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.