Tag Archives: John

VISION 2020: Ouchie

Ugh – I wasn’t going to write tonight, but the nagging voice in my head won’t be quiet no matter how much I argue about being tired and having spent too much time already typing with a defective hand that is all His fault. Well…not really. It is my fault. When you are given a mandate for your gift, it really is not wise to go outside that mandate. That being said, GOD is good and reminds us when we fall down.

It just may be an ouchie reminder.

My mandate is that I am not to comment on worldly things – such as politics. I am to write about His joy – His peace – His love – His blessings. I am to teach as I have taught for the past – almost – 50 years:
Colorblind.
Truth based. (notice: I did not say fact based)
Light giving.
And sometimes – with a little humor/weeping thrown in for free.

Not easy for this very A type – teacher personality. We are used to controlling a classroom of 30+ kids – being an authority on whatever – offering opinions on everything that is thrown our way from those instigator kidlets trying to get us off topic. However, my mama and brother trained me well in opinionated thoughts.
I have opinions.
Strong opinions.

Sarcasm has always leapt to my mind before I even have a chance to think. It was the first classroom wisdom that I gained. Sarcasm is ineffectual as a tool to pass on facts/wisdom/anything. It alienates and decimates those who hear/see it. I outlawed it in the classroom long ago and I avoid it like the plague now. But it still leaps out in my mind at times when I read some of the memes and political stuff on social media.

“I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (v.6-8)

In the past few days, I have returned to this chapter often. The image of a garden – hmmm – perfect setting since the garden was the first place man spoke to GOD. Jesus praying. In a garden. GOD made man speaking to GOD the Father. Jesus, Yeshua, praying.

Praying for me.

I think I love this passage the most because He says the mandate that rings in my ears even when I sleep. “I have given them the words you gave me, and they have received them.”

The Word gives us WORDSHis WORDS that the FATHER gave Him to give to us. Words that created the tiniest part of an atom. Words that breathed into our nostrils the Breath of Life. Creative words that we carelessly throw out so that we might exhibit our own version of truth –

Today, I allowed my fingers to ignore those things that I know that I know and typed a response based on worldly wisdom instead of Truth. Bandwagons are not what I am supposed to ride right now. That might change – but for now – Noper!!! So I typed. Turned off the computer. Stomach aching. I went outside. And out of nowhere, a wasp landed on my left hand and stung me three times – from the wrist to the index finger joint.

I am left-handed. Hint immediately received.

One sting I could understand – if I could see a nest or some reason for him to be around. I looked at him and couldn’t figure out what was hurting and moving down my hand. When he was done, he flew to a near-by rosebud leaf and disappeared under it. My hand is now beginning to return to normal – kinda. It is still swollen but the tingling, itchy pain is receding. Best of all, I can almost see a knuckle.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.” (v.1)

I needed to be reminded that Yeshua is praying for me – for all of us – especially right now. He is crying with us. He is knocking at the door. He is calling us to our home altars. The WORD continues to give us the words, so we need to open our ears, our eyes, our soul – and then – open our mouths – or in the case of social media – our fingers in response.

“Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me.” (John 17:11-12a)

How great is that? He prays for our protection. He prays for our salvation so that we may see the Father, face-to-face. He prays today as He prayed 2000+ years ago. Truth of the WORD does not change but is everlasting to everlasting.

So my wisdom of the day – don’t get stung by a wasp. OUCHIE!! It hurts. Better yet, remember His Truth. It is often said: “Words matter”. Even so, we forget that on social media forums – and sometimes with our friends – and sometimes in our families.

If Jesus, Rabbi Yeshua, thought praying was so important that He chose to do it in the darkest night of His life, I know that praying is still the most important thing we can do in these dark times.

[artwork by Greg Olsen/personal image]

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: A Mighty Fortress

“Where the eye is focused, there the imagination finds its raw material. The right focus must be won at immense cost and discipline. Train the eye to see the good, and the imagination will follow suit.”~Ravi Zacharias, 1946-2020

A minute. An hour. A day. 7 days. A week. A month. A year. A lifetime. Spans of time that pass with our laughter, our joy, our wrath, our frustrations, our tears, our sadness…our prayers. A twinkling of an eye to the One who listens.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Not sure when I fell in love with this hymn. Perhaps it was as I watched my daddy recover from a heart attack when I was a few years younger. Perhaps it was one of the songs we sang in our small church’s children’s choir. What I do know – – I sang it often with my Mom, Dad and Big Brother standing beside me. I also memorized all the verses to sing during my 6th grade year for a musical audition, “Cowboy on the Moon”. Now why I thought that was the best song to sing for an elementary school production – again – have no idea, but I remember my teacher laughing as she pulled out the hymnal that sat on her book shelf and began to play.

