Have You Abandoned Nest You Built?

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15

Sanctify – set apart as holy. When you first came to Christ did you build a sanctuary in your heart for Him? Did you frequent that sanctuary for fellowship with Him?

Have you ever used a dictionary to look up Sanctuary? https://www.thefreedictionary.com/sanctuary

sacred place, holiest part of a sacred place, condition of being protected or comforted, a place of refuge or asylum, a consecrated building or shrine, protection provided from such a place

Now I would like you to go to that dictionary site and read the list thinking of the place in your innermost being where you meet with the Holy Spirit. Dwell in that place for a few moments. Can you imagine ever abandoning that place for the things of this world?

Empty nest – abandoned

If we abandon meeting with our Trinity in our place of sanctuary we are well on our way to darkness and confusion. Have you spent time there lately?

I tell people I do not care where you go to church, whatever denomination or non-denomination. But, do you know Jesus and have you spoken with Him today?

Why is this important?

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:1-2 NRSV

Some place inside you there must be a place where the center down silence can flourish. A place where you close your mouth and open your ears for the whispers of that still small voice. A sanctuary where you can meet with God. An altar where you can offer your sacrifices of praise, a contrite heart, put to death your pride and arrogance, sit with His loving arms around you.

In the article at https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/reasons-god-appeared-to-elijah-in-a-gentle-whisper.html, author Clarence L. Hayes, Jr. says:

If there is one thing that is required for God to show up and speak in this manner it is this. You must make room for his presence and you must tune your ear to his voice. What I mean by this is that the ones who hear God speak most often are the ones who have prepared themselves to listen. Most people will not hear God speak audibly; you may hear God speaking to your heart through prayer, or you may hear God speaking to you through reading the Bible. Jesus has left us with an advocate and helper who lives within all believers, the Holy Spirit. 

I would encourage you to take moments of stillness. As powerful as God is, his presence so often shows up in the most gentle, loving fashion. Like he did with Elijah he wants to meet you in your personal space. A hidden treasure in the significance of God appearing to Elijah in a gentle whisper is that God met with him one on one. Regardless of your situation, God cares. He is not too busy to meet with you. In fact, he invites you in. He wants to meet with you one on one and help you with your most pressing situation. Don’t worry he’s not coming with earthquakes and fire. He’s coming with gentle compassion because he loves you and cares for you and wants to meet you right where you are.

Crosswalk, Clarence L. Hayes, Jr.

Create that sanctuary within you. Build your own altar. Begin to inhabit that place of abiding, dwelling with the Lord of All.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10 NIV

This is your calling as a Christian. It is not just for the educated, the appointed, the priests, deacons and bishops only. This is for you. Yes, you!

How is that nest coming along? Do not abandon it even if you have not visited there in a while. The Lord is waiting to meet with you there.

So Close - music below
The great wind's blowing
And the rock's tore loose, but I
Couldn't find You anywhere
And the earthquake came
And the fire raged, but I
Couldn't find You anywhere

[Pre-Chorus: Brandon Lake]
Then with the whisper You came
Gently reminding me
To never be afraid

[Chorus: Brandon Lake & Amanda Cook]
Heaven's closer than it's ever been
I can feel You so close, so, so close
When it feels like my world's caving in
Oh, God I need You so close, so, so close
Verse 2: 
You can turn this cave
To a holy place, you won't
Let a tear herе hit the ground
You're the guard who stays
Till thе morning breaks
And all of my fears go crashing down
Oh, oh-oh

Chorus
Heaven's closer than it's ever been
I can feel You so close, so, so close
My ever-present, never failing friend
I can feel You so close, so, so close

[Bridge: Amanda Cook with Brandon Lake]
You're the end of all anxiety
The safest place for suffering
Remind me once again that You're enough
Speak into these empty lies
Revive my heart, renew my life
Remind me once again that I am enough
And I won't waste another breath
On fear of never, fear of death
Even when I second guess Your love


I pray that on this Sunday you can make time and space for a little more closeness with God.

Now what?

Three oldest of five siblings

Like most of us, the siblings above seem to be asking, “Now what?” We usually expect something negative or ornery or at minimum unexpected when family gathers. As we carry this worrisome aspect around we more often than not lose sight of the power of God to change and rearrange things.

When we recently traveled to the beach I was quieted to realize again God is in control, even when I might not sense His control. If only I will accept His love and power over my life, I can come to a place of rest instead of expecting turmoil.

And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?

Matthew 8:27 ASV

The Waves 22-5-6 © Molly Lin Dutina
I stand on the firm soil
The waves roll in
I waver and change
The waves roll in
Regardless my state
The waves roll in
Whether I’m on the beach or landlocked
The waves roll in
Thunderous love of God
Roll over me
Like relentless ocean waves
Wash me continuously
Aware or oblivious
Keep me in Your power
Just as
The waves roll in.

Sayings

How many of these have you heard, do you remember, have you actually said? You can add to the list in the comment line, but please, only clean ones.

Maybe it is my age, but these have been coming to my mind and I realize some of them I have not heard in a coons age. How long is a coons age anyway?

Time will tell

You never know

Might oughta

Pert near took our heads off

You knowitso

Whatareyagunnado? As only a New York waiter can run it together.

