Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Testing

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

δοκίμιον

dokimion

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

Other versions of 1 Peter 1:7 ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Lifter of My Head

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers – 2

I know I posted Oswald Chambers last week, but he has been vital to my Christian growth. I want to spend a bit more time on him this week.

“Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.” —Oswald Chambers

“We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.”

“Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamour of the world.”

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.

On the morning of March 9, 2022, as I read from “My Utmost for His Highest”, I could not have been gifted a more perfect devotional reading for ‘such a time as this’ in my walk with Jesus. I have much to ponder until Jesus returns:

“Turning Back or Walking with Jesus?”

By Oswald Chamber
Do you also want to go away?” —John 6:67

“What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

“’From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more’ (John 6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

“Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him.

“In John 6:70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: ‘Do you also want to go away?‘”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS: Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man.   (Disciples Indeed, 388 L)

Oh, Lord, I do not wish to walk away, yet I have certainly toyed with that idea due to this world pulling and pushing me away. Satan has had his grasp upon me, upon my feet and arms and even my neck, so it seems. I watch how others, who call themselves Christians, walk and talk. They have so disappointed and dismayed me. The behaviors of some have made me doubt the faith which I have been steadfastly walking now for 29 years now. YET…Lord, You, the love that emanates from You, calls me back. I pray that I walk in diligence, spending time in Your Word, on my knees, finding a church home now that Covid is mellowing out here, in order to know You more and more, and to remind me of Whose I am. Pull me towards You should I stray. Pull me towards You should I doubt, question my faith, question even You in my ‘rearranged mind.’ Please pull me towards You should I not desire to be in Your sphere, for I really….REALLY…do love You and want to be in the same orbit as You. I do not really want to be far away. Guide my steps. Please keep me close, Lord. In Your Beautiful and Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Oswald Chambers/quote @ AZ Quotes

“Spiritual maturity” quote @ quotefancy.com

Obedience @ quote fancy

Book Cover/”My Utmost for His Highest” @ utmost.org

Devotional @ https://utmost.org

“Whenever the conviction…” @ quote fancy

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Andrew Murray

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

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

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

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

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

Murray died on 18 January 1917.

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

Abide in Christ – 1882

With Christ in the School of Prayer – 1885

Holy in Christ – 1887

The Power of the Blood of Christ – 1894

Absolute Surrender – 1895

Humility – 1895

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture of Andrew Murray with quote @ QuotesGram

“Salvation” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“Just as” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“It is the root…” quote @ pinterest

“Answered Prays…” quote @ quotefancy

Prayer by A. Murray @ Pinterest

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Just Enough!

But when they measured it with an omer*, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. Exodus 16:18

Ever so peacefully, this verse tells me that God gives me just what I need…no more…no less.

Just enough!!

My dependence should be upon the God of the Universe for He is my provider. For all my needs, I need only to look to the Resource of all and He is God. I need not try in any strength of myself except that which is necessary. I need to turn to God.

…had nothing left over…had no lack! Just enough!

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14

So Abraham called the name of that place, “Jehovah-Jirah;” as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Jehovah-Jirah, The LORD will provide, God my Provider, Jireh, to see, foresee the needs, to provide for those needs.

יְהֹוָה

Yᵊhōvâ

Jehovah = “the existing One”

רָאָה

rā’â

to look upon, cause to see, to provide, to furnish

…had nothing left over…had no lack! Just enough!

The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust;
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them He has set the world.
1 Samuel 2:7-8

Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12

For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

…had nothing left over…had no lack! Just enough!

NO! HE IS …

Oh, God, may I be utterly dependent upon You for all my all, that I have no lack nor no need! All my physical needs, my steps and turns that I take in my walk with You will be in You. You are the Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD the Provider….my Provider. May I bow before you as one who needs You in all ways, for all things including my peace. May the abundance of You, LORD, be displayed in my life because I count on Your provision, Your love, Your guidance. May those doubts and fears that creep over me in these days be nothing that You cannot carry. May my burdens be light because You do not grow weary. And may I allow You to hold me when I so need to be close to You for You are MORE THAN ENOUGH! May this be so in the Name of Christ, my Lord. Amen.

*an omer: a dry measure of 1/10 ephah (about 2 litres). an ancient Hebrew dry measure, the tenth part of an ephah. *The ephah equaled three-fifths of a bushel or in metric measure, twenty-two liters. The omer was two quarts or about two liters.

Graphic: Jehovah Jireh @ Family Radio

Pillars @ Howard Carter – How in the World!

