As 2020 begins, may our eyes be open to see Jesus the Christ with clarity and grace. May we be emboldened to stand tall, shining the light of the Lord before all, for light overcomes darkness. Should we have a veil over our own eyes, physical eyes, eyes of our hearts, may it be removed that we may see…see the Truth…see Jesus as He is.
a veil, covering
metaphorically, of that which prevents a thing from being understood
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
By Christ, and Christ Alone, is the veil removed from our physical eyes and the eyes of our hearts so that we may see clearly. Clearly, to know the Truth. Clearly, to understand the Truth. Clearly, to shine the Truth before others, to be a light in this dark world.
And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with Him. Exodus 34:33-35
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2
Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
I want to see clearly, LORD, with 20/20 vision. I want to know Who You are and what You are teaching me. I desire to follow You obediently, God. Guide me and show me the way for my life. Open the eyes of my heart, as well as the eyes of my physical body so that I will know…know all that You desire for me to know. I know I cannot know all while I am here on this earth. Yet, while I am here, please make Your will for my life clear, LORD. Make it known to me. In the powerful Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.
… Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th’ incarnate Deity, pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King!” **
As we sang “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” tears welled up in my eyes.
Christ Jesus “veiled” a fleshly robe, becoming man and dwelt among us. I got a beautiful picture draped across my heart and eyes of Jesus being veiled in flesh. This is incredible even though I know He came and I know He was a man for thirty-three years, God for always. I believe this, having come to know Christ as my Savior and Lord. I have faith in this One Who left the Father to dwell with us. Yet, the thought of the Christ being veiled with flesh dropped me to my knees. It was so much more than the Baby in a manger. Christ came to save one such as I. Christ came to draw me to Him. Christ came to be with me. Thus my tears.
Emmanuel (Immanuel) is God with us. Jesus is Yahweh saves or the Lord is salvation.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:21-23
The Prophet Isaiah: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
So beautiful! ‘Tis no wonder that I cry. God came to save me. He rained His grace and mercy upon me forever and ever long before I was ever born, created in my mother’s womb.
For 26 + years now, He has been reigning in my heart. He lived on earth, veiled in flesh, so that I may truly live. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Christ came, veiled in flesh, but He died in that same flesh, torn and bruised, bleeding and broken, for this same me.
Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. Luke 22:63
As many were astonished at You— His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind— Isaiah 52:14
According to Josephus, cruxifixction was brutal, an awful way to die. Christ died this way. He did this for me, for you, for each of us. I am sorry, Jesus. Forgiven, I am but I still weep for what I did to You.
Had He not adorned flesh, could or would it have been different?
The plan was in its perfect place and robing Yourself in flesh was what was needed to save us from this sin. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You for Who You are and for what You did. May this life I live adorn You with glory and honor and praise. I love You, my Lord Jesus. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Published 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems.
The lyrics was changed by George Whitefield (1714 – 1770) and others, resulting in the version known today.
Original first line: “Hark how all the Welkin rings”.
Music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847).
Mendelssohn’s tune was adapted by William H. Cummings (1831 – 1915) in 1855 to fit the lyrics.
Last photo: Faith Church Blog/Lafayette
Sing unto the Lord this whole beautiful song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King, peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies; with th’ angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King!”
Christ, by highest heaven adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord; late in time behold him come, offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th’ incarnate Deity, pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King!”
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give us second birth. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King!”
Come, Desire of nations, come, fix in us thy humble home; rise, the woman’s conquering Seed, bruise in us the serpent’s head. Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface; stamp thine image in its place. Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in thy love. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King!”
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love. Let us Thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the Life, the inner man: O, to all Thyself impart, Formed in each believing heart. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”
The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts. Proverbs 20:27
The spirit of man…the breath of man…the mind of man…. Those are various interpretations of the Hebrew word for this spirit.
blast, breath, inspiration, soul, spirit
God breathed life into man:
...then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7
“As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, (3) as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Job 27:2-4
In verse (3), “breath” and “spirit” are both this same Hebrew word, used in different context. When looking at various versions of the Bible, you will notice that “breath” and “spirit” are interchanged at times. For example:
…for while my spirit is still in me, and the breath from God is in my nostrils,… NET
…as long as my breath is still in me and the breath from God remains in my nostrils,… CSB
Thus says God, the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and what comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it and Spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;… Isaiah 42:5-6a
Now, in verse 5, the word “breath” is the Hebrew word above, but the word “spirit” is defining the Holy Spirit. The word, רוּחַ, ruwach, does carry many of the same definitions yet, more often, means “the Holy Spirit.”
