Choose Life

levitra originale 20 mg miglior prezzo This week in Holy Yoga classes, we are exploring Moses’ words from Deuteronomy 30.  For years, this has been one of my favorite passages in Scripture not because it is a feel good passage but because it is a soul-convicting passage.  Moses is nearing the end of his life.  He has reluctantly led the Israelites out of their Egyptian slavery; he has been like a father to them through all the trials and tribulations of 40 years in the wilderness.   In Deuteronomy 30, Moses writes boldly, passionately and prophetically.  His words call the Israelites to remember all that God has done, to remember His covenant, to remember His laws and the consequences of breaking the law:

canadian drug companies for viagra “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it” (Deut 30:15-16).  

source link Seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?  Obey God’s rules and be blessed in the promised land.  Nevertheless, we know the plight of the Israelites, the plight of us still today.  They forgot; they broke the covenant and worshipped other gods; they forsook the Lord and His commands and sought to do life their way.  It didn’t work well.  They did enter the promised land thanks to the courageous leadership of men like Joshua and Caleb, but they did not remain in God’s blessings due to their sin and rebellion.  

enter site Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.  Just as God rescued His people out of slavery in Egypt, He will rescue them once again.  They are rescued by the merciful and mighty hand of God, but they still have the responsibility to make choices for life, abundant life in Him.  This responsibility is what I bear today; it is what makes this passage soul convicting.  Am I choosing to do life God’s way, trusting in His promised blessings or do I do things Brooke’s way?  What about you?  Today, will we choose “life and good”?

Raining on the Inside

A conversation with a friend last night prompted to me to go back and listen to Amy Grant music (yes, I am old). Amy Grant’s music meant so much to me in my early years as a christian. Right now the song “Raining on the Inside” is playing. The words are powerful and remind me of a truth I have shared in some small group meetings this week.
 
We so often compare our insides with other people’s outsides. They look like they have it all together. However, we don’t see what is going on underneath the surface. There is often much hidden pain, fear, and insecurity.
 
With the recent public suicides, I am reminded of how fragile we humans truly are. I think God’s call for us is authenticity, allowing people to see that rain on the inside of us. Authenticity allows true community; it also allows for healing.
 
Change begins with one person being brave, allowing her insides to show and creating space for others to do the same.

Breath of Life

Tonight I sat with my 91 year old neighbor while she breathed her last breaths. I got to talk to her of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. A couple of days ago, I saw a vision of my sweet neighbor, whom I affectionately called my 4th child, dancing with Jesus — what a precious thing to share with her. It was the most glorious dance. She was beautiful; Jesus was dazzling; the ballroom was breathtaking. She was fully healed and whole in His presence.
 
Each and every day, we are invited into this dance with Jesus. It doesn’t have to be at our last breath. Having lost two people whom I dearly love in the past couple of weeks, I am reminded of how precious life is. We have to choose life each and every day. We have to choose to love even when it hurts; we have to choose to forgive even when it costs us something; we have to choose to pursue the dreams God has put on our hearts.
 
The temptation is to play it safe, but there is no abundant life in safe. Each of us will breath our last breath. What will we do between now and then?
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).

Honor Your Body But Don’t Worship It

“Don’t worship food. Honor the body that God gave you by eating sensible portions of sensible food” (Food, Fitness and Faith).
 
Today, it seems we gravitate between two extremes — obsession with the body and the appearance of the body and a sense of detachment from the body, even to the point of neglect. God calls us to care for our bodies. That care is not idolatry nor is it denial.
 
Our bodies do not define us. God defines us. We are worthy and lovely just as we are because we are made in His image. I wonder if we were able to rest in God’s perfect love and acceptance of us if we might be motivated to make life giving changes. Little changes add up quickly, changes such as drinking enough water; eating more vegetables and fruits; and incorporating exercise.
 
Nothing is worthy of worship but God. What does it look like for your to worship Him alone then ask Him to guide you in caring for your body?

The God Who Sees

source site Moving from Lake Mary to Houston was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I experienced the  intense grief of leaving all that I knew and loved — family, close friendships, church, school, and a wonderful community.  As you can imagine, Houston, TX is quite different than Lake Mary, FL.  When they say everything is big in Texas, they are not kidding!  This little Florida girl was a bit overwhelmed to say the least.

That hardest transition for me in the move was going from a place where I was known and loved to a place where I was not known and not yet loved. I never saw a familiar face. Everything and everyone was new and unknown.  I felt unseen and very lonely.  After  being in a tight knit community for 16 years, this was quite a humbling experience for me.

This morning, my Scripture reading took me to Genesis 16. What a story! Actually, it reads more like a soap opera. Abram and Sarai are waiting and waiting and waiting on God for their promised child. In that waiting, Sarai grows impatient and comes up with a plan to help God — never a good thing by the way!

