Friday, May 31, 2013

MERIDIAN MINUTE no. 9 ~The Examine~


Entrance to monastery in Arizona.


“Test me, O LORD, and try me,

   examine my heart and my mind,

for your love is ever before me,

   and I walk continually in your truth.”

                                                Psalm 26:2,3

The Examination of Conscience is a practice found in The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.  As a Protestant in my theological doctrinal interpretation of scripture, I was unaware of Catholic writings or other interpretations of the Holy Word.  Because I was hungry for spiritual truth with an insatiable appetite, nothing could satisfy me more than a day spent gleaning truth from God’s Word and reading others who had found similar richness in the study and application of spiritual truths.   

A story happened in my life which used circumstances to broaden the scope of my reading beyond my protestant views.  It was a surprising enterprise.  The discovery of writings that spoke in detail written by people totally surrendered and in love with God amazed me.  I uncovered some rich details of ways God has worked in His saints throughout the ages.  One of these that I read outlined a way to approach God through the use of something he termed spiritual exercises.  The concept made sense to me.  We exercise and eat healthy food if we want to be in good physical condition.  The same is true in the spiritual realm.  The spiritual life is much more than belief and prayer, we must exercise and apply what we think.  Our data base in the spiritual realm must be accessed and used in a proactive way.

What is the Examin?  It is a process that originated with St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) which he wrote and implemented in his life.  He used it to keep himself concerned for his own spiritual growth and his zeal for sharing it.  He expanded on this by incorporating a set of spiritual exercises for participants to complete in a spiritual month-long retreat.  Each participant would have an overseer, their spiritual guide to help facilitate greater understanding. These exercises were designed for those committed to living out a monastic life.  Over time these same concepts were offered in spiritual retreats for the lay person. 
The Examine is like a personal inventory, a review one makes of the day.  A look within at “how you did” in light of the occurrences and your reactions to them.  In 2011, I read three books authored by male Monastics, all written with the intent of explaining and encouraging an understanding of The Spiritual Exercises. I sought to apply some of what I learned that impressed me as something I could use in my own spirit life.  At the conclusion of this undertaking, I wrote out a brief synopsis for my own “examine” on a scrap of paper and put it by my nightstand to review as a practice during the day or at night.  I will share what I jotted down but I am unsure how close it is to the original to give credit where credit is due.

The Examin/Ignatius

1.  Ask God to be with you

2.  Recall events of the day for which you feel grateful

3.  Do a review of the day

4.  Ask forgiveness for any sins

5.  Ask for grace to follow God more closely the following day

“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind, for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth,”  is a verse that encourages the reader to examine their own heart and mind.  When I read this verse during my quiet time with God, it reminded me of The Examin.  It is not an easy task.  We can resist the focus of God on our heart and mind.  The heart is deceptive and the mind is easily confused by errant thoughts.  Closing out the day with a focus on God is a practice that will pay out dividends in the following day and days.  No, I don’t always succeed in remembering to examine my conscience (heart and mind).  I tend to go in spurts.  When I do, it always well worth the time and energy.   

The Examin is simply a meeting, just God and me, talking it over and making the necessary adjustments.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


New teacher and newly married before life became complicated.

A week ago I wrote a post in which I mentioned my “calling.”  I promised to explain further.  Here goes.

My life has not been lived with a calling in mind.  The events in my life have followed the common path of living that many have undertaken just like me. In a nutshell, the usual education, then college, marriage, family, and career. My life started heading another direction when I found myself in the position of divorced single parent and main breadwinner for a family of five children (one in college). I hadn’t planned on this development but knew it might happen because of a history of instability in the marital relationship.  In other words, I needed a career out of necessity but it wasn’t the desire of my heart to work so hard and do so much!  I preferred being a stay-at-home mom.  If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.  Life happens and you go with it.  You do what you have to do.

