Tag Archives: David


“Having served…”

It is the 15th anniversary of 9 11. Mixed in with the sorrowful echoes of that day are the proud memories of those who served. The tree of knowledge of good and evil still exists, and people still make choices.

David chose to serve. 1st responders choose to serve. Military personnel choose to serve. Most pastors choose to serve. Jesus serves. People who put their lives on the line choose to serve others. (I can’t put politicians in this group even though they love to claim the servant title – sorry)

The author of this Ration acknowledges that David did have his faults – major ones. In my early years, I had a hard time understanding why God included a man like David in the Bible. It was only later, when I had fallen in my own abysses – several times – just like David – that I finally understood. He was there to remind us that God will forgive us anything – if we repent and choose to serve others in the ‘counsel of God’.

The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life still stand behind the locked gates of Eden. Michael and a host of angels still guard the entrance, but the choice remains ours.

Baruch Hashem, Adonai. Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one,and the second is liken unto it, LOVE our neighbor as ourselves.


1942 Daily Rations:

“David after he had in his own generation served the counsel (the will) of God, fell asleep.”~Acts 13:36

Read: Matthew 20:20-28

“There is no doubt that notwithstanding David’s man faults, he was an outstanding figure in Hebrew history. What made David great was his attitude as he faced the necessities of the hour in which he lived.

‘Having served…’The writer does not say having governed or dominated, or imposed his will upon thousands of subjects, but he says ‘having served’. Jesus’ mission also was to serve. He said, ‘The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister’ This totally changed the concept of the greatness of life.

‘He served his own generation…’ his contemporaries, those that lived in his day. That is to say we must do all we can for the good and improvement of the world now; we must not wait for better times but to do it today. This historical hour is a challenge to Christians and they must accept it.

‘He served the counsel of God…’ He did not obey something imposed by human authority but the will of God. He sought to know His will and do it.

“Prayer: Our Lord and Father, help us to serve Christ by serving our generation in such a way that our life may help the world to better its social, moral, and spiritual conditions. In his name we pray. Amen.

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Attitude of Gratitude #30

16-shoot-of-jesse2Attitude of Gratitude #30. Advent. One of my friends reminded me today that thankfulness is a choice just like writing this series of gratitudes has been a choice. It is so easy to go through a day,snuggle into dreamland and never remember to be thankful. I know. I’ve done it. But as December 1 approaches, I find myself more and more thankful that it is here. The world is full of ugliness. The world seems topsy-turvy. So when Advent gets here, I am sooooo thankful. I take a deep breath and wait.

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” – Is 11:1

Come Christmas “read-the-story” time, we recognize the name “Jesse”, but the picture of Jesse, the man, is a blur. Okay,he was some kind of kin to David. Even reading the Bible cover-to-cover every year, one would really have to be looking for the story of Jesse. Like the man, his story is a blur that flickers in and out of other stories. Grandson of Ruth and Boaz (you know – the “thy people will by my people” story). It seems that his real claim to fame is his youngest son who became King David (you know – the youngster who slew Goliath with a flat stone).

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.” Lk 2:4

Sometimes, I think God is like that. He likes to tuck little stories inside the big ones. Bibles scholars have figure out that Jesse was a fairly well-to-do farmer type guy in Bethleham. Yet, out of all the people alive at that time, why does God sends Samuel to Jesse? You have to wonder. What did Jehovah-Jireh know about Jesse and his family that made them “king” material?

“Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 1 Sam 16:1b

This is merely supposition on my part, but I tend to think that these little stories tucked within the larger plot lines of our Biblical heroes are often the ordinary people. People who tried to live their lives to the best of their ability for HaShem. Righteous People They are often just men and women like you and me who worked hard, followed the rules (mostly), fell down and got back up, and raised their families to revere God above all things. Yet, even though they didn’t rank their own big portion of the Bible story, their faith life was so important that God made sure their name would be remembered forever. “…a shoot…from the stump of Jesse…”

There is something special about waiting and watching for that first ray of light to push through the outer rim of our darkness until it finally blazes into the Christ star on Christmas Eve. It is called hope. Advent is here. . Light the Hope candle in the wreath. 25 days and the Christ Star will blaze once more. I am thankful, waiting and hopeful once more.christmas star


“In the circle of successful living, prayer is the hub that holds the wheel together.  Without our contact with God, we are nothing.  With it, we are little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor.”  Conrad Hilton in his autobiography, Be My Guest.”

