Tag Archives: Nehemiah

BACK AND FORTH

Sooooo – the weekend started out like this on Friday morning: there was a snake languishing and being quite chill beside my bedroom door. With my eyes adjusting to the new light of day, and my bare feet just inches away from his head  —- what can I say? Some weekends are just like that. A little snake. A lab girl with two sores on her ears and a limp when she walks. A kitty that jumps on my stomach on a lazy Saturday morning to wake me up. My daughter’s old dog crossing the rainbow bridge. Curtains to hang. Furniture to move – a few times – and then a few times more. And, thankfully, many times when I get to go outside, sit on the swing, close my eyes and sing – – back and forth – – back and forth – –

“Sing God a simple song
Lauda, Laudē”

Writing hasn’t been a high priority the past couple weeks. Lesson planning. Glancing at e-mails. Cruising through FB. Sharing a bit of e-mail wisdom and then – read and read some more. Books piled on every table/desk. Stumbling my way through books on how to deal with chaotic storms that threaten to engulf a seemingly “normal” life. Reading and re-reading passages of prophecy or Biblical history. On-line reading on Jewish/Christian traditions. Head buried in oh so many, many books until the arthritic neck begins to ache more than I wish, and I reach for my essential oils once again..

Human wisdom.
Our Father’s wisdom.
Jewish wisdom.
Simple wisdom.
Swinging back and forth – – back and forth – –

Since it has been a few years since I read in-depth on Jewish traditions, I’ve been listening to podcasts and re-educating myself about the awe of the Jewish High Holy Days. Did you know that some Jewish theorists believe that time is a spiral? I’m still working on that in my head, but I do find it fascinating when I sit on my swing and swinging – back and forth – back and forth. Where is my spiraling tree swing when I need it?

Thinking about the 6th Day of Creation.
Thinking about how that is celebrated in Rosh Hashanah.
Thinking about the trumpet blowing: past – present – future.
Thinking about looking back at what was.
Thinking about the only Biblical recorded celebration of Rosh Hashanah in Nemiah.
Thinking about acknowledging my role in the past year(s)’s journey – good and bad.
Thinking about Yom Kippur.
Thinking about judgement and filling my lamp with oil.
Life – –
Joy – –
Song.

My thoughts tracing the tradition of the Jews…the tradition of the mass…the tradition of humans trying to find their way between the two gardens and back to the Father. A Father who walked with them in the first garden and waits to walk with them in the last one. A little snake that I almost stepped on in the dark. Things that I love. Things that make me cry. An old dog that now plays with her best friend in heaven. Things that make me laugh out loud. Things that I want to accomplish. Thinks that I have been thinking this weekend as I swing – back and forth – back and forth.

“Lauda, Lauda, Laudē
Lauda, Lauda di da di day…
All of my days.”~Bernstein’s Mass: Simple Song.

“The entire people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the scroll of the Teaching of Moses with which the LORD had charged Israel. On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Teaching before the congregation, men and women and all who could listen with understanding. He read from it, facing the square before the Water Gate, from the first light until midday, to the men and the women and those who could understand; the ears of all the people were given to the scroll of the Teaching. Ezra the scribe stood upon a wooden tower made for the purpose, and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah at his right, and at his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, Meshullam. Ezra opened the scroll in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; as he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” with hands upraised. Then they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD with their faces to the ground. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites explained the Teaching to the people, while the people stood in their places. They read from the scroll of the Teaching of God, translating it and giving the sense; so they understood the reading.”~Neh 8:1-8 

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #12

I have absolutely no idea what to write about since there are tons of things running around in my mind that I am so thankful to have in my life. Yesterday, there was no doubt. Devotions led me deeper into the WORD, and that put it front and center.

So a list of random thankfulness that have flittered through my scattered brain tonight seems rather appropriate.

Mom’s voice waking me up this morning singing, “When the red, red robin…”

Off-beat Christmas music that pulls at my spirit even more than Perry Como or Nat King Cole or Andy Williams or Carpenters. (I never would have believe it was possible – but it’s true.)

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”~1 Chron 16:34

Two random ladies blessing me at church with their words and thoughts.

A wise man’s words about defeating the ‘obs-tackles’ that the evil one places in our path of our God given vision for our life. (Still thinking about this one, but I need to go back and read a few chapters in Nehemiah again)

The quiet of a morning walk after church with the girls.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”~Col 4:2

An early afternoon nap while Sunday dinner cooked (I am really not cut out for early morning risings anymore).

Roast chicken, potatoes and gravy. Yum!!!!

Devotions and taking time to write a note of Thanksgiving to one of my former teachers. A teacher who was one of the ones to help me see what a teacher could be in a classroom of crazy kids with Senior-itis.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”~Ps 100:4

Hallmark, DVD’s, Christmas movies that inspire the Spirit.

Pine tree smells that can blossom in my home even without a live tree. (sniff, sniff – can’t talk Hubby into one).

A silly kitten that runs into a wall as she tries to turn the corner into her room when I am bringing her supper. (I hope she doesn’t hurt herself – I can’t afford any new vet bills)

A few teacher-preachers on TV.

God’s vision for my life.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”~Heb 12:28-29

As I re-read these Gratitude Attitudes, I began to see a pattern of my day. A pattern that points to the vision. Still a little blurry. Still a little ways off in the distance. Time for prayer. Time for clarity. Time to kick the ‘obs-tackles’ (don’t you love a Southern accent?) to the curb. If Nehemiah could do it, so can I.

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GRATITUDE OF ATTITUDE 2017 #5

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

Until I remembered. Gratitude is an attitude.

