Category Archives: Family

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #6

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33

After I got home from the gym today and walked the choc girls, I was rummaging around trying to find a movie to watch. For whatever reason, I’ve walked away from watching a lot of movies on line. I think it is because the newer movies tend to push some kind of agenda. Needless to say, with all the agendas being pushed these days, I’m just over it.

Anyway – back to the rummaging through my – somewhat – organized DVD’s – I came across a movie I bought last summer. I hadn’t watched it – ever. I bought it, stuck it in the appropriate box and forgot about it. After all, last summer had already been one spent pondering too many things for my aching head/heart, and I wasn’t sure I was up to watching a movie called the “Overcomer” – even if it had a positive message.

So – into the box it went and completely out of my head.

“…everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. Who then overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 Jn 5:4-5

I’ve learned over many years that all things happen for a reason. Jobs I’ve held. People I’ve met. People I’ve lost. Places I lived. Experiences I thrived in and those I just survived. Nothing is ever wasted. As I watched this movie today, it reminded me of the importance of many things.

Seeking His Face.

Feeling His Presence.

Trusting His WORD.

Prayer.

Repentance.

Forgiveness.

Grace.

Whether it is friends, family, local, state or country, all these things come into play. That is what these 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are meant to do. Help us remember. Help us find the path that Our Father is trying to show us. Use the wisdom that He has already placed within us. Remember His promises that He is always just waiting outside the door. All we need to do is turn the handle and welcome Him inside our hearts so that we can be come the OVERCOMER that He knows we were designed to be.

#theReturn#HeisWorthy#RestoringHope#Sept26

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #8

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer today.  After all, that is what these next few days leading up to Yom Kippur are all about. Introspection, seeking, and repentance. 

“I have poured out my soul before the LORD…all this time I have been praying out of the depth of my anguish and grief.” 1 Sam 1:15b-16

Hannah’s first prayer seems to be my prayer so often lately. I wonder what My Father thinks of me sometimes, when my tears drown out my voice, and anger blots out coherent thought. And yet…and yet –  –  – I know He hears and His compassion never fails.

S    F   T

I saw this in a movie a few years ago, and it pretty much describes my prayer journey of the past couple years.  

S – eek Him

F – eel His presence

T – rust Him

  High Holy Days 2020 is touching me in different ways this year.  Prayer is primary, but more encompassing than ever before. Prayers not just for me and mine, but circling for our country as well.  Prayers circling for all the birth pangs that we have seen this year – pestilence, droughts, wildfires, anger, earthquakes, hurricanes/fire tornadoes, infestations, lawlessness, rebellion (personal and societal)….. 

The list seems endless, but as always, I continue to…S F L. And like Hannah, I know He hears and covers me as He does the world and this country with His compassion, love and grace.

“My heart rejoices in the LORD in whom my strength is exalted. My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, for I rejoice in Your salvation.” 1 Sam 2:2

The Prayer marches in Washington DC are only 7 days away. The Vine and the Branch together in prayer. A national day, during the Jewish High Holy Days, to find our knees, repent as a people and S F L as a people.  If you can’t be there, there are multiple ways to join together digitally. If you don’t want to watch, pray. After all, we already have his promise…  

“If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:13-14

2020 VISION: Who Will Go for Us?

Got your fingers out of your ears? Got your eyes open?

2020 seems to be the year that the whisper in the deepest part of the heart is swirling a little longer…a little stronger…a little more intensely…than it has since the late 60’s, early 70’s. I felt it then.
My stomach revolted.
My head throbbed.
My heart wept.
I pulled the pillow over my head and burrowed deep into my covers.
I prayed.
I rebelled.
I prayed in the midst of the rebellion – after all, I had a life I wanted to live, and what I heard in my soul wasn’t part of it.

I heard – I saw – I turned away.

“I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Is 6:8

Those early years of adulthood was when I discovered the wisdom and the power of Isaiah, a man who lived in a completely different world than I did, and yet – his words echoed more stridently than the protesters on the Quad. I would crawl out of my top bunk and curl up in the standard dorm room chair, reading his words by a light shining through the window from a nearby parking lot so that I wouldn’t wake the roommates.

