Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Amazing Love in Christ

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Eastern Tiger Butterfly on Thistle
Shenandoah National Park
by Donna L. Watkins

I've been reading a book gifted to me by a friend.  It is one of those that you get transfixed on a few pages and seem to plant yourself there determined to get it down into your heart and not just filed away in your mind as knowledge and information. 

The Temple Within - Fellowship With an Indwelling Christ by Milt Rodriguez is the name of the book. It seems God has been surrounding me with messages about who I am in Christ. About Christ dwelling in me. It's not a thing that you can absorb and understand with a Scripture or two. Paul used the term 'in Christ' over 200 times in his writings.

Milt Rodriguez says, "If you are a Spirit-born believer, then YOU are in Christ! This is not just some lofty philosophical or theological theory. This is reality, this is fact. As you sit there, reading you are literally inside of Christ Jesus! I don't know how to say it more clearly. You are in Him. Just as an unborn child is inside of its mother, you are in Him. Just as a seed is inside of an apple, you are in Him. Sit back, close your eyes and dwell on the fact that you are actually in Him right now. Sense Him being all around you. Christ is your environment. Even though you are in the world, you are first and foremost in Christ. This means that He is your immediate environment, the environment of this world is only secondary. He is your atmosphere and your hemisphere. He is your world, but He is also your universe."

Isn't that an amazing way to see it!?  We tend to think and pray as if God were "up there" somewhere, but He lives inside of us. He created earth for us and then created us in His image. He had so much love to give that He wanted to create something to give it to. God was never lonely. He had Jesus and the Holy Spirit to fellowship with but They wanted to share that overflowing love with a being that would have free will to love in return. How often have you prayed and asked for God's presence to fill a place or gone to a meeting hoping to feel the presence of God? God is with us. He said He would never leave us or forsake us. He's is within us.

Who You Really Are In Christ
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One segment of the book that hit home was this: "You may be struggling to get your mind around this idea of being in Christ and it just isn't working. This is just all too much. How can we ever really understand this mentally? Well, you really can't. This is much bigger than your intellect will ever be. Paul told us (1 Cor. 2:14) that these things can only be understood spiritually. The natural mind cannot grasp the things of the spirit. Being in Christ is one of those things that is totally out of the "ballpark" of the natural mind. So I suggest you don't even try to figure it out. Just accept this fact by faith and allow God to sink the revelation of this truth deep into your spirit."

What a direct approach to the problem of mere humans trying to figure out God. I admit that I have spent a lot of time pondering the "in Christ" thing because God seems to be sending things my way this entire year on this topic. And my approach has been to try to figure this out ... trying to imagine it being so. How silly it was to try to comprehend something that needs to be spiritually revealed.  Even if we could understand with our minds ... it's having this revelation in our hearts that changes our lives.

Now I simply ask for more and more revelation to grasp the fullness of this amazing provision that God has given us. A God that loves us so much that He wants to be within us. Remember when you were so "in love" that you didn't want to be apart from the target of your adoration? That adds a bit of understanding for us, but God's love is so much more powerful and without expectations or conditions.

The Temple in Jesus' time had three areas and one of them was called the Holy of Holies where only the priest could go once a year to atone for the sins of the people. When Jesus said "it is finished" the curtain separating this part of the temple from the rest was torn in two from top to bottom. It is said that it was about 60 feet high. God wanted us to know that we now had access to Him. We no longer needed a priest as a go-between. We could come face-to-face with God and know Him. 

Milt says, "[Jesus] is the place where you meet with God. He has enveloped you with Himself and so there is no need to go to any special place in this physical realm to fellowship with Him. You don't need to go to a particular building, or house, or even a room to be with Him. You are already in the Temple. You are already in the Holy of Holies."

