Tag Archives: WORD

2020 VISION: Reaching Fingers

The Jewish High Holy Days have ended for 2020. But as always, with the Father’s little winks buried within sight of eyes wide open.

Repent -Sealed -Humbled -Gifted.

The last day – a special day – a gift given by the Father to celebrate – to remember – and then – to begin again.

Seeking within His given WORD the wisdom buried within sight of eyes wide open. The end is never the end with Him.

Forgiveness. Grace. Reaching out. Again…Again…Again…

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen 1:1

Even in this 70th journey around the sun, I cannot just read these words. Instead, my spirit sings them – especially when I need a special prayer. Aaron Copland’s 1947 choral work called In the Beginning has never evaporated from my mind even – almost – 50 years later. It sings me to sleep in the depths of darkness. It wraps around me when I have no words to pray. It often just erupts when I am blessed beyond measure sitting on my patio swing. It echoes what I know that I know that I know.

Davening. Reciting. Praying. Singing. Listening. Loving.

All are tied together in this first verse of His WORD to us.

I AM. Always the same. Always creating. Always loving. Always listening. Always forgiving. Always praying for us. I AM.

He stretches His fingers as far as they can reach to touch us – every day – in our darkest sins – in our joyous celebrations. Is our love so weak that we can we NOT stretch our fingers just as much to the Father who created us.

When God winks at me – when I actually caught on to seeing them – I finally gained a little wisdom…and am still gaining wisdom. It is time to write a love letter back to Him.

Time to pray. Time to recite His words back to Him. Time to pray for our country. Time to pray for our leaders. Time to pray for each other. Time to love each other. Time to listen for His prayers for us. Time to love Him. Time to reach out to Him. Again…Again…Again…

Sistine Chapel – Michelangelo

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #3

Tonight, I had nothing. Went early this morning to wish a happy 12th birthday to youngest granddaughter and un-birthday to her brother. Nothing better than starting the day with multiple hugs and excitement.

After teaching a couple classes today and cataloging a few books, I made my way home. I cruised through all my devotionals. Watched one of my favorite Israeli Messianic pastors. Noticed when my choc lab girls meander back to their beds. But that was ok because kitty still rested on my lap till she spooked herself and ran from one side of the house to the other… a couple of times.

“Though an army encamps around me, my heart will not fear; though a war breaks out against me, I will keep my trust.” Ps 27:3

I finally decided that this is the kind of evening when faith needs to kick in. After all – He had told me to write every night for 14 days, so I needed to trust Him that He would supply what needed to be said. I opened the lap top and began to let my fingers do some internal listening. Not easy for an A type personality teacher who is used to controlling and directing things around her down to the minute. But tonight, as I look back at the day, I finally figured out that has been the point since I rolled out of bed – literally.

Keeping that trust – keeping it in Him. That, for me, is easier said than done on some days.

As usual – I rebelled during part of the day when I saw it dwindling to next to nothing of my plan. Familiar anger rose up. Tears not far behind. And then – I remembered…these are the 10 days of the year that Our Father declared to be given to repentance and introspection by His WORD in Leviticus.

“One thing I have asked of the LORD; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek Him in His temple.” Ps 27:4

I opened the fingers of my fist, and let my heart praise the One who knows me best. He was laughing – kinda like He is doing right now. He knows when I let go of me, I start to figure out what wisdom He has been trying to point me to – all day long.

Sometimes, I just don’t listen too well.

So there you go. As a teacher, I should know that He is trying to teach/reach me everyday with something new and wonderful as I grow in His Grace. It is never ending and miraculous WHEN I realize the lesson of the day because most days – I tend to be a little clueless and wrapped up in my own thoughts instead of HIS thoughts.

“Still I am certain to seethe goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD!” Ps 27:13-14

Blessed is the day when I trust and wait patiently for Him who created me.

