I have an amazingly effective, and lasting prescription for you today.
It is fast, effective, dependable, and has been scientifically proven to :
Strengthen your immune system
Boost your mood
Protect from the damaging effects of stress
Other proven effects are: It keeps you grounded, focused and alert. It helps release anger and forgive sooner. It is a resource for surmounting problems. It enhances relationships and it supports physical and emotional health.
Would you like a dose of it right about now? Would you keep this handy, little prescription close at all times and take as needed?
But it even does more! It relaxes the whole body, all muscles for 45 minutes. This prescription also protects the heart and blood vessels, ensuring good blood flow. It even burns calories; not many, but the 40 calories it does burn will add up to 3-4 pounds over a year. And lastly, it prolongs your life.
Best of all it is free!
Have you guessed what it is, this prescription that we so desperately need right now?
All of the above facts come from my research at MAYOCLINIC and HelpGuide.com and is referring to…… drum roll…
Are you ready for this miracle prescription?
A good laugh has the power to heal and renew. Laughter triggers endorphins. Laughter stimulates your organs, soothes tension and brings personal satisfaction. LAUGHTER – the miracle drug. Laughter – the best medicine.
Laughter is NOT contingent upon circumstances. Laughter can be learned and produced. Studies have even proven that simulated laughter (canned laughter) is just as beneficial as live laughter.
To help you laugh, you can surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Put funny pictures, cartoons or memes around your house. You can choose to remember funny events when stress is mounting.
You can seek laughter by spending time with playful, fun people. This is one of the reasons I married my husband, he makes me laugh and even more after 33 years together. We have more stories and things to laugh at now. Sharing laughter with others strengthens connections and benefits all involved.
Then, of course, there is always the internet with YouTube, Social Media, and epic fails everywhere. It only takes a minute to find them and when you do, you’ll get your laughter fix and 45 minutes of muscle relaxing laughter.
Here are a couple to prime your laughter pump. Or at least get out a smile.
Dr. Debbie is hereby prescribing 1-2 daily doses of laughter. Deep belly laughs and laughing tears are extra bonuses.
This weekend, for many, we celebrate Mother’s Day, and by just walking into a grocery store we see that is obvious.
But I would like to take this time to drill down into a slice of Mother’s day, that may not be so obvious. It begins with a story.
There was once a woman who found herself surrounded by a disorganized throng of people, pressing in to see Jesus. In the midst of that crowd, she lifted up her voice and yelled out, “Happy and blessed is the womb or matrix that bore, carried you.” Luke 11:27 (I have transliterated this verse according to the original Greek word meanings.)
This crowd scene and the woman’s yelling out a blessing on Jesus’ mother seems kind of crazy, and a strange thing to blurt out in this particular setting. Yet, it’s significance cannot be overstated or lost.
The focus was on blessing the one who gave birth to Jesus. Why?
Let’s review what matrix means –
” Matrix – the environment or material in which something develops.”
The cry of this text is for us to see that no matter the environment or material of our birth, upbringing and nurture (or lack of it) it is blessed. It is by design. It is by mercy. It is by purpose. It is not by mistake. Everything surrounding your birth was perfectly aligned to bring you into the world into that situation to be and develop into the you that you are today.
It is the mother’s matrix.
Each of us were born into a situation by a mother. Period. We all share that.
It matters not whether the situation was good or bad. Whether we were raised by a present mother or absent mother. Adopted or surrogate mother. Abusive or affectionate mother. Nuclear family. Single parent family. Mixed family. Incestuous family. Imperfect, healthy, godly, evil, rich, or poor, family. Abandoned, embraced, loved, mocked, nurtured or neglected.
The situation into which you were born, by the mother that bore you is blessed. Not because it was a good situation but because that situation and that mother gave birth to YOU! And you were PLANNED.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at some examples of what I am talking about.
Eve, in a nuclear family, bore 2 sons who lived in anger and animosity toward one another and the one eventually killed the other. A “perfect family” produced killing.
Hagar – in a runaway, abusive family, yet, in her misery bore Ishmael, a great and powerful people
Lot’s 2 daughters -an incestuous family, both daughter’s bore sons who became great nations
Rebekah, a miracle pregnancy, bore twins boys, Jacob & Esau, who fulfilled God’s promises
Israel, who had 4 mothers ( Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, Rachel) to his 12 children. Talk about a mixed family! With issues galore! And what a blessing came from those 12 kids and their upbringing in that crazy, mixed up family.
Elizabeth, a old, barren woman who bore John the Baptist!
Pharaoh’s daughter, an adoptive mother, who raised Moses
King David’s mother, a scorned and mocked mother who raised her son in shame and ridicule from siblings. (read Psalm 69, it is so sad!) Yet, David became a man after God’s own heart.
There are so many more stories, of other mother’s matrix and the amazing outcomes in spite of, (or shall we say because of ) the environment into which their child(ren) was raised.
Look, too, at the women who actually are listed by name in Jesus’ genealogy, which generally lists only men – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.
You see, the situation into which you were born, and the woman who bore you are blessed. Without that environment or building material for the structure of your life, you wouldn’t be the person you are now. Let’s be real, there are probably things we wished would have been different, perhaps a lot of things and maybe even everything. But that would truly change who we are.
There is nothing that cannot be healed, used, strengthened, improved upon and built on in our past. There is nothing that is useless or wasted. We are all still in process on this road of life and the broken pieces are being mended. We are being made whole.
But this weekend, I truly would love for you to be encouraged that although imperfect, you are exactly who God designed you to be. He has used everything in your past, including your mother, and that situation to mold you and bless you.
That is why, I believe the story we started with, in Luke 11 is there. To make obvious to us, this slice of the Mother’s Martix.
So I will say to YOU, Blessed and happy is the womb or matrix that bore YOU, for it made you the remarkable human that you are today. You are blessed!
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The Constitution of the United States, Amendment I
We have no state religion mandated, nor should we have, and that was the desire and intentions of our founding fathers. They saw the damage it had done in the nations they left, which were cause and reason for their Atlantic crossings. At the core of most hearts who came, was the desire for religious liberty. Which included the liberty to be non-religious.
THAT is the foundation upon which our nation was built, regardless of how the history books have been rewritten to exclude the Puritans and Pilgrims.
Fact is fact. Erasing it from the page doesn’t change the fact, it changes people’s remembrance of the fact, or more accurately lack of remembrance of the true facts. And that’s what is being sought.
Did you know when the US Capitol Visitor Center was built in 2008, all references to God were removed from pictures, signs, and all else. The national motto, “In God We Trust” was removed and replaced with “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many one. Speeches were scrubbed, chairs and walls changed, and bibles removed. The Visitor Center was literally stripped clean of any references to any deity.
It was done to supposedly keep with Thomas Jefferson’s “separation clause” – you know, the one that he (supposedly) wrote separating church and state. (Even that is historian’s seeking to erase the facts, because that is not what Jefferson wrote at all in his letter to Danbury Baptist Assoc., in 1802.)
The Visitor Center designers were seeking to erase our foundations and build new memories into future generations. Memories that are devoid of God and His providence in America’s founding.
Have the facts changed though? No.
What has changed is us. Those of us who know the facts.
My favorite Reagan quote is –
Freedom is a fragile thing and never is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
President Ronald Reagan January 5, 1967
We have taken our liberties and freedoms for granted.
Having lost some of them in the recent months, we now see that more clearly than ever.
But the facts have not changed. We have liberties and freedoms and we must not allow them to be whittled away, or erased from memory. And yet, remember this quote?
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke, 1770
In this new decade, even amidst a devolving pandemic, I urge you to not be that good man who does nothing.
Be a defender of our rights, a preserver of our freedoms from extinction. We have many to defend.
Why not start now?
Start with prayer. Prayer for yourself, prayer for your family, prayer for your neighbors and friends. Prayer for this pandemic to lift, for businesses to reopen, the sick to be healed, workers to be strengthened. Pray for spiritual awakening in our nation, for freedom and justice to prevail, for truth to be upheld. Pray for God to forgive and bless America.
Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, 2020 is the National Day of Prayer, but it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be a single day.
It is not a constitutional violation to have a day of prayer, quite the contrary. It is the exercise of your religious liberty.
Let’s exercise those religious liberties, lest we loose them.
Recently I was tootling around our harbor in the dinghy, on which we are currently using a MinnKota, Riptide 45V electric, trolling motor. I love this motor because it is lite enough for me to lift in and out and it is so amazingly quiet.
I am never in the dinghy for power or speed and so I usually have her revved to only 3rd or 4th gear. But on this day, I cranked her up to her full-out, 5th gear, only to have the motor totally cut out. It wouldn’t restart, either.
Now I am thinking how glad I am that I put the paddles in the dinghy before I launched. So I used the paddle (s) to return to my dock.
Once there, I played around with the connectors from the motor to the battery and got her running again. So off I went. Again. In my mind though, I decided not go to 5th gear anymore on this trip. Solved.
Well, to finish the story, it was solved, for that trip. I had no further outages, but I also didn’t have the full strength of my motor or battery available. (Note to self, be sure and discuss this with husband.)
Well, today was the true problem solving day.
The terminals on the battery had to be cleaned from a build up of corrosion. I guess the battery’s acid was reacting with the saltwater causing that yellowish, electrochemical reaction. That “corrosion can interfere with the battery terminals ability to conduct power and in some cases can completely block the flow.” Autoblog.com.
Silicones Inc. tells us that corrosion, “Is a natural process that involves deterioration of metals because of its reaction with the environment.” It can drain the battery, and even shorten it’s life.
It is interesting to note that “corrosion”, a Latin word, actually means, ” to gnaw through”.
Far more than sharing a Science lesson or a personal story, I’d like to share 6 applications and analogies.
1. Connections are vital for life – no matter who locks you down or what restrictions are placed on you, without connections to others, you will loose power and die out. Stay connected to other people.
2. Environmental reactions – the people in your close family/work environment will cause reactions in you, and you will cause reactions in them, especially over long periods of time. Be aware.
3. Unhealthy connections – when things build up between you and those you are connected to, it must be cleaned up or you are draining the power of your relationship. Notice & deal with it early.
4. Corrosion – those reactions, not cleaned up, will gnaw through your mind, heart and eventually the connection to the other person if left alone. Gnawing feelings are corrosive.
5. Clean connections take time – the time and effort it takes to apply some cleaning compound (honesty, love, forgiveness) to that connection is minimal and yet mandatory for you to run at full-power, 5th gear capacity in your relationships. Take the time.
6. 5th gear living – you were designed to run at full throttle, full power, abundant life. Don’t settle for less by choice or by corrosion on your connections with others. Let’s go.
For most of us humans, being boxed up as we have has probably caused some electrochemical, corrosive reactions within our walls. Perhaps we have even noticed we haven’t been running at full power, or ability.
The good news is, we know what to do now to get back to full power and lite, quiet running.
This phrase/verse has been weighing heavily on my heart lately.
” When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing.”
Proverbs 13:12 The Passion Translation
The loss of hope is debilitating. Paralyzing. Depressing for sure. Today, we want to talk about the importance of hope and offer you some solid examples of those who had hope in difficult situations.
A study of the original Hebrew words used in this passage from Proverbs would reveal that this is a much better transliteration of Proverbs 13:12:
” When a prophetic vision or expectation from the Lord is delayed, prolonged or removed; feelings, will, and intellect are all worn down, and worn out, making one sick and weak.”
Proverbs 13:12 original Hebrew meaning
You see, when hope is removed from the equation, our mind, will and intellect become worn out and weak.
Let’s be honest, it has been really tough to watch the news and read the latest reports without emotions rising up within us. Each day we hear restriction updates, business expectations, state revisions, financial concerns and add the family realities chiming in, we are definitely being worn out and rubbed down by the news.
Just today, I had to cancel our flight and accommodation reservations to Honolulu in mid-May for our son’s wedding! Vacations are being cancelled or postponed, graduations are not receiving the honor they are due, workers are still unemployed, travel has been suspended, schools have been closed and morphed into online, distance education, church meetings are virtual, gatherings are forbidden and freedoms have been handcuffed.
Hope has definitely been deferred!
Today, I’d like to submit to you stories of people who also faced a deferment of hope so that “hopefully” we can be encouraged and keep us from allowing our will, feelings and intellect from becoming “sick”.
Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman (Psychology.com) tells us from his studies, that hope is a “cognitive motivational system.” It starts in the emotions and follows to the cognitions (mind). Lord knows, our emotions have been stirred enough and pressed upon enough to affect our thinking. Right?
But your hope, is more than a cognitive or emotional reaction.
Dr. Jerome Groopman, in his book, “The Anatomy of Hope”, tells us that belief and expectation are key elements of hope and they can block pain by releasing endorphins and enkephalins because they act like morphine in the brain and body.
So hope, in and of itself, has a powerful effect in the human body, mind, intellect and emotions. And hope triggers a virtuous cycle.
We are told that there are 4 types of hope. Let’s look at each of those and then look at those stories of biblical characters who demonstrated that kind of hope. Ready?
These are the four types of hope that psychologists say we have:
In reality, if we are struggling with having hope, who cares that there are four kinds??! But here goes, anyway.
1. Realistic hope – this is the hope that says in a cancer situation, if we take these meds it will help. It is realistic in and about the situation.
Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis 15 were given a promise of a son of blessing and yet 60, 70, 80 years passes before Isaac, that son of promise was born.
They lived a normal family life for years with that hope and without it’s fulfillment. They tried to hurry the hope and Ishmael was born, but he wasn’t the son of promise. The hope of a son of promise had been rubbed down and worn out as Ishmael grew to the age of 13. Their hearts could haven been sick. Their hope could have escaped.
And yet, in Romans it says in chapter 4, verse 18, ” Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at His word…”. Hope was deferred for at least 13 and maybe 60 years, and yet Abraham and Sarah had hope in the God of their circumstances. They were realistic in their circumstances.
2. Utopian hope – is a collective hope, negating the present and driven for a better future.
Joshua and Caleb, in the book of Joshua would be a great dipiction of this type of hope. They held out for the collective victory of Israel and their entering Canaan for 40 years. Do you think that after 40 years of hoping, they may have been a little worn down? A little heart sick? Was their hope deferred? You betcha!
Yet, after a 40 year wait, their hope was strong and Caleb said, “So here I am today, 85 years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle as I was then. Now give me this hill country…” Joshua 14:10-12 NIV
Joshua and Caleb hung onto the Utopian hope of a better future of fulfillment for Israel.
3. Chosen hope – chosen hope helps us live in a difficult, present situation with an uncertain future. It helps us to regulate negative emotions.
Joseph, in Genesis 37, who dreamed at age 17 of his brothers bowing before him, had that dream burning in his heart and thoughts for 13 years! In those 13 years he was betrayed and sold as a slave by his brothers. Imprisoned in Pharaoh’s palace, yet favored and set as a leader there. Falsely accused of sexual assault, thrown into prison again. Joseph’s dream, still burning in his heart, fighting off deferment sickness, he hoped until he finally became the Prime Minister. And then, his brothers came and bowed down before him. His chosen hope was finally fulfilled.
David, at a young age of probably 15, was anointed to be the next King of Israel. (1Samuel 16) That anointing, held him and his hope, through so many discouraging circumstances. He was literally searched for as an enemy of the king and his life was in danger, sought after, and chased down for 15 years. He did not become king until he was 30 years old. 15 years of hoping… 15 years of deferment. Yet he chose to “be strong and hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24
4. Transcendent hope – a general hopefulness that something good can happen.
Romans 8:28 – In all things, God works for the good of those who love him…
Psalm 38:15 – Lord, I hope in you
Lamentations 3:21 – This I recall to mind, thereore have I hope
These verses are just a few of the many we are given assuring us that something good will happen to those who put their hope in the Lord.
Yet, the best example of transcendent hope would be Jesus, the epitome of transcendent hope. His hope was fixed not on the now, but on the future… “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross..”. Hebrews. 12:2
And yet, even Jesus hoped. As a 12 year old kid, stumping the Rabbi’s until he entered his ministry in AD 26, he hoped. He hoped as he called the disciples and built the Kingdom of God inside them. He hoped as he taught the crowds, healed the sick, and raised the dead. He hoped in the garden of Gethsemane and he hoped hanging on the cross. He hoped in that empty tomb, he hoped as he ascended from that hill.
He hoped for them, he hoped for us, that we would hope without growing weak, tired, worn out or rubbed thin. He hoped that we would hope in Him, His promises and His Word.
Jesus’ hope transcended every limit.
Our hope can be secure like these heroes of hope, when it is anchored to God’s promises, (Hebrews, 1 Peter, Acts 26), when it is anchored to Jesus (1Timothy. 1:1), and when it is anchored to the Word. (Romans 15:4.)
Those three, God’s promises, Jesus, and The Word of God make for us a three-fold cord, that will not be easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) When our hope is built upon these, we are anchored, secure with an UNSWERVING HOPE. No matter the length of wait, wearing, or rubbing.
When our hope is anchored in Jesus, His Word and His promises we are secure. Our mind, emotions, will and intellect are strong and stable. We are not sickly. Our hope is in Him and our emotions will follow our will.
That kind of hope motivates. That kind of hope is congious. That type of hope can be learned. That type of hope is healthy and promotes healthy behaviors.
Hope deferred does NOT have to make your heart sick when it is anchored God’s promises.
