Author Archives: Dee

About Dee

I am a working wife, geek, and mother of two with opinions about just about everything which I plan to share here.

August 12, 2018

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Who IS the Holy Spirit?

Years ago when Dale was working on the pipeline and we were traveling with others who were doing the same, one of the mens’ wives came for a visit. They took a weekend trip and he was driving while she read the map (this was before the days of GPS!) Apparently she was not doing to suit him and some words were exchanged and she rolled down the window and threw the atlas out the window as they were going down the road. I think it is safe to say, this man had “grieved” his wife….. I will come back around to this in a few minutes.

Being a Christian is not a place we land – a milestone we achieve. This world is set up with many milestones – graduation, marriage, raising children, financial stability, retirement.

We feel as though we have accomplished something when we reach one of those milestones. We can buy the t shirt and relax for awhile – we have made it!

But biblically – life is not a series of plateaus. We are always moving – sometimes toward God and sometimes away from God.  God is the destination but like the ancient Israelites in the desert we travel in circles and backtrack and spend a lot of time just being lost even when we THINK we are going in the right direction. Well maybe you don’t – but I sure do!

Example – story in 2nd Kings 5

paraphrased

Naaman was a great man but he got leprosy. A young slave girl said if he went to see Elisha he could be cured. Namaan took money and gifts for the prophet and goes. Elisha sends a messenger out to meet him telling him to wash in the Jordan 7 times. At first Naaman gets angry. That’s it?  But his servants say hey, if the prophet says do it what can it hurt. He does what he is told and is cured. He returns to Elisha and tries to give him gifts but Elisha won’t take gifts for something God did. Naaman has now become a believer.

In the meantime a servant of Elisha named Gehazi is listening and he runs after Naaman and tells a lie saying Elisha sent him to get Naaman to give him some money.

Gehazi ends up with leprosy.

Naaman obeyed and was healed by God and left filled with joy. He was moving toward God. Ghazi tried to profit from something God had done and in doing so moved away from God.  There are consequences.

So back in Ephesus…

Paul spends a little time telling the folks at the church in Ephesus how they are to live now that they have this new covenant (or relationship) with God through Christ by way of the Holy Spirit. He gives a list and not only is it a list of things to avoid if you want to keep moving toward God, but it is a list of things that can give the devil a foothold. There is a whole sermon in giving the devil a foothold but that’s going to have to wait for another day.

Paul says stop lying, stop sinning in your anger, stop stealing, work so you will have extra to share with those in need, speak in a way that builds others up “so that your words may give grace to those who hear” He doesn’t say “if’ you are doing these things. He knows our sinful nature.

Paul says Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Well, It helps me to understand if I learn a little more about WHO the Holy Spirit is so I went on a search to learn more and what I found that the Holy Spirit IS a WHO. A person. Not a thing, not a ghost.  In the bible the Holy Spirit is often referred to as He. The bible also uses verbs to say what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit is active!

Gen. 1:1-2 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”

The Spirit has always been there. 

2 Timothy 3: 16 tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.  and 2 Peter 1:21 “No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit

Scripture comes from the Holy Spirit. 

John 16:7 Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you”

The Holy spirit is a person and our helper. Jesus sent HIM to us!

John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit is our advocate – defends us, teaches us, convicts us and reminds us

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a gift to us from God

Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

The Holy Spirit speaks to us and gives us direction

Acts 15:8 And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us;

God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit

Acts 15:28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials:

The Holy Spirit is a decision maker and works with us and within us

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

The Holy Spirit is how God interacts with us 

So where are you. Are you moving toward God or away?

John 14:6 says 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and 14:16 says 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.

Someone much smarter than I am described our journey like this – God is the destination, Jesus is the conduit through which we reach our destination, and the Holy Spirit is the engine that moves us in the right direction.

As we wander in our circles, Jesus came to be our advocate but He had to die and be raised so that sin and death would be conquered and that work is complete but we still have to get through this thing called life. So Jesus asked the Father to send us ANOTHER advocate that would be with us forever to guide us, to help us know the truth from the lies of the world and to come along side of us in this wilderness world.

