Yea – I survived another year of the stepladder decorating. As you age, sometimes the things you did so easily in years past, takes a little more fore thought. “If I step this way, I don’t have to bend my knee tight, and I can hold on to that – just in case – the ol’ knees starts to buckle…” Those internal dialogues are really a God gift – to those of us who don’t want to say, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Tag Archives: Abba
“The manger dares us to believe the best is yet to be. And it could all begin today.”~Max Lucado (p141)
“Double dare you.”
“Dare to believe…”
“Dare to dream.”
“Dare to believe…”
“Dare not wait.”
“Dare to believe…”
If you were Mary would you “dare to believe” that the same loving Abba who sent an angel to speak to you; who asked you to endure gossip, hatred, banishment, even the threat of stoning, would ask of you to give birth in a smelly stable?
“Dare to believe..”
If you were Joseph, would you “dare to believe” that the same Jehovah-Jireh who sent an angel in a dream to call this child His own, would provide such a place for His son to be born?
“Dare to believe…”
If you were the shepherds would you “dare to believe” that a holy child of God was lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and parents who looked like you?
“Dare to believe…”
If you were wise men would you “dare to believe” that this is child lying in the manger was truly worthy of your fine gifts?
It is as if God went out of His way to “dare them to believe”. He didn’t want them to believe this was His son based on their physical senses or the reality of their everyday lives. Instead – He gave them signs in the heavens and dared them to have faith when they got there.
“Dare to believe…”
Elohim is still doing that. He is giving us signs in the WORD, the heavens and through His prophets, but He also continues to ask us to have faith when we get there if it doesn’t look like we think it should. Our physical senses may be offended – the world view of our reality may shout at us that we are idiots – but it is through our faith dare that we will see beyond the manger and see the Son of the Most High cooing a blessing.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”~Lk 2:7
It is my HOPE in this first week of Advent that we all “Dare to Believe”.
Usually – by this time of the day, an idea has been circling around in my brain for hours. A hint. Additional input filtered through the synapses. A few tweaks here and there and the outline has taken shape enough that I feel like I know what I’m supposed to write about for the day.
Not so today.
There’s simply been too many ideas circulating in my brain. Everytime I think I’ve found a focus, something else spears its way into my sphere, and I’m off track again.
Thanksgiving Day………Family Foibles………Christmas………Simeon….
So many choices and no inner nudges that are highlighting one thing and yet – this huge knocking in my head that I am missing something. Something huge. Something obvious. Something that is right in front of my face, and I’m missing it.
Hmmm…..a few days ago, I wrote “Signs Instruct Direction”, so I think I need to go look at things that I wrote down because they caught my attention throughout the day.
“Wise is the saint like Simeon.”~Max Lucado (p102)
If I had the faith of Simeon, I wouldn’t be biting my nails and wondering what the next paragraph is going to look like. Simeon knew. He was waiting. He had complete confidence in one fact – he would see the Messiah in his lifetime. God had promised. God fulfills all His promises.
What is it like to have such a faith? To wake up everyday and think to himrself: אולי היום ……. perhaps today …. Did he have the words posted in his notes on scripture? Did he talk about it with other rabbis as they debated the scriptures and Jewish wisdom? Or – did his gut just ache, so deep inside him that he knew beyond human knowledge that “perhaps today”…. “perhaps today”…he would see the One he longed to see the most?
The advent of the Messiah into the world. God’s plan of salvation.
I remember lying under a huge maple tree in my front yard long, long ago. The light filtered through the leaves, and there was a promise whispered in the wind. A promise I didn’t understand but absorbed like breath itself. Unlike Simeon, however, my faith faltered and tumbled into dark recesses of my crazy choices for long periods of time. But occasionally – when my spiritual ears would be tickled to listen – I would remember, breathe deeply and think: perhaps today. Then I would stand outside, hold my breath until I felt His breath, and breathe deeply in that God promise to me and remember – God keeps all promises.
My faith is stronger in these latter days. However, because the faith is stronger, the waiting is harder – I am impatient. Have always been impatient. In fact, it is one of those things, God has challenged me to work on – PATIENCE. Errrrrrr……I have to admit, the more challenges He gives me, the more I’m looking forward to a point when time is not linear.
