Theophany

Question: “What is a theophany?

Answer: A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form.  Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/theophany-Christophany.html#ixzz33CA1BGVC

Priscilla in One in a Million shared several accounts of God manifesting himself through circumstances and His people to encourage others along their journey.  If you are reading the book, you’ll remember the $500 miracle, the flowers at just the right time, and how the Israelites were led by day and by night with a visual presence of the Lord in the wilderness.

God is present.  He is with you constantly and visibly.

After reading this chapter, I was amazed at the morning I had.  It was one of those mornings in which “everything happened at once” and you questioned your sanity.

At work a series of events took place in which a Holy God set up a divine appointment for me to be encouraged.  A friend of Victoria’s ended up in a meeting with me over the phone, and at the end of the meeting she spoke a word of encouragement and blessing into my life.  The timing was perfect, and I had not recognized her voice over the conference call, but she recognized my name and voice.

Not a coincidence.

In fact, we can become so cynical we miss the God moments.  We don’t recognize them or choose to be apathetic. In our Woman of Worth Mentoring Ministries Bible Study we talked about our future based on Proverbs 31.  Do we fear our future?  What worries us?  We all shared our areas of worry and concern.  It’s in those moments that God will show up and be faithful–always, and in His time–perfect timing.

In moments of great struggle or confusion, remember Him and all He has done for you!

Psalm 63:6-8

When I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches. For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.

What new thing can you see in your life that God is doing?  Take notice of His presence and remember all He has done for you.

 

Sausage and Gravy with Drop Biscuits

 

When I was in high school I enjoyed cooking.  A friend of the family purchased a Betty Crocker Cookbook for me to begin my cooking adventure!

Marriage came in 1988, and the faithful cookbook of my teens made its way into our home.  This treasured book from my youth has travelled with us to Glouster, VA, Charlotte, N.C., Hopkinsville, KY, and back to Virginia.

At this point, my husband is the more experienced cook.  Here is his favorite white sauce that he adapts for any type of gravy.

 

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Betty Crocker Cookbook

 

A great, simple breakfast is drop biscuits from the same recipe book, mild sausage, and this white sauce.  Make it extra special and use the sausage drippings in the gravy!

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Sausage

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Bittersweet: Vulnerability and Obedience

Bitterness made sweet.  Priscilla Shirer continues in her One in a Million book discussing emotional healing.  What happens when the unthinkable occurs and you can’t get control of your emotions?  What if a decision you’ve made, or a direction that God is leading you brings unbearable circumstances?

The Israelites were dying of thirst.  Moses cried out to God–desperate for some answers.  God showed him a tree and he “threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet” (v. 25).  Priscilla describes this encounter with God as “one swift move of vulnerability and obedience” (p. 88).

God will put us face-to-face with experiences that bring emotions and thoughts that we’ve never experienced so that he can work miracles in us.

One act of vulnerability WITH obedience can turn the bitter to sweet.  It’s a change of heart and mind when circumstances won’t change or might become worse.

Our family went to see Heaven is for Real last night.  There is a tender scene in which the pastor exchanges the bitter for sweet.  At a graveside with a church member and friend, they reconcile their differences and bitterness towards God and others.  The pastor shared with her how broken he was, and that she does not have to apologize or explain the brokenness within in her.  Total acceptance of how broken we all are and to not play perfect or judge.

Brokenness…

Bitterness…

These things will exist until we are with Him for eternity.

James 1: 2-4

Faith and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Do we linger in the bitter and brokenness or purposefully, and with great vulnerability, cry out to God and walk in the sweetness of His miracles and our faithful obedience to Him?

It’s like the chocolate covered peanut or the yogurt pretzel.  The bitter…..the sweet…..they really do go well together.

Jesus’ work on the cross was bittersweet. His brokenness for our freedom and salvation.

Your life is bittersweet–the daily walk with Jesus as He teaches and guides you.

He is working all things out for your good, and will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Power Ups: I bet you are doing them! Celebrate it!

Our society has placed emphasis on self-care and the consequences of compassion fatigue.  Our fast past, just do it, strive and stretch pace have caught up with us.  We attend workshops and read articles on how to better care for ourselves so we can reach our potential while helping and serving others.  The proverbial balance.  I’m restless one night and decide to listen to one of the top ten TED talks.  Strange way to relax, but I love a good talk, lecture, or sermon.  I decided to listen to a TED talk that will add about 7 minutes to my day and ten years to my life.  Really?!  I’ll give you the link at the bottom of this post.  I need more time.  I’m interested.

At 48 years old, life has passed me by pretty fast.  Decisions I made ten, twenty, thirty years ago are being played out in my life.  Children are older, marriage has more life experiences and circumstances, moves,  health of loved ones, jobs, careers, friendships….I’m not 20 something anymore.  And, not to be morbid or negative, but things happen, things change, and people leave this world.  So, I was intrigued when she (the TED talk speaker) researched the top five regrets of the dying.

Top 5 Regrets of the dying:

I wished I hadn’t work so hard.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

I wish I would have let myself be happier.

