Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lessons from the Shadows

For the longest time I lay there, quietly assessing that thing moving across the wall of my bedroom.  It was the blackest of night, and I was absolutely certain I was doomed.  Wishing I had a gun, or at the very least a guard dog, I held my breath - as if to do so would make me invisible.

After no few moments of heart-pounding trepidation I realized I'd arrived at a false conclusion.  That threatening thing - that figure on the wall was nothing but a shadow.  The night's gentle wind had stirred a large Fir bough which, turn, was wafting itself up & down.  It's shadow appeared before me - as if pretending to be a marauding intruder at the foot of my bed.  What was utterly convincing one moment, turned out to be folly the next.   

Once I figured out what I was up against, I realized the shadow was merely a dancing facsimile of the reality of the Fir's night antics.  Fear subsided, my breathing resumed.  My bug eyes were replaced with a faint smile and great relief.  No longer did it seem so prudent to purchase a fire arm. 

Shadows ... I wonder ...
  • how many of them come-and-go from my life as if the real deal? 
  • how many of them startle or frighten me, when the reality would do anything but that? 
  • how many of them I don't even notice, when to do so would summon my eye to some great thing, or something of beauty? 
I wonder ...
He that dwelleth in the
secret place of the most High
shall abide under the
shadow of the Almighty.
~ Psalm 91:1


He that dwelleth
yashab (yaw-shab')
to sit down (specifically as judge. in ambush, in quiet); by implication, to dwell, to remain; causatively, to settle, to marry

in the secret
cether (say'-ther)
a cover (in a good or a bad, a literal or a figurative sense) -- backbiting, covering, covert, disguise(-th), hiding place, privily, protection, secret(-ly, place).

place of the most High
elyown (el-yone')
an elevation, i.e. (adj.) lofty (compar.); as title, the Supreme -- (Most, on) high(-er, -est), upper(-most).

shall abide
luwn (loon)
to stop (usually over night); by implication, to stay permanently; hence (in a bad sense) to be obstinate (especially in words, to complain)

under the shadow
tsel (tsale)
shade, whether literal or figurative -- defence, shade(-ow).

of the Almighty
Shadday (shad-dah'-ee)
the Almighty -- Almighty.

A 'shadow' is an image cast by a person or object, as that person or object intercepts a light source. The dictionary defines a 'shadow' as, "an imperfect image or copy".  This is interesting as it shows the 'shadow' is far removed from its cause, and is therefore to be seen as vastly inferior to its 'antitype', the person or object which forms it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Keeping It Together

In the beginning was the Word, 
  and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
He was with God in the beginning. 
Through Him all things were made;
without Him nothing was made that has been made. 
In Him was life,  
and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness,  
and the darkness has not overcome.
~ John 1:1-5

For in Him (Jesus) all things were created: 
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers
or rulers or authorities; 
all things have been created through Him
and for Him.
He is before all things, and
in Him all things hold together.
~ Colossians 1:15-17

Few among us would look to the stars or sun only to deduce a randomness or accidental happenstance in order to account for them.  Same with the ocean depths, or the embryo, or the song of birds.  All that our eyes can behold, and all of what our ears can hear (aided or unaided) is complex, diverse, majestic, mysterious & awe-inspiring.  And that's to say nothing of the worlds that are, as yet undiscovered.  Even that, I believe, is by design. 

Everywhere life's grandeur summons us to behold the Designer.  From there - the beholding place - it's easy to surmise that He longs to be known.  

I have no difficulty believing the Genesis story just as it's told; nor in seeing God's hand in the glorious sweeps & brushstrokes of all that is evidenced before me.  From nothing - nada, zilch, zip -comes everything. 

To think He thought of/designed it.  Wow!  Just Wow. 
To think that He brought it into existence.  Gulp!
To think that He holds it all together, even today.  Incredible! 

What fear & wonder & joy consumes me, especially as I consider that I fit into each of those categories too.   

