Tag Archives: Yeshua

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

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #15

1992 is in the books. Literally. I finally finished putting all the photos from my mom’s box and our albums combined into one album. That means that I have completed all the Kaufman photo books from 1981 to 1992. Phew!!! Who knew it would take four years to get only this far in putting our history in order?

Then I looked at all the photos on the computer that have not ever seen the light of day and began to estimate how long it might take for me to print and put them into an album. Hubby thinks it might be – never.

He might be right.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”~Col 4:12

Thus – the Gratitude Attitude #15 is being thankful for the simple things. Achieving goals that I have set for myself and enjoying the blessings that continue to enrich our lives on the home front.

THANKFUL FOR: A remote control that turns on the gas logs that keep our home toasty – not to mention the propane in the tank.

THANKFUL FOR: The walk-in tub that has bubbled and swirled the soreness out of my touchy, feeble knee much faster than the usual routine of stretches, braces and over-the-counter oils and meds.

THANKFUL FOR: Puppies and kitten who come back to the bedroom just to sleep outside the bathroom door while I am enjoying the exciting world of a book as the bubbles do their job. Our pets really are fur-babies. Even now – one is curled into my side, one at my feet, and the injured one just a few feet away on the soft couch in front of the fireplace.

“THANKFUL: “For the word of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart.”~Heb 4:12

THANKFUL FOR: Putting up our outside Christmas lights and deciding what patio lights we should add to the mix. Even though we won’t light the outside lights until next Wednesday night, at least they are (pretty much) up, and now I can concentrate on the inside – “hanging of the greens”. Isn’t Christmas the best time of the year?

THANKFUL FOR: A voice that seems to be returning after being – largely, missing for the past 3 years. Still creaky in places. Still rough in others. However, God hears the song in my heart, and that is all that matters.

THANKFUL FOR: Former students. Their comments. Their posts. Their notes of thanks. Their joy of who they are becoming.

THANKFUL FOR: “And the peace of The Messiah will govern your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and give thanks to The Messiah.”~Col 3:15

Indeed – with all these physical blessings that I have written about tonight, it is Abba, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit that truly bless and enrich this tiny particle of creation and to Whom all thankfulness and praise of this one life belong.

Thanksgiving is almost here. Time to have a deep Gratitude Attitude to the One who made it all possible. [google image/personal]

 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #11

I am a former reading teacher, and STILL a lot of time I don’t read the small print placed before me. Ever anxious to get on to the “main” content, I miss some of the truly important stuff.

Having read all 150 Psalms over and over – in liturgy – in song – in devotion, I had no idea that Psalms 120-134 were songs that were used as Jews traveled to the temple festivals in Jerusalem. Of course, I had to go to the Bible and look. Sure enough, under the title Psalm 120 was some tiny print, “Song of Ascent”. Of course, even if I read it at one point or another, I wouldn’t have had a clue of what it meant.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”~Ps 121:1-2

My search continued. I pulled out the well-used, marked-up study Bible that has been in my life for about 8 years now. It has notes on the side of the pages which have added much to my seeking over the years. The notes were well documented about the main ideas and intent of each verse, but I couldn’t find anything that talked about them being used by the Jewish people as they traveled or even – what ascent meant. So next step – what else? On-line Bible, of course.

I use various sites, but I tend to like Bible Hub. They have the Aramaic in Plain English of the New Testament which I love. I understand why the New Testament was written in Greek, but since most of the disciples spoke Aramaic and this version comes from an early source, I like comparing the two. That being said, Bible Hub’s “New Living Translation” had the words I was seeking in small print right under the title, ‘A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.’

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”~Ps 121:5-6

Okay – so far so good, but that didn’t really give me a lot of answers. As always I wanted more. I wanted the Jewish perspective. If there is one thing that I have learned over the past few years, it is that our Christian traditions have robbed us of our roots in the first covenant. The very covenanted roots that Yeshua treasured in His life here on earth.

So the thing is – the Jewish tradition says that there are many interpretations about these “Psalms of Ascents”. One belief is that it was used by pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem or out of Babylon or even one that had to do with the rising of water under King David’s temple.

I guess all in all, one of my devotions today was successful. It got me digging deeper into the WORD itself. And Our Father was faithful as always. When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, you do get filled or as it was said in the Greek, Plero’o – the cup is filled (which by the way – is a word I stumbled over in another devotion). Gotta love how God works all things to His purposes, don’t you?

“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 5:23-24Forgiven

(Greg Olsen artwork/google image]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #10

Pictures of Marines are all over the place on social media. Just as they should be since it is the birthday of the Marines Corps. Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and I know, there will be tons more posts of service men – as it should be.