So today (in linear time lingo), I took a lesson from Max Lucado. i wrote the words: “Perhaps Today” in large letters. I added some artistic flairs here and there so it will daily draw my eye in my war room. Everyday I want to be reminded of Simeon’s faith in his Abba’s promise. He knew that Jehovah-Jireh would provide the fulfillment of the promise at the perfect time. And that day as he held the Messiah in his arms, he spoke to the blessing:
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”~Lk 2:29-32
As this day of giving thanks pushes to its own fulfillment, I think I will take one more last trip outside with the dogs. I will hold my breath, open my ears and breathe deeply. When I feel His holy breath deep within me and I am waiting with expectation, I will say…perhaps today……….perhaps today………….perhaps today………. [google images]
August 8th seems like a way long time ago. Seasons changed. The hubby had a birthday. The daughters had wedding anniversaries. A President was chosen. A super-duper moon rose and set. A 100 Day prayer journey is complete.
Running errands, unloading 4 – 50 lb bags of garden manure, and four good sized shrubs with a mashed toe – be it broken or stoved – was probably not some of the brightest things I’ve ever chosen to do – – Not the stupidest – but definitely ranks right up there with painful. A couple Aleve later, a little elevation, and I can smile again.
“Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!”~ Ps 100:1-3
It is time like these when I can hear Abba’s voice the clearest since He is laughing and trying not to say ‘He told me so’. He gives us knowledge and wisdom, but it doesn’t mean that we use it very often. At least – – – I don’t use it very often. sigh.
I am somewhat celebrating though. Last weekend when we started this new project, we broke the water line coming into the house. Which indirectly led us to finding a broken water pressure tank – so water has been on and off for the past couple of days.
When more than one thing breaks, this little worm starts squirming around in my brain that something else is about to break. You see, Mom Kaufman used to say that things always happened in threes (I’m pretty sure my mom used to say this as well, but for some reason it is always Helen’s voice that I hear in my head). Anyway – long story short – I figured out today – when I was limping around various places – that the third thing was already broken.
You betcha – my toe.
So – – – Got my wisdom back. Stayin’ off my foot (at least until I get the Grands tomorrow). And – – –“This is my story. This is my song. Praisin’ my Saviour all the day long”.
1942 Daily Ration: ” ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.’~Ps 1:1-2
“Read: Psalms 1 and 8.
” ‘His delight is in the law of the Lord.’ Nature’s laws are God’s laws. Their fragments, discovered and recorded by early writers, amply reveal their fundamental nature. The psalmist pronounced him blessed whose mediation was focused here.
“Men of different generations may differently interpret the manifestations of God in nature, the unchanging book of divine relation, but the book remains and its laws are written in every star and blade of grass. The Eternal does not change, though manifest in multitudinous ways.
“The query ‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which tho hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” rises from meditation upon the law of the Lord. Humility is born of knowledge; and knowledge is born of meditative experience.
“Prayer: ‘O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!’ Grant unto us the joy of thy presence. Help us to read thy law aright today. In Christ’s name, Amen.”
This has been one BEEEEE-UUUUU-TI-FULL day. Full of absolutely nothing. Well – we did hang some drapes, cook some food, play with the puppies, and open all the windows for the wonderful fall weather to drift through. Oh yeah – I did pick up stuff for my little robot maid to run around on our floor. But other than that – totally lazy, stay inside, veg-type of day.
It’s funny that even on lazy days the mind continues to turn things over…especially in a terrible election year. It is like a constant informal prayer day when I’m lazy. I have these running conversations in my head with Abba that is – more than likely – totally inappropriate – – – especially when there is news about the election.
Comments like – ‘Seriously?’ ‘Can’t you do a miracle or two?’ ‘Why?’
And then -that little nugget verse He placed in front of me yesterday pops back up, and I stand convicted. I remember the phrase I wrote about yesterday, “Yahweh said, I am the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”~Ex 3:6
Faith, sacrifice, struggle.
Zechariah was a Hebrew prophet. His name in Hebrew is “The LORD Remembers”. Today’s Ration reminds us the leader that the LORD has envisioned is so much different than the vision we have for ourselves – even those back in 1942. The author of today’s Ration seems to be thinking pretty much the way we are thinking in 2016. Read his first paragraph under the Bible verse, but as we head into the last month of this election year, remember God’s vision for our leader:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.”~Zech 9:9-10
1942 Daily Ration: ” ‘He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass…and he shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.’~Zech 9:9,10
“Read: Zechariah 9:9-10
“Powers that be in politics make it difficult for rulers to govern righteously. Individuals and groups clamor loudly for favors and selfish advantage. Even the best nations are concerned more for their own than for another’s good.
