Seeing Inside

Does anyone find living here hard besides me? I don’t mean hard in deprivation–I have a wonderful life. I mean hard in dealing with your own inner terrain–at seeing yourself and being disappointed again and again at your own performance? Am I just worse than the rest? Do I have too high of standards for myself? For others? Being around family always seems to bring it out!

I seem to want so much for people that they don’t want for themselves. And sometimes they aren’t even aware they are missing parts of themselves. This is hard. And what makes it harder is I don’t know how to do attraction vs. promotion. At least I don’t think so. I think I get it is live what you believe. But I want to tell people what they should do, and how they should feel. It doesn’t work. I’ve known that for years.

I have also known for years that I am wired backwards: I’m soft where I should be hard, and hard where I should be soft. I feel like Paul, “Oh wretched man that I am!”

I’m so glad God isn’t like me! I’m so glad there are Three of Them in one God (“Let Us make man in Our image.”), and They are all good and all love. And when They need to be hard They can be: like a good parent holding said boundary. Or allowing the experience of learning by suffering consequences. I’m so glad their love is so big and so real They can engulf and heal our brokenness. I’m so glad They are wisdom personified, and are willing to share it just for the asking, not requiring anything as payment.

Sorry if this is a downer. I’m just ranting from the inside this morning–I don’t like seeing my brokenness. But I must need it every now and again. If I didn’t, I would be even harder to be around and more judgmental–God help me! And They do–They love me so sweetly. I don’t know how, but They do–that’s the wonderful I want!


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What is Forgiveness?

I hadn’t planned to write on forgiveness, but it pushed to the front. I’ve heard again and again that unless you forgive, you can’t be happy or successful at life.

So what is forgiveness? Saying what they did is alright? That is silly, if you hate what they did. And if feels wrong if you were crippled by it.

I hear and read many places: “You must forgive yourself.” I believe it. I say it myself. But what is it?

I believe there are some things that precede forgiveness: acceptance of brokenness, acceptance of love, believing in hope and that I am lovable.

In order to forgive, you have to believe that you can do great wrong, that you can hurt people–that you are capable of evil. You also have to believe that you are of great value, that you are loved and capable of loving others. The first is difficult if you grew up thinking you were the center of the universe, and never had it corrected. That last one is difficult for many of us, especially if we didn’t feel it. We are feeling people who can think. And we have to be able to do both mindfully. We try to be thinking people who can feel, but we are mainly run by emotion. (When you’re tired or threatened, emotion takes over. Even when you want to do something different, feelings will often sabotage and take you back to what is comfortable.)

Forgiveness matters because we crave loving and being loved. If we accept the above as reasonable, then we have to acknowledge that there is a God of love, or none of this would make any sense. Without God there would be no reason to love or forgive, except survival–and that, too, is God; without Him emotion would destroy us; so we come to the most basic belief underneath forgiveness.  We were made pure, good, loved and capable of loving; and became broken–capable of evil, attracted to evil,  often ignorantly. Emotions have become so twisted here that what feels good many times is destructive.

Are you following? Most of the important things in life are backwards, or feel backwards because we were made to run on love, but we don’t here.

So then what is forgiveness? I have thought about this for 10 years, and studied it longer. What actually is forgiveness? First you have to admit evil and wrong: Oswald Chambers says, “The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship; it establishes mutual regard for the fact that the basis of life is tragic.”

It is now, but it wasn’t always so. In our beginning we were all good, made for love and joy. That means we have to accept sin. What in the world is that? I see it as brokenness, but it is more accurately that which broke us–high-handed mutiny against God and love–that which separated us from God and gave us two conflicting natures. It was high-handed because there was no reason for it. It came because they could. They were free to rebel. It happened before us.

So then forgiveness makes possible the reconciliation that fixes the separation–the tragedy. But it is not reconciliation. You can forgive without reconciling. And that comes from the God-part of us. It can’t be otherwise. Reconciliation is the idea that people are worth living with, worth loving, capable of choice and change. But forgiveness comes before.

Forgiving is primarily for us–it frees us from carrying hurt and anger. It is the attitude that makes it possible for us to keep giving even when we have been hurt or when we have done the damage. We give ourselves another chance to get it. We believe we aren’t hopeless.

