Tag Archives: Priscilla Shirer

2020 VISION: Sabbath Quaking

“Sabbath was (and is) a gift from GOD – a pause, a stopping point, a decision to take a break from going and buying and accruing.” Priscilla Shirer, Awaken, p. 108

This morning, the choc lab girls woke me up by barking and barking and barking. Ugh. I stretched and looked at the clock it was a little after 8 AM. I figured they were just ready to go out or heard a strange sound in the neighborhood.

Not the first time I’ve been wrong!

We got up and began our first early morning walk – pulled some weeds – cut back some branches – walked the newspaper up to my neighbor’s house – swept leaves off the deck and patio – cleaned out the garage a little – and then – one of the neighbors hollered at me: “Did you feel the earthquake?”

Huh????
Earthquake????

“It is the Spirit empowered choice to cease striving and enjoy our GOD.” Ibid.

After he explained what had happened, I sat down on the patio swing and enjoyed the morning under a bunch of semi-blooming wisteria, birds calling out their own news of the morning and a couple of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flitting in and out of the sweet smelling salvias and around the swing. 2020 has certainly been a year filled with things I really hadn’t ever anticipated.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1

It was a good day to cease striving and enjoy God, so I did. I read some books. Threw the ball with the girls. Played with silly, spooky kitty. Made a few pickles since they were already cut up and sitting in the fridge – – but basically – – just spent time enjoying GOD and all His bounty that surrounds me everyday.

Prayed over my prayer list. Sang a few songs that never fail to stir the spirit within me. “Closer My God to Thee” Listened to a few Bible teachers who seemed to have the very wisdom I needed to hear. And just basically, ignored the outside world that so often intrudes on my time with My Father.

“It is the peace that comes in the midst of all the whirlwind and flurry of activity.” Ibid.

Sometimes – it takes a little bit of shaking to wake us up so that we stop whining and start shining. Tonight, I’m already yawning. School starts tomorrow, and I can’t wait to shine a little more. There is always something invigorating about a new school year. While this year will be a little more complicated, it will still be good to be back.

Setting the compass on the Father today was important to make sure my direction is sure and in line with the Son’s Grace and Love.

Sabbath Shaking was one of those treasure chest memories of 2020 that I will ponder in my heart for times to come.

“Sabbath is what beats our lives into submission, giving us the breathing room for getting our sanity back. We cannot afford to neglect the Sabbath principle.” Ibid. 

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2020 VISION: Cloud Tufts

“All you people of the world,
you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
you will hear it.” Is 18:3

I’ve been looking at my beautiful lantana and flowering artichoke plants for over a month now. I have three lantana plants. Two have orange and yellow blooms, while the other is pink and yellow. Every year they wake up from their winter slumber and grow larger. I look forward to them because the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are all over them.

But this year is different. The butterflies are missing.

The bee balm, like the day lilies, are on the down side of their season. The salvia will continue all summer; its smell perfuming the air whenever I brush past it. Even the wisteria has ushered a few extra blooms this summer. Bees of different kinds and hummingbirds have certainly feasted well, but only a rare butterfly or two.

I miss my butterflies.

“The physical cannot fully grasp the comprehensiveness of the spiritual…If we limit the scope of our hopefulness to what’s immediately visible, we’ll get an inaccurate reading on any scenario we’re seeking to evaluate. Believers must live by faith, by believing what they cannot yet see.”~Priscilla Shirer, p63, AWAKE.

In this strange year, I sit on my patio swing and wonder about my butterflies often. I talk to My Father about it. As usual, He answers, and I knew as soon as I started my devotions this morning, that this was His answer. It is another one of those “faith-building” things I need to see with my 2020 VISION.

When we have droughts, we look to the sky and search for clouds on the horizon. We look for that tiny wisp of a cloud that will bring a few drops of rain. When an earthquake – tornado – hurricane strikes, we look at the destruction and wonder where to start amid the destruction – until we find one thing to pick up and then another and another. When a plague strikes, we seek wisdom from every source possible, searching for an end to the threat. A tiny sign that it is passed, and things can return to “normal”.

It is our nature…it is that tiny seed of faith within us…to look for the smallest thing to reassure us. It is…

“…God’s way – preparing unfathomable things, even when only the slightest hints of them can be barely detected…to trust that the Father is able to come through at the perfect moment, no matter how far removed the possibility seems from our current vantage point.” ibid, p64.

