Meanwhile, Back at the Soldier Crawl

ABIDE:  me with You, You in me , and flowing forth from me.

You are the vine, I am the branch. Our relationship, love, contacts create the tendrils that help me to cling, ABIDE.

Even at crochet group, I choose to abide. Even at the grocery I choose to abide. While listening to Bob and learning to hear, I choose to abide. 

While traveling a few years ago I found this wrought iron sculpture and remembered the book “Clinging” that I had been reading and ABIDE which I am still trying to learn. The tendril is clearly delineated. I want my tendrils tight and close with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Defined: “Tendrils are slender structures that coil around smaller objects to provide support for growing shoots.” So I went ahead and wrote the meditation/prayer outline for our weekly intercessors meeting.  The theme was abide, remain, stay, endure, dwell. I presented it the day before Bob and I went to the Convent for an Advent Quiet Day. Emilie Griffin wrote “Prayer is clinging, not only that we cling to God, but that He clings to us.” We prayed that the persons on our Topics List would cling to God for all of their needs.

At the Convent we were each assigned a room for our personal use during the day. The sign on my door had a quote from Jan L. Richardson: “The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before . . . .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you . .  So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. . . For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.”

I was gobsmacked!   Abide   Remain  Stay  Endure  Dwell  Stay  Sit  Linger  Tarry  Ponder  Wait  Behold  Wonder all within 24 hours!

How are you spending your Advent Season?

Hopefully you are able to shed cares and move towards the silence that re-creates.

Wise Men

One of my favorite sayings has been made in decorations of several sorts. One year for Christmas my daughter, Emily, gave us a star which hangs in our kitchen now.wise 1

Matthew 2:1-10 (HCSB) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

“When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.”

“Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went on their way.

“And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.”

Now we know little about these wise men.  We do know that stars are most easily seen in a clear night sky. There is a man made star that we can see at this time annually when the people who own a house on the hill light it up. We see it from a four lane highway at 55 MPH.

The other day after church Bob decided he wanted to find where that house was, where that star was. We started off up the hill on a sunny Sunday afternoon circling into various subdivisions. Our hunt was for naught. Too many houses with private drives up there! We will just have to admire it from afar and be reminded as we pass that wise men were led to the Savior by a star.

I was giggling inside as we made our way home. What does it say about us that we were searching for a star on a sunny afternoon? Maybe not too wise? Except really good at wise cracks!

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We do still seek the Savior to come and fill us at a greater depth during this season of Advent and all the year long.

Rocks and Your Voice

Luke 19:35-40 (HCSB) Then they brought it (the donkey) to Jesus, and after throwing their robes on the donkey, they helped Jesus get on it. As He was going along, they were spreading their robes on the road. Now He came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: “The King who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!”  Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”

They obeyed by finding the donkey for him. They helped him get on it.

I saw this in South Dakota.

Cathedral spires and He said “if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out.” Can you see the man in the right photo above, just waiting to cry out to God in praise? I saw him.

This was by far my favorite though! I see a stately woman in  an evergreeen gown with a turban-like head dress, waiting in prayer and praise before the Lord. Like His handmaiden.stones-cry-1.jpg

Have to wonder if Jesus remembered later when He prayed in the Garden that “as they came near the path down the Mount of Olives the whole crowd had been praising God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen God do.” He knew abandonment and sorrow. I believe we can bring Him joy by praising and crying out to Him with joy now!

Hope you will listen to this song all the way through. When I play it I want to just sing it over and over!

One less stone, one more voice to praise Him!

Authority and Faith

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This photo was taken by my husband for me at the Cincinnati Art Museum when  a few soldiers from the terracotta army China toured at our museum. Dating from 210 BCE they were amazing. WHen I first saw this General I immediately thought of the Centurion from Capernaum. That man understood authority.

Matthew 8:5-13 (HCSB)
When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!” “I will come and heal him,” Jesus told him.
“Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured. For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith! I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was cured that very moment.

With just the signal of a finger this general told his army what to do. The Centurion understood that Jesus did not need to travel to his home. With only a word our Savior healed a paralyzed servant.

I used this photo and scripture recently for a meditation during church wide prayer night. We have a time of confession in that meeting and I wrote, “Lord we ask Your forgiveness when we have not understood Your authority in our lives and over the powers of darkness that torment us. Forgive us, too, for not using the authority You have given us to push back against the darkness. Increase our faith that we might serve You mightily in all things. Help us Lord, to go when You say, “Go,” to come when You call us to come and to do the things You show us to do.”

LK 18:6-8 (Parable of Unjust Judge) Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”

This question often rolls about in my mind, will Jesus find faith on the earth when He returns? The Centurion was not even a believer and he amazed Jesus with his faith and understanding of authority. Do we have faith like the persistant widow in the parable about the unjust judge? Faith like the Centruion? Do we have faith that pleases God, for Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who come to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

That sort of faith.