Adjusting your stride…

 

Bert trail race

It’s been close to a year now; the day I laid down everything.

I was running pretty much a full on marathon pace. I was set, focused and steady. My breathing was good and my head was clear.  I had set my sights on the long haul, when out of the blue I was sidelined.

I didn’t see it coming. I felt good, strong and comfortable. Every stride was perfect, I felt like a machine ready to tackle this race.

Of course there were stones that were scattered and thrown. Twisted roots in the dirt rising to make me stumble. You know,  those things that are meant for harm, yet are waved off and roll right off your back.  I felt like a million bucks.

I knew how to run this race and I was good, or so I thought, at adjusting my stride.

But apparently this time I failed. I kept running head on and I failed to adjust my stride and found myself lying on the sidelines…gasping for air.

This- was totally new.  There was only one other time I remembered sitting on the sideline trying to catch my breath and pick myself up to finish the race…One. I had consistently trained…daily. But that was not enough; or at least that was my thought.

Maybe it was me.  Maybe I was not enough. It’s amazing what begins to sweep through your mind to find a home.

What takes place when you believe you are not enough? What happens when you’ve trained and pushed and did everything exactly by the Book, yet something still tears. What happens when you fall out of the race because you failed to adjust your stride?

What happens when others wonder about you…about the deep down you that loves Jesus…what happens to the mind, soul and spirit?

A crisis of faith, that is what happens. And it is not so much a crisis against God, it is a crisis against yourself. Suddenly, you no longer believe you know Him. Suddenly you question your ears and your heart; you wonder if you ever heard Him.  You wonder if what you and He had was really a relationship….maybe it was all a fake. Maybe you are a fake…

And then, there is no stride to be adjusted…you are sidelined.

So there you sit on the perimeter of the track and you lay everything down. EVERYTHING.

You lay down your church, your bible, your devotions, your prayers; you lay down your faith.  You put it away to try to find what is real. And finding what is real means you have to get off the sidelines.  Real is never found on the perimeter.

But first, you must sit under the broom tree for a while. You must question the One who probably sidelined you. You must complain and remove yourself from the mainstream for there is no one left…you thought you were on the right track, but that asphalt digs deep in your skin when you fail to adjust your stride; when you are running a blind race.

One year later, yes one… you get up.  You pray. You read. You test your heart. You test your head. You see if your ears can hear.

And then, if you feel safe…if the road is clear… you begin to walk.

Not run, walk.

For if you are going to get back in the race, you cannot run blind as you used to. You know to be very mindful, informed, and wise, if you are going to run this thing. You learn to be acutely aware of the other runners; the proximity to you, will they make you stumble, will they leave you behind because all they want is to get ahead of you…or will they adjust their stride too?  Will they run with you?

You learn to listen to the sound of your footfall on the pavement. Does it sound right…does the clap of your shoe sound harsh or does it sound light? You focus on your breathing…is it too fast and shallow, or are you steady, sure, and rhythmic; breathing in time with your stride?  You become alerted to your arm swing.  Are they loose and not tight? Are your hands unclenched?  Are they held close to your body, or are they flailing in haphazard motion causing more harm than good?

We are called to run the race; our own race not someone else’s. We are called to run with our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors.  We are called to be an encourager and not a stumbling block.  We are called to be humble and not proud.  We are called to give drink to those thirsty. We are called to stay in the race and persevere to the end. We are called not to lose hope or faith.

And sometimes, we are called to lay everything down, and to search out what to pick up again. We are called to weed out the tares in our own life and faith, search the scriptures and call out to the One who knows our name and our inmost being. We are to be ready in season and out of season…

And we are called to play by the rules…to run as if only one will receive the crown.

We are called to adjust our stride so we may finish the race marked out for us, so when that Day comes, we may hear…

Well done…

And The Heart Swells…

carry me scriptureA few years ago, I became a grandmother. gasp! Could it be…how could it be? I surely was not near old enough! But I was…

So in all of the excitement and expectation of becoming a grandmother for the first time, one of the most distressing parts was name picking. And not for the baby, for me…what in the world was I to be called? My mother was already Nana, so that was out. I simply refused the word…grandma; in fact, I couldn’t even get that to roll off my tongue.

