Tag Archives: Christ

2020 VISION: Birth Pang Prayers

The heart is heavy tonight. As a former teacher, Almost every day, I have a messages waiting for me when I log on to social media. I have read the fears and questions of those who lost their jobs in the past few months; fears and questions of parents struggling to teach their children and work from home, fears and questions of lonely seniors who miss their families and struggle with health issues; fears and questions of youngsters (stretched over a few decades) trying to juggle jobs, relationships divorce, confusion; fears and questions of first responders/ military who are struggling with what may lie ahead for them; fears and questions of teachers wondering what the classroom will even look like in August. The messages are from black, white, and all shades in between of friends who are rocking back on their heels – trying to find their balance as birth pangs ripple across the mid-back of their country.

The spine, despite its outer bony strength, weakens and shudders under the constant strain of inner shock waves electrifying every neuron throughout the rest of land. And yet – the Spirit nudges and fills me with a peaceful joy as tears drip down my nose. The promises echo and reset the heart as I write back to those who write me.

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.” (v.1-3)

I’ve been getting up 3 days a week at 5:30 a.m. since the salt water pool opened at our gym. I’m generally there by 7. Bouncing, stretching and talking to new friends for an hour and a half before I head home. The Choc Lab girls aren’t so impressed, but I give them a couple extra treats so they still love me. This week, I upped it to 5 days a week. Songs echoing through my head as I bounce or soothing me as I relax in the hot tub.

I have found – exercise is one of His blessings when the heart is aching.

It has been rainy for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes cold. Sometimes humid. Overall, not great days to be outside for me or the Lab girls. None of us like it, but we find ways to cope. I spend a lot long time with the Father. I play the piano more than once a day as I work on a new song. I wrote a couple of new things. I read a few chapters in my books. I spent time at my home’s altar.

Around the High Holy Days of 2019, I was moving things around in the kitchen and when I was done, I found I had made a small area with all the things that were part of my Christ journey – a home altar. I have had many altars in many homes. A place where my Bible rested. A place where I sat small tokens of the faith journey. Generally, they have been by my side of the bed. I still have one by my bed. A small light. A clay sculpture I made in 7th grade. Treasure from my Grands.

But in this past year of change, I needed one that I would see often throughout the day. The plastic cross and calico lamb that I got for my first Easter. A barn siding shelf that hung in my MIL’s kitchen made by her son. Pictures that hung in my parent’s and grandparents’ homes. Lights. Prayer concerns, requests and thankfulness. His promises. Treasures my kidlets had given me long ago.

An altar where the Living Water and Manna of my life centers my focus and helps me breathe through the worst of the birth pangs.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (v.4-7)

I am exactly where I am supposed to be even though -sometimes – I often wish I wasn’t. I am constantly checking and double checking myself with the fruits of His Spirit as I write and before I speak. I am trying to open my ears and eyes as I listen or watch others. I am waiting more than I move. I am trying to pray unceasingly to the I AM that lives within me – within all of us.

As my home altar – borne of birth pangs, has become a focal point of change within me and within my prayers for the people Our Father has placed in my life and for this country where I was born, I continue to find the stillness and peace of my Fortress even midst of birth pangs. And I find – that the “desolations” sprouting up around me, and around those I care for, are shaping me – and all of us – to be ready for His Revival. A Revival where He will be exalted among the nations and all the earth.

I just have to wait a little longer, pray a little harder, and share his fruits with all who are in my sphere.

“Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Ps 46:8-11family altar 2020 [personal image]

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: A Mighty Fortress

“Where the eye is focused, there the imagination finds its raw material. The right focus must be won at immense cost and discipline. Train the eye to see the good, and the imagination will follow suit.”~Ravi Zacharias, 1946-2020

A minute. An hour. A day. 7 days. A week. A month. A year. A lifetime. Spans of time that pass with our laughter, our joy, our wrath, our frustrations, our tears, our sadness…our prayers. A twinkling of an eye to the One who listens.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Not sure when I fell in love with this hymn. Perhaps it was as I watched my daddy recover from a heart attack when I was a few years younger. Perhaps it was one of the songs we sang in our small church’s children’s choir. What I do know – – I sang it often with my Mom, Dad and Big Brother standing beside me. I also memorized all the verses to sing during my 6th grade year for a musical audition, “Cowboy on the Moon”. Now why I thought that was the best song to sing for an elementary school production – again – have no idea, but I remember my teacher laughing as she pulled out the hymnal that sat on her book shelf and began to play.

It has come to my lips many times since then – when Mommy gripped my hand on the way to Daddy’s funeral – in the back of that small church where I got married – as tears splashed in my journal when the covenant was broken – this past week as I realized I would not hear my Big Brother’s voice again on this side of the veil.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

In the past few days, many things have happened that have affected me deeply. Deaths of people I love. Deaths of people I don’t know. Friends that I have known forever arguing back and forth on social media with a tinge of nastiness underlining their free speech. Violence erupting around the country I love. Division. Destruction. Fires. Brownness. Whiteness. Purpleness. Fear. Anger. Brokenness. Sadness.

The world has seen this many times – in many forms – a replay of an old script – written by the same author, and I struggle to
focus the eyes before biting the apple once again.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

I know I wrote about this recently, but it bears repeating after this past week. I remember distinctly praying in 1970, that peoples’ eyes would be re-focused on the goodness of Our Father’s grace and mercy – on what we could be – needed to be – instead of the world’s eyes being clouded with the cataracts of all things evil.

Even though I was biting the apple from a different side at that time of my life (and still), I knew from what I had read in history books, I knew what I saw in the streets during those times was some thing that could destroy the world I knew. Would break my parents’ hearts. Would break me.

A birth pang. A Braxton Hicks of things to come.

That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

A Mighty Fortress IS Our GOD…

Powerful words in answer to those with unfocused eyes. Powerful words that are the corrective lens to give us 2020 vision in a darkened world. Powerful words that remind us that birth pangs last for just a little while. Powerful words that usher in a peace that passeth all understanding as He makes all things new. Powerful words that lift us out of the gravity of the world. Powerful words that let us become new astronauts soaring towards home with 2020 vision once again.

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”~Jn 14:19

“But tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.” Richard Baxter, “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care”

“Surrender to Him
Love Him.
Follow Him
Serve Him.
Live for Him.
And take His message wherever you go.” ~Ravi Zacharias a-mighty-fortress-t-c-hoffman [google image]

ONE SONG AFTER ANOTHER

Moved 8 loads of mulch.
Cleaned and moved many things in garage.
Stung by 2 wasps.
Bitten by 1 spider.
Given up counting mosquito bites.
Matted eyes due to allergies.
Sang along with songs playing in my head.
BUT…
Tools moved to shed. Freezer is moved into the house. Kitchen is re-arranged and fairly clean. Whew!! I’m so ready for the Sabbath.
 
“Standing, standing…”
 
At the beginning of summer, I could not have rearranged the garage or moved that freezer by myself. The only thing I couldn’t do was get the stupid door off its hinges, so I called on one of my wonderful neighbors to help. Walla – door off. Cleaned areas I hadn’t seen for three years and decided to change everything else. Room-by-room the house is becoming a new creation.
 
“Standing, standing…”
 
The house is not the only thing being made new. Ryndiyah (10 year old lab girl) is running and keeping up with Koayah (7 year old lab girl). It has been a long time since I’ve seen both of them running and playing like puppies, and yet – everyday they are tearing through the woods in pursuit of an orange ball, jumping on the bed to wake me up in the morning, or throwing themselves on the grass just to squiggle on their backs. Unless I leave, they still are not more than a few feet from me at any time of the day, and are waiting at the door, balls in their mouths when I get home.
 
