The Ten Commandments of Blogging

Stumbled upon this today…reblogging for myself as much as anyone. I have gained much by reading blogs…may I diligently return the favor!

A Holistic Journey

1. Thou shalt not waste readers’ time. Offer up thy readers a worthy sacrifice that they might take and be satisfied.

2. Thou shalt honor thy muse. Be prepared in season, out of season to seize inspiration when she comes that ye might write, dance, photograph, paint thy bliss. Be not caught without thy scroll, ink, pen, iGadget, camera. Thou wilt not redeem the moment the locust has eaten.

3. Thou shalt preview thy draft and spell-check before publishing that the Angel of Vengeance shall not fly over thy blog in the night.10commandmts2

4. Always speak ye the truth.

5. Thou shalt not take up the like button in vain, foremost on this blog. It is holystic ground. Thou shalt in integrity read the posts before clicking anything lest thou incite my wrath. Know ye that I see thou couldst not have read four of my brain-intensive posts in one…

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Who cares about God’s Blood Covenant?

Well, HE does for one. He sacrificed His Son for it. We take that pretty lightly. My husband and I have 2 daughters. Would I give their lives up willingly for ISIS to be saved from eternal damnation? I would like to say ‘yes’, if our daughters would go to heaven, if the recipient would appreciate it. But, I don’t believe I would do it even if it were a wonderful human being that was being saved and the girls were dying of cancer.

So God must care a LOT about this covenant He has made with earthlings.

Who else cares? Most of the Christians I know, understand the covenant as: God is good, I am bad, but if I believe Jesus died for me and paid for my sins, I can go to heaven when I die.

Then, like a diet gone bad, when we make more mistakes than we think Jesus has taken care of on the cross, we give up. Maybe we don’t consciously give up, we just quit thinking about it. That’s easy to do because life is filled with things to do. Work, kids, school, holidays, entertainment, household duties, eating, stuff to keep our minds, bodies and credit cards busy.

I have been a Christian for a long time. I heard about the Blood Covenant, what it means, who it affects, what it cost, last year in ministry school. I was shocked. To tell you the truth, I can’t think of anything else. I want to tell everyone I meet. I want to bore people with all the details. I want to tell it as simply or as complex as you want to hear and my level of intellect will allow.

It has affected my life. That peace Jesus said He would give us: the peace that is above understanding? I now know what that is! I know it is real. I KNOW! And I KNOW THAT I KNOW! I thought I knew it before last year, now I know it as well as I know my name and date of birth. (Have I said ‘I know’ enough? Maybe not, here is one more.) I know it is for everyone, even the cruel men and women of ISIS. It redeems bad cops and bad priests. It protects the weak. It gives all men and women purpose in their lives. It gave me a new understanding of evil, of good, of prayer, of healing. It’s crazy!

And, the biggest shock; the WHOLE BIBLE is covenant-minded. It is covenant-centered. Sure, there are lots of topics in the Bible, lots of stories. But there is only ONE main theme, with TWO parts. The Old Testament and the New Testament. You know, ‘Testament’ means ‘Covenant’? Who left that one out of my training as a Christian? I mean come ON! I have been in faith-based grade school, high school, Sunday school, Bible studies for a good many years. How did I miss THAT ONE?

A Blood Covenant with God means He has chosen to bind His Almighty Person to an agreement that He cannot break. Think about that for a minute. He can’t break it. He is God. He cannot go back on His word. We may, but He can’t. He wouldn’t be God. And, guess what? The Bible is LOADED with covenant promises. You don’t have to guess which ones are for you. THEY ARE ALL FOR YOU, if you join in the covenant with God, ALL of them.

There is a ‘covenant’ verse in Revelations I will end with. If you have covenant glasses on when you read it, you will see much more. Actually, it probably won’t make much sense without them.

Revelations 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Jesus is speaking here metaphorically. He is saying “Hello! I am standing here outside every person’s door. Open up! I will come in. And we will eat together.”

Look how emphatic, how direct, how unwavering are His words.

Here I am! (That was not my emphasis, the Bible was written with that exclamation point.)

If anyone (anyone? ISIS, bad cops, bad priests?)

Opens the door

I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.

Are you excited yet??????

This is just one verse in the Bible. A meal here is not just food. Jesus doesn’t want to eat a hamburger with you. A meal is used in a covenant relationship to validate, to solidify the relationship. Sitting down sharing a meal is still a very special part of customs and celebrations in every culture today. Jesus is saying (have your covenant glasses on?) “Open up the door to you heart, your mind, your intuition, your spirit, let me come in. I am a gentleman; I will not come in unless you invite me. But, if you invite me in, we will share life together (bread). I will give you my love; you will understand and love me.”

His peace–out of this world!

Covenant Journey

I can’t say how many times I have read the word ‘covenant’ in the Bible and had a vague definition in mind when I did. However, I never dreamed how important, how intense was the meaning behind that small word.

