when she crossed over the boundary line. And, guess what?! I am OK with that. I have prayed and I have set boundaries and I have His strength now in the situation. Whether it ever turns around or not, I am where God wants me.

If we don’t set boundaries, compassion fatigue may render us unable to help anyone! I know that often our “helps” gift gets in the way and we feel like we are to sacrifice ourselves in terms of time, energy and advice to help those in need around us. That isn’t what God has called us to. He calls us to be wise! …and a big part of wisdom is knowing when boundaries need to be set and then sticking to them once they are set.

May I challenge you, my fellow helpers?
1. Look at each relationship where you are a helper and pray about whether there need to be boundaries set, or perhaps modified to protect you emotionally and perhaps physically.
2. Give yourself permission to allow the limits of the boundaries you have set to be pushed back a little when you are comfortable with that.  …it won’t seem as strict.
I have let this woman talk about things that cross the boundary line as long as it
is not too stressful or abusive to me. Once she pushes past either of those… I tell her
I can no longer talk to her because she has crossed the boundaries, and end the call
or walk away.
3. Begin each new relationship by praying about what boundaries need to be set.

I am finding that each time I set a new boundary or enforce an in-place boundary it gets easier. What a wonderful perk!  I also am experiencing a freedom I have rarely felt in my life. Instead of my emotional strength being sapped, I am spurred on with new energy for helping her when the boundaries are respected along with more compassion and energy to help others God places before me. I am sure you will too!

Resolutions and Grace… Can they co-exist?

It has been awhile since I had the time to put up a post, but I am excited to get back in the swing now that the holidays are over. At no other time of the year is the tyranny of the urgent versus the important more real than during the busy Christmas season.  Then just a week later we plunge into a few more days of festivities and, of course, a new year.

Many of us make resolutions during this time of year…  I want to present a concept you may not have thought of about making resolutions in this post.

The first definition in the dictionary for resolution is: “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. This is the possibly the only definition you have ever thought about when making resolutions, whether it be for a new year or a new season of life or just because a change is needed. It connotes making commitments, pledges and/or promise and being resolved to see them through. I believe that is why we grow weary of making resolutions based on this definition… There is no room for failure! It is up to us and only us to see to it that the resolutions come to fruition.

The second definition for resolution is more introspective and offers some grace to the resolver: “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter”. Some concepts that go with this definition are to find/bring solutions, settlement or a conclusion to or for something. It gives room for planning, assessment and re-assessment.

As I read the Bible and study its precepts along with praying for God’s insight, wisdom and guidance… I am convicted of situations/attitudes/thoughts in my life that I need to resolve to change – through the strength of the LORD! I am so thankful it isn’t up to me to make it happen, and I am not going at it alone. It is the Lord and I…  I can lean against Him in full confidence that His guidance and strength will bring the resolution to fruition.

I mentioned that the second definition offers some grace to the resolver. A pledge or a promise don’t give any room for faltering, mistakes or do-overs. But, praise God, finding solutions, a settlement or a conclusion, requires time – and thus times of reflection, evaluation, re-evaluation and ongoing trust in the Lord to see the process through.

So, have I made any recent resolutions? Yes, but what a difference to find myself resting in the grace of the Lord to see the resolution come to completion… instead of getting to the end of the day and beating myself up that I have once again messed up on a resolution that I was relying on my own strength to fulfill.

I am so thankful that resolutions and grace CAN co-exist because I am trusting in the Lord to see the results.

 

 

 

 

 

America, America God Shed His Grace on Thee

“America the Beautiful” was written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893.

Of course, it goes without saying that, the things going on in our country at that time were very different from the things going on now. Yet, these words are still full of meaning and should evoke great emotion from those of us privileged enough to live in this great country.

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O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 

As election day draws near, PRAY for our nation as individual citizens voting and for those in leadership. America is truly the only nation ever founded by citizens desiring religious freedom to practice Christianity. How much greater than any other nations demise might America’s be if we do not turn back to the God of our forefathers and founders and cry out for Him to save our nation?!

God, please shed your grace on America!

(If you have never seen the movie “Monumental” by Kirk Cameron – it is a must-see!)

