Have you ever wondered what was wrong with eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil? I’d always been taught that knowledge was a good thing and the more the better. So why did God tell Adam not to eat of this tree, but to choose the Tree of Life instead? One answer I was taught was because man wasn’t made to deal with evil. That raises the question, if man wasn’t made to deal with evil, was he made to recognize it? And then, if he recognizes it, can he only run away from it? I thought man was given dominion over all the earth. Doesn’t that mean he can be master over it?
I believe that everything is in God. It took me awhile to reconcile the fact that evil is found in God, but I reasoned that since I believe that everything is in God, evil is part of everything and therefore must be found in God along with all the rest.
I recently was thinking again about this forbidden tree. It occurred to me that it was planted in the garden to give man a choice, to exercise the free will that God gave him. We don’t always make the right choice, but isn’t that part of learning? After eating of it, I imagine that the man would feel obliged to make decisions concerning what he could now see as evil. He would want to fix it or eliminate it or, at any rate, judge it as evil. He would start to think hard about what to do. If a man acts according to his own thinking, without requiring God’s, is that the beginning of building one’s own kingdom? A kingdom covered by my rules? Is that what’s wrong with eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
Jesus said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49)
I believe we must also. Our Father is about His kingdom’s business. And we too are about His kingdom’s business. All the worlds that we build require the Father’s mind, His perspective, His knowledge, His purposes. He is the vine (root) and we are the branches. Without Him, we will not produce good fruit. (John 15) Without Him, our kingdoms may go awry. Drink from His waters and be gratefully glad. I believe God has galaxies for us to create and if it is His mind through yours that creates and develops them, will God not call them good? And when He calls them good, we can truly rest.
By Barbara Gerber
What is the heart? By connotation, not definition, I see the heart as an origination point, a place of decision, a crossroads, a beginning of desire, a choice of direction, the seat of belief, a place to rest in a conviction of truth, a place of resolve to be at peace.
In John 14:1, Jesus says: “Let not your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated.)”
It’s like ocean waves becoming calm because Jesus appears on the shore. Everything that Jesus achieved for us on the cross will lead us to peace and calm so our hearts can think and choose and exalt the purposes of God.
But, it is not automatic. Jesus calls us to decide to not let our hearts be troubled. He says in the same verse that if you believe in, adhere to, trust in and rely on God, you can also believe in, adhere to and trust in what He did on the cross at God’s direction. You can invite Him (Jesus) to actually dwell in your heart and expect Him to replace the walls of your heart with the bricks of the Word which will give you a heart not just full of information and instruction, but truly made out of Godly information and instruction.
In Bible terms, I would call this a new wineskin. A life’s work can be the alignment of my own thoughts, decisions and directions with God’s thoughts, decisions and directions for my life, established before the creation of the world. It can be a return to my best self, the one God created with a specific destiny for this earth, and beyond.
I can decide to change course and return to the ancient paths that have always been there, the ones that guarantee a healthy heart that leads to peace, not only inside of me, but emanating out into the places I find myself in, even causing a change in the atmosphere around me.
In what seems to be a world gone haywire, we can be still, rest inside God, even as He permeates our being, with Jesus dwelling in our hearts, made of the bricks of the Word, a vehicle of exhilaration and amazing Life.
One day, I found a design, a bouquet that was never completed, in my stacks of beginnings. The flowers were still fresh with color, so I decided to add more flowers to finish the bouquet. In the process, I imagined a flower girl in the midst of the rest. After I scanned the finished bouquet into the computer, I looked through my other cards to find a flower girl that would suit this arrangement.
Isolating her from her previous environment, I inserted her into the newly finished bouquet. What I saw in the new design was a flower girl playing hide and seek with me!
She and the surrounding flowers were one big arrangement, but she was also somehow separated because she was a girl in the midst of a bunch of flowers. So it seemed that she was obvious, and then she wasn’t.
This observation brought to mind what Jesus says in John 15, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”
It’s like a hall of mirrors: I see myself reflected in a mirror, reflected in a mirror, reflected in a mirror!