For even if there are so-called gods,
whether in heaven or on earth
(as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 
yet for us there is but one God, the Father,  
from whom all things came and for whom we live;
and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things came and
through whom we live. 
~ 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom
and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!  
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”  
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”  
For from Him and through Him
and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever!
~ Romans 11:33-36

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Drama-Free Zone

I urge you, brothers and sisters,
in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God—
this is your true and proper worship. 
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  
Then you will be able to test and approve
what God’s will is
his good, pleasing and perfect will.
~ Romans 12:1-2

Drama.  What comes to mind?  Desperate Housewives?  American Idol?  General Hospital?  Lindsey Lohan?  The upcoming presidential election? 

I'm not kean on reality TV or the sort of soap drama we find nearly everywhere in 2012.  But the fact is, I do relish a wee bit of drama in life.  Not the sort of drama that results in a rousing stinkin' drinkin' song aboard Country Western music charts, or the sort that plays out in immoral escapades,
slanderous intrigues, one-upmanship, or Donald Trump-type business dynamics.

My dramatic preferences today mean something akin to boredom in many circles.  Today's drama assortment looks an awful lot like preparing for a bike ride, or seeing how far I can stretch a dollar on a shopping foray, or seeing how many books I can wade through in a week, or pouring over travel guides to plan the next big adventure.  Yesterday it was to wash both of our vehicles; something I rarely do, favoring the local carwash instead. 

These are the bite sized dramas I prefer over those that blight the soul.  I wish they'd been my preference as a young woman. But then again, I didn't know what I didn't know back then.  I know now.

There is both intellectual assent as well as common sense to training one's thoughts which, in turn, trains one's behavior.  The result is a whole lot less drama in life.  Anything but boring!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. 
~ Philippians 4:8

We demolish arguments and every pretension that
sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ. 
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Today's MSA Battle

“You will keep in perfect peace all
who trust in you, all whose thoughts
are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”
~ Isaiah 26:3-4

Somewhere in Southern California a young man of 42 years & his family are hoping beyond hope that the day's events will bode well for their future. 

Today our beloved Pastor Greg undergoes a somewhat new, relatively experimental stem cell transplant.   I know little of these things beyond the fact that an optimum outcome would be to eradicate the Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) that is already claiming his body. 

As I've attempted to understand the what & how of transplants, I actually stumbled across yet another MSA sufferer - - though sufferer hardly describes such an indominatable spirit as is demonostrated in his resolve, humor, hopefulness. 

So, as I ask today that you keep Greg, Lori & their four children - Jake/15, Zachary/13, Josh/10 & Brooke/6 in your prayers, I ask that you add Steve & Fran too, even though I do not know them beyond what I learned on their blog.  

MSA is a hideous disease that is tenaciously insistent upon robbing its host of life itself. 

(L-R: Terry, me/Kathleen, Zachary, Jake, Lori, Brooke, Josh, Greg)

“For our present troubles are small and
won’t last very long.
Yet they produce for us a glory
that vastly outweighs them
and will last forever!
So we don’t look at the troubles we
can see now;
rather, we fix our gaze on things
that cannot be seen.
For the things we see now will soon be gone,
but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

P.S.  You can visit Steve & Fran's Blog here:  My MSA Journey

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Suddenlies

Things alter for the worse spontaneously,
if they be not altered for the better designedly. 
~Francis Bacon

Suddenly.  It's a word that summons our certain understanding of immediacy.  We never doubt that such a word conveys a prompt, or abrupt something.  And - - for the most part - - we like to think of life's suddenlies as good things.   
  • Suddenly the rain stopped.
  • Suddenly he returned to his senses.
  • We were suddenly out of peril.
  • Suddenly the fever broke.
  • Then, suddenly, a light dawned.
Several days last week, hubby & I spent time in Denver, Colorado.  He had business to attend to, and I went along as co-pilot.  It afforded us an opportunity to connect with dear friends, as well as to enjoy numerous sight-seeing forays.  For many hours we wiled away time poking about the   city & its environs, as well as driving into the nearby mountains, lunching in Vail, then returning by way of Loveland Pass.  What beauty! 

But ... suddenly ... all that beauty was blighted by the tragic events of a night's evil doing.  In an instant, all sense of innocence was shattered.  A lone gunman entered a theater in Aurora (about 8 miles from our hotel) and began a murderous assault that left 13 dead, 50+ wounded, families shattered, and a nation is disbelief. 

