Family History – A King, A Shepherd, and Fighting Shadows

Roi is a family name in my history on my paternal grandmother’s side. I know it often translates King from their French.  I’ve been delving into family history today and while examining this verse in one of my devotionals “Praying the Names of God” by Ann Spangler, my eye caught the same spelling in Hebrew and a different meaning – Yahweh Roi – The Lord is My Shepherd.

 

Roi in Hebrew actually translates shepherd, keeper, one who tends.  I haven’t heard that word, tend, used as much as, say, in my teens, when I’d be asked to ‘tend’ a baby.  Webster’s dictionary defines tending as “to apply oneself to the care of : watch over”.  That is more than just watch, as I sometimes did while ‘babysitting’… watch, sure – while on the phone, reading a book, or also watching TV.  I have to admit this mini study puts my history of tending to shame, and gives new meaning to applying oneself to caring for someone else.  Like my shepherd “applied himself” to caring for me.

I cannot apply myself with that intensity or dedication – not of myself I can’t.  I’d like to say, I’d hope I would, but I know there is only hope in looking in the mirror straight on and admitting I can’t. It is impossible.  And that’s ok. I’ve struggled with disappointment in myself because I am less than I want to be. I’ve wept because I felt I was less than others needed. Yet, as I review a recent time of battle in light of this verse, I realize that perhaps once again my heart has longed to leap spiritual barriers and be the keeper, the fixer and then I realize that would mean ursurping the Shepherd’s role.

It reminds me of the story of Cain.  After Cain had murdered his brother Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain answered, “I know not; am I my brother’s  keeper?”  Obviously not. What an ironic answer.  So what about me – am I to be a brother’s or sister’s keeper?  – a good Samaritan or keep the commandment to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself‘?   What if I have looked in the mirror of the commandments (the law) and found evidence to convict myself of despicable possibilities? The enemy whispers that I am not worthy to be a sheep for this Shepherd. I know it is true. How then, can I love anyone as much or more than myself? Well, because I do in essence protect/ look out for / and love myself, I look for redemption.  When I recognize redemption, I latch onto it like a drowning man to a life preserver. That is how I need to love others. By bringing them to my Shepherd.

What a coop if the enemy can sway me to believe, after redemption in my King,  my Keeper, My Lord and My Shepherd that I must continue to fight, or keep, or tend, in my own strength.

It cannot be done.

When I try, that is when I want to lie down and weep and give up. When I am renewed by The Shepherd’s words and power, on the other hand, I can face the battle as the messenger of the Victor.

Feeling pretty silly, I’ll admit, to realize I’ve gone into battle fully outfitted with blazing guns, and realize everyone has gone home – the battle was already over, and I was only fighting shadows.

Aha! The struggle came and continued when I faced the battle as the defender instead of the defendedYahweh Roi – The Lord, my Shepherd – is the only defender and He has already fought and won my battles.

Every one. Oh blessed relief.

My God’s Will Test

How do I know if something is God’s will or not?

Scriptures three things help me base my decisions and actions on that which I KNOW is God’s will.

  1. It is God’s Will that we know Him:

    Jeremiah 9:23-24 New International Version (NIV)

    23 This is what the Lord says:

    “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
    24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
    that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
    declares the Lord.

    2.  It is God’s Will to tell others about Him

    Matthew 28:19-20

    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

 

 

3.  It is God’s Will to choose life

Deuteronomy 30: 19-20

       This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that            you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. 

 

 

There are, of course, many more scriptures, but I find these three faithful to answer any doubts or questions –

will this (decision/food/action/material I read, etc.) help me to Know God?

will this (decision/food/action/things I watch, etc.) help me to tell others about God?

will this (decision/food/action/things I bring into my body or do with my body) bring life to my body and soul or to others?

How about you?  Are these three verses also your foundation or do you have others?

Facing Fears Productively – Part 2 an exercise

If we are allowing fears to control our lives, they are stunting us. They keep us from living God’s reality for us.

