Category: Blog

Retirement Report Card

It was one year ago that that I stood at the threshold of a whole, new way of life. A total change in all I had known, done, hoped for, and trusted in. It was not without tears, questions, and uncertainties that I decided to declare, “Time to refire” (not retire); it had become my theme and it surged from the deepest part of my soul.

pens from the party

We gathered together with family and friends and celebrated the past, all the while looking forward to an exciting, unknown and new future. It was such a wonderful time, surrounded by so many who had walked with me through seasons and times in my life. I was and am so blessed to be influenced by people of such quality and character.

Be careful what you declare. Be careful what you wish for. Your words are powerful and creative! Oh boy, have I been reminded of that truth through this past year.

Little did I know or understand what was to unfold as far as His plan for my “refirement”. All I knew was it was time to refire and not lay down and become a retired couch potato.

Within a week of that festive celebration, I was hired to work part-time in my favorite boutique AT THE HARBOR, which is my favorite place in Orange County. The whole story is remarkable and I still shake my head at how it worked out so perfectly – me.

Lady Debra at Dana Point Harbor

Then, around the first of the year, prompted by a desire to write and encourage people, I began my website and blog underdebrasplam.com. It has been such a rewarding opportunity for sharing and teaching and I am so absolutely grateful to you for your following and support.

My new brand

A few months into my new job, it was time for a new church too. Through a series of events and a miracle with my husband we eventually felt directed to a church in San Juan Capistrano.

After a few weeks attending there together, we knew it was the place for us to become involved. We loved what was happening there and wanted to be a part of it.

Dennis and the Pastor began a beautiful relationship of mutual respect and together we have had the joy of conversations, meetings, prayer and planning in church matters and ministry. We have been so happy and fulfilled to help and serve where needed.

In fact, I never dreamed of becoming involved again in music, praise and worship; but Someone higher than I had other plans. All those years of training and experience were not to be lost, or stored away, because it was TIME TO REFIRE!

As you know, last month we moved, only 8 miles from where we were, but again, it was a move towards refirement. We know it is all about refirement and doing what we are s’pose to be doing, sharing it here in this place.

We meet weekly with different groups and are in some ways more busy now than we have been in a long time.

new friends of my refirement

I have certainly refired!

One year ago, I faced a very uncertain and unclear future.

Today, I celebrate the hundreds of open doors, untold opportunities, joyous encounters, new possibilities, fresh energy and insight that has been mine this past year.

It is with pregnant expectancy that I peer into the next year as well, because I am convinced it is still TIME TO REFIRE.

Oh, and I am proud to say that the report on retirement is A+.

Cheers to you.

Developing Discernment

Sunday Sermon 8.15.20

Last week we spoke about the need for discernment in these days and I feel impressed to stay with that theme – DISCERNMENT for the next few “Sunday Sermons’. Therefore, today we will begin a series I’ve entitled – “Developing Discernment“.

There is an urgency in my spirit that says we must sharpen our sensitivity to what is happening, changing, being presented and being birthed in our nation and in our lives.

We must see beyond the obvious and evident and see with “spiritual eyes” what is happening. That is where developing discernment is absolutely vital.

Let’s review what discernment means, and this week, look at the biblical definitions.

Discern or it’s related forms are only used a total of 25 times in the bible. The Old Testament uses 5 different words that are translated in a form of discern and the New Testament uses 4 different words.

Taken together, the OT definitions are: to scrutinize, look intently; to hear intelligently; to know by seeing; to separate mentally, distinguish; and to see.

The NT definitions are: to separate thoroughly, in public as a channel; to scrutinize or investigate; decisive, critical or discriminate; and to test or approve.

To help fill out the definition further, here are some synonyms for discernment = sensitivity, shrewdness, insight, perception, discrimination.

And lastly, some antonyms = unperceiving, obtuse, purblind (never heard of that one), tactless.

Thank you for wading through those tall word weeds, I know they can be cumbersome to some. (I hope there are those who ponder and further study those meanings, tho’)

Developing discerning means that we learn to scrutinize, investigate and separate or distinguish with spiritually discriminative senses any given situation, word, person, or spirit.

