Before I Write

I truly aim to lay myself bare before everyone who sorts through this site. Anyone reading my post will come to have a pretty good idea of who I was, who I am and where I’m going. It is my hope that readers will be able to watch me grow in Christ. I’m a newbie at only 3 years old now. No doubt there will be many ups and downs, successes and failures, and stalemates such as I am in now. Over all I pray everyone will see a steady incline but who knows what you’ll see.

I don’t know that anyone has ever charted the growth of a Christian before. I believe that it has to start with complete honesty on my part. Let me testify here and now that it is not as easy as you might think. It would be simple if I could be guaranteed that no one I knew would ever find this website because  there are lies that I have told to cover up the deepest, darkest areas in my life. Lies that I have told so often they have become reality in my mind and some of my best friends have accepted them as the truth. Now! I risk losing them or at the very least disappointing them severely.  

I can’t do this on my own; I have to have the support of our heavenly Father, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and the inward coaxing of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise I’ll just paint another pretty picture of myself, pretend everything is rosy and bright and show you what a wonderful person I am.

 Before I start every posting, I pray three and sometimes four prayers. The first goes something like this.

I tell Abba, I am not blogging for myself but for Him and I ask Abba to refine me with each new post, ranking me as He sees fit. I ask to be put to good use or to suffering, for Him. I ask that I be allowed to post for Him or to be put aside and used for another purpose. I plead to be lifted high but only for Him or to be brought down low, also for Him. I tell Him to do with me and each post whatever He will knowing that He knows what is best.

I pray that God will not let me strive to fill this website but to submit thoughtfully and to genuinely care what I post rather than compete with other sites. I ask for help to seek holiness and not hits on this site.  I confess that I would rather be a follower than have followers.  

My ambition is to fill the website with Abba’s character and grace but keep as low a profile of myself as possible. I pray extensively on this because the site is about me but I ask for help to always exalt Him and humbly place myself below His feet. I pray for the strength to not seek anything from this world but to continually crave all that He is. I pray that all my words will be worthy for Him to read, and express that He is enough. He is the only one I need to please.

 I ask that the Holy Spirit help me to write for Christ smile and not for subscribers and that my daily declaration, not the size of my audience be the certainty of my redemption. I ask that the uncountable graces received from Christ be my identity and never the number of comments I may receive. I pray that the only words I upload are the truth and what I have lived.

I offer to God Almighty ever word, every sentence, every title and every post, every comment or no comment, all to His pleasure and perfect will. Then I confess to Jesus that my only fame is that I bear His name. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. My only Glory is the gift of His grace. The only true readership I seek is His eyes wandering the earth searching to and fro for a heart that is hard after his. I beg Him to make all of this so.

I say, Yawweh, You alone are my God, nothing else receives my love like the love I have for you. I say, Jesus you alone are my savior, I look no further than you. I say Holy Spirit, you alone are my comforter, nothing else can bring me the comfort that you do.

I ask that this prayer will stand today, yesterday and for every post to come. This is my prayer and I wish for it to be legalized in heaven. Amen

Although every prayer I pray is vastly different as I elaborate a little or a lot on each of the points above, the main structure of my prayers before writing each and every blog post, follow Ann Voskamp’s “Bloggers Prayer” A very special thanks to you, Ann. Your prayer helps me to stay focused, remain humble and address every point. It keeps it in my mind where I stand and who God is. Praise God.   

The Grocery Hoard

I have moved back into the city and the few possessions that I have are in bags and boxes and my two suit cases. Since leaving Ecuador, I’m like a drifter carrying all my worldly goods with me place to place. Oh why did I buy that extra-large cast iron frying pan?

Not even settled in yet and after only a few days in my new residence I woke up early one morning and began my quite time. I’m not too sure if was a dream or if it came to me as just a thought but I had this idea in my mind to take all the groceries I had brought with me and give them away.

What a crazy thought! Why would I do that? I brought them with me because I need them. I have to eat just like everyone else. Those groceries I have are to sustain me as long as possible and I have to carefully watch over my spending while I search for a job. After I find a job and I have an income it won’t be a problem. So at that, I didn’t give it another thought and went on with my day. The next morning I couldn’t stop thinking about why I should give away the groceries that I was presently eating from. This thought just wouldn’t go away. Finally I figured well, I can give them away and then just go out and get some more. I can’t really afford it but I feel that this is what I should do, so I’ll do it. There seems to be a lot of “I’s” in this paragraph, huh!

After some time and still thinking about this give away idea, the Holy Spirit within me began to bring to my attention all that God has provided throughout my life. He has always given what was needed and when it was necessary. In fact, He has provided substantially more than what was ever required. Always praying for faith and proclaiming faith in Him. It’s now testing time. Jesus clearly planted the idea to give away the greedy hoard that’s stashed away to test my faith, my trust in him. Is it a lot of hot air that has been being prayed or could this Christian finally be ready to exercise some of that sworn faith.  

