Deciding Tears

Was reading Judges 19-21 wishing I wasn’t all the while that I was. For me, its hands down, the most terrible story in the Bible. Remember the one about the Levite and his concubine? Always leaves me…in another not so good place… for days after I read it.
Anyway, I learnt from it how a single decision, a deeply personal decision, can affect a nation – in devastating ways. Without giving all the details, so the story goes, a woman decides her lover is not enough for her, finds another then takes off home to her Daddy. Her lover, a priest decides that he cannot live without her, leaves his duty post and goes off to woe her. The woman softens her stance and decides to take the priest – her lover – to meet her daddy. Her daddy decides he really likes this one…and decides to keep him for a few days – longer than the priest planned to stay, since he has a job to return to. On the fifth day, the priest decides to break free from his darling’s daddy’s manipulation and return home late in the afternoon. Home is not close by, so the priest decides to take refuge among those like himself – it would be too dangerous to find lodging among those unlike himself. After hanging out in the Quad for some time, an old man takes pity on him especially upon learning that the priest is from his original home, and decides to take the priest, his wife, his servant and two donkeys home with him.
Some time in the night, some young men decide the priest is too irresistible a guest not to be intimately partaken of – in a sexual way. They howl at the old man’s door and finally the priest’s resolve breaks…and he…throws out the woman he has gone through extended leave to bring back home. He decides it is better her than him…and the men glut on her…internally break her to pieces. She decides to crawl back to the old man’s house and dies face down with one arm penitently stretched into the threshold of the house. Her lover, the priest, decides to take off from this place as early as he can, but has to step over her to get onto his donkey – he decides to finish the journey with her body. Back home, not at work, he decides to break her remains into twelve parts and send this to the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel decides to come to him, to find out why. The priest tweaks his story a little, he decides to, so that the villains do not include him, but are those lustful sons of Benjamin…. Benjamin decides not to release the criminals…after all they are a super power unto themselves and can take on the nations of Israel single-handedly. They after all posses the war personnel to shame all warriors, and it was possibly against their national policy to surrender their nationals to those who are not Benjamin…even when they had committed crimes against humanity.
Well – God saw one of His little girls die…took into account her last moments and decides to arise – The Avenger, the Man of War…God The Just Judge…nothing escapes Him. Before the week is over, about 90,000 of a nation’s best warriors are in eternity. And they are not just from the offending tribe’s side. A daughter of Israel died. More than this, an entire tribe is wiped out leaving just 600 hiding behind a rock. Israel mourns one of their own…and decide to rebuild that tribe. 600 young women are not asked whether they would choose to participate in this ‘noble’ endeavor…a town is wiped out of all its inhabitants save 400 ‘useful’ virgins. 200 hundred others are basically kidnapped as they dance at a religious festival. Decisions were made by their kinsmen…and they are the ‘clean-up team’. For life. They did well…Israel’s first king came from these chaos and ashes. Because in their day, Israel had no king, and everyone did as they chose to.
May my one decision, a breath at a time, always Lord, be an echo of Your Wisdom, and birth Healing, Life, Resurrection, Order, Peace…produce what is like You. Shalom.
vipslit@yahoo.ca
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Zoar and Ishmael

Its been a year and more since God started speaking to me about this move. I believe Him, just that I keep looking, like all those that God has ever spoken to about a move…I have looked at myself and seen all the ways in which I am flawed, I fall short and wondered…

So I did what I could, and then waited. Heart beating so fast, it wore me out. So I settled back into the status quo. Into the shame of stagnation. Choosing to the endure the scorn from those who knew…who had heard from me what God said He would do for me and mine, rather than risk being disappointed by God. I add this latest one, to all the rest I have heaped in a treasure box…knowing that God speaks to me…but wondering if the characteristic of His Words, that they never go back to Him void, applies to the ones He speaks to me. But then, that would make God – The Truth a liar wouldn’t it? And that is an impossibility if ever there was one.

So then God begins to gently lead me through Genesis – from chapter 1, and Deuteronomy 1-2. I am now on Chapter 19 and am so trembling at His Word and His Mind. He is tough about the things He says. When we think we can advice Him better on how to navigate through a seemingly complex plan of His, He demonstrates otherwise. And don’t I know it…this laps around this stagnant mount have worn me and mine out.

