Thinking is Hard Work

Lazy Brain

Four years ago, hubby and I were traveling across the state of Florida on a business vaca destination. Besides the over-the-top barbecue joint we found mid-state, there was time enough on our hands to suss out a plan, a 5 Year Plan. Having recently resettled into a new groove, we realized the sands of life were shifting under our feet, so to speak and we needed to reconnoiter. In essence, our intrastate discussion formed up a barebones financial outline. The life of that skeleton was and is, God’s involvement. Would one take a trip to the bottom of the sea without air? Or a desert trek without water? Etcetera. Without factoring God, there is no wind in the sail. One proverb says that there are many plans in the heart of a person but only God’s counsel prevails. Another wise saying makes the point that people can map out a plan but it is God who directs the steps. And finally, 2 Chronicles 12 establishes the reason for the king’s evil – he didn’t prepare his heart to seek God. A simplistic definition of evil is “in opposition to good;” good takes effort and planning while “evil” moves to the lowest level or easiest path. Evil is the result of defaulting to our natural tendencies, unraveling productive effort until there is no good thing remaining. True, some inspired-by-hell plot evil but in general and as commonly reported, when (good) people do nothing, evil is the result.
So fast forward, four years in, and we have hours of preparatory labor while adjusting to the 5 year goal ever so slightly as we live day-in and day out. One actual financial acquisition is established that seemed at the time to fall into our orbit but now in hindsight, we understand it was God’s doing. That wink from God would have been very difficult to see and to move upon if we had not done the prep work in the interim. Our plan includes 5Xs this acquisition and so, mistakes being made now will be experience fodder for the other investments.
Interestingly, not only do we see our faith at work but also, God’s divine intervention. Like planting an oak tree, nothing seems to be happening  and then, when the ground erupts with a speck of green pushing through, nothing seems to be happening! Unless God nudges a different direction, faith maintains the course.
One pastor says about money, “Make as much as you can; give as much as you can; save as much as you can.” I love this philosophy because it undermines poverty and greed and laziness. Laziness often masquerades as something else; busy work, disobedience or unbelief. Like evil, laziness must be overcome by considering God. The God factor animates everything we do and without considering Him, all we do is a bit of a gamble.
Lazy brain is the result of excluding God from our calculations. Thankfully, God is not hindered by time or space and so, once He is included into our plans, time and space become tools in your bag of tricks. In truth, you cannot of yourself appropriate said tools just as a toddler cannot get online and skillfully manipulate her/his college fund… But as an adult living as a citizen of a moral universe and incorporating the Sovereign’s existence and right to rule, suddenly His abilities become your possibilities. Some unbeknown favor pushes forward at God’s direction out of our past, to meet us today. Or a realtime disastrous misstep is circumvented, protecting our future.
Unlike a democratic Republic, God needs no votes to maintain his leadership position. Nor does He need advice from mentors, constituents or followers. He has no peers unless one wants to consider the Godhead as such. Instead, He sovereignly influences people to align themselves with His purposes. Once on board His ship, you’re going places!
All things are possible to those who believe… Humans are made in God’s image. That explains a lot. Lazy brain refuses to consider the wisdom of God.
In the historical instance from 2 Chronicles, the king’s determining fault was his lack to seek… Apparently, God is not asking for moral superiority or innocence or godly perfection. It seems, intelligence, DNA, social upbringing and/or formal education have very little to do with lazy brain. Once God is sought, there is no going back to the void of ignorance. When the reality of God is considered, faith becomes the intangible instrument that moves the mind forward. Lazy brain unplugs faith. Faith without works is lifeless. It is work to think. Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. (Another from Proverbs, 6:6)
Faith is not walking on water. Faith is considering God and also, obeying His direction. Confidence is born from faith to faith. Make a plan; adjust accordingly; faith in action.

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Answered Prayer, Fresh Start, Hearing from God, Mid-life Crisis, Overcoming the impossible, Sign of Revival

Friend, Foe or Lord

God might be described as a Sovereign who will not allow His purpose to be crossed or thwarted. God has a Plan! Like a great and awesome river, He is going somewhere. Can we remain friends if our wills are momentarily wrangled like Jacob and the Angel of Jabbok? The man proceeded with a limp and that is no light matter. As some saint of old might comment from his heavenly bleacher, “I served with Jacob. I knew Jacob but you… You, my fellow saint are no Jacob!”

