Pray for Teeth and Talent: Training for the Soul

Pray for Teeth and Talent: Training for the Soul

Pray for Teeth and Talent

When my oldest child was eleven, we noticed she had developed a small cavity in a baby tooth, perhaps the result of a brief but thorough period of sugar banditry from the pantry.  As this was a baby tooth and causing no discomfort, the dentist advised that we take no measures other than waiting for the loss of the tooth.

Over a year’s time, this small cavity became a cavernous hole, a shell of bone with a troublesome hollow inside that was prone to collect seeds and bits of every snack or meal.  As a result my daughter began eating on only one side of her mouth for months on end, since that little tooth clung to her mouth like an unwelcome barnacle. The wayward tooth was finally lost after more than a year, and afterwards my daughter tentatively began to eat with the neglected side of her mouth.

Now, we do not tend to think of jaw muscles needing development like the focused effort required in the development of six pack abs, but my daughter found that it was difficult to chew, and her jaw muscles hurt because the muscles had atrophied through disuse.

Parenting and life provide ample metaphors for training the soul.

I considered my daughter’s difficulty, need, and pain in the light of how we might respond in other situations.  We might petition in prayer, “Lord, please strengthen her jaw and remove her pain according to your goodness and mercy.”

Or perhaps we might apply oil to her jaw and pray for healing in Jesus’s holy name.  Could we find scriptures related to strength and healing and say these over her?  Yes, we could perform all these worthy actions, and they would not be wrong, but the Lord had already provided all that was needed.

For her jaw to become strong and without pain, she must stop eating on only one side of her mouth, depending on her own limited strength.  Instead, she must follow God’s plan for personal responsibility and development by exercising the other side.  In this action, the object of her faith would be realized.

Faith without Works

Faith without works is dead.  One could say my daughter’s willingness to chew food with a weakened side of her mouth demonstrated her faith that her jaw would be whole again.

Or, she could continue to do what was easy, refuse to develop and strengthen God’s provision, and then blame God for not answering prayer, or perhaps simply decide that a strong jaw was not His will.

In actuality, though, our action is required to release the potential of what God has already generously given.

Miracles still happen, though oftentimes there is a preparation time that makes way for miracles (Prepare the way for the Lord).  However, God’s usual way of provision is through natural means that must go through a period of growth and development.  It is as if the Lord has given us seeds, and we look at the package in puzzlement, wondering why God did not answer our prayers for vegetables.

Everything develops naturally at its own pace, in its own time, if given the right variables for growth.  From muscles and teeth, to character traits and talents, these gifts are realized with use.

Is My Dedication Really to Christ?

Is My Dedication Really to Christ?

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Is My Dedication Really to Christ?

In essence this is what my 10 year meant when she asked,

“If you had the choice of being killed by a sword or dying for Jesus, which would you choose?”

Me: “I would choose to die for Jesus.” 

10 year old: “But that would really hurt?”

Me: “Yes, but only for a short time. An eternity in hell would hurt a lot more. Remember what Jesus said,So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33). So even if the sword is very painful, I would rather choose Jesus than claiming he isn’t my Savior.”

10 year old: “Oh, yeah. That makes sense. I would rather die in my sleep or of old age than by a sword, but I’d rather have Jesus too.”

Oh, how I love my kid’s questions! This one has allowed us to unpack so much throughout the past couple of days. It has been amazing. It’s like everything that we have been reading in our Bibles over the years is coming together in and understanding is blossoming!  (Happy Dance, Happy Dance!)

Dedication

This question came while we were reading the Hanukkah story. Hanukkah actually means dedication and celebrates the day when the Temple in Jerusalem was once again dedicated to God after being desecrated by the Greeks.

Dedication.

Jesus celebrated this festival of dedication. He knew what it meant to be dedicated. His dedication to redeem our relationship with God that our sin destroyed led him from Heaven to Earth.

Dedication. 

He spent 30 years preparing, so he could live with a fierce focus that would lead to a physically excruciating end on the cross.

Dedication.

