God Only Knows

The bystanders recognized the beggar up walking around. All of a sudden he could see and they began to dispute the truth of Jesus, they began to argue over the day of the week and were certain the beggar was mistaken in some way.

I’m wondering how he became a discarded one at all. Scriptures say he had parents. Had they given up on being his support system? He was an adult after all, he’d have to fend for himself.

Or was he so downtrodden by his lifelong blindness, he just grew tired of being their burden? He could beg others for money instead of his parents.

I love the Gospels, the Books of encounters with Jesus. There are many people who stir empathy in me. There are relatable stories to my healing by Jesus.

Jesus came along and he noticed the man blind from birth. The disciples, always looking to learn from Jesus, asked what had caused the blindness, were his parents neglectful, had they been bad people before they became parents, or was the little boy born with some sort of predicted worthlessness that led to him being born blind?

They wanted to know who or what was to blame.

Jesus told them it was God’s plan. The blind man would be an instrument for God’s glory to be real, for the mysterious to be memorable.

“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭ESV

Jesus made a paste of mud and his own spit, pressed it against the blind beggar’s eyes and then said go down to the water and wash it all off. The man did and he could see.

Everyone asked how, the man said I did what Jesus said and that’s really all I know.

His vision restored, the interrogations continued. The parents were questioned, they confirmed their son’s blindness as well as his current condition. Told all the skeptics to ask him, not us, he will tell you! According to scripture, the parents were keeping their distance because they were Jews and they would be disallowed from the synagogue if they acknowledged Jesus, if they acknowledged their own child’s healing.

These were the times I suppose even a parent of a son who was healed was careful about boldly agreeing and believing in Jesus.

Seems it was safer to be a skeptic, to know there are people who believe in Jesus because of their own healing; but, they were not ready to believe for themselves.

Maybe it seemed too impossible, too unattainable, too supernaturally “magical”.

Same as today really.

The man who could see could only speak for himself, hope with all his heart that his testimony mattered.

“So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:24-26 ESV‬‬

Centuries later, I sit in my mama’s covered chair with my Bible, the margin on the page has a pen and pencil resemblance of me, my face turned towards the words and a slight listening tilt.

I understand the blind man. I can relate to his dismay over Jesus initially. I can sit with my Bible and know beyond doubt that I too have been healed when many for valid reasons discarded me, left me to fend for myself.

And like the blind man who couldn’t explain mud and spit restoring his vision, I often wonder how me simply believing in a cross, the likeness of which I now add to my wrist could have altered my life so very significantly.

It is not my place to understand it all, to know every how or why God found me worthy of healing. It is mine to believe. To be able to rest in this:

But, you do know, God, You do.

We’re all in a state of not knowing now. On Sunday, I knelt in the place by my mama’s chair. I was distracted, I admit. Still, I joined in the prayer of Pastor Steve Davis with many others. I prayed and am praying in agreement with him that this time will bring people who don’t really understand God, maybe just hope in the possibility of Him being real closer to believing. The prayer closed with that very request of our Heavenly Father, that during this pandemic stirring panic, countless people will come to know God, will believe in Jesus as their healer.

I pray this as well. I know healing that saved not just my soul but my very life from risky, dangerous, threatening to kill me situations.

Like the blind man, I believe in Jesus.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe, moment by moment if necessary.

Acknowledge/Admit you were born a sinner. Believe in Jesus, God’s plan for us to be with Him in heaven. Confess your sin and begin to live healed.

My prayer for my not knowing readers.

Redeemed

In progress, “Redemption This Side of Heaven”

Nothing was working. Not watercolor on paper after an hour and detailed pencil, ink, and letters. No, not my vision.

I turned to paint the paper mache’ bunny for Elizabeth, pinks added and not happy with it.

A small canvas, smoky blue background and the barely there shape of a nude.

Not working either.

Leave it. Empty the water jars, wash the brushes, find the lids that fit all the scattered tubes. Tomorrow you can paint again.

But, the big easel stood lonely beside me so I set a blank canvas in ready position.

Stood there a minute and began with blues and blues and blues and then more hues.

Decided to call it “Redemption, This Side of Heaven”, originally “Eden”.

If redemption had a color, it would be many and here on earth we can experience it as strength, as beauty, as brilliant.

Continue and believe.

Happy Sunday, may you know redemption, this side of heaven.