And we keep fearing, even realizing if we think about it that most fears are never realized, and wasting a tremendous amount of time that could have been productive. Some of us get so paralyzed by our fears that we stop doing what we should be doing, get panic attacks or just stop stretching ourselves with new experiences.

The more we think on, focus on, the fear – the bigger it grows. The walls get higher and the gates seem formidable. One thing we know. This is NOT the way we want to live our life, hiding, worrying, scared of the outcome of a day or an event. It has been said that thoughts become words, words become actions, and actions become habit. The danger of thinking about the fear constantly, saying what you fear so often that it becomes action (you say “I can’t do that” not because you know you can’t but because you fear that you won’t do it well), is you are likely to develop a habit of responding that you can’t before evaluating almost any situation.

You can overcome that by memorizing verses like Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

One thing that has helped me overcome many fears is to keep a fear journal. In a simple notebook at the top of the page I wrote the verse – and the words Fear is NOT from God.

I draw four vertical lines for columns. At the top of the columns I write Date, Fear, Good/WICD (for What I can do), and Outcome. When I experience a fear I write down the date and the fear. At the end of each month, or less if I fear I can’t remember that longJ, I will go back and write the outcome. An example:

I am asked to teach a Sunday School class. The fear might be to teach, to fail, to interact with adults or with parents, a lack of what I consider appropriate clothing, an already busy schedule, etc.   The good, on one hand, could be that someone in ministry recognizes a quality or skill God can work through me in that area, or on the other hand, the strength to say no – perhaps recognizing I was asked because I usually say yes, and this need is not my call.

 

Date Fear Good/WICD Outcome
2/22/02 Teach SS Class Skill/strength? Ask why I was asked.

Attend teaching class

Practice on my kids

Go to goodwill

Remake my clothing

Say no

Taught adult classes on Psalm 23 and Song of Solomon

 

At the end of the month, or time period I’ve chosen, I’d enter what really happened. The possibilities are endless: learned to teach and love it, found I’d rather be an assistant, found a suitable outfit for few dollars, prayed about need and God supplied, remade an outfit and rediscovered sewing – signed up for Missions to sew baby layettes instead of teaching, and on and on.

 

Yes, I do look at what I can do (WICD). Like Moses, God has given me things, gifts and talents, which in my own strength are weak or useless, but with His strength can become a solution. Often God will give me ideas, wisdom, or contacts that strengthen, support, or provide a need, and dissolve the fear. These experiences of God working and resolving issues, conquering concerns also give me faith to trust Him with the fears and ask besides what God can do, and what He has done for me and for others with similar fears in the past. It affirms that if God could do (those things) in the past, He can still do them today, for He never changes.

It is always amazing to me that hardly any of the fears actually came to pass, and the few that did came with strength and support to not just survive, but overcome it.

Keeping this journal brings a bonus because despite knowing that life will keep bringing new fears like the recession, swine flu, and America’s creditors taking over our country, looking to past journal entries reminds me that God is bigger than any of my fears.

 

Is there someone fearful about their future or our country’s future that you can encourage to make a fear journal?  If you haven’t done this, I hope you would give it a try and check back in a week or a month and share the results.  Or – Is there someone fearful about their future or our country’s future that you can encourage to make a fear journal?

 

 

 

 

 

Only he who can say, ”The Lord is my strength,” can say, ”Of whom shall I be afraid?”       Alexander Maclaren        1826-1910, British Preacher

 

Facing Fears Productively – Part 1 of 2

I shared this in the past when the recession was on the horizon.  We have a new kind of fear developing these days with groups/peoples/factions seemingly stirring up hatred and separation.  This quote “Today the nations of the world may be divided into two classes — the nations in which the government FEARs the people, and the nations in which the people FEAR the government.” by      Amos R. E. Pinochet could be applied to our country and the people which the government fears, and the government (real and future) which the people fear.

