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ALIVE

ALIVE is a book presented as a blog series about human life from its inception. It studies the purpose of life, the philosophy of life, and the difference between physical life and spiritual life. The book does this by delving into the relationship between humankind and its invisible but highly active and involved Creator.

Based on Biblical narrative ALIVE enters major events and fleshes them out. In so doing ALIVE makes discoveries about the origins and evolution of human life.

ALIVE combines imagination and scriptual accuracy to develop the themes of what it means to be much more than physically ALIVE. Although imaginative, ALIVE never contradicts Scripture. Enjoy and learn.

The Bride's Year

This is a series of posts that make up a story describing the Year of The Church. The Church is The Bride of Christ who will be married to Him at The Wedding Feast of the Lamb as described in the Book of Revelations to John. The Wedding of Jesus Christ with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church occurs after the destruction of this old earth and the inauguration of the new earth, also known as The Land of Immortality. 

It is a tale of a cynical little angel that God sent to earth to learn about the mystical year of synchronic time and about His Betrothed.

My writing offers readers a fresh way of looking at and learning about orthodox Christianity.

The style is intended to help the mind and heart overcome old prejudices and awaken them to the Truth of God’s plan for the human-gods that were created in His image and likeness.

 

About the Blog

This blog is for those who take the line in the Nicene Creed seriously that says, “I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the ages to come.” That is the life immortal into which Jesus Christ will someday usher renewed humans. For centuries these people have been called Christians, and they are still called Christians, but since Christianity has become such a broad term and Christ said that the gate into immortal life is narrow and difficult to squeeze through, then perhaps those few serious people would be better identified as “Aspiring Immortals”.

 

This blog is a journal of just such an Aspiring Immortal. Through stories, poems, and journal entries I teach orthodox Christianity. I am not a religious rebel, instead I’d rather identify with GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, and my favorite Saints such as Francis of Assisi, Chrysostom, and Climacus whose vision and creativity have guided so many aspiring immortals through this earthly life.

 

A companion to this blog is my book entitled “The Immortal Life (TIL).” TIL teaches orthodox Christianity to those who want to know the reason for life and death, good and evil. TIL explains it all from the fall of mankind to the annihilation of this planet with a refreshing contemporary voice that is at times even funny.

 

We all work very hard to improve life on this planet for ourselves and for each other. And yet there is so much more life has to offer. Aspiring immortals are the salt of this earth and the substance of the next one.

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    Monday
    Aug142017

    ALIVE: Chapter 54 The First Degree of Freedom  


    It uses a false measure for a free man to estimate the impact of seeing those swarms of flies buzzing around the Egyptian’s heads, and not theirs. It was like seeing a vast army of aliens from outer space coming to your rescue after 400 years of oppression. A free person might laugh at the sight of hundreds of sets of flailing arms creating a Jackson Pollock dance, but the slaves felt a mysterious multilayered satisfaction, as if justice was born, a flickering sunrise after the longest night. It was a sign from heaven that the earth was about to open up and swallow their suffocating world, consciousness and all. All they could do was to sit in a semi-paralyzed state and wait to see what would happen next.

    The two angels flying overhead reading into slave hearts and minds had pity on these crippled people imagining life with clipped wings. They wondered if they could safely make the short leap from slavery to humility.

    The slave is forced to submit to the will of the master, whereas the humble one voluntarily complies with the will of God without the fear or malice of a slave, but instead with the trust and faith of a child. The similarities between a slave and an child of God are striking and profound, and so are the differences. So much more profound than the difference between a steely willful free man and a yielding humble man. The willful man and the humble man can hardly know each other, being more like a tiger and an artist staring at the other with deep curiosity. No.

    The metamorphosis from slavery to piety can be silky smooth, albeit with lumps and grit. Each is made with a similar pliable fabric, a similar soft texture. Is this why the heavenly Father endured watching so many generations of misery between Joseph and Moses? Were those centuries of gestation and cruel pharaohs the crucibles of God to mold Abraham’s children into His own? The flies not bothering them, was the first centimeter of dilation before their birth into a brand new state of existence. It was the very first sign that these lowly people were special and beloved. The labor pains were still to come.

