A Promise Followed by Waiting

“Do you think we’ll ever get to Canaan, Uncle Abram?” Lot looked from the full moon to Abram.

“I have a feeling your grandfather has found his place here, Lot. Why else would he name it after your father?”

“It’s as good a place as any, I suppose.” Lot walked back to his tent.

Abram appreciated the solitude as he studied the craters on the moon.

A voice interrupted his thoughts. “Move away from your father to a place I will give you. I will turn you into a great nation. Anyone who blesses you shall be blessed in return. He who curses you shall be cursed as well. All nations will be blessed through you.”

Abram looked around. Nobody else was out of their tent. The hairs on his neck stood as he recognized the only source for that message. He paced as he began to make plans for such a move.

****

Abram walked to the top of the hill near where they set up camp south of Shechem. The view was magnificent with mountains, trees and rivers.

A hand grasped his shoulder. The unfamiliar face held a recognition.

The man swept his free hand in front of Abram. “This is the land your descendants will dwell in.”

Abram looked eastward and smiled. When he turned to talk to the man, He was gone.

Abram gathered stones and stacked them into an altar to commemorate the event.

****

After they returned from Egypt Abram stood with Lot on another hill. He waved his arm in a semi-circle. “The entire region lays before you now. Choose where you want to live. We’re too many to stay together now.”

Lot stared at the green Jordan River Valley. “I’ll move my flocks that way. They should thrive there.”

Abram smiled. “Very well, then. I shall move westward. Remember the Lord goes before us.”

****

Abram watched Lot’s people leave with their animals. He turned and surveyed his own herds and thought about how well he’d done since moving here.

A familiar voice spoke. “Look to the north, south, east and west. I’m giving all this to you and your descendants, which shall be as numerous as the dust of the earth, if such can be numbered. Walk in the land as you please. It’s yours.”

********

The land, the Promised Land of what would become Israel, was beautiful. Agriculture was there from the residents who lived there already. Grapes, almonds and olives grew well in this terrain.

Coming from the river plains the hills must have been breath-taking to Abram.

What must he have thought when God told him it was his?

How do you trust a voice that repeats the same thing to you?

Dare you believe the mention of descendants when you have no children?

Abram was wealthy by economic standards. He had servants to tend his flocks. His flocks were increasing. He had enough servants that he trained some of them to fight. He even gained a measure of wealth from his near-fiasco in Egypt.

How hollow did it all feel with no children?

What good is all this stuff when there’s nobody to hand it down to?

Did he ever want to trade it all for a son?

What kind of god was talking to him anyway? It must have driven Abram insane at times. I know it would have done that to me.

Hope and faith and obedience are tightly woven together in life. At least they should be.

God is just as mysterious today as He was in Abram’s day. He doesn’t speak audibly very often now. The Bible is His main means of communicating to us.

How many promises have you claimed just to have them unmet?

How many prayers have you prayed with no results?

How many questions go unanswered from your time spent in the Bible?

Do you find your hope failing?

Is your faith lacking substance?

Will you continue to obey God anyway?

Everyone walks an individual path in life. Some couples stay together even though there’s a level of abuse occurring. Another couple splits even though both are serving God in some capacity.

One family rarely takes their kids to the doctor while another know the halls of a hospital better than their own home.

I don’t have the answer to your question, “Why?” All I can guarantee you is that God is in the midst of it all.

He loves each one of us immensely. He’s a Father who promises to never leave us nor forsake us.

Your successes are building your character as much as your pain does.

Your disappointments are shaping your resolve to continue in spite of the odds.

Your obedience is heaping up rewards in heaven that will make this life seem so insignificant in time.

Now that we know all of Abram’s story we can see how it all fits together. He didn’t have that perspective then. He just took one step at a time like we all have to do.

The promises weren’t met in his lifetime. Yours might not be either.

We cluck our tongues at some of his decisions. If we could see our life from a distant perspective we’d do the same thing in our own mirror.

He would later pass an extreme test by God, but now all he had were promises and the decision to obey, or not.

That’s where you are now. Isn’t it?

To obey God is often counter-cultural, but it’s best.

To trust this invisible being is crazy, but it’s sensible.

To hope this all turns out right in the end makes no sense at times, but we must.

Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would just bow to him. Jesus didn’t deny Satan had that authority. He simply knew the best decision to make because He knows the final outcome is secure.

Take you eyes off the world around you now.

Focus on what’s in store for you in the kingdom to come.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Scatter-shot Blog Post From a Scatter-brained Life

I don’t know about y’all, but 2016 has begun in a whirlwind for me. That’s what I get for being stuck between multiple careers at once.

