Episode Notes

So many times, we fall back on the belief that we are only human made of dust and ashes and what CAN we do, what positive change, what impact can mere mortals do in the face of overwhelming odds and huge challenges.

And when someone is hurting we say we will pray for them. But REALLY? Is that the best we can do?

In this episode we talk about that time when Abraham interceded for the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In this passage, wouldn’t it have been the human thing to do to leave it “in God’s hands” because “God’s ways are far higher and whatever will be will be?” We can’t miss the persistence in Abraham’s intercession, and I believe God was pleased–not affronted–when Abraham approached him and interceded.

The essential oil of the week is Rosemary! I use it to grow my hair. If you know me you know how ridiculously long it’s gotten, hear this episode to know my secret.

Send me flowers! Email me at feelsandflowers@gmail.com



Hi! Welcome to Feels and Flowers, a Christian podcast where I share with you a gospel based entirely on love: Love God, love yourself, love others. My name is Paula Perez.

Here we are at last: our first ever podcast anniversary. The world was TOTALLY different when we first began our journey ( I am a different person than I was when I first began this journey), but still we are here. This podcast survives thanks to the outpouring of love and support from a few of you keeping me going. Special mention to Hazel from Arizona who always emails me emoji-laden responses to every episode, and to Sophia from Texas who fills my life with such joy as she sends me letters as well as LITERAL flowers. How cool is that. And to those who listen in consistently, or those that just tune in once in a while, thank you very much. I might not know you by name, but I send you all my love through these soundwaves. 

Now, New Year. We are continuing our chapter-by-chapter study of the book of Genesis as we continue to discover who God is. 

On this episode, humanity meets with divinity. Or, probably it should be the other way around. God came to visit Abraham and Sarah. Sarah laughs, Abraham intercedes, and we learn that despite the fact that we are dust and ashes, the world was also created just for us. What does this mean? Stick around and find out. But first, our Featured Flower. This week, it’s all about Rosemary.


Rosemary has long been more than just a culinary herb or an ornamental garden plant. It has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years. Ancient Greeks and Romans regarded it as a sacred plant, and Egyptians buried sprigs of Rosemary in the Pharaoh’s tombs, perhaps already aware of Rosemary’s memory-enhancing properties and in a desire to be remembered even after death.

Rosemary was also symbolic of fidelity, and as such several ancient cultures included Rosemary in their courtship and wedding rituals. According to English folklore if a girl placed a plate of flour under a Rosemary bush on midsummer’s eve, her future husband’s initials would be written in it. Others believed that to see one’s love in a dream one should put Rosemary under their pillow. Sprigs of Rosemary were also given out to guests as wedding favors, or placed in the cups of the married couple as they drank their wedding toasts.

Rosemary was used to ward against evil and disease. Rosemary branches were burnt in medieval hospitals to protect patients from infection and even from pests. Rosemary was planted around a house to protect it from witches and was burned along with charcoal and other herbs to purify and cleanse the air in closed spaces.

Throughout history, Rosemary has been used in treatments for a variety of ailments. It is found as a main ingredient in tonics, liniments, and beauty preparations in ancient as well as medieval medicinal books. Though the chemical constituents of the plant have only been identified and studied only in recent years, there is significant anecdotal evidence that it acts as an excellent repellent, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory agent with memory-enhancing and some even claim–tumor-inhibitory properties.

Rosemary essential oil is one of my favorites for self-care, especially for hair and to support the respiratory system. Learn more about how to use it to make your hair grow longer and stronger at the end of the episode. But for now, let’s go back to Genesis 18 and our friend Abraham.


In the same free alternative weekly paper that listed art gallery events, restaurant reviews, city council scandals, a whole section devoted entirely to cannabis dispensary ads, and a particular column that I used to read covertly as a curious teenager by one Dan Savage, there ran for a brief time a column written by a journalist who identified himself as the OCeeker who used to visit different places of worship and wrote reviews about local churches, synagogues, mosques, etc–going so far as to include a mention of whether there were any hot young singles attending the church. I used to read the column with glee. I don’t know why. 

Well… maybe I do. 

I was a snob.

Something about the way he saw through the posing of the local megachurches made me feel better about belonging to a conservative, small, “pure” church that I belonged to–a church that far from being a megachurch–was humble like Jesus and, being small and underfunded, never had enough budget for me to buy supplies for my children’s class. Despite its shortcomings, I used to think my church was the best and the most perfect around. We actually opened up our Bibles, made guests feel welcome, and we did not resort to showmanship and fog and lights and all that corporate branding nonsense to bring in members from other crappy churches.

Well it was all fun and games until the OCeeker visited a church of my denomination.

I didn’t care about what he had to say about the sermon, the pastor, and the music. I didn’t care that he hadn’t spotted any hot singles in that church either. I was a LITTLE bothered that he didn’t QUITE grasp the actual beliefs of my church and that he misrepresented the theology behind them. 

What upset me the most was that he concluded that the people of this church–which to me was by extension also MY church– was a joy-less, lethargic, self-hating lot who were caught between God’s grace and their own deep sense of self-hatred.

In this… he was not off the mark–at least when it came to THIS particular believer. 

As far back as I remember I inhabited a peculiar hell that was all my making: manic seesawing from euphoric spiritual highs to deep and disturbing episodes of self hate and abject shame. I was convinced I was nothing. Less than nothing: Unworthy, good for nothing, the worst kind of refuse in need of God–I’d tried to forsake my sinful wicked secret sins and failed so many times that I was sure a murderer in death row who had never heard of the gospel was far better off–than me. Then there were other times when I felt the complete opposite. I was redeemed and washed by the blood of the lamb. I was saved and going to heaven.

