Tag Archives: Revelations

MIRYAM

Once upon a time there was a young girl named Miryam. She was an only child – some say for a long time – some say for a shorter time. In any case, her parents were afraid to have more children. In fact – she was named for the bitterness, rebellion as a reflection of the times in which they lived. Slavery has a tendency to do that to people.

Eventually Miryam had a younger brother. Her parents named him Aaron, and the siblings grew as children tend to do. But shortly after, Pharaoh grew wary of the great numbers of Jewish children being born. How could he continue to enslave such a massive group if they continued to procreate in such numbers? An edict came down – “Kill all new born males.”

Hmmmmm….sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Some oral traditions say that Miryam and Aaron’s parents decided not to sleep together. Why bring a child into such a world? Unbeknownst to anyone up until now, Miryam had been blessed with a gift of music and prophecy. She told her parents that they were to have another child who would bring redemption to their people.

Obviously, she was right. They got together and Moshe was born. Most of us know the story from there. Miryam watched over the baby in the basket. She prayed against so many things as she watched the basket drift. Some of them answered – some of them not. Surely, she would not have wanted her baby brother to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter – or to be taken in by one such as the royal family and yet – that was exactly the plan of G-d.

I keep getting caught by the similarities between the two, world-changing Passovers. Moshe – Yeshua. Moshe watched over by Miryam. Yeshua watched over by another Miryam (yes – in Hebrew her name was written Miryam) – again a reflection of the times in which she lived. Two men who were threatened with death by just being born. Two men who brought redemption to their people. Two men appearing when needed. A people enslaved. A people occupied. Redemption needed by both. Two Passovers with two Jewish men in pivotal positions of faith AND with two women named Maryam who watched them grow into their G-d path.

There are so many similarities between these two Passovers, and I have a feeling that I haven’t even begun to see all that there is to see. G-d winks at us so often – trying to catch our attention – trying to encourage us to see what He has so clearly designed to show us – – – why Christ followers are so tied to the Abraham followers. Two groups of people tied by two Passovers.

Sometimes when I am writing these things, my stomach and head begin to hurt. Separating tangled strands in my mind is not always easy for me. Clarity elusive. But just when I’m ready to slam the laptop closed and delete it all, a fleeting picture forms in my mind that takes me one step further, and I sigh under my breath, ‘How did I miss that?” I push open that narrow gate, whisper a prayer and take one more step forward.

“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”~Rv 4:8b [google images]

COVENANT SONG

“I am making everything new!” ~Rev 21:5a

This verse has been drifting through my mind since yesterday, so I guess that is my hint. Got to admit, I’ve been paraphrasing these words – “I make all things new”. I laugh and feel Abba “Gibbs slap” me, but like DiNozzo, I smile because I know it is a sign of affection and pride.

Our home still looks like a construction zone. Lumber piles cover many of our new flat spots. I know, they will eventually disappear into a lumber yard – hopefully to bless someone else’s home in some new way. Piles of brush are still scattered hither and yon. And while my driveway is fairly cleared of Hubby’s toys (due to the highly functional new carport), there are still a few toys piled up along the side of the house. (The racks for hanging them in the “garage” haven’t quite made the “done list” – – – yet!)

“It is done!”~Rev 21:6a

Now these are words I am definitely waiting to hear for I getting antsy to see how our covenanted land will look as G-d knows it will. So while I wait, I’ve been pulling more brush from the edges of my garden, raking leaves and cleaning the front shutters. Did you know that stuff advertised on TV – RustOleum ReColor – really works? Wipe it on – stinks bad so be prepared – and whammo – shutters look new. Now if I just didn’t have to climb ladders to get the rest of the shutters done. sigh

Tonight the body is a little sore, but thanks to our therapeutic hot tub – not bad at all. An earlier shower has given way to a cool breeze chasing away the near 80 temperatures of the day, and I am content. Somehow, I just know the quirky home is content as well.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”~Rev 21:6b-7

Tonight, as I drank my last glass of water, I watched Venus disappear into the horizon of trees. The puppies are snoring louder than the Hubby for once, and I feel a song rising within me. Moses and the people of Israel sang a song of joy when they emerged from the waters of the Nile. Miriam, the prophetess and sister of Aaron (which is a whole ‘nother story that is turning in my head) led them in another new song of joy.

