Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 27th

Twice this month! I go to make coffee and remember, I should have gone to the coffee shop yesterday. I might have made a bit more noise then usual, Ray "just happened" to wake up earlier then he normally would on a day off. My evil plan is working. Lets go out for coffee this morning, and oh, by the way, grab the cameras and binoculars. Hee hee...

Some things should never be wasted. When the stars all align (stars?) and the day is beautiful, the weather is balmy (at least for February) and you have some coin in your pocket, something must be done. Last time we were at Mukilteo public beach it had just been transferred from the state to the city. It was in the middle of construction and we thought the simple beauty of the park would be lost. Happily, we were very wrong. The city of Mukilteo has done a nice job of updating the park while keeping the feel of the beach that I spent many happy days at as a child having lunch with my mom, her sister and aunts, cousins and my gram'ma. I took my own sons there for picnics and play days. Today it was just Ray, Rudy and me, walking on the beach, looking for birds. Strangely, there were not many.

A short list

  • California Seagulls
  • Cormorants
  • Pigeons
  • 1 Common Loon
  • 4 Western Grebes
  • Flocks of Barrows Goldeneyes
With the exception of waking up to snow on the 26th, the weather has been spring-like. But not many birds are flirting, not many are out and about in the morning. While buds on trees are just beginning to swell, there is still no sign of green on the trees. I am sure creation know better then I when the time is right to wake up to spring but from my perspective, it seems as if someone keeps slapping at the snooze button.

To everything there is a season. It is still the season of rest, but I want summer to hurry.

We did not walk far. It is, after all, still a late winter morning. Ray and I brought everything but coats. Walking was not enough to keep us warm. Back to the truck we went to finish our coffee and to plan our day. Groceries, pick up Jason, plan a weekend dinner, pray for friends, for family, for the spring yet to come.

God is Good. And at least for today, life is sweet. And there is coffee in the jar.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What is it about Snow?

I love watching snow come down. Having the privilege of working from home adds to my joy. Having lived in a mountain valley for more then twenty years, I don't get freaked about driving in snow. Other drivers sometimes give me pause, but not the driving. Still, I have to admit, being able to stay home when my work day starts is quite relaxing.

Remember back on Ground Hogs Day, what a beautiful day it was? I tell myself that I am not one to believe that sun on a particular day foretells a longer winter, but it seems as good a reason as any other for a winter storm at this final week of February.

Yesterday I actually had to put on a uniform and go into school. Barb, the Primary Teacher, had an appointment and needed me to come in for the morning. I am always dragging my heels about going into school, but once I get there I feel energized by teachers who love the Lord and children who are just plain generous with love.

This is my dear friend Susan, the Kindergarten teacher, in the lunch room with the younger students. If there is a soul on earth who loves more and accepts people where they are at more then Susan does, then I would sure like to meet that person. When I worked full time at the school (now I work from home with the distance-learners/home school) we used to spend time together on the playground, shoulder to shoulder in prayer and wild laughter. Wait... there were also tears, both of joy and of pain. Tears tend to not be bitter when shed with a kindred spirit. I miss that. We were sharing a ride to Bible Study on Wednesday nights, but dang, she had her car back yesterday. Maybe it is time for my car to take a break?

This is the trail where I walk the dogs in the park you can see from my back yard. I love being planted in a place were the view does not get boring.

You know how you can read the same passage again and again, find it relevant, but not really be excited about it? That is how I felt about the passage we studied at Pastor Wold's last night. The passage was Luke 2:36-38 and the subject was the prophetess Anna. Following the excitement of Simeon it is easy for me to over look Anna, an old woman who, oddly enough, is a widow living at the temple, apparently making a fuss over a baby. Ya, right. Look closer. In three short verses there is much said about this woman of God.

Luke 2:36-38

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
(from New International Version)

She was a Prophetess. From what Luke has already said about prophets, I believe that she was a rare spirit filled woman in an era when religion for the sake of heritage rather then love and relationship with God ruled the day.

A widow, advanced in years. She had seen much, living in dependence on God as a husband to widows rather then dependent on a man. She had lived to see the Roman takeover of her country. She had watched as her religion and people conformed to foreign occupation in compliance and bloody revolt. She had lived to see the renewal movements of the Pharisees, the Essene's, the Sadducee's. She had watched as Zealots and their bloody way became popular with the hot-blooded young men of the day. In all her days as a widow, she did not go home to the north country of Asher, she remained at the temple in the busy city of Jerusalem, serving and worshipping her God.

So many people, so many different ways of attempting to live as the people of God's Covenant, yet there were apparently only a "remnant" who looked forward to the redemption of Jerusalem, the Messiah, instead of backwards toward the heritage of the people, which happened to include God.

At the very moment that Simeon was speaking to Mary and her husband, the pious Anna came near and (addressing God rather then the parents) began to give thanksgiving and went to others who were like minded in looking for the redemption of Jerusalem to speak of Him.

