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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ramblings and Reasonable Service

     I started beating myself up this morning - as I logged into blogspot - with a thought on my heart to BLOG. My thoughts were, "I am quite possibly the most inconsistent blogger in the world!" Seeing as how I blogged TWO times in 2015! With February 2015 being the most recent.
     But then that little inner voice spoke up passionately! (The voice I have come to recognize and appreciate as the person who takes care of this girl... takes responsibility for my total health and wellness - better known as "Self-talk") Yes - okay - I talk to myself! 
     So today I said, "Hey, take it easy! You were entering a two year Masters program at the end of February 2015 - and by the way - you have buckled down and will be finishing it in February of 2016! Yes - a two-year degree in ONE year! So don't be beating yourself up - you've worked harder than most... accomplished more than enough... and on top of your education goals - you've kept some pretty big commitments that you made to yourself spiritually, physically and financially. So, way to go girl! Now blog on..."
     Okay! Now, here are my thoughts for this cool, crisp, January morning. I have been mulling a passage of scripture over in my heart...
Matthew 15:10-11
And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Matthew 15:15-20
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do ye not yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
     Jesus is so brilliantly explaining a new concept to His disciples - which was totally blowing their mind. Their rituals of washing and cleansing were deeply imbedded in their lives and hearts.
     Here is what I am receiving today. Jesus was concerned more with what was being manifest on the outside - because it was a reflection of what was REALLY going on inside!
     Let me ask a few questions...
1- Is your desire to be attractive more overpowering than your desire to be holy?
2- Is your desire to be appealing stronger than your desire to be pure?
     Clearly what is manifest on the outside is the evidence of what is happening on the inside. 
     We can say we are in Love with Jesus - but when we dress and prepare ourselves for the day in a manner that is guaranteed to attract sexual attention - our true love is revealed. When married men have to force themselves to look away from your revealing clothing - a defilement is being manifest in you. 
     We can call ourselves Christians and claim to desire to be like Christ - we may even have rules that we think are keeping us safe and saved... "Don't go here, Don't go there. Don't watch this - Don't listen to that." But true defilement is manifest outwardly through nasty attitudes, perverted conversation, filthy language, rude remarks, racial prejudice, disrespect, rebellion towards authority... and the list goes on.  
     The Word of God is clear that we are to present our body - holy - unto God. Many of us think we do. 
     I submit that we are presenting our bodies to God every day as we enter into our public lives - through the way we dress; our attitude; our persona; the way we treat others; our integrity. There are not two presentations - one for the public and one for God. Many people have one presentation for "church" and another presentation for "everyday life". This is a delusion. 
     If each of us examined ourselves each day and honestly presented ourselves in a way that we felt God would accept as holy and spiritually alive; we would see a remarkable difference in our lives, homes and communities... and our churches would be consumed with the fire of His Spirit!
Romans 12:1 
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."


Saturday, February 21, 2015

In A Dream...

I have always been amazed by the story of King Solomon - especially his request for "Wisdom" while God's omnipotent hand was outstretched to him. He could have asked for many things - but he asked for wisdom.

I've often measured myself and my ambitions against this moment in Solomon's saga.
(What would I ask God for if I heard His same request?)

Recently, as I was reading my daily chapter block - on my "Bible in a Year" app - I found myself lost again in Solomon's story. The words were so familiar to me - as I have read them dozens of times. However, I read a portion in I Kings 3:5 that I have evidently not digested before - or perhaps the translation I am reading made it more obvious - but I was stunned nonetheless! (The Word of God often does this to me - because it is Alive! It doesn't change - but it changes me - therefore I see new and wonderful things each time I read it!)

The background here ... Solomon has shown his love for the LORD by following after the heart of his father King David - and has gone up to the most honored and holy place to worship God (Gibeon) - where Solomon has offered a thousand burnt offerings on the altar.

Now - here's what caught my attention... That night - at Gibeon - the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night IN A DREAM - which is when God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."

For some reason - I always imagined God appearing to Solomon there on the mountain - as he finished offering the one thousand sacrifices. I never caught the fact that God communicated with Solomon later - and that Solomon was actually DREAMING!

I know this was a divine dream - which was one way that God spoke to His prophets in that day... but this little nugget has resonated with me every since I read it. I can't stop thinking about it!

I can imagine Solomon - sleeping the exhausted sleep of a man who has poured out his heart and soul to God. His sacrifice was so extravagant - it no longer qualified as sacrifice - but had entered the realm of worship. Worship on a new level - a greater dimension than anyone had ever worshipped.

