Monthly Archives: October 2017

JUST SPECIAL

Somedays are just special.

That’s it. Not anything miraculous. Not anything to stop traffic. Not anything that anyone would notice. It just is.

Maybe it is the way it started – before I even rolled out of bed. Lazy. Slow. Cat-stretches. Prayerful praises that turn into dream-remembering. The sound of the shofar. The words of Abraham’s servant circling in amongst it all,  “Lord…make me successful today…”~Gen 24:12a

Jewish tradition says that during the times of Noach (Noah), it would only rain once every 40 years or so. Life was perfect. Never too hot. Never too cold. Comfortable. Restful. Did you know that Noah’s name in Hebrew means rest, comfort?

Anyway, it was always comfortable because the seasons never changed. In fact, it was so perfect that humans had no reason to reach out to their Father. They didn’t need anything. They were comfortable. So they thought they could do anything by themselves. Sound familiar?

That has been rolling around in my mind for a while. How many times – when things were going well in my life – did I just ignore spending time in the WORD – ignored my prayer closet – ignored seeking His face? Way more than I care to remember, and like the people in Noah’s time – in all times – I, too, drifted further from My Father.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”~Gen 8:22

Christian tradition has us look at this Bible verse as meaning that God would never destroy the earth by water again. Jewish sages believe that it is YHWH reaffirming that He needed to change things up a little by adding different seasons to the world. Hot. Cold. Storms. Drought.

A little discomfort. A little less restful. A little reminder, that prayer reunites the Creator with those He loves and allows Him to always give back more than anyone could ever request. A time to remind His Beloved just how much He loves them.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”~Ep 6;18

A special day to wake up from a dream with four shofar notes echoing. A special day to wake up with a praise hymn on my lips. A special day to get a picture from the Grandson that made me cry because he said he drew it just for me. Not anything miraculous. Not anything out of the ordinary. Just special with angels singing in the heavens. Just special with a “little Jesus” smiling in the heavens with them. Just special with the Cross of Salvation in the middle of a family filled with love.  

corso oct 17 2017 (2)

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #12

Today my prayer for pastors is simple.  It came as a blessing from my son because he knows his mother’s heart.  A song that was an answer to a prayer torn from the depths of my valley.   A song that I have listened to multiple times today.  Praising Father God once again for His Grace that brings me to my knees – His love that stretches beyond finite understanding – His Son that loved enough to die in out place.
A song of where we have all been at one time or another.
A song of promises renewed over and over.
A song for the hills.
A song for the valleys.
“On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there (to the one who set me there)
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!”~Tuaren WellsP
So my prayer tonight for all pastors is this song.  A simple blessing: you are not alone.
Ever.
Not in the valley.  Not in the dessert.  Not on the hills.  Not when you are tired or sick or harried or just plain wanting some down time.  He’s got your back.  He’s just waiting for you.    
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
And I will choose to say “Blessed be Your name, yeah, yeah”
And I am not alone”~Tuaren Wells

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #11

You know how it is.  You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away.  Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when  God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw.  Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.

In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH.  I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been.  Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried.  Some enthusiastically chose to follow.  Some were probably pressured to join.  Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge.  In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.

Good people.  Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people.  Confused people.  Sinful people.  Hopeful people.  Needy people.  Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter.  God covered those bases.  Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.  

I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many.  I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction –  trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before.  Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways –  not so fragmented  – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it.  After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name. 

“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12

Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG?   Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’ 

Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.

What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach?  Roll out of bed.  Feed the dogs.  Wash the dishes.  Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people.  Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.

What if? 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32

So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight.  In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow,  or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God. 

 

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #10

There are dreams and then there are DREAMS. It has been fun to watch the career choices that my former students have chosen.  Some always knew what they wanted to do and followed through on it.  Others found that dream later.  For whatever reason, I’ve found myself thinking about those dreams that we follow when we choose a life path.

