A Prompt in Plain Sight

Found this a year or so ago on the sidewalk. I have kept it ever since. It is a writing prompt and in some ways a prod. How so? you ask.

If you have a broken pencil you cannot write much unless you sharpen it and determine to use it. And that is the prod part. Was I willing to use it and sharpen it? This was before I started writing the blog. For years I had been putting off actually writing with regularity and purpose. Once again, I was being given the choice of just keeping a broken pencil, throwing it away, or putting it to work.

And the prompt? Even the stub of a pencil can be used to write. What is to stop the finder from using it? Yes, some kid is missing a green pencil from their colored pencil set, but what about the senior citizen who found and kept it. Will she make use of it, even in old age and gray hair? Will she step out in faith and just do it?

You can scroll through my posts and see if you agree. I think I am onto the discipline of using it and helping the last years of the pencil produce a harvest! Not to mention, the older woman holding said pencil.

Steve Green summed it up nicely with the song “You Want To, Now Will You”


You’ve heard the words
And know they’re true
And now they ring inside of you
They’re calling you to come away
Now will you come or stay.

You want to, now will you
You want to, now will you
The truth that burns within you
Like a bed of fiery coals
Contains that power to liberate
A thousand captive souls
But if the truth will ever set you free
Depends on you
You want to, now will you
You want to…now will you

The Weight of Wood

How much do you think your sins weigh? Just your personal screw-ups and errors? I know mine weigh plenty.

In Pilgrims Progress Bunyan wrote: “Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back. “He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulcher. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.”

Have you intentionally taken your sins to the foot of the cross and let go of them? I find I cannot grow until I let loose of them.

Have you ever tried to move a piece of tree that has fallen or been cut down? I blew out my back once thinking I could move just a log, about 30 inches around but only 20 inches long. Partially ruptured a disc that still gives me fits years later. Now I find out by an on-line search that a sugar maple branch that is 10 inches on one end, 12 inches on another and 3 feet long can weigh 123 pounds!

So often I see crosses in this day and age, made from wood, but on close examination you can see that the shape is made of wooden planks and hollow on the inside. I know that is more practical for hanging on a wall or erecting in a yard, but imagine if they were solid wood like His was?

Can you imagine the weight of the cross beam that the Lord had to carry to Golgotha? The actual weight of the wood and the additional weight of our sins must have made it tremendously heavy! 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV 2011) says “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

The cross used in Roman crucifixions consisted of two parts: “the upright or mortise, referred to as the stipes, or staticulum, and the tenon or crosspiece, which is called the patibulum or antenna.” “In Mark 15:36, the scripture reads that Jesus was offered a sponge with vinegar stuck to a hyssop reed. The average height of a male in that time period was approximately 5 feet, and the reed of a hyssop averages 1 to 2 feet long. These figures indicate that the cross was approximately 7 to 9 feet tall. The patibulum that Jesus’ arms were outstretched and nailed to was likely 5 to 6 feet long. The entire cross is estimated to have weighed well over 300 pounds.” https://www.reference.com/world-view/were-dimensions-jesus-cross-406d63ed53e6b194?qo=contentSimilarQuestions

The horizontal bar known as the patibulum had a weight of between 75 and 125 pounds. Some believe that this is the only part of the cross that was carried. https://www.reference.com/world-view/much-did-cross-weigh-jesus-carried-299ed7bac97a3f86

“In the Passion of the Christ movie, Jim Caviezel was seemingly the perfect candidate to play Jesus Christ. What you may not have known is that he experienced a shoulder separation when the 130-pound cross was dropped unto his shoulder.” That scene is still in the movie. “That was a heavy cross. It was probably more than half the weight of a typical Jewish man. It took great inner strength for Jesus to carry such a weight after being severely scourged with a cat-o-nine whip, hit in the head with a reed, had a crown of thorn pressed into his head, and abandoned by all his friends. “Jim did it with a separated shoulder, though we are sure he did not traverse the full length of the journey but the pain in his face during that scene would have been real.” Read more at https://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/movies/galleries/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-passion-of-the-christ-movie.aspx?p=2#3m5q2PY4OhVyx0Tb.99

God says that you are worth all the pain and suffering that Jesus endured. He would have done it if you were the only person on earth. In Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV 2011) we read “But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” And God replied: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

You are precious in His sight. Drop your sins at the foot of His cross and let them fall into the abyss. Thank Him today for each and every blessing and especially His sacrifice on your behalf. Walk with Him, talk with Him, rejoice that He has called you His own!

Holy Treasure Placed in My Ear

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work but rather, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY

Wikipedia says: Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. Bob’s favorite book of his is “The Little Prince.” My favorite quote of his is “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Our long marriage has proven this to be true!

This quote about building a ship made me think about drawing people to a relationship with God. How can I make them long for the endless immensity of His holy love, the tremendous power of His resurrection life for changing and transforming us? His endless promises for good and the joy of Spirit- filled living?