Two prayerful songs of thanksgiving and praise to the Father who had blessed them.

Tonight, I think I might have a clue how that must have felt. It was a new day of song for this fleeing tribe of people – long, long ago. A new covenant was taking shape. Just as there is a new covenant song tonight singing on the wind from my heart to the Father – for my country — my covenanted land – my family – my friends – dancing through the narrow gate where the land has been made new and a garden beyond compare awaits.

“Behold, I make all things new.” ~Rev 21:5a

HIS TABERNACLE

“…Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”~Rev 21:3-4

“…the Tabernacle of God is with men…” Tonight as I was reading my nighttime devotions, these seven words swirled around me and sang deep in my soul. Over and over the WORD etched itself. Carving a niche within to rest and light this world a little more with His love.

God’s tent is with me – – – with you – – – with each and everyone of us – – – He loves us that much. Of course, the questions always follow such revelations – how is that possible? Why? And then – I kick myself in the proverbial “butt”. Why can’t “faith” be as simple as it was when I lay under a tree to talk to my Father?

The busyness of the season pushed (and continues to push) Abba to the back of my agendas so many times over the past few days. I’ve missed prayer times – – -times to grow in the WORD – – – quiet times to plead in the war room – – – and still I have felt His Tabernacle with me – every day – every step – in every word I spoke to others while the prayers of thankfulness thrummed unspoken, deeply within me.

“Here I AM” – with me – with you – – –

Regardless of the bad choices I have made and continue to make, He chooses to be with me. Even when I reject Him, He seeks me out and waits for me to open the flaps of my tent, so that He may enter and share a meal with me. Someday, I will understand how that is possible. Someday, I will understand a love that great. Someday, the questions will be silenced.

“Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.”~”It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

Tonight as I sat outside by the fire with the Hubby and daughters, my heart was listening to other music. Music, not from the neighbors’s bonfire festivities, but music that still issues its timeless reminder – over and over and over. All I have to do is open the flaps of my tent. Invite the Creator of the universe into my tent. His tabernacle is with me. Always. Forever. Forever and ever.

Hallelujah.edmund-sears-265676

Because of Christmas #5: Open Door

The Grands had a great week being spoiled by Grandparents – 3 days with the paternal ones and one day with the maternal side. As we all know – grandparents don’t have to play by any rules when they are babysitting, so the daughter called me twice yesterday from New Orleans, hoping to convince me that a decent bedtime would be a great idea.

I laughed. What parent doesn’t have similar conversations with Grandparents? What parent wants to take the tired, cranky, sugar-high children home to rules and routine?

Since I do try to abide by the parental unit rules – occasionally, I opened the closet door, pulled out the teacher box, and we got busy. We made turkeys for Thursday, tucked Grands in bed in by 10 (only a couple hours late), read Sunday funnies together, made the first Christmas ornaments of the season, read a couple Christmas books, opened the door for the neighborhood kids to join us for a couple crazy hours of noisy, dress-up, romps in piles of leaves and wild woods; then shoved everyone out the door into the parents’ arms in record time – just before I collapsed in the hot tub to soak the swollen knee and healing toe.

The Grands are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves, but they missed a book that was sticking out from under the bed in “their” room. It was a Little Golden book – one of mine. A well loved one from the looks of it. Front and back hard cover missing. Pages bent, torn and creased. Pictures as familiar as my own parents’ faces. Songs that I can still sing from memory. The Little Golden Book of Hymns smiled up at me, and I opened the door of yesterday’s treasures.

Leafing through the pages, I made my way to the piano. The fingers remembered the hymns almost without looking as images flashed across the brain at warp speed – endless hours at home – at scary recitals – at the even scarier church services. This little book opened the door to my Godmother’s voice – who was also my neighbor, piano teacher and organist for my childhood church and eventual wedding.

Treasured books open doors to all the treasures we have buried inside of us – that old book smell – the voices of loved ones – activities long forgotten, the resonance of a chord printed on a page, a tear or two splashed upon the piano keys.