Fear is nothing new. Recession/election/conflict woes just give us an opportunity to be honest about a lack of trust. We can be comforted – many famous people have also had fears:

Biblical characters across the spectrum experienced fear. Moses begged God to send someone else, saying he did have not the tongue to speak well. David – the King – murdered to cover the fear of discovery of his sexual sin. Abraham, father of nations, fearing for his life, lied and encouraged his wife Sarah to lie and say she was his sister.

Sarah continued the cycle – fearing she would not have the child God promised, she took into her own hands the resolution of that promise – with repercussions that are still evident today.

The television show Fear Factor exposed many natural reactions to external fears or phobias of “creepy” natural phenomena, fear of height, etc., and many currently “famous” people have found acceptance sharing their fear of flying and other social fears.

My fears also have been evident from time to time. I love being impulsive and daring, but I still have many limits:

  • what I think I can learn (or can’t learn)
  • the height I will climb
  • where I will travel
  • what I think I can do – or cannot do

 

Now didn’t that word limit soften what I’m really identifying! I need not fool myself because while some limits exist (such as travel funds) the limits above are of my own making – and have one thing in common – fear.

Limit – is probably the common denominator in recession and government control fears as well. My pension has been cut – I have been limited in my ability to pay debt, to eat out, to vacation, to give. Will I be able to… gives rise to worry, which turns to fear.  Some government(s) or parts of government(s) demand more and more control over the people and their personal lives.  Another form of will I or my children be able to…can also cause anxiety

We all have fears.   It is said more people are like Moses, fearing public speaking more than spiders or snakes! Where do all these fears come from?  2 Timothy 1:7 tells us where fear does NOT come from – “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.”

Did you see that? Fear is not from God. The common denominator of my limitations is that they are based on fear, fear is not from God and therefore those “limitations” are not from God.

Over 60 times the scriptures command us “fear not” and “do not fear” – followed by encouragements such as

for I AM your shield, for I have, for I am with you

for God has heard – and stand by and see (what God will do)

What causes you anxiety?  Are these things you can give over to God – to trust God to handle on your behalf?

Where or to whom is the first place you run when you are anxious or fearful?  It is interesting and challenging to read about the Bible characters like Moses or David and see what they did when things got rough.

What Bible character comes to mind when you feel or think about fear or anxiety?  Where did they go?  What about God turned their thoughts around?

Playing A Supporting Role in Music Ministry

Remember radios?  We used to ask what do you play (speaking of instruments) and if you didn’t play the “clever” reply

was radio!  I don’t have a lick of talent with instruments, or singing, but I can still play a supporting role to music ministry.

Buddy Greene (harmonica and fiddle player) gave me some new ideas how: 

My toe was tapping with Buddy Greene’s ministry of gifts of music, and I thanked God for him and his talent.

Buddy Greene and I had a common prayer concern. Our parents were at the age where we would soon begin to need caregiving , so when I prayed for my mother, I prayed for him and his family as well. You see Buddy is a very important part of my life because he regularly ministers to me through his music, and because scripture encourages me to pray for those who minister to me.

Buddy asked me to share more about my prayer ministry on a walkway between the hotel and the mall following a “Praise Gathering” concert several years ago. When I saw him walking alone, my conscience first wrestled with his probable desire to have a break from fans and the desire to pray to specific need. Chastening myself to be brief and then disappear, I approached him and explained that when I prayed for those that minister the Word of God to me through preaching, teaching, singing, or music, Buddy’s name was included. His eyes brightened and after sharing some personal concerns for prayer he invited me to continue to walk and talk with him.

He agreed with what I call imagination-prayers – praying as I would for my own family if they were in a similar ministry… safety in the long hours on the road, one-ness of mind and heart with all the staff that work and travel together, purity of thoughts and actions while away from families and loved ones both for the traveler and the spouse or loved ones at home, scheduling to fulfill their ministry, yet be home for important events in the lives of their families. Common prayers I would pray for my family members become personal for their families as, for example, I might pray for their teens to develop a heart for God, to be in fellowship with other believers and to be guided to the right life-partner.

