Tag Archives: Psalms

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…”

[google images]

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

[google images]

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]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #21

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Eve. Today is the 325th day of the year. 40 more days, and it will be 2018.

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

And here I sit. Struggling with my Gratitude. Struggling with my Attitude. Struggling with my frailties.

There are just days when life seems to be full of prickly, poking, painful slashes. Days when you want to curl up and go home. Days when you want what was and those who know you best. Days when depression isn’t a big enough word.

Holidays seem to bring two bags when they move into our lives. One bag full of joy. The other bag – not so much. What ever the name of the cat that is in that second bag, it is sure to be the meanest cat who knows exactly how to reach out and draw blood on tender skin.

Break a favorite ornament. Drop a whole bottle of cleaner all over the floor. Arthritis – sinuses – loneliness – loss – the list of causes is long and tedious. Seen before. Known by name. But the cat in the bag is just a symptom.

It is really the snake that is in heart of his garden on these days.

“Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!”~Ps 96:11

It is on apple-biting days when I have to dig deeper – with one of those heavy duty construction shovels – deeper and deeper until I find my Gratitude Attitude. Drag my feet to the war room. Force the mind into obedience of choice instead of wallowing in emotion. Choosing to sew the hole in the bag. Choosing to bite the snake instead of the apple. Choosing to re-claim this garden of life.

“Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise
before the LORD, for he is coming!”~Ps 96:12-13

My Gratitude Attitude on the 21st day of November 2017 is for my frailties. These are the days when I fight to reclaim the precious Joy of the LORD. Find my roots and stand with the trees of the forest who sing His praise. And know – know deeply – that the LORD is coming – is coming soon. [google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #16

“Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.”

If there is one hymn that I associate with Thanksgiving, it is “Come Ye Thankful People, Come”. The poem was written in 1810 by Henry Alford. Six years later, it was set to music by George Elvey.

I guess I should mention that this hymn has been singing in my head off and on during this month of Gratitude to Our Lord of Harvest. Growing up, we sang hymns, and this one was one that was requested often.  You see, in our church, we had Sundays when people would be invited to shout out the page numbers of their favorite hymns. Sometimes we sang Joy to the World on he hottest day of the summer.  Sometimes, we sang the spirituals that were not in the “official” hymn book like Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.  Sometimes, we sang older hymns that weren’t played often, like Sweet Hour of Prayer.  It was a song fest, and boy, did I loved those Sundays.

If Mom wasn’t in the choir loft and Dad wasn’t fishing in his favorite “church”, I got to feel how it felt to sing in a small choir. Altos. Sopranos. Tenors. Basses. The voices of families and people who would see me grow up surrounding me, as the voices of those melodious words buried themselves in my heart.

“God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.”

Our minister mentioned this week that everyone is pretty good about calling out their thankfulness. I agree. I’ve seen it everywhere – even on store fronts. From sports casters to social media to schools to – gasp – politicians, but – – as our preacher reminded us – – in all this thankfulness there is something missing.

While people in general mention how thankful they are, these same people seldom mention TO WHOM they are expressing thanks for all these blessings.  They may thank the people close to them or thank their lucky stars or thank heavens or thank goodness, but somehow – the name behind all these phrases is ignored.

“All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield,
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown.”

I think that is one of the reason those old hymns still sing through my soul. Sometimes singing me to sleep. Sometimes waking me up. Sometimes comforting me. Sometimes dancing in joy with me. They leave no doubt TO WHOM all thankfulness should be given, and they remind me TO WHOM I need to express my thankfulness.

No cliches. No lies of omission. No slight of hand or should I say…..mouth. 

It is not enough to be thankful just because it is November. The Native American and the Pilgrims did sit down to eat together. How it came to happen and what existed in the hearts of both groups of people, we can never know.

Today’s “truth” in man’s wisdom is ever fluctuating.

What we do know, from Wampanoag and Pilgrim traditions, is that there was a 3 day feast. A 3 day period of time when two very different groups of people were able to set aside their differences and break bread together. 3 days. Amazing things have been accomplished in 3 days. It all depends on the sower of seeds.

