Unfettered Praise

The world did its best to silence the voice of Truth, to silence the purposes of Love, of Life. Yet there they stood, hundreds gathered…each one masked in obedience to man’s law of the day. The players of wind instruments had a measure of freedom…faces bare only when their instruments were at their lips. All other musicians, singers, the audience…their voices were blotted, suppressed, occluded. And yet…without eyes to see the black sheaths shutting and covering mouths and noses…one would never guess the feeble barriers there. Voices rich in tone and emotion flowed, undulated, soared throughout the cathedral in glorious songs of praise and prayer, winging on the currents of symphonic sound. 

On and on they played and sang. A lengthy holiday concert. How could they breathe sufficiently? Draw in deep breaths through the barriers? Have enough air to project and play fully what was want to burst from their souls?

All creation sings His praise!
Every knee shall bow!
The Light defeats the darkness!
The Light of the world has walked physically among us!
His Spirit remains to dwell within!
Emmanuel- God with us!

Beyond our masks or fetters
Or rude imprisoning bars
Our spirits may sing freely Lifting praises far
Silently or loudly
It matters not to He
Who hears our heart’s vibrations
No matter what the key

~~~

LORD, thank You that nothing can separate us from Your Love. Neither heights, nor depths, nor principalities, nor anything…Thank You, LORD. You are greater than all! Please help us to recognize Your presence in our lives and the innumerable ways You bless us every moment of every day…You are the very breath we breathe. We bless You, LORD. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Genesis 2:7 NKJV
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Psalm 150:6
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!”

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Broken for You

“Broken in my heart…then offered to the Father…” These were the words that highlighted her mind as she slowly awakened. Correlations came as she pondered why Christ’s body was broken for mankind. The ultimate offering of self for the uplifting, the nourishing, the restoration of life for others. What exactly did those words mean personally for her? Was this the answer to the question that had been plaguing her mind for years…”How do you live?”

Seeking to know the Biblical Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the woman and her husband had been believers for years, both just two regular humans doing their best to make sense of their own personal hurts while learning the realities of what loving others required. Marriage, blended family, raising their children, juggling jobs, trying to defend their little brood from the onslaughts of a world that would take them down…they were like most other people on the planet trying to make sense of it all. Finding meaning, purpose, value, giving back into the messy world that was so rife with hurt and need. It was overwhelming. Perhaps the whole world was silently shouting, “How do you live?”

Life challenges kept testing their beliefs of how to live. Deaths of personal expectations, hurtful relationships, dashed dreams, and cultural strife had sucked enthusiasm from their bones…and yet, because of the historic Jesus who overcame, who defeated ALL those things, they had hope. Jesus’s words, old words of the Bible, were timeless living words that never lost their ability to infuse life back into their bones…and their souls. Words whispered in an ongoing conversation with their reborn spirits through the Holy Spirit. Life was much more than this temporal world.

“Broken for you.” Christ’s whole earthly life of teaching, serving, demonstrating the love of the Father to a confused, self-centered world seemed to end with His final sacrifice…His body broken, hanging on a cross for the remission of sins of the sick, messy, dying world. Until three days later…when He appeared to not only His disciples, but hundreds and hundreds of witnesses. “He is alive!” was the testament of those who saw Him after His resurrection. “He is alive!” is the testament of those who know Him through His Holy Spirit dwelling in them. They, His followers, carry on the work of reconciliation…the restoration of relationship with God the Father reaching out to all creation who have rejected Him. No wonder Christ Jesus was known as the Man of Sorrows. He carried all of the world’s woes, each person’s; and dare I say, the grief of the Father?

Sharing in Christ’s sufferings is part of the experience of living as a Christ-follower. Should one not be surprised when unexpected turmoil or grief sideswipes an otherwise enjoyable day? It does whether or not one believes in the Savior. Yet, when one realizes the goodness that comes through brokenness, it is then the “joy in momentary light afflictions” from an eternal perspective begins to make sense. Personal sorrows and hurts can be transformed into a glorious act of worship as one offers up their confusion and pain with supplication, reaching in trust to the love of the Father, the One who bandages our knees, dries our tears, holds us close as we sob into His arms, and reveals to us the lessons of true healing that only He can reveal. Broken in heart…offered back to the Father. Yes, this is how one may live.

Happily, not all of life brings sorrowed days. God’s beautiful creation shouts encouragement and uplift, trumpets joy and hope. Light and new life blaze with each day’s promise. Rainbows and miracles bring wonder. And we have the gift of laughter. Jesus also has a great sense of humor! He loves to laugh, and welcomes our joys, emotions, and experiences to be shared with Him. He knows them anyway…”for in Him we live and move and have our being!” Laughing with Jesus! Can you imagine sounds of laughter echoing across the expanses of heaven? JOY! Through His Holy Spirit we may laugh with Him now, commune with Him now, know Him personally now. The Man of Sorrows has defeated all that would defeat us! Yes! He is alive! In Him is how to live!

~~~

LORD, thank You for Your great love for us. Our words cannot express the depth of gratitude, nor our hearts fully embrace Your sacrifice to redeem us from the wages of sin, from death. Thank you for walking this earth to show us with your Life how to love and live. Thank You that no matter the reasons for our brokenness, all can be transformed as You heal us and make things new. Take my brokenness. Teach me the lessons that will help me grow. May all be an offering for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, and for His sake, Amen.

