Monday, May 14, 2012

Faith = Lavender for the Soul

Nature reveals so much about God. The more we learn, the more we understand that God is trustworthy. Did you know that Jewel Weed is a natural antidote for Poison Ivy? Did you also know that it is almost always found growing near Poison Ivy? I just learned this recently on a hike with my critique partners (waving to all you, Sharpies). I suspect our heavenly Father created a plant for every need we would have, and placed it close to where it would be needed. Jehovah Jireh is one of his names, after all...The Lord our Provider.

Essential Oils are the lifeblood of a plant. The Bible mentions the usage of oils in healing. Lavender is one of those plants our Creator provided. It has a wide range of uses. It is antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, and a detoxifier which promotes healing and prevents scarring. I keep a bottle of Lavender essential oil in the kitchen in case of burns and in my "medicine" cabinet in the bathroom with my other essential oils.  Lavender is one of the few oils that can be used as a relaxant as well as a stimulant.

Lavender helps ease stress, relax muscles and calm the mind. It also stimulates thoughts and increases energy, giving that little push we may need to get up and go.

God thinks relaxation and rest are important. He instituted the Sabbath, commanding us to rest one day a week. He knew how we'd be...thinking we're so important we can't rest for a whole day. He also made celebrations throughout the year that included rest from work. And He promised peaceful sleep to His people.

Hebrews 4 encourages us to enter God's rest. Chapter 3 gives an account of Israel's sin of unbelief and how they were prohibited from entering the rest God offered them.

"Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day...For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end." ~Hebrews 3:12-14

Hebrews 3 and 4 demonstrate how unbelief was the sin that caused Israel to strive in the wilderness for 40 years rather than entering into the rest God had hoped to provide for them.

Do you ever strive and worry, causing yourself stress while God patiently holds the door open for you to enter the rest He already provided? 
(Maybe that's only me).

"'Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me.' Who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief."
~Hebrews 3:15-19

When we're not convinced of what we beleive, we disobey because we don't trust God to do what's right and best. We think we know better, whether we admit it or not. That is the cause of sin.

Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

So then faith is the key.

Faith is like Lavender for our soul. With it we can rest easy in God's hands entrusting all our worry to Him. And with it we have the motivation to actively obey His commands. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Time: Friend or Foe

I'm learning the need to see time from a different perspective. So often time is my foe. I have plans for my life and there just doesn't seem to be enough time to accomplish them. Soon I realize a decade has gone by and I still haven't achieved my goal.

Since this is always the case, there must be a flaw in my perspective, my plan or my thinking in some way. Following the Movements of the Spirit, Henri Nouwen, teaches that we need to view time as kairos instead of chronos. Chronos is chronology, the events of our life connected by time over which we have no control. Kairos is an opportunity for a change of heart. Both are Greek words for time, but very different in concept. Kairos carries a more mystical sense, an awareness that defining, moments can break into the chronology of time at any point, or that every moment defines a life.

"Time needs to be converted from chronos to kairos...The spiritual life is a formation process in which time slowly loses its opaqueness and becomes transparent. To start seeing that the many events of our day, week, or year are not obstacles to a full and meaningful life, but the way to it, is a real experience of conversion. Once we discover that writing letters, attending classes, visiting friends, cooking food, and even doing the dishes are not a series of random activities but contain within themselves the transforming power of re-creation, we move from time lived as chronos to time lived as kairos (right time, the real moment, the opportunity for change, the chance of a lifetime). When our time becomes kairos, endless new possibilities and opportunities open up to our vision." ~Following the Movements of the Spirit.

I'm reminded again of the words by John Lenin, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Year after year we could be missing our real life by planning for another one that will never exist.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have goals or make plans. We must. But, let us rethink the plans, make sure they're simple, doable, and embrace interruptions as opportunities to grow, change, even remold our plans. A good example is writing a novel. The author comes up with a good plot summary (chronological time line of events to happen in the character's life), but part way through the book, the author realizes that the character's life is going a different direction. Time to adjust the plot summary.

Lord, let me embrace time as a friend, welcoming the interruptions You allow, rather than fighting time as my arch enemy. Thank You for the gift of time that You've allotted for my life, may I live each moment pleasing you no matter what arises.