Tag Archives: Jonah

APOSTASIA

Sometimes you just have to find light in the darkness. Darkness that continues despite the sun’s warmth. Despite the brightness of the blue sky. Despite the spin on society’s faces. Despite all the busyness of daily life. Despite that you just don’t feel like looking for any kind of light whatsoever.

I feel like I have been doing that all week. I hadn’t put a word to it until today. It started with a dream and has continued to dog my steps throughout the week.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not depression although tears have dribbled down my cheeks.  It’s not anxiety though there are lots of payers. A devotion here. A song there. A book pointed out by a stranger. A search for information. A search for truth. A search of the WORD. A light that exists in the darkness.

Apostasia.

It is that dark word that has haunted and darkened my week – darkened the world. Since before I could ride a bike, I have known depth of this word inside of me. It haunted my childhood nightmares – some which have occurred over and over and over – varying little in detail. It echoes on the wind howling outside my windows when my armor is misplaced. A word known by the images in my mind even before I could conceptualize just how it would eventually materialize to darken this world  – – – our world.

Obviously, it’s not one of my favorite words. Greek in origin, it basically means “to depart from a stand” – – – “to fall away from sacred values held at the core of self” – – – “to abandon truth”.

Who would have thought it would come to this? Basic truths thrown under the bus in the name of tolerance or political correctness or love or defiance. Today is the Eve of Yom Kippur.  Simply put – the holiest day of the Jewish faith.  For, after 30 days of repentance – 10 days of introspection and atonement (known as the 10 days of Awe) – they stand on the rock of renewed faith.  In the days of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a red thread would mysteriously turn white to represent their change in the eyes of the Father and being sealed into His Book of Life for the next year. I like to think of Jesus (Yeshua] making this yearly journey – even though he was without sin. Shepherding us, His followers, even then.

“Because of this, put on all the armor of God that you shall be able to confront The Evil One, and when you are ready in all things, you shall stand.” Ep 6:13

It is not easy to stand when the visible rock is crumbling under the feet. As you age, you think – you hope – things will never “REALLY” change. Tweaks here. Re-direction there. That right will always triumph in the end. After all – strength is in numbers – education – military might. But as history has proven over and over and over again, history does repeat itself – especially when the defiance demon starts digging its claws into unprotected skulls willing to believe lies covered by the facade of something entirely different.

A wistful melancholy steals over me as I type. While I have always known that I was born for this time and to be in this place and to speak these words, it doesn’t mean that it is always where I want to be – in fact – – – tried my hardest to ignore it – – – tried to run the other direction – – – tried my hardest to prove I am worse than King David – – – tried to be defiant. It just comes down to the fact that I have always understood Jonah all too well. Never wanted to go to Nineveh and still don’t.

But like Jonah (thankfully without the whale), I have figured out how to be a servant even while I may drag my feet or try to cushion the words or wish I could find any way but this way. Yet – as I read the WORD, I am more and more convinced that we are here. I am here. Apostasia in all its ugliness is here, and although reluctant, I have picked up my staff and turned my feet toward Nineveh. When society confuses kneeling with standing for a physical symbol and doesn’t see the deeper spiritual metaphor hiding in plain sight, my heart hurts and the paradigm grows even larger.

“Behold, The Day of Our Lord has arrived.” Let no man deceive you by any means, to the effect that surely no revolt will first come and The Man of Sin, The Son of Destruction, be revealed, He who opposes and exalts himself against everything that is called God and religion, just as he will sit in the Temple of God, as God, and will show concerning himself as if he is God.” 2 Thes 2:2-4 (Aramaic in Plain English translation)  [google images]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #66

Pain. No easy wisdom for that one. The debates rage. Answers locked behind a sin barrier that gets thicker by the minute.

Jonah certainly didn’t have the answer. Nineveh had caused his people so much pain, and he didn’t see the point of easing their pain with a warning. They deserved to be destroyed. One whale and three days later, he shook his head dry, took a deep breath and mumbling under his breath, he accomplished his appointed warning to Nineveh.

What most of us forget is Jonah’s last chapter. Pain riddled, his brain picked at those little things that set the anger up another notch. He plopped himself down to watch this hated city – hoping for distruction but knowing His Lord was merciful. He didn’t like that God’s grace would extend to such a people. They weren’t the chosen. They weren’t like him. So God appointed a plant, a worm, a wind to challenge Jonah to think again.