It has come to my lips many times since then – when Mommy gripped my hand on the way to Daddy’s funeral – in the back of that small church where I got married – as tears splashed in my journal when the covenant was broken – this past week as I realized I would not hear my Big Brother’s voice again on this side of the veil.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

In the past few days, many things have happened that have affected me deeply. Deaths of people I love. Deaths of people I don’t know. Friends that I have known forever arguing back and forth on social media with a tinge of nastiness underlining their free speech. Violence erupting around the country I love. Division. Destruction. Fires. Brownness. Whiteness. Purpleness. Fear. Anger. Brokenness. Sadness.

The world has seen this many times – in many forms – a replay of an old script – written by the same author, and I struggle to
focus the eyes before biting the apple once again.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

I know I wrote about this recently, but it bears repeating after this past week. I remember distinctly praying in 1970, that peoples’ eyes would be re-focused on the goodness of Our Father’s grace and mercy – on what we could be – needed to be – instead of the world’s eyes being clouded with the cataracts of all things evil.

Even though I was biting the apple from a different side at that time of my life (and still), I knew from what I had read in history books, I knew what I saw in the streets during those times was some thing that could destroy the world I knew. Would break my parents’ hearts. Would break me.

A birth pang. A Braxton Hicks of things to come.

That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

A Mighty Fortress IS Our GOD…

Powerful words in answer to those with unfocused eyes. Powerful words that are the corrective lens to give us 2020 vision in a darkened world. Powerful words that remind us that birth pangs last for just a little while. Powerful words that usher in a peace that passeth all understanding as He makes all things new. Powerful words that lift us out of the gravity of the world. Powerful words that let us become new astronauts soaring towards home with 2020 vision once again.

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”~Jn 14:19

“But tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.” Richard Baxter, “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care”

“Surrender to Him
Love Him.
Follow Him
Serve Him.
Live for Him.
And take His message wherever you go.” ~Ravi Zacharias a-mighty-fortress-t-c-hoffman [google image]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: What Is Truth?

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.” Jn 18:38

I haven’t written for a while. Well – that’s not entirely true. I’ve been writing. Just not writing for FB and blogging friends. This time of isolation really has been a time of introspection and thoughtful contemplation – both personally and collectively. It is as if Yahweh has “showed up and showed off”, as Mama or Dada used to say.

I’ve re-visited some of my favorite authors (the ones that I couldn’t bare to part with when I pared my OH library down to six crammed-to-the-brim shelves) and poets. I’ve written some new stuff, but mostly, re-visited some old writings that needed some serious tooling and up-dating.

Mostly though, I’ve spent a lot of hours in the WORD – in prayer – in breathing in: YAH and breathing out: WEH. Sitting in the sun while throwing the ball for the lab girls to fight over. Walking in the woods and watching the way the early morning light filters through the trees. Moving a load of mulch to help some plants that just weren’t happy where they were as I watch small critters crawl out of my way. Wondering, What is truth?”

In the age of deep fakes, scientists stating and re-stating facts and others stating and re-stating similar facts as they see it. It is hard to know whom to believe – or what to believe. For me, it always comes back to one thing – – – the Breath of Yahweh.

The other day, someone wondered why I used the word Yeshua instead of Jesus. I have been pondering that ever since. I wanted to say because it is natural and right somewhere inside of me when I do so. That lead me down another rabbit hole. Why do I refer to God as anything other than Yahweh?

Yes, GOD is our Abba Father, He is God, but He said His name was YHWH – Yahweh. “I AM that I AM”. I like to be called by my name – even though I have been called Teacher, Wife, Mother, Sister, Brynie. I am all those things, but mostly, I am as my parents named me – Bryn. And, while I value all those other names, I love hearing my name whispered in the mouths and prayers of others.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”Prov 9:10

Facts are dubious in today’s world. Scientist vs scientist. Historian vs historian. Politician vs politician. I have even heard mathematicians finding issue with each other. The chaos of their words slam my ears, and my brain is inundated with their discordant noise. Facts and knowledge are always in flux. Easily twisted towards a bias or by new revelations of observable nature.

