Tag Archives: God

ADVENT 2017 – HOPE #3

It has been one of those nights when all I’ve done is find one podcast after another (and should I  mention that I really don’t like to listen to them at all .  I am a visual learner who does much better watching body cues and facial expression while I listen). Podcasts that popped up in various ways and yet – all related – tied together by theme and content. And now, they are all tumbling around in my head as I am watching seasonal, up-lifting movies, praying off and on, working on a Christmas stocking, and enjoying the colorful lights that decorate my house.

I am blessed. Blessed beyond time. Blessed with unending HOPE.

And yet – I yearn for more.  Yearn to understand more.  Yearn to peek over the balcony in my own world. I can see my cover picture on FB. It is entitled, “Heaven’s balcony” by Ron DiCianni. When I first saw it, it struck me that this has always been the way I pictured angels and my loved ones as they look down from heaven at the rest of us – – – a time of peeking over the rails of clouds into the murky world below.

Can you imagine what Heaven’s balcony looked like when Zechariah was in the temple? At the annunciation to a young girl? At the moment when John leapt in Elizabeth’s belly? On the night of Yeshua’s birth?

Can you imagine them seeing the HOPE that shown in the eyes of a weary couple – in a place – a place they had never envisioned as the perfect spot to birth a babe – let alone – their baby?

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”~Lk 2:6-7

HOPE.

Whether it is a balcony full of angels blowing golden trumpets – – – a choir of heavenly voices – – – a multitude of candles forming a humongous star – – – on that blessed night, there was HOPE. A gathering of notes. An accumulation of lights. A stairway of prayers from heaven to earth. “…a kingdom come…”

HOPE.

“And the word of our God stands for eternities. And this is that word by which you have been evangelized.”~1 Pt 1:25

This is not at all what I was going to write about tonight. As it often is the case, the pictures change in my head, and the words change with them. We celebrate the memory of HOPE during this season, but the great news is – HOPE remains in this murky world. Scary as it seems at times. Frightful as the world turns upside down. Humbling as the knees fold.

But for those “poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungering/thirsting, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted” – – – HOPE remains in this world and I yearn – yearn for even more HOPE.

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”~Rm 8:24-25 [google images/Ron DiCianni art]heaven's balcony

Advertisements

ADVENT 2017 HOPE #1

“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.”

“I don’t like to say, God, Grandma.” (I think my jaw had started to drop to the steering wheel before she added) “I like to say, G – O – D.”

I wish I could have seen her face when the Granddaughter said those two sentences – I wish I could have seen mine. Then Grandson asked, “Why?”

“I just thinks it sounds better. More like G – O – D.” Grandson then spelled out the name G – O – D.

I think I kinda chuckled and responded, “You know, G – O – D agrees with you. Although He used the letters, Y – H – W – H.”

“Well, how do you say that?” Grandson asked.

“In English, Yahweh or Jehovah.”

Kidlets then said each of those names until Granddaughter finally added that she still liked G – O – D best. Grandson and I agreed, and the conversation moved on to the Snow White play that Granddaughter had been a part of in her class that day.

Simple conversations in a car on an ordinary day. Ordinary days have strange turns when we open the door and allow His Hand to work in our lives. “…thy kingdom come…”~Lk 11:2 takes on a whole new understanding. HOPE appears.

“I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”

Christmas decorations are up. Furbabies are all healthy. The first Sunday of Advent 2017 has arrived with a Super Moon. The Holy Spirit was moving in church today. Cold weather is on its way from the North. I guess Christmas season is officially here.

What I really treasure about how God works is that He always sends signs and prophets and messengers before He moves His hand in our world – in our ordinary days – in our “hopeless” days. Sometimes we just don’t see so well, just don’t listen so well and just try to cower under our beds when it is bigger than we want to think about right now. Well – – at least – – that is how I re-act. I’m very good at cowering, but I am trying to be much braver.

HOPE.

This is the month, that we tend to remember those things that send us cowering under the bed – burying our heads in our hands – wishing it was tomorrow already – sticking our fingers in our ears and singing our favorite song. If we have faith, that is when HOPE lights a tiny dot in our brain, and we manage to inch our way closer to the edge of the bed, take our fingers out of our ears, open our eyes to peek out into that darkened room.