Driving and/or painting goes from 5-6 day a week to 2-3 days the next and back again. Somehow the bills are getting paid. The manna is just enough as usual.

More opportunities have popped up for my business helping local businesses. Unfortunately I’ve had to say no to them to stay afloat. My trust in God is building every time I do that. I still need to implement what I already have in place. Then things may open up for more opportunities.

The writing is getting exciting!!!

I love it when poetry finds its way into a single sentence. Yeah, simple things can excite me. What can I say? I’m a simple person.

100 PRAYERS OF A WRITER is getting excitedly close to going big time. I just ordered my first shipment of 300 copies. Tate threw in an extra 600 as an incentive for me. No, I wasn’t about to say no to them for being so nice. Bring the niceness on.

100 Prayers and Me

I’ll have copies for sale in person and on this website very soon. Collect your pennies now to stock up on gifts for everybody you know who made “improving my prayer life” a new year’s resolution.

Tate also threw in 50 matching journals. So, if you’re into journaling I’ll have even more to sell y’all. If those catch on I can get more.

I survived my first recorded radio interview this past week. Anybody who listens to Angie Austin on the USA Radio Network will get a chance to hear my voice telling about how God called me into writing and blogging. I don’t have the date that will air thus far, but I’ll post it on my website for those of you who have never heard of Angie Austin. Stay tuned.

I’m pretty sure I let Angie down a bit. There should have been more humor in my segment talking about writing a humor blog and how that all came about. She was trying to get me to say something I sent her in an email, but I totally spaced out about it while the recording was happening.

She kept trying to get me to say, “I was 47 years old when I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grow up.”

The good news is I did figure that our later in the day. The bad news is Angie was probably home by then, so it never got recorded.

I just hope God uses what I did say to encourage listeners to follow His promptings in their lives. That was the theme that did come through most of what I said. Apparently somebody needs to hear that.

I had a guest blog post come out on Friday last week. I talked about my “Umbrella Faith” and how that ties into my marital situation. You can read that by clicking on the purple words Umbrella Faith. Technology takes some learning for some of us still.

I’ve sent two out of three manuscripts to Tate to see if we can have those done by October. Since they’re all Christmas themed I want them out before then so they have a chance to get heard before folks spend all their hard earned pennies on frivolous things as gifts.

The timing of 100 PRAYERS is such that I think we can make it happen. I just need to spruce up the third one then wait for Tate’s response to see if they think we can make it happen. Prayers are much appreciated.

I want to capture any momentum the prayer book may begin to grow the impact those books will have. I just don’t know why no other publisher caught the vision for them. Apparently Tate is the one God has chosen for them. Assuming they take them on, which I think they will since they showed interest in two of them a few years ago.

I realize this is more of a newsletter than a humor post, but anybody still reading this must be a true fan of mine. Thank you for your attention and interest in how God is using me to further His kingdom.

I still plan on putting out a regular newsletter on February 1st. Expect to see some concrete dates for the launch of 100 PRAYERS and the radio airing.

I’m just wondering how much of my 700 square foot apartment 900 books and 50 journals will consume. GULP

Good thing I’m a small person.

Keep smiling.   Wade

A Judgement Followed by an Action

Noah walked out of his tent to get some fresh air. His steps never felt heavier. He stepped on his shadow to the river. He steadied himself against a tree.

When his knees hit the ground he looked up. “You know I never wanted children, God. This world is no place to raise a family. Now…I have three sons. I can only guess what will happen to them. I feel like I’m the only man following You. What am I going to do now?”

All the shadows disappeared. “I, too, am grieved, Noah. I’m sorry I made man to begin with. His heart is only evil. It shouldn’t be like this. I shall start over. It’s the only way. Build an ark. Use the gopher trees here. Cover it in sap inside and out. Construct three levels in it with stalls on each floor. I shall bring two of each animal to it. You, your wife, your sons and their wives will be saved as well since you believe in Me. I will start over with you and them. The remainder of all living things shall be destroyed with water.”

Noah gasped for his next breath. He rolled against the base of the tree and sobbed when the full impact struck his soul.

****

“What are you making, Noah? Never saw anyone begin a building with the roof.” The three men approaching laughed.

Noah set his ax down and faced them. “God told me to build an ark to save some animals from a flood.”

“What’s a flood?”

“Forget that, what’s a god?”

“You never have fit in, Noah. Why don’t you just lighten up and have some fun?”

Noah shook his head. “If you survive your lifestyle long enough you’ll find out why.”

