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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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    Saturday
    Mar112017

    ALIVE: Chapter 45 The Dangerous Road to Pharaoh


    Jethro, the priest, allowed his precious daughter Sepphorah and his two feisty grandsons, Gersam and Eliezer, to venture out into the wilderness, not knowing when he would ever see them again. The man Moses had been a good husband, and a helpful son to Jethro, strong and always willing. He accepted the reason that Moses wanted to go home to see his family. Forty years had gone by and surely those who wanted to take his life were dead. The young man had been so practical and down to earth. His story of escape from Egypt and Pharaoh was remarkable, but as young as he was at the time, Moses introduced himself in a strong and noble manner, giving credence to a very unusual tale.

    Jethro knew that he had no choice but to let them go, so he gave his permission. Sepphora insisted on staying close to her husband, so Jethro wished his beloved family farewell after loading their asses with food and camping supplies.

    The way to Heliopolis in Egypt would take them through dangerous territory, bandits and animals vied with each other to satisfy their greed and hunger by preying on the vulnerable.

    Perambula and Gracefeld hovered over the family in their silent but effective way. Perambula kept the beasts away from the path of the family, while Gracefeld guided them on the most direct route.

    Moses and his wife Sepphora, and their two sons and their donkey walked in steady lockstep over dusty ground, on rocks and thorns past silent bramble bushes. The small troupe threaded themselves through crevices between mountains. Fortunately, one evening at dusk, those mountains, not much larger than hills, protected the family from a fierce wind storm.

    Step by step took them closer to the mission that Moses both feared and relished. He couldn't tell Jethro about the burning bush, or the mission to free the Hebrews for fear he would be ridiculed. Little did he speak, much did he ponder as his staff, an extension of his arm, propelled him forward legs in tow. The snake of a scepter in his grip, would be used to shepherd men, women and even children away from subjection to the will of fierce and arrogant men.

    Every evening the family stopped at dusk to set up camp; Sepphora reached deep into the saddle bags to pull out the evening meal to energize them for the next day's journey. The boys ran around chasing little lizards and chasing each other oblivious that this family trek was the tiniest mustard seed that would become an enormous tree.

    The massive mustard tree that covers the earth and spans time is known as the Pentateuch, the Passover, the Ten Commandments and the Law. So was this family trek from Midian to Egypt the holy spark that ignited a roaring blaze to illuminate and thus expose the Creator to humankind. Before this spark, God spoke to one person here and there, Adam, Noah, Abraham. Now the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had become a nation for God to mould into His image and likeness by telling them outright Who He was and what He liked. But first He had to give them back their free will.

    This nation, the twelve tribes of the children of Jacob, were not just the children of childless young Abraham, the promise-fulfilled of his covenant with God, they were God's people, a nation of His very own, who would voluntarily surrender to His authority. From one command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil grew Ten Commandments and then thousands of laws designed to recreate the divine creature God made on the sixth day.

    No longer would humanity have to wander generation after generation, subservient only to their appetites and passion for power. There would be a formation process into children of God, for those who were willing. God was about to form humans into icons of Himself, by the merging of their human wills with His divine Will, one nation at a time, one person at a time, each generation producing a fraction of such sincerely and holy children of God from the multitude. The two oblivious boys had no inkling that they were carousing in the birth of this sacred mission to re-unite mankind with its Maker.

    One particularly sunny afternoon the family spotted a lake. With irrepressible delight the boys took off like jackrabbits racing each other for the prize of being the first to feel the cool water. Both Moses and Sepphora reveled as much in watching their strong young bodies move so swiftly and so freely.

    When the parents and the beast of burden arrived at the shore, Sepphora beseeched Moses to allow her to bathe before setting up camp. Moses was happy to comply as he sensed that he was being called. So he tied up the donkey to a tree and wondered off to hide behind a small boulder where in stillness he could hear the Voice speak to him.

    God gave Moses a few minutes to settle himself and let his heart rate synchronize to the rhythm of vibrations of all that lived and breathed around him from lizards to ants to bushes and trees, all the life of that place which had a heart beat, became the percussion section, and each thing in whose veins flowed life, its melody. Into this silent symphony did Moses unconsciously join himself as he rested under the umbrella of the tamarisk tree.

    While listening for the Lord, and being exhausted from the day's journey, Moses slipped into a deep sleep wherein God could speak to him away from the spectacle of the bush.

    In his sleep state, the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son. I said to you, “Let My son go that he may worship Me.” But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.’” Effectively saying, Give My son the freedom to unite as one body to speak to Me, or you shall know what it means to never hear your son speak to you. Never.

    Perambula and Gracefeld entered Moses's dream state. Perambula gasped in astonishment, "First Abraham is asked to slay his long-awaited promised son, Isaac, then Pharaoh has all Hebrew sons slain, now God will kill the firstborn son of Pharaoh. What is the meaning of this?"

