Thursday, January 29, 2009
Audacity: boldness or daring, esp. with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional beliefs, etc.
This word (AUDACITY) has been bantered around in book titles and actions in recent years. We have heard about the AUDACITY OF HOPE, and we have seen the AUDACITY of enemies of the United States in the 9/11 attacks. We have heard about the Audacity of the Illinois politician looking to sell the vacant Senate seat. We have seen the Audacity of our soldiers in foreign lands give gifts, compassion, and comfort to children of other faiths. And the Word tells of the Son of God who humbled himself, took on the form of man, and ripped the curtain with his death in order to set us ALL free. Audacious, indeed! I know He had a ton of that boldness, confident and arrogant disregard for personal safety, and conventional beliefs in order to carry out his calling, don't you think?
It came to me last night as I was looking through songs I had written that there is a beautiful story of a woman who came with an alabaster jar and performed AUDACIOUS acts for the King of Kings. She was driven, barring all consequence or judgment, to pour out her love for her Savior before He went to wear the crown of thorns. She didn't have permission, social standing, gender, or title with a capital letter of (P)astor or (M)inister, or (R)everend to go minister to Jesus, the Christ. In the midst of the indignant disciples and other bystanders she was compelled by the love she had for Jesus to carry out her course of action.
She did not get tangled up in the rules...she just headed straight away to accomplish the tender, horrendous, gut-wrenching task in front of her.
I presume to tell the story through my song words:
We Are Broken
copyright by blog hostess
WE ARE BROKEN, YES WE ARE;
MY JAR, AND ME AND YOU.
WHY IS IT THAT THEY CANNOT SEE
THE THING YOU GO TO DO?
MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
BECAUSE OF TIME I SPENT WITH YOU
LET ME PREPARE YOU FOR THE WOUNDS,
DON'T KNOW HOW I'LL BEAR THE LOSS!
LET ME WASH YOUR FEET WITH MY TEARS AND HAIR
AS I CONCEDE YOU TO THE CROSS.
AS YOU GO TO MEET THE FATHER,
TAKE MY OIL IN FULL MEASURE.
I LONG TO HEAR YOUR EVERY WORD.
YOU ARE MY ONLY EARTHLY TREASURE!
DESTITUTE, UNDONE, AND IN LOVE
IS HOW SHE CAME.
EVEN THE DISCIPLES
ONLY SAW HER WASTE AND SHAME.
SHE COULD SEE HE WAS GOING
TO HIS DEATH;
SHE DID THINGS OUT OF FASHION.
THE BUSY AND RELIGIOUS
DID NOT SHARE HER CHILD-LIKE PASSION.
WE ARE BROKEN, YES WE ARE;
MY JAR, AND ME AND YOU.
WHY IS IT THAT THEY CANNOT SEE
THE THING YOU GO TO DO?
MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
BECAUSE OF TIME I SPENT WITH YOU.
The story of this woman's audacity has been recounted by the disciples in Mark 14, Luke 7, and Matthew 26.
The response of Jesus to this woman's audacity?...
in book of Luke:
"Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet."
in books of Mark and Matthew:
"Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
I have great aunts on both sides of my family that were Preachers (that's what they called them in their day), with captial P. I remembered them praying for us before going on trips. I was quite young, but was impressed with their passion to care for and minister to others. It stirred the same in me. In my vocation and avocation I am compelled as well to preach the good news, to lay hands on folks for healing purposes, to give pastoral care to those close to passing. My 'paying' job I see as anointing with oil. It is a MINISTRY. My avocations, telling the 'good news' through my photography and songs, are also MINISTRIES. I disregard exclusions of not being able to (Pp)reach or (Pp)astor because I am a woman. ... I am bold and confident in my calling and held accountable to it by God, not man.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion~~ to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
This woman with the precious alabaster jar did not care who might exclude her on Man's terms. She was not going to a dying neighbor or family member close to death. She was giving pastoral care (what is that really and totally, but LOVE?) to the Christ, Jesus himself! Does he not say that what we do or not do for the least of these we also do or do not do for Him?
ref: Matt. 25:30-45
Will we each, in our callings, submit our lives audaciously to the spirit of Religion, or the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord?
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Two states I have lived in the longest in my life: Texas and Nebraska. They both have in common the ability to go from slick inches of ice to full sun melting it away all in a day. I am glad I didn't have to drive anywhere this morning and that my husband was able to walk to work! There were hundreds of accidents this morning in the metroplex because of the ice. As far as I know, there were no serious injuries.
He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the ice like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes,
and the waters flow.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I took this picture of a castle in France several years ago. The swans were quite cooperative to sweep into lovely poses in the foreground. I remember the day being a bit chilly and overcast. It was quite a trek in the cold to get from the village out to the castle. We had to walk around a huge racetrack before reaching the stables and the castle. The architecture was stunning, none-the-less, and worth the walk and the story behind the structures.