My Christian faith has been important to me since age sixteen when I clearly felt the tug of God in my heart.  It was a dramatic moment and a very quiet one as I wept and prayed sitting on a deck on the backside of a canvas cabin during a week of church camp near La Porte, California. God has been a part of my decisions and life ever since. Somehow that moment in time with God sealed my relationship and “want-to” serve God for the rest of my life.  I have never doubted God’s presence or reality since.  Throughout high school and college I only dated Christian men and was moral in my relationships.  This was important to me.  However, it did not keep me from using poor judgment or making some unwise choices mainly due to my naiveté.  In time, I married a Christian man from a much different background than mine.  There were some good times, and we had five children together, but it never was a close union.  I experienced some harsh realities in my marriage that made it challenging, but my husband supported me in the way I wanted to raise our children.  He was not critical of me which was a blessing.  God was my strength when the difficulties started mounting. 

The years were not kind to me.  My mate made some choices that hurt me deeply.  There were times I called out to God in deep pain while trying to keep the family from becoming damaged.  My extended family and church family came along side of me to help with the things I could not do and to offer love to all of us.  The marriage fractured and repaired several times.  Each time I felt a little more dead inside.  But I wouldn’t quit.  I loved my husband and believed God would eventually heal our marriage.  I can now say, that without God as my dearest and best friend, I could not have survived the struggle of those years. Even so, I did have a break-down that took at least four years to overcome, which I did on my own without any medical help as I clung to God for His divine ministrations.

In those days I never considered a “calling” on my life.  I wasn’t an evangelist and my faith was fairly quiet.  In church I would find myself leading the children no matter what church we were in.  However, my secret desire was to lead women.  I could see their hurts and also that many of them suffered from emotional wounds in ways that made me want to offer a comforting shoulder for them to cry on or a heart of love to come along side to pray with them.  But, my inner wounds were great and I didn’t know the secret for walking with Christ in a way that is free.  I wanted to help but I didn’t know how to help for I did not have answers at the time.  But even more destructive to this concept was a personal belief in my own inadequacy to the task and my lack of skill in relating to others.  I suppose my sense of being unloved in my marriage contributed to this feeling of inferiority but it was also complicated by my shyness and lack of personal attainment in areas of weakness.

Then someone said something to me that startled me, sort of waking me up, placing value in my self-perception. We were living in that mountain town that I mentioned in an earlier post,.  The man was the minister of a Calvary Chapel where we had been attending with our four small children.  For Christmas, I had led the church children in a little program.  Everyone was so appreciative.  The minister was fairly new to the church, a man older than my husband and me.  My husband spent some time with him for some sort of counsel and had explained some of his stuff.  The minister was in our small home for some reason which I no longer remember. He spoke to me, “Norma. There is something special about you. You have a gift.”  His words took me by surprise and I remember wondering what he had seen in me to say such a thing.  It was like water raining in the parched desert, like a rich dessert when you’ve been eating vegetables for a week.  He made me feel special by saying it when I’d quit believing in my specialness.  The years had beaten down my spirit.

You know, we all are special.  Each one of us in our own way has something to give, something to say that is all our own.  Remember that when you are discouraged or down about life.  You are special.  God made you that way.

Many years passed.  Life became more complex.  We moved.  The family fell apart permanently.  I lost my sister in a tragic death.  Soon I became a single parent, recovering from rejection, repairing from his unfaithfulness.  My pastor wanted me to begin a Women’s Ministry which I did and led for many years.  I found myself directing choir and writing Christmas programs for my church—directing stellar performances (I was so proud of the kiddos and adults), teaching the story lessons in Awana Club, teaching Children’s Church, and doing just about everything you can do in the teaching realm at church.  I worked and worked.  Doing and doing.  Nothing yet about calling.

My spiritual recovery and my inner healing began the day I gave it all up.  Yes.  I did.  It was the day I was served marriage dissolution papers. I was forty-six. The jig was up. That day I knew that everything was over and life would never be the same for me or the children. The dream had ended badly. That evening I decided that if I had to be divorced, then at least I was going to turn a new leaf and commit it to God. I sat down and wrote a list of everything I was committing to God and what I desired from Him.  I told Him that I had done everything the best way I knew how to do it.  That I had been obedient to Him through it all.  That I had given it my all, my everything, to try to keep the marriage together, even giving up my own personal happiness, but it had not been enough.  I told Him I was giving up, that God could do what ever He wanted to do with me and I would learn anything He wanted to teach me.  I made a promise to God that day, one that I have kept as fully as I know how.  I promised God that anything I would learn from what He wanted to teach me, I would use for Him. 

