A Whole Body Walk 

Proverbs 4:1-7

1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;

2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.

3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,

4 He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.

5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

Have you ever tried to walk a straight line with your head turned to the side? It’s very hard to do. Ask a child to do it and it’s a quick example of how off course one can get if they are not looking at the goal. Or think of of people walking while texting on their phones and running into things. Some have even injured themselves walking into poles, the street, or cars. Not looking up and forward will get you the wrong place and is potentially dangerous. 

When I go out walking and taking public transportation in this busy city, I am constantly telling my sons to pay attention. I don’t want them to walk into something they shouldn’t; to step too far away from me; or cause others discomfort or anger from bumping into them. It’s an active walk, to get from one place to another, and it requires the whole body to move the right way and do the right thing to get from A to B. When we miss a transfer or turn down the wrong street we have to reorient ourselves to our destination and make the corrections needed to get somewhere. Like a GPS recalculating, we don’t change our destination, we move forward to the place we need to be. 

Proverbs 4:20-27

20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.

21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;

22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.

26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4 is a plea to pay attention, it uses physical descriptions to help one understand the cause and effect of where we walk and what path we take in our lives. Various parts of the whole body are mentioned: ears, heart, flesh, feet, mouth, eyes, and eyelids, the instructions for each are also spiritual. 

With our ears, we are to listen to instruction. Active listening is seeking to understand what is being said, we should be actively pondering wisdom. In this chapter, wisdom says: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.” (Prov. 4:14) “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18) Then we are told to use our whole selves to give attention to these things. Our hearts are to be filled with instruction, our eyes should be looking forward to the right path, one that won’t be taking us down the one of wickedness, but towards the path of the just. Our mouth should be speaking true and just things, and our eyelids should be open. Our feet should be moving us in the direction away from wickedness. 

This isn’t a passive response to the wisdom, but an active and moving response. For me, my movement constantly needs focus. I daily need to get my mind attentive to wise things, mainly God’s Word, the Bible. Then I have direction, to go throughout my day not stumbling in darkness, but with eyes wide open, looking to finish each day in light of the truth of scripture. Do I have days when I go off course? Yes, can it change by the hour sometimes? Yes. Instead of continuing the wrong way though, it requires a refocusing of the mind, heart, and eyes onto the wisdom from God to get back on course. It is easier to correct direction when less wrong turns have been taken. Where do you need to actively move to be on the bright and shining path of wisdom?

Trouble: Will It Refine You? (Part 3)

Trouble: Will you let it refine you?

1 Peter 1:6-9 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

According to Scripture, pain has a purpose in our lives. Three years ago, while in the throng of a trial, it all made very little made sense. As I have now grown as a result of that pain, I see how it has benefitted myself in ways I could never have imagined. Continue reading

Trouble: Be Prepared (Part 2)

Red Alert! Red Alert! A warning goes out, your heart skips a beat, and you hold your loved ones closer. You’ve rushed about doing what you can, now you just hold on, waiting for whatever turmoil it may be to pass. Trouble Strikes.

When the weather forecast issues and alert for a storm, hurricane, tornado, or even extreme fire danger, we take heed. Things are tied down, shutters are closed up, emergency preparedness is in effect and we brace ourselves for the outcome. Unfortunately there are some who ignore the warnings and are caught off guard, often facing the tragedy unprepared. In some cases, even the prepared face devastating loss. When I was a young girl, I remember a hurricane warning and the scramble to get everything taken came of before the brunt of the storm hit. After the things in the yard were tied down, the windows covered, I recall being inside the living room and looking outside. I think the power went out because I remember the darkness. Then watching the strength of the wind blowing the trees outside, the pounding of the rain on the roof, and the sound of thunder amidst the howls of the storm. Yet, I remember going to sleep, or at least waking up the next day. We made it through that storm with minor damage, and things went back to normal. We were prepared.

