Archive | February, 2013

He Will Not Let You Settle . . . For You

27 Feb

Once again this morning I find myself at that place of awe, humility and wonder at the love of God.  Believe me when I tell you that the day did not start out that way.  I assure you, and if you could chat with Brett he would be quick to confirm for you, that I began my morning quite consumed with myself. (Check the comments on the side because he may confirm without your asking!)  In fact, I would say I have spent the last several days wallowing around in “all that is Bunny”. Praise God that He wants more for me “than me” and refuses to abandon me to my own mind.  Read that last sentence carefully.  I am not saying that God wants more for me than I WANT for me, I am saying that God wants more for me “than me.”  He knows that if I am to live, move, and find my being in Him, I have to live beyond myself.

If you have any propensity to become too introspective or self-absorbed, you’ve experienced the tremendous sense of relief that follows a readjustment of your vision.  You’re familiar with the freedom that comes from being set loose from yourself and you know what it means to have the weight of “you” removed from your shoulders.  Unfortunately, if you’re well acquainted with those things you are also in a tighter relationship than you want to be with what I am going to call the “consumption cycle.”

Your “consumption cycle” will be triggered by different things than mine but I firmly believe that once it is set in motion, we will pack our bags and travel hand in hand down the same well-worn path.  Maybe your consumption cycle begins with pouring your love and energy into preparing a meal for your family only to have it go totally unnoticed by a single soul.  Not a thank you, not a “good job Mom”, nothing.  Funny thing is that most often that kind of thing doesn’t sting your heart at all.  But this time, it hurts and your mind begins to chat with your heart about how unappreciated you are.  You wonder if you are significant and worse, a part of you believes that you are not.

Perhaps your consumption cycle starts its journey in the workplace.  You never complain about the workload, always go above and beyond the necessary task, and still, it seems as if you’re invisible.  Just another number, plugging away and easily replaced.  Your brain begins to tell you that you are nothing special and pretty soon you are listening to every word.  You hear the refrain and your security is shaken.

Or it might be that your trigger lies much closer to home? Hidden somewhere at the back of your heart in a big steamer trunk marked “the past” are memories that periodically try to crawl out of the mothballs surrounding them. Something occurs and you find yourself engulfed by old emotions with a nearly uncontrollable desire to disappear.  Everything in your head screams that you are unfit and unacceptable to serve Him.

              • Significance
              • Security
              • Acceptance

Those three things are as important to our souls as food is to our bodies.

I certainly join you in praising God if you have come to the point in your faith journey where you consistently look to God for your worth, but if you vacillate now and then and just reading the words makes you wince a little, I want you to know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.   If no one around you will admit that they do not have it all together, Sister, you come have coffee with me and I promise you, you will leave with absolute assurance that you have company in your struggles.  Even though the times are fewer and farther between than they used to be, there are still times when my mind turns on itself and I simply must choose to know what I know regardless of what my eyes perceive or my heart feels.

The sense of being less than you were created to be is nothing new.  Adam and Eve were created with their significance, their security, and their acceptance intact. They chose to sin and for the first time they experienced fear, isolation, and alienation.  This is the heritage that they passed on to their descendants.  Girlfriend, that’s us.  We’re the ones they deeded that property to.  I don’t know about you, but that is not a place I want to live and praise His Name, that isn’t the piece of land He has chosen for me. He died so that my boundary lines would fall in pleasant places and indeed, because of Christ, I have a beautiful inheritance. Those who have accepted Jesus are seated with Him in the heavenly realms and they are, without a doubt, significant, secure and accepted and Beloved, He says it often enough and plainly enough that even those who only speak “thick-headed” can understand.

He doesn’t say only once that in Christ you are fully accepted. 

He repeats Himself.

You are His child.

You are His friend.

You belong to Him.

He doesn’t limit His announcement of your security through Jesus. 

He says it again and again.

You are anointed and sealed by Him.

You cannot be separated from His love.

You are protected.

And He doesn’t restrain Himself in proclaiming the significance the

Savior has purchased for you.

You are His dwelling place.

