The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

Blank Slates and Clean Canvases

Many times Jesus spoke in a way that was so matter of fact, so very direct.

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said,

If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke‬ ‭17:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬

I imagine them expecting some wisdom more than his reply of it’s up to you to embrace this powerful source, this thing you are to hold as evidence of me in you.

This mystery of a strength that no one can see, only can be known.

Jesus reminds me today as I read Luke’s recording of His words.

You know when your faith is waning, you know how to again believe.

You know you only need to begin, begin like tiny seed no one else can see; yet, can be fully and faithfully sort of secretively known.

It’s a thing between you and He.

So cup your little imaginary seed in the palm of your hand, Lisa Anne and then plant it on the blank canvases, open spaces and empty pages waiting for you to go and grow.

Maybe moving, uprooting, or seeing unusual or unexpected shooting ups of new living and new life.

Begin with your little seed.

Begin again to grow, not to chase, only go in the way you feel the sway of His answer to your longing, your prayer.

Lord, tell me what to say. Tell me what to create.

Begin because you know you are able and that you were made me to be capable.

You know that we can, God, it’s just we are not consistently obedient.

We are not always willing.

Like the apostles asked you to do it, to increase their faith, we do the same.

We must be willing to believe and begin and then to see the evidence of gifts we doubted we’d ever see.

We must wait for it, anticipate your glory!

Luke opened Chapter 17 with a conversation about temptations toward sin. Jesus told the disciples that temptation is a sure thing. He told them to be careful that their lives didn’t lead others to sin.

Then He healed ten lepers and only one came back to give praise, to thank God for the healing.

In response to the question about when and how they would see God’s kingdom, Jesus cautioned them all in their trying to figure it out, told them to spend less effort on being informed of the mystery and more on being prepared for it.

For not all will see the Kingdom, only those who follow, leave behind their questions and simply continue on, those who don’t turn back to what they left behind, their lives before.

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Choose to stay on your different way.

Be the one who holds tight to the faith like tiny seed.

Be the one who chooses moderation over selfish satiation. Be the one who turns back from yet again grace to honor the one who makes hope and healing.

Be the one who surrenders and believes God created you for more and that more starts often with the tiniest of seeds.

Be the one who knows it is okay to ask for help. To sit without words as the warmth of a tear puddles in your eye’s corner, to say, I am here again, God. I can’t find you nor can I find the words.

Change me from the inside, so that my outside is the one you know I was created to be.

Blank slates every morning, clean canvases waiting to bring you glory, Lord, let it be.

Let it be you through me.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:18-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus-An Advent Experience

Believe, Now

The 16th chapter of Luke’s book is not so gentle a read. It ends with Jesus telling a rich man who refused God that there’d be no need in a miraculous sighting sent to warn his family of Hell. Jesus tells the regretful rich man, they didn’t believe in Moses, it’s likely they may never believe.

“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I stood holding hands with family yesterday and prayed. I was asked by my cousin to pray.

It felt a little awkward, family can be that way; but, also a sweet answer because I’d actually thought about it, thought about it on the drive to the gathering, what would I pray if I were to bless the food, to pray?

I consider this God. I consider the way this all fell into place truly sweet, a God thing.

I thanked the Lord for the tradition of our get together, for the good things he’s brought us over the past year, the good things he has brought us to and through, and for the food.

As we released our hands, a circle so wide it covered four rooms, intersected by a kitchen and a hall, everyone was quiet and then our Georgia Christmas meal began.

This morning, I’m remembering intercessory prayer. I’m thinking with certainty how God hears our prayers and how I most likely won’t know how my words offered up a little awkwardly will impact my family members.

Somehow and somewhere, they will.

God hears us when we say them, He always hears our prayers.

The rich man lost his opportunity. He ignored the needs of a poor man who inherited heaven as he focused on his wealth.

“And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:20-23, 25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I sat last night making lists and making plans, most of them revolving around money and the assurance over the lack of enough of it.

I thought of how I love giving, love listening and then providing, how I more than anything love giving what is perceived as a “way too generous” surprise.

I’ll review my list today, I’ll squeeze in a shopping trip this week, wrap some new boxes and rearrange them under our tree.

I’m hoping my gifts to my family will be an evidence of my faith, of my peace, of my hope and my finally really believing in mercy and grace.

