Tag Archives: Revelations

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: Resurrection Sunday

“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.” Ex 12:22-23

I have not been writing in this time of solitude. Instead, I have been learning. Learning like all my students have been told to learn at home. After all, what is good for the student is good for the teacher as well. Sitting on my small front porch/deck, I see the signs everywhere. Spring is here.

Resurrection Sunday just around the corner.

The flowers are blooming with abundance in my small piece on Terra. The trees which were in bud last week are providing shade when I walk through the woods with my happy choc lab girls. Baby spinach is peeking up through the large lettuce plants, and tiny peas have started to sprout the roots that will lead to more food. Mulch is being hauled here and there, and my wheelbarrow doesn’t seem to mind as much as my back does.

With all of that said, the mind keeps turning. I find it interesting that in Israel, most of the United States and a good portion of the world, people are re-living Passover much in the way the first Israelites experienced it over 3000 years.

The eight plagues had come and gone. The ninth was outside the door – – the door that Jewish people had been commanded to shut and not leave until morning. They were sheltered at home. Shelter in their homes – alone – unsure of what might come – waiting for the first rays of the morning, and trusting the words of Moshe who spoke the words given by the GOD of Abraham, Jacob and Issac.

I wonder at the “Godwink” of timing as I sit outside and look up. Passover – Easter.
Jewish – Christian.
Holy celebrations to the same GOD or “Abba” as Yeshua referred to Him. The two religions linked together by the One who was both. And – in this year of Pandemic 2020 Vision – both religions sheltered at home during this same space in linear time.
A plague outside their doors.
Alone.
Unsure of the future.
Waiting for the first rays of the morning.
Trusting the words of Moshe and Yeshua Mashiach.

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Lk 21:29-33

Teachers often re-teach concepts. Parents may be seeing that they need to go over a concept more than once as they work with their kidlets in home schooling. History repeats for a reason.

In case you haven’t noticed – humans don’t always listen so well. Sometimes we may get that concept for awhile, but then we get lazy and let it drift away into that nether world of the “past”. The concept that was so clear yesterday becomes a little fuzzier over time. Hence – the all “nighters” pulled by many a collegiate crammer.

Is it any wonder that a Father – Who loves His children beyond anything we can imagine – would want to remind us to trust Him once again?

Personally, I am looking forward to being sheltered at home during this Pandemic 2020 Vision: Resurrection Sunday. No egg hunts. No bunny hiding baskets. No large family get-together. Instead, I plan on getting up and sitting on my porch where I will watch the first rays of the morning cross the horizon.

Resurrection ‘Sunday may be rainy and cold here in NC, and seeing the sun’s light is improbable. But, it is not the physical light I will be waiting for on this Resurrection Sunday because I have the Son’s Light in my heart and His holy manna and praise cup within me after tonight’s Seder. He is worthy.  And so – I wait with expectation and His songs circling in my head.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To Him who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb,
be praise and honor and glory and power
forever and ever!” …
“Amen,” Rev 5:12-14

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2020 VISION — PART II

My 2020 vision is already crystal clear. I am positively not going to make it to the bewitching hour of 12 A.M.

Mama Mick used to say – “No sense letting a holiday go to waste. Celebrate even if you are by yourself.” So there you go. My wise mama, who would always babysit for me but never go out with me on New Years Eve, shared her wisdom once again. And – thus – no matter where I was, what I was doing, I would find a way to call her as the ball began to drop.Back in the day, when I was singing on New Years Eve or involved elsewhere, this became a little complicated – especially since cell phones were a few decades in the future. But I can still hear her voice as she answered the phone, “Happy New Year, Brynie.”

No caller ID needed. She knew – I knew. A tradition that continued until she no longer remembered to stay awake to answer, and I cried. Still want to pick up the phone and call her tonight.

