Sailors delight eh….

“He replied,
“When evening comes, you say,
‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning,
‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’
You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky,
but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

Matthew 16:2-3

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(a view from the driveway on a sultry August Georgia evening / Julie Cook / 2016)

Red sky at night,
sailors delight….

Getting out of the car, at sunset, after a very, very long day
ferrying dad between this doctor and that doctor,
this lab facility and that medical center….
then spending almost 3 hours in traffic fighting to get home….
I look back, over my shoulder, toward the western sky.

The air is thick and heavy with the humidity of August.
Exactly how I’m feeling…weighted down and heavy ladened.

I sigh…

The evening is quiet.
A far cry from where I had just come.

Our son and daughter-n-law will be moving soon..
moving to the city I never seem to miss when I leave it.
But I can’t think about helping with packing and moving…
not yet…

I often think it not wise to write when life is so heavy
or…maybe that’s exactly when one should…write…
pouring out thoughts and feelings…
searching to match the right words with the right feelings…
sorting and making sense of the senseless…

A body that is tired and hurting
joining thoughts with feelings that now are swirling…
I look toward the red western sky…
as if seeking some sort of reassurance…

Surgery on Friday for dad…
the tumor too large to remove…
but trying to shore things up while buying some time…
Time…
another heavy thought…open-ended
full of uncertainty…

A red sky.

Signals a sailor’s delight…

In other words,
smooth sailing…

Hummm….

Again, a sigh…before heading inside…

Signs of the time…

As I am reminded, while looking at the sky…
in the midst of all the madness and heaviness,
That the Master of the sky…
and of the clouds,
and of the stars,
and of the land
and of the sea…
remains….

forever…

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope
Jeremiah 29:11

Red sky at night, sailors delight.
When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically good weather will follow.

Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.
A red sunrise can mean that a high pressure system (good weather) has already passed, thus indicating that a storm system (low pressure) may be moving to the east. A morning sky that is a deep, fiery red can indicate that there is high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain could be on its way.

(courtesy the Library of Congress, Fun Science Facts)

lovely words

“We must escape the slavery of words and give loyal adherence to meanings instead.
Words should express ideas, not originate them.”
A.W. Tozer

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(statue of the sacred heart of Jesus on the grounds of Klyemore Abbey, Connemmara , County Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015—yes I know I’ve used it before, but the image is so right for the post)

A.W.Tozer, the great 20th century American evangelical theologian, often dissected man’s view of God.
Tozer noted that when “we say that God is love; we say that God is light; we say that Christ is truth; and we mean the words to be understood in much the same way that words are understood when we say of a man, “he is kindness itself.” By so saying we are not stating that kindness and the man are identical, and no one understands our words in that sense…”

Our words for and of God are really mere descriptors.
Words we have assigned to Him.

Nothing more.

These types of words are man’s feeble attempts to describe or even ascribe to God things that we feel are important characteristics which need to accompany any sort of dialog or introduction of His being.
A Being which defies and is beyond the limitation of human words.

We Christians often use the pity little phrase “God is Love” to sum up, to one and all,
what makes God… God

Yet…is God not so much more than Love?

What of Peace…which passes all understanding
What of Holiness…
What of Omnipotence
What of being Sovereign

In our statemet that God is Love, we have ascribed love as being God and God being Love…
with any and all other love being less than because if God is love, then all other love is therefore different is it not, and in turn not of God…
and if it is therefore something else, less, below, inferior, what then is it…
For if God is, as we say, love, then the whole concept of love comes back to being that of God….as we base our understanding and definition of love on one thing and one thing only…God

God being Love in turn becomes the benchmark so to speak.

That being the level we should all ascertain to when we seek love, offer love and give love…for love is indeed of God and is in turn Godly

Yet we have watched as love has fallen
It has become cliche.
It has become small
It has become cheap
It has become carnal
and it has become dirty.
It no longer seems to mean what we have said…God is Love
Have we allowed ourselves, by lessening the word love with our flippant and empty usage, to lessen and diminish God?

God, along with this love of His, are each deeply much much more than the one dimensional sweetness found simply in a deity being described by the human definition of the pure essence of love. To say that one loves another was never something trite or small…it was a big deal to declare love. It was earnest, sincere, deeply felt and beyond the surface of casualness. It became the verbal declaration of a bond that went beyond understanding. Just as God is beyond understanding.