He overcame death and destroyed Satan’s hold on us, so that we could live eternally with God.

God sustained Jesus so he could have that kind of dedication.

We have the same choice to live with this kind of dedication. I know it seems out of our reach and if we were trying to do it by ourselves, I would completely agree that it is impossible. But with God all things are possible. With God, Jesus, and the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome. We are called to overcome, not by our own power, but by God’s might!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
– Hebrews 12:1b-3

 

Webster defines dedication as:

 

 

The Questions We Must Ask Ourselves

Are we really willing to dedicate ourselves to Christ?

If you are reading this blog, more than likely you at some point in your life decided to follow Jesus. You were overcome by knowing that even if you were the only person that had sinned, Jesus still would have gone to the cross to save you. The truth is we all have sinned and should all be overcome that Jesus dedicated himself to rescuing us from our sin.

Some of us, upon receiving his gift of grace, fall completely into digging into the Bible, learning all we can so that we can follow Christ. While some of us, just talk about how we follow God, but never really understand where he is leading, so we miss following his path, all the while proclaiming that we are on it.

(If you haven’t decided to follow Christ yet, email us, I’d love to chat with you. Honestly, I’d love to chat with you either way!)

So how do we know we are following Christ?

Our dedication to following Christ starts with reading his word. We pick up our Bible and read it. The fact that we have access to God’s word is a miracle in and of itself, but that’s a topic for another post. Don’t waste the miracle sitting in front of you. Take hold of the Bible. Even if it’s confusing now, just read it and pray for wisdom. God will give it to you. Then, prepare your heart.

Dedication Starts with Preparation

We have no idea how to dedicate our lives to God if we don’t prepare ourselves for daily dedication. This daily dedication starts by putting what we read into practice. Yep, it’s difficult. Some days more difficult than others, but it’s something we must do. If we don’t do it, then we are deceiving ourselves into thinking we are following Christ!

Deceiving ourselves?

That’s a bold statement but one James does not shy away from. He wants to make sure that if we say we are followers of Christ, then we actually follow Him.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
– James 1:22-25

Dedication to Christ is a daily choice.

We get to daily choose to:

  • Recognize that Jesus has all Authority on Earth and is our Lord and Savior
  • Recognize that Jesus also has authority over all the details of our lives
  • Trust that He has gifted his followers with the Holy Spirit
  • Believe that his Holy Spirit will be our Counselor and guide us to fuller understanding
  • Lean into His strength and wisdom through prayer
  • Plunge ourselves into His Word like a thirsty soul longing for a sustaining drink
  • Dig into the Bible to find answers to how we should live our lives
  • Live for Jesus no matter what the cost

Another Question that Lead to a Better Answer

Later that day, my daughter had another question in regards to whether or not I would allow her to do something.

Instead of just saying “yes” or “no” and explaining my reasoning, I chose a different option this time. One that takes more time, but will serve her much better in the long run. I asked her,

“What does the Bible says about it? Do you believe Jesus would want you to do it?”

She didn’t know any verses right off that would tell her “yes” or “no,” so the next day we pulled out the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, our Bibles, and read through many passages to which her question pertained. There are many more she can still read to solidify what God’s will is in regards to her question.

The answer she started to find  in the Bible did not line up with what she wanted to do, so now she has a choice and she gets to choose. Will she continue to dedicate her life to Jesus or will she dedicate it to something else?

Taking a break from playing spin the dreidel to dig into the Bible!

As a parent, I pray that I will take advantage of these opportunities to continue guiding her and our other children in the right direction, helping them sort the truth from the lies, and showing them that even when we fail spiritually, Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us.

As followers of Christ, I realize we each get to decide every day if we will continue in dedication to Christ or if we will choose dedication to self. Just so we don’t get complacent, we should ask ourselves often,

“Is my dedication really to Christ?”

 

Souls Informed by Truth

Souls Informed by Truth

Elizabeth P

Elizabeth P

I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
Elizabeth P

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Souls Informed by Truth

My verse of the day today was Ecclesiastes 11:5.