“Baby Face, you’ve got the cutest little baby face
There’s not another one could take your place,”

So – since I am already yawning, watching my favorite movie for New Years Eve, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, munching away on Mama Mick’s traditional shrimp, chips, cheese (brie instead of swiss) and some OH trail bologna, all I needed to do was add a little mead wine from a local meadery, and my 2020 celebration began a little early..

“Baby face,
My poor heart is jumpin you sure have started somethin’…”

Much is being made about the new decade – the roaring 20’s – which just kinda adds to the ambience of this New Years Eve celebration. I was raised on the music of the 20’s
“Baby Face”
“Ain’t Misbehavin'”
“Someone to Watch Over Me.”
“Rhapsody in Blue”
“Melancholy Baby”
“April Showers”
“Swanee”
“My Blue Heaven”
I have a feeling, there are a few other Loudonville “kids” who grew up watching their parents sing these songs out there, just like me.

The Roaring 20’s were just that. The Charleston. The new-fangled radio. Movies. Cars. WWI was officially over – the war to end all wars kicked it off with a roar. But a word of caution…the 20’s didn’t end that way.

“Therefore I live for today. Certain of finding at sunrise – Guidance and Strength for the way, Power for each moment of weakness, Hope for each moment of pain, Comfort for every sorrow, Sunshine and joy after rain!”~Anon.

We never know what the new walk around the sun will bring. It is often a mixture of opposites – of darkness and light. Last year, God gave me the Bible verse that set the tone for 2019.

“Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”– Rev 21:5

I had one idea of how that would work out. Our Father had am entirely different idea. Valley faith walks grow a whole lot faster than they do in the bright sunlight of a meadow – especially since I have this tendency to lay down, close my eyes and just enjoy the beautiful day around me while I take a little nap.

Sigh.

This year, I’ve been reading and re-reading about Hanukkah. Listening to podcasts, watching videos, then reading the Bible. After listening to one Rabbi speak on it tonight, I pulled out the Catholic Bible so I could read Maccabees. Did you know the only place Hanukkah is mentioned in the protestant Bible is in John 10? Jesus celebrates it. He is the only one mentioned celebrating it anywhere in the Bible. I am fascinated for way too many reasons to list here, but it is leading me on a new adventure, and I love these kind of adventures. While I haven’t found my verse of the year – yet – I know He will supply it in His own time.

In the meantime, I found this tonight, and it’s just too beautiful not to share on this last night of the decade/the last night of the year.There may be dark times ahead – there may be armies so vast that I am completely dumbfounded and overwhelmed – but I have read the end of His book. My eyes are on Him, so how can I not be optimistic about 2020?

I would say my 2020 vision is working better than I deserve.

“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 2 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. 3 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. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 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 

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30

3 is one of those prime numbers that people love to use as an example for life’s ups and downs.

“Whoops – two things have happened. Wonder when the third will occur?”

“Didn’t exchange 3 words with that dude.”

“It’s a 3 alarm fire.”

3 cheers – 3 R’s – 3 musketeers – 3 sheets to the wind…

Need I say more?

In Jewish tradition 3 – in essence – it the number that builds a bridge between two opposing values. 3 days between death and resurrection is probably a strong way to look at this in concrete terms. Hence, since 3 X 10 = 30, it is suggested that 30 is a strong number as well. 30 days in a month – 30 pieces of silver – “oh-dark-thirty” which is military speak for any hour before the dawn – “Don’t trust anyone over 30” which a lot of us baby boomers recognize as a memorable quote shouted from the rooftops of our wisdom – – – not to mention an the opposite – – – – Rabbi Yeshua began his ministry at age 30.

To many, 30 speaks of transition or reconciliation in time – in life – in growth. To many, it is the age when a person comes into their full strength – in physical, emotional, or spiritual maturity. “This power to begin transforming the world in earnest begins when we turn thirty. Up until that point we are in training.” ~Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

30 years. 30 months. 30 days. 30 hours. 30 seconds. 30 in ad finitum.

