“Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abidu, and seventy of the leaders of Israel went up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a pavement of brilliant sapphire, as clear as the heavens. And though Israel’s leaders saw God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they shared a meal together in God’s presence!” Exodus 24: 9-11.
Seventy four men saw the God of Israel! Let me rephrase that this way; Seventy four men SAW the God of Israel! Oh my word, to me, this is more scrumptious than when God placed Moses in the cleft of a rock and covered him with his hand when he passed by. (Exodus 33:22-23).
To top it off, not only did the leaders of Israel see God and He didn’t destroy them, they ate a meal together in God’s presence. They.Ate.With.God.!!
Have you ever had an amazing, exciting and out of this world story to tell? One that you are sure no one would believe if you told them, yet one you couldn’t contain to yourself?
Moses had a story like that. In short summation, he and the nation of Israel witnessed the 10 plagues God commanded against Pharaoh and Egypt.
- Plague of blood,
- Plague of frogs,
- Plague of gnats,
- Plague of flies,
- Plague against livestock,
- Plague of boils,
- Plague of hail,
- Plague of locust,
- Plague of darkness
- Death of Egypt’s firstborn.
When Pharaoh finally cried out to Moses and Aaron to gather the nation of Israel and leave Egypt, there were, by some estimates…
As the Israelites left Egypt God told them to ask the Egyptians for clothes, gold and silver, which the Egyptians gave willingly. God caused the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians without a single weapon of war being raised.
Sometime after the Exodus, Jethro, Mosses father-in-law came to visit. Scripture tells us;
Jethro was delighted when he heard about all that the LORD had done for Israel as he brought them out of Egypt. Exodus 18:9.
What’s your story? I’m guessing you have more than one. I believe God gives us continual stories to share with others to express our faith in Him. To glorify His kingdom. Stories that are so unbelievable that it could only be God himself.
The grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
It was New Year’s Eve. My husband and I had gone to bed amidst, what seemed to be the unending sound of M-80’s going off around the neighborhood. Did I just hear gunshots? Six, in rapid succession. Lest you think we live in an undesirable area, we don’t. Actually, our city has gone from rural farming to one of the fastest growing bedroom communities in the area.
Shortly after midnight my son walked in and asked if he could go pick up a friend who had asked him for a ride because he was not in any condition to drive himself.
Apparently, my son had sent out a message to some of his friends that he was available to give rides home to those who needed them. Love his huge heart of caring! However, I did not want him going out; it was after all after midnight and many inebriated people, I’m sure, would be on the road. We had a brief discussion on how something can be good but not necessarily the right thing to do. My son, not wanting to listen to what I had to say and deciding to take the consequences of disobedience, chose to go anyway.
Beside acting like a complete basket case of a mom and following him, the only thing left for me to do was pray. As I laid there seeking my God and his wisdom, I said to Him, “I’m not willing to sacrifice the life of my son for another.” Wow, oh my and ouch. Did I really just say that to God!?!!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17.
Abba, Father. I confess and repent of my attitude from that night. Knowing that the life I live and that of my family is for You. Thank you for working out your perfect will in our lives. Amen.
She could hear it but couldn’t see it. Somewhere in the distance a phone was ringing. She must be dreaming. It wouldn’t stop. Ring…..ring…..ring. Slowly she came awake and realized it was their house phone. She looked at the clock; 2:00 a.m. Alarmed, she quickly got out of bed and rushed to answer the phone. In her mind there were only two reasons the phone would be ringing at this hour; a prank phone call or the bearer of bad news. She was hoping for the former and realized it was the latter when she heard the voice of her sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law was telling her Mike was dead, killed in a tragic auto accident. Still groggy from sleep, she thought to herself, “Not again.” She had already lost two brothers now a third? And, “What was her brother doing out driving at that time of the morning anyway?” Her brother and sister-in-law had been high school sweethearts and she was wondering about her sister-in-law’s grief. Then she understood. Her sister-in-law was calling to tell her their 17 year old nephew had died.
Just the day before she heard the Holy Spirit whisper to her to email her brother, the
father of her nephew, Matthew 5:4; Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. She did not and now he would need that more than ever. No parent ever wants to outlive their children, and yet, her parents had outlived their two oldest sons before they too passed within three months of each other. Now, six months after their father had passed and three months after their mother had passed, her brother was burying his own son.
They had been best friend’s since they were little. Now one was dead and the other had his legs amputated at the knee’s. His best friend had been the driver of the car. Her niece and another friend had been in the back seat of the car. It was late January, the 27th to be exact, the streets were wet and slick from a recent rain. The driver was speeding and lost control in front of their high school. The car wrapped around a light pole and split in half. Her nephew was killed instantly, her niece and friend were thrown from the back seat of the car. The driver had to be cut from the wreckage. Both girls suffered back injuries, her niece a broken back and burns from where the muffler, it was the muffler wasn’t it? Landed on top of her. She still bears the scars. It is by the complete grace of God that she is walking today.
