Tag Archives: grace

BOOM

So let’s re-cap what happened in the last 24 hour period before I fall asleep.

BOOM!

A car was hit by a big, ol’ truck (whose brakes failed) which forced the truck to burst through a wall of a new school. august 13 2018k

Emergency workers gathered.

Traffic backed up.

Neighbors – teachers – preachers – ordinary people – all gathered in small groups in the parking lot to watch, to talk and to pray.

Officials also gathered, and bright yellow signs of 
“condemnation” were hung.

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”~2 Chron 4:14

Engineers. Construction workers. Landscapers appeared on the scene.

august 14 2018 jPlans sketched and approved.

A car driver – still a little broken – was discharged from the hospital to heal at home.

Late into the night the people were still there.

Clearing. Building. Salvaging. Praying. Yawning.

While the uninjured-but-shaken truck driver sat in a school plastic chair under a tree on the lawn, keeping watch over his truck, people sought him out. They brought with them what comfort they had to offer. august 14 2018 e
Food. 
Small talk. 
Prayer. 
GRACE. 
Last night, the truck driver accepted Christ into his heart and the Shepherd found one of His own in the dark of an overcast sky.

By the time the sun’s rays pierced the final vestiges of the twilight, all the “condemnation” signs were gone except for one tiny wing that would take just a little longer to mend before it could fly again.

And BOOM!!!

Just like the initial one that started last night’s wave of destruction another BOOM rocked this building. That is the way miracles sometimes work on this barren plot of ground that we call life. A Father’s finger pokes into the dark dirt of our lives to allow His GRACE to grow something new. Sometimes that poke becomes a stick of dynamite – AND BOOM!

Then the Son plants a seed – perhaps the size of a mustard seed – in the heart of a pastor – who in turn plants it in the hearts of his elders – who in turn plant it in the hearts of some educators – who in turn plant it – tonight – in the hearts of families and students who attended the first GCA Open House.

And tomorrow?

GRACE Christian Academy will open its doors – on time – for the first day of school. Papa God is like that. He is faithful in all His promises for those who work together, humble themselves and pray. Praying through the darkness. “Be-attitudes” in action – on earth as it is in Heaven while the Shepherd smiles and the Holy Spirit breathes in our ears.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”~Jn 1:14

Great is His Faithfulness! [personal images]GCA_HD_Logo-01

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #24

When I was growing up, the day after Thanksgiving was always one of the best. My dad and one of his friends planted three acres of pine trees on a north facing hill. The plan was that one day mom and dad would build their dream home in the middle of those pine trees.

“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches.”

As life happens, those house plans stayed in that cardboard tube and never grew at all. Ahhh..but those pine trees? They grew and grew and grew, and after Thanksgiving, the phone rang and rang and rang.

Lucky for me, Dad and I (probably my big brother too, but I was to self-involved to log that into my memory banks) would walk through that towering green forest (at least it was to me) to find the perfect tree to tag just for us. By the time we returned, Mom would have hot chocolate waiting with plenty of marshmallows.

“Your boughs so green in summertime
Stay bravely green in wintertime.”

As the first weeks of December began, Mom would have some kind of Christmas craft for us to do together. Sometimes they were for us; but most of the time, we would give them away. Sometimes to relatives. Sometimes to friends. Sometimes dropped off in secret as a Christmas miracle.

Nighttimes were devoted to watching mom sit at the cardboard table, writing card after card while Dad and I watched TV, read, or individually – a nap for Dad and homework for me. Friends, Relatives, Dad’s Army buddies, Business acquaintances. I still don’t know how she ever managed to work a full time job, put up with me, care for a husband who had his first of three heart attacks when I was 10, and write L-O-N-G greetings to each person on the list.

“Let us all remember
In our gift giving and our merriment
With our family and friends and loved ones
The real and true meaning of Christmas
The birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”

That Gratitude Attitude kicked in today as I finished up my own tradition of decorating around the house by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. My furbaby who tore her ACL now is sick and not eating. We are praying it is a passing thing, but the worry is still lurking as I sit on the floor with her and look at the decorations around the house.

Traditions are treasures to hold close to the heart. However, those traditions tend to change as one family member morphs their traditions with a spouse’s traditions.

There is only one constant. One very precious constant.

