Qui Vive

Already, this year has been exceptionally trying, but I have chosen to serve and to give out what I need most – an encouraging word. My hope for you all today is that you do not become weary from expecting the good. I am so ready for the harvest that comes after the waiting…

Qui Vive by Ama Danesi

In whatever state we find ourselves

God is working out the opposite.

When we fall, He lifts us up.

When we are bound, He frees our souls.

In the face of certain defeat, He is working

out a victory that cannot be denied.

In our darkest nights and earnest watching – qui vive.

His love roars loud and clear above the taunting waves.

He calms our heartbeat to the rhythm of His breath.

He sent us a helpless baby as Savior of the world.

Once an alien in Egypt but rich in gold, silver, and myrrh.

The pain and suffering that He allows, ushers in

destiny and purpose. He plants in untilled soil, that the

harvest may be wild and unrestrained reaching to

the ends of the earth and places marked “x.”

In the face of sorrow, our hope & joy is His name –

Emmanuel, God with us.

 

Alert & hopeful,

AD.

Historical Fun Fact:

Even motor boats have a purpose and are remembered for their service. The USS Qui Vive (SP – 1004) was part of the United States Naval Fighting fleet from 1917 – 1919. She served as a patrol vessel then as a hospital boat in the 5th Naval District during World War 1. Originally built by the Hutchinson Brothers (Alexandria, NY) for Houston Barnard (Rochester, NY) she was chartered by the Navy until she was decommissioned and returned at the end of her naval career. Her current state is unknown but her work and service endure.
(Bio and image credit: NavSource.org /Wikipedia/Pixabay)

The Foolishness of Nature Worship

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The Foolishness of Nature Worship by King Solomon.
(Reflections of a royal philosopher)

For all people who were ignorant
of God were foolish by nature; and
they were unable from the good things
that are seen to know the one who exists,
nor did they recognize the artisan but his works.

They supposed that either fire or
wind or the circle of the stars, or
turbulent water or the luminaries of
heaven were the gods that rule the world.

If through delight in the beauty of these
things, people assumed them to be gods, let
them know how much better than these is their
Lord, for the author of beauty created them.

And if people were amazed at their power
and working, let them perceive how much
more powerful is the one who formed them.
For from the greatness and beauty of
created things comes a corresponding
perception of their Creator.

Can we blame them? Perhaps they go astray
while seeking God and desiring to find him.
For while they live among his works,
they keep searching, and they trust in
what they can see, because the things
that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
for if they had the power to know so much
that they could investigate the world,
how did they fail to find sooner the
Lord of these things?

Credits:
Text – Paraphrased from The Book of Wisdom (Chapter 13) – NRSV Edition
Image – Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

The Aftermath – What Remains?

 

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Credit: Pixabay

The shaking is intended for certain heartbreak and our fainting.

How do we deal with the aftermath?  The consequences of a significant unpleasant event lingers like a bitter aftertaste. It is the rumble left behind when our foundations are jolted out of alignment by an unexpected earthquake. It is when embedded chains even invisible to us are brought into full focus and we have to deal with our new reality. Are we going to stay bound or break free from false foundations? Anything that can be shaken should not have been trusted in the first place.

I would not confuse
the bogus
with the spurious.
The bogus
is a sore thumb
while the spurious
pours forth
as fish and circuses.  (An excerpt from Spurious by Rae Armantrout.)

We hold fast to wrong  foundations as the definition of our core identity till a slip-up exposes the hollow circuses  we’ve allowed to define and be responsible for our happiness. I held on to the love of a certain boy long ago, whose lopsided smile took my breath away till fishes and circuses rained on my parade. It was a fantasy interrupted by a rude rap on my door.

Who goes there?

Rain.

I’ve been a Californian for so long –  I don’t know how to behave in the presence of rain.
Especially a torrent propelling me down fury’s road of liquid drama featuring three deranged and frazzled people needing Dr. Phil’s intervention. Metaphors are always adept in helping me manage painful realities. I closed my eyes and refused to see rain – messy, distressing and unwelcome.

Marriage, friendships, job or career, beauty or charm, money, wealth, sexual orientation or even race, make pretty wobbly foundations.  I’m not sure race should even make the list but in the context of self-worth for some pathetic folks, it is an over-aching standard.