The patriarch also came away with a name change but no one seem to immediately notice not even Jacob, aka Israel! What was noted was seemingly, a loser’s limp.

Reading the passage from Genesis 32, the imagery is of a believer, uncomfortably bent over on his knees struggling in prayer due to his own evident shortcomings and self-inflicted problems. Back and forth he mentally weighs the issues of faith; His God appointed calling, his unworthiness compared to his predecessors, his lack of confidence; his fear. Jacob invited God to the tete-a-tete and as a Gentleman, when it was time to leave, God made it clear that He would be going only at His host’s release. God allowed Himself to be bound, in a sense, by decorum. This polite allowance is limited when He is likewise asked His name, just as He previously asked Jacob his name. With condescension, the angel replied with a royal snub. “Why do you ask?”

God is both Friend and Lord. As Jacob’s battle within transcended into the spiritual, God willingly joined the fray. Scripture reveals three areas that marked significant change as Israel, formerly Jacob continued his life’s sojourn. First, he prevailed spiritually speaking and the evidence is recorded and validated by a name change: Cheater to Prince of Power. Next, his *hurple, a war wound. God goes from being Friend to serious Enemy when His Sovereignty is questioned by unbelief. That wound was not gained by friendly fire! And yet, perhaps only eternity revealed to Jacob what he as Israel accomplished, seen on this side of the veil as that earthly limp. Finally, putting the man’s fears and doubts to rest, the Holy Ghost interchange went from mere dialogue, a tete-a-tete to a vis-a-vis. A face to Face encounter with the living God, at times a Foe but also, a Friend and forever the Lord.
*Contrary to popular English literary legend, the word, purple does have a rhyme.

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Dominion, Fresh Start, Hearing from God, Mid-life Crisis

Mid-Life Catalyst

I read the picture caption of former military officer, David Petraeus who was sidelined in his career by carelessness on his part and ruthlessness on the previous administration’s part; he was conversing with the top Israeli security advisor, his equal. In the photo, what stood out to me is the fact that the retired general was no longer in uniform. I thought to myself, “Here is a man who was overturned in the prime of his life and career but has gratefully taken up another baton offered.” His new job, his purpose is shaped by all his past experience, including headship betrayal. The helm has new leadership and Petraeus’ assignment is proof of his worth in their eyes. Going forward, confidence in his own ability or lack thereof will be the impetus of his future mettle.

If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? As asked in Jeremiah 12:5 or something similar, might be a worthy question, any person having gone through a midlife earthquake crisis should contemplate. Is it possible to get up and go on, succeeding in tougher circumstances than previously encountered when one was young and passionate about a cause?

History and recent history, reveals that even in the midst of a snowflake snowstorm, the answer to this query remains, Yes! There is no sound evidence that the majority of people who trip at midlife, never spring back to press forward but it seems so. People become leary, weary and cautious after a stumble. Only a fool does not. Having spent the majority of your wealth of time in a given pursuit, only to realize that a thief has come in the overlooked unlocked window, inspires a modified outlook. True, your house has been overrun but do you flee to watch from the back 40 as the overset goes from bad to beyond repair? Or maybe you take a stand and maintain your territorial dominion from an overwhelmed parapet? Mulligrub your way to the study to pen vindicated memoirs? To the detached garage, tinkering at a new business? Or into the kitchen to mix your last bit of flour and smidgen of oil as the widow planned, recorded in 1 Kings 17:12? Whether God inspires the person without their knowledge and consent, or the person retreats to a prayer closet to touch the hem of His robe, staunching the psychological hemophilic bleed-out, one can arise from seeming defeat to run with horses.

Overturned, overran or overwhelmed take yourself to your prayer closet; your catalyst to destiny.

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Fresh Start, Overcoming the impossible, success-in-the-new-year

2017, A Fresh Start

 

Better is the end of a matter…
How do you know what will become of your project or prayer or endeavor at it’s inception? Like a small squirmy fetus resembling any other small squirmy fetus of a multitude, do not despise small beginnings. As counseled in the scriptures via Zachariah, ‘for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.’