Jesus told his disciples –

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”

Matthew 10:16

Did you notice that word, shrewd? It is a synonym for discerning.

Jesus was warning the twelve, and his warning stands for us, we are sheep among wolves in our generation and we need to be exceedingly shrewd, and discerning among the wolves.

In another place it says –

Solid food is for the mature, who have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 5:14

That passages tells us that it is through practice and exercise that we develop discernment. Discernment is like a muscle that strengthens and becomes more defined with regular workouts.

With regular work outs our discernment muscle learns to distinguish between good and evil, truth and error, spirit and flesh, God and Satan. Left alone though, the muscle will atrophy – waste away.

But it takes more than human flexing and pumping and determination to develop our discernment muscle. The discernment that we are taking about developing requires a spiritual activation, spiritual drive and spiritual direction.

The Apostle Paul identified one of the nine gifts of the Spirit as “the gift of discerning of spirits”. 1 Corinthians 12:10 So we know it is a gift of the Spirit.

But all who are born again have received a rebirth by the Spirit and thereby can and should be Spirit led and fed. That is not a spiritual gift, per se, but a benefit of being a child of God and heir in His kingdom.

Therefore, we learn to grow in the Spirit, follow the Spirit, walk in the Spirit and discern the spirits around us. Our life on this planet should be one of developing discernment to the things of God.

I believe, in the months that lie ahead, it will be imperative for believers to understand the times (like Issachar of old) and discern what the Spirit is saying. If they don’t, they will be deceived with the rest of the unbelievers. (check out 2 Thessalonians 2 again!)

It is my prayer, that all believers be strengthened in their Spirit and learn to discern the days and times in which we live, thereby walking in full victory in the Spirit.

To that end, from now until Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 18-19) our Sunday Sermons will be on activating our five senses to discern spiritually.

If that’s your desire, won’t you join me in presenting yourself to Him this week and inviting Him to touch your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and hands and teach you to mature in developing discernment?

Go with God.

Those darn masks

I have to chuckle each time I pick up my cell phone, with my mask on, and the facial recognition tells me I can’t be identified and I must enter my passcode.

Here we have the most elaborate and advanced mini computer ever created in our hand and it won’t work with face masks.

What’s so amusing is this is clearly stated in the Face ID set up directions, created and listed in November of 2017.

What Facial Recognition software is able to do is truly amazingly powerful. It uses a “TrueDepth” camera to analyze 30,000 invisible dots on your face and then create a depth map of your face, while at the same time creating an infrared image.

The neural engine of the bionic chip transforms that depth into a mathematical representation and compares it to the facial data that is loaded into the camera.

Voila, it is either you and you’re in or it’s not and you need your passcode.

This facial rec is s’pose to be intuitive and secure and is able to adapt to changes in your appearance and location.

The odds of a stranger picking up your phone and being able to access it with their face is 1 in 1,000,000. Add to that the fact that your phone allows 5 unsuccessful match attempts then locks, and you are said to be very secure.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it is all encrypted and protected by “Secure Enclave”. (whatever or where ever that is…)

Lastly about facial recognition, not only is it amazingly powerful but it has many uses. It is used to unlock your phone or ipad, you can make purchases, sign in and it even auto fills for you.

Obviously, facial recognition is not only used on phones. It is also used in DMV data bases, airports, Customs and Border Protection, traffic cams, police departments, Dept. of Homeland Security, retail stores, find missing persons, aid investigations and diagnose diseases, to name a few.

The seemingly infinite power of an A12 Bionic, 64-bit hexa-core ARM, high performance mobile chip is within your reach and available to you pretty much anytime you want.

And yet, it is rendered useless by those darn masks!

Hmmmm…

Reminds me of another infinite power that has abilities and uses which are available for us, all within our reach… and yet, we choose to cover ourselves with those darn masks.

Hmmm… think about it.

Cheers to you.

Give us a discerning heart

Sunday Sermon 8.8.20

“Discernment”, “discerning” are words not used frequently these days and yet, in my opinion, they are needed now more than ever.

How would you define them? Go ahead, think about it, create a simple and clear definition. Remember, though, discernment is not wisdom, understanding or knowledge; they are all different words.

