Light Our Life, 27JUL – #1209

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Psalm 23, on my prayer cards, in our readings, in our Word of comfort from the Lord… The Lord IS my Shepherd. 

The Lord to Shepherd us. To Light our Life. To Overcome the Shadows of Fear, Sorrow, Pain and Loneliness. To Light our Path and fuel our Forgiveness. Light to see us as He wants to see us, HIS CHILDREN, pure and loved.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

The valley of the shadow of death could be facing danger in the present, could be what we escaped in the past, and could be real danger in the future or just a thought of a shadow, not a real object, something that blocks our path and shadows the light TEMPORARILY. Shadows are cast from objects real and imagined. Yet, shadows are only shadows because there IS Light. Fear is overcomable. Pain is taken away. Death is temporary for those who love Jesus. There is only the first death, but not a second. Death on earth but NOT eternally. Death is but a step behind a cloud. The shadow of death nor anything could ever block the Light of the Lord. Darkness can not overcome Light. 

If death itself can be overcome, therefore troubles in this world can be overcome. Just keep walking. It may seem dark in the shadows, but keep walking. We also walk because our loved ones are not resting in Heaven but living in Heaven. We too must live on earth – KEEP LIVING.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power,” Revelation 20:6

If you watch shadows of clouds, the shadows move, the clouds move, but the Light does not. The Light is steady. The earth itself will move, rotating and night and day come and go, but this is moving in God’s control and His plan. The Sun lights us and warms us, the moon reflects a sliver of the Sun shining on it. But remember the Sun is not even a sliver to the Light of the Lord. HE IS LIGHT. The Lord is always and truthfully the Light we should seek. His comfort, His guidance, and His Light will not change. HE IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER. 

One day the earth, sun, moon and stars will all pass away. Then and now He WILL BE the only true Light. Our loved ones’ death is but a phase. Our own death will be just a phase. Our life will continue with Him. Fear no evil. Fear not death. Walk in Light.

Lord, we pray for you to Light our Life. You do – we pray to see You and not the shadow. But because of the shadow Lord, we know that You are the Light we seek.

Amen

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

—-

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Fragrance of Death and Life, 25JUL – #1208

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It’s been a process in processing after my Dad passed away.  Everyone is doing very well and it was a JOY traveling up home for the weekend. Cleaning and sorting some of Dad’s stuff, I helped by taking multiple bags of his clothes to donate.  It is a process to processing that is as therapeutic as it is necessary. A process as therapeutic as it is sad and yet we are VERY grateful for remembering all the good times.  Sadness fades. Treasured memories remain. 

It’s been a process in processing after my Dad passed away just 3 weeks ago.  Everyone is doing very well and it was a JOY traveling up home. Picking Blueberries, Thai food, walks, talks and a new cat. Trinkets of my 40 year old toys found in a hidden closet while emptying the attic. Weebles wobble but they STILL don’t fall down. An unexpected “treasure” were the black walnuts in the attic, crazy, just plain nuts! A hundred or more walnuts stowed into chewed empty cardboard boxes. Squirrels try to store up treasures too. A funny new memory for us.  

My mom is amazing and a champion of cheer and she has been working VERY hard cleaning, sorting and donating some of Dad’s stuff. I helped by taking multiple bags of his clothes to donate.  It is a process that is as therapeutic as it is necessary. A process as therapeutic as it is sad and yet we are VERY grateful for remembering all the good times.  Sadness fades. Treasured memories remain. 

As I moved items, on top was my father’s blue sweater that he seemed always dressed in, especially the last few years. My mom paused in tearful processing when she saw it. I paused to hug her. It is important that life and love does move us to move forward. My Dad doesn’t need that sweater anymore. We don’t either. We know to not store up treasures or sweaters which won’t last, the bible reminds us of this too (Matthew 6). 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So someone else can use that sweater. We shall keep the memories of course. Blessed memories…

The lingered smell in the sweater surely reminded me of him. Cool little memory triggers seem to come like every day. I smelled it once again before I put it in the washing machine, his suit coat too. A smell in your memory bank can be priceless but not a treasure to save anywhere except within your smile and within your heart. A smell on a shirt can comfort your baby or puppy, so why not you too. A smell can bring memories unique to you. 

