Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. John 20:19-20
- a state of national tranquillity
- exemption from the rage and havoc of war
- peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
- security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
- of the Messiah’s peace
- the way that leads to peace (salvation)
- of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
- the blessed state of devout and upright men after death
“Peace” in nearly every dialect of Aramaic is “Shlamah”.
In Jewish Aramaic,
Northwest Semitic: Ancient Aramaic:
- safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly
- also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace:—× do, familiar, × fare, favour, friend, × great, (good) health, (× perfect, such as be at) peace(-able, -ably), prosper(-ity, -ous), rest, safe(-ty), salute, welfare, (× all is, be) well, × wholly
- completeness (in number)
- safety, soundness (in body)
- welfare, health, prosperity
- peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
- peace, friendship
- of human relationships
- with God especially in covenant relationship
- peace (from war)
When we think of peace, we usually limit the meaning to calm, tranquil, quiet, stillness of one’s soul. Yet, in looking through the myriad of meanings, I am gaining a whole new perspective on what Jesus blesses us with when He says, “Peace be unto you.” He wishes health and prosperity, happiness and harmony, rest and reconciliation, welfare and well-being, kindness, wholeness, friendliness, safety, just every type of good. Every blessing which is of Christ is for us through Him.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
“When our LORD speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always ‘spirit, and they are life’ (John 6:63). Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? “…My peace I give to you…”—a peace that comes from looking into His face and fully understanding and receiving His quiet contentment.'” Oswald Chambers *
…looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrew 12:2
Jesus walked in obedience to His Father. He endured the worst possible path, yet rests duly by His Father, knowing the Peace, the Love, the Grace that can only come from the Father.
I reflect. I see more clearly that obedience to my Father is my way to His Peace. I may endure harsh realities or uncomfortable situations, but when walking with Jesus as He wills me to do, I am united with my LORD. His gifts of simplicity, clarity, unity are born through the Holy Spirit and not through my desires.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:36
I have peace in my steps for I have confidence in the life I have with Christ.
The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
Then Israel shall dwell in safety,
The fountain of Jacob alone,
In a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens shall also drop dew. Deuteronomy 33:27-28
His arms hold me. His support, comfort, strength, and provision are pieces of this peace that I am searching for. My LORD is this peace in all ways.
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-18
He touches me. He tells me to not be afraid. I can rest in Him for He is my Salvation, my assurance, and the tenderness that I seek.
Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field is counted as a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,….
Oh, that I could live and walk in Your ways, O LORD. But I am me. I fail and fall. I crumble under stress at times. I belittle myself. I am not perfect here upon this earth. Yet my desire is to be obedient. Holy Spirit, continually guide me in the ways that I should go. Be near. I want to know this peace that is You.
I pray peace for this world, for this country, Father. We are so in need of Your peace now. People are torn asunder by storms, war, fear, drugs, divorce, so many other reasons. May we each and all walk in obedience to You, only You. This seems like an impossible request, but nothing is impossible for You. I ask You to turn all hearts to You. One day soon, before it is too late, may Your peace rain upon us and reign in our hearts, my Father. In the Name of the Prince of Peace, I pray. Amen.
*from 8/26 devotional “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5
Have you ever dreamed of making a change in your life? Dreamed about it for years on end? Thought about it so much that the dream changed again and again? That has been the way for my husband and me. We felt it was time for us to move to a place where the allergens would be less, different, and the air cleaner and fresher. We wanted a place where we, as seniors, could feel a bit more at ease regarding finances, weather, taxes, and other senior concerns.
Last Spring, we finally felt that it was time to make this move. The older we were getting, the more difficult this seemed and we thought we better do this now or we wouldn’t have the ability to move. We prayed, knowing that God would lead us. He took New Mexico and Georgia out of the running and headed us to East Texas…Nacogdoches, Lufkin. We would sell our home in Portland, TX which was tough….leaving the home my husband built himself for us 23 years ago. We lived in it all but one year of our marriage.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10
So we began the sorting out, having a garage sale and, at the end, a moving sale. One day, Ken was in the yard taking photos of our home for we were going to sell our home “by owner.” A car stopped; the man asked Ken if, by chance, he was going to be selling this house? God brought a man by at that very moment who became the new owner of this home. G appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship my husband had put into the cabinetry throughout the house and the quality workmanship that went into the building of this home. G bought a lot covered with lovely trees, Mesquite, Live Oak, Anacua, Arizona Ash, surrounding this home. We never even listed it. Escrow went smoothly.
