Bethesda

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda (or Bethsaida), which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. John 5:2-3

There is a Bethesda in Maryland, USA, located just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt in 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda (Bethsaida in some versions of the Bible). 

There is another Bethesda within the Maryland Bethesda that I know very well. My Daddy was hospitalized for five months in the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He died in that hospital at his young age of 46 from Pancreatic Cancer in 1960. It will be 60 years September 18, 2020.

This was the hospital in 1960. If my memory serves me right, Daddy was up on one of those upper floors. When I read the name, Bethesda, in the Book of John, I think of that five month period of our lives. There are so many memories: good, hard, sweet, sorrowful.

The photo below is more like what it looks today.

It is now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). It is the combined legacy of National Naval Medical Center (once referred to as the Bethesda Naval Hospital and/or Navy Med) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, having brought the two medical facilities together in September of 2011, as decreed by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law of 2005. Currently, this is a United States’ tri-service (Army, Navy, Air Force) military medical center, located in the community of Bethesda, Maryland. It is one of the most prominent U.S. military medical centers in the United States, having served numerous U.S. presidents since the 20th century. It is also near the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Many find healing at this huge hospital complex. Others wait to get into the pool of stirred waters for some kind of healing. And others die there. No matter where on that spectrum one finds themselves, this hospital is a place for healing. That is its purpose…to find ways into and through diseases even though the physical healing may not occur for some such as my father. Yet this Bethesda is still a place for hope.

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

In pondering Bethesda, the pool in Jerusalem, I found my mind and heart wrapping around this incredible place where healing took place in Jerusalem. It was around this pool where Jesus healed.

Βηθεσδά

bēthesda

a pool (a pond or bath), which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda – the house of mercy, house of kindness, place for receiving and caring for the sick; flowing waters, the waters of which had curative powers

From the Commentary on John 5 by Matthew Henry: …for therein appeared much of the mercy of God to the sick and diseased. In a world of so much misery as this is, it is well that there are some Bethesdas – houses of mercy (remedies against those maladies), that the scene is not all melancholy.

Also, from the Commentary on John 5 by Matthew Henry: Bethesda …had five porches, cloisters, piazzas, or roofed walks, in which the sick lay. Thus the charity of men concurred with the mercy of God for the relief of the distressed. Nature has provided remedies, but men must provide hospitals.

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. John 5:5-9

This man did not have to get into the waters that day. He did not need to depend upon another person to place him in the pool which he obviously did each time the pool was stirred. Jesus healed this man after years and years of waiting. He was a patient man, to say the least. Jesus spoke the words and the man got up on his own at once. At once, he believed. At once, he was no longer an invalid. He could walk. There was no lifting or trying to get up. He could take up his own bed. At once, he obeyed. He did not know Who he obeyed at that moment, but he soon found out the man that spoke the words was the Christ.

At once…his physical health and, presumably, his spiritual health were healed.

We are always wanting a cure for that which ails us. Those physical issues gnaw at our minds until we can find out what is going on. We are all staring down the barrel of COVID-19 right now and want all of the answers yesterday. We want to “get back to normal.” We want to have the medical profession tell us the right answer without any mistakes on a disease we have never had before. When they error and then correct themselves once they know differently, we are upset that they did not tell us that the first time. They are doing all within their power to find the answers and give us the straight-up truth. It is just hard…real hard right now. Any time we are awaiting a diagnosis, a way forward for treatment, a healing, it can be hard.

Do these scenarios play out in our spiritual lives as well? Do we want to just be healed immediately without patiently waiting and trusting in the One Who heals? The Lord guides us, teaches us, feeds us His Truth. Do we want to have it all yesterday so we can just get up and walk? Do we depend upon our pastors to teach us the Truth that they have been given by the Holy Spirit? Do we allow fellow-laymen to care for us as we wait and watch, listen and learn, pray and be prayed over? Do we allow them to provide the hospitals, the houses of mercy, while we wait? Or do we have that short attention span, wanting it all now? Do we obey or expect cures, answers without any obedience on our part?

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

“…For I am the LORD who heals you.” Exodus 15:26b

יְהֹוָה

Yehovah

Jehovah, the Lord, Yahweh, the Existing One

רָפָא

rapha’

to cure:—cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair, thoroughly, make whole

Jehovah Rapha – The LORD Who heals

Both, in the Old Testament and the New Testament, Jehovah Rapha is present, healing both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He is with us today.

