Five Smooth Stones

Oak tree Audubon Park New Orleans  

The story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17 takes place in the valley of Elah–‘oak’.

Perhaps there were strong, towering oak trees there, a visual reminder of the stirring story that unfolded when Goliath challenged the mighty men of Israel.

Young David, the shepherd, was overcome with Goliath’s insolence, “Why, he has defied the armies of God!” and vowed to fight this mighty, swaggering Philistine.
David, the youngest, motivated by a holy zeal, left the sheep to be tended by someone else because there was a job to do.

There was a job to do and King Saul had the perfect solution–wear my armor.
He placed a bronzed helmet on David’s head, clothed him with a coat of mail and put his armor over it all.

All that protective clothing was heavy.  HEAVY.
David remarked about Saul’s suited layers of metal, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.”
I haven’t tried walking around in your armor.
So David took everything off.

Instead, he took his staff in his hand, the one item he had years of experience with.
THIS had been tested and tried against the bear and the lion, this one he used to guide and guard the sheep–the familiar tool that felt comfortable in his hands.

Then David stooped to the ground and picked up 5 smooth stones.

From the earth–the land he knew, from where he had spent his youth…
Familiar weapons–God-provided, simple rocks.

And David stood in the power and the anointing and in the name of God–“for the battle is the LORD’S,” he declared.

He ran quickly toward the battle line to meet Goliath, reached for a stone and destroyed the mighty Philistine who dared to defy the God of Israel.
Are you in the Valley of Elah with a Goliath?
Before you go into battle,
Don’t try to put on someone else’s armor to fight.
Their gifts won’t fit you.
Their power style won’t be right.
You haven’t tested what they have and you probably won’t be able to walk in it.

Pick up the tools you know right in front of you.

Put on the armor of God that was made for you. 

Clothe yourself in the wardrobe of your King.
The one that fits the who you are with the where you are and the what you are.
Use the five smooth stones, aim well, call on God and be prepared for victory.

Sharing in Community with Michelle at
and Laura for

New Life NOLA

Under Construction

Concrete ripped and piled

Bulldozed building pieces askew
Saltines stacked on a pile of dirt.
There is mess everywhere.

Plastic flaps outside, tucked in and under,
Protecting not much anymore.
Piles of rebar readied for foundations
Sand, rock for ballast, fill.
There is mess everywhere.

The glare of lights, warning signs,
Ominous fences.
There’s an implosion—
Destruction inside,
Overleaping, over reaching its bounds
Readying for more,
Which cannot contain all the New yet to come.

I’m a mess everywhere.
I’ve thrown open my arms,
The “I let go……”
To make room,
Allow the implosion
Destruction inside,
To wash away, be blown away
Rebuilt with the yet-to-be.

Am I ready?
But daily death yields to life and

more life.

Build, Father, Build.

sharing in Community with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus

Resurrection–What Now?

Romans 8:11 King James Version

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken
your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

“quicken”–to make alive, to revive or resuscitate, as from death; hence, to excite; stimulate.”

Visiting friends in New Orleans, the ‘big easy’ where there is a lot of spirit. Attending church in New Orleans, where there is a lot of Spirit.

I did not expect Easter to be like this……..

The illustrated sermon (i.e. live play) pictured a real Jesus character on a life-sized cross, Joseph of Arimathea and mountain sized tomb….bringing home the horror and the power and the glory of Christ’s death and resurrection more vividly than ever.

The pastor said, “Your life  hangs on the resurrection. Every drop of blood that Jesus shed brings life to your life.”

I began to picture a pool of blood, a puddle at the feet of Jesus, flowing like a river into my body.
I was reminded that the word of God is alive.

The Word of God is Alive!

In me.

There was new blood flowing, coursing through my veins.  All in my mind’s eye, but in my Spirit, it was true.

I could feel it.

I’d had a blood transfusion. That same life of Christ IS in me.  I have been quickened–revived.

Something is changed in me.
There’s no going back.
This time next year I’ll be a new person.

by the ‘same power that raised Christ from the dead.’


How Creation Speaks

I’ve been looking at pine cones a lot lately.  A book I’ve been reading makes me SEE things differently.  Makes me stop and pay attention to what’s at my feet, down close. Instead of stepping over, around and on what lies below, I’m starting to take time to notice what I see.

