Your 7 Days?
Oh my. Had a quote on my mind and wrote some thoughts about it. But my heart got so heavy I couldn’t keep it posted. Had to delete it.
I’m not sure what all it looks like to lead with humility and repentance in our nation right now, but I want those virtues to be foremost in my life.
Heaven knows I’ve had reasons to repent and pride that needed shattered.
Help us all, Father.
For we were slaves, but in his unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, he caused the kings of Persia to treat us favorably. He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
On we continue with Ezra’s prayer.
I was delighted at some recurring Hebrew verbs in this section from previous ones. Particularly that root word al – to hover over. In this verse, it is showcasing how God’s unfailing love hovered over the exiles in the eyes of the kings of Persia. Or, if written directly, “God allowed His covenant loyalty to hover over us before the face of kings.”
This matters to us right now, Believers. In the midst of political drama and racial tension and wars and violence, for God to show His hesed to His people in the sight of governing rulers is a grace. And for us to step into that public square with humility, peace, commitment to Truth, sorrow for our sins, and a desire to see God lifted high, will affect our cultural climate.
Let’s be found faithful.
And, because we cannot be reminded enough, let’s focus on that first sentence. He doesn’t abandon us in our slavery. That abandon is azab – to loose from Oneself, leave destitute, to widow.
We learned before about our responsibility to fan aflame our First Love. Here we specifically see God’s part in the equation: He will never forsake us. And aside from our personal love relationship with Him, He has other high priorities for this: so we can rum – boldly exalt, triumphantly uplift the Temple of God. The worship of Him and delight in His presence.
Yes. Let’s be found faithful.
This Saturday is the final New Market Square‘s Free Family Movie Night. Come at 7:30 for free popsicles, popcorn and bottled water to see Zootopia. Bring the lawn chairs.
Then tonight at Abode, see Harlan Coben for a signing of his new book, Home, at 6:00.
Saturday’s Storytimes are hoppin too. Bring the kids each Saturday at 10:30.
Did you know this Saturday is National Public Lands Day? If you’re out and about across our country, check out some of our national parks without admission. (Thanks WOTC!)
I had time to drive down Douglas and fully appreciate some of the art from Avenue Art Days. Would you be interested in coming up with a perception-shifting tagline to be feautured during the next Avenue Art Days? Enter your phrase on Facebook to win.
Tree Top is hosting their 41st Anniversary Sale September 23rd – 25th. Enjoy 25% off everything and refreshments!
This Saturday is Art on the Trail at the Great Plains Nature Center. From 11-3 enjoy walking through Chisholm Creek Park and appreciating artists along the trail depicting the beauty on canvas.
Come tonight, September 22nd from 6-7, for Indie Writers at Reverie. See local authors read excerpts of their books and answer questions.
One more September Wednesday to enjoy the Carnegie Concert Series. During your lunch hour on Wednesday, September 28th, enjoy Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy.
Wichita Art Museum’s Fall Opening Party is this Saturday from 3-10 pm. Celebrate the Art Garden’s first anniversary and open the fall season with a new art exhibit, family-friendly garden lawn games, food trucks, and a live band.
Have a glorious weekend!
Well, I am officially a believer.
I have had several successes with essential oils in the month or so we’ve had them. Thought I’d share a few ideas (most I’ve stolen from friends – love you, friends!) and a couple of links I liked.
The coolest thing I’ve learned is how there are parts of the limbic region of the brain that can only be accessed through inhalation.* This is the part of the brain which harbors emotions and memory. It’s the reason you can smell something and immediately be transported in your mind to a memory or destination from your past. Aromatherapy is a real thing.
God designed our bodies so phenomenally.
The reason this matters, at least in my life, is I can inhale Stress Away and it will have an instant calming affect when I’m overwhelmed. In addition, I’m interested to see how diffusing oils will help our bodies fight off junk this winter. Especially Thieves, a blend inspired by a legend from the 15th Century.
Apparently some spice merchants could rob the homes and graves of the dead and dying from the Black Plague without it affecting them. Rumor has it they were offered a lesser sentence if they shared their secret. Part of the secret is clove, which has the world’s highest antioxidant count for essential oils.*
In addition, when applied directly to the body (which, be careful – some need to be diluted) oils are “transdermal” and can reach every part of your body within minutes.* So you can rub Lavender onto the bottoms of your feet at night and it can help relax your entire body for a good night’s sleep.
Promise I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. Just sharing some successes we’ve had to live more naturally.
A few links I like:
How about you? Any successes you’ve had?
*Referenced: Young Living Essential Oils Welcome Book by Jordan E. Schrandt
“But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the LORD our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant. He has given us security in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery.”
Ezra’s prayer is so rich. The Hebrew in this verse alone makes me want to…weep.
Our pastor talked on Sunday about how God’s people’s ability to stay in the Promised Land in the Old Testament was closely tied to obedience to the law. It was how He taught them what was best for them and how He showed the nations His ways.
