Restitution: Living Guilt Free

In fighting for national freedom peace is bought with blood…usually. Freedom from guilt, however, is purchased by making restitution. 

Guilt. Is it a feeling or a state of being? It is both according to  . What is it to God? 

Strong’s number 816 – ‘āšam – To be guilty; to be in a state of liable for wrongdoing with an implication that one will suffer or be punished for the guilt; to be suffering; to declare guilty

We can learn about personal freedom by looking at the  guilt offering designed by God to facilitate reconciliation between people and between God and His people (Leviticus 4,5,6). Here are a few things I learned from my study of guilt. I hope you find them helpful.

Mended pot 1

  • When a person sins unintentionally (by accident), that person is still guilty (“legally” responsible). God’s laws and penalties have not appeared and vanished on the basis of any individual’s intentions. His laws remain impartially active despite the people involved or their situations.
  • Guilt is a type of suffering. One party suffers the offense. The other suffers the punishment of the wrong until things are made right.
  • Guilt is part of the cleansing equation. There is a concrete way to be free of guilt… a process to go through. Leviticus 5  Realize wrongdoing > Accept the guilt > Make restitution > Plead their case before God > Be forgiven > Enter into restored relationship
  • I am regarded as guilty when I am cognizant of my wrongdoing ( aware, made aware, acknowledge)
  • I am rendered guilty immediately whenever I commit a wrong of any kind
  • Who sets you free from guilt? You do; wanting to be free is an active choice. God does: without His involvement, reconciliation is not achieved completely
  • When making things right, don’t aim for replacement, aim for a fifth above and beyond.
    • Numbers 5:6-8Amplified Bible (AMP)

“Say to the Israelites, ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind [against other people], thus breaking faith with the Lord, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed, and he shall make restitution for his wrong in full, and add a fifth to it, and give it to [the person] whom he has wronged. But if the man [who was wronged] has no redeemer (relative) to whom the restitution may be made, it is to be given to the Lord for the priest, besides the ram of atonement with which atonement is made for the offender.

  • You know, it is interesting that the problem with causing hurt to others is actually breaking faith with the LORD. It is that broken faith Godward that necessitates realignment action on the part of the wrongdoer, not whatever emotional gymnastics or feelings they experience. All restitution solutions are matter-of-fact events. They effect the heart but are not dependent on it.

Mended with gold 3Here is an example from my life.

Spatially challenged, kinetically expressive individual that I am, “Wanna get away?” moments increase in proportion to social interaction. It can be embarrassingly problematic.

There I was talking to a friend at a party one second and the next second there goes the hostess’s very cool, somewhat expensive candle holder. It toppled laterally. The thin ceramic severed into three parts across the dark wood of her console table instead of shattering into a zillion pieces on the floor. That last bit was fortuitous.

I was mortified. Being the avid reader of God’s take on things that I am I knew restitution must take place but how to do that escaped me at the moment.

I’m SO sorry….” came out of my mouth.

Oh don’t worry about it. I have grand kids.” She smiled. It was like saying what I did did not matter. But it did. It mattered to me and it mattered to God.

With all the sad face emotions I could hopefully project in order to convey my sincere apology, take two commenced.

She cradled my face in her hands and looking into my eyes spoke firmly, “ Christine, let it go.”

I couldn’t. My state of being was stuck in a red light/ green light situation on a long red – a do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 spiritual type of jail and I desperately wanted to be free of it. I was stuck in a place of liability without my get-out-of-jail-free card that could only come from the LORD.

Until God released me I would not be released. If I had the power to vanish… to teleport home I would have but God had other plans.

Mended with gold 5

Next up was our devotional speaker for the day. She told us about a Japanese art form that mends broken pottery to make the point about how beautiful God’s mending of her broken life had been and still is.  She had been re-purposed for the display of God’s splendor and craftsmanship with a glorious golden glue that reminds her what a treasure she is.

As I was leaving the hostess came over to give me a parting hug. “Isn’t it interesting that the speaker talked about broken pottery today? It makes me think again about the candle holder breaking.”

Her hands flew off of me so fast. Immediately she turned away to talk to someone else.

Okie-dokie, I thought. I knew at that moment that things had to be made right. It was the right choice for a servant of the Most High and an essential part in the equation of freedom from that unfortunate moment for both of us.

23 So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you,

24 Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

It was a passage we’d both studied recently and now had the opportunity to experience first hand. Early the next week I made it my mission to find that special item. I drove across the bridge to the big city and struck out at the first five stores. Five. Nobody had the exact color, height, or shape. Tired and disappointed I complained to God. Then I called my daughter for her input. She offered a couple suggestions and she asked her hubby what he’d recommend. He suggested that I definitely go to one more particular store. I did.Wordpress banner compass

The solution wasn’t there either but God was. As I was browsing – more like getting lost in aisles and aisles of stuff – two managers and their trainee were talking as they introduced her to stock placements. One manager laughs and teasingly says, “…We need to get this girl some bumpers. No seriously. She’s always bumping into stuff.”

LORD! You wanted me to hear that!! I’m not the only one who suffers from loosely connected steering.

Mended with gold 2I should have stopped right there, raised my hand and testified “That’s me too! I’m here because I need to stop bumping into stuff!! Bumpers would be great. Do you have any force-field types that fit the bill?”

This time listening to someone else’s conversation was kind of encouraging. Striking out wherever I turned was extremely discouraging. I tried, God. Thanks for the encouragement but it doesn’t look like restitution is possible today and today is all I have.