Are you going to throw the atlas out the window? Would you ignore a friend? Refuse a gift? I challenge each of us to read our bibles and learn more about the Holy Spirit. To pray and ask God to help us to hear this advocate, helper, guide when He speaks to us. Let’s all fall in love with God and have hearts that thirst for more, for a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent us. If the one who died for our sins chose to send us someone that He said we would need, doesn’t it make sense to pay attention?

August 5 2018

Unity in the Body of Christ

Ephesians 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Psalm 133:1 

A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

When Dale and I first started coming to Powderly Methodist Church we experienced having lay speakers on a regular basis for the first time. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Ironic? I mean, it’s not the pastor so you don’t have to pay as close attention right? I’ll admit that sometimes my mind wandered. I’d think boy is it hot up in the choir loft today and wow, I hope no one heard my stomach growl..I can hear God telling me “Little girl you are mine but sometime you need a whooping!” But then one day it hit me. I had a ring side seat to what God was doing in someone else’s life! I have come to view it as a gift. Not because every sermon is perfect. Nobody hits it out of the park every time. Sometimes I might not even agree with the speaker. But I have found that if I try to see beyond the words being spoken to what God wants me to hear, I can look for what God is doing in this person’s life as they prepare to speak. I try to find one “take-away” – something I can think about in the upcoming week. I can think on how I would have approached the lesson and marvel at how scripture can speak to each of us right where we are at any given time. As time passes I grow to love each of our lay speakers for what they bring to us, their prayers, their thoughts as they wrestle with God about what He wants them to say and praise God for what He does in their lives and in ours as we share.

I am reading a book called The Message of the New Testament by Mark Dever. In his book Mr. Dever suggests that you read the Old Testament with the view that everything points to Jesus. Then read the New Testament to answer the question – did the deliverer that was promised in the old testament come?

The author describes the New Testament as three concentric circles. The circle in the center is Christ. That is the gospels and Acts. Jesus is the new covenant – a covenant is used biblically to make a new relationship. Jesus came to make a new relationship with God’s people because our relationship had been destroyed by sin. So now you have the next circle – as the church spread you read about God’s covenant people and how they are to live out this new relationship. The first letters are to the brand new baby churches that were just trying to figure everything out and then to individuals who have been instrumental in spreading the gospel. Next is the outer circle as the Church grew and spread to the rest of the world.

The book of Ephesians is one of those letters and in the first three chapters we are given a picture of what biblical unity looks like. In today’s scripture, Paul makes the case for unity. Now you and I when we study the bible even today, we may interpret things differently. Meanings seem to change with the perspective of where ever we are right now. Not our core beliefs but the details. At the time this letter was written, the Jews and Gentiles were dealing with coming together as one church so you had Jews “US” who brought their Old Testament laws and traditions that were so ingrained coming together to worship with brand new Christians who came from other faiths and had traditionally been “them”.

Paul makes a case for Christian unity with these two groups. Not that they were expected to agree on each and every little thing. But to remind them that if they were focused on each other and their differences they were not focusing on God.

Paul lists seven ways that unity has already been given by God for the church to walk in.

  1. There is one body – Christ’s body
  2. One spirit – the Holy Spirit
  3. One Hope – Eternal Life
  4. One Lord – the Triune God
  5. One Faith – the Christian faith
  6. One baptism – the baptism of the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body
  7. One God & Father – The heavenly Father

What do all these things have in common? The unifyer – the work of Christ’s death on the cross ties all these things (and us!) together

Notice – no where does is say we have to agree on everything – that we all have to be the same. Paul just asks that we WALK worthy of our calling.

This week as I prepared my talk, I was thinking about baby Jessica and the well. Do you remember? It was 1987 and it seemed that the entire world was watching and praying. People sent money and prayers and equipment and for 2 days we were all united in the hope of one thing – that that baby would be rescued and be okay. For two days it didn’t matter what your location, your politics, your religion, everyone was united in the hope that this story would have a happy ending. Maybe if we stretch this a little, it gives us a picture of what Christian unity can look like.

All of the people who were involved, from the folks actually present all the way to the ones like me that were glued to their tv sets and praying – all focused on one thing and one thing only – a happy ending, a human life being saved.

