That’s right, your amazing feet. They are marvelous body parts that we give too little credit and probably too little attention to. And yet without them, we would have no support or balance.
I was reminded of their immense value last night when I got home from work after spending 12 hours in my black, (very stylish, of course… ha ha ) “combat boots”. Seriously, from 7:45 AM to 7:45 PM I wore them. AND, while at work from 1:00-6:00 PM, I was literally on my feet the whole time. No sitting, only walking, and standing.
When I walked in the door after work, I couldn’t get my poor size 8’s free fast enough. Ahhh, relief! What ever was I thinking when I left in the morning, or was I even thinking at all?
Well, that night, I thought alot about feet and their overlooked importance to us. (as mine were throbbing severely)
Lets talk about feet, shall we? Do you realize jus’ how amazing they are built and what they endure for us?
Did you know that:
You have 8,000 nerves in your feet, more per square centimeter than anyplace else in your body
Your daily walking cause your feet to experience forces totaling tons, actually equaling a fully loaded cement truck
Each foot takes 1.5 times your body weight
And when you run, up to 5 times your weight
There are 28 bones in your feet, a quarter of all the bones in your body!
You have 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons in your feet
there are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet that are capable of making a half pint of sweat a day
Your feet are AMAZING! Their design is a masterpiece able to withstand and adapt to uneven surfaces. Able to flex and twist and carry you wherever you choose to go.
These finely tuned pieces of machinery have two important functions:
Both of which require stability during your walk, run, jumping, balancing, climbing or any number of other activities that you do. Without your feet, your life would have no support or balance.
By the time you are 50 years old, the average person will have walked 75,000 miles and sustained sprains, strains and possible fractures. But your feet got the job done for you. One stat even said that if you walk 8-10,000 steps a day, that makes 115,000 in a lifetime; or equal to 4 times circling the globe.
And the hero is – YOUR FEET.
Add to these astounding facts that the bones in your feet don’t actually harden until your 21, and that these natural shock absorbers grow totally new toenails every 6 months, (slower than fingernails, which grow .01mm a day) and I think that we have established the fact the you have amazing feet.
Our feet stand us up.
So the next time you’re wondering if you can take a stand, or feel like you are lacking the support that you need – consider your wonderful feet. You are standing, and you do have support!
When you are evaluating your life and wondering if things are in the right balance for you – consider your feet.
Our dependable feet- constant for support and balance, our unsung hero’s for allowing us to stand up.
This phrase has been playing over in my mind and heart for days now. Why? Join me with your thoughts for a moment.
We would probably simplify it to say, “Don’t you know?”, right? When do we use this phrase? Do we use it?
It seems to me its usage hinges on the context of sharing something I know with you in case you don’t already know it.
For example, you might say, “Don’t you know, the chili will be done in 15 minutes”, because I think it will take hours before it’s done. (Don’t judge, this really happened, right sister?)
Or maybe, “Don’t you know you’ll wind up paying twice as much for it if you buy it there?”
In any case, it is the focus phrase for today, don’t you know?
“Do you not know” is a phrase used 46 times in the Bible, in 22 different translations. 17 times it is used in the Old Testament and 29 times in the New Testament.
I’d like to focus on a few of those.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…”
What a tremendous truth to have verified in our minds and be reminded of. God is ruler over everything! He is enthroned over it all! He is in charge! Period.
It is also very powerful that Isaiah asked 4 questions of us, the reader, before he reminded us of the fact. He is reminding everyone of what they may have been taught, or heard, or told or understood. But he is also taking the opportunity to say, hey, I know this and I wanna make sure that you know it too, just in case you don’t.
God is in control–just in case you didn’t know or forgot.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Yet again, the prophet, Isaiah nails it. That same God who is ruler over all, Isaiah says, He does not ever tire out – because He understands everything. Therefore He gives strength to those who do get tired and power to those who grow weary, knowing they don’t get it and don’t understand it all.
God doesn’t get tired, understands everything and gives us strength when we are weary – Just is case you didn’t know or forgot.
” Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him? the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks. “
These questions, written by Jeremiah and his scribe, were asked by the Lord – powerful interrogatives for sure.
Just is case you didn’t already know, Jeremiah says, the Lord God is everywhere. No one can hide from Him. No matter who tries or who thinks differently, no hiding on God, cuz he found you long ago.
