Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One of those days...

I got a post from a Christian friend today - her manager, who watches netflix all day at her desk, had somehow been instrumental in her being dismissed  from her job exactly at the cutoff of the trial period.

She had been looking for a job for quite a while, had moved 3800 miles for this job, her 5th move in a single year's time.  What is going on here? Her direct supervisor was dumbfounded as well.

Her soul is crushed.   And it sounds like her spirit is in the same vicinity.  Besides praying, I sent her this note....a rather long note, to be sure, but a note, none the less.  Please pray for this woman.  Life is very hard for her and her spouse and their kids right now.
 I'm so sorry.

I know it feels like a kick to the gut and makes everything else feel so unreal, We feel like "God, weren't You watching? I was being good. I was being faithful! You didn't send an angel to close the mouths of the lions! I feel abandoned here!" 

To this, I can only say the hardest and most difficult thing of all:

Take a deep breath and trust Him. 

Go soak in a tub, put on some praise music (My fave is Marty Goetz singing Psalms.) and while you're in the tub, no thoughts of work. only thoughts of Praise.

Remind Yourself this is the God of Elijah,

This is the One Who knelt in the dirt to make the first man.

This is the One Who made cast iron float. 

This is the One Whose hand made each dot of DNA in your body, each star in the sky, and knows the name of each one of them. And He "honors" you

He knows exactly where He wants you to be.

 He knows exactly what He needs to change in your spirit to make you equal to His plan for you,

This did not take Him by Surprise. 

This is on page 74b of the (your name here) play-by-play book. I have often wished I could snatch my book for even a split second and rip a few of those pages out. 

BUT what if this has come upon you to break thru someone's resistance to God. S/he sees you carrying this in peace, trusting that God let this happen because He had something wonderful and magical waiting for you, and you needed a bit of down time to let your heart and soul become ready

Maybe one more move is going to be a place you don't want to go. There will be scuff marks all along the path where He had to drag you, kicking and screaming, out the door (I describe them so well because I invented them.) and then...

And then, hidden amongst the tears and puffed out lower lips and .sullen obediences, a golden light begins to shine., things begin to happen because only you could see in the right direction and thru the detours and through the resistance to something that will appear to many as the parting of the Red Sea.

And what if He has been planning for your whole life to watch your face as He unveils, bit by bit the most wonderful thing He has designed for only you to be able to manage so beautifully, to bring glory and honor and power and majesty to His Son Jesus Christ?

As you lay your head on your pillow tonight, please remember He is counting every tear you cry, saving them in a bottle. He is so sorry He has to make you swallow this - He knows how hard it is to be undervalued and stripped naked, so to speak, before the whole world. But listen hard as you drift off, and you will hear His songs in the night, as He holds you close and sings over you. You are His beloved child, and He feels your pain and puzzlement, He knows what it means to be the victim of unjust rulings, and He has promised you that goodness and mercy will follow you (in the Hebrew "search dliligently for") you all the days of your life,

And if nothing else, THIS is" one of those days!" our parents told us about - except a day with Jesus in it is a blessed day no matter what else comes with it! 

Friday, July 11, 2014


I'm taking an online sketching/painting class with Danny Gregory, one of my fave artists.  6 weeks, one with each artist and two more of my faves are teaching - Kate Johnson and Brenda Swenson.  (Thank you, Nan, for making it possible for me to take this class - I've wanted to do it for ages)

Half of our first homework was to draw a piece of toast. The purpose of the assignment is to "deep dive" into whatever you are sketching, to capture each nuance - or in this case - air bubble.  I'll add the picture at the bottom - mostly cuz I can't figure out how to type next to it!

Anyhow, the reason I'm telling you all this is because while I was sketching the toast, which took forever to get the nooks and crannies, I realized that this is a bit of a metaphor about how I read the Bible.  Especially since the 2nd part of the homework (which I haven't done yet) is called "fast and slow" - it entails a quick capture with large watercolor brush after a few seconds of looking, then spending a large amount of time sketching the  teensiest details with pen and ink over the quick sketch.

And I realized, that's how I read the Word.  Or, rather, how I SHOULD read the Word.  A quick run thru, then grab my Touch Bible and use the embedded Strong's to catch each "bubble," as it were, in my reading. (99 cents on Amazon)

I do do this - sometimes.  Every single time I have done this I have been blessed with a new look at something I thought I was familiar with (see "A Shocking Discovery" posted last September, where I took John 3 :16 word for word thru the Strong's and was mesmerized by how much is contained in those few words. )

I think we are cheating ourselves when all we do is the quick run thru.  And I can say this cuz the run thru happens, to my shame, more times than the word for word. I can't imagine the thousands of nuances I've missed by doing that.

