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

Both…Life and Choice

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

I am PRO-CHOICE too.

YES…it is possible to be BOTH.

Life for every and all ages.

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

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So…YES…I am PRO-LIFE.

I am PRO-LIFE for ALL of LIFE!

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

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

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

Let me ask you:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diligence ~ OneWord ~ June 2022

“DOING YOUR DUE DILIGENCE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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.

Diligence ~ One Word 2022 ~ April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diligence overcomes difficulties; sloth makes them. Benjamin Franklin

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Lisa Notes / https://lisanotes.com
photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

The Lifter of My Head

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIA DOLOROSA

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

Via Dolorosa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem: Christian News Journal

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

Via Dolorosa signage in Jerusalem: BibleWalks.com

Classic Works Woven – Robert M’Cheyne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quotes are from quote fancy

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

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