Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rays


Is this the end?

 In mayhem; in grief, in despair, the world comes crashing down to a disastrous and dead end. Everyone fights everyone for every reason under the sun. Military people with their tanks and their guns and then…nothing. Nation against nation. Destruction.

Is this how it ends?

no

The sky breaks open and familiar light, 
we know this light, pours in.

It says.

The light speaks, “Forgive your enemies.”

“These enemies, the ones with the guns to my head, 
the ones I have by the throat?”

“Yes,” He says. “Them.”

He is speaking to all of us, them and me and you.

The waves come and take everything away. 
Don’t be afraid of the waves. Some things need to fall. 
The Earth shakes. It is waking up.
This is not the end. Not now. It is the beginning.

Are you ready?



For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 ESV

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Nobody


I sought the Lord and He found me.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were 
when you were called. Not many of you were 
wise by human standards; not many were influential; 
not many were of noble birth. 
1 Corinthians 1:26

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day




God bless you and keep you and be with those you left behind.
God forgive us and God forgive our enemies.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Weeds




"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."

A.A. Milne

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Adnan's Jesus Dream


Would Jesus appear in a dream to someone who did not know Him?

Many years ago, almost twenty now, it happened to a friend of mine named Adnan. Adnan grew up in culture far from mine on the other side of the world. We talked sometimes about religion. His was different than mine. Here's what he dreamed:

Adnan had for a long time experienced a recurring nightmare of death chasing him. Sometimes death was a pack of demonic dogs, or a withered, mocking face. In his dreams he was hunted. He would run like a defenseless animal, manic and desperate. But he could not outrun death. This dream came to him at different times for years.

But then he had a dream about Jesus. Jesus appeared in his doorway surrounded by colors he had never seen before. Jesus reached for him. Then held him. Jesus lifted him up to put his feet on His, like a child. Adnan held on and danced with Him like that. He said it was Jesus' eyes that impressed him. Eyes full of love, piercing his heart and filling him with that same love. 

Only a few days later, he had the nightmare again. This time it was the dogs chasing him. At first, he was terrified and ran when he heard them. But then the dream changed. He remembered the other dream about Jesus. He stopped running. He stopped trying so hard to forge his own escape. My friend who before had no strong arms to lift him up, no rescuer, and no defense, kneeled in prayer. The dogs stopped. 

From the sky fell a book titled James.

“James, the book from the bible?” I asked when he told me about it.

He had never read it. “It’s a book from the bible?” He said.

I’m a believer, but Jesus appeared to Adnan. It makes me smile now to think about it, though I can’t explain why. 

What can I say to people who would tell me Jesus would never appear this way? What can I say to all the people who would not want to hear this? I don’t know what to say, but even as I write this my heart is full and my spirit is fearless. 

When Jesus left Adnan's dream He told him that now He would come see me. I do not see Him, but I know He is here.

And, yes, I gave him a bible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Google Translate for the Win!


I read this on a Dutch blog with Google Translate. 

In English it is: 

Teach me to do your will, 
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit 
lead me on level ground! 
-Psalm 143:10

In Dutch it is: Maak mij de weg bekend die ik te gaan heb, want tot U 
hef ik mijn ziel op. Laat Uw goede Geest mij leiden in een geëffend land. 

Google translates the Dutch into this:

Make me know the way I have to go, for to you I lift up my soul. 
Let your good Spirit lead me on a paved country. 
-Psalm 143:10

I like the wording "paved country" because it 
emphasizes intention. Level could just be that way, 
but paved means someone did it. 

It's a funny day when even Google blesses you!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

North Korea




What I have heard about North Korea:

Survivors' stories. Painful captivity. Escapees. 
Fighting for kernals of corn or anything to eat. The crushing of the human spirit. A name I want to put here, but it is too personal, too close to his mother's grief. Have you heard it? Remember it.

What I say about North Korea:

Isaiah 61:11-
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.

What I think, hope, and believe:

The seeds planted in the ground long ago now spring forth. 
Do you see them? 

Isaiah 43:19-
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

What I want to see:

A day when kids are learning history and they can't quite believe that North Korea was once like this because they have seen with their own eyes the crops blooming, blessing, harvesting. Because their pastor is from there or their best friend. Because the sun is beautiful in North Korea. Because everything grows there now. The absence of dragons. I want the kids in history classes to disbelieve these old stories because they just can't imagine it was ever like that. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ancient Prayer


Translated from every language into 
every other language, 
this ancient prayer has been said 
by every soul 
who was ever in need:

Help
Me,
God.

Have you ever said it? I have.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Gulls and the Dragon Stones


Bill Dodd









     The gulls carried the invisible stones in their beaks, hoping to restore the peace they’d had before the dragons arrived. No one had known the stones were actually eggs and that both life and death could emerge from them. No one had known to be afraid of that transaction, the choice between the two. No one had known to respect it, but they learned.


     It was the first day of May when Unforgiveness found a stone in the forest and turned it over. Who had left this magical, wondrous and delightful morsel unattended here under a tree? The Tree of Life bent low and warned her, but she would not listen. The stone tasted so sweet. It made her powerful. She loved it. It made her strong. She could remember so many awful things about others so clearly now that she had found it. She was in Heaven!


