Agony, Sweat, Blood

As Resurrection Sunday, April 4, 2021, nears, I am pondering different aspects of the hard walk Jesus took for me, for many such as myself. He took my sins to the Cross where He was nailed, NAILED, to a cross and left to die. It is a horrible way to die in the reading I have done. There is another piece of this that has given me questions and that is the sweat that “became like great drops of blood.”

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:41-44

Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray, to be alone, although some of the apostles were nearby. Jesus was in agony. He needed strengthening by an angel. He asked His Father to remove the cup. Yet He prayed for God’s will to be done. This is hardly the Jesus I read about…healing, loving others, having compassion for the dying, giving water to the woman at the well. Yet, it is the same Jesus.

ἀγωνία

agōnia

  1. a struggle for victory
    1. gymnastic exercise, wrestling
  2. of severe mental struggles and emotions, agony, anguish

Jesus was human. Jesus knew what was to come for Him. He knew sin. He knew why He was on this earth. In His humanness, He had been tempted.

C. H. Spurgeon writes so decisively: The temptations were, doubtless, of the very foulest character, but they left no speck or flaw upon him, who remained still the fairest among ten thousand. The prince of this world came, but he had nothing in Christ. He struck the sparks, but they did not fall, as in our case, upon dry tinder; they fell as into the sea, and were quenched at once. He hurled the fiery arrows, but they could not even scar the flesh of Christ; they smote upon the buckler of his perfectly righteous nature, and they fell off with their points broken, to the discomfiture of the adversary. *

This is our Jesus. Jesus answered each temptation with the Word of God. Jesus knew each and every one of us so very well. He knew we were fallen and He had come to save us. The only way to do that was to take our sins to the Cross where He would be crucified. He knew these truly agonizing realities. He loved us and hated sin. We was willing to be our Savior yet had to pay the price of death on that awful Cross.

As Jesus came to the Garden of Gethsemane, He took three men with Him and spoke some solemn words to them:

And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.” Matthew 26:37-38

And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” Mark 14:33-34

Jesus said those words out loud…that His soul was “very sorrowful.”

C. H. Spurgeon prays: O blessed Saviour, how can we bear to think of thee as a man astonished and alarmed! Yet was it even so when the terrors of God set themselves in array against thee. Luke uses the strong language of my text-“being in an agony.” These expressions, each of them worthy to be the theme of a discourse, are quite sufficient to show that the grief of the Saviour was of the most extraordinary character; well justifying the prophetic exclamation “Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which was done unto me.” He stands before us peerless in misery. None are molested by the powers of evil as he was; as if the powers of hell had given commandment to their legions, “Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king himself.” *

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. Lamentations 1:12

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Lamentations: Lamentations 1:12-22 Jerusalem, sitting dejected on the ground, calls on those that passed by, to consider whether her example did not concern them. Her outward sufferings were great, but her inward sufferings were harder to bear, through the sense of guilt. Sorrow for sin must be great sorrow, and must affect the soul. Here we see the evil of sin, and may take warning to flee from the wrath to come. Whatever may be learned from the sufferings of Jerusalem, far more may be learned from the sufferings of Christ. Does he not from the cross speak to every one of us? Does he not say, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Let all our sorrows lead us to the cross of Christ, lead us to mark his example, and cheerfully to follow him.

God, please forgive me. Not only have I sinned, but I so hurt my Jesus. I am so grateful that He loved me then and still loves me, that He would die for me that I may have life eternally. Yet, knowing and feeling just a tiny bit of the agony I caused Him crushes my heart and soul…even this day as I type. I am so sorry, so sorry, Lord Jesus. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.

And being in agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44

θρόμβος

thrombos

in the sense to thicken; a large thick drop, esp. of clotted blood

Luke, the author of both Luke and Acts, was a physician. “Of the four gospel writers, only Dr. Luke referred to Jesus’ ordeal as “agony” (agonia). It is because of this agony over things to come that we learn during His prayer ‘his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground’ (Luke 22:44). Only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat (idros)—a much used medical term. And only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat as consisting of great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos)—a medical condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus.1 The Greek term thromboi (from which we get thrombus, thrombin, et al.) refers to clots of blood.Bible scholar Richard Lenski commented on the use of this term: ‘As clots,’ thromboi, means that the blood mingled with the sweat and thickened the globules so that they fell to the ground in little clots and did not merely stain the skin. 3” (by Dave Miller, Ph.D.) **

“A thorough search of the medical literature demonstrates that such a condition, while admittedly rare, does occur in humans. Commonly referred to as hematidrosis or hemohidrosis,6 this condition results in the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. Under conditions of great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture,7 thus mixing blood with perspiration. This condition has been reported in extreme instances of stress.8 During the waning years of the 20th century, 76 cases of hematidrosis were studied and classified into categories according to causative factors. The most frequent causes of the phenomenon were found to be “acute fear” and “intense mental contemplation.”9 While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile,10 which would have made Christ’s pending physical insults even more painful.” (Dave Miller, Ph.D.) **

After reading about this condition and the way human bodies can react to extreme stress, to that which Jesus faced, and He absolutely knew what He faced because of Who He was, I am so humbled. Before I knew Christ as my Lord and Savior, yet as I was beginning to understand why I needed Him, the guilt and shame began to wipe over me. I needed to acknowledge those feelings, as Christ endured so much for me. So very much.

Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Hebrews 12:3-4

No, I have not. But Christ did. I am overwhelmed in what began as a simple word study on the sweat and blood combining. Yet the agony became the focal point, the sweat and blood attached. I am in awe at my Christ. I am so sorry for all that I caused Him. This has brought me to my knees. I know too that when I am weakened, He is strong. Even Christ needed strength when He was weakened, tempted, wanted His Father to take the cup. Jesus went alone to Him in prayer, humbled on His knees. He called upon the Name of the Father, to Whom He trusted and knew wholly. His earnest prayer led His body reacting in a way I did not understand until now. Thenthere seems to be a sense of calm about Jesus after praying. How could that be? Look at what He faced! And Jesus knew what He faced. Yet He goes to His friends who were sleeping and calls to them:

And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46

And then the crowd came with Judas amongst them:

While He was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:47-48

And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And He touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against Him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:50-53

Jesus seemed calm, not filled with joy or any such emotion, but He seemed to calm the storm encircling Him. He healed the man’s ear. He spoke to the priests. He had asked Judas a question before Judas would take action.

Jesus had prayed. He knew how to pray for He taught us. And Jesus knew the outcome of all that was to come. Prayer can draw the calm and peace down upon one who needs that at the very moment they are needed.

LORD, I come to You with pain in my soul for all that Jesus had to endure for me. I am sorry for the human race’s disobedience to You since the beginning of time. We lost so much, yet we gained the Savior, the Lord, the One and Only Trinity Whom we can call upon at any time knowing that we are heard. I thank You for forgiving me in all of my weaknesses and failings, for all of my sin. Satan has beat me up many times, yet I so desire to be obedient to You and You Alone. I am loving the grace and mercy You have showered over and upon me by Your salvation in the sacrifice of Your One and Only Son.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Revelation 12:10-11

May I follow in the footsteps of my Christ, carrying my cross, holding fast to my Savior till my day comes to live in eternity with Him. In Your beautiful Name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

P.S. May I recommend reading this whole sermon! It is so full of power and Truth. ~ C. H. Spurgeon: A Sermon (No. 493), Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 8th, 1863, by the REV. C. H. SPURGEON At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *

References:

1 William K. Hobart (1882), The Medical Language of St. Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1954 reprint), pp. 80-84.

2 W. Robertson Nicoll, ed. (no date), The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1:631; M.R. Vincent (1887), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint), 1:425.

3 R.C.H. Lenski (1961), The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg), p. 1077.

6 A.C. Allen (1967), The Skin: A Clinicopathological Treatise (New York: Grune and Stratton), second edition, pp. 745-747; “Hematidrosis” (2002), Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, p. 832, https://goo.gl/U192fY.

7 R. Lumpkin (1978), “The Physical Suffering of Christ,” Journal of Medical Association of Alabama, 47:8-10.

8 See R.L Sutton, Jr. (1956), Diseases of the Skin (St. Louis, MO: Mosby College Publishing), eleventh edition, pp. 1393-1394.

9 J.E. Holoubek and A.B. Holoubek (1996), “Blood, Sweat, and Fear. ‘A Classification of Hematidrosis,’” Journal of Medicine, 27[3-4]:115-33. See also J. Manonukul, W. Wisuthsarewong, et al. (2008), “Hematidrosis: A Pathologic Process or Stigmata. A Case Report with Comprehensive Histopathologic and Immunoperoxidase Studies,” American Journal of Dermatopathology, 30[2]:135-139, April; E. Mora and J. Lucas (2013),Hematidrosis: Blood Sweat,” Blood, 121[9]:1493, February 28.

10 P. Barbet (1953), A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image Books), pp. 74-75; cf. Lumpkin, 1978

** Dave Miller, Ph.D. @ Apologetics Press

Photos/Graphics:

Jesus Praying painting @ Early Church History

Photo of blood: @ TruthWatchers

C.H. Spurgeon Quote/Graphic: @ Tim Challies

Not My Will-graphic on photo @ Walking in Sunlight

The Free Gift

Resurrection Sunday will be on April 4, 2021. As it nears, I sense, deeply within, the death and resurrection of Christ once again.

But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9

During seasons of Lent, I do not give up anything physical as many do during this time before “Easter Sunday.” I actually desire to dwell in the Word, Christ’s dying and His death, and His resurrection. Christ went to the Cross carrying all of my sins with Him, nailing them to that Cross, just as He was nailed there, nails through the palms of His hands, through His feet. He took my place. Although He nailed my sins to that Cross, I am still a sinful human being. I still do, think, and feel things that are of that original sinful nature.

“But Jesus took them. That is what you said, didn’t you?” you might be thinking to yourself.

Yes, He did, but that does not leave me to never sin again. I do sin still and always will…until I die. BUT…I am forgiven and have been given the gift of His mercy and His grace. I know that I have sought Christ as my Lord and Savior, receiving Him into my life. I have sought His forgiveness and He has forgiven me. I know that I am His and He is mine.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the One Who was to come. Romans 5:12-14

Jesus Christ is the Second Adam. He was the One Who was to come. And He is yet to come once again, the Second Coming! Hallelujah! He will come to take me Home if I have not already left this earth via death.

This chart below really clarified that which I sort of know but now know better:

There are two Greek words from Roman 5 that I am pondering this day: trespasses/transgressions and gift. Through these words, I see more clearly the gift Jesus gave to us by His death on the Cross.

παράπτωμα

paraptōma

(Some Bible versions use “transgressions” while others use “trespass.”)

  1. to fall beside or near something
  2. a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness
    1. a sin, misdeed
  3. a side-slip (lapse or deviation), i.e. (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression:—fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

I transgress. I fall. I offend another. I trespass upon another by not living correctly, and not being a light in this world. I sin.