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Wintergreen Bloom
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In John 17 Jesus prays for His disciples (v. 6-19) and then He says He doesn't pray for only them but for all who would believe in Him (v. 20). That's you and me. In verse 26 He says, "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Do you see that God the Father loves us as He loves Jesus? That is also unimaginable since we have such a difficult time of even comprehending unconditional love even within our own family, much less for those who have "sinned against us." But God loved us so much that He Himself came down to earth to become sin for us, so we would mentally be able to consider our sins paid for and could have the relationship with our Creator that He always wanted us to have. Amazing love.

You may need to read this many times to begin to comprehend that amazing love. But as you grasp it a little more each time it will reach deep into your soul and provide a peace and joy that the world cannot understand. When circumstances are absolutely awful, you can choose to stay connected to the Vine and draw strength and nourishment from Him. When the world seems to be falling apart, we can go to the "secret place of the Most High God and abide under His shadow." (Psalm 91:1) God has always had provision available to us, we just need to reach within and apply it.

Author Bio
Donna lives in Central Virginia with a wonderful husband and a cat named Squeek. She is a lover of God, nature, wildlife, birds, gardening, photography, travel, simple living, natural health, pets and seeking a peaceful, healing lifestyle. Life has many hurts and sorrows but within "the [divine] nature in us" we CAN overcome. You can also find her posts on  and Twitter.

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Vitamin D Link to Ear Infections

From Natural Products Foundation Health Notes
by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND

Taking extra vitamin D during the winter months might help prevent ear infections in children who are prone to them, reports a study in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Most cases of otitis media originate from a viral infection, such as the common cold. Doctors may prescribe prophylactic antibiotics for children with frequent ear infections, but this isn’t always effective and can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Studies have shown that vitamin D has profound effects on the immune system, and low levels are tied to an increased risk of respiratory infections.

The study looked at 116 children between one and five years old who had a history of recurrent acute otitis media (more than three infections in the last six months or more than four infections in the last year) to see what effect taking vitamin D during the winter had on their risk of developing future ear infections. The children were given either 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day or placebo for four months.  Blood levels of vitamin D were similar (in the “insufficient” range) in both groups at the beginning of the study.

Significantly fewer children in the vitamin D group experienced uncomplicated ear infections compared with those in the placebo group.  (Read the entire article.)

Besides vitamin D, some other promising strategies for preventing childhood ear infections are on the horizon.

One of these is a nonabsorbable sugar called xylitol. The substance is widely used in chewing gum and added to toothpaste as a sweetener that has the added benefit of cavity prevention. Recent studies have shown that xylitol, taken as syrup or chewed as gum, can significantly reduce the number of ear infections in susceptible children, also decreasing the need for antibiotics to treat infections.

(Pediatr Infect Dis J 2013;DOI: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31829be0b0)

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Oral Health for Pets

Sponsored by Life's Abundance

From Dr. Sarah

When you think ‘dog breath’, what comes to mind? For most of us, sadly, it’s not a pleasant concept to conjure up. But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

In hopes of reversing this perception, Dr. Sarah is on-hand to deliver tidings of dental joy, sharing her extensive expertise on oral health for all pet kids.

This month’s episode of Pet Talk reveals how by simply incorporating just a couple of tips from our good doctor could make a big difference not only in your companion animal’s breath but in long-term health, too.

While brushing is a crucial part of any mouth-care regimen, there’s more you could be doing to help ensure your pet’s breath is as fresh as possible. To learn how to provide superior dental care, watch the latest Video episode of Pet Talk with by Dr. Sarah now

Name Game For Some Interestingly Named Creatures


With wildlife, a species’ common name often makes perfect sense—the Bald Eagle is one obvious example. But sometimes a name tells us more about the humans who determined that name than the creature it describes.

So have a bit of fun, test your knowledge of common names with with this unique nature quiz.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Great GMO News!

It hasn't been a good week for Monsanto and the rest of the biotech industry.

Citing the risk of imminent harm to the environment, a Mexican judge ruled that, effective immediately, no genetically engineered corn can be planted in the country. This means that companies like Monsanto will no longer be allowed to plant or sell their corn within the country's borders.

