Tag Archives: sin

3 of 7: LOVE

Manna3 of 7: LOVE. Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a group of people who decided that there was a Creator. A Creator that built them a garden, gave them animals to LOVE, plants to tend, and visited with them everyday. But they were a cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy type of people (think anything has changed?). They did good deeds, prospered, begat children, cared for plants and animals, but they also did bad things. =( The Creator still loved them despite these faults, but because He was so righteous, He knew that their sinful eyes could not bare to look at Him. Since they could no longer see him, the Creator gave them ways to “see” Him. The Cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people called it “faith”. The Creator called it LOVE.

During one of the many seasons of life, the cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people got themselves in a pickle in another land. The Creator heard their cries in the darkness and sent them a man who led them out of the pickle and into the desert. Food was kinda scarce there, but the Creator (who LOVED His children) took care of that right quick. He gave them meat in the evening and bread in the morning.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” Ex 16 4-5

Slowly, the cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people began to realize that when they relied on the Creator’s bread and LOVE, their day went much better (funny how that works, huh?). Like most things, the lesson stuck for awhile, but as the generations aged away from the days of gathering the bread, their faith grew weaker and sin returned…afterall, they were a cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people.

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jn:35

However, the great thing about the Creator is that He never, ever stopped LOVING the cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people. He wanted to remind them about the bread and how it saved them when they were in that very dry, dusty, dead place, so He sent His son – His first born Son that He LOVED. His son, who was very good at metaphors, tried to remind the cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people with His words. He said over and over to these cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people, ‘if you will just gather Me every morning, I will nourish your life just like I did in all the dry, dusty, dead places in your lives’. Some listened. Some didn’t. (Natch)

It is a choice to LOVE. The Creator chose to put us first in His existence and surround us with LOVE. We get to choose whether we will LOVE Him back or even – whether we will put Him first in our lives. We are still cantakerous, headstrong and ouchy. The miracle is that we don’t have to go outside to gather manna in the morning any more. The manna is there for us whenever we want to gather it – whether it is in the dry, dusty, dead places of our lives or in the comfy armchair of our livingroom (although, in my personal opinion, the world certainly is much brighter when I gather the bread first thing in the morning). If we seek the things we LOVE first then we understand why the Creator seeks us every minute we are lost in our own deserts. It is simply because…………we are His first LOVE…..even if we are a cantakerous, headstrong, ouchy people. Amazing, isn’t it?

(Google images)bible-studies-feat-main

A New Step

I am in a quandary.  I’ve stewed…walked a few circles of prayer in my head….stopped writing…worked on old chores that have been sitting around years…stared at anything as I’ve tried to scroll through this maze of thoughts. Have you ever felt like that?  As if the Trinity is trying to nudge you into a new thought – a new direction – a more complicated dance?  It’s  totally not fair when you’re dancing with a fantastic partner who suddenly throws in a new step.  You stumble.  You trip over your feet or His feet – until you finally – maybe – figure out what He is doing.  I’m still doing a few of those stumbling, catch-up steps; trying to look graceful and in time with the music – when in reality, I feel like my 7 year old self at my first dance recital:  scared – hyperventilating – fearful…

 “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this -man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took OFFENSE at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”  Matt 37:53-57 KJV

It is an old story about the way people think.  A story about rejection.  A fulfillment of prophecy.  The ultimate betrayal of a homegrown boy by people He knew and what they thought they knew about Him.  I’ve read it many times over the course of my 63 years.  It was this time through the story when My Lord threw in a new step.  I blinked.  I stumbled.  I didn’t recognize this step, but there it was in the shape of a simple word:  OFFENSE

 Offense:  of·fense  əˈfens/ N.  Annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.