It took me several attempts and mental edits to make it clear and concise in my mind. How did you do?

Here’s what the pros tell us discernment is: “the ability to judge well”. Another says, “to separate or distinguish between two or more things”.

Discernment is the ability to see clearly and decide between:

  • right and wrong
  • truth and error
  • good and bad
  • primary and secondary
  • essential and indifferent
  • permanent and transient
  • good, better, best
  • in Christian worldview the ability to think and see Biblically

Discernment is lacking and yet so vital today. It has always been so. So vital in fact, King Solomon, in about 900 BC made it his number one request from God!

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”

1 Kings 3:9

What a request! He could have asked for anything. He pretty much had a blank check from God. He thought long and hard and concluded that what he needed most in his reign, life and influence was discernment.

God heard, God honored his request and God gave him more than discernment. In fact, because he asked for discernment and wisdom in order to be a good leader and distinguish between right and wrong, God said He would give him wealth and honor greater than any other king. Thus, that is why Solomon is counted as the wisest and wealthiest man of all time. BECAUSE HE ASKED FOR DISCERNMENT.

This so impacted me as a young Christian, Solomon’s request for wisdom and discernment, that I made it my life verse, goal and prayer. It is powerful.

King David also desired discernment.

Psalm 119:66 – Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I trust in your commands.

Psalm 119:125 – I am your servant, give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Some call discernment a 6th sense. Some call it how things look in God’s eyes.

No matter what we call it, scripturally it is called for. Today we need it. We must call for it in our lives in a greater measure.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – examine everything sensibility

1 John 4:1 – do not believe every spirit, test the spirits

2 Peter 1:3 – God has given us everything we need for godliness

Matthew 7:1,6 – be careful not to cast your pearls before swine

In these days, we need to be able to distinguish between truth and error, good and bad. We need to be able to discern or judge well. We need to be able to separate between things and sort and sift wisely.

Let’s join Solomon and ask God to “give us a discerning heart.”

Go with God.

Self care

With our latest technology advancements, you can find charging stations all over the place.

  • Electric vehicle charging stations at stores, gas stations, parking lots, transportation centers
  • Cell phone charging stations at airports, shopping centers, stores, stadiums, churches
  • Home charging stations in nearly every room and vehicle
  • Electric bike & scooter charges onboard or on street corners

Think about it. We cannot live, it seems, without our equipment being charged up and ready to go, so we have made places in our life to do just that, get them fully charged.

And yet, we often find that our life is running on empty and in need of a recharge. That recharge we need is called self care by many and is essential for our health.

It is vital that we pay attention to our body, but self care involves these areas too:

Self care is not selfish, no matter what that voice in your head is telling you. You are not being selfish when you are getting your rest, because in doing so you will become more energetic and be able to do more.

Self care is not a one time or rare experience, like going to the spa. Self care is essential maintenance to your well being and actually the well being of those around you. (Ask your spouse or a family member if they like you better rested or tired. 🙂 )

Self care in not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is wisdom at work in your life.

Self care is not only for some people. Everyone must find what it is that recharges them and get charged back up. Is it golf, sewing, alone time, a book, getting outside, a good movie? Find where your recharging station is and get plugged into it.

This has been my personal challenge these last couple of days. You can go and give and do and repeat until you feel yourself running near empty.

So when you see your charge being depleted, be brave, don’t deny and do what is needed to get that vital recharge.

Take care of yourself, you are essential.

Cheers to you.

Close the door

Sunday Sermon 8.1.20

Early this morning, this phrase came crashing into my heart and upon my mind, “Close the door”.

I hadn’t heard a door slam, nor had there been creatures invading us; the weather wasn’t threatening, neither were the circumstances. So why the imprint of this phrase on my psyche?

While pursuing its import, two main points developed before me.

We, adult humans are faced with 35,000 decisions each day with 226.7 of them alone, having to do with the food we eat (or don’t). That means, if we spend 7 hours sleeping each night, (and we assume no choices are made in our sleep, a BIG assumption) then, that means we make 2,000 decisions per hour or 1 decision every 2 seconds!

