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…from glory to glory

Archive for the category “Walking with Christ in the Wilderness”

from glory to glory…

Intellectually, I know that we are all aging; but emotionally I feel like I am the only one who is. Buried deep in the struggles and fears and griefs of my aging process emerges my prayer for understanding and purpose amid the cultural aversion to being an aging human:
“What good can possibly come out of the aches and pains and decelerating pace of life–all conditions which are congenital, intrinsic, and inevitable in my aging?”
Gently, quietly comes this answer…
“The more my earthen vessel cracks and erodes, the more of the enduring treasure I was formed by God to hold becomes exposed…”
for His glory…

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
–2 Corinthians 4.7
If you are feeling like a crumbling rock, today, hope this little “aha” moment of mine will bless you and quiet your fears of growing older in a culture which worships at the altar of the six-pack abs.

One Man’s Dream, Another Man’s Nightmare…

Medusa WomanAfter a vividly disturbing morning dream, I awoke in a puzzled and troubled state. At first I wrestled with my initial reactions to it. Some people say it’s better to talk about nightmares, to try to understand what might be the stimulating factor in the hope that understanding will help ease any ill effects, and possibly alleviate any future occurrences. But my weaponry was at the ready, and I reached for it…


After a moment or two of prayer, calling on the Lord Jesus, the pervasive imagery faded and my thoughts began to be clear and steady. It occurred to me that many “creative” minds deal in dark and dread-dream-casting. There is a lucrative industry in peddling one’s nightmares, even projecting them on gigantic screens with all the techno magic available to induce over-stimulation of the adrenal responses of countless numbers of morbidly curious horror movie voyeurs… (Why do I need to pay precious pesos for two hours of someone else’s nightmare when I have my own vivid horror “movie” plots in my head? I could be making big bucks…)

I suppose that is one way to make something profitable out of a bad night’s sleep…

Throwing off the covers and swinging my feet over the side of the bed, I picked up my copy of “The Lord of the Rings” complete trilogy in one volume and my reading glasses, slid my mobile into my robe pocket, and shuffled off to the kitchen to heat the morning kettle. As I waited for the whistle, I opened the copy where my bookmark was set, and realized that I was embarking upon another literary nightmare for two dear hobbits trapped in the grisly grip of the Uruk-hai. Did I really need to read this after my own grisly dream…

Re-living Pippin and Merry’s nightmarish predicament and how it all unfolded and resolved, I was rewarded with these words:

As they walked they compared notes, talking lightly in hobbit-fashion of the things that had happened since their capture. No listener would have guessed from their words that they had suffered cruelly, and been in dire peril, going without hope towards torment and death; or that even now, as they knew well, they had little chance of ever finding friend or safety again. –The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, “The Uruk-Hai,” p. 458, 50th Anniversary One-Volume Edition, J.R.R. Tolkien, ©2004, Harper Collins, reprinted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, New York, NY, USA

There I stopped and remembered the nightmarish predicament of two other dear “halflings”–blessed “halflings,” sanctified by the grace of God in the service the Gospel of the Messiah Jesus:

And they brought them [Paul and Silas] to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stock. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. –Acts 16.20-25

Chained to a filthy, stinking, dark dungeon wall, they sang. “No listener would have guessed from their words that they had suffered cruelly, and been in dire peril…”006-paul-silas-prison


I will allow you, if the Holy Spirit so wins the battle for your inclinations, to pick up and read the remainder of that true event in our history on this earth. It is recorded in the book of Acts, Chapter 16, in the Bible, New Testament. No fairy tale there; but a living and true dream unfolding in the grisly grip of a nightmare of sin and corruption…

Dare you spend some time in this truth tale? Will you face the true horror? Or is your appetite for horror only inclined to techno tales and the projected images of some man’s nightmares peddled by him and his companions in a greedy grasp for power over your mind while he picks your pocket?

And my fellow travelers in Messiah Jesus, to you, I bid you compare notes with each other at every opportunity, talking of the things that have happened since Messiah captivated your heart with His love and grace and mercies, calling you into His blessed service in the midst of this true dream unfolding in the grisly grip of a nightmare of sin and corruption…

…the days are evil…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… –Ephesians 5.16b,18-19

So, You Want to Change the World?

