Engineer Log Entry 10: USS Baruch HaShem Jan 11, 2020

image1  There are two popsicle sticks on the other side of this paper that was stuck somewhere in my house.  Thursday and yesterday, the pipe that went from the wood stove on the lower level to the new chimney on the roof was replaced and when I got home from work Thursday, this was on the dining room table.

The first owner of this place was a couple and their 5 kids.   One of their sons lives just down the street and is married and near retired himself.  The others have kids of their own and don’t live too far away.  I figured one of his family stashed it years ago and I should show it to him, but I also was so tired, I simply left it where it was and went to bed.   Then I forgot it completely, my prayers for increased wonder also apparently forgotten too, (see Log Entry 8).  He is hardly subtle with me and yet I sometimes miss everything.

The next day, Sally texted me this picture at work, “the guys found this between the floor and the ceiling.  It’s some sort of treasure map written backwards and upside down.  I’m geeking hardcore”

There were a lot of things growing up that seemed a mystery to me and the older I get, the more I realize there is such loving purpose in this to bring us alive.

Valentine’s Day 2011, I told myself not to be so dramatic when I wondered in a flash if it would be the only Valentine’s Day I would get with the man I had just started dating.  I didn’t want to be too over the top, but I knew that I loved him and I also knew he was really sick.  I decided just to go for it and shopped at several stores in Brookline MA within walking distance of where I worked at the time.   I can’t remember them all but there was a bookshop, a candy shop, and the trail ended at free pizza down the block where I would show up to hang out for a little and he’d have free pizza with the crew of friends on the treasure hunt.

He was not a bookworm like me, but thankfully one of the friends on the treasure hunt got all the clues that relied heavily on the Narnia series.  They were all puzzles that rhymed and not a one was easy.  Regardless, they made it to the pizza and had a blast along the way.  Even if it hadn’t been our only Valentines Day, even that day, I was very happy to have done that.  He was very happy.   Joy was everywhere.

It occurred to me that I can leave clues in this house now.  Build on the tradition we didn’t even know about.  I am going to start with leaving one for Sally, but instead of an earthly treasure, it’s going to be something hinting at the bigger picture.  First she has to find the clue.  Then she has to figure out the riddle that references a bible verse.   Once she gets the verse, we’ll have to plan together the next steps in the route.  We can build the map as the clues are discovered.  Stay tuned.

Engineer Log Entry 94: USS Baruch HaShem, April 4, 2020

The Lord is ever growing my faith.  I told Sally, if He could give me something good to say every day this year, I asked if He might give me an image every day to take a picture of.  He has done more than that, (despite my ifs).  My prayer tonight is that His Spirit would answer over and above something in her heart.

We have a Father that longs for us to ask and bless us.  With all the fear in this COVID-19 pandemic, all the masks and gloves,  all the good work to keep people safe,  all the unknown, He still has the finest detail of our hearts in His mind, in His heart.   He must have had that in mind for both Sally and me when introducing us through mutual friends and a homeschool community last year.  She recently sent me this letter.

Her words minister to me beyond measure and it is a privilege to walk with her in this particular time at this stage of her life.

Like this little bird hoping both not to be noticed and stay by the food,

IMG_3066

I was tempted not to post the letter, testimony to one of the biggest gifts the Lord has given me yet, away as hidden treasure, but (and with her permission), He changed my mind.

Matthew 5:16 (ICB) “in the same way, you should be a light for other people.  Live so that they will see the good things you do.  Live so they will praise your Father in heaven.”

Lord, especially now, so many people may be clinging to hope as if it were sparse.  Unveil Your glory to us inwardly, no matter where we are or if we are sick or not.  You came for the sick Lord.  Soften a heart you continually do in mine replacing  stone skepticism to one that can beat with faith, hope, love.

Thank You for Sally, her sweet spirit, her love for You, her eagerness to serve, and openness in faith.  You know everything about her Lord and whatever she knows You would love to give to her, pour out that as a blessing in her life in such a way she can only take a step back in wonder of Your hand in it.  She loves to tell Your story.  Tell more through her though answering this prayer.

Thank You, Lord – this is the work You love!  It is the reason You could die for us and face anything.  Show us You do our impossible, as You said, “The things impossible for men are possible with God.”  We are watching for You, Lord.    Amen. 

