Quotable Quotes

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
~ E.L. Doctorow

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

- Oscar Wilde

Month of November

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In which I discover that Restoration often begins with Destruction

 I have learned an important and valuable lesson that I can only attribute to God, because up until now...well, let's just say my readings of the Old Testament really sucked.

Oh I found insight and inspiration for sure. I also found death, destruction, despair, sin, and a never ending cyle of violence...or so I thought. I have been constantly disgusted by the words I've read. The laws that showed just how impossible it was to measure up to God's standards.Even there I found hope, because all of the laws could easily fall under one of two headings. "Love God" or "Love Others as You Love Yourself." I got that.

What I could not see, was the grace and compassion of God. The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are one and the same; yet I felt such a disconnect. On one hand, death, destruction, and a hand on the smite button...(just go with me on this...these are only my observations and perceptions). On the other hand, there's this God who loved the world so much, that he sent His only Son as a blood sacrifice - payment for the sins of a world who rejects Him again and again.

Today I am one day behind in my Bible reading for B90X. (See above: Frustration and Disconnect)

I am catching up quickly because let's face it; I am a speed reader and a few extra chapters will only take me about ten minutes...if that.

Still, I have been emotional and volatile regarding the OT up until now. (See: My brother Joshua for witness)

I've never realized how VERY important cross references are. I always glanced at them with a small smile as I read the footnotes and somewhat interesting interpretations.

See: Joshua 5:8 reference in the NASB...the word used is "healed" as in "they waited to move from camp until they were healed from their rather traumatic, adult circumcision - See: Painful Mutilation; See also: kind of funny way for God to set a nation apart since the men are the only ones suffering through it...though maybe that's what He means when He said that women were redeemed through the act of child bearing...comparable pain scales?

Anyway, the interpretation in the footnotes for 5:8 is "revived"

Do not ask me why, but that struck me as really funny. I laughed aloud at the mental image of a bunch of men laying on their pallets moaning about being near death (an holding ice bags to a very sensitive area) while the women rolled their eyes and insisted their men would survive. I pictured one woman scoffing, "Have a child or fourteen and THEN tell me you are dying."

Okay, I'm a sadistic person...subject dropped. Still laughing.

Back to the regularly scheduled broadcast. I discovered a note in my study Bible that talked about Genesis 15:7-21 in conjunction with the Israelite's very scary conquest of their inherited land. (See: Total Annihilation & Massacre of ALL people living there - including livestock and household pets...)

Genesis 15 talks about Abraham's conversation with God when he could not number the stars and God covenants to make him a great nation from which all the world will be blessed. Abraham is living in Canaan at the time - the land God promised to him. I always wondered WHY God didn't just let him stay there so his descendants could possess it right then and there.

Verse 16 gave me some perspective.

Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.

Four generations from Abraham (isn't that about roughly four hundred years?) his descendants would return to claim their land. They couldn't get it yet because of the iniquity of the Amorites. God KNEW something we (me and Abe) didn't know.

Go figure...

So I look for another reference because that phrase just won't leave me, but I can't for the life of me figure it out...

Lo and behold, I found it in the margins. Leviticus 18:24-28...Naturally, I checked it out.

I don't think I've ever SERIOUSLY used the cross references in my Bible. It feels alot like a treasure hunt actually. You should definitely try it sometime. :)

Leviticus 18:24-28 says this:

Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.

For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.

But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojurns among you

(for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled);

so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.

(All italicized words were my doing)

Do you want to know my assessment of the Old Testament God? For some of you, this might be shocking because you already knew this, but bear with me a little while longer.

The God of the Old Testament is the same God that we find in the New Testament.

He is a God of love, a God of second chances, a God of mercy and grace.

The nations in Canaan (See: Abraham's promised land) knew God. And like the demons, they trembled and believed.

But their fear was not founded in love and reverence and surrender to His will. It was the fear of one who knows God and knows that every choice he's made in life goes in direct defiance of God's sovereign will.

Even the land sensed this and began the process of ejecting its inhabitants to make way for a nation who would be set apart for God's purposes. (See: Though they broke faith with God and lost it as well, God's plan is still for restoration...and that's also a different story for another time.)

