Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yours By Right-Ask The Animals Sundays

Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
John 17:5-12 (MSG)

I was reading concerning lion behavior for this posting of Ask the Animals and one author said the lion has a grandeur only God could have bestowed upon him. If you have ever had the privilege to see a full grown male up close you would agree. Lions are awe inspiring.

Jesus is known as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and He is every bit deserving of the honor. To be the head of a tribe or a pride is a position only the most worthy could defend.

An interesting lion behavior I discovered was the disconcerting practice demonstrated by a new male ascending to the position of pride leader. A male may be in charge of protecting a territory containing several females. (Those females are not ornamental but fierce in the extreme and supply most of the food for the pride in skillfully coordinated hunts.) What the pride leader is defending them from, is the intrusion of a new male seeking to reproduce. He is interested in only his genes swimming in the pool.

Should a new male succeed in overthrowing an existing leader, the first order of business is for him to eliminate any cubs not his. This causes the females to stop nursing and become available to produce the new leader's offspring. New life born to the pride must be his bloodline. My sympathies if you are horrified by this practice but creation did not come about out of a Disney script, after all.

In John 17, Jesus makes His pedigree evident in a prayer to His Father, "I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me...They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, That everything you gave me is firsthand from you, For the message you gave me, I gave them; And they took it, and were convinced that I came from you."

Jesus overthrew the evil one and laid claim to the regenerated hearts and minds of those who believed on Him. Jesus produced in His followers the character of the Father as He had demonstrated it and a new family came into being that looked and sounded just like the Father. The Father recognized them as His own bloodline. "My life is on display in them."

As we come down to the final weeks of Lent let us take time to do some serious self-examination. Is the life of Christ on display in us? Does He know us as His own? It is not enough that a church family claims us in its membership. If we are not His, He will know it. Time to eliminate all that is from a foreign gene pool and be true sons and daughters. Jesus blazed the trail.

"For they are yours by right."

May it be said of us and known for the truth.


Link to Lion of the Tribe of Judah by Misty Edwards in live worship

Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Invitation

"LENT IS A SPIRITUAL “spring cleaning”: we enter the inner places where we are stuck or muddled, and we clear away the clutter so that God moves a little more freely through us. …

When we look at ourselves deeply and honestly, we all meet our own demons. In this work, we first find ourselves alone and exposed to the inner elements: our vices, our confusion, feelings we’d prefer to mute. And this is the way it must be; to explore and heal ourselves, we must meet ourselves head on, alone, in what may feel like a very wild place.

Open your heart and mind to your entire self — both good and bad — and quietly name what you find there. And remember that you are not alone in this work. God goes with you, moving gently and compassionately through your inner world, guiding and nurturing your Lenten journey."

- Alive Now, March/April 2012

How slowly I move toward cleaning anything unless I am really angry about something. When I am disturbed I disturb all the dust bunnies and piles of books (I am a compulsive book stacker) and homogenized kitchen drawers. The problem is that the older I get the less frequently anything really truly deeply upsets me. (No teenagers) So, the house stays untidy until guests come then it is a frantic ordeal.  (Except for John's areas. He is a compulsive neat-nick) Motivation is a lot of the problem. Motivation and time.

Motivation is also a problem in our spiritual life. We look at the sometimes gargantuan task of house cleaning and demur. We forget God has a plan and resources. The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10. That means all the lostness in our lives.

How about the musty old corners of our lives? What about the clutter built up around our gifts? How about the surface of our dining room table? What about all the lost opportunities because gack is in the way spiritually and practically? Does that qualify for saving under God's plan? You bet your dust bunnies!

The scripture tells us that God is bringing everything that concerns us to perfection. Everything is, well, everything. Spiritual clutter, physical clutter, He is not put off by it but He is looking forward to the day we throw a party because we swept the house clean and found lost treasure.

I don't know what personal inventory you need to make. I can only answer for myself. I don't know what self-help books you would find helpful. I tend to read half, starting at the end, then use them to press flowers and prop open windows. I do know we can feed shame about our procrastination to the dust bunnies and simply ask Jesus to step into the areas in need of attention. He has been seeking the victory in those areas on your behalf all along. He will bless even small steps in the right direction.