A process began to unfold.  The process included an emptying of my self, my wants and my wishes.  I began praying lengthy and personal prayers.  I kept a journal of thoughts and quotes from the books I was plowing over.  I sought God with my whole heart, fully focused though grieving deeply over my losses. Through this process of searching for God, I began to heal in my fractured heart.  This was extremely painful as I revisited the past to seek closure and newness.  For four years amazing moments with God became the norm for me.  In my excitement, I would share elements of this with my ladies in my Women’s Ministry group.  God became alive to me.  Did you know, God desires our broken hearts?  We listen best and yield more fully when we let go and quit doing it our way. 

In time, I had this inner compelling to tell my story to my church family.  There were many parts in my story I had kept secret to protect my family, not even my minister knew the worst parts of it.  For eighteen months I debated whether to tell my story.  I was afraid to speak about the adultery, yet that had been the hardest part for me, even worse than the abandonments.  I knew I could only speak because God had healed me and had become so real in my personal walk.  Over the years, I had figured out some truths about the church that I wanted to share as well.  Things like, why legalism doesn’t work...which is because it is not based on “relationship,” about loving because of God’s love in us wants to flow out, and “doing” versus “being,” that we get in the wrong order in church work.  It took me two Sundays to share out, almost an hour in length for each one.  Pain and healing.  That was it.  After speaking, I expected God to open up a ministry to the hurting.  But He didn’t.  That came later.  It is just now unfolding. 

My desire to share my love for God with you and with others is a great compelling God has put in my heart.  My book, The Meeting Place, is a labor of love to show my book’s readers that God is here.  He is with us.  God is interested in us.  In recent years I have sensed God has more for me than I have as of yet experienced.  I found my school teaching frustrating.  Not only was it stressful, but in general my heart was seeking a new direction. To find a way to reach out to the world to share the sweetness of my Savior and to help other sufferers find healing for their deepest hurts in the emotional realm.  I could not speak of Jesus to my students or with most of my colleagues.  That was very hard to not do when the needs are often so great. During a visit to Colorado to see my daughter and her family, I picked up a book off of her shelf, one she had read for a course at Biola, a Christian university.  It was about our calling, how God has a purpose for all of us, a reason for our existence.  This calling is something that only we can do.  I was reading the book at my leisure, yet I knew what Os Guinness was saying.  Calling doesn't always seem sensible. Common sense can block a sense of calling in our lives.  Remember when Jesus said to the teachers in the synagogue, “I must be about my Father’s business.”  That is calling.  He knew what he was here to do and then he went about doing it.

What does my calling look like?  I am not so sure.  A year ago I left my teaching position even though I needed at least another six years to retire with a livable pension, double the amount I am receiving now.  To leave or not leave my teaching career was a great debate within me that I could not silence.  In the end, I believed it was time to step out in faith into the calling I felt God had been preparing me for all my life. Publishing my book was a small step in the direction of calling.  Even it was not without its worries.  When you have a family and you are writing personal accounts, you have to think about your family and your ex-husband, that they might not like everything you write.  It works that way.  God comes first. We can still be kind though, in what we say or how we say it. 

I no longer feel bad about the way my life has turned out or the hardships I have experienced.  They have made me what I am and have given me a vehicle to use to share how God has sustained me through it all.  I believe He knew all along that I would always turn to Him and that in the end, He could call me to share His grace and goodness with you and the world.  He says to not count the cost.  And, that is what I shall do.

Going to court years later over custody issues. Anxious. Trusting in God.
God is good to us.  He has never taken my smile away.  Praise Him for giving me something to smile about.  He is good to us.

Blessings to you all.  God loves you.

Norma L. Brumbaugh

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MERIDIAN MINUTE no. 8 ~Deliverance~

Black walnut trees by frontage road at dusk.


“For you have delivered me from death

    and my feet from stumbling,

that I may walk before God

    in the light of life.”

                                                                    Psalm 56:13

The lights hanging down from the ceiling began to weave and bob. Movement in the room like a slight shifting began to gain my attention rather rapidly!  “What’s going on?” my daughter asked as she hurried from the hallway into the kitchen where I stood still as a statue. I had been through a few of these over the years and was pretty certain what it was.

