Sunday, March 31, 2013

Beautiful thoughts on love...

We had twelve adults, our two boys, and thirteen  little grandchildren (plus friends) over for Easter, all thirty of us: we multiplied!  "all because two people fell in love."

"You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart"
"When I first met her
I knew in a moment
I would have to spend
the next few days
re-arranging my mind
so there'd be room
for her to stay."
F. Scott Fitzgerald
"To love another person
is to see the face of God."
Les Miserables
"To be loved and chosen by a good man
is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman;
and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience."
Louisa May Alcott
"No one falls in love by choice.
It's by chance. 
No one stays in love by chance.
It's by work.
And no one falls out of love by chance.
It's by choice.
"My mother told me to pick the very best one
and you are it!"
"Therefore, behold I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness,
And speak kindly to her...
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope...
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth...
And I will betroth you to Me forever...
in lovingkindness and in compassion,
And I will betroth you in faithfulness ..."
Hosea 2:14, 15, 19, 20
Easter Baskets:  I have to think ahead to have something for each of my thirteen little grandchildren and two boys.  The best thing to give them are happy memories and a Christian heritage. I don't have much of  a bucket list to do before I kick it, but I can count my blessings in the things I already have: my basket is overflowing. There are always things you wish you could have taken out, but here goes.*  This is for me, but you may come along...
1.  Gone dune-buggying, a lot, in Morro Bay.
2.  Gone surfing, well, tried to surf...
3.  Gone on miles of bike rides (I was on a sting ray while they had their ten speeds).
4.  Gone body surfing in Laguana Beach.
5.  Gone gold panning on the Smith River.
6.  Climbed mountain peaks above timber line in Colorado.
7.  Gone deep sea fishing off Hearst Castle.
8.  Gone dumpster diving, metal detecting, and digging in ghost town dumps.
9.   Jeeping on four-wheel drive roads in Colorado.
10. Gone gooey-neck clamming on the Morro Bay sandspit.
11. Gone horse back riding.
12. Stood on the shore of one of the Great Lakes and Crater Lake.
13.  Flown in a small plane.
14.  Flown in a large plane.
15. Gone hunting & to a shooting range with my NRA card.
16. Gone fishing with minnows from a boat and from the shore with bobbers.
17. Gone fly fishing.
18. Gone to rodeos.
19. Gone to the Kansas City Royale Horse Show.
20. Gone to a Lippizon Horse Show.
21. Gone to Hunnington Library Art Museum and San Diego Art Museums.
22. Heard the "Messiah" by LDS choir in KCMO.
23. Watched "Jesus Christ Superstar" in a theater in the round.
24. Went to Ramona Outdoor Pagent.
25. Went to Julian Hot Springs.
26. Went to K.C. Swope Park Outdoor Musicals "Oklahoma," "Porgy & Bess," "Shenendoah."
27. Went south of the boarder.
28. Went on a mission to a Navajo Reservation.
29. Went on a cruise to Baja seeing whales and sea turtles.
30. Vacationed on a house boat at Lake Shasta.
31. Turned in a portfolio, interviewed and turned down a job at Hallmark cards at their headquarters: (we were moving to take our first church by the time they offered the artist position.)
32. Been to the Happiest Place on Earth beginning when I was three and the park was new.
33. Been on a roller coaster out over the ocean at Pacific Ocean Park.
34. Been to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk since a child.
35. Been on the oldest mining train between Durango and Silverton.
36. Been to the Nutcracker at the Pasadena Theater.
37. Been to the Rose Bowl and slept on the 50 yd line at a Girl Scout Jamboree and to Jayhawk basketball games, football, and track meets at KU.
38. Walked thirty miles to raise money for hunger in Pasadena.
39. Been in a real slanted house, an old mining shack about to fall down.
41. Stopped too long in a bear enclosure and had grizzlies chewing on my rear windows.
42. Been to the K.C. Zoo, S.F. Zoo,  Sac. Zoo, Sea World, and animal parks.
44. Watched Steve Prefontaine run in a track meet in the seventies and watched international teams practice before the LA Olympics at the Point Loma Campus in the eighties , and saw a cow fall and slide down a snowy slope on its rump in the nineties.
45.  Been to many Padres, KC Royals, Dodgers, & Giants games, have seen same players on 3 teams.
46. Saw Pres. George W. Bush campaigning close enough to shake hands.
47. Heard Jesse Jackson speak.
48. Been to Christian concerts too numerous to count.
49. Been to Lake Louise in the snow in Canada.
50. Camped in Banff with the elk.
51. Had an art show in a gallery.
52. Gone sailing on a small boat in the ocean.
53. Gone on Lake Tahoe Paddle Wheeler.
54. Saw a Gilbert &Sullivan outdoor musical at Occidental College.
55. Saw the Natural History Museum on Victoria Island.
56. Rode the ferry.
57. Went to Billy Graham Pastor's conferences in Vancover and Lake Louise, Canada.
58. Been on the train from Sacramento to Grand Junction, Colorado, several trips.
59. Rode a city bus as the only passenger from LAX to Pasadena.
60. Went to the Pasadena Writer's Club with my Grandmother.
61. Heard the tornado sirens and sought shelter.
62. Been in earthquakes.
63. Been in the flood of '97 and had to be evacuated.
64. Been in a house that fell off its foundation.
65. Had pet squirrels.
66. Been in a mine & have ridden in an ore cart.
67. Been to the Lake of the Ozarks and Branson.
68. Rode Greyhound from Marysville to San Antonio, Texas.
69. Crossed picket lines being cursed at to go to work.
70. Been in the house my great-great grandfather built in Georgetown, Texas.
71. Been in a gang/street fight in Sacramento and robbed by Moa the Samoan.
72. Been racially profiled and pulled over for being a white person in an all back area in KCMO.
73. Been a witness in a murder trial.
74. Been to church in a VFW dance hall, in the oldest Protestant church this side of the divide, in a  home church, in the Marysville Library, in the Am. Legion Post with the nursery in the bar, outdoors amphitheaters, in state park campgrounds, in a Baptist Church, a Catholic Church, a Prebysterian Church, a Chinese Temple, in old movie theaters, took commuinion in Anaheim stadium, in shacks on an Indian reservation, in campground tabernacles fanning ourselves with paper fans, in school gymnasiums, in Seventh Day Adventist sanctuaries, in a one hundred year old school house, in the redwoods, in my living room, from the days of ladies wearing hats with large rims, to pillboxes and matching hats, shoes, purses, and gloves, to jeans, shorts, and barefoot.
75. Been to Yellowstone after the fires, still smoking a year later.
76. Been to Yosemite.
77. Been to Bryce.
78. Been to the cliff dwellings and Hopi ruins.
79. Almost rode in a hot air balloon: it was inflated, but the wind picked up too strongly.
80. Rode zip lines and walked behind waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.
81. Nearly was in a landslide; watched it come down the mountain.
82. Been in a major league Giants baseball pitcher's home and have seen his bat collection and heard his testimony.
83. Sat on my roof, after wetting it down, watching a fire coming up the hill.
84. Taken archery, synchronized swimming, parallel bars, the uneven parallels, and the horse.
85. Spent lazy days on a pontoon boat.
86. Water skiied and skim boarded.
87. Played powderpuff football.
88 .Hit a home run won my sixth grade class ice cream cones on a bet.
89. Been robbed six times.
90. Been on a high school tennis team and taken college tennis and badmitton.
91. Been personally yelled at by a state senator for my stand on abortion.
92. Have sung on courthouse steps protesting abortion.
93. Was interviewed on TV only to have my dog chase them away.
94. Have watched most of my grandchildren being born.
95. Made ornaments for the National Christmas Tree.
96. Have seen the KC Plaza lit up on Christmas.
97. Have gone on hayrides..
98. Have seen golf-ball sized hail, heat lightning and resulting fires.
99. Have used outhouses, bought ice cream from a horse drawn cart in front of my house, brought in the glass milk jugs off the porch, used metal adjustable skates tightened with a key, had black & white TV when we finally got one, have had avacado and harvest yellow appliances, and hung my laundry out on the line. 
100. Have eaten wild mushrooms a friend picked and served.
101. Have milked a cow.
102. Found garnets, ore specimens from gold and silver mines, and dug for apache tears (a stone).
103. Raised chickens, and had 24 turtles, and a rabbit, parakeets, have had 5 cats, and 12 dogs and lots of gold fish.
104. Beat everyone in fourth grade arm wrestling.
105. Have been the leading lady in a play (sixth grade).
106. Have given a concert singing with a good friend.
107. Have published a book and illustrated another.
108. Have seen porpoises, dolphins, seals, whales, otters - sea & fresh water, whopping cranes, bears - black and grizzlies, elk, deer, buffalo, lynx, beaver, ermines, conies, woodchucks, weasles, big horn sheep, rocky mountain goats, and angry rattlers, all in the wild.
109. Have found arrowheads at the ocean, at the Lake of the Ozarks, in New Mexico, and Arizona,
110. Have ridden on a jet boat on the Rogue River and a small amphibious tank at a duck club,and took a tour of an aircraft carrier.
111. Have been to Hoover Dam, swam in Lake Powell, been to the Grand Canyon, and dinosaur digs.
112. Been to demolition derbies and church fights.
113.  Painted the Pirate in the middle of the Morro Bay High School basketball court and the number on my friend's car in the demolition derby.
114. Was voted most feminine in my high school and turned down a nomination for prom queen, never drank, smoked, took drugs, or went to a dance.
115. Have seen mighty sweeping revival service at a campground with hours of seekers at the altar weeping & rejoicing with no preaching.