For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
My husband’s two sisters opened their doors to us…places to stay between looking for a new town, finding a home, and escrow. Just where were we going to live?
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Psalm 150:2
After perusing the internet for homes for sale in East Texas, we found more homes in our price range in Lufkin. A neighbor in Portland guided us to a great realtor. We like the town of 35,000 pop. with just about everything we could possibly need or want. We found a house that is now our home. It is close to just about everything we need. God stopped us from buying some homes. We could see He was with us.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. Psalm 95:2
Our new home has issues but we feel God giving us strength and ability to handle them, doing the work ourselves or hiring help when we need that too.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,…. Psalm 92:1-2
We are finding doctors, feeling God’s direction in that as well. We sense His closing doors when we are headed the wrong way.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah. Psalm 62:8
This truly has been a journey where we have depended upon His guidance…
…a journey where we have had to walk with blind trust, with our eyes on Him.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid what can mere man do to me… Psalm 56:4
We are so blessed.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure. Psalm 147:5
When thoughts began to rise for this post, the following was nothing we could have known, although God knew. Hurricane Harvey was yet to develop in the Gulf:
Our home was in Portland, TX. Hurricane Harvey just devastated Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, all small towns on one side of Portland and wreaked havoc in Corpus Christi which is on the other side of Portland. We were not there, although we have friends there so feel very connected. Our friends are okay. Some houses not, but the lives of those we know are safe. We had desired to move away from the coast more and more as we aged. The older one gets, the harder it is to board up, evacuate, and manage through the aftermath of a hurricane. Our former home made it through the storm in tact, but most of the trees in the yard lost at least one major limb. G shared that with us Saturday. We were grateful to God for keeping G safe and his new home in one piece. We prayed for him in these regards.
Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
We feel so blessed to be here and not there.
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In Whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He Who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:3-5
God gave us direction and we obeyed. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You.
O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:12
Father God, You have blessed us beyond measure. We are continually learning to trust You, knowing that You know the very path You wish for us. You keep us sheltered under Your wings. You hold us near in all times. May we remember these things, that we would turn to You for all of our needs. We have seen Your mighty works in our lives so beautifully and clearly. Oh, LORD, You are our All.
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the Name of the LORD is to be praised! Psalm 113:3
May I walk near to You and know Your still, small voice. May I sense Your very Presence with me. Thank You, LORD.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD! Psalm 150:6
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together… Psalm 34:1-3
In the Strong Name of Jesus, I am so grateful. Amen.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.
How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron’s head,
that ran down his beard
and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting. Psalm 133:1-3
properly, a unit, i.e. unitedly:—alike, at all (once), both, likewise, only, (al-) together, withal
In Hebrew, the word for harmony is often translated unity or all together.
C. H. Spurgeon writes this of Psalm 133:2:
“In order that we may the better behold brotherly unity David gives us a resemblance, so that as in a glass we may perceive its blessedness. It has a sweet perfume about it, comparable to that precious ointment with which the first High Priest was anointed at his ordination. It is a holy thing, and so again is like the oil of consecration which was to be used only in the Lord’s service. What a sacred thing must brotherly love be when it can be likened to an oil which must never be poured on any man but on the Lord’s high priest alone! It is a diffusive thing: being poured on his head the fragrant oil flowed down upon Aaron’s head, and thence dropped upon his garments till the utmost hem was anointed therewith; and even so doth brotherly love extend its benign power and bless all who are beneath its influence. Hearty concord brings a benediction upon all concerned; its goodness and pleasure are shared in by the lowliest members of the household; even the servants are the better and the happier because of the lovely unity among the members of the family. It has a special use about it; for as by the anointing oil Aaron was set apart for the special service of Jehovah, even so those who dwell in love are the better fitted to glorify God in his church. The Lord is not likely to use for his glory those who are devoid of love; they lack the anointing needful to make them priests unto the Lord. “That ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard.” This is a chief point of comparison, that as the oil did not remain confined to the place where it first fell, but flowed down the High Priest’s hair and bedewed his beard, even so brotherly love descending from the head distils and descends, anointing as it runs, and perfuming all it lights upon. … Christian affection knows no limits of parish, nation, sect, or age. Is the man a believer in Christ? Then he is in the one body, and I must yield him an abiding love. Is he one of the poorest, one of the least spiritual, one of the least lovable? Then he is as the skirts of the garment, and my heart’s love must fall even upon him. Brotherly love comes from the head, but falls to the feet. Its way is downward. It “ran down,” and it “went down:” love for the brethren condescends to men of low estate, it is not puffed up, but is lowly and meek. This is no small part of its excellence: oil would not anoint if it did not flow down, neither would brotherly love diffuse its blessing if it did not descend.”
