New Identity – Walking with God

Reflections of a New Identity

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The weather today seems to be taking on a new identity, one of spring! After weeks of snow maybe spring is really on the horizon. Yet, I know that even with today’s warming temps and the beautiful sun that winter isn’t over. The weather just isn’t ready to fully take on a new identity. It needs to work towards it slowly having some good weather days and some that aren’t so much. Taking on a new identity can be difficult as it requires a lot of work and it isn’t something that happens overnight. The biggest step though is deciding to change. J. P. Morgan said, “The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” And that is the key to a new identity and the way to walk with God to eternity.

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Signs and Promises – The Journey of Lent

The Signs and Promises of Life

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Signs can tell us lots of things as we are journeying along. Things such as where we need to go, if we have arrived, and even where we are. Sometimes these signs are visible and sometimes they seem to be hidden. Yet they all proclaim and hold the knowledge that assures and reassures us as we seek where we are going in our journeys. Signs that are visible and easy to understand are the ones we generally like the best. It can be frustrating when signage is unclear, missing, or misleading. Thankfully, the signs that God sends us, hold true to His promises as we journey through life.

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Indescribable – When Words are Unnecessary

Indescribable Experiences

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Have you ever had an experience that could only be described as, indescribable? When indescribable things happen to us or even to other people sometimes it is difficult to find the right words. There are times in life where the indescribable things are tragic, devastating, and life-altering. When these types of events occur that leave us or those, we know reeling with shock there are simply no words that can explain or soothe the situation. There are also times in life where the indescribable things are amazing, offer new understanding, and become life-transforming. However, in both accounts of indescribable experiences we often feebly attempt to fill the void of the revelation with unnecessary words. When what we need to do is be silent, listen carefully, and observe.

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Forever Fortitude – On the Wings of Eagles

The Fortitude Effect

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Fortitude, that inner strength that pushes one forward no matter what circumstances may surround them. How strong is yours? Fortitude, as defined by Merriam-Webster, means the strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger, bear pain, or tackle adversity with courage. Many times, we face a choice in which we can allow obstacles to stop us or we can keep pressing forward regardless of what we face. Where does fortitude come from? How can we get it? And can we bottle it up so that as we face challenges in our daily life, we can quickly pull it out and use it? We can exercise and eat right to strengthen our body over time but just how do we go about strengthening our minds?

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Transforming Grace – Healing from Within

Transforming Year?

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Is your life-transforming in the new year? As January passes and February moves in, the year is marching forward. I don’t know about you but transforming my life into a fresher, healthier, and better one is very appealing. February seems like a good time to evaluate the hopes for the new year that were made in January. It is likely if we are honest, almost all of us can use a bit more transformation in our lives. And if we follow the news, it seems as if not only us, but the world needs a whole lot more transformation as well. Thankfully, the grace of Christ is one that transforms and heals us from within. But many times, we push Christ away because, let’s face it, transformation isn’t easy.

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Overwhelming Times Require Quiet Places of Hope

Overwhelming Life

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Have you had an overwhelming week? Sometimes it seems that we are in overwhelming times and if you listen, read, or watch the news then it appears certain. Some days can catch us off guard and if we don’t have a plan in place on how to approach such times it can rage like a fire out of control. What do you do in times such as these? Do you have a plan when the things of this world appear hopeless? Because some days you just get sucked in, washed up, and blown over and without a plan of hope in place, relief seems impossible.

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Paying Attention with Love – See the Good in Others

Paying Attention

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Are we paying attention? Can we say we are doing alright on our own? Probably most of us think we are. Much of the time, we are content with the world as it is, and our position within it. We might even be willing to say that we are grateful that things are not worse than they are. But then the unthinkable happens and we question what happened? Where did we go wrong, were we not paying attention and listening to what was going on around us?

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The Power of Light

In with the New and Out with the Old!

