Friday, January 28, 2011

God-Inspired Poem (He's Really Letting the Creative Juices Flow Lately!)--01/28/11

"Because I Love You"

Your eyes are growing dim
Under the artificial light.
But you refuse to realize,
So soon you will be blind.
You're deafened by the droning
Of lukewarm principle.
False teachings have consumed you
Since the day that you were born.

You were bloodied; you were bruised.
Squirming in your own sewage.
You were flithy, naked, hopeless.
Your cord was still uncut.

So I held you in My wing,
And I cleansed you with My love.
I held you, loved you, helped you.
I told you, "You are Mine."

When you were older, grown to love,
I clothed you royally.
I dressed you like the princess
I considered you to be.
Your form lacked not one jewel.,
Nor your skin a purple cloth;
I laid a crown upon your head.
No, you lacked no thing at all.

But your pride became your fall,
You claimed you got there on your own.
You forgot the help I gave you;
Love I had bestowed upon you.

Child, Daughter, Beautiful,
Why have you turned your back on Me?
Beloved, Lover, Dear One,
Please, return to Me.
When you do, I'll be here waiting,
Holding your cord still in My hand,
For I am the One who makes filth lovely--
I always have been, will be--I Am.
Because I love you.

**See Ezekiel 16

God-Inspired Lyrics--01/27/11

God is a lion,
A mighty, roaring lion,
And He will not be stopped.
He will hunt His prey
To protect His children.
In His clefts, I will wait
Until He calls my name.

"My dove, My perfect one,
Come out from the hiding place.
Stand by My side, My love,
Enter the secret place.
Here, you will wield My sword.
Here, you'll fight with Me.
After we have conquered all,
We'll live forever happily.
Come to the countryside."

God Can Teach Us With Winnie the Pooh, Too!--01/24/11

It was 11 p.m. and I needed to wake up sometime before 8 so I could babysit Kadynn if Amberly didn't get back from her driver's permit testing in time to watch her herself. I decided to spend a few minutes in prayer before I went to sleep since I hadn't had any Godtime all day. (I've been making a horrible habit of spending time with God after midnight or not at all).

After about 15 minutes of this prayer and worship, I got under my warm covers, quite happy to fall asleep with God. For the past few weeks I haven't slept with my Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal, I guess to get used to being able to sleep without it--I don't know, I just felt like God wants me to get used to less-than-comfortable situations since I won't always have small comforts like stuffed animals :P Anyway, after I laid down, this night I felt as though I *should* cuddle my beloved Winnie. Although unsure why, I delightedly complied. God told me to not hug back but put Winnie's arms around me. This was to represent God always holding onto me even when I'm not holding onto Him. Also recently, I've been praying God would draw me near to Him. God then told me to hug "Winnie" back. Happily, I did, and He told me that although He is always with me, He can only draw me so close to Him without my drawing near in return. When I hugged Winnie tighter, he became even closer than he had been with his arms around me on his own. And so it is with God.

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."
James 4:8

"Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it.... The humble have seen it [His salvation] and are glad; you who seek God, let your heart revive."
Psalm 69:18a, 32

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Isaiah 10:1-2

"Woe to those who enact evil statues
And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,"

* The phrase "those who enact" is in the Qal Active Participle, meaning that it is in the most frequently used verb pattern and is in a state of unbroken continuity, thus reiterating the word "constantly" in the next line of the verse. In other words, God is not speaking to the ones who strive after Him but mess up; rather, He is addressing the persistently wicked of heart.

* In case anyone didn't care about vocabulary in elementary school ;) here's the Qal (casual) meaning of the verb "enact": to cut in; to cut upon; to trace, mark out; to engrave, inscribe (of a law).
--With this in mind, who would you say "those who enact evil statutes" are? Those who agree with the evil statutes? Promote them? Vote for them? Bring them into existence?

* "And to." This is where all of your grammar lessons become handy :-) If the verse left out the word "to" we might be tempted to believe that only those who enact evil statutes AND constantly record unjust decisions will be punished, but because they did include the word "to," I believe it is important to note that both the enactor and the recorder will be punished. Which brings us to our next question...

* What does the word "record" mean? First, we have to find which stem and aspect it is in. In this case, it is in the Piel Participle, meaning that it is an intentional action and is in a state of unbroken continuity. In other words, these "recorders" are not forced to complete a wicked deed. They decide to complete this action, and they alone are responsible for their deeds.
--P.S. It's pretty self-explanatory, but the word "record" here literally means "to continue writing."

* What IS an "unjust decision"? Some translations use the word "grievousness," but although we could argue all day about which translation is best, let's go straight to the original language: toil, trouble, labour; trouble, mischief; trouble. (For all of you smartypants, there isn't a tense here because it isn't a verb ;)). Why translate this word as "unjust decisions" or "grievousness"? Well, we have to look at the verses around the sentence for context and also at cross-references using this exact verb since the definition is so vague. I suppose there are other options for translation here, but check out those cross-references for extra understanding of the word's ('amal) use: Numbers 23:21, Deut. 26:7, Judges 10:16, Job 3:10, Job 4:8, Job 5:6-7, Psalm 7:14, 16, Psalm 10:7, 94:20, 140:9.