“Standing on the promises of Christ my King
Through eternal ages let his praises ring…”
 
This summer has had 30+ days of 90 degrees and high humidity. So I’m definitely ready for a “new” weather pattern to bless us with cooler weather. Then I see all the pollinators buzzing around the flowers. Humming birds emptying out the feeders in record time. A rare moment to sit on the patio swing and soak in the quiet blessings of the heat at the end of the day. While close by, Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle traps another bug or frog or lizard as she says, “Meow, meow” and I answer, “Meow, m’ow”. Somehow, the hot summer isn’t so bad, and I relax even more, closing my eyes, swinging back and forth, back and forth.
 
“Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing
Standing on the promises of God.”
 
School kicks into high gear next week. Meetings. Rooms to get ready. Visions to turn into lesson plans. Books to catalogue. Decorations to enhance bare walls. Prayers to circle around the room and the students that will come the next week. August is here. Can Fall be far behind?
 
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”~2 Cor 1:20
 
It is amazing what can be accomplished when “Standing on the promises of Christ the King.” All of a sudden, I find myself: “Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long…”
 
Just one song after another.

MAY STORMS’ PASSING

While there are “blue skies up above”, and I’m thinkin’ that not quite “everyone’s in love” with the heat in NC, it has definitely been a lazy river type of day – especially as the sinus infection seems to slowly begin its meandering journey away from me. Storms never come in singularity for me. Some I talk about and some – I just don’t. Depends on what I hear the Captain speak to my fingers.

Spent most of the day just fidgeting. Making physical copies of Pop Kaufman and Daddy Mike for the Memorial Day display in our home – – Reading some more of Kline’s “Piece of the World” – – Brushing the lab girls as I try to keep some of their hair outside instead of inside clumps floating here – – War room time as I pray, copy Bible verses, and wonder for the umpteenth million time WHY? WHAT possible lesson am I missing in this trifecta of storms? You’d think at 68 it would be a little easier navigating this dinghy – –

When I came inside from trying to move a few plants and failing miserably (since it is too hot and I still just want to curl into a ball and sleep), a few of Mom and Dad’s favorite songs “just happened” to be playing on my list – “Up a Lazy River”, “It Had To Be You”, “Summertime”, “My Foolish Heart”, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”, “Dancing Cheek-to-Cheek” and suddenly, I’m 4 or 5 again, watching from the sofa as they dance around the living room or listening at the top of a dark stairway for the signals that their stormy argument is almost over – – and somehow – – those signals always came as both of them would wander up the steep stair to tuck me back into bed and sing “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” until I fall asleep.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”~Matt 6:33

So today, I guess I’m still looking for signals of the storm’s passing, waiting for the melodies that always soar around me when I reach deep for that “peace that passeth all understanding” which always follow the storms’ path. I just have to keep taking baby steps forward. Listen for His voice. Stand on His WORD. And – positively KNOW that while He is just being quiet in my noisy boat, He has already charted the course and controls the winds and seas with His WORDS.

It’s funny.  I really love physical storms.  I love watching the dark clouds approach.  The way the thunder rumbles not only around the house but deep into my belly.  Oooooo – the smell of rain as it begins to hit the leaves far away, drawing closer and closer until it hits my nose. Not to mention – the wind that blows out all the staleness and dirt that clutters the air.  Lightening that crackles my soul with becomes a small light in the darkness.

All of it.  Powerful. Magical. Miraculous.

Daddy used to say it was just one of GOD’s ways of reminding all us who really is in charge of creation.  I still remember coming down a different set of stairs when a storm had awakened me, on July 4th 50 years ago.  Mom was still asleep in their bed , but Dad was standing by the window watching the storm of a lifetime hit our small town. He heard me and beckoned me forward to him.  We stood together, watching the lightening, listening to the thunder and rain while my earthly father shared his heart of wisdom with me.  Once again, He prayed with me and for me.  I miss that.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”~Ps 90:12

So I am numbering my days. Seeking those signals that the storms of a lifetime are once again leaving my area. Excited to hear the new melodies that will enfold me in their warmth and dry my tears. For Our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit are good…very good…at steering floundering dinghys – even ones with lots of holes in them.  Grace patches are amazing.  

