When Innocence Asks…

November 26, 2014 at 2:33 am (WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , )

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Daddy, what is pride?” Seven year old Daniel looked up at his Dad as they walked towards the front door of their house.

“Huuummm, what a question. Pride. Let me find words to answer, Danny.” Daniels father answered while unlocking the door and opening it. He ushered the boy inside and flipped the light on. They began to remove their shoes and coats in the foyer.
Daniels Dad, Walter began trying to find words to fit a description of pride in his mind. Trying to fit the words of a thirty eight year old into a seven year old response. Not succeeding well.

“Why don’t you go get ready for bed and I’ll be in to answer your question and tuck you in shortly, son. Looks like your Mama is already asleep, I will kiss her for you tonight okay?” Walter bent down in front of Daniel and took the end of his coat sleeve and helped him pull it off and reached up to hang it on the hook.

Daniel nodded and turned to go obey his daddy.

Walter walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water. Still struggling to know how to frame an answer to his sons question.
Clareese would know what to say. Why do I get such a loaded question and she’s in bed? Thought Walter as he drank. What is pride? He repeated. So large a scope and such a simple question. He began to try to think of ways to put Danny off with an answer. He felt the weight of giving the correct answer to such a tempest of a concept. It was important Danny know, but how much could he truly understand at such a young age? Walter began trying to remember what ‘pride looks like at the tender age of seven’. This made it easier. Yes, that’s what he would do, talk about seven year old pride. Yet the more he began to formulate his thoughts around the plan he made the less he felt it gave a complete answer. Frustrated he placed his glass in the sink and went to check on Sadey, his four year old daughter. She had been home sick today and required Clareese’s full attention. Strep throat was making rounds early this year, Sadey had a bad case of it. High fevers, aches and unable to eat much she cried and spent a good deal of the day in a warm bath which helped the aches but did little for the fever. Even ice cream didn’t sooth her throat. Clareese had told him and had went to bed with a sore throat herself before he and Daniel had left for Tuesday night service at Solid Rock Church where they attended for five years now.

He slipped quietly into Sadey’s bedroom and was overwhelmed by the smell of vicks coming from the humidifier by her bed. He bend down to touch her forehead and felt the radiance of her fever before he touched it. Walter sighed and said a quick prayer for his daughter and kissed her softly. He left and made his way towards his bedroom. Passing Danny’s room he peaked in to see him pulling on his pajama bottoms. He smiled, Danny was a good boy.

As he entered his bedroom he let his eyes adjust to the darkness so as not to wake Clareese as he undressed and donned his own pj’s. Clareese stirred slightly but didn’t awaken. He repeated the action of reaching for her forehead as he had Sadey. Again he felt the fever before he connected to her skin.
Oh, Lord, you know I don’t do nurse well and Clareese is needed to tend with a mother’s touch our Sadey right now. Please don’t let her get too sick to be able to care for her.
Immediately Walter felt a pang of guilt. His wife was sick and he was praying, not for her health and healing but for… huh. .. oh dear… his pride?
Forgive me Lord, help me to trust You’ll provide. I can call my mom if needed. I truly just want my family to be healthy again.
He pulled the covers up over Clareese’s shoulder and turned to go say goodnight to Danny.
I’m too tired to go into this pride thing tonight. I’ll tell him we’ll talk about it tomorrow. Mommy’s sick and we may need to be extra helpful. Yes, this is what he’d say. Then he would talk to Clareese and she would help him know what to say.

Daniel was sitting up in his bed playing with his transformer action figure, Bee, when he entered the room. Danny smiled at his dad and placed the toy on his nightstand and sat up straighter as if he was ready to hear his answer to his question. Guilt again took a stab at Walter’s heart.
How can I disappoint him so? Lord what in Heaven’s name do I say?

“So… pride huh? What makes you ask about that Danny?” Walter asked.

“Mrs. Cramer gave us a scripture to memorize tonight. And I already know it by heart!” Danny beamed. “Pride goeth before a fall. Proverbs 16:18” Danny said carefully with his eyes closed. Then his face scrunched up and he opened his eyes. “What is pride Daddy? How does it go before someone falls? Is it like tripping someone with your leg and then they fall?”

The innocence of his sons mind struck Walter with a wave of relief and gladness. Ahhhh, to think so simply and with physical example! He gave a chuckle and sat on the bed facing Danny.
“Well, son is kind of like that. But pride isn’t like a person with legs.” He said.