Sometimes, looking up the Hebrew or Greek becomes important in order to gain the full meaning. Even then, it can become even more confusing. The bottom line is that we must be open to the Holy Spirit in order to be taught what God means in His inerrant Word. Oh, that I would have ears to hear, eyes to see…always, Lord, always.
Back to Proverbs 20:27 ~
The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts. Proverbs 20:27
God is the Father of lights (James 1:17). He sees us where we are, as we are. He loves us even in our sin. He sees all that cannot be seen by the world. Whether it is a thought or a sin, our past, our hidden secrets…God sees all. The word-picture here is that our own breath or spirit or soul lights the way to those things we think are deeply buried. Our hidden nature is really not hidden to us because we have lived it along our life-long journey. Maybe, as we walk this path, we can keep these things quiet, but they are quietly eating away at us. God sees and knows what we need. He desires repentance. He wants to draw us nearer to Himself… to the One Who absolutely loves us.
As God’s light seeks into our dark corners, He also sees all that is good and tells us He is well pleased. If something is unpleasing to Him, the Holy Spirit taps our conscience in order to bring that something out. He wants us to be a reflection of Himself. How can we when we hold dark issues under the surface? We cannot reflect the image of Christ. We must want to though. That is what He called us to do, to be.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24
Father God, I pray that I hide nothing for which my mind can dwell and haunt my spirit-self and even my physical body. I want to live for You, growing in purity and holiness with each step. I know You know all that is hidden in me. I also know that I don’t want to face anything hard, Lord. That is just my nature. BUT…I also want to be cleaned up for You, my Lord. I do not want to live with things that eat away at me, spiritually and/or physically because then I lose the intimacy with You. I am too busy worrying about keeping something hidden or am wondering if I should say something to someone, and the list goes on and on. I want to have it all opened like a book. I want to repent of my sinful, wayward ways. I want to be forgiven. Thank You, God. I am, indeed, forgiven. Praising God with my every breath as it has less and less to deal with. I love You, Abba Father. In the Wonderful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! Psalm 150:6
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. Hosea 11:1-3
and I became to them as one Who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. Hosea 11:4b
How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; My compassion grows warm and tender. Hosea 11:8
Admah and Zeboiim are cities like Sodom and Gomorrah…all destroyed by God for the abandonment of the covenant He made with His children. Moses reviewed the covenant, impressing upon the Israelites the relationship they have with their God and why keeping these is vital to life itself.
…the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and wrath—all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.” Deuteronomy 29:23-28
In Hosea 11, God makes promises to His children:
…they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD. Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit, but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One. Hosea 11:9-12 (starting in the photo of the lion to the words “Holy One.”)
These are promises of what God will NOT do to His people as well as promises that He will fulfill. God so loves His people no matter how, where, why they wander.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 49:15-16
Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he My darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:20
This small book of Hosea is so rich with God’s love and so prevalent are the sins of man.
Father God, I pray that I will walk with You in obedience to Your Word. I ask that You hold me near, guiding my steps so that I do not stray. Should I, though, please pull me back, disciplining me to learn the lessons You need me to grasp so that I will remain faithful. I have strayed so far that I did not even know I was lost. I did not know You as I do now, yet I knew enough to feel the shame in my ways. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your love. I am Yours and want to stay in Your protective arms. Thank You for this book of Hosea for it is showing me Your enduring love for Your children and Your overwhelming desire for them (for me) to turn back to You and want to stay near to You. In the powerful Name of Your Son, I pray. Amen.
Hosea shows the love of God for His children, Israel. He also makes it clear just how far Israel strayed from God, from His commandments, laws and ways. I am reminded how much God loves me even though I strayed from Him again and again throughout my lifetime, especially in those years before knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior. I did not come to know Jesus until I was 45 years old. YET…no matter how often, how far, how deep the bride of Christ meanders from the Truth, the Way, the Life, God continually draws us back to Him.
Oh, God, please forgive me for the ways that I, too, stray from You, from Your Word. Thank You for loving me despite my faults, despite my sin.
