Stir Me Up Lord!

Stir Me Up Lord!: April 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birds of Prey and the Church

This passage was the one that I kept coming back to, so again I’ve done research – going beyond meditating on this verse, I like to dig into the original meaning of the word and find out what I can once a scripture stands out.  I was reading in Luke 17 where the disciples were asking Jesus about the Second Coming:

“Where will this happen, Lord?” the disciples asked.  Jesus replied, “Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.”  (Luke 17:37 NLT)

When I read this in the NLT, I kept thinking – where death and decay are found.  After looking into the original Greek, ἀετοὶ for ‘aetos’, is defined as ‘bird of prey’ which either means an Eagle or a Vulture – but since Eagles do not eat carrion, Vultures is the word generally accepted.  

What do vultures eat – they eat the dead, they do not ‘kill’. Eagles kill their prey, vultures eat on what has already been killed; they eat the dead remains, what was once alive, but have now become dead – which is without life; and decay – which has rotted away.  There is a difference in the Old World Vultures and today’s (New World Vultures) the Old World Vultures of the Biblical times did not search for prey by smell, they searched for prey by sight. Most of the times when vultures would be seen circling their prey, it was because the prey had yet to die, it was weak and dying. Since the vultures hunt by sight, when they would see other vultures circling, they would go in to investigate and soon many vultures would be circling the prey, waiting for its imminent death.

Now here’s where it gets interesting, the original greek ,  σῶμα for ‘sóma’, is used for ‘body’ which the short definition is: the body, the flesh; the Body of Church. Soma is also used figuratively of the mystical Body of Christ (= the Church, the one people of God).  Wow, so these birds of prey are going to see the weakening of the church, they are going to exploit and prey on what has begun to lose its life. Since the eagle has to kill its prey and the vulture just waits for it to die, I see this death as something that happens from the inside, something that happens within the church. When I think of weakening, I can see an easy way for the enemy (the devil) to weaken the church is to divide the church, to divide is to weaken, to weaken is to diminish, to change, to alter, to modify, to decrease, to lessen. The devil wants nothing more than the weakening and ultimate death and decay of the body of the church! 

One can start to see where I’m going with this analogy. I’m not going to say much else, except as much death and decay happening in this world; I am so happy to report that I see nothing but LIFE and the sharing of LOVE, JOY, and PEACE in my ‘home’ church. My church (as part of the Body of Christ) we are alive and thriving, teaching the Word of GOD and Salvation, sharing the Good News, giving and not taking. I know there are many more churches that are alive than are dead or decaying!

I have witnessed a lot of people taking offense at to what some churches use to help get people in the door, but I have to remind myself that taking offense is a sin, judging is a sin – we are not to do that. The only exception is if a church is teaching False Doctrine, that is something that I relate to Death and Decay – not the methods used to help lead people to Christ; does it matter if the concept to 'win a prize' got a person in the door, if once in those doors, they received Salvation? We can’t share the Gospel unless we reach others, one church’s method to reach the unbeliever cannot be judged, the disciples had different methods of preaching as well because not everyone is the same, we need different preachers for different people! The Apostle Paul said that the motive didn’t even matter as long as the Good News was preached:

But that doesn't matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. (Philippians 1:18 NLT)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Like Sheep Among the Wolves

In my reading today out of Luke 10, verse 3 caught my attention; Jesus was sending 72 disciples out and gave them this warning:

‘Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.’ (Luke 10:3 NLT)

I started to do a word study on this verse and was brought to Matthew 10:16 in the Amplified –

‘Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves.’

Once I got a hold of this verse, I started reading the original Greek and the meanings of the words used. In the original Greek the word ‘ἀκέραιοι’ is used, which is the word for harmless. In this scripture the meaning is translated to ‘unmixed’ or ‘unadulterated’.  So we are to be ‘unmixed into the society around us’. 

We have been told several times by Jesus, that we are to stand apart, to stand out. We cannot shine our light as a beacon unto others if we are living the lifestyles of those around us in the dark world that unbelievers inhabit.

‘So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise’ (Ephesians 5:15 NLT)

‘Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.’ (Philippians 2:14-16 NLT)

This doesn’t mean we are to turn our backs on those, we are to reach out to our neighbors and share the Love of Christ. But this doesn’t mean we are to follow the practices of those who do not believe, instead we need to show them the light that we have in us, the light that Jesus has given us. Jesus has given us joy and peace, and we know from experience that the empty hole the unbelievers are trying to fill, can only be filled with GOD’s love – so we need to reach out to them and share with them that love.

