Today is a writing day.
A day when I can’t not write.
Because writing is part of my identity, when one of those days “strikes”, I am elated, feeling powerful and like great things will be accomplished.
Today is a writing day.
I feel neither elated nor powerful. Hopefully, great things will be accomplished despite me.
I awoke about an hour ago with a familiar song running through my head.
Others I know will wake with songs of worship on their brain the minute their brain starts functioning in the morning. I know this is true because I read about them doing so on FB nearly every day.
And it’s not just music. I am reading a story by Kimberly Rae Jordan where the heroine, an artist, awakes every morning with colors running through her mind.
What has been on my brain upon waking many mornings for the past month (and even some mornings before that, if I’m being completely honest)?
Jump back to the year 2000 and a band called Great White and a song called “Face the Day” one line of which is “I don’t wanna face the day,” being sung and/or screamed by Jack Russell. At some point in the fogginess of morning brain, the song morphs into Bon Jovi’s “She’s a Little Runaway” with the lyrics also being melodically screamed by Jon.
Ugghhhh! Triple ugghhhh!
I don’t wanna face the day with either not facing the day or running away running through my mind, especially on auto replay, the way my autistic mind tends to think things.
This is not an upbeat post, at least not the current part of it. So, if you are already feeling down, just jump ahead to the message part (beginning with CHILDREN’S MESSAGE) of this post. However, as always, one thing I endeavor to make characteristic of all my posts is transparency. That means – the good . . . . The Bad. . . and THE UGLY!
Yesterday was a difficult day.
Just the latest in many difficult days. You have had them, too, probably many of them. I’m sorry, and I pray that the days of not normal (I know, Jolie, normal is not a thing!) will end.
Many say they will not.
Many say the fact that “normal” will not return is a good thing.
I want to believe that. But “right now I just can’t” to quote Bart Millard.
The devil has been working overtime lately. Not just with COVID 19 and its seemingly infinite number of ramifications, but individually, personally, in each of the lives of those whom God loves.
Who are those whom God loves?
And everyone else on the planet.
But mainly – you!
God loves you, God loves them, and the devil uses us to hurt each other.
I hate that the devil uses people as tools with which to render the most painful attacks.
I have been in defense mode against these attacks for the past 4 weeks. Right now, as I sit here typing this, my whole body feels like a tightly wound coil, or maybe a rubber band, and if I can’t have a good belly scream like I had a few days back, a break is inevitable.
I hate the thought that ran through my brain more than once yesterday of wishing my work here would hurry up and be finished so God could take me away from what at its worst feels like a nightmare. Yesterday was a nightmare. And Sunday. (Yes, I know Sunday was Resurrection Sunday, and right up until we sat down to eat the lunch I’d spent a good part of the morning preparing, it was a good day.) And many other days in the past month. (At this point in my first draft I’m hoping God will encourage me to remove some of these most dark sentences before posting this.) [At this point, in my final read-through after posting but before publishing, He has not done so.]
Not facing the day, running away from the day, or desiring to be removed from the day are not solutions; and thinking about any of those things does not improve the day.
A friend of mine has been sharing the many names of God nearly daily on Facebook for the past couple of weeks. So right now, I’m going to look for the one that has to do with God being the restorer of my sanity. If I can’t find it, I just may FB message him to find out what that is. (As of the final read-through of this, he has not responded to my FB query. The closest thing I can think of that fits this is Psalm 3:3 which reads “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head”. I looked it up in the OJB version to see if there was another word there that might be a name of God, but it also used “lifter of my head.” So maybe it’s not a name, but it is a descriptor of God.)
Both of my pastors, during the recently passed season of Ash Wednesday Lent and Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday have spoken on the “I AMs” of Jesus. The Sunday before “normal” went away, it was my turn to streach at the little church here in town and its two sister churches. The I AM assigned to me was “the Way”. Here is the message God helped me come up with. I need this today more than anyone else who is reading this. I thank God we receive Water and Bread for our thirsty/hungry souls. His Word promises that that is so, not that it will be so, but that it is.
To my dismay, I discovered I’d saved the sermon on my work computer (not currently accessible to me) and not on my home computer. I have the hard copy of the sermon, though, and I’m knowing God is wanting me to rewrite its words herein so as to re-benefit from them. On a review of this before posting, I have rewritten all the words; and they were nourishment to my soul. The person who writes this sentence is not the same person who wrote those preceding. I no longer wish to escape and am ready to face the rest of the day.
You have probably learned enough about math to understand a few things about it. You can probably count to 10, maybe higher than that. Maybe you can read those same numbers.
Math is in everything. There are 7 days in a week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; and then we start all over again with Sunday.