God promised the Israelites some pretty hefty rewards if they just heeded His word and feared Him enough to surrender their wills to His. He promised to keep illness, famine, and war far from their borders. He promised to enlarge their borders so that they would cover the whole earth. He promised that no woman would be barren and no man would toil in vain. He promised that wealth, happiness, and peace would be theirs.

They just needed to do one thing:


Sadly, God foresaw even that failure as He mentions several times in the midst of all the laws and festival regulations. He even told them that they were going to see the other nations and beg Him for a king.

But he made provisions for them even in that. How merciful and just He truly is. He took the bad and turned it for good. Destruction, He turned to Restoration...a process which is still going on in the world today.

The nations in Palestine/Canaan/Israel?

They had four hundred years of chances to be grafted into those covenanted promises. From the time Abraham received the promise to the time the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry land, they KNEW God.

They CHOSE to reject His promises in favor of sacrificing their own lives at the hands of their own cursed will. And cursed it was...disease, death, the fires of heaven, and the Wrath of God rained down on them.

Another concept that I realized in this study?

God is a mercy killer.

I wondered as I read, "Why did He demand that even the children be destroyed in these heathen nations?"

It finally made sense to me after much prayer and confusion. And I GET IT now.

The sins of the fathers are passed down to their children.

Not the children of fathers who fight against the sin in their lives and surrender to God's will alone. Though their righteousness is as filthy rags, God made them whiter than snow. Their children receive the blessings of God for many generations - because a righteous father hands down those lessons to his children and they surrender to God...and their children surrender to God...and on and on and on...

The nations of Canaan?

They chose to walk in their sin and reject the promises of God. They chose to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and mock the blood of Christ (See: yes, I know Christ did not come for many more years, but it still holds true)

THEY not God chose the curse and so God mercifully wiped them out. Like an eraser on a chalk board, He started from scratch once more. He threw out the tainted, damaged clay and brought in a whole new batch to restore what had become defiled.

Sometimes, destruction happens before restoration can begin.

And sometimes, God watches as the ones He loves walk away, straight into the arms of the curse of sin.

And He bleeds all over again on the newest battlefield, the latest land desolated by famine and disease, and the hardened hearts of the ones who chose their own twisted, evil, cancer-ridden will over His pleasing and perfect and healing Will.

I get it now. I never doubted God is sovereign and just and perfect - far above my human plans and questions.

It's just nice to have a little more insight into why I truly believe that with every beat of my heart.


God bless you all! Choose LIFE, so that you may truly LIVE!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child

Coon Tree Summer by Mary A. Landis

The adventurous tales on Merry Brook Farm were more than probably read in conjunction with a million other books as I don't remember walking into reading. I like to consider my foray into the written word was taken at a sprint and I've since settled into a steady marathon pace.

Books are to Sarah Peloquin as running is to Eric Liddell. (See Google for more information on an amazing man, missionary, and athlete.) Or just watch Chariots of Fire...Vangelis did an amazing job on the music score.

Anyhow, the book was a favorite of mine for quite a while. I think it was a picture of a simpler life and the romanticized view of the Mennonite or Amish style existence made me crave what I did not have. We lived in the city where kids were bullies, hard work nearly non-existent for said kids (hence the bullying), and home schooled children were the awkward minority...

Mind you, this was all from the perspective of a seven year old.

Regardless, the family life in the pages of this book were enviable at the time and I constantly wished for a better life.

I read it again just a few months ago and smiled. Though still an enviable life with its simplicity and carefree childhood days, I am very content with the Life God has given me to live here and now.

Though I do hope someday that my children will read this book and smile as well.


Days 5-? of cleaning...

It's been a while I know. I do have some good news though.

My house is the cleanest it's been since we moved in. How's that for good news?

New Years resolutions are often made and just as quickly broken. And I will be the first to admit that I pad that statistic nearly every year. However, am I the only one to ever feel like the goals I've made this year are of God and not on my own power? Sure, I've got plenty of plans of my own and more than likely, most of them will not come to fruition.

