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Here's how God is using the daily readings from Jesus Calling to speak into my life.
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spiritual Neurobics

"One of the practical benefits of living close to Me...I will show you which direction to go... I, the Creator of the universe...will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know. Stay in communication with me; follow My guiding Presence." (314)

Perhaps this is one of the more challenging, yet inspiring aspects of the "road less traveled" (from yesterday's blog.) The familiar, routine, well-worn roads, that most journey, will often cause us to "sleepwalk through (our) days." However, as followers of Christ, we will find ourselves moving out of our comfort zones into Divinely appointed adventures that challenge and inspire us to be more than we would have ever dreamed.

I have been inspired by those who follow hard and close to Christ. Amazing opportunities seem to flourish in their lives. When I've moved outside my own sphere of the familiar and have been stretched beyond my realm of comfort, it has been a mixture of rewarding, inspiring and even a bit scary, at times.

Manning Rubin and Lawrence Katz invented a new term, "neurobics," referring to brain exercises that can enhance brain fitness by stimulating the chemicals produced when we engage in a non-routine action/thought. It was discovered that when we move outside our comfort zone or the familiar, we stimulate the growth of neurons and dendrites that can make for a healthier environment in our brains.

I believe that "one of the practical benefits to living close" to Jesus is the opportunity to experience some "neurobics." Jesus seems to stir up the brain cells and change the environment of our minds helping us to develop a mind like His. (Philippians 2:5)

Neurobically His...dmc

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On the Road Less Traveled

"You...have been called to take a "road less traveled": continual dependence on Me. True confidence comes from knowing you are complete in My Presence." (313)
Yesterday's blog about being grafted in the Vine (Jesus) and having our thought processes also grafted into the Vine can powerfully change us. Most who have chosen this kind of thought-life have discovered the "road less traveled." While some may think we are a bit different, maybe even weird, living so dependant on Jesus, the benefits are eternally far-reaching!
Having my thoughts flow through the Vine certainly changes how I understand things! Christ's perspective alters my human perspective and over the years I have been modified to be a much more thoughtful person, I think! Overall, traveling the "road less traveled" is quite freeing and filled with God-appointed encounters that have enriched and strengthened my life in countless ways.
The "road less traveled" is certainly an adventure...
In the Presence of Jesus...dmc

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brain Chatter

"I am God with you, for all time and throughout eternity... My perpetual Presence with you can be a continual source of Joy... Let your mind reverberate with meanings of My Names... remain conscious of My Presence... Talk with Me about whatever... (it) will keep you close to Me on the path of Life." (312)
I've come to a place where I'm basically in an on-going conversation with Jesus about whatever, whomever, wherever, whenever. Why? Because it truly changes everything! Once I know that He has been invited into that particular network of thoughts, I sense an internal release and a flow of Life-giving energy. After learning more about how our brains work....it makes total sense.
Thoughts are like a neuro-network of bushes with many branches that produce either positive or negative chemicals that bath our brain cells. The area of our brains that tends to be more God-aware helps the executive, decision-making region of the brain take every thought and transform it to be more constructive. God's Truth can "take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." ( 2 Cor. 10:5)
I picture every branchy-bush network of my thoughts being grafted into The Vine (Christ) when I channel that network of thoughts into the God-aware region of my brain. John 15:4-8 says it like this, "No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing... This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
Disciples chat often with the Master. What a great way to develop the mind of a disciple... keeping all the brain's neuro-networks attached to the life-giving Vine that produces positive life-giving Fruit!
Chatting Often with Jesus...dmc

