5.28.2011

Praying and Breathing: Non-Negotiables for Real Life

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 

having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established 
in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
Colossians 2:6-7

Many people ask the question "What is the difference between a Christian and a Non-Christian?"  I have heard it answered differently over the years, but upon further reflection I see for myself the answer is most obviously revealed (once again) not by what one sees outwardly but by the unseen intimacy which is shared within the context of the relationship such as I have with my own True Love.

As a baby, once born cries out in response to his own new birth so a Believer cries out in response to the new life he receives through Christ. He takes his first breath and cries out. So it is with the New Life of faith in the Believer. Show me a Christian who has no conversation with the Savior and I will show you a sinner ensnared by deceit, apathy, religious ritual or all of these.
Show me a "Christian" who does not know the Word
and I will show you one who lives at the whims of the flesh
without the power of the Living God.

Where the Spirit of God is, is also Truth, freedom and life abundant.

When Jesus touches the life of a believer - they are changed forever and long to stay connected to the One who has called them out of darkness into the light.

He is close to those who belong to Him, as close as the very breath that fills the lungs and allows life.
Just as we need to breathe to live and experience abundant life, we who believe are called to a life of prayer. Prayer is communication with God. 
It always surprises me to speak with those who have not read or studied the Bible yet have drawn conclusions based on hearsay.
You say you are a "follower" of God?
Well you better know full well who you are following.
I don't know many lawyers who can do a good job without knowing the law that they need to use to argue a case.
I don't know many doctors who can practice without first studying how to diagnose and treat patients.

I do know people who claim to be Christians who have not finished one book in the Bible.
How can this be?
Jesus claimed to be The Word that became flesh for us... 
Jesus said, If you love me you will obey what I say.
Do you know what he says?
Do you know what he requires ( a broken spirit and a contrite heart, he will not refuse)?
Micah 6'8: What does the Lord require of you : to act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Do you know what He requires?
How do you walk with someone?
 Don't you converse when you walk with someone? 
Well God desires that with us.

 His has always been  to have fellowship with us, His chosen ones.
 William Gurnell says it like this :
" But it is impossible for the sincere believer to stop praying unless he stops believing.
Prayer is the very breath of faith
Stop a man's breath and where is he then?".

In the physical realm you can go without food and survive for a season friend. But without the breath friend, you are no longer alive. In the spiritual the truth remains. You need the bread of life (The Living Manna) to sustain you and you need the breath of life (Prayer) to live the life of faith He has for you! In Him we live and move and have our being! (Acts 17:28)

Well, I hope this makes sense to you friends, my heart is an open book and the Author of my life is the one who keeps me secure. By His Grace. Keep Digging Beneath the Surface and He himself will guide you into all Truth!

Enthusiastically Yours,
Dawn


5.20.2011

The River, the Journey and The Guide


Casey was the Guide on my recent White Water Rafting excursion. He was unaware of the way God used him to reveal this attribute of  Himself  as the only one who is able to guide me completely in all things.

