Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thankful, Thankful, I Adore Thee

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:23

תּוֹדָה

tôwdâh

to-daw’

properly, an extension of the hand, i.e. (by implication) avowal, or (usually) adoration; specifically, a choir of worshippers:—confession, (sacrifice of) praise, thanks(-giving, offering).

The Hebrew word “thanksgiving” in the ESV, as above, can be translated in a number of ways. See a few other versions of Psalm 50:23:

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”
NKJV

“Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct I will show him the salvation of God.” CSB

He who is sacrificing praise honoureth Me, As to him who maketh a way, I cause him to look on the salvation of God! YLT

Matthew Henry comments on this one verse in his “Commentary on Psalm 50:”

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; we have it, verse 23, which directs us what to do that we may attain our chief end. 

  • 1. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and we are here told that whoso offers praise glorifies him; whether he be Jew or Gentile, those spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted from him. We must praise God, and we must sacrifice praise, direct it to God, as every sacrifice was directed; put it into the hands of the priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar; see that it be made by fire, sacred fire, that it be kindled with the flame of holy and devout affection; we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. This he is pleased, in infinite condescension, to interpret as glorifying him. Hereby we give him the glory due to his name and do what we can to advance the interests of his kingdom among men.
  • 2. Man’s chief end, in conjunction with this, is to enjoy God; and we are here told that those who order their conversation aright shall see his salvation.
    • (1.) It is not enough for us to offer praise, but we must withal order our conversation aright. Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better.
    • (2.) Those that would have their conversation right must take care and pains to order it, to dispose it according to rule, to understand their way and to direct it.
  • (3.) Those that take care of their conversation make sure their salvation; them God will make to see his salvation, for it is a salvation ready to be revealed; he will make them to see it and enjoy it, to see it, and to see themselves happy for ever in it. Note, The right ordering of the conversation is the only way, and it is a sure way, to obtain the great salvation.

You created us, Father, to glorify You, to show the world the One to Whom we lift our hands in praise for Who You are, for all You have created, for all You do in this world, and for all that You do for me, for all that You are to me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have given me purpose by creating me in Your image. You have given me peace, knowing I can rest in You. I can rest because I have come to know that You are my God. You, Lord, have saved me from my sinful ways. You guide my steps. You guard my ways. You forgive me. You love me. I want to order my ways to praise You. I desire to watch my words coming from my mouth, that each and all would magnify You. I want to glorify You, Lord, in all I am and all I do. In You Alone. I pray in the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics: @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Crystal Storm

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

How Great is Our God!

As many others, I am spending the next couple of weeks praising God with my thanks…for Who He is to me and what He has done for me. I want to take several Psalms over these two weeks which speak for me. I need not change a thing for the psalmist has said all that I desire to say to my God.

Great Is the Lord

A Song of Praise. Of David.
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.

They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!

