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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I have to zip through this one.  I have the zeal, but not the zest to to go out with a zany zinger.  I am not in the zone.  I am zoning out.  Right now all I need are some zzzzzz’s.  The A to Z Challenge has zapped me.  I am zooming on to completion, but I don’t have much to say.  

It’s been fun!  

I will spend the rest of my A to Z effort visiting other A to Z participants which, alas, I have not been able to do for a few days though for most of it I was a faithful follower and very regular meeter and greeter of new friends in the challenge.  Now I am just zonked or I will be soon.  I have zero to offer except...

Many thanks to Arlee Bird and his fellow hosts who made this challenge possible.  It was definitely a challenge from A to Z and worth every letter!

A to Z Challenge

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Y is for YES And...

“Yes and” is an improvisation technique used to build on what your fellow actors or players, as they are called in improv, have created.  In improvisation the one rule that isn’t supposed to be broken is agreement.  “Yes and” is used in exercises and games to help practice the concept of agreement and create a story.

Yes in improvisation keeps the story moving forward while no shuts it down.  If you have been through any improvisation workshops or classes, the effect of each is one of the first things demonstrated to the beginning player.  It isn’t easy at first because it seems our natural inclination is to expect, look for, and create conflict.  It was very interesting to watch my beginning students try to employ the yes and initially and watch their progression over several classes as they begin to understand this concept.

“Yes and” requires that I listen to what my partner says and that I respond to it.  In improv, the aim is to treat fellow players like geniuses and to accept and justify everything the other says to create something together.  It’s a group game, so you have to work together.  If you think ahead or decide to grandstand to make yourself look good, you only end up tearing the whole thing apart and making everyone look bad, including yourself.  You have to be engaged with what is going on in the moment in order to respond.  So “yes and” only works if you are listening and interacting in relationship to others.

Oh that we all had more “Yes and” in our day to day life.  How about if we listened more deeply to one another so we could respond in the moment rather than running on to our next thought?  What if we worked at making each other look good, rather than looking out for number one?  What if we were more concerned with building something together than collecting up enough stuff for ourselves?  

Isn’t it amazing how much application to life Improvisation Workshops for kids offer?  “Yes and....”

A to Z Challenge

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: X ....


X crosses out what’s wrong, on the cross where for our sins He paid.  
X on its side 
is plus (+);  Unified
with Christ, I am made unafraid. 

X marks the spot, where my sins He did blot, 
sent from the Father above, 
X is for treasure I have found beyond measure
because of my Savior’s love. 

What else will I find behind the X?                  
There is usually a little before,
Like an ‘e’ or an ‘a,’ or X stands by itself,
to give receiver something more.

But there’s nothing more X can give us
Than the payment received on that cross.
For those who in Him place their trust,
Have gained eternity in place of their dross.

And now that X is finished,
‘O’ comes into play.
For the empty tomb stands open,
Where once His body lay.

X’s and O’s bring kisses and hugs,
signs of love for one held dear.
How much more the cross and the empty tomb,
offer love to the one who draws near.

A to Z Challenge

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge: What is God's Will

Image Source:  http://thecrackeddoor.com/

And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8 (NASB)

I am taking a course with Ligonier Ministries called “Dust to Glory.”  R. C. Sproul in this course gave some insight into this verse that I found very helpful and helped me meditate on this verse more effectively, and I think it is worth sharing from some of my notes.

The things of God require a rigorous use of our minds.  And what does the Lord require of you, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.  This is the simplicity of the commands of God.  

In this verse, “to do justice” or justly is associated with righteousness.  In ancient Israel justice is always defined in terms of righteousness.  What Micah is telling us here is that we ought to understand the first thing God requires of us is to do the right thing. And God defines for us throughout Scripture what the right thing is.  