Engineer Log Entry 93: USS Baruch HaShem, April 3, 2020

Psalm 78:4  “We will not hide them from their children;  we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might and the wonders that he has done.”

Romans 3:3-4. “It is true that some Jews were not faithful to God. But will that stop God from doing what He promised?  No, God will continue to be true even when every person is false..  As Scriptures say:  ‘So your words may be shown to be right. You are fair when you judge me.’”

2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself”

His faithfulness, and the fullness of the gift of faith He pours out, was the bible study topic and weighed gently with me as I walked, like the light yoke He intended.  He seemed to be strolling too, just ahead. 

I am listening Lord, waiting on You.  I want to join the cloud of witnesses that point to Who You are, what You did, are doing, will do.   

IMG_0666

Lord, thank You for the gift of faith.  We thank You for saying yes to death on a cross to free us.  As we are approaching soon Passover and Easter, may Your story light up our worlds, and find creative ways to tell in given the pandemic.  You are the Way and can do all things.  You are the gate to Eternity.  Lead on.  Amen

Engineer Log Entry 92: USS Baruch HaShem, April 2, 2020

2 Kings 6:15-17 (ICB) “The servant of Elisha got up early.  When he went out, he saw an army with horses and chariots all around the city.  The servant said to Elisha, ‘ Oh, my master, what can we do?’

Elisha said, ‘Don’t be afraid.  The army that fights for us is larger than the one against us.’

Then Elisha prayed, ‘Lord, open my servant’s eyes.  Let him see.’

The Lord opened the eyes of the young man.  And he aw that the mountain was full of horse and chariots of fire all around Elisha”

AWANA memory verse Challenge 4 Luke 12:6-7 “Are not 5 sparrows sold for 2 pennies?  Yet, not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs on your head are numbered.  Do to be afraid.  You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Acts 27:33-34 (ICB) “Just before dawn Paul began persuading all the people to eat something.  He said, ‘For the past 14 days you have been waiting and watching.  You have not eaten.  Now I beg you to eat something.  You need it to stay alive.  None of you will lose even one hair off your heads.”

These three scriptures popped for me so I wrote them down before I headed out the door before sundown to walk and talk.

What used to be a regular meeting time is for the interim a Thursday phone call with my wonderful friend and we talked a bit about His amazing care when we don’t see it.  The struggle we share to walk in faith and trust, and then how He reveals it  – just so – for us to be encouraged.  She told me there’s a rumor that it can be up to 6 weeks to recover from COVID for compromised folks and if that’s the case, I am done with week 4 and am scheduled to go back to the office in two weeks, according to the office emails.  The Lord allowed me to be exposed early for where I live and the frame puts me on nearly fully recovered by then.  I’m as grateful as astounded at my own attempts to plan and control.   His timing is perfect.  King David wrote so well –  better a day in His courts than elsewhere and in His hands than man’s.

Prayer walking after the call, just before dark, this was in the trees.

IMG_6593

I started working summers about the time I was 14 and can’t remember, other than times of recovery from bouts from much more severe illness, a summer when I didn’t work.  Another comment that surfaced during the call as we exchanged stories of her being more with family and me being home instead of at work brought out this expanse of relaxed time.  It is like summer in Spring and Spring is my favorite season.  I’m unaccustomed to the languid time and I adore it.  It is like a series of Shabbats.  If I were Jewish, I would know something else to call it and I will have to ask the rabbi when I can.  Maybe – no – for sure –  I will email this question.  He had written asking if we need anything, and I know he probably meant things like – groceries or toilet paper, but as long as he’s asking, I am going to toss that one over.  Spiritual food matters.

Gazing at this lost kite coupled with reflecting on His invisible SWAT team of angels because of His great and intricately detailed, demonstrative  love, I stood in wonder for a moment under that tree with hope and with Him.    He is storing every tear and will restore.  He never breaks a promise.  All that has been stolen from us will be made new in a new Earth.  How can I lose sight of that?  And how beautiful the images of a child’s wonder at flying kites is unearthed in my own heart as I gaze at this one small slight piece of fabric, cut from whence it came.  Left high and unreachable in gathering darkness but surely not forgotten.

