Tag Archives: Greg Olsen artwork

VISION 2020: Short, Sweet, #12

“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
    pay attention and gain understanding.
 I give you sound learning,
    so do not forsake my teaching.”
Prov 4:1-2

Today was one of those days that I had to depend on others’ wisdom.  It never fails to amaze me when a young lady can stick a needle into an arm, draw out several vials of blood in less than 5 minutes, and leave nary a trace of having been done any of that.  It takes me longer to eat a chocolate chip cookie.  Not to mention, a doctor who can make me laugh and relax while he cracks several different bones in this aging body.

Now that is “sound learning” beyond my understanding, and believe me, I’m really glad that they didn’t forsake their teaching as they did their jobs.

“The more I learn, the less I know…the more I learn, the more I realize…the less I know.” Yentl

The wisdom of the Torah says this is a special time of year. If Jesus still walked the earth, He would have already turned his steps towards Jerusalem so that He could be in Jerusalem by Friday night, the start of the Sabbath.  This year, the first day of Tishrei or commonly called, Rosh Hashanah begins on the Sabbath.  The blowing of the shofar; a ram’s horn calls Jews with a hundred notes of Awe into 10 days of repentance. 

The wisdom of repentance…of seeking…of listening……

As these days lead up to a prayer march in Washington DC on September 26, what better way than to look to the Vine from which we sprung?  Using the wisdom in the Book of Life that Abba gave us as a guide book.  Following the steps of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach into 10 days of introspection, repentance, and seeking wisdom for places where we strayed out of His footsteps. 

[Greg Olsen artwork]

2020 VISION: Who Will Go for Us?

Got your fingers out of your ears? Got your eyes open?

2020 seems to be the year that the whisper in the deepest part of the heart is swirling a little longer…a little stronger…a little more intensely…than it has since the late 60’s, early 70’s. I felt it then.
My stomach revolted.
My head throbbed.
My heart wept.
I pulled the pillow over my head and burrowed deep into my covers.
I prayed.
I rebelled.
I prayed in the midst of the rebellion – after all, I had a life I wanted to live, and what I heard in my soul wasn’t part of it.

I heard – I saw – I turned away.

“I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Is 6:8

Those early years of adulthood was when I discovered the wisdom and the power of Isaiah, a man who lived in a completely different world than I did, and yet – his words echoed more stridently than the protesters on the Quad. I would crawl out of my top bunk and curl up in the standard dorm room chair, reading his words by a light shining through the window from a nearby parking lot so that I wouldn’t wake the roommates.

“Who will go for Us?”

I heard the question.
I saw it in writing.
I closed His WORD.
I turned away.

50 years later, the call is reverberating all around me once again.

Perhaps it is in the hindsight of that 50 years that I see all of this through a different lens. I know my father and mother tried to explain to me several times what they felt during those unsettled years of civil unrest. Seeing my Father on his knees in prayer in the middle of the night said it best. I heard the words louder than ever that night as I crept back up the stairs and buried my head as deeply as I could.

“Who will go for Us?”

I’m still not sure that I don’t want to crawl into my bed once again. After all – ignoring the call is sooo much easier than answering that question. How many times have I sat in a classroom with my head down, hoping deep within me, that the teacher would not call my name – – – now or ever.

The stories in the Bible are full of people who pulled the covers over their head – ran in the other direction – sank their teeth into an apple – – – until – – – the heart of the Father whispered one last time, grace-to-rebellion, heart-to-heart, love-to-love:

“Who will go for Us?”

The thing I learned over the last 50 years is that I never waited to hear the words that came after His first whisper. I trembled. I hid. I covered myself. I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes. I bit the apple and missed the words that have made all the difference.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Is 41:10

The cloud pillar is moving forward. It is time to stand on His Rock. Pick up my Bible and take a step. Maybe a baby step, but a step. It is time to look up and reach out with open palm to those gathered in my sphere. It is time to pray His WORDS in my heart and then – speak the answer that has been in my heart for 50 years. Speak it aloud because the Teacher has looked in my direction and is waiting for my answer. The birth pangs are coming with more frequency and harder with intensity, and scary as it is – answer the question.

“Hineni.”

“Here am I. Send me.” Is 6:8

[google images]

2020 VISION: War Room Wisdom

Do you ever feel like GOD just might be Gibbs slapping you?

It has been a couple wonderful days of Gibbs’ slaps that have just left me smiling. First, I got myself back into the my War Room. It is not enough for me to read devotions – online or book form. It is not enough for me to stand at my home altar as I pray for people on my prayer list or pray for our country. It is not enough for me to sit on my swing and sing old hymns or praise songs as I meditate on the wonder of all my blessings. If I don’t spend time just soaking in His presence first thing in the morning, I just feel a little – nope, that’s not right – I feel A LOT – lonely and a little off-center.

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.” James 5:1-6

After spending time in the War Room, walking the lab girls, meandering around the garden, I came in and started to read my devotions. But the nudge to look further wouldn’t go away. So I walked back to my bedroom and got my favorite Bible. The one I sleep with – the one that is bent and a little broken even though it is only 11 years old. Lo and behold, it opened up to James.

