Mary well

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Sit at the feet of Jesus

Did you know straight women like men. I think it’s important to say. We like men so much we hope to marry one and spend more time with a man because men are fun and funny and wonderful. Straight women like men as people and friends. Please know that is the truth.

While the expectant brides search for one that likes her individual characteristics, who can support her world views, and finds her hopes and dreams so lovely that he wants to partner with her increasing those hopes and dreams to be all the more rewarding because they’re shared with another individual, there is a man who seeks to get her attention, first. That man would be Jesus.

Jesus is God and he succeeds at a lot things: steadying a nervous heart, calming a fearful mind, setting a life on solid ground, surrounding the home in protections. The bible has many promises for a house built on the love of God and the following of his commands. But he is also a speaking presence in the minds, hearts, and souls of his listeners. His word is food for weary travelers and stoic believes for hope refreshed, daily.

If the greatest command of all is for man to love the Lord God with all the heart, mind, and strength of the will power. It’s probably a good idea to meet him. And he speaks. He has spoken through many prophets and there are testimonies about him.

Mary was a young woman and sister who met Jesus Christ. Jesus and his disciples were at her house. The disciples and her brother Lazaras were listening and learning from Jesus, while her sister Martha was cleaning dinner in the kitchen. Martha was sure her working was the best performing of a woman, and was sure her work was pleasing to God and Jesus, her guest. So, she hollered for Jesus to make Mary do the right thing, also and serve Jesus by cleaning. Jesus actually informed Martha that Mary had chosen the better option by sitting at his feet and leaving the work to be done when this opportunity to be his presence had gone.

You might not realize this, especially if you’re not sure that Jesus wasn’t a vain man who loved attention, but Jesus honored Mary by inviting her to sit and listen in the same way the men learning from him where invited. Mary was bold to sit with the men. And she looked lazy to her sister. But Jesus validated her boldness as excepting an invitation that was unspoken and also open to Martha. But, Martha’s cultural understanding of a good woman distracted her from the better choice: ignoring what would increase her honor to honor the guest, who was the Son of God. (Luke 10:38-42)

Jesus is still inviting the women to sit at his feet. There you will find honor, an education in righteousness that doesn’t result in greater condemnation, hope for your own soul, love, acceptance, friendship, and understanding. His words will nourish you, build you up, validate your individuality, make you bolder and gentler at the same time, because he is gentle. You do not leave him more angry and hurt. You are fed and heard and wanted, always.

What was the purpose of Christ?

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Messiah, savior of the planet.

Son of God, established as king.

Killing evil doers to end all sin, right?

War against nations, right?

We’ve got some great earthly ideas for God. We’ve got violent solutions for just about every problem and God is seeking our advice, right? Well, there are ways that the problems of the world are solve, kill, capture, enslave, subdue. Earth has some great ideas about how to rule itself. Powerlessness has really had some great ideas about enforcing righteousness on itself. Earth has offered to God a great idea about what leadership of a nation looks like, he’s proud right?

God has said a few things in his time:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8 NIV

“Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.” Hosea 1:7 NIV

Reading the scriptures, God often saves individuals and nations by ways we find obscure and unpredictable. It’s difficult for weakness to have ideas that strength would have. Our imaginations are, only, as large as our capabilities. God invites us to let him help. His power is infinite and his strength is greater than all force in the universe, holding suns and planetary orbits. And he’s on his own side when it comes the battles of right and wrong.

As God explained to the Israel through Moses, one of many times, before they conquered territory, “Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Duet 9:6 NIV

Emphasis on the “not your righteousness,” over and over God informs his nation Israel that it’s not about them. Later, Joshua is in battle and the angel of the Lord shows up. Joshua asks the angel if he’s there to fight with him or against him. The angle answers him, “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua 5:14 NIV

God being on his own side means that he is first and foremost on the his own side: righteousness and justice. That being said, it says, God want mankind restored to himself. He does not want us in trouble but in peace, because that is the nature of righteousness: peace. The consequence of justice should also lead to peace. And, in that way both righteousness and justice, mercy and punishment are harmonized by what they produce: peace.

The war is for the souls of man to be brought under the cover of the strength of righteousness and the glory of justice, establishing a kingdom of heaven on earth, restoring people to God’s love, provision, shelter, and grace. Covered by his wings, once for all time.

