Yellow Tuesday Forces Me to Faith It

Everywhere the world seems to be crumbling. The foundation of morality and just plain common sense has been lost somewhere. Rational folks don’t know where to begin to recoup what seems to have vanished. When did any people group get the idea that children can be beheaded, women raped, and people abandon their faith or die? Insanity reigns. I felt like Jamie Jones and it paralyzed me. Being so American, I thought I must be doing something to stop the madness, but since I could not think of what in the world to do, I did nothing. I thought prayer would be good, but it seemed so Pollyanna-ish.

Enter Rachel Swenson and her Facebook event Yellow Tuesday – Pray for the Middle East. Here was a place for those of us who wanted to pray, but wanted to pray BIG (with others, many others). Rachel also gave me the privilege of inviting my friends so we could communicate with one another throughout the day. Moreover, people began to share their personal insights and gave links to bloggers who shared their thoughts. Not only did my prayer group become bigger, but my prayer became bigger. I began praying for all the players in the Middle East not just the Christians. All of a sudden ISIS was on my prayer list and the election in Iraq and a Jewish man in Bulgaria offering refuge to those fleeing Iran, Iraq and Syria.

I began prayer with my husband at breakfast. We sat down to our usual fare and were reminded that Christians fleeing Iraq were stuck in the mountains of northern Iraq surrounded by ISIS soldiers. They had nothing to eat, indeed, have had nothing to eat or drink for days. Food and water was being dropped by US military planes and humanitarian agencies were in the area. We prayed the people were getting what was being dropped and that humanitarian aid could reach them.

I had on a yellow tee shirt to remind me to pray. As news came in, I prayed. A video clip by a member of the Iraqi IMG_1513Parliament pleading for her people, the Yazidi, fueled my passion in prayer. I went into my basement to iron my blouses. As I ironed and prayed, I was struck that the blouse I was ironing was yellow. That blessed me. God was listening (of course He was, but I am still such a child so He gives me signs).

Next, my husband alerted me to news that Yank Barry, who used to sing with the 60’s band the Kingsmen, was using his money and influence to fund a safe haven and chance at a new life for refugees fleeing Iran and now Iraq and Syria. The name of his organization is Global Village Champions. I needed such good news of someone doing something to balance the horrors coming from the mountains of northern Iraq.

It is pouring down rain here, but it let up for a minute so I went out to walk my dog. He was jumping and skipping along. I was praying in the Spirit. As I was praising for the refreshing physical rain, I prayed for water for the Iraqi Christians. I was praying for rain in the desert. I wondered why I would have rain when those who needed it so desperately did not…so many questions. Then, I saw this:  IMG_1514Frankly, I don’t think I ever saw a yellow bike before. Thank you, Jesus!

I took off for lunch about 11:30 am. When we got to our little salad bar restaurant my husband remarked. “Wow, they changed their placemats!” Really? My husband doesn’t usually notice such things. Then I looked at them. You’re right, they were yellow! We went to the salad bar to make a salad and there was no lettuce, no tomato, no spring greens, etc etc. I would normally have been complaining, but those yellow placemats reminded that there were people on a mountain without any food or water. My husband and I prayed for those without and thanked the Lord for teaching us. When we returned home, we saw this Kurdish rescue

Ann Voskamp said it aptly for me:

I’m only afraid because I’m comfortable. It’s too easy to let the stuff make you comfortable, to use stuff as a shield to protect you against the headlines.

What if we are all only afraid because we’ve settled for being comfortable? What if we are all only afraid when where we’ve settled is not where the Comforter is — because where the Comforter meets you is precisely when you are outside of your comfort zone?

More than being afraid of a dangerous world, maybe we should be much more afraid of comfort zones….

When you’re tired enough of listening to all the talking heads, you can listen to the One who speaks to your soul. The One Who calls you to freedom of the expanse outside of comfort zones, to give yourself away and not be afraid. Life is too short to miss out on the harvest opportunity for which God has specifically blessed you for in the first place.

Prayerfully, so as not miss my God-ordained harvest opportunity,


Dawn

IMG_1515

 

We all need oxygen

We left the Cancer Treatment Center after my husband’s treatment today. I left the car running to keep my husband cool while I ran into the oxygen place to see why we were charged $120.00 for a no-charge visit. I was told to take a seat. I did. There was one other person in the waiting room. He proceeded to tell me why he had oxygen. By the time he was waited on and left the store, I knew his whole disease process, his wife’s disease process (she was at home and couldn’t come along–too sick) and how important he was the 38 years he was a teacher at the high school. Even after retirement he substitute-taught because they needed someone in the “hard” sciences like physics, math and chemistry. “Not everyone can teach those subjects, you know, but I choose them. The kids know they are going to have a good class when they see me.” I simply nodded at appropriate times, but I don’t think he noticed the timing.

