Tag Archives: Yeshua

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: The Miracle

Santa is all put away for another year. But the light and nativities of the season are still out until Epiphany. The nice thing about not having a big tree is that I can still sit in the warmth of the lights that are spread around our small rooms. The outside lights stay on as well until the Wise Men catch up with Baby YESHUA. So the Christmas spirit remains a little longer.

I also finished up watching some of my favorite Christmas movies. “So This Is Christmas”, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Christmas Episodes” and “Touched By An Angel: Christmas Episodes” (which, btw, still make me tear up). All of them touching upon that essence of that first Miracle.

“You are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your GOD, declares the Lord God.”~Ez 34:31

We all see miracles every day. We just don’t always recognize them. I can keep in touch – sometimes daily – with family and friends who are far away. I can watch favorite movies as I work around the house. I can be fed the “manna” of life even if I don’t make it to a physical building called “church”. I can read the WORD in book form, watch it in visual arrays, listen to it via dramatic readings on CD.  Life is way good.

Even with all of that, I’m pretty positive that I miss a million more miracles that are right in front of my eyes. Just like there were lots of people who didn’t recognize the miracle the prophets’ words when they were spoken – – – or the miracle of the star in front of them – – – or the miracle of angels singing – – – or a baby born and laid in a manger.

Our Father knows how stubborn sheep can be. How dismissive sheep can be when people espouse ideas that are contrary to what we want to think about. How blind sheep can be even when the Light is right in front of us. How deaf sheep can be even when the words are singing loudly above us. How any kind of Saviour could be ‘worth a hill of beans’ if He was born in a stable.

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”~Lk 2:34-35

I love the miracle of Simeon and Anna. Two witnesses at His birth. Two prophets who brought more promises of Our Father to the parents and to those who would listen. The miracle of the HOLY SPIRIT was upon them both. They had grown old – fasting, praying, waiting – – – waiting for the fulfillment of a promise – the miracle of seeing the Saviour before they died. 
Moved by the SPIRIT.
Eyes and ears opened by the heart.
Faith blessed by the Miracle.

“She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising GOD. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for GOD to rescue Jerusalem.”~Lk 2:38

Can we do any less? Pray. Fast. Wait. Tell everyone we meet about this sign from GOD – this Miracle – This Saviour – born to shepherd His sheep – to bring joy to the world to people of good will – a sign of a promise fulfilled.

“On the fifth day of Christmas, My True Love gave to me…”: A Miracle. 

501fbedf8e0d2acef55931eb25797f6a--greg-olsen-baby-jesus                   [Greg Olsen artwork]

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CHRISTMAS JOY (4 Days and Counting)

When it is the last day before Christmas break in a small Christian school, there is joy everywhere. Parents pop in. Presents magically appear on desks. Hugs wrapped around on the outside squiggle their way in and wrap themselves around the heart as well. Carols bounce off the walls while the story of a baby in the manger is told in a variety of ways, keeping the kids laughing and dancing and prancing and joyfully praising (and snowballs flying).

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”~Lk 2:10

What a day to put in the treasure chest of memories and rejoice over and over whenever I pull it out and hold it again. Emotions fade away, but that core of truth always remains. In the same way great joy came that night so long ago, and I am sure the shepherds pulled that memory out from time to time to marvel over the core of what they saw and heard. Turing it in front of them. Questioning their sanity. Wondering at the blessing.

👼Do not be afraid.
👼Good news.
👼Great joy.
👼People of good will.
👼Baby in a manger.

Yup. Heard the angels. Heard the words. Saw the baby. Saw the parents. Scratched the head – maybe the beard. Blinked the eyes a few times. Went home to sleep. Couldn’t sleep. Counted sheep. Told the family. Family made some snide comments, but hugs got passed all the way around. Went back to bed after prayers had been said. After all, what does one do after a glorious impossible miracle?

Lucky for us. Luke wrote that glorious impossible miracle down. I often wonder if Luke asked Mother Mary about baby Yeshua? Or did he know one of the shepherds? One of the kings? Seems to me, lots of miracles took place just so we could continue to read about it 2000+ years later.

Glorious impossible miracles that just keep multiplying.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”~1 Pt 1:8-9

When the students come to our small library, we have story time, pick out new books, and usually make a bookmark. Not sure how bookmarks became a thing, but now the kids ask what will be on the bookmarks before they even come to library. So this week, I made bookmarks for them. They giggled. They laughed. They wanted more than one.

After all – 
🎅Santa is coming to town.
Jesus is coming to town.
🎄Seeing them together brings joy to girls and boys – of all ages.
👼Good news.
👼Great joy
👼To all people of good will.

