Tag Archives: Psalms

GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT

Yesterday, a woman came with a bag bursting at the seams with children’s books. Heraugust 10 2018 a humble heart spoke over her words as she showed me the treasures buried within that bag. They were her books. Books of her childhood. Books of my childhood. Early Primers. 
Yogi Bear, Bugs Bunny, Huckle Berry Hound Books. 
Golden books. 
Tell-a-Tale Books.
Tears shined in her eyes as she turned to leave and truth be told, shone in mine as well.

 

Strange the things you remember from 60 years ago. Stories read to you and read by you. The image on the front of a book, and the back of a book that caught my breath in familiarity. Did I read those lists books over and over – dreaming about reading them? Or was it the cutesy, baby animals that cavorted around those titles? Then again, I remember the back of the Golden Books just as well. A few years later, Golden Books would also add little pictures surrounding titles.

Best of all, it was the memory attached to these books that slowed my day down. Curled into my mother or father’s side at bedtime. Yawning and struggling to keep my eyes open after prayers just to hear one more story before they tucked the covers tight around me, turned off the light and left me gazing at the stars.

For years and years and years, long after the parents had stopped reading to me, I would gaze up at those glow-in-the-dark stars my Father had put on the ceiling, and tell myself a continuation of all those stories or stories-yet-to-be as I fell asleep. Sometimes with music in my head and sometimes with music from downstairs, I would drift off to sleep “…with a peace of GOD that passeth all understanding.”~Phil 4:7

I realize now how blessed I was that My Father chose this path for me. Easier than some – harder than others – but on a path designed just for me. So tonight as I re-read this small, familiar book of prayers, yawning and fighting to keep my eyes open long enough to read one more prayer, I wish I still had my initials written on my ceiling and could hear the music from downstairs once again because “….surely goodness and mercy [has] follow[ed] me all the days of my life and I [have] dwell[ed] in the house of the LORD forever.”~Ps 23:6

“Good night! Good night! Far flies the light;
But still God’s love shall flame above,
Making all bright. Good night! Good night!”august 10 2018 f

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TIME TO AWAKEN

“It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep…”

50 years ago today, I was standing backstage of a theatre in England with 100+ other OH kids waiting to sing our first concert before British royalty. The director stepped up to me and asked, “Are you ready to sing your solo tonight?”

I said, “I guess.”

He looked at me for what seemed eternity, and then said, “Since you’re not sure, John will sing it tonight.” John did sing it that night and did a great job. Me? I learned a tough lesson.

I got to sing my solo many times after that – once in front of the Vatican and a Pope who came to stand on the balcony – but I never forgot that one particular lesson or many others that my director, Glenville Thomas, taught me during my two years with The All Ohio State Fair Choir.

Looking back through my teenage scrapbook this week made me smile. From the distinctive, high school handwriting to the blurry pictures to the various faded newspaper clippings to the required (by the director) letters I wrote home to the anxious parents to a few postcards and old mimeographed programs, I kept chuckling all the way through those bittersweet times. 
Wondering about those lost singing buddies – 
Looking at the list of songs I can still sing in my head – 
Thinking about the many lessons I learned because a Welsh immigrant who loved to sing had a dream.

“…the night is almost gone, and the day is at hand.”– Rom 13:11

It was during these two years that my fascinations with old churches and singing under bridges all began. It was a different time. A different culture. We were given freedom to roam away from the group, and there was a group of us who would seek out old churches – even the ones we weren’t singing in.

There was almost always at least one STAB quartet in our group so we could sing in harmony on most anything we decided to sing and the acoustics were well worth the seeking. If we couldn’t find churches, we would find bridges and sing under them. If we couldn’t find bridges, we sang in parks. And sometimes – we just sang in the lobby of the hotel.

No matter where we sang, people gathered. They laughed. 
They smiled. They found ways to communicate with us even when we didn’t speak the same language. And – strange as it may seem, I remember those tiny concerts much more than I remember the ones we did as an entire group before large impressive crowds. And I remember the choir director who smiled and listened to our stories when we returned.

“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”~Ps 104:33

My voice has been gone for a couple of years, but the last few months it seems to be making a comeback. So I have been stretching it and pushing the boundaries a little. It is still not in great shape, but it is better, and I have started to sing just for the joy of singing again.

Darkness is like that. The eyes grow heavy, and it is hard to find the joy in being awake in this world. Yet – even in the darkest night I continue to push myself into the WORD. Push myself to understand what is beyond my understanding. Seek to find that nook where I can stand or fall to my knees or dance for joy or sing a new song for the One who loves me beyond measure.

“…for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed…let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of Light.”~Rm 13:11-12

Time to awaken from sleep.
Time to open the eyes.
Time to stand in the nook.
Time to sing for joy.
Time for Grace.

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GOLDEN SAPPHIRE

Darkling day.
Cloudy day.
Windy day.
Chilly day.

And yet –

For a brief moment – while the rest of the world sat in the twilight of today’s last’s visages – the fiery sun burnt a hole in the thick clouds until the horizon blazed fiery orange through the dark blueish gray around it; giving light to impending darkness.

Tops of trees brushed in burnished brass – 
Tips singed first – 
Until bright flames shot –
Further –
Deeper –
Down the trunks –
Flames coloring the world in its image –
While the Breath of Life swirled new sparks 
Golden sparkles – 
That spun and reflected the Light back into the darkness –
Flowing over the branches – 
Tree after tree bowing in rhythm – 
Waiting to be touched –
By the Firestarter’s unfailing hand –

And my breath caught.

Time stopped.

Ayn Sof spoke.

“Be still, and know that I am God;”~Ps 46:10

Golden sapphires.
Unbroken covenants.
Reminders – that even in the darkest of times – 
The saddest of times – 
The chaotic mess of times –
The soft twilight times –
His Fire continues to burn bushes – 
Tall trees –
Souls 
Fired with His wisdom –
And immeasurable fiery Light into the world –
Once more – 
Over –
And over –
And over again –
Until the whole world knows.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”~Ez 36:26

So tonight this is my prayer:
That God be glorified –
In whatever afflicted, messy poverty that towers above my world – over my head – beneath my feet – within my heart
That I remember the Helper – the Deliverer –
The Holy Ground around the bush –
“To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever, Amen.” ~1 Peter 4:11da         TheBurningBush [google images]

BREADCRUMBS: Owl Wisdom

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.”~Ep 6:18a

Finally.

Years of camping – girl scouts and beyond. 
Years of living in the country. 
Years of sitting outside, listening and watching.
Years of listening to them at night as they hooted me to sleep.

Finally – – – I saw a real life owl in the wild.

Luckily, my life hasn’t been devoid of seeing owls. I’ve seen owls many times on trips to the zoo. White owls, brown owls, gray owls and even saw one up close and personal on a writing retreat while it sat on a park ranger’s arm. But I have never seen one as God created them. 
Soaring.
Sitting.
Looking at me.

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”~Ep 6:18b

Our gimpy little girl who isn’t supposed to run and yet never stops running when she is outside, actually startled it as she raced through the woods. I turned to watch what she was doing when the owl took wing to another branch. It was facing the road away from me, and then it did that awesome cool owly thing that everyone loves. It turned its head all the way around to look directly at me.

I know it was only a moment, and yet – it was one of those moments that takes your breath away and lasts for a lot longer. I can still see it. My own personal miracle and a childhood prayer answered in the best way ever. Koay yipped and off it flew out of sight.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.”~Ps 40:1

Lately, I’ve noticed that many times my devotions dovetail each other as if they were written by the same person. And if I’m paying really close attention, I notice that they address those really hard things that I’ve been praying in the Spirit for as well. Duh! Throwback time. Back to the times when I used to sit in choir practice and make mistakes. Hit myself in the head – DUH – literally. While they may have been written at different times by different people, they were inspired by the One who spoke the WORD into being.

“I was dancin’ in the dark when I saw your open arms. Barefoot on the cross, and now I hear you in every song. When my life was still a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but Your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Phillipa Hanna, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

Answered prayers don’t come when we expect them. Often, they don’t come how we expect them. Sometimes, we don’t even know they have been answered. Then again, some may be not be answered until way after we’ve gone home. But all in all, prayers are always answered. We just don’t like all the answers because they aren’t answered OUR way.

Tonight, the kitty that answered a prayer I didn’t know I had keeps sitting on the keyboard batting my hands. For whatever reason, she wants a little extra attention tonight – and I indulge her until she hops down to chase the mousy sounds she hears in the kitchen.

I like to think Our Father God and His Son and Spirit are much the same way. Our prayers sing in Their combined heart – begging for a little extra on some nights – a little more cuddling – a little more encouragement until we hop away to chase after the next thing.

