“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"between me and thee," Integrity Genesis 17:2

      INTEGRITY: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness. Unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness, solidarity. soundness, strength, sturdiness, solidity, durability, stability, stoutness, toughness

"Between me and thee"

              I once met an older woman who talked of her life with bitter regret. She believed that by the time she reached a certain age, (she was over 75) she would have wisdom to share with those who would gather around as she recalled her life story.  She had hoped that others would see her as kind and humorous -revered. Instead- she believed – her aged body, lack of popularity and accumulated failures had earned her sarcastic disdain and disrespect. Her sarcasm tainted her. Although she was acclaimed, intelligent, witty, and insightful in her field, these talents did not bring her closer to a sense of spiritual wholeness. Integrity comes from what we give not what we gain. How we serve not how we are served. The good that we see in others not the good that we gain from others. 
        There is a misconception in life that if life is good enough to allow us the privilege of longevity we will automatically gain the respect of our peers. Integrity however, as Abraham learned, walks hand in hand with respect for life's higher power. Those who do not understand the reality, the love, and the power of God spend much of their life chasing after life's mirages of hope: youth, wealth, popularity, political power, intellect, beauty, etc. To befriend God is to learn the meaning of integrity.
       Abraham understood that in order to gain the respect, one had to give respect. Not only to God but also to family, to self, and to all those that serve you. Respect represents the beginning of friendship. Friendship can bring the sacredness of covenants. Covenants exist because two parties of integrity agree to uphold their promises toward one another.
       Who was Abraham that God should choose him to share the blessings of a covenant? Who am I that I too can enter into a covenant with my God and expect his blessings in my life? And how to I learn to repay God's blessings with sincere gratitude?  As I read these verses and considered Abram - at the age of 99- I wondered about my own relationship with God? I wonder about Abram and what he did to be called of God as one who would establish God's covenant with man. 
          Consider who Abram was and how he had proved himself to his God:

  •  Obedient/ Humble - When told to leave the land of his inheritance he does 12:5
  • Respectful/Grateful/ prayerful - Pious, He built altars for prayer  12:7 13:18 16:10-11
  • Humble/ Trusting  Asks Sarai for help with the Egyptians 12:11 
  • Peaceful/ family peace  – Abram did not want strife with Lot's servants 13:8
  • Fair – gives Lot the good land and divides it 13: 11
  • Honorable & dutiful – returns Lot from captivity 14: 16
  • Sober – refused to take spoils of war or to make any situation that would take the credit from God, the possessor of heaven and earth 14: 23
  • Truthful – gives God credit for battle victory 14: 22
  • Believer/ faithful- he believed the Lord 15:6 17:3
  • Ethics/ Moral Abram had Sarai deal with her servant in her own manner. 16:6

How God proves his love to Abraham: Gifts given to help him

  • Visionary/ seer/ revelation  – The Lord appeared to Abram and he saw him in a vision talked with God.   12:7 15:1 15:13-16   17:3
  • Protected/ Blessed - God will bless and curse those that bless or curse him 12:3
  • Watched Over- God protects Abram and his family from the famine, his family, and other unseen threats. Tells him to leave/ Protects him from Egyptians 12:11
  • Family/ Trusting - God promises that in Abram all families of the earth will be blessed. Will land unto Abram’s seed. Shows himself to Abram 12:2 13:15, 16

Other Qualities
  • Family – Abram takes Sarai, and his brothers son Lot with him
  • Aged -found his wisdom in the Lord’s guidance - 75 years old when asked to leave We are not told of his first 75 years. 12:4 

The amazing thing to consider about Abram, is that before his covenant with God 17:4 , he had almost everything that man could ever want: power, wealth,success, fame,  a wife, (two), land, political respect, security, servants, etc. He lived by his faith. But still he was missing something eternal -something bigger than life itself. This infinite part of Abraham's life, and our own life, can be found when we understand the power of integrity as they pertain to sacred covenants.  When we partake of the blessings of God's covenants: baptismal,  marriage, or others  we find eternal perspective. We begin to understand the shortness of our time, the scale of our existence, and the greatness of God's love and glory. 

No matter the success that life brings, man will always need to remember there exists a higher power. Protection, love, wholeness, and perspective are promised to those who learn that this power of God's love exists to bind us with our God.  It is the power that we call integrity and a power God said is "between me and thee." 

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