Yet I am forgiven.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that One Man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the One Man Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15-17

χάρισμα

charisma

  1. a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own
  2. the gift of divine grace; the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith,
  3. the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue
  4. the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith
  5. grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit

Merriam-Webster Dictionary included the following: The Greek word charisma means “favor” or “gift.” In English, it has been used in Christian contexts since about 1640 to refer to a gift or power bestowed upon an individual by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church. (This sense is now very rare.) The earliest nonreligious use of “charisma” that we know of occurred in a German text, a 1922 publication by sociologist Max Weber. The sense began appearing in English contexts shortly after Weber’s work was published. Today’s English definition of charisma is: A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm; n. Personal magnetism or charm.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Jesus came to die in my place, giving His all to save me from going to hell where I would be separated from God for eternity. Had I not accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 45 (or at any age, for that matter), I would have been living this life on earth away from God (which I truly did for the first 45 years of my life, although I did not understand that reality during those years). Then that would have extended for all of eternity. Oh my! But I have been forgiven! Thank You, Jesus.

Christ, the Righteous One, the sinless One, gave Himself to die for my sins….your sins, my friend.

Hallelujah!

Romans 5:12-17

Thank You, Jesus, for loving me, for drawing me to Your breast. You have given me life through Your death on the Cross. You paid the ultimate price for one such as I, for many such as I. Thank You, Lord. By Your righteousness, Jesus, You justified me, acquitted me of my sins, pardoned me of all my unrighteousness. Thank You does not even say all that I feel in my heart towards You, for You are The Gift that God gave to me so that I may drink from the Living Water and eat the Bread of Life forever and for always. You are my life. I am with You forever. While saddened that You had to die for me, I am rejoicing in You for the hope, the love, the grace, the peace, the faith, and the life I have in You. I am decreasing in this life while You increase in my life. I cherish You for You are my Gift. You are the Light of my life. Thank You, my Lord. I am so grateful to be Yours. In the Holy Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photos and Graphics:

Romans 5:8 @ Flickr/Joshinpowers

Adam – Christ @ Bible Book Club

Purple-Wrapped Gift @ PublicDomainPictures

Cross/Romans 5:12-17 ~ created by me @ WordArt

Lighted Gift @ FreeImages/Tracey Brown

To Covet; Not to Covet

“I covet your prayers.”

I have heard this sentence uttered many times.

Then there is the Tenth Commandment:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17

So what does to covet mean? How can I be obedient to God yet still covet someone’s prayers?

Of course, that leads me on a word study!

In the Hebrew:

חָמַד

ḥāmaḏ, châmad

to desire, take pleasure in, delight in, to delight greatly, desire greatly, to lust

From the very beginning, the word, covet, was used in different ways.

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6

Looking closer at this Hebrew word in the two contexts:

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:10

For He grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
and no beauty that we should desire Him
. Isaiah 53:2

Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
…. Proverbs 6:25

They covet fields and seize them,
and houses, and take them away;
they oppress a man and his house,
a man and his inheritance.
Micah 2:2

And then in the Greek:

ἐπιθυμέω

epithymeō (Key word)

to set one’s heart upon, to have a desire for, to have a longing for (especially for what is forbidden); absolutely, to desire; have a craving for; to lust after, covet, of those who seek things forbidden, to have desires opposed to a thing, to long for, covet a thing; of sexual desire; a longing

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Where is my heart? Is it for God only? Or is it straddling the line between Heaven and the world? Or is it for the world only?

God wants things for us. Where the line is drawn is in the position of my heart and mind. They need to be rightly fixed upon the Lord. He has a plan for me. His will for me most likely includes some “things.” Whether or not there are “worldly” things, His will is what I must desire. He will provide. I am to trust Him for my needs. I should have no need to be jealous or envious of others’ things. Envy and jealousy are not to be a part of my mind nor my heart. I am to be growing in holiness as He sanctifies me. Thus, I am to be content in all I am and all I have while I walk with and near to my Christ. So when one “covets” my prayers, my love, my care, or my concern, they are desiring these for the possibility of being touched by the hand of God, for He may be using me on behalf of my brother or sister in Christ. My heart and mind need to be directed to God and not at myself, nor even to the person coveting my prayers. God is the focal point from which those prayers, that love or care is coming from and is directed by Him through me if my heart and mind are right with God.

Romans 7:4-8:2 is a long passage yet it is extremely important to what I am wishing to learn through these two meanings of covet. Plus, these verses show me how confused I can become when I lean on my own understanding. Take your time and read these verses slowly.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 7:4-8:2

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Romans 7: The more pure and holy the heart is, it will have the more quick feeling as to the sin that remains in it. The believer sees more of the beauty of holiness and the excellence of the law. His earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in grace. … For as the believer is under grace, and his will is for the way of holiness, he sincerely delights in the law of God, and in the holiness which it demands, according to his inward man; that new man in him, which after God is created in true holiness.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. I Timothy 6:6-10

Father, guard my heart and mind that I would always be content in all of my circumstances. I want to walk in Your ways for the rest of my life, Lord. I do not desire to be jealous or envious. Please forgive me when I am. I am sorry. Teach me to love all, Lord, no matter how rich or poor. I have been given the greatest gift of all. This gift is Christ, Your Son. I have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb and have all that there is to have. He gave His all for me. I do not need to want what others have. I do not need to wish for anything but to walk in His grace for the rest of my days. I want to walk a straight and narrow path to Your heart. I want to be close to You and desire that which You desire for me. Teach me to be content. Teach me to covet that which You have already planned and prepared for me. Guard my eyes and ears, my heart and mind from things of this world. May I look, listen, love and contemplate Heavenward and that way alone. You created me and know every bit of me. You also love me, so please guard and guide me, Father, that I covet only that which You orchestrate for me. I pray that I not covet anything against Your will. In the strong Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Cross photo (w/”Coveting” graphic by me): WebStockReview.net

“Do Not Covet” graphic: First Baptist St. Charles

Cloud photo by Pexels (w/graphics by me) @ Pixabay

Graphic Roman 7:22-8:2 @ Desiring God/Youtube

Charles Spurgeon quote on photograph from Pinterest

Cry Baby

Jesus wept. I do not consider Him a cry baby. So what about me?

