Alanna Garden blog
“I must hurry. There is so much to do,” Azara thought to herself as she considered all she had to do for her family. Her husband needed her to be strong. Her sons and daughter needed her to be strong. The last several weeks had been so confusing and nothing seem normal. Moses, the renegade prince of Egypt, had returned with a promise to set them free.
Being slaves of the largest empire in the world had been an exhausting life for all of the 35 years she could remember but it was at least predictable. It was predictably hard, predictably hopeless, and predictably routine. Conditions were not good but at least they had a community of people surrounding them that loved them.
Getting married and building a family in this environment was discouraging. What kind of future was ahead for her children? What good could come from it? Her sons would grow into strong men who would be forced to use their talents, strength, and muscle to build a better life for Pharaoh, who already owned everything and had the best that life had to offer. Where was Yahweh? Where was the deliverer? Were all the promises of being the favored people just fairy tales?
Everyone had such hope when Moses came on the scene with a message of God stepping in and taking them to a land of Promise! A land of milk and honey! But then the suffering began. Moses’ trips to see Pharoah seemed to bring nothing but more suffering and grief to the entire land. The Children of Israel suffered right along with the Egyptians as Pharaoh continued to resist.
Oh, the things they had suffered! Each plague seemed to be worse than the one before it! The last six weeks had thrown the entire nation into a chaotic state. Nothing was untouched by the plagues. The water had turned to blood, the plants had been eaten by locusts, the air had the smell of death from all the frogs and livestock that died, and people were suffering from the boils afflicting them.
The plagues had disrupted every routine and created fear throughout the land. The children were experiencing nightmares about frogs in their beds and still scratched at their skin even though the problem had disappeared. And the stench that came from the river when it turned to blood! It made one want to gag with every breath. When would this end and what would happen to her family? There was so much suffering and uncertainty….
Azara tried to maintain some kind of stability for her family. Her husband was strained beyond belief with the new work orders imposed by Pharoah. He left before dawn and came home at dark exhausted from his day of making bricks. She could not bring him one more complication to deal with, so she handled the day-to-day things to the best of her ability.
But today…today was different. Her husband came home with news that made her stop in her tracks. Moses said the worst plague to come was going to happen in the upcoming weeks and it would be more devastating that all the others combined. It would change the present and the future of every family in Egypt including the Children of Israel. The Angel of Death would sweep through Egypt and the firstborn of every family, and every animal would die if the instructions were not followed exactly. (Exodus 12)
It was horrible enough to know there was an Angel of Death but the anticipation of it coming to their street was unimaginable. The news was at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts as soon as they woke up each morning.
She had to prepare and make sure they had everything needed to follow the instructions! How was one supposed to do this? This had never happened before. There was no one to ask. There were no reference points. All that was available to them was the assurance of solid obedience bringing about the best result…life, in this particular situation.
They knew what to do. The blood of a male lamb, unblemished and in its first year of life, must be painted around the doorpost. If the lives of those inside were to be saved from the Angel of Death, it would be because the blood of the lamb was on the doorpost of their home.
As the days passed, she kept her children close to her. She went about her daily business with one thing in mind - being as prepared as she could be to keep her family alive when the Angel of Death came to town. She felt so out of control. The daily tasks gave her somewhere to focus her nervous energy as the chosen day got closer.
She had never known freedom. She had been born into slavery. All of Israel had been in slavery for 400 years. She daydreamed about what freedom would be like for her family and those she loved. Would there be more laughter around the campfires at night? Would her children’s eyes sparkle with hope as they shared their ideas and dreams with her? Enough daydreaming. She had work to do and she needed to hurry.
TWO WEEKS LATER………………………………TONIGHT WAS THE NIGHT
That afternoon Azara had fixed the meal according to the instructions of Moses and her husband had painted the blood around the doorpost. This blood was different from what was in the river. This blood had the fresh scent of life in it from the lamb that had been sacrificed just this afternoon.