I thought of this sweater today, sitting in church, when I was reading ahead, in the story of Mary, Martha’s sister, who took a tremendously valuable bottle of perfumed oil “nard” to pour onto Jesus’s feet and head. A WHOLE bottle worth a year’s wages. WOW expensive and WOW a strong smell too. The house was FILLED with the scent. The money-focused folks gasped, but the teacher in Jesus consoled her and appreciated the gesture and used her as an example of LOVE. She was and is valuably mentioned by us forever to represent His teaching moment to know real treasure: spending time with Him.  Jesus explained to others that Mary was pre-anointing Him for death, and He knew His death was soon to come, within a week’s time. Although He taught and told of His death and deliverance, it is unknown how many people really processed what they heard Him say. We don’t know what we will do today or tomorrow but Jesus knew His time was near. So, with the strong scented oil now poured on Jesus’s feet, Mary used her hair to wipe them. I bet the WHOLE house smelled of the treasured nard oil. Everyone who came close to Jesus that night must have smelled the strong scent. Everyone who came close to Mary must have also smelled her perfumed hair. And no doubt that strong smell lingered for some time in the house. I think it is fitting of this sweet scent as the presence of God in Jesus FILLING the house. Like the scripture states, the smell of Christ is life to those being saved. That’s what reminded me of my Dad’s smell from his sweater. 

Just a week or so after Mary poured that oil on Jesus, just outside of Jerusalem in Bethany, we now know what Jesus knew: Jesus was on His Way to death then resurrected LIFE. The scriptures don’t tell us what Mary and Martha did after His death, but can you imagine that the house may have still smelled of the perfume for some time – even past Jesus’s passing (well it was only a week later!!)… Perhaps Mary’s hair did too, the smell and the memory lingered in her hair or her clothes. Did it trigger thoughts of sorrowful loss or joyful memories for her? A smell of death or a smell of LIFE? Probably both. How about after Jesus arose? Did Mary once again catch the scent in the house and think back to that night in pain – or did it trigger JOY?  It’s not my place to add anything to scripture, but my thought of their thoughts makes me sure that Mary held many a memory of Jesus treasured in her heart. 

Jesus did rise after His death. He did crush the evils of death as foretold in Genesis (chapter 3). Mary became remembered as treasured by the Lord, her story specifically savored in His Word as well as in our retelling. Mary did put her treasure where her heart was, with Jesus. We can too. The smell of Christ is salvation. So, I put the smell of my Dad’s sweater in the category of reminding me that He is in Heaven with Jesus. The best JOY that Jesus gives us life eternally.

We each can remember many unique treasured thoughts of our loved ones. We can all make new unique memories now too, these become future memories that will give life and joy – then and now. When Jesus is remembered, there is JOY. When Jesus is remembered, their is sorrow for the pain He had to bear. When Jesus is remembered, His LOVE is remembered too. No doubt, Jesus treasured us all. He treasures me and He treasures you.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Live LIFE as TREASURED as a loved child of God. Live in the moment (as Mary did). Treasure Jesus (as Mary Did). 

Love Life and love all (as Jesus does too).

Amen 

—-

John 12: 1-8

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Mark 14:3-9

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Matthew 6:19-22

Treasures in Heaven

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Leviticus to Jesus, it is about Cleanliness, 23JUL – #1207

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WOW – if there needs to be any other additional thank you to say to God, it is for having Jesus as our deliverer, it would be from reading the issues brought up in Leviticus, in Moses’ time, and being grateful that we don’t have to atone with blood and flesh of animals. Jesus was and is our Savior by His sacrifice. Leviticus scriptures call for AWARENESS, ATONEMENT and CLEANSING. So, it is not the same but what an amazing advancement we have in this day and age with physical cleaning using bleach, antibacterial treatments, soap and CLEAN water… And was are grateful the ceremonial atonements and sacrifices – appropriate in those times – do not pertain now in comparison to the cleansing of us of our sin by the blood of Jesus.  

The One and Only Jesus.

And there is more – not like old testament Aaron and his line of priests who were required to be there to accept our sin and fellowship offerings, we are to directly go to Jesus without a middle man. He is the great physician – the great healer – the Mr. Cleaner – our quicker picker upper…  Jesus is our Lord and our Savior. He was and is and will be God’s sacrifice for our sins, and our saving. Human Brother to us, God calls us all His sons and daughters

Yes, in Leviticus, the priests are calling the people “clean” or “unclean”. SO how BLESSED WE ARE –  washed in the blood of Jesus – that JESUS simply and sacrifice-ily calls us: “BROTHER” or “SISTER”.

