Self Examination / How honest can you be?

If you are a woman you have more than like seen one of these breast self exam cards. A woman will examine herself to check for cancer but how many of us examine ourselves for the cancer of sin that slowly eats way the life of its’ host. We are quick to point out others flaws and report the wrong doings of others but how often do we confess our own sins? Publicly admit any wrong doings on our parts. Yet we publicly point out the wrongs others may be doing. Thanks to the Internet and social media opinions outweigh facts. People write what they want and though each of us can have our own opinion it is just that an opinion not fact. The best lies have a grain of truth. We can ‘t even believe what we see in the news any more. Yet criticism, and judgments are made and the ones doing this believe they are right and just.  The bible tells us that none are without sin.

Romans 3:10 (KJV)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

1 John 1:7-9 (KJV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

One of the Bible studies called Self portraits discusses how we see ourselves.

https://emotionalpeace.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/self-portraits-bible-lesson/

I have gone back to this lesson to dig a little deeper. To examine myself once again.

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So here is a self portrait that does not show my best side but it is honest look in the mirror. Each picture in this collage depicts a small part of me. It may be incomplete but as I made this and chose each picture as it reflected what I saw in my mirror. In the top row there is a picture of a woman who has a cap pulled down over her face with boss written on it. When I looked at it I saw how pride had blinded me. That I have been stubborn and let resentment and unforgiveness had bound me up like the straight jacket she is wearing. The pink boxing gloves represents the fighter inside of me. Yet why was I fighting and who was I fighting? The picture of a hunter with his bow drawn represents being constantly under attack. The train was my feeling of hopelessness. The ladder in the middle of the painting represents feeling like I am going nowhere. The shadow represents the darkness inside of me. The wolf howling represents like I am being hunted. The whitewater  canoe is me being tossed around by my own emotions. How turbulent they are.  The doll with the key in its back is feeling empty and like a puppet. The winding road is me getting off track. The picture of the woman drinking water is the unquenchable thirst. Looking to have my needs met by that which will never satisfy me truly. The man standing in front of the painting represents the mess my life is in. The scarecrow represents the empty fears I have. The woman hanging off the ledge is me barely hanging on. The black pig is the demons I wrestle with. Miss Piggy is that no matter what I do my past will always be my past no matter how I want to dress it up. The piggy banks in the soil being watered is all that I have wasted. A life of turmoil and under attack. Walking on the wrong road blind. Wasting my life, confused and hopeless. Bitter and filled with hateful emotions. Fighting the wrong fights. This is one part of me in a nutshell. Exposing my underbelly. Being honest with myself and the world.

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Sketch by Julie Sheppard

I don’t want to be a hypocrite anymore. Passing judgments on others while ignoring my own sins. So it is time to take the log out of my own eye.A self examination is not something to be done once, but like the breast self exam card says to do monthly, we need to do a self check on a regular basis.   Can you examine yourself honestly and then will you share your results?

Stretching Those Muscles

In exercise of any form one thing they all have in common is the need to stretch. You bend you twist, and you pull.  In the beginning stretching can be one of the things you may like the least because you are making yourself uncomfortable. Can you bend over and touch your toes?  I can! To be truthful the only way I can do this is if I bend my knees. With the injuries I sustained do to abuse has caused me not to be very flexible. I have a reverse curve of my cervical column which compresses my ulnar nerve and led to adult onset scoliosis. I have to stretch daily and get regular chiropractic treatments so I can walk upright. I have to admit that I do not do my stretches as much as i should. Why not? It hurts. Yet this pain is actually good for me. It keeps my muscles from locking up on me and keeps me moving.

Okay what made me think about all of this today? I was reading a post by Dan Ledwith here on his blog which I hope you will check out if you have not already read his posts.

Learning To Be Full Of Grace And Truth.