God is everywhere – in case you forgot.
” Test yourselves to discover whether you are true believers: put your own selves under examination. Or do you not know that Jesus Christ is within you, unless you are insincere?”
2 Corinthians 13:5
This time Paul picks up the phrase with the charge to test yourself to see if you are a true believer. Only you and Jesus can make that determination, so be sincere, he says. Examine yourself to see if Jesus Christ is in you.
In essence, he is saying look guys, you are demanding proof that Jesus is speaking through me, examine yourselves, your life, your words. Is He speaking through you?
Jesus lives in you, but examine yourself for proofs– don’t you know?
In each of these settings, the question posed is to a. verify that you know it or b. remind you of what you may have forgotten. How are you doing with your responses? Good reminders, right?
There are 2 more times worth mentioning.
In James 4:4, he says,
” Do you not know that being the world’s friend (that is loving the things of the world) is being God’s enemy?
And John, the beloved wrote –
“Because you are saying, That I am rich and have increased in riches, and have need as to nothing, and do you not know that you are miserable, and pitiful, and poor, and blind, and naked?”
These last two passages pose strong challenges to the hearer and reader. Again, they are personal and can only be determined by you and the Lord.
The message is clear however, in case you didn’t know:
you cannot be a friend of the world and love God
some may think they are rich and need nothing but they are miserable and pitiful
May we verify all these truths mentioned here today as alive and active in our life. And if they are not, please do not hesitate to take the necessary steps to embed them in you heart and mind and allow them to flow from your words and actions.
Let faith rise up as you grab these truths and establish them in your life.
Don’t you know that life is exciting when you walk in all that you know of Him?
“an escape, often with the use of force, as from a prison or mental institution”
Has complacency set in? Is nonactivity the norm? Have you become more sedentary? Are you struggling to talk yourself (back) into exercise, and adventure? Is it time to break out?
It sure was for me, and today I did (again)!
You see, our brain NEEDS change. It is designed to grow new cells (neurongenesis) even in our older life. Our brain has a great capacity for change (neuronal plasticity) and in fact physically changes in adults that are learning a new skill.
That is why it is so important, no matter our age, that we keep escaping the rut of daily life and break out. Try new things, foods, restaurants. Find ways to engage your brain again, maybe a new location, activity, puzzle or recipe.
Today I broke out. I got in my car and drove to an unfamiliar place that I had heard of, parked and started exploring. A brand new location stimulated my brain through the use of every sense. I saw things I’d never seen before, heard new stimulating sounds, touched and felt unfamiliar textures and I smelled the fragrances of nature.
I witnessed the creativity of people, and experienced the fear of the unknown.
And all the while my brain was exploding with stimulation and growth, along with neural pathways and electrical impulse activity. My brain was celebrating adventure. My brain was happy. My brain was challenged and creativity was unleashed all because I broke out.
Every one of us NEED cognitive and social engagement for our own mental health. All of us, at one time or another need to break out.
Need some ideas for breaking out? Here are a few:
engage in physical activity of some kind
learn a sport or dance step
learn an instrument
learn a language
take a class
arrange flowers, garden
try a new food or restaurant
take a different route while driving
use your opposite hand to brush your teeth
chew with your eyes closed and listen
listen to new music
Most people hate change and boredom. Yet change is what we need for a healthy mental outlook. So whatever it takes for YOU, find the time and break out. You will feel the surge of inspiration, energy and clarity.
If you are a musical theatre junkie, then that phrase will bring to life the lyrics from Hamilton’s – Yorktown-
“I’m not throwin’ away my shot! I’m not throwin’ away my shot! Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwin’ away my shot! Til the world turns upside down, ‘Til the world turns upside down.”
The World Turned Upside Down (Yorktown); Lin-manuel Miranda
Although that song wasn’t the first thing to pop into my head, I have been thinking alot about how the world has been turned upside down, particularly in this past year. I really love that phrase – the world turned upside down and want to spend some time with it, but not as you might expect. It can be a depressing topic, so let’s turn it upside down, and make it not depressing.