But if it does, please allow Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Caleb, Joseph and even Hannah, Simeon, Anna to encourage you to not allow the constant rubbing away of freedoms & strength in your situation to make you sick, weak, and depressed.
Hope deferred, may make the heart sick, but may it not be your heart, because you are anchored into Jesus, His Word and His promises.
I just can’t shake these two words that have been rolling through my mind, heart, and spirit for sometime. They’ve been simmering there and over time have thickened and come to just below a boil. Now is the time to take them off the heat and share their nutritional value with you.
Or more precisely, overcoming inactivity, staleness, laziness, idleness.
Movement – changing physical location or position.
Movement is so important to our body for so many reasons. It affects everything – our circulation, digestion, our metabolism and even our immunity. When we move, our bodies regulate our hormones, detoxify our blood stream and clear and strengthen our respiration. Daily movement stimulates our brain and neurons and thus boost healing and immunity. (oh my goodness do I see spiritual applications in all of these)
We have all been affected in one way or another by the restrictions placed on us by this virus and governmental authorities. But that is no excuse for any of us to become idle, inactive, lazy or stale in any way. We must move.
We must war against laziness and idleness that would seek to rob us of what our body requires, and our spirit desires.
We must beware of hours lost to swiping, video/TV/movie watching, or sitting or laying around – even reading.
Movement is vital for life, growth, health and even feelings of self esteem, value and worth. Who hasn’t felt terrible about “wasting a whole afternoon” doing “nothing”?
The key here is to MAKE TIME TO MOVE. Schedule it. Make it happen. If you’re one that has a watch that tells you to move, then listen to it and move when it reminds you. (Don’t just ignore it or turn it off.)
(Just today, I had to kick myself in the rear and make myself get outside and take a long walk. My desk had become a cement block around my feet, brain and spirit.)
Movement – your body and brain will thank you.
The season of bearing fruit, showing evidence of what’s been planted.
” Fruitfulness – the fact that something produces good results”
Many of us live in urban areas and loose site of the seasons of fruitfulness and harvest, unless we go into the market’s produce section. Yet, we still can see fruit growing on a tree and understand that tree is being fruitful.
Fruitfulness demonstrates for all what has been planted. It reveals the results of what has been going on underneath the surface; what seeds have been germinating, sprouting and now are blooming. Fruitfulness is show and tell time.
Seeds that are planted are programmed to be fruitful and will produce their fruit given the correct exposure to water, light and soil conditions. It sorta happens naturally, by their design. Plant an apple seed – get apples. Plant lemons – get lemons. Fruitfulness displays good results.
I once taught a lesson called, “When you’re squeezed, what comes out?”. This again, makes the point that whatever is planted within us, will eventually bear fruit in our life.
During this time, what has been planted in our lives is coming out. The seeds that have been sown into our hearts and thoughts are bearing fruit in our words and actions. The germinating process is now giving way to fruit dangling from our lives. (Side note, are you proud of what’s coming out, your fruit?)
Fruitfulness – seeing the results of what’s been planted in your life.
” Me thinks that the minute my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow, as if I had given vent to the stream at the lower end and consequently new fountains flowed into it at the upper.”
Henry David Thoreau
Perhaps there is a link you are seeing between these two words? Perhaps not.
I hope you too will allow these two words to simmer in your heart and mind. Let them reach that gentle roll of bubbles and then take from them anything you find nutritious.
At the very least, there’s something for you to chew on.
In this crazy world that we’re all dealing with, where we are looking for reasons to smile again, may I suggest – GIVING.
You know, looking for and planning opportunities to give. You can give things like time, goods, talents, strength, kindness, abilities and yes, money. You can give hope, happiness, a meal, thanks, letters, notes.
As a kid we loved receiving gifts but as we grow we discover the joy of giving – seeing some’s face when they open or receive a gift we gave is tremendously satisfying and rewarding. We actually made them smile, happy. Wow. What a thrill. And we too, are smiling now.
Giving makes us happier than receiving. But it also: helps others, makes a difference, cultivates self-worth, teaches responsibility, inspires giving and is easy.
Winston Churchhill said, ” We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. “
There’s lots of research to support these statements and the feelings we get when we give. Let me just share a couple statements:
Our brains are hard-wired to serve. Giving activates the brains prefrontal cortex. When we place the interests of others above our own, our brain lights up.
When we help others, there is a “helpers high” or euphoric feeling that we receive that makes us stronger and more energetic.
Helping others is a door through which one can go to forget oneself.
I’ll tell you what, I could stand to forget myself and my circumstances for a while. How ’bout you? Looking for more energy? Perhaps the helpers high will help.
I had planned on writing about serving/giving for this blog. And then I stumbled upon this movement called
It’s a global generosity movement, with special emphasis this year on helping during the Coronavirus Pandemic. It is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 5, 2020.
On this day, people are encouraged to simply help others, to give of yourself in someway. Here are some ideas:
pay for a meal
express thanks (words, cards or signs) to first responders
express thanks (words, cards, or signs) to medical professionals
express thanks to “essential workers”
make a donation to a food pantry
help serve at a food bank
write letters to troops
do chalk art on sidewalks
paint rocks and leave them around town
make a poster to hang outside your home
Would you consider getting involved? Would you think about what you could do that would lift up someone else and bring a smile to their face(s)?
I really can think of no better door to go through to forget about myself for a while. And I’m in. The world needs a smile and so do I. Plus, my brain could use a good lighting up too.
Let’s do this. Let’s surprise someone.
Think. Plan. Gather materials. Do. Give.
Check out more at http://www.GivingTuesday.org and share it on social media with #GivingTuesday. You can even post a pic with hashtag #UNselfie and share what you did and why.
Which ever side of the coin you find yourself on today, I have some solid advice and encouragement for you. But first, let me share a story.
Years ago, I was teaching in Pasadena, CA and at the time had to drive between 2 campuses during my day. On one particular day, while driving to the second campus, when passing through a quiet intersection, I was broadsided, driver side, driver door, by a Cadillac. I didn’t see it coming and when I did, it was pretty much at impact. All I had time to do was yell out in prayer, “JESUS!?!” – which I did. I don’t remember anything after that.
Witnessses say they saw my car flip over and fly through the air, landing on its roof. When they ran to find me, I was upside-down, in-shock, but very much alive. When I was removed from the car by first responders, witnesses told them there’s no way I should be alive because by what they observed, I should be a mangled wreck with severely damanged bones and organs.
I was not. I was taken by ambulance to hospital, treated for mild bruises, scratches and shock and released that same day.
I was definitely hurting, though. So, “Yes” would’ve been my answer to the title of this blog.
The only thing I could do and had time to do is let out that one word cry for help – “JESUS ! “.
The Bible says, in Ephesians 6:18 – ” Pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” NIV
In James 5:13 – ” Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.” The Message Paraphrase
Whether it is a one word prayer of desperation, a 15 minute prayer time in the car for your family/job, or a passionate request for help and wisdom- we are told to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers. They all count! No matter the length or position, if offered in faith they are heard.
Prayer changes us and often changes things. It is true. Prayer allows us to approach God with our requests and leave them in his care. Leaving it there with Him and trusting that He will take care of us and the request is often harder than praying itself. Right?
To that point – Not too long ago our son had planned an extensive backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. For over a year he was thorough and a bit obsessive in his preparation for this huge trip. He had done his best and the day to begin had now, finally arrived.
My husband and I had been praying for him nearly daily for that year. No kidding. This was a ginormous undertaking and we were not without our concerns. So when that day came, and we took him to Yosemite to camp for the night and set out the next morning, we were doing our best to trust the Lord and leave it in his hands. That was hard. This was to be a 2-3 week hike of 221 miles!
Talk about all kinds of prayers. Our prayers then were not not one word prayers. This was pouring out petitions on a regular basis. Asking, seeking and knocking and then repeat – keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.
In Luke 18:1, Jesus tells the disciples “they should always pray and not give up.” NIV
Here’s a verse you can easily memorize, “Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17NIV
Some prayers require persistence, not giving up, or loosing hope.
Prayer is simple yet hard. When you’re hurting, pray. When you’re stressed pray. When you’re alone pray. Pray in every situation, every day, with every attitude, circumstance and battle raging. Pray with one word prayers, and extended, passionate cries. Pray.
Are you hurting? Pray.
Choose to pray. It is a choice made in advance of everything else. It is a decision made before the hurt, stress, lonliness. It is an act of the will, your will. And it will change you and may even change the situation too.
Let’s increase that stat that says 55% of adults say they pray daily. Not just for numbers sake either, but because prayer changes us. Learning to pray with regularity changes us. That’s why we want to pray.
Now to the second part of this blog title – Do you feel great? (And I hope you do.)
Let’s go back to James 5:13 ” Do you feel great? SING” The Message
I love this! I love music too. That is why it is so wonderful to hear scripture encourage us to sing. Music and singing should naturally flow from a full, happy, content, joyous heart. So if you’re feeling great, PUMP IT UP. SING IT OUT. CRANK UP THE VOLUME.
Matter of fact, singing changes your brain. Seriously. According to an article in TIME’s, Life and Style section, “Singing Changes Your Brain” by Stacy Horn, 2013 –
“Researchers are beginning to discover that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.”
Whether it’s from those endorphins that bring pleasure to the brain or the oxytocin that relieves anxiety and stress; singing regularly contributes to quality of life. Even if you are a bad singer!
Psalms 47:6 – ” Sing … sing… sing… sing…” NIV
Singing however, is also a choice, a decision, an act of the will, and it is not dependent on a happy heart. It is always nice when the heart is happy and a song flows naturally from it. But, a song can also be sung by decision, in spite of circumstances.
Choosing to sing in spite of surroundings still releases those hormones on the brain and the same soothing, perfect tranquilizer effects occur. So SING.
Do you feel great? Sing.
With these two simple tools, Pray and Sing, one in each hand, all day, every day, we can face and conquer whatever the day brings, for in our hands we hold two very powerful weapons.
Have a wonderful week, and I wish I could hear you singing it LOUD and proud.
Please take 13 seconds and look at this very cool and rare video
These lit up waves are the product of “red tide” and it indicates an algal bloom. It happens at sunset during these blooms by photoplankton releasing biochemical light. But not just phytoplankton release it, so do fireflies and deep sea fishes.
Bioluminescent tides are rare, red by day and blue by the darkness of night.
I remember being in Catalina sometime ago, and we were atop a hill on a night hike overlooking the ocean and shoreline. That is when I first saw the bioluminescence of those photoplankton as they lit up the shoreline.
It is a stunning display, almost eerie because you are surrounded by darkness yet you are seeing a brilliant blue-white light from the waves. then the waves crash and light is disperses.
At almost the same time these waves were on display on land, in Newport Beach, CA, the same skies were lit up as well. It is the season of the Lyrid meteor showers. In April, every year, around the 21st, these showers are seen in the dark skies and are also a stunning sight.
My son and I set our alarms many years ago to go out and watch them. (I don’t remember how many we saw, I just remember the alarm part.)
These lights show up yearly, yet still only in complete darkness.
The simple and encouraging pivot here, to me is this –
Each of us have been entrusted with a light. A light of hope, a light of positivity, a light of faith, a light that burns deep within us. It’s illuminated our own private lives, attitudes, needs, and even brought beauty and stunning vibrance to us, individually, and privately.
We are currently surrounded by dark times. Darkness has replaced many once well lit places. Darkness has replaced hope, faith, and even tried to extinguished our little light. (I hear a song in my head we sang as a kids…)
But I am here to tell you, it’s time to SHINE. It’s time to allow what’s been blooming within you – your algal bloom – to break forth on the shores of your life and spread beauty, light, hope and awe to those you touch. (metaphorically speaking, of course. )
YOU ARE THE LIGHT, you are the living organism that carries that biochemical emission of light into the darkness and hopeless areas of your family, your city your sphere of influence.
You are that meteor of blazing light, hope, strength, soaring through the darkness, bringing hope and illuminating the foreboding skies.
It’s time to SHINE dear friends.
No longer consider the smallness of your light or it’s lack of wattage. In dark times, the smallest of lights brings illumination and dispels the darkness wherever that light burns.
So burn dear friends. Let your light shine. Illuminate the dark skies and shores and bring beauty, hope, awe and calm to every onlooker.
A few days ago, I went to Doheny State Beach, where this is what I saw.
What you’re looking at is the lowest tide I have EVER seen at this or any beach! I went to take pictures of the waves crashing on the shoreline (for a video I was making) and couldn’t even take them or shoot the video because the tide was so low.
It seriously made me wonder if a tsunami was brewing, cuz, you’ll remember the tide goes out before the tsunami crashes. But no tsunami, thankfully.
Still I was left to wonder, why such low tide? Exceedingly low tide!
Going back to 6th grade Earth Science class you’ll recall that tides are caused by the moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth. These pulls cause bulges on Earth’s oceans. One bulge facing the moon and the other on the opposite side of Earth, away from the moon.
Every day (actually 24 hours and 50 minutes), there 2 high tides and 2 low tides.
When I returned home from my low tide experience, I read an article that declared The Thames River as being “liquid history”, because at low tide “the Thames becomes the largest open air archaeological site in London.”
At low tide, the Thames River reveals all sorts of things. Coins, keys, clay pipes, love tokens and thimbles to name a few.
In Oregon, low tide reveals “Ghost Forest” – the ancient remains of a forest that is now small stumps. Low tides in Oregon also reveal Sujameco shipwreck, wreckage from a 1929, 324 ft. steamship.
In England, there is a castle (of course there is!) called St. Michael’s Mount that has been there since 495. But for much of the year it is inaccesssable, EXCEPT for at LOW TIDE when a pathway is revealed briefly, until the tide covers it again.
This last one is my favorite!
In South Korea, about 5 hours from the capital of Seoul, 1.8 miles off of the coast is an island called Jindo Island. For 1 hour, 2 to 3 times a year, low tide reveals a 1.8 mile path from Jindo Island to Modo Island.
Even though I haven’t told stories about animals here, I am going to allow my inner Aesop to come out.
High tides cover things. Low tides reveal things
Let’s start with the high tides of life. When our lives are full, to the max, sufficient – we tend to cover over or cover up what’s hidden below; the small things, lost things, broken things. Things like old habits and patterns. They can’t be seen and are therefore often ignored and not addressed.
How about the low tides of life. Times of want, lack, or emptiness tend to expose what’s underneath, and inside of us. Low tides are low times and are very revealing. They expose our foundation and reveal the bottom line of our life.
However, let’s take this point too. Hidden below those low tides could be brand new discoveries. Brand new ways, roads or paths even. Things we never knew were there. Ways we never thought of before.
And remember St. Michael Mount and Jindo Island – the new ways, paths will only be revealed for a brief period before they are covered over again. Low tides are temporary, but can be very revealing.
Sometimes it takes low tides in our life to reveal something better and expose hazards.
This will be the first of a weekly series, that I feel impressed to share called “Sunday Sermons”. It will be intentionally Biblical and decidedly spiritual in nature, meant to feed your Spirit.
I trust you will find nourishment and encouragement by it and will check in each Sunday.
Sunday Sermon 4/19/20
The Apostle Paul, the guy who once tried to kill Christians, imprison them, torture them and stop their preaching of “The Way”, has had an about face, and is now just as fervent in his defense of “The Way” and in his efforts to spread its message.
He is speaking here, at the height of the Roman Empire to believers, mostly Gentiles (like me, not Jewish), who live in Rome and are trying to make their way through persecution, misunderstanding, strong secular influences and crazy heresies. (weird and false teachings).
It is in this context that he says:
“I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.”v. 18, 22 The Message paraphrase
Birth pangs? What?
He was saying, the signs they were seeing were actually birth signs. Signs of birthing, signs of new life forming and getting ready to burst forth. Just like a pregnant Mom, facing labor pains before the birth of that precious new life.
He was encouraging them, that hey, what you’re going through now, the pain, uncomfortableness, the stretching, etc. is nothing compared to what is coming! I promise you. It will be worth it. Hang in there. Then he says –
“But it’s not only around us; it’s within is. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.”v. 22-23 The Message
Not only is something getting ready to burst forth in their present hard times, but something within them was being formed and it was about to burst forth too.
He identified it as a spiritual life being formed in them. The Spirit of God was actually forming new life in them. Awakening them, arousing them, stretching them, preparing them as individuals to bring forth this new life. What they were feeling was the preparatory birth pangs of what the Spirit had been developing in them and was nearly ready to deliver.
“Waiting does not diminish us… We are enlarged in the waiting. We don’t see what’s enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”v. 24-25 The Message
Here they were in the midst of hard times and pain themselves, carrying something inside of them, planted by the Spirit, that was growing and enlarging within them. As their wait increased, so did their growth and in kind, so did their expectancy of what would be birthed.
They were seeing within them, something of a spiritual dimension growing, increasing, enlarging and becoming bigger and bigger. As they saw it inside of them, their own excitement of what they were becoming grew! Their expectancy too was growing.
” The moment we get tired of waiting, God’s Spirit is right there alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us.” v. 26-27 The Message
Just like that weary Mom, after nine looong months of carrying that bundle of life grows weary in the wait – so too do the believers. But God’s promise here is that His Spirit, will be right there, helping them along as the birthing coach, even praying for them and helping them to pray!
Today, I see a tremendous similarity between those Roman believers and me and you. I hear Paul’s message to them, being perfectly suited for us. Don’t you?