I was considered a “cry baby” most of my life. Only in my senior adult years have I accepted my vulnerability in emotionally drawn circumstances. It may be the death of someone dear, a friend being treated for cancer, a photo of one starving or a refugee camp in Yemen (seen on the news), the recent mob targeting our nation’s Capitol, a situation that just hits me square in the heart, a person coming to know the Lord, a birth of a child. Much brings me to tears. I have been that way since a child.

My dear mother, whom I had a talk with years ago about this, and have forgiven her long ago, struggled with my tears. She was a strong woman and was not prone to tears, at least not in public or around us kids. I would often be sent to my room to cry. That was her way of dealing with me, those tears running down my face. When Daddy died, I was a month from turning thirteen. When I asked if I could go to his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, her answer was, “Yes, if you won’t cry.” Well, I knew I would cry because I loved Daddy dearly, so I did not go to his funeral. To this day, when I see a caisson on the news or in a photo, I tear up, knowing I missed that extremely special moment of closure of Daddy’s life. Yes, I have been to his grave a number of times and mourn my loss. My mother’s body is buried in his grave now too. And, yes, I cry every time. I miss them both.

Tears are not a bad thing in my purview. I cry and usually feel relieved, worn out, loved, or a number of other outcomes. These water droplets running down my face from those tiny ducts at the edge of my eyes were a gift from God! God made those tear ducts. God created tears.

κλαίω

klaiō

  1. to mourn, weep, lament
    1. weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified (i.e. for the pain and grief)
    2. of those who mourn for the dead
  2. to weep for, mourn for, bewail, sob for one

And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

Jesus wept because:

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke: Jerusalem has not improved the day of her opportunities. He wept, and said, If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, if thou wouldst but yet know, while the gospel is preached to thee, and salvation offered thee by it; if thou wouldest at length bethink thyself, and understand the things that belong to thy peace, the making of thy peace with God, and the securing of thine own spiritual and eternal welfare-but thou dost not know the day of thy visitation, v.44. The manner of speaking is abrupt: If thou hadst known! O that thou hadst, so some take it; like that O that my people had hearkened unto me. How happy had it been for thee! Or, “If thou hadst known, thou wouldest have wept for thyself, and I should have no occasion to weep for thee, but should have rejoiced rather.” What he says lays all the blame of Jerusalem’s impending ruin upon herself. 

Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! Psalm 81:13

At eight days of age, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to be circumcised, as was the Jewish custom. When they entered the temple, Simeon and Anna recognized Him as the Messiah. (See my post of 12/2020 – For My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation). Now, more than thirty years later, Jesus entered to be crucified. He was not recognized as the Messiah. “Jesus grieved for a people who would not know peace. Jesus grieved for the city that would pay for its spiritual blindness with destruction. Holy grieves.” *

In Luke 6:21, the same Greek word is used in one of the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:21b

Jesus is reminding us that tears do indeed turn to joy at some point.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:4-6

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:13

Jesus also wept as He met the sisters of Lazurus, who had died. From the Greek word used in this instance, the tears were most likely silent, running down the cheeks of Jesus, our Lord:

δακρύω

dakryō

to weep, shed tears, silently

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. John 11:32-35

from The Commentary on John by John Calvin: “Christ has put on our feelings along with our flesh.” …. “The example of Christ ought to be sufficient of itself for setting aside the unbending sternness which the Stoics demand; for whence ought we to look for the rule of supreme perfection but from Christ? We ought rather to endeavor to correct and subdue that obstinacy which pervades our affections on account of the sin of Adam, and, in so doing, to follow Christ as our leader, that He may bring us into subjection. Thus Paul does not demand from us hardened stupidity, but enjoins us to observe moderation in our mourning, that we may not abandon ourselves to grief, like unbelievers who have no hope for even Christ took our affections into Himself, that by His power we may subdue every thing in them that is sinful.”

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Hebrews 5:7

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. I Thessalonians 4:13

“Never weakness to grieve where God is grieving.” *

“No one understood God’s goodness and control more than Jesus, and He still wept. Which means we can too.” *

Do my tears make me less of a person? Weak? Once I felt that they did. I was made to think I was by the actions and words of others. Kids called me “cry baby” because I did. Those two little words hurt. They diminished me. At least I thought they did. I did not have much confidence in myself. I did not think I was very capable of doing various things. I did not believe I could stand up for myself either. I was weak, so I thought. As life moved along, I carried that with me and even as an adult, I allowed injury to my heart due to feeling inferior in so many ways. Many of the teen boys and later adult men treated me as inferior. Not all, I admit. Not all. But enough to keep me thwarted.

