Would Jesus know the score of the Texas/Notre Dame Game? Recreation creates Community

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David Hartwig Photo

 This morning as I listened in on a conversation between my husband and his friend Roger, their joy and laughter peaked my interest. Were they talking about a church service? A great move of God? Both love with Lord with all their hearts, what were they enjoying so much in their conversation? They were rehashing the Texas/Notre Dame game from last night. “Mmmm, not so spiritual,” I thought. But maybe I was wrong.

Would Jesus know the score of the Texas/Notre Dame football game? In the reality of the Kingdom of God, this is probably not even on the list, but the joy, camaraderie and fellowship around a football game? Maybe so.

Recreation creates community-it’s a God thing.

Recreation means, “Activities done for enjoyment, when not working.” My friend, Julian Goddard, an awesome man of God, studied Recreation at ORU. He explained it this way: “We were created spirit, soul and body. When we break down the word recreation, we get Re (to renew) and Creation (our physical body and soul). Recreation is a spiritual component of the whole man.”

Recreation is close to God’s heart. He and Adam enjoyed one another’s company as they walk in the garden. Perhaps they investigated the new bean crop, checked on how the pecan trees were producing, laughed and raced to the barn to see the new colt with wobbly legs. Recreation and communion at it’s finest. Adam had worked all week tending the garden. On Sabbath, he and God strolled, chatted and enjoyed the Creation together. This refreshed Adam’s spirit for the coming week, rested his body, renewed his mind and also enhanced the relationship between the Father and Adam, building the first community.

Recreation creating community-it’s a God thing.

Jesus fished, laughed and enjoyed recreation so that he could connect on a different level with his friends. Recreation creating community.

For me, there is nothing more invigorating than a brisk walk on a cool crisp autumn morning. It clears the cobwebs from my mind so that I can hear a fresh word in my spirit or not. It allows me to just ‘be.’ But it’s always better when I walk with neighbors, chatting about recipes, children and the beauty of Fall. Recreation creating community.

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Ronald Saunders

I love the exhilaration of accomplishment that comes from a good work out-that is, when I do it. But it is much easier when someone else is there to spur me on. Watching a great football game with friends or any time spent with my grandchildren as they swim, play soccer or baseball is recreation. Cookouts, luncheons, football tailgates. I have a long list of fun things I enjoy. Most involve food, but that is for another day. Recreation creating community.

What do you do for fun? What makes you laugh? What refreshes you and connects you to others in the joy of community? What refreshes your soul, re-creates you?

Enjoy recreation with a friend today. Laugh together because laughter is like a good medicine. High five when your team scores. Go for a walk or run with a neighbor. Pull away from the busyness of life, clear the cobwebs and have some fun. Be RE-CREATED with the Joy of the Lord in community.

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Recreation creates community-it’s a God thing.

 

 

 

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Honor for ‘The Name’

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This morning I am working on a book about our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus. In doing so I am reading about each time Our Father cut covenant in the Old Covenant (Testament). As I was doing some research on the web about the Tallit, or prayer covering that denotes covenant, I was undone by the honor and respect the Jewish people have for ‘The Name’ of our Great God. To read and sense the fear of the Lord when writing or using his Name, which by the way is the beginning of wisdom, has been humbling and astounding at the same time.

One site begins with this sentence: “Please note that this page contain the name of God. If you print it out, please treat it with appropriate respect.”

How often do I simply talk about the Lord, yet do not stop and realize that He is the King of the Universe. How often do I use His name in a flippant manner, not realizing that I am speaking of the Ruler of the Universe, who with the flick of his finger could take me out!

One of the issues in Ezekiel 22 when God was deciding whether or not to destroy the entire city was this: ‘They do not understand the difference between the common and the Holy.’

Growing up I had always understood that we do not take the Lord’s name in vain, which to me meant using the G D words. But in seeing how the Jewish people did and, still do today, treat “The Name” with reverence and honor I am getting a totally different perspective.

Yes, I understand that Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death, but, my friend, do we in our freedom forget who he is and what His Holiness is about?

Yes, we can come boldly before the throne of God, covered by the blood of Jesus, but do we really stop and consider the magnitude of the suffering it took for us to have that privilege and covering?

I was admonished by the author of this web site to remember that His Name is in this paper, and to please treat it with proper respect and honor. I was stopped dead in my tracks.

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pinterest.com

As I continued to read I saw the Shema which was to be recited every morning in prayer.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.

