“The biggest closet is the church “the old woman told the child. “But we cant go there Grammy ,the doors are locked” the child told the old woman. “I will take you to a secret one “the old woman whispered as they walked down the sidewalk.
Today side by side they walk towards a chapel. It is a very strange day in history when all the churches are closed like vaults because of a virus. Still, the old woman took the child in hope ..in Hope the child might know God.
Fifty years earlier, I was child. I rode my bike many places. It was long before it became common for men and women to abduct and abuse, before it became dangerous to ride without helmets and phones, before bikes had many styles and gears. It was in the days when a red Schwinn bike could take you to the biggest prayer closet in town. And so it took me one day, my first day of worship in a church.
I was very thirsty on my ride and found the park waterfountain out of water . So I thought if the church was open they may have water. I pulled the door open. It was like Alice opening into a wonderland. Suddenly I realized I also might find out about a question I asked my mother the night before. “Who is God?”
A friend , Susan McGahee , talked every day about “God” as if he was someone in her family . She would often introduce me to “God” by referring to him often and saying I needed to meet Him. But everytime I would say ” God” , it felt awkward. I was certain it sounded to her I might not like him. I was somewhat suspicious since my father had told me to not trust people that talked about “God”. And I just wanted to know it wasnt someone she made up in her imagination. Fifty years ago every child had a great imagination. There was no doubt that she or anyone else could have made up a character called “God”.
When I entered that first church, I didnt plan to ask bout “God” but, something about this big closet demanded a either a request or a greeting. For those who knew “God” they might greet him. But I did not know Him so when I saw a box with a labeled “prayer requests” I wrote my request. I had just had the word request in my vocabulary list and knew its definition.
Though I was 10 years old , I felt as big and bold as an adult in a prayer closet . I wrote”Hi Mr. God who are you? Let me know you like my friend Susan” I folded it tightly in a square , slurped from the fountain beside the wooden box , left singing the chorus of a song my mother played “I really wanna know you” from “my sweet lord” by Beatles member George Harrison. This was my first encounter with church and this was my first entrance antiphon.
Entrance antiphons start the mass with an expectancy. An expectancy that we will meet God and he will meet us in our minds and hearts. As the leader anounces “the enterance antiphon”, folks rise, even since the beginning of Christianity, to say a text or verse of the psalm . It’s friends, brothers and sisters , in unison, greeting and asking of God.
Even folks that are not catholic enter their prayer closets with such intention. They want to meet with God. It is the knock on the door of heaven when we say from our hearts “show me your ways oh God” . The enterance antiphon has been the created way of the church since its inception. Not because of mans intent, does the antiphon enter our worship, but because of God’s intent in us. God creates us requesting of Him to show Himself and Him desiring to fulfill our requests by showing Himself to us.
It was for 48 more years that I entered the empty open churches with my own enterance antiphon. Most all my requests were desperate pleas and most all were childlike . And everyone of them , every enterance antiphon ,placed as a prayer request , was answered by the one I first called “Mr God.”
I write this now outside such a church . I write this outside the biggest prayer closet of all… the Catholic Church. I write this now as I watch the old woman and little girl sanitize their hands before going into a chapel, a closet that is always open.A closet that is always open when everywhere is closed. I write this now knowing that forever little girls can ask “Mr God who are you?” and get an answer.
Entrance antiphons were first solidified as part of the mass by Pope Celestine 1 432 . In early time, lines from the psalms of David were to be sung. Presently , mostly psalms are used but, other scriptures from the old testament and sometimes new, are used. It is usually a short sentence that reflects the core message of the mass for the day. For me it sounds as if it is a souls summary of the Lords intentions for the day… but that is only my interpretation. I am after all a closet catholic.
https://youtu.be/8qJTJNfzvr8My Sweet Lord was a song by George Harrison that tried to incorporate Christianity into all religions. A postmodern song with the intent to bring peace among all religions with a sweet chorus ” I really want to know you” that God did indeed use for me. But Jesus would return with His antiphon… no , “I did not come to bring peace but a sword ” “I am the way the truth and the life, no man can come to the father but through me” Matthew 10:34,John 14:6
Come out of that closet child? lets go somewhere” I would coaxed my daughter out of her bedroom closet on many afternoons. Tenderly, I will always remember the face of her reluctant obedience. Wide eyed and startled, she would leave behind her beautiful world to go for a walk in a park. As we walked, she would slowly awaken out of her imaginary world. Her blue eyes would narrow in the presence of reality . But all that went on in the closet was just as real. Slowly she would tell me of what she saw in the closet. Every conflict was resolved in her closet. And everything good was preserved.
I had other children. I would say to them in a scolding tone, “its time to come out of the closet!” Their shamed faces, I remember ,were pale with reluctance as they were leaving behind an addictive world. It was the only place they knew that they would not feel the pain of this world. Without a word , their pained faces confessed they saw shackles in their freedom and yet knew only freedom in these shackles. Their closet was a world where conflict is resolved with the anesthesia of images or substances
Since creation , Everyday , children all over the world ,are coming in and out of these closets. All of them escaping to make sense of chaos or kill the pain of its effects. We are all children in a garden . And we all have a parent pleading to us “come out of the closet’
Big grown kids nowadays are isolated in their houses. Some are surely hiding shackled in futility and shame . And yet many seem to speak how they hunker down in another kind of closet. The biggest and bravest kids I know still talk about going to a place called their “prayer closet. ” These cloistered closets may be as big as a bedroom or as small as a backpack. Even as flimsy as the hem of Suzanne Wesley’s apron who buried her head in prayer amid 11 children. It is a hiding place for the child of God to enter the beautiful world that has no pain and never dies.
I suppose it was not so different than the duplicitous closets the first children. Adam and Eve lived in. While in their innocent prayer closet, the garden something greater than the present was felt. Eternity unfolded in them as they walked with their Father. Here all was more than they could ask or imagine . But then , temptation birthed sin.In the closet of the garden , they reached for the forbidden. And when the father said come out of the closet. in their shame were hiding in the same closet with their imaginations were pained and their minds became paranoid .
Since then, whole of mankind groans in closets. While some are in prayer closets, others are in addictive closets trying to kill the shame. Instead of hiding in garments of beauty and truth they are hiding in drink or food or images. And what can change these closests ? No paint or remodeling but a full demolition . The closet must be built by desire. And desire can only come from the Builder of all things.
Interrupting the duplicity of man’s desires is a man called Jesus. He comes and builds a place for each child to enter. He comes as the “DESIRE of NATIONS” to establish a closet for every child of God. He has come lying himself down as the cornerstone of the closet. He has come to build a secret place in the midst of dying garden. A sweet foretaste of eternal life where we will not run from closet to closet hiding. Rather taking our toys and taste of wrath, he gives a sweet cup of grace . In this cup To give us wide eyes of wonder at His Beauty and Majesty in this earth. And right when our eyes are wide eyed , The Father comes saying , ” child out of this closet into the world …. and tell tell of all you have seen. ”
The following blogs, in the category of “Church Doors” , will journal my hiding in the Catholic closet. I may lose friends, increase enemies . But, I can no longer hide in the closet . For my Father calls “lets go somewhere .
“But you, when you pray, enter into your room, and having shut the door, pray to your Father in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.”
Matthew 6:6 CPDV
I thank my husband George Unglaub, Good Shepherd Church and Blessed Sacrament chapel for every day I have been In Our Father’s Closet.
Will thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O Lord and grant us thy salvation . I will hear what God the Lord will speak for he will speak peace unto his people and to His saints let them not return to folly. KJV
REVIVE US OH LORD!
Seems like folks don’t talk much bout “revival” nowadays. If they do talk about it, it’s an old stale memory . They say “it aint ever gonna happen again like it did” .
But, from these same folks, I’ve heard buckets of rain bout revival . Heard it will change a person in a moment , it’ll flip a whole family, then in days , turn a town upside down. Coming like the worst hurricane, before you can say “whew”, a whole city instantly changes its mind bout God , sin , Jesus and the Devil. Stories like this still spread even now saying that a revival could one day change a nation.