With the LORD’s direction, help with resources and two stores later the solution was in hand. Neither grand kids nor clumsy adults could break it. It was the right shape and height. The candle colors paired well with their holders and would make a stunning display. One broken item would become a beautiful set of six so the numbers thing was working out.:) I think these will do. Thanks God. You have helped me to do what is right. You have made a way to break free from my wrongful accident.

Things matter. They don’t matter because they are things, they matter because things affect our hearts. Making restitution heals. Ignoring a friend’s heart divides and separates. Such disregard for those whom God has created is dishonoring to their Maker and a blight to Christian testimony.  So God gives us a way to deal with our possessions in a way that honors people and pleases God.

Here’s a couple other examples:

      1. One time back in college Steve loaned out his car. The driver came back having put in a completely new wind shield because while the vehicle was in his care the previous one was cracked. That was my first exposure to proper restitution. It brought about a happy all-is-right bounce to my step.
      2. Dad left when I was 5. When I was grown he said, “I’m sorry for our “unfamily” and then later when I had an opportunity to visit him, it was important to him that I be included in his home and he set aside a room just for me near his instead of making me sleep alone in the trailer across the parking lot. He was being a dad to me and I treasured the brief time we shared together.

God designed a way to be free from guilt. Sacrifice. It is a two part equation; Our part and God’s part.

We make it right. He forgives us. The wronged person forgives us. We forgive ourselves. Relationship can finally be enjoyed uninhibited. 

That really is the goal isn’t it? … Being reconciled, realigned, to God and to people in such a way that uninhibited relationship is genuinely experienced?

Mended wirth gold 4

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! What memorials of mended relationships do you carry with you?

Journey Forward in Wisdom: 4 Steps to a Changed Life

If you , like me, come from an environment that is wisdom challenged, perhaps you too have asked questions about becoming smarter or wiser. Here are four steps I’ve gathered from Scripture in order to journey forward in wisdom.

Why choose Scripture as a basis for learning wisdom? There are many paths to successful skill building. Indeed, wisdom is valued in every culture but I wanted to become wise with a heavenly wisdom. Not because I’m super spiritual or over the top about living the “Christian life”  but because I craved right choices early in life and still desire being able to discern the best path. 

God’s wisdom outshines all other types of wisdom to be found. His wisdom makes even those who are savants, gifts of intelligence, look like idiot children. The gap between our wisdom and His makes us all look foolish. So why not ask Him to gift us with His wisdom?

Joss Whedon attempted to show us the potential of humanity’s wisdom skills in his science fiction series Firefly…

 I am very smart. I went to the best Medacad in Osiris, top three percent of my class, finished my internship in eight months. “Gifted” is the term. So when I tell you that my little sister makes me look like an idiot child, I want you to understand my full meaning. River was more than gifted. She… she was a gift. Everything she did, music, math, theoretical physics – even-even dance – there was nothing that didn’t come as naturally to her as breathing does to us.”  Dr. Simon Tam  “Firefly: Serenity (#1.11)” (2002)

Sorry, Joss Whedon, God’s wisdom even beats out River Tam and all those very real people like her. People wisdom is just not reliable intel for the task at hand. 

So how do we become the kind of wise that is the most useful to us?

Step #1 Wisdom begins with the desire to acquire it. Proverbs 4:7 

Step #2 Wisdom Fears the LORD

  • 10 The [a]fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    A good understanding have all those who [
    b]do His commandments;
    His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:10(NASB)


  • 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 (NASB)


What does it mean to fear the LORD?

13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverted mouth, I hate. Proverbs 8:13 (NASB)

Step #3 Wisdom knows what good and evil are.

How do we get there? We practice the good — God’s commands. We eat, sleep, and drink God’s ways and train ourselves to distinguish between good and evil.

13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:13-14(NASB)

Eventually we get so good at it that we can obey God with our senses  and by sensing … much like the intuitive River Tam acted instantaneously to avert danger based on her sensing abilities as portrayed in Firefly.

In other real world examples, people who are experts in their given field often cannot tell you what makes them successful they just are…they just know… they just do.

Take this example from Scott Young in his letter about Top Performers:

One of the challenges with building rare and valuable skills is figuring out just what those skills are. Sometimes top performers themselves aren’t even able to fully articulate what matters for success. 

“As Chris L., a former student of Top Performer explains, “I started by talking to people a few ranks above me in my job, and asked them what I should focus on. They all came back with the same answers, ‘You you’ve got to set goals with your manager and have regular check-ins, blah blah blah…’”

This is a common experience when doing research on your career. Experts often give generic, vague-sounding advice, even though you know that can’t possibly be the distinction that made them successful. […]

Chris continues, “The idea [from the course] that you can ask an expert a question, and they don’t know that they know the answer. They don’t say the answer, but you can still get the answer. It blows your mind if you think about it for a second, but that was my experience.””

Which brings me to our next step.

Step #4 Wisdom spends time with wise (skilled, knowledgeable, God-fearing) people. Wisdom seekers experience the life wise people live and experience it WITH them.

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools

will suffer harm. 

Proverbs 13:20 (NASB)

It’s just that simple.

Who are these wise people?Wordpress banner compass

When selecting a wisdom mentor associated with God’s purpose for your life, who should you look for? What qualities set them apart as wise in God’s eyes?

Check out their self-concept. Are they humble?

Check out their family relationships

Check out their spoken and unspoken language skills

Check out their people skills

  • They are willing to associate with the less wise Proverbs 13:20 
  • They inherit honor Proverbs 3:35 they don’t seek it. Honor comes by way of what they do (gaining a good reputation) and their alignments with other honorable people.
  • The wise win souls Proverbs 11:30  not just minds. Think about that for a bit. This is a universal concept that applies outside the Christian community too so pay special attention to the next point.

