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22 women have taught me, what?

14 Nov

Mum, that ‘mothers will forget their children.’ Isaiah 49:15-16. It is not a question in the original Hebrew, but a Statement.

 

walkers, past speakers, those who sang, sing this, as sirens toward me, your voices still speak, softly

Marla

Mona Leo

Song of Songs 8:5-6 ‘Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealous is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he[would be utterly despised’

Elaine

Colossians 4:5 b ‘make the most of every opportunity.’

Kathy H

I failed you, thus, for me at that time

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

 

Barbara, a reflection on enduring love, even in unfaithfulness. Hosea 11:8 ‘How can I give you up, Ephraim? … My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.’

 

Priscilla, healing from Psalm 126, ‘When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy…’

 

Pepper, my dog, unconditional love, Proverbs 19: 22a ‘What a man desires is unfailing love…’

 

Home grown daughters,

Sarah,

B-Beth

Dear

Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Eccl. 4:9-12, NLT)

 

Susan, my sister 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

 

 

Others, my adopted, ‘hand picked’ daughters

April

Alex

Lauren

Heather

Ben

Charlotte

Lydia

Michael

Sarah

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0402.htm

and

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to son ship. (daughter ship!!) And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

A short Charlie comment: blank checks means you are and I am and Priscilla is ‘all in’ with you as this is this Spirit’s leading’ and Jesus’ teaching-you are our brothers and sisters; our children.

 

From London 2014

 

 

 

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listening parts 3 and 4

17 Jul

listening 3, a prayerful community

EQ: How does God the Father listen to His people?

Ephesians 3: 14-19
‘For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’

EP: There are five ‘yous’ in this passage. In the Greek they are all plural. They point to community; the trinity; Jesus and His disciples; His spirit with ours; His church. There is power in community. Power in a prayerful, listening community. It is the power of listening love.

talking, teaching points:
notes:

A. We listen to nature; others; our city. Listening -is by its nature about relationship; ____________________________________________________________________________________________

B. _Listening is hearing-hearing is about reflecting; thinking without assumptions or judgements. ____________________________________________________________________________________________

EP: He listens to us as unique individuals; and He listens to us all, in our community,
thoughts:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Small Group activity: In your group (or by yourself-though try to find a ‘community’ to do this exercise) share one verse you have read (John 17?) that spoke to your heart today. State why/how this verse spoke to you. At the end of your sharing time, praise God thankfully (Step 3 from this morning, the Garland of Praise) in small group community. (12 minutes.)

• your community’s thanksgivings:

• Whole group sharing time:

listening, part 4

Open in a prayerful reading of John 17 in still another translation, Young’s Literal Translation

EQ: How does the Holy Spirit take Jesus’ words and life into our hearts and minds? What is the work of the Spirit?

We keep our unique voice, our unique character when we listen to, by, with and in the Spirit. Yet, as Christians, we become like Christ by listening to the same word, the same heart, the same mind, by the same Spirit that worked with Him. NLT John 17:17 ‘Make them Holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.’

Essential Question/thoughts:
EQ: What stops our hearts; our minds from listening?

• Hard hearts (Pharaoh; Aaron’s sons-Nabab and Abihu; Ananias and Sapphira;)
• Unreasoning animals, darkness of words & thoughts (Jude)

ET: How are our minds, our hearts taught to listen?

• Soften, listening hearts (Acts 2)
• Transformed minds (Saul/Paul) Romans 7; Romans 12

Romans 12 shows a path to listening,

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ NIV

Now, let’s look at Young’s Literal Translation of these verses,

I call upon you, therefore, brethren, through the compassions of God, to present your bodies a sacrifice — living, sanctified, acceptable to God — your intelligent service;
2 and be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, for your proving what [is] the will of God — the good, and acceptable, and perfect.

EQ: What is a transformed mind, or in the Greek, a ‘nous? ’nous?’