As I have listened, read and prayed in this time of isolation, I continue to come back to the One source that has never broken a covenant with me – even though I have broken ones with Him.
The One who never ignored my copious tears. The One who held me when my parents died. The One who cried with me in the middle of my sinful choices. The One who continues to set my feet upon the rock higher than. The One who lights my darkness and gives me grace.

YAHWEH: I AM that causes.
YESHUA: I AM that saves.
YHWH RUACH: I AM that breathes.

“What is Truth?”

Pilot’s words have echoed in my head over and over the past few weeks. Pilot turned away after he asked this question. He washed his hands of it – just like many of us do in similar situations. He, too, lived in a world full of contradictions and/or opinions. Facts twisted one way and then twisted another. Each faction strongly holding their own counsel when the answer stood in front of all of them and they saw it – or heard it – not.

“For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.”– Jn 18:37

I have no answer to which side holds the wisdom of all the controversies are swirling around us right now. But – I do know for certain WHO holds that wisdom and will give it freely to all who want it. Just like Solomon, all we have to do is ask. I also know that when I choose a course of action and feel the “Peace that passeth all understanding” as I walk forward – – – I know that the the Trinity of Truth is lighting up whatever darkness I may encounter in front of me. There is only one Truth, and it set me free to listen for His voice – His breath – His cause.

As all these cliff edges threaten to give way under our collective feet, I can’t think of a better time for a National Day of Prayer to happen. Tomorrow will be a time of fasting and prayer for me as I strain to listen to His whisper and seek His face in this stormy time of life. Our country has found its knees in time of crisis before; I think we need to find them again.

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:12b-14 

 [google images/KevinCardin art images]

VISION 2020: Sabbath

The house is a maze of throw rugs. Wood floors peeking out in between them. Rugs spaced just far enough apart that a certain four-legged, beloved lab girl feels more secure as she walks from one end of the house to the other. Truth be told, she mostly wanders just one side of the house during the day, but at night she wants to amble back to the other side to protect me and her kid sister. The good news – I’m tickled pink to have her wandering again and praising My Father for her stubborn heart.

Four days ago, the old dog seemed to be ready to leave. I’ve been around the block a time or two with old dogs. I recognize the signs. They don’t eat or drink. Their breathing changes. Their eyes change – as if they are looking beyond what’s in front of them. So because I didn’t want her to be alone, I slept on the floor – with her on one side and kid sister on the other. (Hard to believe that as a kid I used to find sleeping on the floor a treat.)

The great news – she is still here and showing some signs of her old ornery self. Still a little hard for her to get up. Still a little unsteady on her feet. But those big eyes are wide open and checking every morsel that I put in my mouth. Can anything be better than having those big puppy dog eyes watching every move of the spoon? I think not.

“I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” Jn 16:32

Rather hectic days lead this simple soul, to enjoying a true Sabbath. I didn’t do much. Didn’t go to the gym. Didn’t work on much of anything except to move a few piles or sticks and rocks. Washed a couple of blankets and hung them on the back deck to dry. Knitted a few rows of a prayer shawl. Read some devotionals. Walked the dogs. Worked a cryptogram. Laughed when the old lab girl wanted to come with me, carrying her ball and trying to keep it from her kid sister. Sat on the patio swing. Listened to sounds echo through the woods – all the while hoping that the smelly remnant of a skunk was exactly that – a remnant and not a warning of its presence.

GOD is good, all the time.

At some point, I fell asleep with the windows open and the sun shining through them. The rabbi I had been watching on YouTube had turned into a video of Akiane Kramarik. It had been awhile since I had watched one of her videos, so I watched a few more. If you don’t remember – she is the art prodigy that started her career at the age of four. Not only that – she led her family to faith in GOD.

“Heavenly music is always gentle. I can’t tell you how different it is from what you hear on earth! It feels like joy, it looks like love, smells like flowers and dances like butterflies. Music there is alive! You can even taste it.” Akiane Kramarik

Treasure chest memories were everywhere today. One of the videos showed Akiane milking goats – a goat that looked just exactly like our first goat, Ami. Then as I folded the blankets off the back deck, I buried my nose in them. My childhood and OH homes all had clotheslines. What is it about hanging clothes outside to dry that makes them smell so good?