Check out their work ethic


So here are four steps for the wisdom challenged:

Step #1 Wisdom begins with the desire to acquire it.

Step #2 Wisdom Fears the LORD

Step #3 Wisdom knows what good and evil are.

Step #4 Wisdom seekers spend time with wise people and get to know them.


8 Who is like the wise man
and who knows the interpretation of a matter?
A man’s wisdom illumines [a]him
and causes his stern face
Ecclesiastes 8:1 (NASB)

Journey forward in wisdom. It will change your face. God’s wisdom will change your life.:)

Happy Ostrich Day!

Happy Ostrich Day!

It might be Mother’s Day or Mothers’ Day to you. But for some people, myself included, the second Sunday in May  is difficult. It is even excruciatingly painful.

Our reality is not about elevating motherhood or praising mothers for their support of our troops. It is not about how much we can manipulate our children to do things marketeers say that “honor” us. Nor is it about volunteers who inspire their offspring to somehow nurture their communities into peaceful places to live.

No, for some of us, the emotionally abandoned and the unmothered, the second Sunday in May is really all about the ostrich.

God mentions the ostrich mom twice. Each time it is the same description of her traits but the problems she causes her young ones are different. Here is the first one that caught my attention.

Job 39:13-18 Amplified  (AMPC)

13 The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, [but] are they the pinions and plumage of love?

14 The ostrich leaves her eggs on the ground and warms them in the dust,

15 Forgetting that a foot may crush them or that the wild beast may trample them.

16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers; her labor is in vain because she has no sense of danger [for her unborn brood],

17 For God has deprived her of wisdom, neither has He imparted to her understanding.

18 Yet when she lifts herself up in flight, [so swift is she that] she can laugh to scorn the horse and his rider.

Good things about the ostrich

  • The ostrich runs fast  — up to 72 kilometers per hour in short bursts and 30 mph for longer runs
  • She flaps her wings joyfully

BAD things about the ostrich

  • She forgets that her children can be trampled. If she is engaged with another herd member, she may even trample them herself.
  • She has no sense of danger for her eggs nor for her chicks

In the passage above, these words popped off the page at me the other day, “ … as though they were not hers.” They grabbed my attention because I could relate. It struck me that that was EXACTLY how my mother had decided to treat me the day I was born… as if I were not hers. There was no logical basis for her choice. She doesn’t treat my siblings this way. She just latched onto a bad thought and ran with it. What a selfish, ostrich-like thing to do.

In the Job passage the ostrich’s lack of wisdom is problematic in the sphere of danger and protection from danger.



She continued to treat me that way each day of my life. While I was small, it didn’t phase me. I didn’t recognize danger in relationship because harsh relationships were normal. When I was older and had children of my own and watched how other mothers treated their children all of a sudden absentee mothering was no longer OK. I was becoming aware of what it meant to be emotionally abandoned and what it took to emotionally bolster my own brood.

God made both the ostrich and my mother to be just how they are. Not empty of virtue just…well…like an ostrich. Lest you think the comparison to human mothering choices is way out of line, Jeremiah mourns over this very thing.


Lamentations 4:2-4 (AMP)

The [noble and] precious sons of Zion,
[Once] worth their weight in fine gold,
How they are regarded [merely] as earthen jars,
The work of a potter’s hands!

Even the jackals offer the breast,
They nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people has become cruel
Like ostriches in the wilderness [that desert their young].

The tongue of the infant clings
To the roof of its mouth because of thirst;
The little ones ask for food,
But no one gives it to them.

It is horrible to treat one’s own children harshly. The ostrich causes self-esteem problems and a beggar mentality.

In Lamentations, Jeremiah mourns the de-valuing of Zion’s precious children. In this passage the “ostrich” mother is heartless and the neglect she operates with is outrageous.

The ostrich does it because she has NO SENSE!

All those jokes about “Where were you when God handed out brains….” He actually did that! In recounting the creation of the ostrich, God “deprived her of wisdom neither has He imparted to her understanding.” Its right there in black and white Job 39:13-18. Mind blown! It’s true? Wow.

ostrich chicks 1So – to break the cycle- how does a previously unmothered person mother their own offspring appropriately? I mean, I don’t want to treat my own children harshly. I want them to know that I claim them… that they are safe from danger…that they have value. It would devastate me if they perceived that I had in any way abandoned them because I know first hand the fear, the hurt, the lack of confidence and the unworthy feelings prompting mental gymnastics it has produced in my own life.

Humans mimic their mothers. We tend to behave as our mothers behaved because our mother is in our blood  — a behavioral DNA kind of thing. I believe there IS a way out of that harsh cyclical negative family tradition though.

Wisdom comes from God. We are encouraged to ask Him for it.

James 1:2-8 (AMPC)

Consider it nothing but joy, my [a]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].


Wordpress banner compassWhat I had to ask God was, “Am I being harsh?” Sometimes I was and had to change my approach. Other times I was not and needed to hold the course. I also asked, “Am I being loving?” This too was a journey that depended on many conversations with the LORD.


I don’t have to continue the ostrich mothering.

God helps me to be a good mother!

Let the ostrich be the ostrich. God made her that way. However, we do NOT have to continue being ostrich parents. We are humans made in the image of God and in a relationship with Him that directs our mothering.

My take-away from God’s lecture to Job about His creation is this one thing — God made my mother to mother me like an ostrich. I get upset and sad because of the crippling effect that has had on my development and continues to have on my adult life. And yet, whether she meant it for evil or she acted completely without a single thought I can say with Joseph, “…but God meant it for good.”

