Amy Carmichael

For years I have read and re-read Amy Carmichael’s devotional book “The Edges of His Ways.” If I miss a day or two, no worries. I use it as a reference point and will likely hit the reading another year. She served the Lord in South India from 1895 to 1951. (The book is available used and at both Christian Book Distributors and on Amazon. I buy many used books online at Abe Books.)

We have been taught the value of gratitude and how it improves our health. Even Amy knew the power when she reminds us to “hunt the good, make an intentional, deliberate, ongoing effort to tune in to what’s good in your world.”

That is part of what powers this blog, Treasures in Plain Sight; hunting the good, the holy, the hilarious, the somber yet good that comes to each of us. It is there for the finding. We must pay attention to our surroundings.

What have you found lately in your hunting?

The other day I had a short errand to do and it began to pour rain. When I returned I told Bob “There must be a rainbow out there some where, but I could not see it. Rain clouds, pouring rain, sunshine … Likely someone will post on Facebook tonight, “Did you see the rainbow?” Instead of getting frustrated that I did not see one I will be interested to see who found it and what their vantage point was. Hopefully they will post a photo, too! That will be good for my soul.

The Edges of His Ways – how you might find and enjoy the Presence of the Lord on a day to day basis from your community work, from your sickbed, from your musing or prayerful meditation.

The title Edges reminds me of the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament. As I looked up the reference I found 2 other similar passages. The references are Matthew 9:20, Matthew 14:36 and Mark 6:56.

And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matthew 9:20-22

Mark 6:56 is almost identical. Then Matthew 14:35-36 says

And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

Matthew 14:35-36

All they wanted to do was touch the hem of His garment. They did not need an audience with the King. Just a touch of His clothing. Many historians and scholars have noted they were not after the actual hem of the fabric, but one of the tassels on the corners.

The word translated, hem, is actually referring to the fringes, or tassels (called tzitziyot, in Hebrew), required to be on the four corners of all clothing of Jewish men, in accordance with God’s instruction:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of one’s garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all My commands, and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God.'”(Numbers 15:37-41)

Website Refiner’s Fire https://www.therefinersfire.org/tallit.htm

How did Jesus do that? I honestly do not know. “As many as touched it were made perfectly well.” We do not have His garment or the tassels. If we did it would likely be down to just thread after centuries of people wanting to touch it. We do, however, have the indwelling Holy Spirit. I can be made better by seeking the Lord and earnestly wanting to touch the hem of His garment. No, my chronic health conditions have not vanished, but He cheers me and guides me in paths of right living and thinking. His word “quickens me.”

Charles Martin has a wonderfully clear description of the tassels in his book What If It’s True? A Storyteller’s Journey with Jesus, chapter two.

If you do not own this book I suggest you purchase it or get it from the library. Ours has both audio and eBook versions as well as the paper one. Chapter two is entitled “We are all bleeders.”

Martin writes: Note the meanings: Cover. Refuge. Deliverance. Trust. Because God is practical and He didn’t want His people to forget, He took this one step further. Brought it closer to home.

God told Moses to have the people make a tassel for each corner of their prayer cloth. Jesus wore this, too.

The crowd shoves, and pushes, and tightens, and she is losing sight of this Man named Jesus of Nazareth. In desperation, she lunges, extends her reach, and grasps the corner of His garment. His shirt. The tassel. The wing. She clings. Holds tightly. He feels the tug. Feels the power leave. She feels it enter.”

Have you sought the Lord, perhaps hunting in His Word, and felt the quickening of your spirit? He is able today to refresh and touch you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Jesus Calling Quote

If I am the Master of your life, I will also be your First Love. Your serving Me is rooted and grounded in My vast, unconditional Love for you. The lower you bow down before Me, the higher I lift you up into intimate relationship with Me. The Joy of living in My Presence outshines all other pleasures. I want you to reflect My joyous Light by living in increasing intimacy with Me.

And there is the point. We serve Jesus not out of coercion or duty. We serve because we are rooted and grounded in His love, His vast unconditional love for us. A man I knew years ago taught us much about the power and love of Christ. He often quoted this hymn form memory.

“I had a debt I could not pay,
He paid the debt He did not owe,
I needed someone,
To wash my sins away.
And now I sing a brand new song,
“Amazing grace” all day long,
Christ Jesus paid the debt,
That I could never pay.”

Recently the First 15 app said, “ The truth is that until we experience for ourselves both the goodness and power of our heavenly Father, the truth of his provision will only ever feel like a heady, theological principle. Until we experience firsthand the character and provision of our God, fear will remain.”

As Bob and I travel home from our vacation, I am reminded of Ephesians again. “We are rooted and grounded” in that vast, almost unimaginable love that Christ extends to us. Rooted deeply and strongly. When we think things are not going well, He can reframe our thoughts and give us joy.

