Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unfolding Breath

I have no idea why this word, "breath," was brought to mind the other day in relation to Scripture, so I decided to dig a little deeper.  Using the NIV, we first see the word breath in Genesis 1:30.  God has just created the entire world, culminating with Adam and Eve.  He then gives them a command:

"Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.  And there was evening, and there was morning -- the sixth day."  (Genesis 1:29-31)

In this command is the phrase "everything that has the breath of life in it."  Everything that has lived, lives, or will live does so because God breathed life into it.  If you live, God chose you to live.  He breathed life into you.  You have a purpose.  Don't waste it.

The next time we see this word is in Genesis 2:7.

"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

It is only because God breathed into man that he became alive.  Without that breath, he would have just been a body lying in the dirt.  I love how this verse says "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life."  This comes from God.  God is life.  This helps me understand how God is able to bring people back from the dead.  He is LIFE!  He has always had victory over death.  He is LIFE!  Do you feel dead?  Turn to God.  He has the breath of life.  He can resurrect you and make you alive!!

Job says it well - "The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life." (Job 33:4)

Psalm 150:6 gives the living a directive: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."  Why?  He gave us life.  We should praise Him.

Ezekiel 37 tells the story of Ezekiel being in a valley full of dry bones.  God tells him to speak to the bones, to tell them that the breath will enter them and they will come to life.  The bones start to rattle, and tendons and flesh are attached; but they will not be alive until breath is breathed into them.  He prophesies in God's name that the breath will enter them.  It does, and dry bones become living beings once more.

Fast forward to the New Testament, and we see in John 20 Jesus speaking to his disciples.  He says, "'Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'  And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit!  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'"  Jesus' life-giving breath.  The disciples are made alive spiritually.  They are given the Holy Spirit, who is part of the Trinity.  So, He is life!  When you become a follower of Christ, you are given the Holy Spirit.  You are given life!  This life will never end.  Even when we die, this life continues in us.  We will live for eternity in Heaven...really live.  There will be no more suffering.  We will praise God always and live in peace.

There are many verses that talk about breath.  There are verses about the breath of life.  There are verses about how the breath of God destroys those things that are evil.  One of the greatest is II Timothy 3:16-17:

"All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The Word of God, the Living Word, is literally the breath of God, the breath of life.  God's Word gives life.  It teaches and corrects.  It helps us live.  It helps us avoid the road that leads to destruction.

Won't you let God breathe on you so you can live?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Unfolding Perspective

I had a hard day with one of my children.  As I was out this afternoon, I reflected on the events that unfolded and was made to realize that we each have our own perspective.  This child of mine was having difficulty with math.  I had been trying to explain it, but the explanation wasn't clear enough to pass along any understanding.  Of course the topic was somewhat beyond my comprehension because I never fully understood it when I was in school.  How can I expect my child to grasp a concept I never did?  Anyhow, I thought about how God "gets it."  He knows each and every one of us personally, from the inside out.  He knows how we think, how we tick, what aggravates us, and what things we have trouble understanding.  He can see our perspective; He understands.

People often feel guilty when they share a difficulty in their lives when that difficulty isn't as bad as that of their neighbor.  Maybe a job was lost or you are having a hard time with your kids and you have a friend who just found out they have cancer or a parent of theirs died.  There will always be someone with a situation worse than ours.  A day may come when ours is the more difficult situation, but it is perspective.  No matter what we are dealing with we are being tested.  How will you handle your difficulty?  Who can you turn to and trust to comfort you and help you through the difficulty?  God gets it.  He doesn't give us what we can't handle.  Difficulties come into all of our lives.  It is perspective.

Think about when you are driving somewhere, and a car is tailing you.  Obviously it isn't safe, but try to have a different perspective instead of getting angry.  (I'm speaking to myself as well.)  Maybe the person behind you is rushing home from work to take care of their sick child.  Maybe they are late for work.  Again, I am not excusing tailgating, but maybe if we are able to pull over and let them pass we will gain a new perspective and be a little less irritated.

