Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Importance of the number 40 in Transformation...Seeking the Promise Land

As the start of Lent season, I am pondering the idea of the 40 days before Easter and the significance of the number 40 in personal revelation and transformation.  In scripture the Israelites wondered in the desert for 40years before they made it to the promise land.  Although they were on the borderline they didn't see the promised land due to their grumbling, attitude, and lack of obedience to the Lord's commands.  Jesus was also lead to the desert by the holy spirit after the baptism in order to be tempted by the devil.  The number 40 also is significant in my own personal life as a symbol of my salvation.  I wandered spiritually in the desert for almost 40yrs. spiritually thirsty, never satisfied and never quenched.  I did have the desire to grow spiritually closer to God and the truth, however, I was self-seeking through self help books, relying on my own strength, and seeking a mystical spiritual experience that God really exists.  I didn't pray in the spirit of truth and didn't have the right worship in order to see the truth.  I was blinded by my pride, sins of delusion of the real truth, separated from my savior.  In my 40th year of life, God's grace arranged for my salvation in perfect timing, using a stranger on a plane, who was obedient to the holy spirits prompting. I was 39yrs. old about to turn 40 in less than 5months.  God was setting up the stage for my transformation using importance of time, using a stranger, and had created a desire for the transformation to take place. He was also going to use the experience to show me my purpose.   I was 2,000miles from home in California at a fitness convention.  I left with the expectation that something significant was going to happen.  I was going to learn new information that I could help my clients transform their lives with a better way, a new program, or new nutrition plan that would create a lifestyle change that would lead to a greater transformation that would last.  Again I was looking for new ideas, programs through external means to change people visibility on the outside.  However, God was going to answer me in a way that was going to not only transform me, but also give me a new understanding of my purpose.  I was on the edge of the promise land standing in a wilderness where I had been wondering blind with no direction.  Making decisions through my self effort, never spiritually satisfied, full of doubt about scripture, church, and who Jesus was. You see I thought there were many paths that lead to God.  I was exploring every path which always seem to lead to a dead end circle filled with more uncertainty, more thirst, more destruction. I was taking  different paths through studying different religions, philosophies trying to create my own religion by trial and error.  I was seeking something  that I could believe in, something that I could take what I thought was true from each religion and create my own. I doubted the bible because I thought it was written by humans and their own ideas and agendas, I thought most Christians were narrow-minded, I told myself I would never join a church and have others dictate what I should believe.  I thought people who were religious were brain-washed and dangerous and created more problems in the world with their fundamental beliefs.  I believed people were born good and were made bad by world experiences.  I believed in the golden rule,  I believed in mystical experiences and that we are spiritual creations.  However never really understanding the Bible's truth, I was seeking a real, mystical experience and was drawn towards mystical teachings for over 20yrs. I was seeking peace for my soul, wisdom and understanding of why I am here.  Eastern ideas, philosophies, medicine, religions intrigued me.  Spiritual disciplines like mediation,  yoga, energy healing, psychic readings, self-help, and new age beliefs began taking hold of me.  What started as a harmless practice and gave me initially peace..began to unravel and separate me more from my savior and understanding of who the true God is. I truly thought I was on the right path until my encounter with a stranger, with the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and my Father who was calling me from the desert.  I was the Samaritan gentile women at the well, seeking water, I was the doubting Thomas seeking spiritual proof, I was  mentally persecuting Christians like Paul, I was the traitor of Jesus like Judas, I denied Jesus and had little faith as Peter did when put under scrutiny, I was a wandering Israelite in the wilderness for almost 40yrs. stuck  with self-limited beliefs.

On a Plane heading home from a trip that didn't seem to offer  what I was looking for, which was a transformation program, a pathway to wholeness that I could teach.  I grumbled that a stranger beside me wanted to make conversation.  He was a pleasant, outgoing fellow that struck up a conversation that lasted most of the plane trip.  We were talking about fitness, and he was sharing his workout story about how he became obsessed with working out at one point in his life.  Conversation was going well talking about fitness until the conversation changed abruptly about half-way into our trip home.  He left to go to the restroom and came back with a total different demeanor and intention.  He sat down and looked at me and ask me " Do you believe in Jesus as your Savior?"  I was completely caught off guard, and immediately felt I stabbing sensation in my heart.  I thought great a Jesus freak, we were about to have a religion conversation.  I remember not knowing how to answer his question, because at that moment I had a crisis of belief.  I didn't know how to explain what I believed all I thought was I was going to tell him I a spiritual but don't really affiliate with a certain organized religious belief.  I was explaining to him my thoughts and he was open to listen however, he explained what he believed  with  strong conviction that was supported in the bible. Mine were just my beliefs supported by just Me!  He answered questions that I had and showed me where I could find the answers I was seeking.  I felt my heart open and my mind opened to what he was saying.  His confidence and boldness of what he believed was something I was longing for.  As the plane landed, he asked if we could pray together a prayer for the desire to seek truth in Jesus as my Lord and savior, and that I would find a church where I would grow closer to God. 

