Tag Archives: true self

Lessons from a Lovestory

As promised, the message of the story of Ruth: the last chapter of book 7.

Ruth’s double-layered love story is truly about Messiah being our Goel, our kinsmen redeemer, who will do whatever it takes to rescue us and marry us in an everlasting bond of vowed love. God doesn’t waste stories.

Just as Ruth and Naomi need rescue from poverty, and their family inheritance needs restoring, so all of humanity requires rescue from Satan and restoration from the Law of Sin and Death. (That story is in Love’s Playbook episode one.)

Why do we need rescue? Because Adam gave up his dominion and sold all of us into slavery. And ever since then we are all born broken. Jesus’ stories would make it seem that we are the only ones in the universe who are broken and under Satan’s rule.

We want desperately to believe we are good. And half of each of us is good, but we have dual natures. However, it can take a lifetime to see your dark side clearly. Hiding our brokenness is the greatest temptation for Christians and people wanting independence.

The effect of sin on humans—all humans—is ruin and death, and sin is nothing more than separation from God and Their way. As J. Vernon Magee says, in his book, In a Barley Field, “The practice of sin is fatal to man.” But why?

Our brokenness gives us two natures—as Paul says in Romans 7—and   our evil nature likes being independent. It comes naturally to us. We like doing it our way, and taking the best for ourselves. We love ourselves to death. Except it isn’t really love.

True love is God’s love and it sets me free from slavery to me.

We don’t even realize that we actually became slaves of Satan.

We didn’t sell ourselves. Adam sold us. But God, in the Garden of Eden, didn’t give us over fully to evil. They made sure we still retained Their nature as we acquired Satan’s evil one, (see Genesis 3:15). So we are self-focused, but we are also conflicted. God guaranteed we would still long for love and goodness.

We need to be restored to wholeness and brought back into the presence of God in a loving relationship. With respect to the universe, we need a goel, a kinsman redeemer to redeem us from slavery and death; give us back our property—our true hearts and our lives.

And God provided one: “You shall know that Adonai is your Savior and your Goel, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16) I learned from Magee that Isaiah uses “Goel” more times than the whole rest of the Bible. (No wonder I love that book!) Add to that Hosea 13:14 “I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave I will be your destruction.”

The first requirement for the goel is he must be blood relation. If he isn’t he can’t redeem the person from slavery or buy back his property.

Adam’s property went to Satan as the new owner of our earth because of Adam’s forfeiture and must be redeemed, same as Naomi’s field. We came under the law of sin and death and our family line was finished. But under God’s law the rental price until Jubilee could be paid to the present owner to redeem the property and the family-line could be re-instated by the next of kin. He wasn’t compelled to do it, but he was allowed to.

Adonai chose to become our Boaz, our goel, out of love for us. I think there was a closer kinsman in this story just so we would see that Adonai wasn’t compelled to come. He wasn’t “sent” to redeem us. He chose to come because He wanted to. In fact, I believe, as shown in episode one, that it was His idea to become Jesus our Kinsman Redeemer. Abba and Ruach painfully agreed to allow him to come.

And since that meant He had to become our blood relation, he had to be born human, under the law of sin and death, just like us, one of Adam’s sons, to raise up his family line. That is truly how They gave us his blood, because “the life is in the blood,” so he became a blood relative and gave us life.

It is in Genesis 3:15 where Adonai says to Satan, in serpent form, “I will put enmity (Hatred) between you and the woman and between your children and her children. It (their hatred of evil/their choice against evil) shall bruise your head (destroy you) and you will bruise his heal.” (Jesus will forever maintain his  glorified humanity. “He is not ashamed to call us brothers.” Hebrews 2:12) He promised to be our Goel in Exodus 6:6 “I will be your Goel with My stretched out arm.”

God gives us His name, life, and blood as Boaz gave Ruth his name and his life and blood to have a child and raise up her husband’s family name. In this story the goel, as a near kinsman, had to marry the widow of the deceased to raise up the family name. In our world God’s Law is the deceased and God’s church is the bride who marries the Goel to raise up His name (His law, reputation, character). If there was a widow (us), there could be no separation of person and property. You had to marry the woman to get the property. (Isn’t this cool!)

Satan’s power over us was in claiming the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). So Jesus went through death as a son of Adam, and gave us his life and blood to raise up humanity as whole again (no evil—no conflict, no brokenness.) And “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:11-12, Hebrews 2:10-14)

And two more things this story explains: atonement and redemption. As Magee explains, God redeemed Israel from Egypt, but at the Red Sea they were only freed slaves. It was after He showed his power in opening the water and bringing them into the presence of God walking through the sea, that they were “baptized” and given new hearts to worship.

This story also explains the temple tax that was the price of redemption in Leviticus. Whenever Israel was numbered, Satan must have claimed it signified that they were depending on themselves, and claimed the right to them—to send a plague. So whenever Israel ignored God’s way and did their own thing, depending on their own strength or numbers, Satan would send a plague, or at least he tried to.

To protect them, God had each individual pay a half-shekel to redeem himself because each person must cast his own vote for Adonai, and that was the way they did it. It made atonement for them—or showed they chose Adonai as king.

I never understood the temple tax making atonement before this story! Atonement is at-one-ment—oneness with God (Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17). It wasn’t much money and was the same for everyone, but it showed each individual’s choice for Adonai as king—a poll tax.

Redemption gives us restored sight to see God as good or worthy of love. (Redeemed beings sing “He is worthy” all through the book of Revelation.) Redemption is restoration.

My favorite quote shows redemption in contrast to our slavery, “Subjection to God is restoration to oneself; to the true glory and dignity of man.”