My daughter would choose my name…

It was to be Bebe.  It was a good name. It held class, and would be simple to say.  And there were no Bebe’s in the family. So Bebe it would be.  And it was so; until he began to speak, or utter, or just make noise.

At some point, he refused.

“Bubba”!

“What? No, Bebe”…

“Bubba”!

So unashamed, I am Bubba.  I take the name quite seriously. It holds clout. It holds love. It holds faithfulness. And, somehow, without doubt, there is a steadiness in the name, Bubba. In fact…

It makes my heart swell.

It was a very hot afternoon, and my daughter and I arrived at a sporting goods store. My grandson was three…  I lean in to get him out of the car and he grabs on. We are ready to take our first step, when I hear this; “he can walk”…  but he holds tight.  Then, as all good momma’s do, she says again with love and kindness, “Mom, he is a big boy and he can walk”…

He holds tighter; and quite frankly, so do I. :)

I responded in the typical grandparent way; “I know he can, but I want to carry him”.

It was at that moment he looked at me and I said this promise, “I will carry you til you are thirty-five”…

We smiled and treasured those things in our hearts…

Today, he is almost six, and being almost six is big stuff. Hugs are still allowed, but no kisses. And little did I know, I would be held to that promise.

Do I carry him? Why, yes…if he lets me. But only to the car. He is almost six you know.

But to let you in on a small secret, that valuable moment between Bubba and grandson three years ago, has turned into a private treasure.

“Bubba, will you carry me,…you said you’d carry me til I was fifty…Bubba, will you carry me…you said you’d carry me til I was sixty-five.  Bubba, will you carry me…you said you’d carry me til I was ninety-eight…”

Each time I’m asked, the age of carrying increases by at least fifteen years!  I always respond with a wild, “Do you know how old I’ll be when you are sixty-five! Do you know how old I’ll be when you are ninety – eight!  He always smiles, and remarks…”You said you would”.

It makes my heart swell…

I love being held to my promises.

The transition from parenting to grand parenting is a marvelous thing. It is, without a doubt Divine.  There is a love that takes place which is indescribable.  Suddenly, you find the ease of it all. For instance, jumping on the couch is always acceptable, as are handprints on windows and stainless steel refrigerators.  Your “good things” being used as weapons and targets… and of course, there is always dessert first.  You simply find the simplicity of life, the lessened value of material things, and of course, a love that overrides all things…

This reminds me of Someone.  It reminds me of words and promises.  It reminds me of faithfulness and steadiness…It reminds me of Jesus…things that He said He would do; promises He said He would keep…

Jesus said He would carry us.  Jesus said He would carry our sins and diseases. He said He would never leave us or forsake us? He said there is a love that covers a multitude of sins. Jesus not only said He would lay down His life to save us, He did. He loves being held to His promises.

All through my younger years parenting, I heard it preached from the pulpit, and I read it in my Bible.  Did I believe it? I did.  I did as much as I could. But to try to understand that kind of love was daunting, and it was too deep and big and wide and far above my understanding. My heart was too young and weak to know it and experience it. I could only recite what I read, not my experience.

Today is a different story. My story and recitation are now one from experience.  I understand that love as much as any human on earth is able.  Why?

Grand children.  They make your heart swell with a river, no an ocean of love that is daunting, deep, big and wide; far above what you considered humanly possible.

But not only do I understand, I believe.  I do not doubt there is a love that covers a multitude of sins.  There is One who will never leave me nor forsake me. There is One who keeps His promises. There is One who loves me for me, and there is One who will carry me until I am ninety-eight and beyond…

That my friends, makes my heart swell… 

“Listen to me, O’ house of Jacob, all of you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you”. Isaiah 46: 3-4

Feel carried today… 

Will you give me a drink…?

kissingthedust:

Changing it up a bit…

Originally posted on kissingthedust:

rubberboots With this question, the table was set for the outcast.  She was taken off her guard. For we know she was always on guard. She had only a tiny piece of herself left; she knew it, at least she hoped for it. Maybe it was only a molecule, but it was all she had left and she must guard it with her life.

It was  stunning moment…

“Will you give me a drink”?

This coming from the One who said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink”…

With those few words, the table was turned and set for another; the outcast.

The Woman at the Well.

You’ve heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?

