Negative Words of Hope

Maybe you have looked at your life lately and noticed that all your pillars seem to be falling apart. Sometimes its NOT about preparing your ground for a ripe harvest and beautiful new season. Sometimes, you need to make peace with God, who is as Terrible as He is Merciful. I learnt the following today, with a heart that trembled at His Words as I journey through the book of Ezekiel (25 & 26). I hope you read with a listening, and submissive heart…towards God.
If you,
1. have been privileged at one time or other, to be within an intimate circle of trust or vision with a child of God whether as a family, friend, colleague, fellow minister and pilgrim, media consumer and…
2. felt satisfied with the destruction of a called one, or nation, or tribe who had rebelled against God “… Because you said, ‘Aha!’ against My sanctuary when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate,”
3. Rejoiced gleefully when you witnessed God’s dealing with one of His own in judgement, to despise them… “Because you clapped your hands, stamped your feet, and rejoiced in heart with all your disdain for the land of Israel.”
4. Made nonsense of God’s election of a particular person on group of people during the time of their distress, to pronounce them as common, not really special etc ““Because Moab and Seir say, ‘Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations,”
5. took advantage of a person’s or group of person’s distress when God’s favor seemed to desert them, to avenge yourself of real or imagined/fabricated wrongdoing at this time, i.e. kicking them while they were down. You believed them hated and unprotected of God because of their predicament in the land and added to their pain due to your previous disapproval of them…”Because of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended by avenging itself on them…Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred,”
You need to seriously consider making peace with God. When a loving parent disciplines their child to draw them back to himself or herself, there is appropriate response by witnesses, and this never includes, picking up crude artillery against them, trying to fan the parent’s anger, trying to convince the child that their parent no longer loves them and they are strangers to them, or even stomping them down with your heavy duty boots to rid the parent of their obvious disappointment at their child. If you do these…it is against you the parent will unleash His anger…without leaving their child un-taught. God is not dysfunctional as God, Father, Leader, and in all His Sovereignty. You need to make peace with God…believe Him to be The Best Parent you have ever had the privilege of coming across…There is yet another group that God’s Hand is Targeting
6. If you have ever seen the destruction of someone else, a nation, organisation, business, ministry, marriage, family, friendship, as an opportunity to exalt yourself into a place of privilege, especially when these were ordained and established in God, for you there will be a special hell on earth. People will come from high places to tremble at your own descent for it will be obvious that God has dealt Himself against you. Ezekiel 26 “…because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.”
God’s paternity is not seasonal…let us return to Him to request that He amputates, and delivers us of that stubborn limb in us that perpetually seeks and rejoices in the shaming and destruction of others…or else…you will know Him as God, as you feel His Hand turned against you.
#NegativeWordsOfHope
#Ezekiel25
#Ezekiel26
#AncientWordsEverTrue
#GodsEternalCommitementToHisOwn
#AppropriateNeighborliness
vipslit@yahoo.ca
Advertisements

LESSONS FROM THE LABOR WARD

I spent last night and early this morning at a labor ward with a close friend whose husband was away on a trip. The labor ward has a lot of lessons for those who wait in prayer in The LORD.

I learnt that because you get in first, does not mean that you get out first or at all, or even get blessed first. Sometimes, one looses their expectation at this crucial time.

I learnt that, in the labor ward, modesty of dress and manner is really not priority. The less you have on, the easier it is to remove, the better you will be attended to. Ignore those that mock you in your birthing hour…they are the ones who are inappropriate.

I learnt that when you pray for release, and the pain seems to increase, and your groans seem to choke up your prayers, God is still in charge, and at His exact timing, He answers your prayer according to His Will.

I learnt that sometimes the more human assistance you require and receive at this crucial place of birthing, the longer it takes you to heal from the trauma of it all.

I learnt that when you hold the answer to your prayers in your arms, it is often very difficult to remember what you just went through, and if you focus on the past, it keeps you from enjoying and worshiping God for the breakthrough you have received.

I learnt that something you go through may be potentially fatal, but does no harm to you or your blessing – but one may be harmed in seeming safety.

I learnt that you may be in the same situation with another in the ward, even groan at the very same time, but that even when someone is there to hold you, the pain still is very personal…and cannot be numbed simply by being in like company.

I learnt, that God raises who He Wills to intercede for your birthing experience, that others may want to be there for you, but are kept out because He is The Writer of your story.

I learnt that the intercessor will notice others that suffer like you, but because they are called to stand with you, they can not stand with the others there too. Not in the way they are with you anyway.

I learnt that you may know its time, the intercessor may know its time, but it is God who moves the mountains to work in agreement with His timing for you. You cannot make it happen, because though there for you, there are not really there for you…but for themselves.

I learnt that in labor ward, it helps to focus on the task of birthing. Just that.