Nothing we say or do will change mothers with ostrich behavior long term. Ostrich moms will always revert to acting on who God made them to be apart from God’s direct intervention. If all she has is showy plumage and speed, let her have those. God gave them to her.

When I allow myself to ponder the reality that God made my mother to mother me, even though her dealings with me have been painful, I am reminded that God cares about the details of who I am and the life I live. He meets my needs like no one else can… like no one else could. I can ask Him for wisdom and He will give it without finding fault. That is a precious thing He does for me and I love Him more for it.

Yes, for some people mother’s day is very difficult. Even the founder of mother’s day tried to stop it. Until the day she died, she gave all she had to put an end to what this day had become. She died alone in a sanitarium but the “day” went forward in spite of her protests. Oh well, Anna Jarvis, some people just take a any idea and run as fast as they can with it.

Happy Ostrich Day!

Build HIS House

Self promotion. Building your own “house”. It destroys relationships. It is the world’s way to success though, and as a writer who wants to publish eventually, I struggle with the wearisome pursuit of self-promotion.

Think about boats. They do not propel themselves. Boats have either sails or motors; the one powered by wind, the other by fuel. They do not crawl through the waves with their own fins but may glide forward by the strength of many rowing arms.

I cannot find anywhere in the Bible that tells us to build or promote ourselves (fame, influence, responsibility, skill, ability, successes). There is one king who tried to build both a house for God and a house for himself (2 Chronicles 2:1). Unfortunately, he really didn’t finish well and honestly neither did his family (1 Kings 11,12,14).

In contrast, plenty of verses talk about how we are to build a house (family, clan, household, lineage) by investing ourselves into building a house for God’s Name.( 2Samuel 7:13; 1 Chronicles 22:10; 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2; 1 Peter 2:5 ) Here’s a great one…

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. Matthew 6:33(AMP)

How do we build a house for God? Well, here you will be introduced to some building tips. Instead of a complete, step-by-step instruction guide, consider these passages beginner friendly starter packages.

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Begin with a firm personal foundation

The Two Foundations

24 “So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock25 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand27 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27

The foundation is to hear and DO the Words of Jesus. (if you don’t read anything else in Scripture, read the words in red. It’s a good place to start.)

To the Gentiles, Paul Says

10 According to the [remarkable] grace of God which was given to me [to prepare me for my task], like a skillful master builder I laid a foundation, and now another is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it, 11 for no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will be clearly shown [for what it is]; for the day [of judgment] will disclose it, because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality and character and worth of each person’s work.14 If any person’s work which he has built [on this foundation, that is, any outcome of his effort] remains [and survives this test], he will receive a reward. 15 But if any person’s work is burned up [by the test], he will suffer the loss [of his reward]; yet he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has barely escaped] through fire. 1Corinthians 3:10-15 (AMP)

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Use Only Fire-Safe High Quality Materials


To the Hebrews, The Writer says,

6 Therefore let us get past the elementary stage in the teachings about the Christ, advancing on to maturity and perfection and spiritual completeness, [doing this] without laying again a foundation of

  • repentance from dead works and
  • of faith toward God, 
  • of teaching about washings (ritual purifications),
  • the laying on of hands,
  • the resurrection of the dead, and
  • eternal judgment.

[These are all important matters in which you should have been proficient long ago.And we will do this [that is, proceed to maturity], if God permits. Hebrews 6:1-3 (AMP) I’ve separated out the list for you so that you can see these foundational topics clearly.

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Become Proficient in the Basics


To women…a warning.

14 Every wise 2454 woman 802 buildeth 1129 her house 1004: but the foolish 200 plucketh 2040 it down with her hands 3027. Proverbs 14:1(KJV)

This passage was pretty scary to me when I was a young mother with no clue about how to mother my children correctly. It still scares me enough to plead for God’s mercy. Let’s insert Strong’s definitions and set the phrases apart to understand what is being said.

14 Each [wise, understand and act in a manner that is effective, and usually moral]

[born a “woman” as made by God in contrast to “man”]

[make, build, rebuild, establish] her

[home, palace, temple, room, place, household, family, clan, tribe, woven garment]

but the [foolish (woman), given to folly, speaking thoughtlessly]

[ tears down, breaks down, destroys, puts in ruins – throws or beats it down]

with her [hand, arm, finger…(figuratively- control, power, strength, direction, care)].

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Communicate Well with a Get-It-Done Mindset


You mean…deep sigh…we can be well intentioned and actually ruin our homes. Yes. That’s the scary bit.

Promoting ourselves over or instead of our “house” is a huge mistake. Philippians 2:1-18. As is advancing our own control. Women in general struggle with control issues and our present culture makes it even that much more difficult to honor the LORD’s sovereign control and His chain of  command. It can feel humiliating to ask for His help but ask Him for it we must.

Prosperity Comes from the Lord.

A Song of [a]Ascents. Of Solomon.

127 Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.

Psalm 127:1 (AMP)

So then ask the LORD to build … or rebuild…your house with His control, strength, direction and care. Make sure you teach what is good...effectively. Promote your family. Promote God. Promote HIS house. But self promotion is reckless, ugly and lethal.

God, please help us all.

Passover: Door to Deliverance

There are some interesting things that are true about deliverance. One such thing is the door through which deliverance is realized.

The day of God’s triumphal deliverance of Israel from Egypt was marked by a festival called Passover whose symbol was blood over the door.

