8 limbs of yoga: living a yoga lifestyle from a biblical perspective in a modern world

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I lived decades believing that life was all or nothing. There is a set of rules you have to live by and if you fail, well then you fail life. I was left feeling hopeless and helpless. I was constantly feeling left out and misunderstood and I couldn't figure out why everyone else had it all together except for me. I waisted a lot of time searching for something that does not exist. So before we go any further I want to make one thing very clear. 

This is not the 100% club. No one has it all figured out.

I grew up in a middle-class family with loving parents who took me to church and did their best to teach me how to love God and love people. However, somewhere along the way, I believed the delusion that once you became a Christian, everything was magically perfect. No more worries or fears, nothing bad ever happened to you again and when someone tried to hurt you, fire would fall out of the sky and kill them immediately. (metaphorically speaking of course) So when I walked the aisle and said the magical incantation that would save me from hell, I was surprised to find that life the next day was rather ordinary. I was 8. 

It wasn't until the summer I graduated from high school in 1996, that I really began to question who God was. I knew this church thing was not working. I knew that life was still hard. And I knew that something had to change. Growing up in the church had taught me a few things, but not prepared me for anything except not to drink, cuss, or have sex before marriage. Oh, and don't do drugs either, that' bad. So I started a list of things I knew about God and things I knew about me. I knew God was real. I knew he was the creator of all things. I knew I was created by him but I didn't know why. I looked around the church for anyone who could help me figure these things out and we all seemed to be just as lost. I looked around my college campus to see if anyone could help me out and found no help there either. For the first time, I started to pray. I mean really pray, not the little childlike prayers for a good day and sweet dreams, but the desperate prayers of a woman crying out for answers kinda prayers. And he answered. 

[Let me stop here for a moment and make this clear. I am by no means saying there were not men and women who desperately tried to support or pour truth into me, what I am saying is that I didn't hear or understand them. The things of God are made clear by the work of his spirit in his time. This is the journey it took for me to know God.] 

The next few years I spent digging into anything I could get my hands on about the life of Jesus. I read through scripture. I read through commentaries. I went through so many bible studies. And all those things were helpful and a part of my journey and I'm truly thankful for that time. But I was still missing something. Then one day while reading my bible something stood out to me. It was the word DISCIPLE. I'd heard it so many times but what did it really mean?

DISCIPLE: one who passionately devotes their life to learning and living out the philosophy of a teacher

At 25, I was married and working full time for my church, leading Bible studies, mentoring a group of high school girls and again desperately seeking to know God. One day after work I walked down the hall, changed out of work clothes and into gym clothes, and into my first yoga class. I didn't know it, but everything I had ever learned about God was about to change. For the next hour, I awkwardly moved by body through unfamiliar poses while my soul sifted through an array of emotions I'll never be able to fully verbalize. And as I lay vulnerable and out of breath during savasana, God spoke. And my mat became holy ground. 

"Follow Me."

That's it. That's all He said that day. And over the last 13 years, He has slowly and in his timing has unpacked exactly what that means.

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as "union" or a method of discipline. Yoga has always been handed down from teacher to student. To learn yoga means that you become a disciple, you passionately devote yourself to learning and living out the philosophy of your teacher. 

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 
Matthew 11: 28-30

No one knows exactly when yoga began, but it certainly predates written history. Stone carvings depicting figures in yoga positions have been found in archeological sites in the Indus Valley dating back 5,000 years or more. There is a common misconception that yoga is rooted in Hinduism; on the contrary, Hinduism's religious structures evolved much later and incorporated some of the practices of yoga. Other religions throughout the world have also incorporated practices and ideas related to yoga. Much like prayer and fasting, yoga is a spiritual discipline practiced by many religions. It can not be owned by only one. 

As far as we know, a scholar named Patanjali, sometime around the 5th century A.D. was the first person to write down the theories and practices of yoga in a book called Yoga Sutras and Yoga Aphorisms. The system he wrote is known as Ashtanga Yoga or the eight limbs of yoga. Some refer to it as Classical Yoga. The eight limbs serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one's health, and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature. 

