#oneword · Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Diligence – One Word 2022

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:14

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-11

σπουδάζω

spoudazō

to use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest:—do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.

While still in 2021, I sought a word for 2022 which would bring glory to God as I pursued Him, thirsted after Him, drew near to Him, and hungered after Him. In ‘diligence’ I am able to bring all these under one umbrella. In ‘diligence’ I feel delight in the ability to learn more about my God, to grow in Him and become more and more like His Son, my Christ Jesus. Yet, in a similar token, I feel a weight to pursue Him consistently so that those outcomes will be more obvious when others look upon me, and, hopefully, will see more of the Light of Jesus in me rather than me.

I also feel a burden of sin for it is all impossible to do in my own strength. I must truly depend upon the One to Whom I am being diligent about. The heaviness I feel is that I am spun down into a darkness I have not felt in such a long time. I do not like it. I want it to go away. It is over me and in me. I feel overshadowed. I feel as Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. I find so much of this world disgusting. I find so many of my Christian friends walking in ways that seem not as Jesus called us. Not that I am walking rightly, but I am trying to understand just how Jesus has called us to walk in His light.

…and if He rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,…. 2 Peter 2:7-9

To me, being diligent in all I do and am is what I feel is my calling this year of 2022. Diligence in the pursuit of God. Diligence in the hungering and thirsting after the One Who has given me life, Who has forgiven me. I desire to be relentless in these things although that makes me out of breath just saying and typing those words!

I do not wish this upon myself nor anyone else, yet it is very possible that things such as these may be near:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
Amos 8:11-12

“They shall not find it.” Oh, my!!! Walking in ‘diligence’ is my journey this year and for always!!

LORD, please guide my steps. Please show my Your way for my life. Hold me up while I walk these steps.

From the Commentary on 2 Peter 3 by Matthew Henry:

Follow after holiness as well as peace: and even spotless and perfect; we must not only take heed of all spots which are not the spots of God’s children (this only prevents our being found of men without spot), we must be pressing towards spotless purity, absolute perfection. Christians must be perfecting holiness, that they may be not only blameless before men, but also in the sight of God; and all this deserves and needs the greatest diligence; he who does this work negligently can never do it successfully.”

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:11-13

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

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for You, O God.
Psalm 42:1

O, Sweet Lord, I want to be pleasing in Your sight. I desire to be a sweet aroma to You. I know that I am struggling right now so draw me near and teach me what I need to know, what I need to be. May this year of ‘diligence’ be a journey where I grow as I walk with You. May I approach areas of change and growth in this new place seeking You at every turn. I may not always be pleasing to You, Lord, but I want to grow in holiness and purity with each step. I bow before You in praise and humility, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“diligence” One Word 2022: photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

Matthew Henry: Commentary on 2 Peter 3 by Matthew Henry

One Word 2022: photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

Psalm 42:1-2 @ Heartlight.org

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Divine Mercies – The Valley of Vision

From The Valley of Vision:

THOU ETERNAL GOD,

Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable
      goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’
  as number thy favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank thee for personal mercies,
  a measure of health, preservation of body,
  comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food

    and clothing,
  continuance of mental powers,
  my family, their mutual help and support,
    the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
    the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
  my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
  the days that add to my guilt,
  the scenes that witness my offending tongue;

All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without,
    condemn me —
  the sun which sees my misdeeds,
  the darkness which is light to thee,
  the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
  the good angels who have been provoked to leave
    me,
  thy countenance which scans my secret sins,
  thy righteous law, thy holy Word,
  my sin-soiled conscience, my private and
    public life, my neighbours, myself —
      all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
  ‘Father, I have sinned’;

Yet still I live, and fly repenting to thy oustretched
    arms;
  thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
  thou wilt not condemn me, for he died in
    my stead,
  thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin,
    for he levelled all,
  and his beauty covers my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging
    to his cross,
  hiding in his wounds, and sheltering in his side.

