She’s My Sister — In Triplicate

There’s a certain story that plays out no less than three times in the book of Genesis. Different actors, on different stages, but there’s no denying the same things are happening all three times.

The Storyline

A patriarch, one of the founding fathers of the nation of Israel, goes to sojurn in a foreign land. The patriarch has this wife who’s very beautiful, and the ruler of this foreign land makes some very serious advances toward her, looking for to put her in his harem.

The patriarch is very fearful of telling the ruler his wife in indeed his wife. He’s afraid the ruler will have him bumped off to possess his lovely wife. So what does this patriarch do? He tells a baldfaced lie to the ruler.

“Oh, her? She’s my sister!”

And he coaches his wife to corroborate the fib. The ruler then thinks that everything is perfectly cool to go ahead and marry the seemingly unattached hot babe.

But just before his majesty is about to do the Wild Thing with her, God intervenes, telling the ruler in no uncertain terms that this is a married woman and He will not tolerate climbing into bed with her. The ruler is peeved, and confronts the patriarch about his lie and how it almost brought guilt and shame and destruction down on the entire kingdom.

The three casts of characters in each retelling of this story of deception are as follows:

  • In Genesis 12:10-20: Abram, his wife Sarai, and the Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • In Genesis 20:1-18: Abraham (formerly Abram), Sarah (formerly Sarai), and King Abimelech of Gerar.
  • In Genesis 26:1-11: Abraham’s son Isaac, his wife Rebekah, and King Abimilech of Gerar.

Fear of telling the truth

The first constant, the first same thread that runs through all three of the storylines, is the fear the patriarch has of telling the truth about being married to his lovely wife. I am no stranger to fear and how it will drive an otherwise good man to falsehood. Fear is a powerful voice that refuses to be silenced. It is also a faith in all the wrong things happening. Fear is faith pulling in the wrong direction.

How to combat fear? Realize it for the “counter-faith” that it is, and ask God to draw you to His voice, and to silence all other voices that are not His own.

Lies are unnecessary

The next thing that I want to point out is that the lies told to the rulers were absolutely unnecessary. Even before the account in Genesis 12, God had promised Abram (Genesis 12:1-3) that He would make a great nation out of him. Abram would have descendants. This promise and a little logic should have convinced him that neither he nor Sarai would have anything to worry about. But no, he had to listen to the voice of fear inside his head! He had to act like there was no God to help him! He had to take matters into his own hands! He had to try to manipulate Pharaoh into sparing his life through lies!

But God is “not a man that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). In spite of the lies Abraham and Isaac told Pharaoh and King Abimilech, He still acted to protect them. All three times the patriarchs became convinced God is either incapable of or unwilling to save them. All three times, God saved them. God never failed.

Brethren, why are you fearful? Why have you become convinced that God will not deliver you? Why do you feel the need to take matters into your own hands? Has He not promised to feed you, to clothe you, to heal you, and to protect you? Has He not promised to hear all your prayers? Has he not promised to always love you and be with you? There is no need to replace His promises with lies and manipulation. There is not need to sin.

Abimilech smeared

God was not the only one whose good name was smeared by the disbelief of Abraham and Isaac. I seem to think that King Abimilech was also discredited. From what I see of Abimilech, he seems to be an honorable sort who wants to do the right thing, but neither Abraham nor Isaac would give him the benefit of the doubt. It was unfair for them to pre-judge Abimilech as being untrustworthy.

Misled

A final thing that I want to point out is that the lies the patriarchs told had consequences. Misled, Abimilech felt free to take Sarah to wife. It is good that God is understanding of this and warned him away. Wrong information leads people into the wrong actions.

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Myth and fact

Let me let you in on a little thing God let me in on tonight.

MYTH: God cannot move in a miracle in your crisis because you do not have enough faith.

FACT: God created the earth and the heavens at a time when there were no humans around to provide the faith. The sea, the land, the atmophere, all the animals, the Garden of Eden that was to provide Adam and his descendants with food, everything came before Adam drew his first breath. Human faith had zero hand in all that. If God needed human faith to get anything done, He’d have gotten nothing done.

