Category Archives: lent

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: The Tomb

They hid behind the shuttered windows. Lamps unlit. One shaking person here. Two there. Another a little further away. They feared to travel too far. After all – they might be seen. The earthquake had only intensified their fear. Like all enslaved societies, communication was passed despite the restrictions. Who was where – assorted tales of news – some true – some false. It was said even the Sanhedrin was in hiding within their own homes until the damage to the temple could be assessed further. Only three truly rested in peace.

Mother Mary, the other Mary and John.

Their feet stumbled all the way to the cross focused only on the One they loved. Their eyes saw the brokenness of sin covered by the glory of love’s mercy . Their ears opened to the vile evil the world offered, but broken by the blessed words “It is finished”. They fell when the earth shook the stones loose from under their feet. They covered their heads as best they could when the heavens cried its wracking sobs and pelted their heads with it. And when His body was lowered into their arms, they were covered with the blood that He had shed – for them – for all of them – for that is what he had said.

Could it only be just a day ago they had sat together laughing,talking, and praising Abba?

Mother Mary wrapped Him in His final swaddling clothes.

Joseph of Arimathea and his hirelings hurried them along. Passover Sabbath drawing closer as the sun sank deeper into the west
The Tomb.
The stone.
A short journey to his home where they would all rest as required.

They would be safe with him. He had put his protection around the three of them. As shaken as Caiaphas had been after the temple was damaged, Joseph was certain he would not move against any of the others, but he could not promise any more than that. Nicodemus would let him know if that changed.

The blessed Sabbath passed slowly, A trickle of information was passed despite the restrictions that were in place for this day. Joseph watched – he listened – he prayed for his three visitors. He had especially been watching Yeshua’s mother. His wife and children couldn’t seem to leave her presence. They sat at her feet as did John and the other Mary. It was as if Yeshua was still among them. Tears still colored her eyes and nose, but her voice strong as she told stories of her son as a child and laid her hands upon them all. Later, they sang their prayers and thankfulness to Abba.

Joseph rubbed the back of his head and adjusted his head covering. Funny, he had never thought of G-D as Abba until he had listened to Yeshua. Now, as he watched this mother grieve her son, he could not think of G-D any other way. Although – sadly – he could not speak that faith out loud. He turned his face away as tears threatened to expose him to his world. He had done the best he could, he thought angrily. He got up and shuttered the windows against the night – at the darkness that threatened to invade.

Shortly after, Nicodemus appeared at the door. A small hand wagon full of the spices that must be applied in accordance with the laws. Mother Mary, John, and the other Mary traveled with their protectors to the tomb. The Roman soldiers stood impatiently aside as the Jews went about their rituals, but their displeasure was as obvious as the darkness stealing away the light.

Tomorrow would come. They would finish what needed to be done then. When Joseph mentioned that they would seal it permanently, Mother Mary smiled sadly at him. Again, his spirit was disturbed. It was as if she carried a secret. He glanced at Nicodemus who was also staring intently at Yeshua’s mother. What was it about her that made him seek to do everything he could to protect her – to be near her??

Joseph shrugged and hurried the small group to return home before the deep dark of the evening descended. He didn’t trust the undercurrents that seemed to still shake the air around him, just as the earth had shaken under his feet yesterday. He had seen the torn curtain – the fallen stones – the shattered trappings of ritual tossed as if they had been discarded by an angry hand.

Yeshua was dead.
His disciples scattered.
The ministry of the gifted rabbi broken before it had a chance to grow larger.

Joseph and Nicodemus looked at each other one more time before they went their separate ways. Joseph knew they were thinking much the same thing. The world had changed. This time of sheltering under the blood of the lamb had changed the world. They just hadn’t realized that it was the blood of a different Passover Lamb that was changing the world far more than they could ever imagine. passion of christ [google image]

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: Resurrection Sunday

“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.” Ex 12:22-23

I have not been writing in this time of solitude. Instead, I have been learning. Learning like all my students have been told to learn at home. After all, what is good for the student is good for the teacher as well. Sitting on my small front porch/deck, I see the signs everywhere. Spring is here.

