Pondering · Devotionals · God's Word

I am Your Clay, Lord

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Jeremiah 18:1-6

חֹמֶר

ḥōmer

clay: as material of vessels

Jeremiah 18:4:

CSB: But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.

NET: Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit.

NLT: But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

שָׁחַת

šāḥaṯ (shaw-khath’)

batter, cast off, corrupt(-er, thing), destroy(-er, -uction), lose, mar, perish, spill, spoiler, waste(-r).

God gave Jeremiah a visual this time rather than just words, as if God’s Word is not enough! I am a visual learner more often than not. I grasp the whole idea when I can see something being done, see something in actuality, see or touch rather than just hear. Looks like Jeremiah needed that for this picture, this word picture. He was preparing a sermon from this. How better to be able to grasp the WHOLE point!

The Potter reuses the same lump of clay when the first pot was not turning out as He intended because of a flaw, a lump, a stone, something in the clay. As I am the clay, God created me in His original form. As life welled up from His hands, I grew into the beautiful life that He created. As’choice’ began to be a reality in my life, some of the choices I made were His choices for me, but so many were not. Over the course of these seventy-four years now, God has thrown this lump of clay back onto the wheel to see about changing my course. He drew me back to Himself. He loves me so that He desires that I become more and more as the image of His Son, Jesus the Christ.

“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter‘s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Jeremiah 18:6

I want to say that God does not need to take this clay to remake me again and again each time I take the wrong pathway from the one He has planned for me. But He does, I think! In a way! He created me perfectly, yet I need remolding from time to time as I am not perfect while I walk on this earth. The Holy Spirit draws me near and teaches me more and more through the Word, the life of Jesus, by prayer. He kneads my life through Himself to look more like the original way He created.

I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables
. Hosea 12:10

God creates us perfectly no matter what we look like, what paths we, ourselves, choose over our lifetime, or just what happens to us in our bodies, our minds, our lives. We have been created perfectly. As we grow in Christ, we are to walk in the Lord as unto perfection, one step at a time. We should depend upon God to guide us and protect us as we become more and more like Christ. This is not an easy walk and it certainly is not a straight shot from the creation God made to the one we are to become. The road to Christ is a powerful walk but filled with storms, hills and dales, temperature extremes, roadblocks, plus our own weariness.

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

…from George Whitefield’s ((1714-1770), sermon “The Potter and the Clay:”

“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?’ Saith the Lord. ‘Behold, as the clay is in the hands of the potter,’” (marred, and unfit for the first designed purpose) “‘so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.’” At length, then, Jeremiah hath his sermon given to him: short, but popular. It was to be delivered to the whole house of Israel, princes, priests, and people: short, but pungent, even sharper than a two-edged sword. What! says the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, must I be denied the privilege of a common potter? May I not do what I will with my own? “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are ye in mine hands, O house of Israel. I made and formed you into a people, and blessed you above any other nation under heaven: but, O Israel, thou by thy backslidings hast destroyed thyself. As the potter therefore might justly have thrown aside his marred clay, so may I justly unchurch and unpeople you. But what if I should come over the mountains of your guilt, heal your backslidings, revive my work in the midst of the years, and cause your latter end greatly to increase? Behold, as the clay is in the hands of the potter, lying at his disposal, either to be destroyed or formed into another vessel, so are ye in my hands, O house of Israel: I may either reject, and thereby ruin you, or I may revisit and revive you according to my own sovereign good will and pleasure, and who shall say unto me, what dost thou?”

.… “I shall now proceed to show, that what the glorious Jehovah here says of the house of Israel in general, is applicable to every individual of mankind in particular.” ….

“First, I shall undertake to prove, that every man naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, is in the sight of the all-seeing, heart-searching God, only as a “piece of marred clay.” ….

.… “But this is not all, we have yet more evidence to call; for do the blindness of our understandings, the perverseness of our will, the rebellion of our affections, the corruption our consciences, the depravity of our reason prove this charge; and does not present disordered frame and constitution of our bodies confirm the same also? Doubtless in this respect, man, in the most literal sense of the word, is a piece of marred clay.

….

“Secondly, That being thus marred, he must necessarily be renewed: and under this head, we shall likewise point out by whose agency this mighty change is to be brought about.”