Her life made me wonder, what am I looking for? How am I serving while I wait? The next big event is the return of Messiah. Am I looking for it? How am I serving God while I wait? When I read the Word, am I encouraged to see the old prophecies coming to pass? Does it ignite me or am I unchanged as I observe history in the making? Anna gave her life to service of God and fellowship with like minded believers without loosing hope because of world events of the day. What will be said of me?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras
I am neither Southern nor Catholic. Living in the PNW the only thing I know about Mardi Gras is that loosely translated, it means "Fat Tuesday" and in Seattle, it is a party. But, then again, any reason to party is reason to get a little crazy in Seattle. Those who are not hung-over or in jail on Ash Wednesday will find another reason to let loose.

The wind is kicking up, the rain comes and goes. Typical stuff this time of year. Wet paws when we walk, pink cheeks when we get home. Not much going on with most of the regular birds this morning. I did see a mess of Northern Flickers. They seem to enjoy the huff and puff of a late February day. Even the Junco's are laying low. So, instead of bird watching, I did what I usually preach against; I picked some of the pussy willows to have in place of the glass beads of Mardi Gras. My dad's voice haunts me, If everyone picked a bouquet there wouldn't be any flowers (or pussy willows) left for anyone. But there it is.

I did notice one new creature on my morning walk. Earth worms out of the earth, struggling across the sidewalks. Lucky for them the Robins were early.

Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus Sees Faith
Apparently it had been some time since Y'shua/Jesus had been to a synagogue to preach the Word to the people of Galilee after the former leper had disobeyed His word to "go tell the priests" what had been done for him, as a testimony. Instead the man told anyone else who would listen to him. The people came for what they could get for themselves.

And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." But there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Arise, and take up your pallet and walk'? "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this." Mark 2:1-12 NAS

In Mark chapter 2, Y'shua has returned to Capernaum. Apparently the crowd came to Him in such large numbers that they filled the house with an overflow crowd gathering at the door as He proclaims the Word of God to them.

To this setting, a group of men come to Y'shua. Four of them caring a paralytic to Him. But the size of the crowd prevented their access to Y'shua. The solution? Dig through the roof and lower their friend to Him.

Jesus saw their faith What did Y'shua/Jesus see when He saw their faith? The Author of Hebrews said,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:1, 6 NAS

What were these men assured of? John the Baptizer had come to prepare the way of the Lord as spoken in Isaiah 40:3. After the witness of John at the baptism of Jesus, John was arrested. That very day, Jesus picked up the message of John, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

In Mark 1:22, the people who went to synagogue with Him were amazed because He spoke with an authority that they had never heard from their teachers, the Scribes, before. "Faith is the assurance of what we hope for..." The men came with their paralyzed companion believing that Y'shua was (and is) the Glory of the Lord, the promised Messiah. And faith is standing firm on the Word of God, so what did these men stand on?

John the Baptizer fulfilled Isaiah 40:3-4. The verses that follow the "forerunner" prophecy tell of "The Glory of the Lord." In Isaiah 35:5-6 there is a short list of what the people will "see" when Messiah, the Glory of the Lord, comes. (look at this passage in the light of the context starting at 35:2b)

  • Salvation
  • The blind will see
  • The deaf will hear
  • The lame will leap like a deer
  • The mute will shout for joy

From what they had observed these men believed that this Y'shua was (and is) the Glory of the Lord, The Messiah. They came to Him believing that "He is" and they came assured that he rewards those who seek Him. When Y'shua saw their faith He expressed the ultimate demonstration of His authority, doing what the scribes rightly reasoned, that only God can forgive sin. The scribes came to a wrong conclusion, that this man blasphemed. The four friends of the paralitic acted on the only correct conclusion, they believed, and came to God who rewarded those who seek Him. Y'shua saw their faith and expressed the ultimate demonstration of His authority, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

What is it that you believe? How far will you go to test the assurance of your conviction of what you cannot see? Fear not, He rewards those who come believing that He is.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's always something

Stylen Abigail

Jason's Goddaughter

Again, rain was forecast for today, and again, Rudy and I had beautiful weather for our walk. We just went to the park behind the house and back. Chris and Bomber left before we did and got back quite a while after we did. They went all the way to Howerth Park. Good walk guys!

My old wind mill from the park below the house.

After weeks of seeing the same species of birds for the February Bird Count, I finally got to see someone new. On a bare tree in the center of the swamp was an Anna's Hummingbird! He was just sitting by himself on a branch for the longest time. I happened to remember my binoculars (very easy to use when just walking Rudy instead of Bomber). This is actually a first for me. Back in Robe Valley we had little Rufous Hummingbirds and Calliopes but no Anna's. I kept reading about them on Tweeters but never saw any. Whoo-h0o!

After Church on Sunday we noticed a rhythmic tapping as if there were a rock stuck in the tire tread. When we stopped to look, there was this bolt shining back at us, complete with a washer. Arghh!

