If I am still alive when the bitter cloud passes, may I not I not be found stubbornly clinging to the storm because I’ve adapted myself to misery. Instead, may I celebrate in sunlight as I embrace the sparkling new day the sun reveals. Let me move forward to clean up the damage left by the storm and not be stuck hanging on for survival long after the storm has passed. A powerful storm forever transforms the landscape and the lives of those who survive but help me, Lord to accept and embrace the transformation. May the storm not live on in me in thoughts that exist in loops and refuse to move forward. Make me mindful of the present and keep me from reliving terrifying moments and even repeating them by my actions. I do not want to be a storm bearer, a manufacturer of the misery I survived. Instead, help me share the hope that enabled me to endure. May I be an image bearer of you, Jesus the one who made my survival possible. It is to you that I cling in the midst of every storm. I cling to you now, even though the sun is breaking through the clouds because I need you in good times as well as in bad. I remain tethered to face new storms that soon will appear on the horizon. Even if one of those storms should take my life, I know my soul is secure in you, Jesus. Though I die, I will live. I should never fear the storm but when I do, Jesus, you are always there to comfort and strengthen me. You are there to lead me forward when danger has passed. In you I have hope even, on those dark days when I can feel no hope, joy, or peace. Even when I let go of you, Jesus, I know you are holding on to me. Thank you, Jesus for this gift of faith by which I endure all things to also, overcome. Amen.
Enchanted by a Primrose dream in June…
A perfect dewy morn,
Sun adorns! I awake by Meadowlark tune!
No summer will I scorn!
Take my hand old man, still a honeymoon…
Our old love newly born,
In every passing season and many a moon!
Every wrinkle care-worn,
My dear old man hold me and let’s spoon!
Apart may we not be torn!
Together so long, souls and hearts attune,
Without you I die forlorn…
I will follow you! Even as far as Neptune!
Taken by one blackthorn!
Should our Primrose dream turn maroon…
Hold me! We’ll be reborn!
On an eternal dewy morning forever June!
One ear is tuned to hear Heaven…
Another ear is tuned to the ground.
Living souls do hang in the balance!
Eternal Breath in mortality is wound.
Divinity’s spark as light in the mind!
Illuminate hope, wisdom profound!
Either to ignite or be extinguished…
Lost souls all fall! Carnal moribound!
Faith’s seed sprouts, grows…or dies…
Hearts to open or close to the sound,
Of Jesus Name! Who died but lives!
Calls dead, “Rise up from the ground!”
This is the design for all humankind.
Jesus seeks the lost and those found,
Escape second-death into eternal Life!
God’s Breath enlivens earthly bound;
Never be separate from Father again!
Hope for all who are lost to be found!
Breath taken back when worldly ears…
Refuse to hear Jesus! Fail to respond!
Will gnash in pain when Door closes!
Please today, hear! Be Heaven bound!
Two fates for soul hang in the balance!
Jesus loves everyone yet, so few ever think to truly love Him in return. Most refuse to believe that such a man existed as the Son of God and the Son of Man. The idea seems impossible so, they downsize Jesus into a form they can relate to and understand. Prophet, teacher, a myth, philosophical allegories are the boxes spiritually blind human beings use as a neat place to categorize and store Jesus. Once packaged and labeled, He is then stuffed in back of a dark closet of the mind. Jesus becomes another file to pull up from memory to be used as self justification or to impress another with personal intellectual prowess. In those who are bitter toward God because they don’t approve of how He governs or are mad because He didn’t acquiesce to their personal requests, Jesus becomes a weapon of ridicule to use against those who name, Jesus and are known as His followers. Jesus Christ is a favorite curse word for those who in their anger of not getting what-they-want-their-way, deny the existence of God even though, their whole angry state of being and every word they speak against God and His Son, defines them. Still, Jesus loves them and views them as equal with all of God’s errant children. Many of the religiously pious also, miss out on recognizing the power of God’s love expressed to the uttermost in Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man. Priding themselves upon adherence to traditions and doctrines, they trade in the power of God for a form of godliness and their pride inhibits the power of God’s love from transforming their lives. Yet, Jesus loves them. Still others live out their lives by instinct, following the desires of their heart that can never fill what every heart hungers for, the filling of divine love. Jesus loves these children too. He gave His life for all of us in obedience to God, His Father and also, to all of God’s errant children, as an expression of pure, sacrificial love. He poured out His blood for the purpose of covering all of our error to give us the opportunity to reconcile with our Father by adoption through Christ that we might become like Jesus, sons of men and sons of God. Though Jesus made this sacrifice centuries ago, it still remains open for an unknown length of time but not forever. This offer is available to everyone because God plays no favorites and above all things: God honors the ability He gave us, to choose. Whatever any of us decide to believe about Jesus, or the place we give Him in our life is our personal, sovereign choice and no matter the consequences, God will not take that power of self away.