 My bucket is overflowing and I count my blessings.  Notice that not many things in my blessings are things, just a few animals, arrowheads, and ore samples: the rest are memories.  *Just because I did some of these things didn't mean I did them well, especially anything athletic.  It was an experience, not an accomplishment!

What's in your bucket?  You might be surprised by your blessings.  Start counting.

What's in my bucket list to do before I die?  See a moose and have all my children and grandchildren walk with God.

As fragile as the pink blossoms on blooming trees, little lives hang on to tiny branches of life.  It seems that too many have not been allowed to grow beyond that lovely flowering of new life.  Tragedy.  Families rejoice.  Families grieve.  We celebrate our little Jack Marquis successful heart surgery, healthy newborns of friends, and the progress of other infants in ICU we've prayed for, but the past days and months have brought not such good news to other mothers.  I remember when our little Ezra was in the NICK unit after birth, and we observed the bubbles around those whose lives hung in the balance, tiny beyond belief.   We were told that his tests revealed insurmountable deficiences, but God knew differently.  That is not a happy road to travel, sleep-when it came-on plastic hospital chairs, waiting to hear the worst.  Ours ended well, however, unlike others.  Prayers recently surrounded another who was able to breathe a sigh of relief when a disastrous diagnosis for her unborn child was reversed, from no hope to hope.  The impact of trying to save little lives is hard for the health care workers as well as they go home from sad days where the battle is sometimes lost and hug their children tighter and cry their tears in private.

