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Just To Be Clear….

Hey friends!

People have been a bit confused about signing up on my new blog – The Jarvis House.

My subscription list here at An Unrehearsed Life doesn’t automatically transfer your subscription to the new site.

So, in order to stay in touch and start this new journey of healing, refreshing and growing our souls, please fill out your name and email in the pop up at The Jarvis House.

Then, every time I post, whether it’s an inspirational post or something to help make your house a home, you’ll receive an email from yours truly!

Thankful for your love and support here in the past and looking forward to hearing from you in our new spot!

xoxoxoxo

J

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We’ve Moved!

In case you didn’t get my last post’s message, I’ve started a new blog.  New look, new attitude, new direction.  If your soul is looking for some TLC, it’s got a new place to go. Come and check it out at:

The Jarvis House

I’ll meet you there!

xoxoxo

J

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Special Delivery!!!!

_homebible1

After a very long and intensive labor, I’m pleased to announce the arrival of my new blog site! As with any newborn, it will grow with time but couldn’t wait any longer to come out into the world.🙂

Six years into the process of blogging, it was overdue, not only for an updated style, but for a definitive shift in focus in the direction that God’s been leading me.

“Finding Your Soul’s Home and Your Home’s Soul” would be the way I would describe its purpose.  A combination of my passion for others to know the love of Christ and my desire to help people turn their homes into reflections of who they are.

You can find my latest post here and find the entire site at The Jarvis House (http://www.janajarvis.com).

So come on in, take off your shoes and join me for a conversation!

(Heartfelt thanks in spades to my friend, mentor, techie and web master, Laura Albin, whose patience with my randomness, short attention span and lack of technical skills has undoubtedly earned her countless jewels in her eternal crown.🙂 )

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One Resolution From The Inside Out

fruit

You know how it is.

New year = new resolve.

“I will do more of this and less of that.”

exercise

Old habits are traded for new.  New ways of thinking are tested out.  Priorities are reset.

books

We want our bodies and minds to be better.  We want our wills to be stronger.

And by Valentine’s Day, life goes back to how it looked on December 31.

Diets fail.  Workouts fall off the grid.  All of those books we wanted to read gather dust on the shelf.

All of our good intentions seem to peter out before they even really got started.

Why is that?

The answer could be just as simple as the fact that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

But I think it goes deeper.  Way deeper.

It seems we focus on the external change, hoping it will make its way inside of us, a sort of osmosis, changing us from the outside in.

Our thinking is backwards and upside down.

I think we are ignoring the one (and most important) part of us that is crying out for attention and care.  The part that affects our minds, our bodies, our wills.

And, at the risk of being redundant, I’ll say it again.

Our souls.

bible open

I’m discovering that when my soul is fed and healthy and finds its resting and nestling place in God’s presence, the things that need changing in my life seem to come so much more naturally.

 – When my soul feeds on the nutrients of God’s words, it becomes less satisfied and almost sickened by the “junk food” alternatives for its appetite.

This somehow results in me being more aware of what I am feeding my body, of the need for healthy and nutrient filled food, as opposed to my natural bent toward sugar.  I begin to realize how much better I feel from the inside out when I listen to my body and what it actually needs.

 – When my soul takes in the fulfilling truth of who God is and what He says about Himself, about me, about my world I have less room for useless fillers.

My mind begins to crave important information and wisdom over trivia and meaningless gossip.  It longs for things that make it grow and learn and become.

 – When my soul takes root each day in God Himself, it doesn’t get entangled in the weeds of other soils of worry and stress and anxiety.

This is when my will begins to shift its focus and perspective.  It recognizes its potential strength and fights against anything that would threaten that.  My resolve builds muscles and learns how to use them.

And it all starts with a little thing we call the soul.

The most important and most ignored part of mankind, and the highest thing on God’s priority list.

In this New Year, let’s change our resolutions to one common theme.

Let’s change our backward thinking around and begin to work from the inside out.

To find the only true resting place for our souls – God – and allowing our lives to function and thrive from that place.

And then just watch what happens to our minds, our bodies and our wills.  