With the turmoil and hatred and violence we see all around this world, I am drawn to this beautiful word, harmony. I so desire that we ALL could live in harmony. I want to see everyone as my sister, my brother, my friend. I want love to filter through each one of us to all. Oh, I have these wishes and hopes for all who live on this earth. Am I asking too much?
Jesus said these words to His Father before it was His time to go away from His disciples, from this earth:
I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me. John 17:23
He desired this for us all.
In the Greek, the words harmony and unity draw Christ into this oneness.
one, adhere to Christ to make one person, gather together into one
I love this word picture of adhering to Christ…making us one person.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16
Living this way does not mean everyone must be exactly alike or think the same thoughts. God created us each as His own creation. He wove us in our mother’s womb as one-of-a-kind. Our skin, hair, facial features, bodily shapes, talents…everything about us are one-of-a-kind. So living in unity or harmony is to be who God created us to be…our very selves, yet walk in the ways that God would have us go. He asks us to be kind and love one another, not just to those we want to love…but all. We can love yet not like an action or behavior of another. We are to forgive, to wipe the dust from our feet, to turn the other cheek, bless them through the image of Christ that we are to portray. May we see them as He sees them, I pray.
Music is made up of many notes along scales. There are flats and sharps, minor keys and major keys. There are white keys and black keys on a piano. When music is played or sung, it can be harmonious. The sounds are beautiful from high to low. The music notes are individual but together, they get along, melding together into one piece. Each note does not get huffy about another and go their own way. They work together in one accord.
As people, we should want to live as musical notes, united in the outcome of every beat. We should want to sound beautiful together. This should be like our way of living…in harmony. God wants to see His children living in unity, in one accord.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14
Oh, these things are hard, yet, in Christ, they are not because the Holy Spirit is our guide. Depending upon Him gives us strength, ability, and love so that we can bless others, speak the Truth, love as Christ loves. Jesus said:
“I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:6
Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing…NOTHING! It is through Him that this harmony, unity can happen.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Father God, I lift up this world to You. There is so much discord. It saddens me and hurts too. I want all to be under Your umbrella, sweetly receiving the oil of brotherly love. I want each of us to walk in Your ways and to know that You desire peace among us. I am sorry for things I may say or do that hurt You. I am saddened for that which I see around me whether it be on media or between people at the store. Oh, that I can praise You for Your grace and love cropping up here and there around this place I am calling home now. There is some brotherly love, care and kindness, respect and politeness. May it grow and envelop this city, this state, this country, and this world. May we live together as one…all in one accord. I pray in the Name of Your Holy Son. Amen.
May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:33
These few months have brought such change for us, such blessings, such stress, such hard work, and such joy. We have sold our home of 23 years, traveled to the area we hoped to move, found a house, set that into escrow, traveled to relatives where we could stay for a while in Texas and Alabama, and back for escrow closing. In the midst of those things, we ordered inspections, emailed and talked with our realtor often, set start-up dates for utilities, and so much more. The sweet house we bought was not left clean so we had major cleaning to do while we lived in it…in order to live in it! We moved in with two mattresses and eventually two patio chairs. Two weeks later the POD was delivered and emptied. Now we are unpacking boxes.
For two almost-seventy year olds, we are making it, box-by-box. In between, we are changing banks, getting new driver’s licenses, buying new things that were old and decrepit, but still needed. We love our multi-cultural neighborhood, this sweet town of 35,000, and the lovely, tall, green creations of God called pine and oak trees. The lushness of East Texas is special after living on the Gulf Coast for so many years. I always wanted to return to Oregon but this part of Texas will replace that desire. The Pacific Ocean will just have to wait on my arrival for another day…probably a heavenly day.