"Were love and gratitude to (God) banished from every other human heart, surely they would swell in a young mother's breast, as she gazes upon the little creature undeniably His gift, and feels the full gushing tide of rapture ever attendant on maternal love.  Surely in such a moment there must be whisperings of devotion, leading the soul in gratitude to the beneficient Giver of her babe, or swelling it with prayer to guide that precious charge aright.  It may be, that doubts of her own capability of executing a task, as solemnly important as inexpressibly sweet, may naturally arise; but these doubts, instead of leading her to give up the task in despair, should lead her to the footstool of her God in prayer; and her petition, even as that of Hannah was, will be granted."  Grace Aguilar, 1816-1847

Mary must have thought of this at the birth of Jesus as well as at the foot of the cross.

"Love the people
God gave you
because one day
He might want them back."
Ernest Hemingway won a contest for the shortest story that can make people cry:
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
"And He (God Himself, personally) shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain..."
Rev. 21:4

Aren't you glad that we celebrate Easter with a Saviour who conquered sin and death!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Love my peeps.  When I was a little girl growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, we walked home from some shopping center's Easter egg hunt with special prizes of live chicks.  Some were dyed hot pink, some purple, or green as if they were eggs, not peeping babies.  I picked yellow ones "au natural." Walking home that day, we gathered some more from other winners who, the closer they got to home, knew their parents wouldn't let them keep them.  We held out hope, and our parents said, "Yes!"  We raised those babies into mean roosters that chased the farmer who adopted them.. 

When Robin was little, all she wanted her first three years was a chicken.  "What do you want for Christmas?" "A chicken."  "What do you want for your birthday?" "A chicken."  Finally, I found a real deal chick, taxidermied up right pretty for her.  She was in love with her dead chicken and took it to school for show and tell.  It was so cute!  She even took it to the bathroom with her until it fell in the toilet.  It never smelled quite right after that, and so like magic, it disappeared.  The girls had real live chickens as pets in high school, but the poultry didn't have indoor plumbing privileges.

The children had an adopted grandma in our church in Oregon who was a Cherokee. Velma remembers as a young child in Oklahoma while her mother worked the corn field, an older sister was assigned to watch her.  Much to her mother's consternation when she came back from a hard, hot day of hoeing, there were little chicks running around the yard in cute little clothes.  Velma's sister had sewn doll clothes on the chics to entertain her.

Jesus must have loved chickens.  Of all the thoughts Easter week, He sat looking over Jerusalem and thought of chickens.  Did He once have the job of caring for the chickens for Mary when He was young?  Did He have a soft spot for chickens like my dad did for his little childhood banties?  Jesus said, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem...How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."  (Matthew23:37)  Just four verses earlier he had called the scribes and Pharisees, "You serpents, you brood of vipers..."  Hawks and snakes are natural born chicken dinner lovers.  There's nothing much to a chicken in the way of defense, except for mother love.  When the shadow of a hawk flies overhead or the mother hen's beady eye spots the slithering menace, she calls her little flock to her to hide under her wings.   The unwilling, wayward ones become easy prey.  Where are you this Easter?  Are you unwilling to run to His grace?  His wings are outstretched.  The shadow of the enemy of your soul is across the land. Run!

Jesus loved the children.  The week before His suffering, after the Triumphal Entry, children followed Him into the temple crying out His praises: "'Hosanna to the Son of David,' they became indignant, and said to Him, 'Do You hear what these are saying?'  And Jesus said to them, 'Yes; have you never read, Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast prepared praise for Thyself?' Matthew 21:15-16.  As for His disciples who were praising Him, He said, "If these become silent, the stones will cry out!" Luke 19:39-40  He is a beautiful Saviour, "All nature sings and round Him rings the beauty of the sphere." ("This is My Father's World.")
The two days in Disneyland in the springtime with my beautiful grandchildren was like a sample of heaven, except when deliriously happy turned into deliriously-so-exhausted-and-overwhelmed-I-have-to-kick-and-scream-awhile.  Just before a magical moment in the kingdom and Mickey was about to appear in the parade, Ezra had had it with the cramped quarters and the hour wait and no nap and had to cry it out.  As I elbowed out of the crowd with a flailing well deserved terrible two trantrum, I finally found an unoccupied piece of ground upon which he could pound and kick.  One preschooler walked by, broke free from his mother, ran back and asked, "Is something wrong with him?"  "Nothing a nap won't cure."  He got over it in time to cut back through the crowds again, threading under ropes in time to see the Mouse himself to his utter joy . Perhaps, it was a little like that on Palm Sunday so long ago.  Perhaps we have kicked and done our share of screaming almost missing the arrival of our King who deserves our praise.  Hosannah!
Beauty is more than just in the eye of the beholder...Wasn't it fascinating what Prof. Ken shared on a recent Sunday on the perfect ratio in math and science that is evident in God's signature in beauty.  It is in the proportions in what is universally recognized as the beauty of a human face, seen in nature, and measurements used by artists since the Renaissance, and later he told how it was even used in the famous picture of The Last Supper.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder because God created us to recognize His signature in beauty.  Beauty sings out His praise.  Perfection to infinity and beyond!

"To love beauty is to see light."
Victor Hugo
"In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be."
Ben Jonson, 1573-1637
"...and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
full of grace and truth."
"Fairest Lord Jesus! Ruler of all nature!
O Thou of God and man the Son!
Thee will I cherish; Thee will I honor,
Thou my soul's glory, joy and crown!
Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring.
Jesus is fairer; Jesus is purer
Who makes the woeful heart to sing!
Fair is the sunshine; Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host.
Jesus shines brighter; Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heav'n can boast!
Beautiful Savior!  Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of man!
Glory and honor, Praise adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!" 
annonymous German Hymn 1677