I’ve been walking a journey for 30 days now. It still feels like a transition. It doesn’t feel like strength or even reconciliation – – yet. But it has – at times – been a journey of 30 “long day’s journey into night” – – – and at other times – 30 “long day’s journey into LIGHT.”

When GOD gave me my Bible verse this year of Rev 21:5 “I am making everything new!” I laughed. It was the new year. I’m entering into the last year of my 6th decade – I had recently started a new portion of my career journey – I was enjoying meeting the new people in my life through that job – so the verse made a lot of sense. Over the next couple months, new ideas for a book that I’d put on the back burner many years ago started coming to me. I was enjoying singing and playing the piano again. There were a couple of visions of things during my quiet time – you know the time – when you are half asleep and yet awake enough to start praying – that time before you throw your feet to the floor or snuggle your head back into the pillow – visions that literally – make me want to sing for joy at the top of my lungs even now – many, many 30 days later.

And then there was 30 days ago. A long day’s journey into the darkest of nights – – – – – –  but – hard as it is for even me to believe – it has become a long day’s journey into LIGHT. One in the same. A transition. A reconciliation. A strengthening period of choices between two opposing worlds. Never an easy journey. But – then again – His journeys never are. BUT – and I sometimes choke on this as I am stepping out of the mud – His journeys are always, ALWAYS, worth it!

One GIANT step forward – two baby steps back.

There’s that three again.

3 steps.

3 choices.

Some go backwards, but when that one step goes forward it bridges the mud – the mess, the sloppy waste – and finds footing on a Rock that is higher. A Rock that is the cornerstone for where I want to be. A Rock that was made just for my foot, and a Hand that has carved my name into His nail, scarred palm.

30 is a good number, and as I stand on the bridge tonight looking back and looking forward, I begin to yawn – and smile as I contemplate a new step. (There’s those two opposing values again waiting for my step.) There are still many 30‘s ahead of me just as there are many, many 30‘s behind me. There are still many muddy traps waiting for my footfall, many bridges being built so that I can cross safely, and oh, so many dreams to achieve. For when Our Father gave me that verse this year, He planted so many new visions in my heart that I can’t wait to see what lies beyond this next step even if I cry as I take that step forward.

Transition.
Reconciliation.
Strength.

Seems right tonight. “For behold, I make all things new!”~Rev 21:5

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”~Jer 29:11 

– 30 – 
(as we used to end our newspaper stories)

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DUSTY ENDINGS

I have a really hard time with the ending of a great book. A book full of the dust of someone’s imagination that became a living, breathing creation. A book that kept me reading way too long into the night. A book that woke me up just to read one more chapter before school. A book that molded characters so well that I couldn’t wait to see what happened in their lives or what wisdom they had to share with me. A book whose ending made me want to cry, because I would now watch those same characters that I had come to love, ride off in the sunset far away from me.

“Bye bye love.
Bye bye happiness; hello loneliness.
I think I’m-a gonna cry-y”

Movies – not so much. The time I invest in a movie or TV show is minimal, and half the time – I’m only partially paying attention. Even as a kid, I would read books rather than watch the TV show that was right in front of me. The smell of the paper. The dusty covers. The characters I loved. The sad closing of the covers when it ended.

Either way…endings – are – – well – – – endings – – – – – in life as well as books. The memory of the characters remain, and if it was a really special book, where I learned a lot from them, the strong emotion I attached to them will remain long after I carefully close the cover and the dust settles.  I will see their faces in my mind.  I will hold the gifts they brought me close.  And – at times – I will wish the book was still in my hands.

“Dust doesn’t’ have to signify the end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.”~Lysa Terkeurst.

Even if endings are not my favorite thing, there are good things about closing the cover of a book that final time. Such as, I get to look for a new book to read. Yea. Double yea!Triple yea!! After all, half of the fun of finding a new book is the “seeking” journey. I get to meet new characters. Dream with them. Learn from them. Love them.