Father, I thank You for all that You are to me, all that You do and have done for me, all, Father. As I read through this prayer written so long ago, I grasp it all for these words speak of my life. I bow before You, my Heavenly Father, Lord of all, in humble adoration. ‘Yet still I live’ marks the sudden change within me for I live because Jesus died for me. I still live because You love me, Father. You have blessed me in the midst of afflictions, trauma, fearful moments, and You are always with me. Always. Thank You, Lord, In the beautiful Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Valley of Vision quote @ Banner of Truth

“The Valley of Vision” A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions” Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Master Weaver

I first published this amazing poem on Being Woven in 2010, shortly after I began the blog. Over the years, it is the most referred to post on this blog site. So I decided to repost it…twelve years later!!

This poem has been around for years and years, yet it fits so beautifully with me, my blog, my creative bent as a weaver, and my life being woven by God, the Master Weaver.  I have been a weaver and spinner of wools for years, and know the time it takes to create a weaving, a simple wall weaving, a pillow.  I am also a weaver of words as I sit behind a keyboard. I begin to imagine the intricacies of this body I live in…the organs and their interconnectedness, the skin, the eyes, the ears, the bones, and then there is one’s creative side or our emotional makeup, and on and on …

I pray that I remain patient and hopeful as the LORD, my God, weaves the woof over and under the warps.  One day He will be finished with me.  And then I shall meet Him face-to-face.

Our lives are but fine weavings,
that God and we prepare,
each life becomes a fabric planned,
and fashioned in his care . . .

We may not always see,
just how the weavings intertwine,
but we must trust the Master’s hand,
and follow His design.

For He can view the pattern,
upon the upper side,
while we must look from underneath,
and trust in Him to guide.

Sometimes a strand of sorrow,
is added to His plan,
and though it’s difficult for us,
we still must understand.

That it’s He who flies the shuttle,
it’s He who knows what’s best,
so we must weave in patience,
and leave to Him the rest . . .

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttles cease to fly,
shall God unroll the canvas,
and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needed,
in the Weaver’s skillful hand,
as the threads of gold and silver,
in the pattern He has planned.

Psalm 139:13-18

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

LORD, thank You for weaving me into the girl that I was, the young woman I have been, the woman that I am today, and the one I shall be in the remainder of my days here on earth.  As You complete this woven woman, LORD, make me complete in You.  One day I shall meet You face-to-face and be Your woven masterpiece.  I am grateful.  I love You, LORD.  Amen. 

The question below is one of the most asked so I decided to reprint it along with the poem this day:

Q:

Hi, Could you please tell me if this poem is copyrighted or not? I understand the author is Grant Colfax Tullar and I would love to quote it in my family history but want to make sure I will not be breaking copyright. I would be MOST grateful for your reply.

~~~~~

Fay, as a retired librarian, I have been researching in order to answer you with a question asked by many all over the internet. A Libray of Congress librarian gave an impeccable answer. You will find the actual answer to your question down near the base of her answer. I am going to post it on my blog because she answers more questions I have had here as well. My version is different from many on the internet. I am more confused than before but I still love the poem! 

~~~~~

“We’ve received a fair few pieces written from pre-existing lyrics and we can only accept lyrics that are in the public domain. To check this, a bit of digging is needed. Here’s a recent reply to one of our lyric queries (The Weaver) from a very helpful researcher from the Library of Congress – a really interesting read, long but worth it! If you need any information like this, I highly recommend that you use the ‘ask a librarian’ service at the Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/” ** This first paragragh is from http://www.theworshipbook.com/blog/lyrics-whodunnit

Here’s the excellent reply:
“Dear Ms. Hocking,
“I’ve gotten several questions about “The Weaver” in the last few years and this is what I have found in my research.
“As it turns out, there are many poems by many authors called “The Weaver,” so I was not entirely certain which one you mean. When I did a general Internet search, however, I found one poem credited to Corrie Ten Boom, Grant Colfax Tullar, and Benjamin Malachi Franklin which begins:
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily. 

“So, I assume this is the poem you would like to know about. There are claims about several authors having written the poem.
I can rule out Corrie Ten Boom as there are a number of references to the fact that she read this poem by Tullar and then often recited it or quoted from it in her speeches giving him credit. You can find one such reference at http://www.elisabethelliot.org/newsletters/march-april-98.pdf by someone who heard her speak. 

