Gather

On the surface, the word “gather” seems simple enough to understand. But in the context of the Scriptures I have been rooting around in, it is not an easy word for it brought up death before Christ came to save us from our sins.

The Old Testament often tells us that when the Hebrew fathers and descendants died, they were gathered to their people or to their fathers.

Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Genesis 25:8

(These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.). Genesis 25:17

And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Genesis 35:29

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people. Genesis 49:33

“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” Number 20:24-26

The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, because you rebelled against My word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold Me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.). Numbers 27: 12-14

And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers…. Deuteronomy 31:16

That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32: 48-52

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10

But to the king of Judah (King Josiah), who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king. 2 Kings 22:18-20

God gathers His own, in death and at other times, to their people, their fathers.

אָסַף

ʼâçaph

‘āsap̄

pronounced: aw-saf’

  1. to gather, receive, remove, gather in:
  2. to gather, collect, to gather (an individual into company of others), to bring up the rear, to gather and take away, remove, withdraw
  3. to assemble, be gathered
  4. to be gathered to one’s fathers, to be brought in or into (association with others)
  5. to be taken away, removed, perish
  6. to gather (harvest), to take in, receive into, rearguard, rearward (subst), to be gathered, to gather oneself or themselves

I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
Micah 2:12

Shepherds must gather their sheep as they are most unable to do much for themselves. They need guidance and rescuing and picking up when they fall. They need to be protected from wolves and illness. God refers to us as sheep often in the Bible. We need guidance and protection, healing and rescuing, and so much more. Our stubborn and sinful ways can get us off God’s path for us. Thus, our need is to listen, pray, and accept help from the One Who has plans for us and will guide us in all ways. He is our Shepherd.

As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well. Genesis 29:2-3

As one sows, we also are to reap, to gather up the harvest:

You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Exodus 23:16

God calls us to gather to Him….

Gather to Me My faithful ones,
who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice!”
Psalm 50:5

What about those who died during Old Testament times? Yes, they were gathered with family, but where were they when gathered?

In researching the word, gather, out of the Old Testament, a word I really could not quite wrap my head around, I looked deeper into how others defined this word. I found pastors and theologians with thoughts, research of their own, imaginings, that were beyond my original thoughts, helping me to make better sense of how this may be defined.

from David A. Padfield, Gathered To His People, Truth Magazine: “But what does it mean to be gathered to our people? “Gathered” (Hb. acaph) is defined as “to be collected, gathered together . . . used of entering into Hades, where the Hebrews regarded their ancestors as being gathered together. This gathering to one’s fathers, or one’s people is distinguished both from death and burial” (Gesenius’ Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon, p. 626). William Wilson commented, “To be gathered to his fathers, is a peculiar phrase deserving notice; it is distinguished from death which precedes, and from burial of the body which follows: Gen. xxv. 8; xxxv. 29; 2 Kings xxii. 20. It seems to denote the being received by his own people, or among them. We read in the N.T. of being received into Abraham’s bosom, or of sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, as at a feast; so that to be gathered to his own people, is to be with them in joy or torment in Hades” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, p. 182). Abraham has been “gathered to his people” until that day when his dust shall live again at the sound of the last trumpet, and all the buried dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man….” *

from Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament: “This expression, which is synonymous with ‘going to his fathers‘ (Gen. 15:15), or ‘being gathered to his fathers‘ (Judg. 2:10), but is constantly distinguished from departing this life and being buried, denotes the reunion in Sheol with friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith in the personal continuance of a man after death, as a presentiment which the promises of God had exalted in the case of the patriarchs into a firm assurance of faith (Heb. 11:13).” **

from John McArthur Study Helps: “‘Hades’ was the Greek term for the abode of the dead. In the LXX (Septuagint), it was used to translate the Hebrew Sheol, which referred to the realm of the dead in general, without necessarily distinguishing between righteous or unrighteous souls. However, in NT usage, ‘Hades’ always refers to the place of the wicked prior to final judgment on hell. The imagery Jesus used paralleled the common rabbinical idea that Sheol had two parts, one for the souls of the righteous and the other for the souls of the wicked–separated by an impassable gulf. But there is no reason to suppose, as some do, that ‘Abraham’s side’ spoke of a temporary prison for the souls of the OT saints, who were brought to heaven only after he had actually atone for their sins. Scripture consistently teaches that the spirits of the righteous dead go immediately into the presence of God (Luke 23:43, 2 Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:23). And the presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:30) belies the notion that they were confined in a compartment of Sheol until Christ finished His work.“***

We humans can do our best to understand God’s path for the Old Testament people, the Israelites. We do know that God loves the Israelites. They are His children. I need to not worry about them and trust that God has them in His way!! He writes:

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
Psalm 116:15

God gathers His own to their people and to Him. He draws them in, guides them in as a shepherd leads his flock to pastures and water. This feels so very peaceful to me as I ponder this word, gather, regarding death, calling His saints home.

As I age, death can be on my thoughts from time to time, but because I know that Christ came to call me to Himself, death is not a fearful future for me. Knowing that God will shepherd me Home when it is my time is, actually, such a sweet thought for me. I can truly rest in His calling. I can rest in His guidance until that moment. I can rest.

