The Beginning of Wisdom

New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village — the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up!   
       ~ E.B. White
If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
    confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
    all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
    that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
    tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
    insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
    and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
    mock life and life will mock you.
      ~ Proverbs 9:7-12
     What a different view of New York than I’ve seen or experienced recently.  I suppose it all depends on what you’re looking for.  Surely New York has her share of arrogant cynics, shin kickers, scoffers.  Lately though, my memory serves up a different New York.
      A New York where folks reminded me to check my rapidly deploying rain coat belt, a New York where someone offered me access to a highly secure area of the Museum of the Bible, a New York where folks I did not know were kind.
     This is not to say that my husband and I were not followed on one trip.  We were up near the Museum of Natural History when my husband noticed someone who stopped when we stopped, got closer all the while and when we did stop to look at something, the person paused then kept on going.  My husband noticed that the details of her outfit did not match the neighborhood or itself.  He recognized the quality of the pieces that comprised her outfit and made a decision that ultimately was for our safety, avoided a confrontation and kept the peace.
     Sometimes these folks are a lot closer than the streets of New York, its all in your point of view.  It is in what you are looking for.
And, and my wise Weight Watcher’s instructor used to say, “if you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.”  So sometimes what is needed is a change of perspective, a different view of the person who vexes you, a realization that this person is teaching you something about your life and yourself that you need to know.
    That is where the fear of God comes in. God knows.  Period.  End of Story.  God knows you to the core, and if you (if I) am living and moving and having my being in Jesus, then I cannot help but learn from Lady Wisdom.
     Lord, give me your wisdom, help me to walk in it, knowing that you have it all in control.  Help me to use my words wisely and to be kind over being right.
Humble and Kind
    Because of Him,

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Dancing on the Ceiling

Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling? 
         ~M.C. Escher
So I answered, “I’m coming.
    I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I’m coming to the party
    you’re throwing for me.”
That’s when God’s Word entered my life,
    became part of my very being.

Psalm 40:7-8
     I heard K-Love’s morning show host Kelly, talking about struggling with an upcoming birthday.  She knew that logically there was no reason she should be upset about it, but she was.  
      I heard Lady Antebellum’s Hilary Scott speak of the inspiration behind “Thy Will Be Done.”  In an interview with WAY-FM afternoon show’s host, Hilary said, “I prayed about something in my life and it felt like God had answered that prayer and then the way in which it was answered looked a lot differently then I thought it would. So of course I was questioning and confused, all the while knowing that ultimately, even when we don’t understand, His will is what’s best…”
    So we pray a prayer, earnestly, sometimes repeatedly, and then are turned upside down by the answer.  We don’t have God’s perspective, only our own.  Hilary Scott expressed her raw heart to God.  It has not only changed the way she approaches her life, but it gives credence to all who are in that very raw place with a desire of their heart.
     Ultimately, “Thy will be done.” means “Lord, do what’s best, I trust you.”  Do you trust Him to show you how to dance on the ceiling, or take that leap, or let go completely?
     I have no pithy or cute answer here.  Just a series of links to lift your heart and help you to rest in God’s will.
You’re All the World To Me – Fred Astaire
Leap of Faith – Indiana Jones
Thy Will Be Done
     Lord, sometimes “this don’t look good,” but we know that your idea of what is best carries wisdom, and love at its core. Help us to embrace what ever challenge you have given us, help us to walk into that new age, which is an answer to prayers for wisdom that we prayed so long ago.  Give us peace Lord, and the courage to take that next step.
Because of Him,

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Baby, baby

A baby dances with its feet in the air 

                          ~Ruth Krauss (1901–1993), Open House for Butterflies, 1960
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.
~ Psalm 51:1-12
I read this psalm and thought, “Amen!” No matter what week you are having, this is a good prayer.
I am Your Child – Barry Manilow
Lord, make this psalm my goal.  Thank you for the journey.  Help me to stay on the paths that you set. And hold me up that I may dance!
In Jesus’ name, 

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In the Eye of the Storm

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.        

          ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
    settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
    get in on the best.
           ~ Psalm 37:3-4
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two. (We are Farmers…)
You’re in good hands with Allstate.
15 minutes can save you 15%or more on your car insurance.
     Let’s just look at all those slogans.  Substitute God for the name of the companies or product.
Like a good neighbor, God is there.
God knows a thing or two, because God’s seen a thing or two.
You’re in good hands with God.
15 minutes (or less!) with God can save your soul.
     Recently, I have had some unsettling experiences.  Not just me, but my family.  No need to list them here, but after the last thing (I had food poisoning last week,) someone said, “You have the worst karma!” 
     Suddenly, I was so thankful for my recent experience in college.  I was able to look at the arc of the experiences we were/are having and say, “No, the blessing must be so big that Satan is trying to distract me!”
     It is my experience with my “insurance agent,” that helps me to know that God is with me, God’s got my back, He is above, below and beside me at all times. I am not denying being weary, or stressed or any of the rest of what goes with the circumstances, but I know who I have believed.
     In the Eye of the Storm – Ryan Stevenson
Lord, help me to rely on you all the time and especially in the storm.
Because of Him,

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Gospel Fun?

Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness. 

                                               ~ George Jean Nathan


God-friendship is for God-worshipers;
They are the ones he confides in.

If I keep my eyes on God,
I won’t trip over my own feet.

                                    ~ Psalm 25:14-15

Victor Borge and Leonid Hambro

Harpo Marx

     Once you know your stuff “cold.” Once you have practiced, and flubbed up with fine art, fine music, you know it inside and out.  You know its shadings and complexities, you know its highs and lows. Here, there is one piece of classic music, the Hungarian Rhapsody #2.  Victor Borge and Leonid Hambro play the piece as a duet, maintaining (mostly) the integrity of the piece of music, and having some fun at the same time.  Harpo Marx takes the same piece of music, sets the stage for a romantic offering to a portrait covered with another image, the image of a beautiful woman, and he plays the same music.  On the harp, with a jazz interlude, then lapses back into the classical piece, ending with his own flourish.


     These men were classical musicians, having fun with a classical piece and engaging the audience, distracting them visually and audit- orally with some variations on performance techniques.  But it is hard to forget!  And the musicians have had their joy fulfilled, you heard a piece of music that they love!  And you were attentive, waiting to see, or hear what they would do next.

Sometimes, we take life and ourselves way too seriously.  We forget to have fun with the gospel and its presentation.  Today, let God show you where the laughs are in this glorious lovely madness.

Lord, help me to take myself less seriously, and to let you show me the fun in the gospel today.  Help me to minister to those who need to hear you in a different way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Because of Him,


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Watching Wings Grow

The wings of angels are often found on the backs of the least likely people. 
                                                               ~ Eric Honeycutt
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
                                                              ~ Romans 12:2
She just listened.  She had suffered abuse from the same source and she just listened.  She is even tempered, fiercely independent, very knowledgeable in many subjects, incredibly efficient and practical.  She stopped what she was doing and just listened.  No judgement was passed, no sentence pronounced, and mercy was employed.  This amazing woman just listened to the woman in front of her.  What a thing to witness!
Today, as you go out into the world, share your mercy, your ear, your kindness.  The angel that I witnessed helped me a great deal.  You are that for so many that you don’t even know about…yet.
     Lord, bless these readers as they go about their days.  Give them the gift of mercy, kindness, and listening in the hard places.  Breathe afresh on those suffering from abuse of any kind. In the name of your precious son, Jesus.
     Because of Him,

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You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water
                                                     ~ Psalm 63:1
A beauty lights the fading year. 
                                                   ~ Phebe A. Holder, “A Song of October”
     Last night I dreamed that I was looking for a lost page of a poem, in a raging storm, in a haunted house.  Only the house was this one, the storm was in Florida and I had just a few hours to hand in the second page of a poem that I lost in the disheveled classroom, that and – read the day’s New York Times, write a new poem and have it all done by class time.  I was so far behind.  My parents were both alive and trying to help but I could not see them, I could only hear them.  The house cried out in its own way there was so much water.
     Reality?  There is a hurricane battering the coast of Florida,  I have a deadline for a poem, and the subject is Haunted Houses.  I sat through a day long class in how to adapt education for special needs children.  The terms describe things I know, but, as with many things, people have changed the terms I know into new terms that are not necessarily better.  I left there to work out, come home, visit a friend, eat and go to choir rehearsal.  So much tumult in my brain!  Certainly I was not feeling parched, I was feeling flooded, especially after I watched the weather!
     However, there was only one place I could repair.  That was to the rock in a weary land.  Certainly after all of that, I was the weary land.  This anthem started to pulse through me when I woke up from that dream this morning.
Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land, a Shelter in a Time of Storm.
     No matter where you live, what storm you are weathering, in Jesus, you live and move and have your being.  He is the rock and you can be sheltered there, in fact, you are.  Find that place inside of you, and find that place in which you are inside, Jesus.  Stay there until you know you can find your way back in the midst of all the storms.
    Lord, you know my storms, my deadlines, my tumult.  You know what haunts me and where I need to be.  Help me to always be in You no matter what else calls.  In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Because of Him,

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