Sometimes I am caught telling people what I read in a book about revival. In Old Testaments and writings of Jews, there are revivals before Jesus came. Many brave men and women were shouting “Repent” from caves and desserts and mountains and palaces. John the Baptist carried on with “repent , the kingdom of heaven is at hand” to announce the Reviver had Come!
Then, there was Peter who repented and revived turning to Jesus and saying “to whom should we go you have the words of eternal life” And there were Awakenings and reformations and revivals after revivals all through time. Even to this very morning when I got out of bed and saw a bird singing in the rain and said “woe is me for I do not sing” and before I knew it , , , I was singing a song. Revivals wake up whats dead in us. Or so , that’s what Ive read and hear folks say.
Every denomination and every nationality has had a revival. . But “maybe you are right” I say.
” Maybe revivals were a long time ago and, like “ice chests” and “wall phones” and outhouses, we just don’t need them anymore. Shucks, we got everything in packages and wired to go. You know there just might be some “revival plan ” app on your phone” I tell folks. But quietly, secretly, I think about them every day.
EVERY REVIVAL IS DIFFERENT
“Well its just too bad you never got to go to a real revival “a brother said to me last Sunday,” you would have liked it”
“well, brother, just thinking bout revival keeps me revived! “I told him as I sat in my “usual seat” in the back of a church.
It had been a long time since I had come to see my brothers and sisters in this church. My friend “Frog” sat in front of me . As I wrote years before, Frog and I are different. And seeing Frog made me feel like I never lost any time at church.
When the preacher said “Don’t be thinkin bout folks around you, just keep your eyes on Jesus” , I had just been looking at Frog . But mostly I was remembering how Frog taught me everything about revival.. . and about keeping my “eyes on Jesus”
One thing everyone says bout “revival” is that each revival is “different” . The Spirit of God makes it so. Each revival happens like a winter storm or a summer rain. It is when something from Heaven drops down on folks : individual drops of the Spirit, like the tounges of fire, and all start speaking different. See revival ,they say, is when Jesus sneaks into a whole lotta hearts at once. Its when we ask for Jesus to come change our hearts and we wait to see what He does with them . Without a doubt, you will know when He comes. You will know because he is escorted by the flame and wind of the Holy Ghost!
When I looked at Frog , I remembered all this. I remembered long ago when revival came to this little church.
REVIVALS AREN’T PLANNED
When the band played the first song I wanted to think about revival . But as much as you can think about it, you can never plan it . It happens anywhere but ,only at certain times ,all for Our Father’s reason. Lots of Folks try to plan it but, it can NEVER be planned . Its a gift. “It can only be prayed for ” Jesus friends say. They say you gotta see Jesus face and be in His heart before you can see revival in any place .
“you just gotta pray real hard for revival” a sister told me. I believed her like I believed Jesus first friends.
So I started praying for revival . I asked in the morning ,in the evening ,and in between . I talked to Our Father bout revival while on toilets, in trucks, in cars, in planes, in houses , in prisons, in hospitals, in gas stations , in kitchens, chapels, bathrooms and especially in the park. I talked to Him everywhere I went, always saying “bring revival”. “we need revival!”
Lots of times I would tell Frog ” Frog you and I gotta pray for revival” . Frog would nod smile and always say “uh huh” but never would he say “Amen”
You know “he’s watching us”. “I mean it Frog you gotta pray a lot if you want revival!. “I would warn
You want revival don’t you? ‘I begged one day when we were bagging groceries. “uh huh” Frog would croak and then walk away waving both hands in the air singing syllables of songs I did not know.
” Im serious he’s watching you frog!!!” I warned back.
Frog walked on down the road to the store and back to playing cards and just maybe sipping beer. I knew that Jesus watched him the whole time.
“he’s waiting for you to pray Frog!” I shouted again after him.
But I wasn’t so sure about that. I knew Jesus was watching Frog play cards. But I wasn’t sure he was watching for him to pray. Maybe he was waiting for me to pray for Frog. And maybe he was just smiling to see if Frog would win or lose at cards before Frog prayed to Him.
One thing I forgot . I forgot Jesus was watching me too.
As day ran into day ,without revival, I grew into what Jesus told me not to grow. I grew ” weary.” I walked around very weary saying “it doesn’t really matter” ” I am so tired of praying. I’m tired of being the “only one praying” for revival.” Soon my heart went from mad to sad. And I then saw a glimpse of Jesus eyes. He was weeping.
I saw he was in weeping over my business and Frogs business. He looked and said to my heart, It is all His Business . . it’s just sometimes. . . lots of times we forget he sees all this business. We forget bout His eyes running to and fro seeing everything. And if we do remember, we want Him to catch sight of all our “good things”. So While Frog was at the store being seen by all drinking beer and playing cards, with the rest, I got busy “doing things for the Lord”.. .. hoping He’d see me.
And the Lord Jesus’s eyes were running to and fro looking for but one. . . .
Behind the heads of all flowers that died and flowers that bloomed . behind all faces with scowls and faces with smiles, Behind hot bright our sunny skies or our cold dark skies , I could see His glance looking . Beneath much and beneath little, He moved His eyes across everything , ever so thinly. as a ray of hope, He would peek at us.. . . Looking for but one to repent and turn to LOVE HIM. (1)(2)(3)
But the Fullness of the Son’s face was not on us.(4) Everything seemed cloudy and dull. I even thought of Frog like a cloud himself. Like some nimbostratus rain cloud , big and dark carrying bad weather. I never knew when Frog would show up. Whether to the park or to church, Frog would disturb the climate when he came . He would either drift slowly in on foot or zoom loudly on his lawn mower.
Everyone would be drop their pencil or bible, look about and whisper to one another. Some folks started to plan to just lock the door so Frog couldn’t come late and disturb them.
Frog on the other hand never acted ashamed of being late. he just looked happy to be there. As dark days came and went , Frog acted more and more like a cloud. keping the same weather pattern , Frog was always Coming late, leaving early. I complained to Our Father.
“He’s like a Cloud He doesn’t think much bout what folks think of him and he never pays much mind to what you have planned. ” I groaned. “What good are clouds anyway I asked. They just come to bring rain like tears. ”
The more I looked at Frog, the more I thought about my own behavior. I found it easy to compare. . . .” Well “i am mostly on time. well I really never leave early if I do its caus I got a real important assignment. well I really never disturb anybody . ” I could see all the things I was doing “right”.
Soon I wanted to do more “things right.” I started thinking bout what I was wearing. how much I gave for my offering, when I would pray, how long I should hug. who I could hug, how many this how much that how long this how far that. . . .
I started thinking about what others thought more and more. And the more I looked at Frog and how Frog was not doing things right, the more I was busy acting “more right”. And the more I worked , the more the tears and rain fell on every page of my diary. There still was no revival.
“Frog you gotta show Daddy you love Him so you gotta show up on time and stay the whole time when you come to the house” I would say to Frog on Sundays .
He would just smile shaking his head at me like I said something all wrong. Then, He would crank up his lawn mower and drive off. .
Frog walked in the next Tuesday right when Pastor was closing in prayer . During prayer , Frog wandered all around the back of the house. He then came to me with money rolled up in a ball. “my oooooofrng” he said to me and then walked out the door.
Saying “it just aint the right time for offering Frog, ” I stuffed it in my bible.
After prayer,I tossed Frogs crumbled offering on Pastors pulpit . “He picked the wrong time for this He is supposed to do this on sunday morning,” I said proudly .Pastor took the offering and unrolled it ” its okay, sis ” .he said. Smoothing out the wrinkled bill he said, ” Hes just Loving Daddy ”
“well Love for Daddy outta be on time ” I thought as I marched away to scribble a complaint in my diary.