Stop Spinning and Let the Water Spring Forth--01/21/11

Have I mentioned lately that I love kids? Because I really love kids.

About an hour ago, Mazzie (Mackinnon, age 4) kept spinning around pretending she was a fountain from which people could pluck a crown. I was thinking, "You know, kids do teach me a lot, but they haven't so much lately." About that time, Mackinnon had started closing her eyes while she was spinning. I said, "Mackinnon, don't close your eyes. You can't do that when you're spinning."

She asked, "Why not?"

And I said, "Because you're more likely to fall."

Then I thought, "Never mind. I just learned something."

Life is crazy. And sometimes, we feel like we're just spinning around pointlessly on this planet we call earth. So, we complicate it since it isn't pleasantly interesting. We close our eyes so we don't see the obstacles. We "speed up" our lives, spinning faster and faster, not content in the present but always "pushing through" life until we reach the next phase. As if that's not enough, we offer up our "crowns"--our personal treasures given to us from our Daddy the King--to any passerby who's interested instead of donning the gifts ourselves, we who bring forth the Living Water from our lives.
If we would just keep our eyes open and face our trials, slow down and enjoy where we are in our lives now, and don with confidence the gifts given us, making use of our talents for the glory of God, we wouldn't be in such a dizzying place where we can't see the big picture--the point of life. We would be able to see clearly where we are and where we're going, and we would be able to direct where we bring the Fountain of Life.

Yet, we keep spinning. That is, until we finally open our eyes and hear our Daddy's voice, not demanding but pleading, "Child, don't close your eyes. You can't do that while you're spinning."

"Why?" we ask Him as we slow down and open our eyes.

"Because you're more likely to fall."

We wonder who this Man is who comes with such a bold word. Like John when he was in prison, we ask: "Are You the Expected One, or shall we [the disciples] look for someone else?"

"Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.'"
Matthew 11:3-5

When we realize the voice is of God, who has kind intentions toward us (Ephesians 1:5,9), we are left with the decision to either follow His advice, His way, or deny Him. And it's a hard decision to make.

"He who loves a father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it."
Matthew 10:37-39

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:27

But is it worth it? If you lose your life for Him, you gain life. But that does mean surrender. But, He does make the decision easier with His love and compassion.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Trust and Forgiveness--01/20/11

You know, most of the time I truly do believe that if God wants me somewhere, He'll provide the way. Most of the time I really expect that God will call someone to help create that way. Most of the time I believe that God will provide for all of my financial needs, and if His people don't obey Him when He says to donate money then He'll cause the money to fall from the sky or grow on trees or mysteriously appear in an envelope in my mailbox. I've realized that's because most of the time I have faith like a child, meaning that I don't question or doubt God. I simply say "Okay, I trust You, God!" and wait expectantly, excitedly for God to move. Whether it's by something miraculous and showy or simple and practical, it's always--okay, usually--so pleasurable just to see how God unveils His plans. It's like reading a book and enjoying its climax or sitting on the edge of my seat during a movie or admiring an artist while his painting is in progress. But sometimes I become quite frustrated. I get impatient because I want to know the ending of the book or what is so mysterious in the movie or what the artist is trying to express. During those times, I say, "Hey! God, what's going on? You told me to do this thing, but why aren't my funds in? Why do I have to wait? What are You doing?" And then I become more frustrated because He is silent, and supposedly I don't know why. Except that I do.

I am a wicked being, and without God I would be a slave to my sin.

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.'"
John 8:34

"For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that our body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Romans 6:6 (also, I accidentally made a typo here and wrote "slaves" as "salves." We shouldn't be salves to sin, either, for that matter).

Since I sometimes deny His trustworthiness, I sometimes sin, and I am sometimes a slave. Lately I've really been struggling with forgiveness. I keep holding some amount of bitterness in my heart, and the longer I hold on or the more stubborn I become to keep it, the more difficult it is to let go. This is a sin I used to struggle with that I thought I would never release; but, at some point, God did give me freedom from this sin. Some part of me latched back on recently, and now I am feeling the battle again to cave in or let go of this addiction. As a good friend of mine once wrote me,

"Sometimes our reasons all become hazy.

It is then we're simply faced with the choice, then that we just have to decide to live in the freedom we're given... But He helps us with the 'command' repeated through Scripture...


"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Matthew 5:43-44

"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."
Luke 6:27

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
Luke 6:35

I need to hand over my burdens and let God take care of them. Until I forgive, I cannot be forgiven, and aside from that, I want to honor Him--whether I receive a reward or not--for HE is holy, and I am created from the dust of the ground. He has been so good and merciful to me--a sinner. Who am I to hold a single sin against a fellow brother or sister in Christ?

Yet, I am human. So I will daily pray for help to trust Him more, and I will daily pray for help to forgive those who persecute me, cause me to stumble, treat me unfairly, or hold my own sins against me.

Who am I to know the mind of God? And who am I to understand His ways?

~just another sinner saved by grace