Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back to Living Scripture

In realizing the places of my very own "Gomerdom," in the book of Hosea, YHWH then led me to a place I just really wasn't wanting to see at all.  Here, I'm ready to sound the warning, "the fish are dying, we are lacking knowledge," and He tells me to read Judges.  So, I get all excited knowing that's the book that makes a big deal out of left-handers.  I'm left handed, ya know!  And there's Deborah, my name of dedication . . . So, I get all excited and then as I read, it's good Word, but nothing hitting my spirit as in plan or purpose at this time, so I kept reading and then a deluge of my own memories began to flood my awareness in torrents, along about chapter 14.

Thoughts of my late teens and twenties nearly overwhelmed me.  Interestingly, it wasn't condemnation, because I've been forgiven, but it was reality,  none the less.  I saw how "odd ball" I'd been in my attempt to be normal.  Sadly, it got worse . . . by the time I was in chapter 16.  I knew there was something I had to see, and it wasn't going to be pretty, but it was going to bring full resolution to my mind.  It's so fascinating how YHWH allows so many "threads" to be woven into the tapestry of His illustrations.

As I read the dialogue between Samson and Delilah, it hit me differently this time.  I've read that story dozens of times, even questioned, "Why when he saw what she was up to, did he keep trying to trust her?"  But this time, I heard, "Why indeed?"  I've done that same thing with a couple of individuals in my life, as a servant of YHWH.  As a matter of fact, I've done it, thinking I'm being forgiving and going the second mile, when in reality, I just didn't want to see the truth.

I thought of my last honeymoon, and don't worry, there won't be any intimate details, because while I was in a beautiful room in a very grand hotel, the groom was in the maintenance break room, sharing wishful thinking and tall tales . . .  I mean everyone there had to know, if there'd actually been a good time going on, he wouldn't have been in their break room.  Just like Samson, I wanted to trust this person, so rather than having the marriage annulled, I stayed . . . but it didn't stop.  The lack of intimate respect was relentless.  Who speaks of past intimacies with their partner in times of attempted intimacy and what kind of a person speaks of a committed partner like a one night stand?

It took a few times, just like Samson, before I finally got the message.  By that time, coincidentally, this man had actually cut my hair . . .  Let me clarify something with the following, boring explanation.  This person didn't secretly cut my hair, I'd tried a temp color about the time I met him, then used a permanent color before the wedding because we were supposed to be going to a great place of swimming and wonderful waters.  So not only was the honeymoon humiliatingly isolating, I didn't get to go swimming, either!  So not wanting to continue dying my hair, I let it grow a few months and cut it at the "dye root line," and he helped.  I just couldn't see to do anything but resign myself to his tiresome grind.  There was one thing to which I clung.  I had heard YHWH say, "When your hair is long and gray," but no specific reference was spoken.

It was really difficult to continue reading Chapter 16, in that every stupid thing Samson did, I'd done.  Rather than get blinded, I got blind sided and tried to cover that fact with rose colored glasses for a time, but meanwhile . . . the truth came out and my hair has been growing.   My hair is now well over a yard long and quite naturally gray.   The passage states specifically that Samson judged Israel for 20 years and my 20th anniversary of serving YHWH is less than a year away.   Am I reading too many comparisons into this?   I'm not thinking I'll be surrounded by Philistines next summer, but I do know I received the closure I had longed for, and experienced a wholeness I'd never imagined when I saw myself in Samson.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Being a Gomer?

When I found myself and America reliving the book of Hosea, I of course wanted to see myself with the insight of the prophet; as do so many right now.  There are areas in which I can fully sound the warning, and then there are areas in which I am the warning.  

There are so many spiritual children right now, offering insight that I thought I'd offer a reminder and ask a few questions that I have been mulling over myself this week.  I'm guessing, unless we've just gone on over and crossed the line of hypocrite, we can all find areas of our life in which we have indeed been a Gomer and perhaps still are.  We need to keep in mind that Moses spent eighty years preparing to lead the children of Israel, and Paul makes reference to 14 years . . . Messiah came with all the credentials and he was 30 years old before his words of teaching are recorded.