AMEN !!!

Read Leviticus 13-15 here: lots of clean and unclean, sores and boils and leprosy and all that !

Read Hebrews 2-3 for a reminder of Jesus as our sent Savior:

biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+2-3&version=NIV;KJV

Jesus Made Fully Human
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.”

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” 

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Jesus Greater Than Moses
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

The Lord’s Book and Bookmark, 13JUL – #1206

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I have not been reading methodically as I have been meaning too, but I knew where I (and the Lord) placed a virtual BOOKMARK in His BOOK, the Bible’s Leviticus 6.

Like the Lord knows His placement of us, He knows where and when we stopped reading His Word and God-forbid LISTENING to His Word. He never changes and so what He was about to say into our situation will wait and work and wonder when we will return to Him. 

Leviticus 6, although we are not held to the law of Moses for realizing His forgiveness and His Mercy, it still has good advice: tell the truth, make restitution if needed, and be humble enough to admit wrong.

A few weeks ago I had done something both I felt OK about as well as wondered if I could or should have said something first. The details not important here, but mentally set like a divot that then stuck in for my brain until I rebuilt the relationship enough to mention the action. The scripture came right after the event. Uncanny. The Lord put a bookmark in His Book until I returned to the situation to either admit in truth or admit with restitution available. (No worries,  I did come clean and all was accepted and all is good. It was nothing awful, I could have made restitution if needed, but all is good). I knew where I left my bookmark, He knew where to leave my sins: BEHIND. 

No, He didn’t throw the book at me, or rip me from His Book as the deceiving devil would want us to believe, but He did bookmark the book in my walk with Him. He mentioned the moment and He gave me His instructions on how to live: don’t deceive the Lord or the person, always come clean and He is the clean we are in Him. His Book is His Word, His Promise, that if we remain in Him, He remains in us.

We had the Savior to become clean before we had sin or guilt. We can be His and He is our Hope. We don’t have the law of Moses, but to the Lord we are to be a living sacrifice (Romans 2). We are to follow Him. No animal sacrifice, just Jesus.

No guessing, just Jesus.

No worries, just Worth. Jesus says we are Worthy of His Saving Grace. 

Saved.

Amen. 


—-

Leviticus 6(1-7)
The Lord said to Moses: “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the Lord, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the Lord, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”

Move the Car, 14JUL – #1205

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Looking back, I love that one of the last things that my Dad said to my Mom, including “I love you” was: “Move the car.”

My Dad was always looking out for me, and my kids. He knew what was going on up until the end. I was driving home that last day, he knew that and wanted my mom to move her car from blocking my car from reaching my recent normal parking spot, at the top of their second driveway. “MOVE THE CAR.” It is a new parking spot for me and I like it. Being able to get home, no matter that it is a long distance, has been important for me – and I am grateful I did and I can.

MOVE THE CAR.

What does that really mean? It meant my Dad wanted it easier for me, wanted me in a safe landing spot, that I was welcomed and he wanted to know that I would be alright. He also wanted me to be done driving and safe. I could say the same about him. I wanted him to land in heaven safe, sound, whole, helped. I could say to many people: move your car and get up to see your loved ones and help them and you find closure, or move the car and stop blocking someone else to get a place where they find peace. 

My Dad wanted me to be able to get home. I did.

Move the car, and get to where you need to go. Get to the doctors, dermatologists, specialists, diagnostic experts, cardiologists, you name it, and get treatments if needed for longer life. 

Move the car and get to church to hear the healing Word and learn about your own way inside God’s Way. Talk to the people, fellowship, and find your peace. 

Move the car and free up the connections for others to make their peace with you. Your forgiveness of them and theirs of you are paramount to everyone’s peace.

Move the car and serve.

All in all you will find that God already “moved the car” and has no blockage for you from reaching home. Jesus serves, we land in safety with Him. Welcome home. 

I was glad my Dad was home on earth in his house and in his comfort even thru his suffering. I wanted my Dad to get Home, Heavenly Home, where Jesus had prepared a place for him, he did. Jesus prepares a place for each of us – not JUST for our comfort, but for His, and for His and our Father who wants us Home in Love.