We are not to be naïve and so simple in our thoughts and think that we can join in the behaviors of the world we live in and NOT have the light we carry snuffed out. Our light can be dimmed by the actions of those around us, when we follow the worldy ways and turn from the love of the Father. Some feel when they have sinned, that they might as well keep running from GOD, because HE doesn’t want them or that they don’t deserve the forgiveness and love that GOD has for them. But that’s all a lie of the devil, GOD loves a repentant heart, there is nothing we can do that can turn our Heavenly Father’s love away.

‘The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.’ (Psalm 51:17 NLT)

We have to use wisdom and caution when we are around unbelievers, that they might not bring us out of the place where we belong, but still able to share our love and light with them with not only our words, but with our actions as well.

‘Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].’ (Colossians 4:6-7 AMP)

We can only gain the wisdom we need through time in GOD’s Word, when we put distance between GOD and ourselves, we cast a shadow on our own lives and thoughts. We need the Word of GOD, like our bodies need food, when we are created as new creations in Christ; we are just babies in Christ. Like a baby requires milk to grow, we require the Word of GOD to grow in maturity in Christ; we NEED the Word of GOD.  Placing the Word of GOD in us, gives us the fuel we need to grow and the strength we need to fight the enemy. The times in my life when I have slacked in my Bible reading, is the times in my life that the enemy was able to attack me.  If we are attacked when we haven’t eaten, we are weaker and less able to defend ourselves. Like the physical, when we haven’t fed ourselves with the Word of GOD, that’s when the enemy will strike, knowing we are weak and less able to defend ourselves.

We are like sheep among the wolves, the wolves don’t want to play with us and become our friends. They want to devour us, we are prey, and we are seen as weak and vulnerable. This is why we must be like serpents, we are to be wise - but unlike the serpent of the Garden (Satan) we are to be harmless – without deception. I guarantee you a sure fire way to stand out in today’s world, is to have integrity and honesty; I’ve seen more people ‘attracted to my honesty’, after I’ve admitted my wrong and asked for forgiveness, than any other time.  The enemy tries to whisper lies and tell us because we are Believers, we are supposed to be perfect and we can’t make mistakes, BUT that would mean that Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross for our sins – because Jesus was the only perfect person, HE was the only one worthy.  So we will sin, we will make mistakes, we will fall down, but what sets us apart is that we know even though we have fallen short of the Glory of GOD, we are not forgotten, we are not down trodden, we are a beloved Child of GOD! After writing down trodden (not a word I would normally use, my brain went blank, so I went to google to see where it brought me next, and I love how GOD uses everything for his Glory, so I’ll end with his Word and this commentary from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary).

Psalm 74:18-23 NLT
See how these enemies insult you, Lord.
    A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
 Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves.
    Don’t forget your suffering people forever.
 Remember your covenant promises,
    for the land is full of darkness and violence!
 Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again.
    Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name.
 Arise, O God, and defend your cause.
    Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
Don’t overlook what your enemies have said
    or their growing uproar.

The psalmist begs that God would appear for the church against their enemies. The folly of such as revile his gospel and his servants will be plain to all. Let us call upon our God to enlighten the dark nations of the earth; and to rescue his people, that the poor and needy may praise his name. Blessed Saviour, thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Make thy people more than conquerors. Be thou, Lord, all in all to them in every situation and circumstances; for then thy poor and needy people will praise thy name.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

GOD's Ways are not Our Ways, They are Better!

I haven't been able to write, not sure it's because I'm avoiding it, or because when I have tried I tend to stare off into space.

I suppose some might have expected Jedi's death to cause me to doubt my GOD or my faith, but it didn't. I was actually able to see GOD's hand in the last few days we had with Jedi, which sealed my faith in believing GOD's ways and thoughts are not ours - they are higher and they are better.

The Friday before Jedi passed away, I had just ran to the vet to get more supplies for Jedi even though that day he started taking a turn for the worst, my faith didn't waiver. That night I was concerned that it might be his last, so I told the boys that they needed to be prepared if Jedi wasn't able to make it through the night. I told them to say their good byes and give him some extra lovings, that if he does pass away, that doesn't mean that GOD didn't answer our prayers or that GOD doesn't heal or that GOD doesn't love us; it only means that Jedi would receive his healing in heaven. After very tearful good byes, I stayed up with Jedi and slept on the floor next to him, when he was having a hard time, I would cry and pray; not that GOD would heal him, but that GOD wouldn't let him suffer and that if now is his time, then to please take him before he has pain.

With very little sleep for either one of us, the sun came up and the boys were so happy to see Jedi alive that morning. My oldest son is 13 and he was asked to help with a Review board test in Karate that day, but because of Jedi's weakening condition and not sure of what was going to happen, he chose to stay home and spend extra time with Jedi. That afternoon, I moved the crib mattress I had Jedi on, from my bedroom to the living room and when I did, he jumped up and went to the back door. I let him out and he proceeded to pee on every tree in the back yard, which made me quite happy (kidney failure as well as Lymphoma was another of his diagnosis on Feb 8th). We all spent the day next to Jedi, extra lovings and pats on the belly as a family.

