The Splendor of it All

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I was traipsing through my day, enjoying the blessing of a mini family vacation before my kids had to head back to school from their Fall break. We were in an area where we had spent many Fall’s. This year was different. The colors were spectacular! The red’s were screaming loud and vibrant. The orange’s were saying, “hey, over here, look at me!” The burgundy’s were deep and rich, like a well aged bottle of wine. The yellow’s were subtly; confident in their own contribution. I was surrounded by a bevy of color and I wasn’t even on the East coast. In a moment I realized I didn’t need to be. The West coast has it’s own display of Fall splendor and this time I took notice and lived and experienced this wondrous sight.

Reading God’s word, many times, can be the same way. We’ve read certain Scripture numerous times not stopping to drink in the beautiful picture painted for us. As I was traipsing along throughout my day, I came across 1 Corinthians 3:16. Here, let me share with.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

When I first came across this verse, the Holy Spirit shone on it like a stage light upon its actors, and I knew God was up to something. The second time I came across this verse was much later in the day. This time I asked God to begin showing me what he wanted me to know about this verse. My answer came at 3:00am. I was awakened, not because I heard a noise or had a scary dream, not even because someone was feeling sick and needed my attention. I was Simply. Wide. Awake. I did what I normally do when I’m wide awake at 3:00am. I prayed. My prayers weren’t general in nature, instead the Holy Spirit guided me very specifically toward prayers for those I knew were seeking healing spiritually and physically. As I prayed, 1 Corinthians 3:16 came to mind for a third time and I felt led to pray this verse for those I was praying for.

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Now, I’m a researcher by nature AND a black and white thinker. When I study God’s word I like all the pieces to fit together. Especially so that I don’t take any of His word out of context. I am learning, however, that many times, theology aside, the Holy Spirit will illuminate Scripture at a face value concept.

What I sense the Holy Spirit telling me is that many times, perhaps we lose sight of the truth that we are God’s temple and the very Spirit of God dwells within us; that this truth is part of our inheritance here on earth as it already is in heaven. This truth is one of the many spiritual blessings that belong to us because of our faith in Christ and His atoning work on the cross. That the healing we seek we can ask for in prayer and continue asking for and that it lies within us because the Holy Spirit embodies us. I have found through personal experience with prayers of healing that most times there is a heart issue that God wants us to see; forgiveness towards others or ourselves, releasing resentment, anger, hurt or any other negative emotion. This is where and when, I believe, true healing begins. Sometimes it is immediate and I would add miraculous, but all God’s healing’s are miraculous! Sometimes it takes time, peeling away layer by layer of stuffed emotions that have become a belief system of bondage. That is why it is so important to continue to delight in an abiding  relationship with Jesus; so we don’t miss any of the moments of his wisdom and guidance. Yes, His very Spirit lives within us, but we have to choose to ask, to listen, to see and to follow.

Beloved, sometimes the work in you is hard and dirty and even painful, but He is always with you. Taking you from those dark and secret places to the beautiful and spectacular array of colors just waiting to be lived and experienced by you! Are you willing to ask and have it given to you; to seek and find, find Him and his will for your life; to knock and have to the door of His heart opened to you? My prayer is that your desire is for Him and Him alone.

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If you have never given your life to Jesus and are ready to do so, please contact me via email or find a trusted friend who trusts Jesus or a local church.

To view the remainder of the photos in this album visit the link below.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B3_8Fa_xs2G6eEdIckoxelA5MlU&usp=sharing–

Crumbs

She was very determined. She wasn’t going to leave with a no answer. Her daughter was in great pain and after all, he was helping others, why not her? Oh, she knew she wasn’t from his group of people; his kind, but that didn’t stop her.

She approached him, calling him by one of his rightful names, kneeling before him and asking for his help. He challenges her with a statement, telling her he was sent only for a select group of people, and she knew she did not belong.

He was with some of his friends, teaching them to do what he was doing; it was on the job training. Perhaps he was hoping they would grab the opportunity at hand. Instead, his friends urged him to send her on her way because she kept calling out to them. Somehow they couldn’t be bothered by her plea’s for help. What were they thinking?

She calls to him again, and again, he challenges her with a statement. He tells her it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs. “Wait, did he just call her a dog?!” She doesn’t back down telling him even dogs eat the crumbs from their masters table. Essentially she is telling him “I don’t want the bread on the children’s table, I can get what I need in the crumbs”, because the crumbs held the same for her as the bread did for the children.

 Seeing her great faith, He immediately helps her daughter.

The mom in this story is the Canaanite woman from Matthew 15:21-28. Undoubtedly, she has heard of the miracles Jesus had been performing. Beyond her great faith that Jesus would heal her daughter, we are not told anything else about her faith. Yet, when she first addresses him she says, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus_198_smallWhen Jesus implies she is a dog, He isn’t being mean to her. During that time and culture Gentiles were referred to as dogs because others felt they did not deserve the blessings of God. I think about her noble character; she doesn’t defend herself at this reference she actually goes with it! The core issue for her is the healing of her daughter who was demon possessed and suffering greatly.

As for the disciples, well, their reaction, even their place in the story is a treasure. It is a great reminder not to miss an opportunity to share the love and the healing of the Lord Jesus Christ!

photo/picture credit Spiritlessons.com.

Got Wisdom?

