Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Wings of the Wind





Dear God, Oh God,

How dare I to write to you, You who walked on water? I read this morning in the book of Daniel how you walked in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I read them in Psalms how you walk on the wings of the wind.You said in Job that you have entered the springs of the sea and walked in the recesses of the deep (not only on water, but in it and under it.) But you have also called me your child and I have a question or two.  I have many questions, as children often do. You have called me friend and I cannot even fathom that. You have called yourself my brother. How can that be?  But back to my original question. Why did you walk on water?

 I know that you created all things, including water, fire, and wind. When you spoke to Job you told him that you measured the sky with a span and you weighed the ocean in the hollow of your hand––a scar-free hand then. You know what they consist of, how they function and how to use them. You know their properties and how to control them. 


You wrapped the earth in clouds like a baby in a blanket. You watched the ocean gush into being. You set boundaries and divided light; and set the stars in their courses.  Why am I so amazed that you could walk through the fire and on the water? Yet, I am amazed.



I can understand the reason you came and walked with the three Israelites. They were being punished because they wouldn't worship a statue made by King Nebuchadnezzar. They said before they were threatened with the fire, "Our God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and he will deliver us from your hand. But know this, even if he does not, we will not worship your gods or bow to your golden idol."

Now, this made the king so angry he demanded the furnace be super-heated, the three men to be tied up with ropes, and strong soldiers to heave them into the furnace. When they did, the flames killed them almost instantly, the soldiers, that is. The rope burned off the three men and the King watching saw four men walking freely about in the fire, but not burning. That extra was you!


This astounded the king who asked how many did you throw in? "We threw three," they answer. "But I see four walking around loose in the fire unharmed, and one looks like the son of God." The king called the men to come out and they did not even have the smell of fire on their clothes and no hair on their heads was singed.

Such an amazing story and I love every part of it. Their courage, their strength of faith. Your allowing the whole thing to be carried through so they were thrown into the fire and then you walked them out, saved them. The martyr doesn't die, can't die, just meets you and walks on.
You walked across water during a storm, not to show off, but to save your friends from the perilous sea. Peter asked when he saw you if you would allow him to walk to you. He walked too and I wonder because this is not a case of threat and punishment for faith. It seemed almost just for fun. Why did you do it? Were you building faith in Peter or trying to show him something?

I think it must be that you were showing him your power so that when the Roman soldiers came and took you and nailed you to the cross, Peter would know it was not something you couldn't have saved yourself from? That it was a death you resigned yourself to accept. If a man can walk on water and stroll around in a fire, he must be able to save himself from a cross and a mob. You gave your life freely.


O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty, who wraps yourself in light as with a garment: who stretches out the heavens, who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds his chariot: who walks on the wings of the wind. Psalm 104:1-3




©2014 Elece Hollis, author of   Limitless Grace 
Limitless Grace: Devotions Inspired by the Beloved Classic Grace Abounding

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dear Summer




.
Dear Summer,

I feel you coming softly and slowly to an end. With melons ripe in the garden and sunflowers rearing heavy heads are nodding off to sleep in the early afternoon heat. Their leaves like plates seem ready to catch seeds when they begin to drop from their centers.

After darkness begins to fall, I will come and water them so they will be with us still to greet autumn after the tomatoes are gone. After the musky smell of cantaloupe is washed away by evening rains. After the melons have been cut and chilled in the water tub of ice water. After we have feasted on all the sweet summer fruits and vegetables. After evenings on the back porch, after picnics by the lake, and after visits with grandparents and cousins, and when we begin to wish for school days.

After we have tired of the cicadas song, you will slip away without so much as a goodbye. We will ache for you for a time. Then a cool breezy sunny day will sweep in and we will wonder why we even liked you. We will be glad of your passing and happy for the season of apple picking and pumpkin pies and campfires.

We will relish the smell of burning leaves—your leaves shed like tears all day long after the first frost laden night—your leaves brown and brittle like love notes that fluttered from the trees. They will be raked up into huge heaps for children to leap and play in; and then burned of an morning while those children are off learning to read and write and spell words like September, autumn, harvest, chrysanthemum, and thanksgiving.

We will think back to you when we open jars of relish and tomatoes to make soups and when we make a berry cobbler or spread cherry jam on our toast. We will be glad of you and miss you a bit, but enjoy cozy evenings with family by the fireplace. We will miss you and by next spring late will be wishing you'd hurry back for us. We will be ready for your heat and for swimming and green grass and gardens.

So, Summer, I say my goodbyes now. So long and we will see you next year!

