Friday, December 17, 2010


Two months ago, while walking my dog, a question popped into my head: Why do we need to breathe to live? Let me clarify. Humans, as living beings, eat to nourish and sustain our bodies. What purpose does the intake and exhalation of air serve? Why were we created to need an additional source to sustain us? Furthermore, why is breathing involuntary – a contrast to the voluntary and strong desire to feed our stomachs? Immediately, the answer was clear. In the Bible, it is common for God to use parables, allegories, and things of the physical to explain those of the spiritual world.

Genesis 2:7 reads, “The Lord God formed the man…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (NIV). God created the physical man first and then filled the vessel with His breath, essentially making man in His image (also a spiritual being). In the New Testament, pneuma is Greek for "breath" that is often used in context for "spirit".

Genesis 1:30 reads, “…everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food” (NIV). God provided us with plants on this earth to feed us – both our bodies and our need for air. God created a flawless system. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants take the carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the air. This can be looked at as God’s provision to supply our basic needs for survival.  Just as God has provides air for us to breathe, he has also provided us with the means to feed our spirit - His word. There is both a physical man and spirit man within each of us. Both desire to be fed. However, we must remember not to neglect our spirit man, giving a literal meaning to Matthew 4:4, "...Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (NIV).

Like the wind, the Spirit is invisible. Likewise, we can neither see our own breath nor the air around us. 2 Corinthians 4:18 reads, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (NIV). Our focus should be on what will last, rather than that which will decay. Breathing is second nature (no pun intended) and an involuntary act. As passive breathers, sometimes we may not discern we are inhaling smoke, chemicals, and other harmful substances that we cannot see. Some of us, if breathing was not an unconscious act would forget. Similarly, when it comes to feeding our own spirit we are careless in what we ingest. Just as we put thought into what we eat physically, we should be just as vigilant and purposeful when feeding our spirit.

Why were we created with the need for air? To remind us Who is the source of our lives. To remind us there is a spiritual world, one which we cannot see. To remind us we should not be passive in our walk, but to have purpose. And to remind us we need to breathe (live) deeply.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is it a Partnership or Parasitism?

Do you have a partner or a parasite? Are you involved in a partnership or parasitism? I’ve been pondering this topic for a few months. From my own experience and stories told by friends, this theme in regard to relationships is quite common. It would be nice if everyone followed the Golden Rule of reciprocity.

Leviticus 19:18, reads, “…love your neighbor as yourself” (NIV) and Matthew 7:12, reads, “…in everything do to others what you would have them do to you…” (NIV). If everyone followed these two scriptures one could assume if someone treats you like crap, they either must not treat themselves well or they want you to do them one better and return the favor. Typically, I find the first reason to be true more so than the latter. I think it’s difficult to love/show concern for/respect someone else if you aren’t quite sure how to do so for yourself. It is then you find people who do a whole lot of taking and rarely give anything. They are, for lack of a better word or maybe this is the best word, parasites.

What exactly is a parasite? Just what it sounds like. Someone that feeds on your life’s blood – your energy, resources, weaknesses, etc. – until they drain you dry or at least they get what they want. Upon which time they move on to the next host. This can be anyone from a significant other, sibling, or family member to a friend or complete stranger. Not all parasites look alike or behave in the same manner. Fleas and mosquitoes catch you unaware to take what they need, while brood-parasitic birds lay their eggs in the host’s nest leaving the host to care for their responsibilities while they disappear. These wolves in sheep’s clothing masquerade as your friend and when you’re not looking they drain you of finances, time, and bring you so low your dreams appear further from reach. Another tactic is to laden you with their worries, burdens, responsibilities and once you have helped them (or taken care of those items on their to-do list) they disappear without having to use their own resources or brain power. Studies have shown, in the regard to insect and organism parasites, parasites can alter the behavior of its host. This too can be true of the human variety. Being stressed and pushed as you watch your resources and energy deplete with no deposits made by the other person, can completely take you out of character.