Amidst all of this, God is my constant. He is my still, strong source of peace. He is the God of peace.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
Such gifts we are given in our belief. No matter what the circumstances look like, the calm waters of Christ surround me and still my spirit.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Father God, thank You for this blessed time that Ken and I have shared as we looked to begin a new chapter in our life together. We have shared our time with two precious sisters of Ken’s. We have been led by You to a neighborhood that is surely blessing us already. We trust You for all of our needs in these times. Please direct our steps. We lean on You for comfort and strength. We rest in You for the peace that passes all understanding. And it truly is beyond comprehension, LORD, but it is of You and I know that. I love You so and have felt Your Presence all the way…over the miles we’ve traveled…in the steps taken. You are the God of Peace in Whom I trust. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Oh, how I have struggled with aspects of life, wanting my own way, not wanting to lose control of things that I believe I have control over. There have been times where I just refused to give in and other times where I gave in feeling defeated. Either way, it was all about SELF, about ME!! My will, my ego needed nourishing and placed above all else, even above God…OR so I believed.
As I grow in the LORD, He shows me His way, His will. I let go, but not always without a struggle. So the lessons must be taught and re-taught. My desire to write about “letting go” has taken me down a sweet road with Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus, for never giving up on me, even when I have been stubborn. Thank You for walking with me and teaching me the Truth. You are The Word. You are where I desire to dwell.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
In the Name of Jesus, The Word. Amen.
A rope with two stories upon which I dangle and learn letting go!
from Genesis 32: And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Penuel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Genesis 32:24-31
A few verses earlier in this chapter of Genesis, Jacob prayed heartily to God for protection, laying out his great fears, and reminding God of His promises:
“… But You have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’ ” Genesis 32:12 How often I pray and then wrestle with all that I prayed, even with the prayers I did not know how to utter, often keeping me awake for hours into the night! Jacob stayed strong in his struggle and did not quit although he received an injury in the hip joint by a touch. Jacob’s faith in God and his deep prayer life prevailed above his fears. Jacob’s strength caused him to wrestle and prevail with God for promised blessings. God did bless him with a new name, Israel, meaning prince with God, a most honorable name, plus God fulfilled His promises. Jacob was forever reminded of this struggle by the hip injury, a limp. Jacob did not let go until God released him, yet he was humbled by the injury, yet praised and honored God for blessing him as well as deliverance of his life. As the sun rose, communion between Israel and God was shared. Jacob, now Israel, let go of his fears and no longer needed to wrestle with God.
from Luke 13: And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. Luke 13:11-13
This woman struggled with a spirit that disabled her for a long time. Jesus touched her. Her body was healed…from bent-over to straight. She had lived in a humbled position all bent over for years, possibly dependent upon others, made fun of, or even neglected. The healing may have changed her posture and removed the disabling spirit, yet she did not go around saying, “Look at me! Look what I did!” What she did do was…“She glorified God.” I believe she remained humbled, recalling often her blessing from God. In continued humility, she praised Him, seemingly being able to let go of eighteen years of suffering and maybe there was self-pity to release too. How else can one rejoice as she did? God healed her. She could stand tall. I believe she could let go of the past, looked ahead and UPward unto God!
Letting go humbles me by understanding God’s promises, believing Him for them, praying unto Him, and standing strong in those promises and blessings, knowing He will, indeed, fulfill them. He may allow me to struggle with fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, hip and knee issues. But I am continually reminded Who granted the blessings and promises.
Letting go humbles me by acknowledging God’s healing power and knowing that it is not me who heals myself, for I am poor, meek, and a sinner. God loves me and drew me to Him. He is my Healer. He is All I need. I can stand upright in Him no matter my physical, mental, emotional condition. He heals my spiritual health and will heal all else in His will and in His timing.
No matter where I am on the rope, the healing touch or the wounding touch, I learn to bring praise and honor to my God.
LORD, I am humbled no matter where I am on the rope. I am humbled because You are You and You love me. I ask for Your help that I would let go, living for You in all ways. I want to be healed physically, desiring to be strong spiritually even more so. I want to walk in Your will and desire You always by my side, Father. I know You will hold me upright as You fill me with the fruit of Your righteousness through Your Son’s death on the Cross. I love You more than all, Abba Father. Amen.