People brought different things to the table, some had equipment and knowledge of drilling and geology and all that goes in to safely making a way to Jessica. Some had money to help transport the necessary people and equipment and some could offer food and showers and places to stay and some were there just to share the story with the world as it unfolded. They were not all copycat robots who looked and thought and spoke the same, but their differences paled beside the rescue of one tiny soul and so they used their individual gifts to help each other focus on that and a miracle happened. Jessica McClure was brought out of a deep dark hole into the light. (And I am sure there was a lot of light –  photographers flash bulbs and the lights for the video cameras! Wow.)

And then, the whole word rejoiced. We rejoiced.

God’s covenant people, storming heaven with prayers for one thing and then not just waiting for prayers to be answered, became Christ’ hands and feet and saved someone. Paul doesn’t say you have to be a member of this or that denomination, this or that political party, be male or female, rich or poor, just walk united in Christ, coming alongside brothers and sisters in the hope that all will be saved.

In 1st Timothy Paul writes: “ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,  for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

In Galations 3:26-28 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Our Father knows we are different – He knit us together in the womb and He knows we will not all agree all the time. Some of us won’t agree ANY of the time…on some things. But what matters is how we walk this out and this preaches to me.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

it’s not about who we are, it’s about who we are in HIM

It’s not about what we want to do, but it is about what He has done for us

It’s not about what we want out of this life, it’s about what He wants for us in the next

It’s not about who or what we hear on a Sunday morning – it’s about how we live every day until He comes back for us

My challenge to all of us this week is to take that one person that is getting on your last nerve, that hurt you for no reason, that really pushed your buttons…and look at them through the lens of Christ and the sacrifice He made for THEM as well as us. Look at them from the perspective of God desiring all meaning them as well as us to be saved. It’s my prayer that while we still most likely will not agree with them, our perspective will have changed. It can’t hurt,  and maybe, just maybe, someone will be saved.

A New Thing

I have recently started a new chapter in my life. I have started being on the rotation as a lay speaker at two of the four churches in our district. I have spoken a few times before but just as a sort of pinch hitter – I was a little afraid to commit to a regular schedule at least until I got my feet wet.

It’s both a joy and a scary thing for me – the joy is that I am passionate about teaching from the bible and being a “regular” makes me more intentional about studying the Word myself. The scary thing is actually doing it! I’m always afraid that I may make someone angry or say something that causes someone to stay away on the Sunday’s that I speak. I have seen people do this with other lay speakers so it isn’t totally me being neurotic.

The next Sunday I am scheduled to speak I will talk from Ephesians on Christian unity. The last few times I have written what I would say in the weeks proceeding the actual Sunday and then I would wake up at 4 in the morning that day and rewrite the entire thing. I would ask for prayers that if God has something for me that He would help me see it sooner so that I have time to run through it several times beforehand so I will feel more prepared!

So far my process is to read through the scripture multiple times, read a couple commentaries, look for outlines online and pray for God to give me insight and clarity. If you are reading this and you are a praying person I would ask for prayers for this ministry. I’m not altogether sure what a calling is but this feels like a calling and so I am also praying for affirmation and direction.

Do you have a story that you feel illustrates a time or situation where God spoke to your life? Something you would be willing to share and let me use? I would love to hear it.

Peace!

Easter Sunday 2018

 

I had the honor of giving the message at Powderly Methodist Church and Chicota Methodist Church on Easter Sunday and so while this is a bit late, the following is some of what I shared.

1 Corinthians 15:14

“ And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

My husband is a kidney transplant recipient. He was also the third of five children. When he was born, my mother-in-law nicknamed him “caboose” because she thought she was finished having babies. She was wrong. She went on to have two more daughters. She loved all her children but I think that raising five children and caring for an unpleasant, ailing mother-in-law on a Game Warden’s salary was perhaps not part of her life plan so she questioned. She prayed. She got through it.

Fast forward years later, all the children are grown and my husband’s mother passed away. My husband goes into kidney failure. His youngest sister donated a kidney.

Did you catch that? God had provided a solution before there was a problem! If that last baby had not been born, my husband might not have seen his children grow up, get married, and give us two beautiful grand daughters!

My mother-in-law passed away before any of this occurred and as far as I know, she never got answers to her questions about having five children and some of the struggles and yet she had such a strong and loving faith. Sometime when we pray and it seems like we don’t get answers, it just might be that part of our problem is part of the answer to someone else’s prayer!

Our perspective is so narrow and our imagination so limited. God sees the entire picture and is busy working everywhere all the time, though we may go through times when we feel as though He has turned his back on us.

