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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Journey To The Top

I know a man who was swallowed by the sea. 

He was pushed down, then pulled down, tied to a large weight and dragged to the bottom of the ocean.  And, there he stayed.  Though not dead.  No!  Not dead.  Just as one who fell into a deep sleep.  And, there he stayed... There he stayed... There he stayed in the deep, deep darkness.

Then, like a ray of light, the VOICE pierced its way through the darkness, through the deepest parts of the ocean, until it reached the ears of the man.

The man began to stir. 

At first, he could not move.  He could only hear the sounds around him.  The sea life, the water, the Voice (though he did not identify it as the Voice).  Questions filled his mind.  "Where am I?  Who am I?  How did I get here?"

His eyes began to move.  His hand began to stretch open.  His body felt the ocean floor. 

"This is not where I should be," the man said to himself.  Lifting his head, he looked up and said, "I must not stay here or I will surely die."

With that thought, his fingers began to search for something to help him up.  Still not understanding and not knowing his way, he began to grab for things that were harmful to him.  He touched and let go, grabbed and jerked back.  It was hard for the man to know right from wrong in such darkness.

And, then came a great trembling. 

A mighty one from beneath his feet.  An earthquake of the greatest kind.  All that could be stirred, was stirred.  All that could be awakened, awoke. 

The man was suddenly carried by a giant surge.  The only thing for him to do was let go and let himself be taken in and up.  He swirled as if he were being washed in a machine.  He no longer knew which way was up.  He could only trust the wave as it took control.

And, then, as if he were being born again from his mother's womb -- he emerged.

His first breath was the deepest -- a gasp as if he had been raised from the dead.

His eyes opened.  Had he been blind?  Everything looked so new, so different.

His ears.  Had he been deaf?  All was alive and singing a song of its own!

"My God!" the man exclaimed, as he looked around and to heaven. "You have saved a wretched man from the deepest of seas!  I was surely swallowed.  I was near dead.  But, today I see clearly.  Today, I am alive!"


 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

rise & SHINE

Some of the best tips I have heard about taking care of your body are all focused around the first hour of your day.

•I've heard that you should have water right next to your bed so that as soon as you wake-up, you begin refreshing your system.

•Stretch -- before you even leave the bed or your room.  My husband does this everyday and swears by it. 

•Of course, a healthy breakfast.  And, don't wait until 3 hours into your day.  They call it break-fast for a reason.  Let your body know that it's not fasting anymore and it's time to get its game on.  (Though, I did hear that if you are a late-night eater, your system will probably not want anything right away because it's still processing, so beware. ;)

Those that start their day with wise choices, are setting themselves up for a good day.

I'm finding that it's no different when it comes to my heart.  There are days that, as soon as I wake up, I'm already anxious.  My morning is filled with a battle of the mind.  I get grumpy and short tempered.  My outlook on the day is grim.  And I definitely am not having a sunshiny morning.  Irritability and pessimism rules.

Thankfully there are wise choices I can make to combat these feelings.  I don't have to let the blues dictate my day. 

•I can begin my day with thankfulness-- recalling all the good.  It's hard to be down when my mouth is reminding me of all the reasons to turn that frown upside down.

•I can have some 'Water' ready by the bed.  Music that reminds me of God's Love is like a cool glass of water on a dry throat.  It wakes my heart to hear Him and remember how close He already is.

•Stretch.  Get my conversation with God going -- even if my prayers consist of simple one liners.  No need to be formal. 

•Breakfast.  The best days start with healthy Food choices.  I dump the trashy articles and early morning news that tells me how bad the world is.  I crack open the Bread that reminds me of all the Good that is in store for me and my day.  I eat from the King's table.  (Then, when I do catch the news, I'm ready to pray on their behalf --  not be brought down in its depression, fear and anxiety.) 

So, drink up.  Eat up.  Take charge of your Health (and your day) today!
 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cozy Beds & Happy Seeds

Moving out of your comfort zone.  Easier said than done. 

The feeling reminds me of when I have to get up in the morning.  I'm sooo comfy under those warm blankets.  It goes beyond my logic to move out of a place that I have become quite comfortable in.  But, I realize, if I don't, I could ultimately miss out.  Miss out on the day.  Miss out on all that life has to bring.  Miss out on what God has planned to do.

So I move.

It also brings to mind the journey of a seed.  What if a seed decided (if it could decide) that is didn't want to break out of the comfort of being a seed.  It might say to itself, "Why move beyond this when I'm perfectly happy as a seed?  Why step out and risk, well, everything??"

But, it does.  It steps out and risks because there are better things for that seed than where it currently is.  Yes, it may have some mud to push through.  Yes, there might be moments of it wondering if it will ever see the light at the end of the dirt.  But, the seed knows that what is to come is better than where it has been.  The seed moves forward because it knows that if it didn't it would never reach its full potential.  It would never bloom, it would never bear fruit, it would never know what it was created to become.

So, we do the same.

