Tag Archives: peace

ADVENT 2017 – PEACE #6

Four random thoughts of Light on this 4th night of Hanukkah.

Thursday or Friday is usual my “run errands” type of day. If I go on Thursday, I can hit our local grocery that gives senior discounts. Fridays are just – maybe – a get-out-of-the-house day. In any case, today was the latter.

Walking around some of my favorite out-of-the-way shops. Small town Christmas window shopping. Picking up a few random things in preparation for our kids coming to visit next week and the week after (not everyone can make it at the same time). Praying for random people along the way that looked harried – or sad – or hurting – or worn out – or the smiling person whose smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes.

It was the surprise Light that caught me as a car pulled in front of me at the grocery store. In NC – we don’t have a license plate on the front of our cars. The sports – college – military – God Bless America – plates are typical replacements. But today – I saw one I hadn’t seen before. It was black. The writing dulled to almost blending in with the background – a tarnished gold. All it said was Psalm 82.

“But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for you shall inherit all nations.”~Ps 82:7-8

One of the shorter, bodacious Psalms. Powerful salt for Christmas Peace.

The second Light of the day was a meme in an e-mail from a friend: “Be a Maccabee”. Be a person that holds to a line drawn in the sand, based on God’s Truth. Be a fighter with your sword molded of faith. Be a person not of this world, but of the eternal world that brings His peace.

The third Light came when I was on FB. One of my friends posted a quote from R.A. Torrey. The quote was a good one, but it was the picture that really caught me. It was of a family. A family kneeling in prayer in church. Since I go to a contemporary church, we don’t have kneeling rail in front of the church – let a lone a kneeling pad in the pews – wait a minute – we don’t have pews – we have chairs.

“The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle…fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory.” R.A. Torrey

How long has it been since I humbled myself before the altar of God? Something I used to do quite often. My Peace in the battle of dealing with my earthly father’s illness. My Light in the darkness when he died 9 years later. My redemptive peace when I found my way home to my heavenly Father.

The 4th Hanukkah Light that lit in my mind tonight was the peaceful joy of my decorated house. Sitting quietly. Listening to choral Christmas music. Grandma’s nativity. Mom’s nativity. My nativity. A reminder that the Lights of Hanukkah are just part of the Star that pointed to the coming of the Messiah 2000+ years ago. They continue to point the way for His return.

Be bodacious salt. Be a Maccabee. Be prepared in humble prayer. Be a Light in His menorah that points the way to His Son who brings peace and grace when we enter the stable. [R.A. Torrey image/personal]

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Advent Peace #4: Stories of Peace

“Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”~Mitch Albom

Christmas is the time for stories. Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Frosty the Snowman’s corn cob pipe. Santa Claus coming to town. Amahl’s miracle. Mary’s canticle.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart..”~Lk 2:19

It is her story that wraps around the centuries and brings them into focus through 2 short chapters in Matthew and Luke. When I was little I could almost see Matthew and Luke making their way to Mary’s tiny home in the dark of night. Like us, even though they knew He was with His Father, they wanted that human connection – to touch a woman that had loved Him as much as they did – a joyous memory to carry with them when the world threatened to break them in everyway – a memory to pass on to the children of their children’s children.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”~Deut 4:9

Tonight, giggles still circle over our home. Christmas decoration from the bounty of our woods. A little pine. A little ivy. A few berries. Red glitter paint. Stories that the neighbor kids and I shared as old hands worked to show younger hands how to wrap words and nature together.

Tonight, I am treasuring and pondering many thoughts. The short creative non-fiction that my friends share everyday on FB, or the longer blogs that former students share their wisdom in ways that brings tears to my eyes. Two dogs that tell stories with their eyes every hour of the day.

But mostly – tonight I am thankful for the story of a young girl who treasured up all things that were necessary to bring peace to people of good will. Words that overide the snarky political memes and comments. Softens the bad news for those who are ill and weary. Lifts the pieces of hearts broken apart by choices. Brings forgiveness to those who weep in loneliness. Lights the way in the dark of night with its peace-filled song.

Stories of Christmas.

Stories of a Mother.

Stories to be taught to our children that they might teach their children and their children’s children and their children’s children………

Stories of the Peace of Advent. [google image]

Advent Peace #1: Sing a New Song

Tonight, after driving home from my daughters’, I made myself a salad and sat down to find a Christmas movie. The movie was to entertain me while I work on the Grands’ Christmas stockings. For whatever reason, my TV remote didn’t log all the numbers correctly and up popped Christmas music that had me sitting back in my chair and ignoring everything else.

Christmas Under The Stars 2016 at BYU was beyond just a seasonal show – it was a blessing.

