Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Lessons from the cul-de-sac

Cul-de-sac: a circular turnaround at a deadend street.

The house where I now live is on a cul-de-sac
I have always heard that living on a cul-de-sac is preferred to living on a thru street.
Less traffic, quiet, etc.

That has proven to be true at certain times of the day
At other times we have multiple turnarounds. I am not completely sure why. 
We are deep in the neighborhood and there are signs that warn drivers
 that there is no way out if they continue down the street. 
And yet, every day, I see multiple cars drive into this little cul-de-sac, 
startled to realize they can not go any further. 
So they speed away looking for another way to get where they want to go.

It has become a type of metaphor 
for where I am physically and spiritually right now. 

Oh, how easy it would be for my introvert self 
to stay in the safety and quiet of this cul-de-sac. 
Keeping guard to make sure no one comes in 
that was not invited or does not belong here.
Finding purpose and permission to hide away, 
weary from the battle, 
full of scars that I am tired of explaining. 
Labeling my actions as rest, 
when I know in my heart it is something else.

I keep looking for validations, 
excuses to stay tucked here in my cul-de-sac.

And I can find them, believe me!
They are best found under certain conditions:
When I stay away from church
When I stay silent and don't reach out to friends
When I stop reading God's word and replace with other authors
When I allow my ears to be tickled by mindless media
When I use things of this world to escape

But there is a huge problem with this
because I am a child of the Most High
after a while it becomes uncomfortable
It does not bring me the peace and settled heart that I truly long for.

God's way is counter-intuitive
For me to gain the peace and settled heart
I must leave the cul-de-sac
There is a time and place for rest to be sure
but there is never time for hiding and escape

I know this in my heart
but sometimes my head has other ideas
when I choose to allow those thoughts to linger
they can cause doubt and confusion
which is not of God

My life is not a dead end
it is more like a cul-de-sac
I have room to turn around and get back out there

God lead me to this cul-de-sac
It has the ability to be a green pasture and still waters
where I can be refreshed
But God did not leave me here to get fat and sassy
His expectations, 
His call, 
is to lead me back out
where I engage in my church community
where I embrace and invest in friendships
where I hunger and thirst for Holy Scripture
where His voice is louder than any other
where I see the things of this world as they truly are

2 Peter 1:3-11(MSG)
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God 
has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, 
personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. 
The best invitation we ever received! 
We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—
your tickets to participation in the life of God 
after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, 
complementing your basic faith with 
good character, 
spiritual understanding, 
alert discipline, 
passionate patience, 
reverent wonder, 
warm friendliness, 
and generous love, 
each dimension fitting into and developing the others. 
With these qualities active and growing in your lives, 
no grass will grow under your feet, 
no day will pass without its reward 
as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. 
Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, 
oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, 
his choice of you. 
Don’t put it off; do it now. 
Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, 
the streets paved 
and the way wide open 
into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I am experiencing my life in numbers
Marking time and events
Making sense of what looks like chaos.
Just the act of writing it all out has reminded me 
of the grand adventure, 
this boring Jesus girl has been on
and the continued journey.

This is the number of past Januaries 
I have purged and packed my home.
I was shocked to find this little statistic pop up 
in my January Facebook memories.
It had not occurred to me that this activity was consistently
happening at this time of year for the past five years.
At first, I was surprised.
I confess I grumbled and complained.
Remembering each item 
I once thought as precious that I gave away.
And the packing!
So much packing!
This is not a new skill I thought I would be acquiring.
But now, I can truly say, this is something that I am good at.
Not in a sarcastic or prideful way.
I have been able to use my experience to help others 
as they purge and pack.
What a funny, unexpected gift God gave me.
The many hours of January purging and packing will not go to waste.