“I think we’re having an earthquake.” The restless movement continued on a bit then stopped. “Whew.” I wondered out loud if there was anything on her IPAD about it. She said her FaceBook friends were posting “Earthquake!!!” Kind of exciting stuff! A pastor friend of mine in Greenville, the location of the quake’s epicenter, said they were okay up there, later on he posted a video from a supermarket showing the cans and merchandise falling off the shelves while an employee rushes out of the way of falling items. My daughter and I were both feeling relieved that we now live in a well-built home, wondering if the old house we just moved from survived the earthquake (it did).

Storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fires, and other natural occurrences unleash a power that even the best technology and planning cannot prevent. In some ways, we are helpless during the event, trying our best to prepare in advance or to prevent greater harm to those we love and to protect our earthly possessions. There are many other types of storms in life that catch us ill prepared, overwhelming our resources and altering our futures. You know what they are and have experienced a few of them: illness, accidents, betrayal, divorce, death, loss, broken hearts, job loss, financial reversals, emotional wounds, abuse, addictions, disappointment, rejection, and so forth. When these type of life events come our way they have a way of upsetting the applecart, often hurting us deeply. Often, along with the negative circumstance, a residual fall-out occurs which comes in waves that impact our nearest and dearest. What is our anchor during adversity?

Tonight someone called me who I deeply respect as a friend and as a follower of Christ. At first I didn't get it, that this call was because he was in pain and in need of a listening ear, hoping I would understand. The least I could do was to encourage him in his walk of faith. He is in the middle of one of these hard life events where people let you down and cause you pain. I was not given the particulars but I was asked to pray. What does one pray for when another is suffering? All I know is what kind of prayers comfort and help me during such times. I pray for God’s intervention, the strength to carry on, the wisdom to learn, grace to forgive, the ability to walk close with God, and the warmth of God's love and presence.

“For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” I picture God helping us as He holds our hand while we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We trust Him to keep us safe and on the right path. I committed this verse to memory a year ago in an effort to bring the words close in my thinking when I am in need of their strength and comfort. Powerful words. The last phrase is especially rich. It is the nugget of pure gold found embed in the hard place as God mines to extract it during the times when He keeps us from stumbling and on the right path--where we will find and experience deliverance. 

The end result? ...that I may walk before God in the light of life.


Photo looking east from creek bank by farm.

“Jesus turned and saw her.
‘Take heart daughter,’ he said,
 ‘Your faith has healed you.’
And the woman was healed from that moment.’
                                                      Matthew 9:22

~Compassion and Healing~

A woman told the story about her healing of a physical ailment of the skin that had caused her much distress. A school teacher by occupation, the constant rashes were an annoyance and embarrassment, the lesions were obvious to her students and others. This woman decided to stake a claim on three verses of scripture, the above verse being one of them, and pray for her physical healing. She began to ask God for her healing. “Prepare yourself for My healing,”  was the thought she would receive in response to her pleas. A date was selected a couple of months away. She pictured herself being healed of the skin disorder, how her skin would look once healed.  She would not allow herself to disbelieve. 

The day arrived. When she got up that morning she looked at her arms and face, the redness and irritation seemed to have lessened but the rash was still there. She claimed her healing, repeating the prayer out loud. The day went on. The evening came, again she looked in the mirror. Clear skin. Miraculous! It was obvious that God had acted on her faith and prayers. Her skin has remained clear. I read her personal account in an inspirational magazine. A few months later a follow-up comment was referenced to this story, another woman wrote saying that she had prayed the same verses in trust of God’s healing power. She as well, had received God’s healing touch.

God heals. He does. God acts on prayers. He does. God cares. He does, he most assuredly does! “Take care, sweet child of God” I can almost hear Him say, for He loves us so dearly. His words are gentle. They are. His actions are kind. They are. Christ is attractive, compelling, intelligent, soft-spoken, real. He is. He also keeps us guessing. He does. It is not for us to know how He will respond to our prayers. But we do know this, He always will respond. Another truism, God answers through the use of time. His relationship to time is different than it is for us. God is never in a rush but He is always on time.