This quote was one of the first things I read this morning.  I was surprised.  I had no idea that that Conrad Hilton (think Hilton Hotels) had written an autobiography, or better yet, that he was a prayer warrior.  Believe me, if I had known he had written an autobiography, I would have been using parts of it to teach my students every year as we worked on our autobiography unit.   I often use quotes or  portions of books when I teach: Ben Franklin – Fredrick Douglas – Eli Weisel –  Roald Dahl – Maya Angelou – Taylor Caldwell – various presidents (yes, even President Obama for those of you who are wondering) and, not to mention, pop culture idols (Michael Oher, I Beat the Odds).  Nothing like using the words of successful people to motivate students.  So Conrad Hilton, I will be adding one more book to my bucket list as soon as I finish this.

I know I have said this before, but I still miss teaching.  I liked teaching about writing –  which is weird because my first year of teaching – I remember skipping all the writing portions of the English book.  It made me uncomfortable.  They didn’t teach me how to grade writing in my course work during college…then again…maybe I just wasn’t listening that day.  I wasn’t the greatest student (I think I mentioned that a few times in class – if any of my former students are reading this).  Eventually, it became one of my favorite things to teach…especially when we were talking about VOICE.  Every writer has a voice and watching students develop their voice was always fun.

“Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire.  You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.”  Deut 4:12

Moses is wrapping things up in Deuteronomy.  He wants to make sure that this tribe of people that he has been in charge of for the past 50 years, remembers what is important when they get to the Promised Land.  He knows they depend on him, and he knows that he won’t be with them as they enter this beautiful new land.  In a sense, Moses is writing his autobiography, just like we write our autobiography every day.  Maybe we don’t physically put a pen to paper and write, but it is recorded in the Book of Life and God hears our voice.  The good news is He is always speaking to us.  “It just – some of them [us] don’t hear so well,”as Racetrack said in Newsies (I think I remembered that quote right).  In the Bible though, David heard His voice real well:

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;  the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”  Ps 29:3-9

God spoke all things into being.  He sent His WORD to save us.  He left a book for us to read His words.  And if we are listening, He still speaks to us.  If we turn off the T.V. – turn off the computer –  put down the book, the phone, the gaming device, and maybe we can find some time to be still.  Can you hear the silence?  Let that slide by and listen to His voice today.  When we are in contact with God, writing our autobiography with Our Father’s Forgiveness, Grace and Love, the inflection changes in our voice – just like it changed the consistency and confidence of Conrad Hilton’s voice.

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A Miracle Kind of Day

It’s a miracle!!! It’s thundering outside! (“God is laughing,” as my dad used to say.) Seriously – rain has been so rare – it feels like a miracle, and the thunderstorm makes it just so special. Now, I’m just hoping that the thunder brings the rain as well – a really – super-duper rainstorm. I would love to see a storm tonight, but I think my garden would love it even more than me. =)

Lately, we have been stopping to buy fresh corn and other veggies on the way home from church. It is just a small roadside building that sells local produce and a few home-made/local items, but it is like a treasure hunt for the husband and myself. We started out just buying the corn, but now our refrigerator is stuffed to the max with all the wonderful “gold” we uncover on a Sunday.

Shucking corn in the front garden, listening to the baby birds hollering for food, watching the dogs dust themselves where grass should be – makes for a lovely Sunday. When the husband goes in to start fixing a “brunch” omelette that is loaded with “gold”, it gives me time to think as I work.

“Remember your people whom you acquired in ancient times,
whom you rescued so they could be your very own nation,
as well as Mount Zion, where you dwell!” Ps 74:2


David had a way with words. Whether he was on the run or hiding in caves, waging war against giants or armies, failing to follow the path his Father had created just for him or planning the temple where “His” people would find comfort and peace from the One who comforted him. David wrote words. A kernel of truth the size of a mustard seed in every verse – powerful – meaningful – heartfelt – then…and even now in today’s world when war is surrounding His people.

