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Archive for the ‘Celebrate our God!’ Category

Creativity

She was staring straight at me. She had come out of nowhere, really, so I wasn’t quite prepared for the encounter. I expected she would join the rest who were busy eating. But apparently her curiousity got the best of her and she had to come check me out. Have you ever been interrogated by four ounces of fluff with a beak? It was a bit intimidating, actually.

I love the irony. I get oodles of Mourning Doves in my back patio. I enjoy them very much, though occasionally I have to break up their backroom brawls. They outweigh a hummingbird by some outrageous proportion, yet they are considerably more skiddish. If I make hardly a movement inside my house they whir away in a panic. And they aren’t particularly good drivers, either. I have more Mourning Dove sillouettes on my windows than anything else (a problem I am in the process of fixing). But those hummingbirds are something else entirely. This morning after I accidentally scared everyone away I decided I might as well do some watering. The hummingbirds had been zooming in and out, so I wondered if they would come back, even with me there. And sure enough, they did! As long as I wasn’t spraying the hose right next to the feeder, they kept right on eating. So, either they hadn’t eaten in three days or they are just plain gutsy.

Based on my encounter with Ms. Ruby, my guess is the latter.

I was away from the feeder a bit, with my back turned to it, when she came. So, she had to come AROUND me, in the opposite direction of the food! I was a bit lost in my own world, watching their shadows on the pavement, when the buzzing (like the light sabers in Star Wars) was suddenly much louder. I looked up and there she was. Right on eye level with me and looking me square in the face. We locked eyes for a few seconds and then off she buzzed. I’m not sure if she went back to the feeder or off to tell her friends about this very strange flower she found. She might be used to staring humans in the face, but I must say it was an experience I don’t often have!

God must have had so much fun making birds. Just in the handful of birds that frequent my backyard there are so many different personalities, some of them, like the Mourning Doves and Hummingbirds, are humorous in their differences. Others just make me smile because I can SO imagine what that bird would be like if he was a person. I LOVE the fact that God created such variety and vibrancy in His birds. An exotic parrot of the Amazon or a little brown sparrow alike would be boring if that’s all we had to see. But no! Our God is exquisitely creative in all He has made, even down to Ms. Ruby herself!

It makes me wonder what it would have been like for Moses, or Job, or even David as they wrote about the wonders of creation. What was it like for Moses to have dictated to him the creation story? Was his spirit able to comprehend even more than he was instructed to write? Did God tell him anything about what it was like creating the birds, and the fish, and the animals? Or Job, who was given countless illustrations of God’s immensity through the pictures of nature? Or David who spoke such beautiful poetry about the universe? How they must have marveled at His creative genius!

While I may (or may not!) wait until heaven to have such an encounter as they did, I celebrate with great joy the creativity of my God and will ever smile at my introduction to Ms. Ruby!

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Chain of Events

There is an old kid’s movie called “Bethoveen”. It’s about a family who manage to adopt (or he adopts them!) a gigantic St. Bernard. He immediately begins to terrorize their house and lives, but finds his way into their hearts too. Well, one thing about a super-sized dog is they also come with super-sized slobber. In one of the scenes, Bethoveen slimes the Dad just as he is leaving for work. With a dramatic sigh, he heads up the stairs to make a complete change of wardrobe. His wife calls up to him to just change his pants. He replies, “but if I change my pants, then I have to change my shirt, and if I change my shirt I have to change my belt, and if I change my belt, I have to change my shoes, and if I change my shoes, I have to change my socks..” and on he goes.

This movie scene came back quite vividly this week as I have been rearranging my entire office in order to accomodate a new laptop. I am beginning to fear that the chain reaction will extend outside the office doorway and I will have to overhaul my bathroom, living room, and kitchen too. All for a new laptop!

It has been a frustrating ordeal. However, I am learning patience, or at least recognizing the potential to learn patience. I am also becoming very familiar with the Best Buy near my house. That may have Kingdom value someday. But what has struck me is this chain reaction I find myself caught in, as one problem solved causes another three to surface. It’s like that wack-a-mole game, and just as irritating.

