Feeling lonely, unseen, forgotten? At some time or other, each one of us tunes in to a mix of the blues.
“I don’t have Nobody…Nobody lo-oves me (singing electric guitar)…I’m so-o-o alone, it’s so hard to be a-lo-on (warbling harmonica)…I n-e-e-d (screaming guitar) Somebody…”
Enough already! You’ve felt alone. Listen to this:
Believing Isreal’s gods were gods of the hills and not of the plains (because the vagabond Isrealites lived, hid, and thrived in the mountainous terrain), Syrian King Ben-Adad planned a sure-fired victorious attack on the children of Isreal in the plains of Aphek.
I LOVE this David and Goliath analogy: “Now the children of Isreal camped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside.” I Kings 20:27
In that one day of battle, the children of Isreal (“the two little flocks”) killed 100,000 foot soldiers (that “filled the countryside”). The remaining 27,000 that fled to Aphek, were killed by a falling wall!
You’re never alone.
Taking communion, I imagine the intense grief Jesus’ mother must have experienced…watching her son ripped apart within one lash of death…dripping blood and sweat as He drug the cross upon his lacerated body to Golgotha…withstanding the excruciating piercings of four stakes, intensified by the countless reverberations of hammer to nail…and, watching helplessly as the cross was raised. Considering her knowledge that Roman crucifixion was the cruelest of pain, she must have prayed for God to have mercy and hasten his death. I would have.
But, have you ever wondered why Jesus never cried out in pain for help to endure? Because He had already had that conversation in Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:36-39) And, unless He had had a change of heart, He knew He couldn’t cry out for rescue…a flight of angels would have instantly been there to do so.
So, He was silent, except for the anguish over His Father turning His back on Him: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46) It was the first and only time in all eternity that He was separated from His Heavenly Father…for you, and for me.
As you break bread, might you remind God of each wound Jesus suffered, and claim its healing: the crown of thorns for His mental clarity, to hear His direction, to know His will, and to receive Holy inspiration (mental/psychological/spiritual healing); the stripes on His back for physical healing; the sword wound under His heart to receive emotional healing of yours; the stake piercings in His hands that the work of your hands (your efforts) are guided and blessed; the stake piercings in His feet that He lights and directs your path (destiny/purpose). And, as you partake of the communion wine/juice, remember His blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins.
“At the time of His death, as Jesus became the atonement for human sin, the holy veil was ripped in the temple (Matt 27:50-51), giving us access to God.
“But on a hill far away a Lamb-turned-Lion descended into this death camp through the portal of Golgotha. Crashing through the gates of hell, He met the dark prince in the mother of all battles. With three spikes and a thorny crown, the Captain of the Host conquered the devil. . .
For with His blood the Holy One of Radiance purchased rotten, ragged sinners and recreated us into His righteous reigning saints!”-Abhesik Rai with YWAM
CONFESS: “Thank you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that You were thinking of me at Golgotha. I AM healed, whole, forgiven, redeemed, lead, and sanctified in You, Jesus. I AM victorious!”
Here’s a graphic reminder with scenes from “The Passion of The Christ” to the background of “Mary did you know?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikUovryDh80
I wonder: Are the words “I love you” used more on Valentine’s Day than any other day? Maybe. But with internet acronyms and abbreviations taking over, I doubt it.
In our impatience, just to save a second or two, we do some crazy things…like instead of writing “I love you,” we sign off with “XOXO.” I can see how an “O” resembles an embrace, a hug; but, HOW did the letter “X” become associated with a kiss?!
It originated from a medieval practice. For those who couldn’t write, there was the allowance to sign their name using an “X,” performed in front of a witness. After signing, the signee kissed the “X” to show their sincerity. As a kiss symbol at the end of a letter, it has become synonymous with ‘sealed with a kiss.’
X is also the Greek letter “chi,” the first letter in the word Χριστός. Are you ready? Χριστός means “Christ.” It’s been thought that it might have been a pledge in the name of Christ.
“…there’s nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
FYI: Roman numerals, letters used to represent values, were used in ancient Rome; and, BC, “Before Christ.”
