Sunday, July 2, 2017

No exchanges or returns

One word.  One time in all of the New Testament.  Its context can be discussed by the theologians and those smarter and more learned than this gal but this word has been swimming around in my brain, not rattling, swimming.  Floating on its back, enjoying the sunshine on its face, every once in a while rolling over to tread water when it sees I've drifted a little too far from shore.

Irrevocable.

The English definition according to MW is

"not capable of being changed; impossible to revoke."

The Greek definition of the word ametameletos

".....about which no change of mind can take place, not affected by change of mind....without regret or remorse for an action because it was done from deep conviction (true concern)."

Would you like to know where that word sits among the flowers of God's word?

It's tucked in a verse that really has nothing to at all to do with my present day troubles or concerns and it speaks to me not as Paul intended its readers to understand in regards to his fellow Jews.  God's word is funny like that.  What is written for one, benefits many.

A verse or a word or a chapter or a book taken without full instruction on Hebrew or Greek, ancient practices and history, jumps across time and rests in the heart of a woman far removed from the original writer or intended Roman readers.

".......for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."

The words and sentences surrounding these 8 words really are not very comforting for this Gentile as they are written for and about the Remnant of Israel.  The truth of these words, especially the longest word - irrevocable - make my heart sing praise to Him who has freed me from the bondage of sin and made my heart clean.

God doesn't take back his gifts.  Once he gives a gift, it's for keeps.  Once he gives a gift, even to a passive or ungrateful heart, he is bound to himself to never change his mind, never regret, never have remorse that he gave the gift.

Why?  Why God?  Aren't you ever sorry you made us?  Aren't you ever sorry you saved us?

I think his answer would be:

"No, because the gift was given out of true concern for my creation."

He saw us in our sin, and where you or I may leave us wallowing in it until we learned our lesson, God pulled us out, gave us a new heart and said, "It's yours to keep.  No returns or exchanges accepted."

He never regrets saving us or calling us out of our sin.

Never.

No matter how wicked and evil the times are, he never regrets saving us.  We would rather see some serious punishment for some of the evil we are living in and through, instead of the free gift of salvation still available to the most vile offenders. (Like I often, often forget I once was).

But God?  Nope.  He doesn't regret giving us the gift that will never be taken back.

So, tucked in Romans 11:29, out of complete context for this 21st century woman sitting at her computer with bed hair and great peace, is a singing hope -

for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable

I rest in knowing that his gifts that I so often misuse and abuse and not use, and the call on my life to be who I am, where I am, doing what I do - none of it's a mistake.  None of it was done on a whim.  The gift God bought for me was not an impulse buy.  He put great thought into just the right gift of salvation.  He put great thought into just the right place in history where he would put you and me.

And he made both of those irrevocable.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!


Peace,

Ronda

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A to Z reflections

This was the fifth A to Z challenge I have participated in and I wish I could claim I made a lot of new friends, visited a lot of new blogs, expanded my thinking and all such things one hopes to glean from this activity.

If I may be frank, up until the end of February I really hadn't put a lot of thought, let alone prayer, into what I may write about if I participated this year.  The days between the 2016 challenge and the days during the 2017 challenge were rough on many levels.  Blessings abounded, but the political atmosphere in 2016, the personal professional challenges, and the new changes my husband and I are once again finding ourselves in left little motivation to come up with a twenty six item list of things to write about, let alone find a theme for.

But, silly girl that I am, I forget what God can do.

I was challenged not only by my theme - a bunch of war ready boys - but I was challenged to put myself in David's shoes and Joab's sandals and even Benaiah's.  No, I wasn't facing what they faced, but the more I studied them, the more I gleaned for practical application personally.

I didn't hold an opinion as to the changes with the linky list vs. posting on Facebook, except I will say that is one of the reasons I didn't visit other blogs.  Since the election I have tried to limit my Facebook time, so I did not spend any time visiting blogs through that route.  This is not to say that I won't in the months ahead, but I did find the linky list convenient for getting to and seeing where I've been.  I never had expectations of visiting all of them, but I did like the layout of the previous method.