Resurrection Sunday just around the corner.

The flowers are blooming with abundance in my small piece on Terra. The trees which were in bud last week are providing shade when I walk through the woods with my happy choc lab girls. Baby spinach is peeking up through the large lettuce plants, and tiny peas have started to sprout the roots that will lead to more food. Mulch is being hauled here and there, and my wheelbarrow doesn’t seem to mind as much as my back does.

With all of that said, the mind keeps turning. I find it interesting that in Israel, most of the United States and a good portion of the world, people are re-living Passover much in the way the first Israelites experienced it over 3000 years.

The eight plagues had come and gone. The ninth was outside the door – – the door that Jewish people had been commanded to shut and not leave until morning. They were sheltered at home. Shelter in their homes – alone – unsure of what might come – waiting for the first rays of the morning, and trusting the words of Moshe who spoke the words given by the GOD of Abraham, Jacob and Issac.

I wonder at the “Godwink” of timing as I sit outside and look up. Passover – Easter.
Jewish – Christian.
Holy celebrations to the same GOD or “Abba” as Yeshua referred to Him. The two religions linked together by the One who was both. And – in this year of Pandemic 2020 Vision – both religions sheltered at home during this same space in linear time.
A plague outside their doors.
Alone.
Unsure of the future.
Waiting for the first rays of the morning.
Trusting the words of Moshe and Yeshua Mashiach.

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Lk 21:29-33

Teachers often re-teach concepts. Parents may be seeing that they need to go over a concept more than once as they work with their kidlets in home schooling. History repeats for a reason.

In case you haven’t noticed – humans don’t always listen so well. Sometimes we may get that concept for awhile, but then we get lazy and let it drift away into that nether world of the “past”. The concept that was so clear yesterday becomes a little fuzzier over time. Hence – the all “nighters” pulled by many a collegiate crammer.

Is it any wonder that a Father – Who loves His children beyond anything we can imagine – would want to remind us to trust Him once again?

Personally, I am looking forward to being sheltered at home during this Pandemic 2020 Vision: Resurrection Sunday. No egg hunts. No bunny hiding baskets. No large family get-together. Instead, I plan on getting up and sitting on my porch where I will watch the first rays of the morning cross the horizon.

Resurrection ‘Sunday may be rainy and cold here in NC, and seeing the sun’s light is improbable. But, it is not the physical light I will be waiting for on this Resurrection Sunday because I have the Son’s Light in my heart and His holy manna and praise cup within me after tonight’s Seder. He is worthy.  And so – I wait with expectation and His songs circling in my head.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To Him who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb,
be praise and honor and glory and power
forever and ever!” …
“Amen,” Rev 5:12-14

 [personal/google image]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Where are you on the Pandemic Tree of Life – Part II.

Like most teachers – if I give out an assignment – I should also do the work to set the example (gotta love Vygotsky). So here is my Tree of Pandemic Life Essay, a treasure chest memory of this time for the future generations. Notice – I changed the words in various places – call it artistic license.

Pandemic –

A word that stopped the world mid-orbit.
A word that we confidently touted as a historical concept.
A word that applied to 3rd world countries – certainly not this country.
A word on the peripheral vision of life – not something in my direct line of vision.

A word of eight letters – the eternal number.
A word.

Yet – here it is on my Tree of Life. I lived through this on a major scale as a baby, toddler, preschooler. Polio kept me out of the water during those early hot summers, but other than that, it didn’t touch me. However, it forged an indelible memory of standing in a line of friends and family on the small steps leading into the cafeteria of my 1955 elementary school. Mom and dad held my hand. My older brother stood off to the side with a group of his friends. A small cup of liquid to drink, and then the word disappeared into the history books.

Pandemic.

The word eased itself back into my lexicon on a whisper of a breeze in late 2019. As I looked out the window, warmed by my gas logs, the full extent of that word was still just conceptualizing itself in my mind. Was this how my parents felt after they had battled their way through WWII and were facing this word? I prayed for those far away who were dealing with it as I prayed for those dealing with locusts invasions, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other illnesses. Surely, this new virus wouldn’t touch the shores of this country. Our society has 2020 vision – science, technology, stability, cleanliness – surely, it wouldn’t float over here. Yet – it did. It picked up speed until gale force winds swept over each of us and the eye of the storm peered down upon us.
Collectively.
Individually.
Nationally.