While I was sitting for my grandson, who is almost four, I asked God to show me how to explain Him to John Sebastian. We ended up digging for treasure on the beach and finding lost change and a matchbox car. He was beside himself with excitement. He couldn't wait to show his folks and to return for a second round of digging. We cleaned off the sand and mud and put his loot in a special treasure box. I found myself telling Him how Jesus came to look for us because we were His treasure and that He had joy at finding us and dusting us off and making us fixed. He is only a child but I saw the light go on.

Whatever needs a clean up in our lives we may find a book written about overcoming it (I am not disparaging that) or we may sit in the quiet with our Treasure-Hunter-God and hand Him a broom and mean it. He was made for the wild places. You can't scare Him. It might not feel like a day at the beach but the end result will be treasure.

Lent is the perfect place to begin...or begin again.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Championed By Grace

"My life is a witness to vulgar grace -- a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wage as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party, no ifs, ands, or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief's request -- "Please, remember me" -- and assures him, "You bet!"

...This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It's not cheap. It's free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover. Grace is enough..." Brennan Manning, All Is Grace

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. Romans 5:20:21

Vulgar, aggressive? Not the kind of words our sense of propriety would link with Grace. God was not so particular. A song lyric says "Grace makes beauty out of ugly things." Does it ever. Did it ever. Grace in the extreme, hanging naked and dead on a Roman cross. Grace exsanguinated, heart and lungs collapsed, pierced. Grace, face caked in a mask of blood. Grace nailed tight to our sins. Grace closing the deal.

More than a momentary passion, more than a spasm, it is Grace completing the will of God and reclaiming our place at the table by paying an unimaginable price. A bare-knuckle-grace in a winner take all fight to the death by our Champion.

So that is how our release based on His obedience was secured. What then is our part? To believe on the One who was sent and to cease from sinning. To live free, with thanksgiving, in the land His love and sacrifice purchased.

So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! Romans 6:1-3
My Father-God,

I renounce my sin.

I renounce all my own efforts to gain your favor.

I choose to accept Christ as my Champion.

I choose to live in a Grace-Sovereign country.

May Christ remember me as He did the thief.

I embrace an open Paradise.


Practicing contrition and gratitude in this season of Lent, -Kat

Painting by Stephen Sawyer @ Art for God

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Facing The Dogs-Ask The Animals Sundays

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1

There is never a shortage of ducks and geese in Anchorage in the summertime. Midtown traffic stops while Mama goose and a trail of goslings crosses at a busy intersection. They are everywhere.

There is a park near where I work that has three small lakes. The surrounding wooded areas serve as honeymoon suites and nurseries. The more hidden of the bodies of water make good first Water Babies classes. The geese and several different kinds of ducks build nests, lay eggs, incubate them and launch hundreds of babies every year. It is interesting to watch them. In the fall they head south just prior to the return of the ravens.

The animals are sometimes forced to share the park with any number of stupid and inconsiderate humans lacking the common sense God gave ticks. Bad little boys with bows and arrows make living targets of the wildlife. People who think the posted leash law means other people with dogs- not them, have pets that chase and sometimes injure their feathered neighbors. (I have very strong opinions about such behavior and all I will say is that God knew what He was doing when He did not give me superpowers.)

On more than one occasion I have seen Mother ducks shoo the babies to safety (Did I mention we also have eagles?) while Daddy fakes a limp in order to draw a predator to himself. I have seen adult geese form a posse, stand tiptoe with wings spread full and chase vagrant canines while making the most awful racket. Where their offspring are concerned they will not go gentle.

Among my thoughts of turning some people into park benches or worse, I am also struck by the similarities between animals who nurture and defend their young and God's great care for me. I know the Creation reflects parts of His character and as I watch the ducks gently rounding up their broods, showing them where to search for food, covering them with their wings, warming them with their own bodies and defending them valiantly, even under threat of injury, I see the One who gave it all to deliver me from this body of death.

All He has made echoes His heart. When the ducklings tire I see them climb on Mama's back. They are safe and dry as she glides through the water. How often He has carried me. Weighted down with some difficulty, He lifts me up, holds me tucked in close enough for my weary soul to almost smell the warm cinnamon and cassia coming from His garments. To hear His heart, to read His thoughts. The number of times my days have been strewn with tiny miracles that cause me to stop and consider His deliberate affection, I cannot say.

Christ's last evening had come. Hell was counting down the minutes. The pieces were falling into place. The betrayer would betray. The lash would fly true to its target. The crowd that had eaten the bread and fish of His generosity would prefer a convict to Him. The Cross would be laid upon His bleeding shoulders and He would carry our sins to His death. But not before He would demonstrate His love and friendship one last time to those the Father had given to Him.

