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What is ‘Delighting in God?’

 

Psalm 37 4

I asked God “Show me.”

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (David, Psalm 37:4) Sadly many interpret this on a whim that if we get our act together with God, He will start granting what we ask for. This mindset seems to hold God captive like a genie; we call Him forth only when we want something. Perhaps liken also to; “Dear Santa, I’ve been good, here’s my list, I want…” Or some use the rabbit-foot theology approach, keeping God around just long enough, close enough, after all He is the Big Guy in the Sky, keeping on His good side seems to be the best plan.

We are called to and for more.

According to verse 25, King David was aged when he penned this “I was young and now I am old…” Throughout the Psalm he peppers his words with, “Don’t fret or be envious, trust in the LORD, commit your ways to the LORD, be still before the LORD, refrain from anger, turn from evil and do good, wait for the LORD and keep His ways. You can almost hear the longing in his voice as he pulls the reader forward by the shoulders, “Listen to this old man, HEAR THIS!”

Delight yourself in the LORD. It isn’t what we think. We often associate delight with our feelings of joy, our pleasures fulfilled. Yes, true, but there’s more. The word David uses (‘anag’) seems out of place when read in the Hebrew, however being the poet that he was, (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) the word picture he is painting is beautiful. The word here for ‘delight’ is one that describes being sensitive, delicate and soft. It carries the idea of being pliable. Interesting also, grammatically anag (delight) is an imperative verb, meaning this is a command. David is not leaving room for question or discussion, we ARE to live our life delicately before the Lord, and we are to keep pliable and sensitive to Him. In doing so, in our pliable state, He molds into us His desires, ‘He will give you the desires of your heart.’ God places the desires within you. Have you experienced this?  What you once wanted has/is changing.  It’s Him!   Isaiah’s words continue the imagery: “Yet You, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” (64:8) He presses into us, molds us.

David is conveying that in our delighting in HIM, we express both the craving and satisfaction. He was a man after Gods own heart – his heart was satisfied by God. He doesn’t say we are to delight in the things God can do for us, but God Himself, we are to crave God, and He will satisfy.

As he writes this I am sure he remembers; he was a passionate man, yes, he went and took what he wanted at times (we all know how that turned out) yet he knew also unmet desires. He desired to build a temple for the Lord. However God did not give David this desire of his heart, David was a man of war; God wanted his son Solomon, a man of peace to build the temple. (1 Chronicles 17 & 22)

Glancing over my shoulder, I am very glad God has not given me some of the desires of my heart over the years. That indeed was great mercy on His part. Delighting in the Lord does not mean I cease having wants, having dreams and asking for them, it means as I seek after God, my goal is to become subordinate; I forego all – for HIS desires. “If the greatest and supreme of all our delights is in being and in doing what God wills, nothing can frustrate His purpose to give us our heart’s desire.” (Rev. Charles Voysey – January,1885) When we delight in the Lord, our desire is not so much to have as to be and do.

What would it take for God to captivate us, (captivate YOU) to lay aside all wants, wishes and dreams for Him. What would it take to become soft and pliable?

‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’

 

 

I leave us with David Crowders song:

“Take my heart, I lay it down
At the feet of You whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything.”

Such theology, such grace – great delight.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrew 10:24)

Banished from the Garden – PURE MERCY!

Have you ever read something, or heard something, that as you begin to ponder it, the truth of it completely breaks you? I have begun an online seminary class on the book of Genesis, it is my all time favorite book.  I am to read it, study it.  It has taken me a couple of weeks to process just a few verses in chapter 3.

Genesis 3. What a tangled conversation, Eve and the serpent.  He asks Eve, (I paraphrase) “Did God really say, you can’t eat from any tree?(v1) She responds, we can eat, ‘But God said we can’t eat from the tree in the middle, we can’t even touch it or we will die. (v3) Serpent responds, “You won’t DIE! (Can you hear the sarcasm?) God knows if you do eat from it, you will become like Him, knowing all the good and evil stuff.” (v5) Often we think of the Garden story as a huge snake lie.  But did he lie?

