| || |
I posted something today that I hope will inspire you to allow Jesus to take even the smallest things you can offer Him, and use them to shine light into this dark world. Here's a portion, and a link to the whole thing:
You've heard the expression "that's just my two cents" ... meaning, that's "my humble opinion", or "what I have to offer". Well, here's a little something to add to your contemplations, and perhaps due to inflation, it's more like offering my SEVEN cents. more...
Do you ever long for the “real thing”, and somehow find yourself settling for (or perhaps even for some strange reason preferring) a cheap imitation? The current economy may find many of us “settling” for things in many ways in the “physical realm”. How about the “spiritual realm”? Do you “settle for” imitations in that area as well? Allow this word picture to explain….
Fresh Air of the Holy Spirit
One sultry summer morning recently, I was awakened in the early dawn, as our bedroom window air conditioner made its best attempt at mimicking truly refreshing cool air. Where we live, in the wooded foothills of Northern NJ, one barely needs AC, since the attic fan usually is quite sufficient, pulling in the cool, refreshing over-night mountain air. There is actually nothing quite like that sweet, clear fresh air.... (more...)
Friday, September 9, 2011
Good Light, Irene
The recent Hurricane Irene that hit the tri-state area spoke clearly in various ways, "Am I ready? Am I walking in the light?"
The "scout motto" has resounded in my heart since childhood, trying to heed that encouragement for much of my life: "be prepared". During the recent challenges in the northeastern US with Hurricane Irene, those words of wisdom served me better than ever before.
Living in North Jersey poses many challenges, but the list of common occurrences doesn't include earthquakes and hurricanes, and especially not within a week of each other!
We in the northeast got a little "taste" recently of what is so often in the news regarding other areas of the US, and surely a MINOR taste at that.... Enough to make my heart go out, not only to SO MANY in our area that have been devastated, but even more poignantly to those who live in the rest of the country and experience even worse catastrophes routinely! More...
Monday, May 16, 2011
Birds of the Air
Heads up.... I posted a new Meditation today entitled Birds of the Air.
Jesus had (has) such a "way" with "word pictures".... He could sum up some of the most profound truths by putting them in every day stories that made them easy to understand, and difficult to forget.
There is a wonderful section of Scripture in Matthew 6, verses 25 to 34. In verse 26, Jesus bids us to "Look at the birds of the air...." Truly in many ways such vulnerable gentle creatures, and yet seemingly care and worry free, as they go about their days, and our "heavenly Father feeds them".
I want to share a couple of personal "bird" stories that have been "hard to forget" because they have seemed to go "deeper" in meaning somehow when considered with the "eyes of the Spirit". More...
I spent most of my day yesterday at a New Life's Eve party. Would have gladly gone to a New YEAR'S Eve party, yet this gathering will live on in memory as the most poignant and meaningful ever, for sure... It was quite spontaneous, impromptu, and orchestrated by Hands greater than ours, unbeknownst to any of us in attendance.
We had all gathered to see a dear friend who had impacted our lives over so many years. She loved Jesus, and by His grace that love overflowed into the lives of scores of people, from various walks of life, of all ages. Her demeanor was so similar to Jesus' as she welcomed the "little ones" so readily into her heart. Even as a full grown adult (having served with her in the children's program at church years ago), to this day, I still would habitually call her "Miss Virginia"....
Our dear, supportive, "always-there-for-us" friend was ready to go home to be with her dear Savior, you see. I don't think that any of us were "ready" to let her go, even though out of love for her, and at her request, we had begun to pray for Jesus to come take her to heaven. She had had a brief, swift and stunning encounter with cancer, and she knew she was headed for a better place, and wanted to be there ASAP.
Her family had lovingly cared for her at home during her battle, and had just the evening before acquiesced to her wishes to spend the final moments of her life in hospice at a facility outside the family home. Because she chose that option, it afforded many of her friends an opportunity to come "say goodbye" without feeling they were intruding on her beloved family's private home.
I don't know if she realized this decision would make the "celebration" together possible, but I know Jesus realized it, and I believe even planned it, in His mercy. Since the "party" just "happened" to take place on New Year's Eve, surely many of us were off work, or out early, and able to stop by. Her little room seemed to become something like an "open house" gathering, replete with coffee, vanilla wafers and Oreo cookies, served by an unseen Hand. It's not as though there were invitations sent out. Yet by word of mouth, one by one, and in bunches and groups, long time friends dropped by. Some stayed for hours, some for more brief visits ... all had hearts that surely needed the comforting Hand of Jesus to help us loosen our own grips on her most precious life with us.
I had personally realized in recent years, that I would need to release this dear sister-in-the-Lord at some point into the care of Jesus. Her life to me was like a precious gem, a gift, that I would need to give back to the One Who had graciously lent her to me and so many others. I did not look forward to that day, and hoped/thought it would be quite a way in the distance. I didn't realize it would come this SOON....
But do we ever? None of us knows the length of our days, and "today" is really all we have. As the Bible says: "...Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts..." (Hebrews 3:7 and Psalm 95: 7-8).
The gathering yesterday likely ebbed and flowed throughout the entire day, into evening. The hours that I personally spent were filled with people whispering words of love to Virginia (who at this point couldn't respond, yet in the Spirit I trust that she was somehow aware).... Prayers, Bible passages, songs, words of encouragement to each other, shared stories and memories, hugs, tenderness, etc. A beautiful outpouring of love back into the life of one who had SO OFTEN poured out her own love and prayers into OUR lives.
During the day, the crowd became so large that the staff eventually moved aside the extra bed in her room, and brought in several chairs to accommodate her many friends. It seemed that the wait would go on for a long time, and nearing dinnertime, the crowd began to thin a bit. There were a few of us left, along with her dear (adult) son and daughter. Looking back at the gracious Hand of Jesus on it all, I realize that at one point the two of them left the room for a while to attend to some nursing matters. Remarkably, not long after the two of them returned, as they were at the side of her bed, one on her right, one on her left, she answered the call of Jesus and went to be with Him. The others of us went outside the room and prayed for her and her children inside, as they bid her farewell.
Looking back on the day, it was SUCH a gift to her loved ones to allow us that time to express our appreciation for her in her presence, and as a support to each other. Somehow, I feel that this party was just the pre-celebration ... like she was party-hopping in the Spirit. At around dinnertime, just when most New Year's Eve parties were getting underway, I think the call came for her to depart for the REAL celebration.... I can only imagine ... but wouldn't doubt if Jesus came, ready to drape around her shoulders her glistening "white robe", and that when they got to the door of the party, her husband Carl came to have the first dance with her, and make a toast to her arrival, with a glass of "New Wine" Champagne. Only she and those on the "other side of the veil" know for sure....
I don't know exactly what heaven will be like, of course. One thing that I don't doubt, is that heaven now has an incredible intercessor on our behalf.... I am always grateful that Jesus and the Spirit "intercede" for us... (Romans 8: 26-27 and 8: 34). Somehow, I think that He will have someone tugging at His sleeve now and then for those of us still on "this side of the veil".
I will ever be grateful for the gift of her life, and for how He graciously planned her final day here....
And my heartfelt message to my dear sister Miss Virginia: "Happy New Life" dear friend.