Jesus is teaching my faith, to trust in him and to begin living in faith, day by day with the add-on, what it feels like to be truly generous. No more quarters and dollar coins for the poor. This time some new bars are being set. Now, it’s my coveted grocery stash, possibly a hundred dollars cut from a fund that’s quickly running dry.   Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

I headed on down into the basement to gather all the grocery items. I removed any items that were opened. No one would want something that was opened and food banks would throw it away because it could be contaminated. Then I thought to myself, I’ll remove the baking items because poor people most likely don’t have the other ingredients to add, in order to make something out of what I had to give. Then I took out some cans of kidney beans, chick peas, black-eyed beans, and tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. These items can’t be used because unless you have spices and the other ingredients to make soups and chili con carne they would be of no use to the needy. What was left over was not very much. So my solution, I’ll just go shopping and get some things that people in need can use.

At the grocery store I looked at some cans of tuna that were on sale and I noticed that some had pull tabs to open the cans. What a great idea because poor people may not have can openers. This is when God reached down and boxed my ears a good one. That brain rattling set me thinking in a different way.

Of course people who need a helping hand have can openers. I don’t but I can borrow one and so can they if they don’t. I bet they have pots and pans and glasses, plates and cutlery and a stove to cook on too. How utterly ridiculous I’m being. In the way that I’m thinking, there is nothing I can give to anyone because they won’t be able to get into it, cook it or eat it. Thanks for your input Satin!

God put it into me right there and then to add back all the items I had removed and I would buy extra to make up for the items removed because they were open or half eaten.

On Sunday I took the groceries to church. I had no idea if the church had a food bank but I figured they would find some way or someone who could use them. I asked the greeter at the entrance of the church and he told me that the church does not collect groceries.

During the service the reverend announced that in two weeks’ time the church would be starting their spring food drive in support of the local food banks. Hmmmm! Do you think God has been busy? I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that everything is done according to God’s will.

Alright! It’s time to ponder this through. What are the lessons here, for me?

  1. On numerous occasions I have expressed to God, “Whatever you ask of me, my answer is yes, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense to me. You know what’s best”
  2. Initially I completely failed here when I selfishly thought of my own needs and discounted any crazy notion that I should give away any of my own food.
  3. Failing even further when I finally came around and agreed to give away the groceries, I began to claw them back, greedily justifying to myself why I should not give some of the loot.
  4. By thinking, I’ll just go and buy more to replace them, I totally missed the point of this exercise. Jesus wants me to depend on him, he is my provider not my bank account.
  5. When God spoke or in this case planted a suggestion in my mind, again I counted it as my own idea and pushed God aside.  
  6. If I want to hear Him I have to be quiet, focused and not so quick to take over, as I always have. Psalm 143:8 ESV

Will God give up on me? No way! Isaiah 41:10 CSB. When I don’t get it, the Holy Spirit will point out to me and will remind me what God has said. John 14:26 TLB.

Did I pass the test? I think so, and I picked up a few new pointers as well.

Can you relate to this situation? Send me your story, when God spoke to you and how you responded.

My Dog Ginger

Ginger is a Cocker Spaniel mix. She was rescued by a friend from a basket full of forcibly weaned puppies.  Stolen away from her mother, hand selected by a human and separated from her brothers and sisters. She was abducted if you will and taken to a strange new home where there were no other dogs. For her, what a dreadful day it was. It all began with a simple day trip, ironically to Parque de la Madre (Mother’s Park), Cuenca, Ecuador.

My friend’s wife named this new cute bundle of joy, Lollipop. Lollipop required a lot of care. She was not on solid food so had to be patiently introduced to bread and milk. Lollipop had to be taught to chew and lap up her food rather than suck it from a teat. Potty training was a full time job.

Now, my friend and his wife were getting on in their years as we all are and after suffering through numerous sleepless nights of howls and whining, uncountable potty runs, followed up with specialty meal preparations and lots of coaxing, it all proved somewhat unmanageable.

I had only met Lollipop on one occasion before being asked to consider the possibility of adopting her. I discussed the offer to adopt with my roommate and it was decided that she would be a welcome member of the household.

Thank goodness we were told that we could rename her. I dreaded having to take Lollipop for walks and having to call her name out in public. Not a very suiting name that a man would give to his dog. Lollipop became Jengibre, Spanish for Ginger, the color of her fur.

Ginger was truly a rescued puppy and so fortunate to be alive with a long life ahead of her. On the second day I had her we attended a veterinarian appointment. She was started on a health maintenance program with follow up appointments that would make sure she was always in top health. Soon afterwards we discovered that she was absolutely loaded with intestinal worms. I feared for the lives of the other pups as well as the mother.  

To bring this run on story to a point. I believe that God was behind all of this. You see, I was not a follower of God or Jesus. I knew about them but I had no relationship with them, nor did I need one. I have always done as I wished when I wished, until now. It seems that the time had come for God’s master plan for my life to be set into action. God would use Ginger to help ease me in to Jesus who would then work his magic on my heart.

God works in mysterious ways. Little did I know that our Father in heaven had been busy behind the scenes and all that I had ever known, done and worked for was about to come crashing down. Ginger was to be a big part of my recovery and transformation. Our father does not work the way we think He should. He works the way that He knows will be the best for everyone. God used my friend to rescue Ginger and knew that He would also have my friend gift Ginger to me at just the right moment in time to help me to turn to Jesus who would in turn rescue me. My friend and his wife would still be able to enjoy Ginger as we were very close friends. Visitation rights would not be an issue.   

When you’re broken and buried in fear and despair. When you’re pushed down as low as you can possibly be and hope does not exist, I’ll tell you from experience, what will happen. You’ll want to be alone so that you can do the one thing society says that you cannot. You’ll crawl to your bed possibly taking with you something that may provide any little bit of comfort. (Ginger, in my case). You begin a pity party and you start to sob.  Your sobs turn to out and out crying and the tears will flow like Niagara Falls.

Once you realize there is no way out of this mess and you cannot save yourself this time. Once you realize there’s nowhere to turn and no one to turn to, there is only one option left. You cry out to God, you cry out to Jesus, you get on your knees and you beg for mercy and grace. It does not matter how much you refused to believe or how much you rejected the idea of there even being a God, a single creator of everything that exist. You’ll now believe from your heart what you have known to be true all along. You have no other choice.

This is not how we should come to God. Unfortunately, it is how many relationships with God start. How is that? Using God as an absolute last resort, after you have used up every possible option and tried everything else. Thank God, He is merciful, patient and forgiving. If you were to come to me as an absolute last hope, things could have a different outcome for you. I want to be like God but I am not.   

What do you do when someone’s hurting? Do you tell them don’t cry, everything will be okay. “NO! It won’t!” Do you tell them, you’ll get over it. “No! I won’t!” Maybe you can suggest that you know how  they are feeling. “No! You do not!” Here is what you do. You do what Ginger did. Absolutely nothing! You sit with the person quietly and you don’t say a word. Job 2:13 NIV Be humble, patient and gentle Ephesians 4:2 NIV and let them know you are feeling their hurt with them. Cry along with them.  When one member of the family is hurting the whole family hurts together.

Ginger was so patient and so quite. Although she was just a four month old puppy and I only had her a couple of weeks, she had studied me well. Ginger knew my upbeat happy demeanor and she knew this new emotion was not right. She related my pain and tears to her own. The day she was taken from her mother and siblings. You could see the empathy in her face.

This day, Ginger was my landing pad. The first of many uses God has had for her in my life to date.

Chosen

I didn’t set out to be preachy with this blog post but I was just contemplating, how can I tell a nonbeliever that he or she has been chosen by God?  Based on my own experience and what I know, what would I share and how would I back it up with Biblical facts?

God can choose you to spend all of eternity with Himself or He can set you aside for other purposes. He created you and he can use you however He wants. Nothing can change His mind, not you, not your family or friends, not your enemies, not even Satin. Has it ever occurred to you that you have been chosen by God and what a privilege that is?  The first phrase of John 15:16 NIV God says, “You did not choose Me but I chose you,

Why do think that is? Do you think that God was just bored and decided to create little balls of flesh, and give them tiny malfunctioning brains and then sit back and observe what they do? No way, God made you to love you. God wants a family.  

It most certainly wasn’t because He needed us. Acts 17:25 NLT tells us, and human hands can’t serve His needs, for He has no needs….It wasn’t because He was lonely. At the end of every day when God was busy creating, the Bible says that He, “saw that it was good.” But then in Genesis 2:18 NLT it says, Then the lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…… Notice God did not say it is not good for Himself to be alone. Also in Genesis 1:26 NKJV God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. God has his own company He has never been lonely.

Now, all of us are called but not all of us are going to make it. In fact, very few of us will make the list. Matthew 22:14 NKJV “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Wait a minute, something is at odds here! How do I know where I stand? Am I called or am I chosen?

God chose the nation of Israel to be His people but He did not choose the Egyptians. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so much so, that Pharaoh’s pride and stubbornness made him blind to the fact that his decisions were destroying the entirety of Egypt and its people. Why did God call Israel? Because God was making good on a previous promise He made to Abraham.  God always keeps his promises.  