This is the number of addresses I have lived at in the last four years.
With each move, the emotion of it has become less and less.
I am older with each move, 
so I do get physically tired faster.
The weariness of unpacking has not gone away.
I have found myself saying things like, 
" I am so sick of packing and unpacking."
Shame on me!!!
Even now I am ashamed of complaining 
about such a first world problem.
I find myself struggling between 
knowing God continues to care for me
and my selfish complaining over the details.
The lessons of life that I have learned 
could not have been acquired any other way.
At first, all I could think about was my comfort,
my list of demands for each address.
But over time, 
as it became apparent that our address would change,
my hearts desire changed too.
The gift...
understanding how temporary my life is,
and what is precious.
If I had stayed in one comfy cozy place 
my whole life 
I would not understand this.
My things are valueless,
even where I live is not important.
In each address, peace only came
once I dedicated the space 
that was so graciously given to me by the Lord.
I learned over time to pray 
in each corner,
and each room
for His presence to remain 
and that He may use it for His glory.
On the days where I still find myself 
longing for stability and comfort,
I must remind myself what I know...
that there is something more important 
beyond stability and comfort,
This is the ability to see
through the lens of service, 
and minister where ever I lay my head.

This is the number of homes 
I have painted walls in 
over this current time period.
Another unexpected gift!
I actually know what "cutting in" means,
and my skills as a painter have improved with each home.
Painting the walls of the rooms of my current abode
has become a type of meditation time for me with the Lord.
I have come to enjoy the process of renewing a space 
and the time it takes to do that.
With each stroke of my paint brush
I pray, imagine, reflect
and speak blessings on the space God has provided.


This is the number of churches 
I have served and attended during this time period.
The gift of having two church bodies has been huge.
The experience has enlightened me 
to how vast and different "the church" is.
I have experienced the ups and downs of the Christian community,
Of investing in the broken and of being loved on.
This experience I would not trade for anything in the world.
It has caused me to understand that no matter where I am,
God's people can be found.
I wonder how the Apostle Paul did it.
Moving from one body onto the next.
Hoping he would come back around to see them again.
I feel that.
I love these two bodies,
who speak God's truth boldy
who continue to love on me
and pray for me.
The gift...
the understanding that I need to be involved in a church body,
no matter where I find myself.
It helps to keep me on track, 
to be fed so I can remain strong,
and it is the best place to go for truth and support.

This is the number of loves 
that walked and walks with me through thick and thin.
Through every change.
The pouting, the sighing, laughing, sleeplessness,
exhaustion, exploring, prayer, everything.
My guy was there.
So patient.
The gift...
a deeper love for one another than we have ever known.
He is my best friend.
So kind, loving and mercy giving.

As I look at these numbers, all I can do is fall on my face
I see my grumbly
complainy self
stumbling along
fighting to keep my eyes on Jesus 
and not on my circumstance
I thank God for these numbers
For giving me markers of reminders
And, it occurs to me that no matter what....
He is not letting go
He does not change
His love is consistent
He is helping my faith and trust to grow through this season
I do not deserve such a Savior

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (NCV)

There is a time for everything,
    and everything on earth has its special season.
There is a time to be born
    and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
    and a time to pull up plants.
There is a time to kill
    and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
    and a time to build.
There is a time to cry
    and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
    and a time to dance.
There is a time to throw away stones
    and a time to gather them.
There is a time to hug
    and a time not to hug.
There is a time to look for something
    and a time to stop looking for it.
There is a time to keep things
    and a time to throw things away.
There is a time to tear apart
    and a time to sew together.
There is a time to be silent
    and a time to speak.
There is a time to love
    and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
    and a time for peace.
Do people really gain anything from their work?
I saw the hard work God has given people to do.
God has given them a desire to know the future.
He does everything just right and on time,
but people can never completely understand what he is doing.
So I realize that the best thing for them
is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.
God wants all people to eat and drink and be happy in their work,
which are gifts from God.
I know that everything God does will continue forever.
People cannot add anything to what God has done,
and they cannot take anything away from it.
God does it this way to make people respect him.
What happens now has happened in the past,
    and what will happen in the future has happened before.
    God makes the same things happen again and again.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bird Watching

It is hard to believe that I have not written in this space for months
It is not out of laziness
or giving up
or distraction

I have been busy
Working towards the future
Reflecting on the past
and bird watching

This school semester I was required to take 
an upper division scientific writing class
To be honest, it sidelined my creative writing bent
Time flew as I wrote my little heart out

I also dared to consider and reflect on all the Lord has done for me
This led into an activity 
that I had done only on desperate occasions in the past

Bird watching
Not just plain old bird watching
Holy, Scripture-drive
Bird watching

Matthew 6:25-26
25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, 
what you will eat 
or what you will drink, 
nor about your body, 
what you will put on. 
Is not life more than food, 
and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: 
they neither sow 
nor reap 
nor gather into barns, 
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not of more value than they?