If God can do all that creating on zero faith, then God can provide my needs for a job and money on anywhere from 1% to 99% of the required amount of faith. That’s a very comforting thought, as there is no way to gauge how much faith I have or how much faith I allegedly need.

What is faith? It is confidence that God can and will give me what I ask, in accordance with His promises. I have the creation story to tell me that God can do it, and I have Luke 12:29-32 to tell me that God will do it.

Guess what. I think I’ve just demonstrated that I have “enough” faith.

Retraction: Pastor Sid

I have personally conversed with Lynne Applewhyte of House of Prayer’s pastoral staff. She tells me that Carl Honeycutt, under the  avatar name Sid Lamilton, left House of Prayer, and Second Life, to pursue a career outside the ministry. It’s as simple as that. Nobody asked him to leave the pastorship of HoP with the possible exception of God Himself. Lynne also denies that Pastor Samuele Shepherd ever counselled with HoP’s pastoral staff in the days immediately after Carl left.

There is nothing wrong or untoward about the circumstances under which Carl Honeycutt left his Second Life ministry. I was wrong to imply in any way that there was. I am deeply sorry for the hand I took in needlessly soiling an innocent man’s reputation, and I want to make it right. To that end, I have removed the post titled “HoP Pastor Steps Down”, as there is no room for inaccurate material in this blog.

I thank God I said nothing at all about the “other misdeeds”, or I would have been as guilty of libel as any blogger can possibly be.

I am reminded of a strong disagreement I had with the content of a sermon preached Rev. Nowintimeasnare Foxtrot at last March’s Let It Rain revival. I committed the egregious error of writing about it here first ahead of meeting with Rev. Nowin privately to tell him of my objections. Although circumstances here are quite different, the sin I committed is absolutely the same.

I gossipped!

Yes, I was right in boldfacing and italicizing that word. This sin needs to be laid out before you, naked as a jaybird, so you can see all its ugliness before God. I was wrong to do it, and ask the forgiveness of all and sundry, especially that of Carl Honeycutt.

The recent developments have impressed upon me how remarkably small a world the Internet can be. Content from one site is regularly plagiarized to another, usually for the purpose of framing it with a sponsor’s advertisements. The may account for how a backlink to BSC got into a page on Facebook.

The stats page of my blog tells me that new readers, contributing to a high spike of 50 readers overall last Friday, accessed this blog from a page on Facebook. I still haven’t found the exact Facebook page that makes reference to Page 5 of BSC. I would appreciate it if you can tell me where I can find this link.

In any case, I find myself questioning my involvement in blogging. If I am forever bound to publish nothing about wrongdoing until I have privately warned the wrongdoer, away from prying eyes, then what good is this blog?

That is a good question. Maybe it falls to me to provide a good answer.

Everything not nailed down

You know something. I think I know the reason why I am being hammered with bank overdrafts and hit and run drivers.

It might be a black dude who lives in an apartment west of me, along the parking lot. I don’t exactly which one.

Well, two weeks ago last Saturday, I bought a box of car care products from this guy for $15.

Well, that purchase resulted in an overdraft at PNC Bank. At the time, I was not as knowledgable as I am now of PNC’s Evil Formula, how they like to arrange the day’s electronic payments in order of biggest amount to smallest amount and processing paychecks absolutely last in line, but that’s beside my story for the day.

Two days ago, under the guise of trying of helping me out during this time of having no car, he tried to sell me a small stack of all-day bus passes, near the end of the night when one-day passes (usually purchased on the bus itself) are nigh worthless. This morning, he offered himself as the go-to guy for buying food stamps.

Buying food stamps? That’s not how buying food works in my world.

In my anger, I told him, “Sir, you have no compassion. You know my situation backwards and forwards, and all you can think about is selling things to me? That’s kicking a man when he’s down.”

But then, after he apologized and left. I saw the classic motive for selling food stamps. He’s an addict of some sort. I don’t know what his jones is, but he’s definitely feeling the need to sell me everything not nailed down to supply it. I’m thinking God allowed Ooo Shinee to be rammed to keep this guy coming to my door with yet more things to sell. Kind of a draconian thing to do to call my attention back to doing God’s will, but maybe I needed it to make me open to what God wants.