God called on the people of Israel but what did they have to do to be chosen? Israel had to believe that God was real, admit their sins, ask for forgiveness, sacrifice a virgin lamb of perfect condition, turn from their sins, trust and obey God, and express faith in His ability to care for them. Did they? No, not all of them! So were all of the Israelites chosen?  No, only a very few were.

Today we are required to do much the same except God has made it easier. He sent us His one and only son to pay the penalty for our sins. All we have to do is believe in Jesus, that he was crucified and died, and that God resurrected him, confess and ask for forgiveness, believe that he died for our sins, turn away from our sins and invite Jesus to be our shepherd.

Colossians 3:12 NLT Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.   

It’s really quite easy to do, its easier than you think to maintain and rewarding as well.

You’ve been called but have you been chosen? Have you accepted Jesus and given your life over to him?

Or, has your heart been hardened like Pharaoh’s?

Say this prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.

Congratulations! You are now one of God’s chosen.

Fitting In

As of yet I do not have a church family. I have been attending church every Sunday but so far don’t feel that I am fitting in anywhere.

At ABC church in the downtown, a massive beautiful old church right across from city hall, I have attended every Sunday, visited the church through the week and visited the library on a couple of occasions. I’m a little tired of being asked, “and who are you”. Several weeks ago, I requested a meeting with the reverend. He told me that he was very busy and asked me to send a request through the churches website. I told him that the website does not work and that I had already tried this route twice before. Once in December and another time more recently. Both times I have never heard so much as a peep out of the church. The reverend then told me to e-mail him directly and he would be sure to get back to me. I told him that that was my most recent and second attempt that had gone south. We agreed to meet in the auditorium and we exchanged e-mails and contact information. I heard nothing. The following week on my way out of the church the reverend caught up with me and explained that he tried to contact me but the e-mail that I gave him was not valid and then he was too busy to make a phone call. I was a little put out because I have handed out my e-mail hundreds of times over the past decade and no one has ever had a problem before. As far as being too busy to telephone, well I suppose that is a common problem in this church. This reverend should pay attention to Philippians 4:13 ESV, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” He left it in my court to contact him again. I shook his hand and told him politely I’d be seeing him around and I left. I’ve not been back since.

       In all fairness being a pastor, a reverend, a minister, a priest or any type of a leader, must carry huge loads of responsibility. But, when you become so busy that you turn down a new member it’s high time to learn to delegate responsibilities. Interestingly enough this church complains that it cannot attract new members.

      The following week I attended XYZ in North London. It is a brand new building thriving with thousands of parishioners. The church is built on the edge of the city limits and the city is showing no signs of stopping its growth there. Beyond the church there are subdivisions upon subdivisions of half a million dollar homes and up, all containing young professional parents with 2.5 children a dog and a cat.

     The church has something on the go seven days a week. On the weekend alone there is a service Saturday night and eight services on Sunday; Four kid and youth programs a Mandarin, two Contemporary and a Traditional service. Throughout the week there are a plethora of guides, exercises, experiences, camps, studies, resources, foundations, counseling and support services, sponsorships, communities and ministries. Monthly magazines, booklets and newspapers informing every one of all the programs, upcoming programs and activities with progress reports are available on large racks in the main lobby. 

     This church appeared to me to be an over populated bee hive. I felt like a new honey bee in town and I had just flown across town to check out the big new hive temple. When I arrived there was a flurry of worker bees fanning the entrances, keeping the temple air conditioned. Some may have been on guard for new comers and atheist but if there were, they weren’t  standing out in any way. There was such a commotion at the entrance I flew on through the masses and made my way to the reception desk. Here, there is a confusing swarm of nurse bees gathering children for the nursery, kindergarten and youth classes. Mom and Dad bees were signing over their little larvae and then hurriedly rushing off to meet their other apis friends. Gathered in clusters they then swooped off to claim their comb cells in the theater of choice. Some were flying off to the upper balcony for an aerial view of the colonies stage, others to the underground cave for stage front seating. Some were flying off to get a drink of coffee or tea with honey or Royal jelly. Some were zipping off to go to the wash station, the library or the lounge. Others are gathering their notes and getting changed for their performances. Some were testing their buzzers, stingers and antlers otherwise known as musical instruments. God only knows maybe some were in the hair salon having pedi’s and mani’s or possibly their wings trimmed. The temple is certainly large enough to have one or two in there somewhere, the palatial hive is so large and grandiose. The worker bees at the reception desk were busy welcoming each other, friends and family. Among all the buzzing of the hive they didn’t even notice me, the new little foreigner bee quietly and patiently waiting, hoping, wishing and even deep inside praying for someone to take notice and provide a little guidance or assistance. Finally I spotted a lone bee sitting by herself and so I flew on over and asked if it would be okay to rest at the same table. I sat for a while in awkward silence and eventually mustered up the nerve, took a chance and buzzed that I was a new comer. The lone bee welcomed me and in between several other bees approaching to rub antennae with each other, the loner bee explained the various service options available. Kindly the lone bee accompanied me to the service she thought I would enjoy the most. After the service the lone bee was greeted by another elder of the hive and I graciously thanked her for her guidance, excused myself, and flew off out of there as fast as I could.