“Zechariah envisioned the coming of a different sort of king than men had yet known. He would be just, not given to the practice of favoritism: he would have salvation for the people, not defeat and slavery; he would be lowly, within reach of the humblest; he would bring peace to the nations, not discord and strife; and his reign would be universal, not for one nation or race or class.
“Is this the King we delight to serve? Are we willing to be no more highly favored than others, including people of so-called inferior races and of totalitarian state? We want salvation, of course, so lowly that he took the form of a servant?…If he must depend for the extension of his Kingdom on such subjects as we are, will he ever have dominion from sea to sea?…
Prayer: Eternal God, teach us the truth that righteousness is better than wickedness, and that love is stronger than hate. Deliver us from the temptation to discriminate unfairly between people because of class or color or race or privilege. Endue us with wisdom and goodness that we may serve the cause of justice and peace. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.”
Silver was the first dog in my life that I remember. Even though I didn’t name her, her name suited her. She was an all-white, medium sized Alaskan malamute type of mutt. And…she was my best friend. When your only brother is nine years older than you, you don’t have close familial playmates to occupy your time. Luckily, I grew up in the 50’s. Extended families tended to live close to each other. Cousins were abundant, and even a an almost 4 year old could walk by herself around the neighborhood to find a playmate. However, there were days when Silver was the only one around. In hindsight, I was lucky to have her. After all, she taught me life lessons that no one would ever teach me half as well.
“This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” Zech 13:9
Silver had an incontinence problem, so she couldn’t stay in the house all the time. Mom always said it was because they neutered her too early in life, still – if the night was really cold, she slept in the kitchen where clean-up was not too much of a hassle. In the 50’s, it was not considered cruel to keep a dog chained to a lead wire in the backyard. Silver had a long wire that ran from her doghouse to the end of the yard. There was plenty of shade where the dog house was and lots of sun further away if she wanted to walk to it. To me, that walkway was huge, but I’m sure it wasn’t as big as I remember it. There was hay in the winter, baby bathtubs full of water in the summer, and wonderful nights when we were allowed to snuggle on the old back porch couch when it was too hot to sleep inside…a mini-campout made perfect with parents singing and a guitar or banjo playing back-up.
While there are many things I learned from Silver, there are one primary lesson that comes to mind immediately whenever I see a picture of her. The first part of this lesson occurred on a hot April day. I was just a couple months away from my 4th year of life. I decided that I wanted to play “store” with Silver. Going to the store was an event in those days. Stores were not always open. You got dressed up go to the store. Most of the time, the only stores you went to were in your small town, and of course, there were no stores (not even gas stations) open on Sundays or holidays………at all…………….ever. In my mind, going to the store was special. So Silver and I walked up and down her path – many, many times. At some point, my mommy yelled at me from the kitchen to let Silver rest. She said it was too hot to be pestering the dog. I didn’t listen, and the rest was a lesson seared into my mind. I leaned close to grab Silver’s collar, and she nipped at me her answer. Unfortunately, she nipped my bottom lip and split it up the middle.
In our PC society of today, Silver would be logged as a vicious dog. Tested for rabies. Impounded by the county. Locked away from the little girl and family she loved. But, lucky for me and Silver, common sense still held sway over most things. Little girl drove dog nuts on a hot day and got what she deserved. Mommy yelled, “I told you so,” as she picked me up and hauled both of our tails to the hospital for stitches. One wise doctor who figured out how to save a lip with only a tiny bump and a scare as a reminder, and one huge lecture from my parents a few days later led me to be assigned my first chore: make sure that Silver had water every day. After all, I needed to learn that pets were not just toys. We needed to be respectful and care for them like we would like others to care for us.
Sadly, like most of the lessons in my life, I didn’t learn this lesson very well the first time round. A few years later, in a new house, Silver was still my responsibility. But I forgot. I got side-tracked. It was another hot day. She went without water all day, and when Daddy came home from his factory job, he found a very hot dog by the garage, panting and very weak. The car horn beeped three times. I came running from my “new” best friend’s house; sure it was time for supper. Instead, I got my butt warmed from the house to the garage where I got the pan for water, and then got swatted a few more times (for good measure – I’m sure) on the way back to the water spigot. It is the last official spanking I remember getting in this life. I also remember lying on the ground with Silver for a long time. Tears were falling, but more over her being so hot and looking awful than from the spanking I had just received. Most of all, I remember the talk my Daddy gave me after I finally left Silver’s side.