It has been almost seven years since this tragedy struck our family and it still seems like yesterday. No one ever wants to think it can’t happen to them, until it does. The healing has been slow but God has been gracious and always with us.
I have learned two important things from this tragedy. Never let the sun go down without telling your loved ones you love them and be the driver you want you children and the young people in your sphere of influence to be.
As part of my brother’s healing process and to keep the memory of his son, Mike, alive, he started a non-profit called Get Real Behind The Wheel. They host monthly safe teen driving with on track driving instruction for teens and their parents. You can visit them here.
In the words of my brother, “Keep It Real Behind The Wheel.”
It was 10 days before her 21st Birthday. She stood on her father’s arm waiting for the procession to begin. As she did, she was looking at all the faces staring back at her. There were smiles all around, and, why wouldn’t there be? It was a beautiful sunny day. The girls looked so pretty in their dresses holding their flowers. The men were handsome as ever in their tuxedo’s. It was her wedding day!
Finally, it was their turn to walk down the aisle into her future. Suddenly, an odd thought came crashing into her mind crowding out all the other thoughts forming there; “This marriage will not last.” The thought was so real, so vivid, so tangible, she could feel it just as much as she had thought it. She brushed it off and soon she was standing there, in front of him, her high school sweetheart. The rest of the day went on as planned and nary a thought was given to “that” thought.
Sadly, two years later that prophetic thought came to pass. The marriage was over. Lives; their lives and that of their families were shattered. Would healing ever come?
It wasn’t until years later that she realized and acknowledged the truth; she had settled. She knew the reason to be that she didn’t feel good enough or deserve to have someone love her for who she was. While she had always felt she was confident she now came to realize she suffered from low esteem. And, that, would take even more years for her to begin to understand and overcome.
This year I decided to read my devotional Bible. After a section of passages the author has inserted a devotion based on the main point of the collective passages. From one particular devotion I read, “When God looks at us, are we a pleasure to him, or a pain?” I immediately took exception to this statement. I have spent the last few years continually learning about my identity in Christ. I know when God looks at me he does not see me as a pain, even when I choose to be disobedient.
These are just some of the feelings God has about me:
- He delights in me and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Imagine that, God sings!
- I am the apple of his eye! (Zachariah 2:8)
- He lavishes me with his great love and calls me his child. (1 John 3:1).
- I am no longer condemned. (Romans 8:1).
- I am righteous in his sight. (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- I am blessed because my sins are forgiven. (Romans 4:7).
I meet and pray with many women. One thing we all have in common is overcoming the lies we have bought into about our worth. And, I’m sure the author of the devotions means no ill intent or purposeful harm. But, for some to read those words questioning whether we are a pleasure or a pain to God, could send them in a downward spiral and somehow the start button is pushed on all those old negative and lying mind talk tapes.
Today I am featuring a guest writer, my daughter, Courtney. We both enjoy writing. While I must consistently work at writing, she has a true gift. She inspires and challenges me to become the writer I truly want to be. I hope you enjoy this short story. Remember…..there is ALWAYS hope.
The door of the fifteenth room of the first building on the corner of J and 10th street is white with blue trim. Inside sits a woman and a young man, she in a chair he on a bed. She stares blankly at the cream wall behind his head while his gaze rests on the framed photograph that she cradles in her lap as if it were a child.
Her eyes in the photograph are years younger than the eyes that stared through him now. Her arms danced through his and settled at the base of his waist in an embrace. The woman’s lips were parted to reveal the mouth that the young man knew so well. His own mouth settled into a poignant line as he took in her image and twisted into a grimace when he met his own reflection. The boy who met his gaze had questions in his young eyes that begged to be answered. His lanky body clad in swimwear did not fit next to the woman as well as she wished it did. The young man looked passed the twosome in the photo and into the waves that crashed behind them. The picture’s background went from brown to blue to purple to black as the sand gave way to a bruised sunset and the young man let out a tired snicker as he remembered how accurately it portrayed the walls of his soul. The young man thought about the events that followed that picture being captured. How the wrinkly woman who took the photo commented on how they were so handsome, believing them to be siblings. And how after the sagging lady had left them the woman led him to a natural grotto and he took off her flowery swim bottoms, just like her father had so many years before him. He remembered the spirals of smoke as they sat against the wall of the cave and shared cigarettes afterwards; she looking into the smoke, grasping on to what had just happened while he tried to forget.
The boy would learn later about Freud and all his theories and he would sit down alone in his dark room and try. But as it usually goes he could not choose which memories he got to keep and which ones to send away. Someone once told the boy that if you don’t remember an event then it couldn’t have really happened. So he kept trying. Quite predictably, his attempts to repress his memories with her proved to be futile; they continued to swim through his mind in a pool of vivid color that he desperately wished would fade to black.
The young man sighed and met the gaze of the woman whose attention he had caught with his movement. The right side of her lips curved into a tentative smile.