At the most basic level forgiveness is belief that love is real and freedom exists–that I can make choices and change, and so can you, that love is a power in the universe and we call it God. There is a being, a Trinity of beings, who is pure love who wants to live with us and bring us back to wholeness, but who will let us choose in freedom.

Love is not just an emotion. It is power. Pure stable energy that is so strong unstable energy can’t exist in it’s presence. The first five books of the Bible, and maybe all of them, are about God trying different ways of dealing with the problem of being with us because His presence would consume us.

Forgiving is the easiest thing God does. Reconciliation is a process requiring a want-to on both sides. But forgiveness most simply stated is for giving love to ourselves and others just because we can. Forgiveness may be separating in love (as God had to) or it may be coming together in love, but it is fueled by love and supported by choice. I can let go or take you back believing in the change love can make. I can come back to Love.


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What Makes a Good Father?

Did you have a good father?

I would love to know what percentage of you can answer yes, and feel it. What made him good? I know already he wasn’t perfect, there isn’t such a thing, but I wonder why there aren’t more who were (are) good enough. What do we need in a father?

It’s a good question for Father’s Day. We need fathers: their strength, their guidance and directions, their understanding and gentleness. But so often they are either a detriment or just absent. Being a woman and a mother, I don’t really understand that. Having a father who worked very hard, I do appreciate the responsibility and loyalty of men for their families, but why is it so hard for them to relate to their children?

I know they have the same love mothers have. I’ve watched and talked to my friends. Are men afraid of attachment? Are they raised to avoid deep relationships? Is it because they stop talking to parents at puberty? Is it that the separation from mom is so traumatic and the separation from dad often violent that they have a feeling of being alone? They seem to be more isolated inside than women are. Are they more afraid of their emotions? Afraid to own them, to have them? I’ve only experienced it vicariously through my clients.

I recently worked with a man who believed love was weakness. His dad was absent, his mother too. But why would a man who had a good relationship with at least one parent think that? There seems to be something inherent in a man that says you have to be strong. You must be independent.

Separating from parents is important, but it is tough if you don’t have a relationship with them. Cutting off doesn’t get it. You end up feeling isolated. So men usually identify with their work–what they do becomes who they are. But is that really the same? It would explain why they focus on work. And if they haven’t had a safe-feeling relationship, they will shy away from emotions.

Falling in love is the next emotional connection, and if it goes badly, which most first-love experiences do, because of immaturity, lack of identity, and rushing into them, it will fail him. Perhaps making him lock up softness and affection even tighter. A man’s emotions are more fragile and yet more powerful than a woman’s, but much more rare.

If a man doesn’t mature them in the second and third decades by being slow and purposeful with relationships and choices, emotions do not mature from disuse or misuse, and they can be scary and feel out-of-control. Drinking, drugs and porn seem easier than growing up emotionally. I worked with a man, a very successful pastor of many years, a master teacher, but who was so emotionally shut down he didn’t have any idea what he felt. And life had gotten hard. He had never learned this, and addiction got him.

This I can relate to because I shut down  emotions early. I can remember making choices to do it at 8 and 9. According to my mother my emotions were defective, and my father was pretty much absent. I didn’t start actually looking at them and understanding them until I was in my late 20’s and went to therapy for the first time. That was a short, very helpful stint. I began to unpack them. Later, I faced them again–eight-year-old emotions that came up in a 34 yr-old relationship. I took them to God, asked what was going on, and He told me I had saved them for a safe man. But they needed to be lived with every day and matured.

It’s important to grow up emotionally. God is a balanced, loving, ever-present father who will never abandon you. He is a safe person with which to unpack your emotions and practice them. He made you with them. And whether you missed the critical second and third decades of growing them well, you can start today. Journaling, writing your feelings to God every day, is a great way to start–whether male or female, whether you are 12 or 72.

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Breaking the Link of Violence and Mental Illness –

People with serious mental disorders, while more likely to commit aggressive acts than the average person, account for only about 4 percent of violent crimes over all.