    Gracefeld replied, "My dear Perambula, stuck in time, as you are captive in this small chamber of a dream. Remember Isaac lived. Killing the Hebrew sons was merely Pharaoh's vain attempt to suppress God's will. To God's son, Israel, Pharaoh's son is the key to unlock the gates of Hades on earth.

    But first, the hardness of Pharaoh's heart must reach its fullness like the waxing moon in the starless sky. The Hebrews must witness the power of their God in miracles to empower them to endure the hardships ahead. Our God is about to transition them from slaves to free men."

    Moses could not hear Perambula and Gracefeld speaking in his dream state. Instead, again he heard God tell him to say to Pharaoh, “Let My son go that he may worship Me.” But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.’”

    In his dream, there was no fear, no shock. His purpose was clear and matter-of-fact. In his dream Moses readily accepted his mission.

    Moses' eyes opened after he gently surfaced out of the sleep state. Unlike any other dream he ever had, Moses remembered every word God spoke to him. Hearing the boys arguing, he remembered that he had to go and help Sepphora set up camp and go to bed or else they would all be miserable with fatigue the next day.

    The next morning the family felt more refreshed than they had since they left Midian. The lake, like a loving grandmother, opened her arms wide and gave of herself everything she could offer, and it was plenty. And the family rejoiced. Even the ass rejoiced. They splashed and floated, they cleaned all of their cooking utensils and plates; they drank until their bellies bulged, sadly knowing that they had to part and she would be no more. So they filled every flask they had with the refreshing lake-water and she was glad and they were glad. Soon, Moses and Sepphora had repacked everything and it was time to walk again.

    As he walked ahead of his family, Moses was deep in thought. He gradually became obsessed with his duty to force Pharaoh to release the Hebrew people. The memory welled up of 40 years earlier when he, as one man alone, escaped the other pharaoh's grip. With each step Moses walked, the vision increasingly came into focus of himself as a man stepping out of his skin, and into a new body, a new magical body. Clutching his serpant-staff tightly as he walked, Moses contemplated the phases of his life and how different each had been from the others and how each phase was more like a different life than different periods of one life, his birth and years with his own family, the years in Pharaoh's court, fleeing to Midian and his life with Jethro and the birth of his own family, and now his return as a common man, a stranger to Egypt and the new pharaoh. The only link that connected these different worlds was his flesh.

    The boys rushed up to their father, one on each side. Two steps for every one they marched to keep up with him. After an hour or so, the youngest cried,"Father, may we stop now, I'm hungry."

    Moses looked down at his boy with compassion, as if looking into the black eyes of Pharaoh's son, the innocent victim and replied,"Yes, go tell your mother that we will stop early today. You too! I will walk up ahead to find a good spot to set up."

    "Thank you father!" Shouted the boys in unison and raced each other back to be the first to tell Sepphorah. Meanwhile, Moses' lofty thoughts dropped to the most practical level as he surveyed the plain before him for another lake or a clear flat place to park.

    Moses was pulled as by a magnetic force to the place Gracefeld selected for him to stop.

    This was not a joyous place as the lake had been; in fact, there was a heavy gloom in the air that Moses sensed immediately, but he felt paralyzed to leave. The pressure from his sons to stop, and his own fatigue compelled Moses to try with all his mental might and with all his will to reject the sense of foreboding, casting it away as misperceptions, something he knew he had experienced many times before.

    "Come Gersam, Sepphora, here I am!" shouted Moses.

    By following the sound of his call, the family with their donkey found Moses who rushed over to meet them. Soon, they were busy setting up camp again. Sepphora prepared her supper as she had every evening. Nothing was different and everything was different.

    At sunset, suddenly Moses gasped loudly as if he was choking, as if he was being strangled. His eyes bulged and streams of sweat trickled down from his brow. "God, no! Help me!" Sounds like those words gushed from his heart and but couldn't come out of his mouth. "God, no! Help me!" screamed his mind even louder to no effect.

    Sepphora instinctively looked over at her husband and immediately sensed the danger. God sought to kill him. She called her firstborn son, "Gersam come quickly and fetch my satchel over there! She reached deep into her satchel from where Sepphora usually extracted their nourishing food. Her hand searched feverishly for the piece of flint she used to cut with. "No, not that, no, quickly quickly. Is that it? No! Yes!" Her trembling hand emerged with the suddenly sacred tool, the piece of flint that Jethro sharpened for her before they left. "Gersam, come closer and remove your garment, quickly!"

    "What are you asking mother!" exclaimed Gersam stunned and bewildered.

    "Don't ask questions, just remove your cloth NOW!" screamed the desperate mother.

