Posts Tagged ‘destiny’

Lent, Day 4.

becomingBecoming brave is becoming more of me. Becoming is an evolution, a journey into the wholeness God wants for all of us.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:16 [NIV]

Tomorrow, Sunday, I’ll be delivering the message in church to the children/teens and “mama’s” of the Village. I am using “Brave Faith” as my topic as it seems quite appropriate here. Will my stories resonate? Will I be able to share some of my own “becoming” as a Christ follower?

When I was a young believer, I had the erroneous idea that I would somehow arrive into the fullness of faith and spiritual maturity. I would be wise and knowledgeable. I would hear the voice of God regularly. I would know peace and joy and all the other fruits of the spirit. And of course, there have been moments, breaths, and cycles of depth in spirit, but the journey could just be starting. After 39 years, I’m still becoming.


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urim_thummimIt’s a fascinating idea really, the Urim and Thummim. Apparently, the priests used special stones to cast for a decision or divination. Some scholars translate the words as “revelation” and “truth” but I’m not sure that helps understand how they were actually used. Another interpretation is that the words essentially mean “innocent” or “guilty.” And in this way, groups of people or ideas where honed down by castings, Urim or Thummim, divided and divided until only one remained.

Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord. [Exodus 28:30]

flip-coin_5Ultimately, it sounds a lot like flipping a quarter. The result is random except for one difference, the people who threw the stones as well as the people who asked the questions, wholeheartedly believed that God alone drove the results.

Would that make our lives easier today? Like the picking of daisy petals, “he loves me, he loves me not,” could we abide by the final outcome? Or would we hedge it? Wouldn’t we really just look for confirmation and not decision?

In some cases, the coin toss works very well, when nothing too particular is at risk. I mean, whether Harry or Sally go first in a game or the Ravens kick-off instead of the Colts, these are not a deal-breakers.

But what if it was life or death? What if it was getting married or not? What if it was to move our of state or not move? In today’s culture, could anyone give those decisions completely to God in such a manner?

Bottom line: do I believe in luck or destiny? Does God need the Urim & Thummim to drive my life?

If I gamble or play the lottery, I must still believe in luck. Or do I?

lottery ticketThere’s a joke about a man who prayed every day for months that God would allow him to win the lottery but he never did. Finally, he complained to God, “Why haven’t I won?” and God answered, “You should have bought a ticket.” Does God need the efforts of human?

It’s a complicated question and one I cannot fully unwrap.

So, truthfully, I can’t really say I don’t believe in luck at all, I’m sure God supersedes luck, but perhaps God allows luck too. So, I occasionally buy a lottery ticket, wondering if God would like to bless me this week, you know, when the prize is really, really, really big. But, in my gut, do I believe God would pick me for an undeserved splash of wealth at that magnitude? These purchases are really “just in case.” I’m hinting. I’m directing God: “Hey God, this would be a great way to bless me, if You have a mind do it. What do you say?” (And secretly, I even promise to tithe on it. Oh brother, what a conniver.)


love the lord your godLet me step back still further. God has been pretty clear about the best life for Human and summarized it in two sentences: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Luke 10:27] And every action we take, every decision we make, could be in answer to these directives.

Too many of my decisions are about me. Not God and not others. Lottery tickets included. Time to re-focus the heart.

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Statue, Touching Heaven, Brussels

Statue, Touching Heaven, Brussels

As Christians, we are all taught that our God-given destiny is heaven, eternal life, and all that. I can remember, as a child, wondering why everyone thought being in heaven would be so wonderful if we were really just standing around worshiping God and singing all the time. Sounded boring to me. This is where humans are once again clueless.

My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is.  [I John 3:2; The Voice translation]

We have made up our destiny just like we have made up pictures of Jesus, angels, God, and even the devil. We keep putting them into our own understanding, our own limited imagination. We smile at Elijah’s “chariot of fire” as it whisks him off into the sky or John’s revelation of beasts covered in eyeballs. How primitive their interpretations, we think. But are we any better?

