The Language of God

In stages of glory, I grieve for you my friend. In surprising fashion as God always is, I grieve for you in the native tongue of our Lord. It is a deep expression of who we are as Jewish people, strong, glorious, deeply bonded to Him. I can find no other way to grieve but in the beloved language of my Lord Jesus. Thank you God for giving me words in a language that is too glorious for them.

For those that have never heard Adon Olam, I have included this beautiful rendition with the English translation. God is so beautiful in His native language, when He is unclothed, available and crying back out to us. When in doubt, praise Him, and praise Him again. These are the words I have heard from Him today.

Recently in my interview on EWTN, I talked about my prayer life in Hebrew and growing up in the conservative Jewish temple. I specifically spoke about my ability to read and pray in Hebrew but my inability to understand it. Yet, I felt closest to God when I was praying in Hebrew. I questioned whether God even understood English 🙂

I have realized that in our mourning we go back to what we know and who we are. It was no coincidence for me that I attended a Shiva last night after a friend’s mom died. Even though I didn’t join the minyan, I chanted in the back. It was chilling. But it wasn’t the mourner’s kaddish that moved me, it was the Jewish liturgical hymn “Adon Olam,” a praise song. Why did that connect with me? Why did that move me? I didn’t know it last night, but right after I came home from the Shiva is when I found out Susan died. And in the morning it was Adon Olam:

MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE
Adon olam, asher malach,
b’terem kol y’tzir nivra.
L’et na’asah v’cheftzo kol,
azai melech sh’mo nikra.V’acharey kichlot hakol,
l’vado yimloch nora.
V’hu haya, v’hu hoveh,
v’hu yih’yeh b’tifara.

V’hu echad, v’eyn sheni
l’hamshil lo, l’hachbira.
B’li reishit, b’li tachlit,
v’lo ha’oz v’hamisrah.

V’hu Eli, v’chai go’ali,
v’tzur chevli b’et tzarah.
V’hu nisi umanos li,
m’nat kosi b’yom ekra.

B’yado afkid ruchi
b’et ishan v’a’irah.
V’im ruchi g’viyati,
Adonai li v’lo ira.The Lord of the Universe who reigned
before anything was created.
When all was made by his will
He was acknowledged as King.

And when all shall end
He still all alone shall reign.
He was, He is,
and He shall be in glory.

And He is one, and there’s no other,
to compare or join Him.
Without beginning, without end
and to Him belongs diminion and power.

And He is my G-d, my living G-d.
to Him I flee in time of grief,
and He is my miracle and my refuge,
who answers the day I shall call.

To Him I commit my spirit,
in the time of sleep and awakening,
even if my spirit leaves,
G-d is with me, I shall not fear.

It is understandbly confusing how one could express their grief in a language they do not understand but completely understand. Every word touched me. And even though you may not be Jewish, if you listen to the words of Adon Olam, they will move you too.

There is a move of the Spirit in Hebrew that is undeniable, I can hear Jesus speaking. And as I recited the rosary this morning for my dear sister, I cried out in Hebrew afterwards to God as if I already knew the words. I think grief produces in us the ability to connect with a part of us we don’t necessarily understand but want to touch. When I look up at the crucifix, I could cry this out to Jesus, God you are my God, adonai , King of the universe, abba it hurts, it hurts abba…

But I am gratful. I am grateful for the words God wrote that I never could. I am grateful for words that flow off my tongue and have meaning besides consonants and vowels. I am grateful for the Blessed Mother who stayed with me during the sorrowful mysteries and cried with me, Adon Olam.

 

To Susan, I miss You

Susan, I miss you dearly. I will miss your words, your encouragement your grace, but most of all I will miss your unwavering acceptance of me for who I am, no more no less. Rest in peace my sweet sister, heaven has indeed become real for me today.

God is in your typewriter

Death is an untimely beast. I am taken aback by its ugliness and unwillingness to give us a warning. As much as my hope lies in the promise of eternity, I am still reminded of my humanness, my inability to process grief, and my connection to people I’ve never met.

