Tag Archives: Christ

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   

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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

BREADCRUMBS: Thoughts and Prayers.

As a student, educator, mom, grandmother, and citizen – the past few days brings the violence a little closer to my heart. The world of education has been my world for most of my 67 years of life. It is the world I know. It is the world I love.

Those are my thoughts. I have many thoughts.

I was the 7th grader sitting in a classroom where a classmate stored their hunting rifle in the teacher’s closet. Later, I went on dates with a rifle in a gun rack right behind me. 
I was the young educator threatened with a knife and later a gun during my early years of teaching. 
I am mom who sent her children to schools where I taught and sent them off to colleges and work places in big cities – far, far away. 
I am a Grandmother who weekly picks up her Grands from their school.
I am a senior citizen who cries for her country.

Actually, I cried for my country many years ago while I was still in college. I watched my university close down for a period of time due to violence. As one of two white faces, I sat in a one of the first Black Studies courses taught on campus. I was ridiculed, in-your-face harassed several times by other students in that class, as well as threatened bodily harm in very descriptive terms.
I cried for an ugly war. I cried for people I knew who were fighting there. I cried for the soldiers were spit upon and heckled as they wore their uniforms. I cried over choosing abortion over life because I was a fool.

I have thought about these things over the past few days. I have thought about the posts on both sides that seems to further the division between all sides of the issue. The palpable anger that seems to resonate between the lines on a screen or the voices on TV/radio. I thought about FL.

I have thoughts…….and……I have prayers.

Sometime in my late 20’s I figured out that thoughts are not enough. Life is complicated and way beyond my meager understanding. Humbled prodigals can find their way home. However, there was something that was much wiser than my own thoughts. Something that had guided my path until I got lost. 
An action. 
A choice. 
Prayer.

“This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.”~Mk 15:42-47

As I read this passage today, I thought about the young ladies being buried in FL. I thought about a Father who also watched His Son being buried. I thought about the night before when Rabbi Yeshua prayed. That mysterious connection that opened between Heaven and Terra – between Father and Son. 
That choice. That action. 
That prayer. That blessing.

When people say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” I wonder if those are the words the Father replied to his Son? And if they were, I wonder how closely the Son held them in his heart when he heard the temple guards approach? What I do know – there was no anger in his actions. There was peace and healing.
So I pray and think some more.

Whether a person means those words is not for me to judge – only Our Father can determine that. But if those were the words – or something similar – that Christ held in his heart throughout everything he endured on that last day, that phrase is not a throw-away to be denigrated. 
It is a choice.
It is an action.
It is a blessing.

Thoughts and prayers.

A blessing to those who are suffering – to those in pain – to those who are sorrowful – to those who are needy.

A blessing.             

1d22c-you-are-in-my-thoughts-and-prayers-candle-and-hands[google image]

 

BREADCRUMBS: Little Things

For the past few months, we have not been able to figure out why the dogs go crazy when we let them out at night. They run into the side yard and start barking. The youngster, torn ACL completely forgotten, runs into the woods and comes back with the biggest smile on her face.

One of my friends came over last night and as we sat outside, kitties started appearing at our feet. One, two, three – We petted them and enjoyed their company as we talked. Later, I remained outside for a little bit and started counting again. There was a herd of kitties.

Our yard was a kitty amusement park.

You see – I haven’t taken down my last Christmas light that shines into our woods. It is one of those star projectors with dancing red and green lights. They roam all over the trees, bushes, shed and grass right off our porch. Hubby and I enjoy watching those silly lights bounce around. Apparently, the kitties do, too.

So last night, I spent some time watching kitties run hither and yon while pouncing on every light they could see. Laughter gurgled. I closed my eyes and let the little kitties tamp down the sadness of our broken world and resurrect that peace that the Shepherd always brings.

It is in the little things, right?

“He made everything beautiful in its time.”~Ecc 3:11

Prayer doesn’t come easy for me. Since I was little, I haven’t felt like I am good at it. My mind skips around to everything under the sun except being still. It even as the audacity to yak at me when I already told it a thousand time to shut up because I need to listen. Even after reading tons of – alright – maybe not tons – – but quite a few – devotionals on how to pray, I still end up with a stumbling tongue and a frustrated head.

It is then – in that choice moment – that I start giving thanks.

Thanks for a stumbling tongue that makes me work a little harder. 
Thanks for role models in my life who can string pearls as they pray. 
Thanks for the WORD who lifts me up from my bruised knees by His grace. 
Thanks to the Holy Spirit who groans – probably with a chuckle at how often she has to jump in for me – speaking the words I cannot find. 
Thanks for a millisecond of quiet from my brain every now and then when I can hear My Shepherd call my name. 
Thanks for a Savior who carved my true name in the palm of His hand and cradles me when there is sadness beyond explanation.

