The seven deadly sins

Two years ago, my son moved home with his cat Shadow, who he had rescued from the mean streets of our old home town.  When he first adopted Shadow, the cat was skinny, scared, and pathetic.  Shadow’s trust in us has grown with his weight. 

Now he’s a big fat cat who lolls around on his back doing nothing all day.  I’ve pointed that out to my son saying “Look at that – if he was Catholic he’d be guilty of at least two of the ‘seven deadly sins’, gluttony and sloth!”

Do you believe that the seven deadly sins of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony are in the Bible?  They’re not.  They were invented by theologians and they are not listed in the Bible.

SevenDeadlySinsHere are the seven sins that are listed;

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. 
Proverbs 6:16-19

This list of sins aren’t called deadly, but they are things the Lord hates and finds detestable.  Why?  It’s like murder, and there are consequences.

There is a proverb that says “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.”  Proverbs 25:18. 

The confrontation deals with  a false witness who poured out lies, and stirred up conflict in the community.  The man in this chapter sowed discord amongst us, and it caused us all to stumble.

The story never made it into the book.  My editor said I needed to “murder a few darlings.”   

Proverbs 6_16_19

Learning from the Master

Before Jesus began His ministry, His occupation was a carpenter. He would have known how to make a yoke that was light and fitted well. 

Jesus said;  Come to me all you who are heavily laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The Lord brought me a friend who became my prayer partner. He yoked us together as a team, and it was a yoke that was easy. We flew higher and learned more together than we could ever have done alone.

 The Lord desires us to learn from Him. In Psalm 94:10 He is described as “He that teaches man knowledge.”


 I read some illuminated writing from a 15th century monk called Thomas A Kempis. In his writings The Imitation of Christ is a chapter called “God is the best teacher”;

 God is the best Teacher

 Do not be led astray by the brightest human minds. “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20)

Never read anything in order to appear wise. Knowing answers to difficult questions will not help you as much as spiritual discipline. Even after profound scholarship, you still need to know me, for I am the beginning of everything, the Teacher of all men” (Psalm 94:10). I will give you better insight than any professor could. I teach without audible words, and without argument and debate. I instruct you to despise earthly things and seek the eternal, to run from honour and endure insults, to place all hope in me and to love me above all things.

Books may contain identical letters and use the same method of communication, but they do not instruct everyone in the same way. The reason is that I secretly teach within each person as I see fit.

The second wish

In a previous post where I met a character I dubbed “the Minstrel”, I told a story about wishes.  The story goes like this;

There was once a princess who got rid of a controlling man, and foolishly asked the King for the next man to be the complete opposite.

“Please bring me a man who is the exact opposite of Silver-tongue” she prayed.    Even though she had gone to the King with her wish, she asked the for the wrong thing.  All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.  Proverbs 16:2.

The King decided to grant her request because He wanted her to learn.  She should have asked for wisdom.

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,The Lord ponders the heart
    from men whose words are perverse,
who have left the straight paths
    to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
    and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
    and who are devious in their ways.  Proverbs 2:12-15

The next man, a friend she dubbed “the Minstrel”, was the complete opposite, but his words were just as perverse, and he goaded her with snide little put downs.

The foolish princess still hadn’t learned and asked the King to bring her someone else.

“Please bring me someone who sees me for who I really am, and desires me” she asked.

The King, who wanted the Princess to see herself through His eyes, replied “Be careful of what you ask.”

Be careful for what you ask.

Be careful for what you ask

Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. Job 5:7.

bedazzled-106

One of my favourite comedies is ‘Bedazzled’.  Eliot, a geeky man working a dead-end technical support job for a San Francisco computer company had a crush on his colleague, Alison Gardner, but lacked the courage to ask her out.

He said to himself that he would give anything for Alison to be with him. Satan, (played by Elizabeth Hurley) in the form of a beautiful woman, overheard him and offered to give Elliot seven wishes in return for his soul. Each of his wishes ended in disaster.

I too have a story to tell about wishes.

There was once a princess who got rid of a controlling man, and foolishly asked the King for the next man to be the complete opposite.

“Please bring me a man who is the exact opposite of Silver-tongue” she prayed.

The next man was the complete opposite, but still found ways to take advantage.

Even though she had gone to the King with her wish, she asked the for the wrong thing.  The King decided to grant her request because He wanted her to learn.  All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.  Proverbs 16:2.  She should have asked for wisdom.

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
    from men whose words are perverse,
who have left the straight paths
    to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
    and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
    and who are devious in their ways.  Proverbs 2:12-15

Be careful for what you ask.