Bread, wine, a lamb, a new Covenant, lots of encouragement and talk of vines and relationship, then beloved feet in holy hands. A demonstration of love prior to the incontrovertible proof of it.

The talk of love in our opening scriptures is agape love. HELPS Word Studies defines agapáō as to prefer, to love; a "discriminating affection which involves choice and selection." Christ chose them. It was no accident and His choice of us was equally discriminating. A different translation says, "He loved them to the end (His death)."

Our dirty feet were under that Passover table. His hands passed the bread and the cup to us. He pulled us in close, reassured us, gave us last minute encouragements and went out to face down the dogs.

He is still saving me, saving us.

Today as we move closer to our Easter celebration, let us remember Christ with a love that chooses, selects and honors Him, this Savior who put us on His back and carried us across the river separating us from God.

Let us remember He loved us to the end.


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)

Mama mallard link

Saturday, March 17, 2012

For The God Who Lives In The Apple Tree

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther

High above the ground I had climbed. Green leaves hiding me from view. Legs stretched out, resting on separate branches. Bum wedged tight between branch and trunk. Lap full of apples. The air scented and rich. Lightening bugs resting on plump fruit glowing red-yellow as they turn on then off. Old apple tree holding me the way good mamas hold their babies.

Mother calls me in. I lie quiet, unmoving until the screen door bangs shut. I have eaten to many apples and there will be a belly ache soon but down on the ground something in my soul ached to be fed and filled and the end of my search was a high place whistling me up.

An empty bird nest hugs a lower branch. Birds long raised and flown. Summer will end soon but not quite. I am, after all, writing about a fine summer night these fifty-five years later. Bum wedged into a tapestry covered chair, apple in hand. Wishing for fireflies.

Sacred places hold us. They remember us even as we remember them. Their memory sweet and green and beckoning. I never saw a church more beautiful than an apple tree. The chancel is near the top where children find sanctuary and God, and celebrate a communion of sorts with pippins.

The God who lives in the apple tree still lives in me. When I need to hide, I still climb.


I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir

I thank you God for most this amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings

If there were no apple trees in your past, it is not too late to climb one. Poems and paints are good climbing tools.

Berthe Morisot, In the Apple Tree 1890

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For A Certain Sort Of Kindred Spirit

Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
Job 38:28-30

Snow fell like eiderdown. White powder soft on the hard, crusty leavings of a winter not yet finished with us. The ravens were out. Two on a light pole all ruffled like coiffed nuns, black feathers sticking out around their necks. A few knocks, some trills and a lift off. One left behind a gift.

It would have been easy to miss the delicate grey-black feather in the snow. The falling flakes would have interred the airy offering in a few more unobserved moments but it fell to earth while we were watching. John found it intact.

I looked at the feather and God winked at me.

I blew on that graceful flag and the ends moved gently tickling one another. Hairy parts waiving like anemones before disappearing into more contoured parts. A special feather for warmth and shape. A semiplum. There He was the God of a bell and a pomegranate* crooking His finger biding me closer, eyebrows raised, smiling, offering me the kind of access that always has me at Hello.

Now there are different types of feathers for different functions. Feathers for flight, for shape, for warmth. Specialized feathers that break off on the ends, like paper towels from a dispenser, to keep birds clean that search for food in unsanitary places. Bee resistant feathers to protect honey buzzards from stings. Feathers like snow britches for sitting on bare branches at fifty below. Feathers for ventilation, for air conditioning. Feathers to stop. Feathers to go. Feathers as engagement rings. Feathers as nest furnishings. Feathers that draw me in and say "His hand was here."

Some part of my spirit said, "Pay attention. Don't miss it. There is glory here. Glory laying lightly on the new snow. Glory in a feather. Glory in my grasping how much He cares, how much He does, how completely what belongs to Him has His attention. How eloquently He speaks in whispers as well as shout outs. I love the mystery of this subtle God. The God who beckons me with feathers on fallen snow. The God who says, "Kathy, see my signature? See my thoughtfulness? See the lengths I have gone to so that the raven is clean and warm and beautiful? Do you see the bells and the fine embroidery? See what I am capable of? Do you see how much I love you?"

I laid my palm over the feather and closed my hand over His hand.