Thanks for the little things.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”~Phil 4:6-9 

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #10

Pictures of Marines are all over the place on social media. Just as they should be since it is the birthday of the Marines Corps. Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and I know, there will be tons more posts of service men – as it should be.

I am thankful that my dad was both. He wrote a postcard home as he traveled to Parris Island. He was 26 years old, and he sounds every inch of it in this one sentence: “I’m sitting in Union Station waiting on the train, I’m headed for Parris Island Marine Corps. I’m an honest to goodness Marine.”

“…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do

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not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”~Josh 1:9

He left behind a wife, a son, a dog, and a twinkle that would be born six years later. No easy communication devices. No cameras snapping a multitude of pictures. So there were letters……lots of letters. Mom and dad had a suitcase full. A suitcase that a youngster once opened and started reading.

I don’t think I sat down for a week.

Years later, Mom had me read a few of those letters to her when her body had started to break, and she developed Macular Degeneration. A few years after that, my brother and I decided that those treasured memories were theirs and not the world’s. I did keep a few of them though – especially the ones that had poetry my father wrote just for mom. Mom was a singer, so she would write song lyrics to him. She would tell him that all he had to do was listen, and he would hear her singing to him.

Pretty romantic stuff. No wonder the twinkle became a dream come true for them, and a pain-in-the-butt for her big brother.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.”~2 Sam 22:2-4

A while back I spent 100 Days writing about the little devotion booklet called “100 Rations”. Dad carried it with him to China and back home. His pocket-sized New Testament still sits on the book shelf behind my desk. He taught me to sing the Marine hymn almost as soon as I could talk. And while I haven’t been able to do it for years beyond memory, once upon a time, I could stand from a cross legged sitting position without even having to think about it.

Veterans are a blessing in this country. Men and women who are willing to sacrifice their time and comforts to protect and serve the rest of us – even unto death. It reminds me that Yeshua did the same thing – only He did it for the whole world.

Gratitude is an attitude. Everyday I need to be thankful for what Veterans have done for me. Thankful for what Christ did for me. I can almost hear my father’s voice reading the last sentence on the postcard: “So here we go. I miss you very much with lots of love and kisses. Boyd”

Love and kisses to all the Veterans and Marines out there tonight. Sweet dreams and thank you for blessing this country – each and every one of you who are reading this and those who are reading over my shoulder from a heavenly perch.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”~Jn 15:13

WADE IN THE WATER

“Children wade in the water,
God’s gonna trouble the water…”

When you have water behind the ear, ya just feel like you are wading in water that has definitely been troubled. The boat tips and rocks while the thunder booms – it just happens all inside your head instead of on the outside. Bright side – I can stay dry when this happens. No jumping in the water for me.

I keep trying to look past these troubling waters waiting to see the bridge that I know is out there. You know the one – the “bridge over troubled waters”. The bridge that is sturdy. The bridge that will lift me out of the waters. I know it is out there, just waiting round that next bend in the waterway. All I need to do is get a hand hold on it and pull myself up.

Seems like there are lots of “troubled waters” in this world. The days of just enjoying the Land of Milk and Honey seem far away. The days when I could just focus on me. Then I remember that is probably what got the world into all these crazy waters in the first place. Me vs. we.

I remember back in my college years feeling much the same way. I just wanted to focus on me – what I wanted – where I wanted to be – the happy ending at the end of the fairae tale. Sitting on The Oval, singing with friends from choir, picnicking with a special fellow on a hillside or losing the watch my father gave me in Mirror Lake during the traditional dunking – contrasted sharply to those of dodging protesters, plugging my ears to the sirens, hiding behind cars, cancelled classes, May 4, 1970.

“Look over yonder, what did I see?
God’s gonna trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming for me
God’s gonna trouble the water.”

Troubled waters exist in every generation. During the Civil War, this song was often associated with Harriet Tubman [Moses] and the escape route to the north. It was not a Land of Milk and Honey then, it is not a Land of Milk and Honey now. Land masses are made up of humans who tend to choose sin-of-me first and grace-of-we later.

I like to think that God troubles the water to remind me that He is still there. When I have calm waters, I tend to just cruise on the surface of that easy current. Gently rocking to and fro. Drifting wherever it seems to carry me. Not looking beyond the next bend. Relying on my physical sight instead of my spiritual sight. Until – the storm arises – the cascades appear – the water dries up – or – scary thought – the boat develops a hole.

