Run, run, run-away

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The Israelite judge, Jephthah, is generally known for the weird story about his daughter, poor kid.

But I think we generally miss the importance of this guy’s backstory and how God may have used it to his (and His) advantage.

Back in those days, having sons was pretty well tantamount to status (as opposed to having daughters; now where they thought the baby boys came from, gets me…)  And although even our secular Western culture has fairly well done away with that mindset, they (and us) still deal with the “world’s oldest profession”. 

So while Jephthah’s dad, Gilead, had several socially legitimate sons, little Jephthah was not one of them, and was treated accordingly. 

“…and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. ‘You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, ‘for you are the son of a prostitute.’  So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him.”

Because, back then, with those kinds of credentials, that’s about all the following you’re going to get.  I can only imagine what hardship he must have suffered going from the house of his father (probably bullied while he was growing up anyway, but at least provided for) to ousted into the “real world”, possibly as a teenager.  Homeless.  Despised.  Without family or connections.  Or money.

As usual, the plot thickens—

“At about this time, the Ammonites began their war against Israel.  When the Ammonites attacked, the elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob.  The elders said, ‘Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!’ But Jephthah said to them, ‘Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?’”

Run off the farm, rather than living in the lap of luxury, Jephthah has been hardened by life’s boot camp, and is now evidently the one most suited for rescuing those same brothers with soft, un-callused hands. 

And rescue he does, like the rushing in of the cavalry. 

The point is this.  People do us injustices.  We have to suffer the consequences of others’ stupidity, prejudices, unkindness, or just low-down thoughtlessness.  I’m bullied, kicked out of the club, whether physically or emotionally.  Bereft.  Alone.  (At least it feels that way.)

But God has other plans, and this is just part of the Divine Boot Camp.  Plans for rescue, not vengeance, for redemption, and restoration, and it may be for the very ones who turned me out.  

man-2257145_1920Jephthah’s hands and muscles may have become just as soft as his brothers had he stay in his dad’s house all that time.  Instead, he became the hero.

Which is God’s training for all of us, to be heroes in one way or another. 

Judges 11:2-7 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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The Kraken (conclusion)

The final installment of the The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III.  To start from the beginning, click HERE!

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From The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood

 

XVI. Benediction

With Kraken gone, the fearful folk returned to ply the sea,

And safety made the legend pass, though inadvertently.

A town was founded near the place where Galen’s cottage stood.

Where once a barren coast had been, there grew a neighborhood.

 

So Galen’s fame was scarcely known, but heroes must be paid.

He used his bellows and his forge to work the blacksmith’s trade.

At times, he fashioned stranger things, though most did not know why,

And, with his arm around Celeste, would stare into the sky.

 

Their union prospered in its way for those who cared to see

That Galen and his winsome bride were blessed with progeny

Of fairest skin on stoutest limb and fire behind their eyes.

They raised them well and lovingly and taught them to be wise.

 

They taught them work and taught them play, made sure that they were fed,

And told them stories in the night, then tucked them into bed.

As seasons changed, they watched them grow till they were straight and tall,

By young desire distracted from the saddles on the wall.

 

And, one by one, they saw them leave, when they were fully grown,

To found new homes with spouses fair and children of their own.

There is a way, mad by design, a way that wisdom makes,

To set the young at liberty to make their own mistakes.

 

And, one by one or all at once, the children would return,

The cottage glowing in the night with candle wax to burn.

They laughed and ate. Some went outside to play or walk around,

No longer knowing what they paced had once been sacred ground.

 

Their father told his history repeatedly, and yet,

Through unfamiliarity, descendants will forget.

And so he hammered weaponry and saved it for the days

Another generation would embrace heroic ways.

 

Some undergo the humble change from ridicule to fear

As those once sheltered made aware of danger drawing near,

But some remember righteous thoughts, discovered in their youth,

Of better dreams and simpler ways that turn them to the truth.

 

In times of pride and apathy, depending on the year,

There well might come a moment when a Kraken will appear.

As some are lost or made aware, the cycle starts again

To test the motivations that direct the hearts of men.

 

Still, man and wife would spend their days in faith and blessedness,

Commend themselves to higher things, and frequently confess

That tribulation comes to teach the lessons all must learn

In preparation for the day the griffins will return.

To order The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood, click HERE.

The Kraken (#15)

(Pssst…In case you missed any, you can start from the beginning at THIS LINK.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XV. The Restoration of All Things

A transformation soon ensued from Lordly Griffin wild

To lion then to bleeding lamb, both terrible and mild,

Who laid his wounded head upon the morbid maiden’s breast.

The color came into her cheeks. She breathed as if at rest

 

And then exhaled with softened moan to Galen’s glad surprise

As, with a start, she sat upright and opened long-shut eyes.

The former mist from when she first walked plainly in his sight

Was missing now, and in its place there shined a brighter light.

 

A bleat turned to a lion’s roar and then an eagle’s screech,

Then, suddenly, the Griffin King flew upward out of reach.

As Galen gazed upon the lass, revived in time of need,

From north and west the prophet flew, approaching on his steed.

 

Alighting next, he looked around, excitement on his face,

And smiled at Galen as he said, “Recipient of grace,

Believe your eyes. Be not surprised. It is the right of kings

To fashion something beautiful from dead and broken things.

 

“Now would it be too much to ask, what is this maiden’s name?”

She rose and spoke in wondrous tones, “Through trial I became

More of myself for this good man who sought to know me best.

My parents named me for the stars. Dear sir, I am Celeste.”

 

He joined the couple hand in hand, then to the griffins led.

A far off look was in his eyes as joyfully he said,

“Celeste and Galen, rise and fly. There are but saddles two.

