Monday, July 25
For forty days and forty nights...
The floor of the great abyss ruptured, spewing skyward enormous streams of steam from its belly. It roared in agony as it billowed into a surging mass of catastrophic power, pounding angrily against the ark, which cradled the nucleus of humanity in safety from the judgment upon the earth.
The once calm seas broke open their storerooms and heaved forth their reservoirs as frothing waves. Never having rained before, the windows of heaven now threw open their sluice gates, unleashing their inner resources as great torrents.
And the ark, listing from side to side, rose up with the waters.
“And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.” (Gen. 7:24 NKJV)
God then restrained the waters and made a wind to pass over the surface, and, as the waters began to decrease, the ark rested on top of Mount Ararat.
The definition for Ararat is interesting. The Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon says it means the curse reversed: precipitation of curse. Noah means “rest,” and its root word basically means to settle down, cause to rest, to deposit, and so on. As the curse reversed, the waters deposited the ark, causing it to rest on Ararat, and so, too, did Noah, probably heaving a big sigh of relief.
After months of the waters receding, Noah sent out a raven that went “to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.” (Gen. 8:7 NKJV) Noah also “sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.” (v.8 NKJV)
The dove went out into the world, searching upon the waters of “drifting waste of sin and judgment” (A. B. Simpson) for a resting place. But “the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot” (v.9a NKJV), so she returned to the ark. And Noah “put forth his hand and drew her to him into the ark.” (v.9a Amp)
“And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark.” (v.10a NKJV) This time the dove returned with an olive leaf, which is not only a symbol of peace and reconciliation but is also a symbol of prosperity, divine blessing, beauty, and strength. The sign that judgment had passed and peace was returning
Each time the dove returned, Noah welcomed her back, putting forth his hand, and drawing her to himself, to her resting place in the ark.
Isn’t that a comforting thought of our Lord? When we encounter chaotic circumstances, do we go out into the world searching for rest, peace, and satisfaction? We will not find them there.
The Lord’s graciousness to us is the same as Noah’s was to the dove. Christ is our Ark of safety, our resting place, and in our wanderings, He reaches out His nail-scarred hands and pulls us to Himself for comfort and protection. As scripture says, “The Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself.” (2 Tim. 4:18 Amp) Interesting. “Draw” means to rush or draw (for oneself), rescue, deliver, or preserve from.
He lovingly says to us, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jer. 31:3 NKJV) “In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved.” (Isa. 30:15 Amp)
Christ clutches His Bride in His eternal arms of love, “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” (Isa. 62:5 NKJV)
Do you roam the earth, flitting about from place to place in search of a place to light upon for rest, peace, or safety? Do you find it? In your unrest, let your weary wings take you back to the Lord, to seek that secure resting place in Him alone.
The Lord continually draws you to Himself by His Spirit. Return to the Ark and find rest unto your soul.
Thursday, July 21
***Hope you don't mind a rerun!***
One day, as I was bewailing a difficult circumstance, the Lord gave me this vision of His working in my life…
With shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, an old gold miner knelt beside a sparkling stream of water, bubbling with life. His weather-beaten hands clutched a sizable sieve like those used years ago for panning gold. On it rested a massive amount of dirt and rocks of all sizes, shapes, and hardness.
Undaunted, he knelt there, concentrating on the debris. Shaking the sieve with vigor, then again with tenderness, he continued his apparent mission, as if on a treasure hunt for some mysterious element.
The dirt and smaller pebbles slipped through the holes in the screen, disappearing downstream into waters that appeared to have a life of their own. The remaining larger, coarse rocks on the screen grated against each other, altering their appearance.
Tears began to trickle down his furrowed cheeks and fall upon the transformed rocks, washing away the leftover traces of dirt. An all-knowing smile gradually spread across his aged face. His eyes twinkled, reflecting the anticipated precious treasure, the golden gems now resting on the sieve.
He glanced up and whispered, “My Word is the screen sifting out all the impurities of your life, while the Living Waters wash them away. In My love for you, I am ever at work in your circumstances. As they rub against you, they transform you and rid you of those things that would dirty your life and taint your work for Me. As I remove them, you are made into that precious, golden gem, reflected in My eyes.”