…. “This is what John the Baptist calls “being baptized with the Holy Ghost,” without which, his and all other baptisms, whether infant or adult, avail nothing. This is that fire, which our Lord came to send into our earthly hearts, and which I pray the Lord of all lords to kindle in every unrenewed one this day.”

“As for the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, such as working of miracles, or speaking with divers kinds of tongues, they are long since ceased. But as for this miracle of miracles, turning the soul to God by the more ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, this abides yet, and will abide till time itself shall be nor more. For it is he that sanctifieth us, and all the elect people of God. On this account, true believers are said to be “born from above, to be born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Their second, as well as their first creation, is truly and purely divine. It is, therefore, called “a creation;” “but put ye on,” (says the apostle) “the new man which is created” — And how? Even as the first man was after God in righteousness and true holiness.”

As I readied myself to pray as I usually do at the ends of my posts, the prayer of Mr. Whitefield, at the end of his sermon, says so much that I will have him prayer for us this day:

You, that have in some degree experienced the quickening influence (for I must not conclude without dropping a word or two to God’s children) you know how to pity, and therefore, I beseech you also to pray for those, to whose circumstances this discourse is peculiarly adapted. But will you be content in praying for them? Will you not see reason to pray for yourselves also? Yes, doubtless, for yourselves also. For you, and you only know, how much there is yet lacking in your faith, and how far you are from being partakers in that degree, which you desire to be, of the whole mind that was in Christ Jesus. You know what a body of sin and death you carry about with you, and that you must necessarily expect many turns of God’s providence and grace, before you will be wholly delivered from it. But thanks be to God, we are in safe hands. He that has been the author, will also be the finisher of our faith. Yet a little while, and we like him shall say “It is finished;” we shall bow down our heads and give up the ghost. `Till then, (for to thee, O Lord, will we now direct our prayer) help us, O Almighty Father, in patience to possess our souls. Behold, we are the clay, and thou art the Potter. Let not the thing formed say to him that formed it, whatever the dispensations of thy future Will concerning us may be, Why dost thou deal with us thus? Behold, we put ourselves as blanks in thine hands, deal with us as seemeth good in thy sight, only let every cross, ever affliction, every temptation, be overruled to the stamping thy blessed image in more lively characters on our hearts; that so passing from glory to glory, by the powerful operations of they blessed Spirit, we may be made thereby more and more meet for, and at last be translated to a full, perfect, endless, and uninterrupted enjoyment of glory hereafter, with thee O Father, thee O Son, and thee O blessed Spirit; to whom, three persons but one God, be ascribed, as is most due, all honor, power, might, majesty and dominion, now and to all eternity. Amen and Amen.

The Potter & the Clay photo/graphics @ faithatworktoday.com

Photo of potter creating @ https://pixabay.com/users/riteshphotography-6483976/

Beginning Again/lump of clay in the potter’s hands photo (no credit available)

from George Whitefield’s sermon @ Blue Letter Bible https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/whitefield_george/Sermons/witf_013.cfm?a=763004

clay heart photo @ https://pixabay.com/photos/heart-volume-love-4172398/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Strength to Hold the Battle Back

For some time, a focal point for me has been to ‘convince’ others to see the world through God’s Word plus I have desired to ‘renew relationships’ that seem to have gone deeply awry. Convincing and renewing were, at least, my hope to change hearts and minds by what I deemed as the wisdom and the Truth of God’s Word, common sense, and love towards others with open arms. All of my efforts have led to nothing but frustration, discouragement, and sorrow on my part.

And in this place of quiet, deep inside of me, God has given me His beautiful peace to know that He is God and that He is in control. I am not! I cannot ‘convince’ nor ‘restore’ in my own strength, even if I had some. When will I ever learn?

from Matthew Henry’s “Commentary on Isaiah (28):” “They courted and persuaded them to learn. God, by his prophets, said to them, “This way that we are directing you to, and directing you in, is the rest, the only rest, wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this will be the refreshing of your own souls, and will bring rest to your country from the wars and other calamities with which it has been long harassed.” Note, God by his word calls us to nothing but what is really for our advantage; for the service of God is the only true rest for those that are weary of the service of sin and there is no refreshing but under the easy yoke of the Lord Jesus.

I can see that I am up against a hard place, a stinging nettle, a prick. I must trust in the Lord, the Lord alone. He has not left me stranded in such a dark place as this world looks to be. He is near and reminds me of His infinite grace and mercy.

