A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spiritual Travesty

It's been a hard week.  A very hard week.

My heart's been sad.  Very sad.

My heart's been mad.  Extremely mad.

I'm still processing what I heard, what I saw, what I experienced.  (And no, this has nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky's being found guilty of being a sexual predator.)  It has to do with things within a religious organization that I, for now but not for long, belong to.

Truly, there are seducing spirits at work on the earth and sadly, even within the church of Jesus Christ.  And when you see it, it makes you very sad... and extremely mad...all at the same time.

It has impressed upon me how much we HAVE to have the power of the Holy Spirit working and manifesting in our lives and in our churches.  Doctrine is not enough.  Religious activity is not enough.   If we don't have the power of the Holy Spirit, obviously so, in our lives, we may fall prey to the deceptions of the enemy and lose our way...without even realizing it.   It not only affects us.  It affects everyone we know and minister to.  If they follow us there, we could be leading them somewhere where truth is no longer the foundation of what we believe and that is a travesty of a spiritual nature... very saddening.  And the devil can appear to be stronger and more powerful than the blood of our Savior...very maddening!

May God's power flood and saturate my life filling up every corner, every crevice, every empty space with the knowledge of Him and the experience of His power that I might never settle for something other than this and place myself in a position to be deceived...and to deceive others.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Christ in the Old Testament?

I love Sunday school!  I teach!  And I learn more than anyone in the class!

We just started a new unit.  We are doing a survey of the Old Testament.  We're studying it in chronological order, just the way it happened.  While studying we are also observing what was going on in world history at the same time.  My kids learn all that stuff in school and it would be neat to know that during the time of Jonah the first Olympics began or that the Apostle John lived during the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.  Thirdly we are looking for the scarlet thread that runs through it's pages always leading us to Christ.

The Apostles didn't have the New Testament to win people to Christ.  They had to preach Christ from the Old Testament.  I remember how profoundly that realization hit me the first time I heard it.  So I began to look for Christ every time I read the Old Testament and I was shocked at how much of Him, of God the Father, of the Holy Spirit and of the future church I found there.

The whole thing started out as a daunting task.  I don't have a curriculum.  I'm using Bible maps, study Bibles, a 20 foot timeline and a Chronological Bible.  But now that I'm into it, it is absolutely fascinating!!

I realized that I've always studied Bible history and World history separately, each in it's own bubble   I have just realized that the two histories happened simultaneously, interacting and affecting each other.  To understand world history is to understand Biblical writings and to understand Biblical writings is to understand world history.  To understand both is to understand God better and is to see that truly all of world history centers on the year AD1 when Christ entered the world.  He is the center of all that has been and all that will be.

The first Sunday I put a world map on the wall and called the kids up.  I had them look at the vast expanses of land and water.  Then I showed them a tiny sliver of land along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.   I told them,  "This piece of land is the focus of all world history".  They were amazed!

Just in the 3 weeks we have been studying, I am fascinated at how God used the vernacular, the traditions and even the rituals of a pagan nation, incorporating them into the language of Genesis and His dealings with Abraham.  In almost every case God used something familiar and meaningful to Abraham to establish His covenant and to reveal Himself, always taking something old and then making it new and better by changing it in some significant way!

The most poignant example is when God instructed Abraham to prepare an offering.  Abraham was familiar with this ritual.  It was used as a very serious ceremony when two parties were making a covenant.  In the covenant relationship there was the one giving something with terms attached and the one receiving the terms and agreeing to uphold them in exchange for receiving  what was offered.  To seal this, animals were cut in half and the halves were laid opposite each other.  They were then set on fire and the lesser part of the covenant relationship walked in between and observed the cut up animals burning as a sign of what would happen to them if they broke the terms of the covenant.

