Snippet from a writing workshop

The following paragraph was something I wrote during a Gretchen Bernabei workshop several years ago… I thought my blog would be a good place to share it.

Dad is in his chair. The blinds are completely open. He’s looking out the window at the bare November landscape. The brown chair echoes the scene he’s gazing at. He starts to write in his tattered notebook. He shares that he has written how thankful he is to have his girls with him. He’s writing it because he is no longer able to speak because of the cancer that has invaded and devastated his throat. That notebook is now a true treasure filled with that touching sentiment along with many other messages that document his journey through the disease that took him from us.

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Detox

Ramblings of a Squirrel Chasing Mind

I’ve spent the last two weeks detoxing my body.  Underlying thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, and overall inflammation were what led my doctor to suggest this detox experience.  By getting rid of the gunk, the supplements needed to get everything back in balance would be better absorbed by my body.

Last Sunday morning, the message at church focused on repentance and obedience.  My mind started making the connection between repentance and the detoxing I had been doing in my physical body.  Just like I need to detox my gut so that my supplements absorb better, I need to detox the other areas of my life so that my spiritual food (the Word) can absorb better.

Another topic that God has been placing before me lately is abiding (soaking) in the Word.  However, if I’m covered in the grime of the world, the Word will not absorb as well.  It will simply…

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Out like a Lamb, in like a Lion

The saying goes that the month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. That got me thinking about how Jesus is described as both a lion and a lamb. However, He came into and went out of this world like a lamb…The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. He will come back as the Lion of Judah to rule and reign as King of Kings.

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Detox

I’ve spent the last two weeks detoxing my body.  Underlying thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, and overall inflammation were what led my doctor to suggest this detox experience.  By getting rid of the gunk, the supplements needed to get everything back in balance would be better absorbed by my body.

Last Sunday morning, the message at church focused on repentance and obedience.  My mind started making the connection between repentance and the detoxing I had been doing in my physical body.  Just like I need to detox my gut so that my supplements absorb better, I need to detox the other areas of my life so that my spiritual food (the Word) can absorb better.

Another topic that God has been placing before me lately is abiding (soaking) in the Word.  However, if I’m covered in the grime of the world, the Word will not absorb as well.  It will simply bead up and roll off like rain on a freshly waxed car.  If I get rid of all that grime and detox my mind, spirit, emotions, and behaviors, I will be able to absorb the meat of the Word much better.

What are the things causing spiritual sludge and grime to gunk up our lives?  They are most likely things that we don’t even give much thought to.  For me, the amount of time I let my mind focus on things that are ultimately a waste of time and therefore not beneficial to me would be a biggie.  Another issue would be letting the seemingly “harmless” thought processes of the world seep in.  These and much more eventually affect my attitudes and emotions, leading to behaviors that do not benefit me or those around me.  Neither do those attitudes bring glory to the Father.

I didn’t really feel like I was suffering from the toxins that accumulated in my body before I detoxed.  But, after just a short amount of time of eliminating the foods (or fake foods) that contributed to that build-up, I started noticing the benefits of feeling more energetic, lighter and overall healthier.  How often do we rock along feeling like everything is just fine spiritually, not realizing that we have allowed worldly buildup to cover our spirits, minds, and emotions which ultimately affect our behaviors?  I’m expecting to see the same kind of spiritual refreshment and health restoration when I start detoxing my mind, spirit, emotions, and behaviors.  God is faithful and will reward the obedience of a heart that seeks Him.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

Let the detox begin…

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Marinate Your Mind

Colossians 3-16

This morning as I sat with God and His Word, I talked to Him about how I haven’t been spending the kind of quality time with Him that I needed/wanted to.  As He has the most amazing way of doing, He directed me to the scriptures that I need right now.  I thanked Him for that and asked him to keep them marinating in my mind today.  That got me to thinking about marinating.

“How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

Why do we marinate something when we’re cooking?  One reason is to add a deeper layer of flavor.  God’s Word certainly does that in our lives.  Mark 9:50 says, “Salt is good and useful; but if salt has lost its saltiness (purpose), how will you make it salty? Have salt within yourselves continually, and be at peace with one another.” (AMP).  Jesus told us we are the salt of the earth and if we lose our saltiness, we’re not good for much. (Matthew 5:13, Karen paraphrase).  The way we keep from losing that saltiness is to let our minds marinate in His word and soak up all that salty flavor on a regular basis.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  Psalm 34:8 ESV

Another reason for marinating food is to make it tender.  We so need tender hearts in the world we live in today.  It is way too easy to be hardened by everything that surrounds us. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”  1 Peter 3:8 ESV  If we are to have the compassion of Christ, our hearts and minds must be tender.  If we are becoming hardened, His word won’t soak in like it should and we won’t look at the needs of others the way He does.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Finally, food is sometimes marinated to preserve it.  When we soak in God’s word regularly, we help preserve holiness and righteousness in a world that so desperately needs it.  If others are to see our good works and therefore glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16), we need to be so saturated in His word that it is leaking out of us at every opportunity.  This saturation will not only preserve righteousness in the world, but it will also preserve the peace and joy within us that comes from His Spirit.  When our minds are so marinated in His word, it makes it easier to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, 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. What you have learnede]”>[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 ESV

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Mathew 5:16 ESV

I have a couple of verses that I will be marinating in today.  Ask God to show you what he wants you to marinate in.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

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Touched by the lives of others

Living in a new place for about 3 months now has prompted me to think about the people who have had an influence on my life over the past 47 years.

God has put many people in my life just when I needed them to be there.  Some for long periods of time, others for shorter periods.  Some have had deep involvement and profound impact.  Others have had less of a far-reaching scope on my life, yet still were an important influence.

Study and scripture has been bringing many of these to mind lately.  They’ve even showed up in seemingly random dreams.

We were put here and saved for the purpose of bringing glory to God.  One way we do that is by the way we influence the lives of those around us.  As I’m beginning to make new connections, I am more and more aware of the impact He would have me make on the lives around me.  I desire to be intentional in the ways that I interact with them.  I’m thankful for the MANY that have been a part of my life.

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To grow or not to grow

IMG_0231Growth is not usually a choice. A seed does not get to decide when it will sprout, break through the soil and grow into the plant or tree it is destined to become.  A baby doesn’t decide at what point she is developed enough to be born, or how tall she will be throughout her maturation into adulthood.  As Christians,however,we do have some say about our ability to grow.  God provides what we need to be able to grow. 1 Peter comes to mind here:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” 2 Peter 1:3-9 NIV).

He will also place us in circumstances that will give us opportunity for growth.  Ultimately, we need to choose whether or not we will grow. Unlike the seed or the baby, we need some preparation for this growth.  We need to be in God’s word, internalizing all we can about who He is, who we are and what the connection between those two has to do with our relationship with Him.  The more we study and the more we make His word an integral part of our lives, the more we will be able to grow, especially when those opportunities that develop our growth are presented to us.  Let me encourage you to dig into God’s word that you may be fully prepared for growing more and more into the person God has created you to be.

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