Offended

“And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:6

Do I question Jesus as to Who He is or what He does? Do I doubt His authority? Does Who He is offend me? Does what He say offend me?

I have answered those questions with a resounding, “YES!” before I knew Him. I knew of Jesus and during those many years (except as a child), I did question His very existence. I thought He was a good teacher, a kind and gentle man. But I certainly did not trust Who some said He was. I mean, they said He was born to a virgin! He performed miracles! He chose 12 men to be apostles who followed Him all over the place. Why would I believe Him? Why would I trust Him with my life? Besides, if I did, I might have to change…change the way I did things, or even change my thoughts. Goodness, no!!! Yes, I took up an offense!

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist was in prison and questioned Jesus:

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the One Who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:2-6

σκανδαλίζω

skandalizō

I. to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend

  • to entice to sin.
  • to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.
  • to cause to fall away.
  • to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority (Matthew 11:6, Mark 6:3, Matthew 26:31, Matthew 13:57-58)
  • to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Some think that John sent this question for his own satisfaction. It is true he had borne a noble testimony to Christ; he had declared him to be the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and he that should baptize with the Holy Ghost, and sent of God, which were great things. But he desired to be further and more fully assured, that he was the Messiah that had been so long promised and expected. Note, In matters relating to Christ and our salvation by him, it is good to be sure. Christ appeared not in that external pomp and power in which it was expected he should appear; his own disciples stumbled at this, and perhaps John did so;…. Note, It is hard, even for good men, to bear up against vulgar errors. **

(John’s doubt might arise from his own present circumstances. He was a prisoner, and might be tempted to think, if Jesus be indeed the Messiah, whence is it that I, his friend and forerunner, am brought into this trouble, and am left to be so long in it, …. **

(Others think that John sent his disciples to Christ with this question, not so much for his own satisfaction as for theirs. Observe, though he was a prisoner they adhered to him, attended on him, and were ready to receive instructions from him; they loved him, and would not leave him. Now, they were weak in knowledge, and wavering in their faith, and needed instruction and confirmation;….)  **

Are worldly influences persuading us that Jesus is not who we are expecting? Is there someone greater or different? I think that the world around us does draw us away from the One Who has, indeed, come to save us because the world wants Him to be someone/something else.

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Mark 6:3

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ Matthew 26:31

And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:57-58

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And He said this plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Mark 8:31-32

It seems easier for us if Jesus would look like the world, to do things as the world does. We squeeze our description, our “Jesus-likeness” from our minds, into a box filled with expectations.

The Pharisees came and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven to test Him. Mark 8:11

Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to Him?” John 10:20

The Israelites wanted a king, a king who would conquer and save.

But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Luke 24:13

Maybe our eyes are shut and we miss Him altogether.

While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. Luke 24:15-16

We want to know Who He is and to know this with clarity, intelligibility, and purity.

So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:24

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the Cornerstone. Acts 4:11 (Psalm 118:22)

We want to know Him, yet we do not trust because we do not know Who He is.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep. John 10:25-26

I see Jesus caring for the poor, the afflicted, the sick, the demon-possessed. These acts should draw me to Him, not send me away for He cares and loves the lowly and meek.

“If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father.” John 10:37-38

The Cross offends. The Cross scares people because of the depth of it’s meaning. Jesus the Christ went to the Cross. He bled for each and all of us for we are sinners. We are disobedient to the Father. He sent His One and Only Son to draw us unto Him, to teach us the Truth. Jesus went to the Cross for the sins we committed. He was sinless. Jesus died for us, nailing our sins to the very Cross from which He hung.

Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is a Truth that many run fast and hard away from. I did…for many years. I carried the heavy burden of my sin too and did not know what all that weight was on my back.

Rather than acknowledge Jesus as their Savior, the Jews dealt with Jesus in ways of their own:

The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. John 10:31

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. John 18:12

And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” Mark 15:13

I reached a place in my life, at age 45, when I could no longer run, nor hide, nor carry the weight of my sinful burden. I turned to Jesus. I repented of my sin. I could no longer face myself in a mirror because I saw no good in me through anything I was or did. I gave myself to Jesus. He cleansed me and made me brand new. The weight was lifted from my shoulders. Jesus has given me a new heart, a heart that loves Him and only Him. Through Him, I can live anew and love anew. Oh my! Freshened. Refreshed.

