Christmas Anticipation

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I have been enjoying/benefiting from a sermon series our new teaching pastor, Shawn Peterson, has been sharing with us. The series is titled “Anticipate the Miracle”. The second week of the series one of his points was that Mary humbly accepted what the angel told her.  “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  that she was going to have a baby who was holy – as the son of God.” – Luke 1:35 and 36

As I wrote that this point in my notes, my mind went two directions. By now you know that I love to look at the definitions of words and use those to see old truths in new ways. Mary was told that Jesus, her baby, would be the “holy” as the son of God – but the angel could have also said that Jesus would be the “wholly” the son of God.

The two words mean something totally different, but each of them have importance in the Christmas story.
Holy means dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred
Wholly means entirely; fully

Jesus was BOTH “Holy the Son of God” and “Wholly the Son of God”. This isn’t any earth-shattering revelation or even a new insight. It is simply another way of picturing our Lord and savior Jesus Christ coming as a babe in the flesh.

It increases my joy and anticipation of Christmas as I think upon the fact that the babe in the manger, with no crib for His bed – was dedicated and consecrated to God, sacred (set apart with an identity that could not be messed with) AND entirely, fully God also!

We, who have accepted Jesus as our savior, are holy and sacred to God too. That is our sacred identity. But, we are not wholly God – and never will be. He ALONE is GOD, God the trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is our heavenly Father and we are His children. Children of the God of ALL!

Anticipate the celebration this time of year brings for Jesus coming as an infant -and then anticipate the celebration that will be ours when He comes to earth again; this time not as a babe in a manger, but as the King of Glory!

Jesus: “Holy the Son of God” and “Wholly the Son of God”.

Resposturing According to My Sacred Identity

sacred-identity-logo-best     Why is it that every few days I am reminded of my word for 2016 “reposturing” and realize that, once again, I have improper posture? Today, during a quiet moment, I was praying and thinking about how great God is. The next moment I realized that, although I KNOW deep within my spirit that I have a sacred identity (as a Christian) with God – I had once again slouched in my chair, as it were, instead of sitting up straight in THE JOY OF THIS IDENTITY!

So, this post is a review for ME, but I trust it will bless you also.

What does it mean to have a sacred identity with God? Let me break the two words apart and look at them separately. That is the best way for me to understand it.

If some thing is Sacred it means:
It is worthy of respect because
1. it is Holy and has a special connection to God, and
2. because it is regarded as too important to be changed or interfered with

Identity has three great definitions:
1. a set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known. This “set of characteristics” is defined by its uniqueness because the same set of characteristics is not held by any other person or thing.
2. a relation that holds only between any entity and itself. In this case the “entity” is me, and “itself ” is God.
3. the condition of being asserted, declared, made known or openly avowed.

I have many “identities”. I have gender identity, a personality identity, a financial identity a familial identity – and the list goes on. AND, in each of these identities I have a sameness of essential character because I am the same person, just in different arenas of life. As a Christian, I also have a sacred identity.

My sacred identity means that I have a special connection with God that is too important to be changed or interfered with!
And, God has openly declared or avowed that I have this connection with Him.

Why then do I so easily move away from the reality of this identity and begin to slouch in my chair under the daily stresses, concerns, responsibilites and relationships? Because I am human! Now that is profound, isn’t it? But, no really – it is because I am frail human, whose humaness oozes out all over things on a regular basis.

It is only as I meditate (stay my mind) on this identity and desire God’s spirit to work in me during all moments of life, not just the quiet ones that I can sit up straight knowing it is Him and not me who is doing the supporting.

Life is ongoing reposturing! May I hunker down in my sacred identity with God my father, the savior of my soul and the comforter of my spirit! My sacred identity is ALL I NEED!

Reposturing Body, Mind, Spirit

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I am back to it! That odd word…REPOSTURING!

It just keeps coming back to me, and every time it does – I feel even more passionate about what it means and how much it relates to our lives in every way.

The Bible tells us that we are multi-dimensional, but unfortunately we often don’t act as if this is true. It seems the world has a better grasp on this, even if they are “off-balance” – so to speak.

This word has so captured me, that I began Googling to see what I could find on this subject. I didn’t expect to find anything with spiritual connotation, and I didn’t. However, I was fascinated and intrigued with a handbook about how to address the “mistakes” in our posture that are probably affecting our health. This handbook teaches how to reposture and therefore improve health. I purchased the book and have begun studying how every part of our body, from our muscles to our spines to our myofascia affects posture – good and bad. This is “reposturing – body”.

The mind, and reposturing go hand-in-hand. It has the duty of keeping us on task for our jobs, family responsibilities, social events, volunteer commitments, extended family obligations…and the list goes on. Proper sleep, nutrition, quiet times of relaxation and/or fun, and balanced hormones all play an important part in keeping the mind properly postured. If we are sleep deprived, or overly stressed we have poor “mind posture” and find ourselves needing to re-focus.

