Tag Archives: Yeshua Mashiach

2020 VISION: War Room Wisdom

Do you ever feel like GOD just might be Gibbs slapping you?

It has been a couple wonderful days of Gibbs’ slaps that have just left me smiling. First, I got myself back into the my War Room. It is not enough for me to read devotions – online or book form. It is not enough for me to stand at my home altar as I pray for people on my prayer list or pray for our country. It is not enough for me to sit on my swing and sing old hymns or praise songs as I meditate on the wonder of all my blessings. If I don’t spend time just soaking in His presence first thing in the morning, I just feel a little – nope, that’s not right – I feel A LOT – lonely and a little off-center.

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.” James 5:1-6

After spending time in the War Room, walking the lab girls, meandering around the garden, I came in and started to read my devotions. But the nudge to look further wouldn’t go away. So I walked back to my bedroom and got my favorite Bible. The one I sleep with – the one that is bent and a little broken even though it is only 11 years old. Lo and behold, it opened up to James.

I wasn’t really surprised. When the Father wants me to see something, He usually Gibbs’ slaps me a couple of times with the same thing. First, one of my former students has been doing a short video series on 8 keys of wisdom that are found in the book of James. Second, one of my devotions also referred to James. So to have my Bible just fall open to James made me, literally, laugh out loud.

The first verse that caught my attention was: “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.” v.7a

I don’t know about you, but during these days of division and angry dissonance that caught my attention pretty quickly. And – those who know me, can probably see me laughing as I looked up and shout out loud, “Seriously? You start with that?”

Gibbs’ slaps from the Father are just that – attention getting and a sharp reminder all in One loving palm.

“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” v.7b-9

So often, I find myself strictly guarding my tongue. Words come easy to me- sometimes too easy. The rhythms and patterns of thoughts mixing in my mind before I even realize their shaping into a thought. I learned early in my life that words can be used to hurt or to help. However, I didn’t learn it easily. I tripped over my tongue many, many times, and unfortunately, watched others trip over my words even more. Wisdom came slowly and oft, at the expense of others.

As I read these verses today, I thought about how easy it is – in these days of instant communication – to “grumble against one another…” We watch. We shake our heads – one way or another. We judge. The log in our eyes grow larger and larger.
Such a short book in the Bible, and yet, James packed a lot of wisdom into 5 small chapters.

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”    v. 10-11

It is easy to lose sight of His Love, Light, Peace, Grace and Hope during these times of uncertainty and fear. We have a tendency – at least I do have a tendency – to lash out with those pesky words that we have learned to use so well – instead of leaning back, taking a deep breath and seeking His War Room Wisdom first.

James reminds us to look at Job. How did Job act as his family died? As his friends questioned him and his faith? As he lost everything that he had worked for and acquired?

We are living in the times of birth pangs – and for me – I find it fairly easy to identify with Job in more ways than I ever thought I would. It is my War Room where I lay it down in My Father’s presence and smile despite it all. His presence is the shield, the sword, the helmet, the belt, the shoes that I need to remember why the furnace is so hot, and the wisdom that will get me through it all.

Time is growing short. Birth pangs are hard. But – the miracle is coming. We only need to humble ourselves. Open the door to seek the War Room’s Wisdom. Pray as we have never prayed before for Yeshua Mashiach’s church – our country – our leaders – our family – our friends – even those we disagree with – our enemies – our world.

As I watched one of my favorite singers tonight, he and his wife reminded me of this song. So tonight, I am still, I continue to seek His face, and as I get ready to close my eyes, I am resting on His promises. So that tomorrow – I will try harder to shine His Love, Light, Grace and Peace each and every step of the way on this bumpy road.

We’ve got this – and best yet – Our Father’s got all of us. War Room Wisdom can’t be beat – it can only shine a Light in the darkness.

“As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me” – Shine, Jesus, Shine 

[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

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]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: What Is Truth?

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.” Jn 18:38

I haven’t written for a while. Well – that’s not entirely true. I’ve been writing. Just not writing for FB and blogging friends. This time of isolation really has been a time of introspection and thoughtful contemplation – both personally and collectively. It is as if Yahweh has “showed up and showed off”, as Mama or Dada used to say.