There are devotions urging us to look up and see God in the bold stars, the clouds full of thunder. There are equally insightful ones urging us to look down and behold the smallest signatures. This is a blessing a step beyond that to look into God. Let yourself be captivated by the delicate, careful planning, the colorful, useful touches that speak of Him. Look into God and see Him for the Lover He is. Creation was made for His Beloved. It is a gift full of artistic goodness, practical applications and whimsy. He is there at every turn revealing secrets. Revealing His heart. Spilling the beans about the treasure.

A whisper in the snow was a kiss.

A little spark to melt my heart.

A certain sort of kindred spirit will understand.


* In Exodus 28 we see God's careful and exquisite design for holy clothing worn to minister before the Lord. He was a God full of details who designed a hem with alternating gold bells and colorful embroidered pomegranates.

(Happy Birthday, Kimbery, Thoughtful Daughter, Treasure Seeker, Spiritual Anthropologist.)

Cornell Bird Site Link

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dressed In Christ-Ask The Animals Sundays

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

Leona was my grandmother. She adored laughter, bare feet, homemade butter caramels, kids and birds. At her house when the phone rang the bird answered. "Cavey" informed callers they had reached the Cavanaugh's at Sterling-2-2839.

Cavey was an excellent mimic. An alarm clock was mistakenly pitched out for repeatedly going off in the middle of the day. The bird was not discovered to be the culprit until the replacement demonstrated a similar defect. Once he almost lost his place in the family for his spot-on impersonation of a tree being felled by a chain saw. He was the saw. The fact that he was whisked away to his cage and covered up every time he yelled, "Timber" and started the saw, soon broke him of the habit.

Every nice thing that green bird learned, he learned by watching my grandmother, who never seemed to tire of modeling good behavior then rewarding his performance. Without her voice in his ear or her cheek brushing his feathers we would never have heard a word from him. He became a good impersonator of Leona.

Man's relationship to the Creator needed a more intimate example if we were to be spared mere god-impersonations.

Our wonderful, relational, smarter than even my grandma, Heavenly Father knew this and took it a step further. He planned for His Son to actually become one of us and model a surrendered life, a holy life, for us; to demonstrate the vine-branches connection so vital to a relationship with God.

Jesus told his followers that whatever He saw His Father doing He imitated. The amazing "Be it done on earth as it is in Heaven" part. Whatever work Father did, Son demonstrated. The Father's love looked like forgiveness, healing, feeding, teaching and washing so that is what the gospels are filled with. Father's hands were Son's hands. Son's hands were disciples' hands and finally your hands and my hands doing Love's work in the world. All the while our hearts and God's heart were becoming one heart. We were becoming like Jesus and Jesus was like His Father.

Paul encourages us, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 An even stronger encouragement, "Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!" Romans 13:14 (MSG)

Christ never intended for us to imitate a chain saw but He purposed that we should be empowered to break every chain that binds this world to sin, sorrow and sickness. With our eyes on Him as His eyes are on the Father, we open our mouths in faithful, determined obedience. Heart trouble, hunger, and unholy habits shouldn't be able to tell the difference between Christ and Kathy when I order them off the premises. Neither should Heaven.

This is a season to look long at the short, powerful earthly life of Christ. To slip our feet into His sandals, wrap His robe around our shoulders and touch lepers. To weep in a garden and make God's will our own. To know the Father's desires and intentions and complete them. Like our tender bird, to repeat Christ's surrendering prayer but to mean it with the understanding that identification with Christ brings.

What do you see the Father doing?

What then shall you do?


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)

National Geographic parrot video link

Project NOAH link

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The King In Residence

In the name of our God we will set up our banners. Psalm 20:5

I enjoy reading about the history and customs of royalty. One custom specified that when the reigning monarch was in residence somewhere, his or her standard was raised. A ruler often had several castles of his own and frequently visited the homes of his knights. The way used to communicate to all the whereabouts of the king was to fly his colors. In war times when the army was on the field the king's banner identified the command tent.

That ancient practice proves practical to us. The Name of the Lord is our banner. When the King is resident in our lives it will be obvious. His standard waives over us. We are wearing His colors breathing out His blessings. We are not alone. We have been adopted into God's family and have every legal right to fly His banner, to use His Name.

Whatever is going on in our life, whatever our needs, whatever we are celebrating or hoping for, whatever has come up against us- it is banner time. The Name of the Lord, the Love of the Lord, is a banner over us and all that is ours. We are identified as His, protected by all the resources He commands in His Name.