I am not the kind of reader that enjoys a novel when the development of each character takes chapter upon chapter. I am more of an action junkie. Take me to the conflict, the chase, the ‘angst’. If you don’t take me there quickly, I will find it myself, read it, and be on my way.

What kind of reader are you? Do you mull over each sentence? Or, like me do you wonder ‘where are we going?’ and ‘how long is it going to take to get there?’

Just for fun, write down some things that come to mind when you think of a covenant in today’s world.

Now, when you think of the Biblical version of covenant, what comes to mind?

Imagine my surprise when I went through a class on the ‘Blood Covenant’, and found that the entire Bible has ‘covenant’ as its central theme.

Write down what we call the collection of the first 39 books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi.

Now, what do we call the second group of 27 books of the Bible from Matthew to the Revelation of John?

If you answered ‘Old Testament’ and ‘New Testament’ you would be correct. But, did you know ‘testament’ is another word for ‘covenant’? Would it surprise you if I said that the following statement by Jesus in Luke 22:20

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”,

could not have happened without the old covenant? God is not a god of mistakes or second thoughts. He doesn’t say ‘Let’s try this plan and move to plan B if necessary.” The old covenant was Part A; the new covenant Part B. The old covenant was absolutely essential for Part B.

Let’s start at the beginning. As much as I would like to jump to the end of the book, the pieces are each intense in their own way.

When you wrote down what a covenant means in today’s terminology, you may have written court of law, will, contract, wedding vows. These are some ways a covenant can be expressed. The dictionary defines covenant as: an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified. In the Western world, the word covenant is not used as much in today’s language as it was in the past. In fact, even this dictionary definition leaves out very important pieces of a covenant relationship.

To be in covenant with someone, is to pledge your entire being to the other person. The words spoken are an oath, sometimes before God of the intentions of each party to fulfill the contract. This is not a casual friendly relationship. In some cultures, this meant the exchanging of blood. When I was growing up and watching shows on television about cowboys and Indians, one of my favorites was the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger and his Native American friend Tonto were blood brothers. Tonto would call the Lone Ranger ‘Kemo Sabe’ or ‘trusted friend’. They fought bad guys together and you knew that one would die for the other if necessary. Even as a child, I knew there was something special about that relationship. When we would play, we would pretend to cut ourselves and enter into a blood brother relationship with our friends just like the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

Sometimes a token of the relationship is given such as a ring, or an amulet. This is a remembrance to the covenant partners and as a sign to the rest of the community. They may also change their names or take part of each other’s name.

Also a covenant often had at least one condition attached. One may say, “So that we understand each other, I need for you to do ______________________. That way I KNOW you are bound to the covenant.” A non-Biblical example of this is the relationship gang members have towards one another. There are some gang initiation rites where you would be accepted into the gang, but then you must show you are really a member. You would be required to steal something or even to kill someone. Then your membership would be sealed.

The reverse could also happen. If you break the covenant there could be a consequence, sometimes a very severe consequence. Today, in some cultures, if a young woman goes outside her religious community and marries, her brother or father could kill her. This is a terrible thing. I am not condoning this practice. But, in their eyes, she has brought dishonor to the family, to their name and must be punished by death.

Often in a covenant, gifts are exchanged. The marriage covenant has this in mind when the two persons are joined together. Everything I have is yours and everything you have is mine. (This even includes your charge card debt and your tax burden!)

A covenant can also be established with the partaking of a meal together. A meal is a very traditional way to establish a relationship of importance between two parties. Dinners with heads of state are an example at a very high government level. How many treaties have been ratified over food before a piece of paper was ever signed? And, of course what happens in a typical wedding? Maybe a sit-down meal is a part, but most of the time there is a CAKE! What happens with the cutting of the cake? Everything stops! The friends and family gather around, everyone stops talking, for the CUTTING OF THE CAKE! We have lost the symbolism for this in Western culture, but it is a symbol of the marriage union expressed in sharing bread (cake). Bread is the symbol for sustenance, for livelihood. The couple expresses their commitment before witnesses that they are now one by feeding each other a bite of cake.

NEXT: Another Covenant……………….

Jesus knows my address

One day, while on a journey through the land of cancer treatments, I was to have a PET scan. This was an expensive test, and any movement on my part would make it potentially unreadable. My arms were positioned above my head and I was to lie as still as possible for 20 minutes. It didn’t take long to realize my arms were not going to cooperate. Within minutes, they were ‘falling asleep’. Usually, when this happens, you reposition, blood-flow re-vitalizes the affected part and voila—no pain. In this instance though, I was not supposed to move. As the test progressed, I prayed: “Jesus, with your help we can do this.” As the test was nearing the end, in tears I prayed “Jesus I need a hug today.” The tech helped me move my arms back down to my side. The test was over. I drove home, not thinking any more about my prayer.

