As Fall gives way

It’s been quite a bit quiet around here recently. Family life has been occupying most of my time. I’m writing today to say that I think, I hope, I’m back. I’ve been working on some changes on this site as well and maybe just maybe it will look better. I’m also working on developing a newsletter; a challenge at best. 

Autumn is here and the colors are splendid….

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and one leaf demands our attention…

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Christmas is coming-what are you doing to brush away what’s left of autumn to prepare to celebrate?

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” Luke 2:10

{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

 

In a Quandary… Again

 What to do? When to do? How to do?

Ever get stuck in that spot where you know you need to do something but don’t know where to start?

That’s where I am today. Haven’t posted for a bit because I’ve been struggling with what to say, how to say it and when to say it….a recurring theme in my life of late.

An online devotional I subscribe to, recently stated in the teaser: “Lord, am I content with who I am, what I do, and how I do it? Does it honor you if I am not content with who I am?”

I am not sure I could ever say I was content with who I am until this past year. That says a lot about me doesn’t it?

Most of the malcontent I had was in relation to two things- both of which are no longer in my life.While these “things” had meaning for me, they both sapped my energy, my time, my faith. Now that they are no longer in my life- one was removed beyond my control and the other I removed by choice- I have perspective of what they both brought to my life. 

 

To arrive at the instant where the light bulb turned on and the message I received was, well enlightening: “See, this is what I wanted you to learn all those times it was difficult for you; all those experiences where you seemed to be having Groundhog days over and over again; all those days where it seemed that nothing was accomplished. They were for a purpose; My purpose.”

 

Thought I would share a bit of what I’ve learned (you may already know this; but, bear with me-it takes me a bit longer to get something inside my head permanently):

 

Never say anything that you might  or know you will regret later. 

Words, once spoken, hang out there like a helium balloon. They bump up against others, back at you, and just hover in the room. Once the helium is gone they just sink and stay where they fall. Words spoken in anger we cannot take back; but a timely word lingers with a sweet perfume.

 

Would you rather hear:

Arrogant words, rash words, evil words, deceitful words, killing words, words of hatred, rebellious words, cruel words, envious words, quarrelsome words, sharp words, twisted words, violent words, ambush words, perverse words, seductive words, multiplying words, wicked words, reckless words, frustrating words, destructive words, mere words, idle words, meaningless words, despised words, faulty words, insolent words, empty words, wounding words, rejected words, proud words, demanding words, angry words, rejecting words, sorrowful words, worthless words, stubborn words, distorted words, lying words, fearful words, words of lament, woeful words, mourning words, obscure words, delayed words, false words, boastful words, greedy words, impatient words, babbling words, words of entrapment, troubling words, shameful words, judging words, shaming words, defiant words, blasphemous words, condemning words. 

 

OR:

 

Sweet words, sweeter than honey words, soft words, good words, beautiful words, gentle words, prophetic words, true words, guarded words, soothing words, righteous words, well-spoken words, flawless words, words of instruction, kind words, wise words, persuasive words, fruitful words, understanding words, welcoming words, insightful words, just words, accepting words, joyful words, warning words, hidden words, encouraging words, words of conviction, timely words, gracious words, pure words, glorious words, healing words, careful words, warning words, intelligible words, sealed for another time words, given words, restrained words, words of knowledge, prudent words, affirming words, certain words, believing words, comforting words, quiet words, the right words, meaningful words, remembered words, words of blessing, loving words, authoritative words, powerful words, commanding words, fulfilling words, saving words, Spirit-filled words, Holy words, Eternal words, Words of the Lord, Living Word, The Word of the Lord, The Word.

 

If you are even just a little bit like me, I’ll leave you with these words of the psalmist-

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. Psalm 119:103

 

and a prayer that He will guard the door of your lips and mine so that your words and mine would be received just as we receive the Word of the Living God.  

Wow, looking back on this- boy, did I chase rabbits this time… maybe another lesson learned next time. I bet you could add some words to both lists. One I particularly appreciated was “multiplying words”- gossip by any other name…an interesting way to describe don’t you think?