There is another important list that has 7 things in it. God created everything. He created the days of the week in the very first part of the Bible. And, although Genesis doesn’t specifically mention it, the rest of the Bible certainly does, so we know that He created music and the mathematics behind it.
Music is also based on the number 7. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. . . Wait a minute. There’s no H in music! No, after G, it starts all over again with A.
In the Bible, there are many times something is done 7 times.
Moses was the leader of God’s special people. Other people were jealous of them because they were so precious to God. They treated them badly.
God used Moses to lead his chosen people away from the mean people to a special land prepared just for them. But all the people who were freed messed up and didn’t even get to go into the special land. Even Moses messed up! Only two men, named Joshua and Caleb, were allowed to go into and live in the land God promised.
Joshua was Moses’ best friend. After Moses and all the freed people had died, Joshua was finally given permission by God to go into the Promised Land.
But there were already people living there who had heard the wonderful and terrifying things God had done to people who were unkind to His chosen people, and they were afraid of them and took steps to keep God’s people out.
The first town Joshua and God’s people came to in the Promised Land was a town called Jericho. Jericho had a tall and thick fence built around it that God’s people would not be able to break through. God told Joshua to have the people do a strange thing. They were to march around the fence one time each day for six days. The musicians were to play their trumpets. On day number seven, they were to march around it 7 times! At the end of the 7th time around on the 7th day, the musicians were to give one loud blast on their trumpets and everybody else was to shout! That would make the tall wall fall down without anyone even touching it!
Surely this did not make any sense to Joshua or any of the other people.
But they had already seen God do things for them and their parents that did not make sense, and they trusted Him, so they did exactly what he said.
On the 7th day, after the loud trumpet blast followed by the loud shout of everyone who had been marching, those walls did fall! The Israelite people, God’s chosen people, were able to get into the town.
You are God’s chosen people!
Do you ever feel like there are tall walls in front of you that you can’t get through? Ask God to help you, listen for His voice, and trust Him to help you to do the right thing.
Heavenly Father, speak Life into everyone who reads these words. If there are any words that are not from your heart, let eyes not see them. In Jesus’ name.
What are some things you notice about this picture?
That the first list could be some of the numbers of the days of the week or some of the numbers of the musical alphabet as referenced in the Children’s Teaching?
What in the world is that last “number” in the 2nd list? When it is written numerically it contains 23,249,425 digits and is arrived at by multiplying 77,232,917 twos and then subtracting one. It is the highest number of its kind currently known to man. Its kind is the category of prime numbers.
Or, did you notice something much more basic? Something missing?
The number 1 is both a prime number and the first number when one is listing the 7 musical notes of any scale. In music it is written as Roman numeral I.
But let’s look at the second list which is also missing the number 1.
First, though, let’s back up and talking about the number right before #1, or zero.
Do you ever wonder why zero is able to be added and added to, subtracted and subtracted from, and multiplied, but not divided? Really, it can’t be multiplied either, or at least there is no reason to. One divided by zero logically should equal zero, but it does not. Neither does any other number. Why not?
Here is a simple explanation for this phenomenon: Try dividing 12 chocolates among zero people. How many chocolates does each person receive?
Does that question even make sense?
We can’t share among zero people and we can’t divide by zero.
Merriam Webster defines zero as “the absence of a measurable quantity”.
Does this not sound like how things were before God created everything?
The number one is the opposite of zero. It is the number from which all other numbers arise. It is the only number by which every other number, including the number 1 itself, can be divided and result in a whole number.
What caused the number 1 to exist?
Because of God and His creative voice, everything that exists exists, including the number 1. Number 1 would not exist or even need to without God. Nor would the other six numbers of music and days of the week, or the seemingly infinite but probably finite list of prime numbers. None would exist.
Now, think about God’s greatest creation.
Another of Merriam Webster’s definitions for the word zero is “an insignificant person or thing”. That is so sad. Yet, there are people who feel like exactly that. There are many reasons why this is so, and they are all equally sad. None of them were a part of God’s original plan for us. Thankfully, God never called any human being a zero.
If a person could be given a number of relevance, could the #1 be it? Not for the usual reason, as a means of comparing oneself to others. That is NOT Part of God’s plan for us.
From a mathematical perspective, what is the number one divisible by? Hint: this was already addressed earlier, but in case you don’t want to look back or don’t remember from your elementary math class – one is only divisible by one, or itself. There is no thing that can divide a human being, only that human being. Even the word I looks a little like Arabic number 1 and exactly like Roman numeral I. Only the person himself or herself (#1) can divide him or herself by rejecting the grace God offers. So, a human being is a perfect example of prime number 1.
What does all this mathematical mumbo jumbo have to do with Jesus being the Way?