“The orderly who gave me directions to your room said it was so nice that the long lost older sister she had heard so much about had finally made it back into town to see you.”
The young man’s heavy chest heaved out a sigh. He didn’t know why he told the orderlies about her. He liked to imagine it was because he knew that she needed to be discussed in order to live on and he was the only one left to discuss her. He could make up whatever details he wanted to about her, lessening the weight she left on his soul.
As much as she had done he couldn’t let all of her die to him.
“I wish I could say the same.”
Her face fell slightly and she shifted in her chair. The young man wasn’t necessarily displeased to see her but what he felt when she crept her head around his door a few hours previous was not pleasure.
“This place is a lot better than the one I was in after…” she trailed off as she stroked the frame of the photograph and let her eyes drift over the linoleum floor.
His chest extended once more as his eyes followed her fondling hands to the photograph.
“You know after that day,” he started nodding to the photograph, “when all this happened,” he exhaled as he spread his arms across the bedspread.
“They told me to write, just to write whatever I was thinking and you know since that,” he again nods to the photograph, “had just happened I wrote about that day.”
He was not going to offer up the words scratched into the legal pad that lay in the bottom drawer of the nightstand to his right so he raised his eyes to hers and kept them steady until she said, “well show me.”
Slowly the young man shifted his weight and reached over to unearth the legal pad that bore his soul. He flipped the cover over to the first page, lifted his eyes to hers, looked back down and began reading in his recently deepened voice.
The first thing you hear are the crickets, somewhere in the distance. Inhale exhale. The smoke is harsh on your tongue and light on the air. The raindrops penetrate. The crickets wing’s rubbing together remind you of another. Skin. Skins? Yours on mine. The tobacco on the paper. The two things, among others, that defined our lives. The waves are approaching you. You imagine the water skirting up onto the sand and drenching you but at the last second the waves retreat and you remain untouched. There’s disappointment in your eyes. You think it’s probably better to feel something than nothing at all. You move towards me and I away from you. Tonight I decided it for us, which was probably better because you wouldn’t have done it yourself. You look down and realize that your cigarette is almost gone and flick the end and go in for the final drag. Each piece of ash twirls down into the earth, spellbound. I was spellbound by you. Not from the first moment I met you. But that’s what made it so special. You took the time to become wrapped up in me. Unfortunately this means that when you unraveled you took me with you. Your cigarette is gone now so we say goodbye. First you. Then me. Then you watch as your delusion drifts away in the cloud of smoke you just exhaled and disperses at the end of its run. I watch too, slowly gazing into the rain.
The woman’s eyes drooped as she shifted them to meet the young man’s. She pursed her lips anticipating words but none came so she dropped her head, resigned.
“I forgive you.”
She nodded her still lowered head up and down, her shoulders heaving into the motion; a dry sob escaped her mouth. The only sound for several minutes was the rustling of the legal pad as the young man moved it from his lap back to its place in the bottom drawer.
“No you’re not.”
Her head rose sharply and her eyes penetrated him like none had before. He didn’t know how far she had come to say those words to him. She was better and she wanted him to understand.
But she wasn’t better, her presence in that room, his home, betrayed her. The little girl who let her daddy slide off her flower print panties, who never whimpered once, replaced the woman in the chair. Their eyes met once more, her irises that were stained black by the union of pain and memory met his that couldn’t move past gray. The photograph dropped from her lap as the little girl got up and the glass shattered as it met the linoleum floor. She slowly stepped over the shards towards the young man and his bed.
As she approached him the young man laughed, deep and guttural. Her lanky frame extended towards his that filled the twin bed. He laughed on as she climbed in next to him and as he danced his arms into hers and rested them at the base of her waist. He laughed as she curled into him, a fragile stem of a wilting flower that he could so easily end.
The woman settled and the young man stopped laughing. Her tears came slowly; the whimpers she had never before emitted came first. Then, as fits of tears often do, she escalated and was soon shaking the bed with her sobs. The woman couldn’t stop there though, decades of unshed tears tore themselves from her body and despite how tight the young man held her, her tears started to shake the room. The desk rattled to his right, the legal pad in the bottom drawer commingling with his loose sketches of various hotels they had stayed at together. Her howls filled the halls and soon the building started to sway, back and forth as she convulsed in and out of the young man’s chest.
He held her but did not stroke her hair or hold her hand. He led her through the fit until it was over. Her howls turned to sobs that turned to whimpers that turned to silence. She rocked herself back and forth as her life quieted. Then she was still and so was the building and the room and the bed and her soul.
As the woman settled herself into his chest and allowed her eyelids to fall, the young man’s gaze dropped onto the shattered memory on the linoleum. He lifted his eyes up and allowed them to look around the cracked door and into the hallway. His gaze kept going until it found the stairs at the end of the hall and climbed them down to the ground level. It rested on the large double doors that had welcomed him in so many years ago. With little hesitation, his gaze went through the doors and out into the rain.