Tag Archives: Ravi Zacharias

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: A Mighty Fortress

“Where the eye is focused, there the imagination finds its raw material. The right focus must be won at immense cost and discipline. Train the eye to see the good, and the imagination will follow suit.”~Ravi Zacharias, 1946-2020

A minute. An hour. A day. 7 days. A week. A month. A year. A lifetime. Spans of time that pass with our laughter, our joy, our wrath, our frustrations, our tears, our sadness…our prayers. A twinkling of an eye to the One who listens.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Not sure when I fell in love with this hymn. Perhaps it was as I watched my daddy recover from a heart attack when I was a few years younger. Perhaps it was one of the songs we sang in our small church’s children’s choir. What I do know – – I sang it often with my Mom, Dad and Big Brother standing beside me. I also memorized all the verses to sing during my 6th grade year for a musical audition, “Cowboy on the Moon”. Now why I thought that was the best song to sing for an elementary school production – again – have no idea, but I remember my teacher laughing as she pulled out the hymnal that sat on her book shelf and began to play.

It has come to my lips many times since then – when Mommy gripped my hand on the way to Daddy’s funeral – in the back of that small church where I got married – as tears splashed in my journal when the covenant was broken – this past week as I realized I would not hear my Big Brother’s voice again on this side of the veil.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

In the past few days, many things have happened that have affected me deeply. Deaths of people I love. Deaths of people I don’t know. Friends that I have known forever arguing back and forth on social media with a tinge of nastiness underlining their free speech. Violence erupting around the country I love. Division. Destruction. Fires. Brownness. Whiteness. Purpleness. Fear. Anger. Brokenness. Sadness.

The world has seen this many times – in many forms – a replay of an old script – written by the same author, and I struggle to
focus the eyes before biting the apple once again.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

I know I wrote about this recently, but it bears repeating after this past week. I remember distinctly praying in 1970, that peoples’ eyes would be re-focused on the goodness of Our Father’s grace and mercy – on what we could be – needed to be – instead of the world’s eyes being clouded with the cataracts of all things evil.

Even though I was biting the apple from a different side at that time of my life (and still), I knew from what I had read in history books, I knew what I saw in the streets during those times was some thing that could destroy the world I knew. Would break my parents’ hearts. Would break me.

A birth pang. A Braxton Hicks of things to come.

That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

A Mighty Fortress IS Our GOD…

Powerful words in answer to those with unfocused eyes. Powerful words that are the corrective lens to give us 2020 vision in a darkened world. Powerful words that remind us that birth pangs last for just a little while. Powerful words that usher in a peace that passeth all understanding as He makes all things new. Powerful words that lift us out of the gravity of the world. Powerful words that let us become new astronauts soaring towards home with 2020 vision once again.

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”~Jn 14:19

“But tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.” Richard Baxter, “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care”

“Surrender to Him
Love Him.
Follow Him
Serve Him.
Live for Him.
And take His message wherever you go.” ~Ravi Zacharias a-mighty-fortress-t-c-hoffman [google image]

BLESSING TRIAD #16-18

pic_coastguardThe Sixteenth Blessing

November 16, 2015, and my knee hurts like it did a year ago. It was pushed, prodded, stretched and twisted. But sometimes, you just have to navigate the choppy seas to find the safety of the shore. It is your journey. So, you climb in the boat and set sail.

My daughter sent me an email for a UNC study on arthritis. I’ve been accepted in one of the groups and will be having physical therapy for the next year. Talk about a gift from G-d. In this day and age, affording PT is far out of my retirement budget – especially since hubby decided we should build a house.

So today, I am thankful for a daughter who is always watching out for me. Thankful for meeting a physical therapist who spent an hour and a half talking, watching me walk, and bending my knees and hips in ways that I didn’t think they would go any longer. Thankful that I could climb in the boat and set sail. I am also thankful for Metaform Movement that gives me a paddle to navigate those choppy waters.

514d25c02fe3766ae2c8ea1d842dff15Oh – and one more thing – I am thankful for getting to teach music theory to one of my 6th grade students who was struggling as she was writing a song to play on her trumpet. Teaching her to count the beats, the different note values, and the scale was so much fun. Teaching my Grands to play the piano and now this – is G-d good or what?

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”~Col 3:15-17

The Seventeenth Blessing

commandment

“And you shall Love….”

Totally, completely, unfailing, without question an action verb – – – LOVE !!!

“…THE LORD JEHOVAH your God…”

Father God, I AM, Creator, El, a proper noun above all nouns – – – YHVH !!!

“…with your whole heart…”

Not partially, not fractionally, not occasionally, not indiscernablly but – – – WHOLLY !!!

“…and with your entire soul…”

Unmitigated, undivided, unbroken, undiminished righteous – – – ENTIRELY !!!

“…and with your entire mind…”

Intellect, reason, cognizant, judgement, complete consciousness – – – MIND !!!

“…and with all your power.” `Mk12:30

Capability, potential, skill, aptitude, fully functioning – – – POWER !!!

Today, November 17, 2015, I am thankful for the first commandment. It is the first thing I try (I am in no way perfect…sometimes, I just plain forget or slip back into my lazy ways of thinking I can do it all by myself) to say every morning and the last thing I whisper every night.phpThumb_generated_thumbnail

“And the second is liken unto it: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.There is no other commandment greater than these.” MK 12:31

The Eighteenth Blessing

1434265083-sonsofliberty_full_meeting

 

“The lie has a shelf life. The truth abides forever. God can even conquer through our perversion.” ~Ravi Zarcharias, RZIM, 11/18/15

While I was reading Ps 66, I ran across a verse today. A verse that has been turning around in my brain ever since. I love it when the WORD nags at me. It shakes my world and what little control I think I have over it.

“He rules forever by His power…”

logo2Such power could demand obedience – could demand faithfulness – could demand love. And yet – – -even when this whole journey began, He grew a tree. A liberty tree. It was never about power…it was about freedom. Is it any wonder that the liberty tree plays such an important part of our American history?

“His eyes watch the nations—“

I wonder what He thinks today as He watches the nations of this world. The world of nations that He formed with his creative fingers and sent spinning out into the universe. “Wars and rumors of wars – ” Hate raging from one race to another – one religion to another – one person to another…

“let not the rebellious rise up against Him.”~Ps 66:7

A cautionary sentence. The WORD is often like that. Stories, parables, history, peacegrace, mercy, salvation – – – caution. I often think of the dual nature of Christ that we see in the WORD. The Lamb who showed love, mercy and grace as He walk among us,and continues to set the standard in this period of Grace. But then there is the Lion who roars throughout OT prophecy and Revelations.

A meeting – a place – where the Lion lies down with the Lamb. Will I see it? Is it coming soon? A lion and a lamb together in one place.

I’m still tossing around Ravi Zacharias’s words that started this journey today. Lies can’t last – – – however – – – – righteousness – righteous truth cannot be destroyed – – – everlasting to everlasting. Even at our worst, He watches us. He waits for us. He listens for our words.

The tree of liberty still stands. It waits to shelter us under its sturdy limbs. All we have to do is come, sit or lay or stand, and chose to Love those around us as He showed us how to Love through His son.

Today, November 18, 2015, I am thankful for a Tree of Liberty, and for a God who loves me so much that He gave me – all of us – freedom of choice – even when it breaks His heart .il_340x270.585302193_mf18[google images]

12 Days of Christmas Words: First Week

12 Days of Christmas Word:     STAR      December 26, 2013christmas star
On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a partridge in a pear tree…”

Tra-la-la…tra-la-la…

I thought I was done with writing about words when Christmas got here. As proof, I took yesterday as a blessed day – a day to play with grandkids, hug on daughter and son-in-law, talk to friends and family, read e-cards, walk around in my new slippers (which BTW work really well, Miss Brystana ), read FB wishes and eat way too much. I probably would have jumped in the hot tub, but between the cold, blustery wind and the little nonsense of not having a manual for said hot tub, I ditched that idea, and I did not write anything. But something was off – something missing – my time with Christ was sorely missing. After watching the mid-night mass in Rome on Christmas Eve, my focus severely mal-functioned. I lost sight of the STAR.

The STAR that hung in the sky for a long time…long enough to bring angels to sing…long enough for shepherds to find a small stable…long enough for wise men to travel from afar to find a baby…long enough for me to notice…and ignore…again.

I have a friend who lost sight of the STAR over the past year and was feeling sad and down on herself today. Her tears reminded me of my own that I have shed for the same reasons, and I understood. I, too, have lost sight of the STAR. Lost sight of it so many times that Our Father God must surely wonder about me at times. Perhaps that is why it took the wise men such a long time to get to the Christ child as well. They lost their focus they stopped to get directions from a human king – they ran into storms that delayed their progress – they probably ran into a few road blocks as well or cloudy nights that cast a dismal outlook on ever reaching their destination – wherever that was. I’m sure they were as lost at times as we are today. How do you find the STAR when there are clouds?

Today’s devotions (Jewish and Christian ones both) set me up for today and refocused my gaze on the STAR and the choices we all have to make in our daily lives. It is not easy to follow a STAR to an unknown destination. It is not easy to trust God to continue to shed the Light that will guide our path to the creche. It is a choice…and when we lose our focus or when the clouds block the Light…it is a choice to look up or wait it out until once again and we can get sight of the STAR.

My husband came in tonight and said, “You STAR is out.” I laughed because he had become God’s messenger for a minute and reminded me to re-focus my lens once again. In fact, I think before I go to bed tonight, I will go out and look at my STAR one more time. I want to find the creche on Epiphany, meet the wise men, and kneel on the hard, bumpy ground at the Light behind the STAR.

