Declarations and Admonitions

  • God always answers prayer, so pray always.
  • God always has a "plan b", if "plan a" does not work (and a plan c, d, e, f, g....).
  • Our call is always to love first; not to judge, to evaluate, or to teach.
  • The primary marker of the Christian is love, which is radical and generous.
  • The reason why the Bible does not explain why people suffer, is because the Bible's authors assumed suffering as the norm, in a fallen, broken world.
  • God has intervened in this world, and walks with us through suffering.

Picture: Pixabay

  • God will redeem our suffering, if we let him.
  • We continually must choose life, choose obedience, and choose God.
  • The believer's time is taken up with God alone and God with others.
  • There is play time, work time, ministry time, and rest time.
  • Families do all the times together and apart.
  • Busyness or distractedness does not equate to life in Christ.
  • Millions of good things are distractions and busy things, time fillers and wasters, that end up making us shallow, stressed out, and unloving.


  • The radical love which all Christians are called to live in a 'agape love', which means sacrificial love, a love that gives for others.
  • Our lives are meant to be consumed by God's love for us and a sharing of that love towards others.
  • The love goes from secret to public.
  • The love is something you live out of: life by, live from, and live to.
  • When we find ourselves 'not nice', unhappy, selfish, or in discontent; there is a love problem in our lives.  We need more love, because the life is lived out of the love of God and if we do not have that love, we are unable to live the life.
  • Rest is a key component of the Christian life.  In Christ, less is more.  We eliminate and concentrate.  Eliminate the distracting, busy things; and focus on the main things.
  • Many Christians are angry people.  We live in anger or the depression of repressed anger, because we have not grieved our losses.
  • When we suffer a loss, anger may be a temporary reaction; but we must not live there.
  • Sustained anger blocks healing and the new beginnings of redemption.
  • Rather than cultivating an angry life of blaming and criticizing, we need to feel and process our losses, our pain, and our grief.
  • We need to express our painful feelings to God, to our selves, and one another, for healing.
  • Every loss and every memory can be healed, if we will face it and share it and let God touch it.  

Dad

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.

-Romans 8:15-17, 1 John 3:1


Photo: Pixabay
Before Jesus saved us, he was God's Son.  We know him as Savior and Lord, rightly so.  But his identity is The Son.  Something really profound, important, and fundamental: of central importance is that He is The Son.

Jesus takes us and makes us children, sons and daughters of the Father, in him.  It is great to get it that he is Savior, Lord, and God; but we can not miss out on the fact and experience that He is The Son and makes us Father's children.

Jesus not only reveals that God is Father, his father, and he is just like his father; and that we worship and serve God who has been revealed in Jesus.  Jesus also brings us into an intimate relationship with Father where we not only are his children, calling him father, but so intimate and open, that we relate to Father as "daddy".

This is The Gospel that you may never have heard.  This is the hidden gift and power and meaning of the Christian life.  God is now your dad.

When we relate to God as dad and daddy, it changes everything.  The way of the world is to not know God and if they have any knowledge of God, they know God as distant.  We Christians know that God is Father and Jesus is The Son, who is just like his dad.

Christians can know all of that, but stop there; and sort of know it "in theory", but not know it in living, in their lives.  The fundamental core of The Gospel is that Jesus came so that we could become Father's children.  When we begin to live in the identity of being children of God, relating to Father as daddy, it changes everything and is the key to the Christian life.

Now, the other part of the issue of being children to our dad; is that we all have had flawed earthly fathers.  We may have had abusive or neglectful fathers.  We may carry a lot of shame from the affect our sinful father had on us.  We may have had no father.

We all had in common the need for fathering and many of us have unmet needs in that area.  Even if our dad was very nurturing, his mission is actually not to be just a great dad, but to introduce his children to Jesus' Father and mentor, train, or teach them to be 'Abba's child' themselves, through Christ.

I believe that the reason that so much of Christianity (Christendom, if you will) does not work, is that Christians by in large, do not have this experience in their living lives, of walking with Abba, Daddy God.  We have somehow bypassed relationship with Father, as sons and daughters; believing in it, 'out there', 'in theory', but not in practice.

This experience is right there in The Lord's Prayer ("Our Father" for some), when we pray:
Our Father, in heaven
Holy be Your name
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven
Jesus gives us permission to call God, his father, our father!  Jesus trains us to pray that God's kingdom would come, here and now, in this time, in our lives, today; bringing heaven to earth.  Did you catch that?

This is the Christian life, prescribed by Jesus.  God is our father and His kingdom is to come, via the prayers of his, children, on the earth, in their lives.  The Christian life is "Daddy" and "Kingdom".