Why is it so very hard to really delve into the Word?  I think it's more than laziness.

How many other things do you begin to read or study and gazillions of things pop up that *demand* your attention? It's called "the tyranny of the urgent" and is one of the evil one's favorite ploys to distract us and steal outright our Quiet Time with our Maker.  It won't cost God anything - except He rejoices in our company.  He loves to hear our voice saying "Wow!  I had no idea that meant something so wonderful!" when we discover some of the riches He has hidden in the Word for us to find.

It does, however, cost us, and cost us big time.

Our whole purpose on earth is to know, love and obey the Supernatural Being Who created us.  The enemy of our souls does not want us to discover all the wonderful things about our God (as if it were possible!) because the more we know, the more we love Him! Psalm 103:14 says "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust".  With the Strong's we find "He diligently knows our framing (as in shaping pottery; our purpose, imagination and intellectual framework); He (earnestly) remembers that we are (powdered, gray) dust". This is the Psalm that compares His mercy to the height of heaven above the earth, and removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.

It was with a great sense of awe and gratitude that I found those few words in Strong's.  How often do we realize that before God we are powdery gray dust?  It certainly knocks us down a peg, doesn't it?  And God earnestly reminds us that no matter how wonderful and amazing we think we are as individuals, in reality, we are nothing more than gray powdery dust.  (I find it amusing that we aren't even up to the quality of clods of earth - nope, we're not that valuable.  Gray powdered dust. that's it.)

Except ...

Except for the fact that God is absolutely in love with us.  We are His children.  We are the inheritance of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Captain of the Host, the Almighty Creator, the great Loving Heart at the center of all existence.

Without that small detail, we are nothing but (altogether now, one two three:) gray, powdered dust.

As I began to sketch out my homework, I realized this is how God sees me - every tiny nook and cranny of sin or sickness is no surprise to Him. Every quirk, every wobbly line, every pinpoint of being stands revealed before Him. So He earnestly reminds Himself what we are made of, how He framed each one of us as Potter to our clay.  Chronic illness is no mistake.  He formed every molecule that goes into what makes us us.  He has a purpose for it.  As He learned obedience by the things He suffered, He gives us that privilege as well.  Not a single ache, pain, cough or wheeze happened to us by chance.

And He loves every minuscule dot that goes into making us who we are.

What an Awesome God we serve!!

Here it is!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

...and another thing...

I have been thinking about the creation scenario I shared in the last post.

And I forgot one thing.

When that first human belly laugh echoed out into space, and the angels stopped mid-step and smiled benignly, "Its just the human God made" they said to one another, "today is Naming Day.  ***And He gave them His sense of humor.***"

That's how the conversation should have been written.  Because we are made in the image of our Creator.

God has a sense of humor.  I see it everywhere.

And I find it particularly in the Bible and Hebrew humor.

We gentiles say "Man proposes, God disposes."

Hebrew humor says, "Man plans.  God laughs."

It's surprising, given how we gentiles look at Hebrew history. Not much humor, we say, in the Old Testament.

My friend, that's just because you are not looking for it.  We have created in our minds a stingy, unforgiving Father in the old testament, always harping on laws laws laws - which could not be farther from the truth.

The laws He gave were for protection.  He wanted to protect His special children from the evils and illness rampant in the people that surrounded them.

He said, outright, "if you keep these laws, you will suffer none of these diseases I put on the gentliles."

Because the gentiles were promiscuous, their religions were harsh (putting your newborn baby into the arms of a molten hot idol and watch as it screams and dies?  You wonder why God wiped them out?)  If they worshiped only Him, which is His due, they wouldn't be forced to do such things to prove their love of their "god.". (echoes of this as Muslim mothers encourage their children to blow themselves up for Allah.  Allah is a moon god, not "another name for God.") They also exponentially reduced chances of communicable diseases  They had no contact with blood.  They didn't eat pork which had a parasite that formed cysts in muscles and brains. Or bottom feeders (catfish and shrimp)  They didn't have contact with blood, which carried zillions of things - even their wife's blood. They covered their waste.  And they weren't promiscuous, so no STD's.  They had rudimentary hygiene, which no one else had.  All because of a "harsh" God.