Photo “Hanging On” – http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=107753&picture=hanging-on
Photo “Twisted Rope Up Close” – http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/03/18/twisted-rope-close-up/
— Author Unknown
Can’t you feel this droplet of water so ready to drop from the tiny blade of grass? It’s weight is making it heavier and heavier so that soon it can fall to the ground and water that which is below. Letting go is a difficult part of life as we tend to hang on, for releasing that which we know is harder than walking into that which we know nothing about. Life changes happen for all of us. It is the way we handle them that makes the difference.
Born to a Navy doctor and his wife in 1947, I learned to be uprooted, moving to a new place (Daddy’s next duty station). Sometimes, he went away (deployed as we know today), leaving us behind. One time, he had to go a way, and we (my mother and two younger sisters) moved to Chicago to live with my grandparents for about a year. So letting go of friends, neighbors, school, a place, and a home were just a part of life. I loved to move, to change. I did not leave well though for I did not let go of all that I left behind, not just the people, but the child-world I lived in…on bases, in neighborhoods, being around other Navy children and families. I missed people more than anything. I still, to this day, write to a girl I met in the first grade. It may be just Christmas cards now, but it began with many handwritten letters and postcards. There were several times when she and I lived near again and we spent a week in the summer together; another time as adults, we met for lunch. She is just one of the many I have kept in touch with over the years.
But I was just a child and knew none of this then!
My dear father died when I was 12. I truly did not let go. He was so special to me and I was just at that age to need my Daddy more than I could have imagined. He was gone forever, yet not out of my mind and especially not out of my heart.
I did not let him go well either.
Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Psalm 38:21
Oh! How I needed those words! But I did not have them in my heart then.
I was married out of college to a man that was not good for me. Ten years later, we divorced. I left as much as I could behind, but my heart and my inside-self were flat as a pancake, run over by a Mack truck … hurt, angry, sad, feeling as a failure with no self-esteem.
I let go as best I could because I was so ready, yet I was crushed and needed a lot of care. I carried much baggage with me.
“It is the LORD Who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
These words minister to me now. Only if I had known them then!
I began searching for a gap-filling something. I thought it might be “church” and met a great singles group that did care about and for me. They were special in my life. I had a few other special women who tenderly loved me back to a better place, yet I moved away, leaving those friends behind. I also left the “church” behind. Thinking about that particular church, it now seems so shallow to me. I attended other “churches” that gave me the warm fuzzies that I thought I needed, but they were what I now know to be new age churches. I tried to let them go, working at leaving their messages behind.
We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. Romans 6:6-8
I did not know!
One day, I met Jesus. He filled me with the Truth. He covered me with His Love. He came in and sat with me. He told me what I needed to hear, made me feel loved and wanted. He came alongside me to teach and guide me. The words that are in the past tense above in this paragraph are always in the present tense now. He does not leave me. He is with me in the hard moments, illnesses, trials. He also does not leave me in the beautiful moments, the flowers blooming, new Spring growth on the trees, the butterflies and ladybugs fluttering by, the gift of Kenneth as my husband who loves me dearly.
When He was at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:30-32
The Light shone before me and I finally saw! All that I ever needed was and is Jesus. Just Jesus.
Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:21-24
Yes, I know now. I am His. And I am learning to let go of past hurts and worries, future concerns, and current struggles. I walk with the One Who has all of the answers. I sit at His feet learning the Truth. I bow before Him and worship my King. And I kneel before the cross with my life in my hands to lay at His feet. I don’t need to say, “If only I had known….” I have Jesus and He has me and that’s all that matters.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
LORD, I thank You for bringing me through so many changes in my life. Thank You for loving me as I took so many wrong turns, for helping me carry heavy loads. You have guided me into the Truth. You teach me more and more each and every day. Hold me near for I desire to always walk out the plans You have for my life. Shelter me when I am in the storms of life, and comfort me as I learn to let go of that which needs to go. I love You, LORD, and praise Your Holy Name. Amen.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
The LORD clearly gives directions so that I would reach Him throughout His Holy Word. As the Crucifixion and the Resurrection have recently been my focus, the one and only desire I have is to be with Him obediently.
Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25
I want to stand at the Cross as His mother did. She stood near to see her precious son beaten, nailed upon the Cross, bleeding, dying. She could not have been closer to Him at this time… body, mind, and soul. Her heart must have been beating with His.
I want to go to the tomb with Mary Magdalene, looking for Jesus. I want to run with her to the others.
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. John 21:13
I want to be with those disciples fishing on the Sea of Tiberias. Even though nothing had been caught, Jesus, Whom I do not recognize, tells me to fish on the right side of the boat. I want to recognize Jesus and say, “It is the Lord.” I want to break the fast with Him.
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:31-32
I want to walk on the road to Emmaus where Jesus joins me. He shares His Father’s Word.
And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. Acts 1:9
I want to see Christ lifted up on a cloud, knowing that He will, one day, return for me in this same manner.
“For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45
I believe. I want to grow in His grace, becoming holy as He is holy. I receive His grace moment by moment as I obey His commandments, following His Way, walking in it.
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
I love You, my LORD. In Your Name, I pray. Amen
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
After Easter…how do I live? Do I go back to ways that forget what the Crucified Christ means to me and how His resurrection affects me?
Easter is central to my Christian beliefs. His crucifixion is very difficult for me and yet His resurrection is resplendent. Easter is a beautiful remembrance of all Christ did for me over 2,000 years ago and Who He is to me now. I want to live intentionally and thoughtfully in regards to what it means to be a person of the Resurrection in my world all year. I want to continuously experience the Presence of the Living Christ. I want to then walk in His Presence before others.
Yet, I seem to still be in the womb so much of the time, afraid to come out. (As a baby in my mother’s womb, I did not want to exit then either! Mom said her labor was hard and long. “You just fought,” she said.) Christ holds me near as I learn to walk in His Light more and more. I must come out from the womb, that darkness. I am to do His will on roads, in cafes, in hospital rooms, in homes…the world. This is not a doable calling from a safe, warm womb.
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:8 ESV
As a person of the Resurrection, I would like to believe that my life shines Christ for others to see, hear, and read, sensing that they have touched the Living Christ, the Hand of God. Sometimes, this is true, but not always, to be sure. I want to be less of Linda and more of Christ with each moment. I am continuously being woven into the tapestry that will be perfect in Eternity…one.thread.at.a.time.
Easter brings HOPE. As a person of the Resurrection, I pray I am able to offer the beauty of HOPE to a world that finds reasons all around for despair, fear, and hopelessness.
Being a person of the Resurrection allows me to live under the umbrella of God’s GRACE and MERCY. I accept His forgiveness, offered to me in love. I pray, too, that I may give these generously.
Easter is all about LOVE…“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 As a person of the Resurrection, I desire to love from His heart, to give from His hand, and share the LORD through my actions, words, love, and life. May this LOVE cause me to be open and caring towards others.
As a person of the Resurrection, I do know that the Holy Spirit has come upon me. I also know that my humanness squelches Him under the Linda that thinks she needs to be in control. Forgive me, LORD. Please forgive me.
As a person of the Resurrection, I no longer live in the dark, but carry the Light of Jesus within me as I share light in a dark world.
God, make me Yours wholly. Give me courage and strength to be the Linda You desire of me. Give me wisdom that I would have Your Words and the openness to share Your Truth. I want to be one of Your people of the Resurrection each and every day, walking in faith. As You continue to grow me, may I spread hope, love, grace, mercy, and light through Your Truth. Thank You for giving me life through the death and resurrection of Your One and Only Son, Christ Jesus. You truly are gracious towards me, Father. May I carry a Daffodil of peace with me, LORD, wherever I go. Daffodils just seems to be filled with hope, joy, love, and beauty, all that You are Abba Father. In the Name of Your Son, I pray. Amen.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12:13
How can He?
He always will.
struggle…lessens…reverts to hard again…
Because I need Him…yet live in this humanness
He shows me my weak, selfish, independent self
Letting go to Him
led to the Cross
harsh, thorns, flogging, brutality, hatred, sorrow, ashamed
I go with Him
crucified with Him
my sins crucified
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:20-21
He is Love
His Love shines.
He died because He loves us
The mirror reflects perfectly.