“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” Genesis 18:25

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Isaiah 26:19

I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues?  O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. Hosea 13:14

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

God knows where His children will be. They will be with Him. That is what is important. We on earth try to figure everything out, but God’s plans are perfect and we need to rest in Him. If we are in Christ Jesus, we have been adopted into the family of God and will be with God when we die. PERIOD.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 1 John 2:24-25

LORD, You died for my sins, and have forgiven me. Gratitude overflows. I am so sorry that I have sinned against You. By Your forgiveness, I have been born anew. I am Yours. Hallelujah! Oh, What a Savior! You have given me eternal life and I will spend eternity with You. Thank You, Lord Jesus. I am gathered to You, needing You as my Shepherd. You are my very present Help in times of trouble, my Refuge and Strength. I know as I age, physical death looms, but I am not afraid for You are with me. I carry hope because You are near and will carry me over that threshold in Your arms. I asked of, believed in, and abided in You. There will be no spiritual death for me. I will be gathered to You and am so blessed. Thank You, O my Holy Father. In the Name of my Savior, I pray. Amen.

Photo from Kauai/”Gather:” taken by me; graphic added by me

“Gather” rocks @ https://medium.com/lets-gather/get-ready-to-gather-42c4e5f59197

Sheep @ water trough photo @ Flickr

wheat photo @ www.wallpaperflare.com

* from Gathered To His People @ Truth Magazine, David A. Padfield, Evansville, Indiana, Guardian of Truth XXXII: 19, pp. 580, 597, October 6, 1988

** Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, vol. 1, Commentary on the Old Testament(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 168.

***John McArthur Study Helps/Luke 16:23, from The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997

Photo/graphic – Psalm 116:15 @ pinterest

Photo/graphic – 1 John 2:24-25 @ pinterest

His Presence: Basking In or Fleeing From?

Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
Psalm 139:7

Do I want to flee from God? Do I want to hide from Him?

Oh, I have wanted that when I knew NOT Christ. When sin was written all over my face. When being forgiven seemed not to be an option for all that I had done. When I had done and been far more than I knew I ever should have done or been. So hiding was what I wanted to do.

But one cannot hide from the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent God. He is everywhere. He is all knowing and all powerful.

Psalm 139 is not about running away from God. It is about being in His beautiful Presence, being bathed in Him, knowing that He loves me, loved me first. He created me and He forgives me no matter what I have done or who I have been.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

¶Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with You.
Psalm 139:1-12

David walks closely with His God. David knows that He is forgiven and wants to be near to Him. He does not want to go far. He knows God well, is intimately familiar with God, so much so that He feels wrapped in His love.

Continuing in Psalm 139:

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

I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

¶How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with You.
Psalm 139:13-18

Do you know this intimacy with God? Stand there at that sea shore. Hear and sea the waves coming ashore…the steadiness of them, one after another. The ocean is vast. God created this beautiful sea. He created each grain of sand. He is omnipresent.

Are you so near to God that You feel His comfort, His delight about you, His love for you?

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

Have you repented of your sins? Will God forgive us even if we mess up again and again? Oh, yes! He will and He does! Ask me for I know!

Have you asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? He wants you to. He wants you to come to Him for He is waiting for you.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Have you asked Jesus to forgive you? He will when you ask.

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

And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mark 2:5-12

A relationship with Jesus begins with repentance. As you draw closer to Christ, and Christ Alone, you will desire to spend time in the Bible, in prayer, in study. The intimacy will develop and grow. I have known the Lord for 28 years now. I was 45 when I accepted Jesus as my Lord. These last 28 years have been the best, hardest, and loveliest in my life. I would not trade them for the first 45 years either. And I would not want to spend however many more I am here on earth without my Lord. No way! I am looking forward to eternity spent with my Lord. Hallelujah!!

I now can say without one iota of a doubt:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Father, I thank You for drawing me near to You no matter how far away I have been. I see You more clearly with each day. You are Almighty God, Abba Father. I thank You for opening my eyes that I can see the magnificence and might that You are for and to me. You hold me and You comfort me. You teach me and You discipline me. You love me, Lord. I am so very grateful. Through Your Word, You have so many lessons for me. Please guide me as I read Your Word. When I pray to and with You, You are the Light and Lamp unto my path. As we walk together, You teach me. You gather me as a sheep when I wander away. I thank You for the many previous times You have done just that. Knowing that You will never forsake me is such a comfort. Father, I pray for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I pray Your loving grace and mercy over them as they search. We are all searching for “something” and when in that place, we often do not know just what we are missing. Guide them to Yourself. Thank You for showing me through this Psalm that I am not running from You to hide. I am so in awe of You, of Your glory and majesty. I feel like Moses in the cleft of the rock as Your Glory shines ever-so-brightly. May my face shine when I have been in Your Presence. Thank You for keeping me near as I walk paths of the unknown each and every day. I love You, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, the bright Morning Star, I pray. Amen.

Graphic with C.S. Lewis’s quote @ https://theteachableheart.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/his-presence/

Photo of the night/graphics Psalm 139:11-12 @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/413486809508317810/

Photo/Psalm 139:13-14 @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/246501779577399104/

Photo/Graphic of Psalm 139:17-18 @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/hsga/24555887160

Audible

We know “Audible” as a membership from Amazon to listen to books read by the author or someone else rather than read them ourselves. But the “audible” I am writing about today is the voice of God actually heard. Not only could Jesus hear the Voice of God but at three points in the life of Jesus, the people around Him could also hear God’s Voice in some manner. God had something to say to those around Him on those moments. We know these because they are written in the Word of God. Yes, God spoke many other times in the Bible but these are the New Testament audible moments that are written down for us.

At the baptism of Jesus

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

φωνή

phōnḗ – (fo-nay’)

  1. a sound, a tone
    1. of inanimate things, as musical instruments
    2. of wings, of wind, of thunder, of waters
  2. a voice
    1. of the sound of uttered words, (of declarations from heaven, heard though no speaker is seen)
    2. of crying, shouting, lamenting
  3. speech
    1. such as language tone, a tongue

I love the Greek word for this audible sound. Our English word telephone is rooted in this word as are phonetics and phonics, cacophony, symphony, saxophone, microphone, xylophone, megaphone, etc.

Matthew Henry on Matthew 3:17 in his Commentary on Matthew: “To explain and complete this solemnity, there came a voice from heaven, which, we have reason to think, was heard by all that were present. The Holy Spirit manifested himself in the likeness of a dove, but God the Father by a voice; for when the law was given they saw no manner of similitude, only they heard a voice (Deu. 4:12); and so this gospel came, and gospel indeed it is, the best news that ever came from heaven to earth; for it speaks plainly and fully God’s favour to Christ, and us in him.

Think about how often we have prayed to our God asking Him for an answer. We hope to hear from Him. We hope to get a sign. We want to know His will so that we do not stray. And often there is silence, but He hears us in our prayers, in our hearts and minds and souls.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15

We may rarely physically hear, see, or feel an answer from God yet He provides it at the appropriate time…His perfect timing.

Yet, God spoke audibly:

At the transfiguration of Jesus

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” Matthew 17:5

Matthew Henry on Matthew 17:5 from his Commentary on Matthew:

  • There came a voice out of the cloud, and it was the voice of God, who now, as of old, spake in the cloudy pillar, Ps. 99:7. Here was no thunder, or lightning, or voice of a trumpet, as there was when the law was given by Moses, but only a voice, a still small voice, and that not ushered in with a strong wind, or an earthquake, or fire, as when God spake to Elias, 1 Ki. 19:11, 12. Moses then and Elias were witnesses, that in these last days God hath spoken to us by his Son, in another way than he spoke formerly to them. This voice came from the excellent glory (2 Pt. 1:17), the glory which excelleth, in comparison of which the former had no glory; though the excellent glory was clouded, yet thence came a voice, for faith comes by hearing.
  • What this testimony from heaven was; This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. Here we have, (1.) The great gospel mystery revealed; This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This was the very same that was spoken from heaven at his baptism (ch. 3:17); and it was the best news that ever came from heaven to earth since man sinned. It is to the same purport with that great doctrine (2 Co. 5:19), That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Moses and Elias were great men, and favourites of Heaven, yet they were but servants, and servants that God was not always well pleased in; for Moses spoke unadvisedly, and Elias was a man subject to passions; but Christ is a Son, and in him God was always well pleased. Moses and Elias were sometimes instruments of reconciliation between God and Israel; Moses was a great intercessor, and Elias a great reformer; but in Christ God is reconciling the world; his intercession is more prevalent than that of Moses, and his reformation more effectual than that of Elias.
  • This repetition of the same voice that came from heaven at his baptism was no vain repetition; but, like the doubling of Pharoah’s dream, was to show the thing was established. What God hath thus spoken once, yea twice, no doubt he will stand to, and he expects we should take notice of it. It was spoken at his baptism, because then he was entering upon his temptation, and his public ministry; and now it was repeated, because he was entering upon his sufferings, which are to be dated from hence; for now, and not before, he began to foretel them, and immediately after his transfiguration it is said (Lu. 9:51), that the time was come that he should be received up; this therefore was then repeated, to arm him against the terror, and his disciples against the offence, of the cross. When sufferings begin to abound, consolations are given in more abundantly, 2 Co. 1:5.

Before the Last Supper

“Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not Mine. John 12:28-30

In these verses from John 12, God speaks for the sake of those around, for my sake and your’s, even today. We are to glorify the Father in all we are and in all we do. A real reminder! Jesus reminds those around Him that He does glorify His Father and we are to be imitators of Christ. This is not some light and fleeting statement. This is what our walk with the Lord is all about…to glorify Him.