In contrast, a partner is a member of a partnership, in which there is “an arrangement where individuals agree to cooperate to advance their interests” (Wikipedia). The key words are “cooperate” and “advance”. Forward movement should be a team endeavor, not a solo journey. Contributions should be mutual and equally made. There should be a balance. The strengths of one partner should offset the weaknesses of the other. Both partners, whether familial or friendship, should be working towards a common goal whether that be the relationship itself, encouragement through life’s twists and turns, etc. Exhaustion and emotional strain should not be the byproduct of a partnership, but vitality, a renewed drive to succeed, and happiness.

With that being said, be careful who you let get close to you. A parasite will pull you down in order to rise, but a partner will make sure you both rise together.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Under Construction: How Strong is Your Relationship?

(Mini Personal Bible Study)

In reading Matthew 7:24-27 (*scripture written below), one can take these verses in a literal way – a house needs to be built on a firm foundation to withstand the elements. It can also be looked at it as a person needs to have a firm foundation in Christ in order to withstand the obstacles in their life, etc. However, the word ‘wise’ stuck out to me at the time I read this passage. ‘Wise’ in this instance refers to the use practical wisdom in relationships with others.

When one goes looking to buy a house it is important to look at the foundation and to look for indications of foundational issues. Just because a foundation has had work done doesn’t make it a bad thing. It can actually make the foundation stronger than it was before. This is also true of people who have broken their bones. The bone can actually heal and become stronger and resistant to another break than it was previously. This is where I made the connection to relationships…see this comes around full circle at some point.

One man built his house on a rock (which is stable, solid, impervious to water, wind, etc.) and another man built his house on the sand (which is loose and can be easily washed away or blown by the wind). In terms of relationships, we know it is important to start a relationship with the proper foundation (ie. trust, honesty, good communication, respect, etc.). However, when problems arise it would be wise to reinforce the relationship’s foundation and do repairs while the cracks are small or your relationship could end up sitting on sand (which in some cases is actually rocks that have been broken into small pieces by crashing waves and erosion), making your relationship susceptible to being washed or blown away. You can also look at the sand as something superficial and does not have longevity. The scripture I Samuel 16:7 came to mind: “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart”. You have to wonder why the foolish man even wanted to build on the sand. Was it made of bright blue glass? Did it glisten in the sun? This can be transferred to building a relationship based strictly on someone’s outward appearance (similar to Shallow Hal) or may be some other temporal thing like money, status, etc.

Just like the wind, the forces that come against your relationship are not always visible to the human eye. Being wise (“govern and discipline oneself by use of reason, skill and good judgment in use of resources; and caution or circumspection as to danger or risk” – Merriam Webster) before entering/establishing a relationship with someone is important if you want it to last. This is true with all relationships – mother/daughter, father/son, friendships, marriages, etc. It is the foolish (“scorns a man’s heart and character” – Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible) man that is “rejected or dismissed as contemptible or unworthy” (Merriam-Webster) that loses everything in the storm.

*Below are the text from my two study Bibles:

Matthew 7:24-27 “The Wise and Foolish Builders” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible - NIV)

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Matthew 7:24-27 “Building on a Firm Foundation” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible – KJV)

24”Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.
26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In the Eye of the Storm

Today a friend* asked me what my next blog entry was going to be about. I paused. I had no idea. In fact, my mind drew a blank. The word I used to describe myself was “numb” but how I was feeling was at peace. I am at peace with my current situation. At peace with where I am as a person. It threw me for a loop. The second half of 2009 and into the new year, I have been focused on doing this and doing that. There has been a sense of urgency. I have also dealing with my current “battle” along with the fifty million other irons I have in the fire.

I woke up this morning and out of nowhere there it was – Peace. Phillipians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I don’t fully understand the whys, but I am peace. My heart and my mind are at peace. I have no wants at the moment, but truly content (which might I add is out of character for me). I am a busy person who usually cannot stand to be still and unproductive. After careful consideration, I assume that I must need this time of rest for what lies ahead. I am in the “eye of the storm”.

When people hear “the eye of the storm” they usually picture a hurricane or tornado. These storms kick up strong winds, create chaos and cause destruction. In the eye, winds are calm and sky is clear. The air pressure is significantly lower right before the storm’s onslaught resumes. It is during this brief moment that you can catch your breath, get your bearings, and prepare for what is yet to come.