Search for Jesus, Church, and Salvation.....

It was a supernatural prayer because it gave me desire and passion to understand the bible and find a church that could teach me more about Jesus.  After visiting a few churches,  God convicted me through sinners prayer that I can trust Him and to believe and he would Transform me and wipe away my doubt and that  I was to be baptized by Easter and to prepare myself through complete surrender. 
I was baptized Easter Sunday  April 2011 and joined the church.  My family shocked with this change in me agreed to go with me on Easter.  I had never attended church with my family, except when I was under 6yrs. old, and when I attended Christian school 1st-2nd grade, and a new age church called Unity..which supported many paths to God and that didn't teach from the bible, that my husband and I attended for a while.

Coming out of the water with a new spirit my life was changed.. this started my True Transformation experience with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  From that day forward I felt convicted of all the sin's I had made excuses for in my life.  Some terrible experiences in my past were brought to life, memories that were buried were exposed.  I fell on my knees daily in prayers with tears  asking for forgiveness, surrender, joy, passion to grow closer.  I surrounded myself consistently with scripture, talking with Jesus, going to church, going to bible studies, and listening to Christian music only in my car and at home.  I saw truth in scripture and was given a strong faith, belief and disguise in my old beliefs and ways.  I truly repented and turned in a new direction in life, one that didn't rely on my understanding, or self-reliance anymore.  I surrendered and obeyed each day with what God wanted me to do even if I didn't want to.  He was pushing me outside my comfort zone and I was doing all the things I said I wouldn't do before Christ. 

It is Lent season, 40 days before Easter and I am reminded of where I have traveled, the sacrifice Jesus made for me, the suffering that lead to his crucifixion, the 39 slashes on His back as the 39years I lived in sin.  How if I didn't accept His Grace, salvation on that plane ride that I risked the rest of my life in eternal damnation of never knowing Truth in Him.  There was a crisis of belief that day just like the Israelites that year that they made a choice not to trust God and didn't see the land Promised to them.  That the number 40 is a Spiritual Transformational number, where we stand on the edge of a new path and direction.  Where if we practice 40 days of spiritual disciplines we can reinforce a new behavior.  21 days to establish a habit but 40 days to undergo trials and testing of the new discipline or habit.  We are faced with choices moment by moment.  Choices that will change the course of our life.  Some choices lead to a pathway towards wholeness and others to destruction.  Where are you on your path or journey?  The bible supports that anything worth fighting for requires discipline, perseverance, surrender, and trust in Him. 

God has showed me that if I truly want to help more people transform their outside appearance that it starts with the inside.  No exercise program, diet, or self help book will lead to lasting transformation.  That he will equip me with by using my gifts and talents in the field of health and fitness to witness to others my transformation and  to use it as a platform to facilitate the sanctification process of leading people  down a pathway to wholeness.  To  light up the dark path and be a vehicle for Him to Transform others through programs that help people grow closer to God. To glorify God through taking care of the Temple.  Renewal of the Mind, Body and Spirit to awaking the power of the Trinity in their life.  Live Extraordinary Life through the Holy Spirits Prompting us towards our common Goal.

I will be  starting  a new 11 week  bible study Pathway to Wholeness  to help with this mission in the months to come. Here is some info. about it.  I have recently completed the Faith and Health Ambassador course for teaching this course.

  I would encourage you over the next 40 days during lent to find a bad habit that you would like to replace with a good habit and submit your goal to God for 40 days and use this time to be in prayer and grow closer to God.  

" So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,  do it all for the glory of God". 1 Cor 10:31

May you all have a blessed day!

Here is a link to a program I am currently doing for lent called 21 Day Brain Detox,  by Dr. Caroline Leaf -overcoming  toxic thoughts- stress through a biblical approach.