It never ends. If I remain in Jesus, I can look out through His eyes and see what He sees from His vantage point. But He is remaining in me at the same time, so He can go where I go, where my heart’s desire takes me and He can function through me in that situation.
And all the time that I remain in Him, He is remaining in me. So the mirror would say, “I see you, I see Jesus in you, I see you in Jesus, I see Jesus in you” forever.
As the flower girl was inseparable from the flowers in the bouquet, yet created a girl, so we are inseparable from Jesus, yet created an individual. Multiply this by billions, and we see that God is ever increasing in magnitude and expression.
Because we are made in His image, each one has been given a portion of His creativity. He is expressed more fully as each of us chooses to follow our lives through to the destiny that He thought up for us before the beginning of time. I believe this really pleases Him.
Can you see the flower girl in this bouquet? Here’s a hint: she is on the right, her arms outstretched and her feet off the ground. She is “praising His name with dancing.” Psalm 149:3
By Barbara Gerber
Let me introduce you to Mr. Moose.
When I received a soft twig with 4 leaves growing out of one node, I saw moose antlers. No, I have not personally spent much time near moose, so I do not have experience with exactly what they look like, but I saw moose antlers.
When it came time to create Mr. Moose, I looked through my stash of flowers to see if I could find his body. I had just pressed the petals of a wild iris, which in its live state were so graceful, lovely, even lyrical, able to sway in the gentlest breeze; and it was these petals that I thought to arrange into the form of a moose. That such a delicate flower could become a powerful moose is interesting to contemplate.
What is it that lets me see an iris as a moose? Have you ever pointed out something that you thought was so beautiful or so odd, but your friend didn’t see it the same way? Do you see pictures in the clouds? When I see a color, do you see the same color? Is there really only one reality? Does the world have it right when it says we can create our own reality? When someone else sees something in my work that I did not purposely put there, is it really there? What is truth? Is reality truth? Is truth reality?
The bible says that “the truth will set you free.” Doesn’t that presume that truth exists? What role does truth play in our perceptions? Does it set you free to create your own worlds? Will it give you horizons that help you judge rightly? See more clearly? Discover new things? Go where no man has gone before? So much to think about!
Have you ever thought about the word TURN?
My dictionary says it is a verb that means: to cause to move around a central point or axis (to rotate); to change position; to control or alter the operation by use of a rotating movement (like a radio dial); to reverse and resew (like a collar); to produce a rounded form; to shape; to render distinctive; to change position by traversing an arc of a circle; to change direction; to reverse, retreat; to change the intention or content of by persuasion or influence; to change the order or disposition; to set in a specified way or direction; to focus; to become, reach, or surpass; to cause to go in a given direction; to drive out; to release; to cause the color to change; to transform into something different; to cause to take on a specified character, nature or appearance; and on and on.
The full definition took 2 full columns to complete!
The pictures that I see when I read all this is something moving in space causing change by losing pieces or creating new form or stretching or retracting.
We say that “it turned out that…” or “it turned my stomach…” or we turn our gaze, we turn over things to someone else. What an amazing word! Our whole lives are continuously turning which changes us, our circumstances, the way we see, the things we see that we hadn’t been able to see before…turn, turn, turn.
RPM records… they turn, and we hear sound! We can have a full experience of a symphony orchestra because the disk turns. The sound is caused by the stylus or needle that follows a groove that has minute variations in it to cause the stylus to vibrate at different frequencies causing different sounds. Then the sounds are amplified for our ears. We call these sounds music: comforting sounds, jolting sounds, harmonious sounds, dissonant sounds – sounds that move our emotions, play our strings, touch our hearts and remind us of past experiences, sights, smells.
I believe it was sound that created the universe. God spoke and there it was. He made the planets spin continuously, forever. He let Adam name the animals. Adam spoke and there they were. That makes me wonder what it sounded like when God spoke. Was it tonal? If He had changed his tones, would what He made have come out differently? Our emotions change our tones. Our tones affect our conversations. If we change our tone, we can change how what we say is received.