Could God be laying this man upon my heart? Could I be instrumental in his salvation? I wonder…

What gives?

Modesty and scripture forbids that I tell about a certain situation that I find myself in, but I am reminded of a certain gift given to the Temple in the Bible.

The sad thing about a certain widow and her gift of the two copper mites is that according to Scripture (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:2-4), all Jesus did was compliment her on it. The widow gave all that she had, in faith, expecting God to return at least as much. Jesus saw this, and held her gift up as arguably history’s greatest example of charitable giving.

The Bible doesn’t say what happened to the widow after that. Perhaps an important lesson in how you should be motivated to give is taught in the fact that it is omitted. The best clue we have is Christ’s track record of rewarding faith wherever He finds it. And His knack for mysteriously putting coins into the mouths of fish (Matt. 17:24-30).

Four resolutions

For my 50th birthday, God gave me four resolutions to recite daily. Already, they’ve given me much peace, and I’ve exported them from my presentation software into my digital photo frame as a visual reminder.

One

Thank you, Lord, for letting me live this new day. Every day is a glorious gift from You and should be lived to the fullest.

Two

In the name of Your Son Jesus, I rebuke the voice of the enemy. I reject his naysaying and his lies. I accept only the good and encouraging words that come from Your lips and your Your word.

Three

Teach me to trust You. You promise in Your word that all my needs will be met (Phil. 4:19), but You are sovereign, and it is not my place to dictate to You how You will do this. I promise to gladly receive Your provisions in whatever form they take.

Four

Last but not least, let Your will be done. Let my desires be lost in Yours. Let me want only what You want.

That #2 one can stand some bearing out. The devil delights in blaming me for my hard times, no matter how logically disconnected my hardships are from what I have or haven’t done. He loves to tell me that I’m not doing the right rain dance to get God to move on my behalf, or not sacrificing the right virgins to the right volcanoes. He’s not about to help me along toward getting it right, though. He gets off on my frustration; it’s the most hilarious thing in the world to him.

There’s a reason why there is no effective “rain dance”, no formula for getting God to rescue me when I want Him to. God wants to maintain His sovereignty. God would be nothing more than a genie in a bottle if He came running every time I yelled. Being God means being in charge, and more free to orchestrate the big picture. That’s why, every day, I have to reaffirm that it is His will to be done.

Where’s my security?

My bid for the call center job at FacilitySource fell through. Bummer. But there are some interesting developments I need to tell you about.

Breckenridge Apartments has been having some dispute with Network Multifamily, the company that monitors the burglar alarms here on the complex. Breckenridge has decided to end their contract with Network Multifamily and give refunds to all the residents of the $35 they spent licensing their burglar alarms with the state of Ohio. The refund will come in the form of a credit to next month’s rent payment.

Lately, I’ve been paying really close attention to how I pray, or to what goes through my mind in the mornings.

“Father, I think it’s really great how You’re keeping me from overdrawing at the bank and giving me this extra credit on my rent for $35, but it’s not enough. I need more.”

Whoa! Big red flag being raised here. Why am I asking for more money? Could it be that I’m still trusting it for my security?

If Jesus is my source of security, then it shouldn’t matter at all to me how much of my money is taken away, or how many of the tools I use for Jesus are taken away. I’ll just keep right on functioning for Jesus. No problem. I’ll keep right on functioning even if all He gives me is a room at Faith Mission and a pen and a clipboard full of notebook paper. It makes no sense why He’d reduce me to that, though. After all, the rule goes that if you’re found faithful in smaller responsibilities, He’ll give you larger ones.

With my Pontiac GrandAm, I am a blessing to some seven, maybe eight people who don’t have cars of their own. Why would God put my car in danger of being repossessed? With this blog and what I do on Second Life, I can be a blessing to potentially thousands. Why would God put those things in danger as well?

My guess is it’s my faith He’s working on. It’s that underused, underestimated commodity in me that could turn out to be my greatest asset. I wonder what that could be like if He were to burn all the impurities out of it, all the trusting in the wrong things out of it.

My God! I just can’t fathom how wonderful that would be.