Turkish Delights

In C.S. Lewis’s book “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” we find a boy named Peter entering Narnia.  He has heard of this place from his sister who had been there before and now he finds that it indeed is real.  The witch (or queen as she refers to herself) comes by in her sled and questions who he is, after realizing who he is she says to herself ‘but he is only one, and easily dealt with.’

She goes from demanding questions into a kind and caring form and begins to meet his needs.  She first states (not asking) ‘my poor child, how cold you look, come and sit with me here on the sled and I will put my cloak around you and we will talk.’

Peter replies ‘yes your majesty’

And so begins her keen way of wooing him, she magically provides hot drink and asks him if it is good.  She then moves on saying it is dull to drink without eating, and asks him what he would you like to eat.

Turkish Delight!

Providing a large box (more than he could imagine), wrapped in ribbon and full of wonderful tasting Turkish delights, she begins her questioning of him to find out all she needs to know.  Then promising him more if he brings his siblings to her she continues to appeal to him.  He would become prince and eat Turkish delight every day, then become king and he would rule over his siblings. Asking for more Turkish delight he is denied until he returns with his siblings.

 

I’ve read this several times and always thought Peter was so naïve and believed in my heart I wouldn’t have fallen for any of that.  And yet…. Well, we will get to that later.  Now I want to look at the temptation of Jesus after His 40 day fast.
Then Satan appeared and said….  Here we go into the 3 things that the devil tempted him with, I wonder if the devil even said to himself ‘but he is alone and easily dealt with’.

The first is food – knowing Jesus had fasted for 40 days he appeals to his hunger, his physical needs.  The devil uses scripture and yet Jesus, not being fooled by the letter of the law sees what so many Pharisees couldn’t see and uses scripture back revealing the Word of God with the heart of God.  “Man shall not live on bread alone but by every Word of God.”

Secondly he is offered to become a ruler over all he could see.  The devil was given rule over the earth and it was his to give.  He appealed to the human need for acceptance and the greed of wanting to be in control, to rule, and to be worshiped (fame).  But the cost was set very high, Jesus would have to betray His own Father and again Jesus chose scripture saying, “It is written that you shall worship the LORD your God and serve Him only.”

Last but not least, the devil takes another shot and goes to the heart of it – to tempt God.  To question who He is and what He really said.  If all of the mission and ministry of Christ is to be fulfilled then surely God must rescue Him from dying prior to the cross, or even dashing His foot on a stone.  It’s an age old trick, the desire to question God and what He really said.  Jesus knew all to well it is written NOT to tempt the LORD.

There are similar things found when Satan speaks with Eve.  Appealing to her appetite for food, for wisdom to be a god or just like God, questioning God and what He had really said.

Back to Peter (the character in our story by C.S. Lewis) he fell for it. And as I wonder how and why I quickly notice a few things.

#1 – The witch is a woman, this is a familiar thing to Peter.  It isn’t as if she showed up as a troll or a half bird half bear or some other creature.  Peter is familiar with women, he is also familiar with being questioned by them.  He has a mother, an older sister, he has had teachers and the housekeeper – in charge of his uncle’s home where he is now staying is even “in charge”.  Coming across a woman who barks out questioning and demanding from him is nothing new, nothing unexpected.  He would of course feel obligated to answer.

#2 – She nurtures and provides for his immediate physical needs.  She pities him saying “oh poor child, how cold you look” warming him with her own cloak, drawing him near and magically causing him awe and wonder as she gives him hot drink.  She then asks him “what would you like to eat” and gives him exactly what he had asked for in the grandest way.

#3 – After drawing out his story, for he is now her captive willing subject, she begins to launch her plans for what she wants.  When he questions and doubts it, shrugs it off because his own needs are being met she goes for the gusto.  She appeals to his desire to rule, he will live in a palace, become a prince and later a king and eat Turkish delight every day.  He likes that idea and is ready to go – but she says, he will need subjects under him.  She will make his siblings duke and duchess’s under him.  He doesn’t seem to care to much about that, there is nothing ‘special about them’.