“The Way Maker” by Maria Magdalena Oosthuizen

#theReturn#HeisWorthy#RestoringHope#PrayerMarch2020

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #6

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33

After I got home from the gym today and walked the choc girls, I was rummaging around trying to find a movie to watch. For whatever reason, I’ve walked away from watching a lot of movies on line. I think it is because the newer movies tend to push some kind of agenda. Needless to say, with all the agendas being pushed these days, I’m just over it.

Anyway – back to the rummaging through my – somewhat – organized DVD’s – I came across a movie I bought last summer. I hadn’t watched it – ever. I bought it, stuck it in the appropriate box and forgot about it. After all, last summer had already been one spent pondering too many things for my aching head/heart, and I wasn’t sure I was up to watching a movie called the “Overcomer” – even if it had a positive message.

So – into the box it went and completely out of my head.

“…everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. Who then overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 Jn 5:4-5

I’ve learned over many years that all things happen for a reason. Jobs I’ve held. People I’ve met. People I’ve lost. Places I lived. Experiences I thrived in and those I just survived. Nothing is ever wasted. As I watched this movie today, it reminded me of the importance of many things.

Seeking His Face.

Feeling His Presence.

Trusting His WORD.

Prayer.

Repentance.

Forgiveness.

Grace.

Whether it is friends, family, local, state or country, all these things come into play. That is what these 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are meant to do. Help us remember. Help us find the path that Our Father is trying to show us. Use the wisdom that He has already placed within us. Remember His promises that He is always just waiting outside the door. All we need to do is turn the handle and welcome Him inside our hearts so that we can be come the OVERCOMER that He knows we were designed to be.

#theReturn#HeisWorthy#RestoringHope#Sept26

2020 VISION: Who Will Go for Us?

Got your fingers out of your ears? Got your eyes open?

2020 seems to be the year that the whisper in the deepest part of the heart is swirling a little longer…a little stronger…a little more intensely…than it has since the late 60’s, early 70’s. I felt it then.
My stomach revolted.
My head throbbed.
My heart wept.
I pulled the pillow over my head and burrowed deep into my covers.
I prayed.
I rebelled.
I prayed in the midst of the rebellion – after all, I had a life I wanted to live, and what I heard in my soul wasn’t part of it.

I heard – I saw – I turned away.

“I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Is 6:8

Those early years of adulthood was when I discovered the wisdom and the power of Isaiah, a man who lived in a completely different world than I did, and yet – his words echoed more stridently than the protesters on the Quad. I would crawl out of my top bunk and curl up in the standard dorm room chair, reading his words by a light shining through the window from a nearby parking lot so that I wouldn’t wake the roommates.

“Who will go for Us?”

I heard the question.
I saw it in writing.
I closed His WORD.
I turned away.

50 years later, the call is reverberating all around me once again.

Perhaps it is in the hindsight of that 50 years that I see all of this through a different lens. I know my father and mother tried to explain to me several times what they felt during those unsettled years of civil unrest. Seeing my Father on his knees in prayer in the middle of the night said it best. I heard the words louder than ever that night as I crept back up the stairs and buried my head as deeply as I could.

“Who will go for Us?”

I’m still not sure that I don’t want to crawl into my bed once again. After all – ignoring the call is sooo much easier than answering that question. How many times have I sat in a classroom with my head down, hoping deep within me, that the teacher would not call my name – – – now or ever.

The stories in the Bible are full of people who pulled the covers over their head – ran in the other direction – sank their teeth into an apple – – – until – – – the heart of the Father whispered one last time, grace-to-rebellion, heart-to-heart, love-to-love:

“Who will go for Us?”

The thing I learned over the last 50 years is that I never waited to hear the words that came after His first whisper. I trembled. I hid. I covered myself. I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes. I bit the apple and missed the words that have made all the difference.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Is 41:10

The cloud pillar is moving forward. It is time to stand on His Rock. Pick up my Bible and take a step. Maybe a baby step, but a step. It is time to look up and reach out with open palm to those gathered in my sphere. It is time to pray His WORDS in my heart and then – speak the answer that has been in my heart for 50 years. Speak it aloud because the Teacher has looked in my direction and is waiting for my answer. The birth pangs are coming with more frequency and harder with intensity, and scary as it is – answer the question.

