Broken Hallelujuah

“Every single moment is absolutely extraordinary. But the next day is a thousand times better.” 
                                          ~ Salvador Dali
 
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
                                          ~ Ephesians 4:32
 
     Yesterday had a couple of shining moments, and I allowed them to be swallowed by…a difficult family situation, a troubling phone call, some difficult words and their implications.
     In the music room, echoes of Leonard Cohen’s “Broken Hallelujah”
filtered under the door and I  wondered if the young voices knew just what that meant. And some of them do.  But Leonard’s words did not lift me, nor the young voices who barely understand the stories represented from the Bible.
     Yesterday, I felt somewhat more like the singers in the following Halleljuah:
             The Afters –  Broken Hallelujah
      The passing kindergarten parade, the company of my family lifted me after that school day. I know that joy awaits, that a blessing is around the corner.  It was hard to sing Hallelujah.  Even harder to let go of that which hurt.  But I will.  As the sun sings the green out of the leaves and opens the clenched buds, so will I sing my own broken Hallelujah.
 
Lord, as my tears dry, let my eyes rest upon you.  Help me to help others who are hurting, trying to pick up the pieces of their broken hallelujahs and offer them to You.
    Because of Him,
    Linda

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Prayer and Politeness?

“The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.” 
                                                        ~ Fred Astaire
 
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.
                                                        ~Matthew 18:15
 
     There is someone in my life that comes to mind when I read this scripture.  They are loud, overbearing, unrelenting, and the words seem to bounce off of them even when there is that rare moment of engagement.  
     They don’t follow anyone’s rules, and that has cost this individual in some ways. But for the most part they are silicone when it comes to hearing anything at all.
     I have prayed for her for years, I don’t know what to do next, other than be polite and keep praying.  Neither of us are at the top, but it is frustrating to feel as if there is no way to communicate.  E-mail works sometimes, but their own responses are forgotten when the next “thing” comes up.
      Just don’t have an answer.  I have tried to think of what advice I would give if the roles were reversed, and prayer and politeness seem to be the only way, other than avoidance.
      What do you do?
 
Lord, change me.  I know that changing the individual is not anything I can do.  Please let me see them through your eyes.
 
Because of Him,

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The Wind is Blowin’ Again

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” 

 
                                                                                  ~ Mia Hamm

 
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
                                                                                       ~ Romans 8:1-2
 
     On the east coast, it feels as if the wind has been blowing since September. It is coming from the west, it comes from the north east, it seems to come from everywhere.
      It has felled trees, and blown many a thing to a new location.  And yet, each time I hear the roar of the wind, I hear and old song from my days in the Assemblies of God.  
 
The Wind is Blowin’ Again – Lanny Wolfe Trio
      The world is changing, and the wind is the Spirit of God blowing through our lives and towns, our counties, our world.  I am inspired to change things at work, at home, well, everywhere!  Not crazy changes, for the most part, but radical changes in some ways.  The changes force me to raise the bar and stretch myself.
      How is the wind affecting you?  This representation of the Spirit of life in Christ? What air has the breath of God cleared, prepared, given you a new place to which you can aspire?
      Enjoy the still between “fronts,” as you set the bar higher, let God set the bar higher for the next round.
 
Lord, help me to ride the wind of your cleansing breath.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Words

“When you have completed 95% of your journey, you are halfway there.”
             ~ Japanese Proverb
 
Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
 ~ Colossians 4:5-6
 
     I attended a poetry reading in a new place yesterday.  The arc of the readings was, uplifting.  The featured poets were gifted, well received.  
     In the course of those who followed, there were a couple who made this lovely afternoon a showcase for their political views.  Their opinion didn’t matter as much as the tanking of the mood,  egos that were puffed up, applause was polite.  
     Failure to stay focused was on me, as the messages kept discord alive.
     I love Paul’s encouragement to speak graciously, to try and bring out the best in others, not cut them out.
 
Words – Hawk Nelson
 
    Today, Lord, give my words life, grace and wisdom.
 
Because of Him,
 
Linda

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Notions and Oceans

Music has to breathe and sweat. You have to play it live.” 
                                                 ~ James Brown
 

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

                                                   ~Romans 12:12 KJV

     Normally, I would agree with James Brown.  Live music has an effect on one that is physical, involving sight, sound and touch. For others, more senses may be involved.  
     The first thing that I thought of, however, was when a song touches me, when I am not hearing it live. I was listening to K-LOVE in the car yesterday, and this song came on by Jeremy Camp.
 
Christ in Me
     I heard something new in the song.  Up until now, I thought the lyrics to a certain line were “a notion of mercy.” A notion of mercy unending.  When I first heard the song, I thought that line was amazing.  Thinking about a notion of mercy.  The idea that I could be forgiven for my worst sin because God had mercy on me.  The word notion got me because that is often where a belief is born, in a notion, in a crazy idea about something God might do.
     Yesterday, I heard the song once more and realized that Jeremy Camp was singing “an OCEAN of mercy.”  I just started crying.
That “notion” turned into a cleansing flood in the turn of my hearing, listening to the song, not live, but in the rolling church I was driving on the way to work.
     When you think of the things that you have been forgiven for in the past, does something bob up in that ocean of mercy?  I can think of two immediately, because to me, they were my worst sins.
      What song, hymn, worship chorus has touched you in this way, either live or not?
       What “notion” of yours has God turned into an ocean?
 
Lord, thank you for turning my notions into oceans where your mercy is involved.  Thank you for music that uplifts and for your forgiveness in my breathing out and breathing in.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Zaccheus all over again

“The cheerful live longest in years, and afterwards in our regards. Cheerfulness is the off shoot of goodness.” 
                                                       ~ Christian N. Bovee
 
 
Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
                                                        ~ Luke 19:9-10
 
     
That little tiny man
just wanted to be
nearer to You than
so he could see.
Wealth did not buy
a front row seat
a sycamore tree
his chance retreat
 
Never expecting 
more than that
he climbed that tree
and there he sat.
 
Jesus came walking
through the town,
saw Zaccheus,
bid him come down.
 
Zaccheus  made haste,
the crowd complained
why this crook? 
His life profane?
 
Zaccheus confessed
the distribution
of his wealth
make restitution
 
Jesus saw him
through and through
Zaccheus changed
found life anew.
 
Lord see me now
through I may be
scrambling for
a view of Thee.
 
Cleanse my heart
and help me see
fragments of You
though hard it may be.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Architect of the Soul

“It is not an individual act, architecture. You have to consider your client. Only out of that can you produce great architecture. You can’t work in the abstract.” 

                                                                  ~ I.M. Pei
 
 Earlier there were a lot of priests, for they died and had to be replaced. But Jesus’ priesthood is permanent. He’s there from now to eternity to save everyone who comes to God through him, always on the job to speak up for them.
                                                                ~Hebrews 7:23-25
 
     It is amazing to think that Jesus died for all of us, and we feel it individually.  Daily I am reminded that He knows every hair on my head, every flake of skin that falls, every laugh line, every tear.  In a split second, I know that this trial I am experiencing, is the last barrier in front of a blessing.  That the blessing is filling my spiritual coffers against a rainy day, that a stranger can bring a word from Him. 
     He is truly alive, in the midst of an accident, in the return to the store where you lost your phone, keys, thumb drive.  
     Keep looking for your advocate, listening for His healing word, responding to that tug at your heart to act.  Jesus works client by client, and for all restoring, rebuilding, redesigning our lives, our hearts, our future as we give it all to Him.
 
     Lord, I see you in my wake. Help me to see you in the horizon, keeping my eye on you helping me out of the boat to walk with you.
 
Because of Him
Linda

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