That’s alot of choosing, options, brain stress and distractions!

Many of those decisions are unconscious, but they are still decisions that the brain encodes 10 seconds before we even consciously, and with awareness make the actual decision. The brain has decided and then the conscious thoughts justify the decision. The decision is made in the neurocircuitry of our brain by predicting outcomes ahead of time. Then we actually make the choice in real time.

All of that research was published long before Covid and still remains true. But with Covid, those decisions have been confined to a smaller setting – our home, or the area we spend most our life in.

There are so many influences, voices, reports, demands, people, speaking or often yelling at us with directives. And what is spoken as truth this week, often morphs into something entirely different next week.

Our heads, hearts, and emotions are bombarded, battered and bruised with the onslaught information, (or misinformation) and in my view, these all are distractions, that must be cut off.

Close the Door point 1CLOSE THE DOOR on distractions that bring you anything but life, faith, hope, peace, and joy.

Turn off, stop listening daily, ignore notifications, stop feeding fear, don’t read it, refuse to own it. Don’t give place in your life to the endless, fearful distractions.

It is one of those 35,000 decisions you can make now, ahead of time and get your brain in the encoding process. Close the door to distractions.

In Matthew 6:6, Jesus told his disciples, to go into their room and CLOSE THE DOOR (and pray). He instructed them to close out distractions, shut themselves in with who really mattered, and focus on what was more important.

I am not saying to close yourself off from the world and only pray, that’s just weird and ineffective. I am saying, in order to be strong and effective in your mission on earth, you must learn to close the door on distractions while focusing on what is important.

Another place we see “close the door” in the Bible is in 2 Kings 4.

A widow, with two sons was facing creditor problems involving the seizing of her sons for repayment. She was desperate, so she sought out the prophet Elisha. She confessed to him she had nothing of value in her home (to sell) “except a small jar of olive oil.” 2 Kings 4:2

He told her to gather from her neighbors as many empty jars as she could and not just a few. Then she was to go inside her house and “shut the door” behind her and her sons, where they would then pour her oil into each empty jar that they had gathered.

She did as she was told – gathered, shut the door and poured into each jar. When there were no more jars to fill, her oil stopped flowing. Every jar had been filled and were now filling her home. She had plenty to sell, paid off the creditors, and lived off of what was left.

Close the door point 2You have all you need at home (your little bit of oil), you need to pour it out into empty vessels.

Your family and those who enter your home need what you have. You can fill them with your words, actions, kindness, encouragement, prayer, help, correction, insight, love. What you do behind the closed doors of your home is where the “anointing” starts. The outpouring of God’s spirit of love and favor – His anointing oil of the Spirit, starts at home, behind closed doors. Pour out your “little” oil there and see how you little becomes much.

It is my determination to ask the Lord to help me close the doors of distraction in my life, and work within me behind the closed doors of my home to fill up empty vessels.

I want His help in recoding my neurocircuitry and decision making prowess. I want to equip my brain with the positive and faith building data to allow it to predict the most favorable outcomes. This is a decision I have made!

Won’t you join me?

Close those doors, keep pouring out.

Go with God.

“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents”

Although written in 1770 by British spokesman, orator and political thinker, Edmund Burke, that title could have come from our headlines today, and certainly reflects my heart and message for this blog.

It is Burke who is credited with one of the most popular quotes of all time, (even though his speech never specifically said the words.)

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I’ll still take it, wont you? It is so good, JFK used it.

What Burke did say in his writing “Thoughts on the Cause…” was –

When bad men combine – good men must organize.”

Edmund Burke

I feel such an urgency for good men (mankind) to speak up, step up, step out, launch out, reach out, take action, refuse the trends, stay the “good” course, and as Burke said, maybe even organize. Why not? It is time!

In the words of President Grover Cleveland, “What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something.”

I am not running for office, nor are you most likely, but here’s the hitch- what are we standing for? Are we standing up for anything? Or have we allowed our voices to be silenced by fear, complacency, louder voices, cancel culture and censorship?