    Moses was still gasping for air. He appeared to be losing consciousness.

    Gersam was too afraid to do anything but comply as he exposed his naked loin to his mad mother. His brother, Eliezer, held their father, helpless to do anything but hold him as if he could share his own life's breath with his father.

    Sepphora grabbed her son's penis, and with the sharp knife sliced off the foreskin. Gersam ejaculated a scream that could be heard by every beast and fowl from the desert to the Nile as blood poorer from his member.

    She immediately ran over to Moses who was still gasping for air in fits and spurts. Then, she quickly reached into the folds of his loincloth and with the same hand that found the flint, she grabbed his soft member and with the other hand yanked Gersam's foreskin to it, the son's bloody foreskin kissing his father's own penis.

    Perambula had never since the beginning of time witnessed such a bizarre event. He who witnessed the briss of Ishmael, and the burning bushes was agape as the sight of Sepphora and Moses at that moment. Perambula had to look away.

    At the moment that the flesh of father and son touched Sepphora cried out, "“The blood of the circumcision of my son." Immediately, Moses's breathing regained its normal rhythm. The blood rushed back into his face. The streams of sweat in the blazing heat of the desert hardened into dried up rivulets of salt.

    Never before and never since has the symbol of the covenant between God and His people been so evident, so powerful. Never before and never since, and never again will the blood of the covenant between the Lord and Abraham save a life that God meant to kill.

    Perambula looked at Gracefeld, too embarrassed to look at God, for what he had just witnessed was beyond comprehension, beyond cynicism, beyond wonder. To Gracefeld the angel inquired, "What just happened? How did she know to do that? Why did it work? Why did he want to slay Moses, the instrument of salvation to His people?"

    Gracefeld who had always been the wiser angel, the all-knowing one, responded with silence.

    Perambula then dared to look to God's face for the answers, but He was gone. God had let go of Moses throat and departed the moment Sepphora said, “The blood of the circumcision of my son."

    Not having God to look to for answers, the angel gave up and looked back to Moses and Sepphora who by then were sitting in a warm embrace wrapped in the arms of their sons, a trembling mass of life, and of love, and of relief manifested.

    Gracefeld quietly murmured, "Perambula, you should instead ask why there was still a foreskin to cut? The servant of God had not Himself obeyed the commandment to circumcise his son. It was about obedience. Sepphora knew that her son should have been circumcised. She would not allow Moses to do this on his 8th day. Both she and Moses thought it didn't matter. God just demonstrated that it mattered."

    Then Perambula, seeing only a glimmer of the far reaching meaning of that scene, was nevertheless satisfied. The angel flew away from the family for relief. Gracefeld flew away also, to find God Who was already in Egypt speaking to Aaron.

    *Note: to understand the passages in Exodus best, I went back to the Septuagint and read that the name was Sepphora rather than Zipporah. I like the name better, I think it fits the woman I have in my mind.

    Monday
    Feb202017

    ALIVE: Chapter 44 Moses' Midlife Miracle 


    Overwhelmed, Moses had only imagined running away from the extinguished burning bush when he fainted. God was far from finished speaking to him.

    "Gracefeld, Perambula, wake up this man that I may continue to instruct him!" ordered God.

    Perambula spoke up. "Lord, I'm afraid that speaking with You was too much for him. He needs a moment to absorb the magnitude of Your presence. Let's be patient and let his subconscious process."

    "I must agree my Lord." added Gracefeld in uncharacteristic defiance of God's command.

    The two angels and God looked down at Moses laying barefoot and fast asleep in a fetal position.

    "He looks so peaceful doesn't he?" said Gracefeld.

    "Please wake him up Perambula; there is much to do and I am ready to get started."

    "How can You be in a hurry after waiting so many centuries?" replied Perambula and quickly added, "my Lord!"

    Without any help, or at least any perceived help from either angel Moses gradually opened his eyes to find himself still in front of the flaming bush. He quickly closed them again refusing to accept such a phenomenal reality and wishing only to flee back into his increasingly illusive dream.

    "Moses!" bellowed God. "Stay with Me. This conversation is only the beginning of the wonders you will see and perform as My right hand."

    Moses awkwardly propped himself to his feet while saying, "Lord God. I am a simple shepherd. Let me go and tend my flock. I know Pharaoh. He will never release the Hebrews."

    Without responding to Moses' request God continued, "I know, however, that the king of Egypt will not let My people go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go. I will bring this people into such favor with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor’s house for jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

    Perambula looked over at Gracefeld and said, "That will be the day! How can those spoiled Egyptians survive without their slaves?"

    Then Moses, at the pace of cool honey, accepted the fantastic situation he was in, and said, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”

    The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

    He said, “A staff.”