What follows is a feature I wrote a number of years ago. I wrote it to testify of an historical event recorded in the Scriptures. I wrote it to encourage those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to exercise the same courage exemplified in the life of an ordinary Jewish boy in extraordinary circumstances. I wrote it to remind the world that the God of Israel reigns…

Here, it is reproduced in a blog-friendly format to share. May it encourage you for such a time as this…


real people press insigniareal people press insigniaThe Real People Press

Reporting Truth to the Corners of the World

“Jewish Boy Changes International Law!”

BABYLON—The entire populace of our city is reeling from the news of this morning’s events at the palace. One hundred and twenty-two of the government’s officials have been thrown into the king’s lion’s den. All of Babylon was awakened to the news of the king’s decree that all the kingdom of Babylon must worship the God of his vice regent Daniel.


danielsentencedShown at left in King Darius’ court is Daniel, one of the Judean captives, whose persistence in prayer to his God has earned him both persecution and favor in Babylonian government circles.

This new decree abolishes the previous day’s decree condemning anyone for praying to any god other than the king for the next 30 days. The 122 officials are now sport for the hungry lions for their attempt to make sport of Daniel, the king’s vice regent.


Daniel6vs7-10

The decree  shown above, drafted by King Darius’ palace officials, signed with the king’s seal, and issued to take effect immediately. This decree is irreversible under the Mesopotamian Code of Law, and is enforceable throughout the Empire. Under its authority, millions of Jewish captives in the Babylonian Empire would face death in the lion’s den for their devotion to their God.

Daniel is one of three governors that King Darius appointed to oversee the royal satraps in the Babylonian provinces throughout the kingdom. Our news service learned early this morning that Daniel miraculously survived an entire night sealed in confinement as the only supper for the king’s hungry lions. Daniel’s service in the Babylonian government dates back to the days of King Nebuchadnezzar. The former king of Babylon took Daniel from among the Jewish captives who survived the Babylonian conquest of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the west. The king’s chronicles record that Daniel’s tour of service here has been characterized by uncommon reverence for the leadership of the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar raised Daniel to a favored place in his court after three of Daniel’s kinsmen miraculously survived the most dreaded punishment in the kingdom: the king’s fiery furnace. The king had sentenced Daniel’s Hebrew compatriots for their refusal to worship the images of our Babylonian gods.


Shown at right in former King Nebuchadnezzar’s execution furnace are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fieryfurnaceepisodewith the apparent manifestation of an Angel from their God with them. The phenomenon stunned everyone gathered to witness their execution, and during the remaining years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Mesopotamian Law Code mandated worship of the God of Israel.

Daniel’s posture toward the leadership of the kingdom has never stooped to militance or treachery in order to gain the king’s favor or to influence the legislative system in Babylonian government. On the contrary, Daniel has honored the king even when his own life was in danger because of a law to which his conscience prevented his obedience. Daniel’s strategy in such instances has consistently been to pray to his God. Sources inside the palace report that Daniel’s habit in his 60+ years of exile has been his discipline of prayer to his God three times daily. The kings of Babylon have become so accustomed to Daniel’s habit of prayer that they consider it one of his duties of state. Every king from Nebuchadnezzar till now has highly commended Daniel of Judah for his loyalty as a subject of the Babylonian Empire. Yet Daniel has never abandoned his identity and spiritual heritage as a citizen of Israel.


danielpraying2Shown left is surveillance photo of Daniel in his upper chambers in his customary daily discipline of prayer. It is written in Israel’s prophets that those who believe in their God are to pray for the city wherever they are captive, because its peace will be beneficial to them (Jeremiah 29.7).