HOPE.

Maybe we can handle it. The dot grows larger. Maybe the messenger wasn’t so scary in all its brightness. The darkened room is bathed in twilight. Maybe the prophets were right with all their yakety-yak. Did you know that the elbows work really well to pull the body further out into the room? Maybe the stars, the sun, the moon were all sending out a message that we needed to hear after all.

HOPE.

HOPE changes the world. HOPE changes the paths we walk. HOPE leads to conversations. HOPE brings even more light. HOPE is the beginning of re-birth.

HOPE.

“No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”~Heb 8:10-12 [google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #26

Gratitude is precious. I know because my heart is bubbling over with Gratitude Attitude.
 
Our 3 year old choc lab was sick on Thanksgiving. Not bad sick, just off her feed. By Saturday, I was cuddled on the floor beside her non-moving body and destroying the full box of tissue beside me. Needless to say, trying to sleep on a cold wooden floor – not to mention trying to get up and down from said flooring – or being awakened by a barfing dog tends to disrupt the sleep patterns of any senior citizen. 
 
By last night – not only was my sleep disrupted – I was off my feed and praying – – or maybe I should say crying and groaning – – a lot.
 
“In this way also The Spirit helps our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, whenever it is necessary, but that Spirit prays in our place with groaning which is unspoken.”~Rm. 8:26
 
The power of prayer is far beyond my understanding. When I was young, I saw my parents in deep prayer a few times. Twice with my dad. Three times with my mom. Prayer changes people who pray. It changes those around them. It changed me.
 
While being mentioned over 260+ times in the New Testament, the name of the Holy Spirit is only mentioned 3 times in the Old Testament; instead it is commonly referred to as the Spirit of God over 88 times. However, it is interesting to note that King David, after being chastised by the Prophet Nathan and becoming “poor in spirit”, says, “Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Ps 51:11
 
When we are shattered into shards of our former self, when we look around us and see the ugliness we have created, when our heart aches so deeply that the world spins into darkness, when no words seem adequate – let alone coherent or effective, that is when the Holy Spirit speaks for us – – to us – – replacing the ravages of the storm with the Peace of the Father.
 
I’m not sure how this whole pet thing works in the scheme of the spiritual realm. Who has eternal souls and who doesn’t. What I do know is that we are all created to glorify Our Father. From the tiniest particle of matter to the complex forms of humans, we are handcrafted in love and heard – – – even if the answer isn’t what we wanted to hear when we started the conversation.
 
Last night, after I had moved Koay’s body close to the couch so I could still pet her and lay on the couch, I had peace (and not just because I was more comfortable on the couch). Somewhere in the midst of sniffling and ranting and groaning, His Peace encircled me and my eyes were able to drift shut.
 
Our Father doesn’t send bad things to us. He is all goodness and love. It is our world that is “crap full” (as mom used to say) of bad apple choices and the resulting mutations of creation. What He does promise is to weave bad things, good things, even the mediocre, minor-things-we-don’t-even-notice together for the good of those who love Him.
 
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”~Rm 8:28
 
We were blessed today and our Gratitude Attitude grew 10 times larger. At 3 AM, Koay lifted her head for the first time in a very long afternoon-evening of darkness. She drank some water that I held for her, then her head fell back on the blanket with a plop. When next she woke me at 6 AM, it was because she had squirmed her body even closer to my hand and curled her head my palm. I got up and offered her some food that I had been trying to feed her for 24 hours. 
 
She ate.
She has been eating, drinking all day.
Better yet – no barfing.
But best of all? She wagged her tail. She had not wagged it for 3 days.
 
We are still keeping her close. Feeding her small portions throughout the day. Making sure she has plenty of water. And – we find that in all things, we see a blessing. The illness had kept her off her torn ACL leg, and now she is putting a little more weight on it.
 
So before I go to bed and try to catch up on all the sleep I have missed over the past two nights, I will take her outside and sing my own song of praise and Gratitude that we get to walk together one more day, find more new life that continues to blossom in the NC sunshine, and hopefully – walk a little further every day after that.
 
