Blog

LORD’S PRAYER MEDITATIONS

April 23 – May 18, 2024

Call to Prayer

Is anyone else looking at the tsunami of cultural shifts right in front of us, involving such hatred and confusion and division and wondering ‘How do I respond? How do I join You, Lord, in Your will? How do I pray?’ 

I look to the example of the disciples seeking for Jesus to teach them to pray and I echo it these scores of years later. 

So – I will be reciting the Lord’s Prayer at 5 pm everyday. Passover began yesterday and Pentecost is Sunday, May 19. This is the timeframe I choose to do this. This is an invitation for anyone to join. We, as those created in the wonder and image of God, can remotely and yet together join voices in unison.

Think about what that sounds like as it pierces our atmosphere and is raised toward the Lord. An anthem, a praise, a call to unity as we proclaim “Our Father…’, serving as a weapon against division and spiritual darkness. The enemy who seeks to divide cannot triumph against the unity of God’s people. Let’s not give him any room for division. 

We are not defined (or divided) by the color of our skin, our gender, the place where we were born, our economic status, our ability/disability… all of these are ways the enemy wants to steal our identity, unity, joy and power.  Yet he knows he is powerless against the mobilized prayers and praises of God’s people in one accord. 

We are defined by Our Father, Creator and Redeemer. We belong to His family. We belong to Him. This is who we are.

PS So, yeah, I guess its the teacher in me – (hopefully the capital “T” Teacher in me) but I wanted to add:

What this is NOT –

This is not about legalism. Do not recite it rotely without thought over each phrase

This is not a ‘special charm’ seeking for God’s hand of favor.

What it IS – 

This is about seeking to follow Christ’s teaching specifically about prayer. We are seeking His face.

This is about seeking and aligning our hearts with HIS.

So, as I pray, I will pause after each phrase and join with Jesus in mind and spirit and heart.

“Lord, teach us to pray…” The Greek word for ‘pray’ is proseuchomai “literally, to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith (“divine persuasion”). (Strongs)

This is the kind of praying we need to be doing. Anything less is just sharing ‘wishful thinking’, but exchanging our thinking and aligning with HIS desire and purposes is POWERFUL!!

Our Father……

Which art in heaven…..

Hallowed be Thy Name…..

Thy kingdom come…..

Thy will be done on earth….

as it is in heaven….

Give us this day our daily bread…

And forgive us our debts….

As we forgive our debtors…

And lead us not into temptation….

but deliver us from evil……….

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM…..

AND THE POWER….

AND THE GLORY FOREVER….

AMEN…………..

If you join me each day reciting these precious words of life, in order to be more mindful and responsive, I will break it into phrases each day, adding a few thoughts to pray back to Him. But they are meant to deepen and root the phrases deeper into my heart. I hope as you pray, you will also meditate on the phrases in His prayer and pray those thoughts back to Him that the Spirit brings to YOUR mind. 

As we pray the prayer Jesus gave as a model, we are changed. Transformed. Our minds become open to seeing as He does, our hearts embrace feeling what He does for others. We see God as He is. We receive His truth and His direction. It is a gift He gave us to lead and guide us through life. It is something precious He entrusted to us, something with meaning, something with purpose. Something not recited mindlessly, but mindfully. Daily. 

We can join Him in His heart to change the world – His words, our voice – one prayer at a time. 

Meditation #1

“OUR FATHER….”

I think about all the names You could have begun with (Creator, Redeemer, Sovereign, Lord…) yet You, Jesus, draw me in to relate to God as my Father, just as You did, describing a close bonding relationship. 

My loving Father is approachable. 

You are my Father. Mine, wholly and completely. I am not alone. I am not fatherless. I belong to You. 

Your heart is for me, inclined to me, available constantly. All those things that describe and celebrate a good, loving, kind, providing, protective father are true of You. You can’t NOT be any of those. And You are so much more! As my Father, I have my identity in You. I am Yours, You are mine. Fully mine.

Fully – and yet not solely. You are not only mine alone. My heart that is sadly inclined to “me, myself and I” shares You with others. In a world of selfishness found in my own heart and the hearts of us all, You chose to be ‘our’ Father. You are our common heritage. You join us in a way nothing else on earth can, transcending that which is seen and physical. Your ‘Father arms’ are open to all those You have created in Your image. You created each of us each with a human spirit, ready to be revived by Your own eternal Spirit. No one is outside of Your touch, Your heart, Your love. 

So we as Your disciples and family, pray to You, our Father, in unison. We choose to join ourselves to You with one voice and one heart, to the One who is our Father. Let Your love for us and our love for You bring us together – all peoples, tribes, nations, tongues. We pray along with Jesus’ prayer that we be one as You are One with Jesus and the Spirit. One with another in spirit, one with You. Without division. ALL coming as one before OUR Father, ready as Your children to follow Your voice and purpose and example and will.

Our Father – invited to join in fellowship and kinship as Your forever family.

Meditation #2

WHICH ART IN HEAVEN….

Yes, You clearly reveal the distinction between our fathers on earth and our Heavenly Father. Thank You, Father, for setting the standard, one which no one can reach on earth but yet it is one that inspires us to aspire to.

You are a GOOD Father. You set the standard for goodness. You always have our best in mind, even to Your own hurt and sacrifice, beautifully demonstrated on the cross. You provide for us in more ways than we realize, in big ways, small ways and behind the scenes ways. You amply provide circumstances to equip us, to strengthen and establish us in our faith walk, though we often question and doubt Your love as we walk in those ways. But because You are good, Your heart is to bring out the good in us and through us. 

You are kind, You are love, You are life.

You protect, provide, plan and purpose all things to work together for wholeness and wholesomeness and ask us to walk by faith and not sight in the process.

You are set apart from our earthly fathers; ones who fail at meeting Your Holy Father standard. Many try and fail, and many fail and don’t try. Many have hurt their children badly. Many have carried their own hurts and pas them along in this broken world. May we find it in our hearts to forgive them for not being You or acting more like You, our perfect Father.

But as our Heavenly Father, we all stand equally in Your love and promise no matter what our earthly father may have been like. You seek us out. You comfort us.  You renew our minds, restore our hearts, regenerate our spirits and rescue us from our own selfish ways. No earthly father can do that for us. You adopt us into Your forever family and no one can remove Your love from us. 

Yes, thank You for being our Father in Heaven, above the powers of the world. You are not untouched by those things that touch us, but You are not subject to any earthly power. You see it all, when we see only in part. 