Ann’s blog today summarized my moments at the oxygen center:

And there’s always someone who makes sure you know how much smarter and wiser, bigger and better, known and greater they are.

There’s always someone who snatches the horn to sing too loud…

This man was hooked to an oxygen machine at 4 liters per minute. Without it he would not be able to make it to his car let alone drive home. He and I were no different–both dependent on the God of the universe for every breath. Yet, the need for stardom was thick in that room. What did Ann say about that?

Stars are always very small…

Kingdom principles are clear: to be greatest in the Kingdom of God, you must be the servant of all. Must remember this

Amazing grace,

Dawn

Freedom – A Prayer for Wendy

O Holy Father, Thou hast freely given Thy son,JesusPaidItAll

O Divine Son, Thou hast freely paid my debt,

O Eternal Spirit, Thou hast freely bid me come,

O Triune God, Thou dost freely grace me with salvation.

Prayers and tears could not suffice to pardon my sins,

nor anything less than atoning blood,

but my believing is my receiving,

for a thankful acceptance is no paying of the debt.

 What didst Thou see in me?

that I a poor, diseased, despised sinner

should be clothed in Thy bright glory?

that a creeping worm

should be advanced to this high state?

that one lately groaning, weeping, dying,

should be as full of joy as my heart can hold?

that a being of dust and darkness

should be taken like Mordecai from captivity

and set next to the king?

should be lifted like Daniel from a den

and be made ruler of princes and provinces?

Who can fathom unmeasureable love?

As far as the rational soul exceeds the senses,

so does the Spirit exceed the rational in its knowledge of Thee.

Thou hast given me understanding to compass the earth,

measure the sun, moon, stars, universe.

but above all to know Thee, the only true God.

I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite,

here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth;

Now I know what a small portion of what I shall know,

here in part, there in perfection,

here a glimpse, there a glory,

To enjoy Thee is life eternal,

and to enjoy is to know.

Keep me in the freedom of enjoying Thy salvation continually.

~ from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur Bennett.

 

 

 

 

 

The Garden of the Good Shepherd

dschondog:

I almost burned my house down using Ann Voskamp’s Easter to Pentacost wreath with candles to light. This may be the solution that takes me daily to Pentacost. I am a grandma and have grandchildren who may pop in to share it with me. Thanks. I am reblogging to show this to others.

Originally posted on Aslan's Library:

Garden of the Good Shepherd The Garden of the Good Shepherd: A Sticker Calendar to Count the 50 Days of Easter
Peter Mazar & Tomie dePaola
Liturgy Training Publications, 2000

I don’t honestly remember when I stumbled across The Garden of the Good Shepherd sticker calendar. It may have been one of those rare moments of Amazon kismet, when they actually recommended something I might want to read. (Does anyone else confuse their magical recommendation machine with their reading/buying/browsing choices? Also, whatever algorithm they use, it’s not very sophisticated when it comes to determining one’s choices in theological kidlit. But that’s another rant.)

Anyhow. Whenever I did stumble across it, I ordered it immediately, and I have been hiding it in my sewing room ever since. And I am so excited to recommend it to you for your family’s Easter celebration.

What precisely is it? And do I promise it’s not cheesy?

Yes. I promise. It’s…

View original 293 more words

The Road to the Promised Land

I was reading about the spies whom Moses appointed to scout out the Promised Land. All of the spies reported that the land was a great land flowing with milk and honey, but itJ&K was beyond their ability to capture. They reported that the land was full of giants and that they were too powerful for the Israelites to defeat. All agreed… except Caleb. Caleb said they should go now and take the land. God had promised it to them. Yes, indeed, He had. In Numbers 13:2 God declares, “the land of Canaan I give to the children of Israel”. Caleb believed God and circumstances did not deter him.

In Joshua 1:3-5, Joshua is called to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land:

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates – all the Hittite country – to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

I got to thinking about that as I was relating the story to my life. God said He would give Joshua every place where he set his foot. My goodness, what He has promised me may just be a footstep away! Is it because I fail to “set my foot” on a promise that I do not yet realize it? Must I willingly move in that promise if I am to succeed? The step is a step of faith. In spite of giants, walls, enemies, bad attitudes, I must step. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6a) I need not worry what will happen for He promised me, just as He promised Joshua, that “no one would be able to stand against me” and “He would never leave me nor forsake me” (Matthew 28:20).

