Monday, June 15, 2015

Look Up; Let Your Energy Flow!

 My chiropractor likes to explain how things work; which is great, to me. I hope I never stop learning. Most of what he explains to me is logical, common sense type stuff. Perhaps I haven’t heard it before, maybe I have – but, none of it comes out sounding like rocket science with need for detailed explanation, from which I’d still walk away from confused.

Doc is really big on posture and how it affects our spine, which, as he explains, is what houses our nerves – the nerves that run from our brain to our various body parts and organs. On one hand, we can all easily understand how important it is to have these nerves in good repair, effectively carrying their impulses and energy to the vast number of body parts we’re each made up of. Logic dictates that if, indeed, energy and a plethora of impulses make it to our body parts from our brain that the optimal flow of that energy and those impulses is of great importance and value to us. I think any good chiropractor can tell you the results of that energy being diminished in any way. You can probably even Google those results yourself.

Doc calls it divine design.

For years I’ve heard that a good chiropractor can remedy things from bed-wetting to allergies to depression to aches and pains, and even the not-so-good blood reports we may get from our doctors; who knows what else?

But, let’s look at “the other hand”. How many of us have pondered what can inhibit that flow of energy and impulses?

The simple position of having our head downward facing can strain or pull on muscles in our neck and upper back. If those muscles pull on the bones in our back, those bones (or vertebrae) can be moved out of place. Something as simple as a sneeze can cause temporary pain if the sneeze is violent enough.

But, what are some of the routine things we do every day that can be putting stress on our nervous system and the energies we need and the impulses that carry signals to our entire body?

I’ve pondered this a bit, and here are some of my thoughts.

Slouching. Bad posture inhibits our energy flow. Yet, few of us pay attention to our posture unless we see our reflection in a mirror or glass window.

Our nerves can be pinched, cramped and twisted – which will in turn cause the energy our brains want to send to all of our body parts to be constrained, limited, compromised, less efficient, hindered, crippled – because the nerves carrying that energy have become injured, inflamed, even strangled.

Pain is generally what drives us to a chiropractor, but my doc says that the performance of your organs or body parts has to be compromised at least 40% before you even FEEL that pain. We’re all walking around with some jacked up bodies.

I’m not writing all of this to suggest you see a chiropractor. It’s much simpler than that. (Of course, if you WANT to go see one, I’ll applaud that – just remember to get recommendations. A bad chiropractor is as bad as a bad surgeon.)

No, I merely writing today to say, “Lift your heads up, my friends.  Pull your shoulders back!”

Why are our heads down in the first place?

Yep, must be that our heads are so heavy from all that data we download into our brains every day. 

Seriously, though. We MIGHT just be lowering our heads for routine matters like – looking for money on the ground or watching where we’re going!

Our heads may hang because of sorrow or sadness or depression. We may hang our heads because of poor self-esteem.

Maybe we’re too busy talking DOWN to people to look up and hear what they have to say to us….. Maybe we just need to get to eye level with the folks we talk to.

Ah – yes! Our gadgets! How many of us are looking down at a phone or a tablet for a good part of the day? Perhaps more than we realize…. I get it, sometimes it’s legit; we may depend on these gadgets for our livelihood. Maybe even just tipping our head down to read a book, or straining to see something just out of sight could cause strain.

I recall a revelation I got one day in high school. I was in a hurry, walking down the hallway when I saw a girl across the hall walking like a fool! Her head was w-a-a-a-a-a-a-y ahead of her body, as if pushing her head forward would get her to where she was going faster. Then I realized I was seeing myself in a large window. My reflection was shocking.

One of my sisters was sitting on an exam table at her doctor’s office waiting for her doc to come in. As the doctor opened the door, she sat up straight. When the doctor asked her why she did that, it took her a minute to realize that she had. Then, her doctor pointed out that as she opened the exam room door, it made a mirror visible and that most people did just as she had, sat up straighter. Of course, the doctor did it to make a point…..


Of course, my pondering mind HAS to ask: How much more energy would we have throughout the day and how much better could our organs and body parts function – if we simply stood and sat up straight?

Take notice. What are some things you catch yourself doing today that cause strain on your neck and back? How often do you catch yourself straining your neck by looking down at something? How often do you catch yourself “standing up straight” – now that you’re thinking about it?

It’s definitely a point to ponder, don’t you think?

