Bethesda

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda (or Bethsaida), which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. John 5:2-3

There is a Bethesda in Maryland, USA, located just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt in 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda (Bethsaida in some versions of the Bible). 

There is another Bethesda within the Maryland Bethesda that I know very well. My Daddy was hospitalized for five months in the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He died in that hospital at his young age of 46 from Pancreatic Cancer in 1960. It will be 60 years September 18, 2020.

This was the hospital in 1960. If my memory serves me right, Daddy was up on one of those upper floors. When I read the name, Bethesda, in the Book of John, I think of that five month period of our lives. There are so many memories: good, hard, sweet, sorrowful.

The photo below is more like what it looks today.

It is now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). It is the combined legacy of National Naval Medical Center (once referred to as the Bethesda Naval Hospital and/or Navy Med) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, having brought the two medical facilities together in September of 2011, as decreed by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law of 2005. Currently, this is a United States’ tri-service (Army, Navy, Air Force) military medical center, located in the community of Bethesda, Maryland. It is one of the most prominent U.S. military medical centers in the United States, having served numerous U.S. presidents since the 20th century. It is also near the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Many find healing at this huge hospital complex. Others wait to get into the pool of stirred waters for some kind of healing. And others die there. No matter where on that spectrum one finds themselves, this hospital is a place for healing. That is its purpose…to find ways into and through diseases even though the physical healing may not occur for some such as my father. Yet this Bethesda is still a place for hope.

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

In pondering Bethesda, the pool in Jerusalem, I found my mind and heart wrapping around this incredible place where healing took place in Jerusalem. It was around this pool where Jesus healed.

Βηθεσδά

bēthesda

a pool (a pond or bath), which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda – the house of mercy, house of kindness, place for receiving and caring for the sick; flowing waters, the waters of which had curative powers

From the Commentary on John 5 by Matthew Henry: …for therein appeared much of the mercy of God to the sick and diseased. In a world of so much misery as this is, it is well that there are some Bethesdas – houses of mercy (remedies against those maladies), that the scene is not all melancholy.

Also, from the Commentary on John 5 by Matthew Henry: Bethesda …had five porches, cloisters, piazzas, or roofed walks, in which the sick lay. Thus the charity of men concurred with the mercy of God for the relief of the distressed. Nature has provided remedies, but men must provide hospitals.

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. John 5:5-9

This man did not have to get into the waters that day. He did not need to depend upon another person to place him in the pool which he obviously did each time the pool was stirred. Jesus healed this man after years and years of waiting. He was a patient man, to say the least. Jesus spoke the words and the man got up on his own at once. At once, he believed. At once, he was no longer an invalid. He could walk. There was no lifting or trying to get up. He could take up his own bed. At once, he obeyed. He did not know Who he obeyed at that moment, but he soon found out the man that spoke the words was the Christ.

At once…his physical health and, presumably, his spiritual health were healed.

We are always wanting a cure for that which ails us. Those physical issues gnaw at our minds until we can find out what is going on. We are all staring down the barrel of COVID-19 right now and want all of the answers yesterday. We want to “get back to normal.” We want to have the medical profession tell us the right answer without any mistakes on a disease we have never had before. When they error and then correct themselves once they know differently, we are upset that they did not tell us that the first time. They are doing all within their power to find the answers and give us the straight-up truth. It is just hard…real hard right now. Any time we are awaiting a diagnosis, a way forward for treatment, a healing, it can be hard.

Do these scenarios play out in our spiritual lives as well? Do we want to just be healed immediately without patiently waiting and trusting in the One Who heals? The Lord guides us, teaches us, feeds us His Truth. Do we want to have it all yesterday so we can just get up and walk? Do we depend upon our pastors to teach us the Truth that they have been given by the Holy Spirit? Do we allow fellow-laymen to care for us as we wait and watch, listen and learn, pray and be prayed over? Do we allow them to provide the hospitals, the houses of mercy, while we wait? Or do we have that short attention span, wanting it all now? Do we obey or expect cures, answers without any obedience on our part?

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

“…For I am the LORD who heals you.” Exodus 15:26b

יְהֹוָה

Yehovah

Jehovah, the Lord, Yahweh, the Existing One

רָפָא

rapha’

to cure:—cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair, thoroughly, make whole

Jehovah Rapha – The LORD Who heals

Both, in the Old Testament and the New Testament, Jehovah Rapha is present, healing both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He is with us today.

The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness You restore him to full health
. Psalm 41:3

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases,... Psalm 103:2-3

And His name—by faith in His name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:13-16

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Father God, thank You for being willing to heal us of our broken bodies, our broken hearts, our broken spirits. Thank You for forgiving us our daily trespasses and giving us our daily bread. May we seek You in all ways, coming from a heart that is tender toward You and toward our brothers and sisters. May we draw near to You no matter what our circumstances may be. I pray I stay on the path that You have directed for my life. May I be obedient to Your commands, humble to Your call. “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. May I boast gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I also pray…”For He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For (I am) also weak in Him, but in dealing with (others) (I) will live with Him by the power of God.”** In the Strong Name of Jesus. Amen.

