Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for September 2009

How am I like Uzza?

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Remember Uzza, the guy who was helping to escort the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. The ark was on an oxcart and at some point the cart began to wobble. The oxen stumbled as they approached a threashing floor. Maybe it rode over a rut or a big boulder, but the cart became unstable, and the precious contents began to slide off. Uzza reached out to the ark to steady it and was instantly killed.

David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. -2Sam 6:5-7

I have been thinking about that passage a lot, and it seems that I have been hearing about it on christian radio often also. So how does this apply to my life? Is there an wisdom here that will help me with my life? my christian walk?

Hmm, Still in deep though about it, but I can say that I know I am guilty of loosing sight of the complete and absolute holyness of God. It seems that every mention of God in the old testament was of pure holiness, and we sinful people could not look upon Him and live. And the new testament ends with a vision of Jesus standing among the lamp stands of Revelation in which he shows his sovereign power and holiness. Countless people have fallen before God’s presence as though they were dead because they sensed his absolute pure sovereign nature. And that very God lives in me because of salvation given to me through the death of Jesus.

I have been praying that the Lord would renew in my heart that sensitivity to his holiness, and that passion to obey and follow him. I want to know what it is to work out my salvation with fear and trembling – fear of God alone. Trembling because I know my weak frame and my sin nature that cannot be trusted.

The ark of the covenant was never meant to be placed on an ox cart, but instead to be upheld by priests of the tribe of Levi, sanctified and set apart for the purpose of bearing the ark. And with at least 4 men holding up the ark by the special poles they did not risk instability of the ark. Every footstep of these men carefully moved the ark to the destination. The priests bore the weigth and responsibility on their shoulders. An ox cart was a seemingly easy choice becayse the cart would hold the weight, but the cart only has 2 wheels, and would be much more unstable. Perhaps it was the absence of sanctified priests to transport the ark, or perhaps the cart was just there… the bib

So then there is me. I have trusted in credit cards, rather than God to provide, or just done without. And over time my finances hit the rocks. It was not God’s plan to build debt. When I begin to rely upon other resources, and different ways to achieve the goal and disobey God;s direction on how to live this does lead to death in my life. Death is a profoundly overwhelming thing when it involves my walk with God. Unfortunately sin leads to death of sensitivity to HIS spirit, and Death to the access to his presence, power and grace. And the sin blinds me to what is the right thing to do. Like David making the choice to put the Ark on an Ox Cart, I made choices to instantly gratify, or source out answers that would bring death to my spirit.

And in the old testament the name of the person is always significant. There is deeper and more profound meanings to each person’s name in the bibile. Uzza, coincidentally means strength…. human strength. His name speaks of being self sufficient, capable, and one who has physical capabilities. He is the man who can handle anything. He takes care of business. I don;t believe it was a coincidence that the man who was struck dead for trying to stabilize the very presence of God manifest in the Ark of the Covenant would be named “Strength”. God’s word is clear about his absolute holy presence. How offensive that must have been to think a strong man would stabilize the manifest presence of God. Who are we that any one of us would ever think we have the ability to help God. I could begin to understand how the anger of the lord stirred – disobedience coupled with human intention is not a good mix.

God himself is strength, and our mortal feeble efforts pale in comparison with his all powerful, all knowing, always present manifestation in humanity. We must realize that HIS holyness cannot be taken lightly.

And as new testament believers we must realize that we are the temple of God – Where we go we always take the presence of God with us. How we act, think and live demonstrates to a watching world what we believe of our God. Am I living my life dependent upon his spirit, his power and his wisdom?

Application challenge – am I choosing easy and logical ways to get through times where there is a need, or am I looking to the God who created everything and trusting him absolutely to provide for my situation.

Lord, you know every detail of me – my thoughts, my ways, my hopes, dreams and fears. And you are intimately acquainted with my life and my situation. I surrender my cares, and burdens to you and I also surrender the ox carts of my life to you. Now take my life and reshape it to glorify you as I learn to trust you more. Amen”

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 30, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Fear is real

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As we press toward freedom from what has held us hostage I truely believe one of the great hinderances is fear. Fear is somethng that comes from nowhere, is probably not logical or rational, and can cause our feet to stumble.

It is funny but for as long as I have had breath I have been intensly afraid of heights, whether it be a few steps up on a ladder, or looking out of a window on a higher floor in a building. Open spaces intensify my alerts even more. I can remember once when we visited the grand canyon that my spouse, the daring one, got very close to the railing and looked over the precipice. The park ranger told me “Thats right, it is approximately 1 mile down to the ground of the canyon from the spot you are standing.” Everything in me tried to carve handles in the rock to hold on.