It was odd and a little unsettling to see it on the doorposts of all the dwellings around her. What exactly did this mean? Why was this required? She didn’t know but the fear in her heart wouldn’t let her dwell on it long. All she knew was that they had been told the Angel of Death would pass them by if the blood was put on the doorpost. So…they put the blood on the doorpost.
That night after eating dinner with the family, she and her husband checked the doorpost one more time just to make sure it was covered with the blood. Then they waited for darkness to fall. They sat up all night and watched their children sleep making sure their chests were still moving up and down as they breathed in and out.
As the sun rose, Azara heard a cry coming out of Egypt that had never been heard before. The cry of mourning.
The Angel of Death had visited the land. Things would never be the same after what became known as the first Passover. Not only were they alive but now they would also have freedom. The blood of the lamb had saved the Children of Israel and life was about to change…
Generations of Israelites had dreamed of freedom, but none could have imagined it would come by the blood of a lamb. How desperate was Azara for the blood of the lamb to save her loved ones? They had one hope. And the blood of the lamb was it.
It is the same for us….
When we take Communion, are we as grateful as Azara for the blood of the perfect lamb available to us? Eternal life is offered to us because Jesus shed his blood for us.
Jesus would have heard the details of that first Passover his entire life. His family would have celebrated it every year. But He knew this year would be different for Him.
I wonder what His thoughts were in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed. Did he think of the significance of the blood on that first Passover night and what was about to happen to Him on that Cross? I wonder if our faces flashed before Him as he willingly walked to that Cross for us.
What I do know is that He wanted us to take communion in memory of Him, the Perfect Lamb. Just as Passover symbolizes freedom from slavery, communion reminds us that Jesus set us free from the slavery of sin.
The blood of the Perfect Lamb and a resurrected Savior brings life to our life. Who the Son sets free, is free indeed! (John 8:34)
Today while fixing lunch, I looked to my right and saw a glass bowl of what had been beautiful red, green, and yellow bell peppers from my garden. They had been there long enough now to begin to show signs of spoiling. Immediately a pang of guilt swept over me because of my lack of stewardship regarding my garden harvest.
A couple of years ago, my husband spent a great deal of time, energy and money building a beautiful U-shaped raised garden bed for Mother’s Day and my birthday. It was tall enough I didn’t have to bend over, it was enclosed so the deer couldn’t eat the plants and it was filled with rich, organic composted soil we paid someone to deliver. We continued to invest in it by purchasing dirt to counteract the heaving that naturally occurs.
Every year I purchase bedding plants and seeds to put in the garden bed. Herbs are carefully chosen and nurtured all summer. Thought is given to a strategic layout as I try new plants and weave a soaker hose throughout the bed for optimal water distribution. Plans are made to stake the plants once they are heavy with produce. Time, effort and money is put into that garden bed which is basically a hobby for me.
I enjoy seeing new life spring forth and vegetables hanging on the vines as they mature. I marvel at the life that comes forth from each seed that seems to be pre-programmed to follow built in directives. How does that seed know to grow up out of the earth instead of down? God has done an amazing job creating life in that small, hard seed that will eventually produce food to put on our table.
Inevitability, even though our garden bed is small, the plants produce more of a harvest than we can eat. As much as possible is frozen to be used later. However, time constraints don't always allow me to put up the extra vegetables right away so they live in a bowl on the counter in my kitchen with good intentions. They are beautiful and organic, filled with the raw nutrition our bodies need. They remind me of the wonder of life.
Herein lies the problem – they eventually spoil either in that bowl or the refrigerator crisper because of neglect. The spoilage does not motivate me to take care of the harvest. I berate myself for not giving it away but I really don’t know anyone that wants or needs it. Fresh produce is plentiful in our rural area. It makes me sad to see the wrinkles start to develop as the vegetables soften and eventually a spot appears as it continues to disintegrate. Even though this distress me, it doesn't motivate me enough to stop and take care of it. It just rots and I eventually throw it out.