Yet what then when we speak of His mighty wrath?
What of His being the Light of the world.
What of His being Justice…or of being Life itself….?

Are we saying that we believe, dare assume, that these very words are actually God?
Or are they merely metaphorical descriptors?
Do we separate the two or causally blend them together?
Or is there something much deeper happening and truly beyond us when we speak these words which we ascribe to God?

If we say God is Love, what then of all the other types of love?
Do we say that God is but one type of love?
A bigger love while all other love is little?
Or is love always love, with God being the highest form possible…
Therefore all love, all the feelings, the emotions, the definitions come back to one thing
God being love…with the love we offer, seek, want, give being interconnected to the love of God.
With our love being God’s love as love becomes One..as in the true intent of Love…two becoming one

Yet at the same time how do we describe, define, spell out who and what God is?
Simple Love?

How do we say that He is Love when someone loses a loved one due to tragedy and or illness?
How do we say He is Justice when we watch a life methodically ended by the hands of another?
How do we say He is Peace while we watch the results of fighting and wars?

It is then, at those very moments, when we declare that God is obviously not of of this world…
Separating ourselves from Him.
We create a divide.
As our love and His love suddenly become different…no longer one and the same..the One has separated and become two again.
As our descriptors, our words, our definitions become less, and less, and less…

For the Love,
The Peace
The Justice
The Life
The Sovereign of all Creation
has all remained the same…

What He is, does not, has not, cannot change….
His love does not change, therefore we know that Love has not changed…despite our changing….
our diminishing the words, the meanings, the definitions….
God, His love, are constant, forever….He, it, does not change.

It is us who change…for we are constantly changing the relationship….redefining, altering
rewriting the rules…
We change the meanings, the importance, the intent of the words and all that is associated with the words…

Love doesn’t change.
Love remains the same.
God remains the same.
The meaning of God and of His love has never changed.
For God is God and therefore cannot change or alter who He is…
For God has always been and will always be…God.

We are the ones to change.
We grow tired, bored, lazy and wish to rewrite what we know.
We want our words and their meanings to accommodate our whims, our wills, our desires.
Not the other way around where we must accommodate to the word…
and in this case the love of God…

Despite our best efforts to twist the word, the meaning, the message the definition.
Love is still Love and Love is still God, and God is still love…
And we are still the object of that Love.

The question therefore remains…what will define our love and what will define our God?

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished
Malachi 3:6

Words are not enough

“I dream of lost vocabularies that might express
some of what we no longer can.”

― Jack Gilbert

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(Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

We try.
Really we do.
We try with our lofty intellects.
We try with our supercilious vocabulary.
We try with our treasure trove of books
We try with our tongues
and we try with our hearts…

We try to express, by putting into words, our thoughts…
Yet we fall gravely short as we painstakingly describe and define that which is
without description or definition.

Ours are but mere words…
Simple letters joined together in order to create and form words…
Words with meaning…
Meanings simply assigned by man…

Words both conceived and contrived in the minds of men
Limited minds.
Limited words.
Limited descriptions.
Limited man.

“…Thou dost seek us though Thou does not need us.
We seek Thee because we need Thee,
for in Thee we live and move and have
or being. Amen”

A.W.Tozer

Seek, as in sought…
Searched for as in there must be want and desire which lies at the root of said seeking..
Otherwise what would be the point to the seeking…

“To admit the existence of a need in God is to admit incompleteness in the divine Being.
Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator.”

A.W. Tozer

Creator.
A word assigned to something, someone that which is beyond our comprehension.
An acknowledgement that we and our world are created by said “Creator”
As in something bigger, greater and grander than ourselves.
As we acknowledge that we are a product of something other than ourselves.

“Whatever God is, and all that God is, He is in Himself.
All life is in and from God, whether it be the lowest form of unconscious life or the highly self-conscious, intelligent life of a seraph.
No creature has life in itself; all life is a gift from God.”

A.W. Tozer

God the Creator.
An Entity that man has tried to describe and define with mere words, having failed miserably to delineate I AM.

Words are made up and created by man.
The Creator is not created…
For He is and always has been…no beginning, no end…as in forever.
Therefore made up created words by the created are inadequate for the Creator.