Graphic/Map of “Pools of Jerusalem. Shows area north of temple mount. Photo by Leon Mauldin.”

Photo of “Excavations at the Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin”

Photo of Bethesda Meeting House; English Wikipedia User: by Daniel Case

Postcard of Bethesda Naval Hospital

Photo of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center: Wikimedia Commons

Graphic: Jehovah-Rapha

** 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 13:4

Pure 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. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:2-6

How in the world can I count these trials as joyful? How?

God also says in Romans 5:

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

So now I can have peace with God too? These trials seem like they couldn’t possibly produce joy nor peace?…or perfection or hope?

YET…God’s Word gives me Truth. So I know that these things are possible. I have not written in this space for quite some time, but God is using the circumstances of Kenneth’s death to show me His love, His people, His little children, His body of Christ, His kindness, His glory. He is showing me that although my heart may hurt from this deep loss, it can also overflow with so much more because He is my joy. He is my love. He is my kindness. He is my all. Dependence upon the One Who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent gives me all. I lack for nothing.

I have not hidden away from the world. I have not walked away from His will for my life in Christ. I have not been too disobedient (not much that I am aware of!). I am walking with the One Who saved me from the pit. I am holding close to my Savior because He is. He is alive and risen. He has given me His Holy Spirit to dwell within me. And I am His, walking in the Spirit. I am filled with a joy that is incredibly remarkable.

Is that not amazing?

He fills me with pure joy in the midst of sorrow and struggle. Do you know what else He does? He builds me up. He grows me in His character. He molds me to look more and more like Him. Is that not beautiful? How grateful I am for His love for me. Oh, my sweet Lord. You are changing me day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Thank You, Sweet Jesus.

when you meet trials of various kinds,… James 1:2b

Trials come. Trials can be of all types…physical, emotional, mental, financial, marital, death, and everything else under the sun.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4

I am not perfect and will not be until I pass over the Jordan River into Heaven, but each step of obedience here on earth brings me another step closer to both perfection and Heaven. Christ is molding me to be more and more like Him while I sojourn here. I am the clay and want to be. I desire that molding more and more now too. That is what boggles my mind…that I, willingly, want Him to mold me which takes trials. No vessel is perfect, needing parts redone again and again. The Potter has much work to do on me. I choose to allow Him to form me and make me. I also choose to stay close to Him so that I may endure the current trials and those on ahead.

ὑπομονή

hypomonē

steadfastness, constancy, endurance

in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

patiently, and steadfastly

a patient, steadfast waiting for

a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

NKJV: But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

NIV: Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

NASB: And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Other Scripture with the same Greek word: ὑπομονή

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11

Matthew Henry wrote: “The graces and duties of a state of trial and affliction are here pointed out to us. Could we attend to these things, and grow in them as we should do, how good would it be for us to be afflicted! One Christian grace to be exercised is joy: ‘Count it all joy.’ We must not sink into a sad and disconsolate frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials; but must endeavour to keep our spirits dilated and enlarged, the better to take in a true sense of our case, and with greater advantage to set ourselves to make the best of it. Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury in God. In them we are conformable to Christ our head, and they become marks of our adoption. By suffering in the ways of righteousness, we are serving the interests of our Lord’s kingdom among men, and edifying the body of Christ; and our trials will brighten our graces now and our crown at last. Therefore there is reason to count it all joy when trials and difficulties become our lot in the way of our duty.

Faith is a grace that one expression supposes and another expressly requires: ‘Knowing this, that the trial of your faith,…’ verse 3; and then in verse 6, ‘Let him ask in faith.’ There must be a sound believing of the great truths of Christianity, and a resolute cleaving to them, in times of trial. That faith which is spoken of here as tried by afflictions consists in a belief of the power, and word, and promise of God, and in fidelity and constancy to the Lord Jesus.

There must be patience: ‘The trial of faith worketh patience.’  The trying of one grace produces another; and the more the suffering graces of a Christian are exercised the stronger they grow.”  *

Jesus, my Lord, I come to You, seeking Your face. I want to be near to You, to know You more and more with each passing moment. Is that possible, Lord? How can it be when I am in physical pain, emotional loss, sorrow, spiritual vacuums, and other trials? How can I focus upon You when these trials distract me so? Yet, Lord, You rain grace over me in joy, love, hope, faith, patience and far more than I could even ask. Thank You, sweet Jesus. You reign in my heart. That is what has changed me as I experience trials, Lord. You!…Your Spirit indwelling this earthly vessel. Your graciousness abounds. Thank You for keeping me close to You. You are the One Who generously gives. You are merciful and faithful, Lord God Almighty, overflowing with love for me. I want to grow in the Truth, in the knowledge of You. I want to grow in grace, too. I want to reflect You to the world in which I sojourn. May I be strong through the trials and tribulations so that I may be more like You. Give me wisdom that I would know how to walk through these times. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

