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Category Archives: Scripture Finds

Some stuff I’ve found in the Word!

. . . in a better place . . .

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A Dear friend of mine lost her mother to cancer today. 

I didn’t know her, but through knowing my friend, I just know her mother was a phenomenal person.  Have you ever known someone through another’s perspective?  Like, you can feel as though you know the person from having them described to you?  And also as a result of seeing the impact of that person reflect in the life of the person you actually know?

Well, that’s where I am today.  I never knew this woman, but her life is still impacting the world she left behind.  As mothers, we always seem to leave a little piece of ourselves for the world to see through our children.  My friend is a wonderfully creative and down-to-earth person.  She is one of those people who can see beyond the surface level, and see the beauty and deepness in it; which may be lost by the average viewer.  So, I KNOW her mother was an incredibly strong and inspirational woman.

But, what do you say?  What do you do?  When someone you care about has lost someone, especially someone who so profoundly impacted their lives, what can you really do?

I.don’t.know.

Every time I have been confronted with this situation, I fumble miserably around the right words to say, or trying to avoid saying the wrong words.  It’s just not something, we are ever prepared to face, until it happens.

You know, Jesus was a man that walked the earth like we do, and He felt the same emotions that flood through our veins, hearts, and souls.  He wasn’t immune to loss; He experienced great loss.  He lost His best friend.

 

John 11: 33-37 (HCSB)

33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.  34“Where have you put him? ” He asked.  “Lord,” they told Him, “come and see.”

35 Jesus wept.  36 So the Jews said, “See how He loved him! ” 37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying? “

 

Even knowing what would be the final outcome of the situation with Lazarus … knowing, He would call His friend back from the dead . . . Jesus wept.  He felt the pain of those around Him and He was “deeply moved.”

He wept.

He wept with them.  Here is our model.  Here is where we see what we are to do, how we are to respond to our friend’s loss.  Their loved one may be in Heaven, or  a better place, as some call it.  This alone can be cause for celebration of the believer’s life – but, that’s not to take away from, or to forget, the pain of the ones that were left behind.  We don’t have to have the perfect words or the absence of imperfect ones.  We just need to be with them.  To love on them.  To allow ourselves to feel their pain, and to bear it with them.

To my friend:  I love you, and I am here for you.  I am not going to insist you move on quickly, and I’m not going to shower you with cliche’s.  I am in this with you for the long haul. . . even when you feel homesick.

 

Versos en españolJuan 11: 33-37 (NBLH)

. . . the proof is in the pudding . . .

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I’m sure you have all heard the idiom, “The proof’s in the pudding,” or “The proof of the pudding,” which is used to signify the fact that the quality of something can only be determined in the experience of it.  It is actually more clear in the original phrase:

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This phrase actually dates back to circa 1605 in Cervantes’ work Don Quijote, and has been subsequently chopped up, paraphrased and otherwise used in so many ways, that is has come to take on different meanings.  Taking the original form of the word “proof,” which meant “to test” to now mean “proof” as in “the evidence of a test.”  But, let’s not get hung up on all of these details and usages.

The Word-Detective summarizes its original intent quite nicely:

A dish may have been made from a good recipe with fresh ingredients and look delicious, but you can really only judge it by putting it in your mouth. The actual taste is the only true criterion of success.”

As you may have guessed, I do actually have a motive for sharing this brief etymology with you.  The reason is that I see a trend in today’s world of people trying to prove themselves, and/or their work, to the point of extreme exhaustion and stress.  I, myself,  have struggled with this notion a lot over the years.

Maybe it’s just me, I tell myself.

But, when I look to social media and just talking with people, I see that it’s not.  There seems to be this desperate need to prove who we are, what we’re about, and why we’re about it.  Some would say, it’s normal, we’re just wanting to be understood, after all .

https://i2.wp.com/spotonlists.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Prove-ourselves.jpgAnd that sounds a lot more relatable to us, since we don’t want to consider that we are actually out to prove something to the world.  Especially, when we are constantly affirming that fact or hearing others proclaim they, “…have nothing to prove…” and that we ” ...could care less what anybody thinks…” of what we said or did.  

What about when it comes to matters of passion or faith?  Do you ever feel you need to Stand Up for what you believe in?  And by that I mean, to actually verbally “prove” what you believe to be right?  There is honestly nothing wrong with that, and is actually very edifying.  But, when that becomes the driving force, I think it becomes a problem.  Give me a chance to explain…

First, we have to look to the Word.  There’s an interesting account recorded in John chapter 7.  I will go ahead and post the whole first part of it here:

John 7: 1-9 (HCSB)

1After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee, since He did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill Him. 2The Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 so His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go to Judea so Your disciples can see Your works that You are doing. 4For no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5(For not even His brothers believed in Him.) 6Jesus told them, My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it — that its deeds are evil. 8Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to the festival yet,because My time has not yet fully come.9After He had said these things, He stayed in Galilee.

(The verses I highlighted in blue are the ones we will pay special attention to.)

Basically, His brothers urge Jesus to go to the Festival of the Tabernacles, or in today’s language, Mardi Gras, ignoring the fact that He was literally being hunted down by the Italian Mob (of course, in the absence of internet and Google), saying essentially: “Anyone who wants to be known [or Famous], doesn’t hide his work/ talent, but shows it off to the world.”

What crass words to be said to Him.  And you have to think about how hurtful it must have been to even be rejected by your own brothers, younger ones, at that.  Jesus responds in humility, and simply tells them it is not yet His time.

Later, Jesus decides to go quietly to the Festival.  While there, He ends up teaching at the Temple.  Where many people are divided on His teachings and character.  Toward the end of the chapter (John 7:40-53), there is even debate among the Pharisee leaders as to what should be done about Him.

They were arguing over whether Jesus was the true Messiah or not.  Some saying that Jesus comes from Galilee, and the “Real” Messiah would be from Bethlehem, and be born of King David’s line (which both were true of Jesus).  One leader also tried the bandwagon approach (John 7:52), trying to argue that everyone knows nothing good comes from Galilee.

“Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Even though back then, upon further investigation even that claim (although it was irrelevant to Jesus) would be proven false.  As we know that Jonah, a recognized prophet, came from Galilee (2 Kings 14:25).

https://i2.wp.com/www.prayerthoughts.com/prayerthoughts/Spiritual_Warfare/images/pt467_Truthrocks-cropped.jpgJesus came speaking and teaching what God told Him to, and not what He desired (John 7: 16-17 ).  He could have easily made a chart of His lineage, told people where He was born, and shown which other prophesies He had fulfilled up until that point (a la excel spreadsheet, perhaps?).

But, He didn’t; it wasn’t His task, or desire, to “prove” Himself to the World.  Although He could have, since the proof was there.  He wasn’t trying to become famous – He was simply doing the will of the Father.

Instead of teaching in parables, Jesus could have held a public forum/debate to win as many people to His side versus the Pharisees as the evidence was there for the picking.  BUT, that’s just NOT How He Rolled.

He was walking in the Spirit.  Alone at times, even when His family didn’t believe in Him.  He was led by the Spirit and NOT the opinions of man –  That IS How He Rolled! 

He didn’t have a sales pitch; He didn’t have a lecture ready, and He didn’t have a “Holier than thou” attitude.  He didn’t have anything to prove.  What did He have then?

He had Love.  GracePatienceMercyUnderstanding.  He had Healing.  Compassion, and Forgiveness.  Mostly Love, though (even for those who wanted Him dead).  He gave of Himself to the point of death.

http://thevinethatwrites.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/love-like-jesus.jpgBottom Line:

Jesus was not a fame seeker.  He wasn’t out to prove Himself or give all of the facts that would prove who He was, although He easily could have – they were there.

He came to be the Truth in Love. 

Question:

Are you trying to prove yourself to others?  In your actions, posts to social media, or in words?  Are you trying to “prove” God to others?

Just rest in knowing that He comes in Power, and doesn’t need us to do anything in that regard.  As far as proving yourself, just remember that the only one who is worthy of that proof, is the one who created you.

And, He asks us to:  love.

Lastly, I will leave you with one final question to think on:

What does your level of love say about your walk with God?  Nothing? or Everything?

Consider this:  The Proof  of your Christian walk is in the pudding, I mean, in Your life, and the way you Love.  In other words, the way you love, ultimately proves what you’re about and who you follow.

*Peace Out!*

* Julie *

Versos en Español (NBLH):  Juan 7: 1-9 , Juan 7: 40-53, Juan 7:52, 2 Reyes 14:25, Juan 7:16-17

. . . bowing down to distractions . . .

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Have you ever thought or been told that the Bible is so antiquated, that it is hardly even relevant in times like these?  Ironically, I have heard it described this way before, but nonetheless, when I read it, I feel like nothing could be further from the truth.  Like, did you know that the word iphone is mentioned at least 156 times in the Bible??  Well, actually I guess it’s not, but the word: idol is, which is basically the same thing, right?  We will get to that in a minute

The Bible is the Living Word of God, which means it has the ability to breathe life and understanding into situations like no other self-help book out there.

Hebrews 4:12 (HCSB)

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

Every time I read it, I see something new, or gain a new insight, I realize something or see a new comparison (even if I have read that same verse a thousand times), and  the only explanation I can give, is that . . . it really IS living.

Well, the reason I am bringing this up, is because the other day I was reading from the book of Isaiah, which is dated to be written around 701 -681 B.C.  (source).  That is quite a long time before Christ was born, and there are a few chapters in Isaiah, especially Isaiah chapter 53, that prophesy or predict the coming of Christ, and it often gives me chills to read it.

Today, however, I want to direct you to another section of Isaiah.  Pretty close to the beginning.  Isaiah 2 verse 8, and also Isaiah 2 verse 11.  Isaiah was addressing Judah and Jerusalem at the time, but I’m pretty sure when you read these verses, you are going to see a shocking comparison to today.

Isaiah 2:8 (HCSB)

8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.

Wow – did you see that??  What Strong word for today.  No, we don’t necessarily build or carve images or miniature wooden idols to literally worship.  But, this picture of man Bowing down to the work of his hands . . . to what his fingers have made, is real enough and kinda reminds me of this:

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Isn’t this just what our society does every single day?

And, yes in this sense, we are quite literally, bowing down.

When you look at it like this, it is pretty obvious that our land is full of idols.  We are constantly bowing our heads to our phones, tablets, devices, etc.  Well there’s a word that brings new meaning: devices.  We are bowing down to our own devices, now doesn’t that seem like an interesting thought?

https://i2.wp.com/i.huffpost.com/gen/1323300/thumbs/o-HEALTH-APP-WOMEN-facebook.jpgAm I saying that all of those things are evil and should be avoided at all costs?  No.  We obviously couldn’t breathe properly if our phones were surgically removed.

We need them.  We use them all day, every day, to keep appointments, to make appointments, to take pictures of our growing kids, and of course to play Words with Friends, and dare I mention it: Candy Crush into the wee hours of the morning.

Not any one of those things is inherently bad.  So, why all the fuss about the time we spend on phones?  I have actually seen at least 3 different posts about over-usage of smart phones lately.  I think it is because, people are sensing an addictive behavior coming on.

But, why am I bringing this up?

Simply to show you that the Bible is as relevant today as it was more than 2,000 years ago, and will remain relevant 2,000 years from now.

And now, for the other verse  I wanted to share with you:  Isaiah 2:11.

Isaiah 2:11 (HCSB)

11 Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

It goes on to describe a day that is coming which belongs to the Lord of Hosts, a day against all that is lofty, against all that is lifted up (or elevated in priority, perhaps) will be humbled.  I just have to wonder if this is talking about us.

We can be so consumed with the latest technology that we miss out on the life we were meant to have, or are in the very least, only seeing it through the screen of our iphones, and devices:
http://michaeldariano.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/img_0066-001.jpg (What a nice view of the trees overhead showing the change of season.)

I’m just as likely to be seen looking down at my phone as the next person.  SO, I’m not saying this from a Holier than Thou standpoint, just from one that realizes how all-consuming my own devices have become, and realize that God is not surprised at all by this, even if I am.  He wrote about this sort of thing years before it ever happened.  Which makes Him kind of an expert, right?

