What Now?

admin-ajax.php

Watering:

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Watching:

Simple lives, these shepherds lead. Watching and walking,  guiding and guarding. Nothing unexpected until the night when all heaven breaks loose, and they find themselves with ring-side seats.

Peace on Earth. How often they must have replayed that heavenly chorus in their minds as they walked among their sheep.

Joy to the World. How their hearts must have leaped in hope each time they gazed into the starry expanse.

A Child is Born. How dream-like it all must have seemed… and didn’t he have the most angelic face?

***

But what exactly do you do with such an experience?

Well, to start with, you share what’s happened.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I mean, seriously, how could you not? One minute you’re counting sheep and the next, a heavenly flash mob is exploding in joy all around you – and it all checks out: the mother, the child, and the manger, “just like the angels said!”

This heavenly peek-a-boo must have rocked their world.

***

But Time has its way of marching monotonously on, and I wonder how long it took for All Hopes Shiny to fade to the black of “What now?”

And what now indeed?

You’ve seen, you’ve heard, and you’ve shared… Do you go to synagogue more? Do you offer up a few more sheep? Do you sell all you own, and hang out on the sidelines of Bethlehem?

And what about tomorrow? and next week?

and the week after that

and all the months that limp slowly, and oh too quickly, into decades?

What do you do when Fear creeps deep beneath your covers, because, after all

 …  shouldn’t he be grown and saving us by now? 

Wondering:

Life is amazing.

But it is not always easy.

It can often be downright hard to navigate the Here and Now

when shiny glimpses of heaven become the lusterless There and Then,

when Dreams fall in heaps like ill-fitting clothing around our ankles,

when looking up to see beyond the Black, only leaves us with stiff necks and chills aching to the soul.

What exactly do you do

when everything in you aches for the sound of heaven’s voice

just. one. more. time.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Mary- the highly favored, “be it done unto me,” chosen Mother of God – took her visions and her memories, and every heavenly sign and wonder she had ever seen – and she packed them carefully away right beside the frankincense and myrrh. Treasures for a rainy day…

And then what did she do?

She raised a baby.

So what do we do when God’s promises collide with the ticking of the clock?

We take our cues from Mary and we live.

We treasure Life and the everyday wonder it is.

We welcome the sunrise, and put the stars to sleep.

We change the diapers,

and kiss the boo boos.

We go to work

and clean feet

and love those along our path.

We muddle through interviews and taxes and doctor visits.

We pull weeds

forgive hurts

and plant happiness.

Sometimes we hold our breath;

and sometimes we whoop and holler.

Sometimes we cry and rent our hearts;

and sometimes we dance without shame before our King.

In all ways, we “love mercy, act justly and walk humbly.”

We fall on our knees with every good gift, and through every long night that doesn’t explode in Hallelujahs.

We treasure the promise of Hope and Majesty, and a heavenly choir still belting it out about our Savior… just beyond the dark.

And everyday we ponder the reality that He is enough.

He is Peace enough

and Joy-to-our-World enough

and Goodwill-to-Man enough

,

Jesus alone 

is treasure enough

to ponder forever.

Waiting:

Jesus, if I am only moved and driven by desire for more and more of the latest and greatest, sky-opening “ooh’s,” then maybe I’ve missed the point.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?”

Maybe it’s time to ask, “If the sky were never to open again for me in this life… would who you are be revelation enough to last me this lifetime?” Lord, may my heart and my soul always answer yes.

Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.
601640_3930838101647_672540708_n

Who is this God?

 

 

P1000316

 

Watering:

Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

Watching:

David needed God.

And he needed God in some very big circumstances.

 

But David wasn’t looking for a warm, fuzzy, genie-in-a-bottle deity.

He needed the Almighty God, the Conquering King

and he needed him on his battlefield.

 

… so David asks himself to remind himself

“Who is this King of Glory?”

 

Wondering:

When I look into the eyes of my enemy, my pea brain humanity – gripped with that in-your-face kind of fear – will limit God every time. Every time.

