Numbers…

I received a number today for a young man I’ve known since birth.  It broke my heart.  It was a prison number. I wept looking at the number after his name.  I thought of the significance of this number and what it meant in Jail and what it will mean moving forward.

I pray he lives beyond that number.  I’m praying prisonfor the number to become a memory.  Praying that number which represents a mess, will become part of his message.  This child I held as a baby, who grow up with my kids side by side, diverged and now  he isn’t a name, he’s a number….for this season.

What are numbers?  They are a symbol or word in a series  for identification.  For now, he will identify and be identified by this number.  But God calls him still by name.  God sees him as son, not number #31-68734.  His family still calls him by name but where he lives, they shout out his number.

450px-NumbersBookCover.svgNumbers play a major role in our lives.  From our chromosomes to our vertebrae to the number of bones in our hand and the muscles it takes to frown, our bodies are connected and identified by numbers.  Here in the United States we are issued a Social Security number at birth that is used for a variety of purposes like taxes, insurance and education, that number defines and unlocks information we need.

Phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers are all crucial to defining our communication with each other and our wealth.

 

Numbers are used in the bible from the 10 Commandments to the days 40 days of the floodBundesstraße_40_number.svg
and 40 days and 40 years in the wilderness and the 12 tribes of Judah…all of these events and issues defined by a number.

Numbers-Chapter-SummariesThere is even a book with the title “Numbers” in the Bible.  Ironically or perhaps not, the book of Numbers explains how Israel prepared to enter the promise land, but sinned and was punished. The title refers the two population censuses Moses took during that period.

There are four themes in Numbers.  The beginning depicts the preparation for the journey  to the Promised Land. The second portion talks about the Israelites travel and grumbling and how God continued to provide for them.  numbersThe third portion discusses their disobedience and severe punishment for being unfaithful to God. The final theme addresses the new generation and their victorious conquests, more disobedience and finally the entry into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert.

The book of Numbers recounts God’s unfailing direction in the lives of his people. It shows the ways God tested their endurance and their faithfulness. Though they sinned, God remained faithful to guide them on their journey with the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day.  God never left them alone in the desert. He never ventured far from them in the wilderness.

barbed wireI pray this for number #31-68734.  May this wilderness experience be his NUMBERS moment.  May he come to see God and feel His faithfulness and sense a new direction in his life. My prayer is that if you are experiencing a Numbers moment, you to would feel God’s presence and recalculate your destination with HIS help.

 

POINT TO PONDER: Are you called by a number? Are you experiencing a Numbers Moment? Call on the Name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus.  Struggling? Turn it over.  Here’s some inspiration about God’s ability to take your Number and give you a name.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upLBLppWTj0

 

 

From Wrecked to Reminded

DSC_0260Lately I feel like the ball on God’s ping pong table. As if I am bouncing from one tragedy to the next.  It would appear, if my Facebook page is any indicator, many of us share the same predicament.

On Sunday scrolling through my Facebook feed, I learned of the unexplained sudden death of a healthy sixth month old.  I was wrecked as I read of his mother’s anguished cries and aching arms.  I sucked air in as the tears squeezed4264164845_da35e12f33_z out. I uttered a small prayer for comfort and let the grief settle in for this momma I didn’t even know and the toddler she never would.

Scrolling a little further I read the news that a baby we prayed for regarding an encephalitic condition in the womb was born whole and healthy. I worshiped and praised sharing this answered prayer while weeping for the empty crib and childless mother.

God seems to allow crushing tragedy into our lives or into the life of someone we love, that leaves us wrecked.  Speechless or reeling, grasping desperately at the whys?

  • Why did this happen?
  • Why did God allow this?
  • Why could something so bad happen to this good person?

Mozambique SunriseWhen I sink down and feel the weight of the sorrow or pain and slog through the mire of the unknown; I get to that part where my boots get stuck in the mud.  I can go no further, think no more, no words to say, save for one….Jesus.  I wait.  Much like Augustine when he penned these words:

“In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.” ~ Augustine

 

I wait for the glory. I wait for the dazzle and it comes. Not always quickly. But it comes.

Just that one word.  Jesus.  It is the word when all others fail.  It is the white flag waving at the end of a battered or IV tethered hand or a shaking fist.  Jesus.

And then He does it.  He reminds us of Who HE is.  He dazzles.