In the days of Women’s Suffrage there were suffragists and suffragettes. Suffragists believed in peaceful, constitutional campaigns for women’s right to vote. Suffragettes were activists, willing to take direct action into the community. Their motto, “Deeds not words” often led to hunger strikes and handcuffing themselves to the White House fence.

Both believed in the same thing – that women had the right to vote but they took action in different ways. The key though, they took action. The result? The passage of the 19th Amendment allowing women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony would have been proud, after being arrested and still voting 150 times illegally. She stood up for that right long before others jumped on board and made it legal.

Being a student and lover of American history (I hear a yawn 🙂 ) I can’t help but go to dozens of examples of those who stood up in the face of “discontents”, injustices, and hardships and joined with others of like mind to push through change.

The good people voluntarily organized and took persistent action so that the evils of their day would not triumph in their society.

What would the nation/world be without these who stood up for the cause that gripped their soul, and sacrificed their own self interests for the good of the society and future generations?

Consider the following and their causes:

  • Dorthea Dix – mistreatment of the mentally ill
  • Horance Mann – education reform
  • Frederick Douglass – anti-slavery, civil rights
  • William Lloyd Garrison – abolition
  • Ida Tarabel – investigative journalism (what’s happened to that?)
  • Jane Addams – help for the poor and immigrants
  • Booker T. Washington – black education and training (peaceful)
  • WEB Dubois – black rights, NAACP (violent if needed)
  • Sojourner Truth – abolitionist
  • Harriet Tubman – anti-slavery
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson – writer, reformer
  • Caesar Chavez – farmworkers rights
  • Malala Yousafzai – Taliban awareness, women rights
  • Florence Nightingale – nursing
  • Clara Barton – founder of the Red Cross
  • Marie Curie – medicine
  • John Muir – wildlife conservation
  • Upton Sinclair – meatpacking industry reform
  • Jackie Robinson – racial equality
  • Sally Ride – space travel

The world is a better and changed place because each of these did something with the passion they felt. They joined with others and got things changed. These good humans pressed through the evil and triumphed over it. “Overcome evil with good”.

Solomon, in Proverbs warned us:

If you do nothing in times of trouble, your strength is small.

Proverbs 24:10

So, how’s your strength? These are NOT “do nothing days”. Shame on us if we are “do nothing-ers”.

I conclude my thoughts on the cause of the present discontents.

Cheers to you.

Living in the days of Daniel

Sunday Sermon 7.25.20

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana

And, those who learn history will often see close parallels between ancient days and modern days. (Debbie Chaney – :-))

Take the prophet Daniel for example. Let’s look at him today and notice the modern day parallels.

Daniel lived some 2,500 years ago, as a member of the noble family of Judah, and was taken captive to Babylon by its king Nebuchadnezzar. He and his family and friends found themselves placed in a re-education program there.

They were now in the minority in the midst of a religiously hostile nation and being pressed upon by the customs of that nation to reshape their values and ideas.

Daniel was a godly, obedient and courageous believer in Jehovah and had even earned the respect and admiration of non-believers.

That’s the backstory, now we enter chapter 1 of Daniel where you will find –

3 R’s

Daniel RESOLVED, Daniel REQUESTED, Daniel was REWARDED

In Daniel’s re-education program, he resolved to not compromise his values. Although being told he has to eat certain things, his heart and values said he would not and he set himself to stay true to Jehovah and his personal beliefs.

He did take action however, and requested to be given certain acceptable foods. That took courage and faith. He had and demonstrated both.

In fact, his faith and courage were rewarded with favor and compassion from Jehovah. He was allowed to eat his suggested foods and in the end, he and his friends were better off in every way than the others in the re-education program with him.

Chapter 2 of Daniel presents us with –

3 D’s

DREAMS, DEATH, and DANIEL

King Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream and because his wise guys couldn’t interpret it, he ordered them all to be put to death. As his servants were rounding up the wise guys, they came to get Daniel too, for he was now a part of king Neb’s wise guy council. Daniel, inquiring what was going on, was told and responded with “wisdom and tact”. Short story, guess who was able to interpret king Neb’s bad dream?? Yup, Daniel.

Yay Daniel, right??

