Sunday, November 29, 2009


Is it just me or is it all happening too quickly?  Did the browns and yellows of Thanksgiving blend all too rapidly into the reds and greens of Christmas?  A pot of golden mums graces my front porch still, little just-for-pretty pumpkins adorn my mantel, and my fridge remains full of fat-laden leftovers fit to clog the arteries of even the most dutiful dieters.

And yet it seems it's already time to move on.  I can almost see some cosmic time-teller tapping his watch like a conductor on a train impatiently waiting for his passengers to settle in so that that the engine can be fired up and the next stop reached at bullet speed and post-haste! 

All Abooooard!!

As much as I love all the acoutrements of Christmas, the candlelight in the windows and the fun of decorating a fat little Douglas Fir, am I the only one who's wishing we had a bit of a transition sentence here? 

As I ventured into my "Christmas closet" tonight, sizing up the task at hand, rummaging through wrapping paper, untangling twinkle lights, sorting out santas and organizing ornaments, a plain paper bag presented itself in the middle of all the muddle, patiently awaiting my attention...

...Upon opening the package, a smile worked it's way across my face and setting everything else aside, I carefully removed the pewter figurines folded in little pieces of paper; there were sheep and shepherds, camels and kings, there was a mother and a father, a sturdy little stable, a miniature manger...and lastly, a little one, an infant, a tiny baby boy...

And I realized gazing at the pieces of this picture, a picture of a gift given long ago, that herein was my "transition sentence".

The meaning of it all, not just of Christmas, but of life itself, Jesus, the ultimate Transition Sentence*, between the Old Will and Testament and the New Will and Testament, between death and life, slavery and freedom, between what I once was and who I now am.

I'm cozied up now, ready to catch some zzzzz's shortly (very shortly).  The decorating I was going to do remains undone, save a small nativity scene set carefully along my mantel in place of the just-for-pretty pumpkins...

It's a the truest sense of the Word.

*"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." - John 1: 1-4, 14

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Those who sow in shadow and rain
Reap in laughter and light
Gathering in where once they had scattered
Hope is Harvested
Souls ignite

The once barren fields bequeath a banquet
Fit for royalty
And yet the King bids you and I
“Come to the table!
Dine with Me!”

Hearts that were hard, dry as the dust
Parched and completely past feeling
Are filled to the full
Quenched and made whole
An Epilogue of Healing

-E.A.A. "Hindsfeet"  11/08

Monday, November 23, 2009


"A Christian is one who is on the way, though not necessarily very far along it, and who has at least some dim and half-baked idea of Whom to thank." - Frederick Buechner

We've arrived at that turkeylicious time of year when Americans everywhere will join in gastronomic gaiety and filial festivities revolving around plates piled high with every delicacy our little palates could desire.

There'll be football games and gatherings complete with tryptophan and green bean goo, mashed potatoes and couch potatoes, long naps and leftovers, and finally, drawn out departures full of hugs and good wishes for happiness over the holidays.

Amidst all this merriment there may come a moment when grateful guests will pause to ponder the holiday's namesake and the things in their lives that conjure up thoughts of thankfulness.

When put to it, most of us can come up with several somethings we're appreciative for and perhaps wax on quite lyrical about our loved ones and the merits of our most treasured blessings.

There is, indeed, so much to be thankful for,
ergo, there is Someone to be thankful to.

This Thanksgiving, as our hearts are turned to the gifts with which we've been graced, let us in turn lift our hearts to the Giver of all Grace and every good gift...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." - James 1:17

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Between the Rock and a hard place...

"Bow down your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my Rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.  For You are my Rock and my fortress..." Psalm 31:1,2

"You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God." -Psalm 40:17

"In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge." -Proverbs 14:26

"I am with you to deliver you" Jeremiah 1:8

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them ; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you." -Deuteronomy 31:6

"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance." -Psalm 32:7

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you." -Isaiah 43:2

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil' for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." -Psalm 23:4

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two outta Three....

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" -Micah 6:8

Do Justly.
Love Mercy.
Walk Humbly with your God.

The Pharisees had the first part down pat --

Do Justly

Check!  They knew right and wrong like the back of their hands.

Though Doing Justly constituted only one third of the command given in Micah 6:8, they treated it as the be all, end all. 

In one instance among many, Matthew 12:7 to be exact, Jesus calls the Pharisees on their forgetfulness of the three-dimensional aspect of this directive:
Do Justly
Love Mercy
Walk Humbly

Interesting that Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly are underneath Doing Justly, not to make them less than, but to show them foundational to the doing of right and not doing of wrong.

Jesus looked deeper in to the posture of the heart from which their outward deeds proceeded.  In true form He measured what was seen by what was unseen, the bonafide barometer of holiness.

Do Justly is indeed only one third of the instruction here in this verse, yet how often do I stop there, fan out my "filthy rags"* for all to see, and put a big check mark in my "Holy" box?

It's a classic case of putting the proverbial cart before the horse --

I hear above the clamoring of the pharisee in me the still small voice of Jesus calling me to be merciful, indeed to love mercy, and to walk humbly in step with Him, to let all that I do stem from this stance...I feel Christ's gentle correction as his Shepherd's staff prods 'a wretch like me' toward true holiness...and with new eyes I read the ancient words written so long ago, yet relevant as ever...

Do Justly
Love Mercy
Walk Humbly with your God

*Isaiah 64:6

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beautiful Flight......

Compliments of Raymond Briggs and Howard Blake...

(i suggest watching this full screen if you can...)

"...One day I will fly
And maybe then You will take me aside
And show me the bigger picture
But till then I will be here with You
With a heart that is true
And a soul that's resting on your higher ways..."