Monday, October 24, 2016

Godly REST

"Learn to unwind whenever possible, resting in the Presence of your Shepherd. This electronic age keeps My children "wired" much of the time, too tense to find Me in the midst of their moments. I built into your very being the need for rest...(for) taking time to seek My direction. Your weaknesses...amplify your need for Me...I will shower Peace on all your paths." (311)
Years ago, during my first year in college, I discovered the unique microcosm of life that exists in a dormitory hallway after 10:00 pm. My roommate and I discovered that we could spend hours socializing, trivializing, philosophizing, conceptualizing, theorizing, summarizing, intellectualizing, even "final"izing until we began fantasizing about SLEEP. We started realizing how important it was to do some prioritizing! (Forgive my silly ponder-izing!)
It was during this time we came across Psalm 127:2 taken from The Living Bible. "God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest."
With a little effort we synchronized our schedules, reorganized our lives and legitimized our intent by simply posting the above verse outside our door. It was quite surprising how publicizing it was a revolutionizing hit! The dorm hallway, without any chastising or demoralizing, was tranformationalized!
So, to generalize, we surmised that all our socialized, fraternized, sleepy-eyed friends had eagerly surmised and agonized over their own legitimate need to rest!
What a shame we have socialized, characterized and sensationalized a pressurized lifestyle that victimizes rather than energizes us. We need REST! God, help us to...
Redeem Our Sleep Time...dmc

Sunday, October 23, 2016

His Smile of Approval

"Open your mind and heart to receive My heavenly smile of approval...(let it) wash over you and soak into the depths of your being... experience joyous union with Me." (310)
Years ago I went through a period of time where I struggled with being able to sense God's approval. One evening Joe and I sat together discussing my dilemma of why it was so difficult for me to feel accepted and loved by God. It made no sense... I had grown up in a loving home...so that was not the cause. I had a faithful, loving husband...so that was not the issue. I had rich, stable friendships...so that was not the problem. I had enough of life's blessings to feel secure and protected...so that was not it either. No matter what, we could not unearth the mysterious misery that brewed in my spirit. Although I had been saved years ago and had tried to be obedient to His Word... I was still longing for some sense of God's approval and His Presence.
With continued, honest soul-searching, lots of prayer support from my amazing husband and some wise advice from a seasoned pastor's wife... things changed! She told me to continue to meet with God every morning and at some point, I would sense His Presence. She said that He would reveal Himself to me, again. I had to push through my feelings and be found faithful, no matter what!
After that, during an early morning devotional time, I realized I had been far too focused on myself.
Things had to change.  My focus had to shift until it was all about Jesus and the cross! So, I started to refocus on Him. I wanted to know Him better and what His death and resurrection really meant in my life.  So I studied with a new interest.  I started talking to Him nearly all the time...no matter what! Soon I was able to sense His Presence, nearly overwhelming me at times.
Still, to this day, it is spiritually healthier for me to keep Him as my focal point. There's so much to be grateful for when I consider Calvary's many blessings in my life.  His "heavenly smile of approval" is there...beyond my own sabotaging sensibilities. I know He is there! Hebrews 13:8 confirms He remains the same "yesterday, today and forever!" So, I have...
Lots to Smile About, No Matter What...dmc

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chatting with Jesus

"No matter what your circumstances may be, you can find Joy in My Presence... Search for it as for hidden treasure... Recall that I am present with you whether you sense My Presence or not...start talking with Me...continue communicating with Me, your mood will gradually lighten." Prov. 2:4 (309)
This is one of the most amazing realities in my own journey of faith...how connecting with God can lift my heart and literally change my frame of mind!
Here's a quote from the Webinar I participated in with Dr. David Amen...
"The condition of our soul and the spiritual connections we make has a strong impact on the physiology of the brain. It is a reciprocal relationship...having a positive relationship with God and others actually improves brain function. A number of research studies have demonstrated that people of faith suffer less from anxiety disorders and depression and they recover 70% faster from these illnesses than those without a strong religious faith. The suicide rate and even mortality rate is lower for religious people than the non-religious. The brain needs a healthy soul, and the soul needs a brain that works right."
(Webinar: Healing the Hardware of the Soul - Nine Principles of the Amen Clinic, 10/18/2010)
Chatting with Jesus makes a huge significant difference!
Healing my mind, my life and my mood...dmc

