As Christmas approaches, preparing for God’s Gift, Who came over 2,000 years ago, is the most important part of Christmas. It is not as though I forget Him the rest of the year, but as the world prepares for the season of Christmas, so much happens…shopping, decorating, spending more money than one has by taking out loans or using credit, preparing a large meal for lot of family and friends, parties, etc. The older I become, the less Christmas looks like all of that for me. It is a holy day, not a holiday, for me. Yes, I do a few of those Christmas things, but very little. I am drawn closer to the Lord. I want to delve into just Who this precious Gift is for me, discovering newness about Jesus all of the time. I want to live for Him in the ways that He wants me to live. I want to know Him…to really KNOW Him.
Jesus is the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:….” Revelation 3:14
that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause
Jesus is the very first, the ultimate start of all that was to come.
of the creation
the sum or aggregate of things created
Jesus was the first of all to be created. Everything else came after Him, through Him, by Him. Amen.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2
From Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
“From whom this message was sent. Here our Lord Jesus styles himself the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
(1.) The Amen, one that is steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises, which are all yea, and all amen.
(2.) The faithful and true witness, whose testimony of God to men ought to be received and fully believed, and whose testimony of men to God will be fully believed and regarded, and will be a swift but true witness against all indifferent lukewarm professors.
(3.) The beginning of the creation of God, either of the first creation, and so he is the beginning, that is, the first cause, the Creator, and the Governor of it; or of the second creation, the church; and so he is the head of that body, the first-born from the dead, as it is in ch. 1:5, whence these titles are taken. Christ, having raised up himself by his own divine power, as the head of a new world, raises up dead souls to be a living temple and church to himself.”
the Seed from which grows the plant
the Acorn from which sprouts an oak tree
an egg from which grows a chick, a duck, a bird
an egg from which come one or more of the mammal species
an egg fertilized becomes a human baby…a mammal species
…and so much more…all that is Jesus.
Jesus is the first, the beginning of all that was, and is, and is to come.
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 1 John 1:1-4
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:15-18
First…He always was. Oh, how fine to know that He is and was, and will always be. We can trust that He will be with us and for us…for always.
Our Father, You created me. Through Your Son, I am adopted into Your Family. I am Your daughter. Thank You, thank You. As Christmas nears, I bow. Your Son is the greatest Gift I could have ever received in my whole life. My parents were generous and loved Christmas. They had fun giving to their children. You are my Father and loved giving Jesus to me. How blessed I am. Nothing can top Jesus as a Gift. Nothing. You also gifted me (and so many others) with Your Holy Spirit to teach me, pray for me when I know not what to say, to guide me in Your ways, and so much more. I feel so blessed this day and know that I never need another gift. I have the All of all. I lift up those who do not know You as Lord and Savior. I pray for their souls, Father. Thank You for loving us right to Your heart. You want us to come to You. I pray that many others will receive the precious gift of salvation in these coming weeks. Praising You, Father, for Jesus, the Beginning of creation. In HIs Name, I do pray. Amen.
Monday’s Breaking Bread
I am blessed to share God’s Word Over at Beloved Prodigal. May the Holy Spirit open the eyes of our hearts to delight in and be strengthened by the Word He has brought us today.
I have stumbled many times in the physical sense…as a child, I ran faster than my legs could go, tripping over things; as a teen, I would be busy talking, a curb attacked me which I never saw coming; as an adult, I might trip over a leg on a piece of furniture; as a senior adult with my spinal cord having bone spurs, disk problems, and a cyst, I began stumbling over things and even over nothing…I just fell. Stumbling happens to many, if not most, of us.
I have also stumbled spiritually. Oh, my! Yes, I lost my way…wandered in deserts, in places where wild things lived.
God talks about stumbling in His Word, both the Old Testament and the New. We stumble spiritually when we disobey God, when we don’t listen to know His way for us. We can easily be led astray, causing us to stumble spiritually.
…. Please join me for the rest of this post @ Beloved Prodigal.