Listen to some of these definitions of “way” and some Bible verses that can be found lining up nearly perfectly with each definition:
- A thoroughfare for travel or transportation from place to place.
- An opening for passage.
- The course traveled from one place to another
Isaiah 35:8 “a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness”
- A course leading in a direction or toward an objective Hebrews 10:20 (Jesus)“by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain , that is, his body”
- Manner or method of doing or happening 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
- Characteristic, regular or habitual manner or mode of being, behaving, or happening John 14:6 “Jesus answered ‘I AM the way. . .’”
- The length of a course (distance) Acts 20:24 “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me”
- Movement or progress along a course Acts 20:24
- State of affairs. When Jesus said “I AM the way” “I AM” speaks of Jesus being IT, all there is, the paramount and many of its synonyms including: supreme, first and foremost, preeminent, utmost, number-one, and prime.
Let’s look again at that last word of the synonyms of paramount: What phrases can you think of that include this word?
Prime rib: A cut of steak so decadent it practically melts in your mouth
Prime rate: An interest rate formally announced by a bank to be the lowest available at a particular time to its most creditworthy customers.
Prime numbers: We’ve already covered that one pretty well.
Prime location: When buying a house there is a saying among realtors “location, location location” the best of which would be the prime location.
So, it would appear that, no matter its application, prime is a good thing.
In the case of Jesus, the extreme reaches of His primeness cannot be fully understood and certainly not explained. Jesus, THE WAY, is the absolute best. The THOROUGHFARE was not available to mankind as a COURSE to God until the hour of Jesus’ death when the veil was rent in the Holy of Holies making the WAY to the throne of God open to all. Jesus’ sacrifice delivered this way to us. Taking it a step further, His resurrection gave us a glimpse of where following Him would lead us. This is a glorious RACE indeed where everyone who runs and finishes it receives the gift of everlasting life with He Who is the Way and made the race possible.
Knowing that Jesus is the very best of the very best, the primest of the prime, why would anyone not want to run the race by following the manner and method Jesus taught us?
Did you notice there were 7 definitions to the word way? These were Merriam Webster’s definitions, not anything from the Word of God, but it is interesting
Music has 7 numbers. According to vocalprocess.co.uk “When we organize our thoughts into words and form vowels and consonants that is mostly the cognitive side of the brain (left) but for singing we also need melodic shape and that requires the creative side of the brain (right). In fact, singing is good for us because it uses both hemispheres of the brain.”
The Bible teaches time after time us to sing, including in 1 Chronicles 16:23 which is, in itself, a part of a song sung by David.
David sang a lot. Many of the Psalms were written by him, and he is called, regardless of his many foibles, a man after God’s own heart.
However, consider other words you might have sung, even as far back as your youth. Chances are good they included songs that were not praising God. What if they were songs of praise to self, other people or things of God’s creation – or worse, the devil himself? According to Ezekiel 28:13 NKJVV satan was a musician, maybe even a worship leader before his fall. Music is a good thing, just like everything else in God’s creation; and just like everything else it can be illegitimized by the enemy of our souls. (The words within this set of parentheses were not part of the original message, but think about the songs I referenced in the first part of this post. Had I not sung them at some point in my life, they would not now be so firmly entrenched in my neural pathways.)
If, as indicated by the article previously quoted, sung words are more powerful than spoken, we should be more cognitive of those words we sing than those we speak. Perhaps that is also why God so greatly encourages “singing” words of worship to him.
Now, hear these words from Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Now on to the days of the week: “On the 7th day, God rested” (Genesis 2:20)
This established the pattern for us
Have you ever noticed this pattern? Does it seem like Sunday afternoon is the ideal time for a nap? Do you try to eliminate every unnecessary chore possible on that day?
This was a way of life necessary for us humans established by The Way way back in the beginning.
What is it about the number 7?
The number 7 is used 735 times in the Bible (54 times in the book of Revelation alone). Revelation is the last book in the Bible, thereby completing the Word of God in written form. Seven is the number of completion, or a work being finished. Remember, the meaning of complete is remarkably close to that of perfect.
Many sermons are based upon these last two lists. For that reason, only the lists, and a brief explanation of the first will be shared today.
These are the 7 churches listed in the early part of the book of Revelation. They were real churches in existence at the time of the early church of the Way. There are many different theories on what relevance they have to today’s church, but that they have relevance cannot be denied because God chose to put their stories in His Written Word.
The last list of 7?
- Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do Luke 23:34
- Today you will be with me in paradise Luke 23:43
- Woman, behold your son. John 19:26
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken men? Matthew27:46
- I thirst John 19:28
- It is finished. John 19:30
- Into your hands I commit my spirit Luke 23:46
- Into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)