Michael W. Smith – Amy Grant – Jordan Smith – BYU orchestra and choir – – –

Really? Who could ask for more on the first day of the Peace Advent?

“Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.” — Psalm 96:1

Jewish tradition teaches that when the Messiah establishes his kingdom on the earth, the world will sing a new song. Not only will it sing a new song – there will be a new note added to the musical scale. The note will signify to all Creation that balance has been restored. God, man and all creation will walk in the garden together once again.

As Christians we wait to sing that new song through Christ’s return. A Sovereign LORD bringing peace upon this war-torn earth. A Shepherd who has carried us through those wars – who wrapped his body around us, protecting his lambs from the worst of the arrows – who will continue to carry each of us close to His heart as He returns a peaceful balance to the Garden He created.

As we light the second candle of peace. We remember Christ in His first Advent, and we celebrate the second Advent that is just around the corner. We may not know the specific times, but we know to watch the signs that He taught us during His first Advent.

In his devotions for the 2nd week of Advent, Max Lucado quotes Frederick Buechner: “It is He who made us, and not we ourselves, made us out of His peace to live in peace, out of His light to dwell in light, out of his Love to be above all things loved and loving.” (p161)

As I sang those old carols tonight (and some new ones)– because who can possible watch a show with Christmas songs and not sing along??? – right??? I loved finding my voice again, and the memories those songs brought with them. But oooo…with each turn of the earth, I am getting more excited about singing that new Advent song. And of course – that sets of that crazy pondering latch in my head as I try to imagine exactly what that new note will sound like – ? – hmmmm – will all music then be re=written? – – – was there an 8th note before the fall?? when – – – -????

“O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.b
Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”~Is 40:9-11 [google image]

#perhapstoday #singanewsong

25 NAMES OF CHRISTMAS – WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR


img030The daughter’s house was crazy tonight. Kids running everywhere. Food eaten more by adults than kids since they were way too busy for food. Granddaughter’s ribboned hair bounced in time to her jumps while the tiny lizard she had found earlier in the day hung on to her pink shirt for dear life. It was anything but peaceful.

Happy chaos. Needless to say, hubby and I didn’t stay long. We found ourselves sitting in a corner of her kitchen debating the pro’s and con’s of building a house vs buying a fixer-upper. When the Grandson disappeared into the herds of kids, we found ourselves talking louder and louder. We decided we needed a more peaceful spot to contemplate our future and counsel together.

“Come unto me, all of you who labor and are forced to bear burdens, and I shall give you rest.” ~Matt 11:28

It is strange. When you are used to walking the path the Father made just for you, you start to trip over debris pretty quickly when you’ve wandered into the woods by mistake. The building process has bugged both of us for awhile. Hubby hasn’t been sleeping well, and I have been restless. There have been way too many fallen logs in the path for comfortable walking. I needed more than my sturdy walking stick to keep me upright. I need a Counsellor…we need a Counsellor….a Wonderful Counsellor.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am peaceful and meek in my heart and you will find rest for your souls.”~Matt 11:29

Since hubby wanted to ride a little bit on his motorcycle tonight, I meandered on Jesus-by-Akiane-Kramarik-768x1024the way home. Driving past one of the houses that we are considering buying, I got to look at the Advent lights. It’s been a long time since I’ve called them Advent lights, but long ago, that is what my dad called them. He told me that they were there to light the path of the Christ child as He returns to earth on Christmas bringing peace to men of good will. When I was growing up, Dad was my earthly counsellor, but on one of our last car trips together, he made sure I knew who was his Wonderful Counsellor.

“For my yoke is pleasant and my burden is light.”~Matt 28-30

This Wonderful Counsellor is preparing for His journey once again. He is bringing a break in the chaos. A gift of wisdom to those who seek to bring good will to those around them. “A peace that passeth all understanding.” A path that brings us home to His Father who has always been waiting for our Advent journey home to Him.

Tonight when I got home, I started to write this post and immediately fell asleep inimg823 my chair for about 45 minutes. That doesn’t happen to me very often. It happens to the hubby. He’ll come home and is asleep on the couch within a few minutes. But tonight, peace wraps around me like a comforter and words are calling me outside. Barefoot, I look around at the lights on the street. Whiffy clouds catch the brighter lights and reflect a pinkish glow back at me. Stars wink, and I breathe in the wonder of the warm air.