The created cannot begin to define, adequately explain, or even offer sufficient praise for the Creator for He is beyond.
The Creator cannot be brought down into man’s, the created’s, limited understanding and neatly contained by man as something readily definable, explainable or analyzed.

To attempt to do so is to set limits on that which is limitless.

“The problem of why God created the universe still troubles thinking man; but if we cannot know why, we can at least know that He did not bring His worlds into being to meet some unfulfilled need in Himself, as a man might build a house to shelter him against the winter cold or plant a field of corn to provide him with necessary food. The word necessary is wholly foreign to God.”
A.W. Tozer

God does not have needs.
He does not need this earth, this land, this air, this space…
He does not need us, the created.
God does not need anything we might be able to offer Him because anything and everything we have is only because He has willed it so.

Rather it is us, the created that need Him, the Creator.

And in His all knowing infinite wisdom, The Creator knew that the created was in desperate need of a small piece of His very Essence and Being… therefore sending that very part of Himself here to us.

…and so He comes…once again offering a reminder of not His need but rather of His generous and abundant Love to His created…

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger…
Luke 2:7

The Continuum

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

“Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work”
Indian Proverb

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(Victorian Plant stand / Julie Cook / 2014)

A circle.
360º
No beginning.
No end.
Never stopping.
Never starting.
A continuum.

Very much like a cycle.
A repetition.
A loop.
A rhythm.
Over and over.
Constant.
Consistant.
Again and again and again.

Very much like the seasons.
Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
One following always after the other.
Again and again.
Over and over.
A sequence.
Year after year.
Very much like life.

Yet. . .

In life, there is always a beginning,
as in birth.
And following, there is always an end,
as in death.
A beginning.
And eventually an end.
Birth
Life
Death
End of sentence.

Yet,

We know that God is more like the circle. . .
for God is a continuum.
as in. . .
He was.
He is.
He shall ever be.
As in forever.
As in forever was.
As in forever is.
As in forever will be.
The Alpha
The Omega

Not so however for our earth.
For the earth, and all that is in it,
shall pass away.
Because for the Earth,
there indeed was a beginning.
And therefore there will certainly be an end.
As in. . .
Decay
Demise
Destruction
Death

Yet

We know that with God there is no end.
Because with God there was never a beginning–
because He always was.
And therefore if there was no beginning,
there can be no end.
As in the perfect continuum.

He, in turn, offers us a place in the continuum.
A place with Him.
As in, the adopted children of Grace.
Who may join their Heavenly Father.
But as a loving Father,
He offers a free choice . . .

Beginning
Life
Death
as in it’s over and simply no more

Or

Beginning
Life
Earthly death
Heavenly Life. . .
as in eternity
as in forever and ever and ever

As in a perfect continuum

May your soul bloom

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

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(blooms in Julie’s yard / Julie Cook / 2014)

To be grateful, this beautiful springtime Saturday in April, for the ones I hold dear.
To be grateful for those who care enough about me to shower my small family with love.
To be grateful that I am blessed with health and my five senses which enable me to drink in the headiness a day such as today.
To be grateful for a father who has been gracious and generous to my small family.
To be grateful for a son who has found a special girl to call his own—forever.
To be grateful for a husband who is a most kindhearted man.
To be grateful for friends who have chosen to honor both my son and his fiancé today with their hearts which are full of kindness, generosity, and love.

These are the moments of life that could easily be taken for granted, or even overlooked in the fray of the craziness of this thing I call my life—but I have been made consciously and palpably aware of the blessings before me.
I am the type of person who is usually hesitant and leery of being overtly grateful as I’m usually the one waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop”. . .don’t be too happy because if you don’t watch out, tragedy is just waiting around the corner to descend and cause pain and sorrow.

Yet this overwhelming sense of wonder, the realization that I am blessed in this life of mine more than I take time to recognize, must be acknowledged and not shunned due to some paranoid sense of fear.

So it is with a grateful heart that I offer my thanks and praise to a God who is my God–
A God who is there through not only the good of my life but through the bad that besets itself upon my world as well. To a God who has been and who will always remain a constant in my life despite my not always acknowledging that He is indeed a constant in my world.

Tomorrow all hell may break loose but for today, I will rejoice and be glad. . .

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 3:16