The only thing Gerald wanted was that key dangling from the neck of the sorceress who said as she offered him an apple squishing the worm popping its head from the core: Take another bite.
He tried to recall what he was doing there as she charmed him explaining, But, Gerald, you know you’re addicted and it’s time for your medication. To prove her point she unlocked his chains with the key to show him just how pathetically weak he had become. Besides, she loved watching her victims go through the agony of deciding what they really wanted: freedom or wormy delights?
Thankfully for Gerald the fog cleared in time for him to remember why he entered this godforsaken kingdom of enchantment in the first place. Unchained he rushed off to resume rescuing his wife kidnapped by Snakindegras, a particularly ornery dragon he couldn’t wait to get his hands on, while the witch with the apple screamed in the distance: Run, Snaky, run!
And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:
Last year I paid no attention to Shavuot. It didn’t even dawn on me that shavuot is the plural of shavua (week). This year I hope the roots have gone deeper.
After signing up for Michael Rood’s newsletter I began observing the crescent moon after sunset which marked the beginning of a lunar month. It is amazing how different these crescent moons look. The one last Tuesday evening marking the beginning of the third month was very slender and close to the horizon. I almost missed it before it set behind the trees.
Shavuot is 50 days after the First Fruits offering. Pentecost is 50 days after the first appearance of Yeshua (Jesus) to his disciples after His resurrection. After 50 days seven Shabbats would have passed and we would again be on the same day of the week. On Pentecost we remember the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 2. Shavuot recalls the giving and receiving of the Torah and making the covenant at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19 – 24:11).
Nehemia Gordon reports that during the first century there were three different calculations for when the First Fruits offering was to be made relative to the seven days of Unleavened Bread. The Pharisees said it was to occur on the second day of Unleavened Bread, or 16 Aviv, every year. The Essenes said it was to occur on the first day of the week after those seven days. The Sadducees said it was to occur on the day after the weekly Shabbat within the seven days of Unleavened Bread. After the fall of Jerusalem, the view of the Pharisees prevailed. Their calendar is what one sees on sites such as Chabad.org.
By next Shavuot, God willing, more of this story will make sense to me.
I picked three rural scenes. The first was on the way to Cripple Creek, Colorado. The second was along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The third was a harvested corn field seen from a country road in northwestern Indiana.
In the comments to my post last week on demons, Oneta Hayes reminded me that I missed a whole class of demonic activity. The demons I missed were those that appeared “beautiful and compelling”. I pointed out the obviously ugly ones, but I missed the attractively strong delusions of unbelief that could be described as humanistic righteousness.
That is sometimes called self-righteousness, because one’s righteousness is based on following what is good in one’s own eyes. Self-righteousness justifies the ethics of humanism because humanism acknowledges no other ground than man: our reasonings, our wants, what we experience with our senses or our emotions. It is what grounds the ethics of ideas like effective altruism where one optimizes the amount of “good” one can do on a monetary basis. See Peter Singer’s The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically.
No matter how good this appears to be if it is not what Yeshua (Jesus) wants us to do, it is not good. It can’t be, because there is nothing good outside of His will.
O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To paraphrase Andrew Wommack: If our lives aren’t supernatural, they’re superficial.
Through much of my life I didn’t believe that demons really existed. They made interesting characters in spooky stories, but from a superficial perspective psychology seemed to explain them away as personality disorders. That unbelief in them undermined, but it did not crash, my belief in the rest of the supernatural.
To counter that unbelief in demons and reaffirm a belief in the supernatural I remember reading M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie on evil and Raymond Moody’s Life After Life on near death experiences. However, my grounding view of demons came more from movies like The Exorcist than the Gospels.
Sentimental New Age influences also crept in. The movie Labyrinth offered a view of the demonic that seemed simpler to cast out if only I could remember the magic spell. I began to realize it was easier to tell a demon he had no power over me than to actually stay free from demonic addiction. However much New Age spirituality invitingly plays with the demonic, it brings no authority with it to boss demons around.
Too often I forgot that it is only through exercising the authority of Yeshua (Jesus) that I had any hope of being victorious when facing a demon. Eventually I saw them manifest through their effects like addiction, anger, illness or sin on my life and the life of those around me.
As disciples of Yeshua we are sent to heal the sick and cast out demons among other things (Matthew 10:8). If we don’t know how to go about that, we could prayerfully start with ourselves. If Peter’s shadow is any indication of what is possible (Acts 5:15-16) we may not have to say a word before the demons scatter.