Here are the take aways.
There’s no doubt the times we are living in are painful and there is suffering. It’s not good, but it will bring about good. They are birth pangs, signs that something new is about to burst forth in our world, across the globe.
And not just in the world/society – BUT IN YOU. The Spirit of God is growing inside of you, enlarging inside of you. Stretching you, preparing in you new Spiritual life, strength, vibrance, depth, and reality. The Spirit of God is growing inside of you and is about to burst forth from you.
It matters little where you’ve come from spiritually, whether this is old news or new news to you. What matters is that you are carrying a Spiritual seed that is growing inside of you.
Let it grow. Enlarge you, arouse you. Feel it kick inside you. Recognize the labor pangs.
And let your expectancy arise, for soon, the life of the Spirit will burst forth from you.
It wasn’t until I was working as Chaplain at LA County Women’s Jail, that I became aware of LWOP. Life WithOut the Possibility of Parole. It was a dreaded sentence to receive and I spent many a weekend traveling to Merced, to visit with women who had received such a sentence and were truly without much hope.
They would NEVER, ever in their life, no matter their age, see anything but the inside of those prison walls and cells. NEVER. AND, they would NEVER see their families, friends, or loved ones unless they were allowed visitation rights and passed all security screenings. Then only inside of a very pubic and guarded room with dozens of others, and in most cases, without any physical contact allowed.
They would NEVER again go anywhere they wanted. NEVER eat what they wanted. NEVER shop for what they wished. NEVER again dress as they chose. NEVER be able to speak to whom they wanted. NEVER again work at the place of their choosing. NEVER drive a car. NEVER poop or pee in private. NEVER own what they wanted. Oh my goodness, I could go on and on and on. It was a grim and dreaded sentence and life. Life without…
To many, these days in which we live have been and are becoming a dreaded sentence. LIFE WITHOUT…
You fill in the blank. Life without__________
You could probably go on and on too. Life without freedoms… to shop, to work, eat out, to gather, visit, socialize, to go to church, baseball games, concerts… life without income…life without is grim you say. And no one in their right mind would disagree with you. It is not an easy sentence.
But as I sit at my comfortable desk, and look out a dirty window, I still see the sun. (So glad it’s not raining today.) I see blue sky. I can actually go outside and feel the wind on my face, blowing my hair and feel the heat of the sun on my skin.
Within in my house, my fridge is full, as are my cupboards and pantry. (Thanks to my husband who always goes above and beyond in providing for our family.) Our bills are paid. We are not in debt or headed there. Our children are healthy, secure, and being provided for.
Our closets are full. Cars running. (well, one out of two ain’t bad.) We live in a home, not on the street or in a cell with another person. We enjoy the privacy of the bathroom and shower anytime we choose. (unless you count Gunner breaking in occasionally.)
Do we have it all? No. Do we need it all? No. Are we really doing life without? I would answer, “No”.
Have we had to GO without? Yes. Is it easy? No, but it’s not as hard as we make it sound either. For us, it mostly amounts to more inconveniences than anything else.
We are retired. Yes. So our income is not dependent on our ability to earn. I get it. We are blessed. I get it. Not everyone is in the same place. I get it.
But what I also get is this – I don’t believe any of us are truly doing life without what is really important. We may be “going without”, but it is temporary. Although we don’t know the end date, we know there will be one. It is temporary. It is not, NEVER.
It is not LWOP. Life without the possibility of parole.
For weeks now, every time I sit down at our kitchen table and look out the window, these weeds are all I see. And they’re not really in our backyard. They are just beyond our retaining wall. But they are oh, so ugly, and now so blooming tall!
I actually didn’t even notice them for a while, we were keeping the curtains closed during the cold and rainy weeks. Then, when we opened the curtains, I still didn’t notice them, cuz they were of course smaller. But now, and for the last couple of weeks they are so obvious. I must do something about them.
Today was the day of their doom.
Weeds you know, are not intentionally sown, they grow where they’re not wanted, and grow automatically. They are considered opportunistic and will grow in any moist soil, tiny crack or thin layer of turf. “Weeds are competitive, persistent and interfere negatively with human activity.” (Dwight Ligenfelter, Dept. of Agronomy Penn State)
Weeds choke out life, rob soil and other plants of important nutrients, water and sunlight. Weeds are plants whose undesirable qualities outweigh the desirable qualities.
Farmers have said that weeds left unchecked can cut the harvest 40-60%.
So BAM! Away with them! Up from the roots they go. Bye, Bye Bye. (hear NSYNC in background)
Have you picked up any symbolism here?
Weeds are the things in our life that keep us from being productive. Things that steal away the important from us. Distractions that eat up our vital nutrients and exposure to light. Weeds are the things that make us unfruitful. Often too, weeds are a sign of neglect and perhaps even laziness.
If I think of weeds as distractions that keep me away from what is important, then the top of my weed list is my phone. Although I use it for everything and a lot of it is needed, useful, and good, not all of the swipes are, nor all the time on it is. It does distract me, steal my focus and eat up valuable time.
I don’t want the weeds in my life to be left unnoticed or unchecked but I want them UPROOTED! I am seeking a productive life, not overgrown with nonessentials and harvest hinderers.
I’m choosing to uproot and remove those pesky distractions before they flower and produce more seeds! I’m also searching for those dormant weeds in the soil of my heart, those that have been there for years to get rid of them, at the root.
I am only interested in good fruit from my life and want to prune away the small, insignificant, and barren branches. I want to feed the good and healthy and keep distractions from choking off their continued health and growth.
Because weeds grow so fast, pro gardeners recommend pulling weeds weekly. I’m in, I’m game. I know I need it. And, there’s such great joy that comes after you spend time in the garden, weeding, cleaning and pruning. Then you wash it all down, and sit back and enjoy it with a tall, cool glass.
I trust that you will join me in uprooting any unnecessary distractions in your life so that you, too, may be 100% productive.
“Weeds are stubborn. Weeds are independent. Weeds aren’t tolerated.” Marty Rubin
It all started with a discussion about the size of 2.2 trillion (dollars).
While listening to and trying to digest it all, I realized, I had no real understanding of the number 1 trillion. Much less 2.2 trillion. So I did what every serious scholar and academically driven researcher does, I googled it. 🙂
After much mind numbing reading about zeros, exponents, and viewing diagrams of stacking bills on pallets, here are my 2 take aways:
1. If you spent $1,000 a day, it would take you 2.7 million years to spend 1 trillion dollars. And you would still have lots left over!
2. If you stacked $100. bills to equal 1 trillion, the stack would be 789 miles high. That is equal to 144 Mount Everest’s stacked on top of each other.
Bottom line for my mind, a trillion is incomprehensible.
But it really got me thinking about other things that are incomprehensible.
The universe, for example.
Scientists don’t even use the term universe. It’s been more accurately described as the “observable universe” because there is more than what we actually see. It’s size, they say, is 93 million light years in diameter. (For those that slept through Science class, remember, a light year is the distance light travels in a year or about 10 trillion km! (Really 9,500,000,000,000 km!) There’s that trillion again… Incomprehensible!
We live in a galaxy we know as The Milky Way. And to us, it’s really big. But geesh, we live on ONE of it’s 4 arms, called Orion, in a system called The Solar System, on a planet called Earth, on a continent called North America, nation called America, state called _____, county called _____ , city called _____, on a street called _____, and finally to OUR house at _____ . The size of all that is incomprehensible.
Consider too, our galaxy is but one of 350 billion large galaxies in the Milky Way! It houses 30 billion -trillion stars. (30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.) To put this in perspective, if you were to go out of the city and look into the sky, you would maybe see 2,500 stars. But there are actually 80 million times MORE STARS in the Milky Way and beyond.
There are actually 28 times more stars in the galaxy than the 7.2 billion people on the Earth. Another comparison, there are 1 billion cars on Earth – for every car there are 200 galaxies in the observable universe. Plus, there are 40 billion, Earth sized planets that could sustain human life. (Maybe we’re NOT alone in the universe???)
Again, all of these numbers are incomprehensible! My brain hurts.
One last incomprehensible thing for you to think about.
The very Creator, who made all those galaxies, stars, planets, universe, both observable and beyond; the One who gives man the ability to deal with trillions of dollars and understand what he is doing; that God – LOVES YOU and me. I’m floored that he even notices us, with how small and insignificant we are compared to the details of a universe. But he does notice us, knows us and loves us. THAT is unfathomable, inscrutable, and yes, incomprehensible.
” …I pray that you be able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…”
The Apostle Paul
Other writers have described God’s love this way:
slow to anger
will never leave you alone
no barrier can separate us from God’s love
God’s love for us is so unimaginable, incomprehensible that He sent His only Son into the world, that we might have life through him, who was our sacrifice. I John 4:9-10
Jesus coming to Earth was a demonstration of God’s love for us. Jesus’ living here and brutal death on the cross was a demonstration of God’s incomprehensible love for us. Who would do that?
The suffering Jesus endured before crucifixion and later suffocating as he hung on that cross was pure and simple torture! It is incomprehensible.
When you have time, check out this video I made, about just that. (9 minutes)
God knows you, everything about you; strengths, weaknesses, good, bad, likes, dislikes, ups and down – AND HE LOVES YOU. Without measure, everlasting, carefully, caring, patiently, completely and unconditional. THAT blows my mind and is truly incomprehensible.
So, this weekend, as we celebrate Easter, I hope that you will celebrate the incomprehensible love that God demonstrated for you by sending Jesus to Earth; who lived, died and returned to life after three days! Who spent 40 days after the resurrection on Earth, was seen by over 500 people and after that was taken back up to heaven, (which was also witnessed by hundreds) where He is to this day.
Yet, to those who trust in Him, He comes to reside in their hearts as well.
Talk about incomprehensible???? My brain is exploding but my heart is overwhelming with gratitude.
Have a Happy Easter, because YOU ARE LOVED BY OUR IMCOMPREHENSIBLE GOD.
I actually had no intention of writing this blog on this topic, but as the prophet of old has said,
” But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore…”, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
So here goes…
I cannot express the depth of the urgency I feel inside about the spiritual mandate upon us, our nation, for this next week in our history. This week, I believe is a turning point – HINGE – in our history.
What happens this next week, will mark forever how our history plays out.
I cannot escape this, I cannot downplay it. I cannot soften it. And I am not seeking to instill fear or have you consider me a weirdo-fanatic of some kind. It is burning in my heart like a fire and must be shared. That is my job. Results are not.
What happens this next week?
I beleive totally in the timing of God. All things are in his time and controlled according to his timetable. This has always been, through the ages – a meticulously designed series of events involving nations, people, kings and leaders has been woven and played out.
This week, starting today, is the start of “Holy Week”. Today peoples from all over the world celebrate Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as they proclaimed him “King!”.
On this day as well, in 1270 BCE, Joshua and the Israelites had just successfully crossed the Jordan River, perched and almost ready to enter Canaan. But first, after 40 years of disregarding this covenant sign, there had to be a mass circumcision.
Tuesday, in Jewish tradion, is the “Formal Search for Chametz”, leading up to Passover on Thursday.
This search for chametz is when they thoroughly clean their homes of any and all leaven. All products containing leaven are burnt, sold or stored away in a special container. The understanding is not only diligently searching for that hidden leaven but diligently searching their hearts for hidden sins, pride, and hypocricy. Cleaning their heart of these things so they can enjoy The Passover.
Wednesday is The Fast of the Firstborn for the Jews and Christians celebrate Holy Wednesday, the day Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
Thursday is the first day of Passover. It is also known as Maundy Thursday, the day Christians celebrate Jesus’ Last Supper, or the day Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples. Passover is when the Jews remember the miraculous deliverance from Egypt and the plagues, including the Death angel passing over them because of the blood of the lamb on their doorpost.
Thursday, of this week also marks the 40th day of a 40 day global fast that was called last year. It began March 1 and ends April 9. A fast that hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe have committed to. A fast who’s goal was to bring worldwide awakening in the spirit realm and turning of hearts to Jesus and His kingdom. (My husband and I have been so blessed to be able to join with those throngs. )
Friday, we know is Good Friday. The day when we remember Jesus’ horrible beatings, mockings, and crucifixion. The day the world turned dark, the Earth shook, the veil was torn and graves were opened. The day he was sealed in a tomb and attended by the Roman guard. The day the disciples fled away in fear.
Friday night passed. Saturday passed. But Sunday arrived! And with it the resurrection of Jesus, triumphant over death and the grave! Easter Sunday. Resurrection Day!
Please understand, the convergence of all of these events we’ve listed WITH the coronavirus pandemic and its astronomical effects are not by accident. Fears, ilnesses, deaths, fatigue, shut downs, economic collapse, loss of education, celebrations, freedoms, relationships, hope…
They are by design. God’s divine timing. We are standing at the hinge of history.
I believe what we personally do this next week will not only impact our lives for good but more widely impact our nation for good. This is the fire in my bones. This is the call to action for each and every one of us.
Where do we need to allow Jesus to enter our lives, ways, thoughts? Where do we need to declare his victory and not our own? What needs to be cut away from our life?
What “leaven” – hidden (or open) sins need to be found and discarded from our lives?
How can our communion with the Divine be closer and more intimate? How can we feed that spirit?
What does that resurrection power look like in my life? in my family? my city? my state? my nation? How can it arrest the dark plague that has gripped us?
How can my stand see these freedoms from the Divine One extended to all who are in need and affect our future?
What we do this week matters. Never has our nation stood at such a threshhold.
” If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray… I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7″14
If not now, when?
We are standing at the hinge of history.
Cheers to you.
I would love to hear your comments and thoughts. Please leave them below.
Isn’t it wonderful to hear the stories of people who choose to do good and help others in time of need? It’s inspiring! It brings hope and reassurance. It lifts our spirit. It encourages us.
Here are some recent such stories:
An anonymous do-gooder has made and left around Dana Point these encouraging surfboard signs
The Pacific Symphony members have been playing movements in trios, duets or solo on Instagram for the joy of their viewers
A non-profit was started to collect donations and then purchase meals from restaurants to have delivered to hospitals for the doctors and nurses
A salaried professor is Venmo-ing $20 to any neighbor in need, no questions asked
A couple who had to downsized their wedding and got married at home – but the entire neighborhood surprised them by celebrating from their cars, cheering and honking horns
A mob of cars showed up at a hospital and parked in the lot. From each car stood 1-2 people, with hands lifted toward the hospital in prayer for those affected by the virus in that hospital
WestJet threw a mini-graduation for 4 students who had to fly home due to the virus
Neighbors on lockdown sang Happy Birthday to an 80 year old from their balconies and windows
People who refresh others are so refreshing!
My hunch is that many of us want to be refreshing to others. We may or may not do so in a way that makes the 5 O’clock news but that doesn’t matter. I would like to offer this original acrostic as a means to encourage and inspire you to first be refreshed and then refresh others.
R – Reflect
E – Enjoy family & the small things
F -Find purpose & routine in each day
R – Reach out to friends & neighbors
E – Encourage others
S – Seek God
H – Hear his voice
Repeat the process…
These tidbits will help us find the refreshing that we personally need and also equip us to be that refreshing to others. You DO have something to offer others, even if it be only your smile.
” You can always give something, even if it is only kindness.”
May you find refreshing today and give refreshing tomorrow.
That feeling that this is major and lifelong change is happening right before our eyes? The world as we know it is shifting and we are witness to history?
Maybe it’s not like that for you, but it sure seems to at least be a major reset for us. So, to that end, allow me to expatiate.
“Reset – to set again, or differently; adjusting or fixing something in a new or different way.”
Synonyms – reboot, restore, re-establish, restart
Common uses – to reset: an alarm clock, a broken bone, a different way, priorities, prices
We are truly at a reset time in our country. A time to re-evaluate our priorities, our values. What ways need to be changed? How can we do things differently? What has been broken that needs to be fixed? What alarm has been sounding and we better get to it? What needs major restoration? What shall we start up again?
These are questions I believe we should be asking on a global level, but I also believe that we should be asking and dealing with them on a personal level too. We have the time.
Now is the time to reboot, restart, restore and reset our thinking and priorities.
From my life, here are some simple examples of how my thinking has been reset: I now view grocery store clerks, workers, stockers and truck drivers with much more appreciation, respect and value. Restaurateur’s are due mad props for all they deal with and I will no longer take their fine dining wares for granted. That goes for fast food eateries too.
Hair dressers, teachers, plumbers, construction workers, florists, carpenters, small businesses, THESE are some of the jobs and people that have been overlooked, and undervalued in our society. We/I need to reset our/my thinking about them.
I value these jobs/people, they are important to me. They are more important to me than the multimillion dollar MLB or NBA player and what shoes they are wearing. Or the YouTube influencer and what lipstick they endorse. Geesh, how petty. How shallow we have become. Reset!
I value churches being able to meet. I value all Americans having the right to speak, even if I disagree with you. I value people disagreeing and yet still respecting each other. I value national traditions, even if they are not mine. I value life. I value hard work. I value family.
What do YOU value? I hope these days have given you time to see those clearly.
For me, these days are filled with major self-reflection and these 3 things keep coming up:
What are my priorities?
What are may values?
What are my interests?
If what I am doing, thinking, or planning does not line up with those, then I need a reset.
As America is resetting, may her members and citizens do the same. What is important to us – let’s keep it in focus and never stop using our voice and efforts to advance it. Otherwise, let’s adjust it and fix it or totally do away with it.
