Tag Archives: Luke

TABERNACLING 2021: 40 Days TheChosen #35

How the day sneaks by so quickly, I will never understand.  When you get set free from daily job responsibilities, you are pre-set to lose track of time. I get up, the day unfolds and suddenly – WHALLAH – it is time to open the computer and write this reflection for the 35th day of this 40 Day Prayer Challenge. What’s worse, I don’t even remember how we got to the point that this prayer challenge is almost over.

I did get a couple outside tasks done in between storms, which basically means, that I pulled and culled and trimmed enough plants that I can see the outline of my deck….in one section. Actually, I did set free a couple tomatoes buried in all that greenery for my salad at the same time. Sometimes, getting sweaty and smelly is worth the effort. And – if all goes well, by the end of the month, I will be ready to get the house power washed and ready for winter.  Needless to say, winter preparations are a lot different than they are in the north.

“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”

John 8:36

At sundown, Rosh Hashanah drew to a close, but the days of reflection continues.  As I was thinking about devotions today and Rosh Hashanah, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between Christ and the Days of Awe. How can I not? When I consider all that He has done for me – for you – for the world – how could I not spend 10 days in Awe thinking about the gifts He shared with all of us.

The Days of Awe are the narrow span of time when the Jewish people are required to look at the past deeds of the previous year.  Analyze their choices, that they might learn and repent of the poor choices, so that their names will be written in the Book of Life.

They are set free of their past and YAH writes their name in the Book of Life for 5782.

In Luke 13, Jesus describes another narrow passage way that exists for those who want to enter eternal life with Him.  He describes it as a gate.  A gate that will only be opened by the Shepherd who loves His sheep; His sheep who know His voice.  It is not enough to just to walk up to the gate and know the name of the Shepherd.  There is that whole AWE thing that we tend to forget about.  That responding to His voice through the Holy Spirit as we bear fruit of our past life and repent over our poor choices.

We will be set free when we accept His Grace – over those yukky thoughts – over our nasty words – over the fruit we didn’t share with others – over those beautiful idols that we have established in our lives because they seem so important in the world – – – – –

We sin every day in this life whether we want to admit it or not, and the best part of knowing the Shepherd’s voice, we know we will be set free of all the troubles of the world by Yeshua Ha’Mashiach whenever we get lost and cry out to Him.

“For when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.”

Romans 6:7-11

#Hedrawethnigh #keeplookingup  #rapture

TABERNACLING 2021: 40 Days TheChosen #27

Whoopee!! My energy level was high today.  Got up before 7 so that I could mow the first part of the lawn chore without it being in the 90’s (still sweated through my clothes). Flipped the second mattress, and washed all the bedding.  Cooked a couple of meals that should last me until the weekend (if I’m lucky).  Walked the choc lab girl. Cleaned out one of the over-grown, messy gardens. And tonight – my body my joints and muscles are feeling rather poorly.

Whoever named these the “Golden Years” must have been referring to the fiery pain that purifies us for those “Streets of Gold” that are in our future existence.

The good news is that after doing my stretches, using the inversion board, and applying a few essential oils, poor no longer applies to how my body feels (although, I am definitely planning on climbing gently into that clean bed early).

“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.”

Luke 6:20b

Poor was the devotional word today.  It’s a common word that paints a picture in the mind when you hear it. When I read the Be-attitudes in Matthew, I have one picture.  It says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” [Matthew 5: 1]When I read the version in Luke, a different picture forms in my mind.

Poor in spirit” is different than “…you poor, right?

Which makes me wonder – did Matthew write his version because he heard it one way? Did Luke write it in a different way because he saw it different?  Did they write it differently because Our Father put those different pictures in their heads?

And then I hear Him laugh in my spirit.  “What makes you think I didn’t mean it even more ways than that?”  Needless to say, I start to laugh and go back to re-read them both again.