First, did they physically die that day? No. They lived 900+ years longer. Their relationship with God however died through their disobedience.  Sin. When they ate were their eyes opened and like God knowing good and evil? Yes. “The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good & evil.” (v22)

You see we ARE to become like God, but NOT like this! It was too much, they couldn’t handle it. God was protecting them with the command not to eat, not to know. But in God’s way, God’s timing: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The serpent folded truth in the deceitful conversation. In his ‘craftiness’, he got Eve to restate God’s word falsely. Interesting, Eve mentions the tree in the ‘middle’- there were two particular trees in the ‘middle’ (Tree of Life & Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – Gen. 2:9) they were to tend the garden and care for it, (2:15) they HAD to touch – to tend, God said don’t eat, not don’t touch. “It’s not how much truth is in the lie, its how much lie is in the truth.” – Dr James Allman (Dallas Theological Seminary) The best lie is the one that has the most truth in it.  Twisting, doubting, restating, God’s word (I’d have to say the 1st bible study was not so successful)  Eve lacked discernment, Theologian C.H Spurgeon said, “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right & wrong, it is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” (Ouch!)

Reading on, I ran head on into God’s banishment. God’s banishment from the garden was not punishment or out of anger it was full of mercy, PURE mercy. God didn’t KICK them out; He graciously forced them to leave, before – before they could eat from the Tree of Life. God said, “He (man) must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat and live forever. So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden…” (vss 22,23)  Man had not eaten from the Tree of Life yet, he wasn’t in an eternal state, if he had eaten in his broken relationship with God, he (they) would be eternally out of relationship. They would be stuck in THAT condition, that spiritual position with God – FOREVER! God sent them out and what does He do?  He places an angel with a flaming sword to guard against them going back to what, paradise?  No, He guards against them going back to the Tree of Life.  (see v24) Um, according to Eve, ‘Somewhere over there, in the middle I think.’ (HA!) Seriously, pretty serious stuff!  They were sent away, out to the eventually ‘redeemed’ relationship.  In THAT relationship, mankind is offered eternal life.  Jesus.  God loved man so much He wouldn’t leave them in the mess they got themselves in to.  GOD IS GRACIOUS.  We take pause and state God is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He is still in the business of redeeming back our messes! Can I get an AMEN!

While contemplating all this, (while folding clothes) I felt the Lord tell me, “It may have all started in Genesis, even in the first 3 chapters – but I AM A FINISHING GOD.”

Oh YES!

Paul may have penned it, but right now, right here God is saying “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

God is Gracious.   Pondering and broken.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Deep Dealing, Drilling & Dwelling

A few weeks ago, when preparing and researching for a study I was immersed in, I got ‘Squirreled.’ Or so I thought. I came upon an article that spoke of ‘fracking.’ Intrigued, not knowing what it was, soon I was knee deep in engineering terminology, dirt and deep digging. Over the course of the last few months, even a year (or three) my fire and passion for God has increased and after reading these articles I sensed God was showing me why and how. God has/is doing Spiritual fracking in me. Industrially, it is defined as “Hydraulic fracturing (also known as ‘fracking’) using large quantities of water under pressure within a borehole to fracture the rock, creating cracks in the deep-rock, thus releasing the valuable substance of natural gas or petroleum.” We are familiar with the large equipment seen on the flat lands of Texas.

I feel God has been using large quantities of His Spirit under pressure to pierce and crack through my ‘deep-rock.’ Yup, I’m cracked for God! (THAT would make a dandy of a bumper sticker) His fracking is designed to get deep down, deep below all the stuff.

I think it is safe to say, since I am no engineer, the emphasis in fracking is ‘under pressure.’ How many of us could raise our hand that we too have been under pressure. How often do we go to any lengths to escape the pressure? At times we even devil point, stating the pressure we are in is of his doing. Nope. Not all the time. I am persuaded, more than we think; the pressure we are experiencing is indeed, ‘GPZ’ ‘God Pressure Zone’  (Yes, you may now begin to use this in your next texting conversation.)   It is in this zone we learn most about …Him.