Pandemic 2020.

The word storm buffets the doors and windows everyday now of this place I call home. No longer a word of the past, but a word brandied about in every day conversation as we “social distance” away from family and friends. The illness itself as evolved with one name into another name into another name – Covid 19. I look out the window. The dogwoods, azaleas, wisteria are blooming. Spring looks beautiful as usual, but the world is different. I look at the picture on my desk. Where am I on this Tree of Life?

Where am I on the Pandemic Tree of Life 2020?

2019 was an especially hard year for me. My 40-year marriage covenant had broken and the “one flesh” shredded. If this pandemic had come 6 months earlier, I would have chosen the little boy lying on the ground. My world and faith in myself scattered about me in pieces. But the promises of My Father, ever faithful, had the golden glue that slowly mended me into a new piece of art. One that He had seen since the beginning of the sparkles in my parents’ eyes. Since then, I have gotten up, brushed myself off, put on a new dress and started to re-climb my Tree of Life.

Pandemic 2020 caught me on a lower branch. And – while I still grip the tree trunk fairly tightly, every now and then I glance up. I see the One who is reaching down – just in case – just in case I need some help. My bare feet feel the rough bark beneath them. My toes tighten at times to keep my balance, and then I glance up again. His face is smiling down at me, and I am ever so thankful for the past two months I spent in the gym. My balance is better. My strength is better. My health is better. Best yet, my knees can bend once again to touch the ground as I kneel in prayer.

I smile up at that Face. Yeshua Mashiach is still there. Not far away. Not sitting on a throne in a far away place. Not judging my mistakes or fears. Just reaching down and smiling. Waiting to help if I need a hand to climb a little higher. Waiting for me to be willing as He sits on a branch of my Tree of Life – as if He had not better place to be in the whole world.

So where am I on the Tree of Pandemic Life 2020?

I am climbing.
I am reaching up.
I am smiling, because I trust the One who is guiding me upward.

[personal images]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Perfect

All social-distancing right now is actually social-togetherness: keeping our distance from each other is the gift we give each other to get through this together. And staying home and staying flat on our faces in prayer is what can flatten this curve.” Ann Voskamp

Blessed beyond measure is the only way I can describe it.

Spring flowers bring…allergies for me. Especially – as one grows older. Never had allergies growing up. Never worried about what food I ate or what weeds were in bloom – until a tiny bug bit me and turned my immune system upside down. Suddenly, spring and fall were not my “perfect” seasons, and I discovered that I was more like my mother than I thought.

Allergies blossomed in my life and show up regularly.

Now taking after my mother is not a bad thing. Everyone loved her including me. She could sing, tell jokes and whistle tunes loud enough for me to find her wherever she might be working. But – she also had allergies. I can remember her sitting at her vanity sniffing penicillin on a pretty regular basis. (I think I’m glad I never had to do that.)

When the world shuts down – – – is exactly when our thanksgiving needs to rise up.” ibid A.V.

For the past few years when ever fall or spring start blowing through the neighborhood, my sinuses start wanting to blow back. Worse – it usually turns into a bronchitis presentation of coughing and wheezing and sniffling and tossing and turning and whining and fevers and doctor visits.

Ugh!

This spring – praise the LORD – I have only had a stopped up left ear. No fever. No coughing. No wheezing. Perhaps a little whining and tossing and turning – after all – going from stereo to monophonic is a wee bit disturbing. Put off calling the doctor until it was really stupid on my part. (“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” as my mom used to say to herself or the TV.)

Good news?

Didn’t have to go to the doctor or anywhere near the hospital in these chaotic times. Got my meds at my drive thru pharmacy. Took a couple naps. Still blowing my nose. Still waiting with lots of thanksgiving for my ear to pop open. But mostly – – –

“Praising my Savior all the day long….”