****

One hundred years later the ark was complete. Noah and his family climbed the slanted door for the last time.

The three men came with more people. “You selling tickets to see what you made?”

Noah faced the crowd. “I suggest you step aside before those animals stampede you. I warned you this day was coming.”

The people were pinned against the side of the ark while a long procession of paired animals climbed aboard. The door closed when the last animal was out of sight.

One week later water came from everywhere. The ark carried its inhabitants as planned.

****

Over a year later God spoke to Noah. “It’s time to come out of the ark. All of you shall be fruitful and multiply, you and the animals with you.”

Noah made a burnt offering to God with the extra animals God told him to bring into the ark.

A cloud formed to the west and passed over the people. When it reached the eastern sky a light rain fell from it. The rainbow took everyone’s breath away.

“This shall be My covenant with you and your descendants from this day forward. Whenever I see a rainbow I shall remember that I will never use a flood to destroy the earth and its inhabitants again.”

********

Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth are the only four people named who survived the flood. Their wives were also along for the ride.

Eight people, only 8 believed God. The rest were history because of their selfish, evil tendencies. We don’t know how many people were alive back then, but eight must have been a very small percentage.

I hope the percentage is higher now, but it may not be.

The straight path still leads to a narrow gate. It’s the broad road that leads to destruction.

[Tweet “A respect for God must have been passed down to Noah”]

This communication from God took immense fortitude to complete. The ark was a century in the making. It was used for about a year. We can all thank Noah for his determination to follow through despite all the ridicule he must have faced.

Do you see yourself spending a lifetime on something that will last a short time like Noah did?

Would you do it if God told you to do it?

I’ve heard of writers who work on a book most of their life before they find a publisher who believes in it. Then, they die before it gets printed.

Was it a wasted life? God doesn’t see it that way.

Some missionaries spend decades with a group of people only to leave with only a handful of converts.

Should they have invested all that time with so few results? You can only answer yes if you have an eternal perspective.

Why did Noah have such faith while he was the vast minority?

A respect for God must have been passed down to him.

Noah’s great-grandfather was raptured from the earth sixty nine years before Noah was born. That’s how closely Enoch walked with God.

Lamech instilled into his son that Noah would comfort men from the curse made in Eden.

This massive building project passed this seriousness about God to Noah’s sons. Nobody else had time for God.

Do you?

Do you make time for God in your busy life?

Do you pass the importance of trusting God to your offspring?

Are you so caught up in your life that you don’t make time to spend with your spouse and/or children? If so they’ll never know how much God means to you.

Your actions are showing them that God isn’t that important to you anyway.

Step back for a moment and analyze your priorities. Look at it with an eternal set of eyes like you never have before.

I bet you don’t like what you see. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on you here.

It’s never too late to do the right thing.

If it takes drastic measures to change your priorities then be bold. Be in the vast minority if that’s what it takes.

Noah lived for an audience of One.

So should we.

We have the Bible to guide us and the Holy Spirit to help us.

Reach out to God like it’s the last hope you have.

Because it is.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Have You Lost Any Fridged Digits This Winter Yet?

Fridged Digits…it must be a term I made up while I survived too many Michigan winters growing up. Spell check doesn’t have the word fridged in its records. It’s apparently not from Michigan.

I lost track of the number of times I had tears in my eyes while I ran water over my hands to thaw them out. Oh yeah, I felt my pain.

My hand digits are still the first body part that informs me I’m under-dressed for the weather.

My foot digits tell a different story, kind of. I do have a toe on my left foot that turns purple when my body temperature drops below a certain level.

Don’t worry. Tears don’t come from my eyes when that happens. I actually don’t feel anything in that toe upon said color change. I suppose I should be alarmed.

Now you know why I moved to Texas and don’t plan on moving back to Michigan in this lifetime.

Upon last check I still have all ten digits on my hands and in my slippers while I type this. No, I’m not about to take my slippers off to prove it to you. You just want to see how purple my toe becomes. Maybe later.

I’m so allergic to winter I spent an extra month in my mother’s womb. Check the calendar. I was due in February. My birthday is March 21st. The first day of spring in Michigan, at least it was back in the day.

Oh, dearest Mom got back at me last winter when she was promoted to glory at the end of February. I got to experience below zero temperatures coming into and leaving Michigan. Oh yeah, we’re gonna have a talk when I get to heaven.

Last weekend I passed on the opportunity to run in thirty degree temperatures with a stiff breeze. I HAD to be in that stuff on the farm growing up. Now that I’m a full-fledged Texan I know better than that.