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” -Ecclesiastes‬ ‭11:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Temptation to Minimize the Truth

I was trying to look up articles or blogs about the importance of being a pro-life Christian to post on social media today in lieu of writing out something that had already been said well. To my dismay, I found more that instead tried justify abortion and death. I went down a googling rabbit hole of reading and it has honestly left me deeply discouraged this afternoon.

As believers, we should be informed by Truth in our lives. I fear that many of us are more concerned with popularizing our faith by minimizing the Truth. I am plagued by this temptation regularly.

I was reminded of Romans 1 at Church this Sunday. That passage is convicting for everyone but it also reminds me that sometimes under the mantra of Christian love, or for fear of offending, we actually forget to tell people the Truth, which is the whole reason for Love in the first place.

How much are we shortchanging precious souls by being ashamed of the gospel or glazing over the Truth about who God is and how to serve him?

Jesus Calls Us to Abundant Life

Jesus ate with sinners and he loved the “unlovable” but he required of them a change. He did not have them continue to wallow in sin, he brought them up to Life so they could have Life abundantly.

 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
– Jesus, John 10:10

He commanded to us to sin no more and to live in the Truth because it sets you free. John is the book of Christ’s love but He asks us to follow him. To give up this world and live for Christ, not to walk in darkness.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
– John 8:12

Jesus was and is attractive to sinners because He deeply and authentically loves us, we are all created in the image of God and made intentionally. However, he also provided a way out, a way to live differently. A way to no longer be a slave to the sin and evil of this world but to live with a purpose and with joy.

Living Truth

In “Christian-ese ” we call this process of living more and more like Christ “Sanctification.” What that really means is that God has the power to change hearts and lives so radically that we are no longer recognizable to the world as we were before. He calls us to be greater than we are, greater than how we exist separate from God.

Truly, the way we live, the way we vote, the way we speak and the way we serve should be informed by Truth and we need to consider what it looks like to not conform to the world or the culture and to not be ashamed of God’s word and what is commands.

In the spirit of speaking the Truth, abortion ends a human life which is inherently valuable. It also hurts the mother both inside and out. The argument that so-called pro-lifers don’t deeply and genuinely care about the well-being of both of those souls is deeply untrue.

Jesus loves them both.

We love them both.

We would to do well to remember the Truth about God’s love, for everyone, and stand for that which is so deeply important… human souls. 

Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Ever since I was little, I’ve loved exploring. Encouraging our kids to explore is one main reason that I encourage them off the beaten path too!

Sometimes, these adventures bring up reactions that I don’t expect at all, which is exactly what happened on our last adventure.

A Time to Go Off the Beaten Path

We have been exploring a new area of Texas lately. Our adventures take us to new sites and sounds and many new parks. One of the parks we have enjoyed is the World Adventure Park. Not only does is the playground itself unique and have a built in scavenger hunt as well as enough swings for all our kids, but it also has a nature walk adventure.

After playing on the playground for about an hour, we started our nature walk adventure. At first, we followed the path. That was easy enough to do since the initial walkway had rails on both sides.

Soon enough that pre-built pathway ended and every time we came to a fork in the road, a different child had the opportunity to choose which path we would take.

It was at this point where I saw there were two distinct camps among our children:

  • One group wanted to take the scariest path every time.
  • One group wanted to take the safest path every time.

It was a fun time overall UNTIL we apparently took too many paths that led out of the park.

The Path that Led to Fear

After several off the beaten path choices, we ended up following a trickling stream. The canopy of trees grew a little denser but the path was clear. The footprints were clearing ours, a few dogs, and then one large animal print that was the size of my head. I chose not to point that one out to the kids because at this point one was starting to panic.

We were too far off the beaten path for him. He just wanted to go back home and did not want to continue.

A large hawk flew overhead. The trees rustled. His little hand stayed tucked in mine.

I encouraged him as best I could that we would find the main path again soon and he did not have to worry.

When big tears started to encroach the rims of his eyes, I realized his fears were overcoming him and we needed to stop and pray.