What if our lives were centered or grew from these two themes?  The Fatherhood of God (He is my daddy) and The Kingdom of God.  What if we lived out of those two places and made that what a Christian is?

We all have had earthly fathers and many men are or will be dads to their children.  Jesus came to heal us of all of our hurts and wounds.  We get to be healed, but we may still carry the scars of a painful or neglectful childhood.

Your dad's dad, your grandpa, may have been a poor father to your dad.  My dad's dad, my grandpa, was away, working, when my dad was a little boy.  Grandpa was a godly man and had to go away to work, in order to provide for my dad and my grandma.  This was during The Depression, in the 1930's.

My dad missed out on being fathered and loved by his daddy when he was little.  Unfortunately, my grandma was not there for him either, because she had severe postpartum depression, when he was a baby and little.  Other family members stepped in and helped and my grandma's dad especially reached out to my dad, for the rest of his life.

I found out later, that my dad's dad, my grandpa, had a very poor father, nurturing-wise.  Many of his siblings had died in infancy and his dad's heart became stone-like and shut off to the children who came afterward.  My grandpa was a the younger child who was on the receiving end of the chill of his dad's unresolved grief.

Despite my dad's lack of nurture from his dad, who had lack of nurture from his dad, he was a good dad, to me, especially when I was a child.  He got it, that being father, was the most important thing he did in his life; and he instilled that in us.

I could tell you story after story about how my dad was there and was involved with us, despite his weaknesses.  He was pretty much never too busy.

This song, below, from 1974, is about being a father and how much our children want time with us.  The song teaches, reminds, and brings up the memories.  It was written as a lesson to learn before it is too late.

Our children pick up our good and bad habits.  They really do want to grow up to be like us and they will.  The words were mostly written by Harry's wife, Sandy, from here observations and witness of fathers and sons and being too busy.

This is a story, a sad story, and it might remind you of your story.  But His story redeems or heals our stories.  Feel it and let Jesus heal it.




The Cat's in the Cradle, by Harry & Sandy Chapin


My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad; come on, let's play
Can you teach me to throw?"
I said, "Not today, I got a lot to do."
He said, "That's okay."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him."

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then, dad
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired, and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then, dad
We're gonna have a good time then."

Searching For Life on This Planet

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”

“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Himand have seen Him.”

“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

“I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth.The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all thingsand remind you of everything I have told you.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.

“Get up; let’s leave this place.

-John 14


Christianity is life in Christ.  It is my life and our lives in Christ.  It is life together in Christ.

Photo: Pixabay
Growing up, in the church, I am not sure I got this.  I could see that there was "church life", that encompassed everything we participated or attended at the building, as well as camps and youth group trips to Disneyland; "family life", was the life in our house and times with relatives and meals out together; and finally, "life in the world", which was school, the neighborhood, sports, and my friendships.

Christ, or my Christianity, was something that I had and took with me, sort of compartmentalized; in the three spheres of life.  For about 18 years, I attended services and Sunday School, youth groups, and music groups.  I even had an older brother in the faith, who took me out to eat and we did things together, yet I never understood about how to open up the compartment of Christ in my life and live from that place.

I am not blaming anyone and if there is blame, it would go on me perhaps, for my own resistance.  Part of my story, is that in the midst of my not getting it and not being trained or learning how to walk with God and be a disciple; perhaps in a weak church culture, without much mentoring that was working for me; God intervened and offered to help me.  But, I said, "no thanks", and things got worse for me, bringing confusion, loneliness, lack of direction, and lack of fulfillment in my life.

I had to go through 12 years of pain, before I surrendered to God, and took Him up on the offer to give up everything and be a disciple.  I realized I had been like the prodigal son.  Since then, I have been learning about living the life.

Along the way, I have grown or cultivated a life with God; something we call our "a secret history with God".  I have also been very enamored with church meetings, big and small.  I know about 10 to 15 minute sermons that are considered perfect in one group and the 60 to 90 minute sermons that are considered the right length in another group.

I know about the benefit of sitting in a circle and everyone getting a chance to share that wants to.  I also know about alter calls and ministry time and even carpet time.  I also know about deliverance, hands on prayer for healing, recovery groups, and about worship being our highest priority.

But the life is grown and lived in life, on the ground, out there.  If and when we "go to church", it is to go to celebrate and share what God has done and is doing in your life, 'out there'.  We come from having been with God, to the fellowship or gathering of the church, to share.

We come to give.  We come to share.  We come to edify one another (tutor, train, guide, enlighten, build up, inform, cultivate, develop, teach).

Even though there are innumerable denominations and expressions or tribes in Christianity, I have been blessed to know and be with a variety of them and have a desire and curiosity to know people in new streams that I have not yet experienced.  I caught God's heart, that He loves the whole church and that sectarianism is a big "no, no", and the "yes" is an opportunity to experience a greater life.

