Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday word prompt

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.
Isaiah 30:15
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:147
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains.
like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3
The word prompt for the day is Rise.
I will rise to start the morning.
I will rise up when they bring the flag out... we rise when the judge walks into the room. 
All rise. It is a sign of honor.
When we sing in church a lot of times we stand and rise to let others know, we love him and long to sing praises to his name.
I love these verses and many more that include the word, rise.
It even makes me think of dough when it has been pounded and kneaded... it begins to rise again.
Ever thought of that in a spiritual way? Pounding and kneading until all the air is out of us.
Then we rise... we rise slowly and deliberately and it is good.
VERY good when it is finished.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Life is passing.

I am realizing that as time moves forward the calendar does too.
Is is really the middle of the year and almost the end of May? wow.
Soon my grand daughter will be age 16 in a week.
The school year will be ending. Life will slow down some.
Then as quick as that, it will be fall again.
The seasons of time. The days passing into each other.
I turned 60 in December my husband turned 61 in January.
Soon we will be retired and able to go and see all that we have planned in our 41 years of marriage.
Life is passing before us.
I think it is time now to slow down and enjoy all the moments.
I am ready. To sit where I can hear the roaring ocean.
I am ready to watch the seagulls fly high in circles over the water.
I am ready to not think of schedules or meals or laundry.
Life is passing before us.
I remember when we brought our little Faith Elizabeth home weighing only 3 pounds 9 ounces and the many hours of rocking and holding and praying.
Now she is almost 16 in the middle of her teen years.
I still pray... I still hug her. I still hold her very close to my heart.
Life as we know it will change. But change is good.
Unless change brings sorrow and loss.
Today we breathe in the breath of thanksgiving.
Of gratitude that this life that is passing has been a good one.
We give thanks for small things and pray for those who are in sorrow.
I have received news of those who have lost love ones recently.
God comforts those who mourn. He heals the broken hearted.
Life is passing before us.
May be strive to do our very best to make it a good one.
Picture by Pamela B of Portland

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Remembering what it was like

This time last year we were on a vigil for my mom's passing.
She was end stage Parkinson's and also failing to thrive.
It was sad.
She was not the mom I remembered. Not the mom I grew up with.
Her fragile state showed me a more 'distant'... fragile side of her.
It was hard.
She failed to thrive, could not eat, could not drink and could not sit up by herself or do anything we would want her to do.
She was dying.
I went to see her in between all stars soft ball game for my grand daughter who was in 4th grade.
One scene very full of life, and young people and activity and fun.
Then into a more serene place for the dying.
It was hard to say good bye but I knew it was necessary.
She left in June after weeks of hanging on.
Her heart was strong, her body not so much.
Mothers day this year I am without a mother.
My husbands mom passed away 5 years ago on May 8th.
So neither one of us has a mom.
I am the mom now and the grandma.
I pray I do a good job of it.
I pray I leave a legacy of love and peace and great memories when it's my time to leave.
This is the first Mother's day I have no mother.
A strange mixture of feelings of sad, empty and remembering.
She wasn't always a warm fuzzy mom.
But she was doing the best she could do even if her best was not good, or encouraging or even positive.
This time last year, we were waiting for her to leave and take her final breath.
The finality of words, "it's over... she passed away in the night."
Hard words, final words. Cold and pressing into the heart.
She is gone. Forever till we meet in heaven.
Remembering what it was like to say the 'final' good-bye.

Friday, May 8, 2015

He will return just as they promised

Acts 1:3-11
During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive.
And he talked to them about the kingdom of God.
Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them.
"Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
*I always find it interesting he teaches them during the time of eating. It is a communal time and a time of 'listening.'
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him,
"Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?"
They still really didn't understand his purpose for coming. 
He replied, "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere - in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching,
and they could no longer see him.
As they strained to see him rising into the heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.
*Remember we have seen 'this' before... in John 20:12 two white robed angels were in the tomb where Jesus body had been and they asked Mary why she was crying. 
"Men of Galilee," they said, "why are you standing here staring into heaven?
Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way as you saw him go."
Now I don't know about you but I would be both disturbed and alarmed to see all this taking place.
Jesus didn't stay as they expected him to do, and then he went up into the sky.
That is amazing... how would that have looked for them?
Brilliant? powerful? like a tornado? 
We won't ever know as we were not there, but what we do know is the promise of his return.
Some day. He will return and it will be glorious and powerful and awesome.
Lord we pray we are ready when that takes place.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Three questions