Here is one scholar’s definition.
Commonly translated as ‘mind’ or ‘intellect’, the Greek word nous is a key term in the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus. What gives nous its special significance there is not primarily its dictionary meaning – other nouns in Greek can also signify the mind – but the value attributed to its activity and to the metaphysical status of things that are

‘noetic’ (intelligible and incorporeal) as distinct from being perceptible and corporeal.
In Plato’s later dialogues, and more systematically in Aristotle and Plotinus, nous is not only the highest activity of the human soul but also the divine and transcendent principle of cosmic order.
In its pre-philosophical usage nous is only one among a number of terms for mind. It is chiefly distinguished from these other words by its tendency to signify ‘intelligent’ activity – realizing, understanding, planning, visualizing – rather than mental processes more generally, including the emotions.(emphasis mine)
http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/A075

Romans 12:1-2 uses this Greek word, nous, for mind, in this phrase, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’

Evening talk/teaching notes:

• The Greeks understood that listening involved both the heart and the mind and the spirit. You listen as a ‘whole’ person.
• You can’t hear if you are not living in a ‘transformed’ moment. By this I mean the quick, present, passing moment. If you are living with assumptions and judgements before or as you listen, you can’t hear in the the moment. You are listening to someone or something else.

Review & vision casting _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It is time to cast a vision. (step 4 in our ‘Simple way to pray’) If you really believed this scripture is true, how would the scripture change your life? Now pray for change; for transformation, the next step. For ‘nous’

Closing: We are now at the dimming, the closing of the day. Now is a time to sit silently with Him and move to private individual confession.

Closing individual activity, confession: On the basis of this scripture, what can you confess to God?

meditation 9: fruit of the spirit, goodness

6 Aug

meditation 9:  fruit of the spirit, goodness

 What is goodness? Can anyone be ‘good?’ Any act?  Any purpose?

As I look at myself, for own motives, loves, looking and coveting, speaking solely for my own heart and self, my answer is “No, not good, not me.”

I can say this because I have glimpses of goodness. From others.  Brief compelling can’t stop thinking about glimpses. My heart replays these vary rare views over and over, over and over. They are so rare; I don’t recognise them at first. Here is a recent one.

Priscilla, my wife, is goodness. Yes, at times she is angry, forgetful, and full of self. But at small, very key life moments, she rises. Her goodness empowered by the spirit shines as a new moon in a clear night sky, or a moving piece of music. She, immediately and without thought, is’ good.’ It is her first instinct.

In mid June I saw an advert for a local Proms concert. St. Jude’s church in Golders Green was to have Sir Willard White sing. Priscilla knew him over 40 years ago at a small church in NYC, The Bronx Household of Faith. She always spoke fondly of him and was excited to see that he was in the UK. I booked two of the last three tickets available and Priscilla called the church to leave a message.Can you please tell Mr White that Priscilla from the Bronx Household of Faith will be at the concert? She would love to say ‘hello.’Graciously, the church and the person Priscilla spoke to assured her that they would leave him her contact information.

We heard nothing in the week between her call and the event. Very excited that Friday, in a slight rain, we arrived to a packed house. When we picked up our tickets, Priscilla again explained to a kind steward how she knew Sir Willard. The event staff listened attentively and assured her Sir Willard would get her hand written note. Ours seats were in the first row off to the side. We went in.‘Perfect ‘was Priscilla’s response to our seats: she could see him; and he might recognise her, though people change.

Sir Willard came on; he had not changed significantly except for the greying of age in his hair. He looked well and sang with power and zeal. He opened with a number of German classical pieces that shared the subject of death. He sang, at times with real power. The interval came.  He and his accompanist left the stage.

As a little girl, Priscilla needed vanilla ice cream to cool her excitement. Returning to her, I spoke to another steward. Yes, Sir Willard would leave the stage at the end of the performance and he would ensure she could have a brief moment with him.

The second act began. My sense of the evening was that of a man singing of death in a place of risen celebration, a church. He seemed a performer, not a worshipper of anything, even his own performance. Needless to say, the evening closed. Priscilla waited and told me how he sang ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ to her in New York before she knew me. The Head steward waited with us at the exit. Sir Willard never appeared. He ducked out to avoid her, my Priscilla.

 And here, here, is where I saw goodness. Myself, I was angry Not even a ‘hello.’ He purposely avoided her, as though she was a stalker. In the Head Steward’s word to me: ‘really, he could use the fans; the work.’  Standing by the exit door till the last possible moment Priscilla said ‘Thank you.’ As we walked to our transport she said, ‘Church must have hurt him. He must be hurting deeply.’I asked her is she was hurting; wasn’t she angry? How insensitive…Priscilla said looking down, ‘You don’t know what he has been though. I have my memory of his singing for me.’How generous; how good.