Matthew Henry writes of this glorification in his Commentary on John:

  • 1. How this answer was given. By a voice from heaven. The Jews speak much of a Bath-kól-the daughter of a voice, as one of those divers manners by which God in time past spoke to the prophets; but we do not find any instance of his speaking thus to any but to our Lord Jesus; it was an honour reserved for him (Mat. 3:1717:5), and here, probably, this audible voice was introduced by some visible appearance, either of light or darkness, for both have been used as vehicles of the divine glory.
  • 2. What the answer was. It was an express return to that petition, Father, glorify thy name: I have glorified it already, and I will glorify it yet again. When we pray as we are taught, Our Father, hallowed be thy name, this is a comfort to us, that is it an answered prayer; answered to Christ here, and in him to all true believers. 
    • (1.) The name of God had been glorified in the life of Christ, in his doctrine and miracles, and all the examples he gave of holiness and goodness.
    • (2.) It should be further glorified in the death and sufferings of Christ. His wisdom and power, his justice and holiness, his truth and goodness, were greatly glorified; the demands of a broken law were fully answered; the affront done to God’s government satisfied for; and God accepted the satisfaction, and declared himself well pleased. What God has done for the glorifying of his own name is an encouragement to us to expect what he will yet further do. He that has secured the interests of his own glory will still secure them.

The Father’s answer to this address; for he heard him always, and does still. Observe, 

Three times, the voice was heard from above, speaking to Jesus, speaking about Jesus, speaking to and for the hearers of the Word. God came in ways that were not understood by some standing nearby. The voice was heard as thunder, as an angel, and in words telling those around just Who this Man was and is still today.

So often, we want to hear from God, know the exact answer, the exact moment, the exact person, etc. It is a rare communication we audibly hear with the physical ears that God, our Creator, gave us. Yet, our spirit hears. Our heart hears. There is communication by the Holy Spirit to our spirit from God. It reaches the very depth of our beings. It may come when we read His Word or when we pray or when we are silent before Him. God communicates with us by many paths. Our “inability to hear it cannot invalidate it. Our inability to understand it cannot void it. God’s phōnḗ sounds within His Son’s followers, saying, ‘You are known. You are heard. You are loved. You are mine. I, your heavenly Father, keep My promises.'” **

Jesus, the Son of God, heard His Father all of the time. Jesus is always with the Father. The two communicated continuously and directly with one another.

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. John 1:18 KJV

Dearest Father, Christ is my life as He is my Lord and Savior. Please open the ears of my heart because I want to hear You. I want to know You more and more. You know all about everything. You touch every piece of Your creation for always. You know the number of hairs on my head. You know where I am to be when. You know where every sparrow is and when they fall from the sky. Your Providence is magnificent. I want to be close to You that I can know and understand Your will for me. I desire to be obedient. I desire to be submissive to and for You. Guide me in the ways that You want me to go. If Your voice is not to be audible to my ears, please let me understand the inaudible sounds, the quiet words, and the silent guidance. Through Your Word, through silence, through others’ voices, through the beauty that surrounds me, through the love for and from those many ‘one anothers,’ I ask You to make Your message clear to my spirit by Your Spirit. Please block the many sounds of this world, Father, so that Your voice reigns in strength in my being. I want to hear You, Lord. I want to know You. I desire You and You alone. Continue to help me ‘decrease’ as You ‘increase.’ I bow before You this day, oh Lord. I love You so. I pray all in the beautiful Name of Jesus. Amen.

audible colors @ byjus.com

audible range @ yourwidlife.org

*root meaning of “phone” @ etymology.com

Photo/graphics of Matthew 3:16-17 @<a href=”http://Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@sotti?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Shifaaz shamoon</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/sea?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Unsplash Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash / graphics added by me @ Pixlr

Photo/graphics of Matthew 17:5 @ Heartlight.org

Photo of Thunderstorm @ <a href=”http://Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@noaa?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>NOAA</a&gt; on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lightning-brandon-morgan?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>UnsplashNOAA on Unsplash / graphics added by me @ Pixlr

Luke 11:28 photo/graphics @ bible.com

**from “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole

For My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

When Advent is celebrated and pondered in the Christian church, it is as though we are waiting for the appearance or arrival of Christ, for His birth. And we are also waiting for His second coming. For us today, we also praise God for His Presence with us this day by the Holy Spirit. Advent is a time of preparing ourselves spiritually.

Two people we find in the Bible at the time of Christ’s birth had been preparing, seeking, praising God for His promise of the Messiah well before the actual arrival of Jesus the Christ.

When Jesus turned 8 days old, his parents took Him to the temple to be circumcised, as was the custom of the law of the Israelites. So we turn to that eighth day in the life of Jesus. When Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple that day, they experienced two beautiful people, Simeon and Anna, who were waiting. Waiting for their Christ, yet did not know He was about to appear.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” And His father and his mother marveled at what was said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38

Simeon had asked God to reveal His Salvation to him before he died. God did. Simeon came in the Holy Spirit Who told him that this was Whom he had asked. Anna knew that this Child was from God and was the redemption of Jerusalem. Anna had been waiting also for such a time as this.

Are you still waiting? He has come. He was born a baby, leaving Heaven to come to Earth as a human being. He walked this earth for thirty-three years spreading His message of deliverance from our sin. He performed miracles. He showed kindness, grace, and mercy to many. He died a terrible death on a cross. He was buried and then arose three days later. Jesus lives this very day. He is waiting for you. He waited for me for 45 years until I kneeled and called Him my Lord and Savior. I read His Word, desiring to become more and more Christlike and to spread His light through my life.

Are you still waiting? Call upon Him. Call His Name. He waits. He will never stop waiting for you. He is our salvation from the sins of this world. I have seen my salvation through the eyes of my heart. I have heard my salvation through the ears of my heart. I pray for each and all of you who need the Lord.