While I am thankful for traditions, I am more thankful for the birth of a baby. A baby who brought us more than traditions. He brought us a new covenant – – – a new chance to return to the Garden – – – a new chance to see Him face-to-face.

Grace.

“O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum
How lovely are, are thy branches.”~”O Tannenbaum”, 1824  [personal image]christmas 2017 d

21 DAYS

It is 21 days till Easter. 21 days of a journey left. 21 days to follow a path. 21 days till the stone exploded, breaking the binds that tethered it to an earthly kingdom and releasing the radiant light of Grace from the spiritual kingdom.

For the past few weeks, I have not written much. Instead, everyday I have been reading, walking, observing, writing, praying, and drawing a small inked cross on the inside of my wrist. I didn’t think of this idea myself. One of my favorite authors has been doing this on a regular basis for a while now, Ann Voskamp. She talks about it in her book, The Broken Way.

At first, I wondered why she would do this. What possible difference in a spiritual walk could a tiny, inked cross on a wrist do for anyone? Yet, during this Lenten walk, I have noticed a difference. A difference that – perhaps – is more on the inside of me than the physical ink on the inside of a wrist. However, true to my silly Gemini self, that ink is often different colors. One color layered on top of another on some days. Other days, completely washed away by the blessed business of the day.

There is a path just down from our house that our neighbors have given me permission to walk. The dogs and I love it. There are no cars or even so much of the sound of cars, lots of smells, lots of deer prints, and I’m sure a few snakes in the grass that I hope I never see. (Lucky for me, the dogs always run ahead of me.)

As the temperatures warmed, the grass began to appear until it has become a green carpet that pulls us forward every time we walk. Trees and tall grasses from a not too distant past line its edges. Occasionally, a fallen branch from a recent storm also lie beneath our feet waiting to trip us up. Further up the way, there are other vestiges of an older life as well. Man-made reminders of that which was: large trees around a yard of a small deserted cabin, a log shed, horse-pulled tools now covered by weeds, a small, empty water trough.

As always, I wonder about the people who walked these lands before me. Indians, slave, indentured servants, landowner. I wonder and in some weird strange way, find myself praying for them as they walked these lands.

The cross on my wrist catches my eyes as I switch the button on the camera in my phone. For a minute my breath catches, “Baruch Hashem Adonai,” I whisper, “Blessed Be the Name of the LORD.” Koey sniffs the scent of something and is off running. Ryndi rolls in the leaves and tall grass for the umpteenth time. All, just reminders that this world is temporary, and all our education, ownership, accomplishments are -eventually – just “dust in the wind”.

Baruch is the Hebrew word that means “to bless”. It also means “to kneel”. When God sent His Son to walk a footpath on this earth, He knelt in front of all humanity. He squeezed the limitless into a limited body. He folded His greatest sacrifice into His greatest blessing and laid it on the path for all to find.

Easter. Grace. Salvation.

“Therefore strengthen your hands and set your shaky knees firmly. Make straight paths for your feet, that the lame member may not fail, but that it may be healed.”~Heb 12:12-13

My knees don’t bend so well anymore, but there are times when I force them because I can’t imagine not kneeling when His presence is so close. Tonight, it is warm in our house. The cross on the inside of my wrist is faded and fuzzy. My eyes are hurting as I try to hold them open for a few more minutes. It was a warm day in NC and when you have a bit of a fever, the house feels even warmer. But – it has been a blessed day. A day to sacrifice a little. A day to sleep a lot more than usual. A day to whisper a few more times, in thankfulness for these 21 days, “Baruch Hashem Adonai.”

Because of Christmas #2: His Face

There is a an rabbinical adage that says that a person should always carry two pieces of paper with them. It should be written on one of them: “You are as dust and ashes.” (Job 30:19). On the other should be written: “For you the universe was created.” (Gen 1).

