Just a Word, His Word

It’s here in the silence, after the Christmas celebration; after the food is eaten; after they’ve all gone home; in the spaces, between the dotted “I”s and the crossed “T”s.

He meets me. The overflowing. The meaning of it all.

Love.

His love is real, as tangible as the sound of the snow falling. As warm as the blanket I’m wrapped in. I know He loves me.

The true meaning of the celebration of Christmas some years gets lost in the food, the fun, the surprise of the presents, the hugs, the egg nog. Yet the very reason that we celebrate is the ultimate gift of Love.

His Love come to us.

To the shepherds, the kings, the Simeons, the Annas, the wedding party, the woman who touched Him, to Jairus, to the centurion, to Peter, James and John, to all who followed Him, to Lazarus, to Martha and Mary, to Mary Magdalene, to Paul, to Timothy.

To us. The broken, the dysfunctional, the wounded beyond repair, the sick, the dying, the liars and the cheats, the get along pretty well on our own. We all of us are the object of His Love.

He came to us, for us, because of us, because of our friends, our families, our parents, our siblings, our children, our frenemies, our enemies.

Us.

Why? Because we can’t do this by ourselves. This living and dying. He designed us. We broke us, and only He can fix us. 

Not one of us can do that. Only Love. His Love. LOVE.

Do you hear it? The whisper in the silence, the still small voice passing by reminding us why we just celebrated? 

God so loved the world (you, me, everyone who has lived, is living or ever will live) that He gave His one and only Son (just One for all) that whoever (each one of us) believes in Him (has faith, looks to and hopes in the Son) will not perish (no everlasting death) but have eternal life (complete and whole as we were designed to be).

LOVE

A Christmas Moment

One moment in time…

Is there just one moment you can remember that defines Christmas for you?  I have a Christmas memory of my childhood, of waking one Christmas morning, getting up and it was just getting light- still mostly shadows. Our tree was in the hall, but the lights were off and I could only see a vague image there. The presents were just dark spots under the tree. I looked at the tree and, aware that there were no lights on in the house, thought I was the first one up; but there was a faint glow from the kitchen. I walked past the tree and toward that glow. I lived with my grandparents, and there was my grandfather sitting at the kitchen table, a candle lit, drinking coffee. I remember asking him why he was sitting in the dark with just the candle and him telling me that he was waiting for me to wake up. This little memory was just one moment in time; but as I remember it now, I realize he demonstrated his love for me in the best way he knew how.

Something else comes to me in remembering that moment. The light that announced Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem was so much brighter than that little candle my grandfather lit in the kitchen.

He is waiting for us all to wake up. The world, like that tree, sits in darkness; can we not pass it up to go to the Light?

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16

 

 

 

Keep on Keeping on…

The past few weeks have been a blur. Since the end of September actually. {don’t tell the family- they think I have it all together in my head and heart}

I reached a low spot this week. After the news of last week’s horrible events- see I can’t even write clearly- I spiraled right down to the bottom.

There have been many things happening around me and in my home and in my life in general, most have been “ok”. If you know me and I say “I’m ok” then you know that I am indeed “ok”.  A few things have been stressful in negative ways, in “not sure where this is going” ways, and in good ways. In my usual internal reaction to input overload I found myself in a “stall”.  

You know, like an airplane stalls; it goes up at a sharp ascent then suddenly the engine just sputters and stalls out and the plane plummets toward earth at ear shattering speed. If the pilot is good, and the plane is better, then it is possible to pull out of the stall thus avoiding the inevitable splat and end of life as one knows it.

For me, this was an internal stall while I still bought groceries, took the cleaning to the dry cleaners, bought Christmas presents, went shopping and out to lunch with friends, baby sat and pulled out the Christmas decorations and started decorating the house.