“Well I got confused because Mama is always telling me she’s proud of me. What if she falls because of that?” Danny’s genuine concern for his mama showed clearly in is eyes.

Oh Lord from out of the frying pan into the fire! The answer is both yes and no! How am I going to do this?!
Walter took a deep breath.

“Well Danny when mommy says she’s proud of you she’s really saying she’s happy because you make her happy. It’s a grown up way of saying ‘you’re great stuff!’ Sometimes we adults forget that lots of words can mean different things. So don’t worry about mommy falling, k?” It was an indirect answer to the point but it was all Walter had. He wanted first to relieve Danny’s fear of making his mom fall.

Danny sat waiting for his Dad to go on. Relief registering on his little face so far.

“The pride that the Word of God is talking about is like a reaction to stuff. Like when someone hurts your feelings and inside,” Walter placed his hand over Danny’s heart, “inside here and here”,Walter touched Danny’s head. “We react sometimes in different ways, do you understand what I mean?” Walter sent up a prayer that Danny was following along.

“Yes. It’s like having mean thoughts because someone said a mean thing first, right?” Danny looked at his Dad searching for affirmation.

“Yes! Yes exactly like that son. When we react like that inside we have a choice to act on the mean thoughts and say them or do them or not to. Jesus promised us we would always have a choice. It’s hard not to be mean when someone is mean to us, huh?” Walter began to feel as though this wasn’t going to be as hard as he thought.

“Yeah, Paul is mean and makes me want to be mean back. But I remember what mama says, ‘Do good to those who are mean to you. This is what Jesus helps you do.’ She has to help me think of good things though cause my mean thoughts talk loud Daddy. Does that mean I have the pride that makes me fall?” Tears began to form in Danny’s brown eyes and it broke Walter’s heart.

Walker reached for his son and pulled him into his lap. Folding him in his arms as if he could protect him from pride.

“We all have that pride dear boy. All of us. That is why we remember that scripture… like a warning that helps us choose what Jesus promised He would give. Cause when we are mean back to meanness usually it just makes more meanness, huh?” Walter said as he held Danny close. He looked down into Danny’s face to wait for him to respond.
Danny shook his head ‘yes’, but remained quiet.

“Well see the fall that the Bible is talking about is that meanness. Because now meanness is in control, it has made you do mean things and the other person do mean things and it just keeps meanness going back and forth. When we sin, we fall short of what God wants for us and for those we effect. So that’s the fall that happens when we choose our pride. Pride being our way of reacting and thinking and doing things. If we choose while we are first reacting inside our hearts and in our thinking, to be good to meanness then we don’t fall or cause others to fall into more meanness too. Does that make sense Danny?” Walter again sent up a prayer that God would help his little boy understand what he was saying.

“Yes, Daddy, I understand. It’s really hard though. Is it hard for you too?” Danny pulled back to look at Walter’s face.

“Yes, yes my boy is very hard for me too. In fact is not easy for anyone. We always have to work hard at that because pride never really goes away. Jesus gives us a way to not fall over it but until He comes back and we live with Him forever we will have to work really hard at keeping pride from making us fall. It’s like brushing your teeth. They may always seem fine and white but if we don’t brush everyday we’ll get cavities. So brushing your teeth is like keeping pride from decaying them. It’s easy to just say ‘one night won’t hurt if I skip’ but pride lies to us and if we let one night go then the next one will be easier.” Walter wasn’t sure the comparison was all that great but it’s what came to mind.

“Oh.” Said Danny. Shifting in his lap. “I guess that means I should go brush my teeth. I’m sorry I tried to skip it Dad.”

Danny got up to go into the restroom and began to brush his teeth. Walter sat there wondering if he should say more. And amazed how God had him covered in so many ways. Danny came back and crawled into bed and laid down to go to sleep.
“I will try really hard not to let pride rot my teeth or my heart for Jesus Dad. I’m glad He gave us a way not to fall. I’m tired. Goodnight Daddy. I love you.” Danny sat up to wrap his arms around Walter’s shoulders, hugging him tight. “Thank you for talking to me tonight Daddy, I know you get tired at night real bad. Mommy says so. I’m glad not too be confused about pride so much. It helps me know why I memorize the Bible. God’s words brush my heart like the tooth brush does my teeth, huh?” Danny said in Walter’s ear before he laid down on his pillow.