When listening to the news and hearing about all the evil in this world, instead of getting depressed, try to have God's perspective.  This world is only temporary.  It will eventually cease to exist.  God will create a new heaven and a new earth where all will be perfect.  He already knows what will happen in life, when, and how.  The better we know Him, the easier it is to face life's difficulties.  The more we have his perspective on things, the more joy we will have in trials (not because of trials).

Next time I have a hard time with one of my children, I hope I change my perspective to that of God.  My children are gifts He has given to me.  They have a purpose which God has instilled in their lives.  I hope I can also change my perspective to that of my children as well.  What are they dealing with?  What is going on in their hearts and minds that makes the situation seem so difficult?  If I try to change my perspective, I will hopefully be a lot more understanding and empathetic to everybody around me.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life With a Puppy

Eight years ago, we gave away our second dog.  A few years before that we had to have our first dog put to sleep.  So, we had been dogless for eight years.  Even though we liked dogs, we were pretty sure we'd never have another one because it was convenient being able to go where we wanted when we wanted without having to worry about somebody watching the dog while we were gone.  It was also nice to not have to clean up the backyard.

Once we moved to Florida, John got the dog-owning bug.  He spent time watching videos of dogs online which were at a nearby Humane Society.  I'd go back and forth about owning a dog again and finally decided it was time.  We went to the HS and found a dog we liked.  She was almost a year old and about 60 pounds.  She was too much puppy for the rental we were in, so we took her back after two days.  We fostered her for that reason - if it didn't work out we'd be able to take her back.  She has since been adopted so I trust she is with a great family.

At the end of September, we went camping with some friends who told us that their dog had gotten pregnant by a neighbor's dog.  John spoke right up and said we'd take the runt of the litter.  That weekend, while we were all camping, the puppies were born.  For the next ten weeks, our friends sent us pictures of the puppy which they called "Cocoa," and we watched her on Skype.

Two weeks
Probably 7 weeks
We made plans to meet halfway between Jacksonville and our friends' house to pick up Cocoa.  It was the second Saturday in December.  We drove four hours and spent 1-1/2 hours with them.  Cocoa cried most of the way home.  It was so sad.

Pick-up Day 
Pick-up Day
We weren't going to keep the name, Cocoa, but after much deliberating and not being able to agree on something witty, we decided to keep the name she was given.

The first week and a half, she woke up three times a night.  It brought back memories of being up with a brand-new baby.  When she finally was awake for the day, it was 6:30 in the morning.  I am not a morning person, so 6:30 was too early for me.  Not for Cocoa, she wanted to play.  I, however, just wanted to go back to bed.  It has been five weeks now, and she is sleeping through the night.  I, however, still do not like getting up at 6:30.  The thing is when John gets ready for work, she wakes up.  This last Saturday, we all slept in until 8:00.  No one was up to wake her, so she just kept sleeping.  That was nice.

She is a shy puppy, not excited to meet new people and terrified of big dogs.  She didn't particularly care for the vet the first time we took her until she gave Cocoa some treats.  When the vet left the room, Cocoa remembered where the treats came from and tried to jump three feet in the air to reach them.  She didn't succeed, but I started wondering if she is part Mexican Jumping Dog.  We don't know what her father is.  Her mom is a chocolate lab.  Her sister looks like a shepherd.  Who knows?  All we know is that she is adorable.

She was born with a very short tail.  When she gets excited, her entire bum wiggles, so she has been given the nickname "Poopy Wigglebutt."  Poopy for obvious reasons.  She is a lot of fun to play with.  Nate likes to chase her around the furniture while she has a toy in her mouth.  It's like a game of Keep Away.  I think she actually pulls one over on him instead of the other way around.  One day she was sitting in front of the couch and Jacob was talking to her by his bedroom door behind the couch.  She stared at him and then jumped over the couch to get to him.  It took about a nanosecond for her to be on the other side, much too fast for us to react.  John gets her to chase him around the couch.  She ran around the other day about 5 times.  When they took a break and started up again, she didn't chase him around the couch but realized it'd be quicker to catch him if she just jumped over the couch, which she tried to do.  She is too smart for our own good.

New Year's Eve
Cocoa is 3-1/2 months old only and a ball of energy.  Thankfully she sleeps all night even when falling asleep at 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.  She is house-trained and whines or barks when needing to be let out.  She is a puppy and still bites when she plays.  I think she loves me best because she jumps all over me and bites me most.  When I get home from working, she jumps for five minutes (despite my reprimands that she stop).  

