People get Elijah and Elisha mixed up ... even ministers and evangelists and other Bible scholars.
Do the great prophets care?
Monday, January 15, 2018
A winter walk to change perspective
to read a different kind of book
patterns in the snow, drifted from last night's wind
tracks, fresh, made early this morning,
Kisa, my cat;
a small deer;
a large deer heavy stepping pushed through to the sleeping grass;
a rabbit moving slowly;
the shallow linear prints of a bird;
a mouse, venturing out to look for seeds and back into a perfectly round hole;
dogs, owners easily identified by the direction of the prints;
I share this path with them, these tracks that tell a story,
the torn up grass a flurry of activity between predator and prey,
A branch snaps at ground level a short distance away. Deer?
Two branches clack together high above, a whisper of wing, a silhouette of a large bird retreating. Hawk? Owl?
I am the only human to tread this path today, but I do not feel alone.
The stories are there for the reading, tales of my unseen neighbors.
On the driveway, prints of work boots, different sizes, a smattering of mud, a splash of deep red. Blood? Tobacco? The aroma of oil and exhaust, another story of working in the cold.
Up the walkway, another spot of blood and a few feathers. Kisa has made a kill. She rubs my legs, proud of herself. I scratch her ears in agreement.
I am not cold, but as the warmth of my home envelopes me with the aromas of the meal I just created, I am thankful for this beautiful life God has given to me, simple, challenging, blessed, filled with creatures to share it with.
I am sitting in my office writing as out in the white world the auburn sun rays paint sleeping bark,
the creatures note my tracks and read my story.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
The Bible states laws, human laws, spiritual laws, philosophical laws, emotional laws. The more I read and study the Bible, the more I see that my life has played out these laws in ways I never imagined when it was happening.
In Luke 16, Jesus is explaining how things work between masters and their servants. In verse 13, Jesus states a law: “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV)
This law played out in my life a few years ago. The masters involved didn't realize what was going on, or, if they did, chose to ignore it.
When Civitas took over the Brown assets (weakly referred to as Ohio Community Media), this law played out in all its ugliness. The publishers within the company of newspapers ignored the requests from Civitas to do new things, fire unnecessary employees, change financial practices, etc. They remained faithful to The Brown Way (even though Brown had declared bankruptcy).
Civitas took incremental steps to push its agenda, which, of course, it had every right to do. Slowly, slowly, the news came in: this publisher was gone, this one took early retirement, these two publications were combined into one, leaving half the employees to do all the work.
We watched from our tiny office as the war got closer and closer.
Then came the meetings. All the editors from our region met and we were told, as nicely as possible, that we didn't know how to do our jobs properly, an insult hard to swallow, even with free lunch and drinks. The ultimate vision of the future was shared and one by one loyalty switched. You could feel the thick mental chaos in the brightly lit room. You could hear the clicking of hearts switching over to the new masters.
They were now being loyal to the one and despising the other.
And when the war came to our office I was pitted against the very person who hired me, helped with my difficult decisions, stood by me when the public was complaining – my boss. I remained faithful, but it was obvious to me that my old boss hid much of what was really going on to protect herself. I couldn't blame her. I tried to be faithful to both masters. It was ethically and emotionally impossible for me.
Jesus was right. You can't do it. It's a law. Unbreakable. It tears you apart if you try.
When the monstrously ugly conversion to The Civitas Way was complete I had five bosses. No, my five masters did not always agree. They each had their own agenda.
This rule played out until I was hating all of my bosses, at which time I knew I must quit. I was no longer performing at my best and hate was eating my heart away.
The Bible is a rock. The wisdom in it cannot be refuted, by-passed or broken. God knows men and their nature more than we know ourselves.
Our choice is to fight The Rock or cling to It.
“No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely).” – Luke 16:13 (AMPC)
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Today I rest from blogging.
I will print this out and keep it by my bed, in my purse, in my car, at my desk … You can too.
Time to rest.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all this work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” - Genesis 2:2 (NIV)
“It is a day of Sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves.” - Leviticus 23:32 (NIV)
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.” - Psalms 16:9 (NIV)
“So I said, 'Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness.” - Psalms 55:6-7 (NIV)
“The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.” - Proverbs 19:23 (NKJV)
“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” - Proverbs 26:2
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.” - 1 John 3:19
Monday, October 30, 2017
-to remove the unwanted substances in something
-to improve something by making small changes
-to free from impurities or unwanted material (metal, sugar, oil)
-to free from moral imperfection
-to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing like refining poetic style
-to reduce in vigor or intensity
-to free from what is coarse, vulgar, uncouth
-to become pure or perfected
-to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions
-to better, amend, enhance, enrich, help, perfect, improve, upgrade, ameliorate (to make something better, less painful)
Refine your search
Refined by fire
I have constantly refined the plan for my life …
At age 7, I was going to be the best friend my friends ever had, marry the boy in the row next to me with the black hair and play piano.
At age 13, I was going to be a concert pianist and play Carnegie Hall. I was also going to be a college professor.
At age 18, I was going to be a teacher and be one of the fun ones.
At age 24, I was going to be a wife and be the kind where the husband is always happy and the wife never nags.
When I was 25, I realized I was going to be a mother. So I planned to be the best one I could be, creating the smartest kids.
When I was 30, I was going to let God decide how many children I should have and live out in the country like my grandmother did and bake bread every day.
When I was 40, I was going to get a job and pay off all the bills and work up to a position that paid enough so my husband could farm full time.
When I was 44, I went back to work full time and my life got really complicated. Reality set in. I began my journey of letting God call the shots in my life and asked Him if my plans were appropriate or doable.
At age 50, I realized I was calling to God but I wasn't listening to God. I dug into my Bible every day.
At 52, I was offered a job that would be high stress and thankless. I could make more money and pay off bills. I asked for two days to think about it. God told me to take it. I heard Him as if He were sitting next to me by my desk as I read Isaiah 35.
For the next three years I let God lead me. I made decisions with my staff that were unpopular. Things got hot. But I was learning to completely depend on God. I was learning to worry about what He thought. When angry people came at me I stood quietly. I let God refine me.
At 55, stressed out and sick, God told me I could leave.
What happened next was not in my original plan – or any of my refined plans – at all. My life exploded. I came to the end of myself. I was now, officially, completely dependent on God. Some days my head felt like a furnace. I couldn't fix things at all. I saw a counselor. I spend hours in prayer and meditation on passages God was giving me. I wrote. I went to a new church. I stopped doing everything except the most essential.
And I began to heal.
God refined my life.
"Take away the dross from silver, And it will go to the silversmith for jewelry." - Proverbs 25:4 (NIV)
"He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering of righteousness." - Malachi 3:3 (NIV)
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Follow the leader
Just follow along silently as I read it aloud.
Little brother, don't follow me. I want to be alone.
Copy the following words three times in your notebook.
Who are you following?
Why do you follow that line of thinking?
I don't follow any body. I'm my own leader.
What are you doing? - I'm following you. - I don't think you should follow me. I'm lost.
You will become who you follow.
“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.” - Exodus 15:20 (NIV)
“... giving orders to the people: 'When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it ...'” - Joshua 3:3 (NIV)
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” - Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
“I wait for your salvation, LORD, and I follow your commands.” - Psalm 119:166
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” - Matthew 4:19 (NKJV) (Mark 1:17; Luke 5:11)
“And the armies in heaven, clothes in fine linen, white and clearn, followed Him on white horses.” - Revelation 19:14