"Praise Him, Praise Him,
All ye little children.
God is love,
God is love."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The "Happiest Place on Earth" is a fitting description for Disneyland.  It is so crowded with people who have come from all over the world mostly to spend (literally spend$) time with their children and/or grandchildren.  I only heard two cross words for two days in a crowd of thousands upon thousands who spent most of their time in long lines.  Amazing!  When one lady walked past dropping piles of money, the crowd quickly called her back so she could recover her cash.  When our toddlers kicked or pulled their shoes off, many people were quick to retrieve them for us.  It was with horror when one mother cried out having lost her child, but immediately she was surrounded with help and comforted.  Kindness was on everyone's lips from the employees to the masses.  The park's accomodations for the handicapped is to be commended.  Our granddaughters shuddered when the unspeakable happened: someone dared to sneak onto the Dumbo ride without waiting in line.  The crooks were quickly apprehended, and the rest of our party was safely put aboard.  How low can you stoop?  Imagine grown-ups stealing rides from children! That was the exception to the overall courteous atmosphere as mice rubbed shoulders with men and princesses blew little girls kisses.  Creativity and beauty reign as real birds twitter in the blooming trees where fantasy comes alive.  Heaven will be even more wonderful, more than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams, only our feet won't hurt from all the walking. 

Coming back to our lovely high-rise hotel late at night, walking past the grand piano under a huge chandalier, little almost two year old Addie chirped, "This is Grandma Ceya's house!"  All she knew was that she wasn't home, but Grandma was there.  "My" guest house is pretty fancy!
Actually, Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us that is beyond any comparison to the grandest of the grand. 

"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."  Matthew 14:2-3

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I read a devotional with a listing of the ten Bible verses I want my children, (and grandchildren), to know.  How can one pick from so many but I'm going to try. I have to sometimes give whole passages or chapters and could not limit myself to ten.  What a wonderful idea to pass on the verses you have most cherished in your life to the next generation.  This is where it is a privilege to be able to teach children's church and weekly teach Scriptures to the children.  It is a blessed event to hear a whole class repeat God's Word and so many are my grandchildren and your children!  So here's my baton of verses...

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son
that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish,
but have everlasting life."
*John 3:16
"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:1, 14
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righeousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you,
and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great,
for so they persecuted the prophets who were you before you."
*Matthew 5:3-12
"Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
*Matthew 6:9-13
"And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said,
'Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children,
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever then humbles himself as this child,
he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble,
it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck,
and that he be drowned in the dpth of the sea.'"
Matthew 18:2-6
"Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth."
Psalm 73:25
"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow...
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit."
Psalm 51:7, 10-12
" Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory,
having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;
but that she should be holy and blameless."
Ephesians 25-27
"Finally, be strong in the Lord,
and put on the full armor of God,
that you may be able to stand firm
against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness
in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God,
that you may be ble to resist in the evil day,
and having done everything, to stand firm.
Stand firm therefore,
having girded your loins with truth,
and having put on the breastplate of reighteousness,
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace;
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able
to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit,
and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance..."
*Ephesians 6:10-18
"Every good thing bestowed
and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
James 1:17
"...but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."
I John 1:7
"My little children, I am writing these things to you
that you may not sin.
And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous...
I John 1:1
"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish."
*Psalm 1
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing,
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations."
*Psalm 100
"The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil; for Thou are with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou dost prear a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Thou has anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
*Psalm 23
"Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
trust also in Him,
and He will do it...
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret..."
*Psalm 37:3-7
"HO! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters...
Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways My ways,"  declares the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from the heaven,
and do not return there without watering the earth,
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it..."
Isaiah 55:1, 6,8-11
"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
  And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes..."
Jeremiah 36:25-27
"And I saw heaven opened;
and behold a white horse,
and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True...
And He has is clothed with a robe dipped in blood;
and His name is called The Word of God."
Revelation 19:11-12
Oh my!!! I just have to quit, but just look at all those red words by Jesus Himself I am leaving out!  Many of these are verses and chapters I learned in elementary school (marked with a *).  My church, Breesee Avenue Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, California, had a Bible memorization program that a local jeweler donated pins with diamond, ruby, and saphire chips in them as rewards.  The greater reward is how these verses have stayed with me over the years, which reminds me,
"Thy word I have treasured (hid) in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee."
Psalm 119:1
Others are verses that I must keep in the back pocket, on my forehead or ones I would paint over my doorposts, if I wasn't so lazy, to see me through or with which to help others.  Which ones of your favorites did I leave out?


Friday, March 22, 2013

Last week the new neighbors' rottweiler was unchained and broke through our wooden fence in as many places as he stuck his head to get to us.  My big dog was willing to protect me and my weiner dog offered to be the hors d'oeuvre as I forced the fence boards back down on his massive head.  Fortunately the owner pulled the dog away. Now, like a good neighbor, the dog is not there.  They sent him away. Their beloved pet was our predator and we were the prey: now I know what it's like to be on the bottom of the food chain.  I had tried to make friends sweetly calling to Rufus as he snarled, snapped, lunging and growling from his chain like they suggested, but to no avail. We are so blessed to have our yard back.  You don't know what a strain it is to be under attack until calm returns.  Peace.  Sometimes pets become dominant and take over our lives: pet habits, pet activities, pet loves.  Sometimes we need to let go to have peace.

"Do not concern thyself about who is for thee or against thee; but take care to act so that God will be with thee in everything that thou doest.  Keep clean thy conscience, and God will defend thee, for he that receiveth the protection of God, no man's malice shall be able to harm thee."
Thomas a Kempis
In Beth Moores book of the martyrs, she tells of one missionary boy's memory verse,
"Be strong and contagious!"
("courageous") Deut. 31:6
"Five Rules for Happiness
1.  Free your mind from hatred: forgive.
2.  Force your mind from worries: trust.
3.  Live simply: gratitude.
4.  Give more: generosity.
5.  Expect less: satisfaction.
"Where have all the young men gone, long time passing?"  Perhaps it's reading "Sarah Morgan, a Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman," or hearing the anniversary of the war in the Middle East erupting in more violence,  I'm sad, but grateful thinking of all the soldiers who have sacrificially served, been wounded and died.  I grew up listening to  Peter, Paul, and Mary. I loved to sing those haunting melodies of anti-war songs: even though I'm not a dove, I feel sorrow over the tragic consequences of war.