I am thankful that my dad was both. He wrote a postcard home as he traveled to Parris Island. He was 26 years old, and he sounds every inch of it in this one sentence: “I’m sitting in Union Station waiting on the train, I’m headed for Parris Island Marine Corps. I’m an honest to goodness Marine.”

“…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do

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not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”~Josh 1:9

He left behind a wife, a son, a dog, and a twinkle that would be born six years later. No easy communication devices. No cameras snapping a multitude of pictures. So there were letters……lots of letters. Mom and dad had a suitcase full. A suitcase that a youngster once opened and started reading.

I don’t think I sat down for a week.

Years later, Mom had me read a few of those letters to her when her body had started to break, and she developed Macular Degeneration. A few years after that, my brother and I decided that those treasured memories were theirs and not the world’s. I did keep a few of them though – especially the ones that had poetry my father wrote just for mom. Mom was a singer, so she would write song lyrics to him. She would tell him that all he had to do was listen, and he would hear her singing to him.

Pretty romantic stuff. No wonder the twinkle became a dream come true for them, and a pain-in-the-butt for her big brother.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.”~2 Sam 22:2-4

A while back I spent 100 Days writing about the little devotion booklet called “100 Rations”. Dad carried it with him to China and back home. His pocket-sized New Testament still sits on the book shelf behind my desk. He taught me to sing the Marine hymn almost as soon as I could talk. And while I haven’t been able to do it for years beyond memory, once upon a time, I could stand from a cross legged sitting position without even having to think about it.

Veterans are a blessing in this country. Men and women who are willing to sacrifice their time and comforts to protect and serve the rest of us – even unto death. It reminds me that Yeshua did the same thing – only He did it for the whole world.

Gratitude is an attitude. Everyday I need to be thankful for what Veterans have done for me. Thankful for what Christ did for me. I can almost hear my father’s voice reading the last sentence on the postcard: “So here we go. I miss you very much with lots of love and kisses. Boyd”

Love and kisses to all the Veterans and Marines out there tonight. Sweet dreams and thank you for blessing this country – each and every one of you who are reading this and those who are reading over my shoulder from a heavenly perch.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”~Jn 15:13

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #9

Joy.

This tiny word can stand alone, and I still just want to smile in thankfulness.

J
O
Y

Y
O
J

Spread it out List it. Write it backward.

Doesn’t matter. It is not a simple synonym for happiness – – – at least not for me. Joy bubbles. It erupts from a well spring deep within me. The gurgles bounce around until I can no longer contain them and I have to smile. Not a small smile – one of those large, crazy, out-of-controlled smiles.

Gurgles of JOY. Bouncing out into a darkening world. Bubbles of JOY. Flowing rivers of JOY. JOY that can’t be locked away, dammed up or lost. JOY spring of the living waters.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for JOY, and with my song I praise him.”~Ps 28:7

For whatever reason, JOY has been the thought of the day. I can’t say it is because of the weather. The past two days have been rainy, cold and dank. Dogs have been tracking mud in the house. Kitty has been begging to go out until she puts a paw on the wet, cold porch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run so fast for her warm place in front of the gas logs.

JOY is a gift. I tend to think that since God created us in His own image, JOY must be an attribute of God. I can only imagine what JOY there was in the Garden before the fall. JOY to walk together. JOY of communion. JOY of purity of spirit. Peacemaker’s JOY. Face-to-face JOY.

“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”~Heb 12:2

JOY-ous path re-opened that the living water might flow freely ‘…on earth as it is in heaven’. Tap in to the JOY. Seek the well-spring deep within. The Holy Spirit will open the spigots wide. Yeshua will laugh with JOY as it flows out and into the world. And JOY will bounce higher than “…red rubber ball.” as the Father re-JOY-ces with us all.

Yep – I have a lot of JOY in my Gratitude Attitude.

“And I think it’s gonna be all right.
Yeah, the worst is over,
Now the morning sun is shining like a Red Rubber Ball.”~Simon/Garfunkle
[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #3

This day just did not go anything like I wanted it to go. Went here – went there – turned around and went in circles round and round and round. I’ve already decided that tomorrow I am just staying home. Napping is on the agenda. Watching Hallmark movies until my eyes cross. Holding Koay so she won’t run. Curling into myself and just holding on to this little bit of heaven on earth and above all – being thankful for swings.

“Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Yeshua The Messiah among you.”~1 Thes 5:18

Growing older has its advantages. Gathered wisdom starts to assert itself, and you realize that ranting and raving over anything really isn’t beneficial to anyone – especially yourself. So late this afternoon when I got home from this absurdly frustrating day, I let our gimpy Koay, her bouncing sister Ryndi, and playful urchin kitty, Shadow accompany me outside while I sat on our swing.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Something about a swing rocks my world. Seriously – no pun intended. Maybe it is the return to the rhythm of my mother holding me long ago – or the way I rocked my own children. Swaying with them in my arms while I talked with friends. The swings on a playground or in a park. The WWII Marine hammock under my Thinking Tree. The rope swing my daddy hung in the walnut tree in our front yard. Whatever the physical reference, it is the spiritual “rock” to which I cling.

“And the peace of The Messiah will govern your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and give thanks to The Messiah.”~Col 3:15

Close my eyes. Breathe in the quiet of the neighborhood. Until the music returns within me, and I began to sing. The old hymns surface “Come Ye Thankful People, Come” “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Thankful today for all the swings in my life – my little bit of heaven on earth.

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #12

Today my prayer for pastors is simple.  It came as a blessing from my son because he knows his mother’s heart.  A song that was an answer to a prayer torn from the depths of my valley.   A song that I have listened to multiple times today.  Praising Father God once again for His Grace that brings me to my knees – His love that stretches beyond finite understanding – His Son that loved enough to die in out place.
A song of where we have all been at one time or another.
A song of promises renewed over and over.
A song for the hills.
A song for the valleys.
“On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there (to the one who set me there)
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!”~Tuaren WellsP
So my prayer tonight for all pastors is this song.  A simple blessing: you are not alone.
Ever.
Not in the valley.  Not in the dessert.  Not on the hills.  Not when you are tired or sick or harried or just plain wanting some down time.  He’s got your back.  He’s just waiting for you.    
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
And I will choose to say “Blessed be Your name, yeah, yeah”
And I am not alone”~Tuaren Wells

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #11

You know how it is.  You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away.  Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when  God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw.  Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.

In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH.  I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been.  Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried.  Some enthusiastically chose to follow.  Some were probably pressured to join.  Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge.  In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.

Good people.  Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people.  Confused people.  Sinful people.  Hopeful people.  Needy people.  Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter.  God covered those bases.  Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.  

I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many.  I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction –  trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before.  Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways –  not so fragmented  – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it.  After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name. 

“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12

Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG?   Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’ 

Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.

What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach?  Roll out of bed.  Feed the dogs.  Wash the dishes.  Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people.  Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.

What if? 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32

So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight.  In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow,  or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God. 

 

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #10

There are dreams and then there are DREAMS. It has been fun to watch the career choices that my former students have chosen.  Some always knew what they wanted to do and followed through on it.  Others found that dream later.  For whatever reason, I’ve found myself thinking about those dreams that we follow when we choose a life path.

When I was little I dreamed of being a vet. After all, I was always was pretending to be a horse.  Flying over fences in one jump.  Changing into a human when ever I needed to do so.  Running free across the playground and up the hill beyond the reaches of any teacher or foe.  But spelling veterinarian kinda made me nervous.  I figured if I couldn’t spell the job title, it might be too hard.  I was right – chemistry kicked that idea completely to the curb when I was a junior in high school.

Then there was the dream of dancing. Sugar plums.  Swans.  Broadway.  Jazz.  I loved moving my body anyway I wanted. Letting the music flow through me then releasing it into the world in a completely different form.  However, the knee broke, and my 10 year old self cried as I watched that dream spin off the theatre stage and into the storage chest of memories.

There were many other dreams in between.  I was one of those who stumble around a lot before I figure it out. Yet somehow, when I became a teacher, I realized  that one dream was the dream that had always been a part of everything I did.  Playing school with my dolls.  Playing school with my friends.  Teaching friends and younger neighbors how to twirl a baton.  Teaching Sunday school and Bible school.  Teaching disabled kids how to swim and enjoy the water (while I  hated the water intensely and still do). Life experiences that should have given me a clue, but I missed them all and just stumbled into teaching.  

Godwinks are beyond my understanding, but I love them.

“And Yeshua said to them, “Come after me, and I shall make you to become fishers of men.~Matt 4:19

Tonight’s prayer for pastors and their spouses circles around those life dreams we all have. Praying that you continue to see yourselves as “fishers” in the stormy waters of life – that you continue to  hold firm to the course the WORD set 5778 years ago – continue to let His light be in your eyes every time you look out at the “fish” He has placed in your waters – continue to wake up in the morning with His praise on your lips, and wonder at where you will be “fishing” today – continue to let His hands uphold you as you mend the broken nets or the aging boat that carries you forth into any storms that cross the horizon – continue to sing His blessing over all those fish that have chosen to jump in your nets and even those who have chosen to swim the other way.

Tonight, I can almost hear Yeshua praying this ancient blessing over you as I imagine He prayed it any times in His life.  

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”~Num 6:22-27  [google images]