The Journey begins...
I had never been on a white water rafting trip before -  that was a fact, but I was not anticipating the depth of the journey my Master Planner had already mapped out in advance for me. So after a last minute jaunt to Marshall's for Nylon pants, tops and water shoes for the family completely unsure of what lay ahead - I put my head on the pillow with all of the worries any mom would have when setting about on an unknown trip to do ...well, something unknown! Now I don't know about you but I like to know what's coming. A little light for the next step, not just the step I am on. I like my grace in advance...too- but I am unconvinced that it comes this way. I confess I am guilty of going down those roads in my mind at times I have no business going down...the ones with the twisty turns, usually leading to drama, devastation or both. Make those Drama and Devastation with a capital D. Sometimes the "mommy" in me needs a big reminder to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) Fortunately, I was dealt with mercifully and fell quickly into a deep, dreamless sleep - at least as far as I remember. (Psalm 4:8)
We were up at the ...oh I hate that expression- let's just say early.
The forecast called for rain and this was one of the rare times the meteorologists got it right. Of course I had made sure we brought enough rain gear for ourselves and another raft of people so we were good as far as the wetness factor. As much as I anticipated a fun day...I found myself again wondering... will we be safe on the journey? It seems almost silly in retrospect but the fact is I often find myself torn between two of me: The adventurous free and easy, jump right in person I was (and still am just slightly modified) - BC (Before Child) and the Mom who worries and weighs out details and imagines absurd scenarios most of which thankfully, never happen. You did note "most", right?
Here's your sign...
The first thing we did after taking the: "We've arrived" mom itinerary photo was to herd ourselves into the changing area with @75 other people who were coming along for the adventure.
Yes I said changing, as in: ALL NEEDED WAS PROVIDED FOR (previous night worry and last minute trip to store: not needed- this is when I begin to suspect "Someone" might be tapping on my shoulder) from the snug little booties to the helmet, full wet suit, waterproof over jacket and LIFE (phew) JACKET. Honestly suiting up with "wet" wet suits is  not a fun project to consider (go ahead think about it) never mind actually do. But despite having to wrestle ourselves into them, it seemed like the wise and prudent thing to do since water temperature was to be @ 35 degrees. The reality of what this felt like I got to confirm later. We dropped off our clothes and gear in the car as we headed for the busride which would take us to the departure point.This is where I got my first glimpse of our Guide, although I did not know it at the time. What I will say is my husband and I spent the ride in laughter about the hilarious possibilities as we eavesdropped on a conversation about the River we would be rafting which was peppered with words like: dynamite, caves, and tunnels as well as local town history tidbits.
 The Guide...
You know when you know, that you know. So there we are, 77 raftees and at least 20 staffers/guides, standing looking down a small cliff  at the river and waiting rafts. Did I mention we were wet? What I noticed was the guide I would come to know as Casey was both pro-active and considerate. He asked who was ready and engaged in easy repore building conversation...I knew that we should be with him - it seemed everyone else was lollygagging around. I have zero patience for lollygagging! Again, there was that gentle prod. No doubt. Just that small affirmation. Speak up, now. "We are!" popped out of my mouth and after a brief introduction down the embankment we went to choose our raft. My hubby nudged me, "It's the guy on the bus who was telling all the interesting (explosive) stories!".
 The River...
We stepped into our raft with Casey and headed down the river. We were about to take a 10 mile trip. We would be spending the next 3 hours or more on this journey. As we started down the river our Guide began to instruct us about the details of staying safe, and having a great trip. He told us that we needed to follow his commands and instructions, not only get the most out of the trip but also to avoid danger to ourselves and others. He informed us of opportunities we might have along the way to choose to engage in swimming (yup), water fighting with other rafts and view some beautiful scenery. Journeying the river would be wonderful for us as long as we kept our ears attuned to our Guide. No need to tell me twice as a Coach and Personal Trainer, I know when I am working with a client the best thing I can hope for is someone who is willing to be coached which means ultimately doing what is required- I know 99 % of the time if the directions are followed as given , the results desired will be fulfilled. Sounds simple ... but often- not so much. The yielding of the will under someone else's direction requires both trust and faith. One must trust in the one who is doing the guiding and also have faith that what is hoped for shall be procured.
The further we got into the journey it became obvious to me our Guide loved the River as well as directing those in his charge. He clearly instructed at times and at other times sat back and enjoyed the ride WITH us!It was evident that he knew the river well and  he was also able to guide us through it with ease, even if we made a mistake ..."Oh, you mean that right side! Oopsy!" I realized we were completely safe when I saw our Guide on numerous occasions use his whole body to steer the boat and redirect our course. A number of times he would direct our steering, and point out a rock. "That one is large, see it, right there on the left". That answer was usually, no - I did not see half the rocks he spoke of until we were safely maneuvering around them or as we were practically on top of them. This started to really stir within me how God so knows the journey we are on in our lives. He knows the river well with the obstacles we do not perceive. He longs to guide us as He knows the best route to keep us from harm and to give us a hope and a future! (Jeremiah 29:11-13). But we need to yield our will, listen to his voice and follow His instruction. We think we know best, but really our best ends up in the back of the car, useless for the trip...potentially even weighing us down if we refuse to let go...or let ourselves be outfitted with the clothing appropriate  for the journey.