Yesterday, in our area, we had a dearly beloved historical attraction and youth overnight field trip location SINK. Literally.
The tall ship – “The Pilgrim”, docked at The Ocean Institute in Dana Point, began to keel starboard and take on water. By the next morning, it’s deck was totally below water, with only the masts and a part of the bow above water.
The Pilgrim is a replica of the 3-masted schooner that Richard Henry Dana sailed from Boston to California on in 1843 and upon which he wrote his diary, which became the book and movie “Two Years Before the Mast.
It was a popular overnight field trip site for over 400,000 fourth and fifth graders from throughout Southern California, as they “enjoyed” nights at sea, living the life of a sailor.
It was known to have a leak that was being “handled” and was scheduled for a full pull out, that had been postponed. It is considered a total loss now, and is being salvaged.
It’s been sad for our community, as we have now added the loss of the Pilgrim to everything else that’s going on these days.
Times are definitely changing.
It was Walt Whitman, who wrote the poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” in which he compared The United States to a ship. At the time of his writing, 1865, the US had just ended the Civil War and President Lincoln had just been assassinated.
During his days, times were also changing – drastically.
Through her long and rich history, the good ship – America, has weathered many storms. She has brought joy and fulfillment of dreams to millions of children and their families as she has carried them on their varied adventures.
She is worn but she is not weak. Her values are just, her purpose clear – life and liberty for all. She has taken hits, and may appear to keel, but her foundation is sure and secure. Her hull is not breached, her body resolute. She is not lost and is not sinking.
Her people, aboard her, within her lifelines and rails may be knocked by pounding waves and deadly tempests, yet they will sail through the squalls and they, aboard her will safely dock again in peaceful, quiet harbors.
Times are changing.
But America is strong and resilient because her people are, her foundations are. May we change as needed, where needed but not compromise who we are as Americans and the purpose for which we have been called – life and liberty for all.
Butterflies are such beautiful and delicate creatures that most of us have taken the time to enjoy their movement, colors and mannerisms. Their wings are massive compared to their bodies and don’t even need to be so big for them to fly. They can actually fly with a damaged or broken wing.
They don’t flap their wings either, like birds do. You know – up and down. Butterflies create a figure 8 pattern motion with their wings by constricting their bodies thus moving their wings and propelling them through the air.
Their large wings act like a rudder. The larger the rudder, the faster you can turn a ship. With butterflies, their large wings enable them to turn faster and thereby not become someone’s dinner.
But that’s not all, let’s not forget how butterflies start out… as catepillars, then cocoon, then butterfly!
As that caterpillar is in confinement in his cocoon, the time grows near for his emergence. But that will never happen without a struggle, without pain, without a difficult fight. Without that struggle his transformation is incomplete.
As he pushes through the small hole, his swollen body and small, shriveled wings rub and rub and rub on the cocoon, until his struggle is successful and he emerges, nearly at the point of exhaustion. His body has been resized and is no longer swollen and his wings are dried, strengthened and he is NOW ready to fly.
Without the struggle, he will never grow or fly! This whole process, by the way, takes 5-21 days. Hmmmm.
This struggle that we now face, is not unlike the butterfly’s story.
We have allowed ourselves to become “swollen”, filled with excesses, and accumulation of things. Our ability to spread our huge wings and fly over it all has not been sufficiently developed, partially because the difficulties and frictions of life have been few and manageable.
” As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.”
” Storms make trees take deeper roots.”
” All flowers grow through dirt.”
In this time of “struggle”/confinement – let’s embrace the rubbing, reduce the excess, enjoy the process, persevere, and emerge with gigantic wings to fly above all that is earthbound.
Resist the urge to flap up and down at the same old pattern of your life. Let your wings develop a new pattern of flight and find their strength in practicing this new way, while still in your seclusion. For soon, you will be free to fly and turn quickly in your new found life.
Who knows what “Butterfly Effect” you are destined to cause?
There are 7.77 million species of animals on the planet now and according to the Int’l Institute for Species Exploration 18,000 new species are discovered every year.
So I thought we could take a look at the Animal Kingdom and glean some advice from them and their “adaptations’.
Here’s some advice from:
The cow – with 4 stomachs and a special digestive system that allows it to chew things just enough to swallow, then bring it back up as cud, and chew it again. ADVICE: take time to digest all that’s happening these days but make something useful out of it. (milk)
Leeches – these segmented creatures have 32 brains and 102 segments. Within their internal structure of 32 sections, each section is controlled by a brain. ADVICE: Stupid leeches can’t do anything more than stick to something and suck the life out of it. Surely we can do better than they with our one brain!
Goblin shark – it’s mouth moves out of it’s body and moves independently ADVICE: Let’s not allow our mouth to be out of control and move independently of our brain.
Star nosed mole – looks like it has 3 sets of hands but its star shaped nose is 6x more sensitive than the human hand. ADVICE: Things aren’t always as they appear and sensitivity is required.
Tufted deer – it’s fangs are funny looking but this guy isn’t well studied because he lives at high altitudes of 4,500 meters/2.7 miles above sea level. ADVICE: live above it all. Keep your head up and feet on the rock.
Glass frog – green on the top but it’s belly is transparent, so it’s organs can be seen. ADVICE: staying transparent and revealing what’s inside us is vital among those we’re close to.
Japanese spider crab – grows to 40 lbs. and 13 ft. long at the bottom of the ocean. ADVICE: Although crab is yummy, let’s be careful what we allow to grow in our seclusion. Darkness breeds bad stuff sometimes.
Parrots – selflessly help each other out, regardless of previous relationship or friendship. ADVICE: Ummm… pretty clear. Be parrots. Help.
Slow lorises – the only venomous primates, they secrete a toxin from a gland in the creek of their arms. Their bite causes anaphylactic shock and can cause death in humans. ADVICE: Watch out for toxic people and deceiving hugs – they can do you harm.
Capuchin monkeys – wash their hands and feet with their urine, perhaps to attract the female. UCK!! ADVICE: Keep washing your hands.
Tasmanian devil – make friends for life and share their dens with friends ADVICE: be loyal and supportive in your relationships
the housefly – this pesty creature that annoys us so, actually flys around buzzing in the Key of F! For the non-musical, that means that they are actually buzzing music on pitch and in tune. ALWAYS! ADVICE: don’t let anything swat away your song. Keep singing!
We are all in this thing together. Let’s be wise, stay healthy, and take the advice from our fellow animalia.
The weather is warming up, daylight is extended and energy has possibly increased.
Do you have your Spring cleaning hat on yet?
My husband just cleaned and reorganized under his bathroom sink. Does that count? I definately have areas that need attention. Our garage, although it fits both of our cars is packed. The drawer under my oven, which holds cookbooks, recipes, and placemats is crying for help.
I read several articles with lists, schedules and advice for Spring cleaning. Some were funny, others practical but all very serious about cleaning. They included where to start, why it’s important, and even a cheat sheet to clean like a pro. Cleaning is a serious business.
It really is the season to declutter, clean off excess, get into the hidden places and those places not routinely exposed.
I AM NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE NEED FOR HOUSEHOLD CLEANING. (Phew, right?!) But I would like to use it as a metaphor.
This is a season to declutter. What have we allowed to stack up, pile up in our minds? We don’t remove the stack, we just move it to another place and start a new pile of thoughts, worries, fears, woes. Then we go to another area in our life and allow things there to not be fully addressed, thus one more stack. It’s time to declutter our mind and thinking.
It’s time to think differently. Renew our mind. Pull down old beliefs. Dust off those cobwebs, and give our thinking a good cleaning. Get rid of those stacks of stale, old ideas, think differently about things.
It’s time to clean off excess. Not just the scuff marks from the walls, baseboards and doors, but those scuffs on our heart. Those marks that have been there a long time. Maybe over time they have faded, but they are still there. You know, those longtime grudges. Unforgiven conversations. Bitter memories. They are a black mark on our heart that need some scrubbing.
It’s time to get into the hidden places and those places not routinely exposed. What’s hidden in our closets, drawers and back shelves of our life that needs light, soap, polish, or to just be thrown out? What do we know we need to get rid of, stop doing, stop saying, stop watching, stop listening to – but don’t do it?
Where do we need to give ourselves a clean slate, fresh start, new beginning? Where do we need to open up, be real, expose the dirt, clean it, and move on?
See, if we consistently clean these areas in our thinking and lives one day at a time, we wouldn’t need Spring cleaning. Spring cleaning 365 days of the year is the best way to make that happen.
regarding where to start… “Start at the highest point in the room…”
Let’s start there… let’s look up. Let’s start at the highest point. With God. In whatever room, closet or drawer of our life we need to clean up, let’s start by asking for Higher help. Let’s allow His hands to wash us, clean us, heal us from all the scuff marks of life. Let him remove all the smudges, crustiness, dead things and dust us off real good, so we are sparkling inside and out and smelling oh, so fresh.
Declutter. Clean off excess. Get to those hidden places.
It’s time for Spring cleaning in our life.
Cheers to you.
PS – In the Bible, this is called “repentance”. For those that would like a Bible study on that subject, click on this link. It’s also on our Resources page.
This week, these 2 concepts became a reality in our lives.
Right from the start, I had a real hard time accepting even the terms. My mind raced and emotions raged, “We are not meant to be isolated… we were not made to be at a distance from others…and God, you sent Jesus to close the distance between you and man and between man and his/her neighbor.” I was pretty outspoken about it to those close to me and God.
As it has played out in our life, our community, and our nation, two things have rung true in my heart and mind. I submit them to you.
#1 – There has never been a more important time in our nation for family connections. Family is the single most important influence in our life. Family connections contribute to happiness, mental wellness and physical health. It is well documented that when people feel better connected it leads to a greater degree of support and wholeness psychologically.
In a family, its members feel safe, protected and loved. In that family confidence develops. Emotions are given vent and accepted. Sharing is valued and needed. Love is modeled, shared, given and received. It is unconditional.
This is important for all families. No matter the makeup, structure, or members. No matter the ties that bind it together, ie: blood, marriage, ancestry, affiliation, beliefs, or house of residence.
NOW is the time for our families to be more connected than ever before. No matter how far apart we are spread, how isolated we must stay, or how strained those very family ties may be. Whether all of your family members are in one home, or strewn about the nation. You need them and they need you. Now more than ever.
#2 – Communication is key. I’m sure not one of us would argue the value of effective communication in our family. So not much needs to be said, except DO IT. Communicate with your family.
Be approachable when a loved one wants to talk( even tho’ you are busy.) Allow for all feelings, anger and frustration are delicate issues. Spontaneous or planned conversations, be ready and spearhead both. Remember, “small talk” leads to bigger, and deeper concerns of the heart.
Because your kids may be grown and living away does not change this important key. It is still vitally important, to you, to them. Be vigilant in texts, calls, emails, and all those other fun apps and ways of communicating. (My son just sent me a TikTok this week of he and his finace, it was so funny and uplifting.)
So let’s reinforce, strengthen, and in some cases, even renew those communication lines in our family. Now is the time. There’s nothing that’s more important than family.
In the midst of distancing and quarantine let’s reach out, close the gap, embrace those we love and reassure each one of our support, love and commitment to them, in whatever ways we can.
There’s nothing more important than family.
I would love it if you would send me a pic of your family. Email it to me at the link below. (Then I’d like to put them all on a page to share.)
The significance of surprises, coincidences and mistakes cannot be ignored or undervalued in our lives. They create opportunity to think creatively and solve problems. Fear and frustration constrict our brain from creating. So send those boogers on their way.
Today, I felt impressed to share with you some of my favorite, remarkable stories of things that didn’t go as expected but turned out pretty, darned good and even world changing. All are true stories and you will recognize the products and probably even use some of them.
A Russian chemist, who forgot to wash his hands upon returning home from work, picked up a dinner roll & took a bite. It was sweet. As was each item he ate. He realized what was happening chemically and SACCHARINE, the artificial-sweetener (Sweet N Low) was invented. (See, good things could come from not washing your hands)
A restaurant in Saratoga Springs had a very hard to please patron who 3 times sent back his thickly cut French style potatoes. The third time, the frustrated chef, George Crum, sliced the potatoes as thin as he could, over fried them and covered them in excessive salt. To his surprise, the patron loved them and ordered another round. The POTATOE CHIP was created. (Who knows what good can come of frustration)
Percy Spencer was testing a new vacuum tube when he noticed the chocolate bar in his pocket was melting….welcome to the world… the MICROWAVE.
Charles Goodyear, a struggling businessman had no commercially successful products and his family was starving. After throwing stuff in the air, he invented vulcanized rubber- RUBBER CAR TIRES.
QUININE, the malaria medicine was discovered by a sick Andean man drinking water at the foot of a Quina Quina tree.
Even VIAGRA was an unexpected discovery. It was intended to be a heart medication. It helped other things instead. 🙂
Finally, a walk in the mountains brings about unexpected events too. Enter George de Mestral and his dog, who upon returning home from a walk in the Alps noticed burrs stuck to his clothes and the dog. Looking closer, he saw seeds covered in small hooks. He didn’t realize it, but he was about to invent a revolutionary new fastening system called VELCRO.
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that most heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but, “…that’s funny…”.
Scientists have long said that “the best innovations come from the unexpected.“
Keep in mind that all of these inventions were unexpected and none of these accidental discoveries would have happened without the person realizing its value.
I believe, in this new day we are living, there is arising from the unexpected, opportunity. Opportunity for creative minds to think creative thoughts. Opportunity for needs that arise to be met with new and better solutions. Opportunity for long standing problems to be solved. Opportunity for old ways of education, shopping, selling, serving, to be improved.
Therefore, let us recognize the value of these unexpected times and allow our brains to be freed to create, discover and even fail.
Your experience just might lead to a wonderful new discovery. Really!
Cheers to you.
(Please drop me your thoughts, or comment below. I love reading them.)
Now that we have some “time off”, to be “at home”, which is what we often complain about not having enough time for… now what?
I speak as one in the 65 and over group who is s’pose to stay inside and be isolated – I am being protected. And really, that is pretty much all of now, right?
I love the videos and posts from Mom’s who are pulling their hair out trying to manage their misbehaving kids and figure out what their teacher wants them to do while on “remote learning”. Or the businessman working from home with a newborn, and 3 other kids under the age of 8.
Each of us, whatever our situation or season of life are having to manage our days totally differently than we ever have. But hey, we are managing. Be honest.
But seriously, what do we do for 2 weeks? I offer these ideas:
Find those moments to JUST RELAX. You need it.
Maybe read that book you haven’t had time for
Go outside. Backyard, front porch, balcony. Observe closely what’s out there. Take it in. Enjoy it.
Go for a walk. Take notice of the small things. Stop and look closely at plants, clouds, lizards, a spider web.
Find out, research the answer to a question you’ve always wondered about
Read and study up on your favorite animal.
Try a new recipe.
Bake something different.
Call a friend or family member.
Check in on your neighbors.
Spend time in a quality conversation with your child (each of them)
Work in the garden? With your plants?
Try reading (a new) part of the Bible
and of course there is always cleaning, organizing, etc.
You have the time, use it. Do something wonderful with it. Something you normally would not do, or spend more time doing what you always wished you could.
This virus and it’s precautions may shut us in but they will NOT shut us down. Take advantage of the days. You never know what the future holds.
Find your peace and comfort and relieve stress in your way, doing what helps you.
We all have the same amount of time in a day. It’s up to us how we use it. Make the best of it. Enjoy it. Do something on the lighter side.
It would be easy to say “Prayer changed (es) nothing”, or “I see no change”. We had a National Day of Prayer, so what? Big deal! No change.
Let’s be real. Your state has probably amped up it’s restrictions and guidelines. You most likely have family members and loved ones affected in some way. The places you frequent may be closed and your vacation plans are pending major change. Shoot, my son’s wedding, in Hawaii in May is in jeopardy! AND, this what we found at the store today!
But prayer is not an Amazon order. Place your order and have it delivered in one or two days.
The results of prayer are sometimes obvious and other times not. Sometimes immediate other times delayed. Additionally, the results of prayer are not always outcome driven, results orientated. They often have much more have to do with the process, development, personal growth and increase.
That process is most often linked to growing in faith and reliance upon Someone bigger than me, more powerful, trustworthy and really in charge. Because, even though I am driven to be in charge, I really am not. I do not control it all. I must therefore learn to yield my perceived “in charge” to the One who really is.
I believe we will see results, obvious ones, outcome driven ones as a result of the National Day of Prayer. I will share more about that in a moment.
In the “inbetween” time, what do we do?
“Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.”
Matthew the disciple, chapter 7 verse 7
Again, prayer isn’t a one time shot – like the famed “hail Mary pass”. It’s a process of trusting in Someone bigger than myself and learning to lean on that strength and understanding. It is having faith in something I don’t see. (Like results). It’s trusting His process in and through me.
With all that being said, I do want to share a personal experience or result that came to me yesterday, on our prayer day.
I was impressed to go the beach and stand on the shoreline and pray. So, guess where I went? On the way, I was reminded of Job’s encounter with God in chapter 38, when God basically blasts Job for his know it all attitude and pelts Job with question after question about creation, nature, weather, and affairs of the man. It is in verse 10 & 11 where God says,
“… I fixed limits for the sea, I said this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”
And in that moment, I knew, those words were God’s words to us. In this time. This season. His promise was, that just as the ocean has been appointed limits and boundaries set, so too this virus had set limits and boundaries. AND, as we unite in prayer, those boundaries could be affected and even reduced. Therefore, I was to pray at the beach, on the boundary where sea meets land, “This far and no farther o’ virus. You are under the control of the creator and His limits.”
