"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:2

Friday, March 29, 2013

Coastline wishes...

I looked back at my journal entries while living on the coastline of Penang, Malaysia. During January, my spiritual trek led me into the final speeches of Moses and his reminders of importance. With many references to "these words" in Deuteronomy, Moses referred to the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets. Through reminders of "these words", Moses teaches the Grace of God reaching even into my generation in a desire that His people know Him.
My studies traced Moses' footprints through his own pilgrimage with God, and I often found my heart responding just as Moses did after his face time with the Creator.

On this particular afternoon I stood on the beach and gazed out as far as I could see while envisioning Moses view the vast reaches of land promised to his forefathers.
To my right, I saw the dark plush majestic mountains rising out of the water and to my left, the landscape continued with sand and waves meeting in outline forms. Looking closer, I took in the array of ethnic groups adding contrast in clusters around beach restaurants, hotel pools, and behind them, my gaze caught the upward sights of hotels and city apartments rising to meet the sky. Cars, mini-vans, motorcycles, and trucks carried produce and people, but most looked too busy to enjoy the scenery. Many identified their staunch beliefs by their customary outfits, and even some restaurants' glistening trinkets and scents of spices spoke of ethnicity.

The colors of business and vacations lining the beach added contrast to the vast span of blues and plush deep greens of the mountains as I put footprints in the wet sand. The shores of a calm Malacca Strait were relaxing and peaceful,  and as I walked along the water edge, an urge to speak with the Creator overwhelmed my spirit. As I tried to describe my powerful emotions affected by this landscape of beauty, I was wonder-struck at the possibility to personally speak to the Creator!
As I stood in wonder, I wanted to shout like Moses, and ask the groups speckled along the beach...
"What god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts...?" (Deut 3:24)

Right there on the beach, the questions linger from Moses' day..."Who has a god so near to them as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And who has rules so righteous as the word of grace from our God?"
Who has made himself known to his people like this God of Creation?"

My wonder turned to thankfulness.
This God of Creation has made Himself known! He created this sea and the gigantic mountains rising out of the sea. He formed the waves that splashed my legs and slid back into the depths. He made each person decorating the beach, and even the stray dogs and horses walking the beach with hopeful owners making a livelihood.
And He shows Himself in all His greatness through every detail of Creation!
As I contemplated His greatness, I was awed by our possibility to know the Creator.

At that moment, I wanted to shout "I know HIM!" to each person. By just the scenery, I could point out His greatness, His vast and intricate details, His power, and His goodness! If given more time, I would pass on His "words" of love, and share the rest of His story.
Oh, how I wish I could have shared the love of God,
the visit of this Creator to earth,
and what He did to redeem His world!
And as old Moses, I would warn them not to miss "these words" written on stone, or the sights and sounds He provided so that each of us could really know Him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Family Moments

My inbox is full of drafts that need editing before posted.
I hope to catch up in the remaining days of this month.
I'm on a new path in this spiritual climb which made me put aside writing for a short time in order to restore my soul. With Dad's "home-going", my life changed drastically and needs to adjust to the changes made me very weary and overwhelmed.
first visitors to hospital
I've taken the last few months in relaxation and rest.

As with every good hike, resting places along the path are very welcomed. My break took me to the Far East to visit family and spend time with grandchildren. Their vitality for life, enthusiasm for adventure, active imaginations and creativity, and their many activities renewed my spirit.

God gave an added blessing to my family on Valentine's Day when our very first grandson made his debut. Malachi Immanuel was welcomed with great joy and squishy hugs from his 3 older sisters! There's no better reason to just sit around relaxing and accomplishing nothing than to cuddle and snuggle a newborn! I really enjoyed watching him change every day.

"Good morning, Grandma!"
My favorite times were with the older 3 girls each morning. They would noisily burst out of their bedroom while the roosters crowed and try to be the first to bounce on my bed and find their spot. When each was snuggled in and comfortable, we would spend a few minutes in the Word of God together, reading little devotionals written for kids. It was good to pause and consider God's unfailing love through passages of Scriptures.

We responded in praise to God with favorite songs and little memory stories.
We giggled and chuckled through most of our tunes and stories.

One old hymn I taught them with the help of motions was "The Bible Stands". What awesome words can encourage us at the start of each new day! There is a stability in God's Word. Truth stands undaunted like a rock! No circumstance, no enemy, no rumble in the mountains or tremble in the earth causes Truth to fail. Truth is absolute and stands the tests of time.
Because God revealed Truth, our faith stands in confidence.
Living by faith placed in the Truth is the greatest legacy I can give to my precious ones.

"For the Benefit of Others"...

This week, my hiking Guide is focusing my attention on the "walkie-talkie" tool divinely provided as He leads me onto the path of prayer. He introduced these open connections with Home through His continual communication, and for my benefit speaks loudly and publicly on several occasions. His outspoken purpose is to teach each hiker how simple communication can be, and show His thankfulness when specific words are quickly heard.

Before He shows His reaction to an earthly crisis, His public connection is a simple conclusion of his private continual communion with Home. Our trek takes us to the family and enclosed grave of a beloved friend. In the valley of Death, we become part of the crowd smelling decay and trapped in grieving unbelief. We catch a glimpse of the Guide's heart in unison with Creation among those who grieve, yet we also see his deep intimacy and confidence speaking aloud to His Father God.
In John 11:41-42, Jesus prays aloud and publicly "for the benefit of others". His spirit, constantly in communion with "Home", concludes his communication on this crisis with a glance upward and "Homeward" to thank His Father for the response which creates belief in the hearts of his followers.

Knowing that Jesus was in constant communion with his Father, I believe this time in front of Lazarus' grave is just a continuation of His spiritual talks with His Father. Along the path, Jesus and his Father communicated the reason for what happened, the timing of his arrival, confronting unbelief, and the hope of showing who sent Him. His concern is for the spectators who need to believe.

The Bible declares Jesus was greatly moved two times in this scene of death. He was moved deeply when he saw death's grief in his friends and the bondage of death at the enclosed grave. Disobedience against God caused death to invade His Creation, and confrontation with this enemy moved the heart of the Creator.
Jesus lifts his eyes toward "home" and speaks aloud. Through his words, he draws the crowd, family, disciples and  me into his ongoing conversation with his Father. I believe his public prayer was intertwined with His private communication with His Father.
"Father, I thank you that you have heard me (discloses intimacy along the path). I knew that you always hear me, (confidence) but I said (aloud & publicly) this (conclusion of this conversation) for the benefit of the people standing around (drawing others into our conversation) SO THAT they may believe that you sent me." (from Home to be their victory over death).

Christ's example teaches me that my path conversations with the Guide are encouraged to be constant and unceasing.  During occasions when I'm given the opportunity to draw others into our ongoing conversation, may it be to strengthen their belief that God sent Jesus to give Life.
Praying aloud and publicly should be to draw others into His Presence where I'm already in communication with my dearest Friend.