This Icy Night

“Yes, I now feel that it was then on that evening of sweet dreams that the very first dawn of human love burst upon the icy night of my spirit. Since that period I have never seen nor heard your name without a shiver half of delight, half of dreams” 
                                                                                               ~ Edgar Allan Poe
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
                                                                                                ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9
In so many ways, this is an icy night of the spirit. Forces are acting in concert with hatred, people of all walks of life are having their acts of hatred recorded with much more frequency than acts of love, acts of kindness, acts of healing. There is no office untouched.
When I read the quote from Edgar Allen Poe, the first name I heard was “Jesus”. Jesus who loves us so deeply no matter our behavior, Jesus who melts all ice and can warm the coldest heart.  Jesus who has plans beyond our wildest, sweetest dreams.
These words of Peter’s, dressed in modern language really drives home the point that we are NOT alone.  The world would have us think that, but we are not.  So today, wrap yourself in Jesus and go forth into Halloween and the coming days dressed in his name. Spread the love.
Because of Him,

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Longing for Home

Hawaiian songs are usually about flowers, skies, the moon, and places that you lived before… slack key… brings back memories… of the days that I loved most as I was growing up.”

             ~ Raymond Kane

I cried out, “I am slipping!”
    but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
    your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. 

~ Psalm 94:18-19 

We have been there you know.  It is why we long to go home.  It is why we often long to go to a childhood happy place, whether it was your own home, or that of a treasured friend.  A place where you felt safe, were able to be yourself, a place where you could just laugh, cry, sing, help in the kitchen, experiment, make a mistake and still be loved.  

We came from heaven, as all life comes from God.  For me, the closest thing to heaven outside my childhood, is Hawaii.  The air, the  music, the whole spirit of aloha is there in the very breeze.  It was that way for my mom too. She played the slide guitar, my dad played the ukelele or played at the ukelele. 

I guess, getting older, I just feel so much more free to be me, to be me in Jesus.  However you find your happy place, whether it is through organ music, singing a broadway tune, creating something with your hands, doing something kind for someone, having a bubble bath and a rubber ducky… relax into the bubbles of God’s love, and remember, Heaven is where you came from, no matter what you have made of this life.  Give it back to God, and enjoy the prospect of home.

Because of Him,


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Living Mezuzahs

Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That’s dedication.” ~ Cecil B. DeMille


19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We have a favorite waitress in a small store/restaurant in Maine.  She is very careful to follow what she believes is important in scripture, and particularly with regard to tatoos.  Her car is covered with her beliefs, but not her body.  She prefers to “let the light shine.” She is doing her level best to be living scripture.

I was thinking about the Jewish custom of having a Mezuzah outside one’s door.  I have seen them in the doorways of Jewish colleges, outside of homes.

(A mezuzah comprises a piece of parchment called a klaf contained in a decorative case and inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Torah. These verses consist of the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael, beginning with the phrase: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”. Wikipedia ) Then I thought about the scripture for the day.  For our waitress friend, she is the conatiner of the living word, and her car contains her.  Message quite easy to read on the vehicle, quite easy to see in her loving care of her customers.
There are folks who cover their bodies in scripture tatoos.  I had the thought that they are also living mezuzahs, their message there for all to see, all to read.  
The intent is easy, the goal is posted on their cars, their bodies, their hearts.  Whether you are quiet, or not so quiet, the message in your heart is there for all to see.  “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”  “Jesus in me loves you!” “Our God is an awesome God!”  Or as my friend the organist often says, “Sing Out Louise!” Let your voice be heard.
Whether you wear it on the inside, or the outside, your goal is ever before you. Trust the Lord to help you reach it, as he stands just before you, waiting for you to take the first step out on that water. Keep walking, focused on the goal.
Because of Him,

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Man in the Mirror

Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasanttasks.” ~ James Baldwin 
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. 
James ~ 1:22-24
Man in the Mirror
Here it is, in an unexpected place. With unexpected people. During a choir rehearsal. The Spirit of God, just waiting for you to breathe in, and sing.  When I sing, that is often when the message seeps past my vocal chords and into my soul.  Today, I leave you with this as we look at our world, consider what needs doing, and realizing it begins with getting our own houses in order, starting with… the person in the  mirror.
Because of Him,