And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds. They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding. Hosea 4:9-11
I will return again to My place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face, and in their distress earnestly seek Me. Hosea 5:15
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with Me. Hosea 6:6-7
Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against Me. They return, but not upward; they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt. Hosea 7:16
For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. Israel is swallowed up; already they are among the nations as a useless vessel. Hosea 8:7-8
But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved. Hosea 9:10b
You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off. Hosea 10:13-15
…a useless vessel….detestable…utterly cut off… Israel has shown itself weak in the sight of the Lord. He loves them, yet He turns His back upon them until they choose to return to Him wholly. I know God has wondered over me year-upon-year as I lived for myself, dependent on no one but me. I thought all was fine. Upon looking back at my life, I truly was lost. I did not know Jesus Christ. I worshiped false idols, betrayed the One Who created me, looked to my own self for the answers. In the Scriptures from Hosea here, do you see God’s love woven into the lives of His children? into their hearts? how He draws them back even when disciplining? God is so merciful. Even when we stray, He wants us to draw near to Him.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:8-10
Father God, I pray that I humbly follow Your ways, Your commandments, Your path for my life. Thank You, Lord, for loving me when I did not. Thank You for guiding my path so that I would meet Jesus. God You are so beautiful. You care for me in the worst of times, the best times, and all the in between times. You are stern, yet gentle. You care so much about the bride of Christ, Your children, that You must discipline us so that we can come to our knees, seeking Your forgiveness. I am so thankful that You sent Your Son, Jesus the Christ to take my sins to the Cross for eternity. You drew me to You and rained Your forgiveness, love, and peace over me. I am grateful and love You for always. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
God loves me no matter what I do or have done or even will do in the future. He loves me so much that He draws me to Him even when I am unfaithful to Him, when I live in this world as though it is my home and He is not!
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Israel was, once again, worshiping idols, calling them gods. They were allowing those around them to change the ways in which they worshiped God, slipping in their new moon celebrations and their feasts. The children of God were running away from the covenant with which they made with the God of the universe. And God was not pleased.
“Plead with your mother, plead— for she is not My wife, and I am not her Husband— that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts;
lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst. Hosea 2:2-3
Israel’s provision was from God yet they ignored the Provider.
And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. Hosea 2:8
Israel turned away from God.
Therefore I will take back My grain in its time, and My wine in its season, and I will take away My wool and My flax, which were to cover her nakedness. Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of My hand. Hosea 2:9-10
And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot Me, declares the LORD. Hosea 2:13
God expresses exasperation with His children, but still loves them. He wants them back, desiring that they honor the covenant He made with them. The God of the universe gently calls His bride back, shielding her from being able to go out and find her lovers – her idols, her gods.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14
“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call Me ‘My Baal.’ ” Hosea 2:16
God is so merciful, surrounding Israel with His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His justice, His righteousness. He is so wonderful to them…to me.
Even when I stray, do abominations towards Him, He never ceases to love me and allure me back to Himself.
And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Hosea 2:19-20a
God loves His bride so perfectly that He will pursue her until she repents, returns, becomes His bride.
And you shall know the LORD. Hosea 2:20b
Through all my wanderings and prodigal daughter-ness over many years, God knew where I was physically and spiritually. He followed me, protected me, called me to Himself. I came to a place where the brambles and thorns would no longer allow me to return to my idols or pagan gods. Those walls kept me from trying to find the things of this world that so attracted me away from Him. Yes, the world and satan had, and still have, a way of luring me aside, but that call, the beautiful call of God, is so much stronger and sweeter that I would much rather be in His Presence. I would much rather be betrothed to my Husband and Redeemer. It is far more dear to me to know the LORD! Far more dear! Thank You, Jesus.
Hosea served around the same time that Isaiah served, as seen by looking at verse one, chapter one in each of their books. The kings listed are the same. Hosea’s ministry was to the northern kingdom of Israel while Isaiah’s ministry was to the southern kingdom of Judah…
The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. Hosea 1:1
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah 1:1
The same perverseness was occurring in both kingdoms. God called them all to Himself.