“Humility is found in low places…”

The Jenkins, TheChosen, Season One, p.118

Humility – contrite – repent – are all synonyms for how Matthew used the word, poor

Cashless – homeless – without family – are the different synonyms Luke hinted at with his phrasing of poor

Rabbi Yeshua’s Sermon on the Mount spoke to both conditions and perhaps even more situations that I have put here.  When you read and re-read both versions, the pictures in my head begin to merge, and I can see all the people on that hillside, leaning forward to catch every word as they watched His face. Even as I sit in my recliner in the comfort of air conditioning and controlled humidity, I am leaning forward and know He is still speaking right at me though His Book of Life.

Poor is a word like Jesus himself – – – humble, homeless – – – holy.

He used specific, simple words that His sheep would hear and understand.  He used those same words that He hoped, would help them see the shepherd in Him and follow.  He used those words to teach more about His Father – Our Father. He paid those words forward that the world – Jew and Gentile – that they would know His Father’s truth and grace.

It is our time to take our words – poor and simple though they may be – to pay them forward to those who don’t know His truth and grace.  Time is short.  The birth pangs are continuing ripple all through the depths of the earth, and in the spirits of its creatures.  Many are looking up and recognizing the season that is at hand. All the promises of the WORD continue to proclaim the season in which we live.  We only have to is Come and See; form a Relationship with Emmanuel; open the Blind Eye; Repent and sin no more; stand on His Rock; Trust and Worry not; Rise and – Poor though we may be – we will hear Him when He shouts for us to rapturo (rise) up to Him that we may see the place He has prepared for us. 

It is almost time for a wedding, so fill the lamps and vessels that you are ready.

Hedrawethnigh #keeplookingup  #rapture

TABERNACLING 2021: 40 Days TheChosen #22-25

ALL Y’ALL, listen up – when eldest granddaughter comes for a short visit, Grandmother must RISE to the occasion and CLEAN the house so that we both can relax and enjoy our blossoming RELATIONSHIP.  It is a wonderful weekend, when the 21-year-old, 1st year PA grad student choses to spend a few days of her one week break with ol’ granny.

We shopped.  We found an old-fashioned ice cream shoppe that actually had an old-fashioned chocolate soda and coneys.  We laughed.  We cried.  From silly to serious, we talked until late into the night.  And when she left, this ol’ granny cried again …… and took a nap. Relationships in this chaotic world are important.

“There is no better proof of friendship than to help our friends with their burdens.”

St. Augustine

Obviously, All Y’all are important to me as well, or I wouldn’t be writing this blog. This indirect relationship just takes second place when the grands come for a visit.  The devotions continued, because that Holy relationship is foremost in everything, I do these days.  I wish I could say it had been that way all my life, but it wasn’t.  Way too often, The Shepherd would knock at my door for a visit, and I only managed to mumble my way through a short, rote prayer before I closed my eyes and then continue my wicked ways the next day.

The worst part? The Tabernacle that was carefully and sturdily built during my childhood, lay in tatters and small pieces before I finally opened the door to the One who had never quit knocking. Cleaning and piecing together a tabernacle is never easy.  Tears, repentance, prayers, meditation, singing only for Him, finding His promises and standing on those rocks, helped me hear His voice once again and start to patch those holes after the scales fell from my eyes. 

“LORD, if you will, you can make me clean.”

Luke 5:12b

The great part?  The Shepherd was on the other side of my tabernacle, helping me patch it back together.  He smiled at me through those gaping holes as He handed me a golden needle – those spiritual mentors whom He placed in my path to poke and stab new woven habits into place.  Then He threaded the needle for me with sturdy, silver thread – wisdom given to others through books and relationships that He knew would hold the patches in place with the conviction of His promises.    

He will – He did – He does.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick [do]. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  

Matthew 9:12-13

Don’t know why, but this morning I woke up with this song circling around in my head, and it has been there all day.  So every time I walked my lab girl, flipped the mattress and re-made the bed, cooked some tomatoes down into sauce, this ol’ granny has been singing this wonderful song and smiling back at Him. I know I never have to be afraid when I stand on His covenants. 