She could be a byproduct of today’s generation.  Married several times. Living with someone who was not her husband. Maybe she had children; maybe they remained…

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Will you give me a drink…?

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rubberboots With this question, the table was set for the outcast.  She was taken off her guard. For we know she was always on guard. She had only a tiny piece of herself left; she knew it, at least she hoped for it. Maybe it was only a molecule, but it was all she had left and she must guard it with her life.

It was  stunning moment…

“Will you give me a drink”?

This coming from the One who said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink”…

With those few words, the table was turned and set for another; the outcast.

The Woman at the Well.

You’ve heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?

She could be a byproduct of today’s generation.  Married several times. Living with someone who was not her husband. Maybe she had children; maybe they remained nameless and unclaimed. She was a broken woman, trying to be everything to everybody or maybe everything to just anybody…

She was a woman stuck in a circle of need.  Isn’t it obvious. Clamoring for love, affection, and attention, she did what she could to gain it.  She gave herself. It didn’t matter anymore.

Love.  Affection.  Attention.

These three words hold power and drive us to do whatever it is to gain it. They are almost our basic needs…

Like water…

“Will you give me a drink”…?

We will give, and give, and give until we are used up and dry.  We become an empty shell that sand begins to wash away with time, until there is no more “me”, or if we are lucky as her…a tiny molecule may remain, but buried deep within a guarded heart.

A cracked and empty cistern.  We become cracked, broken, and empty. Everything inside of us leaks out, rendering us useless to hold anything within. We hold on to each and every act of attention and try to fill our cracked vessel with useless words.

Then we find one day, we are like the Samaritan woman; an outcast. Everything about her appears useless. Five men didn’t want her and the sixth didn’t want to marry her. So, she walked daily to the well…

Was she hoping for something?  Or was it a mundane act that was required; that daily trip to the well?  Was she just doing what she was told, or was she secretly hoping that one day she would find what she needed; or what needed her.  Was she hoping to find herself again at the well, or hoping she would be found?  Was she hoping that one day, someone, or Someone would give her a drink?

Outcasts…we are all alike. No one wants to fool with us too long; we may require something; like a drink…

But then comes the day we trek to our well and someone new is there. And right off, we know we should not be associating. Why? He’s The Man, and we are the outcast. The Man does not associate with outcasts.  We tuck our heads beneath fear and dare not look. Not at The Man.

Then, suddenly He asks us…“Will you give me a drink”?

And we dare not look into the eyes of The Man, but answer…”How can you ask me for a drink? You are The Man, and I am the outcast”. You must not speak to me.  I am lowly, and You are too lofty for me to attain.

The Man, with great love and affection, gives us attention and says, “If you knew who it was that asks you, you would have asked him for a drink and he would have given you more.  The water I have wells up into a spring of eternal life”…

Jesus…The Man…Giver of life…Giver of love, affection and attention…

He binds the brokenhearted and molds us as clay and fills the cracks in our cistern. Our shell becomes washed with living water and our molecule begins to resemble something as a pearl.

All of this from The Man who sits and waits…and asks…

“Will you give me a drink”?

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”; John 7:37-38 NIV 

Oh dear outcast…won’t you come and drink?…

Repairing Tears and The Little Things…

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broken-heartIt was over a year ago, but some days it still feels fresh. I won’t lie, there are days when it still stings.  And there are days that I remain dumbfounded; but not ungrateful…

In view of the fact that it was all planned, how could I be?

At 11 o’clock, that cold, cold morning, I sustained a tear in my wineskin.

At first, I was shocked. It came from out of the blue and from someone quite unexpected. I can say this much; what transpired was not a rude awakening, but an eye opening experience that would yet have a full disclosure.

Allow me to explain.

Last Sunday, my husband and I went out for lunch.  We entered a popular restaurant and the “church crowd” had hit full force. People were bulldozing their way to the hostess stand, while others were grabbing vacated seats before they had a chance to turn cold.  You could cut the exasperation of those present, with a knife.  I more than noticed the tone of voice used by those receiving their beepers.  It was persistent and exceedingly demanding.  A very weighty question had been asked; “how long will I have to wait” they chimed in irritable unison…

The “church crowd” was ill-tempered, grouchy, and annoyed.

Waiting your turn is hard.