Love mercy is the second thing.  According to Dr. Sproul, the term here can be a bit more confusing.  The Hebrew word used here is "Hesed,"  which is translated many different ways in English.  The most common translation is steadfast love.  The most accurate translation according to Dr. Sproul is to love loyally.  Hesed is the term used in the Scriptures again and again to describe God's love, His covenant love, His faithful, loyal, love to His people, which begets His mercy to His beloved.  Our relationships in this world are to be marked by loyalty, by a kind of love that covers a multitude of sins, by the kind of love that shows mercy.  In a sense the whole of 1 Corinthians 13 reflects this kind of love, Hesed.  This is the kind of love, faithful, kind, perserverant, steadfast that reflects the character of God.

The third thing in Micah is to 'walk humbly with your God.'  Dr. Sproul says that this verse is summed up in the term Coram Deo, a Latin phrase meaning before the face of God.

“To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.” Dr. Sproul. 

We as Christians are to live acutely aware that our lives are lived out in the presence of God.  We are to do all things in subjection to His sovereignly and His authority.  Micah is saying just this. 

Sometimes God’s will isn’t always so clear to us, but the more closely we practice the truth of Micah 6:8, the easier it is to discern what the will of God is.

A to Z Challenge

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Challenge: V is for View

It occurs to me that all of us have a view from inside from which we look out, which no one else can see.  As I reach out to you, you see a certain part of me as you look out from the inside of you.  Both of us have different views from which we look.  What you see may be what you get but it is far from what you may perceive to be there.  No one but you and God can get inside of you.

I foolishly operate in the world assuming others come at it knowing and understanding the same things I do though perhaps choosing to think differently.  The fact is there is no one, not one person in the whole wide world that has the same view from inside that I have or that you have.  Even if we had the same experiences, the same home, the same everything, our interaction with those things would have impacted the view from inside differently, like the way we see an elephant in the center of the room differently depending on the perspective of where we stand.  We all have our own view from inside.

 That said, that view of and from inside is affected by a belief system, a worldview which influences our view from inside and our interaction with the world.  Most of us don’t live congruent lives with our belief systems.  We might say we are Christians, but we do things that are inconsistent with how God calls us to live.  We may say we are atheists, evolutionists, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, nothing at all, but whatever we claim, we live in such a way that borrows from other worldviews to some degree, and we respond to the world in disharmony with our stated beliefs without even thinking about it most of the time.  

Why is that?  If we truly believe what we say we believe, why are our lives and our worldviews not consistent?  For some it may just be a matter of it isn’t important.  It doesn’t matter.  Yet shouldn’t it?  Can we live at peace with ourselves or with others, can we know ourselves, can we grow, thrive, think about the big questions, if we are incongruous with our belief system, with what we hold as truth?  More questions abound.

Since we are the only one who can enter our own land of inside, we are the only ones who can clean it up.  Others outside can give us tips, can tell us what worked for them, but ultimately they can only direct.  They cannot come inside.  There is One Who can join us in our land to know us fully and better than we know ourselves.  There is One Who can help us solve problems we can’t solve ourselves, Who can enter in and clean up with a sweeping wind that clears away the debris.  There is only One Who can enter with omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence to have a desirable, purifying, enhancing impact on our land inside to help us improve the view.  

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NASB)

I am glad I have let Him in to walk with me and be the King of my land.  With Him here, it is becoming a better place to be all the time.  I am learning how to live more congruently with who I am.  I believe what I believe because I believe it is truth.  It isn’t blind faith, but it IS faith, faith that is supported by concrete evidence, faith that is consistent, and faith that is congruent with the character of God.  Even if my life may not be totally aligned with who I want to be or should be, God doesn’t have that issue.  He is congruous even if I don’t always understand Him.  How can I, finite being that I am, fully understand God in His fullness?  I am not omni anything!  But I can walk with Him Who is the light, for He lives!  He clears up the view from inside, and I hope into inside as well.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12 (NASB) 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 

A to Z Challenge

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: 'U' is for Unite

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U is for unite as it does when it comes between f and n for fun between friends in the here and now.

