A Fresh Look at Jesus

 

Jesus,Please give me the ability to see you through childlike eyes, full of wonder. Help me to recognize your lavish kindness toward me; and bend my knee to you who are the only source o

WEEK TWO OF FIVE IN THE SERIES: “CHRISTIANITY FROM A FRESH PERSPECTIVE”

If we are going to take a fresh look at Christianity, then we must begin with how we view the One we worship and the message he came to proclaim.

Over the last 4 years I’ve had the opportunity to take my own fresh look. And although I met Jesus at 4 years old (and am now 58), and have been walking with him since – what I’m discovering has radically changed my life and walk. Even if you have walked with Jesus many years, please join me in taking a fresh look at this One who came to earth 2000 years ago for the purpose of restoring a relationship between God and man.

For those of us who’ve walked with Jesus any length of time, we can become immune to that which once captivated us. So before I begin, let me pray.

“Lord, protect us from boredom and from thinking “I already know this.” Rather, give us the heart of a child to see you from young eyes. Remove any hardening of the heart and any staleness. Breath your fresh, living Spirit upon these words so as we read them, we would we feel your wind blow life onto any parched ground. And give us a fresh longing to know you in all your majesty. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

WHO IS JESUS?

John the Baptist, a man sent from God to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming, described Jesus in John 1 in this way:

  • The only life-giving, creative Word – whose very words powerfully spoke the world into existence, and who continually speaks life into his creation
  • God of very God over all life and creation
  • The only Light, so powerfully bright it quenches the blackest darkness in universe and heart
  • One so great he could demand allegiance, yet chose not to force himself, accepting the rejection of his very own people
  • The One who lovingly embraces any who come and receive Him, granting them the honor of becoming part of his grand family – re-birthing them not because of any man’s decision, but by His Father’s decree
  • One so limitless, but yet chose to subject himself to the confines of human birth and existence. And living with us, among us – he allows humanity to see and touch glory
  • The One who fills our lives with his fullness, giving us the ability to experience abundant and overflowing grace and truth (Greek: kindness and reality)
  • The One who in making himself known, revealed God
  • The Lord (master); so perfect and flawless – yet he chose to sacrifice himself to pay the penalty due for the rebellion of his subjects
  • The One the Spirit of God descended upon at his baptism, thereby God declaring him “God’s Chosen One”
  • The One who fills us (his children) with that same Spirit (John 16:1-16 NLT; Romans 8:11 ESV)

Meditate on John’s description of Jesus. Don’t quickly brush by him. Then ask yourself: Do I recognize Him as he truly is – the One full of power and might, life and light, grace and truth – all things we desperately need to live? Do I act in a way that represents such great power, might, glory, and grace truthfully to my world?

WHY DID JESUS COME?

Luke 4, (especially verses 18-21). After being baptized, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert alone with God, also being tempted by Satan. The Bible says, after the 40 days, he returned to his hometown, Nazareth, filled with the Spirit. He entered the Synagogue on the Sabbath (the day of worship for Jews), which was his custom, and was given the opportunity to read the scriptures and then teach those who’d gathered.

As Jesus read and spoke from Isaiah 61, he proclaimed why he came to earth:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. (emphasis mine)

Do we see Jesus’ heart in coming to earth? Do we believe and long for the world to experience what was most on his heart, or do we respond as those did that day “He’s a good man with amazing words!”

Do we view Jesus as One with authority and power able to release those held captive, to set the oppressed free, and cause the blind (in life and in spirit) to see? Or do we act as though he is only “Joseph’s son”?

As I look at these few verses, and there are so many more, I’m struck with three things:

  1. I don’t really see Jesus as he is, and want to.
  2. I don’t live as though I believe he has the power today to release those held captive, set the oppressed free, and make the blind to see, through me.
  3. If I intimately knew Jesus as John did, and lived as though Jesus were who he claimed to be, my life and the world around me would be transformed.

Lord Jesus, please change my heart and mind. Grant me the ability to not only see you with fresh eyes, but to be transformed by knowing you. May I become your “skin” so as to become freedom and healing to a dark, imprisoned, hopelessly blind world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36 (NLT)

With great joy because of the message of the Gospel,

Robin <3

You may also appreciate reading: Christianity from a Fresh Perspective and Power to Give Life 

 

 

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Cleaning Up the Debris…

Week 4, “Tearing Down Lies”

Second of 2 Parts dealing with STD’s and Pornography

When Gary and I were dating, our choice to live apart and abstain from sex until after marriage garnered questions from more than one stranger. Often the conversation would begin with an innocent question such as, “What will you be doing this weekend?”

During that time I loved the challenge this question brought to the table! My eyes would twinkle as I’d respond, “My fiance is driving up for the day, and we are….(fill in the blank with “going to the beach”, “going to the park”, or whatever we were planning).”