Endings – even when they have broken into tiny, tiny pieces of dust that you would think can never be anything meaningful again – always bring new beginnings. Add a little water and you get clay. Add a very talented artisan who knows how to work out the impurities by whittling a little here, a little there, pounding it against a hard surface over and over, molding it, shaping it until He is satisfied with His new creation. Add a puff of air and the ending that was – becomes a new beginning that is. After all…

“In the beginning…The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”~Gen 2:7

Best of all, at the end of my favorite book in the world, is the ending that keeps resonating within me no matter how many times I have carefully closed its cover. Seven words. One sentence.  One promise that I cling to when I feel as if I have crumbled into a dusty pile in the middle of my path. One powerful promise that He sings in my heart over and over and over. A promise that He gathers all those tiny shards from the dust of an ending into his nail scarred hands and shouts over and over to those who listen:

“Behold, I am making all things new.”~Rev 21:5

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MAYFLOWERS

The first Mayflower to appear today was arriving at school and finding the gym full of kids, parents and “Feed the Hungry” ministry leaders. Organized chaos might be too mild of a term. Three schools working together to compile thousands of meals. Kids learning skills they don’t usually learn in school. Parents working side-by-side with teachers and their kids. 
Laughter. 
Sharing. 
Screaming (whenever a new box was completed).

Its joyous aroma permeated every inch of the school today – not to mention the flowers sitting on my desk from a wonderful principal in honor of “Teacher’s Week”

“Thou art good, and doest good.”~Ps119:68

His flowers usually come in bouquets, and – sure enough – the second bloom awaited me at home. All my gardens are starting into their second year of growth and have overdone themselves in their beauty and aromas. Last year’s planting of wisteria is already starting to cover the top of the portico and surprised me with blooms. I really didn’t expect them for a couple more years – especially since they were fresh cuttings last summer. Then there are Mama Mick’s pink hedge roses reaching for the sky with their blooms. Daddy Mike’s red rose that burst into full array of color while I was gone today.

I took a deep breath, sat on my swing and gave thanks.

“The upright shall dwell in Your presence.”~Ps 140:13

I almost missed the next flower. When my NYC daughter called, I was outside sitting on the swing, brushing the dogs and having silly kitty try to eat some kind of critter under my feet. (I tried to save it, but not sure I succeeded). After coming in and checking my phone, I smiled and breathed in another sweet aroma of His blessing in my life. 
Long conversation. 
A few tears (as always). 
Laughter. (as always) 
Joy. (as always).

This time when I went back outside, I hauled four loads of mulch. Laughed as the dogs kept grabbing the bigger sticks out of the pile. Then I looked up and saw the UPS driver pulling into my driveway.

“You are worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honor and power.”~Rev 4:11

The final bloom of the day for my Mayflower bouquet had arrived. It was like opening one of those Christmas/birthday presents that never seemed to end. Wrapped in cardboard, paper, bubblewrap, plastic, I carefully, pulled and cut through each level hoping I wouldn’t damage whatever was hidden from sight.

It was indeed a precious flower. A reassurance of a Father who sees and hears when we call on Him with our deepest faith, tears, love and fears. A piece of art emerged. Art created by daughter-of-another-mother. A daughter of my heart who made me cry tonight – once again.

GOD is good. All the time.

The art now hangs in my bedroom where I can see it – the last thing at night as I read my last Bible verse, and the first thing in the morning as I say my first “Baruch Hashem, Adonai”. Our Father’s bouquets are always the best. Full of bittersweet aromas and beauty sometimes created by the hands of the people I love.

Seasons of testing are never fun. They are the times we hate to think about let alone live them out on this temporal world. Yet, through it all – GOD is good. All the time. And – His Mayflower bouquets are beyond compare.

