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A faith that really keeps to what is invisible and lives by it, acting as if it were already here, hopes at the same time for the time of fulfullment, of seeing and possessing. We hope for it as confidently as the hungry child to whom his father has promised bread can wait a while because he believes. Yet eventually the child wants to get the bread. Or take the music listener who willingly follows a dark interplay of disharmonies, but only in the certainty that these disharmonies will have to be resolved sooner or later. Or think of the patient who takes a bitter medicine so that the pain is finally taken away. A faith that does not hope is sick. It is like a hungry child who does not want to eat or a tired peron who does not want to sleep. Humankind hopes as surely as it believes. And it is not a disgrace to hope even beyond measure.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer


“The weak need My Strength. The strong need My Tenderness. The tempted and fallen need My Salvation. The righteous need My Pity for sinners. The lonely need a Friend. The fighters need a Leader.”

“‘Incline your ear, and com unto Me: hear and your soul shall live. – Isa. 55:3’
Not only live but grow in grace and power and beauty – the true Beauty, the Beauty of Holiness.
Reach ever forward after the things of My Kingdom.
In the animal world the very form of an animal alters to enable it to reach that upon which it delights to feed.
So reaching after the treasures of My Kingdom your whole nature becomes changed, so that you can best enjoy and receive the wonders of that Kingdom.”

“This life is not for the body, it is for the soul, and man too often chooses the way of life that best suits the body.”

-God Calling

“‘Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do…’ The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and what appears to be his free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees. Is this mysterious? Does it apear to contradict sound logic or seem totally absurd? Yes, but what a glorious truth it is to a saint of God.”

“If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself – begin to have spiritual discernment.”

– My Utmost for His Hightest

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

-Psalm 143

The Jack of Hearts

I think I’m gonna start this up again, so even if you don’t see this, it’s here.

I had a really good talk with a friend tonight and I’d like to ask everyone to pray for her ūüôā

The Jack of Hearts

Beauty is a word with impact. I mean…you say ‘beauty’ and I bet something different pops into the heads of those around you. A g¬°rlfriend, a celebrity, a work of art, a flower. Or maybe¬†they think of dat¬°ng¬†a celebrity and giving her (him) a flower in an art museum. I don’t know. Because it’s not just something universal in the sense that we see it the same way.¬†Then again,¬†maybe there isn’t really anything that produces the same train of thought in everyone’s mind, but a lot of things¬†bring up¬†similar concepts in our heads. Not beauty, though. It’s vastly different for everyone. Except… (I think) except for creation. I’ve been seeing the beauty in things a lot lately, but where are the most beautiful? The works of God’s hands. And it’s so far out of our league too. We paint a picture of a sunset over a lake with mountains and a guy in a boat fishing. God’s on the other side of that sunset (which he created) and he formed each crevice of those mountains. He built and constructed them, something which, if even attempted, would take us like a bajillion years…I jest…maybe not a bajillion. But a heck of a lot longer than a day. And he was the one who poured out that water, right there, because he knew that lake would fit perfectly. He created¬†hundreds of¬†species that live and breathe and¬†are sustained¬†in water and put some of them in the lake, maybe even¬†just for that one guy. Because God created him too, and he cares like mad for him. Cares enough to give the guy¬†the right amount of¬†mind power to think of a boat and to think of getting a stick and a line together and to think of baiting the hook so the fish won’t know and to think to go out on that lake…and…to be able to recognize the vast beauty laid before him.

We call ourselves ‘creators’ a lot, especially in the art world. Culinary arts? Look what this guy ‘created’ from scratch. Yeah, nice arangement of already created things,¬†but it wasn’t really scratch. Scratch is what God formed everything from. And I think it’s funny, too, cause people always talk about how God spoke everything into existence. Where does it say that?¬†I mean…he spoke some things sure, but he made others. Created, rather. He created the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, and every living thing. I don’t know the logistics of it all, but a lot of places say that¬†God spoke it,¬†“And it was so.” And then they go on either to say God created it or they leave it at that. Of course, I’m not a creation expert, so I don’t really know what that means…but think about the act of creating. It’s not anything we can do, only God can make things from scratch. But think…you gotta have an idea for something right? But it’s not really an idea because how did the idea get there? We see things now, here on Earth, and get ideas of what to do with them. But if those things weren’t there, we wouldn’t have the idea…follow? So even before creating anything, we get stuck cause we can’t create something unless it already exists. And then we wouldn’t¬†really be¬†creating it. But then there’s the whole act of creating, and I don’t think this is it, but all I can imagine is like purple lightning coming out of God’s hands and ‘poof’, there’s an antelope, or ‘poof’ there’s an island, or ‘poof’ there’s Bill Cosby. Of course, I think it’s way¬†awesome that it all comes back to God being so much cooler than us (Is. 55:8-9). Ooh and I just read below that (vs. 10,11) about God’s words accomplishing things for him. “11…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which¬†I sent it.” Wow. How cool is that? So maybe he did speak everything into existence and his words did the¬†creating. I’m not too sure I want to think about all that right now. Let’s chew on that and come back together someday with our thoughts, sound good? Anyways, Deut. 29:29, we’ll never know everything. But isn’t that what inspires awe in us? Where’s awe without mystery? The two go hand in hand. Look at any magic trick. Why don’t the magicians give away the secret?¬†Cause then you know how it’s done. Then it’s just a matter of watching to see if the magician messes up or reveals his secret by acc¬°dent. No more, “Holy schneikes! How’d you do that?!” or no more gasps from little children while they wonder if magic is real. But that’s just the thing: I think magic is real. It’s magic how God made everything (forgive me if I sound sacreligious ūüôā ), and that’s why we can’t know. Anything is magic¬†¬† until we break it down and cease to wonder. Imagine if we never looked under the hood of a car…just leave it to the mechanics. If we didn’t know, at least slightly, how it works, the mechanics would become our magicians, working their magic in the back rooms where we can’t go because of ‘insurance purposes’.