It is way too easy to look at things like this and believe that the money drain will never end. But really, it isn't so bad, just unexpected. We have another car for Ray to drive to work, this can be fixed, and on top of everything, we have enough. Not an abundance, but we have enough. Life is good because God is good.

Nothing wrong with saying, "I can't take anymore!" but I find that I need to speak that word as a prayer. My husband cannot bear that load, he has his own to carry. My mother, my son's, and friends might all feel sympathy or they might wonder why I don't buck up. It isn't their load to carry. But to say to my God, 'I'm about to sink, save me!' always brings relief. Sometimes the answer comes as refreshment and rest as it did for Elijah. Other times it comes as a gentle rebuke, filled with love, as it did for Peter (o' ye of little faith) as he was lifted from the waves while doing the impossible, walking on water. Either way, there is something powerful to taking it to the Lord in Prayer (I think there is a song ready to burst out).

Today I will tell God what he already knows. There is a big bolt in my tire, there is little money in my account and I feel stressed. And I will thank him for the humming bird, and for what he provides for Chris while he is out of work, and for Jason while he is sick and unable to go to work today (but still has to go to treatment to stay in compliance). For all that he gives us and all that He does not give. We feel His favor, His blessing, and can keep facing forward.

Hey! I think my Nephew Ted is another year older today (maybe his birthday was on the 21st, I am never sure)

Happy Birthday Ted!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Edges of His Ways, February 22

Upon their shoulders
Numbers 7:9

The Princes of the Tribes brought six covered wagons and twelve oxen for the service of the Tabernacle. Those wagons were given to the Levites, that is to the sons of Gershon and Merari, to every man according to his service; but to the sons of Kohath no wagons were given, "because the service of the Sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders."
Those men were human. I wonder if they were ever tempted to wish they could have wagons. They also were grandsons of Aaron. Why must they carry those heavy burdens on their shoulders when their cousins had bullock-carts? If such thoughts ever came, perhaps they found help in remembering that to them was committed the care of the most precious things, things too precious to be carried in any other way

Is it not so even now? The burdens we have to carry on our shoulders are what our God counts the most precious.

The Shepherd took the lost sheep--and a sheep is a heavy thing--and laid it on His shoulders. If the Good Shepherd asks us to bear upon our shoulders the care of souls, surely it is because that burden is too precious to be carried in any other way.

Amy Carmichael

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mark 1:39-45

A Matter of the Will
Y'shua/Jesus went to the synagogues of Galilee (Mark 1:39) to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of Heaven and cast demons out from the congregations. The army of darkness would not infiltrate the Kingdom of Light.

During that time, a leper came to him. A man with a disease so repugnant that he was outcast from his community and family. Allowed to fellowship only with those who also bore the disease. He dared to come to Y'shua, falling on his knees and begging him for cleansing if the amazing man of God were willing to make him clean again!

And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.

And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." And moved with compassion, He stretched out His hand, and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a testimony to them." But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news about, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
Mark 1:39-45 NAS

It was compassion that compelled the Messiah to action. The Leper was the very embodiment of the Messiah in the prophetic description of Isaiah 53. "He was despised and forsaken; without beauty or majesty, one from whom men hide their faces; rejected by men and well acquainted with suffering." The King of kings could well relate to the Leper. And he was quite willing to cleanse him of the illness most related with sin.

The disease was not simply ordered away with authority. Instead, the Lord healed the man through the touch of his hands. He reached out and touched the untouchable man. The effect was immediate. He was clean and restored, free of the dread leprosy.

This Y'shua, this Jesus who commanded unclean spirits and they obeyed Him (Mark 1:27) would not get the same obedience from the once unclean man. Y'shua sternly warned him to not speak of this to anyone, but to go and show himself to the priest with the offering spelled out in the Torah for cleansing from leprosy as a testimony to the priests. Instead the man gave his testimony to anyone who would listen to him. The news spread like wild fire.

As a result, Y'shua could no longer "do what he came for" (Mark 1:38). People came to him from everywhere. He couldn't even go to a city with a synagogue to speak the Gospel of the Kingdom. People came from everywhere to find him, not to hear the good news or to study Torah and see the Messiah in the Words, but for a touch for themselves. The King of kings was forced to stay in the wilderness yet people were coming to Him from everywhere.

People are always asking, "What if." What if Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit? What if the Leper had obeyed Y'shua? I can only imagine what might be different. The only thing that I do know is that the enemy of souls uses any and every disobedience to hurt the cause of Messiah. The purpose of God still stands, but "what if" I were to be obedient to my Lord and fulfill his purpose instead of my own? "What if" his will were more to me then my own will, my own comfort and pride? Because it seems that my will and my glory are the reasons that I do something that seems right to me instead of obeying my Lord by faith. I am sure that Eve put her will above God's. The Leper put his desire above the God who healed him. Why would you disobey? Self love? It is one of the most difficult things to overcome, harder then leprosy or HIV. It takes the grace of submission, "Not my will but Thine be done o Lord." Gain a heart to obey from the throne of grace, even Y'shua had to pray diligently that God's will rather then His own be done. How can we do any less?