Graphic: Knowing-Jesus.com

Graphic: Daily RCL Bible Reading Devotional @ http://dustoffthebible.com/Blog-archive/2016/05/22/daily-rcl-bible-reading-devotional-may-22nd-2016/

Graphic: http://access-jesus.com

Graphic: Knowing-Jesus.com

* Matthew Henry Commentary on James 1

Graphic: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery

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

 

Make Ready

touchbible-verse-image-net-luke-1-17_5

“… and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

Many versions read:

“… so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB

“… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  NKJV, NIV

… placing “the Lord” at the end.

 

But many other translations read:

“… to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”  CSB, DBY

“… to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.”  YLT

 

Whichever way the Bible reads, I have been looking closely at the two phrases in this small portion of Luke 1:17.

“…, to make ready …” 

ἑτοιμάζω

hetoimazō

STRONGS NT 2090

to prepare:—prepare, provide, make ready (G2090 refers to internal fitness)

 

“… prepared.”

κατασκευάζω

kataskeuazō

STRONGS NT 2680

to prepare thoroughly (properly, by external equipment; whereas G2090 refers rather to internal fitness); by implication, to construct, create:—build, make, ordain, prepare

 

to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

In reading this verse, my first thought was that both “make ready” and “prepare” meant the same thing and they do in a general sense.  Where the divide comes is when the definitions distinguish between external and internal preparedness.

The external layer of a person is prepared:

John the Baptist was sent by God to turn hearts to see their sins, be grieved over them, come to repentance and be baptized in preparation for the coming of Jesus.  Each one to repent can be prepared through this process of repentance.  We will be convicted and cleansed.  Through this conviction and repentance, we are being prepared.

Then, the internal person must be made ready to meet the Lord:

Because of the initial preparation, our hearts and minds are open and welcoming towards the Lord Jesus.  Our souls will find joy and comfort as we hear the gospel even as we are challenged and confronted by the Truth.  We are being transformed in the process and come to know His grace and are able to receive His mercy.  As we walk in obedience to His Word and His will we are being made ready for His coming.

large_1x_spotty_flowers

I recall so clearly the moment when I repented of my sins.  I grieved over the many times I hurt God by my actions and words.  I was being prepared for I wanted to be right with Jesus.  I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.  From that very moment, I knew that things changed inside of me.  I received a grace that I had never known.  I was washed clean and then washed clean again… hundreds or thousands of times since.  Each time, I have grown deeper in my walk with Jesus.  I was made ready in my admission of my sinful ways.  I was then able to accept my salvation in Christ by faith.  I am continually made ready as I read God’s Word, as I pray, as I learn to walk closely to my Savior.

M. Henry says in his Commentary, We must be prepared by grace in this world for the glory in the other, by the terrors of the law for the comforts of the gospel, by the spirit of bondage for the Spirit of adoption.

The bud is made ready to become a blossom from the inside-out.  The blossom is prepared to glorify the Lord with its outward beauty.

white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds

Am I ever done being made ready while here on earth?  I have met my Savior by faith.  One day, when I meet Him in the clouds, will I no longer need to made ready?  I believe not!  Christ is so beautiful to me now.  I desire that He would be all I need while here on earth, but I must admit that things of this world do draw me in.  I wish that were not true, but it is.  As I age, I can say that things of this world are less and less important and I do have more peace.  I pray that He will be all I need or want on the other side.  Hallelujah!!!

large_1x_spotty_flowers

Heavenly Father, I thank You again, knowing that when I called out asking for Your forgiveness for the many ways in which I wandered aimlessly, sinfully, and disrespectfully towards You, Your immediate forgiveness of me rained peace upon this woman.  I am so grateful, Father.  I became prepared.  As I began to understand You and Your Son and the Holy Spirit, I was made ready to receive Your Son as my Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me and continues to grow me in Your Word, in grace, and in love.  I am just overwhelmed by Your love and hope and peace…gifts only You can give me.  Oh my!  I am filled with a welling up inside of me.  You are my All in all.  Your Son is precious to me and I pray in His Holy Name.  Amen. 

8213ba8b106f9c53124e7f45360e2f1f

 

 

Graphic of Luke 1:16-17https://www.touchbible.net/image-browser/?version=1&book=42&chapter=1&verse=17

Spotty Flowers: https://dryicons.com/vector/spotty-flowers

Photo of apricot blossoms: http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/05/08/white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds/

Love

large_1x_heartI have been with family for the past two weeks.  It was a special time in San Diego, California where we spent much of our youth.  (We were a Navy family.)  We also rented a cabin in Lake Arrowhead (a place where our mother often took us during the summers).  I needed my family and they needed to see me…to see that I am doing alright, no matter if I was crying or laughing.  I love my sisters and their husbands, my nephew, his wife and 6-year-old daughter.  It was all great!  A much needed respite!