One of my early memories was of a primary class Sunday School trip to the old folk's home in Lawrence, Kansas.  It was a three story, unpainted, rickety old building older than any living creature in town.  I don't remember if we sang songs, quoted Bible verses, or handed out treats, but I remember all the staring hollow eyes. Though I'm sure we youngsters were a sight for their sore eyes after they'd just been sitting around looking at each other's wrinkles, I'm pretty sure all I did was stand there with wide eyes, mouth gaping in paralyzed horror.  Many must have been World War I veterans with their wispy hair and long white beards.  They looked more like ghosts of the Civil War . Finally a toothless grinning lanky man in his long white nightshirt offered us hard candy from his dish.  I was the only one who took one and popped it in my mouth finally happy to have something I understood.  Once on the outside our teacher said, "No one ate his candy did they?"  Everyone shook their little heads "no," except me.  She continued, "because it looked like he'd been sucking on them."  No wonder they were so sticky!  Bleh!  I found out what my ministry wasn't that day, but I also learned the meaning of gluttony: me and sweets.  Actually, it is my ministry as part of the body of Christ to serve.  Like a good soldier I know when to wave a sweet soul of surrender.

"In God's will I can function according to His greatness, not according to my thoughts about a given situation...In God's will I will not be always judging my gift or His use of offer to a person who is hurting a cup of cold water, a word of encouragement, or a piece of bread.  In the church, which is a hospital, I may not be the surgeon, but I may be an orderly.  And as an orderly for Jesus, I have something to do for this sick world...
Roger Palmer, "Enjoying the Closeness of God" 

"The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old."
Proverbs 21:29-30

One time my heart was so burdened by a case of an assault on a friend's child that I went to bed broken hearted at this sinful ol' world.  When I woke it was as if to angels singing that quickly faded,but my soul had been restored.  In the  "Sarah Morgan, the Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman," who lost three brothers and her father in three short years as well as the loss of home and everything she had known and seeing first hand the horrors of war, Sarah writes of a similar experience.  It was shortly after the news of the death of two of her soldier-brothers just weeks before the end of the war, a final blow to their hopes...

"Coming home after Communion very much exhausted, I threw myself on the bed and soon fell asleep...I must have slept without a thought for two hours.  My first consciousness was of coming to life after death...The next instant I found myself awake whispering aloud, 'Let not the knowledge of sin come to my waking soul,' with a vague consciousness of having been in another world, and a feeling of awe as though God had talked to my soul.  Why not?  Did not our Lord say He would come unto those who love him, and make his abode there?...Let me believe it was the peace of God.  It has left me with a "peace that passeth understanding." (Philippians 4:7)

"Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience.  Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive.  Without God, there is a coarsening of society.  And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure."
Ronald Reagan
"The Bible is the only book
whose author is always present
 when one reads it."
I am reading "Sarah Morgan, Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman."  Sarah is sixteen when the war starts.  She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana leading a privileged life.  Her favorite brother dies in a duel, her father dies in an asthma attack a few weeks later, her brothers go off to war, three for the South, one for the North, leaving Sarah, her mother, and a just older sister.  Another brother tries to oversee their care as well as that of his wife and four little ones.  Alarms of attack, real and false, kept them scurrying for safer quarters of every description.  First their city was occupied by the Confederacy, then the Union.  Their home and belongings were pillaged with wanton destruction.  Finally they fled to a friend's plantation where their lives of privilege were temporarily restored as they entertained officers with balls and daily dinners and watched the bombings from their porches waiting months to hear if their brothers were dead or alive.  One ride to see the troops reviewed, a gunshot spooked the horse and Sarah was thrown from the carriage.  She was an invalid unable to walk for months with each doctor giving a different treatment and dire prediction.  Eventually, this haven was under attack, and they once more fled.  With no where else to turn, it was necessary to go to her Union brother  for safety and to avoid starvation, a bitter pill for Southern sympathizers having to swear their loyalty to the Union.  From seeing her friends slap their maids, to loyal family slaves, to those deserting to fight for the North, to happy times making sugar from the cane, she thought slavery was just fine.  Former officers who had been daily callers now were imprisoned after defeat, and the men could only watch them from the balconies of their make-shift prisons.  Their only comfort was to see that she was recovering and could once again walk.  By the end of the war two brothers were imprisoned and both died of sickness right before the end of the war. This diary is a real life exceptional glimpse of a gifted young woman's thoughts during this traumatic and sad chapter in our nation's history.  I've read over five hundred pages and it is not done yet.  As she escaped pillar to post, her diary was one of the few possessions she clung to.  Here is an excerpt from her exceptional thoughts recalling a conversation with her best friend before they were forced to evacuate...

"I can remember the yellow sunset that lighted up the grounds, the very dress Sophy wore, and the very half laughing, half sad expression of her sweet face as she asked 'Will we, must we grow old?  ...
Oh Sarah!  must we too grow old?' To which Sarah the calm replied, 'Why not?  What difference will age make?  Would you not be still Sophy, even if your hair was white?  Why should we not be friends still, though a mob cap should shade your black hair, as well as my tawny tresses?'  But Sophy with her pretty ways disliked the thought of growing old; and to comfort her, I said 'and I too wish to die young.'  What a shudder she gave!...'O no, let me to the day of Judgement!  I should go mad if I knew I had to die!' I don't know why it seemed to me so awful to her her talk so...yet a shudder, though not of sympathy passed over me.  I love to think of death. 'I would not live always.' I am  glad that I was born to die!  Death may be bitter; but I would rather endure its pain than forego the bliss of meeting father and Harry in the Hereafter.  Yes!...let me die young!  I don't want to out live old friends...I don't want to be forced into heaven through weariness of earth.  I want to go while I am yet happy and beloved, with my heart full of gratitude to God,and charity to man; I want to go because I love God, and feel He loves me; and I want to go before that feeling and that faith die away.  Why should we keep our Youth and beauty of form and heart for man, and prepare for heaven only when both fade away?  Is the dross only, a fit offering to God?"

