“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.” -Psalm 24:7, 8 NIV Study Bible.
My heart has been touched since you wrote to me.
This is what your writing has inspired me to write to you, Lady Lise
“The Opening of Her Door”
I understand that you don’t remember that moment in 1970
When you opened your door
And handed my wallet to me
And then simply closed the door.
Thinking now of the titles of songs, like:
“This Magic Moment”
“The Long and Winding Road”
And I understand you may be thinking
I don’t care for love letters.
I don’t even like love letter writers.
I think they’re just silly and lonely old men.
[And what if they are?]
“The Fool on the Hill”
And that song called
“I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”
[You’re not falling in love with anyone but your own writing]
[And what if I am? And what if I’m not? And what if it’s more than that? What if only God knows?]
“Mark, what is this foolishness of yours all about? – Not that I care.”
Well, Lise, I was just imagining that time, that
“One Moment in Time”
When you opened your door.
“And what about it, Mark?”
Well, I was just imagining, that,
After you closed your door . . .
I felt so struck by the face of that beautiful young lady I had just so briefly seen
[Flattery will get you nowhere, Mark]
And what if it does get me no where?
And what if it isn’t flattery? God only knows our hearts.
No where may be a better place than somewhere.
Lise: How could nowhere be better than somewhere?
Mark: Some “somewheres” are very uncomfortable places to be.
Lise: Name some “somewheres” that are worse than being nowhere.
Mark: The bottom of a well. Outdoors during a blizzard.
I knocked on your door again, and you opened your door again.
And with some mild exasperation said,
“What is it, now?” as you rolled your eyes in mild impatience because you had something else to do that was more important. [This is imaginative]
“Hi, I’m Mark. I just had to see your face again.”
“Why? And anyway, you’re not Marc—my brother is Marc!”
I’m Mark, not Marc.
What’s the difference, Mark? This is live talk, not text. I can’t see that difference in spelling in a living conversation with you!” And you roll your eyes again. And then, with a sharp glance, ask:
“Are you mocking me, Mark?!!”
Mark my words, Lise, I’m not mocking you.
I appreciate that you understand that this is a living conversation, though.
You remind me of a beautiful love song, Lise.
“The First Time Ever I Saw your Face” by Roberta Flack.
And the mention of that song title gives you pause
Because you love that song [in my imagination, anyway]
Every time you hear it, it makes you feel like crying.
“Do you want me to cry, Mark?”
I just want your heart to be touched.
Isn’t it meaningful when the heart is touched?
“Yes, but some meanings are sweet and some are hurtful.
And some are just too funny for words—like your writing, Mark
All I can do is laugh.”
And you thought:
“That song is a real heart-toucher to me. But, I don’t want to cry. And I don’t want to fall in love.”
So, you close your door, again.
And I knock on your door one more time.
And you open the door one more time
And there is a tear in your eye this time.
And I say, “I’m sorry. I just want to know your name, please.”
“My name is Lise and it rhymes with please. Now would you please go away?”
“You’re breaking my heart, Mark.”
I believe that’s why we’re all here, Lise—to have our heart broken.
“What a terrible thing to say!”
“Are you crazy?!!!” You exclaim in real exasperation. And your eyes are wide open now.
It is written: “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” -Psalm 51:16, 17. ESV Study Bible.
“Mark! If you don’t leave right NOW, I’m going to break your nose! And you’re going to have a contrite heart and a broken spirit! Do you get me?!!!
Yes, Lise, I get you. . . in my heart.
And I’ll never let you go unless you bless me.
“Forever In Blue Jeans”
“Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ “
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“The man asked, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
“Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” -Genesis 32:26-28. NIV.
“Who did you say you are?”
“I am the door.”
“Mark, you are NOT the door. Jesus is the door!”
That’s true, Lise.
“So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
“There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” -John 10:7-21. ESV Study Bible.
And you are a door able.
Adorable Lady Lise
At Your Ease, Lady Lise
“I’m going to talk with my sister about this, Mark!”
And I’m going to go to my room and close the door and pray to our Heavenly Father about us, Lise.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” -Matthew 6:5-15. NIV Study Bible.
“Well go on and do just that, “marky maypo”!”
And then I’m going to listen to
“What Now My Love”
“Which version of that song will you listen to, Mark?”