By You all things exist, live, breathe and have our being. 

Thank You for being our Father in Heaven………….“With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures.” – A.W. Tozer- A man of God 

Meditation #3 –

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

Lord, Elohim, Adonai, Yahweh, God…

Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-rapha ….

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…

You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Your name is higher than any other name.

You have infinite names that describe infinite facets of Your nature.

You alone deserve first and primary place in my heart. As we hallow Your name, we set it apart from any other. We do not treat it as ordinary or common, or even use it in anger. It is high and holy, Lord, and deserves sacred reverence because it is a reflection of You. 

You, set apart and high above all other names or powers, have none that comes close to compete with You. And You need nothing to complete who You are. You are fully whole. Out of Your perfection and holiness and love, You bring wholeness to our dark and broken world, and complete the broken, sinful places in our lives because You long for relationship with us. You have gone to great sacrificial lengths to give us Your name and the authority that goes with it. Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, should’st die for me? 

There is none that compares or even comes close to You. Thank You for revealing Yourself through Your many names, Your many qualities found in Your hallowed, holy, high-above-anything-ordinary name. You are not a nameless being, but One Whom we can know by name, and live by Your name. We respond to You and lift Your name high, magnify and elevate it so Your glory can shine through.

Forgive us for elevating anything else in our mind, whether individual, or agenda, or creed or dream. We take captive anything that lifts up itself in competition to You. 

We hallow Your Name and we hallow You.

Meditation #4

YOUR KINGDOM COME, Lord. 

Yours. Not mine. Not others. No ideological, geographical or political group or party has claim on it, though it is available to all who desire to become a citizen of Your kingdom. Thankfully, Your kingdom is high above any earthly kingdom where people vie for power and control over one another, and where fear and pride rules, and has sadly been so since the fall in Eden. Because of our selfishness, we truly are unable to govern ourselves without Your Spirit. Without You as King in our hearts.

We long for Your kingdom where we offer honor and praise for You, our Savior-King, out of love and gratitude, not out of fear. 

‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ You told Pilate. 

You rule Your kingdom in: 

Truth – not based on the shifting sands of public opinion or earthly sub-standards

Righteous judgment – we look on outward appearances and wrongly ascribe motives and make sweeping judgments based on what we see, but You, our Father and King, know our hearts. Your judgments are true. You alone can truly see the hearts and motives of all on earth. None is hidden to You. 

Love and grace – the law of love is the law of Your kingdom. You emulate and cultivate a culture to bless and bring out the best in and through each of the citizens in Your kingdom. Forgiveness and redemptive ways bring forth the fruit and the freedom we experience in Your kingdom!

Praise – we were made for praise. We were made to worship the One greater than ourselves. You alone are worthy of our praise. We praise You, our King. 

We were made for love. We were made for truth. We were made for relationship – with You, and with others created in Your image. 

In Your kingdom we join hands with those of all different shades, abilities, sizes, capacities and anything else that separates us on earth. We raise our voices not against one another, but to You in worship and praise – from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Our eyes will be on You alone.  Our hands will be raised to You in worship and not in fists or fingers pointed against one another. You alone are the focus of our hearts, hearts free from sin and self, hearts joined in unity. This is the promise of Your kingdom.

Yes, Lord, may Your kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven!

Meditation #5

THY WILL BE DONE

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

Your will. Not mine, not the ‘will of the people’, not any random will. Yours. Alone. No more, no less, no different.

Lord, forgive me when I question Your will, an indication of my lack of trust in You. You, who alone are worthy of all my trust. You Who created me, designed me after Your image to walk in Your ways. Yet, it is doubt that blinds me and binds me from fully walking in truth and freedom to follow You.

I confess that I have not grown up liking the words obey or submit. To put my ‘will’ under that of another? 

Yet as my King who literally gave Your life for me, my grateful response is to honor You and serve You with my allegiance. To come under the wisdom and magnitude of Your mission in exchange for my own selfish mission of protecting myself. But, when You remind me of the truths of who You are, You created a pathway for me to take Your hand and follow You in humility and trust. Obedience to You is an evidence of my trust in You. 

Not because I have to, but because I get to as an act of worship, a demonstration of love.

This commitment to Your will is a demonstration of trust in You and Your ways, and flies in the face of why Satan and his following were banished from You in heaven. Satan did not want Your will, he wanted his own. He did not want to be under You, but wanted his own rule and sought his own glory. The outcome of his rejection of You as King of Kings and Lord of Lords is evident when he tempts humanity on earth. When Adam and Eve chose their own will rather than Yours a curse came upon the whole earth with sin and shame and death. Even though Your heart and will has been to bless Your creation and people through our aligning with Your holy ways and purposes, we continually spiral away from You and Your wisdom and righteousness and choose our own way. Sin is literally choosing our independent ways, and not Your will and Authority as king. 

So we cry together and declare that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Meditation #6

“Thy will be done’ (continued) –

You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Your name is higher than anything that lifts its head against You. I can rest in Your might and deliverance – and in the wisdom and power of Your will and purposes on earth.

Your love has captured my heart, but it can sometimes be a battleground of wills. Free me so You can rule uncontested in my heart. Free me from any voice or vice or will grasping for control and exerting against Your own. I yield my right to pick the rules I follow, make my own rules, or determine the conditions through which I choose to follow Your chosen assignment for me.

Yielding my ‘rights’ to You is an act of live, of faith and of worship. This is what it means to be loved and to abide in it, this is what it means to trust and obey, to walk in true freedom and discover the path to peace and fulfillment in responding to Your invitation to follow Your mission. This is the pathway to true joy.

May Your will be done unreservedly in and through me.

You are my holy example, as found in another “Lord’s prayer” that You prayed in Gethsemane, when You yielded Your will to the Father’s as You were faced with gruesome suffering and death. You did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but came as our Servant and therefore rose in authority. Authority through obedience to the Father, demonstrated through servanthood and sacrifice. You revealed Your complete trust in the Father’s plan when You proclaimed, “Not My will, but Thine be done.” 

May this also be my declaration.

‘As You wish, Lord’

Thy will be done.

As is Your will in heaven, so let it be in my heart, and in the world around me.

We are given a crafted model of prayer by Jesus Himself. One which honors God, shows love to others and positions ourselves to be His salt and light on the earth. 

As we pray this in unity, daily, thoughtfully and heart-fully, I pray it will accomplish much in bringing revival and unity to His people and spiritual awareness in the darkness. The enemy knows the power of unity, of obedience, of worship,  and of forgiveness, and will literally stop at nothing to divide us and cause us to distrust God and one another. His strategies have not changed. 