Notice I said “started”. That’s where the stall became noticeable. To me. I began to see what was happening and the plummet had begun. I became a slug mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Thoughts were spinning around in my head so fast I couldn’t connect. The low point came yesterday when one of my blogging group friends asked if I was doing ok. Honestly, I had to respond “no, actually I was not.” Coming to terms with what you are feeling when in that tailspin is the first step toward pulling out. {Thanks, Shannon}

Not long after that, as I was reading input on a FB group, more dear ones {these intuitive ladies- I love you all- you know who you are}  began sending me messages telling me they were praying – Ah, God gives good gifts! Lo and behold, another one spoke of memorizing Hebrews 10. Timely words. Indeed. My curiosity was piqued. I read it not because it was in my mind to memorize it too, but because it comes right before Hebrews 11, in which my go-to verses reside:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

When I start to spiral out of control these verses usually remind me that I don’t belong here and that there is something better waiting.  But, this time the Holy Spirit was whispering- read the one before. And I did, all because one friend remarked that she was memorizing this passage. (thanks, Donna)  Deep, down, in the middle of this passage, were the words that were written just for me in this moment in time: 

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

Those few whispered words there in that chapter were all I needed. He provided. 

But wait! That’s not the end of this story! 

Today, another blog friend (bless you) posted on another group about One Word Buttons for our blogs free from Melanie at Only a Breath- http://www.onlyabreath.com/2012/12/theyre-here-free-one-word-blog-buttons/

and then from there I was taken to One Word 365- http://oneword365.com/about/  Where Alece asks folks to choose one word to focus on for the year. This is what she says: “One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2012(3). One word that you can focus on every day, all year long. It will take hard work, and will require intentionality and commitment. But if you let it, your word will shape you and your year. It will guide your decisions and help you grow. Discover the big impact one word can make.   One word.    365 days.”

And, that dear friends, is how I came to choose my one word:

Persevere

I end here with Paul’s words to the Philippians (3:12-14)- Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So, in the coming year, when you see that I’m not quite myself, do me a favor, whisper this one word in my ear?

Persevere

What one word would you choose to propel you forward in 2013?

 

{The} Story or Particular, Peculiar Words- Part 2

{The} Story, {His} Story, gives substance to our existence.

Because of it, every thought, every communication is connected with and woven through THE WORD. It’s how we all connect. Words. Written. Spoken. Unspoken. Shouted. Whispered. 

Words show life is real, broken, full of emotion, love, hate, sorrow, joy, obedience, disobedience, blessings, curses, judgement, trials, glory, grace, mercy, forgiveness,  repentance and redemption.

In {His} Story, the beginning of the story of us all, we witness: the moment man set his mind and his foot to disobedience; the anger, envy and self-pity that drove Cain to kill his brother; the building of the ark and the rising of the waters until the only souls living were captive on a wooden boat till the water left them high and dry; the impact of the words of Moses on Pharaoh; the manna that fell from Heaven-what in the world?; the parting of the waters of the Red Sea and their rushing return devouring Pharoah’s soldiers; the tears of Hannah in the gut-wrenching heartache of barrenness; the guilt David suddenly faced when Nathan confronts him on the murder of Uriah and the taking of Bathsheba; Jonah’s disobedience and experience in the fish for 3 days, his subsequent obedience, God’s mercy and Jonah’s self-pity;  the stand taken by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the walk in the flames with the fourth man; the moment God set His plan of redemption in the world with the encounter Mary has with Gabriel; the desperation of Peter as he steps out of the boat onto the water and suddenly clings to Jesus in fear and doubt; the moment blind Bartimaeus can see-really see Jesus, Son of David, who did have mercy on him and Jesus’ command to “Go” he instantly disobeys as he follows the one who gave him sight; the joy on Mary Magdalene’s face as she realizes that Jesus is alive and standing in front of her; the sudden blindness and clarity of understanding after the encounter of Saul with Jesus on the road to Damascus; John’s vision as it is revealed to him by the angel in his old age and so much more.

The Words that tell and teach and comfort and warn; that reach out to tell us just how much He loves us; that give us our history to show us there will be messes, there will be despair, there will be defeat. But there will also be joy and dancing in the streets.