The rate is higher when it comes to rampage or serial killings, closer to 20 percent, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a New York forensic psychiatrist who has a database of about 200 mass and serial killers. He has concluded from the records that about 40 were likely to have had paranoid schizophrenia or severe depression or were psychopathic, meaning they were impulsive and remorseless.

“But most mass murders are done by working-class men who’ve been jilted, fired, or otherwise humiliated — and who then undergo a crisis of rage and get out one of the 300 million guns in our country and do their thing,” Dr. Stone said.

The sort of young, troubled males who seem to psychiatrists most likely to commit school shootings — identified because they have made credible threats — often do not qualify for any diagnosis, experts said. They might have elements of paranoia, of deep resentment, or of narcissism, a grandiose self-regard, that are noticeable but do not add up to any specific “disorder” according to strict criteria.

via Breaking Link of Violence and Mental Illness –

This is a quote that is now four years old, and mental illness has come up in mass shootings more frequently during that time. However, that probably has more to do with the violence ingested by all of us on TV and media. It represents a permission of sorts to act out–everybody is doing it–and people with mental illness have less of a boundary between fantasy and reality.

Mental illness constitutes a terror for people to live with inside their heads, but mostly it stays contained there. They need our compassion and understanding and research more than any disease–this being one of the hardest to live with. You don’t know you are disordered.

To discontinue blaming them for violence is a good thing. To stop being afraid of them is a good thing. To feel compassion and help them is a good thing. To enable their addictions is not.

Twenty years ago, an estimated 30% of homeless were Vietnam veterans–many of them with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have greatly helped our understanding of PTSD. Services for that disorder are increasing, but we still have a long way to go. Awareness is helpful.

I think one of the things we need to come to terms with in this country is our love of violence, our use of it as entertainment and the effect it has on us–get our heads out of the sand on that one. Our parenting has less boundaries and our leisure time has more violence. That is a set up for a crazy, lawless society!

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When God doesn’t make Sense

Once again, why is it bad things happen to good people?

Because suffering shows what we are really like–what we are made of–our characters. And character is simply the accumulation of many choices. How will I look at this situation? What perception will I choose?

And as previously mentioned, I believe, based on several instances in scripture, that Satan asks to test each of us. He knows where we are weak, our Achilles’ heal, our tragic flaw; and that is what he excoriates. He attacks us because we want to be with God, because we are His followers, and want to become authentic lovers. He wants to expose us as posers, phonies, pretenders. So I have imagined several of these counsels in heaven where he gets permission to test based on some “truth” he is presenting about us that makes us unfit to be used, unsafe to have around for eternity.

It’s been interesting and engaging, but if I thought Leviticus was difficult, it was easy compared to Numbers.

I understand there are rules of engagement in every war–the agreements to boundaries that are supposed to be adhered to, i.e. no attacks on civilians. What makes it difficult is that God takes responsibility for everything They allow, as well as what They decide and execute. So some of what looks like it’s coming from God isn’t Their ideas or actions; it’s just allowed. Sometimes it’s pretty clear. Other times, not. For instance, why 40 years in the wilderness?

I admit. I’m stumped. Ordinarily, I would say this is Satan’s engineering. And it could be, but it seems to be a theme that becomes the day for a year theory in prophecy after that. Would God go by something Satan demanded once? It seems unlikely. But as of yet, it doesn’t seem to make sense to me; and if you know me, God has to make sense: that is one of my tenants: Everything God does makes sense if you know Them and understand the big picture. That represents the revealed things, the actions in our world, the things we can understand–not the mystery that is beyond us. I’m good with that, but not good with being too lazy to try to understand.

But based on the first 5 episodes, even God’s strange acts make sense, if you think cosmically. That may not be a word yet, but I’m referring to thinking from a cosmic perspective. Knowing Him (Them) and knowing the people, I can’t figure out even from the big-picture, universal-war perspective,  why He would give them, in this situation, a year for a day. It doesn’t make any sense yet. So back to more time with God. I’ve been to this place several times, and He has always shown me something I’ve overlooked or didn’t understand. I’m sure Ruach will do it again!

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Trending Easy III Ugly is OK

Wasn’t there a song once, “Parents don’t let your kids grow up to be cowboys”? Is that because cowboys do whatever they want? Because they grow up rebellious?