“Who will go for Us?”

I heard the question.
I saw it in writing.
I closed His WORD.
I turned away.

50 years later, the call is reverberating all around me once again.

Perhaps it is in the hindsight of that 50 years that I see all of this through a different lens. I know my father and mother tried to explain to me several times what they felt during those unsettled years of civil unrest. Seeing my Father on his knees in prayer in the middle of the night said it best. I heard the words louder than ever that night as I crept back up the stairs and buried my head as deeply as I could.

“Who will go for Us?”

I’m still not sure that I don’t want to crawl into my bed once again. After all – ignoring the call is sooo much easier than answering that question. How many times have I sat in a classroom with my head down, hoping deep within me, that the teacher would not call my name – – – now or ever.

The stories in the Bible are full of people who pulled the covers over their head – ran in the other direction – sank their teeth into an apple – – – until – – – the heart of the Father whispered one last time, grace-to-rebellion, heart-to-heart, love-to-love:

“Who will go for Us?”

The thing I learned over the last 50 years is that I never waited to hear the words that came after His first whisper. I trembled. I hid. I covered myself. I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes. I bit the apple and missed the words that have made all the difference.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Is 41:10

The cloud pillar is moving forward. It is time to stand on His Rock. Pick up my Bible and take a step. Maybe a baby step, but a step. It is time to look up and reach out with open palm to those gathered in my sphere. It is time to pray His WORDS in my heart and then – speak the answer that has been in my heart for 50 years. Speak it aloud because the Teacher has looked in my direction and is waiting for my answer. The birth pangs are coming with more frequency and harder with intensity, and scary as it is – answer the question.

“Hineni.”

“Here am I. Send me.” Is 6:8

[google images]

2020 VISION: Weekend Streams.

Tonight is the perfect summer night. Been awhile since I’ve been able to sit outside and just listen to the night, feel the breeze and see the stars shining as brightly as they are right now. Hear the trickle of water as it continues to drain through our usually dry stream bed.

A deep breath of night air is a good way to end the Sabbath.

“The Lord has done great miracles for them!”
Yes, he did mighty miracles and we are overjoyed!
Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory!
May streams of your refreshing flow over us
until our dry hearts are drenched again.” Ps 126:3-4

Weekends have always been a time to regenerate the energy level – especially when I was teaching, raising kids, and tending various species of critters that had entered my sphere of influence. I liked walking the land given to me for a space of time. I liked tending gardens. I liked mowing grass. I liked finding time to play the piano, read a few chapters of a book, watch a few special movies. It was a time to re-connect with the basics that have always been a part of my life.

When I was little, we lived in town, but the parents owned three acres “in the country”. It was actually just outside of town. I could have ridden my bike there, but for some reason, I don’t think I ever did. I certainly rode outside of town in all other directions. As I look back, I laugh a little because it was back a small 2-track dirt road that we shared with neighbors who owned the house in front of our land. We went there often but especially on the weekends.

In the winter, there were Christmas trees to help my dad cut down (I really just ran around with whatever kids came to “help cut down a tree” and let the grown-ups do all the work). In the spring, family and friends would gather there as we planted new pine trees and seeds in a big garden. Sometimes we would have a bonfire. Most times, we ended up at our house or someone else’s where the instruments would come out and the party would commence.

Refreshing weekends were something my parents loved as well.

In the summer, I learned to weed with my toes. My dad was the real expert. I didn’t ever manage to measure up to his standard, but I did love digging my toes in the dirt and trying. By late summer, feast time was beyond compare. Corn, tomatoes, beans, peas. Fresh out of the garden as we picked or as a dinner party at our house – where the ice cream maker would magically appear, and we all took turns cranking it.

Weekends are special time of renewal.

Tonight was one of those nights when I could almost see it all again as I sat on my small porch and watched the dogs snap at insects or answer a barking dog that they heard down the street. We had a screened-in porch at both of my childhood homes. They were the perfect places to make music and not have to deal with biting insects (like I had to do tonight). Eventually, I would fall asleep to the music of guitars, banjos and lyrics being sung all around me and wake up the next morning in my bed.