When I am afraid, I will trust in you,
I will trust in you, I will trust in you.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you,
in God whose word I praise. (repeat 3 times)

In God I trust, when I am afraid.
In God I trust, in God whose WORD I praise

– by Steve Green

My tabernacle is in better condition these days.  He is still helping me to clean it, so that eventually, it will rise to a place where there will not be many more holes to patch. But until then, the needle and thread continue to pass back and forth between us.  He smiles as I hear His voice tell me His stories, and if I’m very lucky, He will soon call out to me and All-Y’all as He collects His Bride.  I’ve got my lamps and am daily trying to fill my extra vessels with His living oil.

I love being in His presence as we tabernacle together, but I have to admit that I am getting a tad impatient to see what it will be like in the place that He has been building just for me.

Hedrawethnigh #keeplookingup  #rapture

TABERNACLING 2021: 40 Days TheChosen #16

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1:15

Is it really the 20th of August?  For whatever reason, this month has been crazy busy and long.  I continue to think this is the last week of August instead of still having 11 days to walk through. I really don’t know how I would have fit in working this year.  Who but YAH would have made provisions for this year way back in June?

Today, I got to watch, via internet, my eldest granddaughter receive her short white coat in her journey to achieve her PA degree. Then I got to look at the pictures of my son and the rest of his family as they stood beside her.  Where did the years go?  They seem to have flown by way too quickly.

Time is a funny perception. The seasons come and go.  Thunderstorms and wind whip around us.  Sunny days and the heat make us sweat and uncomfortable. We keep track and lose years all at the same time. But Our Heavenly Father sees time in a completely different way than we do.

Christians have been looking up since the time Christ ascended into the Heavens to join His Father.  Always wondering – ‘Is this the day’? ‘Is He near?’ 2,000+ years is a blink to GOD who sees the beginning and the end at the same time……Who breathed life into those who would fall and built a path of salvation at the same time.


“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

Rabbi Yeshua walked among all people.  He did not discriminate with whom He shared His good news.  Even the ones He called to walk with Him on a daily basis were not the role models of the community.  After all, who among us are without sin – of rebellion – of throwing our free will in His face over and over again? 

Yet – there were a couple necessary steps that He also told them, if they wanted to follow Him through the narrow gate. A lesson that seems to be lost in many of today’s teachings.

First – believe in Him. Seems easy enough on the surface.

Nicodemus did. The rich young ruler did. Many who heard him believed in His message. They heard.  They believed.  They went home and went on with life. Sometimes, we forget that sins are not always despicable actions or thoughts.  Oft times, perhaps for many of us, sin is coveting the idols in our worldly lives. Wisdom, lots of likes on social media, friends to party with on the weekend, a good paying job, fitting in……….

It is this second part that often causes me/us to stumble. I/We have a choice.  It is our free will.  I/We believe in Jesus, but it is much harder to walk away from the idols that cause me/us to stumble. Can we repent of our sins as He asked the woman accused of adultery to do when she was thrown in front of Him?

Nicodemus could not renounce his own pride in being part of the Sanhedrin.  The rich young ruler could not renounce his things that made his life comfortable. They had free will to believe, but could not repent of the world’s gifts that they enjoyed. It has always made me sad to read these stories in His WORD because I see so much of myself in them.

As I continue to notice the times we live in, I try my hardest to not let the idols consume my thoughts and time.  I fall as often as I stand, Yet – I know He knows my struggles and continues to encourage me to strive harder – to repent and try again.  He reaches out.  He lifts me up and heals my bruised knees, so that I can walk forward once again. That is His grace in action. 

Repentance is not easy, but it is necessary if we are  “…to go and sin no more.”  And if we do – we will find His grace as that woman did so long ago. If we do – like Nicodemus our tears will mix with His and wash us clean of those idols, and the Holy Spirit will strengthen us.

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

Luke 15:7
Greg Olsen artwork

TABERNACLING 2021: 40 Days TheChosen #13

“Tell us,” they said, “by what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?”