In my short exploring life, I have had some instances where panic started to set in and the only thing that keeps it at bay is inviting God in to overtake the situation.

So that is what we did. We stopped, circled up, and prayed. We prayed for calm hearts, the opportunity to see God’s beauty in what was around us, and to find the main path soon.

Turning Around

I have a forge on mentality. If something goes wrong, just keep going. In this case, I assumed that turning off the path that followed the stream and turning onto another path that seemed to go northward would get us back to the main park.

Well, we did eventually find an open clearing but it led to a baseball field, which according to my calculations was a little ways away from the park area where we parked.

So we turned around, retraced our steps, enjoyed a daytime owl serenading us until we found the main path again.

Needless to say,  my son’s heart was comforted in standing on the main path again.

The Spiritual Connection

“Going off the beaten path” spiritually isn’t necessarily a  horrible thing. Sometimes as a church body we get caught up in things that really don’t matter eternally or we allow a few to steer our spiritual connection with God instead of connecting to Him personally. In these instances, it is most definitely needed to go off the beaten path and encounter God ourselves and to listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading.

William Booth’s Example

It reminds me of the story of the William Booth, the man who started the Salvation Army. William Booth’s church leaders decided that the best course of action for his life was to preach to the church body and rejected his idea of going to the slums in the East End of London.

Instead of sticking with his leaders’ pre-approved notion of what God wanted for his life, he turned to the guidance of the the Holy Spirit and taught in the streets to the poor, homeless, and destitute. He left what was comfortable and choose to venture off the beaten path to a place where no one else from the christian community wanted to go. It was a path that looked scary and dark to most, but he wanted to bring light to the path.

His converts to Christ were prostitutes, thieves, drunkards, and those who would never step foot in a traditional church setting.  Reaching out to those in this environment was not easy, it required much prayer and trust in the Lord.

The Challenge

We might not have understood the history behind the Salvation Army, but that one man’s choice has impacted thousands of lives. Many of us probably think of the Salvation Army simply as bell ringers during the Christmas holiday. We may either throw in a few coins or try to avoid them, but I want to challenge you now. Every time you hear that bell ring this holiday season, pray and ask God if he is calling you off the beaten path.

Is God asking you to step away from the comforts of the Christianity that you know?

Is he calling you off the beaten path to reach out to those who would never enter the comfortable christian setting that we know?

Are you willing to go off the beaten path and follow Christ wherever He may lead?

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Oh, Lord, help us not get so comfortable that we shirk your calling to reach out to those who don’t know you yet. Give us your courage and strength to step off the beaten path and trust you no matter where you lead.

In the One who left the comforts of Heaven, took the pain of our sin upon him, so that we could have a path back to Heaven – Amen!

 

Goodness and Beauty

Goodness and Beauty

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” 

Psalm 34:8 NLT

Goodness and Beauty

Do you think of your life as one full of goodness and beauty?

We all face struggles of many kinds, and it would be easy for those crumbling times to take over our song, our expression of life. I have learned that looking for moments of goodness and beauty in my life have helped me to see God’s hand in my life. Reflection on these moments lift me up and stir up gratitude in my heart.

Let me share a few of these glimmers of beauty~

Excuse my pun, but I fall for fall every year. As I look out my window right now I can see the leaves of my crepe myrtles turning a brilliant shade of orange and red, the hovering trees are turning golden.  The cool and crisp air make it more enjoyable to be outdoors and I love the sound of the wind rustling the leaves.

In this shift of nature, I see the hand of God. I see his goodness and beauty, and I am grateful.

It’s afternoon time, the girls are getting restless for their daddy to get home. I let my 4 year old climb up on the step stool and together we mix up a batch of spiced applesauce muffins. She carefully carves a well in the dry ingredients so we can pour in the wet. She watches me scoop the batter in, counting as we go. We share a quick kiss before she hops down to play in the other room.

In this time of togetherness, I see the hand of God. I see his goodness and beauty, and I am grateful. 