Friday, February 20, 2009


Usually I spend my mornings in prayer and study of the Word. This AM I was caught up in Scott North's beautiful report of Milo, an Tulaip Indian who died in an apparent struggle with Everett Police. It is a rather long but beautiful read.

A Truth Beyond by Scott North, Everett Herald
Today might be the last of the nice weather for a spell. I suppose I should get more weeding done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

San Juan with my Valentines

Waiting for the Anacortes Ferry to Friday Harbor

There is a moment, just before dawn, when the sky looks rather like silk dyed a deep cadet blue and the mountains on the horizon resemble dark satin ribbon. It only lasts a moment but it always catches the eye of my heart when I see it. Taking in that vision was the transition from busy morning packing to day of sensuality... or at least eye candy

San Juan Island is one of a couple of places we love to go to on Valentines day but Ray was working on V-day so it had to be put off until the 17th. What a bit of luck that was. The weather was so much better on the 17th then it was on the 14th.

Leaving Anacortus The sunrise seemed stunning and we hoped it was a tell for the rest of the day. The sun was all peach and gold, coming through a hole in the clouds to check her reflection on the sea.

We had forgot to bring breakfast, so instead of grains and fruit, we had cheese, crackers and coffee. Really not a bad way to start a day. Who cares what is eaten when you have a sunrise like this one?

Bringing Rudy with us, we did not go up to the passenger-deck, something fun on Valentines Day when most are dressed in Red, pink or purple and the lips of the women we meet are painted a shade of red that would seem outlandish any other day. I don't know if it was because of my silly prayer before we left (I'm sure God has more on his plate then where we park on the ferry) or what, but we got a great spot for watching the beauty that is Puget Sound.

The Olympic Mountains on The Washington State Peninsula. Often the pollution in Washington is so bad that they are hidden in the haze, but on this morning they were glowing on the horizon.

Another cup of Coffee and the rhythm of the engine with all the beauty coming right in the window made the trip seem shorter then usual. We didn't even think about looking for wildlife until we got to Lopez Island.

  1. California Gull
  2. Cormorant
  3. Pigeon Guillemot (Lopez Ferry Dock)
  4. Harbor Seal
  5. Bald Eagle
  6. Red Tail Hawk

Pulling into Friday Harbor is always beautiful, but we had come to skirt the Island and headed straight to Cattle Point Lighthouse. There is a rock out in the water that is usually alive with gulls and eagles in late spring. Sometimes it is bitter-cold in the wind that begins in the Bearing Sea, blasting on the south edge of San Juan. This day it was surprisingly mild. Sweater weather.

No eagles on the rock this early in spring (late in winter?) but Ray did spot two of them in a tree. Can you see them?

Can you see them now?

We could hear bird song everywhere and we should have looked for the singers but we were so charmed with Rudy's first walk on a little bit of a trail that we just forgot to give our attention to the choir.

Is this new? I don't remember seeing it before.

The beach below the light house looked inviting, but Ray's foot has been hurting so we stuck to the rocks above.

Driving past American Camp we saw the first of many island deer. What we did not see, and were hoping for, was the little black island fox, which, much to my surprise, is a red fox. The first time we saw one, we spent quite a while looking through books for the name of that fox. It was actually a San Juan mammals Book we saw in a book store on cannery row (after we had already spent too much money) that we discovered that the little black fox was really a red fox.

This is False Bay. It is more of a mud flat then a bay. Can you see the Great Blue Heron on the right? He is standing on the bottom of the bay. That is how shallow it is.

I think that this is about as high as I have ever seen the tide when we have been to False Bay.

  • 7. American Wigeon
  • 8. Pintail Ducks
  • 9. Mew Gulls
  • 10. Black Oyster Catcher
  • 11. Canada Goose

There is a pond. Once you drive past Lime Kiln, head up the hill, wind around and look right. We love that pond. There is always something on the pond that I don't see in the sea. I have no idea what the name of the pond is.
  • 12. Buffelheads
  • 13. Hooded Mergansers.

(By the time I got out of the truck with the camera all I could see was the pond, but it is a pretty pond)

We had lunch at San Juan County Park. We love that park! Got out and walked some more to see what was in the water. This is where I saw my first Pacific Loon, but not today. All that we saw in the water was a family of Red Breasted Mergansers (#14).

From the truck, as we feasted on the Potato Salad I made last night (the sandwiches got eaten on the ferry) and crackers, we spied on more birds. I have seen Varied Thrush at this park as well as a little yellow-green warbler, but not today. Maybe because there are still not leaves in the Maples. What we did see;

  • 15. Northern Flickers
  • 16. Juncos
  • 17. American Robins
  • 18. Fox Sparrow

Back to Friday Harbor by way of the pond across from the Duck Soup Inn where we say (#19) Mallards and (#20) Swans. I'm not sure if the Swans were Trumpeter or Tundra. We had hoped to have coffee and a lavender biscotti at Pelindaba but they have closed their tea (coffee to us) room for the winter. I did manage to get out the door with lavender dog shampoo and lavender dog cookies (it didn't calm either of them down)

In line for the ferry home. We did manage to get coffee from the shop by the holding area. I guess it is called the Doctors Office? We had some yummy truffles and turtles from the San Juan Coffee Company (why we did not get coffee there is a mystery). First we stopped at a gift shop to get a doo-dah for Jason. I was in there quite a while before I realized that it was closed. The coffee lady took care of it for us AND sold us the doo-dah for Jason.