REVIVALS TURN TABLES TO MAKE A HOUSE FOR GOD
Pastor let Frog love Daddy in his own time lots of other times .Frog would come in late often bellow and “AAAAAmen ” and then turn right around and leave. His amens were like a burst of thunder in the room. Pastor kept loving Frog in all his disruptions.
He loved him so much that one day when we all dropped our pencils, and bibles and turned in a cold hard stare at Frog getting up and leaving, Pastor kindly spoke across the room to Frog. He said “Frog, you got someplace to go?”. Frog turned around smiled walked back to his seat and sat down. It felt like Frog and Pastor were working together to teach us something .
Seemed like everybody’s mind was going out the door that very minute that Frog got up . And after Pastor spoke it seemed like the Lord was saying to each of us “Children, do you too have someplace else to go”.
But when Frog came back and sat down , an aroma , musty and earthy, entered like mud soaked in fresh rain on the field . We all turned back to our bibles thinking “Lord to whom shall we also go ?You have the words to eternal life. ”
REVIVALS BRING UNITY AND LOVE
But the greatest preaching with Frog and Pastor came late one Tuesday night. It came right when folks were figuring out tithes and talents and tassels and tatooes and tucking in shirts. He came right when some one was asking “exactly how should we hug one another” on a Tuesday night.
Frog came right when the circle was breaking and folks were gathering one another against one another. He came right when every brother and sister was mistaken and murmuring about one another.
There was so much rumbling it felt the coming of a tornadoe in the room. words were stirring almost angry.Frog walked to the front and stood still. He looked sad and dark like a very dark thick cloud . Like a cloud that held a torrent of rain.
Pastor said “well church lets pray . . . are there any other. . not questions . .” he asked hesitantly ” but requests for prayer?”Frog stepped into the middle of the circle, Pastor met him there. We circled around each holding the hand of the other.
“What do you want from God Frog?” Pastor asked
“oooooooooooog” Frog’s word entered the air
“What’s that Frog?” Pastor looked kindly closer to Frog
“ooooooooood” Frog said
“I think he wants God” a brother whispered
“you want God””eaaaaah” Frog said as he nodded and smiled repeating “ooood, ooooood, oooooodd eeesus. . . . eeesus”
Then he said “moooooore oooooood all eesus”
“More God?” Pastor asked
“uh ha uh ha uh ha” Frog said nodding
” Jesus is God ” pastor drew close to Frog putting his arms on his shoulders ” you believe Jesus Frog?”
“uh hu uh hu” Frog replied , his face beginning to speak more than any word spoken.”Then if you have Jesus , You have it all Frog”
“come on church, put your hands on Frog” Pastor said.
Suddenly, Frogs hands lifted and tears fell from his face. Suddenly it looked like streams of water twisting and turning across rich soil. A mist settled on his forehead as Frog replied with clear tounge
Hands that rested on Frog beaded with this baptism .We all felt the love of Jesus come by Frog’s invitation . Then suddenly, Frog flung his arms around Pastor. “I love you” .”I love you too Frog” Pastor said
“oooood is good. Jesus. . .””yes Frog , He is very good” Pastor said as he watched Frog go to the older brother and sister.
The older brother and sister whispered in weeping “all the time, Frog, all the time”
He went from brother to sister with the same love, flinging his long arms around each person, proclaiming the same love with the same fervor one brother and sister at a time. A new baptism of Love splashed from limb to limb.
Messy Sweat and dirty tears taught every soul one Tuesday night. It wasn’t tidy or told, it wasn’t even on time in our minds. It wasn’t a fresh clean rain . But in our hearts ,it was everything Our Father wanted to give. And it was right on time. He sent healing waters through Frog . . . rushing rivers of the two greatest commandments into our body. . . into His Body the Church.
I don’t know much bout revivals or folks that go to them . But I know one thing about revival. It is happens only when Jesus is invited to bring the Love of God by the Power of the Holy Ghost in the room . And I know I have been to a “revival” cause Frog invited him in the room that rainy Tuesday night.
“Stop Looking at your neighbor and look to your Creator” I heard the pastor say . I shook out of my fond remembrance of revival.
Maybe I just might not need to know much more bout revival . The Creator of The Revival has taught me well. For Jesus proved true in all that he said about the two greatest commandments . And if I deny my self and pick up them ,then I think I get revival .
There is no greater law or way or program or duty of man than these which Jesus brings by His Spirit into His church.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it ‘ you shall love your neighbor as yourself” On these two commandments depend all the laws and the prophets.
Revival dear Frog is when these two commands command our Hearts! Yes Yes AMEN and God’s revival is always RIGHT and ON TIME.. . .!
The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. proverbs 15:3
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord and he pondereth all his goings Proverbs 5:21
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. 2 Chronicles 16:9
in times of revival ,we cannot preach of ourselves OR our works. “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord and ourselves as bondservants for Jesus sake. For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST.2 Cor 4:5-6
“The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord.”
Isaiah 38:20 ESV
Oh lalee oh Lalee, oh ukulele
Fear not the moth or rust!
Instead, Sit still in quiet trust.
Oh lalee oh lalee oh ukelalee
Play softly loud your wooden frame.
Tune strings of Grace to Jesus name.
My master and friend once touched my strings
He loved my sound , it made him sing
He kept me , he held me , he let my notes play
Til I was left in a closet when He was taken away
And silence sang this simple song :
Oh lalee oh Lalee, oh ukulele
Fear not the moth or rust
Instead Sit still in quiet trust
Oh lalee oh lalee oh ukelalee
Play softly loud your still wooden frame
Tune strings of Grace to Jesus name.
Sainted in wanting to play the Fathers tune
my Strings vibrated at sunrise but despaired still by noon.
No hand from above or below or between
Would lift this small frame to be heard or be seen
For only dry wood and dust and a small voice would say
Oh Lalee ,oh Lalee, oh ukulele
Fear not the moth or rust
Instead Sit still in quiet trust
Oh lalee oh lalee oh ukelalee
Play softly loud your still wooden frame
Tune strings of Grace to Jesus name.
but Suddenly sound was loud in the dark of night
When the door swung open and my frame felt light
A smaller hand than my masters but still tender and true
Lifted my neck and base past boxes clothes and shoe
She carried me happily as she softly sang
Ah lalee my Lord’s ukulele
I Fear not the moth or rust
Instead We will together play in quiet trust
Oh lalee oh lalee oh ukelalee
Play softly loud your live wooden frame
Lets Tune our strings to The Grace we have in Jesus name.
She then took me to the Father by the Spirits Hand.
And there we found a song in Jesus, not by law or command.
But, where instruments are perfect before His Radiant face.
And girls and ukuleles forever sing of songs only made by grace .
Note : dedicated to Destiny Wade. Destiny took the ukulele of her deceased uncle Geno, shook off the dust of death and despair ,and wrote a song . Her song was based on all she had learned in bible study on Galatians. This way of life is what we are all called to …In this way we are “instrumental “ in His Hand. Jesus has called life and beauty and song out of us ! It is our song back to Him from Him as it comes from Grace ! We are all His instruments ….but as always , though we hear the word , it takes a child to demonstrate truth. Thankyou little sister Destiny… Keep in His Freedom and Grace as you always look to His Face!
many years ago to set me free from addictions and distractions. But now ,He has given me a story to tell that has set me free from a fear filled and cold religion . The devil will always try to use addictions distractions and dry religion to keep us from the freedom and Perfect Love we have in Christ. Certainly we are more than dumb bunnies if we fall for his tactics !instead we must say …
It is written … if the Son set us free, we ARE free indeed.
“Where are your feet?” The sister asked her brother.
“They are … ugh.. stuck ” the boy replied with a grunt. twisting his hips back and forth in the sand. , his feet remained unseen beneath hard packed dirt.
the boy pleaded “ Sister help me. .cant you hear the coyotes howling. We gotta get outa here before dark ! before them dogs get us”
“I hear em, I hear em they are just howling “ the sister calmly replied sitting beside her brother in the dirt.
