Pondering · OneWord365 · God's Word · #oneword

I Have Very Few Words…Today

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,

a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19

I see these, all of these, TODAY, RIGHT NOW, ALL AROUND ME! Everywhere I look, so much of what I hear is that which God hates, that are abominations to Him. These stir up conflict, strife, hatred, violence, vitriol. I have been trying to write a post in this space for two weeks only to find I have no words…only to find things unfathomable in my mind, my heart, my soul.

I have been unable to write anything cohesive, but I shall, Lord willing.

I do not want to write and end up with a page filled with vitriol coming from myself regarding all I see and hear and feel. So I am silent. God’s Word speaks to my heart and says, “Be careful with your words, Linda.”

Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Psalm 34:13

I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
Psalm 39:1

Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. Psalm 120:2

So I am quiet. NOW!

But I am here having thoughts about my OneWord 2022 ~ diligence.

I am being diligent as to the words which God desires from me. I am being diligent as to words to say to others. I am being diligent as to the ways in which I represent Christ in and to this world.

I am being still so that I can know my God.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Psalm 37:7

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
Proverbs 9:7-12

Lord, I desire to speak out. I desire to be open and honest. I just do not know how to do that these days. Guide my tongue and my mind and my heart, that I will be true to You, and You alone. In Your Beautiful Son’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Testing

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

δοκίμιον

dokimion

a testing; by implication, trustworthiness:—trial, trying; a crucible

Other versions of 1 Peter 1:7 ~

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. NIV

…that the proof of your faithbeing more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; NASB20

…so that the proven character of your faith ​— ​more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire ​— ​may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. CSB

*the proving, your proved faith; that by which something is tried or proved, a test*

I love that word, “proving,” as though there is something to prove. Indeed, the test, the proof is in our willingness to obey and stand upright as we wait upon the Lord. He will bring us through whatever test, whatever proving ground we are to face. Counting whatever we go through all joy, or rejoice in the midst of these trials, can seem so opposite of what we are walking or running through, yet God calls us to these things and also calls us to rejoice, to be joyful in the midst.

Can you imagine being a Ukrainian today and being able to rejoice, to count all that they are experiencing or witnessing in this horrendous war all around them, and still be able to recount it with joy? Watching around 100 Ukrainian women and children evacuate from the ruined Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol on Sunday, May 1, 2022, after two-plus months hiding under the plant would bring a sense of joy in the release, yet there was the threat of Russia bombing, leaving family and friends behind…could they count it joy? I know I would have rough time yet that is exactly the way we are to face the trials each and every day. Oh, God, please give me the strength of Jesus to face my trials. He went to that horrible cross for me, down the Via Delorosa, and counted and considered it all joy!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus withstood such temptations, showing me that I can lean on Him for He desires to carry my burdens, to walk besides me, to dwell within me.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary of 1 Peter:
The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds several things in mitigation of their sorrows. 

1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude.

2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure.

3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men, we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church, and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual sorrow. 

4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it.

5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian’s good: If need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for so the expression signifies: it must be;therefore no man should be moved by these afflictions. These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.

Mr. Henry goes on regarding the praise, the honor, and the glory:

“The trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Honour is properly that esteem and value which one has with another, and so God and man will honour the saints. Praise is the expression or declaration of that esteem; so Christ will commend his people in the great day, Come, you blessed of my Father, etc. Glory is that lustre wherewith a person, so honoured and praised, shines in heaven.  …. Jesus Christ will appear again in glory, and, when he does so, the saints will appear with him, and their graces will appear illustrious; and the more they have been tried the more bright they will then appear. The trial will soon be over, but the glory, honour, and praise will last to eternity. This should reconcile you to your present afflictions: they work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Father God, there are so many reasons to rejoice even when I do not feel like rejoicing. And there could also be many reasons why I should feel overwhelmed and filled with sorrow. Yet, You lift me up when I am down. You fill me up when I am empty. You stand with me always and care for me, about me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus the Christ, Who died that terrible death for me, taking my sins to the cross. You shower grace and mercy upon me again and again. You sustain me and never let me down. I trust You and know I can. I know You are my God forever and ever. I will be spending Eternity with You. Oh, Lord, how glorious that will be. I thank You for holding me near through any and all trials I may be currently going through as well as those in my future. I thank You from the depths of my heart.