To all of this, I heard the hostess’ remark to her assistant:

“Yes, this is our church crowd”.

Oh, the little things we do…

What a fine example we set for others. What great servanthood we bring to the public arena.  Our humility, quite frankly,  is unmatched.

Our love goes undetected.  Our sincere compassion for those holding babies or parenting the toddler, is dismal at best.  That Sunday noon, it appeared that it never crossed anyone’s mind that someone else may need the chair.  Someone else may need to sit, perhaps for the first time that morning. But instead, those chairs went to no one but the “church crowd”.

This is what the public sees…

and…

This is what we are called;  a self-centered arrogant people.

It’s in the language we use daily.  Words and self-appointed titles such as, “revelation, intercessor, apostle, prophet, spiritual papa…”

Or a catch phrase as in; “fueling our intercession”.

Then there is the idea of contending and creating cultures and environments. We “contend” for everything and create cultures of fasting, honor, and prayer, all the while leavening the environment around us.

Then there are the acronyms; F.R.O.G. P.U.S.H. W.W.J.D.

Please don’t forget the bracelets and the t-shirts…they speak our beliefs, while buffering our less than christian actions.

Now before you comment and defend your position in all of this christian language and theatrics, you must know this, I get it. I really do.

But I don’t like it.

I think it mostly creates cultures of religious cliques and spiritual clichés.

It makes me separate myself and shy away from these spiritual word toting, and attitude holding people.

You see, I can say all of this because I’ve been there and done that, and I did it a lot. I ran after it. It was important to me. It was my religion. It made me look and feel really spiritual. It gave me security in my knowledge of God. I looked good for the public.  And when I was asked to speak or teach, I was ready.

I could wow the people.

With my words, my prayers, my titles, and my catch phrases…people would sit in awe…and then, the compliments would flow…

“Oh my, I’ve never heard that before”! “I want to have a relationship with Jesus just like yours”…”I could sit and listen to you for hours”…

I thought I was in the right place with Jesus. I thought I was exactly where I was supposed to be…

And I was; but for a totally different reason.

Hence, the tear. Hence, the little things...

Jesus needed a new wineskin. He needed to mend my garment.

It was the tear that brought sight to the eyes of my heart.

And then I saw, the little things

It’s the little things, like how we stand in line. The “church crowd” at the restaurant believed they were owed something since they were christians…after all, they did just sit through an hour service, lifted their hands during worship, and hit up the altar with a prayer request. That takes a lot out of you, people. It really does…all those theatrics…and choosing the right words, and fitting into the right culture…it’s mind boggling how hard it is to wear a spiritual yoke of “Saved”.

It’s the little things, like devotions.  It’s hard to wait steadily on your feet in a line for food. After all, you just gave the biggest revelation and word of knowledge the church had heard in the last six months.  People fell all over you, and the floor as you handed out spiritual food this morning. Forget devotions; those are just the crumbs…get to the meat of the matter please, and don’t waste my time. I’ve got some glory to glory to do.

It’s the little things like personal prayer time. Geez people, I need that chair! I’m an intercessor.  I’ve been standing on the street corner praying the biggest spiritual words one can imagine all the while fasting for twenty – one days…I’m hungry and tired dang it! Personal prayer time…people need to hear what I have to pray. Who knows; I may get another follower.

So, here I am.

I am done.

I’m tired, hungry, thirsty, brainmushed, humbled, and tongue-tied in a very small circle of people…

But…

I am stitched up and ready to go…do the Little Things

*written with a tender heart…

 

Cracks In The Door…

Antique door“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made”, Genesis 3:1

To get a deeper understanding and a much needed appreciation of the situation in Genesis chapter three, we must not neglect this scripture.  It is pivotal to our understanding our enemy as he remains at large today…seeking to kill, seeking to destroy; seeking to devour…

This scripture gives us insight into his impeccable skill as well as his attributes…those things necessary to wage an effective war.

Then, we will look at Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight… for it is here we find the crack in his door…above all else, this scripture gives us his motive.

But first, let’s peek at our fist scripture:

The two words that describe the serpent are; Crafty and Subtle…

These two words carry a specific meaning; the ability to be cunning or crooked. They also give way to the attribute of diligent observance

So here is what I think…

After the Heavenly Fall, I believe Lucifer retained his angelic qualities of beauty. I also believe he retained all, yes all, of his wisdom…how else could he be so crafty and subtle?

