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a word, a one word life (5 in 6) on how to read the Word)

25 Jan

this week I was unexpectedly busy and then, the news came of Journalist ( capital ‘J’ ) Jim Lehrer’s passing. His mate, Robin MacNeil, has this quote,

“I learned a lot from him, about his very direct manner of interviewing,” MacNeil added. “And not being afraid to say ‘you don’t understand’ or ‘you don’t know.’ But also his extraordinary ability to listen. You know the hardest thing to do on TV is to listen.”

so, read the Word as Mr Lehrer read his work; his interviewees; himself: listen well.

essential principle: sit with His Word; listen

If Our Word says- ‘we love, (because) He first loved us.’ 1 John 4:19

make it His And Ours:

we sing because He first sang over us ( Zephaniah 3)

we weep as He first wept over Us ( John 11: 1-44) (35)

listen to Him, as He all ways – always- listens to you; to Us

the principle: make it personal and objective; studied and emotional; Ours and His

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pbs.org/newshour/amp/nation/remembering-jim-lehrer

a word, a one word life (4 how to read the Word)

20 Jan

simple 4: sit

so, so so many never ever sit in His word…

why, why, ….

in our human life; emotional life; in, perhaps, most of all- there is is lack of-

..heard…

Loving, loving kindness

but with Jesus…

I am heard

a word, a one word life (3 how to read the Word)

19 Jan

as I read, meditate, drench my self in the word, I ask: ‘what is the one first, image, word or words that touch, hold, really, in effect love me?

three point, alliterative sermons, talks, sharing do not do it, this day, for me…

one moment, a touch, does it-

today I was reading Hebrews 11 with another and this verse (35) ‘ jumped me…

Women received their loved ones back from the dead. 

…or as the paraphrase Message gives,

Women received by a rising again their dead, and others were tortured, not accepting the redemption, that a better rising again they might receive,

‘ a better rising’

whom is the writer speaking of?

a person? as the widow‘s son in 1 King’s 17 ( by Elijah? …

or a community, as in Judges 4 & 5 through Deborah’s leading?

or through some women who went to Jesus’ tomb, days after his death, wishing to anoint and bathe His dead, multilated body? …

‘…The women who had come with Jesus from Galile followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumesBut they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.‘ Luke 23: 55-56

an artist craved these women in 1897 with hoods; robes; covered totally in sorrows

-but Soon, very soon, their sorrows would no longer entomb, cover them. As Jesus when He rose shed His covering linens, (John 20: 7-8) ‘the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.’

-so will they, and we, remove all that covers and entombs, as we receive back all we though was dead

…this is the promise, ‘a better resurrection’ Hebrews 11: 35-36

a word, a one word life (2 how to read the Word)

4 Jan

a word, a one word life

When I lived in the United Kingdom, Hampstead, London, from 2012 through 2016, I experienced, I learned and unlearned, many principles and truths. I met many people and, through them and the Spirit, lived another life. A one word life.

This life, my life, has been and is about God’s Word. I read it and meditate on it; I write on it and speak on it. I walk it. I live it as best I can.

When I moved to the UK I was employed, called, to write on This, His Word. But at the start I struggled to share. Why? I used too many of my own words. I did not let The Word speak itself. Too much of me, and not enough of The Spirit in, from with The Word. So …

I listen to a mentor, Craig Borlase, and got all my writing ideas on small post it notes. I also began to pray and meditate in one verse scriptures. I returned to the Jesus Prayer, ‘Lord Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner’

I prayed this prayer repeatedly; I changed it as I went on. I changed one word, as He lead me (for example, ‘a sinner’ to ‘your sinner’) and then when I went back to the word, I also asked, loved, loved that word as I walked.

Today, I am walking with Paul and the people of Thessaloniki,

Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always” & “Pray without ceasing” (5:17)

These two instructions are for the group and an individual. Packed closely together, their verbs, ‘rejoice’ and ‘pray’, describe how I am to walk this day, and everyday, with Him.

But where my Lord really desires me to go with His Words here is global: ‘always’ and ‘without ceasing’.

He desires all of me, everyday, joyful, joyful adoring in His presence.