Now, pick up your Bible and look for humor.  I find it particularly in Esther - which is now a Hebrew celebration called Purim, or "lots", based on Hamaan casting lots to find out the most favorable day to wipe out the Jewish race.. The kids dress up in costumes and go to synagogue to have Esther read to them

What's funny you say.  It's a bleak story that doesn't even mention God.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh you silly gentile!  God gave you a sense of humor!! (not as good as a Hebrew's, but it's there!)  Nourish it!

To the Hebrew, God was in everything!  Everything! (an attribute we would do well to adopt as our own!)  So of course He is in Esther (Whose Hebrew name is Hadassah).  Can't you see His fingerprints? It never entered the Hebrew mind that God wasn't behind this!

Haughty Hamaan, because one man wouldn't bow, wants to wipe out the whole race.  He forces his servants to build, in one night, a gallows 3 stories high.  The Bible doesn't say this, but I think it would be hilarious if all that building noise is what kept the king up that read something boring like...ohhhhh, the annals of the kingdom for instance, to bore him to sleep... Where he finds (drum roll) Mordecai's act of loyalty.  And decides to reward him.

But he can't think of a reward. hmmm. that's strange.  He's a king. doesn't he reward lots of folks?  But not this day.  So he says, "who's in the courtyard?"

And lo and behold, none other but the villain, Hamaan (on Purim, as this book is read in the synagogue, all the kids have noisemakers.  Every time Hamaan's name is mentioned, they hiss and rattle their noisemakers and stomp their feet to drown out the very sound of his name.!  I loooooooove it!)

And why is Hamaan in the court? to ask the king for the life of the very one the king wants to reward. Hamaan can see it in his mind's eye: he'd say "Okingliveforever there's this guy that buuuuuuuugs me, and I was gonna ask if I could have him killed."

The king says, "sure, you want me to torture him or what?"

"Ummm let me think." Tapping chin, looking at the ceiling   "Oh!  I've got it! Let's stake him on a gallows.  Which someone happened to build last night.  In my front yard. 90 feet high so everyone in the city can see it."

That's how everything was supposed to play out. So when the king asks him that question about honoring someone, Hamaan, whose world revolves around, hmmmmm let's see ....OH! I've got it! Hamaan! Thinks, "who else would the king like to honor, but me!"  And he paints this amazing scenario in his own mind: king's donkey (donkeys were the animals that only kings rode -appropriate, no?) King's robe (which may have been ermine and spun gold but would never have been washed so perhaps a tad smelly) and a nobleman proclaiming "this is how the king rolls." Or, um, in bible language "This is how it's done for the one the King wishes to honor"

The King says "Good idea!  I knew I could count on you Haam', go do that for Mordecai, the Jew"

Oy vey! or maybe just OY! (He was, after all, a gentile.)

So out goes Hamaan and, of course, does what the king ordered him to do.

Now, Hamaan didn't keep his hatred of Mordecai a secret. Didn't even try.  And so folks knew if you didn't bow before him he would wipe out not just you but every single relative of yours he could find.

The whoooooooooooooooooole town knew this. They also knew he was proud, self-worshipping, and condescending to others.

Can't you just see Hamaan leading this donkey, with Mordecai riding nobly above,  and Hamaan loudly proclaiming "thus it is done for the one the King wants to honor" - and every person Hamaan sees is smiling from ear to ear or turning away a second to stifle a guffaw. That handy phrase "hoist on his own petard" comes to mind.

Meanwhile, in the synagogue, all the kids burst into laughter.

Then, as salve upon an open wound, the Queen invites the king and Hamaan - ONLY Hamaan - to dinner. Oooooo Hooooo Hoooooooo, am I hot stuff, Hamaan thinks. (which also the whole town knows - he's always thought he was hot stuff, and gossip about kings and villains spreads like wildfire..)

So here comes the banquet.  After dinner, Esther has a moment  of nervousness, and asks everybody back for the next night.

Hamaan has more to brag about.

The next night, Esther says, "OSweetiePieliveforever, something is rotten in Denmark (oops sorry wrong story)... OKingliveforever you have a rat in your bosom.  This guy is trying to get you to wipe out my people.  If he just wanted to enslave us I wouldn't say anything, but he wants to kill everyone of your loyal tax-paying servants.  Including me, your favorite Sweetheart and queen.  And by the way, my name is Hadassah - and Mordecai is my uncle. "

The king bellows "Who would have the cojones ...uh ...Who would DARE to do such a thing to you?  WHO????"

