From Charles Dickens we received the classic story of A Christmas Carol in December of 1843. We watch the movie still, a movie “improved” in sound and script but sadly lacking in the original message.
Christmas 2022 has now passed. It is Christmas Past. Nothing more to do, or undo. I pray it has departed gracefully, leaving memories – mainly joyful – for you, as it does for us. Today we find ourselves facing a new year – 2023 – the Present.
Well, our cruising adventure on Vesper to Israel 🇮🇱 concluded in Cyprus 🇨🇾 (just 150 nautical miles short of Haifa) with a firm “not opening yet,” despite every effort. We expect, God-willing, to re-enter Malta’s Vittoriosa Harbor in about 7 hours and hop a plane back to base camp Colorado on August 15.
I am elated to be a part of God’s Plan. This morning I was first up and on the flybridge of ‘Vesper’ – stretching, praying and praising God. (Every time I do ‘child’s pose’ I say “thank You Father God, thank You Jesus, my Savior, thank You Holy Spirit of God in me.”)
Heavenly Father, in the blessed name of Your Son, Jesus the Christ, I claim this Scripture. It was written through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the hand of John, right on this island, high above and overcoming all the heartbreak, sin, and brokenness grasping at the hearts of believing, and unbelieving, people. We are Your people, called by Your name.
A tiny garden grows on a tiny island behind a tiny wall in a churchyard. Etched into the canvas of green are bean plants and weeds.
The garden’s containment reminds me of a heart enclosed in a human body, a tiny island in its sea of humanness. Apart from the similitude of man, each heartbeat responds to its Maker differently.
The sparrow enjoying the water provided by a city fountain bathing delightedly.
The sparrow drinking deeply from the bubbling valve provided for man’s visual enjoyment, assisting sparrow’s survival.
The sparrow whose every lifting and falling is recorded by the Invisible Divine Eye. Alas, no soul?
But great Love.
I awaken in the dim light and raise the shade somewhat, sunlight flooding the room. It’s God’s created light. I squint, not quite prepared for the generous flood. In the galley I make my coffee with head bowed, adding the milk, cocoa and sugar topping, barely looking about.
Pray in secret.
Alone. As unseen; a spiritual being, inside a human body, hidden in a secret place of communion with Another Spiritual Being.
The ploughed road along the Pick farm in Minnesota. Mid-November. Bitterly cold day saved by the weakened, hopeful sunshine of late afternoon. The slicing wind has ceased, leaving its witness in the grasses which took captive the wild snow as it passed. Waves of white, as one might see in the swirling waves on the sea in a storm. Except these peaks are stilled even as they move, during an icy blast, and a temperature that takes their forward progress prisoner.
Easy for us to read this and say, “yes, I believe and I confess my belief… Jesus rose from the dead,” but do we live that confession? Do we live as the “saved?” Saved to what? For what?
We smile at the innocence of a child unable to escape his own shadow, and yet we cannot “shake” the Holy Spirit that lives within our hearts. We cannot, and will — not — to — shake that Spirit if indeed we are in Christ.
Isn’t it interesting how we find solace and the ability to ‘pull it all together,’ or at least
find some relief from our troubles along the open roads?!
This picture from my Bible App reminded me of someone I love deeply who is often found walking trails and paths and roads as his anxieties threaten to overwhelm him.
Still later I enjoy the benefits of living with Jesus as my center, the center of my world, my focus, my purpose, my life. Jesus is the true North that never changes; even when the world changes, even when my thoughts and emotions and my deeds change. His presence in the house of the Lord is my Eternal goal.
So faith rules my life quite certainly; and I respond quite voluntarily. I get pure joy out of being involved in reading, writing, and sharing God’s Word. It is my passion! So I guess it is “my favorite way of being on holiday.”
Yes, even for the produce from your garden you must wait patiently. You have cultivated the land, built a small fortress around it to protect it from low-legged (or no legged) creatures. Your raised garden has made back-breaking gardening a little more comfortable. The soil has been added, cultivated, perhaps enriched, and you have purchased the seed or plant
God’s people respond quickly when they really hear His voice. His very Presence leaves us breathless, and like Isaiah, painfully aware of how small and insignificant we are in comparison to God. His appearance was fearfully powerful, He was attended by Seraphim, and “the train of His robe filled the entire Temple.”
“Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel.’””
Vesper was christened in California where our sea adventure began. From the beginning, the blessing of Christian friendship extended across oceans with the honor of having Tim and Joyce Juan present. Tim is President of the Nordhavn factory in Taiwan that made Vesper.
“Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things.
He wants to let His Light shine into the whole place, not just through a tiny (dark, by the way) window in our heart. He wants to make us vulnerable, soft, open and malleable. He wants to change us from the inside out!