Lenten Reflection: Spirit-Empowered

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Scripture Reading:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Eph 6:10-18

Reflections:

Our Lenten journey through Ephesians continued yesterday with Pastor John telling us that to live a Christ-Centered life, one that is rooted in love, is impossible

…save for God!
For with God all things are possible!

We cannot do this in our own power… we must be Spirit-empowered! During our prayer time Dr. Terry Wardle reminded us that the Holy Spirit is not just a theological concept, but the very real presence of God, and this presence of God dwells within us!

Think of this a moment: Jesus came and made his dwelling among us (John 1). But following his resurrection and before his ascension into heaven, he appeared before the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20). And somewhere in this exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and breath, the Holy Spirit came and made his dwelling within us. The disciples weren’t the first to be filled with the Spirit of God. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb! And there are also several references in the Old Testament of people being filled with His Spirit (Moses, Bezalel, Micah). And before he ascended to heaven, Jesus Christ made this infilling available to all believers of The Way.

We breathe Him in
and breathe Him out!

In both the Hebrew and Greek the word for breath and Spirit are the same (ruah and pneuma). And we have often seen that things in the natural often reveal the work of God in the spiritual. The same is true of breath/Spirit in the natural, physical sense and in the spiritual realm:

  • We need to breathe the Spirit constantly (Eph 6:18)
  • We need a fresh supply of the Spirit (Eph 5:18)
  • Sometimes we need to breathe more—pant! (Ps 42:1)
  • Sometimes we need to catch our breath (I Kgs 19:3-5)
  • We never want to hold our breath (Jhn 15:6)

And this is even more true when we are in battle. And, believe me, life here on earth is a battle. We need to suit up in the armor of God and gird ourselves with the Word of God AND PRAYER! So often we read this passage and stop “suiting up” in God’s armor at the Sword of Truth—God’s Word, but notice that prayer is a weapon too! The Message translation says it this way:

Be prepared.
You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.
Take all the help you can get,
every weapon God has issued,
so that when it’s all over but the shouting
you’ll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.
Learn how to apply them.
You’ll need them throughout your life.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.

The tactics of the enemy are fought back by the Truth of God’s Word and the power of Spirit-empowered prayer! We are on our best offensive attack when we are armed with  Truth and Spirit (Jhn 4:24).  The Message goes on to say:

Pray hard and long.
Pray for your brothers and sisters.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Brothers and sisters, I pray for you! In the words of Paul,

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources
he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. (Eph 3:16)
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!

Today I leave you with a breathwork exercise based on John 20. It is specifically designed as a Christ-centered breath awareness exercise for those who are working through complex trauma, but truthfully anyone can benefit from this scripture-based time of breath meditation.

During this Lenten season and always, may you live a Spirit-empowered life breathing in the presence of God at work in you!

Creative blessings, Jody

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(c) 2017 Jody Thomae
God's Creative Gift by Jody ThomaeJody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians, artists, musicians and worshippers. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, coordinating artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts. She performs, teaches, choreographs, preaches, coordinates and leads workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. JodyThomaeCDcoverart_FA_printShe has also recently released a devotional CD, Song of the Beloved. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.

Lenten Reflection: Christ-Centered Life

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Scripture Reading:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #214 — God’s Creative Gift

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National Book MonthAs we wrap up end our tribute to National Book Month, I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce my own book. “Last but not least” as the saying goes!

I wrote God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You in obedience to God’s calling in my life. Frankly, many of the topics I wrote about were thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t leave me alone until I had gently guided them onto paper. It is designed as a Bible study and devotional, great for individual or group study. It is not just for artists but creative folks of all forms, mediums and venues.

The Word of God is vital to our lives. It has much to say to all of us, and more than that, it has much to say to artists and creatives! Discover what God’s Word has to say to you as his masterpiece, his poem, his BEaUtiful creation! If you click here, it will lead you to my store where you can purchase a copy of my book signed with a personal blessing just for you! You can read more about my book here.

Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #153 — Vonda Drees Art Journaling

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Beloved  (c) 2015 Vonda Drees

Beloved
(c) 2015 Vonda Drees

We’ve looked at art journaling several times this year (you can check out last week’s post with links to the other posts by clicking here). Today I want to direct you to the blog of Vonda Drees: Journaling the Spirit’s Stirring. Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #129 — Free Indeed!

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Koren War Vet Mem

The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC makes this powerful statement:

Freedom is not free.

Take a moment, look at these images, and consider the cost.

Count the Cost

What did your freedom cost the young man above?

Natnl Cem

What did your freedom cost the men, the women, the families represented by the more than 285,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?

From the American Revolution to the current situation in the Middle East, have you considered the cost paid for your freedom?

Don’t ever forget!

And don’t forget the cost paid by Jesus Christ as he took your sin to the cross and was buried in the tomb. Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #119 — Creativity A’Blaze’

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Maddy prom selfieToday’s post is dedicated to my daughter Maddy in celebration of her birthday. You are Madelyn Ruth, Magnificent Companion of God! You are my BEaUtiful daughter, ablaze with adventure and life!

I’ve posted the work of artist Colleen Briggs of Fragments of Light before. Want to direct you there again! This artwork and her accompanying story will certainly bless your day. As you read the story, you will quickly see it is an analogy for something much larger.

colleenbriggs.com

colleenbriggs.com

So click here to head over to her post entitled Blaze, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you as you read and enjoy her work.

Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #102 — Creative Inspiration from Tamika Hall

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Tamika Hall

I connected you with Tamika Hall Ministries back in January with a devotional podcast on 1st Peter. Wanted to share another of her podcasts today: How to Write & Publish a Devotional. Continue reading