So, I look at myself in my humanity and bumbling attempts to solve the problems I am creating, and I can’t help but stand in awe of God. He is continually disrupting the status quo and never is caught in a chain reaction He can’t control. He is always one step ahead of the events that are happening, never do the events get the drop on Him. Powerlessness is simply not in His dictionary. I marvel at the scale on which He does this. We are talking about all of creation, at any moment, all the time! Goodness. I can’t hardly keep my office from overtaking my whole apartment! God masterfully plans and crafts and shapes the process, and knows exactly which piece He can pull or manipulate to create exactly the chain reaction He wishes to.

Wow.

He’s my hero!

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Renewing of the Mind

Do you ever wonder what the authors of the Bible actually knew or understood as they were writing it? How many of the universal mysteries did David actually know he was talking about? Or Moses when he chronicled the creation of the world? Or even the authors who gave us glimpses of Christ in the Old Testament? How much did they comprehend of what they wrote, or at what level did they comprehend it?

One of my favorites of these examples is from Romans 12 where Paul says, “…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” For many years I looked at the verse in a form primarily of abstinence. Don’t conform to the world and God needs to change your desires so you don’t want the ways of the world. The idea of the mind being renewed was intangible. God just changed you and that was that. Well, the simple premise of God changing us is still valid, but in recent years I have thrilled at understanding a bit more of the complexity of the process.

What Paul describes as “the renewing of your mind” is a literal, tangible occurance that happens in your brain. Some scholars have postulated that the brain forms neurological pathways up to a certain age, and then next to nothing new will be formed after that. You are stuck with what you have. Not a very encouraging theory, if you ask me!

Other scientists have done tests and, in my opinion, emphatically proved that the brain is a continually changing landscape. Some tests showed that real estate in the brain that was believed to be function specific could actually be taken over by a new function if the old one ceased to exist. Essentially, our brains are incredibly effecient machines. The basic concept is that “neurons that fire together, wire together”. This means that as long as the neurons keep firing together, the pathway will continue to exist. If they are not used, they will fall away and that space can be taken over for something else.

So, think of some area of your life that has changed. You used to think and respond a certain way and through healing and growth you think completely differently now. Or, we often refer to emotional “buttons” or “triggers” where the environment can stimulate a particular response from us. You get those buttons resolved and people can press that button all they want, and would you believe it, the wires have been disconnected. Literally!

We all know this is a process, or at least those of us who are real with ourselves. There are times when God rewires our brain in instant or overnight, but more often than not, we have at least two steps. The first is the healing itself – dealing with toxic emotions, wrong belief systems, lies, and so on. Sometimes the steps will happen simultaneously, but often, the second step happens over a period of time afterwards. This is the changing of your neurological pathways – teaching your brain to wire together different neurons. You have habits you formed with your old way of thinking. Those habits have to be “unhabited” (or uninhabited!) and new habits formed. How many times have you caught yourself in the middle of a thought or reaction and said, “wait! I don’t have to do that anymore!” That’s your brain beginning to fire along that well-used highway, and you are saying “no, we aren’t going there. This highway is going to grow over with grass and weeds, and we will build a new one somewhere else!” A new pathway will form. The frequency and intensity of your use will reinforce it, and it becomes the new six-lane highway.

Paul is talking about a literal change in your brain! “Renewing your mind” is exactly what is happening. This brings me to such awe of God and immense gratitude that the scholars who said the brain can’t change were flat wrong. Our Creator is far too wise and far-reaching in His creative strategy. He knew our physical brains would need to change with the peregrinations of our minds and spirits. Our God is a wonderous God, a majestic, beautiful creation is our brain. Understanding science only makes this picture even more extraordinary!

But I still can’t help but wonder, what did Paul know???