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” – Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Seeds Die

(Seeds from 1994, still in a bottle on the shelf....)
In John 14:6 Jesus proclaims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

That explains a lot. Note, He didn’t declare that He is a way, or a truth or a life – but the way, the truth and the life. He doesn’t want us falling for the wily deceptions of the enemy.

In John 8:12 He tells us, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

And again in John 9:5 we read: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus tells us that we are “the salt of the earth and the light of the world” in Matthew 5:13 and 14.

How can we be the light of the world if that’s His job? Because we learn to let His light shine through us, as we recognize His light within us.

It appears that, among other things, we – Jesus and those of us who love Him, are also likened unto seeds for planting.

Per Galatians 3:29, we are the seed of Abraham; And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

God’s Word or the Word of God’s kingdom, is also likened to a seed. In Matthew 13:18-23 we read the explanation for the parable of the sower, which is also expounded upon by Mark in chapter 4:14-20. Mark begins Jesus’ explanation with the words, “The sower sows the word.” Such important points are made in this story that we again read the account in Luke 8:11-15, where Luke begins the revelation in verse 11 with the words, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”

I’d like to point out that yes, the Word of God is the heart and the passion of the scriptures that fill our Bibles, but the Word of God is also the living Word, Jesus Christ, Himself. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1

God’s spoken and written word is a seed planted in our hearts; it comes alive in Jesus, the Person.

I’m going to liken faith to planting a packet of mystery seeds from a local nursery. Purchased confidently, seeds guaranteed to grow in my climate and terrain; I ready my soil and plant the seeds according to the given instructions. I tend to them, per the instructions and I wait. I wait to see what grows in my garden.

God’s Word reveals a thing or two about seeds. For one, what is sown does not produce life unless it dies. We see this in John 12:24 (Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain), as well as in 1 Corinthians 15:36 (Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies).

Every springtime, along with bunnies and daffodils and candy-filled baskets, we hear about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. We understand that, yes, Jesus Christ died. He died to pay the debt amassed by the sin of mankind; your sin and mine. Payment was death and a sentence to hell. Had He not died, faced hell and triumphantly risen on the third day, that debt would not have been paid. Risen, He put on incorruption and is now glorified with His Father. He gave up His earthly life, willingly, for us. No regrets. (Hebrews 12:2)

Our turn. In order to reap the harvest of our lives, we too, must die. We must crucify our flesh daily. Does this mean suicide? Clearly not. That would not glorify God at all; Jesus came that we might have life and live it more abundantly! (John 10:10)

To crucify our flesh daily, we deny ourselves harmful, carnal indulgences of the world; we turn away from the things God identifies as sin, those things displeasing to Him, those things that, in the long run, will bring us needless pain and suffering. So death to self means surrendering to the will of God in our lives.

Does God offer us pleasure? Absolutely! Sin is pleasurable only for a season. God’s peace and joy and the pleasure we have in Him is perfect and eternal.

We often wrestle with the need to do things our own way (temporary fun) vs. doing things God’s way (which promises joy, peace, love, eternity and every good thing we can imagine as well as so much that we can’t fathom). Given the outcome, why do we repeatedly choose our own way?

I suppose we often choose our own way because we can see what we want with our physical (temporary) eyes and we impatiently grab for it.

This is likely why most of us buy our fruits and vegetables from the supermarket instead of patiently waiting for them to grow in our yard.

We want what we want, when we want it – the way we want it. After all, “if it feels good, do it” – right? And “our way IS the right way” – right?
Let’s apply some logic. You and I cannot see what tomorrow holds; God can, He’s seen the end from the beginning. If He’s to be trusted and taken at His Word, we need to accept that He knows how tomorrow turns out; He knows what choices we should make today and He knows the consequences of the wrong choices.

He has only good planned for us. He gets no joy from needless suffering or our pointless struggles. But, take note; He sees what we’ll reap from the lessons we learn and the obstacles we overcome. He sees the end result of the Seed He’s planted in us, and He sees what we, as seeds, will become.

Choosing to die to our own self-will boils down to trusting and displaying our faith in a God that knows the outcome, instead of blindly following after the desires of our flesh.

So, little seed – will you prosper and grow, or sit in a bottle on a shelf, yielding nothing?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Box

In a daze, she sat there on the floor staring at the box between her sprawled legs.