They used to be rebelling against over-controlling or absentee parents. Researchers call it authoritarian (high control, low nurture) and neglectful (low control, low nurture) parenting. The last one can be parents who are there but not engaged. Often because they weren’t taught how to engage. Both types were coming from what was given them, they just didn’t know how to parent and didn’t know how to get help. Often men say, “Well, I turned out ok, so they will too.” When their kids and wives are saying to themselves Uh, you are not ok!

Those are the two most undesirable forms of parenting. The other two are the most desirable. Best is authoritative–High control, high nurture, second best is permissive–low control, high nurture, according to the study done by the University of Minnesota, (one of the leaders in education).

It’s hard to look at ourselves, but it is really important. How are you inside? We are all products of where we came from; no, you won’t be perfect, but you could be interested, communicating,  present and strong enough to set limits and hold them.

I’ve said before that boundaries make a kid secure. They constitute fences that the child or teen can push against and know they won’t move. It makes the child feel loved. Someone cares enough to stand up and fight with me and for me–my true self. That means a parent has to be strong.

What has inspired this blog on parenting, yet again, is kids programming. The shows that I see movie trailers and previews for are scary for values. They are rude and crude, not to mention they move too fast and are too loud and too bright. That was my experience of kids TV with my grandsons a couple of years ago. Nickelodeon, and another I don’t remember now, were really bad for that. After watching it for 2 hours in a motel room with them I felt like I had ADD or ADHD–way over-stimulated, exhausted and a little crazy. But the rudeness in all the shows was really objectionable and supposed to be funny. It wasn’t funny at all.

I was telling my daughter about it and she said that is why she never lets them watch those. I was glad to hear it.

This week my husband and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy just for something fun. Someone had told me it was light and fun, and her value system is pretty close to mine, so we went for a fun date. It was pretty much like kids programming–loud and flamboyant, rude and crude. It took me a while to figure out what the values encased in it were. Here’s what I came out with: the galaxy is full of a bunch of bad dudes of various colors and ugliness, all fighting each other, and Ego describes himself as “a god little g” who seems to be good but ends up wanting to make everything like him, and so has to be destroyed, and the bad guys turn out to be good guys in the end–that was a little troubling. Their saving grace was caring about others. So not terrible, but there wasn’t much value on life. One of the “good” characters says, Let’s go see if he’s for real and if not, we’ll just kill him.” Some of the dialogue is pretty rough and a lot of killing. And at first I thought they were saying evil is good and good is evil, but then decided it was–not everything is what it seems.

I wonder how I will feel if my grandsons went to see it and liked it. I guess I would want to know what they liked about it. The guardians of the Galaxy certainly aren’t someone I would want as role models for them! As I said last week, it seems our country is getting a lot more rude and crude.

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Out-of-Control People

Are we regressing to barbarism from civilization? What is going on with all these people who think it’s ok to get into brawls and fist fights in streets, on airplanes, and even at graduations?! We teach children to “use your words” but these are adults! Is it all the rampant medication people are on? Is that why they have no inhibitions? Are they all drugged? Or just “entitled”?

Ok, so everyone has the “right” to express themselves, but in physical altercations? Really? I’m astonished. People have become disrespectful and dishonoring, and it is making them dishonorable. And it won’t be long, if this trend continues, before we lose our status in the world. Respect is the foundation of civilization not physical power, not brawn. The best system of government (God’s) is based on respect.

One of my friends just went through a horrible ordeal. Her neighbors have been harassing her for years. Finally, last year I went to the police with her who said there was nothing they could do until the neighbors damaged her or her property and she had evidence.

Last week we were texting and she asked if she should call the police. I said, “If he’s on your property.” The next thing I know, she is calling from the police station crying and saying he called the police and they showed up in force, called her out of her house, and nine of them surrounded her with big guns pointed at her. She was terrified, her PTSD from childhood abuse  was totally triggered. I was in shock, wondering what had happened, and asking, “How could you let this happen, Lord?”

The next day her pastor and I went to see her. Her story was the neighbor had set a screen against their fence so it would fall over on her driveway, when it did she kicked it off, and he called police. The charge was she was terrorizing and threatening him with a machete.