I’ve re-visited some of my favorite authors (the ones that I couldn’t bare to part with when I pared my OH library down to six crammed-to-the-brim shelves) and poets. I’ve written some new stuff, but mostly, re-visited some old writings that needed some serious tooling and up-dating.

Mostly though, I’ve spent a lot of hours in the WORD – in prayer – in breathing in: YAH and breathing out: WEH. Sitting in the sun while throwing the ball for the lab girls to fight over. Walking in the woods and watching the way the early morning light filters through the trees. Moving a load of mulch to help some plants that just weren’t happy where they were as I watch small critters crawl out of my way. Wondering, What is truth?”

In the age of deep fakes, scientists stating and re-stating facts and others stating and re-stating similar facts as they see it. It is hard to know whom to believe – or what to believe. For me, it always comes back to one thing – – – the Breath of Yahweh.

The other day, someone wondered why I used the word Yeshua instead of Jesus. I have been pondering that ever since. I wanted to say because it is natural and right somewhere inside of me when I do so. That lead me down another rabbit hole. Why do I refer to God as anything other than Yahweh?

Yes, GOD is our Abba Father, He is God, but He said His name was YHWH – Yahweh. “I AM that I AM”. I like to be called by my name – even though I have been called Teacher, Wife, Mother, Sister, Brynie. I am all those things, but mostly, I am as my parents named me – Bryn. And, while I value all those other names, I love hearing my name whispered in the mouths and prayers of others.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”Prov 9:10

Facts are dubious in today’s world. Scientist vs scientist. Historian vs historian. Politician vs politician. I have even heard mathematicians finding issue with each other. The chaos of their words slam my ears, and my brain is inundated with their discordant noise. Facts and knowledge are always in flux. Easily twisted towards a bias or by new revelations of observable nature.

As I have listened, read and prayed in this time of isolation, I continue to come back to the One source that has never broken a covenant with me – even though I have broken ones with Him.
The One who never ignored my copious tears. The One who held me when my parents died. The One who cried with me in the middle of my sinful choices. The One who continues to set my feet upon the rock higher than. The One who lights my darkness and gives me grace.

YAHWEH: I AM that causes.
YESHUA: I AM that saves.
YHWH RUACH: I AM that breathes.

“What is Truth?”

Pilot’s words have echoed in my head over and over the past few weeks. Pilot turned away after he asked this question. He washed his hands of it – just like many of us do in similar situations. He, too, lived in a world full of contradictions and/or opinions. Facts twisted one way and then twisted another. Each faction strongly holding their own counsel when the answer stood in front of all of them and they saw it – or heard it – not.

“For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.”– Jn 18:37

I have no answer to which side holds the wisdom of all the controversies are swirling around us right now. But – I do know for certain WHO holds that wisdom and will give it freely to all who want it. Just like Solomon, all we have to do is ask. I also know that when I choose a course of action and feel the “Peace that passeth all understanding” as I walk forward – – – I know that the the Trinity of Truth is lighting up whatever darkness I may encounter in front of me. There is only one Truth, and it set me free to listen for His voice – His breath – His cause.

As all these cliff edges threaten to give way under our collective feet, I can’t think of a better time for a National Day of Prayer to happen. Tomorrow will be a time of fasting and prayer for me as I strain to listen to His whisper and seek His face in this stormy time of life. Our country has found its knees in time of crisis before; I think we need to find them again.

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:12b-14 

 [google images/KevinCardin art images]

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

 [personal/google image]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Where are you on the Pandemic Tree of Life – Part II.

Like most teachers – if I give out an assignment – I should also do the work to set the example (gotta love Vygotsky). So here is my Tree of Pandemic Life Essay, a treasure chest memory of this time for the future generations. Notice – I changed the words in various places – call it artistic license.

Pandemic –

A word that stopped the world mid-orbit.
A word that we confidently touted as a historical concept.
A word that applied to 3rd world countries – certainly not this country.
A word on the peripheral vision of life – not something in my direct line of vision.

A word of eight letters – the eternal number.
A word.

Yet – here it is on my Tree of Life. I lived through this on a major scale as a baby, toddler, preschooler. Polio kept me out of the water during those early hot summers, but other than that, it didn’t touch me. However, it forged an indelible memory of standing in a line of friends and family on the small steps leading into the cafeteria of my 1955 elementary school. Mom and dad held my hand. My older brother stood off to the side with a group of his friends. A small cup of liquid to drink, and then the word disappeared into the history books.