God often speakes to me through everyday situations and this was one of those times. My beautiful harvest grown with love was not being cared for. “Being cared for” is called stewardship and that is discussed in Matthew 25 in the parable of the talents. However, the stewardship of my vegetables wouldn’t even rate in the parable – it was worse than any of the examples!
As this revelation washed over me, I began to think of the other areas of my life, especially the spiritual area, that had been nurtured with love. The areas where resources were set aside and life’s energy poured into an aspect of my spiritual development came to mind. The effort God and I had intentionally focused to develop my understanding of His love for me and others – what have I done with that harvest? What was sitting being unattended and unused?
When I think of the work the effort and the time God himself has put toward my life – and the unimaginable sacrifice of His son - I realize that just as I neglected the harvest from my garden, I have also neglected to steward some of the harvest in my spiritual life.
Through the years, God has taught me who he is, how he works with us as human beings, and how much he loves us. My life, my heart, and my spirit are full of the knowledge of his ways and his grace and his love for us. My “barns are full” so to speak.
I do not know why I sit with these things in my heart and not share more. I do not know why I’m content to keep my knowledge of His great love to myself. Just as my garden can be full of beautiful vegetables carefully tended and cared for, my life is full of beautiful spiritual fruit that is ready to be harvested as He sees fit. Anything we learn of Him should be given good stewardship and shared.
Harvesting should be a joy whether it is in our dirt garden or our spiritual garden. It is the culmination of our laborers. It is a delight to see life growing abundantly. A neglected harvest, in the natural or in the spiritual garden, does not bring the nourishment, health or delight to life as intended.
Stewardship just moved up on my priority list. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to make a trip out to my garden. There are some bell peppers that need attention.
“Alignment” has special meaning to me because chiropractic care has proven beneficial for my physical body for many years. For those not familiar with chiropractic care, www.mayoclinic.org defines it as “a procedure in which trained specialists (chiropractors) use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint… to improve spinal motion and improve your body's physical function.”
Through the years my chiropractor has applied “a controlled, sudden force” to my spinal joints to get them in alignment. I’ve often wondered about spiritual “alignment”? Is that possible?
I believe it is because in Matt 22:36-39 Jesus answered a question: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang on all the law and the prophets.”
Love God. Love people. These are simple components of spiritual alignment.
During this very unusual time in our world when most of our daily routines are “out of alignment”, I believe we have a real opportunity to get some aspects in alignment spiritually. What does this involve?
In thinking about my personal chiropractic visits three things come to mind. I must be intentional and schedule an appointment, trust that he is a specialist that knows how to help me and surrender to the process.
Do any of those relate to our spiritual life? I believe they do in many ways and with some thought our lives can have an adjustment that brings about greater spiritual alignment.
Be intentional about loving Him and others Many times I have wanted all the elements to be perfect before approaching Him. I want the house to be clean and quiet, to have a couple of hours to spend with Him and enough energy to stay awake. We all know life happens and seldom do all those things come together at the same time. I encourage you to get over it and get on with it! One sentence from Him while you are sweeping cereal off the kitchen floor can change your life. Intentionally reach for Him wherever you are, whenever you can. I promise you He is there. Intentionally find ways to love others during this time. Reach out to neighbors, people who are afraid or small business owners who could benefit from an encouraging word.
Trust Him So much is wrapped up in that word. Do I trust that Father God is who He says He is? Is He really the “specialist” that can take care all my needs? Comfort can come if we believe Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2) I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in Him I will trust.”
Surrender to the process Just as one must allow the chiropractor to “apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint” for the treatment to be effective, there are times when we must surrender to the hand of God in our life. It isn’t always comfortable. Just relax and work through the process of being realigned by the one who intercedes for you daily before the throne of God. Many times after an adjustment there is a bit of discomfort as the body begins to heal and more than one visit is necessary to reach the desired alignment. Be patient if that happens as spiritual alignment takes place.
Our entire world is in a time of being “out of alignment” from what we consider normal. Now would be the perfect time to ask God to realign our hearts, mind and soul to love Him and love our neighbors as ourselves. It is the perfect time to ask Him to realign marriages, families and relationships. Now is a great time for realignment!