When we uNiteI put your needs before mine which is why ‘U’ ‘n’ ‘I’ ‘t’ogethere’ndure.       

As we unIte, we don’t lessen our individuality, we maximize who we are.  We deny our demands, in order to invest ourselves in and for something bigger than ourselves.  Individually we commit to becoming our best so that together we make a terrific team.  More than friends having fun or needs being met, you and I together endure because united we are more.

UniTe is for come together time, because together we are more than  'U' 'n' 'I'.  

To unitE does not untie us from ourselves that we are no more.  We enhance each other where the sum of our parts enriches the parts to make us more than who we started out to be as you and me alone.

Unite needy individuals together to produce enhanced, enriched individuals who united together and for each endure and are more.

And [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”  Matthew 19:4-6 (NASB) 


A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Say Thank You

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Back at ‘G’ I chose the word gratitude.  It is worth repeating the sentiment again here as thankfulness or thanksgiving.  Maintaining an attitude of thankfulness, looking for ways to say thank you, to let those in our lives know that we appreciate them, can lift us up like little else.  Here are some ideas to say thank you to some of those in your life.

  •   When you wake up, thank God that you did and for the day ahead.

  •   Put a thank you note in your husband’s or child’s computer case, or notebook or lunch letting them know something you appreciate about them.

  • Look for someone who you meet at the grocery store, in the bank, at the gym, who needs a lift and find something that they do that you can thank them for.  

  • Notice that special someone who always goes the extra mile, and thank them as you let them know you notice and appreciate them.

  • Send a note to someone who has influenced you to thank them for the particular impact they have had.

  • Look for a service member or policeman, and thank them for their service and sacrifice.

  • Recognize those who are smiling throughout your day by thanking them for their smile. 

  • Text a friend or a child or a sibling to thank them for something they have said or done that you appreciate.

  • Thank a blogger for something particular they have written that has blessed you.

  •   At the end of the day, thank your family members for the little things you don’t usually notice.

  • Thank God for another day of life, and if you did all this thanking, no doubt it was a day you appreciate a bit more than usual.

Life throws some tough turns our way.  Even in the midst of tremendous tribulation, thankfully counting blessings can provide strength and salve so deeply needed.  Thankfulness is a treasure we can all possess, and it is a multiplying treasure as we spread it around. 

In Everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  
                                       1 Thessalonians 5:18

A to Z Challenge

Thank you, Arlee Bird, again, for this terrific A to Z Challenge.

Titus 2 Tuesday
Growing Home

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Statesman Guided by Bedrock Principles

Center for Christian Statesmanship Logo

Statesman:  a wise, skillful, and respected political leader, well-versed in the principles and art of government.

When I think of statesmanship, I think of historical figures like the founding fathers, John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill.  I know we could expand that list considerably, but why is it that when we think of statesman, no one from the present day comes to mind?  Has the word become archaic or do we paint all politicians with a broad brush of dark colors not consistent with the word statesmanship?  

Politics around the globe seems to be a dirty business.  Good people are grouped with those that might be less admirable.  It takes someone with a strong sense of conviction or selfish ambition to enter politics today, and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two, but I do believe that there are statesman among them, and we should look for them and look out for them, because they pay a heavy toll to participate in the process of running for office and fighting for what they believe in.  

The D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship, a non-partisan interdenominational evangelical outreach to our nation’s leaders and their staff, is located in Washington D.C. to minister to those on Capitol Hill and encourage and fortify Christian Statesmanship within the halls of government.  I like their definition of a statesman:

 One whose public and private conduct is guided by a bedrock set of principles that will not be compromised for personal or political gain. Such a person rises above mere partisan politics and makes the overall welfare of a nation his or her first priority.”  

Hillsdale College has a graduate school of statesmanship to train students in first principles, growing future statesman.  They focus not only on teaching the classical roots, but also the roots of contemporary political thought while helping students understand the centrality of ethics in politics.  Perhaps the concept of statesmanship won’t disappear from our lexicon.  