This Sabbath was blessed in too many ways to count. Eldest son’s birthday. Old lab finding her way back to me. Carolina warmth and sun. Treasure chest memories. Kitty curled on my lap. God’s presence drifting over every second of this Sabbath. Just glad my eyes, ears, heart and soul were open to all He has done on this holy day.

Our Father’s promises always lead to Joy.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Is 58:13-14 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #9

Spent some time laughing, sharing space and time with friends that I don’t get to see often enough. Scrubbed and polished my slate end tables. Kicked some leaves with my lab girls while they chased the beloved ball. “Technology Talked” with a couple of cousins and friends. Got a little chilly while I was swinging on my patio swing. And – put most of my fall decorations away.

Yupper. This year, I am one of those that have started the transition to Christmas before Thanksgiving. I usually do try to change everything over the week before Thanksgiving anyway – so this really isn’t much of a stretch. But when push comes to shove, in my mind, there is something about thanking God, eating turkey and enjoying the decorations at the end of that wonderful day. And  this year – I just need to surround myself with His Light a little more than usual since Thanksgiving is a little different for me this year.

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” ~Matt 4:16

There are so many things to be thankful for during this month of transition. One of them is technology. Right now, I am watching the 1955 version of Peter Pan with Mary Martin. How fun is that for this baby boomer? “I Gotta Crow” that it is even more fun than I expected it to be!! How can I still remember most of the words to this play and its songs from so long ago? And yet – here I am – singing along and loving it.

Of course, besides remembering all of the songs, I also remember that I got to stay up late  just to watch it. My daddy brushed my hair while we watched – eating popcorn from a big orange bowl and drinking a soda pop – special treats for a special night. “It is a place where dreams were born…”

A daddy who brushed my hair. A mommy who sang along with the songs and braided my hair when Daddy finished up. An older, big (at least to me – he was huge) brother who tried to ignore us all as he worked on boy scout badges or homework, but casually kept his eyes on the screen. It was definitely a time when I “thought wonderful, happy thoughts” and found that “I’m flying” faster than I thought possible.

Simpler, joyous times. “2nd star to the right and straight on to morning…”

It is good to pull out the treasure chest of memories occasionally. The gold and the silvers ones shine brightly – – especially those shined with Our Father cloth of love. I had a pretty nifty childhood. Church and Sunday School every Sabbath. Sunday drives to visit aunts, uncles, and especially – cousins. Family meals together. Chores done. Bedtimes full of books and prayers. Pretty good model for what a marriage and family should be.

November is that month of transition. The skies darken earlier. The cold wind slows my gait a little more as arthritis clamps down on the joints a little more tightly than I like. And yet, if I go past that silly 2nd star and soar way beyond all stars, the winter morning gets here earlier and sooner than I expected, freeing its sparkling Light to make all things new, and it easily outshines Neverland in the process.

“I, The Light, have come to the world, that no one who believes in me shall abide in darkness.”~Jn 12:46

GOD is good all the time – even on the darkest of nights. All the time GOD is good.

[goggle images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2019 #2

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”~2 Cor 4:15

The words have started to rumble about getting their say in my life. They have been passive for quite a while, biding their time, waiting to emerge, and that was okay – for a while. Somehow they know that putting one foot in front of another takes a lot of focus which oft leaves the body just plained tuckered out at times, and the mind somewhat befuddled at other times. So the words waited.

Until today.

Well – – – actually – – – they started the clamoring last night.

They bugged me, but I ignored them because – well – I fell asleep. What can I say?

The body was a little weary.
Heart was a little teary.
Eyes were a little bleary.
Mind was a bunch leary.

After all – – – what could be so important that the words wanted to say, and I wasn’t sure i was up to the task of lining them all up in some kind of cohesive order?

It has been a long couple of weeks with every day more blessed than the last. Days filled with things that needed to be learned, accomplished, and enjoyed. Got to admit, I’m pretty good at getting that first two parts – it is what teachers do. Go in the class. Teach. Observe. Absorb wisdom from what I’ve missed – what I need to do next time. But lately, I’ve missed that last part.

ENJOY.

A little word. An important word.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”~Jn 14:26

Enjoying that blessing of “doing” – whatever it is – just enjoying the blessing of “doing”. Somehow – seeing it in print makes it seems obvious and simple. Yet – for me – lately – just putting one foot in front of another has kept me from the blessing of what we were created to actually do – ENJOY. 