The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness You restore him to full health
. Psalm 41:3

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases,... Psalm 103:2-3

And His name—by faith in His name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:13-16

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Father God, thank You for being willing to heal us of our broken bodies, our broken hearts, our broken spirits. Thank You for forgiving us our daily trespasses and giving us our daily bread. May we seek You in all ways, coming from a heart that is tender toward You and toward our brothers and sisters. May we draw near to You no matter what our circumstances may be. I pray I stay on the path that You have directed for my life. May I be obedient to Your commands, humble to Your call. “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. May I boast gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I also pray…”For He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For (I am) also weak in Him, but in dealing with (others) (I) will live with Him by the power of God.”** In the Strong Name of Jesus. Amen.

Graphic/Map of “Pools of Jerusalem. Shows area north of temple mount. Photo by Leon Mauldin.”

Photo of “Excavations at the Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin”

Photo of Bethesda Meeting House; English Wikipedia User: by Daniel Case

Postcard of Bethesda Naval Hospital

Photo of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center: Wikimedia Commons

Graphic: Jehovah-Rapha

** 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 13:4

Words, Words, Words

Oh, how I struggle for words…words to speak my opinion yet would be surrounded by God’s Truth…all in one sentence! Words to share my experience but anger might be added at the way another is treating someone. Words to pummel yet knowing that God would not desire that from me. Words to encourage yet touched by spite. In my mind, I feel like I am on a roller coaster shouting words at the top both praiseworthy and unworthy. And when at the bottom, words to undermine yet filled with words of gentleness. What can I say without compromise? What can I say without speaking both truth and deceit in the same sentence? All of this is in response to others short Facebook or Twitter posts regarding things of this world.

“OF THIS WORLD” is the relevant phrase!

So I am silent.

Until I can speak words of the Holy Spirit and He Alone, I must be silent, for I do not want to fall into things of this world.

I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. John 17:15

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

Sometimes, I want to take someone by the shoulders and shake them until sense is upon them. But who am I to know sense from non-sense? Who am I to tell someone else anything unless…

UNLESS… it is the Word of God, the Truth of Jesus, the Kingdom to come. That is the Truth.

In Christ Alone. So unless I am sharing the Gospel, am encouraging one with the Gospel Truth, am praying for another, am loving another in Christ, silence needs to be my game. Silence must be my story.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
Psalm 139:4

Teach me Your Ways, My LORD.

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;… Ecclesiastes 3:7b

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

So if the topic is politics, behaviors/actions, spoken words, beliefs, masks/no masks, etc., that first desire to respond is usually NOT going to come out right. It is like squeezing that toothpaste out of the tube into the letters that spell “WORD.” The words have oozed or flown out to say something that I may regret. And I cannot put that toothpaste back into the tube! It is too late. I do not want regret sitting on my shoulders.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Forgive me, LORD, for my foolish words. Forgive me when I denigrate You, the One Who has saved me from this world. Why do I so easily fall back into it? Why, oh why? Thank You, Father, for Your love and forgiveness.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 17: This is generally taken for such a sure indication of wisdom that a fool may gain the reputation of being a wise man if he have but wit enough to hold his tongue, to hear, and see, and say little. If a fool hold his peace, men of candour will think him wise, because nothing appears to the contrary, and because it will be thought that he is making observations on what others say, and gaining experience, and is consulting with himself what he shall say, that he may speak pertinently. See how easy it is to gain men’s good opinion and to impose upon them. But when a fool holds his peace God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound up there; thoughts are words to him, and therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment of men.

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

May I know my times and my places, lifting my voice to praise the LORD.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God,
because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:16-20). Thank You, my precious LORD. I praise You for holding my tongue, for guiding my steps, for teaching me Your ways, for loving me even when I fail You. In the Holy and Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“Words” graphic: Oyster English

Photo – Ecclesiastes 3:1,7: BibleInMobile

Toothpaste: https://s234.photobucket.com/user/tammy_61/media/toothpaste.jpg.html

Photo – Pray1 @ https://recruiterpoet.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/pray1.jpg

The Word of God

God’s Word is powerful.  It is Truth.  It is Jesus.

Jesus is the Word.  He is Truth and He is Life.  He gives me life by His sacrifice, by His Blood shed for me. I kneel before Him, seeking forgiveness and redemption.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  John 1:1-4

He is my life-giving bread and water.  From Him, I will never hunger nor thirst. He is Life.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”  Matthew 4:4  (CAPS from Deuteronomy 8:3)

“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

Jesus came to live among men.  They saw the power of the Word.  When Jesus spoke, they felt the passion of the Word.  Jesus spoke and the waters calmed, the lepers healed, the dead arose.  He was and is the Living Word.