Do you have anyone you think of as a statesman, or are you too prone to see only the negative in politics?  

Is it worth looking for statesman in the halls of government, or should we just give up on that?  

A to Z Challenge

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Recreation in Christian Meditation

Recreation has come to mean having fun, often if not usually actively, and often involves vacationing with lots of activities.  It is not uncommon to need a vacation after a vacation because not much recreating has gone on, that is renewing, reviving, or restoring, in busy vacations.  

I remember an acronym for busy:


We human beings are designed to need recreating rest daily in sleep, weekly from our toils, and regularly throughout the year to reconnect with who we are and detoxify from the pollution of life.  Without this kind of recreation, we become weary, worn, and warped.

So what is a better form of recreation?  Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline discusses the recreating power of meditation, noting that the significant difference between Eastern meditation and Christian meditation is the difference between emptying and filling.  

Eastern meditation stresses the need to become detached from the world, emptying oneself, losing one’s individual personhood to merge with the Cosmic Mind, as one does is seeking the Nirvana, the extinction of desire and individual consciousness.  There is no personal God to be attached to.  The goal is to be free from burdens and pains of the reality of life.  Detachment is the ultimate goal.  

Christian meditation, on the other hand, goes beyond detachment to emphasize an attachment to God.  Rather than having us withdraw from the world, it redirects us to be able to deal with life.  We are not led to be ethereal to our humanity, but rather we are empowered to be more fully compassionate in our humanity.  Through communion and communication with the God who loves us and wants us to dwell in His omnipresence, we are filled with His love to be recreated for loving others. 

Jesus took time to be alone with God to be renewed, to pray, to be quiet, to rest.  I wonder what He might think of our modern version of recreating.  I am not against having rip-roaring fun.  That has its place.  However, if the only recreation we know is at the frenetic pace of busy and we don’t rest contemplatively to recreate, we lose more than we gain.  We miss out on something profoundly rejuvenating and fulfilling, a recreation we were made for, and we settle for tired, tattered, and twisted.

A to Z Challenge

Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z Challenge: A poem of Qs

Quest or Quandary

                 By Maria Dunn
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What query do you bring
In your quest to know a thing?
Is your satisfaction quenched,
That you’ll find your answer hence?

Please tell me if you will,
What you write there with your quill?
Let’s not quibble over dribble,
Or quetch about the quibble.
Instead have a quiet nibble
Of this quail prepared with skill.

Will you not pose your question 
While you quell hunger and you quaff?
Your quirky, quizzical lip
Makes me quite quixotic quip
As I wait to hear of quagmire, quicksand, or scoff.
Shall I present our quodlibet
And quack about it yet,
When I do not even know what the quiddity is you quote?

But look now, you look queasy and quite a bit uneasy.
Are you questrist or just qualmish?

Listen to my quackish quiddle
When I must squeeze you round your middle
To release the choking tiddle
Of which I quasi qualify, lest you die.  Oh my.

Now you may rest from your quest.
No quandary now.  I must quiesce

A to Z Challenge

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z Challenge: P is for Posture

A to Z Challenge:  P is for Posture

Improve your Posture

Posture says a lot about us.  It tells those we are with if we care to listen or not, if we put others first or ourselves, if we respect or disrespect, if we are confident or insecure, if we are lazy or disciplined, and so much more.  Posture not only points to what may be inside of us, it AFFECTS us and what’s inside.  

If we sit or walk upright and erect, shoulders back, we tend to be more alert, more confident, more cheerful.  Attitude affects posture and posture affects attitude.  You can lift yourself up by consciously working on improving your posture.

My friend recently described a meeting she had with a truculent subordinate.  Her fellow employee sat slumped across from her, one arm sprawled across the back of the chair, and his eye poised to roll with disapproval at the questions and suggestions of his supervisor.   She knew that he didn’t like that he was working for her.  He thought he should have a different position in the organization, but restructuring had placed him here, and he was going to be sure she knew he didn’t like it.  His attitude came through in his posture, and it wasn’t helpful to himself or his employer.

