Tag Archive | Thoughts

The Concubine

At the time of Judges 19, the Bible says there was no king in Israel.

A Levite man lived in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took a concubine from Bethlehem, but she played the harlot and went back to her father’s house, where she stayed four months. Then the man went to get her from her father’s house and spoke kindly to her. Her father begged him to stay to eat and drink for several days. Finally he decided to leave, even though the hour was late. His servant suggested they stay in Jebus (Jerusalem, but he wanted to stay in Gilead because it was a Jewish city. He probably thought it would be safer.

No one offered him lodging. Finally an old man came from his work and let them stay with him. Perverted men of the city begged the master of the house to let the man and his servant come out. They planned to abuse them carnally. The master of the house gave them his virgin daughter and the man’s wife (concubine) instead. The men had their way and left the concubine lying on the doorstep in the morning, dead. The man put her on a donkey and went home. Then he cut her body into twelve and sent a piece to all the tribes of Israel, saying, “Nothing like this has been known in Israel.”

Chapter 20 describes how all the children of Israel came out from Dan to Beersheba and beyond. They asked how the wicked thing happened. The Levite explained how the men wanted to abuse him, but the master of the house sent out the concubine and the men left her for dead. This led to a great battle against the tribe of Benjamin. At first the tribe of Benjamin was winning, but God gave the other tribes victory when the tribe of Benjamin turned and saw their city burning.

The men of Israel grieved for the tribe of Benjamin, because the Lord had made a void in the tribe of Benjamin. They had made an oath at Mizpah saying none of them would take a bride from Benjamin’s tribe. Then they wondered what their brothers would do if they had no wives. They realized no one came to battle from Jabesh Gilead, so they sent valiant men to Jabesh Gilead to kill all men, women, and children. They utterly destroyed every man and every woman who had known a man intimately. They found four hundred virgins and brought them to Shiloh. They needed more, so they remembered there would be a feast of the Lord in Shiloh. When the women went out to dance, every man came out of the vineyards and catch a woman and made her his wife. The children of Benjamin had found wives for themselves and they all went back to their homes.

My thoughts on the story of the concubine: It surprises me that in this story about a young woman who had been terribly abused, she never had a name or said a word. We don’t know why she played the harlot or went back to her father’s home, but I wonder if her master had mistreated her. It appears so, since he decided to speak kindly to get her back. Then he allowed the master of the house to sent her out to be abused by the evil men of the city. They tortured and murdered her with no regret.

I don’t understand why it was worse in the Old Testament when evil people man abused than a woman. It seems it would be worse for a woman since she might become pregnant.

The concubine could not help herself. Her husband refused to protect her. He ignored her plight. The pain for her loss belonged to the Levite, but I saw no regrets, just anger. I don’t see any love lost for this poor woman.

The Israelites treated the people of Jabesh Gilead horribly. The way they caught the women of Shiloh disgusted me.

Even though the situation caused war and great loss of life between brothers, in the end they worked together and grieved for the children of Benjamin. The men worked out their differences, but the women had no say.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Please give me your ideas about this story. How are things different for women now?

Does everyone do what’s right in their eyes? Are we any better off as women than the women in this story?

Please keep the conversation going.

Artificial Intelligence and Your Family

My mind has just been blown!

For the last two Saturdays, I have listened to “Understanding the Times Radio” at 10:00 A.M. Central time.. Jan Markell from Olive Tree Views hosts this informative program each week. Eric Barger is her co-hosts most weeks. Today’s guest, Pastor Billy Crone Pastors The Sunshine Church in Las Nevada, discussed the dangers of technology, specifically A.I.

Friends have told me that the new home computers many are buying, such as Alexa, can record what you say and even solve murders that have happened in the house. I don’t know if that is true, but my son has one and he doesn’t see a problem with it. However, if you have looked on your phone for something you want to buy and then turn off your phone. What do you see the minute you turn it back on? Your phone has just showed you what it thinks is the perfect product for you!

Advertising! The only way to escape it is to go to sleep. No Wait! What about the My Pillow man who shows up in your bathroom mirror?

All that aside, you know that computers and other tech products help us solve lots of problems and make our lives an easier. You may wonder what you would have done without them. I know I do.

That’s when they blew my mind. Artificial Intelligence computers. Machines think about 20,000 times faster than the people who built them. Can we restrain them?

People tend to follow anything that seems to have high intelligence, so that brings us to another question, Will humans make rebots their gods?

You may wonder about the future of technology. As I read in my Bible about the end times, I expect to leave this world when I die or Jesus comes. Others will not become believers until after the rapture. When the Bible talks about the image of the beast, is it going to be a robot?

I urge you to go to Understanding the Times Radio and listen for yourself to last week’s and this week’s message. At the least, it will make you think.

I have little knowledge of computers. I would love to hear from those of you know more about them. What are your thoughts on this interesting and important subject?

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be a Shame Sponge

Don't let your self feel like this poor sponge.

Don’t let yourself feel like this poor sponge.

Did you experience physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse as a child? If so, you may feel a deep shame that makes it hard for you to believe you are as worthy as other people. It may even make it difficult for you to feel loved. Abuse is a direct attack on a person’s dignity. You had no way of knowing that, so you may have become a “shame sponge.” Did you soak up the dirt and shame that belongs to the abuser? If the person who hurt you was a family member, you may have added shame upon shame. After all, the family member who abused you may also be the one who took care of you. You needed the abuser in order to live. It created a confusing double bind. You couldn’t see the abuser as bad, so you saw yourself as bad. Even if the abuser was not a family member, the loss of dignity may have caused you to feel shame. Of course, there were other strong emotions, too. We will discuss those on another post.