“Hineni.”

“Here am I. Send me.” Is 6:8

[google images]

VISION 2020: Renewing Covenants

I realized today as I wiped down the bike I had been riding in my gym, that I have not been spending time in my war room. When had that happened? When was the last time I’d read the Bible verses that the Father had given me since this chaotic year began? When was the last time, I touched the names written on my prayer list in that space? When had I forgotten the covenant?

It brought me up short. I finished wiping down the all the areas I had touched on the bike. Said, “Have a blessed day” to the other two seniors working out in that big room, but my mind was reeling with the soft nudge of a whisper. A whisper that spoke louder than the up-beat music that played in this portion of the gym set aside for those who wish to work out with other women.

I dropped the rag in the basket and headed to the pool area. No wonder I’ve been out of sorts. Letting my emotions rule instead of depending upon the One always knows me better than I know myself. I’m an idiot at times. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt – – – especially in the middle of a spiritual war – – – that I need to seek His presence before I do anything else.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5

The physical war on this 70th journey around the sun is easier to fight. I can see it, and as I age – I certainly can feel it in almost everything I do. It has been two months back at the gym and in the pool, but I know I’m still not back to where I was prior to this whole sheltering-in-home thingy. Riding the reclining bike for 20 minutes – 3.5 miles usually at a decent pace. Heart rate finally returning to its previous levels. Water play for the arthritic joints. Energy level on the upward trend.
Better.
Getting there –
but it really made me think about where I was spiritually and what ground I’ve lost as I drifted away from my war room. The evil one is way too subtle at times.
One day here.
One day there.
Pretty soon, a week, a month, a year drift by. I know this because it has happened all my life.

If I lost so much in just 2 and a half months physically, how much more have I lost spiritually?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in prayer, studied my devotions, read the WORD – – – but – – – I haven’t I haven’t spent time kneeling in my Father’s presence, listening, praising, thanking, covenanting as I should – especially during this strife-filled time. This time when havoc reigns in our world from plagues, dissonance and violence as the evil one struggles to keep a grip on this land.

When I came home, I sat down and began watching my church and the other ones I watch on-line, but the uneasiness remained. The nudge was becoming more than a gentle reminder. As I used my inversion board, clarity started to seep through. One of the quotes I have hanging in that small closet is: “Trusting GOD will not change WHAT you see, but will definitely change HOW you see.”

Inversion.

Sometimes I have to up-end things to make a room look better. I have to throw everything in the sink to clean the counters. I have to throw all the clothes in a pile to organize the closet. I have to throw the apple out of my hand before I take any more bites. Bad choices come way too easy for me. Harder it is to throw away the temptations that are easy on the eye and not as much work.

Perhaps, it is what our country is doing right now.
Inside out.
Upside down.
Topsy-turvey.
Sideways sliding.
Perhaps it is these types of shakings which will make the choices clearer for us.

I haven’t liked the past few months. Perhaps listening to the evil one’s subtle suggestion about my war room has been my own rebellious response. Hiding from the Father as my anger as Adam and Eve hid in the garden after letting my hand reach out for that apple dangled by the evil one who wants to keep me from His presence – keep me from the peace that passeth all understanding.

Separation.
Broken Covenant.

Covenants are holy promises between those who love each other. For the past year, I have missed my physical covenant made upon this plane, but I realized today that that it is the spiritual covenant with My Father that I can not live without. I went back to my war room today. I will go back to it again tonight. I will seek His presence once again. To touch the manna that hangs on the door and walls – to drink from the everlasting waters that sparkle as they wait to bring renewal to me.