So what happened? Did the virus miraculously dry up and die? Did it physically leave the bodies it had entered? Did those we lost because of it return to their families? Did the panic and fear disappear?
I dunno. I didn’t see those results. But what I did see (hear and read actually) was increased measures being taken to CONTAIN the virus. Calls for a 15 day containment plan/period. Calls to 65 and older community, to restaurants, movie theatres, libraries. All with the purpose of tightening the lasso on the virus. Enforcing it’s boundaries. Limiting exposure.
“This far and no farther.” Containment. No further infections.
This is again where that whole results thing comes in. I cannot control the results. But I trust and keep on asking the One who does control them. Stop this virus, reel it in, arrest it. I don’t stop or quit. The results are His, but in the process my own life benefits and I grow personally.
So, just maybe there are some pretty miraculous things growing in you, in our nation, in the world as a result of prayer. Let’s keep on asking and trusting Him for the results.
Several days ago, when the news about this virus was breaching our environments, and data was becoming increasingly alarming, I just couldn’t sit quiet any longer and decided to take action.
I called The White House, emailed them too, called Vice President Pence’s office, emailed him, emailed other offices in the White House with jurisdiction and told them “to call for a national day of prayer”. Then, I prayed in earnest, waiting, expecting to hear an announcement. Now I am positive I was not the only one making this request for a national day of prayer, but I am happy to say I was one voice.
AND IT HAPPENED! Last night, President Trump called for this Sunday to be A National Day of Prayer.
I’m not here to argue the President’s spiritual fervor because I believe with the office of the presidency comes authority delegated by a higher power – no matter who the president is. Given that, his declaration, to call for Americans of all faiths and all faith levels to rally in this National Emergency is fantastic and vital for our nation’s healing. (in every way)
YOUR prayer is vital, needed, important. All of our prayers united, are powerful! Where two or three agree in prayer there is power, healing, change, and answers.
Prayer changes things. It changes us, but it also changes things. We can come boldly to God and lift up whatever request is on our heart and He will hear us. (Heb. 4:16; Eph. 6:18; 1 John 5:14)
If we are anxious, sick or in trouble when we pray He hears us. (Phil. 4:6; Jas. 5:13)
If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our evil ways, He has promised to HEAL OUR LAND! (2 Chron. 7:14) Boy, do we need that right now. Healing in so many areas. America needs healing.
I am convinced, as Americans join together in prayer that the tide will supernaturally shift and this super virus will be halted and America (and the globe) will be spared further devastation.
Please join us. No matter your faith or your level of faith. You can:
call out for healing in our land
ask for wisdom and divine strategies for the leaders in charge
plead for the spread of the virus to be arrested
pray for the nation to be strong and united
ask for healing of those who are ill and protections for those who are not
call for a healing of the economy and businesses
ask for minimal effects to businesses, and schools
pray for the healthcare providers for strength, protection & wisdom
plead for Americans to be united
ask for personal forgiveness and healing
trust God to do a miracle
Prayer gives us a better sense of self and brings us closer the Higher Power. Prayer reduces ego and promotes humility. Prayer improves your attitude, reduces stress and gives us hope.
In prayer we have the amazing privilege of talking to the One who loves us, listens to us and yet holds the globe between his fingers. The One in who’s omnipotence we trust. In prayer, we come boldly asking yet trusting in His mercy and forgiveness.
This is the call. This is the day. This is what our nation needs, what we need.
IT’S TIME TO PRAY.
If you’re in, and are gonna pray, please leave me a message. I’d love to know and pray with you.
Before you read further, please click on the video…
Although the video may seem a bit silly, it makes 4 important points:
How do you do that? (be so calm)
You never know when you might get hit
Aren’t you afraid?
Hang on to those, we will come back to them.
We are living in unprecedented days which are evolving with new challenges and fears every hour. Our lives, plans, futures, minds, emotions, and spirit have been burst upon with unexpected concerns and fears.
Fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.”
Fear, the emotion most of us are wrestling with today, is a common emotion and is meant to promote survival. Fear helps protect us, makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. It is natural and helpful, like a warning, a signal that tells us to be careful.
When the fear is triggered the brain instantly sends signals to the nervous system and the body responds. The heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure all increase. Muscle groups get ready for action and the skin begins to sweat, readying for the “Fight or Flight” battle, until the ALL CLEAR signal sounds. Then, all systems return to normal.
Fear is activated in the brain seconds before the thinking part of the brain can process what’s happening. So that’s why sometimes we are startled by a loud noise, even though it’s no harm.
Lastly on fear… although it is a healthy response it can become unhealthy. Science tells us that fear releases hormones that shut down systems we don’t need for the fight or flight. It weakens immune systems, effects heart damage, GI issues and even fertility. Fear tells the brain to immediately respond to the overactive signals from the Amygdala (the part of the brain that deals with emotions) rather than the more rational parts of the brain. (“Amygdala hijack”)
Well thanks, Deb, that’s encouraging, I heard someone whisper… Ok, so let’s go back to those 4 points from the video.
#1 – How do you do that?
How do you stay calm in the face of fear and what it is doing in your head and heart? (city and nation)
Because part of fear is feeling loss of control, and my inability to control that event/thing – I seek out The One who holds all things in His control. The One to whom winds, waves, nature, all living things, all rulers, all powers and principalities AND EVEN VIRUSES respond to.
” When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
King David Psalm 56:4
Psalm 91 – those who stay close to God are protected from deadly pestilence for He will cover you
Psalm 23:4 – even though I walk through the valley with a shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me
#2 You never know when you might get hit
That’s right. You don’t know what the future holds. But I do know this –
” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”
The prophet Jeremiah, chapter 29 verse 11
So no matter what happens, I choose to trust His plans for me, my family, friends and associates.
#3 Aren’t you afraid?
To be honest, concerned a little, but there is a peace that permeates my heart because of who I trust and place my faith in. And when fear does come, (and be sure it does) I go to those verses above and choose to trust Him and His plan. That’s faith.
#4 You believe
Yup. That’s it. I choose to beleive in someone bigger than the situation, news, CDC, President, virus, or the panic. But I don’t believe in some passive, naive way. I’m not hiding my head in the sand. I’m actively contending within my own mind, spirit and emotions to not let fear get hold of me. It’s a battle. But I believe. I choose to. I will not give way to fear and panic. I believe.
In closing, I am reminded of these famous words:
” These are the times that try men’s souls.”
Thomas Paine 1776
In these times may we be found strong in faith as we are learning to overcome our fear.
On a peaceful, sunny day at the harbor, as the boater was enjoying the water and plentiful sunshine, a thought entered the boater’s mind. “I think I should prepare the dinghy for the storm that’s coming. I should go and put the cover on it, before the storm arrives.”
But the boater was busy with other things, and after those were done, the boater knew they would be too tired to deal with preparations for the dinghy and the coming storm too. So the boater brushed off that “prepare” thought and continued to enjoy the beautiful, sunshiny day at the harbor.
But the sunshine and peace didn’t last, and the storm came as expected. The boater knew that now, in the midst of the storm the dinghy must be covered or it would fill up with water and be overcome and perhaps even be sink. So the boater, with rain falling, winds blowing, clothes drenched, body aching, covered the dinghy with much effort and grumbling, because the boater knew that they should have prepared the dinghy earlier, before the storm arrived.
I believe you could easily glean a moral or two from this parable. So, please do. Apply it and gain from it anything you see.
My intended purpose was to use my real life experience, as a lesson and picture of what’s happening in our world today.
Yes, I am the boater in this parable who didn’t pay attention to the voice that said “Prepare. I didn’t prepare before the storm. I ignored the signs and weather forcasters warning of the coming storm.
We are living in stormy times and I fear a storm is still on the horizon. Reputable forecasters are speaking of it and issuing warnings to “Prepare”. It behooves us to pay attention to the coming storm and prepare.
There are many ways to prepare. Look inside yourself, evaluate the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs there. Look up for help. Look in your family, home, place of business, church, bank, store. Begin to prepare.
The urgency of the day says it’s time to prepare. Not wait til the storm arrives, because then the winds will blow and rain will fall, your body will be achy, and you will be grumbling. Now is the time to prepare.
Please, accept a Parable from the Unprepared Boater – ME.
Been thinking a lot about our national motto – In God We Trust. Frankly, I think I forgot it was more than a phrase on our money and that it had been selected as our national motto. Oops…
It first appeared on US coins in 1864, when it appeared on the 2 cent coin. It was after the Secretary of Tresury Salmon Chase received requests for the US to recognize the Diety on coins. That first letter came to him in 1861 and it was not long after that he directed the US Mint in Philadelphia to prepare a motto. In his letter to them, he said,
“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God…the trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delyay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.”
Solomon Chase, Director of Treasury 1861
After legal issues were settled, on April 22, 1864, In God We Trust first appeared on the 2 cent coin. In 1873 The Coinage Act stated that it may be inscribed on other coins. By 1938 all US coins bore the motto.
Then on July 30, 1956, the 84th Congress approved IN GOD WE TRUST as the national motto and President Eisenhower signed the bill. In 1957 the national motto was first used on US paper money.
Fast forward and look at the tremendous change in American thinking:
1984 – the courts use the phrase “ceremonial deism” to say that the motto “through constant use has lost it’s religious content and is no longer religious in nature.”
1994 – The Freedom From Religion sued the federal government to have In God We Trust removed from currency.
2006 – CA Court of appeals – “the national motto… has no theological or ritualistic impact and is purely secular, patriotic and ceremonial in character.”
2019 – The American Athiests condemned the North Dakota bill allowing the display of the national motto in public schools.
There’s so much more, but I don’t want to loose you in the History.
It has become apparent that not everyone agrees that In God We Trust. So I ask, what do YOU trust in? Money, friends, family, self, God…
Trust is the basis of all human systems of morality. Upon what do you build that trust? I don’t care if it’s “Affective trust” – trusting with your heart, or “Cognitive trust” – trusting with your head. Psychologists say those are the 2 kinds of trust, so pick one or the other, or both.
At the bedrock of your life, my life, what’s there to attach trust to? In the stresses and storms of life, what holds me secure? When loss and pain overcome me, who/what do I take it to? When the Coronavirus scares me and threatens my loved ones, who or what strengthens and comforts me? What do you trust in for confidence, strength, hope, comfort, support?
I think that Secretary Chase, President Eisenhower and millions of others through the ages actually got it right. But that’s my opinion, my belief. It is also my purpose for writing this and my hope – that you, too, will trust in God.
Just today I had a conversation with a friend in which I said, “I don’t believe everything I am told. Far too often, I don’t believe people tell the truth”. This so reminded me of the dozens of times my sister and I have had similar conversations.
Is it 41 years of teaching and hearing so many “stories”? Is it working with teenagers for so long? Is it the culture? Is it the society? Is it the years I spent working in jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers? Is it having raised a son in the 1990’s? Is it just me? I dunno. I can say that my sister and my friend are both waaaay more trusting and believing than I am.
Where do you stand? Are you a believer in what people tell you or a doubter?
The truth is, if you listen to much news, or politics, or are privy to administrative meetings, sales reps, and commercial pitches you will find it sorely lacking. Especially in this modern age of being “woke”. Unfortunately, “truth” has morphed into “my truth”, “your truth”, “their truth”. What has happened to truth?
Then, there is the old English, long, lost word – righteousness. It’s not used much, but it’s root is – righteous. Now that’s used as more of an old, cool, trendy, surfer, exclamation – “That’s righteous”. (Can you tell I grew up in the 60’s/70’s?) Where else is it used? The Righteous Brothers? (sorry another old one)
Do our young people even know what it is? Sometimes I wonder the same about truth. What’s happened to righteousness?
Here’s the deal, I don’t particularly like the direction our society is going. I’m not a fan of what has become accepted as the “norm”, the “everyone’s doing it” ploy. You can agree or disagree. But I am not willing to let society (and our kids) go uncontested, unchallenged, and down this slippery slope.
I am not willing to give in to the “no absolutes” philosophy or the “accepting everything” morals. I believe there are absolutes and truth is not just “my” truth”, but “the truth”. (Sorry Oprah)
“Truth – that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”
“Righteousness – acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin”
“Righteous – (of a person or conduct) morally right; virtuous. Very good, excellent.”
I just feel that we can make an impact by what we say, do and believe. By what we stand up for, speak up for and won’t stand for.
We can make a difference by speaking the truth and not compromising on confronting untruths. Holding to truthfulness.
We can make a difference by living “rightly” – righteous, in righteousness. We’re not perfect, but we can choose to live right, and we can choose to do what is right and not be troubled by guilt.
It’s March, nearly spring – officially, and it is beginning to look like it all around us. Plants and flowers are beginning to open up and show off their beauty. Seeds have sprouted (or soon will), and the 300,000 species of Kingdom Plantae are about to display what’s really in them. These angiosperms will produce flowers and bear their seeds in fruits because that is what they were designed to do – bear seeds and fruit.
Inside the plant is a gene called “apetala 1” and it tells the plant to start blooming. That gene is triggered when the petals within the bud start growing to the point that they invert because they have filled with so much water and the only place to go is out! So out they come. BLOOM. Flowers. Beauty. Bam.
“The process of flowers opening up is part of plants reproductive cycle. If a plant does not bloom or develop seeds, it cannot be pollinated. A plant that blossoms is mature and ready to take part in the development of seeds that will carry new plant life to surrounding areas.”
God had this whole seed, plant, flower, thing going on from the very beginning. And from the beginning, it has been of the utmost importance to Him and us. You see, it was there, He instructed us, mankind, to “Be fruitful and multiply…”. Bloom. Bear fruit. Plant seeds. Grow. Reproduce.
We can understand that having children is not all that is implied here, right? In fact, we can be fruitful and multiply without ever parenting a child. But as we grow and mature, fill up, and finally open up/bloom, we are being fruitful and bearing seeds. Just as seeds are a plants’ offspring, our offspring are the seeds we have developed and planted in the lives of others. The seeds we carry and plant are meant to bring life to the surrounding area. The seeds we plant will bear fruit. The seeds we plant will multiply. That trusty “apetala 1” gene has programed the seed with exactly what to do – BLOOM.
I really believe this Spring is your Spring.
Your Spring to be reminded of the seeds that you have developed and planted in others. The power of your seeds to produce life. The power of the seeds you are planting. (Positive or negative?) The power of you opening up and showing the world your beauty. The power of you blooming. The power of your superbloom.
(Inserting a preemptive apology to my Catholic friends and followers… I am sorry.)
As a Protestant, (that even holds a Theology degree) I have never honored Ash Wednesday as anything unique, other than the start of the Easter season. But I have observed those who attend an Ash Wednesday service and usually receive a cross made of ashes on their forehead to wear for a day.
I’ve never done so myself.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday when this will be practiced by thousands all over the world, so I’d like to address a couple of things about it. Consider it a short Lent refresher class with value for you (and me) regardless of what we believe.
“Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter) marks the beginning of Lent which is a 40-day period (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection and celebration.” (Christianity.com/Kelly Givens) It is intended to represent the 40 day period that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. It’s purpose is for believers to have a set time each year to focus on Jesus’ life, sacrifice and resurrection. For them to have a set time each year to self-reflect, evaluate, repent as needed and say no to their own desires by fasting (going without) some food or thing.
Without any ashes on my forehead, I see great value in that.
There’s no doubt in my mind that our world in general and my/your personal world would benefit from more reflective and evaluative times like this. Times when we intentionally deny our wants to pursue a new set of eyes, decluttered heart and fresh purpose.
Although the Catholic Church observes specific “rules” for this season, that is not my vision for us/this.
I truly believe that those who are looking for inspiration, change, breakthrough, effectiveness, wisdom, strength, and purpose will find it in this concept and can find it in this 40-day season.
Change doesn’t come by doing the same thing over and over. That’s called a rut. Others have called it a grave. Change comes because someone dared to do something different. Something different has been done and thereby reflected in something new and fresh in your life.
What do you have to loose should you give yourself to a season of personal evaluation & repentance? What’s the down side of refusing to indulge in something you like for a while? Seriously? You will not die without it! That’s sacrifice.
What just might happen in your life should you get intentional about the changes you may be looking for? What might happen should your effort match your desire? Isn’t the change you seek worth it?
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to preach. I am just so passionate about this right now because I am giving myself to this concept beginning March 1- April 9. Those are my 40 days! My lent. And I am excited… albeit a bit nervous, but I’m in. Going for it.
Anyone wanna join me?
Do whatever you feel, go without what you feel impressed to, but don’t stay in a rut. Let’s do some reflection, repentance, and celebrating change! Let’s get off the “rut” freeway.
Do they make your brain hurt, your eyes enlarge or your head shake? What is your response to the one (or ones) who clearly misaligned these pictures? What were THEY thinking?
I love these types of pics and am one who is driven a lil cray-cray by them. I am also the one who when reattaching the wall socket plug plate, screws in the screws so that they wind up facing the same direction.
I also oftentimes rearrange the cups in the top shelf of the dishwasher and sometimes even the silverware too. At my boat, I have taken flack from my son because “I’m obsessive” about winding the dock lines.