All the time –

They are good.   

LENTEN INSIGHT 2019 #1:

Now tell me again why “Thoughts and Prayers” don’t matter??

THOUGHTS

How many times did Christ mention thoughts? Thoughts that cause us to sin. Thoughts that show our love for others. Thoughts that direct our paths. Thoughts in our Be-Attitudes. Thoughts that He shared with all He encountered. Thoughts that shape the mind – the body – the faith.

PRAYERS

Time and time again, the Gospels mention Rabbi Yeshua praying. Praying with those around Him. Praying with a crowd. Praying over meals. Praying in the temple. Praying all alone – in the dark of night – in the early hours of the morning – for others – for Himself – in praise and thankfulness to His Abba.

 

“Thoughts and Prayers” matter. 

They mattered to the early Christians as they faced the lions – faced stoning – faced crucifixion.

They matter on the battlefield of war – of illness – of addiction.

They matter to me. 

They matter to Christ.

They matter to Our Father-GOD.

“Now it came to pass in those days that [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”~Lk 6:12               alpha-and-omega-greg-olsen   [Greg Olsen artwork]

EPIPHANIES

It was a crazy busy day, and “I am whooped”, as my mother used to say. Inside decorations put away by noon. Outside decorations put away and stuffing my face with food by 3. It is the day of Epiphany, and my house looks like it is in mourning.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” ~ Jim Rohn

My nephew posted this quote today. Actually, it was a memory post, but today it struck me as an epiphany. There was another quote that also struck me as an epiphany. “Instead of saying, “LORD, I don’t know how I’m going to do this,” say, “LORD, I don’t know how YOU are going to do this.”

The last one should NOT have been an epiphany since I love the verse in 2 Chronicles 20:12 which basically tells me the same thing. ” For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on YOU.”

My eyes, my heart, my total being needs to be focused only on how My Father intends to work through me or others in my sphere to handle something. I have to admit, I often get overwhelmed. I get angry, frustrated and definitely, impatient. I also have a soft heart. It breaks often. It rejoices often. A students tells me his only prayer at Christmas was for his mom and dad to get back together. Another friend celebrated their mom’s 90th birthday. A friend’s husband walked out on them just after Christmas. Another friend was reunited with GOD and their family. A former student lost his battle with the C-word while another just got a clean bill of health and a final surgery from that same dreaded C-word. A kitty who always has matty eyes and scabby skin cuddles in my lap and yet – has survived a whole year and half when we thought she wouldn’t make it a week.

Hmmm – when I started writing this post, I didn’t see it going in this direction and yet, that is the way the Spirit seems to be moving me tonight. Epiphanies are like that. Those break-through moments that you open your eyes and see something that you didn’t expect to see. A sun dog in the sky. A dark cloud in an otherwise sunny day. A phone call from an old friend that was full of laughter, thoughts and love that couldn’t be shared with anyone else than her. A phone call to look forward to from a son just home from his vacay.

GOD is good. So good that He sent a Son and His Holy Spirit to comfort us, to sustain us, to challenge us, to push us, to encourage us, to help us laugh, to dry our tears, to offer Grace Gifts that will carry us through until we see Him again. Now that is an epiphany worth hanging onto in the dark times and in the joyful times.

The next couple of weeks are hard ones for me. Bittersweet dates in time when I will miss my earthly parents and parent-in-law a little more than usual. Reflection times of pulling out their memory books has already started.Touching captured moments in time with my fingers. Reading words that they wrote so many years ago and lingering a little longer with those internal memories that words cannot express.