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

1. Yama: restraint

  • Ahimsa: nonviolence
  • Satya: truthfulness
  • Asteya: non-stealing
  • Brahmacharya: continence
  • Aparigraha: non-covetousness

2. Niyama: observance

  • Saucha: cleanliness/purity
  • Samtosa: contentment
  • Tapas: spiritual austerities
  • Svadhyaya: the study of the sacred scriptures and of oneself
  • Isvara Pranidhana: surrender to God

3. Asana: seat: care for the temple

4. Pranayama: breath control/restraint

5. Pratyahara: withdrawal

6. Dharana: concentration

7. Dhyana: meditation 

8. Samadhi: awaken: surrendering to and abiding in the sovereignty of God

The Invitation
"So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.'
Acts 17:22-28

Laying on that mat, so many years ago, exhausted and out of breath the creator God of all the universe whispered into my soul, "Follow Me." It was an invitation to stop. To stop trying to do this on my own. That's not the way I was designed. I had to stop relying on my own breath and strength, but to learn to move to the rhythm of his breath alive and active in me. To take his yoke on my shoulders and learn from him. And it's there that I found my rest. 

Over the next several posts I'll break this down a little more. I'll invite you into what God has been teaching me and how using the discipline of yoga has shown me the heart of God. The heart of creator God who longs for you to know Him too.  

 

Question Everything

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Today, October 31, 2017,  marks the 500th anniversary of The Protestant Reformation. After much prayer and consideration, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic church. 95 questions. 95 pondering. 95 things the church was teaching that he didn't understand how they lined up with the truth of the gospel. 

He was not looking for a fight. He was looking to understand God. He was brave enough to take off the yoke of religion and replace it with the yoke of Jesus Christ. He was brave enough to stand up for truth. He was brave enough not to suffer these thoughts on his own, but to debate them with others. He was brave enough to start a road to freedom. 

Over the next several years his questions spread and other leaders joined him and through their debating scripture came the Five Solas. The bases of the Protestant church of today. 

The Five Solas:

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture aloneâ€): The Bible is inpired by God and complete. 
  2. Sola Fide (“faith aloneâ€): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3.  Sola Gratia (“grace aloneâ€): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4.  Solus Christus (“Christ aloneâ€): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5.  Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God aloneâ€): We live for the glory of God alone.

I am extremely grateful for a man who was willing to stand for truth. I celebrate today because  his stand encourages me to stand. Question everything you hear. Test everything by scripture, test and see that it is good and true and holy. Don't believe something just because it's coming to you from a pulpit. Don't believe something because you've been told. Read for yourself. Hold each other accountable. Speak truth. Seek peace and pursue it. Where do you need to take a stand?

 He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
Micha 6:8

A Call to Serve

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This past February I was listening to an event and my heart was stirred. I am overly passionate about two things. One is Jesus Christ and the other is Yoga. I’m passionate about yoga because that’s what God used to open my mind and heart to understand the power of Jesus life, death and resurrection for the purpose of redeeming and restoring me. I’m passionate about yoga, because through it God is teaching me how to love him with all my mind, all my strength and all my soul. And by it, he has given me a platform to share the gospel with others. 

I am made by God and for God and nothing else matters. So are you. And I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that you know that. 

So back to February, I was listening to Jill Briscoe speaking on her life as a missionary. She said several times, “You go where you’re sent, and you stay where you’re put, and you give what you’ve got until you’re done.” I couldn't get it out of my mind. It keps creeping into my thoughts and had made me analyze where I am and what I am doing. 

As I prayed about what the summer months would look like, I asked God to use me to spread the gospel. I prayed that he would use me in any way that would be beneficial to the kingdom. I inquired about several things and as each one fell through, I got an invitation to join a team of people traveling to Swaziland in Africa. 