For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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 4:11-12

Lord, I thank You for waiting on me for 45 years, for drawing me near, softening my heart 28 years ago. Thank You for calling me Your child now. Although I am still a sinner and always will be while I walk this earth, You have forgiven me with Your beautiful mercy and grace. You sacrificed Your Only Son to die on the Cross for one such as me. As I walk my life through, I desire to be obedient to Your will for my life. I do not want to sin, yet I am human. I am sorry when I fail You. Guide my steps, Lord, and guard my heart that I would continue to be filled with Your light that shines into this dark, dark world. So many need You NOW Lord. Draw them close, speaking Your Truth into their physical ears and into the ears of their hearts, shining Your Light into their physical eyes and into the eyes of their hearts that they would hear and see You … only You, Lord Jesus. Oh, such a blessing You have been and continue to be to me every moment of my life. Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus, Your Son, into this world to draw many unto Him. And thank You for the many disciples who hear Your call to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May I walk in the steps of Your will for my life all the remainder of my days on this earth. May I continue to grow to look more and more like You, Lord Jesus, my Christ, my Messiah, my Salvation. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:29-32: photo by Larisa-K @ Pixabay – Scripture added by me

Luke 2:38: photo by Larisa-K @ Pixabay – Scripture added by me

John 14:6 – Bible Inspirations.org

I am honored to be featured @ Candidly Christian this morning (January 8, 2021) with this post. The words written before my post link have humbled me so. Valerie Riese says it so beautifully. https://candidlychristian.com/my-eyes-have-seen-your-salvation-grace-truth/

According to Your Word

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:30-33

So much happens in these four verses:

 An angel

He speaks to Mary

She has found favor

and with God, no less

She will conceive a son

The angel gives her the name to call this boy

He will be great

He will have the throne of David

He will reign over the house of Jacob

There will be no end to His kingdom

He tells her about her coming son, words that any mother would be proud to hear, but would wonder if all of these things could be true.

Beautiful and amazing is this young woman who is to be the Christ’s mother, innocent and gentle in her spirit. She had questioned the angel, and then graciously accepts those deep and powerful words by responding thusly:

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

As I wait in this Advent time, I ponder the magnificence of this proclamation.  Would I be able to understand and accept these words had they been spoken to me?  Could I grasp the future that these words speak?  An angel naming my baby?  Me, a young and vulnerable woman, having a baby of God’s, not of man?  How could this be?  To me, if I were Mary…I don’t know.  I just don’t know. Yet, when Mary went to visit and stay with Elizabeth, there was immediate confirmation by and through Elizabeth:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:41-45

I do understand something though.  God can do anything for He created everything. He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent.  The angel says in Luke 1, verse 37: “…For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Could I?  Would I?  Oh, God, grant me a heart that so beautifully wraps around Your Truth; accepts the words of Your messengers; opens myself to Your will.  Would I? Could I?  I pray so, my LORD.  I pray so.  I pray with my whole heart and every ounce of my being. I pray with my heart’s ears and eyes open to You, to You alone.  Thank You for giving us the most wonderful gift of all. O LORD, in Your Son’s Holy Name, the Son of the Most High, I pray.  Amen

Photo by David Hewitt from FreeImages. (with added graphics)

Photo by Deborah Krusemark from FreeImages (with added graphics)

Orange rose photo – https://pixabay.com/users/alexas_fotos-686414/ (with added graphics)

“Trees Covered With Snow” by Pixabay on Pexels (with added graphics)

Photo from http://ziongwinner.blogspot.com/2016/12/why-was-jesus-born-part-1.html (with added graphics)

Hosea 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

…over and oveR and ovER and oVER and OVER AGAIN!

God loves…

The children of Israel sin…

Hosea shows the love of God for His children, Israel. He also makes it clear just how far Israel strayed from God, from His commandments, laws and ways. I am reminded how much God loves me even though I strayed from Him again and again throughout my lifetime, especially in those years before knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior. I did not come to know Jesus until I was 45 years old. YET…no matter how often, how far, how deep the bride of Christ meanders from the Truth, the Way, the Life, God continually draws us back to Him.

Oh, God, please forgive me for the ways that I, too, stray from You, from Your Word. Thank You for loving me despite my faults, despite my sin.

And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the LORD
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
Hosea 4:9-11

I will return again to My place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face,
and in their distress earnestly seek Me.
Hosea 5:15

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with Me. Hosea 6:6-7

Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
yet they devise evil against Me.
They return, but not upward;
they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword
because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Hosea 7:16

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. Israel is swallowed up;
already they are among the nations as a useless vessel.
Hosea 8:7-8

But they came to Baal-peor
and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
Hosea 9:10b

You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel
shall be utterly cut off.
Hosea 10:13-15

…a useless vessel….detestable…utterly cut off… Israel has shown itself weak in the sight of the Lord. He loves them, yet He turns His back upon them until they choose to return to Him wholly. I know God has wondered over me year-upon-year as I lived for myself, dependent on no one but me. I thought all was fine. Upon looking back at my life, I truly was lost. I did not know Jesus Christ. I worshiped false idols, betrayed the One Who created me, looked to my own self for the answers. In the Scriptures from Hosea here, do you see God’s love woven into the lives of His children? into their hearts? how He draws them back even when disciplining? God is so merciful. Even when we stray, He wants us to draw near to Him.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:8-10

