Light, Revelation

Revelation 6

I know I already posted today, but I am posting again.

I know I already responded to the daily prompt today, but I am responding again.

Because I want to.

Last year I challenged myself, in the month of December, to make each daily prompt to which I respond about Jesus. In honor of His birthday.

So here I go.

I spent the morning preparing to teach Revelation 6 on Monday night. Studying Revelation is really bringing what is important in life into focus. And it’s putting all the nonsense of life into perspective.

In Revelation 4, John wept because there was NO ONE anywhere in heaven or on earth or under the earth who was worthy to open the scroll – not even Jesus.

Until He showed up as a slain Lamb.

Even Jesus wasn’t worthy until He was slain.

It was His sacrifice, not His being, that made Him worthy.

And as He took the scroll with the seven seals, there was much REJOICING in heaven.

But then He started to open those seals and, here on earth, not so much.

Jesus opened the first seal and John saw a white horse. It’s rider held a bow and was given a crown. He rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

I wonder if that rider is Jesus on a conquest to rescue as many as possible from the coming wrath. Or perhaps the rider is the Holy Spirit, and with His bow He is going to shoot arrows of Truth, prophecy and warning.

Isaiah said, “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.” 49:2

Zechariah said, “Then the Lord will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning.” 9:14a

So I’m thinking the bow belongs to Jesus.

Then He opened the second seal and John saw a fiery red horse with a rider who had the power to take away peace, a large sword and the ability to make people kill each other.

That rider seems to be riding high these days.

At the opening of the third seal, John saw a black horse with a rider who was holding a pair of scales. He heard a voice saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

The commentaries I read say this rider is bringing famine, but I disagree.  Here’s why:

The Greek word translated as a pound, is “choinix”.

Here’s how Strong’s lexicon defines it: “a choenix, a dry measure…less than our quart, one litre, or as much as would support a man of moderate appetite for a day.

So I’m thinking the rider is providing exactly what the people to whom he is riding need – their daily bread.

and do not damage the oil and the wine!”  AND, not but.

Here is more evidence that the crops are being spared, not destroyed:

Zechariah went on to say, “The Lord their God will save his people on that day… How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women.” 9:16-17

Wheat, barley and wine to make the young men and women thrive.

Now look here at Zechariah 6:1-8:

I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black, the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”

When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.

Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”

I rest my case.

Back to the seals.

The opening of the fourth seal brought a pale horse whose rider is Death, and Hades was hot on his heals. Death and Hades were given power over a quarter of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague and wild beasts.

The opening of the fifth seal revealed the souls of those who have been martyred, waiting under the altar to be avenged.

And then the sixth scroll opens and things grow dark.

The sun turns black, the moon turns blood red and the stars fall from the sky.

The heavens recede like a scroll being rolled up and everything changes.

Princes and paupers alike hide in caves and between mountain rocks. Wealth, position, popularity, intelligence, cunning and celebrity cannot save them. “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne,” they cry to the rocks, “and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

No one.

Except those who take refuge in  Jesus.

 

 

 

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life

And She Heard God Say No

It wasn’t folded, it wasn’t on the street and it wasn’t me.  Here’s what really happened:

I was working in a law office as a messenger/clerk. One of my responsibilities was to cover for the receptionist while she was at lunch – on the days I was available to do so. One day, when the lunchtime desk was quiet, I used the silence to practice a Scripture memory verse:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, and God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

I memorize things best by writing them out longhand.  So I wrote the verse over and over on a legal pad.

Shortly before the hour was up, the phone became very active and I took a lot of messages for the lunching attorneys.  The pad on which I wrote became buried under a pile of message slips.

When the receptionist returned to her post, I accidentally left it behind.

Toward the end of the day, the receptionist – a happily married, God-loving woman – sought me out to return the pad to me.  She said it saved her from ruining everything.

A very handsome, charming and wealthy client shamelessly flirted with her whenever he came into the office. Ordinarily she would laugh it off as harmless. But not that day. That day, when he came to pick up one of the attorneys for a lunch meeting, the client wore her down.

And as she sat alone and ate her lunch, she contemplated giving in to him. When he returned to her desk later that afternoon, she was going to say yes.

And then she found my 1 Corinthians 10:13 practice sheet.

And she heard God say no.

She said she was tempted beyond what she could bear, and God provided a way out. She asked me to hold her accountable.

That unfolded piece of paper on a legal pad on her desk changed the course of her afternoon and prevented the possible destruction of her marriage, as well as the office’s relationship with the client.

God knows how to come to our rescue, just in time.

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love

Lucky in Love

I limped down the dark stairs toward the kitchen, my eyes full of sleep, a few minutes late for the beagle’s 7 am pill.

The light was on in the library as I stumbled by, the hub called me over. “Go back to bed,” he said.

“Did you give Little One her pill?”

“Yes, I did, I thought you’d want to sleep in. Go back to bed.”

But it was too late. I already smelled the coffee. “No, I’m going to stay up and drink coffee.”