You can look at the eye of the storm in one of two ways: 1) dreading that there is more to come or 2) rest, knowing that the storm is more than half over (and victory lies ahead). It’s not how you go into the storm that matters, but how you come out of it.

When you’re in the eye of the storm, rest in the peace of God. Take advantage of the decrease in outside pressures and renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31). Although the storm is not over, victory is near.

*Thanks again, John!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Turn the Other Cheek

The past few months I have been dealing with some unscrupulous behavior. I almost reached my breaking point last week, but with the hope and the belief that God does not put more on you than you can handle, I’m still standing. Many know I am a laid back person. My mantra is “You don’t bother me, I won’t bother you.” However, as you also may know some people like to ‘test the waters’ so to speak. They underestimate who you are and what you stand for. As I sit here dreading another week in a dysfunctional environment I am reminded of the saying most appropriate at the moment – “Turn the other cheek.” Lol. I chuckle because in an actual physical altercation this would not be my choice of action. Luckily, in my case this nonviolent approach is appropriate as no physical punches have been thrown.

In looking at the scripture, one is told to turn the right cheek and then the other. Well, after both cheeks have been bruised, your feelings hurt, and your loyalty betrayed, then what? I’ll tell you. Continue forward. This is not the time to turn to the left or the right. Whoever has just assaulted you is more than likely standing in your path and they are there to thwart your progress. Keep your focus and your eyes stayed on what lies ahead. Don’t look back once you’ve passed them. Where you are going they cannot follow. You are bound for a higher plane, founded on higher expectations, and summoned by a higher calling. Nothing can hinder you. What God has for you is for you.

Turn the other cheek and keep it moving.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let Your Light Shine

I decided to post one of my quotes I wrote earlier in 2008: “Darkness mutes the world; colors dull and edges soften, blending until reaching perfect visual confusion.” Why? One of my close friends* recently wrote that in 2010 she will be “shining my light as bright as I can regardless of others.” Both quotes seemed to go hand in hand. In order to prevent perfect visual confusion, better known as blindness, your eyes need to have access to light. We all know that while standing in a dark room that is familiar in the daytime, the eyes lack information thus creating confusion and disorientation. Depth perception and sense of direction disappear.

Metaphorically speaking, negativity, procrastination, hopelessness, and anything else that keeps you from moving forward are like darkness. They muddy goals and blur dreams. What you could once see clearly and knew as your truth (what you were put on this earth to do) blends with the mundane and can easily suck you into mediocrity. Your drive and passion weaken and all but vanish as a result.

In this new year, let your light shine as bright as you can regardless of those around you. Illuminate the path toward your dreams and stay away from detours. Stay focused and don’t let your light grow dim or go out. And by all means cast your light on those who are blindly searching for the match in the darkness.

May 2010 be the year of clarity, direction, and a passion to take hold of what is yours.

* Thanks Michelle!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How Much Is In Your Glass?

I woke up this morning thinking about the glass half empty/half full concept. It just seems so flawed to me. What designates the glass as being half empty or half full? Looking at it are they not one and the same?  The only difference, once again, is the person’s perception. Two people can drink their perspective glasses to the half way point and you can ask them the same question: How much is in your glass? One can respond that it’s half empty while the other will say theirs is half full. Now could the reason for saying the glass is half empty be that they do not wish to share what they have left? Vice versa, is the person who says their glass is half full offering to share with their fellow man?

I began to ask myself, why can’t one say that their glass is full instead of half full? When your glass is full you have more of everything; more joy, peace, resources, and encouragement to give to those whose glass is only filled halfway. Furthermore what is wrong with saying your glass is over flowing? After all, Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." So if you are stingy and hold onto your half empty glass because you would prefer not to share, pretty soon your glass will be completely empty. You will have nothing for yourself and no one will know that you do not have anything. It is only those that give of themselves and help others that will be in the minds of others increasing their chances of receiving when they need it most. What goes around comes around.