Sunday mornings would swirl all the days into His days.

The walk to church. Sunday school teachers who were often friends of the family or my school teacher. Sitting in a pew with Grandma Mac as she handed me her hankie with a piece of gum tucked inside. Mom singing a solo with the choir. My Godmother playing the organ. My dad sometimes with us, but mostly – goin’ fishin’. Family get-togethers where I got real food instead of boxed or burnt food. Sunday night youth groups.

Streams of living water to carry us into the new week ahead.

“Those who sow their tears as seeds
will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee.
They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow,
but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing!” Ps 126:5-6

My Father continues to send streams of living water every weekend as I relax and breathe in deeply. Those rolling waters are a little different in form these days. Tears are often mixed in, but the shouts of glee are there as well when His presence overwhelms me. As always, the Sabbath wraps the renewal all together. A deep breath of fresh night air clears out the foggy vision that built up during the previous week, and I can see more clearly.

Weekend Streams of living water – refreshing water.

If I have to wait for Him to move His cloud pillar so I can walk forward, I might as well be about His business while I wait. Back to school (with Grands, new students, those in my sphere of influence), and time to walk into the new week with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness. Time to harvest the overflowing armload of blessings that He has already placed on my path.

[Greg Olsen artwork]

2020 VISION: Sabbath Quaking

“Sabbath was (and is) a gift from GOD – a pause, a stopping point, a decision to take a break from going and buying and accruing.” Priscilla Shirer, Awaken, p. 108

This morning, the choc lab girls woke me up by barking and barking and barking. Ugh. I stretched and looked at the clock it was a little after 8 AM. I figured they were just ready to go out or heard a strange sound in the neighborhood.

Not the first time I’ve been wrong!

We got up and began our first early morning walk – pulled some weeds – cut back some branches – walked the newspaper up to my neighbor’s house – swept leaves off the deck and patio – cleaned out the garage a little – and then – one of the neighbors hollered at me: “Did you feel the earthquake?”

Huh????
Earthquake????

“It is the Spirit empowered choice to cease striving and enjoy our GOD.” Ibid.

After he explained what had happened, I sat down on the patio swing and enjoyed the morning under a bunch of semi-blooming wisteria, birds calling out their own news of the morning and a couple of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flitting in and out of the sweet smelling salvias and around the swing. 2020 has certainly been a year filled with things I really hadn’t ever anticipated.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1

It was a good day to cease striving and enjoy God, so I did. I read some books. Threw the ball with the girls. Played with silly, spooky kitty. Made a few pickles since they were already cut up and sitting in the fridge – – but basically – – just spent time enjoying GOD and all His bounty that surrounds me everyday.

Prayed over my prayer list. Sang a few songs that never fail to stir the spirit within me. “Closer My God to Thee” Listened to a few Bible teachers who seemed to have the very wisdom I needed to hear. And just basically, ignored the outside world that so often intrudes on my time with My Father.

“It is the peace that comes in the midst of all the whirlwind and flurry of activity.” Ibid.

Sometimes – it takes a little bit of shaking to wake us up so that we stop whining and start shining. Tonight, I’m already yawning. School starts tomorrow, and I can’t wait to shine a little more. There is always something invigorating about a new school year. While this year will be a little more complicated, it will still be good to be back.

Setting the compass on the Father today was important to make sure my direction is sure and in line with the Son’s Grace and Love.

Sabbath Shaking was one of those treasure chest memories of 2020 that I will ponder in my heart for times to come.

“Sabbath is what beats our lives into submission, giving us the breathing room for getting our sanity back. We cannot afford to neglect the Sabbath principle.” Ibid. 

 [personal images/google]

2020 VISION: Sequestering the Quest

“When you are as old as I, my dear
And I hope that you never are…
You could squander away or sequester
A drop of a precious year…”

Sequester is one of those “old” words. The syllables tumble over the tongue as it is spoken. For a long time when I was growing up, I would read this word and thought it had something to do with searching for a dream – after all – “quest” is right smack-dab in the middle of it.

