Blessed With Beauty and Good Judgement

The Heroine Abigail –

Abigail was a beautiful, intelligent woman and one of the most overlooked heroines in the Bible. She was remarkable, especially considering the ancient times she lived in, but her story can still be applied to our lives today. Her saga is empowering and many women will be able to relate to the value of her discretion and strength in the midst of trying circumstances.

Abagail is named in the Talmud as one of the 7 Prophetesses.

Abagail carried a burden in her heart, she was married to Nabel but it was not a good match. They were practically opposites.

Photo credit jw.org

“She was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings.” – 1 Samuel 25:3 NKJV

Nabel was a rich, mean brute, who owned extensive property near the area where the future King David and his men held camp. David’s presence close to Nabel’s property gave his household security and guarded them from marauders but Nabel, in his arrogance, did not see it that way.

One day David sent messengers to Nabel’s home and politely asked if they could “share any provisions they might have on hand.” Nabel mocked and refused them. He said, “Who is this David.” “Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheep shearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on?” It seemed Nabel thought David was trying to extort ‘protection’ money.

Well, David was powerful, he had fame and some hubris himself, so when David’s servants told him what transpired, he was highly insulted and ready to destroy them all. “Strap on your swords,” he commanded! Four hundred of his men set out. – 1 Samuel 25: 12-13

Abigail’s terrified servants alerted her of the horrible mistake her husband had made. “David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults. Yet these men treated us very well,” they told her. “Do something quickly because big trouble is ahead for our master and all of us. Nobody can talk to him.” – 1 Samuel 25: 14-17

They all feared for their lives. After all, David had slain the giant Goliath! Nabel did not have very good sense. Thank goodness Abigail did. She was clever and quick-thinking and took heroic measures to save her family.

“Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and she had it all loaded on some donkeys. Then she said to her young servants, ‘Go ahead and pave the way for me. I’m right behind you.’ But she said nothing to her husband Nabal.” – 1 Samuel 25: 18-19 MSG”

Meanwhile, as David rode on to seek his revenge, his anger grew. He grumbled, “That sure was a waste, guarding everything this man had out in the wild so that nothing he had was lost—and now he rewards me with insults. A real slap in the face! May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood aren’t dead meat by morning!” – 1 Samuel 25: 20-22 MSG

“As soon as Abigail saw David, she got off her donkey and fell on her knees at his feet, her face to the ground in homage, saying, ‘My master, let me take the blame! Let me speak to you. Listen to what I have to say. Don’t dwell on what that brute Nabal did. He acts out the meaning of his name: Nabal, Fool. Foolishness oozes from him.'” – 1 Samuel 25: 23-25 MSG

Abigail went on the explain that she was not there when David’s men arrived. She reasoned with him and chose her words carefully. She didn’t point out that David would be wrong to take revenge; instead she turned his focus to how God was working in his life and spoke as if God and David had already chosen not to shed blood. By humbly going to David and honoring him, she was able to diffuse the situation. Her wise words and respectful manner towards him were important in saving her entire household from David’s wrath.

Abigail Gives a Blessing

Abagail humbled herself far more than her high social status required. Recognizing David’s anointing, Abigail referred to David as her “master”. “Forgive my presumption,” she said. “But God is at work in my master, developing a rule solid and dependable. My master fights God’s battles! As long as you live no evil will stick to you. If anyone stands in your way, if anyone tries to get you out of the way, Know this: Your God-honored life is tightly bound in the bundle of God-protected life; But the lives of your enemies will be hurled aside as a stone is thrown from a sling. – 1 Samuel 25: 28-29 MSG

Abagail prophecies with these final words, “When God completes all the goodness he has promised my master and sets you up as prince over Israel, my master will not have this dead weight in his heart, the guilt of an avenging murder. And when God has worked things for good for my master, remember me.” – 1 Samuel 25: 30-31 MSG

Abigail Recieves a Blessing

David saw saw beyond Abigail’s beauty and saluted her as a good, smart woman. He thanked God for blessing her with sound judgement and reasoning that kept him from revenge.