So to bring it all together, the magic of beauty, created by God’s hand, gives life and wonder and awe and a sacred delight that can only be known by those in a glorious¬†dance with their Creator. I¬†asked someone what¬†one of the¬†deepest desires or longings of their heart was, and thought about my answer to the question. It took a while, but I found out that¬†I desire mysterious wonder. That’s the way I’d put it. I want to laugh and cry and gaze at a sunset and not wonder “How?”, but simply wonder. Wonder at the mystery of a sunset, the magic of creation, and the guiding, sustaining, redeeming, renewing, abolutely glorious Being behind it all.

Be Loved,
The Jack of Hearts
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It was about a week before the show when I found out my mother decided to surprise me and my best friend with tickets to a symphony. It was the Florida Orchestra, accompanied by 3 or 4 choirs and 2 soloists, playing selections from Lord of the Rings; I couldn’t have been happier. It was simply a random act of kindness.

            Wednesday (Feb 21st) rolled around quicker than normal, but the day itself seemed to drag on forever. Everything I did that day seemed neverending and mundane. But finally the moment came. My friend Dan and I escaped the world and all of its obligations in a Blue Toyota Matrix; destined that night only for St. Pete and the Mahaffey Theater. With windows down, the blaring of some of our favorite songs, and that highway speed that only serves to thrill, we were on our way.

            We arrived and changed clothes, transforming from rebellious teenagers to sophisticated s with style. But with a ling ering teenage strut, we sauntered into the theater without so much as a single glance backwards. For no reason at all, this was our territory. We walked upstairs, found our seats, and waited for the show to begin.

            Growing restless, we decided to take a look around the theater. Somebody said there was free cheese-tasting somewhere, so we were all for it. We made our way to the patio, passing the cheese table and grabbing some samples on the way. But right then, we heard the voice above warning us the show would start in 5 minutes. We took our seats.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† They played some of the best that night, with songs that brought back memories of the Rivendell, Rohan and Mordor. And, as the songs of the Shire surrounded us, even the young man inside me was moved to tears. There were two soloists: a young lady and an even younger boy ‚Äď both with voices of gold. And the choirs behind the symphony only served to make the whole experience truer and more real. As if all this preparation and setup wasn‚Äôt enough, they had a giant projection screen with a slideshow of Lord of the Rings artwork which corresponded with the pieces they were playing. To finish it off, they had just the right lighting and timing ‚Äď Frodo‚Äôs in the Shire, reading a book under a tree and the green of life surrounds the orchestra. Now Gandalf is fighting the Balrog and the entire orchestra is awash with reds and oranges.

And then…over. What? Is this the end? When the music stopped and the crowd stood up after only an hour, without warning of an intermission, we mistook the symphony to have finished. Surprised, we asked our neighbors of late who replied that it was only an intermission. Upon this relieving news, we went out of the theater and headed for the patio and some fresh air.

It was a beautiful night outside; the hesitant twilight only just crawling away into darkness. We walked to a bench, and with a gorgeous breeze blowing in from the bay, we allowed our hair to be swept back while we felt like kings of the world. It was a moment untouched with words while we sat in a quiet silence. Looking up, the city lights pushed away the stars, but there just enough holes in the night sky to add a touch of beauty to it all.

            And again, the voice from above came with warning and we went back for the second half. It wasn’t possible, but the second part was just as good, if not better. The entire symphony burst forth with the beautiful woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings which, alone, reach beneath the surface, but together, create a moving work of art that reaches to the depths of your soul.

Wilco – When You Wake Up Feeling Old

When you wake up Feelin' old At this piano filled with souls Some strange purse Stuffed nervous with gold Can you be where you want to be? Walk down any street You can find Look at any clock telling time Sing some strange verse From some strange song of vines And you'll be where you want to be I know I can't sing Until she brings the song to life And I blend with kings I'd never change a thing Who knows anything I don't know There are so many things I must leave alone Some strange person is calling you their home Can you be where you want to be? Can you be Where you want to be? Can you be Where you want to be? Can you be Where you want to be?
July 2018
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