God made a solution that gave my husband back to me and God provided a solution to bring us all back to Him.

Jesus​ ​took on our sin and while we tend to think that Good Friday is the low​ ​point of Holy Week, Jesus still had power on Good Friday. He could​ ​have come down from the cross if he had chosen to. But on Saturday he​ ​was completely identified with us at our most powerless. He was gone, and as the bible says, descended to the dead. No power. Nothing. He came​ ​to join us here, but not to leave us here. By experiencing death, Jesus completed the picture of identifying

with us.

But then, God raised him up – not just a spirit or an angel. Luke 24:37 says​ ​They were startled and frightened​, thinking they saw a ghost. No. He​ ​ate with the disciples. He was solid, living flesh. He was not the​ ​same, as though the cross never happened. He bore the scars so the crucifixion was now a part of him. He was changed. He was different,​ ​new.

And so it is with us. We will experience death. It is a defeated​ ​enemy, but an enemy still.1s​ t Thessalonians 14:13 says ​ ​But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope​. We are told not to grieve as those who have​ ​no hope, but we are NOT told not to grieve.

What does the resurrection give us? So very much but we will look at three things this morning.

Jesus is divine​.

Mark 2:5-7​ 5​ ​And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are

forgiven.” 6​ ​Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,7​ ​“Why does

this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Everybody knew you had to go to the temple to receive forgiveness. He performed miracles. He

claimed to do these things in God’s authority. The resurrection put’s God’s stamp of approval on

all these things. By raising Jesus from the dead, God was saying that everything Jesus

promised is true.

It vindicates the cross

The early church claimed the cross was the victory over sin and death. The resurrection

provided the authority on which they made that claim. Romans 6:23 says 2​ 3 ​For the wages of

sin ​is​ death, but the gift of God ​is​ eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The resurrection is victory

over death and death is caused by sin.

It Vindicates Us

Galations 2:20 ​ ​I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; Jesus was crucified, and in a way – we were too. If he died, so did we. If he is raised, then so

too will we be raised. He is coming back.

What does that mean for us? There are people who study and have opinions about what will take place and when and how. There are pre-tribulationists, post-tribulationists, mid-tribulationists. We could spend days talking about all that. I don’t know who’s right and and frankly I’m not concerned with the details and you don’t have to be either!

All I really need to know is that God created me and loves me. He formed me in my mother’s womb to be holy and and knew I would miss the mark. Rather than giving me what I deserve He made a way. When I couldn’t make the ascent up to Him, He came down to me. Through His walk on earth He taught me what I should do to be closer to Him and knowing that He knew I still​ would miss the mark – He died FOR me! He sees past my sin – He sees the resurrection me!

But wait! There’s more! Even if that was the end of the story it would be incredible. That I could be loved to that extent is in itself miraculous. But no, that is not the end of the story! Through the amazing grace of God and through His son, though my human body will go to sleep, I will be raised and I will live but more than just live, I will have life abundantly. Creation will no longer be broken.

Everything will work to the good of everything else and there will be no sin, no sorrow, no death, no pain. We can study the bible looking for clues of what this will be like but we just get hints. All I know for sure is that it is going to be good because His thoughts and ways are so much higher than mine. It is beyond what I can imagine. So we continue to get to know Him and let Him transform us into Easter people fit for that new life, Amen?

My daughter gave me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas. I can ask questions by phrasing them Alexa, What is the weather today, or for my grand daughter – Alexa, tell me a bedtime story. I recently learned another Alexa skill – I can say Alexa, have the bible app read me (whatever scripture). I listened to the lectionary readings on it and as I was listening to 1 Corinthians, I was transfixed. The voice was a deep, rich male voice and suddenly I could picture Paul speaking to this young church that was dealing with so much confusion and temptation and I felt as though I was sitting there hearing the words for the first time and I realized that we too need that reminder of what we are here for and what we have to look forward to – otherwise our preaching and our faith is in vain.

Father we are so grateful for your love and providence, for your grace and for your Son. We are grateful for the sacrifice of the cross and that you raised Jesus from the dead so that we too, can someday be with you in glory and and finally be able to say face to face we worship you, we praise you and we love you.