    The serpent staff, the bloody Nile, the frogs and gnats introduced the Hebrew people to their God with magic. This mysterious ancient God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of lore became real by showing His power over nature in a shocking way. Egyptian and Hebrew alike witnessed the biggest magic show that there ever was and ever will be until the Second Coming of Christ. For the first time since Creation, the laws of nature, were defied by their Maker in order to show humankind, especially the oppressor-class, the source of real power.

    Magicians were allowed to duplicate the marvels. Yes, magic exists in this world of scientific laws, but only up to a point and no further. They couldn't make gnats because they weren't allowed to, and from that point forward the magicians were bereft of their false power.

    Thousands of years ago, in Egypt, through a series of shocking events God descended from His throne room to become obvious. It was a unique display of real power. It was real, intentional, purposeful, and effective. This chapter of human history, the story of this one people among the millions of ethnicities was as a flash of lightening that illuminates the heavens for a brief moment. If only we can grasp the sight that was exposed, and remember it through the generations and tell our children and our grandchildren what we saw; we would humble scientist and philosophers. It was loud and bright; it was frightening; it was alarming; it was revealing. It only happened once, and only needed to because God, the Maker of heaven and earth, only needed once to transform this one mass of slaves into a free humble people that He could call His own. He only needed one group that some day He would incarnate into for the grain of thirty-three brief years, for one purpose: to free humankind from the iron shackles of death, in this world and the one under it.

    And yet, even God with His armies of angels could not do this alone. He needed one human liaison, one child of man, Moses, whom He raised from birth.

    Moses is a giant of a man, because he was a humble man. He humbled himself to God by listening and doing what was asked of him. Moses allowed God to steer him. God needed Moses to link His power from heaven to earth through his greatest creation, humanity. Moses was most alive by virtue of his extraordinary ability, or was it fortune, to communicate with God, to be His tool.

    On the day when Pharaoh first rescinded his permission for the Hebrews to leave to worship their God, the people cried. This event too was part of their introduction to the Lord and King. This terrible disappointment was their first opportunity to become humble, trusting people of God. God knew He had to pry them away gently, so He did this with a succession of five offers by Pharaoh to allow them to worship in the wilderness.

    God knew that no one was yet ready to be free. He had to tease them out of Pharaoh’s clutches for their sakes and so Pharaoh could get used to the idea. This also explains why Moses only asked for three days when he meant forever.

    Monday
    Aug072017

    ALIVE: Chapter 53 The First Big Difference


    Guards ordered the grief stricken Hebrews to collect the dead frogs and burn them. The stench was unbearable adding disgust to their disappointment.

    While the poor bedraggled Hebrews were collecting dead frogs, and nausea erupted like a geyser through Hebrew bodies big and small, male and female, the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt.’”

    Perambula looked at Gracefeld and exclaimed, “What! So soon? Shouldn't we wait until the frogs are all gone?” Gracefeld just shrugged angel shoulders and looked down at the chaos of the bloody Nile and the millions of dead frogs, and the people both Egyptian and Hebrew filled with fear and confusion and wondered how Pharaoh could be so stubborn and heartless. The angel saw that it was obvious to most humans that a god, the God, was responsible for all of this. Perambula responded to Gracefeld’s thought, “No Egyptian, not even temple guards, or the queen, dared to discuss the successive catastrophes with Pharaoh. In his palace, Pharaoh is insulated from the outrage of the people. He wants to believe that it's all magic. Besides, you know the Lord is keeping Pharaoh’s heart hard for a reason, don't you?”

    No sooner had Moses given him the instructions, than Aaron was ready to pile onto the calamity. Neither brother was as concerned about the chaos as were Perambula and the people. In fact, like mischievous young boys, the brothers reveled in their new destructive power. To keep from smelling the burning frogs, Aaron took a deep breath and then stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and the gnats poured out onto on humans and animals alike like grains of flying sand; all the dust of the earth turned into gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt. A deep exhale was followed by a hearty grin. Aaron looked over at Moses who was chuckling. This was getting fun!