I want you to know an important truth, the most important truth of all. God loves you. He does. He loves you so much. You may not need physical healing, but you do need healing. Deep inside of you hidden by your outward facade, is that part of you that needs healing. It does. God says, “Take heart my child, your faith has healed you.” His arms are wide, open, waiting to fold you into His loving embrace. “I love you. Come to me. Believe in Me. I will forgive your sins, heal your heart, and set you free.” His gift to you is Himself, His healing salvation, His life in your life. You will be healed, in that quiet shrouded place where your deepest longing for significance and meaning resides. When Christ comes in, really comes in, the emptiness abates. Life becomes meaningful. God wants to repair, restore, and renew you. He does. 
God loves you.

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.

And yes, He does.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013



“Do everything in love.”

                                          1 Corinthians 16:14

Love is one of those topics that is easy to speak about. Song lyrics, poetry, stories, romance. There is much to say about “love.” Without love life would not be worth living, at least I don’t think so.  Love is key to opening the door for another person and key to energizing one’s own personal dynamics. In this case, the concept is a statement from the Scriptures given as a principle for adherence with an expected compliance component for those of the Faith. However, it is not so easy to fulfill if love is constrained or not fully in residence in the person.  How can this be? Quite easy in fact. Volume after volume could be written as to why. Let me suffice it to say, love has a lot to do with personal experiences, personal motivation, emotional health, attitude toward negative injurious happenings, spiritual belief and its reality in a life, inner healing, and brokenness. One cannot give what one does not possess.

If we do everything “in love” a spirit must be in us that looks beyond circumstances and situations or personal preferences. Having love as the motivator means that there is not an expectation of something good in return, expecting a positive result, a payback on the “investment” of our time and energy. As I think on it, it comes into focus. Doing everything in love is actually freeing. How so? With love as the guide, all that we say or do will be done in the right spirit. This frees up the person. When a positive response to our actions is no longer the expected outcome, we become less concerned about the result and more concerned with loving the person or loving through the activity in which we are engaged.

There is a man in my church who is in his sixties. As long as I have known him, which is many years, he has worked a very taxing job for a small company in town, one that is physically demanding with long hours. He is employed in the reupholstering business. During some seasons he works extra long hours designing and reupholstering everything from boat seat cushions to easy chair recliners. Diligent, hard-working, self-motivated, uncomplaining. His secret? I know his secret and why I have never heard him complain (and he doesn’t get paid vacations either).  During a Sunday School lesson that he was teaching, he said these words, “I pray over every reupholstering project that I do. I ask God to help me, that I will do it well and that it will bring pleasure to the person who is the recipient.” He said this humbly. I believe this man is stacking up reward in heaven because he works in a spirit of love. Each project is prayed for in a business where you wouldn’t expect prayer. He gets it. We can learn from people like him.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  A year ago I read these words in a Christian psychology book, sadly applicable to me in every way. These days, when I am feeling anxious about something, they return in my thinking as a prompt to not be afraid to act, to not let fear keep me from doing things I have the skill to do. There is so much I would have done with my life if I hadn’t been afraid. Fear is limiting. It affects every interview, it implodes every confrontation, it impedes a healthy self-concept, it ruins what could have been. In my life, a spirit of fear kept me from doing everything in love. Although I loved people and cared deeply for them and I loved my work and cared how well I was accomplishing my teaching objectives, I was kept from loving well by an inner crippling fear of people. It often kept me silent when I wanted to speak, kept me from achieving things I knew I had the talent and capability to do. How did this happen? I think fear has always been a companion of mine that has limited me from full performance. Being timid and shy and feeling “less than” in situation after situation reduced my ability to be confident or act with confidence. I didn’t believe I was smart or had much to offer. Because of my quietness, few encouraged me to be more (which would have helped) or let me in on the truth that I had something of value to offer. I was one of those quiet kids that teachers forget about because they don’t make any noise, are always compliant, not making any splash. What we believe about ourselves has a way of playing out in real life. Realizing my fear and then setting about to conquer it has been a slow and tedious process. However, I am making progress in this.