” great now what ? you want me to sleep in this cold sand and get eaten by dogs ” the boy asked “we’ve got to do something to get me unstuck! ”
“Chill brother “the girl said laying down beside him on top of the sand “ remember Phobia Phobia who became Faith Rabbit. . .”
“yesssss” the boy replied with another grunt and twist..”so what does that have to do with us now !!!”
“ well once the Immortal Invisible one rescued Faith Rabbit from the Cunning One, he lived with the Freedom Family.
“Great … wish I were there” the boy said sarcastically.
The girl continued ” well the family changed his name from “Faith Rabbit” to “Caleb cottontail. ” They called him “Caleb ” because he became just like Joshua’s two friends “Strong “and “Courageous”. And with these friends, Caleb went many places to tell other bunnies how they were set free.
Whereever the Shadow of the Immortal Invisible One was , they traveled . And ,if the shadow was not there , they would just ask their Father and he would the extend the Shadow to many new fields. The Father only would ask that they show White Pure Light everywhere they went. And that was easy because they were all Cotton tails.
So Everywhere Caleb went you could see the light of his tail. It bounced through the field under the shadow of Perfect Love . It bounced and bounced bright and free though many fields .
Caleb’s paws carried pictures, and flowers, and letters, and poems, and stories to tell about how Jesus, the Immortal Invisible One , sets bunnies free. Everything he made told of the story of the day the Perfect one, Jesus, came to destroy the works of the Cunning One, the Devil. He knew that He was created to do this everywhere!
Caleb would bring these and many other things back into the freedom family where other cottontails were freely singing and waving flags to celebrate what The Immortal Invisible One had done for them. It was a beautiful time in the Freedom Family when they lived freely in the open field.
There was no wall or fence, no varmint or rodent, to constrain them under the Shadow of Perfect Love .
And There was no need for the cottontails to fear anything. Fear had left the field. And while coyotes still howled
“and are still howling sister. .” the boy interrupted still twisting in the sand where he had buried himself
Continuing the girls voice thickened
“AND every fox tried to steal grapes…even then , these snarling critters could not come near the bunnies’s camp. They were always at a distance. In fact, many a supper, the cottontails gathered remembering Perfect Love’s last supper with them….and”
The girl lowered her voice ” right then , at these suppers, you could see the eyes of the canines in the field glaring at them . ”
” and their tongues licking their lips to eat them ” the boy said
” Oh yes . . and hear howling and snarling! ” she intensified and then paused
. . . .but listen ,Boy , it was all put to dead silence as the aroma , that sweet sweet smell of the Last Supper filled the air.”
The girl closed her eyes.
“It’s that it ? “The boy asked
“It should be ” the girl replied but…she continued
BUT …one day a Fox. . a real fox came to dinner dressed as a bunny. And this Fox told the cottontails that they needed to do more to keep The Cunning One , the Devil, away.
The fox said that they were not as free as they thought they were. And that the Cunning one could still get them. He told the cottontails that bad weather was coming and that the Cunning one could raise his head again for a final strike.
Not once did the Fox talk about the foot of Jesus on the Cunning One.The Fox only spoke but only about the frightening dangers ahead.
Though The Cunning one in reality remained far in the field where Caleb last saw him . There, immobile, with the foot of the Immortal Invisible one firmly on him , Fear erupted in the field of the Faith Family . Rumors spread.
Many bunnies soon reported that The head had not yet decayed .” In fact it looked as alive as the first day caleb saw it” they would say. And even though It did not move and it had no teeth , bunnies swore that that its eyes followed all rabbits with hatred and accusation. And in truth ,it did do that very thing for those who drew close to it.
Many bunnies were going back into the woods of Doubt and Fear to see the head of the Cunning Evil One. And as often as they went, they looked at his head and not at the foot of Jesus.
Soon, Every bunny who went to the dark woods to look in the Cunning One’s eyes would get hurt. So hurt were so many bunnies that you could hear their screeches in the night.
And not only their screeches, but the Cunning One’s hisses. He would hiss and hiss as they ran back looking for safety.
He would hiss “scared rabbit. . . ha scarred rabbit. . run” Each hiss they heard invited Fear back in the field. And so it spread from bunny to bunny , fear upon fear.
Now Caleb heard all the fearful things that the bunnies were saying about the snake in the field “His head is rising! He will strike again! He is after you! He can take your freedom away! He smells your coming! He hates those with the whitest tail! And you Caleb your tail is tooo white!”
So Caleb became very ashamed and very afraid. Many friends left Caleb to go back to houses of addiction and distraction . ” I too have got to hide .” Caleb thought. So he buried his white tail in the dirty sand.
Caleb was sure he would blend in with other bunnies who dirtied their tails with distraction or addiction . But, it was not always so.
Because whenever Caleb would talk to the Immortal Invisible one, Jesus , he would get joy and bounce. And when Caleb bounced, all the dirt would fly off his tail. It was very hard to keep his tail buried and dark.
Soon , Only a few of Caleb’s friends remained in the field. But even they were not free.
“We are going to protect ourselves “they would say. “See,you stand out Caleb like us . . but we are building a big house where you can come in and be safe“ his friends said “they will be nice strong houses with plenty of room and you will have everything in them that you need. You wont have to go anywhere else Caleb Cottontail, you will be safe with us. So come stay in the house we will build under the Shadow of the Immortal Invisible one”
It all sounded very good to Caleb Cottontail.
“ I think Im going to live with my friends” Caleb told Joshua one day while they fished by the Main River.
“ Well. . .as for me” Joshua replied
“I know… ” caleb wouldn’t let him finish his scriptured sentence .
“I know your Word….but we too can ‘serve the Lord. ‘We must keep people safe from the Cunning One. He cannot get us if we build the right kind of house” Caleb said to Joshua
“ you make sure you stay free” Joshua warned Caleb .
Hearing a coyote in the distance Caleb bounced away” I’m always FREE . . just be sure to . . . tell Strong and Corageous, I will miss them”
“I will and We will pray for you Caleb. “ Joshua shouted back , wiping a tear with his paw.
“ . . . .beware of the foxes”he weakly cried.
The house Caleb entered was big and had a room for everyone in the family.
An official rabbit from another country set up rules and ways because he had built many houses before. It all seemed comfortable. There was time for speaking, time for singing, time for dancing, time for eating, and all things were done together in order .
But as the days passed, more and more order was given, the bunnies stopped talking and thanking together. And the house became both big silent and cold.
Bunnies began to take their food in their own rooms and sing their own songs in their own rooms and dance their own dance in their own rooms . Soon everyone was in their own room and their only company was the mirror on their wall. The bunnies wrote alone to themselves, . . . . everything to themselves. There was nothing to “one another.”
The roof over their heads blocked them from seeing the Shadow of the Immortal Invisible one and they soon did not talk to him either. If anything broke in the house ,instead of asking one another for help, they would send for someone from another house to fix it.
Little by little , foxes moved into the house all dressed as bunnies. They would come promising to fix things but, instead ,they would steal things.
Though contrary to their instinct , the foxes always left the bunnies alive. It seemed that they had no want or craving of the bunnies because the bunnies no longer had the aroma of a bunny. They did not even sound like bunnies. Fear had made them no longer sound or look like what they were created to be.
In this house, Caleb too forgot who he was. And he became very lonely. Especially when winter came. No one invited him to their room and he was too afraid to invite another bunny to his. He was afraid that they may make fun of his tail. He still knew it was white but, like all the other cottontails, He became very self conscious and embarrassed of his white tail.
It soon became soo very cold in the Big House . Day after day ice would gather another layer of ice on Calebs door . Ice upon Ice until Caleb was in a corner and the door iced shut. He couldn’t even get with other bunnies if he wanted too. A cold wall of ice had grown right there in Calebs room!.
Cornered again , Caleb felt full Fear come over his whole body. He shivered and cried so much that the tears gathered as icicles on his pure white fur , all the way down to his tail.
In a few months …maybe days…possibly years, he found he was frozen against a wall. Time seemed frozen as His cottontail stuck in the ice.
But this was not so for Joshua. Joshua and his house stayed in an open field. They continued to eat together and thank the immortal Invisible one with great fearless joy. No matter what the weather. No matter how many foxes or coyotes gathered. The sound of their joy and the aroma of their faith kept the foxes and coyotes far away.
And , as for the Cunning One , his voice was so distant and small , they would sometimes gather and laugh saying, “is this the one who scared the nations?.” .
But quietly, When they would laugh , Joshua would ponder and sometimes weep . .”is this the one that scared our brethren into that cold dark house? ”
Joshua thought a lot about Caleb. He thought and talked to Jesus, the Immortal Invisible one every day about Caleb. And often times when he was fishing , he thought about the last day that Joshua fished with him . With every thought and prayer , he wept.
Joshua wept many tears into a river. It was the big broad river that flows from the Home of the Immortal Invisible One. Joshua’s Tears gathered everyday until one night.
One night they met up with Caleb.
One night, Caleb was pulling against the icy wall with all his strength. Tearing hair and skin , he pulled and pulled. but the more he pulled , the more ice would fall from the wall crushing his every effort to be free. His feet became raw cold immovable. His lips were raw, his throat parched. He remembered to pray but he could not .
His lips were frozen shut. “now now when I remember to pray, I cannot, I cannot loose my lips to call for help.” he thought then moaned . . .ohhh… a… ba….. a …. Ba.
Two syllables came from his stomach like a belch out his throat. His lips tore apart , blood dripped from his lip onto the ice. .”Abba Abba” he cried patting his lips together to stop the bleeding.
But ,The few drops of warm red blood dripped on the door frame where Caleb stood.
The building slightly shook. A small crack formed. Soon, Water came trickling through the crack . Soon the ice all around the door was melting. Caleb continued crying but his tears were now warm and flowing.
He cried and cried with joy as he could faintly hear birds singing, bunnies bouncing, trains passing and far off….. far off in the distance, his dear friend Joshua praying.
Caleb’s weeping face slipped fully free from the melting ice and bent to the ground of the trickling water.
The small drop of blood disappeared in the flow . Caleb touched his lips with the water . . . “give me drink “ he said . . . . sipping and sipping as the ice fell all around his room . A large chunk fell from the door and the sun came into the dark house.
The warmth began to melt the ice around his cottontail
. No longer afraid of Coyotes, or Foxes or the Cunning one. No longer cold. No longer without speech. Caleb soon bounced Free.
It took a long time for the ice to melt the rest of the house.
Many bunnies thought something was broken and they would call on Foxes to fix it. No matter how many times Caleb sent letters to tell them that Perfect Love would melt the ice in the house so they could be free they would not believe him. And no matter how many times Joshua would tell them that the Cunning one was defeated they still stayed in fear in the cold house.
But Caleb was free. He was free on the day the River of Life came His way. And it just might have been because he had a brother who prayed.
“So give me your hand . Let’s go from here.” The girl reached her hand to her brother and he stood.
“How did that happen? . “The boy stood up amazed.
“Because Perfect Love Casts out all Fear and without Fear we are FREE!!”the big sister replied.
“now shake the sand off your feet and lets go” she commanded
“Okie sis and Im shaking a tail all the way “ the boy chuckled.
“That’s right boy and don’t let no foxy bunny tell you it aint white as snow!!!”
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
HERE … having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which is contrary to us. He has NOW taken out of the way (EVERY SIN) having nailed it to the CROSS..so far be it from me to boast except in the CROSS of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Colossians 2:15 Galatians 6:14
I praise magnify and adore the LORD with other brothers and sisters in a small storefront building . The building sits in a small Florida town . It faces south to a railroad track and west to a park. The park surrounds a small pond . In the park ,a statute of Ray Charles sits immovable like a royal guard . Day and night brother Ray is poised playing a piano . Ready to strike notes we never ever hear . His head is tilted slightly upward as a reminder that something blind ,weak, and insignificant became insightful and strong right here in Greenville Florida.
“That’s not really Ray Charles ” we teach the young ones . “it’s just a thing to remind us about him” we say.
But ,Ray Charles is not the only great story from Greenville. There are volumes of stories flowing from this town about God and Jesus and all the Holy Ghost’s battles in this town. If there were a statue for every story in Greenville from every spiritual battle and every valiant warrior, we could rebuild ,yet again ,the legacy of Rome. But now how many of The Lord’s sit stoically still with hands poised ready ? How many spiritual statues await with eager longing?(1)
The Cross Invisible
The stories rumble from the ground with every passing train. Out and over and in the building where I worship there are dramas . Many twisting and turning tales of faith filled fights that became healings of bodies and minds and spirits. They are valiant stories. Stories of folks pulling out the Sword to cauterize addictions. They are gentle stories . Stories of full grown folks becoming children again in the arms of “Abba” “Daddy” their God and Father . (2) There are volumes of stories on the shelves of time in a spiritual space .
A story about a wooden cross first began for me ,in my living room, where a remnant of my church family first met. . We were meeting 50 miles away from Greenville . We came from many places together in a place that had no name. But, God gives everything a name. So ,one day , He gave a name for our meeting to a young man .(3) The young man was so excited to have the name that he wrote it inside a big Bible dictionary. He wrote ” to the church of the Tuesday nights” It was easy for us to live up to that name. We met Tuesday after Tuesday night. And, when we invited folks to come, they always remembered what night to come by our name.
In the “church of the Tuesday nights” , Brother Chris preached and teached behind a flowery green end-table topped with a cross and his bible. We bent our kness on a green rug and we believed with Jesus for everything God promised. That was a story from long ago.
Pepsi stains and watermarks speckle both table and cross now . They stand tucked away in a small room silently speaking a story better than my writing could ever tell. They gather dust like ashes while I drive to Greenville on Sunday morning.
When we moved to the building in Greenville, we did not have a table or a cross. It was all new because Pastor and his family were bringing something new to Greenville. He had a podium for his bible and a new name for his meeting. We didn’t have a cross and we weren’t called a church. We were named “Renewed Life Outreach Center”.
I thought a lot about why it might be named “center” and not “church”. I was old thinking when I was younger. And in those days I always would give questions to heaven where answers either come down or where the question would be held hostage. It was before I learned to TRUST.
This particular question was kept hostage with no earthly answer. But when I prayed I had to call it something. So, with Jesus I called it “His church”. (4) But when I was around folks, I would forget the name so often that I would call it silly names like “skeeter hawk revival” . And sometimes ,when I wrote a check, I would write “Renewed Life Outreach CHURCH”.
But God , in His mercy, would not let me hurt my head thinking about why we weren’t called church too long .He held the question in His heavenly grip and slowly released an answer to me.
He began speaking first, in Corinth where Paul first had “church”. He took me there where I saw how the apostle Paul set up a place to meet right in a center of the town of Corinth . It was an open storefront and just like my “church” , it was first used as a market .
No one in Corinth that I met could tell me what Paul called his church . At least they could not tell me what it was called before Paul wrote to us “the church of God in Corinth”.(5) Maybe he called it a “meeting place” they said.
From reading his letters to these Corinthian folks it surely was some kind of a meeting place! It was a meeting place for the dead in sin to be made alive in Christ. It was a meeting place of deliverance from the sevenfold troubles of pride , gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, wrath and envy that caused divisions among folks in this first congregation.(6) It was such a meeting place for exchanging “the old” for “the new” that it could have easily been named “Renewed Life Outreach Center” . And Paul , the preacher, might have easily stood at the doorway of the enterance advertising ” cash in those rags for robes, renew your life here”
And, like Renewed Life outreach center, he probably didn’t have a cross in his building either. He seemed to talk about the cross as a message and not an object. He wrote words about it’s invisible effect but never as an object to wear or draw .(6)
In fact, folks around Corinth told me that they did not have any crosses in town for a long time. Things of life ,like fishes and peacocks ,spoke the effect of the cross from one believer to another. https://churchpop.com/2015/08/14/8-ancient-christian-symbols-and-their-hidden-meanings/ Rumors , rubble and written books all say that the cross was an object of shame in the early church. It did not speak of freedom but ,instead ,was a symbol of the death of slaves. (7)
Folks made signs with their hands of the cross 200 years before they drew them .It really wasn’t until the 4th century that a cross was first brought visible as a display of faith. Constantine abolished crucifixion as was practiced in Rome and brought forth the Cross as a display of this victory. They say that brother Constantine might have had the right spirit about the work of Jesus’s particular cross. He knew the Spirit spoke that Jesus physical cross was used victorious over the devil and death.