I believe YHWH is timeless, therefore He can certainly use new believers as well as those who have walked away from tradition, but a great deal of our disunity seems to be in everyone trying to be an expert in all areas.  So many of us still have areas of immaturity and mixing holy with profane.  I've shared not only the admonition, but the confessions in my own life.  Nine times out of ten, we choose to overlook our own mixes while shouting the call to repentance over others.  This article is going to get serious, yet basic, about our own mix of holy with profane.

I grew up in a time in which it was so easy to put G-d, country, family, and work, basically all on the same level.  Even leisure time was often sponsored by church or synagogue.  That's the same thing Israel had done through the days of Hosea.  The assumption of being G-d's chosen meant anything they chose to do was justifiable.  In America, "one nation under G-d," seems to have inspired the same rationalization.  I was born 4 years after Congress added "under God" approximately 60 years after the Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy first penned it.  So, even the argument about the line itself, seems odd . . .

How does our time and money figure into our teaching.  It's so easy to point a finger at the upcoming secular holidays, but what are any of us doing to feed the poor and clothe the naked?  Knowing and acknowledging that YHWH is our Provider is absolute truth and brings Him glory, but if our relationship with our Creator is all about what He does for us, we just might be a Gomer.  How does our free time or even our work schedule balance out with a time tithe?  I realize employment opportunities are scarce right now, so I'm not talking about the days involved in a 40 hour work week, but more I'm asking, how do we structure our free time?  Do we spend more than 2.4 hours in front of the entertainment screen?  If so, we might be a Gomer?

Does our language erode in the company of certain others?  We might be a Gomer.  Of course, judgmental piety doesn't win others, either, but that's a topic for another time.  Does our style of dress change according to the company we're keeping?  That probably isn't an issue for us over 40 group, as far as provocative in nature, but I know in my own life, I've prayed about fellowship here at the homestead.  I always dress modestly, but here at home, I'm often too casual.  The truth of the matter is, I could be gardening Eden style before the forbidden fruit and no one could see me, but I don't . . . The fact is, though, often I am fully covered but under dressed for a community gathering, and immediately I hear, "then dress ready to be seen."  As for my interesting chore ensembles  . . . I've been a Gomer.

Gomer is historically known for her unfaithfulness and the example of Israel's spiritual adultery.  Basically being a Gomer, is placing our own comfort, activity, or company above or along side of what YHWH has ordained.

As for faithfulness, I'll get more into that next week, but for now . . . We know we can trust YHWH and Y'hshuwah, so I'll simply ask, can we truly be trusted, by our Heavenly Father and those He places in our life?

 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify G-d in your body, and in your spirit, which are G-d's.  


Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Book of Hosea Obedience, Because . . .

When I told YHWH, I just wanted to "walk the Bible," that is to "live Scripture," I've already stated He protected me from so much.  Since that same time, however; I've also found myself right in the middle of parts of Scripture I wasn't thinking of.  The Bible is a big book!  There are many, many blessings of Biblical proportion our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon me, but there is also the responsibility of Biblical proportion that He has every right to expect out of me.

As a woman who has never walked in much feminine confidence, I got a bit caught up in the idea that being a child of the King, a princess, yet still a servant, life was going to change . . . and it did, but not in the way I was anticipating.  I do believe, now, it's turned out much better than I had originally envisioned.  There were a lot of tears shed though; behind my rose colored glasses, before removing them.

Somehow, in our culture, the religious and social stand on marriage appeared intertwined until only recently.  With equality of marriage, the line has finally been drawn between social and religious standing on the subject.  The introduction of marriage licenses, brought two things,  the government into the intimate relationship G-d had already ordained and ease of divorce.  The ease of divorce is in the legal ease to obtain one, not the emotional pain of enduring and recovering from one.  We never needed the government's permission to do what our Creator ordained!