WorkstationThis afternoon, as I contemplate working the hardest day of the week at my job, I rest in His promises to me. As Sherwood Day said at the funeral of his friend William Whiting Borden (a millionaire who gave up everything to become a missionary), “He felt that life consisted not in the “abundance of things that a man possesseth, but in the abundance of things which possess the man.”* I pray that the holy fire of God grips me, possesses me, consumes me so that no earthly thing deters me from advancing the Kingdom of God throughout the sphere of influence of my office.

Willing for His light to possess me,

Dawn

*Quote from Warren W. Wiersbe, 50 People Every Christian Should Know, 2009, Baker Books, p. 345.

 

The road to Emmaus is a 5K walk/run

So happy, she parked at the end of the row near an incline in the grass. There was no room for someone to park on that side of her leased car so she felt it would be safe parking itummmtooclose there. No one would be able to dent it by opening their car door into the side of her car. She was there to support a friend who was running a 5K for a charity. She met her friend and found out that it was a 5K walk/run and her friend invited her to join her and walk the route. She signed up and got a number.

Since she was now a participant and not just a bystander at the 5K, she returned to her car to leave some belongings there. Coming up over the rise in the lawn to go down the incline to her car she saw that someone had just pulled in next to her car and was parked ON the incline. She was crazy with rage. She ran down the incline screaming and waving her arms, “How could you park there? You must be insane. You won’t be able to get out of your car without banging your car door into my car. What were you thinking?”

The woman in the car rolled down her window and replied, “I promise I will keep my hand on my car door and open it slowly. I will not hit your car.” She demonstrated that she was capable of doing that and got out to face her deranged assailant. She said she was a pastor and was there to pray over her parishioners who were participating in the race.” Seemingly unruffled, the pastor continues, “Do you know where the runners are starting?”

 Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! “Helll-l0-0, you  are a Christian,” my Friend says to herself. “Act like it!”

“Yes, I do. Do you know that the race is a walk/run? I am going to walk the whole course. Why don’t you join me?”

The woman said, “I would, but I have a knee replacement and I would be too slow.”

“Oh, I have a hip replacement so you won’t be any slower than I. I could use a buddy. Please won’t you go with me? We could both raise money for this great cause.”

One hour later they had finished the 5K together, talking and sharing the whole time. One Christian invited the other Christian into fellowship. The other, not taking offense at the erratic first encounter, accepted the invitation to fellowship. Both lives were transformed in the afternoon sun, walking a 5K neither had intended to walk, but Jesus had other plans and both accepted His invitation.

 

Barbs5K

In His light because of His grace,

Dawn

 

 

 

The road to Montana

White Pine Church at the summitThe Preacher and I drove into the church parking lot as usual. It was a crisp, windy country Sunday morning and the sun was shining brightly. The license plate on a pick-up truck parked near the entrance read Montana. We had a visitor! Our parishioners are all Pennsylvania farming folk so a Montana license plate sticks out even though his pick-up truck fit right in. Beau worshiped with us and took communion. During announcements, the Preacher announced that Beau needed money to get to Montana and an offering plate would be placed in the back of the church if anyone wanted to give. I sit in the front of the church and after worship was over I was talking to the pianist. When I turned around to gather my belongings to leave the church building, I beheld a marvelous sight. There were two circles of prayer happening. One around a young woman in the congregation facing grave medical issues and one around Beau. I wish I had a picture of it to post here, but I can assure you I have it in my mind!

Offering_Plate

I was hushed by the Spirit’s movement through His people into the lives of these two people in need. As the prayer circles dissipated, the Preacher and I walked by the offering plate by the door. It was overflowing with $10’s and $20’s, the practical gifts of a praying people to a man in need so far from home.

Stepping in the light,

Dawn

 

 

The mind of Christ

I Corinthians 2:6-16bible_geneva_from_1581_p7110004-geneva-bible-picture-427x341

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual (in Christ),can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

GoodFridaylighteningI was reading my daily Bible reading to get myself through the Bible in two years. The New Testament passage was the Scripture above. Reading it caused an explosion in my mind. The Holy Spirit lives in me, therefore, I have the mind of God. I am privileged to see the ‘big picture': God’s plan for the ages: ‘Christ in me [in each of us], the hope of glory’. Colossians 1:27  There is such beauty pondering this during Lent. His passion and death, the final steps before His rising again to go to the Father, brings the Holy Spirit to stay with me, to live in me….In me, I have the mind of Christ! Think of it!