But our posture is in opposition to his schemes.

Meditation #7

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD – 

Give us this day our daily bread….Thank You out of Your wisdom giving us a need for daily sustenance – and then filling that need from Your own provision; for reminding me that You are my Source. You provide all that I need, in fact You know my needs before I do and are way ahead of me. Your Father heart is to provide for Your children, Your kingly heart is generous in all Your ways.

May we be led by faith in Your goodness and generosity and provision and not driven by fear. You provide not only physical bread but spiritual Bread and manna – You, Yourself are the BREAD OF LIFE broken for us. May we not feed on the crumbs the world has to offer so that we are not hungry for You and Your manna. May our hunger for YOU ever increase and our hunger for anything else decrease.

Meditation #8 

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS

Kind of lengthy but a very broad subject. And critical one. 

Matt 6:12,14 Amplified version

‘And forgive (to discharge, ‘send away”) us our debts (“something owed”), as we have forgiven our debtors [choosing to let go of both the wrong and the resentment].

(14 For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.)

Lord, forgiveness is hard! To take the offenses of another and ask You to take it requires me thinking of them and You, and not counting myself. It takes love! Of course You know that more than any! And yet by Your design, forgiveness toward others is the key to my own freedom! It is the universal key to the freedom we all need, without exception. As I take Your model prayer to heart, I  tremble to think that in this prayer You are telling us to ask You to forgive us in the same way we forgive others. You call me to love others in the same manner as You have loved me, but here You have transposed it and added another layer. What wisdom You use to ensure that I forgive others in the same manner You forgive me! 

And what manner is that?  

Your forgiveness is:

sacrificial, complete and whole, without condition

and available even before I acknowledge and ask.

My human forgiveness falls short of that. Human nature wants others to ‘pay’ for their offenses. Divine nature literally pays the debt owed. I need Your divine power in order to forgive. I cannot fully forgive on my own. What You ask is also what You provide.

How can I even consider the faults, shortcomings and offenses of others when I measure it against how I am in need of Your ongoing daily forgiveness? You not only release me from the debt of my sin, but You paid for it by offering Your own pure life. 

Before I can forgive, I need to see myself as You do in humility, and see others as You do in compassion.

May I never withhold forgiveness from others, stopping the flowing fountain of Your life toward them. If I dare to stop the flow of being Your instrument to bring freedom to others, I in effect enslave myself! 

Freely You have given to us, so that freely we can give to others. 

Thank You for Your forgiveness which is offered generously. May I be a vessel through which You extend Your for-giveness – a giving forward of releasing blessing and freedom to others through such a beautiful and divine act. Thank You for this gift that sets us apart from most other religions, creed and beliefs in the world.

You know we all need it more than life itself. 

Forgiveness is one of the most precious gifts to receive and to offer to others – there is nothing to compare to its power! Wars would cease, neighbors and families would be reconciled and the reaches of darkness would be quelled by the light of forgiveness, and the joy and freedom of being forgiven.

Help us forgive ourselves. Help us forgive others.

Forgive us for the many ways we personally, and as a nation, have sinned against You. Lord, we have so much to repent for as Your people, called by Your name. And as a nation once set apart as a city on a hill.

Meditation #9

…and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil….

We know Your leading is not into temptation but providing Your power through it, or leading us  through an ‘escape’ away from it. Satan would like us to live in doubt of that, for us to consider Your nature questionable or Your power ineffective. You lead in paths of righteousness, and You also provide ample opportunities to test my faith in the face of temptation to either cave in to fear or run to comfort that is outside Your path. You know my vulnerabilities and Your heart is set on establishing me totally and completely in You, 

resisting temptation with Your path of escape, and

standing victoriously in the face of trials and afflictions.

You know my frame and provide me with the same words to utter as Jesus, “May this cup pass from me…but nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done.” These are not words of weakness, but words of strength! You allow me to recognize my poorness in spirit, my inability to stand on my own power, my calling to You to relieve the pressing in of trial or temptation. You are the only One who can! YOU are my source of strength.

You as my Guide will never lead me into temptation, but You as my DELIVERER will always provide the way around it, through it in victory or out in that divine way of escape because You have given me everything I need for life and Godliness by giving me the Holy Spirit within. ‘Greater is He within me than he that is in the world’ is an anchor for my spirit. I cling to the promised One committed to my fruitfulness as You deliver me from the evil one bent on my destruction.

And this model prayer is for Your family, a collective prayer of unity.

Lead US as Your people to not be tempted to leave You and follow the ways of the world.

Lead US to stand in unity, looking solely to You, worshiping solely at Your feet, calling upon You together in repentance, seeking Your justice and deliverance, and not the ways of man. 

Deliver us from the evil one whose strategy is to divide and conquer, to steal our Christ-redeemed identities, our peace, our joy, and our power. 

Deliver us from his deceptions, his working to divide brothers and sisters in Your family.

In unity. In heart. In prayerful posture.

I praise You FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM

Meditation #10

In all the vying for kingdom power on a world-wide scale or even those who desire to ‘rule’ and control a personal kingdom, You reign high and above all earthy desires and powers and authorities. There is none who come close to matching You. 

Yours is the KINGDOM – we declare ourselves under Your rule and authority, humbly and yet confidently and with hearts of worship before Your throne. Abiding in Your kingdom principles 

AND THE POWER  – Abiding in Your Word and Spirit which empowers us to accomplish Your purposes on earth as it is in heaven, breaking down strongholds and lifting You up

AND THE GLORY FOREVER – bringing You glory as Your glorious light and love and peace cascades and is shed abroad in and through our hearts. 

Amen

Forget not His benefits

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal
    with all that is in me—body, emotions, mind, and will—every part of who I am—
    praise His holy name.

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal;
    sing a song from a grateful heart;
    sing and never forget all the good He has done.

Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you.
    More than any doctor, He heals your diseases.

He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death.
    He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king. 

When your soul is famished and withering,
    He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live.
    He makes you strong like an eagle, restoring your youth.

When people are crushed, wronged, enslaved, raped, murdered,
    the Eternal is just;
    He makes the wrongs right…..Psalm 103:1-6 Voice

So, in light of not forgetting His benefits, I would like to share a quick update as much has occurred since my stairway fall in the Fall.  As well as a brief update on Don.