Christianity is life in Christ.  It is my life and our lives in Christ.  It is life together in Christ.

And love leads the way.  This whole thing started with love, God's love.  God loves me and God loves you, then we love one another and invite those that don't know God's love into relationship with God and with us.  That is Christianity.

What about repentance?  What about doing the right thing, living right, or holiness?  Yes.  Love leads the way.

The life is from love, for love, and to love.

We, who are swept off our feet, and begin living in this life of love, in Christ, usually start doing what we call "going to church".  I put the words in quotes, because church really is not something you go to, and there really in not a verse in the New Testament for that.  

The church are the people.  The people are a body and together the bride of Christ.  When we gather, we are the church.  The people, plural, are the church; and the gathering can be anywhere.

We actually need to gather with other Christians and be the church far more often than one, two, or three hours on Sundays.  The problem, for many people is that the gathering, as is, is not satisfying.

Jesus did not hold church services.  That says it all.  Jesus Christ is the model for how to be a Christian and how to live the Christian life.

How does it make sense to be his follower, have his life within us, and even decide to let him live that life through us; but then do that life in a very different way than he did?  We have developed a life style that is based more on custom or tradition than Jesus and his commands.

One exercise might be to go through the gospels and read Jesus words.  Some Bibles have his words in red letters.  Look for his lessons on how to live, how to do life; and look for his commands.

When you do that, you begin to see the blue print, the plan, the way, or the directions for the Christian life.

Jesus' method of teaching was to walk with people and teach them, on the way.  When he gave anything like a sermon, it was often in parable form, which was a story that was like a riddle.  He would often preach, in the streets, the message of "repent, for the kingdom of God has come".  He would also often have healing and deliverance meetings.  And, he did also, as part of what he did, taught in the synagogues.

Teaching in the synagogue, which may or may not have included healing or deliverance ministry and which was sometimes a "hard teaching", or "hard word", that got the people very upset, was not the main thing, but was part of his method.

Jesus' main method was to mentor a small group and minister to people, in life.  His main thing was being "out there, among people".  He took his small group with him and they learned by watching and by question and answer sessions with him after the ministry.

The challenge for us in our time, is to get back to letting Christ live his life through our lives and then being able to call that Christianity.

Christianity is life in Christ.  It is my life and our lives in Christ.  It is life together in Christ.  The life is from love, for love, and to love.




Ramblin' Rose

Her: I am a rose of Sharon,
        a lily found in one of the valleys.
Him: Like a lily among thorns, that is what she is;
        my dear is a captivating beauty among the young women.
Her: My love is like an apple tree in a wooded forest;
        he is a ripe tree among a grove of saplings, those young men.
    I sat beneath his ample shade, filled with such joy.
        I tasted the sweetness of his fruit and longed for more.
    He placed me at his banquet table,
        for everyone to see that his banner over me declares his love.
  -Song of Solomon 2:1-4, The Voice translation

Christians are meant to be Ramblin' Roses.  A Ramblin' Rose is a person who takes life as it comes.  They deal with each challenge, traveling through them.

Photo by: Erin Silversmith, CC BY-SA 3.0
A Ramblin' Rose Christian grows upward or sideways, depending on what structures that her husbandman, Our Father, puts before us.  The Ramblin' Rose Christian is a Wayfarer, like Jesus, on the move.

Christianity is a sending and going lifestyle.  The life is lived in the rambling.  Jesus is the vine from which the Christian grows, and The Father is the gardener.

We all live a life on The Vine of Christ, as Ramblin' Roses.  We were designed to learn "on the road', "on the way".  Disciples learn by hearing and doing, not by hearing and thinking.

The Christian life is grown or matured and made beautiful and fruitful by living, in the wild, of life.  Christianity grows free-range, organic, and wild.  We are in the wild, but under the great care of God.

We need to highly value our lives "out there", or "in the wild".



Ramblin' rose, ramblin' rose
Why you ramble, no one knows
Wild and wind-blown, that's how you've grown
Who can cling to a ramblin' rose?
Ramble on, ramble on
When your ramblin' days are gone
Who will love you with a love true
When your ramblin' days are gone?
Ramblin' rose, ramblin' rose
Why I want you, heaven knows
Though I love you with a love true
Who can cling to a ramblin' rose?
Ramblin' rose, ramblin' rose
Why I want you, heaven knows
Though I love you with a love true
Who can cling to a ramblin' rose?
-"Ramblin' Rose" (1962) by brothers Noel Sherman and Joe Sherman, popularized by Nat King Cole

Singing The Blues is Good For You

“The poor in spirit are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Those who mourn are blessed,
for they will be comforted
.
The gentle are blessed,
for they will inherit the earth.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,
for they will be filled.
The merciful are blessed,
for they will be shown mercy.
The pure in heart are blessed,
for they will see God.
The peacemakers are blessed,
for they will be called sons of God.
Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

-----------------------------------
“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy. In that day you will not ask Me anything.