“And David said, ‘Blessed be God, the God of Israel. He sent you to meet me! And blessed be your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and taking charge of looking out for me. A close call! As God lives, the God of Israel who kept me from hurting you, if you had not come as quickly as you did, stopping me in my tracks, by morning there would have been nothing left of Nabal but dead meat.’” 1 Samuel 25: 32-34 MSG

David accepted the gifts Abigail brought to him and blessed her with peace and understanding. I can imagine how she must have felt meeting a young, strong, reasonable man like David. He was more of a match to her qualities than Nabel. Could there have been a touch of longing in her heart? Yet, Abigail returned to her husband.

When Abigail arrived home, she found her husband partying and very drunk, she did not speak to him will he was intoxicated. In the morning, when he sobered up, she told him the whole story of their ‘close call’. Right then and there, he had a heart attack. He died about ten days later.

After Nabel’s death, David sent his servants to asked Abigail to marry him. She eagerly accepted and went to him with five of her maids in attendance. Could David’s proposal have been a strategic move? Now doubt, he considered the fact that he was chosen as the future King of Israel. Maybe it was only a gesture of kindness? In the Jewish tradition, Jews were exhorted to be benevolent toward widows. It might be that David was in love, smitten by her wisdom and beauty. Jewish Rabbi’s call her “one of the four most beautiful woman who ever lived.” In any case, Abigail was lovely and I think David was a blessed man!

A peacemaker, Abigail saved lives and kept David from sinning. She took risks to honor God over man. Abigail is known as a woman of faith and David’s wisest wife. Jewish Rabbis depict Abagai as wise and practical with qualities of positiveness and goodness.

I was particularly impressed by the talented artist, Sarah Beth Baca and her interpretation of Abigail. I think her portrait captures the heroine’s beauty and character, and yet still holds a lot of her mystery.

Application

In her ancient world, where women were defined by their husbands, Abagail stands out as an independent thinker, confident in her own skin. I like this story because it points out that, you are allowed to use your common sense in the Christian idea of submission to your husband. Submission is dependent on you husband’s godliness and God’s covering over his actions. Abigail was the one who acted godly, not her husband. You are not required to acquiesce to a husband’s stupidity and rudeness. It’s regretful, that sometimes the Bible is wrongly used to subjugate women.

The Bible contains many things that only apply to the culture of those times, for example, most of the book of Leviticus and some of Paul’s writings on gender and slavery. I consider myself Christian but I do not adopt everything in the Bible literally. Abigail was just one of David’s several wives, he already had a wife when he married her. That wouldn’t be allowed today. I have never found a church or group of Christians that agreed on everything in the Bible or interpreted it the exact same way; nevertheless, this story is rich with good spiritual and practical information for me to apply to my life today.

I bought Sara Beth Baca’s lovely art print and keep it in my office as a reminder of God’s goodness and power in forming our character. The print can be purchased here.

For more feminine biblical inspiration, I recommend the book Woman of the Bible – 52 Stories for Prayer and Reflection by Ann Spangler.

As we continue to seek wisdom, we ask ourselves, “How can I be an ‘Abigail’ in my family and sphere of influence?”

My Prayer

Thank you God, I have a loving, honest and open relationship with my husband. May we build each other up in moral strength. Father continue to strengthen and shape our relationship. Guide me to be a good helpmate to my spouse. God, I ask that you restore marriages that are broken and heal relationships. All things are possible through your love, mercy, grace and goodness.

As women rise in power, may we lead in God’s strength. May we all be blessed with Abigail’s wisdom, bravery, upstanding character and good sense. The world needs this now more than ever.

~ Blessings, Linda

“Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.” – Psalm 119:66

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One Thing Remains

Thankful For Unseen Favor

“God spared my life”, that’s what my daughter, Lindsay told me after she was the victim of a hit a run accident a couple of days ago. A car going about 80 miles an hour side swiped her car. Thank God it hit her front tire instead of her door. A fraction of a second difference in the timing could have made the difference between life and death. Lindsay is fine, but the perpetrator sped away as a piece of his car came flying off into the street.

