3- The Day After Noah

Part 3 of the series, God –The Love Story Autumn

With that Noah stood up and held out his hand to me. Reflexively I kissed it. He nodded slightly and said, “May we meet again in kingdom-come, my child.”

I whispered, “I hope so.” But before I could finish Noah had turned away and began to descend the boulders. I sat as still as the rock under me watching him go. His gait was as spry as if he was wearing shoes, which he wasn’t. I don’t know if I saw him actually disappear or if he merely went so far that I couldn’t see him anymore, or if my thoughts distracted me from seeing him disappear so mesmerized was I by the whirlwind in my mind.  

I knew that I was not ready to walk. Noah had given me a lot to think about so I sat there for one, maybe two hours trying to listen for my conscience. Suddenly I heard the buzzing sound of fairies. Had they been there all along? The largest fairy fluttered in front of my face. She looked so much like Tinkerbelle I had to chuckle with delight.

“You know he was right,” she said. “He’s a classic; that man did not make it this far being wrong!”

“Mine-Fairy,” I replied, “Are you my conscience?”

 She shrugged her little shoulders and said, “Let’s just say we’re related.”

 “May I ask you a question? If Christmas is in my heart, do I have to walk on those pebbles?”

“Dearie”, she said sounding slightly peeved with me, “You can’t sit here till Christmas or till kingdom comes. Because you still live in time, you must keep moving. The person who won’t move is like the man who hid all his talent because he was afraid to risk losing it.”

“Okay, if I’ll walk if I must, but what did he say about the pain?” I asked.

She fluttered over to my shoulder and landed, then whispered in my ear. “Try to remember. Look to see if Noah planted his words in your mind.”

I closed my eyes and thought as hard as I could. Sure enough, Noah’s words percolated to the surface, clear as crystal. ‘The pain of walking to Christmas is the pain of corruption and mortality.’ So, walking doesn’t have to be painful! If I can overcome corruption and mortality I can walk to Christmas or anywhere just as Noah did.”

“Right!” my fairy was so happy that I remembered what he said.

With the lines of communication fairly open to my conscience, or at least to Tinkerbelle, I was ready to move on to the second piece of Noah’s advice, to obey the commands. I was going to need a lot more help with this so I turned to look up at my fairy that by now was fluttering around the nearby olive tree. “What are the commands?” I shouted a bit to get her attention. “Did he mean the Ten Commandments; how did he even know them since he lived centuries before Moses?”

“Goodness-me! No wonder your feet hurt so much when you walk! Don’t you know anything? Noah didn’t need the tablets of stone because he simply did all that the Lord commanded him. That is how he distinguished himself from the rest of humanity. For you, it’s different. You need all the help you can get; the Ten Commandments are a start. But Jesus gave you about an hundred more commands. Remember what He said.”

 I was stumped. “Give me a hint.”

5- Likketysplit

Part 5 in the Series God-the Love Story Autumn

I felt very different as I descended the boulder, almost looking forward to the challenge of the pebbles. The spirit of Noah was with me, I could tell. When my left foot landed back on the pebble path I looked up to the heavens to tell God for the millionth time how much I love Him.

So enrapt was I, trying to think of new expressions of worship that I was about an hundred yards away from the boulder before I realized that I had been walking on the pebbles again.

That’s when I knew it was time to think about the commands. I remembered my own father often asked, ‘How can you say you love me when you don’t obey me?’ I used to think he said that just to coerce me into doing what he wanted me to do, things I hated such as eating dandelion greens with lemon or hugging my mean sister. I didn’t understand love then as I do now.

I now know that the commands, I mean obeying them aren’t meant to cause me displeasure or even discomfort; they are meant to destroy me.

God taught me that true loves involves a little murder and a little suicide. It is cooperative annihilation, like dying on a cross that someone else nailed you too, but you let him. Anything less than true love is only passion, or fantasy, or infatuation: all that dissolvable stuff, all that mortal stuff.

I want God to know that I truly love Him and want to be immortal like Him so while walking to Christmas I tried to think about the commands that I rather want to ignore.

I admit that from time to time my feet hurt, even to the point that my knees would buckle. But instead of giving in to the pain this time, I used it as a signal to tell God another reason He was awesome.

My big problem wasn’t sore feet anymore; it was that I didn’t remember all the commands. I needed fairy-help (again.) “Uh, Tinkerbelle are you here?” Poof, she and her two sisters appeared instantly.

“Yes dearie, we are here. What do you need?”

“Do you know the commands?”

“We know someone who does!” the littlest fairy said with mischief in her voice.