“Behold, I stand at the door and I shall knock. If a man listens to my voice and will open the door, I also shall come in and I shall have supper with him, and he with me.”~Rev 3:20

Sometimes we screw up. We don’t open those heavy doors or the doors tucked in corners, the rusty doors that squeak a little too loudly, or the doors where poor strangers may be standing. The inn-keeper in Bethlehem didn’t open up his business for a stranded couple, but he did open the door to the stable. I hate to think how long I avoided opening the door to the shepherd who knocked so often just because I was afraid to see His face when He looked at my dirty face and feet.

“Jesus comes not with a list of things for you to do but with a list of things He has already done and will do. Jesus lifts burdens; He doesn’t add to them”~Max Lucado (p.54)

It is good to remember during this Christmas season that it is never too late to open the door to the season – the door to the reason behind the season – the door that leads to a feast beyond compare because we will never hunger again. [google images]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #91

All day I stayed away from the news. I cleaned my in-box of all news related posts. I listened to Christmas music and sang – loudly – as I worked on things around the house. I was in a great mood. Then I got on FB.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”~ 1 Cor 13:13
 
I have friends from every spectrum of God’s rainbow, and I love hearing and reading their views most of the time. I usually learn a lot. But the last few weeks of the election cycle have been more than enough to convince me that there is a lot of ugliness out there that I really don’t need to continuously read. It is hard to ‘…keep faith, hope and love…’ in the forefront of who I want to be during times like these. My first instinct is to run and ignore.
 
And then – today’s Ration starts to appear under my fingers. God shouts His reminder. He hollers loud and clear in my soul: “I HAVE GOT THIS.” He patiently reminds me through this 70+ year old Ration, that birth pangs are not easy to live through, but live through them we must to share His Light during a tough time. Errrr…I should know this.
 
When you push and push and push yourself forward in faith, hope and love, the pain fades and the dream of what is to come takes on reality, dimensional shifts occur and spiritual shifts are completed. It is just a matter of remembering that birth pangs DO pass and bring something beyond beautiful to the world.
 
We may not see it on this side of the veil, but God does. This Ration refers us to Revelation, but God had Isaiah speak it even earlier:
‘On this mountain He will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
He will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.’
 
“…He will remove the shroud…” I love that image. His hand pulling the shroud off of us – rebellion – sin- pain – death.  These birth pangs will pass. They will remove that veil of grief. A beautiful world awaits. It is a matter of faith, hope but most of all – love.
 
1942 Daily Ration: ” ‘Now abideth. . .hope.’~1 Cor 13:13
 
“Read: Revelation 21:1-2
 
“”St. Paul lists hope as one of the three permanent Christian qualities. It is no easy thing always to be hopeful. The tragedies of a world at war cannot be laughed off. But Christian hope does not mean an ignoring of things as they are, but rather an anticipation of things as they ought to be. Jesus foretold that wars would come, but said they would mark ot the end but ‘the beginning of birth pangs’. Through the ages the world has been indebted to those who could see in present suffering the birth of a new life and in the darkness of night the coming of dawn.
 
“One night I was awakened by pain, and while lying in darkness, i heard the birds announce the coming of dawn. Possibly the pain or drowsiness kept me from seeing the coming of the new day, but those little birds saw it. Likewise in a world of suffering and spiritual lethargy, there is a great need for Christians who with characteristic hopefulness can see the dawn from afar, and who may be co-workers with God for the building of a new world.
 
“Prayer: O Lord, as in the beginning ‘the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” so now we still affirm our faith in thy eternal goodness and dedicate ourselves again to thy Kingdom of light. In Christ’s name. Amen.” [google images]

25 NAMES OF CHRISTMAS – LAMB OF GOD

833f09f0-03c7-11e5-8871-5f5d1a81dd93_20311_511766955643815_2045293068141712740_nI love the days that I get to pick up the Grandson from Montessori Children’s House. We have this routine. He squeals when he sees me and yaks my head off all the way to the car. Then – about mid-way home, we pass a small farm that is a little Noah’s ark. We slow down and look for the goats. They recently had 3 baby pygmies who are just starting to do the baby goat dance.

“Grandma, you know what I want more than a tree house?”

“No, what do you want more than the tree house that you have been talking about forever?”

“A goat. I want a goat”

Pygmy goats.

Pygmy goats.