How many times does God’s angels save us from near disaster and we are unaware?  Probably too many to count and I am thankful for those times. But yet, God allow’s other sad and hurtful things to happen.

This year has had its share of difficulty and it’s ending like the last, with the loss of a loved one. My sister-in-law’s mother, Bernice has left this world. She was a comforting, steady presence in my life. She was there for every family function bringing her wit and wisdom to the table. I will deeply miss her. I remember how happy she looked on her grandson, Jeremy’s wedding day.

Bernice with my nephew, Jeremy and his wife, Helaena on his wedding day

 

Grief Is My Teacher

Grief is becoming my greatest teacher. It has taught me to listen and to be patient and understanding as each person goes through their grieving process so I can be there for them. The loss of a beloved family member guides me to the importance of my changing role in the family as things shift. Like any good teacher, grief gives me the choice to take the path that leads to the highest evolution of my soul or to take the path that leads to a bitter and ruptured soul. Grief opened my eyes to my blessings because without gratitude, I would spiral downward.

Gratitude For What Remains

Grief shook the foundations of my being, but after the sadness washed over me, I turned my focus to the wonderful things in my life. This month, I shared in some big, loving family gatherings and I laughed off things that normally would have irritated me. Being together was comforting and healing.

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Kenzie and her dad

We celebrated my grandniece, Kenzie’s first birthday. Her giggles and joy filled the house that once was mourning, bringing hope of a better tomorrow.

There will always be ups and downs, highs and lows, but one thing I know and believe, one thing remains that will not waver or change. “We love because he first loved us.” ¹ Jesus lived in the love of his Father, God. No matter what happened around him, he trusted Him. In the same way, Jesus Christ gave me the gift of living in his love. His love never fails; it never gives up. ² He was willing to act in my best interest and meet my greatest need, even though it cost him everything and I’m not worthy of such love. I trust him even though I don’t fully understand.

 

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With each renewal of the heart comes the joy of Christ’s love filling our lives. No matter what the New Year brings, I pray you can enjoy simply being, knowing that you are loved.

 

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Happy New Year from The Eichberg’s

 

From our house to yours, Happy New Year. ~ Linda

 

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” – Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
  2. One Thing Remains (Love Never Fails) by: Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Christa Black Gifford – Bethel Music Publishing

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Going Beyond Thanksgiving Into Gratitude and Grace

It was only a month ago, but it seems longer, since I wrote my last blog about walking meditation. It was a pause that refreshed and prepared me for all the hustle of this month.

So far, November has been full of activity and good things. First of all, there was the continuing celebration of my daughters engagement. And now preparations being made for Lindsay and Ben’s wedding day.

Love Is In The Air

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It has been a joy to everyone who knows Lindsay and Ben, to see how their love for each other has grown. The grace God has given them, by drawing good people to them on their journey, has made my heart swell with gratitude.

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Congratulations Ben and Lindsay!

 

The Season of Family and Thanksgiving

This year Thanksgiving fell on the birthday of my mother in law, Shirley. We had a double celebration! At 97 years young she is a delight to be with. Mom often talks about her older friends who are still active. “We have a 106 yer old man here (Laguna Woods) who still golf’s at 106 years old, she told me.

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Nana Shirley with her grandchildren and great grandchild, Riley

 

My sister-in-law, Alison and my niece Erin, hosted the festivities with their usual graciousness and artistic flair! They bring the best of Pinterest and “Martha Stewart Living” together for a fabulous event.

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Erin and Alison and their beautiful Thanksgiving table

I am so grateful to be on the receiving end of their grace and gift for hospitality. Even though I am family, I still look on myself as one who is receiving grace, undeserved favor, not earned. 

 

Giving and Receiving Grace

Grace begins when one person is full and another is empty. One person has and the other has not. “Then grace comes into action as the emptiness of one is filled up by the fullness of the other. What we do not have is supplied by what he has.” ¹

Whether we are giving or receiving grace, it can become sour or boastful when humility is not present. “The notion of “self-made persons” who deserve all the success and wealth they’ve received is simply wrong. Indeed, “deservedness” is the opposite of gratitude, even if it occasionally produces prayers of thanksgiving.” ²

 

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The Greatest Gratitude

Being thankful can often times just be an expression of good manners but real gratitude, received in grace, goes beyond the expression of “thank you” to a feeling of awe and blessedness for God’s goodness through people and circumstances.