These past few years have been crazy, 
undescribable (although I have tried!)
So full of twists and turns

I have a set of friends 
who have only known me during this time in my life
Sometimes I wonder if they believe me
that I use to have a slow uneventful "normal" existence
Whatever that means!

I also have a set of friends 
that have known me for a long time
I wonder how they interpret my life?
Do they believe the outlandish topsy-turvy stories I share?

It really does not matter....they are all my friends.
God given for such a time as this
and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

I also gained a few enemies during this time
Fear and Anxiety
have you met them?
Not nice

Sometimes fear and anxiety would get a grip in such a way 
that no matter how hard I tried 
I could not shut them down
I could not quiet the noise 
I could not concentrate
I could not sleep
I forgot
I assumed the worst

This is no way to live
It is not living at all

Then a little birdie (a friend)
challenged me to discover how to remove
fear and anxiety
She did not give me a book
Or the answers
just the challenge
The wonderful Jesus driven challenge.
I am not even sure she realized 
how God used her to prod me on.
God is so cool like that!

I prayed for attention
I prayed for direction
And here is where I found my answer.....

Matthew 6:25-26 
25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, 
what you will eat 
or what you will drink, 
nor about your body, 
what you will put on. 
Is not life more than food, 
and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: 
they neither sow 
nor reap 
nor gather into barns, 
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not of more value than they?

Do you know that it is impossible to watch birds 
when you are frenzied, 
running around 
and acting like the sky is going to fall?
Try it.....
Go outside right now
Find a bird
Now run!!!!
Where did the bird go?
Ahhh...you lost it

In order to become a bird watcher
you have to sit still
and wait a while
to see what the birds are doing
what they are singing
where they are going

When Jesus speaks in Matthew 6
He says...do not be anxious about the details of our lives
and then.....
He tells us to look.
Stop looking inward!
Look out here...
Jesus is saying that to all His children
get out of yourself
look around at the world that He made
every living thing is going through its life
Just as He intended it.

And then He asks a question...
Are you not of more value than they?

I have come to realize that as a child of God
He expects me to bird watch
not as the world instructs
But His way

Bird watching

Turning my focus off myself
is the only sure way to see what He is up to

Bird Watcher

When I do that....
my trust in God overflows
He lovingly shows me His world

when I stop looking at myself
and I look out and up
Then I see how 
He loves me
more and more and more

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Undeniable God

This month I did a bit of traveling. 

Wes and I traveled up to Niagara Falls 
to see what that was all about.

It was fascinating.
Much like the Grand Canyon,
it seems to draw people from every culture to its edges.
So many faiths and ethnicities represented
staring at one of the wonders of the world.
I was curious as to what they thought of what they were seeing
The reactions and actions of all these people
Rushing around to be first in line
pushing to get the best view from the rail
grabbing family photos
and the amount of selfies being taken was crazy
I know I am dating myself here,
but I can remember a time where it was customary
to ask a total stranger to take a photo of your family
so that everyone could be in the picture.
It was a random and friendly way to feel involved
in other peoples moments at the same event.
Now people use selfie sticks or just their own arm.
They do their best to stay in their own little bubble experience.
No small talk,
no friendly chatter while waiting in line,
no smiles.
Don't get me wrong, we tried to engage.
But most people just looked at us funny.
Like they thought we were crazy for speaking to a complete stranger.
I did have one beautiful encounter on one of our bus rides.
I did not get her name,
but I happened to sit next to an elderly Mennonite woman.
She was quiet,
no chit chat,
just like all the others we had tried to engage.
Then at one point as I was looking out the window I stated,
"it is hard to believe that one can not see 
the glory of God in these surroundings."
At this point her eyes brightened and she said,
"Yes! God is all around!"
and we began talking about our faith
and our God for the next 5 minutes.

A Christian friend and I went to take a gander 
at the new Mormon temple, in Philadelphia. 