So may I please paint a picture? I beg you to bear with me…there is a crack in the door, and once you see in; you will find a burning hatred within the serpent.

Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight, beginning with verse twelve, ( Ezekiel 28:12- 17a). Some scholars reference this passage to the description of Adam, others reference this same passage to Lucifer…I choose the latter.

You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you…your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.  You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in all your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence and you sinned.  So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God and I expelled you, O guardian cherub from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.  So, I threw you to the earth…”

Didn’t God create all things? Including the angels? I believe so. There was nothing that was not created by the spoken word of God.

God created Lucifer. An angel.  A Worship leader.

He lived with God.

That sounds harsh. It is contrary to our thoughts of God and His creation.  It confounds me to think that Lucifer was created by God, and he was created with a will and the ability to choose. Lucifer chose pride and greed. His beauty as well as his abilities were God-given and he chose to submerge himself in them. He chose to gather a following and make war against the One who had created his very being. He chose not to bring worship before the burning throne. He chose the very antithesis of God; evil and all things unholy.

He was crafty and subtle…and very convincing…

Lucifer must have had unimaginable charm and a magnetic disposition. He was able to sway one-third of the heavenly realm! Imagine! One third of the angels said, “yes” to Lucifer…

pause and let that sink in…

So the war began.  And then in Isaiah we see a most dramatic verse of scripture…the tables were turned on him…quite unexpectedly Lucifer was cast out of Heaven.

“How thou art fallen from Heaven, O’ Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground…”(Isaiah 14:12a)

Luke 10:18, “and I saw satan fall as lightning from Heaven…”

Dramatics at it’s best. As lightning, Lucifer was cast out…

He ascended not above God as was his intention.

And if that was not enough…there was more.

Take a look once again at the passage in Ezekiel. In the Hebrew we see a tragic situation.

When Lucifer was created, he was the seal on the signet ring. He was the model of perfection. When Lucifer was created God took one look and said, there would be no more…it did not get better in the angelic world. Lucifer held the summation of perfection. He was adorned with precious jewels and the sound of music was set within his created being. Lucifer had the workmanship to bring unending worship before the throne of God. And while purity reigned supreme in Lucifer’s heart he was a garnishment to the sanctuary of God.

Thou was perfect in they ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee…and he took one-third of the angelic host to their own spiritual deaths.

Astounding.

In Ezekiel 28:16, Lucifer was cast out of the Mount of God as profane. Profane literally means to lose one’s inheritance.  This was the first judgment over Lucifer. Then God states in this passage; “and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire”.  When God destroyed Lucifer, it was not a literal death as we have yet to see in the final judgement. No, when you incorporate the Hebrew, God literally said, “I will wander away, you will lose your position and identity, and then you will be void.”

Void. Nothing. Silence. Unloved. Emptiness. Abyss. Blankness.

Imagined thoughts spearing through Lucifer’s mind; “I used to be someone. I used to have His attention. I meant something to Him. He loved me…He loved me…

Tortured by his own sin and loss, the serpent walks in a remembrance of Love…knowing there is no return. He has been deemed void. He has lost his identity and his inheritance…and hatred has set in.

Now darkened by evil Lucifer, now satan paces through the earth seeking to impose the same death upon us. He detests us; why? We replaced him; the son of the dawn. We have gained God’s attention and love.

Do you see the correlation between the Heavenly Fall and the Fall of man?  Lucifer, now the serpent; intends on bringing the same death to Eve, and now to us. No, he doesn’t want us to literally die…he much prefers us to lose our position and to lose our identity in Jesus Christ; for if that happens…we will be void.

This is why he seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s a spiritual death. The same death he experienced, he chooses to bring to each one of us.

But there was one catch…one thing left to do…

And God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…

Choose this day whom you will serve…and above all else; guard your heart; may there be no crack in the door to your heart.

Serpents…Back to The Beginning…

Eve picThe turn of Eve’s head has always plagued me. What or who or how…

I don’t know about you, but I detest snakes! I mean a sincere, gut wrenching, nauseating, I could faint type of reaction. And I might add, there is not a mite of exaggeration here.