    When Pharaoh saw the gnats he shouted for his magicians who came running to his throne room. “Do it!” He barked. The magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, and for the first time since the marvels began, the magicians could not replicate the event. There were gnats on both human and animals. The chaos among the people both Egyptian and Hebrew could be heard throughout the heavens. People swatted at gnats everywhere with no relief.

    The Egyptians were angrier than ever at the Hebrews for causing such calamity and the Hebrews were furious with Moses and Aaron for piling one disaster on another and making them more despised by their neighbors than ever. No one could breathe or eat without gagging and spitting and ingesting gnats. This wasn't freedom; this was torture!

    The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God!” as their excuse for their failure to make even more gnats, as if that was possible. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord said.

    That very night, as Moses lay sleepless in his bed under the net, with Sepphora by his side a flash of light whisked pass him. Then the familiar voice of God, the Lord, spoke to him. God said, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For if you will not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you, on your officials, and your people, and into your houses and the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies; so also the land where they live.’

    Hearing that, Moses begged, “Please Lord, spare our people. I am afraid that they feel as persecuted as their oppressors are, and I am concerned that they will be in no mood to worship You, after all this, even when they are set free.” Moses cowered as he spoke thus to the Lord, not knowing how He would react to the suggestion. There was silence.
    Perambula looked on curiously, also wondering what God would say.

    After many tense moments God replied, “Tell Pharaoh that I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, so that you and he may know that I, the Lord am in this land. Thus I will make a distinction between my people and Pharaoh’s people. This sign shall appear tomorrow. My people need should know that all of this chaos is happening for them, not against them.” And to his angel he said, “Gracefeld, make sure that no flies come near the Hebrews.”

    Gracefeld summoned an army of angels that created invisible walls around the Jewish quarter before God released a great swarms of flies that came into the house of Pharaoh and into his officials’ houses; in all of Egypt the land was ruined because of flies.

    For the second time Pharaoh relented when he summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” But Moses said it would not be right to do so; for the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God are offensive to the Egyptians. If we offer in the sight of the Egyptians sacrifices that are offensive to them, will they not stone us? We must go three days journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he commanded us.”

    So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, provided you do not go very far. Pray for me.”

    Then Moses replied, “as soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his officials, and from his people, only do not Pharaoh again deal falsely by not letting the people go and sacrifice to the Lord.”

    So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. And the Lord did as Moses asked: he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his officials and from his people, not one remained. But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and would not let the people go.

    Yet, this time the Hebrews were less disappointed; many of them expected it. Besides, this was the first time that they were not affected by the event and they were rejoicing. Those people who resided on the border of Goshen looked over at their tormented neighbors, some with relief, some with pity, some with hubris. They all were curious about their God. The sun was rising in Goshen while darkness descended on Egypt and its hard-hearted Pharaoh.

    Gracefeld looked over at Perambula who still seemed troubled by the chaos and said, “Suffering is a prelude to joy; it seems to be the way of this world.”

    Friday
    Jul212017

    ALIVE: Chapter 52 Frogs

    Moses sat quietly by the bloody Nile watching men dig to fill buckets of clear water for drink and bath. As he looked upon this scene his mind drifted to his own infancy. This river where his mother laid him, from which he was granted life, had become a sea of overwhelming death. It stank from all the dead fish. It stank of death like the putrid decay of the heart that hatred makes.

    Moses thought about the irony of this blood in the water, two life giving elements combined, kill instead.

    These thoughts of death recalled to Moses’ mind the dead boys-victims of his grandfather Pharaoh’s lust for power. How could a man have such power over the lives of others as to decide who shall live and who shall die? How the Lord must have grieved to see the innocents slain, to hear mothers and fathers wailing at the loss of their sons. Moses was more determined than ever to remove his people from the murderous grip of such evil. It wasn't until this visit to Egypt as an old man that Moses saw for the first time in his life the effect on the Hebrew people of their captivity. They prayed to a God they didn't know anything about. They begged for freedom of which they were equally ignorant. It was the blindness of slavery that made it all the more tragic.

    God hadn't spoken to Moses in nearly a week. He had no idea of what would happen next or when. All he knew was that the bloody river did not impress Pharaoh enough to release them to pray together. To Pharaoh, God's marvels were assumed to be magic tricks. The Lord of all wanted it that way.