The interesting thing about the resident royal was that he had a quite elaborate stable just as magnificent as the castle. He was convinced he was going to come back in the next life as a horse. I don't know quite how he figured he would have control over his royal horseness incarnation winding up being able to live in the horse castle the next go-around. Personally, I'd say the chances were pretty slim. haha!
The truth is that many of the highways, buildings, or bridges we build will outlast the number of our human years. Eventually they will crumble and decay as well. Even the stars and mountains may fall away, but their Maker and His heaven are forever. I don't want to be a horse in my 'next life' even if my stable looks like a castle! He has gone to prepare a room just for me in His Kingdom: my eternal home in my new body praising God without end. I will be forever in the presence of the Architect of Eternity.
The Lord is the God who lives forever,
who created all the world.
Who has controlled history since the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the one.
I was here at the beginning,
and I will be here when all things are finished.
Monday, January 26, 2009
So don't panic that I am going to start counting. I promise I am only going to follow two with three, then go in another direction. I saw so many choices of 'threes' while looking for 'twos' that I just had to do a post. Three things, 'S' curves, and other techniques help to balance a photo and give it interest. These were some of my favorites:
~a wrought iron fence in Jerome, Arizona
~snow-covered awnings in Park City, Utah
~purple coneflowers along a Texas country road
~autumn leaves in Central Park
~Christmas candles in Waxahachie, Texas
Threes that came to mind in a spiritual sense:
~three makes a strong cord
~Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
~three days in the belly of a whale
~three crosses with Christ in the center
~in three days He rose again
~IS, WAS, AND IS TO COME!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
While looking for my 'two' pictures I came upon this pair I photographed at the Ft. Worth Zoo the day I went with a friend to see the lion cubs. Bright blue being one of my favorite colors, these two caught my eye and seemed to pose just for me. I believe I get favor in what is put in front of me to capture because I ask for it, and want to send it out to glorify God. He shows many hidden things to those who are like little children. Believe me when I say the excitement of asking God to show me his riches and waiting with my camera is one of the most revealing and rewarding ways I get to play with the Holy Spirit. I feel like a giddy little child full of anticipation. I never know what God will show me! Although sometimes he gives me exactly what I asked for (like the moose or fox), most of the time he gives me immeasurably more than what I could imagine.
I am sure these lovelies go for more than a penny, but the sentiment is the same:
Two sparrows cost only a penny; but not even one of them can die without your Father's knowing it. God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don't be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
We attended a wonderful wedding yesterday of a young friend. The ceremony was quite creative and lovely. I had never met her fiance, but had heard very good reports through another friend. (c; I had no doubt throughout the ceremony, that they were very much in love and anointed in their marriage to forge ahead with freedom and grace into a wonderful future. I started thinking about when two or more are gathered in His name, there is love. The power of two sanctified by God represents a unity that is powerful in its fruit.
I was led by the Spirit to post some of my favorite shots of 'two's.'
into the ark, two by two...
...two are better than one...
for where two or three are gathered...
He called his followers together and sent them out two by two
the testimony of two men is true...
two men stood by them in white...
two commandments cover all the law...love God and love one another
Friday, January 23, 2009
Friend Frannie called me with a heads up about the stunning sunset tonight. I ran out with my camera and got a few shots. It changed so fast that I think the transition from corals to totally grey was only a few minutes. It was an amazing movie!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
When I made the jump from the bunny slopes and an afternoon lesson up to the real trails and slopes higher on the mountains, I was amazed at the difference between a green and a blue interpretation. Unfortunately, the only way to the greens from the gondola at Deer Mountain was a single blue run. I was petrified, but managed to not take my boots off and walk down. My legs were so tired from a snow plow that I was worn out by the time I got to something more manageable. The second time I did the same section in half the time. The repetition and previous success helped me have the courage to try it again. It wasn't nearly as intimidating with the first time down it done successfully. But I also listened to the wisdom of stopping when I was too tired so I would not get injured. Resting, eating, and drinking were important parts of being able to sustain energy for the roads ahead.
I found myself, after having conquered particularly steep sections of green runs, looking back at the difficulty behind me and thanking God for giving me the courage to persevere. Before the last day was spent I was getting up some speed and enjoying myself. I recall becoming aware of a broad smile and giggles generated from that deep place within. One turn at a time, and keeping focused on where I wanted to go instead of looking at my feet, was the key to letting go and beginning to really enjoy the experience. I was keeping my eyes on the prize by leaning into the experience instead of resisting it. I can tell you I have lots of joy in pursuing my desire to get better instead of giving up. I have gotten on blues by mistake, but may get on some 'on purpose' next year.
