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

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

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.

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

Jesus was born to bring peace.

Go in peace, now.

Go in peace.

“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A Peace I Know

Luke captured in Chapter 7, more healing.

Healing based on faith, that comes from seeking.

A noble man brought a servant of his to the attention of Jesus. This esteemed military officer, the centurion sent word to Jesus, requesting he come and heal the dying servant.

Jesus changed his course and headed to the home of the centurion; but, was stopped. The man sent word to Jesus that he didn’t want to trouble him, he recognized he was not worthy to have Jesus in his home.

He added, essentially, I know you have a lot on your plate. He could sort of relate.

So, he requests of Jesus, healing for his servant, that Jesus would “say the word” and the man would live.

He was at peace that the man would be healed, he believed Jesus was a healer.

The Centurion understood faith, he knew it does not require us to see, to only believe.

“When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The servant was saved and the centurion was simply grateful, not seeking any special favors because of his position. He sought Jesus for his servant and humbly made a way.

The seventh chapter ends with another story of someone who cared nothing about expectations, someone who simply sought Jesus and asked forgiveness of her sins.

Jesus was invited to dine at the home of a Pharisee, the men around the table most likely planning to pick his brain, to question his presence and to see for themselves how all they were hearing could be possible.

A woman known for her sinful behavior, heard of Jesus’ whereabouts and entered the home. Her desire to know Jesus made her courageous. Her courage to seek the one who would change her life, make it new led her to arrive at the place she was not welcome by the others but accepted by Him

She bows at the feet of Jesus, weeping and with an expensive perfumed ointment she’d collected in an alabaster jar, she caresses His feet.

The men, of course, were arrogant and astounded! This woman is a harlot. Surely you should know this Jesus, here’s the proof, you clearly are not a prophet.

You have no understanding, no discretion at all.

You clearly have a different perspective on who is worthy.

Jesus told them, I came to your home and you gave me little to nothing at all. This woman, she came to me with intention and with humility and she gave everything.

She surrendered all.

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:47-48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The peace that knowing Jesus gives comes with no cost at all; yet it is the most valuable gift of all.

It is surely a peace I know and will know and know again.

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

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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

Possible Impossibilities

I wake to have my interest peaked as I scan my emails. Try, try again or consider those kind of doors closed?

The idea of submission has captured me again.

Lord, tell me what to say.

Jesus had a captive audience. His presence caused men, women and children to be drawn towards him.

He was a teacher enthused over his lesson plan, he wanted everyone who listened to learn, to be changed by their learning.

He sat one day on the edge of a fishing boat, the fishermen must have called it a day and so Jesus perched himself on the edge and faced the crowd who had gathered on the shore.

Big crowds must have followed him all around, maybe pausing to answer others’ curious questions.

Where are you going?

Who is this man named Jesus anyway?

Why are you following him?

Isn’t he just Joseph’s son?

Do you really believe what they’re saying?

Have you actually seen him do the things people are saying he can do?

Could it be possible?

Simon thought he knew more than Jesus. Jesus told him to let down the nets, to put the boat back in the water, to go and try again.

Simon told Jesus we’ve tried all night and no luck, essentially “nary a bite” man!

Jesus told him try again.

“Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:3-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have a paperweight on my desk that says “something wonderful will happen today”, another that says “you haven’t failed until you give up” and a solid and smooth rock engraved with one word, “soar”.

On occasion I notice them, rarely really.

Instead I recall unexpected rescues, kindnesses that correct my budgetary mistakes, staff who encourage me, endure my negativity and cynicism.

A family who supports my work, supports and stands by me.

I see God coming through in ways that come from my keeping on, keeping an even keel.

I know the bountiful catch is coming and I put down my net and maybe just wait. I do my part, I rest.

I listen to sincere encouragement, I discern in the faces and reactions and even the decisions of others.

Whether here or there or even anywhere, are the places I place my words and my art, the places I “let my net down” that came back empty before, now possibly to reap a joyful multiplication that will honor God, nudge others towards Him.

Jesus, God’s son came to earth to use earthly objects and experiences to teach us to hope.

Teachable moments like a burnt out and hopeless fisherman, expert at his trade who wasn’t having a good fishing day.

Jesus suggested he try again.

Advent, a time to prepare ourselves for the hope of Christmas.

Jesus, the Messiah.

He is our hope, the hope of all mankind.

We must do these things we think we cannot do, we must believe again in the possible impossibilities.

What will you try, try again that you thought you may as well give up?

Big things have small beginnings and small things with repetition and resolve come through.

Try. Try again.

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

It Matters to Me

Luke, Chapter 3 is evidence of the writer’s intellect, I decide. Luke, a physician explored and recorded the lineage of Jesus. It would be easy to avoid the 15 verses with challenging names, like skipping over the Book of Leviticus on yet another plan to read through the Bible.

But, it is relevant, this lineage, this record of ancestry.

All the relatives of Joseph and thereby Jesus, the Son of God.

“the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭3:38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It matters to me, the humanity of Jesus, the lining up of people, just like the people lined up before me.