2016 might just be the year we see the most change yet!

Psalm 63:1

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being (my soul) longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

Psalm 63:8

My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 62:1

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.

John 15:5 

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

 

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What If The HOW Isn’t NOW?

desert sand

I hate waiting.

Hate, hate, hate it.

I can’t remember a time when I was good at it.  As a child, I always anticipated the next thing.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But I also always had a picture in my head of what that next thing would look like.  Should look like.

I was all about getting there and getting there fast.

Basically, I wanted everything NOW and I wanted it HOW I wanted it.

But as an adult, there have been extreme cases of waiting in my life.  There still are.  I could produce a whole list of things I envision for my future (and the future of those I love).  And I could tell you in three letters when I would like those things to happen.

N. O. W.

Yet, for reasons I’m not yet aware of, God has put a hold on those things.  He has seemed to lead me along the roundabout way and avoided the shortcuts to where I want to go, to where I sense He is leading.

I wrestle with it, I’m not gonna lie.

I share my great ideas with God and try my best to convince Him of why NOW is a great time to get there.

Sometimes I cry like an impatient child who just doesn’t understand the direction or delay.

Other times I feel paralyzed with questions that keep my feet from moving forward.

But I read something this week that seemed to jump off of the page to make its way into my heart.

Exodus 13:17-19

 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

Read it again.

Look at God’s deliberate choice to avoid the shortcut and take the Israelites on the “roundabout” way to the Promised Land.

What???  Why???

  1.  The shortcut was short-sighted.  It ran through enemy territory that would cause the Israelites to lose heart and go backwards toward slavery instead forward toward freedom.
  2. The roundabout way took them to places where they would see miraculous things.  The survival of some 2.5 million Israelites in the desert for 40 years.  That same amount of people crossing a 200 mile wide ocean without one of them losing their life.  The same Red Sea that swallowed up their enemies and demonstrated God’s protection.
  3. The long way allowed them to experience the presence of God on a daily and minute-by-minute basis.  The cloud by day, the fire by night.
  4. The indirect route had the effect of healing a very battered people.  It weeded out their victim mentality and allowed them to experience the provision of a good and loving Father who was with them every step of the way.
  5. The extended journey allowed the Israelites to learn about obedience, worship, trust, forgiveness and to experience each of these firsthand – things that would not have had the chance to have a lasting impact via a short route.

God’s wisdom, protection, love and good plan are all involved in the length of the journey He allows us to experience before we get to our “Promised Land”.

He hasn’t looked away or forgotten where He’s taking us.  He has specific plans for each step along the way that will strengthen and better us.

His HOW is rarely NOW.

There are too many life-altering things to be experienced along the roundabout way  that will give us a clearer understanding of who He is and how much He loves us.

If He is intentionally leading, I can intentionally trust His timing and His way.

Can you?

All God’s love and a bag of chips,

J

 

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In The Clouds And In The Fire

Happy New Year!

It’s been way too long since my fingers have touched these computer keys.  Everything good and delicious and wonderful about the Christmas season happened and these quiet moments of reflection, learning and writing were forced to wait in the corner until life returned to “normal”.

“Normal”, of course, being a very relative term.🙂

Forgive me, as I clear the dust from the keys, the cobwebs from my brain and the rust from my phalanges.

It’s good to be back. Sigh.

For the first time in weeks, I am nestled in a blanket in a quiet house.  A fire is burning in my fireplace.  The sky outside is gray with clouds that leak much needed rain.

A perfect combination of opposites that rest well with my soul this morning.

Unexpectedly, this duo of cloud and fire has spurred other thoughts.

It reminds me of a story.

Both fire and clouds led people through the wilderness a long time ago.

Moses was asked by God to take the Israelites out of a life of slavery in Egypt and into a life of freedom.

God’s presence was continual and showed up visually in both a cloud and a fire.

gray cloudsfire

Exodus 3:21-22 – 

By day theLord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

God’s presence was in both the cloud and the fire.  A visual to bring them comfort on their journey.  A reminder that He was with them.  Guidance by day and light by night so that nothing would prevent them from moving forward, toward that land of “milk and honey”.