“Never compare this Book with other books. Comparisons are dangerous. Never think or say that this Book contains the Word of God. It is the Word of God.  It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in application, inspired in totality.  Read it through. Write it down. Pray it in. Work it out. And then pass it on.” —Smith Wigglesworth (8 June 1859 – 12 March 1947)

The Word is not just biblical history but is living and active this very day.

For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Nancy Guthrie writes, “The Word of God offers us power and perspective.  Its truth brings comfort, not confusion.  It is substantial, not merely sentimental.  It is true, not trite.”

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalm 19:8-11

The Word cleanses us by His blood, His sacrifice. Once paid…and for all.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105

LORD, I come to You this day, seeking Your Way, Your Truth, Your nourishment, YOur love. May I seek Your Truth and find it. I pray that I may discern truth from deceit. May I see and hear Your Truth with clarity. May I speak in honesty and with forbearance. May my words be Yours. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
(Psalm 19:14) I love You so. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

photo: The Word of God @ Moody Media

graphic: “God’s Word is…” by Smith Wigglesworth @ Craig T. Owens

Nancy Guthrie, author of “Book of Hope”, quote from page 353

photo with Scripture: photo from Arduino Tronic; text added on fotor.com by me

photo of Portland Lighthouse: free @ Pixabay

Created in One Image – His

And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, … Acts 17:26

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,… NKJV

He made also of one blood every nation of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth — having ordained times before appointed, and the bounds of their dwellings — YLT

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. NIV

We have been created from one man, from one blood. All nations, all people were created by the God of the universe.

So God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

God created each and every one of us. God created us in HIS IMAGE. This is God’s powerful Truth. The color of our skin is a piece of this beautiful created human being.

Melanin has been placed in our epidermis, the outermost layer of our skin. It is a God-created phenomenon in becoming the many shades of skin that exist in human beings.

We are all humans. That is our one race. We are human beings = “Homo sapiens“= “man,” “earthly being” + “wise, sapient” (discerning, insightful, perceptive, prudent, sage, sagacious). Our skin tones may be different but we are one and the same race yet individuals in God’s eyes.

“We are all one race (“one blood” in Acts 17:26), the human race, descended from two ancestors, Adam and Eve.  When we stand boldly and confidently on God’s Word, we can correctly understand the unity and diversity of the human race.” *

We are also loved equally and perfectly by the God of the universe.

May we see one another with this love which God has for us.

And He called us to love one another.

Jesus said: 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. John 13:34

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:11-12

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

As I draw near to God, Your love pours into me. Father God, please keep pouring Your love into me so that I may love as You do, as You call me to do. I love You, LORD. May I grow in Your Love as I seek to be more and more like You. You created me in Your image. I want to become the one whom You created me to be. Then I can stand for and with every human being on this earth because You created each one for Your Glory, LORD. May I stand up for the many George Floyd’s of this world, no matter what color their skin tone may be. We are all and each equal in Your sight.

The many who are taking to the streets of this world for the good of humanity, I pray they know You as their Lord and Savior. For those who do not …YET… I pray…

I pray, Father, that this all may be true for all. I give You all the glory for all that may be. Amen.

that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us,… Acts 7:27

At this time of turmoil, let there be togetherness.

At this time of descent, let there be ascent.

At this time of hurt, let there be healing.

At this time of anger, let there be forbearance.

At this time of hatred, let there be love.

For such a time as this, may we see You, the One Who is Almighty God, our Fortress, our Salvation.

Thank You so, Dearest God. I love You dearly.

… from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, for You have been my Refuge, a Strong Tower against the enemy. Psalm 61:2-3

May our eyes be colorblind if they see differences in skin tones. May the eyes of our hearts see through the eyes of God for He is not colorblind, for He made us all. He loves us all. I love You, Lord. So much. Guide us. Keep us accountable to You and keep us from harming anyone else, from speaking words that hurt another. Keep us close that we will look to You for every answer to every question we have. Remind us that You loved us first as we face each new moment. I love you, Father.

Photo of Hands: https://www.theodysseyonline.com by Brody Hall, University of Northern Iowa, January 11, 2016

Photo of Arms: pinterest

Photo of flesh-tone Crayons: pinteres

*Quote: https://answersingenesis.org/racism/one-race/ by Dr. Georgia Purdom who holds a PhD in molecular genetics from The Ohio State University. She formerly served as an assistant and associate professor of biology at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. Dr. Purdom is the director of Educational Content and actively speaks and writes for “Answers in Genesis.”

No Words Fell

Matthew Henry: Samuel did not now rise and run as before when he thought Eli called, but lay still and listened. The more sedate and composed our spirits are the better prepared they are for divine discoveries. Let all tumultuous thoughts and passions be kept under, and every thing be quiet and serene in the soul, and then we are fit to hear from God. All must be silent when He speaks.