Walter smiled. What an amazing gift his boy was! “Yes, son. God’s word is just exactly like that! Thank you for reminding me! Good night. Sleep well. Love you son.” Walter kissed Danny on the forehead and walked out to go to bed.

God, thank you for teaching me about pride tonight. Through my little boy Danny.

Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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Unexpected Wisdom

January 11, 2014 at 2:31 am (Remodeling the Mind) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The conversation finally began…

Words had flown about the room for well over an hour…but nothing communicable had really occurred. Eight souls had gathered to study the Bible. At least that was what the title was called; a Bible Study. Various theologies had been discussed, springing from a few words pulled from the Book intended to be studied. Philosophies of forgiveness with the clanging symbols of rhetoric popular among “the gatherers of the Book”. Words flung out with the tree of knowledge of good and evil as it base. In essence it could all be brought down to “what does forgiving do for me.

One silent soul, up to this point, found their lips and their vocals found wind.

“But who is forgiveness really about? For that matter…who is this Book really about?”

Seven pairs of eyes fell to the one who had almost been forgotten. This one being the “least educated” and newest member of the group. The sounds that came from their person floated like a feather…slowly drifting down as if from nowhere…the room fell still.

The brave soul suddenly felt odd. And gave an almost apologetic smile.

“Hmmm…well, a good question” said the “leader”. “Perhaps it will be a good topic for next week.”

The other six, gave a sigh of relief and nodded their accent to the leader.

Again the new one was compelled to speak.

“I’m confused. I thought this was supposed to be a place where I could ask questions and get help finding the hidden truths the Bible has to offer according to the Apostle Paul? If I mistook the agenda I ask forgiveness. It would be the highest offence to me that I would offend my Father in heaven by derailing that which you had intended. Most of what I heard you all sharing…well quite frankly went over my head. I know I am new and have much to learn. Yet as I have been reading in Matthew chapters 5 and 6, I have felt as if I was right there at Yeshua’s (Jesus’) feet…listening to Him. He spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven a lot and how forgiveness works…uh…at least to me…what it is supposed to look like in action. And it seemed to me to point without exception to the Father, who is forgiveness…upon which the “children” – if you will – are grace and mercy and truth. I don’t know all the “learned” lingo or language but again I found Yeshua speaking in such simple terms that anyone could understand Him. If I am in error, please would someone correct me? I really don’t want to go another 7 days thinking in error to wait for next week’s study. To do so seems to me would be even greater foolishness than to speak up and seem as fool.”
The words carried such humility and honest inquiry, again the room was aloft in stillness. Impregnated with the Light that had just now began to shine.

Again the new one began to feel awkward and shifted in the silence uncomfortably.

The “leader” cleared their throat.
One by one each other member looked between the leader and the new one. None finding a voice of their own to lend to the subject. Suddenly what they thought they “knew” seemed a square peg attempting to be put in a round hole. (Indeed this was the case)

“Perhaps,” said the leader with an authoritative air. “You could share what it is that you have heard us speaking about that has caused your confusion?”
It was spoken framed in invitation, but the true portrait of its spirit was condescending.

The new one didn’t respond to the latter.

“Well, all the words sound right but don’t fall into the spirit with which I sense in Yeshua as He speaks about forgiveness. To Him all things are about His Father. The One who Forgives. Without Him there is no such thing. So to forgive is to simply attest to the One who makes it possible. You all spoke much with many words I didn’t understand and can’t remember now…but to put it in terms I understood you to be saying…
To forgive is to be set free from being unforgiving. Again this seems right and I find it hard to say exactly what seems not right about it. I have been reading an author who said, “Discernment is not about knowing right from wrong, but knowing right from almost right” This is the best I can describe my struggle. What you all say sounds almost right but not right.” The new one paused and resumed a moment later. The awkward silence prevailed.

“As I have spent time talking with God and Yeshua, reading His Words…I have come to understand that forgiveness is something I do that gives away what He does, did and completed with Yeshua on the cross. That when I forgive, its sort of like taking the bread and wine in remembrance of Him. Yeshua said Himself that when we forgive it not only effects this world but heaven! That’s power!! Unseen power to be honest!”

The new one was so lost within the wonder and awe of the One who forgives they seemed to start to fairly glow…it became contagious. All ears were held hostage by the enthusiasm and worship.