Jump Right In the Water's Fine...
The biggest test for me came when my daughter wanted to get into the water. Of the 12 Rafts that went on the water that day I am pretty sure not one other person went into the water willingly. Of course in the pouring rain, 35 degree water my girl wants to take the plunge. Did you think I would let her get in without me? No way! You bet I went in. Full immersion. I felt I needed to be in there just in case ...of anything...you know. That's my baby. Breathing becomes a rather invigorating endeavor in almost freezing water. Realize this, once you are in the water the only way back on is to be pulled on by the Guide from the harnesses on the back of your life jacket. He pulled us back on that raft a half dozen times. The minute we said enough, he would pull us up and onto the boat. It was during this part of the journey I realized my girl is also safe in the charge of the Guide. So often I find myself in need of remembering God's great love for my daughter. It's humbling to know that His love is inexhaustible and He loves that precious one even more than I. He is able to guide her as well as me, and He is trustworthy. Seeing Casey effortlessly hoist my girl onto the raft with a smile and saintly patience: "You want to go in again?", three minutes later "Ready to come out, huh?" was witnessing joy in action. How much more is there a Guide who takes joy in hoisting us out of the pit and bringing us safely back into the boat of His Everlasting Arms?
A Safe Return...
Upon our safe return to the base, Casey went right to work as part of the team he serves with for this outdoor adventure. Back at the base we had some lunch. I noticed Casey still working for most of the time while the rest of the crew and staff grabbed meals and joined the guests. I couldn't help but notice that Casey was the last one who came to eat.

Psalm 25: 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Some additional verses wich speak about God as our Guide: Exodus 13:21, Exodus15:13, Nehimiah 9:19, Psalm 23:1-3, Psalm 48:14, Psalm 25: 5, Isaiah 58:11, Proverbs 4:11

Notice the joy on the face of the Guide!

Deerfield River, Charleton, MA.



Fitness, Faith, Fairy Tales and Truth

Fireworks through the window at Cinderella's Castle


Well, here it is finally! The Blog...MY Blog. Well kind of. That might be a bit of a fairy tale...not quite the truth. You see, although I love to write, almost as much as I love to do anything on the face of this planet, I know ultimately this blog is destined as a place for truth alone. Not my truth but The Truth. Still, this is a project which is currently "Undergoing Construction". But know this too, my journey is one I am willing to share with anyone who cares to join me. You see, the One I follow himself gave an open invitation. However, not all accepted. I understand that all will not accept my invitation. But there it stands. A choice. I am on an exciting adventure. I am aware that my time is short. How about you - is your life an adventure? Not the manic morning kind or the "please make it stop I want to get off" sort... but the kind where you know deep within your being that it really is well with your soul? Are you aware that your own life is short? Or do you think you have forever to contemplate the truth? Well my life has certainly not been like a fairy tale but I have had my share of fairy tale moments. The one distinguishing feature in my life by which I am completely defined is the life that is actually unseen. It is the hidden beneath the surface life of faith of which I speak.
This faith is the quiet confidence which tragedy and trial have strengthened, molded and shaped over time.
Would you like to join me on a journey? Would you like to know the secret to my strength? What say ye?
(I am feeling a bit Pirate tonight!) Partner with me on seeking the Truth, will you? Or just  meander with me while I figure out this Blogging thing! Well that finishes up my first official blog post. Oh, what was that you asked? What about the fitness part? Oh yes, dear friend...sigh, that will have to be a post for another day. But, it is true much of my adult life has been spent on the pursuit of the physical. I have much to share with you from my experiences in the field of fitness...lessons and stories and memories, OH MY!

Until next time, keep digging Beneath the Surface!
Enthusiastically, Dawn