Archive for the ‘Metamorphosis’ Category

The greatest single distinguishing feature of the omnipotence of God is that our imagination gets lost when thinking about it.  – Blaise Pascal

Have you ever thought that nothing was happening in your life? i most certainly have. But then there are those times when it seems like nothing is happening, and all of a sudden, something out of nowhere appears.

That’s the case with my series on metamorphosis and watching caterpillars become butterflies. Recently i watched caterpillar eggs develop into adult caterpillars, then go to chrysalis stage, and eventually hatch as butterflies. It was my intent to watch the butterflies start the whole process all over but I was not looking for a project and that’s exactly what it became. i released all the butterflies, put “all” the “stuff” in storage and declared that i was done. That’s been about two weeks ago and quite honestly i have not given it another thought except for watering all the plants i had purchased for this process to take place.

Then on Monday of this week i noticed that much of these plants had been eaten away and all that remained were barren stems. i decided it was time for them to go as well. i definitely didn’t want the whole place to become infested with whatever was doing this. As i went to move them, much to my surprise there was a “BIG” caterpillar gnawing away on one of the plants! Then i saw a second and a third one. i couldn’t believe my eyes. In part i had ended the whole thing because i never saw the butterflies landing on any of the plants and i didn’t want them to starve. But here’s proof that they had done just that at some point. The amazing thing is that they were only in their new cage that i had purchased for two days. i guess they proved that their single focus is to mate and they did so quickly.

i came back in on Tuesday to find that two of the three were already in chrysalis and the third was in the process which i had not observed in my previous observance. So out came the cage, in go the plants and we continue with observation of this miraculous process.

As for me this is a great reminder that just because i don’t see something happening, it doesn’t mean that nothing is. It’s often when nothing seems to be happening, that God is at work.

His presence is known when we meditate on the fact that the sands of the sea are numbered by Him, that He keeps a count of the waves. Astounded, we reflect that every drop of rain, every day and every hour of all the centuries, everything past and everything to come are all facts of which He is aware.  – John Cassian

Recently i heard that, “A good teacher teaches people to memorize. A great teacher teaches people to think.” How true that is. If i simply memorize, what is taught, at some point i will come up against something that’s not been taught or that i have not memorized. At that moment i am at a stand still. BUT… if i learn how to think i will be able to come up with a solution to anything. If i know what so and so thinks then i can have what so and so has. This applies specifically when it comes to knowing what God thinks! i want to know His every thought! Now don’t throw any stones yet, but if i know what or how God thinks then i can have what God has. Just pause and meditate on that for a while, let it sink in and while you do let me give you the word to support this idea. It comes from 1 Corinthians 2 and i don’t care which translation you read it from it still says the same thing.

Verses 10-13 (MSG.) The spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—EXCEPT THAT… he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets ed in on it.

This has never caught my attention before. “EXCEPT THAT… he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets ed in on it.”

What’s that look like? “God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving me.” No secrets regarding these matters. If I know what God is thinking then I don’t need all the questions. There is a full report of the gifts of life and my salvation. It’s been revealed. AND…. i am to attend to what He has revealed.

But instead of attending to what’s been revealed, the full report on the gifts of life and salvation, i attend to what the rest of the verse says i’m not to. ed you don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. ed you are not going to and have not learned this by reading books or going to schooled you learned it from God, who taught you person-to-person through Jesus, and it’s being passed on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

Choice… an act or instance of choosing, the right, power, or opportunity to choose. God offers a full report on what He is thinking as does the world. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Several weeks ago i read 1Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV), “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

my heart started pounding and my mind started racing. Nice right, but what does that mean? “ed’s “Eye has not seen,” nor has ed’s ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of ed the things which God has prepared for ed who loves Him.” 

Initially when i began looking at Proverbs 29:28 which said “those who can not see what God is doing, stumble all over themselves,” it seemed to make sense in that context the ed’s eye has not seen what God is doing. Then add the ear thing and the heart thing and it losses any congruity that i imagined. So… i put the verse away in a draft file and let it sit, expecting that if it was a God thing he would reveal more.

Honestly I forgot about it until now while looking through my drafts. i read it and the same thing, heart started pounding and my mind…. there was no shortage of thoughts. Once again i tried to make sense of it. NOTHING! ZIP, ZERO, NADA! But then I remembered the rest of Proverbs 29:28, “but those who attend to what He has revealed will be most blessed.”

Attend to…? Could it be…., no……, possibly…..? it can’t hurt. Attend to by reading the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 2 and there was my answer.

i then decided to read 1 Corinthians 2:9 in more familiar words by going to the MSG. Of course i can’t get a single verse so i had to read 6-19.

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, (repositioning myself to do just that, get feet on firm spiritual ground) but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him.

But ed, you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

There are two types of questions. The first are good questions which get me good information. The second are great questions which get me transformation. Here’s my great question, “ed are you attending to what He has revealed?” my answer… yes, absolutely and it’s apparent because old things are passing away and all things are new!

MORE: in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number, something of greater importance.

The key is in the personal and intimate relationship with Jehovah. The results are in direct proportion to the effort of relationship. I made my decision about relationship with the Father long ago and now each day i must manage that decision. It’s like being married to Ann Marie. I don’t wake up and decide if I am married or not. That decision was made over 40 years ago. Now I manage that decision every day.

Jehovah-Shammah:   “The Lord is present.” “The Lord is more than present!”

The name of the city revealed through Ezekiel is Jehovah  Shammah – the Lord is There. This location is named because of the presence and power of Jehovah residing there. I am aware from  scripture that God does not dwell in temples made by hands, but rather I am to  be God’s temple. This is the last of Jehovah’s redemptive titles in the order of their Old Testament occurrence. It uncovers the entirety of His on-going self-revelation. The people of Israel were brought out of the bondage of Egypt by His manifest presence (Deuteronomy 4:37). However, the  people willfully and continually sinned, and the conscious manifest Presence of  God was removed. Yet when the people repented of their gross idolatry, because  of His love, the angel of His presence redeemed them once again (Isaiah 63:9). The apostle Paul describes the church as a habitation of God. More for me means that God is not just there but He is “me.” my everyday relationships are usually what I would say, are enough. But my relationship with the Father is “more” than enough.

MORE: in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number, something of greater importance.

The question: Does the Glory of Jehovah fill Jehovah’s house, and am i a member of that house, displaying His Glory?

Jehovah-Jireh:  “The Lord will provide.” “The Lord will more than provide!”

(Genesis 22:14)
The definition of this term  is “The Lord will see” or “The Lord will provide”. For man, this dual meaning seems impossible. However, for the all-knowing God of creation, the dual  meaning is easily exemplified. His pre-vision means His pro-vision. That was Abraham’s revelation given to the  place where He found the ram provided as a substitute for Isaac. This miracle  was not of a normal significance; but rather it was a creative miracle by God for the sacrifice, in the same sense that the Lord created a body through the  miraculous conception for the substitute sacrifice for man.
As Elohim, God demanded the sacrifice of Isaac, but as Jehovah He made complete provision of a substitute for the son Abraham willingly offered. The place of this miracle is important. It is the  first recorded instance in scripture of the naming of a place after a divine manifestation.

MORE: in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number, something of greater importance.

Jehovah-Rapha:  “The Lord that heals thee” The Lord that more than heals thee!”

(Exodus 15:26)
From Israel, we learn that in times of sickness God heals, for He is our Jehovah Rophi, “I  am Jehovah thy healer”. To express God’s grace in restoring spirit life, He declared that He healed all of our diseases, spiritual as well as  physical. (Psalms 103:3) He also heals the broken in heart (Psalms 147:3),  and for those who are backsliding, He is their healer as well (Jeremiah 3:22). The word also clearly indicates the removal of bodily illness (Genesis  20:17; Matthew 4:23).

MORE: in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number, something of greater importance.

Sometime last week I shared about getting a song that consumed my listing time. To this day it still consumes me. It plays from the time I get up till I call it quits for the evening. It plays in the foreground when no one is around and then plays in the background when there is. Ann Marie is being held hostage to it as we are most often together. The song is called More Then Enough and it’s sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The theme of the song is about three of the seven redemptive names of God which all start with Jehovah.

While it may not seem like it these three specific names of God all coincide with my metamorphosis and on a broader scale my repositioning an emerging journey with God.

In the Old Testament, God reveals Himself to man in seven names.  Each of these names begins with Jehovah.  To the Jews, the name Jehovah was so holy that it was never said by anyone except the High Priest in the Holy Place on the Day of Atonement.  Seven is the number for perfection and God is a perfect God.  God is called other names but only seven names are His redemptive names.  When God commands that we “preach the Gospel to every creature,” He means that we tell the good news of His redemption.  His seven redemptive names reveal what our redemption includes.

Today let me introduce all seven names. I will high-light the three that I am focused on at this time and that’s not because the others are not just as important. It’s simply a matter of this season i’m in.

Jehovah-Shammah:   “The Lord is present.” 

Jehovah-Jireh:  “The Lord will provide.”

Jehovah-Rapha:  “The Lord that heals thee”

The song covers these three and the chorus says the “He Is More Then Enough.”

MORE: in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number, something of greater importance.

Jehovah-Shammah:   “The Lord is present.” “The Lord is more than present!”

Jehovah-Jireh:  “The Lord will provide.” “The Lord will more than provide!”

Jehovah-Rapha:  “The Lord that heals thee” The Lord that more than heals thee!”

More on those tomorrow.

Jehovah-Shalom:  “The Lord is our Peace.”

Jehovah-Ra-ah:  “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

Jehovah-Nissi:  “The Lord our Banner”

Jehovah-Tsidkenu:  “The Lord our Righteousness”

It is under these seven names that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. With God revealing Himself to me through these names, i have the right to peace, provisions, righteousness, His presence and even healing.  It wouldn’t be right to change I am the Lord that heals thee, to I was the Lord that heals thee.  God wants all of these names to be sent to every creature.

Psalm 107:20 (NKJV) “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions”

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”   ―     Steve Maraboli

One of the readers shared this story with me after they had read the Measure #6 post Three Little Butterflies.

They are a cashier in a grocery store and while working an elderly gentleman came to check out. His bill was 30 something and he began looking for his credit card. After searching his pockets and his wallet he still had not found it but kept on looking. The line now growing but remaining calm. The cashier offered to get someone to help him look for his card but he just kept on with what he was doing. As the cashier apologized to the lady waiting behind this man she said, Don’t worry just keep on going and that she would pay for it.

Much to the cashiers surprise the elderly mans son was not more than ten feet away buying a lottery ticket. As he came over the elderly man said why didn’t you help me, this woman was willing to pay for my groceries and all I need from you was to help me find my credit card. Then he said, What have I done wrong in raising you? This created a little stir between them and the cashier just kept ringing up the woman’s groceries. As she finished the elderly man found his card.

His response was that he wanted the woman to get a return on what she was willing to do and so he then paid for her groceries which included his. The amount was somewhere around $250.00.

This story is a perfect example of the Three butterflies and the word which instructs us to carry one another’s burdens. We tend to think that’s limited to homeless but not so. This man was just a little disoriented.

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”   ―     Elizabeth Gilbert

Nearly 100 years ago, Henri Fabre studied and wrote about the habits of caterpillars. He noted that these caterpillars have a unique way of finding their way. While making a long trek in search of food, they spread a silk-like glue along the path.

He saw individual caterpillars lowering their heads. One caterpillar would eject silken threads from its lower lip. The caterpillar behind would eject glue from its lower lip, thus attaching the silk threads to the path they would need to follow on the return trip. The one behind would also lay some silken threads of its own.

No matter how circuitous or difficult the road, the processionaries always find their way along it.

Ann Marie and I live life in that way. No matter how difficult the road, we always find our way. The word is our silken threads. As we eject word from our lips, we make a path. for others to follow. Hummm… does that make us as unique as a caterpillar?

Fabre, it seems, was a bit of a mischief-maker as well. In one experiment, he cut the silken thread to see if he could interrupt the procession. Not surprisingly, the first caterpillar to find the disrupted line would pause. Others would join in and, it seemed, debate whether to go in search of the silken threads that had been laid or return home with the mission unaccomplished.

Finally, he noted that one fearless leader almost always emerged. This bold creature would cross the patch of road with no silk and would stretch its own thread in order to reconnect the broken pieces. The procession could then continue.

It is so important as I have said a hundred times, who I hang around with makes a big difference in my life. I need and want bold creatures who will face the obstacles when there seems to be nothing to follow. AND… And the purpose is to reconnect the broken pieces, not grandstand.

And in one more experiment, Fabre arranged the caterpillars in a circle. He then placed leaves and other nutrients in the center of the circle, eager to learn if any of the caterpillars would “break rank,” leaving the circle to reach the food. None did. Instead, they went round and round until their collective death.

Sound like anyone you know? It certainly describes some of the people I know. They are following the wrong crowd, going round and round dying a collective death.

Mary Angelou is not stuck following the collective death in a circle. She says, “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

MEASURE #6 is similar to last weeks in that the application is for each reader to find and apply.

IN THE PAST… i have been over wrought with worry. i have experienced grief. i have stumbled. i know what it’s like to strain under the cloud of my daily tasks. i have felt the guilt of far too many things to mention. At the same time, being bombarded with trials and tribulations of various kinds. With all that it’s easy to see how it can become too much for one person to bear.

But for that reason the people i do life with are important. i need help when i stagger, i can use a steady hand to balance my load. If i’m straining, someone is there to help bear my burden. And if i stumble, those around me lift me up. Helping people carry the weight of their burdens is one of the main duties that ought to consume me as a disciple.

Of course, that concept is contrary to the culture, with the world promoting self-absorption. There are generations which have developed an unhealthy obsession that says, “it’s all about me” and an attitude of entitlement. Part of the problem is that i tend to interact with others in sound-bites or through faceless media.

Galatians 6:2 (MSG.) says “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Here’s a simple story that expresses my understanding of this.

There were once three little butterfly brothers, one white, one red, and one yellow. They played in the sunshine, and danced among the flowers in the garden, and they never grew tired because they were so happy.

One day there came a heavy rain, and it wet their wings. They flew away home, but when they got there they found the door locked and the key gone. So they had to stay out-of-doors in the rain, and they grew wetter and wetter.

By and by they flew to the red and yellow striped tulip, and said, “Friend Tulip, will you open your flower-cup and let us in till the storm is over?”

The tulip answered, “The red and yellow butterflies may enter, because they are like me, but the white one may not come in.”

But the red and yellow butterflies said, “If our white brother may not find shelter in your flower cup, why, then, we’ll stay outside in the rain with him.”

It rained harder and harder, and the poor little butterflies grew wetter and wetter, so they flew to the white lily and said, “Good Lily, will                      you open your bud a little so we may creep in out of the rain?”

The lily answered: “The white butterfly may come in, because he is like me, but the red and yellow ones must stay outside in the storm.”

Then the little white butterfly said, “If you won’t receive my red and yellow brothers, why, then, I’ll stay out in the rain with them. We                      would rather be wet than be parted.”

So the three little butterflies flew away.

But the sun, who was behind a cloud, heard it all, and he knew what good little brothers the butterflies were, and how they had held together in spite of the wet. So he pushed his face through the clouds, and chased away the rain, and shone brightly on the garden.

He dried the wings of the three little butterflies, and warmed their bodies. They ceased to sorrow, and danced among the flowers till evening, then they flew away home, and found the door wide open.

Story by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co

To each reader today I share Ezra 4:10 “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. i will support you, so take courage and do it.”

The plan is simple… make myself available for, not divine appointments but His divine people this week. That’s what has been revealed so I will attend to that. Referring back to the posts of the last couple weeks.

“The  battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it without a  struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties  there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.” – Samuel Smiles

Before I begin I want to announce that our caterpillars which entered chrysalis stage about 7 days ago have EMERGED butterflies. I was already somewhat overwhelmed this morning, not as in one of those days but as in one of His days. So much has been revealed and it’s just starting to catch up with in glimpses. In my early morning time I was given a song from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir called More The Enough. You can get it at YouTube. I am literally basking in it. Over and Over I am reminder that Jehovah Jireh is my provider, that He is More Than Enough.