I have felt so off-course, so disengaged with people I once loved and cared about, yet I could not open my mouth without getting myself into more hot water. There was just no seeing eye-to-eye on just about anything and everything. So I remained quiet on the outside while my insides were boiling and exhausted from NOT trying to make peace, for NOT letting people know how I really felt or what I really believed. Both are a huge part of who I think I am…a peacemaker and an honest, open person.

I chose to use ‘Being Woven’ as my platform to share a few, just a few, of my thoughts and beliefs. Those same people whom I still love (yet no longer am able to like their behavior or lack of behavior) have gone completely silent.

In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. Isaiah 28:5-6

I have sought Him in my dark places. He is with me. I feel as though I am beginning once again. Beginning a new phase of the rest of my life, a reset button has recently been pushed. I am starting fresh without my dear husband, Kenneth, of 25 years. Yes, it has been four years since he died, but the reset button is just now being hit! A reset with possible new friends with whom I will be open and honest, I pray. A reset to trust in the Lord anew, responding to the life I am called to live.

My anger, my hopelessness, my fear, my disillusionment have all been based on worldly ways, on watching those around me use the beautiful Name of Christ in negative ways which I could never have imagined they would or could. I need to pull back and know that God is God and He is my God. Jesus is my Lord of this life.

The Lord will give me strength for turning my battle back at the gate. I am a follower of Jesus.

“I entreat you, give no place to despondency. This is a dangerous temptation–a refined, not a gross temptation of the adversary. Melancholy contracts and withers the heart, and renders it unfit to receive the impressions of grace. It magnifies and gives a false colouring to objects, and thus renders your burdens too heavy to bear. God’s designs regarding you, and His methods of bringing about these designs, are infinitely wise.” Madame Jeanne-Marie Guyon

This also comes from the LORD of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom.
Isaiah 28:29

Father, as I walk this earth from day-to-day, please guide my steps that they would be steadily in sync with You. Guide my steps as You draw me into a fresh set of friends whose lives You have ordained for me. As You give me freedom to wander a bit and make choices, remind me of Whose I am and just where You desire I walk. Forgive me when I stray, especially when I stray far off the path. I may be just thinking that I am going over there to smell the fragrance of a flower, yet I sometimes forget that I need to return to the path. Lord, give me Your strength to keep the battles back at the gates so they do not come into my yard, into my life. May Your peace, Your love, Your holiness, Your grace, and Your mercy all, YES…ALL! rain down upon me and reign in my heart and my soul, Father God. I love You so and, with peace, I walk out into this world with assurance of You over me. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photo/graphic @ LoveGodGreatly

Photo/graphic @ pinterest from 2.bp.blogspot.com

#oneword · OneWord365 · Pondering

Diligence ~ One Word ~ July 2022

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Finding quotes on ‘diligence’ this seventh month of 2022:

“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”

“Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawingup at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through—and very good lists they were—very well chosen, and very neatly arranged—sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen—I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now. But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma. She will never submit to any thing requiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding.” 
― Jane Austen, “Emma”

“It is hard work to control the workings of inclination and turn the bent of nature; but that it may be done, I know from experience. God has given us, in a measure, the power to make our own fate: and when our energies seem to demand a sustenance they cannot get–when our will strains after a path we may not follow–we need neither starve from inanition, not stand still in despair: we have but to seek another nourishment for the mind, as strong as the forbidden fruit it longed to taste–and perhaps purer; and to hew out for the adventurous foot a road as direct and broad as the one Fortune has blocked up against us, if rougher than it.” 
― Charlotte Brontë, “Jane Eyre”

“If he [Thomas Edison] had a needle to find in a haystack, he would not stop to reason where it was most likely to be, but would proceed at once with the feverish diligence of a bee, to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. … Just a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety percent of his labor.” 
― Nikola Tesla

“We are all called to tread different paths on our journey to destiny. Howbeit, be diligent with the much or little entrusted into your hands.” 
― Kelechi Erondu

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” 
― Francis of Assisi

“My dear Gorgas,
Instead of being simply satisfied to make friends and draw your pay, it is worth doing your duty, to the best of your ability, for duty’s sake; and in doing this, while the indolent sleep, you may accomplish something that will be of real value to humanity. 
Your good friend, Reed”
Dr. Walter Reed encouraging Dr. William Gorgas who went on to make history eradicating Yellow Fever in Havana, 1902 and Panama, 1906, liberating the entire North American continent from centuries of Yellow Fever epidemics.” 
― William Crawford Gorgas, “Sanitation in Panama”

“Speak as educated nature suggests to you, and you will do well, but let it be educated and not raw, rude, uncultivated nature. Demosthenes took unbounded pains with his voice, and Cicero, who was naturally weak, made a long journey into Greece to correct his manner of speaking. With far nobler themes, let us not be less ambitious to excel.” 
― Charles Spurgeon

“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject… And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them… Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.” 
― Seneca, “Natural Questions”

May I walk my path, directed by God, with diligence.