This team is going to come alongside those in Swaziland who are already working tirelessly. Our goal is to encourage, bring much needed supplies, and rest. We’ll be visiting two different Care Points and working with around 400 children. During this time we’ll be able to visit a few homesteads to deliver food and supplies to families in need. We’ll be able to give a time of rest and encouragement to the women who are sacrificially working with these precious children every day. I am honored to come alongside the work they are already doing. 

Did you know: 

  • Swaziland is Africa's last traditional Kingdom. Certain ancient customs that were once common across the continent, now only remind in Swaziland.
  • Swaziland is the tiny county that is surrounded by the country of South Africa.
  • There are over 120,000 orphans in Swaziland (population 1.2 million) with about half of the child population classified as orphans or vulnerable children.
  • Life expectancy is about 48 year old. Average age of a Swazi is 21 years old.
  • Swaziland has the HIGHEST rate of HIV/AIDS in the world with over 26% of the population infected.
  • Over 60% of the population lives below the poverty line and 70% of children do.
“This is the unavoidable conclusion of Matthew 10. To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ.” ~ David Platt

So what does this have to do with you? I’m so glad you asked. We are a community. We support each other. And we do that in many different ways. Here are some of the ways you can help support me on this journey: 

  1. PRAYER: I would love for you to join me in praying for the people of Swaziland. I would be honored if you would join me an many others as we pray over all the preparation required for this trip. Physical, emotional, spiritual and financial. I’ll be updating my blog and sending out a newsletter for those who would partner with us in this way. Get on that email list here.
  2. GARAGE SALE: Mark your calendar for May 20th! This trip in not cheap. To help raise the financial support needed, I’ll be hosting a garage sale on May 20th. Please pray for it! If you have anything you would like to donate, please email me Here and let me know! And last, come shop! You never know what treasure is hidden in someone else’s trash. 
  3. YOGA: Mark your calendar for June 3rd. I will be hosting a donation based Holy Yoga class for everyone. More details on that to come. Check here for updates. 
  4. FINANCIAL GIVING: This is always the hardest part of any trip for me. I’m seeking to raise $3,200. I do not like asking anyone for money. It makes me so uncomfortable. However, its necessary. If you feel lead to support me financially, there are several ways you can give. The easiest way would be through the online giving platform through Warren. If you choose to give this way, it will be tax deductible. To make sure your donation would be directed toward my trip, please indicate in the memo section: Swaziland 17 AM
  5. PRAYER: I know this is first on this list. And it is also last. I would be honored if you would hem us in cover us in prayer, go before and behind us. It is the most important part of this journey. I can not do what I do without my dedicated community support. 

This is not my first trip to Africa. This is by far not my first journey working with orphans and widows or population affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And God willing, this will not be my last. It is an honor to be the hands and feet. The thing is, God works in my heart and stirs in me, teaching me more than I could ever give. 

Warren has had a long standing relationship with these two care points. While the teams my shift and change, the commitment to care for, support and encourage these people is unwavering. 

Warren has had a long standing relationship with these two care points. While the teams my shift and change, the commitment to care for, support and encourage these people is unwavering. 

I am so honored to know you and be a small part of your life. I’m so honored you took the time to read this. I’m praying for you endlessly. I always have and I always will. I’m here to encourage and support you on your journey too.

Lent: Fulfillment Day 39

Take a few drops of Cypress oil in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. I'm not asking you to read all of those chapters, but please scroll down and watch the video from The Bible Project. And then sit with it for a moment. Let it settle in. Listen for the still small voice of God speaking to you today. Ask him to open your ears to hear him. And then get up and move in freedom. 

Jesus came to turn everything upside down, or rather right side up. He's come to bring us back to our original design. Making a way for restoration and right relationship with God. We'll take it a little deeper over the next week, but for now, lets rest here. 

Lent: Fulfillment Day 36

Cypress is known as the oil of motion and flow. Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Massage any remaining oil on the bottoms of your feet. Read John 1:1-18 and ask God to open your mind and your heart to anything he wants to reveal to you today. Move your body with honor and respect. 