    And He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So Moses threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it.

    Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— “so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

    Moses looked at his staff and chuckled. He was amazed by what God did with his own staff. He looked up at the burning bush with a huge grin on his face, and then looked back at his wooden staff and tapped it on the ground twice. Indeed it was as hard as ever.

    Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.”

    With the grin still frozen on his face, Moses put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Moses gasped in horror and quickly looked up at the flaming bush for an explanation.

    Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

    Perambula turned to Gracefeld and said, "Have you ever, since the creation of man, known God to speak so much to a person... who can hear Him? I confess Gracefeld, this alone is more astonishing to me than any of these magic tricks."

    "Maybe so, maybe since Eden, but then neither you nor I went to Eden, so we wouldn't know. What God is about to do is probably important enough to defy the laws of nature." replied Gracefeld who was both irritated and offended by Perambula's use of the word magic.

    "Freeing a few slaves?" questioned Perambula.

    "Remember Perambula, these people that He wants to free, don't really know Him. God is about to introduce Himself to His children!" Tears welled up in Gracefeld' angel eyes to match Perambula's emotions. "You take knowing God for granted Perambula. Soon you will witness a facet of God that you have never seen."

    While the angels chatted with each other Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

    Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”

    But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.”

    Perambula whispered, "This isn't going very well. This man doesn't even want to help God answer the prayers of his own people, of the mothers and fathers of abused children! What a coward of a man, what laziness, what a worm!"

    Then the anger of the Lord was also kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron the Levite?"

    Perambula surprised that God would offer to appease this coward rather than destroy him and find someone else, also wondered how Moses could have a brother since all the baby boys had been killed when Moses was a baby. Gracefeld heard Perambula's thoughts and shrugged. He assumed that this brother was in-fact a cousin, since God called him a Levite, a cousin who had been born in a remote village, closer to Midian where he first met the refugee Moses, a distance from the grasp of Pharoah's henchmen. Besides, the identity of this co-worker did not matter, neither to Gracefeld, nor to God who must have known this would happen and prepared for it.

    Annoyed by the angels' side conversation, but aware that Moses could not hear them God continued, "I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs. Go.”

    This time the flame of the burning bush sputtered until it was thoroughly extinguished. The bush rapidly returned to its facelessness. After several moments used to collect himself Moses tightly gripped his magical staff, turned his back on the bush and walked down the mountain gradually shedding the person he had been, a man of fear and doubt.

    Perambula and Gracefeld helped Moses round-up his sheep and goats. Nevertheless, Moses didn't have time to ponder his new mission until he was back home. When he arrived his wife and sons greeted him cheerfully, but Moses was not ready to tell them about his conversation with the Voice in the burning bush. He needed time to ponder his brand new role as savior, as God's ambassador to the mighty king of his world. After supper, Moses announced to his wife that he would return in the morning, and grabbed a bedroll, and walked out of his boisterous home and into the still and silent desert, to a spot where he often went to think. Under the stars Moses looked back on his life, his extraordinary life from the earliest time he could remember, when he had to leave his loving mother and sister and go to live in the palace as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He had cried for weeks, but she was patient and kind, often trying to distract him from his grief with marvelous objects, including his first puppy, his childhood companion.

    Early the next morning, fortified with newfound courage, Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

    A few days later, the familiar Voice of the Lord called out to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt; for all those who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.

    And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

    Hearing that Perambula flew over to where Gracefeld was to say, "Why is God hardening Pharaoh's heart to do the opposite of what God wants him to do? This doesn't make sense!"

    Gracefeld often marveled at Perambula's stupidity, but being an angel Gracefeld knew that tolerance and patience were essential and replied, "He knows that the journey from slavery to freedom will be long and difficult, requiring much faith and perseverance. The people will be tested over and over again to build their strength and endurance. They will need the memory of marvels to cling to, to remind them that God, their God and Father, is with them guiding them, not only on the physical journey, but on a psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey to a promised land, that only you and I know is lightyears into the future.

    Sunday
    Feb122017

    ALIVE: Chapter 43 Deologue

    God arrived first. The condition of the Hebrews was worse than when He saw them last. Men walked through the streets with welts on their naked backs that hurt so badly shirts would have sent echoes of the pain throughout their bodies. The taskmasters liked it that way for the sight of red puss-filled stripes kept other men and even haughty women in line.

    "I found you Lord!" exclaimed Perambula as the angel glided into the place where God stood observing His people Israel.

    Perambula looked down and gasped at the sight of a young man, no more than fifteen years old, being whipped and screaming out while the others and his father watched.

    A loud cacophony of prayerful cries as a tidal wave blew past Perambula and God from slave hearts begging for relief. The angel looked over at God's face for reaction and then down at boys bent over transporting stones half their weight while muddy sweat trickled down their brows.

