Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #2

“Earth to God…Come in, God…” Ibid.

Heard two new songs today. Both left me thinking. Then again – this has been a day of pondering things beyond my understanding. Always a blessed day when I struggle to understand and pull out my Bible over and over to make sure my “lens of focus” is centered on what is important.

Jonah’s story has always caused me to ponder because there are just parts of it, that don’t flow together in my head. First – here is a prophet. Suddenly – he doesn’t want to do what he’s told to do? He’s arguing with God? He runs away from God? Being thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale is probably the easiest thing to understand in the whole story. But then there is that other thing about a vine to shelter him when he already built a shelter and the worm who eats it. What’s up with that?

I’ve probably read it – read commentaries – listened to podcasts – a few times over. One thing I’m sure of – when the timing is right – I will understand it a little more.

“We need Your light, We need Your love, to heal the world, You made and save us now in our darkest hour With Your amazing grace…Earth to God” Ibid.

Jonah is the portion of the Torah that is read during these 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, so it was good to go back to it and try one more time. One truth I did walk away with today, was this. As I repent and say, “I’m sorry” and turn from my wicked ways, it doesn’t change what I did. It is forgiven, but the physical realities of the act remain. There are always consequences to our actions even when we are forgiven. What forgiveness and grace do – – is renew His Spirit within me and energize the potential of who He designed me to be into action.

“Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our iniquity and sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” Ex 34:9b

So tonight as I listened to people pray for our military, police, leaders – – as I watched some of my favorite singers – – then smiled as familiar names and faces that were from my childhood came on stage – – I am thankful for being born for such a time as this.

Repentance isn’t fun. Turning from my wicked ways isn’t easy. However – watching The Return 2020 helps me realize that if we unite as a people and seek His face – ANYTHING is possible. After all – – – we have His covenant to sustain us, and He never changes.

“Earth to God…Come in, God,” lyrics by John Rich

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:16-18

“Repentance” by Yoram Raanan

VISION 2020: Renewing Covenants

I realized today as I wiped down the bike I had been riding in my gym, that I have not been spending time in my war room. When had that happened? When was the last time I’d read the Bible verses that the Father had given me since this chaotic year began? When was the last time, I touched the names written on my prayer list in that space? When had I forgotten the covenant?

It brought me up short. I finished wiping down the all the areas I had touched on the bike. Said, “Have a blessed day” to the other two seniors working out in that big room, but my mind was reeling with the soft nudge of a whisper. A whisper that spoke louder than the up-beat music that played in this portion of the gym set aside for those who wish to work out with other women.

I dropped the rag in the basket and headed to the pool area. No wonder I’ve been out of sorts. Letting my emotions rule instead of depending upon the One always knows me better than I know myself. I’m an idiot at times. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt – – – especially in the middle of a spiritual war – – – that I need to seek His presence before I do anything else.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 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. 10:3-5

The physical war on this 70th journey around the sun is easier to fight. I can see it, and as I age – I certainly can feel it in almost everything I do. It has been two months back at the gym and in the pool, but I know I’m still not back to where I was prior to this whole sheltering-in-home thingy. Riding the reclining bike for 20 minutes – 3.5 miles usually at a decent pace. Heart rate finally returning to its previous levels. Water play for the arthritic joints. Energy level on the upward trend.
Better.
Getting there –
but it really made me think about where I was spiritually and what ground I’ve lost as I drifted away from my war room. The evil one is way too subtle at times.
One day here.
One day there.
Pretty soon, a week, a month, a year drift by. I know this because it has happened all my life.

If I lost so much in just 2 and a half months physically, how much more have I lost spiritually?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in prayer, studied my devotions, read the WORD – – – but – – – I haven’t I haven’t spent time kneeling in my Father’s presence, listening, praising, thanking, covenanting as I should – especially during this strife-filled time. This time when havoc reigns in our world from plagues, dissonance and violence as the evil one struggles to keep a grip on this land.

When I came home, I sat down and began watching my church and the other ones I watch on-line, but the uneasiness remained. The nudge was becoming more than a gentle reminder. As I used my inversion board, clarity started to seep through. One of the quotes I have hanging in that small closet is: “Trusting GOD will not change WHAT you see, but will definitely change HOW you see.”