יָדָה

yāḏâ

yaw-daw

literally, to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively, to bemoan (by wringing the hands):—cast (out), (make) confess(-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank(-ful, -s, -sgiving).

~~~

They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,

to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The LORD is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]

The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.

You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Father, I thank You for loving me so that You saved me from my own sin. I praise You for all things beautiful, all things created by Your hands. You hear me when I call. You answer me. You hold me near and comfort me in my need. Father. I praise You and love You. Teach me Your ways. In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:1-2 @ Verse of the Day

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:5 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:8-9 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:10 @ Scripture Images

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:13-14 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:16 @ A Little Perspective

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:18 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:19-21 @ Turn Back to God/Bible Verse Art

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

O LORD, I Want to Know Joy, to Feel Hope, AGAIN!

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. John 16:20

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

I believe Your Word, LORD because You speak to my heart. I doubt because I am human.

Sorrow

Sadness

Overwhelm

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
Psalm 31:9

The United States of America has been home for my entire 74 years on this earth.

I love this country. It has been a place where I hold memories filled with love and joy, loss, and struggles. The USA has been my home, such a wonderful home to and for me.

Yet, there is so much now…on this very day…for a number of years…that I no longer recognize as ‘part and parcel’ of the United States (‘with part meaning “a portion” and parcel “something integral with a whole’ *).  There are parts of this country that no longer fit with the whole of the country I have always known as home.

I recognize most of the natural landscape although even some of that is filled with burned forests, lakes so low that one can no longer swim or sail in them. Waterfalls have less flowing down the sides of mountains, and more animals are becoming extinct.

Yet, I can see God’s changeless beauty in His handiwork in the likes of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Oregon coastline, and many other places such as these.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork
. Psalm 19:1

And there are kindhearted people around me, too. Some are strangers to me but they hold a door open while I walk through, smiling behind a masked face. Some are people I do know who call to check on me, just to say ‘hi.’ Some are family who calls for a weekly conversation. New friends in my new city have invited me to go with them to an outdoor art show, and then again to a “Chocolate Walk.” Joy, kindness, peace, love flowed around and through us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Yet, there is so much anger, animosity, hatred, and fear in our country and the world today.

My joy is gone; grief is upon me;
my heart is sick within me
. Jeremiah 8:18

Desires to commit violence against others for reasons I cannot comprehend: the amount of the pigment melanin in one’s skin, one’s religious beliefs, political bent or absolute, even a look someone gives another. So many cruel reasons for hatred and violence. Trials are being held all around the country as I type. Three men with very little melanin in their skin shot an unharmed jogger who happened to have a lot of melanin because they suspected him of being a thief. A white boy went to a Bible study with a gun and shot nine parishioners who all were Black after studying and praying with them.

How can this be?

We all have a degree of melanin in our skin, hair, eyes: “a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.”**

Violence against one another with American flags on January 6, 2020, killing and maiming. Threatening many with death and harm. A continuing threat of hatred and anger is perpetuating in so many arenas.

Why is there so much hatred fueling these fires?

The USA is a Democracy. The people have a say in the way the country is governed. When the United States became an independent nation, the Continental Congress set up the Constitution and the way of governance. It still stands today. Yet, voting integrity is threatened because many did not like the outcome of recent elections so they have decided to rig the elections so that they will win. Our democracy is being threatened by those who fear loss. They threaten those who are in positions to secure the elections…threats at their home’s doorsteps, at their cars after work, on the walkways as they do their jobs. One political party against the other party, higher-ranking members of government stripping other members of their committee assignments, people calling one another liars and traitors, using vitriolic language…and the list goes on and on. Some are attempting to do their jobs. Others do not! Divisiveness is overbearing to me!

What is happening?

We may not have a Democracy for long, I fear myself.

How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13:2

I grieve these losses to my precious country. I watch in plain sight things being taken, stolen, threatened, stabbed again and again. It is not only lives being lost but the underlying whole of the United States of America…on the verge of being lost.

Grief overpowers me at times.

This nation has been built by the hands and on the backs of immigrants. I come from people who immigrated from Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, Germany, Holland, and maybe even other countries. They worked hard to make this nation what it has been. Some of each batch of immigrants did indeed harm the next nation of immigrants by belittling their culture, making fun of their lack of language to communicate, maybe even their skin color, making assimilation hard for each new incoming group. But we are a nation of immigrants. How can we turn people away with violence and family separation when our very own relatives came here for a better life. Some of my relatives came because of religious persecution in their home country. Others came because of famine in their home country. Others immigrated for work, for masonry/bricklaying jobs in the big cities being built…all for a better life.

Bricklayers Building Wrigley Field Bleachers/Chicago History/Horsch Gallery

We come from these people. We could not call America home if they had not come before us.

I weep.

Yet, I hold onto God for He is hope.  He is joy.

Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?
Job 4:6

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:11

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!

When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!

Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!

Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!

I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.

I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;
let me not be put to shame!

I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
Psalm 119:25-32

“Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace.” – Charles Spurgeon

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C.S. Lewis

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

“…when You enlarge my heart!” (Psalm 119:2) Yes, Lord, please enlarge my heart. Calm my soul. Fill me with love. May Your love overflow to others as we pass it on to the next. I want to shine Your light in this dark and ever-darkening world. I desire Your joy to spread across the path that You have laid before me. Your hope and joy are two things I lose myself. Fill me up to overflowing because we all need hope in these torrential times. Let me not be angry nor fueled by hatred. Take any frustration from me with those I do not understand. There is so very much I do not understand, LORD. Draw me in and teach me Your ways that I will know You so well that even when I misunderstand or just don’t get another’s ways, Your ways will penetrate so deeply that I can shine Your beautiful light into this country I call home, into this world upon which I live. Grant to me Your peace and Your grace and Your mercy, Your hope and Your joy, O LORD. In the Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

 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

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

“Sorrow turned to Joy” photo @ St James – LCMS

 * ‘part and parcel’ – The American Heritage Dictionary

Charles Spurgeon quote @ AZQuotes

Rose – Love @ Public Domain

Marigold – Despair and grief over the loss of love @ FlowerMeaning.org

** melanin: The Oxford Lexico

Photo of immigrants coming into New York City harbor/Statue of Liberty @ Lessons from History/UCLA

Bricklayers in Chicago/Wrigley Field @ Horsch Gallery. (My Grandpa was a bricklayer in Chicago and loved the Cubs. Grandpa was born in 1891 so he could very well have been a part of this. The man in the dark overalls with his back to the photographer looks a lot like him!?? His father immigrated from Italy in the mid-1800s and was a bricklayer.)

Gardenia – Hope @ FlowerMeaning.org

Iris – Joy @ Espoused to Him

Lavender – Peace @ FlowerMeaning.org

Fruit of the Spirit photo/graphic: @ Bibles Verses to Go

Snapdragons – Strength @ WallpaperFlare

 

 

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Weakness to Power ~ Only by God

Illustration of Lamentations 3:41 — "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."

As I return to this place on the internet after almost a two-month absence, let me catch you up on what I have been up to these months. I moved from Eastern Texas to Western Colorado. A house has been sold, a large garage sale ensued, furnishings (and stuff) packed up and loaded onto a truck, much packed into and onto my candy-apple red Kia, shared porches to say goodbye, loaded 12-year-old Bonnie-Girl (the cat God loaned me) along with me into the car for our 1,100 miles journey across three states. Then, I got to unload all from my car into an apartment. Now adjustment to a whole new environment, finding doctors, a dentist, a veterinarian, a church home, the post office, meeting neighbors, visiting with my cousin regularly on her porch or couch, learning about my new home while I wait about a year for the condo cooperative to be built. I am beaten down, worn out, exhausted, yet delighted, happy, overwhelmed by God’s beautiful high desert creations surrounding this valley, this Grand Valley, as it is called.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:27-31

Who is the One I cling to, the One I lean on? …God

Who has led me across three states? …my God

Who do I seek in my weariness? …God, my Creator Who knows all

I would like to be able to say I never lean upon my own self or my own understanding, but I do. Oh, I think I know and understand. I want to be in charge, but I am surely NOT! Praising God for He holds me in His mighty hands, near to His heart.

Behold, God is exalted in His power;
who is a teacher like Him? Job 36:22

Ascribe power to God, Whose majesty is over Israel,
and Whose power is in the skies.  Awesome is God from His sanctuary;
the God of Israel—He is the one who gives power and strength to His people.   Blessed be God! Psalm 68:34-35

Jude 24-25

As I ponder my weakness and weariness, I ponder the power and strength of the One Who I depend upon more and more, especially the older I become.

from ‘Morning and Evening’ – the classic daily devotional written by Charles H. Spurgeon

“The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favours without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust. Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer. Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer girds the loins of God’s warriors, and sends them forth to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm. An earnest pleader cometh out of his closet, even as the sun ariseth from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race. Prayer is that uplifted hand of Moses which routs the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the chamber of the prophet foreboding defeat to the Syrians. Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer cannot do! We thank thee, great God, for the mercy-seat, a choice proof of thy marvellous lovingkindness. Help us to use it aright throughout this day!”

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

2 Timothy 1:7

They all paid attention to Him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” Acts 8:10