A key unlocked my prison door of fear. Yes!  This key was an unexpected gift to me. An interesting process began unfolding as I began falling deeper in love with my Savior. The more I was experiencing love in my heart, which was given to me as my thinking was dwelling in Him, the more freeing up of my self was being experienced. The more free I felt, and the more healthy and whole I became, the more healing and release from pain that had resided in my closed heart, the more possible it was for me to love without limits or boundaries. The love of Christ began working in me to free my spirit. In the process, love began to change me. Rigid self-righteous thoughts and behaviors began leaving me and love started invading me. I was becoming whole and healthy, less focused on myself, less rigid and judgmental in my attitudes. Love changed me. God’s love. Doing everything in love, is not a formula. It’s not! Love that is hidden in Christ will outwork in everything you do and with everyone you meet. The real key is this, it is to keep close to the love source. Love’s Source is the Triune God, the God of all loves.
                                           Cliff at Lookout Point, Paradise, CA.  NLB

Monday, May 27, 2013



“But let justice roll down like waters,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

                                                                      Amos 5:24.
~Justice and Righteousness~

Beautiful words, powerful, gentle, true, just lovely. The imagery is what caught my attention, why I wrote it down to remember for future reference. Not long ago I was doodling on scraps of paper with an objective in mind. I was trying to find a title for the book I was writing. A title I considered was The River Flows for it represents an on-going sensation both powerful and causal. It was quickly abandoned as an idea after I inserted the name in Amazon books and saw that many other authors also find it to speak. “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, gives movement to two words of truth: justice and righteousness. Even in childhood we understand these concepts at a very basic in-born attitude. “Not fair” is something even a very young tot will understand when they are the recipients of unfair treatment by another child or an adult. In adulthood it is quite easily recognized in the workplace when favoritism or prejudices impact choices or preferences. Humans can hardly escape this even with laws on the books to prevent it.  Justice requires certain dynamics. It demonstrates a relationship between two agents whether it is a person to an event, a person and the law, a child and the expectation, a people and its governing rule, the list goes on. In its pure form, justice will be fair and right.

Truth, in simultaneous blend with righteousness, is intertwined with the laws of God. God? How can that be? Without a standard for truth it is not possible to define what is right or even wrong for that matter. The value we put on human life is part of this sense of right and wrong. Unbelief in regard to religious matters cannot disregard this inner sense of rightness. No one needs to be taught that it is appalling to physically harm another person. The conscience knows this. The conscience can be hardened against this knowledge, it can become duplicitous, choosing when and when not to apply it. But, in its original state, the conscience is alive, giving out signals to the brain that create an awareness in the human's mind. 

Justice and righteousness can be developed over time and through spiritual ministrations. An awakening happens in the sensitivity part of a person when God arrives on the scene and starts calling their name as He brings them closer to His being and His love. When this happens, the soul comes alive and truth in the spiritual realm becomes understandable. Simply stated, the blindness becomes sighted. Because truth originates in God, righteousness and justice will come from Him. Anyone who has received the touch of God in their life will never be the same, even if they choose to ignore it. The verse referenced above is when God's ministrations in a person, people, or land is allowed to flow unrestricted. God will always be this way. I have learned through trial and error that even in the hard things, God offers a sweetness that is unbelievably and unalterably pure and good.

When my youngest child was a baby just over a year old, we were visiting at Grandma’s house. My mother and I were having a conversation when we lost track of my daughter. I didn’t see her in the dining room where we were visiting and it was a cold day, she couldn't wander far. I knew she had not gone out the house. Then I noticed the hall door ajar. There she was, sitting at the end of the long dark hallway in that old farmhouse. Caught in the act! Sticky fingers and a mouth full of candy told it all! She was eating candy she had sneaked out of the candy jar. It made me smile inside, how devious is the human nature and how young one is when it becomes apparent, when they figure out it’s best to hide so they won’t get in trouble. For a little child, it is the parent or teacher who is the person who administers a code of justice and provides a parameter of righteous boundaries seen in the allowable actions versus non-allowable actions by employing a consequence factor. Always the hard part of parenting.

It is interesting how hard  we as humans resist having boundaries. “I’d rather do it myself.” That is how we are. The will of a person seeks to dominate even when it knows better. To center this "will" and put it where it should operate takes a lifetime of practice. The good news is that God understands this nature. He sees our self-actualized bent for He made us this way. To work with us and to help us, He uses situations and people plus the beauty of His creation in combination with our intellect and will; all of these put together to bring us to an awareness of Him. When the person submits their self-centered will and gives up their independent nature ( where it operates apart from God), then justice will roll freely down and righteousness will flow, a supernatural enabling from the Father God who loves His creation.

