Playing with purpose

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.


Separate Lives

Its 2am and I am awake flipping through YouTube. Its how I get my news these days. It is while I am flipping that I recall it has been a year since I faced deliberating pain and tumors in my left leg. It has definitely been a year of great pain. Of many tears and horrific losses.

In my perusal, I come across a clip of the song “Separate Lives,” performed by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin in the movie White Nights. Years back White Nights was a favorite movie, largely because of the way the song fitted the narrative of the movie. I would play that part of the movie over and over again. I recall during that time people near me were swimming in various forms of heartaches in their lives. Separate Lives felt like a true theme song to the present grief.

So, as I played the movie scene over and over again I wept unceasing tears. I could feel that grief deep within the pit of my stomach. I cried for all that was lost. For all the shared pain. For all my disappointment watching people, I loved torpedo their own existence.

For a moment I reflect and I am grateful that such disastrous living was not happening now, then I remembered how my family has torpedoed their lives beginning in 2019. And the tears rise in my throat; for all, I saw lost in 2019. Then my GOD I remember its 2020 and soon I am howling with the deep misery that grips my friends and family, my community, my state, and Lord, my country, As Phil and Marilyn sing my heart breaks anew and in my spirit, I cry out for all we have thrown away.

I am not defeated, I am sitting Shiva for my planet. For the way that even while we aspire to nobility, to do good, our efforts for solution always end in disaster. No other species serves as both its best friend and its worst enemy.

“Well you have no right to ask me how I feel, you have no right to speak me so kind. Someday we might find ourselves looking into one another’s eyes, but for now, we go on living. Separate lives.” (Stephen Bishop 1985.)


Enough To Cry

Each time I reach out to activate my Google screen, there is a repulsiveness. Such divergent opinions. Such grandstanding. The din is deafening. So, I am having one of those moments where I am stuffed to the gills with other people’s stupid. My own besetting sin is enough, thank you very much.

I sat down to write my brother today, and that feeling just grew. Such disappointment in the disappointment of others. Truly a “get out your can opener Saint Peter! Pry the lid off this can and get me out of here!” The world feels so sad right now. My beloved country is long time around the bend. Fevered in self-proclaimed self-righteousness. Everybody is right, nobody is wrong, and the human mice chases it’s tail rushing madly on the turnstile in its cage. Dear, dear Saint Peter can you get me outta here?

Then I consider the children. My weariness becomes soul twisting grief. What about the children, Lord? What about the babies? Who can’t possibly know how much the current barrage of adults and teens are stealing from their future? Lining the mice cage with hate so vehement, the mice are mindless with crazy. Lord, I think, “I’d rather drink out of “Colored Only” drinking fountains for the rest of my days than continue with such madness.”

But it is within that consideration for the children I begin to find my peace. One question the Lord positions before me. “What about Me can you say has changed?” And just that quickly and simply, to the storm within He speaks “peace be still.”

I am assured that the same advocate for my soul, remains faithful to the souls of every child being swept along our tide of social and mental imbalance. So teach your children well, and you try to remember as well. Love the Lord your GOD with all your heart, mind, and soul. And your neighbor as you do yourself. It is not a matter of taking sides. It certainly is not a matter of justified hate. It is a matter of treating others as you would have them treat you. Now admittedly that does not guarantee that others will adopt that same biblical principle towards you.

So, let your children know, we play to an audience of one! If my ways please the Lord, He will make my enemies my footstool. There is only one source of righteousness. One place of justice. Everything else is a smokescreen.

If you are a lover of GOD remain true to that course. It is the only declaration necessary. It is the only protest that is legitimate. It is the only outcome that satisfies the need.

“But come what may. From day to day. Our heavenly FATHER watches o’ veerrr, me.” (William C. Martin 1864-1914)


The Fall That Counted

While talking as sometimes I do, I remembered when I learned it is true, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverb of Solomon.)

One morning after exiting the South Downy Street bus I began the long walk to Manual High School. When you are a teenager, if you are honest; your living is fraught with ridiculous happenings.