Today’s epiphanies that Our Father has whispered inside my heart have been His Grace Gift to me. A while back, I thought I had found the perfect way to combat the sadness of these weeks, but that was only on the worldly level. This epiphany level is ever so much stronger and better. The Be-attitudes strike me again with the strength of a sledge hammer. I only wish I had realized it so much earlier on this path I walked. Then again – I think I probably recognized it at just the right time in eternal space because it is His space in time, and that is always perfect.

I will cry – I am crying – I will cry, but tears are good. They wash out the dirt and grime that as accumulated in the corners of my eyes and allow my vision to clear. The Grace Gifts of yesterday are also swirling around, and I am itching to start my new Bible studies and delve even deeper into Jewish wisdom.

GOD is good all the time. All the time, GOD is good.

“Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”~Matt 5:4  comfort-bible-verse-1-lg   [google image]

THE CHRISTMAS CAROLS (7 Days and Counting)

“It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old…”

A week from tonight, Santa will be on his way. Churches will open their doors. Children in pj’s will squirm beside their parents. Old carols find new harmonies. A baby will be placed in a manger. Candles will be lit.

“A weary world rejoices…”~O Holy Night

Most of us know those first verses by heart. Fewer of us know the verses that follow. Many churches today only sing the first verse and then repeat a phrase or two as the band ramps up and people rejoice. And yet – many carols have so much more to say about this “glorious impossible”.

“Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.”

Such a gift this night. Angels sang and a new star appeared in the sky. But while it is important – it is just the opening of a new portal. Open the eyes and see. Listen. There is a knock. Open the ears and hear. He’s here. Love has come. Open hearts to receive. Open the doors and feel His Spirit move within.

“…And yet, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,”

When the oppression is too strong to lift the head..when the gravity and pain of choices overwhelms…when the feet feel like lead and steps are few and far between…when the mind reasons that all is lost…it is the songs that point the way beyond the dark, smelly stable. The “glorious impossible” in totality.

“For lo! the days are hast’ning on,
By prophet seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold
When Christ shall come and all shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And saints shall meet Him in the air,
And with the angels sing.”~It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

So sing.

Keep singing – not just one verse, but all the verses of the songs that He brought to that stable so long ago and offered to men of good will. The first verse points to the promises fulfilled. The later verses point to the promises yet to be. The “glorious impossible” was and is and is to come. To quote the Carpenters: “Sing. Sing the song. Make it simple to last your whole life long…”

(I know – it is not a carol, but sometimes my mind wanders, and I just have to laugh at where it leads – after all – IT’S ONLY 7 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS)  Christmas-Angels-Card  [google image/Degrazia artwork]

BOOM

So let’s re-cap what happened in the last 24 hour period before I fall asleep.

BOOM!

A car was hit by a big, ol’ truck (whose brakes failed) which forced the truck to burst through a wall of a new school. august 13 2018k

Emergency workers gathered.

Traffic backed up.

Neighbors – teachers – preachers – ordinary people – all gathered in small groups in the parking lot to watch, to talk and to pray.

Officials also gathered, and bright yellow signs of 
“condemnation” were hung.

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”~2 Chron 4:14

Engineers. Construction workers. Landscapers appeared on the scene.

august 14 2018 jPlans sketched and approved.

A car driver – still a little broken – was discharged from the hospital to heal at home.

Late into the night the people were still there.

Clearing. Building. Salvaging. Praying. Yawning.

While the uninjured-but-shaken truck driver sat in a school plastic chair under a tree on the lawn, keeping watch over his truck, people sought him out. They brought with them what comfort they had to offer. august 14 2018 e
Food. 
Small talk. 
Prayer. 
GRACE. 
Last night, the truck driver accepted Christ into his heart and the Shepherd found one of His own in the dark of an overcast sky.

By the time the sun’s rays pierced the final vestiges of the twilight, all the “condemnation” signs were gone except for one tiny wing that would take just a little longer to mend before it could fly again.

And BOOM!!!

Just like the initial one that started last night’s wave of destruction another BOOM rocked this building. That is the way miracles sometimes work on this barren plot of ground that we call life. A Father’s finger pokes into the dark dirt of our lives to allow His GRACE to grow something new. Sometimes that poke becomes a stick of dynamite – AND BOOM!