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against Me. Isaiah 1:2
Later in Isaiah, God continues to call His bride to Himself:
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
Thank You, Father, for wanting me back. Thank You for not rejecting me even when I fail You. I know I have disappointed You so many times, just as Israel has done, yet You love us enough to continually call us back under Your wings. I am so grateful. I pray I remain with You for the remainder of my earthly life. I know I will be at Your feet in eternity. Hallelujah, what a Savior! You have rescued me. I am learning more and more about You. I want to know You, Lord. Thank You for allowing me such a privilege. In the Precious Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Forever, O LORD, Your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Psalm 119:89
to station, in various applications (literally or figuratively):—appointed, deputy, erect, establish, lay, officer, pillar, present, rear up, set (over, up), settle, sharpen, establish, (make to) stand(-ing, still, up, upright), best state
Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. NKJV
Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. NIV
O LORD, Your instructions endure; they stand secure in heaven. NET
Firmly fixed…settled…stands firm…stand secure… These words describe a soldier, a pillar holding up a building, something with strength and durability. God’s Word is that soldier, marching with power and strength into the battlefield. God’s Word is settled and strong because it is the Foundation. God’s Word is established because it is living…and will forever!
The Word of God is inerrant and infallible. These are strong and sharp words, describing the Word of God. They are the Truth about His Word.
This same Hebrew word is used in a number of ways throughout the Old Testament to show an establishment, a settling:
But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. Psalm 41:12
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter. Psalm 74:17
The LORD tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries. Proverbs 15:25
Then he who saw cried out: “Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord, continually by day, and at my post I am stationed whole nights. Isaiah 21:8
Your Word, Lord, stands strong and certain in these times of uncertainty. It is the Truth and the Truth sets me free. That freedom allows me to stand firm in the commitments I have made to You, O Lord. Please hold me to these. I desire to stay settled. Standing with You, Lord, is life. It is a gift I so willingly now accept. Thank You, Lord. I know a strength that I have never known before. Praising You. Amen.
The Word of God does not return void nor does it falter. It is powerful and mighty in ways I may never know on this earth. Yet, as I dwell in the Word, I am becoming more acquainted with God, the Author.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8
For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,… Ephesians 6:17
Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29
So shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Father God, I pray that I glean Truths from Your Word every time I read from it. I pray that I become more consistent, more intentional in reading Your Truth. I ask You to hold me near, guiding me toward these desires, these hopes. I thank You for teaching and reproving me, for correcting and training me in the ways in which I should go. May Your Word be more of a lamp to me each day, guiding me along the path You have set for me. I thank You in the strong Name of Jesus. Amen.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
“Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.” Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
Honoring those who have died in service to the United States of America is a bittersweet moment for me. I desire to honor those men and women who have placed their lives on the line for me and the country I call home. I also have two men, in particular, who fit that category now. Once I had only my Daddy. Now, this year, I also honor my husband, Kenneth. Both of these men died from war-inflicted wounds of contamination…radiation – my father, Agent Orange – Kenneth. The two most special men in my life have left their earthly home….gone from my earthly life. Yet, both are with me in my heart. I loved them both dearly. I know I will see Kenneth in Heaven and I pray so for my Daddy.
Kenneth C. Gill US Army 101st Airborne Infantry Served 1967 – 1970 Vietnam 4/1968 – 4/1969 born – Salem, IL 1947 – died – Lufkin, TX 2018
June 7, 2018: This is the first Memorial Day without Kenneth. He was close to death last May. He died June 7th. He served in the Vietnam War 1968-1969 with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He returned to the states and completed his service with the 82nd Airborne in North Carolina. He was exposed to Agent Orange throughout that year marching through rice paddies and areas that once had been wooded areas, since defoliated with AO.
Kenneth in Mason, Texas with one of his favorite characters from a book! The author of “Old Yeller,” Fred Gipson, was from Mason. The city library has a statue of the dog and the boy Travis. Inside the library is a mini-museum featuring Fred Gipson.
In January, 2018, we found out he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which is one of the cancers connected with Agent Orange. We believe he had had it for some time due to symptoms we better understood after the fact.
Kenneth was a wonderful husband of 25 years. I was truly blessed. God provided such a blessing to my life. Thank You, Lord. As I walk these days without Kenneth, I still am filled with love for this man whom You loaned to me. I am grateful, Lord, every day. You are the One I walk with today.
Ralph D Ross US Navy Physician World War II – Pacific 1942 – 1945, then continuing on til his death in the US Navy born – Sterling, KS 1913 – died – Bethesda, MD 1960
September 18, 1960:My father’s life vanished in his prime – 46, a Navy doctor, a career spiraling upwards, a lovely wife, 3 daughters (12, 10, 7). The Navy was so special to him, so much so that he did not intend to retire at the 20-year mark! He served in WWII in the Pacific Theater as surgeon, infection control medical officer, doctor, user of Penicillin in its early days to cure Syphillis. From 1946-1951, he became a part of the after-war Manhattan Project, serving as a Radiological Safety Officer, while he continued to practice medicine in the Navy. He was on Bikini Island for Operations Crossroads in 1946, then on Eniwetok for Operations Greenhouse in 1951. By early 1960, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer…a death sentence then and often, now. It is connected with radiation poisoning. PLUS…he was a great Daddy! I still miss him!