The prospects! The opportunities! The challenges! The catalytic course of life! That transcendent spark giving cells the ability to duplicate and eventually, to form into a functioning organism will reveal what that specific small beginning is to become… A tadpole? A finch? A python or alligator? A giraffe? A whale? A human with the possibility of becoming a royal member of God’s eternal household? Every painted masterpiece traverses the gap of creative thought to actuality when that fimageirst stroke from the paintbrush touches the canvas. And such a small beginning, at that! Even an infant can dab color onto a virgin surface.
An accidental splotch does not a masterpiece make.

One year concludes and we can look into the rear mirror of our journey vehicle to say either Well done or Oh, what have I done?! Either way, as the annual sun sets, the future’s blank canvas arises with hopes of a new day arriving. Our palette holds the old stuff from which we must extract our masterpiece but also, colorful additions to bring eternal purpose to our endeavor. Will you be a child prodigy or an obsolescent genius? Perhaps, the New Year will allow you to discover your small beginning has already progressed into a delightfully eternal production which only needs you to be not weary in well doing.

Ecc 7:8
Heb 12:2
Gal 3:26
Gal 6:9 or 2Thes 3:13

Victorian postcard from flickr/nova scotia archives

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Answered Prayer, Dominion, Happiness, Key to Happiness, success-in-the-new-year

Fatigue

Weariness of mind, emotions, body and even, soul has become commonplace in this oh-so-fast world we live in. Ever present fatigue has crept into many lives and sleep nor vitamins nor exercise nor fasting will drive it out. Motivation, inspiration, purpose have to overcome lurking fatigue which threatens to divert the enthused.
“For heaven’s sake, I am just trying to have a good life,” you bemoan. Scripture gives us a complete outline of how to have a great and fulfilled life in Proverbs 3; the entire chapter. What a list! Everyone and I mean everyone, is knocked out of the running at the first verse. “Child forget not the law and keep the commandments in your heart.” This advice is beneficial only if the reader is superhuman, an immortal. Expounding on these two parental suggestions, the next 34 verses are filled with do’s and don’ts so that the “child” may live a well rounded, successful life. There is no backdrop description mentioning the condition of the economy, politics, public health alerts, terrorism, crime statistics or weather patterns. In fact, the undisclosed environment surrounding the reader is the very medium in which the success of this advice is measured. If the world were paradise, this godly counsel is moot. But are there immortals living among us? Those who have endeavored to take this sort of advice and succeeded? Weary and frustrated souls is the typical outcome as history reveals and our own experience proves. Who hasn’t meant an overwhelmed person that spews bitterly, “I’ve tried all that and look where it’s got me?”

The nature of the human beast is to default to all the don’ts in this list and also, to commit most of the do’s to our emotions; we do right when we feel like it or it is not an inconvenience. “Don’t envy”, “do trust in the Lord”, in verses 5 and 31 for example. But are there immortals among us? Those who have worked this list and succeeded?

The answer to this question and to the human dilemma is found in scripture. Flip forward from the Jewish proverbs to the Jewish New Testament.

We read of those who have been born spiritually into the great God’s family. This extra layer of life added to the reborn allows freedom to move beyond the constraints of physical defaults like envy, greed or malice. The propensity toward these unhealthy desires are often still present although no longer controlling. The letter to the Romans in chapters 7 & 8 gives the reborn direction about allowing the spirit to lead rather than defaulting to selfishness. 

Driving an automobile gets one to any place much faster than if one was walking or even riding a bike. Not everyone has access to a motorized vehicle. Especially in third world countries, a disparity of wealth or family connection makes this obvious. Conceding to the spirit to live a successful life is not possible for those who are not a part of God’s family. Certainly, there are areas of individuals’ lives that are morally successful but without the rebirth, one cannot fulfill the commandments or the law… Impossible to do so and therefore, one’s endeavoring is a labor without true success. Jesus said that he will take that burden when you concede it and also, take on His own burden. Body, soul and spirit makes up the complete person. Without the spiritual rebirth, the body and soul are frustrated. Fatigue sets in.

