Tag Archives: Epiphany

2020 VISION – EPIPHANY

Epiphany – 12th Day of Christmas – The arrival of the wisemen – put away decorations – an idea that takes hold in the mind.

Everyone seems to have their own ideas on what Epiphany is – that is – IF they even remember that there is such a thing.

“On the twelfth day my true love gave to me
Twelve drummers drumming…”

The 12 disciples – the Apostles Creed – the 12 tribes of Judah – the prayer of Yeshua…

GOD IS!

The wisemen raised in a tradition started by Daniel during Babylon sojourn (or so I’ve read). They read their histories. They read the stars. They trusted something beyond belief and rode into the unknown following only a star to a baby and his family.

GOD ACTS!

Long before any could put all the pieces together, God was already doing so. Aligning stars. Using Daniel’s captivity to unfurl another mystery. Protecting His newly given Son. Drumming history into the words of a song that people would sing far in the future.

GOD CHANGES!

People reason. Ideas take shape and wallah – there is a plan to act on – an answer to the problem. “We are so smart,” we think. We march forward only to find a river in front of us. A storm on the horizon. A mountain that won’t move. A fig tree without a bloom. An empty garden. Silence around us. What now?

“I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.”v.16

I am eclectic. No other way to put it. I bounce between genres of music, literature and religion. Any day you could find me bouncing between Lauren Diagle – Beverly Sills – Streisand – Julie Andrews – Ella Fitzgerald and singing – singing – singing. Did I mention? There has been a miracle over Christmas – my voice is back. Still pretty weak, but back. The squeaks are rare. The doctors wrong. So like any physical therapy – I keep exercising it – pushing it – testing it’s limits.

Praising GOD.

While I am still mostly reading non-fiction – Bible, poetry, history, and devotionals. I’ve started adding some fiction. That also started over Christmas. I read several Christmas novels – Charles Dickens, Lloyd C. Douglas, Truman Capote, T. Davis Bunn – not to mention – the wonderful Christmas stories I read as a child that still sit on my shelf. I cried. I giggled. I gleaned some wisdom. I promised myself to read and re-read some of my favorite fiction authors in 2020.

“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,”v.17

Sundays find me going to my traditional early service at a local Methodist church. Especially this year of trying to step onto the dry riverbed with towering walls of water all around me. I am savoring the comfort of rituals learned at my parents’ knees – the old hymns – the majestic chords of classical choral music – the organ that thrums deep within me. Then I come home to feed on the non-traditional services – Ravi Zacharias, Brian Biggers, Rabbi Johnathan Cahn, Priscilla Shirer, Max Lucado. I mark up my Bibles. I look up verses and re-read them again. Note cards get filled. Walk the lab girls. Hug my teddy bear. Sing. Play the piano. Talk to My Father.

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.” Hab 3:18-19

GOD IS!
GOD ACTS!
GOD CHANGES!

Not sure I like changes. I have a friend whose focus word is “trust” for 2020. Last year, that was my word. It changed my life because that is what Our Father does. He changes us – from the inside to the outside. My 2020 vision seems to be clearing a little. His “power” (which is my focus word this year) – his powerful presence continues to overwhelm me – clearing my path when I see no path – opening my throat when the notes are lost in tears – reminding me of a tiny book written by a prophet 3000 years before I was born.

Just a matter of trusting the power of the Spirit in 2020 and remembering always: GOD IS – GOD ACTS – GOD CHANGES!!
What an Epiphany! 

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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]

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: The Miracle

Santa is all put away for another year. But the light and nativities of the season are still out until Epiphany. The nice thing about not having a big tree is that I can still sit in the warmth of the lights that are spread around our small rooms. The outside lights stay on as well until the Wise Men catch up with Baby YESHUA. So the Christmas spirit remains a little longer.

I also finished up watching some of my favorite Christmas movies. “So This Is Christmas”, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Christmas Episodes” and “Touched By An Angel: Christmas Episodes” (which, btw, still make me tear up). All of them touching upon that essence of that first Miracle.

“You are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your GOD, declares the Lord God.”~Ez 34:31

We all see miracles every day. We just don’t always recognize them. I can keep in touch – sometimes daily – with family and friends who are far away. I can watch favorite movies as I work around the house. I can be fed the “manna” of life even if I don’t make it to a physical building called “church”. I can read the WORD in book form, watch it in visual arrays, listen to it via dramatic readings on CD.  Life is way good.

Even with all of that, I’m pretty positive that I miss a million more miracles that are right in front of my eyes. Just like there were lots of people who didn’t recognize the miracle the prophets’ words when they were spoken – – – or the miracle of the star in front of them – – – or the miracle of angels singing – – – or a baby born and laid in a manger.

Our Father knows how stubborn sheep can be. How dismissive sheep can be when people espouse ideas that are contrary to what we want to think about. How blind sheep can be even when the Light is right in front of us. How deaf sheep can be even when the words are singing loudly above us. How any kind of Saviour could be ‘worth a hill of beans’ if He was born in a stable.