In these two partnered scriptures, short and emotional; personal and loving, He takes me. Reading the Word is to be taken.

Taking; this is a word, a life. Mine.

My God, my life, my Jesus, my love.

60, death, torture, on Christmas Eve

3 Jan

On Christmas Eve 1982 one of several brothers was preparing to serve as a professional pall bearer. Outside his family home and work, Charles Guarino was shot to death,

https://www.nytimes.com/1982/12/24/nyregion/brooklyn-man-is-slain-in-gang-style-shooting.html

I went to Our Lady of Grace elementary school with the Guarinos. Their family, formed of several brothers, lived above the Guarino Funeral Home, right by Avenue X. Rumour was they were connected and they were to be avoided.

A number, if not all, of the brothers were killed. One of the last to go was Charles.

Why would a mob hit be done as the victim is to help bury another? And why on Christmas Eve? Why kill the last son?

Christmas Eve is when my family, and all Italian families, celebrate Christmas. We open presents, we drink and eat. We feast on ‘seven fishes’ – seven different fish dishes and a variety of pastas. It is a holy family day.

So why kill a son, a brother, on this of all days? ( https://www.google.com/amp/s/themillions.com/2014/05/thug-a-life-of-caravaggio-in-sixty-nine-paragraphs.html/amp) -the first line of this iconic article is ‘They torture him of course.’- This is why: torture.

Why?

Because the Guarino family was hated so by these others that on each and every future Christmas they would live in a time of ultimate family sorrow; hear always a death song; see always images of children dead, not borne, on all Christmas Eves. Torture of course.

1982 was a transitional year for me. I was leaving a soiled, rejected and bitter past and was slowly moving to a lighten immediate future. No more tortures, no more deaths.

In 1982 I had just moved to a new flat; we, Priscilla and I, had just enjoyed the beauty of our first daughter’s birth; we were happy tired. Happy.

In 1982 reading of this man’s death, then and now, I was taken by a gloved hand from these happy moments again to my past, a past of sorrows and tears; of failing eye sight and betraying hearts.

I also had failed others, along with myself. And I still do.

But now, today, in this moment, I choose to serve as a pall bearer to my past. I move to honour them in their burying.

I only trust and hope; hope and believe, that I, and my past memories, will not destroy me. I hope they will not bury me with them. I hope in you my Jesus fit unfailing love alongside these incessant memories and thoughts.

So, I look to feast on Christmas Eve, on past, on present and future births on all Christmases and their Eves. Memories and dreams will be reborn, and borne in peace together.

how I read, meditate, absorb Your word, today… Psalm 1, first things on a first day

1 Jan

how I read, meditate, absorb Your word, today…

First, a psalm a day, each and everyday, …each and everyday I read the day’s psalm in three translations, Young’s Literal Translation; The Message, and the NIV
I think of these readings as songs; songs like David sang. I wonder if David wrote, formed a psalm every few days…every few days …
Psalm 1 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

O the happiness of that one, who Hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked. And in the way of sinners hath not stood, And in the seat of scorners hath not sat;

But — in the law of Jehovah [is] his delight, And in His law he doth meditate by day and by night:

my prayer: Let me feel your happiness 

Psalm 1 The Message (MSG)


How well God must like you—
    you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
    you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
    you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

my prayer: Renew me as a tree in Eden; your tree of knowledge, and life. Replant me.

Psalm 1 NIV 

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. 

Now, second, I ask the Lord to give me one or two words from by readings. Today I was given the verbs of this first song, 

These highlighted in bold YLT verbs are in the past tense. The highlighted verbs in both The Message and the NIV versions of the 1st verse of Psalm 1 is the present tense. So, as I walk, stand and sit today, I remember to be in my past and to be in and to be mindful of my present

This is what the Lord gave me this first day of 2020: past and present verbs about walking, standing and sitting. What next?

Before prayer, my third step in my reading, meditating, singing is to make these God given word gifts my own. How? 

I change the tenses, or in this case, I change my verbs into past or present participles. Here and now walk, stand and sit become active, present participles walking, standing and sitting. Why? 

