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Respecting the Hem

 

His Hem.jpg

Have you ever wondered why the gal with the bleeding issue (in Mk. 5; Matt. 9) reached for and touched (in the Greek she literally grabbed it, not a mere swipe) Jesus’ hem? Not His sandals, or even His hand? Granted the folks were packed in tight, but why the hem, why so deliberate? Others too desired to touch His hem (Matt. 14:36; Mk 6:56). They went for His authority, His priesthood. In doing so, HE being God in the flesh were healed.

The hem: It goes way back to ancient(er) days, God instructs the Israelites to wear garments with specifically designed borders, hems or fringes also known as tassels. (Nu. 15; Deut. 22; Ex 28). These fringes came to represent authority, personality, their place in society and even lineages were sewn into the hem. Noblemen of the day would sign their name, authenticating, by lifting their robe and pressing the hem into wet clay tablets – specific stitching indicating family and function. Today, we would wear our badge (if you will) on our chest ‘General Manager’ or in the military on the shoulder and sleeve, ‘Captain’. Or a laminated nametag around our neck. The ancients wore it on the fringe.

Remember in 1 Samuel 24, David was running from Saul. David and his men were hiding in the cave and Saul came in to relieve himself? The men urging David on, “Come on, this is your chance!” he snuck up behind Saul and cut off the corner, the hem of his robe. A moment later, David was (as the narrative states) conscience-stricken, he goes out to Saul and humbly shows him the piece of the hem – he could have killed Saul, he didn’t – BUT – David was convicted because he CUT Saul’s lineage and symbolically took away the identity and authority of the Lord’s anointed. It was not God’s instruction; it was not God’s timing. Saul understood what had just taken place, saying: “And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Swear to me therefore by the LORD that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” (vv20-21, ESV)

Oh, we may not (although some do) wear traditional stitched hems with customary respect, BUT how often do we too ‘cut’ others? How often have I, cut off another’s personality, authority in an attempt to make ME feel better, cut their fringe, yes under peer pressure trim away so my own badge glows brighter?   (OUCH! THIS is painful).   May we too (with the wooing of Holy Spirit) be conscience-stricken when we begin to bring out the scissors of the tongue or reach for behavioral shears.

Respecting the hem (symbolically) of others.

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

*Numbers 15:37-41: The fringes were originally designed as a reminder (a visual reminder, for those around and those wearing them) as a mark of their status as the chosen people of God.  If YOU are in Jesus, you are marked with His blood, you are ‘a chosen people, a royal priesthood and a holy nation, God’s very own possession.‘ (1 Pet 2:9) May we treat each other with such respect.   For more on the fringes:  Consider these articles: Jesus’ Clothes and Our Rabbi Jesus.

Blessings to you my royally fringed family member of God!

 

 

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YOU Made the List!

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Remember back and for some of us WAAAAY back, when we were in the 4th or 5th grade, out on the playground we would divide up in teams for a ball game? That had to be some of the most frustrating moments of childhood. Nervous thoughts of “Will I be picked?” Or remember when the list was posted for those making the team following tryouts? We stood a slight distance away, just close enough to see if our name was there, but not too close to be faced with rejection by our name’s absence.

Making the list. Go ahead admit it, we all want to be wanted, picked and deemed valuable! We all have areas of our life that we fall short, lack the skill or just can’t seem to get it right. In these, we begin to see ourselves as less valuable than others. Perhaps even become resentful, envious of those who do seem to have it all together. (They really don’t by the way).

Ever notice that we may take these perspectives, or may I say insecurities into our relationship with God?   Often, we may find our head bowed, not necessarily in reverence, but out of frustration.  Words painfully escape our whispering lips, “Will You, can You … use … ME!”  Then continue to list all our shortcomings, these becoming our excuses and before we know it, we are telling God why He shouldn’t want us.

In short Beloved, have we ever considered the ‘list’ that God compiled? The list of Biblical proportion. These folks did stupid things, (STUPID) made BIG mistakes, when told to do something God’s way, they chose the DIY and ran.  Some were too small, too old, too ugly and too worrisome.

Eve listened to the Devil *Rahab was a prostitute *Adam blame shifted *Jeremiah and Timothy were too young *David had an affair and was a murderer *Abraham was too old *Elijah was suicidal *Isaac was a daydreamer *Isaiah preached naked (oops) *Jacob was a liar *Jonah ran from God *Leah was ugly *Naomi was a widow *Joseph was abused *Job went bankrupt *Moses stuttered *John the Baptist ate bugs *Aaron watched the idol-making *Peter denied Christ *Gideon was afraid *The Disciples fell asleep while praying *Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer *Martha worried about everything *The Samaritan woman was divorced, (more than once) *Zacchaeus was too small *Paul was too religious AND Lazarus was dead!  DEAD I tell you!