The good news – The Trinity is still there. Waiting for those prayers. Waiting for us to jump up into their laps. Purring a little louder for a little more attention. Kneading their hands with our tiny claws until they smile and sing a new song in our heart with their love.

I look at the breadcrumbs on the road before me. They are no longer abundantly covering the road. They have dwindled to few and far between. The destination that seemed so far away is just ahead. Passion Week – just days away. And I wonder at the journey I have been on for 32 days.

The journey of the owl into my life. A life-long prayer answered. A time to continue to pray with precise language – a time to look forward in prayer – a time to open my eyes to the miracles around me and rejoice. A time of breadcrumbs.

“When I’m dancin’ in the dark, I will raise my weary arms, and thank you for the cross, and the Grace that’s enough for anyone. When you found me in a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but your Grace is perfect. I don’t feel worthy, but your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Ibid.

 

BREADCRUMBS: Chirpings

Long ago, before the printed word and technology was in every home and classroom and before there were people who say that rote memorization was not a good learning strategy – at about the time when Jesus was a little boy growing up in a small town, children in his village would walk into the classroom for the first time and find a slate coated in honey. A rabbi said these words, “How sweet are your words to my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”~ Ps 119:103

Being a teacher it is so easy to see this first century classroom. I can hear the smile in the rabbi’s voice as he issued the first assignment, “Lick the slate clean and repeat after me.” As the students gleefully got to work (because there was no one around who said, “Yuk – germs!), they repeated the verse over and over until the slate was ready to be written upon. Thus, they learned their first verse of the Torah.

“If you abide in Me…”

According to rabbinical writings from that time, the sound of those voices repeating verses over and over and over were like the chirpings of little birds. Once upon a time, rote memorization was the underpinnings of all education all over the world. Books were rare and way too valuable for ordinary folk. Students learned by stories and rote memorization. In the Jewish community, by the time the Jewish children were ready for the next level of schooling, most of them knew the entire Torah by heart.

I’m sure there were those who struggled just like some struggle in today’s classroom. However, what we fail to remember is that the chirpings didn’t stop at the school. Every morning, every meal, every bedtime was filled with more recitation of verses and better yet – discussion – debate – exchange of thoughts – prayers filled with those same words until the verses became alive – vibrant with love between the family members – lustrous with the Breath of the Father’s Spirit – shaded with every jot and tittle of the language.

“And My words abide in you…”~Jn 15:7a

Cool thing to note – most scholars agree that boys and girls – around the age of 4 or 5 – would begin their schooling together. The cooler thing is that school didn’t stop at the doorway of the classroom. All the children in the family would participate in the discussions with their parents, so – for the most part – Our Father’s words took up residence within each family member who comprised this group of people called Jews.

They didn’t have to go look up a reference to string verses together. They didn’t have to google a phrase to find a verse. They didn’t have to look at their notes from school or find an expert. The words were part of everything in their everyday life. Trip over a stone and say a blessing of thanks because it wasn’t a rock. Get an extra few coins praise G-d for His goodness. Prayer rising without thought – never ceasing – because the WORD lives in each individual.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste!”

Tonight, as the thunderstorm and hail pelt our little house, I look at the little gathering of early violets and spring flowers and touch creation with my heart. Life becomes so much sweeter as we chirp. Spring is here – well – kinda – in name anyway. The peepers have started to peep in NC – I think they are probably hiding deep in the mud tonight. The birds were chirping earlier today as they hopped about and hopefully found shelter somewhere now.

And I – well – I think I need a little more of those 1st century chirpings in my life so that the WORD abides in me.

“Sweeter than honey to my mouth.”~Ps 119:103   

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BREADCRUMBS: Crumbly Day

This was a crumbly day. Bits and pieces smashed together. Not bad. Not good. Just a day when the pieces just didn’t seem to leave me with any sort of cohesive picture or feeling of what was accomplished.

Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle caught her 5th mouse (I wonder when I will quit counting them?) which I almost stepped on as I was racing about trying to get morning chores done before church. Worshiped and tried to absorb another great message. Drove the long way home to pick up some fresh foods – – sidetracked by some colorful flowers, seed packets and children who love to talk. Walked the dogs. Dug weeds in the gardens. Re-filled the garden tub with dirt and planted lettuce (threat of snow/ice for Wednesday – sigh). Watched a couple of movies. Messed with new printer – which I managed to get working all by myself. ……. I think.