Yet, when I look into the face of God, I see a God who is on my side, who has promised to never leave or forsake me. Who calls me more than a conqueror and tells me I can overcome because he already did.

Our God is not a wimp.

The battle IS real, but He fights for us.

The enemy IS fierce, but God is more.

 

Who is this King of glory?

He is the One who has already won. The One whose whisper stills storms, the One who still stands down the wind. He is the One who said, “It is finished.” And means it. Then calmly rolls back the stone and shows it.

He is the One who cleans my hands,

replaces my blackened broken heart with his,

picks me up and places me on a high rock – a large, secure place – to keep my feet from stumbling.

This King

is Conqueror.

His hand is not too short that it cannot save.

He is on my side. And He is worthy of my trust.

He is the Great I Am

bringing life to dry bones,

bringing hope to dying dreams,

bringing joy beyond our “temporary afflictions.”

Who is this King of Glory?

He is strong and mighty in battle

and He fights for me.

He is Abba, Father

and calls me his own

… in Him, I can rest.

Waiting:

And so, Lord, today I will rest. In the shadow of your wing, in my great and might refuge, in the palm of your hand, today I will rest.

Common sparrow

 

Coming Clean

hidingjimeejackietomasha

Watering:

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

….When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
 till I entered the sanctuary of God;

Watching:

I think the thing I love most about David is: he always fesses up.

Always.

He never pulls any punches with God about his fallen nature.

He never accepts the Good of God, without exchanging the Bad of his humanity.

He never hides his questions, or doubts, his frustrations or royal rage

… on his knees, on his face, on his final straw, David lays it all out at the feet of God every. time.

and David never leaves the presence of God until he is left changed

 

from the inside out.

 

David knows where to go to come clean.

 

….When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
 till I entered the sanctuary of God

Psalm 73

Wondering:

I wonder how often I rant and rave just outside the sanctuary’s threshold.

It is just so stinkin’ easy to get caught up in the frenzy of the marketplace… opinions flying, deals making, positions arguing. And either you find yourself joining in, or hiding away – mumbling and grumbling in the privacy with like-minded ranters.

But the truth is, whether we call ourselves Children of the Light or not, it’s all the same outside the sanctuary:

troubles brew

            ranters rage

            and Truth is trampled in the crowd.

 

When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
 till I entered the sanctuary of God

 

Change only happens when

we walk through his gate and start remembering who we are and whose we are  and let thankfulness bubble up from a heart forgiven.

 

Power only happens when

we move further toward our Maker, and lay it all on the line: a life ready to sacrifice itself on the altar of praise.

 

Transformation only happens when we approach his throne boldly on bended knee,

letting our humanity be washed in his loved poured out,

grasping the robe he’s placed on our shoulders,

seeing his eyes crown us with compassion.

 

Life only happens

when we know where to go to come clean.

 

Waiting:

Jesus, it is never about us; It is always about you and your great love. I will enter your gates with thanksgiving, and your courts with praise and I will walk boldly on bended knee to the One who holds my heart in his hand. (Psalm 100)

 

P1000566

Today I will Awaken the Dawn

 

14admin-ajax.php

Watering:

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
 For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 57

Watching:

David is the best self-talker. ever.

So he reminds himself, and reminds God,

“My heart, God, it will remain steadfast.

I will give praise and honor where it is due…

No matter what.”

Wondering:

No matter what: God is all good. All loving. All kind. All powerful. All wise.

As a teacher, I love to ask my students questions. I especially love to ask them, “Are you sure?” And they have finally figured out that when I ask them a question about their answer it rarely means they’re wrong. It means I want them to stop, think, and be so sure that they can stand up and declare, ” YES Mrs. Williams, I’m sure! And I can PROVE it!”

 

Could it be that God, like me, … just wants us to know if we’re sure about him?

Could it be that we, like Peter, are asked, “Who do you say that I am?” so we can freshly declare the Truth to our own heart?