Father God, I pray that I humbly follow Your ways, Your commandments, Your path for my life. Thank You, Lord, for loving me when I did not. Thank You for guiding my path so that I would meet Jesus. God You are so beautiful. You care for me in the worst of times, the best times, and all the in between times. You are stern, yet gentle. You care so much about the bride of Christ, Your children, that You must discipline us so that we can come to our knees, seeking Your forgiveness. I am so thankful that You sent Your Son, Jesus the Christ to take my sins to the Cross for eternity. You drew me to You and rained Your forgiveness, love, and peace over me. I am grateful and love You for always. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Thanks to:

Graphic: Hosea 4:6 – http://stepintothestory.ca

Graphic: Hosea 5:6 – https://biblepic.com/hosea/5-6.htm

Graphic: Hosea 6:3- https://biblia.com/bible/images/640×480/Ho6.3?extension=png&fallbackOnFailure=false

Graphic: Hosea 7:10 – https://www.pinterest.com/cinnersaved/hosea/

Graphic: Hosea 8:7 – https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/898-hosea-8/

Graphic: Hosea 9:10a – https://calvarydayton.com/sermons/hosea-09_01-11/

Graphic: Hosea 10:12 – https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/hosea-10-12-break-up-your-fallow-ground-it-is-time-to-seek-the-lord-black-4118

He Had Come From God

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,

…Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, … John 13:3

Father God, as I study Your Word, may Your Holy Spirit shine light upon Your Truth, making it clear to me…in my head and in my heart.  In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

Jesus knew where He came from.  He knew that He had been with the Father before time began.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.  Genesis 1:26

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  John 1:1-2

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”  Micah 5:2

…to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.  Jude 25

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16

The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are One, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.  John 17:22-23
As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  John 17:18
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,

come from God…

ἐξέρχομαι

exerchomai (ex-er’-khom-ahee)

to issue (literally or figuratively):—come (forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad.

Before all time…from the days of eternity/the Ancient of days…in the beginning…the heavens were opened to Him…there was “us.”  Jesus with God.  Jesus is God.  Jesus comes to earth as the One Whom God loves, Whom He sent, Who the Holy Spirit rested upon.  They are Three in One.  The Trinity.

Jesus knew He always had existed.  He knew from Whom He had come.  As He walked this earth, He was obedient to the Father for He had been commissioned by the One Who had sent Him.  He glorified the Father in all He said and did.  He mirrored the Father.  He died for our sins and lifted us from the miry clay.  Thank You, Jesus.   

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, (1)

In John 13:3, there is another phrase that will complete my focus:

…and was going back to God, …  John 13:3

He knew where He would return when He left this earth.

But now I am going to Him Who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’  John 16:5

I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”  John 16:28

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.  John 13:1

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:42-43

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’”  John 13:33

“You heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’  If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. “ John 14:28

going back to God, … 

ὑπάγω

hypagō  (hoop-ag’-o)

to lead (oneself) under, i.e. withdraw or retire (as if sinking out of sight), literally or figuratively:—depart, get hence, go (a-)way.

Jesus always knew where He would go when His earthly life was complete.  He knew He would return to the Father.  He would sit at the right hand of the Father.

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Do I know from where I came?  Do I know where I am going?

I do know that I came from God.  He wove me.

My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance;… Psalm 139:15-16a

He has plans for me.  He knows them.  Those plans include a future and a hope.

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

He knows How long I will be alive on the earth and when I will return to Him.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  Psalm 139:16

BUT…I know so very little.

“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!  Psalm 39:4

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  Psalm 144:4

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  James 4:14

What I do know is that I am a sinner.  I know that Christ went to the Cross for me, died, was buried, and was resurrected.  He saved me.  I know that I am His.  I know I will go to Heaven when my time here on earth is up.  Hallelujah!!

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  2 Thessalonians 4:17

ALWAYS!  …and another Hallelujah!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Father, Thank You for reminding me of Who You are and Whose I am.  Thank You for loving me so beautifully, so perfectly.  I love You, Lord.  I am Yours.  Guide me along the path You have for me as I walk each day of my life.  I have gray and white hair, Lord.  I do not know how many more days I have, but I want to walk them with You, in obedience to You.  I want to know You more and more in these days.  I pray I am diligent to walk in Your Truth.  I pray I remain the course.  Protect me when the evil one happens by.  I praise You for raining Your grace and mercy upon me.  Oh, how I need them.  I love Your peace that  surrounds me.  I know when I walk out-of-sync with You for the peace moves away and my spirit knows.  Please draw me back.  Oh, Father, I love You so.  In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen.  

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photo:  Wikimedia Commons –  Public Domain,  File:Trees-sky.jpg;  Uploaded: 3 September 2005.  Graphics on them done by me, Linda Gill

The Lifter of My Head

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But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:3 ESV

Can you recall a time when someone you loved, someone you looked up to and adored, took your lowered head and gently raised your chin with his or her hand?  Your lip may have been quivering, a tear running down your cheek.  That person lifted your head until your eyes met when you saw their loving eyes.  You sensed the care and gentleness they had towards you.  Your heart was touched by this one’s protection, love, reassurance, and care for you…just you at that very moment.