 

Then we talked about the music-prayers. You probably already pray the words of songs for your loved ones, but I think the enemy loves to challenge our heart-cry and mock our calling, so I specifically will take a song that personally touched me (one of Buddy’s is Grace for the Moment) and pray that song for that person. If God sent it through them, I know it is His will to work it out through them as well.   You can listen here: Grace for the Moment)

 

That providential meeting confirmed for me that the calling to be in prayer “at all times” and to give thanks for “everything” includes praying for the gift that God gave these performers. That prayer springs from the encouragement and direction I have received from the words and music God gave them, and the media advancements that allow me to have easy access to others’ spiritual gifts, bringing with it, not so much a responsibility, but a wellspring of thankfulness. I am thankful that through these God-directed details of my life, I have the privilege of being a part of the whole ministry (performer, the players behind the performer, sound and other support staff, and their bus drivers and families) through prayer.

 

It is fairly rare to meet the well-known ministry people I pray for, but, when I have, they always and without exception quickly responded with prayer requests and words of appreciation. The contacts I have had gave me a greater passion for prayer as a surprised pause, a brightening of the countenance and a grateful sharing made me feel transformed from fan status to friend and sister-in-the-Lord. It is not difficult to ‘think of things’ to pray for when you realize they are family.

 

Things that are happening in our own lives are clues for prayer that are likely happening in theirs as well. My son played in a band during his teen years as he sought God’s plan for his life, and that inspired me to pray for the children and grandchildren of those musicians who blessed me. The Murk family (now called Myrrh) has been on my heart since we saw them perform at a local church when the children were small and I was thrilled to meet Brianna all grown up, at a writers’ conference. (Click on Myrrh above to hear sample of world class violinist Bill Murk).

I’ve never met Benjy Gaither, but as I’ve become a grandparent, and appreciate the shared prayer-concerns of other grandparents, I know Bill and Gloria would appreciate God’s prompting me to pray specifically for Benjy over the past 25 years, along with prayers for their family and their ministry! When I see my son ministering with his musical talent in the local church, and serving with other talents and skills in the dailiness of life, I pray for him, and include Benjy and others who similarly minister in their ministries while fulfilling hectic schedules. As I pray for our grandchildren, I also pray for grandchildren like Benjy, that they might realize God’s direction for their own personally fulfilling ministry without feeling they are in the shadow of their “famous” family members.

 

Our grandson had cancer and although there is nothing physical I would not have given up for him, God has seen fit that I minister through prayer, and He has comforted me greatly through a song by the Isaacs which says in part ‘since I can’t take it, I’ll make it yours – and mine.’ – You can be certain our David and his family are never far from my thoughts and prayers – and neither are the Isaacs.

 

Steven Curtis-Chapman was another illustration to me that my own families prayer needs will not be neglected – but more likely be heightened because of musical prayer. He made a comment at the last Praise Gathering referring to his “different” appearance and music, (as compared to mostly older-than-he gospel music performers), but I had to smile inside. My son is a great fan of Steven and we experienced a concert together to show Mom what blessed my son’s life. What a surprise – the message I heard of physical and spiritual adoption amid what I’d been tempted to turn away from as “noise” touched me deeply. As I grew to trust the heart of the messenger, I listened to the message, and in the melody heard his heart – and God’s. Our granddaughter Kristin, who lived next door, told me when I played Live out Loud” she could not only hear it in her bedroom across the driveway from my exercise/music room, but her window rattled from the “noise”! I pray the message of that song will be “heard” not just through Steven Curtis-Chapman, but through me and the generations of both of our families. I’m sure Steven would chuckle back to know that “noise” is what now reminds me to have the courage to “tell all my neighbors” and to pray for his family and his ministry to be free from distraction and temptation so he also can continue to live his faith “out loud!”

Internet is alive with other ideas for prayer. Most music ministries have newsletters that give specific prayer requests, or websites that detail concert schedules and portions of songs, so if you haven’t previously thought of praying for those who minister to you, next time you hear a favorite song, simply ask God to make these words a part of your life and then thank him for those who brought you the message. Just as when we get to heaven we’ll find we’ve been spared from a multitude of disasters because someone was praying for us, I believe the messengers God brings to our lives are not incidental – or just so we can be ministered to – but because He has chosen us to minister to them as well.