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting…” Ps 103:17

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CHRISTMAS PLANS (1 Day and Counting)

“Christmas is that moment when GOD in His unconditional love stepped out of Heaven to come to Earth so that one day we might step out of Earth and into Heaven for all eternity.” ~ Rev Charles Stanley.

This quote may not be exactly what Rev. Stanley said this morning, but I think it is close enough. As I was working on the infamous “mocking stocking” and being “fed” my bread for the day, I had to totally stop what I was doing and do some fast writing. I had tried to just listen, but that inner nudge kept knocking me on the head – over and over. So I stopped, picked up a pencil, and began to write some notes.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of GOD…”~1 Peter 5:6

It is hard when chaos is swirling, plans are laid out and time is short for me to surrender to that inner (sometimes painful) nudge. The good thing about being an elder in this life, I’ve learned not ignore those nudges – well – – – mostly – – – at least – – – I think.

Tonight,, I still managed to get everything on my list done. Go, me! Better yet – I found time to sing along with the Christmas carols on TV, write a few devotional notes, and feel the Holy Spirit quicken the heart that had not been focused on Him into some attentive, meditative prayer. Sure enough, when I returned to my own to-do list, the stomach didn’t hurt with anxiety. The fingers worked easier with the tiny stitches. A new picture – a better picture – formed in my little creative endeavor. Best of all, all the stockings – even the mocking stocking – are finished. Well – mostly – a few tiny details tomorrow, and that mocking stocking will be hung by the chimney with care.

Glorious impossibles happen in humble obedience.

Tomorrow night, I will watch Amahl and the Night Visitors (my all time favorite Christmas movie) and will let that bittersweet memory Christmas memory swirl over me. 

🎄Sitting on the floor as we watched Amahl.
🎄A very small TV screen.
🎄Plastic horses scattered around me.
🎄Parents sitting on the couch or in their chairs.
🎄A huge Christmas tree with bubble lights.
🎄An angel at the top with blond hair.

“Amahl, Amahl…”

Tomorrow, I will listen to the laughter of my leaves of three all gathered under one roof again and think of my oldest son far off enjoying a wonderful vacation with his family by a warm ocean. Breaking bread, singing carols, making a few crafts, listening to the jibber-jabber of the Grands. waiting for the sound of Santa’s bells in the distance which will tell me when it is time to go home and wait for the Glorious impossible.

Reading Luke Chapter 2.
Watching Midnight Mass from the Vatican.
Standing outside for as I say my Christmas prayers.
Waiting and watching and listening for when He returns 
Another Glorious Impossible.

“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”~Rev 4:8b   

CHRISTMAS MOCKING STOCKING (2 Days and Counting)

Where did this holyday season go? Wasn’t it just Halloween? Seems like just yesterday when I was pulling out the Christmas stockings with a big ol’ smile, thinking I really was getting a head start this year.

So much for that.

I did get Grandson’s stocking done a couple weeks ago – well – mostly. I have a few more things that need a few finishing touches. Nothing big, so I’m good with that. HOWEVER – I set aside this day to work on the Granddaughter’s stocking. Nothing like waiting to the last minute, right? Let me remind you (kicking myself in the rear as I do so), that procrastination is not a virtue because today has been one interruption after another.

Good interruptions. Fun conversations and laughter. Dragging a few pine branches from fallen trees to add a few more decorations to the home. Cooking down beef bones to make beef and noodles.

BUT – nothing that has anything to do with getting the Grands’ stockings completely done. – Not to mention – they wanted me to add something to their mom and dad’s stockings as well.

THIS IS NOT GOOD.

It probably has something to do with the full moon or the asteroids flying overhead or the winter solstice, right? I bet you didn’t know that Christmas stockings can mock lowly humans, did you?!? Well they can. It is right here – sitting on the coffee table, staring at me, and laughing hilariously as it states unequivocally that Christmas is only two days away.

LIKE I DON’T KNOW THAT!

