Tag Archives: 1 Chronicles

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #3

Not a big fan of daylight saving time. Not a big fan of switching the clocks. Not a big fan of helping my critters adjust to new feeding schedules. Just not a big fan.

I do like when we get back to “normal” time though. It seems right to have the skies darkening by 5 P.M and lighter at 7 A.M. Then again, I enjoyed in summers past those same hours way before “daylight saving time” became standard changes every year. In fact – I remember when we had to drive to nearby city in a different county that was on “daylight saving time” when our county was not. Needless to say, made getting to doctor appointments interesting.

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.”~1 Chron 16:8-11

Fall days find me wandering outside to do a few things. Returning inside to do a few more things. It is the “perfect” seasons for wandering – even if the leaves have not been spectacular this year. I enjoyed today’s sermon by a veteran. I swept the porch and patio, painted the rest of the living room/hallway walls (at least the parts I could reach). Went back outside and painted another plant stand. Did a few loads of laundry. Read a few devotions. Walked my chocolate labs a few times. Kicked a few leaves and then sat on my swing.

“Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.”~1 Chron 16:33

For whatever reason, I am thankful and fully aware of My Father’s presence when I sit on that patio swing. Rocking back and forth. Back and forth, as I let the movement and the squeak of the swing settle into the deepest part of me. Those rhythms and sounds jostle awake other rhythms. Soon I am singing with the trees – singing for joy before the LORD – and thankful.

November is that month. That necessary month of transition in our mortal minds. After all, the worldly celebration of Halloween’s frivolity and pretend has passed. Christmas is a month in the future. We need these thirty days to realign our centers so that our focus can be on what is important – the greatest gift ever given to anyone – anywhere.

So this week, I am enjoying the wonder in my freedom that others sacrificed much to ensure that I could sit on a swing singing on a fall day. I am enjoying the transition from worldly concerns to that of thankfulness and praise for a Father who has held me securely within the shelter of His promises and wings over the past months of 2019. I am breathing in His name with every breath as I swing – breathing in: Yah – breathing out: weh – YHWY – Yahweh – Yahweh

A month of transition. A month of to enjoy transition. A month to humble myself. A month to prepare as I swing back and forth – back and forth – Yah – weh — Yah – weh — Yah – weh.. 

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THE POET PRESIDENT

Please tell me how I got to be almost 68 years of age and did not know that President Abraham Lincoln was a poet? Why didn’t If figure this out? His speeches alone should have been a clue.

“Four score and seven years ago 
Our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, 
Conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition 
That all men are created equal.”
~ Gettysburg Address

“Fondly do we hope—
Fervently do we pray—
That this mighty scourge of war 
May speedily pass away.”~2nd Inaugural Address

How many times have I read these speeches – taught them to my class and did not see the big hint right in front of me? Errrr…  Just goes to show – we can be oblivious to things that are right in front of us and not have a clue!!

I love teaching again. I love discovering things I never knew, but now I’m kicking myself in the butt for not discovering all of this 40 years ago when I was teaching my poetry classes and speech classes. It could have added a whole new dimension to our discussions.

The power of Lincoln’s word choices and cadence became so clear as I went back through and started looking at his speeches through the eyes of the poet as well as the speech giver.

A man with a satirical sense of humor.
A man who wrote short poems in his boyhood math book.
A man longing for home.
A man chased – at times – by depression.
A man filled with compassion for the world around him. 
A man who had faults like the rest of us.
A man who always tried to rise above the problems.
A poet-man with integrity.

Since I teach younger grades these days, I’m sticking with the his famous quote that he took from the Bible, A house divided against itself cannot stand.”[“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”~Matt 12:25 ] A beginning – a start – an introduction to our complicated, messy world and history.

For me, I’m fascinated by re-reading his 2nd Inaugural Address. As I read, his words take on new depth since our country seems to be tearing apart at the seams just as it was as he was President. Our social/cultural issues as divisive as they were in the 1860’s. It is as if I can hear his voice – his pauses in my head.

“Both read the same Bible…
Pray to the same God…
Each invokes his aid against the other.
It may seem strange 
That any men should dare to ask 
A just God’s assistance in wringing 
Their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces;
But let us judge not, 
That we be not judged. 
The prayers of both
Could not be answered–
That of neither has been answered fully.”

Poetry. 
Prayer. 
Psalms. 
If only all of us and our leaders would remember. It saved our nation once before – perhaps – if we find our knees again – our long-suffering, patient Father will hear from heaven and heal our land. 

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GUITAR PICKIN’ HOME

I can think of no better way to start a Sabbath than listening to some awesome bluegrass, guitar-pickin’ gospel songs. Probably, because there used to be no better way to fall asleep than listening to my dad, mom and assorted friends sing those same songs. It can pull me into the presence of GOD faster than those fingers can fly over the strings. It also can bring me to tears even faster.
 
Today was one such day. Blessings at every turn. A daughter beside me in church. Grands (albeit a little grumpy at being separated from their friends more than they like) listening to me talk on and on about the Veterans displays spread around our church campus. Another daughter’s excited voice describing life in the monster city of New York. A nighttime prayer in our quiet neighborhood as I take our “girls” out for one last time.
 
“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”~Ps 69:30
 
Election day is just a two days away. Veterans Day is a week away. Two important days in our nation.
I take a deep breath and pray for both groups of people.
I will go and vote.
I will honor those who sacrifice every day for my freedom to vote.
I offer thankful prayers for both, and feel blessed to have been born for this special time and place.
 
Despite all the chaos that seems to circle everywhere this year, I continue learn from both of these special days. It is one of those rare gifts of freedom that comes with faith. The faith to believe that despite the outward appearance, there is a Hand that continues to bless us when we humble ourselves and remember. I read somewhere this week that there is another way to look at “chaos”:
C – Christ
H – has
A – all
O – our
S – solutions
 
“Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”~1 Chron 29:11b-13
 
As SSS (Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle) kitten sits on my lap, and I yawn for the umpteenth time, I’m thinking that I’m glad I got that extra hour of sleep last night. The allergies are still keeping me busy blowing my nose, and the flu shot added an extra dimension of coughing, and yet – I totally feel peaceful about tomorrow, the next day and the day after that and the day after that and the day….(I know you get the idea). The peace of God is way beyond my understanding, but today as I listened to those old, time gospel songs and listened to my daughter’s voice in my ear, I felt the peace of Home – where my parents are still singing and a Father holds out His favorite cloak to wrap around my shoulders. Best of all, I have kept “Home” with me all day.
 
Blessings!Be! Sweet Dreams! And may His will be accomplished “…on earth as it is in Heaven…”
 

“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which will through us produce thanksgiving to God.” ~2 Corinthians 9:11 ESV 

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #12

I have absolutely no idea what to write about since there are tons of things running around in my mind that I am so thankful to have in my life. Yesterday, there was no doubt. Devotions led me deeper into the WORD, and that put it front and center.

So a list of random thankfulness that have flittered through my scattered brain tonight seems rather appropriate.

Mom’s voice waking me up this morning singing, “When the red, red robin…”

Off-beat Christmas music that pulls at my spirit even more than Perry Como or Nat King Cole or Andy Williams or Carpenters. (I never would have believe it was possible – but it’s true.)

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”~1 Chron 16:34

Two random ladies blessing me at church with their words and thoughts.

A wise man’s words about defeating the ‘obs-tackles’ that the evil one places in our path of our God given vision for our life. (Still thinking about this one, but I need to go back and read a few chapters in Nehemiah again)

The quiet of a morning walk after church with the girls.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”~Col 4:2

An early afternoon nap while Sunday dinner cooked (I am really not cut out for early morning risings anymore).

Roast chicken, potatoes and gravy. Yum!!!!

Devotions and taking time to write a note of Thanksgiving to one of my former teachers. A teacher who was one of the ones to help me see what a teacher could be in a classroom of crazy kids with Senior-itis.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”~Ps 100:4

Hallmark, DVD’s, Christmas movies that inspire the Spirit.

Pine tree smells that can blossom in my home even without a live tree. (sniff, sniff – can’t talk Hubby into one).

A silly kitten that runs into a wall as she tries to turn the corner into her room when I am bringing her supper. (I hope she doesn’t hurt herself – I can’t afford any new vet bills)

A few teacher-preachers on TV.

God’s vision for my life.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”~Heb 12:28-29

As I re-read these Gratitude Attitudes, I began to see a pattern of my day. A pattern that points to the vision. Still a little blurry. Still a little ways off in the distance. Time for prayer. Time for clarity. Time to kick the ‘obs-tackles’ (don’t you love a Southern accent?) to the curb. If Nehemiah could do it, so can I.

