The Lord is My Shepherd

Fear is an interesting thing, isn’t it?  For some people it is a non-sensible irrational type of emotion, while for others it is a real and paralyzing prison.  I never completely understood the full aspects of fear until July 2017.  It is interesting to me how the mind can take an event and pile it onto another event and then another until one day an event becomes the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

As a child growing up in a home with a less than functional normalcy, there were many many things that I encountered that no child should have to endur, yet I seemed to grow up and get passed them, or so my conscious mind wanted me to think.  But in the background, my unconscious mind was keeping track.  And then in 2017, things were going to change for me, and the emotion of fear would become a dark presence that would grip me in a way I hadn’t ever thought.  And even though I am a Christian and knew all the “proper” verses to quote during my troubled times, my mind, body, and soul seemed to have a disconnect to which I still have not fully recovered.

In early 2017 I had a pretty serious surgery and within days of being released from the hospital found myself in the emergency room with complications.  Before I knew it, a nurse was injecting several things into my IV, one of which made me feel as if I couldn’t breathe.  When I began telling her this, she seemed to almost discredit my concern and my chest continued to tighten and my legs started to jerk, among other things, and at one point I thought I was going to die on the table there in the emergency room.  I found myself unable to say anything audibly but repeated over and over in my head, “The Lord is My Shepherd, The Lord is My Shepherd, The Lord is My Shepherd.”  This was all I could think of for the period of time in which I thought I was going to meet my Maker.  I said it over and over for 30 minutes.  But believe it or not this situation was not my proverbial straw, but it was close and it was soon to follow.

The final straw came just a few months later as I watched my mother die, one fateful July day, in the Intensive Care.  It had been a horrible illness for her that had lasted years.  And while I knew she was going to die, I never expected what I witnessed.  As the breathing machine was taken off of her, prior to her death, she suddenly sat up and grasped my sister in desperation because she couldn’t breathe.  It was her final voiceless plea for help and comfort.  Then followed her collapsing backward and turning blue.  I did not know it at the time, but fear entered me.  Paralyzing fear.  A fear of death.  A fear of death that is irrational, especially for a Christian who believes that she will be immediately transported to Heaven upon death.

So I had sought counseling and still the fear is gripping.  It has my mind in shackles.  I cannot even take an ibuprofen without a fear that I will have a bad reaction (courtesy of the emergency room nurse!).  If I take that pill, I will begin to sweat and feel like I can’t breathe.  I have to mentally talk myself out of the physical situation I find myself in.  I have anxiety over the smallest things.  Irrational anxiety.  It doesn’t help that I work in a nursing home and am around death all day long reminding me of and feeding that fear.

So why is it I can not simply join the throngs of Christians who are “looking forward” to death because they will be with Christ?  Why do I not have joy over that comfort? I continue to ask myself this question.  Am I weak minded?  Am I really a non-believer in Christ’s promises?  Well this morning, I felt an overwhelming burden to pray and simply ask God for help.  And as always, God is faithful.  My mind went to Christ when he knew he was about to be arrested and face the ultimate – death.  He didn’t walk up to the soldiers haughtily and say, “Go ahead, do what you will.  I will be with God soon….you can kill the body but not the soul….yadda yadda yadda….”. He didn’t smile as he walked past the people in the streets watching him carry his cross.  He didn’t shout for glee when they nailed his hands and feet to the cross.  And if anyone knew about eternity it was him for goodness sake!!!!  He was God in human flesh, and that there is the key….he was in human flesh.  Flesh that feels pain.  Flesh that has emotion.

Jesus was in the garden praying prior to his death.  What was he saying?  “God if it 5AD4CA31-FD90-46FA-85B9-49EB7DAA167Dbe your will, take this cup from me! But not my will, but your will be done.”  Christ knowing the suffering he was about to endure asked God to take it from him, YET, stated at the end, but even though I am asking in my humanness, I want your will, your desire, your purpose to be accomplished.  So if Christ was praying and dreading what he was about to go thru, why would I be any different?  My soul knows the God of the Universe, but it does not know what it is like to be in eternity with God – Christ did.  So fear grips me, yes….I still have not completely overcome the mental trauma I went thru, but I know one thing……I am following in Christ’s footsteps…..my humanness does not want to suffer and die and that creates a fear in me….but my spirit says it is God’s will to take my life whenever he desires and I know He will be there on the other side.

I find the Bible and the words written therein can give us direction and comfort in any issue we are having in life.  I think this is why I recited, The Lord is My Shepherd so many times…He really is the Good Shepherd watching over his sheep and caring for them even in the darkest of times.

No Time to Build a Ladder

The story of Noah’s ark is one of the most known Biblical accounts, similar to the familiarity of the story of Adam and Eve.  I wonder how many of us missed the symbolism within this story that points to another coming destruction?  While the story of the Great Flood shows the destruction of physical man for his wickedness on the earth, the story also has an underlying parallel for the coming destruction of spiritual man for his wickedness in the end times.