His sleep was deep and peaceful. His soul was in complete harmony with his maker and his rest was magnificent and perfect.

And then...

As he slept - God's purpose intersected with Solomon's passion.
As he slept - God invaded his dreams and granted Solomon's heart's desire.

Here's what I have pondered...

What am I this passionate about?
What am I dreaming about?
Are my dreams worthy of God's invasion?
Are my dreams capable of intersecting with God's purpose?


Webster's definition of the word DREAM:
: a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep
: a strongly desired goal or purpose

My summary of this pondering...

When my passion intersects with God's purpose for my life - my dreams will be invaded by His presence - He will speak to me - and grant me the desires/dreams of my heart.


Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" ESV



Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Challenge!

My New Years Challenge to ME (and all my FRIENDS):  
STOP IT! STOP it! Stop it! Stop blaming everyone and everything for your failures/shortcomings! Man/Woman up! Take responsibility! You are WHERE you are - because of YOUR decisions. You are WHO you are because of WHAT you have done with your LIFE. 
Stop with the excuses - and feel the FREEDOM! Knowing you are taking responsibility and being a MATURE ADULT is Liberating! You may have obstacles, challenges and dire situations - but allow God to guide you through it! 
Think about this: 
Millions watch Sports Teams - and the entertainment of the game is BOTH teams are trying to win! SO they play STRATEGICALLY and think FAST and work HARDER than the other team - just to WIN! What if they just made excuses and blamed all the other team players for their weaknesses? NO! They PAY people to critique them - show them where they're going wrong... and THEN they focus on turning that weakness into a strength! Then they go WIN THE GAME! 
I suggest that we should not only work within our areas of strength and comfort - but figure out what our weaknesses are... and then STUDY, PRAY, READ A BOOK, TAKE A CLASS, HIRE A TUTOR - OR MENTOR... But we can turn that weakness around and STOP making excuses and BLAMING everyone else for our non-productive life/career/church/ministry... etc! Any takers? Just throwing out the challenge! I'm in!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Eavesdropping On My Enemy

Judges 7: 9-15 (Gideon's army has been whittled down to 300 men - and God has directed him to take them into battle against an innumerable army)
9 That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 
10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 
11 And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. 
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. 
13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 
14 And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.” 
15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” 
My thoughts as I read this passage...
  • God is not mad at me if I have fears and hesitation - he will give me the confidence I need to pursue and conquer my dreams. 
  • God is okay with my "need" for a companion during my times of weakness. He may place someone right there beside me to walk with me in those times.
  • What is my enemy saying about me that could strengthen me and give me courage to go forward? When I see someone looking my way and whispering - instead of feeling intimidated and upset - I should be encouraged and worship God! For all I know - they are sharing insights of my past victories and acknowledging the anointing upon my life. Gideon heard what his enemy was saying about him - and began to worship God! He then went back to his "Team" and encouraged and motivated them to a miraculous Victory!
  • Today I will Arise - and Conquer my Dreams!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Will - 2015 and Beyond!

I Will seek Gods face early each day
I Will not do anything else until I have connected with Him
I Will keep His Word as my first read of every day
I will not check email, messages, or social network until I have read deeply of His book
I Will dream big
I Will not feel unworthy of my dreams
I Will work to see my dreams fulfilled
I Will not wait for them to materialize magically
I Will stop making excuses
I Will take responsibility for where I am - who I am - what I am not - and why I am not where I want to be
I Will start now
I Will not procrastinate 
I Will eat healthy
I Will not be unkind to my body by eating unhealthy 
I Will set and meet my exercise goals
I Will not put off exercise another day
I Will schedule my life around my priorities 
I Will not fit my priorities into my schedule 
I Will live in Gratitude and Abundance 
I Will not give up or give in

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fun Facts

I recently read that phobias are the most common mental disorder in the U.S. I had never considered fear to be a mental disorder but as I read through some of the categories I realized how phobias could certainly paralyze and disrupt lives. Fear of swallowing – fear of feet – fear of vegetables – fear of teenagers! Some of the phobias were easy to relate to – but then there was – Cherophobia: an exaggerated or irrational fear of joyfulness – and hedonophobia: the fear of feeling pleasure. II Timothy 1:7 came to mind, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” It is obvious the enemy does not want us to enjoy life. There are even those who believe laughter is not spiritual – but there are no scriptural foundations to that idea. Jesus plainly stated that He came so that we could enjoy abundant life! 
Consider this list of reasons to embrace laughter and fun!