We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6

These words made no sense to me at one time in my life. Now, I can clearly see that my sin was cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

This is so OFFENSIVE to so many in this world.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

Yet, through the Word of God, prayer, quiet times, the Lord calls me to be near Him. He knows me and will not let me fall back into the world. I stay close to Him in obedience. I do not want to be a stray sheep.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” John 10:27-30

Father, I pray I am able to be true to You, to the Truth of the Gospel, to all that is of You. I want to be a reflection of You. I desire to transmit Your love to those I come in contact with, while opening my heart to others about Jesus. I do not want to be offensive yet the Cross, the Gospel, Jesus, You can be offensive to many. It is through me where some may meet up with these, thus possibly making me offensive, like body odor. They may stand back, run away, protest, deny. Reactions can be many. Lord, please guide me and show me Your ways in which to walk as I share my faith in You. I love You so. I pray in the Saving Name of Jesus. Amen.

** Matthew Henry: Commentary on Matthew 11

Cornerstone drawing: https://www.ulpanor.com/2017/11/23/hebrew-vs-aramaic/

Cross: Adam Zdebel @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/zdebel/. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

His Name

Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

The Name of Jesus …

Ἰησοῦς

Iēsous

Jehovah is salvation …

Jesus was a fairly common name in that time. Joshua and Jesus mean “Yahweh saves” or “the Lord is salvation.”

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, God incarnate took on human flesh for the purposes of God. He carried our sin to the cross. There, He shed His blood as a sacrifice for us.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Salvation is the key to life and death. Seeking God and the redemption He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate gift, given freely. May we accept it with open eyes, hearts, and hands.

But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Acts 3:6-7

I may not have gold or silver either. I may not drive a fancy car or live in a mansion, but I have so much more. I am rich. Christ is my Everything. He is my All. He is my Provider, my Protector, my Husband, my Savior, my Peace, my Bread of Life and Living Water. He is the Name above all names.

From Matthew Henry: Commentary on Acts 3: “Christ sent his word, and healed him (Ps. 107:20); for healing grace is given by the word of Christ; this is the vehicle of the healing virtue derived from Christ. Christ spoke cures by himself; the apostles spoke them in his name. Peter bids a lame man rise up and walk, which would have been a banter upon him if he had not premised in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth: “I say it by warrant from him, and it shall be done by power from him, and all the glory and praise of it shall be ascribed to him.’ He calls Christ Jesus of Nazareth, which was a name of reproach, to intimate that the indignities done him on earth served but as a foil to his glories now that he was in heaven. “Give him what name you will, call him if you will in scorn Jesus of Nazareth, in that name you shall see wonders done; for, because he humbled Himself, thus highly was he exalted.’ He bids the cripple rise up and walk, which does not prove that he had power in himself to do it, but that if he attempt to rise and walk, and, in a sense of his own impotency, depend upon a divine power to enable him to do it, he shall be enabled; and by rising and walking he must evidence what that power has wrought upon him; and then let him take the comfort, and let God have the praise. Thus it is in the healing of our souls, which are spiritually impotent.

Again, from Matthew Henry: Commentary on Acts 3: Peter lent his hand, and helped him (v. 7): He took him by the right hand, in the same name in which he had spoken to him to arise and walk, and lifted him up. Not that this could contribute any thing to his cure; but it was a sign, plainly intimating the help he should receive from God, if he exerted himself as he was bidden. When God by his word commands us to rise, and walk in the way of his commandments, if we mix faith with that word, and lay our souls under the power of it, he will give his Spirit to take us by the hand, and lift us up. If we set ourselves to do what we can, God has promised his grace to enable us to do what we cannot; and by that promise we partake of a new nature, and that grace shall not be in vain; it was not here: His feet and ankle-bones received strength, which they had not done if he had not attempted to rise, and been helped up; he does his part, and Peter does his, and yet it is Christ that does all: it is he that puts strength into him. As the bread was multiplied in the breaking, and the water turned into wine in the pouring out, so strength was given to the cripple’s feet in his stirring them and using them.