Makes me reflect on our genetics and our similarities, the ones before me, making straight my way through the memories of their own ways.

“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My grandma made the best of paths she may have thought might be straight, she made it through the crooked places and leveled her life with scripture and determination, she always made a way.

I told my “Aunt Boo” that I felt my grandma with me and in me. I’ve sold hand-painted Christmas cards this year.

I remembered her carefully designing her velvety Christmas ornaments, covered in pieces and parts of old jewelry.

She used the long stick pins and carefully created elaborate pieces. I see her now.

She’s in the room they added on, the double bed filled up the room and there was space just wide enough for her beside it. She retreated to this place, I was invited in to sit quietly on the bed.

A dresser was covered with sectioned flat containers, sparkly, metallic, extravagant and antique. She stood for hours, her tiny frame steady, her hands working constantly. No words spoken and her mouth set just so, her tongue tipped up toward the curve of her lip, peeking through, she worked with her mouth “set just right”.

She was industrious. She placed the ornaments in big flat boxes and with her little memorandum pad, she loaded her car and she made her deliveries.

I am forever impacted by her choice to pursue something so joyful, to do something that was fully and completely her choice to do.

It matters to me, this characteristic of my grandmother in me.

I’ve been selling my art again.

Luke reminds us that everything is purposeful and everything matters.

In the first verses of Chapter 3, John begins to tell of a new concept, repentance and forgiveness of sins. Isaiah the prophet had written of John, a voice that would come from the wilderness. The same John who “jumped” in his mother, Elizabeth’s womb while in the room with Mary, pregnant with Jesus, this John would baptize many and baptize Jesus.

And Jesus heard his father, God say, “you are my son”.

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭3:21-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s doubtful I’ll ever be a theologian, doubtful I’ll return to any further education.

Life and God are my teachers now.

Life, the enormity of it around me, exposure to wisdom, thoughts, experiences. God helps me see the relevance of Him in it all.

I’ve just finished reading an article I’ll read again and maybe more. The wisdom of a man over why his ancestry is significant, why clarity matters, why approaching things hidden or unexplored is something we all should do.

It is never too late.

Two gentlemen, both guys who are wise and caring and ones I respect, pointed me in the direction of this piece.

Bruce Springsteen

We are all individuals formed by those who made us. Our heredity is more than physical, it is experiential.

It is a brave choice to consider the weaving of our ways, to look at them and say, oh, I see now this horrible or wonderful thing, how it made me, me.

Some might wonder what these thoughts have to do with Christmas. I get that.

I don’t know why; but, I said a long series of “thank you, Gods” beside my bed today. It began and then just became a spontaneous building of more and more. God kept up the conversation, brought to memory all of my before to say hey, look at now!

This life I have, this life I know.

It is absolutely a life of hope. My lineage and my life experiences at one time convinced me it could never be so.

Like Luke details the way the 30 year old Jesus came to be, it is similar for you and me.

The breath of heaven that brought Jesus is the same breath of God that created you and me.

On purpose and with purpose that life causes us to sometimes lose. I told someone yesterday I wish I hadn’t returned to art so late in life.

One of my thank yous this morning was that I am here and I have art and life and so much more.

I have hope.

Advent, the days before Christmas, these are the days to have hope.

It matters to me that my grandma chose hope, that she became independent in her pursuit of making beautiful things, that she was about my age when she began this thing that kept her captivated, made her feel significant, brought joy to so many.

It matters to me that I got to see what I didn’t understand as hope back then, but understand it now.

She prepared the way for me. I pray I’m preparing the way for my own daughter, my son and all the other children yet to come.

Luke, a Book about the life of Jesus. I’m no seminarian, I’m just sharing what he’s bringing to light …24 Days of Jesus, my Advent Experience.

Hope.

Believing

I smiled when I saw the few seconds of the scene, the little boy who didn’t believe and then

Believed again.

The child who was intrigued enough to board the big train and then challenged with whether he’d stay on board. “The Polar Express”, I love its many lessons story!

Satan has been using some things to silence my story. I can barely conjure up the magnificence of my hopeful plan of before. Circumstances and choices make disbelief make more sense than believing.

Blinders have been placed on my eyes and my heart seems a little muffled to the miraculous now.

I’ve noticed I’m no longer noticing like before.

Restore my ability to see you, Lord.

I wrote it down, I believe God loves it when I pray this way,

He knows it’s really me.

Restore the woman filled with wonder, filled with hope, filled with ideas and the idea that possibly it could be.

Set my feet back to following and my footfall a happy little bounce with intention.

This Lord, is my request.

Like the little boy who believed, help my unbelief. The child almost yanked from the top of the perilously traveling train, show me the same.

The same joy that comes from believing, the same confirmation that the seemingly crazy trip’s worth traveling.

To arrive back at the place of wonder and to find a treasure like the bell he thought he’d lost in his pocket.

Yes, show me that believing makes all the difference!

Be my conductor, Heavenly Father.

Get me back to the safest destination, the place of believing!

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Yes, I believe!