“Waken up and strengthen what remains.”~Rev 3:2

I found this verse this morning during devotions. Like usual, I never know why something inside of me prompts me to write down a verse, but I have found that I’m always very sorry if I don’t write it down. Tonight, as I listen to the mocking stocking, my eyes fell on this verse and the verse encircles my heart with a hug.

MOCKING STOCKINGS have no power over me tonight.

Today – with all its interruptions – was truly blessed. I got to share time and food with neighbors. While cutting up fallen branches from our roadway, I found the tops of two small pines that now make our first “real” Christmas tree since 2009. Then – of course – I had to look for something we had from ten years ago to decorate it (don’t laugh). The old sled our kidlets used to ride down our monster driveway in OH, has a bit of greenery as it stands in the corner of our deck. I found a piece of wood that denotes our new spot of the world which was made by a new friend. And tonight, as I eat a piece of fruit from a gift basket that one of my “golden” friends sent me, I felt the Spirit take hold and those pesky tears formed behind the eyelids once again.

Praising My Father, watching bubble lights, and pondering all the treasure chest memories those bubbles and few decorations hold that are attached to this holyday, I am indeed blessed much more than I deserve. The mocking stocking is silent now and as soon as I finish this rambling thought, I will get back to adding a few more stitches.

One more important thing – in fact, the only important thing of this season, is finding that babe wrapped in swaddling bands and lying in the manger; or seeing the star giving out great light for all to see; or perhaps – hearing a great army of angels singing for all to hear:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”~Lk 2:10 

CHRISTMAS: GLORIOUS IMPOSSIBLE (9 Days and Counting)

“Possible things are easy to believe. The Glorious Impossibles are what bring joy to our hearts, hope to our lives, songs to our lips.” ~Madeleine L’Engle

After a busy day of putzing here – canoodling there – and just getting a little bit done on each thing on my list, it is nice to just sit – turn off the big lights and sit in the beauty of the Christmas lights. letting the quiet of the night surround me.

We haven’t had a “tree” since our home burned in 2009. It was in September, so our house was still under construction that Christmas. I decorated the basement with a few lights, a tiny fake tree, some garland around the bookcases and windows, and “…it was good”.

Since then, we’ve just fallen into a new tradition. A couple of small “fake” trees (we’re talking 2 feet and under), garland around the windows, a few of nativities, some lighted villages, and the setting for Christmas is complete.

I do miss the smell of pine branches. I miss the brush of the needles through my fingers (since I was little, I’ve always loved running my fingers through the long needles of a white or scotch pine). Most of all, I miss the excitement that getting a “real” tree always seemed to bring with it.

And yet –

The period of Advent always brings that excitement – “real” tree or “fake” tree. Doesn’t matter. Suddenly, the impossibilities of what will come on Christmas Eve still grow in my heart with each day. The joy of watching my loved ones open presents still makes my heart smile. Singing the Christmas songs that I sang as a child and as an adult just curves my lips into this incredibly happy smile – even when the voice cracks or disappears entirely. Best of all, as I gaze at the baby in the manger, hope blooms wildly in my heart.

“Great and marvelous are your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your righteous deeds have been revealed.”~Rev 15:3-4

His Advent promises are just as true today as they were to Mary and Joseph. For centuries before he came the first time, people debated the prophecies, rolled their eyes, and turned their backs on them. Yet – Mary and Joseph – recognized truth of angels and prophecies in their hearts as “glorious impossible” coming true – not in to a rich family or a grand house surrounded by family – but……in a city far from home – – in a stable – – – with animals – – – -and the dust of the earth blown in their nostrils by the breath of a loving Abba.