Our Father wants us Home in due time, not a rush, He wants us to move and inspire the people who need Him and help others who don’t know Him. We are to share His Peace and Love with them so that they know He has secured their way and parking spot. His vehicle to Home is catching a ride with Jesus, He knows the Way, He IS the Way.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Jesus showing John what His Love will do for us in His Revelation, in the eventual rolling out of the new Home for us with Him. 

Welcome Home. 

Jesus said: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-7


Amen

Father Knows Best – the Key to the Kingdom, 11JUL – #1204

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One of the comforts we receive when a loved one passes is watching and listening and feeling the Holy Spirit. The filling of Spirit comes because only He can fill our cups, no earthly substitution suffices. He gives us comfort. Time heals for processing of grief.

When my Dad passed away, I knew these things were key to me feeling embraced by the Spirit: It helps to be in scripture every day – it is paramount that we read ahead to know what happens when we die – and it is crucial that we believe it as TRUTH. 

I believe in Heaven. I believe that we are all within Jesus’s reach. I believe that I will see my Dad again. I believe that the Lord is working His Holy Spirit always. I believe that Jesus never lets anyone be alone without comfort. I believe in Jesus as Almighty and in His Presence. I believe that there is nothing impossible with God.

With a gradual decline in health over the years, I had processed this possibility of his passing but as time drew on, I started to say: “Lord, how does this all go down?” in wondering about how he would actually pass and how we would deal with it. Now I do know the answer – but I only know this feeling in part because I will be forever processing – and in our time here on this earth we are still learning how to deal with life, death and all the rest.  

Father Knows Best – and Father knows the REST.

So much advice my Dad gave me these 50 plus years of my life and of course all the life statements that he made still resonate in my head and my heart. My Dad was a good, great, amazing man. My Dad gave me MUCH advice – yes and he WAS right on so much of his counsel to me…  but he also knew that I was strong headed and stubborn – aren’t we all – for when I put my mind to something, you know what I mean. And of course I have always been Daddy’s little girl. Yet our conversation about faith and Heaven was not forged easily and yet my faith both forced me and blessed me to pursue the conversation about Heaven about a month or so before he passed. These were not big philosophical discussions, but I made my point: Heaven is real. I know this as TRUTH. Dad, I know you now know: I was right – not because of my self-righteousness but His Righteousness pushing thru me as Spirit and Truth. I wanted you to know and believe.

Father Knows Best – and Father knows the rest. Our Heavenly Father had allowed beloved apostle John the glimpse into the future – all of our future. John, a follower as a young teen, steadfast believer and witness to Jesus ministry, death, resurrection and restoration was given senior wisdom, insight and vision of the Kingdom-restorative return of Jesus in a Revelation. John sees and records what will “go down” when Jesus returns – so that we also know – so we understand the future Supper of the Lamb that we are invited to. He wants us to know that we are going to taste in His victory and be clothed in His righteousness. This participation comes by us believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior – and not by anything else we could do.

I pray that my Dad believed in Heaven from years of learning, but perhaps also in part because Daddy’s little girl was and is stubborn and spoke in truth. I don’t need to know that I was the seed planter or anything – all I need to know is that Jesus wanted and wants my Dad (and all people) to know Him – that Jesus was born and died to forgive him (and all of us), and that Jesus welcomed my Dad home.

Jesus will welcome us Home if we remember to accept Him as the Key to the Kingdom.
Thank you God, our Father, You do know best for all and You sent your best: Jesus.

Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!

“These are the true words of God.”

Amen


—-
John recorded in Revelation 19: 

Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.

A Beautiful Day filled with Love, 09JUL – #1203

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To say that our love is an extension of the Lord’s love is true. And one way to explain how we are to treat people is how we are treated by the Lord: LOVED. If we are to be EXTENSIONS OF HIM – He in us and us in Him – then we are to be filled with love and called to be working for Him which is loving each other enough to explain that LOVE is what fills our souls. If we lack that feeling of filled with the Spirit, then ask for the Holy Spirit to come afresh.

It would be an understatement of how wonderful it was to experience a LOVE-FILLED day when we set aside the day for gathering – a day filled with hugs and stories and LOVE. The clock seems to stop. How does that happen? When God stops and slows time, that’s what happens.