It Really IS Simple!

In the last several weeks, I have continued to be far too busy with LIFE! Although much of my days include good things, there have definitely been some major challenges also. Through these challenges, once again, I have gained some new spiritual insights that I want to share with you.

Because my mother-in-law is in the midst of dementia, one of the things in my life was attending a workshop to better understand her world and how to help her navigate that world. It was fascinatingly sad, but it definitely helped my husband and I to better understand what her world is like. Just after we attended that seminar a friend shared some insightful videos by Dr Caroline Leaf that left me wanting to dig deeper into what the Bible has to say about our minds.

As I studied, prayed and meditated on scripture I was wowed with a common thread I found pointing to the simplicity of living life according to God’s mandates. Two mandates that work!

I trust I won’t offend any of you but…compared to our almighty, majestic creator we are not very smart. I believe that is why He makes things very simple for us regarding everything that has to do with Him and our relationship with Him. Now, lest you misunderstand… I am not saying that living a life of faith following Jesus is easy, nor am I saying that we don’t have many questions that we won’t have answered until we are face to face with our savior in heaven. What I AM saying is that we basically have been given two mandates. The first is on what it takes to become a Christian and the second is how to live a life that is rich and full. Both of these mandates are not complicated.

In Acts 16:31 of the New Testament it says “And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – ESV

This was in response to the jailer, who was in charge of the prisoners where the disciples Paul and Silas were imprisoned, asking what he needed to do to be saved. Saved, in this context, means saved or rescued spiritually from eternal damnation.

Paul doesn’t give a list of good things that the jailer needed to do. He doesn’t give a list of all the things the jailer couldn’t do either, but rather there is ONE THING that Paul tells the jailer. “…believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…”.

This is the first mandate. A spirit saving, life-changing mandate that makes us a child of Almighty God, the God of the universe and our creator redeemer and comforter!

I chose to follow that first mandate when I was a small girl and so, I have a sacred identity as the daughter of God. He is pleased to call me His and no one can mess with this relationship. I am safe forever in the arms of my precious savior.

I have walked in this assurance nearly all my life, but it was not until I took the seminar on dementia, and then listened to the videos by Dr Leaf, that I understood the second mandate… and its simplicity. The second mandate is: meditate on God and His word. There are many places in the Bible that tell us to meditate, dwell, think on God and the word of God (the Bible) day and night. The meditation that God mandates is not a meditation of emptying your mind as many eastern religions teach. It is FILLING our minds with God, and the things of God.

In her videos, Dr Leaf shows what happens scientifically in the brain when we think on good things versus bad things. Good thoughts build new pathways in our brains while bad thoughts cause pathways to shrivel up! Let me make a disclaimer at this point: I am not saying that all patients who have dementia, which is indicative of a brain that is dying, thought too much on bad things vs good things. I know that there are many things that determine mental health, genetics included.

However, here is the simplicity of the second mandate: God created us, therefore as as our creator He knows that our brains thrive when we are filling them with good and beautiful thoughts. Even with a predisposition to dementia, medical science is beginning to see that a steady diet of “God thoughts” can stave off mental decline with certain forms of dementia. There are a few parts of the brain that do not die with dementia. One of those parts is where blessings, music, poetry and prayer reside. Isn’t that fascinating?! How much more effective then, is meditation if we never get dementia? God says, in essence, “think on me…day and night” and your brain will continue to thrive. As a fringe benefit those good thoughts will spill out onto everyone and everything in your life.

God in His infinite wisdom, working with His creation sets forth two simple, magnificent life-giving mandates: one if for our eternal life and one is for our temporary life here on earth. Both are simple… both are our choice.
1. Will we believe that Jesus is who He says He is – the son of God, who came as a babe to this earth; lived, was killed but three days later rose the dead AND thus with His sacrifice for sin we can be justified and made pure in God’s eyes?
2. As Jesus followers will we adhere to God’s mandate to meditate/fill our minds, day and night with Him and His word?

Let me close with Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – ESV.  May God Bless You!

