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I Won’t Relent

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The sun is slowly rising in the East over the Judean Desert mountains. I say slowly, but really it is rising at the perfect pace at which you sent it. The mountains are a soft, gray silhouette surrounded by a very faint blue into a pale, blush pink as the sky rises behind them. They’re ancient mountains, set in place since the beginning of time. Their shape may have changed over millennia, but their place has not. And just as they watched over Abraham close to 4,000 years ago, they watch over me now.

If the many stones and grains of dust could speak they would tell of a man and his family. An ordinary man with an extraordinary calling. A man of faith whose woman had many sorrows. They would tell of the bitter tears she cried and the strength of his embrace as he tried to comfort her. He was a man who acted in haste. A man who received forgiveness and through whom we all may receive salvation. He was a friend of God.

The sun continues to rise. Its colors are soft. Like sidewalk chalk sprawled across a residential walking path. They’re not quite the vibrant oil pastels smudged into a white canvas I was hoping for. But still, they captivate me. They hold my attention. And although I can see my breath before me and my skin is prickled with cold, I remain atop this balcony because I know before me is a lesson for the ages.

I breathe in the clean desert air as camels and donkeys sing in the distance accompanied by the crowing of a lonesome bird in harmony with a howling dog.

Today’s sunrise delivers a message to me. The sun rises in purity. It is not tainted by the opinion of the people it overshadows. It is 6:34 a.m. I’ve been sitting atop this sukkah awaiting its arrival for 15 minutes. And it arrived exactly when you sent it to.

If I stand now and say,

“Sun, I’ve been waiting for you for 15 minutes! You’re late!”

It doesn’t dim its brilliance, nor sink and inch and apologize. No! It continues to rise, never lacking one fragment of purpose.

If I prefer that it hold its rays another hour so that I can sleep in, it only continues to rise. It is defiant. It was sent on this day and at this time for a purpose designed by the God of the universe and it will not relent. And tomorrow’s sunrise is not affected by whether or not today’s colors and brilliance appeal to the desires of man.

You send it each day to serve many specific purposes: to give light and warmth and to cause life to grow and reproduce. And each day in boldness and radiant confidence it rises in pure unadulterated purpose.

My Lord, how many times have I hung my head, or slumped my shoulders, or hidden my tears, and turned from your purpose for me? And as I sit in this desert place where many a prophet heard from you, my mind still grows restless by the echo of old words.

“Your ways are too radical.”

“Your style is too emotional.”

“Your passion seems condemning.”

I stand before an unrelenting sun, yet I’m tempted to hide because of the opinions of man.

Lord, forgive me for digging my heels in behind this mountain. Forgive me for watching my surety die and for willingly burying it where it fell. You are the resurrection and the life. I implore you by your own mercies, breathe life upon it once more. I tune my ears to your voice and no longer to the opinions of man. Give me grace to rise in your time, surrounded by your brilliance, to perform your purpose in unmarred purity. I am yours and you say of me,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

It’s 6:50 a.m. There she is in incandescence. Today her train is a soft, yet auspicious yellow. Tomorrow it may be blush, or violet. Regardless, she’ll be resolute. She’ll fulfill her purpose without hesitating. Just as I will.

 

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The Adventures of Ellie & Bobo (Story I)

Hi friends! The following is a story I’ve written for children. I began this series several years ago and would love to share it with you monthly for feedback. All of the stories will come out of Proverbs as a way to teach children lessons on wisdom. My hope is to one day find an illustrator and have this series published. Please read it to your children or children you know. I’d love their feedback and yours.

The Adventures of Ellie & Bobo

Character backgrounds: Once upon a time there lived two sisters, but this story is not about the sisters. It is about their trusted Buddies – Ellie & Bobo. Ellie is a soft-spoken, dainty, stuffed Elephant, and Bobo is her best friend. He is very loving, very strong, and somewhat dopey. He is a rather large, stuffed monkey. Every time Ellie & Bobo are out of sight from the sisters a miracle happens!

Story I – not titled

One morning Ellie & Bobo woke up late. This hardly ever happened. Bobo rubbed his eyes as the bright sun shined in from the large bedroom window. “What time is it, El?” he asked Ellie.

Ellie sat on the edge of the bed with her mouth wide open in surprise, staring at a small pink and yellow clock. “It’s already 10:30!” she said in horror.

“Where are the girls?” Bobo asked.

Ellie found a letter left on the night stand and read it aloud.”