Turning causes new creations. The flower girls turn too. When they do, they turn into pinwheels!
By Barbara Gerber
There is a Golden book called The Giving Tree, written by Shel Silverstein that depicts a healthy tree that befriends a young boy. This young boy uses the tree for everything he needs till it is left only a stump. The final picture (from my memory) is a grown man sitting on the stump, still unsatisfied with all he’s had, and the tree still loves him.
The first time I encountered this book was when my children were young, and we were looking for a birthday present for a friend. We bought this book because it intrigued me. Yet it was a mystery to me. I was sad because the tree was reduced in stature; I was sad because the young man did not seem happy even after using up what seemed to be the life of the tree. I did not understand the story. Much later, I was considering the verse from John 15 that says: “I am the vine; you are the branches.”
My mind imagined that tree stump and I suddenly knew it was a picture of Life. Jesus, our tree had come to give true Life to this little boy – life that still, even cut down or used up, remained a root of potential that could spring up into Life once again at any moment.
The sadness I once felt in reading the story turned into the joy of knowing that our God is an everlasting source of Life, no matter what it looks like in the natural. His root comes from eternity which is above. In Isaiah 55 it says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”
His root, his foundation is high in the heavens and it causes us to flourish below on the earth. We are the reflection of His Life above, ever becoming clearer as we get to know Him more. Our goal is to be a perfect reflection of Him. Roots up, roots down, spin, revolve all around. Joyfully embrace your ups and your downs, let Him be your loving surround. Hear his joy in your sound. Plant your feet in solid ground that spins downside up and upside down!
The image below is called Vines and Branches. It depicts flower girls rooted to a greater root. My friend noticed the new leaf in the center and told me you cannot grow a new branch from the center. That’s what we’ve been taught, but never underestimate what God will do!
Please visit www.InFlower.etsy,com to see more.
By Barbara Gerber
Many years ago, I found myself sitting next to a young woman from Switzerland at a mutual friend’s wedding. She told me that she had never been to a Christian wedding, and would I please explain it all to her. Although I had not really given much thought to the symbolism in American church weddings, I heard myself begin like this:
"The groom will enter the church at the altar and turn to watch the bride come down the aisle.”
I felt tears rising in my eyes as I saw Jesus at the alter watching His bride (I saw myself) enter in all her finery. I saw in His eyes, His excitement and proud expectation of the results of her preparation to join Him in this victory of their lives.
She would be wearing a veil that would represent what she had overcome. He would lift her veil to indicate that the shattering had been totally and absolutely rectified. She would receive His ring as a symbol of their unbroken love.
Together, they would not be able to be conquered. Side by side, they were invincible. Such a commitment was unbreakable.
Marriage to Jesus is a public announcement that you have chosen to carefully and deliberately go through life together, turning every corner and scaling every mountain in the creation of a new world that is multiplying forever. The terms are covenant and the purpose is joy. Hebrews 12:2 says, “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…” Will you?
(March from in my 2018 Calendar)
For some reason, I have always desired to “see” God with my own 2 eyes. Now For some reason, I have always desired to “see” God with my own 2 eyes. Now can that really be possible, since He is Spirit and my 2 eyes are earthbound? What does the word “see” really mean? Without using a dictionary I believe it means to perceive, to sense a similarity to something, like to see Picasso in a painting; it means to imagine, to understand, to recognize or to feel a presence of something you are familiar or even just acquainted with. We use the same word “see” to mean all these things.
I had an experience recently of “seeing” God! I am of Asian descent. I was praying for my unsaved father who is 99years old and adheres to Confucian thinking and though he is familiar with who people say God is, he is not convinced that he is missing anything. I was asking God if I’d failed to do or say anything that would help my father to consider the gospel. He answered me by zooming in close to my face with His BIG slanty-eyed smiling, beaming round face and He said most gently to me: I will take care of your father. I guess I can say that I saw God with my own 2 eyes!
