Tag Archives: Bible

Where does it mention cannibalism in the Bible?

James Eating Bread
Image by Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha via Flickr

What if you walked into the movie “Tangled” and heard the line, “Frying pans, who knew?”  You might assume the movie is a kids cooking show and leave.  You would miss the story of an innocent girl successfully defending herself with a frying pan and finding deep inner courage.

That’s what happens when we read parts of scripture without knowing or connecting to the whole.

First impressions:

I knew someone who decided to pick up a Bible and read only the book of Ezekiel.  Why that section caught his attention, I’ll never know.  This prophetic book has some outrageous imagery, which I cannot yet fully understand.

He found himself stunned and decided the entire Bible was absurd.  How sad he had no one to guide him at this vital corner of his life.

Due to the depth of info found in this humble book, people spend their whole lives searching to discover its mysteries.  No matter how long we’ve studied, we need to surround ourselves with people who’ve known God and His story longer.  It doesn’t guarantee perfection (which is found in only in Christ), but it provides a guide for the road ahead.

Fellow hikers:

In the same way, those of us who’ve been on the road (that is reading scripture and living it) longer need to be brave enough to share our experience.

I went hiking with some friends in our local mountains.  Another group passed us on their return trip.  As we crossed one another, the second group shared, “Be careful, we saw a snake ahead.”

Rattle snakes often sun themselves in the morning hours on desert, mountain trails.  We decided to heed their advice, found a walking stick, and banged the ground as we walked.  In retrospect, we probably appeared stupid to anyone with binoculars aimed our direction,  but we didn’t care.

We aimed our eyes down and remained alert.  Then, we saw a head peek out from some bushes near the trail.  Because of our awareness, we easily startled the snake, waited for it to pass and continued our hike.  Without the warning of others, our morning activity could have ended differently.

But, cannibalism?

One section of scripture could be seen as Christ calling for cannibalism.  This section would make no sense to my very literal 7-year-old.  I wonder what would happen if someone picked up a Bible and flipped to this page without ever seeing the rest or seeking guidance.

Many parts of scripture say what they mean and mean what they say like, “Don’t commit murder.”  Sounds clear, right?

Other portions need more story to explain. Like one line from a movie, these verses tell part but not all.  The Bible is full of moments where it compares hunger and thirst to our desire for God.  The psalms says,

“As a deer pants for water, my soul longs for you.”

For people who lived predominantly on bread and water, these things defined their ability to live.  Israel’s history shows the need for bread.  For example, when they wandered in the desert, God provided bread from the sky (called manna).

God sustained them in a miraculous way.  Bread had great history for them.  God also provided water from them in outrageously unexplainable ways.

Jesus knew the history and used it to redefine bread.He called himself the Bread of Life.

He also knew the need for sacrifice.  The Israelite experience involved real blood sacrifice.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we do it too. How do you think we get meat?

With our eyes open and our ears ready, we can read the verses below and see more than what is written.  We see a sacrificial love and willingness to give all for those He loved.

   I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’

Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” John 6:48-56

Can you see how someone might assume cannibalism ?

My choice today:

Devour God’s word and seek guidance  from others who have munched more than me.

Have Bible verses ever thrown you?  Share what you thought and where you read it (if possible).

What’s your confidence quotient?

Kevin Johnson at a mayoral rally on 28 May 200...
Image via Wikipedia

We don’t all meet famous people but occasionally it happens.  Usually, I end up feeling foolish because my tongue and mouth become intertwined and out comes absurd gibberish.  But one time, I actually spoke and listened well.

Fifteen years of my life, I lived in the Valley of the Sun also known as Phoenix, Arizona.  One would never describe it as celebrity central, but we had our own kind of celebrities.

In the eighties and early nineties, the popular people centered around the only professional sport in town.  Basketball.  Especially, Phoenix Suns basketball.  Let’s face it, I was a fan.

I adored watching Thunder Dan fling the ball from center court or K.J. (aka Kevin Johnson) corralling the troops as their amazing point guard.  I was such a fan, when the Suns attempted to win the Championship against the all-powerful Chicago Bulls, headed by Michael Jordan, I paid money to watch an away game at the Phoenix Stadium on the big screen just to be in the camaraderie of other fans.

Having said all this, you must know how I felt when one day I sat reading my Bible in a local coffee shop and in walked the previously mentioned K.J. (aka Kevin Johnson).  He sauntered toward me with the confidence of someone who knew the room was watching.  They were.

I said, “Hi.”  (This was huge for me.)

He said, “What are you reading?”

It’s a put up or shut up moment.  Do I claim Christ with confidence or cower in a corner and wait for the moment to pass?

To be fair, it was well-known around town that K.J. was a Christian.  In fact, friends from my church worked for him.  But the moment still felt immense.