One of the ways the Bible counsels us to re-focus is to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). The Lord desires us to use each of our senses to maintain/return to good “mind posture”.
1. fresh, simple foods from the garden to satisfy our palettes, hunger and nutritional needs
2. beauty in botanicals, landscapes, oceans and mountains for our eyes to behold
3. fragrant odors to titillate our noses making us desire more
4. songbirds singing and crickets chirping are just two of the wonderful sounds that give pleasure to our ears.
5. soft skin of a newborn baby, velvety flower petals and a family pet’s furry neck to throw arms around bring comfort and joy when we touch them.
This spa for the senses is available to us all day everyday… and this is  “reposturing – mind”!

I have previously written a few posts about the spiritual aspect of reposturing, but it is important to look at again. Without good spiritual “posture” we cannot have spiritual health! Daily we slump, slouch, twist wrong, etc, spiritually speaking. The only way to get back to correct spiritual “posture” is to reposture; using the Bible as our guideline. The Bible tells us to meditate on the Lord day and night. Spending quiet, uninterrupted time praying, meditating on the attributes of God and reading scripture is “reposturing – spirit”.

It is my desire to always have correct posture as it relates to body, mind and spirit – but that isn’t ever going to be the case. LIFE causes misalignment – period! Reposturing of body, mind and spirit must be ongoing.

A friend I had tea with today shared Luke 2:52 with me as we discussed this subject:
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” – ESV  This speaks to Jesus’ mind, body and spirit AND it says all three of these increased! This verse should be a very important reminder that our bodies, minds and spirits are all important to God and thus in our humanness need to be repostured daily through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

You Take My Breath Away!

I was reading in Psalm 104 last week and had a beautiful insight when I read verse 29 that I want to share with you. The end of this verse says “when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.” – ESV

Now, before you decide this is going to be a real downer post, please stay with me for a few moments. I believe you will be smiling and humming a tune in your spirit by the time you finish reading.

When we describe something of great beauty or grandeur, be it another person or something in nature, we often use the phrase “they/it took my breath away”. To describe this phrase as a word picture, see this in your mind’s eye: as you looked intently upon the person, or thing, you literally could not take another breath because the beauty/grandeur of who or what you were beholding had caused you to gasp – sucking all your breath in suddenly.

That is exactly what God should do to me moment after moment, day after day! …take my breath away. As I gaze upon His glory, His power, His love, His redemption – my breath should literally be sucked in as I BEHOLD Him! Of course, it takes time to behold God in your moments and days. I have written a lot about time – or the lack thereof – but I can think of no better way to spend my time. I pray that I can carve out more moments to behold Jesus my Lord and Savior and Almighty God of the Universe.

As I reflect on the true meaning of this verse – it is the reality that physical death is the permanent loss of breath. When God takes our breath away, life ends.

But, if in those last moments of life, as I behold God…knowing soon I will no longer be beholding from afar, but rather face to face…I cannot help but think of it in terms of “you take my breath away” My hope is that I will be gasping one last time from this earth, in this human body, at His beauty and grandeur! And when I cannot catch another breath, I will shed this human body for a heavenly one. One that never feels pain, or is sick, or grows old – and one that never dies. I will be forever in the presence of God, “then face-to-face” I Corth 13:12

“Lord Jesus, may you take my breath away in the moments and days immediately before me as I behold you. And as the years progress may your beauty and grandeur never cease to take my breath away, till on my final day I gasped one last time as I come into your presence. Amen.”

 

This Year is More Than Half Over!

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How is it possible that we are nearly through July?  That means 2016 is more than half over!

Time, or the passing of time, is the cause of many emotions and feelings in our culture. Unfortunately most of these emotions and feelings are negative because we can feel helpless as we watch day after day, week after week run past us, leaving us spinning with thoughts of what should have/could have been accomplished.

In comparison, 3rd world cultures often act as if time stands still. Because of their poverty and lack of resources most things they would like to accomplish simply never happen…leaving them with a sense of hopelessness and futility. Over the years and decades this spirals into losing desire to dream and lack of drive. Because they view one day as the next and the next…and so on until, any goals they might have made seem unattainable or unattractive.

And then there is God’s view of time. As a human constrained within time, I cannot explain except to quote a few verses.
II Peter 3:8 “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in your (God’s) sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.”

So, what should be my/our response to being within these human boundaries of time that press in on us and God’s timelessness?

Frustration, helplessness, anxiety and other negative responses can nearly paralyze us. Just last week I had a few panic moments when I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get everything done that was not only urgent but important. I am in that stage of life where this also causes some of my strongest hot flashes – and, in the heat of summer, I feel like I possibly going to suffocate. I am reduced to tears and praying for strength – which, I believe, is exactly where the Lord can meet me.