This one, Lise:
“That song is a real heart-breaker!”
Yes, it is.
“Why do you want to break your heart, Mark?”
That’s God’s will.
And you know what, Lise?
By His grace and strength and the Helper, his Holy Spirit, we can live with a broken spirit and a contrite heart—and even learn to live more joyfully that Way because His Way frees us from our own little ways that are against His Almighty Way. [This is NOT a criticism of you, Lise. I only met you for 3 seconds 49 years ago. I’m just writing.]
“Would you like to walk with me?”
Yes, Lise, I’d like to walk with you.
After the heart gets broken several times it becomes unbreakable.
“How is that?”
How can brokenness be broken?
It’s already been there and done that and gotten over it.
It has passed from death into Life
Through and by the faith of Christ, the Living One, Whose Scriptures transmit this faith to us as we read and “hear” and believe His living words and receive the Living One himself into our heart. And His Holy Spirit becomes our Helper and Counselor our Comforter, the Spirit of truth Who leads us into all truth and is with us forever, as Jesus told His disciples the evening of His last supper with them. The Gospel of John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17 tell us about this.
And the power of an indestructible Life.
Hebrews 7:16 tells believers about “the power of an indestructible life.”
Who is alive for evermore.
Revelation 1: 18 reveals the One Who is alive for evermore.
Lise: “Mark, are you ready for our walk?”
Lise: “OK Mark. Put your hand into mine and let’s walk . . . one step at a time. And Mark?
Mark : “Yes, Lise?”
Lise: “Don’t try anything. We’re only walking and talking. Anything else and I’ll take out my “Annie Oakley.” She’s quicker than Matt Dillon and Wyatt Earp and she’ll show you — my little pretty — if you don’t behave yourself!”
Mark: “OK Lise, I got it.”
Lise: “No, you don’t got it.”
Lise: “Don’t you say another word.”
So they walk together holding hands in complete quietness for a few minutes. Mark is feeling like electricity is flowing through him since their hands clasped together. He imagines an oak tree in early Spring as the sap begins to rise up from the roots in the earth coming into the trunk and then into the branches and the twigs and into the buds , making them sprout into tiny leaves that grow and open and become large in the sun’s light and warmth.
Lise: “No talking, Mark.”
Mark: “It isn’t right, Lise.”
Lise: “What isn’t right?”
Mark: “Trying to keep me quiet.”
Lise: “What do you wish to say?”
Mark: “I don’t know; but, I don’t want to just be quiet. Holding your hand is doing something to me.”
Lise: “What is it doing to you, Mark?”
Mark: “Well, I was just imagining a tree in early Spring awakening returning to life again. Being in touch with you by holding hands is very invigorating.”
Lise: “Am I too much for you, Mark?”
Mark: “Is the sun too much for us at high noon in July?”
Lise: “Am I the sun to you, Mark?”
Mark: “It might be better for both of us to understand it this way: God is the sun, or, rather the Son. And the Son said: “I am the vine and you are the branches. Unless you abide in me and I abide in you, you can do nothing. If you abide in Me you shall bear much fruit.”
Lise: “So, what shall we do?”
Mark: “Let’s stop holding hands while we walk. And let’s go into the Park and sit down at a park bench together–but a few inches of divine space between us.”
Lise: “OK Mark, let’s do that.”
So they walk into nearby Social Park. And sit together on a park bench where it is quiet and peaceful.
Lise: “Now what, Mark?”
Mark: “Lise, remember Jesus saying: ‘With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ ?”
Mark: “I’d like to imagine something with you, Lise.”
Lise: “What would you like to imagine with me, Mark?”
Mark: “That we can see and hear a beautiful song and video being played right before us as we sit here at this park bench.”
Lise: “And what song and video would you enjoy experiencing here with me, Mark?”
Mark: “This one, Lise.”
Lise: “I enjoyed that song very much, Mark. I’d like to imagine viewing and hearing another song.”
Mark: “Lise, with God all things are possible. Just say what you would like and maybe God will bring it to pass before our eyes and ears.”
Lise: “I’m not exactly sure of the name but it has to do with 7 daffodils.”
Lise: “I really enjoyed that one, Mark. May I speak of another one?”