And while we’re on the topic of the boat, my philosophy definitely is “a place for everything and everything in it’s place.”
Here’s the deal. According to a Healthline article by Julia Haskins, April, 2014
“Obsessive-compulsive thinking is completely normal, with about 94% of the population experiencing some kind of unwanted or intrusive thought…”
In a study across six continents and 13 countries, more than 90% of the participants reported having “unwanted, intrusive thoughts”. (UIT)
The article goes on to say, “unwanted, intrusive thoughts may be a nuisance, but even the strangest thoughts that cross our minds are really quite common”. “It’s how people react to these thoughts that’s of the greatest concern. Most people are able to brush off irritating yet benign thoughts, but for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder…it’s much more difficult.”
So, see, I am normal in that regard. And that would mean so is my husband (who measures inches from the wall to his desk), my son (who is detail obsessed), my friend (who notices when things are moved in her room), and my boss (who teaches me to properly align the jewelry showcases & notices when they are NOT perfect).
What about you? Are you part of the 94% who also have a touch of OCD?
You see, whether someone is in the 94% or the 6% (who don’t), it’s how people react to those thoughts that’s the greatest concern. Are you able to recognize the “obsessive” rolling of the ropes, and rearranging of the cups as a nuisance and brush it off?
Do you see that you do have control over those pesty UIT’s ? (unwanted intrusive thoughts). Do you understand that you CAN control them and make efforts to do so?
THAT’S the difference between it being an nuisance or a disorder.
I tease and am teased all the time about being OCD, and truthfully, 94% of us are to some degree. But it’s no joke to any who have been or should be diagnosed with OCD. That is 2.3% of the population, 2.2 million adults in the US in 2018, 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 kids.
Those diagnosed with OCD (Daniel Radcliffe, Frank Sinatra, Howie Mandel, Charlize Theron, Leo DiCaprio or Howard Stern) have had to learn how to react to those UIT’s. How to best control them. They have found help and a way to best manage them and so can you.
Take whatever step is next for you. Some may seek help. Others will adjust the jewelry cases or make a detailed list. Still others will look at the pictures at the top of this blog and marvel that someone would actually do THAT!
I recently saw this on my walk (actually I’ve seen it hundreds of times but this time I stopped, studied it, and shot a pic of it).
Each time I’ve walked by it I’ve been struck with the absolute beauty of the perfectly sculptured tree in the middle (I don’t know what kind it is), how high it is, (probably 50-75 feet high) and how it just doesn’t fit in with the other trees. There’s no way this tree is weekly manicured and tended too, it’s just to high to reach. And yet, it’s stunning beauty, perfect lines and symmetry are impossible to miss. It stands out.
It’s easy to see why it seems like it doesn’t belong or fit on this hillside. There’s not another tree like it anywhere near this spot. It simply is not like the other trees, not even close. It appears to have nothing in common with the other trees, (except being a tree). The external comparisons are off the charts, bonkers! It is alone, significantly different from all the others, and totally outnumbered by the others.
And yet, here it is. Standing tall. Beautiful. Eye catching. And, hopefully proud.
The applications seem apparent, obvious.
You are THAT beautiful, perfectly sculptured, lonely, different, tall, eye catching and hopefully proud tree. Within your DNA is the design to make you stand out from the crowd, stand alone as YOU, and make a beautiful difference on your hillside.
When you feel like you don’t fit or belong or are too different, just look at this picture and remember “You were made to stand out” and bring stunning beauty to your surroundings.
Flourish. Be you. Stand out. Be different. THAT’S what you were made to do.
Feel sluggish, low in spirits/energy, depressed, perhaps unmotivated, unchallenged?
In a state of stagnation? Experiencing a lack of activity or progress? Feeling “stuck”?
All of us, at one time or another have faced these feelings and have had to decide what to do with them. How to maneuver through them, how to learn from them.
Allow me to utilize some sailing similes as we drift through the afore mentioned feelings or “DOLDRUMS’. Have you been in the “doldrums”?
You younger ones perhaps have never heard that idiom used before. To be in the doldrums means – to be inactive, dull, quiet, sluggish, or lethargic. It was used in the 18th century when referring to a sluggish person, or a doldrum.
But alas, even that expression comes from the maritime use of doldrums. You see, sailors hate (and have for a very long time) the doldrums. Why? Because the doldrums are a monotonous, windless section of the ocean, where sailing ships sometimes get stuck on the water for weeks at a time. The doldrums are referred to as “an ocean parking lot around the Equator”. (Joano Turner, Theoceanrace.com)
The doldrums are a 50-250 mile wide strip of ocean that runs 5 degrees above the Equator to 5 degrees below the Equator. It is the section of the ocean at the Equator where there are no winds. The trade winds from the North meet the trade winds from the South and as they are heated, those winds rise up, leaving no steady surface winds on the ocean. “The doldrums are a band of calms & light baffling winds North & South of the Equator in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.” A sailor could sail for weeks in a flat, calm ocean.
The doldrums also have a reputation as being the “dead zone”. It can be a life and death issue for sailors, as running out of food and water while stalled out there can lead to delirium, scurvy, starvation and cabin fever. In addition, the intense solar air at the Equator makes this ocean area not only the “dreaded doldrums” but also “the desert of the ocean”.
Stay with me… besides science and sailing, we’re talking about you and me, too. But in a moment…
The sailing pros who deal with the doldrums most effectively are those who race in the 8 month, 45,000 nautical mile, around the world sailing race, called The Volvo Ocean Race. Every three years it is held, usually begins in Spain, consists of 9/10, 20 day legs, reaching 6 continents, until the world has been circumnavigated.
What do you do in the doldrums? How do you get out? Get through? Here’s the advice from those pros.
” A major priority – avoid allowing boats to stop completely because overcoming inertia to get moving again requires significant increase of wind strength. A strategy for getting through includes a series of short term tacks…” (The Equator Doldrums Explained 11/15/11, Volvo Ocean Race)
Let’s bring this back to us now.
There are times we get stuck, feel unmotivated, uninspired, sluggish, stagnant & like we’re not making any progress. There are times we are in the doldrums of life. We’re in the “dead zone” or “desert”. It’s dry, hot, monotonous, boring and there is no noticeable forward progress. It can be dangerous, even life threatening too, if we don’t learn how to deal with it. We, like sailors, hate the doldrums, and we can escape them like great sailors.
The major priority – do not come to a complete stop. Do not. No checking out. No hiding. No withdrawing. Stay in the game. Keep up relationships. Keep plodding though. Be honest with yourself and keep moving. Small, strategic tacks (course changes) will get you out of the dreaded doldrums.
We can usually tell when we are approaching the doldrums. THAT’S the time to make a slight course change. Not when we are already stopped and totally depressed. Remember, it takes more strength to overcome the inertia of a stationary object (you/me) than it does to make a course correction.
With skillful sailing and wise choices, we can make it through the doldrums of life. We can avoid being stuck in the dead zone for any major length of time by making those strategic tacks. We can avoid cabin fever, starvation & delirium.
Cool thing too about the doldrums, as slow as they are, you can go from 1 to 100 in seconds, because of the erratic weather patterns.
So, hang on, change is coooooooommmmiiinnngggg!!!! We’re busting loose of those dreaded doldrums.
Every day is the right season for love, not just on Valentine’s Day. It has nothing to do with having a special someone in your life, exchanging sappy cards or purchasing flowers or a nice dinner out.
It has to do with you. How you choose to love and be loved. How you love yourself. How you love others. How you recognize love in your surroundings. How you accept love. How you allow love to change you. How your love changes others. You are the object of love.
Here’s the standard for love.
” Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyously celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving.”
The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (The Passion Translation)
If that is the standard for love, and I believe it is, then I have a lifetime job of living up to THAT love. I don’t need a boyfriend, husband, wife, girlfriend or lover. I don’t need a best friend, sister, brother, child or acquaintance to work on this love. If I’m being honest, this love, is my homework application everyday of my life.
As I learn to accept this lavish love it will change me. This love will show in my life with patience, gentleness, kindness, humility, respect, honesty, faith and perseverance. This love will be more than just a season of love, it will become the measure of my whole life.
On THIS day, when Hallmark’s business is off the charts and florists are filling orders like crazy, know this – YOU ARE LOVED. You are loved by the very one who wrote the standard of love and then demonstrated the full extent of that lavish, pure and freeing love. You are loved by the very one and only one who can empower you to live by His standard of love.
Renew your pursuit of love and allow Love to overcome you. Not just for a season.
1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”
My husband was recently told that because of his 4,500 Twitter followers, he is an influencer. (who knew?)
PewDiePie, is the number 1 most followed YouTuber with 80.6 million. The Brazilian, Whindersson Nunes 77.2 million followers. Kylie Jenner 147 million Instagram followers, earning her a hefty $1.2 million per post. All of these are referred to as influencers.
According to those who study such things, influencers are described in the following categories:
mega influencers = more than a million followers
macro influencer = 100,00 – 1,000,000 followers
micro influencer = 1,000 – 100,000 followers
nano influencer = less than 1,000 followers
Although the nano influencer is a relatively new breed, marketing companies find great benefits in working with them. Some of the benefits are: they are authentic, they are approachable, they work hard and they are cost effective. “Sometimes thinking big involves thinking small.” (“Nano Influencers: Everything You Need to Know”, izea.com, 10/2019)
On a related tangent, remember the Six Degrees of Separation idea? Everyone is connected to each other through others they know, by 6 rounds of introductions. There is significant data to support this, even in a world of 7 billion people. In 1990 the play came out which took the 1929 idea to stage. But in 2011, FaceBook did a study that said it is no longer 6 degrees that separate us but merely 4.74 degrees that separate us from one another.
Well, again I ask, are you an influencer?
Most of us would probably say “no”. Then, we’d qualify it in some way, especially in light of the categories listed above. However, consider this.
Data shows that the average person probably touches over 80,000 lives in their lifetime! Here’s how-
average lifespan 78.3 years
we remember people after age 5
365.24 days per year
3 new people/day
(78.3 – 5) x 3 x 365.24 = 80,316.276
Are you an influencer? ABSOLUTELY, YES!
You have family and loved ones in your tightest circle. Maybe a few good friends. Other friends. Meaningful contacts. Acquaintances. And people you recognize. Within those circles of influence, the average person will have 2,220 people! ALL AFFECTED by YOU. Granted, you’re closer to some more than others, but you are an influence in their lives.
Let that sink in, lest you have thought you weren’t an influencer. You have a unique influence on those around you. You have had influence your whole life up to this point and you will continue to have influence long after you are gone.
Please don’t diminish your influence. Don’t let anything, any one or any voice depreciate your valuable influence on those around you. Expand your influence. Increase your influence. Use your influence. Nano influencers have tremendous influence, value and importance. They are, you are, the building blocks of life’s relationships, the chains in our interconnectedness.
Within your circle of influence you are authentic, approachable. People need that, need you. Your circles are connected to someone else’s circles, and so on goes your influence. We are all connected, and at it’s core is your influence. My influence. We ARE influencers. “Sometimes thinking big, involves thinking small.” One person at a time. 80,000 in our lifetime, connecting the world one degree at a time.
One last time, are you an influencer? (Am I hearing a resounding “YES!”?)
… helps to improve health, simplify lifestyle and weight loss
… has powerful effects on the body and brain
… helps cells initiate the repair process
… skyrockets human growth hormone 5 fold
… reduces bad cholesterol
… may prevent cancer in animals
… promotes positive brain health (BDNF hormone increases)
… extends life expectancy (in rats) 36-83%
… all stats according to HEALTHLINE.com
What is it? What do you think?
We’ll get to it, hang in there, (if your’e still wondering).
I was researching this particular topic last fall because it was interesting and piqued my curiosity. In my view it represented a much larger principle and need in our society. And forget society even, it represented a much larger NEED in MY LIFE .
What? IF. Intermittent fasting.
“Periods of eating and fasting – an eating pattern. Fasting from time to time.”
I won’t spend time here giving you the value of periodioc fasting, although there are vast lists of physical, mental, lifestyle and spiritual benefits. Check them out should you be interested.
To me, diet or health were not the major issues or interest. The greater principle at hand was SELF DENIAL.
We live in a “must have” world. We have unlimited streaming, 1-2 day shopping/delivery, snacks anytime we want, fast mobil connections to pretty much anyplace we choose. We can get it delivered, get picked up at our door step, shop at will, buy in bulk, and upgrade or increase our limits for more.
More, more, more. Indulge, enjoy, repeat. We always want more. And often a voice within tells us we deserve everything we want. But having more doesnt make us happier.
“As people grow accustomed to material goods, they often experience hedonic adaptation and are less inclined to savor daily pleasures.”
Psychology Today, Dr. Allen McConnell Ph.D.
In the same article, Dr. McConnell suggests that intentionally withholding access to pleasurable things would boost savoring daily pleasures. He then designed a scientific study at the University of British Columbia to test
“Could self-denial increase happiness?”
His research included 55 undergraduate students and chocolate. It’s a fun study to read. At the end of his study, his outcome
“The restricted access participants (to chocolate) were happier than members of the other two groups.”
In his Quiodback and Dunn study he demonstrated that self-denial actually makes people happier, in part because they learn to savor more and look forward to it.
When was the last time I denied myself, actually said a big, fat no to something I wanted (and didn’t really need)? Humph…
Well, I began the new year determined to practice that helpful and healthy habit. I would intentionally deny myself what I wanted (and didn’t need). I found myself doing this across the boards in my life. “Self-denial – restraining, curbing one’s desires- to reduce”. Besides curbing physical appetites I wanted to add the spiritual dimension too. So my 2020 lifestyle has included not IF/intermittent fasting in the trendy diet sense, but fasting in the Biblical sense. Denying self to gain bigger, borader, more powerful and important goals. I needed to practice self-denial.
The results? WELL WORTH the sacrifice! The Benefits? Beyond this world. AM I happy? Never been more. (and my Amazon shopping has plummeted!)
IF, it’s not just a health and fitness trend. Denying self (and fasting) is an eternal principle with eternal benefits and with rewards of happiness and daily satisfaction. (and spiritual breakthrough)
When was the last time you said “no” to your wants? When was the last time you denied yourself?
Greater happiness is waiting.
Cheers to you (unless you’re denying yourself tonight ) 🙂
When someone falls out of a chair and you laugh, or thows a ball and it bounches back and hits them. You know, the kind of stuff that makes the TV show “Americas Funniest Videos” so funny and Youtube videos so watched.
Defined, it means = finding joy in others troubles.
I’m not bagging on it today, but I’m not writing about it either. Nope, not schandenfreude.
I so enjoy my walks, and often observe interesting things while on them. Today was one of them and it is the capstone of a series of thoughts that have been brewing inside my crazy head. Today, I saw this –
I walked several steps by it but then turned around, returned and shot the photo, all the while amazed by the thoughtfulness of whoever lived there. And I thought, I don’t know these people, but I do know that they love dogs. On the same street are several signs posted in yards about cleaning up after your dog. But this home/yard/driveway was blessing the doggies. Doing something for them, just because. I was blown away. (And kinda sad I hadn’t brought Gunner, our dog.)
But that reminded me of other things I had observed on walks that were surprising. Things that were left on the trail/walk that someone had taken the time and thoughtfulness to purposely leave for someone else’s joy. Here are a few-
Each time I was totally amazed that someone would do that. Especially build that driftwood path covering. They specifically intended it to cover the path. I’ve seen other driftwood shelters on the beach, but this was strategically placed to cover the path. You HAD to walk under it. (Where shade was)
And the fairy homes???? More than 1 mile of trail (a very steep and mountainous trail too) was beautified with the meticulous and precisely designed homes and with much personal cost from the creative artisans.
All of these, I’m sure brought joy to the builder, but they were left to bring joy to others. The doggie treats too, were left to bring joy to others. All were intentional, sacrifical, and selfless. Each, not knowing who would pass but wanting to impact their day. Not schandenfreude!
Blown away. Amazed. Surprised. And blessed! Huge, goofy smile each and every time.
I want to do that. Unexpectedly surprise and bring joy to others. Be selfless. Do things for others without any need for repayment. Bless others on their daily walk. Not schandenfreude.
It’s too bad that we seem most impressed with living a full and meaningful life in the face of death or loss. Kobe hit us that way, and I’m sure you could name others, either from your life or the public who also brought this truth to life for you.
I can name several times in my life that I felt that urgency in the face of death & loss. This one time, I even acted on it and got this tattoo, to remind me to live life each day fully.
I recently read this portion, and it brought home the issue again. I felt impressed to share it with you.
SEIZE LIFE! Eat bread with gusto. Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes – God takes pleasure in your pleasure. Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it…
That’s quite the message. But isn’t it so true?
Take from Solomon whatever YOU need to challenge you to SEIZE YOUR LIFE. The only thing stopping you is you.
Each day is a gift. Dress colorful. Eat with gusto. Enjoy your glass of wine. Relish your family. Whatever turns up each day, grab it. Do it, with heart.
This week we finally got our piano tuned and it got me thinking about how we use “tune up” and it’s related phrases in our language and life. Here are the ones that quickly came to mind.
car tune up
we tune in (to a program) or
we tune out
we try to get in tune with ( with someone or a way of thinking)
we change our tune
an instrument is in tune or
out of tune
Can you think of others?