Peace is in the air and Daddy’s words are still whispering as if He was still right beside me and reading the Christmas WORD to me once again. “A Son hath been given to us. And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.”~Is 9:6

[Akiane art]

 

Loudonville nativity

CHILD-LIKE PEACE

feet a“If we could be but children, small children
Blessed is He who could make us forget
the distress of our years.
With a long road yet ahead to our becoming,
Becoming older, sadder, and nostalgic.
But rose-souled children
Plucking joy like wildflowers
Whose world is not yet over,
With the sun laughing in the glint of their tears.”~Rachel Bluwstein Sela, known
as Rachel the Poetess

Ran across this poem today as I was reading devotions, and it touched that special chord that rings of truth within me. Aging does tend to take something out of us. Poets like to use metaphors. Simple stories that remind us of some profound truth that we have somehow forgotten. The stories often touch that small part of us that still identifies with the magical – the mystical – the spiritual – that child-like faith.

“And because Yeshua himself knew The Father had given everything into his hands and that he had gone out from God and he would go to God, He arose from supper and put off his robe and took a towel and tied it around his waist.”~Jn 13:3-4

Did you ever notice all the small stories and metaphors that are used in the Bible? People love stories. It starts when we are children with storybooks and continues throughout our lives: TV’s – movies – books – plays – even our music. God used stories in the Old Testament. Rabbi Yeshua knew a good thing when He saw it and Last often taught using metaphors and small stories when he taught as well.

“He took water in a wash basin and began to wash the feet of his disciples, and he wiped them with a towel which he had tied around his waist….” ~Jn 13:5

It is this part of the story that catches my breath in my throat. Did the discripes truely realize who was kneeling in front of them…..washing their feet? If it was me, would I? I fear that I would not have been so wise. Such symbolism in this simple act – such a strong metaphor that continues to bless the world with its intense visual – the Bridegroom washing away the physical dirt of His bride before His blood spiritually washes away the dirtiness of her soul.

“Do you know what I have done to you?” You call me, ‘our Rabbi’ and ‘Our Lord’, and you say rightly, for I am. If I therefore, your Lord and your Rabbi, have washed your feet for you, how much more ought you to wash one another’s feet? For I have given you this example, that you also should do in the same way as I have done to you.Timeless truth I speak to you: there is no servant greater than his master and no apostle is greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jn 13:12-17

A child would have known. A child understands the story better than any adult. A ‘rose-souled [child], plucking joy like wildflowers whose world is not yet over, with the sun laughing in the glint of [her] tears‘. Perhaps…maybe…possibly today, my childish self would recognize my LORD as He kneels at my feet. For today, I have laid another foundational stone. Understanding the LOVE of my LORD, FREEDOM from sin as He washed my feet, KINGDOM comes in its fullness of His righteousness and His PEACE surrounding each stone I have laid .

[google images]maundy thursday

 

3 of 4: PEACE

the_nativity_story_083 of 4: PEACE. “Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.” Ps 46:10

I was going to write about something entirely different. Had it all written, but there was something – something in the back of my mind that kept pushing me a different direction. What can I say? There was no PEACE and where there is no PEACE there is turmoil. Like a scientist, after many years of experimenting and trying to do it my way, I have learned to listen to that I do not like turmoil – at all. I like PEACE.

As Advent draws to a close, our introspection and perspective starts to change as well. Expectation to contemplation to adoration. In the early days of Christianity,christmas-angel-live-wallpaper-394463-0-s-307x512 believers were encouraged to not only think and read the WORD about a baby born in Bethlehem, but also to contemplate His return and the true PEACE that he would bring with Him. These days – we tend to get caught up in the shopping, baking, adhereing to traditions, creating memories and celebratimg by lighting up our homes with color. There is little time for PEACE in all of this.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Santa vists, last minute shopping, family time, all begin tomorrow. Yet somewhere – I hope that you will find time to sit for a few minutes and find that PEACE of faith. That PEACE that exists when you slow yourself down and spend time in His word. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus…” Lk 2:` PEACE exists because a baby changed everything.

A New Step

I am in a quandary.  I’ve stewed…walked a few circles of prayer in my head….stopped writing…worked on old chores that have been sitting around years…stared at anything as I’ve tried to scroll through this maze of thoughts. Have you ever felt like that?  As if the Trinity is trying to nudge you into a new thought – a new direction – a more complicated dance?  It’s  totally not fair when you’re dancing with a fantastic partner who suddenly throws in a new step.  You stumble.  You trip over your feet or His feet – until you finally – maybe – figure out what He is doing.  I’m still doing a few of those stumbling, catch-up steps; trying to look graceful and in time with the music – when in reality, I feel like my 7 year old self at my first dance recital:  scared – hyperventilating – fearful…

 “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this -man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took OFFENSE at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”  Matt 37:53-57 KJV

It is an old story about the way people think.  A story about rejection.  A fulfillment of prophecy.  The ultimate betrayal of a homegrown boy by people He knew and what they thought they knew about Him.  I’ve read it many times over the course of my 63 years.  It was this time through the story when My Lord threw in a new step.  I blinked.  I stumbled.  I didn’t recognize this step, but there it was in the shape of a simple word:  OFFENSE

 Offense:  of·fense  əˈfens/ N.  Annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.

