Saturday, November 12, 2016

My Prayer




And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment - let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace - a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Amen.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/seventy-years-on-franklin-d-roosevelts-d-day-prayer-120991/#lvYg6PuCui52tW8F.99
...And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment - let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace - a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Amen.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Prayer to/with the American people - Fireside Chat - 12/8/1941

There are four windows, five if you count the back door, facing somewhat west at my house. It's an old farmhouse, and I can't help but think it was situated that way on purpose. Only one tiny window faces North. The big picture window faces the rising sun. Smart. We don't eat breakfast in the dining room and this way, no sun in one's eyes while eating the evening meal. The house, planted on an old, stone foundation, captures the light as it travels, during the day, warming the rooms, first one side, then the other. And those windows are good at directing cross-breezes. They open at the top or the bottom, probably optioned as much for ease in cleaning as manipulation of air.

We live just east of a Great Lake, not written with capitals as commentary, but rather properly, it is one of our five Great Lakes. Clouds, storms, and wind usually come from the West. It makes sense, having a lot to do with temperature and water. Lots of water. Sometimes, we live in our own little weather system. I like it.

I like the unpredictability of the weather here. I like to watch the clouds roll, low on the western horizon, like ocean waves, over the fields and hills, blue sky like punctuation.

I watched them form and roll yesterday, from my upstairs window. The western edge, gray and ragged, beckoned me. I briefly considered taking a drive out to see if the sky beyond was as Arizona-blue as it seemed. Like finding the end of the rainbow, I suppose. But I had promises to keep and places to go, and busy-ness to do.

Next I looked and the clear horizon had been replaced by another edge, another blanket of gray, not spread across the heavens, but rolled up like a rug, pushing toward the east. And then another. Ocean waves of clouds.

This political season. The climate in our nation. Unpredictable. Rolling across us, marching across us, filling our blue skies with clouds.

It has been heart-wrenching to witness: de-humanizing, name-calling, un-friending, mean-spiriting. Wave after wave of darkness and hatred. This season has not brought out the best in us, and I can only describe how I feel as deep sadness. Heart grief.

Yet.

Yet, I choose joy.

Today I will remember that God is sovereign.

Today I will remember that His plans are for us, that He loves us, and that only He can bring light from the void.

Today I will remember that He sent his perfect Son, to die on the cross, in order to redeem me - to redeem us, from our sins. Through Him we are washed clean and made new. I believe this. I believe that he not only washes me, but washes and redeems others. He is so very capable that way.

Only Jesus can bring light from the void of our own darkness. And He can bring light from the void of the darkness of others. A reason to call him Savior.

Today I pray for our leaders; past, present, and future. I pray for our world leaders, and our local leaders, for our church leaders, and for our lay leaders. Today, I pray for all people. For relationship, and community, for understanding. Today I pray for love and I pray for joy. Jesus said His love and His joy are in us - believing in Him. Today I pray for that belief. I pray for His healing hand.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Linking with Rosalind, Kristin, and Jenn


Friday, September 2, 2016

The Right Path



I don't like bugs. Creepy, crawly, squishy, leg-gy, no see-ums. Yet I'm kind of fascinated by them. By their industry, their sense of purpose, their amazing super-powers of strength and agility.

So, about mid-summer, before the drought up here in the North Country really hit, I was out by the field taking pictures of the newest plants and colors. Believe it or not, I'd never seen chicory before - bright blue flower on spindly stems, standing tall above the lawn, and popping out of the borders of tall prairie grass.

I bent down low and pulled the camera lens out so I could see through the viewfinder. I wanted to fill the screen with blue. And I did. Filled it with blue and bugs. Two different kinds as far as I could distinguish. Shepherds and sheep, I've been told.

Which brings me to my point.

The Lord is my shepherd; 
I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. 
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

God reminds us all the time, every day, that He loves us, that He will always care for us, that He has a plan for us, and that His plan is to lead us back to Him; it places us on the right path to Him. 

The things of nature remind me of Him. It's one of the reasons I take pictures. The camera allows me to see the world differently, detailed, color-saturated, and focused. Simple things become beauty, or become metaphor. Beautiful blue flowers in the field remind me of Him. Even when they're filled with bugs - after all, I don't have to understand His purpose for the little critters - for a second they brought to mind one of my favorite scriptures. 

