I and Thou: Random Words for January

January

Artist Credit: January Zion by Erin Hanson

Daily Diary
Delightful Discovery
Fast Focus
Fresh Faith
Fierce Flurries
Healthy Hobby
Hopeful Heart
Icy Icicles
Identify Improvement
Intense Intention
Immediate Impact
Radical Renewal
Religious Reflection
Sparkling Star
Ski Slope
Serious Spirituality
Sincere Start
Winter Wonderland
Wisdom Within

I and Thou: It’s All About Perspective

Fall into the Bible – Part 3


Artwork: Light on a Straight Path by Cynthia Jewell Pollett

In this blog post, I will look at these “fall” phrases in The Bible where the word “fall” and the personal pronoun “me” is used. Go ahead and read each of them.

Fall on me – Psalm 69:9

Fall on me and my family – 2 Sam. 24:17

Fall in behind me – 2 Kings 9:18

Fall away on account of me – Matt 26:31

Who or what is falling? In Fall into the Bible – Part 1: Three Spirit Pearls of Wisdom for You, posted on October 11, 2021, we read how we can choose to accept God’s love or not. We learned that the Spirit of God provides us with inner Wisdom when we tap into the depths of our soul when we are quiet and receptive. This blog post will focus on Spirit and choosing the path filled with grace.

The Bright Light Path

There certainly is a propensity to make good decisions and see the good in all things – don’t you think? Most of us like happy endings. The fairy tale. The underdog. The success story. Yet, in real life, we make decisions in situations where there is little information. Take dating. Do we go out with this new person? There is a choice. Trust and be positive or doubt and have anxiety. It does not need to be an either-or decision. We can be optimistic and still cautious as we enter into a new relationship.  

Now, let’s look at a relationship with God. We really have little information.  Right? God’s profile is not on a dating app. So, what exactly do we know?  We know that there is a force in this world that made the world what it is. Genesis 1:1-2:3 details The Creation Story for those of you who might need a refresher. Simply, let’s just say that God created every living, breathing creature that exists today in the world. Are you with me so far?  

Point 1. God created every living, breathing creature.

In Genesis 1:2, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Then, in Genesis 2:7, we read, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Then, fast forward a few thousand years, and we see in Matthew 3:16, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” Hmmm. So, here we have the Spirit of God from the Old Testament, making a debut in the New Testament.  

If you are like me, you might now be thinking, what is the difference between the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit? At first, having thought that the Holy Spirit was a New Testament construct, I was pretty surprised that the Holy Spirit was first mentioned in Psalm 51:11. It is when David lamented to God after he was rebuked by Nathan about his affair with Bathsheba and having her husband murdered, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. My theory was incorrect. After a bit of digging, most scholars believe there to be no difference between the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit. Whew! That’s a relief!

Point 2.  Spirit of God and Holy Spirit are used interchangeably.

 Back to the four verses above. Re-read them now.  

Fall on me – Psalm 69:9 | Fall on me and my family – 2 Sam. 24:17

Fall in behind me – 2 Kings 9:18 | Fall away on account of me – Matt 26:31

In the context of Psalm 69, David is crying out to God, and he is asking God to save him, and he is feeling like a foreigner in his own home.  Others’ insults of God “fall on him.” David is choosing to have faith and not let the insults get to him. David is choosing God.

From a different perspective, “fall on me” can be seen as a request that may sound something like this, “God, please have your spirit fall on me.” The same can be said about the second verse, “fall on me and my family.” We ask for the Spirit of God to shower us with love and blessings. We trust God in the hope that we “fall” toward the light. The light of the triune God. The light of Wisdom. The good. In other words, faith.  

In 2 Samuel, God is asking David to prepare for battle against Israel. God was angry toward Israel and sent an angel to strike down people.  When David saw what was going on, he begged God to punish him and his family to spare the innocent as he said to God, “Let your hand fall on me and my family.” So, here we see an angry God and a faithful David. In the end, David builds an altar and offers a burnt sacrifice, and God ends the battle.

Point 3. Faith is a choice.

Fall on me” can also be a plea, especially in times of trial and tribulation. We may cry out, “Help us!” as we ask for protection. So, if God created every living creature, wouldn’t it be only natural for us to want to find favor with God? 

The Deep Dark Path

As Christians, we all have strayed from time to time, and we have allowed Satan to influence us. Our decisions. Our friends. Our surroundings. Our entertainment. Fall in behind me is authoritative. It can refer to commanding Satan, or the Evil One, to “get behind me.” In this scenario, we exert our authority over Satan, and we begin to gain control of the situation. In other words, trying to turn a bad situation from spiraling out of control. If we don’t do that, evil can overcome us and separate us from God. We really don’t want to do that, do we? 