Father God, thank You for carrying me upon this journey, to this new place for me. Thank You for reigning over my life. And thank You for taking the reins from me when I grab them. I do not want them, yet I manage to take them from You. I am sorry. Hold me in my weakness, Lord. I am tired, feeling physically weak right now. I desire to be strong in my faith in the midst of physical weakness. Please guide my steps. It feels so good to be praying to You, the Only One Who can truly answer my prayers. I pray for this body that You created, this body that I live in. It needs repair, my Great Physician. My back hurts for I have done too much, straining it over these past months. Heal me, O Lord, heal me. In my weakness, You are strong. Thank You for guiding me to a church that is biblically sound. If I am to look further, show me Your way. Thank You for bringing me to Grand Junction safely, across such a long and hard journey for me this time. I praise Your Name in all I am, in all I do and say, in all the beauty around me in this place, in all, Lord, in all! I love You, my Precious Lord.  I pray all in the powerful and merciful Name of Jesus.  Amen.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Photo/Graphic: Lamentations 3:41 @ Heartlight.org

Photo/Graphic: Jude 24-25 @ Heartlight.org

‘Morning and Evening’ is the classic daily devotional from Charles H. Spurgeon. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.

Photo/Graphic: 2 Timothy 1:7 @ Heartlight.org

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Invisible God

For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 ESV

ἀόρατος

aoratos

either, not seen i. e. unseen, or that cannot be seen i. e.invisible.

For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 NET

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. NLT

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. NASB20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:15

For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27 (Moses)

Father God, Almighty One, Holy One of Israel, LORD of lords, King of kings, You are my All in all, the Invisible God. You are invisible to me physically, but not to my heart. Your Holy Spirit lives in me to direct my path. You have given me physical eyes which see the beauty of this awesome earth. I have physical ears which can hear the sounds of a waterfall, the falling rain, a rushing river. You have blessed me with these physical eyes and ears plus You have also given me eyes and ears of my heart that I can see and hear and know the Truth through Your Word. I can “see” You through the likeness of many to the Image of Your Son, Jesus. Their kindness, gentleness, meekness, joy, humility (even in tribulations), holiness and blamelessness, not self-seeking, obedience, their love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control all show me more and more of You, Lord. And when my ears hear the rushing waters, my spiritual ears hear Jesus as the Living Water.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

When my spiritual eyes see the Lily of the Valley flowers along a pathway, I see Jesus.

I am a Rose of Sharon,
a Lily of the Valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1

When I know the Holy Spirit is guiding me, I also know:

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

Father, thank You for making Yourself present in my life and for saving me from certain death without You. I pray I spread the Light and the Salt. I love You and love Your beauty. In the Loving and Lovely Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 

Romans 1:20 photo/graphic @ https://dailyverses.net/2021/8/14

Wild Horses photo: Wyoming Public Radio

Tulip @ DesktopNexus

Snow/River @ WallUp

Yosemite Valley @ WallpapersCraft

Living Waters @ FreeImages

Lily of the Valley @ FreeBigPictures

Autumn Path @ WallpapersCraft

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Remember the “One Anothers?”

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

ἀλλήλων

allēlōn

one another; reciprocally, mutually

“One Another” – English uses two words for the Greek language’s one word, yet the meaning is the same. It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul. **

As children of God, our priority ought to be the “one anothers.” Jesus commanded us to love one another.

Freedom, liberty, rights…words we hear often these days. Yes, they have been around in this country since the United States of America became a country and the Founding Fathers drafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights. They have been in use worldwide as well. They are words we want to trust and know that we are under a government that allows us, the people, to have rights, freedoms, and liberty. Yet, are these ideals meant for only ourselves as individuals? Are we more important than our neighbors, our co-workers, our parents or children, church members, the community around us? With Covid-19 on the rampage, especially with the Delta variant so highly contagious, using our rights, our individual freedoms, our liberties as excuses to not get the vaccine that will help contain this killing virus, as excuses to not wear masks that guard ourselves and others, we are placing ourselves above everyone else. EVERYONE ELSE!

In this world of harsh, angry words, have we forgotten about the others: those with Cancer, those with immune-compromised body systems from disease, or another issue, the elderly, those who are givers of care to parents, to young children, or both? What about the little ones who cannot even get a vaccine? They are heading back to school. So many more children are in the hospital this very day due to COVID-19/Delta variant. Some places are not allowing a school district or a local public health department to mandate or even suggest the wearing of masks, or mandating teachers get vaccinated. Have the needs of these crossed the minds of those calling for freedom of choice?…to do what we please, labeling it with an amendment or a right from the Bill of Rights? Have they?

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.” Galatians 5:13-14

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

In Pastor John Pavlovitz’s latest post, titled “Selfishness is America’s Second Deadly Virus,” he encourages me to complete this post (for I have been working on it for a couple of weeks). Those one anothers have been on my mind for quite some time now. When only thinking about myself and not loving others is, to me, the worst of selfishness.

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

In front of my husband’s Bible, he wrote definitions of often hard-to-remember Christian vocabulary. “Submission — is recognizing and yielding to the Jesus in others.” And I say Amen!

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

Scripture says what I desire to say, yet far more eloquently, so I will let the beautiful words of God speak to our hearts, minds, and souls.

Think upon God’s Words to us.

As we focus our eyes and hearts upon Jesus, let us see all He is. And then let us look like Jesus before others. How will they see Him if we don’t spread His Light? Our actions and words speak volumes.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13

We must not stray, thinking our liberty as a Christian gives us freedoms that may end up taking us off God’s path, harming others, causing others to stumble.