"This rat here, Hamaan!" (wild cheering erupts in the synagogue, noisemakers galore)

The King stomps into the garden to cool off.

The brilliant Hamaan has an accident in his pants and falls upon the Queen's couch, to beg for his life .(Yeah, they ate on couches.  icky, huh?)

Just at that precise moment, the king returns, sees Hamaan on top of the queen and gets the wrong idea.

"And now you're gonna ravish my queen right in front of me?!!"

Now, stop and think for a moment.  People of Hamaan's persuasion whose whole world revolves around themselves - and thus, necessarily. the world of everyone around them, unfortunate souls - usually do not treat their -or anyone else's - servants kindly.

The king's servants have been putting up with this schmuck forever, and now are watching this go down with (dignified) glee.  When Hamaan fell on the queen's couch, the head servant whispered to his assistant "go get an executioner's hood - this is getting good".  So when the kings bellows and the word "ravish" comes out of his mouth, the servant says, " Okingliveforever, Hamaan is the one who built the gallows in his front yard that kept you awake last night, and he built it for Mordecai, who saved your life!"

The king says, " Oh really? Anybody got an executioner's hood?"

"Okingliveforever, I just happen to have one right" - whoosh - "here behind my back!  What a coincidence, huh?"

And the servant's stuff the hood over Hamaan's face and whisk him away, to be hanged on his own gallows, with his 7 sons (the perfect number for his perfect life) - they were hanged because they were in cohoots with their dad - snotty begets snotty.  (in those days in this place they didn't actually hang them.  First they killed him, then they pushed their bodies thru the pointed stake at the top of what they called a gallows.  eeeeeuwwww.  and this one was 90 feet high.  I think it wasn't only the Jews who were relieved that Hamaan was done for.)

Now a moment of seriousness.

The Jewish people, in every generation, has had a madman who hated them and wanted to kill the whole race.  Hitler was not an original.  And did you know he had Jewish ancestry? According to his policies, he should have been the first to be eliminated in his new guidelines.  People look down on the Jews, freeze them out of country clubs and anything else they can freeze them out of.  Their humor is often self-depracating.  It is a wry kind of humor and I find it delightful.  When people say "But you are the chosen people," they  often say "Why doesn't God choose someone else for awhile?" (I actually had this conversation with a Jewish friend - and, sure enough, that's what he said.)

Things said and done during the holocaust are actually in the Word, where it talks about there being only one from a family, or one from a whole city that survives.  Yet survive they have.  Mark  Twain once said, "If you want to see a living miracle, look at the Jew."

He went to Israel as he notes in his Travels and he described it in quotes from the Word, as a desolate place with no trees, rocky and arid.

I can't help but think the humor God put into the Jew got them through some grim days.

Then ? God ignored them for 2000 years.  Unfortunately, the "Christians" did not, with pogroms and eradication and eviction from country after country.  The Inquisition, the Crusades - where "holy" knights, who were promised heaven if they died in battle (sound familiar?) tried to see how many Jewish babies they could fit on a sword.  Atrocity after atrocity. There is a reason the Jew doesn't trust the Christian.

And now God has brought them Home, and is dealing with them once again, His covenant with them, which over and over again He declared to be an eternal covenant that depended not on their behavior, but on God alone, is still in effect. Our God is NOT a covenant breaker! The land Twain described no longer exists.  It is alive with trees, fruit, flowers, people who laugh and dance and sing and are recognizing their Messiah in huge numbers, with many Messianic congregations.  God told them the desert would blossom like a rose, and you can go to Israel and see that prophecy in living color.  They supply Europe with over 75% of the cut flowers imported.  They supply the world with food, not just their own people.  Look on your supermarket shelves and you will find jams and jellies and crackers and delicacies that were made in Israel. Almost every advance in medicine and computers has come from Israel,  Every October Christians from all over the world gather for Shavuot (the feast of the ingathering) to show their support for Israel in a parade where they march on foot through the streets of Jerusalem.

And why not?  We owe them everything :our Messiah, Jesus, Who was  crucified by our sin.  NONE OTHER.  On a Roman Cross.  By Roman soldiers.