John 14:6 NKJV “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Luke 22:19 ‘And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”’

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

Acts 17:28 “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Turkey Trot

While returning home from a glorious trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada, dear husband and I were enjoying a leisurely drive through Northern Idaho. The beauty of mountains and pastoral scenes surrounded us in peace and quiet as we drove into the gathering dusk. Without warning our reverie was jolted as something banged against our front left fender, lifted up over us, and disappeared! “Wow! What in the world was that?” we both exclaimed as we slowed to see what we hit, or rather, what hit us.

My husband recalled a passing glimpse of a turkey running full bore. Was its lift-off a bit low and it smacked us on its way up? Minus a few feathers left as evidence, and with no blood on the pavement or our car, our assailant was escaping a predator we thought. Not seeing anything in pursuit it was still the only logical conclusion to our question…why was the turkey running?

We drove on wishing that turkey many more days, hoping it was not injured, thankful it was not left dead in our wake. We laughed for miles at how random this event had been, and remembered other game encounters over the years…deer out of nowhere suddenly trying to outrace us; deer skating like Bambi down a dark frozen road in our headlights; deer hitting us. Looking out for deer we understood. But we had never considered getting hit by a turkey! It seemed our surreal, weird bump in the early night was a new twist on an old story…one of another bird crossing the road. Yet, we still wonder what the turkey would say. What do you think?

~~~

Thank You, LORD, for the surprising things that bring delight and wonder to our lives. For the joys of unexpected blessings, and laughter. For Your beautiful creation and the gifts of humor we encounter along the way. Thank You for all the ways You nurture us and lighten our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Job 8:21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.”

Freddie

She was petite in body with an inviting and generous spirit that radiated from her quiet demeanor. The mother of my dearest nursing school friend, Freddie was a pastor’s wife who had a penchant for small owls that trapped themselves in her fireplace, working with young children, and collaborating with her family to write and publish fabulous books. There is so much more I wish I knew about Freddie, the myriad details of her life that only those close to her know. The grace and genteel beauty I see in my friend speaks of the depth of her mother’s lovely character, beauty that comes through the refining love of years walking with the LORD.

Dear hubby and I had the joyous pleasure of visiting my dear friend and her husband, their family, and Freddie several years ago. I had a number of visits with Freddie nearly fifty years earlier when my friend and I were new graduates, and again at my friends’ wedding. Living on opposite sides of the USA prevented those weekend outings and shared times we would have liked to enjoy through the years. I still remember a group camping trip with my friends before they were married, complete with a skunk-y nighttime visitor. Fun just seemed to follow us, or we found it.

Joy in life is what I saw in Freddie. She had a lady’s gracefulness about her, and a happy sense of humor, all the while ready with an astute listening ear. She delighted in her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Observing her interact with her two grade-school-age great grandchildren, who helped illustrate and contribute to several of her books, was such fun. I could imagine the children and the family working out the storyline and illustrations with her, formatting, editing, and finally publishing. Even in just these interactions what a memory and legacy she has given her family and inspired in the children! I imagine years of her and her husband discovering where and how their lives would unfold, loving and raising their children, teaching godly values to them and to many others; of family dinners and outings; laughter and tears; trips to the beach, and to Texas to visit Freddie’s newest great grandson; quiet moments sitting together sharing heart to heart; prayers united in supplication, praise, and gratitude; her forbearance as she gracefully aged, became a widow, and endured discomforts. My friend stated she and her husband had to talk her mother into moving in with them, Freddie one day admitting she was so glad for that decision.

During our last visit Freddie gifted me with a set of her published books, as well as our very own stuffy of Ollie the Owl, originally designed by Freddie after the real Ollie who had been trapped in her fireplace. Ollie inspired numerous stories for her books, delighting our grands with his “flight” cross country to meet them and the lessons he brought. Freddie inspired me that just maybe I could publish a book for my grands, too. Her encouragement is part of my backstory of publishing Little Bit in the Great Wide Forest, ten short stories written for and read to my grands. Freddie also wrote a more personal testament of grief, sharing her hope amidst loss, comforting others with the comfort with which she had been comforted through our LORD’s love and grace.

A random pocket-dial brought my friend and me together as dear hubby and I were driving cross-country for a family Thanksgiving. A moment in time. And the sad-for-us-left-behind news that Freddie had flown to higher realms. Though she now resides in Heaven, and for that we rejoice, missing her is hard. When someone is joined to us in love their departure leaves a rift in the calm of our sea. For those departed with whom we are joined in God’s Spirit, though their earthly body is no longer of use, the spirit remains vibrantly alive. And our connection in the LORD is never lost. What joy and glories must have met Freddie as she stepped into eternity!

What can one say in a few words to capture a person’s precious life? A wonderful Mama and matriarch. A godly woman who loved her family and community well. A ninety-seven year young woman who’s daughter will carry on the family matriarchy with the same love and grace. Freddie, a dear genteel woman pouring out God’s love in her care for others. Whose kindness and love towards me still warms my heart. And whose steady forbearance, like my mother’s, is a testament of a life of faithful living and aging in true beauty by God’s amazing grace.

Check out some of Freddie’s (Laura Lee Mason) books on Amazon:

Lots of Ways to Win

For Kids from One to Ninety-Two: A Collection of Christmas Stories

Together with God: A Journey Through Grief

~~~

Psalm 116:15 NKJV “Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.”

Taking Down the Tree

Such a glorious thing, that tree that springs up in our living room each December. Aglow day and night it needs none other to bring light into the room. The ambiance feels warmer than a cozy blanket or sweater. It seeps deep into one’s very being…and longings…of past, present, future. 