You are His workmanship.

You are filled with His power.

See, no matter how many times I succumb to the “consumption cycle” I cannot change the truth concerning the redeemed of God.  He will not abandon me to myself.  So until my faith becomes sight and I truly possess my Promised Land,  I pray for the desire to live beyond myself and I praise Him that He wants more for me “than me.”  Girlfriend, do not settle for yourself!

The Resolve to Reign

20 Feb

In the last post I said I had had two sad coffee dates.  I told you about the cup I shared with the positive thinking gal who quoted Beatrix Potter and we brewed together about the very small “idk god” most of us have bowed to at one time or another.  But I didn’t say much about the meeting with Samuel.  Truth is our dining room table was crowded that morning because Samuel didn’t come alone.  He brought the elders of the Hebrew nation with him and soon Saul had filled a cup and taken a seat as well (1 Samuel 7-9).  We can’t relive all the action or significant events leading up to this point in Israel’s history because that would push the length way past the comments column, but to me this specific moment is one of the saddest in all the Bible.

Even if you are not an Old Testament enthusiast, you know about the miracles God performed in the lives of His children.  You know that He showed Himself mightier than any god Egypt could conjure, filled the hands of the Israelites with treasure, and parted the Red Sea for their escape.  He fed them in the wilderness, never allowed their clothes to wear out or their feet to swell in their wanderings, and He set the most beautiful of all the land aside for them. Over and over again God showed them who He was and confirmed His character by what He did.   Every battle He won for them, every promise He fulfilled for them seemed to echo the Divine invitation to KNOW Him.   And with each wonder He performed and each miracle He accomplished the breath of God announced . . . “I AM Love.  I AM Mercy.  I  AM Faithful.  Know Me.  Know Me.”

That’s why we’ve got to hear His heart of love when He tells the Israelites, “Don’t chase after those other gods, don’t offer yourself to them, don’t give them your love.  You don’t even know them.”  Now  that’s a Marilyn summarization/ paraphrase of a whole bunch of verses throughout the Old Testament , but the message of LOVE is still His.

We always have to be mindful of these truths:

  • He does not need us to remain true to Him for Him.
  • He does not need us to choose to follow Him for Him.
  • He does not need us to serve Him for Him.

He does not need us to . . . . . to anything.  Here’s the truth Girlfriend.  It’s you who needs Him, not the other way around.

 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.’  Acts 17:24-28

That’s the truth today and that was the truth for the Israelites.  So with all that Divine Love stirring your heart, imagine how it must have pierced the heart of God to have His people flat out reject Him as their King.  The same Nation that had declared that “The Lord will reign forever and ever” was now announcing that they no longer wanted Him to occupy the throne.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king  1 Samuel 8:4-7

 Feel the grief that must have washed over His heart.  These were the ones He had chosen.  The ones He had saved.  The ones He had shown His glory.  They were the ones He loved.  He had chosen to be their King so they would stand out, stand above, and stand apart from all the other nations.  He had distinguished them with His Presence and guided them with His Glory.  And now they were willingly discarding their holy distinction for disgrace.  They were demanding to return to the very state of servitude God had delivered them from.  How could anyone taste the love and freedom of the Divine and choose to abandon it?

Since I have confessed to you that my love language is thick-headed, it should come as no surprise that I love what seems to be the denseness of the Israelite people.  I am so grateful that they made the same mistakes over and over so that God could keep repeating Himself because, if nothing else, it gave Him good practice for displaying the unlimited patience He would need when He welcomed me into the Kingdom.  It’s so easy to look at the Israelites with disdain and say, “How could they?” until we really take the time to look intently at their actions. If you’re at all like me, what you see is yourself staring back.

God has done miraculous things for me and worked wonders beyond measure in my life.  I’m certain the same is true for you.  I’m also certain that just as surely as He set the Israelites free from the ruler who had placed the yoke of slavery upon them that He has set you and I free as well. He delivered us from the dominion of darkness and took our yoke of sin. And in all of this, He has whispered to our hearts  in the same real and tangible ways that He did to the Israelites, “Know Me. Know Me.”  And praise His Name, His grace led us to declare that He and He alone would be our King.  He would sit on the throne of our lives and His Presence would distinguish us from those with other rulers.  And then, just like the Israelites, we decided to trade our King for a small “k” king like everyone else had.