100_1889

This blog has been rather quiet for months while caring for Kenneth as his body was dying of cancer.  I am learning to be a widow.  I am learning just how close I desire to walk with my Lord…closer than ever before.   The sweet whisper of the Holy Spirit, the wind of the Spirit hovers all around me.  I am here for Him.  I want to be woven even more tightly and share this journey on Being Woven.  I pray I hear rightly and type the words of The Word here…both for me and for you, sweet friends.
Kenneth & Linda (2)
Kenneth and I had a beautiful marriage. ( I had experienced a bad marriage for ten years in the 1970s.)  Kenneth was God’s gift to me for 25 years.  I was blessed and he told me often just how much he loved me and how blessed he was too.  We walked under the Lord’s umbrella and I under Kenneth’s.  Our love grew in depth over those 25 years.  We loved each other just the way we were.  We accepted each other’s rough spots and allowed each other to be who God created us to be.  We were so right for one another.

protection

As I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 earlier today, God spoke to my heart.  The love which Kenneth loved me with was God’s Love.  God loves me still, although Kenneth is gone from this earth.  Kenneth loves me still, I believe.  The love I am now receiving flows from God as it did from Kenneth.  God is with me every moment of every day.  I miss Kenneth tremendously and weep over my personal loss, yet God is love.  God is my Husband:

For your Maker is your Husband,
the Lord of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.   Isaiah 54:5-6 

Yes, I feel Kenneth still with me in so many ways.  God is truly with me and I am not alone.  I seek His face in the night and in the day.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  1 John 4:16

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1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Losing Kenneth does not leave me without love nor to be nothing.  God created me and wove love into my very being. I desire to be obedient to Him and love Him with all of my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength. (Mark 12:30 and Deuteronomy 6:5)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the Truth.

Kenneth was so patient and kind.  He rejoiced in God’s Truth.  God, my Husband for all ages, is patient and kind.  He does not envy nor boast. He rejoices in the Truth for He is Truth.  He wants me to rejoice in the Truth as well.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13

I have never read this chapter in 1 Corinthians with such clarity.  It is about my marriage and the earthly love of my life.  BUT…it is all about God for He is Love.
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And 1 John 4 dwells upon the God of lovel:

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.   1 John 4:7-19

God-is-love

LORD my God, You are in my midst,
You are the Mighty One Who will save;
You rejoice over me with gladness,
You quiet me with Your love,
You rejoice over me with singing. (praying Zephaniah 3:17 to myself)

You love me for You created me.  You are my Husband and will love me for always because You are God and You are Love.  You loved me first and spun Your love into a Blood red strand, the Blood of Your Son, Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  You continuously weave this Blood-stained strand in and throughout my life.  Praising You, Father, for loving me as I am.  One day, I, too, will be woven perfectly before You in the Heavenly realm.  In the Name of Christ, I pray.  Amen.   

 

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Heart: https://dryicons.com/free-graphics/heart?page=2  Icon by Dryicons

Umbrella: https://dryicons.com/free-icons/umbrella Icon by Dryicons

God is love graphic #1: http://righteousnessislove.org/reimaging-god-sermon-series-ty-gibson

God is love graphic #2: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-god/god-is-love/

Woven fabric: https://www.mapetitemercerie.com/en/cotton-fabric/26323-woven-cotton-fabric-josephine-red-x-10cm.html

 

Every Purpose Under Heaven

 

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I continue to be woven by the hands of God through all of life’s circumstances, events, conversations, precious time spent with my husband.  God is so merciful.  He allows hard, yet quilts it with the downy feathers or soft rabbit fur as for a nest.  He gives us His grace in portions, some small, some huge.  He is so fine and so beautiful.

As many know from my last post, my husband, of almost 25 years, has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  He has chosen to be under hospice care, and to be ushered into Heaven in God’s perfect timing.  Kenneth served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.  He was exposed to Agent Orange which could very well be the cause of this cancer.  Life is fragile any day and especially when one fights in a war.  We see affects today with our soldiers coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other places these days.  There are prices paid when one serves this country in the Armed Services.

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For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:13-16

God created each one of us.  He made these bodies so magnificently…just think about the mechanics of all of the working parts, the symmetry between those parts, and the details of each part…the skin, the heart, the eyes, and all.  We have been built by The Master Craftsman, Architect, Creator….The Master Weaver.

My husband’s already frail body has a cancer.  He has chosen not to fight it for many of his own reasons, but the real reason is God.  He is calling him Home.  Each night, while in the hospital, God came.  He would be there with Kenneth in the quiet, in the dark.  Kenneth knew and waited, listened, believed.  On the surface, Kenneth was there in the hospital waiting for answers from the doctors.  In the depths, the real answers were coming from the LORD.

