Thursday, December 30, 2010

SPIRITUALITY - THE NEW BEGINNING THAT COUNTS

Although some see the first day of the year as an extraordinary “new beginning,” I really don’t view it as being different than any other day. In fact, Thomas Mann clearly describes my prespective on marking the passage of time,

Time has no divisions to mark its passage,
there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets
to announce the beginning of a new month or year.
Even when a new century begins
it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

I do love new beginnings, though, …when God does it that is! For it is our Father who “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Through the working of His Spirit, “a new birth” is conceived! A “new person” is created (Eph. 4:24, Col 3:10)!

Did you catch that? Our creator didn’t do a “patch up” job. He created a new being! Those who are His are human, but they are a totally new “breed” of human! There are two different “species” of man, if you will. The heart and spirit of the first “species” is different from that of the new!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and
move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
-
Ezekiel 36:26

Many argue over whether or not we have free-will or if God chooses us. It seems that what gets in the way of our understanding is that we fail to consider that there are these two “species” of man:

• The man with a heart of stone cannot love God.
o However, the man to whom God gives a new heart is capable.
• The man upon whom God’s Spirit does not move cannot follow His decrees. His absolute corruption makes this impossible. He has no desire for God.
o However, with a new heart and God’s Spirit, the new creature has a new attitude (Ephesians 4:23). The desire and the power to follow God’s law is available to the one upon whom God has moved.

What is God’s law for His new creature? The new law is to love (John 13:34). Is the new creature’s love for God “forced” by God, thus not genuine, as some suggest? No! The new creature chooses to love God because that is his nature! Isn’t it the created nature of all mankind to have the ability to choose God? Obviously not, or every man would! Instead, our Creator designed only the new ‘breed” with this priceless ability. “This can’t be! That’s unfair!” some say.

If God, as the Creator, chooses to place the ability to love Him in one “breed” but not the other, isn’t that His prerogative? We don’t consider it unfair because He didn’t plant the ability to love in a cow! Why do we get in a quandary when it is suggested that He planted the ability to love in His new “breed” of man, but not the old?

Manmade “new beginnings” are only deceptions.
Truly, what counts is a New creation
(Galatians 6:15)!

Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spirituality - A More Pure Celebration of the Gift

When my husband, Gary shared with me an analogy that the Lord had placed upon his heart regarding the mixing of good and evil in our celebration of Christ’s birth, I felt strongly that it was meant to be shared with others. So…I invited him to share it with you….

CHRISTMAS!--Just the mention of that word has always brought a stirring of excitement within me. The reasons for that have changed and matured over the years. The typical anticipation of a child lost in a super-charged wonderland of special sounds, smells, sights, activities, music, cookies and gifts eventually morphed into a busy pastor's concern to help others anticipate the wonder of God's gift from heaven which alone brings help and hope in an often dark and challenging world.

In recent years, however, less busyness and fewer responsibilities have provided time for a genuinely deeper reflection and more careful observation of all this seasonal holiday activity. As a result, the word "Christmas" stirs more sadness than excitement. A recent conversation helped to bring into more clarity the reason for this shift of emotion. A story was shared among several of us about a woman who serves both as an ordained Christian pastor as well as a faithfully practicing Muslim. We all were horrified, recognizing that such an attempt at mixing two contradictory beliefs could only weaken, cheapen and ultimately destroy the effectiveness of what is true. However, I saw there a parallel to our modern observance of Christmas.

I certainly have no desire to be a "bah! humbug!" Scrooge, but I do believe that some words of caution are in order for those of us who honor the Name of Jesus as our King and Lord.


There is no denying that worldly greed and pleasure-seeking,
along with heathen fantasy have been mixed with
the pure thanksgiving for
the wonderfully supreme gift from the God of the universe,
sent to us in His Son,
Jesus.
Is it possible to mix these without cheapening the gift and dishonoring our God?

Several years ago, Bonnie and I began to re-evaluate and re-design our celebration of Christ's birth, removing those things which distracted from what is true and pure. We were absolutely shocked to discover how thoroughly this worldliness had infected us and how deeply we had been dishonoring our King.