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2020 is officially over with the power of the New Year. Did your life magically change as January took over December? For most of us, as refreshing as the New Year seems, nothing around us changed. We often give power to the changing of the year as if it holds some driving force that makes our world better. In truth, however, if we want to see a change in our world, we must look within ourselves. But to make an everlasting change in our life we must find and hold onto the power only found when we live in the light. The wise men from the east “traveled afar” to find the Christ child following the light of a special star knowing it led to power. They spent years and thousands of miles traveling to seek out the creator of both light and life.

Did you seek out the Great Conjunction on December 21st? This was known, due to the timing of the phenomenon, as the Christmas Star. There was tremendous talk leading up to the day that the gas giants of Jupiter and Saturn would appear so close together that when viewed from earth they would seem to be one point of light to the unaided eye. One reason this received such notoriety was that the last time the planets were this close was in 1623. Unfortunately, during this event, the planets weren’t seen as they dropped below the horizon before darkness arrived. So, the last time they were seen by the unaided eye was in 1226. The two planets won’t appear with this minimum separation again until 2080. And where you live in the world along with the weather will determine whether it can be seen.

The Disappointing Event

It was an intriguing event and one I hoped to see. As the day of the event came, I learned from a friend of mine that it would only be seen in the southwestern sky. As my home sits on the north-east side of a mountain this meant that I would need to travel to see the great occurrence. To further compound the issue and dissuade me; it was cold, unusually cold. And so, my enthusiasm for the event waned given that we would need to travel to another location to see it. I had just about talked myself out of it when my neighbors contacted me. They reminded me that even though it was cold, travel was involved, and there were a lot of people in the same viewing area I would not be able to see this again in my lifetime. So, we bundled up and loaded into the car.

By the time we reached the destination, everyone had dispersed except one car. We got out and looked but frankly weren’t sure what we were looking for. I guess, in my mind, I was seeking an unusually bright, something out of my imagination, star. What I saw instead was just 2 bright lights. We thought perhaps we missed it or weren’t looking in the right place, so we asked the other people. But they weren’t sure either and between us both, we weren’t sure what exactly we were to experience. And so, this Great Conjunction was a bit disappointing to me. I have since learned through looking at other’s images that what we saw was indeed the hyped-up event. Thankfully, the real Epiphany wasn’t anything like this.

Seeking the Power of the Light

The true Epiphany is about seeing Christ, the phenomenon of the Messiah in the person of Jesus. This was a brightness of light and power beyond all imagination. It is the proclamation made at His baptism when the heavens erupted, and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. He holds the power of the light, much more powerful than the star that led the Wise Men there. And these men knew this, as they looked not the star for its power but to the light of Christ that comes within. For Christ works both in us and outside of us. He asks us to respond to the power of His light to walk in His path daily.

Jesus Christ is the creator of life and His life brings light to all humankind. There is no star to guide us nor do the multitudes of angels sing proclamations to us. Yet we hold the power of the light only when we chose to live as a baptized follower of Jesus once we come to know Him. It is through His power of light and life that we become new creations choosing to reach for His power each day. This is our fresh start and the remaking of ourselves. He holds the only power and way for us to have the ability to live a different life. Through the power of the light, we hold a new way of living. One that keeps our eyes open to embrace the possibilities in front of us rather than the doubts within us.

Power and Light

It is through His power and light we hold the opportunity to know we are loved and claimed. His light dispels the darkness within us and no longer allows it to define us. Through His power of light, we learn that what we have been searching for has been within us all along as the Holy Spirit is our constant companion. It is the power that allows and inspires us to love, serve, and grow. This is what prepares us to be part of the body of Christ in powerful ways. As it opens us up to new ways of living and being.