“And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11
This post is different for me but I have been listening to the sounds of trains since we moved to Lufkin. Trains have always delighted me, since I was a young girl.
A number of trains run through this town each and every day. As they move from one end to another, they cross intersections of the town so the horn must be blown.
From our home, we cannot see the train, but it can be heard, especially when the wind is out of the north and northeast. Clear and loud…these sounds make me smile. Take a short listen of what it (almost) sounds like for me (just listening to the beginning is enough to hear what I hear, except I am further away):
The train was endearing for me as a little girl. When I was young, we lived on a Naval hospital base, about 4 miles from a railroad track. When Daddy got home from work at the hospital, he would pile 2 of us girls in the car, go down to the tracks and wait for the five-something o’clock train (letting Mom get dinner without the 2 older kids while the youngest, being an infant, was napping). We loved to wave to the engineer and he would blow that horn for us. I was in early elementary school so counting the cars was a great exercise for my brain. Of course, my sister (3 years younger) wanted to imitate me so she was learning to count too. The train draws me back to those younger days and times with my father.
While living there in this small town, the second graders got to go to the San Diego Zoo for a field trip. We lived a bit over 100 miles away. We boarded buses early in the morning, taking us to the Riverside, CA train station. From there we boarded the train to San Diego. We spent the better part of the day at the zoo after a wonderful train ride. Then back on the train to Riverside and buses to home. What a great field trip! That was 63 years ago and I remember it as if it were yesterday!
When my Daddy became very ill, my parents sent us from Washington, D.C. (where he was stationed) to Boston on the train for a couple of weeks to vacation with some family friends. The three of us girls rode together, alone. I was 12 and my sisters were 9 and 6 at the time. We thought we had grown up…riding the train without our parents. We ate on the train, turned our tickets into the conductor, walked through a couple of cars, and watched people. Fun for us and helped us forget how sick Daddy was.
I lived in Washington, D.C. twice in my life. For the adult period, I was teaching in the DC Public Schools. Union Station became a favorite place for me. I would change subways there, catching the Red Line. I would often go upstairs for a minute, above the underground rails, before catching that homeward-bound train, just to see the beautiful old station. At Christmas, they would have a few concerts in the Main Hall. Oh my, it was so beautiful and wonderful!
During the 1980s, retail stores and restaurants began to be added in several areas of the station. I returned to our Capital in 2013. I was so saddened by the transformation that had happened to Union Station between 1989 and 2013…crowded with people, stores, cafes, island-type tiny shops. It was so noisy. What was once a gorgeous station was no more. BUT…the Federal Railroad Administration and the State Historic Preservation Office stepped in and by May 2016, the Main Hall has been renovated back to the way it had been. Oh, how glad I am to see this picture and the way it is NOW…again!
Kenneth and I have been on a few trains drawn by steam engines…delightful rides through lovely scenery too.
Here is just an example of the sounds which they are famous for, and make me smile!
The Metro Subway in Washington, D.C. gives me pleasure in a different sense than a train…smooth, mellow, fast or slow, light or dark depending on where I am on the line. The subway became my main transportation while I lived and worked there. I rode the bus too as I had no car. I liked that.
The sounds and feelings of trains and subways are so special to me. I just love them.
A.B. Simpson (1843 – 1919) wrote: “God is looking for men on whom He can put the weight of all His love and power and faithful promises. God’s engines are strong enough to draw any weight we attach to them. Unfortunately the cable which we fasten to the engine is often too weak to hold the weight of our prayer; therefore God is drilling us, disciplining us to stability and certainty in the life of faith. Let us learn our lessons and stand fast.”
And a sweet hymn to offer before we go today:
“Life Is Like A Mountain Railroad”
Author: Eliza Roxey Snow 1804-1887; Author: M. E. Abbey (Minister in GA in 1890s)
…that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever. Psalm 48:14 (guiding Scripture for hymn)
Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that’s brave;
We must make the run successful,
From the cradle to the grave;
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels;
Never falter, never quail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail.
Train in Lufkin, TX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=QYB9jWOalYI
Santa Fe Station in San Diego, CA – postcard “CALIFORNIA San Diego – Santa Fe Train Station, Bekins 1950s” http://neplains.com/californiasandiego-santafetrainstationbekins1950s.aspx
Outside the San Diego station: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tall_dude/3175800704
Steam Locomotive: Bells and Whistles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=utg0tK7cDbE
Metro Subway: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/2012ALC/dc/
Metro Map: http://www.railfanguides.us/dc/metro/
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:11-12
“I know how to be abased….” Abased? As I read this Scripture, I understand, sort of, what that word means, but I want to dig deeper to really know what Paul was saying here.
In the Greek, the word, itself, can be interpreted in slightly different ways.
4. to humiliate: to submit oneself in a lowly spirit to the power and will of God; equivalent to to put to the blush
From several different Bible versions, this word, abased, is also translated:
NIV – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
ESV – I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
NASB – I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
NET – I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary: “To accommodate ourselves to an afflicted condition-to know how to be abased, how to be hungry, how to suffer want, so as not to be overcome by the temptations of it, either to lose our comfort in God or distrust His providence, or to take any indirect course for our own supply.”
“To a prosperous condition-to know how to abound, how to be full, so as not to be proud, or secure, or luxurious. And this is as hard a lesson as the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are not less than those of affliction and want.”
Jesus is the Way through which we can handle every aspect of life. Jesus is our Comforter and our Provider. He is the One Who strengthens us from moment to moment. No matter what situation we find ourselves in or put ourselves in, we need to look to the One Who is strong and will strengthen us in order to walk through each stage of life, each step in life.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
We are to learn to walk in this life, in this world content…in every situation, in all circumstances…content. What now does “content” mean? Verse 11 uses this word in one way or another to describe the way we should be in any and all types of life’s experiences whether good or bad, rich or poor, healthy or sick, etc.
Content in the Greek:
sufficient for oneself, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support
independent of external circumstances
accepting of one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest
Being content seems to come from within ourselves from these definitions, yet being able to handle all or any situation truly must come through Christ.
“But how must we learn it? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, v. 13. We have need of strength from Christ, to enable us to perform not only those duties which are purely Christian, but even those which are the fruit of moral virtue. We need his strength to teach us to be content in every condition. The apostle had seemed to boast of himself, and of his own strength: I know how to be abased; but here he transfers all the praise to Christ. “What do I talk of knowing how to be abased, and how to abound? It is only through Christ who strengthens me that I can do it, not in my own strength.’ So we are required to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus; and we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. The word in the original is a participle of the present tense, en toµ endynamounti me Christoµ, and denotes a present and continued act; as if he had said, “Through Christ, who is strengthening me, and does continually strengthen me; it is by his constant and renewed strength I am enabled to act in every thing; I wholly depend upon him for all my spiritual power.'” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Philippians 4
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Father God, You have given us life. Each precious breath is from You. We are given those breaths one at a time just as we are given the strength we need to handle abasement and abundance. You want us to depend upon You from moment-to-moment, breath-upon-breath. You call us to lean on Your understanding and not our own. You ask us to ask and pray. You call upon us to live for You, loving and caring for others. I pray that I am able.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You! Psalm 86:2
May my eyes and heart stay upon You, and may I lean neither to the right or to the left but directly upon You. I also want to be pleasing unto You, LORD, and to stay near to You.Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
In the Holy Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.
I am free. Christ paid the highest price so that I could be free. Free to live this life for Him and with Him…free to walk with God, my Creator….free to love, learn to love as He loves, free to care as He cares.
The liberties with which I have gained by choosing Jesus are yours as well. You are free if you have given your life to Jesus. Do you believe in the One Who died for your sins, was buried, was resurrected after three days? Have you asked forgiveness for your sins? Do you believe in the Trinity…God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? They are One as they are Three. Have you asked Jesus into your heart?
If ‘yes’ is the answer to these questions, then you join me in being FREE in Christ!
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1
Living in a country which allows many freedoms is wonderful, yet Christ is Who actually sets us free.
Yes, the Constitution of the United States gives us many rights and liberties.
Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment 13: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Amendment 14: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Amendment 15: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Amendment 19: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Amendment 26: The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
These are only a few of the rights allowed us as citizens of this country.
Those reading this from other countries may and may not have these things given to you. Whether or not, though, believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior gives you a freedom that others cannot claim until they know Jesus.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
to liberate, deliver, make free, set at liberty from the dominion of sin
(This Greek word is the same word in all the New Testament Scriptures I have used here on this post.)
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3
freedom; hence, spontaneity of outflow, and so clear:—liberty, pure.
(The Old Testament has this Hebrew word of similar meaning.)
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23
Father God, I adore You and am so very grateful that you are in my life. I live under Your wings of power and protection. You hold me close, lifting me near. You have granted me this freedom to live for Your sake and not for mine. You ask me to keep my eyes on You and that is my desire, my goal. Forgive me when I fail You. I want to reflect Your Son to this world in which You have placed me. I want to fly freely. I have come to know, in this liberty that You have allowed, that I am Yours and Yours alone. I am free because I am Yours. For some, that would not be considered free, but I see it as so. I can fly because of You. I am Yours and want to live my life in You. I hold near to You as I learn to be obedient to Your calling for me. I love You, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2
Monday’s Breaking Bread
My name is Linda. As I become part of the Beloved Prodigal team, I feel so very blessed. I will be breaking bread with you one Monday a month here (and every Monday as a reader) from Texas, USA. May we gather around the Bread of Life.
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32-33
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
I have been a prodigal child, one who wasted money and resources, one who has been reckless with what I had, one who disobeyed, was irresponsible…and I was an adult for the most part! I also admit, readily, that I fall back into that place from time to time. I wish I could say I did not, but I am human too.
I grew up in a Christian home and a military family as well. Mannerly and minding were very much a part of how I behaved, who I was as a child. The churches we attended taught Jesus, but never taught about having a relationship with Him. God and Jesus were “out there somewhere” so I never even knew that I could be close to my Creator, my Savior. At age twelve, I lost my earthly Daddy to Pancreatic cancer. Because I was the oldest of three girls, I was very close to Daddy. I tended to carry a lot of weight on my shoulders, feeling responsible for my whole family, or so I thought. By the time I was fifteen or sixteen, rebellion, in small ways, began to seep into my behavior when I would get away from home, away from adults. My Mom, raising three girls alone, tried to squelch the waves of disobedience as they rose, hoping to keep my sisters from following any example I might portray.
Sooner or later, though, another wave would roll through. I did not like being in trouble for I was, basically, a good girl. But I lacked the precious fatherly attention, love, and authority I was used to and so needed. I would search for it in many wrong places.
After college, I married wrong and stayed in that marriage for ten long years. I tried so hard to make the marriage work, but I could not do it alone! There was not an ounce of spirituality in the relationship either. We built our marriage on, literally, nothing. After the divorce, I spent the next thirteen years single, working hard and living life as best I could, but always looking for who I was, where I belonged and that fatherly love. I was so very LOST. Jeremiah touches my condition of ‘then’:
“But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.” Jeremiah 3:24
God knew where I was, but I did not. Over twenty-four years ago, I met my husband of today. While we were dating, not only were we getting acquainted with one another, but he would ask me questions which led him inside to a very lost soul. He found out quickly that I was searching. He introduced me to Jesus. Through many tears and hours together, I began to open my heart to both him and Jesus. My future husband had something I desperately wanted and needed. I listened. I asked questions. I prayed. I asked God for His answers.