    Screaming hearts that only God and Perambula heard wounded the dense dusty air. Words broke through shrill sound. "Lord deliver us from these evil men! Come Lord, quickly before we perish in despair!" "Help me! Save me! Take me! Let me die!"

    Invisible God and Perambula watched as three young boys walked by them together in short steps; the boys were no older than ten and they each had their ankles tied together to prevent them from running. Expressions of sadness and fear on their beautiful faces cast dark shadows on their path.

    Perambula shot God a look of fury and shouted, "How can You allow this! Listen to these cries! You call these Your people! Look at this misery in every house; men and women fight with their brothers and sisters; the more humble men and their miserable wives don't dare speak to each other to find relief in silence. I have never seen such injustice! How cruel men can be! How demonic; worse! The demons are only shrewd, not violent. DO something! Now!"

    A temperate breeze was God's initial response. "I allow the sun to circle the earth, I allow avalanches to destroy, lions to kill. I planned every moment of gestation down to the formation of minuscule neonatal hair follicles; I allow you to question Me. Oh my dear Perambula, when will you learn the value of suffering? But then how could you ever know this from your ethereal existence? Wait before you judge Me.

    I am testing them in the furnace of adversity, for My own sake. For My own sake, I do it* (Isaiah 48:10). The horror that you see are seeds of a lesson that will rival the Flood. The metamorphosis of a slave into a free man is even more significant than the evolution of humanity after the devastation of the Flood. Can anyone appreciate light without suffering darkness and death? Can I know which hearts are pure unless tested by fire?

    Israel is my first born son (Exodus 4:22). It is not good enough for Me to know this; Israel must know Me and want Me, and acknowledge Me as his Father. Moses is My mid-wife who will deliver My son into My hands."

    "Speaking of Moses, where is he? Did he go to jail for killing the Egyptian?"

    Without acknowledging the question, God departed and Perambula followed close behind. They arrived at Horeb, the mountain of God where Perambula instantly recognized a friend in a most unusual situation.

    "What are you doing here Gracefeld?! Don't you see the flames surrounding you? Get out from there!" exclaimed Perambula.

    "Shhhh!!" Replied the angel, "Be quiet and watch!"

    Indeed Gracefeld had created a most spectacular sight. The angel managed to reside within a flame. The bush that surrounded the angel burned brightly and yet did not turn to ashes.

    Perambula looked over in the distance and recognized an older and more tattered Moses approaching the spectacle in curiosity with his flock following closely. Gracefeld stood patiently waiting for Moses to arrive.

    "Okay Gracefeld, stand back with Perambula. I'll take over now." said God as He entered the center of the flames. Gracefeld respectfully hovered over to Perambula and together they watched the bewildered Moses approach.

    "Moses, Moses" God called from the bush.

    Moses was at first drawn by the curious blazing bush and then shocked by The Voice that emanated from it. His flock of sheep neighed loudly in fear. Moses drew closer to the flames and replied, "Here I am."

    God warned, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." God paused to give Moses time to comply which he did very clumsily while unlacing his sandals.

    When Moses finished, he looked up at the bush again and heard, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses, being raised in Pharaoh's court and having no intimate contact with the Hebrew people, did not know of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, but he was aware that there was a God of the Hebrews.

    Moses turned away in fear. He would have run, but either because he was without shoes and the ground was sharp with rocks and pebbles, or because his thighs were paralyzed with fear, Moses fell to his knees and covered his face with his long muscular arms.

    Gracefeld looked over at Perambula to see how the angel was reacting to this conversation between God and a human being. Perambula's face was expressionless and deep blue angel eyes were fixed on Moses. Gracefeld wondered whether Perambula was shocked or deeply curious.

    God bellowed loud enough for Moses to hear through the spectacle of the flames, "I have observed the misery of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed I know their suffering."

    Perambula leaned over to Gracefeld and whispered, "Of course He has, for centuries!"

    Moses was amazed and confused. The Voice had called Himself God. Never had Moses known God to speak to a man. In fact Moses, like all the Egyptians and most of the Hebrews, had no knowledge of God at all. His heart started to beat rapidly, his hands became numb with fear, but his eyes having escape the refuge of his arms became fixed on the burning bush.

    As Moses listened to the Voice of God, it occurred to him how he and God had this in common, that they were of the Hebrew people without living among them. They both cared deeply about the injustice of their slavery from their positions removed from the actual plight of the people. "How odd, how surreal," thought Moses, "that a flesh and blood human being could have something in common with an invisible, yet supremely powerful intelligence, such a mysterious and awesome Being is 'God'." Moses wondered if he was dreaming as he listened to the Voice of God as the sound of thunder from the heavens.