But the Devil took Constantines thinking away from the Spirit of the cross and had many people killed who didn’t see the cross in the way Constatine did. The Beauty of the cross mixed again with Bloody sinners in the Crusades and became a message of death and slavery.
All the rest of His Story about the cross is a tug of war between the true message freedom and the Devil’s message of slavery.(8)
The Cross Visible
It wasn’t four hundred years but, just four years that Renewed Life Out reach church was without a cross. It did not seem like four years. It just felt like we were as Paul’s Corinth church. And it wasn’t for lack of believing in the cross. The whole mission of RLOC was “birthed out of the desire to see Gods people walking in and possessing all that was purchased for them by Jesus’s death ON THE CROSS”http://www.facebook.com/RenewedLifeOutreachCenter . Similarly ,a sign outside our building was wooden with a painting of a purple cross and our name.
“Where’s your cross” a visitor asked.
I held the cross on my neck. “No I mean a real live cross. You should have one” she insisted.
“We just don’t have a cross” I told the visitor who asked
“we believe in the Jesus’s work on the cross”. I said , reciting something I heard a pastor once say.
She looked at me , then looked again around the room as if for a lost best friend. She then hurried out the back door facing the railroad and never came back. She eventually found her friend . She found her friend in a place where a cross hung from a ceiling in a big church with colored windows.
Even though I was settled that we didn’t need a cross, I would sneak to chapels with colored windows late at night to pray alone and see a cross . And always, In RLOC, i might see the cross on the video screen from the back door on cloudy Sunday mornings .
As the four years passed, I would see more and more crosses everywhere. I would see crosses on necks , in pictures on walls, on tattooed arms, ankles and chests, as screens on computers, hovering over churches, in the hands of the dying.
Every day I saw them more and more peeking through bushes, as clouds in the sky, as breaking beams of sun, in cracks on side walks, on lattice windows and doors, even in prison gates. One day, on Good Friday, I made a cardboard cross and took it to the park where Ray Charles sits ever so still . I wanted everyone to see the cross .
Crosses were every where in those years. And on top of that , Pastor was preaching like Paul every Sunday ,for all four years, the message of the cross.https://soundcloud.com/vunglaub/sets/the-kingdom-of-his, a playlist on #SoundCloud. The cross was a tool to see our Savior and not a trinket to throw on a night stand or hang on a wall.
He had us look at every angle and side of the cross that could be seen. We looked so much at crosses our eyes felt splinters. Even some felt nails in their hearts and crowns on their heads. Everyone felt the work of the cross in their own individual way .
But not many talked together about it. We just talked of hunting and knitting, eating and fasting, working and retiring, if we talked at all. And we were a lot like that church in Corinth. Each one walking his own way.
The Cross Indivisible
But then, in the 4th year, on April 2nd , something began to change. It was Sunday during the first worship song . Some were singing aloud , some were singing silently, some did not sing. Some had eyes open. Some had eyes shut.
Open or shut, our eyes were chosing to see other people or problems or pain instead of the power of God. But, we centered our stance toward a podium or a screen expectant of something greater than ourselves .
As the first song played, our eyes were everywhere. There was not central place to set our eyes. There was no object that we all could converge on . Some were upward expectant at ceilings (9) , some downcast at the floor (10) . Some looking at the podium, some the screen. Some with eyes in the back of their head staring at the man or woman across the room.
Eyes were all over. Inward and outward. Eyes making judgement about what they saw. But , that Sunday , when Houston and Roland wheeled the cross through the back door, all eyes turned to them and turned to the cross.
It came through the very door that my friend had walked out. It came during a pause of our wandering eyes and worship . It came right when I was wondering if we were a church or a center. It came when sinners were looking for Jesus and the saints were saying “jesus” while secretly sinning
The cross came when I, a sinner against a Holy God, was looking for Jesus and when, I, a saint, had been given everything of Jesus to keep me from sinning. It came tall wooden and varnished, with a small base, on wheels. And we all turned and looked with surprise when Pastor said “we have a cross”
“So Houston I gotta meet with you to find out about that cross” I said to Houston later that Sunday. “okay ” he said.
“I bet you got a story about that Cross ” I said in great anticipation.
“I guess “he said drying off from his baptism.
When the time came , I shot round after round of questions at Houston” “So what made you make that cross. . . oh it was you and Roland making that cross . . what were yall doing that you thought of it making a cross . . oh an altar at the base of that cross. . . oh too big you say . . . then wheels for that cross. . . so you loaded that cross in the truck . . . what made you even think of all this . . what made you make this cross Houston?” I paused to breathe
Houston stared at me in silence perhaps wondering if I would let him answer. I stared back trying to hold back more questions.
“Well, Miss Vanessa,” Houston began pausing to make sure I would listen. “Well, I saw we didn’t have a cross. and thought to my self don’t every church need a cross.?”(11)
“Yep” he said
“Okay Houston. That’s it “I said and walked away. I walked away wanting only to remember the April day the cross first stood center in the church. The answer to every question.
The altar that Houston had only imagined drew many that day. The cross loudly preached the answer to every question that longed for truth. It preached a surrender of more than was possible. It preached like tounges of the Holy Ghost in my soul saying “By The Spirit of the Cross all things are possible”. It bellowed and whispered, it wooed and wept and it awakened and warned. It was not a piece of wood at all , it became the center point in the church. It spoke the message of Jesus’s death for my sins and renewed life in my freedom from sin. And it spoke with The Spirit . The visible spoke of the INVISIBLE.(12)
The upward plank still speaks each Sunday , every Sunday, of how much we need our savior. And the reaching planks , where His arms bore the nails, speak of how much we need His Love for one another. What joy set before Him compelled His outstretched arms of Love for this church? How generous His Spirit for every dead church to become a LIVE and WELL church beneath These arms!
Suddenly , centered in the shadow of this cross, made by our own brothers, we touch heaven and we rightly touch one another with heaven and change the face of those on earth. (13) Here we are clothed by Jesus that we may rightly wear the “Renewed Life Outreach ” shirt because our hearts are “Centered” on Him. Here is His Cross. And Beneath it He finds HIS JOY , His Bride.(14)
“Where’s Jesus ? He’s not on the cross” the little child asked , yesterday , on Pentacost Sunday.
“oh He’s here ” I said as I pointed to the church worshipping.” He’s off the cross He’s alive in them”
And yes, Houston,” every church needs a cross. “And every cross needs a church. Thank you dear brothers Roland and Houston for your obedience to the cross. … an obedience that gave THIS CHURCH A CENTER and the center is THE CROSS.
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Colossians 1:19-20 ESV
Foot of the Cross Notes
Romans 8 :22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together like in pains of childbirth for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:15 . . having received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughter we cry “Abba Father”
Psalm 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by name
Ephesians 5:27 So that he might present the Church (HIS BRIDE) to Himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
I Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth , to those sanctified IN JESUS CHRIST call to be SAINTS TOGETHER with all those who in every place call upon the NAME of OUR LORD Jesus Christ both their LORD and ours.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the MESSAGE of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The letters to the Corinthians are loving instructions to a congregation who was born again as new creatures able to live free of what the ancients called “the seven deadly sins” that the enemy uses to kill God’s children.