Today we see God fulfilling the long awaited promise from Genesis 3. The Wounded Victor has arrived! We see that he is fully man and fully God. We see that he's been a part of this whole thing from the beginning, Genesis 1. He is God ... in the flesh. Come down to do what man could not, but heal the brokenness of the world and restore relationship between God and man. He's come to heal. 

So all those prophecies we've read about and heard about throughout all of the old testament, they are about to be fulfilled. This video from the Bible Project will take us through John chapter 12. We'll pick it back up tomorrow. 

Lent: Word Day 35

Clary Sage is known as the oil of clarity and vision. Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale. Massage any remaining oil on the bottoms of your feet on your temples. Read Matthew 2:1-12 and imagine these wise learned men. They have been studying the starts and the times and all the ancient scriptures of different cultures. These were not men from Israel, but they saw the signs and the science and the words written of a God who was playing it all into perfect unity .... and they followed him. So today, move your body in a way that honors that. Movement and surrender. Maybe shifting the way you think a little. And ask God to show himself to you. To speak to you and meet you where you are and show you how maybe your thinking has blocked your ability to heart him speak and see him move. 

God does not move and act the way we think he should. Isaiah 55: 8-9 says his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. A true scholar understands that there are things they do not know and things still yet to be learned. 

Lent: Word Day 34

Sandalwood is known as the oil of sacred devotion. So take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Read through Luke 2:8-12 and ask God to speak to you today about the shepherds. Move your body with awe and wonder that the Creator God of all and that he has a plan for your life. Your story fits into his story no matter what anyone else has told you. You were created with purpose and promise. Lay down that worry in surrender at his feet. 

The Shepherds were the lowest of all society. Outcast. They were such outcasts that they were not ever permitted into the temple. They could not be clean enough. So the night that God came down to earth, the night that he stepped into creation, the long awaited night, he did not reveal himself to kings and queens, he came to those who could not come to him. He met them where they were and proclaimed good news. 

He didn't wait for them to be ceremonially clean, he said, I'm the one who does the cleaning. Come to me. 

What is God trying to teach you today? What do you need to know. How can you lay your life down in a position of surrender to the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords and the Prince of Peace?

Lent: Word Day 32

Sandalwood is known as the oil of sacred devotion. So take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Read through the birth of the long awaited Messiah. The Wounded Victor from Genesis 3 takes his first breath on the earth he created. Move your body in any way that means surrender to you. Take it all in .. the whole picture. The whole story. breathe it in deeply. What is God trying to teach you today? What do you need to know. How can you lay your life down in a position of surrender to the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords and the Prince of Peace?

 

Lent: Word Day 31

Again today we're going to use Rosemary as the oil of choice. So get out your diffuser and breathe deeply. Read through Matthew 1:18-25 and feel the deep emotions of Joseph. Wonder at what it must have been like for him and marvel at his selflessness and grace he shows to Mary. And then the Angel appears. Read through it again and feel everything. See it in your minds eye. And the let your body move with grace and redemption. Again today, ask God to reveal to you his good and faithful plan and how your circumstances are working together for the purpose of redemption. 

Lent: Word Day 30

Rosemary is known as the oil of knowledge & transition. It is said to aide individuals to dig deep past what we understand to see further reaching divine purpose for the circumstances we are walking through. Take a few drops in your diffuser and breathe deeply as you read through Luke 1:26-56. Read through the story of Mary, mother of Jesus, and try to imagine what it must have felt like for a young innocent girl to hear from her God. Feel her innocence and her strength all flowing from her faith. As you begin to move, move with grace and listen to your body. Where does it want to take you today? Ask God to reveal to you the deep connection of your current circumstances to his great story. 

Mary, a young girl from a poor family in a poor village ... girl of no importance to anyone, except the God of all creation. Just like God chose David, the youngest of all his brother, a shepherd. Both bold, because of their faith, searching and relenting to the will of God, they became great. 

God uses those who are willing to be used. Not because of who they are, but because they know God can do anything. What does God want to use you for today? What is holding you back from following fully and completely? What do you need to surrender?

