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Tag: Unchurched

Exiles from organized religion

An Eagle and a Snowy Mountaintop

The bald eagle symbolizes America. It resides in North America, but this word reaches beyond this side of the earth. As such, I see some similarities between our national symbol and what is transpiring today. I will give this word loosely and hope that the Lord gives you wisdom as you read it.

The bald eagle is not obviously bald. Its white head contrasts with its dark body. Psalms 68:14 also contrasts Zalmon in a similar manner. It was a dark, volcanic mountain covered with snow. In this scripture passage, it was snowing when the kings of the earth were scattered by Him. It was a sign of timing.

Eagles can fly roughly two miles high in the air. The eagle has pinpoint eyesight and can see its prey from far away. Satellites, ditto, only they are not bound by biology, but technology.

They feed on schools of fish. Fish symbols were drawn to identify Christ followers during the persecution by the Roman Empire.

Their numbers are increasing because they are a protected species.

The numbers, precision, and protected status of others are overwhelming to those of us crying out for help. There are no man-made answers. There are some strong citizens doing what they can, but it is so widespread that only God can cleanse and heal our nation. Only God can restore our national symbol of the nation to us in a foundational way. Only God can deliver us from the eagles’ talons. Only God can transform the predator side of our national symbol into a symbol of hope and restoration of our republic.

The Psalms 68 passage note of my NASB study bible states that the battle had already been won before the Israelis had suited up for battle.

Ezekiel, the prophet, spoke for the Israelis then, and for Christ followers hurting now, no matter where we live. Verses 34:8, 10, 14-15, 17, 25-26, 28 speak encouragement for the days ahead:

“As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;…Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”….“I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD….”As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats….I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. “I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing….“They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid.

Faith

Poetry, Grief and Love

two people on the beach
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

A little bit of shoot the breeze and quite a bit of why I haven’t been posting lately. Grief has a funny way of pausing projects, a lifestyle.

Little Bits

I have read that some poets don’t read poetry. (And I would be interested in knowing the percentage.) I have a few anthologies that I pick up and thumb through, especially when I am feeling blue. I love Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz’s three Favorite Poem Project Anthologies. Every poem has at least one reader’s reaction to it – how it affected their lives.

After college, I kept my copy of the Harbrace College Handbook, which is a grammar and style book for writers. I found newer used editions as the years went by, but I noticed they were dumbed down. I actually bought an older version to replace a newer one for this reason. I can’t imagine the state of education today…

Quite a Bit

I have two best friends. I lost one of them on Good Friday.

It was a desire of mine since I began my adult years, to have a male platonic friend. My mother had a co-worker at the small rural high school where she was a counselor. They talked to each other on the telephone all the time. She told me that her friends were asking why don’t you just marry him? It worked for them, they were both very independent. I talked to him after my mother passed and before I moved away, and I could tell he missed her horribly. This relationship I think fostered a desire in me for the same thing. To be loved for me.

The way I met my friend was miraculous. He was an online game player that met my son online shortly after I moved here. He was from Wisconsin and about my age. I would talk to him occasionally through the VoIP software they used sometimes. After my son joined the Marines, the offer went out to talk to him myself while my son was in boot camp. And afterward, we took turns leading with a devotional and communion once a month over the same software. We had church.

We never met in person (though he did get to see my son), but he knew me better than almost anyone else. How did he show me love? He read my poems. And this one made him laugh.

Harry – of When Harry Met Sally fame – is not right when he says the sex always gets in the way. Sometimes the lack of it can be very healing.

Thank you, Lord, for Dec. I will be forever grateful.

FaithPoetryReading

To Be Continued…

Several weeks ago, I felt the Lord say to me, my writing would save me. And it already has – the one good thing that came out of lockdowns was my learning discipline to blog and enjoying the likes and occasional comments. You really kept me going.

Many years ago I saved articles that decried the Church not meeting the needs of Christian artists.

I have held for a long-time desire to belong to a regular Christian writing community. I have pondered what that means specifically, or how it would play out. Not a how-to, marketing, or anything similar, but a place of support for Christian artists.

As they say, anything new begins with the first step, or in my case, the first blog post.

To be continued…

FaithWriting

Battle Axes and Spiritual Warfare

My mother was a warrior. She was the counselor at a small town high school – the students called her Battle Ax.

It has been a long time ago, so I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but it I think it was junior high school or a year or two later. I was sick – normal flu symptoms – that morning and stayed home from school. She went to work. We lived in a larger community about 15 miles down the highway. All of a sudden, without any warning, I felt extremely dizzy, disoriented, and called her at work, panicking.

She left work immediately, and while driving down the road, was telling the devil where he could get off – literally, no metaphors. And before she got home, I all of a sudden felt refreshed.

It was from her I learned spiritual warfare. I have used it in the seen and unseen realms.

In this same town when I had returned to live as an adult, I attended a church that practiced the gifts of the Spirit. Rumor mill had it that some in town viewed us as a cult. All I know is this church is the only one I attended (plus a home bible study of a friend of my mothers) where I felt the presence of the Lord. It was in that church that I taught high school. And it was in that church that I healed after a divorce.

If the church has failed us, I believe it is in this area: our spiritual authority in Christ. Deception is running rampant today, and discernment coupled with spiritual warfare is key.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV

Faith

Imprecatory Prayers and Poetry

King David, from the Old Testament, wrote many imprecatory prayers, or I would say imprecatory poems, otherwise known as psalms. From my NASB Study Bible, the footnote from Psalms 5:10 states “they are appeals to God to redress wrongs perpetrated against the psalmists by imposing penalties commensurate with the violence done – in accordance also with also with normal judicial procedure in human courts.”

According to Crosswalk, “Imprecations … are found in high poetry and are the product of reasoned meditation (not to mention divine inspiration!).”

Along with being “high poetry,” imprecatory prayers can mean the difference between living or dying. They are reserved for life threatening situations that have no relief available, and must be within God’s will. People praying these prayers have no human recourse for justice – and the evil never stops.

It is an attack not only on the person crying out to God, but an attack on God Himself. Most attacks of this kind are to destroy a person’s God given purpose, a way to shut him up permanently. Today this is extremely pertinent.

It has to be prayed with great humility, relying on the Lord Himself to bring justice and relief from the evil. Rom. 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” Humility includes no gloating during and after justice is served, or the Lord could stop his judgment on the evildoers. And if you are in such a state as to need answers to this prayer, relief means no gloating. Joy that the evil is over is very biblical, a way of thanking God for answering prayers.

Many years ago, I spent two weeks in a women’s shelter to get relief from a shaming relationship. The last several years, I am currently surrounded in a situation that requires these type of prayers daily. At the beginning of this current situation, the Lord gave me Psalms 35 to read, verses 26-27 catching my attention. It has been extraordinarily difficult, but God has been good, taking care of the big things and the small details. And I attribute a large portion of my protection to these prayers. As far as poetry, most of my posts tagged under “Empowered Individuals” describe my life in very metaphorical terms.

I feel the Church has, by design, been neutered in spiritual warfare. I believe we are where we are today because the Church is uncomfortable with spiritual warfare. Actually, with any form of power from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said we would do greater works than Him (John 14:12). The power is there if we use it according to biblical standards.

FaithPoetry

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