Bible Study · Devotionals · Pondering · prayer

Conspiracy and Hypocrisy!

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. John 8:44-45

My joy is so missing-in-action as I live in this world today. The bombardments of harshness and strife are continually creating rough edges all over me: re: mass murders, hatred, an assassination of a fine retired world leader, vitriol spewing everywhere, a constant barrage of lies by many who seem to know only that; there is so much more. I have been having such a difficult time getting up from down, rejoicing with others and even just with myself, and even filtering peace and joy through the beauty of God’s creations is so difficult for me now. I pray this will pass and I can see beyond those hedges. God is faithful and merciful. He rains down His peace and joy upon me so that I may hold it in, yes, inside my very being.

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:22

I am writing about conspiracy and hypocrisy this week for the Bible speaks of both quite clearly. Both have been on my mind for too long of a time. I have remained still and quiet, all of which has been snarled up inside of me. I want to write with God’s guidance, I pray.

For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15

con·spir·a·cy ~ [kənˈspirəsē] ~ NOUN

a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful

the action of plotting or conspiring

קֶשֶׁר

qešer

an (unlawful) alliance:—confederacy, conspiracy, treason

Absalom’s Conspiracy:

After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.”

Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.’” The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.

But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’” With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing. 2 Samuel 15:1-12

from the Book of Acts:

When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.” Acts 23:12-15

These sound so much like today…conspiratorial thinking and actions. “Hang Mike Pence” rings in my ears. They were very ready to do just that upon the gallows which they brought with them to the nation’s Capitol.

I have become someone I am not very familiar with these days. I have always been an encourager and a peacekeeper. But I am barely either one of those and have not been for a few years now. Yes, I still encourage a few people in my world, in my life, but I can no longer keep peace as so many in my world have blown my mind and heart to pieces. I do not know what to say to them any longer. I have been extremely quiet for years now just so I could keep the peace. BUT…a rather large piece of me has been changing. I cannot keep silent at every turn. I cannot keep peace should I encounter any of those I struggle with. So many have believed in conspiracies whether it be about the 2020 election being “stolen” or “rigged,” or COVID-19 as a hoax, about vaccines being evil or government-forced upon the citizens, while believing that untested COVID-19 cures are perfectly fine, one friend ‘telling’ me that, should I get COVID, to surely contact a certain doctor, or take a certain treatment (all of which were perpetrating lies and quackery). And many have believed that January 6th was a ‘legitimate political discourse.” And there are so many other conspiracies flying around these days.

ὑπόκρισις

hypokrisis

acting under a feigned part, i.e. (figuratively) deceit (“hypocrisy”):—condemnation, dissimulation, hypocrisy.

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. Luke 12:1-3

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke:

“He began with a caution against hypocrisy. This he said to his disciples first of all; either to the twelve, or to the seventy. These were his more peculiar charge, his family, his school, and therefore he particularly warned them as his beloved sons; they made more profession of religion than others and hypocrisy in that was the sin they were most in danger of. They were to preach to others; and, if they should prevaricate, corrupt the word, and deal deceitfully, hypocrisy would be worse in them than in others. Besides, there was a Judas among them, who was a hypocrite, and Christ knew it, and would hereby startle him, or leave him inexcusable. Christ’s disciples were, for aught we know, the best men then in the world, yet they needed to be cautioned against hypocrisy. Christ said this to the disciples, in the hearing of this great multitude, rather than privately when he had them by themselves, to add the greater weight to the caution, and to let the world know that he would not countenance hypocrisy, no, not in his own disciples. Now observe, 

  • (1.) The description of that sin which he warns them against: It is the leaven of the Pharisees.
    • [1.] It is leaven; it is spreading as leaven, insinuates itself into the whole man, and all that he does; it is swelling and souring as leaven, for it puffs men up with pride, embitters them with malice, and makes their service unacceptable to God.
    • [2.] It is the leaven of the Pharisees: “It is the sin they are most of them found in. Take heed of imitating them; be not you of their spirit; do not dissemble in Christianity as they do in Judaism; make not your religion a cloak of maliciousness, as they do theirs.”