Glad ornaments festoon the branches, dancing either formally or in wild abandon, depending on who placed them there. No matter how they’ve landed, the tree dressed in such finery, humble or costly, is magnificent…a swirl of celebration and joy pointing straight up to the One for whom all this rejoicing transpires, praise and thanksgiving lifting straight to Heaven.

When January breaks, the rush of preparations and gatherings, gifts and wrappings, joys and disappointments melt away in winter sunshine and the far promise of spring. A yet…must we leave this gloried spot? Where memories knit decades, repairing the moth-eaten shrouds of souls longing to be made whole. Must we put away this visual reminder, halt the lighting of our internal Christmas lights?

Some sprint forward into the New Year ready to leave what has passed. Others lag behind, loath to step from this winter spa of refreshing…a soak in a snowy mountain hot springs, warm and deeply satisfying, though all around is freezing. Have frigid winds of life covered this tree in ice? If so, may it thaw in the warmth of glowing lights…

Eventually the pull of the new day calls one to step away from that warm winter spa, to walk on. With a lingering look at all the experience has given, one might choose to step out…take down the tree…or not.


Oh, joy!

Christ within is ever bright
Though Christmas tree is lost from view
His Holy Spirit power brings
His presence to our souls anew

New spirit He to us does birth
A gift He bought at costly price
New life the greatest present given
For all He is the Christmas Light

Come to know Him personally
Live, commune direct with Him
Step into eternal life
Begin to know this Jesus Christ

He is the Spring of Life also
Living water quenching thirst
His Holy shroud replaces ours
In His presence new life bursts

~~~

LORD, thank You for bending down to come to dwell with us. For demonstrating Your Love personally by living among us, giving Your life up for our salvation, and defeating death that we, too, might have eternal life. You, LORD, are The Gift of Christmas. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who dwells in those who accept Your gift of forgiveness and redemption…our Comforter, Helper, Teacher, Friend. With gladness we open our hearts to You, and ask all hearts be softened to do so. Let us not forget You are here with us. Help us, LORD, to never turn from the Light, from You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

John 1:1-2, 4, 14 NKJV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 8:12
‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”’

John 14:26
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

At the New Year

Hush…

Stop the noise and listen
Silence the numbing sounds
God calls for our attention
Let holiness come down

Hear Abba’s Words eternal
Infusing to our souls
The Spirit’s holy whisperings
Brings life to make us whole

Wait upon His strengthening
Deeper to greater need
Be still and know that He is God
Oh hear Yeshua speak

Teach us LORD this New Year
To know You closer still
To walk in tandem with You
In all things do Your will

Thank You Father, Spirit, Son
For Your redeeming grace
We bow before Your Holiness
Lift hands in grateful praise

Receiving now with thankful hearts
At threshold of the year
Your sacrifice poured out for us
Your Love and blessings here

~~~

Isaiah 30:15a NKJV
‘“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”’

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Ecclesiastes 12:1
‘“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”:’

Winter’s Celebration

Frosted white trees splay in celebration, their shimmering coated branches reaching for the heavens and cascading towards the earth. They are fat sparklers’ explosions, fireworks frozen, the surrounding fog evidence of their jubilance…and that a great burning light has been here. Dark green conifers bearing white loads of snow march through groves of jubilant trees, like great stiff-haired mastodons carrying away the burdens of the world.

A sense of pristine silence permeates the air, the hoarfrost and deep snow dampening the sounds of cars passing by. It’s dangerous driving in this frozen bliss…the velour gray sky and the overwhelming beauty are distracting. One needs to be in a solitary vehicle inching along, or walking in this ethereal place, with opportunity to gaze, stop at will, become lost within this living art, and commune with the Artist.

It is near otherworldly…perhaps to capture our attention? To remind us to slow down, take time to look and see? A foretaste of life beyond this temporal plane?

Hoarfrost – congealed dew drops. Snowflakes – ice crystals. Frozen, crystalline miracles silently appearing out of thin air. Each form, each crystal a fabulous work of art that reflects that great burning light, then…melts away. Oh, to have the capacity to begin to understand the majesty of our Creator! Nature is singing praises, glorifying the Most High. Let us pause, too…to see, and praise, and sing!

~~~

Psalms 89: 11 “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.”

Psalms 47: 6-7 “Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.”

Psalms 148: 8-9, 13 “Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; 9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars”

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.”

This Christmas Day

God Himself put on our skin 
Knows our mind games, our life race
Came to defeat the sin we’re in
Walked this dusty earthly place
Gives every single person choice
Transforms us by His matchless grace
Desires we hear, obey His voice
Trust and grow in Him

Oh the thought that God Most High
Would care enough to bend so low
To redeem each wayward child
To sacrificially Love us so
To lift us up and up again
Strengthening for keeping on
Closer drawing us to Him
Giving us a glad new song

And yet, and yet when life turns rude
When we’re brought low
Forced to look
Yanked out of our expected things
May our costly humbling bring
This Christmas Day remembering
Christ’s incarnation holy place
Was in a stable crude

No matter what this day may bring
We can entrust all to His hand
For His birth, His death, His LIFE
His unending sacrifice
His LOVE forever draws us in
To want to dwell in His embrace
To gaze upon His Holy face
N’er be apart again

Merry Christmas, Trinity
Father, Holy Spirit, Son
Thank You for each blessing given
Thank You for immeasurable Love
Far beyond what hearts can kin
Let these praises raise to heaven
To glorify Your Holy Name
KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS,
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Messiah, Savior, Immanuel…my King…

~~~

LORD, help us to think more on the meanings of Your glorious name (so many more than listed above). We cannot comprehend the countless ways You have Loved, cared for, and lifted us…Thank You, LORD, for the amazing things You have done! Thank You that still Your nail-pierced hands are reaching towards us, desiring that no one should perish. Thank You, our Father, for this Christmas gift today and every day…Yourself. We bless, honor, glorify, and praise You. Amen.