       One visit is not enough to give a proper evaluation so the next week I braved the rain and cold and returned to the hive a second time. This time I attended a different service because I wanted to try to meet other apis on my own and witness a traditional service. Surely a hive of this size and of such activity will need my help and I was searching for an opportunity to fit in somewhere. I rested by myself in a cell at the back of the theater and by the looks and stares from late coming swarms, I instantly knew that I had chosen the wrong honeycomb cell to occupy. I wish I had been armed with this scripture. 1 Peter 4:9 NIV “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”, or this one, Romans 15:7 NIV “Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

      Again, as soon as the service ended I flew on out of there as quickly as I could.    

       The next week there was to be thirty baptisms and the traditional service was being canceled. The overwhelming thought of the increased beehive activity for this Easter Sunday keep me at home, in bed, depressed and feeling well, rather small, insignificant, unnoticed and worthless not to mention still homeless with no church family.

       I, the little foreigner bee have much to offer and I am so wanting to be involved in some way or another but it seems that every single bee is purpose driven and all purposes have been filled at both churches. Four weeks ago I applied quite excitedly to teach English in the ESL program at the big hive. With 7 years’ experience teaching several different species in a variety of apiary’s around the world, why not? But Guess? This little honey bee has not heard an “aye” a “yes” or  a “no”. Not even a, “kiss my little stinger”. I suppose that there is no need or purpose for this new comer in the big hives of this world.

       So what should one do? Should one fly back on over there to the big hive and drop a few rocks on it, fly inside and stir things up, making oneself noticed or should one just pack up and move on? Admittedly this buzzing bee is impatient and does need to learn to chill out.

     Maybe a smaller hive will be better, one that can more easily spot a newcomer and is looking for new talent in order to grow. Possibly one, where every job has not yet been claimed and owned.

Ponder This – Easter Weekend

Sin entered the human race through Adam, and the human race has been trying without success to get rid of it ever since. And, short of that, mankind has been seeking in vain to reverse the curse. The Bible teaches that God warned Adam before he sinned that if he ate of the tree of knowledge he would surely die. The Bible also tells us that God instructed Adam and Eve to be fruitful and to multiply and to replenish the earth. But although they had been created in the image of God, after the Fall Adam and Eve gave birth to children after their own likeness and image. Consequently Cain and Abel were infected with the death-dealing disease of sin, which they inherited from their parents and which has been passed on to every generation since. We are all sinners by inheritance, and try as we will, we cannot escape our birthright.

We have resorted to every means to win back the position that Adam lost. We have tried through education, through philosophy, through religion, through governments to throw off our yoke of depravity and sin. We have sought to accomplish with our sin-limited minds the things that God intended to do with the clear vision that can only come from on high. Our motives have been good and some of our attempts have been commendable, but they have all fallen far, far short of the goal. All our knowledge, all our inventions, all our developments and ambitious plans move us ahead only a very little before we drop back again to the point from which we started. For we are still making the same mistake that Adam made – we are still trying to be king in our own right, and with our own power, instead of obeying God’s laws….

Man’s only salvation from sin stands on a lonely, barren, skull-shaped hill: a thief hangs on one cross, a murderer on another, and between them, a Man with a crown of thorns….

And who is this tortured figure, who is this Man who other men seek to humiliate and kill? He is the son of God, the Prince of Peace, heaven’s own appointed Messenger to the sin-ridden earth.

Who inflicted this hideous torture upon the Man who came to teach us love? You did and I did, for it was for your sin and my sin that Jesus was nailed to the cross….

But sin overreached itself on the cross. Man’s hideous injustice that crucified Christ became the means that opened the way for man to become free. Sin’s masterpiece of shame and hate became God’s masterpiece of mercy and forgiveness. Through the death of Christ upon the cross, sin itself was crucified for those who believe in Him. Sin was conquered on the cross. His death is the foundation of our hope, the promise of our triumph! Christ bore in His own body on the tree the sins that shackle us. He died for us and rose again. He proved the truth of all God’s promises to man; and if you will accept Christ by faith today, you, can be forgiven for your sins. You can stand secure and free in the knowledge that through the love of Christ your soul is cleansed of sin and saved from damnation.