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
‭‭John‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Believing the Proverb

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When God gave this word to Solomon, He was thinking of Mary, of Martha. He was thinking of Peter, of Paul, of John, of the Woman caught in adultery….too many to tell. He was thinking of me, Lisa and of you, of you as well.

I believe this.

I missed the part about the meeting of their faces until I read the passage. A familiar passage, I remembered the telltale rooster crow and skimmed over the way Jesus saw it all. Jesus saw it all.

I can’t stop thinking how Peter must have felt the next morning. Did he experience a hangover of sorts? Here I am again letting doubt takeover? Maybe not because these hours were the deadly ones, the tortured crucifixion. Sorrow over self had no place then. Only the reality of sacrificial and loving death.

Peter, a man who was the brother of John, the one who was able to step from a stormy boat to walk on the top of the ocean because he trusted God, was sure of Jesus.

His denial to others of his belief is a captivating story.

Jesus told him as he prepared them all at the Last Supper and before. Jesus told Peter, you will deny me.

“Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter was adamant that he wouldn’t.

But he finds himself sitting around a fire outside a high priest’s house that held the captured Jesus. Peter has followed the throng at a distance from Jesus. Not so far that he didn’t appear to be associated with the Savior. Just far enough to avoid the reactions of the ones who’d be making the crucifixion decision.

The onlookers build a fire, like concert-goers in line for a sell out I suppose. Fireside conversation begins and three separate people spread the word, this man here, hey you, we saw you with him. As if to say, why are you sitting here when you’re known to be a friend of Jesus?

Peter told all three, “not me”.

“And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:58‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Then a rooster crowed three times. Peter met the eyes of the watching Jesus. He wept. He wept at the realization of a Savior who knew him so very well.

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:61-62‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter’s story doesn’t end here. He encountered the resurrected Jesus and he continued his life proclaiming all he had learned from his experiences with Jesus.

I’m thinking about the fireside scene. How in the world did Peter succumb to peer pressure? Why was it so hard for him to believe without being afraid of consequence or opinion?

I believe it may have been just a fear in general in believing good things could actually come true.

But, this is probably just my takeaway. That we believe what we can count on based on our histories to be true, to be certain, to be what we can count on.

Our humanity causes our hearts to draw the map for our minds to follow. I don’t think Peter was unsure of Jesus. More than that, he was unsure of himself. So, he placed himself with the accusers, the deniers, the cynics and the intellects.

He felt more at home that night with the ones who chose to believe a sure thing, not life changing, miraculous or unseeable.

Jesus knew he would. Peter’s behavior was forgiven. The account of Peter tells the undeniable truth for me and you.

Jesus knows we’re prone to doubt, afraid to speak out, that we dumb ourselves down at times when it comes to our faith.

Jesus knows we’re afraid to be bold on occasion. Knows we’re quite tentative in stepping into his promise of better, of complete.

Yesterday, I heard a statement.

You will be as safe from sin as you are close to Jesus.

What I believe and whether I believe completely is fully known by God. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. His denial leaves a compelling story for us all.

The regret of Peter over distancing himself from Jesus. The realization and tender repentance when met with the gaze of Jesus.

A repentance, loving and open because of mercy we all can know.

Again and again.

What we believe makes the difference. Believing with an uncertainly over God or believing with all our hearts.

“The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Must Be Me

The geese were carrying on a lively conversation over my shoulder.

I stopped on the curve. I owed them my attention. They used to captivate me so.

And now don’t really.

Not sure why.

The dangerous turn where people just don’t care.

Drive way too fast, using our quiet neighborly place as a shortcut, cut through, toss your trash and beer cans out place.

I paused to talk with the father and daughter in their yard. The little girl’s a twin and her sister’s got a fever. She’s solving a mystery her daddy told me.

The result of a week filled with “Scooby Doo”.

I watch as she pieces together her clues, little slips of paper her daddy hung in the trees, hid near the wagon.

I notice he’s patient.

His twin daughter, the one most inquisitive.

“Merry Christmas” she told me, three times or four.

Then her daddy, a police officer reminded me to be careful, people drive too fast and then he told me that when he sees me walking he prays I’ll be safe.

I told him I have to walk, don’t worry, I’m careful.

I’d be a shell of myself if someone told me to stop walking.

So, I walked at dusk on Christmas Day.

It was joyful.

Cutting short my route because of talking to the daddy and daughter and well, because I’m slow now, slower than three months ago.