Look around you, look behind the present virtual-iron-curtain of delusion, and examine the true state of the world in which you are living. The world offers many things but it doesn’t offer love. It is a hard, cruel place that entices all with exciting, temporary pleasures that generally, come at the personal expense of self and others. The world created by human beings is vicious, a place where one will become either predator or prey, and the struggle to survive over-rides any happiness derived from material gain or personal power. Into such a world everyone of us in born and also in each of us, is a void that hungers for divine love. Instinctually, we know what we hunger for is the very ingredient missing that keeps the societies we build from becoming a paradise. This realization when we allow it and then couple it by looking within to see we are like the community we live in because it is of us and we too lack divine love and are possessed by a dark void. A hole, where love that goes beyond a warm feeling or a fragile, emotional bond is absent, a cavity in the soul that only divine love can completely fill. None of us can give the world what we don’t have and the only, way we can receive the love we hunger for and the world so desperately needs is to allow Jesus to come into our lives and be made complete. This doesn’t mean we will become instantaneously, perfect but when we are reconciled to a right relationship with God, when we are adopted into His family, a spiritual training process begins and though we remain human as the offspring of man, we also become the spiritual children of God. Choosing first to accept God’s divine love by accepting Jesus as the person He describes Himself to be and personally, applying his sacrifice is the first step in learning how to love as Jesus loves. Learning to love Him back is the process of living for Christ rather than for self and then, choosing to love others with the same kind of divine love we receive from Jesus in hopes that others who are hungering for love will also, invite Jesus into their lives.
I see turmoil increasing in the world around me and the specter of it causes even this old believer to sometimes, feel threatened. It seems darkness is descending and many are actually, calling for that descent. Angry ears are deaf to love but the night enveloping the world is the void that exists in every fallen human being; a gaping black hole that only divine love can fill. Jesus is the embodiment of divine love. None of us have the power to change or fix the world but each of us retains the power of personal choice. Jesus is the answer and He satisfies our great lack, one hungry heart at a time. If you are troubled, consumed by the turmoil without and within please, take a second look at Jesus. Read the Bible and consider who He says Himself to be and use the power God gave you to be saved from the gaping need within that only, Christ can fill. In a world that seems bent on self-destruction, choose Jesus; receive true love and eternal life.
Near the end of a harshly-cold, long, black night, when the explosion comes and personal worlds come crashing down. Everything known shattered and scattered lying on hard-packed ground. These moments are Death but the victims are left breathing to suffer the carnage. Wait for the morning light! Every ray that glints from each broken shard enlivens an old memory with the sorrow of loss. Grief’s overbearing moment, a debt payable only in defeated tears. A specified time to cry out to God in anger, then remorse, and finally repentance; cover the mournful head with dust and ashes, then submit, face into the wind and be made clean! Everything passes and none are able to hold onto the good or the bad, all things arrive and fade according to their pre-set season. The obedient bend to endure all seasons, the disobedient are broken; but neither achieves personal glory by their chosen effort. It’s not about us, it’s all about Him and all people before God are equal in value. Our individual days rise to fade as our dreams are formed to vanish in the same mist; as our lives blend to form the greater whole. This that we are a part of and have no hope to escape is beyond individual or collective understanding. To be human is have instinctual, conscious knowledge that is divine but hampered because we are carnal. Truth is something we know but can’t fully apprehend. Born to imitate the Creator, we seek to control, to bend, to build, to master, but night shortens our day; and the eternity we reach for remains beyond our grasp. Death descends and we suffer loss, again, and again, and again; until the final night falls…
There is but one way out of the futility called the Human Condition. Only, one Door by which all may enter to find life, hope, and freedom, along with the strength to rise up on weakened legs from the ashes to life overflowing into the eternal. It is open to all in every walk of life, to people of every gender, and every color who are willing to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man. To all who on their sad day of dust and ashes understand that He laid down His life to save them as they then, reach up and grasp the Mighty Hand reaching down to receive faith within that strong clasp. In that broken, dire moment when human wisdom is revealed as lacking, as foolish and all useful knowledge boils down to one Name: Jesus! The power to rise, live again, with a new purpose claimed. Though in this world there will still be Death to face every day ( with losses, suffering, and grief to bear) Jesus is the open Door into eternal life, with lasting purpose set beyond Death’s border. Though everything in this material life is broken, in Christ find seven-fold restoration for all kept by faith. Don’t refuse this gracious offer that costs nothing but the release of human pride. If you are mournful, grieving, and sorry, let it go and enter the Door to joy!