     A dragon hatched from the egg and she took it home with her and destroyed her household. With her own hands, she tore it down, one brick and one timber at a time, until all that was left was a pile of broken bones and torn people grasping at them, trying to rebuild. But Unforgiveness scorches the Earth. Nothing can be repaired, only born again like new growth in the Spring. That would come in time.


     From Unforgiveness the stone jumped to Fear, of course, and Fear is far more destructive than a dragon stone on its own. Its power is in blinding its victims and even the strongest man can be made to do unimaginable things with it. 

     The family of Unforgiveness bridled Fear and rode it into war. They destroyed their world in all the same ways their house had been destroyed. One brick at a time, each timber pulled down, and every root pulled up in every garden. They tore through the desert and the valley and the underbrush and jungle alike, as though it had not even been there at all. Fear led them all the while, chanting incessantly about the enemy: Destroy them! They had no idea they were attacking themselves and there was no enemy.


     More stones appeared then. They formed in the lives of all who would pick them up. Each had one purpose, destruction, and many names: Revenge, Despair, Deceit, Cowardice, and Appeasement. But they could have been turned back over again. They did not have to be picked up. They did not have to be tasted. The stones could have been rejected. People chose them.


     The gulls watched the destruction from on high. They were thankful for the trees, especially the Tree of Life. It gave them a vantage point out of the fray. They knew if they had the misfortune to walk on the ground like the others, they would have been swept away too. When one falls, all fall. They’d heard the warning many times. Fear touched them too, it seemed, even high up in the sky, because as they watched the destruction below and believed the words told to them, they were paralyzed. Eventually, even to them, there seemed to be no hope, not in the Tree of Life, not on the ground, nor in the hearts of men. There was nowhere to turn. There was nothing to believe in.


     Soon all of the ground was scorched. No living thing breathed or moved or had its home in the ground. The gulls sat motionless. The trees no longer grew. The sun itself seemed out of place, driven from the sky. The Earth was cold.


     Because there was now nothing to destroy, the dragons left. They spread their fearsome wings and took to the skies, pausing to mock the frozen gulls on their way up. Higher than the trees, wider than the sky, when the dragons moved they shook all of existence. They blackened the sun. The gulls were the only ones to see them go. 


      It took a generation for them to move again and even then it was by accident, a slow movement that had not been challenged, then another and one more. The first gull saw the ground open up and Spring begin to break through. The green was almost invisible, but it was there. The Earth made it grow. He showed the others. 


     One by one the gulls came to life. They remembered what had caused their pain. They understood what had happened and, wordlessly, forgave each other, the others, and the whole of mankind. They had learned the importance of it.


     Without blame, they began to gather the stones, being careful not to savor any of them or roll them over and over, not to cherish them or give them any attention. They would cry out sometimes, with their whole hearts, words of forgiveness and grace, for all of them had fallen. They forgave before they were wronged. They forgave to muster their strength. They forgave aggressively, terrified that one small spark of Unforgiveness would ignite it all again.


     They were exhausted and grieved. They had lost so much. As the stones were piled high by the entrance to the cave, they hoped it would save them. They planned to bury the stones within it and forget them.


      But the dragons returned. 


      They came to gloat, to recall their victory, but when they arrived they saw the gulls hard at work. The grass was green and the land was healing. They were enraged. Who had overturned them? Who had rebuilt this world?


      The gulls knew what to do. Dragons are attracted to living things. Nothing was alive on the entire Earth but them and the grass and the trees. They were breathing, feeling, living beings. They would be irresistible to the hungry dragons that were always eager for someone to devour. So the gulls laid a trap.


      One by one, they entered the cave and cowered. The dragons, encouraged by the gulls’ fear, descended and entered the darkness. The sky grew lighter as the cave grew fuller. After each dragon entered, a stone was placed at the doorway. A wall was forming. In their haste, the dragons did not see what was happening. They thought only of the feast that awaited them.


      When the last one swooped low and joined his brethren, two gulls entered behind him and sealed the final hole with the last two invisible stones. Now the Earth would continue to bloom. Life would return. All would be well, as long as the gulls could keep the entryway sealed. Their sacrifice was forgotten over time because it was effective. The dragons never emerged again. 


       They told me their story and now I have told you.


Bill Dodd


This is part of the Words for Wednesday prompt by Elephant's Child.

The Temple of the Holy Spirit



This is what we look like on the inside. 

Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, 
who lives in you and was given to you by God? 1 Corinthians 6:19

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Springs



For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good landa land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills... Deuteronomy 8:7

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Strange Words




Not so strange really. I like them.

This is not my video. 
I found it on youtube and thought it was beautiful. 
That's Vladimir Putin speaking. 
The background is the Valaam monastery.


Share



"The miracle is this -- the more we share, the more we have."

Leonard Nimoy



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Bruised Reed



Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. 
And many followed him, 

and he healed them all 

and ordered them not to make him known. 

This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

"Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Matthew 12:15-21
Isaiah 42