Slow down and remember such a moment, such a person as this.  Ponder the memory.  If you cannot find this memory, imagine such a one.

God, our Father, feels this way about us, even more so, I’d say.  God is our Creator.  He loves each one of us.  He is our Shield.  He encircles us with His strength, His power, and His might.  He defends and protects us in ways we cannot even know.

…: He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I take refuge,….  Psalm 144:2 ESV

God is our glory, deserving our praise and exaltation.  He is majestic.   As we kneel before Him, the love and reverence we feel towards Him is given.

In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.  Psalm 62:7 NKJV

He lifts us up high.  As we stand, let nothing in the world pull us down.  He sent His Son to die for us and nailed our sins to the cross.  Ashamed …no, we are not to be, but we are to stand strong in the LORD.

For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die.  Philippians 1:20 NLT

Lifting my head is looking up and seeing the Father’s glory, His reflection, His love.  His touch is gentle and kind.  He created me and knows my potential.  He lifts me up.  Confidence is being built in me through Him.  Lifting my head helps me to see beyond my circumstances.  The grief I am in the midst of needs to be walked through over time, but my head is lifted higher than that grief.  My head is also higher than anything that is not of God.  None of that controls me when my head is lifted.

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

I can see above this earthly plane.  I know that God, my Father, lights the skies for my way as I follow Him.  Fears are released and given no power for the LORD is the power.  The LORD steadies me, holding me securely as I walk this life’s journey.

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

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

Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up.  James 4:10 NKJV

 

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1st graphic:  https://faithful-in-christ.tumblr.com/post/166727098620

2nd graphic:  http://www.pinsdaddy.com/psalm-3_XprbKZ%7Clst%7C8STsGXN7kQ0kU4Y7L2lvVS0g5ClQfduM/

My Father Knows My Name

Monday’s Breaking Bread

@ Beloved Prodigal

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My name is Linda. As I become part of the Beloved Prodigal team, I feel so very blessed. I will be breaking bread with you one Monday a month here (and every Monday as a reader) from Texas, USA.  May we gather around the Bread of Life.

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32-33

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08-17-scripture

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6

I have been a prodigal child, one who wasted money and resources, one who has been reckless with what I had, one who disobeyed, was irresponsible…and I was an adult for the most part! I also admit, readily, that I fall back into that place from time to time. I wish I could say I did not, but I am human too.

I grew up in a Christian home and a military family as well. Mannerly and minding were very much a part of how I behaved, who I was as a child. The churches we attended taught Jesus, but never taught about having a relationship with Him. God and Jesus were “out there somewhere” so I never even knew that I could be close to my Creator, my Savior. At age twelve, I lost my earthly Daddy to Pancreatic cancer. Because I was the oldest of three girls, I was very close to Daddy. I tended to carry a lot of weight on my shoulders, feeling responsible for my whole family, or so I thought. By the time I was fifteen or sixteen, rebellion, in small ways, began to seep into my behavior when I would get away from home, away from adults. My Mom, raising three girls alone, tried to squelch the waves of disobedience as they rose, hoping to keep my sisters from following any example I might portray.

Sooner or later, though, another wave would roll through. I did not like being in trouble for I was, basically, a good girl. But I lacked the precious fatherly attention, love, and authority I was used to and so needed. I would search for it in many wrong places.

After college, I married wrong and stayed in that marriage for ten long years. I tried so hard to make the marriage work, but I could not do it alone! There was not an ounce of spirituality in the relationship either. We built our marriage on, literally, nothing. After the divorce, I spent the next thirteen years single, working hard and living life as best I could, but always looking for who I was, where I belonged and that fatherly love. I was so very LOST. Jeremiah touches my condition of ‘then’:

“But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.” Jeremiah 3:24

God knew where I was, but I did not. Over twenty-four years ago, I met my husband of today. While we were dating, not only were we getting acquainted with one another, but he would ask me questions which led him inside to a very lost soul. He found out quickly that I was searching. He introduced me to Jesus. Through many tears and hours together, I began to open my heart to both him and Jesus. My future husband had something I desperately wanted and needed. I listened. I asked questions. I prayed. I asked God for His answers.
Jesus gives a parable about being lost:

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10

When I finally saw that Jesus was the answer, I asked Him to come live in my heart. I rejoice for I was that lost coin. I have been His for twenty-four years now. This does not mean that I have never taken a wrong turn or gone down a wrong path. I have and, most likely, will in the future, but that is not my heartfelt desire. I want to be obedient and love the One Who loved me from my creation. I can look back and see many times He was right there waiting for me to open my heart to Him, yet I did not. I can hear people’s words to me and prayers for me, see situations that could have brought me to repentance, my turning around, years before, but I had a hardened heart from hurt and discouragement, from disappointment and heartache.

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6

I once found it hard to believe that God could love me so, but He sent His Son to pay the highest price for my sins. He then sent the Holy Spirit to teach me, to pray for me, to be right with me. I have the Holy Trinity with me always. I believe now!