I am grateful that God raised me, and strengthened me and moved me to be in a place of His revelation, then rested me afterwards.

To Climb a Tree

WHAT MADE A RICH AND POWERFUL MAN CLIMB A TREE:
I got thinking today, seeing in my mind the rich and powerful people I know, have heard of or seen from a distance, and imagined them, one by one, hoisting themselves up a tree for a better few of…okay, think of the ones you know, unless they are actors or environmentalists, what would they be doing up there? It would be more plausible for them to shove their way to the front, or get their security to do it for them so that they would get a better view. And then I thought of a group of rich and/or powerful men all trying to get a glimpse of the same thing, live. That would be even worse…a cloud of security would probably make it impossible for their bosses to get a glimpse.
Short Zacchaeus was in such a situation. He was rich, he was powerful, but the pharisees and the disciples seemed more fitted for a close up with Jesus Christ. This was not his crowd, and it was likely that they would not hesitate to remind him of the fact. Among this sort, his position was despicable…because you see, they thought they knew him well. The source of his wealth was, fishy, so they felt it was their duty to protect God and heaven from the likes of him. Even without knowing they were doing it. But this did not numb his keen hunger, to see Christ, and say to Him what only He could hear, understand, appreciate and mitigate.
So he did something that could mostly be associated with a child, or someone who life had drained of anything they could loose. He was both. And because the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to such as he, The LORD of Heaven, ‘heard’ his faith, his hunger, and saw him shed all, that he might have a glimpse of Him. And Jesus, spoke above the cloud that hindered Him from getting to Him, and then drew Him forth that they might fellowship together.
BELOVED, SO ‘THEY’ ARE IN THE WAY, BLOCKING YOU FROM SEEING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE – THE LOVE OF ALL AGES. DO SOMETHING THEIR POMP AND POWER WOULD KEEP THEM FROM DOING, SOMETHING POWERFULLY CHILDLIKE, ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU A VIEW OF HIM. ‘THEY’ MAY DESPISE YOUR FAITH IN ACTION, BUT THAT HAS NEVER MATTERED, WHAT MATTERS IS THAT YOU DRAW THE APPROVAL OF THE ONE WHO MADE THEM AND YOU. [thoughts on Luke 19:1-10]
“let the LITTLE children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, ANYONE who WILL NOT receive The Kingdom of God like a LITTLE CHILD will NEVER enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
vipslit@yahoo.ca

The Forgotten Unforgetable

DSC08973Its been a hard week and am tired. And yet I am strangely energized. As I sat listening to God, I heard a voice say ‘go read Exodus 3’. I had been thinking about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart and setting him up for his eventual fall, as He delivered His people, so I thought Exodus 3 was about that. But God is not predictable. He had a new lesson to teach me.

The scene is set, a former prince, sits forgotten in the wilderness of Midian. A wilderness that had accepted him as its own, and even provided him with family. He sits as a son, tending his father-in-laws flock. Self-exiled, murderer, rejected by his natural and first adoptive people. Its interesting to note that God did not run out of options in terms of providing another family to accept Moses, take him as their own. He sits and then sees a sight and goes to investigate it, and we are told that God noticed that he noticed, and therefore spoke to him. Of cause God already knew Moses would.

Moses probably wanted to forget his name and his people. Something that is bound to happen when we are disappointed with our birth family and nation. But God had a purpose for all this, and time came for this old man to manifest His growth and maturity in relation to God. it was time to go back, and be the answer that those who had turned their backs on him last time he did them a favor, needed. ‘Why isn’t it someone else’ responsibility LORD – someone who is more favorably disposed towards them? Someone they hold in regard? Why me? I am forgotten – and if anyone remembers me, its probably not really a pleasant memory.”

There may be times when you and I feel hunted down, hidden or forgotten. When God speaks a Wondrous Word to us, we wonder if He has the wrong address, or if it could be possible, that just this once, the All Knowing, All Wise, Almighty God could make a mistake with us. Worse, you have so forgotten where God had you before, and with that, your own ‘name’. I thank God that He NEVER forgets His Name, and our ‘namelessness‘ is irrelevant to where He is taking us, and what He will do with us, in His time. The TRUTH and FACT that He is with us, gives us all we need for the journey. Your wilderness experience has a timing, held in The Hand of Him Who is Above the Law He created – and is Holy – APART from us. Let us go with His Thoughts…that is the only way, we will get anywhere. Look what He did with Moses – the forgotten became UNFORGETTABLE.

