December 31 / Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31:30

A woman should be praised, not for her appearance, but for her spiritual maturity. For this is what will truly last.

A woman’s love for God and for others results in a beauty that can be perceived more through our sixth sense, which is much deeper and far surpasses the other five.

And yet this inner beauty will mysteriously radiate and manifest itself in a physical beauty that is beyond explanation. A “glow” if you will.

May this truer-to-life filter be the one through which we view all women, always looking below the surface  and into the soul, to see the beauty that is there, for that is our true self–that jewel at the core of each and every one of us!

December 30 / Proverbs 30

Proverbs 30:33

Just as sure as punching somebody’s nose makes it bleeds, so stirring up anger causes trouble and leads to accusations.

In any given situation, think through first what you really want to come of it. So often, when approaching something that needs attention, we just say what we feel like saying in the moment without consulting wisdom, and all we succeed in accomplishing is making someone angry or angrier.

If a friend needs correction or admonishment, make sure it is filled with grace and gentleness. Seek first to understand then to be understood via good questions. Going off on people just shuts the part of their brain down that allows them to rationalize and actually hear you. Telling them coldly all that is wrong with them is likely to result in their accusing you of something you’re not stellar at either and then all hell has broken loose.

Did you really want to help, or just air your frustrations?

December 29 / Proverbs 29

Proverbs 29:1

Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.

Those who think they need no help are the ones in need of the most help.

Proverbs 29:11

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.

There’s quite a difference between venting and seeking wise counsel. Brain studies have shown that mere venting is actually detrimental to dealing with issues. All it does is tell your body to relive a bad experience and add to your anger. But seeking advice or prayer is a different matter. That is the pursuit of healing, not a feeble attempt to feel better for a moment.

December 28 / Proverbs 28 / John 21

Proverbs 28:26

Those who trust in themselves are foolish, but those who walk in wisdom will be kept safe.

What I believe is of the utmost importance in these days of our insanely noisy culture of distraction from what is truly important, are encounters with God in solitude, quiet, and listening.  It is in this place of meditative silence that the many voices competing for our attention are finally able to be turned down. This does not come at once, but with practice.

How can we hear someone except to be quiet and listen for two seconds? The same goes with listening to God. How can we hear Him unless we quiet ourselves and the voices around us so as to actually hear Him who is always speaking to us?

God is spirit, and must be worshipped and communicated with in spirit and in truth.

We don’t expect to see God with our bodily eyes-simply because we can sense only what is spatio-temporally limited. We can’t see God by some sort of intellectual vision, because cognition depends on a sensory infrastructure which cannot contain divinity. It is only at the level of spirit that God is visible. For us to see God we have to leave behind the world of sense, enter the region of unknowing and allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide.”If we have known Christ Jesus according to the flesh, then we know him thus no longer” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

-from Toward God by Michael Casey

This has absolutely, unequivocally been my experience.

John 21:21-22

“Master, what about him?”

“…what’s that got to do with you? Follow me!”

Yet another distraction from where our hearts should be. When you find yourself wondering if mega-churches are on the right path or if other denominations have the correct doctrine and practices, imagine Jesus Himself asking you, “What’s that got to do with you following Me?”

I’ve noticed this Christmas season, for whatever reason, that we humans have quite an intense affinity for talking about others and their shortcomings. Why? Well, when we’re discussing that topic, the pressure is off of us, isn’t it? We don’t have to think or talk about our own shortcomings or areas of needed growth. Unless of course we have no need for growth. Then I guess we can talk about people all day long…

But seriously, what if we, as Christ followers, made an agreement with ourselves that we will not speak negatively of others, at all. If nothing else, we will remain silent, not giving in to fueling the fires of gossip. I’ve tried this a couple times this week, and it went well, tho feeling slightly awkward at first-just not responding at all-but the convo stopped. It had nowhere to go due to the cut-off of supply line.

If nothing else, before responding, imagine Jesus asking you, “What does that have to do with you following Me?”

December 27 / Proverbs 27 / John 20

Proverbs 27:6

The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you, but the kisses of an enemy are nothing but lies.

We can totally trust the constructive criticism from someone who genuinely cares about us and sees us accurately. It is ego and pride that get in our way from benefitting from this good thing. Think of how much more quickly we could improve or learn life lessons if we just set our pride and our fear of not being seen well aside. We don’t need more flattery, we need honest assessments if we really want to go to the next level of living life well.

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.

You do not gain wisdom in isolation. This is why we must meet together. This is why it is imperative to stay in close contact with one another. It is to improve each other. The more contact, the more we grow. Even Arnold had a workout partner.

John 20:30-31

Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which aren’t written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that the Messiah, the Son of God, is none other than Jesus; and that, with this faith, you may have life in His name.

Here John writes for us the why of His gospel account. He wrote what he wrote so that we can see that Jesus really was the Messiah and therefore believe it. But not only that. He wrote all this so that by believing it, we would have the eternal kind of life available to us in His name.

It’s not enough to just believe, but not act upon or follow. I can believe that eating natural foods will improve the health and well being of my body, but still eat fast food everyday.