#oneword · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Diligence ~ One Word 2022 ~ April

photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

“Diligence” ~ I have been pondering and doing diligence, being diligent. Amidst this word in the background of my days, I still am totally interrupted, taking me way off course. Yet, my days and weeks are orchestrated by the Lord.

But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Psalm 31:14-15

I find that focusing on God’s Word using the “Sweeter Than Honey, A 365-Day Devotional Journey” by Patsy Burnette has been such a fine way to spend time in the Word daily. Not just five days a week but seven. Plus, I like Patsy’s daily place from which to jump off and into the Word. We are reading the Bible chronologically. Patsy shares space with daily readers on this Facebook page.

I have just completed Community Bible Study for 2021-22/online with a local group of women, studying “suffering” through the books of Job, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and, finally, Colossians. I did not enter the study until after Job and James were completed, but have the study books, planning to complete those over the summer. I have also signed up to join the next study in September for “Red Sea to the Jordan River” following the Israelites in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. Community Bible Study groups are all over the world. If you are interested, click on the link above to see about a group in your area.

My Bonnie-Girl, my tuxedo cat, my 14- year-old, 3 years ago adopted senior is gone from this earth. She died Tuesday, April 19th. I loved her so; she was my little buddy. She came into my life six months after Kenneth died. I was mourning the loss of my husband, as well as enduring COVID lockdowns and necessary cares and concerns for myself and others. Oh, my sweet girl.

In looking over OneWord prompts, I decided to look for quotes using “diligence” in them.

“Diligence like any other virtue in life can be developed if lost in the cause of time. One can start slowly and gain momentum on things that help in developing diligence.” 
― Dr. Lucas D. Shallua

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.” 
― Samuel Johnson, The Life Of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 4

Diligence overcomes difficulties; sloth makes them. Benjamin Franklin

Prefer diligence before idleness, unless you esteem rust above brightness. Plato

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” Charles Dickens

Ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results. David A. Bednar

Lord, please steer me along this journey of diligence in this earthly sphere, while I walk towards my eternal life. I am so grateful that You have given me this word along with some tools that teach me more about being diligent. Your desire may be to grow me more and more, so please show me the way. And…

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my Refuge,
a Strong Tower against the enemy.
(Psalm 61:1-3)

In the Beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

@ Lisa Notes / https://lisanotes.com
photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor
Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Lifter of My Head

But you, O Lord, are a Shield about me, my Glory, and the Lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:3

Do you recall a time when someone you loved, someone you looked up to, someone you adored, took your lowered head and gently raised your chin with their hand, their fingertips?  You may have been a child, a teen, or an adult. Your lip may have been quivering, a tear running down your cheek.  That person lifted your head until your eyes met theirs.  You saw their loving eyes and sensed the caring they had towards you.  Your heart was touched by this one’s protection, reassurance, and love for you, for just you at that very moment. Slow down and remember such a moment, such a person as this.  Ponder the memory.  Sense the moment right now.

God, our Father, feels this way about us…even more so. 

God is my Shield.  He encircles me with His strength, His power, and His might.  He defends and protects me in ways I cannot even know.  

He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in Whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.  Psalm 144:2

God is majestic. He deserves reverential love and awe as I kneel before Him.  

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
  Psalm 62:7 

He lifts me up high. And as I stand with Him, let nothing in the world pull me down.  He sent His Son to die for me and nailed my sins to that cross.  I do not want to be ashamed, but to stand strong in the LORD. 

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:18-20

Lifting my head is looking up and seeing the Father’s glory, His reflection, His love. His touch is gentle and kind.  He created me and knows my potential.  He lifts me up.  Confidence is being built in me through Him.

Lifting my head helps me to see beyond my circumstances.  My head is higher than anything that is not of God.  None of that can control me when my head is lifted. 

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2 

I can see above to the heavenly realm.  I can know that God, my Father, lights the skies for my way as I follow Him.  Fears are released and given no power for the LORD is the power. 

“Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?”  Matthew 12:11

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.  James 4:10

LORD, I pray that each of us seek You, the Lifter of our heads, our Salvation.  You call us to come before You in thanksgiving and praise.  We bow before the cross, asking for forgiveness, knowing that You have already poured Your grace upon us.  Abba Father, thank You for giving us vision to see beyond our current point in this life, past the pain and suffering, whether of ourselves or of those we love or of others in this world.  You know all and You call us to Your side, lifting us from the miry clay. With gratitude for being the Lifter of my head, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Thank You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

Some 21+ years ago, I published a similar post on Being Woven. Originally, it was for an online devotional called “Granola Bar Devotionals.” Alisa Hope Wagner, also at enLIVEn Devotionals, the author and gatherer of writings of others, has gone on to write many books, inspiring other women to continue writing in new venues.

photo of baby: “I’m Trying So Hard to Lift My Head Up!! : ) – Tummy Time”
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/tummy-time–476466835550170037/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

VIA DOLOROSA

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Via Dolorosa

Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day
The soldiers tried to clear the narrow street
But the crowd pressed in to see
The man condemned to die on Calvary

He was bleeding from a beating, there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
And He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death

Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of
His love for you and me
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary

Por la Vía Dolorosa, triste día en Jerusalén
Los soldados le abrían paso a Jesús
Mas la gente se acercaba
Para ver al que llevaba aquella cruz

Por la Vía Dolorosa, que es la vía del dolor
Como oveja vino Cristo, rey, Señor
Y fue Él quien quiso ir, por su amor por ti y por mí
Por la Vía Dolorosa al Calvario y a morir

The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men
Made its way to the heart of Jerusalem

Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of His love for you and me
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary

Father God, thank You for loving us so very much that You sent Your One and Only Son to live amongst us, to die for us, to take the vileness, the sinfulness of us to that Cross. I am only one of many grateful children of Yours and I thank You for Your love that has never stopped flowing to me. Thank You for walking with me through this life. Thank You for raining Your grace and Your mercy upon me each and every day. And I thank You for loving me the way that I am. You created me and know what Your plans are for me, who I was created to be. Mold me and make me into just who You desire me to be. I am learning to consider it all joy as I face trials here on earth for I await the time to begin my eternal destiny, spending eternity with You. Thank You, Jesus, for loving me so much that You died on the Cross for me. I love You dearly, and pray in the beautiful and restorative Name of Jesus, my Christ. Amen.

Photo of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem: Christian News Journal

“Via Dolorosa:” Video by Sandi Patty/YouTube; Songwriters: Borop Niles A Iii, Sprague Jr William (billy); For non-commercial use only. Data from: Musixmatch

Via Dolorosa signage in Jerusalem: BibleWalks.com

Classical Writers · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Robert M’Cheyne

Robert M’Cheyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in May, 1813, the youngest child in a family of five. His father was a prosperous lawyer and a man of social importance. They lived well in a large home with a fine view of the shores of Fife.

He was a good student through High School and entered the Arts Faculty of the University in Fall of 1827. His father said of his son, “he was of a lively turn and, during the first two or three years of his attendance at the University, he turned his attention to elocution and poetry and the pleasures of society.” M’Cheyne became an eager participant in the city’s fashionable entertainments, and scenes of gaiety – card playing, dancing, music – which occupied his leisure time. 

Robert had been in the prayers of his elder brother. The early death of this brother in 1831 due to a stroke became a catalyst to awaken Robert…”the first overwhelming blow to my worldliness.” He began to be serious, and to sit under an evangelical ministry. In the winter of 1831 after following his desire to go into the ministry, he did enter the Divinity Hall of the University. Under the leadership of men like Chalmers and Welsh there was a change in the spiritual life at the College and proved to also whip up the Church of Scotland. 

The last entry of his student days is  “March 29, 1835.  College finished on Friday last. My last appearance there. Life is vanishing fast, make haste for eternity.” 

M’Cheyne was licensed by the presbytery of Annan on July 1st, 1835 and became “a preacher of the Gospel an honour to which I cannot name an equal.” 