So, let me present you with some things you probably believed were true, but are in fact NOT TRUE – I’m gonna turn your world upside down. 🙂
Sloths are slow and lazy creatures. Although they are slow – walking 2 meters per minute on the ground, they are 5 times faster under water. Because their metabolic rate is so slow, they can hold their breath for 40 minutes underwater and swim 5 x faster than they walk!
You can see the Great Wall of China from space – (I have even taught this.) NASA confirmed that this in fact is false, but our textbooks have not yet caught up.
It takes 7 years for your body to digest bubble gum. According to Healthline, the ingredients in gum will pass through your body without digesting at all.
Carrots improve your vision. The beta-carotene in carrots converts to vitamin A which does improve your sight. However, once your beta-carotene limit is reached, it stops making that conversion.
Toads give you warts. Nope, warts are caused by HPV.
Coffee stunts your growth. Nope again. It is linked to calcium loss but even that isn’t enough to affect your bones.
Bats are blind. In fact, they can see 3 times better than humans, according to Rob Miles, at Bat Conservation.
Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis. I don’t like the sound of this, but what I am hearing is the nitrogen bubbles bursting in your synovial fluid. It does not lead to arthritis.
You swallow 8 spiders a year in your sleep. Gosh am I glad this is faaaaaaaarrrrr from truth! Scientific American deemed this as untrue because spiders view humans as rocks and if that rock is vibrating (snoring) it is warning them to stay away.
Einstein failed math. He did fail an entrance exam to a school in Zurich, but he nailed the math section of that test.
The toilet flushes in different directions in different hemispheres. (another one that I have taught) Live Science reports that the only thing that changes the direction is the shape of the toilet and the angle that the water enters.
Alcohol warms you up. You may think you’re warming up after a drink, but is slowing your circulation and making you colder. (my husband was right!)
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain. Yep, I taught this one too….It is the tallest mountain AT SEA LEVEL, but the tallest mountain from base to peak is Mount Kea in Hawaii. It winds up being a mile taller than Everest when you factor in 19,700 feet of it exists in the Pacific Ocean!
Dogs are color blind. In fact, a Russian scientist has proved that dogs see blue and yellow as good as we do.
An apple fell on Newton’s head (and thus prompted the theory of gravity). Much like Adam and Eve’s story, an apple wasn’t mentioned, only a fruit. In Sir Isaac’s case, a fruit fell and prompted his inquiries.
See, that wasn’t depressing or discouraging was it? Hopefully it was even a little insightful.
We need these little brain breaks from time to time, so that we will have the needed creativity, focus and prioritization to make the changes really needed to turn our world upside down.
There are many instances when believers must trust and have faith- you know, that tangible substance of something unseen.
But the resurrection of Jesus is not one of those instances; for we have more details, and historical evidence regarding the few days before and after Jesus’ death and resurrection than any other figure in ancient history.
“On this, the greatest point we are not merely asked to have faith alone, for there exists overwhelming evidence, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring a verdict that the resurrection story is true.” Former Chief Justice of England, Lord Darling.
Jesus death and resurrection stands with historical factuality, not faith alone.
Luke, one of the disciples wrote of these facts and evidence –
” Dear friend, I am writing for you, … an orderly account of what Jesus, the Anointed One accomplished and fulfilled among us. Several eyewitness biographies have already been written, using as their source material the good news preached among us by his early disciples, who became loving servants of the Living Expression (Jesus).
But now I am passing on to you this accurate compilation of my own meticulous investigation based on numerous interviews and thorough research of the story of his life. It is appropriate for me to write this, for he also appeared to me so that I would assure you beyond any shadow of a doubt the reliability of all you have been taught of him.”
Luke, the Physician, disciple of Jesus, chapter 1, verses 1-4
The NIV translation puts that last phrase this way – “so that you may know the certainty of the things that you have been taught.”
Luke, the doctor in Jesus discipleship group, was a detailed historian who documented the events of Jesus’ life and left them for us in the gospel that bears his name.
Additionally, he documented the events of Jesus resurrection, ascension and the day of Pentecost when the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit and Jerusalem was rocked by that power. We find those complete details in The Acts of the Apostles, yet another book that he wrote.
As he states, his writing is based on his own first hand, eyewitness experiences, his interviews with other eyewitnesses, and his own thorough research and investigation of primary sources. The man was there and interviewed others who were also there. They are primary sources.
Luke is telling us that we can be absolutely certain, beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus’ death and resurrection really happened!
