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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sonship



Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.



 His voice was sad today as he told me his son cancelled his Holiday trip to see the family because there was too much going on to have him visit. 



 Her eyes were full of pain as she expressed her concern over a son who hadn’t called in 6 months. 



 He was brimming in smiles and his eyes were shining as he shared a multitude of jokes to someone, anyone really, who would laugh. 



 They sit at a table together sharing memories of Christmas past.  Their eyes filled with faraway thoughts of family, dinners, parties and friends.  No new visits this year with everyone so busy during the Christmas season. 



 He would not have minded if things weren’t perfect for a visit; she would have been happy to just hear her son’s voice. 



 As I visited the senior homes today, my heart was burdened with a desire to show them the love of Jesus to fill the void of physical affection.  I thought of my own parents and how I would have loved to be with them during this season of my Jesus’ birth.   
 I wondered why ‘work’ or ‘business’ would claim 1st place over a parent whose only desire was to spend time with the children they raised and are proud of. 



 Time and distance can separate us from loved ones these days & may leave us (parents & children alike) with an orphan spirit.  Left to manage our lives without the assistance of those who care for us the most can leave us feeling alone and unwanted.  But this spirit can be broken.   
 Once filled with a sense of the undeserved grace of our Father’s love we are matured into understanding that performance won’t earn love from God or our earthly parents. 



 Those embraced with the spirit of sonship are secure in the Father’s love and favor.  That confidence provides the contentment to joyfully serve in any capacity needed, whether or not it’s celebrated by anyone other than God.  Those walking in a spirit of sonship recognize they are accepted in Christ and serve others out of that abundance.



 The enemy purports there is something to prove, thereby tearing families apart by pride.  But unconditional love does not fade or die away.  Parents desire to gaze into the face of their child, hold them and be a part of their lives for as long as they can.    
 Walking bathed in the joy of sonship offers the firm foundation of security and self-love stemming from a God who never shifts His shadow.  Focusing on Him keeps us on the right track and refutes the need to provide evidence.  Those walking in sonship have God’s rest on their shoulders and can cease from relying on works so He Who Shepherds our lives can have His way in them.



 Being grounded in the Father’s affirmation, Sonship allows us to freely share our love by blessing others at their need.  Though all humans are sinners and fall short of the glory of God those filled with a sense of divine love and acceptance walk through life with a confident gait.  They have no challenge working in the background, preferring others before them or sacrificing time and energy to those who face the mortality of age. 



 The Father loved us so completely that He gave His only Son so that we may not perish but have everlasting life.  The greatest gift we can give each other is to share in this love.

Betrayal and Death



The pain of Betrayal and Death.  Both so close.  A pain that no words can heal, no touch can mend and no smile can be seen during.  That one moment when everything in the world just stops in an unexpected sucker punch from someone you’ve trusted. Both create a sense of rejection, loneliness & uncomfortable emotion.  A pain so deep that it can cut through the marrow of your very foundation, allowing the enemy to come in like a flood and remind you of all the reasons you hate to look in the mirror.  Gloating in the corner, his once apparent smirk becomes a grin in disillusionment; almost, but not quite, believable. 

There is a choice; to wallow in unforgiveness, bitterness & pity or go to the Throne Room.  On my face before the One who has loved me through every dirty deed, I ask for His grace.  I have hurt others; I am not sinless and do not expect others to be.  But that knowledge doesn’t heal the hurt, it just offers pardon.  It doesn’t take away the sting, but does allow me to turn the other cheek.  So I lay there and wait for the inevitable Word; the Grace that is all sufficient to see me through. 

And it comes by way of Psalm 23.  God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.  Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.  Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.  You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.  You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.  Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.  I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”  (The Message)

What’s at that banqueting table of good foods?  What pleasures does He share with me to assuage my need for revenge or at best ‘get evens’?  I search through the bowls and plates of fruits and find love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, longsuffering and faithfulness.  Ah…faithfulness…devotion, loyalty, dedication.  In any relationship these are authentic displays of love.  Releasing these in the face of hurt will surely bring joy and peace as I pour out on another as my Father would to me.