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Sparkling Water

The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten.
~ John 1:12-13
“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible… what wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!” ~ Søren KierkegaardDiapsalmata
Water, sparkling in the sun.
I read both of these quotes, and just wanted to look at sun on the water.  Ever moving, ever shining, ever changing is the water, no matter where I see it, no matter what time of day.  I used to think that fairies were trapped in the sparkle and that their job was to just shine.  
I read of the restorative power of water, living near it, just looking at it, how much easier I breathe as we pass over it, stop to gaze upon a river, take our first look at the harbor after wending our way through woods.
Today, wherever you have a chance to look at the water, just stop.  Pull over.  Take a look. Breathe.  Breathe in the love of Jesus without looking at your phone, your exercise tracker, your watch.
God is loving you in the sparkle.  God is loving you in that one chord that takers your breath away.
I love you all,
Because of Him,

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I Came to the Garden with Friends

“Slumbering in every human being lies an infinity of possibilities. ” 

                                                                 ~ Elias Canetti
Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise
    to do everything you say.
I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile,
    be gracious to me just as you promised.
When I took a long, careful look at your ways,
    I got my feet back on the trail you blazed.
I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet,
    was quick to follow your orders.
The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—
    but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.
I get up in the middle of the night to thank you;
    your decisions are so right, so true—I can’t wait till morning!
I’m a friend and companion of all who fear you,
    of those committed to living by your rules.
Your love, God, fills the earth!
    Train me to live by your counsel.
                                                                  ~ Psalm 119: 57-64 
You Put the Light in Me – Brandon Heath
Today, I will just share that I had one of the most restorative visits that I have had in so very long.  
I went to the garden, and I wasn’t alone, 
I was with the one through whom God chose to show his love,
I was with friends who have made music and trust come alive for me in ways I never imagined.
We walked beautiful gardens,
the dew was still on the roses (and all the other flowers,)
they walked with me,
they talked with me, and
they sang with me.
I will leave you witwh the joy of Brandon Heath’s song, and the knowledge that no matter what state you are in literally or figuratively, God will show you the love, and get your feet back on God’s trail.
Because of Him,

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Words of Love, Clearly

In the late ’70s, I bought a typewriter — portable enough for world travel and sturdy enough to survive decades of ten-fingered beatings. I’ve since acquired many more — each different in design, action, and sound. Each one stamps into paper a permanent trail of imagination through keys, hammers, cloth and dye — a softer version of chiseling words into stone.             

          ~Tom Hanks, Hanx Writer introduction, 2014 [Hanx Writer is an iPhone and iPad app that recreates the experience of a manual typewriter, developed by –tg]

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. 
          ~ Colossians 2:9-10 
I had this dazzler as a boss at some point during my career.  The boss loved to use big words.  The people in the meeting used to sit there, blankly, not necessarily understanding, but not saying anything.  I could not do that.  I had to be “that one” who asked “what does that mean?”  My mom always told me that if I wanted to know something, I should ask.  I still ask.  What is the point of having a conversation if one of the conversants doesn’t understand what the other is saying?
Jesus spoke so that the common person could understand him, and stories had deeper meanings than were often apparent.  But folks understood him.  I must admit, sometimes it is fun to throw big words around, but, I often do it and then translate for my audience, which was usually children.  I wanted the kids to have exposure to the bigger words, and then exposure to their explanataion.  Jesus gave us his words, and lived their meaning.
And he answered questions (though often with a question), and made his audience think, even if it took a while for the words to sink in.
Today, be kind to yourself and others, let God’s loving words wash over you, let your expression be filled with love, and sometimes, explanation.
Words of Love – The Beatles 
Because of Him,

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Stream of words, stream of steps

I’m pretty sure it’s a simple matter of climbing over that seemingly high (but actually rather unimpressive) obstacle. 

                                                     ~ Jeb Dickerson

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” 
                                                      ~ Matthew 4:4
There are obstacles to many of the things that we say we want, many of the things we say we are praying for, just many things.  We want success, it is offered to us and we are afraid to take the next step, we complain that no one is there for us, and ignore those who are, we want folks to be intimate in their conversation, but we don’t invite them all the way in to our hearts.
Some folks take photos of their obstacles and advertise them, build a garden in front of them, decorate them.  So the obstacle is not only ever before them, but a monument to their hesitation.
Time to pray and start thanking God for the answer, no matter what it is. Time to take that risk and appreciate that God has closed a door and move to the next door.  Time to say no unless you absolutely feel the leading of the Lord, unless you actually want to do the thing you are being asked to do, not because you “feel bad,” or, “it is expected.”
Take a step, make a step.  And hear this wonderful song, one more time.
The Mighty Clouds of Joy – I Made a Step
Because of Him,

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