Bottom Line:

Maybe we should look up every now and then?  That’s Just a thought.  I think we will all be happier if we did, though.

Question:

Which works of your own hands are you bowing down to?  Is it your smart phone, or your need to create the perfect meal to showcase, what is it?

Versos en Español:

Hebreos 4:12, Isaías 2:8, Isaías 2:11

. . . neither do i condemn you . . .

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How exciting, I have reached a blogging Milestone with this post!  It is my 50th post to date! 🙂  I had planned to write a lot more this year, and I am off to a good start!  If you are reading this, thank you for stopping by, and sharing this journey with me!

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For this special post, I want to share with you one of THE single most beautiful pictures of God’s Grace in the New Testament, and a story that truly brings tears to my eyes, which is found in John chapter 8.

Tracking from verse one, we see the scene being set up.  Jesus has returned once again to the temple complex to teach, and as usual, many people have turned out to hear Him speak and teach.  However, unlike many other accounts in the Gospels, something different happens here.  Something that is truly Breathtaking, Amazing, Beautiful even, and so altogether captivating, it is almost as if you can imagine being right there in the crowd.

John 8:3-6 (HCSB)

3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  So what do You say? ” 6 They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him.  Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger.

After reading this,  you may even think to yourself . . .  “This just got real.”

Here this woman is who was caught in the “act of adultery,” so they had actually witnessed her in the middle of her crime, and subsequently drug her out to face the masses in the middle of the temple complex, ready to stone her dead, via public execution.

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Is this not the ultimate badge of shame?

She is caught red-handed; the law requires death, there were witnesses, and everyone is now aware of her crime.  Her scarlet letter is burning hot on her sleeve.

What more to be done now, than to cower in fear, and shame?  However, this particular day, Jesus was in the house.  The Pharisees thought this would be a great opportunity to trap Him, so they put this to Him as some sort of test.  What were they hoping He would say?

Consequently, the next verse is so DRAMATIC and such a shock to those hearing it, it takes a moment for them to register what is actually happening.

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John 8:7-8 (HCSB)

7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”  8 Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground.

I’m sure they were thinking:  Waaait, whaaaat?  That throws a kink in some things.  Who are you to Take this woman’s sin, and throw it back on us?  This isn’t about us, this is about her; her sin, her crime!  Not ours.  But, now that you mention it, how can I throw a stone at this woman?  Have I not lied, cheated, and stolen, manipulated, gossiped, and have I not been proud?

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John 8:9 (HCSB)

9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men.  Only He was left, with the woman in the center.

They couldn’t do it.  Not one of them could throw the first stone.

The hardened Pharisees, were humbled.  The older ones, those with more influence, and wisdom left first.  They heard the truth.

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John 8:10-11 (HCSB)

10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? ” 11“No one, Lord,” she answered.  Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

Jesus was the only one with the right to condemn her, and yet He did not.  He showered His mercy and His grace upon her; like a fresh spring, it refreshed her soul.  He loved her.  He loved them.  He loves us all, no matter our spots or blemishes.

Neither do I condemn you.

These are the words that brought me to tears.  I just kept repeating them to myself, and let them wash over me like a fountain.  Jesus is my breath of fresh air.  Jesus is my tall glass of water.  He renews my mind.  He eases my troubled thoughts (even the ugly ones about myself), and He gives me G R A C E.

https://i0.wp.com/www.churchinthefields.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/trustgirl.jpg

Bottom Line:

His grace is sufficient.

So, What right do I have to judge another human being?  None.  Even Jesus saw past the guilt and shame that was hers; He went so far as to defend her in public.  He protected her, saved her life, gave her another chance.

He  F O R G A V E  her.  He  F O R G A V E  me.  He  F O R G A V E  you.

So, please let it go.  Whatever, it is you’re holding onto, whether it be the Bitterness that comes from unforgiveness, or the guilt and self-loathing of something from your past.  Today is a new day, and His grace is sufficient for you.

Question:

What is holding you back from giving or receiving His grace today?  Why not choose today, to walk in His peace, and rest in His undying love for you? 

As soon as you do, your life will be a portrait of Grace and the overflow will be tremendous.

Choose Grace today.  Choose Peace.  Choose Forgiveness.

Please listen to this song if you can, because I think it really exemplifies this idea even more:

How He Loves Us

Versos en Español:

Juan 8:3-6Juan 8:7-8Juan 8:9Juan 8:10-112 Corintios 12:9

. . . we moms, change the world . . .

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Have you ever wondered how perfect it would be to have been the one chosen to raise, the perfect child?  No, I’m not talking about an extremely well-behaved, well-adjusted, well-rounded child, I’m talking about the Perfect child.  I.e. Jesus.  It must have been an experience, like none other 😉

Well, this is something I have been thinking on for a while now, and since we are given so few accounts of Jesus’ childhood and interactions with His mother, that I thought it would be fitting for us to discuss this a bit further.

In John chapter 2, we are shown the First Miracle, also known as the First Sign, that Jesus performs publicly (why I emphasize, “publicly” you will see in a minute).  Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast!  Do you hear it??  (*You’re supposed to hear a cheer or a  good “amen” from all the Catholics, as a hush falls upon the Baptists* lol) 😉

Anyway, what had happened was this:  Jesus, His mother, and His disciples were all in attendance at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Pretty soon, I’m guessing here, the wine ran out.  Seeing the problem, Mary looks to her son with insistent and pleading eyes and basically says, “Son, they’ve run out of wine!”  He looks over at her and says:

John 2:4 (HCSB)

4 “What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman? ” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”

But, we get the idea of what He is saying:  “Yeah, and?”  Well, just like any good mother would do – Mary didn’t first consult His feelings on the matter, or think about the long-term consequences of disregarding His statement that it was not yet His time (God’s statement, The Son of Man’s statement, mind you).  I imagine she simply looked at Him with The Eye (You Mamas know what I’m talking about…especially you Southern Mamas!), and proceeded by ignoring Him and instructing the servants on hand:

John 2:5 (HCSB)

5 “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.