“Do you not know this of old,
Since man was placed on earth,

That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?
Job 20:4-5

If you are one of those whom I have loved and cared about, yet have bought into the misbeliefs, the lies, the conspiracies that have ensnared so many millions, please read God’s Word regarding these subjects. This is God’s Truth. Conspiracies and lies have been around forever. They are not God’s Truth. Think about the serpent in the Garden. Satan lied and caught Eve and Adam in his lies about the Tree and an apple. Absalom wanted to be king. He would do anything to be king and he had many followers. The side-by-side comparison of the forty-fifth President of the United States, his followers, Absalom and his followers seems far too familiar to me.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,…. 1 Timothy 4:1-2

The Term ‘Christian’ Has taken on a Very Dark Color for Me:

I am baffled as to why people continue to follow a man who would taunt elderly ‘Lady Ruby’ and her daughter Shaye, two Georgia election workers who have been found absolutely innocent of doing anything illegal or wrong. Plus, the crowds taunted ‘Lady Ruby’s’ even-more-elderly mother who was at her home, not even a part of the election? I cannot grasp how anyone can continue to support the former President who LIED, who continues to LIE. He was willing to have his Vice President, our former Vice President, killed, hung? HOW? Other liars are believed regularly as well: T. Carlson, L. Ingraham, R. Guilliani, T. Cruz, to name just a few. I just cannot, do not, understand. And a large group of those followers call themselves Christians, evangelical Christians. This fact boggles my mind more than ANYTHING!

I, myself, am a follower of Christ. I love the Lord. I am a Jesus-follower, but find that using the term ‘Christian’ is no longer comfortable for me. I do not deny Christ at all. I am totally His, but many have ruined the name ‘Christian’ for me (and I am not alone). I have so many people who were/are a part of my life whom I have loved, but I no longer like many of their ways.

What these last years have done for and to me is make me doubt my own faith, make me question who I am. I pray that my walk does not and will not portray an image of hypocrisy as so many Christians have shown me by their walks. I know I fail too and ask God over and over for His gracious forgiveness. I have been living in Colorado for ten months now and am so discouraged as I look for a church to call ‘home.’ Hypocrisy shows up far more than when it does not. I try not to walk in hypocrisy or surround myself with lies and conspiracies. I hope and pray I won’t! This is not about politics although many would argue with me that it is. NO, IT IS NOT! It is about our faith, my faith, your faith.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10

My beautiful America is falling apart at the seams right now. We have a devil in our midst pulling us down by his lies to a level I have never known in my 74 years. Yes, the United States of America has had hard moments in its history but what I see today seems to be the worst in my lifetime. We must wake up before we have been taken into the arms of the devil. There are some who want to hold ALL OF THE POWER with NO democracy holding us together as it has been for 246 years. Democracy (with a small ‘d’) is a beautiful thing. We have free speech, free choice, freedom of religion, right to have a fair trial, right to bear arms (although I wish we could rid our country of weapons of war/AR-style rifles!), freedom to vote, and so much more. Autocracy, dictatorship, oligarchy, totalitarian, and many other types of governments are run by one or a few. Let us not lose our democracy, please. “Government of the peopleby the peoplefor the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” Abraham Lincoln…I wish!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:1-18

Father God, this has been so very difficult for me to write. I pray that these words are true to my calling in Your Name. I pray, in some small way, I have glorified You in who I am and what I say. Hold us near and teach us to be true to You, Lord. I know this country I call ‘home’ has gone so far astray over our two and a half centuries, and, one day, we will come before You. I pray we will answer honestly and forthrightly to You, with humble and repentant hearts. I pray for healing between people whose relationships have cracked or stand wide open. Lord, for I have a number of those broken relationships. Please heal each one or cause a change in me that I may set aside those which are irreparable. Yet, no matter, I am strong in You and know that You are my God. Hold me close as I walk these hard roads, reminding me that the faith I hold dear is, indeed, that which You gave me. Redirect me from standing with ‘doubting Thomas,’ as a ‘doubting Linda,’ and place me firmly into Your arms where: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1). Father, I pray all in the Name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