Speaking to my youngest brother Al on the phone this week brought this all home in my heart. Al has served as the Director of Worship and Music at Living Rock Bible Church for over 18 years. His beautiful family also serves in leading worship and ministering the grace of God to their church.

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The Alberici family

Al is not only my brother but also my Christian God son. We have a very special connection.

Almost every week Al sings about the most precious grace of God, the debt of our sin that was paid by Jesus Christ. A perfect sacrifice was given, that brought heaven down to earth. The curtain separating us from God was removed, giving us access to our Father God through His Son.

In this pure state of worship, gratitude and grace, my heart becomes full, not with pride or deservedness but with  humility and blessed joy. I am filled with an incredible lightness of being that actually restores me to God and changes me from within. 

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9: 15

From my heart to yours, be blessed, Linda

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5: 1-2

 

Footnotes:

1. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/grace-gratitude-and-the-glory-of-god

2. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marcusborg/2013/11/gratitude-one-of-the-most-important-virtues/#cM0CHR8bcoShA0MX.99

 

© All Rights Reserved

 

 

Writing Therapy

PROCESSING GRIEF

At first the pain was too much. I didn’t want to think or feel. I wanted to be numb and repress my emotions. But strangely, now I am now finding comfort in the opposite. I need to talk about him, write down memories and remember the special moments we had together.

Processing grief is like an ocean, rolling up and down unpredictably. Submerged until you can’t breathe, you’re almost drowning and then you are finally able to come up for air, for hope. My brother-in-law, Umberto, passed away this month after a long battle with cancer.

Writing as Therapy

I know writing and journaling is good therapy for many traumatic situations, so why not for loss and death. Actually, there is science behind writing to help with the grieving process. It doesn’t have to be public writing, like a blog. Any kind of writing has therapeutic power.

Umberto

umberto-young-man_He loved cooking, food and people. As a young man, Umberto studied at a culinary school. His passion landed him in Monte Carlo, working as a waiter at the Hotel de Paris. One day, a friend who was on the personal waitstaff of the Royal Family of Monaco became sick and Umberto was asked to take his place. The Royals enjoyed his service so much they ask for him to be their permanent personal waiter. It’s no wonder, Umberto was loaded with good looks, personality and culinary acumen.

Umberto ended up in Philadelphia where he opened a successful restaurant downtown, The Monte Carlo Living Room. The restaurant received much critical acclaim and was known as one of the top restaurants in Philadelphia.

During this time, he met and married my sister, Alane. Alane was a journalist and an assistant editor of an epicurian food magazine. One of her assignments was to write a story about Umberto and his famous restaurant. That was how they met. It was love a first sight. Together they had two boys, Umberto Jr. and Marco.

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Creativity

Umberto was extremely creative: he liked to design. He built and designed an Italian restaurant in Ardmore that he converted from a bank. He retained parts of the bank to give the restaurant a special flair and used the bank’s vault as a private dining area. He had a huge imagination!

Hospitality

Some of my fondest memories of Umberto was of him managing at his restaurant, Primavera, or entertaining with his family at his home. Sometimes he would personally craft special off the menu dishes for me in the restaurant’s kitchen. He was an artist with food and he aimed to please. I loved the twinkle in his eye when he would beak out a bottle of rare wine from his cellar to share with us. Umberto’s face would beam joyfully as he described the qualities and nuances of the wine. He was more than a fine restaurateur, he had the gift of hospitality.

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What Say You?

Umberto’s favorite family greeting was, “What say you”? It was customarily delivered with a chuckle and a smile. But it was his Italian accent that made the phrase so charming and memorable. Umberto could light up a room!

IL SUO RETAGGIO E’ ANOCORA TRA NOI – His Legacy Is Still With Us

Friends and Family

Always a jovial host, Umberto delighted in gourmet food, fine wine and conversation. He loved to see people having a good time, eating and enjoying each other’s company. My brother-in-law loved his friends and family.