Shalom

vipslit@yahoo.ca

“And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?…And God said to Moses, I Am Who I Am and What I Am, and I Will Be What I Will Be; and He said, You shall say this to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you!”
Exodus 3

The Dilemma of Interpreting Human Rights Ideals into our Romantic Relationshipss

I met an old friend recently and on finding out that this handsome specimen was still single I offered to take a look at his ‘resume’ and introduce him to someone. Or better still see if his qualifications fitted into my list of requirements for the still vacant position of ‘Vip’s Husband’. He laughed and told me in so many words that he was basically terrified of my ‘Beijing ideals’ finding their way into and corrupting his comfortable existence. It made me wonder, not for the first time, why many men an some women fear and distrust the notion of human rights for women. Not only that but why belief in these disqualifies almost automatically its adherents from any hope of a permanent, blissful, committed relationship.

Poor understanding of the concept leading to poor translation into real life.

Many of us who have been involved in the advancement of the human rights of women seem to make men generally uncomfortable. Especially with regard to the possibility of building long term relationships. The media depictions that remain engrained in their minds are unfortunate – we have those of women tugging their skirts over their heads reminding the world that bloomers still exist in order to express their displeasure over some serious issue. Then there are those that will chop of a crucial male muscle as punishment for real or suspected infidelity. What I think scares them the most is the template answers we have for every situation we face – ambiguous, puzzling clichés that we learnt at the last workshop and we are still to be sure what they mean, but said with such vehemence that our hearer will be sure that they have been insulted, but not of how.

There needs to be much more depth in teaching on transforming international conventions into usable life skills. Where a woman is allowed to work on knowing intimately both these conventions, as well as her own character, personality and dreams and interpreting the former into the latter. As vocational, purpose driven home-maker – can you still claim your rank among the empowered? Does being empowered mean that you place less value on the man you love; and the live you dreamed of building together, to become  a human rights advocate when this does not fulfill you?

Neo-colonialism

Most read empowerment of women to mean the transference of power from men to women. Granted, in some cases, this needs to be the case. But just as being a man should never be the prerequisite for a job, the same applies for being a woman. We need to realize that although things have changed considerably, and we are more independent of men than we used to be, we still have use for them, and that the world can only function well if each takes their roles seriously. And by this I am not saying we go back to the idea that “women can only do —– and men must be —–“ Each person has strengths. When we come together as a team, as in a marriage each one should use their strength for the betterment of that institution.

Adapting bad manners

We realized a long time ago that men’s weaknesses were a sign that they had lost control of their lives and could not be trusted with those of others. Why we should think it is a sign of empowerment to repeat their self abasing patterns of serial monogamy/dating/one night stand puzzles me. A truly empowered woman will price her dignity and integrity both in public and in private. Those who have not really grasped the concept of gender equity may interpret true power as the opportunity to seek revenge in ways that ultimately cause her more pain than any relief. Others will not go this far but will adapt the arrogant manner and speech that still reflect more on her than on the person who hurt her. Let us take a little more time to think before we act.

A realization of the cosmetic nature of out commitment to empowering women.

Some of us have been known to say of the endeavor “That is work; and this is real life.” No wonder therefore that the argument is not making any difference in the life of the real woman. She keeps going back to the man who beats’, rapes, and emotionally abuses both her and her children. She is perplexed by the gravity/ the weight of the knowledge she has received in theory, but has given her no real power to change her personal circumstances. A truly empowered woman will realize that discipline is a loving and important part of the growth of every human relationship and will use it to build her love affair with the man in her life.

A realization of the sanctity of our rights as human being needs to be combined with innate wisdom to know when to enforce them and when to exercise patience. On the other hand, all disagreements should not be cause for divorce, separation or result in some legal tussle. We need to demonstrate our prowess in communication and in truly loving ourselves by being able to discern which relationships are worth keeping, to realize that even in the right circumstances relationships demand work, and use her intelligence and grace to fight for these.

 

The ‘Wife’ Dilemma

We spend so much time developing ourselves in our unique disciplines but when it comes to relationships, we are expected to dismiss these as unworkable theories. We shed off our ideals as soon as the opportunity is extended. We are then so uncomfortable with who we have become, because we ourselves are not convinced enough. We go back to being ‘traditional wives’ which translated means lacking in esteem, opinion, passion, personality, character except as an echo to this man we are so afraid of loosing because we feel he is what defines us. And many of us have fallen into that trap only to have the men we have slip through our fingers and into the claws of a woman who reminds us so much of who we used to be. As an empowered woman you are a pearl that can only get better. If someone loves you for who you are,  then that is who he wants.

