“Happy?”

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Before we left for Canada in 2011, I gave my oldest daughter a plastic rosary that was given to me at RCIA when we learned about prayer.  As we crossed the Confederation Bridge into PEI Canada, we got a telephone call informing us that our first grandbaby was in the hospital, due to a collapsed lung.  We would later find out that this was her only working lung, as they discovered that her left one was missing a valve that connected it to her heart.  To say that his baby has seen her share of medical professionals, hospitals, and stethoscopes, would be a severe understatement.

My daughter still has this rosary, and her children have taken to it, handling it, sleeping with it, and sometimes wearing it around their neck.  Today, Grammie Reward #1 (baby with the heart issues) had it, and was using the crucifix as a stethoscope on her Momma.  She would place the cross on her Momma’s chest, and say “Happy?”  then move it to another spot on her chest and ask again “Happy?”

Watching this Sacramental being used in a way in which she had become familiar, was both heart-gripping and profound.  Every once in awhile, I get a little glimpse of the Father’s heart.  Today was one of those times.  I’m telling you…I got a serious case of Holy Ghost bumps.

In my mind’s eye, I saw the Great Physician holding the stethoscope of the Cross over our hearts, and using it to gauge its intentions, motives, and attitudes.  And he asks “Are you happy?”

And I think sometimes, all too often, he hears something that causes Him to check further…”was that a murmer of discontent?  Impatience?  Pride?  Hmmmm…this heart is not happy”, and so he begins His procedure, removing those things that are not healthy, and repairing and rebuilding what is broken.  “Heart surgery” is painful, so He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us as we heal, and He sends His Son…His love letter…the Word to console us to teach us His ways, so that when we have our next “checkup”, he can again examine us and find a happy, healthy heart.

 

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The Faith of a Little Seed

Little seeds have such huge potential.  They are so cute, and tiny, and so full of undeveloped goodness.  Pour them out, and look at them…you are holding in your hand a future flower bed, vegetable garden, grove of fruit trees, or a huge forest.  All that potential, in one little capsule of possibility.  And, aren’t we like these seeds?  I picture God pouring us out, and delighting in all the potential that He sees in us…the things we will do, the people we will touch, the glory we will bring to Him.

But before any of that potential can be reached, several things must happen to (and for) the seed, and several questions must be answered to prepare it for and facilitate growth.  First, its purpose needs to be identified.  What does it need to reach its full potential?   Full sun, partial shade, amount of moisture…all will be factors in placing them where they will flourish.  Next, the ground needs to be prepared.  Nutrients are added to ensure optimum results, and then we wait, for the temperature to be just right before we put them out.  Often, the seeds can be started inside and tended to in a controlled environment, allowing them to grow up protected and shielded until they are strong enough to weather the elements outside.

Our Father looks for similar things for us and for our growth.  Our location depends much on our purpose, doesn’t it?  And He is ever at work preparing our environment for us, mixing things up, putting good things in, pulling noxious things out, then waiting for just the right time to “plant” us, so that we can grow and flourish, and reach all that wonderful potential He sees in us.

An interesting thing, though.  Is that before that seed can grow, it has to die.

Hmmmm.

And so it is with us, isn’t it?

Before we can send out our little shoots of new growth, before we could ever dream of bearing any fruit, or providing any shade, or doing anything for the glory of God, we have to die.

Consider the words and example of Christ:

John 12:23  Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

And Paul’s counsel to the Romans:

Romans 6:5  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

If we are God’s children, we are in the process of dying, every day.  It’s what Paul refers to later in Romans 12 as a “living sacrifice”.  Voluntary on our part, and only an act of the will can keep us up on that altar.  This is an act of worship, according to Romans 12, and is our “reasonable service” to God.  Only faith can produce an act of worship that will die to self, and live for another person.

“And patiently they lay in hope, and God provides the rest.  All we need is the faith of a little seed.”

 

 

 

 

Come See Iconogragher, Maria Fonseca, at Work

This is fascinating!

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Maria Fonseca painting at Parish of Our Senora da Conceição – Pau Dos Irons / RN

I have fallen in love with icons; looking at them is not like appreciating a great painting, there is a spirit to Spirit connection that occurs. Painted in prayer, saturated with the Holy Spirit, a wordless flow of the love, light and most especially and an energizing joy fills my soul as God himself blesses me.  I simply open my heart, soul and spirit to the icon. It is powerful and direct; the perfect way to connect with God when I am exhausted. God is in charge as I let go of mental logic and control and allow the Spirit of the Lord Himself to minister to me through the image.

