Category Archives: Natural and Revelation

God has given me explanations of heavenly and earthly things through creation and created things. They have helped me understand Him better, and most of these I feel are to be shared.

Waiting on a Sleeper to Arise

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I have been sitting, biding the time, waiting for my son to finally wake up and realize that he is hungry so that I can feed him and spend time with him.  I am longing to spend time with him–I just love to be with him.  I think that is how God waits for us.  He patiently waits for us to wake up and realize we need spiritual food from him–that we need him to feed us.  And he just loves to spend time with us, just to be with you and me.

Maureen Silveyra 10/19/2012

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Missing the Bed

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I walked in the darkness back to my room. Usually we had a night light on but the bulb had burned out. I tried not to think too much so I could fall back asleep right away. I obviously succeeded at not thinking too much because, as I lay back down on my bed, my bed was not there! I fell through the air to the floor, crashing into my 3 year old’s box of toys as I landed. Hopefully no one heard that.

“Are you OK?” came from my sleepy husband. He had heard. I found where my bed actually was and assessed the situation. I had pulled a muscle pretty badly but otherwise, I was alright. As I pondered how that had happened, I realized that I had tried to lay down where our bed had been a few months before.

Have you ever done that? As I was thinking about how foolish I was, I realized that wasn’t the first time I had done something like that…you can “miss the bed” spiritually too.

Many years ago, I had a small credit card debt from buying a computer (it was about $1200). I didn’t have a big income and I expected it was going to be a long while before I paid it off. When Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast hard, I made the decision to go down and help out with relief efforts. I quit my job, and wondered how I would pay off this debt. As I worked down there, God provided for me. I made sure that any money people gave to me to support me was not used to pay off my debt, and even still I paid it off far faster than I expected to when I had an income.

That experience made me believe that if I got into debt but was doing the things of God, that God would pay off my debts. I relied on what I thought I knew about God several years later while I was teaching at an impoverished inner city school. I used my credit card to buy things I needed for the classroom and my school children, and expected since they were for a good cause, that God would pay it off. Well, it took me a couple of years to repay this debt, and God did not do a miracle to help me settle it…it took some hard work from my new husband and myself to pay it back.

This is where I could just get mad at God for not coming through for me when I was doing work for him, but that would be a bit like getting mad at my bed for not being there when I tried to lay down on it. God does not change…the Bible tells me so. God’s promises do not change, like the size of my bed. It doesn’t change, it is always there. I can rely on it if I only know where it is! That is why it is ever so important to go back to the Word of God written in the Bible. When we go off-track in understanding God, it isn’t because he has changed, frequently it is because we forgot what the word really says about a matter. I trusted in God’s grace over his word. He says “Be in debt to no one” but I trusted on his grace to me at an earlier time as being a rule above his word.

But I was not relying on his promises, I was relying on his grace. Say that you have the rule in your house that your children can have television time once they make their beds. Your child fails to make his bed one day, but he had helped out around the house in other areas and has been a pretty good guy. You might say “That is okay, go ahead and watch your show on tv today.” That is grace. But if your child starts to believe that he no longer really needs to make his bed to be able to watch a show, it is likely you will find the need to remind him of the rule. He is relying on your grace rather than on the rule you have established.

Grace changes. If you try to lie down on the bed of grace where you did last time, you will crash to the floor. There are no rules for grace or it wouldn’t be grace, it would be a promise. The promises of God are trustworthy. Let us keep in God’s word so that we know where the bed is.

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Losing Marbles

Lil asked me if I had any marbles she could borrow. I did. I had my special jar of marbles that had been my own since I was her age, so I took a few of them out and loaned them to her. I didn’t give her my favorite ones because I was fairly sure I might not get them back.

The following week, I found De, her brother, rolling my marbles under couches and furniture and down holes in floors, and I was glad I hadn’t loaned Lil anything of greater value to me because my distrust was warranted.

Nonetheless, I gave Lil and De another chance. They were going on a trip to see their family in Mexico, and so I thought it would be a nice thing for them to borrow my travel size Connect Four game for the long journey. They loved it! They began to playing it right away. I reminded Lil to take good care of it because I wanted it back with all of the pieces still there. Only ten minutes later, I heard all of the pieces hit the floor as De got upset at losing.

I was not happy, but what a perfect opportunity to show Lil and De how to treat things that belonged to others!

De began blaming his sister for the mess so vigorously that I knew for certain he did it. Finally, once he was able to listen, I asked him how he would feel if he loaned me his very favorite dinosaur book, and while I was borrowing it, I tore out some of the pages, and then gave it back to him. He thought fairly about it and said, “I would be mad, and think you needed to buy me a new Dino Data book…and maybe also give me a million dollars.”

“Yes, that is similar to how I feel about loaning you this game. And do you remember how you lost my marbles? I feel like that about them too. It isn’t that these things are worth a lot of money or anything, but they do mean something to me, and if you don’t take care of things of little value, how can I let you borrow things that are much more important and valuable to me?”