Pandemic.

The word eased itself back into my lexicon on a whisper of a breeze in late 2019. As I looked out the window, warmed by my gas logs, the full extent of that word was still just conceptualizing itself in my mind. Was this how my parents felt after they had battled their way through WWII and were facing this word? I prayed for those far away who were dealing with it as I prayed for those dealing with locusts invasions, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other illnesses. Surely, this new virus wouldn’t touch the shores of this country. Our society has 2020 vision – science, technology, stability, cleanliness – surely, it wouldn’t float over here. Yet – it did. It picked up speed until gale force winds swept over each of us and the eye of the storm peered down upon us.
Collectively.
Individually.
Nationally.

Pandemic 2020.

The word storm buffets the doors and windows everyday now of this place I call home. No longer a word of the past, but a word brandied about in every day conversation as we “social distance” away from family and friends. The illness itself as evolved with one name into another name into another name – Covid 19. I look out the window. The dogwoods, azaleas, wisteria are blooming. Spring looks beautiful as usual, but the world is different. I look at the picture on my desk. Where am I on this Tree of Life?

Where am I on the Pandemic Tree of Life 2020?

2019 was an especially hard year for me. My 40-year marriage covenant had broken and the “one flesh” shredded. If this pandemic had come 6 months earlier, I would have chosen the little boy lying on the ground. My world and faith in myself scattered about me in pieces. But the promises of My Father, ever faithful, had the golden glue that slowly mended me into a new piece of art. One that He had seen since the beginning of the sparkles in my parents’ eyes. Since then, I have gotten up, brushed myself off, put on a new dress and started to re-climb my Tree of Life.

Pandemic 2020 caught me on a lower branch. And – while I still grip the tree trunk fairly tightly, every now and then I glance up. I see the One who is reaching down – just in case – just in case I need some help. My bare feet feel the rough bark beneath them. My toes tighten at times to keep my balance, and then I glance up again. His face is smiling down at me, and I am ever so thankful for the past two months I spent in the gym. My balance is better. My strength is better. My health is better. Best yet, my knees can bend once again to touch the ground as I kneel in prayer.

I smile up at that Face. Yeshua Mashiach is still there. Not far away. Not sitting on a throne in a far away place. Not judging my mistakes or fears. Just reaching down and smiling. Waiting to help if I need a hand to climb a little higher. Waiting for me to be willing as He sits on a branch of my Tree of Life – as if He had not better place to be in the whole world.

So where am I on the Tree of Pandemic Life 2020?

I am climbing.
I am reaching up.
I am smiling, because I trust the One who is guiding me upward.

[personal images]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Perfect

All social-distancing right now is actually social-togetherness: keeping our distance from each other is the gift we give each other to get through this together. And staying home and staying flat on our faces in prayer is what can flatten this curve.” Ann Voskamp

Blessed beyond measure is the only way I can describe it.

Spring flowers bring…allergies for me. Especially – as one grows older. Never had allergies growing up. Never worried about what food I ate or what weeds were in bloom – until a tiny bug bit me and turned my immune system upside down. Suddenly, spring and fall were not my “perfect” seasons, and I discovered that I was more like my mother than I thought.

Allergies blossomed in my life and show up regularly.

Now taking after my mother is not a bad thing. Everyone loved her including me. She could sing, tell jokes and whistle tunes loud enough for me to find her wherever she might be working. But – she also had allergies. I can remember her sitting at her vanity sniffing penicillin on a pretty regular basis. (I think I’m glad I never had to do that.)

When the world shuts down – – – is exactly when our thanksgiving needs to rise up.” ibid A.V.

For the past few years when ever fall or spring start blowing through the neighborhood, my sinuses start wanting to blow back. Worse – it usually turns into a bronchitis presentation of coughing and wheezing and sniffling and tossing and turning and whining and fevers and doctor visits.

Ugh!

This spring – praise the LORD – I have only had a stopped up left ear. No fever. No coughing. No wheezing. Perhaps a little whining and tossing and turning – after all – going from stereo to monophonic is a wee bit disturbing. Put off calling the doctor until it was really stupid on my part. (“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” as my mom used to say to herself or the TV.)

Good news?