But then I met Kenneth who introduced me to Jesus. Jesus showed me His heart through Kenneth. Kenneth and I married. We were each forty-five years of age. I never knew this love from Heaven before. I never knew I could be me and still be loved. Jesus treated me as a whole and beautiful person. Kenneth treated me as a whole and beautiful person. Kenneth and I were married for twenty-five years. He died of cancer June, 2018…just the other day…yet seems like forever ago! I have a Husband. His Name is Jesus. He is with me.

For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
Isaiah 54:5

I know I can cry and be loved unconditionally. I can weep anytime of day or night and still be loved. I am no longer called a “cry baby.”

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5b

You have kept count of my wanderings;
put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
Psalm 56:8

Oh sweet Jesus, I love You so. You draw me near as You grow me to be more and more in Your likeness. I am grateful that You took on my flesh so that I can see You be a me, see You weep, see You laugh and love. Growing in You is about reading Your Word and seeing You in that beautiful Book walking, talking, being a human while being God at the same time. I am so grateful that You love me so that You have taken my sinful self and nailed it on that awful Cross. I am sorry You had to go through that for me, others such as me. May we each look to You and know that we are made perfectly in the image of God. One day…that beautiful day…we will see You face-to-face and know…know just how much You love us. In Your Glorious Name, I pray. Amen.

Tearful eye photo

*quotes from “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem drawing

Jesus Wept photo with graphics: http://www.firstchurches.org/we-who-must-die/

Which Wisdom?

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13

σοφία

sophia

wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):—wisdom.

This word in the Greek can mean either worldly or spiritual wisdom:

  1. wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters
    1. the wisdom which belongs to men
      1. spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs
      2. the science and learning
      3. the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
      4. the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision
      5. skill in the management of affairs
      6. devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
      7. the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living
    2. supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God
      1. to Christ
      2. the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures

(In the) meekness: πραΰτηςis, prautēs: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, humility

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James: The order of things here laid down. Envying is first and excites strife; strife endeavours to excuse itself by vain-glorying and lying; and then hereupon ensue confusion and every evil work. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion, and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such disorders raise many temptations, strengthen temptations, and involve men in a great deal of guilt. One sin begets another, and it cannot be imagined how much mischief is produced: there is every evil work. And is such wisdom as produces these effects to be gloried in? This cannot be without giving the lie to Christianity, and pretending that this wisdom is what it is not.

As I live in this world, I can embody myself (as do others around me) a wisdom that I can call my own, and which, in reality, is not true to God Whom I know wants better for me. He does not want me to think I am better than someone else or think I know more than others. I sin. I am a sinner. That is all there is that!!

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 16:25

I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

The opposite of worldly wisdom is so beautifully described in the following verses of James 3:17 –

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Pure: ἁγνός, hagnos: exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean; spiritual integrity, moral sincerity

Peaceable: εἰρηνικός, eirēnikos: relating to peace, peaceable, pacific, peace loving, bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary, peace promoting

Gentle: ἐπιεικής, epieikēs gentle, moderation, patient; able to be in hard circumstances yet be kind, courteous, patient, having no hatred nor revenge

(Open to) reason: εὐπειθής, eupeithēs: easily obeying, compliant, obedience to God’s standards

(Full of) mercy: ἔλεος, eleos: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful; of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ; the mercy of Christ, whereby at His return to judgment He will bless true Christians with eternal life; ability to forgive quickly

(Good) fruits: καρπός, karpos: fruit: the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields; the fruit of one’s loins, i.e. his progeny, his posterity. That which originates or comes from something, an effect, result: work, act, deed; advantage, profit, utility; praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering, to gather fruit (i.e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in fig. discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life

Impartial: ἀδιάκριτος, adiakritos: undistinguished, unintelligible; without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty; consistent, unwavering, undivided in commitment

Sincere: ἀνυπόκριτος, anypokritos: undissembled:—without dissimulation (hypocrisy), unfeigned

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18

Righteousness: δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosynē: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. In a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.

What I find wonderfully curious is that using spiritual wisdom, wisdom from God, in the world can convict heart and minds and souls, including mine!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Father, Your wonderful Word speaks for itself. I see the difference between the two types of wisdom far more clearly today than when I began. I have barely written any words myself. I pray you use Your Word and the words of Mr. Henry, the definitions from the Bible dictionaries to speak Your Truth to any one reading. I do not boast in myself, but I boast in You, glorify You and love You for all that You are to me for all that You do and will do through me. You teach me daily for which I am ever grateful. May I be bold with mindfulness that I am a tool in Your hands. May I be peaceable and gentle as Your heart is towards me. May I be obedient to You, to Your Truth. May I bear fruit in this world where I sojourn so that others would see the light of Christ in and through me. May these things be so, my Lord. In the Glorious Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Photo of sky/clouds: dimitrisvetsikas1969 (lives on Cyprus)

photo of James 3:14-16 – IMAGE BY JENNY KENT @ PicsArt

James 3:17 photo/graphic: https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/

“Wisdom from Above” photo: cloud photo from Pinterest with added graphics by me

The Wisdom of the Cross

Christ crucified!

The Wisdom of God

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,… 1 Corinthians 1:22

“Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Deuteronomy 4:6

From the Old Testament, we are able to look at the reasons why the Jews required signs from Jesus. The commandments, statutes, the Law was what they were taught and followed. The Jews expected their Messiah to be a deliverer, a king, a conqueror of all their enemies.