Just Enough! graphics by me at Pixlr Editor

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Word

As we ponder the birth of Christ in these days and weeks prior to December 25th, may we seek the Truth of Christ. I have been humbled in realizing that Jesus had a heart, plus eyes and ears, a mouth which utters sounds all like I do. He saw and heard and spoke while His heartbeat kept His blood circulating throughout His body, just like mine! The human body is truly a creation of God. It is extremely complex and oh, so beautiful…all at the same time.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

A baby…a human being…Christ…the Messiah…Jesus…Immanuel…God with us.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their lights.
Psalm 33:6

This baby Who by the time He came to earth has already created heaven and earth, animals of the dry land, creatures of the waters, and of the air. He has created man and woman with the Father as well. He is the Son of God. He is one of the Trinity. He is God. He is the Christ, the Messiah.

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

Millenniums, centuries have elapsed since the human being was created. And I, a human being, am here in 2021 A.D. celebrating the birth of Christ. My Lord and Savior is Jesus, the One Who spoke words like me yet spoke words into being like no other.

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 came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. John 1:1-5

λόγος

logos

I. of speech

A. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

B. what someone has said: a word; the sayings of God; decree, mandate or order; of the moral precepts given by God; Old Testament prophecy given by the prophet; what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

C. discourse: the act of speaking, speech; the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking; a kind or style of speaking; a continuous speaking discourse – instruction: doctrine, teaching; anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative; matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law; the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

II. its use as respect to the MIND alone: reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating; account, i.e. regard, consideration; account, i.e. reckoning, score; account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment; relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation; reason, cause, ground

III. In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

From the Puritan prayer book, “The Valley of Vision,” page 16, “The Gift of Gifts:”

O Source of all Good,
What shall I render to Thee for the gift of gifts,
Thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, Proxy, Surety, Substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
He was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father,
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born Child to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him Thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

In the Beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Manger @ Unlocking the Bible

Word @ Heartlight.org

The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thankful, Thankful, I Adore Thee

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:23

תּוֹדָה

tôwdâh

to-daw’

properly, an extension of the hand, i.e. (by implication) avowal, or (usually) adoration; specifically, a choir of worshippers:—confession, (sacrifice of) praise, thanks(-giving, offering).

The Hebrew word “thanksgiving” in the ESV, as above, can be translated in a number of ways. See a few other versions of Psalm 50:23:

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”
NKJV

“Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct I will show him the salvation of God.” CSB

He who is sacrificing praise honoureth Me, As to him who maketh a way, I cause him to look on the salvation of God! YLT

Matthew Henry comments on this one verse in his “Commentary on Psalm 50:”

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; we have it, verse 23, which directs us what to do that we may attain our chief end. 

  • 1. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and we are here told that whoso offers praise glorifies him; whether he be Jew or Gentile, those spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted from him. We must praise God, and we must sacrifice praise, direct it to God, as every sacrifice was directed; put it into the hands of the priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar; see that it be made by fire, sacred fire, that it be kindled with the flame of holy and devout affection; we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. This he is pleased, in infinite condescension, to interpret as glorifying him. Hereby we give him the glory due to his name and do what we can to advance the interests of his kingdom among men.
  • 2. Man’s chief end, in conjunction with this, is to enjoy God; and we are here told that those who order their conversation aright shall see his salvation.
    • (1.) It is not enough for us to offer praise, but we must withal order our conversation aright. Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better.
    • (2.) Those that would have their conversation right must take care and pains to order it, to dispose it according to rule, to understand their way and to direct it.
  • (3.) Those that take care of their conversation make sure their salvation; them God will make to see his salvation, for it is a salvation ready to be revealed; he will make them to see it and enjoy it, to see it, and to see themselves happy for ever in it. Note, The right ordering of the conversation is the only way, and it is a sure way, to obtain the great salvation.

You created us, Father, to glorify You, to show the world the One to Whom we lift our hands in praise for Who You are, for all You have created, for all You do in this world, and for all that You do for me, for all that You are to me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have given me purpose by creating me in Your image. You have given me peace, knowing I can rest in You. I can rest because I have come to know that You are my God. You, Lord, have saved me from my sinful ways. You guide my steps. You guard my ways. You forgive me. You love me. I want to order my ways to praise You. I desire to watch my words coming from my mouth, that each and all would magnify You. I want to glorify You, Lord, in all I am and all I do. In You Alone. I pray in the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics: @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Crystal Storm

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Pondering

Memorial Day – 2020

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.” Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Honoring those who have died in service to the United States of America is a bittersweet moment for me. I desire to honor those men and women who have placed their lives on the line for me and the country I call home.