It also left no small number of people on their knees in prayer.  Aurora churches were filled to the brim yesterday, as people gathered to make sense of the senseless, and to comfort those who mourn.

Life as we know it changes in both small & great ways where suddenlies are involved.  There's no time to turn on a dime.  It happens so fast ... too fast, to make many, if any course corrections.  What was passes.  What is new or different takes shape.  Life is altered somehow, be it for the better or the worse.

I like to think I live on the edge of suddenlies; aware & prepared for whatever - come what may.  Or, as the old preachers would say, prayed up.  I hope my sense of equilibrium is well-established in the certainty that this world is passing away; and that my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus and His faithfulness. 

Rather than tether myself to the notion that all things continue the same, I pray I am always at the ready for them - the suddenlies.

Even so, and yet ... we mortals are fearfully & wonderfully composed with a tenacious bent.  Life's suddenlies happen, and with them our ability to get up and go on - the better & wiser & more thankful for, in the midst of, or in spite of them. 

And suddenly a voice came from heaven,
saying, “This is My beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased.”
~ Matthew 3:17
Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake,
so that the waves swept over the boat.
But Jesus was sleeping. 
~ Matthew 8:24

As they were walking along and talking together,
suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire
appeared and separated the two of them,
and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
~ 2 Kings 2:11

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know
when the owner of the house will come back—
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 
If he comes suddenly,
do not let him find you sleeping. 
~ Mark 13:35-36

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed
down with carousing, drunkenness and
the anxieties of life, and that day will
close on you suddenly like a trap. 
~ Luke 21:34

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,”
destruction will come on them suddenly,
as labor pains on a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape. 
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:3

I will send my messenger,
who will prepare the way before me.
Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking
will come to His temple;
the messenger of the covenant,
whom you desire, will come,”
says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 3:1
 When we are no longer able to change
a situation, we are challenged
to change ourselves. 
~Victor Frankl

There never was a night or a problem
that could defeat sunrise or hope.
~ Bern Williams

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


“Always watch where you are going.
Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest
 that was left out by mistake.”
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

There have been times when I've had to hang out the "Closed for Repairs" shingle.  Like you, I have been on the receiving end of a broken trust.  Ouch.

Worse, I've broken a trust.  Double-ouch.

Thank God for grace!  His towards me, and His working in/through me.

Reparations can be tough depending on the nature of the breach.  Of course we know that forgiveness is a vital, necessary framework, but even that can take time ... a process. 

I'm always happy when I see rust growing on the Broken Trust: Closed for Repairs sign

Like everything else in life, prevention trumps repairs every time.  Rust doesn't much like prevention.  But I do.

You can make up a quarrel,
but it will always show where it was patched. 
~Edgar Watson Howe

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pouring Cats & Dogs - Pet Idioms

Idiom = Figure of Speech = Colloquialism

Or, as Merriam tells us, an idiom is:  
  • the language peculiar to a people or to a district - their dialect
  • an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself
  • a style or form of artistic expression that is characteristic of an individual, a period or movement
For example, here are just a couple of idioms we use in our common, everyday expressions: 

A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush:
Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.

Elvis has left the building:
The show has come to an end. It's all over.

So it is that I am frequently baffled by those among us who would take hostage the idioms of scripture to make them say something they don't.  Worse ... to make of them a doctrine.  I'm never quite certain if it's the result of bad theology, immature application, taking scripture out of context, ignorance, wishful/magical thinking, or arrogance - or a mixture of these. 

Case in point: 

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” ( ~ Matthew 17:20)

How many of us would come upon Mt. Rainier or Mt. Pinatubo and demand that it move from one place to another - - even in the face of great need (i.e., it's about to erupt & many people/homes destroyed in the process)?  Yet we are clearly & literally told in scripture that such a thing is possible with the right type & measure (a mustard seed's worth) of faith ... 

UNLESS, that is, the saying is actually an idiom. 