When His people obeyed what God told them would lead to joy, they stayed in the land and prospered. When they disobeyed, God was a good Parent and taught them their consequences had actions – not only in their personal lives, but in protection from their enemies.
The same is still true in our lives. When we obey God, it leads to joy and peace. When in submission to proper authority – not every person out there in some position of authority, but the ones He has placed over us in our lives – we have protection from our enemy.
That’s why Ezra’s prayer is so meaningful. He is recounting to God how grateful he is they were allowed to return to Jerusalem, to the place of Temple and former national security. The blessing of it makes the exiles’ sin even worse in Ezra’s eyes. They didn’t somehow earn this “brief moment of grace” while in exile. They weren’t even able to offer proper sacrifices for sin. It was a gift. The Hebrew for grace here is techinnah – supplication or mercy.
And the exiles had taken this gift, this opportunity to remain in the land, and returned to the same disobedience and idolatry that led them into slavery.
But the good news? Like our pastor said, lasting possession of the land was based on obedience. But lasting relationship with God was based on God’s grace. It always has been. His covenant with Abraham – and later David – was dependent on God’s faithfulness, not man’s.
And are you ready for the best part of the Hebrew?
Ezra prays, “He has given us security in this holy place.” The word security means a peg, a stake, a spade.
Oh yes. A nail is what gives us security in the Holy Place. What He bought for us with 3 fearsome Roman nails on an instrument of torture can never be taken away. Our Anchor is secure. He in us is our qodesh. No one can snatch us out of His hand.
Eyes bright and relieved from slavery.
So excited it’s time for Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair again. Beginning this Friday night, the 16th, enjoy music, dancing, and, of course, lovely art from many local and regional artists.
A Streetcar Named Desire begins tonight at 7:00 at The Orpheum.
Celebrate HopeNet’s 25th Anniversary with Hope Art. Enjoy a Silent Auction and live artists showing how God uses brokenness to create beauty.
This looks great. An IG Wichita Meet at Pop-Up Urban Park this Sunday the 18th at 6:30 pm. Meet up with other photographers while walking Douglas to capture the light.
Are you a local creator? Present your idea, get the most votes over soup, and win the money to invest in your idea. Brilliant.
The Wichita Symphony will be hosting Dan Dunn’s Paint Jam this Saturday night at 8 pm. Dunn paints pop culture icons, set to music, in 5 minutes or less. Don’t miss this.
Join the next Caffeinated Lab Class at Reverie is this Saturday the 17th at 10:00 am to learn about Cupping Essentials.
This is great: an opportunity to work with others – and get your writing project finished.
Have a wonderful weekend!
So how are you?
I want to encourage us – all of us – to stay engaged. To refuse to let it slip off our radars if it doesn’t affect our daily life. To put ourselves in a position to keep hearing stories, to remind ourselves it is not made up. Or new. And if it affects our brothers and sisters – really any human being – it affects us.
Let’s continue to love.
At the time of the sacrifice, I stood up from where I had sat in mourning with my clothes torn. I fell to my knees and lifted my hands to the LORD my God.
“O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, we have been steeped in sin. That is why we and our kings and our priests have been at the mercy of the pagan kings of the land. We have been killed, captured, robbed, and disgraced, just as we are today.”
Last time we witnessed Ezra mourning from the shock of God’s people’s continued rebellion. Now he stands, only to fall back to his knees to take care of things right where he should: prayer.
How about you? When you look around and realize you are still rebelling, still deliberately choosing to move against God’s ways, what do you do? Keep on? Justify yourself?
Or do you kara – bow down and bring yourself low? Stop doing wrong and learn to do right?
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. You reap what you sow. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
I’m so glad God isn’t some sucker we can work over. Any time we are ashamed – boosh – we should fall right to our knees. Bringing ourselves low is the only way to deal with our sin. Until we can humbly admit we blush to lift our face to Him, we are still living in denial.
Oh, but once we do? He can be the Lifter of our Heads. Just picture Him tipping your chin up – so you’re face to face with Him. When we have confessed our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and purify us.
Don’t you love the use of just in that verse? When we confess, the just thing for the God of the galaxies to do is forgive. If it were based on our merit, that would be the furthest thing from the truth. Our sins have reached – been magnified, arrogantly nourished – to the heavens. What we on our own deserve is what Ezra recounts to God about the exiles’ experience: to be delivered, or given over, to the peoples around.
That is still, by the way, the worst thing we could want Him to do for us: give us over to our own sinful desires. In continued rebellion, to let us have what we want over what He says is best for us. His will for our lives.
It should make us shiver.
But back to what happens when we genuinely confess and turn a different way: it is just that Covenant Yahweh would forgive because it is based on Jesus’ flawless merit on our behalf. Because of what He did in our place, forgiving His children is justice for a just God.
And in this beautiful scenario? We don’t have to live ashamed. And when the condemnation comes – in our minds or from others’ words – we can open our arms wide, proclaim we, too, are the worst of sinners, and bow once again to the mercy and beauty and power of the cross.
Bowed low so He can lift our faces high.