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RATIONS 100 DAYS! #33

When I read today’s Ration, I knew that I couldn’t say it any better than this author did in the third paragraph. Most of us bump around this crazy world hoping to dislodge whatever stone is hiding the magic key of knowledge that we need to navigate this life; or maybe the magic broom that will sweep all the huge, sticky spider webs from our path; or the magic bridge – or the magic app – or …
But as any former kid that finally reach the age of majority will tell you, – that knowledge comes with a bunch of strings that tend to tie them in knots at various stages of their lives. But the author of this Ration understood that magic is useless. Our Father gave us every inner tool we needed to cut free if those knots and succeed.  He even gave us Eliezer’s prayer as a model.  The first prayer offered by an ordinary person in Genesis, “Lord…make me successful today…” ~Gen 124:12
He made us curious to seek wisdom. He gave us responsibility to accumulate more knowledge and wisdom. Strength to untie the knots that form around us. Character to stand on the principles of faith in Him when the knots seem unbreakable.
He did indeed make us in His image.
1942 Daily Ration: “The more you know, the more you suffer; the more you understand, the more you ache. “~Eccl. 1:18
“Certainly the Preacher is right. The more knowledge one has the more suffering he knows. If we did not know of hatred and starvation and death, we might be smugly content. We are tempted to turn our eyes away from the knowledge of evil and suffering.
“To face the facts of life honestly is a heroic job. Many well-meaning souls break under the strain. Knowledge means responsibility; responsibility requires strength; strength demands character; and character grows out of an inner faith.
“The world is tired because men have tried to build upon a foundation of knowledge without character, without an inner source of strength. The Christian sends his roots deep into a living hope and faith and is able to withstand the withering heat of the sun.
Read:  Ecc 1:12-17; Matt 13:18-23
 
“But we have the mind of Christ”~1 Chron 2:16
Prayer: Eternal God of all life, give us more completely ‘the mind of Christ’ that we may have good soil for deep roots. Help us to live in calm and courageous assurance before the facts of our confused world because we know that truth and love are in thee. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

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THERE ARE TIMES

estherprayedThere are times we don’t understand. There are times when it hurts more than we thought it would. There are times when the aching hole becomes an terrifying abyss. There are times when tears are not enough.

There are times when we must – – –

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” — 1 Chronicles 16:11 

Tragedies and miracles happen in this world. We bumble around and whine or cheer depending on our perception of the events. Blaming or praising. Cursing or Singing. Weeping or laughing.

But – there are times when we must – – –

“….stand on a rock.”~Ex 33:21 

passover_custom-55cfde5853950100beb5e8b591604363d3161087-s900-c85Passover starts tonight. It was a time of tragedy and miracles.It was a time of fear. A time of excitement. A time living the reality of bondage. A time with hints of freedom. A time of fearful doubts. A time of scary decisions. A time when most chose to stay within the constrictions of Egypt and not follow the strange elder calling for them to follow him into the freedom of the dessert.

There are times to curl into the cleft of the rock – – –

“When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by” Ex 33:22.

Jewish tradition says that hindsight is the only way we can see why things happen as they do, because we can only see the back of God. Seeing Him face-to-face would be greater than anything we could handle. Knowing the reasons and the whys of all the things of which must come together to bring us back to Him would overwhelm us – paralyze us. Infinite ramifications. Choices. Options. Circling time. Generation-to-generation of entwining love. Sinful mortality being pursued by pure Grace.

“Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Ex 33:23 

Those who stayed behind in Egypt probably never knew what happened to the others who had followed Moshe into the desert. Non-existent technology. Communications limited. There are times that I have wondered if – when they pulled their head out of the clef of the rock – did they see God’s back or did they just go doing the same old things they had always done as if nothing had ever occurred?

There are times when faith leads us to decisions. There are times when faith leads us to miracles. There are times when Grace blesses our wisdom, and we see His indistinct back  fading into the distance. There are times when we leave everything behind even the yeast of our lives to follow the One who leads us into a desert. A desert of freedom.  A desert filled with enough manna and water that we will never be hungry or thirsty again.

There are times when we fall on our knees and humbly whisper: Baruch Hashem, Adonai.

GOSPEL CHOIR

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours…”

Tonight was the first time in three and a half years that I have sung with other people. It was joyous. It was beyond my expectations. It was a God-wink gospel moment.

Remember that old Nat King Cole song? “Smile when your heart is aching, Smile even though its breaking…” My life has sort of been like that for many reasons. When that little tick decided to share its bacteria with me, it changed parts of my body in many different ways. Energy levels, achy joints, weak immune system and…….no singing voice.

I whined about most of it, but I never mentioned the loss of my voice. It hurt too much to contemplate. It was my identity in so many ways, that I struggled with how I viewed myself in this new voiceless capacity. Funny, how one little aspect of our ego plays such a huge role in the perception of self.

“Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all…”

When I was a child, I always planned on being a dancer. I danced every where and loved how music could move your body in ways that it normally didn’t go. Then my knee blew out and never recovered its strength. Every time I tried to dance seriously, it would swell up and give out. After lots of prayer and tears, I decided G-d had a better plan, and I would find it. Losing my voice brought back many of those internal dialogues.

Long story short. I decided – once again – that G-d had a plan and started to move forward. As always, He did. The voice is not fully back as it was. It is different. My low register is LOW. Tonight, I was definitely singing tenor comfortably. There is a mid-range weakness and the high voice is not anywhere near the range I used to hit. But the voice is back. Best yet – I’ve recieved a new gift. I hear harmonizing notes in my head now and tonight – it was perfect. For you see – tonight I got to sing with my first gospel choir.

“Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things…”

I am not great at singing gospel. I may never be great at singing gospel, but I sure do love it. Bessie Smith, Paul Robeson. Mahalia Jackson. Della Reese. When you grow up with parents who listened to early blues and jazz, I think you get it by osmosis. College enlarged the desire as I got to attend churches and actually watch the Holy Spirit move through the gospel choir and into the audience.

The great thing is that – here in the South – I get to join a gospel choir. It is totally new. Not using sheet music. Not being told exactly what to sing. Listening to those around you and feeling the Holy Spirit just move everyone to sing a new note. I once attended a 7th Day Adventist Church in Columbus, OH. The preacher and choir were amazing. The preacher sang almost half of his sermon while the rafters shook with the choirs’ responses. But the main thing I remember from that sermon is that he said, Luciel (the evil one) could sing in 4-part harmony by himself before the fall and that was a main part of his pride that tripped him into falling. In the 40+ years since then, I’ve pondered that point often and tried not to let it trip me.

Gospel is all about praise. Gospel is all about being led by the Spirit of G-d. Gospel is totally out of my comfort zone, but then again, I guess that is the journey I am on this year. Camping out in a house. Learning to sing gospel with people who can lead me in prayer and worship in ways I’ve never experienced for myself. I’m hoping that I learn enough to join a gospel choir in heaven every now and then when I get there. And I’m for sure glad that I can lift up my voice unto the hills from whence cometh my help.

“In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.” 1 Chon 29:11-12

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Writer’s Block

writingWriter’s blocks are debilitating, demoralizing and just down-right depressing. Words get written, erased, re-written and erased again.  Sometimes the words don’t come at all, and the computer screen or paper remains blindingly white.  So after a week of Bronchitis – another week of “catch-up” (on all those things I ignored while I was curled in a ball coughing) and finally, a week of trying to get back on a  “normal” schedule, I decided the best thing to write about was the hidden gifts in all of this.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.”  Prov 3:13 

Writing has been my outlet since I was little.  When I was little and upset with my mom and dad, I would write letters and stick them where I knew they would find them (a bathroom magazine/book rack was a favorite spot).  Being the intelligent, loving parents they were, they never openly acknowledged the venting of their youngest child in a head-on confrontation, but they always found indirect ways to let me know that they had, indeed, found these rambling, often emotional, poorly written outbursts.  All the same, they gave credence to these fledgling expressions.  Sometimes it was in the topics that we discussed around the supper table.  Sometimes it was in the songs that writing nikethey sang to me as we said our prayers at night.  And sometimes, it was just that extra special hug or time spent doing things together that let me know they heard.  Needless to say, writing became one of the primary ways for me to communicate with them when topics were too scary to approach in conversation.  That’s why the past couple of weeks have been hard.  Not writing is almost as bad as a tummy ache…maybe worse.  But not being able to write however reminds me that these dry spells can be a gift in disguise.  While gifts may be wrapped in our physical DNA and propensity of traits (mom and dad were both writers of poetry, song lyrics, speeches and long, long letters), it is Our Father’s blessing that enhances those gifts and weaves them into a tight package that blesses those around us.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”  1 Chron 28:19

This time the gift was one of receiving.  I listened to lots of people talking via blogs, sermons, TED talks, books- even TV shows as I coughed my way back to health (thanks to the blessings science and the discovery of antibiotics). But mostly –  I spent a lot of time in quiet reflection.  It came at the perfect time (which is exactly the way God works in this crazy world), and while I didn’t realize it at the time (since I was coughing way too much for any kind of logical thought), I needed to be slowed down and reminded about the Author of our gifts.  Eventually, it also surfaced to the forefront of my spinning brain that Jewish month of Elul would start soon and in fact – starts yesterday (the 27th of August).  In Jewish tradition, this is the month of reflection – a looking back – a taking stock of the good and bad things/choices that have transpired over the past year.  The shofar echoes across the land as a physical reminder leading His people into the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

“Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.”  Deut 16:18  

mouth gateIn Hebrew this last verse is written in the singular tense.  Rabbis believe this is because it is not just written for the nation, but in fact, is written for the individual as well.  It is a reminder that as we reflect upon this past year, we should “appoint a judge” to evaluate our performance and also set “officials” over the gates that need protecting.  Common gates such as our thought processes, mouths, eyes, ears, etc. must be protected so that the next year will be much better than the previous year.  In other words, Our Father is encouraging us to “judge” ourselves and guard the gates to His temple that resides within each and everyone of us.

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Ps 132:3-5  

As usual, David – the shepherd, the warrior, the king, the husband, the father, the sinner, the passionate, creative poet – says it best, and I wonder if he wrote it during the month of Elul because it is so reflective.  What better goal could I set for the coming holy days than this?  I [will] find a place for the LORD,  a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob…  

Writing-writing-31277215-579-612Nothing is more important than this – NOTHING.