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His son’s Umberto and Marco

We celebrated many family occasions at Ristorante Primavera in Wayne, Pa. It was the spot for making great memories. Alane and Umberto were so gracious about letting the family use their restaurant.

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Our nephew,Dylan’s Christening party at the Primavera

Not too long ago my brothers and sisters and I, esteemed my mother for her 85th birthday at the restaurant. Here I am enjoying a laugh and a hug with Umberto at her birthday party.

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Umberto’s personality was larger than life!

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It was a rare treat when Umberto and Alane joined my husband, Steven and I on vacation in Kauai. Vacations are extremely difficult to plan for busy restaurant owners. They were both dedicated, hard workers.

Though they lived on different coasts Steve always had a special bond and relationship with his brother-in-law. They were close in age, only a few days apart. They were joined at the heart.

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Steve and Umberto at the reunion

The Final Days

This past summer, my mother surprised me and all my siblings by inviting us, along with our families, to Florida for vacation. There were over thirty people at the gathering. It was a great reunion on the beach!

That get-together was the last quality time my family and I spent with Umberto. It was a gift. It wasn’t too long after, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and had to be hospitalized. We did fly back to Philadelphia to see him in the hospital but by then he was a different man.

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My daughter, Lindsay with her uncle Umberto in Florida

Words can’t adequately describe what I feel for Umberto but it is a good feeling when I look back at all the beautiful times we had together. He added so much joy to my life. For that I am grateful. I always have the comfort of knowing that we both belong to Christ and we will be in His loving arms for eternity.

As you hold your loved ones close this holiday season, focus on gratitude.

The Eichberg family wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. All the best for 2017.

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~ Blessings, Linda

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34: 18 NLT

Keeping Your Peace In Tumultuous Times

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Choosing to look forward to a bright future is exactly that, a choice. The world seems a little scary right now. Every day, whether in the news or in our personal lives, we are presented with a multitude of problems and troubles. I yearn to keep this negativity from taking my peace.

“While it may sometimes seem impossible, inner peace is possible despite the emotional influences from world events, media, negative people, and our own judgments.” ¹

Peace is a State of Being.

I am not in denial. There is real evil in the world. Peace does not necessarily mean a world without problems, pain, or persecution.

This latest horror in Nice, France, on July 14, hit close to home because, Nina, the daughter of my good friends, was a couple of blocks away from the violence and she was caught in the stampede of panicked people that followed. Nina Heintz found refuge under a restaurant kitchen sink where she hid for an hour, not knowing if anyone was coming in with a gun. Thankfully she is physically fine but it will take a while for her to heal emotionally and regain her inner peace. “I wish I was more fearless like I use to be, but everyday gets a little better,” Nina said, “… and in the long run it will make me stronger…”

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Finding Peace In Chaos

During a time of crisis strong emotions can overtake us and our very existence may come into question. Taking time to be alone with our thoughts and feelings is a valuable tool to develop a strong foundation of inner tranquility and hope.

I recall the day I drove by San Bernardino, right after the mass shooting on December 2, it was like a war zone. Numerous helicopters flew overhead  and dozens of police and SWAT vans zoomed past me. My heart pounded and my stomach turn with nervousness. The tragic details played over and over for days in the news. It took a while to work through my feelings of confusion and despair.

“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ― Marianne Williamson

Pursuing Peace

Some of my friend take periodic fasts from the news. Turning off the outside world from time to time is important. What helps you feel peaceful? For me it can be: meditating on peaceful thoughts, a walk in nature, yoga breathing, prayer, a day by the ocean or sometimes just time to rest and enjoy a book or a movie. Taking care of ourselves goes a long way to maintaining a calm state of mind. Self-care can easily be intertwined into our daily routine.

