Roots of Bitterness

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. ~Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

Imagine this: so much had been changing with the policies at my job that I considered looking for new employment.  I did not want to become bitter towards an organization that I’d given my adult life towards, so I began to think about when would be a good time to transition.

As I read Hebrews 12:15, it reminded me of the sentiment towards my job, but I was unsure if the roots of bitterness referenced in Hebrews were the same that I was feeling towards my employer.  Using prayer and research, I decided to dig in.

The scenario occurred well over a year ago, but it’s given me plenty of time to spend time in Hebrews and Deuteronomy trying to understand the “roots of bitterness.”

The KJV refers to the root of bitterness springing up and troubling you, which in turn will cause many to be defiled.  Within the NIV, one can see that bitter roots grow and cause trouble.  As you read this verse, it appears that the passage is directed at the entire church of believers rather than just one individual battling bitterness.

The context of the passage becomes even more clear when you consider Hebrew culture, where any poisonous plant was referred to as bitter.  If poison destroys, then the author of the book of Hebrews could arguably be using the metaphor of a bitter root for something that would destroy the church, much like poison would.

Taking this New Testament passage and crossing it to the Old Testament, one sees that in Deuteronomy 29:18, Moses cautions of being vigilant to the growth of bitter roots of poison.  In reviewing the covenant between God and Israel, Moses is referencing the “bitter root” of idolatry.  There are other references in the Old Testament where the concept of a bitter root is mentioned. For instance, in Amos 6:12 the unfaithful are called out as a bitter root.

Much like in nature, a bitter root in a church or individual’s life starts as a tender shoot.

If it’s nurtured and cared for, it begins to grow longer and stronger as the days go by.  The poison of that root begins to gain strength, subsequently becoming more and more dangerous.  The sin of the bitter root in a person’s life or within the church must be dug up, cut off, and not allowed to continue growing.  If it’s allowed to continue, there are catastrophic consequences: the spiral of more sin begotten of other sin or the lack of unification in church membership.  Essentially that bitter root becomes a stronghold for the enemy to mess with our lives.

Within the church, we are all responsible for cutting off the root of bitterness. It’s time to practice grace with one another. It’s time to speak truth to one another. It’s time to hold each other accountable.  It’s time to support one another.  It’s time to stop gossiping.

It’s time to stop nurturing the root of bitterness.

For me and my job challenges, I had to assess if bitterness was going to take root.  If it was, then I had choices to make in order to cut off that root.

During the next week, look at your life and determine if there are shoots that need to be pulled before they begin to take root!

~Emily

Roots of Bitterness copy

 

Trivia: Did you know?

Did you know that Ruth was King David’s Great-Grandmother?!?!?

Ruth, as in ‘Where you go, I’ll go…’ Ruth.  She’s the one.  The one who was the Great-Grandma to King David. KING DAVID!!! Did she read to toddler-King David on her lap?  Tell him to ‘go get a switch’ when he was naughty?  Did she sing to him?  Present him with horribly handmade sweaters?  Why am I the only one who is freaking out about this genealogy nugget?

I figured this out while remotely completing a Ruth Bible study with Erin and the Table 8 ladies. It was early morning. I read the daily passage.  I answered the questions.  And then…I started outlining Ruth’s lineage.  I sat in shock and then quickly shot off a text to Erin about my discovery. With different time zones, early morning revelations in Alabama translate to middle of the night texts in California. I can only imagine that Erin was giggling and shaking her head at my excitement over this shocking discovery. Apparently, this Ruth-David connection is common knowledge.  Where the heck have I been?

While ecstatic about this newfound knowledge, it made me think about other connections throughout the Bible that I had possibly missed.  I started researching some trivia and unusual occurrences within the Bible.  Have you missed some too?

Did you know?

-Ehud was the 1stleft-handed man mentioned in the Bible (Judges 3:15)

-Dogs are mentioned 41 times in the Bible, but cats aren’t even mentioned once.

-Job stated that his wife claimed he had bad breath. (Job 19:17)

-Genesis never says Adam and Eve ate an apple, only that they ate fruit.

-Andrew was a disciple of John The Baptist before following Jesus. (John 1:35-37, 40)

-David is second only to Jesus in number of times mentioned in the Bible.

-Elizabeth, mother of John The Baptist, was a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5) and John The Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. (Luke 1:36)

-Miriam is the 1st woman recorded singing in the Bible (Exodus 15:21)

-Prior to the incident at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), everyone spoke the same language.

I already knew some of these, such as the relationship between Jesus and John The Baptist.  Their relationship is often mentioned around Christmas when retelling of Elizabeth and Mary meeting, while both were pregnant. I knew that at some point all humans spoke the same language, but I didn’t know it was the incident at the Tower of Babel that changed our languages.

This book we study, the Word of God, it is filled with wondrous facts and illustrations of relationships.  None of them are coincidences and all of them are divinely God’s plan.  I love stumbling on these bits and pieces that are so perfectly overlapping.  It makes me love the written word of God even more than I had previously.  It makes me want to read more…study more…find more curiosities that I had previously missed.  Who else is the great-grandparent to a notorious Bible figure?!?!?

Come to the porch and share something from the Bible that you have previously missed…I’m super intrigued!

~Emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hang-ups, Phobias, & Quirks

I despise glitter.  I cringe at the mention of the word “moist.” I swallow bubble gum.  If using a disposable cup, my coffee lid opening must line up with the seam of the paper cup.  My pillow case openings must face to the outside edges of the bed. I can’t read a book without first looking at the copyright date.