That’s what God does. It’s not minutes on the clock when it is moments of the heart. God gives the time to gather and to just BE. To move IN love like He wants it to be spread. To be His own healing force for each other.  We are to move in healing ways in this world, comforting and remarking at how connected we are. 

Heaven on earth means His love is to be shared here. We are to continue.  Our Heavenly Father and Lord keeps His Spirit here on earth to keep us moving. One day our Heavenly Father is going to move the heavens and earth to dissolve. We know He will regulate that timing, but we don’t have to watch the clock as much as be WITH the people who are in His Love along with us. We have the time to keep doing His work, be with the people for the sake of His Love. Forever we are the recipients of the love made by our God, our Lord. 

How we are to continue to be His Hands and Feet and Love. HE IS LOVE. I am thankful for those who express His love to me, and to all. What a blessing.

Thank you all and Thank you Lord. 

Amen 


God of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort each other with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2nd Corinthians 1:3-5

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8: 16-18


https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%201%3A3-5&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%208%3A16-18&version=NIV

Our God is a God of Comfort, 09JUL – #1202

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The God of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort each other with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

I thanked the gathered friends and family at my Dad’s memorial for the LOVE all had all shared – so tremendous. Praying is the MOST important “thing” to make a difference. BECAUSE OF everyone’s prayers, I was able to see the Holy Spirit move.  The last words I heard my Dad say were on the day before he passed. I told him that I loved him and that so very many were praying for him, and he said “THANK  YOU”, surely moved by the Spirit he said “THANK YOU”.

A scripture from Romans 8: 16-18

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Surely moved by the Spirit, people prayed and he said “THANK YOU”.

I thank the Lord thru His Spirit for His care for my Dad and for all of us – then, now and forever.

Amen

It Ain’t Serendipity if It’s the Holy Spirit, 03-05JUL – #1201

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I remind myself that the Holy Spirit is real. ACTUALLY REAL.  The Holy Spirit HIMSELF, of course, reminds me that He is real. We are blessed because the Holy Spirit “IS”- as in ‘I AM” – on the MOVE… 

A BLESSING after my Dad’s passing has been spending time in this sweet crush of LOVE’S outpouring of support.

Love IS showing to be real right now. Love IS real. Love IS.

In between raindrops on Saturday morning I went to the packed Farmers Market. Here if you wait long enough the weather changes. The last few days it has flip flopped sun and showers. That is also how we often are with grieving. We have memories and moments back and forth of sorrow and joy – all to be weathered like weather. On this day, this moment, the blue flowers caught my eye, and I had 4 bucks left over clenched in my fist – enough change to splurge after my happy purchase splurges of shelling peas, maple syrup popcorn, and real blackcaps – a side of the road delicacy of a variety with white stems unique to this area, different than those only a few hours south. These fruits from the first to last bites gave me equally sweet memories of my childhood. 

Four bucks cash? Blue flower? Wouldn’t you know that it was 4 bucks. SOLD. I carried it back to the car and looked down at the tag quickly and saw the name was BLUE BIRD. Haha Lord!!! That’s the name of my Dad’s favorite bird. Of course you knew that, Lord. CUTE!  It could have stopped me in my tracks – those God-sightings tend to do that – but this time, this moment, I didn’t stop walking because it is hard to stop and count the number of God sightings that I have had today, yesterday and every day. One could wonder that what we see everyday are “simply serendipity situations” or coincidences or real Holy Spirit movements. I also didn’t stop walking as I would never get anywhere, AND I had to get out of the rain back to the car, but we (especially I – really I) should stop and BE STILL and absorb what the Spirit is showing me (or trying to show me). The Spirit today IS telling me that He Himself IS taking care of my Dad. I believe it. I believe Him. I won’t multiple choose guess about God, I will say IN TRUTH that these good memories are God sightings and they ARE from Him.

The bluebird is my father’s favorite bird.  I have a bluebird pin that sat on my dresser and that I wore as I was driving up to see him that morning that he passed. The previous visit, 2 weeks ago, I don’t know what possessed me to ask him what his favorite bird was, because I KNOW what his favorite bird is. The grimace on his face of “you’ve got to be kidding, asking me” told me LOTS, reinforced my knowledge that he was very well aware of everything going on. It reminded me that I needed to trust the Lord working out all things for His glory. I need to remember that I DON’T know all the inner workings of the Lord thru the Holy Spirit, but if the Lord takes care of the birds, therefore He was and is taking care of my Dad and His Spirit within my Dad was moving and working this whole time. The conversations that my Dad had with the Lord in my Dad’s final days must have been tremendous. 

