Tag Archives: God

CLAPPING TREES

“If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?”~ Job 4:2-6
 
There has been only quiet and emptiness. The sky thunderously dark and empty of light mocked the brightness of previous days, and the night withheld its dim beauty. Job knew this period of life well. Many of us know this period of life.
 
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”~1 Chron 4:10
 
When I get full of myself, I have this crazy tendency to pray this simple prayer by a man only mentioned one time in the Bible. A man that had his prayer answered. I always think, “Ok, I’ve grown a lot in the past few years, right, Father? Expanding my territory will mean that it will be much easier than the last time I prayed this prayer, right?”
 
“Right?”
 
It never is. In fact, it is always a little more challenging. It is why I have only prayed this prayer 3 times. Right now – I don’t know if I will ever be brave enough to pray it again – but then again – I have said this before.
 
It is a prayer that – for me – tears off the veils that I have used to cover all those weak areas in my life that are buried so deeply that most of the time I can pretend they don’t exist.
Physical.
Emotional.
Spiritual.
And even – those states that exist so far beyond my logical understanding that I have no words for them. The good news?God knows them – knows of their existence – even if I don’t, and He strips the veils away to expand my territory in Him.
 
In January I prayed. God answered…as He always does. Territory expanded and…as always…a blessed period of rest begins. A tiny flower of clarity. A deep breath that I had been holding for almost six months. And a whole bunch of Grace shining so brightly that I almost feel ready to stand up and begin my journey again.
 
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”~Is 55:12
 
Four weeks ago, just before my scheduled trip to NYC with the daughters, I was still struggling. This test had been longer and more intense than the other two times, and I was tired – – – very tired. It was then He woke me up in the middle of the night and gave this verse in Isaiah. The darkness was pushed back to reveal the stars that had been there all along.
 
It was time to step out in joy and let Him lead me forth in peace. The mountains continue to sing as the trees clap their hands and I am looking forward to starting a new adventure. I get to be a librarian again. It looks like I will end my working career the way I started it long ago when I was a page in the Loudonville library. I also get to work in a new Christian school that is just starting in NC.
K-3.
A small room.
A few shelves of books.
A chance to help build a room in Our Father’s house – – – “…on earth as it is in heaven.”~Matt 6:10b
 
There are mountainous songs circling and trees clapping.
Can you hear them?
 

Grace Christian Academy – can’t wait to see what Our Father is about to do. 

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GOLDEN SAPPHIRE

Darkling day.
Cloudy day.
Windy day.
Chilly day.

And yet –

For a brief moment – while the rest of the world sat in the twilight of today’s last’s visages – the fiery sun burnt a hole in the thick clouds until the horizon blazed fiery orange through the dark blueish gray around it; giving light to impending darkness.

Tops of trees brushed in burnished brass – 
Tips singed first – 
Until bright flames shot –
Further –
Deeper –
Down the trunks –
Flames coloring the world in its image –
While the Breath of Life swirled new sparks 
Golden sparkles – 
That spun and reflected the Light back into the darkness –
Flowing over the branches – 
Tree after tree bowing in rhythm – 
Waiting to be touched –
By the Firestarter’s unfailing hand –

And my breath caught.

Time stopped.

Ayn Sof spoke.

“Be still, and know that I am God;”~Ps 46:10

Golden sapphires.
Unbroken covenants.
Reminders – that even in the darkest of times – 
The saddest of times – 
The chaotic mess of times –
The soft twilight times –
His Fire continues to burn bushes – 
Tall trees –
Souls 
Fired with His wisdom –
And immeasurable fiery Light into the world –
Once more – 
Over –
And over –
And over again –
Until the whole world knows.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”~Ez 36:26

So tonight this is my prayer:
That God be glorified –
In whatever afflicted, messy poverty that towers above my world – over my head – beneath my feet – within my heart
That I remember the Helper – the Deliverer –
The Holy Ground around the bush –
“To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever, Amen.” ~1 Peter 4:11da         TheBurningBush [google images]

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: Owl Wisdom

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.”~Ep 6:18a

Finally.

Years of camping – girl scouts and beyond. 
Years of living in the country. 
Years of sitting outside, listening and watching.
Years of listening to them at night as they hooted me to sleep.

Finally – – – I saw a real life owl in the wild.