Their startled reaction invariably went something like this: “You mean you don’t live together? But you do sleep together, don’t you?” (Yes, total strangers would ask such questions!)

Since my response was, “No, we believe in waiting until after marriage for that.”  The final question would be, “Well, then how will you know…uh…if…uh…things…you know…will work fine between you?”

It brought me pleasure to state truthfully I wasn’t worried, because we serve a big God. Since he brought us together, he would take care of that as well.

On one occasion, as a young man from the car rental agency ferried me from the rental place to my vehicle, we had the above conversation.  But because of time, I was able to also share the beauty of knowing my fiance waited for me, even after having been sexually active 25 years in his prior marriage.  Adding, I was so important he’d willingly forgo his own pleasure to wait until we’d fully committed ourselves before God and friends in marriage made me feel very special.  I shared how that willingness gave me a sense of security, knowing if he’d go that far, he’d also be less likely to cheat on me later if/when things got hard.  That young man having never thought of such things, said he found it important enough he needed to take time to contemplate my ideas further.

What Does the Bible Say?

19 Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I’ve told you in the past and I’m telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit God’s kingdom. Galatians 5:19-21 (GW)

18 Stay away from sexual sins. Other sins that people commit don’t affect their bodies the same way sexual sins do. People who sin sexually sin against their own bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:18 (GW)

21 I’m afraid that when I come to you again, my God may humble me. I may have to grieve over many who formerly led sinful lives and have not changed the way they think and act about the perversion, sexual sins, and promiscuity in which they have been involved. 2 Corinthians 12:21 (GW)

But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28 (NLT)

What Should Be Our Response?

As the body of Christ, we have an awesome gift to offer the world.  Today’s culture has no idea they can wait, and that waiting can make for more healthy marriages later on. They’ve never heard that God’s laws regarding sex and marriage are for their own benefit, and that in abiding by them, they will less likely face STD’s, the issues of pornographic addiction, and the heartbreak stemming from repeatedly giving yourself away intimately to those willing to take but never commit.

Rather than blush, thinking of abstinence as “archaic”, we can confidently share the beauty of waiting.  We can  live out the reality of marriage representing Christ and his church. Christ’s grand sacrificial love providing a home,  name,  and heritage to a bride so below him,  and a bride so in love she willingly saves herself for his return and their union. We can also share that within even this perfect union there are at times great struggles and conflicts as we grow in coming to know him more intimately, and as we wait for the full benefits of our relationship.  (Ephesians 5)

Will this still all the waves pounding at our culture? No,  but it will help strengthen two of its greatest foundations – marriage and family. It will also rescue some from being swept away by the pounding lies of our culture.

We as the hands and feet of Jesus have a responsibility to tell the truth, because the truth is what sets men free.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Worth the Wait

Gary and I will be married 5 years this Fall.  We’d both been married before – successful, long-lived marriages of over 25 years each.  We’d both learned a thing or two about marriage before we wed.

But like all couples, we’ve had our rough moments since the wedding day.

We are a cross-cultural marriage, Gary having lived in the mountain regions of Kentucky and West Virginia much of his first marriage, where he and his first wife spent their lives together in ministry. I grew up in the Midwestern suburbs, and spent several years of my first marriage traveling the world with my first husband’s job.

Gary a country boy at heart, and I a city girl by experience.

He loves to dress up jeans and a t-shirt with his favorite baseball cap; and I love to wear jeans with a nice blouse, jewelry and sometimes a hat.

But we both love Jesus, knowing he’d brought us together – looking forward to the day we’d serve him side by side.  We’d both lived through loving and being loved by a spouse no matter the cost.  For each of us, the cost was watching our spouses become ill and die. We’d both persevered watching our sons struggle with the death of their other parent.

We’ve both weathered and grown through some pretty harsh life experiences. The experiences we share, are also the experiences that we don’t share – each so similar, yet so different.

Blending our cultures and experiences hasn’t always been easy, and for the first year was especially difficult.  So many misunderstandings between 5 people, and so many new ways of doing things. I’m so glad we were reminded before we married, that all couples, no matter what, go through a time of getting used to the new norm.

As I remember those early days, I revel in the time we now share:

The boys are now out of the home – grown and choosing their own way.  We celebrate their adulthood, and enjoy this new season of life.

Gary and I for the first time in our marriage are alone in the house – and are enjoying it immensely!  We cherish this time together!

I’m so glad we waited for this time, and didn’t give up when things were difficult!  The difficulties we forged through together have only made this time sweeter!

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (NLT) (emphasis mine)

Are you currently in a difficult season, my friend?  Unable to see the end from the beginning?  If your life has been given over to Christ’s lead, then trust and wait.  He never fails to keep a promise.

What is today won’t be forever.

God will make all things beautiful, in their time.  He promises.