Coal under pressure

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.  As You Like It Act 2, by Shakespeare

2Corinthians4_8

Exhaling between her teeth, Joanna ticked off the list she was studying. It was a real eye opener when she got to the part that dealt with stress.

They were given a weighted list of all the things that caused stress; separation or divorce, moving house, death, relationship problems. It was part of a compulsory paper she had to study at college called ‘Interpersonal Skills’.

The stress wasn’t over. She had gone through hell this past year, and there seemed to be no end to the grief. She was still dealing with relationship problems from Silver-tongue with his nastiness, her ex-husband with his blame game, and her mother with her regular bi-polar craziness. Divorce and another house move loomed big on the horizon.

Her only escape was study, and the joy she got from her children. The princess was studying part time for a career she planned once the children were at school.  The qualification she aimed for formed the first year of a degree in Computer Science. The thought of a career in her chosen field brought hope for the future.

Silver-tongue enrolled in the same courses.  He kept a jealous eye on her, making caustic remarks if she chatted to any of the men at break time while they watched the second year students play hacky-sack.  One of the second year students was a lean man in his thirties with a handsome, boyish face and greying hair.  He was in the background.  Silver-tongue took all of her attention.

The next day she told her friend princess Eve, an attractive and graceful blonde about the stress list. They were feeding the deer at the Deer Park, over the road from where Eve lived. Princess Eve found it interesting as she was going through her own trials. She listened as she stuck some bread through the fence, then turning to Joanna she said “You know, coal under pressure forms a diamond.”

Joanna grinned wryly. “It had better be a pretty big diamond!”

The King heard her.  He would see what He could do.  Silver, gold and jewels were good but in His Kingdom, wisdom was foremost.

Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.

She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.  Proverbs 3:13-17

The house of the Lord

Psalm 122

As a divorced woman bringing up two children alone, I was not sure where I fitted in church, and asked the King for guidance. 

He led me through a friend, princess Eve in the story, to a home church, a small, mobile unit in the worldwide body of Christ.  This home church practised hospitality and met every Sunday evening at a different house.  I believe this church fitted the model described in the New Testament.

My children and I had no problem fitting in and soon felt right at home.  This church became a safe haven for me, a place where Silver-tongue did not want to be, nor did I ever invite him or include him.

One night in 1996 we met at the house of the pastor.  Their house was built on the side of a hill overlooking the sheep farm where I had grown up, in the beautiful valley that led to the Mount Zion sheep station.

After the shared meal, the pastor sat down to teach as the evening sun folded into the familiar hills and the sound of our children playing outside filtered into the house.  My eyes ran over the rugged hills of my old farm where the occasional bleat from the sheep travelled to my ears.  Even though years had passed since I had been to the valley, and I had travelled far, to be back was sweet and familiar.

We opened our bibles to Psalm 122, the psalm that followed the verses in 121 “I lift mine eyes to the hills”.  The psalm spoke of the house of the Lord, and Jerusalem built as a city that is compact together.  

Our Pastor led us to 1 Peter 2 and explained that the house of the Lord was not a building of bricks and mortar, but of human beings described as living stones.

As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.  1 Peter 2:4

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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

I really wanted to know what God’s will was.  Would it be okay to one day be able to marry again?  Is the King the God of second chances?  You will see from reading my book how the King revealed his will.

Angels Prayer

Do you need a prayer for bad dreams?

When I was a child, my parents who were into ‘colonial furniture’ bought a bed and dresser for my bedroom from a deceased man’s estate.  The furniture gave me the creeps.  I begged them to take it away but I was forced to live with it.  It was always oppressive in that room, particularly at night.  I remember finding regalia in the bottom drawer of the dresser and pulling it on over my head.

I don’t know how long afterward this happened, but something caught my eye when I was kneeling on my bed reading.  It was a black arm, right next to me, it’s hand gripping the side of the bed.  This was in broad daylight.  Neither parent cared about what I’d seen.  I didn’t know the Lord or even how to pray.  To protect myself I would say the words to “Away in a manger” every night.

I had terrible dreams for years after, until I was able to trust the Lord as my Father, and He helped me banish my demons.

After I bought my house in 1996, I asked the Lord for a bed-time prayer for my five and six-year-old children.   I didn’t want them to suffer the terror I had felt as a child.

This is the prayer He gave me.

I also got a tune to go with it.  Sometimes we’d say it, sometimes we’d sing it.   It is a simple prayer, easy to remember, and better than a dream catcher.

It’s free to share with any child who needs it.

Dear Lord,
How great you are.
I know my angels are always in your presence.
Please send me my angels now,
To guard me, my room, my house and my dreams.
And I thank you,
In Jesus name.
Amen.