The Greeks were surrounded by philosophers, scientists, teachers who were expounding theories, knowledge, science. Thus the Greeks sought the wisdom of man, worldly wisdom.

from C. H. Spurgeon-A Sermon (No. 132), May 17, 1857: “Now,” says the apostle, “both these objections are untenable and unreasonable. If you suppose that the Jew requires a sign, that sign is given him: Christ is the power of God. The miracles that Christ wrought upon earth were signs more than sufficiently abundant; and if the Jewish people had but the will to believe, they would have found abundant signs and reasons for believing in the personal acts of Christ and his apostles.” And let the Greeks say, “I can not believe, because I require a wise system: O Greek, Christ is the wisdom of God. If thou wouldst but investigate the subject, thou wouldst find in it profoundness of wisdom-a depth where the most gigantic intellect might be drowned. It is no shallow gospel, but a deep, and a great deep too, a deep which passeth understanding. Thine objection is ill-founded; for Christ is the wisdom of God, and his gospel is the highest of all sciences. If thou wishest to find wisdom, thou must find it in the word of revelation.”

Both groups could not see past a man who was dressed in a simple robe, sandals, walked everywhere, died a criminal’s death, carried His own cross much of the way. He looked weak. He did not look, speak, or act like the person of God that they thought He should be. Thus they wrote Him off as a nobody, certainly not their Messiah.

…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

…and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2b-3

Consider the apostles who were preaching the Gospel, teaching Christ, the Cross….fishermen, dressed as Jesus, simple, probably dirty. They were hard to believe by those who considered themselves better than these men.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:17-21

And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Isaiah 29:13-14

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians: Ministers should consider themselves sent and set apart more especially to that service in which Christ will be most honoured and the salvation of souls promoted, and for which they are best fitted, though no part of their duty is to be neglected. The principal business Paul did among them was to preach the gospel, the cross, Christ crucified. Ministers are the soldiers of Christ, and are to erect and display the banner of the cross. He did not preach his own fancy, but the gospel-the glad tidings of peace, and reconciliation to God, through the mediation of a crucified Redeemer. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our joys. By his death we live. This is what Paul preached, what all ministers should preach, and what all the saints live upon.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

The wisdom of the cross is Christ, Christ crucified, died, buried, resurrected. The wisdom of the cross is God’s unveiling of the strength and wisdom of Christ. My sin is forgiven; my foolishness becomes wise in Christ; my filthy rags become clean by the Blood of Christ. I am redeemed, justified, and sanctified (growing in holiness) in Christ Alone. I come to the Cross in humility.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians: To those who are called and saved he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. Those who are called and sanctified, who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, discern more glorious discoveries of God’s wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified than in all his other works. Note, Those who are saved are reconciled to the doctrine of the cross,and led into an experimental acquaintance with the mysteries of Christ crucified.

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

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

Father, I ask for Your guidance and covering upon me as I learn how to walk in the shadow of this glorious and horrific cross. It is both, yet the One Who died upon it rose again and lives for me, for all those He has called unto Himself. I stand before You, Lord, asking for boldness and humbleness in order to preach the Gospel, Christ crucified. I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone so please help me walk in this world as Your sheep, as Your disciple, as Yours. May the wisdom of the Cross be clearly relevant today. Soften the hardened hearts and open the eyes of those hearts…that they would see You for the Beauty and Holiness that You are. May those opened eyes see the wisdom of the Cross. In the Name of my crucified Christ, I pray. Amen.

Photo of cross: Cross-on-Hill

from C. H. Spurgeon: A Sermon (No. 132) Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 17, 1857, by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens. “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”– 1Cr 1:24

“The Wisdom of the Cross” Photo with 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 @ CrossMap

1 Corinthians 1:20 photo/graphics @ Knowing-Jesus.com

God Doesn’t Call the Qualified“: Pinterest

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians

“Boast in the Lord” photos/graphics: Pursuing Holiness

Christ is Wisdom; Wisdom is Christ

The Book of Proverbs a book of wisdom. Proverbs 8 is where I have landed this week. What is wisdom? Wisdom is that which we are to learn from it:

knowledge

discretion

prudence

sense

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.”
Proverbs 8:12

O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
Proverbs 8:5

instruction

knowledge

Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Proverbs 8:10-11

counsel

sound wisdom

insight

strength

I have counsel and sound wisdom;
I have insight; I have strength.
Proverbs 8:14

noble things

what is right

truth

Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Proverbs 8:6-7

righteousness

understanding

All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Proverbs 8:8-9

what is just

the way of righteousness

By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. Proverbs 8:15-16

I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me,
and filling their treasuries.
Proverbs 8:20-21

So, why does wisdom seem such a far reach for me at times? Well, much of the time! It seems easier just to walk as the world walks which may include being wise, yet it is usually a worldly wisdom. But that is not my goal. I do not want to be as the world. I want to be as Christ. These verses (along with the entire Book of Proverbs) teach us what wisdom can teach us as well as what we might be learning from this world (thus should be walking away from).

The deep truth of this wisdom from God is that Christ is Wisdom.

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

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Is 11:2

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs: “Wisdom here is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; it is Christ in the word and Christ in the heart, not only Christ revealed to us, but Christ revealed in us. It is the word of God, the whole compass of divine revelation; it is God the Word, in whom all divine revelation centres; it is the soul formed by the word; it is Christ formed in the soul; it is religion in the purity and power of it. Glorious things are here spoken of this excellent person, this excellent thing.”

The last half of Proverbs 8 tells all about Christ and wisdom:

22  “The LORD possessed (fathered/created) me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old.

23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

25  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26 before He had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

2 When He established the heavens, I was there; when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when He made firm the skies above, when He established the fountains of the deep, 29 when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, 30  then I was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, 31  rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

32  “And now, O sons, listen to Me: blessed are those who keep My ways.