They took offense to Jesus.  Do I?  It is a question that I have avoided thinking about even though it has been in the back of my mind almost every day for the past few years.   We all have standards or principles that we live by in our life. These days, Christians want Christ to be LOVE, JOY, PEACE, GOOD NEWS.   It’s part of our contemporary songs and worship.   It’s easier to get people to listen and agree with our thoughts.  It’s the part of the 70’s that has stuck to our society like glue.  When we think of Jesus, we think we get the “new covenant”.  He didn’t reject people.  He didn’t stick to all the old rules…didn’t always wash before eating…didn’t quit healing just because it was the Sabbath…chased the money changers from the temple… told us not to judge others… You get the picture…Jesus, the communal, perpetual hippie.  I’m sure most of you have seen the FB poster or e-mail referring to Jesus as a socialist.

“And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.  And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?  When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?  And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be OFFENDED in me.”  Lk 7:18-23 KJV 

Same base word, but this time a verb.  The steps are tripping me up big time at this point.  Am I offended by who Christ is?  Is He more than the Jesus Freak version that has invaded our culture?  The music spins a little faster.  However, Our Father steps are a tempo, and soon, the music is silenced as the Holy Spirit begins to sing.  Christ IS more, He IS the WORD, and I am convicted.

It is hard to write this and know that I am offended by the One I love.  Even as I write this, tears gather at the corner of my eyes.  Turning the words of the stories over and over in my head, I began to see that the things Rabbi Yeshua rejected were the “religious trappings” of the day – not the WORD.  Compare it to how many of our churches are rejecting the age old traditions such as: dressing up for church, singing old hymns, reciting of creeds or psalms. Those are the things He rejected.  But Rabbi Yeshua never rejected the WORD; instead, He embodies ALL the WORD.  He is the WORD.  He is love, peace, joy, good news…He is also what we don’t want to talk about in our societal dance.  You know  – the scary stuff  – the stuff that makes us uneasy and afraid to talk about in the normal course of our day– sin, judgment, gnashing of teeth….Hell. 

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.”  Rev 19:11-13 KJV 

I re-read that last verse over and over, and my typing falters. I pray a little more. Then I look at my hand resting in the hand of My Lord.  His eyes are questioning.  Do I want to learn this new step in the dance?  I have the choice.  I can continue the dance the same way I have been dancing for years – steps that are comfortable and acceptable with the music of our world, or I can incorporate this new step, and challenge myself within the status quo.  I am questioning within myself.  How much difference will it make at this point?  Why is it important now?  I am praying harder.   I’m not sure my feet will move in step with the One who leads, but I move my foot forward….testing the floor boards beneath my feet….and trusting the One who leads.

Let the dance begin, and hopefully, I won’t trip over this new step….too much…too often…horse-white-jesus

(picture from Google images)

Lenten Journey #26

Hmmm…not sure how I missed posting this one.  But…

a little late…

a little out of order…

yet…

here it is. =)

 

“For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me…” Ps 31:13

Gossip – bullying – rumors – innuendos swirl around all of us everyday. The advent of technology just made it travel faster and in wider and wider circles. Yet – as you can see, as far back as the OT and King David, the apple was always there waiting to be bitten.

apple_malware_457249The apple sits in the palm of every hand, and every person has that choice in one way or another. Bite off a piece and enjoy the sweet taste…or set it aside. It is tempting to grab a bite quikcly. After all. most of our friends are biting off huge chunks of the fruit and there might not be any left…we do tend to be greedy at times. But like all apples that fall from the Tree of Life into our lap, there is a worm. Hidden among the sweetness and the crunchy meat of the tempting fruit, a worm makes its way to our innards where it squiggles and starts to grow. Craving more and more apples of various types, our stomachs become a roiling, pitching sea of unease.

Rabbe Jesus understood this apple very well. He was driven from towns and temples, probably more frequently than we know, because of this apple. As Palm Sunday drew closer, more and more of this particular kind of apple was being eaten by many of the Jewish people. The worm took much longer to raise its ugly head in those days sans twitter/FB/instagram/etc., but grow it did. 5 days is all it took. Triumph to Tragedy. Sweet to Sour.

Feasting on any of these types apples will never fill the stomach. Rabbe Jesus knew this and shared Himself – His words – His life -His love – that we might have enough armor to ward off the pangs of hunger and eat of any apple that falls from the Tree of Life. Yet it is still our choice. The lenten journey is a time for introspection, faith and often – choices.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” Jn 14:27-31