You really ought to go there.  It will turn the Bible from black and white to living color. Once you've been there, you will never be the same.

For the first time in history, an ancient people, forced to wander from their home for 2000 years, came back and revived their native tongue, which had not been spoken in every day language (it was like Latin - used formally but not as a daily language) for 2000 years and is now a living, every day language once more.

The Balfour declaration, which is what started the deep thirst for their homeland, was ratified to give them not only where Israel is today - (there was no country of Jordan at that time.)  All the land that Jordan includes was supposed to be part of Israel. The British,  however, anti-Semitic to the last( they exported every Jew long before Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice.  Shakespeare had never met a Jew - there weren't any in England. I so love the mercy speech he put in the Merchant's mouth!  It continues to amaze me, even tho , at the end of the play and with a sword at his throat, the Jew is forced to "become a Christian" - which is something that happened over and over during the Spanish Inquisition) the Brits decided that was too much land to give to a Jew and chopped it down to indefensible borders - less than 8 miles wide at one point - and then supplied the 8 arab countries with weapons  - to start a war with them the day their country was ratified by the UN.  They couldn't even speak to each other because some spoke Yiddish, Some Latvian and Polish - they had no common language, and commanders often could not communicate with their troops.  Time after time, God provided miracles of protection for them - the odds were almost literally one in a million - a million arabs for every Jew - and the Jews had few rifles, no tanks, paltry amounts of ammunition. They have been attacked 6 times, maligned by countless, and still, they survive.  That's all they really want: to survive, to raise their children in peace.

Did you know that Israel is smaller than Rhode Island?  Even today, an IDF jet takes less than 60 seconds to fly across the country.  And the" West Bank" is actually none other than Samaria and Judea. The arabs call it that so that people don't realize they are talking about the  heart of Biblical Israel.

When the arabs realized they were not going to win in any war, in spite of all their attempts to do just that, they began telling lies.  Hitler himself said if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.  ( For a muslim, it is not a lie to tell untruths to infidels, which is you and me).  Arafat did this remarkably well - and I hate to disillusion you, but Arafat was not a "Palestinian" - which has never been a country, never had a ruler, never had a law, never existed - Arafat was an Egyptian Muslim.  "Palestine" was the name a Roman governor gave to Israel so the Jews could not claim it as home.  When Israel became a  county in 1948, no arab would deign to be called palestinian because it was a derogatory name for the Jew. But Arafat knew they needed a myth to believe in - so he made one up.

If you tell a lie often enough, people believe it.

The truth is, Israel has offered many times to build homes and hospitals where the "palestinians" are and has been refused.  You can't demoniZe a people who did that for you, so the leaders won't take help.  The millions sent to them for "their people" are scarfed up by the leaders. Arafat died a multi millionaire.  Did you know that Israel agreed to every demand of Arafat at Camp David and he stormed out - only to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize?

If you tell a lie often enough, people believe it.

Now they claim Jesus was a palestinian freedom fighter.  And a lot of "Christians" believe it.

For the truth of what I have said about the above, get the book "From Time Immemorial" - written by a former State Dept official who wanted to vindicate the "poor palestinians" because she had been so active in the civil rights movement.  She was incensed that the Israelis were stealing "palestinian" land and keeping them in camps.  So she went to Israel and did research. What she found, and documented, stunned her. What she discovered was the myths and lies being swallowed whole as truth. The palestinians stole Jewish history - and made it their own.  She was so appalled she wanted to tell the real truth about what was happening to Israel. So she published her book.

And no one cared.

If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it.

Hamaan lives.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Long, long ago

As I explain in my short bio, I am a writer of prose and poetry.  I think in allegory - which opens up vast new horizons for me in the Word.  One small phrase can set me off.  Psalm 34 is my favorite Psalm.  I have read it gazillions of times, derived more comfort from it than should even be possible, and , tho Ps 119 is a close second, Ps 34 remains my avowed favorite.

Today my daily read included Ps 32- 35, and I was delighted to  know I would have a feast in the LORD today.

And then I got to Ps 33.

One phrase :verse 6 - and I am undone.

I read a different version each year, and this year I am in the Modern Language Bible, an early favorite, right up there next to the revised NKJV, in my opinion.  I am a Shakespeare fan, so the olde englishe wordes of the NKJV don't bother me - and nothing can match its majesty which, just in case you don't know, was a stated objective in their translation of the Holy Writ.  They wanted the reader to fall face down before the majesty and awesomeness of His Being.

