Endurance

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Endurance

Genesis 16:1-6

The Birth of Ishmael

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, and Sarai said to Abram, “You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Your slave-girl is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,

“Now you have conceived and shall bear a son;

you shall call him Ishmael,

for the Lord has given heed to your affliction.

He shall be a wild ass of a man,

with his hand against everyone,

and everyone’s hand against him;

and he shall live at odds with all his kin.”

So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi”; for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Revelation 2: I-7

The Message to Ephesus

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.”

Today I am preparing for week 2 of Vacation Bible School. This evening will commence the second three-day extravaganza where we open the doors of the church to children in the neighborhood and invite them in to experience the love of Jesus in an age-appropriate fashion. For those of you who have helped lead VBS before, you know both the excitement and the exhaustion of it, because, lets just be honest: it is often easier to love, serve, and teach slower moving adults.

This word today is not for church workers though. It is for the parents of those children we only borrow for a few hours each week. We, the church, do not raise your children and so the depth of that task is left to you. Yes we may be dealing with 100 others just like your child all at once, but you handle the joys and heartaches day in and day out, and that takes a special kind of endurance.

Can you imagine being in Hagar’s position. Having just given birth out of wedlock at her mistresses request and then thrown out to die in the wilderness with her newborn child. God came and comforted her, provided for her, but her trial was not over. It was just beginning. It’s one thing to get a behavioral diagnosis of your child from a relative or teacher, or even a doctor. It is quite another to hear it from God.

He shall be a wild ass of a man,

with his hand against everyone,

and everyone’s hand against him;

and he shall live at odds with all his kin.

That’s not a good diagnosis. It’s not something a parent wants to hear about their child. It puts gray on your head fast. Yet this “wild child” would receive a similar blessing as Isaac… an uncountable multitude of offspring. His name, like Abraham, Isaac , and Jacob, would be known across the ages. In some ways it is even more remarkable because Ishmael and Hagar both quickly fade from the story here, yet their legacy lives on today.

I believe God gave the Ephesians the key to that endurance needed to follow Him and embrace the call He has on our life. He told the church at Ephesus to remember the love you had at first. There will be days when you will want to give your child back to God. It is those days that you most need to remember how tiny and helpless they were when they were first born… And how humbled you were to be given the task of raising them, that task does not get easier over time. It grows with them. God calls us to repent from our wounded pride and remember the gifts God has given us and that it is only by His provision that we make it through each day. We endure by placing our trust in Him.

Where do you struggle with endurance?

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The Herald

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She sought solace, wrapped in soft,

thick clouds, from a dark, cold world.

Le Nuage d’Aurore gazes back

to the land where love and fear intersect

and mix in awesome dissonance

and beauty enough to stop the train

of Titan’s gait. He gives pause to wait

for another sight of her peaking billows

creeping over the cup of darkness below

like too much milk in a pitcher too small,

threatening to overflow and spill upon

a famished land. They cry with hand

held high toward heaven’s dove

who refuses to turn her back

on a world in which she cannot stand

to stay. Yet soon will come the day

persistence paid in scarlet streaks

she yet again will light the skies

and herald the Sun in fevered gleam

and mark the heavens

and feed His fish –

His dying wish.

 


 


 

Acrost a bubbling sonnet

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Two hermits enter rest, enter

into solace;

attunement,

placing lace above covered ears

where howls end, receding enjoinment.

Bubbles upon bubbles burst like eastern stars,

washed in long laments,

cried over lost longing in desperate evasion.

 

We hide every nexus,

willing our rude deeds silent.

Behind each hidden offering, locked doors exist now,

facing all I lack,

adding new distance

for all lifted language

by every tested will endured… enduring now.

 

Art

found roughly around generous inklings, like embers

sparking patches ablaze, channeling electric

whispers in the hallows.

They initiate new trysts each day,

centered round your starlit twins and laugh

headlong into deep embrace.

 

We have each recently entered

houses encased; riddle-minded instincts telling secrets

struck in twain

under peels of negligence

and

glistening on lazy dream-edged nests

marking ends and news.

 

Islets

prove an insightful nonsense today,

(meaning yesterday)

with all length luring strength,

wrested in the heart.

Entities, living entities gaze and notice conspicuous ears,

and nervous dares

chime after reasoned ends.

 

Whispers in the history of us tonight:

especial noise opens unto guarded heights

raining efforts, growing antique rose dialects.

Fall over risk

on the hope each reason

estimates you endure so.

 

Why have only sighs? Ease

gently across zephyr easels

held and set,

cupped and ushering great heat towards

attenuation.

Given light I might perceive semblances ergo

other faces

meeting your’s

and relinquishing tense

beats and resounding excitement.

 

Although never doubting,

faults remain of mistaken

beauties, each hiding in notched doors

and

molded unsure down deep, leaving each disparate

method etched so secure

in tandem,

so penned in either space.

 

Feeling out resonance

for each act recorded

against notched doors,

baleful elegance and unknown tributes yearn

away with eternity

and noticeable direction.

We often need different effected routines

for upset settings ended.

 

All need deliverance

from our rich madness

and

selfish terror of rude mourning.

Altogether counted right over selected sections

(aspects)

for integral elements let down

over fields

grown ripe ever, even now…

 

Outstanding, under thoughts shaded in deep electric

shimmers, half opened, with ice nourished graces,

deeper and redder kindling

dances endlessly spilling portents and inquiries round intertwining netted gates;

hair undone – endlessly swaying.

 

Bells utter tenderness

inside neatly stacked intriguing dream estates

for other loud donations in novel gratuity,

outside under their

attics,

gently reassuring a calm embrace.

Still, endearing resonance, entreats nestled eaves.

 

Yet ever true,

it nears

a lost love,

trusted here in solace.

Yesterday only understand responses

echoed yes, ending softly.

Sleek esteemed enquiries knowing

jasmine under stilted time,

owe nothing especial,

however unusually even.

 

In ‘magical

portents aligned in nebulous time inside new grey

limitless islets, north, east, south

to oeste

sings a yearning

to hold a thimbleful,    

indeed

little of value escapes

your open universe.