“I found the claim by Bob Corley about his grandfather Benjamin Malachi Franklin to be confusing. He states that his grandfather wrote the poem in the 1940s and that it was published in 1950 in The Memphis Commercial Appeal Newspaper. Mr. Corley says it was copyrighted in 2006, but I did not find anything by Franklin in the Copyright online catalog. There is nothing like this poem under the name Bob Corley and there are many different Robert Corleys, again with nothing like this poem. When I search by the title “The Weaver” I find dozens of items. And the registration number Mr. Corley provides seems to have too many digits. 

“Searching by title is also problematic because I have found this poem on the Internet under a wide variety of titles including:
“The Weaver
The Weaving
Tapestry Poem
My Life is But a Weaving
Master Weaver’s Plan
Upper and Under Side 

“You can search the Copyright catalog yourself at http://cocatalog.loc.gov, but I do not know if this will prove useful. The online catalog only goes back as far as 1978. You can have a search done by the Copyright Office of older card files, but a fee is charged. I also found many older examples of this poem published considerably before the 1940s. 

“I then used Google Books http://books.google.com and the HathiTrust http://www.hathitrust.org as both these sites have many digitized books and some periodicals freely available full-text prior to 1923. The following citations come from The HathiTrust. 

“The earliest citation I found was from:
“British Books in Print, 1910, volume 2 from something called “Bagster’s Quotation Cards.” Just the first part of the poem was given and listed as anonymous for the author. 

“The Pacific” Vol. LXV, No. 42, October 20, 1915, page 81 also listed it as anonymous. 

“Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen’s Magazine,” Volume 59, 1915, page 123 and again no author is provided. 

“The Woman’s Label League Journal,” September 1919, p. 14 listed Rev. John Tabb. “The Holy Cross Purple, ” Vol. 33, October 1920-June 1921, p. 452 also listed Father Tabb with an article about his poetry. 

“So John Banister (sometimes misspelled Bannister) Tabb, 1845-1909 is credited fairly early with this poem. Unfortunately, I have not found a specific date to tie together Grant Colfax Tullar, 1869-1950, to this poem and can not search all of his published works. You can get brief information on him from the Bolton (Connecticut) Historical Society at http://www.boltoncthistory.org/granttullar.html

“Recognizing that poetry was often printed in newspapers, I then turned to the Chronicling America website available at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov where newspapers from 1836-1922 from across the United States are freely available. If you use the “advanced search” and search on the phrase “my life is but a weaving,” you’ll find the July 27, 1892 Somerset Herald from Somerset, Pennsylvania providing this poem with the author given as Florence May Alt. The poem credited to Alt also appeared in the Shenandoah (Virginia) Herald in 1892. 

“I also did the same search in two subscription databases. I have attached a copy of the poem from “The American Farmer” as it appeared in August of 1892 with Alt as the author. The earliest copy I found citing Alt was from the Troy Weekly Times, Volume XXXVI, issue 42, page 6 from May 19, 1892. 

“So, the potential authorship is between Alt, Tabb, and Tullar. I can pin an 1892 date to Alt. Tabb’s first published collection of poetry was in 1894 and the poem does not appear in it. He could, of course, have written the poem earlier and it might have appeared somewhere other than a book of published poetry. I didn’t find it in print until 1919, but there is no way to do a comprehensive search of all places the poem could have been published. Similarly, I have no date to tie the poem to Tullar. 

“Amusingly, there are questions that appeared in the 1930s in the “Notes and Queries” column in the New York Times asking who the author of the poem is. No answer is provided! 

“Without examining everything ever written by these three individuals, it is impossible for me to say for certain who the original author is. We now have three choices again, but at least we ruled out two of the three that are mis-attributed all over the Internet!

“While I am unable to rule on whether someone officially holds copyright (you would need to contact the Copyright Office http://copyright.gov/ ), it is clear that this poem was published before 1923 putting it in the public domain. Again, it might depend which version you are using, but there seem to be plenty published before 1923.

“I hope this answers your question, but if you have additional ones, please write again.

“Abby Yochelson
Reference Specialist
English and American Literature
Main Reading Room
Humanities & Social Sciences Division
Library of Congress

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

Oranges in Loom weaving @ FreeImages

Backside of a weaving @ TapestryShare.blogspot

Weaving @ Hangs By a Thread

Colorful Weaving @ The Scrubba

Knit Me Together @ Pinterest

Photo of Weaving/Weaving itself created by me… Linda Gill (I handspun all the yarns and wove them on a handmade (by me) Navajo loom.