Reposturing Spirit Part III

It has been several weeks since I have found the time to share more with you on Reposturing, but my hope it that, as you read, you will find the posture of running exciting and exhilarating.

Recall that the first three spiritual postures I shared were bowing, sitting and standing.

THESE FIRST THREE POSTURES require waiting on the Lord. I think that is an important point to make because, our culture doesn’t like to wait!

Bowing is the furthest position from Running. When we are bowed, we are low before the Lord… we are still and quiet, worshiping and waiting. It would be a hard thing to immediately jump from a bowed position into a full-sprint!

Sitting also requires waiting – because sitting denotes intimate fellowship and it connotes not being in a hurry.

Standing in the power and might of the Lord definitely requires waiting, because moving from a standing position to running isn’t all that hard! Yet, God says stand – AND stand quietly waiting to hear which way you are to run.

So what about the posture of running? Well, running can be done in two ways, both of which are valid in spiritual terms. The first is running to achieve or complete. The second is running as an act of Joy and Adoration as the result of something wonderful. We could also use the word “dance” for this posture. Both ways require lots of energy, but the first is always pressing ahead at full speed while the second one is rhythmic and alternating between fast and slow steps.

AND, both ways of running are the result of Bowing, Sitting and Standing postures – but the first way of running is achieved because of God’s strength and power. This is very important to state because we often feel it is our own works/achievements that allow us to finish the race of life well. Here are seven verses/passages on running. The first five point to the source of strength as being God.

2 Samuel 22:30 “With God’s help I can overcome in this battle; with my God I can run through a wall. God’s road stretches out before me straight and smooth. His words form a good path and everyone who runs towards him makes it… It is God who makes me strong to finish the race well.”

Psalm 18:29-30, 32-33 and 35 “Thank you Lord! You make my feet like the feet of a deer so I can run with you into the high places of your kingdom… You clear the way and give me firm footing so that I don’t fall and get injured… Your right hand sustains me — you stoop down to make me great!”

Psalm 31:1 The Message “I run to you God; I run for dear life.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Matthew 6:32-33 “Do not worry about your physical well-being. People who don’t know any better run after all the things they want, but your Heavenly Father knows your needs. Run for his kingdom and his righteousness then everything that you need will be taken care of.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I [train] my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Each of these speaks of running to achieve or complete the race of LIFE: moment by moment, day to day, week by week, month to month and year to year… until we come to the end of this earthly race and close our eyes in death.

Running in the second respect – because of Joy and Adoration – is something that is often hard to experience because of what the race of LIFE deals us. In fact, some of us may not even be able to comprehend this position of running for Joy and Adoration because of where we find ourselves in life at this very moment. But remember! …Running builds on bowing, sitting and standing. It is after we have been quiet before our Lord, sat and learned in intimacy with our Lord and stood strong in the might and power of our Lord that in the midst of life’s trials and circumstances we can often experience joy in the midst of the storm.

Here are two beautiful verses on running because of Joy and Adoration:
“Thank you, God. Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play.” (Psalm 63:7, MSG)

Yes, Lord, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” (Psalm 119:32)

NO guilt trips here! If you are not able to run in joy and adoration before the Lord right now, I am here, along with your family and close friends, to love on you and support you… not tell you that you should be experiencing something you are not.

I have a friend from four decades ago who has come back into my husband and my life recently. This gentleman was in our local church’s youth group when we were in high school. He has never married, but he has asked two women to marry him. The first time he was engaged was about twenty-five years ago and the second time just a few months ago. The first woman was killed in a head-on collision they were in together prior to the wedding. The second was beaten into a coma by her ex-husband and died a few days later. What a heart-wrenching life story! He is definitely not running in Joy and Adoration because he is broken in every way, for a second time, by this horrific tragedy. Many of our texts (this is how he has chosen to communicate with us at this time) simply say “We have no words but we are here for you anytime”. We are praying for him behind the scenes, but he isn’t ready to hear even that. For now it is enough to just say we are there for him.

Are your bent or broken under life circumstances? I am here for you. You can post a comment with as few or many words as you want to share and I would count it a privilege to enter into a relationship of support for you. You can also send me a private message on Messenger from my Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/caringail