Tag Archives: I AM
“I live. I write. I watch old movies. I read. I watch the sunset. I watch the moon rise.”
― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
In the heat of a lazy, humid summer day, the above quote strikes a note. Hubby was up early working on the pergola. I got up (somewhat later) walked the dogs, did my God challenge thingy,. and, amid household chores, devotions, writing and doing a zillion and one laundry loads (working in heat and humidity is not conducive to wearing the same clothes for a whole day), we watched a couple of our favorite movies – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Field of Dreams (which is based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella ).
We’ve seen each several times. We know the plots. We know the dialogue (mostly). We know where to wait for the laugh to bubble up inside of us. We still get the goosebumps when Ray turns to see his dad for the first time on the baseball field. We feel tears swimming up to back of our eyes when Oscar turns the swing over and discovers the note his dad left for him to find before he died during 9-11.
No surprises – just an enjoyable way to pass some time.
The same can’t be said for reading the WORD. I have read chapters and stories and verses many times over, but when the Holy Spirit is at work, verses jump off the page and knock my logical brain for a loop. Verses that I have read more times than I can count, brushed over with a yawn, skipped with a glance – “suddenly” rock my world sideways with wisdom that I had no idea was waiting for me to find.
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.”~Is 65:1
How can I not respond to a Father’s heartbroken cry, “Here I AM! Here I AM!”?
As if I could hear His voice ringing as I read this verse over and over. I read it in several versions. I copied it for my war room door. The wondering continues even now as my eyes grow heavy and yawns more frequent. Could Our Father be any clearer of how hard He has tried to catch our attention?
This is not an easy chapter to read in its entirety. The middle has the reader squirming in their seat because dealing with a righteous Father as disobedient children who continually rebel and reject.is not really one of those things any one looks forward to encountering. Yet – just as the Father in the story of the Prodigal, this chapter ends it with His eternal promise that is repeated over and over in both the Old and New Testament.
“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,
and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!
And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness.
Her people will be a source of joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and delight in my people.
And the sound of weeping and crying
will be heard in it no more.”~Is 65:17-19
You may have noticed that the past few days, I have been ending every post on FB with the hastag: “Praying for Charlie Gard”. Charlie is an infant in England who has a serious disease. His parents have raised money to bring him here where several hospitals and doctors have offered to help treat him. Treatments that have helped other children with the same disease. Instead, England is refusing to allow him to leave the hospital and want to let him “die with dignity”. Please pray for Charlie and his parents. Please pray for the wisdom of righteousness to prevail. Please pray. to hear His voice crying out always, “Here I AM!” Here I AM!”
In 1966, The Singing Nun won the Oscar for Best Musical. Greer Garson, Chad Everett, Debbie Reynolds, Ricardo Montalban – and one of my favorite movies. Tonight seemed to be a good night to watch an old movie. A movie filled with music, stars I loved to watch as a child, and tied to many memories in my treasure chest.
“Dominique, nique, nique, over the land he plods
And sings a little song
Never asking for reward
He just talks about the Lord
He just talks about the Lord”
The album played over and over on the little gray stereo that sat on our porch until eventually the scratches outnumbered the the playable rings of melodies. Loosely based on the true story of a nun from Belgium who achieved the number one Billboard ranking for her song “Dominique” in 1963, the movie hints at the serpent that waits in every hedge. Waits for an opening into his world.
“…and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”~Ecc 10:8
In real life, the Sister who became famous in 1963 broke the hedge and the serpent bit. Pulled between the two yards, the “Singing Nun” became more and more discontented. In the movie, the Sister reached her hand out to break the hedge, but turned away at the last minute to return to what had led her to build her tent in the first yard.
I have to admit, I loved the Debbie Reynolds’ version better than the real life story. The Singing Nun never had another song reach the pinnacle of “Dominique” and eventually, she drifted from the minds of all the people who lived in those two yards. The venom of the serpent blinded and deafened her to the peace of the covenant that was still there surrounding her. She just forgot the ancient prophet and the words of a resurrected rabbi that still cried to her to bend down and wash her eyes in the pool to find His peace.
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.”~Is 54:10
Life is like that. We build those hedges around what we love – – hoping to keep the serpent out of our yards and far away from our tent. Yet sometimes, we forget and break that hedge by our own choice. It is then we need to pull up the mustard plant, harvest the seed into our hand, close our eyes and walk back through the hedge to the pool by our first tent.