I just know that God's been pressing on my heart for some time now. He's been dealing with issues of laziness, lack of motivation, and an undisciplined lifestyle. It's fine to have days of rest and relaxation...in moderation. I kind of take that concept to an extreme though. I brush it up and make it look like I'm a Mary heart in a Martha world and it looks good - on the surface. Remove the trappings and pretty-fied exterior though, and it's just plain sin.

Yep, I said that dreaded word...sin. I can't brush THAT word up no matter how hard I try...

So the pictures I'm posting are proof that God is at work. I got approximately 10 - 15 days completed in get this...3 days of work. :) And I didn't feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the sped up schedule. We had a ton of people coming for New Years and I realized that the 30 day cleaning schedule just wouldn't work in this situation.

Instead I took on what I like to call the Tough Mudder version of 31 days to clean...And boy, the results were good if I do say so myself. :)

Life has settled down to normal again after the holidays and the massive push got me over that first hump one experiences whenever a resolution is begun.

Along with the cleaning challenge, I have also been keeping up with my exercise program, healthier eating plan, B90X (reading the Bible cover to cover in 90 days), and spending more INTENTIONAL time with my husband and children.

It's challenging and frustrating at times, but 19 days into the New Year and God is already molding and shaping me in ways I've never felt before. Painful at times, yes.

But so very worth it. I cannot wait to see what kind of vessel I become when God's finished with me. Long way to go, but I am definitely enjoying the journey. Pain, Joy, and all...

Friday, January 13, 2012


It's amazing the shock value some people get from their Facebook pages.Whoever the authors are, they get exactly the reaction they were hoping for in most cases...personally, I have chosen to let them alone. Here's the reason why...

Take the person who runs the Abortions page. I wouldn't suggest checking it out since the values the author holds goes against my own personal convictions, but I find it fascinating that the majority of people who "like" the page are people claiming to be Christians...they "like" it so they have an opportunity to react (and with quite colorful language to damn the page author to hell) to the page's rather blatant message.

Here's the thing though. The author NEVER lied about the intent and purpose of the page. It's not the AUTHOR'S responsibility to be held accountable for the choices of others...yet, I find myself understanding the author's point of view (regarding those who claim to represent Jesus Christ, not the whole abortion issue)...

Can I ask one thing? Is it worth it? To "like" the page and give the author EXACTLY what he expected from the Christian community? Is it worth it to crucify the Messiah over and over again with our condemning words and bitter judgment? We are representing CHRIST people...and the Jesus I know condemned the RELIGIOUS leaders...he FORGAVE those the religious people condemned.

That (what little I saw on the aforementioned page is NOT the Jesus I represent...and it breaks my heart to see it...BOTH sides of the issue.

In this instance, and many others, I see both sides and I see hell prevailing here on earth. The gates of hell are meant to be busted wide open...but not by fighting dirty like hell fights.

 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

~Matthew 16:13-20

Just two chapters later, Jesus speaks of lost sheep being found, forgiveness regardless of how many times someone sins against you, and just days later he was hanging on the cross, forgiving a thief and promising the dying man he would be with Jesus in paradise that very day.

The only time Jesus raised his voice in condemnation of others was when he overturned the tables in the temple and when he spoke with the religious leaders of the day. Even Caesar, who's greatest sin (in my opinion) was to do NOTHING ("wash his hands of the whole situation") was treated with a sort of sorrowful contemplation, not condemnation...

Are we so prideful to think that we have it all together and right just because we claim to be Christians? What about that name suddenly gives us the right to reign as a judge and god over the highest and lowest of the earth?

The ONLY difference between myself and one who does not claim the blood of Jesus Christ is that they have not accepted the free gift of eternal life. My own righteousness is like filthy rags and only the blood of Jesus can cover that and make me new. I will not stand guard at the gates of heaven and send people away...that is NOT a job I ever wish to have and God forbid if I EVER cause another to stumble because of my pig-headedness and pride. I will not step into the very shoes of the religious leaders God condemned. I would rather be the tax collector set apart, beating his breast and crying out, "Father, have mercy on me a sinner."

We were redeemed by GRACE - undeserving redemption - and MERCY - unconditional love - so that all GLORY and HONOR would be God's and His alone. He asked only that we take that same message to all the world.

THAT'S the Jesus I represent. I am a follower of the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE...