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

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#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