-----------------------------------

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit:


speaking to one another
in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing and making music
from your heart to the Lord,
giving thanks always for everything
to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
submitting to one another
in the fear of Christ
.


-Matthew 5:3-11, John 16:20-23, Ephesians 5:15-21


Photo: Pixabay
Singing the blues is good for you.  Too many people keep their painful feelings bottled up inside.  We need to sing the blues when we feel sad.

Singing the blues is a way to express your sorrow, your disappointment, and your grief.  We need to get it out and express those feelings to our selves, to God, and to one another.  We let it out so that that we can let it go and let our selves be transformed.

When we let it out, express or share it, offer it up to God, and put it out there to others, even being honest with our selves; we become available to transformation, redemption, and healing.  It may be true that what you do not feel can not be healed.  There is a blessing in expressing.

"Blessed are those who mourn"

Blessed means happy.  But how can mourning be happy?  The happiness of blessed is that you become eligible for God's benefits.

Those who mourn are fortunate to receive God's comfort.  God wants to comfort us, which means to come along side us in our pain.  But we can only get comfort from God, or from others, when we express our mourning. our lament, or our grief.

Singing the blues is good for you, when you sing to God or have God in your song that you sing to yourself or to others.  God is our hope, our salvation, and our redeemer.  When we give it to God, we give him something from us to work with.

When we offer something to God, like sharing our sadness, our disappointments, our fears, our hurt, or our experiences of loss; we give God material to work with.  God is a covenant God who does for us as we are in covenant with him.

A covenant is an on going relationship that is a partnership.  God is the big and powerful, senior partner with us, but we are still in partnership with God, which means that the covenant relationship only works as we cooperate with God.  What I mean is that we must continually and in an ongoing basis, give God access to our hearts, our feelings, our plans, our lives.

God wants to save all of us and help us with everything, but we sometimes deny God access.  We even look away from parts of our selves and do not express them to others, denying parts of our selves to ourselves and to others.  We can have 'split off' parts of ourselves that are suffering, without help, nurture, or comfort from our selves, others, or from God; and not even be in touch with this fact.

But, life's circumstances continually bring opportunities to express the hurt, express the pain, and get in touch with the past griefs and current losses.  Singing the blues is good for you because you can heal what you can feel.  We decide what is seen so that it can be redeemed.

Complaining or grumbling or just venting, is not the same as the true blues of lamenting, grieving, and mourning.  True blues have the sound of a complaint, a grumble or grouse, and a vent.  But the difference is that is is not laced with hateful anger that is condescendingly judgmental condemnation and filled with self-righteous blaming. 

Singing the blues is good for you when you express the truth of your life, your heart, and your situation, to yourself, to God, and to others.  The goodness is the compensation or benefits that God gives you, that is opened up to you when you sing the blues.

Don't forget to collect, find, and use your benefits and compensation.  Singing the blues is not an end in itself, but opens the way for grace, healing, comfort, and communion; with God, with others, and within your self.  Singing the blues brings wholeness.

Go ahead and sing.  There may be some who don't like your song and that is ok.  When you sing, as you sing, and after singing; look for and expect the blessing.

This is a song by Neil Diamond, called Song Sung Blue, that expresses the idea that singing the blues is good for you:

Song sung blue
Everybody knows one
Song sung blue
Every garden grows one
Me and you are subject to the blues now and then
But when you take the blues and make a song
You sing them out again
Sing them out again
Song sung blue
Weeping like a willow
Song sung blue
Sleeping on my pillow
Funny thing, but you can sing it with a cry in your voice
And before you know, start to feeling good
You simply got no choice
Song sung blue
Everybody knows one
Song sung blue
Every garden grows one

Adventure - My Word for 2016

2016 is a year of adventure.

Adventure is defined as (1):
  • an exciting or very unusual experience. 
  • participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises.
Photo: Pixabay
The root, etymological, or historical meaning of adventure is, "to take a chance".  Ad means "to" and venture means "risky undertaking".  A venture is a place of fortune and chance.

Adventure means "a thing about to happen, come to, reach, or arrive at".  Adventure can involve risk and danger and be a trial of one's chances, or be a perilous undertaking.  Adventure may also mean a novel or exciting incident, a wonder, a miracle, or accounts of marvelous things (2).