God says, “I carry you.”

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What’s so bad about lesser gods?

There aren’t any.

Why does God want your attention? to make you righteous? yes, certainly. But, this world is full of trouble and God wants to help you.

He says in the book of Isaiah through the prophet Isaiah in the 46th chapter about idols:

“their idols are borne by beasts of burden… a burden for the weary… unable to rescue the burden” NIV

He’s talking about the figurines carried in pockets, which people give to but can never receive from. Conversely, he says about himself in the next passage:

“[I] have carried you since you were born. Even in your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I sustain you and I rescue you.”

Emphasis added to bring your attention to this perspective that God is comparing himself to the little pocket gods to set us free from what they extort from us.

God, is not the demanding and unsatisfiable beast we’re told he is by people who don’t follow him, but extort in his name. Extortion in God’s name in as old as mankind. The only God that has power made you with the intent to carry your needs and sustain you. He hates when the weary have their burden increased.

God Almighty made us to learn through example. So, he behaves in the way he intends for us to behave. And, on the seventh day he rested. Ignoring the length of time God’s snapshot of creation came to his prophet of old, later to be written, likely, by Moses while in the wilderness leading the Israelites out of Egypt, the point is he rested a whole day so that he would protect our right to rest.

He is sovereign over all things. His plan is good.

God spoke through Moses to set the Israelites free from slavery to Egypt. He spoke through Moses in the wilderness to set the Israelites free from of the the gods of Egypt that can’t help them. Although Israel never made a great work of following God and so failed to be the example to the world of what God’s way looks like: prosperity, rest, abundance and peace, with lots of joyous festivals, God Almighty is still their God, and so they are an example of his grace and his merit to make a vow and keep it.

He wants us restored to freedom, peace, and life.

Christ said, “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10.)

Similarly, while Christ’s church in the U.S. struggles to exhibit the fullness of what God’s grace looks like, Jesus is still their husband. It’s not about the people who struggle to focus on the God their supposed to serve. It’s about the God himself. God is good. God is safe. God is able. God is worthy to be trusted, even when choosing to follow him sets us apart from the cool kids.

God’s love is free

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Nothing is free

The systems of government has us that much

This is, basically, true. Nothing is totally free, in this world, by it’s systems and requirements. Spiritually, also, things aren’t totally free because as human beings we fail the rules. Give us a rule and we will fail to meet it. Give a statue and we’ll miss the mark.

Some might say, “I follow the rules perfectly.” As long as the rules are adequately described to you and they don’t suddenly change out from under your feet. But we live in a world constantly being “perfected.” And so, good luck keeping up with all the better rules designed by people to lead to peace, as long as you can keep up: “Don’t fall or we’ll punish you. And, it’ll be validated by the crowd because we totally sent a memo. Be available to receive the next memo. Keep up or we’ll take our pound of flesh,” says the smiling face.

Even, to gain an audience with God, the Israelites had plenty to do in order to be cleansed, i.e. forgiven, and free of sickness causing bacteria in order to enter the presence of the Lord. And, still their was a shield of priests because the layman couldn’t accomplish all that was required to be clean enough. So, the priests remained clean so that the working class could, still, pray to God and be heard. Lots of exchange, it seems, in the form of tithes and guilt or sin offerings. And that’s in the rare times Israel had a righteous priest that didn’t extort more than what God had asked from the people.

So, it’s suddenly free when it never was before? Let’s think about word “restore.”

the English definition:

1. (v. t.) To bring back to its former state; to bring back from a state of ruin, decay, disease, or the like; to repair; to renew; to recover.

2. (v. t.) To give or bring back, as that which has been lost., or taken away; to bring back to the owner; to replace.

3. (v. t.) To renew; to reestablish; as, to restore harmony among those who are variance.

4. (v. t.) To give in place of, or as satisfaction for.

5. (v. t.) To make good; to make amends for.

6. (v. t.) To bring back from a state of injury or decay, or from a changed condition; as, to restore a painting, statue, etc.

7. (v. t.) To form a picture or model of, as of something lost or mutilated; as, to restore a ruined building, city, or the like.