So my past becomes present. And, in order to be totally present with these word gifts, I make each gift an essential question:

• where am I walking today?

• where am I standing this day?

• how and where am I sitting today? whom am I sitting with?

My truthful, transparent and rigorously honest answer to these questions takes me to prayer, my final and fourth step.

today’s prayer: my Lord, please sit with me ‘…appoint  your love and faithfulness to protect…’ (me) Psalm 62: 7b

appoint and post your love and faithfulness in all my walks, all my standings. And as I sit, rest, speak, move my heart faithfully and fully to you, my Lord. 

walk with me …

Boxing Day, advent 2019, epilogue of ‘generous in time’- the days after…

26 Dec

Advent 2019, epilogue of ‘generous in time’- Boxing Day, the days after…

…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him,…

I have been spending Christmas week in Tampa, Florida with my daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren: Albert, ten; Hero, four and Liv, two.(soon to be three -in two weeks.)

I lived in the UK for almost 4 years (2012-2016) and loved many, many things about my time there: the transportation and clean (compared to NYC) streets; the safety rules and regulations; the parks and green spaces. The Countryside. But, I especially I loved British people ( in general) and the time I loved best, the day I loved best, was Boxing Day.

Restful and meditative, quiet-all activity ceased in busy London life that day. I could stop and think; pray and see. Boxing Day for me has been always about seeing.

My mom passed from me Boxing Day NYC 2015. Married 60 years, living her life, she passed on that day.

Yesterday, as Christmas came to a close and thoughts of her and others begun to open and return, we sat down for deserts. A relative had earlier stopped by with a meal and a handmade cake. This was a gift, a generous Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. No cooking, no works for us this day, just present openings and fellowship. Family.

On cake’s frosting had a picture of a baby in a manger and the words ‘Happy Birthday Jesus.’ As four year old Hero looked at the cake, he voiced,

‘Who is Jesus?’

My daughter grew up in the faith, went to a Christian school as did her husband. We love some distant away from them and we are living life as they. But life without Jesus, no matter how many offerings or gifts, is quite a poverty.

Priscilla and I, this Boxing Day, request a gift from you all,

would you pray that our grandchildren will see Jesus…

would you pray for other families like ours to see Jesus…

would you pray to see Him yourself, with eyes of a Hero?

Pray that as Shepherds who hurried to and then from the manger; pray that as Mary and Joseph who go to first Bethlehem, and then Egypt; pray that as the Angels who return to heaven, we would see Him and go where He directs.

Please pray though, we would see, and that Hero will see

Jesus help all to see

Advent 8, ‘generous in time’; the last in 2019 series/ waiting; patience; The Saviour comes- Hallelujah !!

24 Dec

Advent 8, ‘generous in time’; the last in 2019 series/ waiting; patience; The Saviour comes- Hallelujah !!

Christmas is about the fulfilment of time: past, presents and futures all come together in a moment of time. Waiting, comes to end at Advent’s last week, Christmas. But this waiting began with the prophet,

3 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

From the last words of the Old Testament Malachi to Jesus’ coming birth, there is a space of 400 or so years. And this birth takes place in the small and seemingly, insignificant hometown of David, Bethlehem. Few notice this coming. And those who do, in the main, are as insignificant as the town: they are shepherds in a field. So, Israelites still wait. And for whom?

Israelites wait for a saviour, a Messiah; a King and warrior; a prophet priest. They wait for Him to come; to fight and to speak. They wait for salvation. And then…

In addition to the 400 years, they need to wait another 30 years for the baby and child from Bethlehem to grow into Jesus the man.

And then Jesus comes. He comes to all.

In His three messenger years, He teaches and heals; He is baptised and walks through Judea; He forms disciples and friends. He lives among us.

And then, in a death moment, three dear friends of Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, have to wait in their Bethany home for Jesus to come…

John 11

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two mile from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

Jesus comes to Mary and Martha to weep; He weeps for His friend’s Lazarus’ death. And he is ‘deeply moved in spirit and angry.’ (33)

This phrase in the Greek means angry. Jesus weeps in deep passion; He is troubled and emotionally vulnerable; He is angry at death.