Sources inside the palace report that Daniel’s colleagues in government sought to legislate against his right to retain his spiritual convictions. Their objective appears to have been the removal of Daniel from his place of favor in the king’s cabinet. Sources close to King Darius report that their strategy consisted of obtaining the king’s seal on a law that they secretly drafted to condemn to death in the lion’s den every person in the kingdom who prays to any god or man other than the king for 30 days. Their draft of the law became effective 24 hours ago, and it granted authority to these government leaders to levy the death penalty for a period of thirty days from its issue. They knew that once signed and sealed by the king, such a law could not be changed. No one was exempt from this law. Unaware of the objective of his officials, King Darius signed the decree. Shortly afterward, the PRESS received reports that the palace prison facilities were being expanded and more lions were being captured to handle the multitude of prisoners expected from enforcement of such a decree. The result of this decree promised to be a bloody holocaust, the first of the condemned being Daniel of Judah. Palace sources report that Daniel was seized during his habit of evening prayer in his private quarters. That law is now abolished with King Darius’ new decree issued this morning after Daniel’s miraculous exit from the lion’s den.


babylon prisonShown above: The grisly jaws of the entrance to the King’s lion’s den where it was expected that millions of Jews would be executed for refusing to cease from prayer to their God. Today the mouth of this den swallowed up 122 of King Darius’ officials after the first Jewish victim, Daniel, emerged miraculously unharmed by the voracious lions. The 122 were found to have been involved in clandestine political activity which King Darius judged to be equal with treason. Their plot intended to destroy Daniel’s reputation as one of the king’s favored royal servants.

In an exclusive interview with Governor Daniel, I asked him the subject of his prayers for so many years. He confided that he was compelled to confess his own sins and the sins of his people. He thanks his God for mercies and kindnesses even here in his exile. His most urgent requests have been for his God’s forgiveness of sin, wisdom in leadership and the fulfillment of his God’s plan for the people by blessing or by affliction, in the Land of Israel or in exile. I asked Daniel what motivated him to pray to his God under such a mortal judgment as the latest anti-prayer law. He stated that prayer is like breathing and that even death could not break his communion with his God. If Daniel’s feline companions could talk, I wonder what they would report about Daniel’s prayer and Daniel’s God.


Shown at right: One of King Darius’ lions lounges comfortably after an abundantly satisfyingreluctant lion morning meal. Daniel was to be one of his midnight morsels, but reports from the palace say that Daniel’s God exercised His power over the lions’ appetites and made them content to bunk with Daniel through the night. Daniel was the first intended victim of the Mesopotamian decree that influenced international law in the empire. His prayers to his God appear to have made him the last Jewish victim, and resulted in influencing international law in the empire in favor of his God.

Daniel’s prayer habits appear to have made him a reliable spokesman before kings and before his God on behalf of himself and his people here in their Babylonian exile.

 It is written in the Scriptures which Daniel has believed:

 If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.–2 Chronicles 7.14

That You May Know the Certainty…

…Blogging for such a time as this

In the first century AD there lived a physician who came from the city of Antioch in ancient Syria. He became a student under the teachings of the apostle Paul, and followed Paul until Paul’s execution in Rome. The physician’s name was Luke. After his study under Paul’s teaching led him to embrace the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke served God daily, remaining unmarried and childless, yet fruitful in the Holy Spirit throughout his years of ministry.

Luke lived in a world of cultural diversity, a world in which the truth was always debatable, always “relative.” Luke’s studies provoked him to write a record—a journal, if you will—of Jesus’ teachings, quoting Him from eyewitness accounts and interviews with those who had lived with Jesus during His life and ministry. In Luke’s journals he quotes Jesus’ call to those who follow Him in a world of cultural diversities, a world that preaches a doctrine to pursue the gods of pleasure, comfort and independence. Luke reminds those who trust the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ that they are not to be seduced into the complacency and inebriated slumber of those caught in the snare of will worship and pleasure cults.

The following is a quote by Messiah Jesus from Luke’s blog written “that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” (Luke 1.4)

Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. –Luke 12.35-40

Handwritten Journal Entry – November 2014

I penned the following journal entry in the space of 20 minutes during our monthly Ladies’ Spiritual Journaling group. The topic is usually fortified with quotes from the Scriptures and from other wise sayings. Sometimes there is a brief introductory commentary, and always, there are questions upon which we can hang our thoughts as we approach our journaling time together.