I wasn’t really surprised. When the Father wants me to see something, He usually Gibbs’ slaps me a couple of times with the same thing. First, one of my former students has been doing a short video series on 8 keys of wisdom that are found in the book of James. Second, one of my devotions also referred to James. So to have my Bible just fall open to James made me, literally, laugh out loud.

The first verse that caught my attention was: “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.” v.7a

I don’t know about you, but during these days of division and angry dissonance that caught my attention pretty quickly. And – those who know me, can probably see me laughing as I looked up and shout out loud, “Seriously? You start with that?”

Gibbs’ slaps from the Father are just that – attention getting and a sharp reminder all in One loving palm.

“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” v.7b-9

So often, I find myself strictly guarding my tongue. Words come easy to me- sometimes too easy. The rhythms and patterns of thoughts mixing in my mind before I even realize their shaping into a thought. I learned early in my life that words can be used to hurt or to help. However, I didn’t learn it easily. I tripped over my tongue many, many times, and unfortunately, watched others trip over my words even more. Wisdom came slowly and oft, at the expense of others.

As I read these verses today, I thought about how easy it is – in these days of instant communication – to “grumble against one another…” We watch. We shake our heads – one way or another. We judge. The log in our eyes grow larger and larger.
Such a short book in the Bible, and yet, James packed a lot of wisdom into 5 small chapters.

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”    v. 10-11

It is easy to lose sight of His Love, Light, Peace, Grace and Hope during these times of uncertainty and fear. We have a tendency – at least I do have a tendency – to lash out with those pesky words that we have learned to use so well – instead of leaning back, taking a deep breath and seeking His War Room Wisdom first.

James reminds us to look at Job. How did Job act as his family died? As his friends questioned him and his faith? As he lost everything that he had worked for and acquired?

We are living in the times of birth pangs – and for me – I find it fairly easy to identify with Job in more ways than I ever thought I would. It is my War Room where I lay it down in My Father’s presence and smile despite it all. His presence is the shield, the sword, the helmet, the belt, the shoes that I need to remember why the furnace is so hot, and the wisdom that will get me through it all.

Time is growing short. Birth pangs are hard. But – the miracle is coming. We only need to humble ourselves. Open the door to seek the War Room’s Wisdom. Pray as we have never prayed before for Yeshua Mashiach’s church – our country – our leaders – our family – our friends – even those we disagree with – our enemies – our world.

As I watched one of my favorite singers tonight, he and his wife reminded me of this song. So tonight, I am still, I continue to seek His face, and as I get ready to close my eyes, I am resting on His promises. So that tomorrow – I will try harder to shine His Love, Light, Grace and Peace each and every step of the way on this bumpy road.

We’ve got this – and best yet – Our Father’s got all of us. War Room Wisdom can’t be beat – it can only shine a Light in the darkness.

“As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me” – Shine, Jesus, Shine 

[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

VISION 2020: Hewn

“Listen to Me…”

In the clamor of chaos it is hard to listen. Shards of noise litter the air and impune the truth that tries to exist amidst its sharp edges. Covered ears and eyes do not hear and see so well –and yet — without any protection, the maliciousness of noise hurts that which is buried deep inside.

“…you who pursue righteousness…”

Upside down. Inside out. Circles of choices that leave the head wondering – is this right? Is that? The ears hurt. The eyes hurt. How to pursue – how to chase – when the ambiguities muddy the vision and sounds of what once was so clear – so just – so pure – so right….

“…you who seek the LORD…”

Schedules way too crowded. Dusty Bibles stashed in corners. Here.
There.
Piles upon piles of things covering them – things much more crucial in today’s civilized air.
Seek what is lost?
Find a clean cloth of wisdom?
Pull the hands away from the ears.
Wipe the eyes.
Blink.. Is it there? Is it visible at all?

“Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were HEWN.” Is 51:1

Solid.
Rough but sturdy.
It is there.
Deeply buried.
Covered in grimy grit.
Hands dig until nails are broken and skin torn.
Eyes see.
It is there.
Still there.

The rock shaped and carved — HEWN — long ago out of the deep rock bed of the ancient quarry by a much stronger, talented, and deeply scarred fingers of the only One who knew the rock before it was HEWN.

The Master Mason knew the quarry. He knew where to find the rock of you. He knew the stones from which you came. Stones that carried the same traits with the dearly sought after veins of strength that the rock would need to shine forth its own light and survive the chaotic life outside the quarry.

Eyes open.
Ears uncovered.
Amid the clamor of chaos that still cuts – still shouts its lies – trying to confuse and distract as the Master Mason bends over and rubs the hem of His own pure, white garment over the rock of you that has remained hidden for way too long.

Facets polished.
Shimmers of bright colored gems shine forth.
Once more —HEWN by the Master Mason as He turns His countenance upon the rock and bestows the silence of His peace as He brings it forth into the Light of the Father.

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” 1 Pt 2:4-6 Forgiven  [Greg Olsen art]