Grouchy Old Person

I have been so dismayed at how mean and badly behaved we humans are. Most of the feeling came from reading things people wrote or shared on Facebook. Last night my husband and I went to a concert at a local venue. A local band opened (and I thought they were very good!) and Sundance Head  played later. As I am addicted to The Voice and he was a Voice winner we decided we would do something very much out of the ordinary for us. We bought tickets. It has probably been over thirty years since we have gone to any kind of concert and even longer since we have been to a bar. I am not opposed to people having drinks. I just don’t want to be around drunks. There was a bar at the venue. The room was set up with wooden spool tables in the circle closest to the band and then chairs behind those tables. I didn’t know you could reserve a table so we were on chairs just behind one of them. The group who reserved that particular table came in late and then people would come up to visit with them, standing in front of us…while the band was playing.  At one point a man squeezed in to talk to them and I actually had to move my legs until they were nearly in the chair with my husband to accommodate him.

The tickets stated from 7 to 11 pm. They actually opened the doors at 7. We sat and waited until nearly 8. There was a group of 30-40 year olds behind us who may or may not have imbibed before they got there. They were incapable of speaking in “inside voices” especially one very obnoxious guy who stood right behind me talking even after the first band started. If the band got louder so did he.

Couples started to move to the dance floor and at one point in the night Mr. Obnoxious actually hit me in the back of the head with his elbow as he headed out to dance without so much as an excuse me – I really didn’t mean to give you a concussion and in daily life I really am not such an ass.”

Back in the day (yes I am old) it was the girls who were shaking it on the dance floor. This group changed that. It was the men who were strutting it out there. There were two classes of dancers. Those who obviously paid for lessons and then practiced in bars, frequently. Then you had the Seinfeld “Elaine” type who after a few beers thought they were accomplished dancers but in reality if you were sober and watching, well, picture a fish thrown onto the bank and occasionally experiencing electrical shocks. Word to the ladies – if this is who you are dancing with – stop drinking. This is the one who will cause you to do the walk of shame in the morning.

We did enjoy the music but I doubt we will repeat this activity. I know they were just having a good time but the rude and drunk mating rituals of the American reduce are just not for me. I will watch The Voice in my own living room where I can actually hear the music in my comfortable chair and not have to worry about an elbow to the head injury.

Signed: Old Crotchety Fuddy Duddy.

 

Dawn Rises

mist rises from the pond
to greet the dawn
the coolness of night remains and as
wisps reach for the sun
knowing warmth it covets
birth straining towards death
the pond remains quietly in the light

John 4:1-26 and 39-42

John 4:1-26 and 39-42

I Love the pictures the bible gives us. Pictures of Jesus and pictures of God’s people wrestling with how to live out their faith in the real world. Regular people just like us. The story of the woman at the well is one of those kind of stories.

Sometimes stories become so familiar that I think I know them and because of what I think I know, sometimes I miss details.

God orchestrates ordinary circumstances to accomplish extraordinary things.

In this scripture there is a little passage, kind of a side note that caught my attention. Jesus HAD to go through Samaria. Some translations say Jesus needed to go. Jews at that time had as little to do with Samaritans as possible. They would take the long way around to avoid going through Samaria. So that makes me wonder…why did Jesus, a Jew, HAVE to go through Samaria?  So, if we walk this out –  Jesus did His Father’s will. So if Jesus had to go through Samaria, then logically, it was His Father’s will that He go that way. If he had not obeyed His Father’s will, He would not have met the Samaritan woman. (sometimes when we listen to the prodding of the Holy Spirit we may go through unfamiliar and even uncomfortable territory.

If you have an encounter with Jesus, you might do something out of the ordinary (like leaving your water jug behind)

So here we are. Jesus, wholly divine and fully human is sitting at this well, tired and hot. A woman shows up at the well to get water. She must not have been rich or she might have had servants to fetch water for her.  But Jesus listens to her. He SEES her, right to the heart of her life. Maybe his words caused her to see herself through His eyes, and made her realize how badly she needed grace. I’m not sure what His words meant to the woman but we know from the text, they were personal and He revealed Himself to her as the messiah! The words must have had a profound effect on her because she was so excited that she went off and left her water jar. In the desert. Left. it. THAT is what an encounter with Jesus can do to you. I imagine if I went to Walmart for milk and was gone several hours and came back empty handed, Dale and I would be having a conversation. Now notice what happened. She went back and told the others that this man told her everything she had ever done and they BEGAN to believe. Something about what she said or maybe just how she was, made them want to meet him.

