Category Archives: Synchonicity

Lasting Moments

Yesterday I saw my son and daughter in law’s professional wedding pictures for the first time. They were shot as glimpses — clasped hands, a stolen kiss, a playful moment – in an effort to not only capture the event, but the emotions evoked by the moments.

Wedding site

We all want to hold onto the moments. You see it every day on the social media. It’s as if, in our posts and selfies and Instagrams and tweets, we’re proving our significance, that our days have meaning, that we’re not just spinning our wheels here on earth.

Because we feel time slipping so quickly through our fingers.   And there’s this lurking fear that this is all we have.

I read a passage from “Gifts from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh that states what so many people feel. Lindbergh writes that we all want to be “loved alone,” to be the “one and only” in someone’s life.  But, she soberly reminds us, “there is no one and only, there are only one and only moments.”

Ecclesiastes seems to say the same thing.  Solomon wrote, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecc 3:11) That describes so perfectly the melancholy we feel in the transience of our poignant experiences.

Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “He has set eternity in the hearts of man.” We are created to long for something that will last. And Solomon wrote in Proverbs, “What a person desires is unfailing love.” (Prov 19:22)

The amazing thing is that God doesn’t leave us bereft in our longing.  In glorious, heart-warming prose He asserts that we are ALWAYS the one and only in His eyes —

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. Hos 2:19

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Isa 63:7

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isa 54:10

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

God’s love is constant. It isn’t like snapshots or video clips. It’s one long continuous take. We don’t have to feel anxious, like we’re not enough, like we somehow have to hold onto the moments as proof that our life is meaningful.  God’s steadfast love illuminates our moments and makes them extraordinary ones.

Here are some moments from my day. Some of them felt good. Some felt flat. All of them feel better when I remember God’s love.

Somehow, I believe that our connection with Him connects our moments and gives them meaning. They become a part of His pattern, the beautiful design He is weaving through space and time.  They each somehow seem almost as special as the moments from the wedding.

Every day we can chronicle our lives anew, just like this, and feel like our mundane doings are part of something graceful and significant.

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Filed under Beauty of God, Synchonicity

Peace

Snowy path

Walking in Your grace

With assurance, all’s in place.

Bowing, on my face

Breathe the stillness, cease the chase.

Dancing to Your pace

Beauty seen makes my heart race.

Thanking for each trace

Signs of goodness fill my space.

Lifting up Your case

Seek to please You, Your embrace.

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Filed under Beauty of God, Peace, Poetry, Synchonicity

In Shalom

I have been listening to Christene Jackman, who sings Bible passages, mostly Psalms, in Hebrew.  I really like what she’s written.

I listened her song on this passage, “The eyes of the Lord range through the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  II Chron. 16:9  And in the song, the word for “fully committed’ was shalom.

Shalom can also be translated as whole, complete, perfect, PEACE.

And it makes sense, because when we are fully committed to God, we are at peace with him. We aren’t divided, trying to be a friend of the world, which makes us an enemy of God.

More than that, we’re at peace because we are finally in the state we were created to be.

I’ve been reading a book on how our truest identity is in being made in the likeness of God. (The Truest Thing About You: Identity, Desire and Why it All Matters, David Lomas and D.R. Jacobsen.) Yesterday I read how God said to Jesus, “This is my son, whom I love  In him I am well pleased.”  (Matt 3:16) God knew how important it was to have Jesus see as his identity that he was God’s son.  It would strengthen him against temptation, which he soon encountered. (Note that Satan tried to get Jesus to doubt his identity:  “If you are the son of God.”)   It would define his daily mission.  Jesus said in John 5:17 that he always worked, as his Father worked.  In John 13;3, Jesus washed feet because he knew he had come from God and was returning to God.

Realizing that he was God’s son created a state of shalom for Jesus.  He was realizing his truest identity, what he was created to be.

And the same is true for me.  I am created to be in a relationship with God.  I am a chosen person, God’s special possession. (I Peter 2:9)  In love, he predestined me to be adopted as his child. (Eph 1:4-5)  I can have a calm confidence and a sense of utter rightness with God.

And of course, I am in shalom with God because he reconciled me to himself. (II Cor 5:16)  Unlike the Jews of the Old Testament days, I am completely right with God because he has taken away my sin and clothed me with his righteousness.  (Is 61:10, II Cor 5:21)

Shalom.  That is who I am.  I am in a state of peace with God.  I am complete.  I am whole.

I don’t have to chase after deeds for affirmation.  I don’t have to look or act a certain way to prove myself.  I don’t have to be riddled with insecurity.

This is a powerful concept that is changing me from the inside out.  Father, I pray that it may continue to do so.