The point is more participation. Absorption of this truth into our heart and brain so that it permeates everything we do, say, and think. Every moment of our life passing through the filter that says Jesus is the source of Life that really is Life. It replaces our old filter of the world’s weak and stupid philosophies of pleasing self, of scarcity thinking, of fear.

As Christ followers, we operate out of the abundance from His Life flowing into ours to overflowing. That overflow touches the world, and all those who come into contact with us are blessed by Him. But only if we are taking the time to fill up from Him. Otherwise we are on our own. When operating on my own power, I imagine God saying to me, “Well, good luck. Let me know how that turns out for you. I’m always here if you need me (and hint: YOU DO NEED ME!!!).”

December 25-26 / Proverbs 25-26 / John 18-19

Proverbs 25:12

The combination of a wise correction and a listening ear is pure gold.

Proverbs 26:7

Wisdom spoken by someone who is not living or acting on what they say, generally falls useless on its listeners’ ears, even if it is truth. The fat personal trainer giving nutritional and exercise counsel, even if scientifically accurate, is laughed at.  May this challenge us to first live God’s ways before advising others to do so. This does not mean we have to be perfect, of course, but words spoken from a heart taking them seriously and acting upon them, will be well received, even if not agreed with. Don’t be that guy who becomes known as the dude who is always telling everybody what they should do. As has been said, “Don’t should all over people.”

John 18:4

Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to Him. He went out to meet them.

He knew He was going to be abandoned, mocked, tortured, and killed, and we went voluntarily to meet His betrayer anyway. What a man! What a man of love. Always looking at the greater good and glory ahead rather than narrowly focused on the pain of the moment, yet still doubtlessly feeling it in His humanity.

Oh how often I hold back, fearing some rejection or just the possibility of love or sacrifice not being returned. It’s passages such as this that gently remind me of how far off the mark of Christ I am, yet inspire me press onward, to grow in the likeness of Him. That is the voice of our Holy Spirit, gently reminding us, pressing us onward.

I pray that I will meet people where they are, even if I know they will reject or even hurt me. For this is the cosmic power of the universe in Logos.

John 19:30

Jesus fulfilled all the prophesies, and accomplished all He set out and was suppose to do. At the moment of His death He gave His Spirit which was to replace His physical body on earth. Through a work impossible for any other human, He gave over what is to fill us and be Him in the world. May we appreciate this sacrificial and powerful accomplishment.

The more open we are to Him, the more surrendered and submitted, the more Jesus is here on earth.

What do you need to remove in order for Jesus to more fully reign on earth through you?

Christmas 2013

This child will bring healing to the world. Healing through freedom for each heart who believes…

Freedom from guilt.

Freedom from the need for approval of people.

Freedom from the search for significance and worth in anything but Me.

Freedom from the desire to possess.

Healing via metanoia— a change of vision…

To see the world as it really is, ascribing all that is in it its true value.

Ascribing all people infinite value, seeing the precious jewel at the core of each person.

To see all people with His vision: compassion, understanding, and self-offering

Healing with the gift of constant, direct access to the Source of Life and strength and love.

Healing by experiencing My moment-by-moment comforting Presence, support, guidance, help, and unconditional Love to all who seek it from the utmost sincerity of their heart.

This is what this child shall bring…

The Power Of Joy

From The Life Model

www.lifemodel.org

Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You

 

  • We are wired for joy and wholeness from birth, but we live in a fractured world in which we experience traumas (type A & type B) which block maturity.
  • In the our first two years out of the womb, the desire to experience joy is the most powerful force in our life.
  • Joy is relational and is best defined as “someone is glad to be with me.”
  • Some neurologists now say that the basic human need is to be the “sparkle in someone’s eye.”
  • When this joy is the strongest force in a child’s world, life makes sense because they look forward to moments when they can reconnect to joy – being with their beloved. And this desire for joy continues throughout life.
  • Life makes sense and is empowered by joy when people are in relationship with those who love them and are sincerely “glad to be with them.”
  • Joy is produced when someone is “glad to see me.” It is contagious and travels back and forth between people through nonverbal cues at a rate of six cycles per second.
  • Joy also comes from a relationship with God who knows everything about me and is still “as-glad-as-glad-can-get” to be with me. Immanuel.
  • 21st century neuroscience is affirming everything YHWH told us in the Bible and through Jesus thousands of years ago. This is something to pay attention to.
  • Just the knowledge of someone “glad to be with me” can return us to joy. It does not even have to be physically experienced.
  • This is what can heal our traumas from this fractured world because it builds our joy strength. Your potential joy strength must be greater than your pain in order to recover.
  • Having enough joy strength is fundamental to a person’s well being. We now know that a “joy center” exists in the right orbital prefrontal cortex of the brain. It has executive control over the entire emotional system. When the joy center has been sufficiently developed, it regulates emotions, pain control and immunity centers; it guides us to act like ourselves; it releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and seratonin; and it is the only part of the brain that overrides the main drive centers – food and sexual impulses, terror and rage. The brain’s “joy center” is the only section of the brain that never loses its capacity to grow! So “joy strength” can always continue to develop!
  • How does it grow? It grows in response to real, joy-filled relationships. This is part of God’s very design for our healing.
  • 1] Smile whenever you see your child 2] Use authentic voice tones 3] Be genuinely glad to be with them 4] Have sacred time (tech free) – Remember, people respond to how we are feeling about them on the inside