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Mover

From The Valley of Vision…

O SUPREME MOVING CAUSE, 

May I always be subordinate to thee, be dependent upon thee, be found in the path where thou dost walk, and where thy Spirit moves, take heed of estrangement from thee, of becoming insensible to thy love. 

Thou dost not move men like stones, but dost endue them with life, not to enable them to move without thee, but in submission to thee, the first mover. O Lord, I am astonished at the difference between my receivings and my deservings, between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness, between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit. Who made me to differ, but thee? for I was no more ready to receive Christ than were others; I could not have begun to love thee hadst thou not first loved me, or been willing unless thou hadst first made me so.

O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner! such high advancement be for an unfruitful person! such joys for so vile a rebel! 

Infinite wisdom cast the design of salvation into the mould of purchase and freedom; Let wrath deserved be written on the door of hell, But the free gift of grace on the gate of heaven. I know that my sufferings are the result of my sinning, but in heaven both shall cease; Grant me to attain this haven and be done with sailing, and may the gales of thy mercy blow me safely into harbour. Let thy love draw me nearer to thyself, wean me from sin, mortify me to this world, and make me ready for my departure hence. Secure me by thy grace as I sail across this stormy sea.

In the Holy Name of Jesus…Amen

Valley of Vision quote @ Banner of Truth

“The Valley of Vision” A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions” Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

He Reached Out

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

Jesus…born of a woman with a heart, eyes, ears, mouth and so much more…just like me! He was hungry and thirsty. He felt pain. He became tired. Just like me! He was tempted and falsely accused…just like me!!

Jesus suffered…far more than I ever have, probably ever will. As a human, Jesus was nailed to a cross at his hands and feet. He was crucified. His body was a human body. It bled and bruised and scarred just like mine does and can, although not via crucifixion.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” John 19:33-34, 36-37 (Prophecies: Exodus 12:46/Numbers 9:12/Psalm 34:20, Psalm 22:16/Zechariah 12:10)

But Jesus was different. Oh, so very different. He bled and died, yet not just physically. He bled when He took our sin to that Cross. We all are sinners and Jesus bled for us all. He has given us…me eternal life. Thank You, Jesus.

He was and is God. He was 100% human and 100% God when He came to earth.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

As I continue to ponder the actual humanity of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I am overwhelmed that He chose to come into this world to save us. He came as a baby, grew up, worked as a carpenter.

And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Mark 6:2-3

And when the time came, Jesus began His ministry…teaching, healing, loving, caring about the many ‘one anothers.’ Jesus reached out first just as He loved first. He reached out to touch, to give, to accept, to love unconditionally.

I am thankful that Jesus came to save me. I am filled with gratitude to be one of His sheep. He is my Shepherd.

Jesus, I pray Your Word back to You… Hebrew 4:14-16:

Since I have You, a great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, I pray I hold fast my confession. For I do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with my weaknesses, but One Who in every respect has been tempted as I have, yet without sin. Let me then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that I may receive mercy and find grace to help in my time of need. Thank You, my Sweet Lord. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

P.S. Lord, I love You back.

Photo of the hand reaching out @ Jlhopgood/Flickr

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven into Fridays

From C. H. Spurgeon’s Checque Book of Faith:

from December 27

His Kindness and Covenant
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of My Peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee”   Isaiah 54:10

One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired Decemberlaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my LORD. New lamps are taking the place of the old; perpetual change is on all things, but our LORD is the same. Force over turns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me. My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the LORD, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the everlasting covenant. God is ever mindful of it–see that thou art mindful of it too. In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged Himself to thee to be thy God and to hold thee as one of His people. Kindness and covenant–dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee.

Father, these words are so reassuring, knowing that You are my consistent God. You are steadfast in character. You are God, the great I AM. All that You are will never change. And I hold onto You for You are my comforter and encourager. I am so grateful that You are the Anchor of my life. God, You are my delight. I am in love with You, Lord. I pray in Your Son’s Precious Name. Amen.

