Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Holy Week Thoughts

 A poem prompted by Maundy Thursday commemorating the Last Supper (Luke 22)





Ordinary Men On Their Way to Supper

Long before Passover Feast, something lingers in the air

Something mysterious, foreboding, and yet prophetic

Philip, hears, Follow Me

Andrew, James, Thomas, and Bartholomew desert their nets

Matthew, tax collector, finishes, with no misgivings

Jude leaves the fields with a sense of urgency--get to Jerusalem

James experiences grief and, yet, joy without understanding

Simon, his arguments now inconsequential, quiets, seeks out his brothers

Peter and John go into the city to seek a man carrying a water jar

A man who knows of a large upper room, already furnished

Judas, prompted by Satan, grows restless

Ordinary men, already deeply spiritual

Not knowing their feet would be washed by the promised Messiah

Not yet grasping the sacredness of shared bread and wine

Not knowing they would argue over who was the greatest

Not knowing one of them would deny his Master

Not knowing Judas would betray their Savior with a kiss

Not comprehending the magnitude of their commission

Ordinary men coming face-to-face with the Glory of God

 

 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Ready, Set, Go...

 Track is a little like life. In this sport, we know where the race starts and where the race ends. Life differs in that we know where we started, but the finish line remains a mystery.


With track, everything is laid out: the lanes, put one foot in front of the other, keep going, the finish line. No surprises here....

With life, there are no lanes painted on an all-weather track. We don't know what's around the curve or where the finish line lies. It seems to be more of a roller coaster ride--scary, adventurous, messy--to places we've never even imaged or wanted to.... Hurdles, stumbles, quicksand--and it goes on and on.

There is no end to the "ready, set, go".  A new job, another baby, a relationship challenge, a financial or health issue. There are periods of time when each morning seems a "ready, set, go."

The use of the word "go" is used many times in the Bible, from when the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you." To the verse in Matthew, "Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Some things don't change a lot. The sport of track being one of them.
Some things in life don't change a lot. From generation to generation to generation, it's been a "ready, set, go" kind of routine.


Someday, that will all change. There will be a finish line. A permanent finish line, a glorious finish line. Knowing that, let us remember Timothy's words, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

                                         Ready, set, go...

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Valentine's Day, 2021

Negative 17 my phone ap reads. The furnace runs repeatedly, its fan moans occasionally, and I wonder when it will admit it's had enough and say, forget it, I'm done. After almost a year of physically distancing, masking, etc., Valentine's Day looks like it will playout like most other days in February. 

I turn on Dr. Charles Stanley's ministry, 6:30 service, with a breakfast of raisin bran and toast on a tray on my lap, my heaviest robe enveloping me. The sermon title: "Love Lessons." Within a minute, I push pause, set my breakfast aside and locate pen and notebook. The word love always gets my attention. 💖 While a bowl of cereal grows soggy, I listen and take notes:

Love is more than an emotion; it is a commitment to another person. Love can discern true love in others (like radar). If you go through life unloved, you will have missed what life is all about. When a person truly feels love, it enables him to have three other important emotions: feelings of completeness, competent-ness, worthiness. Love is always thinking about the other person. If you're talking to someone, and they often use me, myself, I--be weary. Love gives, love is forgiving, love desires to express itself, love is patient. When you learn to love, God will change the direction of your life and you will discover life at its best. 

Want this? According to Dr. Stanley, read the Bible, talk to God. Dying on the cross was the greatest act of love. EVER. And, we who already have this, have a divine obligation to touch every generation of the love of God. DIVINE, isn't it?

Later, we bundle up and pick up carry-out lunch from a local restaurant. Steak, skewered shrimp, chicken parmesan, mashed potatoes and eat from an environmentally unfriendly Styrofoam box while we consider its impact on the planet's ecological system.

My husband's brother calls during our meal (the "gas man") from Missouri where temps are equally miserable and road ice an issue. He'd been working since 6 a.m. --delivering propane to keep houses and families warm.

After lunch, it's a good book, Mrs. Einstein; and on television, Monk, with husband David. It doesn't take chocolates, roses, candle-light--although they're all very special. Where's the love? It's in the appreciation of a cup of hot cocoa during church on u-tube, having a place to pick up excellent food just down the street, calls from family, a warm house with a complaintive furnace, worthy discussions, laughter... Someone to share it all with, ... whether this person is in the house or a phone call away or "on the radar" ....and in your heart. And, remembering, that spending time with God is at the top of the list. 

Happy Valentine's Day. 💖

Choose love. Choose divine love. 


Friday, January 1, 2021

On My Way

 2021 .... 

I am more careful than I used to be. 

Winter meant sliding on ice as a child. Now, if I see it, I toddle like a Penguin. 

Life is kind of that way, too, especially as the years pass--progressing through life with careful steps.

People speak of a new normal. We have little idea of what this will look like. With a definition of usual, typical, expected, the word may become obsolete. In other words, there may be no "normal." 

And so, we tread carefully. 

Yesterday, I came upon the "Ten Top Questions God asked in the Bible."  It's interesting how what applied in ancient days still applies today.

1) Where are you?

2) What is this you have done?