Jesus gives a parable about being lost:
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10
When I finally saw that Jesus was the answer, I asked Him to come live in my heart. I rejoice for I was that lost coin. I have been His for twenty-four years now. This does not mean that I have never taken a wrong turn or gone down a wrong path. I have and, most likely, will in the future, but that is not my heartfelt desire. I want to be obedient and love the One Who loved me from my creation. I can look back and see many times He was right there waiting for me to open my heart to Him, yet I did not. I can hear people’s words to me and prayers for me, see situations that could have brought me to repentance, my turning around, years before, but I had a hardened heart from hurt and discouragement, from disappointment and heartache.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6
I once found it hard to believe that God could love me so, but He sent His Son to pay the highest price for my sins. He then sent the Holy Spirit to teach me, to pray for me, to be right with me. I have the Holy Trinity with me always. I believe now!
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
My Daddy, whom I lost at age twelve, was my earthly daddy. The Father I gained, by turning my heart to Jesus, is God. He is my Abba Father.
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
Abba means father. There is an emphasis to Father by adding this Chaldean word, Abba, אַבָּא , to Father. It is a customary title of God in prayer. The Holy Spirit is in us to pray on our behalf because God loves us so.
Martin Luther writes:
“If we could be fully persuaded that we are in the good grace of God, that our sins are forgiven, that we have the Spirit of Christ, that we are the beloved children of God, we would be ever so happy and grateful to God. But because we often feel fear and doubt we cannot come to that happy certainty.
“Train your conscience to believe that God approves of you. Fight it out with doubt. Gain assurance through the Word of God. Say: “I am all right with God. I have the Holy Ghost. Christ, in whom I do believe, makes me worthy….”
“….Let us never doubt the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, but make up our minds that God is pleased with us, that He looks after us, and that we have the Holy Spirit who prays for us.” (Martin Luther Bible Commentary on Galatians)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
I have a Father and He knows my name. This special song brings me to tears each time I hear it because I finally have God, my Father. I am not lost. I am not squandering my life away searching for anything else. I have everything in Christ…Everything.
I have a Maker
He formed my heart,
Before even time began
My life was in His hands
He knows my name
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
I have a Father,
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me,
No matter where I go
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
I do my best to live each day as today, not tomorrow, and not yesterday. My life is in Christ, the Son of God. Today. I am blessed.
LORD, You always knew right where I was. You held me when I did not even know You were there, so close. You whispered my name until I finally heard Your beautiful voice calling to me. You drew me in to Your breast and comforted me from this world. You gave me a safe haven where I could learn how to be loved again unconditionally. I loved my earthly father dearly. I missed (and still miss) him so. You are my Father, my Heavenly Father. You never leave me. You do not forsake me even when I head off in my own direction. You always draw me back. You listen for and to me. You care about me. You comfort me. Oh, merciful God, thank You. Jesus, You are my Savior and my Brother. You hold my hand as we walk together. You do not scold me or hurt me or make me feel unworthy or an outcast. I am Yours. I feel so loved this day. May Your Presence light me up from the inside, that I would then share Your Light and Love with all in my world. In Your loving Name I pray. Amen.
Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians (16th Century): Galatians Chapter 4, verse 6
He Knows My Name (Tommy Walker) — (video) sung by Maranatha Singers
A hand woven tapestry, rich with intricate details and colors…
- the small, precise, or trivial details of something
- an individual feature, fact, or item
- fine point, triviality, nicety
- point, aspect, facet, component, technicality
I never knew that the details of our fingerprints were called Minutiae. Below are some of the patterns used to analyze them:
Throughout the Bible, God gives rich detail in His imagery and descriptions. I have wondered sometimes why a fact is in the Bible, but I no longer wonder. I read it and find amazement and beauty in the minutiae of God.
God weaves specifics into His story…
He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. 2 Samuel 23:11
…on a snowy day…did I need to know that? “Yes.”
He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:40
Did he need five stones?
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.
1 Samuel 17:50
He only needed one stone, but was prepared with five.
The tiniest instructions are important:
‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.’ Leviticus 19:9-10
God wants us to be generous and caring. He specifies how He would like this done in our fields and vineyards, with all that we are and have.