At the same time, the County Council for the island of Kauai passed a law that mandates farms to disclose pesticide use and the presence of genetically modified crops.

And the big island of Hawaii County Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that prohibits open air cultivation, propagation, development or testing of genetically engineered crops or plants.

But perhaps the biggest bombshell of all is now unfolding in Washington state. The mail-in ballot state's voters are already weighing in on Initiative 522, which would mandate the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Knowing full well that 93 percent of the American public supports GMO labeling, and that if one state passes it, many others are likely to follow, entrenched agribusiness interests are pulling out all the stops to try to squelch yet another state labeling effort.

Read the entire article.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Choose Life and Blessings!

by Donna L. Watkins

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin." -- Romans 6:6-7

Jesus Loves YOU!
How we see ourselves is crucial to what kind of life we will live. God has already provided us great and precious promises. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).

Through Christ we are literally dead to sin in our new born-again spirits. Our sin nature is dead and gone, but it left behind a body and that body has a carnal mind. The word carnal simply means "pertaining to the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites." When we think and act as our flesh dictates rather than what the Word says about us, then we are being carnal.

Our minds will still function according to the way we thought prior to our salvation experience, unless we renew our minds. That's why feeding in the Word is so important. We need to be in God's Word and know it, so we can make right choices to think and act godly.

Many Christians say they don't hear God's voice and they have no idea what purpose God placed in them as they were being formed in their mother's womb. When is the last time you asked the question, "Lord, what is my destiny?" Too often Christians get wrapped up in good works that seem to fit their personality and natural talents, but good is not always God.

When all is said and done and we arrive at the throne, will we have accomplished what God put in us to do? If you don't know for sure, that's something to think about.

Romans 12:2 says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Step 1 - Do not choose the way the world chooses.
Step 2 - Be transformed by renewing your mind.
Step 3 - THEN you will prove what the perfect will of God is for you.

Do you see we have to get off the beaten path and back into the Word and relationship with God so that we know what a renewed mind thinks on.

Victory as a Christian is as simple as renewing our minds to who we are and what we have already received in Christ. We are the way we think. [Read: Our Thinking Can Change Our DNA]. If we think we're just a sinner saved by grace, then we'll see ourselves constantly struggling with sin. When we see the change that took place with Christ's provision for us on the Cross and understand our identity in Him, we will not dwell in sin any longer (2 Cor. 3:18 and 1 John 3:2).

Penguins - Brookgreen Gardens, Murrell's Inlet, SC
© Donna L. Watkins
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The way we see ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's why we need to be in the Word daily, so we can begin to comprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of Christ's love for us so we might be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 18:19).

When we walk in the fullness of God, sin will not be a problem for us. We will place more value in God's Word than in what the world says about us and our renewed mind will bring freedom as we walk in His love. It's real! But we have to walk by the spirit and not the flesh.

"The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." -- Romans 8:6

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants [consider thoughts and DNA]" -- Deuteronomy 30:19-20


Related Article:
Our Thinking Can Change Our DNA

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Fructose is Alcohol Without the Buzz

Scientific research shows high fructose corn syrup and table sugar are causing serious liver disease in 10% of our teenagers.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and table sugar (sucrose) are both made of glucose and fructose. HFCS contains glucose and fructose as single sugars and sucrose contains them connected together (as a double sugar or disaccharide).

HFCS and ethanol are handled the same in the liver and lead to liver inflammation and eventually cirrhosis. One can of beer has an equally harmful effect on the liver as one can of soda with HFCS.

Watch this video to understand why you need to avoid HFCS.  Your liver has so many functions in the body relating to many organs and the immune system.
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The Spirit and the Word Are One

by Andrew Wommack
John 6:63, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Read:  John 6:40-71; 7:1

Jesus is stating that our spirit, not our flesh, is where our life comes from. These people were so dominated by their physical lives that they were missing all the spiritual significance of His words. Although God's Word does benefit our physical man, the Word is spiritual and must be understood through the spirit. God's Word is spirit and it takes our spirit to illuminate its truths to our minds.