“Pursue the things which make the peace and the building up of one another.” Rm 14:19

As I was thinking about all of this today, this thought kept repeating itself. Even in the tiniest of potential problems, Our Father knows and provides for His people way beyond what we can conceive. It may not always (or in my case – hardly ever) be the way we think it will be, but it is always perfect – at the perfect time – in the most perfect of ways.

Today was perfect.

I may not hear in stereo yet. I may not feel like mowing the yard yet. I may not even feel like going outside to walk the dogs yet. But it was perfect and full of His perfect words comforting me and nudging me forward. I am in awe of the way He loves me. Can I do anything less than to pay it forward and love those He has placed in my circle?

This is the perfect time to unite. The perfect time to bless each other with our words – even from a good distance away. The perfect time to not jab at others who don’t agree with me, but to find the things we hold in common. The perfect time to pray for my President, my congressmen, my civic leaders who are struggling, making mistakes, but trying their best. The perfect time to find solitude in isolation. The perfect time to bless others with His peace and love in anyway we can. The perfect time to stay home “… flat on our faces in prayer…[and] flatten this curve.”

Perfect – just as Yeshua Mashiach, the Holy Spirit and Our Father are.

“Be therefore perfect, just as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48 


Blessings!Be!

VISION 2020: Email Wisdom: Corona virus 2020

Got this poem from my daughter this morning and thought it was worthy e-mail wisdom to pass along.

As we enter into a time of fasting and national day of prayer, it is good to consider these things. Meditating on Ps 91 today:

“This I declare about the LORD:He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;He is my God, and I trust him.For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.He will cover you with His feathers.He will shelter you with His wings.His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” v.2-4

[Akiane Kramarik artwork/google images]

Part II:  “The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.”
— C.S. Lewis

Part III:  With all the schools in OH closing (NC not far behind – and now officially closed down), don’t forget to ask teenagers or college kids to help out if you need babysitters in the coming weeks. Teenagers/college students – don’t expect to get rich. Households are a little short of money. Send cards to senior citizens in nursing homes.  Have the kids make artwork and cards for senior citizens – or nurses – or doctors who are serving on the front lines.  Just remember – GOD’s got this. All we have to manage is the details, and YOU’ve got that.

Pray for the medical personnel and those in leadership positions.

Pray for revival. Nothing better than revival to beat the evil one and his minions.

is 41 10

 

 

VISION 2020: Hewn

“Listen to Me…”

In the clamor of chaos it is hard to listen. Shards of noise litter the air and impune the truth that tries to exist amidst its sharp edges. Covered ears and eyes do not hear and see so well –and yet — without any protection, the maliciousness of noise hurts that which is buried deep inside.

“…you who pursue righteousness…”

Upside down. Inside out. Circles of choices that leave the head wondering – is this right? Is that? The ears hurt. The eyes hurt. How to pursue – how to chase – when the ambiguities muddy the vision and sounds of what once was so clear – so just – so pure – so right….

“…you who seek the LORD…”

Schedules way too crowded. Dusty Bibles stashed in corners. Here.
There.
Piles upon piles of things covering them – things much more crucial in today’s civilized air.
Seek what is lost?
Find a clean cloth of wisdom?
Pull the hands away from the ears.
Wipe the eyes.
Blink.. Is it there? Is it visible at all?

“Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were HEWN.” Is 51:1

Solid.
Rough but sturdy.
It is there.
Deeply buried.
Covered in grimy grit.
Hands dig until nails are broken and skin torn.
Eyes see.
It is there.
Still there.

The rock shaped and carved — HEWN — long ago out of the deep rock bed of the ancient quarry by a much stronger, talented, and deeply scarred fingers of the only One who knew the rock before it was HEWN.

The Master Mason knew the quarry. He knew where to find the rock of you. He knew the stones from which you came. Stones that carried the same traits with the dearly sought after veins of strength that the rock would need to shine forth its own light and survive the chaotic life outside the quarry.

Eyes open.
Ears uncovered.
Amid the clamor of chaos that still cuts – still shouts its lies – trying to confuse and distract as the Master Mason bends over and rubs the hem of His own pure, white garment over the rock of you that has remained hidden for way too long.