Through this vision, the Lord showed me that, no matter what circumstances occur in my life, no matter how relentlessly they rub against me, He allows them all to be sifted through His Word, His love, and His fingers, changing me into His image and that golden reflection in His eyes.
“This means tremendous joy to you, even though at present you may be temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials. This is no accident - it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold…” (1 Peter 1:6-7a Phillips)
Monday, July 18
Sunday, July 17
What made you write I Called Him Dancer? Have you ever danced, taken lessons?
The only dance lesson I’ve received came when I was walking in the woods. A yellow cloud surrounded me and I began swatting yellow jackets like a break-dancer. Upon reflection, I don’t think I had the grace needed to make it big, so I quit after my first lesson. No more bees for me.
The inspiration for I Called Him Dancer came from a song performed by Tralena Walker and co-written by Tom Webster. I attended a meeting at the Atlanta Writers Club. Tralena and Tom were guest speakers. The topic was on how to write a story in lyrics for songs. Not my cup of Formosa Oolong, but at least it was entertaining. After performing the song, "Dancer," either Tom or Tralena said, “We’ve been looking for someone who will turn the song into a novel. We think it would make a great story.”
Until those words were spoken, I was a passive observer. I looked up and words were swarming around me like those yellow jackets. They attacked my head while I lay screaming on the floor. Okay, maybe I didn’t scream – but my mind did. In an instant, the story unfolded in my mind and I knew this was something I was to write.
I knew nothing about dancing (other than what the bees taught me). Tom and Tralena gave me the lyrics and I started researching and writing. I have to admit that I worried about the dancing scenes, but I knew things took shape when people began asking how I became so knowledgeable about dance. I thought back to the bees and said, “It’s just something that hit me while walking in the woods.”
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
When I was a child, I got my first book. I flipped through the pages, then tore it apart. I didn't know it at the time, but that's exactly what you do when editing a manuscript.
I hated writing when I was younger. I only did what I had to do, and sometimes not even that. Writers block was more like writers dementia. My mind didn't return to me until after ... hmm. What were we talking about?
In 1998, I became active in prison ministry. Many of the men I ministered to were eager to learn. Someone asked me if I had my studies or notes on paper. I agreed to write out the next study and then my writing career was born. The problem wasn't that I couldn't write. It was that I didn't have something to say. Or didn't realize I had something to say. Over time writing transformed from a task to a passion.
Is I Called Him Dancer your first fictional story?
My first fictional story was written in high school. It wasn’t supposed to be fiction, but hey, the best fiction looks like the real world, right? I’ll tell you the story.
In high school, I had a class that was dedicated to writing a 30 page research paper. I chose the topic, The Arms race between the US and Russia. It was the 1980s when the Cold War was still on everyone’s mind. We spent weeks in the library researching our topic. I say ‘we’ in the general sense. My research was sports and other useless browsing. At the halfway point, we had to turn in our research note cards. The teacher graded them and as she returned them, she said, “Some of you aren’t going to pass this class.” She paused in front of my desk as she said this, and then dropped my notecards on my desk. She continued, “You cannot write this paper with less than 70 research cards.”
I counted my cards. Seven. A very weak seven. This information must have shocked my brain, for I didn’t even think about this again until the teacher informed the class that the rough draft was due in the morning. “Holy cow! It’s due tomorrow?” I said.
After school, I visited a few friends, ate dinner, and watched TV. It was now nearly bedtime. No more goofing off. I sat down and began to write. The information flowed. I clearly needed more research sources, so I interviewed military experts born mere minutes ago. But hey, Colonial Imagination was still a source. I wrote thirty pages – somehow. And I got a good grade in the class. After all, no one had more expert sources than I did.
I should have known then that writing was in my future, but it would be more than two decades before I discovered a passion for writing.
Tell us a little about your book, I Called Him Dancer.
For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windows for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her. Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life. When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.
I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless friend, who has given up on life.
Who is your favorite character in I Called Him Dancer?
The character that inspired me the most is Kenyon. Many readers have stated the same. He’s human, struggling to do what is right, and lives by a genuine faith. At times he wrestles between what he knows God wants him to do, and what he wants. Kenyon is down to earth, not preachy, yet his life has an impact on others.