And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Am I saying to go back under the law, to repeat rote prayers? NO! But I am saying in the mornings, I need to stop and realize the privilege and honor that I have to meet with this amazing, great, Holy God each day. Yes, I can come boldly into his presence, BUT I need to honor him for who he is, to meditate on his Holiness, His greatness, His majesty before I rush to my own needs and my problems. I need to stop and come into His gates with thanks giving because of what He has done for me. I need to enter His Court Room with praises to the One who has set me free.

I need to honor Him in everything I do this day, being aware that He is with me when I rise up and when I lay down; to understand that He is for me and will help me in my time of trouble.

I need to be aware that I am a carrier of His Name and I must be careful of how I reflect his character.

I must kneel before him, honor and respect him and yes, fear Him and Him alone.

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campusbiblechurch.com

Because the fear of the Lord IS the beginning of wisdom.

60 Second Vacation To Change your Day

 

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I do it me self!

Those are the words I heard from my sweet three-year-old granddaughter, Paisley. She is all about independence, from putting on clothes, bath time and buckling her own seat belt. In reality I was there to help, still in control, at least most of the time.

Watching her struggle to put on a tee shirt, getting it all twisted up was precious. Finally becoming frustrated, with big, tearful eyes I heard that sweet little voice cry, “Memaw, I need help!”

And over and over during our week of babysitting, quietly the Lord reminded me that I do the same thing. “I do it me self!”

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Many times overwhelmed, I continue to push on with my ‘to do list’ worrying, trying to handle tasks that are too big for me, thinking, “I have all this to do and I have to do it myself!”

Preparing the house for company, buying the groceries, cooking and cleaning. “I have to do all of this myself!”

Getting ready to teach a workshop, to speak at a retreat, answering emails. You’ve got it! Do it all myself!

Father, forgive me when I forget who is really in control and sends me help when I call. Just like Paisley, I am mistaken that I don’t need any help. But when push comes to shove, You are there. You’ve always been there waiting to help me.

So I stop for one minute. I take a 60 second vacation and connect with my Father.

The Psalms says “You show me the path for my life, and you surround me with songs of deliverance.”

When I get tangled up with the cares of everyday life, overwhelmed by circumstance,  He shows me the way out, the path He has already cleared for me.

And HE sings!

He doesn’t shout at me that I should have known better. He doesn’t say I told you so. He sings.

And as I stop for just 60 seconds, look to Him and listen for His voice, I hear His song: His song of deliverance. His song that releases peace in the middle of my turmoil. His song that says “I’ve got this one!”

I stop, take a deep breath and remember who is really in control. I still have much to do, but somehow the load seems lighter, my mind is not so troubled and my day goes a little easier.

In my heart I feel a strange sensation called ‘Joy’. I find myself smiling. And with the joy comes strength and energy. Rather than a burden, I actually enjoy the shopping, the cleaning. I get new insight as I prepare for the teaching. He really is my help in times of trouble, even in the small tasks of everyday living.

So today, in the middle of your busyness, stop, take a minute, 60 seconds, to breathe.

Breathe deeply, asking for his help and thank him for this one moment in eternity that you have connected with him. Acknowledge his presence and his help.

Thank Him for where you are and what you are doing. Shopping? Thank him for the provision you have so that you can shop. Transporting kids from one place to the next? Thank him you have children and the means to transport them. Cleaning toilets? Take advantage that you are on your knees and pray for some one who needs a little extra boost today.

Take a 60 second vacation. Stop. Breathe. Connect. And give thanks. It will change your day!

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God of Riotous Sunsets

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Riotous Sunset

Who is your God? What is His name?

No, I’m not talking about ‘other gods’. I’m speaking of the one true Jehovah God, Supreme Ruler of the Universe!

But what is His personal name to you?

Hagar called him El Roi, the ‘God who Sees’ because he saw her in the desert, abused, runaway, pregnant.

Ezekiel saw Him as the ‘God of the Wheel in a Wheel.’

The Psalms speak of the ‘God who’s Voice Thunders over the Waters’.

Isaiah saw Him as the God who was high, lifted up and called him ‘Holy, Burning Fire.’

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He is also known as the Creator of the Universe, The God of Righteousness, The Shepherd, The Lamb, the Victorious King. Each name given him in the Word reveals yet another facet of His greatness.

But who is He to you?

Recently a post from Arthur Burk at SLG Coaching blog (Click here) asked that question. As the Lord was making a way for the Hebrew slaves to be set free, His hand moved in many ways, defining the “God of Abraham” in new revelations of his power and attributes they had yet to see.