Now the MLB, as far as I know, doesn't state those objectives; still, they have several examples of a "nice turn of phrase" as writers call it.

And I found one in Ps 33 today.  It stopped me in my tracks and blew my tiny human mind into infinitesimal fragments.

But there;'s a back story to this: Permit me to share:

Carl Sagan, the atheistic creator of the tv series Cosmos, was a firm believer that the big bang theory was the end all and be all of creation.  It satisfied every question and whim of wonder in the human mind on one grand incredibly amazing poetic harmony-of-life scale

Except one.

Where did everything contained in the big bang come from?

Even Carl, with his dyed-in-the-wool adamant stance against Creation Design, couldn't deny that ....well,....there does seem to be an amazing symmetry (no word such as design by an intelligent Being would cross his lips) and incredible amounts of matter springing from....nothing.  Even the explosion of the bang really should have a somewhere in there.

Carl Sagan is gone now, and I don't think he is resting in much peace.  To his credit, he was actually in touch with some of the PhDs from the Creation Institute, and a dialogue of sorts was going on.   I pray in his last moments he did bow before the One Who held his breath in His hands.

But I digress.

All that is simply to say, the answer to Carl Sagan is Psalm 33 verse 6:  "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; by the breath of His mouth all their host."

I have read that verse at least 40 times in my yearly circuit, and never has it dropped me face down in adoration - until today.

Perhaps it was growing up in a Disney frame of mind, "The Wonderful World of Color" kept me enthralled every Sunday night at 4pm.  I didn't know my Creator then, but Mr. Disney was certainly plowing that ground, making a fertile plot for His seed to fall.

I read this verse today, and I SAW, I really SAW, Jesus standing in the inky blackness of empty space - which He also created - as a backdrop for His bing!bang!boom! of "Be Light" (which is what the original Hebrew says.  It is a command, not a namby pamby "let there be" anywhere in there.) "Bing!Bang!Boom!BE LIGHT!" (OK, so maybe I got a bit carried away there...)

The point is, Mr. Sagan could trace natural history down thru the ages, he believed.  But when he got there, he had nothing.


Nothing but God.

And, ala Disney, I can see a Masterful paint brush wipe across the universe - His Arm flung wide with delight and joy, tiny pebbles of planets flung into orbits, galaxies of pinwheels, circles, clouds of gasses, and - with a chuckle - black holes. His designs building on one another Day by Day. Something called "gravity" to hold it all together.  And as He flung them outwards, the elements kept expanding in that direction, moving ever  outward - until the day, already planned, when He will snap them back, rolling up like a scroll or an old fashioned window shade that flap-flap-flaps it's way back on the roller.

(I warned you I think in allegory!)

And Then...

And Then:..

Everything stood stock still, and held it's breath, peering over His shoulder as He knelt - KNELT - in the dust to hand-shape His crowning achievement.


The only item in allllllllllllllllllllll of God's creation that He made by hand.  And how creation gasped to see that *this* living being (nebesh in Hebrew) was made in the Image of his Maker.


And this being, so loved, so doted on, so delighted in, was set entirely free.

In the most perfect garden ever made.

In the best possible atmosphere.

With carefully designed parameters.

And yet, if he so chose, he could turn his back on his Father, spit in His eye, and sin.

He had everything anyone could want.  A pre-planted,  food-producing garden uncluttered by weeds or stinging bugs, watered every morning by a mist that arose from the ground itself, created to delight that yearning in the human soul for beauty - a yearning shared by no other creature and having no possible "evolutionary advantage" for mankind.  Simply to delight his heart.  And what's more, God paraded each individual animal in front of Adam to name.

Disney-esque, I have thought of that scene many many times.  Starting with the small fuzzies - perhaps Adam cuddled each one, tickling their chins, or dug his fingers into the soft, living fur of a Bengal Tiger,going until he'd progressed thru them all.

I wonder, did he toss a stick for the Tyrannosaurus Rex to chase after (pound!pound!pound! the earth shaking as he ran.  Snatching up the stick, pound!pound!pound! as he ran back, eager as a puppy)

Then came the armor-plated rhinoceros, horribly near sighted (no chasing sticks for him!) and the giraffe!  I bet God watched to see Adam's reaction to each one, and at the poor near-sighted rhino a human belly-laugh echoed out into space.  Angels stopped mid-step at the sound, then smiled benignly "It's just the human God made,"they said to one another,"today is Naming Day."