I took a big breath, “I’m reading my Bible.  I’m a youth pastor, and we’re meeting tonight.”  (Yeah, I know, too much information, but at least I said it clearly.)

He made some small talk about where he went to church and set up his three cell phones at a table.  Clearly, he had work to do.  I resumed reading.  After a bit, he said, “I have a hundred dollar bill in my pocket, if you know a verse I mention, I’ll give it to your youth group.”

Serious?

I wasn’t entirely confident, but thought it worth a go.

He said, “The verse is found in Hebrews 3:14.”

I drew a blank.  Nothing.  Darn it!  Wasn’t that why I was attending seminary?  I confessed my ignorance.  He grinned, and I looked it up.

Here’s what it said:

“We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”

He and I had a conversation about how faith doesn’t consist of the moments, but the longevity.  We must hold firm continually.  The conversation was short, but I still remember it 22 years later.  In my Bible reading today, I came across that verse and the tale unfolded again in my mind.

How often do we openly converse about our relationship with God with other people?  Sometimes we know they share our faith and sometimes we don’t.  The verse mentions having confidence, like K.J. had when he walked into that coffee-house.  We need that kind of confidence in our God.  The kind of confidence that makes us brave enough to share His story when the opportunity presents itself.  Whether remember everything perfectly or not, we know what we’ve experienced.  It’s worth sharing.

My choice today:

Share my faith with confidence seeking open opportunities to stand firm in Him.

10 famous choices

Woman is thinking before making a choice.
Image via Wikipedia

Great people make great choices and you’re one of those great people.  Here are others who’ve had to choose.  May this list sharpen the point on the pencil of your day.

1. “Women now have choices. They can be married, not married, have a job, not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children. Men have the same choice we’ve always had: work, or prison.” Tim Allen

 

2. “God made a very obvious choice when he made me voluptuous; why would I go against what he decided for me? My limbs work, so I’m not going to complain about the way my body is shaped.” Drew Barrymore

 

3. “for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:2 (the Bible)

 

4.  “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” John 7:17 (the Bible)

 

5.  “We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice.”Stephen Covey

 

6.  “If you had asked me back in grade school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said my first choice was an actor, but if I couldn’t be that, I’d want to be a superhero.” Vin Diesel

 

7.  “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” Wayne Dyer

 

8. “In the final choice a soldier’s pack is not so heavy as a prisoner’s chains.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

9.  “Every mind must make its choice between truth and repose. It cannot have both.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

10. “Every choice you make has an end result. ” Zig  Ziglar

For more see Paula on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/choice.html#ixzz1OzkWUvRh

Do you hear me now?

Human ear
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Have you ever known someone who loved the sound of their own voice?  You know the type.  They start a conversation on one item then continue to another, then another, barely breathing.  The mouth moves and it’s as if they’ve recorded each detail of every day in its totality.  When you get together, they push the play button and recite each moment as it happened.

You like this person.  They aren’t mean or anything like that, just chatty.  Actually they aren’t just chatty, they verbally vomit their day onto the least suspecting person.  Sorry, it’s true.

The listener

What can we do with a friend like this?  Here are some ideas:

1.  Exercise compassion.  They probably don’t realize their capacity to recall daily details.

2.  Recognize loneliness when you see it.  If they saved up all day, maybe no one connected or attempted to connect with them prior to you.   Maybe they spend much time alone and have lost conversational skill practice.

3.  Know the flow is coming and mentally set a timer.  They probably repeat this pattern, so you might as well recognize playback season for what it is. They will reach a finishing point, believe it or not.

4.  Make an effort to connect more regularly.  Yes, that’s what I said. More is better.  By having more regular contact with others,  the loneliness dissipates and true conversations can begin.

The speaker 

As you read this, perhaps you see something in yourself, maybe it’s you who has become the verbal vomit specialist.  How can you redirect and build better friends?

1. Ask questions first.  Before you play your recording, come up with questions you really want to ask other people.  When you ask, bite your lip and allow them to press play on their day.

2.  Listen more than you talk.  This will take great effort because the lips have had more practice than the ears, but there are two of them and maybe they need more use.  There is a danger though.  Listen with the purpose of truly hearing what the other person says, not just waiting for your chance to speak.

3.  Seek to know your friends better.  True friendships develop because we care about one another.  Your friends need to know you care about who they are not just their ears.

4.  Apologize early and often.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step is realizing you have a problem.  If your friends know you are working on this area of your life, they’ll be inclined to support and encourage you and maybe even listen more.

And what’s the Bible connect to all this listening and talking stuff?  Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:9)  Funny, He never said, “Whoever has a mouth, let them talk.”  Just something to think about.

By the way, if I haven’t said it lately,  “I am sorry.”

