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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.

advent 2019, generous in time 5/6a- ‘back into the city’ Back to the Future

16 Dec

‘…back into the city’ Acts 14: 20

What does it mean to go back to the city, back, in a sense, to the future?

First, we need go back in time, to the time of David, as described by Paul, at Pisidian Antioch,

Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestor and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.”

Jesus comes as a child, baby, to call us to a new belief: no more death, all will have a bodily resurrection, a ‘better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)

35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.

This great chapter in Hebrews on faith climaxes with the image of one who is tortured and refusing release so that gain something better. This crucified individual who in silence refuse to speak on their on part is Jesus, our Christ. He enters death to bring us a new future, a better life, an eternal one; Jesus enters so we can be born anew. Paul, in Acts of the New Testament, does the same: as Jesus: he enters, and goes back to cities, to creation so we enter into a new life, a better life, a resurrected eternal living.

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.’Acts 14

This Advent there are places the Lord wants us to go back to. Paul was, as Jesus, left for dead outside the city. Disguarded as dead, he stands, rises and goes back into the city that hurt and rejected him,

What places does He desires you to re-enter this season? Where do you need to go ‘into’? No brief visit, easy forgivenesses-no ‘to’- an but ‘into’: a into that is deep, an exploration, a reframing, a re-birthing.

Go back; return; go into deeply. Make a new birth; a ‘better resurrection.’ This Advent is calling.

2019 osewalt family pictures…NYC lulu

16 Dec

…our first year together 💕

At many points in times past, Priscilla and I ( as many of you might have suspected knowing us over parts or the whole of these 40 years, have had some slight theological disagreements.)

One of these (among the role of women in churches; spiritual gifts and their exercise; and presently, whether a believer can lose their salvation- Hebrews 6 ) is: “what is family?”

We now-in 2019 – both agree: for Christians a family is all who believe in Him, our Saviour Jesus. Following His lead we, in Jesus footsteps when He -as a baby -added us to His heavenly family…(We are called His brothers and sisters; He came to receive freely as only a baby can- from Mary and Joseph, human parents.) we, Priscilla and I, have a ‘home grown’ family. A full, full family.

Jesus adopts all as full heirs, so have we prayerfully adopted others.

This, this NYC lulu, has pictures of our family…some of you may not see yourselves, but trust, we see you fully, always. (even if your images are not included here-but please feel free to send pictures you love to: Cmposewalt@gmail.com and we will include you in a future future 2020 New Year’s Post) Now, enough words, pictures…

n

13 Dec

advent 2019-‘generous in time’m 4’ -swaddling clothes, Jesus’ gift: time, His generous time. And he spends it with, for us.

Swaddling clothes as an image is the baby Jesus’ first clothing; and…

Mary robed her child in “swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:7)

…and then …Joseph of Arimathea covered His Jesus in linen clothe (John 20)

…So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

A woman robes Jesus at his birth; a man covers Him in linens for His death. In both moments the Lord of the universe and cosmos, the ruler of expansive heavens and earth, is tightly wrapped by human hands.

Jesus, of infinite time and space, is tightly wrapped, control and limited, in and by our humanity, by births and deaths. And He does this to allow us to enter His eternal time with Him, as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11 defines us as His family,

“Both the one (Jesus) who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

He choose us- with our linens and swaddling clothes- our life with joys and tears; us. We are for all eternity the holy family.

When Mary wraps Jesus in swaddling clothes/ bands, she sends recognizable signals to all that this baby is wanted, owned, embraced, touched and is being fully cared for. Mary and Joseph prepared this child’s birth having brought to the cave manger these bands in which to they tightly bundle the infant Jesus.

One writer has offered the following description of swaddling: “For years the Orientals of Bible lands have cared for an infant child much as it was done when Jesus was born. Instead of allowing the young baby the free use of its limbs, it is bound hand and foot by swaddling bands, and thus made into a helpless bundle like a mummy. At birth the child is washed and rubbed with salt, and then with its legs together, and its arms at its side, it is wound around tightly … Although based on customary practices whose antiquity cannot be determined precisely, nothing could signal more clearly the helpless state of a newborn human more than being wrapped tightly in any such way. Such a being has relinquished all power even to move, let alone to do, at that point, much of anything.”

Just as in birth, in death Jesus is wrapped in clean anointed, perfumed linens (Luke 23:56) But- Jesus rises and leaves these clothes behind. (John 20: 7) He rises and moves through the linen without touching them. He does fit leave the clothes of His birth because he needs time with us. They represent his choice: us.

Resurrected he is no longer limited by time and space; death or life. He leaves the linens of His death, untouched- clothe ‘lying in its place’ (John 20:7)

In generous time He came as a wrapped baby to become part of our family. He walked and lived with us; cried at death, rejoiced at weddings. He healed and forgave; taught and listened. And then He died so we, His, His brothers and sisters, can live in eternal time with Him.

Jesus’ gift: time, His generous time. And he spends it with, for us.

Advent is about Him, in generous time. Rejoice well this season. Adore well. Give well. He did-first in swaddling clothes; then linens. He gave well. He gives well.