Fortunately she doesn’t have a machete, but the police arrested her and took her to jail before searching her house. When they didn’t find one, the charges were dropped but it was three days of missed work and terror.

It was hard, but God used it for good. She was with a group in the holding room while waiting for arraignment, and female addicts waiting with her. They couldn’t believe it when she told them she used to be a heroine addict. She was able to say, “You don’t have to live like this. There is another life. You have a choice.”

She said if felt so good to be able to calmly say that. Her friends have said, “God just needed someone to speak to those girls!”

When they released her she had no way to get home, so two policemen took her home and she got the chance to speak with them without undue stress. She told them what her neighbor had been doing for ten years and both of them said, “He is a stalker, you should press charges for wrongful arrest, missed wages and mental anguish.” That was the other good thing that came from it. I see it as a God-given opportunity. She’s not sure.

At three this morning I was impressed to get up and pray for healing for her and two people who live emotionally crippled from disturbed attachment. It stretched into five women while I was praying, and just now I thought of two more.

Disturbed attachment, more commonly known as a form of abandonment, is a deep issue that can only be healed by God–at least in 30 years as a family-systems therapist I haven’t found another way. Somatic  therapy is very helpful for trauma, and I have been successful to a point with abandonment, but if you know you struggle emotionally from disturbed attachment, God wants to help you.

First, own it. Admit it. That is always the first step. Then ask God to  heal it by giving you evidence that you can feel of His deep mother-love for you. It has to be experiential to heal. It has to reach emotions. Don’t be surprised if there is a flood of tears that have been stored for years. Let them come. Don’t stop them; it’s part of the healing process. The pain may be gut-wrenching but it will pass fairly quickly.

Then find a place where you can feel like you are sitting in God’s lap and just feel His love for you until you feel different. You’ll know when it happens. Don’t rush it and don’t stop it. You will be tempted to think it won’t happen for you, you aren’t worth it, but that’s a lie from the evil side trying to interfere. God wants to heal you.

If lots of lies come to mind–negative things you believe about you–write them down and one by one as you make opportunity, ask God to bind the dark side in Jesus’ name, and tell you the truth. All you have to do is own them and want them healed. Again, God wants to heal you. He doesn’t want you or anyone disrespecting you.

As Israel’s king, He came down harder on disrespect than any other thing–of Him and others. (And I’ve been heavy into His government, writing Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy!) We don’t think respect is that important. But it is the foundation of civilization.


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Hard Questions

Last week I started a tough chapter. One God brought up in my time with Him the other morning. I was just going to gloss over the death penalty in Leviticus as I and so many Christians have done in the past. It feels bad, wrong even, but this is God, and so we move on and in a while forget about it. So I mentioned it and was going to do the same again, until Ruach said he didn’t want me to. He wanted me to deal with it.

“What? Really?” And I felt worse.

The next morning He said, “Do you think that is what I wanted?”

And it was amazing how all the bad feelings melted away. I knew that was not what He wanted–ever. Death has no part of Him, Them, or the kingdom They created and will preside over forever. It can’t even exist in Their presence.

It’s why Jesus couldn’t go to Mary and Martha even though he wanted to. Lazarus wouldn’t have died, and God needed him to, so Jesus could raise him from the dead as Jesus crowning proof he was their Messiah (the sign of Jonah promised the Pharisees.) It was hard on Mary and Martha, but he knew them, and knew he could trust them to get through it without breaking faith.

So why did He set it up as a boundary in Israel? Why so harsh? Why so drastic?

He gave me several reasons: His perspective, the times, prevailing customs, and most importantly containment.

God’s Perspective on Death

If you read the Bible carefully, you find references to death that treat it as a sleep. Jesus confirmed this on at least two occasions: Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter. He raised them back to life, but they died again. Lazarus, not too long after that.

John the Baptist, on the other hand, died at Herod’s hand; the Baptist’s and Jesus’ disciples wondered why Jesus didn’t rescue him and never knew why. I wondered too. Then one day my husband and I were reading the story and I voiced my question again. He told me that he believed John was one of the ones who came out of the grave when Jesus died and went back to heaven with him (Matthew 28:52-53) as the “first fruits” we spoke of in the last chapter. Immediately I espoused that belief! I love it!