I think I was in high school or jr hi before I figured out the true definition. I was reading one of those classics, but can’t remember which one….. Bronte, Hawthorne, Twain? Oh well…what I do remember is sitting in my small town library in front of the fan on a hot summer day and being stunned. It changed that picture in my head that words always make.

Sequester, v. , to isolate, hide away.

“What good is a field on a fine summer night
When you sit all alone with the weeds?
Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite
You spit out your teeth with the seeds?”

Sequester will always be mixed definition for me. I liked my first definition. I liked thinking it was partly a “quest”. And as I sat in front of that fan with its soft hum, I figured that it was a little of both. When I “sequester” myself, I am doing a bunch of things that I don’t usually do, and as I do, I learn something new about myself.

Quest – v., search for something.

I’ve decided that as I approach this new school year, I need this combined definition once again. At this point, my school is still set to open, but we are still a couple weeks out, so anything could happen. If I can just lift my chin a little higher if we sequester once again, I can still be on that quest together with my students even if we are far apart. Our Father has a way of closing gaps in all things.

“Now when the drearies do attack
And a siege of the sads begins
I just throw these noble shoulders back
And lift these noble chins…”

Quests are good for the soul. Jesus was on a quest the last three years of His life. At times, he sequestered himself to pray, to quest after His Father’s face, maybe to beat back the “sads” away and regain the strength to “throw [those] noble shoulders back” into his journey.

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Mark 5:16

So tonight as I yawn and think about sequestering myself for the night, I am singing this song in my head. (Actually, it’s been singing in my head most of the night.) Berthe in “Pippin” is one of those roles that I have wanted to sing since Ben Vereen’s performance caught my attention in the 70’s (I actually wanted to sing Ben Vereen’s part back in my 20’s). The good part – I wouldn’t even have to use make-up to play Berthe now. The lyrics ring a little clearer as well.

I think, “Sequestering the quest” is my new motto for the last half of my 2020 Vision. Berte isn’t really good at resting on her morals in this play, but that’s okay. That’s why its called “acting”. Maybe someday, I’ll stand on the OHIO Theatre stage in Loudonville, OH, once again and sing it. As for now, it is time to sequester and think a little more about this quest…and then I’ll rest on my morals.    

 

2020 VISION: Cloud Tufts

“All you people of the world,
you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
you will hear it.” Is 18:3

I’ve been looking at my beautiful lantana and flowering artichoke plants for over a month now. I have three lantana plants. Two have orange and yellow blooms, while the other is pink and yellow. Every year they wake up from their winter slumber and grow larger. I look forward to them because the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are all over them.

But this year is different. The butterflies are missing.

The bee balm, like the day lilies, are on the down side of their season. The salvia will continue all summer; its smell perfuming the air whenever I brush past it. Even the wisteria has ushered a few extra blooms this summer. Bees of different kinds and hummingbirds have certainly feasted well, but only a rare butterfly or two.

I miss my butterflies.

“The physical cannot fully grasp the comprehensiveness of the spiritual…If we limit the scope of our hopefulness to what’s immediately visible, we’ll get an inaccurate reading on any scenario we’re seeking to evaluate. Believers must live by faith, by believing what they cannot yet see.”~Priscilla Shirer, p63, AWAKE.

In this strange year, I sit on my patio swing and wonder about my butterflies often. I talk to My Father about it. As usual, He answers, and I knew as soon as I started my devotions this morning, that this was His answer. It is another one of those “faith-building” things I need to see with my 2020 VISION.

When we have droughts, we look to the sky and search for clouds on the horizon. We look for that tiny wisp of a cloud that will bring a few drops of rain. When an earthquake – tornado – hurricane strikes, we look at the destruction and wonder where to start amid the destruction – until we find one thing to pick up and then another and another. When a plague strikes, we seek wisdom from every source possible, searching for an end to the threat. A tiny sign that it is passed, and things can return to “normal”.

It is our nature…it is that tiny seed of faith within us…to look for the smallest thing to reassure us. It is…

“…God’s way – preparing unfathomable things, even when only the slightest hints of them can be barely detected…to trust that the Father is able to come through at the perfect moment, no matter how far removed the possibility seems from our current vantage point.” ibid, p64.