And Eli said, “What was it that He told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that He told you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” 1 Samuel 3:17-18

And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. 1 Samuel 3:19-20

God LET … NONE of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.  God gave Samuel the words to use for His people.  He kept them airborne that they would be heard. Have you ever heard echoing in the mountains, tried it yourself? That is what this reminds me of. None…not one of his words…fell to the ground and went unheard.  They reverberated in the minds and hearts of those who heard. God used His servant.  God was with Samuel. God continued to establish Samuel as he learned to lean into the Lord.

Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh.  For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.  1 Samuel 3:21

God allows some to hear Him. He allows some to sense Him, knowing His will for their lives. He allows understanding of His spoken words, His written words through the Word of God. Prayer. Meditation. His incredible creation. He allows depth of Who God is by so many means. Seek Him often. Walk in obedience that we each may hear Him in whatever manner He comes to us.

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
Who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, Who made all things,
Who alone stretched out the heavens,
Who spread out the earth by Myself,
... Who confirms the word of His servant
and fulfills the counsel of His messengers,

Who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;…
Isaiah 44:24, 26

LORD, may I have ears to hear Your Word through Your Holy Spirit.  May I honor and glorify You by being obedient to Your will in all that You have and desire for me.  May I be a servant You are pleased with.  I love You, LORD. 

C. H. Spurgeon on 1 Samuel 3: God, in a renewed manner, speaks to us by his Word when his Spirit applies it to us individually. We never truly hear the voice of God in Scripture until the truth is spoken home to each heart and conscience by the Holy Ghost. Revelation must be revealed to each one; other wise it soon comes to be a veiling of truth, rather than a discovering of the Lord’s mind. The revelation is clear enough in itself; but we have not the opened eye till grace bestows it. If we have not the Spirit of God, the letter may actually become a veil to hide the spirit of truth; this, indeed, it should not be, neither is it according to its natural intent and tendency; but our depravity makes it so, turning even light itself into a thing which blinds. Do you know what it is to have a text leap out of the Scriptures upon you, and carry you away? This special energy and flash of truth is always memorable. How often have the waves of this sea of truth been phosphorescent before my eyes-a sea of glass mingled with fire, of which the spray has dashed over me and set my soul on flame! As surely as the Lord spake these words to Moses, or to David, or to Isaiah, or to John, or to Paul, so surely does he speak them to our souls by his Spirit. Understand you what I say? Moreover, our God has ways of communicating his mind to his children by those of his servants who speak in his name. He directs the thoughts of his ministers, and suggests their words, so that they speak to the cases of those who are led to hear the Word of God. By our own thoughts, also, the Lord communes with us. If we will be still before him, he will prepare our hearts, and in silence we shall hear his voice. It would be a strange thing if God could not, and did not, communicate with his own children; and it is still more strange and sad that, though he does speak, his people are slow of heart and dull of hearing.

Oh, that our ears may be opened to heavenly tidings-may be wakened, morning by morning, by the voice of the Lord! May we often hear it as the morning song and the evening hymn! May the Lord also hear our voices in prayer and praise and meditation, till our lives shall be a holy dialogue between our souls and our God, never dying down into silence, but lasting on until we behold Him face to face! Prayer by Matthew Henry

In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Samuel

A Sermon, (No. 2184) Intended for Reading on Lord’s-day, January 18th, 1891.
Delivered by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington,
On Thursday Evening, October 9th, 1890.

“tilde” icon – i2symbol

Memorial Day – 2020

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.” Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Honoring those who have died in service to the United States of America is a bittersweet moment for me. I desire to honor those men and women who have placed their lives on the line for me and the country I call home.

I have two dear men, in particular, who fit that category…my Daddy and my husband, Kenneth. Both of these men died from war-inflicted wounds of contamination: my father, Ralph D, Ross – Post WWII Manhattan Project radiation, Kenneth – Agent Orange/Vietnam War. The two most special men in my life have left their earthly home….gone from my earthly life. Yet, both are with me in my heart. I loved them both dearly.

Kenneth C. Gill
US Army 101st Airborne Infantry
Served 1967 – 1970
Vietnam 4/1968 – 4/1969
born – Salem, IL 1947 – died – Lufkin, TX 2018

June 7, 2018: He served in the Vietnam War 1968-1969 with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He returned to the states and completed his service with the 82nd Airborne in North Carolina. He was exposed to Agent Orange throughout that year marching through rice paddies and areas that once had been wooded areas, defoliated with AO.