She then takes the Turkish delights away and abandons him with the empty promise.  As he asks for just one more Turkish delight to eat on his way back home it is denied.  Leaving him with a craving he can only fulfill by obeying the witch and betraying his own family.

 

How similar is my own story after all, there is no doubt that I have been tempted and fallen for all of these things.  The things I have done to have my needs met, even as a born again, head over heels in love with Jesus, Spirit filled child of God I have fallen for the things most familiar to us all.

It comes down to this – we all have needs, physical, emotional and the psychological.  We want to be warm, covered and our thirsts and hunger met.  We want to be important, to have rule or control of at least our own lives if not over others as well.  I’d go as far to say we believe having fame is not only wonderful it is now a much more possible thing to achieve, therefore many pursue it.  Finally we want God to answer to us as to why, when, where, etc. we find it our right to question Him and if He proves Himself according to our ideals we will obey.

I don’t have to share more than that, I can give many examples in my own life.  The thing that strikes me the most at this point in my life is that my temptations and straying away doesn’t come as a troll or a red horned devil with a pitchfork, it comes as the familiar.

My recent area of growth was with my electronic devices.  I’m not against them but I will say this – they are familiar, acceptable and even the refusal to have or use them is frowned upon.  Yet, I found that as I embraced this familiar acceptable thing in my life I became distracted and began going to it more often that I was going to prayer, worship or Gods Word.

I craved playing my games, seeing if I could beat the next level or have my name at the top of the leading score board.

I wanted to show everyone how my life was going and to see what everyone else is up to in the world (my own minute of fame and the opportunity to comment on and possibly control someone else with my opinions).

I enjoyed scrolling through dozens and dozens of little pictures to find recipes, craft ideas, inspirations and things that made me laugh.

I was using hours and hours of time – pushing aside my need for sleep, daily chores and even relationships.  Most importantly, my time with God.  I would of course read a scripture and devotional every day, but I wasn’t pausing – I wasn’t giving my full attention to sharing with or hearing from God.

I realized this only because He loves me so that He brought it to my attention.  I challenged myself (or He challenged me) to 40 days of setting down the main thing that was causing all of the distraction.  Now 40 days later I can’t imagine going back.  I still use and did use much of my electronic devices, I really only gave up the 1 thing on a device that I was really being controlled by.

I pray God will work with you and for you to open your eyes, ears and heart to know what familiar thing in your life is feeding you.  Which of your basic needs are being met by something other than God?  In what ways are you being distracted or questioning God?

By examining these things we can break the hold on us that keeps us from being who we were designed to be, we can grow and flourish and produce the fruit we are intended to and reap the harvest that He has given to us to reap.

May we all choose to store up treasures in heaven, to be what we were created to be fulfilling our purpose.  May we bring the kingdom of God down to the very place that God has given to us to influence.  Lovingly devoted to our Lord.

The Frog, the Owl and the Cross

Have you ever wondered how to share your faith, your testimony or your love for Jesus with others?

Many people wear a cross indicating there belief that Jesus died and rose again from the grave.  I can’t say that wearing my cross necklace has brought about many conversations about Jesus.  Those who are Christians may look at it and say “oh, that’s so pretty” (of course the cross in reality wasn’t pretty, necessary, but only beautiful in the sense of the gruesome sacrifice on my behalf).  So, while I do wear a cross and it reminds me of the amazing sacrifice poured out for me I can’t say it’s lead to conversations with those who don’t believe.  At times I think it has even caused people to shy away.

I recently met a woman at church who had on a beautiful frog necklace, it was made with crystals or some sort of gems/jewels.  It was quite unique and really caught my eye.  I said “Oh, your necklace is so pretty!”

She responded “Thank you, do you know what it stands for?”

“No” I replied

“Fully Rely On God” she smiled “you know I’ve gotten more compliments from wearing this necklace and so many opportunities to really share about God, how real He is and how He has been reliable for me than I ever had when I wore a cross.”

“Wow!” I marveled “I bet you have, it’s very eye catching and who can refute a personal testimony?”  It’s easy to argue a belief but there isn’t much left to say when someone shares a piece of their life with you.