Suddenly I saw a most interesting sight. Tinkerbelle reached behind her wing and pulled out a tiny little whistle which she proceeded to blow as hard a she could, only I heard no sound at all. Yet, a small man, maybe he was a leprechaun, materialized in front of my eyes. He was dressed like Napoleon or Captain Blye, I’m not quite sure which, but he looked very much like a tiny commander. I tried hard not laugh at him. He was so cute! He had fine wavy brown hair that peaked out from under his commander’s hat. He was very solid, surprisingly solid since he had just materialized, but he was not fat or thin, although who could tell with all those pleats in his costume.

“Dearie” exclaimed proud Tinkerbelle, “I want you to meet the commander. He will walk with you for a while and teach you the commandments. Whatever you do, don’t argue with him!”

I have no idea what made her think I would argue with him, but instead of attempting to correct my reputation, I simply replied that I would never think of arguing with such person. Before I could finish Tinkerbelle and her two sisters flew away leaving me with this strange little commander.

7- Wartime in Lalaland

Part 7 in the series God the Love Story Autumn

I could not believe that the Commander was leaving me! He had hardly taught me any of the commands. I didn‘t know whether or not I should get up and chase after him? I still didn’t know enough of the commands to be able to resist corruption and mortality. I felt doomed. As my mind grappled with these thoughts he was getting farther away from me and it would be harder to catch up on those awful pebbles. I had no choice so why was I wasting time?

Without another thought I stood up and tried to run after him. My feet hurt terribly but I couldn’t allow myself to think about that.

“Commander, wait for me! I need you! Please don’t go!” I shouted as loud as I could.

To make matters worse a forceful cold wind blew in from the mountainside. I wasn’t prepared. The wind was getting stronger and stronger. It was a tornado-wind and not empty either, sand from under the pebbles filled the air so I could hardly see as I tried desperately to scurry up to the commander who never even looked back for me.

“Fairies help me!” I shouted as my body pushed against the wind. This time they didn’t come.

“You will never make it! He left you because you are a pathetic creature. You dare to aspire for immortality and yet you cling to your ego and your lusts.”

“What! Who said that?” Those words were so hurtful; I didn’t know if they came from my own mind or if I was being haunted by a demon.  

“Go away, I hate you!” I shouted at the air as I tried to run on the pebbles through the sandy wind.

Again the faceless voice tried to torment me, louder it said, “Don’t you know why he left you? How you insist in having it all your way, you write your scripts and follow them, you judge everyone around you by your own standards, and condemn them when they fail to be exactly like you. You refuse to die to self. You wouldn’t be caught dead on a cross. Hopeless, you’re hopeless and the little man didn’t want to waste any more of his time on you, nor did he want to argue with you. That’s not his way.”

I was still running but the Commander was no longer in sight. The pain in my feet became too great and the voice too strong for me so I collapsed to cry. I covered my head with my arms to try to protect myself from the voice. I cried louder and louder so I wouldn’t have to hear the voice. No matter how loud I cried, I could still think. Perhaps the voice was right. I remember trying to challenge the Commander when I asked him if God could love me as I was, and not as the person the commands wanted me to change into.  Then I could see that God wanted me to practice holy-cooperative-suicide, the likes of which accompanied Jesus on the cross and as long as I insisted on being myself and lazy at that, I failed God’s purpose. I could no longer be called a true aspiring immortal, perhaps only a highway Christian.

At that point in my thoughts, I felt a hand touch my shoulder. In fear I cried louder hoping it would go away and leave me alone in my misery. I may as well even give up trying to go to Christmas I thought. Life is over for me. I will succumb to corruption and mortality like everyone else. That thought brought more tears and louder sobs. Who was I to think I could ever hold the infant Christ in my arms? The touch turned into a tap. I had forgotten that perhaps I was not alone.

Whether it was bravery or utter surrender I do not know but I lifted my head out of its cave of arms and could hardly believe what I saw. The Commander and a fairy stood over me.

“Get up!” he ordered. “We have work to do! There are others you must meet on this path before you can get to Christmas and we are almost there. You can’t afford to spend too much more time learning the commands. Get up I tell you. You mustn’t dawdle. Study this.” And he threw a small book at my feet.” 

8- The Mark

Part 8 of the Series, God the Love Story Autumn

The book that the commander tossed at my feet was square, about seven inches on each side. It looked home-made because it was put together with a golden ribbon that wound its way through punched holes at the top and on the cover it only had a big sticker of an angel child wearing a hooded coat with a Christmas tree in her arms. Hand written letters titled this odd book, The Mark.  In a fog of disbelief that the commander returned to me, and that my chase was over, I simply looked up at him and stared. Even the wind had stopped. Was I forgiven?

“Don’t just ogle me; read the book! It doesn’t get any clearer than this! You want to know the commands, read them, study them. Eat them, for Christ’s sake!” I hugged the little book and kissed it to show my gratitude, tears still trickling from my eyes.