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary

How can you not love the word “restore?” That is a delicious word. The Hebrew has many words that translate to the English word “restore.” Some of them are:

Azab – to repair

Chalam – to be heathy or strong

Chayah – to live

Shazam – to be complete or sound

Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon, provided by Biblehub.com

The question becomes, “What is God restoring the world back to?” Before the failure of Adam and Eve was their need for sacrifice, tithes, and atonements? No.

Originally, life was given to mankind freely. And they experienced unencumbered relationship with God: pouring out of his love on them, teaching them, sustain their lives, sustaining their children’s lives.

So, when God speaks of restoring the world to himself, it would seem likely that he means to restore the world to a time prior to the need for atonement.

Again, what does it cost?

A single life of infinite value: God’s son.

And now, we can enter into true restoration to God without the continuation of payments along the way. Get your rejoice on!

God’s will is a superior morality

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The antidote to legalism

is God’s will

God did not intend to set us walking a tight rope trying to accomplish righteousness. He set us on the ground, a solid ground. He woke Adam in paradise and gave him a home.

And he asked Adam, “What’s that animal’s name? How about that one? What do you wanna call that one?” God is patient and there are a lot of animals. I have always wondered if Adam named them individually, like Sally, Jim, Howard.

He woke mankind and invited him to live. Right and wrong was God’s to know and his children would make mistakes, come to him, learn, try again and grow.

The law cannot replace God. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not God. We are not God. There will never be day when he wake up older than, wiser than, or more important than God. God knows the law best, he wrote it.

In response to us judging him ungood, unworthy, and beneath us he says, “Uh on, Adam, you broke it. It’s ok, I’ll fix it.”

The capstone of all our effort to decide the most correct way to be righteous, and then writing a dissertation on morality and presenting it to God is: God loves me.

Without God’s will being the most important law to follow God is saying, “Unfortunately, you’re still trying to replace me. You’re efforts to impress me are unwanted and thus evil. Put down your dissertation and follow me. Can you compete with me and still love yourself? If I define love as perfect, all encompassing provision, unconditional love: how will you provide for yourself? Can you command the grain to grow? If you are spending your life deciding what makes a person unworthy, how are you treating yourself when you fail? And, what if my opinion matters? What if the truth is that my opinion matters most of all commands written? So than right and wrong is pleasing me? How will you find out what I want? You have to ask me. I’m here. There’s a liar in the world, but I am not a liar. There is a thief in the world, but I am not a thief. I am so good.”

The Lord says, “I love you. Do you love me?”

We say, “Yes.”

The Lord says, “And I have accomplished the law in you. Let’s go, my love. It’s living time!”

And, Jesus Christ said, “It is finished”

Shame vs Guilt?

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Shame is a self-judgement

Guilt is a consideration that a better option was missed

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil all of a sudden they knew a lot about right and wrong. But they had demoted God in their hearts by agreeing with the serpent, and they had decided God wasn’t good because he withheld knowledge from them. This belief led them to judge themselves wise and strong enough to handle the forbidden fruit. As soon as they took a bite they could only consult themselves to answer the question, “Is it wrong that I am nude?”

They decided God had shamed them. They covered their “shame” and hid from God.

Adam and Eve judged themselves shameful. God said to them, after pulling them out of hiding, “Who told you were naked?” This question implied that it was not God who judged them embarrassing, crass, or “uncovered.”

And shame began.

Shame is a lie that we have no one to run to because we’ve judged ourselves. It’s a lie that we are the highest, smartest, most right being, and capable of judging. So then, what do we do when we condemn ourselves?

Guilt is different. It leads a person running into the arms of the one who can help. Guilt happens with honest mistakes, but originates from a humble heart that has a good God in a seat of the smartest, most able, strongest being out there. Guilt is a safe feeling that hopes in a good solution if we can gain some insight. Then, we know we can do better. Guilt acknowledges an offense while being prepared to receive correction, apologize, and try again.

God intended to be available to teach us about everything. His voice is still speaking, “I love. I love you. I love you.” Shame has no place in the Kingdom of Heaven because so matter the amount of mistakes when the heart is restored to God guilt sends the person running into his arms with an immediate confession and a cry for help, leaning on him because he can fix it.