While you are waiting through this season, do you have a support system of godly people to uphold and encourage you?  Attending a local church where Jesus is worshiped, and families are made, is so critical to making it through all seasons!

Let me know if I can pray for you.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

 

Tools for Nourishing the Soul Under Stress

Soul – “the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.”

Excessive, prolonged stress can cause anxiety as a reaction to the body wearing down from overexposure to stress.  This will stress the soul.  So, what can we do to nourish our souls while under prolonged stress?  Below are some things I’ve learned over the years.  I’d love your suggestions as well!

  1.  The biggest thing that nourishes my soul is maintaining my relationship with Jesus.  He made me and knows how to lavish my soul with good gifts, even while under stress.  His word feeds me; worship fills me, and thanksgiving reorients my soul to notice his good gifts.
  2. Ask the Lord if there is something I am doing that is increasing the stress.  My soul can hide so many things even from me, that sometimes, when stress seems more than it should, I ask if there is something hidden within that is contributing (a lie I’m believing; a hurt I’m harboring; or an action that enhances).  God has always answered this prayer – although not always right away.  Sometimes I’ve had to spend extended time with him; and sometimes I’ve needed to fast to get the answer.  God wants my attention.
  3. Is there sin I’m harboring?  My soul can’t be nourished to the full if I’m harboring unforgiveness, or holding onto a thought or behavior that is contrary to God’s peace.
  4. Do I need to let go of control and trust God?  Grasping for control in areas beyond me is a big cause of stress in my life.  Control Freak doesn’t work, but letting God work does.
  5. Am I too busy?  Am I taking time regularly for the purpose of nourishing my soul?  Am I taking time to rest and restore?
  6. Take time to notice beauty.  I have even asked the Lord to help me see his beauty and those things he has given to bless me.  Last week I took the dog for a walk and while outside stopped, closed my eyes, felt the sunshine on my face, and listened intently for a few moments to the birds chirping their songs.  I could actually feel my insides responding to God’s gifts to me in the moment, and I was refreshed.
  7. Take time to eat properly and get regular exercise.  Certain foods and exercise although needed for bodily health, will also nourish the soul by helping alleviate stress.  I’ve found that enjoying the company of a friend while doing both, coupled with laughter, nourishes the soul even more!  (I am just learning about the foods that alleviate stress.  The vitamin D found in sunshine is also extremely beneficial to elevating mood.)
  8. Take time regularly to do something fun. I love to garden – getting my hands dirty is so relaxing for me.  Landscape photography helps me de-stress, as well as putting on headphones and lying on the floor with my legs propped on the sofa.  What is your “fun”?
  9. Incorporate the help of a friend if needed to hold you accountable to nourish your soul regularly.
  10. If your stress is because of danger to you or your children, you may need to seek safety.

Finally, I will close with the following song:  “O My Soul” by Casting Crowns

With much love,

Robin <3

Shoring Up the Body Under Stress

Last Thursday morning, as the panic began to rise for the first time in about 3 years, I gratefully remembered something else I’ve learned.

Someone dear to me who also dealt with panic attacks after her husband died, discovered that our bodies have a gland ‘adrenal gland‘, that helps us deal with stress.  With extended stress, that gland can become fatigued, precipitating the effect of “overloading our circuits”, resulting in anxiety, brain fog, fatigue, and other related symptoms.  After a period of supplementation specifically to strengthen this gland, her panic attacks were brought under control.

Since learning this, I have kept Adrenal supplements in my cabinet.  This past Thursday, as I began to feel that horrible “rush”, I realized I hadn’t taken any that morning.  Within about 1/2 hour, my body began to settle down – sweet relief.  (I use a product called “David’s Adrenal Support – from a local health food store called “David’s Natural Market“.  My friend uses a product from Metagenics, called “Adrecet” found on Amazon.)  Someone recently recommended a beverage concoction that tastes like lemon cream and uses somewhat normal healthy ingredients that support a healthy adrenal gland – “Singing Canary“.  I’m still figuring out if this helps, but it is so healthy, it can’t hurt.

I have also learned through the years, of other supplements that help me deal with prolonged periods of stress (such as care giving, moving, death of a loved one, and adjusting to step parenting to name only a few such periods of life).  Vitamin B complex helps with the brain fog and grants me energy. Magnesium (I love the product “Calm”) has a calming effect (but it can also be a laxative, so I can’t overdo it).  I’m also experimenting with Essential Oils from ‘Young Living’, as they are guaranteed to be a therapeutic grade.  (I am a distributor for ‘Young Living’.)

I have also learned, especially under prolonged periods of stress, a high quality vitamin and probiotic are essential.