It had been eight years since we had a dog.  The kids are old enough now to take responsibility for her care when John and I aren't home.  It is much easier now, although it is still hard work.  This will probably be our last dog.  I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be able to find another one like her.  John says she is the easiest puppy he's ever tried to train.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Few Words to Make You Smarter

I used to post a Word of the Day when I first started blogging.  I got out of that habit but decided I'd find some new words for you.  In my search, I ran across a list of the "100 Funniest Words in English."   I will list the ones (or variations) I am also able to find in the dictionary.  I'll bet some of you will try to use them on a regular basis.

Our first word is argle-bargle, which is a variation on the frequently used argy-bargy.  These words mean a lively discussion or dispute.  I remember being at work one night when two groups came out of the bar across the street and had an argle-bargle.  This is of Scottish and English descent.

Have you ever used the word blunderbuss?  This is either a muzzle-loading firearm with a flaring muzzle or a blundering person.  I can see definitely using this word to describe the latter in many instances.

I know you'll use this next word as often as you can - borborygmus.  Say it like bore-bore-rig-mis.  It is the rumbling of your intestines caused by moving gas.  Next time you're in a crowded room and hear something coming from your belly, be sure to throw people off by letting them know it was just borborygmus. They won't ask you what that means because they won't want to admit they know less than you do.

Have you ever written lines on a piece of paper from left to right and then right to left?  If not, do it now.  You are producing a boustrophedon.  Again, makes you sound so knowledgeable.  I can hear the conversations now.  "What did you do today, honey?"  "I created boustrophedons.  You?"

Have you ever noticed a callipygian person?  What does it mean?  It means having shapely buttocks.  It is used as an adjective so make sure if you say it you make the g sound like a j and not a hard g or you might get slapped either way if you tell someone they are a callipygian person.

I'll end with this one for tonight.  Have you ever had collywobbles?  I'll bet you have.  Have you ever been nervous before speaking in front of people or before you got married or before a date?  If you had butterflies in your stomach, then you had the collywobbles.

Now you have six new words you can use - argle-bargle, blunderbuss, borborygmus, boustrophedon, callipygian, and collywobbles.  Which one do you think you'll use the most?  In a house with three teens/pre-teens, I'm going to guess I'll use argle-bargle the most.  Too many argle-bargles, and I'll be sitting at the table making boustrophedons.  :-)   Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Unfolding Resolution

People balk at the idea of New Year's resolutions.  Most are broken within the first month of the new year.  Perhaps people don't really want to change.  Perhaps the resolutions aren't attainable.  The whole idea has gotten a bad rap lately.  I was going to title this post something like, "Goals...Not Resolutions," but, you know what, a resolution isn't a bad thing.  The dictionary defines resolution as a firm decision to do or not to do something.  I have made some New Year's resolutions.  I have made a firm decision to do five things this year.

Our family sat down New Year's Eve, and each person came up with five goals for the new year based on an idea of a friend.  (Thank you, Linda!)  The categories for our goals were personal, family, spiritual, friends, and school/work.

I want to share my resolutions with you.  If you so choose, you can hold me accountable.  This may be part of the problem with resolutions.  It is certainly easier to remain true to your decisions if  others know of them and are given permission to ask you how they are going.

Therefore, I resolve in the personal category to eat better, exercise more, and lose 10 pounds.  My family resolution is to have more dates with my family.  I want to have more date nights with John for sure, but also to go out with my children and get to know them as they grow older.  We used to take them out individually when they were younger and do something special with them, but we got out of that habit.  It is time to get back to it.  My spiritual resolution is to have better devotional times with God.  I have been very lax in doing so and need to give God more of my time.  I resolve to communicate more and better with my friends this year and, finally, I resolve to figure out what it is I love to do and use it to help our family, in the area of work.

Our move south and out of my comfort zone has me out of my comfort zone personally.  I have been trying to evaluate my life, and this is how I have come to these resolutions.  I look forward to the changes that God can bring about through them and look forward to sharing my progress with you.  Again, feel free to hold me accountable.