Posture is instrumental in our personal interactions harming or helping our relationships and our personal well-being.  However, the physiological effects not only have social and emotional ramifications, bad posture can lead to back pain, digestive trouble, and breathing problems among other issues.  Put positively, strengthen your back, improve your digestion, breath more fully  and live a better life simply by maintaining good posture.  

So what can you do to improve your posture?

1.  First know what good posture is.  Head erect, chin parallel to floor, shoulders back, chest out, stomach in, hips even, knees forward.

2.   Stretch and strengthen your back and your pectoral muscles.                  
           A.  The doorway stretch is great for stretching your 
                 pectoral muscles.  Place your forearm on the doorway
                 and push as you do a lunge with the same leg; hold for
                 30 to 90 seconds.  Rest.  Reach higher on the door-post
                 and lunge again.  Rest.  Reach lower on the 
                door-post and lunge again.  Repeat on the other side.  

            B.  One way to stretch your back is to tuck your buttocks
                  under your hips and reach forward with your arms
                  forming a ‘C’.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Reach arms up
                  Slowly and outstretch to side, pulling buttocks to the
                  back with your arms.  Repeat at least 3 times.  

3.  Pay attention.  Notice when you are standing, sitting, or walking if your posture is slumping and change it.  Ask others to keep you accountable until it becomes natural to maintain good posture.

4.  If you are working at a desk or at a computer, get up every half and hour and stretch.  

5.  Meditation enhances posture.

6.  Train your children early.  The importance of posture to our health, physical, emotional, psychosocial, and intellectual has been deemphasized.  Returning it to its rightful place in child training will benefit everyone.

Now if we can have such a positive effect on ourselves with a simple adjustment, why not give the proper attention to our posture?  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z Challenge: O is for Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling Therapy

About a year ago, out of the blue, in the midst of a fitful night of not sleeping, while trying to pursue a better approach to health, oil pulling came to mind.  I hadn’t seen or heard the term in almost 20 years, but the next day I was drawn to find out about this term that had just popped into my head seemingly out of no where.  I was amazed at what I found, a plethora of articles and you-tube videos, and  I could find nothing negative at all.  

As I was researching, the original source of this natural  remedy’s presentation to me slowly returned to my recollection.  An energetic friend from that era of my life those 20 years earlier had told me that she had been doing it for years.  She recounted a time in her own life when while she was bedridden with chronic fatigue, someone introduced the concept to her.  I couldn’t imagine this peppy woman ever having any problem with chronic fatigue.  She certainly was a ball of joyful energy when I knew her. 

That memory and my discoveries over the course of those several days led me to begin the adventure of oil pulling myself.  I did notice my energy level improve within a few days.  Most recognizable however was the effect on my mouth.  My teeth felt cleaner and appeared whiter.  I felt better in general with my new found therapy which I did daily, usually with coconut oil, but sometimes using grape seed oil or olive oil.  

So what is oil pulling?  It really is simple.  You take between a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil, whatever you can handle, and swish it around in your mouth, pulling and pushing it through your teeth for between 5 and 20 minutes, again whatever you can handle, the longer the better.  The idea is that the oil will collect up the bacteria in your mouth to clean it away leading to cleaner teeth, cleaner mouth, cleaner breath.   When done, you spit the oil out, preferably in the garbage and not the sink so as not to cause a clog.  Remember that the oil is full of bacteria, so you don’t swallow it.  There’s a lot more too it, but that’s it in a nutshell, a very small nutshell like an acorn.   

A couple months ago because of dealing with knee surgery, I got out of the habit and getting back into a habit, even one that is easy, is tough.  I found it too beneficial not to incorporate it back into my daily routine.  It has other significant health benefits.  Even medical skeptics have agreed, “You aren’t going to hurt anything by swishing oil around in your mouth; so go ahead and give it a try.”

A to Z Challenge