Tag Archives: Christ

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]

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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   

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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….”