Trust me, they will appreciate it.  Buddy told me so, Steve Green told me so, and

Babbie Mason told me so too!

What musicians have encouraged you and ministered to you?  Do you pray for them?

 

 

We Say – God Says

We say: “It’s impossible”
God says: All things are possible
(Luke 18:27)

We say: “I’m too tired”
God says: I will give you rest
(Mat.11:28-30)

We say: “Nobody really loves me”
God says: I love you
(John 3:16 & John 3:34)

We say: “I can’t go on”
God says: My grace is sufficient
(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

We say: “I can’t figure things out”
God says: I will direct your steps
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

We say: “I can’t do it”
God says: You can do all things
(Philippians 4:13)

You say: “I’m not able”
God says: I am able
(II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: “It’s not worth it”
God says: It will be worth it
(Roman 8:2)

 

You say: “I can’t forgive myself”
God says: I Forgive you
(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

We say: “I can’t manage”
God says: I will supply all your needs
(Philippians 4:19)

We say: “I’m afraid”
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear
(II Timothy 1:7)

We say: “I’m always worried and frustrated”
God says: Cast all your cares on ME
(I Peter 5:7)

We say: “I don’t have enough faith”
God says: I’ve given everyone a measure of faith
(Romans 12:3)

We say: “I’m not smart enough”
God says: I give you wisdom
(I Corinthians 1:30)

We say: “I feel all alone”
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you
(Hebrews 13:5)

We say: “I am weak”
God says: My grace is sufficient for you, for My power will be perfected in your weakness.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 )

 

We say: “My sin is too great”
God says: My compassion and forgiveness is greater than anything you can do or not do
(Psalm 51)

We say: “My situation makes me feel far from you”
God says: Nothing in all creation, will be able to separate you from my love
(Romans 8:38-39)

 

 

 

 

Informed, But Not Armed?

Informed but not armed?

We know the drill – we’ve heard the words – we may even have some of the scriptures memorized but have we applied them?

How often do we PUT ON our physical clothing? Daily, right! (Sometimes more than once a day)

 

 

 

Let’s give ourselves a challenge to put on our SPIRITUAL clothing at least once daily  

Our spiritual outfit is listed in Ephesians 6 – New Living Translation  used today: It begins with the WHY we need to wear this spiritual armor:

 Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.14 Stand your ground,

  1. putting on the belt of truth
  2. and the body armor of God’s righteousness.
  3. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b]
  4. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c]1
  5. Put on salvation as your helmet, a
  6. and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

So our daily goal would be that we each prayerfully acknowledge in a personal prayer beginning with however you prefer to address God:  My prayer, for myself, (or for other believers insert their name) goes something like this

Jehovah/Abba Father/Almighty God/ I AM,
today, in your name and power, I put on

Truth – (the belt) — To protect me against all deception (lies) from all sides and directions

Righteousness (Breastplate) -To protect my heart from the temptations we battle

Peace – (the shoes) Choosing to walk in the freedom of Your peace (not to be fearful or anxious) and to deliver your peace to others wherever I go

Faith – (the shield) – with this I affirm I believe in and accept your power to extinguish any darts of evil or threats from the enemy – I specifically trust you, God, to protect me today

Salvation – (the helmet) – To remind me that my mind and every thought is covered with the blood of Christ – cleansed, forgiven and set free. I am no longer a victim.

Bible/God’s Word (the sword)  Thank you, God, for providing the only defensive weapon that is alive and has the power to demolish strongholds.

 

Fully dressed and prepared I also thank you, God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit for the reminders that I never fight alone. YOU are wrapping me in protection, from head to foot,guarding and covering me from attacks I might face today – even attacks I cannot see and battles I am not aware of.

In your strength and provision, I commit myself and this day to you, Almighty God.

 

Are you fully dressed today?