Do you ever think that that is how God deals with us? Sometimes he gives us gifts or talents that we are not using or treating properly.  He may or may not take the things away, but he certainly won’t trust us with deeper things. I believe God had a lot more he wants to give to us, but how are we treating the things of lesser value that he has already given to us?

Will we be like the man given many talents in the parable who is given many? Or will we abuse what we have currently, and have what little we have taken away?

If we have been taking things God has given us for granted, the first good step is to do what De did when I confronted him on losing my marbles. He gave me two treasures of his to try to apologize—a dinosaur tooth and a cool rock he had found. We need to ask God for forgiveness for treating the stuff he has entrusted us with poorly, and then we begin to honor him by honoring the small things he has given us.

What things of value to God are you not treating as valuable…your gifts of math, speaking, teaching, or the arts?…your coworkers?…your job?…your children?…your spouse? Can we show our Heavenly Father that we value his blessings enough that he will entrust us with more?

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The High Calling of Waste Management

I heard a loud crash of metal, and looked up to find the origin of this unpleasant noise.  I scoped out my surrounding to find that there was a garbage truck, emptying the dumpster from a nearby business into the large garbage truck, but it was losing a lot of garbage as it was doing its work, and making a very big mess in the process of cleaning up the garbage of others.

A reality hit me here.  We often do the same thing with the messes in the lives of people around us.  People do things that hurt us or they live a destructive life that does harm to others.  Likely we, ourselves, have hurt others and done things that brought destruction to others lives to differing degrees…after all, that is what sin is, and we are “all sinners.”

But what happens when someone asks for forgiveness, maybe cleans up their act, gets their life straight, starts making healthy and not destructive choices?  Well, in essence, they have picked up their trash, and have put it in the dumpster, for removal.

But what happens next is what I began pondering.  Like the garbage worker, we may facilitate taking out other people’s trash–especially if we are in ministry in the church in any way.  Did you know the job as garbage disposer is an important one?  This may not seem like a great responsibility, but it is.  It is in how we deal with the garbage, that we either make a big mess out of it for others, or we neatly assist in bringing the trash to where it belongs in the first place.

I Corinthians addresses the sexual sin of one of the members of the fellowship, and essentially says that that sin needs to be “cleaned up.”  The Apostle Paul said that the church needed to “expel the immoral brother” from the fellowship.  The church was being affected by the garbage of sin within the community.  But it would seem from 2 Corinthians, that the guy at fault here actually turned his life around and was grieved by his actions when the community of believers expelled him from their company.  So he had thrown his garbage in the dumpster, finally.  This believer had put it in the right place and was ready to get rid of sin in his life.

Now comes the reaction—this is where the trash workers come in.  The community of believers did not seem to know what to do with this response.  Paul had only told them to expel the man from their lives, but didn’t give them instructions about what should happen if he turned his life around.  Now what?  Do you keep on punishing someone?  Do you bring up their sin?  Do you treat them badly because of their past?  Do we continue to ignore someone after they have made things right?  How we deal with the sins of others is so very important.  This was the point at which they would decide if they would throw the trash of another man on the ground too, and dispose of the sin badly, or if they would totally and neatly pick up his mess and take it out of the town.

Paul said that a little bit of yeast works through the whole batch.  Unforgiveness is like that, too.  If we do not forgive when someone turns their hearts back to God’s standards and back to his people, then we are the ones that have a garbage problem now, not them.  We are making a mess out of the garbage that was taken to the right place in the first place.

What should our response be?  Paul let the Corinthians know the proper response.  He said, “If anyone has caused grief…the punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.  Now, instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” (2 Corinthians 2: 5-8 NIV)
Love is the right response in waste management.

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Seeing the Signs More Clearly

At twilight, I drove from my house, thinking it wasn’t quite dark enough for needing headlamps on, but turned them on anyway. As I did, the stop sign at the end of my block lit up in reflection of my lights. I realized that, though I thought I could see, all the signs were much clearer with my lights on!

There is a passage in the Bible that says this:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2 (NIV).

When we are living transformed by God, and not in the “patterns of this world,” we are shining the light of the Kingdom of Heaven. This not only is a blessing to others, but allows us to see more clearly the heavenly signs God places before us to guide us into his will. When we are walking closely with the Lord, the signs he gives us “light up” and we cannot miss his direction!

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Lots of Bread

My friend Fred, our custodian, came in with a big garbage bag of over his shoulder like Santa Clause one Wednesday morning. “This was delivered here this morning for our old tenants. ” They had moved out of our programming space several weeks earlier. “It is full of bread. I think I’ll just throw it out.”

“Wait! No!” I cried out. Certainly there were people in this city who could use some food. I looked inside the bag to find more individually wrapped muffin tops, loaves of artisan bread and other goodies that looked as though they had been discarded by a coffee shop or a bread shop. This was a treasure. “I’ll take care of it, leave it here.” Fred gave me a skeptical look but placed it on the visitor’s chair in the church office and then walked out.

I first called the organization that had been our tenants. They had no need of the bread. “Give it away, if you want to—we don’t need it.”