Today, after several 90 degree days, high humidity, and stuffed sinuses, that a tiny cloud on the horizon multiplied into big, beautiful storm clouds. When I was little, I would sit in my “Thinking Tree” and wait for a storm to arrive. It was a weeping willow tree and not known to be the safest tree to sit in when the wind was whipping around which is probably why my Father would often come and sit in a chair beside me while we waited.

I was never afraid when my father sat beside me.

“This is what the Lord says to me:
“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”~Is 18:4

When the storm finally arrived and started pelting us with droplets, my father would lift me down from the tree, and we would run into the house. Mom would usually have a special treat for both of us, and we would sit on our screened-in porch talking, reading, or Daddy would pull out the guitar/banjo and we would sing.

All because of a wisp of a cloud and an answered prayer.

“Remember that even a little cloud of hope, when God’s WORD is behind it, points toward a downpour of promise, potential, and possibility. Even His silence and seeming slowness are only the quiet buildup to a thunderous revelation of His glory.” Ibid, p64.

Our 2020 VISION may not pick up much of a cloud on the horizon of this crazy, chaotic year, but every promise in His WORD points to the fact that He’s quietly sitting beside us, waiting to lift us out of the tree and run with us into the home His Son has prepared just for us.

I still miss my butterflies, and while I no longer climb into my “Thinking Tree” (probably a good idea in my 70th year around the sun), I’m sitting on my patio swing, watching for that small tuft of a cloud and listening for the sound of a trumpet off in the distance. 

[personal images]

2020 VISION: War Room Wisdom

Do you ever feel like GOD just might be Gibbs slapping you?

It has been a couple wonderful days of Gibbs’ slaps that have just left me smiling. First, I got myself back into the my War Room. It is not enough for me to read devotions – online or book form. It is not enough for me to stand at my home altar as I pray for people on my prayer list or pray for our country. It is not enough for me to sit on my swing and sing old hymns or praise songs as I meditate on the wonder of all my blessings. If I don’t spend time just soaking in His presence first thing in the morning, I just feel a little – nope, that’s not right – I feel A LOT – lonely and a little off-center.

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.” James 5:1-6

After spending time in the War Room, walking the lab girls, meandering around the garden, I came in and started to read my devotions. But the nudge to look further wouldn’t go away. So I walked back to my bedroom and got my favorite Bible. The one I sleep with – the one that is bent and a little broken even though it is only 11 years old. Lo and behold, it opened up to James.

I wasn’t really surprised. When the Father wants me to see something, He usually Gibbs’ slaps me a couple of times with the same thing. First, one of my former students has been doing a short video series on 8 keys of wisdom that are found in the book of James. Second, one of my devotions also referred to James. So to have my Bible just fall open to James made me, literally, laugh out loud.

The first verse that caught my attention was: “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.” v.7a

I don’t know about you, but during these days of division and angry dissonance that caught my attention pretty quickly. And – those who know me, can probably see me laughing as I looked up and shout out loud, “Seriously? You start with that?”

Gibbs’ slaps from the Father are just that – attention getting and a sharp reminder all in One loving palm.

“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” v.7b-9

So often, I find myself strictly guarding my tongue. Words come easy to me- sometimes too easy. The rhythms and patterns of thoughts mixing in my mind before I even realize their shaping into a thought. I learned early in my life that words can be used to hurt or to help. However, I didn’t learn it easily. I tripped over my tongue many, many times, and unfortunately, watched others trip over my words even more. Wisdom came slowly and oft, at the expense of others.

As I read these verses today, I thought about how easy it is – in these days of instant communication – to “grumble against one another…” We watch. We shake our heads – one way or another. We judge. The log in our eyes grow larger and larger.
Such a short book in the Bible, and yet, James packed a lot of wisdom into 5 small chapters.

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”    v. 10-11

It is easy to lose sight of His Love, Light, Peace, Grace and Hope during these times of uncertainty and fear. We have a tendency – at least I do have a tendency – to lash out with those pesky words that we have learned to use so well – instead of leaning back, taking a deep breath and seeking His War Room Wisdom first.