Lord, thank You for Your care.  Thank You for this time to rest and recover.  Draw near to all caught in hurry and who must work now.  Remind them, introduce them, or cause the truth to spring into their mind more regularly rest awaits – the longer chance to rest in the house You promised to those who trust in You.   The rooms You are preparing as I write. May all nearing coming home, all those caring for them, and all those simply waiting now, say Yes to Your Spirit and  be filled with the assurance of Eternal Life.  Amen.

Engineer Log Entry 91: USS Baruch HaShem, April 1, 2020

It’s always good to look up.

IMG_0842

For April, Pakistan is in our prayers.  Open Doors invites us to pray for

  1.  the government to pass laws to protect Christians,
  2. for the protection of converts with a Muslim background, (especially in a time when people are being asked to stay at home, from family, neighbors, friends, and Islamic groups),
  3. and lastly for the Christians accused of blasphemy laws, that they be edified with supernatural strength and hope.  The request is that justice will prevail.

My friends have such mixed reactions to this current COVID-19 crisis, and there is an undercurrent of overwhelm in all of them.  I am so grateful to love people who know Him well and to see and pray for those that don’t know Him at all.  The human fears of needing to walk through shadows crop up in us all because we all need Jesus.  My prayer tonight is for those in Pakistan, specifically those I love far and near that I’ve talked this week and the ones they mentioned, and especially for Sandy, my dear godmother who has COPD.

Jesus there are so many of us, when reaching out to fellowship are having to use an electronic device instead of hold a hand or read a face.   We praise You for the technology that allows us to see each other and for churches striving to bring people together as much as possible through prayer and services.  We ask for a hedge of protection around the specifics in technology that keep those things working properly, for encouragement for all involved and for safety for all still working.  We ask for that same power over all the nurses, doctors, and staff, as well as home care providers.  Fill them with Your strength and hope.  We thank You for walking the path for us and before us.

For the overwhelm Lord, grant Your true peace, grant wholeness, shalom.

When our flesh reaction is to freeze, coax us gently forward because You always go forth.

When we run too hard or get too busy, lost in all the tasks at once, draw us back to the still waters and pastures You sing out in Psalm 23.

When we don’t stop to think or pray because apathy seems the only answer and we cannot face the pain or truth, as we walk not seeing it is You on the path after all, by Your spirit, burn in our hearts until we are ready to admit what is true and let it trickle in before the breakthrough.

When we are tempted to blame and judge any of these things we hate in ourselves, bring us back to a place of contentment that You did not die for those that have it together but for the sick.  Especially now, with sickness in the limelight, use it draw out comfort in truth You are here to be with us in this.

For the persecuted church Lord, especially for Pakistan, we ask for protection against the violence.   When faced with hatred, may Your angels be there and give them vision like You did for Stephen and may they be transported to another realm.  If any are sick and without care, we ask for this same mercy Lord. 

You are a God of mercy.  Have mercy on my godmother and spare her of this virus.  Give her some more time now and a peaceful death later.  Grant we can fellowship more this summer.   For all those thinking these thoughts, praying these prayers for loved ones, grant us all trust in You and mercy.  You are waiting to come back for Your mercy.  I beg You to do the same on her account and for the love of all that feel this way.

Pour out Your mercy in Pakistan, and all over the world.  Especially work in the government there and see that laws are passed now that increase justice, as promised in Isaiah 45 and the sweet cadence of Martin Luther King Jr sings out may, “justice rain down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  Your kingdom come, Your will be done O, Lord.  Amen

Engineer Log Entry 90: USS Baruch HaShem, March 31, 2020

IMG_0831

There is a letter from my boss on my phone to okay me to get to work just in case I’m given any trouble along the way tomorrow.   It feels like an unusual treat to be able to do what a few weeks ago I needed so much to break from.  The same is true of walking the eerily empty path in the park and along sidewalks, even on an overcast day and having no issue crossing streets due to the lack of traffic.  What would seem like a wish on an ordinary day becomes an alarm that something is wrong.

Lord, the alarm is alerting me of all I have been taking for granted in abundance all around me.  Grant healing in bodies, hope filling souls, and spirits getting in tune with Your Holy Spirit to keep us ever seeking Your best for ourselves and those around us.  Thank You for Your word to guide.

Fill us with faith, the “being sure of the things we hope for” and “knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 partial ICB)

Pslam 35:10 (ICB) “Even my bones will say, ‘Lord, Who is like You?  You save the weak and poor from robbers.”