Luke 2:11 NKJV “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Matthew 1:23 ‘“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”’

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Broken Lantern

A newly crafted lantern, shined and bejeweled through hours of careful attention, sat proudly on the shelf in all its glory, waiting to fulfill its purpose. The shop hummed busily with browsers, many hands touching, grabbing, turning, checking the lantern from all angles. Did it meet their needs, was it just right for their intent, would it function as they desired? Long days went by and still the lantern waited on the shelf. Finally purchased, with a group of other lamps, the lantern was moved…to yet another shop, another shelf.

Knocked to the floor more than once by a hurried patron, the lantern lost a bit of luster, though still was of use and worth. Several times it had been lit, tried for display, examined for value, tested for brilliance. Still, never purchased. Never quite just right.

Years went by and for unknown reasons the lantern was never chosen. Humbled from its loftiness, it became dusty and old fashioned, pushed back behind the newly-styled creations. Still the shop owner kept it in working order. One never knew when the right buyer would happen by. It was unique, one of a kind, whatever that meant to the rush-a-by world. Yet the cracks and dents it now wore deterred those who craved glitter and shine. The lantern had long given up its dreams of brilliance. It just sat on the shelf, reconciled to dust.

A tiny child scurried through the shop door one cold winter evening, as if blown in by a gale. “Child, what is it?” asked the kind shopkeeper. “Why are you out so late this dark night?” Rubbing her arms through her thin coat, she looked up at him as her words came tumbling forth…“A lantern, I need a lantern for the stable.” “Whatever for, child?” the proprietor patiently asked. There was no need for a child to request such a thing, a potential fire hazard. He would not lend to that possibility. And on a night like tonight? She should be home in bed! “It’s not for me, sir,” she replied, as though understanding the reasons for his hesitation. “My father, the inn keeper, needs it for guests.” “Guests? Guests in a stable?” “Oh, yes sir, and please hurry. The lady is near to having her baby. We need a good lantern that will last through the night and for several days. Please hurry, sir! The lady is in pain!”

“Yes, yes, alright child. Let me find the one I have in mind.” The shop keeper knew of the inn in the neighboring district, and that during this time of census the city was filled with travelers. Considering the child’s story plausible he searched his shelves for the old lantern, his mind resolved he would offer it in charity. It was a little thing he could do, and the lantern would go to a place of need. Lifting the lantern gently from its dusty spot, he wiped it clean, filled it with oil, and wrapped it carefully for the child to carry. “Mind your steps now, will you?” he spoke, suddenly feeling quite grandfatherly towards the girl. “Oh, yes sir,” she smiled widely, bending slightly in respectful bow before cradling the lantern and rushing out the door.

“Father! Father! Here is the lantern!” she shouted running up the path to the stable. “Thank you, daughter,” her father smiled with appreciation. “You are just in time. All is ready here, and we will leave this lovely couple with your lantern to give them light and warmth through the night.” Lighting the old lantern the inn keeper hung it on a post near the place the husband was tending to his wife.

As the night transpired a wondrous event occurred in that stable, under the watchful eyes of the barn animals, and the glowing warmth of the lantern. A tiny child through long labor was born, a child who would one day give up His life for the whole world. Over all a holiness covered that stable, and somehow for many days the lantern glowed on and on, its oil never diminishing. Its light shone on visitors, shepherds and lambs, those who brought gifts. It provided warmth and comfort for the young family and their tiny babe. It moved with them to a nearby humble home, til suddenly one day news came that they must flee.

“Dear child,” the baby’s mother spoke softly to the girl, who could not seem to stay away from the beautiful three, “We must leave now, and wish to thank you and your family for the kind care you have given us in our time of need, and for this light you brought to us. Please give our blessing also…we shall never forget you.” While the husband tenderly helped his wife and child onto the back of their trusted donkey, the small girl looked on in wonder. “I shall never forget you either,” she whispered as the family carefully, yet with haste, began their long journey.

Having taken the lantern from their hands the girl walked slowly to the inn. “They’ve gone,” she told her father, “with blessings and thanks for all we’ve done.” “Yes,” the father replied gravely. “It was time.”

Walking toward the lantern shop, her father having instructed her to return the borrowed gift, the girl wondered at all she had seen. She wondered, too, that the lantern had burned so long without additional oil. “Did you fill this with special oil?” she politely asked the old shop keeper. “No, no my dear. Why do you ask?” Cocking her head with a puzzled look she replied, “It has been burning constantly since you lent it. No oil was added. How can that be?”

The old man, a seeker of truth, had wondered at the birth of the child in the stable, the visitations to that humble place, the brilliant star that had marked its location. “I believe, child, there has been a miracle or two. This old broken lantern has been waiting for its purpose to be fulfilled. And while it was being used for such, it burned brightly. Only Yahweh knows and works to completion His purposes for each of us, and for all things.” The girl nodded slowly, as she recalled the events that had occurred since she had first come to this shop. Miracles indeed. Miracles that would enlighten her whole life.