Today, after several 90 degree days, high humidity, and stuffed sinuses, that a tiny cloud on the horizon multiplied into big, beautiful storm clouds. When I was little, I would sit in my “Thinking Tree” and wait for a storm to arrive. It was a weeping willow tree and not known to be the safest tree to sit in when the wind was whipping around which is probably why my Father would often come and sit in a chair beside me while we waited.

I was never afraid when my father sat beside me.

“This is what the Lord says to me:
“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”~Is 18:4

When the storm finally arrived and started pelting us with droplets, my father would lift me down from the tree, and we would run into the house. Mom would usually have a special treat for both of us, and we would sit on our screened-in porch talking, reading, or Daddy would pull out the guitar/banjo and we would sing.

All because of a wisp of a cloud and an answered prayer.

“Remember that even a little cloud of hope, when God’s WORD is behind it, points toward a downpour of promise, potential, and possibility. Even His silence and seeming slowness are only the quiet buildup to a thunderous revelation of His glory.” Ibid, p64.

Our 2020 VISION may not pick up much of a cloud on the horizon of this crazy, chaotic year, but every promise in His WORD points to the fact that He’s quietly sitting beside us, waiting to lift us out of the tree and run with us into the home His Son has prepared just for us.

I still miss my butterflies, and while I no longer climb into my “Thinking Tree” (probably a good idea in my 70th year around the sun), I’m sitting on my patio swing, watching for that small tuft of a cloud and listening for the sound of a trumpet off in the distance. 

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VISION 2020: I CAN

I CAN ride a stationary bike for 15 min without the knee complaining of serious pain. (Yeah – I know it isn’t a lot, but it is a start, right?)

I CAN do my various gym machines that contort my body i various ways to strengthen the back and core muscles within a half an hour. (3 reps of 15 – not bad for this old lady after only a few months, right?)

I CAN do my stretches and bouncing runs in the salt water pool then stretch a little more in the hot tub as the muscles relax and the arthritis begins to use her inside voice rather than the loud, obnoxious outside voice. (That’s good as well, right?)

I CAN walk and play with my lab girls everyday and rejoice as we walk the paths around our neighborhood several times a day. (Am not mentioning how many times I have to go find the ball they lose, ok?)

All in all – – –

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”~Phil 4:13

Been doing Physical therapy since November and have finally graduated to working on my own. I am blessed that my insurance covered not only the physical therapy, but now also covers the gym and any classes that I want to take.

When I am feeling at my lowest, I remember to praise My Father and His Son for their grace and love. I have been blessed more than I deserved, and I don’t thank Them enough. But I am getting better at it – step-by-step – inch-by-inch.

I am re-reading a Priscilla Shirer book, FerVent. I read it 3 years ago when she wrote it in conjunction with the movie, War Room. Like the movie, it reminds the reader how important prayer is to navigating this chaotic thing we call life. “…prayer is the divinely ordained mechanism that leads you into the heart and the power and the victory of Christ.”~ p14

Prayer
Releases
All
Your
Eternal
Resources ~ p23

2 months into 2020 and my War Room closet door is filling up with slips of paper, note cards, pictures and curiosities that pulled at me. I am not very good at writing down my prayers and all the answers (but I do get some recorded…I think). I am pretty good at writing down each promise that the Holy Spirit has highlighted in my brain during my daily devotions or Bible Time (until I spill water on them or lose them as I carry them around). I’m much better at writing down the names of people I know (and even some I don’t know), so that I can remember to pray for them when I am in my closet — and — even when I leave the physical closet, the Holy Spirit remains and reminds me – time after time – to continue in prayer throughout the day.

I have come a long way since the first time I read FerVent. I hadn’t realized how much I had internalized until I started re-reading it again. Looking back, re-reading and praying over the wisdom presented, always reminds me why I need to continue to read and re-read the WORD. It’s wisdom is a never ending font of Living Water and pulls the chaos out of my narrow vision of my adventure at that moment and inserts His peace instead.

Our life journey is not easy.
Chaos’s call is hard to resist at times.
Fears. Worries. Darkness. Temptations. Hurt. Divisions. Hatred.
Many things pull at us.
Spending time in a prayer closet is certainly not what the world thinks is important.

But it is – – – and I CAN – – – and – – – YOU CAN!

Fervent prayer is that key which release all Our Father’s promises into our life. Fervent prayer opens the door as we ask Jesus to join us in our closet. Fervent prayer allows us to rest in His eternal presence for as long as we let Him hold our arms up in Praise and Thanksgiving.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still,” ~Ex:14:13-14.  Forgiven [artwork/Greg Olsen]

THE POET PRESIDENT

Please tell me how I got to be almost 68 years of age and did not know that President Abraham Lincoln was a poet? Why didn’t If figure this out? His speeches alone should have been a clue.

“Four score and seven years ago 
Our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, 
Conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition 
That all men are created equal.”
~ Gettysburg Address

“Fondly do we hope—
Fervently do we pray—
That this mighty scourge of war 
May speedily pass away.”~2nd Inaugural Address

How many times have I read these speeches – taught them to my class and did not see the big hint right in front of me? Errrr…  Just goes to show – we can be oblivious to things that are right in front of us and not have a clue!!

I love teaching again. I love discovering things I never knew, but now I’m kicking myself in the butt for not discovering all of this 40 years ago when I was teaching my poetry classes and speech classes. It could have added a whole new dimension to our discussions.

The power of Lincoln’s word choices and cadence became so clear as I went back through and started looking at his speeches through the eyes of the poet as well as the speech giver.

A man with a satirical sense of humor.
A man who wrote short poems in his boyhood math book.
A man longing for home.
A man chased – at times – by depression.
A man filled with compassion for the world around him. 
A man who had faults like the rest of us.
A man who always tried to rise above the problems.
A poet-man with integrity.

Since I teach younger grades these days, I’m sticking with the his famous quote that he took from the Bible, A house divided against itself cannot stand.”[“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”~Matt 12:25 ] A beginning – a start – an introduction to our complicated, messy world and history.

For me, I’m fascinated by re-reading his 2nd Inaugural Address. As I read, his words take on new depth since our country seems to be tearing apart at the seams just as it was as he was President. Our social/cultural issues as divisive as they were in the 1860’s. It is as if I can hear his voice – his pauses in my head.

“Both read the same Bible…
Pray to the same God…
Each invokes his aid against the other.
It may seem strange 
That any men should dare to ask 
A just God’s assistance in wringing 
Their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces;
But let us judge not, 
That we be not judged. 
The prayers of both
Could not be answered–
That of neither has been answered fully.”

Poetry. 
Prayer. 
Psalms. 
If only all of us and our leaders would remember. It saved our nation once before – perhaps – if we find our knees again – our long-suffering, patient Father will hear from heaven and heal our land. 

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ALL THE TIME, GOD IS GOOD

Love – LoVe – LOVE Sundays. Not only do I get to have breakfast with daughter and family, but I generally get a call from the other daughter or a friend or edit some writing – or just able to spend extra time leaning on and learning from the WORD.

This morning there were buttermilk waffles. Seafood dip from Left Bank Butchery. Really good bread (even if it wasn’t gluten free). A Grand curled around her daddy just like I used to curl around mine. Another Grand and his mother putting together a birthday present that continues to challenge everyone who looks at the instructions. A long wonderful conversation with my NYC daughter – catching up on her life – wishing we were just a little closer so I could hear her violin sing in my ears again. A call from an old friend and laughing till my throat hurt. Then time in His WORD. Who could ask for more?

GOD is good all the time – even though we live in a world that continues to turn more inside out everyday. All the time, GOD is good.

“Fear not – The LORD is committed to removing anything from your life that might promote the very thing that will hinder your progress.”~Priscilla Shirer, wk 3:D3 Gideon Bible Study

Been thinking about this quote all week. Tossing it this way. Then throwing it up in the air. Bouncing it up and down to see where it lands or if it bounces away. Turning myself in circles to see why these particular words seemed to be highlighted in the text before I pulled out my pen.

GOD is good all the time.

I started this Bible study on a whim – a nudge – a wink of an unseen eye when I saw a friend post about it right after Christmas. It has been a challenging blessing. Finding the extra time every day. Delving deep into a Bible story that I knew very little about to begin with except – There was this man named Gideon. Gideon was visited by an angel. Gideon fought a battle with only 300 and won over thousands. Three chapters.