“First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
LORD OF THE HARVEST, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.”

My hope is that as we enter these last few days before Thanksgiving 2017, more and more people – different groups of people – will find a way to lay aside their differences and offer their thankfulness. Thankfulness not just directed to impress or influence the people around them, but as a gift – a hymn/a psalm of praise – to the One who is the source of all blessings. A true Gratitude Attitude.

A song to the LORD who provided the seed – the LORD who provides the living water and dust of the earth in which the seed grows – the LORD who multiples the seed many times over for the one who sowed it – the LORD of the Harvest who was and is and is to come. Amen. [google image]20121119_FIRSTThanksgivingdetail

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.

[google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #11

I am a former reading teacher, and STILL a lot of time I don’t read the small print placed before me. Ever anxious to get on to the “main” content, I miss some of the truly important stuff.

Having read all 150 Psalms over and over – in liturgy – in song – in devotion, I had no idea that Psalms 120-134 were songs that were used as Jews traveled to the temple festivals in Jerusalem. Of course, I had to go to the Bible and look. Sure enough, under the title Psalm 120 was some tiny print, “Song of Ascent”. Of course, even if I read it at one point or another, I wouldn’t have had a clue of what it meant.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”~Ps 121:1-2

My search continued. I pulled out the well-used, marked-up study Bible that has been in my life for about 8 years now. It has notes on the side of the pages which have added much to my seeking over the years. The notes were well documented about the main ideas and intent of each verse, but I couldn’t find anything that talked about them being used by the Jewish people as they traveled or even – what ascent meant. So next step – what else? On-line Bible, of course.

I use various sites, but I tend to like Bible Hub. They have the Aramaic in Plain English of the New Testament which I love. I understand why the New Testament was written in Greek, but since most of the disciples spoke Aramaic and this version comes from an early source, I like comparing the two. That being said, Bible Hub’s “New Living Translation” had the words I was seeking in small print right under the title, ‘A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.’

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”~Ps 121:5-6

Okay – so far so good, but that didn’t really give me a lot of answers. As always I wanted more. I wanted the Jewish perspective. If there is one thing that I have learned over the past few years, it is that our Christian traditions have robbed us of our roots in the first covenant. The very covenanted roots that Yeshua treasured in His life here on earth.

So the thing is – the Jewish tradition says that there are many interpretations about these “Psalms of Ascents”. One belief is that it was used by pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem or out of Babylon or even one that had to do with the rising of water under King David’s temple.

I guess all in all, one of my devotions today was successful. It got me digging deeper into the WORD itself. And Our Father was faithful as always. When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, you do get filled or as it was said in the Greek, Plero’o – the cup is filled (which by the way – is a word I stumbled over in another devotion). Gotta love how God works all things to His purposes, don’t you?

“But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy and shall keep your whole spirit, soul and body without fault for the arrival of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah. Faithful is he who has called you; it is he who shall perform it.”~1 Thes 5:23-24Forgiven

(Greg Olsen artwork/google image]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #9

Joy.

This tiny word can stand alone, and I still just want to smile in thankfulness.

J
O
Y

Y
O
J

Spread it out List it. Write it backward.

Doesn’t matter. It is not a simple synonym for happiness – – – at least not for me. Joy bubbles. It erupts from a well spring deep within me. The gurgles bounce around until I can no longer contain them and I have to smile. Not a small smile – one of those large, crazy, out-of-controlled smiles.

Gurgles of JOY. Bouncing out into a darkening world. Bubbles of JOY. Flowing rivers of JOY. JOY that can’t be locked away, dammed up or lost. JOY spring of the living waters.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for JOY, and with my song I praise him.”~Ps 28:7

For whatever reason, JOY has been the thought of the day. I can’t say it is because of the weather. The past two days have been rainy, cold and dank. Dogs have been tracking mud in the house. Kitty has been begging to go out until she puts a paw on the wet, cold porch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run so fast for her warm place in front of the gas logs.