Then the Son plants a seed – perhaps the size of a mustard seed – in the heart of a pastor – who in turn plants it in the hearts of his elders – who in turn plant it in the hearts of some educators – who in turn plant it – tonight – in the hearts of families and students who attended the first GCA Open House.

And tomorrow?

GRACE Christian Academy will open its doors – on time – for the first day of school. Papa God is like that. He is faithful in all His promises for those who work together, humble themselves and pray. Praying through the darkness. “Be-attitudes” in action – on earth as it is in Heaven while the Shepherd smiles and the Holy Spirit breathes in our ears.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”~Jn 1:14

Great is His Faithfulness! [personal images]GCA_HD_Logo-01

BREADCRUMBS: The End – not!

When you get to the end, subtle He is not.

Now when I am driving down the highway minding my own business, singing in a cracking, raspy voice along with the Greatest Showman CD playing loudly my car, I really am not looking to hear from God. That is when the first car passes me.

It has 3 7’s on it’s license plate. I love 3 7’s together. It is considered by many as a sign of completion. I always notice because I was born on the 7th day, and the parents always had VM777 on their license plate. (Isn’t strange how we remember such trivial things?) My brother has 3 7’s in his phone number. Needless to say, whenever I see 3 7’s together, I have to smile and say a little prayer for all the 3 7’s I know. This is not a rarity. I see 3 7’s quite often. The next car that passed me was something I’ve never seen.

Car #2 had a bumper sticker that said “Blessings!Be!” – Spelled just like that – exclamation points included. Blue background – yellow letters – bold crazy font. I can still see it plain as day in my memory. “Blessings!Be!” is something that I use often when I talk or write to people.  Seeing it on a bumper sticker – exactly the way I write it – made me laugh out loud because I have never seen a bumper sticker like that.  However – it was car #3 that made me begin to ponder and turn off the CD player.

The third consecutive car that passed me on our local freeway yesterday had a license plate that said, “MRS K – LOL”. Now seriously, when I have been called “Mrs. K.” for almost all of my teaching career, how could I not sit up a little straighter and think about all these things?  How could I ignore the crazy randomness of these three cars without thinking about it? It is my nature to ponder strange things. Always have. From earliest childhood till now, I ask more questions than I ever find answers.

“Wisdom is knowing how much you don’t know. So you have to start there and ask God to teach you.” M Batterson, p223, Day 40 in Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge

Tonight, I finished watching Passion of the Christ. I am not strong enough to watch it without many breaks and lots of tears. To think of what He sacrificed for us is beyond my comprehension. But I do know, that everything in the OT from the first letter to the last letter points to the “Son”. In fact – I read somewhere that the first Hebraic letter and the last letter put together spell “ben” or “son”. Everything in the NT – all that Jesus said and did – points us back to the “Father”.

“LORD, teach us to pray.” ~Lk 11:1

After the Grands and Hubby left today, I began digging up old rotten fence posts and rails that had been buried under years of rotting leaves, dirt, and gravel. It was not fun. I got dirty and sore. My knees crackled here and there. I prayed against finding a poisonous snake or spider. Wore my gloves and used a shovel to prod at things before I reached blindly into the mess, However, I did uncover a rather plump, gray mouse, who, strangely, didn’t run, but more or less, gave me nasty looks for destroying her home and moved under the next pile of leaves and wood until it was all gone. She flung one last look at me and wiggled under the last batch of leaves between two tree roots.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” ~Lk 24:5-7

Tomorrow – or even tonight when I walk the dogs off the porch (since in Jewish eyes we are already celebrating Sunday), I will look up to the sky. I will remember to seek Him who is living with my prayers, and when I don’t know what to pray, I will recite the abc’s and let Our Father put them together into prayers He knows I wanted to say – needed to say. 
God knows where we are… 
Even driving down a freeway… 
Even when we are not thinking about Him at all…
Even when we are deep in our own sin…
And in these latter days – God is not subtle – His knock at your door is happening and the Breadcrumbs continue to drop.