Inversion.

Sometimes I have to up-end things to make a room look better. I have to throw everything in the sink to clean the counters. I have to throw all the clothes in a pile to organize the closet. I have to throw the apple out of my hand before I take any more bites. Bad choices come way too easy for me. Harder it is to throw away the temptations that are easy on the eye and not as much work.

Perhaps, it is what our country is doing right now.
Inside out.
Upside down.
Topsy-turvey.
Sideways sliding.
Perhaps it is these types of shakings which will make the choices clearer for us.

I haven’t liked the past few months. Perhaps listening to the evil one’s subtle suggestion about my war room has been my own rebellious response. Hiding from the Father as my anger as Adam and Eve hid in the garden after letting my hand reach out for that apple dangled by the evil one who wants to keep me from His presence – keep me from the peace that passeth all understanding.

Separation.
Broken Covenant.

Covenants are holy promises between those who love each other. For the past year, I have missed my physical covenant made upon this plane, but I realized today that that it is the spiritual covenant with My Father that I can not live without. I went back to my war room today. I will go back to it again tonight. I will seek His presence once again. To touch the manna that hangs on the door and walls – to drink from the everlasting waters that sparkle as they wait to bring renewal to me.

Perhaps – renewing of the covenants will come at all levels as it came to me today. I found this verse today and will hang it tonight on the war room wall. It is another one of His promises. It is true for He is faithful in His covenants unlike I am. I am working on being just as faithful – just not there yet – but every day, I am getting better and better by His grace and love.

“I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”—       Isaiah 1:26  inspiration-akiane-kramarik [artwork by Akiane Kramarik/google images]

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

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 

 [personal/google]      

PRICELESS PRAYERS

While the Hubby and I are monitoring Hurricane Irma’s destruction, approach and speed, we are – albeit slowly – preparing for – perhaps – our first major hurricane experience in NC. After all – we remember our ancient lessons and try not to be like the grasshopper who fiddles around until it is too late.

Generator wiring and the man to hook it up – check. Filling water bottles – check. Batteries – check. Extra gas – getting there. Batten down the hatches – pretty much. Peace that passeth all understanding – PRICELESS!

We are lucky. We live in-land, unlike some of my friends who live right on the coast. Better yet – we live on a hill. We should be fine. So tonight, when I hop into bed after prayers have been said, I think I will say a few more prayers for those who are living out West and dealing with fire. I think the wildfires, the first responders fighting them, the people, wildlife, plant-life effected by them have been lost in the squirrely-ness of the multiple hurricanes impacting the East coast.

It is the month of Ehul. It is the month of repentance. It is the month that ends the year of Jubilee. It is the month to hear Our Father shouting, “Here I AM! Here I AM!” [Is 65:1]. And if we are humble enough – faithful enough – brave enough, it is the month to answer, Ani Lo! Ani Lo!” [SOS 2:16]

Praying for all the states out West and for those I know and love who are watching and preparing for them as I am watching and preparing for hurricanes.

“Because of this, it is not tiresome to us, for even if our external person is being destroyed, on the other hand, that which is from within is renewed day by day. For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities. For we do not rejoice * in those things that are seen, but in these things that are unseen. For things seen are time related, but those things that are unseen are eternal.”~2 Cor 4:16-18

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/09/wildfires-rage-across-the-american-west/538977/

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

Back in the ol’ days when families were large and relatives rarely moved further than 30 miles away, cousins were part of the fabric of our lives.  They were at our home or we were at theirs. We played.  We went to church together. We played again. Their parents babysat us for various reasons. We played and played and played. We went to family reunions.  Where – you guessed it, we played some more. We were family. 

Now Mom was not the best cook in the world, but her sisters definitely made up for it. Aunt Polly could make real spaghetti that didn’t come out of a box.  Aunt Nancy made fried chicken to die for while Mom only made the cereal-coated, baked kind.  And – dessert at either house was mouthwatering.  However – to be fair – Mom could make some really good desserts – – -when she didn’t get busy doing something else and burn whatever was in the oven. (Unlike most of my cousins and friends, I had no idea that chocolate chip cookies weren’t mean to be hard and burned on the bottom until I went to college.)

Gonna take a sentimental journey.
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a sentimental journey,
To renew old memories.

This has been a week full of sentimental journeys.  Sentimental journeys that included my cousins. I LOVED going to my cousins’ homes – whether for a week of “camp” (while Mom and Dad had their own “vacation”) or just for a day of family “get-together”.  Didn’t matter if we only went across town or drove for an hour.  It was a “cousin” adventure.

This week has been one of those weeks when the bittersweet memories have drifted across my brain on a fairly regular basis since I’ve been recovering from an inner ear infection.  Most times, I don’t have a great re-call of my childhood.  Not sure why, but when something triggers a memory, I am blessed with some tears and a smile.  This week one of my cousins decided to join the rest of the McCaskey clan in heaven so the trigger was pulled back.

Got my bag, got my reservation.
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
Long to hear that “All aboard”

Mike was one of those baby cousins that I tended to ignore on most of our visits. One – he was a boy. Two – when he was born, I was entering my teen years.  Except for getting paid for babysitting, I didn’t care much for babies. They are cute, but they don’t do much.  I remember Aunt Nancy’s house because there were lots of cousins, there were babies, and there were bunk beds. Bunk beds, to my way of thinking, were the absolute wonder of the world. There was lots of space to run outside. There were new games of pretend to enact.   And – they got 2 more TV stations then we did – or maybe they just got a different station then we did.  After all – homes that got 3 stations all the time were hard to find.

Pretend games of being a flying horse who could change into a human was my favorite.  But one time, when the McCaskey sisters had a mini reunion at Aunt Nancy’s house and all the cousins were there, the 3 girl cousins decided to take on the way too many boy cousins.  I remember we blockaded the bedroom door and were jumping from bunk bed to bunk bed. I was a midnight black panther who, of course, could change into a person.  Eventually, I was set loose from the confines of the bedroom and led the chase of all who dared torment us.

How it ended – I have no idea.  I just remember the chase, the laughter, the meals, and the love of family surrounding all of us as we fought, played, fell on each other and prayed together at night where I got to sleep in one of those dreamy bunk beds.  Sentimental journeys always bring a treasure forward in this crazy brain of mine. Bittersweet or not – I love walking backwards for a short time and just letting the memories push me towards home. 

Never thought my heart could be so ‘yearny’.
Why did I decide to roam?
Gotta take that sentimental journey,
Sentimental journey home.

Blessed is God The Father of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, The Father of mercy and The God of all comfort, He who comforts us in all our afflictions that we also can comfort those who are in all our afflictions, with that comfort by which we are comforted from God.”~2 Cor 1:3-4 

MARCH MADNESS

Strange to think that when we wake up tomorrow it will – officially – be Spring. We can walk out the door, and it will be sunny, warm and perfect. Right?

March Madness is never like that.

“March is the month God created to show people who don’t drink what a hangover is like.”~Garrison Keillor.

I laughed today when I read this. “In like a lion – out like a lamb” popped in my mind right afterwards. I laughed again. Spring and March Madness seems to go hand-in-hand with twisty, twirly weather, and this March seems to be no different. February spoiled us this year with its extended warmth and lack of snow. March is just doing what it always does.

Rock n’ Roll. True Madness.

Yesterday, we had a warm beautiful day when out of nowhere, a wind whistled, rain belted the quirky house while the sun continued to shine. Dogs and I stood at the back door, sun in our eyes, wind blowing small limbs from the trees across our back deck, and then we looked at each other. That swirly wind had just blown the kitchen window screen out of its resting place, across the sink and onto the floor. 10 minutes later there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The dogs barked, and I laughed again.

Jewish wisdom says that manifestations within our world represent much more than just the things we can feel, smell, see, and touch. They are the physical representation of the essence of our linear time references…past, present and future.

Solid – fixed in place – not changing. In rabbinical thought, it is like our past. The past is fixed in place. It doesn’t change no matter how much we would like it to do so. Best yet, it is understandable when we look at it because all our questions are answered.