The mail had already come that day and with it, a package for me. I was surprised to find a prayer shawl. Women at a local church crochet them, praying for the recipient while creating these gifts of love. It was a wonderful reminder that I was not alone in this difficult time. What was more astonishing was the note my friend put in the package when she sent it to me.

“When you wrap this around you—may you feel the arms of Jesus holding you.” I still get tears in my eyes knowing that Jesus knew where I lived and sent my hug straight to my house!

Psalm 68:

19Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.

Psalm 44:

3They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. 4You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel. 5Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. 6I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me.

Isaiah 40: 11He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young

.… 27O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? 28Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Jesus, only your hugs can refresh us. Thank you for seeing our needs way ahead of time and preparing for them! Bless your Name!

You are our tender Shepherd, who carries us in your arms. Can we ever thank you enough! Our hearts are full of gratitude.


2 Timothy 1: NKJV

6Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

There was persecution in the church when Paul wrote this. It appears that he is writing to Timothy to strengthen his faith. Fear can be a crippling emotion. When you are in the middle of it, you need reminding—to pray, to read your Bible. It doesn’t always come naturally. We have a GOD who is mighty, who has given us the tools, to fight any battle. My dad is in a nursing home right now, fighting pneumonia. Whether it is the medications, the illness, or some other factor, he is experiencing crazy frightening dreams and hallucinations. Even though he is strong in his faith, he is overwhelmed with these thoughts.

My own battle with cancer would have me waking up, frozen with fear. What would I find out today? Would I need surgery?

Sometimes we are too engrossed in our situation to pray for ourselves. The words will hardly come. These are times for our friends and loved ones to bring our needs to our loving Father. Our family has friends all over the country because we have moved several times. It gave me hope (and strength), when I was down, to call friends and ask for prayer. It was awesome, thinking there were people in all sorts of places offering up prayers for me!

Other times, we need to take whatever steps we can to pursue God. Begin reading your Bible, increase your time alone with God. It helped me to write in a journal, everything I was worried about—and give it to God to handle. That was an awesome exercise! I could see how He answered each issue over time.

Joshua 1:9 NKJV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Isaiah 43: 1-3 TLB

But now the Lord who created you, O Israel, says, “Don’t be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you, for I am the Lord your God, your Savior, the Holy One of Israel.

Lord, you are so faithful; to remind us you are always near. Strengthen us, help us. Turmoil is all around us. You are the Almighty God who created heaven and earth—and yet we forget, and rely on our own strength. Our hearts are overwhelmed with your love, your unshakeable and unchangeable, love. Let anyone who reads this be drawn closer to you Lord.

Does it really matter?

I found out this week a friend has been told she has liver cancer and may only have 2 years to live.

As I thought about what to say to my friend, my own conversation with the oncologist came to mind. I had asked him, “so what are my chances?”, half-joking, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer.

He looked me straight in my eyes and said, “does it really matter”?

I thought about his response on the way home that day. As much as we want to know ‘how long we have’, the truth is, none of us knows.

And–surprise–you have NEVER known! Cancer clarifies how you live, but it really shouldn’t. We should live each day to the best of our ability, with whatever we have been given–good or bad. It’s all we have.

The apostle Paul says in Philippians chapter 4: (NIV version)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I love that he directs us to praise, positive thinking, excellent thoughts! Talk about a prescription to fight depression!
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or
heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
and in verse 11:
for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Lord, for whoever is reading this, bless them with your everlasting presence. Give them your peace, not the peace that is here for a minute and then gone, but the peace that cannot be understood by logic. Amen

What am I searching for?

“I understood this also, that God’s Love is made manifest as well in a simple soul which does not resist His grace as in one more highly endowed. In fact, the characteristic of love being self-abasement, if all souls resembled the holy Doctors who have illuminated the Church, it seems that God in coming to them would not stoop low enough. But He has created the little child, who knows nothing and can but utter feeble cries, and the poor savage who has only the natural law to guide him, and it is to their hearts that He deigns to stoop. These are the field flowers whose simplicity charms Him; and by His condescension to them Our Saviour shows His infinite greatness. As the sun shines both on the cedar and on the floweret, so the Divine Sun illumines every soul, great and small, and all correspond to His care–just as in nature the seasons are so disposed that on the appointed day the humblest daisy shall unfold its petals.” St. Therese of Lisieux

I had a statue of St. Therese in my bedroom as a child. I loved how peaceful she looked. (Statues don’t yell and scream–it seemed like there was a lot of that in my house growing up!) I ran across a copy of her writings, on the Internet (free)

‘Nearer my God to Thee’, is my heart’s cry. My flesh is weak though.”What will others think?” “What will it cost?” I must get beyond these questions. “How?” I still need to maintain my job, clean my house, shovel snow, go to the grocery store. Is it possible to ‘pray without ceasing’? (1 Thess 5:17, Paul) Besides the Biblical authors, others have written that it is possible. Brother Lawrence comes to mind.

The last book of the Bible–Revelations–writes ‘To those that persevere’. Keep on keepin’ on. I like that.