Enjoy this temporary garden that He created after we screwed up.
Enjoy the wait.
Enjoy the process.
Enjoy the sweat.
Enjoy the tears.
Enjoy the planning.
Enjoy the people.
Enjoy the journey.
Enjoy His presence, His light, His laughter, His smile at watching me stumble and fall and cry and lift myself up just so He can hug me even closer.

ENJOY.

The Holy Spirit kicked me this morning with a simple song. A song that I loved to sing with my family’s small church choir long ago. It is probably the first choir that started my love of choral music. Anyway – as I was doing this, that and the other thing on my to-do list of the day – the Moses Hogan Chorale started singing: “Let us break bread together on our knees…” and I found myself singing, crying and listening.

The Holy Spirit is like that when He gets a tight hold of my ears and heart. The voice in the choir began to sound more like my mom just as it had sung those same words in my ears year after year. The words – the lyrics – long dormant in some recess of my mind – were brought forth as if they were always at my tongue’s tip. The joy of singing in mixed formation as the harmonics overwhelmed me and went beyond the ears, flowing into the eternal consciousness that always encircles me when I participate in choral music.

“Enjoy this day that the LORD hath made. Enjoy the tribulation. Enjoy the work. Enjoy the refining and molding fire. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the sweat – the tears – the laughter – Enjoy the words that push their way forward – the blessings of all things for indeed,” the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart – “He is there – He is here – He never leaves or forsakes – He is faithful in all His promises – He is Your Father and He wants to see you smile.”

“Let us praise God together on our knees, (on our knees)
Let us praise God together on our knees. (on our knees)
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy if you please. (if you please)”  75407655_10156713434853549_5688404572591095808_n

HOLY DAYS 2019

It started last Monday. I take that back – it probably started Sunday the 6th. I spent the day in an unintentional fast and prayer. It was just one of those days when I was busy doing meaningless stuff when I needed to be in prayer. Somehow in the mix of the mess, I just didn’t find the time or the need to eat. So when Monday arrived, my ears were totally opened to listen to one of my favorite preacher/teachers. He often seems to hit that Holy Spirit sweet spot in my soul. So much so, that I generally cry. I generally take notes – lots of them. I generally do a bunch of pondering over the verses that he covers in his talks.  I generally just seek the presence of the LORD.

Monday night, His presence went beyond the message – it carried on into my dreams.

I don’t remember much of the dream except I was singing in a choir. The music was all in different colored folders that had swirls of colors all over them. and I could hardly wait to open them and begin sight singing. The choral director was someone I had sung with before and was – oh so excited – to sing with again. Best yet, we were to told to make new dresses for the upcoming concert. I wanted the blue material, but only a Christmas red and pink were left when it was my turn to chose. Funny thing, I wasn’t really disappointed and couldn’t wait to get started sewing the pattern for the new dress.

Of course, it was then I woke up. So Tuesday, I said my morning prayers as usual. The beginning of Yom Kippur would start at sundown. The day of determination for the new year. The day of Our Father weighs the heart.

My heart has been heavy for the past few months. Worries. Concerns. Friends/relatives fighting diseases. Prodigals wandering far from home. How I needed to make a decision on getting tires for the car or a new back door or a screen door – or…. Yeah – I throw even those tiny things into my prayers. Sure – enough by sundown and the beginning of Yom Kippur, He had answered that tiny prayer about tires in a most unexpected way. He also had opened my eyes and dried my tears in a way I had not expected.

Every day of that week continued to be blessed including Friday which brought another surprise in the mail and a couple found in a Bible  totally up to three unexpected gifts. I love how My Father knew that I needed a show of His Light-giving miracles this holy week. I love how He inspires people who are anonymous to me – but not to Him – to accomplish His work on earth for the people who love and honor Him. I love how the Jewish High Holy Days are holy for ALL His people. Yeshua celebrated the High Holy Days while He was on earth — after all — He went even though He knew His enemies were looking to destroy Him. I think they are still important to Him. They were the first covenants He made with His first people. Then after His time here was done, He made the gate available for the rest of us and someday – that same gate will open to the second garden He has designed just for us.