    Meanwhile, Perambula, Gracefeld, and God were discussing the next marvel.

    “Frogs?! Why frogs?” said Gracefeld to God. “That sounds ridiculous. I have never heard of anything so absurd.”

    “I think it sounds creepy.” added Perambula.

    God returned a mischievous smile and added, “I already made it happen.” Referring to the millions of frog eggs He had planted in the waters that had turned into tadpoles and would soon become frogs. They didn't mind the bloody water, in fact this brew speeded up their metamorphosis.

    Then the Lord left His puzzled angels and went to where Moses sat by the Nile. He said to him in the language and tones that had become so familiar and so pleasing to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the Lord: Let my people go so they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. The river shall swarm with frogs; they shall come up into your palace, into your bed-chamber and your bed, and into the houses of your officials and of your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your officials.”

    At this message, Moses’ eyes opened wide in surprise. “Frogs, my Lord?!” Perambula who had followed God tuned into the conversation and smiled in agreement.

    The Lord replied briskly, “Yes, frogs!” Only God was aware that frogs could survive the bloody water, and He wanted the three months of metamorphosis that frogs needed to time the marvel perfectly coinciding the release of the eggs to the bloody river, plus seven days. Those bloodless reptiles were the only life-form that could survive the corrupted water of the Nile. God alone was the scientist of that era.

    God continued to speak to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, the canals, and the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”

    Moses, having received his instructions stood up and walked home to tell Aaron. He was grateful to have a partner in this epic ordeal, and even wondered if his speech impediment had been just for this purpose.

    “Frogs? In this bloody water; surely you’re joking!” said Aaron.

    “The waters aren't as red and thick as they were. You say why, I say, why not frogs.” replied Moses. “Come on, let’s go. Where is the staff?”

    Aaron went into his bedroom where the innocent-looking staff leaned into the corner of the room. A smooth wooden stick that Aaron had whittled from a young sycamore in his youth, and had walked into adulthood and old age with it by his side. Aaron was more surprised than anyone how God could fill his familiar stick with such foreign power.

    Moses and Aaron walked nonchalantly through the village to a hilltop where they could overlook the city with its many waterways chatting about the weather, and the latest travails of Gersham and Eliezer. They noticed people watching and whispering to each other as they passed. He distinctly heard one man cynically say, “Now what? Are Moses and Aaron about to make our lives even more miserable?”

    When the brothers arrived at the top of the hill, they looked around for a good spot where they could be seen. When they landed they were noticed by the Egyptians and working Hebrews who were gathering wood.

    Moses looked over at Aaron and said, “Okay, do it.”

    Aaron responded with a smile and a deep breath, then he confidently stretched out his hand gripping his long staff with his mind focused only on the waters; and suddenly thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of frogs popped up and covered the land of Egypt.

    A chorus of gasps echoed throughout the region. Children screamed. Mothers quickly gathered their babes and sought refuge in their homes. Chaos took hold. Nothing like this had ever happened before. There was no frame of reference to go to for meaning or relief from the fear. No one, not even Pharaoh knew what this infestation would lead to. Frogs hopped out of bloody waters and into stewpots, beds, and out of sewage holes. They were everywhere.

    And all Pharaoh could do in response was call his magicians and tell them to make frogs appear too. This of all lame requests was the easiest for the magicians. Who would know if the frogs they produced were from them or by Aaron’s staff. Nevertheless, Pharaoh was satisfied in believing that his magicians had the same power as the God of Moses.

    The next morning, after a sleepless night fending off frogs, Pharaoh decided that he must put an end to this absurd calamity, and reel in the brothers. It was no longer worth it. He decided to let the people have their prayer, so his kingdom could return to normalcy, and most important, so that he could get a good night’s sleep.

    First thing in the morning, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron to come to him. When they arrived he said, “Pray to the Lord to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

    Moses replied, “Kindly tell me when I am to pray for you and for your officials and for your people, that the frogs may be removed from you and your house and be left only in the Nile.”