 

Dear Ellie & Bobo,

            We are going to visit Gramma and Grampa today. We’ll be back tonight.

 

                        Love you,

                        Eden &Leia

 

Suddenly Bobo got a huge smile on his face and asked Ellie, “Do you know what this means?”

“Time for an adventure!” Ellie shouted as she danced around the room.

They hopped off the bed and tiptoed out of the bedroom. After double-checking that no one was home, they skipped down the hallway into the playroom. There were slides to slide down, cars to drive, books to read, pictures to draw, and mats to tumble on. Ellie & Bobo played to their hearts content without realizing how quickly time had passed until their tummies growled with hunger.

 

“Huh? Did you hear that?” Bobo asked Ellie.

“It’s your tummy, silly. You’ve played so hard you’ve worked up an appetite and so have I,” she said.

“Let’s eat!” they said as they locked arms and bounded down the hall toward the kitchen.

They rummaged through every cupboard and drawer and the refrigerator:

“Nothing good.”

“Nothing good.”

“Eww! Gross!”

“How old is this?”

“Do people really eat this stuff?”

And then they came to one particular cupboard. They opened it up and their mouths watered. This cupboard contained all of their favorite foods: candies, cookies, chips, and chocolates! They ate their way to the back of the cupboard until they realized there was no back to this cupboard! This cupboard led to a very special place where everything was made of sweets and could be eaten! Their eyes widened in surprise when they realized that the grass they were walking on was made of marshmallow and the trunks of the trees were fudge. Every flower was a different colored gumdrop, and the stream that ran along side them was grape soda! Very slowly Bobo picked a flower and popped it in his mouth. Ellie watched him to see what would happen. And just as slowly as he ate that flower, a huge smile appeared upon his face.

“Ellie, you’ve got to eat a flower,” he said handing her a bright purple flower.

Ellie popped the flower in her mouth and with delight moved to pick a leaf off a nearby tree. “Try this leaf and tell me what you think.”

Bobo ate the leaf, “Yummy! Tastes just like a potato chip!”

Ellie & Bobo ran and skipped and danced through this special place eating everything in sight. And suddenly it happened. Just as Ellie reached for a licorice tree branch, Bobo reached for the same one. Ellie yanked, and Bobo yanked harder. Bobo gave Ellie a mean look and Ellie gave Bobo one right back. The fight was on! They tumbled and rolled all around, neither one of them letting go of this one tree branch. All of a sudden they heard a loud “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrip!” And Ellie started to cry.

“My seams are tearing!”

Bobo got a sick feeling in his tummy and they heard another “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip!” This time the sound was much louder.

“Mine are too!” shouted Bobo.

“What’s happening to us?” asked Bobo.

“I think we’ve eaten too much!'” Ellie said. “I don’t feel very well.”

They sat on the marshmallow grass in this not-so-special-anymore place with upset tummies and didn’t say a word to one another for a while.

Ellie started to feel sorry for the way she behaved. “Bobo, I was being so selfish and thinking only of myself. I saw all the pretty, tasty treats and wanted them so badly I stopped being nice to you.”

“I did the same thing and I ate so much I made myself sick,” Bobo said. “What should we do now?” he asked.

“I think the best thing we can do is learn our lesson. We were being selfish and selfish people cause trouble, Bobo. I don’t want to cause trouble for people, especially not for you. You’re my best friend” Ellie said.

“You’re my best friend too, El. It’s so easy to be selfish and it feels so good at the time. It’s hard to think of others before I think of myself,” Bobo said with tears filling his very sorry eyes.”

“I know what you mean, Bobo. But we are lucky that God will help us remember others, if we ask Him to.” Ellie replied.

And right there in the middle of chocolate, gumdrops, and marshmallow Ellie & Bobo got down on their knees and prayed.

“Dear God, we’re very sorry for being so selfish. We were only thinking of ourselves and we were not thinking of each other or of you. Please help us not to be selfish and to think of others. Please heal our tummies and put us back together. We love you. Amen”

Bobo opened his eyes and looked at looked at Ellie. “Ellie! You’re seams are stitched again!”

“Yours are too, Bobo!”

“And my tummy doesn’t hurt anymore,” Bobo said.

“Neither does mine!”

They held hands and danced around in a circle before heading back to the cupboard.

Later that night when the sisters returned home they found their children’s Bible laying open on their bed displaying these words:

Selfish people cause trouble, but you will live a full life if you trust the LORD. Proverbs 28:25.

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