“After His suffering he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.”
It is important to note that in this text, Luke is using a legal term (in the Greek), that is the strongest type of legal evidence; he is making a legal declaration of convincing proofs for the resurrection of Jesus Christ; implying the weight of evidence in a trail to prove a case.
But we need not take only his word as convincing evidence, please consider these documented, primary sources, who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection:
Mary Jn. 20:16, 18
other women Jn. 20:9-10
Disciples Jn. 20:19
Thomas Jn. 20:24
2 men on the road Mk. 16:12-13
Peter Lk. 24:34
7 fishermen Jn. 21:1-23
500 eyewitnesses 1 Cor. 15:6
James 1 Cor. 15:7
Stephen Acts 7:55
Paul Acts 9:5
John Rev. 1:10
Again, not just the empty tomb, but the actual, physical body of Jesus was seen by hundreds of people in the days following his resurrection. Firsthand, eyewitness accounts, people who spoke with him, ate with him, and watched him ascend that invisible escalator into heaven. They were staring at him, wide mouthed and in awe when the angels said to them,
“Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way.”
On this Easter, 2021, know for certain that Jesus really, actually did die and come to life after three days – JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD. You can be certain, beyond any doubt.
The importance of the physical resurrection of Jesus is paramount to Christianity. Jesus pointed in advance to his bodily resurrection, he foretold it would happen. John 2:19 – “Destroy this temple (his body) and in three days I will raise it up.”
Dr. Norman Geisler says, ” if Christ did not raise in the same physical body, then the resurrection loses its value as evidence of proof of his claim to be God.” Jn. 8:58; 10:30
If Jesus resurrection is not historic fact then the power over death remains unbroken, sin is not atoned for and we are without hope.
But because the resurrection is an event in history, we have new life and hope in this life and the one yet to come. Consider these factual and historic events:
Jesus was an actual man that lived with family and friends for over 30 years
Pontius Pilate literally sentenced Jesus to death
Jesus was killed by crucifixion
Jesus was placed in Joseph’s literal tomb and wrapped in grave clothes
his followers were dejected
a stone, large enough to be rolled by 20 men was placed in front of the entrance
the seal on the tomb was the imperial seal of the Roman government and was witnessed and affixed by the guards
the guards themselves (10-30 of them) were trained in military discipline and punishment for quitting a post was death
the disciples went their way
the tomb was found empty
the grave clothes were folded and left in the tomb
the seal had been broken
the guards were dishonored
the disciples were elated
post resurrection appearances to hundreds as listed above
transformed lives through over 2,000 years
establishment of the Christian church
establishment of Sunday services
establishments of sacraments like, Communion, and baptism
the martyrdom of most of the disciples (why if Jesus hadn’t been raised?)
the martyrdom of thousands of Christians through the ages
Each of these are actual, and real historical events. Each speaks to the tangible evidence of Jesus resurrection. Each provide for us convincing truths and undeniable evidence that what Jesus promised came to pass and if that be the case for his resurrection, He can and should be believed in all other matters.
Interestingly, Christianity as one of the four major religions based on personalities rather than philosophies, is the only one that claims an empty tomb for its founder.
Judiasm – Abraham has no resurrection claims
Buddhism – the Mahaparinibbana Sutta tells of Buddha’s death with utter finality
Mohammad – the Pali tells us that he died June 8, 632 AD at the age of 61 at Medina
Christianity – Jesus tomb is empty
It is safe to declare that without Jesus’ bodily resurrection there would be no Christianity. Christianity in fact hinges on the belief in Jesus resurrection. This fact, this hinge is solid and completely supported by evidence that would stand in a court of law. Your belief in Jesus’ resurrection need not be in faith and trust alone.
In fact, (without all the detail that excites me), we can say to those who doubt the historical accuracy and dependability of the New Testament as our source that they are totally misinformed! Here are the facts:
ancient literature’s authenticity is tested by 3 basic principles, 3 criteria
bibliographical test – how many and how reliable are the manuscript copies
internal evidence test – does the document support itself from within
external evidence test – does external evidence support the document
the bible when tested by these same criteria stands head and shoulders above every other ancient work, including Homer’s Iliad
Iliad has 643 manuscript copies with a 400 year gap between the original and the first copies
The New Testament has 5,366 copies with a 225 year time gap between the original and its first copies
Plato’s writings have only 7 copies over a 1,300 year gap, and Pliny the Younger 7 copies with over 750 years as the time gap.