The lantern was spent. Though it had performed brilliantly, gone were its desires for recognition and glory. Looking at the lantern one would never know the mystery of its transformation. Broken, yet fulfilled. Imperfect, yet chosen. Limited, yet supplied. In humility it had shone for the King of Kings.

~~~

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Bluebird

Did a bird in fact flit by
Blue iridescence blazing
Or was it but a moment’s glimpse
My mind’s eye then amazing

Color blazed through gloomy gray
Of sky and soul in winter
Rarely seen in busy town
Mountain birds its kinder

Yet blue it flew to bright the day
Reminders in my sorrow
That gladness pierces even gloom
God-sent a bright-winged arrow

Oh bluebird take my love and fly
To those my arms are missing
And pierce them with your glad surprise
Of joy and heart-filled blessing

~~~

LORD, thank You for those perfectly timed occurrences that turn our eyes off our gloom and onto the brightness of Your presence and promise. May all who mourn today see You, Your provision, Your great abiding Love. You know our sorrows even more than we do…comfort us, I pray. Thank You, Lord, for joy amidst our suffering. Only in You may we experience such a thing! Bless You, LORD! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 5:4 NKJV
“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted”

Psalms 124:7-8
“Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth”

Holiday Book Gift Guide 2022

Merry Christmas blessings and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

The Holiday Book Gift Guide, and link below to nearly eighty books written by members of a Christian writer’s group, was graciously compiled by friend and fellow member, Lana Scroggins. Many different genres are included, each book with the author’s brief description and link for purchasing.

Little Bit in the Great Wide Forest, my children’s book inspired by and written/illustrated for our grands, is also in this guide.

May you find messages and stories of hope to strengthen you and those you love. No matter what circumstances life has brought or brings your way, God bless and keep you and give you peace!🎄🌟

Holiday Gift Guide 2022

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oVjXnrEU7Mk1HjTjoUil4JZbRjjFj4ET/view?fbclid=IwAR2n2Vo7bVDNaktXGLcTUMhqRapLAOx52o4YMRCyVKLQ93vXFH1RKNUVjhQ

Snow Fences

Undulating with the land 
Lining roads like concert chairs
Or spiked hair on shaven heads
Stalwartly just standing there

Oft’ a perch for falcon’s rest
Summer frame for winding vine
Holding firm they pass the test
Braving weather of all kinds

Catching troves of tumbling weeds
Flat toothpicks knit in stout rows
Cannot bind the blowing wind
Yet guard roads from drifting snow

Countless passers-by go on
Hurrying yet to places fair
Through gusting winds, o’er slippery roads
Safer for snow fences there

~~~

Thank You, LORD, for the myriad ways protection is given as we travel through this world. Please bless all whose efforts bring ease, safety. and comfort to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Kansas Wind

It skips across the rolling plains 
Down grassy streams, o’er rippled ponds
Bends trees and landscape to it’s will
Then swirls away to somewhere Oz

Clutching steering wheel tight
Rocking through buffeting sounds
Will we also fly away
Spinning up and round and round
To land in someplace Oz

No Munchkins seen along this path
Not yellow-bricked but asphalt gray
Roads leading home eventually
Miles by step, years by day

Perhaps the birds in glorious flocks
Soaring, twisting in the light
Are darting in and out of Oz
Will take our wonder with their flight
Into other realms

No matter where these winds do blow
Or wondrous stories left behind
“…no place like home” rings in our hearts
Belonging’s quest a home to find

~~~

Ecclesiastes 1:6 NKJV
“The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit”

Hebrews 11:16
“But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

Philippians 3:20
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”

Note: The old movie “Wizard of Oz” comes to mind every time we drive through Kansas. Last year I wrote a short piece titled Somewhere In Kansas. If you’d like another peek at Kansas you can find that post alphabetically in the Musings Library. When in Kansas hang on to your hat!

Those Things Between

What are those myriad things that wash against our souls, tidal waves lapping, churning, that retreat only to return again? Crests that are braved leaving us weathered and worn before the relief of calm, sun’s piercing light scattering the grey, blowing the gale away?

What when those tides are words and looks, voice inflections, or body speaking differently than lips? What of hurts buried deep, covertly eroding strength while unresolved things sit like festering infections begging for light and air to heal? Is it you, is it me, or is it things that divide us?

How do we heal our individual hurts so that we do not erect barriers, separate, disconnect ourselves from each other, from those we love the best? Or them who might have hurt us the most? How to walk the road together, taking down the barriers, brick by brick, to bring back the joy known before tenacious pain? How to keep the tidal waves at bay so no further abutments are built? How to live well in a world full of crashing waves and tumultuous storms, things bent on defeat? Let us dwell not on the storm, but look beyond to help and heal, and keep walking together. Let not the things isolate us from one another.

~~~

LORD, help us have the strength to stand, the wisdom to navigate the changing tides of one another’s behavior, Your Spirit’s guidance to direct our hearts and emotions in Love, and the patience to build connection. May we build up, not diminish others; see clearly Your will how we are to respond; wait on You before rushing ahead to “fix things” on our own; and remember always to call upon You. Gentle us, LORD. Please start here with me. Thank You for knowing those things that are between me and others…things I must repent of or that I need to forgive. Heal our hurts, LORD, and heal the hurts of all the weary souls around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Jeremiah 7:23 “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’”

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled”

Psalms 107:29 “He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.”

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2022

Transplanted seedlings we were once 
Or perhaps some started here
In this valley verdant green
With rivers, mountains, trees and streams

Deserts near for those who would
Leave this vale where they did start
Planting new shoots far away
In climes calling to their hearts

Yet our roots are intertwined
No matter how far they have grown
Not seas nor land nor death itself
Have severed ties so deeply sown

Such gratitude this thankful time
Memories sweet and hard too
This treasured gift our heritage
Plus blessed gift of life with you

Like the spreading aspen grove
Whose roots entwined grow far and wide
Would our roots, our legacy
Bring new growth, our best abide

May the Love that has upheld
Good we’ve known along the way
Guard and keep dear family, friends
Now, tomorrow, every day