Things were good, for a while. Daniel was promoted, and His God – Jehovah was lauded in the kingdom. Yay!

Enter chapter 3, here we see –

3 I’s and a double I

IMAGE, IDOLARTY, INSOLENCE and an INCREDIBLE INCIDENT!

King Neb got pretty full of himself and had an enormous self image (selfie) built in the center of town. But as if that wasn’t enough, he then made an executive order that everyone had to bow down and worship the selfie. Everyone was to practice idolatry by worshipping him.

Enter principled, god-fearing, non-compromising, wise man – Daniel and his friends In a full out act of insolence, His friends refused to follow the executive order or worship the image of the arrogant king.

Their response was – we do not need to defend ourselves, if the God we serve doesn’t help us, we will still will not serve or worship the empty orders of man. We serve and worship Jehovah only. We will take our chances by standing with him and his favor, not man. Do what you will, oh king Neb.

The king was hot and so he heated up the fire. His men tossed the three men into that fire and lost their lives doing so.

And then the INCREDIBLE INCIDENT!

In the fire, appeared a fourth figure. Looking through the fireproof window, Neb was petrified. How could there be 4, he threw in 3? Again, short story – Jehovah God showed up to defend his wise, faithful and courageous followers. Daniel’s friends not only survived the incredible incident, but demonstrated God’s deliverance and power to a heathen king, palace and kingdom. Yay Daniel and friends. Yay Jehovah!

We are living in the days of Daniel with some exceptional parallels for you and I. Let’s be learners of history.

  • It’s not easy to follow Jesus in today’s culture, but it can and must be done.
  • The re-education program has begun. How are you doing with maintaining your values, and godly obedience?
  • In the midst of the re-education program, what is your resolve? What is your request? How will you be rewarded?
  • Wisdom and tact are hallmark needs in the midst of these bad dreams and death. How are you doing there?
  • Executive order after executive order, idolatry, arrogance – when will it be time for you to respectfully display your insolence?
  • Courage and faith are needed and to those who walk in them, they will be shown incredible incidents! Miraculous events. Unbelievable power of God. Mighty deliverance.

I challenge you, I challenge myself, let’s be like Daniel. Let’s let God be our judge in these days, and see if He doesn’t use us to do something earth shattering.

We are living in the days of Daniel.

Go with God.

Remember the dragonfly?

We recently moved to a lakeside home, where there is an abundance of dragonflies. They are interesting to watch and walk with but in doing so, I realized (after speaking with my brilliant husband) that I had forgotten much about these amazing creatures.

So guess what I have been studying? Yep – Odonata, Anisoptera – the dragonfly.

So today’s blog can be whatever you choose it to be. An animal planet type lesson and appreciation for the dragonfly; or a lesson with human and personal applications for your own insight and growth; and maybe even a place to glean some spiritual insight with applications for you spiritually.

So, here goes, take what you will from the amazing dragonfly.

The emperor dragonfly – Anax = “lord, master, king”

There are more than 5,000 species of dragonflies and their name is taken from the Greek which means, “toothed one”, because of their serrated teeth. They go through a three stage development called “incomplete metamorphosis” which includes: egg, larva (nymph) and adult.

Most dragonflies live near fresh water; it can be flowing water, standing water, running water, still water, or temporary pools of water. There is a species that can even live on or near salt water.

But check out these remarkable factoids:

  • they are expert fliers: up and down, hover, & even mate midair
  • they capture and eat their prey from the air, with their feet with 90-95% accuracy
  • if they cant fly, they will die, starve (because they ONLY eat what they catch in flight)
  • they eat 30-100 mosquitos per day
  • they have 6 directional flying, 4 styles of flight, many flying modes, accelerate from 4G-9G in sharp turns and have 4 ways of generating lift
  • WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN INSECT, NOT AN AIRPLANE!!!!
  • their flight inspires engineers (duh)
  • nearly their whole head is eye which gives them vision that sees nearly 360 degrees, except directly behind them
  • their eyes have 24,000 ommatidia (those compound eye sections)
  • they are migratory insects ranging from traveling every third day (NJ Green Darner) to 11,000 miles across the Indian Ocean (Globe Skinner)
  • they spend 1-5 years in their nymph stage, living totally underwater (this is where they spend the majority of their life – underwater)
  • in this stage they will molt 6-15 times, and eat everything with a hinged mandible, they even eat their own
  • in the water they breathe through gills in their rectum (yep, crazy!)
  • they propel themselves through the water by expelling water through their anus (yep, again crazy)
  • when it emerges from the nymph stage, it stops eating and crawls from the water on a reed where the exoskeleton cracks open and releases the abdomen and wings, which will dry and harden over several hours
  • emerging is the adult dragonfly, which is learning to breathe air and is expanding its body to its full extent
  • as an adult, it will live a few months up to a year