Father, that which You will for me, for my life, is mine when I ask in the Name of Your Holy Son, Jesus. I have a heart filled with gratitude. I love You. Amen.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23

the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Amen and Amen.

“If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:9-12

God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:16

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,… Matthew 28:19

Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13-14

Whether I walk amongst strangers or with those I know, I can only be a light in this world when I depend on Jesus to light me for He is the Light. I cannot do anything without Him. He is the Source by which I am able to love, to pray, to light a dark place. He holds me that I may hold another. He loved me first that I may splay love where I go. It is by the power of His Name that I can do the things…through Christ, my Lord and Savior.

LORD God, I love You so. Thank You for drawing me to Yourself. I pray that I may draw others to You by the light that shines from within in by the Light that is Jesus. You are molding me to look more and more like Jesus with every day, with every breath. Your very Presence is with me as I draw near to You, my Father. I desire You to be the center of my life. I pray that I would want nothing more than You, LORD. I pray my love will grow for You with each day. I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

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Graphic: Philippians 2:9: https://blog.truthforlife.org

Graphic: In the Name of Jesus (brown): http://www.turnbacktogod.com/christian-whatsapp-images/

Photo: Gold and Silver: https://randomdescent.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/silver-and-gold-in-folklore/

Graphic: Power in the Name: https://answersafrica.com/power-name-jesus.html

Graphic: In the Name of Jesus (purple): https://immanuelbaptist.org/in-the-name-of-jesus/

Graphic: Hebrews 1:3: Darrell Creswell @ https://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/bible-verse-scriptures-in-pictures-interesting-bible-facts/

Justify, Sanctify, Glorify: Photo from https://mudpreacher.org/tag/gifts/; added text to photo

Graphic: Name Above All Names: https://apologika.blogspot.com/2015/09/what-is-name-above-all-names.html

Graphic: There is Pardon: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/the-name-that-matters-most-jesus/

Unveiled or Veiled

As 2020 begins, may our eyes be open to see Jesus the Christ with clarity and grace. May we be emboldened to stand tall, shining the light of the Lord before all, for light overcomes darkness. Should we have a veil over our own eyes, physical eyes, eyes of our hearts, may it be removed that we may see…see the Truth…see Jesus as He is.

κάλυμμα

kalymma

a veil, covering

metaphorically, of that which prevents a thing from being understood

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Amen.

By Christ, and Christ Alone, is the veil removed from our physical eyes and the eyes of our hearts so that we may see clearly. Clearly, to know the Truth. Clearly, to understand the Truth. Clearly, to shine the Truth before others, to be a light in this dark world.

And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with Him. Exodus 34:33-35

Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39

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

Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2

Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

I want to see clearly, LORD, with 20/20 vision. I want to know Who You are and what You are teaching me. I desire to follow You obediently, God. Guide me and show me the way for my life. Open the eyes of my heart, as well as the eyes of my physical body so that I will know…know all that You desire for me to know. I know I cannot know all while I am here on this earth. Yet, while I am here, please make Your will for my life clear, LORD. Make it known to me. In the powerful Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Photo: Woman in red veil: https://italianinsight.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/italian-muslim-girl-asked-to-remove-veil-to-work/

Graphic: Moses – unveiled and veiled by Ted Larson 2006

Photo: Woman taking veil off: Christina Rizk @ http://www.christinarizk.com

Graphic: Faithlife – BibleScreen https://faithlife.com/products/biblescreen

A Mist

mist-in-herzel-switzerland.-photo-by-ricardo-gomez-angel

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.  Genesis 2:6

אֵד 

‘ed
… (in the sense of enveloping); a fog:—mist, vapor
…to surround — is whatever guards and strengthens anything, i.e., defense, a bark, a veil, also atmosphere.

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.  But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  Genesis 2:5-7

There was no rain upon the earth as of Genesis 2:6, but God made all of His creation to come to fruition.  All would grow, be given all that it would need in order to thrive in the Garden.  God is the One Who completes all He intends to complete.
  • In the Bible, God has been known in Genesis 1 as אֱלֹהִים ‘elohiym — “the true God as He has created all that is,  Elohim–a God of power .  In Genesis 2, we see Jehovah alongside of ‘elohiym, Jehovah Elohim–a God of power and perfection, a finishing God.  Jehovah--the LORD, in capital letters, which are constantly used in our English translation to intimate that in the original it is Jehovah.” **  The Jewish use YHWH (Yahweh) to delineate The Supreme God, His proper name.
  • יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym: The LORD God, Jehovah God, (the) self-Existent or Eternal One
The LORD God has completed and perfected His work.  He finished each day and called His creations “good” and “very good.”
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  • mist (noun)
  • 1. mass of fine droplets of water in the atmosphere near or in contact with the   earth. 
  • 2. Water vapor condensed on and clouding the appearance of a surface.
  • 3. Fine drops of a liquid, such as water, perfume, or medication, sprayed into the   air….

morning_mist_1_2560x1600

Before the earth had rain, God provided.  He gifted the earth with water in the form of mist.  The whole face of the earth received this mist.  It was enough because God knew just how much His earth needed at all moments.

God knows what we need all of the time…each moment of each day.  Physically, God feeds us and quenches our thirst.  He provides shelter and rest.  He is near to us.  He loves us.  Spiritually, God draws us to Him, desiring that we draw near to Him.  Before we can be a child of God, Christ had to become the sacrificial Lamb of God in order to wipe our sins away.  He did this once and for all…for all of us!  We must repent of our sins, seeking forgiveness from God.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  Jesus is the Living Water:   Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

God provides a covering mist for us by His Grace.  Amen.

We have a journey ahead of us which can draw us to God for we are to lay our lives down at the foot of the Cross.  We may (will) have trials as did Christ.  We may (will) have life-lessons in order to grow in the Christ-likeness.  We have new life in Christ.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:3-4

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

There is hope in Christ.  God provides the mist in order that we be watered and tended to in all we are and do.

 “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

 

Father God, You are my Redeemer and my Rock.  You are the Provider for my all.  I thank You for showing me this simple word…mist.  You covered the earth with this mist to make Your creation grow.  You cover me in Your love…You provided Jesus the Christ for my salvation.  You forgive me.  You seek me always and do not let me go.  I sought You and You were right with me.  You desire that I grow into Your likeness with each step I take.  Thank You, Jevohah Elohim.  You are my God and I am Your child.  I am a sister of Jesus’.  Oh, I am so very blessed.  I pray Your protection around me in these days for the trials are many yet the joy is abundant.  Gracious Father, You fill me to overflowing and I am thankful.  Your mist covers me, causing me to grow and be reformed into the woman You desire me to be.  I desire to please You, my Father.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

bwdarkgreen sig

1st Image: Mist in Herzel, Switzerland – photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel – https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/clouds/fog/difference-mist-and-fog

** from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Genesis 2

2nd Image:  Morning Mist –  http://openwalls.com/image?id=14355

 

Christ is Christmas

It is nearing Christmas and I cannot seem to gather any get-up-and-go to write a post.  It just is hard this year.  It is not that I am avoiding Christmas as I am NOT!  I revere the birth of Christ, my Savior.  I am celebrating Him with each day.  I just can’t seem to write a whole post.  So I shall not.  Just a bit this day! 

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I hope to be back here more steadily in 2019.  I pray that I walk in obedience to the call of God.  

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As most of you know, life has taken a huge turn.  The death of Kenneth, my husband of twenty-five years, changed everything.  I am handling life fairly well.  I seek God at most every turn and with each step.  I need Him and He is with me.  He has never left me not forsaken me…and He won’t.  I went to visit my sisters in August in California.  This past month, I went to see Kenneth’s sisters, one in the Houston area, one in Southern Alabama.  I was gone for two weeks driving all the way.  I spent two hours each week for 13 weeks at GriefShare, a wonderful caring, biblically-based grief group with a leader and co-facilitators, a workbook and video series, along with discussion and sharing.  I am also becoming more involved in my new church, in Bible study, meeting so many precious people. 

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As I grieve, both inwardly and outwardly, I am being healed from the inside-out.  I thank my God for His grace and His mercy.  This is a process and probably a long one!  I thank each of you for praying for me, for loving me, and for caring about me.  Many of your comments and private messages have blessed me so.  Thank you, sweet friends. 

I wish you each a Christmas filled with the love and peace of our Savior, Christ Jesus. 


For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even
for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
  Isaiah 9:6-7

Merry Christmas

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Image/graphic:  https://rustyrev.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/did-the-christmas-message-find-you/

Thank You, U.S. Veterans

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I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.

I am a proud widow and a daughter of military veterans.

This day makes me stand proud although sad.

It makes me sad for all those who have lost their lives due to war.

I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren for they are serving this country as well.  Thank you to each and every one of you.

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My husband, Kenneth, was an United States Army combat veteran, 101st Airborne Division/Co. B 3/506; served in Vietnam, 1968-69 serving from 1967-1970.  Kenneth died this past June 7th of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a recognized type of cancer caused by Agent Orange.  Yes, Kenneth served on the ground fighting in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Agent Orange was definitely present there.

Yes, this next photo is my Kenneth in 1967 when he was going through the U.S. Army Airborne School (or Jump School {as he called it}) as part of the 101st Airborne training in Fort Benning, GA.   (P.S. I wish I had known him then!! : ) )

Kenneth jump school

Kenneth, you were a soldier once…and young, along with so many others in so many wars.  I look at this photo of you and see such a very young man…a boy!  Boys, now girls too, tend to fight the wars, don’t they?

“The Class of 1965 came out of the old America, a nation which disappeared forever in the smoke that billowed off the jungle battlegrounds where we fought and bled. The country which sent us off to war was not there to welcome us home. It no longer existed.” *

In the Prologue of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, the authors were speaking of the Vietnam War.  That is the war my Kenneth fought in.  He came home with what we now call PTSD, but there was no label back then.  They just came home and did the best they could.  Kenneth made it.  I am sorry he fought in that war.  I am sorry we as a nation fought in that war.  I am sorry so many died in that war.  I am just sorry about all wars.  I do not like arguments let alone wars.

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I am sorry that we did not welcome you home as all service men and women deserve.  So I say to you and to all Veterans, Welcome home.

Kenneth in Vietnam

Kenneth, I have always been so proud of you.  I respected you and loved you with my whole being.  Although I did not know you back then, I am so glad and grateful I was blessed to call you my husband for twenty-five years.  Thank you for marrying me and loving me as you did.  You were the best husband and friend to me.  Thank you, Love.  I am so sorry that Lymphoma took over your body though (for my loss).  You are with Jesus now and that is the best news of all!  Praise Him.  Praise the Lord.

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My father was a Navy doctor, a “lifer.”  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the Pacific and then went on to be a part of the post-war Manhattan Project (Bikini, Eniwetok Islands) where radiation exposure took his life by Pancreatic Cancer.  He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years until he died at age 46.

My Daddy died when I was 12.  Thank you, Mama, for loving us through such a difficult season of life, of death, for all of us.

My parents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

My family is honored.  We miss them.

Daddy, I miss you so much.  It has been 58 years since you died, yet it could have been yesterday.  I sometimes feel like I am still 12, having that giant Daddy-hole in my heart.  I love you so and wonder at all I missed by God taking you home so early in our lives.  I am glad we had Mama for almost 99 years.  She had a hard row ahead of her with three girls-me just on the verge of becoming a teenager.  But we made it.  We all turned out well.  Daddy, thank you for loving us so.  Thank you for your dedication to the Navy and being a doctor.  You were loved by so many and missed by so many.  I pray I will see you again one day on the other side.  I love you, Your oldest daughter

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Freedom is not FREE…never will be either!

Freedom comes with a huge price…one worthy of a fight…but where do we as the United States of America draw the line.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI, while pondering WWII, especially this weekend as our nation celebrates Veterans Day, how many wars does it take to be free? How many lives?

Where have all the soldiers gone
Gone to graveyards, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn? **

When will WE ever learn?

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16 ESV

For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making

peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Ephesians 2:14-21

Jesus paid the ultimate price for our/my freedom.  You offered Your Son as the Sacrifice to redeem Your children to You.  I am and will be grateful forever, Abba Father.  May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served and are currently serving this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served. I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls. Protect and heal them, Father. I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, in other areas of this world where they are in harm’s way.  I pray for the families of those who have returned from war injured in one way or another.  Oh God, be with them each and all.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drugs and the cartels who are making these runs.  I lift the military who have been called to our Southern border alongside the Border Patrol.  I pray You give them and the government wisdom and compassion regarding those many who are seeking asylum to a country they hope is a better place to live.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns.  I pray on my knees before You. Thank You for hearing my cries.  May we each turn to You and know that You are God and Father of all.  Amen.