Recently I read a story about a grandfather who gave his grandson the above advice. Then I heard a popular Christian speaker say, "You become hungry for what you are feeding yourself." Hmmm…..
So let me get this right.....whatever we feed ourselves we become hungry for and as a result it lives and gets bigger. Is it really possible to develop a hunger for such things as gossip, worry, self-pity, resentment and the other things on the above list? Can we “feed” ourselves into a bad place? In our society, the day often starts with negativity beginning with the morning news and it goes downhill as the day progresses.
Can we really develop a hunger for this if we "eat" it and how do we feed the right "one"?
Feeding the right perspective requires us to be proactive and God tells us how to identify these things and what to do about them. Notice two calls to action in the following scripture: casting down and bringing into captivity. What do we cast down? He tells us in the middle of the verse.
2 Corinthians 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
"Imaginations" are different for each person but some examples might be anticipating rejection, playing out an argument in your head that probably won't ever happen, worrying about things that "might" happen (loss of job, accident, failure, etc.)
When these “imaginations” are cast away from us they will starve.
We are instructed on what we should feed in Phil 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” These are the things we need to develop a hunger for and we do that by feeding on them.
Look at the picture above as if it were a menu you will order from today.
Which one will you starve?
Which one will you feed?
Scary prayers? I didn't know about such a thing until a few years ago when God began answering Ps 51:10
in very obvious, significant ways.
A "scary prayer" is one that will result in unexpected changes that require growth in our faith, courage and surrender.
About the age of twelve the above scripture was planted in my heart. King David prayed this and he was a "man after God's heart". I wanted to be "after God's heart" too. I decided this would be a good prayer for me.
Throughout the years, with varying degrees of passion, I prayed those words not really knowing what I was asking....
As I matured, I realized He answered that prayer by challenging the status quo in my life in ways I didn't anticipate. This was beginning to be some scary stuff! I was going to have to trust Him more if I really wanted a "clean heart" and "right spirit."
Just as a patient must surrender to the hands of a physician when work is being done on a physical heart, new levels of surrender are necessary when God works on our "heart." It takes courage and trust in both cases.
God might reveal an attitude or pattern of thought that needs to change and, well, ...we aren't really sure about the wisdom of making that change. It has worked quite well for us in the past thank you very much. As we struggle with the benefit-cost analysis we sometimes convince ourselves we are not getting the right message because surely God wouldn't want us to get rid of that thing that works for us, would He?
However, it can be hard to deny when a passage of scripture we've read for years suddenly takes on new life, the sermon at church is on that same topic the next week, your best friend brings it up for no reason and someone hands you a book about the subject. It becomes painfully obvious you are getting the right message.
I have an exercise that helps me move forward. When God responds to my prayer and begins to reveal the area He wants to "create" and "renew" in my heart I dwell on how much He loves me (John 3:16). Then I remind myself that the Holy Spirit is here to be my Comforter and teach me (John 14:26). It gives me courage to remember "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).
Holding on to these scriptures helps me lie still on the operating table, so to speak. Trust and faith in who He is allows me to surrender to "...Him who began a good work in you (me) carry it on to completion...(Phil 1:6).
This exercise changes my perspective so the answered prayer is no longer "scary" but a blessing. May your life be filled with the blessing of answered prayers!
At times God surprises us with illuminating truth that changes us forever. Like a lightening bolt from heaven, He gets our attention in a way that shows us what we could not see before.
Ever feel frustrated because you have "done" enough but haven't received:
*that raise at work (it's obvious you work harder than everyone else),
*another person's cooperation (look at all you've done for them),
*a new whatever (why does everyone else get this and I don't?)
*a break in life (why do I have to keep dealing with this?)
*relief from a difficult situation (I'm doing everything right and nothing ever changes)
*a specific blessing from God (look at all I'm giving up and doing for God and the thing I asked for hasn't happened yet!)