Wordpress banner compassIn the past I  engaged our children in various Passover activities that would bring to mind parts of the event. When I asked my daughter which Passover held a special memory for her, she told of the year I hid costume jewelry all over the house to reenact the time when the Israelite children asked their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold. This year  with our grandchildren, time was short but we made the blood over the door both the focal point and beginning of our celebration.

In doing this symbolic gesture I got to thinking, “When do I take it down? Did the people of Israel ever do it again? Did they keep that tradition each year at Passover?”

The sacrifice and the door were connected throughout the Tabernacle service. It was very important; this blood/door connection.

It was a matter of life and death – a matter of inclusion into the family of God and of exclusion from it.  Sacrificing at the doorway to the Tent of Meeting was an offering of peace to God.

This deliverance practice and symbol pointed the way to remembrance. It wasn’t just any god who brought you out. The LORD delivered you from slavery. If you want peace with God, you will acknowledge His great deliverance … past, present and future … at the door.

Yes. The future too. The blood/door connection appears in Ezekiel’s vision of the New Temple. Since the resemblance of Ezekiel’s Temple to the New Jerusalem is remarkable, I’m going with “future” on this one and welcome you to join me by making a search of your own on the topic (You can start here: Ezekiel 40 – 48; Revelation 21, 22)

Ezekiel 45:18-25 (AMP)

18 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “In the first month, on the first of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse the sanctuary (from sin). 19 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the door posts of the temple, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the posts of the gate of the inner courtyard.20 You shall do this on the seventh [day] of the month for everyone who goes astray [and sins through error or ignorance] and for him who is naive; so shall you make atonement for the temple (house).

What I learn from this passage is that there is more to the symbol than remembrance or realignment of worship. It is an exercise of compassion “ for everyone who goes astray [and sins through error or ignorance] and for him who is naive…” as well as an expression of atonement for the whole “house”. The King James version renders the phrase, “so shall ye reconcile the house.”

The word used for “house” has a wide range of meanings. Strong’s number 1004 – bayit – house, home; of royalty: palace; of deity: temple; a specific part of the house: room; place; By extension: household, family, clan, tribe; woven garment. This passage and its context (Ezekiel 45) seems to incorporate temple, royalty and family.

We have an excellent example of this type of prayer for those who have gone astray in Daniel 9 which concludes,

17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to and heed the prayer of Your servant [a][Daniel] and his supplications, and for Your own sake cause Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary which is desolate.

18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and look at our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You for our own righteousness and justice, but for Your great mercy and loving-kindness.

19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, give heed and act! Do not delay, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Before when I thought of God’s Passover deliverance, I thrilled over God’s mighty hand displayed for all to see. I recalled fondly how He has rescued me personally over and over again; The evidence in my own life that testifies to His fighting for those He calls His own.

Those are good thoughts. This year I am upping the compassion and asking God to reconcile our whole family to himself… Not because of His wonderful work in my own life but because of His Very Great Name.Blood door 3

Family Is As Family Does

Not everyone we grew up thinking of as our own family  actually is family. Family is as family does.

This week I was reminded just how displaced and dysfunctional relationships within families can become. Misunderstandings…self-seeking position posturing verbiage…habitual slave-like bondage to favoritism…contrived fantasies of escapism and unhealthy holds to living in the past… the hurt of wrongs done tightly gripped and highlighted in our memories….

Division within the family unit (mother, father, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) is a sign of the times we live in.

Micah 7:5-7 / Matthew 10:34-36  /Luke 12:49-53 

What shall we do? Take a hint from ASL (American Sign Language).

The ASL Sign for “Family” is interesting. Using “F” hands pointed towards each other, index and first fingers touching each other so that it appears as though they were “kissing”.

Consider this passage in relation to the ASL sign.

Surely His salvation is near to those who [a]fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
10 Loving kindness and [b]truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 [c]Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.
Psalm 85:9-11 (NASB)

Take a minute or two to let that imagery sink in to the deepest parts of your heart.

Families may not kiss each other technically BUT true family members are kind to each other. They do not rip each other down, they build each other up. Families show love and belonging in special, need-meeting ways.

10 So then, [a]while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven[a]you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NASB)

When looking for true “family”,

Look for those who are kind.

While making the “F” hands in the ASL sign, imagine your thumb and first finger are the shape of eyes.

What do you look for in those you consider “family”? What does your family look for in you? What did Jesus look for in those he called family?

46 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. 47 Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”[a] 48 But [b]Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50 (NASB)

When looking for true “family”,

Look for those who do the will

of the Heavenly Father.

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Here are a few passages that have proven helpful in determining family.

22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his [a]natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, [b]he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but [c]an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in[d]what he does. James 1:22-25 (NASB)

39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40 (NASB)

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the [a]knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, [b]to please Him in all respects,bearing fruit in every good work and [c]increasing in the [d]knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to [e]His glorious might,[f]for the attaining of all steadfastness and [g]patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us [h]to share in the inheritance of the [i]saints in Light. 

13 [j]For He rescued us from the [k]domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of [l]His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-13 (NASB)


Family sign 3

The ASL sign for family is a two part sign.

Part of family is what they do together – the initial hand formation pictures kindness. The second pictures a specific  grouping, inclusion or belonging. It is the finishing sign that circles around. It joins at the smallest fingers and points the thumb and forefingers, still touching each other, right back at the speaker.

 Which parts belong?

Look at the three standing fingers. Notice their different sizes? Are you the youngest? Are you the teen? Are you the aged and bent one? Size doesn’t matter in the family.

What is your part in this family? Are you kind to the members of the family? Do you do the will of the father of this family? Those who are kind and obedient to the will of the Father BELONG  in the family.

Which parts do not belong? Groups are groups in part because they are set apart from others in some way.

It is important to note that not everyone who we think of as family IS family. Just because you were born into a group does not mean you identify with that group. Nor does it mean that you align your creed nor your actions with that group. On the flip side, just because you identify with a group and do the same things and say the right words does not mean you actually are a part of that family. Weird. Confusing. But true.

20 So then, you will [a]know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [b]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:20-23 (NASB)

Belonging is partly what you do and partly the knowing relationship of one with another.

Take note of what the people in your social groupings do – work, ancestry, spirituality, recreational interests, financial interests. Dare I say it… what are their particular person-to-person alignments?

Not everyone we grew up thinking of as our family actually is family. Not everyone we surround ourselves with right now qualifies as family. It is this way because God set it up so that family is as family does.

Kids Care

What DO kids care about?


Not just any love.

Specific to them love.

What is this?BOOTS IMG_20160305_074839291

Let me show you.

This morning when we came back from our usual Saturday morning walk, my grandson, Ryker kicked off his boots before getting up on the couch. That was good. Shoes are not allowed on our couch but grandchildren are.

Hey Ryker, you know where boots go. Please put your boots over there.” I pointed to a nook in the entry way.

Ryker couldn’t be bothered. He promptly abandoned getting up on the couch to stare out the window.

I called to him again getting only silence for my effort.

So I went over to where he was standing, took hold of his arm and calmly stated where we put our boots. I helped him to pick up his boots by their handles and we proceeded to walk together hand in hand towards the front door. Practice is good….

Just about half way, in the middle of the living room, my slippers lay exactly where I’d left them to don my tennis shoes before going on our walk. Hurried Nanas (and mothers ) do those kinds of things but realignment was on the way.Wordpress banner compass

Ryker dumped his boots on top of my slippers. 

OOOOPPPS. Point made, little one. Practice is good for Nana too. 

I smiled.

OK. Ryker you grab yours and I’ll grab mine.”

He did. Willingly. No resistance at all.

We carried our respective footwear to the shoe place where Ryker set his boots just as close to my slippers as they could get without actually being on top of them.

I smiled again. This was Ryker’s expression of love. Nana and Ryker are close because their shoes are close. What a treasure for my heart!

No rebellion here though it could look that way to some people. This was an I’m-two-and-I-matter thing. Ryker cared.

He loved me by imitating what I did. …and by obeying what I told him to do.

I loved him by making my own life match his. What I said was true in regards to both of us. 

This says a lot about parenting. 

This says a lot about God’s love for us.

God showed us how much He loves us by becoming like us, didn’t He? 

He gave us Jesus, the exact representation of the Father. 

He gave us Jesus, the obedient son.

He gave us Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 

Show your children the love  and obedience Jesus had for His Father.

Honestly, kids care.

Compassionate Motherhood

God helps me to be a compassionate mother.

That sounds rather common place as I write it. To me, God’s help is a huge deal.

As a young mother I turned to the ladies at church for instructions. Some of their advice was golden. 

I didn’t know how to cook or to meal plan or to feed my family properly. Enter Donna Berg, Ruth Bechtel, and Linda Giffin. Their golden advice: 1. Pay attention. Be careful with the fats, 2. Master the art of five dinners. Plan your meals in a sequence that makes the most of your leftovers. 3. Get the children involved in preparing and cleaning up after meals.

I did not know how to make doing laundry for the six of us efficient. What mattered? What didn’t? Enter Donna Dalton ( My own mother made sure I could iron linen table cloths and a cotton blouse perfectly so I didn’t have to do it over again for some unsightly crease accident or burn. In college my dorm mates made fun of me. As a young mother with four toddlers, ironing mattered on a scale of 1-10… absolutely 0.) Donna’s golden advice: If you don’t have time for it, don’t fold the clothes. Throw them in the drawer. Kids don’t care about wrinkles. This choice saved me a ton of time and gave me added space I needed just to be with my children.

I didn’t know the first thing about potty training. Enter a neighbor lady, several church ladies and a book called, How to Potty Train in Less Than A Day.  As much as I LOVE Biblical instruction, the Bible is pretty much silent on the topic of training children to handle their waste responsibly. The personal advice I treasured from Mary Cultum – “I’ve never seen a high schooler in diapers”. She was totally serious but I laughed and lightened up. Honestly, the degree of calm with which you meet this natural transition of life goes a long way to making it successful for everybody.

My mother watched a few interactions between me and my children and came up with, “ So you can meet their physical needs. When are you going to start raising them?”

Raise : to serve in the capacity of parent to; rear:

to raise children.

Parent: verb (used with object)


to be or act as parent of:

to parent children with both love and discipline.

Are you kidding me? Everything I did was about raising these children of mine. BUT…

Since, all of a sudden, that concept was up for debate, I embarked on a training program. What God said would be what is important. He would be our Impartial Standard of Authority in all this parenting business. Food, laundry, chores, and character; God’s perspective would be a part of all of it.

The church ladies called me strict. I called myself consistent and I don’t regret those times of consistency at all.

Some concepts were challenging. Especially the character trait ones.

Compassion? I didn’t know what that was. I’m not generally a thoughtful person by nature… being thoughtful is a daily effort that my husband and children help me with (PRAISE GOD!!!). I’m that way because I grew up in a situation in which others cared for others and I spent most of my time alone. Struggling to be compassionate is my adult consequence of emotional abandonment in childhood.

