summer time and the livin' is lazy...

too lazy to type on the computer anyway. 

and it has rained all summer. everyday i think... 

though all it has harvested in our yard is some monster weeds that are threatening to take over our home. unless i do something about these weeds. and if i am not getting up to type on the computer, do you think i am getting out to pull weeds?

i know that this season of rain and afternoons spent on the couch with my kids, spent at the beach house with my family, spent eating late night dinner and even later night popcorn with my teenagers, not doing anything of any importance may yield something... 

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hosea 6...

Come, let us return to the Lord.

He has torn us to pieces

    but He will heal us;

he has injured us

    but He will bind up our wounds...



...Let us acknowledge the Lord;

    let us press on to acknowledge Him.

As surely as the sun rises,

    He will appear;

He will come to us like the winter rains,

    like the spring rains that water the earth...

Also for you, Judah,

    a harvest is appointed...

 

i feel like this spring was a tearing to pieces of some things in my life in a sense and now is a season of rain... and one day a harvest? 

that is usually how God works. let me only press on to acknowledge Him...

that word "acknowledge" in the hebrew means "to know by experience".  not to hear about it and know. not to read it and know. but to LIVE IT and KNOW.

and to "press on" is to pursue it, to chase after this experienced knowledge. TO RUN AFTER these experiences that cause me to KNOW that He is loving and He is good when all the things happening are contradictory to those conclusions. what?!?!? chase after THOSE experiences? for me it is more like drag myself reluctantly (is there a hebrew word for "drag yourself reluctantly"? it would be really handy for situations that i find myself in...)

a harvest is appointed for those who press on... 

learned best...

The truths that I know best I have learned on my knees. I never know a thing well, till it is burned into my heart by prayer. {john bunyan}
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The words most often used to describe urgent, prayerful labor are wrestle, plead, cry, and hunger.  In some sense, prayer may be the hardest work we ever will engage in, and perhaps it should be.  {patricia holland}

i love the hebrew meaning of the word "wrestle". it means to hold fast in an embrace and to get dusty. there is nowhere closer to the breath of God than when we wrestle with Him in prayer. we get the dust of our humanity all over us. and at the same time God takes on that filth and dust upon Himself. once again. because He loves a wrestler. He blesses wrestlers who do not let go until they are blessed. and dusty.

may i be one who wasn't afraid to wrestle well. dirt and skinned knees. they are always worth the breath of God so close to my embrace. wrestling means that i am hanging on to the only hope that we have this side of Heaven. a God who isn't afraid to take on the dust of humanity. because He knows that dust so well...

psalm 103:13-17 As a father has compassion on his children,

    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him;

for He knows how we are formed,

    He remembers that we are dust...

But from everlasting to everlasting

    the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him,

    and His righteousness with their children’s children...

the lifter of my head...

if you have received the marshall Christmas card you may have read that my word for this upcoming year is LIFT. if you haven't received the card... hold on. it may be coming (if you aren't on the list then it will be coming to the very blog soon.)

i loved the one verse in psalms about LIFT but didn't include it in my card because it is not from the hebrew word "nasa'" and i only used verses with that specific word for LIFT in them. but this is a good one...

psalm 3: 1-6

Lord, how many are my foes!

    How many rise up against me!

Many are saying of me,

    “God will not deliver him.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,

    my glory,

the One who lifts my head high.

I call out to the Lord,

    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;

    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands

    assail me on every side.

the word LIFT in that psalm is the hebrew word "ruwm" to exalt, to raise up (as in growing up children), to set on high, make lofty. 

i love this idea of God lifting my head. not me being prideful but in my worst moments, my war moments, Him gently lifting my head and telling me that He esteems me. that He sees His Beloved Son when He looks at me.

i read this blog post from carlos whittaker yesterday and it blew me away...

it is entitled "ever wonder what God's face looks like?"

he uses this photo taken at the paralympic races of a blind runner, terezinha guilhermina and her guide, guilherme soares de santana crossing the finish line. the guide knows that his runner is about to take the gold medal in a world record time. and look at his face. she has no idea that she is about to win and break a world record...

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this is some of what carlos wrote...

Sometimes we have no idea.
We follow the direction the Lord sets us on and run.
We run hard.
We run.
We have no idea whether or not we are even close to victory.
But the image above tells us so much about our walk with the Lord...

The look on the Lords face if you have followed His lead well and are running hard is probably exactly this.
He is overjoyed with the victory that is coming your way.
We are blind to so much of His plan.
But He promises us victory if we just trust Him and run hard.

He is overjoyed Ragamuffins.
Run Hard.

Run Hard.

run hard. He will lift your head. He will say "well done. well run." one day we will stand arm in arm at the finish line together. He will have lead me all the way. He will have LIFTed my head when i couldn't look up. He will have won every victory for me. answered every promise Yes in Christ Jesus. i just couldn't see it all until that moment. then i will see face to face... and i really hope that He has a look similar to that on His face. because it will make me laugh. a joyful Godly laugh...

2 timothy 4: 7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

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slightly obsessed...

i may be slightly obsessed with my new find in tallahassee...

the lichgate tree.

Transient

maybe only because i have lived here almost all of my life and i never knew this little gem existed.

maybe because it is absolutely breathtaking to walk on a little path and come out into a clearing and see this tree that was a sapling when shakespeare was penning his plays and poetry.

here is a little write up about the tree and the property...