BTY: THX J XOXO
This video made me think of how God uses, and orchestrates, various situations in our lives to bring out a unique melody, as with this carrot: https://www.facebook.com/lesliedeshane.artist/posts/10205140898381427
“Shredding” outer layers can be uncomfortable, but necessary, to reshape our direction.
Removing mental and physical “blocks” gets us unstuck to channel winds of change; although, sometimes, doesn’t it feel like getting drilled at both ends?!
When we allow and embrace change, it “opens” windows of opportunity. No fear. The unknown is usually less painful than our trepidation of it).
Then, in His hands and by His orchestration of “key” events, we resound with song. Our lives are renewed!
“He put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God! Many will watch and be in awe, and they will place their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3 (ISV)
With each new day, declare His faithfulness…
PROFESS: “I AM an instrument of praise. My life will exalt Him. My lips will praise Them. I AM a blessing to man and Earth. I CHOOSE His change in all that I am.”
Research has proven that the brain sends emotional “data” to the heart, not vice-versa. You can also bet your chips that the heart is the seat of attitude. As adults, we’ve learned to camouflage these “attitudes,” but the expression on a child’s face is a ready give-away of theirs.
I’ve watched children lie with a straight face, and even toddlers (with undeveloped verbal language) expressively shake their head ‘no’ in answer to a who-dune-it inquiry. It made me wonder: “How did he/she comprehend such an abstract maneuver to deflect blame, to avoid punishment?! Obviously, it doesn’t take practice; in a split second, we make this truth-or-consequence choice to fess-up and face it, or to lie and live in limbo.
By facing the truth, we choose to walk in the light. By lying, we’re forced into hiding. Deception casts a shadow of fear (of being found out), and its guilt pierces our heart. Guilt holds us back from spontaneous walks in the Son, worship, and prayer.
Yes: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)
Yes: we will find ourselves guilty of many deceptions before we meet our Maker.
Yes: we will shy away from communion because of our sin.
Although all of the above are true, we should not sin! But thankfully, our God is an awesome God and sees us through the red-tinted glasses of redemptive blood. I quote Jim Croft’s perspective on this:
“In my estimation, one of the most encouraging passages that affirms answers to prayer is 1 John 3:16-23. It reveals that the condemnation of heart that prevents people from confidently making prayer requests in faith of positive outcome is overruled by God himself. The inference is that if our hearts condemn us, that God is greater than our hearts. His magnanimity of heart overrules and nullifies any condemnation within our hearts so that we can pray with full expectation of reward. The qualifier for this is not obedience to an endless list of biblical and self-inflicted religious regulations. All that we need do is believe on the name of Jesus and love our fellow Christians. You know in your inmost knower that you consistently meet that qualification in all circumstance. God is greater than your heart and invites you to pray for whatsoever you desire with expectant faith.”
AFFIRM: “O Lord, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 NAS) By Your Word, I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I AM blessed. I choose the path of Truth.”
It’s rather clear that we’re not only to “bless” the physical nation of Israel, but also all Jews. God promised to bless anyone who blesses Israel. And, concerning celebrations, He didn’t elaborate about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even Easter. Doesn’t it stand to reason that in order to understand the earth’s timetable, we should understand the Hebraic festivals? I’m surely no expert, but I know that Rosh Hashanah began Wednesday.
The purpose of Rosh Hashanah is to make God our King. The shofar blast, proclaiming that God is King, is symbolic of the King’s coronation. He created the worlds, guides history and every being. But, is He your King?
Referring to yesterday’s topic, if we don’t have a ready supply of oil—Jesus—then, there is something missing in our obedience, love, and loyalty to The King. How can we reflect, much less communicate to others, His all-importance in our life?
If you’re wondering, maybe a conversation with God is overdue.
This is a “feel good” article. Michael Gartner, president of NBC News, wrote it about his father, and his father’s philosophy on walking through life. It’s well worth the length!
“My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.
‘In those days,’ he told me when he was in his 90s, ‘to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.’ At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: “Oh, bull shit!” she said. “He hit a horse.”
“Well,” my father said, “there was that, too.”
So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars — the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford — but we had none.
My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.