“Jewish mystical tradition teaches that divinity flows into the world through desire, ours as well as God’s.”~Rabbi Marcia Prager

in times of troubled waters, I pull out the WORD and look at passages that remind me that when God troubles the water good things happen. I especially like the story in John 5 where God sends an angel to “trouble” – stir up – the waters in the baptismal pool. It reminds me to be aware – strong enough in my faith to recognize the differences that exist in troubled waters. Some are meant to be jumped into – and others you look for the bridge or rely on the Captain of the boat.

“For an Angel descended from time to time to the baptismal and moved the water for them; whoever first descended after the moving of the water was cured of all sickness whatever he had.”~Jn 5:4

The good news – troubled waters don’t last long. Just long enough to get one thinking and searching out those bridges or jumping in to grab the miracle. However – there are days when my head feels like it is taking a pounding on every side of the boat – slipping and sliding with the rollicking motion that makes my stomach roll even more – when all I really want is to curl up and read Zechariah 14 over and over. Where everything and everyone will be inscribed with the words: HOLY TO THE LORD.

“On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite [deciever] in the house of the Lord Almighty.”~Zech 14:20-21

In the mean time. troubled waters exist. The boat rocks and I bury my head in the WORD – not the sand – the WORD. Don’t want to miss my chance at grabbing that miracle or the bridge that will give me a handhold out of these troublesome waters. The good news – Christ is actually captaining my little boat with me and even if I miss the bridge – miss the miracle, He holds it all in the palm of His scarred hand. He calms the water, turns the wheel in the right direction, and points the way home. Ani Lo.

“If you don’t believe I’ve been redeemed
God’s gonna trouble the water
Just follow me down to the Jordan’s stream
God’s gonna trouble the water.”

HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON…

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”
 
I often wake up with songs in singing in my head – sometimes two at the same time – and don’t even ask me how that is possible because I have no idea. I just hear them weaving together as if they were always meant to do that. Then I spend the day with two songs singing on and off in my head.
 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah…”
 
When I was little, “Battle Hymn” was a big part of my life. We sang it in school, church and most every year my dad directed the local legion show. Patriotic songs were always that grand finale that brought down the house. Between “God Bless America” and “Battle Hymn” that post WWII crowd was on its feet at the end of every show and this Daddy’s Girl logged it all in her heart.
 
Julia Ward Howe was always a familiar name, but like most things you learn in the early years of life, it faded. So tonight I got busy and looker her up. Apparently,- like me – she heard things such as lyrics and poems in her head at night as well. One night in 1861, she woke up and wrote the lyrics that became “Battle Hymn”.
 
“Glory, glory, Hallelujah…”
 
Like many of us, she had problems to overcome – a motherless childhood, dreams not fulfilled the way she thought they should be, decisions she regretted, living in a country steeply divided, a war-torn nation. By 1862, “Battle Hymn” was published in the Atlantic Monthly and the country had found a rallying point.
 
Anyway – this morning as I was beginning that slow process of trying to convince my eyes to open, the last verse of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was singing loudly in my head. I don’t know if the whole song was sung before I woke up or whether it was just the last verse that serenaded me awake. But there you go.
 
“His Truth is marching on…”
 
There is something powerful in those words that she wrote in the middle of the night. Something that transcends our finite time lines. Something that circles and calls to me every time I sing it or hear it. Something that speaks just as the Father speaks. Something that speaks to a “Daddy’s Girl”.
 
He speaks creatively.
He speaks with love.
He speaks through a man who broke His gift of tablets on this date thousands of years before (17th of Tamuz).
He speaks even though the temple destructions.
He speaks through His Son who was born across the sea…
 
“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
as He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
while God is marching on.”
 
“His Truth is marching on….”
 

ERRR….CRAP!

‘s a sad fact of life. Touchstones break. We call them “stones” because they have weight in our life. It is the “touch” part that we sometimes forget. Weighted stones that have touched our lives at some point We can look at them – or touch them – and they release the memories – the smells – the sounds – the music – the faces.

Most of the time a smile may cross our soul as we hold it in our hands. Sometimes a laugh may escape the confines of the binder that held it trapped inside. And sometimes – when we drop them – – – they break.

Errrr…

This morning I walked the dogs as soon as I woke up. We picked some flowers, threw some sticks, and enjoyed the cool of a perfect spring morning. Since I had only picked two small flowers this morning, I pulled out the two small shot glasses that probably were some of my first touchstones ever.

