Who wants to be an ass?

For all of my dedicated readers, if you have a hard time dealing with graphic language then don’t read any further. This one is going to be ‘special’…

First of all, let me smack your hands. This letter is NOT about the vulgar description of the human anatomy. I’m totally not joking. I’m completely serious about this subject. Who wants to be an ass?

Before talking about being one, what is an ass? Webster describes it as, “any of several hardy gregarious African or Asian perissodactyl mammals (genus Equus) smaller than the horse and having long ears; especially : an African mammal (E. asinus) that is the ancestor of the donkey”. Basically, it’s a mule, or a donkey.

But, why this subject and why today? I was going to write about it yesterday but it wasn’t the greatest thing in my heart. There were several directions that I wanted to go today but again I write what’s in my heart at that moment and today being an ass is that strongest statement.

Now, when I think of an ass, I generally see this beast of burden that is carrying a load or helping to do some sort of labor in farming. The other thought that I have is that an ass has it’s own will and once it has made a determination about a thing then you are hard-pressed to change its mind… stubbornness.

When doing research for this letter, I found out that the ass is mentioned in the bible almost 100 times in the King James. Most of the scriptures that I saw match my original thoughts about asses. But, there are a few that I’d like to highlight for this letter…

English: Woodcut for "Die Bibel in Bilder...

One thing to be said about the ass is that it is STRONG. God designed it that way. But the crazy part is that it isn’t only strong in will and physical strength but even its bone structure is strong. One of the greatest feats in battle was performed with a dead ass is described in Judges 15:16, “And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.” Samson went into battle with its jaw and killed 1,000 men!!! One thing about battle, especially in those days, is that it was hand-to-hand. You faced your enemy. They had swords, and possibly shields. They were prepped and ready for battle. Here comes Samson with a bone in his hand. What was running thru their minds when they saw him coming? I know he’s not going to fight us with that? Then he started killing them. From there, I know the thoughts quickly changed to, “I’m not going to be the next one to die, not like that!!!” Can you imagine, trained warriors being slain with such a crude instrument? Can you imagine the disbelief of the guy standing next to the one that just got killed with a jawbone AND the thought that he was next?

An Angel Met Balaam with a Sword (illustration...

I believe that God does have a sense of humor. That’s why he gave us a smile and a laugh. Ecclesiastes 10:19 tells us that, “A feast is made for laughter…” Let’s look at another situation. There’s our friend, Balaam, going against God’s will, decides that he was going to indulge in the riches of the enemy (the Moabites). So he gets on his ass and begins his journey to ‘get his stuff’. God is upset with Balaam and sends an angel to stop him. Balaam doesn’t see the angel but the ass does and fell down to avoid it. Balaam starts beating the ass to bring it ‘back in line’. So, God miraculously gives the ass speech and allows it to talk to Balaam. The ass complains about how she’s being treated. Meanwhile, Balaam is now able to see the angel that was sent to kill him. The only reason that he wasn’t killed was because of the ass. My wife loves this scripture. Her quote is, “If God can use an ass, then he can use you.” I almost forgot… this scripture is in Numbers 22.

Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a D...

Finally, there is a special ass, one of honor and distinction. This is the ass that Jesus, the King, rode. The part that’s cool about this is that this scripture is repeated in Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:5, “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” There were many animals that could have been chosen. He could have ridden a horse or camel but he chose an ass, a humble creature that isn’t given much regard, one that continually bears burdens but is always beaten at the slightest whim. An animal rejected but needed. Regarded but not… He, an ass, was given this most honorable task…

In these three examples an ass carried the King, killed a thousand men and saved a life… So, I ask the question again, “Who wants to be an ass?”

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie

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Our commission…

I like to ask questions. Sometimes, my questions get me into trouble but if I want to know then I ask… My question today is, “Why do we go to church?” Wait… I can hear the church bells ringing the alarm. I hear the super saints saying that I’ve backsliding. No seriously, why do we go to church? Or better yet, why do YOU go to church?

One of the things that I have really done, especially lately, is research the origin of things. You see, I don’t want to just go along with the status quo. I no longer want to do things just because everyone else is doing it or has done it. I’m tired of the expectations of this or that but not really having a firm foothold on the truth.

In my research, I found out that the first church was dedicated ‘in the thirty-first year after our Lord’s Passion’ – that is AD 64. This church was built by Joseph of Arimathea, and his twelve missionaries, in Glastonbury, England. They were granted 1,440 acres by King Arvirgus of Siluria. The importance of this first church is that it was the first “above-ground” church that preached about Jesus. Before this building was set, Christian chapels were hidden underground in the Roman catacombs. Btw, this building was dedicated to St. Mary.

Did you catch that last little piece? I’m just sayin’ :-)

When Jesus ministered, he actually went house to house. He was the first real traveling evangelist. When he sent out the twelve disciples, he instructed them on how to enter a town or village and, where they should stay, which was in people’s houses. Matthew 10:9-15 NIV…

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Many times in doing church work, we forget what the work of the church actually is. I know that line messed some of you up… Go ahead. Read it again. I’ll wait…

We get so wrapped up in the stuff that we do for church that we don’t fulfill what the church was called to do. Matthew 28:18-20 MSG answers this issue. It says, “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Luke 14:23 puts it this way, “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

The key theme here is that we are to go out and do something.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” If we are the temple then why are we spending so much time at the church?

I like how its written in the Gospel of Thomas, pOxy. 654.9-21, Coptic version…

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

All to often we are guilty of that last line from Thomas. We don’t know who we are and because of that one simple fact poverty consumes us. Now don’t get it twisted, poverty doesn’t just mean lack of money. This poverty is much greater than that. Let’s try lack of fulfillment, lack of love, lack of desire, lack of _______ (you fill in the blank). This is the reason that so many people get bored with church because church isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing and has become impoverished.

Stagnant water is stale but they say still waters run deep. The problem that we face is much greater than this letter can point out because we’ve been taught for generations that we need to be IN church. But I dare to say that we need to update our thinking and our press. The church building is for the gathering of the people to be re-energized and re-invigorated to go back OUT to fulfill the commission. We need to stop relying on the preacher to do all of the work while we sit back and chill.

It’s time to stop playing and get to work… ALL OF US (me included…) People are sick and are dying. We have the cure for them… It’s Jesus and the only way they are going to get their healing is when we compel them to take the Jesus vaccine!!!

So, again I ask, “Why do YOU going to church?”

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie