Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Both…Life and Choice

I am PRO-LIFE for ages 0 until death, whether that be at 1 month…2 months…6 months…9 months in utero, or 2 years old, 6 years old, 10 years old, 46 years old, 100 years, 115, 122 or beyond as long as one is alive and with breath.

I am PRO-CHOICE too.

YES…it is possible to be BOTH.

Life for every and all ages.

I want all of God’s life to thrive and live a life honoring to Him.

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

God commanded us, me, not to murder. I understand that. I am against abortions. I am also for an individual’s, a woman’s right to choose. God gave us free will although we were/are not so good about following His every command.

Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:30-32

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

I am not one to weigh in on controversial issues usually. If the Lord wills, I may be more vocal in this space. Not only is the country that I was born and raised in on the verge of…in the midst of…tremendous change in ways I could not have fathomed only months ago, but hatred and fear are running wild everywhere including through the very population I once called ‘community.’ I feel led to stand to say things that are truly difficult for me to say out loud. I may lose followers; I may lose more friends and community than have already departed. I have been writing this particular post for weeks. It was near edit-completion when June 24, 2022/Supreme Court ruling hit the news cycle!

I pray that I will say and write words that are glorifying to my Lord, my God.

LIFE may start at conception…at fertilization…at six weeks…at 15 weeks…at 20 weeks of a pregnancy…at birth.

LIFE is not only about birth. It does not end once a child is born.

LIFE on this planet is at first breath of earthly air. LIFE is being breathed in and out from just outside the womb, at one year old, at two, at ten, at seventeen, at twenty-three, at thirty-eight, at fifty-one, at seventy-six, at ninety-seven, at one hundred, at one hundred four and beyond if God so wills. No matter the stage of LIFE we are in, God provides breath until He does not. That is LIFE.

God is LIFE and we are living as long as He has planned for us.

So…YES…I am PRO-LIFE.

I am PRO-LIFE for ALL of LIFE!

I am PRO-CHOICE, too, for we each are given choices throughout life…to choose our way or God’s way. God gave humans a will. I am against murder but I am NOT against choice. It is up to each person to follow the will of God. Sometimes we do not. We, more often than not, reap what we sow. We are allowed to make choices.

I recall when ‘abortion’ was a heavy topic of thought and conversation, or argument and agreement, in the 1960s and 1970s, before Roe versus Wade was yet in the courts. Back than, one was able to be both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. It was perfectly okay to not be on one side or the other. I was both then and continue to be to this very day.

No, I have never had an abortion nor even been pregnant. I had choices along the way for decisions I needed and chose to make. There were also decisions made for me by others where my choice was not an option. Some I am okay with today and some I was not okay with at the time of their making by another or by the natural way of things. I can see that I have been in God’s hands, no matter.

Let me ask you:

Where were you when I, a somewhat immune-compromised senior citizen, needed you to wear a mask during the early days as well as at the heights of COVID-19 outbreaks?

Where were you when a vaccine, a set of vaccines, booster vaccines were made available and were free? Did you get them? I hope so.

My life, the lives of the many immune-compromised with cancer, with diseases that cannot fight off other diseases, those awaiting an organ transplant, the lives of senior adults, all deserve(d) a chance to live. Don’t they?

I can hear you are saying to me: “Linda, if you believe in choices, then I, too, have a choice to wear a mask for COVID or a choice to get or not get a vaccine.” Yes, you do.

If you are pro-life, then why is that decision about masks or vaccines a problem for you? Whose life are you for or against? I understand that there may be health reasons why you did not wear a mask or take the vaccine. I know. But for many, that choice was a blatant choice against the United States government more than it was about caring for and about those living.

Most of you reading this blog are professing Christians who abide by the Word of God. Why, then, has it been so hard for so many to have ignored the second commandment that Jesus gave each and all of us?

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

“…NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE.”

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 1 John 5:2

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25

Father God, I pray for your wisdom as I walk the steps which feel so hard…difficult for me. I believe they are steps You have given me. Protect the women who are in danger today…who are facing trauma today. I curl into Your strong arms and weep my tears into Your bottle. I hesitate to even publish this post for I have spent most of my 74 years on this earth trying to please others, to keep the peace, yet, I am so filled with words, thoughts, and emotion which I pray You have given me permission to write here. May I be pleasing unto You, Abba Father, and only You. I pray in the beautiful and powerful Name of Your Son. Amen.

#oneword · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

I Have Very Few Words…Today

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,

a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19

I see these, all of these, TODAY, RIGHT NOW, ALL AROUND ME! Everywhere I look, so much of what I hear is that which God hates, that are abominations to Him. These stir up conflict, strife, hatred, violence, vitriol. I have been trying to write a post in this space for two weeks only to find I have no words…only to find things unfathomable in my mind, my heart, my soul.

I have been unable to write anything cohesive, but I shall, Lord willing.

I do not want to write and end up with a page filled with vitriol coming from myself regarding all I see and hear and feel. So I am silent. God’s Word speaks to my heart and says, “Be careful with your words, Linda.”

Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Psalm 34:13

I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
Psalm 39:1

Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. Psalm 120:2

So I am quiet. NOW!

But I am here having thoughts about my OneWord 2022 ~ diligence.

I am being diligent as to the words which God desires from me. I am being diligent as to words to say to others. I am being diligent as to the ways in which I represent Christ in and to this world.

I am being still so that I can know my God.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Psalm 37:7

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
Proverbs 9:7-12

Lord, I desire to speak out. I desire to be open and honest. I just do not know how to do that these days. Guide my tongue and my mind and my heart, that I will be true to You, and You alone. In Your Beautiful Son’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Testing

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

δοκίμιον

dokimion

a testing; by implication, trustworthiness:—trial, trying; a crucible

Other versions of 1 Peter 1:7 ~

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. NIV

…that the proof of your faithbeing more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; NASB20

…so that the proven character of your faith ​— ​more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire ​— ​may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. CSB

*the proving, your proved faith; that by which something is tried or proved, a test*

I love that word, “proving,” as though there is something to prove. Indeed, the test, the proof is in our willingness to obey and stand upright as we wait upon the Lord. He will bring us through whatever test, whatever proving ground we are to face. Counting whatever we go through all joy, or rejoice in the midst of these trials, can seem so opposite of what we are walking or running through, yet God calls us to these things and also calls us to rejoice, to be joyful in the midst.

Can you imagine being a Ukrainian today and being able to rejoice, to count all that they are experiencing or witnessing in this horrendous war all around them, and still be able to recount it with joy? Watching around 100 Ukrainian women and children evacuate from the ruined Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol on Sunday, May 1, 2022, after two-plus months hiding under the plant would bring a sense of joy in the release, yet there was the threat of Russia bombing, leaving family and friends behind…could they count it joy? I know I would have rough time yet that is exactly the way we are to face the trials each and every day. Oh, God, please give me the strength of Jesus to face my trials. He went to that horrible cross for me, down the Via Delorosa, and counted and considered it all joy!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus withstood such temptations, showing me that I can lean on Him for He desires to carry my burdens, to walk besides me, to dwell within me.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary of 1 Peter:
The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds several things in mitigation of their sorrows. 

1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude.

2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure.

3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men, we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church, and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual sorrow. 

4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it.

5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian’s good: If need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for so the expression signifies: it must be;therefore no man should be moved by these afflictions. These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.

Mr. Henry goes on regarding the praise, the honor, and the glory:

“The trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Honour is properly that esteem and value which one has with another, and so God and man will honour the saints. Praise is the expression or declaration of that esteem; so Christ will commend his people in the great day, Come, you blessed of my Father, etc. Glory is that lustre wherewith a person, so honoured and praised, shines in heaven.  …. Jesus Christ will appear again in glory, and, when he does so, the saints will appear with him, and their graces will appear illustrious; and the more they have been tried the more bright they will then appear. The trial will soon be over, but the glory, honour, and praise will last to eternity. This should reconcile you to your present afflictions: they work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Father God, there are so many reasons to rejoice even when I do not feel like rejoicing. And there could also be many reasons why I should feel overwhelmed and filled with sorrow. Yet, You lift me up when I am down. You fill me up when I am empty. You stand with me always and care for me, about me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus the Christ, Who died that terrible death for me, taking my sins to the cross. You shower grace and mercy upon me again and again. You sustain me and never let me down. I trust You and know I can. I know You are my God forever and ever. I will be spending Eternity with You. Oh, Lord, how glorious that will be. I thank You for holding me near through any and all trials I may be currently going through as well as those in my future. I thank You from the depths of my heart.

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Lifter of My Head

But you, O Lord, are a Shield about me, my Glory, and the Lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:3

Do you recall a time when someone you loved, someone you looked up to, someone you adored, took your lowered head and gently raised your chin with their hand, their fingertips?  You may have been a child, a teen, or an adult. Your lip may have been quivering, a tear running down your cheek.  That person lifted your head until your eyes met theirs.  You saw their loving eyes and sensed the caring they had towards you.  Your heart was touched by this one’s protection, reassurance, and love for you, for just you at that very moment. Slow down and remember such a moment, such a person as this.  Ponder the memory.  Sense the moment right now.

God, our Father, feels this way about us…even more so. 

God is my Shield.  He encircles me with His strength, His power, and His might.  He defends and protects me in ways I cannot even know.  

He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in Whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.  Psalm 144:2

God is majestic. He deserves reverential love and awe as I kneel before Him.  

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
  Psalm 62:7 

He lifts me up high. And as I stand with Him, let nothing in the world pull me down.  He sent His Son to die for me and nailed my sins to that cross.  I do not want to be ashamed, but to stand strong in the LORD. 

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:18-20

Lifting my head is looking up and seeing the Father’s glory, His reflection, His love. His touch is gentle and kind.  He created me and knows my potential.  He lifts me up.  Confidence is being built in me through Him.

Lifting my head helps me to see beyond my circumstances.  My head is higher than anything that is not of God.  None of that can control me when my head is lifted. 

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2 

I can see above to the heavenly realm.  I can know that God, my Father, lights the skies for my way as I follow Him.  Fears are released and given no power for the LORD is the power. 

“Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?”  Matthew 12:11

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.  James 4:10

LORD, I pray that each of us seek You, the Lifter of our heads, our Salvation.  You call us to come before You in thanksgiving and praise.  We bow before the cross, asking for forgiveness, knowing that You have already poured Your grace upon us.  Abba Father, thank You for giving us vision to see beyond our current point in this life, past the pain and suffering, whether of ourselves or of those we love or of others in this world.  You know all and You call us to Your side, lifting us from the miry clay. With gratitude for being the Lifter of my head, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Thank You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

Some 21+ years ago, I published a similar post on Being Woven. Originally, it was for an online devotional called “Granola Bar Devotionals.” Alisa Hope Wagner, also at enLIVEn Devotionals, the author and gatherer of writings of others, has gone on to write many books, inspiring other women to continue writing in new venues.

photo of baby: “I’m Trying So Hard to Lift My Head Up!! : ) – Tummy Time”
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/tummy-time–476466835550170037/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Weather Report

I love how God has given us weather reports throughout the Bible. He tells us of the actual rains and winds on this physical earth. He also uses weather-related metaphors giving us wonderfully clear word pictures.

The one we are probably most familiar with is Noah and the ark ~

And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:12

And Jonah ~

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Jonah 1:4

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. Nahum 1:3

Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23

Wild and gentle are the ways of the weather. Wild and gentle are the ways of God.

“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! Deuteronomy 32:1-3

And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. Luke 12:54

From the breath of God ice is made,
And the expanse of the waters is frozen.
Job 37:10

For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, His mighty downpour.
Job 37:6

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling His word! Psalm 148:7-8

You will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. Isaiah 29:6

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen within His temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. Revelations 11:19

by Justin Battles

Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Leviticus 26:4

Sometimes, I think that God must have storehouses filled with rainwater, snow, hail for the deluges are so enormous that the areas upon which the storm dumps floods, or avalanches, or all that is in the path of the wind is totally destroyed. But, oh, that is my human imagination. I do not know now. One day!

The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder;
Your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
Your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Psalm 77:17-18

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and He brings forth the wind from His storehouses. Jeremiah 10:12-13

Yet, in the darkness, the light will come. God is so much more than the very circumstances.

I praise You, my Father.

I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
” Isaiah 45:7-8

Father, God of Heaven and Earth, You have created all. You have placed us in the midst that we would care for Your earth. You provide in ways to water the plants and give humans water to drink. Yet, many of Your ways I cannot understand for so many live without sources of water and many places on this planet are shriveling up for lack of water. And other places (and its people) are flooded beyond recognition. My ways are not Yours, but one day, Lord, will I understand? This earth is such a beautiful place but it was far more so when You first created the Garden of Eden. We have caused must decay and dismay by not being the caretakers You desired from us. I am sorry that we continue to fail You and Your creation. Lord, as I think about the majesty and harshness of weather upon this world, I think of the Ukrainian people for they are never far from my mind and heart these days. They are trying to hunker down or flee their country in the midst of freezing cold with some snow while the country is in the midst of a horrible war. Please hold them closely while some seek safe shelter where they are while others run to other countries. Please keep Mr. Putin and his forces from bombing hospitals and places that should be a safe haven. Please, Lord, stop this awful war. I am usually a peacemaker, but this is so beyond any ability of my own. I cannot even make peace among my friends these days. Only You can do that, Father God…any and all of it. My Prince of Peace, please rain Your peace upon us all, especially this time in Ukraine. The beautiful, although at times, threatening, but also awe-inspiring weather is so filled with You and the amazing God You are. May I look in awe at it and know that You are the God of all this earth…the God of me. Guide my steps to keep me on the path of righteousness. I love You, Lord. In the Powerful Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12

rain @ wallpaper cave

waves/lighthouse @ The Inertia

hurricane @ AGU Blogosphere

huge storm @ Wallpapertag.com

Hail @ audiojungle

rainclouds over green hills/barn @ pixelstalk.net

rain storm @ Pixelstalk

Ice Storm @ Vermont Institute of Natural Science

Snow storm @ The Morning Call

Fire @ The National Interest

Lightning @ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lightning #2 by Justin Battles @ strangesounds.org

Alaska Earthquake damage @ KOTATV

Rain and Hail in Ruidoso, NM @ Ruidoso News

wild clouds @ fanpop

Extreme weather collage @ NASA.gov

Tornado @ Weather.com

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Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers (24 July 1874 – 15 November 1917) was an early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist and teacher who was aligned with the Holiness Movement. He is best known for the daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. 

Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man.”

Born to devout parents in Aberdeen, Scotland, Chambers moved with his family in 1876 to Stoke-on-Trent when his father, Clarence Chambers, became Home Missions evangelist for the North Staffordshire Baptist Association, then to Perth, Scotland when his father returned to the pastorate, and finally to London in 1889, when Clarence was appointed Traveling Secretary of the Baptist Total Abstinence Association. At 16, Oswald Chambers was baptized and became a member of Rye Lane Baptist Chapel.  Even as a teenager, Chambers was noted for his deep spirituality, and he participated in the evangelization of poor occupants of local lodging houses.  Chambers also demonstrated gifts in both music and art.

“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone”

From 1893 to 1895, Chambers studied at the National Art Training School, now the Royal College of Art and was offered a scholarship for further study, which he declined. For the next two years he continued his study of art at the University of Edinburgh while being greatly influenced by the preaching of Alexander Whyte, pastor of Free St. George’s Church.  While at Edinburgh, he felt called to ministry, and he left for Dunoon College, a small theological training school near Glasgow, founded by the Rev. Duncan MacGregor. Chambers was soon teaching classes at the school and took over much of the administration when MacGregor was injured in 1898.

While teaching at Dunoon, Chambers was influenced by Richard Reader Harris, a prominent barrister(attorney) and founder of the Pentecostal League of Prayer. In 1905, Harris introduced Chambers as “a new speaker of exceptional power.” Through the League, Chambers also met Juju Nakada, a Holiness evangelist from Japan, who stimulated Chambers’ growing interest in world evangelism. In 1906, Nakada and Chambers sailed for Japan via the United States.  In 1907, Chambers spent a semester teaching at God’s Bible School, a Holiness institution in Cincinnati, then spent a few months in Japan working with Charles Cowman, a co-founder of the Oriental Missionary Society.

Arriving back in Britain by the end of the year, Chambers found the Holiness movement divided by the advocates and opponents of founding a new denomination and by supporters and detractors of the tongues movement. Chambers did not oppose glossolalia but criticized those who made it a test of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Sailing back to the United States in 1908, Chambers became better acquainted with Gertrude Hobbs, the daughter of friends. They married in May 1910; and on 24 May 1913, Gertrude (whom Chambers affectionately called “Biddy”) gave birth to their only child, Kathleen.  Even before they married, Chambers considered a partnership in ministry in which Biddy—who could take shorthand at 250 words per minute—would transcribe and type his sermons and lessons into written form.

In 1911 Chambers founded and was principal of the Bible Training College in London, in an “embarrassingly elegant” property that had been purchased by the Pentecostal League of Prayer.  Chambers accommodated not only students of every age, education, and class but also anyone in need, believing he ought to “give to everyone who asks.” “No one was ever turned away from the door and whatever the person asked for, whether money, a winter overcoat, or a meal, was given.”  Between 1911 and 1915, 106 resident students attended the Bible Training College. By July 1915, forty were serving as missionaries.

Seeing is never believing: we interpret what we see in the light of what we believe. Faith is confidence in God before you see God emerging; therefore the nature of faith is that it must be tried.

In 1915, a year after the outbreak of World War I, Chambers suspended the operation of the school and was accepted as a YMCA chaplain. He was assigned to Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops. Chambers raised the spiritual tone of a center intended by both the military and the YMCA to be simply an institution of social service providing wholesome alternatives to the brothels of Cairo. When he told a group of fellow YMCA workers that he had decided to abandon concerts and movies for Bible classes, they predicted the exodus of soldiers from his facilities. “What the skeptics had not considered was Chamber’s unusual personal appeal, his gift in speaking, and his genuine concern for the men.” Soon his wooden-framed “hut” was packed with hundreds of soldiers listening attentively to messages such as “What Is the Good of Prayer?” Confronted by a soldier who said, “I can’t stand religious people,” Chambers replied, “Neither can I.” Chambers irritated his YMCA superiors by giving away refreshments that the organization believed should be sold so as not to raise expectations elsewhere. Chambers installed a contribution box but refused to ask soldiers to pay for tea and cakes.

Chambers was stricken with appendicitis on October 17, 1917, but resisted going to a hospital on the grounds that the beds would be needed by men wounded in the long-expected Third Battle of Gaza. On October 29, a surgeon performed an emergency appendectomy; however, Chambers died November 15, 1917 from a pulmonary hemorrhage. He was buried in Cairo with full military honors.

For the remainder of Mrs. Chambers, she transcribed and published books and articles edited from the notes she had taken in shorthand during the Bible College years and later. Most successful of the thirty books was My Utmost for His Highest (1924), a daily devotional composed of 365 selections of Chamber’s talks, each of about 500 words. The work has never been out of print and has been translated into 39 languages.

We pray when there’s nothing else we can do; Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”

Father, men and women such as the Chambers were so filled with love for You and for reaching others. We are still able to read his works due to the diligence of many others after them. Mr. Chamber’s widow took the reins to edit and type so much of her husband’s writings. Thank You for each one who steps forward to Your call to guide and reach future generations, then and now. During the narrow span between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Oswald Chambers came to be used by You in order to reach many in his lifetime and then to continue to reach us all the way into the twenty-first century (and possibly beyond). As one of my favorite devotionals, “My Utmost for His Highest” is filled with daily readings that tend to dive to new depths in me. Thank You for this gift even still today. I praise You, Lord, for blessing me with the words of a man who so loved You and so loved those who came to listen to him. Ever so grateful, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray was the second child of Andrew Murray Sr. (1794–1866), a Dutch Reformed Church missionary sent from Scotland to South Africa. He was born in Graaff Reinet, South Africa. His mother, Maria Susanna Stegmann, was of French Huguenot and German Lutheran descent.

Murray was sent with his elder brother, John, to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland for their college education. Both remained there until they obtained their master’s degrees in 1845. During this time they were influenced by Scottish revival meetings and the ministry of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Horatius Bonar, and William Burns.  From there, they both went to the University of Utrecht, in The Netherlands, where they studied theology. Both brothers were ordained by The Hague Committee of the Dutch Reformed Church on 9 May 1848 and returned to the Cape.

Murray married Emma Rutherford in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 July 1856. They had eight children together (four boys and four girls).

Murray pastored churches in South Africa. He was a champion of the South African Revival of 1860.

Through his writings, Murray was also a key “Inner Life” or “Higher Life” or Keswick movement leader, and his theology of faith healing and belief in the continuation of the apostolic gifts made him a significant forerunner of the Pentecostal movement.

Murray died on 18 January 1917.

There are many, many books authored by Mr. Murray. They continue to be read to this day. Here are just a few:

Abide in Christ – 1882

With Christ in the School of Prayer – 1885

Holy in Christ – 1887

The Power of the Blood of Christ – 1894

Absolute Surrender – 1895

Humility – 1895

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” 
― Andrew Murray

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

A dead Christ I must do everything for, a living Christ does everything for me.”

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” 

“Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust.”

“Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.”

“Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.”

“I need to spend time with God even when I do not know what to pray.”

Father God, thank you for men such as Mr. Murray who has left us with a library of profound and deeply-rooted-in-You books. I am overwhelmed at times when I read his works, many needing to be reread in order to gain the depth of the meaning. Yet, I am so grateful to have them to read. Guide and guard me as I read others’ works for I want You to teach me as I grow in You. May I walk rightly in You, my Lord. In the beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Picture of Andrew Murray with quote @ QuotesGram

“Salvation” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“Just as” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“It is the root…” quote @ pinterest

“Answered Prays…” quote @ quotefancy

Prayer by A. Murray @ Pinterest

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

Diligence – One Word 2022

I love those who love Me,
and those who seek Me diligently find Me.
Proverbs 8:17

שָׁחַר

šāḥar

to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early or diligently for

This verse in several other versions:

CSB – “I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.”

NLT – “I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me.

KJV –  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

God is so wonderful and amazing…wonderfully amazing!! During this past month, since I last wrote on “diligence,” I began the Community Bible Study (similar to Bible Study Fellowship, I believe) via Zoom with a group of women…local to my new place of residence. I contacted them just to find out about them and the study for next year, 2022-23. I did not want to join the current study midstream. But God had another plan: the current study is on and around ‘suffering’ using five different Books of the Bible. They had just begun 1 and 2 Peter with Colossians yet to go, having missed James and Job already. I would be more than welcome to start midstream, I was told. I could join the whole group plus any small group, and that they have one online. So I did…joined three weeks ago.

Last month on OneWord2022 I shared the Scriptures (from 2 Peter) that I am using for the base of this 2022’s study and direction for ‘diligence.’ AND…we have just begun 2 Peter in Community Bible Study. I love this dovetailing Craftsman that is our God. In His wisdom He knows just where I must go in order to be on the path He has set for me.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8-11

Walking in diligence is to follow all that God has for me. It is so desirable by me because I do not want to fall or become ineffective or unfruitful. I do not want to stumble. I do not want to be turned to the right or to the left. I want only that which my God desires of me. But I must seek His face and not be blinded by that which is of the world. Satan is so ready to pounce:

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Those qualities that I am to pursue are:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 1 Peter 1: 5-7

Diligence is a rhythm that I am learning more this year than in many, maybe any. I am being diligent about posting twice a week on Being Woven, and reading the Bible each and every day. I am following Patsy Burnette’s “Sweeter Than Honey, A 365-Day Devotional Journey.” I find that the routine is giving me such strength in this desire of diligence. I press on toward the goal:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

God knows I may fall but that is not my wish. I also know He will pull me up and set me back on the path should I fall, should I lose my way and become unfruitful and ineffective. I will seek Him and not run away which is a reaction I am very capable of doing…maybe not running physically these days, but my heart and mind still can for they have, and taken me with!! I truly do NOT want that.

Lord, please protect me from the temptation of the evil one.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Father God, thank You for loving me and providing this Scripture from Jeremiah just now for You show me that You have the reins. I trust you with all of my being. Continue to guide me and guard me on the path of diligence. Please show me how to seek Your face in all I am and all I do. I pray for Your protection of all that satan would rather I be doing or being. Hold me near as I draw near to You, my Lord. I love You and pray all of this in the Name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

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

“DILIGENCE” @ 1st-Resource.com

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

Classical Writers · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – John Bunyan

“I will add one word more, notwithstanding there is such a revelation of Him in his word, in the book of creatures, and in the book of providences; yet the scripture says, “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him?” (Job 26:14) So great is God above all that we have read, heard, or seen of Him, either in the bible, in heaven, or earth, the sea, or what else is to be understood. But now, That a poor mortal, a lump of sinful flesh, or, as the scripture-phrase is, poor dust and ashes, should be in the favour, in the heart, and wrapped up in the compassions of SUCH a God! O amazing! O astonishing consideration! And yet “This God is our God for ever and ever; and He will be our guide even unto death” (Psa 48:14).” **

John Bunyan (1628-88) was one of the most influential writers in human history. We most often know this man as the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory.

John Bunyan was born in Elstow, near Bedford, England in 1628, the son of Thomas Bunyan and Margaret Bentley. After learning to read at a grammar school he became a brazier or tinker like his father. (This was a semi-skilled occupation. Few people could afford to purchase new pots when old ones became holed, so they were mended time and time again. The arrival of a tinker was therefore often a welcome sight, although the semi-nomadic nature of their life led to tinkers being regarded by some in the same poor light as gypsies.)

1644 was an eventful year for the Bunyan family: in June, John lost his mother and, in July, his sister Margaret died. Following this, his father married (for the third time) to Anne Pinney (or Purney) and a half-brother, Charles, was born. It may have been the arrival of his stepmother that, following his 16th birthday, led John to leave the family home and enlist in the Parliamentary army, Cromwell’s New Model Army, but continued his rebellious ways. His life was saved on one occasion when a fellow-soldier took his place at the siege of Leicester, and ‘as he stood sentinel he was shot in the head with a musket bullet and died’. After the civil war was won by the Parliamentarians, Bunyan returned to his former trade.

After being discharged from the army, Bunyan married a God-fearing woman (whose name is unknown) in 1648, who brought two books to the marriage: The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven (Arthur Dent) and The Practice of Piety (Lewis Bayly). These convicted Bunyan of his sin and he made attempts to reform his life. But he realised that he was lost and without Christ when he came into contact with a group of women whose ‘joyous conversation about the new birth and Christ deeply impressed him’. In 1651 the women introduced him to their pastor in Bedford, John Gifford, who was instrumental in leading Bunyan to repentance and faith. Due to this new friend and pastor, Bunyan moved to Bedford with his wife and four children. He was baptized by immersion in the River Ouse in 1653. Appointed a deacon of Gifford’s church, Bunyan’s testimony was used to lead several people to conversion.

Gifford was a remarkable pastor who greatly assisted Bunyan’s progress toward spiritual stability and encouraged him to speak to the congregation. After Gifford’s death in 1655 Bunyan began to preach in public, and his ministrations were so energetic that he gained the nickname “Bishop Bunyan.” Hundreds came to hear him. John Owen said of him that he would gladly exchange all his learning for Bunyan’s power of touching men’s hearts.

Bunyan’s wife died in 1658, leaving four children, including a daughter who had been born blind and whose welfare remained a constant worry. He remarried the following year; it is known that his second wife was named Elizabeth, that she bore two children, and that she spoke eloquently on his behalf when he was in prison.

Once the Stuart monarchy had been reestablished in 1660, it was illegal for anyone to preach who was not an ordained clergyman in the Church of England, and Bunyan spent most of the next twelve years in Bedford Gaol because he would not give up preaching, although the confinement was not onerous and he was out on parole on several occasions.

During imprisonment, Bunyan was not idle. He made shoelaces to raise support for his family and preached to the inmates. Bunyan read and reread Foxe’s Book of Martyrs while in prison.

Bunyan’s first book, Some Gospel Truths Opened According to the Scriptures, had attacked Quaker beliefs. Ironically it was Quakers who freed him. Told by the king to prepare a list of names for pardon, they included Bunyan’s with their own members.

His spiritual autobiography, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” was written at that time, it becoming one of Bunyan’s several classics. However his magnum opus, The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory, was also written while a prisoner, and then, following his release in 1672, was published in 1678.

After 1672 the political situation changed, and except for a six-month return to prison in 1677, Bunyan was relatively free to travel and preach, which he did with immense energy and goodwill.

John Bunyan wrote many books and papers still available today.

In August 1688, after successfully mediating in a disagreement between a father and son, as he was riding from Reading in Berkshire to London, Bunyan caught a cold and developed a fever. He died at the house of his friend John Strudwick, a grocer and chandler on Snow Hill in Holborn.

Father, may I continually be willing to lay down my life before You that I may diligently learn and grow to be more Christlike. I love You, Lord, and find this period of my life to be walking an odd road. I certainly do not wish to return to what I was before Christ, but I am feeling so very lost right now. Hold me dear, Lord. Thank You, for showing me Mr. Bunyan and his walk with You once he came to You. He walked rough paths and yet, once he was Your’s he did not waver. Praise be to You, Father God. You have given me Your Holy Spirit to guide my every step. Peter and others taught us in Your Word about the value of gaining knowledge of You. May I continue to grow and dwell in You. Thanks for holding me close. In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Picture of John Bunyan and quote @ freecdtracts

** from “The Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love or The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” by John Bunyan @ BunyanMinistries.org

“Fruitless” quote @ quote fancy

“Be Not Afraid…” quote @ Banner of Truth

“I will Stay…” quote @ quote fancy

“In prayer…” quote @ quote fancy

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Richard Sibbes

Richard Sibbes was born in 1577 at Tostock, Suffolk, England. As a child, Richard loved books. His father, Paul Sibbes, a wheelwright, was “a good, sound-hearted Christian,” but became irritated with his son’s interest in books. He tried to cure his son of book-buying by offering him wheelwright tools, but the boy was not dissuaded. With the support of others, Sibbes was admitted to St. John’s College in Cambridge at the age of eighteen. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1599, a fellowship in 1601, and a Master of Arts degree in 1602. In 1603, he was converted under the preaching of Paul Baynes, whom Sibbes called his “father in the gospel.”

Sibbes was ordained to the ministry in the Church of England in Norwich in 1608. He was chosen as one of the college preachers in 1609 and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1610. From 1611 to 1616, he served as lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. His preaching made a difference in many lives. A gallery had to be built to accommodate visitors in the church. John Cotton was converted under Sibbes’s preaching. (John Cotton would travel to America to pastor in the new Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1632.)

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), one of the most influential figures in the Puritan movement during the earlier years of the seventeenth century, was renowned for the rich quality of his ministry. 

From “A Bruised Reed:”

“HOW CHRIST PURSUES HIS CALLING

“This is here said to be done modestly, without making a noise, or raising dust by any pompous coming, as princes are accustomed to do. `His voice shall not be heard.’ His voice indeed was heard, but what voice? `Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden’ (Matt. 11:28). He cried, but how? `Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’ (Isa. 55:1). And as his coming was modest, so it was mild, which is set down in these words: `A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.’

“We see, therefore, that the condition of those with whom he was to deal was that they were bruised reeds and smoking flax; not trees, but reeds; and not whole, but bruised reeds. The church is compared to weak things: to a dove amongst the fowls; to a vine amongst the plants; to sheep amongst the beasts; to a woman, which is the weaker vessel.

“God’s children are bruised reeds before their conversion and oftentimes after. Before conversion all (except such as, being brought up in the church, God has delighted to show himself gracious to from their childhood) are bruised reeds, yet in different degrees, as God sees fit. And as there are differences with regard to temperament, gifts and manner of life, so there are in God’s intention to use men in the time to come; for usually he empties such of themselves, and makes them nothing, before he will use them in any great services.

“Those that look to be happy must first look to be holy.” RICHARD SIBBES

“Self-emptiness prepares us for spiritual fullness.” RICHARD SIBBES

This man has written much but the most recommended book is “The Bruised Reed.” It is online in pdf format at no cost and is sold in many bookstores.

LORD, I pray that we are able to look upon these men who preached Your Truth many years ago with open eyes to see the ways that You used them and still do in this day, centuries later. May Your Truth be firmly planted, no matter how long ago it was taught. And may we absorb and learn from these truths today. In Your Son’s Holy and beautiful Name, I pray. Amen.

First quote @ AZ quotes

“The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes, ISBN-13: 978-0851517407

“God’s Truth…” @ quote fancy

“The winter…” @ quote fancy

“Satan gives…” @ PictureQuotes