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I have been reading a good old series of books many of you will know – Anne of Green Gables.  This is actually the first time reading them because as a kid, I could never get past the first one … or more accurately, the first few chapters of the first one.  But now I am rather enjoying them and learning too.

Here is an excerpt that I thought was interesting.  It’s a perspective on a Scripture we often quote “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven …”.  The context of the Scripture is the fact that heavenly things are eternal and earthly things will pass away.  But here is another angle on the idea of being heavenly minded:

“I can’t help it,” said Ruby pitifully. “Even if what you say about heaven is true – and you can’t be sure – it may be only that imagination of yours – it won’t be just the same.  It can’t be.  I want to go on living here.  I’m so young, Anne.  I haven’t had my life. I’ve fought so hard to live-and it isn’t any use-I have to die-and leave everything I care for.”

Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable.  She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true.  She was leaving everything she cared for.  She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life-the things that pass-forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other-from twilight to unclouded day.  God would take care of her there-Anne believed-she would learn-but now it was no wonder her soul clung, in blind helplessness, to the only things she knew and loved.”

So many times I have looked at that verse from the angle of security.  Things in heaven will be there forever, where putting all your heart in things temporal will only leave you with nothing in the end.  But I really loved her picture of things eternal helping to bridge the gap between the two worlds – heaven is a welcoming place because you’ve invested in it already, you’ve lived bits of it on earth, you’ve put your treasure there, and so you walk into the new world with joy and anticipation.

It’s not one or the other – live in this world or live in the next.  It is a beautiful sequence.

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Ok … before I even start on this one, I need to forewarn three-quarters of all the women in America that this is a glory story about someone being able to GAIN weight, not lose it.  Believe it or not, there are a few comparatively lucky souls in the world who have to work to keep it on, not get it off.  And they don’t get much sympathy, I’m afraid.

This is someone I know who had really hated the fact that they had been TOO skinny and angular most of their life, and no matter how many protein shakes they drank, they could never round out those angles with any noticable success.  Finally, they gave up on it entirely and figured that it was just their lot in life and that was that.  They did not even suspect that God had something else in mind. 

Through a completely unrelated event, this person went through a significant deliverance process that reached deep inside to some core lies and fears they had resulting from some trauma in her life.  The deliverance really took and they knew some significant changes happened.  Still they had no idea that it could be related to their ongoing frustration with weight.

But God was up to something! 

First He got her to a house with a scale, since she didn’t own one.  Just for kicks, she hopped on.  AND WHAT???  No way.  FIVE POUNDS?  She had wondered if her clothes were fitting better than usual, but brushed it off.  Now, what to make of this?  So, God got her on another scale at a different house and the same thing again. 

It was undeniable.  She was gaining weight … for the first time in years.

Unbeknownst to her, the deliverance that God had taken her through had released a core truth that rendered a protection mechanism no longer necessary.  Being a woman had been dangerous for her, based on the experiences of her life.  And the protection she had adopted was that angles were safer than curves.  No amount of high fat diets or protein shakes were going to fix something that wasn’t purely biological.  God knew she needed this piece, and He was simply waiting for the right time.

This story touches me because it so illustrates God’s intimate knowledge of us.  This woman had tried everything she knew to do, and had given up.  She HAD gone through hours of inner healing and deliverance already, but had not found the key to this issue.  But God was not confused.  He knew exactly what needed to be done and how to do it.  He knew when would be the right time for her to have this freedom and for her body to be the way GOD designed it to be. 

God cares.  I am sure that she doesn’t know yet how this will fit into the grand strategy of her life, but God knew that things weren’t right inside of her.  He desires us to be whole and healthy, for each of us to be a beautiful expression of His creativity.  I joyously celebrate the personal God we serve, His unwavering care and wisdom, and His infallible timing. 

And I hope you will join me in celebrating Him!

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Glory Stories

Please feel free to post your glory stories here!  Just click on the “comment” link below this post to write your story.  Your story will then be available for anyone else to read or comment on, and they too can celebrate the King!

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