The pain of Betrayal and Death.  Both so close and yet one need not be eternal.  I choose to go the way of the Lord when He declared from the cross, ‘Forgive them Father for they know not what they do’.  Walking down this dreary, dark hallway today I see a door and under the door a light.  I am going to open that door and walk in the way of the truth that will set me free. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Moringa Tree or Tree of Life or Miracle Tree

Roy & I were blessed to visit a farm of Moringa in Bungoma, Kenya this year as well as drink it in tea, juice with it and eat the seed.  Here is some information on this incredible plant and where you can purchase the product.

(What it is) Moringa Oleifera, known as the Moringa, is native to India but is now found throughout the tropics. Moringa is also known as horseradish tree, drumstick tree, and mothers best friend.
Whatever you call it, it is amazing!  Roy & I were able to visit a farm of Moringa trees as well as drink the tea, juice with it and eat the seed.  Here is some information and a website to purchase your needs.  

(Who it would benefit) It has been used to combat malnutrition throughout the world, beneficial to all, mostly infants and mothers.

(Where it can grow) Native to the sub-Himalayan tracts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It is already an important crop in India, Ethiopia, the Philippines, and the Sudan, and is being grown in West, East, South Africa, tropical Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Florida, and the Pacific Islands. Moringa tree requires an annual rainfall of 250mm-1000mm, it is drought resistant, but in a drought it will lose its leaves. This doesn’t mean the tree is dead it will recover when rain returns. It grows best at altitudes up to 600m but will grow at altitudes of 1000m. It will survive in a temperature range of 77-104 Fahrenheit, but has been known to tolerate 118 Fahrenheit and light frost.

(How to use it) The young leaves are edible and commonly cooked and eaten like spinach, or used to make soups and salads, exceptional good source of provitamin A, B, C. The young green pods are very tasty and can be boiled and eaten like green beans. Dry seeds can be ground to powder and used for seasoning sauces. The roots from young plants can also be dried and ground for hot seasonings that taste similar horseradish, giving the Moringa tree another common name horseradish tree. The flowers are a tasty addition to salads. The resin from the trunk of the tree is useful for thickening sauces. This tree is an outstanding source of high protein, Calcium, Iron, and high in Vitamin C. Moringa tree has been used to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and among mothers. Three Non-governmental organizations that use Moringa in particular are Tree’s for Life, Church World Service and Educational Moringa. Ounce for ounce Moringa leaves contain more vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more Iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas, and the protein quality of Moringa tree rivals that of milk and eggs . Moringa tree seeds can also be used to clean dirty water as a water purifier.

(Natural Medicines) Leaves rubbed against temple can relieve headaches. To stop bleeding from a shallow cut apply a poultice of fresh leaves. Anti-bacterial and Anti-inflammatory effect when applied to wounds or insect bites. Leaf tea treats gastric ulcers, and diarrhea. Flower Juice improves the quality and flow of mothers milk when breast feeding. Flower juice helps with urinary problems. If pods are eaten raw, treats liver and spleen problems as well as pains of joints.  

(Where to Purchase Products, Tree or Seed) http://www.healingmoringatree.com/

Adorning my Home for Christmas



 Today I’m moving furniture to make room for the Christmas tree.  I have to stick it in little nooks and crannies in other areas of the home.  I’m packing up all my mementos from Africa and little knick-knacks in boxes just to have to pull them out next month and put them back.  The dust rag is going 100 miles an hour as I prepare the living area for the reds, gold and greens of this festive season.  

I love Christmas.  I love the memories of great family times, I love hunting for the perfect present; I love the colors, the cold and the excitement that seems to permeate the air.  But, what I love most is the reason…dare I say…for the season.  Jesus.  The One who pulled me from the mucky mire of my not-so-great-existence and set my feet on solid ground.  The One who sent the comforter in my days of mourning and taught me to dance again.  The One who is my Breaker, Intercessor, Savior and Lover of my Soul.  It is, after all, to celebrate His birthday!  Some birthday parties are filled with balloons and clowns, pizza and pounds of cake; some are small family gatherings around a cupcake.  They are all given in love, all decorated with laughter and all to bring joy.

Yet, as much as I delight in the Holiday season, it’s hard for me to decorate.  Many enjoy it; I endure it.  Some of my friends post these Martha Stewart signature trees.  10 feet of pearls and poinsettia replete with perfectly matched ornaments.  I used to be impulsive, spontaneous and fun like that.  Then life got busy and I found it was just easier to have everything in order so when the day was done I could plop down in the middle of a momentary non-chaotic world.  I like my stuff the way it is.  I like where we’ve placed it and the comfort it brings as we sit and read or watch TV.   

