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Posts Tagged ‘evil’

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“Stanley?” was the unexpected response I was texted from my daughter.

I looked at her response, and pondered at the question.

Stanley was a cat that we once had. He was black as night, soft as silk, had beautiful amber eyes and …

was completely evil …

no, really, he was evil!

I admit that I love cats, and had never met a cat, before Stanley, who I ever would have called evil … but he was.

He would bite and scratch and hiss and I think he even growled.

He would reach out and puncture our feet with his razor sharp claws if we walked too closely to him.

When the dog would be sleeping peacefully in her chair, the cat would stealthily sneak up, scratch the dog’s nose and run away.

He was evil!

But, we adored him anyway.

And then, one summer night, more than six years ago, he sneaked outside as I was letting the dog out. I called him and he turned around to face me, and I am certain that, in a non-verbal, feline way said, “I’m leaving and I won’t be back.”

We heard the coyotes that night …

we always say he ran off to teach the coyotes how to be truly evil.

And he came back.

Recently, hubby said, in a most untypically mysterious way,

“check out the deck.”

There on the deck was a mostly black, tabby cat.

I took a quick pic (the one on this page) and texted it to our daughter.

Then came her response,

“Stanley?”

Because the cat had moved, the picture I took was blurry, and what was a tabby, looked like a black cat … like Stanley.

I was intrigued that after all these years, she would think that Stanley was still alive. Then I thought about every time I saw a black cat in our neighborhood, or saw a picture of one from the local shelter. I too always looked closely to see if it might be our cat.

Why do we keep looking for our evil cat?

Maybe it is because we loved him …

He was ours, and we cared for him, and fed him and kept him warm and safe …

even though he seemed to resent our actions.

As I pondered my daughter’s text, I was reminded of the season of Lent.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep.

As all sorts of people were listening to Jesus, there were also Pharisees scoffing and saying, “this man spends time with evil people.” They said it because outward appearance was of such value in their society. What you wore, what your job was, who you hung out with … hum, not that different from today really!

So, Jesus goes on to tell his story. 

“What would a good shepherd do, if one of his ninety-nine sheep went missing? Of course he would leave the rest and search for the lost one until he finds it, and happily brings it back.”

He then continues,

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

When Jesus went to the cross, he didn’t just do so for the souls of the good, the righteous, the pretty on the outside. He suffered, he sacrificed, for all! The really, really evil and the not so bad.

But, in God’s economy, is there a differentiation?

Romans 3:23 reminds us,

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

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My advice:
If you just clicked on this and have no time to read, just scroll down to the bottom, and watch the video … it is just that good!

It had been so long, so very long, since it had happened, since I had even thought those thoughts, and yet, out of the blue there it was again, as if no time had passed.

I had thought that I had turned my back on the past and that it would stay there … but here it was, and I was feeling all that I had felt before.

As I sat in the driver seat of my vehicle, I felt like anything but the driver. I put my head back closed my eyes and moaned, “why does this keep haunting me? when will it go away?”

The ‘it’ was sin. A sin of the past, one that I had acknowledged, repented of, and was forgiven. Yet, here it was again stalking me like some deranged killer, eager to snuff the life from me.

I wondered if this struggle was like the “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) that Paul had experienced. He referred to it as “a messenger of Satan to torment me” that helped to keep him humble. Well, I am not sure if my sin of the past is keeping me humble, but it certainly drives me to my knees!

For a week or more the guilt of this sin was haunting me. It was there when I went to bed, and when I work up. It was everywhere, and all the time. I was easily able to relate to Romans 7:21-24 “although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man/woman I am!” I just wanted it to go away!

And then, while driving in my van a couple of weeks later, as so often is the case, the voice of Truth spoke to me, loud and clear. It was through a song I had not heard (or had not needed to hear) before, but the message I received from it, I believe, answered my cry, “who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).

It answers the cry of all of our hearts!

Redeemed
“to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of”
American Heritage Dictionary

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Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away …

So starts a typical fairy tale, in a typical fairy tale way. It’s predictable beginning leads into the duress of a princess, and the lengths that the prince will go to save her, and to save the kingdom from a dark and evil force. The ending is always the same … and they all lived happily ever after.

Now THAT sounds like my kind of kingdom … well, except for the dark and evil force bit.

Life, real life, is not like a fairly tale. In our real lives we are not all princes and princesses. In real life we are the common folk of the kingdom. We do the work, through blood, sweat and tears, so that the royal family might live, not as they deserve, but as part of their blessing from being in the right bloodline.

Over the past year I have been learning about the kingdom.

It all started with a simple question, one that all in that kingdom (society) at that time would have been able to answer. This question came from ones who knew the answer, but … they asked anyway … maybe they thought that his sovereign had a different perspective from the rest in the kingdom?

The question was, “who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom (of heaven)?”

Any of us who grew up on fairy tales could answer that one! Why the king of the kingdom is of course the greatest.

This man with royal blood flowing through his human veins flipped the kingdom on it’s royal backside. He brings a child into the middle of this group of royal watchers. In this kingdom, a child was … JUST a child (kind of like, for my hubby, the beast is JUST a dog). A child, in the time of this tale, would have no rights, no possessions … a child WAS a possession.

So, this robe wearing man said:

“I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.”

I am thinking that those kingdom quizzers were wishing that they had just stuck to simple questions at this point. Or maybe, they thought that they had asked a simple question?

Their royal leader had just turned their kingdom (societal) norms on their backsides! How could a grown man (woman) return to childhood? Who would want to? But, if they did not, they would be stuck on the outskirts of the kingdom, with the drawbridge forever pulled up.

This royal leader, Jesus, turned the kingdom, the world, up-side-down with his redevelopment plan of the kingdom. The blueprints he was drawing were nothing like the originals … he had gone back to square one.

And that is what He, the king who sits on the throne, asks of us … to allow ourselves to be re-created, re-fashioned, re-born into a new creation. He has fought the dark and evil forces that have lulled us into a lifetime of dreamless sleep. Now, we are invited to be awakened by the kiss of the king, into a life as heirs of the kingdom.

We become the princes and princesses of the fairy tale. And, after a lifetime of loving, and working, and struggling, and stress, and pressures, and heartaches … we will eventually live,

happily ever after.

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