 

Additonal resources:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame  by Sharon Norris Elliott

The Armor of God Workbook – Priscilla Shirer

 

Happiness is a Choice

This video spoke to me because a lot of times I find myself challenging my emotions.  I foolishly challenged someone else early today to reject those feelings for the lies they feed.  A few hours later I found myself confronted with the same challenge.

Brother Andrew in a little booklet called Practicing the Presence of Christ, teaches that  when I have those feelings, I can tell God (who IS with me) Thank you for using Satan to remind me that these feelings/thoughts/ etc. are not reality and that you have covered this with your blood. When I reject those feelings and draw near to Him and PUT ON the Word (in song or reading out loud) it is like spiritual drano – 🙂

Years back a Navigator conference speaker, Carole Mayhall would say what will it matter in 20 years? 10? 5? to get us to realize that some little things that disturb us aren’t worth our time.  They are a trap from the enemy to get our focus off of pursuing Philippians 4:8 (whatever is good, pure, just, lovely, etc.)

When I came home from errands in a funk today, Ken recognized what was going on (the enemy was baiting me and I was sharing the junk with Ken) and he lovingly challenged me to get back on track. Actually he did not challenge me – he challenged US – he said what are we dealing with here – how are we going to handle it. His calm reaction made me stop and examine the situation, and I thought of a quote I like. It’s been attributed to a well-known author, Mary Engelbreit, Maya Angelou and several others.

— ‘If you don’t like somethingchange it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. ‘

What’s going on in your life today?  Is there anything you can change?  If you cannot change it can you change the way you think about it?  Can you find anything in that situation that displays

whatever is true

whatever is honorable

whatever is just

whatever is pure

whatever is lovely

whatever is commendable

if there is any excellence

if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Has the enemy been harassing you too?  Are you trusting your feelings or trusting God? Is there something you have found to think differently about today?

I’d love to hear if you found some treasures in life’s challenging hikes!  Have you seen evidence of the Spirit’s presence?

What have you found that is true, honorable, just, pure lovely commendable, excellence, worthy of praise?

 

 

Three Prayers for Today

As you read this I will be in Tennessee praying with women from across the world. Isaiah’s prayer is a fitting prayer as we discuss and pray about the turmoil in the world today, and as relevant today as when first spoken: How we long for God to open the eyes of the world that they might see Him for who He is!

Isaiah’s Prayer:

[a]Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!
    How the mountains would quake in your presence!
[b]As fire causes wood to burn
    and water to boil,
your coming would make the nations tremble.
    Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
When you came down long ago,
    you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.
    And oh, how the mountains quaked!
For since the world began,
    no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
    who works for those who wait for him!

Yes, God does

I too love the movies that portray justice over evil and cheer when the “good guy” wins or is vindicated. I like to think of myself as among those good guys, even though scripture teaches that all have sinned and gone astray.  It’s no secret that no one is perfect and the women I am spending time with this week freely acknowledge that and we pray for each other

We write to stir up others to follow after God and that our faith-in-action would bring God glory. The most difficult thing to my mind is to acknowledge  and bow to the sovereignty of God – that Jesus is Lord and has the right to overrule human plans and even hopes.  We believe we are called and set apart to do the writing, speaking, and teaching that we do.   We’ve gathered together to offer thanks and praise for the opportunity to open hearts to activated faith with those gifts we’ve been given.

David’s Prayer of Praise and Worship

10-13 – David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation:
Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father
from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
the kingdom all yours! You’ve raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you,
you’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you,
praising your splendid Name.

And as we wind up our mountain-top time together and head back to our homes, our offices, our computers, and our goals and deadlines – and back to reality where we will once again be challenged

The encouraging words of Moses becomes our prayer for one another – and for you –
Deuteronomy 31:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”


2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Message (MSG)

Paul and Timothy's Praise and Comfort - The Rescue

3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

These prayers and more I will be praying on your behalf. All of us at AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) covet your prayers for us too.

Enough?