A baby in the manger reminds us to continue to believe in those “glorious impossible” because a promise is a promise and a prophecy is truth – even if it doesn’t happen the way we think it might. The truth is – as Advent is here again and as I wait, I get that tingly excitement of hope building up inside of me, and I am jumping up and down, closing my eyes and whispering to My Father that “glorious impossible”:

“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”~Rev 22:20b       

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BREADCRUMBS: Lessons

My itchy ankle wouldn’t let me sleep last night. I think it is poison ivy that one of my lovely critters decided to share with me when she cuddled between my feet and rubbed her head against them. I figured going to church was not happening since anything touching it would result in lots of fidgeting and squirming.

I could handle this. A day of rest. A day of rest at home.

Earlier today, I was half listening to a newscast, half listening to a loud snuffling puppy (who is the above said cuddler), half listening to mumbling sounds coming out of the kitchen, and half reading an on-line devotional. Obviously – that meant I was only retaining about one fourth of any of it- – -if I was lucky. Quite a large amount of something was getting lost in the boggle of my synapses.

The mumbler was cooking breakfast and pointed out that the porch needed to be cleaned off so we could paint before the rain arrived. Upon looking out the window and seeing very dark clouds above our neighbors’ roof lines, I decided I should get that done. Turned off TV. Comforted snuffling puppy. Moved one half of million things off the part of the porch to be stain/painted and find new homes for the other half million things.

So much for a day of rest – – – scratching my ankle every step of the way – – – I found lessons waiting instead.

“Blessed is he that mourn for he shall be comforted.”~Matt 5:4

A couple hours later, that Beatitude is about as much as I remembered from today’s early morning devotional, but it set the stage. GOD is good that way. Breakfast completed. Kitchen cleaned. Hubby busy stain/painting porch floor; I squirreled back in my chair and turned on the TV to listen to our church service. Today’s service was a celebration service, but as always, God was winking as He stringing the pearls of lessons in front of me today.

Lesson One: It is easy to mourn in this world. A lot of sad things happen to us that makes us sad, and this beatitude reminds us that it is such a blessing to know that we will be comforted in our sadness. At least – that is the way I mostly looked at it. But if this is an attitude we should have in Christ, why are we supposed to mourn? The devotional looked at it in a broader sense. What if we mourn in the way Jesus mourned for the world around him? Mourned the way He knows the Father mourns for all of us – all of His creation? If we mourn for someone, then we have the ability to offer comfort to them…to pray for them…to put our arms around them in prayer – if not in actual physicality.

Mourn for others.

“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

Lesson Two: Baby steps are so important. Today’s church was dedicated to the church’s missions work in prison ministries and addiction ministries. So many testimonies. So many who were “mourned over” and comforted. A men’s choir that was more off key than on, and yet, was more beautiful than any choir I have ever heard. Men who had chosen to open the door when they heard a knock. One man described His voice asking one question? “Have you fallen enough yet?” He replied, “You mean I can fall further?” He said it didn’t take him very long to open the door wide and ask Him inside.

Invite Jesus in. He’s still knocking.

“For David served the will of God in his generation and he fell asleep and was added to his fathers ..”~Act 13:36a.

Lesson Three: As I was reading Rick Warren’s tribute to Rev. Billy Graham, I started to see a message repeated. It ended up coming at me from three different directions (our church offered the visual version and Dr. David Jeremiah cited the same verse today as well), and whenever that happens – I know God is winking as broadly as He can for me to notice.

These three pastors were preaching virtually the same sermon. I think Pastor Warren simplified it the best by defining it as his own life verse which, of course, got me thinking some more. The more I thought, the more I could see the value of looking at my life through this verse as well: “…serving God’s purpose (that what is timeless) in your generation,(in a timely way)”.

Inviting Jesus into my life. Mourning for those around me. Living a life through Jesus’s eyes with God’s reflection [purpose] in mine.

Lessons are a goal. I will probably fail the test more than I pass it before I get to look into My Father’s face through the Grace of Christ. Even so, I know He loves my heart – just like He loved David’s heart. One lesson at a time.