Good Valentine!

By the way, do the pigeons at the ferry dock count as number 21?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pussy Willows

OK, I'll admit to two things.

First, these are actually catkins. Pussy willows probably grow on willows rather then on whatever this is.

Second, the tree was so far away that I should have used a tripod. Still, they are an early sign of spring in a season of cold sunshine, bird song and a total lack of green buds.

The mallard population has doubled since I first saw them last week. There are now 10 mallards in the little pond in the park. Oddly enough there are six drakes to only four ladies. I really need to get back to watching for "The Great February Bird Count"

This from Amy's "Edges" for today.
Isaiah 30:18 And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you,...blessed are all they that wait for Him.

Did you ever put these two "waits" together like that? Perhaps there is a fear at the back of your mind just as a fear is sometimes at the back of mine. Perhaps nobody knows of it, or would only smile if they heard it. Never mind: read these words and let them lead you into peace.

Happy Birthday to Ryan

Ray's great-nephew Ryan is 5!

We celebrated at the Lake Stevens Burger King. These are cousins Emily (Ted and Stacie's daughter) and Katelyn (Ryan's sister). Grandma Doreen made cupcakes and the rest of us just had fun!

Daddy (Ray's nephew) Dennis

Uncle Ben and his beautiful girlfriend Rachel

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Day After

Did you remember that yesterday was Lincoln's Birthday? 200 years ago yesterday, the man who paid a huge price to finally set in motion events that would lead to the affirmation that all men are created equal, was born.

I think you are supposed to plant your peas on Lincoln's birthday. In the valley it was always too cold and usually too much snow to plant. (not for the peas, for me) I did not get peas planted yesterday, so today, since I have to go north to pick up Jason and take him shopping, I am going to stop somewhere and get dwarf shelling peas and sweet peas to plant in pots, just so I can say that I did plant some almost on time.

Rudy went for his first walk on a leash this morning. He was so restless when I was studying. I took him out and then fed him which usually makes him sleepy. Not today. So we played with a mini-tennis ball I bought, play usually makes him sleepy. Not today. His chew toy kept him busy for about five minutes, then he was back looking for trouble. He has not liked the leash so far (who would?) but he follows me so well, and I had some time, so we tried it again. As long as there was no tugging (that frightens him) he did good. He follows me everywhere so I got him following me in the house then just stepped out the door. Mostly he just walked along with me. Yea! All the way down the street to the mail box and back without whining to be picked up!

Got home and finished my day one study of Mark 3:1-6!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mark 1:35-39

And in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. And Simon and his companions hunted for Him; and they found Him, and said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You." And He said to them, "Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for." And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons
Mark 1:35-39 NAS
The morning after Sabbath Before sunrise, Y'shua/Jesus left the house of Peter and Andrew to find a solitary place to pray. Praying outside into the sunrise is something that I think everyone should experience at least once, if not more often then that. Mark does not tell us how he prayed or what he prayed for. Peter probably did not know. We do know the result of that prayer. The determination to go to the next town with the message He came to proclaim.

They traveled throughout Galilee in the Northern territory of Herod Antipas who had recently imprisoned John the Baptizer (and would soon murder him). Every Sabbath they would go to the synagogue of the town with the message, "Repent and believe the Gospel." Synagogue is a place where a minimum of ten men met to study Torah, the Word of God, and give Him praise. Mark does not mention anyone being healed, but he does tell us that demons were driven out.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
Matthew 6:10

From a political perspective, the smart move might have been to start a grass-roots movement based in Capernaum. In just one day He had become wildly popular. Y'shua had come on the scene just as the well respected John the Baptizer was imprisoned. Y'shua had shown Himself to be far more powerful then demons and had proven that He was able to heal the sick. At first light the people of Capernaum were looking for Him. Anything He might have wanted would have been made available to Him there.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of the way is death
Proverbs 14:12

For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than you was, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

"Everyone is looking for you."
"Let us go somewhere else"

The result of His morning of prayer was confirmation of the ministry that He had come for. He had come with a message, "The kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the gospel."

He chose obedience to God's way. They left Capernaum where people were seeking Him, to go seek those who did not know Him. Mark makes a point of telling us that He drove out demons. Demons lie. No lie is of the truth. Just as the truth and lies cannot co-exist, neither can righteousness tolerate demonic activity.