It would be the only time a non-Mormon could 
observe the inside of this building.
For all the manufactured excitement surrounding this event
by those who gave us a tour
and for all the smiles and obvious scripted encounters,
the over arching emotion my friend and I had was sorrow.
For in all the detail and beauty of this building,
which was built right smack in the middle of historical Philly,
the presence of God was absent and 
the requirements of men 
to become worthy to enter "eternity" were highlighted.
And yet, as we drove back home from that experience
our conversation centered on the fact that
God does not need us to jump through any hoops to be worthy
As the old hymn goes...
Jesus did it all
All to Him I owe!

The last and final trip for the month of August
took Wes and I to Florida 
to spend a long weekend with dear Christian friends.

Can I just say, God is good? 
Yes I can!
All four of us have been through some stuff these last 5 years.
Major moves from our homeland
Major job changes
Family struggles
And yet, we did not sit around all weekend 
and gripe and complain about our lives.
Yes, we shared our struggles with one another
but more importantly
we enjoyed each others company

we sat quietly and watched the ocean
we laughed
we ate
we walked
we worshiped...
It was good for us all.

No matter where I found myself this month
I was reminded of the presense of God

His creation 
is more majestic than anything man attempts to create

His Abba Father love 
is more perfect than any man focused religion

His gift of refreshment seen in communing with other believers 
is more peace giving than any man manufactured event

It is instances such as these that remind me that
God is still here
In the midst of all the man made chaos of this world,
God the Creator and Sustainer of the universe
is still at work and is visible

He continues to invite us to be part of what He is doing
He continues to show off His majesty through creation
He continues to care for His sheep

Man may deny His existance,
but God does not rely on man
Man may continue to pursue answers for life's questions,
But the answers have never changed

The Everlasting God of the Universe holds everything together!

Romans 1:20 (AMP)

For ever since the creation of the world 
His invisible attributes, 
His eternal power 
and divine nature, 
have been clearly seen, 
being understood through His workmanship 
[all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], 
so that they 
[who fail to believe and trust in Him] 
are without excuse and without defense.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


1. a toy that spins around, for example, a top or a pinwheel.
2. a thing regarded as hectic or constantly changing.

My life fits the second definition of whirligig perfectly

"hectic or constantly changing"

At times I feel dizzy
sick to my stomach
At other times I feel energized
anticipatory and ready to try anything

a whirligig!

But right now....
I am ready for
a boring, run of the mill, steady eddy, plain, uneventful,
happy, celebratory, successful, comfortable, delightful,
encouraging, pleasurable season

Is that so wrong?

I wonder....

The thing that keeps a whirligig whirling is wind.
Otherwise it just stays perfectly still.
Does that make it no longer a whirligig?
I would say, Yes!

I would argue that it is just a decoration
a lawn ornament
or perhaps a dust catcher

Maybe the only way to understand the beauty and delight of a whirligig
is to first see it
out of motion,
perfectly still.
For, our first response is to blow on it
or spin it around to make it move and twirl
so that we can enjoy what it looks like in motion.

For when it is in motion,
it is beautiful
and being used to its utmost potential.

I think that when I am having days where the motion of life
feels more exhausting than exhilarating
it is time for me to take a little step back out of the wind
just enough to catch my breath
to repair and reinforce any worn out parts

I do this through fasting and praying
being quiet
gazing at the One who created me
Allowing Him to speak truth into my life and my circumstances
Seeing things from His perspective

It would be so easy to stay in that quiet still place
But I am a whirligig,
not a dust catcher
and I was created to be beautiful in motion
To show off what my Creator did in me
and continues to do
That can only be seen if I step back out into the wind
embracing the constant change

Praying for God's protection
that the winds of this life
will allow me to show Christ's love to a dying world
that the wind will not be so strong as to knock me down
and destroy this whirligig
God created the wind and He created me
He is in control

There is a story in Acts 27 and 28 about a ship wreck that I love.
It is about Apostle Paul and his round about way of getting to Rome.
Although this is an account of his journey,
It reminds me of how no matter what,
God accomplishes
with His children what He wants to happen.

There is no wind too strong to take me off course
to what He has set for me to do.

There is no detour to long,
and no time of replenishing 
and refreshing that is wasted.

All of it is part of His plan and His timing.

This story is worth reading...