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

My Daddy, whom I lost at age twelve, was my earthly daddy. The Father I gained, by turning my heart to Jesus, is God. He is my Abba Father.

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6

Abba means father. There is an emphasis to Father by adding this Chaldean word, Abba, אַבָּא , to Father. It is a customary title of God in prayer. The Holy Spirit is in us to pray on our behalf because God loves us so.

Martin Luther writes:

“If we could be fully persuaded that we are in the good grace of God, that our sins are forgiven, that we have the Spirit of Christ, that we are the beloved children of God, we would be ever so happy and grateful to God. But because we often feel fear and doubt we cannot come to that happy certainty.
“Train your conscience to believe that God approves of you. Fight it out with doubt. Gain assurance through the Word of God. Say: “I am all right with God. I have the Holy Ghost. Christ, in whom I do believe, makes me worthy….”
“….Let us never doubt the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, but make up our minds that God is pleased with us, that He looks after us, and that we have the Holy Spirit who prays for us.” (Martin Luther Bible Commentary on Galatians)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3

I have a Father and He knows my name. This special song brings me to tears each time I hear it because I finally have God, my Father. I am not lost. I am not squandering my life away searching for anything else. I have everything in Christ…Everything.

I have a Maker
He formed my heart,
Before even time began
My life was in His hands
He knows my name
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
I have a Father,
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me,
No matter where I go
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

I do my best to live each day as today, not tomorrow, and not yesterday. My life is in Christ, the Son of God. Today. I am blessed.

LORD, You always knew right where I was. You held me when I did not even know You were there, so close. You whispered my name until I finally heard Your beautiful voice calling to me. You drew me in to Your breast and comforted me from this world. You gave me a safe haven where I could learn how to be loved again unconditionally. I loved my earthly father dearly. I missed (and still miss) him so. You are my Father, my Heavenly Father. You never leave me. You do not forsake me even when I head off in my own direction. You always draw me back. You listen for and to me. You care about me. You comfort me. Oh, merciful God, thank You. Jesus, You are my Savior and my Brother. You hold my hand as we walk together. You do not scold me or hurt me or make me feel unworthy or an outcast. I am Yours. I feel so loved this day. May Your Presence light me up from the inside, that I would then share Your Light and Love with all in my world. In Your loving Name I pray. Amen.

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Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians (16th Century): Galatians Chapter 4, verse 6
He Knows My Name (Tommy Walker) — (video) sung by Maranatha Singers

My Citizenship is in Heaven

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Then she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”  Exodus 2:22

גָּר

ger

alien, sojourner, foreigner

living in a strange land among strange people; anyone who is not native to a given land or among a given people


As a side note:

גֵּרְשֹׁם

Gershom

a stranger there, foreigner, expulsion

Look at the two Hebrew letters of this second word on the right.  Those two letters are identical to the first word (made of only those two letters).  These two words are interconnected.  The Israelites were bondservants in Egypt at this time.  This land was not the one God had given them.  Moses named his son by the experience he and Zipporah were having at that time.

As strangers in a strange land, as the King James version reads, I am feeling that today in my home country.  I do not know what the future is nor will be in the United States of America nor in this world.

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Yet, one thing I do know is that I am God’s and He is my Father.  He is with me and asks me to trust Him.  I will.  I do.  I am trusting Him.  There are a few, maybe many, of my steps when I forget and fall into the traps of this world.  I do not want that for myself nor anyone else.  He will pick me up and set me aright as I stay near to Him.

May I trust in You, God of all creation, every minute of every day, and not lean on my own understanding nor that of men and women of this world.  You are the One to Whom I place my trust.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify on the day of visitation.  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by Him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.   1 Peter 2:11-17

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

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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

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For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.   Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to HimselfPhilippians 3:18-21

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Father, I am Yours.  I draw near to You as You draw near to me.  I want to remember the passport to Heaven that is in my hands as I travel this earth for the remainder of my days.  I am truly grateful for this privilege for I am a sojourner here.  When I asked Jesus to be my LORD and Savior, told Him I believed He had died for me and was resurrected after three days, I became His.  The Holy Spirit has come to live inside of me to teach me Your ways, guide me along the paths of righteousness, and to intercede for me, to pray for me, “with groanings too deep for words.”  I thank You, Father.  I pray that I honor You in all ways even when it may be difficult in these worldly affairs.  I want to walk in Your will, LORD.  May this be so.  LORD, I lift up every country in Your world to You…that citizenry and governmental leadership of each will turn to You, acknowledge You as the One and Only God.  I pray for wisdom among the leaders, lovingkindness among us all.  I pray for calm and care to prevail around the world, between countries, as well as within borders of each country.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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This World is not My Home:  https://www.pinterest.com/jimmcavoy/i-am-a-citizen-of-heaven/

Black and White photo: https://terryburridge.wordpress.com/

Do Not Be Shaped… : http://www.crossmap.com/devotionals/are-you-citizen-of-earth-or-heaven-16983

Set Your Mind… : https://www.pinterest.com/pin/238127899019893582/

Sun shining through… I added words):  http://www.rarewallpapers.com/sun-shining-through-the-clouds.html

Passport Clipart:  http://canada.um.dk/en/