40 Week Marriage Devotional

40 Week Marriage Devotional

WEEK #12 – KATHMANDU’S ROYAL KUMARI, THE LIVING GODDESS

Peeking out the airplane window at the summit of Everest while flying out of Nepal, my mind is filled with thoughts of Kathmandu’s Kumari.  I had seen flashes of her on television as she was carried through the streets of the city in her throne like carriage.  Later I learned that her feet never touch the ground outside of her palace, for the duration of her supposed incarnation.  Yes, incarnation, as it is tragically believed; for the majority of residents of the capital city hail her as the living embodiment of the Hindu goddess Teleju.  She is chosen as a young child following a rigorous selection process.  She must be unblemished, have jet black hair and eyes, long eyelashes like a cow, and the “soft voice of a duck”!  She is about 5 or 6 years of age at selection, and passes the most severe of tests and examinations, including the necessity of spending a night alone in a room filled with the severed heads of 100 sacrificed goats and cows, without showing any trace of fear.  Yikes!  Pity the poor girl, who once approved is then presented to the spirit for inhabitation.

And thus her reign begins, continuing until the time where she passes into puberty.  For those 10 years or so, her word is absolute.  Other carefully selected children are allowed to play with her in her palace, but only after understanding fully that whatever the Kumari commands is their sacred duty and obligation.  She may seize their toys, demand her own rules in games, and in general have whatever she wants.  Adults come to her for blessings, and her every expression is interpreted for good or evil.  If she laughs or cries, you are likely doomed in the near future.

If she shivers, get ready for a trip to prison!  If she is perfectly still, only then is your petition assured of success.

How tragic is the fate of this sad child.  Poisoned from the earliest age with thoughts of her own divinity;  spoiled hopelessly with the scepter of absolute authority, believing that it is her divine right to have her want and way in every situation of life; sending adults into a trembling panic if her disapproval is aroused.  Hmmm…..I’ve seen such a child a few places before:  in the aisles of grocery stores screaming for the treats to which they believe they are entitled;  holding their parents hostage in restaurants by running amok and daring them to risk public discipline; or incapable when playing with other kids of handling loss, disadvantage, or domination.  These have been, like the Kumari, deceived into believing that they are the center of the universe and the rightful focus of every adult’s admiration.

And herein lies the challenge for the married couple, for such children, unrestrained or untrained, will inevitably seek to conquer and divide their parents.  The brat unbridled leads to blame and embarrassment – – who is responsible for the emotional mayhem of this maniacal miniaturization of domestic authority?  Which of us failed to steer and direct their path?  Who pampered them in private, or placated them with privilege, while the other alone wielded the rod and thus became unwillingly the object of their infantile resentment?

No, dear parents to be, you dare not bring another Kumari upon an innocent and unsuspecting world.  A few points of advance agreement will work wondrously toward reigning in your blessing’s baser instincts.  Wisdom and knowledge, provided by the Scriptures, will save a world of frustration and conflict both in the home, and out in society.  Here are a few tips for vanquishing any Kumari who would attempt to turn your peaceful home into his or her own personal palace:

  1. Be honest with yourself, and agree with God that your kids have not been born perfect.  They have in fact inherited Adam’s nature, as have mom and dad, and will inevitably push the boundaries as far as possible if not restrained, trained, and programmed in their brain!
  2. Children can be lavished with love and blessings, yet still learn early the meaning of the word “NO”.  Many adults cannot manage both sides of the formula.  They either are too heavy handed, fearing to be overly gracious, or they are too pampering, fearing to damage their child through denial.  God’s wisdom balances both.
  3. Let your darling learn early on that they will never come between mom and dad.  The two of you together form an impenetrable wall of agreement.  Once they’ve faced this wall repeatedly and discovered that it has no cracks, they will ultimately tire of attempting to breach it.
  4. Teach them early the joy and empowerment of honoring and exalting others.  Let them see humility working in the home as their parents refuse entitlement, and use their earthly position and resource for the uplifting of people.  The sooner their little feet touch ground in a place of commonality and service among their own peers, the more whole they will become as adults.
  5. Never find your own fulfillment through the visibility of your child.  Many a mom or dad has sat basking in the limelight as their little one proceeded to hijack the public atmosphere of a church service or restaurant.  Find your identity in God – – not through the attention your child can command through unbridled commotion.

 

Little darlings indeed, but not goddesses or gods.  Glorious gifts from God, but not granted immunity to parade with impunity.  The greatest natural joys you can have in this life…..but be sure that others are not secretly denouncing your treasure as their torment.   And in so doing, your children will be jewels in your crown….and in the eyes of all around you.

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.  And He said to her, “What do you wish?”  She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”…..; But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant……; Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve……     Matthew 20:20, 25, 27

The Life Of Betty Forsterling

Most of our friends have never heard of Betty.  I officiated for her burial service in June of 2013, 2 weeks after her 103rd birthday.  She was in her right mind, capable of quoting and writing hundreds of Scriptures from memory, and full of the joy of the Lord.

Betty was born at the height of the Azusa Street Revival, in 1910.  She married her husband Teddy in 1929, and stayed happily married for 73 years.