The Word of God is not paper and ink. Jesus is the Word, and He existed in spiritual form long before any words were inspired to be written down by the Holy Ghost. The Bible is simply a physical representation of Jesus and spiritual truth. It is inspired of God and therefore, totally accurate and reliable, and yet, until we receive the Spirit expressed in these words the Bible will not profit us. This is why many people have read the Word, maybe even memorized it, and yet aren't reaping its benefits.

Just as our physical man receives life from the food he eats, so our spiritual man receives life as we partake of Jesus, the "bread of life. Jesus plainly stated that the words He spoke were spiritual - not physical.

If we want to know what spiritual truth is, we must believe the Bible, for it is spirit and life. If we want to be led by the Spirit, then we must follow God's Word. If we want to hear from the Spirit of God, then we must listen to what God says in His Word. The Spirit (Holy Spirit) and the Word (Jesus - Jn. 1:1) are one.

Benefits of Hand Feeding Your Dog

Hand Feeding Your Dog
by Robin Sockness

Clients often say to me, “How can I get my dog to pay attention to me? Why won’t s/he pay attention to me?” How can I build my dog’s confidence? My dog has some behavioral issues that need to be addressed!

There is a very simple thing that will produce a fast and huge change in your dog’s behavior — hand feed your dog! Yes, put the food bowl away for a month and feed all meals by hand! When you hand feed your dog, you make yourself very important, you can teach bite inhibition and you will gain your dog’s undivided attention!

Making yourself important to your dog is a good thing. Some call it being a “leader”. I call it being a good pet parent. Hand feeding is going to very quickly make your dog understand that without you, s/he might not get fed! This is a great way to bond with and build a relationship with your dog. It is especially effective when a dog is new to your family.

How does hand feeding help with bite inhibition? Your dog should learn to be careful with his/her mouth. Hand feeding provides you the perfect opportunity to focus on giving pieces of dry dog food, one or two at a time, and teaching the command “gentle” or “easy”. If your dog touches your finger with his/her teeth, pull back, say “ouch” and then use your calm voice to say “gentle” and then try feeding again. So, simply by hand feeding your dog, you are teaching soft mouth skills.

It sure does make sense that hand feeding your dog would help get your dog to pay attention to you, right? Why is that important? Well, dogs, just like people tend to pay way more attention to the person in their lives that doles out the rewards. They focus on the person in their life that is important to them.

When you look at the relationship between you and your dog, and determining who controls the resources, you can put yourself right at the top of the list of people your dog needs to survive. You need to be very important to your dog. This is very benevolent parenting. The goal here is to be necessary in your dog’s life, not control that life! None of us want robot dogs, but we want our dogs to look to use for guidance and for us to be relevant to our dogs.

So how do you do this? Pick a spot on the floor- it can be where your dog eats now, or better yet, for socialization purposes, you can feed him in different areas of the house – even outside! Meals on wheels is fun….take some kibble with you when you go on a walk or are out for socialization – “to go” food! Start by handing out the kibble here and there without asking your dog to do anything.

Make sure NOT to reward bad behavior. Pay your dog for sitting nicely or for being polite. Dogs learn by association and will repeat behaviors they get rewarded for. If you give your dog kibble when s/he is jumping up, barking, pawing at you, etc, you are rewarding inappropriate behavior.

Ask your dog to stand or sit patiently before you hand feed him/her. Once the dog has the routine down, start asking him/her to do things for the food. Sit! Watch me! Down! Shake! Spin! Hand feeding helps with recall. A dog that is hand fed will almost always come to your hand if you put it out! Use feeding time to work on the training skills you learned in class.

It doesn’t have to be just one person in the house that is hand feeding your dog as long as the food is pre-measured so you don’t over feed. You will be truly amazed at the bonding and understanding that kids and dogs have when they hand feed the dog.