Luke 20:2

I read this Bible verse and in my head, I could hear so many people asking this question. They may not say these exact words, but it is the main question.  It doesn’t matter which side of the political aisle they are on – it is the question. It doesn’t matter if it is about the diabolical bug, Afghanistan (or any other country), bit coin, global re-set, WOKE’ism, anxiety, masks, CRT, vaccines, religion – – – that one question comes from all sides – in all areas – and so often with anger underlying it and the divide between them growing only larger.

What are your sources? By whose authority?

The answers vary.  Each trying to convince the other that their sources are better, stronger, wiser than any others brought to the conversation flowing between them.  And yet – the hole between them – within them – has only grown.

2000+ years ago, the Jewish Priests asked Rabbi Yeshua the same question. (Doesn’t that make you wonder about the times we are living in?) They were the authorities.  They were the sources that others quoted. They were the references everyone was supposed to honor.  And yet – here was this young rabbi from a rinky-dink part of the country trying to “teach them”?

Did any of them remember this man as the child who had sat with them on a Passover feast so many years before?  Did they remember how they had been astounded by his answers and talked about him after his parents had come to take him home?  I often wonder if Nicodemus had been one of those in attendance when that youngster at questioned the temple priests?  Is that why he sought him out in the darkness of the night and questioned him alone – away from the eyes of the others?

Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory means nothing. The One who glorifies Me is My Father, of whom you say ‘He is our God.’ You do not know Him, but I know Him. If I said I did not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word.”

John 8:54-55

Authority is one of those words that can be applied to many institutions, people and ideas, but continually in flux in our world. However, Jesus only cited one authority. Against all the wisdom of the known world, He stood alone on the Rock of the Father’s promises and WORD.

We tend to think this was easy for Him.  We forget that He was human just like us at this point.  He felt the rejection.  He felt the rebukes, the rants, the anger, the divide that was growing between him and those in authority of this world. And yet – I wonder once again – how many times he felt frustration and even some anger at these people who said they loved His Father…and in extension…even if they didn’t know it then…loved Him, the person standing before them.

So tonight, as I begin my nightly devotions and prayers, I hope I am brave enough to continue to stand upon My Father’s Rock as my authority. I pray for those who continue to fight wildfires.  I pray for our military and those who rush to stand in the gap for the rest of us.  I pray for the missionaries that are trapped behind a wall of disbelief and violence. I pray for all the Afghanis who are now living in a country they haven’t seen for 20+ years.  I pray especially for the females. I pray for those affected by earthquakes and other natural disasters.  I pray for those battling this infernal bug that continues to divide and separate as it makes so many ill unto death. I pray for those given earthly authority over me and those I love, that they might remember Matthew 11:25:

At that time Jesus declared, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”

Matthew 11:25

Blessed are the Humble for theirs is the kingdom of GOD…”

#Hedrawethnigh #keeplookingup  #rapture

TABERNACLING 2021: 40 Days TheChosen #5

“We musts obey GOD rather than men.” Samuel Adams

 Since I retired, I’ve been doing lots of cryptograms and reading many non-fiction and fiction books.  In almost all of them, there is that renegade. A person, thing, or thought that breaks away from the traditional, accepted thought to something entirely new.  Sometimes it turns out really good.  Sometimes – – – not so good.

Even in non-fiction there are the renegades. King George and his court though of Samuel Adams as a renegade.  In fact, they referred to him and the fight for liberty in the colonies as the “Samuel Adams Conspiracy”. Now that made me laugh.  Even back then, people on one side of an argument argued that it was a foolish conspiracy theory. 

Then I began to wonder and ponder a little more. Has this not been true since the beginning of all things? If it cannot be proved false or true, isn’t it much easier to call it a conspiracy than do the deep research required, then debate, so that each person forms their own opinion?

I always tended to think that word, renegade, had a negative connotation (my bad).  Many fiction novels tend to allow that definition to flourish.  There is a good guy/bad guy. The renegade is the law breaker, the rebel, the treasonous villain.  Then there are the novels that add a twist.  The hero-cast renegade may be all the above, but they have something deeper than what appears on the surface.  They are responding to a “higher” law or thought.  One that leads to a positive change throughout the land for all the people. 

Dystopian novels are great at this heroic renegade.