Dang, that book’s huge!

sleepy book head
Image by circulating via Flickr

The Harry Potter books surprise me.  A friend took a picture of his eight year old son holding and reading one of the Potter books and it looked gigantic.  I mean, Alice in Wonderland, little meets big, gigantic.

Just scanning the size of the book tired me out, maybe I’m the only one left who hasn’t read one, but seriously, it’s big.  What a way to begin a child on a weight lifting career.

I’m not knocking my friend because it’s a happened in our home too.  Seeing the large books gobbled up by her friends, my oldest longed to explore something bigger than herself.  Her heart moved toward The Chronicles of Narnia, which as planning would have it, happens to be in a single-bound copy available at Barnes and Noble.

The Chronicles include seven different books written by the amazing C.S. Lewis.  When she carts it around in her backpack and pulls it out at recess, I’m floored.  It’s just so huge.

The same thought crosses our minds when we see people with a Bible in hand.  It’s overwhelming in its capacity.  It contains 66 books, granted some are very small.  There’s much to grasp on a single page.

If we long to know something more, be part of something bigger, the book does beckon.  Yet we find ourselves stuck.  Organizational people complain about the Bible because the order isn’t chronological.  Story people consider it boring because of seemingly useless details like how many cattle crossed the Red Sea.  But there it sits on our shelf, staring at us, almost tauntingly.

We have a choice.  Become overwhelmed by the moment, tell ourselves it isn’t possible, or dream of consuming and comprehending it.

I had a teacher in college who liked to say, “How do you eat an elephant?”  She’d continue, “One bite at a time.”

There it sits, the elephant on our shelves.  Will we imagine it stepping on us and destroying our home or decide to open it and chow down?  However we start, one bite is one bite.

The Bible’s literary history rests unsurpassed by any other written work.  It’s story and details offer to help us understand the God of the Universe, how He thinks, what He wants, and what we can learn from Him.  Huge or not, it’s worth opening.

What’s the toughest part of Bible reading for you? 

Procrastinator keeps friends waiting, but will they?

Railroad watch

The Bible instructs us in James 5:16 to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another.  Here’s my confession:

“My name is Paula, and I’m a procrastinator.”

I don’t want to put things off, but I do.  For whatever reason, I occasionally find myself running late, sometimes very late.  It upsets business plans and frustrates friends and family, and yet I continue.  As I struggle with this sin, please keep me in prayer.

I confess also that I’ve learned interesting things from this person trial.  Other people procrastinate too.  Their issue may not mirror mine but it exists none-the-less.

Whether we keep people waiting at a restaurant or put off pertinent conversations or delay decisions, we all procrastinate in one way or another and we need each other’s compassion and prayer.

Will our friends and family stick with us through our delays?  Will our problems disappear if we ignore them?

These valuable questions cause us to seek to over come our challenges but one delay in particular cannot be put off forever.  Deciding to give God a chance.

Early in my dating journey with my future husband, I put him through his paces.  I exposed my sin early.  On our first and second dates, I arrived 30 minutes past the scheduled time.  Inexcusable, right?

Apparently, he saw something worth waiting for and it made me appreciate him all the more and inspired me to work on this arena of my life.

God does the same for us.  Many of us think we’ll approach Him and seek Him when we grow old or when life’s difficulties approach.  He faithfully waits.  He sees something worth the wait in each of us.

But will He wait forever?  He will, but we won’t know when the end comes.  There will come a point in the relationship where time runs out and our procrastinating ways cost us an amazing friendship.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

As Tim saw more in me than my problematic procrastinating ways, so God sees more in us.  We do have to show up and make the effort though.  Are you or someone you know putting off God?  Let’s confess together:

“Hi, my name is __________, and I’m a procrastinator.  Please forgive me.”

Do you procrastinate?  I’d love to pray for you. Let’s share our confessions and if you have advice on overcoming this issue, let the fingers do the typing and offer guidance.

Becoming a better lover

Two left hands forming an outline of a heart s...
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The Bible states in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.”  I guess that means He’s the best lover of all.  Now where does that place me on life’s spectrum? 

I long to become a great lover, of people.  I struggle through the labyrinth of life seeking the proper loving path, but clearly marked directions sometime allude me.  There are so many people I long to shower with love: my husband, my kids, my mom, my brother, friends, other relatives, essentially everyone I pass day after day.  Am I overreaching? If I understand how God wants me to behave, these are the ones I should love.  But am I capable? 

Daily, I hear other friends’ definitions of love and occasionally I wonder if they’ve got it figured out.  Then I turn around to look at me and frown at my own inabilities. 

Growing up, it seemed like love’s definition loomed ambiguously overhead.  Was it a feeling? A thought process? An action?  It can light you up when you feel  it, or give a sense of angst when not returned.  One person’s love might be another person’s cruel action.  I remember my mom informing me that a swat on the rear or a  time-out was her way of showing love, not my favorite way.  Friends bake cupcakes to show love.  We hug for love, we clean for love, we wake in the middle of the night for love.  What is love?