The details are amazingly minute, yet, for God, each part is vital to the whole:
In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord. The house that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house, and ten cubits deep in front of the house. And he made for the house windows with recessed frames. He also built a structure against the wall of the house, running around the walls of the house, both the nave and the inner sanctuary. And he made side chambers all around. The lowest story was five cubits broad, the middle one was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad. For around the outside of the house he made offsets on the wall in order that the supporting beams should not be inserted into the walls of the house. When the house was built, it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built. 1 Kings 6:1-7
Every last detail. The Bible is filled with instructions to build up, to tear down, a way to walk and to obey, to gather manna and when. God, You are the LORD our God.
May we see that God is in every small and great part of our lives:
Are the comforts of God too small for you,
or the word that deals gently with you? Job 15:11
And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. Mark 12:42
Jesus knows the poverty from which she gave.
God knows all that is, that was, and that which will be:
The little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in its time. Isaiah 60:22
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 60:22:
They will appear the more glorious, and God will be the more glorified in them, if we compare what they are with what they were, the happiness they have arrived at with the smallness of their beginnings: “A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation.’ The captives that returned out of Babylon strangely multiplied, and became a strong nation. The Christian church was a little one, a very small one at first-the number of their names was once but 120; yet it became a thousand. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands swelled so as to fill the earth. The triumphant church, and every glorified saint, will be a thousand out of a little one, a strong nation out of a small one. The grace and peace of the saints were at first like a grain of mustard-seed, but they increase and multiply, and make a little one to become a thousand, the weak to be as David. When they come to heaven, and look back upon the smallness of their beginning, they will wonder how they got thither.
God cares about everything. He created this world. He created the beasts of the fields and the birds of the air. He created you and me. He wants us to trust Him, count on Him, lean on Him for everything.
He cares for us as He cares about what is in His Word. He wants us to read each word, seeking His Truth. The entire Word of God guides us in our way as we walk with the Author. The entire Word of God draws us towards, and to, the Finisher of our faith.
Father God, You are the Shepherd of my life. You love me and care for me as if I were Your only lamb, yet I am one of 7.5 billion people on this Earth today. You love them as You love me. I am so filled with gratitude, Father. I am humbled by the details that are important to You. As tiny as the lines on my fingers are, the minutiae of everything is of concern to You. May I cling to You, learning from You as I go. As I see, read, and hear all that concerns You, may it also concern me. I pray that it does and will. You wove me in Mama’s womb, knitting me together. As a weaver places ones thread down at a time and ends up with a beautiful piece of art, You have interlaced Your life-giving threads to form me. I am extremely complex and barely understand even a tiny bit of what is going on inside of this body, mind, spirit and soul. You do. Every cell is important. Every bit of me. Every bit of everything. Thank You, my Gracious Father. In the minutiae, You are there, LORD. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Reunion at Sunset, Hand Woven Tapestry by Maximo Laura, Alpaca, Peru
(If you have time, visit his site as he is actually weaving a piece more intricately detailed than this one on the front page.)
One Word Inspiration Quotes: Minutiae: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=One+Word+Inspirational+Quotes&id=78ECCF1184EC1B8A01EE48BE027DF8CA39386E59&FORM=IDBQDM
Dragonfly: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/361202832585754948/
snow: Pixabay https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo
stones: K. Gallagher https://graceintorah.net/2015/06/19/five-smooth-stones/
Wheat Field Harvest: http://michellespahr.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-harvest-field.html
Solomon’s Temple: Nehemiah’s Wall https://www.nehemiaswall.com/prophet-pearls-terumah
Mark 12:42-44 http://www.suggest-keywords.com/bWFyayAxMiA0NA/
Horses (Isaiah 60:22) https://faithpictures.wordpress.com/
Isaiah 60:22: Crossmap.com http://www.crossmap.com/backgrounds/isaiah-when-the-time-is-right-3850/lightbox/1920×1200
In The Park – Landscape Tapestry by Baiba Ritere https://www.pinterest.com/pin/358247345332477548/
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.