“You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left…?” Jonah 4:10-11

Jonah’s story ends there, and we are left to wonder. Wonder at Jonah’s painful struggle with obedience to his Lord over the world’s wisdom? Ponder his struggle – our struggles. We will never know until we get on the other side of this life, but Jonah’s story certainly provides some guidance for us in these painful times.

“Should I not pity…?” show grace? show love?

1942 Daily Ration: “Read: 11 Corinthians 12:7-10

“There was given to me a thorn in the flesh,…For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’~11 Cor 12:7-9

“Brave witnesses for Christ and noble examples to the rest of us are those who glorify God through their pain. To those who offer their suffering as an act of worship we dedicate these lines found on a hospital wall: ‘Lord Take Away Pain’

The cry of man’s anguish went up to God,
‘Lord, take away pain!’
The shadow that darkens the world you have made,
The close-coiling chain
That strangles the heart, the burden that weighs
On the wings that would soar.
‘Lord take away pain from the world you have made
That it may love you more!’

Then answered the Lord to the cry of his world:
Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by strain?
Shall I take away pity that knits heart to heart,
And sacrifice high?
Will you lose all your heroes that lift from the fire
White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love that redeems with a price,
And smiles at the loss?
Can you spare from your lives that would climb into mine
The Christ on the Cross?

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #64

Planned out my day. Knew exactly what needed to get done and how I was going to accomplish it. After all – Hurricane Matthew had passed us by without any real impact (even the 4+ inches of rain has drained away), the sun was out, and the fall temperatures were perfect. I was ready.
BUT – – –
The hubby had also planned out his day. The tractor was running and digging into one of my gardens by the time I got my gloves and shovel out the door. It was not the day I planned, and if I didn’t change my plans pretty quickly, chances are that some of my plants might not live to see the spring of 2017. Hmmm….I had a feeling there was a lesson coming.
Sure enough – the second class came shortly after I sat in my comfy chair. I planned out how I would finish up devotions, read the WORD, and get into the hot tub to loosen up those complaining muscles that some how developed during the first class in today’s schooling. It was not long in coming.
Our neighborhood is filled with some 8 year old girls. Said girls have made friends with 8 year old Grand. In walks the neighboring kidlet and plans changed again. Dogs rolled on the floor with her. We talked about her day at school. She picked out her pumpkin from our small garden and began mixing paints. Her purplish, glitter painted pumpkin now sits in the corner of the living room waiting for her to come back tomorrow to add a painted face or pick things out of the “teacher box” to glue one on it.
By this time, I was getting a real hint that there would be a 3rd class. Sure enough, I FINALLY get my devotion opened up and there it sat. “Teach us the number of our days that we may enter the heart of wisdom.”~Ps 90:12 On the surface – I did that. I numbered the hours, set forth a plan for those hours and stepped forth. BUT – there is always more.
In the Hebrew – it says ‘Teach us to Manah our days.’ This word is used also in the book of Jonah where God says, God manahs a fish, a worm, and a wind (Jonah 4). In the original language it means to appoint or prepare. If Jonah had prepared his heart through prayer to accept the new plans that God had laid out before him on each of his days would things have gone differently for him? Would this angry Jonah have turned over his disagreement with God about Ninevah and its people? Would he have understood THEN that grace and forgiveness are such a gift to our day?
In this election year, maybe we need to appoint our days in prayer and remember our efforts as Christians do have a purpose given to our days: Truth and Salt. School done. Class 4 complete.
1942 Daily Rations: Read: St. Luke 14:28-35
“Salt is good; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.’~St. Luke 14:34,35
“A vital Christian Church should have the answer- – -but it must be vital: A Church that stand for worth and rights of the individual, and which creates a real fellowship because of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; a Church which preaches good news far and wide, and lives it without discrimination against class or race; a Church which has a divinely revealed plan for the whole world and medicine for its sickness, and food for its hunger; above all a Church that so loves truth- – -truth about every area of man’s life- – – that she will take home the unpleasant truth to herself, repent of what is evil and give up practices and positions condemned by truth.
“Salt is good; but…!‘ Jesus was a realist. He demanded the real tang of salt, not the washed-out, tasteless leavings. What a challenge this is to the Church today!
“Prayer: We beseech thee, gracious Lord God, to remember thy servants in all country places who labor to cultivate and make fertile the land. Give them in all times a patient and reverent devotion to their high calling. Strengthen them with hope to meet all the hazards, trials and prostrations of war and weather. Bless their labors with fruitfulness. Refresh their toil with thy goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The Resilient Soul

goodnightre·sil·ience
riˈzilyəns
noun
1.
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
“nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”
2.
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
“the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