Don has been steadily improving in stamina, and his capacity to do work around the home has increased. He keeps up with the yard like a boss! His bouts with dizziness and balance continue but are not as debilitating. He may need some additional PT to help. On the upside, he has had numerous opportunities to engage in something he loves best – teaching and imparting truths from God’s Word. It is so rewarding to see him flow as he has in the past and see the fruit it brings to others. God is so faithful!

As for me, I believe I mentioned this in my last entry how there were many needful decisions and events throughout the summer and even into October where I had to live in my ‘head’ and not give place to my heart, so this is a recap as well as an update. I had difficulty sorting through mom’s things and would procrastinate spending much time at her place. I was blessed to have a getaway from the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving and over that weekend, returning on Monday. It was needful for me, as I had not given myself time to grieve the passing of my mom. The retreat is a large house, underwritten by various individuals and agencies specific to caregivers, and since I fit the profile times 3, I had been placing my name on the waitlist, which is several months to a year long. So, it ‘just so happened’ in the fullness of God’s time, that there was a cancellation for that weekend, and the name of the room was ‘Cynthia’s Chance.’ Hmmmm – there are times when I wonder if I am really hearing from God, but this time when God invited, He really made it crystal clear! While I was at the retreat that weekend, God met me through our many walks and talks together, just He and I, and allowing place and space for crying and watercolor and journaling. As I drove home, I felt ready to tackle her place in earnest. The following day, November 28, 2023, I fell off the last step in our stairway, breaking my foot in 3 places and severely spraining my ankle. So then, besides being off my feet for over a month, I needed to stay at my mom’s apartment since it is a single level. Really, God??

And so, He ministered to my body, soul and spirit as I realized my need to rest in all of those areas. He truly knows best – why do I ever question? 

Forget none of His benefits ……

There have been many benefits, some I will try to capture here. Many are still being developed in my heart.  Don and I exchanged roles while my ankle/foot has been recovering. Humbling for me, stretching for him. Little did we know how this stretching was also instrumental in strengthening him. How gracious is our God to redeem the challenges we face in life. He creatively uses anything to bring His good purposes forth.

As I mentioned, mom’s apartment had been a place I would avoid being in for long as it represented sad memories of her passing. And yet, over this time it truly has become a sanctuary for me, a place I enjoy being in and feel His presence. Only God does such amazing work!

So, catch up to today. I have been through the stages of healing and PT has been very difficult but very effective. I still have another month but am improving steadily. Who knew a 4 second slip would take 6 months of my life to adjust and heal. We live such a parable, don’t we? Healing, whether physical or otherwise, takes time and intention to seek to see from God’s perspective. It takes both rest and work, but the rewards are to see His graces, His benefits, as He reveals more of Himself and His unsearchable ways.

This week will be the first Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday without her. The lilies of the valley, her favorite flower, have been in full bloom, reminding me of her favorite fragrance and how I would pick them and bring them inside for her delight. So I still pick them, and am giving them to neighbors who I happen to see outside. Her legacy lives on. It is a challenging month as it is another ‘first’ and feels more weighty than other holidays this past year. Being mother of adult children, being a daughter without a mother present brings on many vulnerable and tender feelings this Mother’s Day.

So, as an added distraction, the surgery for the basal cell under my eye is set for this Friday, May 10. It is fairly extensive since it is such a delicate area right over my tear duct. Maybe shedding tears is not an option for the next several days after surgery. Several years ago, basal cell showed up in the same area, and I had gone prepared for the scheduled surgery that morning. To my delight and his consternation and surprise, the surgeon spent a great deal of time looking for it (picture the very large magnifying glass and bright light over that area), and even called in the dermatologist who originally flagged it – but they couldn’t find it; it was gone!  They had no explanation, but of course we know 😉 and I told them many had been praying and I believed God healed it. Oh, that God would do that again! In any event, we would appreciate your prayers. 

Thank you again for the many ways you carry us in your prayers and in your hearts. May God make His face shine upon you and give you His shalom – peace and wholeness. 

And may you also join in remembering His many benefits to you as well.

Limitation or opportunity

No, this is not my opportunity as an extra for Star Wars.

Yes, I did fall at the end of November and God could have prevented it. But He didn’t. 

Yes, God could have healed the 3 bone fractures and the bone marrow bruising (who knew?) and the profound spraining of the ligaments. But He didn’t. 

Yes, I missed the time of year I love to attend Christmas specials and craft shows and teas with friends, etc. – but I couldn’t. 

Here is the beginning of a new year and I am looking at possibly months of therapy to restore what occurred in my 3-second moment when I missed the last step in my home. 

This is the state of my life. This on top of a year of loss. 

But, please hear this …. I don’t write this for sympathy. I write this to acknowledge what is before me and not dismiss, stuff or wallow in pity and frustration. It is merely an assessment exercise. Counting losses. But acknowledging is not the same as hyper focusing. And I am choosing not to focus there. 

My focus? I raise a Hallelujah. A declaration of God’s goodness when that could come into question about His goodness and love and even ability. And doesn’t the accuser acting as prosecutor who loves to instill doubt against God want to use this opportunity to stir it into the mix. But I refuse.

I refuse because it is also an opportunity for the Spirit of the Living God to use to teach, to comfort, to apply grace and expand my capacity to tune in to a broader purpose. 

Opportunity denotes a choice.

And I choose to raise a Hallelujah. 

And so I choose to begin counting gains, while acknowledging losses and limitations.  So what have I gained? Here are some of the many gifts of grace –