We concluded that even such seemingly innocent inventions as Santa, the elves, Christmas trees, Frosty and Rudolf had to go. Next we jettisoned many of our "favorite" Christmas carols, movies and stories which had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Decorations, gift-giving, and card-sending all came under scrutiny in the effort to purge the "evil" from the "pure" in our home and lives. Many believe and tell us that we have become too radically extreme in all of this; perhaps so. However, the Bible, from beginning to ending, demonstrates that our God is also radically extreme about the dangers of mixing the worldly with the holy. May this word of caution become an encouragement for all of us to more seriously evaluate "Christmas" and bring us to a deeper, purer celebration of the wonderful gift that injected the glories of heaven into our world and lives.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the ONE and ONLY,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
- John 1:14


Whole-Heartedly,
Gary & Bonnie Jaeckle

Thursday, December 16, 2010

THE CHURCH : A Living Organism or a Legal Organization

Christian groups of nearly every variety have obtained a “tax exempt, non-profit status.” It is often believed that unless this label is acquired that the group is untrustworthy. In fact, some are taught that a religious establishment must obtain this status in order to “legally” exist.

In actuality, it is the right, guaranteed by the Constitution, of any religious group to operate free of the corrupting and compromising influence and control of the State:

Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion
prohibiting the free exercise thereof…!

Additionally, according the Internal Revenue Code, “a church, its integrated auxiliaries, and conventions and associations of the church are excluded from taxation.” United States Code, Title 26, 508(c)(1)(A). Section 508, subsections (a), (b) and (c) shows that religious groups do not need to “notify the Secretary” to be treated like a tax exempt organization!

What baffles me is why any Christian group would seek unity with a worldly government when it so obviously goes against what the Church stands for. The work of the Holy Spirit is a ministry of the Body of Jesus which is a living organism. We must wake up to the reality that when we seek to establish His Body as an incorporated organization, we are subordinating ourselves and His work, in a covenant relationship, to the civil government!

“A corporation derives its existence and all of its powers from the State and, therefore, has only such powers as the State has conferred upon it…the source of this power is the charter and the statute under which the corporation was organized.” - Len Young Smith and G. Gale Roberson, Smith and Roberson’s Business Law, West publishing Company, 1966, page 796.


The church is not a “corporation” (a “legal entity”)!
It is a living, breathing organism!

Many religious groups seek to establish a “tax exempt” status believing that this is the only way that those making contributions to it can receive tax deductions for their gifts.
Even if this were true, why would we desire to compromise by seeking “privileges and benefits” from a worldly government?

Are we not entering into a covenant with pagan powers when we sign a contract uniting ourselves with a worldly government (Exodus 23:32; 34:12)? According to the Supreme Court, organizations with 501(c)(3) status are restricted from any communication which “intends to, prevail upon, indoctrinate, convert, induce, or in any other way influence a recipient or any section of the public within the United States.” We must understand that by signing this oath we are agreeing to remain silent about that which Scripture tells us to proclaim ( 2 Tim 4: 2)!
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=481&invol=465#t19
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=347&invol=612

Jesus never delegated His authority to rule in the affairs of His church to the civil jurisdiction. The ecclesia has been called out of the world’s political and religious system.

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
2 Corinthians 6:14-18


Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

Thursday, December 9, 2010

COMMUNITY LIFE - HOPE OF HEALING

Have you ever noticed that the people of God seem to have as much difficulty resolving issues in their lives as unbelievers? Gossip, immorality, harshness, addictions, deception, impatience, selfishness, etc., are often as prominent among those claiming to be of Christ than those who do not!

Throughout the years, I have counseled a multitude of people, mostly Christians. Although I saw the powerful hand of God move in many lives, it seemed that there were almost always barriers to the deeper levels of healing which I knew God intended. In fact, there are issues in my life that I just can’t seem to get beyond. I’ve often wondered if there is any hope of deeper healing this side of heaven!

Although I’ve frequently sought the Lord for answers, it wasn’t until recently that I’ve recognized the missing link:

there is limited healing in the Church,
because
there is minimal community among God’s people!

During my years of counseling, I quickly became aware that those sitting in pews are often hurting, but their Christian “family” typically had no clue. Because most of us have been programmed to believe that “good Christians” are supposed to “have their act together,” we rarely admit otherwise fearing that we’ll be perceived as a “back-slider” at best or not Christian at all! This apprehension leads to isolation and loneliness.