[From Peace with God by Billy Graham] (Nov.7, 1918-Feb.21, 2018)

Is there a reoccurring sin that you enjoy? Before it brings judgment upon you turn away from it, repent and ask for Jesus’ help.   

Holy Sea Cows

While reading my quiet time scriptures back in February I came across sea cows in the book of Exodus.

Earlier on in the same book when I had come across the mention of sea cows, I just shrugged my shoulders but now, here they are again. I can’t let this go. Now they’ve grabbed my attention.

So if you have ever read through the book of Exodus you will know that Moses set into motion a stunning array of some pretty frightening miracles from God. Moses and the Israelites are finally released from under the iron hand of Pharaoh. In fact, Moses and all the Israelite slaves are begged to get out of the country a.s.a.p. and they are granted anything they ask for just to get them going.  Finally after generations of being enslaved Moses is leading the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert. God is using Moses to supervise and instruct the Israelites en route to the rich and fertile land that God had promised the ancestors of the Israelites.

Okay, now pay close attention to where the Israelites are. This is where my amusement kicked in. They are in the desert. You know those areas on the earth where there is very little to no water available. Trees don’t grow there because they need “water” to grow. Sometimes there are patches of grass and some small shrubs but for the most part it’s rocky and sandy, hot, dry and dusty. 

Now, where do you find, “Sea Cows?  Possibly, say, in the sea. You know that part of the earth where everything is covered in water and in some places so deep that we still don’t know what’s down there.

Let me bring you up to speed here just so that we’re on the same page. The verses that lead up to the mention of sea cows are in reference to the materials needing to be collected for use in the construction

of a portable sanctuary or tabernacle where God will be able to meet and live among His people. Specifically, sea cow hides are to be used for the fabrication of the roof panels.

We’re not talking about dairy cows or beef cows. We’re not discussing sand cows. No!  The scriptures specifically say none other than the ½ ton, vegetarian, marsh grass, sea weed munching, “Sea Cows”. Because, as we all know, there just happens to be an abundance of them in the desert.

Forgive me for being a little skeptical here; but I’m pretty sure that herds of sea cows didn’t just go meandering through camps, set up in the desert, and the thought of migrating sea cows doesn’t quite stand either.

Oh! I’m sorry! Some of you readers may not know what a sea cow is. My 30 year old daughter didn’t know what a sea cow was. She asked, “are they like seahorses but only cows instead?” I’m sure I took her to Sea World when she was a child. But then when I think about it, maybe that was a walrus we saw. I showed her the picture above and she said, “Oh yeah, I know those, they’re the ones that sailors thought were beautiful mermaids!” Ah yeah, but those men were out to sea a lot longer than the Israelites were in the desert.

So just how long DO you have to wander around in the desert before you start seeing and hunting sea cows. Well, just so you know, apparently, it’s only a little less than two months.  The Bible tells us in Exodus 19:1-2 NLT. Exactly, two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai. It was on Mt. Sinai where Moses was first told by God that He wanted sea cow hides from the Israelites for the sanctuary or temple roof.

I believe that God has a sense of humour. Genesis 1:26 says, Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness… and then in verse 27, So God created man in His own image;  God is loving and he has made us to be loving, He is generous and we have been made to be generous, He is forgiving and we have been made to be forgiving, I and many have a sense a of humour and where else could this have come from if not from God.

I searched the internet and tried to find the first time that sea cows were mentioned but didn’t have any luck. I knew I read about them somewhere, so I then foraged chapter after chapter of endless passages from prior reading lessons. Finally in Exodus 25:5 (NIV) God asked Moses to request from the Israelites donations of ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood;  and so on. “Another type of durable leather” doesn’t exactly spell out sea cow and when God is asking for specific materials why would He be so vague on this one. The footnote for Exodus 25: 5 states, possibly the hides of large aquatic mammals. Ah!  Ha! I told you I read it, but this still does not specify sea cows. Then again in Exodus 26:14 (NIV) Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of “the other durable leather”. The footnote here is exactly the same as for Ex. 25:5. Dag nabbit, I’m certain that I read sea cows in the scriptures. I then started to check other versions of the Bible and alas, in my physical, NIV, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, I proved myself not going crazy. Every scripture where another type of durable leather was mentioned in other versions, this Bible explicitly states the hides of sea cows. Sea cows are then reiterated in Ex 35:7, Ex 35:23, Ex.36:19, and in Numbers 4:6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14 & 25. Whew!

This blog post has been fun to write but I would like to finish it on a more serious note. 

The Israelites would have had to capture and skin the sea cows prior to donating them and God would have known that they had the hides.