I saw Christ in Kenneth more clearly each morning when I came to visit.  I was affected dearly by what was happening to my husband.

We have been home from Houston for about six weeks.  Kenneth and I are continuing to feel God’s Peace and, now, His purposes for us.  We have new mornings for which to be grateful.  We share precious time together.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.  Lamentations 3:22-26

We are more in love than when we got married which is hard to imagine.  We were so crazy in love 25 years ago.  We are growing in the LORD each and every day, growing closer to one another too.

Kenneth has begun teaching me things I will need to know when I am a widow.  (Yes, that is hard to write, think, say, yet, unless God has a miracle in store, I am headed that way.) He is working on small projects as he is able so as to make things better for me.  He is so delighted to have these tasks to do, not only for me, but to give him purpose for each day.  He came home to die, yet only God knows the number of days for Kenneth.  To while away the unknown number of days sitting around or lying in bed is not good for the soul…if one can help it.  Purpose of heart, purpose of mind, purpose of being are vitally important for life.  Kenneth is very much alive today.  He is being held by God.  I am in His arms as well.  Each day is a learning experience and one not to be missed.  Our eyes, ears, and hearts are wide open for this time.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

[A time for EVERY PURPOSE under Heaven…we are living this right now…right now on earth…under Heaven.  Thank You, LORD.]

Ecclesiastes 3-1 To Everything There Is A Season Under Heaven brown

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear,
And a time to sew; A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Beautiful words to embrace.

Our time together is precious.  We do not know the number of days.  We only know that This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  [Psalm 118:24]  Today is the day to be God’s creations together.  He is giving us daily gifts.  When Kenneth’s days are up, I will truly be sad; I will miss him so.  He is so good to and for me.  God blessed me with this man.  So we take today.  Today is holy ground.

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Exodus 3:5

God could also bring a miracle.  And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

Father, I lift my voice: “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” [Psalm 28:2]  …the innermost place of Your sanctuary.  Father, You have given Kenneth such insight, love, and kindness.  He shares it with me and I am so blessed.  Thank You, LORD.  I pray Your watch-care over him every day, all day.  Hold me close and never let me go.  EVER, Abba Father.  I ask You to guard my heart.  Guide me upon Your path for my life.  I thank You for loving us so.  Thank You for giving us these many years together.  And should there be more, I thank You and praise You now.  As we have been praying all along, LORD, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, my Savior and LORD.  Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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http://eweniquelyewe.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-bit-of-weaving.html

http://ejdodson.blogspot.com

Knowing-Jesus.com: https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/ecclesiastes-3-1-to-everything-there-is-a-season-under-heaven-brown-4101

https://www.embeddedfaith.org/embedded-faith/tweetspiration-thursdays#.Wp3GcyHw-Uk

 

Even to the Minutiae

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A hand woven tapestry, rich with intricate details and colors…

minutiae…

  •  the small, precise, or trivial details of something
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details:

  • an individual feature, fact, or item
  • fine point, triviality, nicety
  • point, aspect, facet, component, technicality

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I never knew that the details of our fingerprints  were called Minutiae.  Below are some of the patterns used to analyze them:

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Throughout the Bible, God gives rich detail in His imagery and descriptions.  I have wondered sometimes why a fact is in the Bible, but I no longer wonder.  I read it and find amazement and beauty in the minutiae of God.

God weaves specifics into His story…

He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.  2 Samuel 23:11

on a snowy day…did I need to know that?  “Yes.”

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He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.  1 Samuel 17:40

5-smooth-stones

Did he need five stones?

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.
1 Samuel 17:50

He only needed one stone, but was prepared with five.

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The tiniest instructions are important:

‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.  Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.  I am the LORD your God.’   Leviticus 19:9-10

God wants us to be generous and caring.  He specifies how He would like this done in our fields and vineyards, with all that we are and have.

wheat field

 

The details are amazingly minute, yet, for God, each part is vital to the whole:

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord.  The house that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high.  The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house, and ten cubits deep in front of the house.  And he made for the house windows with recessed frames. He also built a structure against the wall of the house, running around the walls of the house, both the nave and the inner sanctuary. And he made side chambers all around.  The lowest story was five cubits broad, the middle one was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad. For around the outside of the house he made offsets on the wall in order that the supporting beams should not be inserted into the walls of the house.  When the house was built, it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built.  1 Kings 6:1-7

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Every last detail.  The Bible is filled with instructions to build up, to tear down, a way to walk and to obey, to gather manna and when.  God, You are the LORD our God.

 

May we see that God is in every small and great part of our lives:

Are the comforts of God too small for you,
or the word that deals gently with you?  Job 15:11

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And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.  Mark 12:42

Jesus knows the poverty from which she gave.