“During the ten plagues, Yahweh became ‘The God Who Destroys’. As they neared the Red Sea, He became known as the God who defeated the army of Pharaoh. Moses named him ‘The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.’  Exodus 15:1-3 NIV” (from SLG Coaching blog, I highly recommend you read the entire post!)

 Bridgman_Pharaoh's_Army_Engulfed_by_the_Red_Seadefeat of Pharaoh's Army

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What spectacular victory has He won for you? Go back, walk through it again and examine how He brought it about and give Him a new name. Your personal name for Him.

BJ and I have had a wonderful time naming Him. Last year, BJ narrowly escaped death in a car accident. We have named Him “The Guardian of Life”. He is “The Breastplate of Righteousness” because BJ’ chest was crushed, but no damage to his heart or lungs. This was a miracle because his cardiologist continually said to him, “Man, you should be dead. Your heart should have exploded and your aorta torn.”

In the recovery season we experienced “the God who is Enough!” Enough grace, enough strength, enough provision. “The God who is Enough!”

Today, as I was trying to clean up the last remnants of the renovation of our home, (Almost done! YAY!) I stepped out on the porch to sweep away some of the left over saw dust and debris. I looked up and suddenly I was arrested by a little touch of bright blue peeping through the grey rain clouds. I stopped and just sat down. Today I have named him “the God of the Riotous Sunset.” As I watched the bright blue sky grow more intense and gray clouds slowing lifting, suddenly a gloriously bright orange light hit the charcoal mass and it came alive with riotous color. I looked down for only a moment and it shifted from bright orange to a wild, dazzling pink. One blink and it changed yet again. This time soft grey wisps outlined with gentle pink floated slowly eastward. As evening settled in, the colors were gone and a tender peace surrounded me. I just sat there, savoring His goodness, His amazing, glorious sunset and then the quiet in the midst of my chaos. There has never been another one like it and never will be again. It was just for me. In that quiet moment I remembered that like his mercy, new every morning, so are his sunsets, new every evening. His name today is ‘God of Riotous Sunsets’ and “The Quiet in the Midst of Chaos’.

Now it is your turn. Who is this Great King to you? What is His name?

Is He the God of Second Chances?

The God of the Miracle Birth?

Stop and be grateful for your victory today. But go beyond grateful. Appreciate and delight in how He brought about the circumstance of this victory so that you could know him deeper, love him more, and make Him known to others in a new way. Worship Him as you savor your victories in intimate fellowship with your personal God.

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Honor Him. Give him a new name!

 

God’s Amazing Clock – The Heavens!

From Hubble Images
From Hubble Images

Genesis 1, Day four, God’s clock was set in motion when He set the sun, moon and stars in place. They are moving, turning like a clock. The days, the months, the seasons. Time in motion. Tick, tick, tick.

Tick, tick, tick, Noah was born.

Tick, tick, tick, Abraham was born.

Tick, tick, tick Moses was born.

All right on schedule, all right on time, His time.

When Moses was on Mt. Sinai, he was given a pattern of the Tabernacle on earth just like it is in Heaven. He was also shown God’s Feasts, how they should be celebrated in the earth. Let’s be clear here, these were not Hebrew Feasts, they were God’s Feasts, pictures of His character, His goodness and also pictures of His son, Yeshua Jesus, and the way He would redeem this fallen world. Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth.

Tick, tick, tick. The Torah was given and the Levites set in motion a schedule of reading Torah. This schedule eventually dictated where each person sat in the assembly and when they would read the Torah selection according to their birth, bar Mitzvah.

Tick, tick, tick Isaiah was born and wrote prophecy about the coming Messiah.

Tick, tick, tick. The Levites added the writing of the prophets to the reading of Torah.

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Hubble images

Tick, tick, tick. A star appears in the sky. Remember this was all set in motion on the fourth day of Creation, 4000 years before. God’s amazing clock.

Tick, tick, tick. “And it came to pass in those days…” Caesar was right on time with his census.

Tick, tick tick. Yeshua, Jesus was born

Tick, tick, tick. Two years later the Magi bring Gold.

Tick, tick, tick. 18 hours after the gold came, Joseph is told to go to Egypt and now he had traveling provision.

All right on schedule.

Tick, tick, tick. Thirty years pass. Yeshua, Jesus had just returned from His baptism and temptation from Satan. It was His time to read and according to the schedule set centuries before, Isaiah was the scripture for that particular day. They handed him the scroll and He read:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,  Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;  He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”  20Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 19-21 NKJV)

Coincidence? No. God’s amazing time clock set in motion on the Fourth day!