    And he said, “Tomorrow,” to pretend that he wasn’t as desperate as he really was.

    Moses replied, “As you say! So that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God, the frogs shall leave you and your houses and your officials and your people; they shall be left only in the Nile.”

    Then Moses and Aaron left the palace and went home. They told the people to spread the word that they should all prepare leave the next day. The city was a flurry of happy activity as men, women, and children prepared for freedom. Prayers of gratitude erupted from dry hearts.

    Early the next morning with joy and relief, Moses and Aaron returned to their place on the hill where this time Moses lifted his staff over all the waters; and Moses cried out to the Lord concerning the frogs that he had brought upon Pharaoh. And the Lord did as Moses requested: the frogs died in the houses, the courtyards and the fields. And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank.

    But after a pleasant night’s sleep and Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, his heart hardened again and he changed his mind.

    Oblivious to Pharaoh's change of heart, joyous Hebrew people were gathering by families and tribes to begin their exodus. The town square was crowded with every man woman and child being counted. The elders each took charge of his tribe. Bags bulged with food and clothing.

    The parade finally started, but was abruptly halted. Armed guards barked, “Where are you going! Get back to work!”

    Moses replied, “By the word of Pharaoh we are going to the wilderness to pray.”

    “Well, by the word of Pharaoh to me this morning, you will get back to work!” A fierce wolf-like stare chilled their blood.

    The people grumbled and complained. Here and there a man shouted obscenities; children cried; mothers weeped, but in the end, like soldiers or rather like prisoners, they did as the guards demanded. Women returned home weeping to unpack and cook. Bitter men went back to work, children played.

    Oblivious to the chaos outside his palace gate, Pharaoh was comfortable in his reversal, for the stasis of his heart was to be hard and mean and stubborn, just as his father before him.

    Sunday
    Jul022017

    ALIVE: Chapter 51 Bloody River

    Watching Aaron’s serpent swallow the magician’s serpents strengthened Moses’ resolve. His own eyes beheld how anemic magic was compared to God’s power. The chatter of complaints that had been nagging him receded.

    This second visit to Pharaoh was almost amusing. No longer was Moses concerned about the whining Hebrews. No longer did he want to complain to God. He slid and then comfortably nestled into the function of, what the far future would invent, a radio. Moses tuned into God’s words as via a a radio wave. They were thoughts that were obviously being generated by Another mind, and then he relayed the messages for others to hear.

    As unusual as it sounds to common man, God clearly communicated to Moses, and to Moses alone, like thunder, invisible and clear. God spoke words in the language that Moses understood. It never even occurred to Moses the phenomenon of it all, of how the invisible God could become audible only to him and to no one else. Their communication was wholly unique in its complexity and in its duration. Never before and never again would a flawed human being, enjoy this kind of communication with the Creator-God, the Lord of all.

    It had been several weeks since Moses had first heard God speak to him from the burning bush. That event closed forever another chapter of Moses’ life. He thought back on those years before as a dream. He had been for a while a common man.

    Walking away with Aaron from the scene of the hungry serpent, Moses had no idea of what could be in store for them. Nor did he try to imagine. Moses simply and calmly waited for instruction. Aaron was still pondering the bizarre walking stick that tapped the ground loudly with his every step, filled with serpents.

    As he was walking back to Miriam’s home, deeply immersed in thoughts, the Lord spoke to Moses again. He said, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. Go back to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water; stand at the riverbank to meet him, and take into your hand the staff. Say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews sent me to say, ‘Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the wilderness.’ But until now you have not listened says the Lord. By this you shall know that I am [speaking for] the Lord. See with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn to blood. The fish in the river shall die, the river itself shall stink, and the Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.”

    Moses was surprised by the magnitude of this statement. There was a huge difference between watching a stick slither and turning the water of the great Nile to blood. This would be the act of no return. For the first time Moses would cause harm. No, it wasn't he, but God causing the harm through him.

    Moses knew that God spoke and not his own thoughts. How could a man turn water into blood? Moses shuddered at the concept of a river of blood, and the notion of all those thirsty people with nothing to drink, and about the sea creatures that would die. How could they live without water? For the first time Moses was forced to accept and carry out a command that repulsed and frightened him.