Talking less about it, acting it out more.

As I sit in my spot, I’m remembering my family, the love, laughter, good fortune and misfortune in the room.

Family can be tough. Everybody knows. All coming from the same people and place, all knowing all our stuff and still, loving one another, even if skeptical over the bumps in our roads and how still, we grow.

I’m thankful for them. I believe I told Him and them so.

Thank you, God, that we are all here.

This year, my hope, my purpose is that my family sees more clearly, that they see me being who I say that I am.

That they see, Jesus.

That they see “why I believe”.

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus-An Advent Experience

Found and Found Again

Chapter 15 is a collection of parables. One, well known and no more relatable than the others, just more often told.

Jesus told the tax collectors and the Pharisees, a captive but cynical audience, three stories about loving lost things, maybe hoping they’d all see themselves, realizing they may be caught in a similar story.

They were condescending and doubtful, remarking that he’s the one who welcomes sinners, has dinner with them.

Jesus had their attention. He told of a man who had a hundred sheep and lost one and how he refused to stop looking until that sheep was back in the fold. He told of a woman frantic over losing one coin of her ten, how she swept every corner of her home way into the night until she found it, found that lost coin.

He used both parables to compare God’s joy when one person, just one comes to Him, or decides it is time to come back to Him.

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He told about a brother, one of two, who squandered his share of the father’s riches. That father longed for his son’s return and when he returned, the father ran to him. He ran to him!

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Every morning, I return to my morning place. I wait for a moment sometimes or I might just sit. I find Him there quite often.

In the way a word from one book or an email will correlate, complement another.

I wait. I listen to His voice through His Spirit in me.

I sometimes find my eyes wet with tears, others I have to let sink in, the important true lessons for the progression of my faith.

I’m awakened and I’m humbled gently over changes I should make.

It’s a good space, my quiet spot.

I’m found here by Him.

Found and found again.

May you find Jesus this Christmas or may you return to one who’s looking for you, arms wide open saying, “Come back home.”

We are all “the one”.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

Hope has come.

The cardinal came and this time I paused to watch.

Bright red body perched on a leafless limb, it rested momentarily and then one, two, three little jumps, it was on the highest of the branches, facing forward towards me unmoved by the window.

Then it moved, it was on its way.

I’m now 14 chapters into the Book of Luke and every day has been a new takeaway.

A friend mentioned hope today and as God would have it, hope is what resonated in Chapter 14 for me, hope when all seems lost, hope that longs to be found, not overlooked, not less than all it truly is and can be.

Hope that we need.

Jesus gave hope to an ailing man on a Sunday although the religious leaders chastised him for doing so.

He told the disciples to take the seat that wasn’t so lofty, not to assume you deserve to be there.

Sit in the lowly place, you might eventually be called to a seat of our honor.

But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:10-12

Jesus told a parable about a master’s grand event, a banquet to which all those invited made excuses, declining the invitation. So, the master told the servants, go out and invite others.

Invite the hopeless, the hapless, the crippled, the perceived unfit.

The banquet room was filled because they came, the others went unfulfilled, their choice leading to them not being invited again.

Can you imagine what they must have missed?

He is the song for the suffering 
He is Messiah 
The Prince of Peace has come 
He has come, Emmanuel Light of the World Lauren Daigle

Jesus calls us to take our hope with us as we go, wherever we go.

Hope that causes question, hope that is unashamed to sit with those that look, from our sometimes lofty positions, like shame.

Those who look like less than us and those who we believe are so much more.

Hope shows no partiality.

It welcomes in the unwelcome and challenges us to have no absolutes, no presumptions or assumptions.

Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing of.

Hope is here. It has come, Jesus, the light of our world.

Listen in to a song from someone who shared her hope in a place that caused questions from some. She sang her song anyway.

Light of the World

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

The Time of Becoming

Advent: arrival, appearance, emergence or occurrence, the arrival of a notable person or thing.

What are you waiting for, still?

What is the light at the end of the way that you keep pursuing, going towards?

Like the shepherds followed a star, is there a possibility you hope to see still?

My word for 2018 has been “still”. In the beginning, it represented a courageous decision to pursue a certain writing goal.

That I could still, it wasn’t too late.