Facets polished.
Shimmers of bright colored gems shine forth.
Once more —HEWN by the Master Mason as He turns His countenance upon the rock and bestows the silence of His peace as He brings it forth into the Light of the Father.

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” 1 Pt 2:4-6 Forgiven  [Greg Olsen art]

VISION 2020: Sabbath

The house is a maze of throw rugs. Wood floors peeking out in between them. Rugs spaced just far enough apart that a certain four-legged, beloved lab girl feels more secure as she walks from one end of the house to the other. Truth be told, she mostly wanders just one side of the house during the day, but at night she wants to amble back to the other side to protect me and her kid sister. The good news – I’m tickled pink to have her wandering again and praising My Father for her stubborn heart.

Four days ago, the old dog seemed to be ready to leave. I’ve been around the block a time or two with old dogs. I recognize the signs. They don’t eat or drink. Their breathing changes. Their eyes change – as if they are looking beyond what’s in front of them. So because I didn’t want her to be alone, I slept on the floor – with her on one side and kid sister on the other. (Hard to believe that as a kid I used to find sleeping on the floor a treat.)

The great news – she is still here and showing some signs of her old ornery self. Still a little hard for her to get up. Still a little unsteady on her feet. But those big eyes are wide open and checking every morsel that I put in my mouth. Can anything be better than having those big puppy dog eyes watching every move of the spoon? I think not.

“I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” Jn 16:32

Rather hectic days lead this simple soul, to enjoying a true Sabbath. I didn’t do much. Didn’t go to the gym. Didn’t work on much of anything except to move a few piles or sticks and rocks. Washed a couple of blankets and hung them on the back deck to dry. Knitted a few rows of a prayer shawl. Read some devotionals. Walked the dogs. Worked a cryptogram. Laughed when the old lab girl wanted to come with me, carrying her ball and trying to keep it from her kid sister. Sat on the patio swing. Listened to sounds echo through the woods – all the while hoping that the smelly remnant of a skunk was exactly that – a remnant and not a warning of its presence.

GOD is good, all the time.

At some point, I fell asleep with the windows open and the sun shining through them. The rabbi I had been watching on YouTube had turned into a video of Akiane Kramarik. It had been awhile since I had watched one of her videos, so I watched a few more. If you don’t remember – she is the art prodigy that started her career at the age of four. Not only that – she led her family to faith in GOD.

“Heavenly music is always gentle. I can’t tell you how different it is from what you hear on earth! It feels like joy, it looks like love, smells like flowers and dances like butterflies. Music there is alive! You can even taste it.” Akiane Kramarik

Treasure chest memories were everywhere today. One of the videos showed Akiane milking goats – a goat that looked just exactly like our first goat, Ami. Then as I folded the blankets off the back deck, I buried my nose in them. My childhood and OH homes all had clotheslines. What is it about hanging clothes outside to dry that makes them smell so good?

This Sabbath was blessed in too many ways to count. Eldest son’s birthday. Old lab finding her way back to me. Carolina warmth and sun. Treasure chest memories. Kitty curled on my lap. God’s presence drifting over every second of this Sabbath. Just glad my eyes, ears, heart and soul were open to all He has done on this holy day.

Our Father’s promises always lead to Joy.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Is 58:13-14 

VISION 2020: Faith Filled Feet

This morning I woke up with chorus of The Battle Hymn of the Republic marching through my mind. Nothing to get your faith feet under you for a new day with a robust, wonderful chorus of: “Glory, glory, hallelujah…”

But tonight is a little harder. The old choc lab girl is in pain. Her head is down, and she has been whimpering since she she came in after our last walk. She has many tumors, and the vet warned me last fall that it might not be long before the pain would worsen. I upped her CBD chews and laid on the floor with her until she fell asleep. I cried, but I’m still praying that tomorrow she will wake me up by being her old bouncy self. (Her nickname has always been “Bouncer” since she shows her excitement by bouncing.) I really don’t want to think about losing another part of my life right now.

“I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.” v.2

Long ago, most of my early March days and nights were filled by participating in or watching our hometowns’ local talent show. Sponsored by the American Legion, it was filled with all the family and community elders that guided my life as a child; patriotic and sing-a-long songs that everyone in the audience knew; and friends and cousins every where – running up and down the darkened school’s hallways as we passed the time waiting for our parents to finish up.

“I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, “
Since God is marching on.” v3

No matter where we were in the building, we could always hear the finale begin. We would stop whatever game we had going and head for the auditorium – after all – parents weren’t so understanding in those days if we weren’t ready when they were. Some gathered their stuff and headed out to the cars. Others made their way to the back to finish up a conversation or two. I usually sat down to watch and listen.

Usually, my mother or Godmother would start it by singing a favorite patriotic song. Mom’s was always “God Bless America”. Then dad (who was the director for many years) would get the rest of the singers going with “It’s a Grand Ol’ Flag”, “America the Beautiful”, and finally – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. It always changed from year-to-year, but that was the basic formula.

As opening night approached, Dad would sit down beside me, and we watched together. I loved those times. He would ask me what I thought and would tilt his head towards me as he listened.
His arm draped around the back of my shoulders, and one eye the stage or clock, so that he could talk to everyone before they left for the night.

One of the last performances he directed, he decided to drop the American flag behind the Chorus as they sang the last two verses of that last song without the usual chorus in between them. He had the small combo band that volunteered to play every year, drop out with only the drum playing a cadence.

And just like that – the atmosphere of that high school auditorium changed. The low hum of noise stopped. Kids rummaging around in the back grew silent. Dad sat a little straighter, focused entirely on seeing what was transpiring on stage.

Somehow – it almost felt as if I could hear the faithful feet of those who had marched so full of faith – for God – for country – as they sang this song long ago.

The gospel in the midst of the dark valley of war.

“He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.” v.4-5

It was one of those rare times that I remember feeling Our Father’s presence outside of church. As the band rejoined the singers for the final chorus, I heard the kids in the back begin to sing along. Dad stood up, and I stood with him. I don’t remember noticing anyone else, but tears were definitely in my eyes and in those of my father. When the song ended, everyone was quiet as if holding their breath.

Jewish wisdom says that when we breathe in, we say the word “Yah” and when we breathe out, we say the word “Weh”. When feet march to His beat, we breathe a little deeper. We notice more than usual. We fill ourselves with that faith-filled, life-giving sustenance that only He can give.

I think tonight, I just might let my faith-filled feet march me back to sleep beside my puppy for awhile and sing myself to sleep with a little “Glory, glory, hallelujah…”

“for I AM GOD, and there is none lie me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose.’ Is 46:9b-10 

 [personal images]

VISION 2020: Leap Day Faith

After leaping into physical therapy before Christmas, I leaped into a gym routine. It has been one month of going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. In that time, I’ve figure out 4 times is probably a bit much for this 68 year old – at least for now. I’ve also figured out that when there is a salt water pool and hot tub, spending two hours at the gym is not such a bad thing.

Ride 3 miles on the bike –
Contort the body on a huge rubber ball –
Increase reps to 15 on three different machines –
All the while –
Remembering to breathe and use those dreaded core muscles.

“I do not like them. Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham”…or working out.

Did I say I was tired yet? Well – I usually am, but I make another leap and switch to pool.
Pool stretches, bouncing, walking, swimming, leaping…
And then –
The thing that one thing that always keeps me leaping…

The hot tub for 15 minutes. Soothing, bubbling warmth with plenty of PTL’s for getting through another session.

“My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.” Ps 28:7

My choc lab girls don’t exactly leap for joy with me spending more time away from them, but they sure leap for joy when we get the ball and take our walks. No matter how tired I may be after I get home, we all enjoy a walk in the woods and a few balls dropped in deep, dark holes. It is then I usually take a leap of faith and hope that the snakes aren’t awake yet and hiding in that hole.

As the girls leap into the leaves and roll around, I find myself talking to My Father, reciting Bible verses that pop in my mind, or singing some favorite hymns. His presences seems to make the skies a little brighter, the birds’ song a little sweeter and the squirrels a little funnier as they leap over my head and keep us company. My earthly father used to say he felt closer to GOD fishing than in church. I can understand that a little more these days.