How much fun are kids? Their thought process and ideas never fail to amaze me.Later, we took a walk in the woods on the close-to-his-house-property that Papa and I like. It is in the government-limbo-vacant-foreclosure-deteriorating-mess type of home. He and Papa walked further down the stream than I did, but I got to be their sounding beacon as they headed back.

“Can you see me now?” I called.

“I can see you, Grandma,” he hollered as he ran up the hill leaving Papa still lost in the trees.

Grabbing my hand, face all sweaty and smiley (it was in the 70’s today), he said, “Can we go now? I’m thirsty.”

We waited to make sure a huffing and puffing Papa made it back up the hill. Then I laughed and off we drove, windows open, Christmas music blaring and both of us just enjoying the moment and a special day.

virgin-mary-jesus-lamb-purityIt was that kinda day. A day I needed since we’ve had such a crazy indecisive week of searching, questioning and praying. I started a 40 day prayer cycle based on our move out date. We need it. More importantly, my children and grandchildren’s world needs it. As we creep closer to the third week of Advent, I have been thinking alot about the Lamb of God. Here He was – born in a stable, laughing, innocent, enjoying the beauty around Him, and giving His love freely to those to those whom His Father had entrusted His care. Is it any wonder that later, John would refer to Him again as a Lamb of God. A lamb who freely traded His grace for our sin.

“Behold, The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” ~Jn 1:29

Of course, the Lamb eventually grows up and lets a whole ‘nother part of His nature emerge, but that is in Revelations which is a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother night. Blessings!Be! and hope you have a Lamb of God day tomorrow.

[google images]

Jesus and girl

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]

BLESSINGS TRIAD 7-9

A SEVENTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

Today, November 7th, I am thankful for the written word and for special people who sense in their souls what others can not.. Thanks, Ruth Bell Graham

Listen, Lord,

a mother’s praying

low and quiet:

listen, please.

Listen what her tearsRuth-1b

are saying,

see her heart

upon its knees;

lift the load

from her bowed shoulders

till she sees

and understands,

You, Who hold

the worlds together,

hold her problems

in Your hands. ~ Ruth Bell Graham

A EIGHTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

“A land so distant that some never knew it existed.”

rigolettoDon’t you love fairae tales – especially the “happily ever after” endings? They remind us of the theme that we are to imprint in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Painful times – scary times – evil times – all pass. Love – however – triumphs and lives forever. “Restored to his kingdom, Rigoletto took his beautiful bride and left the world of men to dwell happily ever after.” Gotta love fairae tales – especially, fairae tales with beautiful music such as Rigoletto.

sept 1989 at the old brick

sept 1989 at the old brick

Some weekends are just fairae tale type of days strung together. Got to spend alone time with eldest daughter. Nothing special – just a few hours out of our busy lives, but a time shared by just us once again. A time to re-connect. A time to remember watching that tiny baby girl morph through various stages of life into the wife, mother and published doctoral student that she is today. A time to remember how blessed I am to be trusted with such different gifts from Our Father.

Today has a restful, healing day. Finished a book. Took a short nap. Played with the dogs. Watched a couple of fairae tales. The niggles from earlier in the week have turned into a full-fledged cold, but hopefully the happy ending will be watching the niggles ride off to a distant land – one so distant that they can never come back. Now that would truely close the book on this fairae tale weekend.

So today, November 8, 2015, I am thankful for a fairae tale weekend and hopefully – waving goodbye to the cold niggles.

A NINTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

1959 dining roomToday, the ninth of November, I’m thankful that Billy Graham has not gone home yet. With my mom on one side and the dad on the other, black patent leather shoes swinging in time to a tent full of music. white socks decorated by pieces of sawdust, and the hem of my dress twisted around my fingers, I listened, and eventually fell asleep But somewhere in there, I internalize this memory and started an important journey that has never stopped. And – if I can keep my eyes open and my feet on the path, I will find that “…so distant land that some never knew it existed.”

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and upon the heart of man has not come up that which God has prepared for those who love him.”~1 Cor 2:9

As probably most of you know, in the early days of the church, no one had their own Bible or scrolls. They depended on rabbi/priests to teach them. We all know that the stories of the Bible are much easier to remember than those hard complicated verses that jump in non-linear movements and crazy visions that seem too complicated to try to figure out. Hence – enter the teachers who attempted to educate.

ND2015-coverI read a Saturday Evening Post editorial that quoted David McCullough who said if we want to improve the teaching of history, we should, “Tell stories”. Teachers talk, recite, tell stories, – some even sing – crazy ones like me might add a little goofiness and a horse whinny or two.

Fairae tales are one of the earliest forms of story-telling. Some are traced right back to the WORD. A prince comes to rescue his bride from the great dragon beast. After dispatching the evil one, the couple live in rooms especially designed for them in a beautiful castle….happily ever after. Sounds familiar, right? Check out Isaiah or Revelations.

"Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond," by Billy Graham. Photo courtesy of Thomas Nelson

“Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond,” by Billy Graham. Photo courtesy of Thomas Nelson

Anyway, it all comes back to the fact that I am thankful that once – long ago – on a warm summer night, I heard a master story teller who wove music and the WORD into a Light that brightened my path and is still lighting my way when I am tempted to step off the path. His new book is a good one, “Where I Am”.

“I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.” Billy Graham

[Google images]

SHE SPEAKS

“All of us are on a journey to a country we have never seen.”

It has been a busy morning. Read a couple of chapters of a new book, The Immortal Nicholas (love,love, love reading great Christmas books) Cleaned the hot tub. Packed things away a few more things for our move in January. Then I lifted an old journal out of the cabinet. A few pages of handwritten papers fell out on the bed. Papers put there for a day such as this.

I had dreamed about mom and dad a couple of days back and have been thinking img603of them off and on since then. Those memories tend to be my calm waters in this rolling seas of life. I sat down on the bed and picked up the pages. Several pages were on yellow, legal size, lined paper were autobiographical. This was pretty typical for mom. She filled up a lot of those legal pads in the years when her sight was deteriorating.

img142Today’s find were, mostly, recounting the highlights of her adult life. Two similar accounts, taking up 4 pages, front and back. However, there were a few differences that made the reading interesting. Needless to say, I was smiling as I skimmed through them. Another page was full of things that happened in 1994/95. I think it might have been her Christmas letter for the year. She always wrote those out in longhand to all her friends. No computer narrative for her. Another was a tribute she wrote for the Wachtel 50th year Memory Book.

But it was the sixth piece of paper that caught me and slowed my reading to a crawl. Written on white, lined paper – torn out of a spiral notebook – filled not with her beautiful cursive writing – but printed in all caps – arrows and editing marks throughout.

“We love thee, we adore thee, we magnify and laud thy perfect name, O LORD! In the dictionary: Invocation means appealing to your God for three things: help, inspiration and witness. WE NEED HELP!”

She didn’t label this one. There is no date on it. The caps, underlines and img141punctuation made me laugh out loud. I remember getting letters just like this when I was away on journeys of my own or in college. It was always when she was at her strongest and ready to pounce on the world when she wrote like this. It is her enduring testimony that she wrote for one reason or another – Loudonville Methodist Church – Eastern Star – some convention she attended or a trip she took where she shared her testimony.

A testimony that I watched her live every day of my life.

“We determine therefore that by faith a man is made righteous and not by the works of The Written Law.” Rm 3:28

img409Just like me, she had her struggles. She was in no way perfect any more than I am. She had loud, noisy fights with my father – told “dirty, racist” jokes to anyone she thought needed a laugh – loved wild parties that went on most of the night – beer, fuzzy navels and rum n’ cokes on a hot day or at night after a long day’s work. However, like Abraham, she went out of her way to find a way to be kind – like Martha – she may have been critical but always found a way to serve. Like Paul – she sought repentence in the quiet of the night before she slept.

“The BIBLE rings with song: In Genesis with Jubal with the harp and organ; Miriam shaking the timbrel; the trumpets heralding the solemn feasts. The choruses in Revelations are overwhelming in volume. Let us sing the humns of faith, joy and gladness with all the fevrvor God intended – My special song of witness has always been, “He Touched Me.”

She IS the voice in my head. She is the lullabye I hear before I sleep. Today – she is speaking loudly once again, and I am blessed beyond measure as I continue on my journey to a land I have never seen.