It’s good to be God’s because that makes me truly me—unbroken and restored to wholeness. That gives me true freedom. His laws keep us safe, protect our freedom, and keep our true selves intact.

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Mandela — A Guide to Being You

I’ve written how I loved Invictus, a movie about Mandela and how he used the rugby team to solidify South Africa. I remember Matt Damon (team captain) going to visit the prison where Mandela spent 27 years, and in wonder spreading his arms to touch both walls, both ways of the 8×8 cell. There was a hard-back chair and that was all.

I still can’t imagine it–how anyone could survive that and come out as a beacon of love and forgiveness. But he did. One man can change a country, a world.

Inspiration like that doesn’t last long unless you feed it. Have you noticed that? But how can we keep it alive?

The same way he achieved his amazing triumph of spirit–by choice.

It just now came to me. He was in an easier place to do the thing we don’t do, because in that kind of desolate place, it is continually before you every waking minute–choose! You have to choose how to think about this, how to relate to it, or your emotions will eat you alive.

Here’s what I know: in that situation emotions take over and fire up every possible kind of anger, fear, and despair–running the gamut and determining your perspective. Or you completely shut down and go into depression, overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

The grinding day after day sameness and privation would break most of us, but not Mandela; or you, if you believed in choice like he did and if you were committed to right like he was. The one line of “Invictus,” the poem he kept with him continually, says it all, “I am the captain of my soul.”

In other words, I don’t have to react, I can choose and depend on Goodness and Love to bring it around–eventually.

Sometimes all you can choose is your perspective, but that is yours. And no one can take that if you don’t allow them to choose how you see or how you react.

Think about that. You are capable of choice.

My husband and I are currently reading the prophet Hosea in the Holy Scriptures. What has jumped at me is God’s perspective on pain. He says He took them to the Valley of Achor (Suffering or Troubling) as a door of hope.

Really? Say again… So He did. When they had plenty, they became full and left Him…they didn’t need Him when it was good and forgot that He was their Source, their protector, their happiness.

If God blessed them they forgot Him. That became a huge problem for Israel. Over and over it happened. They either didn’t believe that He really loved and cared for them, or they didn’t care. But again and again when things got good they forgot about their living God and ran after gods they created.

Suffering was their safety.

Suffering is one of our best teachers, and we have another sublime example of it in Mandela’s life.

Suffering forces choice. But it’s not God’s desire.

His problem and ours is that when things are good enough we forget about God and choice.

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Guest post–The Chooser becomes the Chosen in “Inviting”

You Whisper it quiet. These words that feel liquid with the weight of Your love.”you are my home”

I wonder if maybe I misunderstood. I ask what it means. And You dismantle me with Your words.

“I feel wanted, welcome, comfortable. I feel loved, desired in you. You invite Me into your moments, your feelings. You choose Me.”

And then in a Whisper that seems to crash through the Heavens. That ravages the heart You’ve made whole. You say it.

“you’re inviting”

It’s as if You’ve just flung the stars from the sky in some cosmic display just for me. Just for me.

It is all I want to be. The only words that could ever be spoken of me that matter.

And You said them.

The tears spill wild. The heart swept up by Love so big it rages through me in torrents of Grace.

I am Yours. And You have found me “inviting”.

And suddenly the list of things I could do in my life is complete.

The one thing I have to give You. The one thing I can truly choose.

Is You.

We do this thing. This asking You into our lives. We make it a big deal.

It is a big deal.

But the biggest thing. The only thing. Is what we do afterward.

You can’t ask someone to marry you and then tell them to please stay in their own house. Don’t move anything in here. And please don’t try to love me ’cause I’m busy just trying to stay numb. I don’t really let anyone get close. I’m too much, too messy, and just completely not enough.

You can’t ask someone into your home and then tell them not to sit on the furniture. Oh, and please don’t touch anything. Or move anything. Or, really, don’t even breathe. ‘Cause I’ve got this all set up here the way I need it. The way it makes me feel secure. I might even hate the way it’s decorated but please don’t change anything ’cause I’ve got it all set up to work for me this way. I don’t want to take down any walls or let more light in. And don’t open the shades, someone might see how I really live in here.

I did that. You know I did that with You. Sadly, I think we all do.

And You lived with me so long that way. Sometimes You’d move a chair. Or change a picture on the wall. But I just couldn’t let You renovate completely. You wanted to remodel and I’d say, “ok, we’ll paint but just don’t take down that wall.”

One day I got it. I really got it.

And the windows blew out and the air drafted in and the fire blazed. And I stood there hands open letting it all go.

We picked up the pieces. Crawled through the ashes. And You, You scraped the wounds. You touched my scars and deemed them Beautiful.

I’m laying here the rivers flowing down the familiar trails. They follow the grooves of years of broken dreams, a broken heart desperate to be Whole. Now, they flow from a fountain of Love so deep I can’t contain them.

I get it. I really get it.

All I have to give You is my choice. Choosing You. 

Choosing You over everything.

Even my comfort. 

Everything.

Every. single. thing.

Reckless abandon to Your Love. Your will. Your heart.

Hands open, heart surrendered. Living as an audacious offering of Your Love.

Whatever that means in the story You are writing across my pages.

Because You are Love and You only give Good. 

And I am as desperate for You as I am to breathe.

When the moment arcs and I feel the arrows pierce and doubts come I cling only to You and hold on for dear life. And You never let go.

Because anywhere with You is everywhere.

Choice.

It is everything.

Mine is You.

After all, there is only You.

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Posted By Loxlia to lovelycrumbs at 6/22/2013 08:31:00 PM

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