Contextually, the mountain must refer to the demon that was afflicting the man’s son. Jesus tells His disciples that if their faith was stronger, they could have commanded the demon to leave the boy, and it would be so. This was clearly the case in Matthew 10 when Jesus sent them out to cure diseases, cast out demons and spread the gospel. Therefore, it is clear from the context that Jesus does not intend to assert that mustard seed sized faith can literally move mountains. Rather, the expression Jesus uses was a common colloquialism (idiom) of that day; to a Jew of Jesus’ day, a mountain is a metaphor signifying a seemingly impossible task. (3)

Here's another ...  

"I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.  Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” (~John 8:49-51)

Can/does Jesus possibly mean that righteous believers will not die in the here-and-now? Or is it the spiritual, eternal context in which He gives us so great & precious a promise? 

Then there's that darned ole camel"...it is easier for an camel to go through the eye of needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  ~ Mark 19:22

After all, it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of needle, and that was precisely Jesus’ point. It is impossible for one who trusts in riches to enter the kingdom. It takes a miracle for a rich person to get saved, which is quite the point of what follows: "All things are possible with God." (4)

How many times have we seen that scripture taken hostage to malign prosperity?  (Disclaimer:  I do not mean to imply the opposite, either.  Being poor as opposed to, or better than being prosperous is not the point.  We all know wealthy people who accomplish much for God's kingdom.  We also know plenty of people who have little yet manage to accomplish much for God's kingdom in an altogether different manner from those of means.)

There  is a wide array of scriptural sayings that fall into the idiomatic bucket.  Many of them, like parables, simile or hyperbole are meant to pack a powerful "aha!" for those that grasp the deeper sense behind, or beneath the saying. 

Moreover, I find myself puzzling over those among us who insist upon the use of shifting rules of interpretation - ascribing a literal to this and an idiomatic to that depending on a particular slant, or "pet".  They apply different rules to identical concepts.  Worse are those that insist everything is literal, to be interpreted just as it's stated - ala mountains & camels. 

I confess I'm guilty.  I've done the very same thing myself - - though, hopefully not intentionally. Usually it's because I've overlooked or not fully understood context or linguisitics.  I'd like to think I do it less as I grow, and as I dig much deeper into the meaning of a text before appropriating its meaning. 

It is here that I note a word of caution:  It was, and is Satan's ploy to challenge everything associated with God's word.  "Did He really say _______" harks back to the garden; and can be expected even in 2012 as we ponder this or that verse.  That's not at all my purpose here.  God's word is certain & true.  He says what He means; and He means what He says.  But that's not to say that He doesn't use idioms or parables to drive His points home. 

This I know:  I could have saved myself a lot of grief and/or confusion had I understood the idiomatic of scripture.  I could have spared others the same had I not asked they build a cage for the pets I chose to hoard.

Gotta dash ...  Cuz right now I need to set out some food & a litter box for the dogs & cats that are raining down; then I need to catch Elvis before he actually leaves the building.

Biblos (4)
Biblical Studies (5)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Grandpa Wells - Roots of a Different Sort

It has been a great adventure of the richest sort:  tracing my ancestral roots.  I cannot say enough good things about the website, Ancestry.com.  From stores & scores of records I have made my way out upon the lengthy & lofty branches of my family tree.  At various intersections it is abundantly clear that distant relatives are doing work of their own there, adding documents, stories & photos that help me in my own journey. 

Some boughs have taken me back hundreds of years, especially those of my mother's Grinnell limb.  As you may have guessed, it is one and the same Grinnell that is associated with so many notable places & people ... Grinnell College being but one.  In fact, it's so widely known that it even has it's own website:  The Grinnell Family Association.

However, when it comes to my Dad's kin the boughs are rather short & stunted, as if someone had taken a buzz saw to a Poplar tree.  That said, on most boughs I'm able to make my way across the seas to the Emerald Isle - to the Ireland of the mid-to-late 1700s.  Names like Kelly, McAleer, McFadden, Breslin & Lagan are quite common.    

Photo:  Elial Parker Wells

Of the Clan Wells, little is known from 1810 forward.  That's when John Wells, my great-great grandfather was born in New York, no doubt the progeny of immigrants himself.  It was his son, Elial, who gave birth to James Elmer, who gave birth to my Dad, James Uvo in 1902.