He was ordained minister of St. Peter’s, Dundee, I November, 1836. It was a new church built in a neglected area of “some 4,000 souls. A city given to idolatry and hardness of heart,” was his first impression. “He has set me down among the noisy mechanics and political wavers of this godless town,” M’Cheyne wrote. 

When Robert M’Cheyne spoke to his parishioners, the words were urgent: “The most, I fear, in all congregations, are sailing easily down the stream into an undone eternity, unconverted and unawakened.” …

“God help me to speak to you plainly! The longest lifetime is short enough. It is all that is given you to be converted in. In a very little, it will be all over; and all that is here is changing – the very hills are crumbling down – the loveliest face is withering away – the finest garments rot and decay. Every day that passes is bringing you nearer to the judgment-seat. Not one of you is standing still. You may sleep; but the tide is going on bringing you nearer death, judgment, and eternity.”

M’Cheyne was able to walk with continual awareness of God’s truths – “I think I can say, I have never risen a morning without thinking how I could bring more souls to Christ.” “As I was walking in the fields, the thought came over me with almost overwhelming power, that every one of my flock must soon be in heaven or hell.” 

But late in 1838, he fell ill to violent palpitations of the heart to which his medical advisers insisted on a total cessation of work. Accordingly M’Cheyne, with deep regret, returned to his parents home in Edinburgh, to rest until he could resume his ministry.

In the spring of 1839, it was proposed in Edinburgh that he should accompany a group of ministers who were going to visit Palestine…to inquire into the state of Israel. The voyage and climate, it was thought, might be beneficial for him. He accepted, traveling to Jerusalem and Galilee over a six-month period. And M’Cheyne was interested in the Jews, in Israel.

As the party began the return towards home through Asia Minor, M’Cheyne turned dangerously ill. While in Smyrna, he thought he was dying, but would be able to return to Scotland and live a bit longer.

While “far from Scotland, the spiritual prosperity of M’Cheyne’s people in Dundee was uppermost in his heart. After surveying the barren spot in Galilee where Capernaum once stood, he wrote to them, “If you tread the glorious Gospel of the grace of God under your feet, your souls will perish; and I fear Dundee will one day be a howling wilderness like Capernaum.” “Ah! would my flock from thee might learn, How days of grace will flee; How all an offered Christ who spurn, shall mourn at last, like thee.” 

William Chalmers Burns – a young man of twenty-four – was supplying in M’Cheyne’s place at Dundee in his absence. It was under his preaching on July 23, 1838 that the great Revival at Kilsyth took place. “All Scotland heard the glad news that the sky was no longer brass. The Spirit in mighty power began to work from that day forward in many places of the land.” 

The truth pierced hearts in an overwhelming manner – “tears were streaming from the eyes of many, and some fell on the ground groaning, and weeping, and crying for mercy.” Services were held every night for many weeks – often lasting till late hours. The whole town was moved. The fear of God fell upon the ungodly. Anxious multitudes filled the churches.  This revival was to continue through the remaining years of M’Cheyne’s life. 

It was M’Cheyne’s constant aim to avoid any hurry which prevents “the calm working of the Spirit on the heart. The dew comes down when all nature is at rest – when every leaf is still. A calm hour with God is worth a whole lifetime with man.”

Robert Murray M’Cheyne died on Saturday, March 25th, 1843. 

“Over six thousand people attended the funeral and immediately after M’Cheyne’s death, Andrew Bonar, a close friend and colleague, wrote ‘The Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne.’ We have finished our outlines of the life of one who declared he was ‘just a common man.’ But our impression must surely be that such a ministry is very uncommon in our times.” Andrew Bonar

A brief life indeed…Robert M’Cheyne. Only thirty years old.

The M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan is one used across many different avenues @ https://www.mcheyne.info/mcheyne-reading-plan/

He wrote many books: “A Basket of Fragments,” “Pastoral Letters,” “Songs of Zion,” “More Precious Than Gold,” “Familiar Letters,” “The Seven Churches of Asia,” “The Believer’s Joy,” “God Makes a Path,” and more. Many others have written books using his work, creating devotionals. The biography that is most familiar is by Andrew A. Bonar, a close friend, “Memoir and Remains of Robert M’Cheyne.”