There were two “lessons” that came to me during our piano tuning process.
Standard – there is always a standard for the tuning. In music the standard is tuning to A-440. For car tune ups, the standard is the manufacturers code, for radio/tv frequencies there are specific “fixed frequencies” in hertz. Even if we are attempting to get in tune with someone or some thing – that person or thing is the standard we are seeking to adapt to.
Accommodation – THIS one surprised me! Our piano man told us that the piano was going to be tuned low, to A-427. (That’s 13 degrees below “standard”) He said, there would be too much tension on the strings and hammers and some would possibly snap if we went too high. “The stress would be too great.” So, it is a perfectly normal practice to tune all 88 keys, in tune with one another, but to 427. The piano would be “in tune”, but to an accommodated standard. (Down the line, he said we would get another tuning to bring it up to 440.)
Application of “my lessons”:
There is and ought to be a standard in our lives for tuning, adjusting, configuring our thoughts, attitudes, ideas, beliefs, etc. It is what we should strive for – The Standard.
However, God has no interest in having us snap and live in constant tension under the stress of reaching for what appears to be an unattainable standard at this time. So He, in His grace, allows accommodations for us. For this time and space in our life, He allows for “baby steps” in our tuning. Smaller degrees of change that will eventually lead to “living up to the standard”. So we can be in tune, and still not up to standard. The standard is our goal, and will always be this side of heaven. But to be in tune now is what is attainable, needed and up to us.
What’s your standard? What accommodations are needed? Is it time for a tune up?
My theme for the start of 2020 has been “Bust loose”, or put another more active way, “Bustin loose”.
Although I don’t often reference The Urban Dictionary, I will here. Bust loose means, ” to lose ones temper in a surprising & entertaining way, exhibiting courage & testiness that clearly proves one’s status as a non-sissy.” (I exchanged “sissy” for the less crass word they used.)
SO here’s my take-away: It’s time to get down right angry at the things that have bound us up and bust loose in an entertaining and surprising way. Prove to God and the world you are not a sissy, or whimp. It’s time to BUST LOOSE.
” Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
Your voice is important. No one else can speak with your voice.
Your voice is as distinguishing as your fingerprint and your DNA. Your voice is uniquely you. It is determined by the finely tuned working of your specifically designed lungs, larynx, vocal folds, and 19 other points between those folds and your lips. The custom shapes of all of those parts of your body make your voice uniquely – your voice. You are an engineering masterpiece.
“Voice” is defined as:
a sound produced…
a particular opinion or attitude
to express something in words
Your metaphorical voice is as unique as your physical voice. The way you express yourself, speak truth, is to be like no one else – unique. Your metaphorical voice is based on your experiences, your values, beliefs, and your perspective. Expressing your voice is vital. Expressing your voice is more important than being heard. Of course, we want to be heard, but finding your voice should not be dependent on someone to hear it.
Recent studies have shown that “the human voice is more powerful a tool for expressing emotion than previously assumed.” The Human Voice Can Communicate 24 Emotions (UC Berkeley), awe, adoration, interest, sympathy, and embarrassment to name a few.
An Israeli company, “VoiceSense”, in a recent article entitled, “Mining Secrets in Your Voice” declares,
“Give us someone’s voice, and we’ll tell you what they will do.”
There is evidence that there are personal insights contained in our own speech. Insights that reveal emotions and tendencies to act. Your voice is highly personal and hard to fake the emotions behind it.
So what’s the point here?
You were given your uniquely designed voice – physical and metaphorical. No one can use it. No one controls it. No one knows what personal insights your voice will reveal. It’s yours alone. Finding and using your voice is key to freedom, value, purpose, healing and happiness.
And best of all, The Creator designed your voice and gave it to you because He wants to hear it. He is listening for your voice.
There are times when you just know you gotta do this. You can’t let it pass, you can’t procrastinate, put it off, or ignore it.
This was one of those times for me and my husband. And it did not disappoint!
We heard fantastic preachers, songs, and leaders from all over the nation. We met others who were driven by the same desire to be a part of this. We were stirred, challenged, ignited and I trust forever changed. (on the inside)
I believe when “I gotta do this” opportunities are met with “nothing’s gonna stop me” determination, forever change is a forgone conclusion. Persistence pays off. Reward comes with risk. And there is no greater feeling of achievement, gratification, fulfillment, purpose, and contentment.
What is YOUR “I gotta do this”? Let this be the time you DO IT. The reward is amazing!
What does it take for you to speak up? What lines need be crossed before you stand up? How fast must your heart pound before words emerge? What is your tipping point before verbal communication and action?
Our title today, “is there not a cause?”, is addressing those types of questions; very pertinent questions for you and me as we maneuver through this life and our exchanges with family, friends and society.
We will look at it’s setting, it’s meaning and its application to our lives. Then we’ll pivot to two other related stories before dropping the mic.
The nine foot, nine, giant Goliath, was standing on a hill “defying the armies of Israel”, and the armies of Israel were standing opposite him, on another hill “dismayed and terrified”. 1 Samuel 17:10-11
Goliath was “saying sharp things, bringing reproach, defaming and blaspheming” the armies of Israel and Jehovah. (Original Hebrew meanings)
When along comes a teenage boy, David, who’s been sent by his dad to bring a care package to his brothers on the battle front of Israel. David arrives in time to hear Goliath’s 40th day of sharp defiance and insults, and David begins to ask questions of the soldiers. 1 Samuel 17:16-26
As David heard and processed their responses, his heart began racing, the line had been crossed, the tipping point had been reached and he said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26
After this bold declaration, you would think he would be applauded, but instead, his brothers ridiculed and harassed him, and that is when David said to them, “is there not a cause?”.
That phrase, in its original Hebrew renderings, really means:
“I have a word, a matter or thing to speak; it is nondestructive; and now is the time to share it and this is the exact circumstance for it to be spoken.”
David realized what he held deep within the character of his being and had woven into the fabric of his heart was being ridiculed, defamed, and blaphsmed, and there was something that he could do about it. And he would do it right now!
That phrase (is there not a cause) has everything to do with putting the focus on nondestructive speech regarding a matter – but also emphasizes it being done at the right time and place.
David’s line had been crossed and he knew it was the time and place for what was welling up inside of him. He knew his experience had prepared him for this time and place. He knew he was able and he paid no attention to those who ridiculed him. He just bent down and picked up the stones, hurled one and nailed Goliath’s big ole head. David knew a big headed, defiant giant was a target he would never miss. And he didn’t!
David knew he had a cause. He had the right word for the right occasion, at the right time. He slung it expertly and hit his mark. He earned victory for the whole nation.
There is a similiar story in Esther. She was the Queen of Persia and had hidden her Jewish identity to King Xerxes. Her fellow Jews had received a death sentence, so her Uncle begged her to ask the King for mercy. His words to her were,
” Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”
Esther realized she too, had a cause, she had a message to speak and this was the time and this was the perfect place. Now, was the appointed time.
She spoke to the King, a solution was given and her people were spared destruction. The entire Jewish nation was spared.
Our last story, is of King Solomon; he gives us a beautiful image in Proverbs 25:11, where he says,
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is the right word at the right time.”
Solomon was perhaps looking at beautiful arrangement of fruit on his banquet table, when he made the analogy and suggested to us:
fitting words are compared to something elegant, beautiful, very tasteful
well thought out responses will benefit all
rightly spoken words bring refreshing
elegant, meaningful words are lasting words
rightly spoken words are valuable, treasured, precious
The context of Solomon’s apples in Proverbs 25 falls in a list of words that are NOT beautiful and words that are beautiful.
Not beautiful, not rightly spoken words: strife, gossip, boasting, false witness.
Our words and their power are being called on. Causes are calling – in our family, in our friendships and in our society. Fashioning responses to hit their mark is our goal. Rambling, empty, babble is useless. Beautiful, rightly spoken words are our goal.
I pray that the spirit of David stir in your heart and you see your cause and know your time and circumstance to speak.
I ask for the favor of Esther to be upon you and for you to see that your voice is needed for such a time as this.
I trust that your words will be elegant and refreshing and valuable to those to whom you speak.
I woke up this morning thinking about Barabbas, an insurrectionist, revolutionary, and murderer during Jesus’ day.
“Insurrection – a violent uprising against authority or government. An act or instance of revolting against civil authority or established government.”
He sought to bring political revolution to Jerusalem which was under Roman rule and was an active participant in the political turmoil, and religious unrest of Jesus’ time. He was arrested, found guilty of murder and insurrection and was awaiting his due punishment – death.
The crowds gathered before Pilate’s judgment bench and asked for Barabbas to be released in exchange for Jesus. After thunderous exchanges, Barabbas was set free and Jesus was condemned to death.
Barabbas and Jesus…
One man wanted a political revolution, the other a revolution of love.
I believe one can work towards producing the other. I believe the latter will birth the former.
Do you know what lies at the heart of a man or woman’s deepest longings? Guess… what would you say? To be loved? To be accepted? To be wanted? Yes, those are all huge.
But one of our deepest longings is to feel heard. We each need to feel understood, to have our feelings noticed, our hurts legitimized. We find a way to handle it if people don’t agree with our feelings, but we still want them validated.
Don’t you find yourself more willing and ready to do something for someone who gave you that validation, acknowledged your hurt; the one who actually gave their ear and heart to you and your expressions?
” Empathy – the action of understanding, being aware of, sensitive to. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
When you empathize with someone, you have taken action. You have given your attention, time, focus, effort and heart to listen to their feelings and do your best to understand them. Whether or not you fully understand is less important than the point that you consistently make the effort to listen. For in time, you will see a clearer picture and begin to feel what they have felt. We learn to empathize and can grow in empathy.
As a matter of fact, smart people have established a category of people called HEP’s – Highly Empathic People; and have outlined 6 habits that those HEP’s have. They :
have a curiosity about strangers
challenge prejudices & discover common ground instead
try another person’s life
listen hard and open up
inspire action and change
develop an ambitious imagination
Now, more than ever, in these days of revolution, I believe we are in need of a Revolution of Empathy. A Revolution of love in action that hears and feels the hurt, feelings, and deep seated emotions. A revolution that seeks to listen, feel, and cry with others. A revolution that will indeed change society, politicians, and government.
A revolution of people committed to strangers, who will not just lay aside personal prejudices, but change them, all while seeking to hear broken hearts and try on what it’s like to be that person. Revolutionaries who will listen hard and be open in return. Revolutionaries who will inspire others to join in this Revolution of Empathy and Love and expect big and lasting changes in our world.
We are in need of the Revolution of love that Jesus demonstrated with Barabbas.
In case you’ve missed it, “JUSTICE” is the cry of the land right now. Although there seem to be many messages intertwined in the fervor, the prevailing, and justifiable issue is justice. Although some of the methods, actions, and outcries are riotous rage, still, the underlying issue is justice.
The Founding Fathers used the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…”
And our American pledge to the flag says, “… with liberty and justice for all.”
But we all know, justice has not been for all, and that is the issue at hand. So, a common question is asked by many and is found also in Job 8:3 “… does God pervert justice?“
The answer is a resounding “NO!”. God has always placed a high priority on justice, defending the oppressed, standing with the poor, the abused, the needy, the underdog, the downcast, the forsaken, the silenced. God told his people over and over to do justice. Here are a few times:
Do justice to the afflicted Psalm 82:3
Justice is more acceptable (from believers) than sacrifice Proverbs 21:3
Is there no one to call for justice? Isaiah 59:4
Do what is lawful and right (just, justice) Ezekiel 18; & 33
I love justice Isaiah 61:8
He has show man what is good and required – to do justice Micah 6:8
Learn to do right and seek justice Isaiah 1:17
If you see your brother in need and close your heart to his cries, how does God’s love dwell in you? 1 John 3:17-18
As a nation, it is time for there to be healing, forgiveness, repentance, unity and rebuilding of healthy relations between all races. But that only comes with humility, admission, confession and truthfulness.
It is time to look deep with within our hearts and admit what is there, take actions as appropriate and heal the divide. It starts individually. It must begin in each of us.
I trust that each of us are looking within, but I challenge you to not just look – TAKE ACTION. Looking is not enough, change is needed, action is called for and healing will come.
In the video below, I give a list of 4 Actions for Justice, in case you need some ideas.
What is important today, is that we all take some kind of action. There are so many possibilities! It is up to you and where you are as an individual.
But it is up to us to change the world. To do justice. It is up to us to take the baton and run with the message of “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.” Because God does not pervert justice, it is who He is and what He loves.
It is not good to be partial of deprive justice. Proverbs 18:5
I have an urgent word for us regarding the lawlessness at work in our nation. Please take 4 minutes to watch this video I made, (if you haven’t already watched it on YouTube or IGTV) and finish up here with a few thoughts.
I believe this weekend, across the nation and globe, we are facing a pivotal point in power, strategy, and responsibility.
As we look at circumstances, we see: masks covering mouths required, separation from others required, stay at home orders, innocent lives taken, cries ignored, violence rising, hatred brewing, rebellion demonstrated and lawlessness expanding.
Each of those things listed above are the exact opposite of the will of God for Earth and the people there!
That is why I am urging you to pray. Use your mind, heart and mouth to pray THE TRUTH. Declare the opposite of those evil characteristics. Speak the Word of the Lord. Find verses to war with, and if you can’t, then open up to Pslam 119 and begin speaking and praying these verses about the Word and law of the Lord.
It is on us, believers in Jesus, to raise up a standard, and the standard is always the Word of the Lord.
I challenge you to join with Jews and believers around the world, to reclaim the power of The Torah, the Law, the Word and to speak it out in prayer and intercession against the lawlessness at work in our nation.
This is the year of the mouth! (5280, 2020) It’s time to speak out His declarations!
Thank you for listening and reading my heart, please share your reactions… leave me a comment.
Let’s turn the world RIGHT SIDE UP through the power of the Word and our declaring it in prayer.
Pentecost was one of the major festivals celebrated by the Israelites in the days of the Old Testament. In it, 50 days after the Passover, they celebrated the harvest. It was referred to as The Festival of Weeks, celebrated four weeks and 1 day, after the feast of Passover.
Stay with me here. This is the secret to your power, as a thriving individual, seeking to please the Lord.
For years the Passover was celebrated and 50 days later Pentecost or Shavout was celebrated.
This Sunday then, 50 days after Passover is that Pentecost Sunday.
Don’t miss or reject this powerful truth of the word.
Jesus, before He was taken into heaven, told the disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem, until they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:5,8 So, that’s what they did. They went to Jerusalem, 120 of them, prayed and waited for this “baptism of the Holy Spirit.”. Not knowing what to expect, but expecting Jesus to fulfill His promise to them.
In Acts 2:1-4, it tells us the miraculous result,
” When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a violent wind came and filled the whole house they were in. They saw tongues of fire that sat upon each one. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.”
The Apostle Luke, Acts 2
When the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 2, it was the fulfillment of the centuries long Pentecost celebrations. He was demonstrating the true harvest celebration. Not just celebrating an agricultural harvest, but a harvest of people. For in Acts 2, we see that there were 3,000 people who were added to the church following that miraculous display. The disciples were empowered with fire and boldness, and 3,000 people were affected that morning and “added to the church.” Acts 2:41
On that Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on those 120, and they became his witnesses, and many were influenced and added to the Kingdom that very day.
That day empowered the disciples and was the beginning of the Christian church. They were transformed and from that day forward they entered their world charged with the power of the Holy Spirit and performing miracles. Read the book of Acts and see their powerful and miraculous witnesses.
Pentecost changed their world and revealed the heart of the Father – to have many added to His family, from every tribe and tongue.
The experience of that Pentecost lasted for years and rocked the known world.
And yet, 25 or so years after it, when Paul was in Ephesus preaching, he asked the Ephesians if they had received the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:2 Their response, “No, we’ve not even heard of the Holy Spirit.” Well, Paul settled that, he asked a few more questions and laid his hands on them and “they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:4-6
Here we are, at least 1,957 years after the book of Acts was written. Have you heard of the Holy Spirit? Are you aware of it’s power in your life? Do you know the Feast of Pentecost is about bringing in the Harvest?
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. Jesus promised Him to you as a helper, comforter, intercessor, one who would be by your side through everything that you face. He is your Comforter, leader and discerner of what is truth. John 14. Jesus told His disciples He was leaving, but He would give them/us another Comforter. The Holy Spirit was what He was talking about.
The Holy Spirit is always with you, will never leave you and will always equip you for what you face. He comes into you at rebirth and fills you at request. You can, by choice be Spirit filled, be Spirit led, guided, and granted spiritual understanding.
The Holy Spirit filled the disciples with boldness. Acts 3:6; Acts 4:8,31
With that boldness, they “turned the world upside-down.” Acts 17:6
Jesus promised that “greater works than I do, you shall do”. John 14:12
So what is it that’s stopping today’s believers from turning the world upside down, from moving in boldness and bringing in the harvest of people to the Kingdom?
Is it that they haven’t even heard of the Holy Spirit? Is it that they aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit? Is it that Pentecost hasn’t been born in them? Do they not care for the harvest?
Now is the season of harvest. Now is the season of hungry people being added to the Kingdom. Now is the season for believers to move beyond “the baptism of John and repentance” and move into the fullness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:4; Matthew 3:6
It is time for believers to rise up, and begin to move in the power of the Holy Spirit. To move in signs and wonders, to move in miracles. To offer prayers of faith in needy situations. To rise up in the Holy Spirit and power and see this world turned upside down.