That's not an altogether bad purpose.


Linking with Kate and the gang at Five-Minute Friday

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Beauty and Wonder


Sierra and I went out on the boat this morning to watch the sun rise. The water, thick and satiny, flowed beneath us all the way deep past 200 feet in places. I won't lie. All of the pictures have been adjusted for color and balance. My camera couldn't handle the volume of light. I shoot on automatic, so the aperture and shutter adjusted, making the photos darker automatically.

I see metaphor all around me. The sun rose on the horizon, not in a blaze, not with a saturated sky of rose, and purple. But rather with gilt-edges on distant clouds, like unwrapping a precious gift. 

How often do we adjust automatically to situations that are too intense to handle? Do we shut down the bright, or amp up the darkness? Are we disappointed by gradual light, rather than blazes of glory? Do we stay long enough for the light to work it's magic on the world around us?

My daughter, again, pointed to the sun rising from the calmness of the water, and told me that Jesus was here.

I am sharing my bible reading with these photos from this morning. Coincidence that there was so much mention of the heavens and light? I don't believe in coincidence. 

Praise and worship. 

God is good. 

I hope your morning is full of beauty and wonder. 


to him who alone does great wonders
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
to him who by understanding made the heavens, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
to him who spread out the earth above the waters, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
to him who made the great lights, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
the sun to rule over the day, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
the moon and stars to rule over the night, 
for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psalm 136:4-9 (ESV)


For I know that the LORD is great, 
and that our Lord is above all gods. 
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, 
in heaven and on earth, 
in the seas and all deeps. 
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, 
who makes lightnings for the rain 
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
Psalm 135:5-7 (ESV)


Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
who stand by night in the house of the LORD! 
Lift up your hands to the holy place 
and bless the LORD! 

May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!
Psalm 134 (ESV)


I will not give sleep to my eyes 
or slumber to my eyelids, 
until I find a place for the LORD, 
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.
Psalm 132:4-5 (ESV) 


Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)



Besides this you know the time, 
that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. 
For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11 (ESV)



The captain came and said to him, 
“What do you mean, you sleeper? 
Arise, call out to your god! 
Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, 
that we may not perish.”
Jonah 1:6 (ESV)



For, 
Yet a little while, 
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
Hebrews 10:37 (ESV)

Linking with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Real and Present



Behold, he is coming with the clouds, 
and every eye will see him, 
Revelations 1:7 (ESV)
My daughter is talking to me; we're on our way home from Post. She volunteered all day, compiling folders for in-processing troops, making copies, labeling CDs, shredding papers. I've been working with soldiers, interviewing, scheduling, explaining, emailing, polishing resumes, tracking progress, annotating records. Encouraging them in their transition from military to civilian life, listening to them. Ironically, my mind isn't fully on what my daughter saying.

"Janet. It's Jesus; He is coming."

Janet. There it is. She's had to repeat herself. She only uses my first name when she's exhausted any other options. Like 'Mom'. It's not disrespect. It's perseverance, and it makes me smile. I hear her this time. She has my complete attention.

"It's JEsus." (Emphasis on the first syllable...) He is coming." There is a hint of excitement in her voice, anticipation. I feel the hairs raise up on my arms.

"Are you ready?"

This is classic Sierra, my daughter with the extra chromosome, the extra dose of concrete understanding.

I'm driving through fields of future hay, probably waist high, green and gold with flecks of purple and yellow, native grasses and flowering weeds. They ripple and move with each gentle breeze, with each breath of air, like sea anemones in ocean currents, brilliant, sinuous, alive. The fields are alive; the wind is alive. It is a God moment.

Am I ready?

It is not the last time she mentions this casual Jesus to me, this real and very present Jesus, the one who is coming, my daughter of outrageous statements and questions. My daughter who lives in the here and now, like an old reel-to-reel film of never-ending ever-moments.

--------------------

She walks down the stairs, right hand brushing the wall, left hand hugging the rail. Maximum stability.

"Mom, Jesus, He was here."

I'm in the family room and I feel a goose-bump prickle, skin raising along the back of my neck. My thoughts crowd my brain, clamor inside my head. Here? In my house? I look around at the dust gathered along the baseboards, at the wisps of dog hair crouched in the corners of the floor, at the papers and books on the coffee table, at the unfolded pile of clothes on the sofa.

