WORD … Visits Me

I took some time to receive some words from Romans 15:13 this morning.  It was a good visit.

 

 

I was then in the midst of Proverbs, a specific place – – – 17.  I received some words, there, and a paraphrase emerged.  It was a good visit.

 

A dry morsel, not so bad, with peach and quietness.  Compare this with a house full of feasting, where there is strife.  A life with strife versus a life with love leaves a loss in its wake.  Bummer.

 

I read on a bit further: more words, it was a good visit.

 

To consider, and then to know, that this God we know, who knows us, also knows our hearts, observes our hearts and allows our hearts to be tested.  Does that mean anything to me?  It should mean something, and it should humble me to know …when my heart is not right, He knows that my heart is not right, and yet He does not condemn.

 

I read on a bit further, about this controversial issue of when one guy comes to another guy and speaks a little iron-sharpening-iron truth, and the moment of truth of whether or not the other guy chooses to receive what the first guy has to offer.

The wisdom in me honors, and receives, the redemptive rebuke.  So, God, lete the wise man be free … and let the foolishness remain buried.  The wisdom flows like a fast-moving creek, and foolishness sits like stagnant water … stagnant water that one should never drink from.

 

Lastly, after reading a bit further, I received some words about this tendency a man has to isolate.  It was a good visit.

 

A man sometimes gravitates toward self, isolates self, placates self, seeks intensely his own desire … and he becomes unapproachable to wise counsel.

Yes, it was a good visit this morning, with the Word.  And it was a good visit with Lincoln Brewster, via YouTube, the song “Live To Praise You” …. A great jolt of joy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2XEUnC29g&list=PLYE587VQt4yii1Mfwt3xfgp1RMyl5bmie&index=2

“Day after day
You never change
Ever the same
There is hope in Your name …”

Out … On … A … LIMB!

Do I really believe, what I believe?  Wait: what is it that I really believe? God is there, God is here, His heart is good, God is powerful, God answers prayers … Do I believe all that?  Will I go … out on a limb, and believe that God is really good, willing to give me His best?  Will God meet me there, out on the limb?

My questions about me, and God, and the limb, have become more pronounced, in conjunction with a new season that came forth … three to four months prior.  I did not recognize it.  Then, I didn’t want to recognize it.  Implications of this new season?  Here is the limb: to take some risks; trust God for what He wants to do; acknowledge change, the unknown. Alternative?  Stay away from the limb, in the realm of status quo, and embrace mediocrity.  Appealing as that may be, it is wrong, at least for me, in this particular “limb context”.  John’s word from the Word, resonated quite a bit from the place of 14, verses 12 through 14.  I read one of the commentary pieces, and I was intrigued:  

“When blessing comes in your work, service, or ministry, it is tempting to accept that this is ‘all’ God has for you – – – to find it easy to stop and rest, rather than keeping your hand to the plow … Instead, refuse to allow the blessings of God’s grace on your work to lead you to think that He may not be ready to do even more in your life.  He does not call (me / you / us) to attempt to produce more, but to ask and believe Him for more – – – for greater works He has  in store for us to receive and, by His grace achieve for His … purposes and glory.  Keep your heart set and ready for the next advance for His kingdom.” (Spirit Filled Bible 2002)

Expect Greater Things

http://www.x-plane.org/home/mf70/1941-1970.htm / “Beater”: DHC-2 as it appeared in the movie of Never Cry Wolf.

I’m wrapping this up with an excellent 3 minute / 50 second film clip from a great movie … a movie entitled “Never Cry Wolf”.  This film is about a biologist, “Tyler”, who is being dropped off in the Canadian Arctic wilderness,  for the purpose of studying Arctic wolves. The bush pilot, a guy named “Rosie”, drinks too much, is looking for adventure, because he is sick of boredom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAbU7Ha3jTA

Another film clip that I could not find shows Rosie, the bush pilot landing the plane, but keeping the engine running … Rosie (literally) tossing out all of Tyler’s possessions on to the thick ice of the lake, while Tyler is in shock because of the cold temperatures, and the intimidation of being in the middle of the Canadian Arctic wilderness, alone.  Tyler tries to delay Rosie with questions, but all Rosie can do is laugh and say “Just keep moving, Tyler.  Just keep moving.”  And that is what we must do.  Keep moving.  Just keep moving ... all the while listening well, and trusting the One who will get us to where we need to go.

It Is What It Is: Profound

“It is what it is.  And it is profound.”

“What is ‘it’, that you are referring to?”

” … ‘it’ is the Word, as it connects to the Trinity, our hearts, our minds, our lives, our relationships.”