In essence, “Jesus, I’m ignoring your last comment, and Telling you what’s what, and what You’re about to do, Because I am Your mother.”  So, of course, the story follows that Jesus takes these 3 Gigantic jars (No, I mean GINORMOUS jars … each had the capacity of 20-30 gallons, we are told), and He turns the water which they held for purification, into wine.

https://pathdiscoveries.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/6e9bf-water-into-wine.jpgWatch this:  In the presence of the servants, His mother, and His disciples- that’s it.  Again, we are witnesses to this unfolding love story Jesus is telling to the Least of These . . . that they are important, they are worthy, they are loved.  It says the Master of the Party did not know anything about the miracle that took place . . . BUT, the servants did.

If he had come, caring about fame and the opinion of man, He would have gathered everyone around and made a big spectacle of the whole thing – But, He wasn’t and so, He didn’t.  This is a topic for another day though; right now I want to get back to the relationship between Jesus and His mother, Mary.

What does this short interaction tell us about them?  Perhaps, it tells us that while this was Jesus’ first public miracle, it probably wasn’t the very first miracle He performed.  In fact, by her response, I would wager that this could have been a common occurrence in their house . . . (*imagine: Jesus, we ran out of flour again…)  Her tone may have even sounded like this, “Oh come on . . . you ARE doing this- whether you want to or not.”  It’s clear at least, that she didn’t take His concern too seriously.  Or, if she did, she saw past it and decided to push her son into action, as mothers often do.

I can almost imagine them in Heaven laughing it up:

Jesus:  Hey, Ma! You remember that time you MADE me provide wine at that wedding, EVEN after I told you it wasn’t the right time?

Mary: Yeah . . . what about it??

Jesus:  Well, you know that little event went down in history as my First act of ministry.  Now, everyone runs around saying, “You know Jesus wasn’t against drinking…the first thing He did, was turn water into wine!… Thanks a lot mom- I look real sophisticated, reeeal legit now. (smh)

Lol . . . no, really I think He couldn’t care less about how He “looked,” but it is funny to think about those type of things!

Anyway, in this account, we are able to get a picture of their inner family workings.  Mary was His Mama – She made decisions for Him, and she did the best she could – like ALL of Us moms.  Imagine though, the weight on her shoulders.  She had the responsibility of raising the Messiah after all, and she knew it from Day 1!  No PRESSURE Mary – really – just do your best.  That is, the best you can do as a teen girl/mom and let God handle the rest –

Now, isn’t that just the testimony God is speaking to our hearts?  He’s saying:

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Let me handle what you can’t.

Jesus submitted to His mother in love, and provided wine for the wedding feast.  What a sweet picture of their parent-child relationship!

It was a NORMAL relationship – I think everyone who wishes their child was or would be more like Jesus- perfect, that is – fail to see, it wasn’t as easy as ALL ‘dat.  I mean, Jesus got lost at least once, and here we see He wasn’t interested in helping His mother’s cause – there was hesitation, resistance.  He was HUMAN – Like us.  Not, just God.  With a human face.  He lived and breathed among us.  He wanted the Human Experience, and He got it.

Modern wisdom tells us to listen to our kid’s feelings/ thoughts to the point of not pushing them to do what they don’t want to do, even if you see their talents leaning a certain way.  In other words, let them forge their own way in their own time.

That’s not what we saw Mary do – She saw a need – she saw a solution – Her son.  That was all she needed to push Him into action.  She was essentially saying, “It IS Your time, Son.”

Kids (read: ALL kids, even older/adult kids) need us to reassure them, no doubt, but sometimes they need us to push them in the right direction.

A mom is someone who can have the GREATEST impact on the world, because she is the one who is raising the Next Generation of World Changers and History Makers!  Yes, the child has a part to play in their own lives to be sure, but the MOTHER is the one who sews the first seeds, and helped place the first blocks into place – whether good or bad.

Her presence, or absence, makes the world of difference to her child, and ultimately the World!

https://i1.wp.com/orastories.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/change-the-world.jpg

To the mom reading this right now, I say:

Please stop thinking your job is menial, mom.  Stop gawking at the phrase, “Being a mom, is the most important job in the world,” because, it REALLY is.

It’s true!  You have the power to Literally  C H A N G E  History. . . or not.  Your influence will either spur your child to action or inaction.  It’s up to you.

Stop listening to a culture that tells you that Mothering is the point in your life where you have “settled down,” that your life is put on pause, or that it is over entirely.

I’m more ALIVE and PASSIONATE, now as a mother than I ever was before!  Let that fire inside of you SHINE, and you will watch it manifest in the lives of your children.

Be BOLD, Mom!  Stop letting life Pass You By!

I expect to pass through this world but once.~ William Penn

You will only pass through this way once, mama…
** Do it  ALIVE!
** Do it  STRONG!
** Do it  Tirelessly – (even, while sleep deprived 😉 )!
** Do it  YOUR Best!
And most of all: Do it  PROUD!
Bottom Line:
Being the Mother of the Messiah – Many could have easily said, “Well, He’s gonna do what He’s gonna do . . . He knows what’s better for Him, than I do – He is God, after all.”  But, she didn’t.  She Mothered Him . . . and she DIDN’T do it passively.
Question:
Are you sitting here while your kids are running around, or mindlessly watching T.V. perhaps (this is necessary at times for sanity purposes, lol) wondering, wishing your life was somewhere else?
In the corporate world, or off traveling, or whatever?  (Anything but this monotonous diaper changing, sibling dispute solving/not solving, taxi driving existence!)
Just remember, YOU have the power to change the world.
Are you going to take it?

. . . Christ, the drunkard . . .

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Here in America, and probably in many other parts of the world, we are so concerned with the “appearance of things,” and not so much with the “reality” of things.  Often, we live our lives by how something will be perceived by others.  Not that this is always a bad thing, but we do end up worrying about inconsequential things as a result.

We sweat the small stuff, and make sure all our t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted, before we step out.  We make sure to put our “best foot forward” and try not to share our dirty laundry in public.   But why? Why do we do all of this?  To make it “appear” like we all have it together.  Or, is it some version of civility we are aiming for?  I don’t know, but I DO know that Jesus wasn’t concerned how he appeared.  He was just Himself, and He was so REAL, it was TABOO.