Today I've been thinking about James Elmer, my grandfather.  I'm rather unhappy with him, but more on that later.  He was born in 1862 & died in 1919, making him only 57 years old at the time of his death; this untimely demise among family that often lived well into their 80s & 90s.  So it has been of particular interest to me to know the what & why of Grandpa Wells' brief life. 

Photo:  James Elmer Wells

Father to ten, he was a craftsman by trade.  He built many a fine structure (mostly homes) in Canada, Washington & Oregon.  When his sons were old enough to put their hand to the hammer, he appropriated their time & talents alongside his own.

It was in 1919 that he contracted to build the residence for the principle of Ferris Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.  With sons Frank & Martin in tow, he undertook the project. 

Initially my grandmother, Annie, along with the youngest hildren joined him.  When finished he did not go directly home, but decided instead to detour via Burns, Oregon, in order to visit his mother (my grandmother, Sarah Kelly).  It was there that he suddenly took ill & died.  His grave remains there to this day.

Photo:  Annie Claire McFadden-Wells

Over time, and when it actually mattered to me, I heard of, then read about the story of Grandpa's illness.  Much has been shared about him by his youngest daughter, Helen (my aunt), so connecting dots has not been troublesome.  It is among her artifacts that I discovered that it was an abscessed tooth that turned into that sudden, lethal ailment.  A tooth.  I have since learned that an abscess can breach the mouth's tissue and bone, then enter both brain and heart to become fatal. 

This all seems painfully relevant to me today - - several days hence of oral surgery, AGAIN. 

I'll end here with a bit about how Grandpa's DNA (and "roots" of a different sort) has been passed down to me...

From the git go I have had umpty-umpty problems with teeth & jawbones.  I could have put a child through Harvard for what I've spent on maintenance & repairs in my lifetime, and I've endured more than my fair share of abscesses & resultant root canals.  Even with the best of oral care, the genes meted out to me have been of little help.

So today I'm grateful for the legacy of industry that Grandpa has passed on.  The DNA?  Not so much ...

Group Photo:    Far L: Frank Wells, 4th from L, Martin Wells, 4th from R (w/mustache), Grandpa James Elmer Wells.  As for the others ... I'm clueless.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Power to Grasp

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep 
is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness of God. 
~ Ephesians 3:17-19

More often than not I find myself scratching my head over various items I discover in the scriptures.  It is an age-old quandary: the more we know, the more we know that we don't know much.  We see evidence of that at large, as well as between Christian worldviews/denominations.  We even see it between believers with similar worldviews.  

Yet, when I consider this one brief passage, the fog lifts.  No reach is complete until it has a grasp on that for which it reaches.

I can search out knowledge & understanding - - and I do.  I'm a staunch advocate of academia & reason.  It is often a delineation between folly & wisdom.  But to effectively understand God's word (and thus, His ways), liberal applications of love are vital.  All the more needful if I actually hope for something apart from a slippery grip. 

Whenever I have the pleasure & privilege of seeing life through the eyes of my 2 year old grandson, Kole, I marvel.  He slips his little hand - often sullied by sand or mud - into mine.  He grasps that he is safe with me; and trusts me to lead him (until, that is, he takes a notion to go another way).  He does not yet grasp that he doesn't & can't know everything. 

" ... how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ ... " 

I wonder if my tone, or my intentions, or my actions would be different if I fully grasp that?

Beware lest you lose the substance
by grasping at the shadow. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wordographer Robert Brault

I love quotes. 

People - uniquely designed as we all are - have such an amazing way of looking at or saying things.  Sometimes we're expressing the same things, but our style, perspective or intonation can turn a word with rare effect.  Think diamond facets exposed to sunlight.

Being the word-junkie that I am, I have a huge stash of "I Wish I'd Said That"s.  Among such a collection stands the sayings of one Robert Brault

I don't know this man; I wouldn't recognize him were he to show up on my doorstep.  Yet I trip over his wisdom all the time.  I've come to value the way he thinks; and I've learned that what he thinks tells me a lot about who he is & what he values.  The same can be said of all of us - - our words and worldviews say a good deal about who we are on the inside.

I don't know how Mr. Brault gained his fame, or how he becamse such a prolific spokesperson about so many subjects.  I'm clueless as to the font of his wisdom (though, in truth I do know that Source), or how he garners the time to think up so many pithy & wise sayings.  