God is good and worthy to be praised. [personal photos]

 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #20

Long ago on Saturday nights, I was allowed one bowl of Corell’s potato chips and a glass of coke. Needless to say, that bowl of potato chips disappeared way too quickly. In time, I figured out how to stretch those delicious morsels. I would suck on them until they were on the verge of soft. Prolonging the sensation made them taste all the better as they slid down my throat.

Going to sound a little trivial, but I really do have a Gratitude Attitude tonight for that bowl of potato chips.  But mostly, for all the things that surrounds the memory of eating those tasty crunch-ables.

Even 67 year into this journey, I find myself savoring as slowly as possible those small (and I do mean small) bowls of chips – – even though they won’t ever be as good as the chips that were once made just down the street from my house. That chip house where we all tried to make multiple stops on Halloween (it never worked since they could see right through those disguises and call us by name).

But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”~Is 43:1

Potato chips are a form of tasty food  though my food conscious kids would probably not agree that it should be classified as food. Then again, it isn’t really the food I treasure – even though its salty taste does seem to balance me out occasionally. It is rather the memories that slide out of my brain every time I bite down on those crispy chips that really catch in my throat.

Sitting with Mom and Dad. Sometimes curled into my dad’s side sharing a bowl of chips as we watch the Saturday night shows. Sometimes standing on Dad’s toes as he taught me to dance. Sometimes watching Mom and Dad dance. Mom and Dad singing along with songs on the turntable like Della Reese or Nat King Cole or Perry Como or Judy Garland. Sometimes all of us singing at the top of our lungs with The Mitch Miller Sing A-long Show.

Yupper.

The Gratitude Attitude is real for that small bowl of chips in my hand tonight. Yeah – it isn’t Saturday. Yeah, the parents are dancing in Heaven these days. But – the God who watches Israel continues to watch over me. He sends a tiny Godwink reminding me that He knows me and calls me by name. He put me just where I am supposed to be – at just the right time – with just the right people.

I am overwhelmed with thankfulness tonight and humbled once again.

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #14

Tuesdays are usually an easy day for a Gratitude Attitude.

I get to see the Grands. How easy is that for Gratitude? I get to listen to the Grands babble all the way home about the wonders of the day. I get to teach the Grands piano. Every good boy does find… FACE! I get to be torn a half-a-dozen different ways as the Grands want me to see new favorite things or the new favorite power ranger on a poster or favorite American Girl doll (and accessories) in the Christmas catalog or the new chicken coop or the new addition to the clubhouse (that they made all by themselves).

Phew!

After piano lessons (and an impromptu composition by the Grandson that made this Grandma’s heart glad), while the Grandson was busy getting ready to go to the first practice of a new basketball team with Coach Dada and Sis, Grand daughter snuck me away to show off the new excitement outside. Chicken coop – check. Addition of a second floor to their stylin’ clubhouse – check. Conversation on the narrow, leaf-strewn, stump-laden path – – – priceless.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”~Is 11:6

“Grandma, you sure do walk slow.”

“Yep. Old creaky, knees slow me down a bit.”

“Wow, I’m waiting and you still are behind me.”

“Don’t get smart, kid. I can only go as fast as the shovel.”

The shovel was my makeshift walking stick. It actually worked pretty well. But the best thing was Grand daughter turning around – waiting for me. At least three times on our short walk, she turned back to look at me with her smile in her eyes, her legs sticking through the giant holes in the knees of her pants – leaving her pant legs flapping in the wind at the back of her legs as she ran ahead of me in her polka-dotted rain boots.

It is the way of the best memories in this life. A simple day. A simple walk. A simple expression of love. A simple – priceless – treasure chest memory.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” ~Is 45:3

It is good on days like these to do a little “pondering”. To think about those riches we store away in our treasure chest. It is part of the Gratitude Attitude. Ponder. Wonder. Walk forward on that crazy path with a shovel as your staff and laughing in joy with the “Child” who is truly leading you.

Gratitude is like that. It is all in the Attitude.
Can you see Him?
The lamb and the lion by His side?
It is knowing He is there. Knowing that He is waiting for your slower steps to catch up. Joy in His eyes. Prayer shawl around His shoulders. Ready to take the shovel when it isn’t needed any more and that smile…..that smile in His eyes just for you.