All that being said, I had one faithful visitor and commentator of my blog who gave me a personal shout out on her blog, so I will return the compliment.  Barbara was a great encourager this year.  Just when I thought I was going off into no man's land with my topics, she was there with an encouraging word to spur me on to keep plowing in unfamiliar territory.  Thank you, Barbara!

All this being said, I truly do find this writing challenge personally rewarding and encouraging.  I love, love, love to dig in God's word.  This becomes truer each year I have participated.  The answers to the problems of God's people lies in the ancient words.  Please search, please hunger and thirst, please dig.  This is our time.  This is your time.  No one is expecting you to have all the answers immediately or ever, but you won't have any answers if you don't ask!

Dig, Church, Dig!


Peace,

Ronda

p.s.  I do have my 2018 theme picked already!  Isn't God good?  :)






Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ziklag

Ziglag had been given to David by Achish, king of Gath (a Philistine city) while Saul was king. Ziglag was a place of refuge for David.

In the 1 Chronicles account of David and his mighty men, this is said about the place called Ziglag:

"These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; they were armed with bows and were able to shot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were kinsmen of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin)."

Two significant events unfolded in Ziglag at the beginning of David's pre king and early kingship days.

The first being it was at Ziglag David heard Saul and his son Jonathon were dead.  (2 Samuel 2:1).

The second event, occurring before Saul died, was a a moment in David's life where the rubber met the road.  If there were going to be followers following his lead they would be tested right then and there.

And they were.

"When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.  So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.  David's two wives had been captured - Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.  David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.  But David found strength in the LORD."

Ziglag was the place where the true and loyal followers of David rose to the top.  It was at Ziglag where those men becoming Mighty had to make a choice.  A hard choice.

While in bitter grief and despair.

They could blame David for the destruction and kidnapping of their wives and children.  Or they could fight the real enemy.

It was at Ziglag where the would be Mighty Men walked the tightrope line of resentment and character.

Young David, having been pursued and harassed by Saul over and over and over again, was in the beginning stages of forming a mighty army.  It could have all fallen apart right then and there at Ziglag.  But David.....

"found strength in the LORD his God."

While David went from hero to potential dead man walking, he "found strength in the LORD his God."

Not in his weapons or his logistical warfare abilities or his popularity.

No, he found his strength in the LORD his God.

When all those around him were battling grief and despair and living in the crisis of the moment, their thoughts not clear, their reasoning clouded by pain, David found a way to not take the pain of his men personally, but instead he found his strength in the LORD.

Another bite of humble pie the LORD needed to feed him was fed at Ziklag.  Those who were committed to David and his cause were sifted out, the cream rose to the top and in the end six hundred of those grieving and plotting mighty men, came back to David's side and fought next to him.  David "recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.  Nothing was missing; young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken, David brought everything back."

David would not be officially anointed as king of Judah in Ziglag (it would be Hebron where the physical anointing would take place (2 Samuel 2)), but I can't help but think that the invisible king clothes were put on David in Ziglag.  A city of the enemy may have been the invisible birthplace of the king after God's heart.

Z is for Ziglag.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Youngest

David, the would be king with a heart after God's was the youngest boy in a family of seven boys.  The youngest.

Not the oldest.  Not the middle child.  Not the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth.

The youngest.

The baby of the family.

God seems to find it beneficial to use the least likely of families to do mighty work.  Remember Joseph?

What about the youngest in your family?  Are you the baby?  Are you annoyed by the baby of your family?  Do you see yourself with the potential to be a leader coming from a life of following in the footsteps of your older siblings?

What made David different than his brothers was only one thing.

The Spirit of the LORD upon David in power.

The Mighty Men devoted their lives to following a baby of a family.  The baby who grew up to slay a giant and become king started out as the youngest in a houseful of boys.

Hebrews says this about David:

"And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

David, leader of the Mighty Men whose sufferings, no doubt because they followed David, were also part of this list, was born the youngest.  His brothers, if they were like any big brothers today, would have never believed their little pimply faced, lazy, daydreaming, musical brother would ever be listed in the great hall of Hebrews wall of Faith.

But he was.  The youngest, leader of the Mighty Men, fought in a world not worthy of him.

Y is for youngest.

Hebrews 11

Friday, April 28, 2017

Xylograph

Xylography - the art of making engravings on wood especially for printing.



This is all I have for X

X is for Xylography