Well, needless to say I felt inspired and it got me to thinking.  I didn’t have a frog necklace, but I do have an owl necklace.  It too is made of crystals, it’s eye catching and every time I wear it someone makes a comment about it.  Maybe not Christians but let’s be honest, I’m not here to share Jesus with those who know Jesus!

So what can I say about my owl?  What kind of acronym can I use to make this an open door opportunity to share about Jesus and something He has done for me and is anxiously waiting and willing to do for ‘whosoever’?  Being a creative person with words you’d think I’d come up with something quickly.  I did, but nothing that really worked.  So I prayed (if you read any of my posts I have this shameful pattern of praying AFTER my self sufficiency wears out – I really need to deal with that).

I felt like God was saying “What about what the owl says?”

“You mean ‘whoooo’?”  I asked.  Then pondering on that I had it!  I can share that the owl reminds me of “Whose I am” and “Who I am”.

Now that is something to start a conversation about!  It can open all sorts of doors and I can use either or both depending on the situation and what the Holy Spirit puts on my heart to share.

I have numerous testimonies of times of needing to be reminded of “who I am” especially when the world, family, friends, etc. seem to bombard me with their versions and ideas of who I am or who I should be or who I have been.  Isn’t it a glorious discovery to find that Jesus says that ‘who I am’ is such an amazing thing that it brings hope, life and joy to my very soul in spite of where I’m at in life?  When God tells you who you are in Him it is life transforming, even more so when you grab on to it as fact and walk in obedience to Him.

Likewise, there is the “Whose I am”,  my daughter had a poster for many years on her door that read “I AM a princess!  My Daddy is the King of Kings!”  Boy does she believe that – I have to get back to child like faith and embrace that for all it’s worth.  To many times I grow distant from the fact that my Abba Father is a King, He has adopted me and I am indeed a princess.  I may be living like a pauper, like many tales of the princess who is banned from her royal life to a hard world full of pain, isolation, misunderstanding and often cruel task masters.  But why is it there are so many of these stories out there?  Because we relate, in our shallow mindfulness we wish it were true and that we’d soon be rescued.  But in the deep recesses of our soul our spirit cries out “it IS true” we DO have a KING who will arrive on a white horse.  He will take possession of this world and the demonic lying task masters we find ourselves fighting.  He will set a crown on our heads and bring vindication (though I doubt we will care about vindication at that point).  We will live “happily ever and ever and ever and ever after” for eternity.  What does this world and those in it do to me that I can’t overcome with a reminder of “Whose I am!”

So, whatever you wear, be it a frog, an owl, a cross or something else that can strike up an opportunity to share your testimony I encourage you to do so.  I just realized in writing this that I now wear a scar on my neck and of course people ask “what happened” and I get to share that I was in an accident on a major highway with a car that came at us head on from crossing the highway divide.  It is a story people want to hear and it is all about how God saved my life that day.  I encourage you to pray and ask God what it is you are wearing or could wear that will lead someone else to ponder the reality of God.

Blessings upon you as you go out on the highways and byways to share of the gospel that saved your soul and of our King who will soon return!

*and by “highways and byways” I mean workplace, shopping, neighborhood, etc.

Hope for a “Happy” New Year

I ended 2016 on a good note, which was nice given it was a difficult year.  I had far to many transitions happening all at once, a heap of life changing moments sprinkled with some shocking disappointments and topped off with a giant misunderstanding.

I want to give details just so you’re convinced I know what a struggle is, however I don’t trust that it wouldn’t trail off and become a depressing account of events to painful to read through and I’d lose you before you got to the good part!

The weeks before Thanksgiving and going on through to Christmas were tough enough, the holiday days themselves went well, good overall – different in a dozen ways than anything I’ve ever had before but good (all things considered).

I read a blog by Lana Vawser about 2016 isn’t over yet – so don’t give up.

https://lanavawser.com/2016/12/i-am-so-convicted-by-his-decree-in-my-dream-this-really-is-theephesians-320-season-the-revelation-and-manifestation-will-increase-evenin-the-remainder-of-2016/

This gal is inspirational – a prophet, she’s got great news except I find my life rarely lines up with her words (makes me wonder about my life!).  I keep reading partly out of hope and part desperate desire that my turn for good, prosperous, breakthrough, miracles, etc. IS going to happen for me.  I guess it’d be the same reason so many keep buying a lottery ticket – it doesn’t cost me that much to invest in the possibilities and I believe my chances of being blessed are just as good as they are for anyone else.