Have you ever seen the dogs that never take their eyes off their owners – always paying attention on walks and when out and about? Looking for guidance in situations? Hand feeding is a positive way to accomplish that. Hand feeding is especially beneficial when you bring a new dog into your home. Your dog will bond to you very quickly when you are the person with all the resources.

So, put down the food bowl and bond with your dog!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Newsletter - 10/15/13

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“"I believe that humans are wired for faith and that there is a special healing generated by people who rely on faith.” -- Herbert Benson, M.D., Timeless Healing

Hello Dear Friends,

Seedheads Of Perennials For The Birds
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If you haven't cut back your perennials yet, here's a new way to allow the birds to have the seeds without you having to leave a messy looking garden into the winter season.

Get a container to fit the size of your plants and then when you cut them back to the ground, put them in that container. I used a 5-gallon bucket since we have loads of tall Green-headed Coneflowers. I added some of the Native Bugleweed that spreads like a bushy vine and produces a ton of seeds. I have not seen the birds eat those, but I put a few in to keep a closer watch.

As you can see I placed it all in a bucket and sat it on the deck so we could watch from the breakfast area windows. The finches love the coneflowers. The Purple Finches, House Finches and American Goldfinches eat them up. Wish I'd thought of this idea a long time ago, but I read it in a magazine just a couple weeks ago. It helps to be able to cut back perennials so there's not as much work in the Spring when we're sucking up and chopping leaves to mulch the flower beds and plants.

Oh, how wonderful it is for those leaves to attract oodles of earthworms. Don't know why, but since we began doing that about 7 years ago, we've had them increase tremendously and the leaf mulch has made our soil black and rich to dig in. Prior to that we would buy 24 square yards of hardwood mulch every two years which was not fitting into the gardening budget well. We have a yard full of oak trees so now our mulch is free.

Flying Squirrel in Bird Nest Box
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We've done our semi-annual maintenance and cleaning of the bird nesting boxes. Last Fall when Randal began the process he found a Flying Squirrel in the first box. Then again in the second box. By then he wasn't very interested in doing more since he was disturbing them. However, there weren't any more of them in the rest of our boxes. This year we found a few nut shells in one of the ones that had a squirrel in last year, but we did not see any taking their daytime snooze.

We clean the houses in Fall to get the nest materials out and so the birds can roost in them during Winter. Often a group of birds will keep each other warm by roosting in bird houses. I make a spray of water and some essential oil since they possess so many anti-microbial properties. This time I used Geranium Essential Oil which is especially good for mosquitos, fleas, ticks, etc.

The boxes can be infested with things that will create problems with the babies, so we spray each time we clean. In the Spring we clean them again so they're ready for nesting. The Bluebirds are the first ones to use them here in our habitat. They begin rather early.

Male Monarch Fresh From the Chrysalis
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We haven't seen many Monarchs this year which has been a sad thought. I've been submitting my sightings.  You can submit yours at this website.

They are such beautiful butterflies, but then I guess they're all beautiful. It's the migration of the Monarchs that makes them such a spectacular and amazing butterfly. Read more on why the numbers are down.

Interested in how they tag Monarchs to aid in knowing what's going on in this species? We attended a Monarch Tagging Session at Ivy Creek in our area and learned a lot years ago. View the photos of Monarch Tagging.

Is anybody planting bulbs? Spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the Fall so it's time to get busy with that. We have lots of Daffodils planted which are the first to appear, but the Wood Hyacinths in their stark blue color are a real treat to see in the woods behind the screened porch. It's so dull and barren out there without the ground plants which are mainly wild blueberry bushes for us. We have the Wood Hyacinths planted on Skipper's grave. It's always comforting to see them in the Spring and to know that we'll see him again in Heaven. [Do Animals Go To Heaven?]