Remember the sadness we felt as we pondered the grief of God.  Would He not experience the same heartbreak in this instance?  We are the ones He has chosen.  We are the ones He has saved.  We are those that He has shown His glory.  We are the ones that He loves.  And in spite of Everything He Is, all too often we mimic our Old Testament forerunners by choosing to discard our holy distinction and blend with the world.

This is the part that really hits me.  We seem to believe now, the Israelites seemed to believe then, that we have some control over who is actually sitting on the Throne.  Doesn’t that strike you odd?  God has always been on His Throne, He always will be, and He is today.  Rather we choose to acknowledge His position or not, does not change the fact.  It seems like everything we study brings us back to the same point.  God cannot be changed by us, but we can certainly be changed by Him.  Let me say that again.  God cannot be changed by us, but we can certainly be changed by Him.  When we accept Christ as our Savior, we bow to the One, True King and acknowledge His position on the Throne.   It is we who benefit from His reign in our lives because it is we who are changed when we live knowing that He is enthroned.  When the King reigns — we change.

Oh Girlfriend, your destiny is not to blend in!  Don’t settle for the ordinary when the Extraordinary died to give you more.  You were meant to walk stronger, serve harder, and love deeper.  Your King has given you life to the full.  Keep Him on the Throne and live it well Sister!  Live it well!

The Resolve to ROAR!

13 Feb

I had two sad coffee dates this weekend.  One was with Samuel in chapters 7 and 8 of the first book bearing his name and the other was with some gal who had written an article on the power of positive thinking.  Funny thing is that the same story was being told by both people.  Both were recounting our desire to trade our limitless God for a weak replica we constrain by the limits of our finite minds.   The article on the power of positive thinking featured this quote from Unitarian, Beatrix Potter:

 “Believe in a great power silently working all things for good . . . and never mind the rest.”

Now in the most general terms, Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity nor do they accept Jesus as the Son of God.  They reject the inerrancy of the Bible as well as the doctrine of original sin.  Essentially, when you put Beatrix Potter’s words together with her beliefs, there isn’t one thing “positive” about it. To me, she’s saying you pick and choose who and what you want god to be and then place your faith in the willy nilly nature you have decided he should have.

I can’t speak for you but I know that the god I constructed prior to accepting Christ had no desire to hold me accountable for anything and always assured me that its benevolent nature would overlook any indiscretion on my part.  In fact, there could be no indiscretion because the standard for acceptable behavior was, to say the least, set up on a sliding scale.  Oh yes, I might like to have believed that the small “g” god I conjured up was silently working behind the scenes to make my life everything I wanted it to be but in all honesty, trusting something that was subject to my every whim was hard work.  I can say with certainty that any god who would be and do whoever and whatever I decided it would be and do, might be manageable but it definitely would not be trustworthy.  And while I might decide that the god of my imagination would work all things out for my good, you know me well enough by now to know that I would never have imagined it to be silent.

Now, if you were to consider the details of the gods Beatrix Potter and I had created, they might seem quite different.   She would’ve chosen what parts of the Biblical God she would contort to build her shadow ruler and I would have chosen mine.  But, it is the differences in our creations that reveal the identical nature of their cores.  Peel away the “my god would never this” and “my god is always that” and at the stripped down center you will find  . . . .SELF.  I want a god who behaves and fits into the box of the moment.  I want a god I am comfortable with and can control.    My god will serve the purposes I appoint when I appoint it to.  But most importantly, my god will serve me.  Perhaps I am wrong but I think that all of us have worshiped to some degree at that same self-constructed, self-centered altar.