Melting into my savior’s arms in a heap of sweat, tears and helplessness is the safest place I can be during these times. He gently reminds me that His strength is sufficient in my weakness and inability. He does not magically give me more time…but He gives me insight to see how to use my time more effectively and efficiently. If I am willing, He can also lead me to give up some things that I don’t think I can and be more about HIS PASSION…people! He desires that our first passion be to minister to those His son, Jesus, died for. How quickly I forget that in the busyness of the hours, days, weeks, months and years.

My one true desire is that:
“On that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will sing
Your (His) praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore!” – Bless the Lord O My Soul (italics mine)

No more timelines, schedules, deadlines…simply praising the God of the universe.

But, I want as many people there praising God with me as possible…so, that means that I MUST find time to carve out for ministering to people.

“Lord, I realign my passion with yours once again – to be about the business, not busyness, of ministering to people. May you redeem my time and show me ways to serve you more in addition to accomplishing all this “time-constrained life” demands of me. Give me clear vision regarding personal and business tasks to commit to and show me when I want to do things only for my own good and glory. Oh Lord – that is so hard to face, but I need to, and ask you to give me willingness to do this.

I have five more months of 2016 before me. Whatever you have for me, I don’t want to miss it! I am weak but you are strong, I am willing, I am ready! In Jesus name, AMEN.”

It is Well With My Soul

Back in January I shared my word with you for 2016. If you remember, that word was “reposturing”. I must admit that five months later I long to see more signs of how my life, and all that fills my days, is being impacted by that word – no, that attitude, for that is what it truly is.

This year has been hard for me with illness, pain, family health issues, relational challenges and more. I find peace, as I seek to know how the Lord desires to adjust my posture in all these areas. But the challenges I face can take back over in a split second, and I find it hard to get re-focused on this life-changing attitude.

Even  daily time spent in prayer and the Bible doesn’t guarantee I stay focused on reposturing, because often I am preoccupied with pressing concerns and my quiet time with the Lord is reduced to “It is Well With My Soul”.

Praise God! There is no shame in that…for, this is true no matter what else is in my life. No matter how heavy the concerns, no matter how bent I may be under them…I KNOW it is well with my soul.

How do I know that? Because I have believed that Jesus came as God’s son in the flesh to live on this earth as a man. He lived a sinless life and taught of the eternal life He could give anyone who believed they were sinners and needed a savior. He was brutally crucified by those who didn’t want to believe. However, He rose from the dead in three days just as He said He would. His pure/sinless blood shed for me offers me salvation and eternal life. THIS I BELIEVE!

No matter what this life deals me and no matter whether I live a long, full life or die tomorrow – I know that my soul is safe in the arms of my savior, Jesus. What a solace!

Reposturing will never be over as long as I live in this human body on earth…but there are no “discs” or “vertabrae” misaligned…for my soul is aligned with the God of the Universe!

it is well with my soul

 

The Surgeon

Although I wrote this over a decade ago shortly after my first major surgery for breast cancer, I found myself sharing it with someone last week again and decided it was time to share it with you.
I trust it will be a blessing to you…as it has been to me – over and over!

We’ve all heard the analogy of God as the Great Physician.  Let’s take a little different route and explore the analogy of The Holy Spirit being a surgeon.

When we need surgery on our physical bodies, the Doctor prepares us by telling us the problem, the procedure, the possible complications and the expected outcome he’s hoping for.  We then place our trust in him to perform the procedure.

Then with our modern day technology we are anesthetized and when we wake up, the surgery is over.  Pain can be lessened with pain-killers and so we begin to heal.  However, no matter how skillful the surgeon is we have unsightly scars that last a lifetime.  Many times the outcome is not what the doctors or you had hoped for…or planned on.

Spiritually speaking, when the Holy Spirit knows we need surgery, He too tells us the problem.  Sometimes through prayer and Bible study; sometimes by other people’s witness.  There are many avenues He uses.

If we truly desire His best for us, we agree to “surgery”.  Often the procedure is long and painful.  Unlike physical surgery, we are “awake” through all of it!  Oh yes, He is gracious, gentle and loving, giving us peace and comfort, but we feel His spiritual scalpel intensely.

We often cry out in the middle of it “STOP”!  I can’t take this, it’s too much to bear, and being the merciful God that He is, He does our bidding, leaving us with open wounds and diseased spirits that will need more surgery later on.

BUT, if we let His skilled hand finish the work and close the wound, the healing can begin.  The Holy Spirit is never unsure of the outcome.  He KNOWS what we will become once we have healed.  Something even more wonderful is that the scars from Spiritual surgery will always leave you more beautiful than before.  There is no disfiguring, no never!

Thank you God for the scars.

blessing9.gif Carin g