Consent to take one final gift I have to offer you,

 

“In wedded bliss to live within my cottage by the sea,

But here I’ll die. Then this good host will take what’s left of me

To safer shores beyond the veil of this world’s atmosphere

To bow before the Griffin King in reverential fear.

 

“Life’s vivid moments rise and fall like waves upon the shore.

Each breaker passes over me. I want for nothing more.

My sojourn by the ocean past, and, now, my waiting through,

My course is flown. I am fulfilled in what I’ve done for you.”

 

So, tearfully, with warm embrace, they bade their friend goodbye

And, later, perched on griffin backs, conversed within the sky.

They shouted high upon the wind and spoke of many things

Until they reached that happy shore on which the ocean sings.

 

Then, earnestly, they made their vows among the griffin host

And went inside to contemplate what they both treasured most.

They hung their saddles on the wall, forever, some would say.

For after that enchanted ride, the griffins flew away.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The old-fashioned, hand-held, page-turning and fully illustrated version can be ordered at Amazon.com, by Robert L Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood.

The Kraken (#14)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XIV. A Faithful Flight

Observing her in silence but for sound of griffin breath,

They recognized her dignity, still beautiful in death.

Then Galen looked up pleadingly, cheeks marked by frozen tears.

His mentor looked much younger now, despite his many years.

 

He spoke with sensitivity. “Somehow, your faith is weak.

In giving you some time to grieve, I’ve taken time to speak.

Compared to what should really be, our efforts are but jest.

Now you must meet the One who can perform beyond your best,

 

“One who appears in many forms, a king without a crown.”

As he expounded on the ice, more griffins circled down.

With that, the prophet used his robe to wrap the corpse in white.

“This struggle is not over yet. If you have will to fight,

 

“You’ll take this precious bundle to complete what you’ve begun.

Now get you to the South and East to meet the rising sun.

Take no time to deliberate or question what I say.

So off with you. Be on your flight. Your griffin knows the way.”

 

Through twilight’s gloam, in haste they flew, but Galen was confused.

He held the dead weight to his chest as silently he mused.

He felt no hope or sorrow then or anything between.

This errand seemed to be in vain. What could the prophet mean?

 

Obedience was dearly learned. He would not stray again.

Had he not conquered in a fight no mortal man should win?

The glory of the day before had faded into night.

The goal of present faithfulness was hidden from his sight.

 

They came to rest upon a ridge beneath a graying sky,

And, standing by his escort, he heard flutterings nearby.

Like blades of grass that stand in such profusion on a lawn,

Were countless griffins seen to swarm the hill by light of dawn.

 

As if on cue or high command, by instinct or by choice,

They raised their eagle heads and screamed together with one voice,

And to this cry responding, as if not to be outdone,

A griffin larger than them all flew outward from the sun,

 

Its brightly colored plumage set on wings of awesome span.

As fine a sight as ever was beheld by eyes of man,

The Griffin King flew closer. Galen nearly lost control

But held his ground before the eyes that stared into his soul.

 

Then silently it landed with its wings completely spread

But never moved its gaze from Galen’s face, it must be said.

The monarch screeched with lifted head, its brow in regal frown,

And Galen trembled as he kneeled and laid his burden down.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The old-fashioned, hand-held, page-turning and fully illustrated version can be ordered at Amazon.com, by Robert L Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood.

The Kraken (#12)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XII. Departure

The morning came when all was done. No task the prophet gave,

Save breakfast, which he barely touched. His countenance was grave.

And Galen’s pulse was quickened then.. His chest began to heave.

He knew just by his master’s look that it was time to leave.

 

“The time has come, “the prophet said and took him by the arm.

“Be carefully attentive lest we come to major harm.

There is more than one aspect to this problem to be solved.

Tomorrow, when the sun is set, this part will be resolved.

 

“Of course,” he paused, “wear proper dress, and don this garment here.

Despite our plan, the Kraken’s speed might best you, and I fear

You’d meet your end within its coils if not for this disguise.

One dressed in white upon the ice stays hidden from its eyes.”

 

Then quickly Galen slipped the robe on top of what he wore

But asked, “However shall we go with no boat on the shore?”

His elder went to fetch the saddles hanging on the wall

And gathered spears. Then, with a rope, he tied and bundled all.

 

He said, “I know your heart is set on striking out by sea,

Yet, nonetheless, we shall proceed as safely as can be.

No vessel born of human hands can breach the Kraken’s lair.

No ship that plies the sea is safe, but these will take us there.”

 

And as he stepped outside the door and pointed overhead,

A flock of griffins landed, calling shrieks to raise the dead.

With eagle’s front and lion’s haunch, and terrible in shape,

Each one arrested Galen’s eyes and held his mouth agape.

 

The wise man held the saddles out in effort to explain.

“Be calm. You should be thankful for the speed that we will gain.

There are no reins. You use your arms to balance as you sit.

The saddles only they allow. Their beaks refuse the bit.”

 

Amid the whir and flutter of appendages, they sailed

In feathered flight. A mighty squad, through azure skies they trailed.

All through the night and into dawn, the expedition flew

To find a world of gray and white had entered into view,

 

A frozen sea encrusted with the ice of broken flows,

Pale, jagged blossoms grown from seeds the deadly tempest sows.

Calm water in an open space was ringed by icy crags,

Bare, lofty, snow blown pinnacles on which the north wind snags.

 

The griffins banked and steered their course to land near water’s edge

And skidded on the hoary frost to stop along a ledge.

“Unpack your spears,” the prophet said, “before it grows too late.”

He added with severity, “It’s here that we must wait.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

In other words….

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photo at: https://mitchteemley.com/2016/04/10/throw-it-away/

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

 

Romans 5:6-8  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.