Bob told me a story about talking with men in his Silver Sneakers group. It seems one man knew rather a lot through a work relationship about a man whom Bob knew tangentially. And pondering that sent sparks of inspiration!

In Exodus 20:18 the people trembled with fear when they were at Mount Sinai. God wanted the people to come and meet there (EX 19:10-11). They were so afraid that they asked Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” This was a major twisting by the people of what the Lord had instructed. He wanted the people to experience Him. Here they are, holding the God of Glory at arm’s length. And it has been like that for ages. Congregations asking the Pastor to bring an inspired word, but please do not ask them to go to God for themselves!

My mother taught me to sing when I was just a small child. Her father had been a Methodist minister and she was made to sing for his services when she was growing up. She also taught me to sing the alto parts as she was soprano and wanted to harmonize. One of the first songs was “The Garden Song” with lyrics by C. Austin Miles. We sang in the car so obviously, we sang a cappella.

I sifted through You Tube versions to try to find one I liked best. I think I probably liked the singing in the car with Mom the best. Here are the lyrics

  • I come to the garden alone
  • While the dew is still on the roses
  • And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
  • The Son of God discloses
  • And He walks with me
  • And He talks with me
  • And He tells me I am His own
  • And the joy we share
  • as we tarry there
  • None other has ever known.
  • He speaks and the sound of His voice
  • Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
  • And the melody that He gave to me
  • Within my heart is ringing
  • And He walks with me
  • And He talks with me
  • And He tells me I am His own
  • And the joy we share
  • as we tarry there
  • None other has ever known.

So you see early, early on in my life I was taught, through this song to go and listen for the Lord. Choose to walk with Him and talk with Him. Listen for His voice.

I had a Lutheran priest ask me once in amazement if I really believed that. I replied, “Absolutely!” because you see, by the time I spoke with that priest, I had experiential knowledge of this Bible truth. I did not know Jesus tangentially through sermons, but with my own understanding and through my own Bible study, prayer and seeking Him.

Jesus said He came that we could have access to the Father, direct access. And through His death and resurrection He made certain that access is available for all who believe.

Do not satisfy yourself with the Pastor of your church going to God for you. Go seek Him and share with your pastor your experience. You will both be blessed!

Success!

Bob is spending the night in the hospital for observation, but the pacemaker procedure went off with no complications. Thank you so much for your prayers and good wishes.

At one point I had to go move the car from valet parking to the regular lot. When I got in the car the radio was playing this song.

Hoping like Dan said, this completes the circle from that terribly illness that began January 4, 2018.

Stay well!

Weary Molly

 

Christmas Humor

In the grocery store our children and grandchildren often embarrass us. What might have been funny at home or in the car makes us cringe in public. Sometimes those same children can bless others tremendously. I think it is lovely when a preschooler is riding in a grocery basket singing “Yes, Jesus loves me!”

A few years ago I had the opportunity to be blessed by a child who obviously attended church. Whether he had recently learned Revelation 4:8 in his Nursery class or at home I will never know. We are told in that passage that around the throne of heaven there are four living creatures and day and night they never stop saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

So here is this kiddo, with dark hair and bright eyes, riding in Mom’s car hollering: “Holy, holy holy is the Lord!” I was in the next aisle over and enchanted to hear such a thing in the grocery. When they caught up with me in a few minutes in yet another aisle, he was still praising. Mom wanted to put her hand over his mouth and was trying to sush him a bit. I reminded her that the Psalmist said through the praise of children the Lord established a stronghold against the enemy! (Psalm 8:2) I encouraged her to let him go 😉 She was visibly relieved that someone appreciated his enthusiasm.

Wonder what would happen if all the believers declared such praise with such volume at the grocery store? A flash mob of joy!!

Ten Years Ago

I take opportunities to teach the Gospel whenever I can. Every year stick on decorations are made for sliding glass doors, etc. I had one I used for several years for our Grandkids to play with. They could arrange and re-arrange the pieces if they wanted to. 

One year I picked up our youngest Grandgirl from nursery school and brought her home for lunch at our house. They had been learning about farms and farm animals. Old MacDonald was a new favorite song for singing in the car.

As she was eating her lunch she looked at the sliding glass door. 

“Look Grammy, there’s Jesus,  right in that barn!”

What a joy to have young’uns among us!

Lord, help me always to see with the eyes of a child. Help me celebrate You right in that barn and in my dining room! 

Another Christmas Memory

The particular winter I am thinking about was approximately twelve years ago. It had been a windy autumn, more wind than usual. One neighbor had begun to decorate for Christmas. In their tradition, the Jesus baby was not put out until Christmas Day. 

As we drove down the street, our oldest Grandgirl, then about five years old, noticed the figures. She said a classic line!

“I see Mary, and I see Joseph. I guess Jesus blowed away!”

We have mentioned her comment every year since. Such innocence and astute observation! If you can’t find Him, perhaps you can explain His absence?

May you know an increased awareness of Christ this season and throughout the coming year! Blessings to you.

“I see Mary, and I see Joseph. I guess Jesus blowed away!”

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!

wise

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!