Luckily, my life hasn’t been devoid of seeing owls. I’ve seen owls many times on trips to the zoo. White owls, brown owls, gray owls and even saw one up close and personal on a writing retreat while it sat on a park ranger’s arm. But I have never seen one as God created them. 
Soaring.
Sitting.
Looking at me.

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”~Ep 6:18b

Our gimpy little girl who isn’t supposed to run and yet never stops running when she is outside, actually startled it as she raced through the woods. I turned to watch what she was doing when the owl took wing to another branch. It was facing the road away from me, and then it did that awesome cool owly thing that everyone loves. It turned its head all the way around to look directly at me.

I know it was only a moment, and yet – it was one of those moments that takes your breath away and lasts for a lot longer. I can still see it. My own personal miracle and a childhood prayer answered in the best way ever. Koay yipped and off it flew out of sight.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.”~Ps 40:1

Lately, I’ve noticed that many times my devotions dovetail each other as if they were written by the same person. And if I’m paying really close attention, I notice that they address those really hard things that I’ve been praying in the Spirit for as well. Duh! Throwback time. Back to the times when I used to sit in choir practice and make mistakes. Hit myself in the head – DUH – literally. While they may have been written at different times by different people, they were inspired by the One who spoke the WORD into being.

“I was dancin’ in the dark when I saw your open arms. Barefoot on the cross, and now I hear you in every song. When my life was still a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but Your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Phillipa Hanna, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

Answered prayers don’t come when we expect them. Often, they don’t come how we expect them. Sometimes, we don’t even know they have been answered. Then again, some may be not be answered until way after we’ve gone home. But all in all, prayers are always answered. We just don’t like all the answers because they aren’t answered OUR way.

Tonight, the kitty that answered a prayer I didn’t know I had keeps sitting on the keyboard batting my hands. For whatever reason, she wants a little extra attention tonight – and I indulge her until she hops down to chase the mousy sounds she hears in the kitchen.

I like to think Our Father God and His Son and Spirit are much the same way. Our prayers sing in Their combined heart – begging for a little extra on some nights – a little more cuddling – a little more encouragement until we hop away to chase after the next thing.

The good news – The Trinity is still there. Waiting for those prayers. Waiting for us to jump up into their laps. Purring a little louder for a little more attention. Kneading their hands with our tiny claws until they smile and sing a new song in our heart with their love.

I look at the breadcrumbs on the road before me. They are no longer abundantly covering the road. They have dwindled to few and far between. The destination that seemed so far away is just ahead. Passion Week – just days away. And I wonder at the journey I have been on for 32 days.

The journey of the owl into my life. A life-long prayer answered. A time to continue to pray with precise language – a time to look forward in prayer – a time to open my eyes to the miracles around me and rejoice. A time of breadcrumbs.

“When I’m dancin’ in the dark, I will raise my weary arms, and thank you for the cross, and the Grace that’s enough for anyone. When you found me in a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but your Grace is perfect. I don’t feel worthy, but your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Ibid.

 

BREADCRUMBS: Crumbly Day

This was a crumbly day. Bits and pieces smashed together. Not bad. Not good. Just a day when the pieces just didn’t seem to leave me with any sort of cohesive picture or feeling of what was accomplished.

Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle caught her 5th mouse (I wonder when I will quit counting them?) which I almost stepped on as I was racing about trying to get morning chores done before church. Worshiped and tried to absorb another great message. Drove the long way home to pick up some fresh foods – – sidetracked by some colorful flowers, seed packets and children who love to talk. Walked the dogs. Dug weeds in the gardens. Re-filled the garden tub with dirt and planted lettuce (threat of snow/ice for Wednesday – sigh). Watched a couple of movies. Messed with new printer – which I managed to get working all by myself. ……. I think.

And yet – – 
at the end of the day – – 
I feel like the crumbles are just lying in my hand waiting to be blown away by any stray wind that passes. So tonight, like on other nights when I have this disjointed uneasiness, I turned back to the WORD. It is the only way I know to change the lens in my eyes.

“May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us.” v.1

Earlier, I ran across Psalm 67 in one of my on-line devotions. It is one of the shorter Psalms, and one I have read often. Jewish traditions says that this Psalm was originally given by Our Father to only two people – Moses and David. It is also said that it was given to them both in the shape of the menorah during a vision.

“May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
May the nations praise you, O GOD.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.”v.2-3

I’m not sure why this drew me back this evening. Maybe it was because it was given in a vision. Maybe it is because this Psalm is so full of joy. Maybe it is because this Psalm doesn’t crumble in your hands at the end of the day. It’s strength rings with Truth.

“Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.”v.4

Jewish traditions say that King David engraved the Psalm 67 image from his vision onto his battle shield. The first three verses made up the right branches of the Menorah. The 4th verse embodied the trunk. The last 3 verses filled in the last 3 branches. It is said to be the reason he was successful in battle.

According to Rabbinical wisdom, our eyes are often drawn to the deeper wisdom of G-d by the placement of the verses within the whole. Sometimes this is by repetitive phrases. Sometimes it is by the choice of words. Sometimes the simple placement of “jot and tittle”. In this case, it is the placement of the verse placed on the central beam of the Menorah. The strength of the Menorah as it upholds all the branches.

“May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.”v.5-6

Tonight, the grumbly stomach calmed down as I saw that the day really wasn’t as crumbly as I originally thought. It never was. Like King David I just needed to tap back into trunk of the WORD. Singing for joy in the strength of what has been given and knowing that Our Father is truly governing and guiding me – all of us – every step of the way – even on crumbly, disjointed, unsettling days.

“Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him.” Ps 67:1-7 

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BREADCRUMBS: Humbled

Seriously! Teach for 30+ years, and I still get finger-shaking-nervous to read in a front of 1-3 years (1st to 3rd grade) at the Montessori school. It was like every 1st day of school all over again. I laughed for being humbled is never easy for me, and I know God is enjoying reminding me. For all things change – the more they stay the same.

That being said, I still have a “can-do” set of objectives in my head when I sit in a teacher’s chair. I can still spot the mischievous ones within a couple minutes and know their names by the 5 minute mark. I can still see the ones who really want to speak and just don’t know how. I can still get pretty much all of them to laugh, smile, and get excited about a book – a stuffed goat – a piece of plain white paper and a pencil.

Not bad for an old woman.

“But the conclusion is that you should all be in harmony; suffer with those who are suffering, love one another, be merciful and humble…”

Harmony…
Suffering/mourning…
Loving…
Mercy…
Humble…

Torah readings. Sermons. Letters. Over and over…from the beginning…these words have been repeated throughout the OT/NT. It doesn’t seem like a very hard list to live by – – – and yet – – – generation after generation still falter in their steps – stumble over the idols – weep over their broken dreams – and struggle with the choice –

to stand or not to stand.

“And you should not repay a person evil for evil, neither insults for insults; but to the contrary of these things, give blessings, for you are called to this, that you would inherit blessing.”~1 Pt 3:8-9

It is a beautiful evening outside even if it is a little chilly – okay – a lot chilly. Even snow bears don’t want to be out there (after all, if there is no snow to roll in what fun is it?). When I look at the stars tonight and see the universe that Stephen Hawkins wrote and taught about so often, I don’t think of it like he did. I tend to be overwhelmed at the vastness and awe-filled fear as I think of the linear time line of this small world. I think of all the generations that have come before me. 
Those who looked up.
Those who have faltered.
Those who have stumbled.
Those who have wept.
Those who have looked up with dust-filled mouths, skinned up knees and bloodied hands.

When I look up I remember the Genesis. I remember the WORD. I remember the songs and the prophets. I remember the covenants, and in faith – I reach for His staff, fallen by my side. Standing when the WORD offers its firmness under my feet. Thinking when His WORD clears the clutter and shines a light for the first step – for what is faith without action? That is the cool thing about thinking and praying; it always leads to new actions. Maybe salty actions that shake those traveling beside me, but humble actions inspired by the One who walked towards Jerusalem so long ago – who waits outside the door and knocks…

Harmony…
Suffering/mourning…
Loving…
Mercy…
Humble…

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.”~Peace Prayer of St. Francis 

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BREADCRUMBS: Go

Jesus said, “Go!”
My preacher’s sermon last night said, “Go!”
Today’s devotions said, “Go!”
The last thing I felt like doing today was – you guessed it – 
GO!

Occasionally when you have severe sinus problems, the world has a tendency to spin a little when you open your eyes. Then the choice is 1) spend the rest of the day either in the doctor’s office; 2) use some homeopathic techniques; 3) wait it out, move slowly and take sitting-up naps off and on all day and 4) don’t put in your mono-vision contacts for the day – after all the brain has enough things to sort through without adding something else into the mix.