Teddy & Betty walked into our Glen Cove Church 25 years ago as an elderly couple looking for a spirit filled place of worship.  They were on fire for God, and they impacted our lives greatly in the early stages of our ministry.  I’ve never seen so many miracles occur in the life of a couple in their 80’s and then in their 90’s.  Teddy & Betty believed the Word of God.  They prayed in the Spirit. They refused to quit or complain.  They once were broadsided by another vehicle while coming out of Roy Rogers Restaurant with their burgers and fries.  I went to the hospital and found them side by side in the hospital room, full of injuries, black and blue, and looking like they had been run over by a truck…which they had!  They were laughing, praying, and informing any who would listen that they weren’t staying for long.  The doctors were astonished by their accelerated healing and rapid recovery.

Teddy was 90 years old and shoveling his 100 foot long driveway one Winter.  He had a massive heart attack. I stood with Betty while the doctors told her that her husband would not recover; his heart had been severely damaged, and it was time to let him go.  I offered prayer, but the question was raised:  “What quality of life will he have if he stays alive?”.  I asked Betty what she wanted, and she said with great confidence:  “I want Pop around for another 5 years at least!”.  We prayed, calling upon God for a miracle.  I walked the next day into the hospital corridor to hear someone shouting loudly.  I approached Teddy’s room, and entered to find him sitting up surrounded by the glory of the Lord, hands raised high, rejoicing loudly in a spiritual language he did not know.  The doctors brought the report of the impossible:  “There is NO evidence that your husband ever had a heart attack; this is not possible….we don’t understand it!  He has the heart of a younger man”. Teddy lived another 6 quality, joyful years, and I buried him 11 years ago at the ripe old age of 96.

Betty and Teddy walked in the grace of God like this all the days of their lives.  After Teddy passed, Betty insisted that her family members drive her to our church for Sunday services.  She was determined to sit under the Word of God.  She attended well into her mid 90’s, sometimes with a walker, but determined to receive and worship; always smiling, always with a good word, always full of the Holy Spirit.  Betty told me often, “Brother Kelly, once you’ve tasted of the Holy Ghost, nothing else will satisfy”.

January of 2013, Lenora and I were in Quito, Ecuador.  I had a startling dream about Betty:  She was young, in her 20’s, with a white dress and bare feet.  She told me, “Oh, Brother Kelly…I feel perfectly whole and I can run again!  And then with a laugh, she took off running across a field of green grass.  I awoke and told Lenora that “Betty must have passed away, or she is about to”.  I emailed Betty’s family about the dream, but received no response, and so put it aside.

But how awesome God is, to think and to know ahead of the smallest details in the life of a 103 year old woman.  I had no idea back in January that we would be in New York that June.  But God knew.  And He planned things perfectly.  A friend asked back in April that I officiate for his daughter’s Long Island wedding.  We agreed, flew to New York, and celebrated our 30th anniversary in Manhattan, along with preaching in various churches and visiting old friends.  Our last stop was to see Betty on Thursday morning, June 20th.  We got to the Senior Center where she was staying, only to be informed that she had passed away, peacefully, only 6 hours earlier.  Within minutes I received a call from her granddaughter, asking that we officiate for Betty’s funeral.  We were flying out Friday afternoon, and I knew I could not postpone our scheduled ministry in Washington State.  I told them, “If the Lord wants us there, He will have to make a way with the funeral home and cemetery for a service at 9:00 tomorrow morning.”  That was only 24 hours notice!  At 9:00, on Friday morning, June 21st, we celebrated the life of a woman who had lived with excellence for 103 years, walked in the resurrection life of Jesus Christ, and stayed true to God’s Word until the end.  She proved every promise and now she is reaping her reward.

The Psalmist said that “Precious in the eyes of the Lord, is the death of His saints”.  Maybe you are wondering today if God knows about your situation, your problems, your aches and pains?  Betty proved to me over a 25 year span that God is involved in every detail of our lives.  I remember driving once many years ago and hearing the Spirit’s voice: “turn around right now and go to the Forsterlings!”.  I drove immediately, walked in the door, and Betty cried out, “Oh Hallelujah Pastor!  I was just asking Jesus to send you to visit us…we are in need of encouragement and prayer!”

Dear friend, God loves you so much.  He cared enough about a 103 year old woman to have given me a dream months ago in South America, simply so that when the time came, and I was in a place unplanned, I would know in my heart that He intended me to be there.  I was “Betty’s Pastor”, even after moving to Alaska.  That meant something to Betty, it meant something to her family, and so it meant something to God.  He cares equally for each one of us.  He is a God who strategizes even to the tiniest details of our lives.  Why do we worry so much?  Don’t worry precious child of God…your Heavenly Father loves you so very much!

And Oh, what a glorious reminder of the realities of heaven!  Since Betty’s passing I have been riveted by the memory of that dream:  a new body, sheer and unbridled joy, childlike exhilaration, total freedom, no limitations….all of that and more awaits us!  Heaven is in your future, and God means for us to be encouraged by that fact.  Take a moment today and ponder eternity; it’s not a scary thought…in Jesus, it is your awesome destiny.  It is secure.  And even now, He is preparing that place for you!