I’ve been thinking about this saying for a couple of days now. I like the dichotomy between these two perspectives. I like picturing myself with two pieces of paper – one in each hand. My one hand has a red sticky note that says Elohim made us out of some of the smallest ugliest parts under our feet. On my other hand is a blue sticky note that says we are the center of His universe.
I understand the wisdom of this saying. There are times we are really ugly and make awful decisions. However – there are also times when when our decisions help us soar beyond our wildest dreams – as if the universe lay at our feet. If we can keep our two hands within our sight, we will see the whole of who we are instead of being blinded by one hand or the other.
I kept thinking of that Rabbinical saying today as I read chapter 2 in “Because of Bethlehem”. I don’t know when this adage came into Jewish tradition. Perhaps Rabbi Yeshua repeated it to is own disciples – sans the sticky notes of my visualization. What I do know is that in one timeless moment Elohim reached in among the dusty ashes once more and gave shape to His own face, body and being.
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”~Is 9:6-7
Max Lucado summed it up pretty well in one sentence: “He took on your face in the hope that you would see His.” (p20). The more I thought about these two things, the more I saw myself – sitting in my childhood church. My hands folded in prayer – sitting between my mother and father. Heads bowed – hands together. The sticky notes of who I am – no longer color separated but white beyond description.
That’s what Grace does when we see who we are through His eyes – His child for whom the universe was created. [google image]
babyprayinghands

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #28

Today – well – I didn’t do much at all. It was nice. It was relaxing. And – well – – – I have totally no idea what I did that the day is over, and it is dark outside.

Didn’t listen to a sermon.

Didn’t do my devotions.

Didn’t do any crocheting.

Didn’t even really read much of anything.

And just like that – the day is done – gone the sun – from the hills – – –

Well you know – – – just one of those days.

But you know what? It is the beginning of a new season. I had a great – praise-filled – joyful day. It seemed like God was in every corner of this house and in every corner of me because what I did do was – – – pray.

I prayed for my friends who are fighting unspokens.

I prayed traveling mercies around those who were on the road.

I prayed for those fighting impossible, scary diseases.

I prayed songs of silence – quiet joy – within me.

I offered thanks for the gifts family brings to my life.

I offered thanks for His mercy – His love – His Grace.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …” Ecc 3:1-8

It is a new season in our life journey, and it is definitely ‘more blessed to give than to receive.’

1942 Ration: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”~Acts 20:35

“To the immature this is nonsense They have not yet discovered the mechanics of joy. We make much use of the phrase ‘getting a kick’ out of life. Those who use a gun know that a ‘kick’ is the rebound that comes from the release of pent-up energy. ‘A kick out of life’ comes as a part of a similar process. The child jumps up and down and laughs. The student bends to a problem and finds joy in it. Te loving heart pours itself out joyfully. No man is happy for long in merely receiving things. It’s nature’s protest that he is not the center. Happy people are those who put the center of life outside themselves. In sending, not in getting, in realizing their noblest hidden energies, they find life’s greatest and most enduring happiness.

“Prayer: O God, we pray thee that we may exercise this day the noblest capacities that thou hast implanted within us. Give us wisdom and courage to put into daily practice our best thoughts and dispositions, and the things we most sincerely believe. Amen.”

THERE ARE TIMES

estherprayedThere are times we don’t understand. There are times when it hurts more than we thought it would. There are times when the aching hole becomes an terrifying abyss. There are times when tears are not enough.

There are times when we must – – –

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” — 1 Chronicles 16:11 

Tragedies and miracles happen in this world. We bumble around and whine or cheer depending on our perception of the events. Blaming or praising. Cursing or Singing. Weeping or laughing.

But – there are times when we must – – –

“….stand on a rock.”~Ex 33:21 

passover_custom-55cfde5853950100beb5e8b591604363d3161087-s900-c85Passover starts tonight. It was a time of tragedy and miracles.It was a time of fear. A time of excitement. A time living the reality of bondage. A time with hints of freedom. A time of fearful doubts. A time of scary decisions. A time when most chose to stay within the constrictions of Egypt and not follow the strange elder calling for them to follow him into the freedom of the dessert.

There are times to curl into the cleft of the rock – – –

“When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by” Ex 33:22.

Jewish tradition says that hindsight is the only way we can see why things happen as they do, because we can only see the back of God. Seeing Him face-to-face would be greater than anything we could handle. Knowing the reasons and the whys of all the things of which must come together to bring us back to Him would overwhelm us – paralyze us. Infinite ramifications. Choices. Options. Circling time. Generation-to-generation of entwining love. Sinful mortality being pursued by pure Grace.

“Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Ex 33:23 

Those who stayed behind in Egypt probably never knew what happened to the others who had followed Moshe into the desert. Non-existent technology. Communications limited. There are times that I have wondered if – when they pulled their head out of the clef of the rock – did they see God’s back or did they just go doing the same old things they had always done as if nothing had ever occurred?

There are times when faith leads us to decisions. There are times when faith leads us to miracles. There are times when Grace blesses our wisdom, and we see His indistinct back  fading into the distance. There are times when we leave everything behind even the yeast of our lives to follow the One who leads us into a desert. A desert of freedom.  A desert filled with enough manna and water that we will never be hungry or thirsty again.

There are times when we fall on our knees and humbly whisper: Baruch Hashem, Adonai.

FILLING THE BOWL

Lent is about to begin.

Where has time gone? Wasn’t it just Christmas? New Year? Moving Day?

The days have been a blur of planning, executing, meeting obligations and wishing that it would go even faster, so that our new house would quickly become a home. From the time I get up in the morning until the time I fall into bed, I have not spent my day the way I really need to spend my day.

On my knees.

In continual awe.

Within holy prayer.

jan 29 2016cI am productive. The house is shaping up. Furniture will start to appear in their proper place this week. A kitchen should start to surround the stove and refrigerator. Hubby is planning an escape to warmer climes. I put up the bird feeder for the multitude of song birds that are hunting food in these wintry temperatures. We’ve found the rock upon which to build a garden around and bless with the Biblical covenant verse that we always use upon our properties. We’ve started to dream even more dreams for this land we have been lead to inhabit.

But –

I have not brought my gifts before My Father. I have not laid them at His feet. I have not even spent time in study. or quiet prayer. I have let the physical world eat up my time in the spiritual realm. I have taken too many steps backwards.

So –

As we approach Lent, I have been thinking more and more about what I need to do to enter the holiness of these 40 days. And – I have decided that I do not want nor need to give anything up. Instead, I need to gather my tiny stones and place them into my bowl, fill it to the brim and bring it carefully to My Father who loves me despite my short-comings.

Questioning.

Learning.

Singing.

Writing.

Reading.

Witnessing.

Creating..

Praying.

These are the beginning stone gifts with which I want to fill my bowl and carry into His presence during this Lenten season. Praying for others. Learning to sing a new song. Finding His wisdom. Absorbing His sacrifice into my life. Writing His WORD in my heart. Creating – dedicating all things I do to His glory. Entering my war room on my knees – beseeching and leaning into His teachings in all my ways.

This is the Lenten gift I want to bring to Him.

Rabbi Yeshua knew where His feet would lead has he turned towards Jerusalem. He understood the Rock upon which he stood would crack beneath the weight of the sin he carried A frightening storm would shake the earth to its deepest core. The curtain of the old covenant would be torn asunder and His people would cower in fear.

But –

He also knew that the Grace which would rise on the 3rd day would seal the crack forever. The Light of the world would shine more brightly upon all His creations. And – He would roll back the stone from the Path of Life that leads towards home. His children would be free to set their feet upon His path and follow.

Lent is coming. Shove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday. 40 days to choose once again.

Tonight, I am picking up my bowl. Washing it out. Polishing it. Preparing to fill it with meager, dirty, stone gifts, at least that is how I feel when I compare them to His gift. Where this Lenten path will lead, I have no idea. I never do. But – it always leads to something new and treasured. A step here. A step backwards there. Gifts gathered until I stand once again upon the Rock in this new year of GRACE.

“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”~Josh 4:6-7

[Janet Searfoss art  http://janetsearfossbatiks.com/ ]


angel_blessingscopyr-231x159

A DAY’S JOURNEY

nepal-gegarYou just never know where a day’s journey will lead. Woke up with a praise song drifting around the corners of my mind. Listened to the rain splatter against the car windows as I drove to a local herb show in a nearby church basement. Didn’t buy much (which is a very good thing, seeing as payday is a week away). I was hoping they would have some hard-to-find treasures amid the usual, but it was pretty traditional fare. However, I did have fun losing myself in the smells of each plant and the overall presence of – albeit – temporary garden for a few minutes. And then – I wondered – what does it smell like after an earthquake?