I wish I would have had the courage to express my true self.

I wish I would have lived my life true to my dreams versus what other’s expected of me.

From this research, she discovered four things you can do every day to lengthen your life and rid yourself of regrets.  She created these tasks and made it a game to help heal her brain from a traumatic brain injury that left her bedridden.  I’m not going to share anything new that you don’t already know.  That’s the beauty of my deepest connection with this TED talk in the late hours of the night.  I’m going to try to explain it because I just feel like there is someone who can be a witness to what I’m conveying.  I listened to this lady and thought–“I do that.” Most of us “do that”.  Yep–got that.  Hmmmmm hummmmm.  Got it.

What connected was celebrate the fact you DO take care of yourself and it’s meaningful.  The small things count, and your on purpose attempts to bring joy is all worth it.  You are going to be way okay.  More than okay.

What was proof in my journey was spending a Saturday after in which God said–“See right here…that’s how you care for yourself and others…..I’m here….always….showing you…..do you see me, Anna?”

You’ve got to know your “enemies”–what brings you stress.  And, equally you’ve got to know your “power ups”. Another way to look at it is post-traumatic GROWTH.  There is no claim that the illness or situation will change but you can feel better and connect to others in a more positive way.  So here is to our health!

Here are four areas to power up!

PHYSICAL RESILIENCE

Never sit for more than one hour.  Get up.  Move.  She suggests two activities.  Either make a fist with your hands and lift them over your head for five seconds, or stand up and take three steps.  Do both if you can!

That Saturday I worked in my garden and found frogs trapped who needed rescuing.  Birds feeding little baby birds who were hurt and needed care.  I moved, worked, observed, and purposefully counted it as meaningful, not a duty.

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MENTAL RESILIENCE

Snap your fingers exactly 50 times or count backwards from 100 by 7’s (100, 93).  Activating our will power gives us courage.

I took time to reflect on my classes, and God’s purposeful teaching in my life.  On purpose studied God’s Word and applied it to my life.  Simple.  On purpose.

EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE

If you are inside find a window and look out of it.  If you are outside find a window and look in.  Or, search the web or Youtube for baby animal images (any baby animals).  This activates our curiosity and love. Remember to seek out three positive emotions for every negative and you will dramatically improve your health and any problem you are facing.

This was the best!  My husband sent this picture to me via text from the Chick-fil-a line!  I just exploded with laughter.  Grounded in joy.

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SOCIAL RESILIENCE

Shake someone’s hand for 6 seconds or send a thank you message text or twitter to someone.

You get more strength from family and friends.  Gratitude and touch releases oxytocin, the trust hormone.  We are biochemically aligned to connect and work cooperatively.

Saturday morning God brought friends and family to mind to text and reach out to naturally.  It all counts.

One of the baby pictures she showed on the TED talk was my baby elephant picture from a previous post that brought such joy to my soul.

 

Saturday was a day filled with taking the time to make sure I nurtured these areas–purposeful.  That’s the key. When we are purposeful in small things and celebrate within our souls, we gain the strength and joy we need to feel better and accomplish the task at hand.

 

 

Freedom

God’s promises are like the promises from the Old Testament of “Milk AND honey”.   He promises us “spacious places” and “freedom in Christ”.

If you find honey, eat just enough– too much of it, and you will vomit.  Proverbs 25:16

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  Galatians 5:13

 

A researcher discovered that children who had fences around their playground in comparison to children who did not were happier during recess and exhibited better behavior in the classroom after recess.

As humans we tend to shy away from limits, boundaries, and control.  I know I do.  Although I tend to be a rule follower for the most part, you tell me I can’t have or do, well, I get a little snarky.

After reading my Bible study for the Woman of Worth Mentoring group, I realized the combination of studying how God wants us to experience “milk AND honey” within His limitations is the balance I was seeking.

You can have too much honey and get sick. You can indulge your flesh so much, you forget God’s purpose.

Resolved, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.  Jonathan Edwards

The spacious, milk and honey, freedom living is found within the boundaries and safety of Your Creator–He knows what’s best for you.

Boundaries give us freedom and protection!

Be intentional about your choices and to seek God’s will and Word.

 

 

Thank you Parish

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So sweet and loving to have a note from Proverbs 31 after writing my post.  God is good.

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Thank you girls for a yummy breakfast.

Worshiping this morning the one who gave us our first breath!

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Matt Redman

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

So fearfully and wonderfully made,
How could they say there is no God?
Reminded every breath that I take,
It´s by Your hand I have been formed
So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What could I do but live for Your praise?

You gave me this breath,
And You gave me this strength, 
And every day I´ll live to obey You.
With all of my heart, 
With all of my soul; 
Let every breath I´m breathing display You God.

There´s elegance in all you create 
Your grand designs leave us amazed.
The wonders of the way we´ve been made
Speak of Your power, tell of Your grace.
So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What could I do but live for Your praise?


So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What am I going to do with this life?
What I am I going to do in these days You´ve ordained?
What am I going to do with this life?