My husband has told me that he is excited that I want to keep improving my skiing. He tells me that some places you get to see on the blue runs are breathtaking. My friend Erin told me that she saw four moose walking down one of the runs at The Canyons. Telling a photographer things like that can only spur me on to continue my physical training and return to take steeper roads of new colors. Count me out for the double blacks and moguls, at least for a few years. (c;
I think of the double black road that Jesus took on purpose for all of us.
...wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction
...small is the gate and narrow the road
that leads to life...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I didn't realize until I saw some of these photos how long the shadows extended beyond the skiers. I started thinking about how the sun or light behind the object is the key to casting the shadow. Sometimes, when we are in someone else's shadow, we are not fully seen for who WE are. But being in the shadow of God's wing or under the shadow of his love brings us out to a fullness and fully loved awareness. Yes, my beloved is mine, and I am his.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved...
I sat down under his shadow with great delight...
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
Song of Solomon 2:3-4
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Well, I could think of no better scripture to post with these than one of my favorite life verses, Psalm 121
I raise my eyes to the mountains...
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD;
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He does not allow my foot to slip;
my protector does not slumber...
indeed the protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
I did it! I am home with sore muscles but no broken bones. I am elated that I was able to ski four days. All that preparation was worth it in endurance and strength to keep my legs obeying the messages my brain was sending. My goal was to get better, to gain some speed, and most of all to have fun. The beauty of the mountains filled my spirit. I was able to get my eyes off my feet and keep them on where I was going. I started getting the rhythm and quit working so hard by letting my shoulders turn and knowing the feet would follow.
My amazing husband stayed with me, sometimes in front, sometimes in back, just encouraging me. At one point on the last day I was getting tired but losing myself in the beauty of the rhythm and the scenery. When I stopped to catch my breath, my husband told me to turn around and see the young girl (I would guess around 4 years old) that had been following the exact pattern of my tracks. I didn't realize the path I had been cutting was one deemed attractive enough that a young lass would choose to follow in my trail. I felt like I had melted into the mountain and she had been drawn in to the beauty that called from my spirit in praise of my maker and the world He created for us to enjoy. That little patch of 'follow the leader' down the mountain blessed my socks off! You never know who is watching.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
(I will be taking a break for a few days, so doubled up on my posts until early next week. Be back soon....<>< c)
These are photographs of Tuzigoot National Monument that were taken on our recent trip to Arizona. We were the only people visiting, so it was a quiet and reflective time to wonder about the civilization that gathered stones to build these structures. They were constructed on a hill in the middle of lush valleys and a river. I could imagine the watchers, hunters, meals being prepared; the job of each who lived there to support and defend the culture. At some point this civilization disappeared, and the cause is not known.
I wondered how and who taught them to build these structures. They were probably taught some skills by visitors and others by ancestors just how to put the walls together from the clearing and leveling of land to the finishing touches necessary to keep out rain and wind. I wonder what songs they sang, what prayers they said, what traditions and customs they practiced.
I know even living in a new house that a minor structural problem can lead to severe problems. It is important for bricks to be laid straight and foundations to be sound. Each stone is important, but the cornerstone is essential for the structure to be sound. God builds us as living stones into his spiritual temple. Jesus is the cornerstone of that temple.
As you come to him, the living Stone~~rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him~~you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.
1 Peter 2:4-5
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
At the half way point of the Trinity train ride, the engine had to uncouple, turn around, and go to the other end of the train to connect and lead us back home. My husband and grandson watched from the front of the train with great interest. We seemed to be abandoned, and had became the end of the train.
There were so many intrinsic spiritual lessons to what we witnessed. Perhaps the idea of those that are first shall be last, and vice versa. Perhaps how we sometimes wander off course and God will come searching down any road to find us, like the good shepherd leaves the ninety nine to find the one. Like choosing to return, and knowing there is someone in charge that knows the way. Like having faith that He is leading us home, welcomes us home, and sets a beautiful banquet upon our returning.
for the Son of man
is come to save
that which was lost.
We are so blessed to be able to spend time with our children and grandchildren. We will have another grandchild in August. I am anxiously waiting to see how different the third one will be. How special each child and grandchild expresses love. There is a special smile from Charlie, a special hug from Faith, a trusting to put a small hand into yours or lean a head on your shoulder. Watching your children with their children is an amazing experience. The precious gift of love gives us a secure foundation. Spending time with each unique person was truly the best gift of the day.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
One thing you know when you love water pictures is that, depending on where the sun is, the color of water photographs very differently. A few were taken from one side of the train, and a few from the other side. Deep blue is one of my favorite colors, so I was absorbing it and capturing it to share with all of you. The only thing to disturb the water was the wake left by the duck swimming across the river.
He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.