The shameful feelings come from the lies planted in your mind and spirit, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by the abuser. Truthfully, no one is perfect, but you are not worse than others simply because of abuse. Even if you know that, you may not feel it. The perpetrator, however, should feel shame for hurting you, an innocent child. Changing the thought patterns and feelings developed in childhood requires some soul-searching work. If you haven’t received counseling, I recommend it. You can also help yourself by changing the messages you give yourself. Say, “Self, you are just as valuable and worthy as everyone else. The person who hurt you is the one who deserves the shame.” Telling yourself one time is not enough. You need to do it every time those old feelings stir your soul. It may feel like hard work, but it is worth it.

I am a Christian. I believe shame came into the world through Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God and hid in the garden to hide the shame they felt because they had no clothes. Fig leaves didn’t cover their shame. They needed more to cover their naked bodies. God confronted them and out of love covered them with animal skins. With the law of Moses, God began the practice of sacrificing lambs and other animals for the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed by blood, for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22 NIV) Finally, Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God came to earth as a baby. He showed people how to live, and He died for our sins. He took our shame. Anyone who accepts the gift of His sacrifice and follows Him will have eternal life in heaven. Even it you don’t believe in God, the shame you felt and may still feel doesn’t from the abuse belongs to the one who abused you, not you.

Tidings of Convicting Rain

Mom B's 96 birthday with Eddie 010It started out as a short morning walk down the green belt near my house. I didn’t know deep conviction was going to rain on my heart before I got home. I walk on this green belt several times a week and usually speak to the neighbors I pass. Sometimes it is a simple hello to a runner and sometimes I stop to admire an adorable child or a cute puppy. I might warn those I pass if I see a snake on the trail. That day I saw a rabbit and told the person behind me to look for it. I like to start a conversation if I am not in hurry.

At the end of the tree-lined trail I could see the black western sky. It reminded me of the color of the sky in Memphis the day the so-called Hurricane Elvis came out of nowhere. Even the local news stations missed the warnings. It tore a path of trees and power lines down the center of Memphis and many homes were without electricity for weeks. The wind was so strong the window panes in our house rattled. No one should be out in that kind of weather, so I warned the  people I passed on my way back home.

As I rounded the corner and passed the little playground by the lake, a guilt storm hit me. I find it so easy to tell others to look for a cute rabbit or a half-hidden deer, but not so easy to tell them to look for Jesus. I find it so easy to warn them about a coming storm, but not so easy to tell them accepting Jesus protects from the storms ahead. These thoughts convicted me, but I still fall back into old habits. I need to form new habits of sharing the good news every chance I get.

How about you? What convicts you?

Mom B's 96 birthday with Eddie 006

We Will Rise Again

We have a vote; therefore, we are responsible for our leadership. We need to pray and ask God for wisdom as the next election is approaching. We don’t want to be like the Israelites.

Judges 2:11-12,14
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord of their fathers….and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them and they provoked the Lord to anger….And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So he delivered them into the hands of the plunderers who despoiled them….Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.”

2 Peter 2:1-3
“But there were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you…And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words.”

How do those verses from the Old and New Testament apply to America? We are a nation that has been under God’s protection for a long time. He has given us grace, that is gifts we don’t deserve, mercy, and the freedom to vote for our ledership. Don’t take those gifts lightly, because they come from God. Ask Him for wisdom and vote accordingly, not according to your wallet, but according to God. If enough people do that, America will rise again to the glory from God it once had.

Don’t Be Sour, Seek

Have you given that heavy back pack of anger to the Lord? That is essential for spiritual healing. It is not a one time event. You must keep giving your anger to Him in order to stay free. Under that anger, you will find hurts that you remember, maybe from yesterday, maybe from childhood. When those old hurts are struck by new events, anger arises. If you were an abused child, please find a reputable Christian counselor. Don’t try to heal alone. The next step is to find the source of your pain. Sit quietly in prayer, feel the pain, don’t try to push it down. Follow it to a memory that feels the same way. Again, if it abuse, see a counselor. If it’s not abuse, try to remember what you were thinking in the moment of the past hurt. What misconception about yourself or the world is still keeping you in bondage? Ask the Lord to show you the truth. Listen in your spirit. Is there a thought that is new, one that didn’t seem to come from your own mind? One that agrees with scripture? That is a truth that can heal. If not, then stay in your quiet place and take out your Bible. Ask God to show you what He wants you to know. Trust Him.
Deuteronomy 4:29
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Give God the Backpack

Are you feeling heavy? Leftover anger is exhausting, like a backpack full of books you have to carry around all day. Because it steals emotional energy that could be used more effectively another way, it handicaps you in your life. “Oh, but you don’t know what they did to me,” you say. No, but no matter what they did, your anger still doesn’t hurt them. Your behavior might, but not your anger. It, meaning they, still controls you and they are going on with their life. “I want to forgive, but I just can’t,” you say. That may be true, but with God’s help, you can. I believe that Jesus’ sweat became great drops of blood as he felt the burden of all the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane –  and He forgave. Luke 22:44. If He was willing to do that for you, don’t you believe He can help you forgive if you ask? After all, Psalm 18:47a says, “It is God who avenges me.”  He can take care of that better than we can. Try this prayer out loud: “Lord, (Say name of person who hurt you) hurt me by (Name the hurtful event). I want to forgive, but I can’t do it by myself. Please take this anger from me. I give it to you freely. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Now, let Him lift the anger from you. He will take it, but you must let it go. He will not take it against your will.