Fracking.

God is not in the business of simply white washing, slapping some white over us, attempting to cover up the ick, He is in the business of deep deep work, from the inside out. Paul speaks of this: “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering (God fracking) produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 Emphasis mine of course) What process, what PURPOSE!

The words Paul uses to mix with this process is fascinating. The word for suffering in the Greek literally means ‘PRESSURE.’ It can be described as to press, compress or squeeze. Can you relate? (God will NOT let up!)  Paul says pressure produces the ability to remain under. Liken to holding tight a bandage over a deep wound. Pressure applied secures and holds the process in place. (Read that again) That holding in place for us is perseverance, which is the ability to bear up under, successful staying under. In this staying our character is built. It is here where grace abounds, we see God better, His word bold, His voice more clear. Can I get an AMEN!  God’s holy finger ON us!  Since Holy Spirit dwells in us, when our hard rock is cracked, HE comes out spilling all over us, the ‘valuable substance.’ Head bowed, heart rendered.

The opposite would be to wriggle out, squeeze our self out from under, but in doing so, the process is not complete. The targeted character does not develop. Interesting word picture, literally the opposite of the word for ‘pressure’ in the Greek is ‘paregoria.’ Placed in context here, it means ‘to sooth, to come alongside.’  When we slither out from under God’s deep working, we seek something ‘other’ – we come alongside it for comfort.  A very dangerous place to be.

So the next time we see the large equipment coming down our street and begin to set up in our front yard (I am extremely visual) may we not avoid the Holy process of pressure, or hold up a barrier as to deflect its impact. Folks the only way our character will become His, is IN the process. He not only penetrates deep in our soul, He takes us by the hand and whispers, “It’s because I love you.”

“You’re perfect in all of Your ways
You’re perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
as You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still into love love LOVE

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who You are, It’s who You are
It’s who You are
and I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, It’s who I am
It’s who I am.”  Song – Chris Tomlin

I may not invite all this, but I am learning to not refuse it, all that I am, all that I do, I want others to see I am allowing a deep dealing, deep drilling and deep dwelling of Jesus.  You?

Deep.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Enjoy:  YouTube, Good Good Father

 

 

 

 

Show Us Lord!

“You have to see it to be it.”  So said our worship leader this weekend from the pulpit, within the context of sharing how we as Christians are called to ‘be’ so much more than do. Isn’t it the truth! If we have a hard time visualizing it, it is hard to take steps to walk in it. When in a planning meeting we often hear, “What does that look like?” or “How do you see it?” Sight. Besides literally having sight with our physical eyes, there are (metaphorically speaking) numerous kinds of seeing, we see with our heart – there are times we see with our intuition, with wisdom, and yes with our spirit.

The Psalmist wrote what can sum up the long narrative of 176 verses in Psalm 119, with “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions.” (v 18)

Seeing Your instruction.

King David wrote, “I will be careful to lead a blameless life.” (Psalm 101:2) He goes on to say in verse 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” (Or as other translations state, ‘no vile thing’)  It is up to US what we look at, focus on and see with our natural eyes AND the eyes of our heart.  May I add, we are responsible for what we ask to see.

Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the Aramean army, (2 Kings 6) the servant was in a crazy state of panic. You can almost visualize Elisha reaching out, grabbing the guy by the shoulders, looking him dead on in the eyes, “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” As he turns him around, he goes on asking God to “Open his eyes that he may see.”  The Lord opened the servants eyes, the hills were indeed filled with horses and chariots of fire.

Seeing God stuff.

Mark 8: We see (yes pun intended) a few folks approached Jesus, begging Jesus to heal their friend who was blind. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and walked with him out of the village. “When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (verses 23-25) Amazing story, nothing like Holy DNA spit in your eyes!

When the man initially says “I see…” the word indicates he had sight, the ‘ability’ to see, that’s about it.  When Jesus touched him again, he ‘saw‘ everything clearly, (a different word in the Greek) this time, his sight was with discernment, and his eyes were able to focus with perception, and detail. Jesus didn’t leave him with just the ability to see, He wanted him to have more! Notice too there was dialogue?  Jesus could have from a distance, with a divine wave, heal the man and continued on His way.  There was purposeful process. Walk with Me, progress.