God has promised He is always there. Yeshua Christus repeated the promise – “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” – the humble – the broken – the poisoned – the outcasts from their own yard – the ones who tore down the tent and broke the hedge but somehow – by faith – remember the faint rambling of an ancient promise – “…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matt 5:4
The songs from the movie are still singing in my head. My eyes are heavy while the growing kitten is already out for the night (still mad that I gave her a bath today to kill some fleas). Our Chocolaty dogs are complaining because I haven’t taken them back to the coolness of the bedroom (but they are happy to be clean once again – for a little while), and I open my memory chest. A memory chest that holds the mustard seed necklace my parents gave me when I was a child. It is time to yawn, stretch and spend some time with He who always fulfills His promises. [Google images]
“Grant us now, oh Dominique
The grace of love and simple mirth
That we all may help to quicken
Godly life and truth on earth.”~
SOEUR SOURIRE, NOEL REGNEY (Jeanne Paule Deckers)
“The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop. The sky breaks to give us the rain. The wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give Him all the glory…Never be afraid of being a broken thing.”~The Farmer, Ann Voskamp’s husband in The Broken Way, p25
Our families are broken.
Our country is broken.
Our world is broken.
I am broken.
This world and all its people have been broken since two humans stood beneath two trees in a Garden.
One thing I love about being retired is I can be a total learner again. Journals, paper and four books litter the table and floors around my chair in the living room. Two books sit on my desk with stashes of writing in various stages for decoration. Note cards have suddenly returned to my life, Not as something to be graded as when I taught research skills to grumpy junior high students, but note cards full of things that are still roughened gems waiting to be polished by my grasping mind that runs a little slower these days.
“B’RESHEET BARA ELOHIM…”~Gen 1:1
The Jewish words circled back around for the second day in a row in my devotions today. “In the beginning, God created…”
Three simple words. A plural noun. A singular verb. A mystery.calling out. Three words that began the story of a beloved group people – one broken man – one broken family – one broken people traveling in a broken world.
Broken people who walked away from that perfect Garden with a promise – found a path – strayed off the path – over and over – time after time – and yet – – – YHVH, LORD, loves them – calls to them – became them. He was. He is. He will be. Promises of infinite Love and Grace made in the past, remembered in the present, fulfilled in the future.
YHVH. Broken. Mashiach.
As I walked around the house, running the roomba, dusting the bookshelves, the Hebrew words continued to turn in my mind. And and when, after several days of clouds, the sun broke through, I was not surprised. God has been winking at us from the beginning. Trying to catch our attention. Trying to remind us of the very first promise He made. Sending the Annointed One when we needed Him most and is sending Him again when we need Him even more.
Promises made. Promises remembered. Promises fulfilled.
More than we can imagine. More dreams. More hope. More treasure. More Love. More blessings. More Grace. More possibilities than could ever be learn in a lifetime. We may be broken now, but not forever.
“For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”~Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p.26. [google images]
As I watch the news posts today, see the anger rising all around, I recognize it…history does repeat itself. I remember walking around the OSU campus my freshman year…watching news in the making, seeing the anger rising all around, and thanks to some great educators and wise parents – I recognized it then and walked away.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing…”
It is hard to watch it happening again. For a few weeks after 9/11, I remember thinking that we, as a nation, had turned a corner. Churches were full. People talked about God and America in the same sentence. Flags flew high over every home, business and school. Patriotic songs bubbled out of radios and TV shows. But within a month, I felt a heaviness returning, and – surprisingly – it carried a darkness that I had not seen since walking that college campus so many years prior, and I became uneasy. It was then I turned a corner and got more serious in the WORD.
“In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them….”
Almost 15 years ago. Hard to believe. It has not been an easy journey – then again – what spiritual journey is? The bumps were/are hard; the knees raw and filled with the stony grit that evil spreads along our path. When you turn to the WORD, inevitably, the evil one notices and tries to intercept. I looking back at it now, I see his fingerprints throughout it all. Yet – in the midst of chaos – it is always hard to keep my focus on the Light seen dimly ahead, so I repeat His Promises over and over – one step forward – all forward – stand up – following the Light of His Promises.
“Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed…”
The chaos is increasing and by all indications – will continue to increase. But as I watch the saddness in Nepal, the anger in the Middle East and America, it is good to remember Our Father’s promises. He has never forsaken a promise. He never changes. He continually reaches out for us. He sent His Son and the Holy Spirit to pave the way back to Him. He is I AM. He is His promises. He is a Glorious Unfolding.
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.” ~Is 61:8,9,11
Sad as it is. Scary as it is. I will sleep well tonight. His promises – the comforter that enfolds me. His love – the lullabye that gently closes my eyes. His Son and angels stand guard through the night and listen to my prayers for His peace and righteousness to bless our land – all lands around the earth – our families – all families around the earth…as it was in the days of The Garden…proclaiming to all – “….on Earth as it is in Heaven…”
Attitude of Gratitude #27: God. It is one day out of 365. It is one day set aside to be full of thankfulness and remembrance. It is one day of blessed legacies and love expressed. It is one day that – if you choose – you will remember to crawl as far forward as you can – hands and knees scraped by the stones and broken glass that impede your progress………reach through the ugly, crowded busyness of daily life – head battered by words and actions of those towering above and around…………stretch dirty, grimy fingers as far as posiible just to touch the hem – a hem of His garment trailing behind Him as He passes………………and say………….Thank you.
It is not enough. It can never be enough. Yearning, as a bride for her groom. Not wanting anything more than to express a heart full of thankfulness. 27 days of thankfulness reminds us that there is nothing more important than this – to be thankful for this moment. Incomparable “I AM” moment. Eyes full of thankfulness. Tears full of thankfulness. Spirit full of thankfulness.
Words are inadequate in this moment of true Thanksgiving. Reaching past the physical realm and seeing…”His kingdom come”. Prayer. Repentance. Unity. Communion. Repristination. This is Thanksgiving. This is His day – if we remember – if we choose to remember – the Gift we have been given, and the treasure waiting to be found.
Several years ago, when I was performing in CATS with a local theatre group, Old Deuteronomy was the cat full of wisdom and grace. Most musicals have a wise person passing out wonderfully timed wisdom to those seeking help. Wisely, Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber had the sense not to change much of T.S. Eliot’s original poem, “Old Deuteronomy”:
“Old Deuteronomy lived a long time;He’s a Cat who has lived many lives in succession, He was famous in Proverb and famous in rhyme, A long time before Queen Victoria’s accession…”
Deuteronomy has never been one of those books that I spent much time studying in the past. In fact, I spent very little time in the OT. I just didn’t think it was necessary. After all, I was a child of the New Covenant. Jesus was where it was at…the narrow gate…the Way… The sad part of this history lesson is that I don’t believe that my thinking is unusual. Most of the churches I attended in my formative years (and I attended a bunch of different ones since I was usually getting paid to sing in their choirs) gave only a passing nod to the OT. Besides, they only had so many Sundays to get across all those wonderful stories that happened between Matthew and Revelations.
“Be silent, O Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God…” Deut 27:9b
Maybe it is because I always have so many questions. Or maybe it is because I tend to rebel much more than most people would ever guess. But the last couple of years, God has set my feet on this path of understanding the Jewish portion of Jesus, and why the Old Covenant is an integral portion of our redemption. It has not been an easy journey (after all I do tend to be a little – ok – more than a little – stubborn). Reading the OT can be tedious at times and boring at best. Timelines are confusing. Names just don’t tumble off your lips. And really? All the violence and patriarchal society thing drives me nuts most of the time. Just how does God’s people do all this nastiness, and He still loves them? And then I look at me…and sigh. If my life was miraculously dropped into the Bible, I would definitely fit right in with all of God’s nasty acting people.
“Old Deuteronomy sits in the street, He sits in the High Street on Market Day. The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsmen will turn them away…”
Unlike the dogs and the herdsmen, Our Father doesn’t EVER turn us away when we seek Him out. Our nastiness continues. Violence — Wars — Terror — yet — when God’s people continue to trust and put their faith in I AM, the miracles follow. GRACE. My Bible’s study guide says that the theme of Deuteronomy is “Devote yourself wholeheartedly to God”. I keep trying to remember that as I am reading it. It is a book full of Moses’ final words to God’s people. It was the end of the 40 year journey. It was the start of a new life in a new country. Finally, it is the land of “Milk and Honey”, and it was in front of them.
“Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants…’” Deut 34:4b
It is just something to think about as we watch the world unravel.