Hang-ups, phobias, and generalized quirks are often more problematic when you try to keep them a secret. I have some pretty obvious ones. Those closest to me either protect me or tease me about them.

I despise glitter. Glitter is such an iconic girlie symbol. I guess I’m not a true girlie-girl, because I’ve hated glitter since I was a small child. It gets everywhere and is uncontrollable.  Glitter is the herpes of the arts and craft world. I appreciate the efforts of my friend, Lori, who actually covered the front of a glittery Christmas card with clear package tape before sending.  Last year, I did not appreciate my son’s Kindergarten teacher sending “glittery dream” poems home for the night before the 1stday of school.  I don’t want it anywhere near me and it’s been banned from my house.

I cringe at the mention of the word “moist.”  In my head I know that a word, is a word, is a word.  I know it can’t hurt me.  And yet…this particular word makes me physically cringe. It sounds so yucky. So gross.  My ears delete whole conversations that contain this word.  My little one LOVES to say the word “moist” around me…just so he can watch my reaction and laugh.  A few times a year, my Facebook peeps send me the video of handsome Hollywood men pronouncing the word.  It could be the weatherman, a baking show, my cutie 7 year old or a hottie actor…it doesn’t matter who says it…it’s gross.

I swallow bubble gum. If I put a piece of gum in my mouth, within a few minutes I forget that I’m chewing gum and swallow.  Typically, I refuse gum.

If using a disposable cup, my coffee lid opening must line up with the seam of the paper cup.  I will stand at the Starbucks pick up counter and change my lid, if necessary.

My pillow case openings must face to the outside edges of the bed.  I’ve tried to let this one go.  I just lay in bed obsessing about how the pillowcases are wrong, until I finally move them.

I can’t read a book without first looking at the copyright date.  Seriously.  Why?!?!? I blame this on my 3rd grade teacher who had us look at all the title page information before we were allowed to read.

These are just a few of the silly things that make up Emily.  Silly things that I embrace about myself and I’m pretty open about them. When do the silly things become a problem?

Hang-ups, phobias, and generalized quirks become more problematic when you try to hide them.

The Bible addresses concerns about hidden sin.

“Who can discern his errors?  Acquit me of hidden faults.” ~Psalm 19:12 (NIV)

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” ~Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)

“Have I covered my transgressions like Adam…”~Job 31:33 (NIV)

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” ~Romans 1:18

I’m not saying that quirky tendencies are sinful.  I hope that dislike of glitter or copyright dates aren’t sinful quirks!  Rather I am contending that if kept quiet, the secrets of our souls can become sinful in nature.

I have wrestled with deep-soul-secret keeping and it will wear you out.  How do you turn from secrecy?  How do you ensure you aren’t falling into a sin trap because of secrets?

To be continued…

~Emily

 

 

 

My Hobby Job

Click, click, tab.  Enter, enter.  Tab, tab, tab.  Click, click.  Enter, enter, enter.  If you ask Emily what my job entails, that’s what she’ll say I do.  You do actually hear those noises if you’re on the phone with me when I’m working.  I work full time from my home office in California for my hospital in Wyoming where I’m from.  I was fortunate enough to have continued employment even though I moved.

And yet.  I’m a talker.  Some might say I would talk to a wall if it would answer back.  I would say that I’d probably talk to a wall even if it DIDN’T answer back.  Talking to my dogs during the day in a Californian city I wasn’t very familiar with wasn’t cutting it for me anymore.  So, I went on a long and tedious journey of finding me a part-time job that would allow me to get in front of human beings.  And by long and tedious, I mean that I drove down the street on a 45-second car ride to a local restaurant, Boudin SF, who’s “Hiring” sign peaked my interest.  (They had people AND fresh baked bread….how could I go wrong?!)

This job is what I call my “hobby job.”  I don’t need it financially, but I need it mentally and emotionally.  I love it!  I have the most amazing co-workers and management team.  Work is fun to go to.  I get excited when I see a regular guest walk in the door and can greet them by name to ask how their day is!

One of my favorite things to do while I’m working is singing.  I will literally sing the menu while I’m pouring out soup with our guests watching!  “Claaaaam chowder is where it’s at!  Giiiivvvveee meeeee the bread bowl to eat it wiiiith! Don’t forget the butter!”  I’ll also sing to the cooks through the large open concept kitchen window while they’re preparing the food.  Here are some of my better creations…

Kevin, your ‘maters are cut great!
The turkey avocado will be perfect for their date!”

And, “I think, Kate, that the grilled cheese,
Should come with havarti, pretty please.

This usually ends with Kevin offering to pay me to stop singing.  Of course I don’t!

Erin, get to the point, you might be thinking.  One of the things my co-workers always say about me, is that I’m happy.  Every day is a “fabulous” day, and I’m always smiling.

I hope this doesn’t sound boastful.  It isn’t meant to sound like I’m praising myself.  I have a choice to walk through the doors and be excited for what’s coming or dreading the potential disasters I may face.  I have to pray every morning that I have a positive attitude and my light from Jesus will shine through me and impact others around me.

It doesn’t work every time, either.  I’m still human.  I still get irritated or frustrated when it gets busy and I’m pulled in four directions.  When that happens, I take a quick second to regroup, silently pray for Him to redirect my thoughts, then take a deep breath and start over!

My encouragement to you, today, is that whether your job is a click-click-tab job or a “how can I help you” job, the light of Jesus will live and shine out of you.  Pray for ways to shine that light on others.  Maybe, just maybe, what they need is a little song.

~Erin