Seeing with clarity.

Many would say, but isn’t faith walking without sight, quoting “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7)  Yes.  However this sight is with our physical eyes, we see the bills on the table, and we see no check in mail,  faith ‘sees’ with spiritual eyes, eyes of faith sees Jesus is, Jesus can, Jesus will. A great example is the story of Peter and Jesus out on the water, Peter walks towards Jesus, ‘but when he saw the wind, he was afraid’ and began to sink.  (Matthew 14) Faith sight is always focused on Jesus.

Seeing Jesus.

We need to see not only with our physical eyes but with eyes of our heart, our spiritual eyes.   We at times only ‘see trees,’  we don’t focus as we should; our spiritual sight isn’t full of discernment or the miraculous. Like the blind man above, Jesus wants MORE for us!   Oh, He won’t literally spit in our eyes (relax) but He desires us to see with clarity. When we sit down and read His word, we ask “Show me.” God is THE Creator, His creativity is vast, ask Him to paint the picture for you, so you better understand. When we head out at a full run into our day, may we quote Elisha, “Open my eyes that I might see.” In doing so, may we live our day with expectation!

Paul’s words, so very strong, I pray over us, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

This verse is the basis for Paul Baloche writing the chorus we all have sung, “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see You…”

A wise man said, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.” Solomon, Proverbs 29:19 (MSG)

Like King David, we set YOU Lord before us. Open our eyes Lord, with perception and detail.  Allow us to focus, and see YOU, Your word, Your stuff, Your people, Your circumstances.  It is written; Jesus walks with us, Jesus touches, He stays, He dialogues, and He shows us! (Go God!)

 

“To see You high and lifted up

Shinin’ in the light of Your glory

Pour out Your power and love

As we sing Holy, Holy, Holy”

 

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24)

 

Not There yet? Where’s There? (Comparison)

In conversations, we share life with others. We share our joys, our sorrows, our experiences. Have you noticed in these, we too develope our … comparisons. We mask them with a slight shrug of the shoulder and personal confessions of “I’m not there yet.” Not there yet? Where? There is the carrot and we are forever running after it, we keep it tied in front of us. But THERE it is. We are here, and NOT there. We want to do and be something other than we currently are. “They are!”

Comparison.

I am learning that whatever, wherever ‘there’ is, it is not up to others to criticize or define it for me. Family, friends, the church, yes they are a voice in my life, I honor, respect and consider their input. However, my there can only be found in God. So the one in the back row can hear it again, “Our there, our goal of growth is ONLY found in God.” The sad thing about the not there yet concept? We fail to live in the NOW! The road is so long.  Face it, we will continue to be, ‘not’ something. Not thin, smart, rich, fit, strong, not happy, healthy, beautiful, unselfish … enough. The list is vast. We are continually discouraged in the dressing room of life, trying on things that don’t fit (yet)  Please note, I am not negating discipline. If it is in our means to change, to grow effectively, with Jesus’ help, may we do so.

Remember the story of Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant girl. Poor gal. She was just being obedient. She was told to go to Abe’s tent, um… etc. (See Genesis 16) Following this, where did she find herself? In the thick of life. Sarah became jealous and mistreated her. Hagar was hurt, frustrated, and confused, unable to process it all, she takes off, running away. God found her, where she was. He called her by name, it wasn’t “Hey you over there, you – the one with the bad attitude, yup the one who didn’t get it right!” He called her by name, “Hagar.”

God being God, asked her “Where have you come from and where are you going? By asking this question, (He already knew) they are now in the moment. It is God’s invitation, the initiation to process through the ‘stuff’ with Him. She shares her stuff, God proceeds to encourage her with His promises. I love how she wraps up her time with God, she calls Him, El Roi, (El- ro-ee) “You are the God who sees me, for I have now seen the One who sees me.”

