What I want for Mother’s Day

This time of the year Mother’s Day greetings begin to fill the pages of social media. So much so that I think it becomes cliche and people start to ignore the messages -taking away from the special day set apart to honor mothers.

I also see many “what I want for Mother’s Day” posts from moms. I have never written any such post because honestly, I don’t need or want anything. Although truth be told it is often around this time of the year when I might buy a new blouse or book for myself because the rest of the year I rarely ever buy anything personal. I don’t include yarn in that because all the yarn I buy is used to make things for others.

But I digress.

So this year I have already seen several “what I want for Mother’s Day” posts and I guess that got me to thinking….If I could have anything, what would it be?

I didn’t really have to think very long or hard about the answer because what I “want” is something that is most always at the top of my prayer list.

I just want my children and their families (spouses and children) to have a life-giving relationship with the Lord. I want them to know Him….really truly know Him.

I want them to wake in the morning and give thanks for a restful night’s sleep and the opportunity to serve Him another day on this planet.

Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

I know that they are “believers” and I have seen all of them come a long way in their “walk” with the Lord, for this I am truly thankful because I know that there is nothing, not education, not financial security-nothing on this earth that is important save for a relationship with the one true and eternal GOD.

My prayer is that they be brought into a deep, soul changing relationship with Him-one that dives deep!

 Mark 8:36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

When I look into the depth of my “mother-heart” this is really what I want. To know that they love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their mind.

When Yeshua (Jesus) was asked what the greatest commandment was He answered:

Matthew 22:37–Yeshua said to him, “You shall love THE LORD JEHOVAH your God from all your heart and from all your soul and from all your power and from all your mind.

(Aramaic Bible in plain English)

Why is this what I want? Because-I know that if they have this, a true relationship with our creator then they will have eternal life. Then they will be with Him forever after we leave this earth. They will not suffer the fate of being cast into outer darkness for all eternity. Something I think  is not addressed enough. Sin has consequences and the Bible clearly tells us that the consequences are death-not just death here on earth but eternal death in outer darkness.

But not just that-I know that if they have a relationship with Him here-then all their days on earth will be blessed. They may not have all their problems solved or have a huge bank account but they will be led by His spirit and make wise decisions for their lives and they will have peace. They won’t be shaken by the storms of life because they will have shelter in the robes of the Most High. They will gain endurance for the “race”. The Lord will strengthen them, support them, encourage them and guide them.

Praise the Lord I have already seen the fruits of this in their lives.

So-this is “what I want for Mother’s Day” and what I have wanted for a while now and has been the direction and focus of my prayers for years. Praise the Lord I see His hand upon my family. This gives me the courage and endurance to continue to lift them all up in constant, never ceasing prayer.

Just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians…..

Ephesians 3:14-21

“for this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

and also in Colossians…

“walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power . . . for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:10-12).

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there….may our Lord fill you with the richness of His great Shalom…

PS-of course this isn’t limited to just my children and their families…

A Face that Radiates the Holy Spirit

Note: I renamed this post

There were a few times when I wanted to post something on this blog but I didn’t feel that it was something the Holy Spirit wanted me to post. So I waited and this morning I was led to write.

Over the past thirty or so years that I’ve been a Christian I have gone through many stages. I believe it’s like that for most everyone.

Many years ago I attended a small church on the island of Saipan. There was an elderly woman who attended that church and I’ve never been able to forget her. Small in stature, she had beautiful long grey hair that she kept up in a little granny bun. She never wore make-up and usually always wore a long island print dress or skirt. She dressed simply and beautifully but the reason I shall never forget her was because of her face. She glowed with a seemingly supernatural peace. You could see the Holy Spirit radiating from her. I have from time to time encountered elderly like her but she was truly glowing with the spirit like I have never seen before.

Her face was so beautifully at peace and the first time I saw her I thought-I want to be like that when I am old. I want to have walked with the Lord for so long that the Spirit of God shines out through my very pores.

I have thought about her many times. Scripture says that the Lord knows all our thoughts so I know that He knew what I was thinking. He began to speak to me about how it is that one ends up in their old age with a “face that radiates the Holy Spirit”.

Exodus 34:29 ” When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.”

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord. Spending time in the Lord’s presence is the way we will end up radiating His spirit. There is no other way.

And let me just say- this isn’t about physical looks….hopefully you understand that.

I began to understand that the only way we would be transformed would be to seek His presence continually and constantly.

I began to understand that the true life of a Christian is a life of prayer. Not hurried prayer said halfheartedly before a meal or when you are dead tired at the end of the day.

I’m talking about real, gut wrenching prayer.

It took me years to be led into a life of real prayer but once I got to the point…it was life changing.

I now understand the term -pray without ceasing because I do. This life of prayer I have been led into consumes me. I have many days when I pray almost all day long. I pray while I’m doing my chores, cooking, walking to the store..sitting on a bus or a train. I pray in the bath tub,while I am working on a crochet project, while I’m in my garden…I pray out loud and I pray in the spirit. I am constantly in prayer. Prayer over my family, over friends, over the lost …prayer over everything.

I am obsessed with prayer, I feel such an urgency to pray for those who don’t know the Lord. I am fully aware that I will stand in front of the King of Kings one day soon and have to give an account for how I spent my time. Whether or not I told the lost about Him…whether or not I prayed for the lost.

There are so many lost in my circle of influence and I agonize over thoughts of them being cast into outer darkness…

This is the way…the way to radiating the Holy Spirit. It comes through gut wrenching prayer. It comes through spending hours in His presence listening to Him, being directed by His Holy Spirit and doing, putting into action what He has laid upon your heart.

I have a ways to go but He is leading….and I know His voice and I follow Him.

Tick-Tock….

On our bedroom wall hangs an old clock. It was here in the house when we moved in and being the minimalists we are and because it still worked- we kept it. I think it’s 1970’s era.

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The second hand is loud. When I’m laying in bed at night in the dark the sound of it fills the room. You can’t help but hear it. I often wonder how loud it really is because I have about a 25% hearing loss in both ears. It must be really loud to normal ears.

Sometimes when I can’t sleep I lay there staring out into the blackness listening to the clock tick off the seconds. Sometimes I count the seconds-one minute, two..three…..

The clock speaks to me sometimes. I know that sounds ludicrous, but it does. It tells me that the ticks I hear are little pieces of my life that have passed, never to be seen again. Ticking off the seconds, minutes, hours of my life. A kind of count-down I guess.

The home we occupy once belonged to my sister-in-laws parents. The clock belonged to her mother who lived here alone for many years before she died. I have wondered if she ever lay in bed, staring out into the darkness listening to the clock ticking down the seconds of her life?

And to think-time was created for us. After we leave this earth we won’t need it anymore.

Thirteen days ago we started counting the Omer. Another cycle on the Biblical calendar. Until I really started studying the Biblical feasts years ago I never really realized how right and correct it is to observe them. They are part of the creation of “time” that was created for us.

You see-without them-time just passes. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Before I began actually observing the Biblical Feast days time just sort of passed. Sure there were the human instituted days of Easter, Christmas etc…but they were filled with so much commercialism and such that it was hard to really hold fast to any spiritual significance.

My life changed when I began observing the Biblical Feast days. It changed radically. By observing this continual cycle that was created  for us, time –my time and the passage of my “time” holds a constant air of excitement, of learning, of feeling a tangible part of this created Holy thing called” time”. I have realized that Observing the Biblical Feast days holds my “time” continually before the L-RD. It keeps me anchored and it’s hard to describe but, it helps me to feel and live and be continually surrounded by the “cloud of the L-RD”.

I know that will make zero sense to people who do not keep the feast days.

Once I learned and realized that the feast days, which flow continuously in a circle throughout the seasons, are shadows of the first and second comings of Yeshua (Jesus) – I didn’t want to go back to the way it was before. The way I lived before. There is SO MUCH packed into each feast day that it is absolutely mind blowing.

We started counting the Omer the day after Passover, on First Fruits. We count the Omer all the way until Shavuot (Pentecost). It was during this time that Yeshua was seen on earth after his resurrection. It is actually fascinating to study because there are prophetic implications to it. Actually -in all the feasts.