Lent: Word Day 29

So here is what we know. God created the heavens and the earth and created humans in his image to be the caretakers of all that was good, showing the character of God. But instead, humans wanting to be like God (I guess they forgot they were already created in his image) chose to define good and evil for themselves rather than trust the one who created it all. And in the middle of the greatest rebellion in all of history, God steps in and says, "I'm going to fix this, I'm sending the Wounded Victor (Genesis 3) and I will fix what you have broken." This is the great mercy of God because he could have just wiped it all out. 

From there God calls out a people for himself, the Israelites, and starting with Abraham, says that through you I'm going to bless all people. It was through the Israelites that God was going to show his goodness and his grace. And he makes an unbearable covenant. He grows the Israelites from 70 people to over a million and then frees them from slavery by his own might making it very clear that he is God of all. He brings them into the wilderness and creates community. He teaches the people how to worship and how to live and gives them good boundaries. He explains how the creation was meant to work together. And he reminds them the Wounded Victor, Messiah is coming. 

So generation after generation, through good and holy times, through bad and rebellious times, they pass down the stories. They remember and rejoice and mourn. They hold on to the hope, the promise that Messiah is coming and God sends them prophets who tell of what he will look like, what he will do and how they will know him when he comes. 

And then God goes silent for 400 years. 

Nothing. 

But let me assure you, he was so absent. He was continuing to lead and prepare the way ...

Take a few drops of Frankincense in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Massage any remaining oil on the bottoms of your feet. Read through Luke 1:5-25. Close your eyes and see every detail. Imagine every emotion running through Zechariah's mind. Feel the weight of it all. Ask God to reveal himself to you today. Ask him to show you the weight of this passage. 

Zechariah was a preist married to Elizabeth. Scripture says they were righteous people, but had no children. In those days it was seen as God's punishment. So if there was no outward visible sin, there must be a hidden sin the people could not see, otherwise God would have blessed them with children. Even though they were righteous, Elizabeth felt shame. And here again, we find a woman who is past the age of giving birth. 

So Zechariah was chosen to serve in the temple sanctuary, this is a once in a lifetime event. He was entering into the Holy of Holies. This was such a sacred act that he could be killed in the process, so they would tie bells to the bottoms of his robes so they could hear him walking around and a rope to his leg so if the bells stopped, and he died, they could drag him out without having to go in and be killed themselves. 

He goes in to pray for the forgiveness of the nation of Israel. While he goes in, the nation stands outside waiting to see if God will give them a sign they are forgiven. While inside, praying for the people an angel comes and fills the room and tells him Elizabeth is going to have a baby. And this baby is going to be special, its going to prepare the people for the Wounded Victor, Messiah. 

So with one declaration, God answers a corporate prayer for the coming of the Messiah, and a personal prayer for a child. God broke the silence with the announcement that Messiah was coming. 

I want you to see that God answered a prayer that Zechariah had stopped praying. His wife was past the years of giving birth. There was no more hope left for a child, but God ... God steps into the hopeless and helpless and all seems lost situation, and says I will do this. I hear you, I have not forgotten you. I'm being faithful. 

Is there a place in your life right now were you feel hopeless and forgotten? He hears you dear one. And he is always faithful. 

Lent: Prophecy Day 27

Frankincense is known as the oil of truth. Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Read through these verses today and open your mind and heart to the truth that God has been revealing his plan of salvation to us throughout all of history. 

Psalm 41:9

Zechariah 11:12

Isaiah 53:7

Isaiah 50:6

Isaiah 53:12

Zechariah 12:10

Isaiah 53:9

Psalm 16:10

Psalm 68:18

Psalm 110:1

These are the prophecies of the Wounded Victor. They were given to a people who needed the hope that salvation was coming. They were given through prophets through God in order that they may know him when he comes and we may understand and trust that God is alive and active. His hand guides and directs us. He never leaves us alone. 

Lent: Prophecy Day 25

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Frankincense is known as the oil of truth. Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Read through these verses today and open your mind and heart to the truth that God has been revealing his plan of salvation to us throughout all of history. 