My parents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An honor, to say the least! (This was taken on a Memorial Day weekend as you can see by the flag. I had a friend of a blogging friend take it while she was there. Thanks.)
Mama became a Gold Star Widow; we became Gold Star children. “They are the Gold Star children, war’s innocent victims, and their pain shimmers across the years pure and undimmed. They pass through life with an empty room in their hearts where a father was supposed to live and laugh and love. All their lives they listen for the footstep that will never fall, and long to know what might have been.” **
Eleanor Malcotte Ross born – Chicago, IL 1914 – died – Portland, TX 2013
January 30, 2013: My mother was an unsung war hero, too, although she did not die from war-related causes! Not only was she a Navy officer’s wife, but worked during the war for the Naval Supply Depot, keeping the Navy-at-war in food and other supplies. She was a fine and fun mother too!
Buried with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.
Father, thank You for these very special people in my life. They have meant so much to me over the span of my lifetime. I am so grateful for the love I have known from each one of them. They loved me each in their own special way. I honor the service they offered to this country. Thank You for bringing Daddy and Kenneth home from wars so that Daddy could be my father and Kenneth could be my husband. Thank You. I am sorry they each died from contamination of war-related agents. I am so sorry for that…for my lose as well. I also honor the many more who died from their service to the United States of America. Please protect those many more service men and women who continue to be in harm’s way around the world, Lord. Hold those who have served but are dealing with the effects of war. Some are wanting to get ‘back-to-normal,’ others are dealing with homelessness, and others are medically or psychologically traumatized. Please care for them all, Father God. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:2-6
How in the world can I count these trials as joyful? How?
God also says in Romans 5:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
So now I can have peace with God too? These trials seem like they couldn’t possibly produce joy nor peace?…or perfection or hope?
YET…God’s Word gives me Truth. So I know that these things are possible. I have not written in this space for quite some time, but God is using the circumstances of Kenneth’s death to show me His love, His people, His little children, His body of Christ, His kindness, His glory. He is showing me that although my heart may hurt from this deep loss, it can also overflow with so much more because He is my joy. He is my love. He is my kindness. He is my all. Dependence upon the One Who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent gives me all. I lack for nothing.
I have not hidden away from the world. I have not walked away from His will for my life in Christ. I have not been too disobedient (not much that I am aware of!). I am walking with the One Who saved me from the pit. I am holding close to my Savior because He is. He is alive and risen. He has given me His Holy Spirit to dwell within me. And I am His, walking in the Spirit. I am filled with a joy that is incredibly remarkable.
Is that not amazing?
He fills me with pure joy in the midst of sorrow and struggle. Do you know what else He does? He builds me up. He grows me in His character. He molds me to look more and more like Him. Is that not beautiful? How grateful I am for His love for me. Oh, my sweet Lord. You are changing me day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Thank You, Sweet Jesus.
…when you meet trials of various kinds,… James 1:2b
Trials come. Trials can be of all types…physical, emotional, mental, financial, marital, death, and everything else under the sun.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4
I am not perfect and will not be until I pass over the Jordan River into Heaven, but each step of obedience here on earth brings me another step closer to both perfection and Heaven. Christ is molding me to be more and more like Him while I sojourn here. I am the clay and want to be. I desire that molding more and more now too. That is what boggles my mind…that I, willingly, want Him to mold me which takes trials. No vessel is perfect, needing parts redone again and again. The Potter has much work to do on me. I choose to allow Him to form me and make me. I also choose to stay close to Him so that I may endure the current trials and those on ahead.
steadfastness, constancy, endurance
in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
patiently, and steadfastly
a patient, steadfast waiting for
a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance
NKJV: But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
NIV: Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
NASB: And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Other Scripture with the same Greek word: ὑπομονή
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11
Matthew Henry wrote: “The graces and duties of a state of trial and affliction are here pointed out to us. Could we attend to these things, and grow in them as we should do, how good would it be for us to be afflicted! One Christian grace to be exercised is joy: ‘Count it all joy.’ We must not sink into a sad and disconsolate frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials; but must endeavour to keep our spirits dilated and enlarged, the better to take in a true sense of our case, and with greater advantage to set ourselves to make the best of it. Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury in God. In them we are conformable to Christ our head, and they become marks of our adoption. By suffering in the ways of righteousness, we are serving the interests of our Lord’s kingdom among men, and edifying the body of Christ; and our trials will brighten our graces now and our crown at last. Therefore there is reason to count it all joy when trials and difficulties become our lot in the way of our duty.