The Biblical Feast Days are kind of like my old retro wall clock. They tick off the seconds, minutes, hours, years in a continuous circle. They tell me of the great plan of salvation since the beginning of time. They also speak to me of the return of our KING and the world to come.

When I look out into the world…I see perhaps the world to come isn’t so far off.

Leviticus 23

Feasts of the Lord

23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.

Psalm 39:4-5

“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Another excellent post on a friend’s blog about the same topic.

Sharing…

Sometimes I come across pastors, teachers, speakers that I really think need to be shared. I listen to Francis Chan often. His powerful and gut-wrenching honesty is so refreshing and so necessary in today’s world.

Here is one of his videos- Worth listening to…

Purposely Cultivating Peace-guard your mind.

Hubby woke me at around 7:10am. I usually don’t need a jostle to get out of bed in the morning but today I did.

I literally stumbled into the kitchen and stood there for a moment, face twisted into a grimace trying to figure out what I needed to do first. My head was totally fogged. Not a good way to be when you have to go from sleep to 90 miles per hour cooking breakfast and bento. Anyone that has seen the breakfast and bento I whip up for hubby knows what I am talking about. I am usually doing at least 5-6 things at once…juggling between the fish that’s grilling to the omelet that’s cooking to chopping veggies, washing the tea pot and filling it….and it continues like this for about an hour and a half. Nonstop action with my bedhead and unwashed face.

Yesterday morning I was just lost – standing there. I felt this volcano of emotion rising. I quickly grabbed my coffee cup, sloshed some coffee into it and gulped it down. That helped-a little for the moment.

I hadn’t been feeling well the day before-terrible headache and totally fatigued. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep.

So I stood there in the kitchen with over an hour’s worth of cooking ahead of me which is really more like a fine tuned dance that I do juggling several things at once. It takes organization and clearheaded precision to pull it off. I was about as far from being clearheaded as  could be. Why? At that moment I didn’t know. I just knew that I felt terrible. Tears started to well up and I could feel this choking emotion rising.

Music-I needed music…that helps. I grabbed my ipad and put on some calming classical music and then started the kitchen dance.

The music helped me to get through the cooking and cleaning chores. An hour and forty-five minutes later hubby was out the door and I was alone to sort through my feelings. What on earth was wrong with me?

I looked outside and saw that a brilliant day was opening . The skies were blue and the sun was just lovely. We have had so much rain! It was such a welcome relief to see the sun! I had to get outside. I hurried through my chores, got dressed and hit the road. The only thing I took along were some coins for the vendo machine and my camera. What an absolutely lovely day it was! As soon as I hit the road I felt better.

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At first I just walked and reveled in the glorious sunshine, the bright green of the forested mountains. Blossoms and blooms were everywhere. Spring in the Japanese countryside is like none other.

The rice fields were a sea of pink clover. Clover is planted to add nutrients to the soil and then tilled under as the fields are readied for rice planting.

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As the road began to wander into the hills I began to talk to Abba. I needed to know what the reason was for the turbulence inside of my heart. I began to pray and began to search my heart. I think when I combine the two-prayer and searching -the Holy Spirit illuminates the dark corners and uncovers things that I may not have seen.

As I walked and prayed I noticed that there began an internal war inside of my mind. I noticed it because the Holy Spirit made me aware of it. Suddenly negative thoughts would enter…they were in the form of memories from-and I’m being honest here-social media! Recently so many negative things have been coming at me through social media and I had not realized how these things were affecting my mind. It was very interesting to “watch”. The negative thoughts would enter, I would be alerted to them and then I heard the Holy spirit speaking…saying …”LOOK”…and I would turn my head and see ……….

beauty! This is actually what I saw the first time He said..”LOOK”! I saw wisteria in bloom, draping down over the trellis at the old playground. I literally gasped when I saw it because I love wisteria and I’ve been waiting to see this year’s blooms.

The creation speaks to me of the L-rd’s majesty, power and wisdom. I don’t just see flowers-I see a Holy G-D and His handiwork.