It’s a quite morning, which is a rarity in our home with two young children. I open the blinds to watch the morning sun shine through, and sit down with a cup of coffee. I pull out my prayer journal and I pour out my heart to Lord. I admit my sin, I remember his mercy. I share concerns and thank him for blessings.

In this still moment, I see the hand of God. I see his goodness and beauty, and I am grateful. 

Embrace a Heart of Gratitude

This is the time of the year we like to embrace a heart of gratitude. We count up our blessings, and try to focus on what’s most important in our life. These moments of beauty, are glimpses of God’s goodness. They are moments to share and celebrate.

You might find yourself in a valley right now. Perhaps your circumstances are wearing you thin and you feel inadequate. It might be that you are in a season of grief and sorrow. You’ve lost someone close, and are coping to figure out life without this person. Maybe it’s a diagnoses. Money might be tight. Your children are struggling. Oh, there are some who find themselves in great pain. If you are reading this and find yourself in a painful season please know that you have my sympathy. My hope for you is that even through these dark times you will be able to find moments of God’s goodness and beauty.

God’s Greatest Act of Goodness

The greatest act of God’s goodness and beauty took place long ago. A small babe was born and he was beautiful. He lived a life that beautiful. He suffered an agonizing death but was raised up from the grave. Through that death, burial, and resurrection God showed his goodness to us. He offers us his grace and his spirit and the hope of eternal life with him. Even when all of the places of our life feel grim, may we always remember this ultimate act of goodness and beauty.

During this Thankful season, I encourage you to think about what you are thankful for, and also to look for a glimmer of beauty every single day. Take a picture! Document it! Write about it in your journal. Find God in the small things, big things, and everything in between. Embrace the goodness of our Lord! 

A Prayer Over Our Hearts

Father God,

You are beautiful and good. Thank you for the ways you display your goodness through your creation, and especially though your son Jesus. Give us eyes to notice your blessings and to see your hands at work. Help us to have hearts of gratitude no matter our circumstance. 

In the name of Jesus,

Amen 

 

From Pain to Wisdom to Hope 

From Pain to Wisdom to Hope 

From Pain to Wisdom to Hope

We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

 Romans 5:3-5

Pain

Pain is the high price of wisdom, but even after purchase, we can accidentally leave it on the shelf.  Sometimes pain is paid in installments that seem to stretch endlessly at regular intervals over decades, with no maturity date.  At some point, though, we may return to the point of sale to redeem what has been bought, but with additional interest, paid in sorrow.

My parents have been married a full fifty-five years, and from the beginning my mom always described her relationship with my dad as fitting together like a hand in glove.  Well, that’s not the type of relationship I have.  While my husband asked for my hand in marriage—that’s as far as that metaphor goes.  A culinary metaphor is more apt—like oil and vinegar, tangy and sharp, coming together temporarily for a splash of interesting and complex flavors, but soon separating into entities that will never mix.

Opposites attract, as the saying goes.  Opposites may indeed attract, but it is no sure sign of compatibility, and when two such people come together in marriage, it may be a covenant of pain.  Sometimes there is a vain comfort in feeling one’s sorrows are uncommon and unique, such as the tortured artist cutting off his ear, but leaving a legacy of genius.  I have been tempted to think the obstacles in our marriage are more formidable than that which is common to man, and I am not ready to give up that idea completely.

Age Old Obstacles

What is in the guise of unique, formidable obstacles, though, is actually an age-old Ephesians 5 problem.

Men want to be respected.  Women want to be loved.  We are no different here.  What makes our marriage one of perpetual, irresolvable conflict is the basis of our decision making.

After twenty-three years, we find ourselves at an increasingly pressurized impasse.  The path of peace for one is a trampling and violation of the other.  In other words, the decisions which make my husband feel respected come at the cost of my feeling unloved.  Conversely, the decisions which make me feel loved come at the cost of my husband feeling disrespected.

Can a wife solve her Ephesians 5 problem with 1 Peter 3?

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Be Like Sarah?

Peter holds Sarah up as a holy woman of the past who submitted to her husband, Abraham, and did not give way to fear. 