This weekend’s run was in the fifties. It’s always a good thing when the sweat you work up doesn’t turn to ice under several layers of clothing. Trust me, I know this from personal experience…too personal.

I have a feeling it doesn’t get as cold in Israel as it does in Michigan. I can’t recall any Bible stories about dealing with snow and cold temperatures.

Oh, I know, there are verses about snow. I think their snow stays on the mountains, where it belongs. I experienced that kind of snow in Arizona. I liked it.

I’ll never forget the time Barb and I were driving in one of those fluffy snowfalls that stays on the tree branches. You know, the ones they take pictures of for Christmas cards.

We were planning our first move to Arizona at the time. Barb started saying, “But it’s so pretty…but it’s a dry heat…but it’s so pretty…but it’s a dry heat.”

I started laughing.

She said, “I’m comparing the phrases to see which one fits the best.”

I kept chuckling. “I know exactly what you’re doing.”

We settled for Texas, a happy medium.

It’s interesting what the Bible declares as the agent that turns our sins as white as snow…it’s blood.

Not just any blood will work, obviously. No, it’s only the purest form of blood that comes from the only perfect person to walk the face of this fridged earth.

Jesus’s blood, poured out at the cross, is the only cleansing agent that can perform the miraculous.

It doesn’t automatically work for everybody. No, only those who choose to believe Jesus is the sinless Son of God who rose back to life will get this snow white miraculous cleansing.

That snow isn’t cold enough to turn any digits purple, neither.

Keep smiling…and stay warm.   Wade

A Warning Followed by Consequences

Cain looked at his brother with contempt. Abel’s bloody hands were raised in worship.

Cain lifted a melon over his head. “This is from my field. I till the soil. It’s all I have. Why isn’t it enough?”

God’s voice was clear. “He gave the first and best to me.”

The melon was hurled to the ground. Juice and seeds stuck to Cain’s shins and feet as he sulked to the edge of his garden.

God’s voice returned. “You have a choice to make, Cain. You can stew in your depression and remain bitter. If you do sin will control you. You can still master it before it wins. Or, you can choose to make a better offering that pleases Me. It’s not too late, My child.”

Cain stared at his crops. The biggest and best were reserved for the seeds within. It made no sense to relinquish those for a tribute. The smell of blood and animals filled his nose.

Abel’s voice made Cain clench his fists. “Isn’t God awesome? He’s given each of us a gift to fulfill His plans. Life is working out so remarkably well.”

Cain bent down and grabbed the flat stone he used to turn the soil with both hands. Before Abel could say anything else Cain spun around and slammed the stone against the side of his brother’s head.

Abel’s body flopped to the ground. His scalp was laid open exposing the broken skull. No breath escaped his mouth.

Cain stared for a moment. “Now we’ll see whose offering gets accepted.”

Cain used the stone tool to dig a hole next to Abel’s body. He rolled his brother into the shallow grave and covered him up.

He plucked the seeds off his shins and stuck them in the loose soil. “Those should make an acceptable offering next time.”

Memories of Abel followed Cain as he walked away from the scene. He was at the river’s edge when God’s voice found Him.

“Where is Abel?”

“How should I know? Am I my brother’s keeper. He’s the herdsman, not me.”

“What did you do that your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground? This ground that used to produce for you shall refuse to give you crops. You shall wander for the rest of your life.”

Cain fell to his knees. “This pronouncement is too much for me. Anyone who finds me will kill me to avenge Abel’s death.”

A sudden warmth moved across Cain’s forehead and into his hairline. He looked at his reflection in the water. A dark line that matched Abel’s wound was clearly visible.

God’s voice came one last time. “Anyone who kills you shall be cursed sevenfold.”

Cain waded across the river into his future.

********

This conversation with God is recorded from the second generation of people.

God gave a warning to Adam’s son. Then, consequences for not heeding that warning.

What was it about Cain’s offering that God didn’t accept while He accepted Abel’s? Some people insist that it’s the lack of blood in Cain’s offering. While that’s an important aspect of what God desired in sacrifices He laid out to later generations I don’t think that’s what’s missing here.

God knew Cain’s strength was in farming the land. So He would expect crops to be given. Abel raised animals so that’s where his offering would come from. The difference was in the heart of each worshiper.

Abel gave God the firstborn and fattest animals. Cain apparently held back from God so he had the best for himself.

The amount and substance of worship is evidenced in the quality of the offering.

Don’t limit your definition of worship to a few minutes spent in church while singing. You’re worshiping God when you’re at work during the week just as much as you do at 9:13 AM on Sunday, or whenever you attend formal services.

God adores your time spent playing with your kids just as much as your focused time with His saints in a sanctuary.