I want to be so real, it’s taboo.

Incidentally, there is an interesting account given us in Luke 7 . . . John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for someone else?” (Luke 7:19).  So once John’s disciples got to Jesus and asked him that, they got the opportunity to witness Jesus healing many people of disease, blindness, and even watched as He cast out evil spirits.  Afterwards, Jesus told them to go back to John and report what they had seen and heard.  Now after John’s messengers had left, Jesus speaks about John to the people who had remained there, saying:

Luke 7:24-28

24 After John’s messengers left, He began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft robes? Look, those who are splendidly dressed and live in luxury are in royal palaces. 26What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet.

27 This is the one it is written about:

Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You.  28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John,but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

This is high praise coming from the Son of Man!  He goes on in the following verses to describe the generation at hand, saying they are basically an “unresponsive Generation.

Read this, but focus on verses 33-35.

Luke 7:31-35.

31 “To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to each other:
We played the flute for you, but you didn’t dance; we sang a lament, but you didn’t weep!
33 For John the Baptist did not come eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon! ’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! ’ 35 Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

So here we see, John was called “Demon possessed,” and can you believe it??  Jesus was called a Glutton and a Drunkard.  Isn’t it funny how we can misconstrue things? Or, how people can blow things out of proportion or make a mountain out of a molehill . . . or [insert another cliche].

However, for people to call Jesus a Glutton and a Drunkard makes me wonder/ think about why He really came here and who he came for:  He came here to serve, not to be served.

He came here, and enjoyed life with those He loved.  He didn’t let the opinions of outsiders get in the way of living life and enjoying it to the full with normal “average Joe” sorta people . . .  and, even with those of ill repute.  He was one of them, one of the guys, in a way, (except he was perfect).

But, here’s a question that might rock your train of thought for a minute:

How can perfect be misconstrued as: Gluttony and Drunkenness?

And his followers (read: disciples), were not his special projects . . . O U C H . . . they were His friends.

Perhaps, we are looking at this with muddled vision- perhaps, we as humans are seeing, but not really seeing.  It’s as if, there is a foggy pair of glasses covering our eyes, and we think we can see just fine.

We can’t.

1 Samuel 16:7

. . . Man sees what is visible, but the Lord looks at the heart.

We  have no capacity to see what isn’t plainly visible.  We have no capacity for what is REAL . . . I mean, really, REAL.

Haven’t we all heard the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:22  quoted to us from the King James Version of the Bible, which reads: “Abstain from all appearance of evil”?  Did you know that MOST versions of the Bible didn’t translate it that way, including the New King James Version?  Most versions translate that verse, in some form of this way:  “Stay away from every kind of evilHolman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).

(There is a great blog, Abandon Image,that actually goes into the translation thing in more depth, here.)

Why is this relevant?  Because . . . LOOK at Christ!  He was taken for a Drunkard.  Is that not the epitome, of “the appearance of evil?

We have to get out of our shells people.  We have to start stepping out and going places “Good Christians” don’t go.  We have to STOP worrying about the APPEARANCES so much, and just be REAL.  Like Christ.

How can we be HIS HANDS, and HIS FEET, if we are so concerned about our house being messy that we can’t invite a friend over?  Or, we are too worried about what it will look like if Suzie So and So, sees us hanging out with the Assiduous Hussy down the street, who is working the corner to be able to feed her kids?

Bottom Line:

We.Have.To.STOP.

We have to stop using 1 Thessalonians 5:22 as a means to shut out the world.

Appearances are not Everything.

Question:

Which does your life more resemble: Christ the drunkard, or the Pharisees (Religious Zealots)?

Versos en Español:

San Lucas 7:19, San Lucas 7:24-28, San Lucas 7:31-35, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Tesalonicenses 5:22

. . . salvation on pre-order . . .

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Oh boy!  Did I mention I LOVE the book of John??  Oh, yes I think I did!

The absolute first thing I was inspired with this morning is just how anointed John the Baptist was.  God calls him, His messenger (Luke 7:27), and rightfully so.  He was sent AHEAD of Jesus to prepare the way for Him, In fact, “He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sinsLuke 3:3

All I can say is, he must have been one Hell of a Preacher man!

IMAGINE . . . baptizing people or being baptized, for that matter- which was something that was not taken lightly at all back then, or now in some parts of the World- merely on the Hope and Promise of a Savior to COME.

https://i0.wp.com/3dota.com/images/PreOrderButton.gifThey were so fired up – they were like those people who pre-order books on Amazon – they pay for it up front, just to be able to be one of the first ones to have it- these people HAD some faith like that, let me tell you!

Shoot–  Now you know there are lots of people who have a hard time coming to Christ knowing what all He has done for them by dying on the cross and having been told of the miracles He performed.  How much guesswork does it take to follow a man who has ALREADY defeated death, AND forgave all of your sins?  Not too much.  But there is still doubt for believers and unbelievers alike.

However, these first believers had to go on P U R E unadulterated FAITH.  To trust that the Savior was coming – they didn’t know His name or what He looked like.  In way of description, John simply said, “…There is one coming whose sandal strap I am unworthy to untie…” (part of Luke 3:16).  Yet, they believed on Him.

WOW!! What a Faith and Hope that was theirs! Then, the very next day we are told that Jesus approached John as he was baptizing, and it says:

John 1:29-31 (HCSB)

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel.”

But it doesn’t stop there, he goes on to say how it is he knew Jesus was the Lamb of God.  Because you have to know, they didn’t have picture messaging back then, they didn’t have photography at all for that matter, so how was John to recognize the Son of Man whom he had never met (save that one time, in utero- but that was a long time ago and people change in appearance after all)?  Well, he explains it here:

John 1:32-34 (HSCB)

32 And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. 33 I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on — He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God! ”

http://lindseygail10.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/say-what.jpgNow, I don’t know about you, but me, I  be like, “Sayyy whaaatt??  Brother just said, he done saw the Spirit of God come down on that man . . . I ain’t seen nothing . . .  Joe, did you see anything descend down on that guy?”  Joe looks over at that guy and then back at me, and says, “Naw, man, I ain’t seen nothin’ like that.”