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
  • A mercantile or speculative enterprise of hazard; a venture; a shipment by a merchant on his own account.
  • A remarkable occurrence; a striking event; a stirring incident; as, the adventures of one's life.
  • Risk; danger; peril.
  • That which happens without design; chance; hazard; hap; hence, chance of danger or loss.
  • The encountering of risks; hazardous and striking enterprise; a bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, and the issue is staked upon unforeseen events; a daring feat.
  •  To risk, or hazard; jeopardy; to venture.
  •  To try the chance; to take the risk.
  •  To venture upon; to run the risk of; to dare.


Synonyms for Adventure (3):
  • enterprise
  • escapade
  • venture
  • risk
  • chance
  • undertaking
  • experience
  • feat
  • exploit
  • happening
  • occurrence
  • deed
  • event
  • incident
  • endeavor
  • fortuity
  • quest
  • fortune
  • happenstance
  • journey
  • passage
  • pilgrimage
  • attempt
  • campaign
  • engagement
  • excitement
  • fun
  • initiative
  • mission
  • opportunity
  • pursuit
  • tour de force
  • transaction
  • trip
  • accomplishment
  • achievement
  • activity
  • chronicles
  • crossing
  • encounter
  • migration
  • outing
  • trip
Antonyms for adventure:
  • avoidance
  • inaction
  • inertia
  • passiveness
  • boredom
  • latency
  • abstention
  • certainty
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1.WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
2..Online Etymology Dictionary
3. Power Thesaurus

People Who Promote You For Themselves in Shame

Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and moved him to Mahanaim.  He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin—over all Israel.
2 Samuel 2:8-9

Have you ever been in a situation where there is personal ambition and competition that got ugly?  Everyone is ambitious and we are all competitive.  But, certain people are so ambitious and competitive, that they behave in immoral, unethical, anti-social, deviant, or psychopathic ways with others, to get what they want.

The account here says that Abner made Ish-bosheth king.  Sounds sort of good.  Abner might have been the most powerful figure on the 'Saul side'.

Unfortunately, the 'Saul side' is the wrong side.  We know that God wanted David.  But from a worldly perspective, it was Ish-bosheth's turn and Abner knew that.

Because Ish-bosheth did not get it about David and stepped up into a kingship that was not his, there would be civil war, with a lot of blood spilled (2 Sam. 3:1).  Abner openly took a step, to show just how deep his lust for power and contempt for Ish-bosheth and the house of Saul went, when he took Saul's concubine, Rizpah, and slept with her (2. Sam. 3:6-7).  In his weakness, Ish-bosheth, did nothing and showed everyone who had the power (2 Sam. 3:11).

Abner and Ish-bosheth will both be killed in 2 years.

What is the lesson here?

  • Be careful about taking a promotion that is not from the Lord.  God does promote us, but in his way and in his time.  
  • Sometimes in hierarchies, there is someone without the title who has the power and feels entitled to that power.
  • Beware of people in powerful positions who lack Christ's character.
  • Be careful not to yoke yourself to someone 'unequally' (2. Cor. 6:14).
  • Being ambitious is good, but selfish ambition, where we run over other people is wrong (Phil. 2:3-4).


Ish-bosheth's name means, 'man of shame'.  Abner was shameful, in what he did, as was Saul.  At the very least, Ish-bosheth bore their shame and acted out on it.

From the little we know about Ish-bosheth, we can say that he had low self-esteem.  He was weak and might have even been a coward.  Yet, he took the throne, in the midst of a violent warrior culture.

Picture: Pixabay

The consensus opinion in the psychology/counseling/recovery community seems to be that shame is usually and commonly the result of lack of nurture in childhood.  We were not loved for who we are.  Our caregivers did crazy stuff, abused us, or neglected us; all resulting in the lack of nurturing of our authentic selves.  That is shame, in a nut-shell.

Folks who have this inner shame feel a 'badness' ("I am bad"), or even self-hate.  Many times, it is sub-conscious.  Either way, low self-esteem is the result and inauthentic, dysfunctional behavior patterns are developed and lived out; that are all the result of a self that was not loved unconditionally, that is off kilter and trying to "fake it to make it" as a survival mechanism.

But, at some point, we encounter the Love of God, the Father's affection, the Love of Jesus, and the loving comfort of the Holy Spirit, that is real.  Then begins our journey to wholeness, our awakening to unconditional love.

In regards to promotion or getting something you want, there is a saying that goes something like, "Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it".  The lesson is to be wise, be considerate, take consideration, look at the big picture, and count the cost before you take the job, the promotion, or get involved with a person.

Imagine being ushered into power by someone.  If someone tries to make you king, you should have a 'red flag' go off for you.  No man made David king.