  • I am leaning more on Him as I see how many things that normally have distracted me have no hold since I am limited in response to them. No, I can’t just run out to an after-Christmas sale or to the store for a needed grocery item.
  • I am learning more of the humility of dependence upon others for my needs. I can’t even get myself a cup of water. Don and I literally have reversed roles. Interesting place to be and I don’t like it. I don’t like inconveniencing him; I like to be the one to help. And yet here I am. I live it. And in living it, I am learning much about myself. About the grace of God that I might not see otherwise, a grace I would literally miss.
  • I am seeing how when one member suffers we all do. Though my ankle is greatly supported, my back aches because the reinforced boot is a different height than my walking shoe. I have to adjust my normal walk to fit the needs of the affected part but it adds stress and imbalance to the other parts. 
  • I have more space in my life to listen and enjoy a simpler pace. Time and limits have been imposed by a loving Father who knows my desire to see a need or a wish and start running (nope, no running now!) either in my racing fix-it thoughts or body to fulfill it. (This is not a treatise on whether God ’causes’ bad things to happen; that is not what I am saying. I am saying He will use anything that comes upon us in this broken world for good. And choosing to look for, and see, His goodness is a grace). But a pause is needed. A time to consider. A time of rest that God knows I need more than I would admit. How very gracious of Him.
  • Are all needs meant for me to fulfill? At this point I can ‘only‘ pray instead of running (hobbling) ahead to fix it. Why do I use ‘just‘ and ‘only‘ before I talk about prayer? Wishing I ‘could do more‘? Do more than what? Do ‘more’ than listening to God’s Spirit communicate with mine so I agree on His will on earth as it is in heaven? Do ‘more’ than trusting God to either create an opportunity for me or others to be involved, or to handle it as He sees fit? Do more than calling upon the Spirit of the Living God to intervene in a situation He has made me aware of or placed on my heart? Yes, prayer is always needed (and primary) and so is action, based on the response to the prompting of God. But if my action is limited, HE is not limited to His response to the need as I am. HIS arm is not too short, though my walking may be at present. So though I would pray before when I was aware of a need, my prayer carries the full bulk of faith in how He will meet what is needed, with or without my action. There is a time for everything under heaven…
  • This is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of first steps, baby steps as I step out. Not running. But stepping into a new day, a new goal. I am much more aware of what it takes to step and walk.
  • Taking this opportunity to adjust expectations. Taking life one day at a time. And breathe….
  • Taking this opportunity to be present in the process, whatever it is. Taking time to do things I have left behind. Taking an online class. Reading. Playing piano. These are things I don’t always give place to, but they are things that restore my spirit.
  • Taking this opportunity to exchange loss for gain. Exchanging busyness for respite. Exchanging noise for quiet listening. 
  • Taking this opportunity to practice contentment and gratitude. Of course practice is the operative word. But there is such joy in that. What a beautiful grace we have been given.

So in this process, I get to see grace all over this. Thank You, Lord, for Your creative works of grace. How You can take the challenges and reveal Your goodness is truly a grace.

May I never miss the graces You have for me everyday.

THE WONDERS OF HIS LOVE

An invitation to come and consider 

the lavish,

 generous, 

abundant heart of God  

In the beginning….

God planned for us to BE, to live, to love, to experience the wonders of life to the fullest. God created the heavens and the earth – all things have been created by Him and for Him.

He didn’t have to give us the arrays of beauty in the color wheel, all the hues and nuanced brights and darks. He didn’t have to offer us the bright hopeful colors of sunrises and the calming beauty of sunsets – of the skies and majestic mountains and wonders of nature…

But He did.

He didn’t have to give us all the sounds of the ocean, and rivers, and birds singing, and crickets chirping and hyenas laughing and mules braying and kittens purring; and what about the flowing poetry and lilting music in all its forms and glory and how it expresses that which our hearts can barely speak … 

But He did.

He didn’t have to provide all the amazing smells around us – the scents of each individual flower, the ability to copy and transform them into fragrant perfumes and candles; the spices and herbs that are not only medicinal but tempt our senses and prepare our palates ….

But He did.

He didn’t have to provide all the wonders of food. We literally could just be filled up and head out like cars, without all the myriads of taste and textures from each corner of the world. Sauces and sweets and savories and you name it- things that tingle and crunch and provide smooth creamy ‘heavenly’ tastes for our pleasure. 

But He did.

He didn’t have to give us the human bonds of brotherhood and the sweet lullabies of motherhood as we gently plant sweet kisses on the heads of babies, our hearts swelling full of love….or a shoulder of comfort to lean on and offer strength or a hug as a token of friendship and love. 

But He did.

He didn’t have to create humans in His image so we could relate and respond and commune with Him like none other in creation. He didn’t have to design a space for our spirits to rise in worship or a place to lament in healthy ways as we experience the challenges of life in a broken world….or minds to reason and invent and expand in our knowledge of our world.

But He did.

When Adam and Eve made a choice to listen to a voice other than His, to trust the words of the father of lies rather than the Father of Life, He could have chosen to never speak again. 

But He didn’t.

When the first created people sinned and set the stage and then all people followed in the same dark, destructive path, He could have written us off, scrapped His desire for intimacy with His created ones, and began anew.

But He didn’t.

He didn’t have to provide us with the life of His Son to live with and among us and show a life of example, of purity, of wholeness of grace and truth, performing miracles and lifting our eyes and spirits heavenward. In His righteousness and holiness, He could have destined us to a deserved judgment of eternal death in hell.

But He didn’t.

In His love, He lavishly demonstrated it toward us while we were yet sinners – 

As if that wasn’t enough, we were given His Son who offered not only His life on earth, but His life in death as a sacrifice to rescue us in ways we desperately needed but had no way to achieve. 

And if that wasn’t enough, His Son who rose in victory over our enemy Satan, the ravages of the broken world, the curse of sin, and shame and death – He also sent to us the Holy Spirit to not only be WITH us but to be WITHIN us, never to leave. He not only promises never to abandon us, but also provides comfort, strength, discernment, hope, conviction, teaching and leading us further into the image of Jesus. And so much more.

And if that wasn’t enough, we are offered eternal life in heaven, where God lives, where there is only light and life and love and purpose and joy and peace and no pain or sickness or sin or death.

And this is only what we know about this mysterious, incomprehensible, loving, yet eternal God who lives in infinite revelation of His holiness and character. 

There is so much more yet to be revealed than what we already know.  

“Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”

 For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God                                     [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].                                                For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him?                So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.                                          Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit,                           combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit]. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13 AMP

Mom’s hands

During her last days, Mom’s hands  – hands which were always busy and diligent to do whatever was needed, obedient to whatever the call of Christ was upon her, now became fidgety. Was this her eternal spirit longing to be free from this body which housed it so faithfully these 94 years? As I sat with her I would hold them and massage them. I will let you listen in on one of our final times together.

“Mom, these hands have been gentle all my life – these hands have gently rocked us as kids and cleaned out our booboos. And then have done the same for our children.

These hands have beautifully played the violin, pouring forth the song of praise within your heart as you shared your gift with others.

These hands have been resourceful – sewing and crafting things out of scraps and using the creativity God gave you for the benefit of others.

These hands have opened hundreds of books, feeding your intelligence and thirst to understand life and the world around you – and then excitedly sharing the books and the knowledge gleaned with others.

These hands have written likely thousands of cards, letters and checks as you generously and intuitively lifted others up and supported them in caring ways. They have written countless notes – I find them inside your Bible and all throughout your apartment of the treasures you find and the joy in wanting to teach others the truths you’ve discovered.