Yes, I breastfed (until they got teeth.). Yes I stood up for hours in the middle of the night in tears rocking and comforting a colicky, crying child. Yes, I made them treat their Grandpa with respect whether they felt like it or not. They were not allowed to curse, steal or lie and the punishment fit the crime. I did what I had to do to meet needs.

Wordpress banner compassIs that compassion? Does compassion have boundaries? Who do I help first? What about me? Is strategic withholding of benefits compassionate or simply manipulating? Can I be compassionate to more than one person at a time? How do I teach the children to be compassionate towards each other? My swirling mind nearly knocked me over. I needed an anchor.

The art of sharing and granting possession, taking turns and forbidding access to personal items. These blind-sided me. They are situational landmines for discipline. They are charged full of electric opportunities for teaching the realities of compassion.

What did GOD’s Word, our impartial standard, say about compassion?

There are ten (10) different words the King James Bible translated as “compassion”. I have highlighted some key words.

  • 2550 – hāmal – to spare, take pity on, have mercy on
  • 7349 – rahûm – compassionate, merciful [from 7355]
  • 7355 –rāham – to love; to have compassion on, show mercy, take pity on; to find compassion, be loved; feelings of compassion are usually accompanied by acts of compassion. [from 3395, 3396, 3397, 7348, 7349, 7362]
  • 7356 – rahamîm – compassion, mercy, pity
  • 1653 eleeō – to have mercy on, pity; to show mercy to, show pity to another who is in serious need, usually with a focus on an act of kindness that will help meet the need. [from 1656]
  • 3356 – metriopatheō – to deal gently [from 3358+3958]
  • 3627 – oikteirō – to have compassion on [from 3628, 3629]
  • 4697 – splanchnizomai – to have compassion on, to have pity on [from 4698 – splanchnon – inward parts of body; of emotion: heart, affection, tenderness, compassion]
  • 4834 – sympatheō – to sympathize with [ from 4862+3958]
  • 4835 – sympathēs – sympathetic [ from 4862+3958]

I will never forget the lady who visited me when I was on bed rest with an ankle injury. She came into my sick room, looked at me with compassion in her eyes and gave me a little figurine… a little girl in a blue sun dress and a straw hat standing in a rain puddle. I loved that porcelain girl but I loved that lady more even though I never saw her again. I loved her because she was compassionate; she had compassion on me not because she had to as a matter of duty but because God moved her and she decided in her heart that she wanted to show kindness to me… a stranger to her…a hurting, lonely little girl.

In contrast, my mother tended my wounds because she had to. (Forced compassion  is just not the same. Ever.) I no longer have the figurine. Mom threw away all my things indiscriminately when I went to college. But that one lady’s compassionate deed will live on in my memory, treasured forever because of her heart of compassion. What a beautiful picture of eleeō and splanchnon she was to me!

Lord, please

bless her right now

wherever she is.

Help her to feel

your compassionate heart

for her too. Amen.

As a young mother, I had to decide who needed me most and when. Often I felt guilty about my choices. I was worried they thought I was playing favorites. I wasn’t. Why couldn’t I show the same level of love to each of my children at the same time?! Was I a bad mother?

Logistically it just wasn’t possible in every situation. Indeed God teaches us that true compassion requires an act of sound judgment, of analytical thinking that sorts through information and finds a great solution. Where guilt drug me down, I should have stood tall in confidence.

While only God can move the hearts of anyone to real compassion, I could actually teach situational problem solving to my kids. I could train them to look for and meet real needs. My husband was fond of saying, “See a need? Meet a need.” I don’t know if they understood what I was trying to model for them. Understanding how difficult it was for me each day was certainly beyond their u nderstanding. All they could see was what I did and did not do 

Funny thing about children. They can “see” your attitudes too. I decided that I would try to show each of them my heart for them as individuals and trust God to move compassion into their lives whenever and wherever they needed it. I chose to make my feelings match my deeds; To cry in the open and laugh heartily whenever the urge sparked wasn’t abandonment of reason,  it was rather rational in origin.

My children and I have a pretty good relationship now that they’re grown. Struggles to be compassionate are still every day battles. And yet…

God helps me to be a compassionate mother. God’s help is a huge deal.

Charting Paul’s take on Resurrection

Today I want to bring you a “Guest Post” of sorts in that I did not write this. In the spirit of team work, I invite you to unleash your inner editor, onto 1 Corinthians 15. Together, we can chart the communicated thoughts of the Apostle Paul. Lord willing, doing so will increase our understanding of the resurrection of Christ. …and the resurrection of those He calls His own.

When writing, word choice is important. Word arrangement is just as important. Examining the structure of thoughts is another great tool in the study  of God’s word. (I have added color to some  repeated words, made certain runs of reasoning larger and indented phrases paying attention to verbs, objects and prepositions If it looks wonky to you, let me know and we can work it out together. The text is taken from the NASB version of the Bible)

The Fact of Christ’s Resurrection

15 Now

I make known

to you,


the gospelWordpress banner compass

which I preached to you,

which also you received,

in which also you stand, 

by which also you are saved,

if you hold fast [a]the word which I preached to you,

unless you believed in vain.


I delivered to you

[b]as of first importance

what I also received,

that Christ died for our sins

 according to the Scriptures,

 and that He was buried,

and that He was

 raised on the third day

according to the Scriptures,

and that He appeared

to Cephas,

then to the twelve. 

After that He appeared

to more than five hundred brethren

at one time,                                     most of whom remain until now,

but some have fallen asleep;

then He appeared to [c]James,

then to all the apostles;

 and last of all,

as [d]to one untimely born,

He appeared to me also.