JOY is a gift. I tend to think that since God created us in His own image, JOY must be an attribute of God. I can only imagine what JOY there was in the Garden before the fall. JOY to walk together. JOY of communion. JOY of purity of spirit. Peacemaker’s JOY. Face-to-face JOY.

“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”~Heb 12:2

JOY-ous path re-opened that the living water might flow freely ‘…on earth as it is in heaven’. Tap in to the JOY. Seek the well-spring deep within. The Holy Spirit will open the spigots wide. Yeshua will laugh with JOY as it flows out and into the world. And JOY will bounce higher than “…red rubber ball.” as the Father re-JOY-ces with us all.

Yep – I have a lot of JOY in my Gratitude Attitude.

“And I think it’s gonna be all right.
Yeah, the worst is over,
Now the morning sun is shining like a Red Rubber Ball.”~Simon/Garfunkle
[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

ERRR….CRAP!

‘s a sad fact of life. Touchstones break. We call them “stones” because they have weight in our life. It is the “touch” part that we sometimes forget. Weighted stones that have touched our lives at some point We can look at them – or touch them – and they release the memories – the smells – the sounds – the music – the faces.

Most of the time a smile may cross our soul as we hold it in our hands. Sometimes a laugh may escape the confines of the binder that held it trapped inside. And sometimes – when we drop them – – – they break.

Errrr…

This morning I walked the dogs as soon as I woke up. We picked some flowers, threw some sticks, and enjoyed the cool of a perfect spring morning. Since I had only picked two small flowers this morning, I pulled out the two small shot glasses that probably were some of my first touchstones ever.

Mom had special glasses for party nights. They were colorful. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. They also had matching shot glasses. I can still see Dad and hear his laugh as he was telling jokes or getting ready to play his guitar and holding one of those glasses. Other times, when I would pick violets for Mom, she would take out the shot glasses, and we would fill them up with the purple and white blessings. She would pull the doilies she had made out of their drawers and place the glasses around the living room. Just thinking about those violets bring back the smell of her hugs, the smell of her perfume and her red-lipstick smile.

Over the years, all the glasses disappeared. And by the time, we moved Mom out of her house, there were only two shot glasses left. Yellow. Green. Today the yellow one dropped into the sink as I was running water to hold a small rose. Errrrr…I don’t deal well with breaking things that have touched my life. But – I reminded myself – they are just things. I rolled my eyes, looked out the kitchen window while having one of those — half prayer — half talk – conversations with myself.

Errr…I looked at the fragments scattered around the sink and said, “Crap!”

A short time later, I broke a tiny winged, patriotic figure that I bought the summer my mother died. I think Mom must have been born to be a politician from birth. She had all the smarts, charisma, and charm needed. She just was a slow starter in the field. However, once elected as village clerk of our small home town, she rose through the state ranks and on to national organization of clerks.

The figurine I broke – out of a set of six – was the one that said held the banner that said, “God Bless America”. So this was a double touchstone. Mom sang “God Bless America” so many times, that I knew all the words by the time I was 5 years old – – – including the introduction. “When the storm clouds gather…”

Errr…I picked the pieces up off the floor and said, “Crap!”

I decided it was more than time for devotions. Needless to say, they shattered my bad mood completely. I read about the “hupogrammos”. An ancient Greek word that basically means example – but more deeply – it is a concrete, hands-on way of teaching someone how to do something. In this case – Christ became the “hupogrammos”. He set his actions, his steps, his manner, his love before all of us that we might easily follow His steps if we just put our feet and heart where He put His.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example (hupogrammos), that you should follow in his steps.”~1 Pt 2:21

As the tears pushed the corners of my eyes, I read this last devotion. “You answered me, when I called You; with Your strength, You strengthened me.”~Ps 138:3

The lesson of the day? Forget the Errrr… and the Crap!
Touchstones of this earth break and easily.  They fall apart. Our Christ Touchstone is just the opposite. He is an eternal cornerstone that hold everything else together when the world seems to be falling apart. He is the “hupogrammos” for our lives.