These hands have labored in preparing many meals, not only for your family, but in hospitality for any visiting missionary welcome to our home growing up, and countless meals provided for others in need.

These hands busy all throughout your life, were also folded quietly in prayer as you lifted up so many to Our Father in heaven. Your prayers have sustained me and countless others in known and unknown ways.

And now these hands are anxious to reach out and grasp the hand of Jesus who is reaching for you. 

Go ahead, Mom, take His hand.

And as you arrive in heaven, these hands will embrace all your loved ones who have gone before; they will spontaneously lift up in praise to God.  Remember to save us a place at the banquet table for I look forward to joining you there.”

You have heard it said … but I say

You have heard that it has been said ………..but I say………..

In Matthew 5 it is recorded that Jesus spoke this over and over to His listeners, outlining what they had heard and comparing it to His words of life. He, as the Truth, spoke with authority.  He appeals to us today as well, to heed (meaning to listen to and follow) His words. How important for us to embrace this model. Yes, we hear so many things, often in direct or implied contradiction to what we know, understand, or even to what was previously touted as ‘truth’. These things must be measured against what He says.

We are daily, hourly, being immersed with the opinions and ‘facts’ of others in the world which puts our discernment at risk.  These tensions influence us without our even knowing it. We have heard MANY things being said. Everyone feels they have a valid opinion, everyone sees what they deem ‘truth’ through their own experience. And then do ‘what is right in their own eyes,” having lost or dismissed the spiritual compass of God’s Word. With all of this noise surrounding us in the world, it is difficult to remain impartial, or to not get cynical wondering if anyone speaks truth and is worthy of our trust.

And in our own personal circle, too often it is overlooked that there may just be another perspective on any given situation. When we hear one account, we are instantly swayed and conclusions are drawn. Yet Solomon in his wisdom reminded us that there is more than one way to look at a situation and often our judgment and understanding can be broadened when we seek to at least question ‘the other side’ for clarity.  ‘In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.’ (Proverbs 18:17). We have probably all experienced having been personally misrepresented, and our perspective not sought to clarify. I know I have, and it really stings, doesn’t it? How much more must God feel, when we are surrounded and often influenced by the opinions of others, yet His is the ONLY TRUE perspective! His is the lens through which we must peer to get a sense of truth and perspective.

So, consider what you have heard – but then seek out and measure it against God’s eternal, all-wise, Spirit breathed perspective. “But I say…. We need to grow rich in discernment as the cultural lines between right and wrong blur and the spiritual darkness seeks to hide His face. All things need to be brought to His light for true understanding – whether it is the news, the opinions of others or even our own personal feelings and perspectives. What He says brings truth, and life, and light. Since we are called to be the lights in the world, by the True Light of the world, we need Him to shed His light on any subject. How else will any not of the Light be able to find their way? What are some qualities of light?

Light separates out and pierces the darkness.

Light brings insight and understanding.

Light brings hope and guidance, like the light to our path.

As we let our light shine, others will see our good works and glorify God in heaven.

What Jesus says matters. I love that Jesus came in grace and truth in perfect measure. Just like a cup of hot tea, grace and truth swirl together and are inseparable. In a world where grace is withheld and truth is questioned or dismissed, it is ever more important that we live out His grace and are guided by His truth, which anchors our souls, and provides a doorway for others to see Him. May we always follow His words, no matter what others may speak or how convincing it may seem; may we always listen to His invitation to hear “…but I say.”

Won’t you be my neighbor?

When I look at you, what do I see? Red? Blue? Black? Brown? 

No. I see neighbor. Like the ‘love your neighbor’ kind. Like the ‘treat your neighbors as you want them to treat you’ kind. Who is my neighbor? Jesus answered that masterfully. We are all one another’s neighbors. Mr. Rogers, favorite of generations, promoted the value of being a good neighbor.

So I want to share as a neighbor a few thoughts swirling in my head. I really don’t want to needlessly add to the plethora of words on social media. But I want to share what I have observed and realize it is hard to keep silent. We all observe things. In my quest for discernment, I want to rightly observe and wisely conclude. I have seen us all rightly observe issues to a degree, but often fall (or jump) to various conclusions. And that proves to be divisive and deadly. I have seen and personally experienced the effects of others jumping to wrong conclusions, and how it devastates relationships. How much more on such a large scale as our country?

So maybe I will begin this way. Don has an autoimmune component to his body. In short, his body, with each system created and designed to work together to benefit health and life, receives a wrong message to his immune system. That which is designed to seek out and destroy any rogue cells, any bacteria or viruses or cancer – basically anything that would cause illness, poor health and death – actually turns on itself. Somehow it now ‘believes’ that nerve tissue is the enemy and has garnered its forces to damage any nerve tissue it locates. It once turned against his own thyroid tissue – and destroyed it. When all systems work together, including this needful protective immune system – health is enjoyed. This message it has received is untrue and wreaks havoc over his whole body. At one time, he had a an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae, an enemy stealthily hiding parasitically deep in his nerves and destroying them, but that enemy is no longer alive. (Yes, it’s a long story, but for another time) Ironically, his own body system has now furthered the original damage, producing pain, limiting use, restricting sleep and affecting his whole body. 

In the big picture, we as people, as the human race, have so much in common. We truly are more alike than different, sharing the same needs physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The needs to be loved and have purpose, etc. are universal. Our Creator is of such majesty and magnitude that He is expressed in infinite numbers of ways through each of us individually and collectively  – through our thoughts, talents, skills, backgrounds, ethnicities, skin color, etc. Our differences beautifully distinguish us, but now are used to divide us. 

As US citizens, we have a common Constitution set up for the prosperity and protections of our nation. Though we all experience that differently, the structure is for our health and benefit. 

However, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is at risk. And sometimes those pursuits are not for the benefits of others, but rather exploit them. These are not the wholesome pursuits of which I will speak.

Knowing that each of us are all created as image bearers of God, I will always stand for life for others, beginning with the pre-born. I cannot fathom a group that celebrates the ‘right’ to take the life of another – over 60 million in our country alone. This ‘right’ is sadly reminiscent of those who held to the belief that one people group could ‘own’ another and require forced labor from them, exercising their ‘right’ to abuse, hunt down, and destroy those made in the image of God. We fought a war against that ‘right’ and for the rights of those caught in slavery who could not speak for themselves. I stand for the rights of babies who cannot speak for themselves. No, I cannot endorse a platform that not only allows this atrocity but promotes it fully aware of the excruciating pain they experience as they are being dismembered, even up to birth. It is science. It is an unthinkable, unconscionable stain that runs deeply in our country. 