Okay! So, “Sea cows are dugongs, marine animals abounding on the coral banks of the Red Sea and in other tropical waters. Because the Red Sea borders ancient Egypt, it’s not surprising that Israel used their hides for various purposes.” http://journeyrevolution.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-is-sea-cow-mentioned-in-numbers-46.html

The Israelites although in the desert could have very easily hunted sea cows because most of the route they were traveling was in close proximity to the Red Sea. See the map of the Exodus Route below.

Interestingly, while searching Bible versions to prove myself not crazy about the scriptures specifying sea cow hides I discovered;

-Ex. 35:23 (English Standard Version) ” Every man, who had in his possession blue and purple and scarlet material and fine linen and goats’ hair and rams’ skins dyed red and “porpoise skins”, brought them.”                                                                                                                                                                    

-Ex. 35:23 ([My] New International Version) “Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or hides of “sea cows” brought them.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

-Ex. 35:23 NLT and “fine goat skin leather”.                                                                                                               

-Ex. 35:23 KJV and “Badger skins”.                                                                                                                                

-Ex. 35:23 [Bible Gateways] NIV and the “other durable leather”.                                  

So which was it? There’s quite a difference between a badger skin and the hide of a sea cow. I’ll let someone else clarify this. I wrote my blog post and proved my points.

March 30th, 2019

I am now back in London where I originally thought I would be upon returning back to Canada from Ecuador. From mid-November until now it has felt as though I was trapped with no options to move forward. This stagnant period of time however was not a waste of time in God’s eyes. I believe He planned it.

This quit time taught me to appreciate many things I had been taking for granted. I have learned to appreciate the city, the buses, the traffic, the busy malls and sidewalks. I learned what it is to be lonely. I learned that eating with no exercise expands your waist line exponentially. I learned to pray and most importantly to listen. I learned to ponder and think about each day’s events. I made mistakes but learned to recognized them, plan solutions and a better way to react in the future. I have learned to ask what was the lesson, why was it necessary, how can I make it better? 

This time period was all about connecting to Jesus and learning to communicate in both directions. It was about learning who Jesus really is, studying his character and his response to a variety of situations. Its one thing to say I believe in Jesus but quite another to say I know Jesus and I am a disciple of Jesus. To fashion your life after him and sincerely put the effort forward to be as much like him as possible is considerably more than just believing in him. Satin believes in Jesus! Satin knows he’s real! How much more should we?

I Thank God for this sort of sabbatical leave, this time to escape from the world.  What a difference it would make to the planet if everyone could have four months by themselves to reboot, re-focus and re-discover who they are and who they want to be.

Being back in London is like waking up after a long winter’s hibernation. I’m rested, I’m eager, ready willing and able. I’m hungry and ready to hunt. This past weekend I attended my second church service in two weeks and I’ve already asked the Reverend of the church to contact me. I need help but I am also willing to help out. I need a little more direction, some leadership; I have the drive to begin in some sort of a ministry. I have a roof over my head, transportation, a church family, access to jobs, and people. I have libraries and government offices loaded with resources.

I am staying with my sister for the time being. She has always opened her doors to anyone in need. I’m not too sure how long her patience will last with my not having a job and not contributing. My funds are dangerously low. Securing a job is still my first priority. Maintaining this Christian blog and helping out in some way through the church or even starting a home Bible study, small group is my second priority.

Even though I have been moved on and into a new season I am still being tested and taught new lessons. The old season is overlapping these early days of this new season. This past week I believe that I received another message and a test from God which I nearly outright failed but then caught myself. I’ll get it written up and post it in My Journal. Also I’ll post what I believe has to be one of the most disgusting dreams I’ve ever had. What was the purpose of this dream? What am I to decipher from it? Why now when entering this new season?  It was a pretty powerful week, overall.

Glad to be back! Thanks be to God!

March 21st, 2019

What a Couple of crazy weeks, I’ve had!

Despite the circumstances in my life, I’m still trying my very best to build and strengthen my faith in Jesus. I am surprisingly calm and I sleep soundly, waking up well rested. Very obviously this is a reward from Christ himself.

At this point there is no doubt that my daughter will go on her own way, and I am to go on mine.

A new development came to light and a bit of a whammy for me. My daughter could not arrange movers to come on Saturday the 30th of March, they were all booked. I discovered with only a week to go that they were to come on the 23rd and remove everything from the house. Suddenly I had one week less than I had thought.

In a panic I e-mailed my friends right away and asked them to come and pick me up. “My plan,” “move first and work out the details later.” Even as I was planning to move, my plans were unraveling. I learned that there was no bathroom in my friend’s apartment. It had been gutted quite some time ago with plans for updating and had not been finished. It would take a week before a toilet would be functional and also new subflooring was needed. There was no room for any of my things because the apartment was filled with the owner’s belongings. I would only have one room that was cleared out. I was thinking long term rental, they were thinking short term with a signed and notarized contract. A sum of money not possible for me was suggested as rent and they were thinking of even more rental income in the future when they would rent out each bedroom individually. In addition the electricity is on its own meter and the gas and water usage would be calculated and billed to me monthly. 