Just look at some of what he spoke to me on my walk!

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He spoke to me through little cottage gardens planted on a hillside.

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He spoke to me through delicate wildflowers standing tall on the roadside.

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He spoke through an old woman’s flower garden. I heard Him everywhere.

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The Holy Spirit walked with me and urged me to see the beauty around me. And I did. I drank it all in. I breathed it in. I delighted in the butterflies…the dozens and dozens of butterflies dancing over the clover fields. The big chubby bumble-bees as they lumbered lazily from flower to flower in the warm sun.

As I got near the foot of the mountain I heard Him in the babbling waters of the stream that rushed down from the mountain.

He kept saying…LOOK! Look at ME!! Not at the world!

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And….I understood. I understood what it was that was causing my mind to be so troubled. I had not been guarding what went into it.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart diligently, for from it flow the springs of life.

There is a lot of wisdom to this. We used to have a saying…garbage in garbage out. The things we allow into our minds affect us.

I had my answer-the reason why I was feeling so turbulent inside. What a relief. What a blessing to know the one and eternal G-D. The one who has the answers to life’s problems.

This may seem like a small issue to some but it isn’t really . If we do not guard what goes into our hearts and minds it will affect us mentally and from there on it is a downward spiral.

I thanked Abba for His wisdom and I made some changes in my life in regards to social media. What a wonderful G-D we have.

With the world so lost in their devices -connected to every sort of social media available…many have been disconnected from G-D. Time is frittered away on timelines and twitter….a continual feeding of mostly useless information.

It is time to scale way back. It is time to reevaluate. It is time to listen to Him…look at HIM…and away from all that distracts our minds from seeking and finding the narrow way.

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Matthew 7:13-14

13Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.

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Friendship

Last month was my 6 year anniversary in Japan. I look back on those 6 years with amazement-they were packed full of every imaginable experience.

These past six years have been a deepening of my faith and of learning to let go-really let go. I have learned to let go of worry more than I ever thought I could have. That was a biggie for me.  I’ve also learned to let go of my “ego”. Living in a foreign country is a pretty humbling experience. When you are bumbling around trying to communicate with “baby talk” and sign language at age 50 plus-it’s pretty humbling. You have to constantly ask for help because you can’t really read things…you don’t really, fully understand what people are saying. Pretending you do, gets you only so far. So many things you don’t know. So many things to learn. Even seemingly simple things like how to ride a train or a bus even! Would you believe I’d never ridden a city bus until I moved here much less a train!

Humbling indeed.

I can honestly say that it was because of these and so many more obstacles and challenges, difficulties and heartaches that I clung to and cultivated my relationship with God. My relationship with him has become my stabilizer. Without it-I do not function well for very long. It’s the life force that keeps me balanced, strong, calm.

It is the source of my wisdom, discernment and motivation.

Really.

This is something that has been wrought in me over these past six years. God had to corner me and get me alone to work these things in me.  I thought I was “there” before…I was wrong.

So-throughout these six years, while I was being “reworked”, I was praying for a friend.

Not that I don’t have friends here-I have many!

My prayer was for a friend that lived close enough to me that we could actually visit each other. Someone who shared the same spiritual values.

Living in the countryside of Japan-that was a tall order.

After six years this prayer has been answered. This past week I was able to meet my new friend face to face and what a wonderful day it was!

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Our first get-together was more than I had ever hoped that it would be. When I imagined having a friend I would think about having tea or coffee and chatting but this was so perfect! I made us a lovely lunch and we ate in the engawa.

It just so happened to be the nicest day that we have had in weeks!

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After lunch we sat in the garden and had coffee and matzah. We shared communion and prayer. We talked and enjoyed the beauty of the garden and the sakura petals as the breeze blew them gently down over us! Butterflies floated over the spring garden and little buzzing bees darted from flower to flower. The sun shone so wonderfully bright!

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And I just knew that the timing of it all was perfect. Before we knew it the taxi driver was calling and it was time for her to go.

I’m thankful. Thankful that I let the Lord choose this friend for me. Sometimes it isn’t easy to just sit patiently and wait for the answer but it is always worth it.

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

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