I don’t know how long the Israelites thought it would take to reach the Promised Land, but they couldn’t have known they would be 40 years older when they got there.

Poor Moses.  Called to lead impatient, complaining people who seemed to forget that they were now free from slavery.  All they could see was that they weren’t where they wanted to be yet.

They were forgetting the blessing of the presence of God in the cloud and the fire.

But what I discovered this morning was something I never really put together before.

God prepared Moses’ heart for this difficult journey in a similar way to the Israelites’ experience long before they left Egypt.

God came directly to Moses and spoke to him personally through fire.

Before Moses went and rescued the Israelites, God called to him in a burning bush.

Exodus 3:1-4 – 

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

God then gave him the surreal news that he was going to go from “leading sheep” to the far side of the wilderness, to leading PEOPLE across the wilderness.

God spoke in the fire.  God was WITH Moses when He called him.

When Moses questioned, “Who am I to do something like this?”, God’s response was “I will be with you.”  Plain and simple.

Just follow me.  Listen to me.  I will show you.  I will lead you.  Look up.

Because of Moses’ encounter with God in that burning bush, he could lead by example, recognizing God’s presence with them in the pillar of fire in the sky.

God began His preparation of Moses while he was still a shepherd in the  same wilderness that would take His leadership skills to a whole new level.

Along the way with these cranky Israelites, Moses must have become incredibly frustrated.  Disenchanted with his role.  Discouraged by the progress.

God knew and understood.

God would meet with Moses to give him insight, wisdom, guidance and encouragement for the next part of the seemingly unending trek.

Deep into the journey with the Israelites we’re told again of God’s personal and intimate presence with Moses.

This time, God’s presence is in the cloud.

Exodus 33:7-11 – 

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses… The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp…

God spoke in the cloud.  God was WITH Moses when he met Him at the tent.

Moses was no doubt fatigued, once again feeling less than competent in his ability to lead these difficult people through a difficult time.

Moses asks another question:  “Who will go with me?”

And again, God’s response is consistent:  I will be with you.”  Plain and simple.

Just follow me.  Listen to me.  I will show you.  I will lead you.  Look up.

Fire and a cloud.  

In the dark and in the light, God’s presence could be seen.  His voice could be heard.

God was with the people.  He was with the individual.

I feel like God did the very same thing for me today.

I had no idea what He would speak to me as I sat down with my cup of coffee and my computer this morning.

Just like all those centuries ago, God used fire and clouds to speak to me.  To remind me of His presence as I go into this New Year.

As I’m catching glimpses of what He is asking of me in the coming year, I find myself using Moses’ words, “Who am I to do this?” and “Who will go with me?”

God’s answer remains the same for both questions.  “I will be with you.” Plain and simple.

Just follow me.  Listen to me.  I will show you.  I will lead you.  Look up.

 – What is God calling you to this year?  Is He calling you to something more?  Something that seems beyond your capabilities but aligning with your God-given gifts and abilities?

Moses went from leading sheep to leading people.

He was willing even though he didn’t feel worthy of the calling.  Because He heard God’s voice and recognized His presence.  He trusted Him at His word when He said, “I will be with you.”

He looked up. He listened.  He followed.

Even when he didn’t know all of the details of the journey ahead.

 – What “cloud” or “fire” is God using to speak to your heart and draw you further, deeper? The voice of another person?  An unrelenting thought?  A change in circumstance?  A restless yearning?

 – Can you trust His simple words, “I will be with you” to move forward in a specific area of your life?

 – If you are already on the journey, are you fatigued, discouraged, in need of the awareness of God’s presence on the journey?

God has more in mind for each of us this year.  He promises His unending presence and lead in the direction He’s asking us to go.  Whether we are just starting out or well into the wilderness journey.

Will we look up, listen and follow?

 

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Ocean View (a look into the core of our being – part 8)

photo 5-5

After a wonderful vacation in the tropics with great friends (all thanks to our other great friends who offered their time share to us! What?!), it’s good to be back home.  