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

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b

Amen

“Lies” @ Blam – https://www.blam.online/lies

“Conspiracy” @ fontsquirel – https://www.fontsquirrel.com

“Lies” by Hitler @ AZQuotes – https://www.azquotes.com/quote/561220

“Hypocrisy” @ Anderson Leadership Solutions – http://www.andersonleadershipsolutions.com/hypocrisy-limits-your-ability-lead/

Pondering · prayer

Independence Day, 2022

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Father, I am as torn as this pitiful American flag. I so love the United States of America. I was born and raised here, having lived all across this land, from California to Washington, D.C., from Virginia to Oregon, from Texas to Colorado. I am reminded of the tattered nation I seem to be living in. My country feels like it is being ripped apart by the strife, division, hatred across such a wide spectrum of issues and concerns…guns, abortion, politics, religion, hypocrisy, the color of one’s skin, environmental un-protection, immigration, so much more. I wish certain people with power would STOP lying to us (supposedly, role models, caring for the people they serve or once served). We are a nation of all colors, many religions, various cultures. We need to be able to trust one another, trust in our government at all three levels, yet that trust is waning right now. I pray for some unity, cohesion, communication, togetherness, so that this nation may begin to heal. The United States of America has been the land of freedom, liberty, and justice for ALL. It has also been the land of hope for a future for so many over these two centuries plus forty-six years of its existence. Please hold us fast, Father. I pray I draw near to You continually in these times. I love you, Lord. In the strong Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
Psalm 6:2

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Both…Life and Choice

I am PRO-LIFE for ages 0 until death, whether that be at 1 month…2 months…6 months…9 months in utero, or 2 years old, 6 years old, 10 years old, 46 years old, 100 years, 115, 122 or beyond as long as one is alive and with breath.

I am PRO-CHOICE too.

YES…it is possible to be BOTH.

Life for every and all ages.

I want all of God’s life to thrive and live a life honoring to Him.

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

God commanded us, me, not to murder. I understand that. I am against abortions. I am also for an individual’s, a woman’s right to choose. God gave us free will although we were/are not so good about following His every command.

Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:30-32

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

I am not one to weigh in on controversial issues usually. If the Lord wills, I may be more vocal in this space. Not only is the country that I was born and raised in on the verge of…in the midst of…tremendous change in ways I could not have fathomed only months ago, but hatred and fear are running wild everywhere including through the very population I once called ‘community.’ I feel led to stand to say things that are truly difficult for me to say out loud. I may lose followers; I may lose more friends and community than have already departed. I have been writing this particular post for weeks. It was near edit-completion when June 24, 2022/Supreme Court ruling hit the news cycle!

I pray that I will say and write words that are glorifying to my Lord, my God.

LIFE may start at conception…at fertilization…at six weeks…at 15 weeks…at 20 weeks of a pregnancy…at birth.

LIFE is not only about birth. It does not end once a child is born.

LIFE on this planet is at first breath of earthly air. LIFE is being breathed in and out from just outside the womb, at one year old, at two, at ten, at seventeen, at twenty-three, at thirty-eight, at fifty-one, at seventy-six, at ninety-seven, at one hundred, at one hundred four and beyond if God so wills. No matter the stage of LIFE we are in, God provides breath until He does not. That is LIFE.

God is LIFE and we are living as long as He has planned for us.

So…YES…I am PRO-LIFE.

I am PRO-LIFE for ALL of LIFE!

I am PRO-CHOICE, too, for we each are given choices throughout life…to choose our way or God’s way. God gave humans a will. I am against murder but I am NOT against choice. It is up to each person to follow the will of God. Sometimes we do not. We, more often than not, reap what we sow. We are allowed to make choices.

I recall when ‘abortion’ was a heavy topic of thought and conversation, or argument and agreement, in the 1960s and 1970s, before Roe versus Wade was yet in the courts. Back than, one was able to be both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. It was perfectly okay to not be on one side or the other. I was both then and continue to be to this very day.

No, I have never had an abortion nor even been pregnant. I had choices along the way for decisions I needed and chose to make. There were also decisions made for me by others where my choice was not an option. Some I am okay with today and some I was not okay with at the time of their making by another or by the natural way of things. I can see that I have been in God’s hands, no matter.