Perhaps – renewing of the covenants will come at all levels as it came to me today. I found this verse today and will hang it tonight on the war room wall. It is another one of His promises. It is true for He is faithful in His covenants unlike I am. I am working on being just as faithful – just not there yet – but every day, I am getting better and better by His grace and love.

“I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”—       Isaiah 1:26  inspiration-akiane-kramarik [artwork by Akiane Kramarik/google images]

VISION 2020: Fisted vs Open

If you haven’t figured out by now to hit your knees and begin to pray for our country, you need to open your spiritual eyes and ears.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

This is not a just a physical war.
It is not about flags, statues or new names or even the destruction of landmarks. Those are only the outward manifestations of the heart.
It is about spiritual warfare. The inward manifestations that destroy the soul.
It is evilness versus righteousness.
It is birth pangs.
It is decision time that gives birth to choice.

Raise the fisted hand in rebellion on an earthly tower – – – or raise an open hand in His garden?

It started with my generation. Sorry. I screwed up. We screwed up. My father and mother both tried to tell me. Others also warned and were killed for their efforts. While the best of our generation were over seas fighting an enemy and getting spat upon when they came home, some of us sat in brick and mortar buildings and knew. Deep in our souls, we were sick to our stomachs and knew we were seeing the hazy face of evil.

Evil that was no longer hiding behind the curtain but only a thin veil.

We watched strong, wise, non-violent leaders murdered. We watched protests, and while we did not join them, we did not stand against them either.
It was the Age of Aquarius.
It was the Summer of Love.
It was the “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” generation.
Drop some acid. Head bangers’ psychedelic haze swirling round and round and round.
The Harrad Experiment.
The challenge to the rock of righteousness that had – even though flawed as all human endeavors are – protected our feet from the serpent’s bite.

Many Pied Pipers continually asking a simple question. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen 3:1b

And the beat went on.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor 10:4-5

We listened to the protest leaders in the 70’s at the end of that time of violence as they basically said they wouldn’t go away. They would go into our strongholds. They would demolish our rock of ages’s morality. They would whisper their question over and over and over until they wore us down. For they were sure we would reach for the apple they offered just as so many others before us.

They were right.

It was an age old story. Repeating because we do not learn from history very well – even though He gave a Book of Life to guide us. We still reach for that apple. What can I say? It is easier. Who wants to chose warring existence when we can chose a peaceful one instead?

But – – –

There are time when we are required to find our knees.
Repent that we ate the apple.
Pray to Our Father that loves us with such Grace and Mercy that He helps us stand.
Stand on our sacred honor.
Stand as we put on His armor.
Stand in prayer as He taught us to pray when He stood among us.
Stand in prayer with open hands raised to the Father.
Stand in prayer with open hands raised to the Pied Pipers who offered all those apples – just in case they need a hand to stand with us.
Stand with His cloud before us, among us, behind us as we learn from our mistakes and walk forward on the dry rock bed that He has provided for our feet.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ep 6:10-11

Humans are flawed beings. If we’re lucky we do some things that are great. Things that will be remembered by those who love us and by Our Father who is righteous in Light, Love, Mercy and Grace.

December 23, 1776
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Thomas Paine

We can not be summer soldiers or sunshine patriots anymore. It is time to stand as Thomas Paine and all the other Founding Fathers did.
Stand on our sacred honor.
Stand in righteousness.
Stand as we open our rebellious hands.

For who knows? Perhaps we were created for such a time as this. (Esther)ap 8 2020 e [personal image]

#theReturn #HeisWorthy

VISION 2020: Ouchie

Ugh – I wasn’t going to write tonight, but the nagging voice in my head won’t be quiet no matter how much I argue about being tired and having spent too much time already typing with a defective hand that is all His fault. Well…not really. It is my fault. When you are given a mandate for your gift, it really is not wise to go outside that mandate. That being said, GOD is good and reminds us when we fall down.

It just may be an ouchie reminder.