In the account of Noah, we see that Noah was 500 years old when he began the ark and 600 years old when he completed it.  That means that God allowed one hundred years to pass before he pronounced judgement.  That gave one hundred years for man and woman to come and witness “the crazy man who was building a ship in the desert.”  One hundred years to ask questions to Noah and to seek God and inquire as to why this was going on. One hundred years to look upon themselves and their moral condition.  But not one of them realized that during that one hundred years there was a patient God waiting for them to repent.  One hundred long years – in which none, not even one of them changed from their wicked ways. And we all know the outcome – they drowned and perished for their wickedness that had, for a long time, brought God grief and caused Him to bring about this worldwide flood.  Those people are remembered no more, and they were eternally separated from God.

But I have stop to think about how this scene could have occurred.  The waters had to rise quickly from the ground as well as pour out heavily from the skies.  It would have had to be a quick destruction because Noah wasn’t the only one with a boat.  After all, there were fishermen.  They would have had boats.  There were carpenters.  They could have made a boat or a raft or even a ladder to climb up on Noah’s boat.  No, this wasn’t a slow flood.  This was a quick and immediate destruction.  So quick that there was no time for them to do anything to save themselves.  Their time for salvation had passed.  They had one hundred years to change their destiny.  They used those hundred years to scorn and laugh at Noah.  But they were not laughing when the flood came – the flood he had been telling them about for one hundred years.  No, they weren’t laughing.

5E8C77B8-FD3E-4D81-BC45-8C0400F1FBA8Can you imagine the panic and the terror?  People running around, crying and screaming.  Mother’s grabbing their babies and small children in an attempt to protect them – maybe by running to a higher ground.  People running to the area where Noah had been faithfully building the ark.  And those cries and screams  would have certainly carried in the air to the ears of Noah.  I can almost imagine him and his family inside the ark as it is being lifted off the ground, listening to what was happening on the outside of the ark.  But the Bible tells us that “God shut the door” to the ark.  It was not to be opened until the time in which God directed Noah to do so.  And for those people who were perishing in a watery grave, it was a punishment that didn’t have to be.  They had time – one hundred years to be exact – time to turn away from their wickedness.  Time to turn and beg a holy God for forgiveness.  But they didn’t, and so God fulfilled his decree of wiping them from the face of the earth.

And that is how I think it will be in the end times.  I think that God has been giving us time – Time since the creation of the world – Time since the garden of Eden when he pronounced the judgement on the serpent and also foreshadowed the coming Savior within that very punishment.  Centuries and centuries of time have been given.  I think the story of Noah is a foreshadowing of how the end will be.  God will make his final judgement quick and without any more warning.  The screaming and crying will waft upward, but that will not change the situation. Man will be destroyed for his wickedness.  Man will suffer the ultimate punishment, which is the eternal separation from a Holy God.  And I believe this is what is overlooked in the story of Noah.  It wasn’t just about a physical destruction of man.  It was also about a spiritual destruction and a foreshadowing of the ultimate coming destruction.

 

(Don’t forget to check out our latest video, The Plan is Redemption, on our website, https://marysfingerprint.com/a-chat-with-mom/  )

 

 

The Reason God HAD to save Noah

I find the account of Noah fascinating for one amazing reason and that reason is not that he built a mammoth ark and housed all the animals in it, etc.  While those facts are fascinating in their own right, the reason I am fascinated by that story is because I realize that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, you read that right.  God had to save Noah becasue God could not wipe out all mankind as He wanted to do.  And for many years, I never really understood the purpose behind God saving Noah and his family.

We all know the story about the ark, the animals coming two by two, and the great flood.  But how many of us take a moment to realize that when God said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air, -for I am grieved that I have made them,”  that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, that is true, and this account of Noah is in the Bible to show us more than just ‘God saw a good man in Noah and saved him and the animals.’

To understand why God had to save Noah, you need to go back to Genesis Chapter 3 verse 15.  Here is where God punished the serpent because he had tricked Eve into eating the fruit and disobeying God’s direct command for her and Adam not to eat the fruit.  And the punishment ends with these words, “and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  So what does that mean exactly and what does it have to do with Noah many generations later?  To start with, this punishment held within it a promise of God for the future redemption of man.  The redemption or “purchasing back” of man had to occur because, when Adam and Eve sinned, God could no longer walk with them in the Garden, as He had been doing,  because God is Holy, meaning He is without sin, and Adam and Eve had now brought sin into what was a sinless world, so God couldn’t fellowship with them any longer in the same way that He had been before.   So He punished them and the Serpent, but inside that punishment also made a way for man to fellowship with God in the future, and this redemption would come thru Jesus Christ.  So the enmity spoken of in the punishment of the Serpent is speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman.

While on the Earth, Satan would attempt to “strike his heal” by organizing and propitiating Christ’s death on the earth.  And while Satan was successful in that event, what he was not smart enough to know was that the very death of Jesus Christ would be the very way Jesus would “crush his (Satan’s) head”.  Because Jesus’ death was the final perfect offering, for the sin of man, to pay for man’s redemption, so that man would be again able to fellowship with a Holy God for eternity.

So when God wanted to wipe out all mankind, He had to save a man and a woman in order to again propagate the earth in order to fulfill his promise in the Garden of Eden.  Noah fit the bill because he was a righteous man on the earth during a time when there was so much sin that “every inclination of man’s heart was mostly evil all the time.”  And so, by saving Noah and his family, God fulfilled a promise (because a holy God cannot lie), and thru the line of Noah, Jesus Christ would eventually be born in order to die to save the creation that God loved.

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