Each week, I want to place in this spot a beautiful and worthy piece of Christian writing from days past. Works from the likes of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (Lettie Burd Cowman), hymn writers such as William Cowper, Frances R. Havergal, Isaac Watts, plus more classic writers will be a part of these Friday posts. “The Valley of Vision,” “My Utmost for His Highest,” “Streams in the Desert,” “Flowers from a Puritan Garden,” and so many other fine books are on my book table(s). I love reading words placed on paper by Puritans, both from Colonial America and Puritanical England.

So I will spend each Friday during 2022 sharing pieces, parts, or all of a work that I have been pondering.

Photo/Graphic @ Daily Bible

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

His Birth…I Still Ponder

From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:

December 25

His Birth and Our New Birth

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” —Matthew 1:23

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:!9). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.

From this heart filled with awe and adoration, Father God, I come before You as I look upon Your only Son born as a human being like me. Did He cry? Did He feed at His mother’s breast? Did He laugh, scream, squirm like babies do, like I did? Oh, did He, Lord? I am amazed by His very humanness and by His being God. I thank You for sending Him to save me and so many more like me…sinners all are we. My knees bend as I fall before You while I ponder this incredible Truth. This Truth that has come to the manger as a baby, called by the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. You, came to us in the humble beginnings as this boy-child…this child. His Name, Jesus, “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.” You are God Who saved me. And You have saved, are saving, and will continue to save many until the end of this age. Thank You, Father. In the Name of Salvation, I pray. Amen.

graphic of Matthew 1:23 on Pinterest of (in)courage @ (in)courage

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

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.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2-3

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus Who seems to resemble very little of interest to us in the world then. Yet, by the time God reveals Jesus to John (the Book of Revelation), Jesus is everything. Interesting to me is that during those thirty-three years that Jesus walked this earth, He was the One Who was sent to save us all. He healed; He taught; He prayed. He became so much to so many in actually three years of His thirty-three. And He is All to all if we would only seek His face. He came with the answers to all of our needs and concerns. Oh, that it took me forty-five of my seventy-four years to desire Him as my Lord and Savior. I sought one such as the Israelites were seeking: the king, the rider upon a horse to rule and reign, their Messiah. Most missed Him then as I did for so many years. My seeking was longer than Jesus’ lifetime. Yet, I praise Him NOW and for always for He is worthy of all praise.

In this final month of 2021, I am reminding myself of the word I chose to ponder upon for this year. My writings have been sporadic yet the word never departed from my lips, nor my mind.

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

I have chosen to be less of me so that He can be more of who others see in me. I do not want my family nor friends or strangers passing by to see this Linda of the world. I want less of the world in me and more of Jesus to shine upon these others.

Oh, that this may continue to be so.

This has not been an easy year by any means. So much has been about me: selling a home, moving to another state, establishing a new place to live, reacquainting with my cousin, Donna. All amidst COVID-19. Yet my desire has been to decrease despite all of this.

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, to Whom you bore witness—look, He is baptizing, and all are going to Him.”

John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ The One who has the bride is the Bridegroom. The friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the Bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.

¶He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony. Whoever receives His testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For He Whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:25-36

Jesus calls us to new heights as we decrease. Oh, YES, He does.

Upon taking a break while writing this, I picked up John Pavlovitz’s Advent Devotional, “Low.” This very day, Week 3/Monday, the title is “The Lowest Places.” God has orchestrated such wonder in my heart, mind, and soul. Here is a piece of this day’s devotional:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

…. Jesus has a way of stretching us. Over and over again in the gospels, the message he has for those who would emulate him in the world, is, in essence, “I want to show you something new. Whatever standard you once used for how to live and treat people and find meaning, I’m asking you for more–(or rather, for less).” Regarding anger or motive or religion or revenge or comfort, he continually invites us to the low places: to a greater humility, to a deeper forgiveness, to a shrinking ego, to a bigger generosity. We almost always resist such things because initially they feel like loss, like we’re giving up too much, like we’re letting someone else get away with something. But we always find a better version of ourselves in the low places and that is why we need to keep going there.” *

Father, I am humbled by Your love and Your guidance in and through my life. This 2021 word has resonated more with me than most. It has, indeed, stretched me and rocked me as well. It has allowed me to grow closer to You for which I am filled with gratitude. How could that be when the worldly Linda wants the opposite? But this woman, headed Heavenward, wants to draw near to You more than anything, Lord. I desire to pursue You and be diligent about it in this coming year. I want to be steadfast in my ways of searching You in Your Word. Thank You, Father, for being my God. In the Precious Name of Jesus, I humbly pray. Amen.