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God knows all that is, that was, and that which will be:

The little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in its time.  Isaiah 60:22

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Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 60:22:

They will appear the more glorious, and God will be the more glorified in them, if we compare what they are with what they were, the happiness they have arrived at with the smallness of their beginnings: “A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation.’  The captives that returned out of Babylon strangely multiplied, and became a strong nation.  The Christian church was a little one, a very small one at first-the number of their names was once but 120; yet it became a thousand.  The stone cut out of the mountain without hands swelled so as to fill the earth.  The triumphant church, and every glorified saint, will be a thousand out of a little one, a strong nation out of a small one.  The grace and peace of the saints were at first like a grain of mustard-seed, but they increase and multiply, and make a little one to become a thousand, the weak to be as David.  When they come to heaven, and look back upon the smallness of their beginning, they will wonder how they got thither. 

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God cares about everything.  He created this world.  He created the beasts of the fields and the birds of the air.  He created you and me.  He wants us to trust Him, count on Him, lean on Him for everything.

He cares for us as He cares about what is in His Word.  He wants us to read each word, seeking His Truth.  The entire Word of God guides us in our way as we walk with the Author.  The entire Word of God draws us towards, and to, the Finisher of our faith.

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Father God, You are the Shepherd of my life.  You love me and care for me as if I were Your only lamb, yet I am one of 7.5 billion people on this Earth today. You love them as You love me.  I am so filled with gratitude, Father.  I am humbled by the details that are important to You.  As tiny as the lines on my fingers are, the minutiae of everything is of concern to You.  May I cling to You, learning from You as I go.  As I see, read, and hear all that concerns You, may it also concern me.  I pray that it does and will.  You wove me in Mama’s womb, knitting me together.  As a weaver places ones thread down at a time and ends up with a beautiful piece of art, You have interlaced Your life-giving threads to form me.  I am extremely complex and barely understand even a tiny bit of what is going on inside of this body, mind, spirit and soul.  You do.  Every cell is important.  Every bit of me.  Every bit of everything.  Thank You, my Gracious Father.  In the minutiae, You are there, LORD.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

beblacksig

 

 

Reunion at Sunset,  Hand Woven Tapestry by Maximo Laura, Alpaca, Peru

(If you have time, visit his site as he is actually weaving a piece more intricately detailed than this one on the front page.)

One Word Inspiration Quotes: Minutiae:  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=One+Word+Inspirational+Quotes&id=78ECCF1184EC1B8A01EE48BE027DF8CA39386E59&FORM=IDBQDM

Dragonfly: Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/361202832585754948/

Fingerprint/Minutiae:   https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=minutiae&&form=IDIVXX

snow: Pixabay  https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo

stones:  K. Gallagher https://graceintorah.net/2015/06/19/five-smooth-stones/

Wheat Field Harvest:  http://michellespahr.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-harvest-field.html

Solomon’s Temple:  Nehemiah’s Wall  https://www.nehemiaswall.com/prophet-pearls-terumah

Small Daisy:  http://randomwallpapers.net/small-daisies-macro_w643728

Mark 12:42-44  http://www.suggest-keywords.com/bWFyayAxMiA0NA/

Horses (Isaiah 60:22)   https://faithpictures.wordpress.com/

Isaiah 60:22: Crossmap.com  http://www.crossmap.com/backgrounds/isaiah-when-the-time-is-right-3850/lightbox/1920×1200

In The Park – Landscape Tapestry by Baiba Ritere  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/358247345332477548/

Praising God from Whom all Blessings Flow

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Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  Psalm 37:5

Have you ever dreamed of making a change in your life?  Dreamed about it for years on end?  Thought about it so much that the dream changed again and again?  That has been the way for my husband and me.  We felt it was time for us to move to a place where the allergens would be less, different, and the air cleaner and fresher.  We wanted a place where we, as seniors, could feel a bit more at ease regarding finances, weather, taxes, and other senior concerns.

Last Spring, we finally felt that it was time to make this move.  The older we were getting, the more difficult this seemed and we thought we better do this now or we wouldn’t have the ability to move.  We prayed, knowing that God would lead us.  He took New Mexico and Georgia out of the running and headed us to East Texas…Nacogdoches, Lufkin.  We would sell our home in Portland, TX which was tough….leaving the home my husband built himself for us 23 years ago.  We lived in it all but one year of our marriage.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.  Psalm 9:10

So we began the sorting out, having a garage sale and, at the end, a moving sale.  One day, Ken was in the yard taking photos of our home for we were going to sell our home “by owner.”  A car stopped; the man asked Ken if, by chance, he was going to be selling this house?  God brought a man by at that very moment who became the new owner of this home.  G appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship my husband had put into the cabinetry throughout the house and the quality workmanship that went into the building of this home.  G bought a lot covered with lovely trees, Mesquite, Live Oak, Anacua, Arizona Ash, surrounding this home.  We never even listed it.  Escrow went smoothly.

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
Psalm 92:4

My husband’s two sisters opened their doors to us…places to stay between looking for a new town, finding a home, and escrow.  Just where were we going to live?

Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.  Psalm 150:2

After perusing the internet for homes for sale in East Texas, we found more homes in our price range in Lufkin.  A neighbor in Portland guided us to a great realtor.  We like the town of 35,000 pop. with just about everything we could possibly need or want.  We found a house that is now our home.  It is close to just about everything we need.  God stopped us from buying some homes.  We could see He was with us.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

Our new home has issues but we feel God giving us strength and ability to handle them, doing the work ourselves or hiring help when we need that too.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,….  Psalm 92:1-2

We are finding doctors, feeling God’s direction in that as well.  We sense His closing doors when we are headed the wrong way.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Psalm 62:8

This truly has been a journey where we have depended upon His guidance…

…a journey where we have had to walk with blind trust, with our eyes on Him.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid what can mere man do to me Psalm 56:4

We are so blessed.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.  Psalm 147:5

 

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When thoughts began to rise for this post, the following was nothing we could have known, although God knew.   Hurricane Harvey was yet to develop in the Gulf:

Our home was in Portland, TX.  Hurricane Harvey just devastated Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, all small towns on one side of Portland and wreaked havoc in Corpus Christi which is on the other side of Portland.  We were not there, although we have friends there so feel very connected.  Our friends are okay.  Some houses not, but the lives of those we know are safe.  We had desired to move away from the coast more and more as we aged.  The older one gets, the harder it is to board up, evacuate, and manage through the aftermath of a hurricane.  Our former home made it through the storm in tact, but most of the trees in the yard lost at least one major limb.  G shared that with us Saturday.  We were grateful to God for keeping G safe and his new home in one piece.  We prayed for him in these regards.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.  1 Thessalonians 5:24

We feel so blessed to be here and not there.

For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,

In Whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.

The sea is His, for it was He Who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:3-5

God gave us direction and we obeyed.  Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You. 

O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!  Psalm 84:12

Father God, You have blessed us beyond measure.  We are continually learning to trust You, knowing that You know the very path You wish for us.  You keep us sheltered under Your wings.  You hold us near in all times.  May we remember these things, that we would turn to You for all of our needs.  We have seen Your mighty works in our lives so beautifully and clearly.  Oh, LORD, You are our All.  

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From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the Name of the LORD
is to be praised!
 
Psalm 113:3

May I walk near to You and know Your still, small voice.  May I sense Your very Presence with me.  Thank You, LORD. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!  Psalm 150:6

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together… Psalm 34:1-3

In the Strong Name of Jesus, I am so grateful.  Amen. 

beblacksig

 

 

 

 

 

Harmony

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A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.  A psalm of David.

How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!

For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron’s head,
that ran down his beard
and onto the border of his robe.

Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting.  Psalm 133:1-3

יַחַד

yachad

properly, a unit, i.e. unitedly:—alike, at all (once), both, likewise, only, (al-) together, withal

In Hebrew, the word for harmony is often translated unity or all together.

C. H. Spurgeon writes this of Psalm 133:2:

“In order that we may the better behold brotherly unity David gives us a resemblance, so that as in a glass we may perceive its blessedness. It has a sweet perfume about it, comparable to that precious ointment with which the first High Priest was anointed at his ordination. It is a holy thing, and so again is like the oil of consecration which was to be used only in the Lord’s service. What a sacred thing must brotherly love be when it can be likened to an oil which must never be poured on any man but on the Lord’s high priest alone! It is a diffusive thing: being poured on his head the fragrant oil flowed down upon Aaron’s head, and thence dropped upon his garments till the utmost hem was anointed therewith; and even so doth brotherly love extend its benign power and bless all who are beneath its influence. Hearty concord brings a benediction upon all concerned; its goodness and pleasure are shared in by the lowliest members of the household; even the servants are the better and the happier because of the lovely unity among the members of the family. It has a special use about it; for as by the anointing oil Aaron was set apart for the special service of Jehovah, even so those who dwell in love are the better fitted to glorify God in his church. The Lord is not likely to use for his glory those who are devoid of love; they lack the anointing needful to make them priests unto the Lord. “That ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard.” This is a chief point of comparison, that as the oil did not remain confined to the place where it first fell, but flowed down the High Priest’s hair and bedewed his beard, even so brotherly love descending from the head distils and descends, anointing as it runs, and perfuming all it lights upon. … Christian affection knows no limits of parish, nation, sect, or age. Is the man a believer in Christ? Then he is in the one body, and I must yield him an abiding love. Is he one of the poorest, one of the least spiritual, one of the least lovable? Then he is as the skirts of the garment, and my heart’s love must fall even upon him. Brotherly love comes from the head, but falls to the feet. Its way is downward. It “ran down,” and it “went down:” love for the brethren condescends to men of low estate, it is not puffed up, but is lowly and meek. This is no small part of its excellence: oil would not anoint if it did not flow down, neither would brotherly love diffuse its blessing if it did not descend.”