33  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

34  Blessed is the one who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting beside My doors.

35  For whoever finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, 36  but he who fails to find Me injures himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:22-36

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18

that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Growing to know Christ better through reading His Word, the lessons taught by Wisdom show me the character traits of Jesus the Christ. They are of the One Whom I worship and adore. They are Him!

Lord, I pray that my mind and heart be open to You and the lessons which You desire to teach me. I want to know You better. I want to grow to be more like You while at the same time, this ‘Linda’ wants to diminish while You increase. I desire that Your character traits become such a part of me that when others look at me, they see You. I pray for the wisdom of the You, Lord. May Your Holy Spirit show me, grow me, guide me, guard me. Thank You for loving me, Lord. Thank You for drawing me to You as You teach me all about Yourself. I love You, Lord. In Your precious Holy Name I pray. Amen.

Sunrise Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/561331541039235369/

Open Bible: https://wallpapertag.com/wallpaper/full/8/e/d/156009-full-size-open-bible-background-2266×1509

Christ: The Power of God, The Wisdom of God: https://whyjesusnow.com

Matthew Henry’s quote: Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Proverbs

Me? Decrease?

ἐλαττόω

elattoō

Decrease (Verb): signifies “to make less or inferior, in quality, position or dignity;” “madest… lower” and “hast made… lower.” It is used in the Middle Voice, in John the Baptist’s “I must decrease,” indicating the special interest he had in his own “decrease,” i.e., in authority and popularity. 

Lower (Adjective, and Verb, to Make), Lowest: denotes “to make less” (elatton, “less”), and is used in the Active Voice, “Thou madest (Him)… lower,” and in the Passive, “was made… lower,” “(I must) decrease,” (lit., “be made less”).

  • to make less or inferior: in dignity
  • to be made less or inferior: in dignity
  • to decrease in authority or popularity

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

Who do I think I am? ~ Am I an important person, or do I think I am? Am I desiring or needing praise for things I do, how I act, what I look like or do not look like? Do I look for attention from those around me? Do I need to be the center of attraction? I can answer, “No” to some of those questions but certainly not all.

God sees me for who I am. He sees who I am becoming. He desires to see more and more of Christ in me. When I am in the world, I am not to be of it…only in it. The light of Christ should be emanating from me, reflecting Him to the world. There is work to be done. It is not about me giving things up in order to decrease or be less of me. It is about me being obedient to the One Who created me. There will be humbling, teaching, guiding, and more obedience. God calls for my heart and spirit to be His. In order to come to Him, my spirit needs to be broken and contrite (crushed) so that I may be made new.

For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. Deuteronomy 8:2-6

Yes, decreasing is not something I can or will do alone. I must depend upon the One Who will be increasing to help me. I will need discipline for my ego will mostly likely get in the way. Things of this world will get in the way. I think of Alice in Wonderland shrinking to go down the rabbit hole. I cannot know exactly where I am going but I actually want to go there. There will be testing, and hunger, and fear, yet I will have the arms of the Lord wrapped around me when I trust Him. He will be with me, will be providing the manna all along the way. He will be quenching my thirst. He will be keeping my feet from swelling on this journey. Worry should not be anything for me when I trust Him to hold me near as He guides me. Yes, I must take one step at a time in a forward motion towards “decrease.” That is my goal. I will need to learn more about humbling, being obedient, reading the Word more regularly, being in prayer consistently, knowing that He will hear me no matter how small I become.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John: He (John) owns it highly fit and necessary that the reputation and interest of Christ should be advanced, and his own diminished (:30): He must increase, but I must decrease. If they grieve at the growing greatness of the Lord Jesus, they will have more and more occasion to grieve, as those have that indulge themselves in envy and emulation. John speaks of Christ’s increase and his own decrease, not only as necessary and unavoidable, which could not be helped and therefore must be borne, but as highly just and agreeable, and affording him entire satisfaction. 

  • [1.] He was well pleased to see the kingdom of Christ getting ground: He must increase. You think he has gained a great deal, but it is nothing to what he will gain.’ Note, The kingdom of Christ is, and will be, a growing kingdom, like the light of the morning, like the grain of mustard-seed.
  • [2.] He was not at all displeased that the effect of this was the diminishing of his own interest: I must decrease. Created excellencies are under this law, they must decrease. I have seen an end of all perfection. Note, 
    • First, The shining forth of the glory of Christ eclipses the lustre of all other glory. The glory that stands in competition with Christ, that of the world and the flesh, decreases and loses ground in the soul as the knowledge and love of Christ increase and get ground; but it is here spoken of that which is subservient to him. As the light of the morning increases, that of the morning star decreases.
    • Secondly, If our diminution or abasement may but in the least contribute to the advancement of Christ’s name, we must cheerfully submit to it, and be content to be any thing, to be nothing, so that Christ may be all.

Father God, Mr. Henry says what I have tried to say so very eloquently. I want to be a light in this dark world. I want to shine in order that others might see the light of Jesus the Christ in and through me. Show me Your way, O Lord. Show me Your way. Teach me what it is to “decrease” so that Christ may “increase” … to be all that others see when they are with me in the physical sense. I bow before You and ask Your forgiveness for the times that I will be disobedient, not be humble nor teachable, nor revere You as You so deserve. Show me the way. Help me to learn from the tests and lessons taught, the struggles and sufferings which I will face. Help me to see Your gifts. I desire to be all who You want me to be. I need You, O Lord. Thank You, now. In the blessed Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Psalm 51:17 graphic: by Phil Ware & Heartlight @ https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/psalm/4/

Deuteronomy 8:2 graphic: https://livingwordofgod.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/deuteronomy-8-remember-the-lord-your-god/

Quotes: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John

Both photos of weaving with graphics: the weaving, photo and graphics created by Linda Gill

For My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

When Advent is celebrated and pondered in the Christian church, it is as though we are waiting for the appearance or arrival of Christ, for His birth. And we are also waiting for His second coming. For us today, we also praise God for His Presence with us this day by the Holy Spirit. Advent is a time of preparing ourselves spiritually.