By the light of Christ, we see ourselves as we truly are, but it also allows us to go further. For when we chose to follow Christ, the true light, we can avoid the pitfalls of life as He lights the path before us showing us how to live within His power. We must reflect on the ways that we allow the light of Christ to shine into our life. Learning to lean upon Him and allowing Him to guide us through the darkness is where we hold His power through the dark things of life. God sees the light within us and announces it as “good.” His voice proclaims to us too, that we are His beloved and as we live within Him, He is well pleased with us. We are not finished, completed, or perfect, but we are good as we hold the power of His light.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT)

Living in the Light

When we embrace Christ, who holds the power of light that shines within us, we see clearly that He will one day return and shine in His full glory. Until that day we hold the power of the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to not only brighten our path but guide us as we seek the truths of life. This permits us to live as people of the light and allows our actions to reflect our faith. When we let our lives reflect the light of God within us outward it serves both as our reflection and for others to see the Way.

As we begin the New Year let us vow to make our lives reflect the goodness of God to others. Helping them to clearly see the path to salvation. Let them know not only what they should see but what to expect as they view our lives in the brightest and darkest of times.

Won’t you take the challenge of living a life of power in His light? Allow your convictions to overwhelm your reflection in the brightness of goodness and mercy. Find your motivation in knowing the power that His light holds. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that because you allow His light within you, your reflection to others shines brightly with His glory.

Take a new perspective on life in this New Year – one that looks and sees how the power of the Holy Spirit has always, is, and will always work in your life.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Extra Study

Genesis 1:3, Psalm 36:9, John 8:12;12:46, Ephesians 5:8,14, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Peter 1:19

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you follow the light that holds the glory and power of Christ? Have you considered allowing His goodness to reflect His power to others by your actions? Share your thoughts on the power that the light of the world holds.

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Meditating on Time – Making the Most of Life

A Time of Meditating

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Have you been meditating on how you spent your time this year? We are in that strange period, the one between the Christmas celebrations and the approaching New Year in which we seem to lose time. The weekly schedule is thrown off and many people are working odd hours marking the time until the next holiday. Because of the celebrations, regular activities are halted, services are erratic, and it is often difficult to determine what is open and what is not. When or will the trash be collected this week? Should we store the Christmas decorations now or wait until after the 12th day of Christmas? And before we know it the week has ended, the celebrations are over, and we mourn the return of the regular schedule. And whether we spent any hours meditating on our time use or not, life moves forward.

This year is so close to being over we can see the hours until the countdown. The past is just that and it is time to move forward, whatever that may be. During this transition period reflecting on how we will spend our hours is life productive. There are new things on the horizon and clearly, God is working in our midst. The world around us has formed new communities and even in isolation, we have learned to connect and reconnect to people. But now a new year approaches and meditating on the old might just be needed. Taking the opportunity to see how we did more than just endure life but were transformed through the year is beneficial. This type of mediation allows us to see the importance of time and plants a seed of hope as we look forward to the promises of God, new communities, and blessings.

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Indescribable – Sharing the experience of Christmas all Year

Describing the Indescribable

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Some things are just indescribable and sometimes, even though it might be close, a picture doesn’t equal a thousand words. There are times that a picture doesn’t even do justice to what we witness and experience in life. How do you describe the way you felt as the brisk air swirled around you as the sun rose over the mountains casting sparkling light on the newly fallen snow? Can you describe the brilliant sunset that lit up the sky on that trip to the ocean? We can carry on about the colors, shapes, cloud formations, and transitions but when we are done, our listener only has a vague idea of what we saw, heard, smelled, or felt. The wonder of wonders that we fully experience with an awing of our mind leaves others thinking nothing more than, “how nice.” We want to share the indescribable things we experience in our life but struggle to do it successfully.

It is disappointing when we make all attempts to tell other people about a phenomenal experience of nature we saw, the magic of the musician’s sounds at the concert, or even the taste of delectable food and they just don’t get it. Even when we try to explain a special moment with those we love, we are lucky to gain a smile and encouraging word or two of “how nice.” The problem is what we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel just doesn’t transfer over to someone else. We desire to share by bottling up our experiences and passing them on. Some people are more eloquent with words than others, but no matter how great they may be it just isn’t possible to describe the sight and experience in a way that fully transfers to someone else’s mind and heart in the same way.

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