“Oh! brethren, be wise. ‘Why stand ye all the day idle?’ In a little moment it will be all over. A little while and the day of grace will be over – preaching, praying will be done. A little while, and we shall stand before the great white throne – a little while, and the wicked shall not be; we shall see them going away into everlasting punishment. A little while, and the work of eternity shall be begun. We shall be like Him – we shall see Him day and night in His temple – we shall sing the new song, without sin and without weariness, for ever and ever.”

May we learn from those in the past and see the way a little clearer, Lord.

Quotes are from quote fancy

Black & white sketch of M’Cheyne @ Faith for Living

Picture with signature – https://biblereadingpodcast.com/readingplan/

Bible Study · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

See To It…

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

This one verse is so packed with words and concepts that I want to understand. I was going to break this into two posts but it all ties together as one rather large misstep I can make so easily in my walk with God. So I shall unpack these words and see just where God leads.

philosophy

φιλοσοφία

philosophia

properly, love (and pursuit) of wisdom; used in the Greek writings of either zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Once in the N. T. (Col. 2:8), of the theology or rather theosophy* (see below for definition), of certain Jewish-Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative inquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life.

empty

κενός

kenos

  1. empty, vain, devoid of truth
    1. of places, vessels, etc. which contain nothing
    2. of men
      1. empty handed
      2. without a gift
    3. metaph. destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession, yet is without the fruits of faith
    4. metaph. of endeavours, labours, acts, which result in nothing, vain, fruitless, without effect
      1. vain of no purpose

deceit

ἀπάτη

apatē

deceit, deceitfulness; the lusts excited by deceit, i. e. by deceitful influences seducing to sin, (others, ‘deceitful lusts’)

elemental spirits

στοιχεῖον

stoicheion

  1. any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal
    1. the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds
    2. the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe
    3. the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside
    4. the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline
      1. i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry

I spent about ten years of my adult life (before I knew Christ) following after philosophies of New Age and Eastern religions. I read and pondered things that turned into empty deceitful ways. Very little fruit, if any, grew on me-trees, on and in me, planted by these “religions.” Elemental spirits of this world, of satan, pulled me into a web which was difficult to pull and push my way out. These were the makings of human traditions, of this world and the underworld. They were surely not of Christ. Yet I remained blinded by them for, oh, so long!

There is so much that can ensnare us and then hold us tightly in its grasp. Our focus must be on Christ or we will not be able to discern much once we are in the midst of these elemental spirits, these basics of life yet are not life-giving. O Lord, hold me fast. I must “see to it…see to seeking You, my Lord.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary of Colossians: “The fair warning given us of our danger: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. There is a philosophy which is a noble exercise of our reasonable faculties, and highly serviceable to religion, such a study of the works of God as leads us to the knowledge of God and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful, which is prejudicial to religion, and sets up the wisdom of man in competition with the wisdom of God, and while it pleases men’s fancies ruins their faith; as nice and curious speculations about things above us, or of no use and concern to us; or a care of words and terms of art, which have only an empty and often a cheating appearance of knowledge.”

After the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world: this plainly reflects upon the Jewish pedagogy or economy, as well as the Pagan learning. The Jews governed themselves by the traditions of their elders and the rudiments or elements of the world, the rites and observances which were only preparatory and introductory to the gospel state; the Gentiles mixed their maxims of philosophy with their Christian principles; and both alienated their minds from Christ. Those who pin their faith on other men’s sleeves, and walk in the way of the world, have turned away from following after Christ. The deceivers were especially the Jewish teachers, who endeavoured to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ, but really in competition with it and contradiction to it.”