I have to say it took me more time to type this from my handwritten notes than it did to write with my pen in my journal notebook… This is the truth as I live and breathe…


Speaking the Truth in Love…For Such a Time as This

A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies. –Proverbs 14.25

Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. –Ezekiel 13.22

…That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ… –Ephesians 4.14-15

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. –John 8.32

These are among the many Scripture passages which remind me and exhort me to stand courageous to protect what is true and to guard the hearts of others from deceiving ideas…

All ideas have consequences…

I can think of all the times I have had spinach in my teeth, or a bit of breakfast stopped on my cheek on the way to my mouth, or my blouse had one button which escaped being fastened; and people whom I believed were my friends never spoke a word to alert me that my appearance was less than tidy. I remember my private shame and humiliation that I had been left uncorrected for all this minor error to be seen in public–for ridicule.  Somehow, it seemed I wasn’t worth being told the truth about my error. My friends did not think enough of me to protect me from humiliation in just this small way…

…How much more my life, my eternal soul in the holy gaze of God?…

I can remember the hurt and betrayal I have felt when I’ve discovered someone whose counsel I’ve valued has lied to me–pulled a political device with others in their circle to avoid telling me the truth, because they were afraid to tell it. My character and friendship over years of relationship played no part in encouraging them to be forthright with me instead of being evasive and deceptive… This for some smaller principle of life…

…How much more grievous would it be in regard to my eternal destiny?…

There are those who say they are Christians who somehow have the idea that the TRUTH is not loving when it comes to speaking the Truth to those enslaved to ungodly social behaviors. Truth and love in many Christians’ minds are like oil and water. When did that happen?…

If the truth really does set one free–and Jesus says it does–why would I not speak out on an eternal issue in my own world, in a culture locked in battle with the Deceiver himself? His aim is to persuade men to find consolation, comfort, ease, pleasure, significance, meaningfulness, in alternatives to the Truth–alternatives to what God has said is freedom–true freedom–not slavery or bondage to an appetite which the Deceiver has enticed mankind to satisfy… And it does not… And it grieves the heart of the God who made us; it grieves the faithful who desire to walk in what is true, to know the freedom of peace with the heart of God…

The truth is that in order for me to be willing to speak truth lovingly and boldly into the lives of others in this age of cultural alternatives, I must cultivate the heart of God for the lives and souls of others. I must care more for planting the seed of truth for breaking the chain of their bondage, more than caring for my own comfort zone, or for how they are going to react initially to my speaking the truth…

We renounce no friendship. But it may be the part of a friend to rebuke a friend’s folly. –J.R.R. Tolkien, “Silmarillion”

TRUTH: it’s the new hate speech. –unknown

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. –George Orwell

The worst thing about being lied to is knowing that you’re not worth the truth. –unknown

The truth shall set you free…but first it shall piss you off. –Gloria Steinem

The truth may offend; that’s not my fault…as long as I give no offense in speaking it…

Go Ahead; Make My Day!

Out of my distress I called on the Lordthe Lord answered me and set me free. –Psalm 118.5

My week was rolling with joy having enormous fun preparing for a children’s Sunday School class–more fun than I’ve had in a very long time. Everything was prepared for their busy little hands and their hungry minds. It was late, very late, but I was elated before I retired for bed in the wee hours of Sunday morning. One would think that, with the wash of elation and anticipation of the session with the K through 2nd graders, sleep would evade me and my mind would gallop onward driven by the excitement of sharing with these young minds. Not so. I was at perfect peace and able to surrender the experience with thanksgiving and trust to God’s watchful care; and so I slept–until…

…You know, the usual nocturnal call–nothing extraordinary about that; but when I turned to rise to answer it, the room began spinning like the panning sequences you see in some movies. I closed my eyes and flexed my neck and shoulders, to no avail; the room kept spinning out of control…I grabbed my cane and carefully navigated the short hall back and forth between bath and bed with a temporary relief from the vertigo. But when I crawled ever so carefully back into bed, and turned to my side to lie down and sleep, the room began to spin at an unearthly speed. I actually felt like I was standing still, yet feeling every bit of earth’s 1500-mile-per-hour spin on its axis… Settling back in bed, the room mercifully stopped spinning long enough for me to sleep another two hours before my alarm would wake me to rise and prepare to go to church. I thought when I woke that the vertigo was past; my meditation and prayer to God had put it to flight, until…