I’m still writing; but, changes came my way and my book idea will never be the same.

I’m in the phase of stillness, resting and listening to know, which way God, do you want me to go?”

Tell me what to say, Lord.

Continuing in the Book of Luke today, another chapter full of guidance and illustration, historical retelling of what Jesus did before he died.

My spirit has been a little weary, thoughts around trauma trying to take over. I’m recalling today that this is the year I, with the help of some strong therapy, decided I could live healed, that I could let go and be healed.

The year it became my choice to forgive.

My friend said yesterday, that evil still comes back to try to play.

I think she’s quite right, it’s Advent, the season of light and peace, it’s only natural evil creeps in, shows up even louder, harder, mean and determined.

Has to, it is harder now than before to take my peace away. I’m no longer disabled.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Able to seek light and freedom, to not revisit the darkness.

To God be the glory for my emergence year, still.

Becoming me.

I’m linking up with others here at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Still”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/12/13/fmf-link-up-still/

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

No Fear Now

Yesterday, the birds were gathering outside the window. I saw their shadows and the way they intersected the sun, a flash and dimming of the light coming in.

I didn’t turn to watch them, I missed their morning dance.

Instead, I was intent on the details, I was recording my fear. There were three nightmares and three pages of journal, trying to decipher the power and realistic terror of each of them.

Now, they’ve faded away, their scariness has passed and their power over my day, finally waned.

Jesus, God’s Son came to eliminate our fears. There’s no fear in love and His love came to take away our fears.

He told the disciples to fear one thing, evil, the authority that keeps us in fear, tries hard to keep our thoughts from heaven, to cast us into Hell.

To keep us kept by our nightmares, our minds pulling out the bad stuff in our sleep and it dancing dirty dances all night long. It is crazy, evil’s power making buried stuff come out to play, to mess with our peace , to derail our good days.

It is evil.

Jesus said fear is never from me, be assured, you’re worth so much to me.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke‬ ‭12:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s no fear in love.

Grief, like a terrible nightmare makes me afraid, a different and try as I might, unavoidable afraid.

Christmas comes with grief. It would be wrong not to long for those we lost; yet, that longing turns to sadness. We imagine times when we’d all love to just sit around and laugh and be happy over our happy times with those we miss, those we loved. It’s not that simple, that simplifying of grief.

All the more reason to draw near to Jesus, no masks are worn in His presence. He alone sees our anxious and sad, pretending not to be, hearts.

Do not be afraid. He knows grief sometimes feels like fear.

“”Fear not, little flock.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

No one ever told me grief felt so like fear. C.S. Lewis

I avoided the dancing birds. I was hoping not to see the red bird. I longed to see them most days, but, for a little while I felt different than before.

The bird rushing past my work window, a flash of brilliant red or the subdued female hue, I looked away.

This time avoiding the reminder that it’s not really you, only symbolic of you, my father and my mother.

I’ll see them again I know and I’ll accept the gift of their appearing.

A gift of love, a gift that holds no fear.

If I listen closely I might hear “Stop being afraid, Lisa Anne” and I may see my daddy looking over at her before nodding a yes, quietly and simply nodding “yes”.

Always, yes.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

Late getting home yesterday, I caught just a glimpse as I turned the sharp curve at the top of the hill and I asked in a whisper to no one at all.

To me, “Have you seen the crescent?”

Closer to our driveway, it was unavoidable, the way its placement rested above the turn into my home.

My eyes get moist and there’s a shift in the breath in my lungs, I call to mind me as a little girl. Im in the little tan station wagon and we’re going back home.

They tell me I’m wrong and I refuse to not believe it, I know the moon is following me home.

I know I can count on it to be there.

As a child, I was a seeker and still today, I seek it, am enthralled by it, all the places of light that tell me to keep going, keep seeking, you’ve only seen just a tiny bit of what is to be, what is still there.

Jesus told of someone who needed help and was ignored. He told of how this person refused to stop seeking, refused to give up, believed there was help on the side of the unopened door. And there was eventually, there was help and hope for the one who kept knocking on the door, seeking.

“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The shepherds followed a brilliant star to the place it illuminated the manger.

Last night, the crescent moon and the star I call “Mama”, they were waiting for me to see.

I know I’ll see again.

I am a seeker.