~~~

“Now thank we all our God
With heart and hand and voices…”

~~~

The hymn “Now thank we all our God” was written in 1636 by Martin Rinkart, later translated by Catherine Winkworth:

1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
(Psalter Hymnal (Gray), 1987)

Martin Rinkart (1586-1649) was the Bishop of Eilenberg, Germany during the Thirty Years' War. Since Eilenberg was a walled city it became a place of refuge for fugitives of the war, and also a place of famine and disease due to overcrowding. In 1637 at the height of their misery, Rinkart was the only clergyman left in the city who could perform the 40 or 50 necessary burial services daily -- one of which was for his wife. As if that weren't enough, the city was sacked three times by invaders, one of which imposed a large tribute payment upon the people. During this time, Rinkart managed to find the time to write 7 dramas and 66 hymns.
The hymn "Nun danket alle Gott" was originally titled "Tisch-Gebetlein," or a "little prayer before the meal." This humble prayer of thanksgiving is laid out simply and beautifully in the first verse, but it's the next two verses that expand the hymn's focus and have given it its lasting appeal. You can see the Thirty Years' War pressing on his mind in verse two:
And keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next.
After a verse of thanks, and a verse that asks for strength during the trials of life, he ends with a paraphrase of the doxology as if to say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, may the name of the Lord be praised." --Greg Scheer, 1995

Notes and hymn copied from https://hymnary.org/text/now_thank_we_all_our_god

Seat Belt Gymnastics

A love hate relationship has developed toward a certain two inch black belt, no matter its promises to increase my safety when I am buckled in. During our cruise along Interstate 80 I have begun a crash course of in-car gymnastics…or is it wrestling?…with a seat belt that is bent on ratcheting my neck into upright and locked position, barely any allowance to breathe. Meanwhile, dear hubby is practicing patient endurance and hazardous driving skills while testing out the smart features of our car…today’s novelty: in-lane assist, something that wants to keep the car always in the middle of the lane, though hubby prefers to direct the wheels himself. Thankfully he can turn off that mechanical advantage. Accompanied by the car’s random beeping tones, hubby’s commentary of signs and sites outside our windows, the thump thunk thump of wheels on the road, the wind swirling past closed windows, and the pressure of the seatbelt against my right arm holding the belt at bay so I can breathe, I have to laugh at my focused grumpiness over a seatbelt. And now that my butzinsky is finally comfortable on the gel pad that I have had to squish around to get just right (does it sound like I’m singin’ the blues?), I have to move to relieve pressure on my left elbow that is smushed against the center console. Through all this geriatric fidgeting and fussing my husband calmly drawls, “The weather is deteriorating.” I look up to see flat white sky meeting the earth.

As we pass “somebody’s little piece of heaven,” a small abandoned homestead with outbuildings long weatherstripped and forlorn, my husband’s narrative continues. “Did you see that? The outhouse has been blown back by the wind at a 45 degree angle!” Not long later…“We’re going to see snow now…This is going to be interesting…Yep…The weather she’s a’changin’.”

My arm lets go of the seatbelt and I submit to its relentless restraint as the white sky begins to spit snow. The car’s 72 degrees gives me another point of gratitude as we zoom along in comfort through 20 degree Fahrenheit weather. It is 11:55 am, nearly high noon and the earth is being dusted with white. Snow skiffs swirl across the highway playing catch-me-if-you-can with eighteen wheelers. Along our drive from Idaho to Tennessee for Thanksgiving we cross the Continental Divide at 6,930 ft. above sea level, then again at 7000 feet. Skimming the wide high plains of Wyoming we are still beneath white sky nearly three hours later, with variable road conditions as we follow sand trucks and snow plows, are baptized with sand pelting our windshield as trucks pass by, temperatures dropping to 15-11 degrees. Mercifully we have had only two minor slippery slides.

After a break we are on our way again, only to return after nine miles to fill up the gas tank. “It’s 5:25 pm and feels like 10:00,” dear husband states. I must agree. It’s darker than dark but for flashing caution lights on vehicles making their way along icy roads. My faith is being tested as my senses feel we are careening much faster than we actually are. Our destination forty-five minutes away seems just short of forever. I have to trust my driver. The current 7 degrees begs we stay warmly entrenched… in our car… on the road.

We know beyond the darkened sky there are glorious vistas, and though restricted from our view they will surely come clear with the new day. Free-to-see views will be as welcomed as unbuckling this purposeful yet restrictive seatbelt. Somehow now, near the end of this day, the belt has miraculously let go its ratcheting hold. I wonder if those gymnastic stretches had anything to do with it.

~~~

LORD, help me see with new eyes the good purposes You have when restrictions cramp my style. They can be painful, irritating, annoying, uncomfortable, adept at bringing out the worst in me. And yet…many are set for my protection, and my healing. Thank You that You help us learn and adjust. Thank You that You are beyond restriction, make all things new, and that we can hope in You! Thank you for Your great mercies and grace towards us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Micah 2:7b “Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted?”