Vertigo scared me then gave me permission to eat bread.

Sandwiches, I decided.

I’ll just eat sandwiches now.

And it’s been six months since my feet have stood still on either side of the number on a scale.

Last week someone told me to keep being me.

Just be you. DK

I have been thinking of it since.

So, today is day two of walking solitary again with words or music in my ears.

My bones feel inflated, the rub of joints and hips; but, today was better than yesterday and so on and so on.

Thinking I’m not able but trying anyway.

30 feet or even less, the left heel moving weight to the toe and then the right and the left and the bounce, bounce of the headphone wire against my chest.

I’m elated although I don’t go far.

The geese caused me to pause as I rounded the curve.

The sky has swept the slate clean and I can’t explain it but there’s a freedom in my feet.

There’s a light sense of new as the horizon replied with a sky that said love.

And I’ve added maybe 90 seconds of running to a 15 minute walk and I’ve given myself permission to be okay with the accomplishment of that.

Okay because it is me and I, after all.

Must be me.

And someone told me to keep being me.

Someone else told me they pray for me.

Neither of the two I will forget.

No, I’ll keep going.

Keep going towards you, Lisa Anne. You’re closer than you’ve ever known.

I’ve just read that DK who can’t fathom how significant his three words were…the just be you that has set the tone for my 2020 thoughts, has experienced loss on Christmas Day and so, I pray for him. I pray for peace in a time and a thing that makes no sense, the heavy weight of his loss. I will pray the kindness shown to the one he’s lost will be in turn, known by him.

Such Peace

The air is cool and there’s the sound of drizzle that’s not rain, just the dripping down of its remnants in the branches and needles of the pines.

I hurry the puppy, “Go”, coaxing him to do his business and he goes, knowing my feet won’t be walking out any further.

I wait.

The thing my husband has positioned by the fence that borders the pool, a wind gauge or whatever is only twirling slightly as if God’s hand is near.

Something I can’t see is brushing the fan blade that propels the flat tin, a decorative piece.

Maybe it has a function, no idea.

This wind gauge was gifted to my father in law. His son brought it home.

I wait, cold.

The turning of the metal windmill gauge type thing now rhythmic in its pattern.

The light from a neighbor’s yard giving me a patterned silver glint, the light shine compels me, I stand still.

Expectant.

The pattern.

At peace.

Found this morning after all sorts of ways it’s felt stolen.

We long for peace at Christmas, expect it, I’ve decided.

My husband can’t repair the laundry door I slammed from the hinge by accident.

The puppy ate the remote and some Christmas ornaments.

Some people I love have some things not falling into place.

They’re impatient and because I love them, I’m impatient too.

Things like this happen at Christmas. my husband said.

And we’re frustrated and worried and we wrongly equate our anxieties over scarcity and over money.

What we are really pondering is.

Where is my peace?

Where is the peace that came at Christmas? I thought I knew it so much better this year.

Is it in your space now, your world?

Is it possible?

Do you need a reminder somehow?

Maybe hoping God could send you an angel to confirm what you believe of Christmas?

I’ve said before, I’m no expert at scripture. I open my Bible and I’m intrigued by a passage, a verse, a document describing others and God.

Gideon didn’t think he could do what he’d been chosen to do.

The Book of Judges begins on page 200 of my Bible. That’s enough to tell me these are ancient words about Israel, about other gods, about anxieties back then over how to be saved.

Gideon names the place the angel answered his request to be sure of His calling.

The Lord is peace.

This is the place he decided to believe in the Lord, to believe in a peace worth pursuing.

“Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m certain I won’t find peace in any venture I strike out on on my own. I won’t find it in a crazy gift exchange family gathering and I won’t find it in my world, the world of overly energetic puppy, tech issues with my TV, calendars I’m trying to sell, orders for paintings, manuscripts that need editing but are stagnant because I’m afraid to try again.

No, I won’t find peace in any of this.

“And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭8:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I will find it in the places I’m met by it, find it in my pursuit.

Find it in the places I bring it with me.

Hope others feel it to.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

I will find it in what I believe. That it’s true God chose a baby to save us. It’s true that Jesus walked among imperfect people like me and that he loved them the way he loves me, you too. That it’s true this world is angst and trouble and hurry and mean people. It’s true that He is peace.

The baby, the Savior.

Nothing else will do.

Is such peace.