Have no fear. If the world is seriously spinning, I get someone to trot me off to the doctor’s office pretty quick. Today, however, was definitely a #2, #3, and #4 kinda day. Boring. Sedentary. And definitely – not a “Go” type of day.

I did convince the brain to “Go” and read devotions. It was not impressed in the morning, but by the afternoon, the brain had re-gained enough of its equilibrium to enjoy the irony of the lessons and help me focus my prayers a little more tightly.

“One sometimes has to go against his or her nature to dig into the dark trenches of life. One has to be willing to lose everything in order to gain what GOD has shaped them for, because there’s a cost to the things that matter most in life and it in that sacrifice that we find our true treasure.” When Calls the Heart, Season 1, Ep 2.

You know God is seriously winking hard at you when He sends His message again through a TV show – just to make sure you heard Him the first couple of times.

David was still just a youngster when God said, “Go!” He took the things that he trusted and the wisdom gained as a shepherd, carrying food from his father and went – lots of not-so-hidden metaphors there. Went against the advice of his older brothers. Went against the laughter trying to shift the sand under his feet. Went into “the dark trench” of a giant’s shadow.

That’s what faith can do. More times than I can list in a short blog – 
God said to Abraham – “Go!”
God said to Moses – “Go!”
God said to Esther – “Go!”
God said to Mary – “Go!”
God said to Jesus – “Go!” 
Jesus told the disciples – “Go!”
Jesus tells us – “Go!”

“Go!” is different for each of us.

Today, I know there was a reason, I woke up with the world spinning. I also know that there is a reason that God is saying “Go!” So I will do a couple more homeopathic stretches of my sinuses. Drink some more water and probably sleep in my recliner just to do my best on this side.

Later, as I prepare to whisper my good-night prayers, I will pray His words back to Him and focus on “Go!” I need to wink back at Him just as broadly to let Him know that I got His not-so-subtle message. 
No more procrastinating. 
No more excuses. 
Time to face the dark ttrenches.
Time to find my treasure in Him. 
Time to “Go!”

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”~Mk 16:15

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BREADCRUMBS: Blessed Day

Whoop!Whoop! Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle caught a full-sized mouse last night. She left it smack-dab in the middle of the hallway and was curled into a ball at the foot of our bed just waiting to be proud when we woke up. 

Annnnnnddddddd…we were. Nature when left alone works very well, and SSS got tuna for breakfast. Who knew we needed a cat? I think you know how I would answer that one.

Today was a totally God blessed day from start to finish. I spent a lot of time being “churched” today. This is a saying I picked up when I was in our small gospel choir in Saxapahaw. The ladies and the choir leaders would use it when they were feeling the Spirit moving among us as we prayed at the start of choir – sang in the Spirit – and at the end of choir when we prayed in the Spirit again.

“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands.”~Dan 9:4

While it was still sort of windy outside, the Spirit inside was so much stronger. He reminded me to circle Daniel 9 in prayer again- – – ALAT – As Long Asit Takes (which is an acronym that Mark Batterson used in “The Circle Maker”). With my Gemini nature, I have to work really hard not to flit hither and yon. So I wrote it down in my prayer journal and circled it. Hopefully, I will stick at it ALAT in the days to come.

“But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. We have not obeyed the LORD our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets.”~Dan 9:9-10

Other than that, didn’t really do much. Read devotions. Spent time catching up with some of my favorite TV ministers. Worked on our front deck for a few hours – stain/painting. (Do you realize arthritis really doesn’t like that chore – especially those individual picket thingies that seemed to have multiplied today?). Played with the dogs and kitty as we walked around the yard. Read some more. Cooked a chicken, potatoes and gravy. (yum) Carried on some conversations with friends that make me smile. And just finished up watching: “Let There Be Light”.

“Yet we have refused to seek mercy from the LORD our God by turning from our sins and recognizing his truth.”~Dan 9:13b

Great movie. Reminded me how much I loved Dionne Warwick back in the day, so I ordered some CD’s. Perfect ending to a perfect day. Kitty curled in my side. Puppies looking at me ready to walk outside one last time and then get a toothbrush treat which they love. Hubby snoring. Me? Yawning big time and ready for saying goodnight to God before I close my eyes for the night.

Breadcrumbs have been dropping hinting at new things, but for today, I was given peace, blessings, and many, many God-winks. And for that, I am oh-so thankful. I needed a day like today. Who knew? I guess you know the answer to that one again.