When I went for a walk yesterday, I discovered there were a least 3 different kinds of cones within roughly 200 feet of my front door. There were rose-like, tightly bunched balls, prickly, layered missiles, and rounded, hard-edged cones from our cul-de-sac’s fir and cedar trees.

I gathered them up, placed them on my deck railing, added twigs and lichen and this simple tableau emerged. All those variations of fir and cedar cones put me in mind of what I’d learned in my college Math Class. When I went back to school (at age 36) to become a teacher I had to suffer through Math–three times. Let’s just say I’m more of a word person.

I survived Algebra because I took it (the 2nd time) in summer school, aided by a study group at my house every day after school for four weeks.  After Algebra, there was Math 45.  I can’t quite explain Math 45, but it wasn’t Algebra. It wasn’t anything I’d ever seen that had anything to do with numbers.
I knew this would be a challenge for me.  I sat in the front row of the lecture hall to be as close to the teacher as possible, to get as much help as possible.  He will probably still recall how I was brought to tears because, although he was speaking English,  i just didn’t get it…

However, I persevered; we got to Chapter 8 and I was supremely rewarded.  Dr. Tannenbaum introduced us to the beautiful Fibonacci Sequence, (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,34, 55, 89, 144, etc.)  The magic of this formula is this: add the first two numbers together and you get the next number, second two numbers together, you get the 3rd and so on). This series of numbers showed the not-so-random patterns in nature of things like….

Pine Cones and Honeycombs
The shell of a Chambered Nautilus
Pineapples, the whorl on a sunflower seed head… there are many, many more examples.

Leonardo da Pisa, (‘Fibonacci’) was a mathematician who discovered and identified a pattern in nature that was quantifiable, a formula which was also called The Golden Ratio, or The Divine Ratio. Divine–and no wonder–only God could make things so perfectly beautiful in a way that revealed order, thought, planning.  Revealed Him.
In Colossians Chapter 1, Paul writes:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

I began to love Math.  Why?  Well, because it simply proved what I already knew to be true about the world around me. It seemed obvious– All of Creation points to a Divine Creator God if we have eyes to see Him. 

I’m being reminded of something I discovered twenty years ago—slow down, see, look for your Creator in His Creation–it all points to Him. 

For more information about the Fibonacci Sequence, click here.

The Song of Your Life

Son Aaron at the piano with his firstborn, Hanan, 1 year old, 2004

Maybe you have a Life Verse, one Scripture that encapsulates your identity, from God’s voice to your ears. Mine is Psalm 45:1, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer…), but what would be your song?

When the service begins to celebrate your passing (which I am not doing any time soon, just for the record) will they know what to play?
I’ve been considering this question more and more lately, as I approach my ‘twilight’ years.
Without sounding a little weird, I think it’s wise to have something written down ahead of time so there are some directions and you have a little say-so in how things are done when it comes time to mark the end of your life.

Choosing The Song….the stand on your feet at the end of the service song–is practically impossible for me–way too many choices. I’d want to fit a few favorites in somewhere in the requisite slide show–surely a Broadway tune or two, maybe some James Taylor, Josh Groban…well, I’m getting ahead of myself.  WAY ahead of myself.

Anyway, for the final song, I think I have it decided.
The other night as I was listening to a recording of the Odes of Solomon (produced by Andrew Schreiner), the familiar notes on the piano began the piece I love the most–‘Sing Allelu’ (Ode 40) sung by Fernando Ortega.**

I had to get up from my work, throw my arms in the air and sing…it’s one of those ‘stand on your feet’ kind of songs.

Planning ahead, I pictured my going home service–how would this ‘Sing Allelu’ be delivered?   Would it be during a stirring video with amazing photos and the accompanying song?  Or someone singing live? 

And instantly I saw plain as day, my son sitting at the piano, as he has been doing since he was 8 years old, encouraging everyone to rise to their feet and join in the worship.

People would be moved, my grandchildren (maybe my greats??) would hear what their Nana loved more than anything, there would be tears, there would be joy and most of all my Jesus would be lifted up.
It’s amazing what one piece of music can do for your soul.

Just for fun, if you could plan ahead, what would be the song(s) of your life that celebrated what you loved the most?
What do you want people to remember you by and why?

Leave a note in the Comments.

**turn up your volume, take 5 minutes–pure worship