Kenneth in Mason, Texas with one of his favorite characters from a book!
The author of “Old Yeller,” Fred Gipson, was from Mason.
The city library has a statue of the dog and the boy Travis.
Inside the library is a mini-museum featuring Fred Gipson.

In January, 2018, we found out he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which is one of the cancers connected with Agent Orange. We believe he had had it for some time due to symptoms we better understood after the fact.

Kenneth was a wonderful husband of 25 years. I was truly blessed. Thank You, Lord. As I walk these days without Kenneth, I still am filled with love for this man whom You loaned to me. I am grateful, Lord, every day. You are the One I walk with today.

Ralph D Ross
US Navy Physician
World War II – Pacific
1942 – 1945, then continuing on til his death in the US Navy
born – Sterling, KS 1913 – died – Bethesda, MD 1960

September 18, 1960: My father’s life vanished in his prime – 46, a Navy doctor, a career spiraling upwards, a lovely wife, 3 daughters (12, 10, 7). The Navy was so special to him, so much so that he did not intend to retire at the 20-year mark!  He served in WWII in the Pacific Theater as surgeon, infection control medical officer, doctor, user of Penicillin in its early days to cure Syphillis.  From 1946-1951, he became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project, serving as a Radiological Safety Officer, while he continued to practice medicine in the Navy.  He was on Bikini Island for Operations Crossroads in 1946, then on Eniwetok for Operations Greenhouse in 1951.  By early 1960, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer…a death sentence then. It can be connected with radiation poisoning. Daddy was the best. I still miss him so!

My parents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An honor, to say the least! (The photo above was taken on a Memorial Day weekend, as told by the flag. I had a friend of a blogging friend take it while she was there. Thanks.)

Mama became a Gold Star Widow; we became Gold Star children. “They are the Gold Star children, war’s innocent victims, and their pain shimmers across the years pure and undimmed. They pass through life with an empty room in their hearts where a father was supposed to live and laugh and love.  All their lives they listen for the footstep that will never fall, and long to know what might have been.”  **

Eleanor Malcotte Ross
born – Chicago, IL 1914 – died – Portland, TX 2013

January 30, 2013: My mother was an unsung war hero, too, although she did not die from war-related causes!  Not only was she a Navy officer’s wife, but worked during the war for the Naval Supply Depot, keeping the Navy-at-war in food and other supplies. She was a special woman! Lots of fun too!

Buried with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.

Father, thank You for these very special people in my life. They have meant so much to me over the span of my lifetime. I am so grateful for the love I have known from each one of them. They loved me, each in their own special way. I honor the service they offered to this country. Thank You for bringing Daddy and Kenneth home from wars so that Daddy could be my father and Kenneth could be my husband. I am sorry they each died from contamination of war-related agents. I am so sorry for that…for my loss as well. I also honor the many more who died from their service to the United States of America. Please protect those many more service men and women who continue to be in harm’s way around the world, Lord. Hold those who have served but are dealing with the effects of war. Some are wanting to get ‘back-to-normal,’ others are dealing with homelessness, and others are medically or psychologically traumatized. Please care for them all, Father God. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Photograph: Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day, Flags In @ https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/160520_abc_vod_orig_memorialday_presidents_mix_16x9_992.jpg

All other photographs are my own. Please ask permission to use.

** Quoted in We Were Soldiers Once…and Young by Lt. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

Tremble

All these things My hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at My word.
Isaiah 66:2

חָרֵד

chared

fearful; also reverential:—afraid, trembling

This word, tremble, can mean to be afraid of something as well as to revere or stand in awe of something.

God, the Creator of all is the One and Only before which I stand in awe. His Word beholds the Truth and deserves reverence. I am on my knees.

Matthew Henry writes of this passage and the word, tremble, in Isaiah: “That he would not heed it as he would a humble, penitent, gracious heart. He has a heaven and earth of his own making, and a temple of man’s making; but he overlooks them all, that he may look with favour to him that is poor in spirit, humble and serious, self-abasing and self-denying, whose heart is truly contrite for sin, penitent for it, and in pain to get it pardoned, and who trembles at God’s word, not as Felix did, with a transient qualm that was over when the sermon was done, but with an habitual awe of God’s majesty and purity and an habitual dread of His justice and wrath. Such a heart is a living temple for God; He dwells there, and it is the place of His rest; it is like heaven and earth, His throne and His footstool.”

The precious one who is trembling is probably a gentle person, non-judgmental, humble and grateful. She/he is able to seek forgiveness when she has strayed, has sinned. She desires to please God and walk according to His ways. She trembles at the sound of His voice, His rippling waters, His rejoicing over her, His love for her. She knows her God yet is always learning about Him, ion awe of His power and greatness. The more she learns, the more she actually trembles for God is Almighty and Omniscient.