Randal Hauling the Apple Wagon
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We have a friend arriving from Alabama tomorrow and we have a day trip planned to Madison County, Virginia, to attend the Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival.  A first for all of us.  It's a much larger event than the one we've been doing for quite a few years.  They have farm animals, a lodge, nature trails, and there will be music and traditional Appalachian clogging (View 2-minute Clogging Video).

I'll be sure to take lots of photos.  It's located up against the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains below the Shenandoah National Park.  We're expecting to see some pretty Fall colors.

We have previously gone to Drumheller's Apple Festival in Nelson County.  We pick a bushel of early apples at the end of August in an orchard here in our county, but they aren't as good as the ones grown over near the mountains, so by mid-October we're ready for another bushel.  They store well in our garage.  We also pick up apples for the neighbors so that's why there's so many apples in the wagon Randal is pulling.

We've been blessed here in Central Virginia to have a lot of orchards for various fruits and also a lot of berry places. Are there any apple orchards where you live? You could Google and find out. What a fun day to take the children or grandchildren to an orchard and show them where fruit comes from. Pretty cool to choose your own apples from the tree too! And there's usually apple cider and apple butter for sale. Maybe a local orchard near you is having a Fall festival also.

Bee Snuggled Into Butterfly Bush Bloom
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This little guy was a late sleeper in our garden. I wasn't surprised to find a bee snuggled up in a butterfly bush bloom. I see them like this in a variety of flowers in the garden and the butterfly bushes are a common place for them. When it gets to be evening they find something to tuck themselves into and snooze the night away. Early in the morning it's easy to find them still snoozing until it warms up. It's a great time to be able to rub their furry backs as the sun warms the air encouraging them to take off for another long day's labors.

Bees are so important for our food supply and there's been so many reports of masses being killed off by the systemic pesticides (that means the chemical becomes part of the plant itself) being used on plants. The numbers are alarming and pesticides have been banned in other countries while the USA continues to promote chemical poisoning not only of the bees but also of people. It all goes into the water supply ... but that's another topic. If you garden, be sure you consider pollinators and choose plants that will provide for these very much needed critters on our planet. [Read: Plant For Pollinators]

Speaking of warming up ... It's amazing how many people have mentioned that the Farmer's Almanac says we're going to have a very cold winter. I know bad news has more "shock value" but I don't understand why. There seems to be a trend of delighting in passing along bad news. We are to encourage and edify one another, not give opportunity to the devil to create fear and dread.

Mourning Dove Praying For Spring
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Maybe it's like any other bad habit ... it's just hard to break without the power of Christ behind it. Jesus said, "apart from me you can do nothing" in Matthew 15:5. Oh, how true. Even when we think we have successfully conquered something our success often seems to be temporary when it comes from the flesh and not our spirit.

Back to the weather ... if anybody wants to counter the bad news with good news, the Farmer's Almanac's accuracy is not very statistically good.  Check out this article from Fox News.

I've spent far too many years dreading winter here in Virginia.  This year I've been asking the Lord to show me all the beauty He sees in winter.  All I can see in the natural world is a struggle to survive outside my windows.  Maybe winter wasn't God's design.  Various seasons are mentioned in the Bible, but winter is not one of them.  I can't imagine the Garden of Eden having a winter season.  Could it be another result of the Fall which turned so many things upside down from God's original design?  If the Israelites came out of Egypt with just what they had on, they certainly weren't prepared to endure a winter out in the middle of a desert wilderness.  Anybody have any ideas on this?

Up From The Grave He Arose ... Triumphant!
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There's so much of the beauty and excitement of discovery lost in winter.  I would like to hibernate.  Dig a hole, crawl in and wake up to find it's already Spring!  What a delight!  But there are many wonderful things that happen day-to-day in winter and I would miss those blessings of life.

I am always fascinated as I discover mushrooms that are triumphantly emerging from their "grave." The soft light weight of a mushroom doesn't have the power within itself to push so much earth above it out of the way. It's the power within it that breaks through and shouts to the world that a spiritual force is all around us, always evident in the things which He has created.