The next time we are tempted to believe the LIE when we look at others and think since we are not yet there, (Examining their …season of life, maturity, positions, titles, strengths & gifting) thinking we are not good enough. Stop comparing, instead, focus on here and now, where God sees us! He calls us by name. Yes, He wants us to grow and go there, (HIS there) but He loves and accepts us where we are NOW. May we not only strive to be ‘there’, continuing to grow in and through our weakness to be like Him, but may we experience the ‘God who sees me.’ The God who extends love, grace, mercy, and strength.

Loved one, listen for El Roi, the God who says, lovingly, “I see YOU!” I see you NOW, who you are NOW, what you are NOW, I am the God of your NOW!” Stop, and engage with Him NOW! Your goal is not only there, but here, now.

Where are you going?

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Heb. 10:24)

Left Handed in the Bible?

I get asked a lot of questions and some are just plain fun to dive into, research and find some amazing stuff. If I can’t find an intelligent answer, I offer “Um, I dunno!” This week I was asked “What is the significance of being left-handed in the Bible?” She was asking in reference to a statement made in Judges 20:16, “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” (20:16, emphasis mine) she also wanted to know, “HOW?” I would go about finding the answer.

When we come upon a verse that causes us to take pause, we have to first consider the ‘placement’ of the verse. We back up and re-read (if need be) the WHOLE chapter (even the entire book for context, context determines meaning) and ask the 5 fold questions of scripture, “Who, what, where, why and how?” In this case, the 700 men were being selected by the Benjamites to take on all of the other tribes of Israel. In short: There was a VERY icky vile rape of a concubine, (In bible times: a woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife)  this happened while in Benjamin territory, done so by men of the town of Gibeah. The husband of the concubine (a Levite) wanted justice. Israel rose (‘as one man’) to seek revenge, all except the Benjamites. “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed...” These ‘leftys’ were in addition to 26,000 other men. ‘Chosen’ is a key word. This choice “is based on a thorough examination of the situation and not an arbitrary whim.” [- The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the OT] In essence, they went ‘looking’ for left-handed men. Again, WHY?

I found the term ‘left-handed’ in the Hebrew is ‘itter’ and only mentioned 2 times in scripture. Here in this chapter AND… in chapter 3 of this same book. ‘Itter’ literally means; ‘not of the right hand’ (or impeded use of the right hand) thus …left handed. Now looking at Judges 3, Israel had AGAIN went about doing ‘evil in the eyes of the Lord’, He set a few nations to stand against them (v2) “He (God) did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.” God allowed the bad king Eglon of Moab to help teach His lesson. Israel cried out to God and He sent ‘Ehud’ who just happened to be left-handed ANNNND, he was a Benjamite!!! (See the connection?) Ehud goes on to defeat the bad king, Moab became subject to Israel and there was peace in the kingdom for 80 yrs. THIS, I am sure was handed down, all of Israel KNEW the story of the ‘left-handed’ Benjamite – Ehud!

A side note: Throwing in Jewish custom/culture: Right opposed to left: When blessing, the right hand is extended (i.e. Genesis 48, Joseph blessing his sons, he crossed his arms) Also the ‘right’ parts of the body play an important role in sacrifices (see Leviticus) such as the right thigh, right ear, right thumb. The ‘right’ generally expressed ‘strength’, such as the ‘right hand of God’ (Ex. 15:6, 12; Isa. 62:8; Ps. 17:7; 44:4, etc.) and which was worthy of the Psalmists’ praises (Ps. 98:1; 118:15, 16, etc.).

If the ‘left’ is considered ‘weak’ (as opposed to the right/strength)  it quite ironic that after the Israelites turned back to God, He chose the ‘weak’ handed man ‘Ehud’ to deliver them? Being left or right handed does not determine value! (Please understand that) Left-handed vs right is more ‘symbolic’ than anything.

Back in Judges 20, the Benjamites take a stand against all the others, so they ‘chose’ 700 leftys – in hopes of having an ‘advantage.’ Granted, they “could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” But could it be that they pulled from their past, went looking for the left-handed guys, because it was something that worked before!