Then I lifted the cover to find a page that said, ‘This book is for people who like very deep and complex subjects made extremely simple.’ Well then that was for me, I thought. The next page listed the fruit of the Holy Spirit which are Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Longsuffering. Mildness. Fidelity. Modesty. Continence. and Chastity. Under this oval shaped list was a quote of Jesus from John, the Evangelist that read “Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit because apart from me you can do nothing.

My mind bounced back and forth from Jesus’ words to each kind of fruit wondering what the fruit had to do with the commands. I supposed that if I memorized the commands, but more than that, if I let the commands change me, it would be exactly like Jesus living inside of me instead of just me in me. The fruit would be the test, like testing a math problem: addition with subtraction and subtraction with addition. I always liked math because truth lives in math! Me + commands = fruit. Fruit - commands = me. Following those thoughts I was more anxious than ever to read the commands.

The next page demanded more patience because it was the introduction and still not the commands yet.

Since you can’t see the book, here is some of what it said:

The commands of Jesus point the way to the perfect life. The perfect way of thinking, behaving, relating, accomplishing, and living of the eternal life which begins on earth. Time and again Jesus referred to the necessity to obey His commands. These commands of Jesus are the target, the mark, which - being his words – actual describe Himself. In other words, Jesus is the mark and his commands are the mark. To obey His commands is to hit the mark and thus become like Him. To deny them, ignore them, overlook them or rationalize them away is to miss the mark (sin). To attempt, no matter how poorly, to hit the mark is the Christian way of life.”

There was more to the introduction but I was anxious to get to the commands so I flipped through the pages. Finally, on page seven the commands began. They were numbered one to ninety-five. Each command had its Gospel reference. Most commands had more than one reference.  Here are a few:

1. Be mild, patient, longsuffering.

2. Be generous.

3. Make and maintain peace.

As I read the commands a funny thing happened. I got bored! Imagine that! All of this chasing and crying and sore feet and here I was looking the commands smack in the face and I wanted to find a better book, maybe Huckleberry Finn or something.

4. Don’t swear.

5. Don’t resist the evil man (who injures you); if anyone strikes you, turn the other cheek (and let him hit that on too.)

6. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

“AAahem!” the commander cleared his throat to speak. I had forgotten all about him! Upon hearing my thoughts, He said, “It is also boring reading football plays, and war strategy. All of these things mean the most when they are needed. You will understand. For now memorize, so when you are in a situation, you will know what to do. You must develop the discipline of an athlete or a soldier to become a true disciple!”

Geez, I felt like I should salute him when he said that! Instead I looked up and asked the commander if I could keep the book to study on my way to Christmas.

“The book is yours,” the commander replied. “but get up and be on your way. Christmas is around the corner and I must leave you.” He reached for my hand to help me up and then he squeezed it with unusual strength for such a small figure of a man. Without another word the commander turned and headed west.  

Obediently, I resumed my journey while trying to memorize the commands. As I walked I looked up from time to time and wondered how I could ever change so much.

7. Love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you.

8. Be perfect; grow into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character.

9. Forgive people who have sinned and don’t be resentful.

10. Do not judge, criticize, or condemn others.

11. Be on guard against men whose nature it is to act in opposition to God. 

9- Precious Mercy

Part 9 in the Series, God the Love Story Autumn

I have come a long way since deciding to take the most isolated and difficult road to Christmas. Never in a million years did I expect to meet Noah. When I started this trek I didn't even know that to overcome mortality I had to listen to my conscience, obey the commands, and gain spiritual sight. All I knew then was that I wanted to become immortal and that at Christmas God would come to earth to make immortality possible.

Listening for my conscience was not so very hard to do, but these commands are another story. "Don't resist the evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other [and let him hit that one too]; and if anyone wants to sue you give him even more than what he is asking for; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. If someone steals from you, don't demand it back. Don't worry about the future. Don't get divorced or marry a divorcee." (Mt5, Lk6)

Yesterday, I promised the commander that I would memorize these ninety-five commands so I will, but obeying them all is out of the question, especially in this day and age.

"Right-o!" chirped a little troll from behind me.

"Where did you come from?" I said masking my alarm with irritation.

Without reply he asked, "Are you talking to yourself?"

"No, Iím dictating my Journal entry. You happen to have intruded on my writing the Journal of an Aspiring Immortal; now go away!"

Ignoring banishment, the troll said, "Everyone decides for him or herself which commands to obey, and which they will dismiss. As for the acceptable commands, most are only for pretense. They fully expect to fail and ask for mercy like a crutch to fall back on because of their weakness or some other excuse. But is it weakness or hubris?"

"Did you hear me tell you to go away? You have no credibility troll!" I replied. And to myself I said, "How dare this imp interrupt my train of thought?"

"Correct me if I'm wrong humanoid, but credibility means NOTHING to you. When I entered you were saying that you didn't intend to obey God's commands. So why should I obey your command to leave?  I will not go away. Your little world will have to include me whether you want it to or not!"