Still I refuse to give up on family and children – pain and joy comes with the territory and privilege of loving and being loved by others. I found out through my experience that only faith can withstand the tremors and earthquakes.  Faith is what remains. God is able to turn what was intended for our unravelling for some sort of good – like stripping us from clutches, laying a new foundation of greater faith and exposing our false gods.

“When you connect your purpose to your perspective, nobody else holds your keys.” Pastor  Steven Furtick 

The venom of anger and hate would only serve to shackle my future to my past. Praise is the only tool powerful enough to break every chain. Indeed life is so much more than these disappointments that now loom so large but in a few years will be so insignificant when compared to God’s greater vision for our lives.
May each aftermath find you and me standing in faith, with hands raised so high the chains are broken. There is only One worthy of our trust because He will always be faithful in His love for us.

Peace to all our broken pieces.

 

A Part of Me has Died

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The Scar Head Sculpture from the Balearic Islands of the Mediterranean, Spain. (Mallorca Monuments)

We ask a lot of questions, we humans. This gift of speech and language can sometimes seem like a curse. We transitioned seamlessly at the age of two from sweet innocent babies to obnoxious toddlers – if you ask me that’s why it is called the terrible twos. The unending quest for answers to everything rages on like a California forest fire.

Why? Why? The annoying, nagging questions that can drive you up the wall as a parent, surely irks God. Instead we should be asking, How? As in, how can this set of circumstances work out for my good?  Or What?  As in, what can I do now? Why is the proverbial split milk, the water under the bridge, the shattered glass on the kitchen floor. As humans, we desperately want our scars understood. MercyMe‘s song, The Hurt and the Healer, reminds us that “Healing doesn’t come from the explained.”

Nobody asks why something good happens, when it does. Like Julie Andrews in the classic movie, The Sound of Music, we are quick to assume that the grand old universe is paying us back because we “must have done something good.” I’d like to know how the nineteen year old boy in Chino Hills, CA who bought ONE lottery ticket deserves the huge chunk of the recent $1.5 billion dollars jackpot. King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived said, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”*

There’s little gain in wallowing in pain, till tears carve a permanent groove on our faces. There’s only One who’s there during the dark nights of the soul, who comforts us during the winters of the heart. If we believe He is with us, we will not ask dead-end questions. God never promised that we would never NOT feel His presence – but that He will never leave nor forsake us. For sure He is real, His promise is sure even when we’re deep in a spiritual gloom. When He feels distant, we are simply being weaned of our emotional dependencies.

What makes a difference is reminding ourselves of His promises because they have not changed and neither has God, not one iota. This is maturity – the ability to discern the difference between God’s omnipresence and the manifestation of that presence in the midst of suffering. My new prayer has become, “Lord, find Your glory even here.” That whiny toddler in me has died.

 

Image Credit – PixCove . *Eccl.9:11

 

Live by Revelation – Happy Days Ahead.

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Baby New Year 1905 chases old 1904 into the history books in this cartoon by John T. McCutcheon.

Happy Grace-filled and Extraordinary New Year!
While I appreciate the days gone and the nights spent, I am thankful for a fresh season and new beginnings. Today is just another day, and yet it feels nothing like some ordinary day. There’s no gain in carrying over the pain, disappointments of last year, chase them into your history  where they belong and firmly shut the book. I’m heading into the new year with absolutely No Regrets, because God works everything good or bad together for my good.

Why worry so much? This life is really not about me. My purpose is not even about me (Thanks, Rick Warren) It all starts with Him and so I start refreshed with the right questions and attention to what matters. When I ask and trust the Source of all good, I will be led to the open, spacious and truly free life! Here’s my one resolve – Live by revelation.

How about no more guesswork, speculations, conjectures, endless seminars, popular opinions, self-help books etc.? How about we resolve to not get weary this year, and instead enter a new era of less with our energies laser-focused on ______. (Fill in one blank space) If you don’t know where to start, get Pastor Rick’s “The Purpose Driven Life.” The tested and still the best kick-starter to a simple but effective life in God’s purpose and power.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau.

Happy Days Ahead… This is Day One!