    Ignoring the tumult within Moses, God continued speaking nonchalantly as if there was nothing unusual in their conversation. God, for the first time since creation, overrode His own laws of nature to initiate a most unique relationship with Moses. Surely God spoke to Noah and to Abraham before, but never to the extent that He intended to speak to, and to use Moses. "I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians," continued God, "and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites."

    Perambula leaned over to Gracefeld and whispered,"There He goes again with the same promise of land that He strung Abraham along with for so long. I wonder if He will actually deliver it this time."

    While God listened to Himself mention the Canaanites, a flash of the man Ham entered His Holy Mind. Ham, the father of Canaan who shamefully looked upon his naked father Noah and was cursed for it, then God went on, "the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to Me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."

    Perambula whispered, "We'll see!" The two angels looked over at Moses whose eyes were as big as swollen summer figs. Perambula was still amazed that Moses could hear God speak. Gracefeld was much more calm as if God spoke to humans every day. Gracefeld knew that God chose Moses from the womb, for this purpose. Only could a Hebrew raised in Pharaoh's court have the presence and personality to defy Pharaoh to the extent that only God knew would be necessary. But first Moses had to be humbled and removed and that phase, accomplished in Midian, had run its full course.

    Moses composed himself enough to reply to God as if he was speaking to his father-in-law, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

    God answered, "I will be with you; and this shall be a sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain."

    Perambula said to Gracefeld, "What kind of a sign is that? What proof to the humans?"

    "Shh, be quiet!" replied Gracefeld.

    Instead Moses inquired, "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?"

    God said, "I am who I am. You shall say to the Israelites, I Am has sent me to you. Tell them that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My title for all generations.

    Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, "The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me saying: 'I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Cananites, the Hittites the Amorites, the Perezzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.

    They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God."

    Suddenly God vanished from within the burning bush as a light-switch clicked off, darkness ensued as the moment after a bolt of lightening rips through the night sky. Moses suddenly found himself standing before and staring at an ordinary bush in silence.

    Moses' knees buckled and he fell to the ground still wondering if he was in a dream or whether it was possible for a person to hear the voice of God speaking directly to him. The flock began neighing in the background drawing Moses's attention back to his job. There was no time to think anymore as he realized he needed to round them up. So Moses quickly tied his sandals back on his feet and ran away from the Holy Ground.

    Friday
    Jan272017

    ALIVE: Chapter 42 Never Forget

    Perambula and God left the Jordan River and John with a crowd waiting to undergo the mock flood they called baptism. The curious angel figured that John demanded their repentance to qualify them to be in the imaginary ark of salvation which explained to the angel how baptism worked and why.

    God broke into the angel's musings, "Wrong." He said. "The baptized are those outside the ark. They are the resurrected who drowned in the Flood, but were reborn purified. Some events are so important that I can't let time bury them. The Flood is that. My people must be baptized." God looked deep into Perambula's angel eyes for signs of understanding, then added:

    "It is one thing for me to grieve all the death and destruction the Flood caused, but for the catastrophe to have purpose equal to its horror, it must be useful throughout time. No one must ever forget that the world was annihilated for the wickedness of humankind, their hateful self-centered ways. Every generation must be reminded that the reward of wickedness is death, because I meet-out Justice!"

    "Awareness is pretty important to You, isn't it Sir?" said Perambula.

    "Wisdom and knowledge separate man from animal. The dawn of awareness is the divide between death and life, sleep and wakefulness, darkness and light. I made light to initiate life and awareness. I want to make a world with no ignorance, with no darkness, with no death whatsoever."

    "A world without death." echoed Perambula wistfully and added, "You know Lord, that You already have such a world with us angels. And if the people turn into spirits after their bodies die, what do we need with human beings? They're such a nuisance!"

    "Don't be absurd Perambula!" bellowed God causing tidal waves through the heavens.

    Perambula recoiled.

    It was that moment that Perambula learned how sensitive God could be, and that God learned how ignorant Perambula could be.

    God continued as if nothing happened. Perambula re-inflated. "I am proud of matter. Humans pride themselves in their discoveries of the complexity of My masterpiece. Why oh why would I ever want to go back to living in a spirit world! NO! NEVER; no matter how difficult the battle of Wills, I will prevail, even if it takes seven millennia instead of seven days to make the new immortal earth.

    I WILL make a new earth and fill it with tangible human replicas of Me, who by their own will and with their own intelligence, overcome the temptations of the evil one. That spoiler will be in prison for a thousand years. No Perambula, there will be earth and skies and seas, but no flood and no corruption. There will be life without death, awareness without sleep, joy without sorrow, health without illness, faith without doubt, peace without conflict, truth without lies."