He has risen.

Day 40 – Prayer Alphabet

Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do. And if you’re anything like me, my best is not good enough. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, I’m below average. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Keep praying and believing that the best is yet to come!
Mark Batterson   

   [MB image/google image]

BREADCRUMBS: Just As I Am

Yesterday was one of those running-around days. Devotions finished. Got some groceries to fill empty fridge. Picked up Grands Laughed all the way to their home. Piano lessons that lasted all of 5 minutes individually. Touched base with eldest daughter and SIL before I left. 
A little piece of heaven wrapped into one day.

Today was completely different. Dreary. Chilly. Sit in the chair and wish I could get outside without getting wet. Dogs whining because they don’t like it much either when they are cooped up. Devotions done. Run the Romba . Dust. Work on some editing that I needed to finish with Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle curled into my side and cry a little.

Yup. Cry a little.

When I am working on things at the computer. I generally have the radio or the TV running as well. When I am by myself it is often just music. If Hubby is home, it could be a show that he wants to watch, and I put on headphones and listen to music. Or it could be the news which I only half listen to anyway, but I like waiting for the weather – which I somehow miss, and so I have to wait for it to cycle around again. Or – – – could be a DVD that I’ve almost got memorized, but still enjoy hearing and dancing across the TV screen whenever I steal a glance to look at it.

Anywhooo (as my mom would say), I cry easily in my old age. Okay – I admit it – and my kids would tesitfy – I cry easily – period. When the kids appear on my door steps. When they leave my doorsteps. 
When I hold a Grand for the first time. 
Devotions.
A sickbed.
A separated family.
At weddings. 
At funerals. 
A classroom – occasionally. 
It is just as I am.
Just as He created me to be.

So today as I worked, I had the time to look at yesterday’s service for Rev. Billy Graham in the rotunda of the Capitol in DC. It was everything I thought it would be, until Michael W. Smith began the piano introduction for “Just as I Am”. Then I cried.

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

Until that piano introduction started, the service fit the bill as any political gathering paying tribute to a man who had lived his life in the spotlight of the American World. But once the piano introduction began, I half expected – no – I wanted an alter call to be given.

Salt.
Light. 
Just as I

This song triggered that ol’ memory treasure chest to open. Sitting in a tent with my parents. A tall man pushing a strand of hair out of my eyes. Watching a TV broadcast of many crusades with my parents. Lying on a broken down couch, late at night, wondering if God could love me
– just as I am 
– just as I am? 
Hearing the deep voice of George Beverly Shea as well as that other singular voice answering my unspokens over the music. 
“Yes, you. 
No matter what you’ve done. 
No matter what has been done to you. 
Yes, even you. 
Come.”

“Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

“Come.”

The word circles through my mind and through the tears, I wonder once again. I wondered how that august audience might have responded to an alter call? I wonder what a difference in our world that singular act might have made? 
One alter call – 
one last time – 
in honor of a man who offered it every time he spoke and that song was sung?

And then again – in all my wondering – Our Father whacks me on the head, and I remember. That call is always offered.  Every second of every minute of every hour of every day in every circumstance of our walk. A call that enters the ears that hear. A simple song that knocks on heart doors as a Son waits for the door to open.

“Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

I couldn’t have sung this song at that funeral. What am I thinking? I am way too emotional to sing at any funeral. The emotion in Michael W. Smith’s voice during his performance tells me he might had a hard time as well. Perhaps they had a set time for how long the song could be since he never got to the last verse. That last verse that always speaks the WORD so clearly – so simply –
at the heart of the Rev. Graham’s message – 
at the heart of Christ’s message:

“Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”~William Batchelder Bradbury

Just as I am.

“God is faithful, for by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Yeshua The Messiah Our Lord.”~1 Cor 1:9