 

 

 

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Filed under Peace, Self Worth, Synchonicity

Eight Things I am Learning

 

soaring

1. He is the wind beneath our wings.  Envision God as the power source.  When we are going in his direction, He will sweep us along with him, it will not be difficult.  Soar with Him.

  • Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Gal 5:25 
  • The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him..  John 8:29

And along the same line —

path of light

2. Visualize the path before me.  When I am trying to decide how to act, it is helpful to picture a path before me going the right way.  Then I take that path.

  • “God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.  II Sam 22:33
  • When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.  Ps 142>3

butterfly

3. Butterflies need nectar, not leaves.  We have been transformed into as a new creation, children of God, and as such, we need spiritual food.  Just like a butterfly wouldn’t go back to eating leaves as it did when it was a caterpillar, we can’t try get our needs met by worldly things.

  • It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods”  Heb 13:9
  • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, Eph 5:18
  • Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matt 4:4

fish image of god

4. My truest identity is God’s glory. It isn’t the talents I have, the way I look, the culture I’m from, or the way I was brought up.  The truest thing about me is that I was created in the likeness of God.   “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.”  Gen 1:27.

It was always God’s plan to transform us into our truest being.:  “You were taught . .  to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Eph 4:22,24.

As spiritual beings, we need God, like a fish needs water. “In him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28.  Going back to the previous point, it isn’t just that we need spiritual food.  We were created to thrive on spiritual food.

sheep -- feeding

5. Feed the sheep. “Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.'” (John 21:16)  I continue to seek wisdom on how much we should expect people to take the initiative.  This verse helps me.  People NEED shepherding.  They need to be led.  They need to be fed.  But this is a maturing process.  I help them to grow up into doing this for themselves, and others.

dream new

6. Adapt my dreams!  I recently listened to the audio book of “Who Moved My Cheese?”  Talking about dealing with change, it gave me the insight that as the ministry here goes through changes, not only does my behavior needs to adapt, my dreams need to evolve.  I can’t keep my old patterns.

And then I need to practice visualizing my new dream.  My new dream is to have a married Bible talk that reflects family and fun.   I can see us sitting around laughing, loving, growing, being best of friends, making great memories.

stage

7. It’s the God Show!  Being performance oriented, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s about God, not about me!

  • My soul rests quietly only when it looks to God; from him comes my deliverance.  Ps 62:1
  • I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother. . . From Ps 131
  • Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Ps 127:1

planting-a-seed

8. Each moment has impact.  Every prayer, each choice I make, can make a difference..  I tend to get overwhelmed by all that should be done.  Or I find myself drifting, being distracted.  It is very helpful for me to focus on each individual thing I do, each word of prayer (especially corporate prayer), and realizing that it has POWER!

Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”  Mark 4:30-32

 

 

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Filed under Glory Above All, Prayer, Self Worth, Surrender, Synchonicity, Things I Am Learning

Using God’s Filter

Filter

Lately I am learning how to be filled with the Spirit, and to let this be my filter.  It’s a feeling of fullness and goodness, and I act out of that, and ONLY that.

I realized that what I have been doing is acting out of my reaction to the moods and attitudes of others.  I have been raised to respect others and their way of looking at things, so my radar is very sensitive to others.  But this has created a situation where my reservoir of the Spirit gets depleted each time I experience what I perceive someone else to be feeling.  Their worries and negative attitudes pollute my faith.

I was talking to Alicia this week about how some of us are more sensitive than others.  I am realizing that this is why I have the problem of others affecting my spiritual outlook.  I am a sensitive person.  Here is a link to a sensitivity quiz. http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm

Some of the questions are:

  • Other people’s moods affect me. (So true!)
  • I am deeply moved by the arts or music.
  • I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment.

So it is very liberating to me to be able to picture myself steadfastly acting from the Spirit, and not letting myself take on the moods of others.  I don’t get as worn out and stressed during social interactions.  I actually feel like I am more myself.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Gal 5:25

those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8:5-6

fountain

whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14

 

 

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Filed under Having the Right Heart, Synchonicity

Shattered

shattered

Yesterday I dropped the lid to my crockpot and it shattered all over the kitchen floor.   Of course, it happened at the worst time, when I was juggling several things (not the lid!)  to try to get as much done as possible.  I was feeling overwhelmed, and then the lid slips and pretty crystal bits of glass go everywhere!

Interestingly, the glass kept on popping and cracking after it broke.  It sounded like Rise Crispies!  It would even jump a bit.

But I digress.  The lid breaking seemed to be a metaphor for how I was feeling.  My focus was shattered.

An hour or so later, at yoga,  the leader read a devotional that said, “Don’t let your focus be shattered.  Keep your eyes and thoughts on Jesus.”

Wow.  That word “shattered.”  That exactly applied to me!  The pressures of life make me feel fragmented.  The smallest thing happens and I  disintegrate.

