In this life I’m a woman. In my next life, I’d like to come back as a bear. When you’re a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.
Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that, too.
When you’re a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.
If you’re a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them, too. I could deal with that.
If you’re a bear, your mate expects you to wake up growling. He expects you to have hairy legs and excess body fat. Yup, gonna be a bear!
WELCOME to BEAR Country
Reincarnation is not substantiated in the Bible, but this email forward is priceless. We don’t have to wish to “come back as a bear” to be like one. We already are. We are creatures of habit, just like bears. And, like bears, those habits may mean life or death.
Black bears of California have a natural food supply they must work hard to find. After coming out of hibernation with 50% less body weight, they search for berries, eat grass, tear apart logs for carpenter ants and dig up yellow jacket nests. Before winter arrives again, they can be found shaking acorns from oak trees, then picking them up one by one.2
In the wild, brown-bear mothers in Alaska do not give the fish they catch to their cubs. They teach them how to feed themselves for their own survival. Like humans, though, most bears prefer what is readily available. They know what ice chests usually contain, and can smell food even if it’s wrapped in plastic and locked in a car. They can tear the window out of a car door or rip open a locked trunk to get what they want. But, going to this unnatural means to get what they want may cost them their life when surprised campers or protective park rangers shoot them.
Black bear yearlings, in their first season away from mom, know the least about finding wild foods and are most vulnerable to the temptation of easy meals. They may be the first to become campground bears and the most difficult to return to a natural diet.3
Just like campground bears, we Christians can become dependent upon easy meals, being spoon-fed by others, if we don’t learn early in our walk with the Lord to go to our natural source of supply–God’s Word.
This chapter will serve to give a taste of what Jehovah-Shalom can do in our lives such as bringing peace out of turmoil and working miracles when we need one. True fulfillment will come only as we seek our natural source of nourishment: eternal, living water and bread of life which is God’s Word. For us, this can mean spiritual life or death.
Kim had to learn this discipline-that peace remained only when she kept her eyes in the Word. Proverbs 30:8 says, “Feed me with the food that is needful for me” (ASV). When we ask God to do that, He will, if we’ll just open His book. God’s wisdom is for every Christian who searches for it:
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:1-8
Jehovah Shalom Teaches Us the BEAR Facts of Faith
What promises: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, victory and protection for the faithful ones! Digging for treasure in God’s Word always brings a reward. When we create this habit of seeking nourishment from The Source, Jehovah-Shalom teaches us the “B-E-A-R” Facts of Faith: B-elieving the Word, E-xpecting from the Word, A-sking from the Word and R-eceiving from the Word. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
Faith is like a two-sided coin, with fear on the other side. Gideon feared, but at the word of the Lord, he reversed the coin and put his faith in God who brought the victory. Like Gideon we, too, can flip our coin when fear enters our heart. We do that by applying knowledge of these four principles of faith that work together.
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” We will examine these four treasures from God’s word after we understand how faith works. Faith is displayed in our lives through our actions and by our words working in conjunction with God’s Word. After all, it was Joshua who was told by God that if he would meditate in His Word and not let it “depart from your mouth,” (Joshua 1:8) observing to do everything in it, he would be prosperous and successful.
Words “from our mouth” matter. Pat Boone’s daughter, Lindy Michaelis, had been digging in her natural source for food-her Bible. One day, her twenty-six year old son, Ryan Corbin, fell forty feet to the concrete floor through an unmarked roof opening of his apartment building in 2001. Ryan was not breathing when paramedics arrived. For six months, Ryan was in a coma on maximum ventilator support with brain injury, and he was unresponsive to outside stimuli.4 Lindy spoke formative, positive words, along with Scripture, day after day over Ryan’s lifeless body.
After four years of prayer by people all over the world, and constant “Mama Bear” mothering, Ryan is now in a wheelchair; he can move his legs, and he can recite memorized Scripture. Lindy attributes Ryan’s recovery to the creative spoken word over him, for “Death and life are in the power of the tongue . . .” (Prov. 18:21 Amplified).
Why are words so important? In looking at the power of the creative spoken word, it helps to see words as substance, capsules of energy transported from one place to another. This is what a radio does: transports words. Webster’s dictionary defines a radio as “wireless transmission and reception of electric impulses or signals by means of electromagnetic waves into which sound is converted.”5 When God spoke the words, “Let there be light,”6 He created the environment for energy that would later be used to transmit words.
The first chapter of Genesis says that in the beginning, the Spirit of God hovered in the formless, empty darkness. Then something changed. He spoke. Nothing happened until He spoke. Because He spoke creative words, the heavens and earth came into being. Nine times, He spoke them, and then Scripture says, “And it was so.” Light was created first, and without this radiant energy traveling at 186,281 miles per second, carrying God’s next words, nothing else could be created.
God formed everything by first speaking, “Let there be.” His words created the “being.” When God created man last, His words were different, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . . ” (Gen. 1:26). It took the Trinity to make man’s three parts-spirit, soul and body. Unlike other creatures that can make sound, man has the ability to speak words originating in his heart and mind-like God. [He also has a soul that is void without choosing God and His ways.]
God has Given Us the Responsibility of Wisely Directing our Words with BEAR Faith
Have we become aware of the awesomeness of this yet? No wonder Jesus said, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36). Lindy Michaelis knew she was created in the image of God. She knew she had creative word power. With this awesome ability to influence and create comes great responsibility.
God has given us the responsibility of wisely directing our words. We are seated in the body of Christ–at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places. Jesus gave us the keys to the kingdom of heaven (see Matt. 16:19); those keys are “how we use words.” We must take this very seriously. Our words are capsules of creative or destructive energy. They are not vapor that dissipates into thin air, never to be seen again. We see their results in our spouse, our children and our friends. They are matter; they are transmitted and felt.
The following “B-E-A-R Facts of Faith” and corresponding principles give us a guide in how to wisely command and control our words. Keep in mind they are the bare facts of faith, not necessarily the only way to pray. Jesus outlines the bare facts of prayer in Matthew, Chapter 6. Yet, He asks us, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Faith involves action and must be mixed with prayer, and exercised to become strong. It is always a good fight.
Whatever the outcome of our “good fight of faith” (see 1 Tim. 6:12), we can trust it is God’s plan for us, but only when we have fought it. Fight it and you will witness Jehovah-Shalom entering your world.
2. Sierran Black Bears article from http://www.nps.gov/seki/bearinfo.htm (accessed October, 2005)
4. From this incident, the Corbin and Michaelis families have created a foundation for support of traumatic brain victims called “Ryan’s Reach.” Information can be accessed from the Website: ryansreach.com. Financial, emotional, physical and spiritual needs are addressed. http://aitkenlaw.com/verdicts_settlements/corbin_v_westbrent.html (accessed October, 2005).
5. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary-Eleventh Edition, (Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Springfield, MA 2003), p.1025.
6. See Genesis 1:3.