I'm a bit stymied by how difficult it's been to find out much about the man.  No doubt that's why I have so many "I don't know"s related to him.  You'd think in an era of all things internetty and/or self-promotional you could get at this stuff.  Yet he remains rather obscure.  I like that too.

What I do know is that this intrepid Wordographer (new word) has been endowed with something quite unique & altogether lovely.   For some inexplicable reason he is quoted alongside the likes of Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Winston Churchill ... and even Confuscious!   Little wonder.

Anyway, I stopped today just long enough to acknowledge Robert Brault's gift and to introduce him - - or at least what I've discovered about his craft.  It's probably not the last any of us will hear from or of him. 

FOOTNOTE:  In case you didn't notice, Mr. Robert Brault himself paid me a visit here; and left a comment to boot.  I'm thinking I might just have a means of finding out more about our stealth wordsmith.  Be sure to pay him a visit at his archival site:  A Robert Brault Reader.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sun, Cedar & Soda

Most mornings I make it my aim to walk 2-3 miles.  Typically I bring my IPOD and hand weights, and saunter along to various Christian or Classical music. 

In recent days, especially with the bluing of skies & warming of temps, I have found myself ruminating among the memories of youth.  I still don't quite understand how freshly cut grass or petunias provide passage for such a journey, but they do.  And the idyllic, albeit eclectic collection runs the gamut.

Not far from my childhood home rose a gnarled & stately Cedar tree.  It had experienced more than its share of damage from storms & broken boughs.  Somehow it managed to remain lush & aloft, even thriving.  The crooks & hollows it harbored within made for hiding places in both low & lofty heights.  And on many a summer's day you could find my childhood buddy, Shirley & me roosted there.  From the pinnacles of our perch we'd survey our domain - today queens, tomorrow pirates. I wonder if our laughter & girlish dreams remain within the bough's folds?.

Another favorite sunshine pass time was to head to the corner grocery, purchase a small bag of penny candy, & a bottle of Royal Crown (R.C.) Cola  - not because we liked it so much, but because it was larger than every other soda beverage at that time. We'd then make our (again, Shirley & me) way to any grassy knoll where we'd wile away our time, sipping soda & scanning the skies.  Questions of great import would arise; and then we'd set about answering them.  Questions like: Where do the clouds go when they leave our sight?  Or, If you could have ANYTHING from the Avon collection, what would you choose?

I haven't seen Shirley in many years, but I think of her & those days affectionately - especially when the temps rise and a whiff of Cedar makes its way to me.  I know she would have liked my IPOD.

I thank God, literally & often, for the days of my youth. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Strength Will Rise

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord ...

I've quietly visited numerous locales across the globe.  Some such journeys I've taken by car or plane, while others entail a meandering of the cyber-trails left here in the blogosphere.  I love to roam, especially when the roaming involves connecting with people. 

Today my heart is burdened for the many - dare I say most? - that are facing tremendous hardship, heartaches, health issues or myriad trials.  Having walked in similar shoes, I know all-too-well how discouraging such dark places can be. 

There are those among my own family who are struggling with job losses, bereavement, threadbare finances or wayward youth. 

There are friends far & near that have similar struggles.  Some are facing dangerous medical procedures, while others face degrading demise & death.

There are those of you here who share much of these same woes & burdens, adding to them betrayals & worries of the worst sort.

Many of you know that I, too, face challenges of my own.

Have we ever needed each other more?  Have we ever needed Him more?

Let me just say that I have no quick fix for these things.  Then again, you already knew that.  What I can offer is yet another volley of encouragement to hang on, hang in ... tie yet another knot in that threadbare tether & grip it for all your worth. 

Let us wait together for strength to rise.  It will.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood 
since the earth was founded?

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,  
and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 

He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,  
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. 

“To whom will you compare me?  
Or who is my equal?”
says the Holy One. 
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:  
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, 
not one of them is missing.

Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord
my cause is disregarded by my God”?  

Do you not know?
Have you not heard? 
The Lord is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary,  
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;  
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 41:21-31

RESOURCES for Encouragement:
Strength in God
What Christians Want to Know