Creation of Empowered men for the empowered woman

In some communities, opportunities for women to be educated came about in response to the need for educated men to find like companions in their marriages. The truth is that for these ideals to work for your relationship, you may need to clue your man in on them. Your man is exposed to rumors at work and as his socializes, that may affect the way he responds to your endeavors. He needs to recognize and be re-attracted to the empowered woman that you have become. If you have always been aggressive be so – in an empowered way. But even to the gentle, soft-spoken, maybe he just needs to hear it in your voice as you lull him to sleep and see it as you sew on his buttons on your way to yet another convention. He probably needs to see you leading a convention and nursing his 10th baby – unabashedly. When you fall asleep after work for two straight years and deny him his conjugal rights because your passion has been spent empowering other women, and then are perplexed your house help has seen to it that her duties include expanding your family, you are not being fair to him or honest to yourself.

It is true that sometimes men need to be shaken into realizing that their women folk are human beings demanding of equal, sometimes more, regard than them. Especially those abusive ones. And that mystery does wonders for a woman. Beyond this though, you need to be able to communicate with the man you love. Ask him to help you understand some of those concepts you still have difficulty with. Find out what he thinks about the ones you do understand and how these can improve the way you relate to one another. This way you will be enlightening him and helping him realize that Beijing was not another word for ‘Home-wreckers Convention’. It will also build him up because he needs to model true masculinity to your sons, and relevant males in his sphere of influence. Even if he is negative, initially and in the long term, you will still have passed on a message. You would be surprised to find that he defends your course to his friends using your exact argument. Being an empowered woman does not contradict your being feminine. It should be the amour that guards your womanhood from injury from critics of both sexes. It should not stop you from doing things for the man you love because you love to do it.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

First Published in Oakland Media’s Eve Magazine in 2004

Divine Justice – Where NO ONE Escapes

Doubt comes in at the window when inquiry is denied at the door” – Benjamin Jowett, 1817-1893

You have been feeling rather confused lately, and helpless too. It seems that to some justice happens only when you are able to convince a large enough crowd into your way of thinking. I keep thinking that every tyrant in history probably thought they were on the right track with God. And you know intimately how their victims felt. Lately you have felt the keen steel of your enemy’s sword as it bites in with his buoyant strike. Your adversary seems so sure of himself that you begin to doubt that you were ever sure of your own innocence. I don’t know what it is that you are loosing to your enemy my sister, but somehow I get this strong feeling we are all loosing something today.

It seems that when you choose to live a life of integrity, you inevitably attract the weirdest kinds of adversity. There will be people who begin a campaign they hope will end in your death, at least that of your spirit. My experience with all of us humans has led me to respond to people’s criticisms of others with strong doubt like in the quote above. Especially when the words are spoken with loud emphasis, vehemence that suggests that the speaker hopes to gain some of the territory they are tearing away from their victim. If you are watching and listening you will be able to see the scripts that are written in dark places, and the attempts by life’s actors to convince all that their theatre is reality. I find this especially true in the work arena, especially in the humanities, where each of us if allowed has something really special to bring into the pot. Something that builds all those it touches, and is simply special because everyone else is giving uniquely and authentically. Something that can never be imitated and yet someone thinks they can embrace it by destroying you. This something is that which threatens those who have not allowed themselves the freedom to truly create, so they concentrate their energies in strangling and stifling that which attempts to be beautiful.

People have all sorts of reasons for trying to wipe you out. Sometimes it is simply impunity – doing it because they think they can. Spending time with God and in His word helps you expect this, and know how to handle it without loosing your footing. I found some words in the Bible that have helped me through this time. The first four verses in the sixteenth chapter of the book of John prepares people throughout all history to expect the fire rejection, injustice and attempts at extinguishing their fires. It blesses the keen seeker with special vision that with compassion will see your oppressor as disadvantaged. Disadvantaged because in denying the reality of God by their actions, they denied the authenticity of who they really were. Their uniqueness, and the fact that they were not simply decaying matter, but spirit beings that could live forever. There are things you can only live with doing, when you truly believe that there is no God.

Looking at life through these words I have opened my eyes to the fact that whenever we choose malevolence, it often costs more than we are willing to pay. It doesn’t matter how victorious you feel today for destroying the lives, the work, the creativity of other people, usually the decay you hoped for them will catch up with you eventually. If you don’t come to your senses and make peace with the one you hurt.

And the paradox of life is that, in accepting adversity it leads you to a better place. Sometimes it is simply in knowing that you are a survivor, many times you develop character, and strength to muster even bigger problems. Many times is so that you understand the pain of someone going through a similar valley. I find that adversity if handled wisely, will develop in us a deep concern for the one who hurts us. You see, they hurt you so deeply that the praying have no choice but to kneel before God with the name on their adversary in their heart and tears. And whenever we pray about someone, our hearts open more to them. You will find that on the day they face their inescapable justice, you will be standing right by them, pleading their cause before the punisher, and sincerely hoping that your pleas will fall on merciful ears. You have been there too haven’t you – to that place where you hurt because the one who wounded you, is hurting today. And you are confused by it.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

first published in The Sunday Standard: November 11, 2005

%d bloggers like this: