Monday, 19 July 2010

The Lion Who Lost His Roar

Have you ever wondered where the lion got his roar? You probably haven’t given it serious thought since it has nothing to do with work (unless you’re a vet on a safari or Jurassic Park. Were there lions there?), or paying bills, or the important things in life. I like questions like these because they usually come from/through children, and they have a way of making you think beyond the brain cells you’ve been using on automatic to the new ones laying dormant desiring to create new grooves in your cerebral cortex. Hmmmm, I won’t try to go too far with that lest I fall into the frontal lobe and can’t get back out.

Anyhooo, I guess the first lion got his roar in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis. Do you think he scared Adam with that noise, or just blew him away with a gust of halitosis? Just a thought. J Also in the book of Genesis, near the beginning of the ending of the beginning (Just hang in there. I know how you feel because with God, there is no end or beginning. He just is.) Jacob told his sons their future before he died in Genesis 49:8-9, “Judah, you are the one whom your brothers shall praise, . . . Judah, a lion’s cub! With the prey, my son, you have gone high up [the mountain]. He stooped down, he crouched like a lion, and like a lioness – who dares provoke and rouse him?” (Amplified) So just like God commissioned Adam to name the animals, he also commissioned fathers to “bless” their children with words of their future, so they won’t grow up not knowing Who they are and WHOSE they are. J

Well, I was taking a stroll through another Old Testament book full of action like on the World Wrestling Federation – something I’ve not watched in a good while because all the men that turned me on (yes!!) are no longer in the rink. Anyhoooo, ;-) Bust in on an angry Samson, the strongest man who ever lived (stronger than Atlas because he was a myth) in Judges 15. His father-in-law gave his wife away to his best friend. I guess you would be angry too, so Samson caught 300 foxes and tied them together in pairs at the tails. He placed torches between their tails and sent them running through the wheat fields of the Philistines, the enemies of the twelve tribes of Israel, but specifically in this case, the tribe of lions, I mean Judah.

The Philistines inquired as to who destroyed their crops and when they learned it was Samson, they burned Samson’s wife and her father crispy. But all that did was make matters worse, for Samson responded “if this is the way you’re going to act, I will get my vengeance, then I will stop.” So he went on a Philistine killing spree. But the men of Judah trembled and could not bask in his “help” for they said to him in verse 11b “Have you not known that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that you have done to us?” And Samson replied, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” Hmmmm, that’s before Jesus came and said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” LOL!! But look at their fear. What animal have you ever seen rule over a lion?

I’ve watched several documentaries on wild animals in different countries and I have yet to see one depicting a giraffe, a hyena, or even an elephant ruling over a lion. The only way it could happen is if the lion is injured and unattended by other lions, or dead on a safari banquet. But Judah had lost his roar and he was quivering in his sandals because of the Philistines. No wonder he was in captivity. The roar of a lion is what keeps his enemies at bay, even if he is injured. A long as he can roar, he can live. J

Somewhere along history’s line Judah forgot who he was. Somebody didn’t pass along the story of his inheritance from God through Jacob. Somebody got too busy to talk to the children on the front porch about who they are, and from where they’ve come. Instead they were placed in front of the television playing Nintendo, or they were sent out to play with their friends who also didn’t know who they were or their heritage (Children of the Lost World) and they got separated from their identity. Who am I? From where did I come? Who’s my daddy? Why am I here? Where’s my mother? Who’s her daddy? Why is my hair short and nappy and not long and silky? Why are my brother’s eyes blue and mine are black? “It’s okay for me to have a baby at 14 years of age; my mom had me when she was 16 and her mom had her when she was 18 years old.” “College? Oh no, I’m going to get a job at Micky D’s making $6/hour, then me and MoJo gon get an apartment together and buy him dat knew car he be wantin’.” “Edu-ma-cation? What be dat? I’m a pimp. B_ _ _ _es and ho’s be my dang man. My daddy was a drug dealer and a pimp and so was his brothers. It be my destiny too man. Make mo money dan a lawyer. Dat’s what I’m gon do.”

When you don’t know who you are . . . when you forget who you are and why you’re here . . . when you are a lion, but you don’t know you’re a lion (remember Diana Ross singing to the Lion in “The Wiz”?) you can and will lose your roar. Or you just won’t know what you’re supposed to be “roaring” about. You will run from a mouse and yourself when looking at your image in a mirror. Meow.

The Philistines were ruling over, controlling, and repressing (do these words look familiar in our society?) Judah. They held Judah captive in fear. Somehow Judah forgot who he was, lost his roar and was even afraid of the consequences of being delivered by his brother Dan in the form of Samson. Through a series of events, Samson too came under their captivity because he forgot who he was for a minute, and revealed his secrets to the wrong woman, again. (Hey ladies, don’t forget not to reveal your “secrets” to the wrong man either.) But when he remembered who he was, he began talking to the ONE Who planned his appearance in the first place. (See Judges 13:3-5; 16:28-30) And also, btw and fyi, the word “judge” means “deliverer”. Samson did not sit behind a great desk with a gavel sending folk to prison etc. I think the Philistines wished he had been that kind of judge, but no, he was more like “Judge Dredd” (starring Sylvester Stallone). J

After my stroll through Judges I found myself by a stream in Matthew’s gospel chapter 12:50 where Jesus said that we are his brothers and sisters. Cool! He also called us His friends because He shared His innermost thoughts and feelings with His friends. (John 15:14-15) And He never forgot Who He was and IS, and wow, who wouldn’t want to be friends and family with the “richest” Person in time and eternity? Before Jesus was born as a man, God sent telegraphs, faxes, emails, text messages, voice mails, and signs in the stars (Astronomy not astrology) about Him for many years, announcing His coming and what He would do. He even gave His name several times to people He could trust to spell it right, and deliver it well. He called Him the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, El Shaddai, El Elohim, Holy, and many other names describing His character and mission to us. But one of my favorite names of His is “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”! Even on the cross He did not lose His roar. He never lost sight of Who He was and is, and is to come (read Revelation), and because He remembered Who He is, His roar took Him all the way to Calvary. For you, and for me.

