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Once upon a time (just last night) …

Some thoughts on Christmas and our presents…

Wabi-Sabi

Once upon a time (just last night – Christmas Eve), in a land far, far away (about 35 miles from my home) … I saw God!

It started out like many holiday gatherings; one that has it’s usual assortment of aunts and uncles and cousins and, in our case, a healthy smattering of friends who may not share our “blood line,” but who never the less belong with us – and to us.  Our clan has grown seemingly over night, with several of us now elevated to “greatness,” as in great-grandmother and great-aunt.  The children showed off their children, who in turn showed off their new husbands and boyfriends.  Babies bounced from lap to lap and toddlers were given free reign to run and explore.  Little boys who were just children a minute ago somehow became teenagers when we weren’t looking.  Little girls who once huddled together in their own…

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Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Advent … I finally get it!

Some insights, bits of wisdom and a gift.

Wabi-Sabi

The Season of Advent, by definition, is the four week period that proceeds Christmas.  A time of preparation. A time of expectation of the coming of something extremely important.  Something is about to happen that will be magical and exciting and give us meaning to our lives. In an effort to reenact this mystery, many of us have gone off the deep end and have fallen prey to the illusion that the way to manifest this “spirit” is by planting ourselves firmly in the trenches of materialism that has hypnotized us into believing we can “buy” our way into the circle.

It’s interesting that at this “pre-Christmas” time, most everyone I know insists they do NOT want to be sucked into the consumerism-frenzy that seems to hold us all captive this time of year.  However, those same “most everyone I know” people still fall into the spell!  And I’m no…

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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

How Does God Handle Bullying?

Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength among those involved. Typically, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms, from words or threats (either in person, through spreading gossip or electronically), to physical violence. Bullying also happens repeatedly, in many incidents that gradually or quickly affect the self-esteem of the person being bullied.

How did Jesus handle bullying?

Jesus had a short time to convert, teach and train his disciples before he was arrested and killed. He counted on his disciples to continue his teachings and spread the Good News to the rest of the world. Jesus knew that his teachings were radical and different, and he had to prepare his followers to stay the course, even though they would encounter verbal and physical bullying, strong resistance and even death.

So how did Jesus handle bullying?

He gave his disciples a clear set of principles and guidelines to follow. He showed them a bigger vision and taught them to always look to God for everything. And he dispelled the old ways of thinking and demonstrated a new way of living.

Here are the steps that Jesus followed to teach his followers the way to handle opposition, resistance, and yes, bullying:

1.  Jesus showed his disciples how much they were loved by God. He reminded them of their value in God’s eyes, and that they should always act from that place of Godliness. When he was first teaching his disciples, he told them:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.” Matthew, 5:13-16.

When you know that God loves you, it is so much easier to “shine your light” in your everyday life. Words and actions that spring forth from knowing God are radically different from those that erupt from a place of lack or doubt.

2. Do not react to aggression or deliberate injury caused by another person. In Biblical times, the rule of behavior was retribution – “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Jesus announced a new rule of “turning the other cheek.”   Here is what Jesus said about retaliation:

“You have heard the commandment, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’ But what I have to say to you is: offer no resistance to injury. When a person strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other.”   Matthew, 5:38-39.

Why would Jesus teach us to not react to someone who is about to injure us? On the surface and in normal human interaction, it does not make sense. When someone is aggressive toward us, our first instinct is to react. Jesus taught that we should not react, but be passive and accept whatever it is they want to do to us.

Jesus knew that for aggressors to continue, they need to have a reaction from their victims. Just as two magnets will not come together unless the opposite ends are facing each other, a bully will not continue if he can’t get a strong reaction out of the weaker person. When the victim refuses to react to the aggressive behavior, the bully will not receive the emotional charge he wants. It may take some time, but soon the bully will lose interest and go find someone else who will give him that emotional charge he craves.