I recently had a chance to chat on fb with a friend and we ended up messaging back and forth about this very thing.  It isn’t what we started out chatting about, but eventually the conversation turned in that direction and once it did, it didn’t seem as if I could leave it just hanging there.  I don’t usually talk about things that might be perceived as controversial through fb, texts, or even letters because you can’t hear the person’s tone of voice or see their body language so it’s too easy to misinterpret things.  But since a face-to-face or even phone-to-phone chat was not likely to take place in the near future, I plunged ahead, typed the question and clicked the send button.

  • “Do you believe Jesus when He says I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life or have you begun embracing the idea that there are many ways to God?”
  • Message Seen 11:48 a.m.  The answer:
    • “I do believe in God (their use of a capital “g” not mine) but I do not believe in religion or Christianity.  So to be honest I don’t really know how to answer your question.”

My heart was beating hard at this point.  I love my friend.  So I rephrased the question hoping that the response I received would assure me that they simply hadn’t understood and, beyond that, they would clearly tell me that of course they believed in Jesus.  I tentatively typed and pressed send again.

  • “Maybe you have answered my question in saying that you do not believe in Christianity—which means follower of Christ.  Have you decided that you no longer believe that Jesus is the Son of God, willingly died for your sins on the cross, and was raised to life so that you could be reconciled to and live in the Presence of God the Father?”

I sat holding my breath and staring at the computer.

  • Message Seen 11:57 a.m.  And the response hit the screen like a hard right cross to the chin.
    • Correct. I do not believe that.”

I’m not sure how you indicate long, heart sinking, wish it hadn’t happened silence in this genre.  I’m new at the whole blogging thing.  But after a very definite pause I  finally found my fingers, typed the question and hit the send button again.

  • “Who is the god you believe in?”

The reply that came:

  • “Idk.  I just know that there is someone greater than me that created me.  I believe God accepts everyone for who they are.  And I believe if you are a good person you will be rewarded.  The Christian God will let a rapist or a pedophile into heaven as long as they repent and believe in Jesus.  That is not right in my eyes.”

That response makes my heart ache and my eyes sting with tears.  And yet, the general description sounds all too familiar.  If you think back to your bC (before Christ) days, wouldn’t you agree that we have all worshiped the “idk” god?  The one we made up.   That we were comfortable with.  Perhaps we said, like my friend, that “my god” is accepting of everyone—implying that the One, True, Living God is not.  And then, in our next breath, we accuse the same God we just implied was too judgmental, of being too soft on those we have decided do not deserve forgiveness.    We say that “our god” will reward good people but we have reserved the right to define who is or who is not good.  And if we’re honest, our definition of good used ourselves as the gold standard.   We created a god who would not challenge us to be anything more than our sin nature desired to be.  The god we constructed in our minds behaved himself.  He loved who we wanted him to love, forgave who we wanted him to forgive, and threw lightning bolts at those we decided deserved them.  The god we were serving was small.  It fit inside our finite notions of who and what God should be.  If we want a god that manageable, that limited, that controllable, we will never be able to accept the truth of the God who gave His One and Only Son to save us.  Because He is none of those things.  He is God, there is no other.

I am the Lord, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
  so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:5-6

GOD is enormous.  He is limitless.  He is LOVE and He knows no bounds.  His beauty, His majesty, and His splendor are so fierce that they cannot be contained.  His majesty erupts and the heavens spring into existence.  His beauty explodes and the stars find their places.  His splendor bursts forth and the seas are hemmed in.   He is unending love and fearsome holiness. He is beyond what we can conceive or imagine and He has chosen to summon us by name and claim us as His own.  In the words C.S. Lewis used in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to describe Aslan,  “He’s good, but He’s not tame.”  Sister, your God is anything but tame.  From my perspective, He who called forth the Lion of Judah is absolutely WILD!  We simply do not have the capacity to comprehend His limitless love, perfect passion, or uncompromising holiness.  And still . . . and still . . .  He says to you, “You are the apple of my eye!”  Beloved,  . . . you’re His favorite!  The Wild One is wild about you!