Thanks be to Father God that hears our prayers, mourns with us, comforts us, and dreams our dreams with us to His glory. Baruch Hashem Adonai. Hear O Israel the LORD our GOD is one. You shall love the L-rd your G‑d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. The second is liken unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself. In the name of His precious son, Yeshua, we pray. 

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BREADCRUMBS I

“Jesus wept.”~Jn 10:35

It is the shortest verse in the Bible and yet…it catches my breath every time I read it.

God wept.

I’ve been thinking of the story of Lazarus all week. It seems Our Father does this to me often. He plops breadcrumbs down in front of my feet – like I’m supposed to know what to do with them.

Eat them? Follow them?

Obviously, I don’t handle His hints very well. Sometimes, I crush them – mostly by accident…..I think – with the heel of my boots. Sometimes, I stoop down to study them where they are lying, wondering if I really want to deal with the mess of breadcrumbs in my pocket – you know – they crumble, right? Sometimes, I pick them up – popping them in my mouth – – duh, I’m hungry and the five second rule works for me. And sometimes – I pick them up and turn them carefully in my hands and wonder why they sparkle in the sun? Then I wonder just what in the world am I supposed to do with a sparkly breadcrumb?

It has been one of those weeks. The breadcrumbs have been plentiful – way more than I can handle – and I’ve been befuddled on what to do with all of them. My path littered with crumbs I’ve inadvertently crushed. My belly full of broken challa that feeds my soul. My pockets, a crumbly mess of wisdom that I wish I understood just a little more. My hands full of somewhat intact crumbs that sparkle and then I look up. The darkness thins, and He shows me why they sparkle. They are covered with tears.

As I’ve been reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg which led me at some point to the story of Lazarus. As if to drive the point home, I stumbled over to a podcast by a Messianic Rabbi on John Chapter 11. Till finally last night, there was a transforming catalyst of the breadcrumbs and that sent me to the back door slider in our home. A sunset. A ray of light reflecting off my tears. He always prepares me, I just am not so smart at realizing it until I look closely at those breadcrumbs that I hold tenderly in my hand.

Rabbi Yeshua was close to His followers and even closer to His disciples. He was their teacher for as long as He was given. His Father gave him a list, and He gathered them by calling their name or telling a story or by just a look over a crowd. He broke bread with them. He taught them with love. He patiently explained this new knowledge in different ways, over and over and over. He struggled when they struggled with their faith. He wept when they wept for great was His compassion – – – great was His love.

In our society, students don’t stay as long with their teachers as they did in Jesus’ time. However, like the rabbis of old, teachers today still share tiny bits of their lives, knowledge – and hopefully – wisdom with those given to their charge by the Father through a list typed out by the school secretary in some office. Before they know it though, the students are walking out the door and onto their own paths; their teachers sniffle a little as they wave good-bye.

As teachers, we don’t talk about it much. We act like it is just a job. Actually, I don’t think we understand the process as much as we think we do. We just know – that somehow – we grew attached. We gathered them at the beginning of the year. We broke bread with them. We laughed with them. Struggled with them in their struggles. We sweated in the heat of the summer that didn’t know when to quit. We froze in the depth of winters when old boilers couldn’t keep up with the below-freezing cold. We wept when the ugliness of life jumped out of the bushes and unto the path that we are walking together.

Overdoses.

Vehicle crashes.

Storms that break tree limbs.

Illnesses.

A national tragedy – a local tragedy – a familial tragedy.

The connection between teachers and students has been there since the beginning of time and will continue in the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6). It has been modeled for us throughout the entire WORD. When Our Father gathered His people to Him. When He sat on Mount Sinai with Moses and the Elders to break bread (Ex 24:9-10). When He carved His law upon the tablets and told Moses what to write in the Torah (Ex 19-24). He struggles with His people when they struggle. He weeps with holy tears as His people weep (Jer 14:7).

Teachers – Students – breadcrumbs that sparkle with tears in every season of life. God is good and greatly to be praised. Amen and amen.

 

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