Stages of Life

Pahath-moab’s descendants: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh.
-Ezra 10:30

Photo: Pixabay
I like what each of these sons of Pahath-moab's names mean.  These eight names might say something about stages in the Christian life.  These stages build upon each other, but are non-linear.

  1. Adana: great pleasure, luxuriating.  The new birth starts with great joy and pleasure in our becoming children of God.  Being loved is the foundation that the whole Christian life is built upon.                                                                                                                                                 
  2. Chelal: bride.  We are the bride of Christ.  We are married to Him in a covenant relationship, living under his headship and care.  We have given up all for him and he takes care of us as our husband.  We have deep intimacy with the Lord, letting him in on everything in our lives.                    
  3. Benaiah: Yah has built up.  As Father's children and the bride of Christ, our lives are houses that he builds.  The Holy Spirit builds every Christian into being like Christ.  The grace is for building and we are built on God's love in Christ.                                                                                                             
  4. Maaseiah: work of Yah:  The love, the betrothal, and God's building of us, results in God's works in our lives.  We are saved unto good works.  We join in the work that the Father is doing on the earth, just as Jesus did.  His work is not a religion, but a story of reconciliation through love.                                                                                                                                    
  5. Mattaniah: gift of Yah:  We are all supposed to have 'great commission lives'.  We live in the joy of our salvation and luxuriate in the Love of Father.  We are the bride of Christ and are betrothed to him in and leave all to be his beloved.  The Lord builds us as his workmanship, poems of his own design.  Then, we join in on the work in the world, that the Father is doing.  This is articulated by Jesus' words: "As the Father sent me, so I send you".  He is God's gift of love to this world and we are Christ's gift as well.  He sends us on his mission.  We see our lives as gifts, designed by God, for his glory in the world.  Every Christian has a destiny to fulfill that is a gift from the Lord.                                                                                            
  6. Bezalel: in the shadow (protection) of God:  The life is lived out under God.  God is a powerful presence in the life of every believer, empowering, comforting, and protecting each one.  Every believer has as their birth right an inheritance of being filled with the Spirit of God.  Every believer has access to God's presence.  He is with us during joy and sorrow.  Every believer needs to practice on how to abide in the presence of God because we have been born into a time of war.  Every believer needs the protection of God and as warriors, needs to get trained in all the defensive positioning and weaponry for the fight that we are in.  We need to learn about how to abide in the shadow of the almighty.                                                                                                       
  7. Binnui: built up or builder:  The goal of life is to be built by God.  The Lord builds the house of our life and Jesus builds his church.  When we have maturity, we are builders ourselves, because we have got the blueprint assimilated into us.  The one whom the Lord has built is built and now can multiply, passing on the foundational life from God.                                                     
  8. Manasseh: causing to forget:  There is no retirement in the Christian life.  Some people have opined that when you cease working or cease having meaningful service in your life, you will soon die.  Some people become disabled and can not work or serve, but they can still fully enjoy and engage in meaningful relationships.  The forgetfulness that is from God is an afterglow, that comes after the previous seven stages have flowed in your life.  All kinds of hardships are part and parcel to our lives, but God gives us grace, greater grace than all the sinfulness and suffering in the world.  If Jesus had Judas and all the opposition, we might suffer betrayal and persecution as well.  But God can bring us more grace and overwhelm the sorrows as to cause us to forget them.  This is not triumphalism, but redemption.

God is a Warrior and My Refuge

God, hear my voice when I complain:

  • Protect my life 
    • from the terror of the enemy.
  • Hide me 
    • from the scheming of wicked people, 
    • from the mob of evildoers, 
      • who sharpen their tongues like swords and aim bitter words like arrows, shooting from concealed places at the innocent.  
        • They shoot at him suddenly and are not afraid.  
        • They encourage each other in an evil plan; 
          • they talk about hiding traps and say,
            • “Who will see them?”
          • They devise crimes and say, 
            • “We have perfected a secret plan.”
        • The inner man and the heart are mysterious.
      • But God will shoot them with arrows;
        • suddenly, they will be wounded.
        • They will be made to stumble; 
        • their own tongues work against them.  
        • All who see them will shake their heads.
          • Then everyone will fear
          • and will tell about God’s work,
          • for they will understand what He has done.
The righteous one rejoices in the Lord and takes refuge in Him; all those who are upright in heart will offer praise.
-Psalm 64

Photo: Pixabay
Did you know that God will ambush your enemy?  Our enemy is the group of demonic forces pitted against us.  

Evil ones, the demonic and people under demonic inspiration, love to trash talk and spew venom with words.  Cursing is their forte.  If you ever hear cursing, you can bet that hell is inspiring it.
"evildoers, who sharpen their tongues like swords and aim bitter words like arrows,
shooting from concealed places at the innocent.
They shoot at him suddenly and are not afraid."
The Bible has a lot of information about curses.  Cursing is one of the common practices of the enemy and those who speak for the enemy.  Yes, the enemy has 'curse meetings', 'curse groups', and 'curse warriors'.