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

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

Disgrace. Trouble.

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

I remembered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advent JOY #7: Seed

The joy of having an old “new” house is that there are always things that need a little tweaking. The floor in my office/writing/music/memory room is due for a tweak. This wouldn’t be a bad thing except it is crowded with “stuff” that probably only has meaning to me, and half of that “stuff” needed to be moved.

Errrrr….

Not exactly what I wanted to do on the morning of finishing a Christmas stocking, preparing food and pine centerpiece for daughter’s Christmas party, painting a few more ornaments as gifts, and wrapping a few presents. BUT – there I was – moving things from one room to another and biting my nails in between – literally. Tweaks are like that. When they squeak, we must tweak……and that is when the seeds fell on the floor.

“All suffering, all pain, all emptiness, all disappointment is seed; sow it in God and he will, finally, bring a crop of JOY from it.”~Eugene Peterson

A couple summers back, I read an easy way to save seeds for an efficient, easier planting in the next spring. So – I followed the instructions and when they were dried and ready – put them away for the spring. The problem was – I lost track of them. Two years later, the squeak of the tweak brought forth an unexpected JOY.

“Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.”~Ps 126:5-6

Obviously, I can’t run out and plant seed today – even in NC, it is not that warm. So I picked them up and put them on the bed in the extra bedroom until the squeak of the tweak is fixed….hmmmm….maybe I better move them, so I remember where they are this time….

Tonight, as I watched the Grands run from one floor to another – their Christmas JOY rattling the windows – while the camaraderie of the parents who were gathered around mounds of finger food permeated the downstairs with even more Christmas JOY – I had to smile. Seeds planted long ago are dropping fruit for a seed plantings of their own. We left before the Christmas play, the caroling, Santa’s visit, a Polar Express-marathon-sleepover – a communion service of it’s own in the making…

The JOY of the LORD is your strength.”~Neh 8:10

So – a day that started out in frustrating busy work that I didn’t want to do became a day that burst forth into an unexpected, beautiful rare bloom of brilliant colors. Colors that I keep revisiting in the quiet of our “new” old home where the squeak of the tweak is still clamoring for attention. Maybe tomorrow, I will move some more stuff so that the fixer-upper person will be able to complete their task without breaking anything. The seeds – not safe in the extra bedroom to my way of thinking – are now tucked securely into a book shelf nook, so I can find them easily two months hence.

Who knows what seeds Abba plans to plant in the next week of Advent? He planted a seed of LIGHT just for us in Bethlehem 2000+ years ago. I just hope that I continue to notice those seeds He plants close to me and am wise enough to nurture them in prayer, tending the garden well so that He may harvest the crop with His blessings in His perfect timing. After all – Christ is coming again soon, and I can hardly sit still.  My JOY is bubbling to the surface.

Now to the LORD sing praises
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and JOY, comfort and JOY;
O tidings of comfort and JOY.

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BLESSINGS TRIAD #4-6

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A FOURTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

On November 4, 2015, I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is present in my life and in the world. Until Christ comes again, what more could I ask except that I have the wisdom and discernment to pay attention whenever and however He speaks. Blessings!Be!

“I have spoken these things with you while I am with you. But he, The Redeemer of the accursed, The Spirit of Holiness, whom my Father sends in my name, he will teach you all things and he will remind you of everything whatsoever I have told you.” Jn 25-26

A FIFTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVINGscaffolding

Today, my students hugged me, made a game of touching my peek-a-boo strands of blue or purple hair, and untied or tied the long necklace of cooper beads that hung around my neck as we worked our 3rd grade division problems. I hear God laughing everytime I work with them doing math because He knows it is not the thing I love best in the world. I laugh because, even now, He is still trying to teach me.

So tonight, I as I finish up devotions and scan back through my ever circling prayers of petitions, praise and thankfulness, I remember He is a God who “delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18). He is the God who taught His people in the early days through Abraham, Sarah, Moses and on and on and on. He sent His Son to teach and model for us what could be done when we stand firmly upon the rock of faith. He sent the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us when things threaten to break us and remind us of His promises.

me 1978Lev Vygotsky may have written it down for our modern culture, but Rabbi Yeshua lived it as He taught. Scaffolding works in so many areas, but especially, teaching. So today, I am thankful on November 5, 2015, to have been wise enough to choose the path that my Father set before me so long ago.

“Stand up and bless Yahweh your God from everlasting to everlasting! Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!” Neh 9:5b

A SIXTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

On this 6th day of November, I am thankful that I am not going through a testing period right now. Several people I know are going through challenging times right now. Some through illnesses. Some through financial crisises. Some through relationships. And some – through choices of their own desires.

I told my son earlier this evening that life is like a classroom – one pop quiz or test after another. Some tests seem to go on forever. Some are only one question long. Some are full of long disjointed essays, and our head hurts after awhile – not to mention our hand cramps.

The Bible is filled with such stories – from Adam and Eve to John on the Isle of Patmos, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The good news? Tests never last. The classroom soon fills with yakking teachers. Students questioning. Laughter. Games. Celebrations. Naptimes. “To everything there is a season…” -.even testing.

Tonight is a good night to be smiling and thankful. Still struggling with a cold that just won’t walk out the door and leave me along. But over all – instruction time is still taking place in my classroom. Sometimes, I’m doodling and looking out the window (much like I did through most of my classes – ever). Rare times – I am focused and paying strict attention (but I am getting better – I think). Most times, I am just content. Loving my family, friends and always – my students. Basking in His mercy. Sleeping in His palm. Praying always that I am learning enough. All-in-all – thankful.

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