But I was on solid ground, well away from the prescipice, and there was no possibility of falling off apart from in my momentary lapse of thinking because fear took over. I was missing the beauty of the amazing natural wonder because I was fixated on the fear. How sad is that? Not the abundant life we are called to, is it?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. –2 Timothy 1:7

Now don;t get me wrong. I do believe God has a built in warning system in us that alerts us to real and present danger. For example, if I were standing on that observation point of the grand canyon and suddenly realized there is a huge linebacker running toward me with the intent of moving me off my feet that would be a logical reaction to be afraid of the possible outcome of our collision. I also believe clear and present dangers are obvious, and would worry more if I did not react to them. Another example – walking through the woods and suddenly come upon a mountain lion with cubs should cause a healthy sense of fear and respect, knowing a wild animal will defend their young.

But the fear I am focused on here is the fear of letting go of circumstances, situations, issue. Our ongoing money issue is something that I have had a fear about. But the truth is that my life, and my finances are in God’s hands. Why should I fear that? I can trust in the character of God and know that he is good. I can also trust that he wants me to know his love and mercy. That doesn;t mean the money problem evaporates into thin air – but it means he is patient and teaching me how to live rightly as I yield each fear to him.

Lord take this verse and drive it deep into my soul, so that i may never fear you, but accept that your plan is to give me a sound mind, your power and your wisdom. Help me be yielded to this each and every day. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 30, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Breaking free of bondage

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Bondage – slavery – indenture- harsh words that speak of owing what you cannot repay, and unable to escape the situation you are in.

Our church has begun a series on breaking free from what holds us hostage, and so the thought of bondage has been on my heart.

Actually I must admit our financial melt down has been a very constant reminder of how easy sin takes us to bondage, and how bondage saps the joy from our lives. We are still working our way through our finances, working second jobs, struggling to pay the bills, and seeking God with everything that is in us.

The lord has shown me that clearly apart from him I am helpless and hopeless, and I can do nothing. Dependent upon his mercy and grace I am learning to trust Him in a whole new way. Trusting him for the finances to pay our bills, and for the health to work, and for the actual job itself. In our times of great uncertainty I have learned that my gaze must always be toward Jesus.

As we worked through Matthew 6:26-34

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.

So the question in my soul is this – Why would I doubt the capability of my God to supply my need. Why would I be so pig headed to run ahead and spend and charge and buy and do… without the safety of the resources to pay for it when God will supply my need.

I look at my coworkers who are often stylish, with the latest this and the spashiest that… and here I am with the same basic clothing… nothing fancy, nothing trendy, and no desire to sink into debt to compete with them. I fired up a quick prayer to ask for God to settle my heart and turn my eyes to him, not to what I am lacking. And I layed down the desire to focus on what I am not or what i do not have. Later that evening I was working my night job and a coworker came in with a small bag of clothing… all for me. She was visiting a used clothing store where she found amazing deals for dirt cheap. Amazing, miraculous, and the clothing fit me perfectly.

“So, consider the lillies of the field… they don;t do anything to bring out their beauty, but the Lord, the creator, clothes them in colors and garments that are vivid and bright. ”

Thank you lord for those tangible moments when you turn our hearts to trust you, and wait. Thank you that you fill our hearts with peace, and a sense of acceptace, contentment. For it is in those moments we are yielded and ready to see your good hand at work. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 29, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Adversity

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Several years ago I discovered a devotional for working people, written by Oz Hillman. This has become a much beloved moment of encouragement and inspirations to me. After reading this post I felt compelled to add it to this blog as an encouragement to you. If you would like to visit his website or sign up for his daily email the address is: http://www.marketplaceleaders.org/pages.asp?pageid=7898

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Posted in daily life, growth, hope

Honoring God with the best

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I am not sure why I veered off my normal daily reading plan, but over the weekend I found myself reading the book of Malachi.  I seldom read that book, but when i do I am so fiercly convicted about my life and my walk with the Lord. 

A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name? You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty  – malachi 1:6-8

So Chapter 1:6-8 challenged me to consider what I am giving to God – with my time I must confess it is the last moments of my evening, and a sleepy semiconsciousness of early morning, sandwiched between snoozing.  I am not bringing my whole being to him, nor am I offering him my best. 

So I have pondered the picture of an alter with a huge fire blazing, the sound of goats and sheep bleeting, and the smell of animals being put to death for the sacrifice.  What a visual sensory image of the horror sin has brought to us – requiring the killing of animals to atone for sin.  It had to smell with such a mixture of smells – fire, hot blood, animal dander, incense,and possibly animal excriment.  And the sounds of people working busily to butcher animals, and to offer the sacrifices on the fire, and those tending the animals, and those tending the people, and the people praying , and the sound of the priests praying. …. a very overwhelming set of sights and sounds.

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 24, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Spinning out of control

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When did life suddenly become living like a hamster on a treadmill, grinding to the same routine of eat, work and sleep? Wow I need to get out of that rut – so pray for me.

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 1, 2009 at 10:07 AM