Well, as much as I wanted a “Christmas Miracle” in any of my many areas of life that so desperately need a miracle I spent Christmas realizing having Jesus in my heart is a miracle enough and I am grateful for that.  Christmas came and went.

On Dec. 28th the home we were trying to sell, that had been such a nightmare of events just to get it on the market (after an unforeseen disaster), finished in escrow and closed.  It was sold, keys handed over and finally done.  It was a huge relief emotionally, financially and physically.

Dec. 29th I watched a video at Celebrate Recovery from “The Skit Guys”http://skitguys.com/ called “Gods Chisel” https://skitguys.com/videos/item/gods-chiseland had a realization life is a process – I’m not finished yet and as painful as change can be it can beautify my life in ways that nothing else can, it breaks me out of patterns, habits, situations, relationships etc. and frees me up to be who I was intended to be, which inevitably creates in me another level of joy.  An amazingly freeing Ah-ha moment.

Dec. 30th I have an exciting day.  It started with the miracle of my husband and my son cheerfully helping me unpack and sort through about a dozen boxes from our move.  Then my son (who isn’t the “hang out with Mom type”) actually asked me (just me!) out to lunch and an outing.  We had a fabulous day – went to lunch, went on a 45 min. car ride having a great conversation on our way to our shopping destination.  I then scored BIG TIME at my favorite place to buy books (36 books for $18.90) – ok, ok I’ll spill – it was at Value Village, they had 99cent book day, plus buy 4 get 1 free and then I had my 30% off total purchase coupon.  My son and I chatted joyfully all the way  home.  He had also found a few treasures.

Dec. 31 New Years Eve, a night I spend alone with my nonverbal quadriplegia daughter every year.  Usually quiet (except neighborhood explosions).  This year we had a school mate of hers come over with her Mom in the afternoon.  It was wonderful, the girls hit it off beautifully and we discovered they are truly friends and a great match.  My daughter hasn’t had any friends, which is heart breaking, but true.  Having a glimmer of hope that this wonderful girl and her Mom would be happy to begin a weekly hang out was a joy, a gift, a miracle that I have been praying for for 19 years.  My heart rejoices, my God has not forgotten my child and He is providing for her as she enters into adulthood.

Then – I get a last minute call “Hi Mom, will you babysit?” my oldest son and his wife got free tickets to a concert and I was given the opportunity to watch my 1 1/2 year old grandson – a treasure I value immeasurably.  We have a quiet evening and he falls asleep in my lap.  I pick up my book “Epic” and finish it.  I realize 2016 ended wonderfully.  I’m blessed even in my mess.

“LBook Jacketife, for most of us, feels like a movie we’ve arrived to forty minutes late. Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all.” – John Eldredge

When I read the above quote on the back of the book it caused me to buy it desperately proclaiming “Please!  I relate – tell me what you know of this conundrum I find myself living!”

It’s a great, tiny, short read, terrific for an end of or beginning of a new year impact.  A great read for movie goers as it is full of references to movies (especially those that men like to watch).

I can see that each year is like a new chapter, my life is a story – and yours is also.

My hope and prayer for all of us –

May we understand how immensely valuable we are in the grand scheme of things.  We aren’t to big or to small, to young or to old, we are “just right” perfectly and purposefully designed and created for such a time as this.  To do just the very thing we may find to be ordinary and mundane but is, in reality the very thing keeping our world together and functioning in order to bring Gods kingdom and His will into being.

May we take great value in realizing that like a clock –  every cog, nut, bolt and screw must be in place and must work together so that time itself can move forward as it was intended.  Every second is necessary;  for a year is just a pile of days made up of hours that just don’t add up without each minuscule, underestimated, often ignored yet precious second.  We count!  It is “A Wonderful Life” and it’s truly “EPIC“!

Happy New Year!  2017 has now begun…

Here are some scriptures that have gotten me through tough time and inspire me:

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Philippians 3:12-14 “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”