I have two dear men, in particular, who fit that category…my Daddy and my husband, Kenneth. Both of these men died from war-inflicted wounds of contamination: my father, Ralph D, Ross – Post WWII Manhattan Project radiation, Kenneth – Agent Orange/Vietnam War. The two most special men in my life have left their earthly home….gone from my earthly life. Yet, both are with me in my heart. I loved them both dearly.

Kenneth C. Gill
US Army 101st Airborne Infantry
Served 1967 – 1970
Vietnam 4/1968 – 4/1969
born – Salem, IL 1947 – died – Lufkin, TX 2018

June 7, 2018: He served in the Vietnam War 1968-1969 with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He returned to the states and completed his service with the 82nd Airborne in North Carolina. He was exposed to Agent Orange throughout that year marching through rice paddies and areas that once had been wooded areas, defoliated with AO.

Kenneth in Mason, Texas with one of his favorite characters from a book!
The author of “Old Yeller,” Fred Gipson, was from Mason.
The city library has a statue of the dog and the boy Travis.
Inside the library is a mini-museum featuring Fred Gipson.

In January, 2018, we found out he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which is one of the cancers connected with Agent Orange. We believe he had had it for some time due to symptoms we better understood after the fact.

Kenneth was a wonderful husband of 25 years. I was truly blessed. Thank You, Lord. As I walk these days without Kenneth, I still am filled with love for this man whom You loaned to me. I am grateful, Lord, every day. You are the One I walk with today.

Ralph D Ross
US Navy Physician
World War II – Pacific
1942 – 1945, then continuing on til his death in the US Navy
born – Sterling, KS 1913 – died – Bethesda, MD 1960

September 18, 1960: My father’s life vanished in his prime – 46, a Navy doctor, a career spiraling upwards, a lovely wife, 3 daughters (12, 10, 7). The Navy was so special to him, so much so that he did not intend to retire at the 20-year mark!  He served in WWII in the Pacific Theater as surgeon, infection control medical officer, doctor, user of Penicillin in its early days to cure Syphillis.  From 1946-1951, he became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project, serving as a Radiological Safety Officer, while he continued to practice medicine in the Navy.  He was on Bikini Island for Operations Crossroads in 1946, then on Eniwetok for Operations Greenhouse in 1951.  By early 1960, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer…a death sentence then. It can be connected with radiation poisoning. Daddy was the best. I still miss him so!

My parents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An honor, to say the least! (The photo above was taken on a Memorial Day weekend, as told by the flag. I had a friend of a blogging friend take it while she was there. Thanks.)

Mama became a Gold Star Widow; we became Gold Star children. “They are the Gold Star children, war’s innocent victims, and their pain shimmers across the years pure and undimmed. They pass through life with an empty room in their hearts where a father was supposed to live and laugh and love.  All their lives they listen for the footstep that will never fall, and long to know what might have been.”  **

Eleanor Malcotte Ross
born – Chicago, IL 1914 – died – Portland, TX 2013

January 30, 2013: My mother was an unsung war hero, too, although she did not die from war-related causes!  Not only was she a Navy officer’s wife, but worked during the war for the Naval Supply Depot, keeping the Navy-at-war in food and other supplies. She was a special woman! Lots of fun too!

Buried with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.

Father, thank You for these very special people in my life. They have meant so much to me over the span of my lifetime. I am so grateful for the love I have known from each one of them. They loved me, each in their own special way. I honor the service they offered to this country. Thank You for bringing Daddy and Kenneth home from wars so that Daddy could be my father and Kenneth could be my husband. I am sorry they each died from contamination of war-related agents. I am so sorry for that…for my loss as well. I also honor the many more who died from their service to the United States of America. Please protect those many more service men and women who continue to be in harm’s way around the world, Lord. Hold those who have served but are dealing with the effects of war. Some are wanting to get ‘back-to-normal,’ others are dealing with homelessness, and others are medically or psychologically traumatized. Please care for them all, Father God. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Photograph: Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day, Flags In @ https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/160520_abc_vod_orig_memorialday_presidents_mix_16x9_992.jpg

All other photographs are my own. Please ask permission to use.

** Quoted in We Were Soldiers Once…and Young by Lt. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Veiled in Flesh


Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”
**

As we sang “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” tears welled up in my eyes.