Not surprising, this sudden and reckless idea of mine fell through.

 What did I do wrong? I panicked and I lost my focus on Jesus, once again turning away from faith to my own ill-conceived plans. I decided to rely upon worldly resources, my bank account, to float me until I could find work. Again, I was not exercising faith in Jesus.  Proverbs 11:28 Those who depend on their wealth will fall like the leaves of autumn, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer.

I don’t believe there’s a proverb for depleting one’s finances and not replenishing them. If there was I’m sure I’d be referred to as a fool.

Was God right in closing this door on me? Absolutely! Everything screamed, “Don’t do it!”

It’s my first priority to continue looking for a full time job. Searching for an apartment will be my second priority. How can I sign a lease and not know my income? How can I search a location not knowing where I will work?

Simultaneously, I had to get myself refocused on Jesus and once again place my faith back into Jesus’ hands. While actively searching for work, am I already lacking in faith? No! I can’t keep praying for God’s will to be done and then just sit idly by and wait for a job opportunity to come to me. I believe that I have to actually make a move and make choices.   

I’ve discovered through my reading the Bible that faith doesn’t follow signs but instead, signs follow faith. It’s a pattern that shows up time after time throughout the Bible. Just look at the stories of Abraham, Joseph, David, Samuel, Esther, Ruth, and the disciples. The list does not stop here either. First an act of faith is shown and then we read about the confirmation afterward.  

Once you make a move, then God will follow up your faith with His blessing. 

If I want God to show up in my life, I believe that I have to do as much as I can with what I have on hand. Then, I turn to God and I pray for Him to bless what I have done. Pray and ask for anointing on my life, my body, my blog, my finances, on a job, for a home and place to rest my head.

The 23rd is only one day away. I’ve no home, no job and no real solid plan. I will go to the city where there is a variety of options for work. In the city, I’ll finally be able to once again attend church. Oh how I wish I had established a church family to turn to, now when I am in need the most.

This is one of the, “Verses of the Day” from the past two weeks that really seemed to speak to me. James 1:5-6 NLT  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

Who’s the Numbskull?

This year I’m reading the Bible in chronological order. I read Genesis 1-11, jumped ahead and read the 42 chapters in the Book of Job, then jumped back again to finish Genesis on to the end. After this all of Exodus, Leviticus, and into Numbers until the end of chapter 15 where I leaped forward and read Psalm 90 and then back to Numbers 16 and on into Deuteronomy, where I am now.

Who on earth decided the layout of all of the books of the Bible and why are they arranged the way they are?

Exodus is a Greek word meaning departure and in this book we see Moses under instruction from God leading the Israelite’s out of Egypt after being subjected to generations of slavery.

They began a two and a half month trip to a land promised by God to their forefathers. Because the Israelite’s were stubborn, rebellious and slow to learn, God stretched it out into a 40 year trek. It took this long for those knuckleheads to get it through their thick sculls just who God is and that all they had to do was obey, trust and believe in Him.

 I followed along and read about all the complaints and bellyaching these wimps were doing. God keeps performing miracles and these numbskulls just aren’t getting it.  I’m shaking my head and saying to myself, what’s with these idiots, why are they so blind? They’re never going to get to the Promised Land because they’re too immature, have no respect, no gratitude, and they’re selfish and self-righteous.

This was right about when I realized that I too have been being led on a journey. Why have I been so blind? What’s wrong with me that I have failed to know God and see how He has been leading me? How many times have I bellyached rather than learn the lesson laid out for me? Before pointing and scoffing at the Israelite’s I had better clean up my own act. The fact is, I’m just as guilty or more of being selfish, self-righteous, unforgiving, unloving, greedy, ungrateful, and disrespectful. I’m the king knucklehead of all numbskulls. I’m such a blind slow learner that I have been on my journey fifty years and counting, and I still haven’t reached my destination.  I too am being delivered from a life of slavery. A slavery, under the rein of Satin and the values of today’s world.

Currently I am reading the book of Deuteronomy. Here, Moses is reiterating God’s laws and drawing attention to each of God’s lessons and miracles. Moses is establishing God’s promises and His curses, should they disobey. Finally the Israelite’s will venture into their land. They know the conditions and the consequences.  

Am I in my own present day book of Deuteronomy? Have I finally reached my destination? Does God feel that I am ready to go forward? 

I hope so, but it’s all up to Him. I’m excited to see what’s next.