Beloved Whip

My children Leroy, Shukurani and I have been studying the journey of the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan and learning some real tough lessons especially about the righteous requirements of God’s people. There are days when we have sat perplexed at The Hand of God, His Discipline Hand, meted on those He had loved out of bondage and was lovingly but firmly leading to a place of extreme blessing. ‘Its too hard Lord! Aren’t You being overly zealous with that one? And sometimes even, so what wrong did they do in that situation? Weren’t they right? How were they to know LORD God that You were thinking differently about this particular case than in the other case?‘ Yet, despite all of this, speaking for myself at least, my awe, my respect and my love for God has been built simply by knowing that He is specific in the way He wants our love for Him to be manifested.

We are in 1 Samuel now, and my awe increases…the Ark of Agreement has been captured and we were giggling about the tumors of the cities in which it was held captive. Uneasy giggles…not really wanting to be on the offense against our Holy and Awesome God. We see ourselves constantly in God’s people, and okay, again speaking for myself, every time they fall and God deals with them, I too have felt the sting of His Loving Hand of Discipline. I am learning that following God is not a part time occupation…I don’t decide when its convenient for me to obey Him and then put off obeying Him until He puts things into perspective for me. I obey. Even when it breaks and perplexes, I am called to obey. Simple truth but difficult to live out.

So we are again back to the woes of the Philistines, their idols that fell on their faces before the Ark of Agreement, the tumors that plunged their cities into death’s abyss…and this time, from the enemy of God’s people I learn a real lesson. God used them as a cane, a whip by which He punished the idolatry of His people. His people who had forgotten that they could only live their best lives in direct relevance to Him. They forgot. So God raised His Loving and Discipline Hand and the whip He held in there was Philistine. And it’s landing is accurate. And Philistine went rejoicing…thinking perhaps that in winning one battle against God’s people, in proving to all and sundry that the Hebrews were at that point outside the favor of God, that they had won God from the Israelites. They took the Ark and presumed that they had taken away Israels God.Until He begins to raise His Hand at them as well…and His Presence in their irreverent atmosphere, begins to bit and breed tumors. You see, God’s Standards do not change with latitude or longitude…He hates sin the same, wherever it is committed.

ImageMy mind goes back to my parent’s rod while I was growing up. My mother’s actually. You would be sent out to get a stick and each step towards finding the ‘perfect instrument’ to tear out your sin from you was both torturous and educational. I would pluck several sticks because I knew my mother would throw out the thinner ones…and after discipline was meted, I remembered that she ALWAYS did this one thing: she broke the stick that she had used to spank me and THREW IT AWAY. Perhaps…just in case the stick got it into its mindless self, that because it had been used to discipline me, that it had perhaps taken my place as my parent’s beloved child. I cant remember even once, finding my mother or father, lovingly stroking the cane with which they had spanked me. NOT EVEN ONCE. And yet…

How often as a beloved whip in the Hand of God have I felt that God’s disciplining of His other child through me gave me a superior edge over them [ahem…you can probably tell, that God is really working on my pride lately…floodlights all out on it]? When I hear others both within and outside the house of God gleefully declare the faults of a child of God, as though they found treasure that would cure their poverty of soul, I find it truly disturbing. I knew it was wrong because God talks about it in His Word. “Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles or is overthrown, Lest the Lord see it and it be evil in His eyes and displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him [to expend it upon you, the worse offender].” Proverbs 24:17-18

He tells us how to correct each other – GENTLY. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. We are not to enjoy the fall of our brethren and their discipline, because God does not.  Prophet and Judge Samuel did not become King after being sent to rebuke Saul for forgetting his place in God and to relay God’s demotion of him in Heaven’s eyes.  Prophet Nathan did not get any of King David’s accolades as a God-centered victorious warrior King after being sent to pronounce God’s judgment on him, when he stole a humble man’s wife. And speaking of King David, I hope we all know that in defeating Goliath, he did not become a Philistine champion but an Israelite one, right? We DO NOT  inherit any of the gains made by our brethren while they are walking well with God, when we are sent to rebuke them for walking away from Him. You are given your own trophy – not theirs. A trophy for your attitude of love and a sincere desire to see your brethren restored back to God…but when you go in as an enemy of God and an enemy of His people, do not expect a hug after.

Blessed week.

Fret Free

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man, that He should change His mind.” NIV
“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”NKJV
1 Samuel 15:29
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make itgood?” Numbers 23:19

I found out just yesterday, that the name ‘Israel’ means ‘one governed by God’.
Therefore, if you ARE Governed by God, Who is both your Glory and Strength, know FOR SURE, that regarding the word He has sent to you, He will neither relent nor change His Mind, but make it good. Trust Him…no matter how it looks today. Today we commemorate His dying, much like the dying of that hope you have held in your heart for so long. BUT KNOW FOR SURE, that there is a RESURRECTION shortly after. TRUST GOD. He has said in Isaiah 55:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

He does not just speak for the sake of it…

Week of Passion…and Possible Divorce

First week of April. 2012.  In my mind – the fourth of twelve days.  