Let me ask you:

Where were you when I, a somewhat immune-compromised senior citizen, needed you to wear a mask during the early days as well as at the heights of COVID-19 outbreaks?

Where were you when a vaccine, a set of vaccines, booster vaccines were made available and were free? Did you get them? I hope so.

My life, the lives of the many immune-compromised with cancer, with diseases that cannot fight off other diseases, those awaiting an organ transplant, the lives of senior adults, all deserve(d) a chance to live. Don’t they?

I can hear you are saying to me: “Linda, if you believe in choices, then I, too, have a choice to wear a mask for COVID or a choice to get or not get a vaccine.” Yes, you do.

If you are pro-life, then why is that decision about masks or vaccines a problem for you? Whose life are you for or against? I understand that there may be health reasons why you did not wear a mask or take the vaccine. I know. But for many, that choice was a blatant choice against the United States government more than it was about caring for and about those living.

Most of you reading this blog are professing Christians who abide by the Word of God. Why, then, has it been so hard for so many to have ignored the second commandment that Jesus gave each and all of us?

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

“…NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE.”

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 1 John 5:2

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25

Father God, I pray for your wisdom as I walk the steps which feel so hard…difficult for me. I believe they are steps You have given me. Protect the women who are in danger today…who are facing trauma today. I curl into Your strong arms and weep my tears into Your bottle. I hesitate to even publish this post for I have spent most of my 74 years on this earth trying to please others, to keep the peace, yet, I am so filled with words, thoughts, and emotion which I pray You have given me permission to write here. May I be pleasing unto You, Abba Father, and only You. I pray in the beautiful and powerful Name of Your Son. Amen.

#oneword · OneWord365 · Pondering

Diligence ~ OneWord ~ June 2022

“DOING YOUR DUE DILIGENCE”

Due diligence has been used since at least the mid-fifteenth century in the literal sense “requisite effort.” Centuries later, the phrase developed a legal meaning, namely, “the care that a reasonable person takes to avoid harm to other persons or their property”; in this sense, it is synonymous with another legal term, ordinary care. More recently, due diligence has extended its reach into business contexts, signifying the research a company performs before engaging in a financial transaction. This meaning may also apply to individuals: people are often advised to perform their due diligence before buying a house, signing a loan, or making any important purchase.”

This set of two words seems to be a way of using ‘diligence’ in common language today. Even as an individual, doing my ‘due diligence’ would be researching thoroughly all that would be involved in making a serious transaction such as purchasing a home, moving to a new city, starting a business, etc. I was watching the new television season of “Home Town Kickstart”…six small towns in America were given a kickstart, hoping to draw people to their small community as it has struggled to survive amidst economic and cultural downturns. All involved with the HGTV/Magnolia TV show “Home Town” have done their ‘due diligence’ to research which towns could benefit the most right now, whose home to remodel, where to place a mural and a bench, and which business to kickstart first. Plus, which other HGTV remodeling stars were to be brought onboard to help out. Lots of ‘due diligence’ goes into these shows far ahead of the actual filming for us, the viewer.

So where does this bring me today in looking at June 2022 and my ‘due diligence’ with my OneWord?

I rarely have been one to make waves, to get involved, to become ensnared in political or arguable narratives but it is truly hard for me these days regarding so much going on all around. I am writing, journaling, pondering, and tearing up/deleting/shredding pages, yet…maybe…maybe not.

My voice seems drowned out and overwhelmed. I have been at a loss for words because I did not want to cross anyone, to say something that would offend someone…anyone, to cause even more divisiveness than there already is in this world…in my world. But I find thoughts turning to words, words needing some outlet. Maybe not! Maybe! See…this is how my mind and heart seem to be of late!

My words will be measured, I pray. My words need to mean more than just letters on a page.

We need something light to close this post! Watch “What is Diligence?” for kids! and for me! …

Thank you for walking alongside me as I lift my words unto the Lord.

Your words were found, and I ate them,
and Your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by Your Name,
O LORD, God of hosts.
Jeremiah 15:16

May my words be edifying to You, my God. May they be truthful and obedient unto You, my Lord. May they be filled with Your heart, O God. These things I pray, sweet Lord. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Pondering

O My God! O My Soul!

