Salty Grace

Job 6:6 –  (GNT)  But who can eat flat, unsalted food?…

Throughout history,  the value of salt has ranked high in commerce and daily living.  Salt adds  flavor to food;  it is a cleansing agent, and a resource to promote health and healing.  Salt represents purity, hospitality, durability.

For anyone who has experienced a salt free diet for any period of time, you understand why Job compares the counsel he has received from his three friends with unsalted food. It isn’t palatable to his soul anymore than unsalted food is palatable to our taste buds. He has just experienced some of  life’s most dreaded losses, the loss of his children, his health, his possessions and his livelihood.  In the face of all this grief he also has lost his honored place within his society. As Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, his friends, attempt to comfort him, the ineffective, graceless words they use, even with elements of truth, cause Job more pain. His three friends are unable to encourage, offer hope or point him toward a restorative, redemptive God, even to the point that all three receive a rebuke from God. Job is cast down, judged, criticized, misunderstood,  and patronized. He is left defensive, graceless, without hope.  Job declares in chapter 6 verse 30 (AMP), “Is there wrong on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern what is destructive?”

Finally, when the three men and Job can find nothing else to say,  a fifth man, Elihu begins to express his thoughts. He is a younger man, who has sat quietly listening to all the dialogue between the four men, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.  Spiritually, the number five symbolizes grace. With this fifth main character, Elihu, grace is factored into the equation. Elihu’s name means “He is my God” and his father’s name, Barachel, means “God blesses“.

In chapters 32-37, Elihu repeatedly offers grace to Job. He affirms Job’s place before God 33:6.  In 33: 7 (AMP), Elihu declares to Job, I shall not make you afraid, neither shall my pressure be heavy upon you. Numerous times in Elihu’s dialogue, he encourages Job to trust in God, while correctly presenting a clear insight into God’s gracious heart. Obviously, Elihu knows God, has had time to become acquainted with His character, and can share  from a genuine overflow of his own experience with God. Elihu teaches, corrects and challenges Job’s self-righteous thoughts, while lovingly encouraging him and directing him to trust God. Balance is the key to fruitful ministry of reconciliation. Too much salt in the soil prevents or retards any type of plant growth, while  gracious words are never flattery. I once heard someone say the best way to correct a child or offer corrective counsel is to mimic a Oreo cookie, a sliver of corrective insight sandwiched between two encouragements. Elihu didn’t exactly follow this pattern, but  his words of correction are often surrounded by words of comfort and hope.
Elihu declares in chapter 32 :17-22 – (NKJV)

 17 I also will answer my part, I too will declare my opinion. 18 For I am full of words; The spirit within me compels me. 19 Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent;It is ready to burst like new wineskins.20 I will speak, that I may find relief;I must open my lips and answer.21 Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone;Nor let me flatter any man.22 For I do not know how to flatter, Else my Maker would soon take me away.

In Jewish culture, the meaning of names holds great significance. I do not believe it was accidental that Elihu, whose name reminds that God is my God, speaks to Job just before God speaks to him. It also was not  coincidental that Elihu’s father Barachel, God blesses, was also mentioned at this precise time.  God called Elihu to speak words that would focus Job on a correct representation of His character. Ultimately, God’s own words lead Job to a yielded place of rest and a better understanding of himself before God. The final outcome is that Job receives abundant blesses from the Lord. He experiences restoration by the Restorer Himself.
Consider two side of pain.  One side is seeing the pain that someone else faces. The other side is experiencing the pain ourselves. A prepared heart stands ready to deal with life, come what may.  The world, and those around us, need words of grace that are, like salt, healing and restoring, and we also need that same grace for our own issues. We need to know the Lord so intimately, that our faith in Him does not waver. A prepared heart is ready to accept, even in pain, by faith, that God is my God, and that He blesses.There should be a readiness to love with His love, through His power, so that grace is always the automatic response.

There is so much more I don’t understand about the Book of  Job. However,  I wanted to share what He has taught me….so far. I have been on both sides of pain and have come to appreciate grace so very much. It truly is amazing. There is still at least one more blog about Job, but I am waiting on the Lord to help me understand it more clearly 🙂

connecting with love
Donna

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Love = Freedom


One who loves is borne on wings; he runs, and is filled with joy; he is free and unrestricted. He gives all to receive all, and he has all in all; for beyond all things he rest in the One highest thing, from Whom streams all that is good. ”            Thomas a Kempis

(Had this blog ready to go last night, then woke up with a new direction! 🙂  Pressing on with the new approach!)

Paraphrasing John 8:31, after explaining to those who believed in Him, that if they abide in His Word, hold fast to His teaching and live in accordance with them, then they will truly be His disciples, Jesus made this statement “And you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free” John 8: 32

Free – freedom.  Americans use these words quite often, and now more than ever.  Because of  current news events, which are so dramatically impacting our nation, and the world, the issues of freedom have taken center stage.

The Body of Christ faces many challenges as we try to interpret what the church must be, or do with these varies issues concerning freedom. We are being pressed to examine  our beliefs.  What do we stand for, how do we stand, what is allowed, what is not, are we to be a political activist or a praying pacifist,  are we to be vocal, or to be silent?  My thoughts about how to react to these challenges are irrelevant, because ultimately we must hear from the Holy Spirit as we live out this life, to receive His direction and wisdom, and then to follow through in obedience, no matter what that may involve.  The history of the church is entwined with the lives of martyrs, reformers, prayer warriors, gospel sharers and healers. Only when we know His will, individually and corporately, can we make those difficult decisions, living out our lives, “being” as He calls us to be, “doing” as  He instructs us to do, and waiting in His peace for His approaching second coming.