I. hate. snakes.

But that was not always the case.

Growing up, I lived on the edge of town, but then moved to the country. Both had their fair share of serpents. One day in particular has forever been embedded in my memory…

I was helping my Dad as he tilled the garden. My job at the young age of six was to pick up sticks, rocks, or anything that may hinder the ground being tilled.  The garden tiller had been humming steadily after lunch, but I soon noticed it had stopped it’s rumbling and I heard my Dad yell for me.

Come here, I have something to show you”…

Are you beginning to see what’s coming?…

My Dad had taken the nearest object, a hoe, to do the deathly deed of removing the head of a pesky snake. What came next was to be expected from a dad. It’s what dad’s do…they teach their girls to be fearless and strong. No wimpy girls allowed.

My Dad held out the headless serpent for me to hold.

And I was  fearless as a kid.

I was more of a tomboy.

I climbed trees and gave bumps on the teeter totter in which I have a scar to prove. I played army and picked rocks out of my skinned knees. I climbed to the top of an evergreen tree when I was six.  I remember getting in quite a bit of trouble since it was a fifty foot tree. At the age of five, I was quite capable of gutting my Dad’s fish. I counted that as one of my favorite things to do.  I trampled through woods and creeks, caught frogs and explored empty barns to my heart’s content.

So, to take a headless serpent was just fine with me. No fear here.

As my Dad handed me the serpent, he said; “Do you feel his muscles still moving?”

Each of his muscles were contracting as if he were still attempting writhe away…

Serpents…

Somewhere along the way, I lost my fearlessness and also contracted a hatred of snakes.

This is the reason why I have been plagued by the serpent of Genesis chapter three.

Because Eve was living a perfect, godly, and righteous life…how then, could she be deceived? How? Walking and conversing…face to face contact with the God that sits on the throne today…what in the world happened?

You would think such holiness would bring about discernment of the situation at hand. Didn’t she have an inkling, a gut feeling, or that female intuition that something of great magnitude was getting ready to take place…

You know the feeling; It’s that sick feeling you get in your gut when something is terribly wrong.

This was a “do or die” situation.

Unfortunately Eve unintentionally chose death. The death of her present state of being, her present living conditions, her present relationship with God, and the death of her present relationship with Adam… the flaming sword that guards the way to the Tree of Life today came swiftly to Eve’s life.

All because of a conversation with a snake.

But if this was really a snake, don’t you think her discernment would have been dead on? Don’t you think she would have waved him off, or at minimum, rebuked him for even attempting to engage her?

And what about God? Didn’t He, or couldn’t He had at least said, “Beware of the snake”?  “Watch out, there is s serpent that will be looking for you”. Give some sort of obvious direction here?

When studying this passage of scripture I found something:

The answer.  The answer to all my burning serpent questions.

In every picture depicting The Fall, we see Eve standing next to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, holding the apple, and the snake wrapped around this same tree…but when we read of this great disturbance, the serpent is not mentioned being wrapped around anything. Nor do we know it was an apple…but the final enlightening feature I found in this passage…

The definition of a serpent.

In the Hebrew, a serpent is not always a snake. What! No… a serpent is listed in this passage as this:

“a magician, one who whispers magic spells, one who prognosticates or tells the future, one who is arrayed in a coppery light”

Hmmm…

“Masquerades as an angel of Light”

So, now does this incident make more sense? Does it bring the matter into a more human perspective? Do you see Eve as a mere woman like you and I?

How often are our own heads turned by things that are beautiful and shiny? How often do they captivate our attention? More times than not, we are deluded into thinking that those things beautiful, promise something beautiful.

Another deception.

How about how easily entangled we become in a not so holy conversation? What begins as something innocent ends up leaving a bad taste in our mouths.

How easily do we engage in debating the Word of God? Not preaching, debating, the kind that closes in on being argumentative and ends up defacing the Holy because it was full of pride.

I think there was more to Eve’s conversation with the serpent. I think there was a bit of debating that went on. The serpent stepped on her reality of God. He posed a theological question. “Did God really say”…

That same question is posed by thousands today; “Does your God really say…”

The question has not changed for thousands of years.

And neither has our response.

Should have God said to Eve; “Beware”?

No, He gave instruction. He expected to be obeyed.