Sarai tells Abram to go to her servant Hagar so that they may conceive a child through her. Unlike Sarai, Hagar does conceive which sends Sarai into an outrage. It is hard to see others get what we so desperately long for.  Poor Abram! He had an outraged wife and a pregnant servant.  In his desperate attempt to bring some peace to the situation, Abram tells Sarai to do as she pleases with Hagar (a subject for another day).  Sarai mistreats Hagar resulting in Hagar’s desperate attempt to escape her mistress.

In the midst of Hagar’s escape, she has a divine encounter. An angel of the Lord meets her by a spring of water and asks Hagar where she has come from and where she is going. The angel instructs Hagar to return to Sarai then speaks God’s blessings over her: “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” (16:10).

To say the least, Hagar was amazed at this encounter! I treasure Hagar’s exclamation after hearing this news: “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing’, for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me’” (Gen. 16:13).

“The God of seeing” — God saw Hagar. Not only did He see her, but He went after her. He had a good plan for Hagar and for the child that she carried as well as the many offspring to come. How good to be seen and known!

Leaving Genesis and going back to Houston. God saw me too. He walked with me and taught me so much during my time of loneliness and feeling unknown and  unseen. I learned that God is enough for me.  God took me a little deeper into some old wounds and applied his healing grace.  Then, he blessed me with  many wonderful new friends. These days, more often than not, I recognize some faces in Houston. I am no longer the unknown here. In the great scheme of things, I never was the unknown. Not to Him.

I wonder, do you ever feel unseen—unseen by your spouse, your children, the people at work or at church? It is a painful place to be. Acknowledge that pain then take it to the Lord. Our God is a God of seeing. He sees you; He knows you; and He has an abundant plan for your life!

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).

The Joy Set Before Him

Bear with me as I may sound a bit crazy here, but I want to write honestly. I love yoga, and I hate yoga. Sounds crazy, right? Here is what I love about yoga: yoga clothes, the idea of going, seeing friends and teachers, child’s pose, happy baby, handstands and headstands, and most of all Shavasana. Here is what I hate about yoga — everything in the middle of those things. Class starts with joy, peace and expectation. Then it gets really, really hard. I get so hot that sweat is dripping all around me. There is the discomfort of the poses and the questions of how long do I have to hold this pose and how much longer is left in this class?

What I appreciate about yoga is that your practice in class is designed to empower you not only on your mat but off your mat. As I have written previously, yoga has taught me to breathe through the pain in my life and know that the pain will not kill me. It is okay to feel pain. It is a normal part of life. My hope and expectation is that the pain in yoga is not killing me but strengthening me. My hope and expectation is that God uses the pain in my life to strengthen me, to make me more like Jesus, to grow my compassion, my dependence on him and my love for him.

As we are celebrating Easter today, I think about Jesus and his past few days. He was handed over by a friend and sold for a small amount of money. He was disappointed by his closest friends who just couldn’t watch and pray as he asked. He was convicted for crimes he did not commit. He was abandoned, betrayed, spit upon, harassed, abused and physically taken to the very limit.

Jesus hung on a cross to die the most painful and shameful death. He had the ability to end it all. He could have refused to go to the cross. Why did he choose the pain? Hebrews 12:2 answers that question: “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy that was set before him. That joy is you. It is me.

I love yoga. I hate yoga. I choose to practice regularly because of the hope that yoga is changing me in body, mind and spirit. I experience the Lord on my mat in such powerful ways. He is with me in the pain and so often reveals himself to me through amazing visions in Shavasana. I push through to the end of class because I know I can get to that resting place; it is my hope.

You are Christ’s hope. You are the reason he endured the pain of the cross. Today, can we look at the cross and fully acknowledge the pain that Christ endured then look to his resurrection and see why he endured? Jesus lived, died and rose again for the hope that we, too, would live and die in a restored relationship with the Father? Like Jesus, we are called to persevere through this life (and yoga class) with our eyes set on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith”.

Who Can Survive Adolescence?

Adolescence is just hard! It is hard for the kids as they go through it, for those with whom they interact and especially for their parents. Working in administration at a school for two years opened my eyes to just how challenging this time is for everyone. Even in the best school setting, we encountered bullying, hurtful words, children left out, social media issues, and lots and lots of hurt feelings.

This week, I got to be fully engaged in this struggle. My adolescent boy hurt his friend on Friday. Sadly, he hurt a very good friend. The friend felt betrayed, rejected, left out and disliked. Ouch! Even as an adult woman, those feelings are devastating to me. My boy was disappointed in himself and deeply regretted the pain he caused. Still, the damage was done. The best apologies can lead to reconciliation, but they don’t wipe out the pain. Nothing does that but time and the healing time can bring.