I must admit, I’ve been hit hard in many ways on this safari we call “life on earth”, at vulnerable times which caused me to forget my name, to forget my lineage, to forget my heritage, to forget Who has me in His arms, to forget Who loves me best and the most, to forget Whose blood is in my DNA, to forget “Who’s my Daddy?”. Sometimes I couldn’t even open my mouth to call His name for I was in such “captivity” by Philistines of our culture and times, and my circumstances. Oh, but eventually my hair grew back. LOL!! And I began to pace back and forth like lions do. I began to shake myself and lecture myself and roar – “what’s the matter with you?” “Get up from here!” “Who’s your Daddy?” That would get me every time. My neighbors too. LOL!! ;-)

Do you know who your Daddy is? I’m not talking about your biological daddy. I’m talking about Yo’ DADDY? Mine is The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and He will always be the King of my jungle. Roarrrrr!


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What's in a Rhyme?

Here of late I’ve been listening to quite a few songs on YouTube as I prepare for different concerts and festivals. Some I run into by accident on my way to or from another song, especially when I activate that automatic-play-the-next-song feature. What I notice about many of our American songwriters old and young, and even myself is that we love to rhyme words and phrases. I find this to be so much fun even sometimes when it doesn’t make sense. J When I was a daycare worker for children this was especially fun when the children could not be fooled and they would catch the foolery in the rhyme. Opportunities to teach and learn new concepts would abound during those fun times. Hmmm.

Well, while trying to meditate on the goodness of God, I must admit this time I’m not having a very easy time of it. It’s not because He has changed and not because He is not good. I am sure He is good for I would not be living if He were not, but I’ve reached a place where I question for whom He is good and with what He is good. Sorry to all my die-hard Christian brothers and sisters out there who like me have been taught to “never question God” and to be afraid of Him. I’m tired of living in fear. It is no longer fun, if it ever was, and it just doesn’t work, not for the good anyway. Fear is a heavy unnecessary weight designed to either keep us still, or to drive and push us forward out of the “right place” and “right time” for our lives. II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Fear is still a force and many people live and swear by it. Actually it’s faith turned inside out – it’s a negative form of faith which works from the outside in. Faith is a powerful, positive force birthed from within the Spirit of God, and when He dwells inside of us, our hearts, it works from the inside out.

One song in particular that I did not seek out on YouTube is called “It is No Secret What God Can Do”, and the lyrics say “what He’s done for others He’ll do for you.” Well, this time I could go no further with the song, for I realize that this is just a rhyme, whether or not it makes sense, and whether or not it is true. Maybe it is no secret to what God can do, for after all He is an equal opportunity God and He is FOR everybody, but what He does for others He may not necessarily do for you, or me. This song has been in my life and history since I was a child and I grew up believing that God would do for me what He will, and has done for others. But as I’ve grown older, and yes I am older ;-) I see that this is just not true.

Oh let me be careful now for some will say I've taken that line out of context of the song, and I stand guilty as accused, to make a point. The remainder of the hook says, "with His arms wide open, He'll pardon you. It is no secret what God can do." Yes, in the context of this song about salvation, because Jesus died for everyone, it is no secret that He wants to pardon everyone. :-)

Nevertheless, we have been quite flippant and arrogant with our gifts and talents to write songs and poetry. We make them say what we want them to say and what others want to hear, whether or not they are factual or true. We have done ourselves and the church, and those outside of the “church” a disservice, and many of us are paying a dear price for believing, yes, lies from inside the organized church.

Life is more than a rhyme. God cannot and will not be coerced into doing for us just because we have faith in a song that rhymes. Some people are making good and immediate money because they can put two lines together and make people jump and shout and feel mighty good. Have you noticed that I’m not having much success in this blog rhyming anything? LOL!! I find myself questioning everything and everyone. I can no longer just swallow everything that is sent my way because my life of dreams and fantasies, created around what I now know to be untruths, is just not happening, and many years have passed that I can never retrieve to try and do it again, but differently.

The challenge for me now is to not despair over lost time and wasted years believing what others wrote, and to move on to find out what is reality for my life. I won’t make you think this is easy for me because it is not. We all came into this world depending on others first for all of our sustenance in every area of our lives, and it doesn’t end just because we’re no longer in our 20’s. We will forever be leaning and depending on others for help in one way or another, but we cannot “lose” our own minds in trade for theirs on our behalf. No, we still must think for ourselves and find out what is truth. Before sentencing Jesus Christ to death Pilate asked Him “what is truth?” To His disciples Jesus said “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Light”. (I keep mixing it up with Life, and He is that too.)

So now I’m trying to get my feet flat on “new ground” without all the trimmings I’ve lived with for over 25+ years. ;-) If you don’t know me, don’t waste your time trying to figure out how young I am not. LOL!! It won’t make a difference anyway. And I guess as long as I’m breathing and know who I am and where I am, before me will be another opportunity to learn more truth.

If anyone has any Dr. Seuss books laying around that you no longer need, please consider sending them my way. Rhyming with Dr. Seuss was safe and still is for he never tried to build life principles on a rhyme, but for some reason we could still teach good lessons from his stuff. Cat in the Hat, Fox in a box with Sam I am and green eggs and ham . . . Hmmm, I’m getting a little hungry.