In the story I tried to present Christianity in an honest light. Many who claim to be Christians show hypocrisy and drive others (like the Dancer) away from the faith. This is a real problem in the Christian culture. Kenyon shows what sincere faith looks like. He’s far from perfect, but his simple faith impacts those around him. Kenyon’s sincerity is something the Dancer can’t understand and it piques his curiosity.
What would you like your readers to take away from this novel?
I want people to look at the reality of how faith impacts the world around us. Hypocrisy is being pretentious about faith, and there is a difference between failure and hypocritical behavior. Christians shouldn’t feel dejected when they fail. It’s part of this life of reaching upward.
Also, we all know someone who appears hopeless and hostile toward God, but we don’t know what the Lord is doing behind the scenes. Ultimately, hope is what everyone should take away. Hope that readers are not alone in their struggles. Hope that our lives can make an impact – even with our imperfections. Finally, hope that the people we care about are never out of God’s reach.
How can readers get in touch with you?
You can flash a light on the clouds that says, ‘Free chicken fingers,’ and I’ll play Batman music and come running. Some people prefer the simpler route of connecting with me on Twitter @eddiesnipes. My Facebook username is eddiesnipes. It might seem like a strange coincidence, but my LinkedIn name is also eddiesnipes. Even more crazy is my website: EddieSnipes.com On each of these, I just closed my eyes and typed out random keys. I might have peeked on a few letters. You can get the book through online bookstores or your local Christian bookstores.
~~I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by ChristianSpeakerServices.com
Thursday, July 14
Monday, July 11
Thursday, July 7
* This is part of SOAP from Moms Tool Box. As Amy says about SOAP, “It is a simple way to read through the Lord’s word, pray and reflect on just what He might be telling you in that passage.” It means this...
Does that sound like you? Running, returning? Running, returning? Is your day filled with kids’ sports practices or games, errands to run, committee meetings to attend, business meetings or home business functions to attend to, chores to do?
Do you flap your wings of busyness but don’t seem to get anywhere? Do you go in four different directions at once? Do you flit about but miss out on hearing God’s voice?
As I mentioned in a previous post, Are You Full of Dynamite?, a verse of scripture had captured my attention lately. Two other scriptures have also seized my thinking: the opening verse and this one...
“When they stopped, they let down their wings. And every time they stopped, there came a voice from the crystal sky above them.” (Ezek. 1:24b-25 TLB)
Hmmm...when they halted their fluttering, when they stood still and let down their wings, they heard God’s voice.
How does that apply it to us?
With unfurled wings, we flap around in frustration. We flit about doing our own thing. We dart sideways in anxiety. If we continuously flutter our wings of busyness, we have no time for the Lord in our schedule. And we will not hear His voice.
Energy is wasted. Time is lost. And eventually, we wear out.
As I searched for an image for this post, I came across the leadership site The Resurgence with an interesting article written by Dave Kraft entitled Busyness is the New Spirituality. While he mainly addresses leaders, his points are applicable to all of us. Three of his four main points state the causes of “bone-deep tiredness”...
* the inability to say no
* the inability to slow down
* the inability to simplify
As I searched further, I came across these interesting items...
* a book Too Busy for Your Own Good
* another book Freedom from Busyness
* an article on Family Life Radio Addicted to Busyness
* a Busyness Survival Kit
* and the book I’m sure you’ve heard of, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
This must be a growing problem, otherwise, these things would not have been written. The saying is so true: Master time or it will master you.
So, if we do not slow down and hit the delete button on a few things in our lives, we will become bone-tired or even burned out. Jesus took time to slow down and be with the Father, going off to the solitude and serenity of the mountainside or the gardens to pray. He also rested by the well. (You might enjoy reading my post on this entitled Come, Sit by the Well.)
Therefore, we need to let down our fluttering wings. Hush the din of confusion. Rest our harried minds. Get quiet in the presence of the Lord. Let a peaceful calm permeate us. And wait. Wait to hear the Voice of the Ages as He whispers those precious words of love, peace, and comfort to us.
We have the joyous privilege of seeking the face of the Creator of the universe! Does that thrill your soul? If not, it should. It should fill you with praise, gratitude, and thanksgiving that the King of kings is also thrilled to have you sit at His feet and listen to Him, just to spend time in His presence.