    God gave Moses time to process the request, to walk himself through this chain of thoughts.

    Perambula hovered by Moses in silence. Curious and quiet.

    (Reader: let’s stop here and take a moment to compare the first marvel of turning the water of the Nile to blood, to Christ's first miracle of turning water into wine at Cana. Moses made water undrinkable, useless, while Jesus made water pleasurable, and most useful to satisfy a need. God shut the door, and then Jesus opened it wide.

    To tie the two first miracles together, in a full circle God later raised the glass of wine, and called it His blood. For a moment walk that back to the Nile. Water to blood, water to wine, wine to blood. Overlay these first miracles on each other. The first miracles, one lead to freedom, the other lead to eternal life, freedom from sin and death.

    I don't believe Jesus, the man, made that connection in Cana, but that perfect God, the Father, did when He chose this transformation of water as His first marvel in Egypt. In both instances water initiated freedom.

    Go ahead, drink this bloody Nile, see how it tastes as sweet as wine, for you will soon be released from the torment of slavery and sin and death. Now let's return to Moses.)

    Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt-over its river, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water-so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in the vessels of wood and the vessels of stone.”

    Moses was to bloody the Nile, then Aaron was to complete the deed when he bloodied all the other bodies of water.

    The next morning Moses and Aaron awoke and confidently walked to the bank of the Nile. They spotted Pharaoh right away beginning to bathe and walked right up to him. They did just as the Lord commanded. Without a bit of doubt that it would work, in the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials Moses lifted up his staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned to blood, and the fish in the river died instantly. The river stank so the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood flowed throughout the whole land of Egypt. The substance of life instantly became the substance of death.

    Pharaoh turned and nonchalantly went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. His officials confused but silent followed close behind. Gracefeld smiled very satisfied by angelic success. Gracefeld had indeed been concerned that such widespread harm would distress all the people and come back to Pharaoh who could become violent. But Pharaoh, with Gracefeld’s influence, didn't care a whit about whether his people had water or not.

    Moses and Aaron in awe of what just happened, turned and walked back to Miriam’s house. The Hebrews who were busy at brick-making were not immediately aware that blood instead of water flowed throughout the Nile, but laundering Hebrew and Egyptian womenfolk were in shock and started cackling to each other. “What happened? How did the Nile become so red? Now what are we gong to do? Fear overcame them as they ran back to their homes, some with arms full of dirty clothes, others with blood soaked wet clothes.

    Once back in his dark cool palace Pharaoh called for his magicians. When they arrived Pharaoh said, “Did you see what Moses and Aaron did to our water? Can you do that?”

    The head magician replied as the others nodded, “Oh I am sure we can.” They all walked over to Pharaoh's well, and pulled up some clear water, all the magicians together focused their minds and recited an incantation. The bucket of water turned red, to their relief who wanted to satisfy Pharaoh and remain in his employ.

    Pharaoh’s was relieved. His heart stiffened in its resolve to hold on to the Hebrews, no matter what.

    The Egyptians discovered that they could dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river.

    God looked on at the bloody river from the future as He always does and saw the bloodshed of thousands of Egyptians soldiers who perished in the Red Sea at the end of this period of loosening the Hebrews from the grip of Egypt, of Pharaoh and of their own attachment to their homes and their lives as slaves.

    Friday
    Jun162017

    ALIVE: Chapter 50, Let the Magic Begin 

    Perambula shrugged angel shoulders with wings fluttering in sympathy, and then looked at God in agreement with Gracefeld saying, "What exactly was it that you saw in Moses? From the first announcement he did not want this mission of Yours my Lord. He is often ready to quit or run away. What good can this kind of attitude do? Can't You start all over and find someone else my Lord? What is your hurry?"

    God answered Perambula with the same opalescent patience that He later radiated toward Moses, "My dear Perambula, always measuring by inches, you expect too much. You would try to drive a nail with a ten pound hammer into a snowflake just for the satisfaction of the force. Fret not, where Moses is weak in resolve, I will breach the gap. I created Moses for this time." Then firmly added, "Do you dare doubt My design?!"