It comes down to this: renegades are just plain complicated – just like the people they represent. 

“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him [Yeshua] out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”

Luke 4:28-30

Rabbi Yeshua was considered by many a renegade…by others – a Messiah.  I’m sure the word conspiracy was thrown around often back then.  Today was one of those days when I wondered: on what side would I have landed if I had lived back then? Which word would I have applied to this man if I had been an elder Jewish or gentile woman? 

Samuel Adams was born from a long line of Puritan ancestors (he was often referred to as the Last Puritan), and during his own time of stressful conflicts, he had His foundational rocks on which he based his “truth”. He called it the “Devine WORD”.

I guess this all brings us into the circle of what I wrote earlier this week.  We all have a lens through which we view things that happen to us.  It is that critical thinking…that debate within ourselves…that discussion we allow within ourselves when we check and re-check our foundational truths…that lens that helps us decide what type of renegade or conspiracy we are viewing. 

As I step further into these birth pang years, I try to keep my eyes and ears open.  I continue to read and listen to others that understand my foundational truths better than I do. I continue to read over and over the texts from the same texts Samuel Adams used.  I continue to debate within myself and challenge myself – but when it comes down to the final analysis, it is that lens in my eyes, the breath in my spirit, the voice in my head that guides my decisions. 

I know His voice just as He knows my name, so I rest in a peace that passeth all understanding.  Perhaps a renegade in my own way…or…perhaps not.  Only time will tell as I wait and continue to pray for the world, the people who have scales on their eyes, my own sinful scales, and the blessed hope to be manifested throughout creation.

#Hedrawethnigh  #keeplookingup  #rapture

Greg Olsen artwork

TABERNACLING 2021: Mustard Seed Faith

One and a half inches of rain in the gauge.

No real wind gusts.

Elsa breezed by and blew a kiss.

Hurricane watch 2021 continues

“God wants us to get where God wants us to go more that we want to get where God wants us to go.”

~Mark Batterson

NC weather doesn’t thrill me – except for not having to deal with snow. There is just something about steamy, rainy days that I really don’t like. The barometer tweaks my arthritis. My sinuses are just as bad, so I end up just wanting to crawl back into bed and curl up under the covers.

I didn’t – of course – but the childish, pouty, whining child in me sure wanted to do that exact thing.

I convinced myself instead to tune into the first part of my devotions and prayers as I started my physical therapy stretches. Hanging upside down on the inversion board really didn’t help the head, but at least I was still moving forward. Put on my raincoat, coaxed the choc lab girl out the door (she thought I was nuts), walked over to the neighbor’s house to deliver her paper, checked my gardens and got completely drenched…all before 9 o’clock.

By then – I had figured out it would be a rather long day of achy joints, sniffling, and wondering when it would be socially acceptable to take a nap in the morning?

It was 9:05. (If you heard a loud sigh, that was just me.)

“If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!”      

Luke 17:6

Not sure why this verse circled around me today as I began to write. It was still rainy.  I wanted to be outside.  I wanted to go back to sleep. But here was this verse repeating itself – like a stuck record with a big scratch (you can tell I am old from this reference). Actually, I started pondering this verse over a week ago, as I was driving to Virginia to steal my oldest granddaughter away for a couple days from her intensive, Physician Assistant graduate studies in VA. 

 I have The Word of Promise audio Bible CD set (how can you get bored when Jim Caviezel is speaking the words of Christ into your ears?), and was listening to it instead of the radio. Sometimes my mind drifts in and out while I listen to things since I am a visual learner, but the mustard seed visually appeared in my mind when I heard this verse.

A small, insignificant speck under a gardener’s feet as she walked by a mustard plant that had gone to seed.

When I was 4, my parents got me a bracelet.  It wasn’t anything fancy. Just a small, plastic globe with a mustard seed in the middle.  Before long, they had me reciting Luke 17:6. What took me way longer to figure out is that Rabbi Yeshua was really talking about our lives in this verse – especially when you read the rest of this small portion of the WORD.