Two people we find in the Bible at the time of Christ’s birth had been preparing, seeking, praising God for His promise of the Messiah well before the actual arrival of Jesus the Christ.

When Jesus turned 8 days old, his parents took Him to the temple to be circumcised, as was the custom of the law of the Israelites. So we turn to that eighth day in the life of Jesus. When Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple that day, they experienced two beautiful people, Simeon and Anna, who were waiting. Waiting for their Christ, yet did not know He was about to appear.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” And His father and his mother marveled at what was said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38

Simeon had asked God to reveal His Salvation to him before he died. God did. Simeon came in the Holy Spirit Who told him that this was Whom he had asked. Anna knew that this Child was from God and was the redemption of Jerusalem. Anna had been waiting also for such a time as this.

Are you still waiting? He has come. He was born a baby, leaving Heaven to come to Earth as a human being. He walked this earth for thirty-three years spreading His message of deliverance from our sin. He performed miracles. He showed kindness, grace, and mercy to many. He died a terrible death on a cross. He was buried and then arose three days later. Jesus lives this very day. He is waiting for you. He waited for me for 45 years until I kneeled and called Him my Lord and Savior. I read His Word, desiring to become more and more Christlike and to spread His light through my life.

Are you still waiting? Call upon Him. Call His Name. He waits. He will never stop waiting for you. He is our salvation from the sins of this world. I have seen my salvation through the eyes of my heart. I have heard my salvation through the ears of my heart. I pray for each and all of you who need the Lord.

For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

Lord, I thank You for waiting on me for 45 years, for drawing me near, softening my heart 28 years ago. Thank You for calling me Your child now. Although I am still a sinner and always will be while I walk this earth, You have forgiven me with Your beautiful mercy and grace. You sacrificed Your Only Son to die on the Cross for one such as me. As I walk my life through, I desire to be obedient to Your will for my life. I do not want to sin, yet I am human. I am sorry when I fail You. Guide my steps, Lord, and guard my heart that I would continue to be filled with Your light that shines into this dark, dark world. So many need You NOW Lord. Draw them close, speaking Your Truth into their physical ears and into the ears of their hearts, shining Your Light into their physical eyes and into the eyes of their hearts that they would hear and see You … only You, Lord Jesus. Oh, such a blessing You have been and continue to be to me every moment of my life. Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus, Your Son, into this world to draw many unto Him. And thank You for the many disciples who hear Your call to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May I walk in the steps of Your will for my life all the remainder of my days on this earth. May I continue to grow to look more and more like You, Lord Jesus, my Christ, my Messiah, my Salvation. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:29-32: photo by Larisa-K @ Pixabay – Scripture added by me

Luke 2:38: photo by Larisa-K @ Pixabay – Scripture added by me

John 14:6 – Bible Inspirations.org

I am honored to be featured @ Candidly Christian this morning (January 8, 2021) with this post. The words written before my post link have humbled me so. Valerie Riese says it so beautifully. https://candidlychristian.com/my-eyes-have-seen-your-salvation-grace-truth/

According to Your Word

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:30-33

So much happens in these four verses:

 An angel

He speaks to Mary

She has found favor

and with God, no less

She will conceive a son

The angel gives her the name to call this boy

He will be great

He will have the throne of David

He will reign over the house of Jacob

There will be no end to His kingdom

He tells her about her coming son, words that any mother would be proud to hear, but would wonder if all of these things could be true.

Beautiful and amazing is this young woman who is to be the Christ’s mother, innocent and gentle in her spirit. She had questioned the angel, and then graciously accepts those deep and powerful words by responding thusly:

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

As I wait in this Advent time, I ponder the magnificence of this proclamation.  Would I be able to understand and accept these words had they been spoken to me?  Could I grasp the future that these words speak?  An angel naming my baby?  Me, a young and vulnerable woman, having a baby of God’s, not of man?  How could this be?  To me, if I were Mary…I don’t know.  I just don’t know. Yet, when Mary went to visit and stay with Elizabeth, there was immediate confirmation by and through Elizabeth:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:41-45

I do understand something though.  God can do anything for He created everything. He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent.  The angel says in Luke 1, verse 37: “…For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Could I?  Would I?  Oh, God, grant me a heart that so beautifully wraps around Your Truth; accepts the words of Your messengers; opens myself to Your will.  Would I? Could I?  I pray so, my LORD.  I pray so.  I pray with my whole heart and every ounce of my being. I pray with my heart’s ears and eyes open to You, to You alone.  Thank You for giving us the most wonderful gift of all. O LORD, in Your Son’s Holy Name, the Son of the Most High, I pray.  Amen

Photo by David Hewitt from FreeImages. (with added graphics)

Photo by Deborah Krusemark from FreeImages (with added graphics)

Orange rose photo – https://pixabay.com/users/alexas_fotos-686414/ (with added graphics)

“Trees Covered With Snow” by Pixabay on Pexels (with added graphics)

Photo from http://ziongwinner.blogspot.com/2016/12/why-was-jesus-born-part-1.html (with added graphics)