This is deadly autoimmunity at its worst. This is turning against our own humanity, DNA, our own legacy and future – our life. 

Beyond her baby, I also stand for the woman dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and am devoted to walking with her to other life-giving options – life-giving for her as well as the baby. I love the option of adoption, not just because we have adopted two children of our own, but because it is a wonderfully creative option, providing a place for those possibly considered ‘unwanted.’ If we allocated the money designated for abortions through Planned Parenthood toward adoption, many more babies and children would be embraced into loving homes. This is something I can stand for and endorse. Our compassion and creativity can extend beyond only offering abortion as an option. And then calling it ‘good.’

I also stand for the lives of those abused, the minorities and those marginalized in our society. For the elderly, medically/emotionally fragile and those with disabilities. I would like to feel that I would not stand by taking photos of George Floyd being choked to death, but would be among those seeking for other means to help him. However, taking this and other several injustices to the streets for awareness as a demonstration of the need for reform is very different than unleashing hatred and destroying and looting and dismantling a whole system. This is not seeking justice, by turning it against others. This injustice is not the answer to injustice. Rather than allow it to be considered ‘normal’ or peaceful while whole lives and livelihoods of other lives who also matter suffer, we need to speak up and redirect this sense of injustice to building relationships and improvement of needed reforms. Many of those businesses were set up by immigrants who came to live the dream of establishing businesses to benefit their community; many were minorities where their ‘neighbors’ came in and helped themselves to the contents of their stores. This is turning against our own communities – a deadly form of autoimmunity that benefits no one.

This is divisive autoimmunity.

Further turning the hatred toward those with blue uniforms trained to protect society ironically takes the prejudice some have experienced and retargets it toward another people group. No one group as a whole should be forced to pay for the sins of the few. This is not justice. This is further erosion of the value and dignity of life, of not recognizing the image of God upon those He has uniquely created to bear His love, His light, His justice, His wisdom, His peace. This redirecting of hatred objectifies individuals, which somehow justifies the hatred and murder of fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters.

This is the wrong message of autoimmunity turned against itself.

I also stand for the lives of those being trafficked. The current administration has rooted out hundreds of traffickers and brought those enslaved to freedom. Freeing those caught in this modern day slavery is an issue we can all participate in; we can use our energies toward something purposeful. We can together use our talents, skills, energies and using them together as one body, one nation, to protect and ensure liberty for others who cannot speak for themselves. This would take those wrongs in our history and seek positive ways to learn from them and redeem them. Wouldn’t it be great to eradicate this atrocity in our lifetime?

This would be a good use of ‘immunity.’

Some have said that the conservatives are ‘one issue’ voters. If the issue is LIFE, then may that be said of me. But I qualify it in that it includes all forms of life from the womb to the tomb, covering all peoples. Mother Teresa saw the face of Jesus in all ‘life’- the poor, the lepers, the marginalized. 

Just as the message in an autoimmune component gets distorted and used against its own body, so I have seen the message against this current administration get lost and distorted. I have heard those decrying how misogynist our president is, yet seen half or more of his cabinet/representatives are women who are fiercely loyal to him and his platform. (Forbes 6/29/19 ‘Hundreds Of Women Have Lead Roles In The Trump Administration. 45 More Await Senate Confirmation’-Roslyn Layton)

I have heard that he is racist, yet seen him promoting minorities and elevating their standard of living in many ways, among them through funding for colleges, school choice which levels the educational playing field, innovation for economic advance in businesses and work, second-chance initiatives for those in prison, etc. He has denounced white supremacists multiple times, though that narrative persists. Those who know him best (not the media) say he is neither racist nor misogynist.

This President has gathered those around him strong in character – unquestionably in areas where he is not, which is a sign of a good leader. I say this not to justify those character flaws, because I have no defense for them. I recognize there are other areas where he is not deemed a good leader. However, God is his Judge, just as He is for all past presidents and just as He is mine. I choose discernment and leave judgment to God.

His record in keeping our alliance with Israel strong is admirable. His seeking peace, and success in forming treaties with those long-standing enemies is also admirable. This has been the unsuccessful aim of many presidents who have gone before for decades.

His strong stand for religious rights is notable, stronger than any president I am aware of, including rights of those on college campuses and businesses to be protected against those who would seek to override them. On the world stage, he and our VP sat before the UN in advocating for religious rights of people of all faiths undergoing persecution. (‘Trump Calls Religious Freedom an ‘eternal right’ in UN Speech’ By Megan Briggschurchleaders.com – September 24, 2019)

What you seek for, you find. If you seek to find many good things this administration has done in these four years, you can find much to celebrate, much for the good of our ‘body’, our nation. And if you seek to find negative things, you can also find things to criticize. This is also true of the contender with his 47 years of seeking to evoke change. And of course, in the history of our country there is noble and not-so-noble.

The decision before us is not merely between two flawed men running for the highest office one can seek. It is between two opposing ideologies; as you look at the platforms and those who are on either ‘side’, it really is between seeking to protect our Constitution and improve the lives of those in our country (and world) and those who lean towards following the path of socialism, a path other countries have taken and it has taken them away from the freedoms we experience and take for granted. One only has to read history and listen to immigrants who have fled those countries to come here to get a fuller picture of that path. Redefining it does not change the outcome.

We face a spiritual battle for the soul of America. Our true enemy knows that a house divided against itself cannot stand, just like an autoimmune-directed body will eventually destroy itself from the inside out. Red is not the enemy; blue is not the enemy. We, as one, are red, white and blue (making periwinkle, one of my favorite colors!) To use another analogy, we have two eyes, each seeing something from a different vantage point, each needful to see the full and deeper picture. Each can separately conclude that the other eye is not seeing rightly and seek to diminish or eradicate it. But then the whole body suffers. We need to vote our values and respectfully recognize that others are doing the same.

As neighbors, we have the privilege of seeing one another and believing the best, of loving each other despite holding a different viewpoint, and still seeking for the best wholesome health of our country. Even among believers there is a divide regarding what it means to vote our personal consciences. I know there are those who differ from my viewpoint, but I don’t love them any less and I hope they don’t love me any less. Love is not only a commandment revealing the loving reflection of our Creator, but it is also something that benefits us all as a body.

I read a friend’s blog, one who recently lost her husband, musing on the realities of long-lasting friendships and our political stands. Here is a quote from her…

“If you’re like me, and you see things the way I do, vote red. Vote as red as you can. And if you’re not, and you have blue ideas, vote blue. Stand for your values and vote for your causes.