Distractions are everywhere. If we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will calm the chaos and bring harmony to our frustrated souls.
If we do the same as Jesus, to sit in stillness and pray, we sit by the well and dip into the Lord’s well to refresh ourselves with those Living Waters. As we sit, we may hear Him whisper to us...
“Do not rush into My presence looking at your watch. The busyness of life derails your attention. Let down the wings of your disquieted and busy spirit. Prepare by being still.
“I do not struggle to fit in with all the other voices of the world. I will not compete for the number one spot in your life. I will be found in quietness and stillness.
“If My people would take time to be with Me, they would hear those words of comfort and guidance for which they so desperately yearn. Be still and know.”
Be still and know. “Stand silent! Know that I am God!” (Ps 46:10a TLB)
Silent rearranged is listen. Do we do either?
Oh, how souls sadly lack when there is no time for the Lord. So much more is accomplished, with so little time expended, when one kneels in prayer...and listens!
“This is My Son, My Chosen One. Listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35 NLT)
Prayer: Lord, help me to make time to be with You, to block out the discord of the world, to still my spirit before I come to sit at Your feet. As I fold down my wings of busyness, I will hear Your sweet words of grace and peace.
Lord, may my time be Yours. And when the world swirls around me, diverting my attention from You, may my heart be drawn back to seek the comfort of Your presence.
May I be silent and listen. Amen!
Monday, July 4
What do those numbers mean? No, they’re not part of the lottery! Let’s start backwards...
*...65: Does your family share birthdays?
In our family, we have more than one member sharing the same birth date. Before my mother died, she, her aunt, my sister, and our daughter all shared the same January 23rd birthday. Our son shares his September 24th birthday with one of my nieces. My brother-in-law shares his September 25th birthday with his daughter, another niece.
I don’t get to share my birthday with anyone in the family. So today, it is my birthday!
*...54: This is a very special and eternal number: it is my spiritual birthday, which occurred when I was eleven years old in July of 1957 at Billy Graham’s crusade in New York City.
The other day when I opened one of the devotionals I read, Days of Heaven on Earth by A. B. Simpson, I turned right to July 5th, not once but three days in a row! I guess I needed the reassurance. The Lord blessed me with the opening scripture...
“A garden enclosed...” (Song of Solomon 4:12 NKJV) The New Living Translation puts it this way, “You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.”
What a special blessing as a birthday present from the Lord! The Husbandman ploughed the soil of my heart, broke up the dirt clumps of self, removed the stones of obstruction, ripped out the roots of cares and woes, and planted His seed of eternity in my soul!
In return for all He’s done, may my life produce the delectable fruit and the fragrant blossoms acceptable to the Gardener of my life.
One day, I received an ad in the mail, one of those perfume samples that you pull the flap back to get a whiff of the scent. This one tickled my funny bone, for on the flap was written, “Open for Eternity”!
It brought to mind several images, but then I thought, how appropriate, to have the sweet scent of Eternity upon me, for “As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us.” (2 Cor. 2:15 TLB)
May I be that sweet aroma in His nostrils!
*...45: This is another special one, though not today: July 15th is my, er, our 45th wedding anniversary.
After the ups and downs throughout the years, they are long forgotten, for the road is now smoothed out before us and each day grows sweeter and more precious.
Thank you, dear, for all these years!
*...3: And last: this blog is three years old. I want to thank each and every follower, subscriber, and reader for their continued encouragement and support. Each of you is prayed for and appreciated. Your comments make my day!
I thought it fitting that I celebrate these special occasions with a giveaway...
***$50 gift card***
Let me know you would like to be entered by leaving a comment on any blog post or the comment box in the left sidebar, and also on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Just be sure you mention the giveaway. It closes July 31st.
My prayer for you: “May the Lord continually bless you with heaven’s blessings as well as with human joys.” (Ps. 128:5 TLB)
Saturday, July 2
From our table...
While each of us picnics and celebrates, may we remember why we have a day off from work. May we remember the wars fought and the lives lost to keep this wonderful country independent and free. May our banner wave in liberation forever.
Have a wonderful celebration!