What is Jesus’ burden that one must take on? Faith. The people asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” and Jesus replies, “The work of God is this: Believe in the one he has sent.” That discourse is record in chapter 6 of John and later, John 14:1 records Jesus stating, “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.” How refreshing!

Is fatigue vanquished entirely? No. If we walk in the spirit we must feed the spirit. The physical aspect must be cleansed and refreshed to proceed. Even immortals but be reenergized!

Faith is the catalyst for rebirth. Rebirth is the conduit for engaging both soul and flesh to success. Rebirth allows the child of the great God to walk by faith conceding to the spirit at will. Yes, immortals walk among us!
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 1 Thes 5:23

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Snowflake

Safe Space

Unlike the politically correct, urban definition of this term “safe space,” I propose the only true and eternal safe space is the Will of God. What is it that the Great God of Heaven and Earth has called you to do? Once He has made that clear to you, as His plenipotentiary, you can go forward in your space safely. One’s Safe Space is not actually geographic as much as it is an atmosphere from which you perform the Will of God.
Using history as a reference point, the Old Testament backdrop is historical. Not representing the entire world during these recorded parameters of time but a telescopic viewpoint which is focused on a small patch of land and a limited group of people as seen from the eye of God. We are not told from scripture what is happening in the Andes or the islands or the Poles. Rather, dialing in on Elijah the prophet’s generation and into an even tighter spot on the biblical map we have a unique pov revealing God’s ability and willingness to assist people. The mind of God, His benevolent intervention, His miraculous and more are discovered in the Elijah recounting.
Names have meaning and so, Elijah the Tishbite defined as God is Jehovah even in a difficult situation… He was from Gilead; translated a rocky region confirming this imagery further. ‘Elijah the Tishbite from Gilead’ represents God who is there when someone is between a rock and a hard place.
Can the common believer identify with Elijah? Was he a supernatural hero, beyond the normal flesh and blood? I don’t think so. James 5:17 states, Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! NLT And then, we read that he prayed again so that it rained and the earth bore fruit, verse 18.
For many reasons, I find that Elijah represents the common man chosen of God as a plenipotentiary; acting as a representative of God while having full power to act independently.
Does God give supernatural powers to those that will harm themselves and others with said powers? Yes. The world is full of these empowered ones while the Elijah types are far and few. Not being perfect, Elijah nonetheless endeavored to fulfill his purpose and to please God. Was he smart, mature or courageous? Apparently, not. And even his faith wavered concerning God’s willingness to watch his back… God allowed all of this and it would seem, God  adjusted His plan to include Elijah’s reluctance. After meeting Elijah’s needs during the 3 and half year drought, the prophet experienced a loss of confidence afterward; Elijah ran for his life to hide in a cave, 1Kgs 19.
A bit like the rhetoric question asked of Adam in the garden, God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” God knew very well what Elijah was doing there in that cave and Elijah’s answer appears to be either induced by self pity or self-deception. God disproved Elijah’s reasoning before asking him again, “What are you doing here?”
When Elijah gave the same answer, it seems God changes course or horse in mid-stream as we read that Elisha will take Elijah’s office of prophet. God didn’t punish Elijah for the his unwillingness to finish the task but perhaps God is not done with Elisha, even now.

From Revelations 11:3-7 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth…These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire… When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

Are the Two Witnesses Jews as the “olive trees” imagery alludes? Perhaps, Moses is one but it certainly looks like Elijah even as Jesus confirmed, is the other of these two. So Elijah has work yet to be accomplished but again the idea of acting independently is revealed here; “as often as they desire.”
But… But… How is Elijah representing the everyday human, doing the Will of God, considered to be in a Safe Space? You ask, after all, if it is true that he is one of the Two witnesses, he dies at the hands of God’s enemy. Examine again the story of Elisha found n the Old Testament scriptures, 1Kgs chapter 18 through 2Kgs chapter 2. God kept Elisha safe from all manner of injury. God proved to Elisha that He was not only capable but willing to keep him safe and also, to miraculously keep safe those who relied on Elisha; those who were between a rock and a hard place. Yes, even when Elisha was reluctant to finish the job, God kept him safe. True, we understand that sometime in the future Elisha will have to pay the price of death but lets be real. Truth says in the letter to the Hebrews 9:27, ‘each person is appointed once to die and after that, judgment…’
Elijah represents the Safe Space human. All humans must die, as flesh and blood cannot enter Heaven even as a caterpillar cannot fly without metamorphosing. Elijah will return to die physically, as the reborn saint must die-to-self spiritually to participate in that great up-taking, the Rapture.
Die-to-self and finish your task! Find the Will of God for your life! It is the true Safe Space even for a snowflake.