Some say the only two certain things in life are death and taxes. While this may be so, death is the only thing certain. For a Christian, we do not live without hope, we know that death has been overcome already. For those who believe that Jesus Christ died to take your punishment and give you life, death is not the most dreaded thing. But what about the other trials in our lives? If you knew they were coming, how would you prepare for it?Rainbow in the Mountains Continue reading

Trouble: It Is Coming (Part 1)

Storm in the DesertHave you ever recalled a dream so vividly that it was like you were remembering an actual event? Every now and then I will have a dream that will stick in my mind and I write it down. One such dream was over 3 years ago. The gist of it was that my husband, kids, and myself, went through an overwhelming struggle but had come to a resting place after defeating a creature. Then we had come to a brief pause, and a  place of calm and quiet. It was there, in the dream, I foresaw something worse. It was a foreshadowing of a fierce rhino with red eyes. I knew (as one often does in dreams) that it was coming, along our journey, we were going to deal with a difficult struggle, something absurd, something we would have to battle, and it was terrifying. I wrote down the dream, pondered it for days, but then closed my journal and didn’t think of it again until I reread it recently on a bored whim, and was astonished.

I looked at the date of the dream and thought of the months that had followed. I can say, it was the hardest months of trial that came in unexpected. Pain, emotional loss, troubles, and grieving; then recovering, that is what happened over the months and even years that came. So, what was that dream? Was is a vision, a foretelling, a warning of reality? I couldn’t say, and if so, I didn’t pay much attention at the time. Perhaps it was divine warning of the trial ahead, I don’t know.

Here is the shocker though, we are all foretold of pains, trials, and suffering in this life.  Continue reading

Do you ask for Help?

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In my 4 years of adventuring through homeschool, I have had the notion that I must and should do it all. There are articles explaining how one can accomplish everything. Magazines that show the ideal homeschool day. Granted there are also quite a number of people who post about how they struggle, how difficult it is, or how they have days when they want to give up.

The response to most of those difficult times is usually, “Take a day off”. I’ve wondered, ‘How about the rest of the year?’ Yet, in all of my conversations with people, I express how great homeschooling is, how terrific it is to make your own choices for your child’s education. I rave about the curriculum, the freeing schedule, the time spent at home. To be honest, I love homeschooling. Despite the difficulties, I do enjoy it. Now this post is not just about homeschooling though. There is an underlying lesson I have learned, and am still learning, that I would like to share.

Many of us desire to portray our lives as complete. No one wants to look like the dishevelled mess we might actually be. I blame part of my own actions to time living among people who culturally practice “saving-face” so to speak. But when I dig deeper, to the heart of the issue, is this not a form of pride and self-righteousness that I am propagating? Although in some ways, people label specific cultures as “saving-face” cultures, don’t we all have that desire to show off our best sides? When I scroll through my social media and see what my friends post, it’s usually the best side, and so is mine. Now, I am not saying that in itself is bad. But it also may not be accurate, and in doing so, we might be trying to convince ourselves that things are rosy.

So, what if it isn’t all roses and sunshine? What if in actuality you are drowning? Overwhelmed, Broken, and depressed? Or just ready to throw in the towel?

I had a moment that hit me hard when I realized I was incapable of continuing on. It wasn’t nice, I was broken and felt desperate. I realized in particular that my current method of homeschooling was not working and we were getting behind, along with other frustrations arising. Now this took a turn that actually was a moment of peace and resolution. My problem here was that I was professing that I was entirely good yet inside I was drowning. Well, I eventually gave up and did the unthinkable, I cried out, “HELP!” Guess what? It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t all over when I fatally admitted that I was inadequate. In fact, it was just the needed words to break the cycle of defeat I was struggling in. Continue reading

Who are you?

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Identity…

Show of hands for those who have done at least one personality quiz? One search to see if you are a Lily or Daisy, what your color is, which bird you are, what food you are, or if you are chaotic good, bad or the ugly? I am sure we have all seen them. Now I think to myself, ‘I have done more than I would like to admit of these quizzes; I am a flower, grape, unicorn, who likes autumn, so…what does that mean I should eat for lunch?’ Okay I am not really taking these quizzes that seriously, but it does say something when millions of people have taken quizzes to try and find out who they are.

Of course, the purpose is for fun, right? Now the day might come when these quiz results will become an area on your resume, but that really isn’t the point is it? Is it to impress, or to find out who you really are? I am sure many 10 question multiple choices have been very effective in your life decisions, no? Now I freely admit, I like quizzes, I think it is fun to see who is the apple, orange, or exotic fruit. We all are unique individuals, each with different likes and dislikes. Things we feel and think about, our enjoyed activities and dreams for the future, we all have them and perhaps occasionally a quiz has help identify them.

What is our identity? Who am I? Perhaps those questions are why we spend the minutes (or hours) checking out the quizzes and filling out a personalty test, or find a quiz to tell us what career we should have picked. Maybe we aren’t satisfied with what we’ve been told so far, so we keep trying for a more desirable answer. Continue reading

Grief and Grace

Grief and Grace

I’m picturing the face of a child when they get a gift, even though it’s not their birthday or holiday. Their surprise, that is genuine, and the thankfulness when it was an unexpected present. I love giving gifts like that, unasked for, unwarranted, and not tied to a specific event.
Not all of us get the child that almost feels guilty when they get a gift and their sibling doesn’t. I happen to have 1-2 of them. If I offer a treat to them, they take it thankfully, then quickly ask, ‘but what about my brothers?’ They think beyond themselves; and whether it’s out of compassion, or perhaps the fear that brother will take their precious item, the question always warms my heart.

I’ve felt that guilt too, why did I get ……….. while my friend didn’t? Why do I have a good car, when my neighbor’s is in the mechanics shop again? Why did I get the promotion and they didn’t? Why did we have a clear open door and others don’t?
These thoughts don’t come often, and I think it takes being closer to Christ that can help one to empathize with others. On my own, I tend to be self focused, but when I think of the fellowship of Christ and His sufferings, I turn my gaze upward and outward.

We’ve all had the ‘whys?’ In our own lives. Continue reading

Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:14–16 (NASB)
“Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”

Is life hard? Are you weak and heavy? Are you wanting of strength? Always behind, struggling and despairing, broken, barely managing life. Yet you live; perhaps like the Woman at the Well, trying so hard to do the best you can, somewhat spiritual, knowing you’ve blown it, but doing what you can to scrape by.

It is there in that place that the Great High Priest is. Sympathizing with you. Knowing the deepest darkest parts. He knows the temptation, yet he has overcome completely, separated from sin. And this is the gift he offers: Draw near… To the King of kings, the Lord of lords. Drawn near to the throne of God, the God of all, with unreserved boldness! Through the blood of Jesus Christ we are completely free to be before the highest, His throne of grace.
In John chapter 4 the Woman at the Well didn’t deserve the private meeting with the Savior, the Son of God, but grace and mercy overflowed to her. This Woman was of low repute, she had a bad reputation, she was rejected by all. She wasn’t of the right gender, she wasn’t of the right race, she was different. Yet, she had the opportune moment to be face-to-face with her Creator, and He extended love; where the world gave her rejection and judgment He said, “Come and find grace.” We are all sinners, in desperate need of a Savior; in desperate need of grace and mercy.

In the Old Testament, the high priest was the mediator between the people and the mercy seat of God. One couldn’t come by themselves, they were separated and had to offer a blood sacrifice to obtain payment for their sins. We no longer have to wait outside of the building or go to a certain place as in those times. Access to the Throne of Grace and the Mercy seat was made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He has become that mediator on our behalf and through His name we can receive mercy from God.
Once we have received that and can say with confidence we have Him as our High Priest we can approach with boldness and confidence not shirking back or hiding, but with an unwavering approach to Him. At his throne, through the blood of Christ Jesus, we can take mercy as our own and find grace to help in the exact time of need.
Are you in that place of need today? Are you in in your weakest place? When you lay hold of the Gospel, believing that Jesus Christ died, and rose again, and paid for your sins, you have the same opportunity as that Woman at the Well, to be face-to-face with your Creator. Hebrews 10:22-23 (NASB) says, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of our faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”