C. H. Spurgeon delivered a sermon in 1884 on this passage in Isaiah saying: They are not a proud people: they do not cry, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?” They are humbly hearing; hearing the word of God, and inwardly reverencing the heavenly monitor. They are no longer careless and reckless, for the voice of the Lord has brought them to their bearings. They have bowed their heads before Jehovah, and they listen with rapt attention to everything that he may speak. They are like the child Samuel when he said, “Speak, Lord; for your servant hears.” They are teachable, and lowly, and by no means belong to the school who correct the infallible, and judge the unerring.

God’s Word should cause us to tremble. It holds the Truth, the only Truth. As I read the words of these two verses in Isaiah, I am in awe of the mightiness of our God. I cannot think of Him in any other way. Mighty in power. Exalted. Creator of all…ALL!!

And these are two of 31,102 verses in this magnificent Book. And how many of them speak of the wonder of our God? Oh, my!

God teaches us all that He desires that we grow in spirit and lean more and more toward Him, on Him. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to draw near to Him.

He gave us His Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

May I turn toward Him in all my ways, learning Who He is and all that He has done and continues to do for me. May I be a light in this dark world, LORD.

“And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.” Isaiah 59:12

Hear the Word of the LORD,
you who tremble at His Word:
“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for My name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.
Isaiah 66:5

חָרֵד

This old hymn reminds me of the very reason I tremble for the earth shook when Jesus was crucified, died, and rose again. He draws me to Him and loves me despite my frailty of body, of spirit, of mind. He is the Living Water, the Christ, the Resurrection, the Bread. He nourishes me, quenches my thirst, and reminds me just Whose I am.

Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

חָרֵד

Father God, may I bow before You trembling in reverence and love as I seek Your face. I pray that Your Word, Your Son, always be held in esteem in my very being. Father, I love You dearly and want to know You more and more. I want to tremble because of Who You are and what You have done, all that continue to do. You gave me Your Word so that I could see You more clearly as I read and study. I am truly sorry when I become slack in my study. May I love You so much that I only desire to know You more and more. May I tremble in Your Presence, LORD. I pray in the powerful Name of Jesus, Your Son, the Word. Amen.

Isaiah 66:1-2 graphic: https://www.facebook.com/thedailybibleverses/

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah

C. H. Spurgeon’s quote comes from No. 2071-35:97. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, May 1, 1884, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Graphic: Open Bible: https://www.jacobabshire.com/ + I added the text on Canva

“Tremble at the Word” http://www.rickeymacklin.com/tremble-at-his-word/

Were You There? An African American spiritual that probably predates the Civil War; was first published in William Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns (1899)

Trust in…Trust is…the LORD

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Oh, may we place our trust in the LORD at all times at this time of COVID-19. May we trust Him, our Creator, our Protector, our Guide for He is our very All in all, All of all. He is Trust itself. May we stand firmly in Him like that tree planted by the water’s edge. May we not fear, nor be anxious. May this be so, LORD Jesus. In Your healing and powerful Name, I pray. Amen.

We are in territory that this world has not seen in many-a-year. Most of us now living on this earth have never experienced anything like this virus, nor the many repercussions that are sprouting up with it. COVID-19 is not particular about who it attacks. People around the world in most age-brackets are falling ill to this CoronaVirus; many are dying. Many have lost jobs. Countries, states, cities are closing down, quarantining their populations. Many people are living in fear. Many have been so panicked by the huge changes in our way of life that buying and hoarding was out-of-control and may still be. Many do not know where their next meal comes from; far more than usual are in the food bank lines. Those living with the virus and recovering at home may be afraid, There are so many unknowns about this virus. My heart breaks for those who cannot see a loved one because they live in a quarantined/closed nursing home, assisted living, hospital. And as I write this, some states and countries around the world are beginning to “reopen” so they can restart the economy. We are all living in new territory these days.

TRUST…

Who is my trust?

Below is Jeremiah 17:7 in a few different versions of the Bible. As you read, notice the way the tiny word “is” (the second phrase) changes the way we may look at the word “trust:”

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. KJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.”
NKJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.”
NASB

…whose hope the LORD IS!

…whose hope is the LORD!

…whose trust is the LORD!

IS the LORD!

…who trusts in the Lord…whose trust is the Lord. Those two two-letter words say a lot in those two phrases. Yes, I trust in the Lord, leaning upon the One Who is faithful and true. He stands with me through it all. I trust in the LORD for He cares for and about me. I trust in the LORD because I am learning just Who the LORD is.