My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we’d ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. “No one in the family drives,” my mother would explain, and that was that. But, sometimes, my father would say, “But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we’ll get one.”
It was as if he wasn’t sure which one of us would turn 16 first. But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown. It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn’t drive, it more or less became my brother’s car.
Having a car but not being able to drive didn’t bother my father, but it didn’t make sense to my mother. So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive.
She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father’s idea. “Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?” I remember him saying more than once.
For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps—though they seldom left the city limits—and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work…
Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn’t seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)
He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin’s Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish’s two priests was on duty that morning.
If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.
If it was the assistant pastor, he’d take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests “Father Fast” and “Father Slow.”
After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along.
If she were going to the beauty parlor, he’d sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I’d stop by, he’d explain: “The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.”
If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out—and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, “Do you want to know the secret of a long life?”
“I guess so,” I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.
“No left turns,” he said.
“What?” I asked
“No left turns,” he repeated. “Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic…as you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.”
“What?” I said again.
“No left turns,” he said. “Think about it…Three rights are the same as a left, and that’s a lot safer. So we always make three rights.”
“You’re kidding!” I said, and I turned to my mother for support.
“No,” she said, “your father is right. We make three rights. It works.” But then she added: “Except when your father loses count.”
I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.
“Loses count?” I asked.
“Yes,” my father admitted, “that sometimes happens. But it’s not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you’re okay again.”
I couldn’t resist. “Do you ever go for 11?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can’t be put off another day or another week.”
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.
She lived four more years, until 2003…my father died the next year, at 102.
They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom — the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)
He continued to walk daily—he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he’d fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising — and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.
One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news. A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, “You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.”
At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, “You know, I’m probably not going to live much longer.”
“You’re probably right,” I said.
“Why would you say that?” He countered, somewhat irritated.
“Because you’re 102 years old,” I said.
“Yes,” he said, “you’re right.”
He stayed in bed all the next day. That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.
He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: “I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.”
An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:
“I want you to know,” he said, clearly and lucidly, “that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.”
A short time later, he died.
I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I’ve wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.
I can’t figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance, take it & if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.
ENJOY LIFE NOW—IT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE!”
“You’ve got to give a little, take a little,
and let your poor heart break a little,
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.—“The Glory of Love”
Until we get it down, sometimes love hurts. Sometimes, it causes heartbreak. But, it’s no reason to stop loving. Love expresses itself in a rainbow of colors. Remember: you’re a masterpiece in progress.
Painting your masterpiece can be messy. But, don’t be afraid of making errors—“coloring outside the lines.” Running paint, drip marks, and scattered splashes have taken on a whole new expression lately. Express your individuality. Throw all the colorful experiences you can on your life canvas!
The fear of heart ache and the regret of not loving are equally devastating. It wastes a life, and fades your canvas, worse than having loved and lost.
At all risk, waste your love. Live out loud, in fantastic color!
AFFIRM: “Even when broken, I AM whole. My days are beautiful. I live a colorful, abundant life. I AM His loving, resplendent masterpiece.”
I’ve wanted an inviting back yard for-E-VER, but something more important always pressed into the forefront. This year, I decided: it was “tha year.” I began calling landscapers, giving my detailed vision.
The first said he was in. (Well, truthfully, who wouldn’t be?! I have the most beautiful, relaxing natural observatory for avians, mammals, you-name-it. I’m wrapped in a wood on 3 sides, with a stream running through it. You can read about my sanctuary in Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html ) Three weeks after no return responses to my calls, I moved on.
Second: Mr. No Personality tells me everything that wouldn’t work…“It just want work!”
Third time’s charm, and IS charming…ly married. Moving on…
Within 5 minutes, he had solutions to my naysayers non-imaginative, “It want work.” as well as, THE stone bench I wanted…for half the price.
Moral of the story: If you’re in-tune, and in-tuitive, timing is everything! TIME: The Imminent—“close in time” (be patient not to jump at the first option)—Moments of Energy cast illumination/direction on your path.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my pathway.” Psalm 119:105 (ISV)
AFFIRM: “Lord, Your faithfulness is new EVERY morning; GREAT is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:23)