"Maybe we should clean the house," voice purposely flat and expressionless, eyes acknowledging my girl. "Do you think he noticed this dirty house?" Oh, shades of Martha in my reaction!

I sneak a look. She's processing. Eyes forward, hint of a smile; her hands like birds by her waist, lift up, turn at the wrists, down on the lap, up again. This is a habit, probably related to one of the neural pathways in her brain. The movement is my cue that she's concentrating on her words, on her communication, on being understood. It is unconscious and hypnotizing.

"He is coming. Are you ready?"

I don't know that she understands when she uses tenses. It is one of the language things we work on: yesterday, today, tomorrow. In Signed English, hand positioning designates tense. Throw the hand behind, over the shoulder, means an action occurred in the past. Behind equals the here and now. Push the hand toward the front, the action will occur in the future. In front equals before the here and now. It is a concrete way to perceive time, and we use it.

"Jesus WAS here? (hand over shoulder), or Jesus IS coming? (push to front).

Laughter, giggles. She wraps her sleep-warm arms around me in a good-morning hug. It is our routine. She doesn't answer the 'which'. It may be one of the most difficult thought processes for her. She has to evaluate the better answer.

I let it go.

But the thought haunts me. I share the exchange with my mother, with my husband, with my sister. We have all agreed that Sierra knows God, that she manifests an unusual and direct connection to all things spiritual. Is this prophecy?

I want to be ready.

----------------------

We sit together at the breakfast table. The kitchen door is open, propped by a ceramic vase, screen door stopping the summertime flies. Sierra takes a sip of her coffee and points to the fan of dawn, beginning in the eastern sky. 

"Look, Mom. It is Jesus. He is here."

I see the lighted horizon, rays of sunlight stretching toward clouds with reluctant gray underbellies. Color has begun to bleed into the sky; it promises to be a beautiful sunrise.

"Here?" I ask. "Here in the sky?"

"Yes, Mom. Jesus. He is the sky."

I think about heaven, how I've tried to explain heaven to this daughter, heaven that I don't even entirely understand. The concept of heaven is convenient. God is in heaven. Look to the sky. God is in the sky. 

But she said Jesus IS the sky, not that He is IN the sky. 

I wonder if she's missed a word, or if I've missed a point. I think I may need her to explain heaven to me. He IS the sky. God IS the field, and the wind. Jesus lives. In us. With us. Heaven.

He is coming. 
He is here. 
Are you ready?

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Sierra and her unique outlook. Thank you for teaching me through her. You are here, always, with us. You will never leave us, nor forsake us; we are yours. I am yours. Thank you for helping me to realize the difference between my convenient explanations, and the very real and present gift of Jesus.
Amen

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee #TellHisStory, and
Kelly at RaRaLinkup



Friday, December 11, 2015

Reflect


Welcome to my little corner of the Five-Minute Friday community, where a group of dedicated bloggers link themselves with Kate Motaung and engage with a word prompt for five minutes... Just five. No editing, no revising - just a five-minute thought stream....

Today's prompt is... REFLECT.

GO --

We study light in fifth grade, reflection, refraction, and absorption. It's amazingly mathematical, the movement of light, bouncing off of surfaces at the same angle it bounced on (hmm...can you bounce ON to something?). Transmitting through objects and surfaces; emerging changed in predictable ways. Waves of light, measureable by height, amplitude, and length.  Resonating, vibrating. In synch and absorbed, never to be seen again, and out of synch - changed. There's science here. And numbers. Equations -- open and shut, done and done. Electromagnetic radiation -- those are the lightwaves -- the length determines the frequency which determines visibility. And here's the cool thing. Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there (yes, double negative intended).

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Genesis 1:3 (ESV)

Science and math can explain what it is and how it works. And the explanations are logical and satisfying. Opened and closed. Like visible light. Now you see it - it's easy to believe it.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 
John 12:44-46 (ESV)

Not equation. No numbers. Not open and shut, not done and done.

Jesus as light.

Reflecting from us, in acts of kindness, in compassion, in loving one another as He loves us...

Transmitting through us - our attitudes changed by Him, choosing joy, choosing belief, choosing hope...

Absorbed inside of us - Holy Spirit cocooned in our hearts, never to leave, dependable and steadfast...

Out of the darkness. Jesus.

And today - I leave you with a quote for our world - 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; 
only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.