Keep this in mind the next time you have a disagreement with someone that raises your blood pressure.

God loved Cain enough to warn him of impending danger with his dealing with sin. Cain held onto his pride and paid the cost for that indiscretion.

[Tweet “You can’t hide anything from God.”]

I’m so glad I live on the grace side of the cross. The first people had such a challenging existence compared to us. Not that ours is easy.

Sin had been passed down from the first parents. It’s been repeating that sequence ever sense. This episode displays that too well.

Jesus Christ is the only person to live without giving into this pull to disobey God. That’s what makes His death so important to us.

The curse of death because of sin wasn’t required of Him for Himself. No, He died as our substitute so we wouldn’t have to endure the separation from God that others endure.

The Bible is filled with stories of how many people failed to live up to God’s standards, all of them did. That’s why Jesus stepped into our skin and saved us.

For those of you wishing God spoke directly to us like He did to Cain I have a warning and a consolation for you.

Cain showed that this direct link to God wasn’t enough to save him from disastrous actions and consequences.

God has a better way for us to hear from Him. The Bible is God’s principal means of communicating to us. Read it to learn more about Him and His expectations.

The Holy Spirit living in us guides us in understanding the Bible and worshiping God with our souls every moment we’re alive.

God’s grace has been extended to us because of our utter inherent failure we’re born with.

Our adoption into God’s spiritual family is the marvelous gift He offers us because our offerings always come up short of His perfection.

Now you know why I say I’m glad I live on the grace side of the cross.

I’ll see you later.    Wade

Happy 1/11 Day Y’all!

Yep, it’s one of those wacky day posts I haven’t done in a while. “1/11” isn’t an actual special day from what I can tell. I just like the fact that there are three ones in the date. Sounds wacky enough for me. Let’s see where it takes us.

The official day for this date is “Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day.” Anybody living up north who tries to step in a puddle will likely slip and break something they hadn’t planned on to get off a practical joke on their “friend.”

1/11 Day seems much more practical to me. Since this is my blog that’s what I’m going with.

Yesterday was the day that fits me the best. Since it’s the day I’m actually writing this then “Peculiar People Day” is as good a day as any, methinks.

Since January is the first full month of winter it makes sense that it’s not only “Hot Tea Month,” but also “National Oatmeal Month” and “National Soup Month.” Nothing better than warming your body from the inside out. Especially if you broke a body part trying to splash frozen water on your BFF.

Thinking back to peculiar people I’ve known more than my fair share during my travels. Like the truck driver who insists he’s going to be a published author, actually he claimed on the tag for his first blog to be a “future best-selling author” if my memory recollects correctly. That’s what I put there, isn’t it Steve?

Steve is my friend I’d likely splash today who has been with me since the beginning of this crazy writing journey. He’s definitely holds the record for reading the mostest posts on all of my blogs.

No, I didn’t claim he’s a peculiar people, but…

[Tweet “My forever best friend is the hands down all-time most peculiar people I’ve ever met”]

My forever best friend is the hands down all-time most peculiar people I’ve ever met. I hope you’ve met Him, too. If you haven’t let me introduce you to Him.

He was born in a barn, so His mom never could use that classic line on Him whenever He didn’t close the door when He came in the house.

Since He claimed to be perfect I suppose He never left the door open behind Him, so…never mind.

He actually had a hard time splashing water on His friends since He walked on water, waves and all. He did dunk one of His friends in the lake when Pete attempted to join my BFF on the lake one day. Yeah, He’s a bit of a practical joker sometimes, too.

My BFF had a way of fixing folks who came to Him in need. Coffins and tombs didn’t even rattle Him.

He went out of His way to feed as many souls as He could.

Storytelling was one of His favorite pastimes.

Broiled fish was His favorite food, this was before chocolate had been created.

They say you can’t keep a good man down. My BFF was likely the person who started that claim.

You see, He was so down He found Himself in a tomb. Yeah, they grieved His passing, but not for long.

The first chance some of His friends had to add spices to His burial clothes they couldn’t find Him in that tomb. An angel told them He was alive and well. I told you tombs didn’t rattle Him.

The practical jokes really began in earnest then cuz my BFF could now walk through stone doors, locked wooden doors, and disappear at a moment’s notice.

I’ve never seen my BFF with my physical eyes, but I know He’s near me all the time.

He’s so looking forward to me living with Him He’s building a place for me to reside with Him when I move to His neighborhood.

His Daddy is so fond of me He adopted me into His family forever. It’s not that I’m anything special. No, He just does that for special people. If that makes us peculiar then I’ll wear that label proudly.