She lived in a beautiful garden. I imagine large trailing vines with deep red flowers hanging from stately trees with large canopy’s of branches and leaves giving shade in all the right places. On the ground were different varieties of flowers in different shades and color; without any rhyme or reason, just beautifully existing in the protection of the garden. She and her husband were charged with taking care of the garden and the animals that lived there. They had all they ever needed, I suppose one could say they were content. One day she started talking with a serpent. She should have known better but she couldn’t help herself; she was intrigued by the crafty well spoken troublemaker. The serpent began asking her questions about the garden. Specifically about the trees in the garden; he cut to the chase and asked her, “did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Lately, I have been intrigued by this dialogue between Eve and the serpent. Interestingly, this story keeps coming up in conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks. Let’s back up for just a minute, does anyone else think that its odd that Eve is talking to a serpent to begin with? Like, hello, it is an everyday occurrence?Image Have you looked at pictures of serpents lately? This is what I imagine in my mind while reading this story.

Recently, I had the opportunity to see a picture of Michelangelo’s 6-Serpentdepiction of the serpent in this story and this is what his depiction looks like. Fascinating that this depiction shows the serpent with what appears to be a human upper body and a serpent like lower body. In which case, I can understand Eve even contemplating speaking with a serpent.

As Eve continued to listen to the serpent, she began to doubt God’s truth for her AND her husband. I believe she also began to doubt her contentment. Think about it, she and Adam had complete access to everything in the garden, except the fruit from on single tree. They even walked in the very presence of God. Then the unthinkable happened, she took one delicious bite of the forbidden fruit. She didn’t stop there nor could she contain herself; she offered it to her husband, and, he too ate of the fruit. Sin overtook them; the Fall happened; they were banished from the Garden for all eternity.

I believe we can surmise from Eve’s story that when we choose discontent in our life, it and the emotions and feelings surrounding the discontent can lead to sin. The hopeful side is that when we choose to abide, hang out with Jesus and just spend time in his presence we are more inclined to recognize the working of the serpent and call on the most powerful Name of all, Jesus Christ! We seek His wisdom.

Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3: 23-26.

These verses teach us this about God’s wisdom;

  • We will go on our way in safety.
  • We will lay down and not be afraid.
  • Our sleep will be sweet.
  • We will have no fear of sudden disaster.
  • The Lord will be at our side.

My friends, by day and by night, may you always seek God’s wisdom in all that you do. And, may the only fruit you eat be for your health, both physically and spiritually.

ShalomIMG_6025

Art via elfwood.com;christusrex.org;personal.umich.edu.

The Lost and Powerless

ImageMy heart aches for the lost and powerless. These are the ones that put on a happy face. These are the ones who will say, “oh, I’m great!”, when asked how they are doing. These are the ones who cry silently when no one is watching. These are the ones who feel there is no hope left. These are the ones-the lost and powerless within the Church.

My passion is investing in the lives of other women; sharing and growing with them in our identity in Christ. I believe the way we view our Heavenly Father has much to do with the way we interact or remember our life with our earthly father. As young girls our first love is our daddy. Some dads know innately the need their daughter has to be affirmed by him and offer affirmation willingly, lovingly and often. Some dads know this need but don’t know how to offer it. Some dads don’t know at all. Many dads unwittingly stop offering their affirmation when their daughter, once a little girl, has now blossomed into a beautiful teenager. At, what I believe, is the most critical time in a teen girls life, most dads are unsure of how to simply be dad to their daughter. They pull away when their little girl needs them the most. It is his voice of continued affirmation that a daughter needs to hear to survive the emotional and often tumultuous teen years with confidence leading her to the remarkable woman she will become.

My father was a great dad. I was the youngest and only girl after four boys. Indeed, I was daddy’s little girl. But, when I turned 13 our relationship changed. I truly believe my dad didn’t know how to respond to the young woman I was becoming. There are statistics about the different kind of trouble young girls can get into when their Imagefather’s voice of affirmation is not present or disappears. All I can say is thank you Jesus for your redeeming love!!

For many years I had a skewed perspective of God. It has only been in the last few years that I have begun to understand this marvelous thing; this identity in Christ. Simply put our identity in Christ is who God says we are to him according to his word. There are so many wonderful things he says about us. One of my favorites is 1 Peter 2:9a; “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. God’s special possession. In this half verse we are told four things about our identity;

  • We are chosen.
  • We belong to a royal priesthood.
  • We belong to a holy nation.
  • We are God’s SPECIAL possession.

As we begin and continue to learn and grow in this; our identity in Christ, we no longer have to pretend to put on a happy face. We no longer have to pretend we’re doing great. We no longer have to cry silently or alone. We no longer are the lost and powerless.

 

photo credit-photobucket.

Wrecked by Worship

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Recently, on another social media website, I posted; If every spiritual blessing from heaven is mine then I want them all and I’ll get in line and ask for more. Lay it on me Holy Spirit; overwhelm me until I can’t stand!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph. 1:3.

This morning I realized the Holy Spirit answered that request during worship last night with our faith family. I could feel the progression and momentum building; the movement of the Holy Spirit. At one point I couldn’t even stand. I was bent over in my seat as the words of worship washed over me. I couldn’t sing, so I prayed.

When I felt like I could sit up again I looked over at three of our high school boys. Two were sitting in their chairs and one was on his knee’s. They were holding hands and praying with each other. I happened to be sitting next to my friend, mom to one of these boys, and I laid my head on her shoulder and we were wrecked together!   

The Holy Spirit hasn’t stopped answering my request. This morning as I was running and listening to my worship music, I started singing out loud not caring who heard my non-melodic voice! I think I startled the man crossing the street in my direction, he seemed to make a wide berth for me to pass by!

My new request is “Holy Spirit do what you will in and through me during corporate worship”. Yes, I am fully aware of what I am asking. You can be praying for me! 

Come Lord Jesus, come!

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artwork by Aileen’s Thoughts/Aileen Stewart.