Love you,
Elece


Sunflowers bow their heads in the dark of summer nights, in the morning they lift them to the sky. As the day progresses, the sunflowers turn their faces toward the sun. We should also keep our chins up and our faces looking to the light of our Lord Jesus. Then we will find truth and be bold and strong as the sunflowers.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring is a kiss from God


Spring is always so busy that with change that we often rush through and miss some of the best things–like flowers. In Oklahoma, Ox-eye daisies grow beside the road. Prairie parsley, like firework bursts of bright yellow dance and bow as you pass. Don't pass too fast. Stop and see. A moment in your headlong hurry to notice is like taking a few seconds to say thanks to God.

Red and orangey Indian paintbrushes leave swathes of color across new green where weeks before all we had was brown. A leisurely walk through a meadow full of new grasses and wildflowers is better than any medicine I know of. It heals up all the drear of winter and all the disappointments and hard knocks you have suffered fade away.

Soon there are splashes of yellow buttercups and pools of soft pink Showy Evening primrose. The pear trees bloom white and apple trees glow pink. In the woods splashes of purple mark the redbud trees and graceful arms of white dogwood grace the scene.

My favorite thing is to find a spot where there once was an old farmhouse. There may be nothing left but the remains of a barn or the top of a cistern or storm cellar. There I find green tufts with yellow trumpets of daffodils blowing in the wind, often purple iris or other flowers once loved now left behind. I consider these house-site flowers a legacy from a prairie housewife, a gift to me, so I go in and pick armloads to carry home and set in vases all over the house. What an extra helping of joy my soul gains from them.


By Elece Hollis, author of Meet God in the Morning, Poems for the Heart of Prayer http://amzn.to/1o6ZMTi

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Girl of my Heart




Dear Sweet Jordyn, Girl of my heart, 

I love you so much! We did have a great adventure this summer 
going on a jet plane all the way to San Diego to visit your Daddy. 

Wasn't it fun? 


 You have beautiful dark eyes like your Daddy!



You are so full of fun. So super silly.
You played dress-up in a store and made the proprietors laugh.


 Here you are with your handsome daddy or is that your silly daddy?.


 I rest my case! I guess you came by the silliness naturally! That was a fun day in Julian.


Here is a run in the sun on the mountain trail.


 Your Grandpa may be part of the silly problem!


 Three generations! Mama, son, and grandgirl.


 Miss Movie Star with your fancy fan!



 Riding in Daddy's snazzy car. Well, really just sitting in a parking lot in his snazzy car
 You were playing parade beauty Queen


 You never stay bored. A long trip in the car and you played dress-up. 
Are those undies on your head?


 You had a blast playing in the surf!


 Didn't you love the ocean? I did. Here is our sand castle.




 Remember we ate at a fancy seafood place, The Vera Cruz Fish House, and your food came
 on a fish-shaped plate.


 You tasted the shrimp and said, "Ahhh - Heaven on a plate!"


Still can't believe this tree!


 Such a wonderful huge tree we found at Carlsbad!



 You played with your little sister Lilly. She is so cute and precious.


She liked having a big sister!


 Your daddy took you to SeaWorld and you tried to pet the dolphins!


Ate on a pirate ship with seagulls all around!
 Got tired and almost cried once, but you know how to control yourself.
Make your face say " Happy".


 Petted the Manta Rays and explored the aquariums.



 We went to the ocean again and played and played in the foamy waves. 
You tried to trick me by saying the waves are made by a chemical 
called Hydrogen-Copoxide. How do you come up with that stuff?





What happiness on your face!


Whoo Hooooooo!
 Oh! Wasn't the ocean the most fun ever!

You said, "They don't have oceans like this back in Oklahoma!"

I wish we did. Don't you?



 You explored the airports San Diego, Tulsa and Denver.



 You read to your baby sister. She was impressed!



 Dived like an Olympian in Dad's pool.


 Visited the base, Camp Pendleton where your dad works and the memorial.



 You played that you were the center of the universe!


 Climbing trees is one of your hobbies. Found another big one at Camp Pendleton!


 Beach with Daddy!



 GLORIOUS , wasn't it? And SOOOO COLD!


 You found seaweed and sand crabs.


 Swam in Dad's pool all week.



 The desert world was all new to us. We explored at the Temecula Rose Gardens.



 What a view! What a sight!


 More Sister Time.


 At Balboa Park you explored museums and gardens.
Here you are in the Japanese Gardens, prettier than any of the flowers.



 You and your Dad at Balboa Botanical Gardens.



 You played with the birds and I think the bird man startled you when he put one on your head!


 We bought vendor hotdogs and ate a picnic lunch.

Posed with huge creepy marionette puppets!



 And rode on a bejeweled dragon's head!



You were a princess with a hibiscus flower in your hair. 



You turned California Up-Side-Down! 

You turn Grandma's heart up-side-down too. 

I love you, sweet girl,


                                                                                                            Love you,


 Grandma Elece