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Matthew 15:8-9

We also must seek to glorify God in all we do and are. Even wearing a mask to protect others as well as one’s self can glorify God. Even receiving a vaccine if one is medically able can glorify God.

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7

Lord, I seek Your face. I want to know You well so that I am able to reflect Your Light through all I am and all I do. As I write this post, I see rather clearly my own faults and my judgment upon others. I need reminding that my way is not always right. Others see this virus through a different lens than the one I have. Forgive me, Lord, should I judge another. Guide my steps so that I walk in Your ways. This Covid-19 season has opened my eyes in ways I would never have imagined, both good and not-so-good, about myself and others, even my sisters and brothers in Christ. Grant me patience and humility, mercy and grace. I am trying to take care of myself while caring about those I come into contact with. Help us each and all see it through You, Lord. Please grant us that ability that we could then live in peace with one another, loving one another. Protect us from this awful virus, Lord. May Your will be done in all ways. I pray in Your Son’s Holy and Powerful Name. Oh, my Jesus. Amen.

Here is a fine page of many “one another” passages: (The link is at the bottom where The Architect and the Artist has a printable page of this.)

 

 

“One Another Christianity” photo/graphic: Ottawa Church of Christ

** See OverViewBible.com for a great list of One Another verses in the New Testament

1 John 4:7 Two Swans photo/graphic @BibleVersestoGo

“To & For One Another” graphic: Carmen Puscas Ministries

1 Corinthians 10:23a @ The Visual Verse/SheryllMonique

One Another (Think on These Things) Scripture Writing @ The Architect and the Artist

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

One Word 2021 – July (+ Where I Have Been)

Where in the world have you been for the past seven weeks?…you might be asking!

Well, I am getting ready to move. AGAIN! Yes, I know I moved into a new home just last October. I have precious people in my life here but this COVID-19 year has given me time to know that I need to be near family. One day, I was just meandering on the internet looking at the places Kenneth and I had dreamed of moving before we landed in Lufkin. While perusing those places, I found a being-built senior cooperative condo building in Grand Junction, Colorado, where two cousins live. As I looked further into this option, I have come to know that Grand Junction is where I am headed. I have been at peace throughout the research on what a senior cooperative meant (I knew about farm coops, electrical coops, and homeschool coops but not senior living coops!). I also spoke with many people on all ends of this project plus my family. It is very affordable and in a place that I want to be, near people I want to be near. Yes, Covid is there too. I am vaccinated. God will carry me through whatever is before me.

My sisters live where the prices are so high that my income will not afford me the opportunity to live on Kauai nor in San Diego. My nephew lives in Indio (Palm Springs area). I have no children and am a widow. My cousins are delighted that I would move near them. I am too. Donna and I have stayed in touch most of our 70+ year lives. I went to GJ a few weeks ago and know that God has gone before me in all. My Lufkin house is on the market as of today. It is being shown tonight for the first time. I have been approved for an apartment in GJ as of yesterday. God is raining His beautiful peace upon me through it all. Thus…I have not been writing. But I am still here!

So…as all of this is happening, I am still desiring to …

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Lisa @ Lisa Notes / One Word 2021 (on FaceBook) reminds us each month to link up with her and others regarding our “One Word 2021.” This month she has given us a special task in order to ponder our words:

WELCOME TO PART 2!  You’ve made it to the second half of the year with your One Word! 

Can you choose 3 days from the next 30 days to sit for a few minutes to pray and/or meditate over what God wants to do with you and your word for the remainder of the year?  
Specifically, you can pick one of these three areas per session: 
Your word and your relationship with God
Your word and your relationship with others
Your word and your relationship with yourself 

I will make room and time during three days during these next 30. I want to continue to grow in my relationship with God in all ways. As I learn to become less, my relationship with my Lord and Savior is becoming more. Life is less about me and so much more about Him. That is so what I wanted in January when I began with this word. God continues to grow me, yet I am becoming less and less. Odd, isn’t it?

Oh, my Sweet Lord, make me more and more like You, less and less filled with myself. You created me. Keep growing me to be just the way you want me. Amen.

Jesus prayed three times, almost the same prayer, as He spent time alone in the Garden of Gethsemane:

And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Matthew 26:44

Three times…yet we know that God’s will overarched all. Jesus prayed for another way, a way other than the Cross, to receive the outcome that God wanted. There was no other way. Jesus submitted to the Father for He loved us so much that He paid the enormous price of death on the Cross for me, for you, for us all.

Jesus decreased for me as He was nailed to the Cross. I love Him and want to decrease for Him. I want others to see Him, yet not me, when they see my face, my eyes, even my heart.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words: “What matters is participating in the reality of God and the world in Jesus Christ today, and in doing so in such a way that I never experience the reality of God without the reality of the world, nor the reality of the world without the reality of God.”

I live in this world. I walk with God. The closer I am to Him, the further I feel from the world, yet I am still that sojourner in it. May I always know which is which.

Lord, may I always be decreasing while You are increasing. You became nothing in order to abide in Your Father’s Will. You show me Your humanity as You asked for a different way rather than the Cross. Yet, You stayed the course. I pray, Lord, that I will be even a fraction filled with Your faithfulness and Your humbleness as You trusted Your Father in all that You did on earth and that You continue to do for us, for me. I thank You from the deepest place in my heart. I love You so. In Your Holy Blessed Name, Jesus. Amen.