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Write the number of my days on fine rice paper.
Tally them, and tear…
Delicate hand molded sheet into bits and caste it in the wind!
I can no longer understand the sum of those days nor transcend,
The heartbreak of futility or tragedy’s rude temper!
This calamity I fear…
Shattered my existence by the hand of happenstance I can’t bend,
Into a shape I can’t cope with, I can’t make my scattered mind comprehend,
How or why God allows evil’s continued mad caper!
In emptiness so clear…
I tremble in askance in the presence of my horror from which I can’t fend!
I’ve lost all surety of knowledge of just who I am in this ominous moment self-end!
Blanketed by sorrows I feel my faith’s diminishing taper.
Father rescue me here!
Without You, I am only tattered delicate rice paper flying in the wind!
I stand in the middle of a cold barren high desert.
Winds of winter howling…
Alone it seems, as I straining hear the silence exert,
Power Divine! I’m cowling…
In the Presence of this Holy sound my ideas dessert!
All dreams flee with yowling!
Whimper, return to netherworld; must die or convert!
Ultimate Truth is de-fouling…
This barren land is a cold mirror of what I am; only dirt!
In me I see the evil prowling…
Condemned if I should choose to ignore this Holy alert,
Finality! Death’s wind howling…
If I decide to remain in my barren state and reality skirt,
Defy God and rise fist growling!
Winter icy desert isolation only a taste of my future hurt,
If I deserving of Holy scowling!
Remain in a desert turned hot to burn fools who pervert,
Ignore Holy Wind’s cowling!
Caste into the outer darkness by the forces of illness and neglect, a child grows in the absence of the comfort and nurture that ensures a child’s becoming whole. Suspended in isolation with nothing but childish, undeveloped thoughts and the voices from the outer-world (of the family) to keep her company, Ester gives into sleep. In her dreams the door to freedom opens and allows her to escape the loneliness of her dusky room. If it were not for sleep and dreams, the vacuum would consume her and she would evaporate to nothing. However, the benevolence that surrounds Ester, the presence she can feel but not name, enters her dreams and speaks the loving words she so desperately needs to hear. Ester has a destiny greater than the one assigned to her by poor health and negligent parents.
Floating in the void of aloneness, Ester knows nothing different and is unaware of the threat to her existence. The void wants to swallow her whole before the world knows of her but Ester has a gift; the ability to fight the void by the power of imagination. The presence never leaves her and though the isolation she endures would destroy most adults, Ester never feels lonely. The warmth of divine love surrounds her and keeps her alive in her dimly-lit room and fills her dreams with joyful images, experiences, and even a sense of self. In the world of flesh and blood, Ester is small and weak. However, in the world of her benevolently guided dreams, Ester is very strong.
In this gloomy room, Ester will face death and win. Even though she’s been in bed for many months and her legs are too weak to support her, she will learn to walk again. She will leave this room one day and enter the real world because the One who loves her has predestined it so. Though Ester will embrace the void for a short period of time, in a wrong-headed effort to subdue and overcome it, the void won’t be able to destroy her. Instead, the emptiness she will for a time internalize will make greater room for the filling of the Spirit of God, who hovers around her, limiting evil and working all to ultimate good. Though Ester has no definition now, of either the loving presence or the void, she knows each as her constant often, only companions. Though she is nothing in the world, even valued little by her parents, God will be glorified through her. Her life, her very existence will be a testimony of Jesus; when she lets go of the void and knowingly invites Him in. Though the world views Ester as having no identifiable purpose, as only a sick little girl wanted by no one, God has predestined His purpose for her in Christ and her purpose will be completed. The void will be filled by the divine light that is Jesus and Ester will know the outer darkness no more.