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Eleven, Hearing from God

11 11 11! Eleven and What it Means

Eleven  signifies transition.
What is it with the whole 11:11 thingy? Many have wondered and almost as many have shrugged, continuing to wonder. Including myself as I was not satisfied with vague reasonings or best guesses. IMHO, EW Bullinger misses the mark with his conclusion concerning eleven. I prayed about it off and on, not so much for myself but having had people ask – mostly rhetorically and also, having read about the phenomenon. I have a curious mind and this morning, the enigma popped into my thoughts as I sat down to read my Bible. My conclusions are Holy Ghost inspired… And important to myself as well.

Placed after the number ten of which it cannot be  argued, ten is God’s perfect number for relating the heavenly idea of completion to humanity, and placed before twelve we have the number, 11. Using scripture to understand both 10 and 12, we find twelve represents government. Jacob’s twelve sons evolve into the twelve tribes that make up Israel as an ethnic group and Jesus’ twelve disciples eventually manage the New Testament church at it’s birth. When the spiritual curtain is pulled back in John’s revelatory writing, The Revelation – we understand that not only on earth but in heaven these two groups of twelve govern(Whenever one reads ten in scripture, we get the understanding of completion; Ten Commandments represents all of the law; ten toes make up your feet; giving tithe is God’s entire portion of what one possesses – anything less than a tenth makes you a thief and anything more is considered your offering… And so on.)

If a personality, Eleven would glance back at number ten as a reference point and perhaps comment, “That is done and over.” Looking forward, with twelve as God’s numerical representation of “governing,” one can conclude that Eleven representing transition or transcension, would ask with anticipation, “Yes, that is done and over and so, what position do I qualify for?”

In scripture, the rule of first mention is useful: And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. From Genesis 32:22, the number 11 is recorded concerning Jacob’s sons before the twelfth was born and also, emphasizing the crossing over. Surely, they crossed other streams before Jabbok? The other fording of streams and rivers is not mentioned; God has purpose for His wording.
Eleven is significant of change; a threshold. Even the phrase, ford of Jabbok gives this imagery as ford is translated from “a passageway or crossing” and Jabbok means, “emptying.”

Eleven is neutral. If ten represents earthly completion and twelve heavenly designation, eleven is the transition. One can sort through the baggage and empty oneself of unwanted stuff even like Jacob who wrestled with his identity along with the angel before he crossed. Arriving at the other side, you have what you have and you are what you are… “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” 11,11:11 (aka, 22:11 Revelation)

How does 11 affect the common person? In truth, if a person has never arrived at the number ten, earthly completion, the transitioning at 11 is a moot point. Earth is where we are born and reborn; if we do not have the first, we will not need the second! To understand the heavenly realm, God’s kingdom, the rebirth is a must and to be placed anywhere in the kingdom of God, rebirth is a necessity. Rebirth gives you citizenry in God’s Kingdom. Rebirth is Ten. To see, to understand the eternal realm, one must be born into that realm by the spirit. The caterpillar cannot see what it sees as a butterfly although as a butterfly, both realms are seen and hopefully, both are understood. The spiritual sensors are tuned to a different frequency when a human goes from mere humanity to being a new creature in Christ. If our rebellion and carnality dull God’s voice, He will awaken us with other methods… Thus, the number 11 becomes a marvel!
Cross-over you will. There may be many lifetime crossings that are significant but the big one is most important and cross-over you will.
God’s grace is experienced via the number 11. He is getting your attention!

 

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