This better way brings me to my point. We the church must first focus on the freedom that is guaranteed to every disciple of the Lord, through Jesus Christ. In recent months, the Holy Spirit has been revealing new insight about this freedom that He gives, that none can take away. 

This is a partial list of  freedom gifts. There is much more for me to learn. It is the desire of my heart to walk in this freedom everyday of my life, and for the Body of Christ, as a whole, to rest in the assurance that whatever may happen in our nation and our world, His Body, those that are His disciples, will always have this freedom.  Remind yourself of what Jesus said in the above quote from John 8: 31 -32, to define His true disciples. Only when we know the Truth….note the capital letter to indicate Jesus, our Truth….can we lay claim to this precious freedom. To be infused and immersed in His Holy Spirit is to experience this freedom.

  • Freedom to love…..and the joy of being freed by love
  • Freedom to love even when hurt, misunderstood or unappreciated and freedom to love those I would not naturally choose to love
  • Freedom to receive forgiveness ….and the freedom to forgive
  • Freedom to drink in grace without limit …..and the freedom to release grace to all
  • Freedom to speak, accept, expect and live out His truth
  • Freedom to receive mercy for myself daily, hourly, each minute….and the freedom to extend mercy without thought as to who deserves it
  • Freedom to understand I don’t understand His mercy…it’s not human
  • Freedom from judgement from others, and against others
  • Freedom to walk in Godly discernment and wisdom, anytime, anyplace
  • Freedom to expect to live circumspectly and holy, knowing the Holy Spirit within me is able to accomplish this
  • Freedom to expect His ability to help me cope, endure and have victory over disturbance that enter my days
  • Freedom to trust He is working to mature and perfect me, and free to be patient as He works this out, in His time and in His way
  • Freedom to have confidence in knowing when to speak, how to speak, what to say and when to be quiet
  • Freedom to be graced and forgiven when I stumble, fall or fail
  • Freedom to meet anyone, anytime, and see them with His eyes and not just my own
  • Freedom from fear…period! No matter where it originates!
  • Freedom to live in His joy, favor and blessing each day
  • Freedom to bless others..in word and deed
  • Freedom to know the speed of His answer when I call on Him, and the freedom to wait with confidence when He delays
  • Freedom to know all things will eventually work to the good for those that love Him
  • Freedom to expect the manifestation of His power to be a norm in my life
  • Freedom from worry
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from defeat at the hand of the enemy, sin, self, and the world, albeit it be physical, emotional, financial, mental, or spiritual
  • Freedom to relish His heart of redemption..always, eternal and everlasting
  • Freedom to anticipate and expect His willingness to bless
  • Freedom to gain understanding as the Holy Spirit teaches
  • Freedom to expect the aging process of my life to be uplifted by His promises of strength, continued fruit bearing, and spiritual vitality
  • Freedom to know Jesus is the Author and Finisher of my faith..and I am freed from trying to make it happen
  • Freedom from the burden of failures from my past, and freedom to expect renewal, restoration and redemption  from Him always
  • Freedom to see His kingdom come, His will be done

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and I would appreciate hearing from you about your insights in His freedom. If our focus is on what we have, it will benefit what we do not have.

connecting with you,  in love

Donna

Salt, cinnamon and love?

With acknowledgement to those who have opened my mind with your amazingly creative blogs, I thank you! You have inspired, taught, amused and challenged me to contemplate writing  my own blog.  Do you ever get that urgency to share a delicious truth the Holy Spirit has given you?  I do! That new-found truth begins to bubble up inside me and rises to my lips, ready to flow out like a tumbling waterfall, rushing over rocks and boulders. Ask my family and friends how many times they have been caught in that flow! 🙂 I absolutely love talking about our Great and Awesome God, and listening  to new insights about Him and His word! When someone  shares a deeper way to look at His truths or to understand His character more fully, I am irresistibly drawn toward that inspired revelation. The  speedy world of Facebook, and other social networks, demand quick and witty replies, which frustrate me at times.   When you read  Salt Cinnamon and Love,  it will be the overflow from my heart, as life happens and lessons are learned, and will tend to be longer that a FB post 🙂 You get to choose if you want to read this blog or not, and I get the release to let the overflow spill forth with each typed word.

Now about the title!  This week, as I opened my spice cabinet, I observed that the salt and cinnamon were side by side. For some random reason, it struck me to meditate on these two distinct seasonings.  Most are familiar with the attributes of salt for preserving and healing. Cinnamon delights our taste buds with a refreshing flavor, and is recommended by many to reduce inflammation.   Then you factor in love, which restores and fixes what is broken and needy. Healing, refreshing, restoring, and loving are themes that resonant in my heart, and not naturally.  It is what the Holy Spirit is doing within me.  The assurance of His love is a welcome comfort for me after reading the news,  seeing and even feeling the pain of others, as well as experiencing life’s hits personally. Our Father’s love was meant to be poured into us, and then out of us, for His glory, and the blessings of many. Only the Holy Spirit can infuse my soul with this kind of love,  for those I don’t know, may not personally like, or may not like me.  It doesn’t matter. Life worth living is a love saturated life.

I’m learning as I go, and writing as I learn. When I write or share something the Lord is teaching, it re-enforces the lesson for me. I also believe there are those who share these same beliefs and I yearn to join with kindred hearts. If you are looking for grammatical correctness, or a spelling queen bee, or even a deep theological mind….sorry! I will try my best to write with clarity.  However, you can expect  honesty, passion and devotion to Jesus. So, thus I begin!

Looking forward to connecting with you… with love!

Donna