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!


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

I am back after being AWOL for the past several months during preparation for a day-long workshop called “Reposturing Mind, Spirit, Body”. I have shared that word… reposturing, with you several times over the past couple of years and felt I needed to create an event that would address the three parts of our beings and how this word relates to those parts. The culmination was a three-session workshop that was unique, relaxing and uplifting. I was able to present the workshop on April 28th and the feedback has been quite a blessing. I have always said that if the Lord uses my words to speak to one person, then it was a success. It has been so exciting to hear how some of the stories I told reached out so personally to women in ways I could not imagine.

Although I am not a stranger to feeling less than prepared when I speak, this time I was ten-fold more unprepared than I wanted to be. It wasn’t for lack of wanting to be prepared. I began this study in January of 2016 and actively began writing the sessions this past January. It also wasn’t for lack of tenacity when I was writing. LIFE simply stole my time over and over in ways that were unavoidable. I won’t go into that in this post because I want to get to part of one of the sessions… suffice to say that some major roadblocks did their best to completely run me off the road.  That is why I KNOW that what the women have been sharing with me about how they were touched has nothing to do with my speaking skills, but rather with my desire and willingness to share what God places on my heart. Several of the personal stories I shared that day were things I had not planned to share. However, each of those stories have been the very thing that spoke directly to someone. God used me as an unprepared, but willing, storyteller. What a thrill!

The next several posts are going to be some parts of what I shared that day… I know that God will continue to use my words to speak loudly where they are needed most.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

In mid-March our pastor, Shawn Peterson, preached on our church’s prayer for this year, Exodus 33:18 “Please God, show us your glory”.  It was such a powerful message! At the beginning he mentioned the Five Solas, something I had never heard of before. I looked them up and want to share them with you. Although each builds on the other so that none is more important than the whole, we are going to look at the last one, the one Pastor Shawn taught on, in depth.

History: The five solas came out of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity. The Reformation sought to re-orient Christianity on the original message of Jesus and the early church. The Five Solas are five Latin phrases that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity. Here we are five centuries later and these essentials of Christianity are still as needed (no…needed more) AND are just a true.

They are:
Sola Scriptura: (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
Sola Fide” (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia: (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
Sola DChristus: (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
Sola Deo Gloria: (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

In 1994 I was diagnosed with 5 primary cancerous tumors all in just one quarter of my right breast.  I have often said that following that diagnosis I had a real love affair with the Lord. By that I mean that, although my faith was already very strong, I gained a new prospective regarding God being omnipotent and fell so much more in love with Him. This was a time in my life that there was NO denying that God was completely in control of my life because I was totally out of control. I can remember one day shortly after my cancer journey began thinking, “AND, why would I want to be in control during the fight for my life. Do I want it to all be up to me to make the right decisions at exactly the right time? No! God is in control, has always been in control – and I am SO GLAD!”

This was a fresh prospective for me regarding Sola Deo Gloria. In the midst of a potentially deadly disease it was all about His glory!

Four months after that diagnosis, following my first mastectomy and beginning chemotherapy, I nearly died from an allergic response to the chemo drugs. My spinal cord was shutting down from the very drugs that were to save my life. I would have been dead in 24 hours had my temperature not spiked to 105 degrees alerting us that something was very wrong. That fever was the result of a staph infection in the incision where they had taken the lymph node sampling… in other words, God saved my life with a staph infection!

I can remember lying in ICU with tubes going every which direction thinking “wow, once again I am reminded of how out of control I am and that God is in control”. I was living for God’s glory. Not through anything I was doing or not doing but simply by His power showing through my life circumstances.

Every moment of every day we, men and women of faith, live for the glory of God alone!

What does “glory” really mean? It is a hard word for us to fathom because we tend to think it is tied to what we do for God.  Maybe a good way to think of “living for the glory of God alone” is in terms of spiritual posturing. What does this posture look like? It is a posture of bowing in awe and reverence because He is eminent; He is of the highest renown and He IS GOD!

When we are bowing, we are quiet spiritually, meditating – waiting – trusting. We cannot be meditating on our problems when we are bowed before our gracious Lord meditating on Him and His Word.

This gives us a word picture for first part of Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night…” We are meditating on God and His Word day and night when we are in a bowed posture.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I will end this post with a challenge, like I often do. Spend some time thinking about how bowing before the Lord looks for you personally. For me it is generally during early morning hours when the house is quiet when I too can be quiet praying, reading scripture and meditating on that. Often that time is spent focusing on the attributes of God using phrases from songs or parts of Bible verses. Let me give you an example: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!” OR “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalm 139:14

Will you accept my challenge? Ask God to show you His glory in fresh, new ways…and prepare to be blessed!