In the glory of His light,

Dawn

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know.

Dopamine made her do it

My husband is a pastor. I am a nurse. Every week I prepare a health spot in our churches’ bulletins. This week, in sync with Valentine’s Day, I did a spot on the physiological basis of infatuation, the chemistry of first love. Doctors have mapped the chemical changes that occur and discovered the frontal cortex of the brain shuts down during the heady days of courtship. MRI scans show this de-activation causes us to suspend all criticism or doubt. Dopamine floods the brain. Dopamine is key to our experiences of pleasure and pain. Linked to desire, addiction, and euphoria, a surge may cause such acute feelings of reward that it makes love hard to give up. Surging dopamine has the same effect on the body as cocaine. Another side effect of rising dopamine levels is a reduction in another chemical, serotonin, a key hormone in our moods and appetite. Lack of serotonin makes us feel anxious and jittery.

The love chemical we are most familiar with, however, is adrenaline. This hormone is why our heart races, palms sweat and mouth goes dry when we see the person we like. The same hormone is also released when we are frightened. This means that two people only vaguely attracted to one another can fall madly in love if they go through an exciting or scary experience together. It may also explain the lure of forbidden love.

Next week my husband is going to preach on Luke 7:36-50. It is one of the greatest love stories in the Bible. In fact, these verses record such an outlandish display of love for the Lord Jesus that there have been whole stories concocted about the relationship between this young woman and Jesus. One popular novel by Dan Brown “The Da Vinci Code” hints that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were actually married and she, being pregnant, carried the royal seed to France. (http://ufodigest.com/indefence.html)

The following is a clip of the supposed French descendent of Jesus who has been just rescued from being murdered by those who believe her presence will destroy the church.

Evangelist Fred Grewe, whom I greatly appreciate, has said that this passage is his favorite in all the Bible. He remarked in a sermon I heard him preach 2/28/1999 on Luke 7:36-50 that he wanted to love Jesus like the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair did. She was totally smitten with Him. She didn’t care who saw her or what they thought, she was going right into the publican’s house and do what she wanted to do. She, with complete and utter abandon, poured out her most expensive perfume on the Savior’s feet, washed them with it and then dried His feet with her hair. Crazy, compulsive, contrite, complete was her love for the Master. Perhaps it was a bit chemical, too, but we are encased in chemicals. I can relate.

Walking with Him this Monday,

Dawn

 

Was Jesus a coward?

I am reading about Jesus preaching in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. His text was Isaiah 61:1-2 and how He was the fulfillment of the text. Immediately the men of the synagogue asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” It was at this point He called their attention to the Biblical fact that Israel never believed her own prophets and went on to relate how it was not uncommon for God’s prophets to go outside of Israel to do His work. He spoke of Naaman of Syria being healed of leprosy when there were many lepers in Israel. He told about sparing the widow of Zarephath during the 3 1/2 years of famine even though there were many hungry widows in Israel. Scripture reports:

When they heard these things [all in the synagogue] were filled with wrath.

And rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong.

But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.      (Luke 4:28-30)

This reminded me of another time when something quite similar had happened. Come with me over to John 8. Jesus is telling the Pharisees that He is the light of the world. Not believing Him to have any divinity, they immediately dispute His premise. Jesus says they do not accept His statements because they are not of the Father. They accuse Him of having a demon, and so on until finally in verse 59

They took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

I used to watch a show called Kung Fu when I was a young adult. I was reminded of a clip from one of the segments as I became aware of Jesus walking away from difficult situations. Some may say that His walking away was a sign of cowardice. The great master in the clip teaches that walking away is not cowardice. See what you think.

Having mastered the art of Kung Fu, a student is better able to use the strength of his body to defend himself and others than anyone he may encounter. If so, shouldn’t he always defend himself and others? The great master says, “No, that is why he needs discipline. So that he only uses his power in two situations: to save his own life or the lives of others. To fight with those who provoke a fight or who are incapable of doing real harm is not respecting the other–walk away from them. Jesus is all powerful. He could always win against any opponent. When they heckle or accuse or begin to make moves that he knows can’t really hurt him–he walks away. It is not His time yet. The All-Powerful decides. I sometimes wonder if He didn’t make Himself invisible in order to walk away in the midst of them. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’ll share it with you another time.

Walking with Jesus, the Light of my life [John 8:12],

Dawn