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Archive for January, 2017

For some reason, this morning my thoughts drifted back to around 1955, when I lived in the newer section of Buckingham (apartments), in Arlington, Virginia. There, bounded by N. Pershing Drive, Henderson Road, and what is now North Second Street, lay a five-acre oasis of sorts, the home of “Mr. Culpepper” (Charles Washington Culpepper (1886-1980) a renowned horticulturist, it seems).

I was a runt, eight years old, with allergies to just about everything. I couldn’t stand to be around flowers, for instance, but I never experienced any symptoms while wandering, with his permission, through what was to me a jungle of every type of plant and tree imaginable, including a stand of bamboo. There was even a frog pond, fed by a spring. I was the only kid I knew of whom he trusted to wander unaccompanied through his property, because all I did was wander. I never interfered with the frogs or picked anything, as did others later on, which resulted for a time in him posting his land off limits. Mister Culpepper had the biggest hands of any man I’ve ever known.

While I never developed an interest in gardening, I did later on in life find enjoyment in traipsing through the woods, hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) (not all at once) from Harper’s Ferry to Swift Run Gap, and about half of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Pennsylvania, as well as numerous “day hikes” on offshoots of the AT, and two traverses of Old Rag Mountain, one on which Mary accompanied me.

I wish I could let his descendants know how fondly I remember Mr. Culpepper and how much his (to me) “Garden of Eden” still evokes pleasant memories, but that trail seems to have grown cold, as I discovered his son passed away over a decade ago.

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Two weeks ago, the Holy Spirit moved upon hearts in one of our church services.  This is a transcript of what one young woman openly shared with the congregation during that visitation:

I couldn’t sleep last night.  God was dealing with me.  I agonized for hours, not knowing what or how to pray, not knowing what Father wanted to say to me.  All I could do was cry.  All I could say was, “What, Lord?” No answer.  I started declaring great statements of how I want to live for Him and love Him etc., and in the middle of my Peter-like statements and pride, He asked me a question.  He said, “But do you want to die with Me?”

I could not answer for a while.  I was so stunned and horrified as I saw who I really was.  I am critical, judgmental, unforgiving, jealous, covetous, and fearful.  It’s not the first time God has showed me this, but I saw it how He saw it.  I was physica1ly ill.  As God encompassed me in his great love and forgiveness, very sheepishly, but with all my heart, I answered him. “Yes, Lord. I want to die with You.”  God began to speak to me. This is what He said:

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

We say we want to live for Him
But we won’t die with Him.

We say we want to be filled with His Spirit
But we don’t want to be empty.

We say we want to be clothed in His righteousness
But we won’t be stripped bare, with our hearts exposed before Him.

We say we want to be great for God
But we CAN’T STAND to be nothing and small in our own eyes.

We say we want to move in His power
But we don’t want to be weak.

We say we want compassion and boldness
But we don’t want to be a fool.

We want to sit in heavenly places
But we won’t sit at His feet.

We say we want to abide in Him
But we won’t come out from among them.

We say we want to go forward with God
But we won’t turn and repent.

God loves us and He wants to give us the kingdom, but how can He if we will not humble ourselves? We must humble ourselves before Him. There is no other way.

If we will not pay the price, if we won’t sell all to purchase that pearl of great price, then we are only religious, Jesus is no longer precious to us. He is no longer real to us.

Do we want to be glorified, or do we want God to be glorified? Do we want dead works, or do we want fruit that remains?

We say we want to go where He wants us to go. There is only one place He is leading, and that is the cross.

From the greatest person to the least, every single one of us, from the one with the most perfect pursuit, to the utterly lost among us, we should all be trembling at the word that has been coming to us for months and months. Every one of us fall so far short of the glory of our Holy Father. All of us should be crying out for the searchlight of His Holy Spirit to shine into every crevice of our being, that we would fall on our face before Him and allow Him to bring a fire so hot into our soul, that we will NEVER again be the same. That God would be great in this place, and in each one of our hearts. That we would be nothing and that He alone would be glorified.

Dear God let it start with me …..

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Moved?

I inadvertantly saw a brief portion (I could bear to watch only seconds, and thankfully it has been removed) of a video showing “Pakistani Islamists” beating with sticks a domesticated dog which was hung up by a harness. My emotions were instantly torn between heartbreak for the dog and seething hatred for its tormentors. The face, the eyes especially, of one of the torturers made me think of a demon in the third panel of Bosch’s triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” which depicts a (Dante’s) Inferno-like punishment for past sins.

That, in turn, made me think that even now people are tormented – in their minds, their bodies, their souls – by Satan’s “henchmen.”

It has been said, with respect to a lack of compassion for the lost, that “our eyes are dry because our hearts are dry.” If I but look upon those who do not have faith in Christ, should I not feel for them as much as I did for the animal? Should I not seeth with hatred for the devil’s minions under whose power these folks unknowingly (for the most part) find themselves? Should I not at the very least speak to them, pray for them, and see them illuminated and given the opportunity for freedom?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:36- 38).

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This is not meant either to distract or to educate, but if you’re interested…

Genesis 2:10 (NKJV) says, “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.”  I got wondering just what “went out” means.  Apparently, in the Hebrew it means only “went out,” with no certainty that the “River of God” (as some call it) actually originated in Eden, which has always been my assumption.  If its source is there, that places it somewhere in the area west of Mt. Ararat.

Other theorists think that Eden is not at what was then the source of at least two of these rivers, but at their confluence, in southern Iraq.  In this scenario, one of the four rivers is thought to run where the Red Sea is now.

It seems logical to me to stick with my original assumption that Genesis, in saying “went out” and “from there” and “became,” meant that Eden encompassed the source of the originating river.

What do you think?

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