Maybe catch up on a blog or two.

That was almost two hours ago and here I sit, still zombified. Thinking about going into the kitchen to make cinnamon rolls. Hearing the hub in there doing yet another load of dishes. I figure by the end of the day we’ll have all the pots scrubbed and put away, the silver and the wine glasses washed by hand, the dishes I borrowed from my mom packed up, the extra tables and chairs put back in their cupboard in the basement and the coffee urn and the food warmers back in their boxes in the cedar closet.

Three full days of cooking and set-up, one full day of dishes and tear down.

A labor of love.

And speaking of love, I love that guy in the kitchen. My foot loves him, too.

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life

c’Meeerr

 

c’Meeerr you guys. I’m busy making my list for tomorrow’s grocery shopping extravaganza so I don’t have a lot of time.

But, since I am a slave to the NaBloPoMo – an indentured servant, actually – I must fulfill my servitude. So I’m going to share a little bit of regional dialect by telling you that if weren’t so darn cold, dark and snowy out there, I’d go to the party store and get some pop.

‘Cuz that’s what we say here in Michigan. And I’m thirsty.

And yes,
it is grand
to live in a land
that’s shaped
like a hand.

#smittenwiththemitten
#waterwinterwonderland

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life

It’s Not To Me, It’s From Me

“When people come up and give me a compliment–‘Corrie, that was a good talk,’ or ‘Corrie, you were so brave,’ I gather each remark as if it were a flower. At the end of each day I lift up the bouquet of flowers I have gathered throughout the day and say, ‘Here you are, Lord, it is all Yours.’” – Corrie ten Boom

When I was young, I felt shy and uncomfortable receiving compliments.

But now, when people come up to praise me after a talk, like Corrie I just gather their kind words up like flowers into a bouquet. I put my focus on the kindness of the giver of the compliment rather than on my self-conscious self.  I pause a moment to breathe the sweet aroma and I offer back a warm and grateful smile.

This morning The Daily Post’s writing prompt asked: “You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?”

That bouquet is not to me, it’s from me.  It’s all the praise I’ve received and all the joyful exhilaration I’ve experienced, arranged in a turkey basket of Thanksgiving, waiting to be offered up to the Author and Perfecter of everything.

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life

A Poor Woman’s Linen Bedskirt

The bed frame in the spare room was naked, and I had a house guest coming.  So I needed a skirt.  All the choices at Bed, Bath and Beyond, JC Penney and even Pottery Barn were prosaic. And prosaic doesn’t make anyone feel special. Or delighted.

I searched online and found an interesting linen skirt accented just right with buttons.  I liked it a lot, but I don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a bedskirt.

So I made my own.  And, since linen wrinkles too easily, I used burlap.

I don’t have a sewing machine, and who has time to sew by hand when your guest is coming and the house still needs to be cleaned?  So I used fusible two-sided fabric tape to attach a strip of burlap to the skirt – just to give it interest – and I used industrial strength velcro (which may have been overkill) to attach the skirt to the frame.

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I cinched the pleat with two decorative brads that have been languishing in the linen closet for years just waiting to be called into service. Then I made window coverings with the leftover burlap.

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Again, no sew.   Why thread a needle when you still have ten more brads? (The lighting in that room is not great, but, if you look closely, you can see them.)  I left the bottom rustic and frayed.

It may not be the best idea I’ve ever had, but it’s the best idea I had this week.

$16 for four yards of burlap and $5 for the fabric tape.  Total cash outlay: $21 for a bedskirt and “curtains” in a pinch.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Brainwave.”

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life

Saved by Insanity

My first husband was really into cars.  That year we had a t-top firebird, which was not all that suitable for winters in Michigan.  So during the icy months I drove Trooper – a retired state trooper car which had been painted orange.

I was a social worker in Detroit and my job took me into some neighborhoods.  Into some neighborhoods. One dark-by-five-o’clock winter evening I was heading home from work when Trooper’s steering went out.  I pulled into a gas station and called my husband.  He told me to sit tight until he could get there.

So I sat in the gas station, alert to my surroundings, and waited.  It wasn’t the kind of place where you could play 2048 on your cell phone to kill the time.  Too dangerous to let yourself be distracted.  Plus, cell phones were only phones back then.

Scanning my surroundings I saw someone approach.  He began circling me and licking his lips, like I was some sort of tasty treat.  I had to think fast.

I pulled a small Bible from my purse and started reading it – aloud – in as crazy a manner as I could muster.

(1 Samuel 21:12-15 and Psalm 34, for those who don’t know…)

It worked. The potential perp decided I wasn’t worth it.

Saved by a double-edged sword.  And feigned insanity.

Today is the hub’s birthday so I’m off to the store.  He wants pot roast.

Oh, and sorry for mucking up your reader with two posts in one day, but I just felt like responding to the daily prompt.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Saved by the Bell.”

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Jesus, life, Light, Revelation

Singularly Sensational

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The hub is up north fly fishing this weekend.  He sent a text last night reporting that he caught seven salmon.