Laughter is Biblical! 
Proverbs 17:22 in the God’s Word Translation is interesting - “A joyful heart is good medicine but depression drains one’s strength”
The opposite of joy is depression. Depression has become a medical malady – with prescription medicine as the cure. You cannot fix a spiritual problem with a physical solution!
The antidote for depression is Joy! Laughter can rejuvenate your spirit and tear down the stronghold of depression in your life. The Joy of the Lord is our strength! Even if your life circumstances seem bleak and depressing this life is temporary. Your joy can be full when you consider the hope you have in Jesus!
Laugh! Satan has no counter-measure for Joy!
Psalm 16:11 brings David’s insight on where to find joy… “in your (God’s) presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
If you are not pre-disposed to fun and laughter… hang around with people who love to laugh and who make you laugh! Life is too short to take yourself seriously! Lighten up!

Laughter proves to the world how Great God is!
“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2
Your strongest and loudest testimony is the life you live. Especially when your situation seems to call for tears and turmoil – yet you display peace and pleasure. Your co-workers, friends and family will take notice and desire to acquire those same traits in their life.
On the same scale – if you are trying to win your loved ones to Christ – and you are always sad and discouraged - whining and complaining – on the verge of a nervous breakdown – your witness is polluted and void. You are living below your spiritual privileges!

Laughter is good for your health!

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Works out the diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduces stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline
  • Boosts response of anti-tumor and disease-fighting defenses
  • Increases immunoglobulin in saliva that protects from colds and infections
  • Improves memory and comprehension; alertness and creativity
  • Can be as effective as running in boosting health. 
  • Laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. 
  • Laughter burns calories - 20 minutes of laughter provides a great physical workout! 
  • The physiological effects of a single bout of laughter can last 24 hours
Perhaps you have you heard about Laughter Yoga? A doctor from India has created a program incorporating Yoga and laughter! Based on the scientific fact that the body cannot make a distinction between genuine and imitation laughter – a person still gets the identical physiological and emotional benefits. Imagine sitting in a circle with eyes closed; laughing just for your health! 
We all enjoy a good, gut-wrenching bout of laughter, but what if we are having trouble finding fun and mirth in our life? Here are some suggestions: 

Become as a child… Jesus said it!

  • An average 4 year old laughs 300 times a day
  • An average 40 year old laughs 4 times a day
  • Spend at least an hour a week with children. Play! Allow them to suck you into their imagination! 
  • Don’t be afraid to be silly, get dirt in your hair and grass stains on your skirt!
  • Ride a merry-go-round – swing as high as your legs can pump
  • Dig for roly-poly’s – chase butterflies
  • Eat popsicles and watermelon – barefooted! 
Host a Happy Hour!
  • Invite some friends over for a spaghetti dinner
  • Set the table with your fine china and crystal
  • Provide bibs and wet wipes
  • Omit eating utensils!
  • Watching adults eat spaghetti with their hands will surely create as much laughter and entertainment as the night can contain!
  • For dessert – load up in the car and drive for ice cream
  • Everyone has to wear their sunglasses inside the ice cream shop
  • Sing silly songs - with the car windows down - all the way home!

According to the story of creation in Genesis, we were created in the image of God. From what I have gathered in my quest to know Him – God’s character includes a desire for joyfulness! If He longs for pleasure, then it is understandable that He wishes us happiness. Reflect on these thoughts and scripture references…

An honorable person brings God happiness.
I Chronicles 29:17

God takes pleasure when His servant prospers.
Psalm 35:27
  
A repentant heart makes God smile.                           
Psalm 51:16-17

God enjoys our songs of praise to Him.                  
Psalm 69:30

When we glorify Him in thanksgiving – He loves it!                
Psalm 69:31
God takes pleasure when we fear and respect Him.                                    
Psalm 147:10 
                                                                                                                                                         
The Lord is thrilled when our hope is in His mercy.               
Psalm 147:10

The Lord takes pleasure in US! His people.
Psalms 149:4
                                            
The blameless person makes God happy. 
Proverbs 11:20

Dealing truthfully delights God.                             
Proverbs 12:22

God’s entertainment is the prayers of the upright.                              
Proverbs 15:8

To bring God pleasure: do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly!  
Micah 6:7-8

God delights in mercy!                       
Micah 7:18

Faith pleases God and brings Him joy.            
Hebrews 11:6


Psalm 118:24 should be our motto scripture! “This is the day that the LORD hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” 
Today, celebrate God’s creativity! 
Enjoy this day He has prepared for you. 
Laugh! Smile! Grin! Skip! Sing! REJOICE! I guarantee you it will make God happy and you healthier!

(This was an article I wrote - published in Reflections Magazine 2013)