“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”~Jn 7:1-5

So tonight, as Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles begins, I am thankful for the harvest of  salad greens, tomatoes and flowers that I have had all summer. Thankful for a summer of life-altering change. Thankful for walks in the rain with the lab girls. Thankful for kitty curled in my lap. Thankful for a Father that hears the smallest whisper thrown into a quickly uttered, frustrated prayer. Thankful for friends who hear God speak to their hearts and put a gift in the mail. Thankful to Elohim Chasdi who dries my tears and carries me when I can’t take another step forward. And while I won’t live in a sukkah this year, I will certainly do a lot of prayers sitting on my patio swing in thankful praise and adoration.

The harvest of thankfulness has begun to a Father who meets all our needs – in all our journeys as we wander through the desert between two gardens.

Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.”~Jn 7:6-13

 [personal images/google image]

WARM, BUTTERY BREAD

When the Holy Spirit is nudging, and I am plugging my ears, Our Father and His Son, Yeshua, will often step in and slap me upside the head with blessing after blessing just to get my attention.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”~Ex 14:14

Last night a neighbor drove his mower over and not only did the road frontage, but also did the whole back yard. All day I had been internally wondering how I was going to fit everything in that I needed to get done this week. I wasn’t anxious about it, just pondering what kind of schedule I needed to implement so I could get to school and get some more books on the shelves and do all the things that seem to make up my day.

Later, I cried because that is just the way He works in my life these days. He knows that I hate traveling in canyons with their high steep walls. In canyons, the sky seems so far away, and daylight is overcast with shadow after shadow. This summer has been one long, huge canyon for me, and He knows it. But as always, He has provided a river of blessings that flows at the very bottom of that dark canyon to up-lift my dingy self.

“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

As I struggled over devotions, I read and re-read the WORD given. It just seemed to not fit my day, and I wondered what I was missing this time. So I gave up and put myself in His hands as I closed my eyes for this somewhat long and uneasy day. “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” was one of the last things I thought before I drifted off to sleep with kitty curled into my side and dogs snoring at my feet.

That is when I had a dream with its roots in a memory and the devotional that I had struggled with earlier.

When I was 7, we moved to a new house. A house where my father could walk to work and where we could all listen to the trains rumble by our house every few hours. The best thing – it was a neighborhood filled with kids my age. Mostly boys, which I didn’t appreciate until much later, but there were a few girls. One was a girl named Annie. Her family brought us freshly baked bread that first day when we were hot and tired and excited. I don’t think I had ever had warm bread like that – ever. Other neighbors and relatives joined us with other treats. Impromptu parties were not unusual to my parents. But it was always Annie and that out-of-the-oven, buttery bread that I remembered.

Last night, I dreamed of that warm bread again. Sweeter, better than I ever remembered. The Bread and Annie were both there. She asked me, “Is it really that hard to understand?” I laughed because suddenly the devotional made perfect sense, and I woke up still smiling. In fact, I can still taste that bread tonight and see Annie’s laughing face.

The Bread of Life. The Living Water. Sometimes, we just need to close our eyes. Be still. Rest in His hand. Let Him carry the battle in the canyon journey that we really don’t like. And – eat some warm buttery bread.

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ “~ Jn 6:48-51 

     [personal images]

 

LENTEN INSIGHT 2019 #3

It has been a month since I have written. The words have been there. The thoughts. The dreams. The joyous bursts of creativity. But the fingers were stayed. For whatever reason – I found myself waiting. So – I waited. I waited some more. Waited for the special silence that always precedes the release of words. And still I waited.

Holy week. 
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday.

A month ago, in one of my many thrift store meanderings, I found a Robert Shaw recording in conjunction with Ohio State University choirs. It was not one from when I was there, but the choral works on it spoke to me once again. The next day, I found myself sitting on the floor of my small utility closet as I pulled out all my classical CD’s. My school room filled with them as I worked. I began singing – not well – but nevertheless – with all my heart in the car on the way home. Finally, letting them filter through my prayers as I lay my head down.

“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”~Lk 9:58

Two weeks later, I found myself walking through the door of a stately, city Methodist church. The steeple bell rang as I walked the sidewalk towards the church – just as they used to when I walked with my parents. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. I was not surprised. I needed the rituals. I needed the music. I needed to hear the oral readings of Psalms and “Our Father”. I needed to remember the community of my history. The birthplace of my faith – my youth – my maturity.

A touchstone of truth.

“Pilate said to him, “You are a King then?” Yeshua said to him,“You have said that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world: to testify of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?” ~Jn 18:37-38

It is Holy Week.
It is Good Friday.

On Maundy Thursday, I was going to go back to the Methodist church, but instead, I watched the Mass of the Basilica in DC and sang with choir during Holy Communion. Tonight, as I watched some of the Stations of the Cross in Rome, my thoughts focused and the fingers found their freedom. Then I turned on the “The Passion of the Christ”. It is always the last thing I want to do – ever. It is a hard movie to watch. I cry – often. And yet, it is the one thing thing I must do. I must remember the gift. I must honor the sacrifice that an earthly mother made in conjunction with the plan that a loving, heavenly Father made for all His children so long ago.

“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”~Jn 15:13

Today was a stormy day in NC. “The swirly winds came and the rain fell on us” as a poem from my high school days stated. I checked my plants. Pulled the flag in under the porch roof. Rubbed the dogs’ heads over and over as they stayed close by my side. Even the cat who has been standoffish all week has spent most of the night on my lap. The winds have quieted and while all three animals and hubby are sleeping in our small TV room, I am at peace.

The stone has covered the tomb, but Grace is about to blow away the cords that hold it closed.

Resurrection Day is coming.

“You are my friends if you will do all that I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master does, but I have called you my friends, because all that I have heard from my Father, I have taught you.”~Jn 15:14-15

It has been an interesting month of being a learner again. Listening to the Teacher of Truth is never easy of me. I am – at this point in life – used to being the teacher in the room. I tend to want to control everything around me. Although – some of my oldest friends say that I have always had that “teacher attitude” – whatever that is. I’m still not sure where it is leading or what is on that path that seems to have very few mile markers. What I do know?

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you also will go bring forth fruit and your fruit will remain, so that all you will ask my Father in my name, he will give to you.These things I command you that you will love one another.”~Jn 15:16-17

 

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LENTEN INSIGHT 2019: #2

When coughing, sniffling and feeling overall yukky, just sitting in a chair and watching your preacher on TV (plus a few others), a few movies and a couple of your favorite TV shows seems like a very good idea.
 
Have I mentioned that I hate being sick?
 
I had all these plans for the weekend. A weekend in the high 50’s, bright sun, Carolina blue sky and perfect for getting those early spring clean-up/planting chores on the road to completion – not to mention a few lazy turns on the patio swing.
 
Have I mentioned that I really hate being sick?
 
So – here I am on a totally “nothing accomplished at all” Sunday night, drinking my cabernet, munching on a cracker or two while a warm cat sits on my lap loving me in her own special way.
 
And…
That is when it happens.
God speaks.
In the sweetest way ever.
 
I laugh and
Sit down in the middle of doing nothing
Until I realize –
I may not have accomplished anything this weekend,
but He accomplished a whole lot in me.
 
Sometimes –
We just need to…
Be slowed down.
Slowed to a bumpy stop…
And notice how broken our path has become.
 
Sometimes –
Coughing out the gunk that has accumulated,
Blowing the stuffiness that clogs our thoughts,
And looking up
Reminds us…
It’s not our world or our plans…
 
It’s His.
 
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”~Jn 3:16-17
 
I’m still blowing the gunk out of my way,
Rubbing Vick’s on my feet,
But somehow –
Feeling a whole lot better as I look at my hiking shoes.
 
However –
 
If I don’t quite get those shoes on tomorrow,
It just means I have another day.
Another day to be still.
Another day to listen.
Another day for my Father’s voice to speak.
Another day to be loved unconditionally.
 
Despite my broken path,
Despite clogged ears,
Despite my near-sightedness,
Despite my whining.
I am His.
 
Can’t say I love the way He knocked me off my path this weekend, but as a teacher in this world, I understand teaching methods that work the best often are the ones that force us to find our knees and lean on a Rock in a dark garden. A Rock that is ever so much stronger than we are.
 
It is what it is. We are a stubborn lot, afterall.
 
We just have to remember the Voice that continues to seek companionship as He wait to walk with us in His garden.I may still be coughing, but His voice caught my attention. I will get to tending my earthly garden eventually. The yard will get cleaned eventually. And Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle will – eventually – get off my lap so I can get up and go to bed.
 
This broken path can be smoothed and straightened.
This cold and brain fog will dissipate in the Sonshine.
His WORD, love and grace is eternal.
Easter is just around His corner –
We just have to roll away a few stones.
 
“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Guard the bed that I lay on.
Two to guard and to pray
And me to wake at break of day.” 
images (2)  [personal photo – Golden book of Hymns, c. 1950]