It was true that I had no choice concerning who lives in my world. If I did I would certainly not admit this rude argumentative troll.

Continuing to taunt me the troll said, "Lucky for God that He decides who will live happily ever after and not you. When the moment comes for the narrow gate to the land of immortality to open who will pass? Will it be the aspiring immortals that focus on trimming themselves with the commands or will it be the fat cats who lay back and ask for mercy all day long? Mmm... I wonder?" [Command #35. Enter through the narrow gate -contracted by pressure and the way is straightened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are they who find it. [Zondervan Amplified Mt 7:14, Jer21:8, Deut 30:19]

The troll was really beginning to annoy me now.  "You are too hard on me. I am washed in the blood of the Lamb who set me free from sin and death. Jesus said, "In the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. I expect everyone to ignore most of the commands so I do too."

I thought that was a good answer, but the troll ignored it and went on with his tirade. "You walk to Christmas in joyful anticipation, a Christmas you can't even comprehend.  Christmas was actually more degrading than the Cross! Divesting himself of the flesh -- okay, but divesting himself of His power and wealth to become human, well, that is Credibility worthy of your obedience. Jesus led the way to become smaller for the greater good." And to show that he had heard me the troll exclaimed,"The Blood of Christ made immortality possible yes, but the Blood is not to be used as a license to ignore His commands, and His example. Don't fool yourself to death, mortal."

"What I have against you," said the troll relentlessly, "is that you don't even try. Is mercy magic that makes your duplicity appear to be sincerity?" [Command #87. Pay attention and be on guard, looking out for

one another; if your brother sins, solemnly tell him so and reprove him and if he repents, forgive him. Lk 17:3]

I yelled back, "So what is mercy good for?"

As expected, the troll had a ready response. "Mercy is for those who try, who are running the race with all their might and powers of concentration; it is for those athletes who fall. Mercy isn't a sweet melody of kirie

eleison to be used to calm nerves; it is the olive twig the Spirit dove presented after forty days of terror in the ark. Mercy is a gift you can't presume to receive."

With that the troll pierced my blue eyes with his. Lightening was followed by a roll of thunder. Petrified I turned to look for shelter, finding none. When I turned back the troll had disappeared. All was still. When my

heart stopped pounding I resumed my walk and wondered what made me so stubborn. Why didn't I even try to love the troll who was my enemy?

12- To See God

This entry is 12th in the series God the Love Story

When Abraham told me to be gone I didn’t dare look back. I was so anxious to arrive at Christmas that I walked faster and with a little skip in my step. The air had turned cool and crisp. It felt so good that I took several deep breaths.

I was glad to have some time alone with my thoughts as I reflected on what Abraham told me. "To gain spiritual sight draw near the source of light." That reminded me of the passage in Isaiah where he said, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2. At Christmas, the light of Christ rises on all who sit in the darkness of mortality. How wonderful it will be to the Christmas light.

Suddenly a man appeared by my side. “I am Moses and I have been sent to teach you about spiritual sight.”  

“Nice to meet you Moses,” I said respectfully, wondering where he came from and then not so respectfully added, “Aren’t you about the only person who actually saw God with your eyes? How can you teach me about spiritual sight?”

Untouched by my jab Moses replied, “Just as God called me to the top of Mount Sinai, you too can see God by climbing the mountain that Noah set before you.”

“Mountain, what mountain must I climb?” I said, fearing the worst.

“Remember Noah told you to ‘Listen to your conscience’ ‘Obey the commands’ and ‘Gain spiritual sight’. The order was no accident; it forms a mountain you must climb to see God.”

The conscience, often easy to hear, is the foot of the mountain. To master the commands is to climb the mountain. You may not ever want to kill or steal, but perhaps you are tempted to lie, and find it impossible to love your enemy. At the top of the mountain you will see God and through eyes like His you will see all of mankind as He sees us.”

“Spiritual sight is easy for demons because they are spirit. Remember in the Gospels how many times demons recognized Christ’s divinity? That was spiritual sight. When a human consciously tries to become like God then the spiritual becomes more vivid because God is spirit. Being like God, we can see others as He does. That is the kind of spiritual sight Noah meant. To gain spiritual sight without obeying the commands is demonic. With all of their spiritual sight, demons will not obey God’s commands.”

 “But Moses, all of this seems too difficult, almost impossible. Please tell me about mercy and forgiveness.”

“I cannot teach you about mercy.” Moses bowed his head slightly and added. “Remember that when I hit the rock twice I was not allowed enter the Promise Land even after leading God’s people there for forty years. No, sadly, I cannot teach you about mercy, only that it can’t be assumed. There comes one after me who  better qualified. I must be on my way and so must you. Merry Christmas my aspiring immortal friend, I hope you make it.” And with that Moses vanished as quickly and as surely as he appeared.