Could it be the Morning Sun is sent each and every day to ask the same burning questions,

“What will you do with what I’ve given you?

Where will you place your heart’s desires?

Who will you serve this day?

 

Waiting:

Lord, today, I will stop, think and remind myself that You are good. All the time.

I will sing – and not grumble

I will make music – and not complaints

I will awaken that which lies sleeping in me.

I will remind myself that God’s love is vast and powerful and reaches higher than I could ever reach;

Today, Jesus, I will awaken the dawn

for you.

K7A1434F70FC78_1001426

 

Who Am I?

barefoot-hike.jpg

Watering:

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

Watching:

Interesting, right? that John didn’t answer, “I am God’s baptizer.”

Somewhere over the course of his life John had learned who he was. Somehow he had become sure enough to say -with no hem hawing around: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

Wondering:

I wonder how long it took John to find himself.

I’m sure his identity was first planted deep in his parents’ stories:

I can hear Elizabeth telling him early on, “I couldn’t have babies, Johnny. We prayed and prayed and waited and hoped. For years we hoped. And then He gave us you. You are a gift from God, sweetheart.

And I’m sure the family story grew in detail as he grew in age, “Your father suffered the shame of being a priest without a son, John. People whispered and murmured and looked at us with questions and reproach; it was hard – but we prayed. We didn’t give up. You are our answered prayer, son.”

And then there was his father’s story! I can only imagine Zachariah’s passionate father/son talk,

“… Then Gabriel showed up, John, and talked to me, your dad! Honestly, I just couldn’t take it all in. He told me about you. He told me what your name was to be… But Your mom and I, we were so old, John, and the dream seemed too great and bottom line, I just didn’t believe. I was too proud. And frankly, I was scared to death! So God gave me silence – struck me dumb right there on the spot! Ha. Boy I needed that, son. A tangible sign I was dealing with a holy, powerful, capable God. Oh what a blessing of silence that was! I needed the quiet, and the time, and the humbling, so I could contemplate the miracle’s beginning. Your beginning, son. I was struck dumb until I was ready to shout to the world: His name will be John! You are chosen of God, son. Your life, your purpose, heck, even your name! They are all His, John.

What a legacy to step into!

But, still, I have to wonder how long it took for John to know, really know who he was… Not what his parents knew. Not what his aunts and uncles knew. Not what his rabbi knew. But John, himself. How long before he could stand up straight, look Life in the eye and say without flinching, “I am the voice of one calling out in the wilderness” ?

He obviously knew the words of Isaiah, but what made them his to wear?

Could it be the wilderness he speaks of, was first his own?

I mean, finding our true identity tucked deep in the heart of a faithful God, never comes easy, does it? Could it have been hard for John, too?

Was John driven to the lonely obscurity of desert, clothed with nothing but despair?

Was John seeking the reality of God as he lived on honey and locust?

Was he trying to find for himself the greatness of purpose he had heard about his whole life?

Could it be that John “found” himself at the end of himself – like we are all so apt to do? Did he find himself crying out from his own wilderness looking for his own straight path? Was it then God spoke the words of Isaiah into his heart? Was it in the wilderness he heard the living, breathing whispering seeds of Truth –  from a living, breathing, faithful God:

“You’re a voice, John.

You are the voice, John.

I’ve led you to this wilderness – and in this wilderness I’ve called you.

I have summoned you by name; You are mine.

But there are others, John. Many more. Children I love

… and they are wandering. Lost. Looking for home.

You, son, are my voice now…

Make straight the way.

Waiting:

Jesus, my identity – my beginning and my end – is and will always be defined by you.

And right smack in the middle between my own alpha and omega,  in this In-Between called Life… Right smack in all the adventurous, tumultuous, glorious steps along the way, You are the Faithful Father who says,

You are chosen.

I have summoned you by name.

… and I will guide your every step.

Even in the wilderness, I will guide you,

because I love you.

I am passionately in love with you.

You are mine.