Mark: “Yes, Lady Lise.”
Lise: “Wait a minute, Mark. What are we doing listening to these songs?”
Mark: “What do you mean, Lise?”
Lise: “What do they have to do with faith in Christ?”
Mark: “That’s a good question, Lise. Maybe we’re just letting our imagination run away with us. What else could we look at and listen to?”
Lise: “Why don’t we just read our Bibles and discuss that, instead of soulful songs?”
Mark: “I’m 100% in a agreement with you on that point, Lise. Do you have your Bible with you?”
Lise: “Of course I do.”
Mark: “Read some Scripture to me, Lise, if you please. I love the sound of your voice. By the way, dear, I love the sound of your name, too. And I love your faithfulness to our Lord God.”
Lise opened her Bible and said: “This is from 2Peter chapter 3, Mark.”
“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” -2Peter 3:1-18. NIV Study Bible.
Mark: “Lise, thank you my darling for that faithful reading of our Savior’s word. As you were reading of “a new heaven and a new earth” those words recalled a sweet hymn.”
Lise: “Which one, dear?”
Mark: “Sweet Beulah Land”
Lise: “Hey Mark!”
Mark: “Yes, Lise?”
Lise: “About the name of that hymn we just listened to: “Sweet Beulah Land”. . . Didn’t you actually grow up on Sweet Avenue?
Mark: “Yes, Lise, I actually did.”
Lise: “And wasn’t your mum’s first name actually, ‘Beulah’?”
Mark: “Yes, again, Lise. And the biblical name ‘Beulah’ means: “married — a symbol of true Israel” -according to the listing for that name in The Open Bible’s  Biblical Cyclopedic Index. And at Isaiah 62: 4, 5 (KJV) it is written:
“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
“For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridgroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.”
Mark: “And one more thing, Lise.”
Lise: “What is this one more thing, Mark?”
Mark: “I have here a booklet of names for boys and girls. And I wanted to know the meaning of the name ‘Lise.’ So, I searched for it in the booklet and found the name. And it means ‘Consecrated to God.’ And to the right of the definition for the name ‘Lise’ is the word: ‘Hebrew’ under the column listing ‘Derivation.’ So, it is a Hebrew name.”
Mark: “Then, I looked up the word ‘consecrate’ in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition. The word ‘consecrate’ means “dedicated to a sacred purpose.”
Lise: “And what, pray tell me, does the name ‘Mark’ mean according to your booklet of names for boys and girls, Mark?”
Mark: “Hold on a second, dear, and I’ll look it up for you . . . It means ‘Defender.’ And the derivation is ‘Latin.’ “
Mark: “Lise, darling?”
Lise: “Yes, darling?”
Mark: “I recall that you told me you took piano lessons on Sweet Avenue when you were young.”
Lise: “Yes, I did.”
Mark: “Well, I was just remembering some beautiful hymns that are played on the piano. May I show you these beautiful hymns, dear?”
Lise: “Yes, darling.”
Lise: “Mark, while listening with you to those heart-touching and very beautiful hymns of tender love for God, I was wondering something.”
Mark: “What were you wondering, Lise?”
Lise: “How can I believe that you love me if you love God more than anything?”
Mark: “Lise, there is a beautiful answer to that question in the Scriptures which God’s own Holy Spirit inspired. It has to do with the fact that, if we receive Christ our Lord into our very hearts then He is really and actually in us. And also, we become one with Him; so then, I can love you with all my heart and all my mind and all soul and all my strength — and be loving God at the same time; since He is in you. Here, let us read something about this in the gospel, Lise. In the book named John in chapter 17 it is written that Jesus our Lord prayed to His Heavenly Father in the presence of His disciples these words:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” -John 17:20-26 NIV Study Bible.
Mark: “And, Lise, listen to these words of God in the book of Colossians: “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” -Colossians 1:24-29 NIV Study Bible.
Lise: “Thanks be to God for providing us with this understanding from His own Holy Scriptures. Now I have assurance, Mark, that you really love me with the same love you have for our Lord and Savior. And that He loves both of us in Himself because we are in Him through faith in Him by the grace of God.”
Lise: “What about this, Mark?”
Mark: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” -Psalm 118:8, 9. NIV.