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." -- Romans 1:20

I Dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High ...
and abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91)
The power of the resurrection resides in us! Christ in us, our hope of glory! If we could comprehend how much power we have in Christ, there would be no circumstance that would make us grim. Surely, even winter would seem like eternal Springtime.  That's a view I'm seeking the Father to give me.

The Bible says we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). So much of the Word is so incredible that our finite minds simply cannot absorb the reality of it all, and so Christ is made unto us wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30) so we can comprehend in our spirits who we are in Christ.  When we can get a revelation on that all things will become new within our minds and heart.

We were created to be filled with the love of God flowing through and from our lives.  Are we seeking and searching for Him with ALL of our heart?  What wonders God has to share with us as we draw close to Him and snuggle into His lap and listen to His words of life and love over us.

"The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice." -- Zephaniah 3:17

Now that's a great visual for how to spend winter.  It's like another form of hibernation.  Being in Christ where the physical world and body no longer direct us lives.  We only see and know and love Him.  Nothing else matters.  We come as a child to delight in His smiles and love for us.  We are pleasing to God.

I plan to include a segment in each newsletter on who we are in Christ.  The Body of Christ would not be depressed or defeated if we could grasp the position we have in Christ through His resurrection and redemption of our eternal lives.

Everybody lives forever, but those in Christ will live eternally with Him.  Use this segment of Word to meditate on for the next two weeks until the next issue.  Speak them to yourself while you look in the mirror.

Voice-activate the promises of God throughout your day. God spoke the entire world into existence.  There is power in your words and amazing promise when you speak His Word. Your heart and mind will be renewed and you will be amazed at the change in how you see yourself and how the circumstances in your life don't look like they used to.

Who We Are In Christ - Things to Ponder to Renew Your Mind 

I am the bearer of good news (Isaiah 52:7),
a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18),
and the carrier of the King of Glory (Colossians 1:27).

Until next issue .... stroll through a local park or woods and gather up some colorful leaves.  I like to scatter them on a table and enjoy seeing them change as the days go by.  Our Abba Daddy is quite an artist!  Enjoy His Creation today!

Blessings to Your Household and Your Life!
P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter? Forward it to them. Thanks!

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Don't Fight The Devil

by Donna L. Watkins

Paul is teaching the believers in Ephesians how to stand in our authority over the devil. It's a well-known passage since it describes the armor of God that we are to put on. Many years back in the mid-90's, I was given a CD that had dramatic background music and a strong voice addressing these verses step by step as you went through the process of putting on each piece of the armor and then going into battle with the enemy and all spiritual forces in the heavenlies.

It was quite stirring as you might imagine and was supposed to build up my faith against the devil, but it sure seemed to imply that it was a major battle and that the devil was one strong warrior. It made me feel like I had to put a lot of time, energy and mental reinforcement into fighting these battles of life. Admittedly, it did stir up my soul (flesh) and bring excitement as I imagined and fought these battles in my mind.

As I studied this portion of Scripture in Ephesians 6 a couple of months ago I realized how differently I view those verses now. Jesus gave His disciples power and authority over the devil, but there is no implication of a tug of war going on. There is nothing I can find in Scripture that tells us we are to fight the devil. Jesus gave us authority over him.

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).

"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matthew 10:1) Also told in Luke 9:1.

This is what Jesus taught about how we are to handle the devil. So how do we use this power? With great struggle and battle? I Peter 5:7-9 tells us to "7. Cast all our care upon Him; for He cares for us. 8. Be sober [calm], be vigilant [watchful, cautious]; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 9. Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 

Most times the middle verse 8 is quoted by itself and vigilant seems to indicate a continual battle with a powerful force [lion], but when you continue on it tells us how we do this: "resist stedfast in the faith."

Jesus told us, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Anybody living for Jesus and making Him known will have trouble. The devil can't take our salvation away but he would like to kill, steal and destroy our witness to others of the love of Christ and the Gospel [good news].