It’s common practice to wear the “plastic smile” for the weekly hour while in the presence of “family members” who know little about what goes on behind the scenes in our lives. However, it wouldn’t take long when living in close community, before the mess which often exists behind the fa├žade is identified. It is through this life of transparency that our unhealthy behaviors are more likely to be exposed and confronted for what they are. It is here where the Holy Sprit most often does His deep and abiding work.

There are always “sandpaper people” in life who are difficult for us to deal with. It is these precious individuals whom God places in our lives to expose our rough edges and whom He uses to smooth them out! While it’s bearable to tolerate them once a week for a few minutes; it’s yet another thing to “deal with them” on a regular basis! However, it is through the close and on-going fellowship of community with them that our sinful nature is exposed in order for the necessary healing to take place!

Gary and I recognize that there are issues in our lives that we’ve learned to “sweep under the rug.” Sadly, this seems easier than digging to the core and allowing the noxious invaders to be uprooted. However, in a community setting Family members would eventually bump the rug and the “piles of dirt” would no longer go unattended! Having them exposed certainly wouldn’t be pleasant! Yet, Jesus never promised that purification would be easy!

I believe that, thankfully, there is hope for pervasive healing this side of heaven! However, it may only be found in the unity of His Body. Father desires for the world to see His glory. Yet, John 7:23 reminds us that its fullness can only be recognized in the close fellowship of His Family.

I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity,
so that the world may know that You sent Me,
and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

The level of intimacy among Christians determines, to a large extent the level of healing within the Body of Christ. “Every healthy group is therapeutic . . . . Community groups should be therapeutic, inasmuch as they assist members to grow to the fullness of their life in Christ” (Hammett & Sofield, Searching Together, 24:3, 1996, p.4).

“People need to see a group of persons, motivated by the gospel and their love of God, who live in such a way that loneliness and alienation are dispelled” (Hammett & Sofield, PP.2-3).


Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

HEALTH - COMMERCIAL HAND SANITIZERS vs. ESSENTIAL OILS

Not only have millions of hand sanitizer dispensers been placed in checkout lines, restaurants, schools and health-care facilities across the country, more and more people are carrying small containers of this product in their pockets and purses. However, according to a study funded by the Dial Corp, researchers discovered that the effectiveness of these alcohol-based hand sanitizers against pathogens was statistically insignificant!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-heb-hand-sanitizers-dont-work-20100913,0,553132.story

Not only are these commercially available sanitizers ineffective,
they contain chemicals that are known carcinogens,
weaken the immune system, cause reproductive complications,
birth defects and uncontrolled cell growth.
In fact, instead of reducing the risk of infection,
such “antibacterial” products actually augment it by
supporting the growth of resistance bacteria!

Why does man desire to manufacture that which God has already made available in a much purer, helpful form? Most essential oils have disinfectant, antiseptic and antiviral properties and can easily and quickly be used to make an effective and safe hand sanitizer! Here is a good example:

1. 1 cup of 100% pure colorless aloe vera gel
2. 1-2 tablespoons of witch hazel.
3. Organic essential oils:
3 drops Tea Tree 3 drops Lavender
2 drops Thyme 2 drops Oregano
4. Mix every thing well and dispense in a bottle.

Use approximately 1 tsp. of the organic hand sanitizer per application. In order for the essential oils to be effective, DO NOT rinse.

**Note: Be watchful when you purchase aloe and witch hazel. They are often mixed with unnecessary chemicals which tend to defeat our goal. As always, I recommend www.mountainroseherbs.com for quality ingredients.

How do the properties of these ingredients help?

Witch Hazel extract - antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and anesthetic.
Aloe Vera - Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral
Tea Tree - Analgesic, antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, fungicidal, stimulates immunity and heals wounds.
Thyme - Analgesic, antifungal, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericidal, parasiticide and stimulates immunity.
Oregano Oil - Analgesic, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, fungicidal, parasiticide and stimulates immunity.
Lavender - Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, stimulates immunity and heals wounds.

In an age of much concern over harmful pathogens and chemical exposure, why risk loading yourself and loved ones with more? Preparing homemade hand sanitizer can be a fun family project with squeaky clean results!

Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

DISCLAIMER:
The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.