The message came in two phases. 1. Repent and 2. Believe the Gospel. To repent is to turn away from what you were following, the direction you were going and, facing God, walking toward righteousness. A demon will not and cannot repent. Only people can. Phase 2 is dependent on phase 1. You must repent to believe the gospel. To believe is to live in full submission to what you believe, in this case it is the Word of God that is believed. (Y'shua/Jesus is the Word of God) The submissive person is a servant to what they believe. You cannot serve two different masters.

Does it sometimes seem awkward to proclaim the Word of God to unbelievers or to invite them to church? Mark is telling us that Jesus went to synagogues where the whole point was to study the Word of God. But the people were not believers. Jesus asked them to repent of the way that seemed right to them and believe what they studied in synagogue, the Scriptures.

What place does Bible study have in your day? Life and the Will of God can be discovered in the Book, but only when you believe, when you are born from above, can you then live it with power.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meet Rudy

Rudy Valentine

This is my Valentine from my Valentine. Ray brought me a puppy! I just got him late last night and it has been love at first sight. He is only 12 weeks old and I am not even sure if he weighs one whole pound yet. I'm so in love! and I'm loving Rudy too.

Only four days left for me to come up with a Valentine for my Valentine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mallards and a Snow Walk

Pretty little snow flakes are falling. Mr Bomber wasn't sure that it was little dog friendly. The ice did not bother him yesterday but the snow was no joy today. Don't get me wrong, he was not reluctant, just kept turning for home when ever we paused.
Does a bird count for the Great February Bird Count if you can see your yard from where you see the bird?
The official rule is that you can count any bird that you can see from your yard. It does not have to be IN your yard. These were in the park that you can see from my back fence. The shot is shaky but I'm gonna say its not my fault. I had enough battery left for one shot. Just as I got lined up a cat walked by. (See red leash on small terrier above?)

Snow Moon

I love insights from Hebrew. Each of the Hebrew letters have a meaning. For instance, the fifth letter of the Hebrew alaph-bet is Hey. Hey is shaped like a window on the side of a house. It communicates to the reader that insight is about to be let in like sunshine through a window on a summer morning. This idea is usually communicated with the English word "Behold"

Whether I am doing a study or just a devotional reading, I look for key words that open windows of meaning while I read the Bible. When I see the word "Behold" I know to pay attention, because God the Holy Spirit is about to open a window to see what is happening in the unseen world. I live and function in the physical realm, but that is not all there is to my reality. Powerful, dynamic things are taking place that cannot be seen with physical eyes. It is why Paul prayed for the eyes of our spirit to see the effect of the spiritual realm all around us.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Ephesians 1:15-21 NKJ

Try this for yourself today. When you come across the word "behold" in your reading, take a closer look and see if a window into the spiritual realm of the kingdom of heaven has been opened for you.

Apparently I really should not have been surprised by the snow yesterday... or today (it is snowing right now) There was a full moon last night. The traditional name of this full moon (according to the Old Farmers Almanac) is The Snow Moon.

Mrs. Hagerty February 10,2009

Monday, February 9, 2009


Maybe not too much of a surprise. The last two weeks of January, the first two weeks of February are generally the coldest in the PNW and they are the most likely weeks for us to get snow. The little garden to port is the kitchen herb garden that I recently cleaned up. To starboard is the medicinal garden that still needs attention.

Poor Bomber. If he is not nuts about walking in the rain, I wonder what this will be like for him. On the other hand, it is already looking good for bird watching from the window. If only I can get some actually work done.

Don't be afraid. Jason got new ink on Saturday. He did not believe that I would post this on the same board that I post my Bible studies on. What he forgets is that I love him, ink and all. AND, that Christians love to have a visual when they pray for someone.

From Edges of His Ways
By Amy Carmichael
Deuteronomy 1:28 People greater and taller then we; Cities great and walled up to heaven' Moreover we have seen giants. (Young)

Faith does not hide difficulties or belittle them. "Without being weakened in faith Abraham considered..." (Romans 4:19 RV); let us not fear to consider what we are up against:
  1. as Christians--"principalities and powers mustering their unseen array";
  2. as winners of souls--cities, as it often seems, walled up to heaven, so impervious do they seem, like the temples of India with their high double walls. As missionaries, incidentally, we know what it is to feel the language like a city with very high walls.
  3. Moreover on every side we have seen giants--giants of ancient deep-rooted wrong.

But let us look up. What are all these things--peoples, cities, giants--to the Lord our God?

The Lord your God Who goeth before you, He shall fight for you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mark 1: 32-34

The End Which is also the Beginning

Sabbath begins in the evening with the lighting of the Sabbath candles and a blessing; the breaking of bread and the sharing of new wine. It closes the following evening in much the same way.