Its true, I haven’t heard from Him the ‘where’ of the move. But I have heard the urgency of His call to get up and get going. I don’t yet know the ‘how’, and yet I know its urgent. So this morning again, this early afternoon, His words break me again. I hunger for His direction. I feel guilty, condemned, that I have failed Him. That I am still here, when He wills for me to me to be elsewhere. Then just like that, He sends two words “No Condemnation.”

I realize that its no longer up to me. This is His thing…it has to be. He has put me to sleep, so to speak, as He did Abraham – made me incapable of doing anything about this lest I taint it with flesh. He reminds me of Ishmael – Abraham’s work. He reminds me of Zoar – Lot’s work. The choices they made, that am not immune to making over my own navigation to perfect faith in Him. Choices that frustrate us, that complicate what is already beyond human abilities. Let this not be my story again – for it has been in other areas of my life.

‘No Condemnation.’ Amazing Grace. He has made and effected His covenant all by Himself. All He needed from me, was my willingness. I can trust Him with this. When its time, He will override all my hesitations and lead me to His chosen sanctuary for me and mine. A sanctuary where His Will is effected on earth as it is in Heaven. A copy of Heaven. And I cannot wait to finally enter into all that He has for me, everything, but especially – an walk and fellowship with God Almighty that is uninterrupted by bouts of doubt and resistance from my end, accompanied by a cheap, weak patchwork of human activity hanging grotesquely against the excellence of His priceless work; because His Mind, Heart and Words are as He says them, beyond my wildest imaginings and greatest wisdom…as they should be.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Stories That Never End

I was in prayer on Wednesday morning and was led to read Genesis 19 – the story about the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah. I was left  with a bad feeling in my spirit as I wondered at God’s message in this.
 
This thing about town’s men gathering at one’s door to try and rape your visitors (who unknown to them are angels); a father so appalled at this show that he offers them his two virgin daughters instead (thank God they declined); the exodus of a family comprising individuals who had the previous day probably dreamt of stability in marriage but ended up as singles because their intended spouses would not believe the urgent warning about the impending doom and got caught up in it, and a wife who just had to have a last look; a righteous man who took to the bottle and ended up being the victim of rape by his virgin daughters so that they could raise for him descendants, descendants who end up as enemies of God’s people… Honestly, this story of God’s triumphant deliverance of Lot’s family read more like a tragedy.
 
Until God reminded me of something – nothing in life is linear…not really, not permanently. Something can be terrible, tragic, catastrophic – but ultimately God turns it around for good. Lot sired a son by his daughter called Moab…he became a nation, and from this nation returned Ruth the Moabites, to Israel as the virtuous wife of Boaz. She became mother of Obed, who was David’s grandfather…and the line of David is that through which Christ Jesus was reckoned. An eternal Kingdom line.
 
First, from the attack on the angels by the townsmen, I learn that God is able to defend His messengers. It doesn’t matter how many attack them, how close they are to accomplishing their evil mission, God remains in control. I never cease to be amazed by God’s ability to turn a messy beginning, or messy process, into something beautiful…something eternal, something Him. That when He defines someone a certain way – even when it doesn’t remotely resemble the current issue, He to Whom all wisdom belongs knows what He is talking about.
Our stories, have other chapters…
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Merry Seasonal Divorces

The ‘season to be merry’ can sometimes be the season where ‘Joseph is quietly planning to put Mary away’. Not kill her, although it feels like it, but to divorce her or act like he is not married or in a relationship with her. And the pendulum swings the other way too. Mary may have found a good reason to leave Joseph as well. It looks sometimes like ‘merry’ can be with someone else, and impossible with ‘your regular’. Your heart, your esteem gets tired of being thrown around…or of being associated with someone who does not seem to look like ‘Christmas Lights’ no matter what angle you dim your eyes, your perspective to view them with… God knows you have tried. So does the devil, and he in particular has this particular knack of sliding someone ‘better’ between the cracks of your disillusionment and heartbreak. Greener grass so to speak…That total male or female that always made your nerve endings go ‘giddiyup’ is suddenly looking your way, and looking really, totally, delicious in the oasis kind of way…hmmm.
 