    Perambula's wings fluttered slow and solemnly at the chiding from the Lord, while Gracefeld looked on saturated with an odor of satisfaction at the false notion that God never suffered frustration from the weakness of Moses. After all, God knew that He would rather work with a weak man who was receptive and pliable, than an rock-hard willful man.

    ...

    With similar patience that God expressed to Perambula, He spoke loudly and clearly into the heart of Moses who was sitting on the outskirts of the city where he had gone to contemplate his situation, or rather where Perambula had guided him. God spoke to Moses in the familiar tone and language that Moses had come to recognize, the same intonations, the same characteristic authority. Moses and God had been developing a rapport, a quality of extended communication that God had never engaged in with another human being. The Lord made Moses to hear Him speak. Moses was the radio that picked up God’s wavelength.

    Even if Moses didn't entirely trust God, as Abraham had in the moment he sacrificed Isaac, or as Noah when he built the ark, Moses was made in his mother's womb to be the tool God used to reveal Himself to humankind. This was something that the angels could never understand. For them God is as obvious as the sun and moon..

    "Moses, now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. Indeed by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand Pharaoh will drive them out of his land.

    I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name, 'The Lord' I did not make Myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens. I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.

    Say therefore to the Israelites, 'I am the Lord, and I will free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord."

    Perambula looked over at Gracefeld and whispered, "There He goes again. He has been promising this land for more centuries than their slavery, and still they don't have it. How long can the Lord keep promising and not deliver?"

    Gracefeld replied , ""Sh! He will hear you! What's it to you? Sounds to me that He means it."

    "Sounds to me that He is leading them to something other than land. The land is a decoy, or more like a mirage."

    God ignored the idle chatter of His angels as He continued to bolster Moses's confidence.

    Moses soaked his heart in the message which indeed renewed his resolve. Besides, he thought, what else could he do, but to continue? To quit and return to Midian as if nothing happened was not an option.

    Moses rose from his trance and walked alone back to Miriam's house where he was surprised to learn that his own sons had been conscripted into slavery. "Sepphora! How did this happen?"

    "After you left this morning, two supervisors came for Gersham and Eliezer! They said that now that Moses has returned as a Hebrew, there is no more pretense of His being the son of Pharaoh's daughter, then He and his family were to be slaves as well. What will we do Moses?! Now we can't leave. I want my father!"

    "Sepphora my dear, don't fret. Remember, we have come to free the slaves. The Lord God will free us all from the burden of bondage. It is fitting that we live as Hebrews, that we too may fully understand their plight."

    "But our sons, Moses. They have never known such bitterness!"

    "Sepphora, this experience will make them stronger. You will see my dear."

    When Gershom and Eliezer returned from their toils, wearing marks from their oppressors, their father hugged each young man and then looked directly in his eyes and said, "My son, I am proud of you. Be at peace. God has told me He will deliver us. Have faith in God. For this we have come to this harsh land."

    After supper, Aaron and Moses walked to the village square. When the neighbors saw the brothers they grumbled. Moses heard one man say, "There go the idiots who said they would deliver us from slavery, only to make our lives worse than ever before. I could punch them, but I haven't the energy." The men around them all nodded. One man spit in their direction.

    Moses approached the group and explained what he had heard from God. He tried to encourage them as he had been encouraged, but they would not listen to Moses because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery. Moses and Aaron turned and walked back home with their heads hung low.

    Aaron looking at the ground said, "What if you are wrong, and you are not hearing from God, but it is your own former self, the son of Pharaoh, who wants to play the big man, the deliverer? I have never heard this Voice, how can I continue to believe you? Moses, you may soon find yourself making bricks without straw."

    Moses walked solemnly and quietly. He just wanted to sleep, for a long time, forever.

    In his sleep The Lord spoke again to Moses. He said, "When you wake up, go back to Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelites go out of his land."

    "Lord! Are you fooling me?!" the dreaming Moses replied, "The Israelites won't even listen to me. How in the world will Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?"

    The Lord replied, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. Expect Me to harden Pharaoh's heart, so then I can multiply my signs and wonders.

    When Pharaoh does not listen to you, I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring My people the Israelites, company by company, like a mighty army, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them."