Isaiah 7:14

Micah 5:2

Isaiah 11:2

Isaiah 53:9

Isaiah 35:5-6

Isaiah 61:1

Zechariah 9:9

These are the prophecies of the birth and life of Jesus. They were given to a people who needed the hope that salvation was coming. They were given through prophets through God in order that they may know him when he comes and we may understand and trust that God is alive and active. His hand guides and directs us. He never leaves us alone. 

Lent: Prophecy Day 24

Rose Oil is know as the oil of Divine Love and can aide in healing the heart by surrendering to Divine Grace. Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Massage any remaining oil over your heart. 

Read through Isaiah 53. We're not going to dig into this today, we'll come back to it soon. Today just rest in the words of Isaiah, a prophet who lived about 700 years before Jesus walked the earth. Read each word. Meditate on the words. Meditate on the meanings. Meditate on the goodness and grace in this picture. What does it mean to you today?

Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Lent: Prophecy Day 23

Melissa is the oil of Light. It is a very precious oil that is said to awaken the soul to the truth and light reminding us why we came to this earth. Take one drop in the palm of your hand and breathe deeply. Massage any remaining oil into the bottom of your feet. Read Isaiah 9:1-7. Read it again and settle into your space today. I want you to move with intention and surrender, so whatever that looks like for your body, take it. Meditation, savasana, gentle flow, power flow ... whatever you need, however your body, mind and soul unites in worship to the Prince of Peace, take it and let it be your worship today. 

The central theme of the book of Isaiah is that God is the Holy One high and lifted up, but also dwells among his people directing their steps. His wrath is fierce yet his salvation is endless. He both blesses and punishes for your good and his glory. Isaiah was a prophet who was sent to speak truth to a nation who would never listen, never turn and never repent. And through him, God spoke of the coming Wounded Victor, he spoke truth and light. And he gave the Israelites a clear picture of what Messiah would look like. 

Chapter 9:1-7 speaks to those who were under the discipline of God will see the redemption of God through the ministry of Jesus Christ. Messiah is coming and he will be a freedom fighter! He will break the chains of the oppressors, by the power of God. He will be a Wonderful Counselor, a ruler whose wisdom is beyond merely humans capabilities; Mighty God; Everlasting Father, a benevolent protector and true king; and Prince of Peace, a ruler who brings peace because all nations will see his justice. And all of this is going to happen according to vs 7 because the zeal of the Lord of host! The final victory is a miracle accomplished with a passionate intensity that only God is capable of. 

God is going to finish what he started. (Psalm 138:8, Philippians 1:6, Proverbs 29:21) You can trust that he is faithful and just. This was always his way. This was the plan from the beginning. We'll keep walking through the prophecies this week, but today, lets rest in this. Let us worship. 

Lent: Prophecy Day 22

We have spent the last three weeks walking through the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament. Those books give us the foundation for the story of God. And they show us a right way to see God and see ourselves in this great story. 

Before we jump ahead I want you to see where we are. As much as I would love to cover it all, we've got to be really picky with the rest of our time together during Lent. We're going to skip over the history and the poetry and jump straight to the Prophets. But let me catch you up. 

We left off in Deuteronomy and our beloved Moses dies. We see Joshua taking over his roll and leading the people finally out of the wilderness and into the Promise Land. They had to fight for it and God provided and protect them. We see Israel set up as a nation among the nations. They were set apart for their good and Gods glory. He set Judges over them to help interpret and fulfill the law. But the people looked around and begged God to be like other nations and have a king. God said, but you guys are different, let me be your king and they said, No, let us be like everyone else. So God gave them what they thought they wanted. He gave them Saul. And on the outside he was everything that a kind should be. He started off well, but after a while turned his back on God and started building a kingdom for himself. That ended badly and God called David to rule after him. 