    Perambula's eyes swelled, and the angel looked back down upon the earth with its thousand colors and textures, viscosity, and purposes and looked upon the people there talking and working, and for the first time the angel knew jealousy. For the first time the angel understood the word 'reality'. Perambula knew that what was seen was only a sliver of reality, and that material beings could only relate to that sliver, which Perambula contentedly viewed as a flaw.

    Then, as if God was changing the subject, He said,"Just as you rightly feel the full weight of the event of Abraham about to slay Isaac on Mount Moriah, for yielding his will to Mine in trust, there was a similarly powerful event that they must repeat every year through time for the benefit of its lesson on life and death. You should know of the contrast between slavery and freedom."

    "What is slavery my Lord?"

    How could I explain slavery to an angel? thought God. One person forcing his will on another, when even I as God would not force My will on Satan? God stood quietly pensive for a while. Perambula was quiet too, hollow, and patient until God said,

    "Oh my dear Perambula, of course you don't understand slavery. Allow Me to explain. Those humans, made in My image and likeness each have an inborn sense of self. This sense is called the ego, or the "I". The ego operates through something they call the "will" of the person. The will is the engine of the ego driving the person hither and yon. Do you understand?"

    Perambula tried to visualize a mechanical will driving a shell of an ego and said, "Lord, it seems to me that Satan has an ego too."

    "Satan and his demons have less power than humans. In fact, that was what I was about to say. The ego of most humans drives their will to become powerful. Power that can be used to build and power that can be used to destroy. But that is overly simplistic.

    Some humans consistently compare one with another, one group with another. They are being hierarchical, looking always for their advantages. They squirm, push and shove, elbow to climb over others. Some are more subtle but for many of those, it is to reach a lofty position from which to yield power over the others. Gold, knowledge, beauty are their tools like mountain climbers use spikes and ropes.

    Nature is their nemesis. Time corrupts, disease distorts and steals back the power."

    Perambula broke in, "Slavery Lord? You were going to tell me about slavery?"

    "Ah, yes. Thank you. Humans can be very useful to each other. They help each other and they use each other. A person's labor, if with little cost, enriches the most powerful. To enslave, to force groups of people has throughout history been a most beneficial practice. My own people fell into slavery, and I allowed that to teach them about the Will."

    "Did they learn? Where was I when all this was happening my Lord?"

    "It was after Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac and long before John started baptizing. My people were lead into Egypt because of famine in the land."

    "Did you have something to do with that Lord?"

    Ignoring the question God continued,"As I promised, Abraham's offspring grew in numbers and in strength, but not yet with land and kings of their own."

    "Lord," interrupted Perambula, "why are you withholding the promise of land for so long?"

    "I used their desire for the land to drive and to teach, and to test them. Back to the story, as the years went by and new kings ruled over them, kings felt threatened and had to suppress the Hebrews, fearful that they would conquer Egypt and take the fertile land and enslave the Egyptians.

    The Egyptian king told the midwives to kill every baby boy at birth but the midwives knew that the Hebrews were God's people and they feared God's revenge if they did, so they let the boys live. Pharaoh then commanded all his people to throw every Hebrew baby boy into the river Nile to drown."

    "How awful!"exclaimed Perambula. "How did I not know this?"

    God replied, "All of my angels cannot be assigned to earth. Nevertheless, a certain baby boy was placed by his parents in a basket and floated on the river. Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe in the river and spotted the baby in the basket. The baby was crying and she took pity on him. The baby's sister looked on and when she saw that her brother touched the heart of Pharaoh's daughter, she asked if Pharaoh's daughter would like her to get a nurse to feed the baby. That was so agreeable that Pharaoh's daughter said she would pay the nurse to feed her baby. So the sister took her baby brother to his very own mother to be fed and grow in safety."

    "Ahh, what a nice ending." sighed Perambula.

    God smiled and continued.

    "The baby grew strong and when he was weaned the sister took him to Pharaoh's daughter as her son. She named the baby Moses which means to be taken from the water."

    "Gee," said Perambula, this is familiar! Being rescued from drowning in the water; sounds like the baby was given its own ark!"

    God smiled again at His angel's quickness and continued. "This was not the end of the story, but just the beginning.
    For hundreds of years Abraham's offspring served the Egyptians against their will in slavery."

    "And You allowed that my Lord?!"

    "Yes." and He continued, "The child Moses grew as Pharaoh's privileged grandson. On the surface he was Egyptian royalty, while deep inside he was a lucky Hebrew. One day Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. The inner Hebrew Moses became irate, looked around for witnesses and saw none, so he killed the cruel Egyptian and buried him in the sand."

    "Oh my!!!"

    "Weeks later Moses saw two Hebrews fighting and tried to break it up, when one of them said to him, "Do you mean to kill me as you did the Egyptian?" That shocked Moses, and the word of it got back to Pharaoh. Before Moses could be arrested he fled into the desert."