There is nothing more lovely than a Sonoran winter rain. Pouring silver; large drops weighted by the ice of the winter world that surrounds The Valley of the Sun. The ice that melts into rain before it hits the warm desert floor, as snow buries the surrounding mountain rim. The dry soil welcomes the steady feeding of moisture in ground cooled enough to receive it and even store it safely, deep down below the surface. The peace of acceptance fills the atmosphere, as the rain washes the resting desert clean. There is a sense of sorrow, as all that stood and appeared strong in the previous season is washed away and all debris is broken down to become one with the soil. This short, quiet space in time, labeled as winter in the Sonora, is appropriated to building the foundation of the new season to come. This water that falls from the heavens is worth more than gold and everything that lives in the green desert depends upon it for life and by the wisdom intrinsic to its design, the Sonoran Desert submits to the washing, the rearranging that comes by the sheer force of water. The normal state of drought is fully satiated as the water overflows to fill the lakes and reservoirs that will be so needed when the rainy season ends. This strange season, so uncharacteristic of the desert’s usual appearance, is necessary or the fierce heat that tests all Sonoran life in summer would be devastating. This low lying climate would be left void, without the teeming life it sustains, and become nothing but hard packed ground. No one could enjoy this wonderful Valley of the Sun if it were not for these cloudy, gray, wet days.
Mourning is a season most struggle to avoid but mourning is the time when the foundation of the future is laid. When it comes, it is best to accept it and let go of all that is being beat down and rearranged. God loves a broken, contrite heart and God’s presence is all encompassing when a tired, broken heart opens to Him. When sorrow pours from skies cloudy with gloom and thoughts of past sunny days bring a deep sense of loss in their vanishing, this is joy: no matter how chaotic or abhorrent such a season may seem, God has His fingers laced tightly around all of it and those who belong to Him. When we are weak and there is nothing to hold onto amid the rushing flood, God holds us close and is working all the pain to our future good. The surety in life is that our purpose in Him will be fulfilled. In trusting God peace is found, even in the midst of a severe storm. In acceptance of God’s Will is the power to utilize mourning, as time spent alone with God, as He satiates grief and fills our deep reservoirs with Truth. He fills all sorrowful, dry basins that will become life sustaining lakes in the future, with the joy found in Jesus. Even if our bodies are part of the refuse to be broken down and washed away, for those hidden in Christ, it is but a natural part of the overall cycle of life, which we are part of. In Christ, all endings are beginnings for life is eternal. In Jesus, a melancholy rain is lovely. A time to rest securely in God’s presence and drink in the sustenance of His Spirit and wait as the great wheel turns, assuring the continued spinning of the other smaller wheels, He encircles.
By God’s Love the Sonora remains green. By His grace, the sorrowful season passes and the desert blooms in a fantastic, colorful display of continuing life. This is the assured hope of faith.
Brrrr! Baby it is cold outside! The beauty of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains has a down side. How blessed this old bird is to fly south! I am trading these ice-bound mountains and bare grey branches in for the rainbow landscape with low mountains covered in green velvet found only in Arizona. I’m leaving snow and wind behind me as I head for a hideaway in the Valley of the Sun. In The Valley, I’m sure to find the warmth I need to melt my pain and the bright colors I adore to lighten my mind. Arizona is paradise for people like me who love to study how colors harmonize and collide. It is a place designed for the grey-haired set, looking for a place to celebrate the stage of life referred to as golden. It is a refuge for me and as I pack my bags, my heart sings, “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, in the midst of a dry thirsty land, and covers it there with his hand.” This old desert-dweller belongs to Jesus and my Father so faithfully, works all things to my good.
There is a time to gather and a time to let go. I’m standing at the end of my gathering time and with sorrow, I must let go of people and things important to me. Endings are a time of mourning but beginnings are a time of joy. As I prepare to leave my familiar life behind, there are tears as I gaze backward; but then, I look the other way toward my future that is beginning, as tears of sorrow evaporate in joy. Some would say that I am at the beginning of the big END-ing but I belong to Jesus and my future is eternal in Him. As I travel toward a land where the sun shines warm in winter, I contemplate the big BEGIN-ing that waits at the end of my golden years. Today, I am joyfully, leaving the cold and my pain behind, heading for the perpetually, warm green desert that blooms and offers healing time for my sadness. On a someday that may come any day, I will joyfully, fly away to that “Rock that is so much higher than I” and leave all the cold, pain, and sorrow of the world behind. In Jesus, even when I lose I win, and with everything I must let go of, He restores and multiplies.
With songs of joy in my heart, I hit the road to follow the sun to the land where the Bougainvillea always blooms and winter is only, a word. I am a vagabond, a time-traveler, a tourista’ on a perpetual holiday and the road stretches endlessly, ahead!