And unlike Beatrix Potter’s god, He is not quiet about it.  Her silent god who works behind the scenes disintegrates in the presence of the Holy One who announces for all to hear that He works for the good of all those who love Him.  No, God is not silent concerning His love for you.  He confirmed it from the manger and shouted it from the Cross.   Girlfriend, do NOT limit God to what you can imagine.  Give Him permission to show you more, to push you to be more, to call you nearer.  Beloved, the Wild One is calling you to raise your eyes, open your heart and hear the roar!

The Resolve to Go Beyond

7 Feb

One thing I know to be true about myself is that I rarely tell a short story.  Especially when it comes to sharing about whatever thing God is doing around me at the moment.  I try to keep things brief but the details are significant and, to my way of thinking, you don’t really get the full impact if I don’t share each and every one. Hence, Side Note #2 to be read in a whisper on the last post.

Everything God does and shows us is so worth talking about to me.  I’m up front about my verbosity.  I always tell (or warn – you pick the verb) the sweet Sisters who attend my Bible studies that “I am a woman who loves to do two things:  study the Word and talk.”  And by the end of our weeks together, if they have learned nothing else, they have learned that the second part of that statement is true.  In fact, I was blessed to have my niece in attendance the very first time I introduced and expounded on material I had written myself.  When we left study, I said to her, “Sis, can you believe I talked for almost an hour?”  She didn’t skip a beat as she very matter-of-factly replied, “Oh yeah Aunt Bunny.  I wasn’t surprised.”

And, as you’ve probably noted by now, this blog does not deviate from my pattern.  For those of you who have been following since the first post, have you noticed that the number of comments that can be seen down the side has grown?  It isn’t just that there are more comments to show.  Nope.  There’s this widget in the blog set up that I can use to select how many comments are visible at a time.  It ranges from 5 to 15.  The first post I set the widget to display 5 comments.  But then on the second post I noticed that the text went past the comments and made the post look a little wordy.  Did I shorten the post?  No!  I moved the number of comments displayed to 10.  On the third post, I talked long enough that 10 didn’t do it anymore, and I had to change the widget to display 15 comments.  But 15 is the maximum that can be displayed so now I can’t even create the illusion that I can be succinct.  I think that’s why Twitter doesn’t hold any appeal for me.  Who can say anything in 140 characters or less?

While I’m not certain that wordiness is a spiritual gift, I am definitely thankful that God has blessed me with an enthusiasm for the things He has to say and an eye that often sees His intimate involvement in the everyday.    It might be that I appreciate those things so much because it’s so far from where this rebellious heart began.  I totally identify with the words God spoke through the pen of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:14-16

I often tell friends who are praying for someone close to them to surrender to Christ, “Look at me and have hope.  I’m tangible proof that God never gives up and no one is beyond His reach.” See, my life confirms that God reaches out and changes hearts regardless of our sin history. And I know, that as blessed as I am to be called by Him in the here and now, God has an inheritance kept in heaven for me beyond what I can conceive or imagine.  How can I be so confident of this?  How do I absolutely know it to be true?  Because it is who my God has always been and what my God has always done.

When I was little I used to love to read those big, hard covered Bible story books.  I think there were 12 of them.  The collection included the accounts of Noah, Moses, Joseph, David, Samuel.  All the Old Testament heroes of faith were there. But I cannot recall ever seeing a book on the woman who has become my favorite Old Testament giant of faith:  Rahab the harlot. The NIV offers the possibility that Rahab may have been an innkeeper rather than a prostitute in the footnotes, but the King James Version is blunt, to the point, and offers no alternative.  Regardless of the descriptor, God did not allow Rahab’s sin history to keep her from a redeemed future.

  • God knew exactly the kind of “innkeeper” Rahab was and He chose to offer her love.
  • Rahab knew exactly who she was and she chose to believe He loved her enough to save her.

Her choice to trust God protected her family, altered the face of the Israelite Nation, and directly touches your life today.  Still, though her influence is far reaching, after Joshua 6, we don’t find the name Rahab in the Old Testament again.  But Girlfriend,  don’t think for a moment that Rahab doesn’t cross the Covenant line.  She not only crosses it, she comes over with a roar!