3.  True forgiveness means letting go of strong, negative emotions. When you continue to think about an upsetting incident or how you can get to get back at the person who hurt you, you have not forgiven that person. Instead, you are feeding your own emotional needs by blaming the other person for your unhappiness. If your thoughts, words and actions remain centered in the past event, you are still giving energy to that event and you are actually making it stronger.

The basis of this new commandment is the following passage:

“I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew, 16:19

Jesus taught that what we continue to hold onto in this lifetime will be held against us in heaven. A corollary to this teaching is the following:

“If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you.” Matthew, 6:14-15.

Basically, you can’t expect God to do for you what you are not willing to do for others! How can you hope for God’s forgiveness when you still hold grudges against someone else?

Forgiveness also means to let go of any judgment or criticism of the other person or their behavior. When you continue to cast judgment on the person or situation, you are still locked in that past event and giving it your energy and attention.

Jesus put it this way:

If you want to avoid judgment, stop passing judgment. Your verdict on others will be the verdict passed on you. The measure with which you measure will be used to measure you.” Matthew, 7:1-2.

When you can step back from the situation, take a deep breath and turn it gladly over to God’s hands, you release yourself from the emotional stronghold that kept you locked in the past. You can then step forward and trust God to lead you on the best path.

The only way to truly let go of judgment is to turn the entire matter over to God. Your perspective is limited, because you cannot know why the other person behaved the way they did. Only God knows enough about the situation to judge it!

4.  Turn the entire situation over to God. This step acknowledges that God made all of us in his image and likeness, even the people who have caused us hurt or pain. By stepping out of the strong emotions and offering the situation to God, you have opened the door for God’s grace to emerge.

Jesus taught that God loves all of his children and knows how to give them what they need.   One of the most empowering statements ever taught by Jesus is the following:

“Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks, receives. The one who seeks, finds. And the one who knocks, enters.” Matthew, 7:7-8

When we seek God’s will in a difficult situation, we have just invited God into the situation. And sincere petitions to God are always answered! Jesus knew this truth and expressed it as follows:

“Would one of you hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf, or a poisonous snake when he asks for a fish? If you, with all of your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks him?” Matthew, 7:9-11

Trust in God and watch what happens. Only God knows what each person needs in his heart. And only God knows what healing can occur when you let Him into the relationship you have with the other person. When we let God work his healing, transformation occurs!

Jesus understood people from the inside-out. He could look into the heart of his own tormentors and still forgive them. His ultimate act of forgiveness came while he was dying on the cross. (“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”) His example calls us to do the same in every situation.

To Summarize:

  • Bullies need a strong reaction – like two ends of a magnet – will only be drawn together if positive and negative are facing each other.  If your negative reaction is changed, the charge will no longer happen!
  • We can’t change the other person’s behavior; we can only change our own reaction.  The victim has to step out of their “victim” mentality and realize that there is a larger perspective (i.e., the one that Jesus taught).
  • When we seek revenge or hold a grudge, we hurt ourselves much worse than the original incident.  We have to “let go and let God” into the situation.  To do that, follow these steps:
    1. Make the decision to let go of your strong reaction and give the other person over to God.  Your victim perspective will change into a “Godly” perspective. You know you are loved by God and he will protect you from harm.
    2. Visualize the other person as a child loved by God, because they are.  Do not condemn or judge the other person for their behavior, because you do not know their situation, only God does.  So picture that person being held tenderly in God’s hands and let those feelings replace the anger or resentment you felt.
    3. Thank God for the experience and for being with you every step of the way.  God is as close as your next breath, if you want him to be.  He will guide your words and actions if you just listen.

You can’t change a bully, but you can change your reaction to him or her. Following these guidelines as gleaned from the way that Jesus handled the bullies he encountered will cast God’s love on the situation. It will also show you how you can heal from the pain of being bullied and still have compassion for the bully.

You might even convert the bully to become a follower of Jesus!wwtmfinal-cover.jpg

To learn more about these techniques, please go to WalkWiththeMaster.com or buy the book at Amazon.com.