 

I’ve come to a place … actually, I’ve been here for a number of years … where I actually appreciate being a “layman”, with the scriptures, as opposed to a (what’s the word?) “non-layman”, or a theologian, or an “authority”.  The reasons why are a) I still have to struggle with what the Word means, and how it applies, and b) ultimately, God is powerful enough to speak to me through the Word, even though I do not have the knowledge and skills of the non-layman, the theologian, the authority.  One parable in particular, the Sower in Matthew 13, has emerged as a favorite for quite some time.  And the last passage, there, involves Jesus going back to his home town, seeing that he is not honored, not well received.  The contrast between the setting of the parable of the Sower and the setting of the last passage comes across to me as a (I’ll use this word again) profound contrast.  Jesus’ telling of the story, or parable, of the Sower happened with many, many, people around … so many that he stepped away from the shore and into the boat, just so that he could effectively address everyone.  The people there honored Jesus; they were hungry for what He had to offer; and they had faith in the power of His words.  Going beyond that, literally, Jesus had a group of guys around Him, the disciples, who honored what He had to say, and had faith in the power of His words.

Now, switch over to Nazareth, His hometown, where those who knew him did not appreciate what He had to offer.  They were skeptical, if not cynical, of what He was about.  In fact, in the NIV, these words stood out: “And they took offense at him … (v.57) “; and “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith (v.58).”

Here’s some tension to think about.  I am not a prophet; but I am one of those guys who believes that when I go back to my home town, I am not very well-received.  Everyone is polite.  And I feel as though I am simply “tolerated”.  I was / am the black sheep.  I was / am the prodigal that chose to leave the deep south, for a place where I have lived for the last thirty years, a thousand miles away.  So, a question: ” How prevalent is it for individuals … who moved away from their home town … to sense a distance, or a tension, from those living back in their “point of origin”?  

NEW photos of my week and a short Sunday sermon

I was blessed by this post, and I believe you will also. Otherwise I would not have reblogged this. Peace.

Explore Newness

driedrosecollage

Happy Sunday!  You know, one of the great things about buying myself roses, is that I get to photography them while they’re fresh (previous post) and then again when they’re all dried up!

I recently visited a NEW online art exhibit, all of paintings of Christ…His childhood, His ministry and the Last Supper. This is one of my favorites by Laurie Olson Lisonbee  (Here’s the link to the gallery)

jesuswashingfeet

Jesus wanted the Twelve—and He wants each of us—to learn that humility and service are worthy characteristics we should seek to obtain. He taught that no one is too important to serve others.

Have a great day!

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He Calls, I Call

RING … RING … RING …

http://www.commons.wikimedia.org/ wiki/File:Telephone_model_PTT24- IMG_9919.jpg

“Get the phone, somebody.”

RING … RING …

“Phone, guys!  Somebody get the phone!”

“No, you get the phone.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s for you.  Its God, man.  If I were you, I’d get the phone.”

Switchboard operators / pixgood.com

Sometimes I don’t listen well. Sometimes I do. And when the phone rings, I don’t always answer it.  

Here are a few lyrics from a song called “Ocean (Where Feet May Fall)” … performed by a group called Hillsong.

 

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

I think of the story where the guys are in the boat, waters ‘getting rough, Jesus calls Peter out … out of the boat … out on to the water.  And the water is the great unknown for the fisherman  (irony?).  Different context, yes?  In the boat, fishing, it’s not a problem.  But to get out of the boat?  God was calling, and that changes things up.  Feet may fail for me, and they have, and along the way I connect with this … “mystery” of God. Faith emerges, but I sometimes question my progression.  So, He calls, I call — on Him — because I find myself in deep yogurt, or more accurately, deep waters.  But if I can just keep my eyes … above the waves … and my soul will rest (rest, what a concept) in God. He says I belong to Him.  And I am actually okay with that.  

The Hand of God

‘Stumbled on to this post, from 2013 … from a Canadian author, Melanie Jean Juneau, entitled The Hand of God. I felt that this post needed to be reblogged on my blog, as it resonates with my heart and soul. Visit her blog to read other posts.

joy of nine9

It’s Yongsung Kim. To contact the artist directly, email taimen@naver.com (I did a search, and I’m emailing the artist, too!!) from Amanda!!

   Detail from The Creation of Adam Sistine Chapel ceiling

 Hand of God – Sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn

Hands with Stigmata, depicted on  Franciscan church in Lienz, Austria

                          

TheHandOfGod

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Matters of the Heart

I am drawn towards … matters of the heart.  

Recently, I asked a good man: “Hey, Man! How was your Thanksgiving?”  The man told me that one of his best friends shot himself the day before Thanksgiving, and ” … so my wife and I have been dealing with that. (pause) You asked, so I thought I would tell you.”

My response after almost a minute of saying nothing was “Wow, Man.  That’s really hard stuff.  I’m sorry for your loss.”  The man gave a nod, then turned away and walked towards the next thing.  I could tell he was done with the conversation.  I’ve been in more scenarios, similar to that, than I can remember.  I don’t really understand it all, what is happening there.  Is it a timing issue?  Is it some kind of convergence dynamic happening, where God is doing His thing to bring two paths to a place of intersection?  I do think that it is something about how I am wired, something about an “empathetic spirit”, something about the nonverbal realm of communication.  Maybe there is more happening than what I can see.