-Steven Curtis Chapman

Sunday, November 8, 2009


"...And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice..." -1 Kings19:11,12

Fellow blogger and photographer, Dan Denardo of Dan Denardo Photography ( ), shared with me a concern commented on from his pastor's pulpit: This minister cautioned against lives cluttered with clamor, lives which leave little room for listening, in which God's voice is, for the most part, obfuscated and obscured.

As I write this, even at this late hour, layers of sound surround me...Nat King Cole's "Destination Moon" is bellowing into my cranium compliments of Bose, blocking out the banter of Saturday Night Live, my husband's sensory stimulation of choice...the occasional motorist passes by with their too loud music blaring out into the blackness, and my puppies object with a cacophony of caterwauling till the offender fades into the distance.

It would seem that we've insulated ourselves from quietude, armed ourselves against "awkward" silence as against a formidable foe...

...This presents a problem, silence being the backdrop of the Still Small Voice...and still small voices are dreadfully simple to drown out. 

To make matters more complicated, our Creator does not seem in the least compelled to compete with this chaos, in our lives, in our churches, in our homes...He feels no pressure to conform to our comfort level or to co-habitate with our other gods, but rather bids us "Come" on His terms, and He is perfectly willing to wait while we decide whom we shall serve.*

In Psalm 46:10, the invitation to know God is precipitated by a posture of stillness.
In Psalm 62:1, David's assurance of salvation exudes from a silently waiting soul.
And in an instance of irony, Peter, the verbose and vocally gifted disciple, compares a quiet spirit with an incorruptible ornament, calling it a very precious commodity in God's computations.*

Yet we have all but completely devalued this hallowed hush, this holy of holies in which we hear His voice, this cleft of the rock where we commune with Christ. 

Perhaps it is time to revisit this venue, and in this sacred silence, to hear His voice once again...


*Joshua 24:15
*1 Peter 3:4
*Psalm 4:4

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One Thing...

"Mary sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word...One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part..." -Luke 10:39,42

One thing is needed...

One thing...


He didn't say it was "one of the most important things"...

He didn't even say it was "the most important thing"...

He said it was the One Thing that was needed.

Simplifies the agenda a bit, doesn't it?  One little bullet point: 

  • Sit at Jesus' feet and hear His Word.

In our frenzied five hundred mile an hour frenetic lives, this One thing is so easily squeezed out by sundry seemingly urgent yet superfluous items and sadly falls so far from the top of the to-do list.  Yet it is THE answer that will quell every query, that will quiet every fear.

When we're really in a pinch, we're often quick to cry out for Him to hear us - and rest assured, He does - but are we "quick to hear"* as well?   Is the posture of our soul like Mary's, one of deference and devotion?  Do we come to Him with a listening heart like a cup ready to be filled or is our heart brimming with the din of demands, of doubts, or perhaps even defiance? 

In either case the call is the same, "Come.", whether to be filled or to pour out our hearts* and have them filled again.

In these verses we hear the heart of Jesus, a call to stillness and surrender, a call to come and be filled, to know as we are known, to hear as we are heard...

One thing is needed...

One thing...


*James 1:19 "Be quick to hear..."
*Psalm 62:8 "Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Birthday Cake and Humble Pie

I journaled a few weeks ago in my post, Segues, Seeds, and Seasons, that new beginnings are rarely wrapped up with a bow on top, but rather tend to come in very messy packages indeed, such as "civil wars, screaming babies, and shattered seeds..."...Little did I know how prophetic those casually written words would prove to be...

My birthday was on October 13th, and, I guess there's that five year old in me that still looks forward to birthdays as much as ever and perhaps builds the day up in my mind a bit more than it ought to be built up, demanding it carry much more weight than my thirty seven years have warranted.

The day, or rather, the eve of the day, yes, "Birthday Eve" I suppose we'll call it, began with a crushing disappointment, which I think on a Tuesday in the middle of July would have been merely noted as a minor setback, however, this being "Birthday Eve", it was heralded in with hyperbole, and therefore, yes, it was crushing.

This epic event began a cold war in my house which lasted almost a week, unprecedented division, icy intervals, and embarrasingly unbirthday like behaviour from yours truly...

Had I really made myself and the celebration of myself so important that I had displaced the larger lessons of love and grace, kindness and humility?   Was I so determined that everything should be perfect to the point of making my dearest loved one feel like a pariah when the envisioned utopia did not materialize? 

There was an Infant King long ago who arranged His first birthday in a barn, Whose birthday guests were barnyard animals and Whose seat of honor was a stable, Whose confetti was cow food, straw and hay, Whose special day was heralded by one tiny candle of a star, and it wasn't even attached to a cake.  This is how He chose to enter the world, to celebrate His life and His life to come, in abject anonymity, in hiddeness and humility, without pomp or pretense, His first birthday came and went.

I learned a hard lesson this week, I saw a part of myself I didn't like very much at all, one which I would've loved to wrap up pretty with a bow on top, decorated in excuses and justifications, rationalizations and reason...But, as Hannah Hurnard wrote long ago, "He loves me far too well to leave me in my self-made hell, a Saviour is my Lord"...

He had a different birthday gift altogether in mind for me, a new beginning not wrapped in frilly superfluity, embellished with my shallow expectations, but in stark humility, in terse truth, a gift that would serve me well for a lifetime, instead of merely mesmerizing for a moment...

C.S. Lewis once wrote, "I do not believe that God primarily wants us to be happy; I think what He wants is for us to learn to love and to learn to be loved; I think He wants us to Grow Up."

That's what a birthday is all about afterall, getting older, growing up, a measure of maturity, and to perhaps begin to bear more of a resemblance to the one we were born to...or born again to...

Embracing Lewis' philosophy, it seems happiness - and happy birthdays - will surely follow...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." - James 1:17