Sharing our faith doesn’t convert anyone. We just have to point them to Jesus. Jesus does the heavy lifting. It is their own encounter with the Christ that changes them.

Whatever effect Jesus had on this woman, something about her caused the people she spoke to, to have a desire to meet this Jesus for themselves and once they met Him, they wanted to hang out with him and because of their time with Jesus, Christianity spread throughout that part of the world. Pretty extraordinary!

So what are we to do with this? How does this story speak to each of us? For me, it reminds me we are all walking through a desert. It can be beautiful but also it’s dry and dusty and just harsh sometimes. On Sunday morning we come here – to our well where we can rest and be refreshed.

We are tired and thirsty. Maybe we have spent the week wrestling with our faith, trying to work out how to live as one of God’s kids. Maybe we have had one of those weeks where we resembled the Samaritan. We have worshipped on a different mountain and hung out at different wells, and our own beliefs have gotten muddied. Maybe it was wonderful and we just need to say our thanks and praise the one who sustains us. Whatever the week was like, we are here now with with our empty cups held out.  We need an encounter with Jesus. We need that thirst to be quenched. We need to be filled with living water.

But just showing up at the well isn’t enough. Like the woman at the well, we have to seek Jesus for Him to reveal Himself to us and ASK Him for that water. If we walk into the sanctuary with our empty cup held out, asking Jesus to fill it, to fill US with living water then it isn’t going to matter who is behind the pulpit. It isn’t going to matter that our favorite hymn wasn’t sung. It may not even matter what team’s playing or where we are eating after church because we will have in some way met Jesus and we will be changed. And maybe, just maybe, if we are paying attention, there will be someone we encounter in the next week that needs to meet this Jesus and we will have a conversation, or perform a kindness, or just seem different and it will point them in a new path in the desert, not just to fill a pew at our church, though that would be wonderful; but because every single person needs to know that they are not alone in the desert, needs their own encounter with the risen Christ, and needs to know that at the end of that long walk through the desert, Jesus is waiting for them.

Changes

I have been inactive here for too long. My dry spell for writing began with the election but while shocked at the results, the continuation of that dry spell has been more a response to the willingness of people to not only strongly take sides, but spew hate without even seeming to be aware of what they are saying. I fear for this world, not for myself, but for my children and their children. There are hard times coming.  Some writers can take their pain and turn it into poetry. My poetry comes from a place of peace in my soul and that is what I have been working on, but it has taken my thoughts in a different different.

Next Sunday I will give the message at church for the first time. I will post it here after Sunday. I am speaking on John 4, the story of the woman at the well. Walking though the desert to get water and meeting Jesus seemed a good place to start. I would appreciate prayers. I am not a public speaker and this is so very far out of my comfort zone. Luckily I will have a stool to sit on as it makes it even more difficult to concentrate on your words when your knees are shaking!

I’ve also had some ongoing health concerns this year and as of this post, I have a shiny new grand daughter – Nola Mae. So cares and blessings. Life moves on.

 

 

A New Year

A friend posted several very gray photos on his Facebook page with short poems, expressing his depression over the new leadership.  I have been sad, angry, dismayed, but I can’t sustain that. I ‘m not made that way. My verse for this year is Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

My responses to his photos are below.

sun rises and sets as the planet spins

It pays no mind to us

to our worries and hopes

to kings and paupers

it shines the same creating light and shadow

on the pond as on the castle

castles crumble and ponds dry up

mountains smooth out as wind

blows grains of sand

how do we live?

one grain at a time

waiting for light

waiting for rain

washing worries and hopes the same

soaking kings and paupers

pay attention

as the sun rises and sets

and we spin on this planet

pay attention

__________________________

if the world is gray, let it be silver

the light reflects off low clouds

while the sun licks her wounds

rests for another glad dawn

holding herself just on the other side

out of sight but still giving light

sun cannot help but shine

any more than I can not breathe

and while breath is not promised

nor another dawn certain

we remember gold and cling to air

if they are gone, we will meet

the sun on the other side

I will hope, and pray, and love as hard as I can.

