Creatures of Habit

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

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I can be stuck in my ways. I like to think of it as loyalty and commitment – staying true to what I like and what works for me. But too strong a stance in any direction can make us stubborn and inflexible.

For years now, my grocery store has been inconsistent in how it stocks its shelves. There can be a product and brand I’ve bought there for years, and suddenly, they don’t carry it anymore. It drives me nuts! Throw in the supply chain issues and I’m all out of sorts. Ultimately, I have to be grateful I have access to what I need even if it isn’t what I like.

Or so I thought…

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Contradictory Behavior

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15

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Jocelyn’s been bit by the cleaning bug lately, but it’s manifesting itself in very unique ways. When she should have been going to bed last night, I found her cleaning the outside of the washer and dryer, as well as the space between and around them. Yet, when I walked into her room, it looked like a bomb went off. Her clean and dirty laundry was everywhere, and every surface was cluttered with something.

This isn’t the first time there’s been a contradiction in her actions. It seems she hyper-focuses on something that’s beyond her realm of responsibility, and completely overlooks that which falls within her domain. I think there’s a whole host of reasons why: avoiding/rebelling against what she feels she’s forced to do, a need to still be perceived as doing the right thing, a sense of satisfaction when she goes above and beyond, etc.

I can’t help but see myself reflected in that mirror.

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Reclaiming Our Voice

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He was driving out a demon [that was] mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute person spoke and the crowds were amazed. Luke 11:14

I believe that the emotions we view as negative can still be gifts from God if we keep them moderate. Fear keeps us alert to danger so we recognize and avoid it. Guilt is an excellent check and balance if we use it to question our behavior and keep us on the straight and narrow. Sadness helps us recognize the contrasts of life, making us mindful and appreciative of the times when we feel joy.

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In Retrospect

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Therefore, when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. John 2:22

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Hindsight makes for excellent 20/20 vision. There’s something about waiting for the haze of our emotions to lift to see things clearly. 

In John 2, Jesus had just made a whip and was using it to drive out the sheep and cattle from the temple. His anger rose to such a degree, He even flipped the money changers’ tables and drove them out too. 

You’ve got to imagine His emotion spread to the disciples. They’d never seen the gentle and compassionate Jesus lash out in anger before. I’m sure they felt His fury, and it caused fear and turmoil in them. 

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Reconnecting

“If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored.” Job 22:23

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Our mailbox is hanging on by a thread – literally! Somehow, over time, the holes in the granite post grew too large for the bolts that secure it. Our interim fix was to tie the box onto the post with a rope. That “interim” fix is how we’ve left if for over a year.

Consequently, the door to the mailbox is askew and doesn’t always stay closed. During a recent wind storm, I noticed it had blown open. I knew my credit card payment was in there, and I should have gone and re-secured the door, but I was just too darned lazy to do so.

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A State of Being

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27

School vacation week snuck up on us this year. I guess life has been too busy to even see that light at the end of the chaos tunnel. Once my husband and I realized it, we quickly booked a night away at a family resort up north.

We chose this resort because they have an outdoor heated pool, family activities, an arcade, and a restaurant on site. All you have to do is park your car and experience the fun they offer. Or so we thought…

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The Eye of the Storm

Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26

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Our home has an open floor-plan. It seemed like a great idea when our kids were little. I could be cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and still see and hear my kids while they played in the family room. Now that they’re teens and a tween, however, that open-floor plan can be a challenge.

It seems every time my husband and I finally sit down in the family room to watch a movie or show, my kids suddenly become busy and noisy in the kitchen. Without fail, every time there’s a pivotal moment when one of the characters is about to say something profound and story-altering, one of my kids turns on the ice machine, or drops a pot or a pan, completely drowning out our ability to hear, even when we turn the volume up to 100.

I’m starting to see the same thing happening in my spiritual life.

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We’re Meant to Be Broken

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Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [His] disciples to set before the people. Mark 6:41

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I’ve been broken in big and small ways at various points throughout my life. We all have. There’s not a one of us who would say it doesn’t hurt. Even after we’ve healed, scars remain. Far too often though, we see those scars as marks of failure rather than ribbons of victory.

If we looked more closely at those scars, we’d see they actually became our growing points. Often, our perspective, even our own skin, holds us back, refusing to stretch and give so we can expand. Sometimes it takes being ripped in two for light to get at our dark and stunted places. Sometimes it takes being broken in two before the miracle happens that multiplies us.

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Being Healed

… And the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.  Luke 6:19

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I wasn’t born early enough to be a Beatles fan and attend one of their concerts. But we’ve all seen images and video clips of the hordes of people at the stage’s edge, arms outstretched, trying to touch Ringo or John. They were driven by their star-struck wonder – so in love with the Beatles’ music, they needed to physically connect.

Jesus had the same effect on people. When He spoke, it touched them deeply inside. Because of that, they were driven to connect with Him physically. 

In the instance in Luke 6, many of them had diseases or were troubled by impure spirits. Knowing Jesus had the power within Him to heal, they all reached for Him, and all were healed.

I wonder about the “all” of this crowd, though. There had to have been some well people in their midst, people who didn’t have diseases or impure spirits. There had to have been healthy people who helped the lame and the sick make their way to Jesus. But if “all” were healed, they must have “all” had problems too.

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