When in doubt I read it out.  With Bible open, I searched.  There is a definition found in scripture.  It seems to grand for me to achieve, but perhaps it’s the goal.  If God is love, maybe this is a detailed example of what that really means.  It gives me something to aspire to and a place to check myself to discover my failures and successes. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

I may not always know the best loving action, thought, or word on the moment, but I do know the God who is loving in every way.  I trust His opinion and long to learn from Him.  If it takes my whole life, I’ll continually seek to become a better lover and chances are, I will.

On becoming a house of prayer

Jerusalem Model, Temple of Herode
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Today, I read in the Bible about the one time we witness the anger of Christ.  He enters the temple in Jerusalem and observes everything,  then leaves for the night.  Upon returning the following morning, He overturns tables where people are selling items in the temple courts.  While He exposes His anger, He states, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” (Mark 11:17b)

I had read this previously.  I knew of Christ’s anger.  But something new took hold of my heart today.  Within the book of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul revealed that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  For reference, hopefully not too complicated, the Holy Spirit is God.  He is the third person of the unique trinity that encompasses who God is.  In other words, we are just as important as that temple in Jerusalem.  When we welcome Him, God lives within us. 

That idea attached itself to my mind this morning.  I heard Christ’s words echoing in my heart, “my house will be called a house of prayer”.  Am I a house of prayer?  Really?  Sometimes the idea of simply praying seems incomplete, uneventful.  When I chat with a friend on the phone and they reveal a struggle in their life which I cannot possibly solve or assist, prayer comes like a fail-safe.  I don’t know what else to do, maybe we could pray.  It’s like a last resort or even a cop-out.  I hear myself say, “I’ll pray for you” and wonder if it’s enough. 

If it’s enough?  What could be more?  When I feel wealthy, I can donate money to some cause and feel valiant in my efforts.  When I have extra time, I can lend a hand personally packing items for someone in need or painting a friend’s room.  But are those expended energies more vital than placing my trust in the One who knows the answer to all problems and who creates all possibilities. 

I long to become a house of prayer.  I guess the place to start is seeking Him before I seek something to do in my limited capacity.  Sometimes a little prayer is all I can give, but what if I give it first before attempting to give something else. 

What are ways you can become a house of prayer?  Please share and let’s  learn and grow from each other’s wisdom.

Sanitizer anyone?

Original caption: I had a cold for the last co...
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The sound of a hacking cough has resonated through our halls for 3 weeks now.

It began with my husband.  Yup, he brought this vile evil into our home.  If I could envision it, it would resemble the flowing green cloud in the movie Ten Commandments which symbolized the angel of death and the tenth plague of Egypt.

This illness, moved its way through our family attaching itself to each one in his or her turn. It’s been flowing through other homes as well, hideous menace that it is.  Why?  Can’t we just breathe easily each day?  Can’t we enjoy the beautiful sky and appreciate the capacity to breath?  Apparently not.

It’s a question we ask God often, why do bad things happen.  Sure this cold will pass and some time, hopefully in the near future.  But why did it have to come in the first place?  I do all the things the doctors tell us to do.  Vitamins? Check.  Nasal dispersant (I use ocean spray, some people use the nettie pot)? Check.  Eat healthy food? Check.  Get exercise? Check (most of the time).  Why does it still come?

We do the same thing spiritually in the hopes of avoiding the world’s badness.  Read the Bible? Check.  Was kind to neighbors? Check.  Gave offering at church? Check.

The thing is…hacks still exist.  Someone’s going to get them.  Why not me?  The next question becomes, why do the hacks exist?  Ah, now that’s a spiritual question.  I know it doesn’t seem spiritual when snot is running down our face, but it is.   It tracks back to the first historically spiritual hack of all time…Adam, Eve, and fruit gone bad.  They hacked themselves right out of paradise.

It started with simple disobedience and greed.  When caught in the act, they justified themselves by saying, “Hey, it looked good.”  And we all do the same thing.

We do seemingly innocuous things which hurt others and ourselves.  Speeding, white lies, cheating, and the like.  None of use can stand before God and honestly declare, “I did everything right.”  Our actions have overflow,  repercussions we cannot imagine which spread the disease and continue the process.  In the same way washing our hands helps slow down the spread of illness, as we seek God’s guidance,  He helps us to have new eyes and envision new possibilities.

Unfortunately, the hack we spread still exists and it’s germs connect and infest others just like our sinful actions affect others.  So, why not me?

When illness attacks my family, I recall my own failings and inability to truly stand-off the hacks of this world,no matter what I do.  I praise God that He overcame the world.   He strengthens me in the midst of the yuck and reminds me that it can’t attack Him.