God is more like a parent sometimes. That is why we call Him Father. He is full of parental advice.  He gives us commands and rules not for harm but for good. Our good. We may not know it, we may not feel it, but our faith should tell of it. Our mouths should testify to it.

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living…

So, you may ask; “where was God in all of this?”

Watching. Listening. Weeping.

God knew one day, He would return to the Garden. One day the flaming sword would be removed and all things restored.

One day…

One day, we will get to talk to Eve…we can ask about that serpent.

But for now, what about you?

Have you had any conversations lately? Has your head been turned by something beautiful? Have you given ear to untruth? Has your theology become soft so that you may be swayed?

None of us are immune to the enticement the serpent offers. And, when you find someone who has been seduced…try and understand, offer mercy, take their hand and take a walk with them. The walk that leads them back to the Tree of Life…

Live Outward…

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Freedom-in-Chains-Interior-small.jpg?format=originalAs I scrolled through my Facebook news feed, I came upon a link to a blog that I follow…If Meadows Speak”.  As I read her words it triggered something down deep. A memory of thirteen years ago.

It was the word she was given; “outward”…

Suddenly I was transported to the days of inconspicuous living.

It was a life lived, but went mostly unnoticed – by me.  And this life was mine. How does this happen? How do we live our lives and yet not notice…

Encounters left as unremarkable. Accomplishments brushed aside. Goals sidelined.

I was living, but living inward. Chained by insecurity I walked though life begging not to be noticed.

Now to encounter me, that would never be evident.  When young, I was popular, a cheerleader, and yes, homecoming queen…but if one would have looked close, if one would have taken time to prod and ask questions, one would find the thread of insecurity woven in the fabric of life. My life.

Who or what put the chain there is yet to be determined. I always remember feeling the heaviness it placed upon my chest.

Barely able to say my name in public, a false face of confidence was put on and away I went to live; inwardly.

Dreams pushed aside.

“God change me”.

That became my prayer. I wanted to be different.

I remember the day God broke in to my inward living.

He was quite discreet leading up to it. He’s clever like that.

I was driving home. I had shopping bags in my backseat. One held a plaid coat. One held black boots. The last held a black sweater with a leather belt and a pair of camel pants overlaid with a lace motif.  Disclaimer, this was thirteen years ago, so don’t judge me… 

Looking in my rear view mirror into my backseat I realized this was not me. I was not the girl with the shopping bags. What was happening to me?

Trying to be what I believed at the time:  to be a good christian woman, wife, and mother did not include shopping, at least for me… that would make me self centered and selfish, not to mention materialistic…right???

So, as I began to weep over my horrible state of “christianism”, I heard God speak…

“You asked me to change you.”

What?

“You asked me to change you.”

But I thought…I thought you would make me sweet and quiet and soft spoken like all of those other good christian wives and mothers…

Without warning He broke into my life and did the unexpected.

He showed me the beginning of living outwardly.

He showed me a side of me, that I didn’t know existed. I felt twinges of this girl down deep, but to become that girl… well; out of the question. Or so I thought.

He showed me a girl who; dare I say it?  I liked. I liked me as in, wow – I am pretty much okay! I liked my plaid coat and lace pants with a bit of the added edge of leather…

There I said it…

I. was. okay.

What freedom.

I realized it was more than okay for me to be me.  It was demanded of me by the One who created this crazy being that went by the name of Tracy.  The one that likes fashion, speaking, writing, cooking, baking, being silly, being tough, being quiet and feminine, loving Jesus like crazy and loving those around me because well, they are okay too…

and sometimes we just need to know we are okay…

Are you ready? Are you in? Will you do it?

Make it your plan for this year…

LIVE OUTWARD!

the question we long to answer

kissingthedust:

I love this writer/blogger and friend…she is worth the read!

Originally posted on outside the city gate:

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{I’ll come right out and tell you: I have stage fright. The kind which tongue-ties a person in knots because how do you tell the world what’s been gnawing your gut for years? There is pain and loneliness of being outside the gates of whatever in life, but there is also hope. How do I convey even a morsel of that in one single shot?}

Writing this first post felt like a ton of bricks. I wrote three entirely different ones and even a few half-written ones, as well.