My BFF goes by a lot of names and titles. The most common name folks know him by is Jesus Christ.

They say there’s coming a day when every time someone says His name all knees will bow, whether they’re in His family or not.

That’s why I’ve chosen to accept that death I mentioned earlier as the death I deserved so I can be included in God’s family.

I hope you do the same, my friend.

Do it and you’ll start becoming more like my BFF every day. He promised us that.

Keep smiling.   Wade

THE 1ST RECORDED PRAYER

We’re taking a different course than I had planned for this blog. Instead of going through the book of Acts I’ve thought of another theme we can follow through the Bible. It relates to the book I have coming out soon. I’m going to find some prayers in the Bible and analyse them for our lessons.

I think you’ll be surprised at the first instance I call prayer. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

********

“Grab that small vine over there.”

“Where?”

“Right behind you.”

As Eve spun around Adam’s gaze fell below her waist. Why had he never noticed that about her before?

Eve pulled as much of the string to her as she could grab. She gave it to Adam and noticed his red cheeks.

Adam spun away from her and concentrated on attaching the large fig leaves together.

“Do you think this will work?” Eve pulled in her bottom lip and bit on it lightly.

Adam glanced at her and saw where she was staring. He lowered the fig leaves to his waist and did his best to keep them in place. A breeze raised them over his intended objective.

Eve giggled. “This isn’t working.”

Some rustling leaves and humming caught Adam’s attention. He grabbed Eve’s arm and pulled her behind a thick bush.

“Stay quiet.” He whispered.

The humming stopped. “Adam, where are you?”

Adam hesitated, then stood. “I’m…um…over here. I didn’t want You to see me because I’m naked.”

“Who told you you’re…Did you eat from the tree I told you to leave alone?”

Adam grabbed Eve’s arm and lifted her to her feet. “This woman You gave me, she gave me some to eat after she had some.”

God looked at her.

Eve pointed behind God. “The serpent talked me into it.”

God turned slowly.

The serpent wiggled his forked tongue and smiled.

“YOU…you shall be cursed more than all the creatures. You shall crawl everywhere you go. One from the woman will crush your head. His heal will only be bruised.

As soon as God stopped talking the serpent’s legs disappeared. His chin slammed into a cloud of dust.

Eve stopped breathing when God gazed at her next. “You shall have pain in child birth. Your husband will rule over you.”

Adam swallowed as God turned to him. A tear rolled down God’s cheek. “Because you followed your wife instead of protecting her the ground will be cursed for you. You will sweat for your food among the thorns. You are made of dust and to dust you shall return.”

God turned to the rock next to Him. He sliced His hand through the air and struck the stone with the side of His palm. The rock splintered into shards. God bent down and chose a sharp section.

Two deer walked over to Him. He slit the throat of the buck and lifted him by its hind legs so the blood would spill on the ground. The gruesome task was repeated with the doe.

God deftly sliced the hide off each animal and wrapped them around the humans.

In silence He walked away.

********

I’m sure many of you are surprised I define this section of scripture as a prayer. When you use this Webster’s definition of a prayer it fits completely. Prayer is carrying on a conversation with God.

That’s the relationship Adam and Eve enjoyed before they ate that forbidden fruit. In their innocence God had complete communion with them on their level on a daily basis.

That’s why He made them to begin with. God longed for somebody to love and to love Him in return.

That’s why God made you and me, too. He loves us, plain and simple.

God warned those humans that they would die when they ate that fruit. They lived physically for several centuries, but their relationship with their Creator was forever tainted. It died a dreadful death with that willful disobedience.

Human history has evolved tremendously since that day. The Bible traces the rise and fall of many people, tribes and nations. The theme continues to haunt every one of us even to this day.

Can we ever get that relationship back that Adam and Eve lost?

No, we never will. We’ll get a much richer one. Not in this life, but in the next.

Some astute readers will wonder how God walked among humans at the dawn of human history. He did the same way He always does, as Jesus.

It’s what theologians call a christophany.

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Since God is a spirit we can’t see Him with our natural eyes, so He walked among us in the person of Jesus whenever He wanted to communicate with us.

Don’t worry if you can’t understand that. Nobody does completely. That’s where faith comes in.

Do you see the limitations that carries with it?

God can only be with one group of people at a time. That’s what Jesus pointed out to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven.

That’s why the Holy Spirit indwelling us is so much better. God can take up residence in as many people as want that relationship.

The problem comes back that we’re mostly physical beings relying on our physical capabilities to make sense of everything. This tension with the spiritual world grinds at everything we “know.”