Revelation 21:5a “Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Winter’s Surprise – Haiku

Foggy days and nights
Winter’s dawn brings glad surprise
Hoarfrost’s sugarcoat

~~~

Thank You, LORD, for the exquisite wonders You have freely given us…the glories of Your creativity! Help us to be ever-mindful of all You have given. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Job 37:10-11 NKJV
“By the breath of God ice is given, And the broad waters are frozen.
11 Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds.”
John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Light in the Darkness

People slumbered seeking their pleasure
Whiteness covered the moon
All that was known could cease without measure
Darkness persistent, creeping, determined
Threatened to overtake soon

E’en in that nighttime light even greater
Beamed n’er extinguished
Constraining the dark
Brings hope to masses awake from their slumber
Shines on a weary world stark

Come to the Light here in the darkness
Shadows flee where Truth’s come to stay
Moon’s but reflecting light from one greater
Truth blazes on, and will forever
Stand in His radiance today

~~~

2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

John 8:12
‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”’

Before Saying, “Aye”

How enlightening are word searches. Looking up the word “aye,” I was intrigued by some of the synonyms listed in Webster’s online dictionary:

“Synonyms-Adverb (1)- always, e’er, eternally, ever, everlasting, evermore, forever, forevermore, indelibly, permanently, perpetually

Synonyms-Adverb (2)- all right, alright, exactly, OK (or okay), okeydoke (or okeydokey), yea, yeah, yep, yes, yo”

This ancient word holds much deeper meaning than a simple, flippantly tossed, “yes.” It connotes long lasting effects. Picture our ancestors voting on serious subjects. We are no less challenged today.

In Matthew 5:37 NKJV, Jesus instructs: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

With long to everlasting, eternal meanings to one’s “yes” or “no,” it causes me pause to consider with whom or what I am standing in agreement or dissent. Not just in my everyday decisions, but especially when exercising the freedom to vote. On what basis am I making my decision? Is it based on emotion, as unsteady and capricious as shifting sand? On the opinions of others that may be driven by fears, lies, or hidden self-centered motives? Or is it based on firm unchanging truths that sink not beneath my feet?

There is much to consider when agreeing with something or someone. Before saying, “aye,” I must take the time to pause, consider, pray for discernment, then ask myself, “Am I agreeing with truth or error?” When we seek the LORD’s wisdom, He leads us into His life-giving, unchanging truth. The firm foundation on which to base our decisions. Having learned His promises are trustworthy, I can heartily say, “aye!” to Him! And to seek His wisdom through all the issues we face each day.

~~~

Father, teach us Your truth. Give us ears to hear and hearts to follow You. Thank You that Your desire is to give us life, to “give us a hope and a future.” Draw us ever closer in Your presence that we may know You, and experience that personal relationship with You that You offer us. Teach us how we may preserve, and grow in, the love and blessings You have bestowed on Your creation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalms 62:8 NKJV “Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

John 18:37 ‘Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”’

1 John 4: 1-6 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

An Ordinary Grand Display

Mountains brown like baked potatoes 
Appaloosa painted hills
Higher yet the piney forests
Stand snow-flocked, regal, still

Golden carpets flutter under
Gloried trees yet shedding leaves
Fall is falling all around us
Winter blowing icy breeze

Clouds perform ethereal dances
Shapes from white to darkest grey
Faint vermillion bands of color
Burst from sunlight’s grand array

Oh magnificence unfurling
Greets our enraptured eyes
Grand displays of earth and weather
All along our homeward drive

An ordinary day unfolding
God’s glories given to impart
Such beauty quietly revealing
Living moving divine art

~~~

Psalms 19:1 NKJV
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Isaiah 61:11
“For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”

An Early Winter Light

Shimmered light illumines grasses 
Flowing o’er the mountain plains
Angus cattle dotted masses
Stud the glorious morning scene

Hoarfrost, snow skiffs kiss the meadows
Trees and all above ground things
Wear new luminescent garments
Ethereal, ephemeral bling

Filling space ‘twixt earth and heaven
How can one rightly describe
Beauty beyond words or pictures
Light inviting, “Come abide”

Surely heaven’s glory’s spilling
Mirrored glow of grand design
Calling us to higher mountains
Promised dwellings so sublime

~~~

Psalms 72:3 NKJV
“The mountains will bring peace to the people, And the little hills, by righteousness.”

Isaiah 52:7
‘How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”’

Isaiah 54:10
“For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, ”Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”

Habakkuk 3:19
“The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.“

Extending Grace

{How long the wait, is the cry}
{Before things run without a hitch}
{Problems popping ceaselessly}
{Seem to go indefinitely}

{Pulling thoughts around me firm}
{I know the answer, indubitably}
{If only others would agree}
{Work things out the way I see}

WAIT! Could it be a larger view
Helps reveal a deeper truth
Of a picture greater than
One’s own mind can understand

Perhaps that person’s life’s a mess
They’re floundering in painful place
Could this lesson be for both
Learning more that thing called grace

Unmerited favor, grace defined
“Unmerited”…do I comprehend
The countless times that for me
Grace was offered…graciously

Yes, I’m called to do the same
Love those too whose hurting souls
Have failed me in their woundedness
As they struggle to be whole

Grace extends forgiving hands
Forged through lifetime’s endless trials
Patience turns longsuffering
Gifts of Love that will prevail

LORD, help us to remember that
Our sense of time is very short
When healing’s growth seems so slow
Keep our eyes on Love’s full goal

~~~

Romans 5:8 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Isaiah 30:18
“Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.”

When Life Falters

Air thick, like tree trunks without roots her steps were faltering. Would she topple over taking one step to the next? She could see, talk, move her limbs…well, you know the drill…check heart rate and rhythm, squeeze fingers, touch nose, see numbers of fingers in peripheral vision…it was just her legs and equilibrium that were off. She staggered, lumbering through the air, towards the bathroom. Some things needed tended to no matter what else was a-shakin’. She did her business, drank two glasses of water, and walked the walls back to bed. No problem.