Tucked away on three acres off High Road in the state’s capitol city is a fascinating property hidden from all traffic. A visitor walks down a wooded path and is greeted by a majestic live oak tree shading a soft lawn. This tree, a sapling in the time of Shakespeare, keeps company with something not seen in Florida, an English Tudor-style cottage, a cottage that looks as if it comes from the pages of a child’s book of fairy tales, with a steeply gabled roof, diamond-pattern leaded glass windows and stone foundation. 

This is Lichgate.

Lichgate is the creation of a Tallahassee philanthropist, Dr. Laura Pauline Jepsen, a longtime professor of English at nearby Florida State University. Dr. Jepsen helped establish important groups in Tallahassee dedicated to preservation, education and the community welfare.

She envisioned and built an enchanting cottage and named it Lichgate to echo the idea of gates in a Medieval English church, gates that separated the world of the living from the world of the dead.

...But even more curious was the Lichgate, which eventually appeared at the entrance – the origin of the term – “Lich,” to a Scotsman and later to the Englishman is a corpse.

A Lichgate is the passageway between the church and the burial ground. 

i have already "dropped by" there twice in the last week. and may have to take a picnic lunch out to eat under the tree one day soon when the weather is particularly lovely. i have prayers that i want to pray under that tree...

not because i think that tree has any magical power. not because i think God is any more there in that tree than anywhere else but because that tree reminds me of things about God.

that He endures. that He is magnificent. that He thought up something like this tree. and He hid in in the same town as me until last week. because i didn't need to know about the tree until now.

because i need to remember my life like that tree has to have one focus. in a wide circle under that tree is nothing but grass. no other trees can compete with it. its massive root structure needs the soil for its own growth. needs the space. needs the sunlight. no other trees. no competition can stand against it. or it wouldn't have been so magnificent. so all encompassing. 

i also love the name... a place where the dead and the living are separated. 

isaiah 61 :4

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

    a planting of the Lord

    for the display of his splendor.

the word "oaks" in that verse is the word "lya" in the hebrew. it means "mighty" or "oak" or "door post". something strong that is unmovable... but the word origin is from "lwa" from an unused root meaning to twist, i.e. (by implication) be strong. it is also the word used for "ram" as in "sacrificial ram". 

only when something has endured some twisting. some wind. some rainstorms. can it be strong. can it be a mighty oak. can it be a door post holding open a doorway that keeps death on one side. and life on the other. a sacrifice has to be made. a sacrifice was made. 

like i said... "i may be slightly obsessed..."

streams in the desert...

God is never in a hurry but spends years with those He expects to greatly use. He never thinks the days of preparation too long or too dull.

The hardest ingredient in suffering is often time. A short, sharp pang is easily borne, but when a sorrow drags its weary way through long, monotonous years, and day after day returns with the same dull routine of hopeless agony, the heart loses its strength, and without the grace of God, is sure to sink into the very sullenness of despair. Joseph's was a long trial, and God often has to burn His lessons into the depths of our being by the fires of protracted pain. "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver," but He knows how long, and like a true goldsmith He stops the fires the moment He sees His image in the glowing metal. We may not see now the outcome of the beautiful plan which God is hiding in the shadow of His hand; it yet may be long concealed; but faith may be sure that He is sitting on the throne, calmly waiting the hour when, with adoring rapture, we shall say, "All things have worked together for good." Like Joseph, let us be more careful to learn all the lessons in the school of sorrow than we are anxious for the hour of deliverance. There is a "need-be" for every lesson, and when we are ready, our deliverance will surely come, and we shall find that we could not have stood in our place of higher service without the very things that were taught us in the ordeal. God is educating us for the future, for higher service and nobler blessings; and if we have the qualities that fit us for a throne, nothing can keep us from it when God's time has come. Don't steal tomorrow out of God's hands. Give God time to speak to you and reveal His will. He is never too late; learn to wait.  

"He never comes too late; He knoweth what is best;

Vex not thyself in vain; until He cometh--REST."

streams in the desert for august 30th "God's timing", l.b. cowman

my streams in the desert reading portion for today reminded me of a verse from my wednesday night "young adult" Bible study. where i am the oldest person in the room. and i have to leave early because youth activities finish up and no one else has a youth. or any kids. sigh. remember those days?

 we are going through the o.t. prophets and this week was habakkuk. i loved this verse from habakkuk 2. where God is plainly telling habakkuk that what He has promised to do is not going to come early. in fact it will linger (wasn't that my word of the year a few years ago? God is SOOOOOO hilarious) but that it will NOT delay. it will be right on time. His time. not our time.

habakkuk 2:3b

Though it linger, wait for it;

    it will certainly come

    and will not delay.

in the king jimmy verses "linger" and "delay" are both the english word "tarry" but that is a bit misleading because they are totally different words in hebrew. one means tarry and the second one means that it will not "be deferred, kept back, stay away or hindered."

i love streams in the desert. now. but i didn't always. i tried to read it after college as a daily devotional (when i was really a young adult.) and i didn't "get it." so full of suffering. WHAT DO THEY MEAN WAIT ON GOD? wait for what? this is such a downer...

i understand it more now. i could have written some of the entries. they are underlined. prayer over. tear stained. met with a nodding of my head and a loud AMEN.

to everything there is a season... a time for when you don't even know what a desert is and a time you are looking for any streams in the desert.