One account, in particular, highlights the tensions between the sexes regarding freedom, security, and the basis of decision making.  I will revisit this narrative from a decidedly biased, twenty-first century, female point of view, looking at how this rightly-heralded man of faith threw his wife under the proverbial camel, and how Sarah did not give way to fear.

Because of famine, Abram is going down to Egypt to buy grain.  He tells Sarai to inform the Egyptians that she is his sister so he will not be killed on account of her beauty.  Subsequently, she is taken into Pharaoh’s palace—think harem and concubine!  This experience must have been rife with reservations, rationalizations, and resentments.

Sarai’s reservations:

The Lord has certainly called my husband on this journey, but did Abram check with the God of heaven regarding this partially true yet deceitful strategy to circumvent his fear of Pharaoh?  What might happen to me once I leave the comfort and safety of my family?  Will I be raped by Pharaoh?  Does Abram have plans to rescue me from Pharaoh and be my knight in shining goat’s hair?

Abram’s rationalizations:

If Sarai really loves me, she will do whatever is necessary to protect me.  She will respect my authority and say everywhere we go, “He is my brother.”  Besides, she really is my half-sister, so it is not selfish or sinful, but reasonable and rational.

Sarai’s resentments:

That grievous goatherd sold me out to cover his own skin!  Abram does not cherish and protect me; I am nothing more than a bartering tool to be exchanged for his freedom.  Apparently, my security is a low price for him to pay!

Discussing this Event with My Husband

Certainly this story might be cast in a different light. 

In discussing the account with my husband, he mentioned maybe Sarai felt honored to represent their family interests at Pharaoh’s court.  Really?  Is there some secret Prophetic Men’s Justification Club?  Now, to be fair to my husband, his response was tongue-in-cheek, and to be fair to Abram, maybe he thought Sarai’s fate would be the same whether or not she said Abram was her brother.  But my point is that Abram’s decision might have been a bitter point of contention between them had Sarai given way to fear.

Darker Times of a Covenant Marriage

Later in this couple’s history, Hagar the slave woman is cast out because she and her son have no share in God’s covenant promises to Abraham. During the darker times in my covenant marriage, I have felt that being in the desert with Hagar seemed more alluring than staying in a covenant relationship that is fulfilled only through death.

We are in good company, though, regarding this angst as it seems even the Divine is not exempt from the painful conflict associated with covenant relationships.  Before the covenant vows were even said, God was ready to destroy the Israelites and start again with Moses after their idolatry with a mysteriously appearing golden calf.

In that light it seems strange that God would bind himself in relationship with his wayfaring people who time and again strain that union through adulterous affairs.  In fact, the only release from covenant is found in death itself.

The death that was eventually offered to the Israelites is that which is ultimately offered to us today:  either accept and participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of his Son, or face the cataclysmic death of the covenant relationship like the Israelites experienced in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

There is Only One Option

The deeper, the longer, the more entangled that I become with my husband, the one that I intimately know and love, but with whom I am so painfully enthralled in irresolvable conflict, it becomes clear that the only option for this covenant is death.

I must either die to myself with the possible hope of resurrection to something both familiar and unknown, or our marriage will experience the obliterating finality of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  One thing is certain.  Death is excruciating, and death to self no less so.  Is it possible, like Sarah, to do what is right and not give way to fear when your husband leads you on what seems a reckless and potentially dangerous path?  Can one’s reservations and resentments be crucified and discomforts tolerated?  Can one’s fear of the Lord be greater than the fear of where her man might lead her?

Something is going to have to die, but only one death has hope of resurrection.

Death imagery is actually woven into the fabric of our universe, a divine parable whispered through creation.  Every night the sun “dies” and the light is extinguished only to be reborn with dawn, sometimes in glorious splendor.  Or take seeds falling to the ground with seasonal, earthy death, returning markedly changed and fruitful.  Though we wish to shirk death, we were born to die.  Not only that, death is also our hope.  Each time we die a godly death within the context of our covenants, in that paradoxical death, we plant the hope of resurrection.

Edited by: John Michener, beloved husband, not grievous goatherd.

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