And I am absolutely sure that I wasn’t the only one feeling like this.

It would be so easy to blame my unhealthy view of self on Christianity, especially so since I was brought up in a very conservative household. But this is not Biblical at all.

I think I hadn’t decided to meet with God yet.

What does the Bible say about

Genesis 18 says

The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

26 And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”

And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”

The rest of the chapter is Abraham trying to bring down the number from those 45 to 40, 30, and so on. God agrees every single time, and Abraham goes so far as to bring down the number down to 10, perhaps knowing/or believing that surely within Lot’s household there will certainly be 10 righteous. 

The thing about the Bible is that for all that it is a holy Book, it really IS a book written by humans: historians, prophets, kings, and poets. These inspired authors spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. It goes without saying that they experienced God first hand in their lives and it is the account of these witnesses that we are reading now. And that is AWESOME. 

Why is that such a big deal? Well, because rather than being told by God what to believe about him, or getting an account of who God is from the mouth of unfallen, holy, angels telling us that he is merciful, good, fair, compassionate, and kind, we learn about God and his character from his dealings with our fellow humans. 

Indeed, it was a fellow human being–a fallible, fragile, fractious, frazzled creature named Moses who probably smelled like goats and had sand in his hair, this very real person is the author of Genesis. We are far from perfect–yet humans became intermediary co-creators of the Bible. And this serves to illustrate my point, that when humanity meets divinity, amazing things take place. Sure, we fall short, we make mistakes, but we can also rise up to be the godly people we were meant to be. 

We are gods, according to Psalm 82.

‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’

And it sounds almost blasphemous, but it is evident from the context that it is not meant to be read in THAT way, so please don’t be scandalized. Jesus himself quoted this verse in John 10. We are not gods – but, in Jesus Christ we are highly privileged beings. In the Enduring Word Commentary this is further broken down:  There is divine being – what God is – and there is human being – what we are. Humanity is made after the pattern of the divine, but they are not the same

  • We are rescued from sin and death and granted everlasting life.
  • We are adopted into God’s family.
  • We are being transformed, conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
  • We are made kings and priests unto our God.
  • We are seated in heavenly places with Jesus Christ.
  • We are co-workers with Jesus Christ.
  • We will one day be glorified, and will even sit in judgment 

So how does this tie to Genesis 18 and the passage we read?

So many times, we fall back on the belief that we are only human made of dust and ashes and what CAN we do, what positive change, what impact can mere mortals do in the face of overwhelming odds? 

In this passage, wouldn’t it have been the human thing to do to leave it “in God’s hands” because “God’s ways are far higher and whatever will be will be?” We can’t miss the persistence in Abraham’s intercession, and I believe God was pleased–not affronted–when Abraham approached him and interceded.

So often we have a sense that prayer and intercession is fruitless. This past month I have been tempted to think, “What good is my prayer?” whenever I assure someone that I will be praying for their sick mother or father, or for their marriage which is in trouble and I literally can’t do anything else for them because they are far away or because of personal boundaries…. Well, I only have prayer.

And I feel…. So helpless. So human. It is tempting to think that anything I do is fruitless. I am, after all, dust and ashes.

But we AREN’T dust and ashes. Not really. When humanity meets with divinity something wonderful takes place. 

God is seeking Christians who have the kind of heart that Abraham did. The blue letter bible describes it as “a heart that cared so much for people made in the image of God that he worked hard to intercede on behalf of a city that deserved judgment. This was the heart a great leader of a great and mighty nation needed to have.”

I do not believe that God sees us as dust and ashes, I don’t believe it pleases him when we think of ourselves or other fellow human beings as fuel for the fires of hell. We were meant to be associates, little gods, yes, for a lack of a better way to describe extensions of him in a world that more than ever needs grace and love.

When God reveals to us the fate of the sinner–death, eternal separation from God, and (if you believe in it) hell fire, this is not revealed so that we may experience deep shame and worthlessness and hopelessness or so that we may seek him out of fear. He doesn’t reveal the consequences of sin to use so that we, after being terrorized, turn around use this imagery to scare or browbeat nonbelievers into accepting Jesus Chrsit as their savior.

This is revealed to us so that we may strive to intercede for others. Not just pray for them, but actively do something about them. And not only do actions, but also pray without ceasing, interceding for them, without losing hope.

And if we are extensions of Him, shouldn’t his words in Ezekiel 33:11 resonate with us?

As surely as I live, declares the Lord GOD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked should turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?’

Ultimately, there is so much we have to do, so many people in need RIGHT NOW for you and I to be able to indulge in self-pity. There is no way that Christians who have come in contact with the divine should become a joy-less, lethargic, self-hating lot without direction or reason to live.

Come on, get yourself together, and remember what you were called to do. I hope that God draws out of you an intercessor’s heart of love, so that you may also be changed into the image of Christ–his son–who even now intercedes for us in heaven. 


Thanks for Listening. As promised I am going to share my essential oil blend for growing longer, thicker hair and helping with excessive hair loss. 

Set aside 3 oz of shampoo. You can use your regular shampoo but if you want to do better use a naturally scented or unscented shampoo that is sulfate and paraben free. Now and add the following…

  • 9 drops Rosemary
  • 9 drops Cedarwood
  • 9 drops Lavender

Mix ingredients. Store in a small bottle and use at least twice a week. Find so much more information about Rosemary and more recipes at Feels and Flowers.com. Links to that page and to the episode post are in the description. 

Ok, send me flowers! Your emails and messages make my day. You can email me at feelsandflowers@gmail.com or follow me on instagram. Thank you for listening, and hope you have a blessed new 2021 and please remember that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were made with a purpose. God Bless!