“When you all were speaking about letting go of unforgiveness it seemed to me that it was as if – if we forgive we benefit from our own forgiveness. Yet it seems contrary to what Yeshua said, though in a way we do, but that’s not the intent for which we are asked to do so. Though you all quoted scriptures that could – by themselves taken the way you frame these theologies with them – could seem to support them. Again its the sense of right verses almost right that perplexes me. I don’t know much about theologies but I do know Yeshua, the Father and the Spirit who is sent to counsel and or guide us into all Truth; which is to say Yeshua Himself and things don’t “lineup” if you will between the two. Mankind is always systematically trying to attain knowledge from God into a pattern of prescription that methodizes our behaviors, but does nothing to transform. I think forgiveness is what one does as an identifier of Who they now belong to. But how can they forgive if they don’t know the Forgiver? How can release come from an action based only on sentences in a book? Are we not supposed to be seeking the One who wrote it and obeying the One who made all things? Because He knows how best all thing work functionally? In other words because He is trustworthy?”
Abruptly the new one was finished. The words hanging in the air like a balloon waiting to be popped.

At last…the conversation began to take the shape for which The One who wrote the Book that they were desirous to study…intended. The Book got opened, and together all those present sought to seek that they may find…no one at that point was “leader” or “new”, all were brothers and sisters of the same Father. Becoming children of God…not wise ones of learning. The next week more “new” ones were added to their number, and The One who wrote the Book was the final Authority in what was right. Theology’s still came up but were taken under the microscope of Yeshua’s Words alone. As a result He became The Way, The Truth, and The Life…and they followed Him.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Proverbs 1:5-6

Someone who is already wise will hear and learn still more; someone who already understands will gain the ability to counsel well; he will understand proverbs, obscure expressions, the sayings and riddles of the wise.

Romans 3:24-26

By God’s Grace, without earning it, all are granted the status of being considered righteous before Him, through the act redeeming us from our enslavement to sin that was accomplished by the Messiah Yeshua. God put Yeshua forward as a kapparah (atonement/pardon) for sin through His faithfulness in respect to His bloody sacrificial death. This vindicated God’s righteousness; because, in His forebearance, He had passed over (with neither punishment nor remission) the sins people committed in the past; and it vindicates His righteousness in the present age by showing that He is righteous Himself and also the One who makes people righteous on the ground of Yeshua’s faithfulness.

Romans 16:25

Now to God, who can strengthen you, according to the Good News, in harmony with the revelation of the secret truth which is the proclamation of Yeshua the Messiah, kept hidden in silence for ages and ages

Ephesians 5:9-10

…and of letting everyone see how this secret plan is going to work out. This plan, kept hidden for ages by God, the Creator of everything, is for rulers and authorities in heaven to learn, through the existence of the Messianic Community, how many-sided God’s wisdom is.

1 Corinthians 17-31

For the Messiah did not send me to immerse but to proclaim the Good News – to do it without relying on “wisdom” that consists of mere rhetoric, so as not to rob the Messiahs execution-stake of IT’S power. For the Message about the execution-stake is nonsense to those in the process of being destroyed, but to us in the process of being saved it is the power of God. Indeed, the Tanakh (Old Testament) says,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and frustrate the intelligence of the intelligent.”

Where does that leave the philosopher, the Torah-teacher (teacher of the Teachings), or any of today’s thinkers? Hasn’t God made this worlds wisdom look pretty foolish? For God’s wisdom ordained that the world, using its own wisdom, would NOT come to know Him. Therefore God decided to use the “nonsense” of what we proclaim as His means of saving those who come to trust in it. Precisely because Jews ask for signs and Greeks try to find wisdom, we go on proclaiming a Messiah executed on a stake as a criminal! To the Jews this is an obstacle, and to the Greeks it is nonsense; but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, this same Messiah is God’s power and God’s wisdom! For God’s “nonsense” is wiser than humanities “wisdom”.

And God’s “weakness” is stronger than humanities “strength”. Just look at yourselves, brothers – look at those whom God has called! Not many of you are wise by the worlds standards, not many wield power or boast noble birth. But God chose what this world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise; God chose what the world looks down on as common or regards as nothing in order to bring to nothing what this world considers important; so that no one should boast before God. It is His doing that you are united with the Messiah Yeshua. He has become wisdom for us from God, and righteousness and holiness and redemption as well! Therefore – as the Tanakh says – “Let anyone who wants to boast, boast about Adonai.”

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ❤

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