Then one of two responses would follow, “This joker is crazy…either that or he be smokin’ something mighty strong!”  Or, maybe, just maybe I would have sensed the Spirit of God in the place (as those in attendance must have) and reveled at the sight of the Lamb of God, and at John’s testimony of Him.

That’s what they did.  Now, that is some faith and believing I have never seen!  John was confident that the Lord had spoken to him and he was confident that the Lord would do as He said he would.  So, he went out proclaiming the coming of a savior.  Regardless of how foolish it may have seemed to some.  And, when he went, He went with power because God had personally sent him, and THIS is why people listened to him and subsequently followed him:

6 There was a man named John
who was sent from God.
7 He came as a witness
to testify about the light,
so that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the light,
but he came to testify about the light.

What must it have been like to declare the coming of the Lord?  What can we learn from John and the people he was teaching and baptizing?

Lots, but I think in this case, it would be sufficient to repeat what John says about Jesus later on when his own disciples came to him worried, because after hearing Jesus teach and seeing his miracles, people started flocking to him and Jesus was baptizing more people than John.  So what was John’s response?  He said:

John 3: 27-30 (HCSB)

27 John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

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He recognized that all power comes from God ALONE.

John knew this thing was not about him, and he gave of himself to see the thing through.  He was not only confident in the message God sent him to spread and teach, but he was also confident in who he was in relation to Christ and was rejoicing in what Christ was doing and becoming.

That’s how we need to be:

* Confident in Who we are, because God made us that way for a reason, a season, and with a purpose.

  * We need to recognize where our talents come from and put them to good use.

* We need to be Confident in what God has told us to do, and do THAT unashamedly.

Are you Confidently  LIVING out His plan for your life?

If so, right on!  If not, pray that He helps you where you are to lay down the burden of unrighteousness (that is not your load to carry)  and to PUT ON the truth of His word about you!

Versos en Español (TLA):

San Lucas 7:27, San Lucas 3:3, San Lucas 3:16, San Juan 1: 29-31, San Juan 1: 32-34, San Juan 1:6-8, San Juan 3:27-30

. . . and the Word was God . . .

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Happy New Year!

I know I’m a little late, but please don’t hold that against me 🙂

Don’t you just LOVE the refreshing feeling of a new year?!  It makes you just want to stretch in the morning and smile that you have a whole new life awaiting you . . . just waiting on you to find and explore it!

Well, what better way to start anew than with digging deeper into the Word of God?  I started my new year off, reading one of my favorite books of the Bible, the Gospel of John.  The reason it is one of my favorites, is that it is the only of the four Gospels that truly starts with a Bang!

After reading it en Español, I got some new insights and thought I would share them with you.

My favorite verse in the Bible, is actually John 1:1, just for the reason I mentioned above.  It starts with such force and power, and really compels the reader to keep reading!

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John 1:1 (HCSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.

BAM!!  I Mean . . . That’s what’s up!

Now, here is the Spanish version (the emphasis in both versions was mine), which you may want to refer to later:

San Juan 1:1 (TLA)

1 Antes de que todo comenzaraya existía aquel que es la Palabra.La Palabra estaba con Dios,y la Palabra era Dios.

In the Spanish version, they use the word estaba to say, “was,” as in, “was with God.”  In English, we have one way to say “was,” and that is: was.  In Spanish though, they have more than one way of saying “was” which is the past tense of “to be.”  Without going into a full on Spanish lesson on their usage of preterite and imperfect tenses, just know that this instance of saying the word “was” in that tense is like saying, “The Word was [continually] with God,” as opposed to a singular event that happened only once.

Why is this important? Why does this matter? Shouldn’t this be obvious anyway??

I’m so glad you asked! And answering the questions in reverse order (because, that just seems cooler), we shall see why.

So… Shouldn’t this be obvious anyway?

Yes, I guess it should.  However, saying it in English can leave some room for interpretation, or in the least, a bit more scrutiny.

The Word was with God.”  This can lead one to believe that The Word was with God in the beginning, at that singular, momentous event when the world was spoken into motion. But, the next part of the sentence says, “the Word was God.”

So, we can see then that God and Jesus are coexisting beings, yet still “separate” entities based on the first part of the sentence.  So, we can further reason that they are united as one, but can be “separate” in body (as in the example of Christ coming to Earth).

[ But really, even then, they were never apart from one another… as God is Omnipresent.  Kind of Mind-blowing, I know, right?]

However, the Spanish also use a different form of the verb “was” when describing that the Word was God- they use the verb: era, which can be used to describe an essential quality of the person or thing being described.

So, again we see that even though it “should” be obvious, and “should” be understood- in the English language, we can take the subtleties in an actual verb to mean or “speak” to us in different ways.

In the Spanish version – using the imperfect tense in the first part of the sentence, and the lack of it in the second part- makes it a lot plainer and a lot more concrete, as to what the verse is actually saying.

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Why does this matter?

Well, for me, it takes a verse that I LOVE for so many reasons, and brings it to life and gives me a deeper understanding than before.

One of the things I love about this verse, is that it gives us a glimpse of the Trinity.  In some religions, or sects of Christianity, the people are taught that the Trinity is a false belief or that it is in a way promoting idolatry.

For instance, in the Jehovah’s Witness’s version of the Bible, The New World Translation, John 1:1 was changed, to read: “The Word was with God and the Word was a god.”  The addition of this single article, “a,” changes the verse in such a way as to diminish the power and meaning of it entirely. This could be no further from the truth, which is clearly seen in the original verse, and is especially seen in the Spanish version.

[*As a side note, I personally hold no ill will to Jehovah’s Witness’s; I just find some of their beliefs to be misguided, especially since there were no true Greek or Hebrew scholars to assist with their translation of the Bible.]

Along with many English versions (I like HCSB), many Spanish versions (including TLA) of the Bible were also translated straight from the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible.  So, there is really no mistaking the original context or meaning of this passage.

This completely excites me beyond words— which is saying A LOT for me!

Why is this all so important?