James reminds us to look at Job. How did Job act as his family died? As his friends questioned him and his faith? As he lost everything that he had worked for and acquired?

We are living in the times of birth pangs – and for me – I find it fairly easy to identify with Job in more ways than I ever thought I would. It is my War Room where I lay it down in My Father’s presence and smile despite it all. His presence is the shield, the sword, the helmet, the belt, the shoes that I need to remember why the furnace is so hot, and the wisdom that will get me through it all.

Time is growing short. Birth pangs are hard. But – the miracle is coming. We only need to humble ourselves. Open the door to seek the War Room’s Wisdom. Pray as we have never prayed before for Yeshua Mashiach’s church – our country – our leaders – our family – our friends – even those we disagree with – our enemies – our world.

As I watched one of my favorite singers tonight, he and his wife reminded me of this song. So tonight, I am still, I continue to seek His face, and as I get ready to close my eyes, I am resting on His promises. So that tomorrow – I will try harder to shine His Love, Light, Grace and Peace each and every step of the way on this bumpy road.

We’ve got this – and best yet – Our Father’s got all of us. War Room Wisdom can’t be beat – it can only shine a Light in the darkness.

“As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me” – Shine, Jesus, Shine 

[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

VISION 2020: Fisted vs Open

If you haven’t figured out by now to hit your knees and begin to pray for our country, you need to open your spiritual eyes and ears.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

This is not a just a physical war.
It is not about flags, statues or new names or even the destruction of landmarks. Those are only the outward manifestations of the heart.
It is about spiritual warfare. The inward manifestations that destroy the soul.
It is evilness versus righteousness.
It is birth pangs.
It is decision time that gives birth to choice.

Raise the fisted hand in rebellion on an earthly tower – – – or raise an open hand in His garden?

It started with my generation. Sorry. I screwed up. We screwed up. My father and mother both tried to tell me. Others also warned and were killed for their efforts. While the best of our generation were over seas fighting an enemy and getting spat upon when they came home, some of us sat in brick and mortar buildings and knew. Deep in our souls, we were sick to our stomachs and knew we were seeing the hazy face of evil.

Evil that was no longer hiding behind the curtain but only a thin veil.

We watched strong, wise, non-violent leaders murdered. We watched protests, and while we did not join them, we did not stand against them either.
It was the Age of Aquarius.
It was the Summer of Love.
It was the “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” generation.
Drop some acid. Head bangers’ psychedelic haze swirling round and round and round.
The Harrad Experiment.
The challenge to the rock of righteousness that had – even though flawed as all human endeavors are – protected our feet from the serpent’s bite.

Many Pied Pipers continually asking a simple question. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen 3:1b

And the beat went on.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor 10:4-5

We listened to the protest leaders in the 70’s at the end of that time of violence as they basically said they wouldn’t go away. They would go into our strongholds. They would demolish our rock of ages’s morality. They would whisper their question over and over and over until they wore us down. For they were sure we would reach for the apple they offered just as so many others before us.

They were right.

It was an age old story. Repeating because we do not learn from history very well – even though He gave a Book of Life to guide us. We still reach for that apple. What can I say? It is easier. Who wants to chose warring existence when we can chose a peaceful one instead?

But – – –

There are time when we are required to find our knees.
Repent that we ate the apple.
Pray to Our Father that loves us with such Grace and Mercy that He helps us stand.
Stand on our sacred honor.
Stand as we put on His armor.
Stand in prayer as He taught us to pray when He stood among us.
Stand in prayer with open hands raised to the Father.
Stand in prayer with open hands raised to the Pied Pipers who offered all those apples – just in case they need a hand to stand with us.
Stand with His cloud before us, among us, behind us as we learn from our mistakes and walk forward on the dry rock bed that He has provided for our feet.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ep 6:10-11

Humans are flawed beings. If we’re lucky we do some things that are great. Things that will be remembered by those who love us and by Our Father who is righteous in Light, Love, Mercy and Grace.