Right before we headed  on this trip to Maui, we received some disappointing news.

I had allowed myself one good cry before we flew the friendly skies, but by the time we boarded, my tears were dry and I was ready for the type of relaxation that can only happen sea side.

Thing is, my soul wasn’t done grieving.

Even in the middle of Paradise, a soul can weep.

What was wrong with me? The company was perfect, the setting surreal.  Still, I couldn’t shake the residual lump that was lodged at the back of my throat threatening to burst at any moment.

I decided to take a walk on the beach.  I walked as far as I could along the shore.  Barefoot, I let the warm waters lap up on me with each wave coming in.

When I got to the most secluded place I could find, I sat down.  I sunk my toes into the soft sand and let the tears roll.

sand

I told Jesus how sad I was.  How unhappy the news we’d received had made me.  I told Him that I was disappointed and that I just didn’t understand.

All He said was, “I know. But I’m right here.”

And then He held me there on that Hawaiian beach and spoke to me through the waves that were coming in and the tide that was going out.

Big waves and small ones were lapping up against me.

But the pull came when those waves headed back out to sea.  When the sand shifted and the retreating water literally moved my body from its position.

ocean waves

A clear picture of the less obvious.

Life comes at us, doesn’t it?  Waves of circumstance, big and small, crashing at our feet.  Sometimes soaking us to the core.

Whether it’s disturbing world events or personal difficulties, it’s easy to feel like things are crumbling under our feet.

Everything around us can seem like it’s shifting and we can lose our balance, our sense of security.  It can be disorienting.  Fear sets in.

As I sat on the beach after another wave had come in,  I realized that if I depended on the sand to keep me in place, I didn’t stand a chance.

Shifting sand shaped by the ebb and flow of the water around me could never keep me standing firm.

I let this analogy have its way with me and the tears poured as I realized that I had placed my soul in the ever-changing sand of circumstance.  When those circumstances changed in a way I wasn’t expecting/desiring, my soul felt like it lost its footing.

And then I noticed something in the middle of all that sand.

photo-68

 A rock.  

(Okay, a piece of coral. :-))

I picked it up.  It was solid in this vast amount of sand and waves.

Something to hang on to.  Unlike the sand, it wouldn’t slip through my fingers.

And there it was.

The illustration that Jesus used all those centuries ago.

The foolish man and the wise man. 

Matthew 7:24-27 tells the story.

One man set up house on a sand “foundation” and one man knew that the only safe place to build a home was on a solid footing.

We know how that played out.

When the waves came, the house built on sand was demolished.  It didn’t stand a chance. It had a false foundation.

But when the waters rose against that house built on a rock, it didn’t go anywhere.  It was safe and secure on a true foundation, regardless of the size of the waves that hit it.

After sitting with that familiar story playing out right before my eyes, I got up and headed back to where I’d started.  I took the rock, solid in my hand, as a reminder:

The sand will always shift and the Rock never will.

If I house my soul on the shifting sand of changing circumstance, it will soon be homeless.

But if my soul finds its residence in Jesus, the Rock that will not move, I can enjoy a safe and permanent residence, regardless of what may come my way.

The news we received a week and a half ago is still disappointing.

But my soul, remembering that it’s home is built on the Rock and not on sand, is at peace.  My footing is secure.

crashing waves

It’s good to be back home.

Psalm 41:5 – Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 78:35 – And they remembered that God was their rock…

Psalm 71:3 – Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;

Psalm 62:2 – He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gifting The Soul (a look into the core of our being – part 7)

John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

photo 1-14

I am a complete sap when it comes to Christmas.

I immerse myself in carols the day after Thanksgiving.

It is the one holiday where I decorate like it’s my job and will stay up all  night baking for incoming family, friends and neighbors.

That joyous tickle in my belly triggers the same excitement as when I would sit on the couch with my brother when we were kids and make wish lists from the Sears Catalog.

I eat things I shouldn’t. (Pecan pie, among others)

I buy things I said I wouldn’t. (“Just one more festive decor item”)

I do things I thought I couldn’t.  (Climbing on the roof to hang lights)

And by the time Christmas rolls around, I find myself exhausted and bloated, with no idea where the past 25 days disappeared to.