My brother named John Calvin long ago among others incited hostility against the physical image of the cross. He stated that it was” impossible to visually depict God who is invisible and transcendent therefore it is idolotry” This teaching resulted in the destruction of many crosses and art inspired by the Holy Spirit to draw sons and daughters to a deeper love for the invisible three in one reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Brother Calvin and I are no longer friends on this matter. I have seen again and again the cross is an visible though perishable reality of an invisible imperishable reality. And that reality is the GOSPEL.
Mark 2:4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. Some look to the ceiling desperately seeking a miracle
Matthew 15:27 “yes it is Lord” she said “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” Some look to the floor for but a crumb as a sign of a miracle
Exodus 36:1 “Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person in whom the LORD has put ability and understanding to know how to do all the work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work according to all that the LORD HAS COMMANDED
Colossians 1:15 Jesus is the (ONLY) image of the invisible GOd the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth visible and invisible . . . all things were created through Him and for HIm!
The caption on the back of the “Renewed Life Outreach Center” T-shirt reads “Touching Heaven changing Earth” . It speaks of our upward reach like the upward beam of the cross to Heaven and our outward reach in heavenly blessings as the outward beam of the cross to one another and the community.
Finally Hebrew 12:2,12 we LOOK TO JESUS THE AUTHOR AN FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS DESPISING THE SHAME AND HAS SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD. . . . THEREFORE STRENGTHEN THE HANDS WHICH HANG DOWN AND FEEBLE KNEES AND MAKE STRAIGHT PATH FOR YOUR FEET SO THAT WHAT IS LAME MAY NOT BE DISLOCATED ED BUT RATHER HEALED.
See to it sister that “you do not fail to obtain the grace of God: that no ‘root of bitterness’ spring up and cause you trouble . . . forgive as you have been forgiven by Christ so that you will not be outwitted by Satan. . . cause we ain’t ignorant of his designs” Hebrews 12:15 & 2 Corinthians 2:10,11
We plant forgiveness and we wait for love to bloom. I waited a year to see the fruit of forgiveness. Now , today ,almost to the date of my planting with Jesus , I hear a pleasant report. Therefore I repost this blog as a true testimony that when you forgive as He is forgiving you, you will surely see the blooms of the resurrection of Love in your midst!
The Big Sister’s call
Hurry , my sister it’s Spring , it’s Spring!!
Put that Stoney thing in the dirt
For We must run and sing!!
Get Shovel, Get Hoe
Lest that Bitter Thing grow!
Put that Stoney Thing in the dirt
Lest the Devil soon sow!!
The Little Sister’s cry
But Sister, Sister , it stings, it stings
So it never will ever feel like spring!
I’ve a wound so tender , like a boulder at my core!
No friend , no doc, no priest could speak to a thing so sore!
Or release this Stone that the Enemy threw to settle a score!
No Goliath with gall, or David with sling, or Samson so tall or Peter could bring
My heart to be healed from the hurt of this damn Stoney thing!!
The Big Sister’s call
But Sister, but Sister, it’s Spring!!
Now put that Stoney thing in the dirt!
So you can laugh and sing!
Get shovel, Get hoe
Lest that Bitter thing grow!
Put that Stoney thing in the dirt
Lest far away your heart go
The Little Sister’s cry
But Sister, Sister, it stings, it stings
And now there is no longer hope for my Spring
For I claim this wound as a part of my being
And I strive no more for hearing and seeing!
So many ask me “how have you been”
I just reply “I feel the effects of sin”
I carry the stone daily like a cross on my back
I sleep with it nightly tucking it in dreams and pillow sacks!
My soul never considers what it has but always talks of what it lacks.
The Big Sister’s Call
Oh Sister, dear Sister, it’s Spring
Put that stoney thing in the dirt
So you may dress in robe and ring!
Get shovel, get hoe
Lest that bitter thing grow
Put that Stoney thing in the dirt!
Perhaps to church you should go!
The Little Sister’s Cry
But Sister, Sister , in church it will stink!
I am dead like Lazarus with no life of my own to bring!
Might it stink when I bring it to others to be buried?
Besides, I have much to prove now and my time is quite harried!
It is best dear sis that I pretend it not there!
Besides, this stone on my heart is really no ones care.
Perhaps heaven will own it if I ever get there.
The Big Sister’s Plea
Oh Sister, Stubborn Sister, come out into Spring
Put that Stoney thing in the dirt
And Let Jesus do a Resurrection thing!
Get shovel, Get hoe
Lest that Bitter thing grow
Put that Stoney thing in the dirt
Let your Spirit yield and your Pride forgo!!
The Little Sister’s Fear
But Sister, my Sister, I will be all alone
As I rip away from my heart this UNFORGIVING STONE
And I cry out to Jesus “If only you were home!!?”
Oh Sister, your prayers cause me to quiver with this shovel and hoe in hand
You are speaking strange words in a tongue I do not understand
Oh sister , Oh Sister will I be all alone?
The Big Sister prophesies
Sweet sister, Sweet Sister, See He is your Spring!!
When you put that Stoney thing in the dirt , watch a LILLIE HE BRING
How free you will be and a new song you will sing
and then, . my Sister You WILL KNOW HE is SPRING!
The Little Sister Laments as Jesus Plants
Oh Sister , O Sister, Look now He weeps on my Heart!
The stone falls off gently , from tender edges it parts.
He lays it deep in the dirt of HIS EMPTY GRAVE!!
And grave side He calls me “child” no longer “slave”
Oh sister, O sister, why so long did I wait?
Holding tight to this hurt and bound to it’s hate?!!
I hurt Him so deeply with this stone on my heart!!
At times we must return to remember what The Lord once tenderly taught us. This is a post refined and matured from 3 years ago . Difficulties and darts seemed to dull the glorious truth once planted so deep in my spirit But. . .He waters His word with our tears and so it grows !. I thank my church for refreshing me in truth and growing me up in this word …
When we first enter church on Sunday there is a sense that all of what the preacher is saying, and all of what the songs are proclaiming, and all of what the folks are “naming and claiming”, is very far away.
Entering , we realize how we have forgotten much from the week before. There were so many large and heavy words said in the church that were not said outside the church on the days that followed Sunday. We enter with the shadow and dust of the world. It follows us in like a dark cloud .
Yet quickly , ” the dust settles” and the veil of fog lifts when Pastor prays. At that moment , the Holy Ghost, like a stage hand, draws back the dark shadow of dust and fog . With a strong arm He pulls back the curtain to introduce God. BEHOLD YOUR GOD !!!The Holy Ghost shouts!! He shouts in whispers deep into souls.
Here, at that moment , God becomes very big and very glorious in our minds . And , at that moment , when the songs are sung, God becomes very strong and able in our hearts . And , at that moment, when Pastor preaches, God becomes very near and pressing in our minds . And , at that moment ,when the people touch us and pray , God becomes very Merciful and Healing.He becomes present. He becomes Just like Jesus in our midst.
BUT, the moment we leave the door, that moment when we echo our last “good-by”, all His glory begins to shrink. There seems to be a commonness of life that steals the glorious. We sense someone has stolen the “garment of praise” and “the robe of righteousness” right off our back .
To begin to walk ” in faith” , to even write this is to press into greater obedience. I began to wrestle as I do on Sunday afternoons. I begin to hold a fear of losing sight of His worth and glory. I have given my writing to Him and felt always that to privately write Him was my act of worship. At times, He would have me write to others but never publicly.
Worship is where God magnifies Himself to us and we in turn adore Him. So God would do so when I would write. It was like entering church for me, an entering in and being dressed by God in His glory and His righteousness.
My greatest fear was that I would either become self-righteous or would fail if I tried to glorify Him in public. This is how the enemy keeps us from worshipping Our Lord with our gifts.
So also, He hinders us as we go into the world. We all carry His Word as our worship and have Christ’s commission to proclaim. But , This is sooooo often held back by our greatest fears of self-righteous pride or of shame and failure. This is when we operate from ourselves, our feelings. The enemy has us think we will be stripped of all of His presence as we go out , as we obey a call from the Spirit . We suddenly feel naked reaching hard to grab clothes of righteousness to put on. We reach for clothes when we are already dressed IN HIM and BY HIM!!!.