    Moses gradually woke up. He could remember once again everything that God spoke to him. As he thought deeply about God's strategy, he realized how brilliant it was. Moses gradually came to understand how God planned to work on two fronts. There were the Israelites who wanted freedom but needed the signs and wonders to understand that their freedom was given by God, and not of their own powers of persuasion, or even Moses' influence, and there was Pharaoh who also needed to know that his power was limited.

    At that moment Moses didn't know fully what God meant by signs and wonders. The staff that turned into a serpent was not something that he could control. For him, it was always a wooden stick. In fact it frightened Moses whenever it became a serpent.

    As the fog of sleep dissipated into his current reality Moses's thoughts turned to prayer. "Lord, forgive me for my weakness, and my complaints. Use me Lord. I am your clay." Perambula watching and listening to this spirit-scene smiled with relief and pride.

    Moses rolled to the edge of the hard bed and fixed his feet firmly on the ground. As he stood up, Moses became ready to shift from his dreams and thoughts and prayer into the world of action.

    "Aaron, let's go back to Pharaoh today." he called.

    Aaron who was sitting at the table eating breakfast said, "Come, have some food first, then we will go. I am ready." After all, visiting Pharaoh was better than a day of forced labor, even if it was useless.

    Perambula followed closely behind the elderly brothers as they made their way back through the streets to the palace.

    The guards, recognizing the brothers this time sent a messenger inside to ask Pharaoh if he wanted to see Moses again.

    With nothing better to do Pharaoh agreed to receive the pathetic duo.

    "Show me your signs from your Lord.” barked Pharaoh condescendingly, and then yawned. “Perform a wonder for me.”

    Moses looked at Aaron and said, “Aaron take your staff and throw it down.” Aaron looked up at Moses, nervously wondering if it would work for him too.

    Aaron placed the staff on the ground carefully. It lay stiff and still for several tense moments until a movement and then another occurred, the staff gradually transformed into a long serpent that slithered towards Pharaoh and his officials who recoiled. Aaron sighed from relief and then felt proud.

    Pharaoh braced himself and shouted, "Summon my sorcerers and wise men." While the serpent slithered around Pharaoh’s feet, five men walked confidently into the throne room each armed with his staff. “Do you see that serpent?” said Pharaoh, “It was the staff of Aaron. I command you to turn your own staffs into serpents!”

    To Moses and Aaron's surprise, the Egyptian magicians each one threw down his staff and each staff that fell to the ground became a slithering snake. As the audience of Moses. Aaron, Pharaoh, his officials and his sorcerers and wise men watched the snakes slithering around at their feet, Aaron shouted with glee, “Look, my serpent is swallowing the other serpents!"

    "Enough entertainment for one day.” shouted Pharaoh. “Be gone! All of you!" Pharaoh was pleased with his sorcerers who replicated the wonder, and did not give a second thought to the fate of his magician's serpents. Aaron bent down and touched the tail of the serpent and it immediately stiffened into a staff again. He pick up his staff carefully and looked up at Moses in awe.

    Even more pleased were Perambula and Gracefeld who had orchestrated the entire event. As Aaron and Moses departed from Pharaoh's sight, they were perplexed that Pharaoh's sorcerers were able to turn their staff into serpents too, and that that the long hard stick that marked their every step had just dined on a bevy of serpents.

    Perambula hovered behind the solemn brothers laughing at their confusion.

    Back at the palace Pharaoh commended his equally perplexed sorcerers for their good work while Gracefeld proudly accepted Pharaoh's misplaced praise.

    Before either angel could relish too much in the misery of the humans, God called them to His throne room.

    "How did it go today? Should we start packing?" asked Miriam as the brothers entered.

    "I doubt that we convinced Pharaoh of anything except that we were magicians." replied Aaron and to Moses he said. "What do we do now?"

    Moses replied, "Be patient. God told me that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened. This is only the beginning. I have no idea what other marvels the Lord will perform, but I suspect that those sorcerers will be kept busy." Moses knew that the way God would harden Pharaoh's heart was by making him think that Moses and Aaron were simply common magicians.