Sarah Morgan was quite a beauty and a very unusual young woman.

"And in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me..."
Psalm 130:16
"The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief."

"You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."
The amazing thing about Sarah was that she could immediately forgive the man who shot her brother and the many injustices she faced, not hardly complaining when it seemed she would never walk again.
Other quotes from Sarah another day...
The gentle rain softened the ground so that even I was able to go out and pull most of the weeds around the garden.  Baby tomato plants were settled in while the strawberries are spreading their ground cover under the blueberry plants and beyond. More tomatoes, basil, lettuce, and green beans go in next.  This is the most exercise I get all year.  Normally, "my exercise routine consists of doing diddly squats." "I went for a run but came back in two minutes because I forgot something.  I forgot that I'm out of shape and can't run more than two minutes." "My bathing suit told me to go to the gym, but my sweat pants were like, 'nah, girl,'  you're good."

The only exercise I do is called housework, and that I do as little of as possible though I try to keep the exercise machine dusted. Since five out of the six of my mother's siblings had Alzheimer's, the most important thing for me to exercise is my brain, so I read and write and think.  One pastors' wives conference I attended in Idaho, a psychologist-author spoke, and her point was that we need to think: the trouble with the church and the world is that people are too busy to think for themselves.  That has always stuck with me.  We have become too shallow and complacent and prefer to be entertained, myself included.
 "Beware the barrenness of a busy life."
One of the fallacies that evolution has engrained in us is that people are getting smarter and smarter.  I beg to differ.  Yes, technology and inventions and science are soaring, but the average person has dumbed down.  Duh, just look at our language. See what I mean.  Yes, some societies advanced more than others, but we began as Adam and Eve living in a garden, not  a cave, made in the image of God.  Look at our failing schools.  Read books from the earlier centuries and see if you are not challenged.  Often young people went to college when they were thirteen and fourteen having mastered three or four languages in the early days of our country.  John Adam's son was sent as an ambassador to Europe before we would have even allowed him a driver's permit.  Exercise your brain.  Reading the Word is a good way to begin.  Study it.  Digest it.  Apply it.   Live it.  Listen.  Read.  Observe.  Think. Pray and ask God to reveal to you Truth. 
I'm not opposed to going to the gym, zumba, a habit of running or all the things I don't do, I'm just saying, it does no good if you do not exercise your mind and spirit as well.  Even mummies have well-preserved bodies, but they are dead.  Live well from the inside out.
"For this reason I say to you,
do not be anxious for your life,
as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink;
nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.
Is not life more than food, and
the body more than clothing?...
for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 6:25, 32-33
"I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship..."
Hebrews 121-2
I don't think Paul's talking about perfect physical specimen's of buff bodies, but our whole selves.  What are you giving your life and money to?  Do you tithe as much as you pay your gym membership? Do you present your body as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God?  Are your role models men and women in the flesh or spiritual examples?  What kind of role model are you?  That's what I'm talking about!  Become interested in the things God is interested in and give your life to that.  You have a big muscle between your ears.  Use it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Comfort, abide, joy, peace, harmony, trust, abundance, dwell, harvest, lovingkindness, wisdom, nest,
garden, forgiveness, gentleness, fruitful, wonder, nourish, purity, sanctuary, tender, understanding, well-pleased, encourage, hope, rest, and so, so many more wonderful, beautiful words in the Bible.  Each one wraps around my heart like a warm shawl on a cold day, or a waft of cool breeze in the heat of my day.   One word lodged in my soul can break forth like a fragile flower opening to the sun from a rough buried bulb.  Do you need a good word today?  Take comfort.  Let me help you pull it up around your weary shoulders. 

Ruth Graham was a single mother for many years as her husband was gone on the evangelistic crusade trail for much of the children's young years.  In her busy season, she kept a Bible open on her kitchen counter and would read a verse as she walked by.  Often she fed her soul not a full meal, not a sit down dinner, but  one bite at a time on the run.  Take a word and savor it. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
God keeps His holy mysteries
Just on the outside of man's dream...
things nameless!  Which, in passing so,
Do stroke us with a subtle grace...
Yet, touching so they draw above
Our common thoughts to Heaven's unknown;
Our daily joy and pain advance
To a divine significance,
Our human love--O mortal love,
That light is not its own!
Evelyn Underhill
Lord give me courage and love to open the door and constrain You to enter,
whatever the disguise You come in,
even before I fully recognize my guest.
Come in! Enter my small life!
Lay Your sacred hands on all the common things
and small interests of that life and bless and change them.
Transfigure my small resources, make them sacred.
And in them give me Your very Self.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring! Things to look forward to...  It is always best to enjoy events three times: in anticipation, in actuality, and in happy memories.  I will post extra blogs for when I am gone because I've been invited to be extra hands with my twinies, Avery & Ella (9) and Addie & Ezra (2), for their March birthday celebration at the happiest place on earth this weekend!  I also look forward to the rain forecast for flowers and little tomato plants and a garden waiting to be planted, to beautiful music on American Idol, to earthy episodes of the red neck ridiculousness of Duck Dynasty, to little league games, to my lovely ladies in my Bible studies, to my pile of good books I'm reading, and looking forward to Easter and the children's program singing, "The Five Gifts of Easter, Jesus Gave to me..." and to coming back to write more blogs. What are you looking forward to?