How possibly could this ‘left-handed’ story apply to US? In bible study it is called, ‘pulling a principle.’ We can’t always reach from our past, in hopes that what worked ‘then’ will work now. God used the ‘lefty’ (‘symbolic’ weak handed) man to show the Israelites that when they are in fellowship with Him,  He takes the least and makes the MOST.  Ehud, said, “For the LORD has given Moab your enemy into your hands.” (v28) When we are weak, HE is strong. Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Man used the left, God used the right.

Remember what was said back in Judges 3:2 “He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.” His lessons take on new angles with each battle. The Benjamites did lose the battle even with the 700 left-handed men who ‘could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.’  (Guess they missed) Also, when God used Ehud against the King of Moab, he was representing ALL of Israel, (kinda their secret weapon) but when the Benjamites tried to ‘reproduce’ the secret weapon (if you will)  x700 against their own BROTHERS… it failed.  How sad!  Chapter 21, the Israelites sat before the Lord and mourned the tribe of Benjamin, “O LORD, the God of Israel, why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?” (vv2-3)

New battle, new battle plan. God’s plan.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

 

*In further digging, I came across another reference to Benjamite warrior advantage, which appears later on in Israel’s story, this is when David was on the run from Saul, and a few men joined him, “These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish. They were among the warriors who helped him in battle; they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were kinsmen of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin.” – 2 Chron. 12:1-2

The word here is different, (not ‘itter’) it is ‘simel’ – meaning ‘to go to the left’ a term of direction. So it may be, that these guys were not completely left-handed, but where able to ‘pass to the left successfully’. (Which I could not, my bow would indeed be rendered ineffective) What we know as ‘ambidextrous,’ which is Latin and means “right-handed on both sides,” (Fascinating!) In a broader sense ambidextrous means “facile” (done so effortlessly) or “skillful.”

Interesting Facts:  Studies suggest that approximately 10% of the world population is left-handed. The right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body.   A person who is “right-brained” is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective. This is where our ‘creativeness’ is known to reside.  Leftys …

• Use the right side of the brain the most
• Twice as likely to be a man
• Better at multi-tasking
• Of the eight most recent U.S Presidents, 4 have been left handed
• Less able to roll their tongue than a righty

Honest & Transparent, on a Personal Note

 

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.” Jesus, Luke 7:47

I love this story. It is underlined, circled and highlighted in my bible.  It fascinates me, inspires me and frankly resonates deep to my bones. This verse sits on my bookshelf among all my biblical geeky resource books, and they too ‘are many.’ This story of the sinful woman (as the title gives reference in this chapter) is the springboard for my more recent years of PASSION for God and His word.

The narrative states Jesus was invited to the home of Simon, a Pharisee, invited for dinner. While reclining at the meal “a woman who had lived a sinful life … brought a jar of perfume… weeping, she washes Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiping the tears with her hair, kissing them and poured the perfume on His feet.” (vv. 36-38) Simon knowing the reputation of this unnamed gal, thought to himself, “DUDE, if You were a prophet You’d know what kind of woman she is.” Oh He KNEW! In His knowing, He addressed it! After a short exchange of Parable and lesson learned, while looking at Simon, Jesus states “I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.” Jesus tells the woman, Your sins are forgiven… Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (vv. 47,48, 50) These are some of the most profound words printed in red.

Some would read this that she was forgiven ‘because’ she loved much, but if that were true, then her forgiveness would be based on ‘works’ – her loving, even loving the Son of God. Forgiveness is a FREE gift of God’s grace, NOT the result of our works; we can’t ‘earn’ it, even in loving, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Jesus said it was her FAITH that saved her. Oh and what faith it was! A woman, (that in its self at that time period, was beyond thinkable approaching a man) of her reputation, full of her uncleanness, came to Jesus… as she was. She didn’t disguise herself; she didn’t even hold back emotion. She believed (her actions a result of her belief) if she could get to Jesus, as she was, a repentant sinner, He would NOT send her away. The only sending was ‘in peace.’ Peace. The word is ‘eirene’ in the Greek; it literally means ‘to set at one again.’ What was once toppled over (mankind messed up in the Garden…sin) has now been picked up and set in its proper place as it was designed. Sinful woman comes to Jesus, forgiveness given, peace granted. Fascinating side note, in this brief Jesus encounter, the narrative states only one went away forgiven. A similar story; Jesus and another sinful woman and those holding the rocks to stone her disappear and Jesus writing in the sand, His parting words: “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)