In the Japanese culture dragonflies represent courage, strength and happiness. However in European folklore they have a more sinister reputation.

We can see that the dragonfly is a design marvel intended to live in two different worlds, with crazy, powerful and amazing abilities in each. We can see its incomplete metamorphosis being completely perfect for its design and purpose.

We can see the dark deluge in which it spends most of its time is not the end of its metamorphosis, but the preparation needed for a whole new life.

I’m not gonna lie, I see so many spiritual applications and personal challenges for me to apply from the life of the dragonfly. My hope is that you too will gain insight, hope and at the very least wonder as you remember the dragonfly.

Cheers to you.

All research based on info from Smithsonianmag.com and Treehugger.com

Lavish love

When was the last time you were overwhelmed by someone’s generous, extravagant, elaborate, luxurious love? I mean truly blown away, melted, in awe, mouth open, stunned and head shaking in unbelievable amazement?

Think for a moment.

Can you relate to having love lavished on you in such an astonishing way?

To help us visualize this type of love, imagine a young person with a red, solo cup in hand saying, “Yes, I want it all, I’m ready. Here, fill me up”, and extending the red, solo cup to receive it all.

puny, red, solo cup

In response, comes a deluge from the skies totally engulfing the youngster, drenching him, filling the cup, overflowing the cup, and moistening everything in the youngster’s life with this lavish and extravagant outpouring. He/she was overwhelmed. Lavished. Unable to contain it all. The red, solo cup mentality was far too small for what rich, generous and abundant outpouring was available and coming.

There are two applications that I have recently seen in regards to this.

First, we are loved waaaaay more than our puny minds can fathom! God’s love for us is generous, excessive, abundant, beyond what we can imagine, rich, poured out without measure, indescribable!

His love reaches to the heavens, his faithfulness to the skies, righteousness to the mountains, justice to the great deep, is priceless and is a river of delights. (Psalm 36)

He gives generously to all without finding fault. (Jas. 1:5)

No one has seen or heard what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor. 2:9)

We are unable to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for us. (Eph. 3:18)

1 John 3:1 – Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s love that he has lavished on us!

We are the one holding that red, solo cup, unable to hold the depth of the outpouring of his love for us.

His love for you is overwhelming. Beyond what the red, solo cup mind can hold or understand. Bask in the deluge of his love, let him drench you and moisten everything in your life. Receive his lavish love.

Last point worth making is this – God is generous, He is not tight fisted.

Just look at the natural world for a glimpse of his generosity:

  • There are 25,000 varieties of orchids
  • Orchids are 1 of 270,000 species of flowers
  • The galaxy has 100,000 million stars like our sun
  • Our galaxy is 1 of 100,000 million galaxies
  • The estimated number of sand on the Earth is 7.5 x 10 to the 18th power
  • Sand in the universe = 10 to the 63rd power
  • Atoms in the universe = 10 to the 80th power
  • Even though there are over 70 thousand, million, million, million stars in the universe there are
  • that same number of molecules in just 10 drops of water
  • YES! There are more water molecules in the universe than stars.

God is generous. Unfathomable. Beyond our understanding. No eye has seen nor ear heard what God has prepared for all who love him. Amazing!

Yet, he willingly pours out on us his love, grace, faith, knowledge and all we need. He willingly lavishes his love on us.

The unfathomable God has lavished his love and provision on you. Live in the deluge, dance in that deluge, be refreshed in that deluge and throw away that puny, red solo cup.

Cheers to you