 

Jesus, I am yours. Help me truly learn what that means.

 

DSCN3193

K7A1434F70FC78_1001225 (1)

Linking up with:

Give Me GraceFaithfilled-Friday, Thought-provoking Thursdays, Coffee for your Heart

 

Portion Size

DSCN2373

Watering:

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Watching:

In this song, David owns up to the fact that he is envious of those who have no problems

so much so, that he almost slipped off the deep end:

 

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Until he realizes what he has in comparison:

 

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Psalm 73

Wondering:

“You don’t know what you have until you lose it.”

Everyone who has lost something, knows this to be so true.

 

How wise of David to wrestle with this truth soon enough to change his heart before more loss.

How wise for him to stop and appreciate the real now of his situation – the reality that matters.

How wise for him to search and keep searching until he finds the right question:

“Whom have I in heaven but you?”

and keep quiet

~ long enough ~

to hear the true answer :

“Earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

 

Waiting:

Lord, my flesh and my heart will fail – no “maybe” about it – but you are the strength of anything true in me. You are my perfect Portion. Everything I need or want or could possibly hope for.

Forever… you are enough.

 

Watering Today

prov 9; ps 9, 109, 73; Leviticus 10-12; Acts 16

holding-hands

 

My Sweet Sparrow

Common sparrow

Watering:

Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy…

Watching:

Jesus speaks first to His disciples… Hello. He’s not blasting the Pharisees here, he’s warning his disciples. He’s not saying, “Hey, homies, you got it going on.” He’s saying, “Watch out. This hypocrisy is dangerous stuff.”

Hypocrisy is a gas-making, over-reacting, self-absorbing splash of No Good

… be on your guard.

And so he continues talking, because the obvious question is how, Lord?

… Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Don’t be afraid of puffed up earthly power.

Be “afraid” instead, of the One whose power extends to heaven and hell. Be shrunk to size in the shadow of His wing. Understand just how BIG He is. Understand His power. But then understand this:

 This great God loves you.

He dotes over you like a father. He counts all your fingers and your toes. He counts the number of hairs on your head. This powerful, the-buck-stops-here God loves you.

So, yes, fall on your face in respect-filled love because this Mighty Creator is due our reverence. But don’t be afraid of this Father God who sees every sparrow,

and doesn’t let one

not. even. one.

fall outside of his care.

And you are worth so much more than a sparrow.

Wondering:

How often we hear the world’s grumblings about the hypocrisy of Christians. How often I’ve pointed fingers and berated those in the house of God myself… umm, hello, like I’m immune? Like I have the market corner on authenticity? Oh paleeez!

Sin runs rampant in the church, like everywhere else. And yes, sometimes it would appear that hypocrisy is our sin of choice. Because, unlike “the world,” we seem to think we have something to prove

… but too often forget what we are meant to prove is Jesus’s love.

Instead we hold onto the fear that says “I must put on a smile, and use all the new Christianese language I’ve learned, and convince the world that I’m invincible” – even if my world is falling apart. I must name it, claim it, and Bible beat my way into believing it -but behind closed doors, I’ll let my hair down and my shield down and just lay down.

Or maybe I won’t…

Maybe I’ll just hole up instead, tight in this safe tabernacle I’ve built around me, because I didn’t know what else to do with His glory on the mountain side. I didn’t know enough to simply shut up and listen to the Father interrupting me and telling me, “This is my beloved son. Listen to him!” And when I listen I hear him say,

“Be on guard, Little One, from the enemy within. Hypocrisy stinks like the rotting flesh that it is. So, come, take time with me. You may end up falling on your face in awestruck reverence, or falling on your knees in desperate need. (My Presence tends to do that to my creation.)

But don’t be afraid

because my peace will guard you

because my love will save you

because my eye is on the sparrow.

And you, dear sweet one, are worth more than many sparrows.

You are worth the life of my son.

Waiting:

Yes, Lord. Yes.

Watering Today:

IMG_0530

Linking up with Coffee for your Heart