Even though the author of my beloved children’s books might not have been able to find an appropriate way to celebrate her among the heroes of faith, the Author of our faith did.  He made certain that the Apostle Paul listed her right after Moses and before Gideon, Samuel, and David in the “Hall of Faith,” Hebrews 11.  She’s not only commended as one who believed and was saved, she is also included in the Book of James as one who was counted righteous because she acted on her faith. So Rahab stretches from the Old to the New Testament as an example of God’s saving grace and a life of faith throughout the generations.  Now what of the inheritance kept in heaven for us that will never spoil, perish or fade that I mentioned earlier?  What proof do we have of that?  Well, I believe that the answer to that is found in the very first chapter of the New Testament.  Matthew begins his account with the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Messiah and  tucked quietly in at verse 1:5 we find Rahab.  Rahab, fully redeemed, fully grafted into the vine of the chosen of God, completed the family tree that bore the Messiah.  Rahab  was the great-great- . . . . .grandmother of Jesus Christ.

Now that might be something you have considered, but have you ever let your mind go to the next step, to the beyond what we can conceive or imagine?  Think about this.  Rahab would have departed this planet long before the Messiah was born.  She would’ve learned who The Branch in her family tree was straight from the mouth of God.  What would she have done as she heard the Father say, “Rahab, I am sending the Messiah.  He will be the Light of the world.  He will redeem the generations and bring my children home.  And Rahab . . the One who is Redemption will be your great-great…grandson.”  Beloved, try to stand in Rahab’s shoes as the words washed over her heart.  Do you think her eyes drew open wide as her mind tried to comprehend it?  Did her hand cover her mouth as it fell open and the truth of it settled on her soul?  Did she begin to weep as understanding dawned in her heart? I don’t know how or if she remained upright, but I hope I get the chance to ask her someday.  And I hope I get the chance to thank her and let her know how much it has meant to me to have someone “like her” walk before someone “like me.”

Rahab the harlot, who lived long before me, is how I know that God loves me regardless of my sin history.  Rahab the called, who chose to trust God to preserve her life, is how I know He works for the good of those who love Him.  Rahab, the redeemed, who had no idea what awaited her in Glory is how I know that my mind cannot conceive the goodness.

So, there it is.  God being God.  He who was, He who is, and He who is to come.  He is faithful to Himself.  All of those words, all of that verbosity,–more than a paragraph past the end of the comment column– just to come full circle and find that our God does not change.

God is Resolved to Speak My Language . . .and Yours

4 Feb

I have made much of God’s faithfulness to Himself in these first few posts because God has made much of His faithfulness to Himself to me over the last year and a half.  Really, God has been preparing my heart to begin grabbing hold of that foundational truth forever.  That’s one of the wonderful things about Him.  He doesn’t care how thick-headed or dull you are, He’ll just keep repeating Himself until He sees the flame of comprehension begin to flicker.

I have to tell you that as I wrote that last sentence I felt a smile spread across my face because I had never realized before that “thick-headed” is my love language.  Let me explain.  The thing that God uses, more than anything else, to romance my soul and woo my heart is the revelation of the connections that flow between the Old and the New Testament.  I love it when He says the same thing on both sides of the Covenant line — when He repeats Himself.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, thrills my heart more than having His Word come to life that way. Nothing makes my heart, my mind, and my soul stand up and praise in such complete adoration. In that moment, my spirit knows what God meant when He told us that His words are life.

Since “thick-headed” might not be your love language, let me give you an example of what I mean. I won’t be able to describe the whole process to you or explain exactly the way God leads me from thing to thing, but I think I can give you enough so you understand just how sweet He is when He peels back the temporal and gives me these small glimpses—which are enormous for this everyday woman– of His glory.

So this is how it often unfolds for me, just change the place in the Bible I am reading and the thing that catches my eye.  I open my Bible and read Genesis 3.  My eye catches on the fact that part of the curse/consequence of sin is the land producing thorns.  The Holy Spirit nudges me to wonder, “Do you think it’s possible thorns are linked to or symbolic of sin throughout the Scripture?”  I haul out my Strong’s concordance or go to Biblegateway and search for the different Scriptures that have the word “thorn” in them. God has used that process to start my train of thought chugging down tracks, with the destination unknown, time and time again.  That particular time, it played out like this:

 Genesis 3:18

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

The Problem: Thorns symbolize the curse

    • Thorns were birthed by sin.
    • They are the consequence/by product of sin and man will toil to be free of them
    • The land has no choice but to produce them.