In 2 Kings 9:18, Jehu was anointed by the prophet Elijah, King of Israel. Elijah instructs him to destroy the house of Ahab. As his enemies approach, Jehu asks, “Do you come in peace?” And, when they do not answer, Jehu commands them to “fall in behind me.” Jehu ends up killing two kings and ordering eunuchs to throw Jezebel out the window to her death, as seen in verse 36, “…This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh.

So, the question is, does sin really separate us from God? From the 2 Kings story, murder is condoned, which certainly adds a bit of mystery to the whole sin concept. Yet, we must remember that Jehu was following God’s instruction. As we see in the New Testament, God emerges as a more loving and less angry deity.  

Sin does separate us from God; remember, there is grace. Grace to bring us back into harmony with God. When we feel God “falling away on account of me,” it is vital to recognize our shortcomings and ask God to help us overcome them. Not only when we strayed, but when we may have pushed God away.

Can you think of something or someone you may have lost or broken on account of something you said or did by pushing or pulling too hard? I know that I tried too hard with my children. To be completely different from my mother, I wanted to be the “involved” mother to my children. You know the type. The one who is the class parent. Then, the head of all the class parents. The parent who leads one of the segments of the annual school play and teaches Sunday School. The one that just goes over the top. Pushing too hard without even realizing that being involved with all the “parent” activities, there was very little time left to play that favorite video game. Or the patience to play the Monopoly game. Or the time to just be there when my child needed me the most. Even in the bad…there is good news! The good news is God loves us even when we push, pull, or fall away.  

The Path Filled With Grace

Separation from God may prevent us from blessings; yet, accepting God’s invitation of love and grace gets us back on track. The right track. The track to more blessings. The path that grants us the privilege and honor to be called a child of God. 

It’s Summertime – Part 4

Time for temperature checks
Time for thirst
Time for travel
Time for transparency
Time for transformation

Watercolor Art Credit: Kateryna Savchenko

Temperature Checks

Do you notice more people talk about the weather in the summertime? How warm will it be? Will it be 70 degrees? 80 degrees? Or, 90 degrees? Will we need to bring a light jacket? How about a breeze? Do we need to bring cooler bags for the groceries? Temperature seems to carry a bit more weight in the summertime. Which makes perfect sense since the temperature can help aid in the dressing department. Shorts or slacks? Sleeves or no sleeves? Bathing suit in the carry bag? A dip in a pool or a casual splash in a creek.

Summertime is fun!

Summertime is a time for unexpected adventures!

Temperature delights with unexpectedness.

Thirst

Thirst and sweat and summer all go hand in hand. The hotter it is – the sweatier it gets.  And that means to hydrate. The best way to hydrate is with water. Other favorite summertime beverages include iced tea and lemonade. Of course, there are alcoholic drink possibilities as well. Just remember, if your body is thirsty – it needs water, not alcohol. Add them to iced tea or lemonade to add a kick! If you do drink in the summertime, drink responsibly. 

Thirst signals a sensation for survival.

Travel

Summertime is time for travel. During a global pandemic, however, this becomes a bit tricky. Cars seem to be safe if traveling with the people in your household. Last summer, a one-hour boat ride on a lake was a vacation. This summer is renting a home with a pool. Driving by car, routinely now includes, more hand washing, hand sanitizing, and keeping a face mask within a moment’s reach. Masking up when at rest areas or other public indoor places is important.

Travel is tricky in a pandemic.

Transparency

Perhaps it is a good idea to ponder the concept of transparency. Interestingly, Wikipedia defines it as “implies openness, communication, and accountability.”   The summer is a great time to explore new ideas. To be open to new possibilities and think about the future. To communicate more openly and to share more often. To be accountable for yourself and your actions. Transparency is considering your authentic self. Being better.

More compassionate.

More giving. 

More passionate.

More loving.

Transparency inspires courage, grace, and strength.

Transformation

When people work on themselves, they set in motion the wheels of transformation. Transforming themselves to be able to help transform others. Summertime provides an opportunity to take a breath. To take a weekend. Go to the lake. Or the community pool. To read the book, you have been wanting to read. In this pandemic world, we live in right now – there is always time to transform yourself into the person you want to be. Keep striving for betterness. There, you will find the true treasures of life.

Transformation embraces change that is new and inviting.

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