Bluebirds require special houses, so how much more does the Lord prepare a room for each of us in His house because of His LOVE. My Dad’s last words that I heard on the phone the day before he passed were “Thank you.” when I told him that I loved him and everyone was praying for him. His answer: “Thank you”. It IS and WAS and WILL BE, YOUR PRAYERS which ARE the Holy Spirit moving. It was because of YOU and the Spirit in you that helped carry my father thru. It is You Lord, where credit is ALL due.

I love the idea of the fun good “coincidental” things that happen in life, like the BLUEBIRD name of the flower. I love the nifty “coincidence” of a neighbor needing a ramp for a visiting relative coinciding with the dismantling of our ramp that my Dad now did not need. We love saying how serendipitous things fall into place, don’t we. For example my father’s assigned cemetery plot number matches my parents’ house number where they have lived for nearly 60 years.  So MANY of those fun things abound. Of course we need to be careful, as what we see every day can be said to be “in the flesh” and not reliable. We must and BEWARE the things of evil to trip us up – BUT I am NOT going to solve that answer of coincidence serendipity and Spirit in a simple blog, how dare I. BUT, I will tell you where I KNOW the Holy Spirit has been working – in my faith of God in helping my Dad with his faith. 

Those flowers, the bluebirds, and even worldly things, ARE worldly things. We must be careful to not read tea leaves when God Himself made and gave us His cup to be known. We also must fear the Lord and read Him. But as human as I am, asking for discernment, I am knowing that the Holy Spirit works all things for the glory of God, I put my confidence not in the flesh but in these connections that the Holy Spirit makes as answers of our prayers. If it brings us closer to God, I best say: It AIN’T serendipity if it really IS the Holy Spirit.  (And honestly I would never ever bet on it, I would just believe.)

I believe in God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. When we pray and ask specifically in Jesus’s name, He sends the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to tell you all my God-sightings or God winks to convince you that God is paying attention to us. I pray you already know His Holy Spirit is active in your life, and want to know Him more. I do know that His ability to send the Holy Spirit makes me sigh and smile. 

The weather, and our sorrows and joys in life change. If you wait long enough, your view will change and with discernment you MIGHT see what the Holy Spirit was trying to show you all along: HIM. You don’t know how God makes and stores snowflakes, right? So honestly most of the time we have no clue how many times in life the Holy Spirit holds the glue. We have no clue, but the Holy Spirit is TRUE.

AMEN and Lord, I believe in You.

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Jesus said (in John 16:12-15):

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

—-

1 Corinthians 2:7-16 Paul speaking to the church:

…we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Forget-Me-Not, Take Confidence in the Lord, 02JUL – #1200

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When my Dad passed away, I spent only tiny moments alone. Neighbors came, relatives, wow so much support, blessed…  Even now it’s only tiny moments, but early morning God gets me up to pray, to read, to write. 

I can hear 50plus years of advice already rolling thru my head from my Dad. I always could and can hear IF I LISTEN. Of course most of the time I filled and fill my ears and head with my own thoughts. We all do.

Forget-me-not.
My favorite flower is the forget-me-not, the tiniest collection of blue sweet flowers, a bouquet already made, and plentiful in the fields where they are allowed to grow. I missed them this spring, and most are mowed over now. But I found a patch at the local Botanical Garden last night. They spread their little seeds and yet their roots go deep for such a tiny plant.

Our thoughts of loved ones, when filled with good memories, are like those beautiful expanses of floral fields, yes. Hopefully good memories over take any bad, we are gifted a blessing of healing, a blessing of time, a blessing of memories. Gratefully good memories and healing thoughts have DEEP roots.

Our thoughts, when filled with the Lord, give direction to grow. Roots in the Lord are deep and He, Lord God, our Father, IS the Gardener, and Jesus the Vine. So very often our thoughts when filled with our own heart desires can clog our ears. That’s normal, we are human, therefore we should listen deeper. If we realize how human our hearts are, we realize how magnificent our Lord is, especially by Him searching our hearts deeply to the roots. We should try to remain deeply planted in His Word and know that our confidence is in Him. What is impossible for man, God will and has already done. What is so fluid and fallible in us is not only KNOWN by the Lord, but is made manageable by Him, and ALL IS FORGIVEN IN HIM when we stay in Him. 