One day in the future we’ll be on the same plane as God in this spiritual walk.

The curses leveled at the judgement of Adam and Eve will be lifted.

Pain will be a thing of the past. Death will die forever.

The richest possible relationship with God will be experienced by everybody who chooses to make Jesus their supreme being now.

Until then we’re stuck building that relationship back one agonizing frustration at a time.

Prayer has been given to us as a means of talking to God. The Bible is God’s principal means of communicating to us.

We struggle with prioritizing our time and energy in living this physical life while nourishing the spiritual one.

Do you know how strongly God wants to rebuild His relationship with us?

The last time He came to earth as Jesus He entered the egg of a girl. Grew up as we all do. Ate our food. Breathed our air. Struggled with spending time with God the Father and caring for lost people.

His death makes him the One who will crush the head of the one who indwelt that serpent.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

What’s more important the journey or the destination? Yes.

Okay, I drove ALL night and didn’t get much sleep, so this could get interesting. Hang on tight.

I had a Facebook friend–okay, so he’s possibly only virtual, but that’s better than nothing right now–send me a greeting just after the beginning of the new year saying something to the effect that he doesn’t want me to look back with regrets when I arrive at my destination this year.

The first question that popped into my mind was, “what destination am I going to that he knows about and I don’t?”

The next question I asked myself–since there wasn’t any real people near me–was, “is the destination the main thing I should be focusing on?”

Many people–whether real or imagined–focus on the destination at hand. Problem with that is most of life occurs during the journey to that destination.

Goal setting gurus will tell you to break your large goals down onto smaller, do-able actions. Eventually you’ll reach your objective. Without noticing it you’ve grown with each step along the way. By the time you’re “there” you’re different, only still you. I think. I warned you I didn’t get much sleep.

Look at Jesus’s life as an example. He came to earth to die for the sins of every person ever created, but did He just head straight to Jerusalem and wait for His execution. For heaven’s sake, no.

Jesus enjoyed the time He walked on this dusty planet. He made some friends who owned a boat and enjoyed fishing with them. Took an occasional stroll on that lake with a friend. Broiled fish for breakfast. Calmed a storm or two. You know, just chillin’ for the Creator of it all.

When He went to the big city He picked up the downcast and neglected folks of society. Told stories, sometimes around a fire. Put the high and mighty in their place. You know, just setting things straight for the One who made us all.

Just before He did die on the cross He spent some intense time in prayer. There was this occurrence He’d never experienced in all of eternity to be dealt with. I’ve seen the same thing happen when parents drop their toddlers off before they head off to church.

Jesus had some separation anxiety issues to handle. You see, He had never been separated from His heavenly Father…ever. I mean from before anyone else existed. Like always before there was an always type of forever.

This extreme event happened because Jesus took ALL the sins of the world on Himself when He died. That was why He died after all. Because of that sin He had to be separated from the perfect Holy God. He just had to cuz God can’t be with that much filth and stench and yuck. He just can’t.

You know something? Jesus didn’t look at that destination as the means in and of itself. No, He was looking past that event to the real destination still to come. Those of you who know where I’m going with this are shouting “Hallelujah!”

There’s an always still to come. I mean the type of always that will exist after all the alwayses you can imagine. It’s called eternity future.

There’s a kingdom being establish there in that eternal eternity. Guess who is going to be sitting on that ultimate throne? That’s right, the guy who took all that abuse and torture and ridicule and humiliation that we all deserve. He had none of that coming to Him, except for the love that held Him on that cross.

Yeah, those puny nails didn’t hold Him to that wood. Jesus willed himself to stay there and bleed each drop for you and me.

He could have stopped it in a second. Angels could have been with Him to mend His wounds. But, that was never the plan. He stuck with the plan to the end so we can enjoy an end without an end with Him in heaven. You better be shouting “Hallelujah!” now

This life you’re living is one big dusty journey. We all have an ultimate destination to go to after we die. Where you spend that destination is up to you.

Those of us who trust Jesus’s death as the death we deserved so we can live the life only He can give are going to be with Him forever.

Everyone else is going to a place with weeping and gnashing of teeth according to Jesus. He should know since He’s the One who made it all. That’s why He makes the rules and chooses his friends and adopted siblings.

I sure hope you take this journey you’re living to find your way to the forever home of peace and joy for always and forever.

Keep smiling.   Wade

CHOOSING A REPLACEMENT

Peter looked around the room at the crowd. What seemed like such a large space for a meal with Jesus was now crammed with His followers.

A man stood at the door searching until he saw Peter and John. He marched up to them. “I have news of Judas.”