I am trying to learn instead how to stay focused, centered,  in that sweet spot where I am resting in Jesus, in tune with Him, connected to Him.

So I’m looking at how Jesus stayed centered.  Here is one way:

 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”  Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”

Jesus was centered by focusing on bringing glory to God.

Here’s another verse along that line that has been magical to me over the years:

“Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”  John 7:18

We are PURE, single-minded, when we seek God’s glory.  We are not distracted by other motivations, most notably desire to please self or others.

To finish this morning’s devotional, I read the PERFECT thing — a selection from Gordon Ferguson’s book, “Golden Rule Leadership.”  In it, Ferguson talks about how to focus on God better, and not on self.  Here is what I loved that I read:

“Seeing great things happen in the church is not determined by the talent of the group.  It is determined by our understanding of and our convictions about how to gain strength for the task.

“The biggest mistake we make as leaders is when we take stock of our strengths and weaknesses, and then we rely on our strengths.   . . If we lead spiritually by relying on our strengths, we are doomed to fail.  (This) leads to arrogance, pride, competitiveness and humanism.

“Spiritual leadership first and foremost involves being spiritual.  And being spiritual first and foremost involves crucifying our dependence on self and replacing it with reliance on God.   We truly rely on God by focusing on our weaknesses and on God’s call to lead his people.  . . We will say, ‘Woe is me.  I need help,’ like in Isaiah 6.”

Here are some awesome verses about this:

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.  Is 31:1

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  Jer 17:5

But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors  Hos 10:13

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  II Cor 1:9

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  II Cor 12:8-9

Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  II Cor 3:4-5

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Filed under Balance, Holiness, Humility, Synchonicity

The Sweet Spot — Near to the Heart

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing . . . But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”  John 15

I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head.  What a busy weekend!  What a busy week last week!  We had our end of the year banquet.  We had a wedding shower for Tre and Ketera.  Ketera and Ashley graduated.  Letisha had major surgery.  I was in Bible studies.

Ketera graduation

It was a great week for me in that I had two projects to work on — a video presentation at the banquet, and putting together the shower for Tre and Ketera.  I love having projects to do.  But when they were successfully completed, I didn’t feel as fulfilled as I would have hoped.  It was almost like it was more fulfilling working on them than it was in the final execution.

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So here is what I’m wondering:  Did I do these things too much for myself, or did I seek to give glory to God through them?  What I want to work on this week for this week is to seek solely to give God glory.  That is going to be the most satisfying.

And, with so much going on, I want to stay grounded, remain in the vine, as the verse above says.  I want to live in my sweet spot.  I want everyone around me to live in the sweet spot — all of us together.  And it’s disconcerting to me when I detect dissonance, people and things that don’t seem to be there right now, kind of plugged in, kind of out of whack.  I can feel like it’s my fault, that I should be able to center everyone and keep them where they need to be.

And of course, that’s God’s job.  Only Jesus can do this.  “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  (Col 1:17) 

As I was praying, I thought perhaps Jesus felt the same dissonance of people not in sync around him when he was on earth.  I have been doing a red letter study of the book of Mark, just looking at the words of Jesus.  How often does he say things like, You unbelieving generation,how long shall I stay with you?”  (Mark 9:19)  Jesus knew that there would be times that people wouldn’t get it.  But it didn’t affect him and his ministry.  He stayed grounded in God and kept being what he needed to be.  He kept telling people what they needed to know to get them where they needed to be.

The only places of perfection are Eden and heaven.  Ken and I were reading what some of the founders of the churches of Christ believed about heaven.  Some were almost premillennialist.  They thought that the physical new earth described in Revelation will be the heaven we will all experience.  I’m not sure I agree, but whatever our views of heaven are, we can agree that it will be a time when God is finally with us as He has always intended to be.  We will live flat in the middle of the sweet spot forever.

How do I find peace with my emotional hangovers, the shortcomings, the wounds I want to heal, the things I want to fix, the dissonance?  I have to bring it all into the presence of God.  There, all things settle, like snowflakes, into the places they are meant to be.  There nothing is out of control.  There, there is power for everything to change as it needs to.

I can’t say it better than the lyrics to “Near to the Heart of God.”  I like Christian Berdahl’s rendition of this.  Not so sure about the pictures someone put with this video — just listen.  I’ve put the words below.

  1. There is a place of quiet rest,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where sin cannot molest,
    Near to the heart of God.

    • Refrain:
      O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
      Sent from the heart of God;
      Hold us, who wait before Thee,
      Near to the heart of God.
  2. There is a place of comfort sweet,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where we our Savior meet,
    Near to the heart of God.
  3. There is a place of full release,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where all is joy and peace,
    Near to the heart of God.

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Filed under Diary, Peace, Synchonicity