Here it comes … (Wait for it) … HOWEVER. God used ALL these people! They were part of His plan. They all had weaknesses of some sort. Do you find yourself among this list?  Do you worry, then beat yourself up for lack of faith? Do you fall asleep when you pray, then believe the lie you don’t love God enough?

God moved in and through these people’s lives. Aren’t you glad God didn’t hide or remove the background history from these folks?  God is the Redeemer of our soul, life and YES mistakes, failures, and shortcomings. Have you been divorced, afraid, abused, bankrupted or drunk or eat weird things?  Or let’s face it, said things before your brain was engaged? (YAY Peter!) God is God.  He compiles the list.  YOU made the list, the list of redeemed mankind.  (Group hug!)

YOU my friends are sons & daughters of the Most High God! YOU are valuable! YOU are loved! YOU made the List!  HIS list!  Regardless.

Big plans for YOU!

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

 

Because You Say So

fuller nets

One day (Luke 5) Jesus was out in Peters’ boat teaching to the folks on the shore (no fog machines, no colorful backlighting, but great acoustics on the water). After Jesus finished teaching the crowd, He told Peter to put his nets out in the deeper water and there you will catch fish. Peter and crew had fished all night with no catch to show for it. Being professional fishermen, they knew the skill of the waters, the timing, and the fish patterns. Peter could have assumed he knew better than Jesus (not to mention, but I will… it being HIS boat and his men watching) he could have offered a lengthy debate and completely refused to obey. YET he responds with some of the most profound words in scripture, “Master … because You say so…” (v5). They did as Jesus said, the catch was SO full, they had to ask fellow fishermen in another boat to help, ‘soon both boats were filled with fish’ (v7). Peter teaches us, although we may not understand what/why Jesus tells us to do something, our obedience brings HUGE blessing and that blessing spills all over others as well (you may have to take a shower) but blessings all the more.

Peter, what a guy. You can’t but love him. He was the one who went on to ask Jesus, “So, how many times am I to forgive someone? What, say … 7 times?” Way to think BIG Pete! Jesus tells him, “No, seventy times seven (Matthew 18). In the upper room, humbly Jesus begins to wash the disciple’s feet, Peter was the one (the ONLY one) who insisted Jesus not wash his feet, (and well, then requests the whole bath package, John 13). And Peter’s also the one wielding a sword and cuts off the guys ear in the Garden attempting to protest and protect Jesus (ever wonder what he might have been aiming for?) Interesting also, Luke, the physician is the only one of the four Gospel writers who offer the follow up, that Jesus healed the man’s ear (Luke 22). No one speaks in the gospels as often as Peter and Jesus spoke more to Peter than anyone else.

Does THAT resonate with you? It does me! I too would’ve been the one with all the mistakes, all the outbursts, act before thinking, Jesus needed to heal others of my messes and yes even the outrageous denying. Yet, in Peters’ doing and Jesus’ divine responses – what lessons, what grace, what love!

Peter messed up (a bunch) but he was the “Master… because You say so” guy.

What a challenge – may we be also.

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

Routine Anchoring

routine coffee

When we think of back to school, what first comes to mind? Sack lunches, big yellow buses, school supplies (Oh I love school supplies) and what about routine? During the summer we tend to lighten up or throw out routine altogether. Spontaneity is exciting and good and at times a total hoot, yet routine gives aide to keeping our prone-to-wander ducks – in a row.

Routine helps anchor our season of life – our day – our moment. An anchor is used when a boat or ship needs to be centered in one location and not moved by the wind, waves or current. When we follow an established pattern, it gives us focus, a goal rather than a haphazard throw it to wind mindset. Routine is a time, a place and a purpose.

Daniel of the Bible followed a pattern of praying three times a day, regardless of what was going on around him. His time with his God solidified his assurance of God’s character, thus help shape his own stand-strong character. King David mentions multiple times his routine was ‘early in the morning’ (early & first) he sought God, read His law, setting everything aside to praise Him. Jesus, our ultimate example was often seen slipping away to pray to His Father. Routine is a time, a place and a purpose.

Nicholas Herman of the 1600s, known to us as ‘Brother Lawrence’ speaks of the development of acute awareness, in the beloved compiled letters ‘Practicing the Presence of God.’ Brother Lawrence spent years working in the kitchen, then working as a shoe repairman. If I may offer application; he speaks of routine as a tool for focus.

Each night as my husband and I crawl in bed, he reads over us. A portion of scripture or from an in-depth devotional. He does this even if he’s traveling for work, through the phone the established routine anchors us.

Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Oh. (OH!)

Perhaps we need to re-adjust some focus, smooth out our schedule, dotting our calendar with designed routine. A time, a place, a purpose: For prayer, praise, seeking HIM early and first. For family and relationship.

Routine.

I shared the above with our women at church over breakfast at our September gathering.

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

 

In The Early – In The First

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This is Fred my aquatic frog, my husband named him, I wanted something more exquisite like ‘Sebastian Theodore III’, nope, Fred. He is just a lil guy, less than an inch from nose to frog rump. Most folks have a dog or a cat, but I have fish and a frog. Fred is often seen waiting… just waiting … still waiting. You see when I drop his food in the bowl, it is here (where he waits) that we meet. This morning when I saw him waiting yet again, I thought of his expectation, knowing it is our morning routine. The words of the Psalmist came to mind, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” (130:5) Waiting in routine is good, waiting with expectation is great.    “For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” (Ps 107:9).

King David wrote, “O God, you are my God; early will I seek You…” (Ps 63:1a) He is saying he not only seeks God early but FIRST.

Finding inspiration from the Psalms and Sebastian Theodore III (aka: Fred). May we too find routine in the early – in the first – in expectation of our God.

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

The Simple

Simple slide

Simple. We all seek the simple, the quick, and the ‘let’s get to it’ in life. But, when something is presented without difficulty, we pick it up, look behind it and wonder where’s the rest. We take this mentality into our Jesus walk as well, if it seems uncomplicated, effortless and even manageable, we begin to reach for stuff to fill in the cracks, make it heavier than designed and by all means, let’s OVER-THINK-IT!

Most of the basics are just that … simple.

This Jesus life is co-operative – His divine (instruction & empowerment) with our obedience, equates good God stuff! Example: John 9, the blind man, blind from birth encounters Jesus: (In short) Jesus puts spitty-mud on the guy’s eyes and instructs him to go and wash.   “So, I went and washed and then I could see.” (v11, NIV) To wash – so simple. Yet, there are others who hesitate due to the simple: Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army (2 Kings 5) he’s a mighty man of valor yet had leprosy. Through interesting circumstances, he was told to go dip seven times in the Jordan and he’d be healed. But the man thought he needed-deserved more! Bring out the parade, Elisha wave your hand over me, pray a glorious King James prayer (ok, I added that). In his refusal of the simple, fighting against God’s instruction, he didn’t do it. But finally, in response to his servants challenging him, he went, did the dunking and was healed – his healing, however, was delayed due to denial of simplicity. The blind man in John 9, obeyed immediately – healed immediately.

What is God instructing us? Are we holding out for more, before we respond? Perhaps, we’re making it more difficult than it is.

Simple.

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

Your Name

Name

We’ve heard the questioning phrase, “What’s in a name?” The answer: Biblically, a boatload, actually. When we begin reading John 11, we are introduced to a man named Lazarus. We find he is a brother, lives in Bethany and is ill. But beyond those three initial facts, before going any further so much gets lost in the translation – his name. Names given in ancient days helped define the person, gives a title and even their destiny. Lazarus is known to come from the Hebrew, meaning ‘God is my help.’ Continuing the story: Lazarus dies, he is buried, the sisters mourn, and after 4 days Jesus comes and calls him out with all Godly authority and out of the grave walks … Lazarus. THAT is indeed ‘God is my help.’

Names.  I am known by many names, legally I am ‘Diana’ and if called out by my dad, I am ‘Diana Rena’ (and better respond quickly) but to most I am DeDe. To my sons, ‘Mom’, my granddaughter, of recent ‘Grams’ and to my Beloved, I am ‘Sweetheart’. These names offer relationship, title and yes destiny. But my most cherished name and the honored title is ‘Child of God.’ It is SO defining. John writes, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13, NIV) I am born of God, His child, His daughter.

The scriptures speak of the privileges that accompany the title (AND the responsibility) of being a child of God, one – inheritance (See: Ro 8:17; Tit 3:7; Eph 1:11,18; Acts 20:32; 1 Pet 1:3-12, Col 1:12-14, just to name a few). Folks, this alone is huge, when we are in Jesus, we get the full-meal-deal, the whole God package! Because of our relationship with Him, our name is more than DeDe, Lisa, Bob or Mary – it is CHILD OF GOD.  So, you too, like Lazarus, may be a brother/sister, live in ___________ and even sick (be healed in Jesus name) but because of your titled name, YOU get the privilege of walking out of an assured death sentence to … LIFE! As your story continues, don’t let your name get lost in the translation of the world, keep walking, remembering who and Whose you are – a Child of God.

What’s in a name? Everything.

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

*Photo credit: product of IdealPin