O, Holy Spirit, pray for me for I have no words for these atrocities in Uvalde and Buffalo, for the many other places, just in the United States, let alone around the world, where gun violence has taken innocent lives! I can barely see to type through these tears. Please pray for me for I cannot today.

I am a retired elementary school teacher. The children I was given each year, each month, each day, were mine for each and every day. I loved them dearly. I cared for them as though they were mine. I still carry them in my hearts, to this very day. Oh, I cannot begin to fathom what Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles went through during that hour of terror. Yes, it was TERROR. What the children had to be going through in that hour of TERROR! Some called 911 for many times during that hour TO NO AVAIL!

Oh my God, hold the survivors close to You for the rest of their lives, Lord, for they heard and witnessed carnage, 142 rat-a-tats, death, absolute TERROR!

How can people call themselves “pro-life” and think that being “free” in order to own an AR-15 (all within the Second Amendment rights) is more important than the LIVES of those 19 young children in Uvalde, the two teachers who were trying to save their students, the seniors in Buffalo, the many, many others in these moments of pure TERROR?

Why did the Uvalde parents need to give their DNA to the Coroner? AR-15s do tremendous damage as they enter and leave a body, even going through deep and hard surfaces! THINK ABOUT THAT!

Why is such an horrific gun needed? Not to hunt! It is made to murder in a war zone. Uvalde and Buffalo (and others) became war zones because of the AR-15.

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:13-15

I am so sorry:

UVALDE, TX @ Robb Elementary School

Nevaeh Bravo age 10 (“Her aunt noted that Nevaeh’s first name is ‘heaven’ spelled backward.”)

Alithia Ramirez age 10

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos age 10

Jailah Nicole Silguero age 10 (Jayce and Jailah were cousins)

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez age 10

Jacklyn Cazares age 9 (Annabell and Jacklyn were cousins)

Alexandia ‘Lexi’ Aniyah Rubio age 10

Layla Salazar age 11

Maite Rodriguez age 10

Miranda Mathis age 11

Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia age 10

Uziyah Garcia age 8

Amerie Jo Garza age 10

Xavier Javier Lopez age 10

Rojelio Torres age 10

Jose Manuel Flores, Jr. age 10

Makenna Lee Elrod age 10

Tess Marie Mata age 10

Eliahana Cruz Torres age 10

Eva Mireles, 44

Irma Garcia, 48 – Joe Garcia – husband of Irma Garcia died of heart attack/heartbreak. (They left four children — a Marine, a college student, a high school student and a seventh grader.)

And just ten days before that with another AR-15.

I am so sorry:

BUFFALO, NY @ TOPS grocery store

Roberta A. Drury age 32

Margus D. Morrison age 52

Andre Mackneil age 53

Geraldine Talley age 62

Celestine Chaney age 65

Heyward Patterson age 67

Katherine Massey age 72

Pearl Young age 77

Ruth Whitfield age 86

Aaron Salter age 55 – (on duty officer posthumously awarded the city police department’s Medal of Honor and promoted to lieutenant.)

Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 104:35

O God! I am so sorry that this nation, where I live, is so low that we cannot even agree that these terrible AR-15s, these weapons of mass destruction, of mass murder, should never have gotten out of the hands of the military. O, God, forgive us! My heart is so broken…for what these children went through that day, what the senior shoppers went through, for the loss of precious lives, for the families and the communities that must live on. The survivors within the store and the school, their families, the communities will suffer for years and for always. O God, please forgive us. You know my tears and You capture them. Is Your bottle large enough, Father? Forgive us for we have strayed so far. Guide us back to Your place of peace. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

P.S.

The Uvalde mass shooting suspect had purchased 1,657 total rounds of ammunition along with two AR-15s.

  • (A U.S. soldier would take 210 rounds into combat.  A magazine usually holds 30 rounds, and a U.S. soldier generally takes seven magazines – one in the weapon, and six spares – into combat.)
  • Of the 315 rounds found inside the school, 142 were spent cartridges, or fired bullets, and 173 were live rounds, or unfired bullets.
  • 142 fired bullets on the lives of 19 children and 2 teachers!
    • (OH MY! Tears are falling again as I type this awful truth about what this human being did to children and teachers.)
  • Investigators found 60 magazines total – 58 in and around the school and at the site where the suspect crashed his car, and two at his residence. 

AR-15/machine guns/assault weapons are for target practice and murder! That’s IT!

#oneword · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

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.