It’s true I was raised with demeaning accusations that I was not enough, but now that I am grown and have raised my own children, now that I’ve known Christ, and now that I’ve recognized my gifts and my failings, I wonder why I still have that word in my vocabulary.  Enough.

 

Of course we all have different circumstances when we wonder if we have, if we are, if we will be…enough.

 

There have been financial times of wishing we have enough, enough to pay our debts, enough to wear, enough to share, and even times of longing for enough to eat (particularly at some holidays known for consuming more than enough). And wonderful provisions like our Surprise Us for Dinner, God story – where God showed us He could, and would provide enough.

 

There have been times of wanting to be enough – enough for our children and their children to feel secure and loved. Times of wanting to be enough to meet my spouse’s needs, to qualify for a job, to be able to communicate well enough for someone not only understand it but activate it in their own life.

 

Times of wondering do I know enough, have I submitted enough, learned enough, to be used by God.

And then there are the promises from God – magnified by Webster’s dictionary which shows that sufficient means – enough!

 

2Cor. 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

 

Enough for the provisions – 2Pet. 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

 

John 14:8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

 

“It” means show us the Father is enough for us.

 

He is enough for us.

 

He alone can make us be enough for life’s challenges and circumstances.

 

Now I know why I still have that word enough in my vocabulary. It is a reminder that though I may feel I am not enough – though I may KNOW I am not enough, with Christ in me, I AM is enough.

 

How has Christ shown Himself as enough in your life?

What Happens Day after Diet

Have you seen the joke describing a typical diet day?

BREAKFAST: 1/2 grapefruit 1 slice whole wheat toast 8 oz skim milk

LUNCH: 4 oz lean Broiled chicken breast 1 cup steamed zucchini 1 Oreo Cookie Herb tea

MID-AFTERNOON SNACK: Rest of package of Oreos, 1 qt. rocky road ice cream, 1 jar hot fudge

And then of course it gets worse…

Nope, I haven’t eaten a 40oz. bag of chips yet. No whole chocolate bars either. I just do not have the craving.

Yippie!

Honestly I’ve had those days or weeks where I ‘tried’ to give up everything that was not good for me, and sometimes I was even successful for hours or days. When successful, I felt I’d earned a binge – a whole bag of chips – the bigger the better, or ice cream or prime rib till I felt sick. Not so smart, huh…

The difference with the detox (I did the Standard Process SP detox), was for 28 days, though I the recipes did not include sugar, dairy, white potatoes, or gluten containing grains, I did not deprive myself of tasty meats, veggies, fruits, GF grains, and even had some yummy treats.

Instead of focusing on what I could not have, the 28 days were focused on what would taste delicious and make my insides feel better. From the time I awoke each day the focus was to PUT ON what was good, what would fill me in a satisfying way. That made for a happy body and soul, and that put OFF the cravings for being lazy or eating junk. I think I am addicted to detoxing now. I still have a couple of rooms to go, but the house is feeling better too!

 

The worst part of the detox were hot flashes and itchy skin. The no-sugar headaches only lasted a few days. The best part, besides feeling better inside and out and a loss of 8#, was the change in attitude about food, my body and my possessions, and 20-30 minutes a day in the sunshine reading.

The new habit of releasing what I no longer need in my body and in the house, has me now clearing out the freezer. I have made some healthy desserts using up the naturally high in sugar foods I avoided during detox (dried fruit), replaced the dairy with coconut or almond milk, and chose healthier sweeteners.  Ken was longing for ice cream so I made some from bananas, strawberries and coconut water. We both loved it.

Switching furniture around created space, I found boxes of books wanted by a specific ministry, started a new filing system so that paperwork is dealt with in minutes and I can find my paperwork for upcoming events. I began setting things aside for granddaughters who were setting up house. Two boxes and some small appliances gone already to happy homes and I have less clutter!