But live purple. Live with the understanding that relationships matter, that your friends and family are yours for a reason, and that as Americans (and if you’re like me, then as a Christian), we have countless examples of people who found the way to live in peace.

It might mean honest conversations, or even a debate. It might mean agreeing to joke good-naturedly about it. It might even mean avoiding the topic entirely. I mean, seriously, it could really be a healthy thing to talk about something else, you know?

Vote red. Vote blue, if that’s your view. But live purple. It just might make more of a difference than you think.” Donna-Jean Breckenridge

Final thought – while we have to practice physical distancing protocols this year, let’s not distance socially. Let’s continue to bring our hearts together and not do the ‘autoimmune thing.” So neighbors, let’s live out “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

And live purple.

Can You Breathe?

2020 – a year of major life change, uncertainty, unrest

Also a year of awareness of breathing. Something we naturally do without a thought.  Or did.

It began with our pulse quickening, our breaths anticipating the coming of this year 2020 – the year of new vision. But then the coronavirus hit – a virus that affects our respiratory system. In many cases, it affects it so much, people require respirators in order to breathe. Not something they can do on their own, but have become agonizingly aware of each breath. 

Then came the masks, which also affect our breathing. I have become much more aware of my breathing as it fogs my glasses and heats my face so that I cannot wait to take it off and take in deep breaths and breathe freely.

Then came the atrocious incident involving George Floyd and his famous last haunting words, “I can’t breathe.” What a horrible way to die, with someone literally blocking your airway until you expire, breathing your last breath on earth.

Then came the riots, with us holding our breath. Which statue would be next? Which city, town or neighborhood? We felt ourselves breathing shallowly. 

Then news of the fires from the West filled our airwaves, where people could not breathe fresh air for days to weeks – and still experience it. Ash covered the sun, covers all surfaces and is in the air. Breathing becomes labored and dangerous.

The air is being sucked out of us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are gasping for fresh air. Precious free oxygen that we have taken for granted is so life-giving, feeding all the cells in our bodies. 

The things people breathe out in regards to this election have become toxic. People breathing threats to those who disagree with their personal view?! Threatening with more riots, more fires, more taking of the freedom to breathe from others?

And now we, with bated breath, wonder about the outcome of this election. It would seem that no matter who ‘wins’ we all lose. Neither side trusts the other, and neither will likely concede that this election will be fair. Whoever sits in the Oval Office will have a civil (or not so civil) war within our culture. A war of ideas, of opinions. What once inspired us as a people, e pluribus unum, to greatness, is now tested and seen in disdain. And though we are more alike than we are different – we all breathe in 02 and breathe out C02, each of us are purposefully made in the image of God – we are being played in this culture of distrust. The strategy is to divide us in our homes, in the church, in our communities and in our country. And everyone points fingers at each other. The division comes in many formswith our differences coming between us rather than enhancing us in beautiful diversity of thought, color, backgrounds, etc.

Being played? By whom? To whom should I point my finger? The point is that fingers should not be pointed at individuals because it is a spiritual battle. It is not won in the voting booths. Not won in the streets. It is won in our hearts. It begins with what we choose to breathe in.

Respire. Expire. Inspire. All have the same root ‘spire’ within it. To ‘breathe.’  The question is what am I breathing? What am I taking into my body, my mind, my spirit? What I take in, I breathe out. Are they things that are toxic and deadly – and do I therefore spread them to others like this deadly virus or the spreading fires?

The tongue is a deadly fire………Humanity is capable of taming every bird and beast in existence, even reptiles and sea creatures great and small. But no man has ever demonstrated the ability to tame his own tongue! It is a spring of restless evil, brimming with toxic poisons. Ironically this same tongue can be both an instrument of blessing to our Lord and Father and a weapon that hurls curses upon others who are created in God’s own image.One mouth streams forth both blessings and curses. My brothers and sisters, this is not how it should be. Does a spring gush crystal clear freshwater and moments later spurt out bitter salt water? My brothers and sisters, does a fig tree produce olives? Is there a grapevine capable of growing figs? Can salt water give way to freshwater?” James 3:7-12 Voice

Kind of hits right between the eyes. Right where we need to see it for what it is.

Here are a few thoughts on the meaning of ‘inspire” or breathing to ponder : 

  • The Latin for inspire is “enspiren, “to fill (the mind, heart, etc., with grace, etc.); also “to prompt or induce someone to do something” (Preferably something notable, noteworthy to bring forth good)
  • Old French enspirer; – “to influence, move, or guide (as to speech or action) through divine or supernatural agency or power.”
  • Orthodox Jews revere the name of God to such a degree they will not speak it. It is composed of consonants without vowels. YHWH. It is breathed. Our lives are God-breathed.
  • The word for spirit is ‘pneuma’ – breath or wind. The Lord God, Who is a Spirit, breathed from His nostrils the breath of life and humans became living beings. We are set apart from the rest of creation because we were made in the image of God Himself. It is our honor to reflect His nature in the words we breathe out.

It is our honor and stewardship to use our breath from Him to praise God, to offer words of hope, to be clear, drinkable water of blessing, to inspire – and hopefully resuscitate – others who are losing hope, faith and joy with our life-giving words. Let us speak God-breathed words of truth of hope of life. This generation is facing record numbers of suicides and crises in opioids – signs of hopelessness. Let our words breathe hope into one another. 

Let us be champions of life and love and kindness. Let us not fill our mouths with words that degrade, mock or demean another created in the image of God. We can disagree civilly and choose to breathe life into those God brings our way. Let it be said of us that we walk, talk, breathe, speak the words of the spirit of God.

Let us be like the ‘spire’ of a church – ever-pointing up toward the Source of Life, Truth and Hope.

Psalm 34:2. The Passion Translation

‘I’m boasting of you and all your works, so let all who are discouraged take heart.’

Ephesians 4:29

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Psalm 80:18 The Message

‘We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!’

https://youtu.be/vQLMnPYoR9k

You give life, You are love

You bring light to the darkness

You give hope, You restore

Every heart that is broken

Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs

So we pour out our praise

We pour out our praise

It’s Your breath in our lungs

So we pour out our praise to You only

You give life, You are love

You bring light to the darkness

You give hope, You restore

Every heart that is broken

Great are You, Lord

All the earth will shout Your praise

Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing

Great are You, Lord

Please share other worship songs that speak of breath, breathing. There are many to choose from!