Where i live it can seem like an upside down world. Isaiah said in Isa. 5:20, “How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad and bad things good, who think darkness is light and light is darkness.” i must be careful how i live so that the world’s perspective does not infiltrate my thinking and my choices.

I read recently something that said, “God has given me a certain number of things to do before i die. At the rate i’m going i’ll live forever. my task at the end of each day is to evaluate my use of the time i have been given. Am i just being busy or am i truly effective and fruitful?

So many times my greatest struggles are between where i am and where i want to be.

Thump.Thump. Thump.Thump. Do you recognize what that is? It’s my heartbeat. i think there may be an angel somewhere counting my heartbeats. The thing is, he’s not counting them up, he is counting down. Thump.Thump. Thump.Thump. When he gets to zero, it’s over.

There is no appeal, no 11th hour reprieve, it’s over. Each beat brings me closer to that end. i’ll never get that heartbeat back. So the question becomes, have i put my thump, thump to good use?

I found this in an article and thought it was fascinating. The fertilized human egg is no bigger than the width of a hair, yet think about what it contains. Your sex, the color of your hair, how tall you will be. But wait, if i stop there i have missed the power and majesty of God’s creation. The human body is made up of over 90 trillion cells, that’s 9 with 13 zeros. I go out on a limb here but oh well… those 90 trillion cells are what I believe to be “Imaginal Cells.” They are the image and likeness of God Himself. Inside that single, tiny egg are the instructions for every one of those 90 trillion cells with regards to location, function, interaction, healing and life cycle.

This is so much bigger than I have or can write about at this moment and perhaps in the rest of my lifetime. I know that God did not give this to me to keep for myself, that by virtue that He gave it to me it is for the purpose of giving as well. What that looks like is yet to be revealed so today I will attend to what has been revealed and thus position myself of being most blessed.

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I  wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming  that I am a man?

Today… some interesting facts and some hard to believe but absolutely true stories.

As I have already shared Metamorphosis is the key element of the butterfly. The Butterfly as a symbol can also represent transition. Yes transition! Cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation. It symbolizes significant change in the course of one’s life, personality or way of thinking. i had no idea! Today as i was continuing my observations of the metamorphosis occurring before my eyes both in my caterpillars which are now hidden in their chrysalis and my own personal life.

The Greeks likened the butterfly’s constant flitting from flower to flower to the restlessness of the mind: constantly changing from subject to subject. The Greek word for butterfly is ‘psyche’ from which we get the word ‘psychology’ – the study of the mind.

In the western world, the symbol of the butterfly stands for freedom, and joyous times. Of course it does. Being free brings joy. It also symbolizes a state of naturalness and purity. The “dance of the butterfly” can teach you not to take things so seriously. The butterfly has taste sensors on the front legs, enabling them to experience life through motion (dancing, walking).

On Saturday after visiting the Butterfly farm we went to Lowes to get some plants for them to suck the sweet nectar from. I decided that I needed to Google to find out what plants to buy and keeping in mind that they are particular. The reply came back by way of over 137 pages of plants with 6 to 8 per page. my frustration led me to think, God this would be easier if you just had butterflies on the plant I am to buy. Instantly a butterfly bigger than any I had seen since starting on this journey shows up and begins fluttering from flower to flower on this one type of plant. I thought nobody will believe this. Then another one appears and i without question purchase three of those plants.

I’m not sure if there are any “Under The Doom” viewers out there but in this past episode the doom within the doom had a caterpillar crawling or actually floating around inside it. i am anxious to see where that goes.

On Tuesday night we have a church that meets on the campus. About an hour or so into their service I gat a text at home… well let me cut and paste it so it’s the exact verbiage. “Just an FYI, the butterflies (they are all in the chrysalis state) were going nuts bouncing all over the place while we were doing the opening prayers and during the reading of the word. They stopped when we stopped reading. Thought it was neat that they were very active during the prayers and reading.”