But mostly I have seen Him in evidence around me, like when the rain knocks the blossoms off a crape myrtle tree and stains the sidewalk pink, or when on a cloudy fall day, the gingko drops its leaves and leaves bright yellow all over my lawn like sunshine; or when I pick up a rock shaped like a heart; or when bright blue under a tree means a baby robin has been born. The unexpected always makes me wonder what God has to do with it. Is He speaking? I believe He delights in these moments when we recognize with awe His imprint in our daily lives. The more I notice Him, the more abundant life becomes, and the more abundant life becomes, the more abundant it becomes, and the more abundant it becomes and the more abundant it becomes.
By Barbara Gerber
(from the Flowergirls 2018 Calendar)
I was reading Jeremiah 8:8 in the Amplified version this morning. Even though I have read it before, it took on a meaning that I have never seen before. It reads: “How can you say, We are wise, and we have the written law of the Lord (and are learned in its language and teachings)? Lo, the truth is, the lying pen of the scribes has made of the law a falsehood (a mere code of ceremonial observances). “
The words that came to my mind were Abundant Life. I have had a question about what that really means ongoing for years. This morning I believe I understood another aspect of its meaning. Abundant Life is a depth that we cannot experience because, in my words, we are surface people. We see with our physical eyes and we believe what we think we see. We see in time and we see in a linear manner and we don’t expect anymore. But, what the final words of this scripture said to me this morning is that we must see up and down at every point, not only from left to right or from right to left. Every moment is deep and high. Life goes deeper and higher, not just longer and wider. And, abundant life is out of time.
It is seeing a moment that is layered. It is to understand more than the obvious. It is going into ourselves, going down deep to see what God sees, and it is all in one moment of time, it is depth, height, diagonal, cubic, like being in the center of a sphere and going back and forth to the boundaries, as if filling the sphere with a continuous string of pathways. Then one moment becomes eternity, or abundant life.
By Barbara Gerber
Today, as I woke up, I was imagining ginger bread men cookie cutters standing side-by-side, stacked up to form a huge wall. Behind was the sky, clouds, colors, the universe which was God. Looking through the wall, I could see a piece of the background, which was God, framed inside each cookie cutter.
I thought: all together we are a complex combination of all that God is, all fitted together, each in our purposed place, formed into one.
Still thinking about what I had seen, I sat up in bed and picked up a book I’ve been reading on and off, called Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan. I was up to chapter 13 titled Unification and you can guess what that was about: the Oneness of God! All those cookie cutters (us) joined together, filled with God to make a Oneness! I remembered when I first realized the magnitude of the number 1. I remember feeling shaken by the sudden aha that 1 is not the smallest, but the largest. In our western perspective, one is only one…more is better. In the Hebrew perspective, one is all there is! The Jewish prayer that begins the day and ends the evening is the Shema and it says, ”Hear (listen) O Israel, Adonai (the LORD) our God, Adonai (the LORD) is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4
Later in the morning, my husband Don and I listened to a class from Academy on High. We were up to Book 3, lesson 13. Our teacher, Belle was talking about the multiplicity of the soul. I couldn’t help but notice that the number 13 seemed to be highlighted for today. So I looked further into its meaning.
Did you know that the number 13 is an extraordinary one? According to Hebrew thinking, 13 is the number that bonds multiplicity into oneness. There are the 12 tribes all bonded together by a father, a thirteenth called Israel.
In spiritual science, the cube represents the 12 dimensions that are immediately accessible to man, 6 on the inside and 6 on the outside and in the center is Christ who is the bond. Colossians 1:17 says “And He Himself existed before all things and in Him all things consist – cohere, are held together.”
The number 13 points to the joining of many into one, billions of ginger bread men, unique in God, us, united together in heart by His love. Hear, O Israel, the LORD is One! He is the beginning, the end, everything in between, high, deep, wide, awesome and full of wonder. And we “are being built up into this structure with the rest to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in and by His spirit.” Amen.