When I was little I dreamed of being a vet. After all, I was always was pretending to be a horse.  Flying over fences in one jump.  Changing into a human when ever I needed to do so.  Running free across the playground and up the hill beyond the reaches of any teacher or foe.  But spelling veterinarian kinda made me nervous.  I figured if I couldn’t spell the job title, it might be too hard.  I was right – chemistry kicked that idea completely to the curb when I was a junior in high school.

Then there was the dream of dancing. Sugar plums.  Swans.  Broadway.  Jazz.  I loved moving my body anyway I wanted. Letting the music flow through me then releasing it into the world in a completely different form.  However, the knee broke, and my 10 year old self cried as I watched that dream spin off the theatre stage and into the storage chest of memories.

There were many other dreams in between.  I was one of those who stumble around a lot before I figure it out. Yet somehow, when I became a teacher, I realized  that one dream was the dream that had always been a part of everything I did.  Playing school with my dolls.  Playing school with my friends.  Teaching friends and younger neighbors how to twirl a baton.  Teaching Sunday school and Bible school.  Teaching disabled kids how to swim and enjoy the water (while I  hated the water intensely and still do). Life experiences that should have given me a clue, but I missed them all and just stumbled into teaching.  

Godwinks are beyond my understanding, but I love them.

“And Yeshua said to them, “Come after me, and I shall make you to become fishers of men.~Matt 4:19

Tonight’s prayer for pastors and their spouses circles around those life dreams we all have. Praying that you continue to see yourselves as “fishers” in the stormy waters of life – that you continue to  hold firm to the course the WORD set 5778 years ago – continue to let His light be in your eyes every time you look out at the “fish” He has placed in your waters – continue to wake up in the morning with His praise on your lips, and wonder at where you will be “fishing” today – continue to let His hands uphold you as you mend the broken nets or the aging boat that carries you forth into any storms that cross the horizon – continue to sing His blessing over all those fish that have chosen to jump in your nets and even those who have chosen to swim the other way.

Tonight, I can almost hear Yeshua praying this ancient blessing over you as I imagine He prayed it any times in His life.  

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”~Num 6:22-27  [google images]

 

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #9

“Every one who is called by My name, even for My honour I have created him, I have formed him, yea, I have made him.”~Is 43:7

There is something about a fall bouquet of flowers that makes me linger just a little longer as I add water – fuss a little more – breathe a little deeper the freshness that will soon be tucked back into the ground until spring’s warm breath softens the ground and a tiny shoot appears. It makes me wish I had just a little longer to sit on the swing and watch butterflies flit over the lantana as a silly kitten tries to catch them.

In Jewish tradition the High Holy Days are ending.  The new year has begun and even though the people are ready to get back to “life”, they linger – they sigh – they drag their feet.  After all, who ever wants to leave their Father’s presence and return to “normal”?  YHWH heard that silent whisper in their hearts and granted them one more holy day – a day to linger – a day to honor – a day to breathe their Father deeply into themselves – deeply enough to break through the crustiness of the days ahead that they might bloom in the fullness of His will.

And that is what I am praying over all pastors tonight.

I am praying in Yeshua’s name that as each day begins, pastors, their spouses, their families, their congregations (and me) all find time to remember that very first time when they chose to honor YHWH – to linger a little longer in His presence before beginning the day – to breathe even deeper the essence of the “Live-giver” as they head into daily life – to re-establish the very purpose which brought them to this path in the beginning – to pray continuously throughout the day – to laugh with loved ones and with the Father of us all as the sun begins to set – and to wish for just one more minute in prayer before the eyes drift into sleep once more.  

It is our purpose – our deepest desire – just one more minute – just one more chapter in the Book – just a little longer by the life-giving waters – just one more song sung in His presence – just a little more time to see clearly the path His Son showed us to walk – just a little more time for the sake of a few.  That is my prayer tonight for all of you – for our country – for our world – for me – so that someday we might all be able to repeat this verse as best we can – 

“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”~Jn 17:4