Didn’t have to go to the doctor or anywhere near the hospital in these chaotic times. Got my meds at my drive thru pharmacy. Took a couple naps. Still blowing my nose. Still waiting with lots of thanksgiving for my ear to pop open. But mostly – – –

“Praising my Savior all the day long….”

“Pursue the things which make the peace and the building up of one another.” Rm 14:19

As I was thinking about all of this today, this thought kept repeating itself. Even in the tiniest of potential problems, Our Father knows and provides for His people way beyond what we can conceive. It may not always (or in my case – hardly ever) be the way we think it will be, but it is always perfect – at the perfect time – in the most perfect of ways.

Today was perfect.

I may not hear in stereo yet. I may not feel like mowing the yard yet. I may not even feel like going outside to walk the dogs yet. But it was perfect and full of His perfect words comforting me and nudging me forward. I am in awe of the way He loves me. Can I do anything less than to pay it forward and love those He has placed in my circle?

This is the perfect time to unite. The perfect time to bless each other with our words – even from a good distance away. The perfect time to not jab at others who don’t agree with me, but to find the things we hold in common. The perfect time to pray for my President, my congressmen, my civic leaders who are struggling, making mistakes, but trying their best. The perfect time to find solitude in isolation. The perfect time to bless others with His peace and love in anyway we can. The perfect time to stay home “… flat on our faces in prayer…[and] flatten this curve.”

Perfect – just as Yeshua Mashiach, the Holy Spirit and Our Father are.

“Be therefore perfect, just as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48 


Blessings!Be!

VISION 2020: Leap Day Faith

After leaping into physical therapy before Christmas, I leaped into a gym routine. It has been one month of going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. In that time, I’ve figure out 4 times is probably a bit much for this 68 year old – at least for now. I’ve also figured out that when there is a salt water pool and hot tub, spending two hours at the gym is not such a bad thing.

Ride 3 miles on the bike –
Contort the body on a huge rubber ball –
Increase reps to 15 on three different machines –
All the while –
Remembering to breathe and use those dreaded core muscles.

“I do not like them. Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham”…or working out.

Did I say I was tired yet? Well – I usually am, but I make another leap and switch to pool.
Pool stretches, bouncing, walking, swimming, leaping…
And then –
The thing that one thing that always keeps me leaping…

The hot tub for 15 minutes. Soothing, bubbling warmth with plenty of PTL’s for getting through another session.

“My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.” Ps 28:7

My choc lab girls don’t exactly leap for joy with me spending more time away from them, but they sure leap for joy when we get the ball and take our walks. No matter how tired I may be after I get home, we all enjoy a walk in the woods and a few balls dropped in deep, dark holes. It is then I usually take a leap of faith and hope that the snakes aren’t awake yet and hiding in that hole.

As the girls leap into the leaves and roll around, I find myself talking to My Father, reciting Bible verses that pop in my mind, or singing some favorite hymns. His presences seems to make the skies a little brighter, the birds’ song a little sweeter and the squirrels a little funnier as they leap over my head and keep us company. My earthly father used to say he felt closer to GOD fishing than in church. I can understand that a little more these days.

The “Leap of Faith” phrase isn’t found in the Bible. However, the stories that the WORD contains is full of illustrations of the people who did.
Abraham walking his son up a hill.
Noah building a boat in a desert.
Esther asking for an audience with her husband king.
Ruth leaving her home for the love of her mother.
David facing a giant with 5 small stones.
A young woman and man believing an angel’s messages that they would be parents of the Mashiach.

I have found that Leaps of Faith happen when we least expect it – or often – want it. Sometimes you just need to go to the gym of faith.
Build up the muscles.
Increase the stamina.
Work on breathing through those last couple of stretches/miles.
Focus on the WORD.
Seek His presence.
It is then that you will Leap for Joy in that Leap of Faith, just as all the our ancestors have down down through time. Read the Book. It is full of their stories and their Leaps of Faith.

“Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.” Lk 6:23 narnia (2) [google image]

VISION 2020: The Chisel

Wasn’t it just Christmas?

Didn’t we just leap into a new decade?

I look at the calendar. The blank pages of the calendar have been chiseled with notations.
Gym.
Friends.
Doctors.
Grands.
Library times.
Snow days.
Goals completed/not completed.