The end of Sabbath is marked by the appearance of the first three stars in the twilight sky. Once they appear, a triple wick, braided candle (three that are one) is lit, a cup of new or sweet wine is shared with blessings. There is also one other tradition. Instead of breaking bread together as was done to welcome Sabbath, at the closing ceremony, called Havdalaha, a tin of spices are opened and passed to each person. These spices are what Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? NAS

There is an odd little tradition associated with Havdalah. For some reason it is said that Havdalah is the time when the extra souls are released from the body. I do not know how or why this tradition started, but keep it in mind as you look at Mark 1:32-34.
And when evening had come, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. NAS

This passage begins in the evening after sun set. Sabbath had come to a close. The first three stars had been spotted, the candle lit, the wine and spice shared in the Jewish homes of Capernaum. Families went out for an evening stroll. But this night there seems to have been purpose and direction as people began to make their way to Simon-Peter's house where the Rabbi, the teacher from Nazareth was staying.

Just that morning in Synagogue, He spoke with an authority that they had never experienced before. Then He acted with authority, ordering an unclean spirit to silence and demanded the release of the person who had somehow become its host. No one had ever seen anything like that before. Suddenly the spice tin ritual seemed like a tease. They began to come to Him.

The whole city gathered at the door. In Hebrew the fourth letter, dalet, pictures a door. The ancient pictograph dalet of Moses is a closed tent door. Dalet is symbolic of a needy person. In fact, the word dalet is actually translated "poor" or "impoverished".

The person, the beggar who is poor in Spirit, standing at the door of the house, is conscious of their need and knows that within the house is the fulfillment of their need. There is more. As a door, the Hebrew letter dalet symbolically represents the choice to open ourselves to hope or to remain closed off and alienated.

The whole city had gathered at the door. They brought the demon possessed. Needy souls who could not release that "extra" soul through the spice of Havdalah now come to the One who spoke with authority so that even the demons obeyed. He Himself was the Savor of Life.

There is something else. They also brought to Him all who were ill. Why did they do that? The passage seems to clearly distinguish between demonic activity in a host and biological illness. So why did they bring those who were ill, forcing them from their sick bed to the door of Simon-Peters house?

One possibility is that the word had spread about what Jesus had done for Simon's mother-in-law, as it had about the exorcism in the Synagogue, but I do not think that is what happened. She was healed quietly and privately in the house. Mark gives no evidence that word of her healing had spread. So why did they bring the sick to the house?

Before his arrest, John the Baptizer had a widely popular ministry calling people to get ready because the Messiah, the king of the Jews, time had come.

The last Old Testament prophet of Scripture, Malachi, said,
"But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall
Malachi 4:2
With healing in (His) wings. Do you remember the Sunday School story of Jairus, whose daughter was dying? On the way to lay hands on her, Jesus had an encounter with a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. Remember how she thought to herself, "If I just touch the fringe of his garment I will get well" (Matthew 9:20). That is just what she did. That is what Jesus demanded that she confess. Once she did, He told her that her FAITH had made her well. What does that mean?

As I understand faith, it consists of believing the Word of God and acting on it. I think that the woman with the blood flow believed the same thing that the citizens of Capernaum did. They brought their sick by faith; but faith in what?

Every Torah observant Jewish man, like Jesus, weres a garment that (in English) we call a prayer shawl. The right and left edges of the prayer shawl are fringed. I have been taught that the fringed edges of the shawl are known as wings. Malachi prophesied that the Messiah would have "healing in his wings" The fringe of his prayer shawl. We know that the woman with the flow of blood believed this. Touching the fringe for healing was an act of faith. The Lord confirmed that it was faith when He assured her, "Your faith has made you well."

They gathered at the door. The word about the Rabbi from Nazareth had spread everywhere that Sabbath. A new teaching with authority! Even the demons obey Him. A needy people came to the door. He was the only one with the authority to set them free from unclean spirits. He had the power to heal those who came to Him.

And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons. They came because of hope; they came because of belief that the Messiah of Israel could heal their sick. They came because of faith.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit... Matthew 5:3a
Blessed means "having the favor of God"
"the poor in Spirit" are those who are needy and recognize their need. They realize that they have no way to meet their own need, so they go begging in prayer to the only one who can meet their need.

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and he shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And he who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for those words are faithful and true."
Revelation 21:3b-5
Have you heard of the Messiah, the Christ? The one who loves you and took your sin on Himself, who is easily able to meet your need? Come to the door, let Him welcome you in.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

No Coffee in the Jar

Red-Winged Blackbirds
Agelaius phoeniceus

I knew when I went to bed last night that I was out of coffee. Thought I could get by just reheating some of the leftover coffee that was still in the pot. Yuck! One of the perks (pun intended) of living in town is good coffee from a shop that is no more then ten minutes away. Since it is Saturday I had time to sit down with my coffee and work on finishing "The Pursuit of God." I was too distracted to finish this little book.

One of my favorite sounds in spring is the call of the Red-winged blackbird. I could hear them all up and down the gully while Bomber and I were walking this morning.

As a reward for walking next to me like a good boy, Chris' little firecracker, Bomber, gets to go play ball in the morning before either of us has breakfast. He isn't really interested in the birds, though he loves the scent of the suet. For the most part many of the birds will come even if he is out, but they keep an eye on him.