Isaiah 10:17

The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers.

The Promise:  The curse will be consumed.

    • A Savior — the Light of Israel — will come
    • Sin will be consumed by the Savior 

Matthew 27:27-31 (Mark 15:16-20; John 19:2-5)

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Person:  Christ wore the thorns/curse.

Choo!  Choo!  We have arrived and the view is beautiful.   The thorns birthed by the curse in the opening chapters of Genesis have been overcome by the birth of redemption when our Jesus became the curse for us.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness and by his wounds we have been set free.  No longer are we held captive and forced to produce “thorns and thistles” we may now produce a crop that is fruitful and receive the blessing of God.   See the wonder of it.  Feel the overwhelming sense of Him.  God, who does not change (Malachi 3:6), leaves nothing unfinished.  Everything comes to fruition in the Son, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Choo!  Choo!

Now, you might be sitting there beside the tracks thinking, Bunny that does not trip my trigger at all.  I heard the whistle sound in the distance and it isn’t that I don’t find it nice, but to say it thrills me might be a little strong.  Well, take heart Sister, because while I might be dumbfounded that it doesn’t take you straight to the Holy of Holies, the One who matters is not!  He knows what you need to hear and He planned before time began to speak straight to your heart.  Do you really think He wouldn’t shout the “All Aboard” in your direction?

I have a beautiful Sister in Christ who indulges me all the time as I ramble on about the things God is showing me.  And she is sooo thrilled . . . for me.   Because at the end of the day, God says it, she reads it, it’s true.  End of story.  She doesn’t have the compulsion to know every detail.  That is not the language of her soul.  She loves to hear me talk about it.  She loves His truth.  But what stirs her heart is when you put that truth to music.  Music is the thing that leads her to that place of complete immersion and adoration.  And isn’t it just like God that He gifted her with song so they speak the same language fluently.

Not so long ago this sweet friend was struggling with some serious health issues.  The symptoms she had been experiencing could’ve pointed toward some very dire neurological diagnosis. A series of tests were ordered and as the day for their completion drew near we earnestly prayed that God would bless her with peace and a calm heart.  She arrived for her tests and entered the unfamiliar building with a heart full of confidence that God would be with her every step of the way.  And that same heart thought of her two kids and her husband and what God might call them all to walk through.  But true to His Word, her God did not leave her for a moment.  No, her God was right there preparing to sing a love song just for her.  After signing in, an older gentleman approached her in his volunteer vest and explained that he would be escorting her to the testing location.  She gathered her things and began to walk at his side.  As they journeyed down that corridor, with her heart full of her family, the old gentleman began to sing, “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul . . . “  And she did.  Because the God of the Universe, the Lover of her soul, bent down low and whispered in her ear.  She had heard, in the voice of that old gentleman, the truth of God.

“The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Dear One, never doubt for a moment that the Creator of communication is fluent in the language of your unique soul.  To her who has an ear, let her hear.

thSide Note 1: My sweet Sister has recovered in full and continues to sing in worship and praise to the One who has saved her.

Side Note 2:  (Read this part in a whisper so no one knows that I couldn’t end without telling you just a thing or two more) –I have the paper in front of me that has all the verses I looked up that particular day and it’s long.  It wasn’t what we needed for this example but I have to tell you I am totally agonizing about not painting the whole picture so please, when you have the time go to Numbers 33:55 because you’ll find out there that sin hurts if you hang out with it.  If you go to Judges 9 you’ll see what you give up if you not only allow it but actually ask it to rule over you.  And Ezekiel 2:6  is where we discover that even though sin and rebellion surround us we need not fear. And then in the New Testament read the Parable of the Sower in  Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8 because we need to know that sin can choke us to death.  All aboard!!

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