Creating A Peaceful Mind

Keeping our thoughts on happy memories and taking into account all the the wonderful things we are grateful about will also help us keep a hopeful attitude. Remove thoughts of “need,” “must” and “have to” from your life. These words communicate life-and-death direness that probably doesn’t exist and robs us of happiness and peace. ²

“An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too.” – Dalai Lama

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Preserving A Peaceful Heart

Doing kind deeds or supporting others who are doing a good service, helps me to maintain a feeling that the world is becoming a more peaceful, loving place. Just looking at this photo of my grand-niece, Riley, and this New York policeman as she shares her plush unicorn, named Uni, and he shares his police cap, gives me a nice, serene feeling.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” – Proverbs 14:30

Positive Outreach – “To Protect and Serve Ice Cream”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police department bought an ice cream truck dubbed, Operation Polar Cops . The police men and women hope their ice cream truck and free ice cream will help kids see them as positive role models and develop a better relationship with the community they protect and serve. Surely, it couldn’t hurt! The idea spread from the Boston Police Department; they also have their own ice cream truck.

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St. Louis Police hand out ice cream

Using our creativity in a peaceful and harmonious way can give us empowerment when we face injustice and feel like the moral compass of the world is spinning out of control.

First keep peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.” – Thomas a’ Kempis

My friend Theresa Bishop Miller created this graphic as a creative contribution toward unity and understanding and to move her own consciousness and purpose in a positive direction after a string of senseless killings throughout America.

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This photo is a reminder of our potential together as fellow human beings.

We need to do whatever we can to spread love, dismantle hate and become the people we aspire to be as a nation.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

 

Peace That Transcends Understanding

The world’s peace depends on having favorable circumstances: if things are going well, then we feel peaceful; when things go awry, the peace quickly dissipates. Jesus made the distinction between His peace and the world’s vacillating peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). ³

Christ’s peace has to do with having a right relationship with God, reconciled through his love and sacrifice. 

My faith is tantamount to why and how I can maintain peace in my heart. I know God is pure goodness. His goodness in the face of the atrocities that exist in the world are beyond my understanding but I know God is Sovereign above all, and desires that I come to Him with childlike trust and rest in His compassionate presence. Yes, I receive His supernatural comfort, protection and peace.

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” – John Wooden

The bible reminds us to: “pursue”, “seek”, “promote”, “search” or “run after” peace (Psalm 34:14). I’m not trying to add work or pressure to your life; quite simply, peace can be promoted with something a easy as a smile or a prayer. In Christ we are free! Jesus paid it all. So, be grateful, lighten up, rejoice, have a little ice cream and laugh a lot. It’s good medicine!

With a grateful and peaceful heart, Linda

~~~~~

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

References:

1. Quote from – Sandra Lee Schubert, an interfaith minister. http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/2008/10/9-ways-to-find-peace-amid-chaos.aspx?p=2

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-purpose/201309/lighten-and-laugh

3. http://www.gotquestions.org/peace-that-passes-all-understanding.html

© All rights reserved

 

The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

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Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

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Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

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Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

wildflowers-purple-California

Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

Linda-Mom_

May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

~~~~~~~

© All rights reserved

Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html

Year of God’s Abundance

This has been a challenging, perplexing and emotionally painful year for me and for many of us; all the more reason to hold on to the hope of God’s faithful promises.

Recently, I had a big scare about a mysterious medical problem my husband was going through. It has been resolved, but in the midst of the crisis, I was on an emotional roller coaster riding the turns between processing grief and standing strong; moving up and down between fear and courage. A very tumultuous ride to say the least. I leaned on friends, my faith and sought counseling. Relief came when I released my white knuckled grip and rode with my hands raised up to God. 

Letting Go

The human psyche is delicate and complicated. Our flesh and God’s Spirit are at odds with one another.¹ This could be the subject of a lifetime of blogs but, right now, I will stick to this one simple thing. Whatever difficulties you are going through, my prayer is that meditating on these promises of God will comfort you as they have me and help bring you into healing, restoration, transformation and joy. 

As we let go of the old and embrace the new, I wish this New Year to be an exceedingly abundant year of grace for you, beyond your wildest dreams.