As the year comes to an end, 2022 is just beyond that corner. Those of us joining with Lisa @ Lisa Notes, we are announcing our new word for this new year. For many of us, this one word replaces New Year’s Resolutions. I am finding that it plus the community accountability has really helped me focus on what God has in store for me over each year via this One Word study/challenge. May God grant us each and all a willingness to persevere, be challenged, and be grown as we study, pray and meditate upon this new word.

One Word 2022 and ‘decrease’ graphics: by ~ linda @ BeingWoven.org

* Pavlovitz, John, “Low, An Honest Advent Devotional,” ChalicePress.com, 2019, 9780827221932. JohnPavlovitz.com

John 3:30 Greater Than @ Pinterest

“diligence” One Word 2022: photo @ pixabay; graphics by me done on Pixlr photo editor

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Christ is Christmas ~ Christmas is Christ

Find a quiet moment to read…sing…hum as you read…this beautiful hymn written in the 19th century. It is the Salvation message. It is of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Our Messiah.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

May we spend time this Christmas Day to be with You, Lord Jesus. May we be still and know that You are God. May we calm our spirit to see and hear You in all we are and do. May this day, this season, be filled to overflowing with You, our Messiah.

You mean so very much to me, Lord.

I thank You for coming into my life and saving me from myself, from my sin. You adorn me with Yourself and continue to grow me as I decrease so that I can be more and more like You. I come before You this day and know that You are my Lord. In Your beautiful and holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Words and history of “Little Town of Bethlehem” from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-o-little-town-of-bethlehem

History of song: “Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) wrote this beloved Christmas hymn for the Sunday school children at his Philadelphia parish, Holy Trinity Church, following a pilgrimage to Bethlehem in 1865, according to British hymnologist J. R. Watson. The hymn was printed on an informal leaflet in December 1868 and then appeared in The Sunday School Hymnal in 1871. In the United States, the hymn is generally sung to its original tune, ST. LOUIS by Louis H. Redner (1831-1908), a wealthy real estate broker who served as a church organist for his avocation.”

peace … come: photo of Yosemite in winter from wallup.net; + graphic/’peace …come” added by ~ linda @ pixlr

Pondering · Devotionals · God's Word

The Word

As we ponder the birth of Christ in these days and weeks prior to December 25th, may we seek the Truth of Christ. I have been humbled in realizing that Jesus had a heart, plus eyes and ears, a mouth which utters sounds all like I do. He saw and heard and spoke while His heartbeat kept His blood circulating throughout His body, just like mine! The human body is truly a creation of God. It is extremely complex and oh, so beautiful…all at the same time.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

A baby…a human being…Christ…the Messiah…Jesus…Immanuel…God with us.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their lights.
Psalm 33:6

This baby Who by the time He came to earth has already created heaven and earth, animals of the dry land, creatures of the waters, and of the air. He has created man and woman with the Father as well. He is the Son of God. He is one of the Trinity. He is God. He is the Christ, the Messiah.

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

Millenniums, centuries have elapsed since the human being was created. And I, a human being, am here in 2021 A.D. celebrating the birth of Christ. My Lord and Savior is Jesus, the One Who spoke words like me yet spoke words into being like no other.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. John 1:1-5

λόγος

logos

I. of speech

A. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

B. what someone has said: a word; the sayings of God; decree, mandate or order; of the moral precepts given by God; Old Testament prophecy given by the prophet; what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

C. discourse: the act of speaking, speech; the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking; a kind or style of speaking; a continuous speaking discourse – instruction: doctrine, teaching; anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative; matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law; the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

II. its use as respect to the MIND alone: reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating; account, i.e. regard, consideration; account, i.e. reckoning, score; account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment; relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation; reason, cause, ground

III. In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

From the Puritan prayer book, “The Valley of Vision,” page 16, “The Gift of Gifts:”

O Source of all Good,
What shall I render to Thee for the gift of gifts,
Thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, Proxy, Surety, Substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
He was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father,
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born Child to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him Thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

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

Manger @ Unlocking the Bible

Word @ Heartlight.org

The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975