 

 

Twitter: @charlesosewalt

 

Website:

www.charlesosewalt.com

 

meditation 7, kind & gentle fruit of the Spirit: “… is love, joy, peace, patience, kndness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

2 Jul

meditation: 7 His fruit, gentle kindness
I am not a kind or gentle person. I break things. The crafts I build are always ugly. Once I made a hand puppet for an education class and I was the only person whose work very one laughed at. (My best friend in the class called my puppet “Road kill.”) Years of rejection; a failed marriage; work among people in an underserved area of a global city has made me hard internally. I mask it by appearing friendly. I seem to be a happy extrovert, but I am a cynical introvert. Why? Being with people drains me. And that is the test for introverts and extroverts: if being with people gives you energy, then you are an extrovert; if you are drained, intro.
So my Lord gave me fruit, he gave me a spirit filled wife. She is kind, gentle. She listens to people; she smiles at children; Priscilla stops, stoops down and smells, sees flowers. She sees and feels. I decided to ask her to marry me when see gave me a piece of music, Frederick Delius “Florida Suite.” The “Daybreak” section of this work is me. Priscilla, in kindness, saw Charles the unfeeling, the insensitive. I still have the music. It’s nice to be seen.
There is one fruit of the Spirit with multiple vines from it. Kindness is one of these vines. Gentleness is another. For me they entwined together. I want to be kind. I want to be gentle. That’s why I choose Psalm 18: 35 “You stoop down to make me great.” as a banner for my blog. I want to be like Him; to stoop into life. I desire His Great Spirit in, with, for my life. Daybreak.
It’s ironic that this translation from the NIV is no longer used. The Hebrew word for the phrase “stoop down” is a hard translate. It can literally mean “lowliness” in Young’s Literal translation; or “gentleness” in the NAS or “your care” in the New Living. The NIV presently has it as “your help.” I prefer the image of stooping. I need stooping; Help is not enough; I can’t assist with anything. Care is inadequate; I need gentle kindness. I need a greater stooping into-into-my insides, seeing and not being disgusted, and gently reforming me into fruit. A Kind, gentle fruit.
His first miracle was to make water into wine; water into fruit. He didn’t want to at the Wedding feast of Cana, but asked by his mother, Jesus stooped into this couple’s celebration and created fruit
Stoop gently, kindly, lovingly Lord. Stoop.

Aside

Meditation 5: fruits of the spirit, patience In 1996

25 Jun

Meditation 5: fruits of the spirit, patience

In 1996 my wife, Priscilla had great plans to return to her birthplace, Galway. Her grandfather had survived the sinking of the Titanic and married a Galway girl in America. Neither of them ever wanted to return but their children did. Plans were made for this momentous visit to Ireland along with three of her ten siblings and her Mum.

It was not to be for Priscilla. Her Lupus kicked in with a vengeance and getting out of bed was journey enough in the ’90s.

So this year we planned to go. Excited, Priscilla spoke of walking to her home on St. John’s Terrace; knocking on neighbours’ doors; being invited in; having tea, viewing old photographs.

With over 50 years having passed since she was there, every word she spoke sunk my heart further. How could a neighbour be still alive? And recognise her? I didn’t see it. All I saw was disappointment for my lovely wife of thirty years. I said nothing and prepared to rescue her sorrows.

At the second door Priscilla knocked on, a lady called Sally answered. Sally said nothing. She cried. Priscilla cried. Not a word was spoken.

I stood with my mouth open, unable to move. Thank God our daughter Sarah was with us and had the presence of mind to take the picture you see here.

Sally invited us in for tea. She’d recognised Priscilla immediately because she’s the image of her best friend, Marian. Priscilla’s mum. Sally took out some old photos to show us and gave us some to take away. Some were of Eugene Daly: Priscilla’s grandfather who survived the Titanic.

I can have faith in big things: Jesus died for me; He loves me; Priscilla and my children love me. But the desires of others? Their visions and beliefs?

Priscilla knew by the Spirit someone would be there. In the Spirit Sally waited for 17 years for someone to return from the Joyce family. They saw and believed.

In Luke 2 Anna and Simeon wait with the Spirit for a glimpse of the Messiah before they passed from this world. The Spirit was with, on and within them.

Patiently, they waited and waited. They held true to the vision they had been given; then moved by the Spirit, they saw. As prophets they spoke and speak to us now of what He gave them to see. Priscilla held true to a vision; Sally held to an image; I-I had nothing in my hand.

Praise him that now I have a touch from him: a patient touch of a God who sees and gives vision glimpses even to those to impatient to stop & see. Even to me.

Waiting, it is enough to see as the Spirit sees.

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