December 23, 1776
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Thomas Paine

We can not be summer soldiers or sunshine patriots anymore. It is time to stand as Thomas Paine and all the other Founding Fathers did.
Stand on our sacred honor.
Stand in righteousness.
Stand as we open our rebellious hands.

For who knows? Perhaps we were created for such a time as this. (Esther)ap 8 2020 e [personal image]

#theReturn #HeisWorthy

VISION 2020: Ouchie

Ugh – I wasn’t going to write tonight, but the nagging voice in my head won’t be quiet no matter how much I argue about being tired and having spent too much time already typing with a defective hand that is all His fault. Well…not really. It is my fault. When you are given a mandate for your gift, it really is not wise to go outside that mandate. That being said, GOD is good and reminds us when we fall down.

It just may be an ouchie reminder.

My mandate is that I am not to comment on worldly things – such as politics. I am to write about His joy – His peace – His love – His blessings. I am to teach as I have taught for the past – almost – 50 years:
Colorblind.
Truth based. (notice: I did not say fact based)
Light giving.
And sometimes – with a little humor/weeping thrown in for free.

Not easy for this very A type – teacher personality. We are used to controlling a classroom of 30+ kids – being an authority on whatever – offering opinions on everything that is thrown our way from those instigator kidlets trying to get us off topic. However, my mama and brother trained me well in opinionated thoughts.
I have opinions.
Strong opinions.

Sarcasm has always leapt to my mind before I even have a chance to think. It was the first classroom wisdom that I gained. Sarcasm is ineffectual as a tool to pass on facts/wisdom/anything. It alienates and decimates those who hear/see it. I outlawed it in the classroom long ago and I avoid it like the plague now. But it still leaps out in my mind at times when I read some of the memes and political stuff on social media.

“I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (v.6-8)

In the past few days, I have returned to this chapter often. The image of a garden – hmmm – perfect setting since the garden was the first place man spoke to GOD. Jesus praying. In a garden. GOD made man speaking to GOD the Father. Jesus, Yeshua, praying.

Praying for me.

I think I love this passage the most because He says the mandate that rings in my ears even when I sleep. “I have given them the words you gave me, and they have received them.”

The Word gives us WORDSHis WORDS that the FATHER gave Him to give to us. Words that created the tiniest part of an atom. Words that breathed into our nostrils the Breath of Life. Creative words that we carelessly throw out so that we might exhibit our own version of truth –

Today, I allowed my fingers to ignore those things that I know that I know and typed a response based on worldly wisdom instead of Truth. Bandwagons are not what I am supposed to ride right now. That might change – but for now – Noper!!! So I typed. Turned off the computer. Stomach aching. I went outside. And out of nowhere, a wasp landed on my left hand and stung me three times – from the wrist to the index finger joint.

I am left-handed. Hint immediately received.

One sting I could understand – if I could see a nest or some reason for him to be around. I looked at him and couldn’t figure out what was hurting and moving down my hand. When he was done, he flew to a near-by rosebud leaf and disappeared under it. My hand is now beginning to return to normal – kinda. It is still swollen but the tingling, itchy pain is receding. Best of all, I can almost see a knuckle.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.” (v.1)

I needed to be reminded that Yeshua is praying for me – for all of us – especially right now. He is crying with us. He is knocking at the door. He is calling us to our home altars. The WORD continues to give us the words, so we need to open our ears, our eyes, our soul – and then – open our mouths – or in the case of social media – our fingers in response.

“Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me.” (John 17:11-12a)

How great is that? He prays for our protection. He prays for our salvation so that we may see the Father, face-to-face. He prays today as He prayed 2000+ years ago. Truth of the WORD does not change but is everlasting to everlasting.

So my wisdom of the day – don’t get stung by a wasp. OUCHIE!! It hurts. Better yet, remember His Truth. It is often said: “Words matter”. Even so, we forget that on social media forums – and sometimes with our friends – and sometimes in our families.

If Jesus, Rabbi Yeshua, thought praying was so important that He chose to do it in the darkest night of His life, I know that praying is still the most important thing we can do in these dark times.

[artwork by Greg Olsen/personal image]