All the pre-holiday excitement passes so quickly and I’m left with a stomach ache, an insane schedule and an empty wallet.

Oh, and it’s Jesus’ birthday.

Oh yeah, that.

It’s as if the most sacred and important birthday known to mankind is just a P.S. on all those cards I almost got around to writing last year.

I’m completely embarrassed by my lack of prioritizing.  Of overlooking the Guest of Honor at Christmas in an effort to make the holiday “perfect” for everyone around me.

My mind and body don’t take a break, and leave my soul wanting.

Every year I tend to get caught up in the celebration’s details and lose sight of why I’m even celebrating in the first place.

My soul can sense the difference when Jesus isn’t my primary focus.

Just thinking about it makes my cheeks match that ugly Christmas sweater I’ve been dying to wear.

And there I go again.  Distracted by the “stuff” of Christmas.

photo 2-16

Reminds me of a story…

There were two women, friends of Jesus, named Mary and Martha.  You can read their story in the book of Luke, chapter 10, verses 38-42.

But let me summarize:

Jesus was invited to dinner at their house.

Martha was, by nature, the “doer” of the two sisters.  She was making all the preparations in the kitchen.  Working furiously to serve a meal perfect for Jesus and her other guests. Her body and mind were hard at work.

But what about her soul?

She thought that her gift to Jesus was what she could “do” for Him.

Mary, on the other hand, was focused on her Guest.  She was entranced by Jesus and His words of love and life.  She sat right at His feet so that she could take it all in.  She listened and engaged.

Her soul was being fed, nurtured, cared for.

She didn’t try to offer Him anything but herself.

Understandably, Martha gets a little upset.  She is doing all the work!  

In Martha’s eyes, Mary was doing nothing.

But Jesus saw it very differently.

He knew that Mary was doing something profound.

When Martha complained to Him that Mary was “slacking”, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha…“you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I love that.  Jesus didn’t say that what Martha was doing was bad.  It was all good stuff.

But what Mary was doing (“nothing”) was BETTER.  

“And it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus had so much to offer to Martha if she would just sit down and chill for a bit with Him.

A gift for her soul.

It’s hard to really listen when distractions have all your attention.

All of the preparations would come and go.  Martha would be left with crumbs and dirty dishes.  The cleaned house would be messy again and the  meal she slaved over would be gone.

Her soul wouldn’t retain anything from her time in the kitchen.

But what Mary found what would last forever – an intimate relationship with Jesus. His words had permanently imprinted her heart.  His love had captured her soul.

photo 3-12

Which is the whole point of Christmas, right?

Jesus came so that we could be in relationship, an intimate relationship with God.

He came to rescue and connect with our souls.  

I hope that when Martha heard Jesus’ reply she dropped her dishcloth and joined Mary and Jesus, so she could experience what her soul had been missing. To see the obvious – That the celebration was about Jesus,  not the great concoctions she was stirring up in the kitchen.

To recognize that it wasn’t about what she could do for Jesus, but what He could do for her.  What He DID do for her.

And Mary.

And You and me.

This Christmas, I want to regain focus like I’m hoping Martha did.

A little more sitting and listening and a little less frazzle.

A little more worship and a little less frenzy.

A little more remembering and a little less forgetting.

Rediscovering the Reason for this Celebration Season.🙂

HE IS THE SOUL’S GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING.

photo-67

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Band-Aids Don’t Fix Bullet Holes (a look into the core of our being – part 6)

bandaid bullet hole

As Taylor Swift says it,

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”

Ain’t that the truth?

– We’ve established that each of us has a soul.

– That our soul’s deepest longing is for reconnection with its Maker, its Father.

– That a messy soul needs de-cluttering.

But what about the broken soul?

The soul that’s been left bruised or hemorrhaging?

Is there hope for a blistered soul that has formed calluses of protection?

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”

No amount of activity or distraction can stop the bleeding.

Cliches and pat answers aren’t sufficient and fall empty on the ears of a hurting soul.

