Finally, I Can Cross This Off My To-Do List!

20 Apr

When I published Fearless on Kindle in 2013 soon after publishing it on Create Space, I just assumed that it would format correctly as I had it in the paper version. In 2015 I found out that it was full of formatting errors on Kindle.

Reformatting Fearless for Kindle has been on EVERY to-do list I’ve made since then, and I finally spent three days getting it right.  It is now formatted correctly.  It is available for purchase on Amazon for $5.99.  If you purchased it previously, improperly formatted, please let me know and I will see if I can figure out how to e-mail you the correctly formatted version for free.

Bind Us Together, Lord

7 Apr

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

For many years, I thought this verse meant if we just kind of sit and wait patiently, without striving, God would renew our strength to help us get through those tough times when we are worn down to nothing.

But. No.

The word wait, qavah, means to bind together by twisting. When we bind ourselves together with the Lord by twisting, He renews our strength. Renew written in the tense it is written, the Hiphil Imperfect, means that God will exchange our strength for His.  It is through the binding together that this happens.

BIND US TOGETHER, Lord, Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.

 

Eternity in our Hearts

25 Mar

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. Philippians 1:21 Amp

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door.  We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure.  We cannot mingle with the splendours we see.  But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so.  Some day, God willing, we shall get in. – C.S. Lewis

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Como, James T. C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences. New York: Collier, 1979. Print.

My New Favorite Word – Compassionated

14 Mar

Passion Flower Growing in Costa Rica

O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited [expectantly] for You. Be the arm [of Your servants—their strength and defense] every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

One of the meanings of the word gracious, chanan, in this verse is compassionated. Not only is that a great word and a new one to me, but it’s written as a command.  Isaiah is commanding God to be compassionated toward us. We all know the meaning of the word opinionated–full of opinions.  Isaiah is asking, no commanding, God to be full of compassion toward us.

compassion (n.) mid-14c., from Old French compassion “sympathy, pity” (12c.), from Late Latin compassionem (nominative compassio) “sympathy,” noun of state from past participle stem of compati “to feel pity,” from com “with, together” (see com-) + pati “to suffer” (see passion).

passion (n.) late 12c., “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” from Old French passion “Christ’s passion, physical suffering” (10c.), from Late Latin passionem (nominative passio) “suffering, enduring,” from past participle stem of Latin pati “to suffer, endure,” possibly from PIE root *pe(i) “to hurt” (see fiend).

Sense extended to sufferings of martyrs, and suffering generally, by early 13c.; meaning “strong emotion, desire” is attested from late 14c., from Late Latin use of passio to render Greek pathos. Replaced Old English þolung (used in glosses to render Latin passio), literally “suffering,” from þolian (v.) “to endure.” Sense of “sexual love” first attested 1580s; that of “strong liking, enthusiasm, predilection” is from 1630s. The passion-flower so called from 1630s.

The name passionflower — flos passionis — arose from the supposed resemblance of the corona to the crown of thorns, and of the other parts of the flower to the nails, or wounds, while the five sepals and five petals were taken to symbolize the ten apostles — Peter … and Judas … being left out of the reckoning. [“Encyclopaedia Britannica,” 1885]

Latin compassio is an ecclesiastical loan-translation of Greek sympatheia (see sympathy). An Old English loan-translation of compassion was efenðrowung.

I pray (not command) that the Lord be compassionated with us today. And that we be compassionated with one another due to the price Jesus paid on the cross for us.

 

Martin Luther (not King) Day

15 Jan

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In a sermon last Sunday, I heard this quote from a Martin Luther letter to his dear friend which had me guffawing in church.  Read it and tell me if you think he would make it today when we are so careful of one another’s feelings?

I beg you, who are so pugnacious in everything else, fight against yourself, your own worst enemy, for you furnish Satan with too many weapons against yourself. . . . I pray for you very earnestly, and I am deeply pained that you keep sucking up cares like a leech and thus rendering my prayers vain. . . . If we are not strengthened by his promises, where in all the world are the people to whom these promises apply?  But more of this another time.  After all, my writing this is like pouring water into the sea.

 

From Luther:  Letters of Spiritual Counsel (p. 147)

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Going Away

2 Jan

20161224_152050Sometimes I find statements that make me reflect upon life in the oddest places, like this quote from a Maisie Dobbs mystery:

“I’ll tell you this.  Leaving that which you love breaks your heart open.  But you will find a jewel inside, and this precious jewel is the opening of your heart to all that is new and all that is different, and it will be the making of you–if you allow it to be.”

Seventeen and a half years ago, I left that which I loved much–my family–to go on the mission field in Ecuador with my husband.  He did not have to drag me along–I was a more than willing participant, but my family–especially our sons, their wives, and our grandchildren will never know how difficult it was to say goodbye and continue to say goodbye for the next 17+ years.  My heart has been broken wide open many times–like the first Christmas when we went out for dinner and I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.  Like when trying to decide whether to get on a plane or not during times of family tragedy. Like saying “no” when our sons wanted us to return home.  Heart-rendingly difficult.

I’ve brought so many jewels back with me as we’ve transitioned back to the states:

  • A new appreciation for the United States of America as well as an understanding of what the United States could learn from other cultures.
  • Gratitude for the husband God has gifted me with.  He is a man that I can count on to have God’s will in the center and who gives great grace.  He makes me laugh, and puts the daily difficulties of life into an eternal perspective. His quirks make me love him all the more.
  • A flexibility that I know I would never have learned in the United States as it is a flexibility learned from grappling with cultural differences.
  • A passionate love for the Word of God which sustains me.
  • A deeper, calmer faith forged during the challenges on the mission field.
  • An ever quickening love for my Lord and Savior.

Please, don’t think I’m trying to make myself sound like some sort of spiritual giant–I’m far from it. For proof of that, read my blog post Woe is Me from last week. I’m sifting through the jewels that God has given me.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

 

Woe is Me!

26 Dec

cam00172I’ve been reading in the book of Isaiah and many of the chapters begin with Woe to _____________.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary  woe (n.) late 12c., from the interjection, Old English wa!, a common exclamation of lament in many languages (compare Latin , Greek oa, German weh, Lettish wai, Old Irish fe, Welsh gwae, Armenian vay).  And I am lamenting my selfishness today. At the same time I am celebrating God’s faithfulness.

Every once in a while “something” happens to show me how selfish I am deep down inside and God did it again last Thursday night. I made Hot Fudge Sauce for our 5 sons for Christmas and had enough left over for a large jar for me.  Do you notice anything odd about the photograph?  In order to end up with a large jar for me, I had to fill the sons’ jars only 2/3s of the way.  The Holy Spirit convicted me about it over night, and I even tried to rationalize it with Him.  “I did that because the sauce was so hot and I didn’t want the jars to break,” I fudged.

In the morning, I heated up my jar in the microwave and divided it between the sons’ jars. It was exactly enough to fill them all nicely to the top with NOTHING left over.  I was glad I did it, but it was a struggle.

It just goes to show how deeply our selfishness is rooted.  And what a faithful gardener God is to root it out.

For the word of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 Aramaic Bible in Plain English