12 Days of Christmas Word:      FRUIT      December 27, 2013

On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:  two turtle doves….
Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-la-la…

“You shall know them by their FRUIT. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Matt 7:16

fruits of the spiritEvery Christmas , my big brother and his wife send us FRUIT from FL. When the kids were at home, the FRUIT was gone in a couple of days. Now, we can make the box last a couple of weeks. ..maybe.  The juiciness of a fresh FL orange in the middle of winter stands alone…don’t ask me why…it just is. So when we see that FRUIT box sitting on our porch, we race to the door, tear open the box and sink our teeth into a really special treat.

I think I first fell in love with stories and language when I first started learning the Bible stories. The Biblical writers were very good at telling their tales to make a specific point. As I grew older, I noticed that even those folk tales, fables, and myths outside of the Bible also were used to make point. Early teachers and historians of the oral tradition, Cicero- Plato – Aesop – Homer, did the same for their students. Needless to say, great teachers still employ this technique (although these days, the stories probably tend to center around video games, pop culture, movies, etc…)

Yet, the stories from the Bible still carry weight. When we get the FRUIT box, we know that we are probably going to enjoy the stuff inside of it. We know the box. We know the FRUIT. The point is valid in our lives as well. We are known by the acts we show the world. The star, the shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the angels, the wise men, a tiny baby born in a manager would not have changed the world if they had not shown the world the FRUITS of the spirit.

So…on this Second Day of Christmas, I pray that the FRUIT you have chosen to grow on your tree blesses the world and the people around you. After all, that is what Christmas is all about.

“But the FRUIT of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Gal 5:22

12 Days of Christmas Word:      LEARNING      December 28, 2013

“On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:  three French hens…”

Bibity, bobity, boo…

An English teacher tends to read – A LOT. Former English teachers tend to read – EVEN MORE. I wonder, if I didn’t have to stretch, clean house, jump in the hot tub, throw the ball for the puppy, play cards with the husband (I could go on  ), if I would read all day. Anyway, as I was reading today, I ran into this quote: “Helping the thinker to believe. Helping the believer to think.” ~Dr. Ravi Zacharias It made me think…and I am still thinking.

lamedheadEarlier I read about the Hebrew letter LaMaD. It basically is the alphabet letter for teaching and guidance. In Hebrew – letters have has much power as the word itself and can change the meaning of the word by its presence. It also has a number value. I’m still LEARNING about all this stuff, and am praying that I find a teacher pretty soon, so that I can learn Hebrew a little faster.

I have also LEARNED that Hebrew letters are hard to write. Today I had to copy the letter several times until I was happy with my reproduction. I can’t imagine being a scribe and copying the whole Torah – letter -by – letter…word – by – word. But that is what Christmas is all about: LEARNING. The baby whose birth we celebrated just a few days ago came to help us:

LEARN about a relationship with Father GOD.

LEARN how to talk with Him.

LEARN to recognize the Holy Spirit.

LEARN about forgiveness.

LEARN about grace.

LEARN about life after death.

LEARNING comes in many different forms. It is up to us to find the wisdom behind it and change our lives. That is the gift our “True Love” really gave to us on Christmas.

12 Days of Christmas Word:      RICHES      December 29, 2013

“On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: four collie birds…” (and yes – the original is “collie” birds which are really blackbirds)

Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum…

“By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is established, and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant RICHES.” Prov 24:3-4

A week or so ago, the Power Ball jackpot was worth a bunch of money. Everyone was talking about it on the news, in the coffee shops, in the gas stations, around the water coolers… In most interviews, the people in Santa hats and Christmas sweaters stated what they would buy for themselves, their family and sometimes even a charity. Money seemed to be the key to a very Merry Christmas.

RICHES are often synonymous with money, power, success. Face it, when we read Proverbs 24:3-4, isn’t that our first thought? I know that it used to be mine. But what if… what if money isn’t a synonym at all? What if it is the antithesis of RICHES? After all – money was created by humans. It was and is our currency – a bartering tool that increases or decreases according to human actions. RICHES, however, is very different…RICHES (as described in Proverbs) are different – although they too increase or decrease according to human actionS – RICHES are more valuable than pearls; they are created by a Father as a gift to those He loves without end.

RICHES: the flight of a bald eagle over a lake

RICHES: gardens full of food for the winter

RICHES: a child’s trust as they fall asleep in your lap.

RICHES: family afternoon “game” day 

RICHES: friends listening to friends in their joys and sorrows

RICHES: the light in a spouse’s eyes

RICHES: a Father and Son who built a path towards home for us to walk

Proverbs has been rumored (theorized?) to have been written by a wise teacher (a rabbi?) – an Essene (a Jewish sect?) – even a Watcher (an angel?) – It is up to us to find the wisdom…the gift…the RICHES in everything we do.