After many failed attempts at marriage before coming to YHWH, and upon coming to Him, I realized an intimate romantic marriage just wasn't in the plans for me.  My husband had already moved out, so I did agree to the divorce and he immediately remarried an old flame and they are still living happily ever after.   Regardless of what anyone may say, I still remember the day YHWH told me to write my then husband a letter of agreement to his desire of release from the marriage.  He responded in three days, with a generous plan to move forward on that idea.

So, all these years later and the spiritual adultery of our nation, it does make sense, having been forgiven of a number of wrong marriages, that I would be called to enter a marriage like Hosea's.  Ah, living the Bible . . . reading the fine print . . .

I was finally at the place of not doubting coming out of the mainstream church.  For a couple of years, I had literally juggled between Friday evenings at the synagogue and Sunday morning services, with Saturday spent in three Bible studies, but I had moved on in my call to hosting a Friday evening gathering at the Mission and Saturday Bible study and lunch for the neighborhood children.  I still liked "doing music" with the Christians, so if someone needed a keyboard player on Sundays, I was available for work.  The synagogue had professional Gentile musicians, Friday evening, so I figured it would be all right . . . I was wrong.

I won't bore you with the details that led up to this, but I will assure you, I almost backed out before arriving.  I met a pastor who needed a piano player at his little country church.  That was something I'd always wanted to do, and membership was not required.  In retrospect, I still cannot say if the desires of our heart before becoming a believer are a spiritual seed awaiting our rebirth or a desire of the flesh that we attempt to "sanctify."   Moving right along . . .

It was there that I met an angry, belligerent little man, who I felt led to reach out to.  He had a new job that was going to have him working on Sundays, so I offered him a card and told him "the Mission" had a Bible study most Friday evenings, so don't lose fellowship.  He began coming and so did his church.  It turned into quite a gathering, but it seemed all about him, rather than G-d.  I was literally praying about disbanning the gathering, as it was disruptive and leaning toward the obvious desire for charismatic "effects."  It was then, that YHWH told me I was to marry this guy.  I struggled, I argued, and YHWH told me simply, I didn't have to obey . . . So, I asked him to place in me, the love and desire a woman should have for her husband.  It would have been so much less painful to have just obeyed . . . There are a number of ways for individuals and nations to be faithless in a relationship and although I do not believe in replacement theology, America should certainly see herself in Scripture, regarding the spiritual adultery and idolatry of ancient Israel.
                                                                      . . . to be continued

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chuck Smith Moved

When I read Chuck Smith's obituary, his quote resonated with everything I'd ever read and heard about the man.  "Many times over the years he said, 'Some day you're going to read in the paper, "Chuck Smith died,"' Rolph said. "He said, 'That's bad reporting. What it should say is, 'Chuck Smith moved.'"

 In my years of ministry, I've met many Calvary Chapelites  . . . I had the distinct pleasure of hearing a number of Chuck's graduates, and there was something distinctive about many of his students.  For the most part, I appreciate everything I've ever read about Chuck Smith.  I can't say I agree with everything, but I always felt his walk matched his talk.  He knew something was wrong with mainstream Christianity back in the sixties, and he reached out to those who were searching.

I remember many Christians making the comment that Calvary Chapel was trying to be Jewish.  Although there was considerable teaching from the Old Testament, I didn't see that so much, but Chuck Smith's aim was definitely perceived to be contemporary, conservative to those outside religious mainstream.  Calvary Chapel had a very Catholic presence in my observation of the organization, itself.  Many of what I would call "third generation" Calvary Chapelites, spoke of Pastor Chuck the way Catholics speak of the Pope.  By "third generation," I refer to those who came later and were just outside of the mega-church nucleus of the pastors and elders.  There were nearly always grand references to Costa Mesa, and various "higher ups." Although the hierarchical mentality seemed quite prevalent by the turn of the 21st Century, I don't believe Chuck Smith instigated or initiated it.

Chuck Smith reached out to people who were unlike himself.  He was often referred to as a father figure.  He loved them and he introduced them to the Creator who had a reason for them to live.  Chuck Smith touched a great many lives before he moved.,0,7276715.story