My husband working overseas, told me that if Jedi got to where he could eat again, he wanted me to grill him a steak - well even though Jedi had stopped eating Thursday and stopped drinking water Friday, he seemed to regain his thirst and hunger. So I grilled him up a yummy steak and served him on our good plates and gave him a bowl of whipped cream for dessert. We even went on a short walk, it seemed we had our puppy back.

Later Saturday, Jedi was a bit more lethargic, but still much better than he had been Friday, so Sunday we stayed home with him and I had my own church service for our boys (and the dogs too!). Sunday night he started acting worse than Saturday so Monday I went to the vets to get him some anti-nausea meds. After, I gave him his meds, my Mom stayed with Jedi while I went to pick up my youngest from school, it's a short walk to and from our house. Once we got home, I went outside to find my Mom with Jedi along the fence line, she said he got up to go potty, then went to the fence and just kind of collapsed, too weak to get up. So I carried him inside and laid him on the mattress. He had been throwing up all day, thus the nausea meds. During kidney failure, I learned that they would stop drinking and keep vomiting, it was so hard to watch this gentle giant of mine become so weak. For two months, I had done whatever he needed, in the beginning he had so many good days, that you wouldn't be able to tell he was sick, I cooked him special meals every day and gave him an IV twice a day to help his kidneys. But on those bad days I would sleep on the couch or floor (whichever was easiest for him), fed him food with a baby spoon and water with a syringe, I basically did what any Mom would do for their sick child, I was willing to fight with all that I had for Jedi; but I was having a hard time seeing if he was willing to fight any longer.

That night I didn't sleep at all, I stayed awake and watched him, praying and crying all night. Asking GOD to please take him, I didn't want him to suffer but I didn't think I could make the choice to end his life. I sent my husband a message and he said he didn't want to be the bad guy, but it really sounded like we needed to let Jedi go. Through broken sobs I agreed, I couldn't stand the thought of him suffering, he'd been such a good boy to our family, always loving and protecting us.

I realized that the process of this weekend had allowed me to get to the point where I could bring him to the vet to be put asleep, that on Friday I saw the selfishness of keeping Jedi alive and maybe by coming to terms with that, GOD allowed us to have one more day of the puppy Jedi and to do all that we wanted to do for him one last time. Telling our boys when I woke them up wasn't easy, my husband was on speaker phone and he was even crying; but my boys saw Jedi trying to get up, but since he wasn't able to stand or move on his own, our brave boys agreed that this was mercy and it was the right thing to do.

We've been blessed by a wonderful Vet and staff who showed genuine care and affection for Jedi, especially when I had to bring him in this last time; when I carried Jedi in (my baby was a muscle bound 65 lb Boxer in his healthy days), when I laid him on their scale it said 42 lbs - that's enough to break a parent's heart. They explained what was going to happen and that the first injection was a sedative that would relax him and he wouldn't feel any pain, the boys and I got to love on him during all this and to say our good byes, I held him while she administered the last injection and I told our boys, that Jedi was in Heaven now, giving Jesus big slobbery kisses and that he'd be running and playing and we would see him again.

I know many people are not dog people or not even pet people. But our family saw our Jedi, as more than a pet, he was part of our family and I was his Mom for 6 and half years. He gave us unconditional love and when I was sad or lonely, he freely gave his love; when I was upset or mad, he still gave me his love and calmed me down. GOD knew the love we had and still have for Jedi, HE might not have answered our prayers the way we wanted them answered, but HE knows best and I know that something else really great will come from this; GOD's timing is perfect, so we will just have to wait and see.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Letter from the Rainbow Bridge

This is a beautiful letter I found online for those mourning the loss of their beloved pets, the author is unknown. I'd like to dedicate to this our sweet Jedi, he put up a great fight to the Lymphoma and kidney failure he was diagnosed with two months ago. GOD blessed us with Jedi for a wonderful six and a half years of joy and happiness, that only a dog can give. I've often heard that the unconditional love of a dog is no surprise, when you look at the word dog backwards it spells GOD. As we kissed our puppy good bye one last time, I told him to be sure to give Jesus a big slobbery kiss when he sees him, because his last breath here on earth, was his first in Heaven.

A letter from the Rainbow Bridge

To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from the Rainbow Bridge. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man."

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not're coming here to me.

Author unknown

                                              Jedi Knight Phythian
            Loved beyond words, missed more than imagined and in our hearts Forever
                                         Oct 27, 2005 - Apr 3, 2012

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