Mom had special glasses for party nights. They were colorful. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. They also had matching shot glasses. I can still see Dad and hear his laugh as he was telling jokes or getting ready to play his guitar and holding one of those glasses. Other times, when I would pick violets for Mom, she would take out the shot glasses, and we would fill them up with the purple and white blessings. She would pull the doilies she had made out of their drawers and place the glasses around the living room. Just thinking about those violets bring back the smell of her hugs, the smell of her perfume and her red-lipstick smile.

Over the years, all the glasses disappeared. And by the time, we moved Mom out of her house, there were only two shot glasses left. Yellow. Green. Today the yellow one dropped into the sink as I was running water to hold a small rose. Errrrr…I don’t deal well with breaking things that have touched my life. But – I reminded myself – they are just things. I rolled my eyes, looked out the kitchen window while having one of those — half prayer — half talk – conversations with myself.

Errr…I looked at the fragments scattered around the sink and said, “Crap!”

A short time later, I broke a tiny winged, patriotic figure that I bought the summer my mother died. I think Mom must have been born to be a politician from birth. She had all the smarts, charisma, and charm needed. She just was a slow starter in the field. However, once elected as village clerk of our small home town, she rose through the state ranks and on to national organization of clerks.

The figurine I broke – out of a set of six – was the one that said held the banner that said, “God Bless America”. So this was a double touchstone. Mom sang “God Bless America” so many times, that I knew all the words by the time I was 5 years old – – – including the introduction. “When the storm clouds gather…”

Errr…I picked the pieces up off the floor and said, “Crap!”

I decided it was more than time for devotions. Needless to say, they shattered my bad mood completely. I read about the “hupogrammos”. An ancient Greek word that basically means example – but more deeply – it is a concrete, hands-on way of teaching someone how to do something. In this case – Christ became the “hupogrammos”. He set his actions, his steps, his manner, his love before all of us that we might easily follow His steps if we just put our feet and heart where He put His.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example (hupogrammos), that you should follow in his steps.”~1 Pt 2:21

As the tears pushed the corners of my eyes, I read this last devotion. “You answered me, when I called You; with Your strength, You strengthened me.”~Ps 138:3

The lesson of the day? Forget the Errrr… and the Crap!
Touchstones of this earth break and easily.  They fall apart. Our Christ Touchstone is just the opposite. He is an eternal cornerstone that hold everything else together when the world seems to be falling apart. He is the “hupogrammos” for our lives.

TWO PASSOVERS

 

The moon is up in our neck of the woods and it is full and beautiful tonight. The hubby and I were sitting outside for awhile (until the CAVS game on) as it was rising. The dogs and I took one last walk around the gardens in the twilight before we came in. Now I can see all my friends’ pictures of the full moon from different states as I sit in my easy chair.

In the Jewish calendar this full moon sheds its light on the beginning of Passover. It is a festival that celebrated the days that changed the world of the Jewish people. Changed it from a world full of chains, brutality and oppression and spun it around into a world of choices, courage and freedom.

Sometimes, I wish I was a mouse on the floor of history and could listen and watch the dynamics of historical events. Can you imagine the ancient conversations that were taking place during this week? The rumors – the rumblings – the hushed meetings as they gathered to listen – to learn – to seek wisdom in what was happening.

We tend to take for granted – as we do all historical things – the facts – without remembering the emotional undercurrents. Just like today, there must have been dissension – fear – broken families – friendships burning out as people made their choices. Follow Moses? Trust Pharaoh? G-d really in this? The evil one?

They probably all painted their doorways with the blood of a lamb. That was an easy choice and why not? Better safe than sorry. Maybe it would make the family feel better. The familiar was still there. A swatch on the left. A swatch on the header. A swatch on the right. A triangle pointing towards heaven. A whispered prayer beseeching the protection of G-d. A hope to see the dawn of a new day. A wish for easy answers. A path cut through the stormy waters to a Promised Land.

We tend to think that all the Jewish people painted their doors and gleefully followed Moses out of Egypt. After all, who doesn’t want to be free? The truth falls a little short of that Charleston Heston movie with the multitude moving towards the sea. According to Jewish Sages – the number was more like a fifth of the Ivrim, the Jewish people.

Walking away from the security of all they had known was too scary for some – just like it would be for some of us. After all, there is security in the chains of the familiar. Chains that often keeps us in a job we hate…an abusive relationship…a habit that feeds some sense of being that we think we need more than we need change.