With the turmoil and hatred and violence we see all around this world, I am drawn to this beautiful word, harmony.  I so desire that we ALL could live in harmony.  I want to see everyone as my sister, my brother, my friend.  I want love to filter through each one of us to all.  Oh, I have these wishes and hopes for all who live on this earth.  Am I asking too much?

Jesus said these words to His Father before it was His time to go away from His disciples, from this earth:

I am in them and You are in Me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.  John 17:23

He desired this for us all.

In the Greek, the words harmony and unity draw Christ into this oneness.

εἷς

heis

one, adhere to Christ to make one person, gather together into one

I love this word picture of adhering to Christ…making us one person.

Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Romans 12:16

Living this way does not mean everyone must be exactly alike or think the same thoughts.  God created us each as His own creation.  He wove us in our mother’s womb as one-of-a-kind.  Our skin, hair, facial features, bodily shapes, talents…everything about us are one-of-a-kind.  So living in unity or harmony is to be who God created us to be…our very selves, yet walk in the ways that God would have us go.  He asks us to be kind and love one another, not just to those we want to love…but all.  We can love yet not like an action or behavior of another.  We are to forgive, to wipe the dust from our feet, to turn the other cheek, bless them through the image of Christ that we are to portray.  May we see them as He sees them, I pray.

Music is made up of many notes along scales.  There are flats and sharps, minor keys and major keys.  There are white keys and black keys on a piano. When music is played or sung, it can be harmonious.  The sounds are beautiful from high to low.  The music notes are individual but together, they get along, melding together into one piece.  Each note does not get huffy about another and go their own way.  They work together in one accord.

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As people, we should want to live as musical notes, united in the outcome of every beat.  We should want to sound beautiful together.  This should be like our way of living…in harmony.  God wants to see His children living in unity, in one accord.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Colossians 3:14

Oh, these things are hard, yet, in Christ, they are not because the Holy Spirit is our guide.  Depending upon Him gives us strength, ability, and love so that we can bless others, speak the Truth, love as Christ loves.  Jesus said:

“I can do nothing on My own.  As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”  John 5:30

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothingJohn 15:6

Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing…NOTHING!  It is through Him that this harmony, unity can happen.

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“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.  For whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”  1 Peter 3:8-12

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.  Ephesians 4:11-13

Father God, I lift up this world to You.  There is so much discord.  It saddens me and hurts too.  I want all to be under Your umbrella, sweetly receiving the oil of brotherly love.  I want each of us to walk in Your ways and to know that You desire peace among us.  I am sorry for things I may say or do that hurt You.  I am saddened for that which I see around me whether it be on media or between people at the store.  Oh, that I can praise You for Your grace and love cropping up here and there around this place I am calling home now.  There is some brotherly love, care and kindness, respect and politeness.  May it grow and envelop this city, this state, this country, and this world.  May we live together as one…all in one accord.  I pray in the Name of Your Holy Son.  Amen. 

 

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The God of Peace Carries Me

May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.  Romans 15:33

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These few months have brought such change for us, such blessings, such stress, such hard work, and such joy.  We have sold our home of 23 years, traveled to the area we hoped to move, found a house, set that into escrow, traveled to relatives where we could stay for a while in Texas and Alabama, and back for escrow closing.  In the midst of those things, we ordered inspections, emailed and talked with our realtor often, set start-up dates for utilities, and so much more.  The sweet house we bought was not left clean so we had major cleaning to do while we lived in it…in order to live in it!  We moved in with two mattresses and eventually two patio chairs.  Two weeks later the POD was delivered and emptied.  Now we are unpacking boxes.

For two almost-seventy year olds, we are making it, box-by-box.  In between, we are changing banks, getting new driver’s licenses, buying new things that were old and decrepit, but still needed.  We love our multi-cultural neighborhood, this sweet town of 35,000, and the lovely, tall, green creations of God called pine and oak trees.  The lushness of East Texas is special after living on the Gulf Coast for so many years.  I always wanted to return to Oregon but this part of Texas will replace that desire.  The Pacific Ocean will just have to wait on my arrival for another day…probably a heavenly day.

Amidst all of this, God is my constant.  He is my still, strong source of peace.  He is the God of peace.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

Such gifts we are given in our belief.  No matter what the circumstances look like, the calm waters of Christ surround me and still my spirit.

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You keep him in perfect peace

whose mind is stayed on You,

because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

Father God, thank You for this blessed time that Ken and I have shared as we looked to begin a new chapter in our life together.  We have shared our time with two precious sisters of Ken’s.  We have been led by You to a neighborhood that is surely blessing us already.  We trust You for all of our needs in these times.  Please direct our steps.  We lean on You for comfort and strength.  We rest in You for the peace that passes all understanding.  And it truly is beyond comprehension, LORD, but it is of You and I know that.  I love You so and have felt Your Presence all the way…over the miles we’ve traveled…in the steps taken.  You are the God of Peace in Whom I trust.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.