We are remembering my Dad’s favorite things these days, flowers and birds, favorite suit coat, favorite places, favorite LOTS of things. These resonate in our memories, but his favorite things were his children, his grandchildren, his wife, his family and his friends – as well as EVERY one whom he knew he could help, whether he knew them or not. His presence was strong, actions powerful and his words so meaningful.

That’s the Lord too, He loves His children immensely. And the whispers of the Holy Spirit can move His love to and thru us.

My dad’s physical self is no longer here but the whisper of his work lingers. So true for me too, as the last physical moment for me, as I kissed his forehead goodbye, was when I went to touch his chin. What does a little girl remember when getting and giving her Dad a kiss every night as he got home from a long day work, or before bedtime? The brush of a poke from his 5 o’clock shadow. How fitting that feeling came back to me at that instant. How my memories flooded me – of him excited to see me after work, of how he cared so much, of how he worked hard in raising me and of how he loved me. Yes, when I touched his chin the poke became a poke of my heartstrings. He loved me. He really did.

My Dad was a hard working man – always – doing everything and anything for helping his family and friends and community. He is done for the day now, 5 o’clock shadow no more… but his memory lingers on. 

Forget-me-not. 
Thanks Dad.

Thanks Lord.
Amen 
—-

Jeremiah 17: 7-10

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”—Psalm 146Praise the Lord.Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 1
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.

The Lord’s Train and Timing, 01JUL – #1199

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When my dad passed away, he went so rapidly after a long steady pace of decline. The Lord’s timing is the Lord’s. 

I did talk to my dad twice that morning. When he passed unexpectedly just after lunch. I was over halfway driving there, he knew that I was on my way. I am SO GLAD that I did have 4 days vacation to visit with him, and my family, WITH the kids just 2 weeks prior, a great trip. I told the kids that I needed to see their grandfather watching their grandmother giving them hugs. And THANK GOD for post-covid vaccination timing! Whew.

I had this devotion in my head processing about my trip while driving up (I thought in time), about me being the caboose and getting up there after a steady train, a parade, of friends in a farewell tour of love, but the Lord (once again) showed me that HIS Timing is above my timing, HIS Ways are well above ours always so we should always expect His timing, not ours.

Everyone asked “Did you get there in time?” Well, NO but YES. Not my timing, never was. Not my Dad’s timing either, he probably would have stayed in this world longer but his body gave out. It was and IS clear that when the Lord leaves the station, He pulls out. Can you catch the ride late? YES, Jesus is continually grabbing every hand He can, one soul at a time. And Jesus is EXCELLENT at making the catch. 

Could my timing have been better? Of course, but clearly I was being my human self in a human world. However, our Lord is LORD and it is like my processing about being that caboose: God does not need the caboose to run the rail, but oh how blessed that He does want us to ride with Him.

My Dad LOVED railroads. My Grandfather was an engineer, a fireman young then the engineer. My Dad the youngest of many sons. Everything train train train has been awesome in my life.  Except getting stuck behind one. My Subaru even has a railway spike in the pen holder. And the VBS theme this year is Railroad! And I will track alongside with friends.  My Dad’s life embraced trains, he sometimes got railroad passes in the 1950’s and 60’s to ride anywhere. He loved the caboose.  Me too.

I thought while driving up, I was like the caboose of the family, right? I was supposed to get there before He passed. I am the youngest right? The caboose? The end? Nope… I was both human in my timing and held up by getting my ducks in a row, getting my cars on the tracks aligned. I got to the house, but he had passed away like 2 hours before. I processed that with the Lord immediately for me to feel not surprised. They didn’t want to tell me, I was driving 5 hours in the rain, they wanted me safe. I had planned to travel the following day but it was a sudden shift in his health. Got the call, packed, showered, put oil and gas in the car. Called twice while on the road. They told me he heard me, motioned that he did. I walked in the door, then learned he was gone, I hugged mom and her tears so needed, I went to sit with him. Surreal. I then did the math, no, I could NOT have made it “in time” for his final breaths, no, not without me AND my car out of breath. I did the math,  I would have missed his last minutes by 5 minutes if my timing was perfect. Well, my timing is NEVER perfect. Plus it was POURING RAIN, so of course I slowed down as my dad would have me slow. (Yes Dad, I have good tires on my car too). Yes, my Dad 100% would have had me be safe, make sure my kids and work duties were ok and to NOT RUSH. Important work calls I needed/wanted to take on the road, I took them. I settled my kids schedules too, made sure all emergency plans fell into place. My Dad 100% said to take care of my kids. I did. I did.