 

It is all in the One leading the way down that path. The riches we gather on our way that have been stored in secret places just waiting for us to arrive –  gift from Him to all who choose to follow. Hearing Him call our name. Now that truly is the Gratitude Attitude that governs my life. Blessings!Be! 

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”~Rm 8:14 

[google/Greg Olsen art]

GRATITUDE OF ATTITUDE 2017 #5

I didn’t think I would write today. Sunday is the day of renewal for me in more ways than one. Another great sermon by our preacher often stirs my meandering thoughts to take longer to process than a few hours. Then I saw the news. A new week begins with a new tragedy. The renovation of my mind came to a standstill.

Until I remembered. Gratitude is an attitude.

““Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace.”~Neh 1:3

The news I heard when I got home from church sounded familiar. I went and got my Bible.  We had just read similar words in church. Things were not going well in Nehemiah’s homeland. Things are not going well here. The people were in great trouble and disgrace. The people here are in great trouble and disgrace.

Disgrace. Trouble.

How do I write with such sadness on my heart? I didn’t even feel like watching Hallmark movies or fussing with the few Christmas houses I’ve pulled out. Lucky for me, eldest daughter, busy-mama-soccer-playing daughter called about Koay and to set our weekly schedule. Then my Littlest, far-away-on-her-own-life adventure, called. My far way bestie/sister-of-a-different-mother/harmonizer-to-my-melody, called. My mind, filled with the wonderful things we discussed on the phone, interspersed mong the church words and news words running through my head.

I remembered.

In times of disgrace and trouble, Our Father ALWAYS calls one person to step into the gap. One person “…born for times like these.” A Nehemiah. An ordinary cupbearer far away from home. who heard the words: his people – God’s people – were in “great trouble and disgrace.” It is his reaction that makes me thankful today.

“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.”~Neh 1:4-5

Unlike Nehemiah, I did not sit down and weep when I heard the news today. I have not mourned or fasted. I did pray – a passing prayer – a whispered heart prayer to Our Father as I listened to reports. It is not enough. Our Father’s people are in great trouble and disgrace and need a Nehemiah. An ordinary cupbearer who will stand in the gap and encourage others to join him in God’s vision for his people.

Nehemiah’s prayer, recorded in the first chapter of a book by his name, provides an outline. The Holy Spirit will supply the groanings for which we know not how to express. Our Father promises that He will hear us from Heaven by the Grace of His Son, Yeshua Christus., for He does have a vision even for a people in great trouble and disgrace. And for all of that – I am thankful.

“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
“The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.b Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”~Neh 1:5-11  [google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #2

Today was one of those “iron sharpens iron” days. I should have known when that verse jumped out at me in one of my friend’s FB post. I should have taken a deep breath when another FB friend posted about how a silver smith refines silver before it can be shaped into something beautiful or useful.

“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD.”~Mal 3:2-3

God is like that. He always lets me know when there are testing times afoot and to watch my step. However, I tend to be so wrapped up in me, I just skim over the warning with a ‘Yeah, whatever’ – or worse – I miss it altogether. So much for being spiritually in tune.

Today, I kinda knew. There is always that deep-pit-in-your-stomach-knowing that the Spirit speaks at times of testing. You see, I had to make a vet appointment for our baby girl dog. She is our lover-dog who loves to curl into our lap and slowly melt unto the floor. The runner-dog who loves to run just for the sake of running. The little-sister dog who whines when she can’t follow her sister everywhere. The mother-dog who licked two sick baby kittens as often as she could get to them.

Koay has been limping off and on over the past couple months. Restricting her movements didn’t help much, hence – the vet appointment. Initial exam says she has torn her ACL. Who knew dogs could tear their ACL or that dogs actually have two of them? Should have guessed she’d do something like that when she would run full bore into a tree chasing a squirrel or try to keep up with a deer in the deep woods or chase a stick for hours.

“Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.”~1 Chron 16:8

The fantastic thing is how grateful I felt as I walked out of the vet office. Yeah – we have some decisions to make, but it wasn’t cancer or any other life-threatening illness. Koayah may not be the runner-dog as she works her way through the rest of her life, but she will still be the lover-dog, the mother-dog to orphaned babies, the sister-dog who whines at the door when her sister is outside and our baby-girl dog.

