Peace: Walking Through November

~ another day of week 1 ~

As I am reading through Mark, I read parable after parable.  God shares a parable with the multitudes and then He shares the meaning with a few.  The parables speak of natural things that can lead to supernatural understanding.  Back then, He spoke about planting seeds and candles under a basket.  Now, I think He would have talked about commuting to work and smart phones.  My mind doesn’t think in the way of parables.  I like the meaning Jesus shared with the few.  I like to skip ahead to the supernatural.  But the supernatural happens in the every day.  The supernatural happens in the every day.

After hours or days of sharing the unknown through messages of what was known, Jesus retreated with His few to the sea.  When I think of retreat, I think of peace.  Jesus often sought His retreat by getting into a boat to rest at sea.  This is also where Jesus revealed the deeper meaning of His parable messages.  At least it seems this was God’s plan.  But, frankly, I am not sure what is worse . . . on the land, Jesus has the multitudes seeking Him and constantly yearning for more.  On the sea (where He is seeking retreat and peace), He’s got Peter sinking, others freaking out every time the boat rocks in a storm and repeated lack of understanding of the deeper meaning of the parables (and everything else) He shares with them.  Peace at sea?

God, however, did keep His peace because He is peace.   He is our peace and He is our brother.  Because He was fully human for a time, we can connect with Him in a personal way.  When I think of Jesus at sea, I imagine that the Creator probably connected with the water, the flow of it, the open space all around Him.  The heavens up above Him.  I think He found His otherworldly community at sea.   I think out on the boat, He experienced the community of the Trinity.  Of course, God doesn’t have to find community or the Trinity because He is both.  But, in the way I understand, being out at sea for Him was what we call a prayer closet or quiet time with God.

The parables may continue to mystify me.  But, following God’s example makes sense to me.  I am Florida grown and when I look out into the blue ocean with lighter blue skies behind, with the warmth all around me, I experience peace.  My life and my circumstances sometimes mystify me, but when I get into a boat or a prayer closet for quiet time, I experience the Trinity.  I know that peace is present.  There is peace on land and peace at sea.  Supernatural peace happens in the every day. 

Be Out of Your Ordinary: The 31 Day Mind-Body-Spirit Challenge

By AbbyA

As the heat of summer kicks in – – kids out of school – – the regular routine is on hold for a few more months.  Less traffic, more weekend plans, road trips.  We have a chance to be somewhat out of our ordinary.  We took a road trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Although I worked a fair amount of it, I stayed up late without worrying about lack of sleep for tomorrow.  I saw the bloom of beautiful pink rhododendrons on the top of Roan Mountain.  I watched our kids roar with laughter on the white water raft.  I had a chance to be challenged spiritually . . . walked a little further down the path that God has prepared for me.  Celebrated my birthday.  But even there in the midst of surroundings that look like God’s perfect peace, we can be distracted.  Did I really need to skip my morning bible study to try to finish my work  before the kids woke up?  Did I really need to bypass a country drive with my husband because it was time to make dinner preparations?  Did the laundry in the cabin basement really matter?  (Okay, that did.)

The heart of what I am getting at is God’s greatest commandment to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  Matthew 22:37.  God fully equipped us to serve Him with the gift of intellect, hands and feet and a spirit.  While we know that the Trinity always is in perfect peace, keeping our mind, body and spirit connected is not easy.   The tough part is that if we are not connected in body-mind-spirit, we trip up in our judgment.  Hence, skipping a drive with husband to cook dinner or skipping a bible study for no good reason.  It comes out in other ways too.  How about feeling exhausted and, instead of taking a jog or a nap, you go through way too many Ghirardelli squares to calm your nerves.  And, what about those nerves?  Have you given your mind attainable, challenging goals?  Or are you cycling through out-of-whack emotions where you can’t focus?

Connecting your mind-body-spirit is not about self-help or self-improvement.  It’s about honoring God’s greatest commandment to love Him with all three.  The Trinity gives us the best example of this.  Each of its person serves a purpose and stays in perfect unity with the other.  If we can seek to keep the mind, body and spirit connected, we’ll be able to genuinely live out God’s greatest commandment.

This month, give yourself a chance to be out of your ordinary with us.  We are going to take a week to look at and consider, first, our body.  We have so much to cover as women – – our body image, fitness goals, our body’s health.  During week two, we’ll delve into our mind.  What are your intellectual, professional, financial and career goals?  Are you setting out to make the best of your mind and keeping it healthy too?  Finally, the spirit.  Where are you at in your walk with God?  If you asked Him, would He tell you that you are just where He wants you or is it time to make some adjustments?  Yes, there is week four.  But, we are going to let God lead.  No doubt, you the readers and the Holy Spirit will tell where to end on this all-encompassing 31 day journey.    Be Out of Your Ordinary.  You never know where God will take you.