“ I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Peace and Us

We held hands in the foyer and prayed and the closing words to Jesus were that we’d be like light, peace in the places we go, that the peace we know we’d hold in the rooms we’re in with others.

That we’d bring light.

How does your light shine?

I ask myself this morning.

Is it sporadic?

Does it dim

And then annoy with incessant flashing

Like harassment

Like hurry?

How does your light shine?

Is it steady?

Inviting?

To be depended on to welcome back in

to a place of peace?

Does it say

Peace is here?

How does your light shine?

Is it left untended to

To die without power

Without the source for burning?

Does it stay so close knowing it can never shine on its own?

How does your light shine?

What is hiding

Showing?

Is it certain like a promise

Dependable like home?

How does your light shine, your peace, your gaze towards hope, your soft assurance of what you know?

Others will see, others will know and seek.

Peace, peace like the light you bring.

Peace, light and love.

Believe.

Peace is for us.

“O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy Sunday.

Where We Walk

…and in thee too, while thou knowest it not, God shall be glorified. E.B Pusey

We ventured out differently, not sure the sun was warm enough for walking.

I carried my granddaughter in my arms and adjusted from one side to the other, her weight as we walked.

We covered the perimeter of the land that surrounds her home, all the way to the front of the home valley to the long length of shaded space beside and then turned back towards inside, the front porch welcome back home.

From a distance it was beautiful, I walked slowly avoiding large flat places where cacti lay and stepping gingerly over the little hills, the holes, the tiny valleys covered in grassy hay and straw.

We walked slowly, quietly, calm.

Elizabeth was still, interested as I talked to God and myself. She listened to my random observations of life and leaves and how blue the sky was.

We were noticing God.

On the edge of the field, the most brilliant of color caught my eye, a cluster of yellow amongst all the bare branches of what I think I’m remembering held pink plums in the summer.

Now empty except for this glory.

His glory.

Brilliant late beauty not killed by the cold.

How was your 2019?

I woke with the thought mine was monumental, the change, the choices, the transitions.

I hadn’t realized the truth of this until I numbered the reasons.

Then it all made sense, this feeling of the cusp of new, this current lull in nothingness.

I believe I’m in the season of growth with all the growth still unseen, not evident to the human of me.

I’m always afraid I misuse words so I googled “monumental” and affirmed my thoughts were true.

2019 was a monumental year for me. I thought maybe this is God’s reason to now shift to living momentarily or “momentously”.

Thinking be satisfied in the moments now, don’t aspire to great big life shifting ambitions.

Again, checking my use of word, I was met with surprise, “momentous” I had all wrong, very different than only living in the moment.

Alright.

All right, really.

mo·men·tous
/mōˈmen(t)əs,məˈmen(t)əs
adjective
  1. (of a decision, event, or change) of great importance or significance, especially in its bearing on the future.

Reflecting now, God is confirming boldly for me, one who loves words, things have been happening under the surface, deep in your spirit, my spirit in you that you do not yet fully know.

You’re getting closer though. God

Beginning to believe that it is so.

That you are known and

you are worthy of my love.

The years before are simply seeds that needed sifting, needed dormant seasons, needed to lay fallow for a reason,

needed to die to live again.

I believe this.

Are you in a lull that you question? Is where God has you insignificant from your view?

Asking, is this all there’s meant to be for me?

It may be so and that’s the reason for long walks and discovering seemingly insignificant things like yellow leaves.

We simply don’t know, we just keep walking to the place called “we will see”.

We will see.

I’ve added back to my circle today one prayer I thought I’d prayed way too much.

Have you felt that way? Thought after months of the same unanswered question, I’ve asked enough, I’ve told God more than He wants to know, I’m maybe even annoying Him.

I’ve prayed and He knows, I’ll move on…

I’ll let that prayer alone.

No, I’ve decided to pray it again, to ask for God’s help but with a different tone.

I’ll ask with an expectant spirit anticipating a brilliant “we shall see” surprise, an answer that says I’m cherished.

God’s reply, unknown to me when or how. I’ll be cherishing it because I am cherished as is the one for whom I’m making my steady request.

Pray believing.

If you believe in prayer at all, expect God to hear you. If you do not expect, you will not have. God will not hear you unless you believe He will hear you; but if you believe He will, He will be as good as your faith. Charles Spurgeon

Believe

Continue and believe.

Momentous days are now, the brilliance is coming!