It could be a totally unrelated answer to prayer or some miracle coming out of the current tragedy.  He never fails.  His glory is somehow revealed.

It’s like a small pat on the hand of a frightened child or the comfort of a parent waking a childOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA from a night terror.  He reminds us that he is there.  That he is on the throne.  He knows. He sees. He hears. He shapes.

The repercussions of the tragedy continue to unfold.  The tears are still cried and dried.  But the dazzling.  The glory reminds us that we are not walking it alone or unseen. The Glory gives hint to purpose.

While the mysteries of the Why’s may never be answered on this side of eternity.  The comfort of the Who comes.  It comes with dazzling glory.

Perhaps if we share more of the Dazzling with others, even just the daily dazzling it would offer hope to those in darkness – those still wrestling with the Whys.

See, we get prayer requests daily on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Periscope…the requests come in droves.  What about the Answers?  Maybe we need to start just posting our Answers to prayers, our praises for how God shows up daily. The dazzling of glory moments in our day, not just the dark ones.

“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” – Psalm 96:3

If you’ve followed the story of Joey and Rory Feek, you’ve witnessed the devastation of ovarian cancer on this little country music clan.  In his blog thislifeilive.com  Rory talks about their life quite candidly.  I admire his strength and his faith during this heart wrecking journey.  There is hope in his words…I think he sees the dazzling through his tears because his words bear witness and bring glory to God.  I pray for Joey and their family daily.  I pray for  Dazzle for them.

If you are walking through the darkness.  If you are prayed out, talked out, or tuckered out; say the name of Jesus.  Then wait for it….

The dazzling will come.  HIS Glory will shine.

 

POINT TO PONDER:  If you’ve felt the dazzle amidst a wound share it here, encourage others.  When we see there is a purpose to our pain it gives us strength to endure.

 

Catch us Monday thru Friday at 7:15am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator!  You can also watch replays on katch.me search for kissedbycreator .

 

 

Under Fire…

Unfathomable.

Photos and descriptions of the fires devouring the Colorado landscape are incredibly overwhelming.  Watching the force of the fire knocking things over before it reaches its hot fingers out to engulf all that is in its path.  Witnessing the devastation in the wake of the walls of fire and watching the depth of despair in all those who have lost due to the devouring wave of flames is heartbreaking.

It’s with incomprehensible sadness we observe the gripping saga of our friends in the west.

As I prayed for the firefighters, the people in the towns awaiting orders to evacuate, I felt the word Hell seared upon my soul.  The scene and those who have experienced the wildfire’s wrath have described it as “hell on earth.”  It prompted me to ponder Hell.

I wait anxiously to learn if my friends in Colorado Springs have anything left to return to at all or if their home and possessions fell victim to the indiscriminate path of the destructive fire.

One of them has been working with the fire fighters at the base camp where the toll on these brave warriors has been immense.  From flora and fauna to wild life to townsfolk, nothing has been left unscathed. 

But for most of these people, life will go on.  It will be a long road of restoring what the fire destroyed…but for those who end up in Hell, there will be no second chances.  Sadly what we are seeing in Colorado could be an eternal reality for those who don’t know about the message of salvation.

Just like the firefighters working tirelessly to save people, pets and property…we should have a compelling urgency to rob Hell of victims to engulf in despair. Each time I see the flicker of a flame on the news, I pray “God use me”.

Years ago, my best friend’s dad was severely burned and scarred.  She said there wasn’t just a physical transformation as he adjusted to a life of scars, she said he was spiritually transformed as well.  “Dad was never the same after experiencing the burning of his flesh.  He said it gave him just a taste of what Hell might be like and inspired him to try to reach more people with the Life saving message of eternity with Jesus,” she explained.  These recent fires are igniting a passion in my heart for the same.

I am sure this post will be challenged by people who wonder if there really is a hell.  It’s not a gamble I am

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willing to take.  My prayer for Colorado is Rain and Restoration. My prayer for the unsaved is to Find Salvation. My prayer for myself is to be courageous to reach those whose future is destined to be charred by the choice of unbelief.  Will you join me?

Point to PonderIf you thought hell was even 1/10th of the intensity of a forest fire, would you wish it on anyone?  Is there someone in your life you’d like to share Jesus with? I pray you have wisdom, courage and the words that will change their heart.

(Photos on the page except the one at right were from a Colorado Friend’s Facebook Page)

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