Today was a special kind of silly; not because I was tardy, and I was. But because I had worn my Chicago Pilgrim heels. I walk-tottered down the street upon a 3-inch square, thick heels. Some designer’s funky fashion contribution, saluting the fore-fathers.

It was while crossing the second street that my shoes had their run-way moment. I quickened my step because I saw the northbound traffic converging just before the traffic light was to change.

Suddenly, I pitched forward sprawling and sliding into the street. My purse, school books, and notebooks jumped wildly into the air; then rained down about me.

I never knew his name and never saw him again after that day. He was just some guy who had passed me by as I tottered towards the school. He was apparently late for class as well! But he saw or heard my predicament. It was he that suddenly became my knight in shiny amour.

Rushing back to me, he helped me to stand and cross to the opposite curb. Then he gathered my books, notebook papers, and my purse. Next, he performed his most daring rescue. For there in the middle of the street, standing tall and straight were my Pilgrim shoes! Still upright with laces nicely tied. It seemed they waited for a foot to be re-inserted, or perhaps to lift aristocratic feet and scroll across the street on their own.

Defying the converging traffic, which apparently had no regard for my pompous Pilgrim friends, he ran back into the street. Snatched my heels from their haughty stance and dashed safely back to the curb.

I was quite simply stunned, shocked, and stammering. Trying to reclaim my femininity and my pride. To his repeated inquiry, “are you alright!” I smiled in what I hoped was a humorous and caviler way and replied. “Yes, yes, I’m, I’m just fine. It was nothing. Thank you very much.”

With my assurance, he resumed his trot towards the school. I slowly meandered behind him. Feeling every scrap and bruising from my fall. My shoes dangling from one of my hands. When you have to walk another 4 to 5 blocks to the school, the aching removes all vestiges of showmanship. I did not care who saw me carrying those shoes. As long as I didn’t have to wear them again.

I imagine he retold the tale to his friends at school and his family at home that evening. His Mom and Grandmother would be, oh so proud of him. As I watch his diminishing figure trotting down the street, I was happy to give him space to laugh at what he had witnessed. Because every halting step to the school I laughed, giggled, and horse-snorted myself.

I carried those shoes from class to class that day. I was still carrying them when I caught the bus back home that afternoon. And I was relieved and happy to retire them permanently to the shadows of my closet at home. I can’t speak for King Solomon, but my Mama didn’t raise no fool.


Ravi

Ravi

Its after seven in the morning. But our skies lie draped with overcast. For once it matches my spirit. Ravi Zacharias’ daughter has sent out an email saying he is now with JESUS.

So, I am feeling once again that grief that assailed me when my Mother left this world. Vacillating between deep sorrow and unspoken envy. One more time a soldier has outrun me. My tears are for the loss and a sense of loneliness when you discover the runner running ahead of you has suddenly left. It requires a reorientation in your thinking. A realignment in your comfort zones.

But like any infantry soldier, you know your duty is to quicken your march and fall into step. Closing any gap that may have appeared. We are at essence commissioned volunteers, drafted into the war of wars. I don’t negate the joy of this life. I don’t hide the discomfort. I am not tired nor weary in the traditional sense. But it is times like this, I long to go home.

For us to die is gain. But for us to live is CHRIST. So, I will not ask “Lord how long?” But rather, “What’s next?” Into the breach, I happily march with the people of GOD. Trusting and depending upon our LORD. Putting on the whole armor, every day, until I finish this race.


ABBA

Fully awake now. Fully engaged in seething anger that felt like the holding of a devouring animal at the end of a single chain. Boiling anger that senses the interloping of earthy wisdom, that dare believe it knows best for someone else. We do that thing to one another. Quiet evidence that misery is happiest when its a shared experience. That we are nothing if not most thrilled when we believe we know what there is to know of living. And we ‘got it right’ even as our living requires constant resets to achieve what the limited and insane believe will have a different outcome. We are far too comfortable wanting to be GOD for one another.