My mandate is that I am not to comment on worldly things – such as politics. I am to write about His joy – His peace – His love – His blessings. I am to teach as I have taught for the past – almost – 50 years:
Colorblind.
Truth based. (notice: I did not say fact based)
Light giving.
And sometimes – with a little humor/weeping thrown in for free.

Not easy for this very A type – teacher personality. We are used to controlling a classroom of 30+ kids – being an authority on whatever – offering opinions on everything that is thrown our way from those instigator kidlets trying to get us off topic. However, my mama and brother trained me well in opinionated thoughts.
I have opinions.
Strong opinions.

Sarcasm has always leapt to my mind before I even have a chance to think. It was the first classroom wisdom that I gained. Sarcasm is ineffectual as a tool to pass on facts/wisdom/anything. It alienates and decimates those who hear/see it. I outlawed it in the classroom long ago and I avoid it like the plague now. But it still leaps out in my mind at times when I read some of the memes and political stuff on social media.

“I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (v.6-8)

In the past few days, I have returned to this chapter often. The image of a garden – hmmm – perfect setting since the garden was the first place man spoke to GOD. Jesus praying. In a garden. GOD made man speaking to GOD the Father. Jesus, Yeshua, praying.

Praying for me.

I think I love this passage the most because He says the mandate that rings in my ears even when I sleep. “I have given them the words you gave me, and they have received them.”

The Word gives us WORDSHis WORDS that the FATHER gave Him to give to us. Words that created the tiniest part of an atom. Words that breathed into our nostrils the Breath of Life. Creative words that we carelessly throw out so that we might exhibit our own version of truth –

Today, I allowed my fingers to ignore those things that I know that I know and typed a response based on worldly wisdom instead of Truth. Bandwagons are not what I am supposed to ride right now. That might change – but for now – Noper!!! So I typed. Turned off the computer. Stomach aching. I went outside. And out of nowhere, a wasp landed on my left hand and stung me three times – from the wrist to the index finger joint.

I am left-handed. Hint immediately received.

One sting I could understand – if I could see a nest or some reason for him to be around. I looked at him and couldn’t figure out what was hurting and moving down my hand. When he was done, he flew to a near-by rosebud leaf and disappeared under it. My hand is now beginning to return to normal – kinda. It is still swollen but the tingling, itchy pain is receding. Best of all, I can almost see a knuckle.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.” (v.1)

I needed to be reminded that Yeshua is praying for me – for all of us – especially right now. He is crying with us. He is knocking at the door. He is calling us to our home altars. The WORD continues to give us the words, so we need to open our ears, our eyes, our soul – and then – open our mouths – or in the case of social media – our fingers in response.

“Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me.” (John 17:11-12a)

How great is that? He prays for our protection. He prays for our salvation so that we may see the Father, face-to-face. He prays today as He prayed 2000+ years ago. Truth of the WORD does not change but is everlasting to everlasting.

So my wisdom of the day – don’t get stung by a wasp. OUCHIE!! It hurts. Better yet, remember His Truth. It is often said: “Words matter”. Even so, we forget that on social media forums – and sometimes with our friends – and sometimes in our families.

If Jesus, Rabbi Yeshua, thought praying was so important that He chose to do it in the darkest night of His life, I know that praying is still the most important thing we can do in these dark times.

[artwork by Greg Olsen/personal image]

VISION 2020 – All that Night

 

“…and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night…” Ex 14:21

Earlier this week, I found this Bible verse in my devotions, and it has stayed in the background of my heart.

Perhaps because it has been a long emotional week for many reasons.

Perhaps because the nights have seemed long and dark and lonely.

Perhaps because the seas have been stormy all around the world and those fearful armies just keep coming.

Perhaps because this hugger misses being hugged.

“And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” Ex 14:19-20

Whatever the ‘why’ behind the story, it dawned (get it?) on me today that despite the raging sea in front, the thundering armies behind, the impossibility in the face of reality, the LORD of Angel Armies never, ever forgets His people when they drop their closed, raised fists, reach out with open hands to their neighbor, find their knees, and seek His face.