This verse and its revelation is important because knowing that Christ IS the Word, that the Word was present in the Beginning and was [is] actually God- helps you to better grasp not only the Trinity, but why it is you believe what you believe about Christ and what further confirms Him as Savior of Mankind.

He is Everything!!

John goes on to write that NOTHING, as in NoThing, could have been created were it not for the Word, who is also called our “light.”

Could it be that when God said, “Let there be light!”  That these words were in fact Christ Himself creating light, or that some of the light emanating from Himself was captured here for us? (Interesting rabbit trail of a thought I had).

Does this make Proverbs 18:21 a even more powerful? Where it reads (emphasis mine):

Proverbs 18:21 a (HSCB)

21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue [ie. words]

To me:  Yes!!

Is this theologically sound or proven?  Probably Not.  I am not a theologian after all, and I have not taken this study further than my own thoughts to either confirm or deny it. 

BUT, from my small part of the world, in the small part of the morning, where I sat open to hear what God would breathe into my heart, This is what I heard today.  And this is what I (as an average person) am sharing with you now. Take what you will from it, and by all means Expound on it and Share your thoughts!

My Prayer Today:

Lord, let my heart and ears stay ever focused on You, and allow me to be like John the Baptist who described himself as one who cried out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” (John 1:23)

That is my prayer! What’s yours?

Bottom Line:

God gave John the Most Important message in the world to give – the message of the coming of our Lord and Savior.   John was inspired of God to write the words he did, in the precise way he did, in order that he tell us not only of Christ’s coming, but also and more importantly, just Who Christ was and Is!

John knew all of this about Christ without ever having met Him.  So there was no conference or conferring on what would be spoken about Jesus between John and Himself.  God spoke to John about His son, and John conveyed God’s message to the world!

Question:

How will you respond to the message God plants in Your heart?

Versos en Español:

San Juan 1:1, Proverbios 18:21, San Juan 1:23

. . . my way or the highway, buster . . .

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Oftentimes, we as parents, insist on our children (teens and pre-teens, especially) doing things “our way or the highway.”  But why?  They are the living, breathing examples of God’s relationship with us.

Obviously, as their parents, we have a responsibility to guide them and teach them the important things about life.  Right from wrong.  Respect.  Love.  Obedience.  And, most importantly, the Love of God.  But, beyond these things, don’t we want our children to think for themselves?  To know who they are in Christ and with God without us having to tell them?

As I was reading today, I came across the story of Jesus as a 12 year old boy.  And, I guess I find it interesting that of the very little we know of His childhood, that this account, in particular, is shared with us.

Reading from Luke 2: 41-52, we see that every year Jesus’ parents Mary and Joseph would go to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival in order to celebrate.   After the celebration was over, his parents traveled a full day’s journey before realizing their son was not with them (traveling with a large group of family and friends made it easy to assume He was walking with his friends or whatever).

They went back to Jerusalem searching for their son for an additional 3 days before finding him in the temple.  When they found him, He was listening to the teachers of the law and asking intelligent questions of them.  Clearly they were upset when they found him, his mother said:

 “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.” – Luke 2: 48

To which Jesus responded:

“Why were you searching for Me? ” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house? ”Luke 2: 49

Jesus stayed behind and caused his parents not only a 3-4 day delay on getting back home, but also the panic that comes with losing a child.  And yet, we are told Jesus was perfect.  He was obedient in every way.  But, clearly He still had the capacity to cause his parents grief and distress.

You see, He was here for a purpose (as we all are), but that purpose was not aligning with his parents’ plans at that time.  It is interesting, because as parents, we often think we know what’s best for our children . . . absolutely or without question.  But, we don’t . . . always.  Each person was given a purpose when we were sent to Earth, that’s including our children.

So, why are we given this account from Jesus’ childhood which paints a picture of Jesus willfully staying behind in the temple (to be in His father’s house, granted)?  If not disobedience, this surely shows a child who doesn’t seem to be quite “perfect” by the modern parental standard.

https://i0.wp.com/boourns.dynu.net/pics/11678884722452445sy7.pngAnd to quote an infamous source, Sir Tophamm Hatt from the  children’s TV series, Thomas the Train (Kill me now, please, for referencing it), Jesus caused “confusion and delay” for his parents, (which is an unforgivable sin on the show).- NOT to mention: HEARTACHE, GRIEF, and worst of all: FEAR.

Their little boy – the promised one- the Messiah- was missing for 3 DAYS!! 

Upon finally finding Him- they ask their son WHY he has done this to them, they tell him how worried they were, and then they get His response.

It was not, “I’m sorry I scared you,” (typical for that age, lol), it was not, “I lost track of time, I got lost,” etc.  But essentially, “What?  Didn’t you expect me to be here?”  Needless to say, they didn’t quite understand their son’s logic.  It says He left with them, and he continued to grow in wisdom and stature, he listened to His parents in everything, and that He was well-liked by all.

What does all of this mean?  What does it show us?  I’m not really sure, to be honest- but, maybe, just maybe . . . it is showing us that EVEN when our children inspire fear, doubt, and anxiety within us- EVERYTHING can STILL be OKAY.

We can worry, worry, worry our lives away, especially when it comes to our kids, but what will it profit us?

God left them in our hands to protect and care for them . . . and probably also to teach us.  We have to remember that they are still in God’s hands too.  They were in God’s hands FIRST, and it is into God’s hands they will finally be entrusted.

You see, they are really only in our hands for a very short time (in relation to their whole lives), and we are constantly drilled about what we “need” to teach them, how we need to guide them, what will and will not scar them for life.  Then we are told, that if we don’t do it right, we might just ruin them and then subsequently the world we are releasing them into.

BUT- What IF? 

What if the reason we are given such a limited time with them in our care is so that WE may be the ones taught a thing or two about life.  I know I have.  In this life, I have learned the absolute MOST from being  a wife, and especially from being a Mother.

No, we mustn’t just throw our children aimlessly into the world.  But, neither should we pretend we are All-Knowing – last I checked- there was only ONE who fit that description.

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And for Crying out LOUD . . . as a society can we please just stop doing a few things:

1.  STOP re-arranging, pre-arranging, and otherwise arranging our children’s destinies.  By forcing them into activities and/or educational opportunities meant to “set them up” for life.  (Whose life?)