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 2 Peter 3:17

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? Galatians 4:8-9

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23

O Father, I pray that I keep my eyes, my ears, my heart focused upon You, and You Alone. May my heart and mind be so attuned to Your Word, to Your Son, that I would know the Truth all of the time. I pray that I would know the way in which I should go as the Holy Spirit directs me each and every minute of each and every day. May I see to it that my understanding of You will continue to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of You, not of this world for it is not Your‘s. I pray for my sisters and brothers in Christ to know Your ways for them as well. My desire is to be wholly Yours in all my ways. Please direct, and redirect, my paths, Lord, for I stray. I am so sorry for I do not intend to wander, yet I do…I have. The world seeks me yet I desire to see to it that I find shelter under the cleft of the Rock. Only in You will I be safe. In the precious and Holy Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Graphic of Colossians 2:8 @ Young Disciples International

Colossians 2:8 license plate @ Josh McKibbon on Pinterest and Flickr

Matthew Henry’s words come from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Colossians.

* definition of ‘theosophy’ ~ “any of a number of philosophies maintaining that a knowledge of God may be achieved through spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition, or special individual relations”

#oneword · OneWord365 · Pondering

Diligence – One Word 2022

Lisa (@ LisaNotes) suggests each month a few ways to blog our OneWord. After pondering the ones given plus more from the whole list (Lisa Hite, available here) I decided to see how creating a collage with my OneWord in many different languages would create something new for March. I must say it was quite interesting, has given me more questions rather than a better understanding of ‘diligence’ but was fun anyway! Wordclouds.com

No matter what language my OneWord for 2022 is written or spoken in, it still means basically the same – “to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early or diligently for …” with minor cultural and actual language differences.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:14

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Romans 12:10-13 NKJV

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. ESV

in the diligence not slothful; in the spirit fervent; the Lord serving; YLT

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. NLT

My month has been rather constant regarding diligence in my walk with God:

  • I continue to read the Bible daily along with “Sweeter Than Honey, A 365-Day Devotional Journey” by Patsy Burnette. We are reading the Bible chronologically which I really am liking. Patsy has a beehive of readers on this Facebook page.
  • My Community Bible Group just began Colossians which is our last book of study. We are on a week’s break right now and then will complete the year by the end of April. I hope to be back with them for the next year’s study beginning in September, I believe. Next year’s study will be “Red Sea to the Jordan River” following the Israelites in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers.
  • With Covid numbers decreasing well below the norm since I moved here over six months ago, I have returned to a church I had attended once awhile back. Because of Covid I am going to just go to this one church for now rather than visit unknown churches. And for two Sundays, it is just right! Thank You, Lord.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

I pray that His grace and knowledge will, indeed, penetrate my soul and my heart so that I may praise Him for always. In Your Name, sweet Jesus, I pray. Amen.

@ Lisa Notes / https://lisanotes.com

Diligence One Word 2022: photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

WordCloud for diligence in many languages @ Wordclouds.com

One Word 2022: photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers – 2

I know I posted Oswald Chambers last week, but he has been vital to my Christian growth. I want to spend a bit more time on him this week.

“Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.” —Oswald Chambers

“We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.”

“Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamour of the world.”

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.

On the morning of March 9, 2022, as I read from “My Utmost for His Highest”, I could not have been gifted a more perfect devotional reading for ‘such a time as this’ in my walk with Jesus. I have much to ponder until Jesus returns:

“Turning Back or Walking with Jesus?”

By Oswald Chamber
Do you also want to go away?” —John 6:67

“What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

“’From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more’ (John 6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

“Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him.

“In John 6:70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: ‘Do you also want to go away?‘”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS: Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man.   (Disciples Indeed, 388 L)

Oh, Lord, I do not wish to walk away, yet I have certainly toyed with that idea due to this world pulling and pushing me away. Satan has had his grasp upon me, upon my feet and arms and even my neck, so it seems. I watch how others, who call themselves Christians, walk and talk. They have so disappointed and dismayed me. The behaviors of some have made me doubt the faith which I have been steadfastly walking now for 29 years now. YET…Lord, You, the love that emanates from You, calls me back. I pray that I walk in diligence, spending time in Your Word, on my knees, finding a church home now that Covid is mellowing out here, in order to know You more and more, and to remind me of Whose I am. Pull me towards You should I stray. Pull me towards You should I doubt, question my faith, question even You in my ‘rearranged mind.’ Please pull me towards You should I not desire to be in Your sphere, for I really….REALLY…do love You and want to be in the same orbit as You. I do not really want to be far away. Guide my steps. Please keep me close, Lord. In Your Beautiful and Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Oswald Chambers/quote @ AZ Quotes