We step out.  We move forward.  We walk in faith toward what our Creator is calling for us to do.  We may be unsure of ourselves.  We may even question every step.  But, like the seed, we realize that we must.  We MUST move out of our comfort zone.  We must because if we don't, we may never know what the Creator has created us to become!

 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hot Spot

Wireless Internet connection.  A beautiful thing.  No need to hook up, plug in or worry about extra cords.  What's even better is something called a hot spot -- your cell phone becomes your source for Internet connection.  So, wherever you are, you can connect.

****

When I was growing up, I used to think that in order to connect with God, I had to be in a church.  That was where He 'lived'.  Not that I didn't pray on my own, but my understanding was that He was mainly found there.  I wasn't too far off -- He is found there.  But, the reality is that He is found, of course, everywhere.  He's wireless.

But, then I realized something deeper.  When you have God inside of you, you have your own Hot Spot.  The Kingdom of God is within you.  You don't have strive to connect or find Him because He lives in you!

You may smile, but I can tell you that I have had more intimate moments with God outside the church, than even inside the church.  I can remember His Presence so strongly when I used to waitress years ago.  As I went about my duties, I felt like Heaven was with me.

He will never leave us, nor forsake us.  He goes with you, in fact, before you.  And, His goal is to make us realize that we carry the very presence of God everywhere we go.  We take our Hot Spots with us!

 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beautiful You

House of mirrors.
Distorted, untrue.
This is how you see yourself.
You think you need to become something new.

You hate, you judge your very being.
You wish yourself away.
You cry at night and wonder why your God would make you this way?



But, it is not the you that must be changed -- the reflection speaks great lies.
Your enemy wants to push you down. He wants you to never realize

that you are the Dreamer's dream, the Creator's creation, indeed.
A masterpiece, a work of art, you pull the strings on His great big Heart!

He looks inside.  There's nothing hidden.  He sees what you can not.
He loves your heart, He loves your soul, He loves you to the deepest part.

So, let Him change the way you see yourself.
You've been under this for way too long.
He'd never hurt you or lead you to any sort of wrong.

And, if You would receive His love, and hear His Voice today,
You'd know for sure, with all your heart, that you are beautiful in every way.

 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Little Red Balloon

Third Grade.  That's when I remembering releasing my little red balloon.

It was an all-school activity.  Everyone received a balloon and self-addressed postcard.  We wrote our notes, signed our names and tied the postcards to our balloons.  Then, we all stood in the school parking lot and looked heavenward.  On the count of three, we released our balloons all together.  Hundreds of them. What a beautiful, wonderful sight!  We stood there looking until we could no longer see even one balloon. 

Then, the hope and the waiting began. 

The goal was see to if any of our balloons would be found.  The postcard attached asked the finder to please write down where they found the balloon and then please respond by mailing the postcard back to the launcher.

So many variables involved.  Would the balloon find its way to someone?  And, if it did, would the receiver be willing to participate?  All we could do was hope.

******


Some of us feel this way when we pray. 

We look heavenward with our little notes in our hands and hope in hearts and release our heart cries upward.  Unsure about the whole process, all we can do is hope -- hope that our little prayers are going to land in capable Hands and that the One who reads our postcard will be kind enough and care enough to participate.  We want to believe that we will get a response.

And, this is the comfort we can have:

God loves balloon launches!

Yes, sir.  Yes ma'am.  In fact, He looks for them!  He sees them before you even release them to Him.  His arms are stretched out and ready to catch every balloon we send.  He's delighted to catch them, thrilled to participate, and willing and able to respond. 

So take heart.  Your little red balloon is in safe Hands.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Putting The Flavor Back In Your Gum

Sometimes it's the reason we want to look for a new job.  Sometimes it's the reason we want a new spouse.  Sometimes it's the reason we wake up one morning and wish we could just have a new life altogether.

We are looking for something new, something fresh.  Our lives seem tasteless -- like a used piece of chewing gum.  "Where is the flavor in my life??" we ask ourselves.

Some of us learn to live with stale.  Others decide to take matters into their own hands and end up being destructive.  They go wild and spend their savings.  They find themselves in an affair.  They may pull away and detach themselves emotionally from their spouse and children in an effort to regain what they think they lost in living a mundane life.  They say to themselves, "There must be more to life than this!"

Bingo.

Life without God breathing through it will only feel satisfaction for a short time.  And when life gets stale, we get restless.  The 'gum' in our mouth is no longer enjoyable.  We get tired of chewing it.  We want something fresh.  So, like jumping onto a new roller coaster, we jump into that 'fresh thing' to give us what we are looking for.  But, eventually, that ride comes to an end, too, and we find ourselves saying once again, "What's next?  What else is there?  This roller coaster has lost its thrill.  It's getting boring, actually."

But, a life that seeks God daily finds an unlimited amount of Newness each morning.  When we drink of its Water/its Wine, we realize that we don't have to go any further to find what we have been looking for.  Though life in the natural may still be the same, there are always new things God is ready to show us and a new Joy that He wants to put in our step.  He is able to take our plain, mundane lives and put Joy in it again, put Hope in it again, put Reason and Purpose in it again. 

God can put the Flavor back in your gum.