 

 

Contempt

In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell mentions a marriage counselor who can predict, with better than ninety percent accuracy, if a marriage will succeed or if it will end.  He films a couple interacting for about ten minutes or so, then combs through the video, second by second, looking for four things – defensiveness, being critical, stonewalling and contempt. The most important of these predictors, he says, is contempt because it, more than the others, crosses gender lines.  It is the most destructive and divisive.  It is beyond anger, for it is heiarchical.  Anger says, “I can’t stand you!” or “I am so mad at you!”  But contempt says, “You bitch!”  It places the other person on a lower level of humanity.

☩☩☩

Upon hearing this, my mind went to Jesus’ so called Sermon on the Mount.  In it He stated that anyone who says to someone, “You fool!” is in danger of or liable to the fires of Gehenna [Matt. 5:22].  Growing up, I never really understood this at all.  It seemed overly harsh in a shallow sort of way for Jesus’ teaching.  I’ve heard that some preachers say that this was Jesus’ way of telling us not say “GD.”  But Dallas Willard wrote that here, the Master Teacher is actually dealing with contempt, and Gladwell’s section about the marriage counselor brought it all together for me.

☩☩☩

This is the brilliance of Jesus.  Who knows the human heart better than the One who made it?  He knew what goes on inside the human heart for the words “You fool” to escape the mouth.  He knew that these word were motivated by contempt and He knew the depths of its destructive and dividing power long before we figured it out.  It wasn’t about just calling people names or saying bad words. In our modern society of busyness and traffic, it’s usually, “You a**h***!”  But it’s not just saying that, it’s the contempt in our hearts that evokes this tonal manifestation of destruction.  In essence, I am placing that person beneath me, and doing so is evil.

☩☩☩

How do we deal with preventing contempt from polluting our hearts?  Meditate on Jesus’ teachings.  Contemplate them and we will find them to be much deeper than what we can take in from a quick reading, or rote memorization.  His words are the truth of life, and words with that much substance require much chewing before they can be properly ingested.  May we accept and feed the inner transformational healing of Jesus so that contempt is nowhere to be found in the hidden depths of our inner self, but only love for all.  Only then will the words “You fool”  not even enter our mind.

Philippians 2:3☩Romans 12:3

 

December 24 / Proverbs 24 / John 17

Proverbs 24:3

It takes wisdom to have a good family, and it takes understanding to make it strong.

Nothing great comes without great effort. Great effort must be made in understanding others if your goal is to have peaceful relationships, a loving family, or shalom. Ministry is loving and even studying people so as to better care for and serve them. We bring awareness to one another in order to strengthen our intentionality. That, I believe, is the point and power of awareness. Once you recognize a pattern or habit, you can then be more intentional in addressing and healing the brokeness that will now be clearly visible to you. Here lies the immense value of being that mirror to each other. “Hey, did you notice that whenever you talk about ‘So and So’, that your demeanor changes and you show anger?” If someone is a good enough friend to detect, as well as challenge us in this way, we should embrace it! Thank you! Now I can be much more intentional in growing in this area you brought awareness to. “Also, did you know you have basil in your teeth?” Thank you!

John 17:24

“Father, I want the ones you’ve given me to be with me where I am. I want them to see my glory, the glory which you’ve given me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

This chapter gives us the longest and most intimate prayer by Jesus we have recorded for us. For some reason, this chapter in particular always hearkens me to the last verse of John’s gospel where he states that if everything Jesus did was written down, the world could not hold the amount of books that would be required for this monumental task. Therefore, the tiny fraction of what Jesus did that is contained in these canonical gospel accounts is of the highest importance to us. It deserves our utmost attention. And in all four accounts, we have just one personal prayer of any considerable length by Jesus to His Father. So every part of it is of vital importance.

What then did He pray for?

Throughout the prayer He prays that we experience God’s love and Presence. Jesus desires that we be where He is-in the loving and constant Presence of YHWH. That is to say, the manifest Presence of God. Yes, He is omnipresent, but Jesus wants us to live into the divine, comforting Presence by experiencing it, acknowledging it. That is the manifest Presence as opposed to the mere omnipresence. It is not just the cold fact that God is everywhere, but rather He is for us, loving us at every moment, ready to walk with you every moment. This is where Jesus lived while on earth and it is where He desires that we would live.

I like how Greg Boyd reminds himself of this by often proclaiming, “I have never been more loved than I am right now at this very moment.” And you can say that at any given moment of your life. God is for you right now.

Jesus says to each of us, “I want you to be with Me. I desire for us to experience life together in the Divine Embrace.” How comforting is that? There is no better place to be. God’s part is just being there, always ready and willing to walk with us through any and all nuances of our life. Our part is simply to acknowledge it and live into what He is offering every moment.