Moving Day 1920s Photo: http://unioncitypostcards.blogspot.com/2011/10/moving-day-in-union-city-early-1920s.html. The Union City Bicentennial 1976 booklet in the UC Public library, the picture is titled “Ed Lincoln and his truck”. 

Down Arrow/Graph: Icon made from href=”http://www.onlinewebfonts.com/icon” Icon Fonts is licensed by CC BY 3.0

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Flowers…Where Have They All Gone?

“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,…Isaiah 40:6b-8a

ARLINGTON, VA – MAY 21: Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment place American flags at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. “Flags-In” has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army’s official ceremonial unit in 1948.

September 18, 1960

My father’s life was taken by Pancreatic Cancer…in the prime of his life, 46, a Navy doctor, a career spiraling upwards, a lovely wife, 3 daughters(12, 10, 7).  The Navy was so special for and to him.  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-war 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 and now connected with radiation poisoning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

January 30, 2013

Mama raised us girls and we cared for her in her old age.  Mama died of cancer coupled with vascular dementia and diabetes.  She was 98, never remarried.  Daddy was her true love.

We buried her ashes in Arlington National Cemetery in the same grave with the remains of her beloved Ralph after 53 years…an honor and a privilege to have our parents buried on such hallowed grounds as these.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was 2 months old. And I was their first of three, all girls. Do you think these parents were happy?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 7, 2018

My husband, Kenneth, served in the U. S. Army 1967-1970 in the 101st Airborne, a Combat Infantryman in Vietnam…1968-69.  Kenneth came home safely. January 18, 2018, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It is known to be associated with Agent Orange, a chemical used to defoliate the jungles in Vietnam during the war. We celebrated our 25th anniversary on May 22, 2018, a few weeks before he left this earthly sphere. He is with Jesus now so I will see him there one day. But I miss him so now.

Heroes!  These parents of mine, my husband, and ALL the others who have fought to protect this nation over many wars and many years. They each have a story, yet so many stories are quieted by death.  War is a terrible thing.  The gain is often so small.  The loss is so huge.

We remember…in many ways…flags, wreaths, flowers, small tokens, a poem, a song, photos, music, verbal stories. 

When will we ever learn?  Oh, when will we ever learn?

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?  by Peter Seeger

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the husbands gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone?  Long time passing.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”

“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:5-8

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LORD, I pray for the many families who have lost a loved one to war. I lift all of our hearts up to You, that You will comfort us, holding our hearts in Your soothing hands, our bodies and beings in Your arms of comfort all the days of our lives. Oh, God, I miss these three from my life so very much, Father.

I pray Your care for the many wounded soldiers who were injured as they served this country. Please also care for those who take care of them. God, war seems to be the way of this world, but I do not like it. In fact, I hate war. I hate hate. God, You call us to love one another. Yet our disobedience to You, our sinful nature, makes us hate, distrust, dislike, be filled with anger, and on and on. I am so sorry. I also know You have forgiven me. I thank You and praise You for Your mercy and Your grace upon my life. I ask Your mercy upon those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I pray for each one to come to know Your salvation, saving grace that they will seek love rather than any other worldly way. Oh, God, I pray for Your peace upon this earth and soon. I hate hate, Father. Through these tears, I call upon You to please guide us to stop all of this AWFUL! I cannot stand it. I truly cannot. This world is so filled with AWFUL! So filled that I can almost not see past it. YET, You give me eyes to see You and a heart softened by Your loving heart. You give me Your love, Your beauty, Your grace, and Your mercy. You give me flowers and sunshine in a very dark world. Thank You, thank You, my Heavenly Father.

I continue praying Colossians 3:12-17: May I put on then, as God’s chosen one, holy and beloved, compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if I have a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven me, so I also must forgive.  And above all these I will put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.   And let the peace of Christ rule in my heart, to which indeed I  was called in one body. And may I be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in me richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in my heart to God.  And whatever I do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

Thank You for my parents who dearly loved me. Thank You for Kenneth who loved me like no other. He shared Christ with me, leading me to Your salvation. He loved me with the love that could only come from You. I am ever grateful, Lord. I know through this dark world, You are my Protector, my Provider, my Comforter, my Refuge, my Lord. I see the flowers even where there are graves. I know You created each human being who walked this earth… and those who walk today…prior to their grave. And I know You create beautiful flowers. Thank You. May I see, hear, and feel clearly, Lord. In the Powerful and Saving Name of Your Son, Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Caisson @ Arlington National Cemetery (Photo Courtesy: HBO, http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/section-60-arlington-national-cemetery/index.html)

3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) placing flags for Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery: (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Words to “Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Peter Seeger

Old graveyard with purple flowers @ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/539587599083291924/

The other photos are from my personal collection, taken by me or a friend

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

“Decreasing” has NOT been what I have been doing this month. I seem to be “increasing” and barely recognizing that Christ is in my life lately. Definitely NOT the way I anticipated I would be headed almost half way through 2021. My growth in Christ is backwards.