It is all there and yet –
– it has flown by on such swift, silent winds that I –
failed to take note of how many of those carvings etched out this or that in the past few weeks.

“…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matt 10:19-10

With words tumbling around in my mind, I check in with My Father tonight in prayer. It is the birthday of two special Grands who made me a grandma for the first time 20 years ago. It is a day of working with students and reading books. It is a day of walking dogs. It is a day of wonder at the complete joy that seems to surround me amid all the chiseling that has been shaping me and leaving pieces on the ground around me. It is not joy as the world knows nor probably can comprehend, but it is His joy. Joy of being exactly where I am supposed to be at this time in space and eternity.

Years ago when I was teaching in OH, we had to use door stops to keep our doors open. Mine kept disappearing, so when I got a new one, one of my ornerier 8th grader (with a few of his cohorts adding to it) decorated it. I think he was tired of hearing me complain about never having a door stop when I needed it – either that or the door slamming shut in his ears. I know it was on of my ornerier students because on one side, it says “Kaufman’s Quick Lube”, on the other side – in big clear letters – “The Chisel”. When I asked him why those two things, he laughed mumbled something about the one side, but then turned serious as he pointed to the other side, “Because that’s what you do with all of us.” He nodded his head as he went back to his seat. The room was quiet as I turned away and dabbed at my eyes.

I have never forgotten that moment. Little did I realize, at that moment, the chiseling that was going on in my own life. Needless to say, I took the door stop with me when I retired.

Today I pulled out that chisel to hold my door open. The warmth flooded inside. Dogs and cat wandered in and out at will. Curtains swayed. Birds sang. Squirrels chattered (and ate bird food)…bugs slept on (thankfully). However, the end of the week is coming and will bring another northerly wind, so the door stop will return to my bookshelf.

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Lk 9:51

It seems like I was just reading the Gospel of Luke for the 24 days before Christmas. Now I am opening that epistle and looking at it with the eyes of the Passion. Time passes and Ash Wednesday is – so it seems – suddenly upon us. As ways, Rabbi Yeshua blended the linear and eternal lines into one – especially in Luke’s account,
The teachings became more intense.
The miracles full of the visible and invisible battles of the world. The Transfiguration testimony and blessing.

Prophecies pointed and passionate.

Yeshua Mashiach is my chisel. Although He has been my chisel all my life, His tools have been carving more deeply these days – in ways I couldn’t have imagined a few months back. His words, love and grace purposely defining a new shape. Cutting away the marred pieces to reveal the faith that He saw hidden away.

As Lent begins, it is time to honor in prayer and sacrifice, the time of Rabbi Yeshua’s earthly chisel coming to an end. He purposely and lovingly turned His feet towards Jerusalem, all-the-while knowing what was ahead. The good new is He also knew His eternal chiseling would continue to carve and illuminate whenever anyone asked Him to walk through their door.

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Lk 9:57

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VISION 2020: I CAN

I CAN ride a stationary bike for 15 min without the knee complaining of serious pain. (Yeah – I know it isn’t a lot, but it is a start, right?)

I CAN do my various gym machines that contort my body i various ways to strengthen the back and core muscles within a half an hour. (3 reps of 15 – not bad for this old lady after only a few months, right?)

I CAN do my stretches and bouncing runs in the salt water pool then stretch a little more in the hot tub as the muscles relax and the arthritis begins to use her inside voice rather than the loud, obnoxious outside voice. (That’s good as well, right?)

I CAN walk and play with my lab girls everyday and rejoice as we walk the paths around our neighborhood several times a day. (Am not mentioning how many times I have to go find the ball they lose, ok?)

All in all – – –

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”~Phil 4:13

Been doing Physical therapy since November and have finally graduated to working on my own. I am blessed that my insurance covered not only the physical therapy, but now also covers the gym and any classes that I want to take.

When I am feeling at my lowest, I remember to praise My Father and His Son for their grace and love. I have been blessed more than I deserved, and I don’t thank Them enough. But I am getting better at it – step-by-step – inch-by-inch.