But I’m learning to freewheel more.   Now a certain peace seems to follow me.  Though I’m no longer spontaneous…I have to plan my dinners, trips, meetings, parties and yes, my decorating days…I can anticipate this adventure.  It’s like moving into a new house for a month. I probably won’t post a picture of my 6 foot tree crammed with memories of ornaments collected over the years and semi-used tinsel.  But it makes me smile and once the assorted & somewhat raggedy Santa’s are put into place I relax a bit.  The Nativity scene that remains up during the year seems to snuggle in and though the Christmas pillows don’t match the d├ęcor, they are cute and jovial.  I take a deep breath.  It’s done.  It’s celebratory.  It is actually beautiful and I’m feeling good.

My little tree & all its glory brings change to my home but it also gives me pleasure to celebrate a Birthday worthy of the One who loves us most.

Monday, December 2, 2013

In the Circle



When I lived in Las Vegas we had roundabouts at some of the busier intersections.  One time my Dad was visiting and he had to learn to drive the ‘circles’.  After a few close calls he figured the in and out of it all and proudly stated “once you are in the circle you are safe”. 

Roy & I live in a small town where the traffic is fairly light except before and after work.  There are not very many traffic lights, but the city decided to put a roundabout at one of the intersections.  Down came the light and up went stop signs.  As the roundabout got closer to being finished the stop signs were replaced with yield signs and the drivers began taking chances.  Sudden brakes eventually gave away to impatient gestures and finally died down to an easy flow around the bend.  Once again Dad was right.  One was safe while in the circle.

Often when change comes it’s like trying to enter the intersection without the appropriate signal.  It’s a scary moment and can breed insecurity.  Should we rush out and risk being hit, take an alternate route or linger at the yield sign? 

In the circle of God's wings we find love.  The word 'love' is batted around like a game of volleyball sometimes, but in the Kingdom love flows from the Throne of God. God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us (1John 4).  Not because we are so great but because it is His nature to do so.  We cease judging by the world's standards because just as he has loved us we are to love one another (John 13).  I look in the mirror and wonder at how magnificently He has dealt with me.  The knowledge that God has love me beyond all limits provokes me to go into the world to love others the same.  

In the circle of God's wings we find abundance.  For most of my life I had a job that paid very well.  We also spent very well. When god called me to work for the church I almost went into shock when I found out the salary the job tendered.  My late husband had just passed and I was paying mortgage on a home purchased by two people making excellent income.  I wasn't sure I could make it; but I was sure it was what God asked me to do.  Out of obedience God declared His faithfulness.  I never missed a payment.  I never felt deprived.  And I never have since.  In fact, I believe I have more now than ever before, because my Father is rich and loves to spoil His children; as long as they share.  2 Cor 9:10-11 reminds us that "God is the One who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat.  In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.  Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous."

In the circle of God's wings, we find ourselves.  I am perfectly and wonderfully made despite my foibles.  I am created in the image of my Father.  When I was 8 years old I had a friend named Arleen. Arleen told me my ankles were too skinny and my toes were too long.  I spent a lifetime wearing slouchy socks and closed toes shoes before I realized that wasn't important to anyone but me.  My beauty, my value, my very significance is found in the personage of Jesus Christ and because I am a child of the Most High God, baptized in the Spirit and established in Christ.

I am loved and accepted (1John 3:3; Ephesians 1:6)
I am a child of God (John 1:12)   
I am complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
 I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
 I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
 I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me (Isaiah 54:14).
 I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).
 I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
I have the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
I have the Greater One living in me (1 John 4:4).
I am a joint heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17)
I am joined and one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6;17)
I have no lack for God supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
I am redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14)
I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1)
I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) 
I am God's chosen, holy & dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
I am established, anointed and sealed by God (2Corinthians 1:21)
I do not carry a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2Timothy 1:7)
I am seated in Heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6)
I have direct access to God (Ephesians 2:18)
I am healed by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5; 1Peter 2:24)
I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

The circle can be a daunting place the first time you come up on it, but once you gain entrance, you will never want to get out!