His eyes shine light into the deep darkness, His hand of grace forms the wall between irreconcilable differences, His loving breath whispering a new reality.

2020 Vision eyes open.

And while 2019 did not go down in my journal as a favorite year, and so far, 2020 ain’t much better…yet…

And yet… all that night…

As I look at the stormy seas – look at the surrounding armies – see the darkness crowding my vision, I see His light piercing through – shining darts that add focus to my eyes.
A Grand reciting a poem he wrote.
A song sung at a Friday Shabbat.
Bittersweet treasured memories of loved ones swirling close to my heart.
Preachers speaking Truth through the Spirit, based upon His WORD.

His Light continues to break open the darkness around me – perhaps – brighter than I have ever seen it – or maybe – it is just my 2020 Vision has kicked in enough to see the immense spectrum of color that radiates within His Light. Whatever it is, I look up from my knees and know that …all that night… He breaths and makes all things new for all of us –
in the past –
in the presence –
in the future.

It is His promise through the whole Bible – a promise to make a way – through the raging seas – through the darkness – away from the overwhelming army at our backs – to return to where He has always wanted us to be – in the Garden of His presence.

“Loving each other with GOD as our Father,
Who loves us as a mother loves a newborn child.”                                          Marty Goetz, “We Being Many” 43573299_2108898659128790_37438499774791680_n[google image]

LIGHTS OUT #2

“The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary…”

It has been one of those winters. Cold – dark – dreary – and – sigh upon sigh – rain, rain and more rain. As I pulled a candle out of the window tonight, I looked out into the darkness. There are only two candles left and on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day, I will pack that last Light of Advent away until late Fall of 2019.

How time flies.

“My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast…”

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring-like day. I dug in the soil. Got my hands dirty. Moved a couple big rocks and pulled a muscle (which – btw – still hurts – hence the whining). Laughed with my Grands as they tried to follow the birds fighting over their place at the feeders. Picked at the flower beds a little here – a little there. And tonight? Not a star in sight. Even the neighbor’s security lights were dimmed in the heaviness of heaven’s tears. And…I sighed again as I turned off the candle’s light.

Just then – as I was beginning to write – that memorable line popped into my head…”Into each life some rain must fall…”

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Rainy Day

I remember memorizing this poem in grade school. We memorized many poems back in the day. Have no idea why or what teachers required them; I just know we did it. Often the lines of those poems will pop up in my head. I never seem to remember the whole, but I remember in part. Luckily, we have search engines, and I don’t have to dig through a pile of books trying to find an obscure line in a poem that I might or might not have on my dusty shelves.

We also read Bible stories, memorized Bible verses, sang hymns/carols and prayed. These tend to be a little more in-focus, but it seems I can never – ever remember the book or the chapter or the number of those verses. (Is that whining again?)  I remember in part but never the whole.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.”~Ps 103:8

Not sure where this going.I started out with one idea in my head, and now, here I am walking in faith with my words. I’ll blame it on this amazing teacher/preacher, Jason Brown, former NFL player turned farmer, who spoke at our church today. I may have extinguished another candle in my home, but Mr. Brown’s sermon is still lighting up my soul with thoughts about faith and how we need to walk through this life with faith. I love it when the Holy Spirit moves me to think and re-think understandings of His WORD.

Better than candles in the window. Better than a man-made light on a rainy night. I have the Living Light of His WORD for this new Lenten season. I needed this reminder today. Come to think of it – I need it everyday. I needed it everyday while I was growing up. I needed it everyday when I was in open rebellion of His WORD. I need it everyday now. When the pain of an aging body gets me down; when I let that ever youthful rebellion surface; when the whining turns into a sarcastic pout, or when I just plain don’t walk in the confidence of faithfulness to His WORD.