Sometimes lessons are pretty easy to absorb into our reality. Other times – lessons have to be repeated until they are learned. If we are lucky, we have parents who are patient and willing to help us stand back up and face our failings. As we get older, we think we are past those lessons from our parents. We become adults. We move away. We start families of our own. We struggle to become parents. Our parents age and pass away. But in reality…silently…consistently…, our other parent is still offering lessons. Minute by minute. Day by day. Year by year. Repeating them when we need them. Helping us to stand when we fall. We just don’t like to acknowledge it very often. Rabbe Yeshua called Him “Abba”. I call Him “Father” because Christ did.
I like to think that Jehovah-Shammah let us name the animals so that we could not only identify them by name, but so that we would feel for them a tiny bit of what He felt for us when He named us: “man” …… “woman”. Naming something brings the power of love more deeply into our selves and shapes our relationship with them. I think this lesson really was driven into me when I held my first new born child and felt the responsibility of “naming” them. What a gift. What a responsibility. What a chance to feel just a touch of what Our Father feels when He stands beside our “dog house” and waits to take us to the store.
“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.” Gen 2:19-20
A couple of thoughts have roamed through my mind today (within the chaos that usually scuttles about in there). Most of it centering around children. I often think that watching children is a reflection of watching Our Father in action. They love so easily. They forgive even faster. They create. They teach.
The granddaughter was playing with her habitats today. You see – she builds habitats for the creatures she wants to have (someday)…a small horse, a baby goat, a turtle (today’s focus) and a bat (not sure how she will do that one). Her mommy and daddy are pretty wonderful about helping her research whatever animal has caught her attention. Last weekend, it was a sea mollusk (and a lot of tears when we had to release him back into the ocean); this week a turtle. Then she starts to build them a habitat. She knows that her animals must have a place of their own to live, food to eat, and someone who will love them. Sound familiar?
Abba knew, that before He created humans, they would need a place of their own, Ever notice that the creation story doesn’t start with man? However, I don’t think that man was an afterthought…I may be a little biased here. I think God just is a much better planer then most of us…He was building a habitat for His sons and daughters. A vast array of universes. An orbiting world with its own sun and moon. A world subdividing into large areas of land.and crystal waters. A Garden full of plants and trees yielding fruit of every kind. Tiny creatures, big creatures, river creatures, flying creatures. Infinite in design, color, voice, skeletons…on and on and on. Until finally, it was time for something that He created in His own image…man…woman.
A child building a habitat.
Secondly, an older former student worried on-line today about losing contact with Our Father. Amid the business of day-to-day life, the angst of teenage years, the push to always succeed, the pressure to deny or – at least – ignore, media constantly humming in the ears. Is it any wonder he worries? I do – every minute of every day. I read a devotional today about how the Jewish people came to be the people of God. First, there was Abraham. His faith led him through fire unharmed. Second, the people he taught stepped out in their faith to walk through water. Third, they traveled through a desert for 40 years learning to depend upon their Father God for food, shelter, and protection. A single person who made a choice; became the father of a nation as he taught others about God; leading generations to a belief so strong that they stepped into a river where their faith became a wind strong enough to dry the ground in front of them; and finally,…a looooonnnnnnggggg stroll through a desert that must have seemed unending and yet – so freeing – no limitations – no expectations – just trusting their Father to lead them, support them and love them.
Sound familiar? Don’t we all go through fiery times? Times when we see water totally over our heads? Dry, unending landscapes of nothingness, lack of visible supports, an empty feeling?
David wrote this Psalm during one of His runs from Saul in the forest of Hereth (Sam 22:5) Jewish tradition teach that Hereth was not really a “forest” but a desert. Hereth means barrenness, harsh place. In Hebrew, it has the same letters as Heruth. Heruth means freedom. Strange combination of meanings – or is it? Jewish sages teach that when words share the same letters, it is because God wants us to notice the tie between the two words. Whether it is a whole nation or just one person, when we walk through that barren spot – that dark forest – we are freed of our day-to-day limitations, worries, etc. We are free to experience fully relying on the love of Our Father instead.
I try to rely on Our Father every day. I don’t always have the faith I should. I don’t always trust Him totally like I should. Yet – when I watch the Grands at play or listen to a former students trying to walk a life of faith, it reminds me that we are building our own habitat. We have (or are) walking through fire. Testing our faith by stepping into the water. And hopefully, walking through Hereth where we are free to experience the true love and sustenance of a Father who loves us enough to build a habitat just for us.
I’m just glad He lets us have a little time in the garden between all that fire, water and desert. I need my rest time, Father, and You always seem to know just when I need a little garden time. =P