But I recognize, this is not my primary struggle at this time. I have no problem detecting earthy stench, I am of the earth as well. My struggle involves the desire to decimate the stench that dare approaches me.

But, we wrestle not against flesh and blood.

To be willing to attempt manipulation or destruction of another person is simple guilt that identifies that you want to be god in someone else’ s life as well. So Herculean hands unfurl from their position of might; and calm ushers itself back to the seat of mercy. I am safe now. Our Abba will not permit me to bring destruction into my own world by attempting to wrench authority from Him. As if I could.


When is it not Faith

When I consider the travail of CHRIST in the Garden of Gethsemane. When I remember the afflictions of Job. When I recall the thrice denied request from Apostle Paul to remove his thorn. I reexamine the concepts of Faith.

We place great stock in people who seem to command healing in the natural body. We devote series of televised programs to miraculous events we encounter. And we are panting ‘hot’ after leaders who proclaim a destiny of affluence. But if Faith can be identified by primarily physical miracles, then what does that mean for the majority of us who seem bereft of these miracles. Does it mean that the results of Faith are a mere gamble?

You can drop the mike on this truth. Miracles are happening every hour of every day. What is amiss, is our willingness or ability to identify anything that does not encompass physical relief. We do not see victory or deliverance in things that do not make us feel better.

When JESUS said to His disciples, “ye have no faith”, was He referring to their lack of authority over the raging sea and wind? Or was He referring to their inability to rest while the storm raged?

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:37-41.

Personally, I have no problem proclaiming and praising the might of GOD in my life. But it can be a crisis of faith when GOD’s will does not address my physical discomfort. However faith, true faith, rest upon my willingness to completely trust GOD. Can I say as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did?

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Danial 3:16-18

Do I have the resolve of the prophet Habakkuk when he penned? “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:16-18

Can I readily fellowship with the despair of Job’s life? Though I may curse the day I was born, will I wait, all of my appointed time; will I wait upon the Lord?

Do I know that GOD’s grace is sufficient to cover all thorns in my flesh? Will I conclude after repeated prayerful requests; nevertheless thine will be done, Lord.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. If my faith never extends beyond the obvious, is it really faith? Rejoice when GOD speaks ‘Peace’ to your storms. But if He does not, lay your head upon the pillow of His love and faithfulness. Rock-a-bye baby through the raging storm and know it will be okay.


BOOKS COULD NOT CONTAIN

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” John 21:25.

My mind struggles to imagine the reality of the 25th verse in John 21. The immensity of that idea just loops me off into a sort of never-never land. That verse informs me of the wasted time we have spent trying to define GOD.

We need to believe that GOD is scientifically duplicable. That in our exploration there is an explanation. That we are in control; until we are not. Our conclusions support the idea that we are accidentally morphed. Or that we employ inner and spiritual wisdom that is greater than, truer than ever before. I giggle every time I hear someone declare any human knowledge as “enlightenment!” That’s flint-stone laughable. Unless you are receiving from outside of the human realm of possibilities, of what and how are you enlightened? Regurgitated food is still old vomit. Yet we heave and strain in the vanity of deciding who GOD is or if GOD is.

The Son of GOD, in a three-year period performed works so multiple, they are only countable as uncountable. So, what makes us believe we can lend definition to the Creator of life? What makes us believe that we can establish variations of who GOD is? Or whether GOD is?No other evidence is needed than to observe the limited trying to define the limitless. GOD is beyond our fully knowing. The Son of GOD is beyond our understanding. The SPIRIT of GOD is indefinable.

Already that places GOD well beyond our intellect. Three equals one, one is three? A fiery bush talks but does not burn? A donkey turns his head back towards the man sitting on its back, beating it. Then begins talking to the man like it is a recent graduate of the Duo Language app. Fleeing slaves reach the edge of a deep and wide body of water. Their appointed politician stretches out a piece of wood and the water of the river parts and strands itself upwards like walls allowing safe passage. On and on and on, the shock and awe are listed. The best we have been able to conclude is that it must not be true because we can’t perform such feats. Or we think we know how such feats were accomplished.