Right time! Right place! Right person! Right message.

Psalm 139 says God knew YOU before you were born, He knows your times and seasons. They too, were set in motion on the fourth day. Whether or not your recognize it, your times were set by a God who loves you, watches you and has a destiny designed just for you. He has great things for you and for you to accomplish. Your destiny is to walk in His amazing time for your life. Acts 16:27 “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live!” (NIV)

He knows you, He named you, He has a plan and a destiny for you!

One day as I was meditating on Genesis 1, I ask God, “What were you thinking?” I heard an old Willie Nelson song, “You were always on my mind. You were always on my mind.” And you still are.

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nikkyttmessianic PraiseandWorship          FEAST OF TRUMPETS 

We have entered God’s time and season of the Fall Feasts. The next ten days is the Feast of Trumpets, the ten days of Awe. Every day for the next ten days we are to meditate on the Greatness of our God and His wondrous works. His majestic heavens, His awesome purposes and His indescribable miracles in our own lives.

Remember, You are His masterpiece! And you are included in His perfect time, His Amazing universal clock!

Hubble images, Andromeda
Hubble images, Andromeda

Time Traveler?

http://amaimages.com
amaimages.com

Lately I’ve been busy traveling. No, not on airplanes and in cars, but traveling in a time machine. You see, I’m a time traveler! And my ‘time machine’ is fueled by four little words: “If only” and “What if?”

These four little words from the pit of hell can fuel a huge time machine which jerks me into the past, then to the future, and back again  into the past, never stopping in the present. It gobbles up my present time voraciously.

In a moment I can be swiftly transported back into the memories of the past where I was so wounded or I really blew it. If only I had chosen to go a different direction, If only I had not made that statement. If only I had been stronger, kinder, wiser.

And just as quickly the words “What if” whisk me into future worries: What if there is not enough money? What if I lose my job? What if my greatest fear comes true. What if the world falls apart and I’m not prepared?

The enemy of our souls constantly uses these four little words to devour our time. They are some of his most strategic weapons to kill, steal and destroy us.

He kills our hope by causing us to look back at our past disappointments and failures. The Bible says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.‘ The ‘if only’s’ keep us bound in fear and disappointment and the ‘what if’s’ cause us to lose all hope of a bright future, lest we dare to dream again.

He steals our peace in the present. Peace comes from a deep knowing that God is still in control even when we cannot see or hear him. Even when we did it wrong, He is bigger than any ‘If only’ mistake I have ever made. His name is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the God who makes every thing right! (Jeremiah). We can rest in the present, assured that this great God who ‘makes everything right’ is already arranging circumstances today so that we need not be concerned about the ‘“what if’s” of tomorrow. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.

He destroys our joy which comes from the wonder of the now. Rich Mullins’ daily prayer was, “Lord, don’t let me miss the wonder of THIS day.” The Wonder of the now. He is revealing his wonder to us in astounding ways if we will simply get off the time machine, stop and take a look around. Marion, my friend, reminded me that ‘Now’ occurs 1356 times in the King James Version of the Bible. ‘Salvation’ only occurs 151 times. Mmmm, Is He trying to tell us something? Perhaps he is saying to us just like he did to Moses, “I Am.” “I AM the God of the present. The God of the Now.”
Jesus said, “Look at these exquisite lilies, really see these beautiful birds. Don’t miss the wonder of this day by worrying about your clothes or your provision for tomorrow.” (Ruthie’s paraphrase)IMG_7959

He is the all sufficient God  of the now who sees and hears a mama crying in the desert and  provides water for her thirsty boy. He is the Almighty God of the now who provides a strong wind to split a mighty sea in half allowing his beloved children to walk on dry ground. He is the kind Savior who said to the lame man by the pool of Bethesda, “Forget about yesterday, take up your bed today and walk!” He is the gentle Redeemer who said to the Samaritan woman, “Stop living in the mistakes of your past, take a drink of this living water now and begin to embrace your glorious destiny.”  And He is the Master-Creator who calls dead men out of a graves, feeds 5000 hungry people in a desert and who speaks to my present storm and says, “Peace. Be still.”

As I stop the time traveling and peer into the now, I see His hand at every turn. This gives me the confidence to declare “If he is present in the now of my today, he will surely be just as present in the now of my tomorrow.” He transcends time! He was there, He is here, and He will be tomorrow.

10945609_793345527369413_7885358966159490119_nSo who is this awesome, magnificent God who created time and who inhabits time in all of His fullness? I can’t answer that question, but I do know this: He is good and He loves me. And that is enough for today.