Monday, August 19, 2019. 7:02 AM.
August 16, 2019
“If This Be Mental Illness . . . “
Then, perhaps, mental illness is a gift!
Well, John the Baptist said:
“. . . a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” -John 3:27b ESV.
At 12:19 AM I went to bed.
As I lay there waiting for sleep, Charcoal, my departed cat, came to mind.
In my heart, I silently spoke to her:
“Hi Charcoal. How are you, little buddy?”
“I’m OK, mark. How are you?”
“OK, Charcoal. Hey, just noticed you’re speaking English, now.”
Yeah, I can speak English, now.”
“How did that happen?”
“I got born again four-and-a-half years ago. I’m a girl, now.”
“I’m happy to hear this, little buddy. What else is new with you?”
“I’m learning things I never knew before – during my past life as a cat.”
“What are you learning?”
“Well, even though I haven’t started school, yet, I’m already learning to read. My mom says I’m precocious – whatever that means . . . And I go to the movies. And I listen to music, too. And my dad reads the Bible to me.”
“What are you reading?”
I’m reading stories about Cinderella and Snow White and watching movies like “The Wizard of Oz.”
“What kinds of music are you listening to?”
Love songs, like: “You Look So Beautiful in White” and “I Dreamed a Dream.” I like to color, too.”
“What do you color?”
“I like to color pictures of cats in my coloring book. And a strange thing is, when I read about Cinderella and those mean sisters and their mother being so unkind to Cinderella, I want to grow paws again and scratch their faces like an angry cat.”
“Lea Salonga – “I Dreamed A Dream” (2007) – MDA Telethon”
“”I Dreamed A Dream” (from Les Miserables)-Neil Diamond (Hot August Night, 1987)”
“And when I was watching “The Wizard of Oz” and heard the cowardly lion singing “If I Only Had the Nerve” I thought: “If I only had a paw.”
“If I Only Had a Brain – Video and Lyrics”
“IF I ONLY HAD THE NERVE ~ Wizard Of Oz”
“IF I ONLY HAD A HEART ~ Wizard of Oz”
As I was thinking these thoughts — this dialogue — it occurred to me that this might be something to write about; so, I got out of bed and put on a light in the living room; and opened my big bright yellow notebook and sat down; and with my writer’s cramp hand and tremor I held my right hand steady with my left hand and wrote down some of these thoughts; so that, in the morning, I won’t be wondering: “What were those thoughts I had last night? I wish I could remember them.” Now, it is 9:56 PM August 16th as I try to write down the memory of that imaginary conversation with that little 4-year-old girl who used to be Charcoal, the Lord’s Cat. I sometimes thought of her that way when she was alive – because he created everything and everyone of us. So, we’re all the Lord’s cat or the Lord’s girl or the Lord’s boy, I guess.
“I wonder what your name is now that you’ve become human.”
“Mom and Dad call me Cathy.”
“Do you remember much about your earlier life as a cat?”
“Yes, mark, I do.”
“What do you remember, Cathy?”
“I remember the food you gave me and the cold clean filtered water and milk and the fish and chicken. It was a welcome change from the dry cat food. And when you brushed me every day. And the beautiful and comfortable cat beds you brought home for me from your shopping trips. And the Fourth of July fireworks and loud sirens of the fire trucks going by outside — that terrified me. And going out on the porch and looking through the railings at the panoramic view on the 8th floor of where we lived. Whenever I recall that view I’m reminded of a wonderful movie called “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever;” and the interview and dialogue between a beautiful young lady and a doctor_hypnotist.”
“Cathy, what’s your favorite color?”
“My favorite color is white.”
It’s the color of clouds and snow and seagulls – things that are up above.”
“And why do you like the song: “You Look So Beautiful in White?”
“It’s because of things my Dad reads to me in the Bible.”
“What does your Dad read to you in the Bible about the color white, Cathy?”
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’
“All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes – who are they, and where did they come from?”
“I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
“And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” -Revelation 7:9-17. NIV Study Bible.
Do you really want to have a paw again and scratch people who are unkind, Cathy?”
“No, not really.”
“Why not, Cathy?”
Dad read to me in the Bible about the sinful nature; and that we must turn away from it. So, when I have thoughts like that I do what Jesus said, instead.”
“What did your Dad read to you about the sinful nature?”
He read to me:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
“Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” -Galatians 5:1-26. NIV Study Bible.
“And what did Jesus say for us to do, Cathy?”
“My Dad read to me from the Bible that Jesus said:
“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“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 6:1-15. NIV Study Bible.
“Cathy, do you give to those in need?”
“Well, my mom is teaching me to sew with a needle and thread. And, she says that if I stick with it, later, she will teach me to use her sewing machine; and we will make clothes and quilts to give to our neighbors in need.”
“Would you like to do that, Cathy?”
“Yes, I would. It feels blessed to give to others. It is a comfort to me to comfort others in their time of need. And it fulfills Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbor. And it is written that obedience is better than sacrifice. So, I want to obey the Lord and be blessed by him. It is more blessed to give than to receive, it is written in His Scriptures.”
“Is it true that your mom’s name is Beulah?”
“I found the name Beulah in the book of Isaiah. [Isaiah 62:4. NIV Study Bible]. And there is a beautiful hymn about Beulah Land. Have you heard it?”
“Yes, I have, Cathy.”
“That’s where I’m living now, Mark, in Beulah Land. And I’m looking forward to seeing you again, Mark – right here in Beulah land.”
“Sweet Beulah Land – Squire Parsons”
“Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend (Official Audio)”
“Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’ So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the town and were coming to him.
“Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.
“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” -John 4:27-42. English Standard Version Study Bible. (ESV).
“Alma Deutscher, 8-Year-Old Music Prodigy260
“Alma Deutscher, piano concerto (world premiere, July 2017)”
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.
“The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
“You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’S hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
“No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.
“But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married.
“As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
“I have posted watchmen on your walls O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.
“You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.
“The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm:
“Never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled; but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.
“Pass through, pass through the gates!
“Prepare the way for the people.
“Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones.
“Raise a banner for the nations.
“The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth:
“Say to the Daughter of Zion,
“See, your Savior comes!
“See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
“They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD;
“And you will be called Sought After,
“The City No Longer Deserted.” -Isaiah 62:1-12. NIV Study Bible.