Ephesians 3-20

Praying the Promises of God

Abundance
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” – Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

Purpose
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” – Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

Comfort
“The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34: 18

Favor
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” – Psalm 84:11

Guidance
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” – Psalm 32:8

Compassion
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:2-5

Righteousness
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” – Proverbs 4:18

1 John 1-9

Forgiveness
“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Endurance
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Healing
“Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14

Restoration
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah – 44:22

Fellowship
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7

Meditation
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

Harmony
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

John 14-27

Peace
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

Safety
“For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” – Proverbs 1:32-33

Provision
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Courage
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Judgment
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” – Romans 14:1-4

Priorities
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

Assurance
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” – Romans 8:38 (NLT)

Hebrews 10-23

Hope
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

Understanding
“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12

Prayer
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1

Goodness
“The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” – Psalm 145:9

Acceptance
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7

Health
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:7-8

God’s Kingdom
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” – Romans 14:17-18

Psalm 27-1

Strength
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1 (KJV)

Mercy
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” – Ephesians 2:4

Purification
“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.” – Jeremiah 33:8

Reconciliation
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

Gratitude
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

Faith
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2

Truth
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

1 John 4-19

Love
“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Kindness
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” – Galatians 1:7-8 (NLT)

Freedom
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” – Romans 6:14 (NLT)

Wisdom
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17 (ESV)

Thoughts
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” – Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

Victory
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57

Transformation
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

Direction
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NKJV)

Desire
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

Power
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

Grace
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

God’s Children
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

Thanksgiving
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

Perseverance
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

Romans 15-13

Joy
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Self-worth
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14

Trust
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” – Psalm 28:7

Redemption
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:24 (ESV)

Deliverance
“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.” – Jude 1:24

Salvation
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

Eternal Life
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

God is with us; God is for us. May these words live forever in our hearts! From our house to yours have a Happy New Year filled with the blessings of God’s promises.

Eichberg Family Christmas

Be kind to yourself. 

With love, Linda

 

References: Bible verses are from The Holy Bible NIV, unless otherwise stated.

  1. http://ptl2010.com/2011/02/03/where-is-my-miracle/

© All rights reserved

“War Room” – Approaching the Throne of Grace

We have a Father in heaven who loves us, a Father we can go to for help when we need it most, a Father we can talk to any time of the day or night.

throne-of-grace-Hebrews-4-16-copyright-Linda-Eichberg

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

This bible verse came alive in a movie I saw last week with a group of friends. In the film “War Room”, the main characters walk through life as if God is some distant relative with whom they have lost contact because he lives too far away. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan seem to be living the dream but we soon find out they have a strained marriage. They have lost connection with God and each other. Then, their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets Miss Clara and is challenged to make a battle plan of prayer for her marriage and her family.

“War Room” is much more than a movie about the power of prayer. It’s full of biblical themes that we can reflect and chew on for a long time.

war-room-poster

Victories Don’t Come by Accident.

In the film, Elizabeth feels hopeless. Her inner warfare is so intense, she has to actually cry out to the Lord and verbally rebuke the devil. There most certainly was a spiritual battle and until Elizabeth applied the tools Miss Clara gave her, she was losing the battle.

You Have a Spiritual Inheritance. Pass it on.

Raised a Christian, I grew up knowing I was saved by grace and the precious blood of Jesus but it wasn’t until I was in my forties that I fully understood God had a spiritual inheritance for me and my family.

“You see, you can have the experience of salvation and receive a new heart, but still miss the experience of walking into your spiritual destiny—your spiritual inheritance—the portion that is to be implanted in your new heart.” – J. Bynum ¹

It was through the Holy Spirit’s revelation and walking with God that I received what He had for me. I had to learn to use spiritual weapons to fight for it as Elizabeth did in the movie.

war-room-2015

Mercy and Grace

“War Room” also addresses the challenges men and women face after they confess their wrongs and make a move toward God in repentance. Tony has to decide if he will make amends to his family and his company. Through his journey to restitution and reconciliation, he finds the power of God and the destiny God has uniquely planned for him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

In response to prayer, faith and obedience, God poured out His mercy on the quagmire Tony created in his life. I left the movie with a fresh appreciation for God’s abundant mercy. If it wasn’t for God’s forgiveness and mercy, none of us would stand a chance. 