Why don’t we?
Pentecost is upon us, quite literally. Who will embrace it?
What drives the son of a sharecropper, 7th child of 12, and 5th grade drop out to become the 19 year old, most decorated WW2 combat soldier, having earned every military combat award in his 3 years in the Army?
What empowers a black woman in the segregated South of 1955 to refuse to follow the bus drivers instructions, telling her to stand up and change her seat for that white man to sit? (When she was already sitting in her “prescribed area of the bus”)
What sustains a man for 27 years in prison because of his anti-apartheid protests but then thrusts him to become the President of that very nation?
What motivates a Chinese writer and literary critic to speak out against China’s single-party Communist rule?
How does a simple woman of 1860’s speak up and protest for the right of women to vote – thus making way for the 19th Amendment?
How does a President, in the deepest racial divide in American history, proclaim that “all persons held as slaves, are, and henceforward shall be free.”?
Time does not permit, but I would love to tell you of others, who in the face of the currents against them, stood out, spoke up, and took a stand. Gandhi, Dr. M.L.King, Mother Teresa, Hudson Taylor, Corrie ten Boom, L.L.Legters, Valentinia Tereshkova, Eleanor, Queen of France, and Martin Luther to name a few.
The answer to how. They all had CONVICTION!
Convictions that were driving them. Convictions that they would not compromise. Convictions that were bigger than their feelings, circumstances and maybe even courage. Their personal convictions guided their lives, choices, decisions, behaviors and determined their response to others actions.
They were convictions driven. Not feelings or emotions driven.
Convictions are drivers. Convictions not acted upon and practiced are merely beliefs.
Convictions are an unstoppable force. Convictions hold our vision in place even without evidence. When convictions are preeminent, people’s opinions don’t matter.
Convictions = 1. “a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense.” 2. “firmly held belief or opinion”
Personal convictions = ” set of beliefs that determine what you believe is right and wrong.”
Convictions have no “maybe” or grey area.
In the book, “God is Not Nice”, he states, “the difference between belief and conviction is degree.” Again he says, “Only people with convictions resist.“
I believe we are living in days of living out our convictions. It is time to stand up, speak out and not compromise our convictions. No longer sitting idly back in the “silence of dead convictions.” (God is not Nice)
I remember days when my convictions drove me to deliberate and overt public action. I marched in protest, carried signs, gathered with thousands in the nation’s mall, made phone calls, wrote letters, participated in marches, parades and conferences. Rallied to the standard, lifted my voice, stood my ground, and did not back down.
It takes conviction to:
don a mask and scrubs day after day to fight sickness
sacrifice family time to serve the communities needs
stand in front of teenagers 5 days a week and try to teach them
submit to grueling Special Ops training
enlist in the military and stand for freedom
plan a 211 mile hike
start a business
enlist others in a cause
share your opinion when you’ve been quiet for so long
give in a way you haven’t done so before
rally for a cause
take action because you can’t stay quiet any longer
learn a skill because it is needed
take a stand, even if you’re standing alone
say yes, when everyone else is saying no
say no, when everyone else is saying yes
Where are your convictions? Now is the time to let them carry you and me to a new place of action. I want to be found guilty of having and exercising my convictions.
We can’t point any fingers at the younger generations if we are not standing up for our convictions, can we?
I believe the tide is changing, and those with convictions, are rising up and speaking out. Who knows what change can be brought to our broken world when this occurs?
May the Lord help us all to live by the power of our convictions.
” I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”
Acts 24:16 NIV – The Apostle Paul
Striving to maintain a clear conscience is honorable, right, healthy and important. But is intentional, deliberate and hard work. Maintaining a clear conscience keeps us connected to others and helps us to override selfishness.
My hunch is that during this season, there have been ample opportunities for selfishness, personal conflicts, and ruffled feathers in our family or at work relationships. So let’s look into our conscience and put the focus on it and it’s partner – guilt.
Carrying around guilt, the weight of one’s own conscience, literally weighs us down. It actually makes us feel heavier. Science has done studies showing that to be true..
Because guilt is meant to play a role in regulating moral behavior it sends signals throughout the body, and the body responds with perception changes, insomnia, loss of appetite, stress, headaches, backaches and a general sense of feeling dreary. Or it responds with the strong motivation to apologize, correct or make up for the wrong. Perhaps, it even does all of those things in your life.
Another writer, describes guilt, or not having a clear conscience this way, “When I kept it all inside, my dishonesty devastated my inner life, causing my life to be filled with frustration, irrepressible anguish, and misery. The pain never let up, for your conviction was heavy on my heart. My strength was sapped, my inner life dried up like a spiritual drought within my soul.” Psalm 32:3-4, TPT King David
The power of guilt is terrifying. The worry of guilt is debilitating. Being consumed with what I did or didn’t do, what I thought or didn’t think, how I harmed another individual, what I said or should have said, all these cause pain and anguish inside of us. “It is overwhelming and a burden too heavy to bear” King David cried in Psalm 38:4
Here, is where our conscience kicks in. Therefore, what is conscience?
Oswald Chambers describes conscience this way, “The ability within me that attaches to the highest standard I know and reminds me of what that standard demands that I do.”
That explains to me why two people can face the exact same moral dilemma and come away with two totally different answers for what is “right’ in that situation. Their “highest standard” is different. Both could even engage in that moral dilemma and state it quite differently – one could feel no sense of guilt or remorse while the other will hold to the belief that they have done something wrong and need to right it, and them self.
We see this played out everyday in our family, neighborhood, church, media, politics, everywhere. As many people as there are, will determine the variety of standards there will be.
So for today at least, let’s assert God’s standard. It is the highest possible standard for my mind and heart to attach to. God’s standard is His perfect law. His Word.
His law is not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 NIV
His law is perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure, firm, more valuable than gold, and sweeter than honey. Psalm. 19:7-10 NIV
When I apply His Word to my guilt, what happens?
Well, as mentioned above, if I keep silent or ignore any guilt or wrongdoing when in fact there should be guilt because I have wronged someone, then that is where the psychological consequences kick in and the cycle of guilt plays out: 1. should 2. action/inaction 3. guilt
But the other option in the face of guilt and God’s word is – “I acknowledge my guilt and do not cover it up… and you forgive the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
When we see that the purpose of guilt is to restore relationship and we admit our need for that restoration, we receive his forgiveness, His cleansing and restoration. We admit our need to Him and he forgives us. Psalm 51 In this process, we learn to take action as needed, move on from it and learn from our mistakes. Our conscience is then cleared before God and man.
Clearing our conscience is vital for healthy living. Allowing things to build up, unresolved, unaddressed is of no value to you or your health. Keeping our conscience sensitive to Him means staying open on the inside and addressing needed issues each day.
We are charged in scripture to not let the sun go down on our anger. We are reminded that His mercies are new every morning. This indicates the daily practice of taking out the trash of our cluttered conscience, and not allowing guilt, grudges, or messy life decisions to pile up.
Blessed is the one, whose sin is not counted against him and in whom is no deceit. Psalm 32:2
Having a clear conscience keeps us connected to others and to God.
That is why we “strive always to keep a clear conscience”. I hope it’s a conscience held to the highest standard of God’s Word. But that choice is yours.
This is a beautiful short story, whose author in unknown.
A young man was proud of his healthy and beautiful heart. One day, standing in the middle of town, he proclaimed that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered to have a look at his heart. His heart was smooth, shiny, and looked very healthy. Indeed, the man had the most beautiful heart in the valley, everyone agreed.
The proud young man felt delighted and boasted his perfect heart which everyone admired. Suddenly, a voice from the crowd said, “Your heart is not as beautiful as mine.” The young man searched for the person behind the voice and an old man appeared in front of him.
“Show us your heart if you believe you have got a more beautiful heart than mine”, said the young man. The old man carefully showed his heart. The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. The heart was beating strongly and healthily but it was not smooth and shiny as the young man’s heart. Instead, it had scars all over it. It had places where some pieces of the heart had been removed and other pieces were put in. The other pieces didn’t fit perfectly and there were several uneven edges. In some places, there were even deep gouges where some pieces were missing.
The crowd laughed at the old man’s heart. “How can he claim that he has the most beautiful heart when it is all scared and uneven,” they thought.
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and laughed. “You must be kidding. Compare your heart and mine. My heart looks perfect and smooth and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes, your heart looks perfect, but I would never trade your heart with mine,” said the old man. “Every scar in my heart represents a person whom I have given my love. I tear a piece of my heart and give it to them. Often, my loved one gives me back a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart. Since everyone loves each other in a different way, their piece of heart may not perfectly fit in my heart, so you can see some rough edges. These scars and rough edges remind me of the love we shared.” he continued.
“Sometimes I would give a piece of my heart, but the other person may not return a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges. Although these gouges are painful, these remind me of the love I have for these people too. So do you now see what a true beauty I have?” asked the old man.
The young man and the crowd stood silently with tears running down their cheeks. The young man walked to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, ripped a piece out of it and offered it to the man with trembling hands. The old man gratefully received his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old heart and placed it in the young man’s heart.
The young man looked at his heart, it did not look shiny and smooth like it used to. But, it was now more beautiful because he could feel the love from the old man’s heart flowing into him. They embraced and walked away side by side.
May today mark the start of generational healing and binding together.
May today mark the binding up of broken hearts and a recognition of the beauty that radiates from brokenness.
May today mark the reality that nothing in our lives is wasted and serves a useful purpose in strengthening our heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
We recently had made plans to meet a friend at the harbor and get her launched with her new kayak. As it turned out, the weather was not very cooperative.
Although when my husband and I first started out it was chilly, by the time our friend had arrived it was drizzly, windy and foggy (or very misty). So we sat in the cabin for a while and then it actually started raining and the fog horn began blasting its short bursts sending alarm to all. Oh boy!
We chatted and got caught up until it eventually stopped raining and the moisture lightened up as did the foggy haze. So we seized the moment, launched the kayak and enjoyed sharing the excitement of a new kayaker on the water with coaching, cheering, instructing and encouraging. The weather was manageable and the company enjoyable.
Visibility was limited but descent, chill was present (too chilly for me to paddle as she kayaked) but she was “happier than words can say.” Knowing she would need to launch herself from Baby Beach eventually, we decided to drive our dinghy and tow the kayak to Baby Beach for her to practice there. So we set out on the half mile jaunt.
As we proceeded, it was getting colder, rainier and foggier. We were very cold, wet and literally in a fog. Yet we splashed on and arrived at our destination. Each noted on the short trip, how long it seemed to be taking, and each was probably thinking, “What in the world are we doing out in this?”.
When we arrived at our destination, it was not as foggy or windy, so kayaking around was again a pleasure and learning curve for our friend who was totally loving it, minus the cold wind on the way. She was even able to paddle herself back, learning the currents, winds, vessel rules and paddle strokes as we drove alongside of her in the dinghy.
By the time we arrived back at the boat, the fog had totally lifted, the moisture entirely gone from the air, the skies were blue, and we were hot and very happy campers (or kayakers). What a difference! What a change from when we first started out. We hadn’t the foggiest notion such a change would be granted to us.
We were able to spend some more quality time in the warm sun, enjoying a late lunch and each other’s company. The fog had lifted for us beautifully.
Fog forms in the difference between cold and warm air (air temperature & dew point) – my mind will be a little foggy or a lot foggy when there are major highs and lows in my life. I need stability, level paths, consistency, routine, regularity.
Fog lowers visibility – I can see nothing clearly when my head space is foggy. In a fog, it is solid objects that cast shadows. Everything I see is off, because of fog’s affect.
As air heats up, fog disappears – doing something, getting moving, starting something will warm me up and the mental fog will disappear. The hotter I get, the brighter it will become.
Being fogged in – even though the environment is currently telling me I’m unable to move about safely, I won’t allow myself to get fogged in. There are ways to keep on splashing through the fog. Find them. Heat up the air. See the fog lift.
Fog can disappear as suddenly as it appears – this “flash fog” depends on humidity and temperature. So again, fight off coldness, cooling off, chilling out too much and I will see flash fog flee.
Fog drip – the California Redwood Forests receive 30-40% of their moisture from coastal fog. This is called fog drip. Be sure to collect and use the fresh water that falls on you during your foggy days, even the fog has a purpose in your life.
Fog can play a key role in historical events – George Washington and his troops escaped capture in the fog in August, 1776. On the beaches of Normandy in WWII the Allies landed in foggy conditions. Both positive and negative results can come from foggy, impaired visibility.
When your heart is right, conditions can’t stop you – the power for our decisions comes from the condition of our heart. Learning to persevere in spite of conditions and through elements is a life skill in need of sharpening. Forging on, in wisdom and strength is possible and needed in the human experience. We can drive foggy mindedness away by our decisive actions.
“The fog of illusions, the fog of confusion is hanging over all the world. “
“Sometimes it all gets a little too much, but you gotta realize that soon the fog will clear up.”
” Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.”
Corrie Ten Boom
When it’s foggy, ships need to hear the fog horn signals – it’s a matter of life and death.
I trust within these stories and comparisons, you will be able to hear and respond to the signals in your own life of being a little foggy.
Do you remember hearing about these three famous, ground breaking sheep?
Montauciel – the famous French sheep? Shrek – the infamous 59 1/2 pound sheep? Dolly – the first mammal cloned?
Here’s a refresher:
Montauciel, who’s name means “climb to the sky” in French, was used as guinea pig for the Mongolfier brothers in the 18th century who were experimenting with hot air balloons. The sheep was put in the basket, along with a duck and rooster and actually flew 2 miles at an altitude of 1,500 ft, before the balloon landed. All passengers were ok upon landing.
Shrek, lived on a wool farm in New Zealand with 17,000 other Merino sheep. These sheep are sheared once a year but Shrek was having none of it! He hid for 6 years as each yearly shearing time came. Seriously! After 6 years, in 2004 he was finally caught and shorn in 20 minutes. 59 1/2 pounds of wool came from him, enough to make 20 men’s wool suits.
Dolly, the sheep, was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell in 1996. She was used for medical research.
Now, I admit that I’m a city girl, but there is a lot to be learned from sheep. So baaaa-re with me.
Check out these characteristics of sheep, both good and baaa-d:
Sheep experience emotionslike humans. Fear, anger, rage, despair, disgust, boredom and happiness. They actually feel despair when their friends are led to the slaughter.
Sheep are intelligent with impressive facial memory skills.
Sheep have excellent hearing and can recognize their shepherd’s voice out of a crowd.
Sheep have a strong instinct to follow the sheep in front of them – off a cliff or through water, makes no difference. They are hardwired to follow without even thinking.
Sheep have poor depth perception; shadows and dips in the ground cause them to baulk.
Sheep build friendships and stick up for one another in fights.
Sheep are very social creatures and require the presence of 4-5 other sheep when they are grazing in order to maintain their visual link to each other.
Sheep find safety in numbers and get agitated when separated.
Sheep have excellent peripheral vision fields of 270-320 degrees.
Sheep are susceptible to disease such as parasites when they are mismanaged.
Sheep wag their tails, like dogs and form bonds with their shepherd.
Throughout history, humans have been compared to sheep. In ancient times kings were considered the shepherds of their kingdoms and the people his sheep.
In the Bible we see this played out with the twist the we (human’s) are the sheep of The Lord’s pasture.
“Know that the Lord is God. It is He who has made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of His pasture.”
Probably the most well known passage in the Bible about sheep and the shepherd is Psalm 23. And that passage is at the heart of this message.
When I was recently reading this passage, I was struck with over 11 things that the shepherd does for the sheep! The entire psalm is one in which the Shepherd takes the initiative and responsibility for the care, protection, provision, supervision and defense of the sheep in his/her flock. Check it out.
Here is the list I made in my notebook of what Our Shepherd does for us, His sheep:
He provides everything I need. I don’t go without anything that I need. He is my friend.
He makes me lie down – whether I think I need to rest or not, He knows I do and makes stretch out.
He leads me – he actually is in front of me leading me to the goal or watering place where I will find rest.
He refreshes my soul – he renews me in my weariness and allows strength to return to me.
He guides me – again he’s waaaay ahead of me, guiding me along the bumpy path.
In the valley, He is with me – when shadows and darkness overwhelm me, He is right there with me.
Both his rod and staff bring me comfort – his rod corrects me and his staff supports me – both bring me comfort and repentance when needed.
In the face of my enemies, he orders and arranges all that I need to be sustained.
He puts oil on my head providing healing, acceptance and sweet fragrance.
He promises goodness and love will always have my back.
AND, he wants to live with me forever! Not just here in this pen on this planet.
Wouldn’t you agree that the sheep have a pretty good gig?
The shepherd totally has the sheep covered. The sheep do so very little and are so dependent on the shepherd. Yet there is a sweet, personal relationship between each sheep and their shepherd that makes the sheep wag it’s tail in happiness and satisfaction when close to their shepherd or listening to his voice.
The precious, tender, reality of these verses demonstrate the Lord’s patient, conscious, willful, loving, strong, and complete care for us – his sheep.
I was and continue to be overwhelmed by my careful shepherd.
I trust “the wool not be pulled over your eyes” and you too, rest confidently in the complete care and provision of your Great Shepherd.
Cheers to you.
For a complete downloadable Bible study on the 23rd Psalm, go to my Bible studies and click on the file.