What does this tell us?
Scholars accept the trustworthiness of these ancient classics that were copied long after the original, therefore it is clear that the New Testament’s reliability is overwhelmingly sufficient and can be rendered authentic. The sheer volume of manuscripts alone would be enough to provide convincing proof but that coupled with the short gap between author and copies is a total “drop the mic” statement.
You can stand confidently, without any doubt that your New Testament is reliable, historical and factually accurate. The evidence presented by the circumstances and the primary sources, the manuscripts, and the criteria for testing ancient documents all point to CONVINCING PROOFS of Jesus death, burial and resurrection.
You can be certain of the things that you have been taught.
We have presented you with many convincing proofs so you can celebrate His resurrection with renewed assurance, enthusiasm and conviction.
You know him, don’t you, the fictional character and official mascot for Frito-Lay’s Cheetos snacks?
Anyone who knows me and our family knows how important these snacks are to my husband. He has a large cup that reads, “Den’s Cheetos” and he even has Cheetos socks. Friends and family see anything Cheeto and get it for Den or they pass on an image, or fact. So we know Chester well.
Chester is a cheetah and cheetahs are amazing animals.
Some facts about cheetahs I’m sure you know, are:
they are the largest cat on the planet and more social than other cats
they are the fastest land animal (recorded at 93-98 mph)
they have a light build, long, thin legs and long tail
Some additional cheetah factoids are:
females search for prey while males are more sedentary
they stalk within 200 ft., charge it, trip it during the chase and bite its throat to suffocate it to death
they are active during the day, especially at dusk and dawn
Why the Chester the cheetah talk, where are you going with this, Deb?
Glad you asked. I see a couple of fascinating similarities between you and me and cheetahs. Really!
According to Quora –
“…(cheetah’s) high speeds can only be maintained for 400-800 meters before exhaustion sets in and the body overheats.”
A cheetah’s entire body design is made to assist his speed:
he has a supersized set of lungs
he has a super sized heart
his nostrils are extremely large to take in Oxygen
his long tail acts as a rudder for sharp turns and in his pursuit assists with his balance
he has light bones
his reflexes are built to survive a tumble at 65 mph (wish I had that!)
his spine and back muscles are extremely flexible (not mine)
his claws are semi-retractable with tough pads for traction
Everything within the cheetah is fine tuned to allow for super speeds and yet, even with those design marvels, he still cannot maintain those speeds for very long with out facing exhaustion and overheating.
Additionally, in his sprinting, much of the time he is actually propelled through the air at long strides. One stride for him = 26 feet!
So when he sprints 300 yards, (3 football fields) his paws are actually on the ground for only 3-5 seconds! The rest of the time he is airborne. Plus, he is able to make 4 strides per second. Unreal! Cheetah’s really know how to fly.
Again though, he cannot sustain high speeds or prolonged runs very long. He must catch his prey in 30 seconds or less before he must rest. An example I read said that if a cheetah were to run 154 miles from Otjiwarongo to Windhoek (Namibia), it would need to stop and rest over 311 times. If it were able to run without stopping, it would take only 2 1/2 hours running at 68 mph. Incredible.
How are we like cheetah’s?
Our human design is masterful and yet without proper rest we, too will face exhaustion and heating up. We were made to take our strides here on earth, but our efficiency is when we are airborne, when our strides take us above ground and into the air. (Into the spiritual dimension)
Whether you find yourself in the desert, the grassy savannah (of the Serengeti), or the mountains (of the Sahara), like our cheetah friends, I trust that you will realize your absolute need for rest and your purposeful design to be airborne.
Now, let’s celebrate our cheetah likenesses by enjoying a bag of Cheetos. 🙂
For over 20 years, I was a music teacher and so I never missed the Grammy Awards on TV. Times have changed for me, but the Grammy’s aired again Sunday night, for the 63rd time.
Music is the universal language. It is a powerful communication tool, memory provider, relaxation technique, mood creator and even medicine.
Scientists tell us that music is hardwired into our brain. It’s components like rhythm and melody echoes in our physiology, our functioning and our being. It has prominent effects on our body.