 

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American Flag:  http://wallpapernpictures.blogspot.com/2012/07/american-flag.html

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery/Veterans Day:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/11/11/veterans-day-weekend-fall-color-at-arlington-national-cemetery-photos/?utm_term=.ca70a6b848a1

Private photos from my own collection of Kenneth, Daddy, gravesite at ANC

History Repeating Vietnam/Vietnam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Memorial

* Quote: from “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway

**  from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger, 1955

God is My Fortress

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A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;**

Fortress

מָצוּד

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a castle, defense, fort(-ress), (strong) hold, be hunted, net, snare, strong place

(And just for clarity, the word bulwark means a defensive wall, rampart, fortification
a person, institution, or principle that acts as a defense.)

God is my Fortress.  He is the place I run to and take refuge.  He is the fortification, the wall, the stronghold behind which I crouch and know I am protected.  He is the One Who places me in the cleft of the rock where I am sheltered.  Praise Him for tucking me into a safe place no matter what I am going through or feeling.  Right now, He is my safety net.  He is the wall behind which I hide.  Thank You, my Father, for You are so much more than I could imagine.  Thank You for protecting me and caring about and for me as I walk through this valley of the shadow of death.  Oh, thank You, Lord for protecting me. 

1 And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said,
“The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,
3 my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation,
my Stronghold and my Refuge,
my Savior; you save me from violence.
4 I call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.   2 Samuel 22:1-4

God is all of those to me too.  David has given me a place to see just how mighty our God truly is.  The Rock, Shield, Stronghold, Fortress…all depicting strength and power and security.  This is the God Whom I walk with daily.  I feel His sheltering Presence all around me.  Oh, how wonderful!

For You are my Rock and my Fortress;
and for Your name’s sake You lead me and guide me.  Psalm 31:3

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1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My Refuge and my Fortress,
my God, in Whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

Lord, as I walk this journey, so much of it I must walk alone for grief is different for each one of us.  There are pieces and parts that may be similar, yet never quite the same whether it is the time, the circumstances, the way one died…so many factors.  BUT…I am never really alone for You are with me…always.  You guide me and comfort me, love me and hold me.  You are the fortress to which I come and find safety.  The world cannot touch me when I abide in You for the walls of the Fortress are deep and wide.  Walking obediently in You shelters me too.  O Lord, I am so blessed.  Yet, this road I am on is so hard, so difficult.  I miss Kenneth so.  He loved me like no one else.  Yes, Mom loved me dearly.  A mother’s love is so different than a husband’s love though.  So I sense I would be comparing apples to oranges if I were to compare my mother’s love to my husband’s.  Kenneth and I had a marriage with You, Christ Jesus, our Center.  You never left us.  Thank You, Father. 

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Although that threefold cord feels broken to me now, I do not believe it is.  Kenneth has gone on ahead of me, as he told me near the end of his life on earth.  I do not know anything about life after death, but I sense that this God-given marriage is still that…given to me, to us, by You, God.  Of course, I still miss my Kenneth.  I know now that he was on loan to me for 25 years for which I am so grateful.  His time to return Home came.  Now I am learning to walk this path with You, Lord, and without Kenneth.  Sometimes I have doubts and fears.  Then You remind me of the Mighty Fortress that You are.  I stand inside the walls and know that I am safe and protected.  I am filled with gratitude for Who You are.  I pray in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.  

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“Sarzana citadel fortress”:  https://www.cepolina.com/Sarzana-citadel-fortress.html

** “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”  Text: Martin Luther Trans. by Frederick H. Hedge
Music: Martin Luther Harmony from The New Hymnal for American Youth
Tune: EIN’ FESTE BURG

Psalm 59:16 – https://dailyverses.net/psalms/59/16

Christ-Centered Marriage photo: https://quotesgram.com/christ-centered-marriage-quotes/