9 For I am the least of the apostles,

 [e]and not fit to be called an apostle,

because I persecuted the church of God. 

10 But by the grace of God

I am what I am,

and His grace

toward me

did not prove vain;

but I labored even more than all of them,

yet not I,

but the grace of God with me.

11 Whether then it was I or they,

`so we preach

and so you believed.

12 Now

if Christ is preached,

that He has been raised from the dead,

how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

 13 But

if there is no resurrection of the dead,

not even Christ has been raised;

14 and if Christ has not been raised,

then our preaching is vain,

your faith also is vain.

15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God,

because we testified  [f]against God

that He raised Christ,

whom He did not raise,

if in fact the dead are not raised.

16 For if the dead are not raised,

not even Christ has been raised;

 17 and if Christ has not been raised,

your faith is worthless;

you are still in your sins.

 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

19 If we have hoped

in Christ

in this life only,

we are

 of all men

most to be pitied.Wordpress banner compass

The Order of Resurrection

20 But now

Christ has been raised from the dead,

the first fruits of those who are asleep.

21 For since

by a man came death,

by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

 22 For as in Adam all die,

so also in [h]Christ all will be made alive.

 23 But each in his own order:

Christ the first fruits,

after that

those who are Christ’s at His coming,

24 then comes the end,

when He hands over the kingdom

to the God and Father,

when He has abolished

all rule and

all authority and

power. 25 

For He

must reign

until He has

put all His enemies

under His feet.

26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

 27 For He has

put all things in subjection

under His feet.

But when

He says, “All things are put in subjection,”

it is evident that He is excepted

who put all things in subjection to Him.

28 When all things

are subjected to Him,

then the Son Himself

also will be subjected

to the One who subjected all things to Him,

so that

God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise,

what will those do who are baptized for the dead?

If the dead are not raised at all,

why then are they baptized for them?

 30 Why are we also in danger every hour?

31 I affirm,


by the boasting in you

which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,

I die daily

32 If [i]from human motives

I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus,

what does it profit me?

If the dead are not raised

let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die

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.33 Do not be deceived:

“Bad company corrupts good morals.”

34 Become sober-minded [j]

as you ought,

and stop sinning;

for some have no knowledge of God.

 I speak this to your shame.

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?

And with what kind of body do they come?”

 36 You fool!

That which you sow

does not come to life

unless it dies;

 37 and that which you sow,

you do not sow the body which is to be,

but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of [k]something else.

 38 But God gives

it a body

just as He wished,

and to each of the seeds

a body of its own.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh,

but there is one flesh of men,

and another flesh of beasts,

and another flesh of birds,

and another of fish.

40 There are also

heavenly bodies

and earthly bodies,

but the glory of the heavenly is one,

and the glory of the earthly is another.

 41 There is one glory of the sun,

and another glory of the moon,

and another glory of the stars;

for star differs from star in glory.

4So also is the resurrection of the dead.Wordpress banner compass

It is sown [l]a perishable body,

it is raised [m]an imperishable body;

43 it is sown in dishonor,

it is raised in glory;

it is sown in weakness,

it is raised in power;

44 it is sown a natural body,

it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

45 So also it is written,

“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”

The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However,

the spiritual is not first,

but the natural;

then the spiritual.

47 The first man is from the earth, earthy;

the second man is from heaven.

48 As is the earthy,

so also are those who are earthy;

and as is the heavenly,

so also are those who are heavenly.

 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, [o]

we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

The Mystery of Resurrection

50 Now I say this,


that flesh and blood

cannot inherit the kingdom of God;

nor does [p]the perishable

inherit [q]the imperishable.

51 Behold,

I tell you a mystery;

we will not all sleep,

but we will all be changed,

52 in a moment,

in the twinkling of an eye,

at the last trumpet;

for the trumpet will sound,

and the dead will be raised [r]imperishable,

and we will be changed.

53 For this [s]perishable must put on [t]the imperishable,

and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 But when


will have put on

[v]the imperishable,

and this mortal

will have put on


then will come about the saying that is written,

“Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin,

and the power of sin

is the law;

57 but thanks be to God,

who gives us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore,

my beloved brethren,

be steadfast,


always abounding in the work of the Lord,

knowing that your toil

is not in vain

in the Lord.


Release: Know Who You’re Talking To

I had never thought of the Exodus as a freedom manual before reading it this time (March 19, 2016).

This had to be communicated but should it be a comment or a post? As writing progressed, a new post was beginning to form.:)

Insight for Released to Worship God was prompted by a wonderful lady who was set free from addiction. She now helps others on the path to freedom. She told me — among other things — “I can help them because I know who I am talking to. You gotta know who you are talking to.”

She had learned to separate the voices. She skillfully divided the voice of the addicted person from the addiction. The one she talked to was the person. The one she prayed over for encouragement was the person. The one she resisted, the one she got distance from was the addiction…the old slave master.Wordpress banner compass

God has given us a path away from slavery to our old slave drivers. Addiction. Fear. Drugs. Sex. Anger. Illness. Grief. Spiritual forces of darkness. Magic arts. Sorcery. The need for approval. The effects of abandonment. Striving for success. Self importance. Self destruction.

The path is the Exodus… the calling forth of His people.

One of the essential skills we need to build within our transitional community is the skill of knowing who we are talking to.

Moses knew who he was talking to. He knew exactly who the Pharaoh was. He knew exactly who the God of His fathers was. He decided to listen to the voice of God and follow Him. Because he made that choice, many were released to worship the Almighty.

We can listen and follow the right voice too.

16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16 (NASB)

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; John 10:27 (NASB)