The last week of March had been both harrowing and victorious. The victory had been in the joyful and unabated Pilgrim-ing despite the strong winds trying to push me down, backward. There were days when the unbelief was so strong, I was sure I would die from it. In those two weeks I have heard both snide and gentle voices telling me how hopeless my course in God was, and that I needed to go back and do the ‘normal’ thing like other normal people. Standing out was too much of a challenge, and not just to me. It disturbed their peace…and their peace was what was important. Not God, not my eternal destiny, nor the destiny of my family, and definitely not the work of God. Over and over I heard the voices echoed now in my own mind, and many mornings and nights, I went to sleep and woke up almost believing them. 

So God woke me up this morning…and gently whispered, “Vip I want you to remember what week this is. It is a week of passion, but it could also be a week of divorce.” Interesting. This week is one in which we are reminded of God’s ultimate Passion for you and for me. A week of Love at its best. A giving love that basically turned Himself inside out to show you that there was nothing held back.

But. But there were other things about this week; things that replay themselves today in the lives of many of us who truly love Him. It was the week that one of His twelve best friends and constant companions chose money over Him. Tell me, has money or the lack of it judged you as wanting in the last few days? Have your loved ones turned their backs on you, possibly because an association with you offers no prospect of financial growth? Have your loved ones given your place in their lives to someone else for the glitter and glory this someone else would shine on their lives that you dont? Dont let it preoccupy you unnecessarily – their very action will catalyse for you a series of events that may initially seem harmful to you, but will ultimately lead to greater regard for you. Much greater than you could dare to hope for or imagine. As for their destiny, and the glow promised by their new associations, and their slight but shortlived advancement, dwell a little on Judas’ end. I hope it will inspire compassion in you, to reach out and prevent them from ending up like him. Its God’s way – Love’s way. 

Of the huge gang at dinner, to the three sleeping friends a distance from the praying Jesus, to the one who followed from a distance but ultimately denied Him thrice, it looks like Jesus’ social circle – the inner circle, thinned significantly as He faced His defining moment. Many hurt for Him, but virtually none is recorded as having valiantly and convincingly stood up for Him. He was on His own. Three years of irrefutable demonstrations of His Lordship over the elements, and His love for His friends and the world He created – and the closest to Him at this defining moment were the jeering crowds, the rough soldiers, and a man compelled to help Him carry His cross the rest of the narrowing way because he just happened to be watching from the crowds. Where are your friends and family this week? You are blessed if you can answer my question jubilantly. But for you who are facing your calvaries, you probably know where Christ was this day. You have done all for them, laid down your life and dignity, stood by them as friends when others wondered how you could allow them into your inner circle…and now it seems that your critics knew your loved ones better than you. They are nowhere near you. You and I know, that here, you cant really change course, your end is determined for you. A wo/man needs his/her friends around them on days like these.

 Whats going on with Jesus’ friends? They had thought He was impervious, and yet here He was more than touched and bruised by mere men. They had thought He had the ability to know what is in people’s minds; but here He was, betrayed by one of His own friends. They had seen Him walk through hostile crowds unharmed, but here He was naked, beaten, bleeding and crowned with thorns; at the mercy of those that could not reach Him. How did this fit into the faith they had held, that He, Son of David was their source of liberty? Three years away from their careers, knowing that He was the driver of Glory Train, leading them on a one way track to Glory Land. How did a cross on His back help them now? Was this what they had given up everything for? Dont tell me you dont feel like this sometimes. Especially if you have been called out to serve Him. You have lost everything, and hoped to gain everything more from Him. And yet, He seems defeated, vulnerable, you have seen your enemies and His take on the upper Hand over Him. You are dissapointed, heart broken, friend of God, bride of Christ, is thinking of a way to secretly divorce Him, just like Joseph had hoped to – on noticing Mary’s pregnancy. You are tired. You have prayed. You have seen Him do it for others, and yet the closer you leaned towards Him, the more naked you felt. You cant quite put into words what you expected from Him…but this was not it. You are going to lie low for a while, think up a story  to explain the three year gap in your Resume. And then you are going to get your old job and old friends back. By the end of the week.

  But if only you were able to see Sunday from today, next Monday too. If you were able to watch this from God’s Heart and Mind, you would see the depth of Passion, the abandon defined by this week. Beyond the horror of it, would you see the powerful, gentle, pure, unabated, unyielding, forceful, love gushing your way? Re-defining you as LOVEABLE. Would you realize that this was the only way possible for you to ride on Glory Train to the real Glory Land? You cannot give up now? You cannot go back to your old haunts. Sunday is coming. Its Ressurection day. And the promise lives on from Isaiah 35.

And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

 A reminder…There is a Sunday coming, and a Monday. And in those days, you will look back at today…and know for sure, that you have been loved thoroughly, through a Week of Passion.


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