The “Leap of Faith” phrase isn’t found in the Bible. However, the stories that the WORD contains is full of illustrations of the people who did.
Abraham walking his son up a hill.
Noah building a boat in a desert.
Esther asking for an audience with her husband king.
Ruth leaving her home for the love of her mother.
David facing a giant with 5 small stones.
A young woman and man believing an angel’s messages that they would be parents of the Mashiach.

I have found that Leaps of Faith happen when we least expect it – or often – want it. Sometimes you just need to go to the gym of faith.
Build up the muscles.
Increase the stamina.
Work on breathing through those last couple of stretches/miles.
Focus on the WORD.
Seek His presence.
It is then that you will Leap for Joy in that Leap of Faith, just as all the our ancestors have down down through time. Read the Book. It is full of their stories and their Leaps of Faith.

“Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.” Lk 6:23 narnia (2) [google image]

VISION 2020: The Chisel

Wasn’t it just Christmas?

Didn’t we just leap into a new decade?

I look at the calendar. The blank pages of the calendar have been chiseled with notations.
Gym.
Friends.
Doctors.
Grands.
Library times.
Snow days.
Goals completed/not completed.

It is all there and yet –
– it has flown by on such swift, silent winds that I –
failed to take note of how many of those carvings etched out this or that in the past few weeks.

“…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matt 10:19-10

With words tumbling around in my mind, I check in with My Father tonight in prayer. It is the birthday of two special Grands who made me a grandma for the first time 20 years ago. It is a day of working with students and reading books. It is a day of walking dogs. It is a day of wonder at the complete joy that seems to surround me amid all the chiseling that has been shaping me and leaving pieces on the ground around me. It is not joy as the world knows nor probably can comprehend, but it is His joy. Joy of being exactly where I am supposed to be at this time in space and eternity.

Years ago when I was teaching in OH, we had to use door stops to keep our doors open. Mine kept disappearing, so when I got a new one, one of my ornerier 8th grader (with a few of his cohorts adding to it) decorated it. I think he was tired of hearing me complain about never having a door stop when I needed it – either that or the door slamming shut in his ears. I know it was on of my ornerier students because on one side, it says “Kaufman’s Quick Lube”, on the other side – in big clear letters – “The Chisel”. When I asked him why those two things, he laughed mumbled something about the one side, but then turned serious as he pointed to the other side, “Because that’s what you do with all of us.” He nodded his head as he went back to his seat. The room was quiet as I turned away and dabbed at my eyes.

I have never forgotten that moment. Little did I realize, at that moment, the chiseling that was going on in my own life. Needless to say, I took the door stop with me when I retired.

Today I pulled out that chisel to hold my door open. The warmth flooded inside. Dogs and cat wandered in and out at will. Curtains swayed. Birds sang. Squirrels chattered (and ate bird food)…bugs slept on (thankfully). However, the end of the week is coming and will bring another northerly wind, so the door stop will return to my bookshelf.

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Lk 9:51

It seems like I was just reading the Gospel of Luke for the 24 days before Christmas. Now I am opening that epistle and looking at it with the eyes of the Passion. Time passes and Ash Wednesday is – so it seems – suddenly upon us. As ways, Rabbi Yeshua blended the linear and eternal lines into one – especially in Luke’s account,
The teachings became more intense.
The miracles full of the visible and invisible battles of the world. The Transfiguration testimony and blessing.

Prophecies pointed and passionate.

Yeshua Mashiach is my chisel. Although He has been my chisel all my life, His tools have been carving more deeply these days – in ways I couldn’t have imagined a few months back. His words, love and grace purposely defining a new shape. Cutting away the marred pieces to reveal the faith that He saw hidden away.

As Lent begins, it is time to honor in prayer and sacrifice, the time of Rabbi Yeshua’s earthly chisel coming to an end. He purposely and lovingly turned His feet towards Jerusalem, all-the-while knowing what was ahead. The good new is He also knew His eternal chiseling would continue to carve and illuminate whenever anyone asked Him to walk through their door.

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Lk 9:57

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