And it helped me with God’s perspective on death which for years I had begun to see was different from ours. To us death leaves such a hole in our lives it is traumatic. And if the death was violent it’s so much worse. But even other deaths we hear of are painful when we hear of other people suffering. To us death has such a finality, even if we believe we will see them again in the resurrection. It may be years, and what do we do with the emptiness, love and longing for years?

To God, death is nothing but a moment. Our life span is but a moment. He lives outside of time. And They know hearts. They know who will be resurrected and live forever. Jesus said, “…Even the dead are alive in God’s mind.” So if God “accidentally” kills Nadab and Abihu because of their rash action of coming into Adonai’s presence unfitly, He knows if they will be in heaven.

Death here and forgiveness have nothing to do with each other. God might allow you to die to take you out of painful circumstances, knowing He will see you soon, as he did with John the Baptist and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. They have been a great encouragement to other’s in similar situations. The dead are no different from the living to God.

I’m sure the deaths of those who reject Them are painful to God. There are no more chances. But once again, they read hearts. They know who is really Theirs, and forgiveness is easily extended to those who are honest in heart. This takes us to looking at God as King.

Civil Responsibility of Governments

How does God act as the government? He was the top for Israel. He was their king. until they begged for one. They didn’t want to be a different (holy) nation! They wanted to be like everyone else. It’s so sad how our insecurity makes us want to fit in.

God as king had to have civil laws, and perhaps that scared them because of Sinai. But if they had known God—had their own personal relationships with Him, as Moses did–and known Adonai’s sweet love and tenderness, they would have known He reads hearts and they could trust His judgment as king. Judgment most broadly means discernment.

But since this is too long already, here ends the excerpt from Love’s Playbook, episode 6.



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Caught in the Middle

The past two weeks I passed a test–one of universal importance. Sounds crazy, I know, but it became obvious my loyalty and faithfulness to God were being tested. And there is no test when things go my way. I learned I had a belief that if I didn’t get what I wanted, He didn’t love me. Later, it matured into not getting “what I needed.” Would I let Him down or turn on Him if I didn’t?

I love doing events, the biggest was my daughter’s wedding in our backyard. We were blessed. We got everything we wanted except sunshine. My daughter was perfectly ok with that. I wasn’t. This past weekend was much smaller–a prayer retreat in the same place. But I’m a perfectionist and can get stressed over them. I wasn’t going to this time, and I’ve been successful before.

We had redone some of our yard because the almond tree died, and had to be removed. We planted a new little tree and my husband decided to widen the path to the gazebo. It turned out well, but keeping it well till April 30 turned into a struggle.

The abundant rain stopped; gophers heaved up ground, the bugs ate my ornamental cabbages and primroses that lined the path; the temperature went up to 90–crazy for April and primroses; the east wind blew, not once, but three different times importing gobs of pine needles and mandating daily watering, and I knew the dark side had been given permission to wreak havoc. God had told me, “Rest is a weapon,” and I hung on to that.

The remains of dead baby mockingbirds were dropped on the path two different days, making me sad and silencing their mama for two weeks; my husband got sick with a terrible cough which woke me so I was on two and three hours of sleep twice. At the last mowing, the lawnmower broke, it started leaking gas and kept quitting. I was nervous it might blow up or catch fire and told my husband to stop–it was good enough. The last wind came the day before, and I said to God, “If you don’t care, I won’t either.” Everything that had caused me to question the love and care of God before an event, happened. And this event was for Him. The last day I learned four weren’t coming–a downer.

Early on, I made up my mind I wouldn’t fail this time. And I didn’t! It was actually a peaceful, restful, happy two weeks of being very aware of God’s presence.

Heard of Job? It’s the earliest-written book of the Bible and the clearest window on the war we live in. A myth? I don’t think so. There is too much evidence that Moses wrote it, and a lot of historical references in it. The Septuagint has Job married to Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. I think Moses was trying to work out his own issues with God after his plans (which he thought were God’s plans) went south. It’s hard to understand when that happens.

