Living Before the Face of God

Jane walked out of the grocery store in a frazzle. It seemed everyone in town had decided to join her in grocery shopping after work on a hot Friday afternoon. It had been hours since the clock struck 5pm at her office and she wrapped it up, but even after 14 extra hours this past week, Jane still had piles on her desk. Thinking of it caused anxiety and Jane’s heart started racing. Maybe she should sneak back into the office tomorrow and catch those files up before Monday morning? Jane sighed, her house was a mess, laundry was piled to the ceiling and everyone had been living on take out all week. How could she spend more time at the office?

Jane loaded her grocery bags into the car and saw movement out of the corner of her eye. It was the homeless man who hung out around the grocery store. He always reminded Jane of “Pigpen” the character from Charlie Brown who traveled along inside his dust cloud. She sighed again, pulled a couple of wrinkled dollars out of her purse and smiled at him. “Sir?”

He stopped, smiled back and accepted the bills. Then to Jane’s surprise he bowed low before her and said, “The Lord bless thee and keep thee: The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious to thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”

Jane was speechless, and the homeless man bowed to her again and said, “I thank thee for the generous gift!” and in a whirl of dirt and dust, he was gone.

His words kept repeating themselves in Jane’s mind all the way home. “The Lord make His face to shine upon thee.” What did that mean? Why would God shine his face on her?

Jane got her grocery’s home to a chorus of “FOOD! Mom, what are you fixing us?” as rambunctious teens unloaded her bounty then retreated to the TV. Jane smiled, “I bet they would not say a word if I ordered another pizza and fell in front of the TV.” But she started chopping vegetables. With the homeless man’s blessing still on her mind, Jane clicked her audio bible app as she prepared the food. Psalms 139 filled the kitchen.

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your Hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall guide me.”

Jane stopped and closed her eyes, feeling God’s peace flood her heart. The Lord’s face was indeed shining upon her, as she chopped vegetables, grocery shopped, showed kindness to a homeless man, worked overtime hours, faced a mountain of laundry… No matter what she did or where she went, Jane was living out her life before the face of God. Jane said a quick prayer, thanking God for the dirty angel who reminded her of His presence.

 

“Weather eating, drinking, laughing or working, all we do, is done before the Face of God.”      Kelly M. Kapic

Coram Deo

Are nurses co-dependents?

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Yep, friends and sports fans, that IS me! Circa 1989. When I finally found my graduation picture after a move, my now teenaged children screamed with laughter. As for me, I look at this young lady, so full of excitement for her new career, and my mind plays memories as my heart fills with wonder and joy.

My childhood was full of stuffed animals covered in band aids, Barbie took great care of Ken, who had red sharpie wounds all over his belly from falling out of the Pink Winnebago. The neighborhood kids knew if you got a cut or some sort of wound we run to Alana’s mom, who had a spectacular fist aid kit and magic, cool soft hands that healed. My father would encourage me to “be a doctor!” But no, I wanted to take care of people…

So after this cap was pinned to my head and I finally was able to wear ***drum roll*** WHITE HOSE I was finally a graduate nurse, at my first job in a large major medical center and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I started with two of my classmates and on our orientation day we paraded around the floor with the assistant nurse manager who was a large, very imposing woman with a deep voice, a bald spot on her scalp from years of pinning a cap to her head and her white uniform glowed and shimmered.

She had just shown us the narcotic closet, explained how we were to count off keys and drugs at each shift change and the penalties for any discrepancy’s found. I was all agog and thrilled with my new heavy responsibility when she locked the closet door, turned, looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Remember, all good nurses are codependent.”

I smiled and nodded as I thought, “Well I have no idea what that is, but I am going to look it up and be the best one EVER!”

I have laughed a lot over this memory. The definition of codependent is “a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enable another person.” ( short version)  Hmmmm…… When you are sick, dying, recovering from surgery or major illness don’t you want a supportive helper? An enabler towards wellness? An advocate for your care?  A magical, cool soft hand to hold yours or soothe you with a touch? I do.