This is why we turn to anything that we think will take that deep pain away.  We self-medicate the cuts that medicine can’t touch.

We apply band-aids to our bullet holes with:

– food

– alcohol

– drugs

– unhealthy relationships

– shopping

– cram-packed schedules

– anything that will take our minds off of our souls that are crying out for mending.

AND WE HAVE NO IDEA THAT OUR “CURES” ARE CREATING WOUNDS AND SICKNESS OF THEIR OWN.

As a “soul survivor”, I have known the deep, incessant ache of a broken and unhealthy soul.

I have felt the wounds left by others and the gashes I have inflicted on myself.  Life and circumstance have left me bloody many times.

But no matter how many band-aids I slapped over the surface, regardless of the variety of self-medication I tried to apply to my soul’s pain, those bullet holes constantly reminded me that they were still there.

The soul will not be ignored.

It needs the healing touch of its Great Physician.

But practically speaking, how does that happen?  How can we know and experience true healing?

From personal experience I can tell you where it started for me.

In my “cussing”  closet.

At my most broken, when, as David put it in the Psalms, my soul was sick within me,  I would retreat to my closet and scream out the pain that my battered soul was suffering.

Face down on the carpet.  Vomiting tears like my body was trying to rid itself of poison.

My soul was sick with grief, with disappointment, with regret.

And I knew that there was nothing more that I could try to heal it by myself.

I recognized my diseased soul for what it was and cried to God for help.

I’d like to say that God healed my soul right then and there, but that would be a deceptive fairy tale of a story.

The truth is, my journey to healing has taken years.  It has been excruciating at times, like a surgery without anesthesia.  Repairing damage that I’d forgotten was even there.  Flushing out wounds and removing the debris wasn’t always pleasant, but it was so necessary for true healing.

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes”

There were bullets that needed to be taken out and residual damage that needed to be addressed.

Then, and only then, could any kind of dressing be applied.

As I look back at all of the examples of Jesus healing people in the New Testament, I see the principles that seem to be necessary for knowing true healing.

 – We have to be aware that our soul is broken and we have to want it fixed.

In John 5, Jesus sees a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years.  He asks him, “Do you want to get well?”

Seems like a strange question to ask an infirmed person.  But Jesus recognized that this man had learned to live in this state.  Healing would mean a complete change in his life. Was he willing to give up sitting and begging to get up and start living? Was he willing to trust Jesus to heal him?

Is our sick soul ready for a change?  Are we ready to “get up and walk”, trusting Jesus to give us what we need to start on the journey to healing?

This man decided to trust Jesus at His word and got up, grabbing his mat and walking into a brand new life of healing.

 – We need to immerse ourselves in the healing power of God’s Word and Presence.

Matthew 8: 5-17 – When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!  … Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever.  But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.

 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,

He took our sicknesses
and removed our diseases.

John 4:46-53 – 

 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.  When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed.  While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.  When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

Jesus is still in the business of healing.  Of miracles.  His Word still breathes life into us.  His presence and touch still heal us at the core.

When we read God’s promises of love and restoration and take them to heart, our souls begin to respond like a patient to treatment.

When we see Jesus’ heart toward the broken and His active participation in their healing, we begin to understand His care for us and our souls begin to drink in the salve of His touch on our lives.

– We need to take up our “mat” and walk.

Like the man at the pool, Jesus asks us to get up in faith (the man didn’t know he could walk until he trusted Jesus at his word and actually got up) and to take our “mat” with us and follow Him for our next steps.

Leave that place of pain that our soul has become so accustomed to with no intention of lying back down there again.

All of the people that Jesus touched and healed with his words and presence got a glimpse of the power of the Great Physician.

While Jesus was healing their physical wounds and illnesses, their souls were being changed and healed, too.

 – Tell others about your journey to healing and Who is making it all happen.

Over and over again, when Jesus impacted the life of a person through healing in the New Testament, the former patients would share with others what the Great Physician had done for them.

One beautiful example was when Jesus met the woman at the well (John 4).  Her soul was no doubt riddled with wounds that were caused both by others and her own choices.