"She usually loved the sun to reign,
but today she enjoyed the surprise of rain."
"I like people who smile when it's raining."
"Sky above me,
Earth below me,
Fire within me."
and if I may, music around me.

This was one of my prayers before the twins were a twinkle in their eyes,
and now we are celebrating the birthdays of both sets of twins in March!

"Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your pegs..."
Isaiah 54:2
"The place is too cramped for me;
Make room for me that I may live here.
And who has reared these?
Behold I was left alone;
From where did these come?
...And they will bring your sons...
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders..."
Isaiah 49

"Where did you come from baby dear?
From out of the everywhere and into here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
From out of the sky as I passed through..."
George MacDonald

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My nine year old granddaughter has great eyesight: she can spot my car out of all the other generic silver cars same make & model across the school parking lot by the medical bracelet dangling from my rear view mirror.  So she shocked me today when she said, "Grandma, I've never seen your house dirty unless Noah and I make a mess."  Oh, don't kids say the cutest things?  It made me belly laugh.  I am not a housekeeper.  Like I say, I'm always shocked when the maid doesn't show up even though I don't have one.  "Moi?" Alas, it has been left to my lot, and I am very good at procrastination.  Who needs doilies when you can have layers of dust in intricate designs or cobwebs like beaded swags from your ceiling fan.  Ochre is my color of choice because it blends in so well with the dirt.  Bless you, child.  I guess if you pack enough dust collectors of interesting things so that your whole house is like ye old curiosity shop, then they might not notice the dust bunnies running around underfoot.  Also, if you bribe them with grandma goodie snacks, they might stay mum on the chocolate finger prints on the backs of the chairs. 

"Actually, I'm pretty sure chocolate tastes as good as skinny feels."

"Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the most important work."
Dr. John Trainer
"I would rather be ashes than dust."
Jack London
So go ahead and procrastinate on your date with spic and span
 and live a rich life that leaves finger prints.
 "And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them.  But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them,
'Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.' And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them."
Mark 10:13-16

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blurry selfie from laughter!

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made,
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half;
trust God: see all, nor be afraid!'"
"Let the wife make her husband glad to come home,
and let him make her sorry to see him leave."
Martin Luther
(He helped smuggle his wife out of a nunnery hidden in a wine barrel.

"...the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge..."
Ephesians 11:14
One commentator said that the pledge, the guarantee, is the same word as engagement ring in Greek.
We as the Bride of Christ must be faithful to our pledge as well.
One of my husband's aunts told me in the early years of our marriage, "It takes years to train these men!"  I've been too busy working on myself.  My man and I are truly thankful for the  45years of marriage.  There is much autonomy as well as being of one mind, even lively "discussions" to get there.  There is trust, respect, faithfulness. When you are best friends, there are no secrets.
Marriage is hard.  That is not a new phenomena.  John Wesley's first love was while a missionary to the colonies: he was spurned by a young woman who put him off in favor of another.  When he refused to serve her communion after that, it became a legal battle from which he escaped back to England to avoid.  His next choice made his brother Charles (the hymn writer) unhappy.  The brother out-rode John to the young lady's home and saw that she was married off to another before John arrived to propose.  The brothers had a little falling out over that one.  Finally, later in life, he was advised to be married, an arranged marriage sort of thing.  She was unhappy  since he was never home, and he couldn't understand why she wanted him to change.

John Wesley was a better brother and son than a husband.  John took care of his widowed mother and sometimes his sisters most of whom were "unlucky in love."  Hetty ran off with a lawyer scoundrel who refused to marry her as promised (shades of Pride and Prejudice).  She came home pregnant.  Her father married her off quickly to someone else then disowned her, but not John.  Another supported herself for years teaching school until she finally thought she had found true love.  Instead Mr. Harper wanted her for her meager wages and absconded with her savings abandoning her.  Two sisters were unhappy in their own love triangle wrangling back and forth over one fella.  He finally took them both to his rectory much to his mother Susannah Wesley' dismay.  One sister did find love.  Molly had been crippled due to the negligence of a servant when she was a baby.  A ministerial student her father tutored fell in love with her, they married, but she soon died in childbirth.

Susannah and Sammuel Wesley had their own falling out.  When she refused to pray for the king, Sammuel vowed to never share a bed until she repented.  He abandoned her, left his parish in the care of underlings and went to London for more than a year.  His family was even more destitute than usual. It was a political tiff that took the death of the king and an agreeable queen to rule as well as a disaster or two to bring them back under the same roof.  While he was gone, no one wanted to go to church to hear the visiting minister who preached to a mere handful of the faithful. Her Sunday evening devotions for her family were so much attended that her house swelled to a crowd of over two hundred from the neighborhood with many more being turned away from hearing her preach.  Her husband wrote to discourage it, but did not blantantly forbid her.

There is nothing better than a good marriage and nothing worse than a bad one.
Marriage is God's living example of His faithfulness as the perfect bridgegroom.
No groom could ever hold a candle to Him.

"I love thee,
I love thee with a love
that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold
and the stars grow old."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In the early days of the holiness movement, Dr. Bresee began a new church in downtown LA called "The Glory Barn."  Thousands came.  It wasn't tongues or signs and wonders, but the Presence of God among them. I have been in a service like that where the Presence of God is palpable, heavy and glorious.  Another holiness group called their place "Peniel," from the meaning of  Jacob's words after wrestling, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved." (Genesis 32:30)  That is Shekinah Glory.  So what is this glory, the Shekinah Glory of God?

Shekinah Glory.  I would like to string pearls along a strand for you...