Reflection for Eternity
We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Jesus, Your reflection teaches me. You love despite my imperfections. I thank You, Jesus. You show me joy and sorrow, peace and anguish, love and hatred. You show me that I am burdened by sin, yet You forgive. Your Holy Spirit fills me up, taking the place of sin. You teach me to ask in Your Name. Your love bears me up. Your love endures all of me, because You love me. I wonder why, Lord, but Your love is far greater than my “why.” Your love is true, filled with hope, for You are God. I am Your child. You reflect wholly.. all sides and aspects of me…from the depths of my sin … to the gifts, the love You have bestowed upon this helpless sheep. May I be wholly dependent upon You, 100%. May I die to this self completely…Oh! So completely. One day, when I look into Your face I will know that as I see perfection in You, the reflection from me will be Yours through Eternity. I pray I do reflect Your light while I sojourn here on this earth. I love You, LORD. Amen.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Matthew 16:24
to forget one’s self
lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests
Jesus’ words strike a hard cord in me. I am called to follow Jesus because I have chosen His way over mine, yet I still want to do things my way, guide the direction of my own life, take my own chances. Then I hit a wall and it hurts. I run on empty, unable to go anywhere in life except down by the pull of gravity. In order to follow the Lord, I am to deny myself, releasing my desires and hopes for His, His alone. When I am in step with Jesus, all that He desires for me are those things I need. An interesting piece of God’s puzzle for my life is His desires for me are often just what I desire for myself. I’m not losing after all. The relationship with Christ is far more important so that I walk rightly with the Lord.
place on oneself
My burdens can be worries, anxieties, physical pain, other people’s lives and their concerns, hurting people of this world, and so much more. All can weigh heavily upon my heart. The Word tells me not to be anxious, not to worry. He is faithful and is with me. He feeds and clothes the birds; He will do the same for His children. So I lift those weights and take them to Jesus.
a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specially), a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment)
figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial
by implication, the atonement of Christ:—cross.
The cross is what Jesus was placed upon for His crucifixion. It is a horribly cruel punishment and eventual death. Scourging comes first. The one being crucified must carry his own cross. Jesus did this part of the way until Simon was compelled to carry it the remainder of the way. Jesus would hang upon the Cross until death.
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. Luke 23:26
The cross is that which will kill this earthly life.
I carry a cross, laden with burdens. I place it there at the feet of Jesus. He died for my sins. Why do I continue weighing myself down? Jesus has taken it all to the Cross. Part of the definition of cross, in Greek, is self -denial. I deny myself, being exposed to death, reproach, suffering, trials, punishment. I am no longer mine, but His.
I am learning as I do that which Jesus asks of me: denying things of the self, lifting up that which weighs me down, carrying the cross to Jesus Who has already taken my burdens upon Himself. It is in the doing, the actions of denying, lifting, and carrying to Jesus that I begin to find a clearer, deeper meaning to all that He is asking of me.
to be or become the disciple of another as to faith and practice
to follow his teaching
Following Jesus is key to my walk in this Christian life. When I am His, I desire to be near and to know the path upon which He leads me. I release all burdens, knowing that He is caring for me.
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
As Your child, LORD, I depend upon You. When I feel alone, or struggling with concerns, You are right here. You are yoked with me. You know my physical pain, the concerns that touch my heart regarding others, my anxiousness over provision for this earthly life. Your grace is truly sufficient, Sweet Jesus. Sometimes I feel wrung out and worn out. The Word says in Matthew 27, verse 39-40: And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ But You hung on that Cross, LORD, and paid the ultimate price for me, releasing me to walk with You always. You have given me eternal life. How much more could I ask? What else is there to ask? Forgive me when I am selfish. Often, when I deny myself, I must turn around and deny myself again, LORD, because I am selfish. I just am, but am also very sorry. I carry my cross to You so that I may follow You. “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38 ESV) I do not want to be called “unworthy,” LORD. Thank You for walking with me on this journey even when I fail You. Your forgiveness, Your love, Your gentle nature give me the hope in this life that my physical eyes cannot see, yet the eyes of my heart know hope for You are the Hope. I love You, Jesus. I pray gently in Your Name. Amen.
Graphic: by American/Dutch web designer Catherine Reijans, founder of KATINK web design; https://thinkingmuseum.com/2013/10/30/thinking-museum-on-think-katink/ (but the actual think-Katink web design site is no longer connected, but I want to give her credit where it is due)