I am re-reading a Priscilla Shirer book, FerVent. I read it 3 years ago when she wrote it in conjunction with the movie, War Room. Like the movie, it reminds the reader how important prayer is to navigating this chaotic thing we call life. “…prayer is the divinely ordained mechanism that leads you into the heart and the power and the victory of Christ.”~ p14

Prayer
Releases
All
Your
Eternal
Resources ~ p23

2 months into 2020 and my War Room closet door is filling up with slips of paper, note cards, pictures and curiosities that pulled at me. I am not very good at writing down my prayers and all the answers (but I do get some recorded…I think). I am pretty good at writing down each promise that the Holy Spirit has highlighted in my brain during my daily devotions or Bible Time (until I spill water on them or lose them as I carry them around). I’m much better at writing down the names of people I know (and even some I don’t know), so that I can remember to pray for them when I am in my closet — and — even when I leave the physical closet, the Holy Spirit remains and reminds me – time after time – to continue in prayer throughout the day.

I have come a long way since the first time I read FerVent. I hadn’t realized how much I had internalized until I started re-reading it again. Looking back, re-reading and praying over the wisdom presented, always reminds me why I need to continue to read and re-read the WORD. It’s wisdom is a never ending font of Living Water and pulls the chaos out of my narrow vision of my adventure at that moment and inserts His peace instead.

Our life journey is not easy.
Chaos’s call is hard to resist at times.
Fears. Worries. Darkness. Temptations. Hurt. Divisions. Hatred.
Many things pull at us.
Spending time in a prayer closet is certainly not what the world thinks is important.

But it is – – – and I CAN – – – and – – – YOU CAN!

Fervent prayer is that key which release all Our Father’s promises into our life. Fervent prayer opens the door as we ask Jesus to join us in our closet. Fervent prayer allows us to rest in His eternal presence for as long as we let Him hold our arms up in Praise and Thanksgiving.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still,” ~Ex:14:13-14.  Forgiven [artwork/Greg Olsen]

VISION 2020 – EPIPHANY PART II

“I was lost in shame,
Could not get past my blame,
Until He called my name.
I’m so glad He changed me.”
When you wake up with one praise song singing in your head most of the morning – even through a very traditional church service – until it morphs into another by evening, what else can you do?
You write about it; that’s what.
“I’ve met the author of my story,
And He’s mine, yes, He’s mine.”
After a somewhat stumbling life journey, I’ve finally figured out not to ignore the little things. A thrum that rumbles my tummy until I turn off everything around me and kneel in prayer. The knees complain, but I just tell them to shut up. A soft nudge that points my eyes to a student in my classroom. I wonder why but tell the brain to shut up and take note. A song that repeats over and over until it drives me a little crazy.
Little things that add up – when I take time to notice.
The furnace and gas logs have been off for the past couple of days. Windows and doors wide open. A fan softly humming in the window. But tonight, the clouds are moving back in, and I can smell rain in the air. Tonight, when I stood on the porch watching over the lab girls, the moon was shining just enough through the clouds that I could see its hazy shape, yet within a minute, it disappeared completely. The dark skies covered me and the tears gathered once again.
That is the way the past 6 months have been.
Clouds everywhere.
A hazy shape.
A little light.
Clouds returning over and over.
And yet – that tiny moment of light – as dim as it is – is always enough – enough to steady my steps and find my balance once again.
” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;”~Act 1:7-8a
On New Years Eve, I was still struggling with what Bible verse and word would be my focus for the year. A friend sent me a verse, and just like that – problem solved. Since then, I’ve been puzzling and praying over it. It hangs in my war room, written in my journal, and stuck in my mind. Then today, both of the local preachers that I listen to added to it. One talking about Baptism – the other focusing more on the Holy Spirit. (v,5-6)
Jesus went to be Baptized – not because He needed to do so, not because some religious tradition required it, but to model and fulfill His journey on a path that was written for Him from the very beginning of time. Only known as a carpenter up until that point in time, His baptism signaled a change. After that, a name reverberated over the river bed and calling all to Truth: Yachid – Beloved Son. A new name repeated only once again – at the transfiguration.
I’m still puzzling why this is important to my journey right now, and yet, the more I look at this verse and the verses surrounding it, the more His hope rises within me that the clouds are beginning to break. The Light that has been so hazy over the past few months seems to be brightening the skies and overpowering that darkness just as I knew it would eventually.
Valley journeys are just like that sometimes. The good news? Even though there are tribulations in this life, valleys and clouds full of darkness, I know that Yeshua Mashiach has overcome the world, and through it all, I am keeping my eyes on Him.
“I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am…”
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