Liguid – malleable – displaceable – just like the present time frame. One decision can change the shape, color, direction, flow. All we have to do is put our finger in – take a step – make a choice. The questions pull at us – is it changing for the worst – changing for the best – why is it changing – how is it changing – – – will I like it?

Gas – nebulous – foggy – just as the future sits in our thoughts. It’s kinda there. We can almost see its shape but not quite. Our questions are now legion. Uncertainties shift each time we look at it. Just trying to grasp it can be frustrating and illusive.

“For it is by faith that we walk and not by sight.”~2 Cor 5:7

I am not a good student of languages, but I do enjoy trying to figure out Hebrew just for this reason: it seems to link all the important things of our lives through each separate letter of the language – grouping them into words and hidden hints of more beyond what is seen. The word snow in Hebrew, שֶׁלֶג, shows that just as snow goes through all the stages – gaseous vapor to solid to liquid – so too do humans go through all the stages of – past to present to future. Those who have come before affect us just as we affect those around us and eventually affect those who come after us.

My fallible mind looks at that one word and wonder how could an ordinary man somewhere – way, way, way back when – come up with that grouping of letters that understood the scientific process that snow goes through and link it into one entity?

March Madness is more than basketball. It is the madness of trying to decide if we should dress in layers, carry an umbrella or pull out the heavy coat again. Can I leave my windows open all day or should I turn on the gas logs? The Hubby wonders if he should ride the motorcycle or lock the four wheel tires in on the truck. That is why I just havta love Spring. It is His physical reminder that we need to not only walk by faith but live by faith.

Trust the plan.

Trust the Creator of the plan.

Trust that March leads to April when the broken seed burst forth with new life.

Trust the Son that was broken and burst forth with new life.

Trust that there is a reason to love the craziness of March Madness. [google images]

ABSOLUTELY

945925_589268661094942_510126471_nI absolutely – positively love going to our church. I totally – completely love singing old hymns or praise songs in a come-unity that is so large that no one can hear me sing – just me giving back (one of the gifts He gave me) to My Father. I happily – amazingly love jumping from book to book – verse to verse- in Our Father’s guide book – trying to keep up with a pastor who seems to store the whole book in his bald head and talks faster than any ol’ country boy I’ve ever heard.

“And he did not doubt The Promise of God as if his faith were lacking, but he was strengthened in faith and he gave praise to God.” Rm 4:20

Blue. Red. Black. Purple. Green. My relatively new Bible has gotten pretty marked up in the past few years. After the house fire took away my old Bibles and my mom’s Bible, I had to get a few new ones. (Luckily, my father’s Masonic Bible was spared) But – there is always that one special translation that becomes a favorite. One that sleeps close to me when the hubby is gone (mostly because I love reading in bed until my eyes can no longer stay open, and I wake up hours later to turn out the light). One that seems to speak in God’s voice more than the others do. Its tissuepaper pages are torn – creased – marked. Dates crowd the margins around verses that speak loudly to me while underlined phrases – boxed in words – and silly doodles weave in and out of the small spaces that remain. More notes on notebook paper are pasted into my journal —- just incase I need to look something up later.

“Therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God, that it is so according to what was spoken to me.” Acts 27:25

Every story – every parable – points us to having faith. A faith so strong that we begin to understand that no matter what happens, God keeps His promises. A faith that allows us to see beyond all logic and reason to see the hope of His promises. It may happen immediately – it may happen decades later, but God keeps His promises, or if you think in Hebrew or Jewish tradition – he keeps His b’rits. The fantastically – wonderfully cool thing is – – – – God works to build faith in our lives through every situation that we experience. Every terrific- awful – funny – sad – hateful – beloved situation that develops in our lives.

“For it is by faith that we walk and not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7

At the end of this night, my heart absolutely identifies with Mary, Martha’s sister. I can easily visualize myself sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to Him teach, yearning to absorb every syllable of His stories into my finite mind until finally – safely, I fall asleep, wrapped in the comforter of His voice. That is the peace of faith – a faith in God the Father – God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – a faith beyond all understanding. A peace byond all logical thought. A peace that is just  absolutely “knowing”.(Lk 10:38-42)

[images:The Lamb’s Chapel]

 

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