As the angels sing of Glorious Joy we get to see the Glorious Impossible “as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be…”

Four days and counting – – – wheeeeeeeeee….. 

   [Greg Olsen artwork]

CHRISTMAS IMMANUEL (6 Days and Counting)

“Later, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz: 11“Ask the LORD your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”

Wouldn’t you love to receive that message from Poppa GOD? Just ask – anything – – high as heaven – – – or as deep as the place of dead? Hmmm… A prophecy buried within a prophecy. Even before Isaia got to the main point of his visit, he was hinting at its fulfillment. Gotta love every word of a Bible verse. Father’s words are never wasted.

“But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the LORD like that.”

And there it is. Yupper! Typical human response. Just put a spin on it, so it doesn’t sound like what it is. R-E-B-E-L-L-I-O-N. It is what we do. GOD reaches out. We push back – just a little – mind you. May not be an open rebellion – or even as brash as King Azah, after all, GOD had told him to ask for a sign. Not Azah, he didn’t need “test” GOD. Yet – here he was – – pushing back – – – rejecting what the LORD had told him to do, never-the-less.

“Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?”

Can you hear the exasperation in Isaiah’s voice? Can you here him biting back all those words that he wanted to say but couldn’t because he was about the LORD’s work right now? I must really becoming adapted to the South, for I can surely hear these words with just a twinge of a drawl clinging to each word.

“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.”~Is 7:10-16

LOOK!

UNDERSTAND!

The glorious impossible happened just as Isaiah prophesied so long ago. A sign was given. A Virgin. A boy-child.

IMMANUEL.

GOD WITH US.

As high as heaven. Deep as the place of the dead.

YESHUA – GOD who is with us – who saves us – who loves us so much that He sent His son to tear the veil between the high heaven and the deep place of the dead. The Son who stands with us in the highest points of our lives to the lowest points of our lives.

Now that is Christmas! That is the reason I get so excited that it is almost here. The Glorious Impossible of Mary – a mother’s love bringing forth the Father’s sign. Mary - mothers love [Akiane artwork/google image]

A STIFF-NECKED, STUBBORN SOUL

For a couple of years when I was in college, I sang in a choir for the High Holy Days at a nearby Jewish synagogue. It was there that I made the connection that Jesus – Yeshua – was a Jewish rabbi. It’s not that I hadn’t been told that – after all it is in the gospels. He was called, “Rabbi”, and I’m sure that at some point, one of my pastors or teachers must have mentioned it. But it took a Rosh Hashanah and the 10 days to Yom Kippur to make it sink in through my stiff-neck, stubborn self. 
Day after day as I walked into the synagogue and listened to the rituals that had been passed down through the ages, my  eyes opened a little wider and I began to wonder about things that had never entered my thick skull before.
“Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.” Ps 98:1-4
 
It was the first time I heard a shofar. The first time I heard the Jewish language. The first time I saw Jewish words in print. The first time I tried to look through the eyes of the Jewish worldview at the Savior that I had fallen in love with long ago..
 
Jewish oral tradition believes that Tishri 1 – this head of the year – was the day people were created. It continues that this was also the day that Abraham’s Sarah became pregnant, and a few years later – the day when Issac was bound to be offered as a sacrifice. It was only after God provided a sacrifice to replace Issac that He created the first two shofroth from the horns of that sheep. It would serve as a loud testimony down through the ages of His love and faithfulness to all His people.  
 
The LORD remembered His love for His people. The LORD made His salvation known to all the ends of the earth with the sound of the horns. Just as the Father breathed life into His child, man breaths life into the sofar as The Feast of the Trumpets rings throughout the land. 
 
“with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.” Ps 98:6
 
Many continue to use the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as a period of fasting and reflection. A time to look back, and a time to look forward A time to throw out failures and a time to draw a new vision. A time to mourn over foolishness, and a time to sing over successes. A time to look within, and a time to look up to the One who breathed life into clay and continues to love unconditionally.
 
A couple years back, for each of the 10 days of High Holy Days, a question was posed on an electronic billboard in Times Square in NYC. Questions meant to encourage contemplation for the new year to anyone who read them . I don’t know what those questions were, but I do wonder as I start to formulate my own journey for these next 10 days. After all, Jesus honored, as was His habit, His Father’s commands in Leviticus 23 as He walked this earth. It just might do some good for this stubborn, stiff-necked soul as well.
 
“Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
Let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.” Ps 98:7-9 

 

[google images]

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. 