 

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How Do You Make a Turning?

Have you ever been called to step out of your comfort zone…for no logical reason other than you felt a strong desire? If you followed that desire, what was the result? Did it benefit you and those around you?

What if that strong desire was actually God whispering for you to go…and take the turning? Puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it?view

A new devotional novel has just been released, called The Turning. Written by Davis Bunn, a self-proclaimed renaissance man who is a New York Times Best Selling Author, teacher and speaker. He is also a devout Christian who has explored many issues of the Christian faith in today’s confused world.

The message of The Turning is that you are not strong enough to go alone. Instead of asking God to solve the problem, turn to God so you can grow closer to him. It is a simple shift in perspective but a profound one. And that same shift is experienced by the characters, who also struggle to hear God’s response to their pleas.

The clash of good v. evil is portrayed vividly in the book. The power of the media is pitted against the power of God. Darkness seems to overtake everything, until one man’s soul lights up with God’s purpose. Nothing can stop him from doing God’s will. And in those moments of pure courage, he discovers his own will is the same as God’s.

And his life is never the same.

Please pick up a copy of The Turning. There are also 40 days of lessons and a wonderful podcast series that goes further in-depth to the meaning of attentiveness (theturningbook.com). Learn how to open a space for God, and you will have made the turning part of your life.

 
 

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God’s Not Dead

God'sNotDeadMy daughter and I just saw God’s Not Dead. While it is a Christian movie, I think there are several messages that apply to all spiritual seekers, whether you consider yourself to be a Christian or not.

The driving conflict in the plot was the opposition of an atheistic College Professor against a Christian student. The Professor verbally bludgeons his students into sharing his belief that “God is dead.” The Christian could not accept that statement and ended up defending his faith.  The movie provides a sweeping discussion of both sides – for and against – and then allows the class (and ultimately the audience) to decide for themselves.

Do you believe in God?

That is the question that only you can answer. You cannot look to the external world to find your answer. The media’s take is that there is no God…only this new product or that new politician will save you. The current condition of the world (disasters, wars, slavery, etc.) does not hold the answer either. So where do you find the answer?

Spend time alone, meditating and contemplating that question. God will lead you to find the answer. Pick up a Bible and read the Gospels. Watch how Jesus interacted with others – his compassion, his depth of understanding and knowledge of human nature. His love for all whom God created. Jesus did not judge the lepers or the tax collectors. Instead, he saw beyond their outer behavior to their inner essence. And he loved them for sharing the same DNA (Divine Nature Always).

Then you make your own decision about God. He is waiting patiently for you to say “Yes” to him!

And you will find yourself declaring to anyone who will listen — GOD’S NOT DEAD!!!

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Enter this Cool Sweepstakes!

Sweepstakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Davis Bunn celebrate the publication of “The Turning.” Enter for a chance to win an iPad Air or a Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Bible Commentary, and $100 Gift Card for ShopMoodyPublishers.com http://woobox.com/m7ur8y. You can enter once per email address per day. Rack up bonus entries by sharing the contest with your Facebook and Twitter friends!

 

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New Book by Davis Bunn!

Sneak Peek!
view
  Read the first three chapters of Davis Bunn’s novel, The     Turning,
right now, before it releases on April 1.
  1.  Visit Davis Bunn’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/davisbunnauthor.
  2. Click theFree Sample‘ tab below the cover photo.
  3. Once you’ve liked his Facebook page, click the large link at the top of the graphic that says, “Click here to start reading.”

Two Videos


Free 40-Day Devotional: Print, E-mail and Audio

To enhance your experience of The Turning and to help you prepare to hear from God, we’ve created a series of devotionals for you to download.

Contests Start Next Week: Great Prizes!

Plan to visit Davis’ FaceBook page next week, because he is giving away copies of The Turning and will be kicking off a sweepstakes. You could win an Apple iPad Air or a Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Bible Commentary, and $100 Gift Card for ShopMoodyPublishers.com! 

 

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