“Remember Your people…”

We slay giants. We amass armies (remember – this IS a metaphor – just think of the kind of armies – good and bad – that line up behind you). We hide in caves – those dark, scary, damp, cold places that no one wants to be in…even with the brightest flashlight. But hopefully – we stumble upon a path…a Lighted path…and we take one step. Open our eyes and take another step. Blessings! Be! It is easier for us than David. We don’t have to build a temple to find comfort or worship Our God. Our LORD died on the cross and rose again so that the temple and the Helper is inside of us. David knew the ultimate goal was the dwelling place of God. It is our our ultimate destination as well.


“O LORD God, do not reject your chosen ones! Remember the faithful promises you made to your servant David!” 1 Chron 6:42
“Remember Your promises…”

Today as we sang this praise song, those two lines stuck in my mind…are still stuck in my mind: “Remember Your people…Remember Your promises…” Today as I sat in my garden, I prayed. I wept. I rejoiced. I smiled…because He does remember — His people — His promises. I carried the corn in the house, ate a “golden” breakfast fixed by a great cook, and enjoyed the miracles of the day. Just been one of those kind of days…a pocket full of miracle days.

Prayer on a Perfect Day

There is nothing better than sitting outside on a summer day. Bible reading completed. Hummingbirds so close that their wings buzz like giant bees flitting between the feeders. A wonderful hour of talking to my oldest “sister” friend. Temperatures hovering in the high 70’s, A soft breeze stirring the wind chimes. Veggies hanging off the vines, just waiting to ripen a little bit more. Baby birds chirping from a near by tree, and two brown dogs waiting to chase an orange ball.

birds c birds d birds b

” How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty!” Ps 84:1

It’s a world away from code red sirens warning of missile attacks; videos that show actual events…even death…in real time; ground wars hunting hidden tunnels; continual updates provided on every news networks every minute of every hour; passenger planes shot down by other missiles…video updates of bodies, luggage,remnants of people’s lives scattered over the countryside; borders and cities overrun by refugees; innocents sacrificed on all sides.

“O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God…
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” Ps 83:1-2,4

I do not watch those news videos. I am a visual learner, so visual images stay with me in a very elemental way….imprinting themselves up on my brain for all time. Reading about events is hard enough as my mind creates the movie for me. Often, it is enough to bring me to my knees. Wars have a tendency to do that. My mom and dad often talked about WWII, and how war changed them and their friends during that time. My father often repeated the old saying that there are no atheists or agnostics in a fox hole.

“Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere..
Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Ps 84:10-12

My life is blessed. A week ago, my husband and I purchased three acres of dreams. My children are grown and doing well in their life journey. I have gotten to play with the Grands every day this week. I have a “sister” friend that I haven’t seen in almost 10 years – and yet- we can still spend an hour on the phone and never run out of things to say. I can read David’s words in the Bible and see his world and our world merging – one on top of the other. So I pray as David did. I pray as Jesus did. Praise of thanks, prayers of awe, prayers for those that mourn; prayers that beseech, prayers for four baby birds in a small tree; seeking prayers, prayers of trust, prayers unending, prayers as He taught us to pray: “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Matt 6:9

birds a

“May He also rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Ps 72:8

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Habitat Building

A couple of thoughts have roamed through my mind today (within the chaos that usually scuttles about in there). Most of it centering around children. I often think that watching children is a reflection of watching Our Father in action. They love so easily. They forgive even faster. They create. They teach.

The granddaughter was playing with her habitats today. You see – she builds habitats for the creatures she wants to have (someday)…a small horse, a baby goat, a turtle (today’s focus) and a bat (not sure how she will do that one). Her mommy and daddy are pretty wonderful about helping her research whatever animal has caught her attention. Last weekend, it was a sea mollusk (and a lot of tears when we had to release him back into the ocean); this week a turtle. Then she starts to build them a habitat. She knows that her animals must have a place of their own to live, food to eat, and someone who will love them. Sound familiar?

Abba knew, that before He created humans, they would need a place of their own, Ever notice that the creation story doesn’t start with man? However, I don’t think that man was an afterthought…I may be a little biased here. I think God just is a much better planer then most of us…He was building a habitat for His sons and daughters. A vast array of universes. An orbiting world with its own sun and moon. A world subdividing into large areas of land.and crystal waters. A Garden full of plants and trees yielding fruit of every kind. Tiny creatures, big creatures, river creatures, flying creatures. Infinite in design, color, voice, skeletons…on and on and on. Until finally, it was time for something that He created in His own image…man…woman.garden

A child building a habitat.