 [google images]

BREADCRUMBS: Led by the Spirit

Most of the time I love a lively, joyous, dancing in the aisle style of worship. A happy time to express all the love that seems to overflow out of my heart for my Father, His son and the Holy Spirit. 
King David’s dance before the LORD sets a fire in my spirit. Praise songs puts taps on my shoes.
A cracking voice that can’t help straining to hit the notes in the head as I clean the house, and I can’t think of a better way to start my week.

But there are other times. 
Times when my heart is heavy with the brokenness of the world.
Times when I realize I – we – have fallen far beyond the Tower of Babel.
Times when I want reach deeply into myself and re-connect with the AWE. 
Times when I seek the solemness – the depth of holiness – in worship.

These are the times when I seek Moses’s attitude of stooping over to remove His shoes. Times when I seek the obedience of the Son who knelt against a cold, stony surface – alone – in the dark. Times when I need to feel the soaring spirit of the classical music and holiness of a Catholic Mass to remind me of the Light He brought to us.

These are the times when I immerse myself in the formality of the Mass or the timelessness of a Requiem. Verdi. Mozart. Faure. Bach. Bernstein. They remind me that there is more than just one side of Our Father, and it brings me to my knees in trembling Awe and Reference.

“Rend not your garments, rend your hearts. 
Turn back your lives to me.” 
Thus says our kind and gracious God, 
whose reign is liberty.”~Hurd/Vaughan-Williams  

I was not raised Catholic, but choral music was my teething rattle. Music that sang me to sleep as my mother’s voice blended and soared over me from the stage. I knew her voice and could always pick it out even when I was too little to understand anything else. I spent my formative years emulating her in my own numerous choral adventures. 
And it was there, there where the music flowed from my heart into my spirit. 
There where I found the beauty and strength of My Father’s grace as the world falls apart.

Tonight there are so many prayers circling – for so many people – for a broken world filled with violence, sickness and heartache. Ash covered prayers for “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”~Gen 3:19 
Repristination seems a long way away tonight. 
And I breath in deeply the sounds of Kyrie, Dona Nobis Pacem and Sanctus.
Listening.
Seeking.

Whoever drinks the drink 
I give shall never thirst again.” 
Thus says the Lord who died for us, 
our Savior, kin and friend.”~Hurd/Vaughan-Williams

While the tears are just under the surface now, the awe-filled holiness of YHWH, His Son and the Holy Spirit have brought me peace tonight. I will never understand the evilness that continues to tear us apart. I can’t even understand my own stupidity most of the time.

What I do understand is that if I really listen, I can hear His voice. I can pick it out in-spite of the noisiness of the world that tries to distract. 
While there is ugliness, there is also beauty. 
While there is violence, there is also peace. 
While there is sin, there is also grace. 
We merely have to pick out His voice, and let the Spirit lead us.

“Led by the Spirit, 
now sing praise to God the Trinity: 
The Source of Life, 
the living Word made flesh to set us free, 
The Spirit blowing where it will 
to make us friends of God: 
This mystery far beyond our reach, 
yet near in healing love.” Led by the Spirit, Hurd/Vaughan-Williams

BREADCRUMBS III: The Sigh.

Tiny black notebooks don’t stay tiny for long. Just like all other baby critters, a notebook can grow with a life all unto itself. Stuffed into whatever corner of light found in my varied classrooms, that tiny notebook flourished.  Over the years it became stuffed with teaching ideas, notes from students, a few stories/poems that students gave me to keep, very few pictures, and even fewer pieces of my own writing (believe it or not, this writing teacher needs to write with her students), that notebook grew into one larger version after another.

In other words: one glorious treasure chest of memories.

Not sure what started me on this journey today. Had no plans to dig into this particular treasure chest. After all, my room is still cluttered with enough stuff that I need to organize from my mom’s last box of memories. But there I was my hand resting on a black notebook that had been stuck totally in a back corner of my photo closet with no other explanation except that a breadcrumb had landed on it and caught my eye.

I sighed and pulled it out. Papers stuck in between pages fluttered to the floor, and I laughed. What else can you do when there is some paczki sitting in my fridge on King’s Day or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras or Carnival or whatever you want to call the day before Lent? You stuff your face with one kind of sweetness and fill your eyes with another kind – sweet memories.

One of the things that fell to the floor was a Peanuts cartoon. Linus holding his blanket. Bossy Lucy sitting in front of the TV. A sigh hanging between them. I remembered this cartoon and a note from a student back in 2000 saying they thought of me when they read it. I smiled and I sighed.

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”

It is the beginning of Lent. The symbolic remembrance of a singular journey. A day when a young Rabbi arose before daybreak to walk into the darkness. A custom that started his day and ended his day. A whispered prayer that started and ended each day for him and all the generations of Jews before and after him.