Acts 27 and 28 (ESV)

Paul Sails for Rome
And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy,
they delivered Paul and some other prisoners
to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.
And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium,
which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia,
we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, 
a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly
and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for.
And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus,
because the winds were against us.
And when we had sailed across the open sea
along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia.
There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria 
sailing for Italy and put us on board.
We sailed slowly for a number of days 
and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus,
and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, 
we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.
Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens,
near which was the city of Lasea.
Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous
because even the Fast[a] was already over, Paul advised them,
saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage 
will be with injury and much loss,
not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot
and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.
And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in,
the majority decided to put out to sea from there,
on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix,
a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest,
and spend the winter there.
Now when the south wind blew gently, 
supposing that they had obtained their purpose,
they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore.
But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, 
struck down from the land.
And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind,
we gave way to it and were driven along.
Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda,
we managed with difficulty to secure the ship's boat.
After hoisting it up, they used supports to under-gird the ship.
Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis,
they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along.
Since we were violently storm-tossed, 
they began the next day to jettison the cargo.
And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard 
with their own hands.
When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, 
and no small tempest lay on us,
all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
Since they had been without food for a long time,
Paul stood up among them and said, 
“Men, you should have listened to me
and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.
Yet now I urge you to take heart, 
for there will be no loss of life among you,
but only of the ship.
For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God
to whom I belong and whom I worship,
and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar.
And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
So take heart, men, for I have faith in God 
that it will be exactly as I have been told.
But we must run aground on some island.”
When the fourteenth night had come, 
as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea,
about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.
So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms.
A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.
And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors
from the stern and prayed for day to come.
And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship,
and had lowered the ship's boat into the sea
under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,
Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers,
“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”
Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go.
As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food,
saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued
in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.
Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength,
for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”
And when he had said these things, he took bread,
and giving thanks to God in the presence of all 
he broke it and began to eat.
Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.
(We were in all 276 persons in the ship.)
And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship,
throwing out the wheat into the sea.
Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land,
but they noticed a bay with a beach,
on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.
So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea,
at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders.
Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.
But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground.
The bow stuck and remained immovable,
and the stern was being broken up by the surf.
The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, 
lest any should swim away and escape.
But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, 
kept them from carrying out their plan.
He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard 
first and make for the land,
and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship.
And so it was that all were brought safely to land.
After we were brought safely through,
we then learned that the island was called Malta.
The native people showed us unusual kindness,
for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all,
because it had begun to rain and was cold.
When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire,
a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand,
they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer.
Though he has escaped from the sea, 
Justice has not allowed him to live.”
He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead.
But when they had waited a long time 
and saw no misfortune come to him,
they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands
belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius,
who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery.
And Paul visited him and prayed, 
and putting his hands on him healed him.
And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island
who had diseases also came and were cured.
They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail,
they put on board whatever we needed.
After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island,
a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead.
Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days.
And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium.
And after one day a south wind sprang up, 
and on the second day we came to Puteoli.
There we found brothers 
and were invited to stay with them for seven days.
And so we came to Rome.
And the brothers there, when they heard about us,
came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.
On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.
And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself,
with the soldier who guarded him.
After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews,
and when they had gathered, he said to them,
“Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people 
or the customs of our fathers,
yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem 
into the hands of the Romans.
When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty,
because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.
But because the Jews objected, 
I was compelled to appeal to Caesar
—though I had no charge to bring against my nation.
For this reason, therefore, 
I have asked to see you and speak with you,
since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”
And they said to him, 
“We have received no letters from Judea about you,
and none of the brothers coming here 
has reported or spoken any evil about you.
But we desire to hear from you what your views are,
for with regard to this sect 
we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
When they had appointed a day for him,
they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers.
From morning till evening he expounded to them,
testifying to the kingdom of God 
and trying to convince them
about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.
And disagreeing among themselves,
they departed after Paul had made one statement:
“The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers 
through Isaiah the prophet:
“‘Go to this people, and say,
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people's heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’
Therefore let it be known to you
that this salvation of God
has been sent to the Gentiles;
they will listen.”
He lived there two whole years at his own expense,
and welcomed all who came to him,
proclaiming the kingdom of God
and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ
with all boldness and without hindrance.