The last few days had been embellished with a couple of visual events, evidences that indeed her body was aging, though she was only shy a month of turning seventy-four. At least the fleeting events were pretty…tiny neon blue geometric ornaments dancing in her eyes one day, neon red a day later, her own private internal Christmas tree lights. “I wonder if colors in heaven are like that,” she mused. “People who’ve experienced NDE’s have reported such things.”

Slipping purposefully into bed, no faltering in that move, she lay wide awake ruminating over the info she read late last night about visual colored lights. Could be anything from retinal issues to migraines to brain tumors to strokes. Hmmm. She’d wait and mention it to her retinal specialist at the next appointment since the rest of her vision seemed unchanged. As for the staggering…she got up again, took two staggery steps, and sat back down. Time would tell.

“Good morning, honey,” she greeted her husband, four years her senior. “Now it’s my turn to unload on you.”

“What’s up?” he asked, listening patiently. As she described her morning body antics, “Uh huh, yes, uh huh,” were his calm replies.

“It happened a second time a few minutes ago when I stood up,” she remarked.

“Well, yes,” he returned. “I’ve had that going on for quite some time. It’s like my gyroscope gets out of whack and needs time to resettle.” His signature laugh enveloped her.

“Well this is different from those times I have to put my head down when I start to walk.”

“Yes, it’s different than that,” he confirmed.

“You know, people on my side of the family have had strokes.”

“Yes, I know. We’re getting old. It’s part of aging,” he smiled.

Thinking of the many times she had listened to his interesting reports of goofy body experiences, after a pause she laughed, “Just sayin’, now it’s my time to start unloading on you. Pay back time!”

He grinned, walked over and gave her a good morning kiss, “Okay, partner.” His eyes twinkled.

Oh yes. They were doing that old couple thing just like her parents had. “Laughing All the Way to the Cemetery” was the title of a short aging memoir her mother had written for the family, and often laughed at her own aging surprises saying, “It only gets better from here.”

“Yes, indeed,” the now-aging daughter smiled to herself, holding fond memories of those loved ones who had embraced aging well, “it only gets better from here!”

~~~

LORD, thank You that You have known us before we were born, and You alone know the number of our days. Turn our eyes evermore on You. Grant us the peace of aging gracefully no matter what life brings. Give us wisdom to seek help when needed, to believe Your words to “fear not,” and to rest in the assurance that You are always with us. May the beauty of Your Holiness shine through this gift of life You’ve given us. With all praise and glory to You, Father, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 1:5a NKJV “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;”

Psalms 71:18:20 “Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come. 19 Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You? 20 You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.”

Psalms 39:4-5 “Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am. 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” Selah

Isaiah 46:4 “Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

A Game?

How arrogant the game pieces were posturing themselves on the checkerboard, full of their importance, strength, and imagined power, flexing themselves like kids in a sandlot ready to duke it out. So self-important they neglected to learn who they were, who made them, what they were made of, and what was their purpose. Were they bowling pins just waiting to be knocked down?

This world might feel like a game. Players positioning themselves to their advantage, building on others to get to the top, playing by someone’s rules, or cheating to get the prize. It seems vitally important to discover who the Creator is of this life we find ourselves in. What does He say about all this? And is it really a game?

Long ago I began asking some basic questions…”who, what, when, where, why, and how?” Not only to figure out myself in this big amazing life experience, but also to learn of the Creator.

My college years were rich fodder for learning things the hard way, and being enlightened when there was literally no other place to look but up. Chemistry, then cultural anthropology studies, including the religions of man, gave me much to consider as I sought to find the truth of things. It was during that time I began to personally know the Creator, and to find this place is not a game after all, but a real life and death journey on to…more life, or a living death. With choices…to listen, learn, and grow…or, like children unwilling to mature, ignore the parental call to come home, choosing instead to keep playing the worldly game.

There seems to be an inherent thing in the souls of mankind, something that propels us forward. Like the earth spinning on its axis, we get caught up in the inertia of our own spinning selves, losing focus of where we are ultimately going. In all of history there has been but one perfect human being who sacrificed Himself for the lives of all mankind, living through this life, through death, and returning to witness to us the reality of life beyond here. In all the religions I studied, and historical accountings of true events, the man Jesus Christ of the Bible is the only one who has done this. Why would I not listen to the one who intimately knows the Creator of this place, and wants us to know Him? There was a sense of completion, a peace beyond this world, that came to my soul when I asked Jesus to teach me about this place. It was the singularly greatest thing that has impacted me…a life-long learning journey of trust and faith towards the next part of life’s journey.

Though my body is aging my spirit is vibrant and alive. Living on into eternity is a thrilling prospect, especially when living beyond into a life of health, joy, and peace rather than into the tragic throes of death. What’s the contest? Where’s the game? There is none…it is a real situation with real consequences. I’d much rather side with the Creator and learn His plan! I want to get out of here alive!

~~~

Thank you, LORD, for the gift of life and our time on this earth. Please teach us to heed Your voice, and to grow fully into the persons You created us to be. Thank You that we are each unique, fashioned by Your design and purpose. With the freedom to choose that You have granted us through free will, give us the wisdom and understanding to choose life! In Jesus’ name, and for Your glory, Amen.

Hebrews 12:9 NKJV “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?”

Proverbs 8:33 “Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.”

Isaiah 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.”

Revelation 1:18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”