I am reading a fantasy book in which a young girl has been “glamored” with the appearance of human. She’s really faerie, a green pixie in fact. In those types of books, a glamor is an enchantment in which there is a corporate acceptance of what is seen. It is a covering or mask. It was one of the tricks of the Jedi too, to simply plant an idea in the mind of another of what he/she was really seeing.

The truth is, we have very few clues about heaven. Any description in scriptures has been filtered through human. There is much, much more, I’m sure of it. Heaven and eternal life are not extensions of what we are today.

I don’t mean to crudely disappoint those who have expectations of “seeing” their loved ones in heaven. I’m sure, in some state or another, we will encounter the family of God, but we will not look, feel, taste, or see the same. It’s not like this. It’s not here. And that’s the point.

Our destiny is to be like Christ who came to earth to reveal, just a little, of what true living is . . . what Spirit life does, how it works and what its impact is when applied to a 3-D world (hence: miracles). Of course, the norm of Spirit will appear to be a miracle: it’s outside of time and space.

I do not know my true destiny. This is the message of John’s letter. But when I get there, I will know and I will recognize the Christ. . . . and myself in a whole new way.

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All of us carries an inheritance from our ancestors and passes one along. Sometimes through nature (through the blood lines) or by nurture (environment and family life). We are the middle managers, standing in the gap between our history and our future.

Genesis 19:36b-38
So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonitesof today.

There is much speculation about Lot’s daughters and why they did what they did. We are told they were virgins and yet they were promised to men of Sodom (who did not heed Lot’s warning to come with them). We know that Lot offered them to a crowd of men who were not interested in his daughters (they wanted the “angels.”) When they finally flee Sodom and later, even Zoar (the only small town on the plain that was saved), they end up in the mountains.

And here is my question: How long were they there? I am not saying that time excuses them, but I have a sense that years had passed before the daughters made this extreme choice. In those times, women without children (particularly those who were barren) were considered cursed and often outcast. By referring to their father as old, the implication is that his death might  put them in crisis.

Nonetheless, whether justified in any way or not, the result created two young men whose long-standing heritage were two of the most pagan (including human sacrifice) and violent peoples. A similar result happened when Sarai gave  Hagar, her handmaid, to Abraham and Ishmael was born.

Through no real fault of their own, these sons were cast into a destiny.

In our own lives, we will never really know what future we are setting in motion when we send our children forth. We cannot know if they are part of a long line, pre-determined by our genealogy or if it begins with us. The cycle of life in our age is complex now and crosses all borders. I suppose, this is just another form of the Butterfly Effect.

For me, today, the only reliable impact I can have, besides doing the best I can as a parent, is to pray; to embrace the presence of my God in the now who exists through all of time.

I have three adopted children, all with traumatic beginnings. By bringing them into our family, we made the first dramatic change to the course of their lives. I cannot help but wonder what will be their inheritance now.

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Sarai would have been the loser in either one of the Abram/Pharoah scenarios. Either she is pulled into Pharaoh’s household as the widow of Abram (if they confess she is his wife) or she lies and says she is Abram’s sister and goes into Pharaoh’s palace with no loss of life. Undoubtedly, as the sister of a wealthy herdsman/patriarch (Abram), she would be included with some respect.

Genesis 12:12-13
 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me [Abram] but will let you [Sarai] live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

And yet, the woman in me recoils at either plan.

I know, I know. Like Esther, she was highly regarded for her beauty. She was given servants and she was dressed in elegant clothing (or lack thereof, as I’m pretty sure the Egyptian dress of that period for the wealthy was exotic and revealing). She was introduced to and encouraged to participate in their customs. In essence, she became part of the Pharaoh’s harem.

Now, living in a harem was not a bad life in many ways. A harem is really the place where women lived within the palace that was off limits to men (except eunuchs). These women were really the earliest “sister-wives” (to use a term from popular television about a man with multiple wives who live in separate houses). In my experience, any time you have more than ten women in a single space (like my work), there will be the potential for deep friendships as well as deep resentments. I am sure there were ranks among these women, seniority, let’s say. This is often illustrated in the story of Esther (in the book of Esther).