God could have established His own ritual, but He instructed Abraham to do this because He knew Abraham fully understood the seriousness of this ritual.  But then God introduced a different way of doing it.  Abraham fell asleep and God showed him that the fire itself (symbolic in that day of God or deity) was walking between the animals instead of Abraham.  It was as if God was making a covenant with Himself and Christ Himself walked through those burning animals.  God will not deny Himself and this sealed the promise that God made to Abraham.  It was totally up to God.  It was also interesting to me that God had Abraham choose animals that were 3 years old as if to symbolize the three year ministry and death of Jesus Christ.  

I'm being careful not to "hyper-type" everything I read in scripture, relying on the wisdom of Bible scholars and teachers.  But honestly I am so delighted at what I am seeing for the very first time.  The Bible just never gets old.  It is not shallow.  You can take it at face value, but there is such treasure buried deep in it's words. One thousand lifetimes would not be enough time to unlock all of it's beauty.

I am loving seeing God fitting together the big picture of all the epochs of time for me to see.  It just makes Him more real than ever before and makes stand in awe at His wisdom, His plans and His purpose.  I don't know what the kids are getting out of all of this, but I will never be quite the same.  He constantly amazes me, delights me, intrigues me, and shows me more of Himself with every chapter of scripture.  And I'm still in Genesis!

Friday, June 8, 2012

In The Shadow Of The Mountain

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."  Philippians 4:4-9

While mowing today, a shadow the size of what seemed like a 747 airliner passed over my head.  It was so large and fast, I ducked.  Immediately I stopped the mower to look up to see what it was that had blocked out so many of the sun's rays!  To my surprise, it was a blue heron flying between the sun and me.  His shadow cast an image much larger than his actual size-which looked rather small against the largeness of the sky.

Mountains cast shadows in much the same way.  Even the shadow of a small mountain can be three times taller than it's actual height, and can fill an entire valley with darkness during the middle of the day.  It's not that the mountain is really all that big, it's that the shadow makes it appear much larger than it really is.  

Scripture calls our trials and tribulations "mountains"  They are large problems or dilemmas that we cannot possibly conquer by ourselves.  Like mountains, they are bigger than us.   And just as that  heron prohibited me from seeing the sun's rays and feeling their warmth, often the shadow cast by the "mountain" we are facing keeps us from seeing and feeling God in the midst of our trouble. 

When we stand in the shadow and face the mountain, we cannot see the brightness of the sun.  However, that does not mean that the power of the sun is diminished in any way or that it has stopped shining.  In fact, the sun is still the very same in it's brightness and in it's power.  It's ability to warm and to nourish the earth is unchanged.  The shadow is only an indication that the sun is still shining!

In time, the movement of the earth will position the sun in such a way that the valley that was once dark with shadows will be bright with the light from the sun and we will forget that it was ever blocked.  

God's promises are like the sun, always shining, always bright, always "yes" and "amen"!  Even though circumstances, trials, or tribulations block from our view the reality of God's presence, of His unceasing faithfulness, and of His awesome power, He is still there, more powerful than the sun, as He looks with all-seeing eyes into the shadows that have covered us in darkness.  

We must wait, in faith, knowing that eventually, in the time allotted for the process, God will come shining through in all His brightness and we will see that He is not only bigger than the mountain, He is also bigger than the shadow it casts.   God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  His love never fails.  His power is only diminished by the absence of faith.  But even when our faith is weak, He is faithful because He will not deny Himself.  

What mountains are looming overhead in your life?  How big the shadow is it casting in your life?  Look above!  In just a little while you will see the sun rising over the horizon illuminating the path that leads up and over every tribulation and every trial.  You will cross the mountain and realize that it was not nearly the size that the shadows had indicated.   As Mary did, ponder this in your heart.  When you come to the next mountain that you need to cross you will be able to rest in the valley as you wait, no matter how big a shadow is cast.  You will know that God is right there.  He's not on his way.   You are not alone.  He will not delay.  He will not be late.  He will be just as He has always has been through all of time-Faithful, true and strong-confounding even the greatest attempt of the enemy to keep you in darkness and from the warmth of His love.