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”~Lk 2:34-35

I love the miracle of Simeon and Anna. Two witnesses at His birth. Two prophets who brought more promises of Our Father to the parents and to those who would listen. The miracle of the HOLY SPIRIT was upon them both. They had grown old – fasting, praying, waiting – – – waiting for the fulfillment of a promise – the miracle of seeing the Saviour before they died. 
Moved by the SPIRIT.
Eyes and ears opened by the heart.
Faith blessed by the Miracle.

“She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising GOD. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for GOD to rescue Jerusalem.”~Lk 2:38

Can we do any less? Pray. Fast. Wait. Tell everyone we meet about this sign from GOD – this Miracle – This Saviour – born to shepherd His sheep – to bring joy to the world to people of good will – a sign of a promise fulfilled.

“On the fifth day of Christmas, My True Love gave to me…”: A Miracle. 

501fbedf8e0d2acef55931eb25797f6a--greg-olsen-baby-jesus                   [Greg Olsen artwork]

QUIET NEW DAY

mountain1How can I not write a few words on this first day of the new year? It was a quiet day. Put all the Christmas stuff away which is unusual since I usually wait until Epiphany to pack away this special time of year. However, 17 days of packing lie ahead, and I need to motivate myself to keep organized. (Let us not forget that I am a day-dreaming, artsy Gemini, so this is not an easy task in the least.)

For those of you who do not know, we bought a house. At least, all parties have agreed in theory, and real estate agents assure us that it is in the process over this holy-day season. It is a repo on a road not far from the daughter and not far from our Covenant Pines. Convenient in so many ways, but a multitude of blessings in so many more. Hard work to come. Dreams to fulfill. Gardens to plant. A gift from Our Father when we didn’t know which way to turn.

I love when Our Father speaks in quiet ways. A nudge here. A breeze that tickles the back of the neck. A whisper that filters through the noise and buries itself in the heart. That is the gift of His holy presence in our lives, and I treasure it whenever I am wise enough to have a clue.

There is much more to this story and more to come in the next few days. For now, I am just rejoicing in the quiet of the day. A bounteous pork supper with the screaming, running Grands, 2 huge labs in hot pursuit, squeak toys leaping from hand to hand as every one jumps on Papa and/or the couch, yawning parents preparing for the next big event – a birthday trip to Disney, and happy, content elders loving family gathered round. Gifts to treasure. Memories to ponder. Love wrapping itself around this new day of the new year and tickling the back of my neck once more.

Blessings!Be! 2016. May the world hear Your whisper and bury Your wisdom at its heart.

17_elija___the_cave“After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.”~1Kg 19:12-13a

SHROVE TUESDAY

pancake_1400cYesterday was a change-over day. As I gathered the Christmas candles from the windows, those final vestiges of Christmas, the darkness appeared a little darker,,,a little scarier. The bright reds of Valentine love were replaced with the gentler shades of shamrocks, little faeries peeked out of their hiding places and whispered, “Spring” to my home, and a transition began within me as well.

Today is “Fat Tuesday”.  It is the literal translation of Mardi Gras. Raised by an ex-king cakecommunicated Canadian Catholic (because he married a protestant), my mom always called it “Shrove Tuesday” which means to strive – to confess. Celebrations from Epiphany to now are culminating as the King cakes and paczki are replaced by fasting, sacrifice and confession. The Lenten season has almost arrived on my doorstep.

I looked out the window for a while tonight. Watched as the snow/sleet mixture covered our front yard as the dogs romped and slid around, enjoying the rare chance to roll in such cold whiteness. My approach to the Lenten season has been different this year. The usual enjoyment has been missing. I’ve been —- I don’t know what I’ve been. Contemplative, perhaps is the closest word I can find. I’ve been reading a lot, praying more and digging into my faith with a big ol’ shovel.

I turn from the window and listen to the dogs and the hubby snore. I smile as their noisy breaths become synchronized. Mumbles emerge out of each of them as the snow/sleet mixture piles a little higher outside. The night has become quieter, and I am listening. For what I do not know. But I am listening.

According to Jewish tradition and law, we are in the middle of a Jewish Shemitah year (Sept. 24, 2014–Sept. 13, 2015). A time to honor God by resting the land and forgiving debt. The 7th year of a 7year period. 2015 is also a Jubilee year (the 7th year of 7 consecutive Shemitahs or in other words – the 49th year in a 50 year period).The 50th year then becomes a year of freedom for the Jewish people. It makes you wonder how closely the Jewish nation is tied to our nation, when you consider the recent history of Shemitah years in 2001 and 2008.

So as Lent approaches once again, I find myself waiting by the window. Listening. Watching. Praying. It is the nature of Lent. It is what Rabbi Yeshua did as He turned His feet towards the cross. I can do no less.

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” Lk 29-31

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