Before we go any further, because I hope you too are a music lover, let’s do an exercise. You can do it there where you are, but I would love to hear your responses, so please, please consider leaving a comment when you come to the end of this blog today, please?
THINK ABOUT THE YEAR 2020. WHAT SONG WOULD YOU PICK TO BEST REPRESENT IT?
THNIK ABOUT YOUR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS. WHAT SONG BEST DESCRIBES THOSE YEARS? (If you aren’t in HS yet, think about your middle school years and choose a song)
Lastly, THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE. WHAT SONG WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BEST REPRESENT YOUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?
Music is entertaining of course, but it is more than that. It is powerful and it’s ability to help in the healing processes are still being discovered and understood.
Because of the close association of music with memories, doctors are telling us that it could be helpful with Alzheimer’s patients. Other doctors have told us listening to hip hop music is of great benefit to those with mental disorders. Pediatricians have concluded that infants remain calmer with music rather than speech.
Chances are you may have music playing right now, somewhere around you. If not now, you probably have recently or will in the near future. Music has become the soundtrack of our life. Silence is uncomfortable for many and therefore gets filled with music and other noise.
The power of music is undeniable.
Music stimulates more parts of your brain than any other human function. “Melodic intonation Therapy” coaxes parts of the brain to take over damaged parts, and that may even help patients regain the ability to speak. For stroke patients who have lost speech, music may stimulate those functions.
Music has been proven to reduce pain and anxiety, according to Brunel University in UK. After testing over 7,000 patients who had undergone surgery, playing music during their recovery (music of their choosing is even more powerful) reduced pain.
“… if music was a drug, it would be marketable… music is a non evasive, safe, cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery.”
Medical News Today 2015; Brunel University, UK
A Denmark study in 2014 has found that music may be beneficial for fibromyalgia patients.
“calm, relaxing, self-chosen music reduced the pain and increased functional mobility.”
Denmark study 3/14
Listening to music triggers opiods in the brain; they are the bodies natural pain killers. Listening to music also increases dopamine in the brain.
So… the music you choose to fill your home, car and brain with has power. Power to relieve your stress, strengthen your body and brain and even heal your mind and body. Pump it up, play it on repeat, and allow music to bring to you the peace and strength that The Creator intended.
Sit back, pump it up, close your eyes, (pour a glass of wine), and soak in music’s power of healing and strength. ENJOY.
Cheers to you.
PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SONGS IN THE COMMENT SECTION.
My 2020 song – Avenue of Broken Dreams – Green Day
My high school song – I Can See Clearly Now the Rain is Gone – Johnny Nash
This is the route you’ve chosen, mile after mile of hot, dry desert sand carrying a heavy load bundled on your back or beast. Water and provisions are low, strength is vanishing, and no relief is in sight. No oasis is near.
Scattered over these Saharan desert sands are over 90 major oasis and for the largest desert in the world (about the size of the continental US), that means traveling between them will take days. Merchants and traders make the trip totally dependent on the promise of replenishment and rest that the oases provide.
An oasis is a fertile area that has a freshwater source, surrounded by a dry and arid region. They are irrigated by natural springs underground and vary in size from a small cluster of palm trees to a city with crops. Visible above ground, are date palms and other lush vegetation. Dates, cotton, olives, figs fruits and corn are commonly found in oases. In some places full cities reside in them with hotels.
The underground water sources are called “aquifers”. Sometimes a manmade well is dug to tap the aquifer and will provide more water for the city. In many settlements, the wells have been flowing and maintained for generations and centuries.
Oases became important stops along trade routes through many countries of the world. Some of the most beautiful ones are in Egypt, Israel, Brazil, Niger, China, Peru, Libya and Tunisia. Even the United States cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix and Palm Springs could be considered outgrowths of Westward expansion and merchants traveling along the oasis route. (The oasis outside of Palm Springs is still there, I took my son once.)
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”
Matthew 11:28-30 TPT
It is easy to visualize these verses in light of our oasis construct, isn’t it?
Jesus was speaking to weary travelers who were burdened with their loads from life. His offer, come to me, I am your oasis.