The beauty of the pain is that I have had some incredible heartfelt conversations with my son and with his friend’s parents. Acknowledging pain, feeling pain and working through pain can be oh so hard, but it is well worth it! Doing that hard work allows us to live authentically in relationships with others and with ourselves. True reconciliation cannot happen without the pain.

The timing of this situation is ideal. Yesterday was Good Friday. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, died the most painful and humiliating death so that we can live forgiven. Jesus died because he knew, despite our best intentions, you and I could never live a sinless life.

This morning, as I meditated on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice there, I envisioned myself standing under the cross. I saw the blood of Jesus, the tears and the sweat. I saw Jesus look down at me, and I knew his sacrifice was for me, for my son, for all of us.  Jesus death allows for reconciliation with our heavenly Father and with each other.

Adolescence is just hard, but thank God for the cross and for the forgiveness that happens there. My son and I will make it. My son’s friend and his family will make it; in fact, the boys are out playing airsoft as I type. You will make it.  IF, we are willing to acknowledge the pain, feel the pain and work through the pain with our eyes on the cross.

Into Your Hands I Commit My Life

I am not sure I have ever done this, but I want to quote my husband’s book this morning. In THE CRUCIFIED LIFE devotion for today, Charlie writes: “The key to receiving the life of God is in surrendering our spirit to His Spirit that we might be mysteriously united in the wonderful mystery of His will.”
 
This week, the study has been focused on surrender. Jesus speaks these words from the cross right before he dies: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirt (Luke 23:46).” Jesus, being fully God and fully human, entrusts himself to the Father all the way to the cross, to his last dying breath.
 
There is nothing I want more than to fully entrust myself to the Lord. I have been wrestling with this all week in my devotions, prayers, thoughts and in my journal. In my mind, I know that God is good; His ways are good; He is fully worthy of my trust and submission. In my flesh, I want what I want. I feel like I have to make things happen, yet I find myself incapable of doing the things that I want to do. Romans 7 and 8 describe my ongoing battle.
 
Ultimately, I want to land into the loving arms of my Father. I want to submit my spirit, my very life to Him. I have been asking Him to show me how to do this, to make His will my will, His desires my desires. I wish I could say that after a week of wrestling and praying that I have this fully mastered. I don’t! But, it has become my daily heartfelt prayer.
 
Romans 8:31-32 says: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how we he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
 
God is for us! He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I may not have this surrender thing down, but I will daily lay my life before the Lord and ask Him to help me fully commit myself and my ways before Him. I want Him. I want His life. Charlie ends the devotional writing today with these words:  “Entrust Him with your entire life today.”  Let’s do that today then again tomorrow and the next day.  He alone is worthy of our lives!

Discipline and Transformation

One of the great things about January is setting New Year’s Resolutions or goals for the year. Many of us talk about our words for the year. As I have posted previously, my word is Hope. One of my favorite friend’s word is Discipline. As I have thought about that, discipline is involved in all of our goals whether it is our word or not. It takes discipline to make changes and to follow through.
 
Paul speaks to the Corinthian church about discipline: “I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
 
Discipline is not easy, yet it is essential to growth. I am learning it quite well in my 40 Day Yoga challenge at Big. There are days, actually many days, when yoga kicks my tail, and I want to give up. However, the discipline is to choose to stay in it and see what God has for me there. The wonderful news is that I have experienced amazing break throughs in this 40 Days! You can experience transformation too. Choose discipline today. Choose to get out of your comfort zone and experience growth. I have never heard anyone say growth was easy, but I have also never heard anyone say growth wasn’t worth the work.
 
What discipline do you need to work on today? Push in, take the risk and have faith that God’s transformative work will lead you to His abundant life!

Obedience and the Abundant Life

Obedience has never been one of my favorite words.  In fact, I was the child who typically had to learn things the hard way.  My mother can speak to this quite well!  What I am learning through the years is that obedience to the Lord leads to the abundant life.  Those who know me know that abundant life is my passion and deepest desire.  If obedience leads to the abundant life, then I am ready to submit.

Priscilla Shirer teaches on obedience in her study entitled DISCERNING THE VOICE OF GOD.  She writes:  “Obedience is not a no; it is actually His best yes.  It swims in oceans of grace and leads us to freedom, wholeness, and health.  It opens us up to His unbridled blessing and abundance.”

Grace — Freedom — Wholeness — Health — Blessing — Abundance

Don’t we long for each of these things in our lives?  Yet, we also long to hold onto our personal agendas, rights, and ways of doing things.  We hear the frequent message that it is all about us.  What if it is really all about God?  And what if God is then for us?  Do we believe that His way is best, the way that leads to true life — grace — freedom — wholeness — health — abundance?

We set guidelines around our children to protect them not to rob them of joy. God does the same for us.  Walking His way is the way to all that our hearts desire.  I want God’s best yes and invite you to pursue this path of obedience with me.  It may not be easy but not much good in life truly is.