Life is a faith journey: a-smaller-than-a-mustard-seed-faith-journey.

As I continue walking through these birth pang months and days of 2021, having even a microcosmic amount of faith gets me reaching for the choc lab girl, reciting my morning prayers and flinging back the covers. Just imagine what mountains or trees or obstacles I could move if I truly had a mustard seed sized faith?

In the meantime, I continue to ponder the verses that the Holy Spirit circles round and round until I write about them. I read the chapter where that verse originated.  I read similar verses in the other gospels.  I read commentaries.  I listen to blogs.  I wonder and ponder some more. Yet, when it is all said and done, I am just thankful that I can be a servant in His house.  That He has placed me in this exact place, at this exact time, to look within me, and notice that my mustard seed is still growing on His flowering plant.

My mustard seed is still a tiny, tiny speck within that mustard’s yellow flower, but it is growing.  Day by day – choice by choice – prayer by prayer.

“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’?  No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’  And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do?

Of course not. 

In the same way, when you obey Me, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’

Luke 17:7-10

I really think GOD wants me to get to the place He wants me to be – and lucky for me – I’m figuring out that I really want to be there more than anything else in the world.

#Hedrawethnigh   #Keeplookingup


Praise the LORD!

Writing about the WOES listed in Isaiah 5 is done.  When I see the word WOE in the Bible – it’s scary connotation catches me …….  Everytime. I was WAY OVER writing about WOE before I started.

Do you know, there are approximately 56 instances of WOE being cited in the Old and New Testament? (I say approximately because different translations translate differently.) Still – that’s a bunch of WOE, and like I said, I was WAY OVER WOE before I started, but I’ve learned it is never in my best interest to argue with a nudge from the Holy Spirit.

This whole WOE thing started when I found myself in a classroom for the first time.  I say “found” because that was never my plan.  I never consciously chose to be a teacher.  I didn’t go to college to become a teacher.  In fact – for many reasons, I didn’t even want to go to college.  I even had several nasty fights with the parents who twisted my arm with the promise that I could come home after one semester if I really didn’t like it.

Needless to say, I never went home for more than a few days after the first month. What can I say?  They had a music building – choirs – and a library that I could get lost in whenever I wanted. There was no way I would ever be able to read all those books.

Woe! Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

James 3:1

I really didn’t like school – at all.

Growing up, I played “school” with my friends and baby dolls. I taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible school, swim lessons to disabled students, read story books to kids who came to the library where I worked as a high school page, read more books to the kids that I baby-sat for on the weekends or in the summer, taught kids how to twirl a baton, but never – NEVER – envisioned doing anything that had anything to do with school.

When I look back at all the things I did leading up to college, I can see Our Father’s handprints all over this.  Probably because we lived in a small town, I ended up being in leadership positions off and on all through school.  The job in the library gave me access to books that I probably wouldn’t have read if I hadn’t been there several hours a week and more in the summer.

I was reading about the things I heard my parents and teachers talking about long before I understood why they were important or how they would all fit together to lead me to a 40+ yearlong path that I couldn’t possibly imagine when I turned 18.    

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

Matthew 18:6-7

The amazing thing was – I wasn’t as bored in college as I had been in all my previous schooling.  Don’t get me wrong, I had great teachers.  Some even caught my attention enough that I actually A-ced their class. I just wasn’t that motivated high achiever in school.  I was the day-dreamer looking out the window, writing poems, stories, song or reading a book in my lap.  I did good enough to make National Honor Society, but that’s about it.

My college notebooks are still filled with a lot of writing that had nothing to do with classes, but it was better since I didn’t have to spend all day in classes and could hang out in the music building playing piano and singing to my hearts’ content with all the people who liked to do the same thing as me in their free time.

And then – – – I “found” myself standing in front of a bunch of students in an urban classroom. 

Whoa! Woe!!

During that short experience, a long-time Christian teacher took me under her wing.  She taught me more in 6 weeks than I had learned in 3 years at my college and – – it was she that pointed out the WOE verses as she asked me, “Are you sure you are ready to do this for Him?”

Was I?