I figured in this city, with so many food distribution programs, it would not be difficult to a place that could put the bread to good use so I got to work by calling the food pantry that we send our canned goods to. They did not want it. I called a small church plant in the city, and they did not want it. “We are only a small church plant—we cannot use it all.” Then I called the church that I belong to (a different church than where I work), and they were willing to take it because they already have a bread pickup program, but people come for bread on Tuesdays, and it was now Wednesday and no one would be coming in for another week. I knew it would spoil by then.

Pastor suggested contacting our neighborhood block groups. They might know someone…but they didn’t. I contacted a member whom I knew would be very passionate about making sure this bread got out to where it was needed. She was passionate and made several phone calls which yielded similar results to that which I was finding.

I was very frustrated. In a city where there are so many people homeless, how is it that we are unable to find a way to get the food out to them? I wanted to just go out on the streets with the bread and talk to people, handing it out myself; but my schedule for my next job of the day would not allow for it. I felt a great urgency in being a good trustee of the bread—it felt profoundly symbolic to me spiritually. “If a church is unable to distribute the blessing of bread to the needy, how can it be entrusted with greater spiritual bread—the encounters from heaven?” If we are unable to steward the simple things we are given, why should God give us more? The number of churches—including ours—who did not have a way of dealing with the bread or who flatly refused it was overwhelming.

My phone rang. I received an unexpected call back from one of our neighborhood groups. Morona, who had originally said they had no one to distribute the bread to was on the line with good news. She found a place that would distribute the bread with the food that they always served to the needy of our city. Morona was gracious enough to pick it up and drop it off there as well. That little ministry which I could not even find on the internet, wherever it is, knows how to accept the blessings from heaven, and will be able to distribute the greater things to those who are spiritually hungry. They have been faithful in the little things, and will be given greater “talents” because they know how to invest what they are given.

Lord, make us ready to invest what you give us at inconvenient moments or in unusual ways wisely so we can be faithful to steward what you are doing here on earth! Amen.

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Where the Birds Gather

Living on the reservation had been a very difficult thing for me.  Not only did my cultural behaviors clash with the culture I found myself in, but so did my personality of vivacity, playfulness and love of deep truthful talks with friends.

I worked where the “evils” of whites where constantly preached about and were talked down about, breaking down the already fragile bonds of friendship between those friends of different races.  (Not to say that we haven’t been people who have brought great atrocities on others—but there is a point where forgiveness is necessary and the love between peoples needs to be restored). After I began to notice my racist mindset toward my own people after being constantly indoctrinated with the negative talk—likely from the desire to remove myself from the hurtful words through disassociation from my culture—I realized I needed to get a healthier perspective again.  I left the reservation for the sake of sanity.

You may not have ever had to deal with not being accepted, but it is likely that most of you have to one degree or another.  And some of you have felt rejection for who you are all of your lives.  Some of you are just going through a season of feeling rejected.  Mine had been an intensely devastating season.

I was left wondering if it was wrong that I valued what I did, that I was how I was, if my culture was so wrong, and what was the right way to do things.  About half a year after returning home, my friends swept me away to a silent retreat where we were encourage to listen and talk with Jesus in an old abbey surrounded by a beautiful nature area.  Many people stayed around the abbey, but adventurer that I am, I went cross-country and looked for a little hide-away in the field or trees.  I found a delightful pond to spend time near, and was absolutely fascinated by what I saw there.

Birds of all types and sizes were gathered in and near the little cattail-lined pond.  Redwing blackbirds sat on the cattails and would then fly off.  A hawk soared overhead, gracefully above all of the feathery activity below.  One kind of bird would playfully soar close to the water with others of its type, seagulls flew in unordered groups not so gracefully as the other birds, and ducks and geese swam around the water or would walk up on the shore.

I saw how so very different each type of bird behaved.  Some were very regal, some were very fun, and yet they all gathered by the water harmoniously.  They could act different, and it was alright—that was how God had made them to be!

Suddenly I realized that people groups all have different styles and ways of acting, and none was the right way.  If God made birds to act so very differently from each other, then people, too, were valuable as different and unique cultures with their different values and perspectives.  In a way, valuing other groups was not an awakening to me—but being alright with my own group was a great awakening to my heart.  I related to the playful birds who would flutter and skim over the water.  There was nothing wrong with a playful spirit.  The Holy Spirit would gather all types of peoples together and all would benefit by the same pool of water.

Ezekiel’s vision of the kingdom of God:

“Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows.  There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.  Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets.  The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea.”  Ezekiel 47:9-12

Every Tribe, people and tongue will be gathered at the throne of God in heaven (Revelation).  God values diversity—his love will bring all cultures and people together in Him.  And best of all, even if people don’t value me, it doesn’t mean that I am wrong by being who I am, it only means they do not understand the ways of a different type of bird—at least not yet.

Lord!  Let us love each other beyond behaviors, values, and appearance.  Let Your Holy Spirit bring peace between your people, and peace to ourselves. Help us know that our personalities are loved and valued by you no matter if anyone else values us.  But I also pray you bring us to a place where were are valued by others too.  Amen!?

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