And anyone who would dare to believe other than our rational explanation is just ignorant or anesthetized by religious rhetoric! So, we seem to think!

The sacrifice JESUS gave has made it possible to be in relationship with our Father Creator. To be submerged in the love of His heart for each of us. To live with honor and peace in the simple place we occupy. We should stop wasting time trying to align such a relationship within the confines of our living and knowing.

We should choose to disembark from the hamster wheels of human intellect; and accept the gift that GOD has given to us. Human intellect and exploration are marvelous things. We should always strive to be our best at it, that indicates respect for the gift of life. But that’s all it is. A tool for humans, not an explanation for GOD.


Doubtful Disputations

Romans 14 is profound reading this morning. Possibly because when visiting a website known for its apologetic dissertations of the Word of GOD; I am left with a sense of futility. Possibly the biggest problem with the website rest in its determination to answer any and all questions. Often the questions themselves are only for declarative purposes. It seems to attract many who are convinced of their own reasoning. It feels like a condensed model of our social media world. Everyone has an opinion. No one is saying much. But few would ever consider doing more listening than speaking. We don’t seek truth we make it up as we go along.

The gospel that is being preached, is the gospel according to our feelings, our concepts; and everybody is preaching! Truth is an exercise in political correctness. What is popular is the truth. Free will run amok.

I have always read the scripture; “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22), as one that championed the cause of the Elect of GOD. I now see it as a timely and necessary relief for the whole of creation. In our pursuits, we have become our own victims.

On days like these I want to draw up the sidewalk, lock the doors; get in the bed and pull the covers high over my head. The little one in me has taken over. Leaving me with the childish belief that if it is out of sight, it does not exist. It cannot harm me.

Nothing seems to be as beautiful as we declare. Whether in nature or in worship; under the beautiful veneer the danger is evident.

I am not only going down the rabbit hole, I think I am experiencing social depression. That “what’s the use” type of feeling. But then my heart begins to pray. To talk with GOD.

“Please help me to see this world as you do. Please help me to love this world from your perspective. Please allow me to see the beauty still evident in this fallen world. Only then will I be able to pull the covers back, put on my “big people clothes” and move forward.”

Just talking with GOD massages away the grief. For me to die is gain, for me to live is CHRIST. Depression flees from me because, when I remember to keep my eyes on JESUS I begin to walk on water.

Now beneath the obvious beauty that shields the obvious danger, there is another layer. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know who holds the future. Then life is worth the living; just because He lives. (Bill and Gloria Gaither)

Good morning World. Great morning fellow children of GOD. There are no surprises. It is all good, GOD is yet in control.


Thankful for Mercy and Grace

I know its a little early to post tomorrow’s thanksgiving, but I’m just moving with the sentiments of my heart. My heart recognizes that GOD does not see you as I do. That GOD does not see me as you do.

For as long as we inhabit this world, we will live in manners that are offensive to one another. We will often in our quest for personal pleasure or satisfaction live in opposition to GOD’s order for our lives.

Grace and Mercy provide shelter for each of us. In Psalms 103 it says: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” ” For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

I want to always remember that. I want to live in remembrance of how GOD feels about you and me. I want to always acknowledge the ownership of GOD. And respect the speed and manner in which He chooses to deal with each of His children. Children we all are, Saint or Sinner. We belong to GOD.

But we should not be deceived. How GOD feels about us will not perpetually hold judgment from our lives. Its just that, GOD’s timing is not measured by the limitation of being human. “He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.”

We should live with the knowledge that GOD is not mocked. What we sow we will reap. (Galatians 6:7-8 kjv.) But even in the reaping, GOD’s purpose is embedded in the harvest of living. The sole intent is to draw us to His side. (2 Peter 3:9 kjv.)

Will we receive His love as quickly as we receive His mercy and grace.