When my trust and hope is the Lord, I am trusting the One Who is Trust. He is worthy to be praised for I know that I have placed my faith in Jesus and know that He is the Only One Who is completely trustworthy, the Trust I count upon. As I come to know Him more and more, I come to trust Him more and more. I stand upon the character of God in order that I may throw my whole self into His arms.

He is Hope. He is Salvation. He is Peace. He is Love. He is Trust. He is all that the Bible says He is! Understanding Who the LORD is allows us to depend upon the One Whom is dependable, trust the One Who is trustworthy. This is Who God is!

The Psalms often tell us vividly Who God is! The more we know Him, the more we can trust Him.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
stronghold in times of trouble
. Psalm 9:9

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in Whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

But I will sing of Your strength;
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning.
For You have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O LORD; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11-12

Let us return, for just a moment, to Jeremiah 17:7…

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:7

Matthew Henry comments upon verse 7:

Concerning the abundant satisfaction which those have, and will have, who make God their confidence, who live by faith in His providence and promise, who refer themselves to Him and His guidance at all times and repose themselves in Him and His love in the most unquiet times. Observe, the duty required of us – to trust in the Lord, to do our duty to Him and then depend upon Him to bear us out in doing it – when creatures and second causes either deceive or threaten us, either are false to us or fierce against us, to commit ourselves to God as all-sufficient both to fill up the place of those who fail us and to protect us from those who set upon us. It is to make the Lord our hope, His favour the good we hope for and His power the strength we hope in. Matthew Henry

If you do not know Jesus Christ, I pray you will come to trust Him with your life, your family, the food and water you need. I pray you will seek His face for He is the Only One Who can provide, heal, comfort and love you even though you are a sinner; we all are. He forgives and loves us unconditionally. His provision and healing may come in ways you are not expecting nor wanting but He knows His plans for you.

Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10

Father God, You are everything to me. Everything! You are my Trust, my Hope, my Anchor, my Joy, my Love, my Peace. In the midst of this pandemic, I can hold onto You and know that You are my All. In the midst of quarantine, You are Comfort in which I lie. You are Strength when I am weak. You are the very Breath, giving me life. You are the Living Water, taking away my thirst forever. May I be firmly planted near the waters of life, like that tree. Father, I pray You show Yourself real to those who need Your life-giving waters. May they have eyes to see, ears to hear. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Jeremiah 17:7: Year 27

C. H. Spurgeon quote: https://www.cyndispivey.com/2017/06/04/trusting-god-through-difficult-seasons/

God’s Character: https://www.churchplanting.com/planting-churches-out-of-the-whole-character-of-god/#.XqXpES-z1MM

Corrie ten Boom’s quote: https://www.keepinspiring.me/20-quotes-to-build-trust/

“Trusting a Savior…”: Christopher B. Munday @ Deseret Books

Draw Near

…No more hugging…

…at least for now.

Standing in a driveway, four grown women, who usually spend Monday mornings praying together, were talking, standing at least six feet apart from one another. Since there were four, the circle was rather large on that back deck. This was truly not the normal way of convening for them. This, actually, was a rather spur of the moment meeting for a reason other than prayer, other than “officially” gathering. They were supporting a sister while she looked at a place where her family would be moving in a month or so. Glad tidings abounded along with questions to ask, prayers to be lifted up.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:26-27

We are together as one, yet when we are separate, we are still as one. In Christ Alone.

As time continues in COVID-19, keeping our distances is still very important for the safety of us all. I am a senior. Others have husbands, children and grandchildren. So it was important to be safe.

For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5

It is good to be together even when we are six feet apart for we can connect physically rather than virtually. Paul sent his support, wisdom, the Gospel to his brothers via mail and messenger. Today, we contact by phone, snail mail, email, and video conferencing when we cannot be physically together.

BUT…the sweet news I share is that we are never…no NEVER…far from Jesus. He calls us to be near to Him.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:18-19

Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Drawing near is our part. He draws near and does not stand six feet away. He hugs us. He loves us with His everlasting love. I am so very grateful. One of my favorite Psalms is #91. These first verses show us the care and protection God gives to us. He covers us, giving us hiding. He protects us. The image of a fortress is strength and a refuge. I picture one of those old fortresses along a coastline somewhere with walls ten feet thick.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:1-4

Thank You, LORD, for You are mighty; You are the Almighty. You are the One Who is close to me at all times for I seek You in the daytime and I seek You in the nighttime. I do not need to find my way in the darkness any longer for You are right beside me, sometimes even carrying me. [Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings! Selah. For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. Psalm 61:4-5]. Thank You, Father God, for You have heard my cry. You know that we, as individuals, need healing whether from COVID-19 and other physical illnesses, from hardened hearts towards You, from broken and torn relationships with others, from lives that have turned away from You. As individuals, as families, as nations, may we all turn back to You, our Creator, to the One Who gave us life. May this world realize that this emptiness we have without You can only be filled by You. Oh, Father God, may I seek Your face in all of my days no matter what my outer circumstances look like. You are all I desire. In Christ Alone, I pray. Amen.