“It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

Luke 17:1-3

I guess I was, so I may be WAY OVER WOE writing about WOE’s (does that even make sense?), but I know WOES are part of the world – especially in these latter days.  So when they catch me as I read the Bible, I realize that they are the warnings that are meant to catch our attention.  Warnings to remind us that His Handprints are over everything in our lives – – – from opening our eyes in the morning to closing our eyes at night.  I can’t find the words to say how comforting that is to me during this season of life.   

#Hedrawethnigh #keeplookingup

Campbell Hall, The Ohio State University, 1978

TABERNACLING 2021: Weedy Woe #4

This has nothing to do with Weedy Woe #4, but is just plain thankfulness and joy that needs to be expressed today.

The NC spring of 2021 has been a Godwink blessing all the way around. First, it has actually been a spring over a month long. Second, the first fruits harvest has been beyond amazing.  From flowering trees…to early blooms of color…to tender, sweet veggies… what can I say? I have totally enjoyed this spring.

The Eli gardens first took shape in the spring 0f 2016.  Five years later, they are pretty well defined and starting to fill in all the empty spaces (sidenote: it certainly saves on mulch when those tiny seedlings multiply and become fruitful blooms).  As I check each garden every morning, I can’t help but smile and sing a praise of thanks to the One who did the hard work, because there has never been a point in time when I have ever looked at one of my gardens and said, “Perfect. I never have to mess with that one again.”    

I wonder if Our Father feels the same way about His gardens – especially when He sees what our earthly garden has become under our caretaking?

God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed…”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Now this has everything to do with Weedy Woe #4: Deception.

Mainstream media has been full of stories about UFO’s recently (flashback to the 70’s when UFO’s were all the rage), and it got me thinking about a book I have read multiple times throughout my walk in this earthly garden.  That in turn made me return to a thought I’ve had since I was little. 

A Father who loves to create (obviously true in my head…since His creations are so varied and fascinating in design and concept) just doesn’t quit creating, right? I have often wondered if He has planted more than one garden in this wide universe.  Perhaps, Taylor Caldwell did too.  She wrote a book in 1967 called Dialogues with the Devil. If you read this book, you might understand why my mind leaped from UFO’s to Our Father’s many creations.

Now there is a Godwink behind this book and me. I had read many Caldwell books when I was in high school, since I worked as a page in my hometown library. Her books were always somewhere on the best seller list, hence I read them. And yet……I had never seen this one.

 1973 was a tough year. My daddy had died two years prior, and as a daddy’s girl, I was still deep in grieving his departure. Perhaps that is why I was tenaciously rebelling against my Heavenly Father who loved my heart despite my outward closed fist and angry actions. I had convinced myself that Sportin’ Life knew a lot more about the world when he sang – “It ain’t necessarily so, it ain’t necessarily so, the things that you’re liable to read in the Bible, it ain’t necessarily so…” (Porgy and Bess, 1935, Gershwin)

Shuckin’ and Jivin’ + Pickin’ and Choosin’ = Deception.

I had just popped one contact lens for another…planted a weed. I just didn’t realize it. At times, tares look an awful lot like wheat.

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.”

Luke 16:17

1973 was also was the year I graduated from college.  Moved out of the rooming house I had managed for 3 years. Signed my first lease ever.  Accepted my first teaching job at an inner city school where I did my student teaching. Continued being a section leader/soloist at the same church choir that my college choir director had drafted me to join during my freshman year. Loved on Boo-dog that loved me back. Picked up my Bible often… especially when I wanted to justify a rebellious choice or when I wanted to have one of my many arguments with He who had placed me exactly where I was “for such a time as this”

Deception had gained an inch in my garden.  It would take over almost all of the garden before I blinked often enough to see the Weedy Woes growing wildly and sinking their roots deeply. But hidden beneath the rampant foliage of the weeds was the rich, holy dirt and stones that my earthly parents had cultivated during my youth. I just couldn’t see them underneath what looked so beautiful………at first. 