How long did Abram plan to stay in Egypt? Just through the time of the famine? But how, then, would he extricate Sarai from the harem? By then, she would have become a fixture, a working part of the life there. Undoubtedly, she would have had sexual relations with the Pharaoh as well.

We are not told how Pharaoh found out that Sarai was actually Abram’s wife and not his sister, but I would guess, “someone told.” Maybe it was one of the other women. Maybe, as in the time of Moses, it was the plight of the children that brought out the truth. In any case, Sarai was actually released (tossed) from the household.

But what application is there for me in this story? Only one really.

If I believe that God’s hand is on the big picture of my life, even my mistakes are covered and will be transformed into another path that leads to the end God has for me (my true destiny). But I have to submit to the sovereignty of God for this to work out. Abram and Sarai had a habit of trying to help God along in bringing their destinies closer and faster. They trusted God. They loved God. They worshiped God. And yet, God didn’t seem to be working out those promises the way they expected.

We’ll never know, but perhaps God’s original plan had been for Abram’s household to stay in Canaan during the famine and to trust God to feed them. I don’t really know. But going to Egypt during the famine was clearly a “human” solution to their problem. And, as a result, a number of unintended consequences resulted. And yet, God worked WITH their bad choices in conjunction with His will.

There is still hope for me.

And so I say, dear God of my life, take my bad choices and my mistakes and put them back on the potter’s wheel. Reinvent them. As You will.

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We each have what is needed to become what God intends. Our destiny is fueled by our giftings, environment, genealogy, and circumstances. Do I like that idea? Not much. I keep trying to run away from my past, my trials, and my circumstances.

I Corinthians 3:21-23
So let no one exult proudly concerning men [boasting of having this or that man as a leader], for all things are yours, Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas (Peter), or the universe or life or death, or the immediate and [a] threatening present or the [subsequent and uncertain] future–all are yours, And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

For years, I kept searching for the right church, the right leader/teacher, the right community, the right books. I’d hear about incredible anointings upon this church or that church, this leader or that leader and ask God why I didn’t have access to these experiences. I’d read about miracles and outpourings, but always from afar. And with the advent of lightspeed communications, I could hear and see all of these things happening elsewhere.

It’s like daydreaming about winning the lottery. Oh, if only I had a million bucks, then I could really do something good. Why, Lord, I’d even tithe 10% of that million. There’s generosity. And I’ll send another 10% overseas to the missions our church supports in Africa. And then I’ll pay off my debts. I know you want me to do that, it’s scriptural. And then I’ll sock some away for my kids’ education. But once I get past these obligations, I can rub my hands together and really have some spending fun.

When will I get it?

Look in the mirror. This is what I have: my health (for today), my age, my family, my knowledge, my work, my friends, my church, my neighborhood, my pets, my “stuff,” my faith. . . ah, my Redeemer, who really owns all of these things. Remember, I surrendered myself to God. That included the whole package, what it was then and what it became through the years and ultimately, what it will be.

This day, I have everything I need to serve God. It’s up to me to accept all the challenges and circumstances and to live, really live this day fully and to apply all I know to it. I am not a president or a preacher. I am not world renown. I am not a celebrity. I am me and I am called to live this day completely in the name of the One God. That’s all. That’s enough.

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Acts 17:26b
…and he [God] determined the times set for them [people of the Earth] and the exact places where they should live.

If I could get it deeply rooted in my heart and mind that this is my time and this is my place then I believe I would flourish. My petty complaints and resistance are my stumbling blocks. It’s not that complicated.

I am a woman. I am living in America, born in the latter part of the 20th century to immigrant parents. My mother lost four other children; I survived. I am healthy and whole. I am strong. I am intelligent. I have many gifts and talents.

I met Jesus, the Christ of my soul, in a real and powerful way in my late twenties.

I am ordained to live in this time and place. I am ordained to walk this life now, whether with ease or troubles. This is my time. This is my place. I have a purpose here.

When Paul was stunned by God on the road to Damascus, he heard a voice say, “…It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to keep offering vain and perilous resistance].” [Acts 26:24, Amplified] God wants to work with us but it is we ourselves who resist.

I choose to accept the now. As Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord…” [Luke 1:38a]

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