They took offense to Jesus.  Do I?  It is a question that I have avoided thinking about even though it has been in the back of my mind almost every day for the past few years.   We all have standards or principles that we live by in our life. These days, Christians want Christ to be LOVE, JOY, PEACE, GOOD NEWS.   It’s part of our contemporary songs and worship.   It’s easier to get people to listen and agree with our thoughts.  It’s the part of the 70’s that has stuck to our society like glue.  When we think of Jesus, we think we get the “new covenant”.  He didn’t reject people.  He didn’t stick to all the old rules…didn’t always wash before eating…didn’t quit healing just because it was the Sabbath…chased the money changers from the temple… told us not to judge others… You get the picture…Jesus, the communal, perpetual hippie.  I’m sure most of you have seen the FB poster or e-mail referring to Jesus as a socialist.

“And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.  And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?  When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?  And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be OFFENDED in me.”  Lk 7:18-23 KJV 

Same base word, but this time a verb.  The steps are tripping me up big time at this point.  Am I offended by who Christ is?  Is He more than the Jesus Freak version that has invaded our culture?  The music spins a little faster.  However, Our Father steps are a tempo, and soon, the music is silenced as the Holy Spirit begins to sing.  Christ IS more, He IS the WORD, and I am convicted.

It is hard to write this and know that I am offended by the One I love.  Even as I write this, tears gather at the corner of my eyes.  Turning the words of the stories over and over in my head, I began to see that the things Rabbi Yeshua rejected were the “religious trappings” of the day – not the WORD.  Compare it to how many of our churches are rejecting the age old traditions such as: dressing up for church, singing old hymns, reciting of creeds or psalms. Those are the things He rejected.  But Rabbi Yeshua never rejected the WORD; instead, He embodies ALL the WORD.  He is the WORD.  He is love, peace, joy, good news…He is also what we don’t want to talk about in our societal dance.  You know  – the scary stuff  – the stuff that makes us uneasy and afraid to talk about in the normal course of our day– sin, judgment, gnashing of teeth….Hell. 

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.”  Rev 19:11-13 KJV 

I re-read that last verse over and over, and my typing falters. I pray a little more. Then I look at my hand resting in the hand of My Lord.  His eyes are questioning.  Do I want to learn this new step in the dance?  I have the choice.  I can continue the dance the same way I have been dancing for years – steps that are comfortable and acceptable with the music of our world, or I can incorporate this new step, and challenge myself within the status quo.  I am questioning within myself.  How much difference will it make at this point?  Why is it important now?  I am praying harder.   I’m not sure my feet will move in step with the One who leads, but I move my foot forward….testing the floor boards beneath my feet….and trusting the One who leads.

Let the dance begin, and hopefully, I won’t trip over this new step….too much…too often…horse-white-jesus

(picture from Google images)

Lenten Journey #26

Hmmm…not sure how I missed posting this one.  But…

a little late…

a little out of order…

yet…

here it is. =)

 

“For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me…” Ps 31:13

Gossip – bullying – rumors – innuendos swirl around all of us everyday. The advent of technology just made it travel faster and in wider and wider circles. Yet – as you can see, as far back as the OT and King David, the apple was always there waiting to be bitten.

apple_malware_457249The apple sits in the palm of every hand, and every person has that choice in one way or another. Bite off a piece and enjoy the sweet taste…or set it aside. It is tempting to grab a bite quikcly. After all. most of our friends are biting off huge chunks of the fruit and there might not be any left…we do tend to be greedy at times. But like all apples that fall from the Tree of Life into our lap, there is a worm. Hidden among the sweetness and the crunchy meat of the tempting fruit, a worm makes its way to our innards where it squiggles and starts to grow. Craving more and more apples of various types, our stomachs become a roiling, pitching sea of unease.

Rabbe Jesus understood this apple very well. He was driven from towns and temples, probably more frequently than we know, because of this apple. As Palm Sunday drew closer, more and more of this particular kind of apple was being eaten by many of the Jewish people. The worm took much longer to raise its ugly head in those days sans twitter/FB/instagram/etc., but grow it did. 5 days is all it took. Triumph to Tragedy. Sweet to Sour.

Feasting on any of these types apples will never fill the stomach. Rabbe Jesus knew this and shared Himself – His words – His life -His love – that we might have enough armor to ward off the pangs of hunger and eat of any apple that falls from the Tree of Life. Yet it is still our choice. The lenten journey is a time for introspection, faith and often – choices.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” Jn 14:27-31