My Dad AND Our Father God both like us to have our ducks in a row so that HE can clear the path forward. He wants us ready to go. God doesn’t need me loaded onto His train to pull out of the station, but He WANTS me to catch a ride.

I did that math like 3 times, whether I had or should I have had time to cut, but I didn’t with the kids, the work, the rain, the car, me, and especially God – no you CAN’T stop the rain or a train. I was also stopped at the last moment by (you guessed it), a TRAIN.  I was stuck waiting for a TRAIN at the same intersection where my Grandfather’s train ran for years and years. A TRAIN – oh, I SAT… oh, Your Ways Lord, Your Ways... I took a pic, cute Lord cute. You are telling me (again) that this is YOUR TIMING, not mine. You don’t punish Lord, but you certainly do instruct.

You. Your rest, Your mercy Lord, Your Peace. There is none higher. You are the engineer, the engine, the WHOLE track. You are running this line on Your Timetable. I’m not the actual caboose as much as I am simply standing ON the caboose waving at the people, encouraging them to join a ride. I’m NOT driving myself in this life, I am a passenger passing thru this world. And the baggage car? The Lord left it at the station. He only wants us on board.

Most importantly, my Dad is now on Your Train, Lord. You had your sights on him always. You punched His ticket. He’s got not a free ride but one bought by Your blood, and pursued by all those in prayer. What a rally we pray for those running to catch the train, His Train. Those strong grips You provided on the caboose, Lord, are golden. Thank You.

The caboose is cute, but it IS the ENGINE that pulls the load. I am happy to be on Your Line Lord. Power our lives. Let us hear Your whisper whistle. 

Thank You Lord.
All Aboard!

Amen 
WHEW…

The Offering, 01JUL – #1198

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Nothing better than a fresh day, a new day, an unblemished new start.

When offerings and sacrifices were made in Moses’s time, they were unblemished goats, sheep, new and young, or 2 doves for the poor to bring, for sin offering, for guilt offering, for multitudes of reasons to become burnt offerings. But those physical sacrifices are archaic now – but NOT the commands to live properly. Those repentances were to be done in earnest – and so too are we to earnestly seek forgiveness.

The forgiveness comes from Jesus – who took on our sin – known and unknown – committed and inherited – wrought and wronged. Jesus knew it all and knows it all.

So now, what about us? What now can we sacrifice after the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus?  Our day. Sacrifice your day to Him.

Our day. Sacrifice our preconceived notions of the day. Drop the baggage from yesterday and start fresh. Be the Love of the new day in Spirit. Worship in Spirit and Truth to the One who gave you the fresh day. Offer our best unblemished. Be willing to share the burdens and pick up the new day’s travels. Keep going. Be responsible for your own work. Speak up when the truth is not represented. Admit to guilt. Be in willingness to repay debts. Fess up to accidental oaths and faux pas. Sacrifice the thought that you are in control. Control yourself, but let the Lord move the day.

Sacrifice and move forward. The sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient for us, our sins, our deliverance. So instead of sacrificing animals or grain, we ask forgiveness. We have a sacrifice of praise, for Jesus IS WAS WILL BE SUFFICIENT. 

Our sacrifice is to live as Jesus, by LOVING. 

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1Peter1:22

AMEN!

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1Peter1:17-22

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

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Leviticus 5:1-7

 “‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.

“‘If anyone becomes aware that they are guilty—if they unwittingly touch anything ceremonially unclean (whether the carcass of an unclean animal, wild or domestic, or of any unclean creature that moves along the ground) and they are unaware that they have become unclean, but then they come to realize their guilt; or if they touch human uncleanness (anything that would make them unclean) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt; or if anyone thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil (in any matter one might carelessly swear about) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt— when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering: and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin.

“‘Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin—one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.