Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting Go


Fall is my favorite season of the year.   Living in California, we miss the more dramatic seasonal changes experienced in other parts of the country.  
We do have two beautiful liquid amber trees.   Our front yard tree provides a touch of fall as the leaves turn brilliant shades of gold, red, orange and brown.   But the tree in our backyard clings to its leaves for several more months.   It seems like the tree is unwilling to let go. It holds on tight even as the leaves shrivel and turn brown.   The tree is finally forced to let go when the spring buds emerge and push the dead leaves off the branches.   I'm the only person I know who rakes leaves in the spring!
Most of us have those things we cling to.   Mostly it is out of fear of change and the uncertainty of what lies ahead.   It is difficult to really trust the process of letting go to make room for what is to come.   But when we do let go, we open ourselves to God's Spirit, coaxing us to new life and awakening our hearts to infinite possibilities for the future.
From Mental Health Ministries

Christian Affirmations


From “Christian Items” by Douglas Eberman Christian

Try reading these Christian Affirmations aloud to yourself, perhaps several times a day, until they become a part of you. From "Victory Over The Darkness" by Neil T. Anderson of Freedom in Christ Ministries, and The Holy Bible - New International Version .

John 1:12     I am God's child.
John 15:15     I am Christ's friend.
Rom. 5:1     I have been justified.
1 Cor. 6:17     I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 6:19-20     I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
1 Cor. 12:27     I am a member of Christ's body.
Eph. 1:1     I am a saint.
Eph. 1:5     I have been adopted as God's child.
Eph. 2:18     I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Col. 1:14     I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Col. 2:10     I am complete in Christ.

Rom. 8:1-2     I am free forever from condemnation.
Rom. 8:15-17     I am one of God's children with an inheritance from God.
Rom. 8:28     I am assured that all things work together for good.
Rom. 8:31-34     I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Rom. 8:35-39     I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Cor. 1:21-22     I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God.
Col. 3:3     I am hidden with Christ in God.
Phil. 1:6     I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected.
Phil. 3:20     I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Tim. 1:7     I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.
Heb. 4:16     I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 Jn. 5:18     I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.

Matt. 5:13-14     I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:1,5     I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
Acts 1:8     I am a personal witness of Christ's.
1 Cor. 3:16     I am God's temple.
2 Cor. 5:18-20     I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
2 Cor. 6:1     I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9).
Eph. 2:6     I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
Eph. 2:10     I am God's workmanship.
Eph. 3:12     I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Phil. 4:13     I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Bible Verses for the above affirmations:
Unless otherwise stated the following verses are taken from the New International Version of the Holy Bible.

In Christ I am Accepted

John 1:12 Yet to all who received Him [Jesus Christ], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

John 15:12-15 Jesus said: Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 6:17-20 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 12:27-28 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus

Ephesians 1:5 he [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

Ephesians 2:17-22 For through him [Jesus Christ] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household

Colossians 1:13-14 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 2:10 (NASB) and in Him [Jesus Christ] you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority

In Christ I am secure

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:15-17 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him [Jesus Christ] we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:28-39 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died, more than that, who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor evil-spirits, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Colossians 3:1-3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 1:4-6 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In Christ I am significant

Matthew 5:13-14 Spoken by Jesus to His disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven."

John 15:1-5 Jesus said: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes/cleans so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. 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.

Acts 1:8 Jesus speaking to those he had chosen: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 6 As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.

Ephesians 2:1-10 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 3:12 In him [Jesus Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him [Jesus Christ] who gives me strength.

Monday, November 8, 2010

LET IT FAIL by S.B. Evans

Here I sit in the library, the familiar knot in my stomach. The fear knot. What am I afraid of? Lots of things—and some people. I’m afraid of snakes and camel crickets, loneliness and boredom. My fear list is long, which isn’t very Christian of me, since I’m supposed to have faith instead of fear. More than most, I fear the disapproval and anger of others, although I can cause both myself! I fear another failure, since I’ve failed so many times at so many things, especially relationships. What are you afraid of? There must be something. It’s human to be afraid once in a while, I think. But, today I was reading through some old notebooks and found a strange antidote to fear. Failing, I learned, can help fight fear.

In other words, when I’ve tried many things and maybe I’ve tried too hard, it’s time to “give it up” (as a sister-in-law says) to God. I was searching for the meaning of the Bible verse (which can be compared to give it up) ”Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) By “being still” we are to “cease striving.” Please forgive me if I sometimes fail to cite my sources, but just so you know—this is not original—and so “anonymous” gets credit. When I researched the word “strive” to see exactly what to stop striving involves, here’s what I found. To “strive” means to ”exert, compete, toil, try, contend, struggle, fight.”

I’ve done lots of all that, sometimes not well enough, sometimes too well. Sometimes striving is necessary. When I strive, I hope at least once in a while it’s been for a good purpose, although I can be as self-serving as the next person. Right now, my stomach is all shaky because of family issues. I don’t know what to do about all the messes. I obsess and analyze and over-think. I cannot chill out, as my brother Jim suggested. I think “chill out” is the modern meaning of “cease striving.”

To “chill out” is also to ”be still.” My research clarified that being still specifically means to “cease striving, forsake, let alone, let it fail.” (Emphasis mine)  Look at that again. When we’ve tried all we know and nothing has worked, we are to let it fail!  Oh how I wish I remembered where I read this, because it is so good! “When we get exhausted from trying to take control of a situation—be still,” Anonymous says. ”(God) is in control….When we cease striving, it is the mark of a servant. Stop trying to hold up under your own strength.”
Sometimes, when life is impossible, we can fail into God’s powerful and loving arms.


Comment:  Giving up or giving in?  When we stop trying to control, we allow others to do their parts, and of course we allow our God to do his.  Sometimes when we’re still, life happens around us as it should, and what  we couldn’t figure out or couldn’t “fix” is fixed without us.  And then, sometimes things just are, and we learn to live with that.  Interestingly, the picture I found for this piece was an image captioned as “failure”.  What this says to me, is that when we fail, we reach up and reach out.