Somewhere in our lives {maybe even now}, we lived outside the camp. We know of isolation and rumors and devastation. We know of fractures and slow-as-molasses redemption and severed ties. We know of illness and death and separation.

Outside the gates is not for the faint of heart.

My two boys have loved camping in piney woods and finding rocks they were sure were rarefied gems. To my “untrained”…

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The Wounded Soul…part 3

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Eve picIt was a dreadful day, and only One knew it was coming.  Only One knew what future lie ahead for man.

Only One knew the pain, toil and heartache that awaited creation; His creation…

Holiness was waiting to be interrupted.

Righteousness was positioned to recede from view.

Sin would soon be unleashed upon humanity, and all living would be affected down to the ground we walked on.

Tolerance would pulse within the circle of life.

Religion would replace relationship.

The natural would become unnatural.  It could now only reflect the Spiritual.

Our eyes would not rest upon His face; we would only see Him through a glass dimly.

Humanity would walk with a limp; a gaping wound of destruction the cause.

Finally, creation would be followed by the shadow of death and hunted by a roaring lion.

And on this day, God was getting ready; for He and only He, knew the time had come.

It had to.

You see, there was a plan from the foundation of the earth that a Son would be sacrificed, His Son; and He would be the One that would make all things new.

As I have written before, it is hard to imagine the turn of Eve’s head. What would engage her mind enough to move one step away from the path.

There were two trees, maybe there were two paths.  And on this day, she wandered.  Little did Eve know, that one path held life, the other, her death.

As she came to the fork in the road, there was something she heard. It was unfamiliar and everything in the Garden was familiar, so she leaned in…

Things still looked the same, smelled the same…what really could be wrong with this path?  She really wasn’t doing anything against the one rule.  She was only walking… these were the thoughts that began to overtake her mind.

She hadn’t planned on what happened next…

Yes, she was sure of it. She had heard something!  It was like a whisper, and it was carried on the leaves of the forbidden tree.  The fragrance that came with the cold was engaging and brought with it a deception of the mind. For what she smelled was not life; it was the smell of death.

As she walked silently down the path, the leaves of the forbidden tree began to unfold and carelessly she stopped.  She set her gaze on what was not hers.  She evaluated it.  Yes, it was beautiful. It did look good to eat…

What, can we not eat from any tree in the Garden”  Oh no, no. We can eat from any tree, just not this one”.

The engagement was like a magic spell. She was entranced; for this was something to behold. This was a magician. A prognosticator, he was one that whispered magic spells.  He was surrounded by a coppery light…

The prophesy was this:

“Oh you will not surely die, you will be like God; knowing good and evil”.

The magician spoke her future. Her death was disguised by love. Only this love was deception. Eve would soon learn it was not the same love she had received from her Creator.  There were strings attached to this love.

I believe Eve could not move past the words, “you will be like God”.

Suddenly, her thoughts ran to the One who created her. His love for her, and how He knew her so deeply.  She thought of the walks, and how they would link arms and talk for hours.  It was during these walks she had received the promise of more knowledge.  He had said, He could be fully known by her, that He would not keep any of Himself from her. That was what the Tree of Life was about. It held His character, His heart, and His mind. She had learned He had emotions just as she.  He laughed, and was full of joy. He would always sing as He entered the Garden. Sometimes, He would simply whistle, and it begged her heart to seek out His presence. He had taught her everything about herself. When she looked at Him, she could see the love He had for her. She felt moved to know Him more..

And so she ate; only this time, it was from the forbidden tree.

Oh, it was so sweet to the taste…

In a moment her eyes were opened. Her life, like a movie on fast forward flashed before her eyes.

In one swift move, Eve was shifted from light into darkness.

As she awoke to the reality of death; Eve realized what had transpired.

Suddenly, she didn’t look the same. Her skin had slightly withered. Her hair of many colors had turned dark.

Suddenly she didn’t feel the same.  Fear had entered.  The kind of fear that caused her to shake uncontrollably. The kind of fear that brought dread…

It was a false invitation to love.  How could she have been so deceived?

Eve realized she had been unfaithful to her Creator.  She had been disobedient and placed a false love above the true love that resided in the Garden…

But the depth of this sting was far beyond what ever could have been imagined.

And only one thought emerged; God was coming to the Garden…

Eve must hide.

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