I want to be an ant

As I sit down to read my Bible, it seems as if everything is pulling me away from reading God’s word.  The pet’s water bowl is empty.  Oh look the cat wants some food in her bowl.  The dog wants outside.  Now guess what I have to go utilize the lady’s room.  When will it end? When will I finally get to sit down and read the Bible?  Ah here we go. Proverbs 6:6-7, 16-19: Okay I read most of the chapter, but these are the verses that called out to me.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

There are days that I try so hard to do my work.  Things keep me from my task.  I wonder is it a message from God? I used to think that when things were keeping me from my work, that it was God telling me this is not what I want you to do.  Then I would call out to God asking what do you want me to do?  Nothing but this tiny whisper – “GET BACK ON TASK”.  Okay it is not exactly a whisper.  I have a bit of ADHD and I am easily distracted.  It is not that other things are not important they are. It is just my own little world, the one where I am a heroine, pops into my mind.  Then the shout comes, it is always telling me to get back on task.  Okay it might not be those words, but the point is that it is a shout in my head.  Oh by the way, I am literally a heroine in my mind.  I come in and save the hostage, I pull people out of burning buildings, and sometimes I give the speech that propels people into action. I know that I have to be like the ant, have you ever watched ants?  They are constantly gathering or building.  Place a distraction in their path, they march over or around, whichever is easiest. Here are two experiments that I have tried to deter the little ant from its objective.  A drop of water, it will go around. Put a leaf or other non-liquid obstacle in its path and the little ant will go over it, no matter how big the obstacle is. But place one tiny drop of liquid onto the path and the tiny ant will go around.  The point is the evil one is always placing obstacles into our path.  We have to decide not to allow them to derail us.  What has derailed you this past week?  How can you stop allowing distractions?  It all depends on what it is.  Take for example last week, I am in the middle of an article and I realize that I need to get my taxes done. They are not due for another month or so but right now today they have to be done. Then there were two dentist appointments, an eye appointment.  Okay some of those things can be moved to different times.  The eye appointment could have been easily moved, but we waited two months for the dental appointment.  There are distractions and then there are obstacles. Some obstacles take longer to get over than others.  For example, the weather threw us an obstacle this week. But my decision to get the taxes done that was distraction. It could have waited, but I allowed the evil one to convince me that this is more important than the task God gave me to do.  I am getting better and telling the difference, but not always. Sometimes I think that something that had to be done anyhow just needed to be done now. It didn’t but …. The clue is if this thing that I just have to do right now is unnecessary at this moment. Sure paying my bills is important and they have to be done.  That is what a reminder on my phone does. It reminds me to get online and pay those bills.  Taking out a few minutes to pay the bills through my bank, is not as bad as going to websites and paying the bills. Or worse, this month, I had to run to the electric company to pay my bill.  While on this errand, I learned that the electric company had moved across town.  Which took more time that I wanted it to take, when all I really had to do is pay attention to the reminder that had popped up on my phone 5 days ago, when I could have gone online to my bank and paid it in about 2 minutes? I have realized two truths about myself; I have a tendency to organize to the Nth   degree.  Which is to say I over organize.  Not only do the books have to be on the shelf, they need to be there divided by genre, and subdivided by author.  Then there are my favorite books which sit on a shelf all by themselves, and they are lined up by which book I like the most. I would love to tell you that the Bible is on that shelf, but the truth is that it is always out away from its home. Then one day, I realized that my love of organization was a tool the evil one uses to keep me distracted. Now I am working on being organized but only to a certain degree.  I am learning the difference between organized as a tool to keep my scattered brain on track, and being organized has become a distraction. Oh what a task. But to be the ant, I need to do this.  I have to keep moving in a forward direction following the call of the Lord. The tasks that the Lord has placed in front of me are much more important than getting my taxes submitted a whole month and a half early than I need to submit them. Wait a second, why did I include verses 16-19? They are all distractions to living a God-fearing life. If we are not leading a God fearing life, then we are living the life Satan wants us to live-DISTRACTED FROM THE TRUTH.  The truth is that God is the one  who provides life.  It is God’s plans that I need to follow. Not my plans and certainly not the evil ones plans.  So I need to stay focused on Jesus the one true king.

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The Beggar

John 5:2-7:This man had no one to help him.  No friends, no family, no church. Can you imagine being that alone?   I can’t imagine being that alone. Not only was he alone he was an invalid. He was someone no one saw.  Jesus saw him.  To the world, this man did not exist. But Jesus saw him.  There are two  men who frequently sit at a local Wal-mart.  One is not as disabled as he appears.  I only know because I actually went to the local VA medical facility and asked.  I had given him some dollars and  have spoken to him.  After  Inquiring at the  VA (he carries a disabled vet sign), I spoke to him once more.  See he told me a story about having an infection and the VA wouldn’t helped.  (this is what made me suspicious, I have worked at the local VA).  Getting to the point,  my friends at the VA knew exactly which man that  I  meant.  One of them told me that they personally had taken a government wheelchair friendly vehicle to pick him up and bring him to the VA for treatment. I guess he frequently told this cleverly crafted story.   The man holding the sign refused to go.  He is a disabled veteran enrolled at the local VA, but he uses his problems.  He has decided that being a disabled veteran defines him.  He truly needs Jesus.  I tried to talk to him but he is self focused. Focused on his lie, his story, the one that was crafted to get him pity.  After a second man joined him, one clearly disabled, he is missing a leg; I realized that someone is using these two disabled men for personal gain.  I pray for these men, but I do not give them money. I feel more called to pray for them. I have never spoken to the man that is missing a limb, and I wonder if he is as lost as the other man?  There is a problem with becoming entrenched in lie, it consumes you. The first man is not as disabled as he seems. But that is not entirely true, he is disabled because he does not have a real friend to help him out. I wish I could reach him, but I couldn’t.  When this happens, I pray for someone to be able to reach him.  Not with money, with Jesus.  I say this because the only way out of his situation is for Jesus to be part of his life.

Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda  and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

 

 

Personal Peace: a Necessity

Some weeks it seems as if I am just spinning my wheels.  This past week, I worked to repair my home office space.  It had become a mess.  Sometimes I feel as if my walk with Christ is the same mess, all cluttered with life. There is a book over there that I had been reading.  I struggle to find time to spend time with Jesus. I have a new convertible  laptop.  Getting used to it has been difficult the screen keys pop up even when I amusing my blue-tooth keyboard.  It is really representing my struggles connecting with Jesus this past week.  Oh sure there were many things done, but then, I did not complete all of my objectives and I did not spend as much time on actual work tasks as I would have liked.   Yet everything I did was necessary, except for the fact that I did not spend much time with Jesus. This is a big huge MISTAKE.  (Yes I used to adjectives meaning the same thing.) I did it because I want to emphasize the importance of the mistake. It is vital to my emotional control, my spiritual well-being, and even my physical well-being.  Physical well-being? Well yes, when I spend time with Jesus, sleeping is much easier. When I spend time with Jesus, I am not as easily irritated with people and when I get irritated with someone it eats at me. When something is bothering me, I don’t sleep.  Sound familiar? We need to work our relationship with Jesus for us.  Because when we are spending time in the word, we receive the peace promised to us.  (John 16:33)  This peace is not something that we should take for granted, but something we should cherish. I don’t know about you but the results of ignoring that personal relationship gained through reading the word, listening to praised and worship music (yes if I am alone, I sing along) and spending quiet time just listening; is time not well spent.  When I take that time, I actually seem to have more time to get things done in a day.  Why? because the Holy Spirit keeps me focused.  A focus ME is a more productive ME.

20 Different Words, Not our own Understanding

John 2: 1-7:  1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

Woman (1), why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

So often people read this and are shocked as to how Jesus addressed his mom.  What is needed is the original Greek to understand that this is not a derogatory term, meaning Jesus was not being disrespectful to his mother.  Besides all that actions speak louder than words.  In his actions, Jesus obeyed his mother.  He showed her honor.  From reading the Strong’s translation via the Blue Letter Bible website, Thank you Lord for someone who makes Strong’s easy!!!  We learn that the actual word used is not the disrespectful term that we have come to associate with this word.  Many languages have multiple words meaning the same thing in English.  The difference being the different words meaning the same English word all have different meanings.  I remember a sermon one time on the word LOVE. If you look at the Strong’s on the Blue Letter Bible it shows the Greeks and Hebrews had 20 different words that we translate into the word LOVE.

Is it any wonder that we have difficulty understanding the Bible?  There are that many words for Love. Out of curiosity I looked up the word Woman, the Hebrews had 17 words which translate into our one word Woman. The Greek has 4.  In English there are many words used for the word woman. Not all are nice and for whatever reason woman is one of my least favorites.  It is surpassed by derogatory terms meaning “lady of the evening”.  In the Hebrew I found three words that would be derogatory words meaning woman, while the other 14 are nice terms.  You are probably wondering where I am going with this. What I am saying is sometimes the Bible is hard to understand because we don’t have enough words to describe what is actually being said.  When Jesus said Woman, in modern language it might sound something like this: Really Mom, You want me to use my God-given talents to make wine?  Jesus knew that she would do this.  He knew that since he had to remain without sin, he had to obey his mother.  The Bible is very clear on this.  Obey your parents, honor you mother and father is a theme echoed throughout the Bible. Jesus was prepared to do what his mother had asked him to do.  He just used a very adult term for his MOM, after all his was around 30 when this conversation occurred. You don’t expect him to throw a tantrum and say Ah Come on mommy, do you? Sometimes when we are listening to people, because let’s face it, colloquialisms are an important part of our culture and can vary town to town. We have to not only listen to what they say, but watch what they do.  Jesus did what his mother asked. Men cannot disrespect their mothers based on verse 4.  Mom’s are not below children. Moms are supposed to have a place of honor.  I know that for some of you that may be very difficult.  Some of you may have been abandoned by your mom or hurt by her, either physically or emotionally. Those moms just like dads that fall into that category are hard to honor let alone love.  Unfortunately the Bible does not give us that option. We have to accept the fact that a parent that hurt us had their own problems.  They are human and not perfect. We have to let go of the pain and the hate for our own benefit not theirs.  Makes it a bit easier doesn’t it to forgive them for your own well-being.  When we let go of hate and anger we free ourselves. We remove tools the evil one uses against us. But we cannot use this verse as an excuse to not honor our moms that was not what Jesus was doing. When we interpret this scripture in this manner, we are interpreting by our understanding not God’s.

footnote: 1:

  1. Blue Letter Bible KJV Greek Translation: a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow, a wife, of a betrothed woman:   not a derogatory term

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