“She-ma yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad…” 
Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One…

Alone time with his Father before he woke the others. A time of reflection. A time to look deep within himself and out over the countryside that waited for his first step. And somewhere deep inside me, I think, he smiled, took a deep breath and sighed.

The Father knew what was in the heart of his son on that first day. That day when Yeshua turned his feet towards Jerusalem. He knew the humanness that pulled at his first born. He knew the atrocities that lived in the heart of His other children. He knew of the love and repentance of others. And – perhaps – like His son – He, too, breathed deeply and sighed.

Two sighs united in eternity. Two hearts beating in two different realms. A Father – – A Son singing notes that could not be expressed in words until the Holy Spirit harmonized with them. A single note with all the harmonics of the universe blended into one focused purpose. A trinity united for one purpose – Grace began its journey toward Jerusalem in that breath – that sigh.

Valentines Day seems to be the perfect day to start Lent. Whether we give something up or give something away or give of ourselves to others, Lent is an active choice of Love enacted in life. A time to set our sights on Jerusalem, take a step into the darkness and pray for strength to walk forward in a timeless sigh towards Grace.

“And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”~Rm 8:26-30 Peanuts 2000 051[google image]

SNOW DAYS 2018

SNOW DAY – PART I: A good way to start a snowy day is with a giggle.  It started to snow around 5 AM. The weather man said 2-3 inches over by 3 PM. An easy fun day of snow for NC since most everyone will stay home and play.jan 17 b
Teacher: How old is your father?
Student: 6
Teacher: What? How is that possible?
Student: Duh! He only became a father when I was born.

Hmmm…four inches later, we realize it might have been wise to keep up with the snow.  After all, snow bears (common alias used is choc labs) – one with a torn ACL – must have a way in and out of the home without slip-slidin’ away down the ramp. Brooms don’t work on such deep snow, and when you don’t have a snow shovel…rakes work quite well. Hubby and snow bears out in the snow often.

And I? By 5 PM, with 10 inches and counting, I loved watching the birds today. Filled the feeders twice, walked the paper to a neighbor and enjoyed our snow bears rolling and rolling and rolling in the snow.  Today’s wisdom:

  • “The Godly walk with integrity blessed are their children who follow them”~Prov 20:7
  • Queue is just Q with four silent letters.
  • “I’ve written all these stories without any pornography, without any obscenities.  I grew up among sailors and miners and lumberjacks and the roughest kind of men in the world, but I never found it necessary to use all that in the stories. I can make them real without that. I think that kind of writing is a cover up for lack of real skill.”~Louis L’Amour
  • Never trust a weatherperson who says says: “It’ll be a small snow fall”.

jan 18 g

SNOW DAY – PART II: Early morning view of Carolina blue sky – 10″ of snow – bright sunshine – highs rising to the upper 30’s. Can’t get much better than that on “snow” day part II” in North Carolina”.

Snow days Carolina style – snow bears (disguised as choc labs most of the year) love running and playing in snow, but they also love snuggling next to the fire. Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle rarely leaves the fireplace unless it is to lie on the back of the couch. While Hubby loves to explore the snow-covered roads, but sometimes the car has a mind of its own and locks him out. And I? I love reading my new devotional book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg as I look out the windows wondering what it would have been like to be Dorcus – or Mary – or Martha sitting at Yeshua’s feet – a talmidah – a female disciple sitting at His feet.jan 18 c

Wisdom gained:

  • “For the eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.”~1 Pt 3:12 
  • “You cannot separate life from work. The way you do the most insignificant activity in your daily life will reflect in your work.”~Masaaki Shibata
  • “I’m going there to meet my Saviour 
    To sing his praise forever more 
    I’m just a-going over Jordan 
    I’m just a-going over home”~Wayfarin’ Stranger original last chorus.
  • The weatherperson says that it’ll reach the high 40’s tomorrow, will it? I can only hope.  10 inches of snow will take a long time to go away if it doesn’t get warm.

jan 17 d

SNOW DAY – PART III. Hubby has been for his walk with the snow bears, and snowjan 19 a bears are now restless. There is sun but no place to lay in the sun without being cold and wet. Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle watches birds from the window with deep longing, but escape in snow is futile to tender kitten paws. Temperatures are almost into the 50’s. Roads have a hint of pavement peeking through. And I? I am contemplating my prayer list, my poor- in-spirit/failings list, my thankfulness for my haverim/haverat (peers that inspire and challenge me) and the gift of quiet days that interrupt my usual schedule of busyness that I might find His joy and laughter on His path that I so often screw up. #blessingsbe #righttolife #inprayer

  • “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there I AM with them.”~Matt 18:19-20
  • Teacher: What is the chemical formula for water?
    Student: H I J K L M N O 
    Teacher: What are you talking about?
    Student: Yesterday you said it was H to O.
  • The weatherperson said: “High 40’s today”.  It is 49 and counting.
  • Walk in obedience, remember the past, respect all life, be in prayer always.

jan 19 b[personal photos]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #22

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”~President John F. Kennedy

54 years ago today my future was being shaped. I was sitting in a 7th grade study hall. At that time our new high school was almost finished – but not quite. So a mixture of 7th through 12th graders were spread throughout an auditorium.