Whenever your memory feeds my soul,
whatever got broken becomes whole...
Whenever the sun refuses to shine,
whenever the skies are pouring rain
Whatever I lost I thought was mine,
whenever I close my eyes in pain
Whenever I kneel to pray,
whenever I need to find a way
I'm calling out your name*

The scripture tells us that the Queen of Sheba made a journey to put Solomon to the test because, "she had heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD." (1 Kings 10:1)

That Name will always distinguish us from our surroundings and often transform them. It will surly transform us. The darker and more impoverished the surroundings the brighter and more alive the banner snapping in the wind overhead, waiving and proclaiming,
He is here!

Sometimes Hell needs to get that message. Sometimes the lost need a landmark. Sometimes we need to encourage ourselves with its significant truth and set up a banner.

Job loss?- Banner!
Children in rebellion?- Banner!
Path report malignant?- Banner!
Spouse having an affair?- Banner! Banner! Banner!
Unsaved loved ones?- Banner!
Co-workers scrutinising your life?- Banner!
Taken to court?- Banner!
Lied about?- Banner!
Chance for a second chance?- Banner!
Success in business?- Banner!
Answered prayer?- Banner!
God whispered to your heart?- Banner!
Falling in love?- Banner!
Healing?- Banner!
Loved one safely home from war?- Super Big Glorious Banner With Bells! (a little history here)
God's new mercies each morning?- Banner!

In the name of our God (Jehovah-Nissi) we will set up our banners. Psalm 20:5

Today is a good day, the best day, to unfurl His beautiful, loving standard over us and call to the wind.

-Kat With Banners

* Whenever I Say Your Name by Sting

Photo offered with the blessing of Alma @ Prayzworks.
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Above All

Above all powers above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began.
-Michael W Smith

I really appreciate those lyrics. God above all. They go on to expound on Christ's great sacrificial love for us. I'll make it more specific and consider it His sacrificial love for me. The naked, public sacrifice Jesus became in front of an entire city bursting with pilgrims and soldiers was also specific and personal.

He did it for Kathleen Lynn Cecilia Cavanaugh LaMantia. It was a personal and ancient love for me that brought Him to the place of atonement. I have to know He made me His mission. He was the Savior of the world but it only counts if I knew He was saving me; if I was His world in those deadly hours. If it was my hands and feet He spared.

The One who saw the Cross coming before there was even light to see by, saw me. Ancient and purposeful affection from the One above all powers, nature, wisdom and kings who heard, "Crucify him!" before there was language. The Father had been holding His gift a long time.

Fast forward to the present. You are looking at my anniversary gift. A trilobite fossil. I picked it up from is resting place among shark teeth, fossilized worms and ammonites. I turned it over in my palm, smelled it, ran a finger along the groves. History and then some. Its Creator is my Savior.

John bought that wonderful old critter for me. Jesus made it for my enjoyment and for God's own glory. All God had created was placed in the hands of our made-in-His-image ancestors. The earth's bones always remind me of that trust. They remind me how long I have been loved by One with no equal. The One who saw me captivated by a piece of old exoskeleton, turning it over, looking for the fingerprints of the Mighty One who made all things ex nihilo.*

Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands, or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger, Who has put all the earth's dirt in one of his baskets, weighed each mountain and hill? Who could ever have told God what to do or taught him his business? What expert would he have gone to for advice, what school would he attend to learn justice? What god do you suppose might have taught him what he knows, showed him how things work? Isaiah 40:12-15

He has planted Eternity in our hearts this amazing, one of a kind God. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 ) I hear it echo back to me from every corner of Creation. Shells whisper it. Ancient sea creatures point to it. Stars illuminate its path. But it is Calvary that marks the spot where we can be pierced by it. Where we enter in.

He has scooped up an ocean of love in His two hands and laid it in our hands. Whatever He made, He loved us more. More than the mountains He weighed or the baskets full of earth. More than sky or planets. One of a kind love from an 'above all' God.

This is a season for considering, for doing some weighing of our own. Walk up the hill where grace called down forgiveness upon us. Count His ribs. Count the cost. Consider the value Jesus placed upon Eternity with and you.

It is a short walk to a far away place above all.