They also plan out and set traps for people.  They devise wicked plans.  Diabolical is a word that describes evil plans inspired by the evil ones.

Their goal is to kill and destroy.  They do all sorts of evil mischief and their siege is designed to terrorize.  If they can not kill us, they want us to feel impending doom.

Many people do not know about their enemy.  David get's it.  Whoever David is writing about, he describes them as devising evil, secret plans.

Did you notice that this is a complaint?  We go to a judge on earth with a complaint, when we have been wronged, and we go to God with a complaint against our enemy.  This is righteous complaining.

Unrighteous complaining is grumbling, grousing, and judging.  Babies and little children complain.  Men and women are not supposed to complain.  Complaining is not a tool, in the adult tool box, for building your life. 

David writes prophetically, or as someone with seasoned wisdom about God:  That God will, without warning, ambush the enemy.  This falls into the category of, 'the suddenlies of God'.  David knows God is watching and God will suddenly, without warning, move violently against his enemies.

David, facing warfare, calls out to God; and he knows God is faithful to war against the enemy.  We need to know this too.  We have an enemy, who is also God's enemy; and God fights against this enemy, on our behalf, and receives glory.

David says, that in this thought of the soon coming and on-going ambush of the enemy, the righteous one rejoices and takes refuge or puts their trust in the Lord, and all the upright in heart offer praise to God, in light of his actions.

This whole song gives us the lesson that warfare is a reality for God's children and that we can and ought to complain to God about it.  We get deceived into seeing just bad people or just bad stuff and grumbling about it.  We actually have a world under attack and people corrupted by an evil enemy of God.

With the clarity of that seeing or worldview, we get it, and we are not under the deception.  Now, we can pray, trust God, and expect God to ambush the enemy.  We move from begging and petitioning God, to declaring what he will do.

We can pray to God.  This is a powerful prayer and very bad news for the enemy.  Let's pray:

Dear God:
Protect me from the enemy.
Hide and keep me safe from their evil plans.
Shoot them with arrows.
Suddenly wound them.
Make them stumble.
May their own tongues work against them.
Make a spectacle of them for all to see.
So that everyone will fear you.
And talk about what you have done.
And understood that you did it.
We rejoice in you, put our trust in you, and we will continually praise you.

Toward The Lord Are My Eyes

Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah from Pahath-moab’s descendants, and 200 men with him.
-Ezra 8:4

The message here is based on the names in this text, with a note on the number 200.  I believe every verse in the Bible is "preachable" (2 Tim. 3:16), and of course I believe in context and exegetical principles.  I also believe that names are important and numbers mean something sometimes too.  

Photo: Pixabay
I believe that we are people who's eyes are fixed on the Lord.  We are watchers and seers.  Our inheritance is to be people who have eyes to see and follow God.
e-li-e-ho'-e-ni ('elyeho`enay, "to Yahweh are mine eyes")
This is what Eliehoenai means.  Every follower of God has this calling.  Jesus spoke, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Those who have a desire to see God have glimpsed him already.  "Taste and see that the Lord is good", says Psalm 34:8.

The one who has the Lord in his sights, was fathered by the one from who the Lord has risen or come forth, Zerahiah:
zer-a-hi'-a (zerachyah, "Yahweh hath risen" or "come forth"; the Septuagint has Zaraia, with variants)
We who watch and see, were likely fathered by or are living in the inheritance of those who the Lord "rose upon" or "came forth" to.  In other words, we lived and came up under the fruit of a move of God.  We are the descendants of someone.

Pahath-moab, is the "further back" part of the generations.  Generations and family lines are important.

200 can mean great expectancy (10 x 20) or insufficiency.  From "Numbers in Scripture", by E.W. Bullinger:
20 is the double of ten, and may in some cases signify its concentrated meaning. But its significance seems rather to be connected with the fact that it is one short of twenty-one, 21 - 1 = 20; that is to say, if 21 is the three-fold 7, and signifies Divine (3) completion as regards spiritual perfection (7), then twenty, being one short of 21, it would signify what Dr. Milo Mahan calls expectancy, and certainly we are not without illustrations in support of it:
  • Twenty years Jacob waited to get possession of his wives and property, Gen 21:38,41.
  • Twenty years Israel waited for a deliverer from Jabin's oppression, Judg 4:3.
  • Twenty years Israel waited for deliverance through Samson, Judg 15:20, 16:31. But his work was never much more than "begun," Judg 13:25.
  • Twenty years the Ark of the Covenant waited at Kirjath-jearim, 1 Sam 7:2.
  • Twenty years Solomon was waiting for the completion of the two houses, 1 Kings 9:10; 2 Chron 8:1.
  • Twenty years Jerusalem waited between its capture and destruction; and
  • Twenty years Jeremiah prophesied concerning it.