“Spiritual maturity” quote @ quotefancy.com

Obedience @ quote fancy

Book Cover/”My Utmost for His Highest” @ utmost.org

Devotional @ https://utmost.org

“Whenever the conviction…” @ quote fancy

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Weather Report

I love how God has given us weather reports throughout the Bible. He tells us of the actual rains and winds on this physical earth. He also uses weather-related metaphors giving us wonderfully clear word pictures.

The one we are probably most familiar with is Noah and the ark ~

And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:12

And Jonah ~

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Jonah 1:4

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. Nahum 1:3

Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23

Wild and gentle are the ways of the weather. Wild and gentle are the ways of God.

“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! Deuteronomy 32:1-3

And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. Luke 12:54

From the breath of God ice is made,
And the expanse of the waters is frozen.
Job 37:10

For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, His mighty downpour.
Job 37:6

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling His word! Psalm 148:7-8

You will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. Isaiah 29:6

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen within His temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. Revelations 11:19

by Justin Battles

Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Leviticus 26:4

Sometimes, I think that God must have storehouses filled with rainwater, snow, hail for the deluges are so enormous that the areas upon which the storm dumps floods, or avalanches, or all that is in the path of the wind is totally destroyed. But, oh, that is my human imagination. I do not know now. One day!

The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder;
Your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
Your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Psalm 77:17-18

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and He brings forth the wind from His storehouses. Jeremiah 10:12-13

Yet, in the darkness, the light will come. God is so much more than the very circumstances.

I praise You, my Father.

I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
” Isaiah 45:7-8

Father, God of Heaven and Earth, You have created all. You have placed us in the midst that we would care for Your earth. You provide in ways to water the plants and give humans water to drink. Yet, many of Your ways I cannot understand for so many live without sources of water and many places on this planet are shriveling up for lack of water. And other places (and its people) are flooded beyond recognition. My ways are not Yours, but one day, Lord, will I understand? This earth is such a beautiful place but it was far more so when You first created the Garden of Eden. We have caused must decay and dismay by not being the caretakers You desired from us. I am sorry that we continue to fail You and Your creation. Lord, as I think about the majesty and harshness of weather upon this world, I think of the Ukrainian people for they are never far from my mind and heart these days. They are trying to hunker down or flee their country in the midst of freezing cold with some snow while the country is in the midst of a horrible war. Please hold them closely while some seek safe shelter where they are while others run to other countries. Please keep Mr. Putin and his forces from bombing hospitals and places that should be a safe haven. Please, Lord, stop this awful war. I am usually a peacemaker, but this is so beyond any ability of my own. I cannot even make peace among my friends these days. Only You can do that, Father God…any and all of it. My Prince of Peace, please rain Your peace upon us all, especially this time in Ukraine. The beautiful, although at times, threatening, but also awe-inspiring weather is so filled with You and the amazing God You are. May I look in awe at it and know that You are the God of all this earth…the God of me. Guide my steps to keep me on the path of righteousness. I love You, Lord. In the Powerful Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12

rain @ wallpaper cave

waves/lighthouse @ The Inertia

hurricane @ AGU Blogosphere

huge storm @ Wallpapertag.com

Hail @ audiojungle

rainclouds over green hills/barn @ pixelstalk.net

rain storm @ Pixelstalk

Ice Storm @ Vermont Institute of Natural Science

Snow storm @ The Morning Call

Fire @ The National Interest

Lightning @ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lightning #2 by Justin Battles @ strangesounds.org

Alaska Earthquake damage @ KOTATV

Rain and Hail in Ruidoso, NM @ Ruidoso News

wild clouds @ fanpop

Extreme weather collage @ NASA.gov

Tornado @ Weather.com

mammoth dust storm @ The Washington Post

Storm over boats @ Woodenboat.com

Sea with sunset @ Pixelstalk

sunny day/high clouds @ desktop backgrounds