* Latin for out of nothing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Evening Sacrifice

The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

Somewhere in silence
the heart slows
Somewhere in silence
quiet ground listens
waiting, waiting
holding its breath

Silver-white moon
glides cloudless
Stars burn quiet
soundless, soundless,
night muted colors

Sunset prayers tiptoe-
feet full of grace
There is no hurry
patience, patience
He waits all open

Ornamental silence
cannot discover
deep Soul-to-God
simply being, being His
unhurried and

Somewhere in silence
before the world was
He heard a heart whisper
evening offerings
praying, praying
in God-time

To love listening


For some of your Evening Prayers consider fasting from words and spending a few moments in the deep-soaking-silence that allows God's thoughts to spill unfiltered into your soul. It may take practice to welcome His unfenced Presence but the rewards linger.

Spring Evening At The Prayer House painted by Kimberly Lorentzen

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Built To Last-Ask The Animals Sundays

How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:1-3

Once upon a time there lived a rebel God destroyed. His name was Korah. Korah and his likewise unfortunate companions were on the losing side of an argument in a contest they called between themselves and Moses. God took opposition to His choice of Moses personally and Korah paid the price. His children, however, survived.

Only in the mercy of God do the children of traitors become doorkeepers, musician-warriors and prophets in His Kingdom. Earthly kings often eradicated entire lines to root out rebellion and to take out an insurance policy against revenge. In this case God moved the offspring of a dead rebel closer to church.

The prophet Samuel, a descendant of Korah, would seven generations later, wake to a call of God on his young life and return the Voice of the Lord to Israel.

The Bible Has Answers makes this hopeful observation about Korah's descendants:

"Although this clearly marked the end of Korah, we discover that Korah’s sons, perhaps too young to understand their father’s uprising or maybe too cognizant of God’s authority to join in the revolt, were spared (Numbers 26:9-11). God judged those who turned against Him in active rebellion and purified His people, but He still had a purpose and plan for even the line of Korah.

After seven successive generations, the prophet Samuel arose from the line of Korah, the genealogy of which is recorded in 1 Chronicles 6:31-38, 1 Chronicles 38, and 1 Samuel 1:1, 20. The Korahites became doorkeepers and custodians for the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:19-21, 1 Chronicles 2.)

One group of Korahites (1 Chronicles 12:6) joined King David in various military exploits and won the reputation of being expert warriors. However, the most remarkable thing to note about the sons of Korah is that during the time of King David, they became the great leaders in choral and orchestral music in the Tabernacle and the Temple.

Heman the Korahite had a place of great importance as a singer, along with Asaph (Gershonite) and Ethan or Jeduthan (Merarite). These individuals played an important role in the thanksgiving services and pageantry when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem. David formed an elaborate organization for song, instrumental music, and prophesying through these men."

Several Psalms are identified as Korah Psalms. Psalm 84 is one such Psalm. It speaks of the lovlieness of God's dwelling place. How the writer- body, soul and spirit yearns to dwell where God may be found. Where His blessing resides. He makes note of the fact that even birds build their nests where they may be near His altar.

One translation says it all for godly mothers:

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow has her nest,
where she rears her brood beside thy altars,
Oh Lord of Hosts, my King and my God. Psalm 84 v.3

Godly mothers build the nursery near the Creator. Their chicks are hatched in sight of His altar. In the place where incense rises their young learn to fly. So it is with sparrows and swallows. So it is with human mothers.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Psalm 22:6

The Hebrew for "Train up" is a word that means to dedicate the child. Like the Korahite's who served the sanctuary and carried the holy things not on carts but on their own shoulders, children of godly parents carry the things of God in their hearts and pass them down through their generations. They are the blest of God's house and heart.

The swallows, the sparrows, the chickadees; the hawks, the falcons, the eagles; all nest in the heart of their Creator no matter where they physically build their nests. The Boreal Chickadee pictured here builds her nest of moss and twigs in highly scented conifer trees of spruce, fir and pine.

We featherless mothers build our nests and raise our children in varied circumstances all over the globe. We will have succeeded as parents if we have instilled in our children the nest building skill that calls them to build their own nests and raise their own young near His altar. To build a life in the lovely place of grace. In the place of God's remembered promises. To rise with incensed wings an carry His Holy Scent into the world.

He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...Psalm 105:7-8


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

Boreal chickadee close up

Nest Building

Feeding Time

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)

To Christian's grandmother, Joyce Steel, who built her nest near the altar of God and raised her children in His sight. This posting is dedicated to her on the happy occasion of her birthday.