Matters of the heart.  I thought of a song from a guy named Bob Bennett, entitled “Matters of the Heart”.  I had not listened to any of his music for a while.  So, I dug up some lyrics of this song, and I hope you enjoy a little excerpt from “Matters of the Heart”. 

MATTERS OF THE HEART
W/M: Bob Bennett
© 1982 Straightway Music (EMI CMG)

Baby smiling for an unknown reason
Bird singing in the dead of night
Hand reaching out for another one
Breeze catching a falling kite

Sigh at the end of a working day
Sun sinking down in the ocean
Love letters from far away
Rain dancing in motion

You can show me your sales curves
Plot my life on a flow chart
But there’s just some things
That numbers can’t measure
In Matters of the Heart

Eyes laughing in the face of disaster
Voices pleading on the telephone line
A spark of truth that catches on fire
Your first taste of the new wine

A light shining in this heart of darkness
A new beginning and a miracle
Day by day the integration
Of the concrete and the spiritual

You can show me your sales curves
Plot my life on a flow chart
You can count up your converts
And miss where it all starts
You can show me your sales curves

But there’s just some things
That numbers can’t measure
These fragile pieces of priceless treasure
There’s just some things
That numbers can’t measure
In Matters of the Heart
Matters of the Heart

*NOTE: I was trying to find a Youtube video of Bob Bennett playing this tune.  I only found one, but the quality of the recording was not what it should be.  So, I am including this link here, which shows only a picture of the man, but the quality of the song is the best I could find.  It is a beautiful tune, I think you will enjoy.

Fathom . . .

 

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. (145: 3)

An odd word.  Five occurrences, NIV?

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
  2. Job 11:7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
  3. Psalms 145:3  “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
  4. Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
  5. Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Fathom [fath uh m]

noun
1. a unit of length equal to six feet (1.829 metres), used to measure depths of water 
2. (mining) a unit of volume usually equal to six cubic feet, used in measuring ore bodies
3. (forestry) a unit of volume equal to six cubic feet, used for measuring timber
verb – transitive
4. to measure the depth of, especially with a sounding line; sound
5. to penetrate (a mystery, problem, etc); discover the meaning of …

Dialog:

“Man, I tell you: I get really frustrated when I cannot figure something out. That’s the way I am wired.  I want to understand everything, fully … And this whole God thing, there are some parts of Him and how He works that I just cannot figure out.”

“So, instead of experiencing the freedom, some peace, from not having to understand it all, you choose to be frustrated.  That, in itself, doesn’t make much sense.”

“Why would I experience freedom, or peace, because I cannot figure something or someone out?”

“Because it is totally, completely, full-blown, established that you cannot ‘fathom’ His greatness.  That cannot, and will not, change.  You and I are able to sit in that greatness, and be cared for.  We don’t have to carry the stress around figuring God out.  Because when He does something different than what you halve already experienced, then you have to figure that out.”

Final thoughts.  If it is true … His greatness no one can fathom … then this is a freeing truth, a massive rock to stand on while fierce sledge-hammer waves pound that rock … Hardships do come; oh yes, they will come. Isolation, alienation, futility … they may also come.  But, if it is true … His greatness no one can fathom, then there is a reason to move toward Him, with both thankfulness and requesting His deliverance … because He is great beyond words, beyond our comprehension.

Let’s bust a move.

Awaken, O Sleeper

(Excerpt from a work in progress)

“He’s been up there for a while.”

“What do you mean, ‘a while’?”

“Two, three years.”

“He works up there?”

“I don’t know about work.  I’m talking about living up there.  ‘Been living up there … for two, three years.”

“What’s his name.”

“Winter Man.”

“Winter Man?”  

“Yeah.  Winter Man.  He hides, he hibernates, kind of like a big old bear.  He has winter in his heart.  He sleeps about 12 hours a day.  Don’t ask me how I know.  I just know.”

The listener of the story about Winter Man thought about what he had heard, then spoke: “It is one thing to hide in God, in His shadow, in His protection.  But it is another thing, entirely, to try to hide from God,  I’m curious which one Winter Man is.”

This post was written for men in their ambivalence, their tension, between moving toward God … and hiding from God.  One is about  humility and accepting / embracing God’s goodness, grace, mercy.  The other is about self contempt, shame, struggling with the reality that we (men) can actually be loved, because of our mistakes, because of how far we are away from God, missing the mark.

Good Morning, Short Message, The Message

Romans 12, 14-16 … The Message

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Romans 12.  One version … NKJV ? takes 17-19 and says “Revenge is mine says the Lord.”  This is good stuff for good people who have been treated with betrayal, hardships, trauma, disrespect, injustice, abandonment … It is ultimately not our responsibility to make sure that justice happens.  And, I think this concept is difficult; for some people, more than others.

Have a great day everyone.