Friday, October 21, 2016

Recognize & Release Resentment

"To live in My Presence consistently, you must expose and expel your rebellious tendencies...become aware of each resentment. Bring them boldly into the Light of My Presence, so that I can free you from them. The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand!" Job 1:21 (308)
This is a hard Truth that often cuts deep into our human securities. Just the thought of having to release something or someone precious can be extremely painful. Loss leaves us so empty...I suppose that is why we must be filled with Him, focused on Him... not all the "good things-possessions, family, friends, health, abilities, time" all gifts that come from our Loving, Sovereign Lord.
Our devotional reading today continues, "Intellectually you rejoice in My sovereignty... but when My sovereign will encroaches on your little domain of control, you often react with telltale resentment."
As soon as I sense the rumblings of resentment in my spirit, I try to confess it quickly and ask for His peace that "guards my heart and mind" (Phil. 4:7) Staying close to Him means I must stay tuned in to any hint of displeasure in His Will for my life. Confessing it quickly keeps my heart repentant and tender before Him. Learning to recognize and release resentment quickly has been such a valuable gift. I was reminded of the following song. This video clip (Blessed Be Your Name, sung by Tim Hughes) has a powerful message, impacting scriptures and the most endearing pictures of children... who tend to uniquely touch and tune my heart to God's Heart.
My Heart will choose to say, "Lord, Blessed be Your Name."
Always letting go of resentment... Never letting go of His Hand...dmc

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Growing Young!

"I am your Living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down... Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body... Though the process of aging continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years. Those who live close to Me develop an inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years. Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me." (307)
I participated in a brain-health Webinar emphasizing how a healthy brain will keep us more alive and youthful, no matter what our chronological age may be. Tests reveal some twenty year olds whose thought life was so toxic and negative that their brains were deteriorating faster than their grandparents who were 3 or 4 times older!
Although my outward, physical body will certainly age, I want my "inner person to be renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16) Afterall... Age? It's just a number!
So, here are some personal checkpoints I have for myself to help me "grow young."
1. Eat brain healthy & body healthy foods (including my Reliv & protein shakes)
2. Stay kid-connected (time with the young keeps my heart happy, tender & sincere)
3. Keep a "young at heart" attitude (no matter how gray, wrinkled or forgetful I become)
4. Always be up for something new & different (keeps me out of the "rut")
5. Compliment often & be thankful (grumpy people are "old" no matter what their age)
6. Daily sing & make music (keeps me in tune, on beat & in my right mind, literally!)
7. Let God speak into my life daily (before I dare speak into someone else's life)
8. Use encounters to improve this world (touching people & places for good)
9. Be sure to listen well, using my 3rd ear (the one in the center of my h"ear"t!)
10. Check for Fruit (Will this produce more Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faith? Gentleness? Self-Control? Gal.5:22-23... If not, I usually DON'T go there!!)
Staying Ageless In Jesus...dmc

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Authentic vs Artificial

"Come to Me with your defenses down...relax and feel the relief of being totally open and authentic with Me. Facades abound in the world...(people may) cover up with Sunday clothes and Sunday smiles. (But) the best antidote to this artificial atmosphere is practicing My Presence...(and) glorifying Me. Then you will be able to smile at others with My Joy and bless them with My Presence." (306)
Don't you just love authentic people? Those who have moved past the limitations of preserving their egos, of defending their reactions, and blaming or attacking others when threatened? Otherwise it creates such a drama-driven environment! Of all places, the body of Christ should be free of such maladies. Alas, "one of the worst consequences of the Fall is the elaborate barriers people erect between themselves and others" not only in the world but even in the church!
So, what sets apart the authentic from the artificial? Here are just a few attributes I value in authentic people. I am thankful for them because they truly inspire me.
The authentic seem to honestly take responsibility for personal flaws; are quick to listen, slow to speak and when they do, they speak to or about others honorably. They express compassion for others; readily equip and empower someone else's dreams; support unity and efforts to elevate team effort over personal gain; inspire communication, acceptance, commitment, trust, vision, integrity and internal tenacity. Basically, the authentic live in God's Presence, dwelling on and exemplifying things that are "excellent or praise-worthy." (Phil.4:8) They view others as God's Image-bearers not as one's potential enemy!
Our true Enemy desires to make us into self-absorbed, drama-driven puppets on the stage of human insecurities. Our True Friend inspires us to be Christ-absorbed, purpose-driven people with an eternal mission...
Desiring an authentic human journey..dmc