“And Yeshua spoke again with them and he said: “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall find the Light of ife.”~Jn 8:12 (Aramaic translation)

Abba is “Behind the clouds…the sun still shining.” Waiting for us to look up. Waiting for us to get tired of the rain – of the darkness – and look behind the clouds where the Son is still shining. Shining bright enough for us to see the next step. Shining bright enough to dry our tears. Shining bright enough to shed Grace over our heavy hearts and grant us peace.

It is the season to reflect. A season of to wonder – to ponder. A season to choose Light over darkness once again. A season to “…go and sin no more.”

“Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”~Jn 8:10-11 Forgiven [Greg Olsen artwork]

LIGHTS OUT #1

“HE can turn the tides and calm the angry sea.
HE alone decides who writes a symphony.
HE lights every star that makes the darkness bright’
HE keeps watch all through each long and lonely night.”

The wonderful thing about having the house and time to myself is digging into some of my stacks of sheet music and sitting down at the piano. The fingers are not so limber these days. The mono-vision contacts sometimes cause a blurry second or two as I turn a page. The voice is not consistent – some days good – some days cracky – some days not there at all. And yet – once the fingers begin the familiar chords, the body relaxes and joy radiates from the inside out.

“HE still finds the time to hear a child’s first prayer;
Saint or sinner calls and always finds Him there
Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live,
HE’ll always say “I forgive”.

The other night, I stumbled across one of mom’s old songs. It was in Reader’s Digest Faith Songs, but it wasn’t the same as I remembered. The harmonizing power and sequences were missing from that digested form. So I got up and started digging into a stack of sheet music that I hadn’t pulled out in years. Songs my mother sang. Songs I played for her when she sang at different venues. Songs I played so often that I could see the cover page in my mind almost 60 years later.

“HE can touch a tree and turn the leaves to gold.
HE knows every lie that you and I have told.
Though it makes him sad to see the way we live,
HE’ll always say, “I forgive.”

This is also the time of year when I begin pulling the candles out of the windows and putting them away until next Halloween. The batteries have been slowly dying as if they have known all along that Lent is almost here. One candle a day until the windows are bare. A rainy week makes it even bleaker as night closes in, and the windows no longer flicker their meager light into a world that grows darker and darker – in more ways than one.

Darkness.
Bleakness.
Emptiness.

“HE can grant a wish,
Or make a dream come true.
HE can paint the clouds,
And turn the gray to blue.”

Rabbi Yeshua knew Darkness well. HE knew his children stumbled in darkness. HE knew they also trembled in darkness. But fear not – HE also remembered the beautiful world that HE had created. The world that was meant to be full of Light for the children His Father loved beyond compare. So HE prepared the world for this darkness. HE presented His lit candles to shine in eye-windows of His People’s world, and then offered them to all the people who wanted to light a candle in His name.

Light in the face of Darkness. 
Light that reflects on all it touches.
Light that shines even brighter with His Word.

“HE alone knows where
To find the rainbow’s end.
HE alone can see
What lies beyond the bend.”

Before HE touched the tree, He knew the end. HE had already looked around the bend as HE shined His Light even brighter.

I tried to remember that tonight as I removed the first candle from my windows and later as I sang this old song. It is still raining and not a star in sight. Darkness has gathered and hovers close as I walk the dogs one last time. My feet stumble a little.  My trembles curl my toes in my shoes. I feel His sadness within my own tonight. And yet – I fear not – even though HE knows every lie, every dark spot in my life, HE has already seen around the bend. His Grace lights my steps and I do no fear.

HE has already prepared us. 
HE has presented the Light.
He has put down the Darkness.
He has pour out His Light upon us.

HE can touch a tree
And turn the leaves to gold.
HE knows every lie
That you and I have told. 
Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live,
HE’ll always says, “I’ll forgive.”~Songwriters: Jack Richards / Richard Mullan

https://www.last.fm/music/The+Righteous+Brothers/_/He