While this may not have been my favorite day of the year, it has been a day when “iron sharpened iron”. A day when the refiner looked into the silver – and I hope – he saw a murky reflection of His face. I may not be there yet, but I know He’s still working on me. A little more fire. A few more impurities to work out. A new song to sing with Koay under my feet as I write. [google image]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #10

There are dreams and then there are DREAMS. It has been fun to watch the career choices that my former students have chosen.  Some always knew what they wanted to do and followed through on it.  Others found that dream later.  For whatever reason, I’ve found myself thinking about those dreams that we follow when we choose a life path.

When I was little I dreamed of being a vet. After all, I was always was pretending to be a horse.  Flying over fences in one jump.  Changing into a human when ever I needed to do so.  Running free across the playground and up the hill beyond the reaches of any teacher or foe.  But spelling veterinarian kinda made me nervous.  I figured if I couldn’t spell the job title, it might be too hard.  I was right – chemistry kicked that idea completely to the curb when I was a junior in high school.

Then there was the dream of dancing. Sugar plums.  Swans.  Broadway.  Jazz.  I loved moving my body anyway I wanted. Letting the music flow through me then releasing it into the world in a completely different form.  However, the knee broke, and my 10 year old self cried as I watched that dream spin off the theatre stage and into the storage chest of memories.

There were many other dreams in between.  I was one of those who stumble around a lot before I figure it out. Yet somehow, when I became a teacher, I realized  that one dream was the dream that had always been a part of everything I did.  Playing school with my dolls.  Playing school with my friends.  Teaching friends and younger neighbors how to twirl a baton.  Teaching Sunday school and Bible school.  Teaching disabled kids how to swim and enjoy the water (while I  hated the water intensely and still do). Life experiences that should have given me a clue, but I missed them all and just stumbled into teaching.  

Godwinks are beyond my understanding, but I love them.

“And Yeshua said to them, “Come after me, and I shall make you to become fishers of men.~Matt 4:19

Tonight’s prayer for pastors and their spouses circles around those life dreams we all have. Praying that you continue to see yourselves as “fishers” in the stormy waters of life – that you continue to  hold firm to the course the WORD set 5778 years ago – continue to let His light be in your eyes every time you look out at the “fish” He has placed in your waters – continue to wake up in the morning with His praise on your lips, and wonder at where you will be “fishing” today – continue to let His hands uphold you as you mend the broken nets or the aging boat that carries you forth into any storms that cross the horizon – continue to sing His blessing over all those fish that have chosen to jump in your nets and even those who have chosen to swim the other way.

Tonight, I can almost hear Yeshua praying this ancient blessing over you as I imagine He prayed it any times in His life.  

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”~Num 6:22-27  [google images]

 

APOSTASIA

Sometimes you just have to find light in the darkness. Darkness that continues despite the sun’s warmth. Despite the brightness of the blue sky. Despite the spin on society’s faces. Despite all the busyness of daily life. Despite that you just don’t feel like looking for any kind of light whatsoever.

I feel like I have been doing that all week. I hadn’t put a word to it until today. It started with a dream and has continued to dog my steps throughout the week.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not depression although tears have dribbled down my cheeks.  It’s not anxiety though there are lots of payers. A devotion here. A song there. A book pointed out by a stranger. A search for information. A search for truth. A search of the WORD. A light that exists in the darkness.

Apostasia.

It is that dark word that has haunted and darkened my week – darkened the world. Since before I could ride a bike, I have known depth of this word inside of me. It haunted my childhood nightmares – some which have occurred over and over and over – varying little in detail. It echoes on the wind howling outside my windows when my armor is misplaced. A word known by the images in my mind even before I could conceptualize just how it would eventually materialize to darken this world  – – – our world.

Obviously, it’s not one of my favorite words. Greek in origin, it basically means “to depart from a stand” – – – “to fall away from sacred values held at the core of self” – – – “to abandon truth”.

Who would have thought it would come to this? Basic truths thrown under the bus in the name of tolerance or political correctness or love or defiance. Today is the Eve of Yom Kippur.  Simply put – the holiest day of the Jewish faith.  For, after 30 days of repentance – 10 days of introspection and atonement (known as the 10 days of Awe) – they stand on the rock of renewed faith.  In the days of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a red thread would mysteriously turn white to represent their change in the eyes of the Father and being sealed into His Book of Life for the next year. I like to think of Jesus (Yeshua] making this yearly journey – even though he was without sin. Shepherding us, His followers, even then.