Lastly, because I’m sharing my experiences with helping the body deal with stress, I want to add – menopause is a huge change for the female body, and can stress our emotions (bringing on feelings of anxiety).  When I went through menopause, my moods shifted quickly and quite unexpectedly at times.  My mom mentioned that when she went through her change, someone recommended she use “progesterone cream”.  I purchased some through a company called ‘Arbonne’, but you can get it at many health food stores.  It was amazing!  Within a few minutes of application, I could literally feel my body and my emotions calm down.  I’ve since recommended it to others who have shared similar results.

Once again, I must stress – I’m no practitioner.  I am only able to share my experiences.  I would never be able to recommend to someone else what they need.  However, I have learned over the years that in order to deal positively with prolonged stress, I must take care of my body.  Our foods no longer provide all we need for our stressful lifestyles.  God has provided help in other areas.  His gift to us.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

Tomorrow: “The Importance of respite during the stress for my soul”.

Love you, and thank you for joining me –

Robin <3

 

When You Long for Change…

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Hi!  How’s your afternoon been?  My morning was quiet, with the usual morning activity.  The dog, Holly, has been a bit barky today.  I’ve gotten a lot of calls made – calls I’ve needed to make all week.  The dishes got done, and I’m hoping to paint a door or something before the afternoon is out and Gary gets home.  Tonight is an impromptu movie night with a friend.

I’ve been thinking more about yesterday’s conversation on “change”.  Making changes in life isn’t easy; that’s why most New Year’s resolutions never follow through past a couple of weeks.  And some changes are downright impossible in our own strength.

Yet, the Bible says that change is not only possible, but necessary and doable.  I’ve seen drastic changes in me in so many areas the last few years – changes that were needed, but I was powerless to perform alone.  Changes now made I find greater freedom and relief.  How was I able?

Jesus, plain and simple.  Through the same power that raised him from the dead. Offered because of his extravagant love.
When Jesus changes us, we discover true freedom and relief! Click To Tweet
If you are someone who longs for change – I encourage you to join me for the next couple of weeks.  I won’t preach. I just know that Jesus has changed me and continues to do so. I have experienced first hand his amazing love, and his power to do more than I could ever ask or imagine.

We’re gonna look at Jesus’ perspective on change, the tools he’s promised to effectively make change, and stories of change.  Please join me!  I don’t want to do this without you!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

Looking forward to meeting with you for coffee next week!

With Love,

Robin <3

A Refreshingly New Perspective

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Let’s Get Practical

How has your day gone?  I awoke at 6am, had my quiet time with Jesus and worship.  I’ve begun walking with a neighbor at 7, but she cancelled out, so that didn’t happen today.

The Lord has really been helping me to change my perspective on my daily routine!  I haven’t been a morning person ever, but am finding I don’t accomplished as much in a day as I need.  I have to make a change!  Yet, I’ve been working on this area of my life for years!  It’s a difficult area for me.

I’m doing so much better than when I first became a homemaker – back then, I’d get up after my husband left for work, feel overwhelmed, and go back to bed until noon.  Pretty bad.

Until about 3 weeks ago, I’d usually get up between 8-9.  But with hubby getting home around 3:30, add getting ready, 2 meals, a quiet time, blogging, occasionally writing, phone calls, and walking the dog – there wasn’t much time left, and the house was looking deprived.  And I was feeling guilty.  Does anyone else relate?

“I hate getting up so early when I don’t ‘need’ to”.

“But it isn’t helping me accomplish what is needed, and is hampering my ability to get things done.”

I’ve come to see my perspective is obviously skewed by my wrong thinking.

My standpoint  isn’t working at all!  I need a change.

So, about 3 weeks ago, I went to the Lord and asked,
Lord, I need a new perspective - Please exchange my perspective for yours. Click To Tweet

With that prayer, God brought to my attention 2 blogs – one on minimalism/decluttering, and a second that features a planner that organizes my daily tasks through a check off sheet, with a week at a glance.  Along with these tools, God has begun changing my perspective, by changing my attitude, to one of joy, which is truly a miracle.  I’m also finding that tasks that once seemed overwhelming or too mundane, aren’t being seen this way any longer.  I’m actually amazed at the transformation, and know I can take no credit.  But God!

A couple of days ago, I thought, “What if this doesn’t last?”  I immediately had to rebuke that thought as coming from the enemy of my soul and remind myself that God is faithful. He will continue to help.

I’m so grateful that God cares about something as “small” as this (it doesn’t end world hunger or cloth the homeless, but God cares because it means something to me and my family).  I can picture him, in heaven, looking down at me in my tidier house, and saying, “My girl – good job.” Not because he cares so much about my clean house, but because

God cares about freeing me from the inside stuff that weighs me down.

What’s weighing you down on the inside?  In what areas of life do you need a fresh perspective?  Can I pray with you?

I’d also love to hear your stories of freedom in new perspectives.  Please!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

With love,

Robin <3