Last night, just before I yawned through my last couple of words with Our Father, the word… “resilience”… darted in front of my eyes. I hate when He does that. The word danced around in my head, conjured up several images, thoughts, stories and completely destroyed the yawn complacency that had overtaken my mind.yawn

Really?

Now?

Sleep should never be disturbed by a word dancing around in your head. Worse – it has continued its merry romp between my neurons since then. My parents’ generation were certainly resilient. Growing up during the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, Riots…their middle name must of been “Resilient”. Then again – maybe that is the middle name for every generation.

Adam and Eve foreclosed/locked out of their home yet being resilient enough to build a new one together. David … Ruth… Jonah… Joseph… Mary Magdalene…Peter… The WORD is jammed packed with examples of resilience being displayed in God’s people.

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” — Leviticus 26:3–4

The literal translation of the first sentence is : “If you walk in MY decrees…” What a promise that is. If you follow the WORD, everything that follows will be blessings. Best yet…if you fall smack on your face…screw up in the worst way possible…God gave us our own version of resilience: GRACE.

Apparently, teaching God’s grace is intrinsic within our psyche because we teach our children to say “Sorry” when they break a window, break a heart, break a promise. . The neat thing is – when we trip and fall, we can do the same thing. All we have to do is whisper the same word…”sorry”, and Grace washes it away. While there are consequences to our choices, through it all – resilience takes over. We bounce back into shape. We recover from our difficulty, as we begin to walk in His decrees…

Rain and Sun work together to bless the fields we plant…seeds bloom…crops grow strong… trees bring forth fruit…and at the end of the day, our bodies tired and achy from a day’s work, we try to stifle that last yawn, and crack one eye open hoping that Our Father doesn’t toss another word at us that will keep us awake a little longer than we want to be.

I think I am definitely ready for that last yawn tonight.zzzz

 

Lenten Journey/Journey of the Cross #32

It has been a long week for some reason. Haven’t really done that much, but every day was different. As if the wash cycle had switched to the spin cycle and then back to wash. In essence the water kept building up all week, soaking deeper and deeper until eventually, the machine just chugged to a stop. Eyes barely open; zoning out watching a favorite musical (Meet Me in St. Louis) and yawning every two seconds. Don’t know why I can’t write these journals at 5 o’clock instead of 10. And yet – here I sit – thinking about this journey. Introspection continues when I really wish I could just go to sleep. Is that how the disciples felt? What is it about this journey that pulls me in year after year after year?

And yet – it does -and has since I was a toddler and rejected a cuddly bunny for a crucifix that still hangs in my room.

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matt 12:40

Early in His ministry, Rabbe Yeshua began dropping hints of what was to come. Metaphor upon metaphor. One repentance story linked to another repentance story. Steeped in Jewish wisdom and Jewish tradition, Rabbe Yeshua taught for three years in the physical heart of the earth…Israel. But this time, He would expand the heart to include Gentiles and eventually enlarge the heart to cover the world. Salvation in practice. Instead of unblemished animal sacrifices and intercessory priests, Rabbe Yeshua would drink …”…a cup is in the hand of the LORD…” Ps 75:6

He reached out, “Then I took the cup from the LORD’s hand…” Jer 25:15

Even in His first night’s journey in “the heart of the earth”, He reached into Himself – the WORD – and brought forth the words that would link the past to the future. An unbroken chain that ties us all to Our Father. From the first garden, designed to be heaven on earth, to the garden where He wept and let the cup begin to spill upon Him instead of letting it spill upon us. He took Our Father’s wrath and spun it into unending LOVE. Love for you. Love for me. This Rabbi Yeshua Barabbas did this for all of us.

“Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk from the LORD’s hand the cup of His anger…This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
your God, who defends his people: “See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again.” Is 51:17,22

The day of pain, suffering and agony is over.

lucasgrail