Nakedness

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By what way do you orient your

sense of right and wrong?

The struggle with the debates of morality is the aversion to God’s preference. The true north is the will of God. The first time this shows up in scripture is in the origin story of humanity. Adam and Eve were naked in the garden. They lived happily, living on the land and never hunted by animal predators.

And then, a being skilled at twisting words spoke to Eve and confused her sense of right and wrong with an argument that sounded logical: God is not good if he withholds from you. This argument’s seed of truth, although unspoken, is the truth that God is good. Conversely, any being who is not good is not qualified to be God. Already the ground work was played to convince Eve, and later Adam, that they themselves were qualified to be gods.

Before they judged themselves, who was judging them? There was no committee or review board on life excellence. But, suddenly, judgment entered their minds. It was exclusively from themselves, but they never changed back and they were harassed by their owns minds trying to walk a tight rope with a big stick and a can of water on either side: don’t get out of balance or you’ll fall.

God didn’t put them on the tight rope. He was going to teach them gymnastics in due time. And learning to do a flip with a spotter is far safer than a sudden, unskilled back flip, which in this case resulted in two broken necks, spiritually speaking.

Their minds, reeling with a new balancing act, accusing God of not knowing the law enough to keep them from failing it, Adam and Eve were no longer able to welcome God. God had to back away or they would die. So, he backed away and protected from eternally living in a broken world. But he also clothed them, fed them, and atoned for their sin so that, although they didn’t have the presence of the Lord, they still had his voice. And he never left them.

Twelve Loaves of Bread

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So, I had a dream that I was in a bread store. I will have to add the whole dream, later, when I find where I wrote it down. But, basically people were getting stoping carts of bread. I asked the Lord why they needed so much bread. And, it was clear that the bread had a spiritual meaning. Also, the people were over joyed, saying to each other how crazy it was that they were being given given as many loaves of bread as could fit into a single buggy.

Ok, so then I’m reading in my devotional by The Chosen. And, I learn that in the tabernacle of the Lord the priests set out twelve loaves of bread. It was called the “bread of the Presence” (Exodus 25:30) and it symbolized the constant presence of the Lord with the nation of Israel.

So, now, I get it. Each person had twelve loaves in their buggies because they were receiving the presence of the Lord.

So, I’m thinking that how I receive these twelves of bread that are the presence of God is through asking for things that require his presence and/or power to be added to me life:

  1. I want spring days that feel embedded in freedom like the one who owns the land without trouble waiting or hunting for me, spring days in green pastures.
  2. I want to feel like I can go anywhere, on a whim, spontaneously because my way is clear and secure, and the place I’ll stay is available and ready for me.
  3. I want an outfit that suits me for every hour, enough that I could change five times a day and not wear the same outfit twice in a season with causal wear that makes me look expensive in my jammies.
  4. I want get-away homes and places where quiet, peace, and hope leads to joy.
  5. I want a destination for a home: the place my people, the joyfully excited to be alive people, go once a week, maybe twice, maybe daily to drink, to eat, to sing, to talk, and to worship.
  6. I want jokes and laughter, play and performances in my life. I want music and poetry. I want to hear the winds off the Hebrides provide the melody to the instrumental.
  7. I want to see God’s power: I want to heal mightily, to see my cup replenish before my eyes. I think, it’s damn time heaven drops a little extra into the normal.
  8. I want to be sustained in the strength of the Lord, to forget how to be anxious, concerned, or discouraged. Amen!
  9. I want my body to be of heaven quality, brought into alignment with my heavenly body in the way I look, and with heaven-strength, health, endurance, and agelessness.
  10. I want to fall in love with the love of my life: a kingdom man who teaches me the meaning of strength of character, but also beauty, gentleness, playfulness, and presence; a breath of fresh air, resilient, reliant man on the love of his Heavenly Father for him.
  11. I want each and every place I walk to enter into peace; when I’m there peace reins in the atmosphere, peace reins in the natural and in the spiritual. And when I return, peace returns and joy spreads like a contagion.
  12. I want my creative expressing to be unencumbered, to be able to have an idea and see it accomplished. And, unencumbered freedom of praise in my art.

Hallelujah! Yes and Amen, says the Lord.

Give me that bread!