Who knew I could learn so much from three tiny chapters of the Old Testament?

All the time, GOD is good.

Today is also Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hoshoah. As I wrote those familiar words of the last few paragraphs, Elie Wiesel’s words taunted them in my mind. “The yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal …” (Poor Father! Of what then did you die?)”~Elie Wiesel, Night How can both both be true? GOD is good all the time – All the time, GOD is good. People dedicated to opening their tents of faith for the world to see, marked by a yellow star, banished to prison camps (along with many other ethnic groups – or twins – or homosexuals – regime protesters, etc). It is hard for the logical mind to accept. Wiesel struggled with it throughout his life as did many of the Holocaust survivors. Books and books have been written about it. Debated – Defended – Dismissed.

And yet – even so – the wisdom of our humanity doesn’t comprehend the total love and promises of an omniscient Father. The more I read and study and pray – the more the truth of those words ring true in my heart.

GOD is good all the time – All the time, GOD is good.

Wish I had an answer. Wish I could fit all the parts together. Wish I knew if I would be as faithful as so many were when they walked through the temporary gates of the ghettos or the more permanent doors of the gas ovens. Wish I knew if I could be as brave as Gideon when GOD told him to dismiss all his other soldiers and go into battle with only 300. Wish I understood why our world seems to be turning inside out.

“If wishes were horses, beggars will ride.”

Long ago, these words hung in a small town library. I had to climb up a lot of steps with my small legs to get to the door of this library. Usually, I had a pile of books in my arms, so I couldn’t hold on to the banister. I remember dropping those books more than once and having to retrace those steps a few times over. I also remember puzzling over those words hanging on the wall over the horse section of the shelves. “If wishes were horses…” The decades have added a little more wisdom in understanding them.

So I end with what I know to be true in the deepest part of my being – – whether on Sundays when we remember horrible atrocities that happened and continue to happen in this upside down world – – or on Sundays when life is wonderful, restful and blessed. Our finite minds may not understand. Our hearts may not break with the pain… Faith says open our tents…trust… rejoice…fear not…for…….

GOD is good all the time.

All the time, GOD is good.   

THERE IS A SEASON

“To everything there is a season…”

One of the awful things about being a quasi-librarian in charge of setting up a K-3 library is being around lots of books – – – ALL DAY LONG. Books that I don’t have the time to look at – let alone read. I do manage to read, skim or read reviews for most of the books that we need this year. But there are some…..S-O-M-E ……ok…… a lot…..that I can’t resist spending more time pondering.

“A time to break down, and a time to build up…”

Some books we just can’t use in our school library so I pass them on to others. Some we will store until we add more grades. Some I am using as resources for our teachers. Some that are just plain too special to pass over quickly. Currently, my personal shelf is occupied by a Betsy Ross biography written by her great grandson (beat up, water damaged, missing pages, but full of that old book smell not-to-mention history told from family historical documents); Priscilla Shirer’s “Prince Warriors Trilogy” (who knew she wrote a young adult series?); or Under God by DC Talk members, Toby Mac and Michael Tait (again, who knew these popular singers wrote a book about American history?).

“A time to keep silence, and a time to speak…”

As the mid-term election enters the last 10 days, I can’t help but wonder about the sacrifices made by all of Our Father’s creations that led to the establishment of this country. Chaos swirled around this land as it swirls around it now. Uncertainty. Anger. Division. Hate. Violence. And yet – in that same space of time – there was a whisper. A whisper of hope that swirled around this land just as it swirls now. Direction. Gratitude. Closeness. Love. Grace.

“A time to love, and a time to hate…”~Ecc 3

Freedom. We have the choice to choose. A choice to love – a choice to hate. A choice to listen to the prince of this world or a choice to listen to a whisper. A whisper that speaks one word to those whose ears are willing to listen.

“Grace.”

And behind the whisper – His breath breathing life into the chaotic dust that He continues to mold into His likeness. A burning bush shining in the darkness for the world to see if we have eyes open wide.

So for the next 10 days, I will be circling prayers. Circling prayers that we are humble enough to be thankful. Circling prayers that we are wise enough to look up. Circling prayers that we find our knees and listen to a whisper. Circling prayers that not our will be accomplished, but “His will be done…

on earth as it is in heaven…”

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