I joined this blogging community several years ago. I was led by the Holy Spirit to follow my writing dreams through the profession of my faith on a world-wide stage. My thoughts at the time were that it would simply be a writing platform, until I started reading more about this blogging concept and the community that was created.

So much of what I read talked about blogging not as some platform for writing itself, but rather for a chance to engage, to meet people and to join the conversation. I learned quickly that my idea of blogging had turned into…

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He is Here (Revelation 3:20)

jesus_knocking_at_your_door

Forgotten first love, our hunger is lacking

We’ve left Him adrift in a sea of disdain

He stands at the door, awaiting the asking.

 

We no longer see what with Him we obtain

The Vine feeds the branch, but we want our poison

We’ve left Him adrift in a sea of disdain.

 

Hold tight to the Vine, we’ll rejoice in union

Yet faith is belief, expecting in unseen

The Vine feeds the branch, but we want our poison.

 

We say we want God, but there’s dogma between

He longs to come and with us break bread

Yet faith is belief expecting in unseen.

 

If we’d just focus on seeking him instead

The door only opens from inside to out

He longs to come in and with us break bread.

 

We’re filled with self-made doctrine leading to doubt

Forgotten first love, our hunger is lacking

The door only opens from inside out

He stands at the door, awaiting the asking.

Free Christmas Gifts for You

branch-and-bird

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. (John 15:5, The Message)

In the U.S., the Thanksgiving holiday is over. Yet my thankfulness exceeds a five-day weekend feast.

I am incredibly thankful for the peace-filled place I am in, joined with Christ who led me into my Father’s embrace. God’s arms are full of unconditional love, extravagant compassion and outrageous grace and mercy.

My mission as a follower of Jesus is

to bring others back to Him. It is central to our good news that God was in Christ making things right between Himself and the world. This means He does not hold their sins against them. But it also means He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other. (2 Corinthians 5:19:20)

I subscribe to this mission and to Christ’s directive, from our Father, to love each other, love our neighbors, and yes, love our enemies. I believe this is the only effective and provable way to lead people to our faithful and loving God.

It is one way as a branch of Christ I live out my faith. It is one way I can reach out and offer my gifts, received through God’s Spirit, to you.

After an 8-year journey of writing, editing and re-writing, today I offer to you free, my Branches Devotional Workbooks.

All five. All free. All year.

As a favor, would you please reblog so this gift reaches as many brothers and sisters as possible?

Thank you.

To receive one or all, and read more detail about these devotionals, visit Branches Devotionals.

Love is Not a Metaphor

©susanirenefox
©susanirenefox

The Lord was drinking some water out of a glass. There was nothing wrong with the glass, but the water tasted terrible. This was in a white building on a vast wasteland. The engineers within wore white uniforms and bootees on their shoes and gloves on their hands. The water had traveled many hundreds of miles through wide pipes to be there.

What have you done to my water? The Lord asked. My living water…

Oh, they said, we thought that was a metaphor. (*(©2016, Joy Williams)

Love can conquer fear and hate if we allow ourselves to love.

At the same time, love will cost us something.

Agápē love is the highest form of love. It is the kind of unconditional love which comes from God –a love that transcends behavior or circumstance.

It is the love the apostle Paul described in his first letter to the Corinthians. He urged them to use their Spiritual gifts from this place of agápē love, and explained to them if they did not, their gifts would be useless and bankrupt.

Love is patient; love is kind. There is no arrogance in love. It’s never rude or crude; its not self-absorbed, easily upset or keep score of wrongs. Love doesn’t celebrate injustice, but truth is love’s delight. Love never gives up, never looks back and never loses faith. Love is always hopeful endures all things through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

As my focus becomes more about following Christ and pointing to him as a loving, compassionate and inclusive God, some of my own brothers and sisters in Christ have denounced me for this focus and said, “You are not my sister.” Some have even defended Christ, saying, “Jesus wasn’t a weakling!”