Colossians 1:13 tells us "[God] delivered us out of the authority of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" You have been delivered out of Satan's dominion. You have been "translated into the kingdom. You are free. If you don't feel free it's because you do not yet believe this to appropriate the power of it.

© Donna L. Watkins
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Let's go back to Ephesians 6:10-17 and look more closely at what it is saying:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

I can see how our flesh wants to rise up and conquer and defeat the Enemy in our own power and strength, especially for men who have a warrior mentality anyway being God's designated provider and protector of a family. But the first verse tells us that we are to be "strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS might," not our own.

Another realization is that when you go through all the pieces of armor you will notice that it's all defensive, not offensive other than the last part mentioned about the word of God. It's also the "armor of God," not our own armor of flesh and might. We "gird our loins with truth" and have a "breastplate of righteousness" with our feet prepared for "the gospel of peace." The "shield of faith" is to "extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

Notice that truth, righteousness, peace and faith are all spiritual terms. This battle is waged from within our own state of mind. How we think will determine who wins, not our shouting and glorifying the devil with our thoughts of how powerful he is. "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4). We have the victory with the only weapon mentioned in the Ephesians account of how to battle him: with the Word Of God! When we implant His Word and Truth into our hearts to the point that we believe what He says more than what we see in the natural, we will overcome.

James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

We have to be submitted to God, walking with Him daily and in relationship as He intended for us to have, just as He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden. That was God's plan for mankind: relationship. This immense, awesome, amazing, incredible, mighty and wonderful God who measured the waters of the earth in the hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens in the span of His hand (Isaiah 40:12) wants to be our Abba [Daddy].

The power to live this life victoriously is in the Word of God. Christianity Today did a study last year that reported 80% of churchgoers do not read the Bible. Is there any doubt as to why there is no obvious difference between Believers and non-believers? Acts 17 speaks of Believers who were known to have "turned the world upside down." Christians were known in those days.

© Donna L. Watkins
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It is more gratifying to the flesh and soul to be doing something more than being spiritual to win our battles. We relate to God through our spirit. We were created spirit beings with a fleshly body and a mind to make choices. What we think on will control our body and our lives.

What we believe in our hearts is key to the amount of success and peace we have in our lives on earth. It's not the knowledge we've stored up, it's what is Truth. If Christians aren't reading the Bible how do they even know what Truth is? The Holy Spirit was given to us to guide us but we have become so spiritually desensitized that most Christians say they can't hear God.

What we feed into our minds will show what we consider most important in our lives. Is it television portraying so much of what the Word calls evil? Bad reports all day long (news)? Gossip that corrupts our soul? Proverbs 18:8 says, "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."

The world has a fascination with gossip making talk shows and grocery store tabloids popular. What do we read? What do we listen to? Is there any wonder minds are in such confusion? Consider these things that you might find peace in this life! There is so much unforgiveness, greed and strife. The Bible says, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16).

We have forgotten our "first love" or maybe we never experienced God's love in our salvation experience because it was just a method to avoid hell, not explained as a way to have eternal life with our God.

Do you know what eternal life is? Most Christians think it's living forever in Heaven. It is not. Jesus told us what it was in John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." It's to know Him! Isn't that amazing? For 60 years of my life I thought eternal life meant I got to live forever in Heaven. Everybody lives forever! Nobody ever dies. They go to the arms of Jesus or the horrible alternative.

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (I John 4:15-16).

Love is the key. Have you come to know the love of God? Do you know that He is love?! He put all our sin and judgment on Jesus and we can now have the relationship Abba Father had with us at the creation of our world and we have dominion of the world as we did before Adam gave it away to Satan. We now have power and authority over the Enemy, given to us by Jesus Christ. In HIM is our might and it's a spiritual might, not fleshly. We overcome by His blood, not by screaming at the devil or rebuking him till you wear your mind out.

If we know Him and love Him, our faith is full and we fight with the spiritual weapons He gave us. Choose LIFE that you might live!

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