Crimeinitly – was it a mafia reference or what?

Going to hell in a hand basket

One of the worst sayings: “Shame on you!”

Hello Again!

We were on vacation and I have been trying a medication change. Put together I not only did not write, I did not even post that I would return in a week or so.

What was I thinkin’? Not much evidently! Close friends told me to take a break. Somehow I thought I could press on. Oh well.

In case you have not been to the Atlantic ocean lately, here is a sequence of sunrise photos for your enjoyment. Bob said I would have to get up early if I wanted to see the sunrise. I was up before he was that one day. It was the ONLY morning I got up for the entire display!

5:37 AM Yes, Mercury, Venus and I do not know what else shining up there!
5:45 AM Can barely see planets now
6:20 AM Wondered will it rain here today? {It did not}
Another 6:20 image further to the left
6:26 AM Here she comes!
6:29 AM There she is accented with a Pac Man smile
6:36 AM

And then it became too bright to photograph or write on the deck!

In the last photo you can see the gulls began to awaken and scream over the sea. Soon the pelicans would begin to patrol in troops seeking breakfast.

I hope the 7 sunrise photos amused you. I was delighted to break our usual routine and see the ocean once again. I stand and praise as in Nehemiah,

And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”

“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

“You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham.

Nehemiah 9:5-7 NIV

So, too, may the Lord God call you out of enemy territory and name you as His own. I pray you will follow wherever He leads you, just as Abraham did. Amen.

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

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!

Humility?

The Bible has things to say about humility and the world has many misconceptions of that character trait. Our youngest pastor was speaking about this last week. He was talking about how his young sons try to outdo one another being Dad’s favorite. He was contrasting the kids behavior to the Lord asking us to value others as better than ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

Philippians 2:3 NIV

The Lord taught about humility and He modeled humility for us in His life and in His death.

Jesus said, “But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:4 CEV

Jesus also said, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12 NRSV

He (Jesus) humbled himself

    and became obedient to the point of death—

    even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8 NRSV

Willie Nelson sings this song written by Mac Davis that shows how the world sees humility. Such a far cry from the Word, but humorous none the less.

How do you view humility? According to the Word or Mac Davis and the world?

Lean Hard into Him

Have you had days when the same old same old seems to crush your spirit? Or days when you want to declare “Some old “S***, different day!” Each of us gets caught in the seemingly mundane go-round that I would not call merry. How to get away from that?

One cry of my heart goes out in this song we learned years ago at the Vineyard. I pray it helps lift you, too.

The eternal God is your refuge,

    and underneath are the everlasting arms.

He will drive out your enemies before you,

    saying, ‘Destroy them!’

Deuteronomy 33:27

Kibroth-hattaavah

What? you might be asking? What in the world does that mean?

Then a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground. 32 So the people worked all that day and night and all the next day, gathering the quails; the least anyone gathered was ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. 34 So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth.

Numbers 11:31-35

The people wandering in the desert were complaining about only having manna to eat. The Lord God had given them a heavenly food, unknown before or since, a food to nourish and sustain them. They complained and he brought them quail to eat. The quail lay all around them about 2 feet deep and the minimum they gathered was “enough to fill the bed of a full sized pickup truck to overflowing, mounded high.” They gathered much more than they could possible eat. Perhaps their plan was to dry them or preserve them with salt? We are not told. No language scholar here, but thankfully the references translate Kibroth-hattaavah for us. It means, the graves of craving. While the meat was still between their teeth, the anger of the Lord was kindled against them. Yikes.

Have you asked the Lord for something other than what you have? Has He given you that very thing? Have you been greedy about it?

Many years ago I was leading a study about these verses. Me, being the Queen of object lessons, decided we needed one for this verse. So we made a tombstone out of “Fimo” type clay that can be baked. Then we took alphabet beads and spelled out the name. Baked it and placed it in a prominent location to help remind us that there are consequences for acting on our cravings. The beads did not hold up well to the baking, but the idea worked.

Grave of Craving

Amused that it is now in my display of tiny things and the carved wooden pliers are pointing to it! (Lord, perhaps pulling out my cravings is like pulling teeth?) And those tiny glass birds could represent the quail, though I did not consciously place them for that. Oh Lord, remove my inordinate cravings with Your holy pliers, I pray.

The grave of cravings. What would you bury in that grave? Or would you be the one in the grave, the one who craved things inordinately and gave in to the greediness of wanting more than needed? I confess, I waver between the two.

 All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 

1 Corinthians 10:23 Amplified

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 

1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV

Yes, Lent is over and the Easter season continues with rejoicing, Alleluia! That does not mean my self discipline ends. If I crave anything more than God my walk is in jeopardy. Here is a video with a little preaching from Keith Green.

Are you putting cravings to death or are you in the grave of craving? If you are stuck remember “a rut is just a grave with ends kicked out.” Ask the Lord to help you worship Him above all else. He is faithful to do just that.

Musical Rejoicing Over Jesus’ VICTORY

Celebrate His Victory with me and other Christians around the world.

May you enjoy the resurrection power that flows in your veins and use it only to His glory and honor.

May this, our high, holy holiday be just the beginning of new life for you.

Most of all, may you gain understanding of why Jesus made the sacrifice of His life for you. Truly, He died for you.