God is in the world. The Spirit is blowing – sometimes pretty hard. The Son stands beside us with grace in His hand. Who could ask for more? So my wish for all of you is to “have a blessed day” for yourselves some time this week.

“O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”~Dan 9:19

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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: Lessons

My itchy ankle wouldn’t let me sleep last night. I think it is poison ivy that one of my lovely critters decided to share with me when she cuddled between my feet and rubbed her head against them. I figured going to church was not happening since anything touching it would result in lots of fidgeting and squirming.

I could handle this. A day of rest. A day of rest at home.

Earlier today, I was half listening to a newscast, half listening to a loud snuffling puppy (who is the above said cuddler), half listening to mumbling sounds coming out of the kitchen, and half reading an on-line devotional. Obviously – that meant I was only retaining about one fourth of any of it- – -if I was lucky. Quite a large amount of something was getting lost in the boggle of my synapses.

The mumbler was cooking breakfast and pointed out that the porch needed to be cleaned off so we could paint before the rain arrived. Upon looking out the window and seeing very dark clouds above our neighbors’ roof lines, I decided I should get that done. Turned off TV. Comforted snuffling puppy. Moved one half of million things off the part of the porch to be stain/painted and find new homes for the other half million things.

So much for a day of rest – – – scratching my ankle every step of the way – – – I found lessons waiting instead.

“Blessed is he that mourn for he shall be comforted.”~Matt 5:4

A couple hours later, that Beatitude is about as much as I remembered from today’s early morning devotional, but it set the stage. GOD is good that way. Breakfast completed. Kitchen cleaned. Hubby busy stain/painting porch floor; I squirreled back in my chair and turned on the TV to listen to our church service. Today’s service was a celebration service, but as always, God was winking as He stringing the pearls of lessons in front of me today.

Lesson One: It is easy to mourn in this world. A lot of sad things happen to us that makes us sad, and this beatitude reminds us that it is such a blessing to know that we will be comforted in our sadness. At least – that is the way I mostly looked at it. But if this is an attitude we should have in Christ, why are we supposed to mourn? The devotional looked at it in a broader sense. What if we mourn in the way Jesus mourned for the world around him? Mourned the way He knows the Father mourns for all of us – all of His creation? If we mourn for someone, then we have the ability to offer comfort to them…to pray for them…to put our arms around them in prayer – if not in actual physicality.

Mourn for others.

“Behold, I stand at the door and I shall knock. If a man listens to my voice and will open the door, I also shall come in and I shall have supper with him, and he with me.”~Rev 3:20

Lesson Two: Baby steps are so important. Today’s church was dedicated to the church’s missions work in prison ministries and addiction ministries. So many testimonies. So many who were “mourned over” and comforted. A men’s choir that was more off key than on, and yet, was more beautiful than any choir I have ever heard. Men who had chosen to open the door when they heard a knock. One man described His voice asking one question? “Have you fallen enough yet?” He replied, “You mean I can fall further?” He said it didn’t take him very long to open the door wide and ask Him inside.

Invite Jesus in. He’s still knocking.

“For David served the will of God in his generation and he fell asleep and was added to his fathers ..”~Act 13:36a.

Lesson Three: As I was reading Rick Warren’s tribute to Rev. Billy Graham, I started to see a message repeated. It ended up coming at me from three different directions (our church offered the visual version and Dr. David Jeremiah cited the same verse today as well), and whenever that happens – I know God is winking as broadly as He can for me to notice.

These three pastors were preaching virtually the same sermon. I think Pastor Warren simplified it the best by defining it as his own life verse which, of course, got me thinking some more. The more I thought, the more I could see the value of looking at my life through this verse as well: “…serving God’s purpose (that what is timeless) in your generation,(in a timely way)”.

Inviting Jesus into my life. Mourning for those around me. Living a life through Jesus’s eyes with God’s reflection [purpose] in mine.

Lessons are a goal. I will probably fail the test more than I pass it before I get to look into My Father’s face through the Grace of Christ. Even so, I know He loves my heart – just like He loved David’s heart. One lesson at a time.

Thanks be to Father God that hears our prayers, mourns with us, comforts us, and dreams our dreams with us to His glory. Baruch Hashem Adonai. Hear O Israel the LORD our GOD is one. You shall love the L-rd your G‑d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. The second is liken unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself. In the name of His precious son, Yeshua, we pray. 

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