BUT GOD.. But God we hear from Pastor Chris , From every worship song , from every prayer. “But God” does not leave us undressed. When we leave the door of the church, we feel naked of His presence only because we have let our minds forget we are clothed!!!!We are a royal priesthood dressed in the most glorious gowns and robes ! Designer Gowns and Robes labeled “Jesus”.
We are not like the royal one in the children’s story by Hans Christian Anderson (1837). In the story , “The Emperor’s new clothes” a king commissions a designer to make clothes. He is fooled that he has the best designed suit but , he is actually naked . The king displays nakedness in the street thinking he is clothed. How often we are like this royal one ? When we try to design our own clothes are we not like this foolish emperor? In an opposition to the truth , we are foolish in our thinking when we, ones who are clothed in Christ, think we are naked ?
As the Emperor did not know he was an old naked man when he went before the crowd, we do not know we are a clothed “new” man when we go into the world. When we forget that Christ has bore EVERY sin from dark sins of the body or mind or tongue to the self-righteous sins of body , mind and tongue on Himself. (Galatians 5:21) , we forget we are saved. We forget we are covered eternally in “robes of righteousness”. We forget we are pure children and “if children then heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ!” What Christ is wearing today, at this moment , is what we are wearing.
To look at this glorious truth and forget it is called “double mindedness’ (James- 1:8, 22-25). Like the Emperor we do not know what we look like. But to know what we look like is to have a single mind, the mind of Christ. The Scriptures of Isaiah 61:10 describe how we are dressed: “with garments of salvation (SOZO) and robes of righteousness”
As my mind agrees in greater certainty with my spirit that holds the clothes of Isaiah 61:10, I then agree with God. And , only as I agree with God ,can I write this blog , can I go and pray, can I love , can I produce fruit or gifts or desire my greatest treasure and worship Jesus with my whole life. !!
The glory of God does not only sit inside a few moments on Sunday morning. It sits on the inside of me. It sits certain and bright. It sits on the inside of us His Bride , The Church !! It has dressed us beautifully in a “robe of righteousness” and a “garment of salvation” that we may live and act to the “praise of His glorious grace”.
True stories about my brother, in Jesus, named “Frog” and inspired in my soul by a message by Brother Ansel Norton .
And the voice came to Peter a second time, “Peter, what God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:15) And Peter said to the Jews ” you yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY PERSON COMMON OR UNCLEAN” (Acts 10:28)
I know a man named “FROG”.
“where did he get that name?” I asked my big sister a who had known Frog many years.
“His mamma gave him that name” my big sister answered in her “matter of fact “way.
“Well, why did she name him that name ” I asked
“Guess its cause of how he talks” she said
“hmm, yep, I guess” I said as I thought of the last words that I heard Frog say when I saw him in the park Tuesday.
A whole week and a Sunday had passed since I last saw Frog. But I could remember clearly how Frog’s words entered the air as his hands lifted in praise. That day, I started thinking aloud . . .”. Well that day ,he sure enough had a different way of talking . It sure enough did sound like the croaking of a frog rising out of deep waters”.
My big sister doesn’t say much else about Frog. She doesn’t even say he is “different” . She just says he “talks different”.. But she says that about me too. See, my big sister likes short pointed sentences and I talk with long circular sentences.
Sometimes , after i stop talking to breathe, she looks at me with her head tilted to one side and says “you talk funny”. I like how she says it. It doesn’t hurt at all. I think it doesn’t hurt cause when she talks to me , the room fills with Daddy’s love. Daddy calls it “sincere love” (1). She brings His sincere love with her every time she comes down from His lap.
Not everyone is like my Big sister. Most folks talk without having been with Daddy. They use the word “different” when talkin or textin or facebookin to one another. But, when they are smack dab in front of us, they say , ever so sweetly, the word “special”. They make their syllables long and say “your sooo speeeeeeeciaaaaal!” They think that we are so different that they have to use a completely different language when talking to us.
When these folks talk to “special” folks like Fog and me , we just smile back and say “Well , you are special too!” We don’t use long syllables like they use cause we can’t talk like them. Frog sounds croaky and I sound like circles spinning. But both of us try to let our heart hear how Jesus would talk. Then, we let our whole being speak like Jesus would tell them , in Love.
” well, brother, well sister, you are special too” we say.as we throw our arms around them. . I don’t really know if Jesus made His words long or short, slow or fast. I don’t know if He hugged lots of folks. I just know every word came out in “sincere and perfect Love”.
In fact, Jesus is alive and talking to them right when they are talking to us. , Jesus is smiling at them right then and saying with us the exact same thing. So when it frustrates us to say “your special ” and we get misunderstood cause it doesn’t come out clear., we ask Jesus to say it to their hearts.
He talks to hearts and each word is perfectly clear. No one who hears His voice in their heart misunderstands Him.
Everything became beautiful and clear when I first heard Jesus call me “special”. I looked at Him and My entire face changed into excitement (2). Lot of folk faces look like they are not excited about being called “special” by Jesus. Some look afraid but most have a “plain face”. I used to have a plain face it looks bored or “indifferent”. Faces like that just havent ears to hear Jesus say “you’re special”. Hearing changes your whole face.
Sometimes I ask the Holy Ghost to pass out hearing aids to these “special ones” that don’t have ears. Everytime I am in Daddy’s house I ask the Holy Ghost to give us hearing aids.
One day, after I asked Daddy for these “hearing aids”, a brother from another town came to preach. He came to tell us what Daddy thought about “different folks” . As soon as Brother Norton began saying, “I’m gonna tell you what God showed Peter bout being “different”, I started thinking about Peter.
Peter was the first in a lot bad things and the first in a lot of good things. He was the first to call Jesus “Lord ” and the first to deny Him, He was the first to be called “blessed” and the first to be called “satan” He was the first to walk on water and the first to sink. But best of all He was the first to be called a “different ” name by Jesus.
Jesus called Peter “Cephas” which means “rock”. Jesus told Peter that on this “special” “different” “rock”, the church would be built. But, Peter didn’t really hear Jesus until Jesus went to sit with Daddy and was praying for him. From Acts Chapter 10, The visiting brother showed us how Peter learned what Daddy thought about things that are “different”. He showed us Peter hearing the voice of Jesus.
Our visiting brother Norton showed us how we should hear Daddy’s word and see through Jesus’s heart. He showed us how what was “different” was different by Divine design of Daddy. And we should not be indifferent or bored about what is “different” but instead see how what is “different” makes a “difference”. He kept saying “your difference makes a difference”. The “special” children that could hear kept repeating “amen” “amen” with every “your difference makes a difference”. And with every “amen” shame , like a roach, scurried out the door.
I kept looking at the door. I wasn’t looking to watch shame leave but looking for my brother Frog to come in. I knew he would love to hear the visiting brother’s words from Daddy.
“Come on Daddy please send the Holy Ghost to get my friend Frog. I know you want him here Daddy!!” I kept talkin’ to Daddy thinking I could get Him to go down yonder and drag Frog into the house. Frustrated , I tapped the shoulder of Frog’s friend Gerald. . .
“Where’s Frog?” I whispered
“He’s home restin cause he got beat up by some ‘jitter bug ‘ in the park last night” Gerald replied
“What kinda bug is that? What kinda bug did you say beat him up?’ I asked
” silly , it ain’t no bug its folks that just beat up people that are different” Gerald replied
I leaned back to listen again. The message was ending . .” so we are going to pray , cause we understand that Jesus himself was different and the reason He came was to make a difference”
(to be continued)
Romans 12:9 ” Love must be sincere” or “Love must be genuine” or “Love must be without hypocrisy”
2 Corinthians 3:18- 19 And we all , with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image rom one degree of glory to another . For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.