Secondly, an older former student worried on-line today about losing contact with Our Father. Amid the business of day-to-day life, the angst of teenage years, the push to always succeed, the pressure to deny or – at least – ignore, media constantly humming in the ears. Is it any wonder he worries? I do – every minute of every day. I read a devotional today about how the Jewish people came to be the people of God. First, there Tornado of fire - Edm Airport Trng 08was Abraham. His faith led him through fire unharmed. Second, the people he taught stepped out in their faith to walk through water. Third, they traveled through a desert for 40 years learning to depend upon their Father God for food, shelter, and protection. A single person who made a choice; became the father of a nation as he taught others about God; leading generations to a belief so strong that they stepped into a river where Wall-of-Watertheir faith became a wind strong enough to dry the ground in front of them; and finally,…a looooonnnnnnggggg stroll through a desert that must have seemed unending and yet – so freeing – no limitations – no expectations – just trusting their Father to lead them, support them and love them.

Sound familiar? Don’t we all go through fiery times? Times when we see water totally over our heads? Dry, unending landscapes of nothingness, lack of visible supports, an empty feeling?

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Ps 23:423-wilderness_of_ziphjpg

David wrote this Psalm during one of His runs from Saul in the forest of Hereth (Sam 22:5) Jewish tradition teach that Hereth was not really a “forest” but a desert. Hereth means barrenness, harsh place. In Hebrew, it has the same letters as Heruth. Heruth means freedom. Strange combination of meanings – or is it? Jewish sages teach that when words share the same letters, it is because God wants us to notice the tie between the two words. Whether it is a whole nation or just one person, when we walk through that barren spot – that dark forest – we are freed of our day-to-day limitations, worries, etc. We are free to experience fully relying on the love of Our Father instead.

I try to rely on Our Father every day. I don’t always have the faith I should. I don’t always trust Him totally like I should. Yet – when I watch the Grands at play or listen to a former students trying to walk a life of faith, it reminds me that we are building our own habitat. We have (or are) walking through fire. Testing our faith by stepping into the water. And hopefully, walking through Hereth where we are free to experience the true love and sustenance of a Father who loves us enough to build a habitat just for us.

I’m just glad He lets us have a little time in the garden between all that fire, water and desert. I need my rest time, Father, and You always seem to know just when I need a little garden time. =P

The Resilient Soul

the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
“nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
“the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

Last night, just before I yawned through my last couple of words with Our Father, the word… “resilience”… darted in front of my eyes. I hate when He does that. The word danced around in my head, conjured up several images, thoughts, stories and completely destroyed the yawn complacency that had overtaken my mind.yawn



Sleep should never be disturbed by a word dancing around in your head. Worse – it has continued its merry romp between my neurons since then. My parents’ generation were certainly resilient. Growing up during the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, Riots…their middle name must of been “Resilient”. Then again – maybe that is the middle name for every generation.

Adam and Eve foreclosed/locked out of their home yet being resilient enough to build a new one together. David … Ruth… Jonah… Joseph… Mary Magdalene…Peter… The WORD is jammed packed with examples of resilience being displayed in God’s people.

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” — Leviticus 26:3–4

The literal translation of the first sentence is : “If you walk in MY decrees…” What a promise that is. If you follow the WORD, everything that follows will be blessings. Best yet…if you fall smack on your face…screw up in the worst way possible…God gave us our own version of resilience: GRACE.

Apparently, teaching God’s grace is intrinsic within our psyche because we teach our children to say “Sorry” when they break a window, break a heart, break a promise. . The neat thing is – when we trip and fall, we can do the same thing. All we have to do is whisper the same word…”sorry”, and Grace washes it away. While there are consequences to our choices, through it all – resilience takes over. We bounce back into shape. We recover from our difficulty, as we begin to walk in His decrees…

Rain and Sun work together to bless the fields we plant…seeds bloom…crops grow strong… trees bring forth fruit…and at the end of the day, our bodies tired and achy from a day’s work, we try to stifle that last yawn, and crack one eye open hoping that Our Father doesn’t toss another word at us that will keep us awake a little longer than we want to be.

I think I am definitely ready for that last yawn tonight.zzzz



DAY ONE:     HOPE      December 1, 2013

Today I wasn’t home to light the “Hope” candle for the first day of Advent, but Hope swirled around me.