 

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What I’ve been up to in my spare time

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wpid-IMG_20131119_152848.jpgMade my own daily and weekly dockets…laminated and ready to use…now need to find good wipe off markers.  You like?

I”ve used a planner on and off since I was a young Momma, but have never found one that really suits me.  I was looking again online the other day and saw how several people had made their own, and I thought “My gosh…I could do that!”  So…here they are.  Because I hate to buy things to throw away, I laminated daily on one side, weekly on the flip side.  I’ll purchase a generic monthly calendar, if I can find one that starts with Sunday…if not,,,maybe Ill make a matching one for my set.

Psalm 5, as prayed by me tonight

Lord, do you hear my words?  Are you paying attention to my sighing?  In the quiet hours of the morning, I am begging you, my King and my God, to acknowledge the sound of my cries when I plead my case to you.  I continue to wait expectantly for your answer.

I know that you are not a God who tolerates unrighteousness, and the evil one cannot live and walk with you.  You hate all evildoers, and the boastful cannot stand in your sight, neither those who are dishonest, deceitful or those who are bent on destruction.

But because of your steadfast love, I am welcomed into your house, and in awe of you, I bow down toward your holy temple.

Continue to lead me in your righteousness and make your will and your way clear to me, for the sake of my enemies…because there is no truth in their mouths, and they are full of destructive plans.  Their throats are open graves, and their words are filled with empty promises and flattery.  Make them bear their guilt, Lord; Use their own words of advice to trip them up and make them fall.  They are rebelling against you, Lord.  Their sins have separated them from you, and they are cast away from your presence.

But, let me, and everyone who takes refuge in you be filled with joyful songs forever, as we rejoice in You.  Spread out your mighty arm of protection over us, so that we who love you may celebrate and delight in You.  Because you bless the righteous, Lord, and you protect them with your kind assistance, as with a shield.

Ephesians 5:6-10

How did you do on last week’s memorization?  Honestly, I had a hard time staying focused, and will have to continue to work on last week’s as I tack on the next five verses.  I find it is helpful to remember to study the passage if it’s on sticky notes, or 3×5 cards, or a tablet sitting next to me at my desk…none of which I have done.  But, I feel I need to continue on, so on it goes to this week’s list, with God’s help, I’ll do better and have the first ten verses down, by the end of the week.

Okay…so to recap:  vs. 1-5 instructed us to be copy-cats, to live/walk in love as Christ did, and to rid ourselves of certain attitudes and behaviors, as is proper for us to live as saints. The passage ended with a warning about the ability to enter into the Kingdom of God…all those attitudes and behaviors that we are told to put off…there’s a reason for that…those things cannot enter into the Kingdom.

And, the passage continues:

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient.

Therefore do not be associated with them.

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—

for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.

10 Try to find out what

is pleasing to the Lord.

We live in an age of deception.  “Empty words” abound…even from some pulpits along with bold claims to be speaking for Christ.  We are warned not to even associate with this deception.   How do we keep ourselves from being deceived and incurring God’s wrath?  I think the “secret” is in the verses that precede this one.  Imitating Christ…walking and living like He did.  And the only way that we can know and imitate His walk is to learn of Him, and keep in stride with His gait.  Reading about and meditating on His life, adopting His passion as our own, and obeying what we know He told us to do.

No longer do we live in darkness, as we once did…because He is our light, and we are living in Him.  He illumines our path, and has demonstrated what a walk in the light looks like.  So, now…we live as children of light.  We’ve put aside all that dark crud from verses 3-5, and have stepped into the light.  (Again, I’m reminded of the passage from Colossians that we worked on last month…we’ve taken off the old clothes, and put on the new clothes…and now, we are stepping out of the darkness into His light.  Have I mentioned I love word pictures?)

The fruit of that light  (our new behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, words, and deeds) is found in all that is good and right and true.  Here’s our “WHATEVER” verse peeking at us from Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8).  I’m struck with a new realization of the truth that we become what we think.  It all starts in our mind.  No wonder we are told to love the Lord not just with our heart and soul, but also with our mind  (Matthew 22:37).  We ought to be about the business of taking all of these thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and bringing them into obedience to Christ.  The result of loving God with our heart, soul, and mind will be good fruit.  We will learn to think, talk, and walk like Jesus, as we practice imitating Him like we were instructed to do in verse one, and will be on the right path for the instruction to us in verse 10…to figure out what pleases the Lord.

What about you?  I’d love to hear the truths that God whispered in your ears in this passage.