In this spiritual state Jesus shows us the meanings of people’s waiting and patience; of their tears and troubles. Of their sufferings. In this time of His last miracle before His own death, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. He ends deaths; resurrection begins.

The time of Messiah waiting, the times of tears at deaths, is over. Advent, the four weeks of meditative patience, of lengthening darknesses, of great expectations is over. Light comes.

The warrior king priest comes and conquers death. Forgiveness is given all by Jesus at His cross. He is borne to die; borne to conquer; borne to wash us in love, as our friend.

Jesus’ birth can only be understood in this light: the light of Lazarus’ and then His own bodily resurrection.

Jesus’s birth is His gift of resurrection for all. He is light, the light of the , our, world.

And to reverse the words of a Tom Hanks character in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’; we don’t have to earn this.

Jesus, did.

He did by His birth and walk; by His life and resurrection. He earned, by His love and His forgiveness, our gift of eternal life with Him. He is our jewel; our desire. He is our gift.

Walk, sing, love and live in, by, His steps these days, this season. This moment.

Sing Hallelujahs as this young woman on the streets of Leeds,

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4465462/amp/Jade-Helliwell-sings-Hallelujah-busker-Leeds.html

Sing, for, because He first sang, loved us.

advent 7, for season 2019 …to be read & sung Christmas Eve

21 Dec

this is a hymn, a song of praise on the moment of our Jesus’ birth. My grand children call for me and say I am theirs: ‘my’-‘mine’

this season ,and for all times, Jesus is ours, mine-

this Advent we sing to our Saviour, as shepherds in Bethlehem fields. This is a hymn of that moment.

sing this season,

Bethlehem Down

When He is King we will give Him a Kings’ gifts,

Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown,

Beautiful robes, said the young girl to Joseph,

Fair with her-first born on Bethlehem Down.

Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight —

Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold,

Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music

Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

When He is King they will clothe Him in grave-sheets,

Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown. em>

He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,

Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down,

Here He has peace and a short while for dreaming,

Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold,

Mary for love, and lullaby music

Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem down

King’s College Cambridge 2010 #17 Bethlehem Down youtu.be/-z3Tz5AIsa0 via @YouTube

advent 5, generous in time, 2019 ‘endure’

17 Dec

5 advent 2019- generous in time, ‘endure’.

2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. Malachi 3:2(NIV)

en-dur’:

Used in the Bible

(1) in the sense of “continue,” “last,” as in Psalms 9:7, “The Lord shall endure for ever” (the American Standard Revised Version “Yahweh sitteth as king forever”); Bible Study Tools

In the Hebrew the implied meaning of the word ‘endure’ is to hyper stay. To stand in patience; to accept with serenity; to move when called to walk or run; to dance or be still. We are always to endure. And we are to do it with Him. Forever.

And this what the people before Jesus time did; they endured.

In the last book of the Old Testament, the last prophet to speak before Jesus’ birth (about 400 years), we have Malachi speaking God’s word to to them and to us, and it is all about the principle beneath enduring:

turning

In Malachi 4:6a the prophet describes God’s Advent plan He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children,and the hearts of the children to their parents;

Jesus comes to us to have us turn; to move; to give and forgive parents and children; friends and enemies. He comes so we can turn to and towards ourselves. He wants us to move, and to do so with Him.

Biblical endurance is paradoxical: it is about waiting, yet moving; about silences and song; about staying and going out. Enduring is about how we are to live on earth and in eternal heavens. Endurance is not either/or but both/and. We are to be in patient, time, yet also in expectant stillness. We are to be in waiting so we can move and dance in healing, with joy, with Him.

He comes for us, as Malachi 4:2 tells us, to turn, to live out the ‘but’, the paradoxical ‘but’ of endurance – ‘But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.’

At Advent, as darknesses lessen, we are to go out in the sun and experience healing. We are to turn to others, to ourselves, and to Him. We are to dance.

Having endured nights, we rise healed and dance. Having been failed and having failed others, we stay; we endure. Then we move with Jesus.

As the psalmist sings, For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Endure with Him this season. It is for a lifetime. Dance with Jesus.