May nothing rob us of the joy You intend for us just as He obeyed for the joy You set before Him.  Amen  

Engineer Log Entry 89: USS Baruch HaShem, March 30, 2020

cross-heaven-135599

This morning the Lord woke me again with 2 Scriptures.

Romans 8:38-29 (ICB)  “Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from the love God has for us.  Not death, not life, not angels, not ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers above us, or anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

and

Hebrews 12:2 (ICB)  “Let us look only to Jesus.  He is the One who began our faith, and He makes our faith perfect.  He suffered death on the cross.  But He accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing.  He did this because of the joy that God put before Him.  And now He is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.”

The man in charge of engineering at my day job let us all know we were working 4 day weeks indefinitely for 80% pay.  It seems like lay offs may be coming and as concerned as I am for the many in much worse situations than me, I am also relieved for the time.  My prayer is that we will, as a nation, fight back and come back. That we be kind to each other, unafraid and sharing resources.  

Lord Jesus, I am thankful for this extra time and space to care for things You have asked me to steward and yet, I’ve failed to keep up.  Grant I am wise and generous and show me where and how to best give.  Be with all those who know You and direct their hearts with Your goodness.  For those trapped in fear, bring light.  Your Spirit can reach them and I beg You as limited as I am now to fellowship, work miracles of healing and connection.  We trust You, love You, and thank You for being sovereign over all with perfect plans.  Humbled and remember and recite Your good word, “He accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing.”  As we face our challenges, embolden us with Your amazing personhood and the reality of Who You are and what You can do to transform us.  Amen

Engineer Log Entry 88: USS Baruch HaShem, March 29, 2020

68747470733a2f2f662e636c6f75642e6769746875622e636f6d2f6173736574732f3335313136342f323334393839352f33366261316339612d613536392d313165332d383539642d3564373533656130383938632e6a706567

pic

The wind has been rushing all day and deterred me from walking yet kept my thoughts on His power and creation.  

Thinking about how the Hebrew word for spirit is breath, and how much worry has been provoked around breathing – the assurance of pure air and the capacity for life through it, my prayer today is, (for those of us in good health),  – may our prayers be as steady and sure as our breathing for all those that cannot be sure of theirs.  

I am grateful for the prayer practices that ask us to pay attention to how we breathe.  Coupling this with Paul’s admonition to pray constantly and keep our thoughts on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, excellent and praiseworthy, there are so many possibilities to breathe in, and so much to exhale as we let go of what He’s asking us to hand over to His care. 

It is not a heavy yoke He intends for us, but as He prays and intercedes  for and with us, may the Holy Spirit breathe through us His good, perfect, pure intent of love and peace.  Give us vision and hope in the quiet inside, even as it roars outside.  Grant us Your breath, O Lord, and breathe in us new life.  Amen

 

 

Engineer Log Entry 87: USS Baruch HaShem, March 28, 2020

picEPSON MFP image

Thunder rolled about 10 minutes after the Lord woke me this morning.  

In a meditative prayer, I was in boat, covered by a blanket, on and off napping in a storm, Jesus across from me.  It’s not like He told me to sleep, but the story is in my bones and seeing Him lying on His side smiling at me, I knew He was letting me know I could rest.  

He did speak directly to me but He rarely gives me answers.  I want to know if I have a run of the mill virus or the killer one.  He asked, “Does it matter?”

“Do you need to worry about what may or may not happen on earth to you now?”

That question stayed with me today.

As the days have been getting away from me, and listening prayer is the hardest for me -as rich and blessed as that time was, I was soon up and about, needing to do my day job work today as well as all the rest and geared up to stave off worrying about what gets done.

The storm continued outside and it rained like a torrential downpour, like it does here in July.  It was beautiful.  I love thunderstorms because they are majestic and that kind of rain also makes me feel really good.  

His mercies are new every morning and He heard my cry long before and after I knew my own need with an encouraging email last night that has now turned into a prayer filled correspondence.  So much has felt like cleaning my soul as well as dusting the furniture, these blessings today.   I am grateful for this strength of  response and pray that kind of power and impact on anyone drug down by isolation or lack of in the same room kind of human interaction.  

What a gift He gave us in each other.

Thankfully, I got clarification direct from Sally too – I am still going to have a roommate in a few weeks and I am very happy about that.  My heart goes out to those, especially in the medical field, where it’s unclear when they can reunite with families.  And for those losing loved ones.