Relax and ask God to open your eyes, as First 15 urges, that you, also, might experience both the goodness and power of our Heavenly Father on your behalf. Move out of the heady theological principle into the reality of His Presence.

Someone left us a surprise on the beach!

Our quarters on vacation were just fine Outside, well, not so much. They are dredging sand out of the ocean to replenish he beach a mile or so down the way. A machine in the ocean makes such a racket 24/7 that we cannot hear the waves pound the beach from the deck on our unit. The monotony of the noise also makes me very sleepy…like the buzz of a bad fluorescent bulb. So reading on the deck is a challenge as my body just wants to sleep.

We love to pick up shells. the ships doing the dredging and the dredging process grins up the shells as they suck up the sand. Oops. Basically no shells on this beach. At best, tiny broken pieces. Good news! We have been to 2 beaches nearby that usually have great shelling. The challenge, getting there at the right time calculated by the tides.

Guess what! Father provided enough shells, even though some are very tiny, in enough variety to satisfy us. As the saying goes, “A bad day at the beach is better than a good day at home!”

Screams of joy as children challenge the waves, laughing and running away from the edge of the water.

We have had fun. We are grateful to get away from home and break up the routine. We serve because we are rooted in that vast, unconditional love and on these beaches I bow low before my God and Lord. He has kept us in all our ways. Our eyes are ever upon Him. And we say thank you.

The joy of living in His presence truly outshines the piles of shells we have explored over our lives. But yes, I was terribly spoiled by visiting Boca Grande, Florida. That, too, was indeed a gift.

Humor All Around Me

In February the gas station built a fortress. There were 60 bags in a block. The piles of blocks numbered at least 12. They were getting a start for mulch sales.

There were snow piles in the shade. Ice on the ponds. One pond had a black swan alone while there was a pack of 6 white swans clustered together.

We drove through the unremarkable city of Plain.

Driving down the road we passed a hearse on a tow truck. “Hmm,” I mused and asked Bob, “Does that make it twice dead?” Then I remembered the first verse below. The second verse is glorious!

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV

The sign read, “Right on red arrow after stop.” I was bewildered as the lane only went left.

A man pushing his cart down the lane in Home Depot. I was waiting for new bedroom blinds to be cut. His phone announced, “Continue east on 125.” I cracked up! Either he had already arrived or was very, very lost.

In early March we were driving and I saw parched, dead, brown gray stubble in fields and yards. It was not a corn field waiting to be plowed under. Perhaps grass in a dormant stage?

Then suddenly in April there was green, green grass splashed with neon yellow dandelions and if someone had splattered neon paint. Bees are so grateful as are other pollinators! Please don’t kill all the dandelions!

Well, perhaps not the all important pollen source they were reported to be? https://www.gardenmyths.com/dandelions-important-bees/ says the following …

“I spoke to one of the researchers at the Honey Bee Research Center, University of Guelph and asked him about the bees first food.

“Around here, zone 5, Ontario, “their first important food source is tree pollen. Long before flowers become important, honey bees are in the top of trees collecting pollen. Maples, elms, poplars and willows are important as a first food” and they flower before dandelions.

“They gather dandelion pollen when other pollen is not available.”

Some trees are wind pollinated and produce a lot of pollen. They also have a very concentrated source which means bees don’t have to fly long distances between flowers to get it.”

State of the Heart

From First 15: “Our heavenly Father is the giver of every good gift. His mercies are vast, powerful, and real. His love has the ability to completely overwhelm and satisfy every one of our needs. Everything he gives us satisfies, transforms, and leads us to abundant life. As we spend this week stirring up our affections toward God, allow your heart to become soft and open. Allow his loving character to draw you close and provide life to every dry and weary place in your soul.” Here is the online link https://www.first15.org/04/25/god-gives-peace/ You can also subscribe to the podcast.

Have you seen stones that seem to be in the shape of a heart? In almost any place with loose stones you can occasionally find a stone in the shape of a heart. Could it be a message for you? God wants us to have a heart that is open to His touch. He knows the thoughts of our hearts. He knows what lives in our heart. He is able to change, cleanse and help our hearts.

In the Old Testament He wrote

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV

Have you examined your heart to see if you are open to His touch? Open not just when it is convenient or feels good, but open to His every instruction as each day unfolds.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

Hebrews 10:16 NIV

He will put His laws in our hearts. He will write upon our minds. As a senior citizen I believe this is terrific! Yes, we do tend to forget things, but the Father is not going to let aging prevent us knowing what He desires. Perhaps one of the greatest promises of all is found in Jeremiah.

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Have you sought God with all your heart? Is your heart soft towards Him? Can you imagine how soft the heart of Jesus must have been to yield to the sacrifice that the Father required on our behalf? I return again and again to the song by Andrew Peterson. If you watch the video the veins in the living heart remind me of the veins in the rock heart above.

Next time you see a stone in the shape of a heart ask the Lord if that is a message to you about your heart. It very well could be He is trying to get your attention!