Later, I happened upon a new consignment shop. Any store named for my April treasureschildhood “thinking” tree (Willow Tree Consignment & Gifts) has to be investigated, so I stopped. I found many treasures but three that really spoke to me…a chair for my desk, a carved, faded vase and an old clay crock. Useful things of days gone by – treasures that hold stories I’ll never know but can feel as I touch them – treasures that have survived for a few years on this chaotic sphere that we call home. And then – I wondered – how many old things remained to tell their stories in Nepal?

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall…” 1 Pt 1:24

It is becoming harder and harder to watch the news, and even when I don’t watch, it manages to sneak up behind me and shake my world a little more. I think of the societies under attack – whether by terrorists or the terrors of nature – societies are suffering. Mothers, fathers, children, infants, elders, grandparents, families, strangers, visitors, missionaries, friends, enemies…none of those terms mean much in the face of tragedy. But Christ is much braver than I. He and His angels are there….were there…the entire time. Walking through the rubble… cradling the orphaned and hurt…escorting the 1000+ souls to their new homes…comforting the fearful. And, it is then I remembered…

“…the WORD of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Pt 1:25

The WORD came for times like these. The WORD became flesh for times such as these. The WORD suffered for times like these. The old words of a much older praise song rose to my the forefront of my mind as I was writing tonight. Its message just as true today as it was in the 1700’s. Solace for scared societies…hope for harried households…Grace for the gardeners who have lost sight of how to care for the garden.

“Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:”

pray for nepalWith each word I write, the verses seem to gain strength. It is no longer just the voice in my head, but that of an unseen choir members and parishioners – the orchestras – the conductors and ministers of those who sang this song centuries before I was born and will continue to sing it when I finally get to join them.

“A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.”

For Nepal I pray, for Israel, for Coptic Christians, for the homeless, for veterans spit upon on a college campus, for those fighting insideous diseases, for those having fun on their prom night, for those that are drawing their first breaths upon this muddy ball, for those who do not see anything but darkness, for those who think You do not exist, for all Your children – in the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus – I pray – I sing – I whisper for found treasures buried in the rubble.

“Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home!” ~Issac Watts14604839-1429967338-640x360

 

A FORSYTHIA BUSH

mar 17 c

You can never tell what kind of discussion will pop up in an a room full of kids, but I should have known what today’s topic would be – after all – it is St. Patrick’s Day.

“Ouch,” one of my co-workers said.
“You’re not wearing green,” laughed a 5th grader.
“I am, too,” he replied. “Isn’t this green?” he asked me.

It was mint green. In fact, my shirt was also mint green, but no one messes with Miss Grandma. 20 minutes later – two smart phones “google”ing images of mint green, and the argument was still on-going.

Gotta love St. Patrick’s Day. Gotta love the Irish blood that flows through my veins. Gotta love spring.

When I got home, the forsythia was in full bloom. The yellow blossoms wide open forsythia mar 17 2015and beckoned me closer. It is the smallest forsythia bush I have ever had the privilege of growing. I planted it in 2013, but it wasn’t happy in the first spot. Didn’t grow. Didn’t blossom. Didn’t thrive. So last year, I dug it out of the red clay. I loosened the dirt around its roots, and chose a new spot. I added new soil and mixed it with the denser dirt of our small plot of land. Today it smiled at me, and I smiled back. It was resurrected.

“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” Jn 11:1

Rabbi Yeshua had a good friend. His name was Lazarus. Most of you probably know this story. I know it was one of the first stories I ever heard. A man died. Buried for 4 days. Wrapped up like a mummy with tons of material binding him tightly. A big rock covering the entrance to the tomb. Sisters confused and in mourning. Jesus wept and then commanded. Stone rolled away. Lazarus walked out.

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Jn 11:4b

Many lessons are buried (so to speak) in this one story..patience …conquering fear…walking in faith…conquering death. Buried even deeper in this story is the foreshadowing of another path – one that the rabbi himself would soon walk – one that would bring forth an even greater miracle – one that still is overwhelming in its conceptualization – FORGIVENESS GRACE – a path created by the sacrifice of a Son that would lead us back to the Father despite our sins.