Hmm, a lot of my friends are celebrating marriage anniversaries this month and in the next. And sometimes when they drop the numbers…I look at them with new respect… “How did you do it?” No matter how cosy a couple look together, especially when they look cosy and have been married or together a while…they have been tested…severely so. They deserve a trophy for keeping on, a badge…am humbled by them. They stood. Ok, some are perpetual strays but they have a life-mate who is sturdy, home – stays put…and to these warriors, I want to be around, a witness when God makes His pronouncement about your life and faithfulness to your post – it will be worth it.
 
So if the devil is trying to teach your sturdy heart a lesson or two on being a stray…[truth is, with the spouse you have now, no one who knows the ‘whole story’ would blame you for taking a short stroll in the park] I wont tell you not to follow your heart or your nerve tips…I will just share a word that my great friend shared with me this morning that got me rushing back to post…
 
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
 
and this one is from me to you
 
“You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.” Ecclesiastes 11:9
vipslit@yahoo.ca

So…Are You Married? Really?

What unmake’s/invalidates a marriage? What is marriage? What is it that defines it in such a way that it does not matter what or where you come from, makes it still true? If the nation in which you live in, God forbid, was declared a non-state by those who claim the rights and ability to do so; if the policy context under which you married was drastically changed; if the religious institution which declared you married was in some way nullified or if it no longer held true for you; if the symbols of the legality of your union according to the culture by which you live were lost or destroyed in some way; if the authorities and witnesses – all of them – that authenticated your marriage were declared of unsound mind or lost their lives or were no longer relevant to you- or changed their minds/testimony about the validity of your union; what if one or both of you felt they made a mistake and no longer believed and lived in the honor of that union? Would you still be married? Is it possible for one to be married legally in one context and yet be illegal in another? What if you do not have any of the above in the first place? What/Who makes or unmakes a marriage?

BACK TO THE FIRST MARRIAGE RECORDED IN THE BIBLE – BACK TO EDEN: “Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.” Genesis 2

On Being A Secret

More often than not, we only want to remain a secret in our relationships, when our intentions are to selfish. “its ok, you are my sister/mother/wife/colleague/friend/in-law, but don’t let anyone else know…its not their business.” Most of us are hurt when it is demanded of us, to keep the fact of association…to remain ‘a secret’ by those we are related to, married to, work with, our friends and sometimes even our neighbors. It denotes a level of rejection that sears continually…it says in precise terms “I am ashamed to be associated with you, and would not like others to know of the fact.”

rejectedThose who demand this of you, shame you for acknowledging them publicly, for not wanting to be a secret anymore – but they would probably die first, before allowing themselves to be likewise hidden by those they hold in high esteem. I am sad to acknowledge that to very many, I am a secret…but not to God who understands this pain. And interestingly allows me, by example, to disassociate from those who do not wish to be identified with me…even though I still love, pray and long for them.

I agonized last night before God, asking Him, ‘Father, when the Morning Light comes, in the Magnificent Assembly and when we stand where all secrets are revealed before the nations, who will You say I am to You? Will it be what I believe I am to You?’ He heard me…He reminded me, that I am openly and to His pride, His Lover, Bride, Family, Friend, Employee, Kingdom-mate….He is not my Secret…and am not His. Is He yours?538719997_0e94c9b29a

vipslit@yahoo.ca

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Christ Jesus in Luke 9:26 and Mark 8:38

“But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before My Father in heaven.” Christ Jesus in Mathew 10:33 an Luke 12:9

Learning from our Beloved, How to Best Love Them

If you recently saw me in town, and I seemed to be jogging on high wedges, and talking to myself as I did so, do not worry…I am not unwell, I am just growing up. I don’t know what to feel as I write this. Being in a relationship sometimes does that to you. If you let it.

PigeonsA relationship brings with it certain expectations. For those of us who have waited long for God’s promise to manifest, with regard to a spouse, the disappointment is magnified when God presents someone, whispers to you his or her name and says – “…this one is for you, ‘To Have and To Hold’. “ And you cannot stop thinking out loud “Lord are You SURE!!!! S/he is not what I thought my prayers have earned me ;). I definitely do not measure up, but then again, neither do they? How can this be?” Make’s me wonder just what exactly we thought the answer to our prayers would be like. That happened to me last year. And the issues it presented just showed me how  grossly unprepared I was…ahem…still am, for the grown up race of being in a serious and committed fellowship.

