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.

strange-land

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/

The Holy Spirit in Me

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When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4 ESV

Oh, LORD, Your Holy Spirit rained on me in Your mighty rushing wind the day I told You I was a sinner…I asked for forgiveness…I wanted Jesus to be my LORD and Savior.  The language I am learning is Your language, LORD,  Your Words.   I know that I hear Your still, small voice.  I have ears to hear the beauty of Your words.  I have eyes to see the words in Your Word and I am able to understand them, little by little.  Your Spirit teaches me.  My heart pounds with thrill at this moment.  You fill me.  I am that house, Your body temple.  You came to live in me.  Thank You.   

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Acts 2:17

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Oh, Holy Spirit, You are the living rain pouring out upon me.  You drench me in Your wisdom and knowledge.  You give me what I need at the moment of that need, IF I am ready, willing, and asking for it.  May I seek Your forgiveness, Your comfort, Your love…in all times.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21

Amen.  Everyone.  I pray they call upon You as I have.  

(For David says concerning him,…) “You have made known to me the paths of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your Presence.” Acts 2:28 

Years before Jesus, David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wanted to be in step with his Father God.  He loved His Father.  He sought forgiveness when he sinned.  He knew he had done wrong in the sight of His God.  He listened.  He delighted in the LORD.  Pentecost is about rejoicing and dancing under the beauty of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Pentecost opens us to newness and community.  Pentecost is change and repentance.  

May my heart be open and ready every day.  

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Acts 2:36-37

LORD, my heart is repelled from these thoughts.  I am one of them.  I feel their agony and know their wrong.  I refused to accept Jesus as my LORD for many years.  I asked, “What shall I do?”

 “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”  …“Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”   Acts 2:38-40

Yes, Yes…to repent and be baptized in Your Name, O Christ, for I seek forgiveness of my sins.  I seek You.  I live in a crooked generation.  I am thankful that You saved me, LORD.  I praise You.  The Holy Spirit has led me away and is teaching me and showing me the way.

 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.   Zechariah 4:6

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“…but by My Spirit.”  Yes!  May I trust in You always, LORD.  You guide and love and plan and know the ways in which I should go.  My delight is not in the way I say or I run ahead, nor is it by my strength and power.  I want to trust.  Your Spirit will take me through the wilderness of life, the troubles and trials, the joys and the beauty of Your creation.  May I know Your Spirit deeply. 

And
 they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to 
the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  Acts:2:42-43

...with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.  Acts 2:46-47

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LORD, the words that are being ingrained into my heart from these verses are
“devoted” in community.  It is the fellowship of believers that You call us to.  Guide me.  Instruct me.  “Awe” – reverence in looking at Who You are and what You have done.  May no act of mine be none other than the Yours, the Glory of my LORD.  A “glad” heart, a “generous” heart “praising”
God that His Spirit reigns within us–what a beautiful and full array of outcomes of Pentecost.  We serve a Mighty God. 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  1 Corinthians 12:7

May my every day be to seek You and know You.  May my every day be a day of Pentecost…the mighty rushing wind fills me to overflowing with the peace of Your Kingdom.  May I know the words to speak in each circumstance as You set before me one who needs You,  one who needs forgiveness, one who needs love, a refuge, peace.  Father, guide me and equip me.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen.

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Rushing wind:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/06/79/8d/06798da585100dd496568bb2288747d9.jpg

Fire:   https://simonmarsh.org/tag/pentecost

Water:  http://naomirice.weebly.com/uploads/6/9/7/9/69791709/4113466.png

Dove:  http://lovepeaceandharmony.org/

Constancy of God

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 And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27

Jesus has called us to love…love God with our all…love all with our all.

Yet, we doubt and hem-and-haw in thinking we are just unable to do these.  Yes, we are unable, in our own strength.  We love God when we feel like it, when we think we are able, or when all is going well.  We love our neighbors when we like them, when they are good to us, or when we feel like it.

Yet, these are two  commandments that we have been given.  How can we love unconditionally?  How can we wholly love God and our neighbors?

In this season of Thanksgiving, I, as well as other bloggers, are sharing about gratitude, being thankful for family and friends, gifts and love.  We may list the beauty we see, words we hear, or smiles that rain joy upon us.  We seek to recognize these gifts in our own strength so much of the time: Let’s see…what am I grateful for right today?  What did I see that I am thankful for?

Is giving thanks something done alone through my efforts?  Can I be thankful without condition?  Do I expect something in return for my gratitude?

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

As children of the Father, we are being given gifts of His choosing.  He wants us to have His pleasures so that we will take them to another, whether by service, by inspiration, by love.  He is not telling us to go out and give on some conditional basis of our choosing, but, with His gifts, go to those to whom He chooses to gift with that which we have been given.  This giving is unconditionally loving.