                           Another offering from Lookout Point.  2011 ~ NLB

Saturday, May 25, 2013

April 12, 2003 ~ Quoted from my Journal, Book 3

Put to death sin that is in me, that is against God. Expose it, search me and try me, see if there is any wicked thing in me, O God, I ask it. In Thee do I trust from morning to evening in season and out, year after year. I ask your hand upon me, your truth within me, and your spirit flowing from me.

WE ARE EITHER living in the spirit or in the flesh. The door to both cannot be open at the same time [Spirit? < Soul > ?Flesh]. I have been thinking about Christians, how some find themselves living partly in the world and part in the Church, how when the world becomes greater they want the Church to adapt to the world to embrace some of its tenants. In its pure form, the Church cannot remain unspoiled if it becomes sullied by the world especially in its philosophy. What the Church believes about the authority of God and its response to that authority makes a great deal of difference. If truth is compromised the end result is a weakened message and an unstable foundation.

Remaining pure can also be an outward visage, manifestation, a conformity of behavior to codes and standards, and misleading, if pride and arrogance generate from separateness.  This one is subtle and takes great humility to recognize and overcome. I know, since I have been there and could easily return. We are such a people of extremes. We rarely live in moderation.

In truth, it all starts with me. No one else can live my life for me nor make my decisions. I long to have the blessed beauty of Christ to be made manifest in me.

"Any strand of our own energy will blur the life of Christ. We have to let go (keep letting go) and slowly and surely the great full life of God will invade us in every part, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus." My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Wild mustard an various weeds in pasture land.

"We always carry around in our body
             the death of Jesus,

                     so that the life of Jesus

                             may also be revealed in our body.”     2 Corinthians 4:10

WRAPPING MY MIND around this verse’s concept does not come easy–at least it takes some doing. It lends itself to contemplation. It appears this verse is saying that when Christ's life is revealed in my body, His death must be in me, too. Wow!  Pretty fantastic words. Remember the saying, You may be the only book someone reads. There are many similar sayings. Your actions speak louder than your words. Let your light shine so others can see itJesus, Others, and You...what a wonderful way to spell J-O-Y!  These are a bit of a stretch, but it seems that the point is hidden in their words. When someone dies to self because new life has come in, it then becomes Jesus’ life in them. His nature is revealed in the recipient.  It is a regenerating process.

In nature each seed is part of a process of death. The seed is dead, if nothing activates it the seed will remain dead. Within this dead seed there is also “life.”  A miracle takes place, it will spring to life when moisture softens and penetrates the seed's layers until the little kernel begins to sprout a
sprout. The sprout sprouts in two ways, sprouting a root that heads one direction, sprouting a stem with miniature buds. Leaves will begin to emerge as it sprouts to life into an amazing creative living form. A sprout to the glory of God!  (Like the sprouts?)  In gardening it is a thrill when the plant begins its journey as it bursts through the soil to reach up toward the sunlight.  A resurrection process that plays itself over and over again with similarities to the human soul.


Coastline, Fort Bragg, California.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ 
            and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those
            who are perishing.
To the one we are the smell of death; to the other; the fragrance of life.
            And who is equal to such a task?
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.
            On the contrary, in Christ, we speak from God with sincerity, like men sent 
            from God.”
                                                                                    -2 Corinthians 4:10

THE ANALOGY is often made that those who follow Christ are pilgrims in this life: Strangers. Visitors. Temporary residents. Their destiny? A future home in Heaven. It is the place that will be called home for those who are believers in Christ and have participated in His salvation, the redeeming of their souls. No longer earth-bound, their souls have life in the heavenly realm. With this in mind, it is not strange that the world does not understand. Their new mind-set, of these believing pilgrims, is contrary to the values of things earthly, a form of contradiction that can not be settled in this life. 

Not to worry. The fragrance of this life is sweet. Its aroma is heady, fulfilling, invigorating, gentle, delicate, strong, pungent at times. The scent drifts in the dark places of the earth, it wafts through conflicted places where hope is dim, it lifts to the mountains, it descends to the valleys, it hovers over the waterways and depths. For God is here and there, in people who love Him, we speak with sincerity like men sent from God. An awareness and delight that is enhanced through the wonders of flora and fauna, His presence amongst us magnified by all the beauties of nature and moments in time.