2.  Can we please STOP belittling/ shaming/ undermining our children’s beliefs, passions, and spiritual “knowers?” (esp in the name of “helping” them)

3.  Can we please STOP micromanaging every aspect of their lives? and ours too for that matter?

https://i1.wp.com/simonmainwaring.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/start.jpgAnd, finally . . . Can we please START listening to them?  Start putting them ahead of our agendas, and realizing they have purpose and insight too?

Look, to be honest, I struggle with this.  I know I don’t have it all figured out, and yet I demand absolute obedience without question at times that I probably don’t need to.  But each day, we have to move forward – each day, I have to learn from the day before.  This is one of the things I’m learning.

I need to stop expecting perfection from my imperfect children, from my imperfect spouse- from my imperfect self.

Christ WAS perfect and STILL managed to cause his parents grief- all for being who He was meant to be.  Did His parents punish him for that extra bit of grief, confusion, and delay?  We are not told – probably not, if I had to guess – but, what we are told, is that He was LOVED.

I guess that’s the ONE thing we ALL need most – LOVE.  Let’s work together to spread it around.  Be Blessed My Friends!

Peace out.

*Julie*

** Para ver estos versos en español haga clic en los siguientes enlaces: San Lucas 2: 41-52, San Lucas 2: 48, y San Lucas 2: 49

. . . the OUTCASTS Save the City . . .

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Ever Wonder what it would be like to be DIFFERENT?  No . . . I mean REALLY different . . . the kind of different that makes people turn away when they look at you?  What if you ARE that person already – – is there any use at all to your life?

Yes.

2 Kings 7:1, 3-4 (HCSB)

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: ‘About this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria, six quarts of fine meal will sell for a shekel and 12 quarts of barley will sell for a shekel.’ ”
Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen? ”   Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”
Four men with a skin disease [leprosy] were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die?
 If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”

After being made the fool against the Israellites, King Benhadad of Aram brought his military together and marched up to besiege Samaria, which in turn, caused a famine in Samaria, and it continued until everything was crazy expensive to buy.  It was so bad that at least two mothers made pacts to eat each others’ babies (2 Kings 6: 26-29).

They were starving, they were desperate!   So, what was their course of action?

Naturally, the King blamed Elisha (as if he had anything to do with it), and wanted to kill him.  So, when he finds Elisha, they have a little chat, in which Elisha tells the king that at about the same time the next day, the tables were going to turn… so much so, that everything was going to be normal to cheap prices again.

This, of course, seemed quite impossible to the king’s right hand man (& understandably so).  But, this is what the prophet proclaimed (He also told the Captain that he would not partake of any food because of his doubt).

The very next thing we see, is a picture of a group of lepers (the throwaways of society) sitting just outside the entrance of Samaria at the gates. T hey were literally sitting there, just waiting to die.  That is, until they started to discuss and acknowledge their condition and the options that lie before them.

They essentially had 3 options:

1. They could continue to sit there at the gate and wait to die.

2. They could get up and go into the city (where they were also sure to die because of the famine in the city).

3. They could go to the camp of an enemy army.

This third option, is the ONLY option where the outcome **might** not be death. They COULD possibly LIVE with this option.  More likely they would die, but it is an option they had to try because no matter what, they were knocking on death’s door.  Only, this way, they had a CHANCE – – regardless of how miniscule it may have seemed.  In the end, they decided this was the only choice . . . to take a Risk.

So, they set out for the Aramean (Syrian) campsite, not knowing what to expect, but KNOWING their options . . . the risk . . . and the h o p e of a better outcome.

Upon arrival to the campsite, the group of lepers found it completely abandoned and ripe for plundering!  “What could have happened here??”  I’m sure they were wondering . . . But instead of dwelling on it, they took a bunch of the goods for themselves and hid them, before thinking about what great news this would be for the king and the people of the city . . . so after a little deliberation, they decided to go tell the king.

Long story short, what Elisha had prophesied came to pass and there was plenty of enough food and goods to go around for the inhabitants of the city.

So, why do I find this account so compelling??  Well, what I find most incredibly BEAUTIFUL in this story, besides all the miraculous splendor of fulfilled prophecy, etc. is WHO God uses to tell His story – to bring the good news of salvation to the city.

He uses the Lepers.

https://pathdiscoveries.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/f9107-leprosy_stigmata_1_040325.jpg

The ones their society had cast out and deemed unworthy to live among them.

God literally, in a very real sense, used the “outcasts,” the outsiders to change the course of their history.

Without them, who knows how this story would have ended.

What’s even more fascinating is the question of, had they not been cast out because of their leprosy . . . would they or anyone, have even considered the option to leave the city? (I threw that one in there for all you old school Matrix fans 😉)  Well, the apparent answer seems to be a resounding, No. ((Nobody else was leaving ))

In fact, it seems quite clear that the inhabitants of the city were afraid to leave. Some of which had even resorted to cannibalism just the day before . . . sad.

God has a plan . . . even for the “outsiders.”  What was great, was that after finding the deserted camp and all it had to offer, the lepers rightly decided to share the news with the city (that would most likely shun them on all other occasions) in order that it might be saved.

The Outcasts saved the city.  God let them be the superheroes of this story.  He could have easily sent Elisha to tell the king about the abandoned camp . . . but, He didn’t.  (Does this remind you at all of the shepherds he first told of Christ’s birth?  It should)

He wants us to be a part of His good news . . . and He lets us take part in the sharing of it!  How EXCITING!

Oh my how this story mimics or foretells of a certain child to be born who would save ALL of mankind.  And who did God choose to tell that story?   Who were the first informed??  Some lowly shepherds.

NOT the rich and famous.  NOT Royalty.  NOT the most influential orator.  NOT the priests.  NOT the teachers of the law.  NOT the religious zealots.

But the simple shepherds.

Bottom Line:

God has a plan for us ALL and sometimes . . . no . . . oftentimes, He uses those “least likely” by our standards, to tell His story.

Get it?  “His story” = “History.”

:QUESTION:

What part of His story is He trying to tell through YOUR life?

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