But this is also the first day of Holy Week for Christians. It is the celebration of another Passover that set the Ivrim world on its ear. (Again, being a mouse is appealing to my curious nature.) However, I know deep within me that it was also a Passover full of dissension, fear, broken families, burned friendships. Follow Jesus? Trust Caiaphas? Is G-d really in this? The evil one?

It was not easy. Even the disciples fell away – except for one, his mother and a few others who stood at the foot of the cross. Freedom is never easy. Again, the number of Ivrim that chose to follow was just a small percentage of the nation. Who knew that these few people would change the world forever. A Passover that would change the essence of the festival to its core.

A human lamb who shed His blood in the shape of another triangle painted on wood – an inverted triangle. A left hand. A right hand. His feet. A triangle pointing down from heaven. G-d once more sending an answer to His children – an answer of a Father’s Love – a Father’s Love strong enough to break the chains forever and cut a path through the stormy waters of sin to a Promise Land beyond compare.

It is interesting to note, that when you put these triangles together -one on top of another – they form the Star of David. The symbol that flies in Jerusalem on this first night of Passover and this first night of Holy Week. Two Passovers that changed the Ivrim world and the world around it. Freedom from chain of all kinds. Freedom to remember. Freedom to chose His path or stay in our comfy chains. Freedom to humble ourselves, fall on our knees, and give thanks to the One who gave His all for us – the gift of grace and love.

“For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.”~Jn 3:16   [google images]

21 DAYS

It is 21 days till Easter. 21 days of a journey left. 21 days to follow a path. 21 days till the stone exploded, breaking the binds that tethered it to an earthly kingdom and releasing the radiant light of Grace from the spiritual kingdom.

For the past few weeks, I have not written much. Instead, everyday I have been reading, walking, observing, writing, praying, and drawing a small inked cross on the inside of my wrist. I didn’t think of this idea myself. One of my favorite authors has been doing this on a regular basis for a while now, Ann Voskamp. She talks about it in her book, The Broken Way.

At first, I wondered why she would do this. What possible difference in a spiritual walk could a tiny, inked cross on a wrist do for anyone? Yet, during this Lenten walk, I have noticed a difference. A difference that – perhaps – is more on the inside of me than the physical ink on the inside of a wrist. However, true to my silly Gemini self, that ink is often different colors. One color layered on top of another on some days. Other days, completely washed away by the blessed business of the day.

There is a path just down from our house that our neighbors have given me permission to walk. The dogs and I love it. There are no cars or even so much of the sound of cars, lots of smells, lots of deer prints, and I’m sure a few snakes in the grass that I hope I never see. (Lucky for me, the dogs always run ahead of me.)

As the temperatures warmed, the grass began to appear until it has become a green carpet that pulls us forward every time we walk. Trees and tall grasses from a not too distant past line its edges. Occasionally, a fallen branch from a recent storm also lie beneath our feet waiting to trip us up. Further up the way, there are other vestiges of an older life as well. Man-made reminders of that which was: large trees around a yard of a small deserted cabin, a log shed, horse-pulled tools now covered by weeds, a small, empty water trough.

As always, I wonder about the people who walked these lands before me. Indians, slave, indentured servants, landowner. I wonder and in some weird strange way, find myself praying for them as they walked these lands.

The cross on my wrist catches my eyes as I switch the button on the camera in my phone. For a minute my breath catches, “Baruch Hashem Adonai,” I whisper, “Blessed Be the Name of the LORD.” Koey sniffs the scent of something and is off running. Ryndi rolls in the leaves and tall grass for the umpteenth time. All, just reminders that this world is temporary, and all our education, ownership, accomplishments are -eventually – just “dust in the wind”.

Baruch is the Hebrew word that means “to bless”. It also means “to kneel”. When God sent His Son to walk a footpath on this earth, He knelt in front of all humanity. He squeezed the limitless into a limited body. He folded His greatest sacrifice into His greatest blessing and laid it on the path for all to find.

Easter. Grace. Salvation.

“Therefore strengthen your hands and set your shaky knees firmly. Make straight paths for your feet, that the lame member may not fail, but that it may be healed.”~Heb 12:12-13

My knees don’t bend so well anymore, but there are times when I force them because I can’t imagine not kneeling when His presence is so close. Tonight, it is warm in our house. The cross on the inside of my wrist is faded and fuzzy. My eyes are hurting as I try to hold them open for a few more minutes. It was a warm day in NC and when you have a bit of a fever, the house feels even warmer. But – it has been a blessed day. A day to sacrifice a little. A day to sleep a lot more than usual. A day to whisper a few more times, in thankfulness for these 21 days, “Baruch Hashem Adonai.”