Continuing on with our 'last story' we find in John 21:15
a conversation taking place.
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter,
"Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord." Peter replied, "you know I love you."
"Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question:
"Simon son of John, do you love me?"
"Yes, Lord." Peter said, "you know I love you."
"Then take care of my sheep." Jesus said. A third time he asked him,
"Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time.
He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep.
I tell you the truth when you were young, you were able to do as you liked, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don't want to go."
Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, "Follow me."
This whole conversation is fascinating for me because remember in the garden
when Jesus was arrested, the people surrounding Peter said to him, "You were with him."
Luke 22:54-62 they approached Peter three times and three times he said, "I don't know him."
Then Jesus looked at him and it pierced Peters heart convicting him, vs 62
And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
I think, that Jesus was bringing back to Peter, the conviction of heart
he left in the courtyard.
Jesus knew Peter loved him but he needed to ask him.
It is very similar to the talking to someone who has been unfaithful and bringing them back into the awareness of their first love, their first 'conviction'.
Jesus was testing Peter, he wasn't talking about sheep or lambs.
He wanted Peter to think deeper and to use his emotions rather than his fear or his logic.
Isn't that like our 'Lord, to come to us when we fail him miserably?'
I found this picture on 'a search' and I have no idea whose it is but it fits my 'writing.'
Jesus took Peter aside, away from the others so he could have an intimate talk with him.
Three questions posed in different ways, three answers returned.
It's a question of the heart.
I wonder... how would we reply?
when asked the very same questions from the Lord?
insert your name.... then ask the question. Do you love me?
It was intimate. Simon Peter, do you ... love me?
Then he waited for his reply.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

They knew it was the Lord

After the emotional turmoil of the last events for the disciples, they needed a break.
So about five of them went out on the water into a boat.
It was comfort for them, a place of familiar relaxation and work.
John 21:3
Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing,"
"We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who he was.
He called out, "Fellows, have you caught any fish?"
"No," they replied.
Then he said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get some!" 
So they did, and they couldn't haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord!"
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic
(for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from the shore.
When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them - fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
"Bring some of the fish you've just caught." Jesus said.
So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore.
There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn't torn.
"Now come and have some breakfast." Jesus said.
None of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?"
They knew it was the Lord.
Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.
This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
Isn't it wonderful how he meets them where they are?
He knew he would find them out in a boat, for that was where they came from.
Remember he said to them, "Come follow me, I will make you fishers of men."
I think it is so good to remember, even when we are tired and worn emotionally, God will meet us, just where we are.
Jesus will provide for us, little pieces of familiar memories.
We are not alone, forgotten or lost.
We have a God who cares... even down the smallest thing such as a warm breakfast.
They knew... and we should too.
He loves us.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

But God kept them

Revisiting the Easter story and the empty tomb.
When Peter saw the empty linen wrappings and then went home wondering 'what happened'.
Luke 24:13
That same day (the day Peter realized the tomb was empty) two of Jesus' followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.
As they walked along they were taking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things,
Jesus himself suddenly came and began to walk with them.
But God kept them from recognizing him.
He asked them,
"What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?"
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces.
Then one of them, Cleopas, replied,
"You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn't heard about all the things that have happened there in the last few days."
"What things?" Jesus asked.
The conversation continues between Jesus and the men, and as it deepened more into their doubt, he rebukes them.
Then he brings the writings of Moses and the Scriptures to them and it was fascinating to them as they listened and walked together, and the day was turning into night.
He continued to walk with them and taught them the old prophecies and they didn't want it to end.
So they invited him to stay the night at their house as it was getting late and they needed to get home.
Luke 24:30
As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it.
Then he broke it and gave it to them.
Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
And at that moment, he disappeared!
(Can you IMAGINE?)
And they said to each other, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?"
I think this is so important to note and remember.
First, they were not able to recognize him till God felt they were ready to receive that truth.
Second, even when their hearts were searching and grieving it still wasn't time for them.
Third, they had eyes that were open but not eyes that saw... spiritually.
HOW is it for us then?
Do we see, because we have the written word in front of us?
Or do we see 'because we believe' from our heart's perspective. 
I believe God can keep us from recognizing and believing in him until the moment is right.
Only HE knows the condition of our hearts and whether we are open to believe or receive. 
If given the opportunity, will we know him if he comes into our presence?
Just a few questions as we wrap up the Easter story.