The Bushtits come in, one at a time, for suet. Usually there are about five of them. These may have been the little guys that I thought was a Veiro. Up on the fence is a Pine Siskin. Usually none of the other birds will mess with the Siskins. They just move away from the feeder until the Siskin has had enough. I guess that these little guys are the exception.

Bomber waiting for someone to throw the ball. If I ask him to "find the ball" he generally will. Sometimes he will even bring it to me.

Chris has been encouraging to catch the ball and he is rather impressive with the jumps and twists that he will do to catch it.

Our neighbors have a beagle who makes that noise that only beagles can make EVERY time one of us goes outside. In the summer, if I am out weeding he just keeps howling (or whatever that sound is called). I have been noticing that he is quiet when we have Bomber with us. Humm.

These were both hand-held from across the yard, so they are a little shaky. There is a house finch and I don't know what else.

It isn't supposed to rain today but you cannot tell from the look of the sky. The report tells me that the fog will roll off. We shall see.

An Oregon Dark-eyed Junco. In Robe they were all a pinkish hew on their breast. Here there are so many shades from grey to a brick color that at first I thought I was seeing new birds.
Wow! Does that fence ever need a fresh coat of stain. Ray power-washed it last summer and it looked great, but then we ran out of money before we could stain it.

Word for this day

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yellow Rain Slicker Day

Bomber and I went for a walk in the rain today. Our first since he came to live with us. I don't think he likes rain as much as I do. He did not have that spring in his step like he usually does. He "dropped a deuce" (as one of my boys say) very early in the walk and turned hopefully for home. But no, I'm all dressed for a rain walk, we are going to walk.

My camera fits nicely into my pocket, but I left it at home with the binoculars thinking it was way to foggy out for pictures or spying on birds. What a mistake. I know that some of my coolest shots have happened on foggy days when my field of vision is macro. Worse yet, the little gray birds that I saw in a tree yesterday and could not firmly id were sitting low and close. Even a small pair of field glasses would have confirmed if they were or were not vireo's. That will teach me. Never go out without a camera and binoculars!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mark 1:29-31

The Lord of the Sabbath

Such drama in the Synagogue that day. They witnessed something that utterly overwhelmed them. A member of their congregation was dramatically delivered from an unclean spirit. To their amazement, the spirit spoke through the man, knowing who Y'shua/Jesus was and actually demanded that "The Holy One of God" leave them alone. Y'shua's response was to silence the spirit and set the man free.

Amazement and a debate about who this Teacher, this rabbi, is began among the witnesses.

A new teaching? With authority He commands even unclean spirits and they obey Him. The news spread immediately to the surrounding district of Galilee.

The Lord of the Sabbath

And immediately after they had come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law
was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Him about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.

Mark 1:29-31 NAS

"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..." Mark 10:45a

Immediately after synagogue, the four disciples, Simon, his brother Andrew, James and his brother John went with Y'shua/Jesus to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon had a wife and her mother lived with them. On this day she was sick in bed with a fever. Perhaps they were simply concerned for the health of their teacher and wanted to warn him of the sickness inside the home. Maybe they hoped to encourage her this Sabbath with a word from the teacher since she was too ill to go there herself, or maybe they just wanted to let Him know that he should keep His voice down so she could rest. The text doesn't really say why they told Him about her. I can come up with so many reasons why we would tell a guest in our home about a member of the family who is down with a fever.

Whatever reason they had for telling Him about her, He responded by going to her immediately. Through the haze of fever, a hand came to her. She met Him with her own. I often wonder what happened next. Was there a tug, a pull on her fevered arm? Did she feel a shock wave of energy that suddenly strengthened her weakened body? Could there have been some supernatural power that lifted her? We are not given the details. All we know is the result of Jesus coming to her and taking her hand. The fever left her and she waited on them. No drama to compare with what happened in the synagogue, no amazed discussion; maybe there weren't any witnesses, just the woman and Jesus. All we are given is the result. The fever left her and she waited on them.

What does it mean to be touched by Jesus? For this woman whom we only know as Simon's mother-in-law it meant that she could serve her family and guests.

What does His touch mean to me? I get to write, something I love, with purpose. I get to teach, work that gives me joy, with purpose for the Kingdom of God.

Like Simon-Peter's mother-in-law, we have seasons in our life when we know we are helpless and needy. Probably we have heard of Jesus who loves, but who are we that He might bother to come to us? What could we possibly offer to him in return?

Four men who fished for a living became fishers of men because of Him. A woman without a name, known by a title that holds little honor, mother-in-law, the butt of jokes, got to server her household for Jesus.

Suddenly, one day, Jesus comes to your regular life and asks you to do something simple and regular. "Follow Me" "Take my hand" the only thing you have to do is respond and he will give you His power, His Spirit, so that you can live with purpose for the Kingdom of Heaven. Empowered by the Lord of Heaven Himself, the Lord of the Sabbath. Who loves you, Who will never leaver or forsake you. All you have to do is respond.