Dependence upon the One Who is Love, obedience to the One Who calls us to love Him and others…this is how we are able to love unconditionally.  I am only the variable in the equation.  God is the constant.  Love is the constant.

God x God(x) = Love

constant x constant(variable/me) = constant

We love because He first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God Whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.  1 John 4:19-21

Loving God unconditionally is showing gratitude.  Loving our neighbors unconditionally is showing gratitude.

These past many, many months have been extremely difficult months to bear.  We are the children of the Father of lights.  Let us now turn on our lights, gifts from our Father, and shine in this world so filled with hatred and darkness.  Let us take the lights and shine them into our neighbors’ lives and be thankful.  In being a light, I am honoring my Father.  I am so grateful to Him.  He created me, making me a light in this world.

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.”  Luke 11:33

Let us give and serve and be thankful.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 4:8-11

Let us be not afraid to step into the world.  God is with us always.

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Father God, Your love glows inside of me.  I want it to glow outside of me and rid these corners where I walk of darkness.  Strengthen me physically and spiritually so that I may do that which You have called me.  Guide me in the way that I should go.  May I remain faithful and grateful to You.  My desire is to be pleasing unto You.  May my mind know Your Truth.  May my body find peace in You.  May my heart always seek Your face.  And may my strength be built upon Yours.  May I know the constancy of You, Father, for You are my Constant.  I pray in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.  Amen.

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Top Photo used with permission from:  http://www.gloriadei-sd.org/

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

With Shouts of Joy

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You visit the earth and water it;

You greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

You provide their grain,

for so You have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

Psalm 65:9-10

God sends His rain to the earth…this place we call home now.  Earth.  He sends rain by His will, by the ways He so pleases.  We may experience drought or flooding for these are part of living on this earth.

Our spiritual lives sometimes suffer drought or flooding as well.  Too much input, busyness can leave us with little room for God.  Too little time spent with God can cause thirst for Him.  Sometimes we do not even know what we are thirsty for, yet we know that we are.  “Our hearts are dry and barren unless God Himself be as the dew to us and water us; and the plants of His own planting He will water and make them to increase.”  Matthew Henry

I recall searching hard and long for something that I was missing, yet I did not know what that was.  Years later, through many trials, through many seasons of drought and floods, I found Jesus.  Jesus was Who I needed.  I needed to know Him personally.  He would give me Living Water and I would no longer be thirsty.  The fruit of the Spirit could grow in me and then be harvested from me, from my field of new plantings.  This field becomes rich in nutrients and water from the One Who is the Living Waters.  I grow and pray I will continue to grow.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

“…; we must lift up our eyes above the hills, lift them up to the heavens, where the original springs of all blessings are, out of sight, and thither must our praises return, as the first-fruits of the earth were in the heave-offerings lifted up towards heaven by way of acknowledgment that thence they were derived.  All God’s blessings, even spiritual ones, are expressed by His raining righteousness upon us.”  Matthew Henry

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You crown the year with Your bounty;

Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 65:11-13

Everything in His world rejoices over the bounty of His harvest…the pastures, the hills, the meadows, the valleys.  There is abundance in all He is and does.  He rains down upon this earth.  He sends His Love to us in His Son.  He grants mercy upon these souls and bodies from on high.  He whispers grace through His wind, through His Holy Spirit.

He crowns all He is and does, encompassing on every side, as a crown surrounds a head; as when something is completed, it is crowned.  The fruitfulness of His world is in His hands, in His power. 

How grateful I am, LORD.  May You adorn Your world with the riches of harvest, both in fruit of the tree and the fruit of salvation.  I shout my praises and honor to You, oh God.  I am so very heartbroken in the broken and breaking shape of this world, of this nation.  I know this is Your world and You know each and every one of Your creations.  I may feel saddened by so much right now, yet I truly can rejoice in the love, the tender care, the peace, the hope I find in You.  I look up to where my bounty and blessings come from.  Hallelujah!

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Let all these common gifts of the divine bounty, which we yearly and daily partake of, increase our love to God as the best of beings, and engage us to glorify Him with our bodies, which He thus provides so well for.  Matthew Henry

Father, I am humbled by the beauty of Your Word, by the bounty of Your fields, by the benevolence of Your mercy, by the balance in all that surrounds.  Father, in this season of giving thanks, I am reminded that offering my thanks daily is my desire and hope.  I lift up my hands in praise to You, the Giver of my soul.  You are my All, LORD.  I love You and sing with joy as I ponder the sun rising, beginning each day anew, or watch the sun set, leaving the brilliance of pinks and oranges across the sky.  You are Magnificent, Father.  I see You all around me.  Praising You and praying in the Name of the Bright Morning Star.  Amen. 

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Photo:  kangbch  —  https://pixabay.com/en/barley-field-sunrise-morning-solar-1684052/

Photo:  Hans — https://pixabay.com/en/wheat-spike-wheat-field-cereals-8762/