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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Almost every morning at 8 AM Bob walks Lucky. As they went around the retention pond recently they came across these lovely deer.
As soon as he got home Bob said, “I have something to show you!” And shared those two photos. Moments later, a neighbor texted me saying, “I was taking a picture of the deer and look who entered the frame.”
We live in a fun neighborhood!
Often while walking Lucky Bob is listening to Morning Prayer or a devotional blog. I think these verses fit these photos perfectly!
Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. 2 My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did you get a Chocolate rabbit? What part did you eat first?
Years ago when I saw this in a hospital gift shop I purchased it immediately. Fondly remember my mother teaching us about “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” Now bunnies demonstrating their limited abilities after someone ate the ears, ate the eyes, ate the mouth. Ha!
Has your Lenten discipline brought you to a new place in your walk with Jesus? Or like so many New Year resolutions have you already forgotten what you were aiming for in what you ‘gave up’ for the 40 days of Lent?
I hope and pray that the Easter Season brings you into a closer and richer fellowship with the One Who died for each of us. He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!
It is said that the best way to discern God’s will is through prayer, the Word, confirmation through fellowship with other Christians and circumstantial situations God sends your way. If you want to rely on this method you need to learn the Word. Few of us can quote chapter and verse, but we can learn the principles of Scripture and how to find the verses that correspond.
Years ago I had a book about prayer that listed these Scriptures for guidance and direction. I made it a habit to pray them every morning off and on over a period of years, asking the Father to indeed give me guidance and direction for that day. If you want practice in finding references in your Bible, you can go to Deuteronomy 31:6 and mark in the margin Joshua 3:4, then at Joshua mark the next reference in your margin, etc., etc. The references that just say 25:9 refer to the book listed just before. So 25:9 is Psalms 25:9, etc. PROV is proverbs, ISA is Isaiah, JN is John and REV is Revelation. There are many such lists on line. This list has helped and taught me much. May it do the same for you in your study. If you use an electronic Bible on your phone or computer you will not have the advantage of being able to note the next verse in sequence. Bibles like the Thompson Chain reference give you space to add another reference.
Now, years later these verses still come to mind on occasion and remind me of His faithfulness. I also learned that if we “hide the word in our heart” and mind, that gives the Holy Spirit more to work with when I am asking for guidance or seeking to comfort another.
Tradition says that God was silent while Jesus was in the tomb on Holy Saturday. Rather than expound on the miracle of the resurrection, I thought this might feed your soul now and in the future.
Deut 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Josh 3:4 NKJV Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.
Psalms 16:11 You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
37:23-24 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
73:23-24a Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel.
121:8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.
PROV 2:6-8 NKJV For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
ISA 30:20-21 Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
45:2-3 I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
48:17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go.
JER 6:16 This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
29:12-14 “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
32:17 Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
JN 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
REV 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Daily reading of the Word is one of our best weapons in warfare. The Word is our Sword of the Spirit. Let the Word guide and direct you, mold and teach you. The results are ‘out of this world!’
This seemed to me to be fitting for Good Friday reflection. I have no idea who taught me this truth, but it was many years ago. Since I have given my life to Jesus, I have no rights. The life I now live ….
I have been crucified with Christ;and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:19b-20 NRSV
Those who are crucified die. No one gets partially crucified. Jesus wants only our full surrender to Him. When our son was in nursery school (oh about 40+ years ago) I was driving and worshiping one day. I was led to a little hillside cemetery. Imagine my surprise when I, a daughter of God my Father, came upon this headstone.
I realized that this point in my walk was where ‘daughters come to die,’ for “Christ lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith.” From then on it has been a continuous lesson for me as to what that means. Dead women do not have rights. I do not have the right when I get angry to remain mad. I am to walk like Jesus. Oh, so much to learn! I do not have the right to get my own way. His ways are higher than mine.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:6-8 NRSV
One writer said, ” It doesn’t matter what you want. The only thing that matters is what God wants.” Patti Callahan wrote a wonderful book entitled Becoming Mrs. Lewis, a fictionalized version of the love story between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis. I just loved that book and will likely read it again. She mentioned that C. S. Lewis did not have Christianity ‘all figured out.’ He is purported to have said, “It is an unfolding. A constant unfolding to new life – or at its best that’s what it is.”
I get that explanation. Yes, as a child of the King, though I am an inheritor of the Kingdom, I also have to die to my desires and yield to His. Unfold into the right here and right now that God is asking me to walk in and live in.
I combined two ideas recently for my own object lesson. I went on Facebook and asked if anyone locally knew how to make origami. I wanted something to illustrate to me that my life is unfolding. Sure enough, some friends came up with Joe’s name. We found a pattern on line and he was able to make a few of these for me.
There is another lesson about marbles in a jar representing how many weekends you have left in your life, or working life, obviously I do not remember the details. The point was how are you going to spend that time? So this is what sits on my desk now.
This daughter is finished playing games with God. I want to live truly and fully to His glory. At our house we used to have some marble shooters, you know, the larger marbles you use to shoot the smaller ones in marble games? Well I suppose God has all the marble shooters now since I cannot find ours. That is fine with me. He is in charge of this. I will simply contemplate how well I am using the time I have left with the marbles I have in this unfolding life.
Occasionally I remove them from the paper box, like when I took the photograph for the top of the blog. Ha! yep, you guessed it! They rolled all over the desktop. Thought I had caught them all until I found Lucky trying to chew on one. Goofy toothless beagle. (At this point Bob is likely thinking, “I knew she had lost some of her marbles!”)
I am the daughter. He is my heavenly Father. I am learning to be like Jesus, my Brother. Father is teaching me His will and His ways.
Keepsies Playing for keeps. God gets to keep all the marbles He wins. He is a master at this game! I am His and He is mine. Glorious.
Are you willing to yield to Him, even though it means death to your SELF and your desires? Consider this and respond to His call upon your heart. He is a good, good Father.