So then I find that the scripture ‘Can two walk together unless they have agreed?’ rings true in canal as well as supernatural matters. I used to be athletic…but, well, lets just say that these days, my steps are more carefully determined and taken. He, my sweetheart, is still given to covering distances in huge gulps…and my heart rate cannot handle it. When he will not slow down to keep in step with me, I feel rejected…I interpret it to mean that,somehow, he is ashamed of being seen with me. And then, he has never, in my presence, introduced me to ANYONE  as his woman. It’s always  something else, with ‘my neighbor and my friend”, topping the scales [Ok…I confess, I refer to him as my Bible Study and Prayer Partner to retaliate…but hey, he started this ;)]. Biblically beautiful terms, powerful terms…but vague and easy to misinterpret. And again, I prefer other terms…like ‘Love of my life’ etc etc. I so understand him – which annoys me further. You see, we ARE  an odd couple…but I am learning that the best couples are odd…unexpected…like God strikes His Paintbrush to startle us out of the status quo…by making something out of what was not there before.  Genesis 1 …the very beginning of God’s Word tells us that this is God’s favorite Modus Operandi.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

 The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face

of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface

of the water. 

 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 

 God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light

from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness

He called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning,

one day.”

Genesis 1:1-5

lovers-1280x800God makes something, and even though it appears to be disorderly, His Spirit still covers His Work of art. I can never read this without being struck by how ‘Artsy’ this beginning is…it seems as though God just happened to make something beautiful because of the beauty that is Him. I hope you understand that last sentence…am trying to. So am patiently waiting for God to work, particularly in me, so that I am upgraded to something He considers good in this relationship and in others as well.  Not one day but ONE FLESH. But I digress from the title…let me go back.

Being introduced by, and walking with my sweetheart in particular, has really helped me understand what God means when He defines the parameters by which He, not others, defines my relationship with Him. How do I introduce God to others, in relation to myself? Do my words capture the true state of our association? What about how I act towards Him? Not that this is an accurate measuring rod for my friendship with God, but if someone were watching my walk with God – even casually, would s/he think ‘they are soo together?’ or would they wonder if the world has become populated by people so lonely that they talk to themselves for seeing two in the space of 10-15 meters who seem to be having a deep and animated discussion with themselves? [You can feel my frustration by now right?] Does God have to go through the agony of controlling His Jealousy when He watches me bond with others in the way I should be with Him more naturally? Do others slander God, or me, for the way I have related with Him? Do they judge Him adversely because of the way I have presented Him to them? When I don’t understand something He is saying or doing, and I comment out of my ignorance, how many people have I misled into dismissing him as a potential ‘Eternal Husband’ for me and for themselves?

I have understood in these questions and challenges, that God has made me intricately in His image. That if I am able to face my own disillusionment with my canal relationships, then I may just be able to face His disappointment as He relates with me. So then, do I stop…do I give up? God has taught me that you don’t give up on someone because they don’t measure up in the first 10 to 20 years ;). You keep waiting, keep loving, allowing your love for them to become stronger, allowing your voice to raise up in love to encourage them to be the best lover they can ever be; and sometimes dispensing some tough love by way of discipline if a particular characteristic in them, is detrimental to your relationship. This may or may not include a temporary, or permanent separation,  BUT the latter…God resorts to, only when we have demonstrated to Him, that we are determined not to be identified with Him and walk with Him anymore. He is Almighty – He is Gentle.Trinityshoulders

Who is He…That Man by your side,

The One Who walks beside, and sometimes ahead of you,

The One Who carries you on His Shoulders,

And sometimes cradles you on His Chest,

When the walk overwhelms you?

Who is He…That Man by my side?

The One who walks beside, and often leads me,

The One Who carries me on His Shoulders,

And sometimes cradles me on His Chest,

When the walk has overwhelmed me?

He is my Eternal Lover, my Father, my Life Companion

He is my very Breath, The Joy that fill my Life,

He is my Eternal Husband, My King, My Boss,

He is my Healer, my Protector.

On His Person He bears the scars that remind me

How eternally loved I am

In His Voice, His Expectations, His Touch, I am reminded

Kept aware,

That for Him, our walk is one eternal,

And that He is not willing to drop me even though I love Him back

Imperfectly.

This Man…He is my very Life, my God.

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So, if you ever catch sight of me in town, jogging on my relatively high wedge shoes, and I seem to be talking to myself, know that, even though things have been really rough, its not that I have gone insanely lonely, but, simply that, I am keeping up with the growth of the answer to my prayers…God is perfecting us.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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