“Because of this, put on all the armor of God that you shall be able to confront The Evil One, and when you are ready in all things, you shall stand.” Ep 6:13

It is not easy to stand when the visible rock is crumbling under the feet. As you age, you think – you hope – things will never “REALLY” change. Tweaks here. Re-direction there. That right will always triumph in the end. After all – strength is in numbers – education – military might. But as history has proven over and over and over again, history does repeat itself – especially when the defiance demon starts digging its claws into unprotected skulls willing to believe lies covered by the facade of something entirely different.

A wistful melancholy steals over me as I type. While I have always known that I was born for this time and to be in this place and to speak these words, it doesn’t mean that it is always where I want to be – in fact – – – tried my hardest to ignore it – – – tried to run the other direction – – – tried my hardest to prove I am worse than King David – – – tried to be defiant. It just comes down to the fact that I have always understood Jonah all too well. Never wanted to go to Nineveh and still don’t.

But like Jonah (thankfully without the whale), I have figured out how to be a servant even while I may drag my feet or try to cushion the words or wish I could find any way but this way. Yet – as I read the WORD, I am more and more convinced that we are here. I am here. Apostasia in all its ugliness is here, and although reluctant, I have picked up my staff and turned my feet toward Nineveh. When society confuses kneeling with standing for a physical symbol and doesn’t see the deeper spiritual metaphor hiding in plain sight, my heart hurts and the paradigm grows even larger.

“Behold, The Day of Our Lord has arrived.” Let no man deceive you by any means, to the effect that surely no revolt will first come and The Man of Sin, The Son of Destruction, be revealed, He who opposes and exalts himself against everything that is called God and religion, just as he will sit in the Temple of God, as God, and will show concerning himself as if he is God.” 2 Thes 2:2-4 (Aramaic in Plain English translation)  [google images]

THERE

In the quiet of the morning, God walks with me and our girls. His Spirit breathes energy into my steps. And as I walk down the first hill – I can almost see it. The New Garden. There. Can you see it?

Just over the next hill. Around the bend. That place Yeshua will bring His many roomed mansion. The New Garden. The New Jerusalem. The place where we will walk together with the One who loves us best.

Walk together.

An amazing concept. Walking together. Side by side. Conversing. Laughing. Singing. Praying. As a people, we all don’t walk together so well since we quit walking with Our Father.

Our neighborhood is a quiet place by the time I take my dogs for their walk. The School buses have made their rumbling journey down the road. Construction workers rolled out of bed even earlier to reach their sites.  Office workers not long after. While those who cart their children to charter schools have also driven off with their agendas set for the day.

The girls and I enjoy our walks. How can we not? Birds sing to us.  The chatter of fall bugs (or it could be the ringing in my ears, depending on the day).  Stray cats dart out of our path while the dogs give chase. Squirrels throw hickory nuts on our heads. And – when we stop to gather a few scuppernong/muscadine grapes to eat on our return journey, a young female deer comes within inches of us before she sees us – – – and the dogs give chase – – again.

It is a good way to start the day.

Pray. Day. Way.

I often wonder if they rhyme for a reason. A Jewish sage once said that humans can not breathe without breathing God’s true name. The name that is ineffable, unutterable, distinctive – a breath of a name – YHWH. It is a breath of a sound. A breath returning to the Creator who breathed it first into our nostrils – – – the “breath of life” in so many ways beyond physical.

The walk allows time for many thoughts to circle. Breathe in. Breathe out. My conscious mind absorbs His name and lets it soak deep into my lungs. It flow through my heart – fills my mind with His Light – circles my soul with His Love. A day that starts as I pray. Pray for walks were we all join together. Pray for those trying to find life amid destruction. Pray for those who forget to breathe His name. Pray for – – –

– – -there.

There. That place over the hill – beyond the bend – where a many room mansion is almost complete – where a Garden waits to bloom – – where The Gardner waits to walk – to talk – to sing – to laugh with me and my girls as He dries my tears and offers me water that I might never thirst again.

Pray.

Day.

The Way.

“For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”~Rev 7:17