This is the only time in scripture where Jesus says, “Come to me”. Often He said, “Come after me”, or “Come follow me”, but only in this context does He say, simply, “Come to me”. The message is clear. He recognizes the fatigue, hard work, and heavy load of the listener. Nothing else is needed at this time, only rest, refreshment and replenishment. Coming to Him, The oasis, will provide just that. It’s that easy, and He knows it.
In Him we find rest. In Him we are refreshed. In Him we are resupplied to carry on. We are free to travel on when we are ready.
Although this is a temporary rest stop, He offers more than a temporary seat, He offers permanent rest for our raging soul.
A permanent supply is promised when we join our life with His. The picture Matthew gives us is one of taking on a yoke, and stepping into the yoke with Him. Living in the place of being teamed up with Jesus in all we do. Learning His ways and listening to his direction as we walk together in the yoke.
The work is not the only focus, it is the union with Jesus.
United with Him we learn and begin to understand that He is gentle and easy to please. He doesn’t get all worked up or stressed out. He doesn’t freak out. He is peaceful, kind and humble. Yoked together with Him, we learn these traits too. Our thoughts and feelings begin to change as we learn His ways.
When we lean on our own understanding, it hurts, we feel the rub. We are aware He is not leading or leaning that way. We lean His way and find it easy.
It is from this union with Jesus that we find a permanent rest for our soul, not just a refreshing drink. A fountain flowing from deep underground, a spiritual aquifer for all time and every generation. The best thirst quencher and big gulp ever. Imagine having a spiritual aquifer attached to your big gulp cup, anytime you need refreshing. (minus the calories and sugar even)
This is the route you’ve chosen, mile after mile of hot, dry desert sand carrying a heavy load bundled on your back or beast. Water and provisions are low, strength is vanishing, and RELIEF IS IN SIGHT. I see The oasis!
Stop. Unload your burden. Rest. Drink deeply from The oasis.
Realign your yoke as needed. For some, you need to step into it and team up with Jesus. Join forces with the Maker of the Universe. What a deal!
A temporary resting spot or permanent rest and refreshing is yours, because Jesus said, “I am your oasis.”
When walking through an elephant camp, a man noticed that these elephants were only secured with a small rope that was tied around one ankle. He wondered why the elephants didn’t break free from the rope, as the elephants we certainly strong enough.
He asked the trainer why, and the trainer said that they use the same size rope for baby elephants all the way up to adulthood. Because they’re too small when they are babies to break free from the rope, they grow up thinking that the rope is stronger than they are. As adults, they think the rope can still hold them, so they don’t fight it.
A mother camel and her baby were lying down, soaking up the sun. The baby camel asked his mom, “Why do we have these big bumps on our back?” The mom stopped to think and then said, “We live in the desert where there is not much water. Our humps store water to help us survive on long journeys.”
The baby camel then stopped to think and said, “Well, why do we have long legs with rounded feet?” His mother replied, “They are meant to help us walk through sand.”
The baby asked a third question, “Why are my eyelashes so long?” The mother replied, “Your eyelashes are long to offer you protection from the sand when it blows in the wind.”
Finally, the baby said, “If we have all of these natural abilities given to us to walk through the desert, what’s the use for camels in the Zoo?’
Allow me to play Aesop, for a minute.
From each of these stories, we can glean important life lessons, and encouragement. Listen to your heart and hear what application lies there for you. At the very least, I will offer these:
All of us, like the elephants, have grown through and are learning to fight our own programmed, learned helplessness. You know, that thing or those issues that we believe are stronger than us and so we don’t bother fighting. Be they family traits, ingrained scripts, perceived weaknesses, or whatever; they are tied about our feet, trying to keep us from moving forward. FACT: you are stronger than your childhood programming and you are strong enough to break free from it all.
Our perceptive baby camel offers us the simple truth that you have been designed to withstand what comes against you. You have all that you need, if you are in the right place. The camel is designed for the desert and is therefore fully equipped for sand, wind, dry and waterless situations. Out of that environment, he doesn’t quite fit. He doesn’t really belong in a zoo, does he? FACT: Our design is perfect and fully utilized when we are in the right environment.
I am certain that the elephant and the camel are speaking to many, and I trust that from their stories you will see yourself as strong, and well equipped for whatever you face. Break free and live life to your fullest, where you are s’posed to be!
Oh, what we can learn from the elephant and the camel.