The post I read this morning was this one –

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The photo in this blog was of a church message board and it definitely caught my attention and reminded me I need to stretch today. Not just my body though. i need to stretch myself spiritually. What does this mean to me? It means that I need to get out of my comfort zone and push forward a little harder. I don’t want to become spiritually stagnate, which is something I had written about in a Bible study lesson which I titled ‘Bread and Water’ which you can read here –

https://emotionalpeace.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/bread-and-water-bible-lesson/

It also reminded me of martial arts training and how we had to stretch for lengthy periods of time before our training and lesson began. I once could do the splits and kick higher than my own head. The flexibility stretching gave our bodies helped us move more freely and swiftly. It also gave us the ability to move our body out of the way from a hit without having to move our feet. Which I can now incorporate in my relationship with Jesus. Even when under attack I can move without stepping off of my sure foundation which Is Jesus Christ. I can stand upon His promises and they guide me in what direction I should move.

Are you comfortable sitting on the sidelines watching others play the game, or being the wall flower sitting on the edge of the dance floor not dancing yourself? Do you want to get in the game and tackle the giants you are facing? Do you want to get up and dance because the life He gave to you gives you reason to even dance in the rain?

Okay then, get up! Stretch those muscles. Even runners stretch before the race, and we do have a race to run.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV – Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV – But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Question;

Do you have a verse that encourages you to run the race and stretch yourself? Please share it with us.

Here you can find some good stretching exercises

http://www.self.com/gallery/essential-stretches-slideshow

Hip Flexor/Quad Stretch

Kneel on floor with both knees bent, shins on floor. Lunge right leg forward, so right knee is bent 90 degrees in front of you, right foot is flat on floor directly under knee, and left leg is still bent underneath you, parallel to right. Place both hands on top of right knee and press back hip forward, leaning into stretch, keeping torso upright. Hold for 30 seconds; release. Do three reps; switch legs and repeat.

Stretches hip flexors, quads, hamstrings

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Seated Trunk Twist

Sit tall on floor, abs engaged, and legs extended and together in front of you. Rotate ribcage to right, keeping nose in line with breastbone and abs engaged. Lift ribcage off hips to rotate further to right, growing taller, twisting as far as possible. Return to center; repeat to left to complete one rep. Do 10 reps, holding final twists for 30 seconds each.

Stretches back, abs, obliques

Bridge With Leg Reach

Lie faceup on floor with knees bent 90 degrees, feet flat on floor, arms extended by sides. Extend right leg in front of you, and then slowly lift hips toward ceiling until you form a diagonal line from right knee to right shoulder, pressing upper back into floor and opening up chest. Lift right leg straight up toward ceiling; lower. Do 10 controlled reps, holding the last rep for 10 seconds. Switch legs; repeat.

Stretches chest, abs, hip flexors, glutes, legs

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks December 3, 2016

Couldn’t wait till morning to give thanks

Psalms Chapter 100:1-5 

1 (A Psalm of praise.) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

5 For the LORD [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations.

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My heart and life I have given to Jesus Christ. I will praise Him with all of me. Giving thanks for the life He has given me.

Without Christ there is no life, we merely exist. An empty shell. So sing praise to the Lord, for He is worthy of all praise.

Giving Thanks December 2, 2016

Psalms 107:1 – O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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Praising God brings joy to my heart.

I am thankful that God, our Heavenly Father, is merciful, and that He delights in us.

Psalms 86:5 – For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) 17 The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The Wall

Jerusalem had a wall around it. Walls are nothing new. Jericho had a wall around it. Two walls that you will find in the Bible. In the book of Joshua you will read about the wall around Jericho. Yes the wall came down. In the book of Nehemiah you can read how heart broken he was over the condition of the wall of Jerusalem. He was not only given permission to go and repair the wall by the king but the king gave him the materials he would need to make the repairs. He fought opposition. The workers rebuilding the wall had to work in pairs so that one could work while the other rested, and they worked with a tool in one hand and a sword in the other. A talk of a wall to be built on the border between United States and Mexico is nothing new. It has been debated and argued over for just as long as the idea has been around. The time is coming though that it might actually be built. I am not writing this as an argument for or against this wall. I am writing because as I read a post on this wall and funny thing is as I read this article I wasn’t thinking about Trump or the Mexican president I thought of Jerusalem and I thought of Nehemiah. I thought of what shape Jerusalem had fallen into,that it’s walls were in ruins and needed repair, and I thought about all of the obstacles and opposition Nehemiah faced while seeking to do the will of God. This made me think about the obstacles we face today which in all honesty are nothing new.Hate, strife, violence and prejudice. We don’t fight the good fight when we are yelling and screaming insults or even whispering them. We look for ways to keep others from succeeding with their plans instead of working on solutions to fix the things we have destroyed. We care more about popular opinion than truth. We talk about the need for love while spewing hateful words from our mouths. When a wrong is done we compound it by committing another wrong. For instance rioting and destroying property while stealing is supposed to be the right reaction when an unarmed man is shot by the police? How about instead of committing crime in protest, why not help the family and support them as they deal with their loss. Professional athletes protesting our National Anthem teaching our youth that it is okay to disrespect this country, when they could be helping out the communities that are suffering? This list can go on and on but the revelation I got today is if you really want to come together for a purpose and stand for something,stand for love. Build each other up and stop tearing each other down.