HOPE: that the world “Be Breakin’ Good” during every step that we take during this holy season (thanks Robert Paterson) —

HOPE: that as people look around at the twinkling lights, stockings hung by the fireplace, go shopping or bake cookies, that they take time to let this verse echo in their hearts: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” — Psalm 150:6 —

HOPE: that “Chayeni”, the Hebrew word meaning “Life You” takes on new meaning we follow the true Star of David. Ps 119:25 (thanks, James Switzer)

HOPE: that every breath we take, echos the breath that He gave us in the beginning and that He gave us once again in a tiny stable… “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen 2:7

May your HOPE candle be brighter than ever during this week and into the new year to come. Blessings! Be!

DAY TWO:     JOY        December 2, 2013

Yesterday’s Advent word was HOPE. Today – completely out of advent order – is JOY. Given to me today by another who blessed me with her skill in healing and sent me on this journey that I didn’t know I had already started. God winked once again.

But how do we find JOY in a scary world? …in a less-than-perfect relationship? …in desperate times – when cupboards are bare – when the world seems against us?

He sent His WORD to show us. That is what this season is all about. The written WORD was not enough…He went further than any of us would ever do…He did what He spared Abraham from doing…He set the standard bearer’s feet upon this earth in the weakest form possible…in a stable…given to parents like you and me… parents who were imperfect – full of doubts – poor – frightened – weary…

JOY…amazingly – He had enough faith in us to send us JOY!!

advent joy“… They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting JOY will crown their heads. Gladness and JOY will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. … ” IS 51:11

JOY: in friendship

JOY: in prayer warriors

JOY: in divine appointments and God wink moments

JOY: in a child’s smile

JOY: in tears that ease the pain

JOY: in knowing that none of us are good – not even one – that’s why He sent JOY midst the torment of Roman rule…JOY in the midst of a requirement that everyone must make a journey for a census (imagine how we’d react to that one today!)…JOY in the midst of a world filled with uncertainty, fear, the have-and-have-nots, JOY in the midst of a smelly, dirty stable…JOY in the answer to prayers of a humble few.

“Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” – Psalm 2:8

DAY THREE:      LOVE     December 3, 2013

December 3rd, I was in transit…visiting a wonderful friend and teacher on the East side of Columbus, OH, that I got to know in 1975 at Garfield Elementary… laying eyes and hands on my son, Stawn Kaufman…and knowing that the word I was given and would write about for the third day of Advent would be LOVE.

LOVE: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jn 3:16

LOVE: that breathed into our nostrils the breath of life.

LOVE: that carved a path that we might find our way back to the Creator.

LOVE: that became wholly man and wholly God to fulfill that LOVE

LOVE: that surrounds us with spouse, family and friends

LOVE: that lifts us through hard times and brings us peace

LOVE: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have LOVE, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have LOVE, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have LOVE, I gain nothing.

LOVE is patient, LOVE is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. LOVE does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and LOVE. But the greatest of these is LOVE.” Cor 13 1-13

DAY FOUR:     JOURNEY      December 4, 2013

Traveling in the car for 8 hours by yourself, gives you lots of time to think – listen to Christmas music – roll your eyes at idiot drivers who cut you off – eat junk food – lay out a few plans for what you want to accomplish – – – and pray. It also gave me my fourth Advent word for 2013….. JOURNEY.

advent journey a“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. ) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: ) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” Lk 2:1-5

advent mapWe tend glide over these words with little thought to what this JOURNEY entailed, afterall we have to get to bed and wait for Santa to JOURNEY down our chimney. 93 miles – 4-5 days of long…steady…JOURNEY over rough terrain, down into valleys, crowded with other travelers, no bathrooms or motels or fresh fruit or… (you get the picture). If I look at this JOURNEY with a Jewish perspective, I would have to look deeper into the words themselves. I’m not that wise yet, but I can guess, that Our Father allowed Caesar to make this degree so that His Son’s life would – from the very beginning – symbolize the JOURNEY that all creation must travel. Since Adam JOURNEYED out of the Garden, Joseph JOURNEY to Egypt, David’s JOURNEY to becoming king, Ruth’s JOURNEY with Naomi; I could go on and on.

We are all on a JOURNEY.