3) Where have you come from and where are you going?

4) What is your name? 

5) What is that in your hand?

6) What are you doing here?

7) Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?

8) Whom shall I send?

9) Do you have reason to be angry?

10) Son of Man, can these bones live?

These are questions God asked of  Adam and Eve through Ezekiel with points to be made, lessons to be learned. I could ask these questions of myself, each day of my life, to help keep me on course. They are especially relevant, now, with a new beginning, 2021. 

The tick tock of the clock does not stop. We're at a crossroads. We're on our way--sometimes pushed, sometimes pulled--whether we want to or not. 

Tread carefully. 

Stay close to your Redeemer King.

Pray. Praise.







Tuesday, December 29, 2020

FOMO, JOMO, WWJD

FOMO, fear of missing out, is a current social media acronym. 

As a young person, I thought I should at least know as much as my friends did--about what was going on in our world, what was going on at school, what was going on with them. At seventy some years of age, I do not like to clutter my head with stuff I do not need to know. 

However, I do learn something new on most days. If you listen to the news occasionally, use any form of social media, or have a book handy at bedtime, the opportunities are limitless. I actually became aware of FOMO while reading a daily devotional; I also became aware of JOMO, joy of missing out, at the same time.

With political divisions, indecisiveness, criminal behaviors, etc., I have no fear of missing out on what is happening in our country. Fear of what is happening is more likely. Perhaps JOMO would make it possible for many of us to get a better night's sleep. If you have a tendency to be less social to begin with--you already understand this JOMO as you are out on your personal walk, gazing at the clouds, listening to the birds. 

Fear doubts the goodness of God's grace.

Walking around with your head in the clouds or buried in the sand is not the answer either.

Let's go back to a popular acronym with Christians several years ago. There were bracelets or sweatshirts with WWJD imprinted on them.

WWJD, what would Jesus do, is an encouragement to live the same way that Jesus would. Impossible? Yes, however, it is what God desires for us to strive for. 

WWJD, spelled backwards, could be "devil just won't win" .... And, basically, that's what it comes down to when you put your trust in Him.  FOMO? Fear of missing out on God's plan for your life? Pray. He'll guide you. JOMO? Every day will be blessed in some way when you walk with your Creator God--and put worldly concerns in His hands. Yes, there will be joy and an incredible peace that is not possible anywhere else. Anywhere.


2021 begins soon. 

WWJD

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2






Saturday, December 26, 2020

Doggo: Just One More Christmas Story

 Our grand daughter cuddled with her Dad one evening during Christmas week. An Advent Calendar, dollhouse, decorated tree just for her own room, a shelf with dozens of books filled this four-year old's bedroom--along with more than a dozen stuffed animals scattered about. Because she had a love for all creatures, every imaginable critter gathered here--in the corners, the closet, under the bed, behind the door. She especially had deep, sincere feelings for her soft and cuddly dog, Doggo--always knowing his whereabouts. 

She had diapered this plush creature, washed him with wet wipes as needed, kept him warm in blankets, made a bunkbed for him, fed him, potty-trained him. She was the Momma for Doggo. It was bedtime, and therefore, story time. And story time usually meant Doggo was present, too, predictably wrapped in her arms. 

Her father, thinking that this four-year old daughter of his, could benefit from the real meaning of Christmas, told her about Joseph and Mary, their journey to Bethlehem, and the birth of the baby, Jesus, in a manger--shepherds on the way. She listened intently, her eyes never leaving his face--realizing the seriousness of this revelation.

"And this is why we celebrate Christmas," Daddy finished. "Because it is Jesus' birthday." 

She looked at her dad with a look of wonder, took a deep breath, and said, "Daddy, it's Doggo's birthday, too!" And, smiled. 

When I heard this precious story, I thought, "So cute, but she kind of missed the point."

Just today, December 26th, I got the point!

Our grand daughter in her loving environment, with her loving parents--a daddy's story, a creature she adored in her arms--felt love. God is love. He sent his only Son to prove this love. 1 John 4:16 starts with God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him...."

And, of course, Let the little children come to me... for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these... from Matthew.

Happy Birthday Jesus.

And, Happy Birthday Doggo and to the rest of creation's critters.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tell Your Story

 A little over 2000 years ago, a very pregnant Mary was riding a donkey on her way to Bethlehem--the city of David. Bethlehem was the place where God first's appointed earthly king, David, was born and raised as a shepherd boy 1000 years before Mary took her journey.


Because Mary and Joseph were both of the lineage of David, they made this trip to take part in a census as was the law during the time. 

We know the story: they ended up in a stable because there was no room in the inn. A stable with noisy and smelly animals. A stable where the Christ child was born. Can you imagine Mary's thoughts? Gabriel had told her she would give birth to a son, that his name would be Jesus. He would be called the Son of the Most High; his kingdom would never end.    
....Talk about over-whelming....

Listen to the song, "Mary Did You Know"... just google it. It will help you understand the magnitude of all this: Jesus' birth!

2000 years later, here we are. It's our story, too, because we are all of the family of Christ. 

Some stories are told. 
Some stories are left untold. 
Tell your story. 
Tell what it means to believe in Christmas.