James 4:8 – Daily Scriptures and Good Thoughts/The Unfolding of Thy Word

Why Can't You Visit Me? – Pandemic of 2020

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent.
Psalm 71:9

We are in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic here in the United States of America…the world over. As I sit at home, I am capable of working on chores around the house, mowing the lawn, reading, writing, talking to others on the phone. Yes, I am a senior at age 72 and need to care for myself, which I am. I also like to be productive for God’s Kingdom. One thing I love to do is write notes to allow USPS to deliver. Yes, old fashioned snail mail! I put them in the mailbox down at the end of my block by either walking, riding my bicycle, or driving down there. Yes, mailing letters and notes is still something we have access to, even in technologically savvy days!

These notes I write go to homebound members of my church family as well as friends to let them know I am thinking about them, praying for them. I know that those living in nursing home and rehabilitation care facilities cannot receive visitors right now due to this pandemic. Online, I have seen sons and daughters finding innovative ways to visit: standing outside a window of the facility touching hand-to-hand with the one locked inside, a window in between. I have seem an adult-child and a parent sitting outside/inside calling on the phone, talking while looking eye-to-eye through that window. I just heard from a friend that a nurse at the facility set up a FaceTime for this daughter and father. I am sure there are more.

SO…I was a giver of care to my mother for 15 years as she aged near me, in a senior apartment, an assisted living, and a nursing home. Mama had Diabetes as well as Dementia. The latter ran like a roller coaster, worsening over the years.

The saddening thought for me is, “What if Mama were still alive today (she passed away 1-30-2013)?” With the type of Dementia that she had, some days she would be clear as a bell but so many days and nights were filled with fear, with hallucinations, confusion, anger. What if Mama could not remember that I could not come in the building? What if Mama got mad because I had not been in to hug her? touch her? laugh with her face-to-face? What if she missed me while she watched the Cubs on WGN-TV? What if? Because she had not seen me, touched me, hugged me…only heard my voice every day, several times a day. What if? (As I type these words, and it has been 7 years since Mama died, I am in tears because of these thoughts.)

So if I am thinking these thoughts now, what are you, dear giver of care, thinking, feeling right now? I am so sorry. I lift you in my prayers because I feel this; I understand this. I had to have a few surgeries during the 15 years I cared for Mama. I could not be there every day or even talk to her some days. I know, sweet friend. I am so sad and sorry that you are going through this with your loved one.

Oh, my heart breaks.

We must stand in the gap to pray for the residents who are truly bound in a home. Let us dwell in the shelter of the Most High.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:1-3

…for their givers of care…those in the facilities and their family members.

I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:4

We must call upon God, our Rock and Refuge.

Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
You have given the command to save me,
for You are my rock and my fortress
. Psalm 71:3

God will bring us through this pestilence no matter the consequences. May we depend upon Him, the One Who has promised:

…even to your old age I am He,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
Isaiah 46:4

Pray to the One Who answers:

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah.
Psalm 61:1-4

He has given us His Word, His Truth upon which to stand.

Father God, these precious ones, these ones who may not understand why we have not been to see them, why we are not there to visit on the regular schedule we have been on for possibly years. Blessed Shepherd, please gather them all into Your safe keeping and grant them mercy, comfort, and grace in this time. If they suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, any kind of fear, loneliness, please hold them to Your bosom where they will feel safe and warm. Thank You, LORD. You are my Shepherd. I am so grateful to be in Your flock. I know where my life came from, and where I will go when I die. I will be with You for eternity. For any who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, I pray they will call upon Your Name in this darkness for You are Light. May all seek Your face and know to Whom they must turn: Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). I pray for their salvation. In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Thanksgiving, 2012

I have a series on Caregiving that I did while Mama was alive and reprinted afterwards for a few other sites. You can find the series posted at the top of this page or linked right here- Giving Care God’s Way

Photo of Mama, January, 2013: L. Gill

Broken Heart: Bible Study Tools

Isaiah 46:4 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller

Sheep and Shepherd by Anton Mauve: Circa 1880, Cincinnati Museum; Public Domain @ Wikimedia Commons

Psalm 91:1 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller

Photo of Mama, Kenneth and me, Thanksgiving, 2012: L. Gill

Heart: Icon by Dryicons