I thought of that story today as I looked at the small forsythia bush. I thought about it again as I watched the sun set from our patio and watched the small bud coverings drop close by my feet. Spring brings the bright colors of the early flowers: tulips, daffodils, crocuses, forsythia. It brings the fuzzy buds of unfolding leaves, and the winter white softness of pussy willows. It brings the music of birds as they begin their mating journeys and nest building. It brings silly debates over the color of green. It brings resurrection. It brings GRACE. It makes Miss Grandma smile and send a prayer of thanks – over and over again.peace

Commandment Series: Love God

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB 

10-commandments

Today was a good day.  Church and then lunch with Daughter’s family. Exercised.  Enjoyed conversations with those around me. Wasted time playing jigsaw puzzles on the computer.  Read a couple chapters of new book.  Took a small nap.  Watered a newly planted magnolia tree.  Played “ball” with the puppies – a million and one times.  Thanked God for the blessings of feeling sick over the past couple of weeks.

Did your eyebrows go up to your forehead?

Yup – I thanked God for having to deal with an aging body and a minor illness.  Illnesses slow me down. They come a little more often as I get older (cranky joints, nose that are sensitive to a million things that it never, ever noticed before, germs taking up residence in places I never knew existed – whoa – TMI).  Infections center me on the important things; they remind me upon Whom I really depend, because – believe it or  not – I do get all wrapped up in me.   Can you tell that humbleness has never been one of my strong points?  Well – it’s true.  I have a healthy ego.

I sin a lot.  Not the kind of sin that people gasp over (those I hope are in the past)– but sin, nevertheless.  God is not a respecter of any kind of sin.  He gasps at any sin. The old adage: sin is sin is sin, reminds us that to Jevhovah-Tsid Kenu, one sin is as grievous as another.  It is still wrong.  In a world striving to say that there are no absolutes, even saying the word “SIN” can bring a smirk, eye roll or sharp derision from family…acquaintances…best friends.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen 2:16-17

Once upon a time, there were absolutes.  It started in a garden when men and women decided to reached for a piece of fruits.  First absolute rolled upon the grass of history, and the Evil One chuckled.  Lucky for us, God has a soft spot for silly, rebellious people and not so much for angels in open rebellion.  (I think that they too had healthy egos.)  After watching His bumbling, stumbling people for the next few centuries, God reached out to a man named Moshe (who also had His share of mistakes, but, lucky for the rest of us, not much of an ego).  Moshe listened to God and walked up a mountain where he stood, kneeled and fell flat on his face on Holy Ground.  A new covenant was drawn up; rules were established once again.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Ex: 20:2-3  

When I was a child, I always thought that “gods” meant those little things you saw in the movies or books…carved figures that had human characteristics but looked a little exaggerated in many of their features.  As I got older, I finally figured out that those figures really had little to do with what Jehovah-Tsid Kenu was talking about in this verse.  Yes, there were societies that had “gods” that they thought would answer all their needs: rain for crops, victory in war, peace in their cities, a good marriage, children for barren wombs, and the lists could go on and on.  After all, isn’t that what “gods” are supposed to do?  The Evil One would not be much of a contender if he didn’t create a few false gods to muddy up a world that was already trying to hide much bigger things than a bite that they took from a piece of fruit .

More money is the answer to prayers?  A perfect marriage will solve all our unhappiness?  The “young, perfect” guy is a whole lot better than the “old, imperfect” husband?  That new car? New house?  New phone?  Notice that “gods” come in many shapes and sizes in our world these days, and sometimes we don’t recognize them until they have taken up residence in the home that we have built far away from Jehovah-Jireh’s kingdom.

Lucky for us, Our Father still has that soft spot for us.  Jehovah-Saboth still wants to help, so He sent His son.  Rabbi Yeshua stood on  holy ground where ever He walked, so instead of people having to walk up the mountain, suffer the elements, do without the comforts of “home”, Rabbi Yeshua walked among them.  He spoke to them in their language.  Yet, He knew exactly what choosing that “cup” held in store for Him at the end of His journey on this pitiful world. He spoke this old commandment to those around Him.

A new covenant to Love.  Love more than you think possible. Love that endures beyond hurt.  Love that forgives over and over again. Love that originated with the One who loved us first.  The One who taught us to Love.

I like to sometimes play with words.  In my head, I substitute “humankind” for “Lord your God”  and KNOW that is the commandment that Jehovah-Raah follows in His beautiful, peaceful, eternal kingdom. So…is it really so hard to follow His first commandment in our war-torn, stressful, finite kingdom?

“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”