And yet – – 
at the end of the day – – 
I feel like the crumbles are just lying in my hand waiting to be blown away by any stray wind that passes. So tonight, like on other nights when I have this disjointed uneasiness, I turned back to the WORD. It is the only way I know to change the lens in my eyes.

“May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us.” v.1

Earlier, I ran across Psalm 67 in one of my on-line devotions. It is one of the shorter Psalms, and one I have read often. Jewish traditions says that this Psalm was originally given by Our Father to only two people – Moses and David. It is also said that it was given to them both in the shape of the menorah during a vision.

“May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
May the nations praise you, O GOD.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.”v.2-3

I’m not sure why this drew me back this evening. Maybe it was because it was given in a vision. Maybe it is because this Psalm is so full of joy. Maybe it is because this Psalm doesn’t crumble in your hands at the end of the day. It’s strength rings with Truth.

“Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.”v.4

Jewish traditions say that King David engraved the Psalm 67 image from his vision onto his battle shield. The first three verses made up the right branches of the Menorah. The 4th verse embodied the trunk. The last 3 verses filled in the last 3 branches. It is said to be the reason he was successful in battle.

According to Rabbinical wisdom, our eyes are often drawn to the deeper wisdom of G-d by the placement of the verses within the whole. Sometimes this is by repetitive phrases. Sometimes it is by the choice of words. Sometimes the simple placement of “jot and tittle”. In this case, it is the placement of the verse placed on the central beam of the Menorah. The strength of the Menorah as it upholds all the branches.

“May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.”v.5-6

Tonight, the grumbly stomach calmed down as I saw that the day really wasn’t as crumbly as I originally thought. It never was. Like King David I just needed to tap back into trunk of the WORD. Singing for joy in the strength of what has been given and knowing that Our Father is truly governing and guiding me – all of us – every step of the way – even on crumbly, disjointed, unsettling days.

“Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him.” Ps 67:1-7 

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BREADCRUMBS: Prayer Call

In the middle of the TV blaring, the computer discussions, dogs barking or snoring or rubbing against my feet, kitty kneading the blanket in my chair between me and the arm – – – in all that craziness – – – a Bible verse pops into my mind.

It is like bits and pieces of song that I know and yet – – don’t know well enough.I have sung them, but am just figuring out how to sing them back to Him. Slowly – I’ve been working on this. Writing them on cards. Hanging them in my prayer closet. Listening to them on my CD player. Reading them over and over. Incorporating them into my prayers songs.

“Remember your congregation [people] which you have possessed [called] from the first, and you have saved, the tribe of your inheritance, this Mount Zion [Jerusalem] in which you have dwelt.”~Ps 74:2

Tonight it was this one. “Remember your people…” I never remember the reference (I’m working on this as well), so I look it up. The my internal voice is silent now, but the nudge is not. “Pray.”
My internal voice awakens with questions – “What? Now? Here?”
“Pray”
“But – “ My internal dialogue slows, and I begin to pray. People I know that need prayer covering. Prayers for our country. Prayers for the world. Unspokens that touch the heart but not the lips. There is no chaos now. Only the words of the verse and the call.
“Pray”

When the nudge quiets and tears dry, I feel sad. I miss it already. Normal returns while chaos shakes my world with distractions that are way too loud. Then I feel bad because I did not leave this chaos around me and go to my closet when the nudge came. Yet – I know He doesn’t care. He called me where I was. He hears our prayers wherever we are. He speaks and listens in whatever language we speak. In the precious name of Jesus the prayers continue to circle in time for a reason beyond me. It is enough, It is more than enough.

“How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,the light by which we see.
Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
give justice to those with honest hearts.”~Ps 36:7-9

Prayer calls are given everyday to everyone. It is a matter of recognizing the nudge – – – recognizing the voice – – -recognizing the choice to humble ourselves – – listen to His WORD – – turn away from worldly chaos – – and know that He hears our prayer, He heals our land, and in Jesus’a name, He forgives our sin. A day of thanksgiving. A day of Prayer Call. 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #10

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

JOY!

Not sure why staying home, doing mundane, everyday things bring me want to leap for joy. I just know it does.

Cardinals fussing around the bird feeders. A chicken hawk trying to grab a grey squirrel off a tree (he missed by the way – and boy – did that squirrel scurry down the tree). Dogs sliding in the snow just so they could roll in it one more time. Kitten playing in the box I’m trying to fill with Christmas past. Folding laundry. Cooking hot dogs with onions wrapped in a toasted tortilla. Learning something new during devotions.

It all just makes me – – – full of leaping joy.