On the contrary, our God is powerful; Jesus is powerful and does not need defending. Agápē love is powerful. Agápē love is courageous. Agápē love is dangerous.

You cannot be a weakling or timid or a coward to love like that. It takes being filled with strength, fearlessness and sacredness to bestow agápē love.

Conversely, if you are unwilling or unable to love like God, you have not let go of powerless, fear and disapproval. You have not yet allowed the fullness of agápē love to replace those other things that choke out the love of God.

God is love is not a metaphor.

Love God is not a metaphor.

Love your neighbor is not a metaphor.

Love each other is not a metaphor.

They will know you are My disciples by your love is not a metaphor.

Love your enemy is not a metaphor.

Perfect love casts out fear is not a metaphor.

I am thankful today for my Father’s love, for the love of Jesus Christ. I will be thankful tomorrow for the fullness of His unconditional love, grace and forgiveness. I am thankful He has taught me how to give agápē love.

I pray this day that tomorrow you pray a humble and sincere prayer of thanksgiving and choose agápē love.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Proverbs 18:21, The Msg)

 

*(©2016, Joy Williams, Wet, from ninety-nine stories of GOD, Tin House Books)

Christians, Let Us Remember

glowing-cross

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

It is finally the day after, and we all woke up this morning as Americans. Yet we are Christians first.

Some voted (or did not vote) as an expression of anger or protest. Many more of us used our vote as an instrument of principle. Whatever the outcome, our call in Christ is for reconciliation.

Many factions have sought to divide us, have sought to have us focus on flaws and sin instead of mercy and grace. The enemy has infiltrated our hearts, our thoughts, and our words.

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:11)

handsqueezingheartWe have several choices today and over the next four years.

We can let our shock and disappointment grow fear in our hearts. We can continue to brood, letting our anger simmer until it boils over into a rage that we can no longer contain. We can continue to cast blame, point fingers, and feed our resentment. Either of these choices will keep the door open for the enemy to squeeze Christ’s living water, grace and love out of our hearts.

 

On the other hand, we can choose to accept the results with grace. We can pray for our new President, for all the members of our new Senate and House of Representatives. We can pray there will be (or already has been) a gracious concession speech without bitterness or rancor. We can pray for a peaceful transition of power. We can pray for progress over politics. We can work wholeheartedly to unite our country.

In January, the hand of the winner of this hard-fought election will be placed on a Bible. The new President will take the Oath of Office. We can choose to put behind us the animosity we have lived with the last 20 months and instead, take up our cross and the mission of reconciliation. We can choose to be the light and the mouth of Christ.

You see, the controlling force in our lives is the love of Christ; Christ’s love guides us. He died for us so that we will all live, not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Because of all that God has done, we now have a new perspective; we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. All of this is a gift from our Creator, who pursued us and brought us into a restored and healthy relationship with Him through Christ.

And He has given us the same mission – the ministry of reconciliation – to bring others back to Him. He reconciled the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful mission of reconciliation. We are Christ’s ambassadors; God makes His appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:14-20)

His Embrace

father-holding-newborn

When we search His call, abide in love,

as we open all to God above

in our praise and prayer, we worship and declare

our God none to compare,

we feel His embrace, feel His embrace.

 

If we see neighbors through Father’s eyes

(neighbors – those heirs who we may despise),

it’s not “them” we see, but seeds of Diety

Who made us family.

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.

 

And He loves without prerequisite

even though we doubt and won’t commit.

There’s plenty of space to make enough mistakes;

He gives mercy and grace.

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.

 

His command: we are to love bar none

no matter what our likes, says Savior Son.

We have a choice, yet His will remains unmet;

in this will we regret?

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.

 

Open hearts and heads to Life and Light;

His lavish grace will spread to all in sight.

As we pass kindness along, we become blessed,

have moved to His likeness.

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.

 

 Luke 10:25-37