Our words tell our part of the story. They tell our moments, our days, every breath, every heartbeat. Our part of the story reveals our love, loss, despair, hope, faith. And, in my particular, peculiar part, the path I walk on this journey of life. 

How do I tell you the words in the right order lest the meaning be changed altogether to something else entirely? How do I tell you when I look at words strung together like a strand of pearls it gives me hope or takes it away? How do I tell you the power of a word and where and how it is used is important? That some words, spoken, even whispered, have so much significance and so much power I hesitate to speak some things aloud? That words written and spoken can be used for evil as well as for good? How do I tell you that I share in the hope that you will see your part in {His} story?

Yet, here am I, still pounding away on the keyboard trying to get you to see what I see.

It is in the concept His Words hold where we understand the incredible completeness of all creation. Because of these words, full of the Glory of God in humanity and the incredible imperfections in the people in His Story, we can identify and come to grips with our own part of the story. Confident, knowing the end of{The} Story,  {His} Story, is yet to come. 

Sometimes, our part is not pretty. Rough drafts rarely are. But oh, the finished story….

A voice says, “Cry out.”And I said, “What shall I cry?” Isaiah 40:6

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? Isaiah 40:21 

Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord—with the first of them and with the last—I am he.” Isaiah 41:4 

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am you God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:9-10

“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare;
before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42: 8-9

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand.  When I act, who can reverse it?” Isaiah 43:10-13 

Go.

Live.

Tell. 

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10b-11

 

 

{The} Story or Particular, Peculiar Words- Part 1

In the beginning God…

Since time began on earth for man, a story always starts in the beginning. You could say, since an author started the telling of a story in the middle or tracked back from the end, that statement is not true. But we learned very young there is always a beginning before a middle and a middle before an end. There is only one path that a story – any story – takes if told in chronological order. Such is the story of man. It starts with “In the beginning…”

The story starts THERE- in the beginning. Where all things start- IN the beginning God… He is there. In the beginning was THE WORD and The Word was God! He starts it all. The telling of the story…

God is the storyteller. He uses words particularly and peculiarly and in a specific order. Words have so much power that when God speaks the words things happen. 

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I’m not ascribing the creative power of God to the words He spoke; but to disregard the fact that words were used by Him to create and to name the created and give meaning to this place we live and move and, by His grace, have our being would be to disregard Him. He could have snapped His fingers and all would have fallen into place. But He spoke.

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He called all creation into being, named the day and night and sun and stars and heaven and earth. He named man Adam. He gave meaning where there was none. In doing so, He created a capacity for understanding- Him, ourselves, each other; the world we live in. The depth and breadth and scope of His creative power are so grand that it takes our breath away when we stop and consider.

The woman brand new, freshly created, who didn’t even have a name, added to the story on her own with the strategic placement of the phrase: {and you must not touch it: Genesis 2:3}. These were small, insignificant words on their own. Yet, combined with God’s words, they added to and changed the meaning of the instruction and the direction of the story. 

And because Adam went along with the woman as she listened to the serpent’s words and he didn’t obey God’s words, man goes from unending bliss in The Garden with animal companions that he himself named and God to walk and talk with in the evening; to dry, hard ground, animal animosity, hard work, pain, sorrow, the loss of God’s physical presence and to top it off, death IS thrown into the mix.

A hard lesson-disobedience.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The Story that follows after “In the beginning God…” is bigger than any one word that we could grasp and understand. He gives His words to us. He places them in a particular, peculiar order to point to The Word, so we will recognize Him when he comes to walk among us and redeem us from the curse that began so long ago with those other words and the terrible result.

History,

           His Story,

                        {His}story gives substance to our existence.

Without it we are nothing. Helpless, hopeless, no beginning, no middle, no end.  His Word became our redemption from the unending death; and the repeating of it becomes our story that we tell our children and grandchildren.

And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” Genesis 1:26a

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3


There’s more to this… stay tuned