The giraffe got another belly laugh.  And the platypus!  Oh my!  You never heard such laughter!

And then, God tacked on the teeny-tiny blinking light to the firefly's rear end, and set them all loose - and a sigh of wonder burst out of Adam as the grassy fields became a sparkling wonderland. (Oh! what a scene Disney could have made with that one!)

And God delighted in all that He had made.

Then, He made one more creation.  Using the first anesthesia (I'm a nurse....couldn't resist) God took Adam's rib and made a helper perfect for him, in every way.  She had sparkling eyes and a musical laugh, and  a dainty, swinging pony tail.

Adam was smitten.

And, as usually happens when we humans are smitten with one another, his brain ceased to function.

I often wonder what the serpent originally looked like.  It's a question that has no answer.  It was the most beautiful and subtle animal of all creation.  Gossamer wings, perhaps?  Long, dainty legs?  The softest fur?  The most playful heart? What was his name before Adam  changed it to "serpent" ?

We'll never know until heaven.  What we do know is, this animal was enchanted by satan - perhaps he saw his own beauty reflected in the evil one's eyes - surely satan appeared, as the Bible says he can, as an angel of light.  Mesmerized, the serpent said, "yeah, sure you can use my body.  It IS just a trick, right?  Nothing bad in it?"

And the deed was done.

All the paintings and images of The Fall paint this slithery slimy hissing atrocity whispering in Eve's ear.

Would YOU cozy up to a slithery hissy thing?

I think not.

Whatever he looked like, he wasn't icky.  He was warm, and cozy, and looked perfectly trustworthy....and one more thing : he looked wise.

Now, here's where I get bent out of shape.

Eve is always projected as adding to Scripture.  But a careful reading reveals that God didn't tell her about the tree of life and the tree of good and evil.

He told Adam.

And I can easily see Adam adding "...or touch it" for emphasis, to impress upon this winsome lass, looking up at him adoringly, that the tree of good and evil was off limits.

I am always fascinated by the fact that the Tree of Life was easily accessible and *not* forbidden.  Yet it held no allure.

Because the evil one didn't make it look alluring.

Hebrew tradition says that when the serpent was enticing Eve, he waited until she said, "We must not eat of it, nor touch it, or we die."  At that moment, he bumped her into the tree and said, "See?  you won't die if you touch it ...or eat it, either."  And at that moment, he knew he had triumphed.

And now, we all are like God, knowing the difference between good and evil - although we often wish we didn't. And in spite of all of this, we are inexorably drawn to evil - like Job says, "As sparks fly upward."

The most subtle of all the animals.

Now the serpent knew that he had marred God's perfect created being and broken God's heart.  This was a being made in His own image!

And the serpent was stripped of his gauzy wings or shining soft fur or long legs or playfulness (have you ever noticed that all babies of animals play?  kittens, puppies, horses, even whales - but not snakes) and condemned to eat dust and slither from that moment on - he was ugly now, and he knew it.  So, whenever he can, he bites a human heel, cuz it's the human's fault all his beauty and gorgeousness were stripped away.

Certainly not his fault.

Well, ok, so he let satan take him over.  But he didn't know the evil one had planned anything like this.

Well, ok, he knew the evil one hated God, and yes, he knew he'd been thrown out of heaven, but he was sooooo beautiful and he told me I was beautiful and he said there wasn't anything wrong with what we were doing, that God just wanted to take away our fun...and yes, I believed him BUT....I didn't really know it was wrong.

And so began the lie that has been told to every generation, the same exact story, and we fall for it every time. In The Singer, Calvin Miller said that satan sings the same song to every generation, and each generation thinks it's a new song sung only for them.

Every generation falls for it.

Every time.

And I am continually amazed at my own stupidity,

For I am absolutely in love with my Creator.  He is so beautiful and so good and so merciful and so amazingly wondrously creative, and He made me that way too, just so I could recognize and delight in Him and the attributes He shares with me as His gifts. And I am awed by His Creation that surrounds me, even tho it is spoiled and has become dangerous and things slither and hiss and go bump in the night.

And I wonder.

I wonder how lovely the unspoiled Creation was.

And I wonder what this world might have been.

And I am overcome with gratitude that Jesus made us - and when He lost us, He bought us back - out of the slave market we had been sold into, that one golden day, long long ago, in Paradise.