I have been seriously pondering a major change in my life in the very near future. I have been praying. I have been reading God’s Word. I have been quiet before Him. Or so I thought.

But amidst the ways God wants me to go, I have been researching the change, dealing with banks, looking into options, sorting through things. Doing STUFF! All of the stuff I do before making a change. So when Lisa (@ Lisa Notes) posted that the 21st of May was coming up, time to link up our One Word 2021, I had not even thought about my One Word. Not even once! So today is the 22nd of May and I am typing these words of how my month has certainly looked to God while I have ignored this whole desire which I had purposed from the beginning of this year.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Today, the 22nd of May, is the day I married Kenneth 28 years ago. He went to be with the Lord almost three years ago on June 7, 2018. We had just celebrated our 25th anniversary as he was dying from cancer. We knew his death was imminent and very soon, by his condition. We just did not know the exact date and time, of course. Only God knows those facts. The doctors had originally given him 7-10 days in mid-January, 2018. God had blessed us with these months instead of days, for which we were so grateful. We felt that God knew we needed this time together. Kenneth helped me prepare to be living alone…how I needed to care for our house, what tools I needed to keep, and which ones I should sell on eBay, which ones were to garage sale. He was so fine to prepare me like that. We prayed together and we shared spiritual Truths together. Oh, the time was so sweet. I am ever grateful. At this moment, my eyes have welled up with God’s little wet blessings that go into a bottle in Heaven. I am humbled by this day, these memories and my sweet Kenneth. I miss him so. So very much!

And these memories draw me back to the One Who saved me. I know that one day I shall see my Lord and dear Kenneth for we both know our Jesus the Christ. And He is the One to increase…not me! Thank You.

May His name endure forever,
His fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in Him,
all nations call Him blessed!

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be His glorious Name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72: 17-19

I seek to be found with humility today. He is my Lord and my Lord forever.

Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:7

I seek to be on my knees praising God in all His glory and releasing all of this STUFF that it would only be minutiae for me while God handles it as I obey Him.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

I know that You, Lord, are handling it all, only that I let You. May I be as small as the mustard seed and may Who You are in me show to be that tree. May I be so tiny and You be just so vast, Christ.

Lord Jesus, I seek Your forgiveness in trying to handle things myself. You have allowed things to go differently that I had “planned” or had “hoped.” You are showing me this day that You have this in Your hands. You also have me in Your gentle and yet strong arms. You reminded me of my beautiful marriage with Kenneth and how we sought to depend upon You in so very much. Thank You, Lord. You are guide me. You know my heart. Thank You for Donna’s words last night on the phone, especially her sweet words at the end, that I will entrust my plans, my life to You. Thank You for caring about her and drawing her back to be near You. I am ever grateful for Your Love. I lay this whole change at Your feet, my Christ. I want to be obedient to Your call upon my life. If I am to change, You will make it so and if not, You will make it so! You love me no matter what I do for which I am so thankful. May I continue to learn to decrease so that You increase. I desire others to see You in me and not me in me. In the Beautiful and Increasing Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

John 3:30: photo/graphic @ Pinterest

Psalm 72:19: photo/graphics @ Pinterest

Isaiah 9:7: photo/graphic @ Knowing Jesus

Mustard Seed on fingertip: “page not found” for photo

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Gather

On the surface, the word “gather” seems simple enough to understand. But in the context of the Scriptures I have been rooting around in, it is not an easy word for it brought up death before Christ came to save us from our sins.

The Old Testament often tells us that when the Hebrew fathers and descendants died, they were gathered to their people or to their fathers.

Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Genesis 25:8

(These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.). Genesis 25:17

And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Genesis 35:29

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people. Genesis 49:33

“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” Number 20:24-26

The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, because you rebelled against My word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold Me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.). Numbers 27: 12-14

And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers…. Deuteronomy 31:16

That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32: 48-52

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10

But to the king of Judah (King Josiah), who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king. 2 Kings 22:18-20

God gathers His own, in death and at other times, to their people, their fathers.

אָסַף

ʼâçaph

‘āsap̄

pronounced: aw-saf’

  1. to gather, receive, remove, gather in:
  2. to gather, collect, to gather (an individual into company of others), to bring up the rear, to gather and take away, remove, withdraw
  3. to assemble, be gathered
  4. to be gathered to one’s fathers, to be brought in or into (association with others)
  5. to be taken away, removed, perish
  6. to gather (harvest), to take in, receive into, rearguard, rearward (subst), to be gathered, to gather oneself or themselves

I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
Micah 2:12

Shepherds must gather their sheep as they are most unable to do much for themselves. They need guidance and rescuing and picking up when they fall. They need to be protected from wolves and illness. God refers to us as sheep often in the Bible. We need guidance and protection, healing and rescuing, and so much more. Our stubborn and sinful ways can get us off God’s path for us. Thus, our need is to listen, pray, and accept help from the One Who has plans for us and will guide us in all ways. He is our Shepherd.

As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well. Genesis 29:2-3

As one sows, we also are to reap, to gather up the harvest:

You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Exodus 23:16

God calls us to gather to Him….

Gather to Me My faithful ones,
who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice!”
Psalm 50:5

What about those who died during Old Testament times? Yes, they were gathered with family, but where were they when gathered?

In researching the word, gather, out of the Old Testament, a word I really could not quite wrap my head around, I looked deeper into how others defined this word. I found pastors and theologians with thoughts, research of their own, imaginings, that were beyond my original thoughts, helping me to make better sense of how this may be defined.

from David A. Padfield, Gathered To His People, Truth Magazine: “But what does it mean to be gathered to our people? “Gathered” (Hb. acaph) is defined as “to be collected, gathered together . . . used of entering into Hades, where the Hebrews regarded their ancestors as being gathered together. This gathering to one’s fathers, or one’s people is distinguished both from death and burial” (Gesenius’ Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon, p. 626). William Wilson commented, “To be gathered to his fathers, is a peculiar phrase deserving notice; it is distinguished from death which precedes, and from burial of the body which follows: Gen. xxv. 8; xxxv. 29; 2 Kings xxii. 20. It seems to denote the being received by his own people, or among them. We read in the N.T. of being received into Abraham’s bosom, or of sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, as at a feast; so that to be gathered to his own people, is to be with them in joy or torment in Hades” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, p. 182). Abraham has been “gathered to his people” until that day when his dust shall live again at the sound of the last trumpet, and all the buried dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man….” *

from Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament: “This expression, which is synonymous with ‘going to his fathers‘ (Gen. 15:15), or ‘being gathered to his fathers‘ (Judg. 2:10), but is constantly distinguished from departing this life and being buried, denotes the reunion in Sheol with friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith in the personal continuance of a man after death, as a presentiment which the promises of God had exalted in the case of the patriarchs into a firm assurance of faith (Heb. 11:13).” **

from John McArthur Study Helps: “‘Hades’ was the Greek term for the abode of the dead. In the LXX (Septuagint), it was used to translate the Hebrew Sheol, which referred to the realm of the dead in general, without necessarily distinguishing between righteous or unrighteous souls. However, in NT usage, ‘Hades’ always refers to the place of the wicked prior to final judgment on hell. The imagery Jesus used paralleled the common rabbinical idea that Sheol had two parts, one for the souls of the righteous and the other for the souls of the wicked–separated by an impassable gulf. But there is no reason to suppose, as some do, that ‘Abraham’s side’ spoke of a temporary prison for the souls of the OT saints, who were brought to heaven only after he had actually atone for their sins. Scripture consistently teaches that the spirits of the righteous dead go immediately into the presence of God (Luke 23:43, 2 Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:23). And the presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:30) belies the notion that they were confined in a compartment of Sheol until Christ finished His work.“***

We humans can do our best to understand God’s path for the Old Testament people, the Israelites. We do know that God loves the Israelites. They are His children. I need to not worry about them and trust that God has them in His way!! He writes:

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
Psalm 116:15

God gathers His own to their people and to Him. He draws them in, guides them in as a shepherd leads his flock to pastures and water. This feels so very peaceful to me as I ponder this word, gather, regarding death, calling His saints home.

As I age, death can be on my thoughts from time to time, but because I know that Christ came to call me to Himself, death is not a fearful future for me. Knowing that God will shepherd me Home when it is my time is, actually, such a sweet thought for me. I can truly rest in His calling. I can rest in His guidance until that moment. I can rest.

“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” Genesis 18:25

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Isaiah 26:19

I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues?  O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. Hosea 13:14

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

God knows where His children will be. They will be with Him. That is what is important. We on earth try to figure everything out, but God’s plans are perfect and we need to rest in Him. If we are in Christ Jesus, we have been adopted into the family of God and will be with God when we die. PERIOD.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

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. 1 Peter 1:3-5

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 1 John 2:24-25

LORD, You died for my sins, and have forgiven me. Gratitude overflows. I am so sorry that I have sinned against You. By Your forgiveness, I have been born anew. I am Yours. Hallelujah! Oh, What a Savior! You have given me eternal life and I will spend eternity with You. Thank You, Lord Jesus. I am gathered to You, needing You as my Shepherd. You are my very present Help in times of trouble, my Refuge and Strength. I know as I age, physical death looms, but I am not afraid for You are with me. I carry hope because You are near and will carry me over that threshold in Your arms. I asked of, believed in, and abided in You. There will be no spiritual death for me. I will be gathered to You and am so blessed. Thank You, O my Holy Father. In the Name of my Savior, I pray. Amen.

Photo from Kauai/”Gather:” taken by me; graphic added by me

“Gather” rocks @ https://medium.com/lets-gather/get-ready-to-gather-42c4e5f59197

Sheep @ water trough photo @ Flickr

wheat photo @ www.wallpaperflare.com

* from Gathered To His People @ Truth Magazine, David A. Padfield, Evansville, Indiana, Guardian of Truth XXXII: 19, pp. 580, 597, October 6, 1988

** Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, vol. 1, Commentary on the Old Testament(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 168.

***John McArthur Study Helps/Luke 16:23, from The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997

Photo/graphic – Psalm 116:15 @ pinterest

Photo/graphic – 1 John 2:24-25 @ pinterest