“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”  – Luke 6:36

“War Room”, written by brothers, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, is full of biblical truths nicely woven into a good, believable story. 

At the start of the film this scripture fills the big screen:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:1  

By the end of the movie my friends and I understood this passage in a fresh new way. “War Room”, appropriately exhibits how we can apply this scripture to our lives and receive the grace we need to live His Word and to protect our families.

I highly recommend this movie from Sony Pictures!

With much love and gratitude, Linda

Footnote:

  1. “My Spiritual Inheritance” (a book about walking in your destiny) by Juanita Bynum

The Rock Eternal

Image

Linda-Alberici-Eichberg-Point-Dume

I blend my body with the strength of the mountains.

I blend my mind with the expanse of the open skies.

I blend my spirit with the majesty of God’s creation.

– Linda Eichberg

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord himself, is the rock eternal.” – Isaiah 26:4

Creating the Warrior Spirit

We-Are-His-Workmanship-Created-In-Christ-Jesus_dreamstime_s_39734135

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

I am continually amazed at the gifts God gives us, the variety and the beauty! Some are subtle, almost unseen but still so necessary; while others are obvious, prominently displayed in the forefront. All receive equal honor because the Master’s hand created them.

God – The Giver of All Gifts

When I work in my job as a yoga and Pilates teacher, I remember my faith and that God can use me for healing and health-giving purposes. Since I am very flexible, I have to keep in mind that I can push my students too far. It’s a delicate balance between healing and harming.

linda-eichberg-warrior-1-yoga_

Warrior 1 opens the heart with hands reaching towards heaven and feet grounded on a firm foundation.

I don’t always get it right, but looking up to God, the giver of all gifts, I have hope and motivation because I know I am His craftsmanship he is not finished with me yet. He is still carving, shaping and polishing to create something special for His grand design and His plan for my life.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8

I am grateful for God’s patience and guidance. I know He will take me exactly where I need to be. Wherever I am, I have the opportunity at all times, to do good works and reflect God’s love.

Warrior-3-Linda-Eichberg-yoga

Warrior 3 (or Balancing Stick pose) requires balance, strength, grace and mental focus. 

 

Warrior of the Lord

This week I had the chance to see a very unusual and remarkable creation, a God breathed sculpture carved from a 2,000-year-old redwood stump.

warrior-of-the-lord

The “Warrior of the Lord” is a dramatic 7-foot-tall carving and has an impressive 9 foot wing-span. With his wings spread and his cloak is flowing. The majestic archangel stands ready to take on his fight against evil.

warrior-of-the-Lord-SafonovThis beautiful piece of art carved by Alexandre Safonov, stands in front of an antique store in mountains of Agoura Hills. The artist’s creation was inspired by the Holy Spirit. “I feel the Holy Spirit”, Safonov said. “I put the energy of God into this piece.” ¹ Alexandre prayed every time he started work on his masterpiece.

“This is a warrior; he represents God and the word of God.” – Alexandre Safonov

His eyes seem to be looking up in adoration to God.

The Armor of God

When I saw the statue, I immediately thought of several scriptures, particularly Ephesians 6:10-18, about spiritual warfare and putting on the ‘Armor of God’. ²

alexandre-safonov-warrior-of-the-lordThe archangel’s “Sword of the Spirit” carries a ‘B’ to represent the Bible, the word of God. His “Belt of Truth” bares the cross of Jesus and his massive “Shield of Faith” is emblazoned with the initials of Jesus Christ, ‘JC’.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. – Ephesians 6: 10-12

steven-eichberg_

Warrior Fathers – Men of Honor

Happy Fathers Day to all the men who are warriors for their families and especially to my husband, Steven, who is an amazing and supportive dad to our daughter and devoted to his family. He is a warrior for our family each and every day. We are blessed and I continually thank God.

Many blessings,

Linda

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Footnotes:

1. http://www.theacorn.com/news/2015-06-11/Community/Woodcarver_uses_faith_talent_in_work_of_a_lifetime.html

2. Ephesians 6:10-18 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6%3A+10-18&version=NIV

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