The Shekinah Glory appeared to Moses in the burning bush.  It was the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day that went before them in the wilderness.  It filled the temple so that no one could enter, not even Moses.  It was there when God spoke on the mountain.  Moses' face shone with it so that he had to wear a veil.  It was there when Soloman dedicated the temple.  It was there when Jesus was born.  It was there when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus after His baptism.  It was in the temple residing between the cherabum on the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.  It was released when the curtain was rent in two and came to rest individually on the believers when the Holy Spirit came upon them with fire.  We become the temple of the Holy Spirit when He dwells in a heart cleansed from sin.  It has the meaning of dwelling or settling and a noun form has been used to describe birds nesting.  Thus it is a fire (cleansing) as well as an abiding,  unapproachable, but Presence, Emanuel, God with us, Christ in us.

*"And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom.  Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form--only a voice." Deut. 4:11-12

*"And it came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him...When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.  But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone.  So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him." Exodus 34:29-30, 33-35

*"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (dwelling place).  And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  And throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.  For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel."  Exodus 40:34-38

*"And it came about when the priests came from the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. I Kings 8:10-13

*"Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.  And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house.  And all the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord..." II Chronicles 7:1-3

*"Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple (Mishkan which is O.T. word for the Presence that lit the holy of holies when the Sh'chinah would come down like a tornado through the roof of the holy of holies and the Presence would manifest on the mercy seat between the cherubim and the blood was sprinkled that was the Miskan, not Mikdash, Hebrew word for the physical building.) and in three days I will raise it up...' But He was speaking of the temple of His body." John 2:19-21

*"...but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses..." Acts 1:8

*"And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (languages), as the Spirit was giving them utterance...Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound ocurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one speaking in his own language (dialect)." Acts 2:1-6

*"Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" I Cor. 3:16

So if God can bring His Shekinah Glory down upon a bush, do you think he can bring it upon you?
Jesus came to bring more than just another sacrifice for sin.  It was a once and for all sacrifice.  The difference He came to bring in the New Testament as opposed to the Old is that the Holy Spirit would come as the Shekinah Glory to dwell in our hearts to empower us to live holy lives.  We may not live perfect lives in our frail humanness, but can live in perfect intent and desire, perfect love with an undivided heart. 

If you are still reading this long blog, maybe you too ask, where is the power of the Holy Spirit now?  Where is the shining face of the Presence of the Shekinah Glory?  No longer do we go to meet God in the temple where we may not enter the holy of holies, but the curtain was torn top to bottom and now His Spirit, His glory, can rest upon each of us.

The disciples were believers but were huddled together in the upper room unsure of their next step, fearful of meeting the same end as their Lord, like Peter who denied Him three times.  But they were in one accord in prayer.  It was a gift just as had been their salvation.  It was a second work of God beyond salvation that Jesus came to bring: power and witness by the indwelling Presence of God.  The funny thing is that the fearful disciples hiding in the upper room were exposed and a crowd gathered because of the sound of the mighty rushing wind and their speaking in the different dialects.  Fear was gone.  Power to witness had come.

*"My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God and they shall be My people." Jeremiah 32-33

*"And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them.  And I shall take the heart of stone (the Law of the Ten Commandments) out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them.  Then they will be My people and I shall be their God." Ezekiel 11:21

Where is the Shekinah Glory today in the church?  As Jesus said, it is not in the temple made with hands, but it is His life in believers.  If it is Ichabod,"the glory has departed..."  (I Samuel 4:21), it is with individual believers who have sold themselves short of the second blessing of the fullness of the Spirit in entire sanctification (set apart, cleansed), who still fight sin and failure living defeated instead of victorious Christian lives barely holding onto salvation.  Christians like that have no witness except to tarnish the name of Christ. The disciples didn't have it all together, and they did not have a clue what would happen. That's not how the fire fell.  It was because they were obedient to Jesus' command to wait, to tarry until the Holy Spirit  came upon them. Where is our obedience today?  Are you willing to ask, believing and wait on Him in total surrender?  Then revival will come.

So if you wonder what I sit around and think about, I've been thinking about the Shekinah Glory of God, God with us this Easter season.  Let Him off the cross for the forgiveness of your sins and let Him live in you in power and witness with His very Presence.  Christ doesn't stay in tombs for very long.  You can be sure that there was Shekinah Glory when He walked out of the tomb and the soldiers fell like dead men.  Let Him live and breath through you.  Rest and nest in Him. Abide

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Four of my grandchildren have been baptised this year and soon another will be.  Addie, almost two, cried, "I want a bath!" when she saw her sisters being baptised.  May they always be that kind of example that she wants to follow.  Easter season is the perfect time for baptisms, dying to an old way of life and rising up to new life in Christ. 

The Roman calendar used to have the new year begin in March.  It makes more sense being the time of year when things become new, new growth, blossoms, baby animals, and warmth.  In the early days of our country, many celebrated by wearing new clothes on Easter to represent the newness of life.  The Easter Parade began in New York where people strolled along what became 5th Ave.  Of course, things became just a worldly parade of social status losing its original meaning.  Our city celebrates each spring with an idol, the Bok Kai Parade.  Too bad we don't have an Easter Parade for the most important Christian holiday. The word "Bat Kol" in Hebrew means the voice of God that proclaimed His will.  Let's have a Bat Kol Parade instead of a Bok Kai Parade! 
"Our Lord has written the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf of springtime."
Martin Luther
There is not a flower that opens,not a seed that falls into the ground, and not an ear of wheat that nods on the end of its stalk in the wind that does not preach and proclaim the greatness and the mercy of God to the whole world."
Thomas Merton
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
John 12:24
"May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within.
May the blessed sunshine shine on you and warm your heart...
an Irish blessing