There might just be a sense of entitlement lurking in the shadows causing that frustration. "No, not me!" roar the readers. Hear me out - entitlement is someone's belief that he/she is deserving of some particular reward or benefit.
Is there a checklist in the heart that says "I've suffered (or sacrificed) __________________ and I deserve ___________________. Our culture tells us so. Don't you "deserve a break today"?
An entitlement attitude is self-focused and a joy killer. It robs us of the satisfaction that should be in our lives and we see the glass half empty. When we finally get what we think we deserve, our frustration is appeased and we feel vindicated but not blessed.
So, ask God if there is a sense of entitlement in your heart about something. If there is, He will whisper it in a still small voice with tender mercies that lead to repentance.
The truth will set you free - free to be grateful and live life with a healthy expectation that results in joy because of belief in the goodness of God and the blessings He has given us. (James 1:17)
Living in rural WV, gives one the opportunity to encounter wildlife on a regular basis. This morning, with coffee cup in hand and worship music in the background, I watched an interesting scene play out with a couple of whitetail deer and a stray cat.
A doe was grazing in the yard snacking on my weeping mulberry tree! She meandered through our big yard toward the creek for a drink. Suddenly she stopped at the edge of the clover patch planted by my neighbor several years ago. (I'm sure this neighbor is a hero in the animal kingdom and his good deed will be exalted in their oral history for years to come!)
Everything in the doe was standing at attention as she tried to determine what was in her salad bowl. She took a step forward and stomped her feet several times. A 5 lb cat hunkered down and glared at the 100 lb doe. This should not even be a contest.
The situation was complicated when Doe #2 came up over the creek bank. Now there were two does looking at the cat but the calico stood her ground. This was now her place to hunt for moles and mice.
Doe #2 decided she didn't like Doe #1 and chased her down the creek and came back to confront the cat. She snorted and stamped her feet at the edge of breakfast. The cat didn't move. Eventually, she walked across the road and into my yard and then back to the cat. The situation didn't change. The cat didn't move despite the obvious difference in size. She could have easily scampered up a tree but didn't. Doe #2 gave up and disappeared into the trees.
I pondered how easily two big does allowed themselves to be denied the rich blessing provided for them in that clover patch by one 5 lb cat that exhibited intimidating behavior. The cat didn't even move.
How many times does God provide a rich blessing for us and we let something intimidate us? Even though we might be chosen, prepared and hungry for what He offers we allow obstacles, even small ones, to stop us from moving forward to claim the prize!
In Numbers 13 we see an example of this when Moses sent 12 scouts to check out the land of Caanan. They reported it really was a land of "milk and honey" and produced incredible fruit - it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes!
But here is what they focused on in verses 31-33:
31 But the men that went up with him said, We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Joshua and Caleb were the only two that returned wanting to follow through on God's instruction to take the land. They did not focus on the size of the giants but on the faithfulness of God.
I believe there are blessings God has in mind for us but we feel like grasshoppers in a land of giants when we are really a 100 lb deer up against a 5 lb cat. What is God offering us and what keeps us frozen in our tracks?
It might be:
The scouts saw themselves as grasshoppers. The deer in my yard were intimidated by a small intruder a fraction of their size.
Remember who you are in Christ - you are "more than a conqueror" and "...all things work together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose". (Rom 8:28) If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, that is you, my friend.
If not, take a moment to say, "Jesus, I want you in my life. Take my heart and forgive me for all the wrong things I've done. I want you to be the Lord of my life and accept you as my Savior. I accept your sacrifice and believe you are the living God. Help me to learn to love you and know the purpose you have chosen for me."
If you prayed this prayer of salvation, your adventure has just begun. Learning to receive God's love is the beginning. Understanding your identity and purpose is an exciting part of the journey! I'd love to hear about it!
In the mean time, focus on the faithfulness of God and ask Him " What is the 5 lb cat keeping me from by blessing?"
The favor of God? Bring it on, right?! Who doesn't want the favor of God in their lives? We daydream about what the favor of God would look like - basically, all of our prayers being answered.