New Year Reflections

I had so many dark thoughts about the past year and not a lot of positive for the next. I was prepared to write a ranting post about the horrible state of the world and then….I read several things written by folks much smarted than I am. For instance:

“Speaking of the happy new year, I wonder if any year ever had less chance of being happy. It’s as though the whole race were indulging in a kind of species introversion — as though we looked inward on our neuroses. And the thing we see isn’t very pretty… So we go into this happy new year, knowing that our species has learned nothing, can, as a race, learn nothing — that the experience of ten thousand years has made no impression on the instincts of the million years that preceded.” John Steinbeck January 1, 1941

It would seem that as bad as things seem, they come in cycles so in the words of Bette Davis “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” I’m going to hang on and hope to ride it out until the wheel turns.

 

as long as there are poets

and stars up in the sky

then hope will fling the sweetest words

to float above us high
as long as there are singers

the band will surely play

marry the two, the singer the song

the heart will have it’s say
as long as there are dancers

and feet to tap the time

to travel the world on a single floor

movement synced with rhyme
as long as there are painters

to mirror color and line

reflect the hope, the world goes on

with brushstroke, broad and fine
as long as there’s a speck of God

in every living soul

creative need a planted seed

will help to make us whole
as long as there are hands to make

to reach across a chasm deep

to hold, to soothe, extend to shake

to do the work till time to sleep
from heart to mind to hands and feet

all will sing and move and say

and when we’re gone the song goes on

shadow, echo, fade away

 

Happy 2017 world.

Mary Rocked

When Mary rocked her baby boy

She dozed as mothers do

and as she slept she dreamed

a dream of me and you

For in her arms a baby slept

but there was more she held

for on this night all round her

God’s own angels knelt

In Mary’s  arms the world did rest

each soul who breathed and died

Mary rocked the world that night

all the way to God’s side

For every tender kiss and touch

God’s love flowed gently through

This baby born to live and die

To make each of us new

Autumn Gold

cold rusted leaves cling to wet branches

braced for a final fall

last dance before the earth swallows their life

to give back to next years new growth

memories of sun fill veins

pulse slowed to the rhythm of seasons

give way to slumber

as though winter wins the battle

as though the fight does not go on

frost will come over and over again

the cold cannot reason past it’s arrival

but roots will hold trees in place

waiting for the first drops

as light and life triumph

the bright gold a promise

that is always, always kept

hope

Copy and Paste If You Agree…

I posted this on Facebook. I am probably being unfriended or dismissed as a libtard as I repost here. I wrote this after reading two posts by other folks. I copied part of their post and put it in the google search bar and though they did not say so on their post – their words did not come from them. The only clue was that at the bottom of their post were the words “copy and paste if you agree”  Interesting enough, one person who had copies and pasted and shared something that they did not write actually “liked” my post…

The funny thing is, I actually consider myself more of a conservative at last by my understanding of what it means to be conservative. I also believe in helping others. I believe in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I pay taxes and I am blessed that I can afford health insurance (barely).

I did not like ANY of our candidates this year. I like how people are reacting to the result even less. Name calling and anger on both sides. I believe in peaceful protesting. I do NOT believe in indiscriminate destruction of property just because you are mad partially because it is wrong and partially because that is no way to change anyone’s mind.

I believe this country being founded by immigrants, should be willing to shelter those who are in harms way from other countries. I do not believe in a permanent free ride.

I believe that we live in an age where information is free and prolific and takes very little effort to find. It does take a little more effort than simply copying and pasting. Facebook has turned into the virtual version of what we used to call supermarket rags – those papers that you would see at the checkout with “shocking” headlines and celebrity gossip and I find it frustrating and insulting that the contents of these sketchy websites are being shared and resider as though they are reputable sources of news. Some contain tiny bits of truth amid inflammatory language and sometimes out and out lies.

My first thought was to just start unfriending people so I would see this dreck that gets me wound up. For the moment I am instead, writing and commenting and hoping that people will start to actually read what they are sharing and maybe even research where it came from; put some thought into the agenda of the original source.