200
Twenty is the number of expectancy as we have seen (p. 262). Here we have it tenfold (20x10).
The significance of this number is suggested by John 6:7, where we read, "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is NOT SUFFICIENT for them."
And so we find this number stamping various things with insufficiency.
  • Achan's 200 shekels were "not sufficient" to save him from the consequences of his sin (Josh 7:21). This shows us the insufficiency of money (Psa 49:7-9).
  • Absalom's 200 shekels weight of hair were "not sufficient" to save him, but rather caused his destruction (2 Sam 14:26, 18:9). This shows us the insufficiency of beauty.
  • Micah's graven image was purchased for 200 shekels (Judg 17:4 and 18), and led to the introduction of idolatry into Israel and the blotting out of the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim from the blessing of Revelation 7, showing usthe insufficiency of mere religion.
  • Ezra's 200 "singing men and women" (Ezra 2:65), were "not sufficient" to produce "peace with God," true spiritual worship, or joy in the Lord. Only God's word rightly ministered can lead to this (Neh 8:5-9). This shows the insufficiency of external things in the worship of God, and the impossibility of worshipping God with the senses. True worship, which alone God will accept, "MUST" (John 4:24) be spiritual.
There is a lesson here to not see sufficiency in our selves, but always see our only sufficiency in the Lord.  There is also a lesson here to live in great expectation of the Lord's coming and the Lord's moving here and now.

We serve a big God, the big God, called The Lord, Yahweh, or Jehovah.  This is the person we have our eyes on, the eyes of our heart.  Watching for, looking, and beholding Him, is our passion.

Looking for what the Father is doing and then following His lead is our inheritance and Jesus way of living (John 5:19-20).  Christians are called to let Christ live through them.  We will live a life where we see what the Father is doing and do that very thing, in the Spirit of Christ.

Our lives in Christ are also careful not to be distracted.  We re-focus our eyes on the Lord every day.  My Lord is one who is worth looking for, taking the time and energy to look for, and then seeing and following.

We live in the paradox of, "I will be with you", and at the same time, waiting for and waiting on God.  A good waiter or servant invests what they have already had deposited in them, and is ready and attentive, while they wait.

God is on the move, but we have to stop, look and wait for his move.  We have great expectation of God.  We also always know we have no sufficiency in our selves.

We have a heritage and a legacy of God, rising up, and coming forth to save and deliver people.  He is doing it and will do it again.  Same God, new move.

God is the most creative person and he does what he does in a new way, a fresh way, His way.  We looking toward the Lord, having no idea what he will do or how we will do it, but believe that he will save, heal, restore, deliver, and love people.

And we get to participate and be his servants in his great ministry.  But we must watch for him and move with him.  Toward the Lord are my eyes always.


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Bibliography:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance by E.W. Bullinger Philologos Edition:  Oct 1601

A Prayer For A Lifetime


The Lord is my rock:
  • My firm foundation, 
  • My solid rock, 
  • My mighty rock, 
  • My protector.
  • You're as real to me as bedrock beneath my feet, 
  • God is bedrock under my feet.


My fortress:

  • My fort, 
  • My strong fortress, 
  • The rock where I am safe,  
  • My forever firm fortress, 
  • Like a castle on a cliff, The castle in which I live.


And my deliverer:

  • My liberator, 
  • My rescuer, 
  • My protector, 
  • My rescuing knight.


My God.

My mountain:

  • My trustworthy defense, 
  • My rock, 
  • My shield, 
  • My protection, 
  • My pathway of escape, 
  • My tower of rescue, 
  • The high crag.


Where I seek refuge:

  • Where I am safe, 
  • Where no one can reach me, 
  • Where I run to for dear life, 
  • Hiding behind the boulders.


My shield:

  • My protector, 
  • My shield, 
  • My secret strength and shield around me.


The horn of my salvation:

  • My strong deliverer, 
  • My salvation's strength, 
  • My powerful weapon, 
  • He defends me, 
  • You are Salvation's Ray of Brightness shining on the hillside, 
  • Safe.


My stronghold:

  • My place of retreat, 
  • My place of safety, 
  • My place of shelter, 
  • Keeps me safe, 
  • Always the Champion of my cause, 
  • The granite hideout.



-Psalm 18:2

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Photo above: Pixabay

Translations used:

  • HCSB
  • The Psalms For Today (R. K. Harrison)
  • CEB
  • CEV
  • GNT
  • TPT
  • MSG