Job’s story pulls back the curtain to help us understand an apparent discrepancy in scripture. Many places say that God tested people (especially in the wilderness), yet James, the one who grew up with Jesus, says God doesn’t test or tempt anyone. Job’s story explains that Satan questions us, and he is apparently continually asking to test all of us who belong to God to show we are phonies.

Remember how Jesus told Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat (and apparently all of them), but I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail.” Why would God allow that?

It answers the question behind the war in the universe. Satan is the adversary of God and the accuser of us (see link below for my book that tells the story). He not only accuses us, but has accused God of being arbitrary, selfish and not fit to rule.

And rather than just say that it isn’t true, God has allowed us to be exhibit A of evidence: the demonstration of the truth to the on-looking universe . We are helping God win His (Their) case or trial. (They put themselves on trial. Romans 3:4) And what is more convincing than someone willing to believe in God’s goodness when He apparently lets you down?

But you can’t do that unless you know Him–really know Him (Them) as in experiencing Their love and care in a relationship. It isn’t enough to know about Them–it won’t get you through the tests Satan has designed for you. But don’t worry, God knows you, and He only allows what you particularly can make it through if you stay connected. And the rewards are enormous.  Love’s Playbook episode 1 is the story of the beginning of the war between good and evil. Job’s story is there too–episode 4.



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“Seeing Law as Love”

Writing the Bible as a love story set in a cosmic war has given me a new perspective on most things, and law is no exception. Writing Leviticus has been a challenge, but especially so since the point of this series is to show God as They really are–all good with no evil at all.

A few people want God to be hard, fire and brimstone, coming to execute His enemies, kill the bad guys. But most of us want a God of love. We want that love that we long for, the love we don’t feel we deserve but still crave. We desperately try to find it from a person, only to be disappointed yet again. Can God be strong enough to end evil, and still be all love, all good?

Yes! It’s getting clearer to me with every book–even Leviticus. Maybe, especially Leviticus. Here is where mercy and justice come together. But you do have to understand the context. It gives a new view on law.

Something that just happened will serve as an illustration, I think. My 9 yr-old grandson just broke his arm. Somehow that and God as a father segued in my brain. We rush our children to the ER, even at 9 p.m. We depend on them.  The pain was intense, both bones had snapped in two.  It was traumatic. Thank God for round-the-clock medical services! What would Moses have done? He didn’t have hospitals, not even doctors. He would surely have gone to God and asked What do I do? And God would have told him how to align it and to splint it on three sidesMoses walked with God–he went to God with everything.

So if God came to Moses and said this is how I want you to…eat, worship, plant (whatever it was), it wouldn’t have been surprising. So it shouldn’t be surprising that God would have ideas about how They wanted Their people, Israel, to worship, eat, plant, etc., when they had been living and acting under the direction of Egyptians for 100 years. (The first hundred they were independent.) Is it because God is a micro-manager? No. It’s because God has better ideas. Being their creator, God knows how they work best internally and inter-relatedly. He wanted to bless them with His ways.

Having a whole nation of people in a Moses-type of relationship was splendid for God–He could bless them with knowledge and ideas they couldn’t possibly know. He could literally prosper them; all they had to do was listen and trust that their God knew best.

Of course, Adonai (before He was Jesus) had to deal with boundaries, because that is a huge part of love in a broken world. Limits create security both internally and externally. And whenever limits are set, there is bound to be some rebellion. When the rebellion encourages mutiny, a king has to be ready with consequences, and Adonai was ready. When you look at things from God’s perspective, it shifts them considerably, even laws and death.

I doubt the death penalty was given for first offenses, but if it was as in the case of offering children as burnt offerings to Molech, the pagan god of the Amorites and Canaanites, don’t forget the experience was harder on God then on them. They  were all His children, and He is love–the same person we celebrate in redemption and resurrection this weekend–the very same. (1Cor 10:4) Somehow we have come to see God’s laws as negative, but they are like the ER, offering help and hope when we don’t know what to do.

If you believe God is love, and His government is based on love, then His laws are love notes. We may not always completely understand His laws for a different culture, but we can know the king who is the same today as He was then, and have a relationship like Moses had. Moses was no slouch; he was a very bright, accomplished warrior who had learned through suffering to depend on God for everything. Understanding God’s laws in the context given makes God look good.


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