It was then, in a small, branch library close to my new apartment, that a hand reached down and pulled a thorny weed out of my garden. Actually, he reached up and took a book off the shelf that was close to the one shelf I was scanning. I had never seen, nor seen since, this man, but I can still see him in my head.  He walked over to me with a book in his hand.  He said (at least as I remember it), “I think this is the book you’ve been seeking.” He handed it to me, turned and walked away. When I looked up from reading the synopsis of “Dialogues with the Devil”, he was no longer in the library.

  Woe to those who call evil good

and good evil,

who turn darkness to light

and light to darkness,

who replace bitter with sweet

and sweet with bitter. Isaiah 5:20

The book he had handed me was about Weedy Woe #4: Deception. It addressed it on all levels…spiritual and physical. 

I checked it out and read it in a day. It was the beginning of my fist starting to open. It was the reminder that jots and tittles can not be changed just because I changed the lens in my eyes. The spot where the weed had been flourishing revealed a rock in my garden.  I placed my foot upon that rock and took a deep breath as I pulled another weed.

It was the book that I had been seeking, although – truth be told – I didn’t realize it until my fist was completely uncurled…..till I had pulled a few more weeds….till I had changed the lens in my eye a few more times.

Weedy Woe #4: Deception is a nasty weed. It has long running roots and a deeper root that runs even deeper underground.  If you only pull at the surface ones, you will probably miss the deeper ones.  Application of Truth is the only solution, but for me, one application didn’t penetrate the whole weed or clear my garden.  It took me many years of constant Applications of Truth to beat back this Weedy Woe to a manageable state.

At least now, I have many rocks on which to walk in my garden, and my steps are secure on the path that He created just for me in times such as these.

#IAMtheWay  #Hedrawethnigh 

TABERNACLING 2021: Lenten Lessons

Sometimes when things happen – and ya just have to roll with it.

A couple of days ago, I was listening to a podcast about global trends in our world as I fussed with various chores in the kitchen.  I had just sat down to really turn my ears onto the subject, when the sound of crashing glass intervened from another room of my home. Luckily, I had my shoes on as I went back to check.  I was sure a picture had fallen off the wall. 

I was wrong. 

Instead, two china cabinet glass shelves became – one glass shelf. Amazingly, not one glass door had been even cracked. The things sitting on those shelves? Well – not one thing was broken that had that “emotional” attachment to it.  Thus, began my 3-hour journey of sorting piles of “stuff”:

  • toss, give away, keep. 
  • Broom and sweeper.
  • Clean a space.
  • Repeat and repeat and repeat.
  • Order emerges in minute stages. 

Eventually, kitty came out from under the desk and sniffed the changes.

Things I needed to clean out for a long time were finally in the car or in the trash. Those treasure chest items were moved around, and I smiled.  I hadn’t planned on spending half of my day doing this, but it was definitely something that needed done. The thought ran through my mind, “And it was good”.

Lessons.  What can I say? Sometimes, the teacher just allows things to happen so that a new lens of importance will open our eyes to something we hadn’t seen. Rabbi Yeshua was adjusting the lens of His followers all day on the 12th of Nisan. It began as He and His followers made their way back to Jerusalem. As they walked, they passed the tree He had cursed the day before. He knew they would need the faith of a mustard seed in the days and years to come.

 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Mark 11:22-25

When they got to the temple, He allowed them to watch and listen as the priests tried to trap Him once again.  At some point, Judas Iscariot changed his lens on this day and made a deal that would change their world and all the world’s generations to follow. Did He miss the Olivet Discourse?  What lens had he been looking through on that day?  

That afternoon, Yeshua squeezed in many lessons for those who followed Him. Lessons to change their lens. Lessons that would help them in the coming years ahead. Lessons that would help all of us who are willing to look through a different lens at the things and people of the world and of the days that are coming.

There are way too many lessons that Yeshua spoke to on this day, but if you want to see through His lens, you might want to open your Bible to these chapters and verses:

  • Matthew 21:23–24:51,
  • Mark 11:20–13:37,
  • Luke 20:1–21:36,  
  • John 12:20–38.


Michael Dudash artwork