Now David is a whole other story in itself and I really wish we had the time to dig in deep. He was the youngest of all his brothers, but he trusted God like no other man on earth. He was know as "A man after Gods own heart" But don't be fooled. He was no saint. Go read his story and you'll be greatly encouraged. Because there you'll find a man. He was a man of war with blood on his hands. He had an affair with a married woman and had her husband killed. His children were a mess! ... rape, murder, attempted murder to steal the throne, and hatred like no other ... The difference with David, and what set him apart was that every time he was confronted with his sin, he fell on his face in repentance before God. The Psalms are filled with the prayers of David. So, God, not because of Davids actions, but because the desire of his heart was to know God and follow him (no matter how many times he messed up) God promised David that one of his descendants would rule with a kingdom that would never end. We'll talk more about that in a few weeks. 

Davids son Solomon ruled after him. (Go read Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon and the Proverbs!) He had wisdom beyond anyone else. He had it all, beauty, money, fame, wisdom, women and land ... and in the end he claimed that everything under the sun was meaningless compared to the glory of God. Under his rule the Temple of God was built. And for the first time, God moved out of a tent (The Tabernacle) and became permanent inIsrael.

From there Israel had king after king and some worshiped God and some turned their backs on him and chased after evil. The kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah. 

But for now, we're going to follow the Prophets. These were men that God sent to warn the people. Through these visions and messages, God warned the people to repent and keep the covenant they had made. He warned them of judgement that would come. And they would not listen. And we see the nation sacked because of their unfaithfulness and scattered. We watch God faithfully speak to his people through the Prophets during their exile and promise their return if they repent and keep the covenant. 

And through all of this God kept speaking of the Wounded Victor to come from Genesis 3. He gave them signs to look for so they would know him when he came. He continued to be faithful to a people who chose to be unfaithful. 

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Take a few drops of Douglas Fir in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Rub the remaining oil on the bottoms of your feet. This oil is know as the oil of Generational Wisdom. It's thought to remind us that valuable wisdom can be gained by listening to the stories of the ones who have come before us. And where we're going this week, we'd much rather learn from than live through these stories. 

Read Jeremiah 29:11 and let that promise wash over you new today. Breathe it in knowing this promise was made to a nation in exile. It was a promise made to a people God was calling back to himself. It was a promise that said, you are in the middle of punishment, but this is not the end for you, come to me ... I know what I'm doing. Trust me. So today, trust that he knows ... he knows you. He knows what he's doing in your life. If you've turned your back on him, if you're running, its not too late to turn back. Grace my beautiful friend. You can not run far enough that he can't save you. 

Rest in those words today or move your body with intention and purpose. Wake up a neck that has been stiff for too long. Open that spine and align it with your foundation. Move in a safe and comfortable way. Move your body in praise and worship of the very one who made it. And calls to the depths of your very soul. 

Lent: Dwell Day 21

Take a few drops of Lavender into the palm of your hand and rub together. Breathe deeply. Inhale and exhale. Take off your shoes and come to a seated position. Find a place of uncomfortable rest. And read Proverbs 1:1-7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Ask God to show himself to you today. Ask him to teach you who he is. If you know God and have walked with him for any amount of time, this seems comfortable and natural. If you don't know God and maybe you're skeptical, just ask. He draws near to those who seek him. You have nothing to loose ... 

Proverbs 1:1-7

1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

2 To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

This is why we have spent 3 weeks walking through the first five books of the bible. Yes I say five even though we've dug deep into Genesis and Exodus, we highlighted several things in Leviticus, but I would love for you to take some time and read through Numbers and Deuteronomy. There are deep and rich things there waiting for you. The first five books of the bible set the stage for all understanding. And the story is so important to know. Without it you have no foundation. Without it, you have no alignment. Without it, you have no idea who you are or where you're going. So, below is a quick overview of the last two books. 

To understand who Jesus is, why he came and walked this earth, why he chose to die a violent bloody death on a cross and had the power to rise from the dead 3 days later ... you have to know who God is. You have to know this. Without knowing it, Jesus does not make sense. We can't just walk into the story of Jesus without first walking this road. They are not separate, they are one.

Tomorrow we continue the story of God's people and we'll run with the Prophets. Buckle up because its about to get bumpy!