While I am the first to admit that in my personal life codependency was an out of control fire that helped burn a marriage to the ground in the flames of another’s addiction, at work it served me well. I was able to pour my heart and soul into the care of my patients within acceptable boundaries of a professional relationship. At home I had no such boundaries to tell me when to stop, when my helpfulness had turned into manipulation. Or when it was my own pride that refused to surrender or submit.  At home I was unable to see that I was sick too, until the illness’ present had become terminal.

So yes, I do believe good nurses are codependent and brilliant, smart cookies with good hearts and healthy boundaries!

For me, it all goes back to the original textbook on life and my “nurse verse”:

“The king will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for ME.”        Matthew 25:40 NIV

 

Strange Fire burning out of Control

Hi, I’m introducing my first guest blogger, Steven F. Gilbert. Steve attended Florida Baptist Theological College, was a beach preacher in Destin, Florida and Pastor of Beaver Creek Baptist Church. Steve is an avid bible student and likes to describe himself as “a voice crying in the wilderness.” I hope you enjoy his post which you may find controversial,  and as always comments or questions are welcomed!

Biblical Fire

About six years ago I noticed an increased fascination in the church over fire. Let me explain to you what I saw and how it moved my spirit. I was attending a mega church in Houston and it was a special service to announce a move the church was making. This being a special service some very anointed Christian artists were performing. This climaxed when Phil Driscoll came onstage began to blow a shofar. All I could do was sit down and enjoy the Holy Spirit. The louder Phil blew the shofar the thicker the Spirit was upon everyone present. Chill bumps broke out on my arms and tears ran down my face. It was amazing. After Phil’s performance the choir came back and the worship leader ramped it up, the crowd began to build steam. I noticed the still quiet Holy Spirit atmosphere begin to change as momentum was building. The worship leader sensed the euphoria and brought the fire. She started begging God to let His fire fall on us all and bless us with His presence. The congregation began to yell and jump up and down. She fanned this flame to the point where a Holy Spirit filled moment turned into 25,000 people minus one begging God to set them on fire. It was at this moment I felt the Holy Spirit bolt out the door so fast I literally heard the rushing mighty wind of Pentacost hit the exit door. I thought, “what just happened?”

What happened that day was that God opened my eyes to false bible teaching that is setting up the emotional church goers, who are not saved, up for an unprecedented end time deception. Here’s the verse:

Revelation 13: 12 …and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. v:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. v 14: And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth.

With worship leaders and singers begging God to set them on fire, those who do not know the scriptures are ready and eager to be deceived as pictured here in vs. 13. Time and space will not permit me to expound as needed so let’s hit the top’s.

In the bible a rule stands out, it is called the “rule of first usage”. If you believe that God is the same today, yesterday and forever and He never changes, how is fire used first in His word?

Genesis 19:20 Then the Lord rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven.

God used fire as a punishment or judgement 14,000 years ago and He still uses it the same way today. Unfortunately, two verses in the bible have deceived pastors and parishioners alike. Have you ever heard a preacher call for the “fire of Pentecost” Well, it never existed. Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of a fire…Notice the word “like”, Luke was trying to describe what was seen. He was using “like fire” as I would use the word “chicken” to describe the taste of gator tail.

There is no such thing as “Holy Ghost Fire” Matthew 3:11. Before I get into this verse, I will admit I had a hard time discerning it. The Holy Spirit told me to get into the water with John the Baptist. Once I did this, the scene itself explained what John was saying. The point is two types of people are attending this baptism, believers and unbelievers. The misunderstanding of this verse has started denominations and has flames burning up the cross. The Holy Ghost is for those who will be receiving Christ, the fire is for the unbelievers. John points out in vs. 7 calling the unbelieving Pharisees and Sadducees a “generation of vipers”, in vs. 10 he calls these unfruitful believers “that are cast into the fire” and in vs. 12 the chaff “will burn up with unquenchable fire.”

The Lord does the burning. The first usage of fire is exactly like the last:

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerer’s and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death.

God the same yesterday, today and forever…

Conclusion: Fire from God on a person, is not a blessing, never has been, never will be.