I recently read a post on Facebook that began like this: : “I’m going to let all you upset Hillary supporters in on a little secret. To those of you questioning now how you will ever be able to raise a child in a world full of hate and bigotry, saying this election has provided even a further wedge in our nations divide, etc. Donald J. Trump will not come into your home, and teach your children, real values and morals, You will

This text came (as far as I can tell) from Buzzfeed which is a click bait site that makes money off adds as we all click there and read sketchy “news” articles that may or may not be plagiarized or contain pieces of truth mingled with things made up with the purpose of getting us all to click there. They concentrate on social media sites like Facebook and twitter. They play on our anger, fear, and voyeurism and they focus on making posts go viral – not out of any agenda other than to make money from ads. That’s it. They do not care about your race, gender, religion, politics or anything else about you other than your ability to click and share so someone else will click and share and so on and so on.

I will not from this moment on take another stupid Facebook quiz or do anything else to support this behavior. There are a lot of websites that do the same and much of what I have read on the internet the last few days came from those kind of sites. If you want to know more about this website here is a wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BuzzFeed

We all have the freedom and capability to post our opinions. This is mine. I recently came upon the phrase “consensus reality”. This basically means that a group of people adopt a world reality because they all see it that way. This is not inherently a bad thing. In the midst of a horrible event the reality can change because there is a consensus of hope. Unfortunately the opposite is also true. A happy or uplifting event can change because of a bad perception. If who we are is what we click and share we have created a consensus reality that we are mostly angry/whiny contentious, snowflake, bigoted, brainless, privileged, whatever. Choose your club.

Four years ago Republicans were crying that our country is ruined. Their candidate lost the election and they were certain we were going to hell in a hand basket. The same group is now laughing and calling democrats entitled whiny babies. Democrats are saying all Republicans are all privileged and bigots and have no compassion.

Politics is a very good example of consensus reality. A politician wants to create a consensus that he or she is the answer to all of our problems. It doesn’t matter that the reality is that the problems are complex and will not be solved the day after the election. They don’t care if you get angry with your neighbor for how they vote. They just want to WIN (the political equivalent of click and share).

When my kids were small we signed them up for tee ball. What a fun experience. Aside from teaching basic skills like running, throwing, catching and hitting the ball, a difficult lesson to teach them was that they should not all run to the ball. They had to be taught team work. Each person had a place on the field and they each were part of a process that if they learned to work together, allowing each person to do their part, they could attain their goal.

Remember the old game where you whispered something in someone’s ear and it was passed around a circle and at the end the last person had to ay what they were told and often it bore little resemblance to the original message? Did you trust the person who whispered to you? The person who whispered to them?

What will you whisper? What will you click and share? Who will make money off your anger?

We all need to go take tee ball lessons.

Wisdom of Trees

Peace falls soft with the night
Though even as the sun sets
it shares a rosy glow
Though we may be blue as the sky
The lesson from the trees
Taught as they stand still and reach
for light till it fades to black
and even then they stand
waiting to share the cool
gathered from night
when the sun returns

The Book

The book will soon be available on the website!

http://www.parispoetssociety.com

img_20161030_101013

The flowers were from my husband and children.

Grand Finale

Grand Finale Tommy Stone

Photo and Title Credit Tommy Stone

The sun, she doesn’t hide from sight

even the clouds can’t keep her light

from painting a fading sky

Even the waters sing her chorus

knowing that dark is nigh

even the trees give rest

and the birds do cease to fly

and still the sun keeps dancing

her colors wild, enchanting

as shadow slowly slanting

she says “it matters! Look and see!”

“Dance the music plays for free!”

And even as the last notes played

the echo reaches space

and though the dark will come too soon

last rays warm watcher’s face

 

Sky Falls

14856052_1294707853913144_2255851004272743193_o

Photo credit Tommy Stone

there will be time

for sun and bright colors

for light and wind and

the work of the day

spring and summer

slip away as hints

of winter settle on the pond

fish swim a little slower

clouds hang a little lower

as night comes a little closer

we walk through the dry grass

that crackles underfoot

leaving impressions

of where we have been

but not where we are going

Last Gasps

14876582_1295540560496540_7788240581261571825_o

Photo and Title Credit Tommy Stone

like the pillow

where I lay my head

clouds will cover trees

in softest down

as night shakes out

the wrinkles smoothing

out the tension

calming all the babies

tucking heads neath

feathered wings

nested in the darkest leaves

settle lower, deeper still

heavy lidded, curled around

from top to trunk

rooted in the bed of earth

sings a mother sky

of sunset dreams

and sleepy sighs