“He hanged himself. We know.”

The man shook his head. “His body fell. He burst open all over the field. The priests are using the money he returned to buy that field to bury the poor and unknown.”

Peter placed a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Thank you for letting us know.”

The days turned into weeks with nothing new. They sang Psalms to pass the time.

A few lines stood out in Peter’s mind. Then another one brought a thought to him.

Peter tried to not think about them, but they wouldn’t leave.

Peter stood and spoke over the din of the crowd.

“As you know Judas Iscariot was with us the entire time of Jesus’s ministry until he led those who arrested Jesus. David spoke of him in the Psalms when he wrote, ‘Let his dwelling be desolate, let nobody live in it.’ David also wrote. ‘Another shall take his office.’

“There are some among us who have been with us from the baptism by John until Jesus’s ascension to heaven. We should at this time fill the number of us back to twelve. Let’s find a man qualified to take Judas’s place as a witness to Jesus’s resurrection.”

People looked at each other. Conversations grew.

Andrew raised a hand. “I propose Joseph, also called Barsabas, surnamed Justus. He’s followed us the whole time.”

Matthew stood. “Matthias has also been with us to help as needed. He’s a good candidate as well.”

Heads nodded. Conversations added comments about events how each man aided Jesus and His disciples.

Peter held a hand up and waited for silence. “Are there any others who qualify?”

After a long silence Peter continued. “Very well then, we’ll cast lots to determine who will be counted among us. Let’s pray for God’s guidance first.”

Everyone who was sitting stood. They all closed their eyes.

Peter prayed. “Lord of all. You know how Judas fell away to lead men to take your Son. Now that he’s gone we need Your wisdom to guide us to the best replacement. You know every person’s heart. Show us who You want to take Judas’s place.”

Someone stepped forward with the lots. “An odd number will be in favor of Joseph, even for Matthias.”

He cast them to the floor. “Eight.”

A cheer rose as men slapped Matthias on the back.

********

The choosing of Matthias is the first recorded event of the Apostles after the ascension of Jesus. It’s the only thing they did, other than prayer and waiting, before the giving of the Holy Spirit to them.

I find it interesting that only two men are brought up for the vote to replace Judas. The qualifications were basic enough: they needed to have been with the group of Jesus’s followers from His baptism to His resurrection. Only two stood outside the circle of twelve as witnesses to the miracles and parables, the teachings and the confrontations.

The crowd was recorded to have dwindled significantly after Jesus talked about people needing to eat His body and drink His blood. The final meal in the upper room showed them the true meaning of that statement.

How torn were Joseph and Matthias when the crowd walked away shaking their heads that day?

They apparently held their ground to follow the Messiah no matter what He said. Only two men.

Fortunately only one was needed. Prayer was used before lots were cast to determine who God wanted to take Judas’s place.

But, was this the man God actually chose as the twelfth Apostle?

I think when the twelve thrones are filled to judge the twelve tribes of Israel Matthias won’t be on one of them.

I think it will be a man who wasn’t even near that room that day. As a matter of fact that room is the LAST place Saul would have wanted to be that day.

God’s choice was being groomed in an unexpected way as they waited for the Holy Spirit to be given.

Saul’s passion was to end this sect called “The Way” then.

God let that passion burn until Jesus stepped in on his way to Damascus.

After the Holy Spirit entered Saul his passion did a 180 degree turn as he became their chief spokesperson and missionary.

The transformation was so dramatic he changed his name to Paul.

Jesus never told His followers to replace Judas. He merely told them to wait in Jerusalem.

This choosing was their idea. Fortunately it was a harmless one since God will sort out who sits where in the kingdom to come.

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Have you ever walked ahead of God in a matter?

Did you fill a ‘need’ that you later discovered wasn’t necessary?

Was your choice for an office not vetted enough before you filled a vacancy?

If you’re expecting a guaranteed formula for discovering God’s will in every matter I’m afraid you came to the wrong blog.

My life is filled with too many mis-steps and wrong choices to hold that promise for you.

I will tell you that we have a huge advantage that the people in that room didn’t have. We have the Holy Spirit’s guidance and a more complete scripture than they had.

The New Testament is chocked full of guidelines and wisdom that hadn’t been written then.

Prayer is always an important element in discovering God’s will, but it must be tempered with the Bible’s wisdom and guidance.

Too many people pray about a matter without leaning on biblical insight for their situation. If they feel a peace about what they decide to do then they follow that course of action.

This life isn’t about our happiness or peace. It’s about becoming more like Jesus Christ.

I’ll see you later.   Wade