But after meeting Jesus, after listening to His intimate knowledge of her and her life, after experiencing His love and His offer of life to her, she began to experience a healing so deep and profound that she had to go and tell others.

This confirmed her own experience.

It offered hope and healing to others.

It gave credit to the Healer.

In the healing of my own soul (that no doubt will continue for the rest of my life), I’ve discovered that when I recount to others what Jesus has done for me, my faith is revived all over again.  And when they hear the “rags to riches” saga of my soul, they want that healing, too.

Band-aids will never fix bullet holes.

But I know Someone who can….

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

(*Do you have more questions or want to discuss this on a more personal level?  Contact me at janajarvis82@gmail.com.  I’d love to hear from you!)

 

 

 

 

 

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House or Home? (a look into the core of our being, part 5)

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My business has morphed into two categories:

Staging and Interior Decorating.

At first glance, you could mistake one for the other.

But at their core, they are very different.

When I stage, I go into a home, eliminate personal things like family pictures and go about the business of making the house look more appealing to buyers through furniture placement, decor and neutralizing.

There is a mixture of my things with theirs, all in an attempt to make it look more attractive so that a buyer will come along who can’t resist purchasing the home.

During the time on the market, the homeowner’s don’t live like they normally would.  They don’t invite others in since things need to stay as they are for the sake of the “show”.

It is no longer really the owner’s home.

It is all temporary.

When the home has sold, everything is removed.  I gather my inventory and take it back to storage for the next house.

And the home becomes an empty shell.

On the other hand, when I do interior decorating with a client, we start with a shell, a blank canvas, and go up from there.

We remove anything that isn’t necessary but keep the sentimental.  We hang on to the things that have meaning and importance and are “life-giving” to the client and her family.

We work with the things that represent who they are and reflect their personalities.  This is, after all, their home.

Anything that I bring in, everything that I purchase with them will be permanent because they are not planning on leaving the residence. This is their sanctuary. They love their home.

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Every client wants a result that makes their home feel cozy, warm, inviting.  A relaxing retreat when they walk in the door.

Staging is artificial and temporary no matter how great it looks. It was never meant to last forever.

Interior decorating is the real deal.  It is permanent.  It is personal. And if it’s done right, it takes a house and makes it a home.

In the matter of our souls, we have two choices:

We can stage our souls with temporary “fixtures” (fixes) that will just to the job of making it look “full and pretty”, or we can invest in permanent interior design that will last.

What does staging the soul look like?

It looks like we’ve filled our lives with things.  Think busyness, power, influence, material things, anything that we think will make us look better to the casual observer.

A mix and match assortment of  things that  don’t reflect a sense of safety or permanence.

No one feels welcome there, they know it is just a pretty show.  A walk through.

Conversations will only go as deep as the “front porch” of show will allow.

If our soul is only staged, it won’t feel like it’s really ours because deep down we know that none of it will last.  And we’re afraid others will find us out.

None of it has the ability to sustain our soul’s desire forever.

We can actually “gain the whole world, but lose our souls”.  Matthew 14:26.

What could be a home would only be a house.

But what if we did some interior design in our souls?  What would that look like?

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It would be simply, but beautifully decorated. “Less is more” applies here. It would be void of clutter and mess. Only the best would make the cut.  Everything in it would be permanent and life-givinglove being at the very top of that list.

It would be a home where rest and peace would live and where the presence of God would permeate every wall.

That home would be inviting to others.  Its doors would be open to let others in.  They would smell the fragrances of grace and beauty.  They would taste things like acceptance and forgiveness and healing.

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Everyone would feel at home in that type of soul.

When I go in to stage a house, anything I put in there will only serve a temporary purpose.

But when I go into a permanent residence I help the owner fill it with “permanent” things to make it a home.

Your soul and mine are a permanent residence. Eternal even.

Will we choose to fill it up with “stuff” that is only temporary, or will we do it the justice it deserves of supplying it with permanent things that will sustain and reflect its life and the life of its Creator?

Ephesians 3:16-19 –  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 

 

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