We'd really like a lot of those answered prayers lined up like crayons in a box, wouldn't we? Right where we can grab them and color our lives the way we want them to be. We are encouraged by scriptures such as Deut 28:2 "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God"
"Sign me up!" we shout as we jump up and down like children before the throne of Father God, "Overtake me with those blessings!"
God loves us and probably enjoys blessing us more than we enjoy being blessed. Personally, I think He looks for opportunities for His favor to leak from the heavens and soak into our thirsty lives. Sometimes life is hard and His favor nurtures and renews us. He knows that.
He also knows how much we can take before our "stripes" start to unravel. (see photo) Our identity takes a hit and, if we aren't careful, our understanding of who we are in Christ begins to fall off our lives.
The reality is that extreme favor from God can cause unexpected changes that throw our lives off balance. We get so excited about the opportunities His favor brings we can hardly contain ourselves! What once kept us grounded gets downsized so we can accommodate what is happening. (Let me whisper this next sentence so God won't hear...) We really want to be in control of the "overtaking" that is upon us. It makes us feel safe and success should be a nice safe experience, shouldn't it?
It has been said that success is sometimes more difficult to navigate than a time of trials. During a time of "overtaking" favor it is important to remember love. Yes, love. What's love got to do with it? Everything.
In Luke 10:27 Jesus said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." This scripture creates a plumb line we can live our lives by. It creates an alignment that brings order and harmony.
Love brings us back into balance. We spend time with the people we love and spending time with God says "I love you" to Him. It also reminds us that He loved us first. Our heart responds to that truth when we draw near to the One who made us in His image. It is impossible to "hurry up" and love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. Most of the time He won't respond to that approach and you'll feel as if your prayers are hitting the ceiling. It takes time. Slowing down and focusing on Him puts things in order and creates balance.
In our fast-paced culture the second part of the above scripture is more difficult to accomplish. Love my neighbor as myself - now, just try a "git 'er done" approach with that and see how far it gets you! Our "neighbors" don't feel loved when we are impatient, disrespectful, demanding, deceptive or self-focused (all side effects of a life out of balance). A loving relationship with anyone responds to the fruits of the spirit Gal 5:22-23 "... love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..."
So...how much supernatural favor can you take before the "stripes" that identify you start to unravel? Depends on how much you operate by love.
Position and prepare yourself for supernatural favor. God will give you all you can take!
One of my favorite songs is "Potter's Hands" by Darlene Zschech and Hillsong. "I'm captured by your holy calling, set me apart, I know you're drawing me to yourself, Lead me, Lord, I pray...." 2 Tim 1:9.
"Captured" can mean to gain control of or exert influence over.
Hmmm, ...."captured by your holy calling"...does my busy life reflect that? Is the "holy calling" exerting the influence over life - or - are the details of trying to live out that "holy calling" exerting the influence?
It takes effort to live intentionally captured by the "holy calling.
Often the things we think we need to do for the "holy calling" cause us to lose sight of it. Many times we get caught up in the appointments, phone calls and tasks.
Beginning in I Kings 18:30 we see a few things Elijah did for his "holy calling" at Mt. Carmel. He built an alter, dug a trench around it, filled it with wood, cut up the sacrificial bull, laid it on the wood and acted as manager to make sure enough water was dumped on it to add some drama to what was about to happen. All the above was not his "holy calling". These things prepared for him to stand in his "holy calling.
After fire fell from heaven, in verse 37 we see Elijah in his holy calling of announcing the heart of God: "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” What a moment to live for!
But....then there was more work to do. He had to deal with the false prophets of Baal. Most of the time our "holy calling" is sandwiched in between the work or manifestations involved in the calling.
What things we are building, tearing down, maintaining or managing that influence us more than our "holy calling?" Most of the time the "holy calling" is spoken in that still small voice and not the wind, the earthquake or the fire.
Let's make sure we are intentionally captured by the holy calling and not the manifestations of that calling.