Commandment Series-Respect for Parents and Teachers

10-commandments

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Rev 22:1-5

I love the word picture that John paints in these verses.  I haven’t read Revelations for a while.  Truthfully? I’ve been avoiding it.  When I was in high school and college I was fascinated by Revelations and read it often.  I thought if I read the words often enough, I would eventually glean the wisdom it contained. But so many of the pictures that John was trying to describe in this book was beyond my imagination and knowledge at that point.  Needless to say over the course of the last 45 years, I’ve returned to it periodically.  Occasionally grasping a thought or image only to feel that most of the wisdom in this book was still beyond my ken.  However, lately…even now as the sun’s rays are finally slicing through the clouds that have covered our area for the past 3 days to warm my typing fingers…hints that it is time to return to a more in-depth study of this book.

I wish there was a Jewish Talmud written about the New Testament.  A rabbi who looked at Our Lord’s and His disciples’ words in much the same way as they ancient-rabbi-teachingspoke them.  That is one thing that I truly love about the Jewish religion.  The sages have never stopped debating – concentrating on the very basics of the written Hebrew language, each jot and tittle, as well as the overall context and content of the Torah – seeking to take new understanding from the WORD and Our Father who spoke through them.  In our society, I believe most of us tend to think that if we have read our devotions and forced ourselves to find time to read a few new chapters in the Bible, we’ve done enough our filial duty.  Can we ever understand anything about God in just a few minutes out of our “busy” day?

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Ex 20:12

In Jewish tradition, teachers are included in the fifth commandment.  Since most societal groups look at parents as the first teachers of a child, this inclusion teachermakes a lot of sense.  The extension of respecting teachers follows logically. Yet – as more and more parents are working full time (or several part time) jobs – teaching children has become a communal project.  Teachers, yes – babysitters are teachers – are entering the child’s sphere of existence at earlier and earlier stages of life.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, children are being taught by whoever is around them. Teachers are found in all shapes and sizes.  Yesterday, at our after school program, a young 13 year old was explaining the facts of life to some of our  much younger students.  I’m not sure some of  our first grade parents were ready to have that conversation last night around their supper table.  Hmmm….that is….if they sit around the table to eat supper and actually talk to each other.  sigh.

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB

Is it any wonder that I kids argue with their parents and teachers?  They have had many teachers.  They see their parents argue with their teachers.  They see parents argue with each other.  Teachers argue with each other.  By observation Family_Portraitalone, children learn that rules must be negotiable.  Children learn that one set of rules at home, may be different at the babysitters’ – the pre-school’s – the other biological parents’ or grandparents’ homes.  Nap time?  Negotiable.  Homework? Negotiable.  Cuss words?  Jacket worn to school?  Move to a new seat in the classroom?  No recess?  Fighting at school? TV? Computer? Phone?  Children are adaptable and learn pretty quickly where they can stretch the boundaries…any boundary…ALL boundaries.

Our “busy” and “denuclearized” society makes this commandment even more difficult.  Parents divorced.  Many step-parents and siblings. Many quasi-step-parents and sibs.  Grandparents – married into or quasi????  Attachments extended familyto family members?  As adults enter their own sphere of knowledge, it gets easier and easier to break those familial attachments.  The “Honoring” bird flies quickly away when not fed.  Instead, it is much easier to use our “new” family, our job, our extra curricula activities (sports, friends, downtime etc.) as an excuse.  After all, how much time does that grown child remember spending with their own parents while they were growing up – especially if there was a divorce or multiple divorces?  A few phone calls – every so often (weekly? monthly? occasionally?) – to the parental units and call it good.  That’s honoring, right?  Spend a holiday or two with them – maybe – if they live close enough and nothing else is planned.  That’s honoring, right?  Asking them to help out with a sick child or pick-up child.   That’s honoring…right?

I don’t know about you, but as I ponder the fifth commandment more deeply and think about all the messiness of our world, I wish this commandment was handed out to every family unit and read aloud each evening as prayers are said. I wish it was still posted in schools.  Perhaps……sadly……the fifth commandment really is  hard to follow.

BTW – the sun that broke through the clouds as I was typing the first paragraph?  Was completely swallowed up by the said clouds as soon as I started typing the second paragraph.  God winked so I guess I’m going to be spending some time reading Revelations today.  joy-comes-with-the-morning

*pictures Google images/Youtube