“…Beautiful day in a great river.  I forgot how tiring it is to wade in current over rocks and logs.  Will sleep like a log tonight.”

So I’m home alone this beautiful, sunny Sunday morning watching leaves from a giant oak drift, dance, catch an updraft and then float gently to the ground. Listened to some Josh Garrels and some Micheal Card and now I’m reading the opening chapters of Revelation again, the sound of my slumbering beagle a soothing backdrop.  It’s worship enough for me.

His words thrill me:

“I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever.”

They are among the first words He said to His best friend on earth, and they are the words He keeps saying to me.

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

I’ve read those words small so many times, but they aren’t small at all, they are huge.

Maybe they’ve been huge this week because my sister died.   Maybe they’re huge because I’m awaiting the results of a biopsy.  Maybe they’re huge because they’ve ALWAYS been huge, I’ve just been reading them with small eyes all these years.

My thoughts keep jumping ahead to the opening scene of chapter 5:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.  I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne…  

He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.

John wept and wept.  No one was worthy.  No one anywhere was worthy.  It looked completely hopeless.

And along came a Lamb…

…looking as if it had been slain.

I mean, can you picture the scene?  Can you feel it?  I makes me weep.

Was this a glimpse of what happened in the throne room the day Jesus was crucified?

The day He rose victoriously?

Did He arrive on the scene fresh from the cross – like slain meat still bloody?

There was a hush in the room.  The Lamb, looking as if He had been slain went and took the scroll…

… and suddenly heaven swelled with the sound of thousands upon thousands of angels bursting into song.

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

Am I coming anywhere close to conveying it?

He said, “John, Julie, I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever!

Write this stuff down!”

This morning the daily post asked, “If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?”

I would like someone to think about Jesus for a minute.

I want Him to thrill someone. I want Him to thrill YOU!

And I want your day (or night) to be as perfect as the day is here – Crisp, cool, and sunny, with a bright blue sky.  A glass of sweet cider and a warm cinnamon spiced donut day.

A sun on your face long walk day.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singular Sensation.”

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life

TJ Maxx

First I headed to the returns counter.  I had grabbed a last minute pair of knit pants that looked really comfy and really long – long enough for these lanky lower limbs, comfy enough for lounging around the house.

I tried them on as soon as I got home.  Yikes, lounging around the house is ALL I’ve been doing all summer.  So no.

Knit, like spandex, is a privilege, not a right,  I’ve lost the privilege.

I removed the pants from their bag and handed them to the smiling, sunny cashier.

“You didn’t like them?”

“Oh, I liked them, I liked them a lot, I just didn’t like them on me.”

She laughed, completed the return and bid me a great day.

From there I headed to hosiery for some charcoal tights.  I spotted just the right color, and made in the USA, too.  Size 1, size 1, size 1….  squeeze around the very large tub blocking the aisle … size 1, size 1, size 1. Size 1 is for people 5″6 and below, not for me.  No matter how many times I tug at a size 1, no matter how thoroughly I stretch them upward, the crotch still hangs down to just above my knees.  No one needs that kind of uncomfortable grief all day.

Dang it, those would have been perfect, too.

Just then a very tall, very large, very, very tall and large female employee approached the very large tub and slid it aside.

“Are you about to refill the racks?”

“I’m not about to refill anything,” she snorted.

I mean she SNORTED like a very large, very angry bull about to charge.

“Shoot,” I said, touching the top of the merchandise-filled tub, “I was hoping there was some size 2 gray tights in here.”

She growled.  Her face contorted from bull to bear – a very tall, very large, very grizzly bear.

Whoa!  What did I do? Maybe she just hates all middle-aged white women.  Maybe she’s had all she can take of the high-maintenance middle-aged white women in my town.  The kind who would just open the bin and rummage through it themselves – or demand that she do it.  But I’m not one of them.  I’m courteous.  And, wait, we’re not in my town, so no excuse.

I wanted to say, “So your manager is okay with you treating customers like this?” But the look in her eye warned me not to poke that bear.

So I pretended she hadn’t just sprayed bull snot all over me, shrugged and said, “Dang it, those tights would have been perfect.”

I snagged a pair of SmartWools for a really good price and headed toward housewares.  As I was walking away I heard her voice and turned around.  “There are more tights up front,”  she said, speaking with her back to me, refilling the racks.

“Oh, good, thanks.”

The Holy Spirit must have whispered something to her.

I added an item from housewares to the knee socks in my cart, tried on a really cute skirt and added that to the cart and found a pair of size 2 gray tights, made in the USA, color not as perfect as the ones in hosiery, up by the check out line.

I was called up to cashier #4, the same cheerful woman who had taken my return.  We chatted pleasantly while she rang me up, then she bid me another great day.

“Thank you for being so pleasant and friendly,” I said with a smile, “there aren’t a lot of friendly people these days.”

The cashier next to her nodded and said, “You’re right.”

Day and night and back to day again.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Night and Day.”

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