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/

Thank You, U.S. Veterans

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

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

This day makes me stand proud although sad.

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

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

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

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

Kenneth jump school

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

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

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

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

Kenneth in Vietnam

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

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

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

My parents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

My family is honored.  We miss them.

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

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Freedom is not FREE…never will be either!

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

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

Oh, when will they ever learn? **

When will WE ever learn?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth

Kenneth

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

My sweet Kenneth left this earth in the early hours of Thursday, June 7th, 2018.  Peace, love and awe were written all over his face and in the ways of his still hands…truly, he showed me the way he died.  A beautiful moment, yet so hard on my heart.

He has left this harsh world for the glories of heaven.

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In January, 2018, Kenneth became very ill, was transported to Houston Methodist Hospital where Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was diagnosed. He chose hospice versus treatment and we were blessed with five precious months! Kenneth did all he could to make sure this house was in order for me. He taught me things I would need to do and know; had me take notes for repetitive chores that I will need to remember.

We spent time talking of life and death and of our faith in Christ. We loved one another dearly and deeply. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 22. We had a wonderful and special marriage. I am so very grateful to God for my husband, Kenneth.

Kenneth served in the US Army as a Sergeant E-5, 3rd/506th Airborne (Combat) Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Vietnam from 4/1968-4/1969. This cancer has been identified as possibly caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
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Agent Orange

Our Vietnam War Veterans may not have been welcomed home rightly upon their return to US soil, but Kenneth received a beautiful welcome into his heavenly Home by Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.

Praising the Lord in my sorrow,  I ask You, Father, to watch over my steps, to guide me each day as I follow You .  Thank You for the sweet five months Kenneth and I had together at the end of his life.  I so praise You, Lord, for the peace that I saw upon my sweet Kenneth’s face.  I loved him so and thank You for the 25 years we had together.  I have You for Eternity and what a glorious thought that is to my heart.  I will look to You as my Husband and Redeemer, Lord, for You say in Isaiah 54:5:  

For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

And You care for and about the widow, as I am one now:

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in Me.  Jeremiah 49:11

I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

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Every Purpose Under Heaven

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful words to embrace.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

http://ejdodson.blogspot.com

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

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

 

Praising God from Whom all Blessings Flow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are so blessed.

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

 

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

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

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

We feel so blessed to be here and not there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My Citizenship is in Heaven

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

גָּר

ger

alien, sojourner, foreigner

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


As a side note:

גֵּרְשֹׁם

Gershom

a stranger there, foreigner, expulsion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O Holy Night

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But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the LORD
to the Rock of Israel.  Isaiah 30:29

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Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.   Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For He took notice of His lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
    and He has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear Him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped His servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For He made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and His children forever.”  Luke 1:42-55

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When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:15-20

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Father God, such joyful news You have given me in the beauty of Your Son, Your One and Only.  You have brought glad tidings to us all.  May my ears be open to hear the words of the shepherds.  May my eyes be open to see this wonderful “thing” that You have done.  May my heart be open to hear Mary’s heart-words.  I thank You for blessing me with the saving grace of Christ Jesus.  I bow humbly, Father, in adoration and respect and honor.  I love You so.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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