Christ Jesus “veiled” a fleshly robe, becoming man and dwelt among us. I got a beautiful picture draped across my heart and eyes of Jesus being veiled in flesh. This is incredible even though I know He came and I know He was a man for thirty-three years, God for always. I believe this, having come to know Christ as my Savior and Lord. I have faith in this One Who left the Father to dwell with us. Yet, the thought of the Christ being veiled with flesh dropped me to my knees. It was so much more than the Baby in a manger. Christ came to save one such as I. Christ came to draw me to Him. Christ came to be with me. Thus my tears.

Emmanuel (Immanuel) is God with us. Jesus is Yahweh saves or the Lord is salvation.

“She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:21-23

The Prophet Isaiah: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

So beautiful! ‘Tis no wonder that I cry. God came to save me. He rained His grace and mercy upon me forever and ever long before I was ever born, created in my mother’s womb.

For 26 + years now, He has been reigning in my heart. He lived on earth, veiled in flesh, so that I may truly live. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Christ came, veiled in flesh, but He died in that same flesh, torn and bruised, bleeding and broken, for this same me.

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. Luke 22:63

As many were astonished at You—
His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—
Isaiah 52:14

According to Josephus, cruxifixction was brutal, an awful way to die. Christ died this way. He did this for me, for you, for each of us. I am sorry, Jesus. Forgiven, I am but I still weep for what I did to You.

Had He not adorned flesh, could or would it have been different?

The plan was in its perfect place and robing Yourself in flesh was what was needed to save us from this sin. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You for Who You are and for what You did. May this life I live adorn You with glory and honor and praise. I love You, my Lord Jesus. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Credits:

First photo: Tess Cooling Calligraphy @ https://cooligraphy.co.uk/portfolio/hark-herald-angels-sing/

** Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!

  • Original lyrics by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788).
  • Published 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems.
  • The lyrics was changed by George Whitefield (1714 – 1770) and others, resulting in the version known today.
  • Original first line: “Hark how all the Welkin rings”.
  • Music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847).
  • Mendelssohn’s tune was adapted by William H. Cummings (1831 – 1915) in 1855 to fit the lyrics.

Last photo: Faith Church Blog/Lafayette

Sing unto the Lord this whole beautiful song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

God So Loved…Me…You

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

Oh! What a promise John 3:16 is! God is Love. He loved His creation so much that He sent His Son…to live amongst His children…to teach and to heal, to love and to die.

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.   This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10

Jesus showed the world that the love of the Father was in Him by loving those He touched, physically and spiritually. Even today, Jesus loves. He loves me and He loves you. The sacrifice that Jesus made over 2,000 years ago still affects us today. He came to save us and draw us to Him so that we will be with Him for eternity. Hallelujah!

The word love in these verses is the word agape:

ἀγαπάω

agapaō

pertaining to people: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

pertaining to things: to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

This is one of four Greek words in the Bible which differentiate between the various meanings of love in the New Testament. Agape is the one used most often. It is the kind of love that God has for us and which we are commanded to have for one another. Jesus called us to love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  
1 John 4:7-8

“Love” appears in the Bible (depending upon the version) between 310 times in the KJV to 551 times in the NIV. No matter what version you are reading, the word “love” is scattered often in the Word of God. God is love and wants us to know that. His Word is beautifully rich with LOVE! I praise You, Father. I praise You.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.   1 John 4:11-13

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.   If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.   This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:14-19

I am humbled dearly by the way God drew me to Him and took a hold of my life. I can look back and see years passing while He patiently waited for me to seek His face. Oh, my! I have read these words in John 3 and 1 John 3 many times and sense just a wee bit of how much He loves me. Just a tiny percentage of God’s love for this one creation. He loves us each and all…yes, not just me, but all of us. My heart is overflowing with gratitude that He would do this for me, for you. And then…

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8

While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. He did not ignore me or leave me to my own ways and problems. He came to me. He waited at the door until I knocked. He was there for me. And He went to the Cross for me where He was horrifically crucified on that Cross and my name was upon that Cross. My sins took Him there. He did not sin. I did. He did not utter a word, but it is my words and my actions that nailed Him to that Cross.

Father God, thank You for loving me so unconditionally that You sent Your Son to that Cross to die for me. He took my sins with Him. He carried my burden to that Cross. He loves me so that even today, He draws me near to Him so that I can and will know the way to walk each and every moment of this day. Lord, I pray I listen and discern Your way in which I should go. I pray for those around me who do not know You. Oh, how I pray for repentance, for that turning around toward You so that they will be spending eternity with us. Oh, how I pray this, Father God. I thank You for loving me so tenderly and sweetly, Lord. You are such a gift to me each and every day. I lift my hands in praise to You, giving You all the glory, Precious Father. In the powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

graphics:   https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/john/

graphics: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/1_john/