A rustling of papers. 
A note being slid onto a desk as someone went to the restroom.
A brave soul walking up on stage to ask the study hall teacher a question.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”~ JFK, 1957, Profiles in Courage

The ticking of the wall clock. The big hand loudly clicking into place. Marking time in our lives until we could talk in the hallways on our way to the next class. I know it was loud because I had spent lots of time in that auditorium – boy scout meetings with the active dad and brother, minstrel practices every winter I can remember in this life, a joint Easter sunrise services, dance recitals, choir concerts, band concerts, fair activities…… That auditorium was one of the hubs of our community.

But on this particular day, the clock stopped. The everyday noise that a group of people make while going about their business, stopped as well. Where I sat, the color of the wall, the dark curtains that hung on the windows, the utter silence of the room frozen in place. 
An announcement. 
A voice that cracked as it spoke.

“In whatever area in life one may meet the challenges of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces, if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.” ~JFK, Profiles in Courage

l don’t remember the words our principal used that day. I remember the import. And somehow – in that 7th grade developing brain – I realized life would be changed forever. When you grow up in Camelot and see a hole shot through the garden wall, the ground shakes beneath the feet – the sun dims – the birds stop their song – the world holds its breath.

It is a strange thing to write a Gratitude Attitude about a tragedy on the Thanksgiving Eve, and yet – every year as this date rolls around, I remember that 7th grade study hall. I remember reading the president’s books after this day. Listening to his speeches. Starting a new questing path.

Seventeen days before he died, President Kennedy issued his Thanksgiving proclamation. He wrote, “Today we give our thanks [to Providence], most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers–for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek every day to emulate.”

Gratitude Attitude is not always for the easy things, the common things. Sometimes it is being thankful for the hard things – the scary things – the things that make us sit in front of a small TV black-an-white screen to watch a riderless horse with the stirrups turned backwards – a small girl kneeling in front of a casket – a smaller boy saluting a casket – the pictorial book as the torch was passed.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings–let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals–and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world.”~Nov 5, 1963, JFK,Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Tomorrow is a day for family, parades, football and card games, but most of all, it is time to give thanks to God – to Providence – to the God of Nature – to the Great Spirit for all these blessings. Remembering the past, enjoying the present and walking forward into the future.

“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christus Yeshua. our LORD…”~1 Tim 1:12 [google/personal images]

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #17

It is the strange thoughts that amble through my day that often give me pause and bring a whole new perspective to be thankful.

A random pop-up of a FB live caught my eye. I tuned in expecting to just stay a couple minutes and ended up enjoying a Friday night hour long “tea” of song and Gratitude Attitude wisdom that is still settling in my soul.

Being thankful in all things. All things. At all times. Even when everything has gone wrong from the get-go.

“The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the LORD at their head.”~Micah 2:13

Out and about today. Running errands. Talking to people. Letting the One who breaks open the way before me actually break open the way. Opening spiritual eyes.

Centering on the One who breaks open the way – His way. The LORD. Yeshua.  The WORD – who took on a human name for us. A name in Hebrew that means: “GOD is Salvation”.

A sunny day to sit on the patio. Watch the dogs roll in the dirt and a kitten pounce on a leaf. Listen to an old carol surface on the breeze as I finished hanging lights outside. Words that had puzzled me as a child but now strikes me with so much love.

“Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.”

“Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Sounds through the earth and skies.”

Gratitude. Attitude.

Still more to do tomorrow. More time to fall and figure out how to stand back up. Being thankful in all things at all times in all ways. Even when the brokenness is more than I think I can bear. That’s where this month has led me. A Gratitude Attitude that I don’t want to lose in the busyness of life.

“Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Yeshua The Messiah among you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not reject prophecy. Examine everything and hold what is excellent. Flee from every evil matter. But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy and shall keep your whole spirit, soul and body without fault for the arrival of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah. Faithful is he who has called you; it is he who shall perform it.”~1 Thes 5:17-2420160904_205845