Okay my venting is done for now.

God bless you because I already know He loves you even if you don’t love Him

God may we as a nation come together in the love of Jesus Christ. Though He is Your Son did not demand the rights He had as Your Son, but laid down His life for His enemies as well as those who had received Him. He didn’t die for just one person, race, or religion. He gave His life to pay the price so that we may all receive Your mercy and forgiveness. Showing us that you are a God of love. Father grow this love in me so that I may live my life to give Your love to all who I will ever know in this world,even if it is just a stranger I pass on the street. I want Your love to be known. In Jesus name. Amen.

Seeing What You Want To See

If you want to see the beauty that is around you, you will see beauty. If you want to see the ugliness of this world you will see ugly. Yet if you really want to see the truth, then you will see both. This world around you has both love and hate, beauty and ugliness. Yet this world is temporary, and for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are pilgrims only traveling through it.

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1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

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Psalm 146:8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;

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Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

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Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

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Art by Julie Sheppard

2 Corinthians 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

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Art by Julie Sheppard

I have always been drawn to eyes, both in people and in art. I have learned two people even when looking at the same thing see differently. We see what we are looking for, even when we are not sure what it is that we want. Broken, hurt, and angry people will more likely see darkness and devastation. The ones who only see roses and rainbows can be the ones who cannot handle the pain of this world and they choose to deny the ugliness but only fool themselves. Then there are those whose eyes have been open. They have suffered, and been hurt and abused. They have had great loss in their life but through the brokenness of their life they found the Truth in Jesus. He gives us the ability to see the truth and to beauty even in a broken world.

Run and hide or….

I was recently watching a show in one scene a woman watched her door as she saw someone trying to break in. She did not call for help or find a weapon to defend herself, instead she ran and hid in a closet. This scene could be found in any a typical horror movie. So why did this TV show catch my attention during this scene? I will share with you one of my flaws, and that is when I used to watch horror shows I used to criticize the soon to be victims and call them stupid for their poor judgment. I am the one who would say, ‘Don’t go upstairs you idiot the door is right there!’, and other similar statements. As this scene played out on my TV screen I watched this woman in her terror and wondered why didn’t she pick up a phone, or a frying pan. Why did she go and put herself in a place where she had no escape? All of this lead to other thoughts. Why do we lay down as victims, and make ourselves easy prey for the enemy? We run and hide, yet we do not run to safety. Yes there are times we need to run and flee to a safe place to get away from our attacker. Then there are times when we need to stand and fight. We are to be on guard at all times, aware of our surroundings. We are not to be found sleeping. Good reason to be paired up with other believers. So do you run or do you stand and fight? Each situation is different and response will depend on what is happening and what you have to use. First clear your mind of fear, it clouds your mind and your judgment is hindered. Trust in the Lord and He will lead you to the right decision. What do you when you have to react in a split second? If you are armored up and standing firm on the Word, His Spirit will direct you. Be alert, stand guard, and listen at all time for God’s voice.

Joshua 10:25 Joshua then said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.”

2 Chronicles 32:6-8 He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. “With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1 Peter 5:9-10 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Matthew 26:41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:13-17 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
2 Samuel 22:40 “For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.