    Perambula said, "Were You not angry too that Moses killed the Egyptian?"

    God replied, "He knew it was wrong. To Moses it was an act of justice for which he duly suffered punishment by exile loss of power, position, and comforts. Moses became a refugee, lest he become a prisoner."

    Perambula stood agape. The angel was fascinated by the story which wiped away any jealousy he had felt over humans moments before.

    During those terrible years of slavery, My people, Abraham's offspring, recipients of the covenant, experienced slavery to understand the value of a free will. To appreciate freedom, they had to experience bondage. There is also a bondage to wickedness, to anger and hatred that is as powerful as the subjugation of one person to another.

    My dear angel, would that you could see how Satan's defiance of My Will and My Power will forever limit that fallen angel's free will. Satan believes that an army of souls are gathering behind the veil of darkness, but without precious bodies and without light, they will forever be hostage to each other."

    "The lesson is so dark My Lord! Will Abraham's children ever ever receive the land and power of your promise? Will they ever learn?" cried the angel.

    God grew frustrated over telling Perambula about Moses. Although in the description He could provide commentary, it was time to take the angel to Egypt.

    "Perambula, let us go to Egypt so you may witness for yourself the conditions Abraham's children fell into as they struggled with slavery."

    "Are you forcing me to go with You, or am I allowed to refuse my lord?"teased the angel.

    Without answering God quickly started the journey back in time, but not very far in space.

    Perambula raced to keep up.

    Friday
    Jan062017

    ALIVE: Chapter 41 The New Flood

    Once upon a time, about four hundred years after Abraham had first fallen asleep in Sheol, and that dark place was brimming with sleeping-dead captives, upon the face of the living earth one of Abraham's great grandsons, John the Baptist, appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.

    Perambula looked on in awe. "What is going on here Lord? Look at all of these people enter the river as if they want to drown. Have they all gone mad?"

    God smiled and replied, "I am renewing world again, but in a quiet, more subtle way than ever before."

    More perplexed than before God's answer, nevertheless, Perambula shrugged and said, "I heard that 3's a charm! What are You going to do this time?"

    "I have sent this man, John, to earth to remind the world of the days of Noah when I was so repulsed by evil that I drowned everything but a human remnant of creation."

    "I remember." said Perambula.

    "Do you remember when the dove presented the olive branch?" added God proudly. "It was My primal definition of mercy. That olive branch told the family that their difficult days of confinement were finally over. That the purified earth was ready to receive them. That their suffering would turn to joy. And it did."

    This time Perambula was the one to smile as he fondly recollected the day when the eight survivors hobbled out of the ark of their salvation, baptized and meek, prepared to inherit the new earth. "Now THAT was a baptism!" exclaimed Perambula and added, "It was a rebirth for humankind."

    God added, "Those days must never be forgotten, but rather should be reenacted over and over again. Each person one by one must go through what Noah and his family did, if only symbolically, to be purified as Noah was, to inherit the world as he did, to understand the mercy of the olive branch as they did."

    "Well, at least they don't have to really drown. I don't think I could take watching that again." muttered Perambula who went back to watching the scene.

    Perambula witnessed crowds, like those that banged on the doors of the ark for admittance, flock to John. They seemed almost as desperate because they too didn't want to die, or suffer. Only this time it was as if the doors of the ark opened and as many as came to be rescued were saved. Or was it more than that, wondered Perambula who suddenly heard John shout?

    "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" John seem to have a whip in one hand and a life preserver in the other. The people he was shouting at could only imagine the wrath he was talking about.

    Perambula read in the mind of John that he was preparing the people to receive the Spirit of God! Perambula did not expect this. The angel could not understand why God so often kept His plans a secret.

    Perambula saw that the people were filled with expectation, and were questioning in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah they were waiting for to deliver them from their Roman oppressors. John replied to all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

    Perambula looked at God and said, "Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire? How are You going to do that?!"

    "Something is about to happen in Sheol that will shock the underworld. Keep watching Perambula." said God.

    "Why don't You just tell me?"

    "Sh. Here He comes."

    Perambula looked on in awe as he saw Jesus coming to John who announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

    Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

    Perambula was shocked, "They heard you! They all heard you! How did you do that? Who is this Son of yours? What is going on here?!" Perambula was more alarmed than ever. The world seemed to be transforming in ways the angel never expected to see.

    Then Perambula heard this man, this so called Son of God, say, "He who has believed in Me and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

    "Saved from what?! What is He talking about?!" Perambula looked at God with outrage because whenever the angel seemed to have a good grip on what was going on down on earth, things changed, and sometimes in big ways that were completely unexpected. That just happened.

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