I turned to rise from bed; the earth was asserting its spin on my room again. I was first a bit alarmed, wondering what could have caused this sudden attack. Then, I was crestfallen at the thought my day would be altered and the joy of being with the young children in Sunday School would be taken from my day. I cried, “Conspiracy!” Then I called our church’s 24/7 prayer line for prayer…

“FOOL!” you say. “You should be calling 911! You could be having a heart attack–or a stroke!” Yes, I suppose that is always possible; but I wasn’t so absolutely sure of such a dramatic event as that. Anyway, I reasoned, if I die today I would rather die passing on my LIFE in Jesus to the next generation than anything else. So, I thought, “Go ahead; make my day!”  So I prayed with my friend on the phone. She, in turn, passed my distress and my need on to others in my church family who minister in prayer. I waited. I tried to slowly exercise my body in some delicately executed stretches, which helped everything except the spinning in the room. I was fine; it was the room that was in trouble, as far as I was concerned…

I waited, moving about with my cane for support as the room refused to settle down. Although my footing proved to be secure, I did not trust my ability to drive. With that unfortunate technicality in mind, I called my teacher partner. Voice mail. Left her a message about the possibility she would  need to recruit a helper and to be prepared to teach the class if I could not arrive in time to set up the classroom. Nearly half an hour had passed since my prayers were spoken in one accord with my friend on the prayer line. I began to consider hiring a taxi to drive me to church, or just resigning myself to the victory of spiritual opposition throwing a wet blanket on my day. Until…

I noticed something was changing; the feelings in my stomach changed from an edgy quease to more of a quiet suggestion of hunger. In the moments following, I found relief from the earth’s intrepid rotation on its axis. The wild ride had come to an end. I could move; I could bend to dress; I could–DRIVE…

First thing I thought of were my friends on the prayerline who needed an update; no sense keeping them occupied in earnest intercession for me when God had already answered our prayers. I called my friend with my news. I was humbled to hear her answer me that she had been standing in the kitchen asking God over and over again, “Please, Father, make this go away so she can go and teach the children!” She was as ecstatic as I was, and dismissed me with a blessing to get ready and go…

God did not disappoint me. My teaching partner and I were like cream in coffee–smooth and energizing. Our activities and story time went better than I can remember from some years past…DID WE HAVE FUN??? YES! WE. HAD. FUN! Knee deep in the Word of God at the waters of the Jordan River with Jesus and John, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, God made my day…

…And if I die today, I will die having served my Lord and Love, Jesus Christ, exactly the way He has formed me to serve…

Feeling, thinking, thanking God–and not writing…

The Print Shop 3.5 Deluxe

Weeks have passed and my head is full of so many thoughts. It’s like mail–some of it is junk, too–that piles up unopened, unsorted, unanswered, left on a compost heap piling higher and beginning to smolder…

I look at the “head mail” and, just like looking at the stack of postal mail which collects and torments from my desk, I flinch and in my inertia, I whimper at it unable to lay hold of the faculty to sort the thoughts to be of any use to me or anyone else… My brain cells are stuck on feeling and thinking, but my brain-to-expression ability is unplugged for the moment…

Have I prayed? Yes. Indeed, I have, and I continue my conversations with the Lord. Praying is the air I breathe; my Lifeline…

Am I listening for God’s answer on this issue? Yes. Indeed, I am. And in the quietness I am comforted with the assurance that it’s okay to have a season of thought and feeling, inexpressible to anyone but God… After all, I am not at the center of this blog; it’s not all about me, me, me. It’s about Jesus in this life given to me. Apparently, this is going to be one of those aspects of the life God has given me to discover how great He is–how great His EXPRESSION is, when words fail me…So, dear blogging friends, keep writing what God gives you to share. I’m reading. I’m finding words to comment and encourage you while I wait on God to grant me utterance to finish some writing which has been interrupted by life and circumstances and my own limitations…I will keep on reading and encouraging you as God permits each day…

In the meantime, I am giving thanks for all things–including the weaknesses–knowing that His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness… and I keep walking with Christ in this wilderness, trusting Him for the words of encouragement, praise, and testimony in due time.

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