She thought she’d give this box away. Each time she’d opened it, she put something in – never looking at the things she placed in it before. Half of what it contained, she’d long since forgotten; many of the items having been tossed in without much thought.

The box had been buried in the bottom of her backpack; it was small, but it was heavy. When she discovered it beneath the tissues and notebooks and pencils and reading materials, the Chapstick and reading glasses and a change of clothes for the baby, she felt the same confidence she’d had each time she opened the box. Putting in something new was completely different than the notion of looking at its contents.

She had no desire to lift the lid or to dig through the contents. She just wanted to be rid of it. Perhaps it’s a form of denial or a measure of faith, but by placing the items in this particular box it was supposed to lighten her load and make her journey through life more pleasurable. It was no one’s methodology but her own.

“How many times must I give it all away?” she whimpered.

Alone with her thoughts and the tears she refused to surrender, she sat at her end of the negotiation table. Again, lifting her outstretched hands, she wrestled a bit with how weighty it was.

“Here! For crying out loud, take this stupid thing,” she insisted. Within seconds, her muscles trembled, “It’s too heavy for me, why do You keep giving it back to me?”

“I can’t give back something you’ve never let go of, Helen.” Grasping the box firmly and sitting down with her, He said, “Let’s see what we have in here.”

“Those things are too heavy for me,” she protested, resisting the idea of allowing Him to open the box right there in front of her. He was supposed to do something with it. She had no desire to see what all she’d placed in it. Her heart raced.

“But, there might be something good in here,” He said, promisingly.

With an air of anticipation, He placed the box back on the floor between her knees.

“You expect to see good things in there?” she asked. Her puzzled brow yielded itself to the notion that there might be something she hadn’t considered.

There air in her lungs was trapped for a few seconds before it searched for an exit. As her breath seeped from her nostrils, she considered the point that not everything in the box was bad. But, why would she have put something good in there? The whole idea of putting these things into this box was to rid herself of them.

Quickly, the question dashed across her mind, “These things are all a part of me, why would I give them away? The good, the bad, and yes – even the ugly, all parts of me; my life.”

Not even attempting to open it, He smiled at her, as if He somehow knew that she was getting it. She was beginning to catch a glimpse of something that had been hidden behind dark clouds and confusion, but was there all along. Something that the world might consider small and insignificant began to blow her whole world wide open.

Scary? Yes! But, like a roller coaster ride you’ve been anticipating since you first heard about it.

Mentally, she searched her own thoughts on what the box contained:
·        Things she considered too heavy to carry
·        Things that challenged her version of reality
·        Things too big to understand
·        Expectations that would crush her if not met
·        Disappointments – founded and not
·        Fears – perceived and real
·        People she loved
·        People she dreaded
·        Shame
·        Guilt
·        Her weaknesses
·        Intimidation from her own strengths
·        Heartaches
·        The responsibilities for the choices of others

She marveled at the notion that some of those things weren’t even hers to give away.

“What else might be in there that I’ve unknowingly discarded?” she pondered. She wanted to smile because she knew He saw her curiosity. But, did she dare look?

Whispering, He suggested, “What if there are pretty items in there? Like the gifts and joys you didn’t feel you deserved? What if everything in the box is wrapped with potential?”

A lump got caught in her throat. Was it hope?

This simple task was making her muster up courage. “Why do I hesitate?” She wanted to ask out loud, but was afraid He’d answer. If she heard His reply, there’d be no turning back.

She irrationally wanted to get up and run as far as should could, as fast as she could. But, to where? Scripture surfaced in her thoughts.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me…”
(Psalm 139:7-10 NKJV)

Yes, one of her favorite Psalms.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain to it.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; and that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.”
(Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 NKJV)

Her thoughts didn’t race; they meandered through her mind, taking pleasure with each point made: “He knows me, yet He loves me. He knows ME, yet He loves ME! He loves me enough to open the box with me, knowing what’s inside.
Maybe, just maybe – I can love me that much, too. I trust Him. Completely.”

Almost embarrassed, she looked up and quietly conceded, “Go on. Open it.”

Fear washes over me, but, hope breaks through. Anticipation rises. My heart races, my breath comes in tiny gasps. My face is hot. My eyes fill with tears. My blood feels like it’s shaking in my veins. He’s been waiting for this.

We’ll open it – together.