Friends from the Good Battles Tour in Israel will recognize the inspiration for one dessert: I love Meyer lemons, and grate the peel, then freeze the lemons. I can thaw and squeeze them later, or grate the whole frozen lemon into recipes.For dessert, I put one of the frozen (peeled) lemons in the blender, added 2 cups of ice cubes, 1/2 cup of Lakanto sweetener, ½ cup of water and ½ tsp. of crushed mint leaves.

Whirl and voila! Lemon mint ice! – Delicious and refreshing.

T

 

The other dessert using the dried fruit was the dried cherries and pecans sprinkled over a parchment lined pan. Melted chocolate 1-1/2 bars of unsweetened organic 100% chocolate and ¾ cup organic dark chocolate chips, with ½ tsp. olive oil stirred in was poured over the cherries and pecans. On top I sprinkled crushed Chaga mushroom tea. (It’s very mild and does not change the taste of the treat – but it does give calorie free energy!). I’ve sampled delicious marketplace Chaga chocolate bars but the price of $6.00 for a couple ounces, led me to try to make my own.

 

Ever tried a detox? I recommend it.  As many TV commercials say, It can change your life!

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Annanias and Commitment

This coming Monday will mark the last week of my 28 day detox.  I’ve learned a lot about commitment as I am determined in drinking more, and putting ON much more nutrition – and doing what is right to complete this plan.  Annanias was also determined to complete God’s plan …in the beginning.

Don’t we all agree …in the beginning?

We hope our children can learn from (and hopefully skip) our mistakes.  Studying disobedience (Biblical examples of those who did not listen, would not listen, refused to listen) can lead to our obedience. We can learn from others mistakes by recognizing ourselves.

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

To change and spend our life in pursuing new habits, we need the dreaded “C” word…

Draw Near

         This involves a commitment to read God’s Word; a practice to come away from the cares of the world…. wherever you can draw near to God. Whether outdoors in creation, music, or the quietness of a private spot, all of these forms have a common strand – Worship.

How, in this busy world, can we find time for Worship? The Put-On practice simplifies the practice to focus on the character quality of God that we want to Put ON, while it strengthens us to resist the age-old battle of struggle and striving until “we” conquer the weakness.

Be Renewed

An wise man translated the spiritual battle of the “old man” and the “new man” described in Ephesians 4 as two dogs. Asked which dog wins the battle, he quickly responded – whichever one gets fed the most. Similarly, if we think on our weakness, that will become our focus as we unknowingly “feed” and strengthen the very characteristic we wish to overcome. Rather, we need to focus upon – and commit to “feed” our thirsty souls with the Word of God, focusing daily on a different strength. Every situation can be tested with the EIGHT AREAS OF PHILLIPIANS 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (NASB)

So God’s Word says we can succeed by filling our minds and meditating on the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (The Message)

Put ON

This phrase obviously indicates an application. This requires moving desire into action. That also takes commitment. It is interesting that ALL the “Put Ons” imply acts of doing or being that are incompatible opposites of passive results of being controlled – as Ephesians 4 describes as the “deceitful lusts” we want to put-OFF.

Put OFF

As we focus on the qualities of God, allow (let) Him infuse your life with His character. When we Put ON the character of Christ He will “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and (you will) be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (because you) put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 [bold emphasis added]

The Pattern:

Draw Near        Desire it         Meditate on it 

Meditate on God’s words, for they will produce Godly actions.

 Be Renewed        Think on it       Activate it

Activate Godly actions, for they will become Godly habits.

Put ON             Purpose it        Practice it

Practice Godly habits, for they will become Godly character

Put OFF            Repel the old     Replace it 

and Godly character will Repel and Replace the former conduct

These short challenges helps us to activate the characteristics of Christ.

One is to try to memorize the 8 qualities in Philippians 4:8. Remind yourself in each situation – to look for whatever is

True

Honorable

Right

Pure

Lovely

Reputable (respectable / trust-worthy)

Excellence (quality)

Praiseworthy

Have you ever been in that situation where you had to ask – is there anything good about this? Can you give an example of some common situation where looking for these qualities could change the course of events and as part of de-escalating a situation what can we put on to bring about change (usually in us and then in others)?

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