Today Sally and I did the AWANA video before she left for 2 weeks (for now), and for the next AWANA “Challenge”, I am going to need to give my testimony.  

It is important for me to talk about being born again in an arc to reflect our incredible Author.   

I once listened to Francis Chan, (and another friend sent me that link- soooo good!!!), preach about Eternity using a rope nearly as thick as his wrist, the kind gyms use or used to use.  He had marked the end to signify our life on earth and how tiny it was, even in the broken analogy.

That this the frame to set all of spiritual experience- and to place our thoughts captive in.

Lord praise You and thank You for this place You gave us that You will come back to make perfect.  At a time when the whole world is tempted to believe lies and let fear rule, have Your best way and will with us, with our minds, and through our interactions.  There are so many kind people that surround me and the crisis is drawing out good.  Continue Your good work in our lives to bring us together and give You glory.  Amen.

Engineer Log Entry 86: USS Baruch HaShem, March 27, 2020

This was the first day in a long time I started to get discouraged.  Was about to do the Beth Moore video session and saw my email icon was loaded – I forgot it yesterday.  This note was inside from Agape International Missions and it brought me back to 2010, when doubts loomed large about my choice to work in Boston, and still a single person all those questions, (it was about 6 months before I met my husband.)

The Lord’s answer then came flooding back right now.  It feeds my heart to give and that’s been my heart ever since.  Though my husband is in heaven and I may be in the house with just the cats soon myself, the Lord has always been so near that I don’t feel alone.   I do doubt too much, but He’s after me on that 🙂  This email was a huge boost and a well timed gift.  I prayed for this wonderful servant in reply back and thought – this is my blog for today.

“Dear Mollie,

We are so grateful that you have prayed and supported AIM through a number of crises in Cambodia over the years. God has literally transformed thousands of lives through you. Today, as we are in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and around the world, I want you to know I am praying for you and your family. Here at AIM, we are worshipping over worrying, because throughout all of these crises, God remains good and faithful.

Each day, for 14 days, I will pray that you experience the peace of God which will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. And that you will be protected from the virus, but if infected you will recover quickly.

Please know that this email is not part of a mass emailing, but a personal note to you, from me. That being the case, you can send any specific prayer requests which will be added to my daily prayer for you.

In Jesus’ love,

Amie Jean

Amie Downing

Executive and Office Assistant

Engineer Log Entry 85: USS Baruch HaShem, March 26, 2020

Unknown-1picfromsermonblog

1 Kings 19:7 (ESV) “And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”

Going for my walk today, I caught up on a podcast from This Too Shall Last, where the author interviewed referenced Elijah’s story in a beautiful and painful season of her life where she could do nothing but be ministered to.

As someone who is “Type A” and managed chronic illness, all this resonates with me and yet, something else stirred too.

It seems we may be headed for a season where so many more will be forced into a place of physical distress and dependence on others.  I’ve been there a few times and may be headed under the tree again.  I need to go under the tree voluntariy as often as I dare now, to listen.  Yet, the Beth Moore took me to yesterdays Titus 3 Scripture, not just the 5th verse from AWANA, but 1 through 8 and the Holy Spirit again showed me a both and and where I want to side one way or the other. 

It is not a relative both and and or a plural both and and.  It is a seasonal and appointed times kind.

Today I got to have a long talk, well, I talked mostly, with a dear listening friend and we agreed the Lord is about something with COVID-19 and this planet.  It was not what the Lord would want, but He allowed it and now it has unleashed it, He maintain His best.  I believe also some outcomes will happen dependent on our response to Him seeking us out.  

Perhaps even to find us under a tree and we just need to take and eat.

Titus 3:1-8 ESV “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and show perfect courtesy toward all people.  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.    But when the goodness and loving kindness of our God and Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of Eternal Life.  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on those things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.”

Jesus.  Thank you for giving us Yourself, the Word, Your Spirit to abide in under a tree or carrying the cross You’ve given us, yoking us lightly as all is in Your good, scarred hands.  Give us the fullness of peace passing understanding, our hearts hearing Your unchanging and unchangeable love, not dependent on anything we do.  Bless us with eyes to see what we can do, or  actively refrain from doing, in and through You is life giving now and eternally only on that narrow path for Your purposes and in Your good, slow time.  We love You Lord Jesus.  Amen.