Why this verse on my bookshelf? Well.  I went through a very sinful rebellious season a few years ago, where I recklessly violated God’s laws. Oh I loved God, but in my disappointment, unmet expectations, and many hurts I allowed my heart to stray. I have a call on my life, planted there from before I was even born; a call that will, when used of God, heal, restore and deliver hearts and by golly there have been MANY attempts to thwart it, demonic attempts. But frankly (quite honestly and transparently) drawn away mostly of my own ‘undoing.’ (Can you say ‘STUPID!’) I love what Oswald Chambers wrote: “We blame things on the devil that are actually the result of our own undisciplined natures!” Paul speaks to this; “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway…Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:19,25) I had finally come to the end of myself; God graciously allowed me to see the immense damage I was doing to myself and the hurt to His heart. At that point I couldn’t get low enough, prostrate enough on the floor, I couldn’t cry out enough. (See link below for my story)

I am fully persuaded the gal in Luke’s story had to battle against the accusing voices, condemning voices of her past, some said to her and some self-condemning. I too have battled this, but “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Phil. 3:13,14) And as the writer of Hebrews proclaims, I too say: “I throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and I run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Let me fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and Perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (12:1-2)

Be assured, that stupidity of days gone by has been replaced with gaining wisdom. Wisdom about applying God to every life situation, discouragement, expectation and hurt and when it comes to the thief (I won’t give him the honor of capitalizing the name or title) He “comes ONLY to steal, kill and destroy.” (Jesus declared, John 10:10) I have learned his tactics! They are everchanging.  I will continue to dial in.  I have placed Jesus before me, His word and that alone. I have set boundaries and asked Holy Spirit to make them impenetrable. My husband wraps his arms around me daily, covering me with his protective prayers.  I have made myself accountable to godly women, who yes, look me in the eyes and ask hard questions. A bit extreme?  Nope.  I am FREE!

Now I in turn ask the hard questions: How about YOU? Do you have disappointments, unmet expectations, or many hurts? Guard, guard, GUARD your heart! Stupidity awaits!  I am not belittling the potential sinful path ahead.  Are you like the sinful woman(or man) who perhaps needs to muster enough courage to come to Jesus, no disguises, all emotions bare. Cry if need be. But come.

If this is your first time at His feet, believe/confess – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) He will grant you forgiveness and send you in peace.

Or, if you like me, love God, but find yourself just plain and simply ‘sinful’ (sin is sin, anything that redirects our focus off God and placed on something/someone else, pulling your affections away, behavior and attitudes follow… sin) – Paul writes to the CHRISTIAN, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Remember, what may be ‘sin’ for me may not be qualitifed as such for you, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17) Beyond the clear-cut words in print, if Holy Spirit guides me to do or not do according to my make up, personality or calling, if I violate that directive, then for ME, I walk in sin and out of God’s will for my life.

But please note, that we not splash around in grace haphazardly and become ‘grace abusers.’ Like Paul stated, “What shall we say? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace may multiply and overflow? (Romans 6:1) “May it never be!” May we be sensitive to what breaks God’s heart!

When I reach for a book when I study, when I begin writing God stuff or walk to the front to teach bible study and those accusing words attempt to drift my way, I am reminded of this verse, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.” And loving I will do, my ‘recklessness’ has changed, I am now abandoned to God, unrestrained, uninhibited, and unbridled for Him! Look out devil, she’s UP and going forth!

Please pass this on.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

 

See my personal testimony here: Restored, https://inspiredfountain.com/2016/06/21/coming-full-circle-restored-personal-testamony/