“Faith is a grace that one expression supposes and another expressly requires: ‘Knowing this, that the trial of your faith,…’ verse 3; and then in verse 6, ‘Let him ask in faith.’ There must be a sound believing of the great truths of Christianity, and a resolute cleaving to them, in times of trial. That faith which is spoken of here as tried by afflictions consists in a belief of the power, and word, and promise of God, and in fidelity and constancy to the Lord Jesus.
“There must be patience: ‘The trial of faith worketh patience.’ The trying of one grace produces another; and the more the suffering graces of a Christian are exercised the stronger they grow.” *
Jesus, my Lord, I come to You, seeking Your face. I want to be near to You, to know You more and more with each passing moment. Is that possible, Lord? How can it be when I am in physical pain, emotional loss, sorrow, spiritual vacuums, and other trials? How can I focus upon You when these trials distract me so? Yet, Lord, You rain grace over me in joy, love, hope, faith, patience and far more than I could even ask. Thank You, sweet Jesus. You reign in my heart. That is what has changed me as I experience trials, Lord. You!…Your Spirit indwelling this earthly vessel. Your graciousness abounds. Thank You for keeping me close to You. You are the One Who generously gives. You are merciful and faithful, Lord God Almighty, overflowing with love for me. I want to grow in the Truth, in the knowledge of You. I want to grow in grace, too. I want to reflect You to the world in which I sojourn. May I be strong through the trials and tribulations so that I may be more like You. Give me wisdom that I would know how to walk through these times. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.
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 3:18
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Oh! What a promise John 3:16 is! God is Love. He loved His creation so much that He sent His Son…to live amongst His children…to teach and to heal, to love and to die.
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
Jesus showed the world that the love of the Father was in Him by loving those He touched, physically and spiritually. Even today, Jesus loves. He loves me and He loves you. The sacrifice that Jesus made over 2,000 years ago still affects us today. He came to save us and draw us to Him so that we will be with Him for eternity. Hallelujah!
The word love in these verses is the word agape:
pertaining to people: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
pertaining to things: to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing
This is one of four Greek words in the Bible which differentiate between the various meanings of love in the New Testament. Agape is the one used most often. It is the kind of love that God has for us and which we are commanded to have for one another. Jesus called us to love.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
“Love” appears in the Bible (depending upon the version) between 310 times in the KJV to 551 times in the NIV. No matter what version you are reading, the word “love” is scattered often in the Word of God. God is love and wants us to know that. His Word is beautifully rich with LOVE! I praise You, Father. I praise You.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. 1 John 4:11-13
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:14-19
I am humbled dearly by the way God drew me to Him and took a hold of my life. I can look back and see years passing while He patiently waited for me to seek His face. Oh, my! I have read these words in John 3 and 1 John 3 many times and sense just a wee bit of how much He loves me. Just a tiny percentage of God’s love for this one creation. He loves us each and all…yes, not just me, but all of us. My heart is overflowing with gratitude that He would do this for me, for you. And then…
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8
While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. He did not ignore me or leave me to my own ways and problems. He came to me. He waited at the door until I knocked. He was there for me. And He went to the Cross for me where He was horrifically crucified on that Cross and my name was upon that Cross. My sins took Him there. He did not sin. I did. He did not utter a word, but it is my words and my actions that nailed Him to that Cross.
Father God, thank You for loving me so unconditionally that You sent Your Son to that Cross to die for me. He took my sins with Him. He carried my burden to that Cross. He loves me so that even today, He draws me near to Him so that I can and will know the way to walk each and every moment of this day. Lord, I pray I listen and discern Your way in which I should go. I pray for those around me who do not know You. Oh, how I pray for repentance, for that turning around toward You so that they will be spending eternity with us. Oh, how I pray this, Father God. I thank You for loving me so tenderly and sweetly, Lord. You are such a gift to me each and every day. I lift my hands in praise to You, giving You all the glory, Precious Father. In the powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.