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 10 lords a-leaping.”

Traditionally, the 10 lords refer to the 10 commandments. 10 road markers to guide a weary traveler. 10 rock-solid principles in a wacky world of slithering truths. 10 laws that guided a way-ward, stubborn people out of slavery and idolatry into the promise land of new milk and honey sweet manna. 10 laws that Rabbi Yeshua followed faithfully as He walked in this physical world.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O LORD; You surround them with Your shield of Love.”~Ps 5:11-12

JOY!

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. One of the words the angels used on the night Our Father sent His Son to live with us. One of the words that Rabbi Yeshua used often. Is it any surprise that I’m leaping for joy tonight? It may be cold outside. I may still have a coughing, sniffling cold. I may not leave the house for another three days because I just don’t want to do so.

JOY!

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”~Jn 15:11 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #5

“On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

5 golden promises.

“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”~Num 22:27

“Do not be afraid…since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard…”~Dan 10:12

“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”~Ps 4:8

“Your faith has given you life, go in peace.”~Lk 7:50

“The grace of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah be with all of his Holy Ones. Amen.”~Rev 22:21

“On the 5th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, 5 gold rings.”

Gold rings often symbolize a covenant. A vow to be kept between two parties. A promise. Many believe the five golden rings in this song are the 4 written gospels and the existence of the Jewish people. Old Testament covenant blended with the New Testament covenant.

Just a song. A children’s song. A song sung in the backseats of cars. A song knocked off so many times in so many ways. And yet – perhaps – it is so much more.

12 Days to ponder the true Gift of Christmas. 12 Days to honor the True Love who sent the Gift. 12 Days to remember to whom all honor should be given.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

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TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #4

“One the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

There should be a warning posted everywhere in our home when visitors come “calling” from out of state that reads: BEWARE – THESE PEOPLE (whether you love them or not) MAY CARRY HAZARDOUS GERMS THAT YOU ARE NOT USED TO ENCOUNTERING ON AN EVERYDAY BASIS!!!!

The first outcropping of said germ was the #1 daughter. She lost her voice after the first night of fun and games. The second was the hubby who started sniffling on day two and was out for the count on day four. By the evening of day four, my nose was constantly running, but otherwise felt fine. So after dropping off #2 daughter and her hubby at the railroad depot in Raleigh this morning (day 5), Hubby and I crashed off to sleep the afternoon away. (I truly know Hubby is sick when he climbs back into bed after the day has started). However, thanks to essential oils, plenty of zinc and sleep, I think our home front is on the rebound.

“On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: four calling birds…”

Calling birds or Colly birds – if you are singing the old English version of the song – are wonderful gifts. However, which ever birds come “calling” – I just need to remember to wash my hands a lot more often. Strange birds bring strange visiting companions without even knowing it. After all, being with beloved strange birds is definitely worth a little effort behind the scenes and even a little sickness.

“Everything whatsoever you desire that people should do for you, do likewise for them, for this is the Law and The Prophets.”~Matt 7:12

One of the many interpretations of the 12 Days of Christmas song is that the four “calling birds” refers to the 4 disciples of the gospels. Disciples that continually “call out” the love of Yeshua Christus into a needy world. I have to admit, I am partial to that one.

Birds bring beauty into our world with their plumage, their songs, and their playful antics that keep us entertained during the day (if you are lucky enough to be retired or a child and have time to watch them). It is of little wonder that for the first 4 days of Christmas, “True Love” gifted birds to the one He loves the most.

Birds continually call out God’s song of Grace and Love – continually show His beauty in this world and in each other. And while birds of this world sometimes carry unwanted visitors, the birds of our “True Love” never do. They carry only the good things He knows we need the most.

So on this fourth Day of Christmas, I will continue to welcome His “calling birds” into my home. I will continue to welcome those strange “calling” visitors of our world into our home as well – how could I not? It is the commandment above all others. Most of all, I will carry His greatest “calling bird” in my heart and home “…all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.”

“Lord Jehovah will shepherd me and I shall lack nothing.
He will make me lie upon lush pastures and he will lead me by restful waters.
He brings back my soul, and leads me in the paths of truth because of your Name.
Even if I shall walk in the valleys of the shadows of death, I will not be afraid of evil, because you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me,
You have prepared tables in front of me opposite my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil and my cup overflows as if it were alive*.
Your kindness and your mercies pursue me all the days of my life, that I may dwell in the house of Lord Jehovah to the length of days.”~Ps 23

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