JOURNEYS: that carry us closer – or farther – from home

JOURNEYS: that carry us into relationships – or out of relations

JOURNEYS: that carry us toward our dreams – or away from our dreams

JOURNEYS: that are the beginning or closer toward the end

JOURNEYS: that brought God down to earth to become wholly man. A man who went on many JOURNEYS to bring us Grace, Redemption and a chance to dream of the best JOURNEY of all. A JOURNEY home.

DAY FIVE:     MUSIC     December 5, 2013

MUSIC is the 5th Word of Advent…can you tell that I’m still behind a day? sigh.

It started yesterday when I made a side-trip into Cracker Barrel Gift Shop. You just never know what you will find there. Seems like I never truly find anything, but sometimes it is just fun peek in the corners. “I’ll Fly Away” was playing, and I immediately was back on the Campbell Street back porch listening to dad and a bunch of his friends play this song while mom and some of the other women joined in. There is something about gospel MUSIC that gets to me everytime and maybe it is just because of dancing for joy with my parents’ MUSIC surrounding me.

In any case, MUSIC continued. In and out of stores, picking up groceries and things needed since our cupboards were bare, Christmas MUSIC surrounded me again. Best part – seemed like everyone was singing a long. The little old lady leaning on her cane as she looked at the coffee label — the toddler bouncing in the cart singing “Jingle Bells” — the man waiting in line whistling along with “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” — and of course, me.

MUSIC: that eased the time spent waiting

MUSIC: that seemed to imbue smiles from everyone

MUSIC: that everyone sings along with at one point or another

MUSIC: that holds memories – good and bad – and reminds us

MUSIC: that sets the stage for the miraculous

MUSIC: that came when Our Father breathed that first creative breath of life

MUSIC: that reigned over the holiest of nights as a small family looked at their newborn Son

MUSIC: that reminds us of His presence in our lives and the Grace He brought and will bring.

Last night I fell asleep with that old gospel song in my head. This morning it was still there, and I remember…MUSIC is the 5th Word of Advent.

DAY SIX:      GRACE     December 6, 2013

When I took my trip back to OH last Thursday, I wasn’t sure how it would all work out. Trips are like that. You have an agenda, you hope it works, and then you just cast off and go. It has been the same with this Advent Word path that God suggested I follow. I knew I had to find a word a day – a God inspired word, and while everyday, the word has been made abundantly clear by the end of the day – it was not always a word that I expected or knew what to write about it. I assumed that I would use GRACE as an advent word eventually – just not quite so soon. However, today, it seemed to pop into my head over and over. I also didn’t expect this Bible verse to be the one that struck a chord as I searched for my word.

“I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” — Ezekiel 37:22

Gotta love foreshadowing.

jewish templeSince the beginning, Creation has been divided because God would not demand obedience, love or reverence. Creation has always been free to choose. From angels to human, the kingdom has been been divided…Cain and Abel…Esau and Jacob…Joseph and his brothers…David and Saul…on and on and on and on…wing, don’t you? If nothing else, Jewish traditions (these are the oral/written stories that are passed down through the rabbis – generation after generation) continue to open whole new vistas into the OT, and the way this tiny baby we are welcoming into our world was raised. He read this verse. Isn’t that amazing? He debated it with rabbis and peers as he was growing up. He heard this story behind it, and why the temple was built on Mt. Moriah. Two brothers lived on either side of the mount and loved each other so much that at night, they would travel to each other’s homes bearing gifts in secret because they were afraid that the other one might not have enough to survive. Eventually, they discovered what the other was doing, and they embraced. Love had united the kingdom.  

And step-by-step, God has worked a way to show GRACE to His creation.

GRACE: that used the bad things that we choose to accomplish great things for His children

GRACE: that provided a temple on Mount Moriah surrounded by brothers who cared more about each other than themselves

GRACE: that knew from the beginning that a temple would not be enough

GRACE: that provided a way for Him to dwell among us any time – any where – any language

GRACE: that united His divided kingdoms into one eternal kingdom through the gift of His son

When God breathed the breath of life into creation, He breathed GRACE as well. The OT isn’t just a bunch of historical stories, it is a huge metaphor that repeats its theme over and over and over. GRACE. And on this 6th Day of Advent – GRACE is, once again, upon its way. We just have to open the door of the inn and let Him stay. Didn’t you ever wonder why His words echoed this early scene of His life? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev 3:20